During the competition, the Pokémon League Village on Indigo Plateau becomes a mecca for all things Pokémon. Trainers receive free food and lodgings in the village. While most League activity occurs in the Pokémon League Pavilion and on the battlefields, parades, movie theaters and other such activities within the village keep the spectators happy when there is no battling. Additionally, there are some important, ceremonial events unique to the conference.
The Pokémon League opening ceremony calls upon the spirit and flame of Moltres to ignite the fire that burns atop Indigo Stadium throughout the competition. Moltres's virtues symbolize Pokémon League competitions. The flame changes many hands, through competitors that are approved to be torch bearers. Without the flame, the competition could not begin. All competing Pokémon Trainers gather in Indigo Stadium and the central torch is finally lit. League president Charles Goodshow addresses the Trainers, and then the games begin.
During the closing ceremony, all Trainers that competed at the conference march into Indigo Stadium one last time, and the Top 3 winning competitors are honored. Chairman Goodshow awards each Trainer with a Pokémon League Badge that signifies participation in the competition. Afterwards, the stadium lights dim for a fireworks show. Moltres's flame is extinguished until the next year's competition, and all battlers and spectators return home.
Only certified Pokémon Trainers who have acquired at least eight Indigo League Gym Badges may enter the competition. Ideally, there are around 256 competitors, with each sudden death Pokémon battle eventually eliminating all but one. Each losing Trainer is placed accordingly. The Top Trainer earns the title of Pokémon League Champion and gets a chance to battle Kanto's Elite Four.
The competition lasts for eight rounds. Four preliminary rounds span for four days, followed by two days of rest, and then the final rounds begin. Rounds and their respective positions for each Trainer: Preliminary: Top 256, Top 128, Top 64, Top 32. Final: Top 16, Top 8, Top 4, Final.
In the preliminary rounds, 256 Trainers must compete on four different battlefields: Rock, Grass, Water and Ice. All matches are of three Pokémon each. The battlefield is decided by a game of chance, and the competitors are chosen randomly by computer. Only Trainers who win on all four battlefields will progress to the final rounds.
Final round battles take place in Indigo Stadium. All battles are Full Battles, with the exception of the fifth round, which is the last round that uses three Pokémon each. Only 16 Trainers make it to the final rounds. Competitors are chosen by fishing for Magikarp labelled with a letter and number that match that of another competitor.
Rules and regulations
The Indigo League is very strict on what defines a battle and what defines a match. A battle is one Pokémon against another one, and a match is made up of the individual Pokémon battles. Thus, the number of battles within a match is defined by how many Pokémon are used. The following conditions cause the Pokémon to lose the battle:
- The Trainer recalls the Pokémon
- The Pokémon is unable to continue battling
- The Pokémon falls asleep
- The Pokémon refuses to battle
Trainers who competed in the Indigo Plateau Conference
- Assunta: Top 4 or higher
- Ritchie: Top 8
- Ash Ketchum: Top 16
- Melissa: Top 16 or higher
- Jeanette Fisher: Top 32
- Gary Oak: Top 32
- Pete Pebbleman: Top 64
- Mandi: Top 256
- This conference marks Ash's lowest placing in a Pokémon League Conference so far, at only Top 16.
- This is the only Pokémon League Conference to date where:
- Full Battles are present but Ash does not participate in one.
- The winner's name was never revealed.
- Ash's loss happened prior to the concluding episode of the Conference arc.