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Pokemon TCG Information Page

Pokemon Game concepts

The game is centred on the concept of the Pokémon battle, similar to that of the video games. By doing damage to your opponent's Pokemon, you are able to knock them out. The different Pokémon characters have different attacks and Hit Points (HP). HP is the amount of damage it takes to knock out that Pokémon.

At the beginning of each game, each player puts six 'prize' cards face down at the side of the field of play. Every time that a player knocks out one of their opponents' Pokemon, they may take on of the prizes they laid down and put that card in their hand. Released in EX: Ruby and Sapphire; Pokemon-ex allow the opponent to take two prizes instead of one.

There are three different ways to win a game. The most common of these three is to knock out six of the opponent's Pokémon. Second, it is possible to win if you knock out one of your opponents Pokemon, and they have no other Pokemon in play at the time. The third way, is if your opponent can not draw a card at the beginning of their turn (an otherwise mandatory action), you win immediately, regardless of how many Pokemon you have knocked out; this rule rarely comes into effect in tournament play, however.

There are three types of cards that you can put in your deck: Pokémon cards, Energy cards, and Trainer cards. All are important to victory.

Pokemon Cards are the basis of all decks. Without them you can't even play the game, since it is required for you to place a basic Pokemon in the field of play before the game even starts. All Pokémon cards are the actual Pokémon from the video game. Each player may have up to six Pokémon in play at a time, one active and up to five on the bench. Most Pokémon feature attacks that would reduce the HP of the opposing active Pokémon, or occasionally, their benched Pokemon (a few cannot do damage at all). These attacks require Energy, which come in the form of Energy cards.

There are nine different energy types; Darkness, Fighting, Fire, Grass, Lightning, Metal, Psychic, Water and Colourless. Eight of these are called 'Basic Energy Types', the exception being Colourless. Many attacks require a certain type of energy, depending on the type of attack and the Pokémon using it; if an attack requires a certain type of basic energy, then that type of energy must be attached to the Pokemon. If the attack has a colourless energy requirement, that requirement can be met by any energy card. For example, if an attack requires two Fire Energy, then the player must have at least two energy which provide the fire type attached to the Pokemon; but if the attack requires one Fire and one Colourless energy, then the Pokemon only requires a single Fire energy to be attached, the Colourless requirement can be met with a Psychic, Lightning, Grass, or any other kind of energy. Because of this, colourless energy requirements are seen as a great advantage on any card.

Trainer cards are support cards that allow players to do something to enhance the game. Cards like Potion and Super Potion remove damage from a Pokémon to keep it from being knocked out as easily. Others allow for searching a deck for Pokémon, removing energy from the opposing Pokémon, and reviving Pokémon that has been knocked out. There are many other types of Trainer cards.

Beginning level players often do not realize the value of Trainer cards, but experienced tournament level players pay particular attention to the Trainer engine in their battle decks.

Of particular value are "draw" cards and "search" cards. In most cases, it is the player who gets his/her big attacker into play and powered up first who wins the game. In the normal course of play, players can only draw one card per turn from their deck. However, cards like Professor Oak's Research, Steven's Advice and Copycat let a player draw several new cards in a turn, while search cards like Dual Ball, Lanette's Net Search and Celio's Network let players search through their decks and get a particular card or cards. Championship calibre players know that in order to win games consistently, their decks must contain good draw power and search power.

There are also some cards that are two of the types in one card. A few (that originated in the Base Set) are played as both Trainer cards and Pokemon cards. And a few, more recent cards can be played as Pokemon or Energy cards. So far, no cards are both Energy and Trainers.

A simplified type system was used for the trading card game. Instead of 17 types of Pokémon, only nine exist. There were originally seven, but when Darkness and Metal types showed up in Pokemon Gold and Silver, the card game integrated them in as well. The types usually follow this pattern:


TCG type


Video game type(s)



Normal, Flying, Dragon






Fighting, Rock, Ground






Grass, Bug, Poison









Psychic, Ghost



Water, Ice


Most Pokémon have only one type. However, a few have 2 types. Introduced in EX:Team Aqua vs. Team Magma, Dual-type Pokemon have the advantage of being two different types at the same time. Most of these Dual-type cards are either Dark and another type, or Metal and another type.

Weakness and resistance are determined by the type of the attacking Pokémon (unlike the video game, where they are determined by the type of the attack used).

Pokémon that are weak to another type take twice the base damage in an attack. For example, most Fire type Pokémon are weak to Water. So, if a Water type Pokémon attacks a Fire type Pokémon with an attack that has a base damage of 20, that attack would do 40 damage to the Fire type Pokémon. Some more recent Pokemon have two weaknesses.

Some Pokémon have a Resistance to a particular type. Resistance decreases attack damage by 30. So if the opponent attacks with an attack that has a base damage of 40, but a Pokémon has a Resistance to the type of Pokémon the opponent is attacking with, the attack will only do 10 damage instead of 40. If the opponent's attack normally does 30 or less, then the attack will do no damage at all. Some recent cards also have 2 resistances.

If a Pokemon has two types, both of those types are calculated as far as weakness and resistance are concerned. For example, if a Pokemon has weakness to two types, and a Pokemon that is both of those types attacks, that attack does 4x its normal damage.

Deck Types

Full Deck

A Full Deck is the standard, used in Premier Events all over the world. A Full Deck contains exactly 60 cards, and exactly six prizes. Almost all events run by Pokemon organized Play use the Full Deck, from Leagues to the World Championships. The exceptions are listed below.

Limited Deck

This kind of deck is seen almost exclusively in pre-release tournaments. Players are given six booster packs, and an unlimited amount of basic energies; and from those cards, they make a deck that contains exactly 40 cards. Limited decks use four prizes per game.