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Glossary (TCG)

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This glossary is a list of all general terms used in the Pokémon Trading Card Game.


Main article: Ability (TCG)

An Ability is a Pokémon power that is active for as long as the Pokémon that has it is in play. Abilities typically trigger once or multiple times during a turn, before a Pokémon attacks. Others are active for as long as the Pokémon that has it is in play. With the release of Black & White, Pokémon Powers (Poké-BODY and Poké-POWER) were combined into one mechanic and renamed Abilities (Japanese: 特性 special characteristic), after the analogous element in the main series games.

Ace Spec

Main article: Ace Spec card (TCG)

Ace Spec are powerful Trainer cards with a special drawback: there can only be one Ace Spec in a deck.

Active Pokémon

The Active Pokémon (Japanese: バトルポケモン Battle Pokémon) is the Pokémon that the player has chosen as their main lead. During the player's turn, they are able to attach Energy cards, Pokémon Tools and Technical Machines to their Active Pokémon, evolve it, use a Level Up card on it, attack with it or retreat it. The Active Pokémon is also sometimes referred to by the opponent as the Attacking Pokémon or, if affected by an opponent's attack, the Defending Pokémon.


Main article: Attack (TCG)

Attacks are skills on a Pokémon card usable by the player's Active Pokémon on the player's turn, which are similar to moves in the video games. Nearly every Pokémon card has at least one attack. When a player uses an attack, that player's turn ends. Every attack has an attack cost, which is printed as energy symbols to the left of the attack name. A Pokémon card can only use an attack if it has enough Energy card attached to it to pay for that attack's cost. The necessary energy needs to be attached to the Active Pokémon.

Baby Pokémon

A Baby Pokémon (Japanese: ベイビィポケモン Baby Pokémon) is a type of Pokémon card introduced in Neo Genesis to be treated as a Basic Pokémon. Baby Pokémon are pre-evolved forms of existing Basic Pokémon, such as Pichu is to Pikachu, and thus are able to evolve into their respective Basic Pokémon (which are then treated as Evolved Pokémon). Up to Skyridge, the opponent was also forced to flip a coin when attacking a Baby Pokémon: if tails, the attack would fail. As of EX Sandstorm, Baby Pokémon are officially Basic Pokémon, and instead have a Baby Evolution Poké-POWER to allow them to evolve into their respective evolutions.

Basic Energy card

Main article: Energy card (TCG)

A Basic Energy card (Japanese: ()(ほん)エネルギー Basic Energy) is one unit of Energy required for a Pokémon to use an attack. There are nine types of basic Energy card: Grass Grass ((くさ) Kusa), Fire Fire, Water Water, Lightning Lightning, Psychic Psychic, Fighting Fighting, Darkness Darkness, Metal Metal, and Fariy Fairy. The exact type of Energy is required in order to use an attack, except for Colorless Energy Colorless (for which any type of Energy can be used). For example, if the player has Grass Energy, they cannot use an attack requiring one Lightning Energy, but they can use any attacks that require Grass and/or Colorless Energy.

Basic Pokémon

A Basic Pokémon (Japanese: たねポケモン Seed Pokémon) is a form of Pokémon which does not evolve from any other Pokémon. A Basic Pokémon can be placed directly into play, either as the Active Pokémon at the start of the game or as a Benched Pokémon any time during play. Some Basic Pokémon, such as Mewtwo, do not evolve; some, such as Bulbasaur, do; and some, such as Pikachu can evolve from Baby Pokémon, either classified as a Baby Pokémon or with the Baby Evolution Poké-POWER. In these cases, Basic Pokémon that are evolved from Baby Pokémon or other Basic Pokémon are considered to be Evolved Pokémon. Pokémon-EX are also Basic Pokémon.


During play, any Pokémon that are not considered to be the Active Pokémon may be put onto the Bench (Japanese: ベンチ Bench). These are classed as Benched Pokémon (Japanese: ベンチポケモン Bench Pokémon), of which each player can have no more than five at a time. They cannot attack or retreat, but they may be able to use Abilities, Poké-POWERS and Poké-BODIES if they do not state that the Pokémon must be Active to use them, and they can also be switched out into the Active position if the current Active Pokémon retreats. Some attacks allow a Pokémon to deal damage to the opponent's Benched Pokémon (and some even deal damage to the player's own Benched Pokémon): in these cases, Weakness and Resistance are not applied to the Benched Pokémon. Unlike Active Pokémon, a Pokémon LV.X card cannot be played in order to Level Up a Benched Pokémon.


When an Active Pokémon attacks, the attack they use may specify an amount of damage (Japanese: ダメージ Damage) to be done to the Pokémon being attacked, conventionally divisible by amounts of 10. Damage is tallied up, by way of damage counters (Japanese: ダメカン Dame-kan, short for ダメージカウンター Damage Counter), in order to Knock Out an opponent's Pokémon. Each damage counter counts as 10 damage. So, for example, if a Pokémon has 120 Hit Points and has twelve or more damage counters on it, it would be Knocked Out. Damage done by attacks may also be affected by the Weakness or Resistance of the Pokémon being attacked. In place of actual counters, dice are often used to indicate damage; this is very common practice and it saves time. An example would be if a Pokémon had a die with the 5 side up, it would have 50 damage.

Defending Pokémon

A Defending Pokémon is the opponent's Active Pokémon at the time that an attack is used. When attacking, the effect of an attack may mention the Defending Pokémon in the event that it is being affected by a Special Condition or other effect.

Discard Pile

When cards are taken out of play, they are moved into the Discard Pile (Japanese: トラッシュ Trash). Either player can look at the cards in their own Discard Pile, as well as those in their opponent's. When a Pokémon is Knocked Out, it is moved to the Discard Pile, along with all cards attached to it. When a Trainer card is used, it is immediately moved to the Discard Pile after being used. Similarly, a Supporter card is moved into the Discard Pile at the end of the turn in which is was used. Some cards also allow the player to recollect cards from their Discard Pile.

Evolution card

Main article: Evolution (TCG)

Evolution cards, split into Stage 1 Pokémon (Japanese: 1(しん)()ポケモン 1st Evolution Pokémon) and Stage 2 Pokémon (Japanese: 2(しん)()ポケモン 2nd Evolution Pokémon), are types of Pokémon which evolve from other Pokémon. Both the player's Active Pokémon and their Benched Pokémon can be evolved during their turn. Stage 1 Pokémon are placed onto Basic Pokémon (including those evolved from Baby Pokémon) and Stage 2 Pokémon are placed onto Stage 1 Pokémon. A Pokémon cannot be evolved more than once during a turn. Pokémon that are resurrected from Fossils, such as Omanyte and Kabuto, are Stage 1 Pokémon, as their respective Fossil Trainer cards, Helix Fossil and Dome Fossil, are classed as Basic Pokémon. Some cards, such as Rare Candy, even allow the player to bypass a Stage 1 Pokémon by evolving a Basic Pokémon directly into a Stage 2 Pokémon.

Half Deck

Main article: Half deck (TCG)

The Half deck is popular among many Pokémon TCG players, particularly in Japan. In Half deck play, both players use a 30-card deck instead of a traditional 60-card one and lay out three Prize cards instead of six.

Hit Points

Hit Points, shown on a Pokémon card as HP (Japanese: HP(エイチピー) HP), represent the health of each Pokémon card and the amount of damage it can take before being Knocked Out. Most Pokémon in the Trading Card Game have between 30 and 150 HP, and some, such as Pokémon-EX and Pokémon LV.X, usually have between 100 and 200 HP. Some Abilities and Pokémon Tool cards will increase the number of Hit Points a Pokémon has, although these effects are usually temporary and only give an extra 10-20 HP. The lowest used HP value on Pokémon is 30 HP, cards like Magikarp, Baby Pokémon, and other 'lower level' Pokémon; while M-Venusaur-EX has the highest Hit Points - 230 HP. Certain Trainer cards also have HP, like Clefairy Doll and Mysterious Fossil having only 10 HP while Dance! Neo Imakuni? has the highest value - 2000 HP.

Item card

Main article: Item card (TCG)

The Item (Japanese: グッズ Goods) card is the main type of Trainer cards, was the first to be introduced, and was the only type of Trainer card until Supporter cards and Stadium cards were split into their own categories in Diamond & Pearl. Unlike these two, Item cards have subtypes, and thus have a wide range of effects. The two main subtypes of Item card are Pokémon Tools (Japanese: ポケモンのどうぐ Pokemon Tool), which act very much like held items in the games, and Technical Machines, which include one additional attack usable by the Pokémon the card is attached to. Other set-specific types, such as Goldenrod Game Corner and Rocket's Secret Machine, also exist. Boundaries Crossed introduced Ace Spec Trainer cards, really powerful cards with a special drawback: there can only be one in a deck.

Knock Out

When a Pokémon's Hit Points drop to zero, it is considered Knocked Out. See the glossary entry for Damage for more information.

Lost Zone

The Lost Zone is an area considered to be a more advanced form of the Discard Pile. Unlike cards in the Discard Pile, cards moved to the Lost Zone are kept face-up and are considered to be "outside" the play area due to the fact they are not kept on the playmat if one is used. As such, cards moved to the Lost Zone are no longer considered to be in play, and cannot be retrieved at any time, or by any means, during gameplay.

Play! Pokémon

Main article: Play! Pokémon

Play! Pokémon, formerly known as Pokémon Organized Play or POP, is an official gathering of players of the Pokémon Trading Card Game and video games to play, trade, and just generally have fun and learn about the games. It was formed by The Pokémon Company International in 2003 to officially sanction and organize game play, including leagues, tournaments, and prize systems.


A Poké-BODY (Japanese: ポケボディー Poké-Body) is a type of Pokémon Power that is active for as long as the Pokémon that has it is in play. A Poké-BODY is sometimes reminiscent of that Pokémon's in-game Ability, such as Ludicolo's Rain Dish Ability. Poké-BODIES have a vast amount of different effects and can affect almost any aspect of gameplay.


A Poké-POWER (Japanese: ポケパワー Poké-Power) is a type of Pokémon Power that the player is able to use during their turn. In a similar fashion to Poké-BODIES, Poké-POWERS can affect almost any aspect of gameplay, and can often be used once during the player's turn, before their attack. Some can be used multiple times and some are designed to cause an after-effect to the Pokémon with it being Knocked Out.


Main article: Pokémon-EX (TCG)

Pokémon-EX (Japanese: ポケモンEX Pokémon EX) are Basic Pokémon with significantly higher Hit Points compared to the majority of regular Basic Pokémon. They were first introduced in the Next Destinies expansion, replacing Pokémon LV.X legendary Pokémon. Similar to the Pokémon-ex released during the EX Series, when a Pokémon-EX is defeated, the opponent takes two Prize cards instead of one.

M-Pokémon-EX were introduced in XY expansion and introduce the Mega Evolution mechanic featured in Pokémon X and Y. They are identified by a stylized Mega graphic on the card name. M-Pokémon-EX can only be played by Mega Evolving from the previous Stage Pokémon-EX, and doing so ends a players turn immediately. Other than this, M-Pokémon-EX share the same rules and design as regular Pokémon-EX, with the addition of boosted HP and more powerful attacks.

Pokémon Power

Main article: Pokémon Power (TCG)

Pokémon Powers are additional effects that the Pokémon card's player can trigger once or multiple times during their turn, before they attack. However, before the Expedition Base Set, some cards, such as Base Set Charizard, had Pokémon Powers that were always active. After the release of Expedition, Pokémon Powers were split into two groups: Poké-POWERS and Poké-BODIES. Poké-POWERS are special effects that the player must trigger or announce using. A Poké-BODY's effect is one that is in effect regardless. Both, however, are still officially considered to be Pokémon Powers. With the release of Black & White, Pokémon Powers were combined into one mechanic once again and renamed Abilities (Japanese: 特性 special characteristic)

Pokémon Tool

Pokémon Tools are a special type of Trainer Item card that provide a special benefit to the Pokémon they are attached. #Active Pokémon and Bench Pokémon may only have one Pokémon Tool attached to it, and it may not be removed unless specifically instructed.

Pokémon Type

Main article: Type (TCG)

Unlike in the video games, there are only eleven known Pokémon 'Types. Originally, there were only seven known types: Grass Grass, Fire Fire, Water Water, Lightning Lightning, Fighting Fighting, Psychic Psychic, Colorless Colorless, Darkness Darkness, Metal Metal, Dragon Dragon, and Fairy Fairy. When a Pokémon {{TCG|Attack|attacks]], the type of damage it does is based on the Pokémon's type. Weaknesses and Resistances are also affected by Pokémon type.

Prize Card

Prize redirects here. For money given to the winner of a battle by the loser, see prize money.

A Prize Card (Japanese: サイド Side) is a card taken by a player for Knocking Out one of their opponent's Pokémon. When using the regular 60-card deck, six prizes are put down at the start of the game: however, three are put down if using a 30-card half deck, and four are put down if using a 40-card prerelease deck. The first player to take all of their Prize Cards wins the game. When a player Knocks Out one of their opponent's Pokémon-ex, however, they take two Prize Cards instead of one.

Public information

Main article: Public information (TCG)

Public information is information related to a match that is readily accessible by either player at any time, as long as such requests are not used for stalling. Public information includes all cards in play, such as: Pokémon cards, including any evolutionary stages underneath Active and Benched Pokémon; Energy cards and Trainer cards attached to Pokémon and in the play area; the cards in each player's Discard Pile; the number of cards in a player's hand; and the number of remaining Prize Cards of each player.


If a Pokémon has Resistance (Japanese: (てい)(こう)(りょく) Resistance) to a certain type, it means that if it is attacked by a Pokémon of that type, it will receive less damage. While not exceedingly rare, Resistance isn't very common either - most Pokémon don't have any. An example of a Pokémon with Resistance is Ditto in the Fossil set. An example a Pokémon without is Grimer in the Aquapolis set. The EX Dragon set introduced some Pokémon-ex with two different Resistances on the same card, such as Rayquaza ex. Resistances were initially fixed at -30 damage, meaning the Pokémon would take 30 less damage from an attack. Unlike Weakness, this rule was always printed on the card, either to the left of or above the Resistance-type in the form of "-30". As of the Diamond & Pearl set, Resistances are officially variables, though are always -20 (also printed on the cards) damage unless on a reprint of a Pokémon card that originally had a -30 Resistance.

Retreat Cost

Main article: Retreat cost

When a player wants to move his or her Active Pokémon to the Bench, that player can retreat (Japanese: にげる Retreat) that Pokémon. Then, a Pokémon on the Bench must replace the previous Active Pokémon. Each Pokémon has a Retreat Cost: a specific number of Energy that must be discarded from the Pokémon being retreated in order to move it back to the Bench. Retreating can only be done once per turn. If the player doesn't have the required amount of Energy attached to discard or doesn't have any Benched Pokémon, his or her Pokémon is unable to retreat. Some Pokémon have no Retreat Cost and thus can retreat for free; others have a Retreat Cost of between one and five   Energies. Any type of Energy can be used for retreating, as any Energy can count as Colorless.

Restored Pokémon

A Restored Pokémon (Japanese: (ふく)(げん)ポケモン Restored Pokemon) is a form of Pokémon that in the Pokémon games, is revived to life from a Fossil. As with the games, only nine Pokémon can be classified as Restored Pokémon; however, only Tirtouga, Archen, Aerodactyl, and Lileep have appeared so far. In order to play a Restored Pokémon, the player must first play the respective Fossil card, search the bottom seven cards of their deck for the corresponding Pokémon, and then place into onto his or her Bench. This type of card was introduced in the Noble Victories expansion.

Reprinted card

Main article: Reprinted card
Main article: Standard format (TCG)

A Reprinted card is a card that has been printed in a previous TCG set and has been included in a newer set. When a card is reprinted, older versions of a card can still be used in standard tournaments provided the text of the card has not changed or if a single copy of a card with the current text is set aside for reference. This reference card cannot be activity used in the player's deck.

Special Conditions

Main article: Special Conditions (TCG)

A Special Condition (Japanese: (とく)(しゅ)(じょう)(たい) Special Condition) is a result that some attacks have. Specific attacks may cause the Defending Pokémon to be affected by at least one of the five Special Conditions: Asleep, Burned, Confused, Paralyzed and Poisoned.

Unlike status ailments in the video games, Special Conditions are not necessarily mutually exclusive: Poisoned and Burned are recognized by placing a specific marker on the afflicted Pokémon (and can be combined), while Asleep, Confused, and Paralyzed are recognized by rotating the Active Pokémon's card (thus it can only be affected by one of these at a time). Also unlike the video games, Special Conditions are healed upon evolution, level-up, or being switched out of the Active position and placed on the Bench.

Special Energy card

Main article: List of Special Energy cards

Special Energy cards (Japanese: (とく)(しゅ)エネルギー Special Energy) are cards that provide more than one Energy card of a specific type and/or have an additional effect besides providing Energy. Some may heal the Pokémon they're attached to, add damage to their attacks, or may even provide several different types of Energy at once. A majority of them provide only Colorless Energy; however, there are several which provide one or more of any type of Basic Energy.

Stadium card

Main article: Stadium card (TCG)

A Stadium card (Japanese: スタジアム Stadium) is one of three types of Trainer cards and is designed to change an aspect of gameplay for both players. Unlike Trainer cards and Supporter cards, Stadium cards cause a long-term change in gameplay which affects both players. Being competitive cards, they are often played in order to hugely help the player or hinder the opponent. For example, the Battle Frontier Stadium card would not be used by players whose decks included Colorless-type, Darkness-type or Metal-type Evolved Pokémon.

Standard format

Main article: Standard format (TCG)
Main article: Rotation (TCG)

Standard format defines what cards may be used in officially-sanctioned Play! Pokémon events. This format was previously called the Modified format prior to the 20013-2014 season. Standard format cards are also known as Standard-legal or Modified-legal. The current Standard Format rotates sets are usable once per year, usually after the World Championships.

Supporter card

Main article: Supporter card (TCG)

A Supporter card (Japanese: サポート Support) is one of three types of Trainer cards. Supporter cards are based on characters who are, more often than not, included in the Pokémon games, such as Scott, Professor Rowan and Bebe. A player can only play one Supporter card each turn, this is because they are usually very helpful to the player. They stay in play until the end of the player's turn—they are then discarded.

Theme Deck

Main article: Theme deck (TCG)

A Theme Deck is a preconstructed 60-card play deck that is sold pre-packaged. Most Theme Decks are designed with a specific strategy (such as Special Conditions) or theme (such as starter Pokémon) in mind. They tend not to be as strong decks as player constructed decks, but can otherwise be a sound introduction to the game for new players since they have all the cards necessary for a single player to begin playing immediately. Theme decks are also a defined gameplay category in the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online.

Trainer card

Main article: Trainer card (TCG)

A Trainer card (Japanese: トレーナーズ Trainer's) is one of three main types of card found in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, alongside Pokémon and Energy cards. While Pokémon cards do the direct attacking of an opponent's cards and Energy cards power their attacks, Trainers provide a more supportive role, allowing a player to search through their deck, draw cards, or other special effects. During a player's turn, he or she may play a Trainer card from his or her hand, follow its instructions, and then discard it.

Unlimited format

Main article: Unlimited format (TCG)

The Unlimited format is allows any card that was once playable in tournaments. This format is not used tournaments sanctioned by Pokémon Organized Play. It is, however, used in Pokémon Trading Card Game Online and can be used in Pokémon Leagues if the League Leader wishes to allow it. Because of the lack of restrictions in Unlimited, decks can use combinations of cards which are not possible in Standard or Expanded play.


If a Pokémon has Weakness (Japanese: (じゃく)(てん) Weakness) to a certain type, it means that if it is attacked by a Pokémon of that type, it will receive more damage. Most Pokémon have one Weakness, such as Diglett in the Base Set, but some have none, such as Togepi in the Neo Destiny set. The EX Sandstorm set introduced some Pokémon-ex with two different Weaknesses on the same card, such as Aggron ex. Weaknesses were initially fixed at ×2 damage, meaning the Pokémon would take twice the amount of damage dealt by an attack. Variable Weaknesses were later introduced in the Diamond & Pearl set, with Weaknesses of +10, +20, +30, +40 and ×2. Generally, with variable weaknesses, Basic Pokémon will have a Weakness of +10, Stage 1 Pokémon one of +20, and Stage 2 Pokémon one of +30, with a select few having one of +40. There is no general pattern (except perhaps legendary Pokémon) of Pokémon with a ×2 Weakness; although, Pokémon SP always have a weakness of ×2. From HeartGold & SoulSilver onwards, Weaknesses return to ×2.


Main article: Pokémon Trading Card Game

As explained under How to play, players can win a Pokémon Trading Card Game in three different ways: 1.) take their six prize cards by knocking out their opponent's Pokémon by using various attacks to reduce the opponent's HP to zero, 2.) if their opponent runs out of Pokémon on the field (which includes their Active Pokémon and Bench Pokémon), or 3.) if their opponent cannot draw a card from their deck at the beginning of their turn.