Attack (TCG)

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Gengar has two attacks: Shadow Room and Poltergeist. Fainting Spell is a Poké-Power, which is not an attack.

Attacks are skills that a Pokémon card can use in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, which are similar to moves in the video games. Nearly every Pokémon card has at least one attack. During a player's turn, they may use an attack printed on their Active Pokémon. When a player uses an attack, that player's turn ends.

Attack cost

Most attacks have 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 attached to it to pay for that attack's cost. Energy only needs to be attached to the Pokémon; unless explicitly stated otherwise, all Energy cards remain attached to a Pokémon after it attacks. The attack cost is printed using energy symbols. For each symbol, the Pokémon must have a corresponding Energy attached to it. Colorless Energy requirements may be fulfilled by any kind of Energy, while all other Energy requirements must be fulfilled by that particular Energy. For example, in order to use an attack with a cost of one Fire Energy and one Colorless Energy, at least one Fire Energy and one of any other Energy must be attached to the attacking Pokémon.

Some attacks have an attack cost of zero. These attacks first appeared in Diamond and Pearl. They have a symbol indicating an attack cost of 0 on them. Some Pokémon cards also have a Pokémon Power, Poké-Power, Poké-Body, or Ability, which is similar to an attack. However, using a Pokémon Power does not end a player's turn, and a player's Pokémon can use a Pokémon Power from the bench.


Mandibuzz has its attacks, damage, and effects printed in white as it's the Darkness type.

Every attack has a name, which is printed in large black text (except for the Darkness type which is printed in white) to the right of the attack cost.


Most attacks deal damage. The amount of damage an attack deals is written to the right of the attack name as a large black or white number, conventionally divisible by 10. If a Pokémon uses an attack that deals damage, put a damage counter on the opponent's Active Pokémon (the Defending Pokémon) for each 10 damage the attack does.

Various symbols next to the number indicate whether the damage will vary. These symbols are for distinguishing purposes; the stipulations of the damage variation are defined in the attack text.

Symbol Meaning
+ Indicates an increase in damage, under certain conditions
- Indicates a decrease in damage, under certain conditions
× Indicates the value will be multiplied, under certain conditions
? The amount of damage depends entirely on conditions (e.g. opponent's HP)
(this symbol has not been used since Scizor from the Neo Discovery set)

If no number is present, then the attack does not deal damage; it most likely has another effect, listed in its attack text.

Attack Text

Many attacks have additional text beyond their name and damage. This text is printed in small black or white font underneath the cost, name, and damage. The text details additional effects and/or requirements of the attack. The text may alter the amount of damage dealt by the attack. Unless otherwise specified, its effect is mandatory when using the attack.

Weakness and Resistance

Each Pokémon can have a Weakness or Resistance. If a Pokémon is damaged by an attack that is coming from a Pokémon whose Type is that Pokémon's Weakness or Resistance, then the damage is modified accordingly. On older cards, Weakness was treated as the damage being multiplied by 2, and Resistance was treated as the damage being reduced by 30. On newer cards, however, each card is unique and has printed on it what mathematical operation to apply to the damage.

Some Pokémon have multiple Weaknesses and/or Resistances. For those Pokémon, an attack only needs to be coming from one such type in order to apply Weakness or Resistance. Some Pokémon also have multiple Types. In those cases, each type will trigger Weakness and Resistance separately.

Benched Pokémon typically don't apply Weakness and Resistance when calculating damage, but there are some exceptions when they do.

Project TCG logo.png This article is part of Project TCG, a Bulbapedia project that aims to report on every aspect of the Pokémon Trading Card Game.