Special Conditions (TCG)

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This article is about the TCG mechanic. For Pokémon Trading Figure Game equivalent, see Special Conditions (TFG).
This card shows a mnemonic on how to rotate the card when the Special Condition Asleep or Paralyzed applies.

A Special Condition (Japanese: 特殊状態 Special Condition) is a result that some attacks have in the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Specific attacks may cause the Defending Pokémon to be affected by a Special Condition, such as the common Lick attack which has a chance of causing Paralysis. They are the equivalent of the status conditions in the games. There are five Special Conditions currently in the Trading Card Game: Asleep, Burned, Confused, Paralyzed and Poisoned. Unlike status conditions in the video games, Special Conditions are not necessarily mutually exclusive due to the Poisoned and Burned Special Conditions being recognized by the placing of a marker (known as status counters) on the afflicted Pokémon. However, between the other three, a Pokémon can only be affected by one at once.

Special Conditions generally only affect the Active Pokémon in play. Once the Pokémon is retreated to the Bench, any Special Conditions affecting them will be removed. They can also be removed by evolving a Pokémon or using a specific attack or Trainer card (such as Double Full Heal). Special Conditions also stop the majority of Poké-Powers from working, but Poké-Bodies are unaffected by them.


If a Pokémon is Asleep (Japanese: ねむり Sleeping), it cannot attack or retreat by itself. It must also be turned sideways (usually counterclockwise). After each turn, if a player's Pokémon is Asleep, the player must flip a coin: if heads, the Asleep Pokémon "wakes up" and is no longer affected by the Special Condition. However, if the coin lands on tails, the Pokémon is still Asleep.


A burn marker

The Burned (Japanese: やけど Burn) Special Condition is the latest Special Condition to be introduced, officially recognized in 2002 upon the release of the Expedition Base Set. The Burned Special Condition is similar to the Poisoned Special Condition. A rule change in 2016 taking effect with the release of Sun & Moon altered the procedure for a burn.[1] The Burned Special Condition is derived from Neo Genesis, in which Quilava's Char attack caused a condition exactly like Burned. Char was not recognized as a Special Condition.

Prior to Sun & Moon, once a Pokémon is Burned, a Burn marker is placed on it and the player must flip a coin in between turns. If the coin lands on tails, two damage counters are placed on the Pokémon. Under some conditions, the burn's damage may be increased by the effect of an attack, an Ability, or a Stadium card (e.g., Volcarona's Scorching Scales Ability causes the afflicted Pokémon to suffer 40 damage). If the coin landed on heads, the Pokémon does not receive any damage but remains Burned.

With the release of Sun & Moon, once a Pokémon is Burned, two damage counters are placed on it between turns as long as it is Burned. After the damage is added, the player with the Burned Pokémon must flip a coin: on a heads, the afflicted Pokémon is cured, while on a tails, it remains Burned.


The Confused (Japanese: こんらん Confusion) Special Condition is one of the most commonly seen conditions, alongside Poisoned. If a Pokémon is Confused, its card must be turned upside-down. If it tries to attack, the player must flip a coin. If the coin is heads, the attack proceeds as planned. However, if the coin lands on tails, three damage counters are placed on the Pokémon and the turn ends. Unless replaced by Asleep or Paralyzed, the Pokémon remains Confused unless retreat or other action is taken (such as the use of a Trainer card).

The current description of Confused was introduced in 2003 with the release of EX Ruby & Sapphire. Originally, the Confused Pokémon would attack itself for 20 damage on a tails. As well as that, if a Pokémon tried to retreat, the required Energy had to be discarded first, before flipping a coin to see if the retreat was successful. If it was not, the Pokémon could not retrieve the Energy cards. As of the current revision of the condition, any Confused Pokémon can retreat without having to take any additional action.


If a Pokémon is Paralyzed (Japanese: マヒ Paralysis), it will be unable to attack or retreat for one turn after it becomes Paralyzed. After the end of the turn, the Pokémon's condition returns to normal. A Paralyzed Pokémon is turned sideways (usually clockwise).


A poison marker

The Poisoned (Japanese: どく Poison) Special Condition is one of the most commonly seen conditions, alongside Confused. When a Pokémon is Poisoned, one damage counter must be put on the Pokémon between turns, although some cards can increase the number of counters placed.

Other Conditions


The Imprisoned Condition is one of the least common conditions in the TCG, with only Gardevoir ex δ from the set EX Dragon Frontiers being able to apply this condition. Like with Poisoned and Burned, a marker is used to denote a Pokémon as Imprisoned. If a Pokémon is Imprisoned, it cannot use its Poké-Power or Poké-Body, if it has any. Unlike the other more common conditions, a Pokémon stays Imprisoned if is Retreats or is Switched Out, thus the only ways to remove it is by Evolving the Imprisoned Pokémon, using a card effect that removes any condition such as Double Full Heal, or having the afflicted Pokémon leave play, like with Super Scoop Up.


The Shock-wave Condition is among the least common conditions in the game, with only Tyranitar ex δ from EX Dragon Frontiers being able to apply this condition. It too uses a marker to denote a Pokémon as having the Shock-wave condition. By itself, this condition doesn’t do anything; however, the aforementioned Tyranitar ex δ has an attack that Knocks Out any one of the opponent’s Pokémon in play with this condition. Like with Imprisoned, the Shock-wave condition does not get removed upon Retreating or Switching out, so the afflicted Pokémon has to Evolve, leave play, or be manually healed for it to be removed.


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.