From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
A duel (Japanese: 対戦 competition) is played with Pokémon cards in the Game Boy Color video games Pokémon Trading Card Game and Pokémon Card GB2: Here Comes Team GR!.
The duels in these video games are based on the real-life card game from when the video games were released, in 1998 and 2001, respectively. These video games are different from the modern real-life game to some extent, since they don't feature cards, rules or practices introduced later.
Starting a duel
Against a non-player character
When the player talks to an available non-player character duelist, the game asks if the player wants to duel. The default selected option is "No".
There is also a mandatory practice duel against Tech Sam in the first game, where all actions of the player are scripted. (in the second game, the practice duel is optional) Additionally, Ronald appears at some points in both games and challenges the player to a duel that starts automatically, without any input from the player. Once Ronald appears and talks to the player, the player does not have the chance to perform common tasks like editing the deck or saving the game before dueling Ronald.
Against another player
Two players may duel against each other using the Game Link Cable. The link duels are available at the Battle Center that is found in each Club. Before the duel starts, this text appears: "Press Start when you are ready." However, in reality, only one of the players is required to press Start, which causes the duel to start in both Game Boy systems. The player that presses Start first decides the number of Prize cards of the current duel, between 2 and 6 Prize cards. If the two players press Start exactly at the same time, the transmission fails. All multiplayer features, including the link duel, were disabled in the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console release.
When the duel starts, a screen with the opponent's face sprite and a short introductory text appears. The text contains the opponent's duelist class, name and deck name. For instance, if the player duels against Nikki, the introductory text is "Grass Club Master Nikki", "Flower Power Deck". At the start of the game, the decks of both players are shuffled and each player draws 7 cards from their deck, which are placed into one's own hand. The deck is shuffled automatically by the game, but the game text indicates that each player is shuffling the other player's deck.
Both players are required to have at least one Basic Pokémon card in their hand to start the game. If either player does not have a Basic Pokémon card, that player shows their hand to their opponent, then returns all cards from the hand into the deck, which is shuffled again and that player draws 7 cards again. This time, the game text indicates that the player is shuffling their own deck. This action is repeated as often as needed, until that player has a Basic Pokémon card in their hand.
The player is required to place a Basic Pokémon in the Arena; the Pokémon chosen is the Active Pokémon (the Pokémon that is the main lead, the one that is currently battling the opponent's Pokémon). Other Basic Pokémon may be placed in the Bench. There is space for 5 Pokémon in the Bench, plus 1 in the Arena, for a total of 6 Pokémon. The player must press B to close the hand screen when they are done placing Pokémon in the Arena and the Bench. After that, the Prize cards are placed in the play area. A coin is tossed: if heads, the player plays first; if tails, the opponent plays first.
Each player draws a new card from the deck at the start of their turn. They may view the play area, use a Pokémon Power, use a card from their hand, use an attack, or retreat. The player may place one Energy card on a Pokémon per turn. Each Pokémon may evolve once per turn, and it is not possible to evolve a Pokémon on the same turn when it was placed. If the player evolves a Pokémon, all Special Conditions of that Pokémon are healed. The turn ends when the player uses an attack or uses the "Done" command.
Some actions require tossing a coin. In the first game, there is only a Pikachu-themed coin. In the second game, the player is able to collect various coins.
Ending a duel
A player may win the duel by getting all their own Prize cards, by Knocking Out the last opponent's Pokémon in play, or by letting the opponent finish all the cards in their deck, thus being unable to draw a card in their next turn. All the three victory conditions apply to both players.
A duel may also finish in a tie if both players achieve one victory condition at the same time. In this case, a Sudden Death match is played: it is a regular duel, but both players have one Prize card.
In both games, the player usually receives one or more booster packs when they win any duel. In Pokémon Trading Card Game, winning against the rival Ronald awards a Promotional Card instead. In Pokémon Card GB2, the player is sometimes required to duel with some characters that don't award any prizes, but this allows the player to duel against other characters. Other times, the player receives a coin as the prize for winning a duel.
Main duel screen
The main duel screen is similar to the battle screen from the core series games. This screen displays the two Pokémon currently dueling, specifically one Active Pokémon from each duelist. The Pokémon's image, species, type, level, Energy cards attached and HP are visible in this screen. If needed, there is a symbol indicating when either Pokémon is affected by a Special Condition (such as paralysis, confusion, etc.) There is also a symbol with the number of Pokémon in the Bench and another symbol with the number of Prize cards available. There are six options in this screen: "Hand", "Check", "Retreat", "Attack", "Pkmn Power", and "Done".
These shortcuts are available from the main duel screen.
| B + up
|| View the player's list of Pokémon
| B + down
|| View the opponent's list of Pokémon
| B + left
|| View the player's discard pile
| B + right
|| View the opponent's discard pile
|| View the description of the player's Active Pokémon
|| Press one or more times to switch screens, in this order:
- the whole play area
- the player's list of Pokémon
- the opponent's list of Pokémon
- back to the main duel screen
The Hand (Japanese: てふだ Hand) screen displays a list of cards in the player's hand. This screen is able to display 5 cards at most, but the player can scroll to see the next cards. The text "<player names>'s hand" is seen at the top. There are numbers in the format "x/y", where "x" is the current card pointed by the cursor and "y" is the total number of cards in the hand. (for instance, "3/9" means that the player is currently pointing at the 3rd card and there are 9 cards in the hand) The name and level of each Pokémon is visible in the list. If the player points the cursor at any card, the card's image appears at the bottom of the screen. New cards are placed on the top of the hand.
All cards in the hand have two options: Play (Japanese: だす Take out) and Check (Japanese: しらべる Examine). If the player attempts to play a card can't be played for any reason, an error message appears.
The Check (Japanese: しらべる Examine) is a list with four options:
- three versions of the play area: "In play area", "Your play area", and "Opp. play area".
- the Pokémon Card Glossary
The play area screens can also be accessed by pressing Select multiple times from the main duel screen.
The "In play area" (Japanese: ぜんたいのば All places) screen contains the full play area, including both players. The "Your play area" (Japanese: じぶんのば Own places) and "Opp. play area" (Japanese: あいてのば Opponent's places) contains the same information, except zoomed in the player's play area or the opponent's play area, respectively.
The play area screens display the Active Pokémon, Bench, Prize Cards, Hand, Deck and Discard Pile. More specifically, it's possible to check how many cards are in the Deck, Hand and Discard Pile of either player. It's also possible to see the cards in the Hand and Discard Pile of either player, but it's not normally possible to see the cards in either player's Deck. (However, some cards like Poké Ball and Energy Search allow the player to see their own deck to pick a card, and then the deck is shuffled afterwards.)
It's possible to see the face-down Prize cards that are available to be taken, but both players are unable to know which Prize cards exactly are available. When a Prize card has been taken, a green dashed outline remains that indicates an empty place which used to contain a Prize card.
The "In play area" screen displays the player's play area at the bottom and the opponent's play area at the top. This screen has a single triangle cursor that may point at any of the available places. If the player moves the cursor either to the bottom or the top of this screen, the list of the player's or the opponent's Pokémon appears, respectively. The "Your play area" and "Opp. play area" have multiple options, with various black arrows pointing in the direction of the places affected by each option.
The "Your play area" screen" has three options: Your Pokémon (Japanese: じぶんのポケモン Own Pokémon), Your Hand (Japanese: じぶんのてふだ Own Hand), and Your Discard Pile (Japanese: じぶんのトラッシュ Own Trash). The "Opp. play area" screen" has two options: Opponent's Pokémon (Japanese: あいてのポケモン Opponent's Pokémon) and Opponent's Discard Pile (あいてのトラッシュ Opponent's Trash).
The list of Pokémon is similar to the party screen from the core series. This screen displays the Pokémon cards currently in use by a given player. Each player has one Active Pokémon and at most 5 Bench Pokémon.
The list of one's own Pokémon is accessible from these places:
- In the "In play area" screen, move the cursor to the bottom of the screen.
- In the "Your play area" screen, choose the option "Your Pokémon".
- In the main duel screen, press Select two times. (see below)
The list of the opponent's Pokémon is accessible from these places:
- In the "In play area" screen, move the cursor to the top of the screen.
- In the "Opp. play area" screen, choose the option "Opponent's Pokémon".
- In the main duel screen, press Select three times. (see below)
The Active Pokémon is displayed at the top, with the text "ACT". All the Bench Pokémon, if any, are displayed below, with the text "BP 1", "BP 2", etc. The Pokémon's species, type, level, Energy cards attached and HP are visible in this screen. If needed, there is a symbol indicating when either Pokémon is affected by a Special Condition (such as paralysis, confusion, etc.)
If the player points the cursor to any Pokémon and presses A, that card is displayed.
In Pokémon Card GB2, the player may open a list of Energy cards attached to a Pokémon. This is accomplished in the list of Pokémon (either one's own list or the opponent's list), by pointing the cursor to a Pokémon and pressing Select. However, this is only doable if the player entered the list of Pokémon by using the "Check" command in the first place. If the player used the Select button to open the list of Pokémon, then pressing Select again switches to the next screen instead, and it's not possible to open the page listing the Energy cards.
The "Pkmn Power" screen is almost visually identical to this screen, except the name of Pokémon Power, if any, is displayed instead of the Pokémon's HP or Energy cards.
The Glossary (Japanese: ようごじてん Terminology dictionary) screen is the same glossary that is available from the PC in the overworld.
The Retreat (Japanese: にげる Run away) screens replaces the Active Pokémon with another Pokémon from the Bench. Some Pokémon have a Retreat cost, which is a number of Energy cards that must be discarded in order to retreat the Pokémon. Once a Pokémon retreats, any Special Conditions are healed. However, the Pokémon is unable to retreat if it is asleep or paralyzed.
The Attack (Japanese: ワザ Technique) screen contains a list of the attacks of the current Pokémon, their damage and their cost in Energy cards. The player is able to use an attack by pointing the cursor to it and pressing A. A Pokémon cannot attack without the required Energy cards attached to it. If an attack requires Colorless energy, then any type of energy may be used instead of Colorless. For instance, the cost of Charmander's Ember is (1 Fire and 1 Colorless).
The damage listed is the HP taken from the opponent. However, if a Pokémon has a Resistance against the type of the attacking Pokémon, the damage dealt is reduced by −30. If a Pokémon has a Weakness against the type of the attacking Pokémon, the damage dealt is doubled. Many attacks have additional effects other than dealing damage, and some don't deal damage at all. In the Attack screen, the player may see a description of an attack by pointing the cursor to it and pressing Start. (There are also other ways to check a description of a card, such as the Hand screen when a Pokémon card is in the hand.)
Some attacks have a "+" (addition) or "×" (multiplication) symbol next to the number of damage dealt, which increase the damage dealt by that attack. For instance, Blastoise's Hydro Pump's power is "40+", because its damage at least 40 and can increase with the addition of more Energy cards. The damage of Geodude's Stone Barrage is "10×" because it deals 10 damage times the number of heads.
The "※" symbol in the first game and the "✗" symbol in the second game indicate that an attack requires discarding one or more Energy cards, such as Charmander's Ember. These symbols don't appear in the card description; they only appear in the Attack screen.
The Pkmn Power (Japanese: とくしゅ Special; an abbreviation of 特殊能力 Special Ability) screen is a list of Pokémon and their Pokémon Powers. It is almost visually identical to the list of Pokémon above, except there are no indicators for HP or Energy cards. The Pokémon Power is shown where the HP would be in the list of Pokémon. If the player points the cursor to a Pokémon and presses A, the description of the current Pokémon Power appears; if the Pokémon does not have any Pokémon Power, then nothing happens. Some Pokémon Powers don't require this screen to be used, such as Blastoise's Rain Dance. Some other Pokémon Powers require this screen, such as Alakazam's Damage Swap.
Whenever a Pokémon with a Pokémon Power is placed from the hand to the Arena or Bench (either as a Basic Pokémon or via evolving a Pokémon), a screen displaying its Pokémon Power automatically appears. However, there is an exception: the Pokémon Power screen does not automatically appear when a Pokémon is placed in the Arena or Bench at the start of the game, before the coin is tossed to decide which player plays first.
The Done (Japanese: おわり End) command ends the current turn without attacking. Sometimes, the player may have no other choice than ending a turn with this command, if they are unable to attack due to a lack of Energy cards, the effect of sleep or paralysis, or the effect of some cards such as Slowpoke's Amnesia or Eevee's Tail Whip.
Organizing the cards
The cards in the hand, deck, and discard pile are often shown without any meaningful order, but they are automatically sorted if the player presses Select. The cards in the deck are usually not visible to the player in the first place, except when the player uses a card which lets them check the deck and pick a card, such as Energy Search or Poké Ball). Pressing Select causes all cards in the hand to be organized by their index number, which displays the Energy cards first, then the Pokémon cards, then the Trainer cards. The Pokémon cards organized this way are separated by type and then by their National Pokédex number. All cards of the same name are listed together. Variations such as Flying Pikachu, Dark Slowbro, and Cool Porygon are listed directly after their normal versions. All evolutionary families are listed together, except for Eevee's family which is split so each evolution is found together with the cards of their own type. Pokémon cards with the same name are organized by their level.
Energy card limit
The games are only able to display the first 8 Energy cards attached to a Pokémon. If a Pokémon has 9 or more Energy cards, the 8th Energy card is replaced by a "+" symbol.
In both games, the player may play against Tech Sam in a tutorial duel, where all actions of the player must follow a script. This duel is mandatory at the start in the first game, but optional in the second game.
Great Rocket duels
In Pokémon Card GB2, the duels with some Team Great Rocket members have additional rules. Sometimes, the player must or must not have certain cards on their deck.
All these opponents are found in various places at the GR Island. When the player meets any of these opponents in the Challenge Hall, these rules are still in effect, except the deck requirements are ignored.
GR Grass Fort
GR Lightning Fort
GR Fire Fort
GR Water Fort
GR Fighting Fort
GR Psychic Stronghold
Team GR Castle
Comparison with the real-life game
- In the Game Boy games, all decks must have 60 cards. There are no half-decks (30-card decks), unlike in the real life game.
- In both the real life and the Game Boy, both players reveal all their Active and Benched Pokémon at the same time at the start of the game. This is accomplished in the real life by placing the Pokémon cards face-down at first, and then turning them all up at the same time when both players are ready. In the Game Boy, there is simply no option to see the opponent's Pokémon while the player is placing their own Pokémon. (there is no indication that the Pokémon cards may be face-down in the Game Boy games)
- Only in real life, if one player takes a mulligan, the other player draws a card. That is to say, if a player has no Basic Pokémon card in their opening hand at the start of the game, that player shuffles their opening hand back to their own deck and draws a new opening hand, which is referred to as "taking a mulligan". In the real life (but not in the Game Boy), the other player draws a card when this happens.
- In the real life, some Special Conditions involve turning a Pokémon card sideways or upside-down. In the Game Boy, all Special Conditions are simply indicated by different symbols, without turning the Pokémon card in any way.
- In the Japanese version of both TCG games, the attack text is the same as in the moves from core series, with the addition of the Pokémon level. For instance, "トサキントLv12のつのでつく!" ("Goldeen Lv12's Horn Attack!").
- In the English version of the first game, the attack text is worded as "<Pokémon> <level>'s <attack>!" (for instance: "Goldeen Lv12's Horn Attack!") which is a direct translation from the Japanese text, as opposed to the core series which uses the format "<Pokémon> used <move>!" (for instance: "Goldeen used Horn Attack!").
| Main duel screen (GB1)
|| Main duel screen (GB2)
| Full play area
|| Player's play area
|| Opponent's play area
|| List of Pokémon
|| Pokémon Powers
|| Energy cards attached|
to a Pokémon (GB2 only)
| Drawing a card
|| Placing a card
in the Arena
| Tossing a coin
|| Starting a link duel
|| Choosing the
number of prizes
in a link duel
| Waiting while another|
the number of prizes
Types and stages (large sprites)
Types (small sprites)
In other languages