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(とくしゅじょうたい) 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 can only affect the Active Pokémon. If the Pokémon retreats 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 many Pokémon Powers and the majority of Poké-Powers from working, but Poké-Bodies are unaffected by them. Abilities replace the function of Pokémon Powers from Black & White onward, and are never blocked by Special Conditions.


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 heads, the afflicted Pokémon is cured, while on tails, it remains Burned.


20 Damage from Confusion: when a Pokémon tries to attack while Confused and the coin flip is tails, the Pokémon does 20 damage to itself, and the actual attack doesn't happen.

The Confused (Japanese: こんらん Confusion) Special Condition is one of the most commonly seen conditions, alongside Poisoned. A Confused Pokémon's 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 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.

In Japan, that description of Confused was only introduced after the release of the Leaders' Stadium expansion, after experimenting with this rule in tournaments in 1998. Before these rules were simplified, when tails was flipped for an attack of a Pokémon with the Special Condition Confused, the Pokémon used the attack on itself. The behavior was as follows:[2]

  • Any damage normally done to the opponent's Active Pokémon was done to the user. This means that if Chansey chose to use the Double-edge attack, it does 80 damage to itself. Weakness and Resistance apply for this damage.
  • Any damage done to the opponent's Bench was redirected to the player's Bench. This means that if Raichu chose to use the Gigashock attack, it does 10 damage to 3 of the player's own Benched Pokémon. Damage that is already done to the player's Bench is unaffected.
  • Any non-damage effects that affect the opponent's Active Pokémon affect the Attacking Pokémon instead. This means that if Golduck chose to use the Hyper Beam attack, it discards an Energy attached to itself.
  • Any effects that affect a player applied to the Attacking Pokémon's player. This means that if Psyduck chose to use the Headache attack, the player can't play any Trainer cards on their next turn.
  • Any effects that affect the Attacking Pokémon are ignored.
  • Any effects that targeted the opponent's deck were applied to the player's own deck. This means that if Moltres chose to use the Wildfire attack, it discards the top card of the player's deck for each Fire Energy discarded from it.

Until the release of the Rocket Gang expansion, if a Confused Pokémon were to retreat, the coin flip happens before discarding any Energy; however, it would still be unable to retreat for the rest of the turn on tails.


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 EX Dragon Frontiers expansion 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 the EX Dragon Frontiers expansion 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.