Pokémon (TCG)

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Greninja, a Pokémon card that was released in the XY expansion

A Pokémon in the Pokémon Trading Card Game (abbreviated TCG) is any card on which there is a Pokémon that is represented as they are in the games. Pokémon are used in the TCG to battle an opponent's Pokémon, much like Trainers battle in the games. Pokemon cards are one of categories of cards in the TCG, which also include Energy cards, and Trainer cards. Players can have up to four Pokémon with the same name in decklists.

Every Pokémon card has its name, Type, Hit Points and evolutionary stage listed on the card. Pokémon cards have at least one Attack and/or Poké-Power/Poké-Body/Ability. Most cards also contain a Weakness, Resistance and Retreat cost. Also printed on each card is its Rarity, expansion or set, set number and a Pokédex entry as flavor text.

Each legal deck must have at least one Basic Pokémon in their lists. At the start of the game, both players must put one face down Basic Pokémon (or a Pokémon that can be played during setup by an effect) from their hand in the field as an Active Pokémon, revealing the card after setup. If a player cannot play a Basic Pokémon during setup, they reshuffle all cards in their hand back into their deck, drawing seven more cards and repeating the process if still unable to place a Pokémon in the field. Besides the Active Pokémon, players can have up to five Pokémon in the Bench.

Only Basic Pokémon are placed directly in the field, during the player's turn. Pokémon can evolve outside the first turn or the turn that card was played, by playing other Pokémon that state to evolve from that card on top of it in that player's turn (evolved Pokémon count as only one Pokémon while in the field). Some card effects allow the player to evolve the Pokémon without the turn restrictions or even play evolution cards directly on the field. Trainers cards such as Mysterious Fossil can be played on the field and be treated as Basic Pokémon.

Pokémon are knocked out by the effect of an Attack/Ability or when its damage counters equal or surpass the ammount of Hit Points it has; when this happens, the Pokémon and all cards attached to it are discarded, unless the effect of a card states otherwise.

Evolutionary stages

  • Baby, a deprecated stage that could be played as Basic Pokémon and evolve into certain Basic Pokémon.
  • Basic, which is a Pokémon that does not evolve from any other (excluding Baby Pokémon). Pokémon which do not evolve to or from another Pokémon, Pokémon SP, Pokémon EX and Pokémon V are also classified as Basic.
    • Restored Pokémon, which are Pokémon that can be only played by the effect of Trainer cards.
  • Stage 1, which is a Pokémon which has evolved from a Basic or Restored Pokémon.
  • Stage 2, which is a Pokémon which has evolved from a Stage 1 or Restored Pokémon.
  • Pokémon LV.X and Pokémon BREAK, which evolve from its respective named Pokémon.

Pokémon card variants

Shining Pokémon

Main article: Shining Pokémon (TCG)

Shining Pokémon were shiny Basic Pokémon (regardless of their evolution stage) first introduced in the Neo Revelation expansion. Players could not have any duplicate copies of a Shining Pokémon card in their deck. Pokémon ☆ were later released with the same mechanic, and further Shining Pokémon from Shining Legends no longer had the 1 per deck rule.

Pokémon ex

Main article: Pokémon ex (TCG)

Pokémon ex were a major mechanic during the EX Series. These Pokémon had extra Hit Points and stronger Poké-Powers/Poké-Bodies or Attacks with the drawback of an opponent taking 2 Prize Cards when that Pokémon ex was knocked out.

Lv. X Pokémon

Main article: Pokémon LV.X (TCG)

Lv. X Pokémon originate from the Diamond & Pearl sets and go a step further into evolution. The same rules apply when a regular Pokémon evolves into a Lv. X as they do in evolution, but they're allowed to use the attacks, Poké-Powers, and Poké-Bodies of their previous form.

Pokémon SP

Main article: Pokémon SP (TCG)

Pokémon SP and their variants are Basic Pokémon (regardless of their evolution stage) debuted in the Platinum expansion with 2x damage weaknesses as opposed to taking +20 damage like the other cards at their time.

Pokémon LEGEND

Main article: Pokémon LEGEND (TCG)

LEGEND cards first appeared in the HeartGold & SoulSilver expansion as one of the replacements for LV. X Pokémon. Pokémon LEGEND are one or two Pokémon consisting of two different cards: the top and bottom half, which have the same name and need to be played on the Bench at the same time (the two cards count as one while in play). When a LEGEND Pokémon is knocked out, the opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Pokémon-EX

Main article: Pokémon-EX (TCG)

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.

Later in the XY expansion to implement the Mega Evolution mechanic, the M-Pokémon-EX were featured. M-Pokémon-EX can only be played by Mega Evolving from basic Pokémon-EX; doing so ends that player's turn unless he or she has the corresponding Spirit Link tool attached to the Pokémon. Other than this, M-Pokémon-EX share the same rules and design as regular Pokémon-EX and evolving Pokémon, with the addition of more Hit Points and more powerful Attacks.

Restored Pokémon

Main article: Restored Pokémon (TCG)

A Restored Pokémon is a form of Pokémon that requires the player to first play the respective Fossil item card, search the bottom seven cards of their Deck for the corresponding Pokémon, and then place it onto his or her Bench. Restored Pokémon were present during Generations V and VI of the TCG, these pokémon later reverted to evolving from an universal fossil item.

Pokémon BREAK

Main article: Pokémon BREAK (TCG)

Pokémon BREAK are a special type of Pokémon card first introduced in the XY BREAKthrough expansion. A Pokémon BREAK card evolves from its non-BREAK version, and keeps weakness/resistance, attacks, and abilities from it's prior evolution. BREAK Pokémon adds new abilities or attacks. Pokémon BREAK cards are placed sideways on the top half of the Pokémon it evolves from.

Pokémon-GX

Main article: Pokémon-GX (TCG)

Pokémon-GX were first introduced in the Sun & Moon expansion. A Pokémon-GX was the same stage of its original card, meaning Zoroark-GX was a Stage 1 Pokémon, because Zoroark as a normal Pokémon is a Stage 1. Similar to Pokémon-EX, Pokémon-GX allowed the opponent to take 2 prize cards when it was Knocked Out. However, they introduced a new attack in Pokémon cards; GX attacks are powerful moves exclusive (at first) to Pokémon GX with the drawback of each player only being able to use one GX attack per game.

Later introduced in the Sun & Moon expansion Team Up, TAG TEAM Pokémon are Basic Pokémon-GX that features two or three Pokémon on a card instead of the normal one. Their GX attacks also have an extra effect when they have extra energy attached or specific Supporter cards are played on the same turn. When a TAG TEAM Pokémon is knocked out, the opponent takes 3 prize cards.

Prism Star Pokémon

Main article: Prism Star (TCG)

Prism Star Pokémon cards came with the expansion set Ultra Prism released during Generation VII. These cards only featured Basic Pokémon. Players cannot have any duplicate copies of a Prism Star card in their deck, and when these Pokémon were removed from play, they would be sent to the Lost Zone instead.

Pokémon V

Main article: Pokémon V (TCG)

Released with the Sword & Shield expansions, Pokémon V are Basic Pokémon with more HP and powerful attacks than regular counterparts like Pokémon-EX, giving the opponent 2 prize cards when knocked out as well. Some Pokémon V can evolve into Pokémon VMAX cards, an implementation of the Dynamax/Gigantamax mechanics from the Generation VIII games. When a Pokémon VMAX is knocked out, the opponent takes 3 prize cards instead.

Minor Attributes


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.