With the recent release of Pokémon Sword and Shield on the Nintendo Switch, the Pokémon TCG is once again in the limelight - if it ever went away, of course. This beginner's guide will teach you how to play the Pokémon Trading Card Game, starting with the basic rules of attack and status effects, all the way to getting to grips with how evolutions work.


Today, We would like to answer some questions that we often receive.

  • How many cards do you need to play Pokemon TCG? Choosing the right deck of cards for your first playthrough of the Pokémon Trading Card Game.
  • How to play Pokémon Trading Card Game? The basics of setup, card play, attacking, energy use and your first turn.
  • How does evolution work in the Pokémon TCG? Learn how to evolve your base Pokémon into powerful Stage 1 and Stage 2 Pokemon.
  • How do status conditions work in the Pokémon TCG? Confused about the confusion? We are going to explain how status effects work and how to get rid of them.
  • How to win the Pokémon Trading Card Game? By defeating your opponent's Pokémon or forcing them to run out of cards, the various paths to victory in the Pokémon Card Game.
  • Is there an app for the Pokemon card game?

How to play Pokémon TCG?

One ​​of the reasons the Pokémon Trading Card Game has remained so popular throughout its lifespan is its ability to retain all of the familiar aspects of video games concerned, without having them tone down. Evolutions, shinies, trainers, battles, condition disorders: everything you know about Pokémon, whether it's the animated series or the video games, has found its place in the trading card game.

Learn to play pokemon cards

Whether you've just discovered the Pokémon series for the first time, whether you've rediscovered it through the latest augmented reality (AR) mobile game,Pokémon Go, or whether you've been a fan since Red and Blue (or Green) landed on the original Game Boy, now's the time ideal for picking up the series' almost 30-year-old tabletop counterpart and learning how to play the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

Best of all, if you already know the basics of how Pokémon battles work, you can really easily dive into the world of Pokémon cards.

How many cards do you need to play Pokémon TCG?

Each player should have a deck of exactly 60 Pokémon cards, consisting of energy cards, item cards, and workout cards. Apart from energy cards, you cannot have more than four cards of the same name in your deck.

Pokemon Battle Card Game

When learning to play Pokémon TCG, it's best to pick up one of the premade decks available for the Trading Card Game. Once you know the basics, you can learn how to build a Pokémon TCG card deck to include all your favorite Pokémon and customize your playstyle.

How does a Pokémon card game go?

The basic gameplay in the Pokémon TCG is relatively simple to understand, but it does involve a few steps that you'll need to learn before your first battle.

How to start Pokémon TCG battle?

At the start of a game, players flip a coin to see who goes first. Then the cards are shuffled, players draw a hand of seven cards and the top six cards are set aside as prize cards; you add one of them to your hand each time you defeat an opponent's Pokemon, and claim victory if you pick up all six before your rival does.

Both players may place one Basic Pokémon card face down as their Active Pokémon, plus up to five other Basic Pokémon on their bench. If you have no Basic Pokémon cards in your hand after drawing your initial hand of seven cards, reveal your hand to your opponent and draw another seven cards.

japanese pokemon booster

You can repeat this as many times as you like until you have at least one Basic Pokémon - but your opponent must draw an additional card to every time you do.

A player can have a total of six Pokémon in play at the same time, although only one - the active Pokémon - can attack during each turn. The rest stay on your bench - a row of cards behind the active Pokémon where you hold five other Pokémon waiting to battle your opponent, much like your party in the Pokémon video games.

Active Pokemon and Benched Pokemon can both evolve and have Energy. If your Active Pokémon is defeated, you must replace it with a Pokémon from your Bench; if you have no Pokémon on the field, you lose.

How do towers work in Pokémon TCG?

At the beginning of each round, the active player draws a card from the top of their own deck; if you run out of cards in your deck and can't draw any more in the next turn, you lose.

Pokemon TCG Card Battle

During the second phase of each turn, you can do any of the following: Play any number of Basic Pokémon from your hand to your Bench. Attach an Energy card to a Pokémon in your hand. It can be your active Pokémon or a Pokémon from your bench.

Evolve a Pokémon by playing a Level 1 or Level 2 evolution in addition to a Pokemon basic or level 1, respectively. A Pokémon cannot evolve on the same turn it is played, and can only evolve once per turn. (Unless an item card like Rare Candy specifies otherwise).

How to attack Pokémon TCG?

Once you've done the above, your active Pokémon can attack the opponent. The Pokémon can perform one of the attacks shown on its card as long as the correct amount and type of Energy is attached to the card.

Damage is given to the opponent's active Pokemon as damage counters - once it has received as much damage as he has hit points, he faints. A defeated Pokémon must be replaced with a Pokémon from the bench (if there is no Pokémon to replace it, the player loses), and the player who knocked it out claims a prize card to add to his hand. If he claims his sixth and final prize card, he wins.

Pokemon Attack TCG

Once you've attacked and damaged and/or status effects, your turn ends and it's your opponent's turn. The game repeats like this until a player wins!

How does evolution work in Pokémon Training Card Game?

The Pokémon Trading Card Game has many similarities to the Pokemon video games. One of the biggest similarities is that you can evolve your Basic Pokémon into powerful Stage 1 and Stage 2 Pokémon, allowing you to use more powerful attacks and abilities to knock out your opponent's Pokémon.

Evolution is in stages, and you cannot skip a stage unless it's indicated on an in-game card - which means evolution must follow the pattern of Basic Pokémon, Stage 1 and Stage 2, and only one Pokemon can be evolved once per turn. The exception is Pokémon GX and EX, which can be played immediately and do not require evolution.

Pokémon Evolution

To evolve a Pokémon, simply place the evolved form on your active Pokémon or a Pokémon on your bench. This clears all current special conditions, but the energy and damage attached to it remains unchanged. Once a Pokémon has evolved, you cannot use attacks or abilities from a previous stage - only the current evolution.

Evolution can take place in the bench part of your play area, allowing you to create stronger Pokémon in anticipation of eliminating your current Pokémon - and it is highly recommended to do so.

How do status conditions work in Pokémon TCG?

Like in the Pokémon video games, the Pokémon Trading Card Game has a number of special conditions that can be inflicted on Pokémon, giving their opponent an extra advantage in a battle.

These special conditions are as follows: Asleep , Burnt, Confused, Paralyzed, and Poisoned, and are indicated by turning the Pokémon card. Counterclockwise (Asleep), upside down (Confused) or clockwise (Paralyzed), or by placing a special token on it (Burnt or Poisoned).

Pokémon TCG Terms

Several special conditions can affect the same Pokémon - in the case of effects indicated by turning the card, the most recent condition is the only one applied.

Asleep Status

If a Pokémon is asleep, it cannot attack or retreat. The card is rotated 90 degrees clockwise to indicate its status. At the end of the turn, the player flips a coin - on a head, the Pokémon wakes up and no longer sleeps.

Paralyzed Status

When a Pokémon is paralyzed, it can't attack or retreat on the player's next turn. The card is rotated 90 degrees clockwise to indicate its status. At the end of the player's next turn, the paralyzed Pokémon is automatically healed.

Burnt Status

The Pokémon card receives a burnt token to indicate its condition. A burned Pokémon receives two damage tokens (20 HP) at the end of each turn. After taking this damage, the player flips a coin. On a head, Burned is cured.

Confused Status

Pokémon video game players will be familiar with the words "He got hurt in his confusion! Confusion in Pokémon TCG works the same way - when attacking with a Confused Pokémon, toss a coin, on heads, the attack proceeds normally.

Tails, the attack fails and the Pokémon takes three damage tokens (30 HP). The Pokémon card is rotated 180 degrees (upside down) to indicate its state.

Poisoned Status

A poisoned Pokémon takes 10 hit points of damage at the end of each turn.

Special conditions can also be cured by evolving a Pokémon or moving it back to the Bench, thus curing all special conditions.

How to win the Pokemon Trading Card Game?

Like many other trading card games, the Pokémon TCG can be earned in a variety of ways:

Pokémon Attack Pikachu


    The most common path to victory is to eliminate six of your opponent's Pokemon and collect prize cards. Each time you defeat a Pokémon controlled by your rival, you take one of the six prize cards you put aside at the beginning of the game and add it to your hand. When you pick up your sixth and final card, you win!

    Here are the other 2 ways to win your battle:

    • If you defeat an opponent's Active Pokémon and he has no available Pokémon on his Bench to replace it, you can also claim victory.
    • If your opponent has no more cards in his deck, and therefore cannot draw a card at the beginning of his turn, you win. This is called "Decking" your opponent.

    Is there a pokemon card game app?

    In addition to the physical Pokémon Trading Card Game, you can play the digital Pokémon Trading Card Game using the Pokémon TCG Online app .

    Pokémon TCG Online is a free app available on iOS and Android for PC and mobile devices that allows you to play the Pokemon trading card game against AI opponents or friends.

    Pokémon TCG online

    A tutorial mode makes the app a good way to learn how to play Pokémon TCG, while the app's deck builder can help you easily build a Pokémon TCG card deck with your cards.

    We personally prefer physical cards, Booster Packs, Booster Box and Theme  Deck. The ones we can collect in binders, and exchange for cards that we don't have in our collection. Find all our products around the card game of your favorite license and build your deck or your dream collection.

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