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Pokémon TCG Play Info

We have been playing the Pokémon TCG for several years. We each have several decks and participate in the Pokémon League at our local Pokémon store, where I am a certified coach. My partner and I won our entire Pokémon League's tournament recently, with my brother's team coming in second. We are going to show you many helpful hints and ideas about how to play this game. Some techniques about how to play wisely are included, along with good deck building skills. Of course, you can view the cards on other pages too. We don't have enough time to teach you everything, but we will tell you the basics...

Types Of Pokémon
There are 7 types of Pokémon. A card has one of these symbols in the corner describing what type of Pokémon it is. Also these symbols indicate what type of energy to use.

These are the 7 different types:
- Colorless Pokémon
- Fighting Pokémon
- Fire Pokémon
- Grass Pokémon
- Lightning Pokémon
- Psychic Pokémon
- Water Pokémon

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What Do The Symbols On The Card Mean?
This is a stage 2, fire Pokémon -

Here is what each numbered object is:
1- This is what type of Pokémon it is. It tells you what basic energy the Pokémon uses, although the Pokémon may use other energy cards. Weakness and Resistance is based upon this.
2- This tells you whether you can put this on the bench or if you have to put it on an unevolved card first.
3- This is how many health points the Pokémon has. All attacks subtract from this. Once a Pokémon's HP reaches 0, or a negative, the Pokémon is knocked out and sent to the discard pile.
4- This is only shown on evolution cards. It tells you what this Pokémon evolved from.
5- This is also only shown on evolution cards. It shows you the Pokémon this evolves from and what stage that Pokémon is. Remember that evolution cards can only be played on the card in this picture, not by itself.
6- This is the name of the Pokémon. The names in the TCG are the same as in the video game and cartoon.
7- This is a picture of the Pokémon you are using. It is also the same as the video game and cartoon.
8- This is the physical description of your Pokémon. It is not important to the game, but there for your own interest.
9- Not all Pokémon have this, but some do. This is like a special power. It is called a Pokémon Power and it doesn't cost to use this attack. You can do this once a turn before your attack by follwoing what the card says.
10- This is how much the attacks cost. You place energy cards on it before the attack and can use the attack only if you have this many of that type energy cards on it. Colorless means any type of energy.
11- This is the attack. On some cards it just names the attack and on others it will give you added instructions to add to the damage.
12- This is how much damage this attack does. It is subtracted from the opponents HP. Sometimes the number is followed by a ?, + or x. If so read the attack directions for further information.
13- This is this Pokémon's weakness. If your opponent has this symbol in his upper right corner, all damage he does to you is doubled unless it says not to. Not all Pokémon have a weakness.
14- This is the Pokémon's resistance. If you opponent has this symbol in his upper right corner, all damage is reduced by the number following the symbol. Not all Pokémon have a resistance.
15- When your Pokémon is in the arena it may retreat to send another Pokémon out on the arena. This is the retreat cost. You have to discard that many of that type of energy cards to retreat it. Retreat costs vary from 0 to 4 energy cards discarded.
16- This information doesn't have much to do with the TCG. It is the information from the video game, like its number and somethings about it.
17- This symbol tells you the rarity of the card. The rarity is not that important to the game. The more rare the more expensive and hard to find the card is. Sometimes the rarity will let you know how good a card is. A means this card is common, easier to find and cheap. A means this card is an uncommon, a little harder to find and a little more expensive. And finally, a means this Pokémon is rare, hard to find, pretty expensive and generally pretty powerful.
18- This tells you what number this Pokémon is out of how many are in the series. It is not important to the TCG, but good for collecting purposes.
19- This is the copyright information for this card.

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Types Of Cards Found In The TCG
There are four types of Pokémon cards found in the TCG: Basic Pokémon, Evolution Pokémon, Energy Cards, and Trainer Cards.

Basic Pokémon can be played straight out into your arena or bench. Once they get enough energy cards, they can use their power and attacks.

Evolution Pokémon can only be played upon the unevolved version of it. You cannot evolve a Pokémon on the same turn as when lay it out in the arena or bench. Once an evolution card is in play, it plays the same as a basic.

Energy Cards can be placed on a basic or evolved Pokémon. You can only lay down only 1 energy on only 1 Pokémon per turn. Once you get enough energy cards on a Pokémon, it may attack if it is in the arena. Energy cards may be put down on benched Pokémon. When a Pokémon is knocked out, it takes all cards on it to the discard pile with it, including energy cards.

Trainer Cards can be played as many times as you want per turn. When you play a trainer card you lay it down and do as it says in it's instructions. You discard it when you are done with it.

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Hints And Tips For Making A Good Deck
To play you must have a deck of 60 cards. You may make it however you like but remember these tips:

  • You should have 24-28 energy cards, 8-10 trainer cards and the rest should be Pokémon.
  • Never put an evolution card in your deck without the basic it evolves from.
  • It is best to have two basics per one evolution, with a 3-2-1 ratio for a stage 2 card (3 basics, two stage 1, and 1 stage 2).
  • Never put a Pokémon in your deck without the right types of energy cards for it.
  • Make sure you put enough energy cards for each Pokémon type.
  • You may only have four of any one card (except energy cards). You can have any number up to four of each card that that you want.
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Setting Up To Play
Once you have a deck built, you are ready to play and you should set up.

    First, you and your opponent shuffle your decks.

    Second, you lay down six cards, face down without looking at them, at the side of your play area. Those are your prizes. Everytime you knock out one of your opponent's Pokémon you pick up one.

    Third, you deal yourself 7 cards without showing them to your opponent. Your opponent does the same at the same time. You lay the rest of your cards in a stack face down on the side, as your draw pile.

    Fourth, you both look through your hand of 7 cards and lay a basic Pokémon on the arena face down and lay any basic Pokémon you want to play in the future on your bench face down (there are only 5 spots in the bench). If you or your opponent have no basic Pokémon in your hand, the person with no basic shuffles the hand back in the draw pile and draws 7 more. The player who had basic Pokémon gets to draw two cards for each time the opponent has no basic.

    Finally, flip a coin to see who goes first. Next you both flip over all the Pokémon on the bench or arena and start the game.

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How The Game Looks During Play
Here is a picture of what the game looks like in progress:

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What Do I Do During My Turn?
If your opponent's turn is first, wait for them to do everything and tell you it's your turn. When it is your turn, here is what you can do:

  • Draw a card and put it in your hand.

    (The following can be in any order)

  • Lay down any Pokémon on your bench.
  • Evolve a Pokémon (you may not evolve a Pokémon until the original Pokémon has been out for a turn).
  • Lay down 1 energy on any card (even on the bench).
  • Play trainer cards.
  • Retreat your Pokémon and bring out another. If you are Confused you must flip a coin, if tails you may not retreat but still must discard the energy, if heads you may retreat normally. If you are Asleep or Paralyzed you may not retreat. (You may not retreat if your bench is full. There must be a Pokémon in the arena at all times. If a Pokémon in the arena is knoked out, replace it immediately. Remember the retreat cost!)
  • Use your Pokémon power. A Pokémon power works on the bench too. Do the damage or whatever it says. If you knock the opponent's Pokémon out, pick up a prize.

    (The following must be in this order)

  • Announce your attack.
  • Do the results and damage of the attack to the opponent's Pokémon, or your own if it says to. Flip a coin if it asks you to. Most damage counters work with purple as 10 damage, yellow as 20 damage, blue as 50 damage and green as a poison counters. If you are Confused, you have to flip a coin to see if you can use the attack. If tails you attack yourself with 20 damage, if heads your attack works normally. If you are Sleeping or Paralyzed you may not attack at all.
  • If you knock out your opponents Pokémon, pick up a prize and put it in your hand. If you also knock out yourself (some attacks do damage to themselves), your opponent may pick up a prize.
  • Your turn is over (you may not do anything after you attack).
  • Your opponent takes their turn as you did yours. You continue this way until one person runs out of Basic Pokémon, cards in the drawpile, or picks up all of their prizes. If you both run out of prizes at the same time, you play a game called sudden death. It is the same as Pokémon but with only one prize. If you both win that you continue until one or the other wins.
NOTE: After you use a trainer card discard it. When your Pokémon is knocked out send it to the discard pile with all of the cards connected to it. When you retreat, bring all cards and damage counters with it.

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Symptoms Of An Attack
Paralyzed: If your Pokémon is parylized, turn it on it's side. You are paralyzed for your turn. You may do everything you do on a normal turn except retreat or attack. The next turn you are unparalyzed.

Asleep: This is very much like paralyzed, except it can be permanent. If your Pokémon is asleep you turn it on its side (the opposite side as paralyzed). After every turn (even your opponent's) you flip a coin. If it's heads you are awake, if it's tails you are still asleep. You may do everything you do on your normal turn, except attack or retreat. You can be asleep for a long time if you do not get heads and the opponent doesn't knock you out.

Confused: If your Pokémon is confused, turn it upside down. You turn works normally, except when you want to retreat or attack. When you want to attack or retreat flip a coin. If it's heads it works normally. If it's tails and you are attacking, you have to attack yourself with 20 damage. If it's tails and you are retreating, your retreat is not successful but you still discard the energy cards you need to regularly retreat. You are confused until you retreat.

Poisoned: If your Pokémon is poisoned, place a poison marker on it. Your turn works normally except at the end of each player's turn the poison deals 10 damage to you without applying weakness or resistance. The only way to get out of being poisoned is to retreat. If your opponent poisons you again you do not get doubly poisoned.

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Ways To Win
Any one of these wins the game for you:

  1. You pick up all of your prizes for knocking out your opponents Pokémon.
  2. If after the game begins, the opponent runs out of basic Pokémon.
  3. If your opponent runs out of cards in their draw pile.

That is how you play the game.. Here are some good hints and tips about creating a great deck, making good trades and getting better cards. This is for more for expeirienced players who have big decks and are trying to collect them all and win tournaments!

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Different Ways To Play
Here are some wacky, fun, and different ways to play this game.

One game is a 3 to 5 way battle. You start out like you are playing a normal game. You can either have 12 prizes or play until everyone runs out of Pokémon (the last person left would be the winner). When you play with more than one person you set up normally (except the prizes). You would take your turn the same too. The only difference is when you attack. When you attack you have to choose 1 of the opponents to attack. When you use a trainer that effects the opponent, you must chose who to use it on. When you do an effect that stops the opponent from attacking you, you must chose 1 person. You can't stop everyone from doing anything or attack everyone, you must chose 1 person.

Another game which is really crazy is a no energy battle. You play the game with your regular deck. You play normally with some exeptions. You play until one person or another runs out of Pokémon or cards. Whenever you get an energy you discard it automatically. You bench is unlimited and all evolutions count as basic Pokémon. Itis really crazy but fun

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