Pokemon Trading Card Game – How to guide

The popularity of the Pokémon franchise as increased rapidly since Pokemon Go, and people are looking further afield and buying the console games and the trading cards. I put this guide together a while ago and thought people would really benefit on knowing how to play the TCG in a nice and simple way.
So lets start with the basics.

What Do You Need To Play?

The Breakdown Of A Card

Pikachu how to

What Are The Different Types Of Pokémon?

pokemon types

What Are Trainer Cards?

These cards can represent Items, Supporters, and Stadiums that you can use in the game to help you out.


Special Conditions

Asleep – Pokémon can’t attack or retreat, between turns the player can flip a coin and if they get heads the pokémon wakes up

Burned – Place a burned marker shown on the damage counters on yourPokémon, player flips a coin between turns if it is tails then they receive 2 damage

Confused – If you attack with a confused Pokémon flip a coin, if tailsthis stops the attack and 3 damage counters are placed on the confused Pokemon

Paralyzed – Paralyzed Pokémon can not attack or retreat, at the end of your turn the Pokémon returns as normal

Poisoned – Place a poisoned marker on your Pokémon, between turns 1 damage counter is placed on that Pokémon

Mega Evolution

Mega Evolution Pokémon is a new type of evolution which turn Pokémon EX even more powerful. The “M” on the card stands for Mega. You can have up to 4 Mega and 4 EX in your deck, you can also only evolve EX to Mega and if you knock out an EX Pokémon, you get 2 prize cards. After evolving into a Mega your turn ends so make sure you do everything you need to do before you evolve.

Playing the Game

So I think that covers all the pre-all-you-need-to-know basic basics, now onto playing the game!

In our match, Ash has a mixed deck and I am playing with my XY Flashfire Brilliant Thunder theme deck.

For the first stage, lay out your mat, and you and your opponent shake hands (Yes this is part of the rules) You then shuffle your decks and place them on the Deck square. One of the players flips the metallic coin and depending on heads or tails you decide who goes first.

Both of you draw 7 cards from the top of your deck, if you have any basic Pokémon in your hand (Pokémon that have not evolved yet) then you put them on your bench and place one of them as your active Pokémon face down on the Active Pokémon square. You can only have up to 5 basic Pokémon on your bench at any one time. The rest of the cards stay in your hand.

You both draw 6 more cards and place them face down in the Prize cards section. Flip your ActivePokémon card over and start the game.


Here are the steps and the order in which you play them in on your turn in bold, the ones not in bold you can do in any order

  1. Pick a card from the top of your deck
  2. Put any basic Pokémon from your hand on your bench if you want to
  3. Evolve your Pokémon (You can do this as many times as you want to)
  4. Attach an energy card to either your Pokémon in play or a Pokémon on your bench (Once per turn)
  5. Play a trainer card (As many times as you want to but only one Supporter card and one Stadium card per turn)
  6. Retreat your Pokémon in play (Only once per turn)
  7. Use your Pokémon’s abilities (As many times as you want to)
  8. Attack
  9. Your turn is now complete


When you attack your opponents Pokémon you need to make sure that you have the correct number of energy cards beneath the Pokémon in play. You then put damage counters on the opposing Pokémon equal to the amount that your attack damaged them. If the Pokémon passes out then you put them in the discard pile along with their energy and any trainer cards you have used.

The main aim is to either knock out all of you opponents bench Pokémon or get all of your prize cards.

Ash wiped the floor with me with his shiny Noivern, so it is officially a draw (since I won the first match we played at the Pokémon launch event), could the next battle be the real test of our relationship?

Ash Winning

I hope this helped anyone who hasn’t played the Pokemon TCG before or who are refreshing themselves with the game.
Let me know your favourite Pokémon card to play with in the comments section below!


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