What are Special Conditions in Pokemon TCG?

Lucas Simons
Pokemon Trading Card Game Poison Brute Bonnet Burn Alolan Marowak

Special Conditions in Pokemon TCG are part of the core mechanics of the game, and here’s everything you need to know about them including how many there are and how they affect your play.

Pokemon TCG is filled to the brim with interesting mechanics you need to learn to be the very best. Special Conditions are an important part of the ruleset, and knowing about them is the key to victory.

So here’s all you should know about Special Conditions in Pokemon TCG, including types, how they affect your Pokemon cards, and how to remove them.

Content

How Special Conditions work in Pokemon TCG?

Special Conditions are effects that are applied to your Pokemon Cards that affect them in between turns. These are similar to the Status Effects from other Pokemon games, but are limited to a few types and can be canceled out using several tactics.

Arcanine and Hypno Special Condition Abilities Pokemon TCG
Some Pokemon can take advantage of Special Conditions to inflict more damage.

Special Conditions can only affect Active Pokemon, meaning that ‘Benched’ cards are safe from having a detrimental condition.

All Pokemon TCG Special Conditions & rules explained

There are five main Special Conditions in Pokemon TCG: Asleep, Burned, Confused, Paralyzed, and Poisoned.

Each Special Condition requires the trainer to position the affected card in a specific way to identify that the Pokemon is affected by it, or they might need to place a ‘Status marker’ on it. Here’s every Special Condition, their Effects, and Card Positions:

Special ConditionEffectCard Position
AsleepIf a Pokemon is Asleep, it cannot attack or retreat. In between turns,the trainer flips a coin. If they flip heads, the Pokemon wakes up but if they flip tails, it stays Asleep.Pokemon head turned counterclockwise.
BurnedA Burned Pokemon may take damage in between turns. The owner of the Burned Pokemon flips a coin. If tails, the Pokemon receives 2 damage counters. Burn effects do not stack, receiving Burn again will just replace the older status.Pokemon remains on the same position but has a Burn marker on it.
ConfusedIf a Pokemon is Confused, the trainer must flip a coin before attacking with it. If they flip heads, the attack works normally, but if they flip tails, their Pokemon receives 3 damage counters and the attack ends without further effect.Pokemon head turned towards player.
ParalyzedThe Pokemon is Paralyzed, it cannot attack or retreat. The Special Condition Paralyzed vanishes during the in-between turns phase if their Pokemon has been Paralyzed since the beginning of their last turn.Pokemon head turned clockwise.
PoisonedThe Pokemon takes damage in between turns. The trainer needs to put a damage counter on each Poisoned Pokemon during each in-between turns step. Poison effects do not stack, receiving Poison again will just replace the older status.Pokemon remains on the same position but has a Poison marker on it.

There are secondary Special Effects ones like Imprisoned and Shock-wave, but these are the least common, and they don’t appear in the current meta since only a few Pokemon like Tyranitar ex (DF) can cause them.

How to remove Special Conditions in Pokemon TCG

To remove Special Conditions in Pokemon TCG, you need to switch out or evolve your Active Pokemon.

Switching out your Pokemon will turn the Active Pokemon into a Benched one and since Special Effects can only affect Active Pokemon, then you ‘heal’ their status effect.

The other way to remove a Special Condition is to Evolve your affected Pokemon. Pokemon can evolve when certain conditions are met, and one of the effects of evolution is removing all Special Effects from that card.

So there you have it, that’s all you need to know about Special Conditions in Pokemon TCG. For more information on the game, you can also consult our other guides right here:

What is Pokemon TCG Raid Battle? Alternate mode explained | What are Ex cards in Pokemon TCG? | Pokemon TCG Twilight Masquerade set | Pokemon TCG Scarlet & Violet 151 set | Pokemon TCG “My First Battle” set | Pokemon TCG Paldean Fates set | Pokemon TCG Combined Powers Premium Collection | Pokemon TCG Shiny Treasure ex set | What is SIR card in Pokemon TCG?

About The Author

Lucas is a Games Writer for CharlieIntel, specializing in covering Pokemon, including Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, Pokemon Go, and Pokemon TCG. A former Game Reviewer and PR Liaison for HD Tecnologia (ARG), Lucas is also an Audiovisual Media Producer, Game Designer, Narrative Designer, and author, having published several books including Press Start, a guide to video game writing and world building. You can contact him at [email protected].