How to Play The Pokemon Trading Card Game Online

How to Play The Pokemon Trading Card Game Online

pokemon trading card game online

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had a fascination with Pokemon cards. I never cared about the game, or even the anime for that matter, I just wanted the cards. I had a whole binder full of them, and while they probably weren’t anything special, they were special to me. When I moved away, I’m sure my parents gave them away, but now that Pokemon is coming back more popular than ever, I’m still slightly bitter about not being able to take another look at that one Bagon that I remember so clearly. I’ve been able to get my hands on a few packs recently, but now it’s not just about the cards. I finally got into playing the actual Pokemon Trading Card Game – albeit the online version. So how exactly do you play the Pokemon Trading Card Game?

The Cards

To start, let’s take a look at the cards. There are several different parts of a Pokemon card including the evolution stage, name, attack cost, attack text, HP (Hit Points), Pokemon type, attack damage, and retreat cost. Each of these parts tells you everything you need to know about the card that you’re currently looking at, and it’ll be extremely important that you memorize these for every card in your deck, as well as cards in your opponents’ decks.


With the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online, there isn’t a whole lot of setup required to start playing, as most of that is done automatically by the game. However, there are still some pre-game notes you should know: you draw 7 cards and play a Basic Pokemon to be your Active Pokemon. This means that the Pokemon you choose will be your Active Pokemon at the start of the game; then the next 6 cards from the top of your deck become your Prize cards!


There are several things that you can do throughout the duration of your turn in the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online, including:

  • Draw a card
    • You must do this at the beginning of every turn
  • Put Basic Pokemon onto your bench
    • As many as you want
  • Attach 1 Energy card to 1 of your Pokemon
    • Only once per turn
  • Retreat your Active Pokemon
    • Only once per turn
  • Evolve Pokemon
    • As many as you want
  • Play Trainer cards
    • As many as you want, but only 1 Supporter card per turn
  • Attack with your Active Pokemon
    • If you cannot attack, your turn is over

Evolving Pokemon

In order to evolve any of your Pokemon, you’ll need to meet a few prerequisites beforehand. First, you’ll need to have played the Basic Pokemon by moving it onto your bench, or replacing your Active Pokemon. Once you have a Basic Pokemon placed, you’ll then be able to place a Stage 1 Pokemon on top of your Basic and evolve it, keeping all damage counters and Energy with the Pokemon. You can continue to evolve this Pokemon so long as you have evolutions available and in your hand.

Playing Trainer Cards

During your turn, you can also play Trainer Cards. This is really as simple as following the instructions on the cards. However, there are actually different kinds of Trainer cards including Item cards and Supporter cards, but you can only play a single Supporter card in a turn, but you can play as many other Trainer cards as you’d like. After playing your Trainer card/s, be sure to discard them into your discard pile.


If it is your turn to attack, many Pokemon have various attacks that can be performed. You’ll need to make sure you have the minimum required energy available before you can actually attack with anything. For example, you may have an attack that requires 4 Electric energy, then you’ll need to wait at least 4 turns before you’re able to use that attack.

Prize Cards

After you knock out one of your opponent’s Pokemon, you’ll be able to claim one of six prize cards. You win the game by obtaining all six prize cards or when your opponent no longer has any Pokemon on their bench.

Special Conditions

Pokemon Checkup is a special step that happens between turns, and this is where you’ll handle any Special Conditions affecting your Pokemon. There are a few special conditions you should take into consideration when playing the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online, including:

  • Asleep
    • If a Pokemon is asleep, it cannot attack or retreat. During Pokemon Checkup, flip a coin. If you flip heads, the Pokemon recovers, but if you flip tails, it stays asleep.
  • Burned
    • When a Pokemon is Burned, a Burn marker is placed on it. During Pokemon Checkup, put 2 flip a coin. If heads, the Pokemon recovers and the Burn marker is removed. A Pokemon cannot have more than one Burn marker, so any new Burn marker just replaces the pre-existing marker.
  • Confused
    • If your Pokemon is confused, you must flip a coin before attacking with it. If heads, the attack works normally. If tails, the attack doesn’t happen, and you put 3 damage counter on your Confused Pokemon.
  • Poisoned
    • During Pokemon Checkup, put a damage counter on your Poisoned Pokemon. A Pokemon cannot have two Poison markers – if it gets Poisoned again, the new Special Condition replaces the old one.
  • Paralyzed
    • A Paralyzed Pokemon can’t attack or retreat. Your Pokemon will remain Paralyzed throughout your next turn and then recover during Pokemon Checkup.

Well, that’s pretty much the basics of playing the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online! While Pokemon cards seem to be in incredible rarity these days, you don’t necessarily need to purchase physical cards in order to have a good time in the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online, because the game gives you plenty of great rewards just for playing! However, if you do happen to get a hold of some physical packs, you should also get a code that you can redeem in the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online, which will allow you to use that pack in-game, so it’s definitely worth trying to find some of those packs, especially if you have any interest in collecting Pokemon cards! The Pokemon Trading Card Game Online is currently available on PC, Android, and iOS (but only for iPad, unfortunately) for free!

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