How to Read a Pokemon Card

Pokemon is an international phenomenon, spawning a popular video game series, television show and multiple feature films since its creation in 1996. The franchise features species of creatures known as Pokemon that you can capture and train to battle other monsters. Their highly collectible nature lends itself perfectly to a trading card game, which launched in the United States in December 1998. The Pokemon Trading Card Game is easy to learn but hard to master. Your first step is learning how to read the information found on a standard Pokemon card.

Examine the upper left corner of the card for the Pokemon's name, level and any evolution information. Only Pokemon that evolved from another form have evolution information.

Look at the card's upper right corner for the Pokemon's hit points and type. Hit points determine how much damage it can take before knocked out and removed from play. Type is represented by a symbol, such as a flame for fire or a leaf for grass.

Check directly below the Pokemon featured in the card's middle for its number, category, height and weight.

Find the list of attacks. The list is below the number, category, height and weight information. Each attack has a specific name, an energy cost and either a description of what the ability does or damage dealt by the attack. Directly below, you will see Pokedex information, which contains a fun fact about the Pokemon.

Look at the bottom of the card for weakness, resistance and retreat cost information. Weakness and resistance show how specific types of damage affect the Pokemon. For example, if under weakness you see a fire symbol with "+30" next to it, the creature will lose 30 additional hit points when dealt fire damage. The retreat cost outlines how much energy you must spend to withdraw the card from battle.

View the card's bottom right corner for set information. This identifies the card as part of a particular card set.


  • As of 2010, 45 card sets were released for the Pokemon Trading Card Game, resulting in thousands of unique cards to build a deck.