Pokemon TCG: All Status Effects Explained

Got your Pokemon Paralyzed? Here's how it works.


TCG Status Effects

Disrupt your opponent’s strategies through special conditions with this Pokemon TCG status effects guide!

While using high-damaging moves can help you score some knockouts, there is another way you can defeat your opponent’s Active Pokemon: by inflicting status effects!

Just like in video games, special conditions can also be used to gain the upper hand in Pokemon TCG.

Whether you’re a newbie who wants to learn more about the rules of special conditions, or a seasoned player planning to build a winning deck based on status effects, we got you covered!

But first, let’s give a few basic information about status effects in Pokemon TCG:

Editor’s Updated (May 2024): Added an interlink to provide more value to readers.

What Are Status Effects in Pokemon TCG?

In Pokemon TCG, status effects, more commonly known as special conditions are the results of some moves or attacks that may limit or weaken a Pokemon’s combat capabilities.

Various Pokemon abilities may also inflict status effects, such as Vanilluxe’s Bitter Cold ability that can Paralyze the opposing Pokemon:

Apart from Paralyzed, the other special conditions in the game are Confused, Burned, Asleep, and Poisoned.

Pokemon TCG Status Effect Rules

Each of the five status effects works differently, and here are the simplest explanations of how they affect a Pokemon based on Pokemon TCG’s official rules:


Status Effect Confused
A Confused Pokemon card must be positioned like this.

If your Active Pokemon is Confused, flip a coin every time you use a move. If you got heads, the move will work fine and affect your opponent’s Pokemon. However, if you got tails, the move will be redirected to your Active Pokemon, hurting itself.


Status Effect Asleep
An Asleep Pokemon card must be positioned like this.

An Asleep Pokemon will be unable to perform any moves or retreat from the Active Spot. After your turn, flip a coin to determine if your Asleep Pokemon can wake up. Your Pokemon will wake up if you got heads, and it will stay Asleep if you got tails.


Status Effect Paralyzed

Similar to the Asleep status, a Paralyzed Pokemon can’t move or retreat. During the Pokemon Checkup, which happens at the end of your turn, your Paralyzed Pokemon automatically recovers from the effect.


Status Effect Burned
A Burned Pokemon card must be marked with a Burned Marker.

A Burned Pokemon will receive two damage counters during the Pokemon Checkup. After that, flip a coin. If it’s heads, your Pokemon will completely recover from the effect.

But if it’s tails, the Burned status remains, and your Pokemon will get another two damage counters in the next Pokemon Checkup.


Status Effect Poisoned
A Poisoned Pokemon card must be marked with a Burned Marker.

A Poisoned Pokemon will receive one damage counter every Pokemon Checkup. Unlike the other status effects, no coinflip will save your Poisoned Pokemon, but you can help it recover by other means.

Pokemon TCG Status Effect Card Positions

A Pokemon with a special condition must be marked in the field so both you and your opponent will know its current situation.

You can mark an affected Pokemon by changing its card position or putting specific markers on it:

  • Confused: Turn the Pokemon card upside down.
  • Asleep: Turn the Pokemon card counterclockwise (to the left).
  • Paralyzed: Turn the Pokemon card clockwise (to the right).
  • Burned: Put a Burned Marker to the Pokemon card.
  • Poisoned: Put a Poisoned Marker to the Pokemon card.

A status effect that changes the card’s position cannot stack with another position-changing status effect. Meaning, a Pokemon can’t be Asleep and Paralyzed at the same time.

On the other hand, status effects that add a marker to the affected Pokemon can still be inflicted with another marker-based or position-changing status effects. This makes it possible for a Pokemon to be Burned, Poisoned, and Confused at the same time.

Pokemon TCG: Removing Special Conditions

Strike Down
Pokemon Center Lady

Having your Pokemon receive status effects can be a pain in the butt. Thankfully, there are various ways to save your Pokemon from further danger:

  1. Evolving the affected Pokemon.
  2. Putting the affected Pokemon to the Bench, either by paying its retreat cost, or using the effects of some Trainer cards, like Switch.
  3. Using Trainer cards that heal the status effects of a Pokemon, such as Full Heal, Mixed Herbs, Pokemon Center Lady, and Life Herb.

Other FAQs About Pokemon TCG Status Effects

Now that you know everything about the different status effects in Pokemon TCG, let’s give more answers to the most asked internet questions about these interesting combat mechanics:

Do Pokemon keep special conditions when they evolve?

No, special conditions from an evolving Pokemon cannot be passed on to its evolved form. Once a Pokemon evolves, it recovers from all types of special conditions.

How many special conditions can a Pokemon have in TCG?

The maximum number of special conditions that a Pokemon can have is three. Keep in mind that a Pokemon can get Burned and Poisoned at the same time, plus one of the three status effects that change the card’s positions (Confused, Asleep, Paralyzed).

Do Pokemon lose status effects when they are put on bench in Pokemon TCG?

Once your Active Pokemon becomes a Benched Pokemon, all of its status effects are automatically removed. This makes the Bench spot a safe haven for Pokemon affected by any status effect.

The Bottomline

Learning the rules of Pokemon TCG status effects gives you both the knowledge to achieve victory, as well as anticipate your opponent’s strategies.

With the right set of Pokemon and Trainer cards, you can deal more damage or neutralize status effects so your Active Pokemon can fight for more turns.

Integrating status effect engines into your deck is also more convenient if you know how each special condition works.

So, what are you waiting for? Look for a Pokemon that can annoy your enemy by inflicting status effects!

Learn the basics of Pokemon TCG only here at PokecardHQ:

How to Play Pokemon TCG


Is the admin of PokeCardHQ.com, a passionate Pokemon TCG enthusiast. With years of experience in the Pokemon universe, I offer in-depth, easy-to-understand guides and insights. My mission is to provide you with the best, most comprehensive information on Pokemon TCG cards, helping you build winning decks, understand card values, and enjoy the game to its fullest. Join me in exploring the exciting world of Pokemon TCG!


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