A Trainer card is one of three types of card found in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, alongside Pokémon and Energy cards. While Pokémon cards do the direct attacking of an opponent's cards and Energy cards power their attacks, Trainers provide a more supportive role, allowing a player to search through their deck, draw cards, or other special effects. During a player's turn, he or she may play a Trainer card from his or her hand, follow its instructions, and then discard it.
Trainer cards can be divided into several different types.
- Main article: Item card (TCG)
The original type of Trainer, a player can use as many Item cards as desired during his or her turn. Item cards have a wide range of effects and are useful at any point in the game. Trainer cards before Black & White that are not Supporters or Stadiums have been redefined as Item cards.
- Main article: Stadium card (TCG)
Introduced in the Gym Heroes expansion, Stadium cards represent the field of play. When a player uses a Stadium card, it remains on the field indefinitely and may have an effect on both players. A Stadium card can usually only be removed from play when another Stadium card with a different name comes into play or another card says to discard the stadium. Starting in the Diamond & Pearl expansion, Stadium cards became their own class of card, though they are still often grouped with Trainers by players, and no distinction is made from Trainer cards when they are compiled into an English set list. Starting in Black & White, however, Stadium cards once again became a subclass of Trainer cards.
- Main article: Supporter card (TCG)
Like Stadium cards, Supporter cards were formerly a subclass of Trainer cards until Diamond & Pearl, and at the release of Black & White they once again became a subclass of Trainer cards. Supporter cards often help the player draw useful cards. They usually provide a lot of help, and as such, a player may only use one per turn.
Rocket's Secret Machine
- Main article: List of all Rocket's Secret Machine Cards
Cards with this subclass will usually depict a device used for Team Rocket's evil acts. They have usually been released in expansions with a focus on Team Rocket, the first of which was named for the organization.
- Main article: List of all Pokémon Tool Cards
In another similarity to the games' held items, which were introduced in Generation II, the Pokémon Tools released since the Neo Genesis expansion are attached to a Pokémon. A Pokémon may only have one Pokémon Tool attached to it, and it may not be removed unless specifically instructed. Attaching a Pokémon Tool to an Active Pokémon or Bench Pokémon provides a special benefit, such an increased Hit Points or allowing the Pokémon to return to the player's hand after being Knocked Out.
Goldenrod Game Corner
- Main article: List of all Goldenrod Game Corner Cards
While not much different from a standard Trainer card, cards in this subclass are based on games played in the Goldenrod Game Corner, and thus their effect is largely based on luck. Only two cards in this subclass exist.
- Main article: List of all Technical Machine Cards
Playing a similar role to the items of the same name in the games, a Technical Machine may be attached to a Pokémon card, and that Pokémon may then use the attack on the card as its own. Like in the games, most have a compatibility requirement (such as only being able to be used by cards of a certain type, or only by evolved Pokémon) and all those released before Legends Awakened are to be discarded from the Pokémon at the end of the turn they were played, no matter if the player had actually used the attack in question or not. These cards first saw a release in Pokémon VS; however, international audiences did not have access to them until the Expedition Base Set.
- Main article: Ace Spec card (TCG)
Introduced in Boundaries Crossed, these are powerful Trainer cards with a special drawback: there can only be one Ace Spec in a deck. There are currently 13 Ace Spec cards.