Ability (TCG)

Ability (Japanese: 特性 ability) is a special mechanic in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, named after the analogous element in the main series games.

Ability symbol SUM-onwards


The Abilities may be held by any type of Pokémon cards. They replaced Pokémon Powers and their successors Poké-Powers and Poké-Bodies as a non-attack capability of cards with the release of Black & White. No Pokémon card has more than one Ability, although a Pokemon consisting of multiple cards such as a Pokémon BREAK or V-UNION can have multiple Abilities while in play.

Abilities are additional effects that a card has. Many are effects that are activated by the owner of the card during their turn. For example: Keldeo-EX has an Ability that allows the player to switch Keldeo-EX with the Active Pokémon, once per turn. Old cards feature a reminder that this kind of Ability can only be performed before attacking, but this is only because attacking ends the player's turn. Other Abilities activate in response to something happening to the Pokémon with the Ability. For instance. Arbok has an Ability that causes the opponent to discard two cards if it is Knocked Out by an opponent's attack. Still others are activated when a card enters play. The most famous example of this is Shaymin-EX. When it enters play from a player's hand, that player may draw cards until they have six cards in their hand.

There are Abilities that instead provide a passive effect to a Pokémon, such as Pachirisu being unable to be Paralyzed. Other Abilities can passively affect multiple Pokémon, such as Toxtricity reducing the HP of the opponent's Pokémon VMAX or Dodrio reducing the Retreat Cost of its owner's Active Pokémon.

Abilities often have some restriction attached to their use. Many Abilities are only usable once during a player's turn, although this applies to each instance of the Ability. If there are multiple Pokémon in play with the same Ability, each of their Abilities can be used one time. Other Abilities can only be used if a Pokémon is in the Active Spot, or on the Bench. Such a restriction can also apply to certain passive Abilities. Some passive Abilities do not stack, meaning that if there are multiple instances of that Ability in play, only one instance of that Ability is applied. Some Abilities cause the turn to end when activated, which prevents the player from initiating an attack that turn and implicitly prevents more than one Ability with this restriction from being used per turn. A rare few Abilities, such as the one of Dedenne-GX, cannot be activated if another Ability of the same name has been activated that turn.

Unlike Pokémon Powers, Abilities are not disabled if their user has a Special Condition.

A common effect is for Pokémon to lose access to their Abilities, which is commonly templated as some variation of "have no Abilities". An example of this would be Alolan Muk's Ability. Pokémon under this kind of effect are treated as not having Abilities at all, even if there are Abilities printed on the card. (The Abilities that no longer exist do not have any effect.) Once the effect ends, the Abilities of the affected Pokémon are restored to them. Notably, cards that care about if a Pokémon has an Ability will not apply to Pokémon printed with Abilities but are under this effect.

Some cards have attacks that cause a Pokémon to gain an Ability. Some Pokémon Tools are printed with an Ability that the Pokémon the Tool is attached to can use.

Some Abilities, instead of being active when a Pokémon is in play, are active or can be activated if a Pokémon is in another zone, such as the hand or discard pile. A select few Abilities can be activated when a Pokémon drawn from the deck or taken from the Prize cards.

With the release of Sun & Moon, the Ability symbol has been updated with a new one with red background and white text.

List of Abilities

Black & White Series

XY Series

Sun & Moon Series

Sword & Shield Series

  This section is incomplete.
Please feel free to edit this section to add missing information and complete it.
Reason: Needs info on Abilities released from Battle Styles to Crown Zenith

Scarlet & Violet Series

Relevant categories

See also

  This article is part of Project TCG, a Bulbapedia project that aims to report on every aspect of the Pokémon Trading Card Game.