New Game Rules for BW Era
Saturday, October 30th, 2010 @ 12 AM, UTC -  By: Bangiras

The Japanese Pokemon website has updated its rules page to reflect new changes to the TCG which go into effect immediately. Although these changes do not currently affect players outside of Japan, they will likely go into effect in either February or May when the first Black and White set is released here.

Pokemon BW: New Rules

Abilities: The BW series introduces Pokemon that have “abilities.” Abilities are a Pokemon’s powers other than its attacks. If you have a Pokemon with an ability in play, you can use that ability during your turn. There are also abilities with effects that only work when a Pokemon is brought into play, and there are abilities that can’t be used if you don’t meet certain requirements, so read the explanatory text written on the card carefully. Note: The way Poke-Powers and Poke-Bodies from the LEGEND series and earlier are used hasn’t changed. Also, abilities, Poke-Powers, and Poke-Bodies are treated as different types of powers. For example, if you used an attack that does 10 damage to Pokemon with Poke-Powers, it wouldn’t affect Pokemon with Poke-Bodies or abilities.

Trainers: Starting with the BW series, “Trainer” cards are called “Trainer’s” cards. Although the classification has changed, if multiple cards have the same name, they’re treated as the same card. The Trainer card “Pokeball” from the LEGEND series and the Trainer’s card “Pokeball” included in the BW Starter Set are the same card.

Using Trainer’s on the first turn of the game: The player going first can now use Trainer’s cards on the first turn of the game. Trainer cards from the LEGEND series and earlier can also be used.

Supporters: Starting with the BW series, cards called “Supporters” are now “Support” cards. Moreover, the rule stating that to use a Support card you must place it next to your Active Pokemon and discard it at the end of your turn is gone. After using a Support card, don’t leave it in play, discard it immediately. Immediately discard Supporter cards from the LEGEND series and earlier, as well.


Pokemon BW: Erratas

Rare Candy: You can no longer play “Rare Candy” on your first turn. Moreover, you can’t Evolve a Basic Pokemon that you just played down during your turn into a Stage 1 Evolved Pokemon. The purpose of the card is now to Evolve a Basic Pokemon that was played during a previous turn into a Stage 2 Evolved Pokemon. Use this new effect for all Rare Candy cards from the LEGEND series and earlier.

Rare Candy: Choose a Stage 2 Evolution card from your hand that Evolves from the Stage 1 form of 1 of your Basic Pokemon, and play it on top of that Basic Pokemon to Evolve it. This card can’t be used during your first turn, or on a Basic Pokemon that was just brought into play during this turn.

Plus Power: Plus Power’s effect has changed so that on the turn it’s used, (all of) your Pokemons’ attacks do an additional 10 damage. Unlike before, you can’t choose the Pokemon you use it on. Also, you no longer attach it to a Pokemon when it’s used, you immediately discard it. Use this new effect for all Plus Powers from the LEGEND series and earlier.

Plus Power: During this turn, your Pokemons’ attacks do an additional 10 damage to any Active Pokemon.

Potion: Potion can now heal 30 damage. Use all Potion cards from the LEGEND series and earlier as cards that heal 30 damage.

Great Ball: Great Ball’s effect has changed. Use this new effect for all Great Balls from the LEGEND series and earlier.

Great Ball: Look at the top 7 cards from your deck. Choose 1 Pokemon from among those cards, show it to your opponent, and put it in your hand. Return the remaining cards to your deck and shuffle your deck.

Knock Outs: The procedure when a Pokemon is Knocked Out has changed:

Old way: 1) Player performing the Knock Out Knocks Out the opponent’s Pokemon. 2) Player with the Knocked Out Pokemon discards the Knocked Out Pokemon. 3) Player with the Knocked Out Pokemon advances a Pokemon from his or her Bench. 4) Player performing the Knock Out takes 1 Prize card.

New way: 1) Player performing the Knock Out Knocks Out the opponent’s Pokemon. 2) Player with the Knocked Out Pokemon discards the Knocked Out Pokemon. 3) Player performing the Knock Out takes 1 Prize card. 4) Player with the Knocked Out Pokemon advances a Pokemon from his or her Bench.


Pokemon BW: FAQ (referring to the cards from the boy and girl kits)

Q: When I use Jalorda’s “Leaf Storm” attack, does Jalorda also recover 20HP?
A: Yes, Jalorda is included among “each of your Grass Pokemon,” so Jalorda also recovers 20HP.

Q: When I flip a coin and get heads for Basurao’s “Crunch” attack, and the opponent’s Active Pokemon has several Energy attached to it, which player chooses the Energy to discard?
A: The player who used Crunch can choose 1 Energy.

Q: When I flip a coin for Basurao’s “Crunch” attack and get heads, I can discard 1 unit of Energy, but the Energy attached to my opponent’s Pokemon is a “Double Colorless Energy” (HS). In this instance, can I discard the opponent’s Energy?
A: Yes, you can discard it. If an effect says, “discard 1 unit of Energy from the opponent”, you can choose an Energy card that’s providing 2 units of Energy.

Q: When I flip a coin and get heads for Waruvile’s “Crunch” attack, and the opponent’s Active Pokemon has several Energy attached to it, which player chooses the Energy to discard?
A: The player who used Crunch can choose 1 Energy.

Q: When I flip a coin for Waruvile’s “Crunch” attack and get heads, I can discard 1 unit of Energy, but the Energy attached to my opponent’s Pokemon is a “Double Colorless Energy” (HS). In this instance, can I discard the opponent’s Energy?
A: Yes, you can discard it. If an effect says, “discard 1 unit of Energy from the opponent,” you can choose an Energy card that’s providing 2 units of Energy.

Q: I hit my opponent’s Active Pokemon and Benched Pokemon with Daikenki’s “Long Spear” attack, and the damage done to both Pokemon is greater than their remaining HP. What happens in this case?
A: The Active Pokemon and Benched Pokemon are Knocked Out simultaneously. The owner of the Knocked Out Pokemon discards the Knocked Out Pokemon and all cards attached to them. Next, the player who used the Long Spear attack takes 2 Prize cards. Then, the owner of the Knocked Out Pokemon moves a new Pokemon from his Bench to the Active Position.

Q: Can I freely choose cards from my deck with Baoppu’s “Collect” attack?
A: No, unless given express permission, you can’t freely choose cards from your deck, but draw 1 card from the top of your deck without looking at the cards in your deck.

Q: Can I freely choose cards from my deck with Hiyappu’s “Collect” attack?
A: No, unless given express permission, you can’t freely choose cards from your deck, but draw 1 card from the top of your deck without looking at the cards in your deck.

Q: Can I freely choose cards from my deck with Yanappu’s “Collect” attack?
A: No, unless given express permission, you can’t freely choose cards from your deck, but draw 1 card from the top of your deck without looking at the cards in your deck.

Q: I used Chaobuu’s “Nitro Charge” attack, but when I looked through my deck in order to attach a Fire Energy from my deck, there were no Fire Energy in my deck. What should I do in this case?
A: If you use the Nitro Charge attack and there’s no Fire Energy in your deck, the attack fails and your turn ends.

The new “abilities” appear to be a combination of active and passive powers, similar to the original Pokemon Powers. Whether abilities will replace the current Poke-Powers and Poke-Bodies or stand alone as a third type of power remains to be seen; however the BW rule book only mentions Poke-Powers and Bodies in the section about older mechanics, so it is likely that they are being phased out.

As mentioned in our previous story, “Trainer cards” are now called “Trainer’s”. This is the umbrella term for all cards other than Pokemon and Energy (vanilla Trainer/Goods, Support, and Stadiums), so the new ruling stating that Trainer’s can be played on the first turn of the game means that even Support cards can be used on the first turn of the game. The old restrictions on Trainer’s were largely to limit Rare Candy abuse, but with Rare Candy’s errata, that is no longer an issue.

If you take a look at Araragi, Great Ball, and Pokemon Center, you can see that they all say “Trainer’s” in the upper left corner and “Support”, “Goods”, or “Stadium” in the upper right corner. “Trainer’s” is the main class, and Support/Goods/Stadium is the subgrouping; Araragi is both a Trainer’s card and a Support card. This is exactly how these cards were classified back in the EX-era, except that then they were called “Trainer” cards and now they are called “Trainer’s”. When something affects “Trainer’s”, such as the new ruling about when Trainer’s can be played, that ruling affects all Support, Goods, and Stadium cards. A lot of confusion stems from the fact that in English, “Goods” cards are also called “Trainer” cards. When a DPt or LEGEND series card refers to “Trainer” cards, it means this second type of Trainer only. So…

  • Base — EX-series: “Trainer” = Trainer cards, Supporter cards, Stadium cards
  • DP — LEGEND: “Trainer” = Trainer cards
  • BW — ???: “Trainer’s” = Trainer/Goods cards, Support cards, Stadium cards

The new ruling on the discard of Support cards and Plus Power is probably intended to declutter the playing field and make a clear separation between Pokemon Tools and other types of Trainer/Goods cards. However, this makes it more difficult to track the cards’ use, and may cause problems for judges down the line. The new ruling has no bearing on older cards that reference a “Supporter card in play” (Detour Jirachi, Buck’s Training); just reference the discarded Support card instead.

Great Ball now has Master Ball’s effect, which means that Master Ball is probably getting an errata as well. Master Ball is supposed to be the ultimate Pokeball, so perhaps it will take on Great Ball’s old effect of always netting a Pokemon?

The change in the way Knock Outs are processed prevents the winning player from selecting a Prize card based on his opponent’s new Active Pokemon. It also allows the losing player to make a strategic choice in an instance where he knows the contents of his opponent’s Prize stack, and it gives both players more options in the event of a double Knock Out.

Other notes from the rule book: According to the book, there are 3 types of Pokemon cards, Basic, Evolution, and Legendary. Actually there are more, such as LV.Xs and SP-Pokemon, but those are only mentioned in the section about older mechanics. The implication is that Legendary Pokemon cards will continue to be a focus of the BW series, while the other mechanics will be dropped.

  • The rarity system for BW is SR (super-rare holo), R (rare holo), U (uncommon), and (C) common.

    The LEGEND series had a fifth level of rarity (ultra rare) as well as non-holo rares, however BW is supposed to be released in 5-card packs with 1 holo in every 2 packs, so the simplified rarity system makes sense.
  • There are 53 cards in Black Collection and 53 cards in White Collection. We were originally expecting 50 Pokemon cards per set, but Great Ball is #49/53, so that isn’t the case.
  • The rulebook emphasizes LEGEND and BW as the relevant series. According to PCGN’s blog, 60 card/LEGEND-on will be Japan’s format starting next Spring. However, for the current set of Gym Challenges, format is determined on a per-site basis.
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