‘Black & White’ Rule Changes Go Into Effect April 25th

Black and White Rule Changes

The Black & White theme decks, to be released April 6th, contain an insert which explains that with the release of the main set on April 25th will come the anticipated rule changes that were implemented in Japan back in October. Spare for the English names of the new Trainer classifications, the rules are exactly the same as the ones from Japan. Thanks goes to Rainbowgym for transcribing the text below!

Additionally, the pamphlet announces new changes to the English card text which more accurately reflect the way the Japanese cards are written (and the translations Bangiras has been using for years). For example, if Mewtwo had an attack that healed itself, instead of “Remove 2 damage counters from Mewtwo,” such a card would now read, “Heal 20 damage from this Pokemon.”

Card Types

Trainer, Supporter, and Stadium cards are changing with the B&W expansion. Poke Ball is now a Trainer – Item card. Previous expansions’ Supporter cards are now Trainer – Supporter and the Stadium cards are now Trainer – Stadium. Since the wording dealing with these cards has recently changed, you should know how these cards work together if you are using cards that express the same concept differently.

  • Trainer cards from Diamond & Pearl through Call of Legends should be considered Trainer – Item.
  • Supporter cards from Diamond & Pearl through Call of Legends should be considered Trainer – Supporter.
  • Stadium cards from Diamond & Pearl through Call of Legends should be considered Trainer – Stadium.
  • Any cards that reference those card types should change accordingly as well. For example, if a card from those sets says, “Search your deck for a Trainer card…” you should now read that card as saying “Search your deck for an Item card…” since Trainer cards are now know as Trainer – Item cards.

Also, Supporter cards no longer stay in play until the end of the turn. Any cards that previously checked to see if a Supporter card was in play now checks to see if a Supporter card was played. For Example, Probopass (Arceus, 7/99) reads, “If you don’t have a Supporter card in play, each of Probopass’s attacks does 30 more damage to the Active Pokemon (before applying Weakness and Resistance).” It should now read, “If you didn’t play a Supporter card this turn, each of Probopass’s attacks does 30 more damage to the Active Pokemon (before applying Weakness and Resistance).”

First Turn

The player that goes first no longer has any restrictions on what cards he or she can play. This means the player can play Item, Supporter, and Stadium cards on the first turn. However, it is still the case that neither player may Evolve Pokemon on the first turn.

Abilities, Poke-Powers, and Poke-Bodies

Starting with the Black & White expansion, there will be no more Poke-Powers or Poke-Bodies. Instead, Pokemon will have Abilities, which work similarly to both. It is important to note that there is no connection between an Ability and a Poke-Power or Poke-Body. For example, if a card said, “This attack does 80 damage to each Pokemon that has any Poke-Powers (both yours and your opponent’s),” it wouldn’t affect any Pokemon with Abilities.

Card Text Changes

Attacks and Abilities on a Pokemon that refers to itself now use the phrase “This Pokemon” instead of the name of that Pokemon. This should clear up confusion during any situation where Abilities can be copied. For example, an attack that previously said, “Tepig does 10 damage to itself” now reads “This Pokemon does 10 damage to itself.”

Removal of damage counters is now referred to with the “Heal” keyword – you should take 1 damage counter off of the affected Pokemon for each damage healed. For example, “Remove 2 damage counters from each of your Grass Pokemon,” now reads “Heal 20 damage from each of your Grass Pokemon.”

Effects that prevent you from healing or from removing damage counters do not affect moving those damage counters between Pokemon.

Attacks that can deal additional damage now only specifically call out the extra damage in their text. For example, “Flip a coin. If heads, this attack does 10 plus 30 more damage” would now read, “Flip a coin. If heads, this attack does 30 more damage.”

Whenever you need to show your opponent a specific card or cards, the phrase “reveal it” is now used. For example, “Search your deck for a Pokemon, show it to your opponent, and put it into your hand” would now read “Search your deck for a Pokemon, reveal it, and put it into your hand.”

Note that it is no longer called out that you need to reveal cards moving from, for example, your discard pile to your hand. Of course, you must still clearly indicate which card you are moving from your discard pile as that zone is open to all players.


The following cards now have new official text, some of which is very different from previous versions. When using the following cards, always use this text to determine their effects:

  • Rare Candy: Choose 1 of your Basic Pokemon in play. If you have a Stage 2 card in your hand that evolves from that Pokemon, put that card on the Basic Pokemon. (This counts as evolving that Pokemon.) You can’t use this card during your first turn or on a Basic Pokemon that was put into play this turn. Changes: You can no longer use this card to evolve a Basic Pokemon to a Stage 1 Pokemon, it can’t be used on your first turn, and it can’t be used on a Pokemon played this turn.
  • Potion: Heal 30 damage from 1 of your Pokemon. Changes: Heals 30 damage instead of 20 damage.
  • Great Ball: Look at the top 7 cards of your deck. You may reveal a Pokemon you find there and put it into your hand. Shuffle the other cards back into your deck. Changes: This card works very differently now; it can no longer search the entire deck for a Pokemon and put it directly onto the Bench.
  • Pluspower: During this turn, your Pokemon’s attacks do 10 more damage to the Active Pokemon (before applying Weakness and Resistance). Changes: This card no longer attaches to a Pokemon when used.