Nine Surprising Changes Announced for the PTCG: Fairy Pokemon Dropped!

Amidst the Pokemon Direct news this morning, the official Pokemon website announced nine major changes coming to the Pokemon TCG this year. These changes will go into effect with the release of our first Sword & Shield set in February.

Several of these changes were already announced for the Japanese PTCG or predicted by us. However, a few of the changes are being announced for the first time today, including the removal of Fairy-type Pokemon from the TCG. They will be printed as Psychic Pokemon going forward.

Rule Change: First Turn

At the start of the XY Series, a rule was introduced to prevent the player who goes first from attacking on the first turn. Starting on February 21, 2020 (the date that Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield becomes legal for tournament play), there will be an additional restriction: the player who goes first cannot play a Supporter card on the first turn.

This change is an attempt to make it less of an advantage to go first. Some strategies may benefit when the player goes second, but others might work out better if the player goes first. We hope this results in interesting choices in both gameplay and deck building.

Weakness and Resistance

For over a decade (all the way back to the Diamond & Pearl Series), Resistance has meant that a Pokémon takes 20 less damage from attacks of the listed type. However, Pokémon introduced in the Sword & Shield Series have a Resistance of -30 instead of -20.

For example, Zacian V has a -30 Resistance to Grass-type Pokémon. Any Pokémon from a previous series that has a -20 Resistance will continue to be treated that way—follow what’s written on the card.

Weakness is unchanged, but a few of the common type matchups have shifted. This won’t apply to every Pokémon, but here are some of the general changes:

  • Water-type Pokémon: Weakness to Lightning instead of Grass
  • Psychic-type Pokémon: Weakness to Darkness instead of Psychic
  • Darkness-type Pokémon: Weakness to Grass instead of Fighting

You may also find that some types of Pokémon have a Resistance that they didn’t have in the past. Be on the lookout for these changes to Weakness and Resistance!

Type Rearrangement

The Fairy type, which was introduced in the XY Series, will no longer be supported in the Sword & Shield Series. Pokémon that are Fairy types in the Pokémon video game series will now generally be represented as Psychic-type Pokémon in the Pokémon TCG. To maintain a balance among types, Pokémon that are Poison types in the video games will now be represented as Darkness types instead of Psychic types. For the time being, basic Fairy Energy can still be used in the Standard format, but that may change in the future.

Card Errata

Several cards will be issued errata, effective February 21, 2020:

  • Energy Retrieval
    (Shining Legends, 59/73; Sun & Moon, 116/149; XY—Evolutions, 77/108; XY—Ancient Origins, 99/98; XY—Primal Clash, 126/160; Black & White—Plasma Blast, 80/101; Black & White, 92/114; Legendary Collection, 107/110; Base Set 2, 110/130; Base Set, 81/102)
    Minor text change: “Put up to 2 basic Energy cards from your discard pile into your hand.”
  • Lum Berry
    (EX Emerald, 78/106; EX Ruby & Sapphire, 84/109)
    Minor text change: “At the end of each turn, if the Pokémon this card is attached to is affected by any Special Conditions, it recovers from all of them, and discard this card.”
  • Pal Pad
    (Sun & Moon—Ultra Prism, 132/156; XY—Flashfire, 92/106)
    Minor text change: “Shuffle up to 2 Supporter cards from your discard pile into your deck.”
  • Sitrus Berry
    (EX Unseen Forces, 91/115)
    Minor text change: “At the end of each turn, if the Pokémon this card is attached to has 3 or more damage counters on it, heal 30 damage from it and discard this card.”
  • Hyper Potion
    (Skyridge, 127/144)
    Major text change: “Heal 120 damage from 1 of your Pokémon that has at least 2 Energy attached. If you healed any damage in this way, discard 2 Energy from it.
  • Quick Ball
    (Diamond & Pearl—Majestic Dawn, 86/100; Diamond & Pearl—Mysterious Treasures, 114/123)
    Major text change: “You can play this card only if you discard another card from your hand. Search your deck for a Basic Pokémon, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then, shuffle your deck.

These are considered official errata, so all versions of these cards will be legal for use in tournament play (but older ones will be played as if they had the updated text).

Plentiful Professors

The card Professor’s Research will debut in Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield. Players may remember this card’s effect from the previous cards Professor Sycamore and Professor Juniper.

From now on, instead of giving the card a new name each time, the name Professor’s Research will be used. If the card is updated in the future, the new professor’s name will appear in the upper-right corner of the card, but the card name will remain Professor’s Research.

In the Expanded format, there’s already a rule that says you can’t include Professor Sycamore and Professor Juniper in the same deck—players must choose one or the other. The same rule applies to Professor’s Research, meaning it cannot be in the same deck as Professor Sycamore or Professor Juniper.

Pokémon Checkup

A new term called Pokémon Checkup will replace the phrase “between turns,” but it works the same way. After a player’s turn is complete, you’ll enter Pokémon Checkup before going to the next player’s turn. Here are the steps that occur during Pokémon Checkup:

  • Check for Special Conditions in this order: Poisoned, Burned, Asleep, and Paralyzed.
  • Check Abilities and effects of Trainer cards that happen during Pokémon Checkup.
    • You can choose to do this step before checking for Special Conditions. However, you can’t mix the two steps—for example, you can’t add Poison damage, then apply an Ability, and then go back to check if a Pokémon is still Asleep.
  • Check to see if any Pokémon are Knocked Out.


Back in the Black & White Series, the term “heal” was introduced. For example, the card Potion says, “Heal 30 damage from 1 of your Pokémon.” Prior to that, it would have said, “Remove 3 damage counters from 1 of your Pokémon.”

For the Sword & Shield Series, a similar term will be introduced for effects that remove Special Conditions. Going forward, this term will be “recover.” As an example, the card Pokémon Center Lady has been updated in Sword & Shield to say “Heal 60 damage from 1 of your Pokémon, and it recovers from all Special Conditions.” It still has the same effect, but now the word “recover” can be associated with Special Conditions just like “heal” is associated with damage.

Reminder Text Removal

In the past, Abilities that could be used during your turn included the reminder text “(before your attack)” to clarify that attacking was the last thing you could do in a turn. Starting with Sword & Shield, that reminder text won’t appear anymore. In some cases, that reminder text could cause the text to be incorrect, since there are some Abilities that can be used during the effects of attacks. For example, if you use Persian-GX‘s Slash Back-GX attack and switch it with Heatran-GX, Heatran-GX‘s Burning Road Ability activates when it becomes Active, even though that happens during the attack. To prevent this confusion altogether, this reminder text will be removed in the Sword & Shield Series.

Regulation Marks

You may notice that cards from the Sword & Shield Series have a white box containing a letter in the bottom-left corner (for example, all cards in the Sword & Shield expansion have a “D” mark).

This is called a regulation mark, and it will be used in the future to determine which cards are legal to use in tournament play. For example, there might be a point in time when only cards with a “D” regulation mark can be used in the Standard format. This change will get more attention in the future, but for now, just take note that it’s there.

There are lots of new things to learn in the Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield Series! This is only the beginning, and there may be more changes and updates as more expansions get released.

Want to join PokeBeach's news team? We're currently looking for TCG news writers, especially those who live in time zones where it's night in America (such as Europe). If this interests you, please fill out this application!

PokéBeach's news commenting system is completely integrated with our forums! , you can reply to this story's forum thread directly on this page with all of the forum's functionality!

  1. Catastrophia PokéBeach Articles Editor

    Articles Staff Member

    Very exciting times, looks like I better dust off the old Quick Ball I have in the card bin...
    TatsuyaOrimuta and Number51x like this.
  2. Frost Amethyst AMAB-NB


    Awful news about Fairy.
    Nyan, Ephemera, AshCo and 10 others like this.
  3. MarshalBry Shaym' on you


    Have any dragon cards been revealed in the SWSH era yet? I'm curious what happens to the weakness of dragon without fairies existing; probably 2x dragon again?

    RIP fairy
  4. Clam Almost decent


    DRAGON IS NOW WEAK TO DRAGON AGAIN!!! unless not although i would like it to be weak to itself speaking of dragon types whens our next hydragon V

    EDIT i forgot to give respect to fairy type RIP fairy i wont miss you but others might
  5. Grass-Type Farm Owner Aspiring Trainer
    Grass-Type Farm Owner


    Kinda saw the Fairy change coming with its absence from the Energy Search art and how long they were taking to reveal a new Fairy card.

    With all these type changes happening at once, they should've moved Rock to Metal.
  6. Rcxd9999 Aspiring Trainer


    Dragon could be weak to water now, since it represents Ice type in the TCG, especially with Pokemon receiving new weaknesses and resistances.
  7. Otaku The wise fool?


    Might as well address all the changes, even those we've long since known were coming:

    1. Expanded is a problem: Yeah, nothing was said about it but a lot of these things are issues because of Expanded and poor planning for it. Maybe it needs to rotate, or maybe they need to plan ahead better because of issues that are their own doing.

    2. No T1 Supporter is a bad idea. Instead of issuing an errata for the Supporters that are too good T1, they're taking away an important first-turn play. Like how, instead of balancing out attacks, the rules of Evolution, etc. we lost T1 attacks and it still didn't balance going first versus going second.

    3. Offense tends to be stronger than defense; combine that with general power creep and restoring Resistance to -30 damage makes sense. Leaving Weakness at x2 does not. This is the TCG; multipliers tend to be too strong. Just change Weakness to a flat +20; a free "Muscle Band" is plenty good!

    4. The game either has too few Types or too many Types, depending on the exact goal. Good game play through preserving video game relationships means no more than two video game Types per TCG Type (preferably striving for 1:1). Good TCG-based gameplay means fewer Types. Both make me think more Types needed rearranging.

    5. No real complaints with the errata. If we nitpick, I wonder if certain cards are going to be worth playing, or I could ask why a lot of those cards didn't read "...up to..." since the beginning.

    6. For the love of common sense, just issue errata for Professor Juniper and Professor Sycamore, so they're also named Professor's Research!
    7. I don't care for the new name for the"between phase" but I don't have anything better for it (including "between phase" XP). I'll get used to it.

    8. Adding a new standardized term is good. Heal/Recover, though, almost feel reversed. Probably because they each make sense in the same context. I'll get used to it.

    9. "Once during your turn" probably also ought to have been removed, for similar reasons. If it makes more sense to just say "All Abilities work like this unless stated otherwise..." yeah, do that. ;) Still, it is a good thing.

    10. Maybe good? I think I'll have to wait and see how this plays out.
    Coolpilot and Nyora like this.
  8. Animegamer420 Aspiring Trainer


    I didn’t know you couldn’t use different types of professors in the same deck. That’s a really weird rule.... thinking more about it I guess that could mean 8 of the same card effect. Too bad you can’t have one of each
    bunnybird12 likes this.
  9. ShinyJordeon Aspiring Trainer


    So sylveon is a psychic for now on. That's weird
    Animegamer420 likes this.
  10. MegaPod_781 Bug Thug


    Aww, dangit. I was really looking forward to getting a pink Galarian Weezing card.
  11. Rcxd9999 Aspiring Trainer


    1. Expanded is quite good but due to the massive amount of playable card and multitude of ever increasing combinations, meta problems can arise with newer cards working with older cards in ways that weren't anticipated, requiring a card be banned or errataed. But to Pokemon's credit, expanded works and only has a minimal ban list. If you want to see what hell on earth looks like, look at Yugioh, which is entirely expanded and has a massive ban list as well as a limited list.

    2. I personally think further nerfing for T1 start is a good thing, but we have yet to see it in a competitive meta just yet, so can't say much about it's effects just yet.

    3. Agreed. At the moment entire decks can be locked out of the meta simply because they're weak against another deck, not because that deck plays better. If weaknesses went back to DP era weaknesses like +10 for evolving basics, +20 for first evolutions and non-evolving Pokemon, +30 for second evolutions and x2 for EX,GX and V Pokemon, I think that would be best.

    4. I think the types in the TCG are fine as it is. Not particularly sure why they dropped Fairy type, maybe to reduce the number of cards printed, I don't know, but the TCG definitely can't copy the videogame types, even if there was only singular types, since rock and grass types have 5 weaknesses, and some might have up to 7, if there were dual types. I can easily imagine how much card space would be used just for the weakness area.

    6. Agreed. The fact that you can only play 4 of one or the other and not a combination of them is strange but since you should easily be able to get 4 of each in each set they appear in, it shouldn't affect too many people. Do feel bad for the people who want 4 full arts but can't use full art Juniper and full art Sycamore in the same deck lol.

    7. I think the new phase name might be used on cards down the line for effects but otherwise, not sure why it needed a name change either.

    9. The "once during your turn" sticking in the card text is a good thing because even if abilities were once a turn unless stated otherwise, those 4 words minimise confusion, especially for younger and/or newer players.
  12. Kenatta_tcg Aspiring Trainer


    Yeah, 2 Psychic eevee evolutions now, Sylveon and Espeon
  13. Number51x Blasting off at the speed of light!


    Probably not a huge issue, but I do wonder how no supporter trun 1 will affect the playability of theme decks (in that format) on PTCGO that are still standard legal.

    Which reminds me; are they ever going to update the test decks you play against for basic testing? It would be nice if they hit a little harder and differentiated between standard and expanded.
    Mike McBob and Otaku like this.
  14. Rcxd9999 Aspiring Trainer


    And two Water types eeveevoltions as well (Vaporeon and Glaceon). I wonder if this might break the game in some way now that Eevee has two Water and two Psychic evolutions now /S
  15. ZTrainer Aspiring Trainer


    Maybe they noticed that a lot of guys like me thought about making a fairy deck because to try some good combos, but changed their mind because other people may get the wrong idea about the sexual orientation of a non woman fairy deck user at local tourneys, because of the pink background of the cards that is very unmanly.
  16. Number51x Blasting off at the speed of light!


    That has to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard and this is a world where Trump is still active on Twitter.
  17. treyh37 Watcher of Thorns


    some of this news is good, some is bad, some needed more work.

    interesting is the regulation mark at the end as that shows they intend to keep us on the same rotation block as japan (even if the release is off like mentioned in the other article)
  18. MilesEX Aspiring Trainer


    Gardy being a top deck debunks this theory.
  19. ShaQuL That's what I do, I clown on you.


    I think that's just you to be honest mate... it's cards, if they're good you use them. Who cares if there's pink on the card?
    TatsuyaOrimuta likes this.
  20. OVERGRO Pokemon is lyfe.


    Suddenly I have a strong urge to go back and collect every Fairy-type card ever printed...