What are Special Energy cards? Pokemon TCG explained

What are Special Energy cards? Pokemon TCG explained

Getting to grips with all of the card types in the Pokemon TCG can be confusing. Here’s a guide on what Special Energy cards are and how to spot them.

There are lots of card types in the Pokemon TCG – including everything from Special Illustration Rares to Stadium cards. If you’re getting into playing or collecting, it can be confusing to know which cards fall into which categories. This is especially true for rarer kinds like Special Energy cards.

Special Energy cards are a step-up from Basic Energy cards (which act as fuel/resources for Pokemon attacks and retreat costs) and usually come with unique abilities, stipulations, and designs. They’re less common than Basic Energy cards, and are worth hanging onto as a collector.

What are Special Energy cards? Pokemon TCG explained

Mist Energy (161/162), Strong Energy (104/111), and Blend Energy (117/124).

The artwork on Energy cards is usually a good indicator of what they do. For example, the Blend Energy card above shows 4 unique Energy types (Psychic, Fire, Grass, and Dark) behind a Colorless Energy symbol, indicating its ability to provide Energy of any of those types.

Special Energy cards can be powerful, but they’re not very common. For example, there were only two Special Energy cards released in Temporal Forces, one of those being an ACE SPEC card.

How can you spot a Special Energy card?

There are some unique variants of Basic Energy cards with fun designs and holofoils which can make it hard to differentiate them from Special Energy cards. If you think you’ve pulled a Special Energy card but aren’t sure, there are a few questions you can ask yourself:

  1. Is there a Special Energy tag on the top of the card? The placement will vary from set to set, but these cards are marked with “Special Energy” near the title of the card.
  2. Does the artwork look different to a regular Energy card? While you can find Basic Energy cards with interesting designs, Special Energy cards will have more vibrant featured designs and move away from the standard central Energy logo design.
  3. Does the card offer an ability outside of providing Energy? A Basic Energy card simply provides 1 Energy as a resource for Pokemon. If your chosen card does more than this – like providing multiple Energy types or removing retreat costs – then it’s likely a Special Energy card.

If you’re still unsure, put the card title into the online Pokemon TCG database. This digital tool is a great way to get to know more about a card, providing all the key information that you might need as a player and collector, along with additional information like the name of the card illustrator.

If you end up finding a Special Energy card from an older set that’s out of rotation, it’s worth sleeving it and keeping it in your collection. They can be quite rare and even valuable in some cases, so they’re good to keep on hand as a collector.


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