Basic Energy Cards Explained
Pokémon Basic Energy cards are the nine different Energy Cards that correspond to one or more of the 18 different Pokémon types. Each Basic Energy Card is classed as one of that type of energy. As there are only 9 different Energy types but 18 different Pokémon types, some Basic Energy cards correspond to more than one Pokémon Type.
See also: What are Special Energy cards?
Pokémon Energy Cards are a vital component of the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG). In order to use their attacks, Pokémon must have a specified number and type(s) of Energy Card attached to it. For example: if four Water Energy are required for an attack, a player must have four blue Water Energy Cards attached to that Pokémon. Players can attach one Energy Card per turn, so where an attack requires multiple Energy Cards this must be done over a number of turns.
The required number of Energy Cards for each attack is indicated by the Energy type symbols to the left of the Attack name. Generally, an Attack will require at least one Energy type that corresponds to the Pokémon type plus a number of Colorless Energy. As there are no Colorless Energy Cards, any type of Energy Card can be used.
The Regieleki V 057/195, depicted above has two different Attacks that require different Energy Cards. Switching Bolt requires one Lightning Energy, while Lightning Wall requires one Lightning Energy plus 2 Colorless Energy Cards. The Attack that requires three Energy Cards does significantly more damage than the move with one Energy Card.
What are the Different Types of Basic Energy Cards
When the TCG first launched in 1999, there were 6 different Energy Cards – Grass, Fire, Water, Lightning, Psychic and Fighting. In 2006, Darkness and Metal Energy, were moved from Special Energy to Basic Energy cards. In 2013, Fairy Energy cards were introduced to coincide with the upcoming launch of Fairy Type Pokémon. They continued through the Sun and Moon series but were not included in subsequent sets.
In total 9 different Basic Energy types have been released, each with a different colour. The images above are for the cards released in 2020. Click the links for more information about each type of energy.
Grass Energy Cards are green in colour and indicated by the symbol a black leaf in a green circle. Grass Energy corresponds to Grass and Bug type Pokémon.
Fire Energy Cards are red and indicated by the symbol which depicts a black flame on a red background. Fire Energy corresponds to Fire type Pokémon.
Water Energy Cards are coloured blue and indicated by the symbol , a black water droplet in a blue circle. Water Energy corresponds to Water and Ice type Pokémon.
Lightning Energy Cards are yellow in colour and indicated by the symbol which shows a black lightning bolt against a yellow background. This Energy only relates to Electric type Pokémon.
Psychic Energy Cards are purple in colour. They are indicated by the symbol , an eye in a purple circle, and correspond to Psychic, Ghost and Poison type Pokémon
Fighting Energy Cards are Orange and are indicated by the symbol which depicts a black fist against an orange background. Fighting Energy corresponds to Fighting, Ground and Rock type Pokémon.
Darkness Energy Cards are coloured dark Blue. They are indicated by the symbol of a black crescent in a dark blue circle. They correspond to Dark type Pokémon.
Metal Energy Cards are silver-grey and are indicated by the symbol which shows an inverted black triangle with black brackets at each corner, set against a silver-grey background. Metal Energy corresponds to Steel type Pokémon
Fairy Energy Cards are pink and indicated by the symbol which shows a black four-pointed star above two symmetrical shapes. Fairy Energy correspond to Fairy type Pokémon.
Timeline of Basic Energy Card Designs
The design of Energy Cards has changed over the years. The basic colour of each type has remained the same but there have been variations in the patterns and the way the energy symbol is depicted.
The various designs are listed below in chronological order. One energy card is depicted for each design, the other energy cards for that design are identical apart from their basic colour.
Pokémon Base Set 1999
The design for the 1999 Basic Energy cards depicts the energy symbol in black against a coloured circle. This is surrounded by a white corona which extends upwards and to both corners forming a triangular shape. Energy cards were part of the set and were given a card number. This design was used until 2002.
Expedition Series 2002
The Expedition series released in 2002 with a unique card border design. The left and bottom borders were extended and marked with a unique line code that could be read by a Nintendo e-reader. The word ENERGY and the energy symbol were on a yellow background. The Basic Energy cards also adopted this unique border but retained the energy symbol of the original sets. These Energy cards were part of the set and were given a card number. This design was used until 2003.
EX Ruby & Sapphire 2003
EX Ruby & Sapphire launched the EX series in June 2003. The design of the Basic Energy Cards returned to that of the original series but the word ENERGY and the energy symbol was depicted against a silver background. Basic Energy cards continued to be part of the set and were given a card number. This design was used until 2005.
EX Emerald 2005
The EX Emerald set of 2005 saw a radical change to the design of Basic Energy cards. The Energy symbol is depicted in black against a coloured circle that has a 3D effect, which is inside a ring. Behind this is a burst of light in the colour of that energy. The background to the card is black with white dots. Basic Energy cards were part of the set and were given a card number.
EX Holon Phantoms 2006
The EX Holon Phantoms set of 2006 saw another change to the design of Basic Energy cards. As with previous designs, the Energy symbol is depicted in black against a coloured circle. The background for this variation depicts radiated light beams and squiggly lines that resemble electric charges. Basic Energy cards remained part of the expansion set and were given a card number.
EX Power Keepers 2007
The design for the 2007 Basic Energy cards seems to be an amalgam of the two previous designs. The background is similar to that of the EX Emerald release, while the Energy symbol is the same as the 2006 design. The cards remained part of the expansion set and were given a card number.
Diamond and Pearl Base Set 2007
The design for the 2007 Diamond and Pearl Base Set saw a return to the original 1999 design with a plain background and the energy symbol in black against a coloured circle surrounded by a white corona which extends upwards and to both corners forming a triangular shape. The only difference is the oval shape behind the central design. This new series continued to include Basic Energy cards as part of the set.
HeartGold SoulSilver 2010
The release of the HeartGold SoulSilver series in 2010 saw a new design for Basic Energy cards. The traditional design was retained but this was set against a landscape background that includes a tower and a Pokémon of a type that corresponds to the Basic Energy, together with trees, grass, bushes and a cloudy sky.
Black and White Base Set 2011
The next new design was introduced with the release of the Black and White series in 2011. Again this design retained the traditional design but the upper part of the background has a meshed effect. Basic Energy cards continued to be part of the expansion set and their card number can be seen in the bottom right hand corner.
XY Base Set 2014
The Basic Energy card design for the XY Base set saw a return to the original design with a plain background. The only difference is the silver bars at the top and bottom of the cards.
XY Generations 2016
The XY Generations set was released as a celebration of 20 years of Pokémon. It retains the traditional energy symbol design except this is placed on a sphere rather than a flat coloured circle. The white corona which extends upwards and to both corners forming a triangular shape remained the same. He background, however, saw a major change with different width stripes of dark, light and pale tones of the Basic Energy colour.
XY Evolutions 2016
This final set of the XY Series saw the release of another design for Basic Energy cards. These cards see a return to the original plain design. The only difference is the 3D appearance of the sphere on which the energy symbol can be seen and the bar at the top of the card.
Sun and Moon 2016
The Sun and Moon series was the first to see Basic Energy cards not included as part of the set. The traditional triangular effect design is gone and replaced by the energy symbol in black against a sphere surrounded by white light that becomes darker as it gets further from the sphere. The outer area sees the inclusion of a network of squiggly lines.
Sun and Moon Series Gold Basic Energy Cards
The Sun and Moon series also saw the release of Gold Secret Rare Basic Energy cards. The nine types of Basic Energy were released as Gold Secret Rare cards over four sets. Two in the Base Set, three in Guardians Rising, three in Burning Shadows and one in Crimson Invasion. The card design features the energy symbol in the centre of the card against a coloured background punctuated with white stars. The border of the cards is gold and shiny. These special cards formed part of the set and include card numbers.
SM Team Up 2019
The Sun and Moon Team Up expansion saw another change in the design of Basic Energy Cards. The energy symbol continued to be positioned in the centre of the card and surrounded by a white corona. The background included a frame of two ‘L’ shaped patterns along the left and top and right and bottom of the card.
Sword and Shield 2020
In 2020, the Sword and Shield Series was launched and a new design for Basic Energy Cards was released. The energy symbol continued to be depicted in black against a coloured sphere. The corona of light behind this was also retained but it now radiates towards the top right of the card.
Sword and Shield Series Gold Secret Rare Basic Energy Cards
As with the Sun and Moon series, the Sword and Shield series saw the release of eight Gold Secret Rare Basic Energy cards, one of each type used in the series. Three were released with the Chilling Reign set, three with Evolving Skies and two with Fusion Strike. The basic design for the Sword and Shield Basic Energy cards was retained, set against a background that includes white stars and with a gold shiny border. These cards are part of the set and have card numbers.
SWSH Brilliant Stars 2022
The Brilliant Stars expansion set, launched in February 2022, saw the release of a new design of Basic Energy Cards. The central energy symbol remains the same but the light surrounding this now radiates outwards in concentric circles of white and coloured light flecked with white particles. Two arms of coloured light extend either side. As before, these cards are not numbered and are separate to the set.
SWSH Crown Zenith 2023
Crown Zenith was the final expansion set of the Sword and Shield series. The last eight cards of the main set were holographic versions of the Basic Energy cards released in 2022. The cards make up the last eight numbers of the set 152/159 – 159/159.
Scarlet and Violet Base Set 2023
All Pokémon cards changed from having a yellow border to a silver border with the release of the Scarlet and Violet base set in March 2023. The Basic Energy cards released reflected this change. The design of the energy symbol also saw a change with the sphere that holds the black symbol being translucent rather than a solid colour. The white light behind the symbol changed to become a diagonal swirl with the top pointing to the right corner and the bottom to the left. Although not part of the set, Basic Energy cards were given their own numbers from 001 – 008 in the bottom left corner.
Scarlet and Violet Series Gold Secret Rare Basic Energy Cards
As with the Sun and Moon and Sword and Shield series, Gold Secret Rare Basic Energy cards were released in the Scarlet and Violet Series. Now called Gold Hyper Rare cards, they were released across multiple sets. To date, one was released with the Base set and two with the Paldea Evolved set. The basic design for the Scarlet and Violet Basic Energy cards was retained, set against a background that includes white stars and with a gold shiny border. They occupy the last cards of the set and are marked with the Hyper Rare symbol of three gold stars.
See also: What are Special Energy cards?