Pokémon Lost Zone Cards Explained
Pokémon Lost Zone cards were first introduced to the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) in 2009 with the release of the Platinum base set. Certain Pokémon and Trainer cards have special abilities or moves that utilize the Lost Zone.
The Lost Zone is an area separate from the regular game play areas, and unique to games where Lost Zone Cards are playable. In official Pokémon tournaments they can only be used if they are tournament legal and included in Standard format.
Which Sets have Lost Zone Cards?
After the Platinum Base Set introduction of Lost Zone cards in February 2009, they were then subsequently released in the Platinum Supreme Victors and Platinum Arceus sets later that year. They returned in the November 2010 release, HeartGold SoulSilver Triumphant and then the Call of Legends set released February 2011.
In 2018, after a seven year break, the Lost Zone returned to the Pokémon TCG with the release of the Sun and Moon Ultra Prism expansion. They were also included in the 2018 Forbidden Light, Celestial Storm and Dragon Majesty sets. Up to this point only a few Lost Zone cards were included in each set, with the maximum being the Call of Legends set with 9 Lost Zone cards.
The release of the Lost Thunder set in November 2018 saw a big change to the game with a massive 32 Lost Zone cards. Unlike the previous Sun and Moon sets, cards were not restricted to Prism Star cards but encompassed all types of cards from basic to GX cards. The Tyranitar GX card 121/214 is from the Lost Thunder expansion set.
The introduction of the Tag Team mechanic in the Team Up expansion shifted focus from the Lost Zone and Team Up included just 4 Lost Zone cards while the final Sun and Moon set, Cosmic Eclipse included just 2 cards.
The Lost Zone returned to the Pokémon TCG in September 2022 with the launch of the Lost Origin set. There were the 33 Lost Zone cards included in the set making the returned mechanic the focus of the set. A further 6 cards were included in the final Sword and Shield expansion, Crown Zenith.
How to Identify Lost Zone Cards
All Lost Zone Cards include the words ‘Lost Zone’ somewhere in the text on the cards, either in relation to a move or special ability. Some sets have also used colour or symbols to quickly identify these cards:
The Platinum base set , Platinum Supreme Victors and HGSS Triumphant Lost Zone cards had no special colour or symbol and can only be identified by the text on the card.
Lost Zone cards from the Call of Legends expansion included pink, blue or white lightning-type artwork in addition to the text on the card.
The Sun and Moon sets, Prism Star, Forbidden Light, Celestial Storm, Dragon Majesty and Team Up Lost Zone cards were all Prism Star cards identified by a large Prism star graphic on the text area of the cards in addition to the text on the card.
In the Lost Thunder set regular Lost Zone cards include blue or pink clouds or spores, others are Prism Star cards while GX full art cards can only be identified by the text on the cards.
For the SWSH Lost Origin and Crown Zenith sets, green, pink and purple swirls / streamers adorn the half art cards, while full art Lost Zone cards have no indication other than the card text.
The Giratina VSTAR card above shows bands of green, pink and purple swirling around the Pokémon character.
How is the Lost Zone used in the Trading Card Game?
As its name suggests, cards that are sent to the Lost Zone are lost to that game. Unlike cards sent to the discard pile during regular games, cards sent to the Lost Zone cannot be retrieved and returned to the game. Once sent to the Lost Zone, a card is permanently removed from that game.
Sending a card to the Lost Zone is not a standard action of the game. Cards can only be sent there by using the moves or abilities of certain Trainer or Lost Zone Cards. Any card, including Energy cards, can be sent to the Lost Zone but only Lost Zone cards have the ability to send cards there.
If Lost Zone cards remain in standard format, all players need to be familiar with those cards and adopt a strategy to use them to best advantage. It is generally agreed that some of the most important Sword and Shield Lost Zone cards are:
Colress’s Experiment 190/196
Look at the top 5 cards of your deck and put 3 of them into your hand. Put the other cards in the Lost Zone.
Lost Vacuum 135/159
You can use this card only if you put another card from your hand in the Lost Zone.
Choose a Pokémon Tool attached to any Pokémon, or any Stadium in play, and put it in the Lost Zone.
Once during your turn, if this Pokémon is in the Active Spot, you may look at the top 2 cards of your deck and put 1 of them into your hand. Put the other card in the Lost Zone.
Giratina VSTAR 131/196
Lost Impact – Put 2 Energy attached to your Pokémon in the Lost Zone.
Star Requiem – You can use this attack only if you have 10 or more cards in the Lost Zone. Your opponent’s Active Pokémon is Knocked Out. (You can’t use more than 1 VSTAR Power in a game.)