What do the numbers mean on a Pokemon card?

What do the numbers mean on a Pokemon card?

What do the numbers mean on a Pokemon card?

Pokemon cards have been a popular collectible item for decades, captivating both children and adults alike. Each card features a unique design, colorful artwork, and various numbers and symbols. While the artwork and characters may be the main attraction, the numbers on a Pokemon card hold significant meaning and play a crucial role in gameplay. In this article, we will explore what these numbers represent and how they contribute to the overall Pokemon card experience.

1. Card Number

Every Pokemon card is assigned a specific card number, which serves as its identification within a particular set or expansion. This number helps collectors and players organize their cards and determine their rarity. The card number typically appears in the bottom right corner of the card and consists of a set symbol followed by a unique number.

For example, a card with the number “001/100” indicates that it is the first card in a set of 100 cards. Collectors often seek out cards with low card numbers, as they are considered more valuable and harder to find.

2. Hit Points (HP)

One of the most important numbers on a Pokemon card is the Hit Points (HP). HP represents the amount of damage a Pokemon can withstand before being knocked out. It is a crucial factor in battles and determines the card’s overall strength.

Each Pokemon card has a specific HP value, ranging from as low as 30 to as high as 300 or more. Generally, Pokemon with higher HP are more resilient and can endure more attacks. However, high HP often comes at the cost of other attributes, such as attack power or speed.

For example, a Pokemon card with 100 HP may have a strong attack but be vulnerable to being knocked out quickly. On the other hand, a Pokemon with 200 HP may have weaker attacks but can sustain more damage.

3. Attack and Damage

Another set of numbers on a Pokemon card represents the Pokemon’s attacks and the damage they can inflict. Each Pokemon card typically has one or more attacks listed, along with their respective energy costs and damage values.

The energy cost indicates the type and amount of energy required to perform the attack. Different attacks may require specific types of energy, such as fire, water, or electric. Players must have the corresponding energy cards in their deck to use these attacks effectively.

The damage value represents the amount of damage the attack can inflict on the opponent’s Pokemon. This number can vary greatly, ranging from as low as 10 to as high as 200 or more. Some attacks may also have additional effects, such as causing status conditions or discarding energy cards.

4. Retreat Cost

The retreat cost is another number found on Pokemon cards and indicates the amount of energy required to retreat a Pokemon from the active position to the bench. When a Pokemon is in a vulnerable state or unable to battle effectively, players can choose to retreat it and bring another Pokemon into play.

The retreat cost is typically represented by one or more energy symbols, similar to attack costs. Players must have the necessary energy cards in their deck to retreat a Pokemon successfully. Higher retreat costs can make it more challenging to switch Pokemon during battles, adding strategic depth to the gameplay.

5. Rarity and Collectibility

While not a specific number, the rarity of a Pokemon card is often denoted by symbols or letters. These symbols indicate how common or rare a card is within a particular set or expansion. The rarity of a card can significantly impact its collectibility and value.

Common cards are usually denoted by a black circle, uncommon cards by a black diamond, and rare cards by a black star. Additionally, some sets may include ultra-rare cards denoted by a gold star or other unique symbols. Collectors often seek out rare and ultra-rare cards to complete their collections or for their investment potential.


The numbers on a Pokemon card hold significant meaning and contribute to the overall gameplay and collectibility of the cards. The card number helps identify the card within a set, while the HP determines a Pokemon’s resilience in battles. The attack and damage values showcase the Pokemon’s offensive capabilities, and the retreat cost adds strategic depth to gameplay. Lastly, the rarity symbols indicate the collectibility and value of the card.

Understanding these numbers allows players and collectors to make informed decisions when building their decks or expanding their collections. Whether you’re a seasoned Pokemon enthusiast or just starting your journey, paying attention to the numbers on a Pokemon card will enhance your overall experience and appreciation for these beloved collectibles.

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