Several cards from the Wizards of the Coast era were mistranslated when they made their way overseas from Japan. Others had simple printing errors (usually the wrong Energy symbol). Though nearly all of these went uncorrected during their time (many weren’t even noticed until years later), I recommend playing these cards as they were originally intended to be played.
Table of Contents
- Blaine’s Charizard (Gym Challenge)
- Clefable (Jungle)
- Clefairy (Base Set)
- Dark Haunter (Neo Destiny)
- Dark Vileplume (Team Rocket)
- Energy Flow (Gym Heroes)
- Eevee (Promo #6)
- Feraligatr (Neo Genesis #5)
- Goop Gas Attack (Team Rocket)
- Giovanni’s Pinsir (Gym Challenge)
- Grimer (Team Rocket)
- Kabuto (Neo Discovery)
- Magby (Neo Genesis)
- Metal Energy (Neo Genesis)
- Mew (Promo #47)
- Mew (Southern Islands)
- Murkrow (Neo Genesis)
- Pikachu (Neo Genesis)
- PlusPower (Base Set)
- Politoed (Neo Discovery)
- Rocket’s Minefield Gym (Gym Challenge)
- Sabrina’s Drowzee (Gym Challenge)
- Scizor (Neo Discovery)
- Slowking (Neo Genesis)
- Umbreon (Neo Discovery)
- Unown D (Neo Discovery)
- Unown M (Neo Discovery)
- Unown N (Neo Discovery)
- Bizarre & Incorrect Rulings
Blaine’s Charizard (Gym Challenge)
Blaine’s Charizard’s Roaring Flames attack contains several errors. Given how complicated the proper attack text is, it isn’t hard to understand how some things came out wrong in the translation process. Let’s start with the obvious one: the Fighting Energy symbol should of course be a Fire Energy symbol. Moving on to how the attack actually works, though, it should only require the user to discard extra Fire Energy cards. It should read as follows:
Discard all Fire Energy not used to pay for this attack’s Energy cost. This attack does 20 damage plus 20 more damage for each Fire Energy card discarded this way.
You should not discard all Fire Energy cards as the card reads, but rather only any extra Fire Energy not used to pay for the attack cost. This means if you only had only one Fire Energy attached to Blaine’s Charizard, you would simply deal 20 damage and discard no Energy. If you had two Fire Energy, you would discard one to deal 40. Three Energy, discard two to deal 60, and so on.
If you continue to read through Roaring Flames’s text, you’ll notice a peculiar sentence: If all Energy cards attached to Blaine’s Charizard provide 2 Fire Energy, discard all of them. The reason this sentence was included is because of the possibility that Blaine’s Charizard could have an
Clefairy (Base Set) & Clefable (Jungle)
Metronome was mistranslated on both Clefairy and Clefable. While it does allow you to copy an attack without needing the usual Energy required, you must still do anything else required to use that attack, such as discarding Energy cards. The Japanese text emphasizes this, while in English, the translation was botched to indicate the exact opposite. This means that if Clefable used Metronome to copy an attack like
Dark Haunter (Neo Destiny)
Call Back cannot be used if your opponent’s Bench is full. Your own Bench size does not matter.
Dark Vileplume (Team Rocket #30)
Dark Vileplume should be weak to Fire, not Fighting. (The holo version has the correct weakness.)
Energy Flow (Gym Heroes)
Energy Flow can return only Basic Energy cards to the owner’s hand.
Eevee (Promo #6)
Eevee’s Chain Reaction can only be used on your turn when one of your Pokémon evolves. It cannot be used when the opponent evolves.
Feraligatr (Neo Genesis 5/111)
Feraligatr’s Riptide will only deal additional damage if the Water Energy cards are shuffled back into the owner’s deck.
This clarification exists on the Japanese version of the card, but was omitted on other versions. The distinction is important because it means that
Giovanni’s Pinsir (Gym Challenge)
Snapping Pincers should do +20 on heads. It should read as follows:
Flip a coin. If heads this attack does 10 damage plus 20 more damage; if tails, this attack does 10 damage.
Goop Gas Attack (Team Rocket) & Magby (Neo Genesis)
Goop Gas Attack and Magby’s Sputter only affect Pokémon Powers that are in play at the time of use. These are two of the more interesting (and also confusing) mistranslations from the Wizards era. Those that played Pokémon back in 2002 may remember the famous “come into play” ruling issued by Wizards of the Coast:
Q. Does Muk prevent Come into Play Pokemon Powers [such as Dark Golbat’s Sneak Attack]? Magby? Goop Gas?
A. It does not. (May 2, 2002 WotC Chat, Q168)
This ruling confused players for an obvious reason: if a card reads ignore all Pokémon Powers, why would come-into-play Pokémon Powers be treated differently? But it turns out that while Wizards was wrong on
Remember that both Goop Gas Attack and Sputter affect both players, so they work the same way against your opponent as they do against yourself. If, for example, you used Magby’s Sputter, and then on your next turn evolved an Ivysaur into
Grimer (Team Rocket)
Poison Gas should poison the Defending Pokémon, not leave it Asleep.
Kabuto (Neo Discovery)
Kabuto’s Work Together attack should include Aerodactyl as a Pokémon that adds damage to its attack. It should read as follows:
Flip a coin. If heads, this attack does 10 damage plus 10 more damage for each Omanyte, Omastar, Kabuto, Kabutops and Aerodactyl on your Bench.
Metal Energy (Neo Genesis)
Metal Energy should only reduce damage from attacks. This means Pokémon Powers like
Mew (Promo #47)
Psyshock should leave the Defending Pokémon Paralyzed, not Confused.
Mew (Southern Islands)
Mew’s Rainbow Wave can only choose a type from Basic Energy attached to it. It should read as follows.
Choose a Basic Energy card attached to Mew. This attack does 20 damage to each of your opponent’s Pokémon of that type (including Benched Pokémon). Don’t apply Weakness and Resistance.
Murkrow (Neo Genesis) & Umbreon (Neo Discovery)
Feint Attack’s damage should not be affected by effects on any of your opponent’s Pokémon, not just the Defending Pokémon. For example, if you used Feint Attack on a Benched Pokémon with a
Pikachu (Neo Genesis)
Pikachu’s Quick Attack should do +10 on heads, not +20. It should read as follows:
Flip a coin. If heads, this attack does 10 more damage; if tails, this attack does 10 damage.
PlusPower (Base Set)
PlusPower will increase damage done to both Active Pokémon. This means attacks that damage the attacking Pokémon (like
Attach PlusPower to your Active Pokémon. At the end of your turn, discard PlusPower. If this Pokémon’s attack does damage to an Active Pokémon (after applying Weakness and Resistance), the attack does 10 more damage to that Pokémon.
Politoed (Neo Discovery)
Politoed’s Frog Song should activate if there are 3 or more Poliwags, Poliwhirls, Poliwraths and/or Politoeds in play.
Rocket’s Minefield Gym (Gym Challenge)
The amount of damage counters was omitted on the English version. It should read “…put 2 damage counters on that Pokémon.” A small percentage of these cards from a later print run do actually have the correct text.
Sabrina’s Drowzee (Gym Challenge)
Sabrina’s Drowzee’s Energy Support attack should attach a Psychic Energy card from the deck to one of your Benched Pokémon. It should read as follows:
Search your deck for a Psychic Energy card and attach it to one of your Benched Pokémon. Shuffle your deck afterward.
Scizor (Neo Discovery)
Double Claw should have a base damage of 20 (as suggested by 20+, but contradicted by its attack text). It should read as follows:
Flip 2 coins. This attack does 20 damage plus 20 more times the number of heads.
Slowking (Neo Genesis)
Slowking’s Mind Games Pokémon Power should only work when Slowking is Active. If you play this card as written, it becomes one of the strongest (and most oppressive) Pokémon cards of all time.
Unown D/Unown M/Unown N (Neo Discovery)
All three of these Pokémon Powers should only protect your Unowns:
- Unown’s D’s Pokémon Power, Darkness, should only reduce damage done to your Pokémon with Unown in their name.
- Unown M’s Pokémon Power, Metal, should only reduce damage done to your Pokémon with Unown in their name.
- Unown’s N’s Pokémon Power, Normal, should only reduce damage done to your Pokémon with Unown in their name.
Bizarre & Incorrect Rulings
In addition to several mistranslations, Wizards of the Coast also issued a variety of almost surely incorrect (and often bizarre) rulings. You can read about these here.
Last updated: December 8, 2022