How to play Pokémon TCG’s new Raid Battle Mode

Time to gather the team.

Screegrab via The Pokémon Company

The Pokémon Company International added today the Raid Battle Mode to the Pokémon Trading Cards Game. This mode was first seen in Pokémon GO, where players can team up to battle a stronger Pokémon. If defeated, the players get a chance to catch it.  

This new mode follows the same principle. Four players battle together against a Raid Boss each with two Pokémon, one active Pokémon and a benched one. The Raid Boss Pokémon HP and attacks will be equivalent to the sum of the damage number of the most powerful attacks of one of each players set of Pokémon. 

After the players have finished their combined attack, it’s the raid boss’ turn to attack, which is determined by the Boss Attack deck. Each players draw a card from the deck and place the according damage counters.

After a Pokémon is knocked down, the player can draw from the Cheer deck, granting buffs for their team players for a turn, after that the Pokémon returns with full HP. If the Boss knocks out any Pokémon four times, the team loses.

Take a look at this step by step of the  first turn:

  • Step One: Shuffle the Boss Attack deck and the Cheer One, then put them and the Knock Out and the active and benched Pokémon cards in the mat
  • Step Two: Check the set of Pokémon of each player and sum the values of the strongest attack, this will determine the Raid Boss level.
    • There are three levels for raid bosses:
      • Level 1: 250 – 390
      • Level 2: 400 – 590
      • Level 3: 600 +
    • Choose Pokémon that have attacks that sum to at least 250, otherwise it will be a difficult battle battling the weakest Raid Boss.
  • Step Three: Player one starts attacking. Place the correspondent damage counter in the Raid Boss card so the team can keep track of its HP. The remaining players make their attacks to finish the turn placing the damage counters.
  • Step Four: It’s the Raid Boss’ time to attack. Player One draws a Boss Attack card from the deck and place it on the mat, reading to the other players. The card will determine which player will receive which attack. The others do same and then place the damage counters on the Pokémons that received the attacks.
    • The number of attacks are also decided by the Raid Boss’ level. Don’t draw additional cards if you already drawn the maximum number of the Boss’ level. Higher level Bosses can draw more attack cards.
  • Step Five: The Player One can start attacking again and the game continues.

A Pokémon that receives equal or more damage to its HP number will be knocked for a turn and the player has to put a Knocked Out card above it. They’ll have to draw a Cheer card instead. The Cheer cards grant buffs to the remaining players and the Pokémon return with full health in the next turn.

If the Knocked Down card is used four times, it’s game over. If the players manage to cause equal or more damage than the Boss’ HP, it’s their win.

Action options: During a turn, if a player isn’t knocked out, they can retreat, attack, or switch their active and benched Pokémon before they attack. 

Trainers can play using their Pokémon TCG collection, with the Digital Raid Battle Assistant or use the printable materials from the website, friends can play together to take on a Dynamax or Gigantamax Boss Pokémon.

These are the materials needed to play:

  • One Boss Pokémon card
  • One deck of 20 Boss Attack cards
  • One deck of five Cheer cards
  • Four  Knock Out counters
  • One playmat
  • Damage counters
  • One coin. 

The Digital Raid Battle Assistant will help track important information during the game. Choose one of those players to run the game, then use the Battle Assistant to track the Boss Pokémon and its attacks, the Cheer cards, and player turns. 

The Pokémon TCG is made to be played physically with others, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s recommended to stay at home to prevent further spread of the virus. Trainers can play remotely during this time of quarantine using the Battle Assistant.