I am learning to play pokemon tcg since my 7yo kid is interested into it and with his friends play a completely random version of the rules. At least I can try to give him some meaning and have fun in the meanwhile... My problem is that I can't find a reliable source of explanations like for MtG or keyforge and the rulebook is very incomplete.

One question that I have is how to use those basic Pokémon which have attacks which deal no damage. (e.g. Cosmog or Cosmoem). I assume that these aren't Abilities (which should be marked as such) and that I could use from the bench, but they are only attacks that I can use only as active pokemon. This means that my opponent will probably be able to KO very fast the poor "attacking but not damaging" pokemon. I can see that there could be some peculiar circumstances where you could risk to put such a weak Pokémon in attack but I wonder if I am missing something since these very weak Pokémon seem to be rather common.

Ps by the way in the specific case of Cosmog/Cosmoem in my son's deck, the base version seems much more useful since at least draws a card... But as it stands both the base and the evoluted version stand helpless to take hits by the opponents and appear very useful for letting the opponent draw their prize cards...

  • Can you explain the downvote? If it is a FAQ which is answered on the site I will be more than happy to read it there and if the community so prefer, delete this... I was unable to find it unfortunately until now
    – Francesco
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 8:16
  • 1
    There is no recent Cubone that would have no attack that does damage, which one you have in mind? Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 9:06
  • Sorry got confused with similar names. I was thinking to Cosmog/cosmoem. Will edit for clarity.
    – Francesco
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 10:46

2 Answers 2


They might be just weak cards designed as a filler for an expansion, but most of the time those cards can further evolve into much stronger Pokémon.

Speaking about Cosmog and Cosmoem, those cards mimic their console game counterparts where they are small and mostly useless. But Cosmoem is able to evolve into either Solgaleo or Lunala which are both strong lengendary Pokémon. In TCG, you can evolve in either of them without any limitation.

Here are all the cards Cosmoem can evolve into as of April 2019, you can see that they are nowhere near being useless:

Solgaleo CES Solgaleo GRI Solgaleo-GX SUM Solgaleo-GX SM104 Lunala CES Lunala GRI Lunala-GX SUM Lunala-GX SM103

  • Thanks, my son actually has a Lunala. So the straightforward strategy, barring special circumstances, would be to evolve them while on the bench and only bring them to attack when they are evolved?
    – Francesco
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 12:11
  • Yes, that's right Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 12:12

Generally if you're putting a Pokemon that can't do damage in your deck, it's for some other advantage that you're hoping to get elsewhere. After all, you (probably) still have to KO six of your opponent's Pokemon to win.

Examples are:

  • It involves into something else. If you're hoping to play a Stage 2 Pokemon you must play the basic and/or Stage 1's, even if you never intend to attack with them. Magikarp is the most obvious example, since that was created as a very weak Pokemon that evolves into the much more powerful Gyarados. This is the most mundane reason.

  • The Pokemon has some Pokemon power that provides a powerful passive effect. You're hoping the Pokemon never has to attack; you just want to put it on the bench and let it work its magic. Example: Neo Genesis Slowking, which is potentially playable even in a deck without psychic energy.

  • The Pokemon stalls while you do something else (like put energy on a benched Pokemon). One of the Cosmoem you linked would fall into this category, but note that it's not a good example because 1) it's an evolved Pokemon, meaning it takes resources to establish, and 2) it's got a substantial retreat cost.

  • The Pokemon does something highly effective that isn't damage when it attacks. Examples are Brock's Mankey (switches the defending Pokemon, was played as an "anti-Slowking"), and Cleffa (this card was literal bajeezus since it's a 1-energy draw seven (!), doesn't require evolution, retreats for free, and even had a 50% chance of avoiding any counterattack).

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