Very new Pokémon tcg player (father trying to learn the rules here).

I wonder if the effects of an attack are mandatory or optional. Like I have a Alolan Sandslash whose Smash Turn attack (requires 3 energies, deals 50 points) says to switch with a benched Pokémon afterward. This can be: very annoying if I am forced to switch with a base or otherwise weak Pokémon or it can be helpful if by switching I remove some condition or it can be impossible if I don't have benched Pokémon.

So, is it mandatory or optional? What if it is impossible to fulfil, can I attack nonetheless?

1 Answer 1


They are mandatory. With a simple comparison:

Alolan Sandslash GRI enter image description here

You can see that Alolan Sandslash's attack is mandatory, because it uses imperative tense, whereas Hitmonchan's first attack is not, because it uses "You may ..." phrase.

If you'd like a more reliable source, there is a list of official rulings named Pokémon TCG Rulings Compendium BW that contains many explanations how rules work with particular attack, card, or their combination. Here, you can find that there is a ruling for Bounce that we can use here:

Q. Can I use Emolga's "Bounce" attack if I have no bench?

A. Yes, you do as much of the attack as you can. First you do the damage, then you perform the switch if Emolga is able to go to the Bench. (Next Destinies FAQ; Feb 9, 2012 TPCi Rules Team)

Emolga NXD

This official ruling must be followed by all Pokémon that has the same attack (regardless its name), including your Alolan Sandslash. That means that you do the damage and then, unless you have no Pokémon on your Bench, you must switch it with with 1 of them.

  • Thanks. For me the step of finding a card with the same (or close enough) ability is not trivial since I am so new to the game (hence the very naive questions...)
    – Francesco
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 17:06
  • 1
    "because it uses imperative tense" imperative mood /nitpick Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 21:14
  • Feel free to suggest an edit for that Commented May 2, 2019 at 14:08

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .