Bench Sitters

In sports, one does not want to be benched, for that means that one does not play. But in the Pokémon TCG, a Pokémon card with a Pokémon Power can be more effective on the bench than as the Active Pokémon. Here are some of the most useful "Bench Sitters" in the game.

Keep in mind that most of these Powers stop working while this Pokémon is Asleep, Confused, or Paralyzed. These cards will often be Gust of Wind bait, so make sure that you have Trainers or Pokémon with Powers that can either heal damaging status effects or switch that Pokémon back out to your bench.

The Pokémon are listed in alphabetical order. For convenience, we've listed the name of the power in parentheses after the name of the Pokémon.

The Most Useful Bench Powers

Alakazam (Damage Swap) - As often as you like during your turn, before your attack, you may move 1 damage counter from one of your Pokémon to another as long as you don't Knock Out that Pokémon. Alakazam is usually used in a Stall deck, but it can be used in most decks as a defense measure.

Aerodactyl (Prehistoric Power) - No more Evolution cards can be played. Bring this card out as early as possible and back it up with a deck of Haymaker cards.

Blastoise (Rain Dance) - As often as you like during your turn (before your attack), you may attach 1 (W) Energy Card to 1 of your (W) Pokémon. (This doesn't use up your 1 Energy card attachment for the turn.) This card is at the heart of the Raindance archetype.

Dodrio (Retreat Aid) - As long as this Pokémon is Benched, pay 1 Energy less to retreat your Active Pokémon. Put two of these on your bench and you can retreat most Pokémon for free, and big Pokémon for just one Energy.

Gengar (Curse) - Once during your turn, before your attack, you may move 1 damage counter from 1 of your opponent's Pokémon to another (even if it would Knock Out the other Pokémon). The power of this attack is the ability to use your opponent's damage more effectively. Uses of this power include getting a quicker Knock Out, getting more damage out of Meditate, and putting more damage out of Sabrina's Gengar's Pain Amplifier.

Meganium L57 (Wild Growth) - As long as Meganium is in play, each (G) Energy card attached to your (G) Pokémon instead provides (G)(G).

Muk (Toxic Gas) - Ignore all Pokémon Powers other than Toxic Gas.

Omanyte (Clairvoyance) - While Omanyte is out, your opponent will have to play with his or her hand face up and visible to you.

Ratatta L12 (Trickery) - Once during your turn (before your attack), you may switch 1 of your Prizes with the top card of your deck.

Typlosion L55 (Fire Recharge) - Once during your turn (before your attack), you may flip a coin. If heads, attach a Fire Energy card from your discard pile to 1 of your Fire Pokémon. This can help you recover the Fire Energy that Fire Pokémon tend to discard.

Venusaur L67 (Energy Trans) - As often as you like during your turn (before attack), you may take 1 (G) Energy card attached to 1 of your Pokémon and attach it to a different one.

Dark Dragonair (Evolutionary Light) - Once during your turn (before your attack), you may search your deck for an Evolution card. This can help you bring out your evolutions and develop your bench much faster and without using Trainer cards.

Dark Vileplume (Hay Fever) - No Trainer cards can be played. This can be devastating to your opponent. It can also be devastating to you if you bring out this Pokémon at the wrong time.

Other Bench-Sitting Powers

Dragonite L43 (Special Delivery) - Once during your turn (before your attack), you may draw a card. If you do, choose a card from your hand and put it on top of your deck.

Drowzee L10 (Long-Distance Hypnosis) - Once during your turn (before your attack), you may flip a coin. If heads, the Defending Pokémon is now Asleep; if tails, your Active Pokémon is now Asleep. There is one good side about getting tails: If you're Confused, you're no longer Confused. Put two or more of these Drowzees on your bench to maximize the chance of hitting your opponent.

Feraligatr L69 (Downpour) - As often as you like during your turn (before your attack), you may discard a (W) Energy card from your hand. This power primarily helps you get more mileage out of Feraligatr's Riptide attack.

Mankey (Peek) - Once during your turn (before your attack), you may look at one of the following: the top card of either player's deck, a random card from your opponent's hand, or one of either player's Prizes.

Noctowl (Glaring Gaze) - Once during your turn (before your attack), you may flip a coin. If heads, look at your opponent's hand. If your opponent has any Trainer cards there, choose 1 of them. Your opponent shuffles that card into his or her deck. You can use this like Rocket's Sneak Attack to deprive your opponent of the use of his Trainers.

Slowbro (Strange Behavior) - As often as you like during your turn (before your attack), you may move 1 damage counter from 1 of your Pokémon to this Pokémon as long as you don't Knock Out this Pokémon. You could use this as a bench sitter to absorb damage from other Pokémon, then periodically use Pokémon Center or Scoop Up to get rid of the damage, but Damage Swap is more efficient.

Slowking (Mind Games) - Whenever your opponent plays a Trainer card, you may flip a coin. If heads, that card does nothing. Put it on top of your opponent's deck. Obviously, this can be disruptive to your opponent's game.

Tentacool (Cowardice) - At any time during your turn, before your attack, you may return Tentacool to your hand. (Discard all cards attached to Tentacool.) Damage Swap 20 damage to Tentacool, then Cowardice it out of your bench and back into your hand. The main problem with using this power is that you cannot use it the turn you put Tentacool on the bench, making it bait for Gust of Wind.

Venusaur P13 (Solar Power) - Once during your turn (before your attach), you may use this power. Your active Pokémon and the defending Pokémon are no longer Asleep, Confused, Paralyzed, or Poisoned.

Vileplume (Heal) - Once during your turn (before your attack), you may flip a coin. If heads, remove 1 damage counter from 1 of your Pokémon.

Dark Dugtrio (Sinkhole) - Whenever your opponent's Active Pokémon retreats, your opponent flips a coin. If tails, this power does 20 damage to that Pokémon. (Don't apply Weakness and Resistance.)

Dark Kadabra (Matter Exchange) - Once during your turn (before your attack), you may discard a card from your hand in order to draw a card. Works like Secret Mission. Just watch out for decking.

Dark Gloom (Pollen Stench) - Once during your turn (before your attack), you may flip a coin. If heads, the Defending Pokémon is now Confused; if tails, your Active Pokémon is now Confused. As with Drowzee, put two or more on your bench to maximize your chance of Confusing your opponent. Keep Full Heal on hand to de-Confuse yourself as you need to.

Brock's Rhyhorn (Bench Guard) - As long as Brock's Rhyhorn is Benched, whenever 1 of your Benched Pokémon is damaged, you may do 10 of that damage to this Pokémon instead. (If more than 1 of your Benched Pokémon is damaged at the same time, you may use this power once for each of them.)

Erika's Victreebel (Fragrance Trap) - Once during your turn (before your attack), you may flip a coin. If heads, and if your opponent has any Benched Pokémon, choose 1 of them and switch it with his or her Active Pokémon. The effect is the same as Gust of Wind. This could make things really annoying for your opponent as you bring in his high-retreat Pokémon.

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