The Skylanders Figures are the key focal point in the Skylanders franchise, as they not only allow access to the Skylanders but also are the means to carry that data around and be shared with others. They are what truly bridges the gap between the home consoles, handheld devices, and even PCs. As the series progressed, new kinds of figures were released with new abilities.
From Spyro's Adventure to Trap Team, all Skylanders of a particular Element share bases with near-identical designs (e.g. all Tech Skylanders are on a pile of gears), though depending on the kind of figure, the base may be larger. Starting with SuperChargers, certain figure types have special bases, and though they are still elementally themed, they are vastly different from the original base design.
Non-Skylander figures include Magic Items, Traps and Vehicles. There are also Creation Crystals, which are not Skylanders themselves, but allow you to create and play as your own custom Skylanders.
Cores are the original type of Skylander, which were released with every game up until SuperChargers. Several of which were re-released in later games with a new figure, featuring new abilities.
Series 1 figures are the original releases of Core Skylanders, including Alt Decos. Sidekicks also have this tag when used in Trap Team and later games. They are identical in toy and game form, though some individuals do have slightly different details such as different colored eyes. They are all compatible with all of the main series of games following their original release, but none of the older games.
Series 2-4 figures are new versions of Series 1 Skylanders. They depict the original Skylanders in different poses, often sporting new accessories and/or other changes to their appearance. Series 2 figures introduced in Giants are simply titled "Series 2", while Series 2-4 figures introduced in Swap Force and Trap Team have an additional title. All Series 2-4 figures are backwards compatible with all games since their Series 1 release, appearing as the latest available version in each previous game.
Path Switch: Ability to alter their upgrade path without having to reset the figure.
Wow Pow Power: An additional upgrade which grants them a new ability or boost.
LightCore figures are alternate versions of Core figures, with parts that light up when placed on the portal. This translates in game as a massive blast when summoned, knocking away or damaging nearby enemies. LightCore versions of Skylanders from previous games are backwards-compatible, but appear as their Series 1 counterparts. Certain item figures also feature this tag.
Giant figures were released for the game Skylanders: Giants. The Giant figures are much larger than Core Skylanders, and their game forms are much larger than a normal Skylander. Like the Lightcore figures, parts of their bodies light up when on or near a portal (though they lack the Lightcore figures' ability). They have a few unique abilities, including Feats of Strength, breaking objects which otherwise require bombs, and lifting boulders. Some of these abilities are kept throughout the 3DS games, as well as the Kaos Doom Challenge.
SWAP Force figures are toys introduced in Skylanders: Swap Force, which have detachable upper parts of their bodies to allow the SWAP Force to mix and match powers and abilities from 2 different figures. Unlike Giants, their larger size is not reflected in-game, where they are comparable to Cores. Each half has its own upgrades and is reset separately, though only the top half carries gold and XP. Each half is associated with an Element, and the bottom half also has a movement type tied to SWAP Force Zones.
The Trap Team, or Trap Master figures, are larger figures featuring crystalline weapons, representing Traptanium. They were introduced in Skylanders: Trap Team, along with Traps. They are still quite large in-game, though not to the same degree as Giants. They are much stronger against trappable Villains, and are able to unleash powerful Trap Attacks in the 3DS version of Trap Team. Unlike previous games, Trap Masters are required to open Elemental gates in the console version of the game.
Upgraded versions of the 8 Sidekicks, along with 8 brand new ones and 3 Alt Decos. The Minis are miniature versions of existing Skylanders, originating from the Miniverse. Now fully playable characters, they are functionally identical to their larger counterparts, only smaller. Most Minis were only available in special Mini Packs, including both Minis of the same Element. The Alt Decos were only available in single packs, two of which being Easter themed.
Eon's Elite figures are extremely powerful counterparts of Series 1 Core Skylanders, recognizable by their gold-colored bases. The original Eon's Elite was introduced in Trap Team, featuring a glossy paint job of the original figures. In SuperChargers, the new Elites received slightly changed poses and different accessories, but the glossy paint was only applied to their accessories. All Elites automatically start at level 20 in SuperChargers, and are the only non-SuperChargers to provide stat boosts for Vehicles in SuperChargers Racing.
Introduced in Skylanders: SuperChargers, SuperCharger figures stand atop Rift Engines on redesigned elemental bases. About half of them are brand new characters, while the rest are new versions of Cores from previous games. Additionally, there are two Guest Stars, exclusive to the Nintendo platforms. Each SuperCharger is associated with a Vehicle, which gives them a health boost if paired up. Apart from the Guest Stars, all SuperChargers match the Element of their Vehicle.
New in Skylanders: Imaginators, Sensei figures provide a training bonus to all Imaginators, as well as unlocking a Secret Technique to Imaginators of the same Battle Class. Included are 11 former Villains, which could previously be trapped in Trap Team, as well as two new Guest Stars. They also feature brand new bases, drastically different from previous designs.
Items with special significance in the game they were originally released for, usually on par with Skylanders in terms of importance, and often given a separate collection menu from Skylanders and Magic Items.
Note that while Vehicles can be reset in SuperChargers, Traps and Creation Crystals cannot be reset in their corresponding games, only in early 3DS games.
Traps are small items resembling crystals with a decorative design on top, introduced in Trap Team. Instead of bases, the bottoms are shaped to fit into a hexagonal slot on the Traptanium Portal. They are used to trap Villains, which become playable in any part of the game, even during the fight against itself. In later games, their function has been drastically reduced.
There are also 6 specific traps with exclusive Villains, featuring an extra title and a different color scheme.
Vehicles are large items without bases, usually featuring interactive elements such as moving wheels. They were introduced in SuperChargers, and each one is associated with a SuperCharger and one of three terrains - Land, Sea or Sky. There are also two Nintendo exclusive vehicles which, unlike the others, do not have a matching element to that of their pilots. Pairing up a Vehicle with its signature driver unlocks powerful mods and provides a health boost.
Creation Crystals resemble cylindrical glass tanks, with a glowing crystal at its center. Introduced in Imaginators, they allow the creation of custom Skylanders called Imaginators, tied to an Element and a Battle Class. Like Traps, they feature several different designs in each Element, for both the casing and the central crystal piece.
Magic Item figures are the smaller figures that originally came in Adventure Packs. Most of them are mobile power ups, presumably able to cross over between games to give Skylanders a helping hand. Most of them are smaller than normal Skylander Figures, so they can easily share the space on the portal.
Sidekicks are the precursors to Minis, originally released as cosmetic Magic Items for Spyro's Adventure and Giants. When placed on the portal, they say whatever catchphrase uttered by their full-size counterparts. In the first three main series games, they don't do anything except follow Skylanders around. Starting with Trap Team, they are fully playable characters, appearing as "Series 1" Minis.
Adventure Pack Figures
Adventure Pack figures are special Magic Items representing the levels they unlock. Released only in Adventure Packs, including special Expansion Packs. They all unlock a new level, and some even unlock an additional battle arena when placed on the portal. In the 3DS versions of Spyro's Adventure and Giants, each Adventure Pack figure unlocks two levels instead of just one.
Battle Pack Figures
Battle Pack figures are special Magic Items which, in addition to being powerful weapons against enemies, can unlock new Battle Arenas in multiplayer mode when placed on the portal, though only in the game they were originally released for.
Gold Trophies, or Racing Action Packs, unlock additional tracks and modes in the racing mode of SuperChargers, and whole new tours in SuperChargers Racing. They also allow users to unlock certain Villains with vehicles, which can then be used in racing mode.
In addition to the 3 gold Trophies, there is also a Kaos Trophy, which only unlocks Kaos and his Doom Jet for use in Sky Races.
Not to be confused with Alter Egos, which are digital-only Skylanders exclusive to Skylanders: Lost Islands.
Alt Deco figures are alternate counterparts of original Skylanders, Items, Traps, Vehicles and Creation Crystals, with a different color scheme and an additional title. Their in-game and physical appearance is the same, with one exception. Notable recurring Alt Decos are Dark Edition, Legendary and Nitro.
There was originally only one Dark Edition figure, Dark Spyro. In the console games, he plays just like Spyro, but he is quite different from regular Spyro to the point of having a completely different backstory and 3DS moveset. Numerous new Dark Edition Skylanders, as well as four Vehicles, arrived as exclusive figures in Dark Edition Starter Packs. The color schemes of the Dark Edition figures are mostly black and silver, and unlike their leader, they only have altered stats.
Legendary Skylanders are gold and navy blue versions of normal Skylanders, who are slightly more powerful than their original counterparts. These figures are exclusive to Toys'R'Us in most countries, and are often listed separately from Alt Decos due to their special status. Legendary Senseis in Imaginators are gold and red, rather than gold and blue.
In addition to the Legendary Skylanders, there are three Legendary Traps, a Legendary Magic Item and a Legendary Vehicle, also colored gold and navy blue. Lastly, there are three Legendary Creation Crystals, whose internal crystals retain their elemental color, while their casings are gold with a navy blue elemental symbol on the front.
Nitro figures are Skylanders and Vehicles with a yellow-and-white checker color scheme, which are mostly associated with speed. This type of Alt Deco was introduced in Swap Force and has returned in both Trap Team and SuperChargers. Nitro figures are exclusive to Target in North America.
Unlike Alt Decos, variants are figures that are different in toy form only, with no in-game change other than receiving a "Special" tag. They can be composed of all one color, such as a solid blue Bash, or multiple colors, such as Pumpkin Eye-Brawl. Rare figures are variations that are impossible to find in stores, such as Employee Edition figures.