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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

Energy Search

Black & White

Date Reviewed: July 8, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.25
Limited: 3.75

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Combos With:

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Energy Search

Yep . . . good old Energy Search: since it was first printed back in Fossil (the third TCG Set ever made), I don’t believe this card has ever been out of the format. Along with Potion, It’s a virtual staple of Theme Decks, and like Potion, it appears is an awful lot of decks built by new, younger players . . . until they ask an experienced player for some deck help, and they tell them to dump the useless Energy Search, that is.

Yep, every time this card appears in a decklist, the response is nearly always the same: why are you running this instead of another copy of the Basic Energy? It is effectively exactly the same thing, except that the Basic Energy can be easily recovered from the discard (e.g. with yesterday’s card), searched out (with Interviewer’s Questions), and can’t be Trainer Locked (with Vileplume UD).

That response is almost always the correct one, but it is just possible that situations can arise where running Energy Search is the better option. The first is in those very rare (and not especially good) decks that need as much variety of Basic Energy as possible attached to a Pokémon to increase its attack power. The only examples of this that I can think of both involve Ho-Oh: the ex from Unseen Forces and the Secret Wonders one. The second situation that comes to mind is that out-and-out speed decks that require Energy fast can use them and then immediately re-use them with Junk Arm, thus getting two Energy cards from the deck instead of the one that they would have got if they replaced Energy Search with a Basic Energy. Some Zekrom decks play a copy or two to try and increase their chances of getting the Energy needed for a first turn set up. On a related note, Energy search also ‘thins’ the deck a little, which also helps speed decks.

So, as it turns out, there are a couple of legitimate uses for Energy Search. Very obscure and marginal ones maybe . . . but they are enough to rescue the card from getting the lowest possible score.

Rating

Modified: 1.5 (It’s ironic that one of the most commonly printed cards in the game has only ever had extremely infrequent uses)

Limited: 2.5 (Nice if you run 2-3 different Types in your deck . . . and the deck thinning is very helpful here)

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia
Energy Search (Black & White)
 
Hello again, folks. We end our week with one of the oldest cards in the game. For the first time in 8 years, we are reviewing Energy Search.
 
Today's card is an Item card, with all of the pros and cons that brings. On the one hand you can play this card as often as you like without any drawbacks (a huge advantage that no other card in the game has) but the drawbacks are that Item cards are very difficult to search out, they aren't as powerful as their Supporter cousins, they only have one use and they can be blocked by Vileplume UD (as well as othercards that currently aren't Modified-legal).
 
Basically, if you like to empty your hand to make way for a large refill from your deck (courtesy of cards like Professor Oak's New Theory, Professor Juniper and Magnezone Prime) or you simply can't survive on only 1 Supporter per turn, you need lots of Item cards in your deck.
 
The question today is whether or not Energy Search is worth a spot in your Trainer list. To start with, the effect is very simple. Simply play Energy Search from your hand, and you can search your deck for a Basic energy card to replace it with.
 
Since you don't end up with more or less cards in your hand, Energy Search is neutral for both building up and clearing out your hand. However, unlike Item cards, Energy cards can only be played once per turn so playing multiple Energy Search does not gain you an advantage unless you are playing a deck with from-the-hand energy acceleration.
 
On the subject of hand advantage, the main attraction of Item cards that seacrh out other cards is that they add to deck consistency. In the case of Energy Search, however, that doesn't prove to be true. In the case of decks that only run 1 kind of Basic energy, running Energy Search in your deck gives you the same odds of drawing the energy you need as simply adding an extra energy to your deck. Seeing as how Energy Search is very difficult to search out and there are no restrictions on the number of Basic energy you can have in your deck (provided you don't go over the 60 card limit), you might as well just add the extra energy instead, giving you more cards to discard when you retreat and/or attack as well as an extra card for Feraligatr Prime or FanBoar to use with their energy acceleration.
 
In decks with more than 1 Basic energy type, Energy Search becomes better but not great. Cards that search out any-and-all Poke'mon are much loved because typically you have many different Poke'mon in your deck (usually about 10-15 unique cards) but there is a lot less variety in energy cards, especially as you can't seacrh out Special energy.
 
Energy Search also has competition in the form of Energy Exchanger and Interviewer's Questions. While Interviewer's Questions costs your Supporter use for the turn with no guarantee of results it can grab multiple energy (including Specials). Energy Exchanger is an Item card that requires an energy card from your hand to trade into the deck but it can also grab Special energy so it has greater utility.
 
If Energy Search could be easily pulled out by other commonly played cards (such as how Cyrus' Conspiracy could grab Poke Turn and SP Radar) then it would be a little closer to playable, but as it stands there isn't enough need for Energy Search in the playable decks of today. If your wanted a Rainbow deck (you run many types of Basic energy in small quantities, only 2-3 of any type) or if you only ran a couple of Basic energy in one of those Turbo decks (where you spam Item cards to empty your deck quickly and wipeout your opponent in a few turns) then Energy Search would be useful. However, no Rainbow or Turbo decks exist in the current Modified format so Energy Search remains completely unloved as it has done since it's release. At least the current format is a little kinder to Energy Search since it doesn't have to compete with cards Cyrus' Conspiracy, Roseanne's Research and Lady Outing. Also, energy costs in this format for both attack and retreat have increased, so higher energy needs may give Energy Search a home later in this format if a Rainbow or Turbo deck becomes playable. For the moment, stick with Interviewer's Questions and Energy Exchanger.
 
Modified: 3 (getting the energy you need exactly when you need it is brilliant for almost every deck ever made, but most players rely on draw power to get what they need, due to the difficulty in searching out the cards that can search for energy in the first place. Added to this is the fact that Energy Search can be easily replaced by a Basic energy card, so as always Energy Search will appear to be useful but will lose out to other cards in your build)
 
Limited: 4 (the argument for replacing Energy Search with another energy still stands, but in this format anything that shuffles your deck is worth running. Also, most Limited decks run several energy types making Energy Search an excellent pull, although in Black & White there are enough Poke'mon of every type with a fair few Colourless spread around to make running a mono-energy deck a possibility for some players. Still, for Rainbow players this is a must run)
 
Combos with: an as-yet unprinted, useful Supporter or starter that grabs Energy Search from your deck along with 2 other useful cards (say, an Evolution card and a Supporter, or a Basic Poke'mon and a Stadium). I don't see that happening however, so I'l just say that Turbo and Rainbow decks of the future should playtest with Energy Search.

Otaku

We end this week by looking at Energy Search, a card we first reviewed nearly eight years ago, but which is actually older having first debuted back in the Fossil expansion. Fossil was the third set of the game!

Stats

Energy Search is a Trainer and in its latest printing has been reclassified as a Trainer-Item, opening up a few new (but currently unimportant) uses. Whatever this card does, it will be just a little more potent since unlike most cards in the game, Trainer-Items have no built in restriction about how or when you can play them, save it being your turn and no other in game effect can be blocking them.

Effect

Energy Search has a simple effect, searching your deck for a basic Energy card and adding it to your hand. This effect was actually fairly good when the card first came out: Special Energy card was Double Colorless Energy and the game was dominated by the infamous Haymaker decks. Even the most basic Haymaker deck was built around two different types of basic Energy (and Pokémon). Those Pokémon needed a specific Energy Type but their small attacks only needed one of that Energy, and their big attacks never needed more than two of a specific type (though some had a Colorless Energy requirement on top of the specific Energy requirement). As such it made perfect sense for such decks to run Energy Search as a variable copy of whatever Basic Energy cards the deck did run, either improving reliability or allowing the daring players to run even lower Energy counters. A few decks would even run it when they used only one basic Energy type simply because it made their deck effectively one card smaller (per copy). This wasn’t a huge advantage but it was something, and this was an established tactic from other, older TCGs making it natural to try in Pokémon. Rainbow Energy wasn’t released until after Base Set 2 (a reprint set) in Team Rocket (the fourth unique set and fifth overall of the North American version of the TCG). Once we had a Special Energy that could meet any basic Energy requirement, it almost universally replaced Energy Search.

It is hard to evaluate the effect of Energy Search, hence the history lesson. You don’t get much out of it but you haven’t put anything into it other than running it. A weak effect, but reliable and of course multiple copies stack, let’s examine if there are any good combos and exactly what competition it does face.

Usage

Being such a weak effect means that if Energy Search has any use in the Unlimited Format, it would only be in highly specialized novelty decks or as filler for someone with a small card pool. In Modified it doesn’t fair much better except as stated, it currently faces less competition. It can’t fetch Special Energy so Energy Exchanger is the superior choice for many decks despite needing to shuffle an Energy card from your hand into your deck. You know the saying, “You get what you pay for.” This is true in terms of quantity of Energy as well: if you give up a Supporter use you can get a better return. Interviewer’s Questions isn’t guaranteed, but if you’re running a deck that needs a lot of Energy you’re probably running a lot of Energy. That in turn makes it likely that if you use Interviewer’s Questions you’ll almost certainly hit the one Energy you need and probably get several more, plus once again Interviewer’s Questions can grab Special Energy cards. This tells us the niche for Energy Search is a deck that needs to preserve its Supporter usage for something else and/or is better off running a few extra copies of Energy Search than relying on normal draw power or just running more Energy.

The best place I can think of to use this card is Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin. The deck’s infamous combo of using Pachirisu (HS: Call of Legends 18/95) and its Poké-Body (Self Generation) to attach to Lightning Energy to itself from your hand, then playing Shaymin (HS: Unleashed 8/95) and its Poké-Body Celebration Wind to move that Energy to a waiting Zekrom (Black & White 47/114 and 114/114). You then drop one last Energy card onto Zekrom and attack for 120 damage with Bolt Strike, ideally first turn of the game! Energy Search can help because this is a combo intensive deck and if I open up with an Energy Search in hand as opposed to an actual Lightning Energy I need, I play Energy Search to shrink my deck by a card. I still have the Energy card I needed in hand and now my deck is smaller: if I have to use actual draw power any time during the match, I’ve increased the odds of getting the specific card I need for my critical combo. Additionally, if this is a build running some Pokémon (and basic Energy) off-Type, unlike Rainbow Energy, Energy Search is ultimately compatible with Self Generation.

In Limited play this card is a must run, but it can be easy to overlook! Here you don’t have the traditional draw and search power of the rest of the Pokémon TCG. Searching your deck becomes a potent effect since it allows you to see exactly what cards are in your Prizes and unlike the constructed formats, you probably aren’t going to have more than one or two cards that can do just that. I said in many other trading card games it becomes critical to thin your deck as much as possible, and in Limited even if you are running a mono-Type deck it holds true. If you are running a multi-Type deck it just gets more and more useful, making sure you have the right Energy type when you need it. Whether it is an evenly split amount of Energy or just a few included for some rare cost, you have a better chance of getting it to your hand. In the end this turns it into a must run for Limited play.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 2.5/5

Limited: 5/5

Combos with: Pachirisu

Summary

I was surprised I scored this as highly as I did for Modified, but that is an aggregate score reflecting its use in a specific but popular deck while still being functional in general. Energy Search mostly exists as a filler card, something a new player uses before they get the more potent and commonly used cards. Still there is a place where all those small advantages it grants can still be useful in Modified play, compounded by the lack of reliable, multi-card Energy search options.

Of course I am still selling my former possessions on eBay here. Pojo.com is not responsible for any transactions.

 


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