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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Recycle

Emerging Powers

Date Reviewed: Sept. 23, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.37
Limited: 4.75

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: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Recycle

Today’s card is another ‘welcome back’ Trainer, and this time it keeps its old name. This card was last reviewed by none other than two-time World Champion Jason Klaczynski back in 2000. His conclusion? It can do all kinds of cool things, but the coin flip aspect of the card makes it a risky play.

The effect of Recycle is simple (and kind of obvious, given the card’s name): flip a coin, if heads, put a card from the discard on top of your deck. Obviously the best combo with this card is to pair it with some kind of straight draw (Cheren would be nice, but something like Ninetales HGSS or even Noctowl HGSS would also do the job), so that you get the needed card in your hand right away. The best thing about Recycle is its versatility: it can get you absolutely anything you want. The worst is the flippyness of it: get tails and you have just wasted a space in your deck. Is it worth the risk though? Well, probably not, as there are better ways of recovering the cards you need without the coin flip.

For Trainers, we have Junk Arm; for Pokémon there’s Revive, Flower Shop Lady, and Rescue Energy (depending on your needs); for Energy there is Energy Retrieval and Fisherman; with Supporters, you should be running sufficient copies to start with: very, very rarely will you want the ‘fifth copy’ that Recycle offers. The one exception to this is Special Energy, which is otherwise not recoverable for almost all decks (though Steelix Prime can do it with an attack).

Nevertheless, the fact that Recycle could get you any of these cards makes it sort of tempting to try. It’s frustrating in many ways . . . with the flip, it’s too Chansey, but without it (as Ness pointed out all those years ago), it would a ridiculously good staple card. In the end, I would rather run sufficient copies of key cards and manage my resources properly than ever have to rely on the 50-50 chance of recovery that Recycle offers.

Rating

Modified: 2.5 (when it works, it’s a great effect, but sound deckbuilding/playing reduces the need to go risking it)

Limited: 4.5 (You probably don’t have many good card here – even the chance of re-using one is fantastic)


Otaku

We close the week with Recycle. Recycling is good, right? Well this card is recycled from its original release all the way back in Fossil! It didn’t see a lot of pay back then… should it see any now?

Stats

Recycle is a Trainer-Item, just like most of the cards that rival its effect. The good news is this makes it easy to play and (thanks to Junk Arm) reclaim and re-use from the discard pile. The bad news is that it becomes completely dead in hand against Gothitelle or Vileplume.

Effect

A classic “tails fails” card, Recycle let’s you top deck any one card of your choice from your discard pile should you flip “heads” on a mandatory coin toss. This is a relatively solid effect, though far from great: getting a single card back of your choice roughly half the time you use Recycle is quite useful. It is the anticipated 50% failure rate combined with the fact that there are other options available that keeps it from being relevant.

Usage

As I stated earlier, this card didn’t see a lot of play back in early days of the game when it was first tournament legal, and that was because of better alternatives: Item Finder was more effective for recycling Trainer cards (and available from the start) and Nightly Garbage Run gave us the ability to recycle Pokémon and basic Energy cards in one convenient package (available in Team Rocket). The only card it could grab that nothing else could easily was Special Energy, which eventually did get some cards that could recycle them. These cards are all still available and games are much shorter (as in over first turn) so Recycle has little to no use.

In modern Modified, it meets a similar fate, with a list full of cards that whittle away at its uses. The following were all the cards that returned at least one card (sometimes more) from your discard pile to your deck or your hand.

  • Burned Tower (Stadium) – During a player’s turn s/he can flip a coin, and if “heads” return a Basic Energy to his/her hand
  • Energy Retrieval (Item) – Returns 2 basic Energy cards to hand
  • Energy Returner­ (Supporter) – Returns up to 4 basic Energy cards to hand
  • Fisherman (Supporter) - Returns up to 4 basic Energy cards to hand
  • Flower Shop Lady (Supporter) – Shuffles 3 Pokémon and 3 basic Energy cards into to your deck
  • Good Rod (Item) - which requires a coin toss; “heads” top-decks a Pokémon, “tails” an Item
  • Junk Arm (Item) – requires you discard two cards from hand to use, but returns an Item to your hand
  • Lapras (Basic Pokémon) – for (W) can use first attack to return one Supporter to your hand
  • Lillipup (Basic Pokémon) – for (C) first attack adds an Item back to your hand
  • Porygon-Z (Stage 2 Pokémon) – Poké-Power top-decks an item on a successful coin toss
  • Revive (Item) - returns a single Basic Pokémon to your Bench
  • Sableye (Basic Pokémon) – for (D) first attack top-decks any one card

Most of these already don’t see a lot of play and are pretty specific. You can plainly see that any deck that needs to reclaim its basic Energy cards has much better options, be they Item, Stadium or Supporter. Items are easily (but expensively) reclaimed through Junk Arm in most competitive deck builds. Many cards can hit more than one card type, and of those the closest rival is Good Rod as an Item that top-decks (from your discard pile) either one Pokémon or one Item. Still, Recycle is the only one that can place a Special Energy card, Stadium, or Supporter back on top of the deck, and still having the option of anything else helps immensely. While doubtful, perhaps decks that are really dependent on Special Energy (Zoroark/Cinccino?) would find it worth running.

Although I don’t think you’ll find a lot of decks with a slot open for Recycle, if you do have an extra slot and nothing better to fill it, Recycle can be quite helpful when it works. I’ll also mention the most obvious combo every for it: Recycle a card, then use any draw effect that draws the first card without causing any shuffling. The second most obvious combo is whenever an effect is made better by guaranteeing a specific card is on top of your deck, such as attacks that do discard the top card (or cards) from your deck and give extra damage for each basic Energy card in there.

This is pretty much a must run for Limited play, as are most Items. Making room for a single slot in your deck should be easy and due to the scarcity of most cards in your deck (you tend to be stuck running a lot of singles and doubles in this format) even only a 50% chance at reclaiming something important is great for your deck.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 2.25/5

Limited: 5/5

Summary

If we didn’t have Junk Arm this card would be much, much more useful. I was really hoping that it would get a slight update/power-up like some other cards, since if it was “Flip two coins. As long as at least one is heads…” for the effect or it got two cards or perhaps some other minor tweak it could have rivaled Junk Arm in at least a few builds, or at least complimented it. Still if you have room, it really is useful when it works.

virusyosh

Happy almost-weekend, Pojo readers! Today we're going to end our COTD week by reviewing a reprint of a card that Ness last reviewed about 11 years ago, but was recently reprinted in Emerging Powers. Today's Card of the Day is Recycle.

Recycle is an Item card, therefore you can use as many of it (and other Items) as you would like during your turn. We also have quite a bit of Item lock in our metagame right now, with both Gothitelle and Vileplume making appearances in many decks. As for an actual effect, Recycle allows you to flip a coin, and if heads, you may choose a card from your discard pile and put it on top of your deck. While a coin flip makes the card intrinsically unreliable, the ability to get any card back from your discard pile into your deck is very nice, especially if you have a way of drawing a card during your turn, which is quite easy given what we have available to us in Modified. Recycle is also better than Flower Shop Lady due to the ability to get ANY card back to the top of the deck, therefore having easier access to the card that you Recycled. If you aren't worried about coin flips and have space for it in your deck, Recycle is a decent choice.

Modified: 3/5 Recycle is one of those cards that can make a major impact in your game, even though it is coin flip reliant. The ability to get back any card from your discard pile to the top of your deck is very good, and with all of the draw power we have available to use in Modified, it's quite easy to get the Recycled card back into your hand as well. Recycle does have some competition in Flower Shop Lady and Junk Arm, and there are pros and cons to each. That being said, if you don't mind the coin flips, Recycle could do quite well for you.

Limited: 5/5 You should generally use any Item card you get in Limited, and Recycle is no exception. The ability to get any card back from the discard in a slow format is really nice, especially if you only run a single copy in your Limited deck.


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