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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Dark Explorers Cards:

#9 - Enhanced Hammer

Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed: May 8, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.00
Limited: 1.00

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

Dark Explorers Countdown
#9 Enhanced Hammer

Wow . . . I did not expect to see this card on the list. In fact I hadn’t even given it a second thought when I was working on my top 10. Have I missed an obvious trick here? I guess I should try and figure that out.

Enhanced Hammer is a Trainer-Item with (as per usual) a pretty straightforward effect: when you play it, you discard a Special Energy from one of your opponent’s Pokémon. Sounds familiar? Of course it does, it’s practically the same thing as Lost Remover. Yes, I know that Lost Remover sends the Energy to the Lost Zone, which is technically better than putting it in the discard, but effectively it’s the same thing unless your opponent is running something really weird like Stoutland BW (which they won’t be).

I think it was the fact that we already had Lost Remover that made me overlook this card. Don’t get me wrong, Lost Remover is excellent in Durant decks and pretty good anywhere if you can find the space for it, thanks to the massive amounts of Special Energy (particularly Double Colourless) that see play. However, its presence in the format has done nothing to put people off using Special Energy and winning games with it. The ability to drop DCE and get a KO with something like Mewtwo-EX or Tornadus EP is worth the risk of losing it to Lost Remover on the next turn (after all, it’s not played that much). All things considered, I’m still a bit puzzled as to how this made the top 10.

I guess my fellow reviewers could be looking to the future. If the next rotation leaves us with a Black and White-on format, then Lost Remover will be . . . well, lost. This card then gives us an instant replacement and with Blend Energy (a kind of limited Multi Energy) on the horizon, it may be that Special Energy removal becomes even more important. That’s a bit too speculative for me though. If Call of Legends isn’t rotated, then Enhanced Hammer will be irrelevant for another year. If decks don’t become any more dependent on Special Energy, then it will stay as a good card, but hardly a staple. It’s a case of wait-and-see really. For now, just stick with Lost Remover.

Rating

Modified: 3 (We don’t need it now. We might need it later on)

Limited: 1 (No Special Energy in the set, so this is just a waste of space)

virusyosh

Hey everyone! Today we're continuing our Top 10 countdown of what we feel are the best cards from Dark Explorers by reviewing a new Item card that will probably see quite a bit of play at some point, even though it may not be right now. Today's Card of the Day is Enhanced Hammer.
 
Enhanced Hammer is an Item card, meaning you can use it as many times as you'd like during your turn without having to worry about burning your Supporter slot, and is also blocked by Vileplume UD's Allergy Flower and Gothitelle's Magic Room. Enhanced Hammer's effect is very simple: you choose a Special Energy card attached to one of your opponent's Pokemon and discard it. In many ways Enhanced Hammer is functionally equivalent to Lost Remover (where Lost Remover takes a Special Energy and puts it into the Lost Zone). Most decks will only run either Enhanced Hammer or Lost Remover, not both; though most will choose Lost Remover as the Lost Zone will permanently remove the Special Energy. On the other hand, Recycle is the only Modified-legal card that can get Special Energy out of the discard, and it sees little play. Overall, choosing between Lost Remover and Enhanced Hammer is largely personal preference (or availability - Call of Legends is somewhat hard to find nowadays), although Enhanced Hammer will become more important when Call of Legends rotates out of Modified.
 
Modified: 3/5 As I've stated before, the choice between Lost Remover and Enhanced Hammer is largely personal preference, as most decks don't run Recycle. However, if you are really worried about it, you can easily run Lost Remover instead. Conversely, if you really hate Special Energy (or have a lot of them in your area), you could always run both Lost Remover and Enhanced Hammer. That being said, Enhanced Hammer is a solid metagame choice if you have a lot of Special Energy in your area (Double Colorless, Prism, and Special Darkness are all common), and continue to be a great choice once Call of Legends (and Lost Remover) rotates from the format.
 
Limited: 1/5 While most Items are great to use in Limited, there are no Special Energy cards in Dark Explorers, making Enhanced Hammer totally useless. Therefore, you probably shouldn't use it.


Otaku

Welcome to number nine on our countdown… Enhanced Hammer! Most translations I saw of this got the name wrong; or rather the Japanese name may not translate well into English and/or was changed intentionally. I on the other hand have no excuse for a mistake I made in yesterday’s Groudon EX review. The mistake in question was on the card’s Weakness: I claimed it was Grass when it is actually Water. It made no difference to the card’s final score, and I hope to have a correction up shortly where I’ll explain why those two Weaknesses, at least at this exact moment in the game, are so close in value.

Stats

Enhanced Hammer is a Trainer, specifically an Item. In Modified there are a few effects that can block Items and several in Unlimited. Several things in Unlimited can recycle Items (usually by recycling Trainers in general) but the only really effective method in Modified is to use Junk Arm. Some Items are strong, no “if”, “ands”, or “buts”, while some are great because they can be recycled repeatedly via Junk Arm. Seriously greener players, when people grouse that Junk Arm “breaks” an Item, they may be right or wrong depending on the specific Item but the phenomenon is well established. This is the second card we have with “Hammer” in its name (the other being Crushing Hammer), so we might be getting a new “family” of cards… or maybe it’s just going to remain these two.

Effects

Enhanced Hammer discards a Special Energy card from one of your opponent’s Pokémon. This is a solid effect; great against some decks but weak against others; the format will modify (pardon the pun) the usefulness of the card. Obviously a format where Special Energy cards are seldom (if ever) used or the only ones used discard themselves right away (none like that this format, but several past examples exist), the card’s going to be useless. In a format built on Special Energy (during many periods, this describes the Unlimited Format) a card like this is an amazing must play (unless you’ve got something better like Energy Removal).

Another aspect of Special Energy relevant to various past formats but not this one are Special Energy cards that act more like Trainers, usually having a weak effect made useful because it is attached to a Colorless Energy (like Cyclone Energy, Heal Energy, or Warp Energy); such Energy can be discarded, but the effect will already have happened. Energy acceleration also can affect how useful Energy removing effects; while attaching Special Energy via an effect is uncommon, if you can throw down enough basic Energy it can often compensate. This mostly matters when a deck is also using a card that provides multiple units of Energy (like Double Colorless Energy), it is extra devastating when it is removed. I already mentioned Special Energy with Trainer-like effects. In both cases, a deck that runs those in addition to being able to attach multiple Basic Energy cards in a turn can usually compensate quite well.

Most of what I’ve said in the last two paragraphs would probably fit just as well in the “Usage” section, but the overlap is just more obvious here than on many other cards; it is hard to evaluate an effect without considering how it is used, after all. The above gives you the tools to deduce how useful this card is, but in the next section I’ll state it more plainly.

Usage

Right now the format has a lot of Energy acceleration, but fortunately the most universal source is Double Colorless Energy, which Enhanced Hammer can crush. Some decks with other forms of Energy acceleration still use it because several of the most potent Pokémon in the format make excellent use of Double Colorless Energy. Following that are Prism Energy and Rainbow Energy, also quite common in decks with or without Energy acceleration because splashing in an off-Type Pokémon is quite important for exploiting Type-Matching.

The thing is, in Modified right now we have a superior choice: Lost Remover. It is almost impossible to reclaim a Special Energy from the discard pile, but it is not possible to get one back from the Lost Zone. In Modified, there are a few Pokémon that can retrieve a Special Energy from the discard, but only one easy to play Item (Recycle), and none are common plays. Still, there is absolutely no downside to using Lost Remover over Enhanced Hammer, so why even take the chance? I don’t think there is heavy enough Special Energy usage to warrant using both.

Now this next bit requires a SPOILER warning since I’ll address a card we’ll most likely get in the next set; stop reading if you want to be “surprised”. According to translations from www.pokebeach.com (that is a link to the main page, check the navigation bar on the side and you’ll find a listing for Japanese Sets as a sub-heading) this 100 HP Stage 1 Psychic Pokémon will have an attack for (C) that does 50 points of damage times the number of Special Energy in your opponent’s discard pile. This has many players excited, and is one of the two reasons I believe Enhanced Hammer made this list. With that I END SPOILER.

There is another reason not mentioned in the spoiler for why Enhanced Hammer is catching people’s eyes… it is May so our minds are on the anticipated rotation. No official word what, if anything, is being cut. I speculate making a clean break from the older mechanics and switching to Black & White and later sets, but that is quite literally an educated guess; no more or less logical than making it Call of Legends-On since that was a reprint set or no rotation to please a large segment of the player base down since we rotated early the previous year.

So Lost Remover may be gone as soon as we rotate, and thus Enhanced Hammer is almost certainly going to replace it as a solid but not universally used card. We would also be losing Junk Arm in such a rotation, and that will really hurt… well all Items actually. However Lost Remover and Enhanced Hammer are the kind of Items that are run as TecH with single copies (and the option of Junk Arm to get up to four extra uses). Unless we see a major upsweep in crucial Special Energy usage, it would be hard for the average deck to justify running more than two copies of Enhanced Hammer, and a TecH copy you can’t recycle requires precise timing… so precise it may not be worth it in the end.

In Unlimited, we have Energy Removal, Super Energy Removal, Item Finder, and Junk Arm. Between these four cards I find it hard to believe that you’d have either the room or need for Enhanced Hammer. In Limited play, there is no Special Energy in this set, and even if you’re pulling from both BW: Dark Explorers and another set with them, the odds of having Enhanced Hammer in hand to counter it are low enough I wouldn’t bother.

I realize this review, like so many of mine, is quite lengthy already but I need to comment on something. Energy removing effects are a potent thing in Pokémon. Under normal circumstances you only get one manual Energy attachment per turn, and of course Energy fuels attacks (and sometimes other effects), making them the second most inherently valuable cards in the game; only Pokémon themselves have greater intrinsic value since if you’ve got none in play, you lose.

Items are a class of Trainer that have no built in cost save the universal costs of running and playing the card. In practice, Trainers drive a deck because they aid in your own set-up and frustrate your opponent’s. Still, technically they are the least important cards in terms of raw mechanics. So I always worry when something you can usually use as many of as you want per turn can blow away something you can only make use of once per turn. In the current format Energy removing cards are a blessing, but this is a format of ludicrous Energy acceleration, massive Basic Pokémon (Pokémon EX or plain), and even bigger damage.

I bring this up because I have heard far too many experienced, knowledgeable players who rightly point out that Energy removing Trainers often bring a lot of skill to the game. That skill comes at a big price; other aspects of the game have to be unbalanced for such cards to improve things. If you cure a disease, the medicine is no longer good for you.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 3/5

Limited: 1/5

Summary

As you probably gathered, Enhanced Hammer did not make my Top 10 list. I lack the ability to see the future, so while I do consider how the following set and pending rotation will affect cards, most of my picks were chosen for how they affected the Japanese game (when they had a similar card pool), how I believe they will impact the game right now, and how they could affect the game based on the almost unpredictable nature of players in general; sometimes we flock to specific cards and shun others, even if they are equals.

Despite what I fear is a negative tone for this article, you should be snagging a play set of Enhanced Hammer. Special Energy are rarely unimportant to the game, after all. It is just right now we have a slightly better alternative. That Modified score is much more impressive when you realize that right now, Enhanced Hammer is the “second string”.


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