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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 5 Reprinted Legendary Treasure Cards

#2 - Crushing Hammer  

- Legendary Treasures

Date Reviewed: Nov 14, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.17
Limited: 4.50

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

#2 Crushing Hammer 

The final two cards in our top 5 reprints are cards that left the format (very briefly) before returning in Legendary Treasures. Apparently, they were missed.

Claiming the runner-up spot is Crushing Hammer, a Trainer-Item that discards one of your opponent’s Energy cards on a coin flip. The effect of being able to discard any Energy is extremely powerful and dominated in the early days of Pokémon where a coin flip was not required for Energy Removal and Super Energy Removal. Making the card flippy doesn’t balance it exactly, but it does make it too risky to use in almost all decks, which stops it from ruining the format. The exceptions being decks which have the space for luxury ‘tails fail’ cards, and decks which have some way of mitigating the potential failure. 

There aren’t any of the former around at the moment, and the only deck that really fits into the latter category is Darkrai/Sableye, which can use Sableye’s Junk Hunt to re-use Crushing (and Enhanced) Hammers to simply run the opponent out of Energy to the point where they cannot attack. It can be a highly effective strategy, though it still depends on hitting heads when you need it, and some decks even have the ability to cope anyway (those using Blastoise, for example). 

Crushing Hammer is by no means a great card: it and its predecessor, Energy Removal 2, got relatively little play in the past. It’s only really practical to use in one variant of one deck right now, so it’s not a card I feel I can rate too highly. I guess those players who miss their Darkrai Hammertime decks will be pleased to see it again though. 

Rating 

Modified: 3 (Darkrai get one of his toys back)

Limited: 4 (no reason not throw it in and hope it works) 

 

As we review the second best Reprint of BW: Legendary Treasures I will be able to correct a past wrong: we are looking at Crushing Hammer (BW: Legendary Treasures 111/113)!  This card first appeared as BW: Emerging Powers 92/98, though under the name Energy Removal 2 it dates all the way back to the end of the WotC-era and has at least five printings.

 

My original review for the card never went up, but was in line with those that did; it was an “okay card”: not something for ever deck, but the “tails fails” made it balanced.  “Tails fails” seldom if ever balances a card.  All that happens is the effect becomes too weak or remains to strong… but only when you have a certain amount of “luck”.  This can manifest in no one runs the card (which isn’t really balanced either), in everyone running the card and the top cut is almost exclusively people that got the most “heads” results, and the third option where just certain decks can afford to abuse it.

 

You get one manual Energy attachment per turn, and you have to have an Energy card available to make use of it.  You can play as many Items as you wish per turn, provided you can get them into hand and they will have at least some effect on the field; some may have costs but that is specific to the card and not a general game play feature.  Hopefully this explains the clear imbalance: as long as you have room in a deck with adequate access, and the metagame doesn’t nerf the effectiveness, you run Crushing Hammer. 

 

Wait… so why did I just cite that a card that has a long history (even if most is under a different name) wasn’t used for so long?  That I just said you run but in reality most decks haven’t been running it?  The format may mean there is something better: Energy Removal in Unlimited play, Enhanced Hammer if your metagame is sufficiently Special Energy focused, Hypnotoxic Laser because Poison with a chance of Sleep is often as effective or more effective than a chance at discarding an Energy… and decks only have so much room.  The format might specifically make discarding Energy unappealing by being “out of whack” itself: overabundant Energy removal or almost no Energy acceleration in a format of OHKOs (why discard with an Item what the KO will discard anyway?).

 

The third (and just as important) is “access”: a lot of formats where Energy acceleration wasn’t an issue ended up making more “mundane” cards more important because you couldn’t afford the space for anything else to begin with.  “Access” is why Crushing Hammer and its return are so potent now; last format “Hammer Time” decks were a thing because Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) and its Junk Hunt, enhanced by draw and search power, gave unprecedented access to all Items, but it was more unbalancing for some than others.

 

Crushing Hammer, when the most you can use it is four times and with it being difficult to drop in multiples, isn’t the same as an opponent able to barrage you with at least two per turn over and over again, eventually running you out of Energy or at least depleting your Energy to the point you can’t make “good” attacks.  With its reprint, this may be an option again; we can’t be sure due to the change in rules.  A first turn Junk Hunt was a big deal to most decks using Sableye.

 

At the same time, a deck staple that was often maxed out (Pokémon Catcher) was so badly nerfed via erratum that it may be better to drop it and replace it with another useful card… and Crushing Hammer just might be that card for a few decks.  Some decks just can’t make use of a Catcher-KO mentality when Pokémon Catcher fails half the time (and alternatives are unreliable in different ways and/or require more resources).  It is just easier for them to focus on discarding more Pokémon Tools or Energy or something else because while useful in fewer circumstances, it is more reliable or less of a risk when it fails.  We may even find that rotating TecH just fills more slots now; instead of being forced to choose between a clutch Tool Scrapper or a clutch Enhanced Hammer, you may have room for both or for several Crushing Hammer… but that change is only valid for a single event because the metagame will significantly shift by the next tournament.

 

I already made it clear that Unlimited has superior choices, so I’ll just tell you the obvious; you run Crushing Hammer if you pull it in Limited.  The “exceptions” are improbabilities, like pulling so many good cards it gets crowded out; even I don’t dock for that.

 

Ratings

 

Unlimited: 1/5

 

Modified: 3.25/5

 

Limited: 5/5

 

Summary

Wait… after that huge rant I only gave it a 3.25/5?

 

Any deck can use this card and outside of a few match-ups where it won’t really help (versus Deluge decks, for example), but most of the time on “heads” it is amazingly powerful and on “tails” it was a total waste.  If there weren’t so many questionably powerful cards (amongst the otherwise small “competitive” pool), it would have scored higher, and as is the rule changes and erratum might create more openings or might damage the usefulness it previously enjoyed.

 

This was my number two pick for my own list, where I restricted myself to cards that had (briefly) rotated out of the format but that this printing returned to legality.  It earns its place because while it is only the best choice for one or two decks, it is perfectly functional anywhere… on “heads”.  It is a “broken or fail” kind of card.


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