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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Enhanced Hammer

- Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed:
Aug. 14, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.38
Limited: 1.5

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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

#7 Enhanced Hammer 

Special Energy has played a huge role in recent formats, and today’s card was the answer to that. Energy removal (especially Item-based) has always been powerful in the TCG, and there isn’t much that hurts as much as someone throwing down an Item and depriving you of that Double Colourless or Plasma Energy you were counting on. 

At one stage, we even had whole decks based around spamming this card and its close cousin, Crushing Hammer. With Sableye DEX in play, you could recycle these cards every turn and just keep on using them until your opponent simply ran out of Energy, leaving you free to clean up with whatever attacker you chose (usually Darkrai EX). Quad Snorlax decks also made great use of this card and, to be honest, one or two copies could function as a handy tech in pretty much anything that could find the room. With Double Colourless, Plasma, and Prism Energy playing major roles throughout their time in Modified, Enhanced Hammer was likely to be worthwhile against most (though by no means all) decks. 

By the look of things, those mourning the loss of Enhanced Hammer won’t have to be sad for very long. A reprint has just been released in Japan as a promo, and it seems only a matter of time before we see it again in the West. It’s one of those cards which tend to go up and down in play, depending on the metagame and current trends in play, but as long as it is legal, it’s going to find a home somewhere, including in the new Extended format. 

Rating 

Overall impact: 3.5

Extended: 3.25 


aroramage

Hello and welcome back! For anyone just catching up, we've come up to our #7 spot on the Top 10 Cards Lost to Rotation, and that means we're halfway to being halfway there! Give or take. Today's card is Enhanced Hammer, and similar to yesterday's card, it has a simple effect with a powerful effect on the format. 

Enhanced Hammer simply discards a Special Energy from an opponent's Pokemon. Great, how special, can't even get rid of basic Energy - but that's not the case! Think about it: what Special Energies are available in the format? We've got Rainbow Energy, Double Colorless Energy, and Plasma Energy to all consider, never mind the upcoming Energies from Furious Fists! That's an incredible effect when you can get rid of a Lugia-EX's one Plasma Energy to keep them from attacking or their Double Colorless Energy to keep them at bay long enough for a KO! 

That's what Enhanced Hammer was all about: putting your opponent's specialty on hold. Suddenly Black Kyurem-EX's one special Rainbow Energy to fulfill the Electric Energy requirement for his Black Ballista is gone, and the opponent has to draw another Rainbow Energy to make it work again! That Regigigas-EX (NXD) suddenly has to wait another two turns cause you whacked their DCE off! Thundurus-EX (PLF) will have to wait until the next Plasma Energy comes around before he can discard that Energy he wants to...or at least till he uses that Raiden Knuckle to bring it back. 

Enhanced Hammer is a nice Item that has increasing utility as the number of Special Energies increases, and that's where it can do even better in Expanded than in Modified - though it can do quite a bit in Modified! At least if it were still in the format. 

Rating 

Modified: N/A (darn, it would've made a good tech against Fighting decks) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (more power with more Special Energies!) 

Limited: 1/5 (there wasn't even a Special Energy in all of Dark Explorers to use this on) 

Arora Notealus: I like how the TCG is the one to come up with these random kinds of items. I mean, can you imagine if the player had an item like PokeFlute, only instead of waking Pokemon up with a flute, they brought out a hammer and whacked the other Pokemon? PETA would totally be all over that. 

Next Time: The greatest of the dragons rises up, leaving behind a trail of fire and lightning!


Otaku

Our seventh key card cut by rotation to the 2014-2015 Modified Format is Enhanced Hammer!  You can read the original review here; Enhanced Hammer had a somewhat humble beginning, where it was the “lesser” version of a card known as Lost Remover… which if you aren’t familiar with it, has the same effect as Enhanced Hammer except the discarded Energy was sent to the Lost Zone (more or less the “remove from play” mechanic encountered in some other games).  There haven’t been many cards that could get Special Energy out of the discard (and its been rare when they to do so effectively), but outside of decks built around (BW: Dragons Exalted 51/124) - which hadn’t released at that point though spoilers from Japan meant some players knew it was coming - there was little reason to take a chance and leave Special Energy in the discard pile. 

Those reviews are entertaining but a bit embarrassing because of what we didn’t see coming; much of what was said was accurate if we ignored another card from the same set: Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108).  It is hard to believe now that Sableye didn’t make that Top 10 list, though you can see by the time we got around to reviewing it over two months the entire crew was singing its praises.  So while I regrettably got more than a few things wrong in both those reviews, I was at least not so blind as to miss that “Hammertime” decks were already a successful thing… and that especially once Lost Remover was gone Enhanced Hammer was going to be seeing heavy play with Sableye (alongside several other top Items of the time).  I did fail to realize how decks would shift to very low Energy counts now thus mitigating my fear that removing a single Special Energy wasn’t going to matter against energy efficient attackers. 

Enhanced Hammer has had a great run; at the same time I loathe Items that discard Energy (at least at such a price), there are still many Special Energy cards that seem abusively powerful… in fact Strong Energy seems poised to join that list and makes me regret Enhanced Hammer leaving the format.  Hammertime is still sometimes played (usually blended with former “rival” Lasertime), but Skyla and raw draw power coupled with the format being so Special Energy heavy means that TecH copies of Enhanced Hammer do see play… which spike this card’s general (as opposed to deck specific) score.  It is so close to being a staple, at least as a single copy (like Lysandre); the match-ups where its useless or subpar easily being outstripped by those key matches where it keeps you from losing (ideally enabling you to secure the win). 

Had it remained legal, I believe it would have seen a slight spike due to Strong Energy.  In Expanded, I suspect it will remain about where it is: while Strong Energy will be showing up I think at least one or two Basic Energy focused decks will be strong (perhaps many more), preventing it from being an obvious inclusion.  On the off chance you’re fortunate enough to play at a Limited tournament using BW: Dark Explorers boosters… there is no Special Energy in this set. 

Ratings 

Modified (NXD-On): 3.25/5 - Please note that this is a general rating; if you’ve got room in a deck you’ve got to have a good reason for leaving this out.  It is just most decks don’t have the room and in some matches, discarding a single Special Energy isn’t important enough.  If you’re trying for something like Hammertime, it is basically a perfect score (though still not something for which you’d run more than two copies). 

Modified (BCR-On): N/A - Yes, you knew that from the entire point of the this Top 10 list, but this card isn’t legal once we rotate; had it remained, its score probably would have bumped up to 3.5/5 as I think discarding Strong Energy with it would have become a semi-regular occurrence. 

Expanded: 3.25/5 - It scores no better because (and this is pure speculation) I believe enough of the decks that either don’t rely on or use Special Energy at all will help balance out those using Strong Energy (and those that currently exist that are Special Energy heavy have already been accounted for).  It remains a card you wish you had room to run, but usually have to give up due to lack of space. 

Limited: 1/5 - There is no Special Energy in this set. 

Summary: Part of me wishes this card had never been printed, but because several Energy cards (or else the Pokémon that utilize them too well) exist instead I shall miss this answer to the oft abusive power of Special Energy heavy decks.  Writing this made me realize that - as I generally adjust scores for “general” use versus “specific” use - this card probably should have been a bit higher on the list.


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