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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Cards of 2014

#6 - Strong Energy

- Furious Fists

Date Reviewed:
Dec. 19, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard:
Expanded:
Limited:

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

#6 Strong Energy 

Pokémon’s decision to pick up the Dark Explorers way of doing things again and give us themed sets lead to a massive amount of Fighting Type support coming our way in Furious Fists. Not all of it was very practical (*looks at Machamp*), but Strong Energy was a stand-out card that helped to create a new, highly successful, archetype and handed out a significant boost to some already powerful Pokémon. 

Thanks to Strong Energy’s built-in Muscle Band effect, Fighting decks can hit some truly absurd numbers on the first attacking turn, especially if you also factor in Muscle Band and Fighting Stadium. This means that Landorus EX can hit for 90 +30 for a single Energy against an active EX, while Hawlucha FFI can do 120 in the same circumstances. That’s pretty silly in itself, but the major achievement of Strong Energy was to help turn Donphan PLS from a binder uncommon into a top tier deck that is currently dominating tournaments. 

That’s because Strong Energy, together with all that other Fighting Support, makes Donphan’s cheap-but-weak Spinning Turn attack into something capable of securing two-hit KOs on just about anything, while it runs and hides on the bench behind wall cards like Sigilyph and Robo Substitute. This, as fellow reviewer Otaku pointed out to me, is not the first time Donphan has been used in this way with Donphan NG/Baby Pokémon and Donphan SW/Jumpluff SW being basically the same deck as what we have now. 

Easily the most notable of the designer’s effort to create new Type-specific Energy, Strong Energy has had a predictable effect on the game. Almost all damage-boosting effects are powerful, but when you hand them to Pokémon that are already pretty good, it’s going to be a game-changer. 

Rating 

Modified: 4 (made Donphan playable and Landorus ridiculous)

Expanded: 4 (Fighting is a thing here too)


aroramage

Before Strong Energy came about, Fighting types weren't particularly notable aside from being teched against Dark decks. Terrakion could stomp down on Darkrai-EX, and Landorus-EX was an extremely potent threat even in the early game with its Hammerhead attack. Once Furious Fists came out though, the Fighting types united into their own deck, and things became a lot scarier.
 
Strong Energy was our #1 card from the Furious Fists set, empowering all sorts of crazy cards including the aforementioned Landorus-EX and the newer Lucario-EX. Generally any Fighting type equipped with Strong Energy got an extra 20 damage on all of their attacks, which gives way to dealing out way more damage. Suddenly Hammerhead goes from 30 to 50 with just the 1 card, and adding more Energies or even Tools like Muscle Band and Hypnotoxic Laser which made the game far more aggressive only helped to serve the Fighting Deck's beatdown strategy!
 
Since its debut, Strong Energy has held an immense impact on the format, but now it's going to if it hasn't already see a small decline. The answer to why is simple when you consider Enhanced Hammer's reprint and Xerosic being a thing, making playing Special Energies much riskier than before. Strong Energy can't last on the field terribly long, and Enhanced Hammer can just whack it off any Pokemon without using the Supporter slot; throwing in things like Jamming Net and Head Ringer can even make Strong Energy useless or inconsequential.
 
Despite these newfound weaknesses, Strong Energy will no doubt continue to see play in aggressive Fighting decks - after all, it's a Muscle Band with Energy! - but they're gonna have to come up with tricks and clever ideas to maintain their presence in this "Spenergy Decimation" format. Maybe if they had an Item-lock like with Seismitoad-EX...
 
Rating
 
Standard: 4/5 (still a powerful card, just more counters against it now)
 
Expanded: 4/5 (same goes here)
 
Limited: 5/5 (no big removal and lots of Fighting types - you get it, you run it!)
 
Arora Notealus: And to think, after looking at the new Primal Clash stuff, we're gonna be getting even more Special Energies. Every type's going to have Special Energy at this rate! No wonder they brought back Enhanced Hammer.
 
Weekend Thought: Any cards you think should've been on the list by now? I'm sure you've got good predictions to what's on top of the list! What cards do you think will get better in the future? I dunno about you guys, but I'm thinking around summertime next year, we're gonna see lots of Fairy decks...
 
Next Time: Taking out stuff to put it somewhere else, only to make use of it faster than ever!


Otaku

Welcome as we finish off the first week of the Top 10 Cards Of 2014 Countdown!  The lists were collected and averaged out from the CotD to create the master list for reviewing.  As with our Top 10 lists for individual sets, reprints are excluded: without this rule cards like Double Colorless Energy place (possibly take it) most years.  For my own list, my main guideline was card impact.  I evaluated the card according to breadth of impact (how widespread its usage/response to its usage was), depth of impact (how deeply it affected the decks that used it/needed to counter it) and time of impact (how long did it affect how we played). 

Our fifth review of the week and sixth place finisher is Strong Energy (XY: Furious Fists 104/111).  We looked at it back on September 11th and you can read that review here: it was our number one pick for the set!  If you don’t, what you need to understand is that this is a part of the Fighting-Type support from XY: Furious Fists, which gave the already strong Fighting-Types even more power but surprised us by not favoring only those to the exclusion of the other Fighting-Types.  Instead several lesser played Fighting-Types were reinvigorated and a few near misses have gone from chump to champ, most notably Donphan (BW: Plasma Storm 72/135).  In fact, this selection is something of a proxy for all those cards!  Strong Energy itself provides +20 damage when attached to a Fighting-Type Pokémon and can’t be attached to a Pokémon of a different Type (it even discards itself if you find a way around that restriction).  Offense is the best defense in Pokémon, Fighting Weakness is one of (if not the) most common and together this allows for some big hits for little Energy. 

Breadth: This is a card for decks that have a significant Fighting-Type presence… which at the time of release wasn’t actually that rare as Landorus-EX had made a comeback and been performing quite well.  Technically a deck doesn’t have to have a lot of Fighting-Types in it for the Fighting-Type presence to be “significant”; if most of the other Pokémon in the deck aren’t attacking and/or have very low Energy requirements that are [C] or [F], you can probably squeeze in at least some Strong Energy (if not a whole set).  Note that I’m not suggesting you can use it on off type cards, just that any other Energy you run should be sufficient if demand is so low.  It definitely isn’t universal but it works in multiple Fighting-Type decks (some mono-Fighting, some with very few Fighting-Types actually in them) and in elevating such decks, it has helped to shape a lot of the format indirectly. 

Depth: Much like how the impact is wider than it appears at a glance, it is also deeper than it first appears.  +20 damage doesn’t seem like much, but it literally has made certain decks.  The effect stacks so if your opponent can’t get rid of them (or the Pokémon to which they are attached) quickly, small attacks can get large and large attacks can become massive OHKO machines, even without exploiting Weakness.  There are other damage boosting tricks available to Fighting-Types: Fighting Stadium (versus Active Pokémon-EX), Machamp (XY: Furious Fists 46/111; XY Promos XY13) and Muscle Band (which works for anything).  The difference is that Strong Energy adds to that total plus stacks with itself.  The format had to adapt to a Landorus-EX capable of opening with Hammerhead for 90 damage (Fighting Stadium, Muscle Band and one Strong Energy) against an enemy Pokémon-EX plus hitting the Bench for 30.  Donphan goes from needing Muscle Band just to score a 3HKO against Pokémon-EX with Spinning Turn to (with sufficient reliability for the current format) scoring 2HKOs against them with it and OHKOs with a well timed Wreck. 

Time: Strong Energy has had about one third of the year to affect Organized Play: this was the set when the official U.S. release date wasn’t the tournament legal date, but rather three weeks later (September 3rd, 2014 which was also the day when the Standard Format became BW: Boundaries Crossed and later).  Unlike the other two formats, there is no ambiguity here; it has only had that much time to affect the format, and it most definitely had affected the format during this time.  Everyone was waiting and no one was surprised when this card turned out to be potent; some of us may have expected a bit less or a bit more, but overall, we knew what it meant. 

Ratings 

Standard: 4.5/5 

Expanded: 4.5/5 

Limited: 4.9/5 

Summary: Strong Energy has helped to shape the format even though its only for Fighting-Types.  You may have noticed I raised its Expanded score while leaving the others alone: I thought Enhanced Hammer would be more of a problem, with how things unfolded, Enhanced Hammer hasn’t hampered Strong Energy as much as I expected now that it is back in Standard… and that was the only difference between the two formats I was concerned about.  I actually scored Strong Energy as my ninth place pick, but I can see why it placed higher and think I may have lowballed it. 


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