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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Shield Energy

- Primal Clash

Date Reviewed:
April 29, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.5
Expanded: 2.5
Limited: 3.88

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Ever since Furious Fists came out with their special Energies, it's been the developers' goal to continue throwing out various Energies for every type. So far, we've gotten Fighting, Grass, and Psychic, and now we add Metal and Fairy Energy to that list. In this case, we've gotten Shield Energy. 

Shield Energy brings back what the oldest versions of Metal Energy in its Special form had: a damage reduction cost while also bringing out Metal Energy. Back in those days, Metal and Darkness decks weren't really playable since you were required to run their special Energies - yet at the same time BECAUSE you had to use these Energies, you got much more powerful Pokemon out of the mix. Where Metal was the defensive option, Darkness became the offensive option, and that kept those kinds of decks afloat for years until they finally made Basic Metal/Darkness Energy back at the the turn of the Diamond & Pearl era. 

So is Shield Energy worth running? Most of the time, this'll help against Fire-types that want to melt your Metal-types into nothingness, reducing the overall damage by 20 (since it's applied before W/R). Other than that, it just reduces it by 10, which while it adds in extra effort on your opponent's end to get rid of the Metal Pokemon in general - especially with 4 of those attached to the same one - we've been conquering that barrier since the arrival of HTLBank, and we've only gotten more tools to surpass it like Muscle Band and Strong Energy. 

Still, you should test out what Shield Energy can do for you. On its own, it's not so great, but together with more Shield Energy, it can be a sturdy barrier of sorts. Keeping in mind this can help save your Benched Pokemon from spread damage as well - at least in part. 

Rating 

Standard: 2/5 (I appreciate the attempt to bring back old-fashioned Metal Energy into the format, but we've become brutally offensive in the meantime, and I don't think that'll change dramatically anytime soon) 

Expanded: 2/5 (about the same here) 

Limited: 4/5 (with few ways of removing it and lower damage outputs, this card can make any Metal Pokemon last far longer than it should - like that Excadrill!)

Arora Notealus: Gotta make those Metal Pokemon tough, ya know? Make sure they live long enough to take out the Fairies. I've always kinda wanted to run a Metal deck of sorts, and given Bronzong from PHF and some of the other Metal support, maybe it's not a terrible time to try...granted, there's a lot to go up against. 

Next Time: Tired of getting donked because you were Weak to something? Try our new-


Otaku

First a belated happy birthday to my nephew Joshua.  His day of birth was last night. ;) 

We hit the middle of the week with one of the two new Special Energy cards from this set: Shield Energy (XY: Primal Clash 143/160).  It has a familiar effect; like the other recent, Type-themed Special Energy cards it is restricted to being attached to a specific Type, discards itself if it somehow ends up on a Pokémon that isn’t that specific Type and provides that specific Energy-Type in addition to its effect but only while attached.  In this case, the “specific Type” is Metal and the effect is that attacks by your opponent’s Active Pokémon do 10 less damage to the Metal-Type Pokémon to which Shield Energy is attached.  That wording is pretty important and to explain why, we have to go to the predecessor of this card. 

In this case, Shield Energy is an obvious update to the Special Energy version of Metal Energy that was originally released nearly 15 years ago in Neo Genesis and was most recently released in Call of Legends four years ago… which means it hasn’t been legal for Standard play since 2011-2012 Modified Format.  The important thing to understand is that Shield Energy is a nerfed version of Special Energy Metal Energy.  It can be a bit confusing as the effect(s) of said version of Metal Energy have changed over time (and originally there was no basic Energy version of Metal Energy, so it wasn’t so awkward to discuss), but just referencing the version from Call of Legends will suffice.  Unlike Shield Energy, it counted as a [M] Energy even when not attached, though it contained reminder text of what it provided while attached so I could be mistaken; I was under the impression until relatively recently that the symbol in the corner told you what an Energy counted as unless overridden by game relevant text (including the card’s own effect).  There is reminder text to point out it isn’t a Basic Energy, even though that should be obvious as well.  Even if I am wrong, it definitely was able to be attached to any Pokémon (not just Metal-Types) though its additional effect was restricted to them.  The additional effect in its last iteration was to reduce damage done by attacks to the Pokémon to which it was attached (again, provided its attached to a Metal-Type) are reduced by 10… so it protects against self-damage. 

Being unable to attach to non-Metal-Types is pretty significant, just as it has been for all the other Energy-Types: often enough you’ll need to meet a [C] Energy requirement in either an attack or a Retreat Cost and Shield Energy can’t do that.  Sure it seems like a waste but when it is needed, it is needed.  Cards that have off-Type requirements for [M] Energy also can’t tap it, which includes some that would be part Metal-Type except the TCG no longer does dual-Types (granted most TCG dual-Types were representing a gimmick and not the video game hybrid nature).  Remember, we aren’t just talking the effect but attaching the Energy to use it at all.  The subtler difference is that it won’t help with self-damage, something that used to be a nifty trick for Metal-Types.  Neither of these protect against damage counter placement or damage via non-attack effects.  The real big problem is… even where they are identical Metal Energy was (not “is”) better because of power creep and other balance issues. 

Offensive and defense are not equal in this game, at least when the numbers are the same.  Soaking 10 points of damage may be handy, but doing 10 more is usually easier and faster to take advantage of (just attack) and most of the time what you KO can’t hurt you afterwards, making offense often the best defense.  Special Energy Darkness Energy is the counterpart to Special Energy Metal Energy but besides swapping all symbols and references to Metal Energy with those of Darkness Energy, the bonus was that Special Energy Darkness Energy provided a +10 bonus to damage instead of soaking 10 damage when appropriately attached.  While not from the same set, the counterpart to Shield Energy seems to be Strong Energy… but it provides a +20 bonus, the opposite of the relationship they should have.  It also shows that on the side of offense, the designers chose to double the bonus (that they shifted from Darkness to Fighting isn’t a problem) but on the side of defense it remained the same even though HP scores and damage output (as well as damage-to-Energy ratios) have been increasing (the former slower than the latter two).  It just seems baffling that when Defense is less effective, it ends up being a numerically smaller bonus than offense.  It is also faster to take advantage of an offensive bonus; just attach and attack instead of waiting to be attacked and hoping your opponent can’t discard the Energy or force you to change to a different Active Pokémon. 

For Standard, Shield Energy is good but not overly good; Strong Energy is powerful (probably too powerful) and you can tell not only from how Metal-Types are far less prominent than Fighting-Types in the metagame, but by how I don’t see Shield Energy used as often as Strong Energy.  With a Fighting-Type deck, Strong Energy maxed out is pretty much a given, even if the deck already is running other Special Energy.  The other great piece of indirect Metal-Type support is Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/1149,  XY Promos XY21) but that only works with basic Metal Energy cards and is far more important than (for example) Landorus (XY: Furious Fists 58/111) which also attaches basic Energy ([F] instead of [M]) from the discard pile, though via attack instead of Ability.  If I am running something like M Aggron-EX, I personally at least don’t feel like I can go without some Double Colorless Energy and also don’t feel like I’ve got the room for both Double Colorless Energy and Shield Energy. 

The one semi-legit Metal-Type deck I can think of that probably should run Shield Energy is one built around Excadrill (XY: Primal Clash 97/160) which we reviewed here.  I say “we” because eventually, you will find my review of the card there (I’m playing catch-up).  At least the delay gave me a chance to try this strategy out and it was… mixed.  The short version is that its great slapping an Energy onto something and then searching out and attaching two more Shield Energy but this is a format where even with Hard Charm, even with the first Energy being a Shield Energy, even with Steel Shelter or Training Center in play… I was still getting OHKOed some of the time.  In fact the one time my deck worked as planned was against a Seismitoad-EX variant that thankfully went with Crushing Hammer over Enhanced Hammer.  This leads us to Expanded, where had I my experience been more positive I had hoped to use Excadrill to rapidly get Shield Energy into play Klinklang (Black & White 76/114) into play and be able to move it around… but I lacked the cards to test it directly.  Please note that I wasn’t able to test the two together; I was just testing Excadrill on its own but I’m not expecting things to turn out that much better here.  Maybe since you could also throw in Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm 90/135) - a Standard legal option as well - then Shield Energy only needs to protect against non-Pokémon-EX.  Again I did not test with either of those two Stage 2 Pokémon (I lack them on the PTCGO) so just maybe it could work that way.  Still, the other miscellaneous factors (like additional decks to worry about and other Special Energy you might want to run) even out, I think, resulting in the score being the same.  The only place Shield Energy is really awesome is if you pull sufficient worthwhile Metal-Types alongside it in Limited play… and since you do need something compatible with it, that still drops the score a bit. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 3.75/5 

Summary: Shield Energy is defense in a format that is more about offense.  The metagame sometimes flirts with even a small defensive play proving vital so long as it buys an extra turn of attacking, and on paper the effect is solid (just underwhelming).  I may be scoring it a bit high, but in the end these Type specific Special Energy cards seem worth obtaining enough to max out “just in case” and other than Strong Energy have surprised me by being useful when run in lower amounts, sometimes even as TecH. 


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