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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Steam Siege Top 10

#7 - Special Charge
- Steam Siege

Date Reviewed:
Aug. 11, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.0
Expanded: 4.5
Limited: 1.0

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

In case you're wondering, this was my top pick. What a weird list this probably turned out to be. 

So Special Charge! It's an Item that gets back Special Energies from your discard pile. 

...nuff said 

Rating 

Standard: GOLD!! 

Expanded: TO THE MAX 

-okay but seriously, Special Charge is a really good Item card. This is one of the few cards that are able to get back Special Energies from the discard pile, and as far as I'm aware the only card that allows you to specifically retrieve Special Energy from the discard pile. This is definitely a big must-run in decks running Special Energy! 

That all being said, it does have a few drawbacks. First off, it is an Item card, and that means it's going to be competing with a lot of other Items for deck space. The other thing is that those Special Energies it retrieves don't go back to your hand or - more ideally - get attached directly to a Pokemon you control. Instead they go back to the deck, which essentially just makes it more of a anti-mill strategy unless you've got a quick way of retrieving them. 

Still, it's one of the few cards that can do anything with Special Energies, so if nothing else, it's a card to strongly consider. 

Rating 

Standard: 4/5 (it's a nice tech at the least!) 

Expanded: 4.5/5 (more Special Energies, though also more Items) 

Limited: 1/5 (...oh...umm...there aren't any Special Energies in the set...huh)

Arora Notealus: Outside of Limited, this card has some neat potential in various decks. It's worth at least trying to see if it works, and if not, well it's a start in the right direction for Item-based Special Energy cards. 

Next Time: And what was otaku's pick? Why it was-


Otaku

Time for our seventh place finisher to be revealed, and it is Special Charge (XY: Steam Siege 105/114).  This is an Item card, which means the only requirement to play it are that you aren’t using it for no effect; Item cards only have a cost when that specific card includes one in its effect text.  Special Charge just states you shuffle two Special Energy cards from your discard pile into your deck so no added cost there.  Special Energy cards are often invaluable to a deck; decks in general are trying to get by with lower and lower Energy counts as.  This might seem odd as you usually need Energy to attack, and in specific strategies you may even need to run a bit heavy on Energy, but without another card effect you can only play one Energy card per turn.  In a fast paced format where thinning and refilling your hand is key to a speedy setup, there is a huge incentive to keep Energy counts down.  Some decks make do with as few as four Energy cards (all Double Colorless Energy), with seven to nine being pretty typical; decks with greater needs still usually don’t exceed the low teens. 

There is more to understanding this card than that though, like basic Energy versus Special Energy.  Special Energy cards are intended to give you more bang for your buck than basic Energy.  This is why Special Energy cards adhere to the 4-Copy Rule while basic Energy do not, why there are more card effects that punish your opponent for running Special Energy, and many beneficial effects that only work on basic Energy cards.  Let us compare Special Charge directly to the multiple options for getting basic Energy cards from the discard pile: 

ˇ         Energy Recycler is an Item that shuffles five basic Energy cards from your discard pile into your deck, over twice as much as Special Charge.

ˇ         Energy Retrieval is an Item which adds two Basic Energy from your discard pile to your hand; same amount as Special Charge but to a more desirable location.

ˇ         Fisherman is a Supporter that adds four basic Energy cards from your discard pile to your hand; a greater cost but to reclaim twice as much Energy and directly to hand.

ˇ         Super Rod is an Item which allows you to shuffle three Pokémon, three basic Energy cards, or a combination of the two from your discard pile to your deck.  Only one more card, but not limited to only Energy.

ˇ         Superior Energy Retrieval is an Item that requires you discard two cards from hand in order to use it, but then adds four basic Energy cards from your discard pile to your hand.  Again twice as many Energy and added back to hand, even if the cost is more significant. 

There are also various Pokémon effects as well as some other Trainers I left out for various reasons, but this list is enough to explain.  This list makes Special Charge look rather weak by comparison, but the thing is in decks where Special Energy is important it seems perfectly reasonable in such company.  Affecting Special Energy is worth affecting only 40% as much Energy, it is worth shuffling to the deck instead of adding to the hand, etc.  Most decks using Special Energy are going to consider their Special Energy important, so the norm is that this is a very useful card. 

So why is this clocking in at sixth place?  Are the top five cards so staggeringly powerful and/or have an even wider use?  No; Puzzle of Time is why this card isn’t higher on the countdown.  Sure you have to play two copies of Puzzle of Time in hand at once to access its second effect of adding two cards from your discard pile to your hand.  This can make it clunky and unreliable, and also means four cards will only retrieve four Special Energy.  Going directly to the hand and working on anything (not just Special Energy) make Puzzle of Time crazy strong despite the difficulty of using it.  We also already have Puzzle of Time; we are already used to using it so even if Special Charge was undeniably superior (and it isn’t) in the short run we might perform better with Puzzle of Time. 

So for Standard and Expanded play… start trying out Special Charge.  Obviously you already have a 60 card deck (unless you’re using the 30-card rules) so you’ll have to cut something else, but experiment.  Getting Special Energy back into your deck reliably is worth a lot.  I am toying with the idea of running two or three Puzzle of Time (the third would just be a spare) and using the saved space for Special Charge.  Once rotation hits, Puzzle of Time loses its friend Battle Compressor, so you can’t have a three-card combo (two Puzzle of Time plus Battle Compressor) to get a double deck search.  Other tricks may not work as well either, so the simple and reliable Special Charge may end up being better by then.  Expanded may make this card better; more competition for deck space but more cards to combo with, including more Special Energy.  For Limited play, skip it because there are no Special Energy in the set; easy, huh? 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.65/5 

Expanded: 3.75/5 

Limited: 1/5 

Summary: Special Charge provides a reliable way to get your Special Energy from your discard pile to your deck, two at a time.  For an Item, that is a great deal… or would be except the pace of the game coupled with the presence of Puzzle of Time makes me feel like it is outclassed.  Without Puzzle of Time, unless you also got rid of most Special Energy cards, Special Charge would be a near staple only left out of decks with few or no Special Energy cards but with several maxing Special Charge out.  Worst case scenario… Special Charge goes down as a card that is technically great but sees no play because there is something even better, and the best case is that it starts to find its way into most decks. 

Special Charge managed 10 total voting points, tying it with tomorrow’s CotD.  Special Charge was a near miss for my own list, but both myself and aroramage had tomorrow’s pick so quantity broke the tie.  While I don’t think it is the best card this set, it might be in the long run.  So not only am I happy it still managed a seventh place finish without me, but I am starting to wonder if I ought not to have broken the tie with quality instead (as this was aroramage’s number one pick).  If Puzzle of Time wasn’t in the format, it would have been mine as well!


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