a sec...a Top 10 list? Starting on a Friday? WHAT IS
THIS I CAN'T EVEN
it's about that time of year again, and all things
considered, this is just about the perfect time of year
to cover our tracks with the Top 10 Best Cards of 2016!
It's certainly been an interesting year filled with
tosses and turns, ups and downs, moving this way and
that. Now we get to come together and figure out just
what the heck was going on this year.
start with our 10th place pick, Special Charge. It
hasn't been around that long, but it's a neat piece of
equipment for any deck. The ability to get back any
Special Energy from the discard pile is certainly well
warranted, so it's no surprise that this card hits the
Top 10 list. Maybe it's more surprising that it didn't
may be more because of its recent release than anything
else. It hasn't really had a breakout impact like
Volcanion did, and it hasn't been in the game long
enough to prove its impact the way some other cards
have. On top of that, it is throwing the cards back into
the deck instead of adding them directly to your hand,
but nevertheless, it's a great card in its own right,
and it'd be a shame to not have it on the list.
...not that I helped get it on there or anything, I just
kinda forgot about it.
Standard: 3.5/5 (pretty much as long as there are
Special Energy cards around and about, this card will
Expanded: 4/5 (especially if there's an Energy like
Plasma Energy that's essential to the deck's strategy!)
Limited: 1/5 (...just uhh...kind of a shame there's not
really any Special Energy in its own set)
Notealus: Kinda odd to start it off like this, but
considering Monday's a vacation day, it's better to
start it now anyway. It gives us the remaining 9
weekdays to keep you guys constantly in the loop!
Weekend Thought: Any thoughts on this week's cards? How
about that #10? Do you already think it should've been
higher? Well let's see what else made the list first and
go up from there, eh?
Welcome to our
annual countdown for the top ten cards of the year.
We’ve been doing this since 2007 and the rules are
similar to the Top 10 lists we make for the individual
sets, except instead of being restricted to new cards in
the set, any new card released this year was eligible.
We ended up with 19 nominees our our 10 card list, and
yours truly got to average them out and break any ties.
Claiming the 10th
place spot is Special Charge (XY: Steam Siege
105/114). We first reviewed
as the seventh best of its set, an Item that allows you to
shuffle two Special Energy cards from your discard pile
back into your deck. As Special Energy has
historically been difficult to reclaim from the discard
pile and Item cards easy to play, Special Charge
quickly made its way into decks. Not every deck
runs Special Energy, but those that do and especially
those that rely on it tried to make room for at least
one copy of Special Charge. This was
especially important to multiple decks that didn’t run
just only on Special Energy, but specifically were
running on four Double Colorless Energy and
nothing (or at least very little) else. This
applied to many Night March builds, Vespiquen (XY:
Ancient Origins 10/98), and their variants
(including being run together). So why isn’t this
card higher up?
Besides the obvious
(other great cards), there are a few things keeping this
near the bottom of our list. First we have timing;
while not a last minute release, XY: Steam Siege
and its cards weren’t tournament legal until August, and
so weren’t legal until the year was nearly two-thirds
over. Second is the dominance of Item lock decks,
which did quite well throughout this year. Third
is competition, as though few cards (and even fewer
Items) can reclaim Special Energy cards from the discard
pile, XY: BREAKpoint gave us Puzzle of Time,
an Item card that allows you to either look at and
rearrange the top three cards of your deck, or to add
two cards from your discard pile to your hand. Puzzle
of Time allows you to play two copies of it at once,
and in fact that is the only way to access the second
effect. Between Item lock, ripping through your
deck with Professor Sycamore, and luck in
general, you can see why decks would shift to Special
Charge, but Puzzle of Time isn’t totally
obsolete; it adds the cards targeted to hand and
it can snag anything, not just Energy.
altering my scores from when we first reviewed this
card; originally I scored Expanded higher than Standard,
but now the situation has changed. Standard has
less Item lock, making it easier to use than in
Expanded. This would result in a larger hit to
Expanded, however there are more decks that I believe
need it in Expanded. Limited remains a minimal
score because there are no Special Energy cards in its
When Special Charge released, I was worried that
people would stick with Puzzle of Time.
That was because I valued Puzzle of Time snagging
things other than Special Energy and having it all go to
my hand instead of being shuffled into the deck.
Instead Special Charge became preferred because
instead of running two, three or a full four it could
reliably function as a single card.
earned six voting points, tying with the 11th and 9th
place finishers. It missed making my own list
because I went with Puzzle of Time, due to it
having been the first Item released this year that
allowed us to reclaim Special Energy from the discard
pile with (relative) ease. Now as is often the
case, I made something larger than a Top 10 list;
Special Energy was my 12th place pick for 2016.