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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Rainbow Energy
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
April 12, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.5
Expanded: 4.0
Limited: 4.75

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Otaku

Our Throwback Thursday picks continue the trend of covering an (at least somewhat) older card re-released in our latest expansion.  Today, it is Rainbow Energy (Sun & Moon 137/149), which released previously as Team Rocket 17/82 and 80/82 (April 24, 2000), Aquapolis 144/147 (January 15, 2003), EX: Ruby & Sapphire 95/109 (June 18, 2003), EX: Legend Maker 81/92 (February 13, 2006), Platinum 121/127 (February 11, 2009), HeartGold/SoulSilver 104/123 (February 10, 2010), XY 131/146 (February 5, 2014), and XY: BREAKthrough 152/162 (November 4, 2015).  Current versions of the card are a Special Energy card that provides [C] Energy, but that is overridden by the card’s effect when it is attached to a Pokémon.  When you attach Rainbow Energy from hand to one of your Pokémon, it places one damage counter on that Pokémon.  It also provides one unit of Energy that counts as all Type at once (and does so even if you attach it from someplace other than your hand).  You’ll note that in the upper right-hand corner of the four most recent printings (which still stretches back over seven years), there is a [C] Energy symbol, which used to help avoid confusion over what it counted as in hand… but then this useful concept was abandoned with the Type-specific Special Energy cards that began with Herbal Energy and Strong Energy.  Since then, cards can lie about what they count as in hand Energy cards may have no Type while in hand (I think?).


Prior
to HeartGold/SoulSilver 104/123, Rainbow Energy had its own rainbow colored symbol like its artwork in the appropriate upper corner (which corner gets the symbol has changed over the years.  I don’t know if older versions are legal to play using the current text or if it is significant enough you cannot use them at all.  The original effect was that Rainbow Energy did 10 damage instead of placing a damage counter (in a card pool with effects that could block that damage…) and a lot of really misleading text that actually means the same as above, but really sounds like it means something else.  I am just going to let you read that for yourself if you’re curious.  Sadly, the powers-that-be still don’t refer to things like “units of Energy”, as even the modern text can be easily misunderstood.  As stated in my paraphrase of the effect, Rainbow Energy provides only one unit of Energy, it is just that instead of being any one Type, it counts as all Types simultaneously.  So you cannot attach it to something that needs (for example) to meet an attack cost of [FW] and have one Rainbow Energy meet both costs, but it can meet either Energy requirement, even changing between the two should you have (for example) a Fighting Energy and Rainbow Energy attached one turn, but after losing your Fighting Energy you attached a Water Energy the next turn.


You also have no choice about the Energy Types being provided; even if you would want Rainbow Energy to not count as a particular Energy Type (such as to avoid a discard cost), while its effect is working, Rainbow Energy always counts as all Types.  That isn’t all bad, though; when you find the odd attack like “Rainbow Wave”, found on Mew (Southern Islands 1/18), Rainbow Energy can meet the [P] Energy requirement to use the attack while also allowing you to select any Type other than [C] (as per the attack’s text) for the attacks Bench damage.  Whew! So with all that being said, this is an excellent effect.  Even though it places a damage counter on the recipient, even though you may only run up to four copies of Rainbow Energy in a deck, even though basic Energy support heavily outweighs Special Energy support while Special Energy counters outweigh basic Energy counters, it is just a really good Energy card.  You may have noticed there were some gaps in the release schedule for this card; the designers seem to alternate between thinking this card is a necessity and thinking it needs to go.  This isn’t limited to the far flung past, either, as you can see there are no BW-era releases for Rainbow Energy.  There were several similar Energy cards released during that time, but no actual Rainbow Energy.  It showed when we got Rainbow Energy back, as effects that had been calibrated for its absence got a boost.  That being said, this isn’t as heavily used a card as it used to be.  Many attackers are more flexible than ever with their Energy requirements or reward a more dedicated Energy focus.  Rainbow Energy is vital to certain decks in Expanded, Standard, and Legacy Format play, but others it is dead weight.  It is almost always a nice pull for the Limited Format, as you tend to be at the mercy of your once-per-turn draw but also have to run a multi-Type deck.


Ratings


Standard: 4/5

Expanded: 4/5

Limited: 4.75/5

Legacy: 4/5


Conclusion


I can say from first-hand experience, Rainbow Energy is a card you miss when it is gone, even if it isn’t a staple.  Pokémon effects requiring different Energy Types is a fundamental balancing agent in the game… so a card that messes with that will always have a niche usage.


It might seem like I’m overvaluing Rainbow Energy, but I cannot bring myself to score it lower than a four-out-of-five in the Constructed Formats.  Standard, Expanded, and Legacy all receiving the same score should not be construed as Rainbow Energy being used in the exact same way in each format.  As is often the case, the different factors seem to balance out, or at least come close enough to it that even I am willing to eyeball it and just call it even.


21times

Rainbow Energy (Sun & Moon, 137/149) acts as a universal Energy card.  Whatever Energy you need, Rainbow Energy acts as that type.  It’s very functional in decks that have multiple different types of attackers.  The only downside is that it places a damage counter on the Pokemon it’s attached to when attached.  It’s a potentially very useful special energy, and it’s been around forever.  However, it has fallen out of favor since the new rotation.  Only one deck with a top eight finish in the Masters Division has run Rainbow Energy since last September (Vileplume (Ancient Origins, 3/98) box, runner up at Orlando).  I see it used with Solgaleo GX (Sun & Moon, 89/149) decks where players primarily use Sol Burst GX to power up Pokemon other than Solgaleo GX, decks where they don’t want to run Metal Energy because Solgaleo GX would be the only Pokemon that could use Metal Energy.  Rainbow Energy provides an excellent workaround, in this case, to being saddled with limited purpose Metal Energy cards. 

Rainbow Energy first appeared in an expansion called Team Rocket way back in 2000.  I had never even heard of Pokemon back in 2000.  I only started playing about a year ago, and I find it fascinating how the cards in the game have changed.  The only card from that set that I recognize is Rainbow Energy.  I look at some of the other cards in this set, and I am amazed at how different the meta must have been – it’s almost like it’s a completely different game.  Strategy is so much different, tactical decisions would be so different, it’s like they’re playing with a completely different rule book. 

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  I know it’s easy to get set in your ways, to have your arms completely around something, to completely understand it.  There’s a significant comfort level there.  However, and I mentioned this a little bit in my review for Timer Ball (Sun & Moon, 139/149), Pokemon is one of the few places where we are free to take chances and experiment and try new things without any real world implications.  We should be embracing the new, constantly seeking out the different, challenging the status quo.  In my job, new things suck.  It means tons of additional work, hours of frustration because there’s no explanation for how to come to terms with the new information and how to meld it into existing processes.   

In Pokemon, new things are AWESOME.  New cards to try, new strategies to explore, new ideas to test out.  Let’s keep this in mind as we approach a new rotation in only a few months.  Rather than lamenting and decrying the loss of cards that have become staples in our decks, let’s take the opportunity to greet new cards.  Granted, we miss having the stability and familiarity that certain cards give us, but using new cards and trying new ideas is only going to make us better players.  Honestly, if you’re doing the same thing over and over and over again, how do you expect yourself to get better?  Yes, if you try something new, there’s a good chance you’ll fail.  But if you don’t ever try anything different, you can never expect yourself to become a better player.  Truthfully, your skills will probably deteriorate and you’ll lose the mental flexibility you need to compete in this game.  Don’t be afraid to step out of the box, out of the comfort zone, try something new, and take some chances.

Rating

Standard: 3 out of 5

Summary

I know this review hasn’t really been about Rainbow Energy, but I don’t think you guys need me to tell you that for one damage counter, you get whatever type of energy you want.  Rainbow Energy is a good card, and it provides a good reminder that this game always changes.  Just because a card doesn’t have any particular use today doesn’t mean that it won’t become a four of in a deck next month.  In a game that’s always changing, you can’t expect to keep up if you’re not willing to constantly change as well.


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