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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Energy Switch
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
April 6, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.0 / 5.0

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

Back to the main COTD Page


21times

Energy Switch (Sun & Moon, 117/149) allows you to move one basic energy from one of your Pokemon to another.  No tricks, no gimmicks, it comes completely as advertised.  Got an extra energy on your active and you want save that because he’s about to get KO’d?  Done.  Just hit a Max Elixir (Breakpoint, 102/122) and need to get that energy on to your active?  No problem.  It has a variety of uses and can give your attack a huge boost. 

Personally, I ran a couple in a Xerneas (Breakthrough, 107/162) Rainbow Road deck that I used to run and had quite a bit of success with.  I can’t tell you how many times I’d drop a DCE down on my active Xerneas, hit an Elixir, and then play Energy Switch.  It worked as a great combo many times.  However, I haven’t seen much reason to run it since.  It probably could see more play in decks like Volcanion (Steam Siege, 25/114), Yveltal (Steam Siege, 65/114), or Xerneas (XY, 96/146), and maybe we too often overlook it.  I could do an analysis on this fairly easily, track wins and losses in a deck with and then without Energy Switch, but my current project – tracking the amount of damage each attack does to an active Pokemon – certainly has more value.

Rating

Standard: 2 out of 5

Summary

While not a completely worthless card, a sixty card deck simply doesn’t have enough room in it for Energy Switch.  Look at it this way: no deck finishing in the top eight of the masters division in any tournament since the new rotation WAY back in September has run even a single copy of Energy Switch.

 

This Throwback Thursday we look at Energy Switch… which may not seem like much of a throwback since it was just re-released, but its release history is Aquapolis 120/147 (January 15, 2003), EX: Ruby & Sapphire 82/109 (June 18, 2003), EX: FireRed/LeafGreen (August 30, 2004), EX: Unseen Forces 84/115 (August 2, 2005), EX: Power Keepers 75/108 (February 14, 2007), Diamond & Pearl 107/130 (May 23, 2007), DP: Stormfront 84/100 (November 5, 2008), HeartGold & SoulSilver 91/123 (February 10, 2010), Black & White 94/114 (April 25, 2011), BW: Legendary Treasures 112/113 (November 8, 2013), XY: Furious Fists 89/111 (August 13, 2014), XY: Roaring Skies 109/108(May 6, 2015), Generations 61/83 (February 22, 2016), and Sun & Moon 117/149 (February 1, 2017).  Fourteen years of Energy Switch and… I barely saw it used until about four years ago.  As we are re-reviewing a well-known card, I don’t believe it problematic to give a general opinion of it before getting more detailed; it is possible players (or just myself) didn’t recognize its value back in the day, but reading the past CotD reviews you can see that only a few reviewers thought it worth the effort… until what was the last review (and is now the next-to-last). 

Energy Switch is a Trainer and Item card, even the oldest versions count as such since that is the rule for Trainer cards that weren’t a Stadium or Supporter and released prior to Black & White.  There isn’t a huge amount of cards in the modern game that specifically affect Trainers (as opposed to Items), but Dowsing Machine, Skyla and Trainers’ Mail are worth naming, while the few anti-Trainer effects still legal are thankfully only worth mentioning in general, to acknowledge their existence.  Being an Item is much more relevant, but not in a good way.  In the Legacy Format you’ve got Junk Arm to recycle it, and some less general tricks in Expanded and Standard play, including Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) and its “Junk Hunt” attack, but the main thing is Item lock remains a popular and potent strategy in both Standard and Expanded play.  Other than the frequency of Item lock, there is no drawback to an Item’s use; beyond the universal cost applicable to all cards, an Item only adds whatever is specific to its text.  In this case, you’ll need at least two Pokémon and a basic Energy card in play, so that Energy Switch can move said Energy from one Pokémon to another. 

Energy acceleration is a funny thing; there are four major types of it: Energy acceleration from the deck, the discard, the field, and the hand.  It is something of a toss-up as to whether from the deck or the discard pile is better, but from the field is usually the worst.  That is because it isn’t actually increasing the amount of Energy you have in play, but rather moving it around to your benefit.  Except actually benefiting from this can be tricky.  With a card like Energy Switch, the first thing that sprang to my mind all those years ago was to save a basic Energy card from being discarded because the Pokémon to which it was initially attached was going to be KO’d.  Unless that Pokémon has a worthwhile attack it may use without that Energy, was just up front to stall, etc. you’ll need to be able to Bench it and start attacking with something new (probably the Pokémon that received an Energy via Energy Switch), or else you lose momentum.  Ending up one basic Energy ahead for the cost of an Item is good but if you can’t keep up the pressure, you’re also sacrificing an attack.  At the time, I also Energy Switch thought of using Energy Switch to assist decks that ran multiple Energy Types since that increased your odds of having attached something to a less-than-optimal target.  It would also flat out help correct a misplay, but that isn’t usually a good selling point for a card, and neither is helping out most multi-Type decks; it is just easier to run a Special Energy which counts as multiple Types or more basic Energy search/recycling effects.  Even if you had an effect that attached Energy but only to a specific target, at that time it wasn’t usually worth an Item to move it.  To be clear, sometimes this was in part because there were better solutions; Pokémon-based effects to move Energy (sometimes over and over again, even in the same turn) or when the attachment was restricted to something like a Benched Pokémon, just using a Switch to Bench your current Active while bringing up something with a free Retreat Cost. 

So what changed?  Primarily it was pacing, but there are a few other bits as well.  The game became faster, and Item cards were effectively less “costly” to play.  Basics were able to hit harder for less Energy, so the one basic Energy moved by a single Energy Switch began to matter more.  Basic Energy cards seem to have more and better support than before, while the focus of Special Energy cards seems to be changing; Double Colorless Energy and Rainbow Energy work in many, many decks but everything else in Standard works for Pokémon of a specific Type or name-based association.  Expanded has a few more, they are variations on Rainbow Energy (Blend Energy GRPD, Blend Energy WLFM, Plasma Energy, and Prism Energy).  Compare and contrast that to having cards like Boost Energy, Double Rainbow Energy, Scramble Energy, and Warp Energy; all the conditions were there, but jumbled about, with Pokémon-Type-specific stuff being the domain of just Darkness and Metal Pokémon.  More combos for Energy Switch popped up, like using AZ or Max Potion on a single-Energy attacker after its original Energy was moved to another attacker.  More conditional Energy acceleration was added.  Put it all together, and suddenly Darkrai-EX (BW: Dark Explorers 63/108, 107/108; BW: Black Star Promos BW46; BW: Legendary Treasures 88/113) and Dark Patch, backed by Sableye and its Junk Hunt, are pulling off power combos. 

Energy Switch is not for every deck; anything with basic Energy could technically use it, but if you’re not feeding into a combo, it just isn’t worth it.  Even in decks that can make good use of it, you have to consider how likely you are to face Item lock (or face it without having a counter).  I believe this really hurts Energy Switch in Standard and Expanded play, though it is pretty good in the Legacy Format (where Junk Arm can recycle it in most decks).  In Limited play, this is a useful card, unless you’re able to build a strong deck around a single Pokémon (as sometimes happens).  So why look at it now?  Besides being a card from the newest set but is still old enough to qualify for Throwback Thursday, there is a card we are likely to receive soon called Multi Switch.  If translations are correct (of course it has already released in Japan), this is just an Energy Switch that can be used with Special Energy (still works on basic Energy as well).  If this holds true, soon Energy Switch will be obsolete unless a deck somehow needs more than four copies of it. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2/5 

Expanded: 2/5 

Limited: 3.75/5 

Legacy: 3/5 

Conclusion 

This does not seem to be a good time for Energy Switch, but it isn’t the worst time for it.  It took about a decade before the metagame was ripe for it, and has enjoyed the years since then, but crowded decks and Item lock are really taking their toll.  Expanded offers more opportunities but more counters and competition than Standard, so I’m taking the simple approach of scoring them the same.  The scores arecomposite; Energy Switch is still a great play in certain decks, but ones where it is essential, I don’t recall still being worth the effort.  So those are diluted by the ones where it is okay or even a poor fit, and that is brought lower because Item lock applies across the board.  Finally, Multi Switch means Energy Switch will soon be unneeded.


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