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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day


Energy Retrieval

Black & White

Date Reviewed: July 7, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.00
Limited: 4.60

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Combos With: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Energy Retrieval

We finish the week by looking at a couple of Trainer cards, which is always a nice change of pace.

The first, Energy Retrieval, is a new version of a card we last saw waaaaaaay back in Base Set (and the obscure Legendary Collection, I guess). In fact, it’s an upgrade of the old card. While the Base Set version made you discard a card to put two Basic Energy from your discard to your hand, this new Energy Retrieval lets you do it for no cost! How good is that?

Well, that’s the key question, of course, and the answer to it lies in two other questions: Are there viable decks in the format that discard and/or need to recover Energy, and what are the other options for doing this job?

The answer to the first question is ‘yes’. Reshiram decks, and decks using the Ninetales HGSS draw engine (or even Engineer’s Adjustments) need a constant return of Energy from the discard to keep refuelling attacks or to pay for Roast Reveal. In addition, most decks that are fairly Energy-intensive (such as Zekrom) can’t afford to lose too much Energy when a Pokémon is Knocked Out. Energy Retrieval is a very good option here: often superior to Fisherman (a Supporter) or Energy Returner (a Trainer which puts four Energy back in the deck). Being a Trainer itself, Energy Retrieval is re-usable with Junk Arm, and so 1-2 copies are usually enough for most decks, which is a good thing given that it is a dead draw in the early game.

Basically, Energy Retrieval allows you to build a deck that burns through your Energy without having to devote quite so much deckspace to hand-clogging Energy cards. It’s of no use in low Energy decks like straight Donphan or Yanmega, but as long as cards with Energy-discarding effects are played, you will see a fair bit of it.


Modified: 3 (how good this card is will likely fluctuate during the format depending on what gets played)

Limited: 3 (you usually have plenty of Energy here, but it could be useful in a deck running different types)

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Energy Retrieval (Black & White)
Hey people, today is the  reprint of Energy Retrieval. This is one of my favourite cards from the original Base Set! I know I should love so many other cards more because of their power and/or just plain broken appeal but Energy Retrieval was the first Trainer card I learned to abuse. There's nothing quite like a first love!
This reprint is quite different to the original card though, so if you want to use you originals then you will need a reference/card dex. The card text says to put 2 Basic energy cards from your discard pile into your hand, which is a change from the old version that required another card from your hand to be discarded and did not force you to take 2 Basic energy if you only wanted to retrieve 1 (or none).
This means that you can't use Energy Retrieval to deliberately lower your hand size since you have to take 2 energy when they are available (you can use it to retrieve a single energy if you only have 1 in the discard pile) but it is a positive that you can use Energy Retrieval without another sacrifice when you are already scrambling to pay for Junk Arm or deal with being hit by Judge.
Now that I'm finished with the nostalgia trip, the actual use of Energy Retrieval is grabbing Basic energy back from the discard pile to put them into your hand, typically as a prelude to playing them down for a massive attack (via FanBoar or Feraligatr Prime) or discarding them directly from the hand (via cards like Engineer's Adjustments). Future cards may give more options for combos but right now cards such as BlitzBoar, Entei & Raikou Legend, Reshiram BW and Pachirisu CL rely heavily on energy retrieval to power their attacks. Also, Energy Retrieval is useful for recovering when an attacker you have invested heavily in is KOed so that you can get back the energy for building your backup. Or even just for taking the bite out of a manual retreat because you couldn't draw a Switch.
As an Item, Energy Retrieval places no limits on the other cards you play during your turn and it is guaranteed to work provided you have Basic energy in your discard pile. Since we have spammability and reliability we know this is a good card, and the uses outlined make this a must run in certain decks (MangeBoar, ReshiBoar, NinePhlosion, BlastGatr, LanturnGatr and Armorott decks all love this card).
There is competition however. Fisherman does the exact same job but it grabs 4 energy, at the cost of your Supporter use for the turn. personally I would us the two cards together if you expect to discard a lot of Basic energy, or just run Energy Retrieval if you only want it for 'just in case'. Even with Item locking from cards like Vileplume UD, this card is both functional and useful.
Modified: 4.5 (Energy Retrieval does its job reliably and effectively. Use it for all of your energy retrieval needs)
Limited: 5 (Reshiram loves this card and it also takes the pain out of retreating if you don't have Switch, since every card aside from the bad version of Serperior has at least 1 mark in its retreat cost. Also good for maintaining the balance in a Rainbow deck)
Combos with: Basic energy in the discard pile, and lots of them!


Today we look at the long time Trainer Energy Retrieval, a card originally introduced in the Base Set but that we have never actually reviewed on Pojo.com. Is it buried treasure, filler, or simply a card whose time has finally come?


Originally Energy Retrieval was classified as a “normal” Trainer because that was the only kind of Trainer there was when it first came out! In its latest iteration it receives the sub-classification of “Item” which opens up a few opportunities for it that currently don’t result in a lot of benefit. Still there is at least a chance we could get something that does in the future.


When first printed, Energy Retrieval lets you discard a card to snag up to two Basic Energy cards from your discard pile. This was quite weak even when the game was new: ultimately you were just trading a card from hand and Energy Retrieval itself for those two Energy cards. Fortunately they decided like many cards to update it for the times. Unfortunately I was a twit and managed to actually miss this when I originally wrote this review! Yes, please enjoy a laugh at my expense since that at least gives another purpose to my mistake. The primary purpose of course was unintentionally validating my often nitpicky approach to reviewing: if I’d obsessed over the text like I usually due I’d have noticed.

So now Energy Retrieval has you snag two basic Energy cards from your discard pile. This is a small but important upgrade for the card. You do use the ability to use the card to manipulate your hand size more precisely, but the fact that the card now results in plus one card advantage is more important. It still isn’t a stellar effect but it now becomes solid.


Getting the Energy to your hand right away and without burning a Supporter creates a small, specific use for the card, but decks that would care about that almost universally have the justification to dedicate more expensive resources (such as Supporters) to the task. Pachirisu (and by extension Zekrom) might consider using it because they’d rather save their Supporter use for more important tasks, like getting the Pokémon needed for combos into hand (Seeker or Pokémon Collector), and because two Energy is exactly how much the Self Generator Poké-Body on Pachirisu affects. Now that I’ve had someone hold it right in front of my face, I do have to concede that running some of both forms of Energy recursion is indeed a valid choice though I still question if the flexibility truly worth the deck space when compared with other cards that could use that slot.

I want to emphasize that we really are in something of a unique position so far this format mostly due to our option for large scale card recycling, Flower Shop Lady. Flower Shop Lady is a good card but unlike its predecessors (such as Town Volunteers) Flower Shop Lady specifies the exact amount of Pokémon and basic Energy cards you can recycle, instead of letting you select any combination of those cards up to a total of five. In previous formats, your deck would usually set-up and over the course of the match there’d be a few turns where you didn’t need to burn a Supporter usage on drawing, searching, or some special effect. You’d use those turns for cards like Town Volunteers and all but the most Energy hungry deck would be satiated. Even if you were running something like an Inferno Fandango deck, as soon as you set up you’d just use your Supporter for the Energy recycling since you had Pokémon-based reusable draw-power so your Supporter use was often available.

So that is my take for Modified play. What about Unlimited? Does this card finally work here? Not really: in this format draw and search are still handled mostly by Neo Genesis Cleffa (at least for the first turn or two of the game) and the amazing draw and search “normal” Trainers from the earliest sets. Bill may have been updated into a supporter, robbing us of its safe deck shrinking self, but we still have Computer Search and Professor Oak. So in this format Supporters still get played, but are used more for contingency and the one area they still top most old normal Trainers, recursion. I’ll add to that fact that decks in Unlimited tend to be quite heavy on the Special Energies. Those few that are mostly about Basic energy cards often have access to unusual forms of Energy recycling that were once the basis of entire decks. The best example is Rain Dance: unless you really want to use a Blastoise or Dark Blastoise as a main attacker, I’d be hard pressed not to upgrade the traditional Unlimited Rain Dance build to Feraligatr Prime. As you just need one Feraligatr Prime for unlimited use of the Rain Dance Poké-Power, you can afford to run two different Feraligatr in your deck, including Feraligatr (Neo Genesis 5/111), scourge of the early Modified formats who can attack for big damage while constantly returning Water Energy cards from your discard pile to the deck through that same attack. It’s okay to give up an attack to recycle that Energy when said attack is enough to OHKO most Pokémon in the format.

In Limited play, Trainers are naturally rarer as most sets have just a few, and while Trainer cards are rarely anything but Commons and Uncommons even in Trainer heavy sets they account for less than 10% of the cards. So Trainers are more potent here as long as they have general strategies, and it doesn’t get much more general than messing with basic Energy cards. If you run a monotype deck as long as Energy Retrieval doesn’t show up early game, you’ll always find it effectively giving you one more Energy card than had you run just another basic Energy in its place. If you run a multi-type deck you’ll find the exact same use in addition to smoothing out the hiccups in your Energy needs caused by the different Energy Type requirements. If you’re running just a few off color Types that only justified a handful of their own Energy Type, it truly becomes a magnificent card as it allows you to “waste” said off-type of Energy early game meeting Colorless Energy requirements. Why would you do that? Its Limited: the “wrong” Energy type is probably the only one you opened with, and you can’t afford to waste Energy attachments!


Unlimited: 1.5/5 – There are a select few decks that would be better off with it, but not many.

Modified: 2.5/5 – This is an aggregate score. As outlined above, there is a popular category of decks that can make good or great use of it, but in most decks it will merely be functional and the space would be better spent on something else.

Limited: 5/5 –Yup, this becomes a must run, though remember it isn’t perfect: it is usually a dead card in hand for the first few turns of the game.

Combos with: Pachirisu


Well, not the worst humble pie I’ve ever had to eat. I am very glad they dropped the discard cost for this card though I almost wish a different approach to modernization had occurred, like snagging Special Energy cards as well and/or grabbing more Energy cards. As is the card definitely has a niche use even I can see now that my fellow reviewers have reminded me to pay attention while reading the card.

Of course I am still selling my former possessions on eBay here. Pojo.com is not responsible for any transactions.

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