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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Countdown: Top 10 Plasma Freeze Cards

Superior Energy Retrieval  

- Plasma Freeze

Date Reviewed:
May 17, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.85
Limited: 4.17

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

#6 Superior Energy Retrieval 

We conclude the week with the #6 card in our countdown, and it’s basically a reprint of a very old card from the Neo Genesis set. Note the name change though: this isn’t Super Energy Retrieval, it’s Superior Energy Retrieval and, yes, that does mean you can’t use the old card instead. Before anyone starts spreading conspiracy theories about Pokémon doing this as a money grab, please bear in mind that it is much more likely that they simply wish to avoid confusion with a card that has different wording and was printed back when the franchise was in the hands of a different company. Besides, they aren’t going to be shifting a ton of extra boxes on the strength of re-naming this card. If it was supposed to be a money grab (which is a silly idea), then it would be a complete failure. 

The reason for this is that, although Superior Energy removal is very good, it is also very niche and will not see any play at all outside of a couple of deck types. The effect of the card will help explain this: you discard two cards from your hand and put four Basic Energy cards from the discard pile into your hand . . . with the very important restriction that you cannot get back Energy that you discarded to pay the card’s cost. Now most decks have no use for this whatsoever. After all, when you can only play one Energy from the hand per turn, why do you need four? Recovering Basic Energy isn’t a bad thing to do, but if needed, it can also be accomplished with regular style Energy Retrieval or Super Rod without the double discard cost. 

However, there are decks that do like to have a lot of Energy in hand: those which make use of Abilities that allow for multiple attachments per turn. Obviously I’m thinking of Blastoise based decks, but we shouldn’t really forget our old friend (?) Ability Emboar from BLW either. With Superior Energy Removal, Black Kyurem-EX and Blastoise, you can use Black Ballista to hit for 200 (scoring a OHKO on practically anything) and then recover more than enough Energy to use it again on the next turn. This is a significant upgrade for the Blastoise/Keldeo/Black Kyurem deck as it makes winning in three turns by taking Prizes on opposing EX Pokémon a very realistic prospect. Similarly, anyone using Emboar with Rayquaza-EX or Reshiram BLW will be able to get back more than enough Energy to set up another round of powerful attacks on their next turn.

Although the card’s use is limited to a couple of decks, only one of which is really popular, I’m not surprised to see it placing quite high on this list. The Blastoise/Black Kyurem combo is extremely powerful and will likely see significant play in the near future and that means National and World Championships. When an already very good deck gets a card that takes it to another level, then it deserves to get noticed. What it means is that there will likely be a significant shift to using Black Kyurem as the main attacker in a Blastoise deck, with Keldeo taking the role of Status Condition counter (via its Rush In Ability) and secondary attacker, useful against Water-Weak Pokémon like Landorus-EX. 

In other words, it’s time to start fearing Blastoise all over again. 


Modified: 3.75 (niche card . . . but right now it’s a very important niche)

Limited: 2.5 (ehhh . . . I guess it allows you to run multiple Energy Types, knowing you can recover them, but having enough Energy in hand isn’t usually an issue in Limited)


We close the week with the number six Promising Pick of Plasma Freeze: Superior Energy Retrieval (BW: Plasma Freeze 103/116)!


Given time, I could find a way to reference G1 Soundwave in a bad pun or similar joke, but fortunately for you, I don’t have that time!




Miscellaneous: Superior Energy Retrieval is very similar to the older card Super Energy Retrieval, however obviously the name is different.  Speculation is that this is partially due to how much the text was revised; just easier to make it a new card than deal with the errata.  As this is an Uncommon, having access to an old, “normal” Rare version of the card wouldn’t be a huge advantage anyway.


I also see many players mistaking this for another older card, “SER”.  “SER” is Super Energy Removal; if you never experienced (let alone heard of) this card, then play some old-school Pokémon until you realize that this is not a card that should be forgotten lest it be repeated.


Type: As a Trainer, Superior Energy Retrieval can be fetched by Skyla and reclaimed from the discard via Dowsing Machine.  As an Item, it can be blocked by Zebstrika (BW: Next Destinies 48/99) and Dragonite (BW: Plasma Freeze 83/116) using their first respective attack while Gothitelle (BW: Emerging Powers 47/98) can block Items via its Ability.  Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) can retrieve Items from the discard with its Junk Hunt attack, and the rest of the cards that affect Items probably aren’t likely to matter.


Effects: Superior Energy Retrieval requires you discard two cards from hand to use it, and this act does not count as the “minimum” effect on the game a card has to have in order to be legal to play.  The effect allows you to then get back four basic Energy cards from your discard pile (or as many as you can if there are less than four in the discard pile) excluding any basic Energy cards discarded to pay for the card.


I am a bit confused by wording it this way; the only reason to word it this way is so that the discard cost is just that, a cost (e.g. it would be paid even if the rest of the effect is negated) but so that it still can’t get back basic Energy discarded to pay for the cost.  Would it not have been easier to say “Select four basic Energy cards from your discard pile, and then discard two cards from your hand.  Add the selected Energy cards from your discard pile to your hand.”?


This isn’t a very good effect; you trade three cards for four cards.  Still, it does have some benefits over the next best alternative; Energy Retrieval.  With Energy Retrieval you trade it for two basic Energy cards from your discard pile, providing the same four basic Energy cards while only costing you two cards from hand (the actual copies of Energy Retrieval).  That is two specific cards, let alone two slots from your deck.  If you really need basic Energy in hand, Superior Energy Retrieval either gets twice as much back (though at a higher cost) with the same number of slots in deck and gets more back in a single shot: having two Energy Retrieval in hand at the same time isn’t easy, but having two cards of discard fodder often is.




Combos: If you have two basic Energy cards in hand, and the discard pile contains copies of each plus two more basic Energy cards you want, you can fake Superior Energy Retrieval being an Energy Retrieval: note that involves six Energy cards total and I didn’t forget the ruling I mentioned earlier.  There aren’t really that many “combos” to use the card with; if you have an effect that allows you to play multiple basic Energy cards from hand in a single turn, it will combo with this card.  You might even risk the new Exeggutor (BW: Plasma Freeze 4/116) to help shave down the discard cost.




Unlimited: Most decks don’t use a lot of Basic Energy cards or need a lot of Basic Energy cards, though if you do have one it might prefer just using cards to shuffle said Energy back into deck and then drawing it, as draw power is so abundant here.  There is also the supporter Fisherman that is basically Superior Energy Retrieval without the discard cost.  2.5/5


Modified: How did this card crack the top 10?  By becoming a great card for Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm 137/135), that’s how!  This deck is desperate for space, and if there are at least four Water Energy cards in the discard pile, you really can just discard two more Water Energy to be no worse off than if you had run Energy Retrieval.  It also would work for Emboar (Black & White 20/114; BW Promo BW21; BW: Next Destinies 100/99). 3.75/5


Limited: Most decks will need to run multiple kinds of basic Energy cards.  Most decks will have to run extra Energy to avoid a drought or because of a lack of other options.  This is another option.  This can allow you to stretch your Energy so you don’t have to run as much.  This makes it easier to manage multiple Energy Types in a single deck.  A deck that is Pokémon-EX+39 Energy are the only decks that should skip it… and even then that doesn’t hold true if the Pokémon-EX needs two different Energy-Types. 5/5



Superior Energy Retrieval isn’t a spectacular card, but it makes a great deck even better, and “spectacular” is a good word; what it does isn’t “fancy” but in the right deck it is very useful!  I had Superior Energy Retrieval as my number six pick as well.


Happy Friday, Pojo readers! Today we're ending our first week of the Top 10 Plasma Freeze countdown by reviewing #6, an Item card that could make a currently powerful deck even better. Today's Card of the Day is Superior Energy Retrieval.
Superior Energy Retrieval is an Item card, meaning you can play as many of them as you'd like during your turn. Superior Energy Retrieval allows you to discard two cards from your hand to place FOUR Basic Energy cards from your discard pile into your hand. As two notes directly stated on the card, the discard is a requirement for playing the card (so if you can't discard, you can't play Superior Energy Retrieval), and you can't discard an Energy for part of the cost just to immediately grab it later. That being said, this card upgrades Energy Retrieval in Blastoise variants in a big way, as it can easily keep Black Kyurem-EX's Black Ballista going, as well as recovering a lot of Energy in one shot after a downed Keldeo-EX. While these Deluge variants will be far and away the most common place to see Superior Energy Retrieval, you'll also be able to use it in any deck that accelerates from the hand quite effectively.
Modified: 4/5 Once again, Superior Energy Retrieval doesn't fit into every deck, but it makes the decks it does fit into undeniably better. The ability to grab four discarded Energy is quite powerful, especially if it means fueling a Keldeo-EX's Secret Sword or a Black Kyurem-EX's Black Ballista. Expect to see many Blastoise variants in the upcoming Battle Roads and Nationals using this card.
Limited: 5/5 While Energy will likely be plentiful in your Limited deck, the ability to get more out of your discard pile is never a bad thing, especially in decks that run multiple Energy types. Therefore, Superior Energy Retrieval works well in nearly all Limited decks.

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