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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


 Energy Recycler

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
September 15, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.73
Expanded: 2.42
Limited: 3.17

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Sorry about yesterday's absence, Sunday was a particularly exhausting day for me, but never fear! Arora's here to help out in reviewing the cards of this set! So what do we got today? 

Monday - "Eco Arm"

Tuesday - "Energy Recycler" 


I see things haven't been so peppy since yesterday's card was...meh. 

Eco Arm and Energy Recycler actually aren't too different mechanically speaking, so let's make up for yesterday's review with a double review!...siding on the Energy Recycler side, cause let's be honest, it's better! So both of these cards return cards to the deck, not unlike a number of cards in the past like Sacred Ash, Super Rod, and Pal Pad. The actual numbers differ only slightly; Energy Recycler will snatch back 5 cards while Eco Arm only brings back 3, but both serve their own purposes in different ways. 

For instance, Eco Arm's job is to grab back Tools from your discard pile and put them back into your deck. This could be Spirit Link cards, Muscle Bands that got attached to an alternate attacking Pokemon, Float Stones off of Bench-supporters dragged out by Lysandre in Expanded - the list goes on. Eco Arm works best in Tool-heavy decks, of which the ones that come to mind are primarily Mega decks, which flow better without adding in multiple Eco Arms to gunk up the Item lineup. But hey, maybe if Sycamore dropped a few Spirit Links, Eco Arm can get them back! So it's not a big deal. 

Energy Recycler similarly grabs Energies - BASIC Energy, mind you - and puts it back in the deck. Again, this could be used to grab Energy out of the discard pile that was getting put onto an alternative attacker and then shuffling it back, or it could even be used up to increase the deck size so you don't deck out before you knock out that last Pokemon. The big deck I see making the most use of this would be Primal Kyogre-EX, honestly - he tends to run a good chunk of Energies to take advantage of Alpha Growth, so putting 4-5 back into the deck to draw for your spare Primal Kyogre-EX couldn't hurt. 

So what does that mean for these kinds of cards? Well generally speaking, it depends on the deck. Sacred Ash is in a similarly vein; you'd use it in a deck that needed its Pokemon, but you wouldn't specifically run it in droves in Night March decks that want those Pokemon in the discard pile - it'd make little sense to do that aside from getting back a cheap attacker, and even then you don't want to move 5 of them out to lower your damage output by so much. Similarly, Eco Arm works best in a deck that relies on its Tools, and Energy Recycler works best in decks running on basic Energies. 

Figure with that what you will XP 


Standard: 2.5/5 (some can use it, some can't use it, some won't use it cause they're good with what they've got) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (maybe the same here? maybe less, considering we've got Eels for Electric, Bronzong for Metal...) 

Limited: 3/5 (hey, Energy is as Energy does) 

Arora Notealus: Seriously, what would Eco Arm even be in terms of the video games? Some sort of harvester that wouldn't work cause you're taking up the space with Eco Arm? Or maybe like an Item to recycle the Berry you just ate or retrieve the Leftovers you lost from Knock Off? Who knows. I just know Energy Recycler's basically just the Pokemon version of the atom that inhabits all living things - like the science Pokemon version of the Force :3 

Next Time: I've seen this before!


Welcome to a somewhat odd two weeks for Pojo.com.  The short version is that for various reasons, the site is having a five day weekend: no articles from this Thursday through next Monday.  While not the reason why, it will give the CotD crew a nice break to recover from out Top 15 list that wrapped up last week.  This week and next we will be looking at Trainers and Special Energy from the new set that didn’t make the Top 15, which is a pretty typical thing for us to do the last few sets. 

Unintentionally continuing the theme of cards that replenish your deck from your discard pile (and ending it - there aren’t anymore scheduled for this week or next) is Energy Recycler (XY: Ancient Origins 72/98).  This is our second Item this week which given the theme shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.  It enjoys the usual benefit of being an Item in that barring Item lock, you can play as many Items in a single turn as you have in hand and can meet the requirements for playing (any costs built into the card as well as doing enough that it isn’t playing the card for no effect).  Energy Recycler shuffles five basic Energy cards of your choice from your discard pile into your deck, or all basic Energy cards in your discard pile if you have less than five but at least one (if there are none, you can’t play this card).  There are only two divisions in Energy cards right now (and I think for the entire history of the game): basic Energy cards and Special Energy cards.  Yes, in card text “basic” seems to always get written lower case while “Special” is capitalized; no, I don’t know why.  As mentioned yesterday, about half the distinct Energy cards in Standard are Basic Energy and even in Expanded, it is about a third.  While the effect would be much, much more potent if it worked on any and all Energy cards, for an Item shuffling five for one into the deck should be at least “adequate”. 

Competition for Energy Recycler includes many cards, but we’ll limit ourselves to what is most like it: other Items.  Super Rod is Expanded legal only and also maxes out at just three cards, however it allows those three cards to include not only basic Energy, but Pokémon (any and all variants).  Superior Energy Retrieval is also an Expanded only option, but allows you to add four basic Energy cards directly from your discard pile to your hand, but while it is also an Item it has a built in cost of discarding two cards from your hand in order to play it.  Lastly there is Energy Retrieval, which allows you to add two basic Energy from discard to hand and has no additional costs or conditions; it is also a Standard legal option.  Decks that need to recover a lot of basic Energy all at once should probably go with Energy Recycler unless 

  • the deck also needs to recycle Pokémon as well
  • the deck does not run much basic Energy
  • the Energy needs to go immediately or almost immediately to hand
  • something unique to the deck provides an additional alternative

Some examples may help to make this crystal clear. If you need to recycle both Pokémon and basic Energy you could run one Sacred Ash and one Energy Recycler, but in Expanded it may be more beneficial to run two copies of Super Rod instead.  You won’t be able to reclaim as many Pokémon or basic Energy as you could the other way, but you’ll have greater flexibility with your choices and don’t have to worry about getting Energy Recycler when you need Sacred Ash or vice versa.  If your deck has less than five basic Energy, Energy Recycler will always be less effective than it otherwise should be, to the point you may be better off with another option.  If you need the Energy added back into hand promptly, unless your deck also has a good means of searching it out that you can rely on then you should just use one of the cards that adds the Energy directly back to hand (even if again the yield is lower). 

An example of both middle points may be Fighting-Type decks; Korrina is almost always a must but so is Strong Energy (and to a greater degree than Korrina).  Professor’s Letter can help you add two basic Energy from deck to hand but Korrina gives you one Fighting-Type Pokémon and one Item; instead you probably should just make room for Energy Retrieval as you probably aren’t running a lot of basic Energy cards in the first place and you can use Korrina => Energy Retrieval to get two into hand easily.  An example of just the latter middle point would be  M Sceptile-EX decks: you want the Energy in hand because its “Jagged Sword” attack attaches basic Grass Energy cards from hand, which also heals all damage from the Pokémon receiving the Energy.  The final example would be in a deck like those focused on M Manectric-EX; you probably don’t want any card that removes Energy from your discard pile or else want one that removes less than five because M Manectric-EX specializes in attaching basic Energy cards from the discard pile to something on the Bench when it attacks. 

As such we once again have a solid card for Standard and Expanded play, where a few decks use it quite well and most in general can make decent use of it.  Unlike yesterday both the general and more specific uses of the card seem better and Expanded scores lower because Energy Recycler has more competition there.  I would consider it a must run for Limited play, mostly because you should have room for it in any deck that doesn’t have an improbable amount of lucky pulls to crowd it out.  You may not need to recycle much basic Energy though and doing so haphazardly can make it harder to draw into what you actually need: good thing you choose when to use the card.  Easily balancing out this slight risk is that in multi-type decks this allows you to worry less (and thus run less) of more specialized basic Energy cards: if you are forced to use a particular type early and on the wrong Pokémon, resulting in it hitting the discard pile, you have a means of getting it back. 


Standard: 3.5/5 

Expanded: 3.25/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Summary: Energy Recycler fills some of the gap left by previous Energy reclamation cards leaving the format, whether due to rotation or banning - technically Lysandre’s Trump Card had this covered like it did everything else.  With Superior Energy Retrieval gone (it rotated out September 1st) and Super Rod long gone (it became Expanded only during the previous rotation), at least I’ve really felt it when it came to getting back basic Energy cards. 

I did want to include one little additional tidbit though: odds are this card’s scores will take a small hit sooner rather than later.  Japan has had a reprint of Fisherman confirmed so we will likely be getting one as well.  It is possible it will be in our next set or even sooner in promos, but it also might be the set after that (or even later promos - it can be hard to predict sometimes).  Fisherman is a Supporter that adds four basic Energy cards directly to your hand.  Burning your Supporter for the turn is pricy, but the reward is essentially a Superior Energy Retrieval with no discard cost that is harder to block (Supporter versus Item) and easier to reuse (VS Seeker).  It shouldn’t make a huge difference, but it will make a difference and that is on top of anything else that happens. 

Emma Starr

            The next card in our 3-day Item Extravaganza is Energy Recycler! Which, I’ll admit, I’d rather still see Superior Energy Retrieval in the format. But, it’s the only card of its kind in Standard now, so it’s what we get!

            By playing this item, you simply move 5 energy cards from your discard pile into your deck. For some decks, this could be as much as 1/3 of their energy! However, unlike Superior Energy Retrieval, these Energies return to the deck, and don’t get delivered to your hand on a silver platter, but you don’t have to discard two cards with this one, either. Regardless, you’re still at the mercy of your Draws to get what you need. Sycipers or any other Draw support can help you get them though, especially later in the game.

An alternative you could use to this is Energy Retrieval (You can actually get this as a Secret Rare in this set, for some reason. I guess they’re trying to apologize about Superior Energy Retrieval not coming back?), which DOES serve you a decent serving of two energies on a silver platter, from your discard pile! But really, this comes down to what a deck needs more – if you don’t run many Energies, and can carry the risk of decking out at times, Energy Recycler is definitely the way to go. If you run an Energy-loaded deck, and sometimes need some Energy on the fly, or for using with Mega Sceptile’s attack, or Emboar/Blastoise’s abilities (in Expanded), Energy Retrieval is the card for you (or Superior Energy Retrieval in Expanded in Expanded). 

Modified: 2.2/5 (A lot of decks seem to run lower amounts of Energies these days. I can imagine this would be useful in quite a few cases.)

Expanded: 1.5/5 (Remember you have many other options…Superior Energy Retrieval gets you four Energies into your hand from your discard, with a 2-card discard price. If you want Energies from your deck, Cilan/Professor’s Letter are the way to go.)

Limited: 1/5 (Most decks here carry tons of Energy in my experience. You don’t need this. Just build smart.)

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