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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Burning Energy

- XY BREAKthrough

Date Reviewed:
January 11, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.50
Expanded: 2.45
Limited: 3.00

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Pokemon is a fairly diverse game, having several different strategies organized and spread out throughout the various Types. Grass tends to use Status a lot, Water likes to inflict Bench damage or Paralyze (or really Freeze), Electric is cheap to use and can retreat quickly, Fighting usually aims for raw power - at least, that's what the early game was a lot like. Nowadays, the strategies depend more on the individual Pokemon than a generalized Type-centric idea - every Type has Energy acceleration of some form or another, every deck has access to damage-boosters and damage-reducers, everything's kinda the same but kinda different. It's a bit strange that way. 

That being said, why does Burning Energy exist? 

As has been a recent trend in the last few sets, each Type has been getting their own Special Energy to help them out; some are thematically on-par with what we'd think the Type is like, like Strong Energy giving Fighting-Types more damage in their attacks or Metal getting Shield Energy for damage reduction, but then there's Psychic-Types getting Mystery Energy to reduce their Retreat Cost? Isn't that what Electric's Flash Energy should've been while Psychic-Types got rid of their own Weakness? Still, every Type is getting their own Special Energy, and Fire's Burning Energy might be the example of something a little bit...outdated. 

See early on in the TCG, there were a few Fire-types that loved discarding Energy - the first one I can think of is actually Charmeleon's Flamethrower (though Charizard himself had Fire Spin which got rid of 2), and it sorta became apart of Flamethrower's description for years - so much so that even nowadays when a card gets printed with Flamethrower, it'll have that effect of "discard 1 Energy card" to use the attack even when the damage has fluctuated accordingly. 

That being said, not every Fire-type nowadays runs around on burning off their Energy. In fact, one of the more recent additions that have entered the competitive meta has been Entei (15) from Ancient Origins, and he doesn't discard any Energy at all! But for those Fire-types that do - a few of which got printed in BREAKThrough - this card is a godsend. 

Can you imagine what it would've been like if Burning Energy was around in Base Set days? Charizard would've been amazingly useful! Being able to hit for 100 damage every turn by simply discarding 2 Burning Energies that would just get immediately reattached - in that day and age, Charizard would've been as grand and powerful as we'd all have liked him to be. Nowadays, we've got stuff like Typhlosion, M Houndoom-EX, Camerupt-EX, a couple of Blazikens - even Charizard-EX (11) from Flashfire doesn't look so bad now! 

...I mean, he's still not that great, but still! 

At first glance, Burning Energy doesn't seem to be worth the time of day for a few Fire-types - I know stuff like Ho-oh-EX, the old Entei-EX from Dark Explorers, and Reshiram-EX never really needed it, but when you can utilize this to essentially make an attack that would normally be a hefty cost closer to free? That's priceless. 

I'm expecting a few older builds with the basic Reshiram to spring up in Expanded and maybe a couple Camerupt-EX builds to pop up in Standard, but keep in mind...there's only so many Burning Energies one can fit in a deck. 


Standard: 3/5 (Burning Energy breathes new life into Fire decks that center around an attacker that discards Energies, but it is by no means perfect) 

Expanded: 3/5 (if the attacker is KO'd, Burning Energy gets stuck in the discard pile, and that can be very dangerous for decks relying on it) 

Limited: 4/5 (still, it's got its uses, and I think it makes several cards that would be otherwise unplayable much more so) 

Arora Notealus: Seriously though, shouldn't Electric-types be getting the retreat cost lowering effects of Mystery Energy? I'm just saying, Psychic-types would definitely benefit from the No Weakness clause...then again, there have been some Psychic decks making use of Mystery. So what do I know anyway, right?



Last week didn’t have a theme but this one is nice and flagrant: welcome to our Fire Week for XY: BREAKthrough!  We begin with a piece of support some Fire-Types will find more useful than others, the new Special Energy card Burning Energy (XY: BREAKthrough 151/162).  This is the latest of the Type-specific Special Energy cards as it can only be attached to Fire-Types and if it somehow ends up attached to a different Fire-Type, Burning Energy will discard itself.  As such it almost seems redundant that the card’s effect text also states that everything else about the card only happens when it is attached to a Fire-Type, though perhaps this is justified through some hypothetical or obscure existing blend of effects that would allow something to change Types at just the right moment so as to still cash in on it.  The rest of the effect text states that Burning Energy provides one unit of [R] Energy while attached to a Fire-Type Pokémon and if you discard Burning Energy as part of the effect of an attack on the Fire-Type Pokémon to which it is attached, Burning Energy reattaches itself from the discard pile to said Pokémon. 

So is this a useful effect?  Many Fire-Type Pokémon have attacks that discard Energy cards attached to them, either as an absolute requirement or to trigger an optional effect, so in that regard it makes a lot of sense as an effect.  Not all of them do, however and that is our first concern: this is the Special Energy made expressly for Fire-Types and it isn’t going to help all of them.  That isn’t a requirement to be a “good” Type-specific Special Energy, but how easy it is for a Type to utilize the effect is important: it elevates an effect whether it is turning something “good” into something “great” or keeping something on the happy side of “average”.  Plenty of these Energy have not truly been universal but I still consider Strong Energy to be the best example, and while there are Fighting-Types that don’t do any damage with their attacks (so the +20 it grants does nothing), those are few and far between.  Burning Energy doesn’t help a Fire-Type that doesn’t discard at all or which discards from a place other than itself, be it other Pokémon, the hand or the deck. 

A lesser but still relevant concern is that Active Pokémon, especially if they are attackers of note, tend not to last too long.  This is a format of OHKOs and 2HKOs.  Burning Energy can trigger and resolve all it wants, but if it reattaches itself to something which doesn’t survive, it is most likely to help your opponent, not you.  How?  Unless you have an effect on the field that cares about Burning Energy, before you can use it to fuel a second attack (or anything else) your opponent gets his or her turn.  If your opponent scores a KO then Burning Energy ends up back in the discard pile (as if it never left) and you may as well have been running a basic Fire Energy card.  That still isn’t worse though… that happens because there are some well known, established attackers which do damage based all or partially on how much is attached to the opponent’s Active Pokémon; Burning Energy means an extra 20 damage per copy which reattached itself. 

Beyond that, remember that Burning Energy is entering a format with a lot of other Special Energy cards and counters to those cards.  It will frequently be competing with deck space against other cards like Double Colorless Energy, and if you don’t immediately use an attack that discards Burning Energy (so the effect can then reattach it), it may do you no more good than a regular basic Fire Energy card should your opponent discard it again the next turn.  While you come out ahead in terms of resources if your opponent uses something to discard Burning Energy even after you’ve taken advantage of the effect at least once, that still means Burning Energy is gone, which leads into the second concern.  So you can’t truly rely on Burning Energy to always be there, which seems silly except so many decks have cards that combo with basic Energy cards, including most forms of Energy acceleration: the Fire-Type is no different.  Burning Energy can’t be attached with Blacksmith as while in the discard pile, Burning Energy doesn’t count as a [R] Energy card.  You can’t discard it for the effect of Fiery Torch or Scorched Earth because Burning Energy doesn’t count as a [R] Energy card in hand.  These may not be deal-breakers, but they are definitely factors to consider.  Burning Energy can still help out some Fire-Types but I’m not sure if it is better working in other Energy acceleration (yes, this counts as Energy acceleration) or if the tradeoff between using Burning Energy over another Special Energy (assuming both are competing for the same slot) is worth it. 

In Limited play, I count 11 Fire-Type Pokémon cards in this set: Cyndaquil (XY: BREAKthrough 18/162), Quilava (XY: BREAKthrough 19/162), Typhlosion (XY: BREAKthrough 20/162), Houndoom-EX (XY: BREAKthrough 21/162 and 153/162), M Houndoom-EX (XY: BREAKthrough 22/162 and 154/162), Pansear (XY: BREAKthrough 23/162), Simisear (XY: BREAKthrough 24/162), Fennekin (XY: BREAKthrough 25/162) and Braixen (XY: BREAKthrough 26/162).  Of those, Cyndaquil, Typhlosion, M Houndoom-EX and Braixen have an attack that discards a card from that Pokémon itself.  The only Basic Pokémon in this list are Cyndaquil, Pansear, Fennekin and Houndoom-EX; everything else is an Evolution.  Of those five (there is a regular and a Full Art Houndoom-EX) only the first three are Commons.  Nothing in the Simisear line discards any Energy from itself at all, both Quilava and Typhlosion have attacks that discard from your own deck.  If find yourself running some of the few cards that can make use of Burning Energy, go ahead and include it; you should have the room in your deck.  Odds of actually pulling something that can use it and which you can get into play are low, so even though the effect is more potent here I can’t score Burning Energy particularly high. 


Standard: 2/5 

Expanded: 1.9/5 

Limited: 2/5 

Summary: Burning Energy is a decent concept that makes some sense aesthetically for the Fire-Type Special Energy card but it seems to clash with other Fire-Type support and is entering a format where multiple decks mess with an opponent’s Special Energy as part of their path to victory and yet deck space allowed to Special Energy still remains tight.  In the end, Burning Energy works alright for a few Fire-Types but a good deal can’t even make use of the effect and even among those that can, there are usually better options.

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