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Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Enhanced Hammer
- S&M: Guardians Rising
- #GRI 162

Date Reviewed:
July 20, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.38
Expanded: 3.83
Limited: 3.50

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

Back to the main COTD Page


It's good. 


Standard: 4/5 (...what you thought that wasn't gonna be the review?) 

Expanded: 4.5/5 (...you really think I need to talk more about this guy?) 

Limited: 3/5 (...he's been reviewed 3 times, I don't have to review him) 

Arora Notealus: Even I've reviewed the card twice already, this is the 3rd time I'd be reviewing it out of the 4 times it's been reviewed! I don't have to tell you by this point that getting rid of a Special Energy from your opponent's Pokemon is a great boon for many decks, especially since there are so many Special Energy running around these days. DCE is a staple in the game to this day, and that's just one example! There's also Strong Energy, Burning Energy, Splash Energy, Rainbow Energy, and that's all just in Standard!! There's Double Dragon Energy, Blend Energy GFPD and WLFM, Prism Energy, Plasma Energy, Double Aqua and Double Magma Energy, Herbal Energy, Flash Energy, Shield Energy, Wonder Energy - the list goes on and on and on!! I know lately that the S&M sets haven't done too much with Special Energy as of yet, but I'm pretty sure that if it becomes more relevant, than this card will definitely see play against it. It's been good enough to see play before, it'll be good enough to see play again. 

...aaaaaaaand I just basically gave my review for this card in the description, didn't I? 



Enhanced Hammer (Guardians Rising, 162/145) got a really, really, really cool full art reprint in the Guardians Rising expansion.  This Item card allows you to discard any Special energy from any of your opponent’s Pokemon. 

So there seems to be a dichotomy going on in the game right now, and it involves Enhanced Hammer… or rather the fact that there is no Enhanced Hammer.  In the last four major tournaments, no top eight deck has run even a single copy of E Hammer (Masters Division).  However, the vast majority of these decks run Special energy (Seattle 7/8, Birmingham 5/8, Madison 5/8, Indy 7/8 decks carried at least one SPE).  You would think that more of us would be teching in at least a copy or two of E Hammer – I even took it out of my Sylveon GX (Guardians Rising, 92/145) deck that I took to NAIC.  I found I wasn’t using it.  In my testing (and I played over two hundred matches with Sylveon in June), I tracked every card I played.  I kept detailed notes of how many of each card I played in every match, and I found that I was only playing E Hammer about 20% of the time.  In July, I’m coming across decks that run SPE 57% of the time (in June the number was 58%). 

If I’m coming across decks with SPE every three out of five matches, why was I only playing it one out of every five games?

Why was I playing E Hammer so infrequently?  Why did I take it out of my NAIC tournament deck, and why am I not running a copy of Enhanced Hammer in all of my decks?  Why not two?  I even have a full art E Hammer on PTCGO, I might as well show it off, right?  So I decided to do some testing and run a deck with E Hammer and without for twenty matches each.  I chose to play Drampa GX (Guardians Rising, 142/145) Garbodor (Guardians Rising, 51/145) since it is a very popular deck and it’s won two of the four major tournaments since the release of GUR.  Here’s the list I used:

* 4 Drampa-GX GRI 115
* 4 Trubbish GRI 50
* 4 Garbodor GRI 51
* 4 Professor Sycamore STS 114
* 4 Hala GRI 126
* 4 Choice Band GRI 121
* 2 Olympia GEN 66
* 2 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 1 Special Charge STS 105
* 4 Field Blower GRI 125
* 4 N NVI 92
* 2 Team Magma's Secret Base DCR 32
* 4 Crushing Hammer SUM 115
* 4 Puzzle of Time BKP 109
* 2 Lysandre FLF 104
* 4 Rainbow Energy SUM 137
* 4 Double Colorless Energy EVO 90
* 3 Psychic Energy SUM 162

I played without the E Hammer first, and then I pulled a Field Blower and a Psychic energy to fit in two E Hammers.  The results:

                                                            Grampa No E Hammer   Grampa w/ E Hammer

Record                                                              14-6                              12-8

Record when using E Hammer                            n/a                               3-3

Opp. Had Advantage                                          7                                  6

Neither Had Advantage                                      8                                  5

I Had Advantage                                                5                                  9

Vs. Top 8 Decks                                                 8                                  6

Record Against Top 8 Decks                               5-3                               3-3

Opp. Deck Ran SPE                                            9                                  14 

So I don’t know what to tell you.  My logical brain says that the E Hammer deck should have been the deck that won two more games.  The non-E Hammer deck clearly had the tougher opponents, and it still won two more games.  And I only used E Hammer six times in twenty matchups, even though fourteen of my opponents (significantly above average) ran SPE.  I just don’t know what to tell you, sometimes this game makes no sense, these results are backwards from what I would have expected to see.


Standard: 2.5 out of 5


I love doing this, analyzing the results of an experiment on two very slightly different test groups.  I don’t love that the results don’t necessarily make sense, but the facts are what they are.  Maybe I need a larger sample size, maybe twenty matches weren’t enough, but what I will say is that the results of this test bear out what the best players in the game have maybe instinctually already known: E Hammer by itself just isn’t good enough / used enough to increase your win percentage.  That’s why none of the top 8 decks in the last two months have run E Hammer even though the meta is filled with SPE decks.

As a brief post-script to this review, if you want to make this deck list post-rotation compatible, I’d recommend swapping out the two Secret Bases for Damage Remover (Shining Legends), but it doesn’t come out until October.  Po Town (Burning Shadows) might have to suffice until then.  Also, Guzma (Burning Shadows) would have supplanted Lysandre (Ancient Origins, 78/98) even if it weren’t being rotated out.  If you don’t want to have to worry about switching your active, though, then you could also run Pokemon Catcher (Sun & Moon, 126/149).


Note: This is actually the second version of this review; missing the forest for the trees, I neglected to discuss Enhanced Hammer in the Unlimited and Legacy Formats.  My apologies for this oversight, and my thanks to the other reviewers as - even without discussing it directly - they were thorough enough to remind me of such things.  Great job, guys. :) 

Enhanced Hammer gets the nod this Throwback Thursday.  Its first printing is BW: Dark Explorers 94/108, dating back to May 9, 2012, based on the expansions official release date.  It was then reprinted as XY: Phantom Forces 94/119, with an official release date of November 5,  2014, which means we actually had a few months with no Enhanced Hammer near the beginning of the 2014-2015 (or BW: Boundaries Crossed-On) Standard Format.  Since then, we haven’t had any gaps as XY: Primal Clash 162/160 officially released February 4, 2015, the set after XY: Phantom Forces and starting point for the current (nearly gone) Standard Format.  The latest printings are SM: Guardians Rising 124/145 and 162/145, released May 5, 2017, about four months before the 2017-2018 rotation that would have otherwise axed the XY: Primal Clash printing (and thus all older ones).  Just to make things official, Enhanced Hammer is a Trainer-Item that allows you to discard a Special Energy from one opposing Pokémon of your choice.  During the last five years, this card has seen a lot of fluctuation in its usage.  As it has no built in cost to play and is an easy-to-spam Item, Enhanced Hammer trades well with Special Energy, which normally are limited to a once-per-turn attachment and remain in play until discarded by (or for) something else.  Looking at it in a vacuum, Enhanced Hammer seems unbalanced; a once-per-turn resource taken down by an “as many as you can and want” resource.  We’ve already looked at this card as the ninth best card of BW: Dark Explorers, the seventh best card lost to the 2014-2015 rotation, and as one of the cards that would have made the XY: Phantom Forces top 10 except they were ineligible reprints.


However, the nature of the game means this potent card has a highly variable role in the competitive scene.  The current metagame undermines its usage in a few (not always obvious) ways.  The most fundamental is why should you discard Energy via another card effect when you could just KO the Pokémon to which it is attached?  At times, there have been reasons, even somewhat common ones like when you can KO a valuable Bench-sitter while simultaneously stripping Energy off your opponent attacker, but most of the time if the same card slot can go towards improving your pace for KO’s, that’s going to prove more relevant.  There are also rivals that also mess with your opponent’s Energy but in a slightly or significantly different manner.  Quite a few, really.  Crushing Hammer to discards an Energy (basic or Special) from any of the opponent’s Pokémon, though it requires a coin flip to work.  Team Flare Grunt discards any one Energy from the opponent’s Active but it is a Supporter.  Team Skull Grunt is also a Supporter, and it discards two Energy from your opponent’s hand (instead of in play); your opponent isn’t out an Energy attachment for the turn per Energy discarded, but you also get to see his or her hand.  Xerosic can discard a Special Energy or Pokémon Tool from Pokémon on either side of the field, so while it is a Supporter that is only doing the job (or part of the job) of various Items, there is more likely to be a relevant target in play.  Though some decks will wish to run more than one form of Energy denial, Enhanced Hammer has to compete with all of these plus other TecH. 

Sometimes the metagame is just lacking in relevant targets.  Maybe there aren’t a lot of Special Energy being played, or there is but only in decks that don’t have to worry about Enhanced Hammer for various reasons, or where the Special Energy is played, discarding it isn’t going to make much of a difference.  The only Format where you don’t have to worry about Item lock at least a little is Limited, and Garbodor (SM: Guardians Rising 51/145) with its Trashalanche attack is just the most high profile of the cards that punish you for running Item cards.  Item support also matters, as Enhanced Hammer is more appealing when you already have a reason to run cards like Korrina, Skyla, and/or Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) that either make searching out or reusing Items much easier.  Special Energy support also matters.  Special Charge allows the reliable recycling of Special Energy and is both easy to use and to fit into many decks.  Puzzle of Time is trickier to use but has a better payoff for card recycling (and not just for Special Energy).  Some decks that use Special Energy have additional ways of attaching it, including from the discard pile.  Special Energy search also matters, though raw draw power usually can compensate when it is lacking.

Most of the time, Enhanced Hammer is that card you want to include in a deck but have to cut for something more vital, whether it is a core part of your strategy or just there to handle the occasional problem.  That has become a longer and longer list, though, especially in Expanded.  The Limited Format is a lot more complicated.  BW: Dark Explorers contains no Special Energy, so it is a dead card there if not combined with something else.  XY: Phantom Forces contains Double Colorless Energy and Mystery Energy, so I’d say it is worth a slot.  XY: Primal Clash has Shield Energy and Wonder Energy but Enhanced Hammer is a Secret Rare, so if you don’t mind it getting damaged, I guess run it.  Finally, the latest releases in SM: Guardians Rising may be a Common and Secret Rare, but the only Special Energy is also a Secret Rare so… probably not worth it.  So the score below is an aggregate of these situations.  The Unlimited Format makes this simple; even when we ignore that most first turn win or lock decks won’t need to bother this Energy discarding Trainers, you’ve got not one but three clearly better Item cards to use: Energy Removal, Lost Remover, and Super Energy Removal.  The Legacy Format also contains Lost Remover, but you’ll see people using Enhanced Hammer because of people who lack Lost Remover.  Sending the discarded Energy to the Lost Zone (instead of the discard pile) only matters in certain matchups, so settling for Enhanced Hammer isn’t as bad as it sounds. 


Standard: 3.5/5 

Expanded: 3.5/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Unlimited: 1/5 

Legacy: 2/5 


Enhanced Hammer is a card that is actually a bit too good, as it is the reason “passive” Special Energy cards like Flash Energy aren’t worth it; if they ever become good enough to notice, people just start running Enhanced Hammer to discard them before their effects can trigger.  The main justification for Enhanced Hammer as part of a healthy metagame is it keeps cards like Double Colorless Energy (somewhat) in line, but I think I’d rather the powers-that-be stopped reprinting Double Colorless Energy.  Never forget about this card, as you need to be prepared to squeeze it into most decks should the need arise… unless you’re dealing with the Legacy or Unlimited Formats, which have one (or more) better options.

This Throwback Thursday’s card is Enhanced Hammer!  It has first appeared in BW Dark Explorers, and continue to see print in Phantom Forces, Secret Rare Primal Clash, and………………. Guardians Rising.  So, it seems that Enhanced Hammer won’t be going away from rotation anytime soon, which is fine by me.  So what does it do?  It discards a Special Energy card attached to one of your opponent’s Pokemon without drawbacks.  How is this card good and does it still apply?
Back when Enhanced Hammer was released in BW Dark Explorers, it didn’t see much play due to Lost Remover (HS Call of Legends) being a better card than Enhanced Hammer.  Lost Remover not only get rid of a Special Energy, but it sends that Special Energy to the Lost Zone, removing the Special Energy from the game and can’t be recovered by any means.  Having a card removed from play is a huge setback and the affected player would have to deal with not having that energy back.  Once Lost Remover has rotated, Enhanced Hammer took its place by doing the same job of discarding Special Energies to the discard.  Before, there’s no way to get back special energies from the discard unless they were messing with old cards in casual play to get back said special energy.
Enhanced Hammer has left rotation in September 2014 before being reprinted in Phantom Forces.  It is still a useful card to whack off Double Colorless Energies and Type Specific Special Energies (such as Double Dragon Energy, Strong Energy, etc.).  But then around 2016 there were two cards that can retrieve Special Energies: Puzzle of Time and Special Charge.  Puzzle of Time requires playing either one or two cards at once, but playing two of them at once can reclaim any two cards from the discard to your hand.  Special Charge puts two special energies from the discard to the deck.  With both recovery options, Enhanced Hammer wasn’t enough to hinder the opponent as much as it used to.
Still, even with those two recovery items trying to counter Enhanced Hammer, it is still a valuable item to get rid of energies without drawbacks.  Even if the opponent used Special Charge, he or she has to actually hope to draw into these special energies, otherwise they may not be able to attack.  Having two Puzzle of Times in your hand is possible, but not consistently enough to enjoy that second effect if you have to burn through your deck just to get those.  So that covers for Standard and Expanded.  What about Limited?  Scoring it is tough because Enhanced Hammer appeared in four expansions.  In BW Dark Explorers, there’s no special energies in this set, so a 1/5 seems reasonable.  In XY Phantom Forces, there’s Mystery Energy and Double Colorless Energy to discard, so a 4/5 would be appropriate.  Same as XY Primal Clash, but being a secret rare means that this card is incredibly hard to pull at prerelease, so a 2.5/5 would be plausible.  And SM Guardians Rising has a Double Colorless Energy to get rid of, but since DCE is a secret rare, you’ll almost never see it in prerelease, rendering Enhanced Hammer almost useless, therefore making it a 1.5/5.  For scoring this card in Limited, I would simply choose the highest rating.
Standard: 3.5/5
Expanded: 3.5/5
Limited: 4/5
Notes: Enhanced Hammer is a useful card to get rid of Special Energies.  However, not all decks use special energies, so it may be a waste of a deck slot. Your intuition is required to determine whatever or not you think about what other players are using in their decks.
Coming Up: Oh my, that’s one ghostly Pikachu! 

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