Bronzong – Battle Styles
Date Reviewed: April 2, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
According to the countdown, the best card of Battle Styles is Bronzong! Although the rest of the card isn’t impressive, it’s claim to fame is its Metal Transfer ability, which lets you move a Metal Energy attached to your Pokémon with another of your Pokémon as often as you like. This ability isn’t new, in fact, it did exactly what Klinklang did from the Black & White series. Historically, this ability dates way back in the Base Set days via Venusaur’s Energy Trans, which it did the same thing but for grass energies. Several other Pokémon shared that exact trait for different types, though the competitive success it had varied over the years. Some of the Pokémon with such abilities were great when it came out and others may need time to find the right partners to truly shine.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen this kind of ability. The recent energy trans user before Bronzong was Weavile-GX from SM Unified Minds, and pretty soon, Weavile is about to leave the Standard format. It used to be that those energy trans abilities were reserved for Stage 2s, but Aromatisse XY broke the trend by having that kind of ability in a Stage 1. That’s not to say that Stage 2s with those abilities are extinct, though certain cards with similar abilities outclassed older cards completely. Weavile-GX outclassed Hydreigon DRX most of the time unless anti-GX effects shut off abilities. On the other hand, Bronzong totally outclassed Klinklang BW due to being a Stage 1 as opposed to a Stage 2!
Anyhow, Bronzong will definitely be a staple in Metal based decks. Sure, the ability doesn’t help you accelerate your game plan, only managing what’s already on the board. But when you have four Metal Saucer that can accelerate as much as 4 Metal energies on the board, ready to be moved around and possibly a manual energy attachment? Then any Metal Pokémon can easily meet any attack costs with ease! Max Potion may not be in Standard, but Cheryl heals all damage from all of your evolved Pokémon. The discard drawback stings, but all that means is to move those Metal energies around to an undamaged Pokémon or any Basic Pokémon, heal it with Cheryl, and move the energies back to your main attacker of choice.
Max Potion is still in the Expanded format (and Legacy, but Bronzong isn’t allowed there), and can employ the same trick other energy trans users did in the past. Ability lock is a concern with Garbodor roaming around and other factors. The big thing to take away from Bronzong is that there is another Bronzong card that is also a great card. The XY Phantom Forces version has the Metal Links ability, which does exactly what Metal Saucer do, except that it can be repeatedly used each turn as long as it is in play. As such, one might wonder how many copies players would run. Would it be 4-3/1, or 4-2/2, or skipping one or the other?
However, I just came to the realization that if players were to use the Metal Links ability to attach energy from the discard pile to one of their Benched Pokemon, they should know ahead of time who to attach those energies to instead of devoting a deck slot for today’s card. Even though Metal Links won’t be able to attach those Metal energies to their Active Pokemon, using a combination of Keldeo-EX/Float Stone will help get itself in the Active Spot just to retreat and get that specific Pokémon up front that you just attacked energies to. It is plausible that those combos aren’t available at the time or that such manevuer gets countered, so today’s card might have a reason to be used alongside the Phantom Forces version.
No Limited score since there’s currently still no pre-releases being hosted, but Bronzong is one of the four pre-release promos you can pull from the Build & Battle Kit, the other three being Cherrim, Houndoom, and Octillery. So, if you were to pull that specific promo, you might be able to build a metal based deck right off the bat. And it seems that Theme Decks have been discontinued after Vivid Voltage, sadly.
- Standard: 4.5
- Expanded: 4
I can see why Bronzong topped the final list; previous cards with similar abilities have already established what worked in their time (and some of the Pokémon made it in their respective countdowns; Hydreigon DRX runner-up, and Aromatisse XY). I had it as my 4th place pick, however, maybe because there were other cards that I thought have more value than the ability to move energies around. Unfortunately, it looks like I haven’t done a good job on this countdown explaining why I thought Camping Gear was my top pick, or when I opted out from explaining why I had Fan of Waves (3rd) higher than Bronzong. But I guess that’s part of the fun reviewing COTDs, to see what our insights are.
At last, we come to our 1st-Place pick for this countdown, Bronzong (SW – Battle Styles 102/163; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH091)! This is a baseline Pokémon: no Rule Box, worth only one Prize when KO’d, not even a Battle Style. It is a Metal type, and that could be very, very good for it. The typing isn’t especially useful for exploiting Weakness, but this is one of the times when outstanding members (Zacian V) and solid support (Metal Saucer) still easily carry the type. There’s more going for the Metal type than the two cards I just named, but if a [M] Pokémon doesn’t play well with either (let alone both) of them, that Metal type has to completely outclass them or there’s not really a place for it in the metagame.
As a Stage 1, Bronzong isn’t as easy to field as a Basic, but it comes close. Closer than most other Stage 1 cards, owing to Bronzor (SM – Team Up 100/181) is currently the best Bronzor, because of its Ability “Evolutionary Advantage”. If you go second, Bronzor may evolve immediately during your first turn. What if you go first, or you go second but it is no longer your first turn? There is no benefit, but the chance to field Bronzong Turn 2 (Player 2’s first turn) is rather significant. The card’s 110 HP might actually be too high. How does that make any sense? Level Ball is back; 110 is more durable than 90, but not by much. Having a search Item good for both Bronzor and Bronzong would have been nice.
Fire Weakness is dangerous; probably not the worst to have, but up there. With the HP, though, it only really matters to attackers doing 60, 70, 80, 90, or 100 damage. Anything hitting harder already had the OHKO while anything weaker still needs another hit. Yes, there may be some unusual circumstances where other, weaker hits matter, but even the above numbers aren’t that common outside of technical attackers or incomplete setups in competitive play. Any Resistance is appreciated, though Grass Pokémon are only a small part of the competitive metagame, but that is better than [G] attackers being totally absent. The Retreat Cost of [CCC] is arguably the worst. Anything past [CC] tends to require the same tactics, but cards with a Retreat Cost of [CCCC] have more specific support, such as Buff Padding.
Bronzong has the Ability “Metal Transfer”. This Ability lets you move a [M] Energy from one of your Pokémon to another Pokémon, as often as you want. The simple wording belies the complexity of the effect. Keep in mind, for the purpose of this effect, the Energy is always considered to be attached to a Pokémon, even if you actually stop and deliberate midway through. While it moves Energy one at a time, since you can reuse the Ability, you can use it move as many Metal Energy to whichever of your Pokémon you want. As long as it serves a purpose, you can even move a single Metal Energy Energy around to multiple Pokémon. Again, as long as it isn’t illegal stalling (slow play), there is no restriction on how many of your Pokémon have Energy moved to or from them.
This Ability works with both basic and Special Energy cards! Aurora Energy, Coating [M] Energy, Counter Energy, Unit Energy [L][P][M], etc. are all legal targets, at least while their effects are working. If you forget and move Coating [M] Energy to a non-Metal Pokémon, at which point it now provides only [C] Energy per its own effect, then Metal Transfer can no longer move it. Non-Metal Pokémon? This Ability works with any Pokémon! Their type, Stage, presence or absence of any other mechanics just don’t matter for Metal Transfer. Bronzong’s other effect is its attack, “Zen Headbutt”. For [MCC] it can do 70 damage. I’ve said this many times this countdown, but this is vanilla filler. It certainly could be worse, but even with the Ability to help, it should rarely be worth using.
Why does all of this matter? Bronzong is a natural fit for Zacian V decks. While it does require making room for a Stage 1 Evolution line, and it compliments both Zacian V and Metal Saucer. Metal Transfer is another way to deal with the drawback effect of Zacian V’s “Brave Blade” attack. It is a reusable way of moving around Energy Zacian V attached to itself through its “Intrepid Sword” Ability. This means Metal Saucer can effectively attach to your Active and/or non-Metal Pokémon; just attach to a legal target then Metal Transfer to the desired target. Bronzong itself can even be that Benched Pokémon! Need Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX to use its “Altered Creation-GX” Turn 2? Bronzong can hit the field Turn 2 (see above), so it can fill in for Energy Switch. It also means something like Aurora Energy can be attached anywhere, then be moved to Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX.
Speaking of Aurora Energy… perhaps we’ll get another Mewtwo & Mew-GX variant out of this, or a full on Toolbox-style deck with attackers of many different types, all fueled by basic Metal Energy cards and Aurora Energy. Maybe even some of the Amazing Rare cards with their amazingly bad Energy requirements. There’s also Cheryl. While not useful for anything we’ve discussed so far, it is possible we’ll get a new Zacian V variant, one including Corviknight VMAX. This new Pokémon VMAX isn’t mind-blowing, but it is an Evolution, that can attack and do 240 damage for [MMC], and has 320 HP. Its attack has a drawback, the effect states it cannot use that attack next turn, but it has a free Retreat Cost.
So you attack and do 240, soak a hit, retreat, move the Energy to your next attacker. You can then use Cheryl to flush away all the damage without discarding any Energy… or hold off on Cheryl and just use your new attacker. After all, you might have a second injured Pokémon to heal soon, if your opponent doesn’t use Boss’s Orders or a Bench hit to finish off the injured Corviknight VMAX. Cheryl discards all Energy attached to whatever it heals but Metal Transfer can move the Energy to an uninjured Evolution or any Basic Pokémon (Cheryl can only heal Evolutions) to avoid that drawback. Beyond all of this, the future is fairly wide open. Rotation will rob the above decks of some of their tricks, but most remain intact.
In Expanded, you have many more options for all these decks. As is typical, this means more combos available with Bronzong, but it also means more competition and counters. I’m going to give an optimistic score to Bronzong here. Of particular note are the anti-Ability effects that render Bronzong a useless lump, and even the Basic-only anti-Ability effects that keep Bronzor from speeding things along. Bronzong isn’t the only Energy-transferring Pokémon in Expanded, but the others haven’t proven competitive in a while. It is possible that the Metal type or Bronzong itself offer enough to make a significant difference. There are also a few other Bronzong that could work with today’s Bronzong, though you still must contend with the 4 Copy Rule. Except for Bronzong BREAK, which gives you an optional, additional Stage of Evolution.
- Standard: 4/5
- Expanded: 3/5
Bronzong is probably not what you were expecting to top our list. It isn’t a Basic. It isn’t a Pokémon V. It doesn’t have a Battle Style. It makes Zacian V decks even better, and may revive some older archetypes or spawn something new(ish), and I believe that means a lot. Bronzong really was my number one pick for SW – Battle Styles, so you can blame me if you’re disappointed.
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