Coating [M] Energy
– Vivid Voltage
November 18, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Remember how we covered all the Special Energy cards from SW – Darkness Ablaze in a single review? We’re not doing that again! I thought maybe the new stuff was similar enough to warrant it, but… no. I’m better off repeating the common rules shared between them while having plenty of space to explain how their unique effects work, and how good or bad that makes the card. Which leads us to our 10th-place pick from the latest expansion, Coating [M] Energy (SW – Vivid Voltage 163/185). This Special Energy card provides [M] while attached to your Pokémon, and if that Pokémon is a Metal type, it also cancels out their Weakness. As a reminder, it does not count as [M] when not attached to a Pokémon, so Coating [M] Energy cannot be attached through the effects of Metal Saucer, Zacian V’s “Intrepid Sword”, etc.
I remember people losing their minds when this card was revealed, and I thought they were overreacting. Boy, was I wrong. Mostly. How dangerous your Weakness is depends on the match-ups your deck faces. If the metagame favors you, little to nothing exploits your Weakness. You might think the opposite extreme, of almost constantly facing your Weakness, would be the worst, but only if there is nothing effective you can do to mitigate your Weakness. If there is something you can do to combat your Weakness, including it just becomes part of your core strategy. Where it gets tricky is when it isn’t easy to predict when your Weakness will show up. This can be due to a diverse metagame, or because there’s a splashable attacker that exploits your Weakness, but it isn’t otherwise a “must-run”.
Another reason for my initial lack of appreciation when it comes to Coating [M] Energy is Flash Energy. Flash Energy is from the XY-era series of type-specific Special Energy cards. This means it could only be attached to a Lightning-type, discarding itself if you still found a way to attach it to a non-Lightning type, and only provided [L] Energy and its effect to Lightning types. Flash Energy also removed the Weakness of the on-type (in this case, [L] Pokémon) sporting it, but there were other differences that meant it was merely an “okay” card most of the time. Namely, there were easier to use anti-Special Energy cards at the time (like Enhanced Hammer) and Lightning types weren’t high HP Pokémon stacking multiple other forms of damage reduction to tank. Fighting types weren’t even their only consistent threat of being OHKO’d, either.
Getting to Metal types, they’ve been strong for some time now; even before Zacian V joined them, they had some very good tricks. Zacian V just made them that much better, to the point we tend to divide Zacian V decks into two or three distinct sub-archetypes to better reflect the metagame. One thing that has hurt a little is they lost Metal Frying Pan, a Pokémon Tool which reduces the damage they take from an opponent’s attacks by 30 and which canceled out their Weakness. They still have Metal Goggles, provides the same damage reduction, but which protects against attacks or Abilities placing damage counters instead of canceling out Weakness. With Coating [M] Energy, they now gain this back.
Except we already have Weakness Guard Energy; it does the same thing as Coating [M] Energy but provides [C] and works for any Pokémon. So we technically hadn’t lost such protection, but we’re gaining a version that is superior for [M] Pokémon like Zacian V. Because Zacian V has no [C] Energy requirements in its attack. Which is probably why the recent, major deck lists for something like Zacian ADP haven’t even bothered with Weakness Guard Energy. There are additional Fire counters that some of the other variants have been using, such as ZLM including Bronzong (SM – Team Up 101/181); its Ability offers it total protection from the damage done by the attacks of your opponent’s Fire types. On one hand, Boss’s Orders can get around this, as can a sufficiently strong off-Type attacker in a Fire deck, but having such a wall in what should be a bad matchup is still hard to turn down.
Putting it all together, Coating [M] Energy is probably going to be at least a one-of in most Standard Format Metal decks, unless competitive Fire decks sputter out, or your using abnormally small Metal type attackers that would be OHKO’d regardless of Weakness. If Fire remains one of the better types, two to four may be appropriate. In Expanded, I do not know the current metagame, but even if the metagame features Metal versus Fire matchups enough to matter, dealing with Special Energy is far easier here. In fact, that has been the case even in past Standard Formats, but we (currently) don’t have something like Enhanced Hammer in Standard. As for the Limited Format, if you’ve got even one Metal Pokémon in your deck, go for it: you should have room for even a super specialized Special Energy. If one of your better attackers or walls is a Metal type, Coating [M] Energy offers insurance against your Achilles’ Heel.
If Metal decks didn’t already have anti-Fire options, Coating [M] Energy would have scored higher… but they do have other options, and Coating [M] Energy only matters because of the existing strong Metal decks. Those options have their own pros and cons, but in the end, Metal decks are certainly better of for having Coating [M] Energy in their toolbox. Even though I have been pretty hard on it, I had Coating [M] Energy as my 10th-place pick, so I think it is right where it is supposed to be.
Note: Vince had Coating [M] Energy as his 18th-place pick.
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