– Unbroken Bonds
June 10, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Ah, Energy Spinner. The Pokémon equivalent of Fidget Spinners that were the trend a couple of years ago, and can still be even today. It is also the return of Energy Search, and if you’re unfamiliar about this card, then you probably weren’t in the Pokémon TCG long enough to experience that card. Energy Search is an item card that was first released on Fossil (thanks Otaku for pointing that out) and last printed on Black & White. This item card fetches you a basic energy. Unless your deck uses multiple types of basic energy, Energy Search was almost always replaced with just a basic energy card! This old relic of a card was being ridiculed by wasting deck space, item lock, and even anti-item effects, so it sees no play. Eventually, Energy Search was being succeeded by Professor’s Letter, which was far better than Energy Search because Professor’s Letter fetches up to two basic energy cards without drawbacks. As such, Professor’s Letter has a lot to live up to in certain decks.
Professor’s Letter was eventually rotated out, and (unless I missed something) there was no item based basic energy search up until now. Energy Spinner is almost identical to Energy Search except for an additional niche. If this was your first turn when you go second, then you get to grab three basic energies instead of one. Even this niche can be pretty unreliable, since you have to win the coin flip to dictate who goes first, and if your opponent wins the coin flip, you may be out of luck if they decide that you go first instead of second. And if you really want to improve getting Energy Spinner, then all I can think of is 4 Energy Spinners and 4 Order Pads.
Energy Search is back, and may be a welcome addition to certain decks, though I wouldn’t want anyone to heavily rely on this niche of going second. Although better than Energy Search, it isn’t by a huge margin. For Expanded, since Professor Letter is in the format, it will almost always outclass Energy Spinner there, though there’s Computer Search on top of those 4 order pads and 4 spinners to help get one on your second turn. For Limited, if you pulled one, you may find a use for this card.
Energy Spinner (SM – Unbroken Bonds 170/214) is a Trainer-Item that lets you search your deck for a basic Energy card, show that card to your opponent, add it to your hand, and then shuffle your deck. Unless it is your first turn and your opponent had the true first turn of the game, in which case you get to search your deck for up to three basic Energy cards instead of just one. This is both a better and a worse version of two older Energy cards. Energy Search (Fossil 59/62; Expedition 153/165; EX – Ruby & Sapphire 90/109; EX – Unseen Forces 94/115; EX – Crystal Guardians 86/100; Diamond & Pearl 117/130; DP – Majestic Dawn 90/100; Black & White 93/114; BW – Boundaries Crossed 128/149) can be forgiven for being left behind by power creep, given its first release (at least outside of Japan) is nearly 20 years old at this point. Energy Search is just Energy Spinner without the bonus effect… a bonus that is restricted to only working on your first turn if you went second. So, what is the card that does this better?
The same card that made Energy Search obsolete, even though Energy Search is actually still legal for Expanded Format play: Professor’s Letter (XY 123/146; XY – BREAKthrough 146/162, 146a/162). Still a Trainer-Item, it has almost the same effect as Energy Search… except it snags two basic Energy cards instead of one. True, Energy Spinner is better when you go second and can use Energy Spinner on your first turn, but even if your deck is one that wants to go second, even if you always do go second, any copy of Energy Spinner you can’t play during that turn is getting half of what Professor’s Letter can grab. Then there’s the fact that for basic Energy cards being a necessary component to so many decks, Item-based search for it often isn’t. Why?
You only have one manual Energy attachment per turn, so getting multiple at once only matters for deck thinning or combos. When you do only need a single basic Energy card per turn, running a one-and-done Item card only makes sense when you really need to shrink your deck, make use of certain combos, or are running two (or more) different Types of basic Energy. If you’re not, then you could just run an extra copy of the actual basic Energy card in question, or possibly a Trainer-Item to recycle a basic Energy card from your discard pile, such as Energy Retrieval or Energy Recycle System. Fortunately for Energy Spinner, the Standard Format has no Trainer-Item that can snag any basic Energy card from your deck. Fire decks have Fiery Flint, but even that may not always be preferred because it has a two card discard cost to use. We have some Pokémon-based effects and some non-Item Trainer-based effects, but no other Items
So Energy Spinner has its niche in Standard, but it is much narrower in Expanded. Hypothetically speaking, a deck may need more than four copies of Professor’s Letter, or have something about the strategy making it important to have Energy Spinner for its bonus effect, but in general, go with Professor’s Letter (assuming you need such search in Item form at all). Do enjoy Energy Spinner in the Limited Format, and I’m actually sad this is not in either Theme Deck, as it could have been good there as well.
Energy Spinner isn’t a great card, but it does the job it needs to do and – in Standard – it does it the best. Which is why it was my 18th place pick for this set, and probably why it would have taken 24th place if our countdown had been large enough.
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