– Guardians Rising
July 15, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Enhanced Hammer (BW – Dark Explorers 94/108; XY – Phantom Forces 94/119; XY – Primal Clash 162/160; SM – Guardians Rising 124/145, 124a/145, 162/145) takes 10th place as we countdown the top 11 Cards lost to the 2020 Standard rotation. This Trainer-Item lets you discard a Special Energy attached to one of your opponent’s Pokémon. If you pick an Energy that provides multiple units at once, they all are discarded, since you can’t divide the card. This card’s strategic value has fluctuated wildly over the years; simply put, when Special Energy cards are important, especially in decks where they might stay on the field for a bit, Enhanced Hammer may rise to the status of staple.
After all, you usually only get a single Energy attachment per turn, so your opponent can undo that for a simple Item. Even if you max out on Enhanced Hammer, your opponent will get at least one turn to make use of an attached Special Energy before you can attack, which may be why Enhanced Hammer is particularly vicious in control decks, where the opponent may not get that chance. There are times when Special Energy cards are few and far between, or the decks that run them are expecting them to hit the discard pile. We don’t usually worry about Unlimited, but both there and in the Legacy Format, there are simply better options (Energy Removal, Super Energy Removal, and Lost Remover).
This is our fifth review of Enhanced Hammer; before it managed a 9th place finish for its set’s top 10, 7th place in the countdown of cards lost to the 2015 rotation, an honorary mention review because this was before we tweaked the countdown rules (for new sets) to allow significant reprints, and finally a Throwback Thursday review to commemorate the last time it was re-released. I’m not sure if it will make much of a difference for the early 2020 Standard Format, though it could later on… assuming we don’t get another reprint of it. That… actually happened the last time it made one of these lists. Either way, we do have some alternatives, though nothing that is exactly the same. Still, between Crushing Hammer, Faba, etc. I think we’ll manage.
Limited: 3/5 (varies by release)
As you might have gathered by my scores, Enhanced Hammer didn’t make my personal list but with its history and long term prospects, the only reasons it didn’t is because I don’t expect its absence to matter as much and there were enough cards I think we’ll miss more. At least, shortly after the rotation.
For the second time, Enhanced Hammer is about to leave Standard. It’s usability varied over the years, one time it was pretty useful against Special Energy heavy decks, and others making Enhanced Hammer a dead card if they didn’t run any (or if they discarded their own Special Energy due to a cost, making E Hammer inconsequential). Despite erratic usage, it was a nice option when the format makes it available. Now, looks like Faba or other attacks/abilities that discard energies would have to do in the next season. Maybe that gives Lycanroc-GX from Team Up incentive to be used?
Standard: 2.5/5 (It’s still good.)
Expanded: 2.5/5 (Just heavily dependent on what your opponent uses.)
Limited: 3/5* (Depends on which expansion. Dark Explorers has no special energy. Phantom Forces has DCE and Mystery Energy. Primal Clash has Shield Energy and Wonder Energy. Guardians Rising has Secret Rare DCE.)
Legacy: 2/5 (There’s DCE, Rainbow Energy, Rescue Energy, Prism Energy, and Blend Energies to discard. Except that Lost Remover is better due to sending Special Energies into the Lost Zone instead!).
Now this is an interesting card to be on the list. And it’s definitely more threatening than a leaf blower.
Enhanced Hammer is an Item that discards a Special Energy from 1 of your opponent’s Pokemon. It’s pretty much been a staple of the game since its original printing in Dark Explorers, even if it has rotated out once or twice since then. Any format that involves a lot of Special Energy loves to have this as a tech option in it, and usually it shows up in decks wanting to slow things down for the opponent anyway. Usually it’s stuff that locks down the opponent in other ways as well – I usually think of Seismitoad-EX in this regard – but needless to say, the Hammer is effective.
So seeing it leave the format yet again leaves me a bit mixed in terms of feelings. On the one hand, there hasn’t been an abundance of Special Energies in the format, and removing the Hammer does make it less likely that a lockdown style of deck can be played in Standard for the time being. On the other hand, it’s never very long before the Hammer returns to the format again – it usually comes back within a few months of it rotating out, so you’ll have to excuse me if I’m not completely torn up about this card rotating out of the format…again.
Still, as long as there are Special Energy in need of removal, Enhanced Hammer will likely see play in some capacity, and it’s good to know that the Pokemon Company will be able to reprint the card again with ease in the event that they’re going to bring about a lot of Special Energies. But as of now, it’s not really that necessary outside of a couple of specific Special Energies…
Standard: 3.5/5 (soon to be an N/A in about a month or so)
Expanded: 3/5 (like Field Blower, this card serves a great tech purpose, but won’t see play in every format or every deck as a result)
Limited: 1/5 (in the context of the Guardians Rising set, there are no Special Energies, and as such no need to play the Hammer here)
Arora Notealus: Honestly it’s nice to have taken a long break from this card. The last time I reviewed it – and this would make I believe review #4 from me anyway – it was about 2 years ago, back when it came out in Guardians Rising. In fact, it’s almost to the day that that review was posted! Which is kinda crazy to think about in the grand scheme of things.
Next Time: Swift and from the shadows, which now that I think about it is common for a lot of Pokemon…
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