Exp. Share – Battle Styles
Date Reviewed: April 29, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
EXP. Share (formerly called EXP. All) (Neo Destiny 93/105, EX FireRed & LeafGreen 91/112, BW Next Destines 87/99, BW Dragon Vault 18/20, XY Primal Clash 128/160, Sun & Moon 118/149, SS Battle Styles 126/163, 180/163) is this week’s Throwback because it was reprinted, making it Standard legal once again. It is also another one of those cards that had an massive errata. The original effect that was in Neo Destiny & EX FireRed & LeafGreen is as follows:
“During your opponent’s turn, if your Active Pokémon would be Knocked Out by your opponent’s attack, you may take 1 of the basic Energy cards attached to your Active Pokémon and attach it to the Pokémon with EXP.ALL attached to it. If you do, discard EXP.ALL.”
The errata that was issued when BW Next Destines came out was this:
“When your Active Pokémon is Knocked Out by damage from an opponent’s attack, you may move 1 basic Energy card that was attached to that Pokémon to the Pokémon this card is attached to.”
When it was first reviewed during the Neo-era series (August 2002) the reviewers regarded Exp. All as an underwhelming card where a lot of good Trainer cards exist, though another review couple years later on the ex series (August 2005) helped Exp. All’s case.
Fast forward to Next Destines as a regular review (March 2012) and it was a decent card where Pokemon Tools were extremely scarce at the time (HGSS series had NO Pokemon Tool cards, and BW Noble Victories had Eviolite and Rocky Helmet). It wouldn’t be long where Pokemon Tools resurge as more sets are released. BW Dark Explorers had Dark Claw; BW Dragons Exalted had Giant Cape and Rescue Scarf; and much more! EXP. Share’s viability somehow suffered when BW Dragons Exalted had Tool Scrapper, as it makes it hard to benefit from this effect due to being discarded beforehand. The previous Throwback (April 2017) was also optimistic, and that was before the next set of SM Guardians Rising gave out Field Blower to remove tools once again. Now? Tool Scrapper is already here in SS Rebel Clash wreaking havoc on Pokemon Tools.
It isn’t hopeless, though. There may be times where your Active Pokemon is KOed and one of those basic energies attached to that Pokemon can be moved to your other Pokemon with the Exp. Share attached to it. Most of the time, it gets easily discarded by tool removal.
Today’s Throwback is Exp. Share, which has the following releases:
- BW – Next Destinies 87/99 (February 2012)
- Dragon Vault 18/20 (October 2012)
- XY – Primal Clash 128/160 (February 2015)
- Sun & Moon 118/149 (February 2017)
- SM – Battle Styles 126/163 (March 2021)
- SM – Battle Styles 180/163 (March 2021)
Exp. Share is a Trainer-Item, specifically a Pokémon Tool. Being an Item is great! Easy to run and use, barring anti-Item effects, which are more of an Expanded Format concern than a Standard one. Yes, contrary to my expectations back when we first reviewed Vikavolt V: another case of me being happy to have been wrong. What really constrains Exp. Share is that it is a Tool. While Tool cards have some nice bits of support, they have even nicer counters. Tool Scrapper is the most notable counter, letting you discard two Tools from the field, with no cost beyond using it. Even apart from that, the nature of Tools is that most Pokémon may only have one attached at a time. It isn’t uncommon for decks to skip Tools entirely, while decks running more than four are unusual.
So, what does Exp. Share actually do? It is a form of Energy acceleration, specifically, Energy retention. When it works, you end up with more Energy in play by preventing an Energy that was already attached and in play from hitting the discard pile when it otherwise normally would. While not as potent as “up front” acceleration, Energy retention can still be very potent. In the case of Exp. Share, there are many conditions that apply:
- Your Active Pokémon…
- …getting KO’d…
- …by damage…
- …from an attack…
- …by an opponent’s Pokémon…
- …let’s you move one…
- …basic Energy…
- …from that Pokémon…
- …to the Pokémon with Exp. Share attached.
Yes, that might be a bit awkward to read, but you can see the card itself for its exact text. Nine different stipulations that govern Exp. Share’s effect, and this does diminish Exp. Share’s usefulness. Of course, it wouldn’t make sense for Exp. Share to affect anything other than the Pokémon with it equipped and something with Energy being KO’d, but the other requirements? I might not mind a future errata to eliminate one of them, maybe even a few. Not all though; that would just be silly.
For all my nitpicking, Exp. Share is a decent card. One feature that they got correct is Exp. Share triggers each time your Active is KO’d while Exp. Share is attached to another of your Pokémon. Also that multiple Exp. Share can trigger at the same time, though that doesn’t make much of a difference unless the Active being KO’d has multiple basic Energy attached. Even as is, Exp. Share would be a must-run for decks using enough basic Energy except for the competition and counters. Even in the current Standard metagame, there’s Air Balloon, Big Charm, Cape of Toughness, Karate Belt, Rusted Sword… some of those are deck (even Pokémon!) specific, but they’re what sees play in current, competitive decks. In fact, they’ve been seeing such success for a little while now.
As for counters, Tool Scrapper isn’t everywhere, but Boss’s Orders is. Exp. Share just needs to be discarded before something with basic Energy is KO’d, or you can just KO something without any basic Energy attached. So how is that decent? You just need to find decks where hanging onto that basic Energy is really worth it. In the past, you usually have low-cost attackers where Exp. Share keeps things running smoothly, or those with Energy transferring effects. In the past, Tool Drop decks depended on Exp. Share both to have another Tool in play, and to ensure Pokémon like Trubbish (BW – Plasma Storm 65/135) could attack with just that turn’s manual Energy attachment, even though each Trubbish was usually a OHKO but required [PC] to use Tool Drop.
Bronzong (SW – Battle Styles 102/163; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH091) didn’t show up in any of the Zacian V decks that did well at the Player Cup III Global Finals. If it ever does, it is an easy combo with Exp. Share. That is how it worked with some similar Pokémon in the past. The best use for Exp. Share, however, is restricted to the Expanded Format. Regirock (XY – Black Star Promos XY49) has the Ancient Trait “Ω Barrier”, which prevents the effects of an opponent’s Item or Supporter cards from applying to itself… or the card’s attached to it. No forcing it Active with Boss’s Orders or Guzma. No discarding attached Energy with Crushing Hammer. No discarding Exp. Share with Tool Scrapper or Field Blower! Regirock itself is a mediocre attacker, but when combined an Ability like Bronzong’s, the effect of Scramble Switch, etc. you get quite the combo.
In the Standard Format, I still believe Exp. Share is decent. A little lacking, but not bad. In the Expanded Format, I’d normally expect things to be worse. Exp. Share has to compete with some of the best Tools ever released, there are stronger counters as well… but with combos like the Regirock one, I believe the net result is better. It may be deck specific, but when Exp. Share pays out, it tends to really pay out. Exp. Share is old enough to be legal in the Legacy Format, and it is better there than in Standard. Instead of a few potential power combos driving up its score, its general usage is a little better. As for the Theme Format, Exp. Share is very potent in its own right, but can only be found in older decks. Well, “old” by the Theme Format’s standards. I won’t be docking it points for that.
While not the same card, there is a very, very similar card called EXP.ALL:
- Neo Destiny 93/105 (February 2002)
- EX – FireRed & LeafGreen 91/112 (August 2004)
Not quite the dawn of the game, but it first released during the Wizards of the Coast days. We didn’t get around to reviewing it until nearly a year after its re-release, but we seemed to think it was a good card at the time. EXP.ALL is actually the name for the Item eventually called “Exp. Share” in the video games, but EXP. ALL is not simply Exp. Share by another name. Just really, really close to it. EXP. ALL cannot be attached to Pokémon-ex, or Pokémon with an owner in their name. Instead of only working when your Active is KO’d by damage from an opponent’s attack, EXP.ALL only works when your opponent’s attack KO’s your Active during your opponent’s turn. EXP. ALL discards itself after moving a basic Energy.
- Standard: 2/5
- Expanded: 3/5
- Legacy: 3/5
- Theme: 4/5
Exp. Share is one of those cards I forget has rotated out until I finally find a deck where it makes sense, so I’m happy to see it return to the Standard Format… even though I currently have no real plans for it. It is the kind of card that seems to just sort of exist until something makes good use of it.
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