Fan of Waves – Battle Styles
Date Reviewed:March 28, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Fluttering into 6th-Place is Fan of Waves (SW – Battle Styles 127/163). This Rapid Strike Trainer-Item lets you select a Special Energy attached to one of your opponent’s Pokémon and bottom deck it. Energy removal can be a powerful effect; you only get one “free” manual Energy attachment per turn, so removing it can keep a player from accessing some (rarely all) of their attacks. Even stripping away just one Energy can severely slow your opponent down… or it can make no real difference. Some decks rely on single-attachment attackers that they expect to be OHKO’d, others have Energy acceleration that can compensate for Energy discarding effects.
Do you remember Enhanced Hammer? It is a Trainer-Item that lets you discard a Special Energy from one of your opponent’s Pokémon. In the case of an Energy card that provides multiple units of Energy, Enhanced Hammer can still target and discard one of those Energy, and the others go along for the ride. Fan of Waves is a nerfed Enhanced Hammer. Sort of. There are some rare occaisions when bottom-decking a Special Energy is better than discarding it. The only one that immediately springs to mind is against Recycle Energy; if you use Enhanced Hammer to discard it, Recycle Energy’s own effect will just send it back to your opponent’s hand. With Fan of Waves, Recycle Energy still gets sent to the bottom of your deck.
The rest of the time, while you’re still depriving your opponent of a Special Energy they had already attached, you’re also giving them the chance to draw into or search out that Special Energy card and use it again. I almost dismissed Fan of Waves for this reason: why run it instead of Enhanced Hammer?
- Enhanced Hammer hasn’t been Standard-legal for a few years.
- Fan of Waves can make use of Rapid Strike support.
The first point should be super obvious, but I’d actually spaced it off. You could use Crushing Hammer instead, which can target any Energy (not just Special Energy), but it requires a coin flip. Crushing Hammer and Enhanced Hammer were introduced to the game around the same time, seemingly meant to compliment each other. So there’s a very clear role for Fan of Waves. What’s more, even when we stick to only the currently available Rapid Strike support, there’s an important partner for Fan of Waves: Octillery (SW – Battle Styles 037/163, 178/163; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH089). Whether you’re running one Fan of Waves or four, being able to get them the exact turn you need them via Octillery’s Ability is pretty sweet.
That isn’t the end of the analysis, though. Enhanced Hammer wasn’t a staple during its entire Standard-legal run. There were plenty of times when it was merely a good card, but one most decks skipped due to lack of space. If a deck doesn’t run any Special Energy cards, Fan of Waves ain’t doing anything to them. Just like there’s one Special Energy card Fan of Waves hurts a bit more, there’s one it cannot hurt at all; Triple Acceleration Energy discards itself at the end of your turn. Some attackers discard all attached Energy; another issue for Fan of Waves. While quite rare, sometimes we get a deck that runs zero Energy; another time when Fan of Waves isn’t helping.
So let me focus on where Fan of Waves does help. Your opponent is going to have to weigh whether or not it is worth building ahead. If you’re able to set their next attacker back while your own Pokémon deal with their current one, Fan of Waves is doing its job. If a Pokémon VMAX – or anything you cannot KO that turn – is being Enhanced by a Special Energy card, reduce its effectiveness for the next turn. Perhaps the best use is when your opponent is heavily relying on a passive buff. Something like Weakness Guard Energy is itself a counter, to keep your Pokémon’s Weakness from leading to an easy KO. Fan of Waves preserves your advantage, and in the case of Weakness, that’s usually pretty massive.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 2/5
Fan of Waves is a solid addition to the Standard Format, but I don’t think it can compete with Enhanced Hammer in Expanded. The only reason it avoids a one-out-of-five in Expanded is I cannot rule out Rapid Strike decks here, and a successful one might still run Fan of Waves. The caveat is that all of this is very metagame sensitive. We see more and more decks built around Special Energy cards that are not hitting the discard pile through natural means, and Fan of Waves (like Enhanced Hammer), gets better. Fan of Waves was still good enough to make my own countdown, just not this high.
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