– Sword & Shield
March 12, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
When it comes to Potion related items in the TCG, there’s an ongoing gag of healing even more damage at the cost of discarding some energies attached to the Pokémon that’s about to be healed. We’ve got:
-Potion, which heals 30 HP from one of your Pokémon.
-Super Potion, which heals 60 HP from one of your Pokémon, but you’ll have to discard an Energy attached to the healed Pokémon.
-Max Potion, which heals ALL damage from one of your Pokémon, and you’ll have to discard ALL energies attached to it. And…
-Full Restore, which heals ALL damage and recovers ALL Special Conditions from one of your Pokémon, and still discard all energies attached to ALL of your Pokemon………….oh wait, that card doesn’t exist (I’m suddenly fantasizing things)!
Super Potion and Max Potion, due to the wording, can avoid discarding energies if you have a way to move energies around, whether it be an ability like Weavile’s Shadow Connection. You move an energy away from the damaged Pokémon, heal all damage via Max Potion, and move the energies back to that Pokémon. Alternatively, you can use those as part of your stall strategy that doesn’t run any energies in the first place. That’s all well and good, but unfortunately for this Throwback card…
…there’s no way out for Hyper Potion!
The wording for this card is a surefire way to not save your energies in time of need. And you can’t even heal your Pokémon if it doesn’t have at least two energies attached to it. For the price of 2 units of energy, you heal 120 damage.
This healing card is atrocious!!!
You already wasted two energies and you may or may not be able to avoid 2HKOs depending of how much overkill they did past the 2HKO threshold. Even if you got those energies back, you’ve just used up Energy Retrieval and you’re still two attachments behind unless you have an ability that provides unlimited energy acceleration. There may be a few instances where you’ve used up your GX attack from a TAG TEAM Pokémon and you no longer need excess energies attached to it, but for the 99% of other Pokémon that needs to maintain their energies? I think not.
There might be a niche in Standard where it’s one of the few healing options alongside Potion, Last Chance Potion, and Mixed Herbs. But with such a cost without a workaround, that makes regular Potion better than it seems since there’s no cost to using it and that it can still change from 2HKOs into 3HKOs, even if the healing is so small.
Trivia: I am aware that there was an older print on Hyper Potion, first printed on Skyridge. It also provides healing but if you discarded one energy from that Pokémon, you heal 30 damage; if you discard 2 energy, the you heal 50 damage. The new effect of healing 120 damage now seems like it has somehow kept up with the power creep but still falters in terms of percentage. Back in Skyridge, the max HP at the time was still 120 HP, so healing 50 damage means it can cover only ~42% of it’s max HP. Right now, when the max HP before buffs is 340 (both Snorlax V-Max and Copperajah V-Max), healing 120 means you barely healed 35% of it’s max HP. It’s also quite fitting that Hyper Potion also heals 120 damage in the video games since Sun & Moon (before that, they healed 200 damage) and also that Super Potion also heals 60 damage in the games. So kudos to Super and Hyper Potion for the exact amount of healing!
The original version of Hyper Potion (Skyridge 127/144; Sword & Shield 166/202) officially debuted in English on May 12, 2003, as part of the last expansion released under Wizards of the Coast’s stewardship of the Pokémon TCG. This means it was legal for the tail end of the 2002-2003 Standard Format, and the entirety of the 2003-2004, after which it was gone until the new one became tournament legal alongside all the other Sword & Shield cards.
The Skyridge version is perfectly legal for Standard and Expanded play but you have to ignore what the card says and treat the old Hyper Potion as if it had the exact same wording and stats as the new copy. Both cards are Trainer-Items, anyway, though the original predates the term “Item”. Items were about as easy to play back then as now, as the best counters and support had already rotated out or been banned by this point.
Hyper Potion’s original effect had you select one of your Pokémon, discard either one or two basic Energy cards from it. If you discarded one, you removed up to three damage counters, while discarding two meant you removed up to five. Besides remembering that printed HP scores still maxed out at 120 when this card was first introduced, this was back when Potion only healed 20. Back when Super Potion only healed 40 and was worded so the discard cost couldn’t be avoided, and Max Potion was actually a Supporter named Pokémon Nurse!
The current version of Hyper Potion has you heal 120 damage from one of your Pokémon, then you discard two Energy from whatever you healed. A ruling from the official Sword & Shield Expansion FAQ puts a slight downer on this; you must pick something with at least one damage counter on it and it must have at least two Energy attached. The former isn’t a surprise, but the last suggests that they finally learned the lesson from Max Potion.
The original Max Potion saw little to no competitive success that I can recall, but as is often the case, records (and my memory) from this time are spotty at best. Will the new version fare better? Maybe. Though I miss having the choice between discarding one Energy to heal some and two to heal the full amount, the new version works with Special Energy cards, and 120 is still enough to buy medium-sized to large Pokémon an extra turn of life.
I have no tournament results with lists including Hyper Potion, but we can still discuss those not yet proven in high level competitive play. Porygon-Z (SM – Unbroken Bonds 157/214) with Recycle Energy and a beefiest attacker up front has only one drawback; that’s a lot of cards, so it is probably the deck’s focus. Frosmoth would need something to recycle basic Water Energy cards, and can’t directly attach to your Active, but as long as the deck has room for Hyper Potion in the first place and an attacker with enough HP, seems like it should work.
Larger Pokémon-GX (like TAG TEAMS), and Pokémon VMAX also seem like they would love Hyper Potion. Yes, you still need to have two Energy to spare. That isn’t as rare as it sounds if you’re already playing keep-away with an injured, high HP Pokémon. Did you load a TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX up with Energy to access the bonus effect from it’s GX-attack? You probably have two Energy to spare, then. If you can combo Hyper Potion with Mallow & Lana, even if it leaves your heavy with no Energy left, you’ve healed 240 damage and left it on your Bench (where it might be worth rebuilding).
In Expanded, though, Hyper Potion is probably useless because you can just run Max Potion or bounce effects. It is plausible you could find a deck that can only spare two Energy for discarding purposes, but it doesn’t seem likely. For the Limited Format, I say run this. If you pulled something with good HP and a decent attacker, it can be well worth attaching extra Energy to it just to fuel Hyper Potion’s healing. After all, it is a lot less likely you’ll have another attacker that is just as good.
I really wish Hyper Potion still had a variable cost, at least if they insisted on healing coming at the cost of attached Energy cards to that Pokémon. I’d rather they just assigned it a different kind of cost entirely, though. Perhaps even both. Getting back to reality, Hyper Potion provides useful healing, but only to the few decks that can afford the Energy discard. At least this is almost balanced, unlike Max Potion.
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