Karate Belt
Karate Belt

Karate Belt
– Unified Minds

Date Reviewed: August 5, 2019

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.50
Expanded: 2.80
Limited: 3.70

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:


10th place in our countdown goes to Karate Belt (SM – Unified Minds 201/236, 252/236).  This is a Pokémon Tool’s effect only works while you have more Prizes remaining than your opponent, at which point the attacks of the Pokémon sporting Karate Belt cost [F] less.  It works for Pokémon regardless of Type, but favors [F] Types as they’re the most likely to require [F] Energy to attack.  Karate Belt should not be mistaken as providing any Energy; it just lets you ignore part of the printed cost, meaning it won’t help with non-[F] Energy requirements.

Being a Pokémon Tool right now is fairly good; there are still multiple anti-Tool effects, however, Field Blower is no longer a factor in Standard.  There are still counters, but nothing easy to work into almost any deck and carrying little cost to use.  We also still have Adventure Bag, an Item capable of snagging two Tools from your deck.  Anything that applies to Trainer cards or Item cards – whether support or counters – will also apply to Karate Belt, unless it specifically excludes Tools.

Getting to the effect itself, it might seem fickle, but it is quite, quite potent.  As long as the card has a more damaging attack worth using, Energy acceleration can fake being a damage buff.  We just lost Choice Band and Professor Kukui, so another damage buff would be nice.  [F] Types still have Diancie {*} and Pokémon running on basic Fighting Energy can tap Martial Arts Dojo, but [F] Types also like being able to stack multiple buffs so Karate Belt should prove tempting, if not necessary.  This line of reasoning isn’t to ignore the usual benefits of Energy acceleration; one needs to marry the two in their mind to catch all the uses for this card.

As I said, though, Karate Belt can seem fickle.  It does nothing for non-[F] requirements, so even some [F] Types won’t be able to take advantage of it.  More to the point, Karate Belt’s effect only does something when you have more Prizes remaining than your opponent; if you’re ahead or tied, it’s a Tool which does nothing.  Since the addition of TAG TEAM Pokémon, Prize counts throughout a match have become even more erratic, but this ultimately works in Karate Belt’s favor: multi-Prize Pokémon make it possible to go from “losing” in terms of the Prize count to literally having won the game.  There are also tricks like Mismagius (SM – Unbroken Bonds 78/214).  You could also simply use the right opening Pokémon to pressure your opponent, one they need to quickly KO or else you won’t even need Karate Belt.your opponent needs to KO.

Which brings us to the other important aspect of the card; you need a Pokémon that can make good use of Karate Belt, as it isn’t winning you any games on its own.  There are many attackers in Standard which at least have potential (or more potential) when used with Karate Belt: Aerodactyl-GX (SM – Unified Minds 106/236, 224/236, 244/236), Excadrill (SM – Unified Minds 119/236), Garchomp (SM – Unified Minds 114/236), Garchomp & Giratina-GX (SM – Unified Minds 146/236, 228/236, 247/236), Landorus (SM – Unbroken Bonds 103/214), Marshadow & Machamp-GX, Medicham (SM – Unified Minds 110/236), Passimian (SM – Ultra Prism 70/156, Steelix (SM – Unified Minds 104/236), and Stunfisk (SM – Unified Minds 67/236).

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out how, once again, [F] support compliments each other nicely.  Diancie {*} should be pretty obvious.  Martial Arts Dojo might seem to clash with Karate Belt, but they actually can work quite well together.  You have attacks that originally were priced at [FF] or [FC] can be used for a singe basic Fighting Energy and still gain that sweet +10/+40 damage bonus.  In a metagame without Choice Band, the new Medicham can still swing for up to 180 for a single Energy, while the new Garchomp can manage up to 260!  Expanded brings more options but more competition: Choice Band, Float Stone, Muscle Band, Focus Sash, etc.  I am wondering if Medicham (XY – Primal Clash 81/160) is worth another try.  As long as you pull and can run some with [F] Energy requirements, Karate Belt should be great for the Limited Format as well.


Standard: 3.3/5

Expanded: 3.3/5

Limited: 3.6/5

Karate Belt was my personal third place pick but I’m actually happy Karate Belt ended up in 10th place.  I ranked it so high because I was playing with my list, trying to represent the many potent [F] Energy using Pokémon while whittling personal list from over thirty cards down to just 11… but I really shouldn’t have.  Good thing the other reviewers weren’t anywhere near as impressed.


Pokémon TCG has no short of Belt related items. This could range from Expert Belt, Muscle Band, Focus Sash, Hustle Belt, Choice Band, and Karate Belt, the 10th best card of Unified Minds!

This is a Pokemon Tool which works if you have more prize cards remaining than your opponent, though it can work on any Pokemon. It reduces your attack cost by a Fighting energy. No, it does not provide F Energy, nor can Expert Belt shave off C attack costs. I tried it with Thunder Mountain; it did not shave off C attack costs, only L. Karate Belt is no different. Reducing attack costs might be helpful if you couldn’t get the energy in hand, and it might enable combos with single F energy attacks such that said attack would be free, and Max Potion has no liability (there’s no energy to begin with). Or attacks that are FCC, for example, can turn into a DCE for off type decks using Pokémon with F attack costs. It also helps to reduce potential damage taken from other Pokémon whose attack is based on who loads up the most energy (I.e. Infinite Force Gardevoir).

Even so, such effects don’t last forever, and once that tool is removed, then you’ll really need that Fighting energy. Also, in Expanded, Strong Energy makes Karate Belt obsolete as not only you’ll meet single F energy attacks, but it also makes Fighting Pokémon deal 20 more damage to the Defending Pokemon. Perhaps a small niche is helping non-Fighting Pokemon with Fighting energy attacks (looking at you Stunfisk and Breloom). For the most part, it is unneeded. That would be left with Limited to enjoy.

Standard: 2.5/5

Expanded: 1.1/5

Limited: 4/5



Karate Belt is a Tool that lets your attacks cost less Energy if you’ve got more Prize cards remaining than your opponent. Specifically, it’s reducing the Energy cost of your attacks by 1 Fighting Energy. That probably means that Fighting decks are gonna make a comeback with this card, right? Yeah I could see that happening.

This is what I like to affectionately refer to as a “catch-up” card, where it’s meant to help you out if you’re in a losing position, but this is the kind of card that most “catch-up” kinds of cards ought to be like. It’s not just helping it make things easier to catch up to your opponent, it’s making your attacks cheaper – which by comparison to some cards that just draw you more cards when you’re behind or do some other thing like that, that’s way better. The impact is immediate, the benefit is absolute, and even if you get ahead of your opponent, you can keep this card attached to the Pokemon to have it benefit if your opponent gets ahead or just attach the one Energy you’re missing to fill out the attack requirement.

In other words, it’s not bad to run this card at really any point in the game, outside of maybe if you’re winning already, but in most Fighting decks in the post-Buzzwole days, it’s probably not gonna be so easy to get that fresh head start on your opponent. So it’s nice to have a card that can act as a pseudo-Energy boost for you in some capacity.


Standard: 3.5/5 (definitely a good card for Fighting decks – or really any deck running Pokemon who need Fighting Energy)

Expanded: 4/5 (I’m sure Fighting decks here would love this card, though space might be tight)

Limited: 3.5/5 (kinda depends on the scenario, but can still be useful here too)

Arora Notealus: Even though Karate Belt didn’t make my own list – yeah, I considered some cards to be better than it personally – at least I can agree with this being up on the Top 11 List, unlike some Stadiums that won’t be named. It’s a solid card in its own right, and not every “catch-up” card has been bad in the past. Just solid card design right here.

Next Time: Darn rivals and their strategies, they’re always so smart!

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