(Celestial Storm CES 52)
August 28, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I guess it can’t really be a head start if it involves electricity, eh? More like a jump start. Hmm, that does work better…
Manectric is a Stage 1 Lightning Pokemon, 110 HP, with a Fighting Weakness, a Metal Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 0. Its one attack is Double Charge, 1-for-40 move that lets you attach 2 basic Energy from your hand to 1 of your Benched Pokemon. Its Ability, Electric Start, lets you put it down while you’re setting up as your Active Pokemon…but only if you’ve determined you’re going second.
Right off the bat, Manectric sparks the mind of players who remember the days of Talonflame, who essentially could do the exact same thing. In fact, they’re almost the same exact card in theory – both can be played as your Active Pokemon, both have a 1-for-40 move, and both deal with 2 cards in some form or another. The major differences though are the real key factors to their playability, and it’s important to note especially if you’re going to give Manectric a try in your own deck.
First of all, Talonflame can be played regardless – as long as he’s in your opening hand, he can be put down. Manectric doesn’t get that privilege, as he’s only playable if you’re going second (note that officially, you determine who goes first before you shuffle your deck, set up your Prizes, draw your opening hand, and determine what Pokemon to put into play). Talonflame also searches cards out of your deck, while Manectric puts down Energy from your hand, meaning you can set-up further with Talonflame, but with Manectric you can power up any Pokemon you want. And finally, Talonflame is a completely Colorless Pokemon with Colorless costs, but Manectric needs a Lightning Energy to utilize his move, limiting the decks he can be played in.
If all of that is considered and you think you can benefit from Manectric, then he is an exceptionally powerful ally to have, and he can prove to be a powerful starter for any Pokemon that needs a lot of Energy to attack with. Give him a whirl in your deck, if you think you can fit him in – he might not have the same impact as Talonflame did overall, but don’t underestimate his abilities!
Standard: 3.5/5 (definitely a good addition to most decks, though be careful of that going first/second bit)
Expanded: 2.5/5 (overall, Talonflame I would say is better, since he’s not quite as restrictive, but Manectric does set himself up nicely to utilize his attack)
Limited: 3/5 (you could either play him with his Ability or even just evolve him regularly here, he shouldn’t be hard to get out)
Arora Notealus: Manectric is one of those cards that I feel some people could overestimate its abilities but others could underestimate it too. Getting 3 Energy out of any hand is always a nice start right off the bat, and 110 HP isn’t easy to get rid of at the start of a game. Combined with cards like Cynthia or Copycat that could draw you more Energy, the attack could easily snowball into a massive set of attackers that come off of a 1-Prize start! But it’s difficult to start with him when you’ve already determined yourself to go first, so try to aim to go second instead – unless your opponent thinks they can benefit from going first, you aim to get a good head start on them unexpectedly!
Next Time: Sometimes you gotta go digging in the right places…
I had Manectric on my list because it shares some similarities with Talonflame from XY Steam Siege. It’s ability, Electric Start, states that if you go second and you have this Pokémon in your hand during setup, you can put this Pokémon down as your Active. This tactic would mean that you might not need Electrike in your deck, but that also means that if you don’t start with one when you go second or if you went first, all of your Manectrics are dead cards. You can add some Electrikes in your deck if you really want to use Manectric.
And then it’s attack, Double Charge, costs L for 40 damage, and you attach 2 basic energy cards from your hand to one of your Benched Pokemon. You might be using an attack just to accelerate energy, but then that means your desired attacker will get a chance to swing (and easy to send out due to Manectric’s free retreat) unless it got dragged into the Active and gets KOed, rendering it wasted opportunity….and resources.
Would it be used over Talonflame or Sylveon-GX? Well, Talonflame/Sylveon-GX is more about consistency while Manectric is more about fueling up your attackers. Aero Blitz/Magical Ribbon can be foiled by hand-shuffling antics while Double Charge makes it bait for Guzma or Pokémon Catcher to ruin your Pokemon. Your opponent has answers to both, so it’s up to you to determine which drawback is severe enough that you rather not risk. In Limited, it is a good pull, though you’ll need another Basic Pokémon in your deck. The Leaf Charge Theme deck provides two copies of Manectric, and with Double Charge, you can quickly fuel up Powerful Storm from Sceptile.
Manectric (CES 52) bursts into the meta from the Celestial Storm expansion set. This Stage 1 Pokemon garnered initial interest because of its ability Electric Start. If this card is in your hand when you are setting up to play, you may put it face down as your active Pokemon or on your bench.
So this is a little different than Talonflame from Steam Siege where you could only play that down as your active Pokemon. If you have another Basic in hand, you could potentially play that other Basic as your active Pokemon and still be able to put Manectric on the bench.
Just for a quick reality check, the chance of having one Manectric in your opening hand of seven cards is just a shade under 50% (49.18%). I think the chances of having two in hand are 31%, but I could be wrong on that.
Now, statistics and the novelty of its ability aside, is Manectric worth playing? It would probably be better if its attack were Colorless. Double Charge costs only a single Lightning energy and does forty damage, but more importantly, it allows you to attach two Basic energy cards to one of your benched Pokemon from your hand.
Attaching from the hand is usually better than the discard early in the game, and it’s usually early in the game when you want to use energy acceleration attacks. Unfortunately, it probably will be limited to Lightning Pokemon since it requires a Lightning energy, and
Standard: 2 out of 5
I’m giving it a two out of five right now because there really aren’t any good Electric feature Pokemon out there right now. That could very well change, but right now speculation about the new Tag Team archetype is theorymon built on theorymon of a format we aren’t even living in yet, so let’s hold off on getting overly excited yet. Just keep Manectric in mind probably around next February and make sure you get yourself an online playset at least.
Our next runner-up, the card that would have been the 12th place if we’d counted down from a high enough starting point, is Manectric (SM – Celestial Storm 52/168, SM – Black Star Promos SM130). It showed up on only two of our reviewer’s individual lists but placed pretty high as it earned 46 total voting points; that’s just one point shy of joining the tie we had between 10th an 11th place, or two points shy of simply TAKING 10th place outright! Manectric didn’t make my own top 10 or even top 25, and I’m about to explain why it didn’t but why I might have been wrong in leaving it off entirely. As this is a card that doesn’t lend itself to my usual procedures, we’ll begin with Manectric’s Ability, “Electric Start”. This Ability allows you to play Manectric directly to the field, as either your Active or as a Benched Pokémon during opening setup IF you are going second. Based on a similar ruling for Talonflame (XY – Steam Siege 96/114), you’ll have a choice between taking a mulligan or opening with Manectric if you have no Basic Pokémon in hand, but remember that you HAVE to have at least one Basic Pokémon in your deck in order for it to be legal.
So, Manectric can skip Electrike if you’re going second, and unless opening with Manectric in this manner is amazing, most opponents are going to elect to go first if they win the coin toss, so not being able to pull this off is just a matter of Manectric failing to show up in your opening hand (plus any draws for an opponent’s mulligans). Even with four copies, you can’t guarantee that, which means Manectric needs to be a useful, optional part of your deck or so potent that it is worth the risk of being a vital part that won’t always pull off this trick, which brings us to the rest of the card. As a Stage 1, it might not be too bad Evolving from Electrike; you’ll have to invest an extra card and an extra turn but you’ll still hit Manectric pretty quickly. Being a [L] Type should be amazing after the next full expansion releases, but that is then and this is now; for now, it is merely “okay”. 110 HP won’t last long but it isn’t super-fragile… except against [F] Weakness, where even post-rotation they have an extra boost or two that makes it a probable OHKO. [M] Resistance helps a little, as 130 seems to be the threshold where being OHKO’d is a little less likely than more likely. That free Retreat Cost is perfect!
Manectric has “Double Charge”, which costs [L] and does 40 damage PLUS gives you the option of attaching two basic Energy cards from your hand to one of your Benched Pokémon. This is somewhat good, but definitely not great. Now, because you want to use the Ability to get Manectric into play, the good news is you’re shooting to pull this off T2 (that is, the first turn of the player going second). So you’ll get some early damage and attach some extra Energy; exactly how far ahead you’ll come out is open to debate; you had to use an Energy attachment on Manectric and you’ll need to get Energy in hand and a worthwhile target on your Bench to receive it, but Manectric hits just hard enough that In addition to attaching more Energy, it isn’t too safe to ignore. This is great for decks that run at least half on basic Lightning Energy cards… but what about everything else? Too much Special Energy, and you may struggle to get the full double attachment. Not enough sources of [L], and again you risk whiffing on your first attack and Manectric’s main hope of surviving that is your opponent going after something that looks more important.
To get a good idea of why I’m so skeptical of this card, let’s consider two others: Tapu Koko (SM – Black Star Promos SM30, SM31) and Talonflame (XY – Steam Siege 96/114). Tapu Koko has the same Typing, HP, Weakness, Resistance, and Retreat Cost as Manectric but is a Basic Pokémon… which is basically what Manectric is trying to fake being with its Ability. Instead of accelerating Energy, it is reasonably good at spreading damage, doing 20 to everything for [CC] with its “Flying Flip” attack. It can also do 100 for [LLC] with its “Electric Ball” attack, but this isn’t utilized all that often, probably because a wide variety of decks can utilize Flying Flip; it just requires a Double Colorless Energy and you basically give up a Prize (Tapu Koko probably being OHKO’d) to make it more likely you can pseudo-OHKO your opponent’s Pokémon. Talonflame is a [C] Type Stage 2 with 130 HP, [L] Weakness, [F] Resistance, free Retreat Cost, the “Gale Wings” Ability, and the attack “Aero Blitz” for [C]. Gale Wings is similar to Electric Star, except you may only play Talonflame to the Active position (which means you can only use one instance of Gale Wings in a game) and Gale Wings doesn’t care if you’re going first or second. Aero Blitz does 40 damage while fetching two cards of your choice from your deck. It is a good setup attack, even though it has always coexisted in formats where N is a commonly used card.
So why bring these two up? Manectric makes me think of a failed amalgam of these two cards. I should probably look up a third, Energy accelerating Pokémon but I’m not sure I remember a competitive one that attaches from the hand by attacking. From the deck is better early game, from the discard pile is better mid-to-late game; from the hand only beats out Energy acceleration from the field (moving Energy around). 110 with [F] Weakness and [M] Resistance is noticeably easier to OHKO T3 than 130 HP with [L] Weakness and [F] Resistance (at least during Talonflame’s Standard-legal run). Manectric’s niche may be as an opener and alternate form of Energy acceleration for decks that run on mostly basic Energy, a good deal of which is basic Lightning Energy. If it shows up in your opening hand, you enjoy the early speed boost. If it whiffs, you have it an Electrike on reserve in case your actual Energy acceleration is somehow countered, like Ability denial versus Ability-based Energy acceleration. If you just want a pivot Pokémon with a useful early game attack, Tapu Koko does it better (though with spread instead of Energy acceleration).
All that said, Manectric has a decent shot at seeing some success in Standard. In Expanded, even with more counters for other forms of Energy acceleration, I think it is just too vulnerable (and so many decks seem to run on Special Energy here). Definitely room for me to be wrong on both counts. I’m a little more certain that it is a great pull for Limited play. Unless the ruling about Talonflame doesn’t transfer to Manectric, you can even use Manectric in a +39 or Mulligan build alongside a single, Basic Pokémon-GX. Just take a mulligan if you ONLY have Manectric in hand! Its free retreat cost lets it get out of the way if you fail to get the Energy for Double Charge but DO have the Energy for your Pokémon-GX to attack. The other place where Manectric is quite the star is in the Theme Format of the PTCGO. You’ll find two copies of Manectric in the “Leaf Charge”, a Grass/Lightninh starter deck that released alongside SM – Celestial Storm. Most of the Pokémon in the deck have chunkier Energy needs, and being the Theme Format, you can often send Manectric up to attack and attach even if it is no longer early game.
We would love more volunteers to help us with our Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉
Click here to read our Pokémon Card of the Day Archive. We have reviewed more than 3500 Pokemon cards over the last 17+ years!