Recycle Energy
Recycle Energy

Recycle Energy
– Neo Genesis

Date Reviewed:
April 25, 2019

Ratings Summary:
Standard: N/A
Expanded: N/A
Limited: 3.50

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

Reviews Below:

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If you’ve been paying attention to what has been revealed from Sky Legend, the Japanese set that officially releases tomorrow, then you’ll know that today’s Throwback is also a look-forward: Recycle Energy (Neo Genesis 105/111). Recycle Energy is a Special Energy card that provides [C] Energy, with an effect that states it returns to your hand if it is discarded from the field. If Recycle Energy is discarded from your hand or your deck, or if it is discarded but sent to the Lost Zone, it will not recycle itself. Do not think of it like Exeggcute (BW – Plasma Freeze 4/116; BW – Plasma Blast 102/101).  That may seem obvious, but I’ve already bumped into multiple people asking if or even insisting that they work in the same manner!  They don’t.

If you’re going to compare it to something else that is more recent, think of Burning Energy. Burning Energy could only be attached to [R] Pokémon, provided one unit of [R] Energy while attached to a [R] Pokémon, and only went back to your hand if it was discarded by the attack of the [R] Pokémon to which it was attached. Recycle Energy works with any Pokémon, regardless of Stage, Type, or other characteristics, though it can only meet generic (or [C]) Energy requirements. Recycle Energy will recycle itself if discarded by the attack of the Pokémon to which it is attached… but also anything else, so long as another effect doesn’t override its own e.g. something that moves the Energy to another Pokémon, to the Lost Zone, or any other place it might go other than your discard pile.

That means, under normal circumstances, Recycle Energy does return to your hand after the Pokémon to which it was attached is KO’d. It does return to your hand when used to pay a Retreat Cost. It does return to your hand when discarded by any Pokémon-based effect. It does return to your hand when discarded by the effects of a Trainer, regardless of which player used that Trainer. Of course, Burning Energy re-attached itself to the Pokémon from which it was discarded; Recycle Energy goes back to your hand so it can be reused, but you’re still “out” its attachment. Sometimes just paying an Energy attachment is a good deal, though.

We haven’t looked at this card in quite some time… in fact, “we” never reviewed it at all… but Jason “Ness” Klaczynski did in his original Card of the Day series about 18 years ago. It can be confusing to read older articles about this era because some terms have switched their meanings. Just know that in their equivalent to the Unlimited Format, Recycle Energy was pretty good. It provided some measure of protection against Energy Removal and Super Energy Removal. It actually worked with Super Energy Removal – and a few other Trainer cards at the time – that required you discard Energy from your own Pokémon. There were also some attackers that ran on either just [C], or a cost that included [C], and liked it because it was a metagame of OHKO’s and 2HKO’s, not unlike the present. There were other answers to all these things, so while some players thought Recycle Energy was a must, some didn’t.

Relative to their equivalent of Unlimited, their version of Standard (called “Modified”) had far fewer powerhouse cards that worked well with Recycle Energy.  They still had some, though, and among them were Baby Pokémon. Yeah, that was an official term back then; the “pre-Evolutions” for Pokémon originally introduced as Basics, but which were later “revealed” to be the Evolved forms of newer Pokémon. A major example would be Cleffa (Neo Genesis 20/111). Again, without going into full detail, they were a driving force in the game at the time, but any of them with an attack only needed [C] Energy, which meant they loved Recycle Energy. It wasn’t a necessity, but it was a common enough play. It was a good card to have available, and I’m excited to see it return, but for it to really matter, it’ll need some good combos…

…and we already have some that are likely. For example, Porygon-Z (SM – Unbroken Bonds 157/214). has an Ability which lets you attach as many Special Energy from your hand to your Pokémon as you like. It isn’t available in English yet, but Porygon-Z-GX has an Ability that lets you heal 80 damage from it once per turn, but you have to discard an Energy in order to do so. Add Recycle Energy to the combo, and the healing is free. You also could just power Porygon-Z-GX with Recycle Energy (plus a few other Energy cards, in case some Recycle Energy are Prized or hit by Faba). That may prove too clunky for actual play, or it might actually wind up being good, but for now, it provides a solid that for which we are looking.

Dialing it back a bit, anything which has a useful attack that costs only a single [C] Energy have gained an amazing resource. If you can build a competitive deck around them, Recycle Energy may be able to cover all your needs. Recycle Energy will likely be in SM – Unified Minds, the set after SM – Unbroken Bonds. SM – Unified Minds isn’t scheduled to release until August 2nd, which means it won’t be tournament-legal until after we “rotate” into the 2020 Standard Format, which is SM – Ultra Prism and later releases. It may not be an ideal solution, but those Pokémon who once ran on Double Colorless Energy and survive the rotation may need to consider Recycle Energy (plus something like Porygon-Z) as a replacement. That is still a ways away, so I’m glad we aren’t scoring for it.


Standard: N/A

Expanded: N/A

Limited: 3.5/5

I think Recycle Energy should be at least somewhat useful for the Standard and Expanded Formats when it re-releases. I don’t know if it is any good in the modern Unlimited Format, but it should be quite handy in the Limited Format. Not that I recommend anyone coughing up the money to do so until Recycle Energy is re-released; Neo Genesis booster packs are quite the collectible.

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