– Steam Siege
August 7, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Recycling is always such a big part of the game, since getting back resources is a great thing to have. I mean, how many times would you like to reuse a card like Cynthia? Okay, so you’ll run out of deck eventually, but not before you get exactly what you need!
Special Charge gives that utility to a popular but generally undersupported card type, the Special Energy. A lot of effects will work with Basic Energy cards, but Special Energy have a lot of limitations that aren’t assigned to Basic Energy, namely that a lot of effects only work with Basic Energy and that you can only have 4 of each Special Energy whereas Basic Energy can take up any number of slots. So having the ability to return two of those Special Energy cards back into the deck and have the opportunity to use them again is pretty good.
Now the only trick aside from that is getting those Special Energy cards back out of the deck again.
Standard: N/A (generally speaking, Special Energies have decreased in quantity overall, but considering we’d have DCE and Rainbow Energy, it could potentially have seen play)
Expanded: 3/5 (useful for decks that run a lot of Special Energies, as it’s one of the best ways to get them back…even if that means putting them back in the deck)
Limited: 1/5 (there’s no Special Energies to be had in Steam Siege sadly, so this card’s pretty dead in that format)
Arora Notealus: Special Charge has a pretty good use for different decks, but not every deck can make good use of it. Luckily with all of the various draw Supporters and ways of getting any Energy card out of the deck, Special Charge isn’t too bad of a card. It just takes a little finesse to really get it to where it needs to be.
Next Time: It’s a double-header of the same Pokemon! What a copycat…
Special Charge is, indeed, a special card because it is one of the few cards that recover Special Energy cards. In particular, it lets you put two Special Energy cards from your discard pile into your deck. It was reviewed by the Pojo crew: one as the 7th best card of XY Steam Siege (https://www.pojo.com/COTD/2016/Aug/11.shtml), and one as the 10th best card of 2016 (https://www.pojo.com/COTD/2016/Dec/16.shtml).
The reviews that they give are pretty much spot on. Recovering Special Energy cards are great because it is one of the few cards that does such a thing, but one might wish that instead of putting in the deck, one might go into your hand or, even better, attach it to one of your Pokemon. Well, Puzzle of Time can put any 2 card from the discard pile onto your hand IF you played two of them at the same time. Not that it is an option anymore due to being banned. And there’s Carbink BREAK whose Diamond Gift attaches 2 of any Energy cards from the discard to one of your Fighting Pokemon in play. So some wishful thinking has got you covered.
With Special Charge gone, we……..actually don’t have any item card that can recover Special Energy cards, so one must plan carefully to conserve Special Energy cards. Expanded will continue to welcome cards, but the environment is fierce in that regard. Anti-Special Energy, Item Lock, and even punishing item usage may or may not deter anyone from using a full-four count. But it is still a good card. In Limited, Special Charge is useless because there’s no Special Energy cards in the XY Steam Siege expansion.
Standard: 3.5/5 (soon to be N/A)
This week, it is a bit early to dive into SM – Celestial Storm, so we’re taking time to look at some of the cards that didn’t quite make our recent Top 10 Countdown of Cards Lost to Rotation. I’d put the year in there to clarify, but the rotation that happens September 1, 2018, is referred to as the “2019” rotation on the official Pokémon website, which is so confusing it seems simpler to include this clunky sentence of explanation. We’re beginning the week with a twofer because we were unable to post any reviews yesterday. I’m running late with those reviews, so I’ll have to give the same spiel tomorrow. Our second review of this week, though it might be the first one you, is about Special Charge (XY – Steam Siege 105/114). Effectively the 12th place finisher in our countdown, totaling 51 voting points by appearing on two out of the three personal lists submitted by reviewers. I had Special Charge as my personal 12th place pick as well; I’m about to explain why.
If you’re not familiar with Special Charge, it is a Trainer-Item that has you shuffle two Special Energy cards from your discard back into your deck. While there were ways to reclaim Special Energy from the discard pile before Special Energy, most weren’t reliable, easy to use Item cards. Puzzle of Time – which did make our countdown and is about to be banned from the Expanded Format – can do it, but you have to play two copies of it at once, it can reclaim anything, and it adds two cards directly back to your hand. It isn’t – soon to be “wasn’t” – uncommon to actually combo Special Charge with Puzzle of Time; if you didn’t need Special Energy back right away, you could burn one of your Puzzle of Time “reclamation” picks on Special Charge to you could ultimate recycle three total cards (or more, if you picked another such card alongside Puzzle of Time). Recycle is still Expanded legal and is not being banned and… you can see why. It is a Trainer-Item and lets you take any one card from your discard pile and place it on top of your deck BUT requires a coin flip. If you get “tails”, it does nothing, and even if it works, you’ll still need to draw what you recycled. Other Expanded options I can recollect are Pokémon effects, and so “more expensive” and often slower.
Puzzle of Time appears to have completely eclipsed Special Charge in Expanded, where even decks that run on just four Double Colorless Energy are relying on it instead of Special Charge. Needless to say, that’s about to change, specifically on August 17, 2018, when the new Expanded Ban List goes into effect. The decks in question are strong and while there are other options, the path of least resistance is to start running Special Charge in place of (some) of those copies of Puzzle of Time. For Standard, Special Charge will still see some use but not what it would if Puzzle of Time wasn’t there as an alternative that is usually better. Which does not mean we won’t miss Puzzle of Time; if it wasn’t rotating from Standard on September 1st, even though we’re losing cards like Strong Energy, it would still be great for all those decks that might be able to run on all or mostly Special Energy. Oh well, at least Special Charge has Expanded.
Standard: 3.5/5 (Soon to be N/A)
Expanded: 3/5 (Soon to be around 4/5)
Limited: 1/5 (No Special Energy in this set)
Special Charge (STS 105) bombed its way into the meta on August 3rd, 2016, just a few months after I started playing. I thought this card was great… and many others did as well at the time since it offered something previously unheard of in the PTCG – a way to recover Special Energy from the discard pile! Now, there were other means to bring cards back from the discard: Puzzle of Time had been released in Breakpont, and there were probably other cards before my time in the game that would accomplish that that I’m not aware of, but Special Charge was specifically designed for Special Energy, and it let you put TWO of them back into your deck.
And we’ve had plenty of good Special Energy cards to retrieve over the two years of its existence: Double Colorless, Strong, and Splash have been the most popular recently. The new format will almost certainly be less SPE dependent, so we really won’t miss Special Charge too much because DCE will be the only SPE that will really see any usage, at least initially in the new meta.
Standard: 2 out of 5
Nobody played it between May 19th and June 23rd. Of the best finishing decklists available to me over that time frame, not a single deck played a single copy. Unfortunately, Special Charge might have entered with a bang but leaves with a fizzle. And that illustrates another area where the game could provide more flavor – more special energy brings more wrinkles, more complexities… we really could use more of that.
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