Super Energy Removal
Feb. 1, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Super Energy Removal? SUPER Energy Removal!! Cause regular Energy Removal just isn’t good enough these days, just like everything else – Potion to SUPER Potion, Energy Retrieval to SUPER Energy Retrieval, you get the idea.
Super Energy Removal does what the old Energy Removal did, discarding Energy – you discard 1 from your own, and then you discard 2 more from one of your opponent’s Pokemon. Basically what Energy Removal does for 1 Energy, you do for 2, albeit you have to use up one of your own to do it. The trade-off is the advantage you swing from slowing your opponent down with this should be enough to take an edge or get them to commit to a different Pokemon.
The problem with the time frame is that Energy Removal was just generally better, since there were few retrieval options back in those days. Honestly, Energy Retrieval was one of the better ones, and back in those days, it costed you a card from your hand to get back 2 Energy. Other than that, we didn’t have a lot of cards like Exeggcute (PLF), Pal Pad, Eelektrik (NVI), etc. to utilize all the stuff in the discard pile to our advantage. Costs were heavy, and it didn’t make sense to slow yourself down by a little to slow your opponent down by one more turn, when you could just do the same thing without discarding Energy using Energy Removal.
Super Energy Removal is not a bad card by any means, it’s just surprisingly outclassed by its predecessor. HOWEVER, if the cards were to be reprinted today, I feel like Super Energy Removal would be run a lot, considering both the Ability to retrieve Energy is easier to mitigate with discard costs and also we’d have things that could benefit from the discard pile – imagine slowing your opponent down with Energy while loading up the discard pile with an Energy to accelerate off onto another attacker. Throw that with old fashioned discard cards, and Night March would have a field day! Luckily, that’s not the case.
And seeing how we are these days about discarding Energy being a fairly regulated effect, I don’t imagine we’d see anything on Super Energy Removal’s level without some fair costs.
Standard: N/A (I’d be careful around this guy)
Expanded: N/A (it’s always the silent types)
Limited: 3/5 (but hey, if you think it’s worth it to go all out…it is)
Arora Notealus: Super Energy Removal is iconic in the same vein as Super Potion is iconic – it’s better known by the card that does its job in a smaller more efficient fashion, with no downsides, even if it’s not the perfect solution. Energy Removal is likely the card you’d see run, but Super Energy Removal has its own merits. Just be sure you have an extra Energy on hand to replace the one you’re discarding.
Side Review: Lost World – still one of the more interesting cards for allowing an alternate win condition in Pokemon, Lost World would probably be stronger with the Prism cards around. Running a Pokemon Prism card? If it gets beaten, it gets sent to the Lost Zone, and that gives Lost World some strange synergy and viability. It might even make a tech choice if enough Prism cards show up that are worth running…emphasis on worth running.
Next Time: Unleash the hounds!!
You thought Energy Removal is OP? There’s an even better one out there!
Today’s Throwback Thursdays is Super Energy Removal from Base Set! This card requires you to discard an energy card from one of your Pokemon in order to remove two energy cards from one of your opponent’s Pokemon. This could greatly set back couple turns. DCE reliant decks could face having two of their DCE removed via Super Energy Removal.
This card was not reprinted after this print because this card is broken! It was too powerful that both Energy Removal and Super Energy Removal were banned in Japan! In one turn, you could potentially remove 12 energy cards before factoring card recursion such as Itemfinder/Dowsing Machine or even Puzzle of Time! That is enough to cripple decks that don’t run as much energy for the rest of the match! A hypothetical rerelease would add this card into the ban list, even with the drawback of discarding one of your energy (now there’s more ways to get back energy cards such as Dark Patch/Aqua Patch or Energy Recycler).
There were other cards that tries to be similar such as Super Energy Removal 2 that carries a greater effect but even a greater risk as well. Being coin flip reliant, it takes 25% to be successful. You can read the effects there and you’ll see why. For cards related to energy removal in Expanded, there’s Crushing Hammer and Enhanced Hammer. Crushing Hammer is just like Energy Removal 2, which is a 50% chance to remove an energy from one of your opponent Pokemon. Enhanced Hammer targets only Special Energy.
Standard: N/A (would be broken/5)
Another piece of the puzzle of how to explain why the Haymaker deck was very good, Super Energy Removal is a card beyond simple explanation on why it is so good in the early days of PTCG.
In order to use Super Energy Removal, you must have an Energy in play. Discard it, then discard 2 energies from the opponent’s side of the field. Discarding a single energy is just strong, but 2 at the same time? This is crazy good.
Back to the usage, it is often seen with lots of decks in the Base-Neo era because of how strong it is. Since Super Energy Removal discards an energy from your field, this card is best used in 1 energy attacking decks on which you can just discard the energy you used earlier, attach a new one and continue again. Since Supporters didn’t exist back then and you can play multiple Trainer cards per turn, this makes for some insane lock plays on which you can use these cards alongside multiple Lass or The Rocket’s Way, etc. Examples include Haymaker, on which you can just attack with a Hitmonchan or an Electabuzz then continuously oppress your opponent with Energy Removal along with this, Dark Vileplume decks which abuses Energy Removal and this alongside Rocket’s Sneak Attack and Lass to completely lock your opponent from playing, Lickitung which just stalls your opponent while continously trying to paralyze, and also the First Movie promo Mewtwo with Toxic Gas Muk (mirroring this to Mega Mewtwo/Garbodor) which can just use Super Energy Removal, discard its energy and just return them back with Energy Absorption. (Yes, Energy Absorption is a god in the olden days.)
There is a good reason why Wizards of the Coast decided to put in something called rotation; they know that these kinds of cards really hindered Stage 2 setup heavy decks from ever seeing play (unless they are Blastoise), and so they rotated this out alongside other versions of Energy Removal, Professor Oak, Lass, and the like. But what do we get after this? Trash Exchange Feraligatr, Cleffa, and Magby.
Unlimited: 5/5 (damn no please. This can make a perfect lock play happen a lot of the time.)
Yes, Super Energy Removal (Base Set 79/102; Base Set 2 108/130) was included in at least one Theme Deck. I actually got first four copies by buying four copies of the “Black Out” Theme Deck. However, unlike the rest of this week’s cards, Super Energy Removal does not show up in a Theme Deck that is legal for the PTCGO’s Theme Format. As it also isn’t legal for the Standard or Expanded Formats, I’ll just cover its historical usage and guess at its prospects in the Unlimited and (unlikely) Limited Format outings. To begin, Super Energy Removal is a “normal Trainer”, now retroactively classified as an Item card. As long as you can meet their requirements and nothing else is interferring with them, you can use as many copies of Super Energy Removal and other powerful cards as you wish during a turn. Speaking of requirements, you have to discard an Energy card from one of your own Pokémon to use Super Energy Removal, and then you choose one of your opponent’s Pokémon and discard up to two Energy cards attached to it. You may discard less than two cards if you wish, but you have to discard at least one. The total amount of Energy discarded can exceed two; the effect cards about the number of Energy cards, not the number of units of Energy they provide. For example, it was (and still is) perfectly legal to discard two Double Colorless Energy from a single Pokémon via Super Energy Removal.
This was and remains an incredibly potent effect, but some may think that Energy Removal would keep Super Energy Removal from seeing competitive play; instead some decks favored Energy Removal, some favored Super Energy Removal, and some ran both. Only certain Pokémon, like those popular in Haymaker decks, could attack well for a single Energy. A few others had early Energy acceleration like Blastoise (Base Set 2/102; Base Set 2 2/130). Together, these were the decks that not only were more resistant to Energy Removal and Super Energy Removal, but made the greatest use of the two. Hamaker decks didn’t run too much Energy because the Pokémon in them didn’t need it, so some may think they couldn’t afford Super Energy Removal; the trick was that their low attack costs allowed most of their preferred attackers to just discard the Energy from the previous turn to fuel Super Energy Removal, attach a replacement afterward, and resume the pounding. As players often used Scoop Up to return an injured Active to hand, this sometimes gave a use to Energy that was about to be discarded anyway. Blastoise decks relied on its Raindance Pokémon Power (those are similar to Abilities) that allowed its player to attach as many [W] Energy from hand to his or her [W] Pokémon as desired during a turn. so they simply had to add one extra.
Okay, okay, but why do this and why not just rely on Energy Removal to do the deed? Again, some did, but sometimes an opponent would get lucky and you’d whiff on your removal cards for a turn, or you were facing a deck that could attach multiple Energy cards in a given turn, at which point stripping away two cards was vital, especially for Hayamker. Most (often all) of the attackers in Haymaker decks had 70 HP or less; when a player could only attack for a single Energy attachment, this was often enough to survive an attack. Plus, in a pinch you could just “overpay” and use it to discard a single Energy from one of your opponent’s Pokémon. The other important thing about both Energy Removal and Super Energy Removal is that they made Electrode (Base Set 21/102; Base Set 25/130). This Electrode could KO itself via its Pokémon Power, then attach itself as a Special Energy card that provided two units of Energy (you selected what Type before attaching). While you would go down a Prize, this provided an incredible speed boost for a variety of deck, allowing them to not only keep up with Haymaker, but outpace and outdamage it!
Or it would have, except Energy Removal and Super Energy Removal (especially aided by the usual offenders) made this a stupid, stupid play. The typical Haymaker deck had a good chance of OHKOing a Voltorb before you Evolved it, and even taking the logical approach of just playing down two Voltorb so you could still Evolve one, bought you only one solid atttack. After that, your opponent would strip away the Energy and leave you hurting, with a 4-5 Prize lead in your opponent’s favor. This was so important to Haymaker because Haymaker needs its beatsticks to survive at least one turn; the dcek overwhelms opponent’s with smaller attacks, not with big OHKO’s. I know next to nothing about the Modern Unlimited Format, so I won’t be scoring for it; Super Energy Removal may still be relevant, but it might not if decks that win or lock down your opponent on a player’s first turn as still frustratingly effective.
If you have someway of using Base Set or Base Set 2 for a Limited event, and managed to pull any copies of Super Energy Removal, run them. I no longer score automatic deck inclusions as 5/5 for Limited, because it is misleading, so know that this was earned. Stripping away two Energy from your opponent’s one Pokémon may be even stronger here than in the other Formats, and is at least on par. It won’t help you all the time, it won’t take any Prizes, but it’s still amazing. I definitely don’t want Energy Removal or Super Energy Removal reprinted for Standard/Expanded format play; they’d be horribly broken. Imagine all the combos you know using Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, and/or Team Flare Grunt… now do it with a normal Item that doesn’t need a coin flip and also works on basic Energy. Well… if it was re-released as an Ace Spec that might work. If they did that and also issued an errata for the original, so that they too functioned as Ace Specs, I’d be quite happy with that.
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