In between "Pokémon" journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a pharmaceutical chemist and campus manager.
What Are Energy Cards Used for in the Pokemon Trading Card Game?
As kids, a surprising number of Pokemon fans, myself included, loved collecting Pokemon cards without actually knowing how to play the TCG. Things are pretty similar to the video games (play up to six Pokemon, one at a time, to defeat opposing units), but there were those darn energy cards, something we'd never seen in the video games. Energy cards work similarly to lands in Magic the Gathering; you can attach one per turn, they come in different elements, and to use a Pokemon's attacks, you'll need a certain number of energy, often requiring specific types.
For instance, the original Charizard's Fire Spin needed four Fire energy. However, in addition to the basic energy of each type, we've seen dozens of unique energy cards that offer additional benefits. But with decades of expansion sets to browse, which of these rare resource-generating engines reign supreme? Here are the 10 best energy cards in the Pokemon trading card game!
Special Energy Card Rules
Unlike regular energy cards, which you can place an unlimited number of in your deck, you can only use up to four of a given special energy in your build. Additionally, remember that official tournaments often ban older cards; remember to check your format's rules to determine which energies are and aren't allowed.
Other than that, special energy cards follow the same rules as regular: you can attach one per turn (to either your active Pokemon or any on your bench), and an energy equipped to a defeated Pokemon will go the discard pile alongside it.
10. Burning Energy
Burning Energy's trade-off is that it can only be attached to a Fire Pokemon; however, since most decks only run one or two types, this shouldn't be a big problem when you're crafting a Fire structure. Burning provides one Fire resource just like a basic Fire energy, but if Burning is discarded from the effect of an attack that its beholder used, you get to return it to your hand rather than sending it to the discard pile.
As experienced players know, Fire's staple is using strong attacks that cause you to discard energy (like Charizard's Fire Spin); however, thanks to Burning, you'll ensure you have enough tinder to constantly fuel a flame monster's best attacks.
9. Metal Energy
Metal energy units would eventually receive a basic version that simply provides one Metal energy, but their initial debut counted them as a special energy thanks to their unique effect: any damage done to Metal's wielder from your opponent's Pokemon is reduced by 10!
This awesome effect simultaneously provides an energy while shielding your Pokemon and letting it endure more blows. However, note that (depending on which expansion you're using), Metal Energy will come with a drawback when attached to non-Metal Pokemon, either reducing your own dealt damage by 10 or simply ignoring the shield effect. At any rate, just attach this to Metal Pokemon (who need it most anyway) to disregard the drawback.
8. Darkness Energy
Just as Steel was oddly changed to Metal for the TCG, Dark became Darkness, but abnormal name conditions aside, Darkness energy initially began as a special card. It would later receive a basic rendition, but the original Darkness (in addition to simply providing a Darkness resource) boosted the power of your Pokemon's attacks by 10!
Once again mimicking Metal, depending on which expansion you're playing, Darkness would hinder your creature when attached to non-Darkness Pokemon by either inflicting 10 damage at the end of your turns or simply ignoring its extra-power trait. Again, just attach it to Darkness Pokemon to avoid the disadvantage, and even if you did give it to something else (perhaps a Normal Pokemon), it still works fine as a single-energy anyway.
7. Strong Energy
Like Burning energy, Strong can only be attached to the same type that it provides, Fighting. However, any damage done by that Pokemon's attacks is boosted by 20 (after applying weakness and resistance)!
It's as simple as that. Burning energy's retrieval works great, but only benefits you when using attacks that detach energy. Meanwhile, 20 extra damage is always useful, especially for damage-oriented Fighting Pokemon, whose theme is to hit fast and hit hard.
6. Double Rainbow Energy
Provides: 2 of Any
Any energy that offers multiple resources at once drastically speeds up your gameplay, letting you use your best attacks before your opponent can counter. Enter Double Rainbow Energy, which not only provides two energy with a single card but lets them count as energy of any type!
The downsides are that you can only equip Rainbow on evolved Pokemon, and any damage you'll inflict is reduced by 10. Still, you'll mostly want Rainbow on your evolved creatures anyway (since their attacks tend to require more energy), and while you'll deal slightly less damage, that's a negligible price for both speed and versatility.
5. Beast Energy ♢
When equipped to most Pokemon, Beast Energy ♢ simply provides a single Colorless energy. Not a great benefit, but at least you're able to attach Beast to anything, aiding even Pokemon it's not intended for.
However, when equipping it to the Ultra Beast cards it supports, Beast acts like a Rainbow energy by providing one of whatever attribute you need it to. Even better, the attacks of that Ultra Beast deal an extra 30 damage to your opponent's active Pokemon! An excellent force that supports some of the game's best GX cards, but note that Beast follows the Prism Star rule, meaning you can only have one in your deck and it goes to the "Lost Zone" rather than discard pile.
4. Heal Energy
Heal Energy will only ever provide a Colorless energy, which is the least desirable since it doesn't meet any specific-element demands. However, most Pokemon's attacks allow at least one or two slots for Colorless energy, meaning they're still useful to have, especially when they have awesome bonuses like these.
In Heal energy's case, not only do you receive the generic resource, you also get to (when attached from the hand) remove a damage counter (10 damage) and any special conditions from your Pokemon! A little extra health always helps, and the ability to get out of status debuffs without having to retreat can make a huge difference, especially for slower behemoths with high retreat costs like Snorlax.
3. Holon Energy WP
Each of the Holon series of energy provides extra benefits to two types, and my favorite of the bunch has to be the WP rendition. Just like Heal energy, Holon WP will only ever provide a single Colorless unit, but when its bearer also has a basic Water energy, you get to ignore all effects except for damage from your opponent's attacks! This awesome guard defends against status conditions, energy discards, and other nasty surprises.
Additionally, if WP's beholder has a basic Psychic energy attached, its retreat cost becomes 0, letting you swap out for free. Remember, retreating works great in the TCG since it removes status conditions, doesn't prevent your new Pokemon from attacking, and hides your injured warriors to deny your opponent from accessing their precious prize cards. Each of WP's effects are worthy on their own, and you can even receive them simultaneously if you employ both Water and Psychic.
2. Double Colorless Energy
Provides: 2 Colorless
The original special energy remains a prominent force throughout every expansion, and of all today's cards, it's the one you should be able to legally play no matter the format you're in. Double Colorless simply offers two Colorless energy. And that's it. Other than the pair not containing an element, there's no drawback or restriction to this amazing card's usage, and almost all decks incorporate at least one.
Even as a child who didn't really understand the rules, I could tell Double Colorless was superior to regular energy, and luckily, it's stood the test of time and led my deck lists to several victories. Unlike most energy cards, these are worth getting exciting over as a gift, and thankfully, despite their increased rarity, you can buy them for a single dollar! Still, in the right situations, one card offers even more benefits...
1. Double Dragon Energy
Provides: 2 of Any
When it comes to type-restricting energy, you won't find better than Double Dragon, which fittingly can only be attached to Dragon Pokemon. However, not only does this provide two energy at once, the twin resources may count for energy of any type, letting you access tricky moves with abnormal energy costs without having to include misplaced elements in your deck.
What else can I say? If you're running a Dragon deck, particularly with multi-elemental costs, you need these bad boys in your build. Double Dragon is essentially a Double Rainbow, except with a far smaller trade-off for its awesome might.
Future of Energy Cards
Love 'em or hate 'em, energy cards have been with the Pokemon TCG since its origins, and they're a vital part of any deck. They may not be quite as thrilling or valued as the actual monster cards, but energies come in more shapes and sizes than most fans realize, letting you tailor your build with extra benefits to seize victory.
But for now, as we eagerly await more expansions offering new energy types and special effects, vote for your favorite resource and I'll see you at our next Pokemon countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill