The basic version of Metal Energy was first introduced during the Diamond & Pearl Series of the Pokémon Trading Card Game. As Steel Pokémon were becoming more prevalent during Generation IV, Metal Energy was designed to complement (and later replace, during Generation V's Black & White Series) the Special Energy version of the same name, which was restricted to only four copies of the card per deck. As such, this basic Metal Energy has received many different prints and releases in order to circulate more copies into the general public.
Metal Energy was included in the first expansion of each Series since its introduction in the Diamond & Pearl expansion. While the Diamond & Pearl print featured the plain style, the HeartGold & SoulSilver expansion featured an exclusive Steelix design originating from the equivalent Japanese expansion. A Mirror Reverse Holofoil print of this was included in the Call of Legends expansion. Black & White featured a Checkerboard design (originating from the Japanese Cobalion Battle Strength Deck), with the main expansion prints returning to plain for the release of XY.
During the DP, DPt, and LEGEND Eras in Japan, Metal Energy was included in many different decks and handed out in both Non Holofoil and Holofoil prints for many different promotional events. The final release of the DPt Era, the Movie Commemoration Random Pack, included an exclusive Energy design that remained Japanese only. The first release of the LEGEND Era also included a new design, featuring Steelix and the Goldenrod Radio Tower and was included in booster packs of HeartGold Collection and SoulSilver Collection.
During the BW Era, this card was released as one of the BW-P Promotional cards, numbered 074/BW-P, and was awarded at the July/August Pokémon Center Open Challenge. It was reprinted again in the BW-P Promos, numbered 090/BW-P, as a winner's prize awarded to those who won various competitions at the Summer Carnival from July 23 to August 28. It was later included as a Holofoil BW-P Promotional card in a twelve card random pack released during the September 2011 Gym Challenge, numbered 102/BW-P.
The first release of Metal Energy during the XY Era was in the Froakie Half Deck of both the XY Beginning Set and the XY Beginning Set for Girls. Because the Froakie Half deck wasn't giving alternate numbering for guided play, the Beginning Set only includes one print, as opposed to six. A special unnumbered XY-P Promotional print was released as one of nine possible stamped basic Energies included within the Lawson Limited Pokémon Coin Set, a product exclusive to Lawson stores released December 13, 2013. September 2014 saw the release of Metal Energy within the Hyper Metal Chain Deck featuring the Deck's Set Symbol. An exclusive unnumbered XY-P Mirror Holofoil print was later released in a twelve card promotional pack available to those who participated in the Pokémon Card Gym tournaments from the month of October 2014 through the month of November 2014. In a later 12-card pack, this time available to those who participated in Pokémon Card Gym tournaments from the month of May 2015 through the month of July 2015, a new unnumbered XY-P print with a horizontal bar design was released.
Due to this card first being released after Basic Energy cards stopped listing illustrator credits in the Expedition Base Set, no known print of this card has a known illustrator. However, the artwork on the Special variation of this card is changed to that of artist Takumi Akabane, while this, the Basic version, retains the artwork by Milky Isobe from Neo Genesis.