Falinks & Falinks V – Rebel Clash
Date Reviewed: May 6, 2020
Standard: 3.83 Expanded: 4.00 Limited: 3.17
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
We have a tie for 10th-place! Not because of scoring the same in terms of voting points, but because we decided that these two really needed to be reviewed together to make sense. If we need to re-review them separately in the future, we can, but for now, we present Falinks (SSH – Rebel Clash 109/192) and Falinks V (SSH – Rebel Clash 110/192, 185/192)! There are two things about the cards that affect how just about everything else (including each other) perform, so we’ll cover those aspects first, then take a step back to address the rest.
Falinks V can use “Team Attack” for [CC] to attack your opponent’s Active for 30 damage times the number of Pokémon on your Bench with “Falinks” in their names. Falinks V has the Ability “Iron Defense Formation”; this reduces the damage your Pokémon with “Falinks” in their names take from your opponent’s attacks by 20 (after applying Weakness/Resistance). The wording means each effect applies to not only today’s Falinks and Falinks V, but any and all future cards that could release with “Falinks” in their name. Iron Defense Formation stacks with itself, which means the -20 can become -40, -60, or even -80 to the damage taken!
Now let’s take a step back, and cover the stats both cards have in common. They’re Fighting Pokémon: good for exploiting Weakness and Type-support, though Resistance is relatively common and anti-[F] effects exist. Both are Basics and that’s the best; minimum deck space, easy to field, can be your opening Active, etc. Mind the anti-Basic effects, and enjoy Basic-support and a natural synergy with certain mechanics. Each is Psychic Weak. This can be dangerous, as there are already strong Psychic attackers like Mewtwo & Mew-GX and there are some strong contenders to join the club in this new set. A lack of Resistance is the worst, though it is also quite common.
Now for Falinks on its own. It is a “regular” Pokémon, worth only a single Prize when KO’d and able to take advantage of cards like Twin Energy. Falinks has 90 HP, which is easy to OHKO without Iron Defense Formation. Just one or two instances of it honestly won’t make much of a difference, but three or four at least forces your opponent to treat it as seriously as a small Basic Pokémon V… but without the reward of taking an extra Prize. Falink’s Retreat Cost of one is easy to pay and recover from having paid most of the time.
Falinks “Call For Family” attack would normally just be filler, but here, it might matter. It is still for when you fail to pull off your setup in other ways, but it means you can snag two Falinks V from your deck, letting Falinks fake having 130 HP, or maybe just grabbing one Falinks V – settling for faking 110 HP – and a spare regular Falinks. Ideally, you’re going to want four Falinks V and one Falinks on your Bench, because that lets Team Attack swing for 150 damage while Iron Defense Formation soaks 80 damage, turning our glass canon into a tiny titan. Team Attack won’t be scoring OHKO’s most of the time, but 2HKO’s against all but the biggest Pokémon is pretty great.
Falinks V, like all Pokémon V, is worth two Prizes when KO’d, can’t make use of stuff like Twin Energy, and has to worry about anti-V counters (once we get some worth playing). Besides helping to justify its Ability, being a Pokémon V is why its name is different from regular Falinks, enabling the combo, so its definitely a good deal. Falinks V has 160 HP; good for a single Prize Pokémon, but the smallest Pokémon V printed so far! Thankfully, the Ability mitigates this once enough Falinks V are in play, but remember that Abilities can be negated. It’s Retreat Cost of [CC] is neither low nor high.
Falinks V’s “Giga Impact” costs [FFC] to do 210 damage, and places an effect on it that prevents it from attacking again the next turn. That’s a OHKO for nearly all single-Prize Pokémon, most Basic Pokémon-EX/GX and Pokémon V excluding TAG TEAM Pokémon. Small-to-mid-sized Mega Evolutions and evolved Pokémon-GX are also in range, before damage buffs. You’ll have to use a switching effect (maybe two), Channeler, etc. if you want to use Giga Impact turn after turn without taking a break… and if this was our deck’s main attacker, that would be the case.
In the Standard Format, I think you have a choice to make when running a Falinks/Falinks V deck: how are you fueling Team Attack? The easiest approach is relying on just Twin Energy, but if you do, you only get four shots in Standard without making things complicated to recycle the Twin Energy. You could use Welder – maybe even some other off-Type Energy acceleration – because Team Attack doesn’t care. Using basic Fighting Energy means Falinks V could attack, but might be too clunky since you need your Bench. Maybe give up a turn of speed to use Electrode-GX and intentionally fall behind in Prizes? It would make it easier to utilize Martial Arts Dojo and Karate Belt, though.
Expanded means access to a lot of goodies, though it’ll be facing more competition and counters. If you want to rely on basic Fighting Energy, now you’ve got Max Elixir, but I don’t think that is the deck’s path. Double Colorless Energy and Special Charge means running on Special Energy is more realistic. Muscle Band and/or Fighting Fury Belt give you some great Tool options. Sky Field means Team Attack now maxes out at 210 damage… or 240 if you can bench all four Falinks and all four Falinks V and then attack with Mew (XY – Fates Collide 29/124) or Mew-EX! They won’t enjoy the benefits of Iron Defense Formation, and its a lot easier punish decks reliant on Abilities, Items, and/or Special Energy.
Falinks is still a great pull in the Limited Format. The 4 Copy Rule doesn’t apply here, and as an Uncommon, there’s a tiny chance that could matter. Even without Team Attack, Falinks is a probably inclusion for your deck here, because its stats aren’t that bad here and Call for Family is really nice early game. If you get just Falinks V, it might be worth running solo in a Mulligan build, but I doubt it; the Ability offsets its lower HP but you’ll be stuck swinging every other turn with Giga Impact, and that’s after three turns of building to it. If you have a mostly [F] deck, though, Falinks V is a nice inclusion… and if you also pulled some regular Falinks, that’s great!
Right now, Falinks and Falinks V are so intertwined that a single score is probably the most accurate. If you forcibly separate them, they’re more like two-out-of-five cards. No, normally just adding their individual scores together doesn’t equal their combined score! It just happened to work out that way this time. They have a lot of room to grow; while future versions of Falinks, Falinks V, etc. will have to compete with these for deck space, it is quite possible we’ll see some that do just that. I had this duo as my 7th-place pick; I don’t expect Falinks/Falinks V to become the deck to beat, so 10th is pretty reasonable.
Our tenth best card of Sword & Shield Rebel Clash is a two-fer which seems like another instance of wombo combo: Falinks and Falinks-V. Both cards have at least something to reference themselves or others. In this case, those two specific cards worked well with each other, and you’re about to see why.
So let’s get to the single prize counterpart. It is a Basic Fighting Type with 90 HP, Psychic weakness, and single retreat cost. Call for Family is an attack that USED to see competitive success until it wasn’t even worth giving up your attack just to summon two more Pokémon at the risk of the user getting KOed next turn. The change in turn one rules since the XY era also hurts Call for Family users since they can’t use an attack if a player went first. Still, if there’s no other options, then you could use this attack as a last resort action. Team Attack costs CC and does 30 damage times for each of your Benched Pokemon with Falinks in it’s name. I had to ask Otaku to make sure if Falinks and Falinks-V counts as Falinks in it’s name, and it actually does, which is a huge game changer! The most damage you could do is 150 damage if there’s a full bench of Falinks, and in Expanded, possibly 240 damage if you have Sky Field in play with 8 total Falinks in your Bench. Granted, you needed something like Mew’s Memories of Dawn to copy Team Attack for a single Double Colorless Energy. Speaking about DCE, this set has Twin Energy, which is DCE but doesn’t apply to GX and V Pokémon.
Falinks-V is also a Basic Fighting Type, but with 160 HP, Psychic weakness, and retreat cost of two. Giga Impact is filler since it does damage every other two turns, which is far too slow. It’s ability also references Falinks in its name, and it makes each Falink card take 20 less damage from your opponent’s attacks. This ability stacks, so you could potentially take 80 less damage in this way if you had 4 of them in play. For single prize Falink, multiple of the same ability could fake being a 170 HP Pokémon while it’s V counterpart acts like a 240 HP Pokémon.
So Falinks has made itself a deck, and with the right amount of generic support, they could become a competitive deck. Expanded has more combos, but also with more counters (ability lock, DCE removal, anti-basic cards, etc), so it’s pretty even with Standard. If they were separated and only works on one or the other, but not both, then those two might not find as much favor.
Part of me wished that Passimian from Sun & Moon got the same treatment of Falinks, if Team Play would have counted all counterparts/mechanics of Passimian. The Sun and Moon series had opportunities to make a Passimian-GX card, but they didn’t. Maybe they might make Passimian-V or not, time would tell. But I’m fine with Falinks, as it became what Passimian wishes it would be.
LET ME TELL YOU A LITTLE SOMETHING ABOUT THIS MARCHING POKEMON
Every once in a while, there comes a Pokemon that the moment you first meet it, the first time you see it, the moment when the concept hits you as to how this Pokemon came to be, you fall head over heels in love with the darn thing. I’ve felt it many a time before – Feraligatr, Cofagrigus, Krookodile, just to name a few. For this generation, it was when I was walking around Galar Route 8 and found this small troop of tiny blobs with helmets marching around through these holes in the route. You’ve seen them before no doubt if you played the games, so naturally I did what anybody who sees these guys does.
So yeah, MAYBE I love these guys a LOT. So when I saw they had not just a regular card but a Pokemon-V of them, NATURALLY, I HAD TO make an unbiased review about the two cards as they work together to make a new deck in the metagame.
Let’s start with baby Falinks, a Basic Fighting-Type Pokemon, 90 HP, with a Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. Call for Family is an age-old attack it feels like, costing 1 Energy and putting 2 Basic Pokemon from your deck onto your Bench. Back in the day, it was a HUGE deal when Pokemon-EX came out, and in the Falinks deck it’s no exception. Trust me, you’ll see why, because the other big attack on this guy is Team Attack, which costs 2 Energy and does 30 damage for each one of your Pokemon in play with “Falinks” in its name.
That last part is really important because Falinks-V is a Basic Fighting-Type Pokemon V, 160 HP, with a Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 2. It comes with the Giga Impact attack, a 3-for-210 move that stops Falinks-V from attacking on the next turn. “But wait, this guy only has 160 HP? As a Pokemon-V? That’s the lowest score of all, and there’s no way it could survive any of these attacks, let alone Zacian-V!” Well buddy, let me tell you something about IRON DEFENSE FORMATION!! Basically, while Falinks-V is in play, ALL of your Pokemon with “Falinks” in their name take 20 less damage from attacks.
There it is again! That part with ALL of your Pokemon with “Falinks” in their name! Well the reason that’s so important is because normally, you’re only allowed up to 4 Pokemon cards with the same name. For instance, you couldn’t run 4 copies of Falinks from this set and 4 copies of another Falinks from another set (assuming they make more which they should). BUT, you CAN run 4 Falinks AND 4 Falinks-V, since it’s technically a different name, and that’s why it’s important that we specify “Pokemon with Falinks in their name” as opposed to just “Falinks” so we don’t end up like Passimian.
What does all THAT mean? It means IT’S TIME TO PLAY FALINKS.EXE!!!
Here’s how you too can defeat the likes of your opponent playing Zacian-ADP within the first couple of turns (note: not actually guaranteed to defeat Zacian-ADP within the first couple of turns)! You start out with your little Falinks out front, and you stick any Falinks-V in your hand onto your Bench. The goal is to fully populate your Bench with Falinks-V, because that IRON DEFENSE FORMATION actually STACKS with each copy, so you can reduce damage by as much as 80! That means baby Falinks can tank as much in one hit as a Pokemon-EX/GX with 170 HP, and Falinks-V can tank the equivalent of a Basic Pokemon-V at 240 HP!! NOW THAT’S A LOTTA DAMAGE!!
But then you’re probably like, “Wait how do I attack on the first turn?” Well the answer is, you don’t, that’s why you go second so you CAN attack on the first turn AND use your Supporter card to draw more into your deck and get more Falinks and Falinks-V! You run Professor’s Research, Quick Ball, anything that works with getting Basic Pokemon so you RUN through your deck quick to get as many as you can, because the moment you start your Team Attack, you’re gonna hit for 150 damage EACH TURN! And in case you were wondering, yes, there are 2 new Energy cards that can help with this strategy even more – whether that’s grabbing another Basic Pokemon from your deck or even fueling up your baby Falinks with 2 Energy at once!
And remember – that’s Colorless Energy!
If your opponent has gone first, chances are they’ve got ADP-GX set-up with at least 1 Energy, and they’re staring your guys down. You run this entire gauntlet, fuel up your Bench with a literal army of Falinks, and then swing for 150. NOW your opponent has to make the decision on going through with an Altered Creation-GX to fuel their damage and claim an extra Prize off of your guys in exchange for giving you 3 Prizes and the lead, or switching things around to try and KO the little tykes in exchange for getting 1 Prize card themselves.
Now I don’t want to oversell the Falinks deck by that much – it’s going to struggle against Mewtwo & Mew-GX, which is still a prominent part of the game in its own right, and that may keep it from being as dominant as Zacian-V has been. And even against Zacian-V, the deck isn’t a slam dunk necessarily, since a Brave Blade can still OHKO baby Falinks even with Iron Defense Formation maxed out, and Altered Creation-GX will have even Falinks-V in trouble without something like Big Charm attached. But generally speaking, this deck can dish out a lot of hits and take a few punches, and that’s ultimately all you could ask of it.
Falinks 4 life.
Standard: 4/5 (the deck has some serious power output and tanking ability)
Expanded: 4.5/5 (you can imagine with good Fighting support like Strong Energy, this deck can be even stronger)
Limited: 3.5/5 (I think here it’s a little tougher since you don’t have all the stuff to bring it all together – not to mention you have to get the baby Falinks AND Falinks-V, which is difficult to do in this format)
Arora Notealus: https://twitter.com/falinksmarching?lang=en You’re welcome.
Next Time: Speaking of Energy that helps get Basic Pokemon out of the deck…
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