Flaaffy – Evolving Skies
September 9, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Our runner up card in Sword & Shield Evolving Skies is something that Eelektrik would’ve wished it got placed on Black & White Noble Victories.
If newer players were wondering why I’m comparing Flaaffy with Eelektrik, they’re pretty much the same card apart from the name: they have the same Stage 1 Lightning type with 90 HP, Fighting Weakness, retreat cost of CC, same Electric Ball attack that costs LLC for 50 damage, and the Dynamotor ability! The only redeeming trait is its Dynamotor ability, as it lets you attach a Lightning energy from your discard pile onto 1 of your Benched Pokemon. While this is a great ability for a select few decks, if there weren’t any worthwhile partners to take advantage of energy acceleration, the Flaaffy/Eelektrik would surely won’t be needed.
But there are a lot of partners, and the list is far too long for me to provide examples for. If we are to account for Eelektrik Standard tenure back in 2011, it would be:
-Zekrom Black & White
-Tornadus BW Emerging Powers
-Mewtwo-EX BW Next Destines
-Tornadus-EX BW Dark Explorers
-Rayquaza-EX BW Dragons Exalted
I’m trying to condense it down to a few examples in the BW series that saw a lot of play at the time. And I won’t be able to cover the XY series and the SM series when Eelektrik was in Expanded. Well, the list of partners, even in my condensed list, doesn’t speak for much: Eelektrik was mostly supporting Rayquaza-EX and nobody else, as far as I saw from 2013 World Championship decks. That’s because Rayquaza’s Dragon Burst attack does sixty damage times the amount of basic fire or Lightning energies discarded from Rayquaza-EX. With four Eelektrik constantly pumping up as many as four Lightning Energies plus your manual attachment? Rayquaza-EX will OHKO anything in the game except ones that have protection from EX Pokémon. Who needs other backup attackers when Rayquaza can deal with most of them? I guess the only exception is Pokemon with the “Safeguard” ability seen on Sigilyph DRX and Suicune PLB. You’ll need something like Zekrom BW to OHKO them. Back then, you would need just three to OHKO anything, but now, 300 damage falls short against VMAX Pokemon. Perhaps the final nail on the coffin for Rayquaza-EX now is that tomorrow’s card is a superior version of it, designed to deal with almost a decade’s worth of power creep, and will be the new face of the standard format.
So even though Flaaffy is a new card, I would say “welcome back”, because of the ability. Flaaffy also happens to be one of the four pre-release promos that you could get from the Build & Battle box, the other three being the three Galarian legendary birds. It may be an uncommon card that’s worth $0.58 USD at the moment, but if Flaaffy were to be pretty good, then the price might skyrocket in a similar manner to Shady Dealings Drizzile (that card is around $6!).
- Standard: 3
- Expanded: 3
- Legacy (in Eelektrik’s case): 3
Our 2nd-Place pick is Flaaffy (SW – Evolving Skies 055/203; SW – Black Star Proms SWSH122)! Confused yet? Flaaffy is all about its Ability, “Dynamotor”. Dynamotor lets you attach one [L] Energy from your discard pile to one of your Benched Pokémon. Each instance of Dynamotor you have in play may be used once, during your turn. This actually should sound familiar, as it is the exact same Ability found on Eelektrik (BW – Noble Victories 40/101). Yes, on Eelektrik it has “before your attack” in parenthesis, but the powers-that-be decided after 20 years, we kind of understood that was how these kind of effects worked. Due note that only basic Lightning Energy cards count as [L] when not attached to a Pokémon.
In the past, Dynamotor was used to fuel even slightly Energy hungry attackers. Well, the ones that can be run mostly or entirely on basic Lightning Energy cards. Of course, we do need to consider the rest of the card as well. Flaaffy is a Lightning Pokémon, just like Eelektrik. It is the Stage 1 Pokémon in a Stage 2 evolution line, just like Eelektrik. It has 90 HP… just… like… Elektrik? Fighting Weakness, lack of Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of [CC], just like Eelektrik. Even the attack “Electro Ball” priced at [LLC] and doing 50 damage, just like Eelektrik! Okay, so they really recycled when it came to this card, but do those things mean the same thing now as they did back then?
Being a Stage 1 is probably about the same; I recall Basics being stronger back then, and Stage 2 Pokémon being weaker, but I think Stage 1 cards were in a similar place to the present. I think [L] types may have been in a slightly stronger place. 90 HP is worse now, as we’ve had a lot of power creep in both HP and damage output since then, though in both cases, it was nice that they were Level Ball-legal. The Weakness probably isn’t as bad in the present for the wrong reason: 90 HP is easier to OHKO now, so being [F] Weak won’t often change things. Same deal with the total lack of Resistance. The Retreat Cost of [CC] had Float Stone in the past and Air Balloon now so again, pretty similar. Electro Ball was a filler attack to only consider when desperate, so that’s the same as well.
The rest of the evolution line also seems to be a wash. Maybe Mareep has a slight edge over Tynamo due to HP. As for Stage 2 versus Stage 2, while we did eventually get some Eelektross worth running with Eelektrik, it took so long that we’ll have to wait and see if we get a decent Ampharos. In either case, evolving is usually not worth it since that means you loose access to Dynamotor. Now, the next question is, what do you run with Flaaffy? Here’s a quick list of what caught my eye:
- Boltund V is your typical Basic Pokémon V except its “Bolt Storm” attack, priced at [LC], does 10 damage plus 30 per [L] Energy attached to all of your Pokémon.
- Dracozolt VMAX isn’t anything fancy. At least, not for the reasons we’re looking at it. 330 HP and being able to do 200 damage for [LCCC] through its “Max Impact” attack are enough for me to mention it.
- Regieleki (SW – Evolving Skies 060/203) does a decent enough amount of damage with its “Teraspark” attack: 120 to your opponent’s Active and 40 damage to two of their Benched Pokémon. You need [LCC] to use it, and it discards all attached Energy after use, hence being a candidate for Eelektrik decks.
- Tapu Koko V (Sword & Shield 072/202) can do 200 for [LLC] with its “Thunderous Bolt” attack, and is otherwise a Basic Pokémon V with 200 HP (a bit low) and a free Retreat Cost. Plus, its “Spike Draw” attack for [L] does 20 damage while letting you draw two cards, giving you something to do in the early game.
- Zapdos (SW – Vivid Voltage 048/185) needs [LLC] to do 160 to a Benched Pokémon-GX or Pokémon V, then discards all Energy from itself. Thanks to small targets like Crobat V and the Bench-damage boosting Telescopic Sight, this could actually be a nasty game ender
Somewhat lackluster, in all honest, but I left a big one out:
Rayquaza VMAX! The thing is, we’ll be reviewing it soon, so I don’t want to go into too much detail. The short version is that you get a decent-sized Pokémon VMAX with no Weakness that can do big damage, but only if you can keep shoveling basic Fire Energy cards or basic Lightning Energy cards onto it. You also need [RL] to use said attack, so you’ll always need some off-type Energy, but Flaaffy fills a familiar role as you load up Rayquaza VMAX on your Bench, use a switching effect or free retreater to get it into your Active spot, then unleash a probable OHKO before using another switching effect to re-Bench the copy that just attacked while attacking with something else fueled by Dynamotor.
Okay, but is that enough to earn it the #2 spot in our cotundown? Yes! Even if it only spawns a single deck, this seems like it’ll be the biggest thing out of this expansion. While Eelektrik decks eventually fell off in Expanded, they were one of those decks you thought were gone and then bounced back once they got a new trick in Standard. Speaking of Expanded, I think Flaaffy has a decent chance there, even though Eelektrik hasn’t mattered there for a little while. Actually, so does Eelektrik: cards like this are all about what they can power, and I think Rayquaza VMAX (or something else) will give either Dynamotor a chance in Expanded. Which is why Eelektrik was actually my top pick from this expansion… though coming in second is acceptable.
- Standard: 4/5
- Expanded: 3/5
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