TL;DR: Should You Pull?
What Does It Do?
Sabrina has long been a very popular part of the Pokemon Masters roster. She’s a classic from Generation 1, and people have long awaited her return to the spotlight with an alt (some more than others… you know who I’m talking about). Well, that wait is finally over; Sabrina is here to ring in 2022, and she’s literally ringing it in with none other than Chingling! While it seems a bit odd to use Chingling instead of Chimecho, Chingling’s tie to the Suzu bell used in ceremonies for the Shinto religion lend it to this role a bit better thematically. And besides; I for one always liked Chingling better than Chimecho, though that’s more a subjective opinion. Either way, Sabrina & Chimecho are here to give Special Attackers the boost that they need to succeed, but just how good are they at that job?
When reviewing a Sync Pair, stats are always a good place to start as they set the baseline for what we can expect to see moving forward. Sabrina & Chingling have solid and balanced bulk that allows them to effectively tank with little issue. They also have at least usable speed, though it’s generally not exactly great. Finally, their offensive stats really don’t matter at all as damage is definitely not Chingling’s forte. For moves, we start with the tried-and-true X Sp. Attack All, which sets the stage for Sabrina & Chingling to excel as Special support. Clear Your Mind… comes next, which is basically Potion with the added benefit of giving the recipient the Enduring effect. Condition Shield is next, and it grants Sabrina & Chingling the ability to outright block status moves for the team. While not universally useful, it can be a literal life-saver on stages that have a heavy status focus. To cap this off, Sabrina & Chingling have one attack move to their name: Confusion. It’s not exactly an impressive move on its own, but a 1-bar move is always appreciated on a Support unit. Moving on to passive skills, we start to see just what sets Sabrina & Chingling apart. Team Smart Command 2 is a fun little passive skill that has a chance to grant the entire team 1 stack of the Special Move Up Next effect, which is basically +40% damage to the next Special Attack used any time that Sabrina uses a Trainer Move. This is a nice way to grant damage beyond the standard +Special Attack/Critical Rate that’s been standard for so long. Sharp Teamwork 2 grants 30% odds to increase the team’s Critical Rate by 1 every time Chingling attacks with Confusion, which is… nice? A bit unreliable, but it can be handy at times to gap fill that buff for Strikers that already self-buff to +2 Critical Rate. It would also be nice for stages that debuff Critical Rate, but that really doesn’t exist in Pokemon Masters currently. Finally, Aggravation 4 gives Confusion great odds of inflicting the status that bears its name. Again; not outstanding, but a nice little bonus that could net an occasional save from an incoming attack as well as a bit of extra damage.
Sabrina & Chingling are a bit overlooked right now, but they are definitely effective at what they do. Potion and Endurance as an all-in-one skill is handy, and Special Supports are a bit less common than they once were. On top of that, the ability to rank-up the team’s Special moves every time that they use a trainer move is another generally useful new way to raise team damage beyond the simple “+6 Special Attack, +3 Critical Rate” that has been the gold-standard for so long. The fact that this effect stacks also means that it’s completely viable to use trainer moves throughout the first Sync Cycle so that the team’s designated Special Attacker can drop boosted moves consistently, or self-buff a bit in order to drop one particularly strong move like a freight train. Sabrina & Chingling are also able to buff team Special Attack very quickly via their grid, potentially maxing it in as little as two moves with a bit of help from their grid. Another overlooked skill available to Sabrina & Chingling is their status damage prevention. While this isn’t always useful, at times it can be very important, as some examples of status can make life far, far harder on the team as a whole. And while Potion utility is a bit less “important” than it once was, the ability to heal a teammate and give the Enduring effect at the same time is never a bad trait to have!
Sabrina & Chingling also have the issue of being a bit unfocused in what they want to do. For example, their Critical Rate buffing capabilities are unreliable. Assuming that your goal of using Sabrina & Chingling is to max the team’s Special Attack and Critical Rate, it will take at minimum 5 moves to do, and odds are that it will take far longer than that due to the meger 30% odds of buffing Critical Rate when Chingling uses Confusion. Of course much of this can easily be mitigated by the fact that many top Strikers can self-buff their Critical Rate, but it’s still a bit of a blemish on an otherwise solid kit. Their defining trait is their ability to buff up the team with the Special Attack Up Next effect, but this also means that they’re a bit front-loaded. Most of their power will be spent early in the match, meaning they’re less effective in drawn out encounters. It’s also a bit sad that these buffs don’t affect Sync Move damage, otherwise stacking up huge damage for one gigantic nuke would make them hugely valuable.
Champion Stadium: Master Mode
Solid bulk and decent flexibility can allow Sabrina & Chingling to tank and support their team very well. They’re not universally-useful, but they’re very decent picks overall.
The Legendary Arena
Sabrina & Chingling are okay here, but their front-loaded offensive buffing capability makes it so that they’re a bit less effective on what tend to be battles of attrition. However, they can be useful for a lone window of boosted damage.
Stacking up Special Damage boosts can allow Sabrina & Chingling to stockpile some hefty team damage with proper setup. Any Special Attacker would appreciate them, though the fact that these boosts won’t affect Sync Move damage does hurt their viability here a bit.
The Battle Villa
Despite the fact that they rely heavily on skills, Sabrina & Chingling are actually not bad options here! Their grid can make Confusion a net-zero move gauge cost move that has a chance to boost team Speed on use, and they naturally have a chance to boost team Critical Rate without MP usage, a trait that is very uncommon among Support Units. On top of this, their trainer move can be very useful for healing up the team if you don’t mind fishing for an MP refresh. Pair Sabrina & Chingling with Sycamore & Xerneas and you could potentially have a fully buffed Special Striker at the first Sync Move mark every battle.
How To Use It?
These are generally the most important tiles on Sabrina & Chingling’s grid:
- X Sp.Attack: All Ramped Up 1 (⅗) not only ensures that Sabrina & Chingling can supply the coveted +6 Special Attack, it also allows them to complete this job in 2 move uses instead of 3.
- Sync Free-for-All (⅗) gives additional value to using Sabrina & Chingling for an EX Sync Move, and opens up the team for a free all-out-assault as well.
- Clear Your Mind… MP Refresh 2 (⅗) and Clear Your Mind…Master Healer 1 (⅖ & ⅗) are all prime picks for any build that wants some extra healing with the built-in Enduring effect as an added bonus.
- Confusion: Team Fast-Track 2 (⅖) and Confusion: Move Gauge Refresh 9 (⅖) are both great options to help out with gauge-heavy teams.
- Premonition 2 (⅗), Psychic Stasis (⅗), and Precognition 1 (⅖) are all top picks when pairing Chingling with Psychic Terrain support.
Next are the tiles that are nice to have, but are either niche or not generally worth going out of the way for:
- Guarded Entry 1 (⅕) is a semi-low-cost bulk increase, making it a very nice pickup along the way to other tiles.
- Recuperation 2 (⅗) and Healthy Healing (⅗) are both nice for increased longevity, but the cost to reach them won’t be worth their benefits most of the time.
- Condition Shield: Group Therapy (⅗) is really only useful if you tend to be late to using Condition Shield in battles, as it’s a bit of added insurance. However, it’s probably best to just use Condition Shield early and save the grid energy.
- Condition Shield: MP Refresh 2 (⅖) is okay, but most battles will be over by the time a second use is needed. Still, some status-heavy stages may appreciate it.
- Quick Cure (⅕) is handy for getting rid of the Trapped status in particular, which can seriously cut into Chingling’s bulk after a while.
Finally, these are the tiles that are probably best to ignore unless they somehow play into a bigger strategy in some way:
- X Sp.Attack: MP Refresh 2 (⅕) is okay for ⅕ and ⅖ builds for getting to +6 Special Attack, but it’s woefully outclassed by All Ramped Up 1.
- Team Tough Luck 4 (⅗) is handy on paper, but you’ll generally get more longevity out of investing in Sabrina & Chingling’s trainer move instead.
Overall, Sabrina & Chingling don’t have many outright “bad” grid tiles, and the variability on display means that they can take on a number of different roles based on what’s needed by the team. However, most of their greater utility is locked behind ⅗.
As is generally the case, Vigilance is the winner here. However, with the Legendary Gauntlet already on its way, Deluxe Lucky Cookies will be able to provide some nice bonuses as well. Interference Immunity can be great for getting around statuses that could cut Chingling’s time on the field short or otherwise render it ineffective. Head Start 1 is nice when paired with Sync Pairs that have ways to cut down the Sync Move counter. This is great for Lusamine & Necrozma in particular, as it’s just enough to cut one entire Sync Move cycle off. Just note that it might be best to wait on trying for any of these skills for a while, as other Sync Pairs may be higher priority. Still, it’s so nice to have real options in this section at last!
As should be pretty obvious at this point, Sabrina & Chingling shine brightest alongside Special Attackers, and they especially love being paired with Special Attackers that have a focus on move damage rather than Sync Move damage. Bonus points if Critical Rate buffs aren’t important as well. Archie & Kyogre enjoy the help getting their Special Attack raised early, can self-buff Critical Rate easily, and have a focus on Origin Pulse damage, making Sabrina & Chingling great partners for flooding the world. Blue & Aerodactyl are much the same case, as they enjoy not having to cut their own Defense/Special Defense to maximize Hyper Beam’s damage, and can even buff the whole team’s Critical Rate to help finish up the iffy part of Sabrina & Chingling’s job. Other picks worth mentioning include May & Swampert, Diantha & Gardevoir, Lance & Dragonite, Giovani & Mewtwo… the list goes on.
On the other side of the spectrum, Sabrina & Chingling have great synergy with Psychic Terrain via their grid, so Bianca & Musharna pair perfectly here. They can also finish off the team with Lusamine & Necrozma, Lear & Hoopa, or any other Psychic Type attacker for maximum Psychic Type damage output.
Is It Worth Pulling?
Sabrina & Chingling may not be super-flashy, but they have a fair bit of substance, and a fair bit of variability via their grid as well. They can slot into a number of teams with ease, and can do their job very well. However, they’re also a bit unfocused. They want to be a general-utility Special Support, but their buffing profile is a bit shaky. They want to provide buffs beyond simple damage in a manner similar to Red & Snorlax, but their actual effectiveness is a bit too limited to be “outstanding” on that front. So they tend to fall into a bit of a gray area; not bad by any means, but not great either. They’re fine to pull for, but not must-have by any means.