So you want to be a Pokemon Masters Master?
So you want to be a Pokemon Master in Pokemon Masters? Whether you've played through Pokemon Red/Green in Japanese, or Pokemon: Let’s Go! Pikachu/Eevee, there are many differences in Pokemon Masters compared to the traditional Pokemon Battles.
Oh my Arceus what did they do to typing?
Everyone gets one Effectiveness and Weakness.
One major change from mainline Pokemon Games is that every Pokemon now has one type and one weakness. This means that a Dual Type like Starmie is only Water Type now instead of Water/Psychic. Even as a pure Water Type, Starmie is only weak to Electric and not Grass. However, weaknesses aren't locked to type; Barry's Piplup is weak to Grass instead of Electricity.
Super Effective typing grants 2x damage, making it a valuable damage boost. Additionally, resistances and immunity do not exist in this game. Although this removes type-reliant tanking strategies, it is also less punishing for a strong disadvantaged Pokemon to strike back.
What's next? A different battle system?
Real Time Charge-based Combat!
Well, yes. Breaking from proud turn-based Pokemon tradition, Pokemon Masters bills itself as a "Real Time Strategy" game. Pokemon Veterans will be delighted to know that each Pokemon still has 4 moves. However, there are two types of moves, Pokemon Moves, and Trainer Moves. Trainer moves have a limited number of uses during each battle but can be used at any time. Pokemon moves are where the "real time" aspect comes into play.
At the bottom of the screen is a gauge that fills up over time in battle based on your Pokemon’s speed, called the "Move Slot Gauge." Each Pokemon move costs a certain number of Move Slot Gauge points, shared amongst all three Sync Pairs. When the player has enough points they can use a Pokemon move, which consumes the required points. Thus, trainers need to balance between using less powerful, cheaper moves as soon as the points are available, or saving for more powerful, costlier moves.
Last but not least, there are Sync Moves. For those who've played Pokemon games with either Mega Evolution or Z-Moves, these are the equivalent for some Pokemon. Every move used will charge the Sync Move, which is on a cooldown at the beginning of the battle. Once enough actions are used, the Sync Move becomes available.
Sync Moves are separate from the normal 4 moves of a Sync Pair. Typically they are high-powered moves, but some have additional effects such as Mega Evolution or status conditions. Either way, they can definitely turn the tide of the battle, or score an instant KO in some cases.
At least I can Wailord on other people?
This is a Single Player/Co-Op Game, no PvP.
There are no Player vs Player battles planned at the moment. Instead, there will be cooperative battles. These co-op battles will be 3v3 player versus computer, which means each side will have 9 Sync Pairs. A decent amount of event and high difficulty content is expected to be in this format.
In addition to the previous battle systems introduced, consecutively taking actions in a Co-op battle will charge the Unity Gauge. Once the Unity Gauge is filled, the players can launch a strong Unity Attack as a team.
Can I catch 'em all in this game?
People AND Pokemon?
Instead of catching them all, Pokemon are tied to their trainers. Each pair is called a Sync Pair, and the trainers are the collectible units used to build teams. Currently there are two ways of recruiting more trainers: clearing the story and Trainer Scouting.
Every chapter of the story grants a new Sync Pair, with fan favorites like Brock, Misty, and Rosa available for free. With 10+ available chapters and more coming, there's definitely no shortage to building a player's roster in the short run.
Other Sync Pairs will be only available through Trainer Scouting, the gacha system in the game. Although the rates are considerably better than most competing gacha games, the in-game currency, gems, is rather sparse throughout the story. However, do keep in mind the game is single player/co-op, and it is completely feasible to beat the story mode with the characters given.
How am I supposed to become the very best, like no one ever was?
There are many ways to get stronger in Masters.
In lieu of traditional Pokemon powering up like EV training, Pokemon Masters retains leveling while offering a few other ways to strengthen Sync Pairs: Learning New Moves/unlocking Passive Skills, Evolution, increasing Potential (stars), and increasing Move Power.
Leveling up Sync Pairs in this game is done through gaining exp through battles. Alternatively, players can use Level Up manuals instead, a resource that can directly level a Sync Pair, like rare candies but for EXP. Like in core Pokemon games, leveling increases the Sync Pair's stats. After a certain chapter, specific strengthening quests open up for EXP/manuals and other items needed for strengthening. Sync Pairs also have level caps depending on their rarity. It will cost a certain amount of in-game items to surpass and unlock the next level cap.
Although TMs exist in this game, Sync Pair moves are predetermined and the TMs are simply a resource used to unlock the moves. Sync Pairs begin with two moves unlocked and no passive skills, and thus require the player to unlock them once they have enough in-game items. The cost is typically the same across the pairs, with the fourth move and passive skills tending to cost more items.
Evolution returns as a major mechanic, but not all Sync Pairs are capable of evolution, while some Sync Pairs join with a pre-evolved Pokemon. Similar to breaking the level cap, Evolution will increase the base stat of the Pokemon and require in-game materials. Additionally, players will need to beat a specific story-mode Sync Pair battle. Unlike breaking the level cap, final Evolutions typically change a pair's Sync Move to something unique.
Lower rarity Sync Pairs can also increase their potential (star level), which will increase their max possible stats as well. This can be done with "Star Power Up" items, which are currently pretty rare.
Lastly, getting duplicate copies of a Sync Pair will not only power up their Sync Moves, but also their normal moves as well by 5% per duplicate.
So what about my mainstream competitive Pokemon RNG? Rejoice (or despair), for Pokemon in these games don't have random encounters, EV's or IV's, or parahax (yet).
It's a Mobile Game right? How long until I need to pay for stamina?
Where we're going, we don't need (in-game) Stamina.
Aha! Like all core Pokemon Games, there is no stamina system in Pokemon Masters. Trainers can play for as long or as little as they want! At launch, the only monetization is the gems used for Trainer Scouting. As of writing, gems serve no other purpose outside of Trainer Scouting.
Pokemon GO is my first/only Pokemon Game. What can I expect?
Welcome to the world of Pokemon Masters!
Despite both being Pokemon mobile games amongst other superficial similarities, Masters plays differently from Pokemon GO in terms of battle and progression.
Pokemon GO players may enjoy the expanded combat opportunities in the same, "Real Time" setting. Unlike Pokemon GO however, combat is completely move based; there is no tapping to execute a basic attack. While moves still rely on a charge gauge, all moves in Masters rely on the "move slot gauge" where the gauge fills up based on a timer. Additionally, battles have 3 Pokemon out at once, in comparison to the multiplayer raids or 1v1 PvP of Pokemon GO.
Pokemon Masters is also not a GPS-based AR game like POGO, but a more traditional battle RPG. Instead of catching and collecting various Pokemon, players recruit Sync Pairs instead.
In lieu of CP, there are a few different measures for Pokemon strength. Masters follows mainline Pokemon Games in having 6 different stats (HP, Atk, Sp. Atk, Def, Sp Def, Spd). Additionally, outside of leveling Pokemon (the most direct comparison to CP), Sync Pairs can be further strengthened through increasing their potential, level caps, and merges (duplicate copies of a Pokemon). Evolution exists and likewise increases a Pokemon's stats, but instead of relying on obtaining multiple copies, the Pokemon needs to be at a certain level and the player requires a certain amount of in-game items to evolve their Pokemon.
In terms of community, however, Pokemon Masters retains a strong Co-op theme in its battles. Although not as communal as raids, players can still befriend each other in-game and take on co-op challenges with up to two other friends per battle. These battles are 3v3 player vs cpu co-op battles (for a total of 9 sync pairs per team).