Tier List Change Log / Latest Changes
10/07/2021: Added Morty & Mega Banette, Darach & Staraptor, Erika & Leafeon, Misty & Vaporeon, and Caitlin & Mega Sableye to the list; reviewed the positions of the Sync Pairs added from the last update; created a new Tier between the old Tier 1 and 2 for Damage Dealers that includes the bottom of the old Tier 1 and the top of the old Tier 2 to make the differences more clear.
Introduction: Tier List Overall Rules
This Tier List is primarily for Single Player content. Our Pokémon Masters Tier List is ever evolving with each update as we continue to evaluate information from the game. Check back for updates!
Further details on the rules and formatting of the list can be found just below!
Damage Dealer Tier List
Note: Explanations have only been updated for Tier 1 pairs.
Sygna Suit Red, simply put, has everything you would want on a striker. Extremely high DPS, one of the best AoE Sync Nukes in the entire game (if not the best), very good gauge, and good self buffs - and even its high HP means it can take hits better than most strikers provided you can deal with his self defense debuffs. While Red doesn't do as many things as some other units can, he just does what he's supposed to do extremely well, earning him a spot at the top of the list.
While it's classified as a Dragon-type Sync Pair due to its Sync Move, Cyrus & Palkia only show their true potential while using Hydro Pump. Being one of the premier choices for rain teams, Cyrus matches the damage of the high-end damage dealers like Red & Mega Charizard X, Emmet & Archeops, and Lear & Hoopa despite using only three gauges instead of four! An excellent trainer move that boosts both Special Attack and Speed by three stages with a drawback that can easily be offset by its (multiple) regeneration options also makes Cyrus very good and fast at setting up granted it has critical hit rate support. Cyrus also notably is arguably the best striker to pair with Professor Sycamore on the Battle Villa, getting critical hit rate buffs without using MP via Spacial Rend: Critical Focus 2 and Healthy Healing maintaing its HP high. All in all, if you need a unit with high DPS that sets up fast, Cyrus might be your guy.
With one of the best AoE moves in the game, a strong Sync Move, decent self buffs, good gauge during the rain weather, and access to the move Rain Dance, May shows herself as a great damage dealer that can also make her Water-type partners stronger. Being a Hoenn unit also grants her a superb synergy with Archie & Kyogre, both activating Theme Skills and boosting Hoenn Spirit. May has a good enough bulk to also work as a tank in a pinch, and is only held back a bit due to a lack of a stronger single target option, which is not enough to take her out from the highest tier.
As one of the few Damage Dealers on Tier 2 that has absolutely no influence on Terrain or Weather teams, Alder still carves itself a niche on the higher end of the group by providing one the best gauges of any four gauge striker can have due to his amazing trainer, maximizing his Special Attack in a single turn and getting +2 Speed alongside a good base Speed and innate Rejuvenate 6. Although Volcarona's damage doesn't quite reach the weather damage dealers, it still gets a respectable number that can be further boosted via Overpower if the player wishes so. Devastation lets Alder sync nuke and uses the same debuff as Overpower, but both multipliers can be a bit situational. In short, Alder is a Damage Dealer that trusts in their offensive versatility to outweight its less impressive output compared to its fellow Tier 2 members.
Leon & Charizard is a pretty polarizing Sync Pair: on one hand, they have the single highest realistic damage per turn, with Inferno on sun already matching behemoths like Mega Charizard X and Palkia, while Burn Synergy 3 puts him on a level of his own. On the other hand, Leon is pretty reliant on his teammates to excel, needing gauge support alongside Special Attack and crit buffs, with sunny weather allowing him to reach his max potential. Leon also offers a Sync Move that does good damage, despite the set up being based on the opponent status rather than his own, Inferno makes it easy to reach the condition at least for the main target. MP Rekindle also makes Leon superb in Battle Villa by being capable of refreshing his trainer moves at any time. Although Leon lacks the versatility common to the other top tier damage dealers and often sees hard competition with other strong sun sync pairs, his sheer damage output gives him a spot at the top of Tier 2
Marnie & Morpeko are another versatile Damage Dealer on Tier 2. Power Trip provides good damage by an extremely cheap cost at two gauges while being easy to cap in damage. Marnie also doesn't ask for much support, seeing as the standard Speed buffs that most teams have today allows Marnie to max her Attack by herself, while some smaller self crit buffs too. One thing that Marnie excels at is her Sync Move: rivaling even Palentine Serena as a Sync Nuker, Marnie gets an easy to setup nuke that can even one shot Master Mode centers with no prior damage and neutral damage. Although Marnie's output can be a bit inconsistent due to Hunger Switch, she still earns a spot at the higher end of Tier 2.
Sceptile's awesome speed and power have kept it relevant ever since the game's release as one of the most versatile offensive pairs available. Incredibly efficient self buffs on top of the excellent dps it maintains throughout an entire match (even ramping that number up through Ramming Speed) are really all anyone could want from a non-mega striker, and Sceptile delivers these in spades. The pair's only real downside is its reliance on the Dauntless Lucky Skill to prevent Leaf Storm's Sp.Atk drop, without which it remains a powerhouse damage dealer but loses the self sufficiency that makes it such a flexible pair.
Ho-oh's Sync Grid has, similarly to Palkia's, launched its owner from obscure mediocrity to a star metagame position, in this case as one of our best available sidemen. Excellent gauge efficiency, surprisingly substantial damage, and access to permanent sun make it one of Charizard's very best partners, as well as a generally excellent option for any Sun-focused composition. Although held back by its lack of EX, the very low commitment required for its use enables ambitious teams that more than make up for the lost damage.
The easiest way to consider Zekrom's place in the meta is to conceptualize it as a modernized Garchomp, complete with even greater potential for damage, just as rare a typing, a more useful Terrain partner, and the single target damage type that recent 3v3 formats have pushed back into major relevance. With the introduction of more and more powerful combination tanks, the old problem of finding a third wheel for Zekrom and Luxray has largely disappeared, leaving the team at the forefront of a meta that has never been more accommodating of squishier Striker/Tech duos.
Being one of the strongest Gauge Batteries in the game as well as an excellent source of damage, Mightyena is an essential component to nearly any 3v9 Hyper Offensive or Multi-Striker composition, as well as a fine damage-dealing option in Master Mode (especially considering the scarcity of its typing). As the metagame continues its shift towards the offensive, Mightyena and its niches will only become more and more important, and the sheer breadth of comps it enables already puts it above most of its contemporaries.
Although its kit may at first seem a tad too 2019 to be relevant in the Pokemon Masters of today, Gardevoir manages to prove that the classic high-commitment Mega Striker still has a place in the hearts and minds of the world (and the meta). The simplicity inherent to its toolset does, however, result in rather a dearth of discussion points here; there's little more to do with this pair than slap it on a team with your favourite tanks to facilitate it and watch anything weak to Fairy types melt.
Although its sync nuke is hypothetically second only to Morpeko's in terms of sheer damage, Drednaw suffers from the extreme amount of commitment, both in the teambuilder and at the scout banner, it requires to reach those numbers. Additionally, because a part of that commitment is ensuring the pair's access to constant rain, it faces insurmountable competition from the completely free Cyrus & Palkia, who synergize better with primary rain setter Swampert while out-dpsing Drednaw and maintaining usability outside of rain.
Mega Gallade boasts an excellent combination of stats and multipliers that make it one of the highest damage three bar Strikers in the game, and even outclass its four bar fighting counterpart, Sirfetch'd, in terms of straight dps. Throw guaranteed Critically Striking Sync Moves as well as a refreshingly painless setup cycle on top of that, and it's easy to see why the pair has held fast to its place in the meta for so long.
Although the pair is undoubtedly possessed of both excellent dps potential and a considerable amount of versatility, its unfortunate shared typing with the excellent Blue & Pidgeot stops it from dominating its niche as contemporaries like Volcarona or Gallade are able to. The pair would certainly be excellent did it exist in a vacuum, but there's simply very little incentive to use it over its generally more powerful and accessible rival.
The incredibly powerful Hyper Beam combined with Dragonite's excellent stats give it the potential to deal excellent damage, but it's complete lack of self buffing means it requires a huge amount of Support from its team to accomplish this. Not the most versatile Striker in the world, but make it work for you and the damage you'll deal will rival most top tier strikers.
Tied with Charizard X for highest Sp.Atk in the game with decent self buffs and great Speed to boot, in a vacuum the pair seems like far and away one of the game's best. Unfortunately for it, Charizard X's downright insane Passives and buffing potential completely outclass it in its main niche, and it simply can't compare to something like Pheromosa or Sceptile in the early game with its 2 bar moves before Mega. Still, it's the best flying type Striker we've got by a wide margin and is versatile enough to leverage its amazing lategame dps on a huge variety of teams.
Alolan Sandslash's strengths lie primarily in its Techy utility and siamese link to the powerful Hail archetype, the very things that render it particularly vulnerable to powercreep as it struggles to keep up with the damage of more recent Strikers and additional Ice-Type options chip away at the ubiquity of Hail. Although it remains the cornerstone of a solid archetype and a uniquely Techy general option, Sandlash is far from the meta definer it once was.
Blazingly fast and offensively self-sufficent, Sharpedo is a more than solid Striker who suffers from a few key issues keeping it out of the top tier. Firstly, almost all of its precious offense buffs come after its Sync Move, making it nearly dead weight till that point (3 is a lot of Gauge to spend on a Defense debuff from Liquidation). Additionally, its heavy recoil means it requires serious healing Support to come anywhere near its full potential (although Master Healer Potion users like Pikachu and Swanna can do this rather painlessly). Other than those issues, however, Sharpedo's debuffs, Grid, and Passives help offset its lackluster Attack Stat and make it a good choice for a wide variety of teams.
The addition of Emboar's Sync Grid to the game has transformed it from an inconsistent, one-dimensional Striker into a highly versatile pair that can effectively fulfill a variety of roles. Firstly, this new version of Emboar can reprise its old role as a straightforward Striker with renewed vigor thanks to skills like Standfast, Desperate Measures, and Inertia patching up its former weaknesses. Past that, its new roles also include a surprisingly bulky, incredibly fast healing tank as a well as several variations on the theme of Sync nuking.
While the old standby Striker Lycanroc has been circumstantially affected by the encroachment of powercreep since release day, it still holds up surprisingly well in a vacuum and remains a truly excellent general use Striker. While the addition of monsters like Volcarona and Pherosma has deprived it of its former place as the game's best early game assassin, there still is and always will be a place for a pair who can, with little to no investment, be slotted onto any team carry players through most of the game's content. Although it's no longer the best at any one thing, above average bulk and Attack, a delightfully quick setup phase, and a still more than satisfactory dps output make Lycanroc one of the game's most versatile pairs to this day.
One of many formerly obsolete Strikers revitalized into perfectly viable Sync Nukers by the introduction of their grids, Zebstrika's Electric typing and generally excellent grid damage buffs makes it a more than serviceable alternative to Zekrom on E Terrain teams and a solidly powerful offensive pair all around.
Although shackled to the lackluster Palossand on whose Sand it entirely depends, struggling to keep up with the brutal four bar moves and colossal sync nukes of more recent Strikers, and relegated to exclusively Area Of Effect damage, Garchomp and its weather-focused comps have held onto relevance only through their uncommon Ground-Type damage and usefulness outside the context of the meta. Still, in an exclusively PVE game, the ability to tackle any neutral stage with a simple two-pair core is a valuable trait, even if Garchomp will likely never again be an optimal pick for any specific stage.
With the introduction of the excellent aoe Paralysis spreader Whimsicott, Kommo-O has finally found a way to easily access its incredibly potent damage multipliers against Paralyzed targets. Combined with a support like Blastoise capable of covering the pair's offensive stat buffs and lack of a defensive presence in one slot, and you've got the kind of team comp that can afford to disregard its mixed typing through sheer dps. Not much more to say, really; Kommo-O may not be the most versatile pair in the game, but it's real difficult to argue with an immensely powerful aoe four bar on top of a brutal sync nuke, especially when backed up not only by Unhindered but also Whimsicott's aoe Paralysis and surprisingly potent Moonblasts. Although recent powercreep and the introduction of Master Mode have increased the number of pairs who can match up to its damage and severely limited the utility of Aoe over single target damage, Kommo-O and Whimsicott can still knock anything Dragon or Fairy weak into 2028 with relative ease.
Perhaps the game's most unique late game Striker, Zacian's versatile typing and sheer damage potential combine to make the Support it requires well worth providing. Its near complete lack of buffs to Crit. Chance as well as its reliance on opposing sync moves can make it a bit of a burden to most team compositions, but the growing number of tanky Critical Supports (Blastoise being the most prominent example) make its damage dealing requirements much easier to fulfill. What makes this worth it over simply using a mores self-sufficient pair is the truly outstanding damage it deals between its blinding speed, devastating Sync Move, and the awesome power of Behemoth Blade. Even relative to top strikers like Charizard and Pheromosa, the numbers Zacian can put out with proper investment seriously push the limits of what this type of pair is capable of.
Far above average lategame dps combined with total self-sufficiency would already make Houndoom more than viable in its role as a Mega Striker, but what keeps the pair so relevant to the meta are the synergies between its sync grid and the various Techs it's generally partnered with. While it can proc skills like Overpower and the "Fighting" skills on its own, it's only when Houndoom is paired with a disruption or status user like Pallosand or Crobat that its full power is unveiled, gaining massive damage boosts against the enemies its partners will keep permanently debuffed.
The Lucky Skill Lessen Confusion 9 has finally given Haxorus what it's always wanted: mitigation of the effects of Confusion without losing all the bonuses. Now that it finally has that, it's started to see a great amount of use as a totally self-sufficient Striker who makes up for its lackluster Stats through a monstrously powerful Moveset and Sync Grid. Carry On in particular has made it such a consistent Battle Villa force through Mp independent Attack buffs that it's become one of the first 3 star promotions for most new players.
A solid mixed attacking sync nuker, plain and simply. Nothing outstanding, but what it does it does well and it even comes with a few neat tricks like Phantom Force's temporary guaranteed evasion and Shadow Ball's chance to lower enemy Special Defense. Considering its extremely rare typing and gimmicky Legendary Arena solo strats on top of that already perfectly useful base, and you've yourself a seriously viable Striker.
Toxic Power and a decent level of self-sufficiency make Arbock a surprisingly usable Striker, but unfortunately it's entirely outclassed in its role as a Posion-spreading damage dealer by the excellent Crobat and as a tech by the almost as excellent Nidoqueen. Not much else to say, really; the pair isn't necessarily horrid, but there simply isn't any reason to use it over its F2P Poison peers.
At first glance, Siebold & Clawitzer look like they would be a strong Sync Pair: Self-Heal, Self-Buff and even inflicted Debuffs. While Siebold & Clawitzer have the tools, they lack talent and skill.
Clawitzer’s stats are low and poorly distributed for his strengths. This means that a Special Strike Pokemon who doesn’t have the proper toolkit but does have better stat distribution will outperform Siebold & Clawitzer.
Hybrid Tier List
Note: Explanations have not been updated yet.
Archie & Kyogre have an unbelievably good kit both in offensive terms and defensive ones. Origin Pulse is one of the highest BP moves in the entire game that can be further boosted by rain, which Kyogre not only summons on entry, but also extends its duration every time it is summoned to almost double its time. Shower Surge 3 also means that Kyogre's damage is further boosted on rain and also makes its gauge considerably faster. Hoenn Pride is an amazing Master Passive that boosts the entire team's SpA by 20% by default and can be further boosted by a whooping 50% with 2 more Hoenn units, which is not really hard to do considering Kyogre's self sufficiency and the general quality of the Hoenn units, like May, Roxanne, Zinnia, etc. Finally, Kyogre's Trainer Move gives it +3 critical hit rate, +2 Special Attack, +2 accuracy to make Origin Pulse fully accurate, and gradual healing all in a single turn at the cost of -2 to both defenses. Although Kyogre does lack a strong Sync Nuke, the combined offensive and defensive capabilities it offers is unmatched by almost everyone except a very few select units in the entire game.
We've come a long way since Xatu, haven't we? An excellent movepool, unique terrain, and highly flexible sync grid make Musharna an extremely versatile offensive tank that can put out massive dps while supporting its team and constantly healing off any damage that gets through excellent boosted bulk stats. Although Eevee-based comps looking to push Stored Power to its absolute limit are certainly viable, Musharna truly shines as a sideman paired with a Psychic Striker like Reuniclus to take full advantage of terrain and a healer like Alakazam to keep it topped off on health throughout the match. The pair simply does it all; colossal dps, incredible supportive qualities, and even the surprisingly potent ability to act as an off-tank.
Delphox continued the tradition of powerful Fire Type Tech pairs by becoming one of the game's most centralizing damage dealers as well as by far its most powerful status spreader immediately upon release. Even without considering its excellent potential DPS, the sheer power of Go Viral allows Delphox the incredibly supportive utility to see use on almost any team. This isn't to discount that DPS though; a quick look at the pair's Sync Grid reveals one of the most potent Strikers we've ever seen with all sorts of multipliers turning its Dauntless Overheats into what is likely the most powerful unbuffed Move in the game. In conclusion, this may be the first pair since the days of Garchomp and Charizard that can truly be called meta-defining and it absolutely deserves its place on top of this list.
As a key member of the awesomely powerful Kommo-O Paralysis squad, Whimsicott fills a similar role to pairs like Luxray and Pallosand in its facilitation of a conditional Striker (in this case through the ease with which it spreads Paralysis to multiple targets). Although this is already enough to put the pair firmly in the upper echelon of Techs, its incredible penchant for reducing incoming damage while pumping out towering multiplier-boosted Moonblasts with very little setup also makes it a staple sideman on nearly any team core looking for a third slot, and solidifies its place on this tier list as a unit both powerful and versatile.
As arguably the single most important tank in the Pokemon Masters meta, Venusaur (along with powerhouses like Charizard and Delphox) is one of the few five star pairs that can be called truly essential parts of every player's roster. Venusaur provides more healing and damage than any other tank in today's version of the game, as well as the excellent bulk and utility to put those traits to use better than any other tank could hope to. On top of this, its grid turns what was already a ridiculously useful pair into a highly specialized tool, perfectly able to round out the weaknesses of virtually any team it's considered for. In short, the best way to describe a pair like Venusaur is this: the complete package.
With the introduction of Zekrom to the game, Luxray has become an integral piece of one of the game's highest dps team cores. Beyond that, investment in the pair will become more and more valuable, as every Electric Striker added to the game makes it more and more versatile. Further still, the flexibility inherent to the pair's grid gives it a strong basis in its niche as an offensive tank before considering the power of Electric Terrain.
One of the best examples of the Tech class' offensive/defensive split utility, Hydreigon is both a substantial offensive force and one of the best debuffing options in the game. Because it both sets up and is enabled by fellow debuffers like Kyurem and Houndoom, the pair is able to form a variety deadly dual offense team cores on top of its status as a generally able sideman. Although it never quite reaches the dps heights of Musharna or Morpeko, the all-encompassing versatility of Delphox and Venusaur, or the meta-defining synergies of Swampert, Hydreigon remains an excellent pair with ample application in nearly any situation.
Similar in many ways to Steven & Metagross in its role as an Aggravation Striker with a focus on long-term survivability, a few key differences are what allow Yveltal to escape the former's shadow into a niche of its own (even as they render it a much less ubiquitous pair overall). Firstly, Yveltal's split typing, which is both a blessing and a curse. By allowing it to compete in two different races as far as supereffective damage goes, it makes Yveltal a much more flexible pair than contemporaries such as Pidgeot and Houndoom. However, because of the pair's need to make us of both typings no matter the opposing stage's weakness (Dark Pulse is required for status while Oblivion Wing provides the pair's essential longevity), it ends up failing to compete with either of its more accessible rivals in terms of damage. The pair's unique strengths, then, lie in its versatility, much of which stems from the aforementioned dual typing as well as another key divergence from the niche it shares with Steven: access to its own healing. Because it requires no dedicated Support to facilitate its long-term survival, Yveltal is able to function extremely well slotted onto dual-striker comps, where it can soak up aoe Special boosts from a Support like Xerneas or Blastoise and then contribute its damage and status without compromising the team's pre-existing core. In the final analysis, it's the flexibility those differences afford that set Yveltal apart from its contemporaries and make it an excellent choice for an incredible variety of team compositions.
Although still a highly versatile bulky striker, the recent advance in powercreep accompanying the introduction of Master Fairs has rendered Metagross' previously superfluous damage ceiling merely above average. Presently, it continues to hold a solid niche as something of a defensive, utility-focused Gloria that trades the latter's damage for bulk and versatility. No longer top tier, but for players desiring bulk and offense in a single slot it's still difficult to match.
One of the game's best damage Mp-independent damage dealers, an incredible tool for toxic stall, and even a strong competitor as a sync nuker, Crobat is particularly noticeable for excelling in arguably the game's two most difficult game modes. In the Battle Villa, its lack of reliance on buffs and trainer moves make it an excellent sweeping tool, while the percent health damage of its toxic poison and sheer single-target power of its Sync Nuke make it great for handling +hp and +def Master mode restrictions.
Although indisputably an excellent Sync Nuker at 3/5, the frankly unreasonable amount of investment using it for this purpose requires makes it extremely difficult to justify the effort (especially as the pair is nothing more than the game's least reliable status spreader without full grid access). If a late game Flying Striker is necessary, Mega Pidgeot's offer of comparable performance for a relatively miniscule cost makes it far the more practical option. On top of this, generic Sync Nukers outside of the Flying type niche are abundantly available through the game's main story, some of which are even more effective in that role than Togekiss itself. Overall, a more than solid pair for the die-hard Skyla fans out there, but one with too steep an entry barrier to become a prevalent part of the meta.
Solid bulk and an interesting Passive in Power Siphon make Torterra a great Main Tank in both BV and Single Player Event formats, although Good As New's low Mp can stop it from outlasting 3v9s without a backup tank. Overall, worth investing in for Events but rarely the best Battle Villa choice over pairs like Swanna and Mew who don't require additional Support (unless, of course, your team has space for a backup in which case it can perform in BV just as well).
By bringing the its rather unique niche of Psychic type sync nuking to bear in combination with its old mp independant sideman role, Mew has managed to retain its viability as a wonderfully versatile f2p sweeper, particularly useful for newer players struggling in the Battle Villa.
Although it requires careful team planning and high grid commitment in order to reach its full potential, a properly played Tsareena can be a highly effective substitute for Sceptile in modes that restrict team repetition. Its excellent damage and useful debuffs are, however, often outweighed by the difficulty of balancing those debuffs with constant application of Teeter Dance and sunny weather in order to maintain the conditional damage boosts it relies on.
With a woefully outdated kit, dps that becomes less impressive with each new banner, and the typing that once made it so unique now forcing to compete with Whimsicott and Gardevoir, the only thing in the way of Altaria's downwards trajectory is its access to Defog. Outside of use in that capacity against very specific stages, this pair is mostly relegated to players looking for supereffective Fairy damage who missed out on its limited banner competition.
Although the pair borderline requires a fully invested Sync Grid for use (and its 6 star ex form in order to reach its real potential), that investment is often well worth it as a properly set up Milotic is one of the most versatile and powerful offensive tanks in the game. Unearthly levels of healing, the immensely powerful sterner stuff, the ability to block opposing status while applying its own trapped condition, and a massive number of damage boosts combine to allow the pair to achieve such ridiculous feats as soling certain Legendary Arenas and 2v9ing most full force battles with ease. Although the setup and commitment it requires is immense, the rewards Wallace & Milotic are capable of providing more often than not make it all worth it.
Although its lack of a sync grid and the advance of powercreep over time have pretty much completely eroded its utility as a team's primary Striker, Gengar's immense speed and access to Sleep has kept it a mainstay of cheesy status chaining teams since the game's release. Not even Serena's usurpation of this niche has stopped the pair from dominating neatly any stage in the game, and as long as Sleep stays as broken as it is this isn't likely to change.
The Sword and Shield Formes allow this Sync Pair to be Offensive or Defensive depending on the Player’s needs for that Battle. Changing stance also changes the Bulk value of Aegislash, which will affect who the Enemy targets. This is definitely a Sync Pair with the potential to work really well in specific Team compositions and strategies.
Aegislash is definitely a powerful Steel-Type and can even make the Enemy Flinch. The drawback to this Sync Pair is that Wikstrom & Aegislash have such an extensive toolkit that they don’t excel at any one thing, so they are very situational.
I honestly thought the datamine was a joke when i first saw this pair. Dumpster buffs, mediocre stats, dumpster attacking moves. Even against fairy weak enemies just use literally anything else.
Utility Tier List
Note: Explanations have not been updated yet.
As arguably the most universal Sync Pair in the game, Sygna Suit Blue & Mega Blastoise does almost everything as a support: he buffs both attacks, he buffs both defenses, he buffs critical hit rate, he makes the gauge, he can tank, and even do damage with Hydro Cannon on rain. Although Sygna Suit Blue doesn't specialize in anything in particular, with most of its buffs being fairly slow and not very reliable as a unit to fully buff your striker by itself, the sheer amount of thing he does makes him at least a decent choice for almost every team and never a deadweight, earning him a spot as one of the top utility units in the game.
Although the RNG mechanic of its primary gimmick may turn players off this excellent pair at first glance, its real power lies in the rest of its toolkit and the singularly broad range of utility it brings to the table. Firstly, potentially unlimited buffs to both offenses (as well as accuracy), and the always-precious Dire Hit All+ enable nearly any Striker in the game, while the area-of-effect nature of Burgh's abilities even allows it to set up two damage dealers at once (an increasingly popular method of team composition). Beyond the core utility of those vital offensive boosts, Togepi's grid allows it to carry Swanna-level Potions and refreshes, while its Trainer Move provides an additional layer of defensive power in the form of an aoe buff to both relevant stats. Metronome itself can still be a decently powerful move, and combined with the relevant Passives is always worth using, but as previously stated it is the massive breadth of its utility moves and passives that make it such an incredible offensive Support and clear Tier 1 write-in.
Although the rise of hyper offensive team comps in which a single Support is expected to bear the weight of two offensive pair's needs, both offensively and defensively, has reduced the previously all-encompassing field of this pair's superfluousness, the fact that this style of play is the first ever for which Alakazam is less than certain to be an optimal choice is telling of the pair's astounding utility. Anywhere else a Special Striker is found, Alakazam's breakneck buffing speed, surprisingly substantial healing, and universally useful Reflect are sure to be found with it, and although its single target boosts aren't quite as ubiquitous on dual-strike teams, they're still more than enough to keep it a competitive option there.
Another beneficiary (similarly to Togepi) of the recent dual-striker renaissance and subsequent increase in the value of aoe Supports and Gauge Acceleration, Xerneas is a prime example of just how powerful F2P units can be. It's also a pair than requires very little explanation; a variety of healing options, incredibly efficient stat boots for the whole team, easy access to Gauge Acceleration, solid inherent bulk. and even a passably useful offensive presence. What more could you want? Its only real limitations are the complications that can arise from requiring a Sync Move to access its stat boosts, but on any team that can afford that allowance it is simply one of the strongest combination tanks in the game.
While it's undoubtedly fallen far from its former position as the game's most important Support, Dusknoir is still a solid, versatile main tank that can be used effectively with a wide spectrum of Healers and Strikers. Solid bulk, its trademark access to +3 Critical Chance which remains highly useful despite no longer being unique, and "Unbreakable Bonds!" provides an excellent set of tools that still allow it to function as a powerful, flexible meat shield with a good amount of outside utility as well. Additionally, the introduction of its Sync Grid made it much more Gauge efficient and a good deal bulkier, somewhat mitigating the effects of powercreep on its viability as a main tank.
With the addition of its Sync Grid, Swanna has gone from a powerful tank with good healing and versatile buffs to one of the strongest defensive pairs in the game. Potion Mp Refresh and Master Healer allow teams that include it to last almost indefinitely in Battle Villa, and "Take Flight!" combined with Swanna's good promoted bulk and aforementioned healing prowess make it one of the game's finest Single Player backup tanks. Additionally, though it lacks the offensive buffs common to its fellow Tier 1's, the value of "Take Flight!"'s aoe Speed boost has only increased over time as a growing number of Strikers rely on it in order to maintain control of the Gauge.
Although still a deliciously versatile pair that can cover a lot of ground and see use in many different situations, the introduction of pairs like Alakazam and Blastoise has led to a general shift away from purely stat-boosting tanks, since that kind of option provides the same buffs without sacrificing a slot that could otherwise be used for an additional healer. Still largely unique to Rotom, however, is the incredibly powerful ability to accelerate you Striker's sync move countdown, which in combination with the pair's solid bulk and passives continues to maintain its position on this list.
One of the first pairs to properly pull off an Evasion-based kit, Ribombee is far more than just another seasonal proof of concept 'mon. By compounding teamwide defensive buffs, Gauge support, the absolutely incredible Dire Hit +, and solid tanking abilities into a single role, the pair enables a massive number of comps that were previously either impossible to pull off or entirely reliant on Blastoise (Zekrom-Luxray being one of the most relevant examples of the latter). Even outside of the overloaded teams that depend on powerful Dire Hit tanks like it as the fulcrum of their defenses, Ribombee remains an excellent sideman on any composition with the Gauge to sustain it through the sheer utility it brings to the table.
Instant hail on the start of each match that synergizes very well with Alolan Sandslash's mid-late game abilities, the fair amount of bulk and healing the hail passives allow it, and the universally useful ability to raise the team's stats at random make it exactly what hail teams needed in their last slot. Although it doesn't quite match Glalie's versatility as a backup tank, Delibird's myriad of powerful support abilities and the sheer power of Ice Shell combine with its immediate Hail to make it an essential component in one of the game's most powerful playstyles.
With debuffs, Evasion, self healing, Flinch, and most of all damage in spades Lycanroc brings a lot to the table, but its reliance on Sand puts it in the tough position of vying for the same spot as what would normally be a main tank on Pallosand-Garchomp. This sacrifice heavily reduces the team's survivability, but the sheer amount of Tech utility Lycanroc provides does allow it to compete on a somewhat even footing for the spot. By losing pairs like Renuiclus or Swanna in favour of Lycanroc, you exchange the ability to shrug off a certain number of powerful hits for Leer's increased damage, Staggering Accelrock's Flinch chance, and Shifting Sand's small but useful Evasion chance. This choice mostly depends on the opposing pairs the team aims to beat and general player preference, but Lycanroc's Grid has made it a fine option with which to round out standard sand, and with the rise of debuff-focused compositions has even given it a small niche outside of the weather it was made for.
By far the best immediate aoe offensive stat buffer, consider Clefairy a somewhat more versatile but less powerful version of Sabrina & Alakazam. While it lacks the Crit boosts and Reflect that make the latter so powerful paired with a single Special Striker, Clefairy's aoe buffs and compatibility with physical attackers opens up a huge number of team building options that no other Support could come close to enabling. Unfortunately, most of the comps Clefairy enables suffer from the lack of bulk inherent on a team with a slot dedicated to stat boosts as opposed to tanking, but the versatility the pair brings to the table still makes it a great pull for those looking to try out a variety of comps in battle Villa or Champion Stadium.
Packing excellent healing, solid defensive buffs, the rare ability to boost its teammates evasion, and a substantial amount of damage to boot, Starmie is one of the game's strongest backup tanks. There's little more to say, really; any team with space for it that could use a major boost to its survivability will be glad to slot it in.
Small a niche as returning lowered stats to normal is with the lack of pairs seriously impacted by that type of debuff anyways, Comfey's solid bulk on top of its rather useful healing and defensive buffs make it undoubtedly the role's primary occupant. In fact, the pair's abilities as a tank are so potent that it can even be used outside that niche as a generic tank with the excellent survivability to defend its Striker for a whole 3v9.
One of the more tragic victims of recent powercreep, the advent of crazier and crazier support-techs combined with Garchomp's loss of relevance to higher-ceiling Strikers scarcely gave Palossand time to appreciate its time in the meta spotlight. These days, the pair is exclusively fielded by those looking to keep the Sand archetype alive against Ground-weak stages.
Decent damage, excellent self healing, and low gauge requirements make Heliolisk one of the game's best sidemen for teams with space for it. There's really little else to say with this one; self-sustaining strikers have never been more in style, and Heliolisk is the classic exemplar of that archetype.
On paper, Ramos appears to be another casualty of the centralizing force that is Delphox's niche theft, but in practice it turns out that this game's sleep mechanics are so nuts busted that the identity of the pair administering them scarcely matters.