Ask most long-term players when the best generalized time to spend their gems is, and you’ll likely be told that we have three different types of banners that are best to save for: Pokefairs, Master Fairs, and Seasonal Banners. Among these three, Seasonal Banners are unique in that we know exactly when they’ll return: in a year. Love them or hate them, these limited banners are an integral part of the Pokemon Masters experience, and we’ve seen a whopping 28 of them since they started back around Christmas of 2019. So as we prepare for the next datamine to show what Spring 2022 will hold, let’s look back to what we’ve seen, and take a look at the Sync Pairs of Pokemon Masters that are tied to seasons, holidays, and even events that make them truly Seasonal.
Our first season in Pokemon Masters, the Holiday Season of 2019 brought a set of Seasonal Sync Pairs to the table with a unique, festive look. To this day, the Holiday Season is one of the most celebrated times in Pokemon Masters, although the Sync Pairs on offer haven’t always been considered the greatest in the game.
Considered by many to be the “first” seasonal Sync Pair in the game despite premiering alongside Siebold & Octillery, Rosa & Delibird quickly became one of the more sought-after Support units in the game. They had what was considered to be a wide buffing profile at the time, could accelerate the move gauge which was revolutionary for the time, and was considered to be one of the only “good” Support units in the game that could buff Physical attack. They were also very bulky, which was a very important metric at this point in the game.
Nowadays, Rosa & Delibird have a lot more competition. Their random buffs can’t really compare to having a Support Unit that can give your striker exactly what they may lack, and most of their gimmicks fall short. The introduction of Summer Steven & Alolan Sandslash was the first big wind-fall for Rosa & Delibird, as they introduced the ability to set Hail without needing to rely on a dead-weight Sync Pair, which Rosa & Delibird love having on the field. This combo was considered a great team-comp at the time, as Rosa & Delibird could synergize very well with Summer Steven & Alolan Sandslash, providing a very strong answer to Ice weak stages. They would see even more utility a few months later as Christmas rolled around again and gave them a Sync Grid, though it didn’t add much “new” to the mix. Nowadays, Rosa & Delibird are okay, but the introduction of Ghetsis & Kyurem, which we will discuss more at length in Steven & Alolan Sandslash’s section, dropped their utility substantially. They work well with Steven & Rayquaza with their potentially wide buffing profile, and the introduction of Leon & Calyrex also gave them a bit more utility for Hail builds, but their main niche is still alongside Steven & Alolan Sandslash.
Definitely considered the lesser of the two original Christmas Seasonals at the time, Siebold & Octillery dropped as a Tech unit at a point where Tech units didn’t get much respect. And, sadly, these two largely helped to set the pace for that stereotype. Accuracy drops and Burns were their claim to fame, and neither was exceptionally useful at the time. Add to this the fact that these two effects don’t really synergize very well, and Siebold & Octillery were painfully mediocre.
The introduction of Sync Grids gave Siebold & Octillery a bit more to work with, but not enough to actually save them from their fate. Sadly, Siebold & Octillery have very limited utility, and tend to be outclassed in what they do by other Sync Pairs. In fact, Octillery & Siebold have the dubious honor of not getting access to their EX form this year, which is a bit of a slap in their faces. They’re usable, but nothing worth making any large investments in.
So what exactly do Erika & Comfey do? Tank. When released, Erika & Comfey were met with some mixed response. While it was true that we didn’t have a huge number of outright tanks in the game at the time, this was also when the value of more offensively-oriented Support units had already started taking serious traction. It was also quickly realized that Erika & Comfey’s bulk, while great on paper, wasn’t high enough to support their unique regenerative strategy through most high-level content long-term. In order to really excel they needed some Defense/Special Defense support, and a bit of Special Attack/Critical Rate support for more Draining Kiss regeneration was nice too. And, sadly, a support unit that wants support just isn’t a good look.
Nowadays, Erika & Comfey are still tanky… and that’s still about it. The introduction of a number of Support units that focus on boosting Defense and Special Defense have made them a bit easier to utilize, but the lack of high-damage content to date makes using two walls less than a great idea. What’s worse, a few months after Erika & Comfey hit the scene, we were introduced to Sycamore & Xerneas, which could do almost everything that Erika & Comfey could do, but better. And to add insult to injury, they came to us as a free unit. Ouch.
As the “good” pull of the Christmas 2020 season, Skyla & Togekiss offered a solid mix of tech capabilities and damage output, and helped to bring the fairly weak Flying Type into the spotlight. They could harass with random status and flinches, could even boost random stats for the team in a manner similar to Rosa & Delibird before them, and could even deal very solid damage and drop powerful Sync Moves to wrap their kit up like a nice Christmas present. They were by no means meta-defining, but they were solid for the time.
While still very usable, the general viability of SKyla & Togekiss has definitely dropped. Their Tech utility isn’t exactly game-breaking, and they now have more competition in the Flying Type Damage Dealer department. In particular, the introduction of New Year Lance & Gyarados (who we will actually be discussing next!) a few weeks later was a bit of a slap in the face as they’d just set themselves up for Flying Type damage, but fortunately that didn’t make a tremendous difference. You could definitely do worse than Skyla & Togekiss, but their unique kit isn’t all that valuable nowadays.
While still one of the newer kids on the block, we have seen some development for Leon & Calyrex in their short time in the game. In particular, they helped to bump up the still-increasing value of Hail, and have proven to be one of the very few units in the game to actually put the ability to Freeze into focus as a viable strategy. They have very strong AoE damage and utility alike, and are generally praised by anyone that managed to pull them.
Currently, the future looks bright for Leon & Calyrex. We have a number of units that can provide outstanding support for them (most of whom are on this list), and just saw the release of a brand new Support unit that’s capable of insta-setting hail at the start of the battle. The ability to Freeze is also potentially valuable in the Legendary Gauntlet, so here’s to brighter tomorrows for the King and the Champion!
Coming to us in the shadow of Leon & Calyrex, Nessa & Eiscue were definitely considered to be the less important pull of Christmas 2021. This quirky Sync Pair had some unique effects, but ultimately little to help them genuinely stand out for the most part. The ability to set Hail was the crux of their advantage, though they also had a few nice Tech bonuses along the way like Flinch and Freeze support.
And as the weeks have come and gone… we’ve seen a bit of improvement for Nessa & Eiscue! Despite being overshadowed on release, these two are arguably the best unit in the game for setting Hail manually, which can be very useful for keeping up team support. Nessa’s dear friend Bea has also showed up to help out, as Bea & Vanilluxe can now insta-set Hail and tank very well, setting up the whole team for snowy victory. While not as important as Leon & Calyrex, who now stand at the apex of Hail Team performance, Nessa & Eiscue are still very reliable choices for their team archetype.
New Years is a bit of an oddity thus far in Pokemon Masters. It’s naturally the first Holiday on this list after the Christmas/Holiday Sync Pairs, yet we didn’t have any New Years Sync Pairs to celebrate this event for the 2020 season. Thus far the season has not been outstanding, but here’s to 2023!
Lance & Gyarados hit the scene in an unexpected way, dropping right after the previously mentioned Skyla & Togekiss. This Sync Pair fully established Lance’s style, as the energy here was and is very similar to Dragonite, but with a few differences. Overall, Lance & Gyarados were hailed as good, but they failed to make much of a splash on their release.
As for now, Lance & Gyarados don’t have a whole lot going for them. Their damage is solid, yet not outstanding, and the support needed to get them running is substantial. This isn’t a huge deal, but the fact that more competition in the Flying Type has made itself known definitely is. The fact that the big Flying Type attackers are all limited gives Lance & Gyarados some value, but they’re still not going to be doing a whole lot nowadays.
Lillie & Ribombee were… interesting. They dropped with some very fun team bonuses in the form of Critical Rate and team Evasion bonuses. The former was still semi-rare at that point in time, and the latter is still not really utilized to this day. However, the primary focus here seemed to be to use them as an Evasion tank, which is always a very risky move. On top of that, their only attack is Leech Life, which is a 3-bar move. This could provide some longevity in its life-stealing capabilities, but this was released right on the heels of Erika & Comfey, so it wasn’t really unique enough to be worth investing in. Sure, Move Gauge Boost helped out a lot on that front, but it was still awkward. All-in-all, Lillie & Ribombee were fairly good, but also not that easy to fit onto a team.
Nowadays, not much has changed for “Lilliebee”. They have more competition on the Dire Hit side than before, but still no real competition for team-wide evasion buffs. This has given them some utility with Sync Pairs like Steven & Rayquaza, who enjoy damage buffs from any stat increase, or Blind Spot users to boost their Sync Nuke reliably, but it’s still too unreliable to be a staple tanking tactic. Just like at their release: Lillie & Ribombee are fine, but awkward.
As of this writing, these two are still fairly recent additions to the game, so while we can comment on their general utility, it’s hard to say just how the meta will shape up to support or move away from them. So for now, we’ll just mention that Volkner & Electivire are great when Electric Type damage is needed in particular, and Sabrina & Chingling are nice for Special Support. My current long-term prediction is that Volkner & Electivire will continue to be looked at favorably any time an Electric weakness shows up, while Sabrina & Chingling will probably end up a bit more obscure.
Valentines dropped with a nice little event and gave us a bit of a bomb-shell in terms of new units. I don’t think anyone expected that “Palentines Day” would have as much of an impact as it did, but let’s just say that 2022 gets a lot to live up to! The one issue for this event is the fact that it drops right before the half-year celebration, so many players will consider skipping it.
Arguably the single most underrated Seasonal Sync Pair to date, Dawn & Alcremie came to us under the shadow of Serena & Whimsicott, and it’s only now that a number of players are wishing that they’d invested the gems needed to add them to their team. With the very rare ability to reliably drop enemy Special Defense and a fair bit of supportive function baked in, Dawn & Alcremie were a solid choice when they first dropped for the Palentines event, and probably would have been the stars of most other seasonal scouts.
Nowadays, Dawn & Alcreamie have aged very well. Their abilities make them valuable, as Special Defense drops are an extremely rare and effective method of scoring damage beyond stat-boosts and Sync Grids on basically any Special Attacker. The ability to drop Attack is a bit less valuable due to competition, but it’s still added value for an overall great Sync Pair.
Probably the first real seasonal “superstars”, Serena & Whimsicott hit the game to quite a bit of fanfare. Basically every outlet online that covers Pokemon Masters put out articles saying “pull for this one”, as they just brought so much to the table. Between Speed Drops and Paralysis, they could drop the opposing team to a snail’s pace. They could conversely also max the team’s speed, which was especially rare at that point in the game. They could also deal surprisingly high damage with the right setup. They could even protect the entire team from Sleep tactics, adding even more value. Without a doubt, Serena & Whimsicott hit the game in a big way.
So how about now? Well, they have more competition, but their overall role is still in a stellar spot. They do a lot very well, and are very synergetic with other Sync Pairs that can prey on Paralysis and appreciate their own Speed buffs. It’s not a great stretch to say that a number of the individuals reading this article have probably dropped a lot of gems on Serena & Whimsicott’s return.
Another too-close-to-call pair of Sync Pairs, these two usher in our latest Palentines event in a way that breathes new life into their own types in particular. These two are designed to work on specific team archetypes, but they’re also capable of working outside of their respective comfort zones as well. Time will tell how they’ll be seen in the future, but my current prediction is that Marnie & Mawile will become niche staples that manyplayers wish that they hadn’t skipped, while Bea & Vanilluxe chug along and do their job, rewarding any player that pulled them while remaining just under the radar for most other players.
Naturally, our Easter Sync Pairs dropped right on the heels of the Palentines event and 1.5 year anniversary, which were hard acts to follow. Many players were already low on gems, but the offerings here were attractive to say the least!
A bit of an underdog at first, Burgh & Togepi hit the game in a big way. With a great buffing profile, strong supportive options, and a quirky yet effective play-style, they stretched many players still low on gems from the 1.5 year celebration and Palentines very thin as they threw whatever gems they had left at this little egg. And the icing on the cake had to be the hilarity of Metronome, which could randomly call down some surprisingly strong and useful attacks. Chief among them had to be Fissure, which can one-hit-KO the target.
Now let’s look at the present, where Burgh & Togepi are currently still considered to be genuinely great. They are still outstanding, and those who saw their value nearly a year ago are free to gloat for their return on investment. Like the original Palentines units, chances are a number of people reading this have a stockpile of gems just waiting for Burg & Togepi to roll back around.
When May & Lopunny dropped, we didn’t have many Fighting Type attackers in the game. So the ability to turn what is essentially a frail Support unit into a Fighting Type Striker at the cost of a Sync Move was definitely something that got a lot of notice. And the Support functions on display were simply icing on the cake, because they were surprisingly solid for the most part. Defense and Speed support plus Potion (sounding a lot like Skyla here) had definite utility, and the ability to switch to High Jump Kick for high Fighting Type damage was just plainly great. Overall, a lot of people saw the value in May & Lopunny, though their seasonal competition did divert a lot of gems as well.
Fast-forward nearly a year, and we’re now looking at a very good Fighting Type in the general pool plus two semi-recently released seasonal Fighting Types, one of which is definitely one of the better units in the game. May & Lopunny still have utility, as they are pretty adaptable and can be used very effectively in a secondary Striker role, but they have a bit less value than they once did.
The Summer season is a bit of a double-edged sword. Yes, we get new seasonals, and yes, some of them are valuable. However, the summer regionals drop right before the Anniversary event, so they’ve been traditionally risky to pull.
The very first Fairy Type Striker to drop in Pokemon Masters, Lyra & Jigglypuff were a bit of a big deal at the time of their release. Many players were clamoring for Strikers to cover every type, and Diantha was still nothing more than a specter on the front page of the game. Their solid damage output and utility also made them attractive, though a lot of players felt them to be a bit more gimmick than substance.
Time… has not been kind to Lyra & Jigglypuff. While still usable, they fell out of favor as soon as Diantha & Gardervoir dropped, and have fallen behind the trends pretty hard as of late. Honestly, If they didn’t have Sleep on their side (which got a relatively neat buff with the addition of their EX form for spreading it as an AoE), they’d probably be entirely forgotten by this point.
The first two Summer Seasonals follow a very strong theme: strikers for underutilized types. With Fairy now represented, Steven & Alolan Sandslash thought it was time to represent the Type that is arguably the farthest thing from Summer and dominate the Ice Type meta. This Sync Pair hit hard, with many players pulling for not only superior Ice Type damage, but also the first reliable user of Hail in the game. Remember Holiday Rosa & Delibird? This was their chance to make it big, as Steven & Alolan Sandslash synergized with them very well. This was arguably the first real source of hype for seasonal units, and it made a lot of players outright forget that the 1-year anniversary was basically breathing down their necks.
It took several months of players wishing that they’d pulled for Steven & Sandslash for a worthy competitor to appear, but appear they did. Ghetsis & Kyurem pushed Steven & Alolan Sandslash out of the spotlight, and they’ve never been quite able to re-take their former glory again. And since then we’ve also seen the release of Leon & Calyrex, making them slide down the Tier Lists a bit more as a result. They’re solid, but most players just call on Kyurem when they need something chilled to the bone.
This was… an awkward Sync Pair. We’d just gotten Archie & Kyogre not long before, we already had May & Swampert, and Cyrus & Palkia were literally given to us for free. And then here come Gloria & Intelleon with a unique yet awkward Water Type gimmick that just didn’t provide enough return on investment. This one was a clear pass for most players, as they just couldn’t play with the big boys, and were only good if you entirely lacked Water Type damage output.
And then nothing changed. We can speculate that Gloria & Intelleon may end up stronger down the line if they are ever given Dynamax shenanigans, but as of right now they’re just another gimmick seasonal among a small ocean of the same.
This Sync Pair dropped with one concept in mind: they don’t care about what you do. Not only are they offensively self-sufficient, they can max out their own stuff without needing to worry about MP. On top of that, they’re also a damage-dealing Tech unit that’s specialized in the under-utilized Fairy Type. Marnie & Grimmsnarl were definitely noticed by the community, but their timing on the heels of the 2-year anniversary made many players hesitant to pull.
Today, Marnie & Grimmsnarl still don’t care. They’re not the absolute top, but they are something of a work-horse Sync Pair with high overall performance, and one of the gold-standards for the Villa as well. They’re not the best, but their stellar self-sufficiency still makes them very good at what they do.
Our Halloween Sync Pairs are in one of the most awkward positions in the game to date. They’re right after the Anniversary, and just a bit before the major Holidays, so they can be a bit hard to justify. To add to this, they’re also sitting on the front-door-step of the Pokewar event, which will apparently be a new seasonal event. These Sync Pairs also tend to fall a bit more onto the gimmick side, which fits the season well.
Back when Hilbert & Mightyena first entered the game, Karen & Houndoom were still considered to be decent overall, and they ruled the Dark Type with an iron fist. Entering a little-occupied type is always great for a Striker, and Hilbert & Mightyena made themselves quite comfortable. They had easier setup and better damage, and they also focused on physical moves while Karen & Houndoom focused on special moves. Overall, most players were very happy if they managed to add Hilbert & Mightyena to their team.
Since Hilbert & Mightyena initially dropped, we’ve seen the game move on from them, sadly. One of their original advantages was the ability to drop the sides quickly in a 3v9 fight, and score move gauge support and buffs as a direct result. The days of that advantage are sadly all but gone, as most new content is classic 3v3 or 3v1 for most Legendary Arena/Gauntlet stages. On top of that, we’ve also seen the release of Marnie & Morpeko and Cyrus & Darkrai, both of which are just plainly better at racking up Dark Type damage on the whole, although the latter one is also a direct buff to them with the addition of Dark Zone. In the question of Trick or Treat, it seems that Hilbert & Mightyena picked Trick.
The “spice” banner of Halloween 2020, Acerola & Mimikyu were form over function. Adorable, flashy, and unique, they had several very fun effects that could make them extremely annoying for the opposing team, but they also didn’t have much real function behind that. Not to say they were bad, but they definitely didn’t live up to the hype of Hilbert & Mightyena.
Nowadays, Acerola & Mimikyu haven’t aged exceptionally well. They’re still good at what they do, but what they do isn’t extremely useful in the first place. At least they’re still adorable!
You want defense? We’ve got defense! One of the few Sync Pairs potentially capable of raising the entire team to +6 Defense and Special Defense, not to mention a plethora of other bonuses, Caitlin & Sableye got a lot of attention on release. However, that attention didn’t stay for too long, as the utility of more defensively-oriented Sync Pairs isn’t extremely well appreciated in today’s meta, although it’s getting more appreciated recently with the relevance of Legendary Arena & Gauntlet.
Not much has changed in the short months since October, but the promise for harder content may make Caitlin & Sableye more attractive in the future. In particular, the 10,000 points Champion Stadium Master Mode update has made them outstanding on permanent field effect stages in particular, where they can make the entire team ridiculously bulky. They’re also great for the Legendary Gauntlet, where they can make even frail attackers far more viable. But, again, the utility of Defense and Special Defense over quick-buffing Offenses for a swift win is still not always as appreciated by most players.
Very similar to Acerola & Mimikyu, Morty & Banette dropped with much the same fanfare; unique and potentially useful, but not exceptionally useful in most cases. Also less adorable.
Honestly, the main problem with Morty & Banette even now is the need to use a Sync Move in order to fully activate their gimmick. A Sync Pair with solid damage and free moves could be very useful on some teams, but the cost of a Sync Move that doesn’t do a whole lot on first use is just too high.
Special Costume (Poké-War Event)
Much like the current Holiday units, we’re not going to go too in-depth with these units. They’re still current enough to not really be eligible for a “retrospective”, as recent units haven’t really changed their utility much. However, it is worth mentioning that the Poke-War event sets a new standard for seasonals: a seasonal event can now happen at virtually any time. This is the first seasonal event that we’ve seen not related to any real-world holiday or time of year. Sure, we had the Summer units, but that is tied to summer, while the Poke-War event was designed to stand on its own two feet. Because of this, it’s not a stretch to say that new seasonal events could literally show up at any time.
These two hit in a big way. Not only did they hit as arguably the best Fighting Type damage dealers in the game, their unique skills made them stellar for stat-drops, as they would basically melt away their target with a continued, snowballing assault. Anyone who pulled this Sync Pair is sure to still be very happy on that front!
Overlooked on their release, these two came on the heels of Blue & Aerodactyl, and within months of Emmet & Archeops, so their competition was extremely steep! However, they proved themselves to be very valuable on their own merit as a powerful AoE Rock Type attacker, and are set to reward those who pulled them when Moltres hits the Legendary Gauntlet, someday.
Much like Jasmine’s pairing with Steelix, Jasmine & Celesteela hit the field as a very solid yet lopsided tank. While able to survive physical attacks fairly well, they could absolutely shrug off many Special attacks, making them outstanding for Special-oriented stages. And unlike the Steelix flavor, they also introduced tremendous offensive support as well, though it too is more slanted towards Special attackers. Maxed out special stats and a semi-reliable method of dropping the opponent’s Special Defense sets the stage, and are all reasons that players who pulled for Jasmine & Celesteela are likely still very happy that they did.
Big Bad Guzma dropped like a bomb. With the debut of the Physical Attack Up effect, they had the potential to punch anyone that looked at them wrong into the next zipcode with ease. However, their rather unreliable gimmick and their direct competition with the stellar Diantha & Keldeo did them no favors, and they were generally the least lauded of this seasonal quartet.
Love them or hate them, seasonals are definitely here to stay. They’ve managed to run the gamut from borderline useless to top-tier units. Each new season, holiday, and event brings with it the possibility for a meta-shift, but by looking back over the past, we can get an idea as to where that shift is actually going. Near the star and for a decent amount of time, seasonals were good, but not exactly game-changing most of the time. But recently, we’ve seen a bit of a trend towards Pokefair-level units as Seasonals, and some even a bit beyond the average standards set by Pokefairs in general. Time will tell where this trend goes, but for now, here’s to 2022 and whatever new seasonal units it may bring!