Pokemon Masters, Should You Pull? May, 2024

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Oh boy, this is a busy month!
May 2024 has Poké Fairs, Special Costumes, Variety Scouts, and even a brand new Mix Scout highlight, not to mention several reruns. About the only thing that we’re missing this month is a new Master Fair (thank God). Well, there’s a whole lot to cover this month, so let’s get into it.

Blue & Charizard

As our latest Mix Scout, Blue & Charizard copy Red & Venusaur’s homework pretty hard. However, it’s genuinely not bad homework to copy! They both follow the whole “field unit with sure-crit and auto-buffs that sets their type-boosting field when dropping a Max Move, unlocking a powerful 2-bar move with strong power and utility while said field is active” concept, but where Red goes for a bit more utility, Blue aims for more power. He’s not satisfied with moves like Razor Leaf, he wants Heatwave and Flare Blitz for more raw power outside of Neo Blast Burn, with Recoil Removal 9 to help make Flare Blitz better. And while Red scores +4 Attack and Special Attack automatically while granting Defense, Special Defense, and Gradual Healing to an ally with his Trainer Move, Blue automatically scores +4 Special Attack and +4 Speed, with a single-use Trainer Move that grants +4 Attack, the Super Effective Up Next effect, and even a single turn of Sync Move reduction. Between all of that and higher offensive stats than Red & Venusaur… yeah, this guy definitely wants to hit hard.

Gameplay Variables

Blue & Charizard pride themselves for their high offensive presence, great team support, and low-cost utility. This is a Sync Pair that can hit the ground running, and can potentially act as the glue that holds together otherwise iffy teams. Need Sun support? Done. Need a 3rd-line Sync Pair that is easy on the Move Gauge? You’ve got it. Want a main Fire Type attacker? Not a problem. Need some help buffing the offense of a strong attacker? Look no farther. The only potential issue here is the fact that Blue & Charizard do fall off a bit when the Sun sets and Neo Blast Burn isn’t available any longer, though they can still perform better offensively than Blue & Venusaur in this case, as they can at least fall back on Heat Wave and Flare Blitz to keep up decent damage output.

All-in-all, this is a well-rounded Sync Pair with high power and utility, making them potentially very useful for anyone looking for more Fire-power.

Investment Expectations

Blue & Charizard are great right out of the box, sporting high raw power and utility even with no actual investment. They also have a Sync Grid that maxes at ⅗, so their candy investment requirement will be pretty light for those who don’t manage to score multiple copies while pulling towards scout points. On top of this, Blue & Charizard’s bread-and-butter attack, Neo Blast Burn, hits all targets, so investing a Strike cake isn’t strictly necessary.

So Blue & Charizard do well with little-to-nothing invested… but does that mean that investments won’t pay off here? Absolutely not! At 3/5, this is a Sync Pair that can potentially score a lot of additional raw power and/or additional utility, bringing them to new heights with ease. In particular, combine their grid’s Sync Move boosts with their Strike EX Role, and you get a Sync Pair that can set the field ablaze with a powerful Sync Move that hits the entire enemy field while also raising the Sun at the same time, granting a great mix of raw power and utility in one go. 

So yeah; this is definitely a Sync Pair worthy of investment… but it’s probably best to not invest any Field candies for the time being, as we’ll discuss in a bit.

Team Options

Blue & Charizard work wonders with Fire Type power-house attackers like Sygna Suit Hilda & Victini, Sygna Suit Red & Charizard or Gloria (Alt. 2) & Cinderace, but also really shine alongside other Sun units like Sygna Suit Morty & Ho-oh or Leaf (Champion) & Moltres. If they don’t have to worry about the Sun ending at any reasonable point in the battle, then Blue & Charizard can continuously spam Neo Blast Burn with impunity and drop their Max Move at the most opportune time for damage output rather than having to balance it and their Sync Move as their only sources of Sun, opening the door for heavy, heavy Fire Type damage output.

Should You Pull?

This is a Sync Pair that the old “Should You Pull?” question doesn’t work on quite as well as others. Mix banners require paid Gems to utilize, last for about half a year (4 months in this case), and can only be pulled on so many times per day. If you’re making the choice to invest a bit of money into Pokémon Masters, then this is definitely a banner worth going for. Not only can you try for Blue & Charizard (who you will probably pick up at least once before hitting the mere 300 Scout Point requirement), you may also pick up one of a plethora of other Poké Fair, Seasonal, Special Costume, and Variety-exclusive Sync Pairs that are available on this banner as well. In short; the quest for Blue & Charizard has the potential to pay very large dividends with a bit of luck.

If you’re interested in playing the Mix Scout banner with minimum cash investment, then your best bet is to just pick up the Daily Gem Bundle EX. For $3.99, you can score a total of 3,000 Gems over the course of 20 days alongside additional daily Sync Orbs from the Sync Orb Arena. Using this strategy, it will be possible to score a Select Scout on the Mix Banner every 200 days (remember; points carry over between banners!) at the grand total cost of $39.90 spent in small increments over that period of time. That equates to about $0.20 spent per day. Chances are great that you’ll score Sygna Suit Red & Charizard alongside other rare Sync Pairs by then. And if not, then they will be on the next banner as well, meaning it will be possible to score them when Leaf & Blastoise inevitably take center-stage. And regardless, you could just utilize the Select Scout on another Sync Pair that you may yet lack or want to get to a higher level if you prefer, meaning these investments definitely won’t go to waste regardless.

That said, it’s not a tremendous loss if you don’t want to give DeNA your money for Blue & Charizard or the other benefits of the Mix banner. We have many other powerful Fire Type attackers/Sun units that can do virtually the same job with ease.

Rika & Clodsire

Rika & Clodsire are much anticipated due to Rika’s status as one of the most popular Elite 4 members from Paldea (Larry says “hello”), alongside one of the most popular new Pokémon from the same. Combine these two together into one Sync Pair and you’ve got a great supportive combo that has definitely gotten the community talking! As a Support unit, Rika & Clodsire are really well rounded. They boost Attack, Special Attack, and Special Defense with Rika’s Trainer Moves, boost the team’s Critical Rate when attacking, drop a random stat of an opposing attacker when taking a hit, and even recover a bit of the entire team’s HP every time that they’re hit. They even have a one-bar move in Poison Sting to keep their move gauge usage down to a minimum. This all comes together to make a really well-rounded Support unit that can support a lot of teams… but that’s not what makes them really interesting, is it? 

Nope! Rampant Mud Slap, Rika & Clodsire’s Buddy Move, is pretty much the crown jewel of their kit. All that it takes to unlock is Clodsire absorbing a single hit, and then the fun can begin. This move hits all opponents, drops every target’s Accuracy by 2 ranks, poisons, grants 2 stacks of the Special and Physical Move Up Next effects to the entire team, and sets Ground Zone on use! And there’s the source of the hype; a good Support unit with a rare type-boosting field! While Rampant Mud Slap move can only be used once per battle, Rika & Clodsire make up for that with access to the Field EX role, meaning they can actually keep Ground Zone active for a pretty long time and act as perfect partners to many of the strongest Ground Type attackers in the game.

Gameplay Variables

So are Rika & Clodsire perfect? Sadly, no. While legitimately good and potentially useful on a plethora of teams, even those that aren’t focused on Ground Type damage, they do have some issues. The main issue that some may notice is a bit of a problem with Rampant Mud Slap. It’s easy to get out, and likely doable within the second or third rotation within the first Sync Move cycle, but that means that it’s also likely to be ready to drop pretty close to the first Sync Move, which many players will give to their Support unit to get the ever-useful Support EX buff. But if they have their Field EX role unlocked, then that means that they’ll also set a prolonged Ground Zone at that point, meaning using Rampant Mud Slap early is pretty much useless. And if you wait to use Rampant Mud Slap until after the Field EX Ground Zone is done, then you’re also waiting to take advantage of the Accuracy drops and virtually guaranteed Poison status that it brings until late in the game, which can feel a bit awkward and sub-optimal.

Of course, there are variables worth looking at here. The first is obviously if you Sync with another pair first, which is more optimal now than it ever has been due to Support EX roles becoming more and more common as time goes on. Just Sync with them first, and then use Rika on the second Sync to set up continued tectonic chaos. The second is to simply look at the Accuracy boosts and Poison status as nice little bonuses on this move instead of major reasons to use it in the first place, turning Rampant Mud Slap into more of a Ground Wish with bonus Special and Physical Move Up Next effects to be utilized after their Field EX Ground Zone Expires. The third is the heck with it! The other team is going to be dead long before any of this expires, so let’s just throw everything at them all at once!

Investment Expectations

Honestly, Rika is another unit that is great right out of the box, but really likes added investment. Their Grid can give them a lot of additional walling power and utility, and is even useful as low as 2/5. However, the big tile to look for comes at ⅗ with Ground Zone Extension 5. This alone makes Rika & Clodsire’s ability to only set Ground Zone twice largely a non-issue, and is definitely worthy of a Candy or two in-and-of itself, not to mention the other advantages that it brings. 

That aside, a Field Cake is definitely a recommended investment here, especially when combined with the above Grid tile. When these two are combined, Rika & Clodsire become capable of setting up Ground Zone for roughly 3.5 Sync Move Cycles (2 cycles with Field EX Sync, and 1.5 cycles with Rampant Mud Slap), which should be long enough to take down just about any stage easily. Just note that the Field EX role can be a bit of a hindrance if you don’t intend to utilize Rika & Clodsire on a Ground team. Bulldoze and Earthquake are both pretty common moves on many stages, and setting Ground Zone can be annoying if you’re trying to use an off-type team that wants to set their own Zone. Still, neither scenario is incredibly common, so the positives will tend to out-weigh the negatives.

Team Options

Ground Types! Attackers like Adaman (Special Costume) & Ursaluna, Sygna Suit Giovani & Nidoking, Roxanne (Fall 2023) & Runerigus, or Maxie & Groudon are all outstanding partners that can all deal tremendous damage when combined with Ground Zone support. However, this is also a Sync Pair that has great tanking capabilities, Attack and Special Attack support, and even Critical support with every attack launched. This means that many powerful attackers can pair up with them very well. Putting them on a team with a competing Zone can be a problem, as highlighted above, but Weather and Terrain boosted types are 100% fine with it!. This means that Sync Pairs that enjoy boosts from Rain, Sun, Sandstorm, Hail (but not Ice Zone, assuming such a Sync Pair exists), Electric Terrain, Psychic Terrain, or Grassy Terrain can work together with their preferred Field setters alongside Rika & Clodsire to get potentially great benefits and dominate even more field effects at the same time.

Oh, and you could just not run another boosting field when paired with non-Ground partners. While less common nowadays, that’s still always viable with the right team comp.

Should You Pull?

Rika & Clodsire are prime candidates for your May gems. This is a great Support unit with Ground Zone capabilities and all-around utility. They may not rise to the raw power of some of our most absolutely broken Support units, but they still very much are worth picking up and investing in!

Oh, and Rika is also our newest Lodge character, so managing to pull Rika & Clodsire will also equate to additional resources+the ability to add Rika & Whiscash to your team as well!

Brycen-Man & Zoroark

Brycen-Man is another character that was long requested by fans of Pokémon Black 2 and White 2’s Pokestar Studios, and from now on I’m just going to call this Sync Pair Brycen and Zoroark. Sorry if that’s a spoiler for anyone, but it’s not like there’s an overt mystery surrounding him like what we have with the Masked Royal (who I am convinced is actually Professor Oak). 

As a Tech unit, Brycen & Zoroark excel in making the opposing side’s Sync Pairs miserable. Their strategy revolves around scoring a Dark Type Rebuff effect on their opponents with Eerily Captivating Fake Tears while also dropping Special Attack and Special Defense by 2 ranks each, then they can enjoy constantly stacking Free Move Next effects when attacking said opponents. Yup, we have another Sync Pair that leads to zero net Move Gauge cost once set up! That archetype is always welcome! Compound this with a quick +4 Special Attack/+2 Critical Rate Trainer Move, Night Daze for damage output and Accuracy drops that happen every time thanks to On A Roll 2, and even the ability to set the Stat Reduction Defense effect on the field, and you’ve got an all-around solid Dark Type attacker with nasty debuffing capabilities. Oh, and speaking of debuffing; their first Sync Move also doubles all currently lowered stats on the target, and can be made to attack all opponents with a Strike Cake, so have fun!

Gameplay Variables

Brycen & Zoroark are extremely flexible, to the point where they’re able to fit on most teams thanks to the fact that they can generally keep up pressure while using a grand total of one to two Sync Move bars over the course of the entire battle. If you’re having Speed issues, then this Sync Pair can slot into your team with ease while providing solid supportive functions alongside their good damage output. And while they obviously work wonders when paired with Dark Types due to the power of their Rebuff alone, they can also act extremely well on many other teams, especially alongside fellow Special attackers that can prey on Brycen & Zoroark’s Special Defense debuffing capabilities. 

All-in-all, Brycen & Zoroark may not be the absolute strongest in terms of all that they do, but they also don’t really have any major real weaknesses to speak of at the same time…. Outside of multi-layer stages like the Legendary Arena where they can lose their Dark Rebuff and need to deal less damage/actually use the Move Gauge.

Investment Expectations

Stop me if you’ve heard this before; Brycen & Zoroark are great right out of the box. They can do most of what they want to do without any major investments. Their damage can go through the roof with the right grid tiles, and they can also score additional general utility, but isn’t strictly necessary unless your goal is to use Brycen & Zoroark in a more offensive capacity rather than focussing primarily on their more supportive functions.

It’s also worth noting that this is a Sync Pair that’s very much worth dropping a Strike Cake on. Their ability to double all stat drops inflicted on their target with their first Sync Move can be extremely useful, especially when paired with Sync Pairs that can cover additional Stat Drops that they can’t do themselves.

Team Options

Dark Type attackers like Marnie (Champion) & Galarian Moltres, Serena (Champion) & Greninja, or N (Summer 2022) & Zoroark can work wonders alongside Brycen & Zoroark, enjoying huge damage increases thanks to Dark Type rebuffs alongside their own debuffs and effects. One of the most note-worthy partners for Brycen & Zoroark is Calem (Champion) & Greninja, as this combo compounds Dark Zone and Rebuff effects for tremendous Dark Type damage output, especially when combined with pretty much any of the above attackers. Other options with amazing synergy here include Akari & Hisuian Samurott and Sygna Suit Cyrus & Darkrai for their ability to set Dark Zone and deal high damage in-and-of themselves, while also providing their own flavors of individual utility to the table.

If going off-type, then slower Special attackers like Lance & Dragonite, Sygna Suit Cynthia & Kommo-o, or Raihan & Duraludon can really appreciate having more of the Move Gauge to themselves, and can also prey on Brycen & Zoroark’s ability to drop the opposing team’s Special Defense. Pairs that have means to prey on Brycen & Zoroark’s other stat-drops like May & Swampert, Sygna Suit Roxie & Toxtricity, or N (Anniversary 2021) & Reshiram can also enjoy having a bit of help.

Should You Pull?

As stated, Brycen-Man is pretty popular among some Pokémon fans, and Zoroark is always a crowd-pleaser, so no doubt that this is a Sync Pair that’s been on many radars since the May patch rolled around. But add to that popularity some actual utility and power, and yeah… this definitely isn’t the worst investment this month! It’s worth noting that non-seasonal Special Costume pairs tend to be a little bit iffier in terms of reruns (looking at you, Pokewars quartet), so it may be a good idea to pick them up now if you happen to definitely plan to add them to your roster at some point in the future… either that or plan to pick them up on the Mix Scout when it refreshes in September.

Bellelba & Swoobat

While less well-known than Brycen-Man, who is frequently seen as the face of Pokestar Studios, Bellelba is still a very popular character who appropriately dropped at the same time… aaand from here out I will refer to her as Sabrina instead of Belablahblah. It’s just a shame that she’s stuck with Swoobat instead of Black Door….

Sabrina & Swoobat have one main goal: survival. This is a Support unit with a focus on keeping themselves and their team alive, and they have a number of ways to do so. They can boost the team’s Defense and Special Defense by 4 while also granting the Gradual Healing effect. They can set the Critical Hit Defense field effect with extended duration while simultaneously setting the Special and Physical Damage Reduction Field Effects. They even take an additional 20% reduced damage and the Free Move Next effect after every attack while any Field Effect is active on the player’s side of the field, just for good measure. And this isn’t just Critical Hit protection of Physical/Special shields, it’s any field effect at all that only covers the player’s side of the field, including something unrelated to damage reduction, like Move Gauge Acceleration. And they even have access to Potion just to drive home that you absolutely are not going to kill them no matter what!

Gameplay Variables

So Sabrina & Swoobat are absolutely great at keeping the team alive, and are especially useful on hard-hitting stages that can abuse a high Critical Rate, but they lack some of the effects that give many top-tier Support units their edge. They have tiles on their Sync Grid that can allow them to score Attack or Special Attack buffs for the team when they’re attacked, and can also grant +1 Critical Rate when using Sabrina’s main Trainer Move via another tile, but that’s about it. This means that they’re generally not going to work extremely well alongside attackers that need a bit of help with offensive buffs.

It’s also worth mentioning that giving Sabrina & Swoobat their Field EX role may be a bit of a double-edged sword. While it’s true that the ability to set Psychic Terrain gives them the ability to provide great offensive support to Psychic Type attackers, it can also be a bit of a hindrance if you want to utilize Sabrina & Swoobat as generalist tanks, as an early Sync could potentially interfere with Electric or Grassy Terrain pairs that they may want to pair up with. Of course, this is a very narrow set of circumstances where this is an issue, so it’s generally fine to just go for it if you’re so inclined.

Another rare oddity with Sabrina & Swoobat comes in the form of their Lucky Skill choice. Traditionally, Support units go for Vigilance to avoid taking Critical hits. However, Sabrina & Swoobat not only have access to the Critical Hit Defense Field effect, they automatically extend its duration when it’s set and can set it twice, so Vigilance is largely not needed. However, if you end up on a stage that outlasts Sabrina & Swoobat’s Critical Shield and they randomly take a strong Critical hit, then it can potentially annihilate them in short order, as it will cut through just about every defensive option that they have. Note that this is a very, very unlikely scenario, as most stages will be over long before Sabrina & Swoobat’s Critical Shields end, but it could be devastating if it does happen!

Investment Expectations

If you want to use Sabrina & Swoobat, then it’s probably best to aim for at least 2/5. While 1/5 is perfectly fine, 2/5 is where they get access to a few good tiles such as their first MP Refresh on Potion and their only MP refresh on Critical Shield. ⅗ also has a number of good tiles, namely the ability to increase the duration of Physical and/or Special shields, as well as Catalytic Acceleration to potentially help with the Move Gauge while keeping their 20% Damage Reduction passive skill active even if everything else has expired, but ⅖ is a fine stopping place for most.

There can be slight issues with Sabrina & Swoobat’s Field EX role and Lucky Skill, but we’ve already just covered those issues in the previous section. 

It’s also very much worth noting that a mix of Sabrina & Swoobat’s 3/5 grid and their personal Lucky Skill can give them a 60% chance to inflict Flinch with Zen Headbutt, so that’s definitely nice.

Team Options

Frail Sync Pairs like Lusamine & Pheromosa, Blue (Classic) & Aerodactyl, or Sygna Suit Giovanni & Nidoking all love the ability to actually survive in stages that they can’t just take down quickly, while Psychic Type attackers like Sygna Suit Steven & Deoxys or Lear & Hoopa can take advantage of their defensive utility and their ability to potentially set Psychic Terrain with their first Sync to score even more damage. 

Beyond the obvious, just about any self-sufficient attackers pair well here, as Sabrina & Swoobat’s walling capabilities can potentially put them over the top in terms of survivability.

Should You Pull?

Sabrina & Swoobat are potentially really useful for newer players struggling to clear harder content, and can be good on a number of team comps as stated above, but their priority is pretty low here. While good, they’re definitely not great, and won’t be of great utility to a lot of players who have other options. So this one is a safe skip… unless you just happen to be a defensively-oriented Support unit fan, like me….

Guzma & Ariados

YA BOI GUZMA, DESTRUCTION IN HUMAN FORM! HE’S THE BIG-BAD BOSS WHO BEATS YOU DOWN AND BEATS YOU DOWN AND…. tank for… his… team? Well, that’s definitely one way that you can go with him…? Honestly, Guzma & Ariados feel like a bit of an early-game Support unit rather than a part of Year 4.5. They give +2 Attack & Special Attack and 1 stack of the Physical and Special Attack Up Next effect to the team, they can max the team’s Critical Rate, they can drop the opposing team’s Attack, Special Attack, and Speed, and they can even Poison their targets with a high success rate to top it all off. And while these effects are all nice, even when put all together they don’t exactly allow Guzma & Ariados to really stand out. Heck, they’re honestly not even that alfred bulky for a Support unit. Honestly, Rika & Clodsire can do most of what they do, but they do it better in most cases

Gameplay Variables

The above review stands here, but let’s be 100% honest: Guzma & Ariados are not exactly horrible. They have pretty comprehensive offensive stat debuffs, which helps to patch up their bulk a bit while keeping the team alive. They can also score additional Special and/or Physical Move Up Next effects for the team whenever they attack via their grid, so that’s actually a useful and repeatable boost that allows them to stand out from much of the crowd. However, if that alone is worth investing in them is up for debate.

Investment Expectations

Here’s the problem with Guzma & Ariados: they kind of want 3/5 to be able to score the aforementioned Special and/or Physical Move Up Next effects. Before that, they don’t have a whole lot that allows them to stand out from other Support units.

On top of that, their EX Role is Tech, which… isn’t great. It increases their Bulk and Speed a bit, but it’s not likely to make any major difference here as their Sync Move damage is unlikely to make an actual difference in most battles, even if Super Effective and Tech EX role boosted.

Team Options

Honestly, Guzma & Ariados are fine on most teams. Attackers that specifically prey on Attack, Special Attack, and/or Speed drops can enjoy having them on the team, and frail Sync Pairs can appreciate their ability to drop the opposite team’s offensive stats as well. That aside, they don’t really stand out on any specific team archetype.

Should You Pull?

Nope. Guzma & Ariados are arguably the worst investment opportunity available this month, as they have almost nothing that allows them to really stand out from other Support units, and they also want some candy investment and/or duplicate pulls to stand out in any really meaningful way. Outside of future High Score events that may utilize Bug Types, it’s honestly not easy to see any game modes where they’ll shine in any meaningful way. They’re not terrible, but they’re definitely behind the current power-creep of the game by a while at this point.

Plumeria & Gengar

We’ve got Guzma, so of course Plumeria is set to follow! A Poison pair teamed up with Gengar (bandana Plumaria & Alolan Muk when?), we’ve got a few interesting effects to play with this time.

The basic game-plan for Plumeria & Gengar is to poison the opposing team with Toxic, then abuse Toxic Freebie to spam Sludge Bomb for free. Add to this Piercing Gaze to ensure that attacks never miss and Grand Entry 4 for a bit of insta-setup, and a Trainer Move that maxes Gengar’s Speed while also granting +2 Evasion for the entire team, and it becomes pretty obvious that Plumeria & Gengar already have the basis for a lot of flexibility, and we haven’t even touched on their Buddy Move yet. Alluring Confuse Ray is a 2-use move that’s only usable when there’s a Poisoned/Badly Poisoned opponent on the field. When used, it inflicts the entire enemy field with Confusion and -1 Accuracy, while simultaneously granting the Move Gauge Acceleration effect and -1 to the Sync Move counter, meaning it grants a decent bit of utility in a single move.

Gameplay Variables

As a Sprint unit, Plumeria & Gengar pride themselves on their flexibility, team supportive functions, and relatively high damage output. However, they do fall short on the latter point. With their Tech EX role unlocked and their Grid fully invested in, they can hit at least fairly hard with their Sync Move, but Sludge Bomb pretty much always does suboptimal damage when compared to what the big-name Poison Types are capable of. For this reason, Plumeria & Gengar are primarily used for their raw utility rather than their power, which is admittedly less of an important job in the team’s 3rd slot than it once was due to power-creep.

Investment Expectations

If you hope to use Plumeria & Gengar for added damage output, then plan to get them to ⅗ and invest in their EX Role. Between the Tech boost and the multiple Sync Move multipliers on their grid, they are actually fairly capable on that front, though the fact that said Sync Move is single-target can also make cleaning up the sides a bit hard to deal with depending on the team. If the goal is to use them for a more supportive role, then ⅕ is fine, though ⅔ and 3/3 both bring additional utility via their grid.

Team Options

Plumeria & Gengar can work with Iris (Fall 2022) & Naganadel, allowing for additional Poison Type damage-output while making it easier for Naganadel to drop boosted Poison Type Hyper Beams. Plumeria & Gengar can also work alongside the big-name Poison attackers in the game, like Geeta & Glimora, Emma & Crobat, Oleana & Garbodor, or Sygna Suit Giovanni & Nidoking, and add some additional damage and support. However, all of the above would probably prefer to be paired with other Poison Types if at all possible. Again; Plumeria & Gengar aren’t bad, but they’re pretty sluggish in terms of damage-output. That aside, Sync Pairs that can prey on Poison, Confusion, and Plumeria & Gengar’s Accuracy drops can enjoy some faster setup. It’s also worth noting that they really appreciate some Critical Rate/Special Attack support in order to actually do any damage worth noting.

Should You Pull?

Plumeria & Gengar are interesting and potentially fun to use, and their Sprint role is pretty rare right now, so having more of them available for the weekly Battle Rally grind is definitely tempting. However, this is another relatively weak option for May, as they don’t really stand out extremely well for the most part.

Poppy & Tinkaton

Poppy’s Playtime!

With the memetic game reference out of the way, we have our second Elite 4 member from Paldea moving over to Pasio. Poppy & Tinkaton are both cute little things with a steel-hardened edge, so don’t be fooled by their innocent appearances. The gameplay loop for these two starts out with their Trainer Move for +6 Attack, a stack of the Physical Move Up Next effect, and the Free Move Next effect. This is followed by Steel-Hard Gigaton Hammer, which hits like an absolute truck, but can only be used again after Poppy & Tinkaton use another move. The options here are either Thunder Wave for paralysis or Play Rough for some rather lackluster, off-type damage output, so that’s a bit disappointing… why couldn’t they at least have given her a second Steel Type move? but hey; add to that an innate 100% Critical Rate, stats that can’t be lowered, and the ability to drop their target’s Defense by 2 stages when using Thunder Wave, and you’ve got a pretty strong attacker on your hands.

Gameplay Variables

As stated, Poppy & Tinkaton have one major issue in their kit; Play Rough. Under normal circumstances, the gameplay loop is to buff up, then use Steel-Hard Gigaton Hammer?>Play Rough or Thunder Wave>Steel-Hard Gigaton Hammer>Play Rough or Thunder Wave, rinse and repeat. However, there’s also an interesting alternate tactic hidden away here (special thanks to StDk of PoMaTools fame for pointing this strategy out to me). Once an opponent is paralyzed, Use Status P-Move on Opp: Defense ↓2 9 can still take effect, meaning dropping a second Thunder Wave on a paralyzed opponent will still score a Defense drop. On top of that, using a status move on an opponent that’s already been statused causes the move to finish almost instantly, so doing this only wastes a second or so in real time. This means that if done right, it is actually possible to queue up Thunder Wave+moves from your other two Sync Pairs, and immediately que up Steel-Hard Gigaton Hammer again within the same rotation before the opposing team can pick their next attack, effectively reducing the Sync Move counter at an above-average rate while allowing Poppy & Tinkaton to que up their hard-hitting super-move every single rotation at the same time. Note that this doesn’t really work against opposing teams that have high Speed/low cost moves, as it’s entirely possible for them to just instantly que up a new move as soon as their previous move was used, thus rendering this strategy a moot point. But it can definitely be managed on many stages, and it’s entirely possible to tip the scales in your favor by dropping the opposing team’s Speed and/or utilizing well-timed Flinch tactics. Interestingly enough, Paralysis actually helps on this front as it not only prevents moves from successfully launching from time to time, it also cuts into a Sync Pair’s Speed, thus making this tactic a bit easier. It’s also important to drop the sides fairly early if at all possible, as that will also cut a fair bit into the team’s Speed and frequently delay their ability to que up a new move in time.

The most important thing for utilizing this tactic is queuing up moves in the right order. When you’re ready to begin the combo, it’s imperative that you queue up Thunder Wave first with each rotation, so this will take a bit of planning to make it work right, as well as some quick fingers as you’ll need to wait to que up the rest of the team’s moves until after Steel-Hard Gigaton Hammer launches at the end of the rotation. It’s also worth noting that this strategy can be problematic in terms of the Move gauge, as it effectively takes Poppy & Tinkaton 6 bars per turn to pull off. 

Investment Expectations

While fine at 1/5 or 2/5, Poppy & Tinkaton need to hit 3/5 to shine. This is due to Sync Move boosting tiles, but also partly due to Charging Infliction 2. This may seem like a very odd pick for Poppy & Tinkaton, but when combined with the Thunder Wave-spamming tactic above, it can make them surprisingly easy on the move gauge. And if you combine this with Twofer 9 on Steel-Hard Gigaton Hammer, then Poppy & Tinkaton effectively take a mere 2 Move Gauge bars per rotation.

Meanwhile, the Sprint role is literally never bad, so adding their EX role is definitely going to help them out, as their Sync Move is pretty powerful if invested in.

Team Options

The dream-options for Poppy & Tinkaton are either Selene (Special Costume) & Scizor or Marnie (Palentine’s 2022) & Mawile. Both can provide Steel Zone support alongside stat drops and Flinches, though the former really needs an early Sync Move to start operating at maximum capacity, while the latter is more demanding on the Move Gauge, so the optimal choice really depends on who your chosen Support unit is. Gloria & Zacian are also worthwhile partners, as they have decent Move Gauge management despite their 4-bar main attack, great damage output once the opposing team drops a Sync Move, and can inflict a stack of Steel rebuff once per battle… if you happen to have them at 5/5. This team-up is also pretty likely to need some Move Gauge support as well to keep up their damage output. Other strong Steel Type attackers like Rose & Copperajah, Tate (Summer 2023) & Jirachi, or Sygna Suit Giovanni & Nidoking can also work wonders for beat-down strategies, but these pairings will generally need a Support unit that’s capable of helping out with the Move gauge. Units that can drop the opposing team’s Speed such as Roxanne (Fall 2023) & Runerigus, Serena (Palentine’s 2021) & Whimsicott, or Leon (Alt.) & Dragapult can help out with the whole Thunder Wave strategy outlined above, so that can be genuinely helpful as well.

Should You Pull?

Poppy & Tinkaton are good if you use them normally, but potentially top-tier among Steel Type attackers if you can manage the Thunder Wave trick. They will tend to get less use than some of the above Sync Pairs, but they’re strong contenders for your gems if Steel Type damage output is your priority….

.…just note that a shiny Metagross is likely to pair up with one of the Hoenn Neo Champions, and we frequently get Master Sync Pairs in June…. So I would definitely say that it’s best to wait until our June datamine before pulling!!


We’ve got a lot for May, and several very anticipated Sync Pairs among them. However, it’s doubtful that most of our offerings will be absolutely broken in the long run. For this reason, it’s probably best to pull in May only for the sheer love of a given Sync Pair, or if one fits a role that you’ve been waiting for. Here’s a quick recap of all of the new Sync Pairs and how they stand in our general opinion:

  • Rika & Clodsire stand out as probably the most useful Sync Pair on the list. They have  a lot of utility now, are great if you have some good Ground Type attackers, and have potential utility in the future when/if we get a broken Ground Type damage dealer down the road.
  • Poppy & Tinkaton are a bit harder to use than many attackers if you want optimal damage output, but they’re definitely worthwhile if you want some Steel damage.
  • Blue & Charizard are great, but their status as a Mix Pair makes them a bit of an anomaly on the Should You Pull list. Still, if you spend on Pokémon Masters, then this is a worthwhile place to throw some paid gems for a guaranteed return on investment long-term.
  • Brycen-Man & Zoroark have good damage output, solid supportive debuffs, and the ability to attack without use of the Move Gauge, making them a very flexible choice to pair up with many strong Dark Type attackers.
  • Belleba & Swoobat have outstanding defensive utility and some fun offensive bonus potential, but they’re generally not going to be the best option for players who already have a lot of high-powered Sync Pairs. For newer players, they can definitely help out if you find that your teams aren’t surviving high-level stages very well.
  • Plumeria & Gengar have the advantage of utility and free moves, but their damage output is pretty low for the most part, making them a bit underwhelming most of the time.
  • Guzma & Ariados don’t really stand out as a Support pair. They’re not bad, but they’re definitely not impressive. 

Best of luck if you choose to pull this month, and a quick “hold down the fort” for anyone who’s saving for June/our next Anniversary in September. Reminder: September will bring our 5-year anniversary, which is potentially huge. Around that time we should end the whole Mysterious Stones arc, which seems to be deeply tied to Hisui and even Arceus itself. For this reason, we highly recommend that you start saving now!

On average, we see around 20-30 thousand Gems each month, and getting to Scout Points takes 400 points. Each non-paid pull grants 3 Scout points, and each Multi scout grants 33 points due to providing 11 pulls, so it will take 12 Multi-pulls (plus 2 Single pulls), or 36,600 gems to pity on a single banner. If we take an approximate average of 25,000 gems per month and ignore what’s left of May, then we can assume that we’ll have around 75,000 gems by the start of September, with an additional 30-40 thousand for September itself in celebration of the big event. If you ignore the remainder of May’s gems and start saving at the beginning of June, then it’s extremely likely that you’ll be able to save up enough gems to pity on 2 banners, and quite possibly all three if DeNA is at least somewhat generous. I know that it’s hard (trust me; I have no impulse control when it comes to this game. I blew my entire stash on Bellelba & Swoobat despite not personally caring for the trainer or the Pokémon purely due to my love of hyper-defensive Support units… and I already have pretty much all of the hyper-defensive Support units in the game, so I really didn’t need to do that), but this anniversary has the potential to be the best that we’ve ever seen due to being a milestone year, so a bit of self-control could really pay off soon! And even if we don’t end up getting amazing new Sync Pairs for the anniversary, we will very frequently see the return of high-profile Master Fairs from the past, so it’s still worth saving now. Remember; every new pair that we see released will return someday (except for Ash & Pikachu, it seems…), and frequently in a multi-banner with better overall odds if not a Master Fair, so don’t get caught up in fear of missing out, and you’ll definitely be rewarded. This could be the final point in time where we can begin to save and potentially have enough to ensure that we can pick up 3 new Master Fairs for the Anniversary, so think before you pull!

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About the Author(s)

Long-time Gamepress fan and writer for Pokemon Go and Pokemon Masters sub-site