TL;DR: Should You Pull?
What Does It Do?
Is it me, or do Elite 4 members seem to get the least overall respect in Pokemon Masters? They represent the penultimate challenge in the Main Series, yet the majority of them are relatively mediocre here, with many even being relegated to Four Star status. It seems like every other trainer group gets more overall respect, as they even have a distinct deficit of alts when compared to groups like Gym Leader. Well, it seems that this trend is finally changing a bit, as Aaron finally makes his trip to Pasio, and alongside him is Vespiquen. They join us as our latest Support unit, and they are surprisingly good at what they do! So can they start to repair the reputation that their colleagues have quietly fostered since joining the PML? Let’s find out!
Aaron & Verpiquen have one major statistical advantage: their bulk. While not the absolute bulkiest in the game, they manage to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with defensive monsters like Sygna Suit Dawn & Cresselia or Sygna Suit Leaf & Venusaur. That aside, their Special Attack is usable at best, and their Speed is pretty low, even for many Support units.
Their one-and-only attack is Attack Order, which is a 3-bar, Bug Type move with okay base power and an increased Critical Rate bonus. Yeah, it’s not the best for a Support unit. Next is Heal Order, which is basically Potion, but it takes 1 Move Gauge bar to use, only affects the user, and only has 1 MP…. starting to wonder if the above praise is actually justified at this point. This is followed up with Defend Order, which consumes 1 Move Gauge bar to raise the user’s Defense and Special Defense by 1 stat rank. It also has no MP, so it’s a very nice move for a bulky Support unit, overall. Finishing up moves, we come to Aaron’s Trainer Move: Cool, Right?!. This is a fairly straight-forward move that grants +2 Attack and +1 Critical Rate to the team, and also enables Gradual Healing for Vespiquen at the same time.
So the moves on display are admittedly a bit shaky, but skills are where the whole kit starts to really come together. Stat Share 9 starts the list, which allows Vespiquen to share the effects of Defend Order with the entire team any time that it’s used. Group Shared Healing 1 is next, and it works in a similar vein to Stat Share 9. Whenever Vespiquen uses Heal Order, this kicks in and heals the team for 20% of their max HP. This also stacks with Heal Order itself, turning it into a 70% HP boost in practice. Finally, Move Gauge Refresh 4 has 50% odds of restoring 1 Move Gauge bar on any move that Vespiquen uses, including Defend Order and Heal Order.
When looking at Aaron & Vespiquen, it becomes pretty obvious that their base kit has some fairly nice effects. Team-wide, nearly free-use Defense and Special Defense buffing is rare, and Group Shared Healing 1 basically takes Heal Order and makes it into a fusion of Potion with Mini Potion. While Defensive buffs have long been overlooked in the meta, having a Sync Pair that can potentially max out the team’s Bulk is becoming more and more valuable as content gets harder, meaning Aaron & Vespiquen could become very valuable against future content. They also have access to Attack and Critical Rate buffs, which are always useful.
That aside, we also have a Sync Pair that feels a little bit… incomplete. They need the help of their grid to max out the team’s Offensive stats with MP Refresh, meaning ⅖ in particular is an important milestone to aim for. However, this is also less of an issue than many may think, as getting +1 Critical Rate and +2 Attack is pretty standard-fare for most Physical attackers, meaning the team can generally shore up Aaron & Vespiquen’s shortcomings. Another issue is the fact that this is a Sync Pair with low base speed and a 3-bar attacking move. This can make the Move Gauge a real issue if you pair them with gauge-hungry Attackers without some extra team support. However, the only real reason to use Attack Order is if you also pick up Staggering 4 via Aaron & Vespiquen's grid, and most builds will also pick up Move Gauge Refresh along the way, which stacks with their passive Move Gauge Refresh 4 to make this far less of an issue. And for any build that doesn't focus on Flinching, it's easy enough just to continue using Defend Order even past the full +6 boosts, taking advantage of its low cost and long animation to keep the team and the Sync Move counter rolling along. And speaking of Defend Order, it definitely does its job, but it’s very slow at it, taking at minimum 6 turns to max these stats without outside help. Overall, this may not be a “WOW, THAT’S SO AMAZING” Sync Pair, but Aaron & Vespiquen do have the advantage of not having many real drawbacks to highlight.
Champion Stadium: Master Mode
Aaron & Vespiquen can become stupid bulky with a bit of time, and they share that bulk with the team through Defensive buffs and healing. They can also give solid offensive buffs as well, allowing them to fit onto more teams. This is a Support unit that can keep the team safe and make even frail attackers more viable, so they could definitely see a lot of use here.
Legendary Arena & Gauntlet
Bulk can be very important here, and Aaron & Vespiquen do not disappoint. Add to that some very annoying Flinch utility on select stages, and this is a bug that’s not afraid to stare down Legends.
This is a solid all-around Support, so they can work well in more difficult battles. As always, just be aware of the stage’s unique gimmick before putting the Queen Bee (wasp? This evolutionary line is confusing) on the front lines.
Potentially low Move Gauge cost and MP-free Defense/Special Defense buffs can help the team plow through stages fairly well. They won’t be doing it quickly, but they will definitely be doing it nonetheless.
How To Use It?
These are generally the most important tiles to pick up:
- Cool, Right? MP Refresh 3 has 64% odds of scoring at least one MP refresh when both base uses are taken into consideration, allowing Aaron & Vespiquen to give a full +6 Attack and +3 Critical Rate for the entire team.
- Attack Order: Staggering 4 (⅗) adds additional utility to Aaron & Vespiquen, and gives their relatively expensive attacking move additional utility.
- Attack Order: Move Gauge Refresh 9 (⅖) makes Attack Order quite a bit easier to use, and is especially important if you’re aiming for Staggering 4.
- Team Strengthening Heal 9 (⅗) can set up a burst of damage for the team, but it can only activate once per stage.
- Catalyst (⅗) helps out with the Move Gauge, and gives added value to investing an early Sync Move into Aaron & Vespiquen.
Next are the tiles that are nice to have, but are either niche or not generally worth going out of the way for:
- Cool, Right? Precision Pals 1 (⅗) can be a useful for partners that want a bit of accuracy.
- Insect Acceleration (⅖) is a great tile for helping out with the Move Gauge, but it’s only useful if you already have Ingo & Accelgor and use them on your team.
- Quick Cure (⅖) has some real utility since being Trapped will wear down Vespiquen’s bulk pretty quickly and Flinch can stop key moves from going through.
- Team Full-Bracing Infliction 1 (⅗) doesn’t do much on its own, but it can at least help shore up the team’s Defensive presence a little faster, and it is on the way to Team Strengthening Heal.
Finally, these are the tiles that are probably best to ignore unless they somehow play into a bigger strategy in some way:
- Healthy Buffer 5 (⅗) looks great on paper, but when used on a tank that doesn’t have access to plethoras of healing options, it’s likely to only see use 1-2 times per battle, and most likely on weak moves. It also has the disadvantage of being in what is arguably the least useful quadrant of the grid.
- Defend Order: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅖) isn’t a bad tile to pick up, as it won’t be too uncommon to tap Defend Order several times in most battles, but it’s just generally not worth the energy investment.
- Insect Healing 1 (⅗) is expensive, hard to reach for most builds, and is in the corner of the grid opposite of Insect Acceleration, making it less synergetic for teams that bring along Ingo & Accelgor.
- Unbending (⅕), Lithe (⅕), Stalwart (⅕), and Natural Remedy (⅗) are all situationally useful, with the latter in particular holding some additional general value, but most builds will skip them.
- Heal Order: Move Gauge Refresh 3 is a one-time chance at one move gauge bar. Hard pass.
Sync Grid Levels & EX Viability
⅕ is pretty solid. Aaron & Vespiquen’s grid gives them access to immunity to Defense and Special Defense drops, as well as immunity to Paralysis, but that’s about it. At this level, you’re basically just working with their base-kit. ⅖ is where we see some real utility show up, in particular with the MP Refresh on Aaron & Vespiquen’s trainer move. This is where +6 Attack and +3 Critical Rate becomes possible, which is also where this Sync Pair can start to really shine. ⅗ is where Aaron & Vespiquen start to show just what they can really do as it’s where their full power goes on display. This is where they have new utility options become available, and where their builds can actually start to vary a bit.
All-in-all, it’s probably best to aim for at least ⅖, with ⅗ being the obvious end-game goal. That said, even ⅕ has some real value, as they have a nicely rounded base kit to work with..
The majority of Aaron & Vespiquen’s EX viability comes from the raw stats that the upgrade brings and the ever-valuable EX Support Sync Move. They do have access to Catalyst via their grid, but not all builds will focus on it. They may not be the best place to invest in the face of some other competition, but they’re definitely not the worst.
The main choice for a lucky skill is going to be Vigilance, as it gives better longevity and the ability to ensure that Aaron & Vespiquen’s Defense and Special Defense can’t be ignored by a random Critical hit. Defense Crush 2 is another solid choice, as it supports the Physical attackers that Aaron & Vespiquen excel with.
Most Physical attackers are happy to work alongside Aaron & Vespiquen, especially those with incomplete or slow buffing profiles. Choices here include Special Costume Emmet & Escavalier, Gloria & Zacian, and N & Zekrom. Their Defensive buffs and Healing can also be very valuable to frailer Sync Pairs like Lusamine & Pheromosa, who may live to see beyond the first enemy Sync Move with this pairing.
If you want to pick up Staggering 4 on Attack Order, then it might be a good idea to also get some Speed support to help out the team. Masked Royal & Incineroar are great in this regard, as they can also compound Aaron & Vespiquen’s Defense buffs by dropping the opposing team’s Attack, while also softening up their Defense to make whatever other Physical attacker you may have more effective. Anniversary Skyla & Tornadus are also great for this, as they can throw their own AoE Flinch game into the ring while also healing the team and offering a plethora of other advantages. In general, Harry users and other teammates that appreciate the flinch potential will be great partners when going for these type of compositions.
Oh, and if you want to pick up any Bug Zone-related tiles on Aaron & Vespiquen’s grid, then Ingo & Accelgor are absolute must-have partners.
Is It Worth Pulling?
Overall, Aaron & Vespiquen make for a very solid Support unit with fairly wide utility. If you’re short on good Support units or if you just want more general utility for your team, then this Sync Pair is definitely worth picking up. However, with the sheer power of recent Sync Pairs that DeNA has been pumping out, it may be a better choice to hold off here, as we also have Morty & Ho-oh and Giovanni & Nidoking this month, and we may be due for another Master pair in June, like we had last year. It’s also worth mentioning that Aaron & Vespiquen are entering the normal pool after this, so you’ll probably pick them up eventually on another banner. Not the worst investment, but be aware of what else is/may be on the table.