Should You Pull? Anniversary Raihan & Flygon

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TL;DR: Should You Pull?

What Does It Do?

Back in Sword and Shield, Raihan was considered a Dragon Type Pokemon trainer. His Gym is in a city that looks like it has a huge pair of draconic wings sprouting from it, he gives out the Dragon Badge on defeat, and heck; even his basic look sports a hoodie that looks like a dragon in the process of eating him. But anyone who has played these games knows that Raihan’s original appearance in Pokemon Go was a bit… out of character. Yes, he does use a Dragon (albeit a Steel Type here instead), but any holder of the Dragon Badge knows that Raihan is known for one tactic even more than a dragon-beat-down; weather! Well, this oversight has now been rectified, as while Raihan & Duraludon may represent the selfie-loving Gym Leader with his signature Pokemon, his partnership with Flygon brings him right back to his roots and gives us a Sync Pair based heavily around outright weather domination. Through the blistering heat of the sun and the cruel sting of sandstorms, Raihan has at last returned to show us what he’s known for back in Galar: turning the power of nature itself against anyone who stands against him.

By way of raw stats, Raihan & Flygon are a bit of a mixed bag. Their Attack and Special Attack are okay-ish, falling far behind most of the top damage dealers in the game. Their Speed is nice, keeping them among the faster Sync Pairs in the game. Finally, their bulk is actually not bad, to the point where they are a bit of a glass tank if played right. Moveset-wise, we open up with Twister for an AoE, Dragon Type move that has low damage but a chance to Flinch anything that it hits. Fire Spin is next, with its low Fire Type damage and ability to trap the opponent. Sandstorm follows, making Raihan & Flygon one of the few Sync Pairs capable of setting this valuable weather effect. Finally, Can’t Be Tamed! Is their Trainer Move. It has one use base, and grants +4 Special Attack, +2 Critical Rate, and also gives the entire team the Super Effective Up Next effect if used while any weather condition is active. But we’re not done with moves quite yet! As a Dynamax Sync Pair, Flygon’s moves have more utility and raw base power than most, but only once per battle. Twister becomes Max Wyrmwind, which drops the opposing team’s Attack by 2 stages on use. Fire Spin becomes Max Flare, which turns the weather Sunny on use. Finally, Sandstorm becomes Max Guard, which grants the Damage Guard effect to an ally on use. To finish this mountain of moves off, Desert Spirit Dragon Beam is Raihan & Flygon’s Sync Move. This Sync Move has an innate damage boost when weather conditions are in effect, finishing up the natural theme on display.

With the moves out of the way, Passive Skills are next. Weather Buff is a great little skill that boosts all stats save HP by 30% while any weather condition is in effect, which opens up a fair bit of extra raw power. Atmospheric Acceleration 2 is next, and it has the fun effect of speeding up the move gauge when any weather condition is in effect. Finally, Team Strengthening Status 9 finishes off the set. It grants both the Physical and Special Move Up Next effects any time that Raihan & Flygon use a Status move. In other words; any time that they use Sandstorm.

Looking at Raihan & Flygon, it can be a bit difficult to discern just what it is that makes them stand out. Most Sync Pairs have one or two primary features that shine for them, but Flygon & Raihan’s advantages are a bit more spread out across their whole kit than most and/or a bit more cryptic. More and more, we’re seeing weather units that are designed to be able to work on non-weather teams, and Raihan & Flygon fit this description perfectly. However, their advantages on weather teams cannot be understated. Having access to Sandstorm alone is rare, but add to that Sun utility, and you’ve got a Sync Pair that is comfortable on a lot of teams. And on top of that, their bonuses take effect under any weather, so even Rain and Hail are viable choices, though they won’t be able to help out with the duration of these weather effects. And they’re also great for the occasional weather-setting stage, as their dual-weather capabilities means they’re almost always guaranteed to mess with the opposing team’s strategy in this regard. Outside of weather, this is still a pretty solid Sync Pair. Allowing them to use Sandstorm and/or Sun just for themselves is perfectly viable, and their ability to Trap, Flinch, and grant Super Effective Up Next, as well as Physical/Special Up Next effects can be very valuable. And on the matter of Sandstorm, an easily overlooked tactic is going all-in and outright spamming Sandstorm while hoping for MP Refreshes, as this can stack a huge amount of damage up for the team with Special/Physical Damage Up Next effects, which can then be unleashed as a cataclysmic burst post-setup. And to top this off, while Raihan & Flygon lack move damage, their Sync Move has the potential to hit very high numbers if properly setup and MAX Moves also bring some more burst burst potential. All-in-all, Raihan & Flygon are great for specific teams, or can be a great 3rd slot pick if you’ve already got a good core with your first two Sync Pairs.

But, as always, we have to also look at the negatives behind Raihan & Flygon if we want to fully understand how to use them. As already stated, Raihan & Flygon aren’t going to be taking home many trophies for move damage. Outside of Sync Moves, this Sync Pair is primarily made to fill a more supportive role for the team. 

….yup, that’s about it. This is a very reliable Sync Pair that can slot into a 3rd slot with a strong core with ease.

Champion Stadium: Master Mode

Raihan & Flygon can fit on a number of different teams thanks to their flexibility in taking on multiple roles, so they’re likely to be able to slot into at least one team each rotation.

Legendary Arena & Gauntlet

Weather is the key gimmick for Moltres in particular, so Raihan & Flygon have immediate utility here. That aside, Flinch is useful on many stages, as is single-target Sync Move damage, so they’ll likely have use any time the Gauntlet comes around.

Extreme Battles

Raihan & Flygon have a lot going for them, and can be used on these stages in a few different ways, so they’ll likely find utility in one way or another. They especially shine when stages that want to throw out a specific type of weather show up, as they will almost always be able to dominate the weather and take the advantage for themselves.

Battle Villa 

The majority of Raihan & Flygon’s power comes from skill utility, though they can also raise the Sun one to two times on each stage for free and have AoE Flinch, so they’re not great, but also not the worst pick depending on your team choice.

How To Use It?

Sync Grid

These are generally the most important tiles to pick up:

  • Interference Sync 5 (⅗) and Weather Sync-Up 5 (⅗) are the keys to ramping up Raihan & Flygon’s Sync Move damage, and are both fairly easy to keep active.
  • Twister: Aggravation 2 (⅖) is another great tile, as it not only raises the odds of Fygon’s Twister being terribly disruptive, it also allows Interference Sync 5 to activate more easily.
  • Sharp Entry 1 (⅖) is great for a Sync Move-centric build, as it enables a full +3 Critical Rate without the need for outside support.
  • Sandstorm: MP Refresh 3 (⅖) is obviously great for Sandstorm builds, but more importantly it’s useful for stacking Physical/Special Attack Up Next effects for the team to take advantage of.
  • Mind Boggler 9 (⅖) is potentially very valuable as it’s easy to set up, benefits Raihan & Flygon directly, and it also helps fill the severe deficit of Sync Pairs that can reliably debuff the opposing team’s Special Defense.

Next are the tiles that are nice to have, but are either niche or not generally worth going out of the way for:

  • Team Pinpoint Entry 1 (⅖) is useful for helping Fire Spin land, as well as helping any teammates that may have inaccurate moves.
  • Sand Alert 5 (⅗) is an easy way to effectively double Sandstorm duration, though most stages should be done by the time it’s ended.
  • Sandstorm: Propulsion 9 (⅗) is great when paired with other Sync Pairs that have similar effects, or it can be abused if you want to roll MP Refresh 3.
  • Solar Sync is a staple for Sun-centric builds, as well as support for Sun-loving partners.
  • Can’t be Tamed! MP Refresh 3 (⅖) can max out Raihan & Flygon’s Special Attack and Critical Rate when it works, but more importantly it can also grant an additional Super Effective Up Next effect for the entire team.
  • Sandstorm: Slippery Sidekicks 1 (⅖) is handy for a bit of defensive support, but +1 or +2 Evasion generally won’t make a huge difference in most stages.
  • Twister: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅕) can help for particularly slow teams, but it’s not super-important.

Finally, these are the tiles that are probably best to ignore unless they somehow play into a bigger strategy in some way:

  • MAX Team Smarts 9 (⅗) has its uses, but isn’t really worth going out of the way for.
  • Fire Spin: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅕) is less important as it will tend to be used less.
  • Pokey Trap 3 (⅖) adds a bit of damage every turn, but not enough to make a tangible difference in most cases.

Raihan & Flygon can definitely shine at ⅕, and are perfectly good here if you just want a Weather unit with some very nice extras. They become a potential Tech menace at ⅖ with a potentially useful yet slow to setup AoE Special Defense drop and increased Flinch odds, making them very valuable at this move level. Finally, ⅗ primarily unlocks their Sync Nuke capabilities, which is where they can really help out with team damage.

Lucky Skills

Critical Strike 2 is the top Sync Nuke pick from the normal pool. A more Tech-oriented build can also make use of Defense Crush 2 for team support as well. From the Deluxe pool, Weathered Warrior 3 is generally the best choice as it has perfect synergy with Raihan & Flygon’s basic kit for sheer damage output, while Mind Games 2 is another great choice for a more supportive set when paired with Special attackers. Head Start 1 is also very much worth considering here, as when combined with Sandstorm: Propulsion 9 on their grid, a full cycle-skip becomes very doable.

Team Comps

The obvious picks here are the big-name weather users, in particular those who can take advantage of Sun and Sandstorm. Maxie & Groudon, Ingo & Excadrill, Silver & Ho-oh, and Cynthia & Garchomp are all examples of this, as they synergize well with Raihan & Flygon’s core strategy. Sync Pairs capable of setting other weather types like Maxie & Kyogre, May & Swampert, Palentines Bea & Vanilluxe, or Summer Steven & Alolan Sandslash are also viable picks for their ability to set their signature weathers and grant Raihan & Flygon their weather-based bonuses as well, though they don’t get much from Raihan & Flygon in return aside from some basic Tech abilities. Lucas & Dialga are also worth a mention here, as their type-boosting capabilities can co-exist on the field, and allow for some potentially devastating burst damage when combined, especially if Raihan goes for Max Wyrmwind while Dragon Zone is active.. 

When picking up support for Raihan & Flygon, then a bit of help with Critical Rate and Special Attack is appreciated. The list of Sync Pairs capable of filling this out is pretty vast at this point, and includes Sabrina & Alakazam, Kiawe & Alolan Marowak, and Lyra & Meganium. The latter of these Sync Pairs is of particular note due to their synergy with and ability to make Sunny Weather. Honestly, that’s about all that Raihan & Flygon need. They’re not going to be hitting for monumental damage, so most players will use them for weather/tech capabilities with a Sync Move thrown in here and there for good measure.

Is It Worth Pulling?

Raihan & Flygon are a bit more polarizing than the other 2.5 year units. Their kit has a few very valuable features, but it lacks the “wow” factor that the competition sports to varying degrees. Despite this fact, they’re still highly effective and can offer great role compression, especially for newer players looking for a unit to help out with different types of weather. Consider the competition before spending, but know that Raihan & Flygon will likely serve those who invest in them well.

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About the Author(s)

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