Should You Pull? Anniversary Skyla & Tornadus

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TL;DR: Should You Pull?

What Does It Do?

Skyla claims to be a pilot, but her pairing with Tornadus tells us that maybe she’d be better suited for Tech Support. 

When looking at the anniversary units, it can be a bit easy to overlook Skyla & Tornadus as a run-of-the-mill type-booster; they set their field effect and then sit back while harassing the enemy in their own unique way. Ah, but Skyla & Tornadus are so much more than that. What we have here is a Tech unit that desperately wants to be a Support unit. And unlike other units that outright fail in their attempts to fuse multiple roles, Skyla & Tornadus succeed gloriously. Move gauge support, Potion support, AoE Flinch, AoE Confusion, Flying Zone… we have a lot going on here, and while each unique aspect manages to shine in its own right, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts, as our dear pilot and her Legendary Pokemon bring the winds of change to any battle that they grace with their presence.

In looking at their stats, it’s pretty obvious what Skyla & Tornadus intend to do. They sport high Speed and Special Attack, but fairly low overall bulk that leans ever so slightly towards Special Defense. To capitalize on these stats, their only attack is Air Cutter, which we’ve already seen show up in the past. It’s an attack with middling damage and a 2-bar cost, so it’s already pretty obvious that Skyla & Tornadus are not going to be used for their move damage, but we’ll revisit this soon. Moving on, we come to Flying Wish, which is the reason that many players will want to pull for this Sync Pair. The ability to boost Flying Type damage is very valuable, so this is a great move to have access to in-and-of itself. Next is Mini Potion All, which is just about always useful to have access to for its ability to help out with team longevity. Ready for Takeoff is our last Trainer Move, and it provides a middling +1 Special Attack and +1 Critical Rate per use… oh, and it also gives +2 Speed to the entire team at the same time. Capping off the moves, Heartsoaring Hurricane is Skyla & Tornadus’ Sync Move. It has decent base power, but also a built-in boost while Flying Zone is active, giving it a lot of potential.

Moving on from moves and stats, we come to Passive Skills. Staggering 2 and Gobsmack 2 give us cause to revisit the AoE nature of Air Cutter, as they grant 30% odds to cause the opposing team to Flinch or become Confused respectively. Oh, and these aren’t individual rolls either; if either skill takes effect, then the entire enemy team can suffer the consequences at the same time, assuming it doesn’t miss. To cap this wonderfully aggravating combo off, Aerial Acceleration 3 speeds up the Move Gauge while Flying Zone is active, giving Skyla & Tornadus even more move gauge management than they already had.

When looking at Skyla & Tornadus, the fact that THEY HAVE FLYING WISH is the most overtly obvious draw. The introduction of type-based Zones earlier this year has turned much of the game on its head, so any time that a new zone-setter shows up, they’re heralded as the savior of their given type. However, while Skyla & Tornadus definitely deserve praise for this unique and powerful effect, it’s far from the only reason to use them on a team. Skyla & Tornadus are actually very competent as a Tech unit, and they even have some very valuable Supportive effects thrown in for good measure. Their access to AoE Flinch and Confusion with every attack has the potential to outright debilitate many opposing teams, and can buy their team valuable time to set up or throw out some particularly hard punishment as a result. Their ability to buff the team’s Speed is always a valuable commodity to have for virtually any team, and can be taken even farther with an additional boost when Flying Zone is active. They also have Mini Potion All for a little extra team longevity, and potentially even a passive +1 Critical Rate for the entire team via their grid. To top it all off, while they admittedly lack the high move damage to be considered an all-in-one attacker-booster for their type like Anniversary May & Latias, they at the very least have a potentially powerful Sync Nuke that can help out with a sudden burst of high damage when needed. All-in-all, this is a Sync Pair that actually has the option of outright ignoring Flying Zone for team building, and can still put in great work based on their own unique skills. And in cases where that is the case, Flying Zone is still useful for getting a bit more damage out of Skyla & Tornadus themselves/boosting the move gauge, or even overwriting zones set by the opposing team, which is something that was just introduced during the 2.5 year event. In short; it’s easy to overlook Skyla & Tornadus because they do one particular thing very well, but looking deeper reveals just how much more they’re capable of.

And on to the negatives! First up: this is not the Flying Type attacker that you may be looking for. While a capable single-target Sync Nuker, Skyla & Tornadus have mediocre attack damage-output at best, so they’ll need to be paired with something a bit more capable of dealing damage for most of the game’s harder content. And on the matter of their Sync Move damage; while very good, it’s also going to come up short without a bit of help from their team and/or some grid support, as they definitely don’t hit the stat boost milestones needed to achieve their highest damage output on their own. That said, this last point is actually not a huge concern if you primarily want to use Skyla & Tornadus for their Tech/supportive skills.

Champion Stadium: Master Mode

Tech units can go a long way in Master Mode, as buying time and otherwise annoying the opposition has the potential to pay huge dividends in the long run. On top of that, the ability to set Flying Zone can raise otherwise mediocre units to genuine viability, making Skyla & Tornadus potentially very valuable for what can be an otherwise annoying weakness to capitalize on for many players.

Legendary Arena & Gauntlet

While zones have not yet been featured as a gimmick for any Legendary Arena stages, the fact that they exist means we could see a stage that capitalizes on them at any time. That said; just having access to Flinch alone can be great on a lot of stages, so Skyla & Tornadus will definitely be able to keep pace most of the time.

Extreme Battles

Skyla & Tornadus will generally want to team up with a stronger attacker to put in the majority of the damage work here, but they can definitely be very useful for their own unique advantages.

Battle Villa 

AoE Flinch and Confusion can be nice for cheesing through some stages, but the overall reliance on skills for maximized performance isn’t conducive to a good Battle Villa unit most of the time.

How To Use It?

Sync Grid

These are generally the most important tiles to pick up:

  • Air Cutter: Staggering 1 (⅗) stacks with Skyla & Tornadus’ passive version of the skill for even higher odds of scoring an AoE flinch.
  • Inertia (⅗) and Interference Sync 5 (⅗) are on opposing sides of the grid, but it’s not too hard to pick up both in order to enable some very nice Sync Move damage.
  • Team Sharp Entry is a stellar tile to pick up for a lot of teams, as it can either cut a turn off of setup or enable complete Critical Rate setup for many attackers. It also allows Skyla & Tornadus to self-max their own Critical Rate, which lessens their team support requirements.
  • Mini Potion All: MP Refresh 3 (⅗) and Mini Potion All: Master Healer 1 (⅗) are staples for a more supportive build.

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

  • Flying Wish: MP Refresh 2 (⅗) is nice, but ultimately the base 2 uses is enough to take care of most stages.
  • Air Cutter: Move Gauge Refresh 9 (⅖) is great on paper, as it’s effectively -1 Move Gauge cost on Tornadus’ only attacking move. However, Skyla & Tornadus already have great move gauge management options, so this can be redundant unless their teammates are painfully slow or a given stage has heavy Speed debuffs.
  • Air Cutter: Gobsmack 2 (⅖) is a bit mediocre on its own, as Lessen Confusion 5-9 seems to be a standard on most stages. Its main use is to help set up Interference Sync a bit more reliably.
  • Ready for Takeoff! MP Refresh 3 (⅖) offers a chance at maxed Critical Rate, a bit more Special Attack, and most important of all, maxed team Speed. However, it can be a bit difficult to justify given just how good Skyla & Tornadus already are at managing the move gauge at +4 team Speed.
  • Air Cutter: Disarm 9 (⅗) is a bit hard to get to, but it can be useful for a pure-tech build, as it’s an additional Tech function with near-universal utility.
  • Barrel Roll 2 (⅖) can provide some nice longevity while Flying Wish is active, and can allow Skyla & Tornadus to tank a few hits, but it’s ultimately not that useful most of the time.
  • Soften Up 1 (⅖) would be a nice tile, but it’s the least important when trying for sheer Sync Nuke damage, and it’s also too far from the other two to be worth picking up most of the time.
  • Air Cutter: Accuracy +5 (⅕) gives Air Cutter 100% base accuracy. However, the miss odds are only 1/20, so it might be acceptable to pass on this one.

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

  • Natural Remedy (⅖) is worthwhile for stages with a heavy emphasis on AoE/Go Viral status, and/or for using Skyla & Tornadus as a tank for a quick-kill setup, but most builds can ignore it.
  • Impervious (⅗) is pretty similar to the above, but with stat drops instead of status.

All-in-all, Skyla & Tornadus gain a lot of utility with their grid. At ⅕ they gain pretty much nothing, ⅖ is where a lot of their utility becomes unlocked, and ⅗ is where Sync Nuking and Potion support unlocks. The nice thing about Skyla & Tornadus is that they actually perform very well in their Tech/Support capacity at even ⅕, so pulling for ⅗ isn’t an absolute necessity, though pulling for at least ⅖ or throwing a Tech Move Candy their way will definitely be appreciated.

Lucky Skills

The obvious choice for a Sync Nuke-abusing Skyla & Tornadus is Critical Strike 2. But a Tech-centric build has a few other fun options to play with as well. Defense Crush 2 is a nice choice, as it pairs very well with Tornadus’ AoE attacks, and is a great pairing for Steven & Rayquaza in particular. However, this adds literally no advantage for Skyla & Tornadus themselves, so an alternate choice would be Mind Games 2 from the deluxe pool. Honestly, the choice between these two should really be based on what types of teams you foresee yourself pairing Skyla & Tornadus up with the most. Another option would be Vigilance if you want to go in for a tank build, but that can be a risky prospect, as we’ll discuss further in Team Comps.

Team Comps

So let’s get this out of the way first: Skyla & Tornadus are a big ‘ole bandaid for Steven & Rayquaza. Flying Zone alone is tremendous, and the Speed buffs lead to even more raw power alongside move gauge management. And speaking of Speed; the fact that Mega Rayquaza only gains Speed from Mega Evolution and deals pathetic damage with its Sync Move means that it can happily turn over Sync duty to Skyla & Tornadus, who can unleash powerful single-target blows. While Steven & Rayquaza were hailed as a bit underwhelming on release a few months ago, this is exactly what this Legendary Sync Pair needed.

So who else works out here? To start with, any Flying Type attacker loves having Skyla & Tornadus on their team. Blue & Pidgeot, Lysandre & Yveltal, and Lance & Gyarados are probably the big-winners here, as the boost of Flying Zone gives them the push that they so desperately need to succeed, especially the former two who can also benefit from flinch to use their Harry multiplier. Even Leon & Charizard can take advantage of Flying Zone with Hurricane. Outside of the Flying Types that are even now thankful for their revival, just about any slower Sync Pair like Cynthia & Kommo-o or Steven & Metagross can seriously appreciate having Skyla & Tornadus partner up with them. And speaking of Metagross; Sync Pairs that abuse Flinch love having Skyla & Tornadus’ AoE Flinch on their team, as it really does open up the possibility to stun-lock the entire opposing team constantly. If using Skyla & Tornadus for their Sync Move power, then a bit of Special Attack/Critical Rate support is definitely helpful, so Sync Pairs like Sabrina & Alakazam or Jasmine & Celesteela can make for great partners. And speaking of Support; Red & Snorlax deserve a special note here, as Skyla & Tornadus can largely negate the issue of their low base speed, and the combo of Flying Zone and Super Effective Up Next can enable some absolutely devastating on-type damage output.

An odd build option that could be attempted would be using Skyla & Tornadus as a tank alongside a dual-striker setup. So how and why would this work on a frail Sync Pair like this? Well, between Flinch/Confusion, Mini Potion All, and Barrel Roll 3 from their grid, Skyla & Tornadus can potentially hold down the fort for at least a Sync Move cycle while also supplying stellar move gauge management, which can be enough for hyper-offensive teams to secure a quick win. It’s a risky prospect, but it can pay off in some scenarios.

Is It Worth Pulling?

Among the 2.5 year Anniversary units, Skyla & Tornadus are probably the Sync Pair with the most universal utility. If you have a strong core of two Sync Pairs already set up, then you can easily drop these two into your third slot and let them do their thing, and they won’t disappoint. For these reasons, Skyla & Tornadus are definitely worth pulling for, but they do have some very, very powerful competition for your gems right now.

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