Should You Pull? Caitlin & (Mega) Sableye

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TL;DR: Should You Pull?

What Does It Do?

Like a shining gem glimmering in the darkness, Caitlin & Sableye emerge from the shadows with grace and dignity, ready to aid the team in their moment of dire need. Like a newly cut diamond, their elegance is virtually unbreakable, as is their resolve…  just so long as that resolve isn’t to provide an even slightly comprehensive offensive support profile.

To start with, let’s break down Caitlin & Sableye’s stats. Their Speed is solid for a Support unit and their Attack is lackluster, as is to be expected from a more defensive Sync Pair. Their bulk is arguably their most important base trait, and it actually varies a bit. Both Defense and Special Defense are the same, so they’re able to tank on both sides of the spectrum effectively. In its base form, Sableye’s base average bulk is a bit lower than Samurott; it’s good, but not absolutely amazing. When Mega Sableye takes center stage, their bulk rises to a much higher echelon. However, it’s a bit of a mistake to judge bulk based on base stats alone, as we’ll soon see.

Caitlin & Sableye’s only attack is Feint Attack, which is a 2-bar Dark Type move that never misses. It doesn’t deal much damage, but it does the job at least. X Defense All and X Sp.Def All are next, making Caitlin & Sableye one of the few Sync Pairs capable of effectively buffing both Defense and Special Defense for the whole team, possibly even maxing them with a bit of help from their grid. Finally, they have Tricksy!, a trainer move that boosts team Attack by 2 ranks and Speed/Accuracy by 1 rank each. Post-Mega, this also applies the Condition Nullification effect to all allies, which protects the team from status conditions and interference, including those that result from the secondary effect of an attack, for a limited period of time. Their grid also has a tile that increases the +1 Speed  to +2 Speed per use, meaning they can potentially max team speed with an MP refresh. Skill-wise we have Vigilance first, which is always nice to naturally have on tanks because it frees up their Lucky Skill slot. Syncro Healing 1 recovers a bit of HP for the team on Sync Move, which is a perfect bonus for a Mega Evolving tank. Finally, Quick Tempo accelerates the Move Gauge when Sableye hits the field, and this is replaced by Opening Blockade, which applies both Physical and Special Damage Reduction to the field when Mega Sableye takes center stage.

So Caitlin & Sableye have a lot going for them. While they’re not the bulkiest tank in the game in terms of base stats, their natural skills make them obnoxiously hard to put down, and they can even share basically all of their defensive advantages with their entire team. Defense buffs, Special Defense buffs, Physical and Special barriers, and even a bit of healing for good measure can make the team very hard to break, and that’s not even the whole story. Move gauge acceleration, Attack buffs, Speed buffs, and even the seldom seen Accuracy buffs all come  standard on Caitlin & Sableye, giving them a wide general utility profile that is pretty easy to fit on a lot of teams. Their plethora of buffs also means that they’ll be very busy early-game, and will likely not take any move gauge for themselves until well into the second Sync Move cycle. They also have a few solid reasons to spend an early Sync Move on, as they can Mega Evolve, heal the team, provide Physical and Special barriers, and can also enable a large damage buff if EX unlocked. An early Sync Move given to Caitlin & Sableye is generally a Sync Move well invested.

But, as is true in all cases, the story isn’t completely positive. For one, the value of Defense/Special Defense buffs is a bit devalued in today’s meta. The goal for many players is to speed-run content with powerhouse damage-dealing combos, and Caitlin & Sableye offer little to help this aside from early-game Move Gauge Acceleration and incomplete Attack/Speed/Accuracy buffs. We’re also living in the age where Sync Moves have a lot of value, so while Caitlin & Sableye are definitely worth investing a Sync Move in, this can also either slow down the game for other Sync Pairs that want an early Sync Move such as other Mega Evolutions, or render basic Sableye’s less stellar buk sitting exposed on the field for a prolonged period of time.

Champion Stadium: Master Mode

Early-game attacks tend to be fairly weak here, so the time that it takes to reach Mega Sableye generally won’t be a huge deal. At that point, Mega Sableye is ready to tank out into the second Sync Move, and will probably have more than enough stamina to truck through to the end. They are a bit lackluster here due to a lack of strong offensive synergy with many powerful Sync Pairs, but it’s also worth mentioning that they’re hilariously good on stages that cause field effects to be permanent, as they will bring Move Gauge Acceleration, Physical Damage Reduction, Special Damage Reduction, and potentially even Critical Damage Guard via their grid to the field very easily.

The Legendary Arena 

If paired with an effective offensive team, Caitlin & Sableye can tank and support very well, and can give the team the momentum needed to seriously dent the boss. Also worth mentioning is that this is one place where their Grid tile Sync Wall has the potential to shine, as it can protect against the “Sure Crit Next” AoE moves that are fairly common here.

Extreme Battles

Caitlin & Sableye can hold the line very well, but stages with high early-game damage can threaten them along the way.

The Battle Villa

With passive Move Gauge Acceleration, Physical/Special barriers, and even some healing, Caitlin & Sableye are definitely not the worst picks for the Battle Villa, but the fact that they rely on MP for a lot of their other effects means that they’re also not the best picks either. They’ll need some backup to do their job, and Mega Evolving here will be a bit harder to justify because Sycamore & Xerneas and other valuable Sync abusers exist, but they can at least be a bit helpful.

How To Use It?

These are generally the most important tiles on Caitlin & Sableye’s grid:

  • Tricksy! MP Refresh 2 (⅖) can allow Caitlin & Sableye to max out team Attack, take Speed and Accuracy a bit farther, and apply Status Nullification more frequently. It’s a solid tile for most builds.
  • Tricksy! Pep Rally 1 (⅗) raises the Speed boost from 1 stage per use to 2 stages per use, meaning an MP refresh can max team Speed. This is always valuable to have as an option!
  • X-Defense All: MP Refresh 3 (⅖) and X-Sp.Def All: MP Refresh 3 (⅖) are in entirely separate quadrants of the grid, but they can help ensure maximum protection for the team, which makes them valuable tiles to pick up.
  • First Aid 4 (⅗) is a prime tile for any tank build, as it adds a nice amount of survivability.

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

  • Unflappable (⅕) is great not only because it prevents Flinching, but because it’s part of the cheapest way to reach everything worthwhile in the lower left quadrant, so most builds will pick it up along the way.
  • Stalwart (⅗) and Unbending (⅖) ensure that it’s literally impossible to chip into Sableye’s bulk unless the opposing team is given some way to pierce Vigilance, which we haven’t seen happen to date.
  • Team Sync Cure 9 (⅗) can be very useful when facing team-wide status, but isn’t generally worth going out of the way for.
  • Healthy Healing (⅗) provides a bit of passive recovery, but it won’t help while Caitlin & Sableye are busy using their many, many buffs, and is a bit awkward to reach.
  • Sync Wall (⅖) gives an added layer of protection to the team when Mega Sableye hits the field, but the fact that it already has Vigilance combined with the general rarity of AoE critical attacks makes it a bit of a niche pickup. 
  • Revenge Boost 3 (⅗) can be a great source of occasional Move Gauge support, but for the cost it’s probably best to just go for the MP Refresh and Pep Rally tiles for Caitlin & Sableye’s Trainer Move for the additional Speed that they can afford the team.
  • Endurance (⅗) can give one last chance to protect the team, but Sync Moves pierce it and it’s pretty expensive, so justifying picking it up is a bit hard for most builds.
  • Feint Attack: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅖) can repay a bit of Move Gauge, but it’s a similar case to Revenge Boost: just buff their Trainer Move for its Speed buffs instead.
  • Feint Attack: Flabbergast 4 (⅗) can be nice when paired with Sync Pairs that can prey on confused enemies, but Confusion is a bit lackluster in general due to how many stages have Lessen Confusion skills, and the tile is also awkward to reach.

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

  • Fainting Heal 1 (⅗) is useful if Caitlin & Sableye are paired with a second tank, or if used on a stage that just needs a tiny bit more to complete, but it’s very lackluster 99% of the time and is expensive to reach.
  • X-Defense All: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅕) and X-Sp.Def All: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅕) provide almost no real benefit, and are useless beyond ⅕.
  • Despite the fact that using Caitlin & Sableye means accepting that their payment will be 1 Sync Move, Sync Move Power+25 nodes add very little, and aren’t worth the cost.

Lucky Skills

Hey, guess what? For once we have a tank that doesn’t need Vigilance, because Caitlin & Sableye have it as a standard part of their kit! Instead, Defense Crush 2 is great if they’re paired with a Physical attacker, or Fast-Track 2 is great if your build doesn’t focus on maxing team Speed. An argument can also be made for Fairy Guard, as it nearly removes Sableye’s weakness in practice. This can be especially useful for newer players, as it can make Caitlin & Sableye near-universally useful. Other lucky skills worth mentioning are Antitoxin, Flameproof, or Escape Artist, as Caitlin & Sableye are very vulnerable to DoT status effects if they don’t have a chance to activate Status Nullification via their Trainer Move post-Mega. However, these skills will basically fall flat in 85% of battles, and even then it’s hard to say which is the best to consider… if they’re worth considering at all.

Team Comps

To start with; Caitlin & Sableye are outstanding at raising a plethora of different stats, so Sync Pairs that appreciate general stat increases such as Marnie & Morepeko or Steven & Rayquaza pair with them quite well. Their ability to accelerate the move gauge early-game and boost team speed also makes them very attractive on dual-Striker setups, and they can pair well with Blue & Aerodactyl in this capacity, as their ability to max our team Critical Rate while also dealing huge damage and stay gauge-friendly makes it easy to fit a second striker on the team. Sableye can even patch up Aerodactyl’s lowered defenses as an added bonus.  Just note that Aerodactyl and Sableye both want to Mega Evolve ASAP, so that can be an issue. While Caitlin & Sableye may not have a huge number of Sync Pairs that they fit together with like two puzzle pieces, many Sync Pairs can appreciate their general capabilities, making them a solid pick alongside almost any self-sufficient Striker, or any Striker that appreciates a bit of Attack, Speeed, or Accuracy.

Is It Worth Pulling?

While not the apex of Support utility, Caitlin & Sableye have a fairly wide buffing profile that’s complete with a few stats that are not common to see included. They excel at protecting their team, and even reward the cost of their Mega Evolution with a number of important benefits. They also have solid tanking capabilities, and the ability to fit on many teams with ease. They’re not must-have, but Caitlyn & Sableye are definitely worth an investment in, especially for newer players that may be lacking strong tanks.

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