Should You Pull? Champion Calem & Greninja

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TL;DR: Should You Pull?

What Does It Do?

Calem, one of the main characters of Pokémon X & Y, had the unfortunate fate of not being treated as such from the start. Alongside Nate, he’s one of the very few MCs who didn’t get either a starter or a legendary as his original partner, instead being gifted a Espurr that later was able to evolve into a Meowstic, a Pokémon commonly associated with the rival of his original games. Since then, Calem hasn’t received much attention from DeNA, mostly being relegated as a secondary character to events that involve Kalos characters - Serena, especially. Now, he finally gets his starter, and not any Greninja, but a shiny one! Shinies don’t have the best record among Master Fairs if you may remember, but can Calem with his Champion outfit turn that around? Let’s find out!

Opening up with the stats, the shiny Greninja is superb here: 648/307/293 bulk at level 140 already puts Calem at around Sygna Suit Blue’s pre-mega, and with the extra protection of Kalos Pride, we got a excellent baseline for taking hits - to top that off, a insane Speed of 409 grants a pretty decent gauge generation for the unit. Rounding that up are the weak offenses of 137, which is pretty irrelevant for this supportive kit. The moves include Brutal Swing and Water Shuriken - neither is very relevant on their own, with Brutal Swing being AoE and Water Shuriken hitting up to 5 times, but they’ll have more interactions once we get to the passives. The Trainer Move is Glory of Understanding!, being 1 MP and taking 2 gauges to use, but giving Move Gauge Acceleration, +4 Attack, and +2 SpA and crit to the entire team. This is not enough to fully buff a team on its own, but makes for a very fast buffing move, an important thing for Calem to have as he wants to click other moves. B Double Team has an activation condition of 10 hits landed by allies, with AoE moves counting as 3 hits, and deactivate after being used, having a total of 2 MP. This move always boosts the evasion of all allies by 2 stages, but its bonus effects can change as we’ll see in the following paragraph.

Now, like Champion Serena does, Calem has a gimmick of changing types. Calm Fighter Water Transformation and Stoic Dark Transformation will make Calem switch between a Dark Sync Move and a Water Sync Move once he uses a move of that respective type. The Dark-type kit makes B Double Team give the team +2 Physical Move Up Next and summons a Dark Zone, alongside Recharging Strike 9, which restores the gauge for each hit done (with a reminder that this passive doesn’t work with Water Shuriken due to the type change), and Impervious, a pretty decent passives against stages that like to drop stats, especially defensive stats. The Water-type kit instead gets a +2 Special Move Up Next and a rain summon upon using B Double Team, while the passives transform into Restoring Strike 2, giving Calem a 30% chance to recover a bit of HP per hit done, and Status Immunity, which doesn’t come into play as often as Impervious, but since it’s a more situational passive, it’s possible to occasionally use it just for a single turn even on teams that want to focus on the Dark-type kit. Finally, Kalos Pride is always available regardless of the type, boosting the power of physical moves and reducing their damage when receiving them for the entire team.

So, despite Calem being a mixed support, there’s a clear bias towards physical units here: a Master Passive that boosts specifically physical moves and giving +4 Attack over the +2 that SpA gets makes a great generic physical support. While the Move Up boosts being tied to the same move that summons the field effects, this might be a bit annoying for Calem, as he won’t have as much liberty to give a unit such as Summer N Special Move Up or give Dojo Gloria a Physical Move Up boost, but when you don’t need to focus on the field effect by itself, it’s pretty easy to make use of them - of course, there’s also pairs that benefit from the combination offered by the move in general, such as Fall Hilbert for Dark teams and Champion Serena for Water teams. The fact that Calem will still offer Kalos Pride to physical Water units will also help in using mixed Water teams, as he’ll be helping both sides of the spectrum at the same time.

How To Use It?

Sync Grid Considerations & Lucky Skills

Sync Grid & Sync Levels

Calem has a few interesting nodes: Trainer Move: Critical Squad 1 will let Calem max crit in a single move, not relying on MPR for it. Trainer Move: Propulsion 9 can also be employed on Sync Acceleration strategies that tend to fit into the teams, such as with Dojo Gloria, while Team Safe Start is a very useful passive to give Endurance to the entire team - notably, this works even if you start at half HP, something that’s often not the case with Endurance passives. Closing out the ⅗ nodes are Team Mighty Sync 9 and Team Sync Think 9 to give Move Up effects upon Sync and a passive related to the field effects: Rain Gear 2 reduces the damage the user takes under rain, while Team Umbral Restoration 9 recovers the HP of the entire team when you move under Dark Zone - notably, the Dark-type kit does not have a innate passive to restore HP, unlike the Water-type one. 

⅖ also has interesting nodes, however, with Group Fortification 9 and First Aid 4 improving Calem’s defensive profile and Water Shuriken: Guaranteed Triple making unlocking Calem’s Buddy Move a bit more consistent alongside his recovery. Overall, Calem is good at any point that you pull: ⅕ offers a great base kit, ⅖ helps defensively, while ⅗ will unlock his full offensive support potential.

EX Viability

EX is an excellent choice for Calem due to his versatility: he’s often employed on dual damage compositions that heavily benefit from Support EX, and just his nature as a top physical support lets him fit into teams beyond his field effects.

Lucky Skills

Head Start 1 is probably the best choice here for ⅗ kits, having great synergy with his Propulsion 9 node previously mentioned - however, Adrenaline 1 and Vigilance should remain good options as well in case you don’t want to bother with quad-queues or worry about getting critted.

Games Modes

As a Top Tier Support, Calem should be strong on most game modes. His fast setup is spectacular for Master Mode, while the extra power he provides can be clutch against Extreme Battles - the fact that he can summon both a weather and a Zone also makes him pretty decent against a lot of possible gimmicks that can be done. Calem’s passives will also come pretty nicely against Legendary Arenas, as he has access to both Status Immunity and Impervious, two things that are often hard to deal with for other supports. The only mode that Calem is lacking is Battle Villa, as most of his kit is limited by MP and doesn’t provide much beyond that.

Team Compositions

Having released at the same time, the top synergy is obvious: Serena (Champion) & Greninja were made specifically to work with each other, with Calem perfectly complementing Serena’s buffing kit. Other great options to pair with them are rain units, such as Cyrus & Palkia, Archie & Kyogre, Player & Gyarados (Strike), and especially Gloria (Dojo Uniform) & Urshifu and Kris & Feraligatr will round up the team in an excellent way. For cheaper options, Nessa & Drednaw, Barry & Empoleon, and Gloria (Summer 2021) & Inteleon will work perfectly well with Calem, although they might want some extra support that can’t be provided by Calem himself, such as debuffs or Speed buffs. To finish this off, despite not being a rain unit, Sygna Suit Serena & Zygarde have such a high damage output that it can easily compare to Water strikers such as Archie & Kyogre despite the lack of a Dragon Zone boost for her on top of not only boosting Kalos Pride, but also providing her own Kalos Flag Bearer for an even bigger boost overall.

On the Dark side, N (Summer 2022) & Zoroark is the best Striker option to make use of the Zone, while Sygna Suit Cyrus & Darkrai really appreciate having a second Dark Zone summoner due to how busy his kit can get during a battle. Hilbert (Fall 2020) & Mightyena probably has the best synergy out of any Dark unit with Calem due to his physical nature, although you should watch for high recoil numbers with the boost that Physical Move Up provides. Karen & Mega Houndoom also got a great buff with her newfound partner, giving her a bit of SpA, crit buffs, Dark Zone, and confusion with Brutal Swing: Flabbergast 4, covering a lot of the support she needs overall.

Finally, physical Strikers in general would appreciate the presence of Calem to support them. The already mentioned Sygna Suit Serena & Zygarde can instead be used with Courtney & Mega Camerupt for a Ground damage build, getting a total of a 55% physical damage boost. Pairs such as Victor & Rillaboom, Emmet (Special Costume) & Escavalier, N & Zekrom, and Sygna Suit Korrina & Marshadow can also make use of Calem’s buffs and his Master Passive as generic physical attackers, with the last one also further boosting Kalos Pride.

Is It Worth Pulling?

Yes, without a doubt. Calem will give two field effects to anyone who pulls him (with Dark Zone being locked to another limited Sync Pair at the moment otherwise) on top of one of, if not the best physical support in the game that can also offer mixed boosts, making him useful to just about any player’s roster.

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About the Author(s)

I'm from Brazil and like games and competitive stuff, studying engineering on college and helping other people in general.