Should You Pull? Champion Hop & Galarian Zapdos

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TL;DR: Should You Pull?

What Does It Do?

As a Master Fair unit, Neo Champion Hop possesses Galar Pride, which increments physical offense and defense up to cap based on the amount of Galar pairs on a team. 

One of Neo Champion Hop’s standout traits is that he’s the second Fighting Zone unit since Aura Cynthia’s reception, and more importantly summons the Zone via a move rather than by sync, giving him significantly more control and synergy with the various Fighting units clamoring for a more fluid option, as they previously had to scramble for only DPS builds for the more confined duration Aura Cynthia provided. 

Beyond this, Champion Hop provides an assortment of rich utilities. Dire Hit All + buffs critical hit rate for all allies, while Postwick Perseverance means Thunderous Kick and B Thunderous Kick drop both Defense and Special Defense by one and three stage respectively. B Thunderous Kick ignoring passives and evasion also makes it an excellent move against the various Legendary Gauntlet gimmicks, and is also more spammable relative to most other B Moves due to being refreshable over 6 countdown reductions, meaning it’s possible to get multiple B Thunderous Kicks off in a game.

How To Use It?

Sync Grid Considerations & Lucky Skills

Sync Grid & Sync Levels

Uniquely among his Master Fair cohorts, Hop is actually significantly less reliant on duplicates than what is usually expected of a pair of his pedigree. His excellent base kit aside, much of his grid simply increments his output with various scaling options for his normal and sync moves such as Inertia, Smarty Pants, Sloponnent Sync and their normal move counterparts, which tend to be his most common branchout build.

The remainder of the grid is mostly centered on appreciable but not unit changing utility options such as Sharp Entry 1 and his various Zone passives such as Brawling Opening Sync and his MPR, but chiefly among them Catalytic Kick 9, which furthers the amount of utility Hop can provide to a team. Hop’s nuke is sufficient to clear normal content even without significant investment, meaning that incentive to invest in duplicates should come from dedication, availability or simply enjoying fat numbers.

EX Viability

As aforementioned, for those who enjoy dopamine numbers and self impose for difficult content, Champion Hop’s EX can get the job done, being amongst the most powerful nukes in the game with multiple scaling avenues.

Lucky Skills

Head Start 1 and Critical Strike 2 are the standard options; the former goes well in tandem with his Lighting Legs passive for faster clears, while Critical Strike 2 gives him more damage, though his rich scaling options often means he’ll get diminishing returns relative to other users of the passive.

Games Modes

Champion Hop’s brute force and offensive inclinations make him an excellent choice for most Champion Stadium stages, where his sync nuke can make short work of even the more difficult stages while his fellow Fighting abusers can also benefit from fast clears with newfound consistency and power. 

Champion Hop’s access to more zones than usual with both MPR and Brawling Opening Sync gives him a more prolonged ability to maintain zone relative to his fellow zone setters, making him excellent for the Legendary Arena/Gauntlet as well. His compression of debuffs makes him particularly excellent against Latias while also having tech choices such as Ready for a Brawl 2 and Brawling Healing if durability is a concern. Against stages with debuffs, Champion Hop can also abuse said debuffs to gain reliable freebies for his four bar Thunderous Kick, despite his already excellent speed. It should be noted, however, that a variety of Legendary Gauntlets such as Regirock, Cobalion and the newly introduced Terrakion can turn Fighting coverage against Hop’s team, so keep that in mind when employing him for these particular stages. 

Lightning Legs also makes Hop an excellent Battle Villa player provided a source of free crit such as a Focus Group 9 user is brought alongside him, with Aura Cynthia notably partnering up with him excellently for a cheap Fighting core without MP constraints, with Brawling Opening Sync also gives him more avenues to converse his Trainer Move MP. 

Team Compositions

One does not require a Professor’s qualifications to deduce that Champion Hop synergizes especially well with the available Fighting cast, being a more reliable zone facilitator than the Sync reliant Aura Cynthia. Bea is amongst if not the best of his beneficiaries, benefiting from an increased Master Passive increment relative to other abusers and providing a more powerful compositional core with a support to round off her needs on top of a significantly more reliable zone boosted nuke, something that Aura Cynthia found it hard pressed to replicate.

Special Costume Diantha and Wally are similarly efficient partners, with the former not only being able to nuke even more brutally but also having the ability to branch into pure DPS builds that can max out her Special Attack, as Hop’s nuke can yield superior output to Diantha’s due to higher scaling. Wally gets the previously unrealistic combination of a zone setter that also compresses debuffs for Cakewalk, with the mixed defense drops also allowing Wally to make use of his mixed repertoire.

While the Galarian cast tends to lack synergy in and amongst its units who are more inclined for more anchored compositions, units such as Dojo Gloria and Nessa also have excellent synergy with Hop due to his ability to compress the debuffs they need for powerful outputs on top of being physical Strikes that get incremented Galar Pride bonuses.

Showcase Video

Is It Worth Pulling?

While amongst the best Techs in the game by far, one may consider foregoing Hop for Champion Marnie and Champion Bede, who are less replicable and have a more appreciable performance. As powerful and assorted as he is, many of his traits tend to be replicable rather than new. For players who have limited resources relative to the other two and/or already access to Aura Cynthia, the pressure to pull on Hop isn’t too high.

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