Should You Pull? Cynthia & Lucario

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TL;DR: Should You Pull?

What Does It Do?

Despite being paired with her Garchomp, Kommo-O, and even the Legendary Pokemon Giratina, it seems that Cynthia is still not satisfied with her place on Pasio. Leaving behind her beloved dragons, she dons a new Sygna Suit and calls upon the Lucario that she used as the Champion of Sinnoh. Now prepared to stand as an iron wall against any that they may face, Sygna Suit Aura Cynthia & Lucario exude a Fighting spirit so strong that it literally empowers those around them, and they now seek to carve out their own place while facing off against the two Pikachu-trainers that would seek to overshadow her, Red and Ash. But the question remains; can Cynthia & Lucario rise to glory in the face of such overwhelming competition?

Cynthia & Lucario comprise a Fighting Type Support Sync Pair with a weakness to Fire Type attacks. They have great bulk that becomes even stronger Post-Mega-Evolution, solid Speed, and a surprisingly high Special Attack stat for a Support unit. We start their move overview with Vacuum Wave, which is a 1-bar Fighting Type move. It’s honestly nothing special, but a 1-bar move on a Support unit is always appreciated. Next is Potion, which is… well… Potion. It’s great to have available, as it potentially has universal utility. Moving on we come to Cynthia’s Trainer Move, It Won’t End Here!. This move is pretty monstrous on the Defensive side of the spectrum, as it’s a 1-MP move that grants +4 Defense and Special Defense to the entire team, or a full +6 if Fighting Zone is active… more on that soon! To finish off normal moves (and I use the term “normal” lightly in this case) is B Aura Sphere. This is one of the newly-introduced Buddy Moves, meaning it has specific requirements before it can be utilized. In this case, it becomes available when Lucario takes 2 attacks. When activated, it doesn’t cost any bars to use and deals pretty mediocre damage, but on use it has the advantage of giving the entire team two stacks of the Special and Physical Attack Up Next effects, as well as setting Move Gauge Acceleration. At 2 uses per battle, the effects of this move are sure to be fairly significant. Finally, Learn By Battle Aura Sphere is Cynthia & Lucario’s Sync Move. it has a low base power, but it Mega Evolves Lucario on use and has the advantage of potentially granting the coveted Support EX buff, so it’s definitely worth using at least once!

Moving on to Passive Skills, we start with Sinnoh Flag Bearer, which is Cynthia & Lucario’s Master Skill. It’s the classical version that boosts damage dealt and reduces damage taken evenly across Special and Physical Moves while also powering up with more Sinnoh units on the field, so it’s great for literally any partners that Cynthia & Lucario may have. Next is Cynthia’s Aura, which is one of the main reasons to pull for this pair. When entering the battle or using a Sync Move (not just the first), this skill sets Fighting Zone on the field, powering up Fighting Type moves as a result. This skill makes it so that you’re virtually guaranteed to have Fighting Zone active throughout the first two Sync Move Cycles, and it also gives the option of throwing an additional Sync Move Cynthia & Lucario’s way to refresh the zone at any time. Next up is Team Fist Bump 3, which has 40% odds of restoring a bit of HP to the entire team when Lucario successfully performs an attack for even more longevity support. Finally, Initial Guard provides the Damage Guard effect when Cynthia & Lucario hit the field. This may seem a bit weak when you consider the fact that most battles open with the opposing team performing pin-prick attacks, but it’s important to remember that “when entering” skills activate not only at the start of the battle, but on Mega Evolution as well. And since Cynthia & Lucario don’t change any passive skills on Mega Evolution, it actually has more utility than it seems to at first glance.

All-in-all, Cynthia & Lucario make for one of the most defensively sound Support units in the game. With great defensive stats, instant full-team Defense/Special Defense maxing, multiple recovery sources, and access to multiple uses of the Damage Guard Next effect, this is a Sync Pair that is nothing if not tenacious! But that’s not why most players will pull for them. The crown-jewel of this Sync Pair has to be the ability to set the long-awaited Fighting Zone, which has the potential to raise several powerful Sync Pairs to new heights. On top of that, the abilities of B Aura Sphere add additional Move Gauge support and sheer power into the mix, which encourages quick-kill tactics that are protected by the aforementioned defensive wall that Cyntia & Lucario erect on their side of the battlefield. Focused and strong, this is a Sync Pair that is likely to see real use for anyone that manages to pull them.

However, we also have to deal with the fact that not everything is as perfect as it may seem. For starters, Cynthia & Lucario offer almost no classical offensive support for the team outside of Critical Rate, and that’s only with their Grid at ⅗. On top of that, the utility of their Fighting Zone setting capabilities are just a tiny bit less useful than they may seem. At the moment, most of our top Fighting Type attackers have high move damage and stellar Sync Move damage. Given Cynthia & Lucario’s need to Sync in order to set Fighting Zone, it can be hard to allow attackers to Sync while the coveted Zone is active, and even if you do manage to make it work, that also means that at least one full Sync Cycle without Fighting Zone active will inevitably follow. This isn’t to say the effect is useless, far from it in fact. With Fighting Zone up, many teams will be able to clear stages far faster than they would otherwise even without Syncing, just don’t expect to break the world open with many overpowered Fighting Type Sync Moves. And on that note, while the need to Sync to refresh Fighting zone is fine early-game, anything beyond utilizing the first Sync Move with Cynthia & Lucario will generally result in a net-loss in damage, which makes their Fighting Type team comps even more frustrating. This is a focused Sync Pair that works in a very specific way, so it’s important to make sure that they’re supporting the right team in order to shine.

Champion Stadium: Master Mode

While the obvious ideal pairing here is with other Fighting Types, Cynthia & Lucario have a huge supportive presence that can be used on pretty much any stage with great results. For this reason, they can potentially offer more utility than just their obvious use.

Legendary Arena & Gauntlet

The boss in question is going to have to literally drag Cynthia & Lucario away kicking and screaming to get them off of the field while also anchoring the rest of their team in place, because this is a Sync Pair that does not want anyone to drop. And that’s bad for any boss, as their mere presence is intensely dangerous due to their focused supportive options. The one problem might be keeping Fighting Zone up long-term, as most attackers don’t want to give away too many Sync Moves, especially as the fight drags on. Still, this is definitely a Sync Pair worth bringing to the Arena or Gauntlet.

Extreme Battles

We currently don’t have many good Sinnoh Support units, so having Cynthia & Lucario available can be huge whenever a Sinnoh-based event rolls around. The one issue to note is that most of the top Sinnoh units in the game bring their own Zones to the field, so it can be a bit hard for Cynthia & Lucario to stay relevant. Beyond that, they can also act as a potential win-condition for high damage stages.

Battle Villa 

Free use of Fighting Zone can be nice for some Sync Pairs, and it’s possible to fish for an MP Refresh on Cynthia’s Trainer Move for +6 Defense/Special Defense on every stage, but overall Cynthia & Lucario don’t bring much to the Villa.

How To Use It?

Sync Grid

These are generally the most important tiles to pick up:

  • A mix of the two Potion: MP Refresh 2 (⅖ & ⅗) and the two Potion: Master Healer 1 (⅖ & ⅗) tiles can be useful for any team, though most builds will forego the last Master Healer 1 tile to conserve energy for other goals.
  • Vacuum Wave: Focus Group 9 (⅗) gives Cynthia & Lucario the ability to actually apply some classical offensive support for the team, making it very valuable potentially.
  • Sync Free For All (⅗) can set up a huge burst of damage depending on Cynthia & Lucario’s team, and synergizes well with the fact that they want to take the first Sync each battle if possible.
  • Head Start 1 (⅗) is great if you have a team that can capitalize on it, and can also help to ensure that Fighting Zone doesn’t end before the first Sync Move, which can be a life-saver for  Fighting Type attackers that want to clear the stage early with a quick Sync. 
  • Fighting Zone Triage Tank 4 (⅖) offers a fair bit of additional longevity, making it worth picking up. Just note that this tile can prevent quad-queuing if it activates right before a Sync Move turn, as it gives the opposition just enough time to sneak in a move.
  • Brawling Acceleration 2 (⅖) is great for a bit of Move Gauge support

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

  • Vacuum Wave: Gobsmack 4 (⅖) is handy for a bit of additional utility on Vacuum Wave, but Confusion isn’t exactly the best status in the game in most cases.
  • Vacuum Wave: Numbing Blow 4 (⅗) has its place, but that’s almost strictly on teams that need a bit of help setting up Paralysis. Minus that, Paralysis is a bit of a lackluster status.
  • Vacuum Wave: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅖) can make Cynthia & Lucario even better move gauge-wise.

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

  • Impervious (⅗) is potentially very useful on some stages, but it’s also very expensive to reach, making it less than ideal 
  • Team Staring Contest (⅗) can actually be a great tile depending on the stage, but it’s not a top pick for a general pickup.
  • Antitoxin (⅕), Sand Shelter (⅕) and Haste (⅕) are nice for select stages, but generally easy skips.
  • Tough Cookie (⅖) isn’t the best pickup as Cynthia & Lucario aren’t known for their damage-dealing prowess. 
  • It Won’t End Here! MP Refresh 2 (⅗) is virtually useless outside of the Villa, where it’s still a mediocre pick.

Sync Grid Levels & EX Viability

The problem with Cynthia & Lucario at ⅕ is the fact that they’re a bit passive in nature. They set Fighting Stage and can offer Physical/Special Damage Up Next effects when using B Aura Sphere, but the vast majority of what they actually do when they take the field is defensive in nature. They’re fine at this level, but the burden of offensive setup falls almost exclusively to teammates. 

At ⅖, Cynthia & Lucario start to shine a bit brighter. They become substantially better at tanking with the first Potion MP Refresh/Master Healer combo and Fighting Zone Triage Tank 4, and can help the team out more with Vacuum Wave: Gobsmack 4 and Brawling Acceleration 2.

⅗ is where Cynthia & Lucario can start buffing Critical Rate with Vacuum Wave: Focus Group 9, which allows them to break into more team-comps. They also gain Sync Free For All, Head Start 1, and the second set of Potion-buffing tiles, all of which are potentially very valuable.

Honestly, all three Sync Move levels are fine in their own right. ⅕ is fine if you’ve got a solid set of Sync Pairs that are offensively self-sufficient, though ⅖ is objectively better and worth going for if you want a bit more defensive play in particular. ⅗ is the big goal, and this is where Cynthia & Lucario are actually a bit more flexible, so that may be an option worth going for.

As a Support unit that appreciates Mega-evolving while simultaneously refreshing Fighting Zone, EXing Cynthia & Lucario is definitely a priority. The addition of the Support EX boost to all that they already do adds a lot more utility to throwing the first Sync Move their way, and the additional stats don’t hurt either.

Lucky Skills

With the ability to tank like pros thanks in part to maxed out Defenses, the obvious choice here is definitely Vigilance for its ability to protect those buffs from random crits.

However, Head Start 1 and Adrenaline 1 are also worth considering for any team that has a focus on Sync Move acceleration. Head Start 1 can help the team reach their first Sync Move before Fighting Zone has a chance to end, while  Adrenaline 1 has the advantage of covering for Cynthia & Lucario if their quad-queue fails due to missed timing or Fighting Zone Triage Tank 4 activating at the worst possible time.

Team Comps

While we’ve touched on this already, let’s start by going a bit more in-depth on how well Cynthia & Lucario pair with other Fighting Types. The big names for sheer damage at this point are Special Costume Diantha & Keldeo and Bea & Sirfetch’d, both of which can deal huge damage while Fighting Zone. They may not be able to do much by way of boosted Sync Moves, but the sheer power of Fighting Zone combined with their high move damage makes for very easy stage clears. Cynthia & Lucario work perfectly for Bea & Sirfetch’d in particular, though Diantha & Keldo appreciate a little more help with Special Attack that Cynthia & Lucario can’t provide. The trio can also work together to absolutely wreck any Fighting weak stage, though relegating Diantha & Keldeo to a slightly more supportive role in that trio may be appreciated.

Moving on from the big-name fighters, the lesser-used Fighting Type attackers like Wally & Gallade, Bruno & Machamp, and Korrina & Lucario can all rise to new heights while paired with Cynthia & Lucario. In fact, it almost feels as though this Sync Pair was designed to pair with any of these three, as the damage-enhancing powers of Fighting Zone combined with  the comprehensive defensive buffs provided by Cynthia & Lucario come together to really patch up their weaknesses extremely well. But I can’t help but feel like we’re forgetting another Fighting Type. Who could it be…? That’s right, Special Costume Guzma & Buzzwole get a special mention here. With potentially devastating attack move damage that’s compounded by Fighting Zone, Defensive support to bolster their lowered bulk, and faster Physical Attack Up Next stacks, this is a Fighter that gets a ton out of being paired with Cynthia & Lucario. 

Moving on from the obvious, let’s forget that Fighting Zone gives a damage boost and look at Cynthia & Lucario on a slightly less focused team. For starters, their huge defensive kit and great Move Gauge management can allow them to slot in with powerful attackers that don’t particularly need offensive buff support like Sygna Suit Steven & Deoxys - Attack Forme, Blue & Aerodactyl, or Sygna Suit Giovanni & Nidoking. Attackers that just plainly want additional stats for one reason or another also love having access to insta-maxed Defenses, including Special Costume Hilda & Diancie with Tough Cookie or Sygna Suit Korrina & Marshadow with Good Form.

Is It Worth Pulling?

Among the three Third Anniversary Master Fair units, Cynthia & Lucario are probably the lowest priority. Are they bad? Not in the least. However, they are more limited in terms of utility than Ash & Pikachu or Sygna Suit Thunderbolt Red & Pikachu, both of which have potentially absurd power in many situations. You’re going to need to consider your team a lot more with Cynthia & Lucario than you will need to with their contemporaries, and may not be able to slot them into every team that you would otherwise want them for. That said, if you have a base of attackers that can take care of themselves or a number of side-units that can buff the team in various ways in order to act as a stop-gap for where Cynthia & Lucario are a bit lacking, then this is a Sync Pair that is amazingly formidable and extremely difficult to break down. 

To summarize; while it’s common practice to pick a Support unit to match your chosen Striker, with Cynthia & Lucario you may need to pick a Striker that matches your Support Unit instead. If you have the resources to make that work, then you’ll have a real winner on your hands!

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