Should You Pull? Darach & Staraptor

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TL;DR: Should You Pull?

What Does It Do?

It has indeed been quite a while since Darach took up his vaunted post within the Battle Villa, providing a worthy challenge for those who wish to obtain the treasures that Lear hides within the loftiest levels of his personal chateau. However, one may only reside within the confines of such opulence for so long, for a trainer’s heart longs for the experience that the world may bring according to its own whims. At long last, the esteemed Castle Valet is prepared to join us in our ongoing journey.

Any attempt to Judge Darach & Staraptor must begin by examining their very foundations; the statistical totals that help to determine their capabilities. A simple analysis of this Sync Pair reveals an Attack stat that is best described as rather middling yet usable, a Special Attack stat that matters not due to this particular Sync Pair’s distinct lack of Special Attacks, a Speed stat that is rather impressive when consideration to all available competition is given, and a total bulk that is, admittedly, rather lacking. To summarize, they are statistically lacking, yet this foundation alone fails to reveal the depths of the strategy that Darach & Staraptor seek to utilize. 

When referring to available moves, we have a fairly robust set to examine. Brave Bird is a relatively strong physical attack that comes at the cost of 3 Move Gauge bars and a rather hefty base recoil. Feather Dance vexes the opposition with -2 Attack on activation, making it a worthy option when the damage-output of the opponent is a genuine worry. Defog is rather a quaint move that we’ve already seen used by the likes of Lisia & Altaria that removes all “barriers” that the opposing side of the field may currently be utilizing, while also offering a reduction in evasion in the process. Have At You!, our dear Sync Pair’s lone Trainer Move, provides +3 Attack and the Gradual Healing effect, but our generous friend also grants +3 Speed to the team as well. Sadly, this move has but one use available. 

The next item on our agenda that simply must be examined is the set of passive skills that Darach & Staraptor have at their disposal. To begin this list, we have Ripple Effect 9, which allows all stat-lowering effects provided by Darach & Staraptor to simultaneously affect all other opponents simultaneously. This puts Feather Dance into a rather different light, does it not? The skill Power Posture works alongside the previous to provide rather a devious note, as it enables a sizable push to damage based on the target’s lowered Attack stat. Finally, Standfast 7 is a useful tool, as it substantially reduces the HP tax that Brave Bird so rudely demands with its every utilization.

So now that we understand the substance that makes up Darach & Staraptor, let’s discuss exactly why their utilization has the potential to be particularly advantageous, shall we? To begin, we have the substantial level of damage that they are capable of providing with a bit of proper consideration offered. Their Sync Move comes equipped with a self-boosting clause that increases in effect based on the lowering of the target’s Attack stat, and this is quite capable of compounding with an identical effect on their grid, as well as another that is based on the target’s lowered evasiveness. This allows for some rather impressive aerobatics on the part of Staraptor, which translates into a spectacular singular blow that is quite likely to cause many of its would-be targets to simply bow out of the battle. Another advantage afforded to Darach & Staraptor is the generalized level of utility that they oh so graciously provide to their team. With the capability to lower Attack and Evasion alone they can be formidable, but their team Speed allowances and the capability to whisk away troublesome barriers with Defog assures their utility to a greater degree.

And now, at risk of seeming rude, I have the unfortunate duty of sharing the less than desirable traits that tend to follow Darach & Staraptor as a spectre. To begin with, we must address the disparagement within their damage output. While their Sync Move capabilities are indeed formidable, Brave Bird is far less impressive. While acceptable, it is rather middling, meaning using Darach & Staraptor for their damage capabilities may bring less than favorable results in the end. Their use of Tech skills can also result in something of a mixed bag, shall we say? Lowering Attack can be rather useful, but it will have limited utility in many scuffles and virtually none in others. Defog, meanwhile, is capable of aiding the team in select scenarios, but is rather limited in terms of the wider utility spectrum. True, it has its genuine uses, but they are rather few and far between in the grand scheme. Moving on, we come to the problem of their self-sufficiency, or rather lack thereof. Inability to complete Attack increases can be rather a problem, and the lack of any form of Critical Rate boosts for a Sync Pair that focuses oh so heavily on Sync Move damage is a noteworthy shortcoming. Still, we live in a day-and-age where many other Sync Pairs are all too happy to fill in these small shortcomings, making this point a tad less impactful, though still quite important to keep in mind. And on the matter of Sync Moves; it must be said that they have become rather valuable as of late, what with Mega Evolution, EX Support buffs, and whatnot. Affording Darach & Staraptor such a commodity is indeed viable, yet the sheer weight of such authority placed on their shoulders makes them less able to work alongside other Sync Pairs that would rather take a Sync Move for themselves. In the end, when the whole of Darach & Staraptor truly comes to light, the rather unfortunate truth of the matter is revealed: their capacity to reduce the stats of the opposition is rather lacking in practice. This leaves their skills surmounted by other Sync Pairs such as Masked Royal & Incineroar, who have a far more utilitarian whole upon which to draw. 

Champion Stadium: Master Mode

The obvious reason to request the aid of Darach & Staraptor here would be the utility of Defog. You see, this skill is not only capable of removing the barriers that the opposition set in place for themselves, but also ones that you may now offer with a devilish string attached. Choosing to offer an opponent Physical, Special, and Critical barriers at the beginning of the fight and then revoking all three with Defog provides a simple 250 points. Moving on, the capability to perform impressive Sync Nukes can be quite useful for clearing out particularly dangerous targets in short order with just a bit of proper ground work, and the fact that many stages within every region to date tend to focus almost exclusively on Physical attacks can allow Feather Dance to be seen in a rather flattering light.

The Legendary Arena

Select foes within the arena are capable of raising barriers the likes of which Darach & Staraptor are all too glad to simply escort away while providing impressive single-target damage. Their ability to make use of debuffs may also open up more opportunities as well. They are slightly limited within this game-mode, but have the skills needed to perform well.

Extreme Battles

The lion’s share of Darach & Staraptor’s skills are best designated as “niche”, and Extreme Battles generally won’t have the mechanics in play to allow them to genuinely shine.

The Battle Villa 

While the capability to freely lower Attack can be rather quaint, its utility is fairly limited within the Villa. Since even Defog relies on MP for utilization, perhaps it would be best to leave Darach to attend to the villa rather than challenge it.

How To Use It?

These are generally the most important tiles on Darach & Staraptor’s grid:

  • Pecking Order (⅖) and Easy Target (⅗) are splendid choices for ensuring maximum return on an invested Sync Move, and they pair quite well with the two Sync Move Power+25 (⅗) tiles.
  • Weigh Down 4 (⅗) is rather a useful tile that synergizes quite well with Easy Target, making it a fine choice for such a build.
  • Power Flux 3 (⅗) and Standfast 5 (⅗) are outstanding should the use of Brave Bird be your primary goal.
  • Have At You! MP Refresh 2 (⅖) can be quite useful for completing Attack and Team Speed increases, though the low odds are rather risky, so Have At you! Pep Rally 1 (⅖) may be a meaningful concession in that regard. 

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

  • Haste (⅕) has admittedly niche utility, but the fact that it provides the least obtuse path to greater heights makes it rather desirable. 
  • Brave Bird: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅖) provides a degree of much-appreciated ease-of-use, but the opportunity cost of seeking out this tile will generally not be worth the trouble.
  • Feather Dance: Slo-Mo 9 (⅖) has some utility for those attempting to utilize Darach & Staraptor for their more Tech-oriented skills, though the return on this investment is questionable.
  • Defog: MP Refresh 2 (⅖) can be useful in select cases, though 2 uses of this move should suffice in the vast majority of cases.
  • First Aid 4 (⅗) can provide a worthwhile increase in longevity, yet it will frequently lack an impact on the battle that cannot be better provided via other means.

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

  • Pitch Hitter 3 (⅗) provides a substantial dividend in Attack on activation, but is quite risky to rely on in practice.
  • Demobilize 1 (⅖) enables stronger Sync Move damage given the proper build, though the actual activation of it is quite inefficient.
  • Wide Open (⅗) seems a worthy goal for any Brave Bird-centric build, but its lofty place within the grid makes it rather unwieldy to reach, and leaves greater methods of dashing the opposition’s Evasion unobtainable. For these reasons, its actual utility is rather marginal.
  • Terrify 1 (⅖) provides one-half of the utility of a single Feather Dance, and can be quite the dickens to activate alongside other useful tiles.
  • Lithe (⅖) is quite difficult to reach, and offers quite limited utility in actuality. Perhaps avoiding this tile would be in your best interest?

Lucky Skills

In the way of Lucky Skills, the obvious choice rises to the surface first and foremost: Critical Strike 2. With this skill, Sync Move and attack damage alike are boosted, though Critical Rate support will be a foregone  requirement. Some may consider the advantages of Defense Crush 2 to be worthy of consideration, but this is sadly not as grand a choice as it seems on the surface. You see, the lone move capable of activating this particular Lucky Skill is Brave Bird, which makes it rather awkward to use in any efficient manner.

Team Comp

To begin this section, it is important to note that enabling the greatest return for Darach & Staraptor does indeed involve a bit of investment. In this case: Critical Rate and Attack are both needed in order to ensure maximum effectiveness. In this regard, Sync Pairs such as Hop & Zamazenta, Hilbert & Samurott, or Phoebe & Duskoir are standard-fare. Compatriots that are capable of handling the opponent’s Attack such as Mallow & Tsareena or Ghetsis & Kyurem, while counter-productive on the surface, may allow for faster build-up to potent use of Brave Bird and Sync Moves. By way of using Darach & Staraptor for the benefit of their compatriots, it is a tad more difficult to find a viable reason to utilize their skills. Steven & Rayquaza are capable of compounding Flying Type damage and don’t mind sharing a Sync Move or two to any great degree, making them viable partners where needed. Sync Pairs who lack perfect accuracy may benefit from Defog’s Evasion dropping capabilities, just as Sync Pairs that feature Pecking Order or similar skills will appreciate Feather Dance.

Is It Worth Pulling?

In the end, Darach & Staraptor are here to humbly serve, but is now the time for us to call upon their unique talents? Perhaps not, sadly. While interesting and quaint in strategy, Darach & Staraptor have only a marginal impact on the majority of scuffles that they may be used to manage. For the time being, allowing this loyal Sync Pair the freedom to perform their duties on their own schedule would be for the best. But fret not; as a part of the general pool now, a day will likely come when they enter your service of their own volition. It is simply a practical way of going about this sort of thing.

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About the Author(s)

Long-time Gamepress fan and writer for Pokemon Go and Pokemon Masters sub-site