TL;DR: Should You Pull?
What Does It Do?
The Isle of Armor was the first expansion added to Pokemon Sword and Shield, and it brought with it a number of new features. However, the entire expansion largely revolved around one Legendary Pokemon: the evolved form of the “Secret Armor” of the Isle of Armor, Urshifu. Coming in two different flavors, this was the big take-away for the story, and it seems that Gloria took away the Water Type Rapid-Strike variant, as she makes her grand return to Pasio in her Dojo outfit, and is partnered with none other than the Secret Armor of Galar itself. So was Gloria’s training on the Isle of Armor worth the time and effort? It’s time to take a look for ourselves.
Don’t be fooled by what you may read on the Internet, because Gloria & Urshifu only have two moves in Pokemon Masters. Yeah, Iron Head can flinch, and Close Combat hits hard with a Defense/Special Defense drop to Urshifu, yada yada yada… but they are not the main reason that you pull for Gloria & Urshifu. No, the only moves that really matter are Flow Like Water, Gloria’s Trainer Move that grants +3 Attack/-1 Sync Move countdown at 2 uses, and Surging Strikes, a Water Type move that takes 3 bars and hits 3 times on use with a 100% Critical Rate, but has low base power for its cost to compensate. It’s also worth mentioning that, despite having a base 100% Critical Rate, this attack and every similar effect hereafter cannot actually pierce the opposing team’s Critical Hit defensive measures unless otherwise stated. So why exactly are these practically the only two moves in Gloria & Urshifu’s arsenal? Well, my friends, we’ll get to that in just a moment, as we’re not quite done yet. Not only are Gloria & Urshifu powerful in their own right, this is also a Dynamax Sync Pair with 3 different moves at their disposal. First is Iron Head, which becomes Max Steelspike. This powerful Steel Type move hits hard and raises the Defense of all allied Sync Pairs by 2 ranks. Next is Max Knuckle, which is a Fighting Type move that raises the team’s Attack by 2 ranks. Finally, G-Max Rapid Flow is a Water Type move that is always a Critical hit, ignores passive skills that would reduce the attack’s damage, ignores the Damage Guard Next effect, and even ignores passive skills that would prevent it from being a Critical Hit. This move is a potentially huge source of damage!
So now let’s see what exactly the big deal is with Gloria & Urshifu’s passive skills. First up, we have Punishing Strike 9. With this skill, each successful attack made will drop the target’s Defense by 1 stage. Except it’s actually not “each successful attack”, it’s “each successful hit”! This makes each use of Surging Strikes drop the target’s defense by 3 stages, generally bottoming the opposition out after just 2 uses. Ah, but we’re not done yet! Recharging Strike 4 follows the previous idea perfectly, as it’s basically a Move Gauge Refresh that has 50% odds of activating with every single hit landed. This means that it’s actually possible to recover 3 bars from the use of a single 3-bar move without any grid-based Move Gauge Refresh effects, and can help out with Move Gauge Management substantially. Finally, Critical Sync is exactly what it says; it ensures a Critical Hit on Sync Moves.
When all is said and done, Gloria & Urshifu hit the field like an absolute tempest, raining down powerful blows with ease. Given 2 Trainer Move uses and 2 attacks, they not only have virtually maxed offensive stats, but have also dropped their target’s Defense by a huge 6 ranks with ease. And while doing this, chances are that they’ve also scored the equivalent of multiple Move Gauge Refreshes, making life all the easier on their team. All-in-all, despite having effects that seem to be all over the place on the surface, Gloria & Urshifu are actually very focused and very effective, with a straight-forward goal of decimating the opposing team with rapid strikes and crushing blows.
For down-sides… we don’t have much, honestly. Surging Strikes has low base damage as a 3-bar move, so the actual damage output for Gloria & Urshifu may seem a bit lower than it should be given all that goes into it, but it’s still very good, objectively speaking. There’s also the fact that we don’t currently have a huge amount of synergy between our current Rain Team units and Physical attackers, so it can be difficult to piece a really optimal team together, but these are largely soft-cons that Gloria & Urshifu are very capable of circumnavigating. An argument could also be made for needing to hit ⅗ to get the real depths of this Sync Pair’s power, but even ⅕ is fine due to the sheer power of their base kit. The closest thing to a real con for this Sync Pair is the fact that we already have a few good Water Type Sync Pairs that can hold their own, so missing out isn’t exactly the end of the world. Yeah, it’s a bit of a stretch for a weakness, but this is honestly a Sync Pair that doesn’t have many to speak of.
Champion Stadium: Master Mode
Did you miss Archie & Kyogre? Don’t fret, Gloria & Urshifu are here to crush any Water-weak stage, as well as many neutral stages given their reliable and devastating Defense drops and their Max Move power. With huge damage output and great move gauge management, it’s pretty hard to go wrong here.
Legendary Arena & Gauntlet
Gloria & Urshifu have the potential to annihilate many stages, assuming they have some way around the stage’s gimmick.Tremendous damage output and easy stat drops make this Sync pair an absolute monster when facing down a single opponent in particular, and G-Max Rapid Flow can even ignore passive skills, which can set up a huge nuke on command as a result.
Crushing blows that drop Defense tend to work well regardless of the context. Just be aware of the fact that they will tend to be less useful on stages that they don’t have the Theme Skills needed to obtain a boost on.
Melting the opposing team’s Defense and not needing Critical Rate support for Water Type damage is a pretty valuable feature. Bringing some renewable Attack support from Sync Pairs like Red & Snorlax is definitely recommended, though Max Knuckle’s passive +2 Attack can definitely help. Gloria & Urshifu really have a lot of potential here, overall.
How To Use It?
These are generally the most important tiles to pick up:
- Insult to Injury (⅗) increases Gloria & Urshifu’s attack damage even more the more that the target’s Defense has been lowered. It ups their damage output significantly by just doing what they were going to do anyway.
- Relentless (¾) is the same as Insult to Injury, but for Sync Moves instead.
- Tripping Strike 9 (⅗) causes every hit of Gloria & Urshufu’s attacks to drop the target’s Speed. It’s nice on its own, but its main use is with….
- Hunter’s Instinct (⅗) increases Gloria & Urshifu’s attack damage even more the more that the target’s Speed has been lowered. When combined with Tripping Strike, this results in huge damage output.
- If you want to go with a Steel Type set, then Iron Head: Aggravation 1 (⅖) can greatly increase the odds of Iron Head scoring a Flinch.
- Steel Type sets will need some Critical Rate support. Stacking Strike 9 (⅗) gives 100% odds of raising Urshifu’s Critical Rate by 1 per hit scored, meaning a single use of Surging Strikes can max it.
Next are the tiles that are nice to have, but are either niche or not generally worth going out of the way for:
- The two Sync Move: Power+25 (⅗) tiles are nice for added damage, but their main utility will tend to be getting from one quadrant of the grid to another with solid return on energy spent.
- Supportive builds may appreciate Surging Strikes: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅕) or Iron Head: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅕), though they can also be a bit redundant and will tend to be sub-optimal in lieu of damage-boosting tiles.
- Racing Rain 2 (⅖) speeds up the Move Gauge in the rain, and is a decent pick-up for Rain teams, though it’s generally best to ignore in favor of damage-boosting tiles unless your team really needs the added speed.
- Adrenaline 1 (⅗) reduces the Sync Move counter by 1 after Gloria & Urshifu use their Sync Move, which not only ensures an initial quad-queue, it can also be useful for cutting a rotation of if their teammates have similar effects available. The one problem is that picking this tile up will come at the cost of significant damage.
- MAX Double Down 3 (⅗) is nice on paper, as it gives a large boost to Max Move damage when it’s Super Effective. However, picking this tile up will cost damage boosting tiles that are substantially more reliable in most battles, so it’s probably best to skip move of the time.
- Endurance (⅗) applies the Enduring effect when Gloria & Urshifu hit the field at full HP. It can be handy, but generally won’t be a game-changer.
Finally, these are the tiles that are probably best to ignore unless they somehow play into a bigger strategy in some way:
- Flow Like Water! MP Refresh 2 (⅖) doesn’t give anything aside from reducing the Sync Move Counter by 1 per use beyond the 2-use base, but it can be a bit useful if your team needs more ways to speed up the counter. While not terrible, it’s generally not worth the cost of picking up.
- Close Combat: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅕) is the worst of the Move Gauge Refresh tiles, as Fighting is generally Gloria & Urshifu’s weakest type.
- Quick Cure (⅖) can be nice, but most stages won’t inflict interference on your attacker unless the tank is already gone.
Sync Grid Levels & EX Viability
⅗ is very important for Gloria & Urshifu, as virtually all of the most important tiles on their grid is locked behind this Move Level. If pulling for Gloria & Urshifu is a priority, then be prepared to pull for more copies and/or invest a few Tech Move Candies in them. ⅖ brings Iron Head: Aggravation, though other Sync Pairs can generally perform this function better without other tiles to draw from for support. ⅕ offers nothing grid-wise aside from Move Gauge Refresh tiles on all three of Urshifu’s attacks, but at least Gloria & Urshifu’s base kit is still pretty effective.
Investing in 20/20 and unlocking Gloria & Urshifu’s EX form is definitely beneficial, but it’s also not necessarily a high priority depending on the situation. For a more supportive build that’s focused on stat drops, the stat boosts and EX boost to Sync Move damage won’t make a huge difference. However, if your goal is to use Gloria & Urshifu for their Water Type damage, then the 1.5x Tech EX Boost to Sync Move damage can be very significant.
Critical Strike 2 is the old classic, and it works beautifully here to offer a comprehensive damage boost. The other main option is Weathered Warrior 3 if the plan is to use Gloria & Urshifu on Rain teams, though this skill can also limit their general offensive utility to specific teams that have Rain built in.
For any build focused on utilizing Water Type damage, a bit of Rain support can result in huge damage gains. May & Swampert, Sygna Suit Kris & Suicune, and Winona & Pelipper can fit alongside Gloria & Urshifu and bring the rain so that Urshifu’s flowing punches hurt all the more. An especially useful partner on this front can be Archie & Kyogre, who can make it Rain and take advantage of Gloria & Urshifu’s stellar move gauge management options in order to add huge waves of AoE damage to compliment Urshifu’s torrent of single-target damage. Nessa & Drednaw also have great synergy with Gloria & Urshifu, allowing them to score huge Water Type damage together. The one issue is that Rain will generally need to fall to the Support slot on the team, meaning Sygna Suit Kris & Suicune will be your best bet.
Barry & Empoleon can also enjoy having Gloria & Urshifu on the team, as this team comp makes Cakewalk all the easier to activate, which results in even stronger AoE Sync Moves. Meanwhile, if Steel is the type of choice, Palentines Marnie & Mawile can provide Steel Zone to generate a similar damage-boost.
For hyper-offensive setups, a Support unit with some Move Gauge help can be an important partner for Gloria & Urshifu. Units like Skyla & Swanna, Halloween Caitlin & Sableye, or Sygna Suit Morty & Ho-oh can be extremely valuable in this capacity, with each also bringing their own unique side-support options to the field as well. The Super Effective Up Next effect can also be invaluable, and can be provided by Red & Snorlax to provide huge bursts of Super Effective damage via Sync Moves and/or Max Moves.
If using Gloria & Urshifu for their more supportive potential with quick and easy Defense drops, then virtually any Physical attacker can appreciate having them on the team if the Move Gauge allows, especially those who can actually capitalize on these stat drops, such as Champion Iris & Hydreigon or Masked Royal & Incineroar.
Is It Worth Pulling?
Gloria & Urshifu rival Archie & Kyogre easily in terms of total damage output, and have potentially devastating stat-drops available as well. It’s hard to go wrong with this Sync Pair, but keep in mind that we’re now on the road to the 3-year anniversary and this is not a Master Sync Pair, so they’ll likely be back in a few months. Consider the future before pulling, but know that an investment in this banner is anything but a waste.