Should You Pull? Looker & Croagunk

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TL;DR: Should You Pull?

What Does It Do?

Debuting in Pokémon Platinum, Looker is one of the characters that appears the most in the series, appearing on BW, XY, ORAS, SM, and USUM until the 8th generation finally broke his record of showing on every generation since his first appearance. The member of the international police had a partner Croagunk that stopped showing on XY and all of the later games, but makes its return here (or, well, at least that’s a Croagunk) as a Poison Striker, the type most well known for lacking Sync Pairs - so, let’s see how it’s triumphant return (or not) turned out!

As always, starting with stats, it’s not very bright for Looker: 370 Attack is usable, but not amazing, while 240 Speed is a bit on the slow side. 586 HP with 141 defenses makes Croagunk among the frailest Strikers, making it have one decent stat and be underwhelming everywhere else. The moveset starts with Poison Sting, a 1 gauge move with 30% chance to poison the opponent, making it extremely weak, but useful for saving gauges on a hard situation. Dire Hit + will provide the necessary crit buffs while Poison Jab is the main move of the kit - while it is 3 gauges, the 30% chance to poison makes it pretty weak, and the move itself is yet to be made amazing on any kit by DeNA. The Trainer Move is On the Case!, raising Looker’s Attack by 4 stages, Speed by 2 stages, and giving him Super Effective Up Next. It is fast at buffing, but doesn’t make Looker fully self-sufficient as it’s limited by 1 MP. The Sync Move Hard-Boiled Poison Jab has no secondary effects, giving it 250 BP.

The passives include Refreshing Water Guard, which is a mix of Water Guard and Refreshing Rain: it reduces the damage from Water-type moves and makes the user recover HP if the weather is rainy. Looker is not really a Rain unit, so this is mostly a reference to Dry Skin on the main series. The second passive is Superduper Effective 9, which is Looker’s saving grace: a low BP move with a disappointing Attack needs a massie multiplier to back it up, but that’s Looker’s downfall too, as it only works on 1 every 17 stages in the game. The last passive is Toxic Chance 2, which makes every move have an extra 30% chance to poison the opponent (and unlike the word “toxic” might make you think, it’s normal poison, not badly poison). As normal poison doesn’t do much damage due to the reduction passives, it’s pretty much only a multiplier enabler.  

As it shows, Looker is made to be a Poison Striker and that only - his off-type performance is among the worst out of any 5* Striker in the game. Superduper Effective 9 does make it more salvageable, but do keep in mind that it’s still not impressive enough where it beats all of your off-type options, as some of them still manage to do better damage than him.

Champion Stadium: Master Mode

While Looker has an AoE Sync Move, its setup involving a status on the opponent makes it not ideal. Still, on-type multipliers do make Looker’s Sync usable here, especially with Super Effective Up Next, but don’t expect anything out of any week that doesn’t have a Poison-weak stage.

Legendary Arena & Gauntlet

Looker’s self buffs does make him a bit more usable here, but the fact that Legendary Arenas tend to get immunity to poison after a few bars (and sometimes just half a bar) and the only time Poison will do super effective damage is for a single bar against Tapu Bulu still puts quite a limiting factor on the duo.

Extreme Battles

Sinnoh has an excellent free Striker in Cyrus & Palkia, who can do more damage off-type than Looker even on stages that feature Wise Entry x2. This puts Looker in a very unique situation where the Extreme Battle basically mandates to be based around type rather than region for him to truly shine, but due to Poison’s very limited roster, that might come in handy if it ever happens.

Battle Villa 

Low damage, no entry passives, and mediocre Speed makes Looker a very weak choice for the mode.

How To Use It?

Sync Grid

These are generally the most important tiles to pick up:

  • Double Down 5 (⅗) is a 50% Sync multiplier when Looker does super effective damage, which is his main use.
  • Super Syncer (⅗) will give Super Effective Up Next after using a Sync Move.
  • Furious Brawn (⅗) is a universal DPS multiplier that’s boosted by a condition you already want to fulfill by default, which is maxing Attack.
  • Virulent Toxin 5 (⅗) is another Sync multiplier, this time based on the enemy having poison - since the setup is individual to each enemy, it’s not as strong as Double Down 5, but works on any stage.

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

  • Toxic Power 2 (⅖) is a small boost to Looker’s DPS based on poison, being not as strong as Furious Brawn, but not as expensive either.
  • On the Case! Berserker 2 will make Looker’s Trainer Move max his Attack, but is in a very inconvenient spot on the Sync Grid.

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

  • Rain Gear 1 and Racing Rain 1 (⅖) are too small of a boost to consider bringing Rain support.
  • Hostile Environment 1 (⅗) is too far away from the grid to be taken in a practical way.
  • Catalyst (⅗) is not a terrible node, but is only gotten more reliable on Berserker grids, and those tend to be lacking on the nuke side.

Sync Grid Levels & EX Viability

So, almost everything decent on Looker’s grid is at ⅗. While you could run him as a Poison DPS at ⅕, that DPS is very easy to outperform with off-type Sync Pairs, including free ones like Cyrus & Palkia. ⅗ will give him the necessary multipliers for both Sync and DPS to not be so easily outclassed by other Sync Pairs at his niche.

EX can be considered for the AoE effect as Double Down 5 and being on-type will ensure some decent damage that can be improved with Super Effective Up Next and Virulent Toxin 5, but won’t necessarily save his performance off-type or be what enables him on-type.

Lucky Skills

As a Sync Pair specialized on-type, Super Powered 3 actually becomes the most recommended Lucky Skill, which is rare. As another flexible option, Critical Strike 2 will work just fine, like on most Strikers.

Team Comps

Starting with the obvious, Red & Snorlax are capable of hastening Looker’s setup with crit and Attack buffs, drop the enemy’s Defense, and most importantly, is a source of multiple Super Effective Up Next, on top of offering Sync acceleration. Raihan & Flygon are also capable of giving Super Effective Up Next, although less reliably at that, and Physical Move Up Next to Looker in exchange of no stat buffs. 

Sygna Suit Leaf & Venusaur can drop the enemy’s Defense and apply badly poison to all enemies for Looker, which activates his multipliers. Sygna Suit Giovanni & Nidoking and Allister & Gengar can make a dual Poison DPS team with Looker, while Plumeria & Salazzle and Koga & Crobat can take on nuking roles to alleviate Looker’s pressure on his Sync Grid.

Is It Worth Pulling?

Unless you’re a very big fan of the cop, no, it’s not. As a Spotlight unit, Looker will find his way to most rosters eventually, and while he does cover a rare type, his performance even under that boost is nothing to write home about.

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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.