Should You Pull? Mallow & Appletun

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TL;DR: Should You Pull?

What Does It Do?

Happy Palentines, everyone! We’re back with yet another Holiday, and this time we’re re-visiting what has been traditionally one of the best holidays in terms of general unit utility. This time we’re getting away from the traditional candies that we’ve seen every year and are focusing on other confectionary treats; in particular, pies! And who better to pull in for such a venture than a natural born chef and a Pokemon that’s basically a living apple pie itself; Mallow and Appletun! Together, they’re ready to show what they can do for their team as they feed anyone that they’re paired with and give a sour treatment to anyone that opposes them.

Mallow & Appletun comprise a Dragon Type Support Sync Pair with a weakness to Flying Type attacks. Their Speed is decent for a Support unit and their bulk leans towards the Physical side, and is.. Actually pretty middling and less than impressive. Moving on to their skills, Dire Hit All + comes up first, and is the standard +2 Critical Rate for the entire team at 2 uses. Next is Dragon Pulse, which is a 3-bar Dragon Type move. This follows up with Apple Acid; a Grass Type, 2-bar move that lowers the target’s Special Defense when it lands. Finally, Order Up! is Mallow’s Trainer Move. It has 2 uses per battle, and charges the team’s Move Gauge by 2 bars per active teammate on the field while also granting +3 Defense to the entire team. 

Moving on to Passive Skills, we start with Team Fist Bump 9, which restores the team’s HP a bit any time that Appletun makes an attack. Next is Midpoint Mend 5, which will restore 50% of Appletun’s HP the first time that it drops to 50% or less. And, finally, Initial Synchro Healing 2 recovers 50% of the team’s HP the first time that Mallow & Appletun use their Sync Move. In short, it’s like a one-time-use Mini Potion.

As should be obvious from the above, Mallow & Appletun’s entire basic kit revolves around acting as a regeneration Support unit with meager buffing capabilities. They have team-healing with every move made and on their first Sync Move, meaning the team is likely to be 100% fresh by the time they’re ready to start swinging. Add to this the fact that they max out the team’s Critical Rate and help out with Move Gauge support when needed, and you’ve got a focused Sync Pair designed to get their team ready before setting them loose to wreak havoc. And once that’s over, they can switch to a more tech-like role, dropping the opposing team’s Special Defense with Apple Acid or leaning on other debilitating effects from their grid. However, they also have their drawbacks. For one, their bulk is good, but not great, so they won’t have quite the staying power of some other common Support units once their recovery effects are worn down. Of course, given the fact that their strategy is primarily to protect the team and then turn them loose for quick-kill tactics, that’s not as much of an issue as it may seem. It’s also worth mentioning that this is a Sync Pair that’s a bit… vanilla, for lack of an appropriate apple-related pun. They have a solid universal utility, but their lack of strong specialization means that they won’t fit on a number of teams super well. Still, they’re a good goldilocks pair that can definitely put in the work when called for.

How To Use It?

Sync Grid Considerations, Lucky Skills, & EX Viability

While their base kit is solid, a good portion of Mallow & Appletun’s deeper utility has its roots firmly set in their grid. ⅕ is sadly barren, sporting literally nothing but stat boosts and attack damage boosts, meaning it won’t do much. ⅖ is a similar case, with Order Up! MP Refresh 2 standing out as the best tile. After that, Sterner Stuff 2, Triage Tank 4, Apple Acid, Team Sync Cure 9, and Quick Cure are the best options to go for, with Apple Acid: Flabbergast 4 standing out as a solid pick for attackers that can capitalize on Confusion. ⅗ is where the fun actually begins, as Dragon Pulse: Staggering 4 makes Dragon Pulse actually worth using, Hype Up 9 allows Mallow & Appletun to potentially complete the offensive buffs for Special Attackers, and Order Up! Catalytic Kick 9 greatly improves their ability to support the team’s Move Gauge needs. Beyond those, Impervious is a great supportive ability to have on stat-debuffing stages, and Apple Acid: Trip Up 9 is useful for forcing the enemy team to use weaker attacks or outright wait to attack while also providing benefits for attackers that prey on lowered Speed. Sadly, Apple Acid: Move Gauge Refresh 9 is just too expensive to be worth going for in lieu of other tiles, and Revenge Boost 9/Vigilance are in a quadrant that have less overall utility to Mallow & Appletun’s main strategy. They’re still good, but not as good as other options, generally speaking.

As always, Vigilance is the gold-standard Lucky Skill for its ability to protect Appletun from random Critical hits. And while it’s also on their grid, Mallow & Appletun generally don’t want to invest too heavily in the quadrant where it’s found. It’s also worth mentioning that the fact that this is a Sync Pair that likes regenerating HP, which means that many random Critical hits aren’t going to be too devastating, so other popular options like Head Start 1, Adrenaline 1, or even Mind Games 2 are all viable alternative options.

With the ever-popular EX boost and team-healing on their first Sync Move, Mallow & Appletun have ample reason to want the investment to get to 20/20. It’s also worth mentioning that they’ll also work well actually waiting on taking a Sync Move so that they can drop a team-wide heal when the battle gets a little hairy. 

Games Modes

The ability to support bursts of heavy damage means that Mallow & Appletun can work with some serious heavy-hitters to enable quick clears. For this reason, they’re very well suited to the Champion’s Stadium, where they can allow their team to potentially bulldoze the opposition pretty quickly with a little setup. They’re also good for the Legendary Arena/Legendary Gauntlet due to their solid longevity and the ability to play into stage gimmicks by potentially dropping Special Defense and spreading around Confusion via their grid, though they will tend to face issues with their middling base defenses as the battle starts bringing heavy hits in the 2nd/3rd phases, so they’ll work best wasting time on HP bar 1 while buffing up and debuffing the boss, followed by a rush by their teammates to finish it after that. It’s also worth mentioning that they have access to Flinch and Confusion via their grid, which can be very useful for Uxie in particular. They’re also just fine in various Extreme Battles, especially when considering the fact that Alola doesn’t have a huge number of generally-available Support units. Finally, the Battle Villa is where Mallow & Appletun are a bit behind. They have passive recovery effects at their disposal, but they won’t get the 50% HP recovery effect if they enter a battle below the threshold, and they lack much passive stat-buffing utility. On the bright side, they can max out the team’s Special Attack via their grid, though they don’t do so very quickly.

Team Comps

In general, Mallow & Appletun want to pair with Special attackers like Sygna Suit Ethan & Lugia, Raihan & Duraludon, or Sygna Suit Lysandre & Volcanion due to their ability to debuff the opposing team’s Special Defense combined with some grid-based Special Attack buffs, though just about any unit that just needs a bit of Critical Rate support can work with them just fine. It’s especially worth mentioning that Sync Pairs that can  prey on lowered Special Defense like Sygna Suit May & Latias or Giovanni & Mewtwo appreciate the help on that end, especially since that leaves the 3rd slot open to another powerful Attacker rather than having to dedicate it to a Tech unit whose sole purpose is filling that one niche.

Is It Worth Pulling?

Being 100% honest here, Mallow & Appletun are definitely good, but they feel a bit lackluster when compared to many of the more exciting new Sync Pair that we’ve been getting as of late. They have a kit that doesn’t bring much new to the table, but it’s designed to work in a few very specific ways, and they can deliver where they’re needed. The main problem for some may be the fact that the unique utility that they’re likely to add to most teams is probably going to be a bit underwhelming compared to the monstrous Support units that we’ve gotten over the past year like Sygna Suit Morty & Ho-oh or Champion Calem & Greninja, which can leave many players thinking “they’re not absolutely busted, so it’s not worth picking them up”. But don’t be fooled; they’ll definitely get the job done if you manage to pull them! But on that note, it’s also very much worth mentioning that the 3.5 year Anniversary is coming up, and the half-year celebrations tend to bring some really nice units, so this is probably the month to save up.

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