TL;DR: Should You Pull?
What Does It Do?
Welcome back to Kalos! In a semi-unique twist, this region/main-series generation came with not one, not two, but four different friends/“rivals” from the very start (though each kind of varied in terms of just how much of a rival they could realistically be considered); Trevor, Tierno, the player’s neighbor (Calem or Serena), and finally little Shauna. Unlike the “real” rival of the region and Trevor and Tierno who just did their own thing, Shauna would pick a Pokemon that had a disadvantage to whatever starter that the player picked. And since she’s here with her Chesnaught, that seems to indicate that the cannon player character picked Fennekin, so that would point towards Serena & Delphox as the main character of the generation…? But, then again, we know that Calem’s Shiny Greninja was caught later and isn’t his starter, so that calls that thought into question. Then again, maybe he has a normal Greninja that he actually started his journey with…? Huh, what’s that? Stop with the stupid theorycrafting and get to the SYP review? Well, if I must….
Shauna & Chesnaught comprise a Grass Type Support Unit. They have high bulk that’s evenly divided between Special and Physical, decent Speed for a Support unit, and a strangely high Special Attack stat given the fact that they lack any form of Special attacking capabilities. Their kit starts with Vine Whip, which is a simple, 1-bar move that’s ideal for just about any Support unit to keep up the Sync Move counter while taking up minimal Move Gauge cost. Next is Mini Potion All, which recovers the entire team for 20% of their max HP. We follow this up with an interesting move in Spiky Shield. Much like Piers & Obstagoon’s signature gimmick this move sets, this 2-bar move sets a defensive posture that will nullify the next incoming attack. Where Spiky Shield differs is the fact that it will deal damage to the opposing Sync Pair if the attack nullified was Physical. Once set, the defensive stance will continue until it’s canceled by picking the attack again or it’s activated by blocking an attack/ Finally, Off We Go! is Shauna’s Trainer Move. This 2-use move grants +2 Attack and +1 Critical Rate for the entire team on use, making it a solid physically offensive buffing skill.
Moving on to Passive Skills, a definite pattern will start to emerge. First we have Team Dauntless Defender 9, which provides +1 Defense and Special Defense for the entire team when Chesnaught nullifies an attack. In other words, when Spiky Shield is successful. Next is Block and Charge 3, which will fill the Move Gauge by 3 whenever Chesnaught nullifies an attack, giving Spiky Shield a negative-1 net Move Gauge cost when successful. Finally, Sync Burst 1 gives back 1 MP to all moves the first time that Shauna & Chesnaught Sync, meaning +1 use to Shauna’s trainer move and
All-in-all, this is a very solid all-around unit. Great defensive utility, solid but semi-slow offensive buffs, and the ability to block attacks come together to give us a unit with very few major weaknesses to speak of. However, they do have a few shortcomings worth mentioning, First up is that they don’t do much by way of going beyond the standard “buff stats”, which is a bit of a let-down in the meta of today where the top Support units set stage effects or have other ways of boosting the team’s offensive abilities beyond “more stats”. The second is the fact that nullification tactics are nice on paper, but they have some major issues. If the opponent doesn’t attack Shauna & Chesnaught immediately, then the player is left with the choice of canceling the stance and wasting a use of Spiky Shield or waiting for the next opportunity for it to activate, slowing the Sync Move counter in the process. And speaking of the Sync Move counter, Spiky Shield is a near-guaranteed slowdown of it regardless, as the opposing team always has a chance to get in a new move before Shauna & Chesnaught can queue up another. These aren’t fatal flaws, but they’re worth remembering when using Shauna & Chesnaught.
How To Use It?
Sync Grid Considerations & Lucky Skills
At ⅕, Shauna & Chesnaught gain basically nothing of value from their Sync Grid aside from some pure stat boosts. Unbending is handy, as is Escape Artist, but neither changes the way that Shauna & Chesnaught operate or support them to a huge degree. ⅖, meanwhile, is not a whole lot better, all things considered. Off We Go!, MP Refresh 2 can be useful for maxing the team’s offensive stats a bit faster, and Spiky Shield: MP Refresh 2 can provide some additional defensive utility. Vine Whip: Attack Trap 2 can be useful if paired with Sync Pairs that capitalize on binding the opponent and Team Wise Entry 1/Team Sentry Entry 1 can be nice for bolstering the team’s bulk right off the bat, but they’re not exactly game-changing in their own right with the former standing out a bit more as it pairs well with other tiles that we’ll cover in just a second. Honestly, ⅗ is where their grid starts to shine a bit. Off We Go!, Shielded 1 provides +1 to the team’s Defense when using Shauna’s Trainer Move, and Mini Potion All: MP Refresh 2/Mini Potion All: Master Healer 1 provide help with recovery, but it can be a bit difficult to justify the cost to pick up both on the same build. Team Def. Posture Physical ^9 has one of the most awkward tile names in the game, and it allows Shauna & Chesnaught to break through their offensive-buffing ceiling, providing 1 stack of the Physical Attack Up Next effect to the entire team when Chesnaught successfully blocks an attack for the first time each battle. Finally, Brisk Bulwark 9 is a tile worth picking up, but it comes with its own little caveat. It has 100% odds of reducing the Sync Move counter by 1 when Spiky Shield nullifies an attack, which lessens one of Shauna & Chesnaught’s biggest shortcomings. However, it only works once per battle, so it will probably only take effect during the first Sync Move cycle. Still, the first cycle is arguably the most important, and it pairs well with Tean Def. Posture Physical ^9, so that alone makes it potentially worthwhile for most builds.
If you intend to utilize Shauna & Chesnaught, then EXing them should definitely be a priority. Not only do they grant the coveted Support EX Boost, they also have the added benefit of restoring 1 MP on Sync, giving them additional incentive to Sync early in the battle.
Despite having access to it via their grid, Shauna & Chesnaught still appreciate the tried-and-true Vigilance, as picking it up on said grid is a pain in the rear. However, this is also a Sync Pair with an emphasis on blocking attacks rather than taking them, so Critical Hits can be a bit less of an issue than with many other Support units. For this reason, Adrenaline 1 or Head Start 1 are useful for combating the fact that Spiky Shield will frequently cause the Sync Move counter to lag, while Defense Crush 2 can be useful to provide additional support for the Physical Attackers that Shauna & Chesnaught pair best with.
The ability to max out Attack and Critical Rate, protect the team with defensive buffs, healing, and attack nullification make Shauna & Chesnaught pretty useful tanks for most game modes. For the Champion Stadium, they’re great for providing the team with offensive support while keeping everyone safe, making them a great all-around pick whenever you may need a Physical support unit. The same goes for the Legendary Arena and Legendary Gauntlet, and it’s here that they can be especially useful for their ability to block powerful/scripted attacks that would otherwise send them reeling from the damage taken. This same utility can also extend to various Extreme Battles, where Spiky Shield can be useful for allowing Shauna & Chesnaught to power through stages even if not boosted with the proper theme skills. Finally, we have the Battle Villa… where it’s probably best to leave Shauna & Chesnaught at home. Their reliance on MP-based moves means that they’re likely to only see real utility in 1-2 battles, after which they’re dead weight.
In essence, Physical damage-dealers, even those who can do the entire job themselves like Special Costume Emmet & Escavalier or Sygna Suit Erika & Leafeon appreciate the faster setup. Those who lack a complete buffing profile or otherwise have trouble maxing out their stats like N & Zekrom, Sygna Suit Korina & Marshadow, or Sygna Suit Red & Charizard pre-Sync are also able to appreciate the aid that Shauna & Chesnaught bring.
Honestly, Shauna & Chesnaught is a pretty white-bread unit that works well with a lot of units, but doesn’t offer a ton for other units to capitalize on beyond having really great fundamentals. They fit on a lot of teams and do a great job, but don’t expect them to slot in as the catalyst that perfectly completes some niche in a given team. Again; they’re great, but not really specialized beyond the fundamentals.
Is It Worth Pulling?
If you’re playing with a distinct lack of Support units, then Shauna & Chesnaught are definitely good, as they cover the basics of being a Support unit super well while also providing a full-buffing profile for physical attackers post-Sync. If you already have a large set of Support units ready to go, then their utility is definitely lessened, but this is still an objectively good unit that can slot into most teams without an issue. However, the fact that this is a general-pool unit means that it’s probably a good idea to pass them up and hope to nab them naturally, especially since we’re beginning to close in on the next anniversary event. Save your gems and hope for a future where Shauna & Chesnaught come to you on their own!