TL;DR: Should You Pull?
What Does It Do?
Steven is back (again)! In contrast to his previous appearances, which brought us strikers to crush opposition, this time, he had decided to step aside and provide debilitating debuffs instead. As the inspiration of his costume, Sherlock Holmes, Steven resorts to his wits to gradually crack opposition and let the light of victory shine upon him and his allies.
As mentioned above, Steven makes a difference with his debuffs and buffs to undermine his foes and support his allies. One of the most important debuffs is Type Rebuffs; it does not do much alone but enables other debuffs from B-Leer. In the buffing category, Steven can boost the damage output of his allies via Super-effective Up Next and Physical Move Up Next.
Despite all his strengths, Steven does have weaknesses. The most obvious should be his abysmal damage output, thanks to his Normal typing and only damaging move being Tackle. The utility he brings is also relatively slow, as he can feel too busy doing all he has to offer at the same time.
How To Use It?
Sync Grid Considerations & Lucky Skills
Sync Grid Lvl
At ⅕, all tiles can be activated without much consequence.
Starting from ⅖, things begin to get more interesting. Easy Target Charge 9, Tackle Move Gauge Refresh 3 and Team Debut Dash 1 can be chosen for easier gauge management. Full-Bracing Command 2, Safety Tether and Natural Remedy will increase survivability, while Super Effective Up MP Refresh 2, Mystery Solved! MP Refresh 2 and Tackle Flabbergast 4 can increase damage and disrupt opponents. Finally, Sands of Time 2 can be coupled with Sand Shelter from ⅕ to fill in possible gaps in Sandstorm teams.
As usual, ⅗ is where a sync pair starts to shine. Restraining Sync-Up 9 and the two Sync Power +25 nods will be necessary for players who want Steven to nuke. Trainer Sync Redemption 1 and Mystery Solved! Mighty Friend 9 can increase team damage potential, while Easy Target Staggering Hit 4 gives Steven more disruptive abilities. Adrenaline 2, Quick Tempo, Sync Free-For-All and Restrained Scope 9 could be applicable in specific scenarios but are relatively niche in general.
The main focus of Steven & Stoutland is mostly buffs and debuffs, making EXing this character more of a preference instead of strengthening like most others. Moreover, they require ⅗ to unlock their nuking capabilities. But if you have the dedication or the love for the character (or both), EXing this character will be worthwhile.
If you want to use Steven & Stoutland for Sync Nuking, Critical Strike 2 is the way to go. For the less fortunate or those who wish to utilise his debilitating capabilities…To be honest, none of the debuffing Lucky Skills suits them, better options would be Head Start 1 or Adrenaline 1 for some Sync acceleration capabilities, or Healthy Healing or Vigilance to increase survivability.
With his deductive abilities, Steven can identify his target’s weaknesses by rebuffing and then crippling them with debuffs. Moreover, he can also enlighten his teammates to increase their damage potential, further easing the difficulty of stages. While the Champion Stadium shouldn’t be much of a hassle, Legendary Arena and Gauntlet require more strategy. As bosses of each stage tend to cleanse themselves every health bar, the execution of B-Leer should be adjusted accordingly.
While more accomplices tend to leave more evidence, it increases the effort required to crack the case. The same can be said about 3V9 battles, namely Extreme Battles and the Battle Villa. While his insight can illuminate his allies, his efforts to cut the culprits off only function at a fraction of their full potential. Steven is a valuable ally, but other, more sustainable Sync Pairs are preferable.
Steven can slot with almost any Physical Sync Pair, thanks to his buffs. Besides high-tier Sync Pairs like Maxie & Groudon and Giovanni & Nidoking, other underdog units can also benefit from Steven’s buffs, allowing them to gain strength to rival higher-tier, unbuffed units. Hoenn units, in particular, have great synergy with their champion, especially the Master Fairs like Steven (Anniversary 2021) & Rayquaza. Obviously, Gladion & Silvally can always benefit from them too as they can exploit their Super-effective aspect on any stage.
Sync Pairs that rely on the Restrained effect also deserve a special mention. Physical sync pairs like Serena & Zygarde, Nessa & Drednaw and Selene & Decidueye would greatly appreciate the effect and defense drops, while Special units like Allister & Gengar could dish out damage without having to apply it.
Is It Worth Pulling?
Steven & Stoutland works wonders ONLY when paired with PHYSICAL Sync Pairs, and even more if they can deal SUPEREFFECTIVE damage on a stage. However, Steven is little more than dead weight without those key features. In conclusion, you should ensure that you have potent units to be supported; otherwise, your gems are better spent elsewhere, such as the upcoming SS Lusamine rerun or new units around the corner.