Should You Pull? SS Brendan & Latios

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TL;DR: Should You Pull?

What Does It Do?

…May has how many alts?! Despite being one of the original Sync Pairs to arrive on Pasio, Brendan has been strangely content just exploring the artificial island alongside his good buddy, Sceptile. While May changes clothes and partners every few months, our boy from Hoenn just keeps going along with his starter, always looking for what comes next. But then May paired up with Latios, and that flipped a switch for Brendan. Back at long last with a brand new outfit, Brendan has stolen another of our Legendary Arena bosses and sets out to try something new. After spending years as a Striker, our brand-new Sygna Suit Brendan & Latios now join the Pokemon Master League in a Supportive function, and seek to help their team take whatever opposition that they may face by storm.

Brendan & Latios join Pokemon Masters as a Dragon Type Support unit with a weakness to Fairy, which honestly isn’t the worst weakness to have in this game, generally speaking. They have solid bulk that leans slightly towards Special Defense, decent Speed for a Support unit, and Special Attack that might actually leave a bit of a sting in its wake. First up for moves we have Dragon Breath, which is a relatively cheap attacking move that has a decent chance to paralyze. It’s not the greatest move by any stretch of the imagination, but it at least is usable if the move gauge ever becomes an issue, and a random Paralysis along the way is a nice bonus. Potion follows this up, which is the classic longevity-improver trainer move that is always a welcome addition on virtually any Support unit. Next is Latios’ signature move; Luster Purge. This Psychic Type move takes 3 bars to use and has a 50% base chance to lower the target’s Special Defense by 1 rank. Seems a bit lackluster (pun intended), but we’ll revisit it in just a moment. Flying Free! is a 1-use Trainer Move that offers +1 Critical Rate to all Sync Pairs, and takes up to 3 Move Gauge slots to boost the team’s Special Attack and Special Defense by up to +4 ranks. On top of that, if it takes the full 3 bars on use, it also grants the coveted Free Move Next effect to the entire team. Finally, we come to Brendan & Latios’ Sync Move; Good Times Draco Meteor. It’s a bit of a weak Sync Move overall, but Support Sync Moves are pretty much never about raw damage output, and it also has the advantage of transforming Latios into Mega Latios for a very nice boost to Defenses and some passive skill upgrades, which is what we’ll be looking at in just a moment.

For Passive Skills, we start with Team Smart Start 1, which is a simple skill that grants the Special Move Up Next effect to the entire team when Brendan & Latios hit the field. We follow this up with Freevenge 4 and its 50% odds of granting the Free Move Next effect to Brendan & Latios when they tank a hit, thus making Luster Purge all the easier to use. And speaking of Luster Purge; Unexpected Benefit x2 is a beautiful little skill that not only doubles the odds of Luster Purge dropping Special Defense on use, it also doubles the number of stat-drops per use. This means that Luster Purge has 100% odds of dropping the target’s Special Defense by 2 stages per use, making it a very potent tool. Ah, but we’re not quite done yet. Post-Sync, Mega Latios changes up the battle a bit more. First up, the previously mentioned Team Smart Start 1 will activate a second time on Mega Evolution, granting an additional Special Move Up Next bonus right off the bat. And secondly, Freevenge 4 turns into Freevenge 9, which has 100% odds of granting the Free Move Next effect whenever latios takes an attack

So right off the bat, Brendan & Latios take a two-pronged approach to their Supportive job. First, we have a combination of the Special Move Up Next effect, the Free Move Next effect, and a semi-comprehensive set of Special buffs that come with a single skill use, encouraging an early-game burst once fully set up. Second, we have a plan for the long-game with Mega Latios taking the field and focusing on disintegrating the opposition’s Special defense while keeping the team alive with Potion. It’s honestly pretty rare to see a Support unit that has multiple tactics baked in like this, and it ultimately enables a very effective offensive front. For these reasons, this is a Support unit that excels when paired with two powerful attackers, as the combined set can result in very early stage clears while still being ready for the long-haul if push comes to shove.

But, on the other hand, it’s also worth mentioning that Brendan & Latios aren’t quite perfect when it comes to their entire early-burst plan. Their Trainer Move offers a lot, but it’s only one use and is woefully incomplete, meaning the first turn of the battle is likely going to be spent buffing all units regardless. This isn’t a huge deal, but it can lag the early-game burst tactic well into the first Sync Move cycle depending on the team, or even delay it into the second Sync Move cycle in some cases. However, this latter point does have some real merit worth looking at, as saving the burst for after gaining a Support EX boost can result in even more staggering numbers, though it’s also possible that this tactic will result in having the team waste a turn on useless/redundant moves while waiting for Brendan & Latios to Sync.

Champion Stadium: Master Mode

Solid buffs and the rare ability to melt the opposition’s Special Defense come together to give Brendan & Latios the potential to set up spectacular early-game wins. They need the right team to truly excel, but will not disappoint when everything comes together.

Legendary Arena & Gauntlet

Despite having a bit of a focus on burst tactics, Brendan & Latios also have great longevity, and can enable huge damage for the team in short order with just a few uses of Luster Purge.

Extreme Battles

Right now, we have a distinct lack of Hoenn-based Support units. This has the potential to become an issue in future events, so a second look at Brendan & Latios is understandable here. Their status as a Support Dragon may also be useful in some challenges, as well.

Battle Villa 

Not much going on here, truth be told. Brendan & Latios can score reliable Special Defense debuffs to help the team, but they don’t have the tools needed to tank through stage after stage without MP usage.

How To Use It?

Sync Grid

These are generally the most important tiles to pick up:

  • Team Sharp Entry 1 (⅗) gives +1 Critical Rate to the team on entry, and is useful for providing the team with a total of +2 Critical Rate when combined with Brendan’s Trainer Move. Since it re-applies upon Mega-evolving, this guarantees that Brendan & Latios can provide +3 Critical Rate to the entire team. 
  • Adrenaline 1 (⅗) can reduce the Sync Move counter by 1 post-Sync, and can be useful for cutting a full rotation off of the Sync Move cycle when combined with similar effects from other team members. This is useful for lessening the impact of giving an early Sync Move to Brendan & Latios for Mega Evolution, especially if they’re paired with any other Mega Evolution(s).
  • Head Start 1 (⅗) is the same as above, but it’s focused on the start of the battle rather than post-Sync. Which flavor you aim for should depend on your team.
  • The two Potion: Master Healer 1 (⅖ & ⅗) and Potion: MP Refresh (⅖ & ⅗) tiles make up the classic combo of high healing and great refresh odds first popularized by Skyla & Swanna, though some builds will choose to forgo picking up a few of these tiles in favor of other investments.
  • Fast Track 9 (⅖) is a nice tile for helping out with move gauge management, and can be useful for keeping up with the Sync Move countdown even when Latios doesn’t have the Free Move Next effect available.
  • Luster Purge: Move Gauge Refresh (⅕) can be great for lessening the impact of turns where Brendan & Latios don’t have the Free Move Next effect up, and can turn Luster Purge into a move-gauge battery with a potential negative cost when it is up.
  • Sync Free-For-All (⅗) is a bit awkwardly placed and won’t be super useful on all builds, but it adds value to Brendan & Latios’ Sync Move usage and can result in huge amounts of easy damage when combined with a pair of gauge-hungry heavy hitters.
  • Impervious (⅖) won’t always be useful, but when it is it can be invaluable.
  • Team Tough Luck 4 (⅗) can help with prolonged battles in particular, and improves the relative effectiveness of Potion once buffs start to stack up.
  • Weird Recovery (⅖) and Precognition 2 (⅕) are both great tiles to pick up if you intend to pair Brendan & Latios with Psychic Terrain support.

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

  • Quick Cure (⅖) is great for stopping the Trapped status in particular, which can quickly eat away at Latios’ bulk, though its main utility is arguably getting to Team Sharp Entry 1 with as little energy cost as possible.
  • Dragon Breath: Hostile Environment 1 (⅖) can be useful when Paralysis is required, such as specific Legendary Arena/Gauntlet stages or when paired with Sync Pairs that can take advantage of Paralysis, but is generally not worth picking up.

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

  • Flying Free!: MP Refresh 2 (⅖) can give the team maxed Special Attack, maxed Critical Rate (when combined with Team Sharp Entry 1), and an additional instance of the Free Move Next effect on a single successful MP refresh. But this is a 1-use skill, meaning this tile only grants a middling 30% odds of success. Unless you don’t mind resetting for an MP refresh, this should be a pass.
  • Dragon Breath: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅕) doesn’t offer much, as Dragon Breath won’t be used extremely often in most battles.

Sync Grid Levels & EX Viability

The discussion of Sync Move Level for Brendan & Latios is a bit of a mixed bag. This is a Sync Pair with a lot of utility right out of the box that gains a lot via Sync Grid, but no single tile is a defining “pick this up and this Sync Pair becomes 1,000% better” factor, like with many other Sync Pairs. The basic job of their kit is 100% intact at ⅕, with additional levels granting effects that make them better at their job.

  • ⅕ is, honestly, just fine. At this Move Level, you have access to Brendan & Latios’ stellar base kit, Luster Purge: Move Gauge Refresh 3, and even Precognition 2 if you intend to pair up with some Psychic Terrain support.
  • ⅖ brings the first Potion support tiles, Fast Track 9, Quick Cure, and Weird Recovery to the table. The first Potion: MP Refresh 2 tile alone makes this a worthwhile goal, though it’s not an absolute must-have.
  • ⅗ is where the magic happens, with the plethora of top-tier tiles. But, again, this doesn’t bring a tremendous change to how Brendan & Latios should be used. So while this is definitely a level worth aiming for, it doesn’t have to be an absolute top priority.

So with Move Level out of the way, let’s discuss EX viability. In this regard, Brendan & Latios are something of a perfect storm. This is a Support unit with a Mega Evolution and real incentive to Sync, meaning an early Sync Move thrown their way has the potential to have a huge effect on virtually any battle moving forward. On top of that, the base stats from reaching an upgrade level of 20/20 also grants a bulk boost, which compounds nicely with Brendan’s Trainer Move and its Special Defense buffs. If you pull Brendan & Latios and have any plan to use them, then this is a pair to EX ASAP.

Lucky Skills

The obvious pick here is the classic Vigilance for its ability to ignore Critical Hits that have the added annoyance of outright ignoring Latios’ boosted Special Defense, but we have a few other options worth mentioning as well. The other big options are Adrenaline 1 and Head Start 1 from the Deluxe pool, as they can pair with similar effects on Brendan & Latios’ grid to make tearing a full turn away from a Sync Move cycle all the easier to pull off with a bit of teamwork. And if you want to play a bit riskier, then Sentry Entry 2 can be nice for a quick Defense buff early-game, though this involves rolling the dice with every incoming attack, as Critical Hits will outright ignore these boosts, as previously stated.

Team Comps

We actually have a few extremely obvious teams here that Brendan & Latias basically telegraph with their entire kit. The first is a pairing with Anniversary May & Latias, which set up a duo that can be used to fill each other's needs almost perfectly. May & Latias famously have substantial damage boosts when the opposition has lowered Special Defense in the form of Brainteaser, Smarty-Pants, and Added Insult, which can be easily filled by Brendan & Latios. The pairing can also work together to easily shave a cycle off of the Sync Move Counter given the right grids/Lucky Skills, and can super-charge the entire team’s damage output with May & Latias’ Psychic Terrain.
This pairing works absolute wonders alongside powerful Psychic Types that can take advantage of both of their unique skills, such as
Sygna Suit Lusamine & Necrozma or Giovanni & Mewtwo, though both of these will add yet another layer of Sync Pairs that really want to take an early Sync. In the absence of May & Latias, other Psychic Terrain setters such as Bianca & Musharna or Bede & Hatterene can also work well, setting up potentially devastating Psychic Type damage in their own right.

Did you happen to notice that a certain someone was missing from the mention of powerful Psychic Type attackers? That’s right, why didn’t Lear & Hoopa get mentioned? Well, that’s because while they do fit the above section perfectly, they also fill in another, equally important tactic as well: Sync Move Countdown acceleration. The fact that Brendan & Latias really want to take an early Sync Move can be a pain for other Sync Pairs, as we’ve already covered, so the best way to help manage this is by using Sync Moves as early as possible. In this capacity, we actually have a number of really powerful Sync Pairs that can sit very comfortably alongside Brendan & Latios, such as Sygna Suit Leon & Eternatus or Sygna Suit Serena & Zygarde, both of which really appreciate the huge potential damage boosts that Brendan & Latios can bring to the table.

So who else appreciates Brendan & Latios? Basically any Sync Pair that focuses on Special damage and/or may need a little bit of help with offensive buffs, with an especially large emphasis on attackers that can take added advantage of Special Defense drops via Brainteaser or Smartpants.
Self-sufficient attackers like
Anniversary Lillie & Lunala, Alder & Volcarona, and Sygna Suit Ethan & Lugia will see a marked improvement in their damage when paired up with Brendan & Latios given a few Special Defense drops and Special Damage Up Next effects, while Sync Pairs with incomplete or otherwise awkward/slow setup like Diantha & Gardevoir, Cyrus & Palkia,  Lysandre & Yveltal, or Silver & Ho-oh can enjoy a similar damage boost alongside far easier setup.
Finally, Sync Pairs like
Burgh & Leavanny or the previously mentioned Giovanni & Mewtwo can take added benefit from Luster Purge’s Special Defense dropping qualities via their skills/grid to ramp up their damage even more than what most would enjoy.

Is It Worth Pulling?

So what’s the final word here? This one is a bit tough, all-in-all. Brendan & Latios are definitely worth pulling, but their timing is undeniably bad. We have a mid-month patch expected, and the 3rd Anniversary not too long after. This is a Sync Pair worth having, but the fact that they’ll be here until the end of August means it’s definitely worth waiting! Remember that Pokefair Units tend to return every 6-8 months, while we still haven’t seen a single Master Fair return to date (hopefully this will change with Maxie & Archie for the Hoenn event…?), so think carefully, as we’re very likely to see 3 new Master Fairs very soon.

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About the Author(s)

Long-time Gamepress fan and writer for Pokemon Go and Pokemon Masters sub-site