Should You Pull? SS Morty & Ho-Oh

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TL;DR: Should You Pull?

What Does It Do?

We all complain about the characters with a ton of alts, yet Morty flies under the radar with 4 and we’re all cool with it.

In the main series, Morty has long been known for two unique traits: the first being his status as a Ghost Type Gym Leader, which is what his entire persona has been built around in Pokemon Masters to date. The second is his constant journey to encounter Legendary Pokemon, in particular the radiant Guardian of the Skies, Ho-oh. And while the poor guy has been left high-and-dry for many years and on many different forms of media, Pokemon Masters finally does him justice by not just giving him Ho-oh, but giving him what is arguably one of the most outright glorious Pokemon in the entire series; Shiny Ho-oh. With this, Ho-oh finally becomes true to its status in the main series as an absolute wall of a Pokemon, as this Supportive tank of a legend stretches out its golden wings and protects its entire team with grace and majesty while Sygna Suit Morty looks on, finally justified in his life-long journey. Congratulations, Morty. You’ve earned this.

When looking at stats, one fact becomes overwhelmingly obvious; Morty & Ho-oh are TANKY AS HECK. This is a Sync Pair that naturally comes in with raw bulk that can rival Blue & Mega Blastoise. No, not normal Blastoise, Mega Blastoise. This means that at the start of any given battle, this is the single bulkiest Sync Pair in the entire game. To make up for this, they have a low base Speed, and low but okay-ish Attack for a Support unit. For moves, we start out with Flame Charge. This 2-bar move is probably one of the best attacks that a Support unit can have, minus those who otherwise have a heavy focus on boosting Speed. With every use of this move, Ho-oh’s low speed rises, making it easier and easier for the Move Gauge to keep up with the team. Sunny Day is next, and many would consider this the crown-jewel of Morty & Ho-oh’s kit due to the utility that it brings, but we’re definitely not done yet. Potion follows this up, giving always-valuable, on-demand healing as an additional supportive option. Finally, Believe! Boosts the team’s Defense, Special Defense, and Speed, while also setting the Move Gauge Acceleration on the field. In addition to this, it also raises the team’s Critical Rate by 1 when the sun is out, making it a very nice overall buff to utilize.

With moves out of the way, we come to Morty & Ho-oh’s passive Skills. Group Afflicter’s Advantage 1 is first, and it gives a full set of +1 Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed to the entire team when Ho-oh uses Sunny Day for the first time. Not the absolute best skill, but at least it has potential utility for just about anyone that they may be partnered with. Team Sunbathe 9 is next, and it supplements all of that raw bulk and those Defense/Special Defense buffs with free healing for the entire team any time that Ho-oh uses Flame Charge or Sunny Day. This is also the only long-term bonus to keeping the Sun up for Morty & Ho-oh themselves that isn’t baked into their grid. Finally, Sync Damage Guard gives Morty & Ho-oh the Damage Guard Next effect the first time that they use their Sync move, which gives a little extra value to Sync Move usage when EX’d, and can be especially nice if activated right before the opposing side launches their own Sync Move or some other powerful attack.

So when we put this all together, what do we get? Basically a Jack of all trades that’s been upgraded to a King. Morty & Ho-oh are exceedingly hard to break down, have great moveguage management options, can buff just about every offensive stat, and can easily score +3 Defense and Special Defense for the entire team while doing everything else. And that’s not even mentioning the sheer utility of Sunny Day. They can do a bit of just about everything, and then they can do a bit more just to be on the safe side. This overall set makes them very synergetic with a lot of the top Sync Pairs in the game, and can allow them to help blaze a trail to fiery victory. And even if they’re not a “perfect” fit with some Strikers in particular, their massive durability alone can allow them to shoe-horn onto many teams, where they can power through despite their holes. It’s also worth mentioning that most Weather-setting Sync Pairs are Tech units, which is generally fine for most teams. But by adding Sunny Day to a Support unit, this frees up the last slot on Sun-loving teams, which can reliably be taken by a secondary damage-dealer that Morty & Ho-oh can generally support with ease thanks to their great Move Gauge management.

As for downsides; about the only major one worth mentioning is the fact that Morty & Ho-oh definitely fall short when it comes to offensive buffs. Without MP refreshes or other help from their grid, the best that they can do for their team is +1 Attack/Special Attack and +2 Critical Rate. However, a lot of Sync pairs nowadays are either self-sufficient or just barely short of being self-sufficient, so this is a drawback that is fairly easy to get around with a little team-building. Beyond that, their Trainer Move’s feature of giving stats and Move Gauge Acceleration can be a bit of a problem, as this gives you a choice between saving the skill for maximum Move Gauge Acceleration duration or using it multiple times up-front for maximum stat-buffs, though either choice is a small price to pay when all is said and done.

Champion Stadium: Master Mode

A lot of great Strikers can capitalize on the Sun for huge damage boosts, in particular Fire and Grass types, making Morty & Ho-oh capable of setting up quick clears on many stages. And going even farther than that, their generally high performance as a Support unit makes them a great pick even for teams that don’t capitalize on the Sun for more damage.

Legendary Arena & Gauntlet

As we’ve already discussed, Morty & Ho-oh can tank with the best of them, and have high Defensive buffs/healing to protect their team. This is a Legend that can stare down other Legends without flinching, making them very valuable in these game modes.

Extreme Battles

High average performance alongside weather-boosts for relevant attackers can make Morty & Ho-oh a solid choice for many stages, especially stages that rely on weather.

Battle Villa 

Most of what Morty & Ho-oh do involves MP. They can give +1 to a plethora of stats on Sync Move usage via their grid and can also support the team with passive Speed buffs via their grid, but that basically makes them a worse Professor Sycamore & Xerneas at best.

How To Use It?

Sync Grid

These are generally the most important tiles to pick up:

  • Sunny Day: MP Refresh 3 (⅖) means more healing potential and stronger team-support for Sun-loving partners, making it a solid pick-up for just about any build.
  • Gimme Five 1 (⅗) gives a bit of added stat-buffing utility and more value to a Support EX Sync Move.
  • Believe! MP Refresh 3 (⅕) ensures an easy +3 Critical Rate for the team when successful, as well as some extra Defense and Move Gauge Acceleration. It’s a nice tile to pick up.
  • Team Sunny Day: Team Body-Bracing Infliction 2 and Sunny Day: Team Mind-Bracing Infliction 2 (⅗) are both great pick-ups, as they can be used to ensure +6 Defense and Special Defense for the entire team over the course of a normal battle.
  • Adrenaline 1 (⅗) is becoming more and more valuable as more and more strategies start showing up that can take advantage of it. And even if you don’t focus on it with your team, it at least ensures that you don’t need to quad-cue in order to cut a rotation off of your second Sync Move cycle.
  • Flame Charge: Dashing Team 9 (⅖) can be great for additional Speed boosts, and can leave high cost attacks a non-issue by the time Move Gauge Acceleration ends.
  • Potion: Master Healer 1 (⅖) and Potion: MP Refresh 3 (⅗) are great choices for any Potion-centric build.

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

  • Flame Charge: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅖) is nice for a bit of additional Move gauge management help, but it’s not a must-have.
  • Potion: Master Healer 1 (⅗) is harder to reach than the ⅖ tile, so not all builds will go for it. It’s not a bad tile, but it will likely cost other, more important tiles to nab.
  • Speeding Sun 2 (⅖) can be useful for teams with tragically low Speed or stupidly-high Move Gauge consumption, but in general it won’t be needed in the face of Morty & Ho-oh’s other Move Gauge management options.
  • Vigilance (⅗) is a pretty important skill for just about any Defense/Special Defense boosting Support unit, and it can also free up their Lucky Skill to go in another direction. However, it’s pretty hard to reach and doesn’t have a ton of utility along the way, so it’s probably best to just leave it alone here.
  • Potion: Friend Mend 9 (⅖) and Potion: Friend Care 9 (⅗) have their uses, but they are a bit niche to be worth considering for general builds.
  • Sunbathe 9 (⅗) isn’t a terrible pick-up as it is additional healing, but it’s often overkill in the face of everything else that Morty & Ho-oh already do.

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

  • Sunny Disposition (⅖) has its utility on stages that focus heavily on stat-drops, especially if faced with Ripple Effect, but it’s not a great all-around pick.
  • Flameproof (⅕) can help keep Morty & Ho-oh from being worn down, but it’s not a great choice most of the time.
  • Unflappable (⅕) is a bit more useful here than with many other Support units as a poorly timed Flinch can prevent Sunny Day usage, but it’s still not a great choice overall.

Sync Grid Levels & EX Viability

At ⅕, Morty & Ho-oh are objectively great. They have a great set of buffs, passive team healing, and the ability to set the Sun. This is a Sync Pair that’s definitely worth going for even if you don’t intend to invest beyond the initial pull. 

⅖ brings some pretty important milestones with Flame Charge: Dashing Team 9, Sunny Day: MP Refresh3, Potion: Master Healer, and even Speeding Sun 2. At this stage they already have more options than a lot of other Sync Pairs have at ⅗, so ⅖ is definitely a worthy milestone to aim for. 

⅗ brings even more real milestones! Potion MP Refresh 3 and Sunny Day: Team Body/Mind Bracing Infliction can make the team very hard to break down, while Team Gimme Five 1 and Adrenaline 1 are a bit better offensively.

All in all, ⅕ is perfectly fine, ⅖ is probably the big goal for most builds, and ⅗ strives for maximum utility, making all three milestones solid stopping points depending on how you intend to use Morty & Ho-oh.

The EX viability for this Sync Pair is actually pretty high. Morty & Ho-oh have a fair bit of incentive to take an early Sync with Sync Damage Guard and the ever-popular Support EX boost. They can also use the raw stats from the Power-Ups to become even tankier, making a ⅗ Morty & Ho-oh an outstanding place to invest your Five Star Power-Ups to be sure.

Lucky Skills

Since it’s a bit awkward to reach on their grid, Vigilance is still a top pick here. It protects from additional damage that also ignores Defense and Special Defense buffs, so it’s a strong argument to just stick with the old classic. However, other options are available if you pick up Vigilance on their grid, and they include Defense Crush 2 from the normal pool, and Adrenaline 1, Head Start 1, Status Immunity, Interference Immunity, Healthy Healing, or Mind Games 2 from the Deluxe pool.

Team Comps

The obvious choices here are sun-loving Sync Pairs. Sygna Suit Red & Charizard, Maxie & Groudon, Sonia & Tsareena, and Silver & Ho-oh are all prime choices that love working alongside Morty & Ho-oh, but other Sync Pairs can appreciate them as well. General Fire Type attackers like Leon & Charizard appreciate the Sun boost, and even Sygna Suit Erika & Leafeon can appreciate the doubled-up help to ensure that the sun never has to set on most battles. Zinnia & Rayquaza are also great, as they appreciate the buffing help and the weather change. To top it off, an easily overlooked but potentially very valuable partner would have to be Serena & Delphox. They can take advantage of the Sun for particularly searing Overheats and Sync Moves, while Hypnosis not only keeps the team safe from attacks, it can also disrupt the opposing team’s move cycle, which can work with Adrenaline 1 to potentially cut an entire rotation off of the team’s Sync Move cycle.

Since the introduction of Ingo & Excadrill, many weather setting units have started really shining outside of traditional weather teams due to their general capabilities, and Morty & Ho-oh definitely fall into this category. They want to have the Sun active for their team-wide healing and the ability to buff the team’s Critical Rate, but that aside they operate just fine once the Sun sets, and provide enough raw support to definitely be worth using on a wide variety of teams. For more generalized team-mates, basically anyone with a not-quite-complete or otherwise slow buffing profile can really appreciate what Morty & Ho-oh can do. Picks along these lines include Renegade Cynthia & Giratina and Special Costume Diantha & Keldeo. Both of these two are prime examples as they can come in and use Morty & Ho-oh’s buffs to complete their own setup, and then proceed to snowball against the opposition. Anniversary Steven & Rayquaza also deserve special mention here, as they love the plethora of buffs that Morty & Ho-oh have to offer.

Is It Worth Pulling?

Yes, Sygna Suit Morty & Ho-oh are definitely worth pulling for. They do a whole lot all at once, meaning they’re likely to be able to fill some need on your team. And despite being a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, they manage to fulfill all of these roles well enough that they don’t really suffer for it most of the time. While it’s true that they don’t fit well with everyone, they can effectively support enough of the game’s current cast to be very worthy of a gem investment.

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About the Author(s)

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