TL;DR: Should You Pull?
What Does It Do?
Steven, the Hoenn champion (who lost that title after Emerald but got it back with the remakes) is a very popular character in the franchise - yet, he doesn’t have the best track record on Pokémon Masters. Metagross and Alolan Sandslash started off strong as strikers of rare types, but as time went on they became a bit underwhelming. And when Steven had his chance as an Anniversary Master Fair, his reception was not good, being widely considered as the worst gacha Master Sync Pair in the game. Now, Steven wants to come back with his Sygna Suit with the extremely competitive Psychic-type with Deoxys, a Pokémon known for having multiple Formes that specialize in different aspects. So how did he turn out? Let’s find out.
Sygna Suit Steven & Deoxys is a very unique Sync Pair as they’re essentially four characters crammed into one unit. The way that this works is that, after entering the battle in Normal forme, all of his moves are MP-less Trainer Moves that, once clicked, will completely change your moveset and potentially stats, although they all come from the same base. As such, this article will be divided to dive into each form in their own sections, but will start with what is shared between all of them. First, all of them must come out in Normal Forme, which has a stat line of 664 / 224 / 156 / 224 / 156 / 336. That’s not an impressive base - the bulk is on the low side and the offenses are pretty low, although the Speed is pretty decent. Although it doesn’t have them at base, all Formes after transformation will share two moves: Zen Headbutt, a 2 gauge move with 90% accuracy and 20% chance to flinch the opponent, and Psycho Boost, Deoxys’ signature move that consumes 4 gauges, has 90% accuracy and drops the user’s Special Attack by 2 stages, giving it a very high BP. As for passives, all Formes also share Downside Up, which turns every debuff into a buff - including the ones from Psycho Boost. Finally, it also has two entry passives that later get switched to based on the Forme: Pinpoint Entry 1 will fix the accuracy of Psycho Boost and Zen Headbutt, which is a great quality of life boost for avoiding the need of accuracy support, and Entry Freebie.
Deoxys - Normal, as expected, keeps its initial stats. Its full moveset is unlocked after using Try This!, which, by itself, gives SS Steven a +2 boost to Defense, Sp. Atk, Sp. Def, and Speed, alongside summoning Psychic Terrain - do keep in mind this move is removed after transformation, so the Terrain will most likely only last up until the first sync, but this variety of boost is good for the innate sync multiplier. Once the Trainer Move is used, the two unlocked moves are Recover and Cosmic Power, which will give more longevity to the Sync Pair by providing both recovery and more defensive buffs after the initial +2. The two new passives are Fuel Economy 1, which takes away 1 gauge cost from all of SS Steven’s moves, and Aggravation 2, which triples Zen Headbutt’s flinch chance.
Deoxys - Normal has many reasons to be considered a pair for the Legendary Gauntlet: reduced gauge cost (with three of its moves only costing one gauge), 60% flinch chance, and longevity between defensive buffs and reliable recovery are all aspects shared by multiple pairs considered to be Legendary Gauntlet specialists, with Psycho Boost also packing a decent power despite the relatively low SpA due to it sheer Base Power. While it is a Psychic Terrain setter, this role is harder to take advantage of, as the fact that it’s only summoned a single time early in the battle without any extension means that you’ll have to be fast to take full advantage of it, if at all.
Considered as the “big one” by many, Deoxys - Attack already starts very strong with its condition being tied to Attack!, basically a clone of Anniversary Lillie: +6 SpA, +3 crit in a single turn, fact that the offenses are also multipliers for Gears means that Deoxys - so you’re ready to attack on the second turn. The stats get a x2 multiplier to both Atk and SpA, while Def and SpD are reduced by x0.7. While it’s “just” pretty good at base, the Attack can reach among the highest offenses of any Sync Pair in the game - and while the bulk is pretty bad, it’s actually still superior to Lusamine & Pheromosa and Giovanni & Mewtwo, which might come as a surprise to some.
The new moves are Protect and Cosmic Power: Protect is great for such a frail pair as it allows SS Steven to take any one big hit if timed correctly, or at least reduce the damage of Sync Moves that have a very high chance of OHKOing them. While Cosmic Power may be glossed over by some on an offensive Sync Pair, it can still have some value as a way to boost the innate Sync multiplier, and maybe even might be that final push to not be KOed by an AoE move. The new passives are Expanded Sync, making the user’s Sync Move AoE and essentially turns SS Steven into a Striker EX, and Power Chain 2, which, despite its misleading name, is a new passive that has a 30% chance of giving the user +1 Physical and Special Move Up Next after a move is successful - a RNG chance to output even more damage than what you already does.
Deoxys - Attack’s damage is unprecedented - Psycho Boost is only rivaled by the mighty SS Serena & Zygarde’s Core Enforcer, while their Sync Move, when compared to other AoE Syncs, is simply ahead of everyone else. The high self sufficiency of this Sync Pair combined with its obscene high damage means that it’ll be very useful just about everywhere, and other Formes will have to carve their own niches if they want to have a chance of being used without being accused of simply being inferior to Attack on a lot of stages.
Deoxys - Defense Forme is chosen by using the Trainer Move Defend! At the start of the fight, granting +4 Attack and Special Attack on transformation. After transformation, Deoxys’ Attack, Special Attack, and Speed all drop a significant amount, but its Defense and Special Defense rise to a level that rivals many of the best defenders in the game. This gives Deoxys - Defense a respectable overall bulk that can definitely tank a few hits. Deoxys-Defense has access to Psycho Boost, Zen Headbutt, and Recover, and the only unique move that it gains when compared to its other Formes is Iron Defense, a 2-bar move that grants +2 Defense and has no MP Restrictions. As far as passives go, the new additions are Stat Share 9 and Team Mind-Bracing Infliction+ 9. The former allows Deoxys-Defense to share the stat-increases from Iron Defense with the whole team, while the latter grants +2 Special Defense to the team on top of that, turning this somewhat mediocre move into a team-wide +2 Defense and Special Defense move with no MP requirements.
When fully buffed, Steven & Deoxys - Defense are obscenely bulky, have the ability to recover their own HP, and can even grant maxed Defense/Special Defense and +4 Attack/Special Attack to the entire team in fairly short order. But, sadly, it’s not all good for Deoxys - Defense. While high Attack/Special Attack boosts for the whole team when transforming is nice, it’s far from complete, and can leave many Sync Pairs woefully under-prepared if they lack the ability to complete their own offensive buffs. And while the Defense/Special Defense buffs are definitely great to have, that’s basically all of the additional support that Steven & Deoxys - Defense have to offer. And we haven’t even covered what is arguably the worst part; unlike the previously covered Deoxys - Attack, which has a passive skill that basically turns its Sync Move into a Striker’s variant, there is literally no incentive to Sync with Deoxys - Defense, as it will not give the team the equivalent of a Support EX boost and deals pathetic Sync Move damage due to the huge loss of offensive stats when changing Formes. And as icing on the cake, Deoxys - Defense is the only Deoxys Forme that directly clashes with the other Formes in terms of Lucky Skills, as giving our bulky virus the Lucky Skills that it wants will directly harm the utility of its three other variants. Sadly, Deoxys - Defense is generally the least useful of this quartet, and is probably best to just ignore for the most part.
Deoxys - Speed Forme comes about by picking the trainer move Faster! at the start of the battle. On transformation, Deoxys becomes a bit bulkier and way faster with a huge boost to base speed. And when hitting that fateful button to make the transformation, Deoxys also receives a blazing +6 Speed, +3 Evasion, and a 2-turn reduction on the Sync Move counter, setting the team up for an early Sync. Steven & Deoxys - Speed Forme have access to Psycho Boost, Zen Headbutt, and Recover, and a unique move in Double Team, which is a 1-bar move that raises the user’s Evasiveness by 1 and has no MP restrictions. On transformation, Steven & Deoxys - Speed’s skill set gains access to Afflicter’s Fervor, which reduces the Sync Move countdown by 2 the first time that Deoxys - Speed uses a status move, aka Double Team. To finish up the set, Catalytic Infliction adds Move Gauge Acceleration the first time that Deoxys - Speed Forme uses Double Team move as well. Steven & Deoxys - Speed Forme are designed to occupy the third slot in your team, working alongside your tank and main attacker.
While this Forme lacks the offensive power, focused support, or defensive prowess of the other Deoxys Formes, it makes up for this with its superior team-enabling capabilities. Steven & Deoxys - Speed Forme offer nearly unparalleled move gauge management options and Sync Move acceleration, which means that this Sync Pair can allow a slow Tank/Attacker core to lash out very heavily. This is also the Deoxys Forme that arguably has the easiest time dropping Psycho Boosts, as its massive Move Gauge management potential makes this 4-bar move easy to use consistently given the right team. However, this is also a Sync Pair that really doesn't do much beyond enabling early-game bursts and keeping up average team Speed. Deoxys - Speed also has issues with Psycho Boost having somewhat lackluster damage in this Forme, especially given the fact that team or grid support is needed in order to max out their Critical Rate. All-in-all, they’re definitely nice, but pretty vanilla outside of their one, singular niche.
Champion Stadium: Master Mode
Deoxys - Attack is outstanding for its devastating Sync Moves, Psycho Boost, and near-instantaneous setup, which can easily clear stages with a bit of support. Deoxys - Normal offers flinch support and Psychic Terrain - which can have its use here with the fast pace of the mode, and some offensive pressure with Psycho Boost. Deoxys - Speed has utility as a Sync Accelerator and gauge support while keeping the same offensive pressure as Normal, and Deoxys - Defense can tank hard-hitting stages while offering a few offensive and defensive boost, although lacking crit and gauge might be a big limitation. Overall, Attack ends up overshadowing the other Formes most of the time, as its extremely high power and fast setup is a perfect for the mode, although the Formes could be used on some teams with a bit of creativity.
Legendary Arena & Gauntlet
Deoxys - Attack remains strong here as a fully self-sufficient pair - one that can output comparable damage to top tier damage dealers on their own field effect without the use of Psychic Terrain. However, their frailty might show its face here, as repeated attacks, especially sure crit AoE ones, will put a big pressure on SS Steven once Protect is used. Deoxys - Normal carves its best niche here - high flinch chance, longevity, and debuffs are universally useful for the mode, being capable of even soloing multiple arenas. Deoxys - Speed follows a similar path as Normal, changing the defensive buffs for evasion ones and a naturally higher bulk and faster gauge, but losing the reduced gauge cost and the extra flinch chance - the last one, in particular, is a big hit compared to Normal, but it can similarly beat multiple Arenas solo. Finally, Deoxys - Defense will give +4 offenses to other Sync Pairs and max their defenses to make them bulkier while being very hard to KO itself and still having the 20% flinch chance, but its atrocious gauge and lack of crit buff will make it not very splashable - the fact that it can’t cure its teammates is also limiting its argument as a pair made for long battles.
For Extreme Battles where SS Steven will be boosted, another win for Deoxys - Attack - the damage it can dish out combined with its self sufficiency allowing for two pairs dedicated with dealing with the stage gimmick will make it blow past even Wise Entry x2 stages, although Wise Entry x3 might be worth a reconsideration even for Deoxys - Attack. The other Formes will provide similar utility to what they do on LAs - Normal with higher flinch chances and Terrain, Speed with Sync Acceleration and gauge support, and Defense with its buffs, but it can be noted that those can be used even off-region, and depending on the stage, Deoxys - Defense might cut it as a potential off-region tank due to its naturally high bulk, but its lack of support EX and gauge does put a question if it's worth being used on such situation compared to someone like SS Morty & Ho-Oh. Another thing to be noted is that Deoxys - Attack can have a good damage output for Psychic-weak stages off-region, but it’ll be stomped by any AoE move the stage will provide, and its lack of utility will make it worse than most on-region attackers still.
An MP-less +6 SpA +3 crit Sync Pair with a chance of free moves? Count me in. Deoxys - Attack is arguably the best attacker for the mode easily, and one of the best units in general. Deoxys - Normal will once again give 1 gauge finches, and here, its limited Psychic Terrain summoning becomes a strong tool that can be used on every stage due to its lack of MP. Deoxys - Speed also makes great use of MP-less Sync Acceleration and gauge support, and with grid boosting its crit, can also be used as a self sufficient attacker. Sadly, Deoxys - Defense won’t offer anything of note for this mode.
How To Use It?
- Disarm 9 (⅗) is very useful for Legendary Gauntlet, where debuffs show high value and are more easily enabled with Normal’s Aggravation 2 passive.
- Critical Odds+ 9 (⅗) will be good for some self sufficiency help on Legendary Gauntlet and skipping crit support - as SS Steven in Normal Forme often won’t be the main attacker, +2 crit is not that big of a problem.
- Furius Brain (⅗) can be used for an extra damage boost for Psycho Boost, as it’s self set up via Downside Up.
- Recover: MP Refresh 2 (⅗) will help in gaining some extra healing for the required sustain on dragged battles.
- Furious Brain (⅗) is a obvious pick for a offensive Sync Pair that can max its Special Attack in a single turn, becoming a free damage boost.
- Soften Up (⅗) is an excellent pick for any AoE Sync Move, eliminating any RNG factor for missed crits.
- Sync Move Power +25 (⅕, ⅖, and ⅗) are the way that SS Steven can power up Sync Moves despite the lack of direct passive multipliers - the fact that 4 of them are available means that it can be a significant boost when they’re combined.
- Psycho Boost: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅖) and Psycho Boost: BOGO 4 (⅗) are ways for SS Steven to help with the gauge, as this is the move to spam for most of the battle.
- Recover: Master Healer 1 (⅗) and Recover: MP Refresh 2 (⅗) are great for additional survivability.
- Disarm 9 (⅗) offers some additional utility, but is probably best used with a bit of Flinch support, as Zen Headbutt is far too unreliable.
- Zen Headbutt: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅕) can be handy for a bit of additional Move Gauge support.
- Move Gauge Refresh 2 (⅖) works on all moves, so it can be nice, but it’s a bit awkward to reach and has middling odds of actually taking effect.
- Since Deoxys - Speed should have no issues with unloading Psycho Boost every single turn, Furious Brain (⅗) can make its assaults sting all the more.
- Double Team: Pep Rally 1 (⅖) is great for maximizing the sheer impact of Deoxys - Speed Forme’s main niche by ensuring that the team stays fast even after Move Gauge Acceleration ends.
- Morale Boost +9 (⅖) can be useful for ensuring a quick +6 Special Attack, cutting a turn off Psycho Boost’s self-setup time when Deoxys transforms.
- Zen Headbutt: Move Gauge Refresh 3 and Move Gauge Refresh 2 (⅖) can be useful for gaining some gauge back and potentially even go on a net gain due to Fuel Economy.
Sync Grid Levels & EX Viability
- ⅕ is generally fine if your goal is just to have the sheer versatility of this multi-formed monstrosity on your team, as this gives most of what makes them strong in the first place.
- ⅖ is primarily useful for more supportive builds, with Speed Forme in particular getting most of what it really wants at this level, though having access to multiple Sync Move Power+25 tiles can be a great help for Attack Forme as well.
- ⅗ is where the whole kit opens up like an oyster, and the pearl that is Steven & Deoxys shines in full glory. This is now a Sync Pair that you can probably use in virtually every scenario without any issues.
EX viability varies a bit by Forme. While every Forme appreciates the additional stats and can use the Tech EX boost, the only one that really appreciates it is Attack Forme, as having what basically equates to a Tech and Striker EX boost at the same time can lead to some fairly cataclysmic bursts of damage.
While some Formes may like having specific Lucky Skills, the two Formes that will generally prove themselves to be most useful are Attack and Normal, both of which can agree on Critical Strike 2 just fine. While Defense wants Vigilance and Speed can potentially work wonders with Head Start 1 and some team help, these will tend to pigeon-hole Steven & Deoxys a bit, as going with either of these does weaken the other Formes a bit due to being stripped of the power that Critical Strike 2 can provide.
As a Legendary Gauntlet specialist, SS Steven & Deoxys - Normal can actually afford to even skip teammates for some stages - or just get the minimum with an eggmon like Player & Dragonite (Support) M for just a bit more Speed and crit buffs.
In 3v3s, you’ll want to make use of Psychic Terrain as fast as possible: Sygna Suit Lusamine & Necrozma (Ultra) and Lear & Hoopa are great Psychic strikers with Sync Acceleration, guaranteeing that their first sync will be used in time. Alternatively, Giovanni & Mega Mewtwo Y can be used as a budget option, although they most likely won’t get their Sync multipliers set up in time. Harry pairs can also make use of the 1 gauge, 60% flinch chance: Blue & Mega Pidgeot, Zinnia & Salamence, and Grimsley & Bisharp are examples of pairs that can make use of such a thing. Other +1 crit sync pairs can also be used to complete Deoxys - Normal’s buffs, like Marley & Arcanine and Drake & Salamence.
Fully maxing their own offensive stats, SS Steven & Deoxys - Attack require no offensive support, and as such, Psychic Terrains already shine. Bianca & Musharna and May & Mega Latias are the go-to for such while also providing other utilities like damage, tanking capabilities + gauge for Bianca, and Sync Acceleration for May. Bede & Hatterene can also summon Psychic Terrain and provide Sp. Def drops and a Max nuke, though his way of summoning is more limited.
Sygna Suit Lusamine & Necrozma (Ultra) and Lear & Hoopa are excellent secondary strikers to pair up, with both providing Sync Acceleration and Sygna Suit Lusamine also including a Master Passive in Alola Spirit. Brendan & Mega Latios and Dawn & Cresselia generally have strong synergy as supports with Psychic teams, helping with some Sync Acceleration and providing defensive value. Brendan gives Sp. Def drops and Dawn provides a larger defensive presence and better gauge management. Raihan & Flygon and Red & Snorlax can also be used on Psychic-weak stages, both providing Sync Acceleration and Super Effective Up Next, pairing very well with a sync pair that doesn’t need much support.
Steven & Deoxys - Defense don’t really have any super-stand-out team comps, but they can put in their work. Self-sufficient Sync Pairs or Sync Pairs that just need a bit of help maxing out their Attack and/or Special Attack like Sygna Suit Serena & Zygarde, Classic Blue & Aerodactyl, or Renegade Cynthia & Giratina work well, as they appreciate the early boosts that transformation brings Frail Sync Pairs like Lusamine & Pheromosa, Grimsley & Sharpedo, or Giovanni & Mewtwo can also enjoy the Defense and Special Defense buffs that Steven & Deoxys - Defense have to offer to help keep the damage flowing for a bit longer.
On the other hand, Steven & Deoxys - Defense really appreciate a bit of help themselves. The recent rise of more offensive Sync Pairs that pack offensive buffs for the team like Sygna Suit Lyra & Celebi or Sygna Suit Korrina & Marshadow can be extremely helpful for providing the offensive buffs that Deoxys - Defense lacks access to, especially since they can also act as the team’s main attackers in-and-of themselves for added value. Speed buffs from units like Anniversary Skyla & Tornadus or Palentine Serena & Whimsicott are also very useful for the team, with a very special mention on this front given to Masked Royal & Incineroar for their ability to max team Speed and drop the opposing team’s Defense and Attack while also being capable of unloading very strong Sync Moves for damage.
Steven & Deoxys - Speed Forme have a few stand-out partners, with the obvious options being big-name attackers that want to Sync early, such as Sygna Suit Lusamine & Necrozma, Lear & Hoopa, or Sygna Suit Serena & Zygarde. While the former two may prefer to have Normal Forme along for the ride in most cases, they can all appreciate the ability to unload huge attacks and Sync Moves all the faster thanks to Deoxys - Speed Forme’s various tricks.
As previously highlighted, slow and lumbering Sync Pairs appreciate the huge boost in Speed that Deoxys - Speed Forme offers as soon as it takes the field. Examples of this include Halla & Crabominable, Jasmine & Steelix, or N & Zekrom. Meanwhile, a bit of Sync Move Acceleration from the likes of Sync Pairs like Red & Snorlax or Elesa & Rotom can help to potentially cut two turns off of the first Sync Move Cycle, which any team can appreciate, and also provide Support EX, giving value for the first sync, which is generally hard to be accomplished with offensive Syncs with the small amount of setup turns.
Is It Worth Pulling?
Let’s be blunt; Sygna Suit Steven & Deoxys are good. In fact, it’s hard to quantify just how good due to just how versatile they are. If you’re new to the game, then this is a Sync Pair that can fill multiple important niches at once, meaning they never really need to leave your team under most circumstances. However, most of the time you’ll probably be calling on Attack Forme due to just how dominant it is. If you’ve played for a while, then this is still a Sync Pair that can slot onto just about any team in one function or another depending on your needs. Either that or you can just pick Attack Forme and steamroll the competition with ease. However, this is also not an all-encompassing ultimate Sync Pair that will change the entire game.
As highlighted, their strongest gimmicks come with Attack and Normal Formes, so if you don’t need another potentially broken attacker or more Tech/Support utility, then this is probably a safe skip despite just how good they are. It’s also worth mentioning that their timing is terrible, as the 3-year Anniversary is casting a large shadow over Pokemon Masters right now. We’re expecting a datamine before Steven & Deoxys make their way back to the stars until they’re needed again, so it might be a good idea to wait until we know what to expect before investing.