TL;DR: Should You Pull?
What Does It Do?
Welcome to the Summer Festival! Always an interesting seasonal period, this year we’ve got another duo of units ready to take the field, but for today we’re going to look at one in particular. Traditionally, N has always managed to make some waves when signing up a new Sync Pair on Pasio, and this time is no different. Paired up with Zoroark, the would-be King is now poised to rule the Dark Type meta for a time, so let’s find out just what exactly hides in the dark as we look past the illusion and into what N & Zoroark have to offer.
To start with, N & Zoroark hit the ground running with a very strong Special Attack stat and a high Speed stat, both of which are great for any offensive Sync Pair. As payment for this advantage, their bulk is on the low side to compensate. Zoroark’s signature move, Night Daze, starts the list of moves. It’s a 95% accuracy Dark Type attack that costs 4 bars, has okay base power, and has 50% odds of dropping the target’s Accuracy by 1 stage on use. This follows up with Snarl, which we’ve seen several times in the past. It’s not very strong on its own, but the ability to hit the entire enemy team and drop their Special Attack is always appreciated. Dire Hit + is next, and is always great to have for its ability to easily max out Critical Rate in just 2 uses. Finally, Vivid Illusion finishes the move list as a 1-time-use skill that grants a whopping +6 Special Attack and +2 Evasion, taking care of most of N & Zoroark’s buffing needs in one single move use.
With moves out of the way, N & Zoroark’s Passive Skills are… very thematic, to say the least. First up we have Healthy Superhit, which applies the Super Effective Up Next effect when N & Zoroark hit the field. We follow this up with Super Sync 9, which applies the Super Effective Up Next effect whenever N & Zoroark use a Sync Move. And, finally, Sync Freebie applies the Free Move Next effect whenever N & Zoroark use a Sync Move. Yes, the entire skill set is based around applying “X Next” effects. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it’s just interesting to see a Sync Pair that sticks to a theme that firmly.
So when we put all of these variables together, what do we get? The new best Dark Type attacker in the game, in overall terms. N & Zoroark hit very hard, and they’re also pretty straight-forward. It takes three turns of quick setup, and they’re ready to go to town on whatever enemies they may be facing. The main variables come from their Grid, which can offer fairly large boosts when the opposing team is inflicted with Accuracy/Special Attack drops, both of which N & Zoroark are capable of delivering themselves.
With the good comes the bad, so what exactly is wrong with N & Zoroark? For starters, while they are capable of dropping Accuracy/Special Attack for their grid-based steroids, they’re definitely not good at it. Turns spent using Snarl are turns not spent attacking with Night Daze for maximum damage. And trying to stockpile Accuracy Drops with Night Daze is pretty inefficient due to its middling 40% odds of actually taking effect.
Champion Stadium: Master Mode
Dark is a type that is still a little bit under-represented, so having a new, powerful Dark Type attacker available can be very useful for many players who struggle when this weakness rears its head in a given week.
Legendary Arena & Gauntlet
High single-target Dark Type damage compounded with Accuracy drops and Special Attack drops can make N & Zoroark an optimal choice on relevant Legendary Arena stages, assuming that they can fit on a team that can also work around whatever gimmick the boss may have.
While they prefer to prey on a Dark Type weakness, N & Zoroark tend to be perfectly fine in most general challenge stages thanks to their solid all-around performance. That said, they probably won’t excel if it’s a stage that gives a 5x bonus to a specific class of Trainer if they aren’t actually a part of whatever that class may be.
N & Zoroark can handle themselves well in the Villa, but only if you don’t mind fishing for an MP Refresh on their trainer move. Without that, they’re pretty mediocre.
How To Use It?
These are generally the most important tiles to pick up:
- Furious Brain (⅗) boosts attack damage the more that Zorokark’s Special Attack has been boosted. Since N’s Trainer Move outright maxes Special Attack on a single use, this offers a large boost with no drawback or extra setup.
- Obscuring Power 3 (⅗) increases Zoroark’s move power the more that the target’s Accuracy has been lowered. This can lead to snowballing damage, as Night Daze already has solid odds of lowering Accuracy on use.
- Obscuring Sync 5 (⅗) boost Sync Move damage when the target’s Accuracy has been lowered. Yes, this tile procs if the target’s Accuracy has been lowered at all, not the more that it’s been lowered. This makes it easy to activate, and very strong. The one problem is that it can be hard to reach alongside the other must-haves.
- Devastation (⅗) boosts Sync Move power the more that the target’s Special Attack has been lowered. This is definitely great, but setting it up requires wasting time using Snarl, which can lead to a net damage loss unless you lean into it pretty hard. Of course, the other option is bringing along a team member that can do the job in N & Zoroark’s stead.
Next are the tiles that are nice to have, but are either niche or not generally worth going out of the way for:
- Night Daze: On a Roll 1 (⅗) greatly increases the odds of Night Daze reducing the target’s Accuracy, which can make it useful for Obscuring Sync 5 and Obscuring Power 3. The main issue is its high cost.
- Bedazzle 1 (⅗) drops the target’s Accuracy by 1 when N & Zoroark take the stage, which is nice for setting up Obscuring Sync and Obscuring Power early in the game as while also providing a bit of defensive support for the team. It’s nice, but a bit under-powered for its cost.
- Night Daze: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅕ & ⅖) can be nice if the Move Gauge is an issue, but they will come at the cost of tiles that offer significant damage boosts.
- Catalyst (⅗) is great for some Move Gauge support, but the fact that it only works once makes it a bit of an iffy pick.
- Night Daze: Accuracy+5 (⅕) gives 100% base-accuracy to Night Daze, but a 1/20 chance to miss is generally worth risking.
- Snarl: Superduper Effective 9 (⅗) gives a huge damage boost to Snarl when it hits for Super Effective damage, making it an okay AoE damage option on Dark-weak stages.
- Snarl: Satisfied Snarl 4 (⅖) gives a chance to drop the target’s Special Attack by 1 additional stage on use of Snarl, which can be great for setting up Devastation, but it’s not guaranteed to proc and not strong enough to be a staple tile the vast majority of the time.
- Snarl: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅕) is nice for a bit of Move Gauge support, but Snarl’s low base cost makes it negligible most of the time.
Finally, these are the tiles that are probably best to ignore unless they somehow play into a bigger strategy in some way:
- Queue Cutter 2 (⅖) has a 40% chance to reduce the Sync Move counter when an attack aimed at N & Zoroark misses. It’s nice in theory, but if N & Zorokark are taking anything more than AoE hits, then the battle is most likely already a loss or near-loss. That said, it can be useful to hopefully get to a Sync Move as a final reach for victory, but it’s still not worth going for in the vast majority of situations.
- Dauntless (⅕) prevents N & Zoroark’s Special Attack from being lowered, which can be nice for protecting Furious Brain’s boost in particular, but it’s not worth going out of the way for on the majority of stages.
- Vivid Illusion: MP Refresh 2 (⅖) does… almost nothing. 1 MP is enough to score a full +6 Special Attack, so an additional use can only be useful if you’re facing a stage that has a focus on dropping your Special Attack, or if you just want an additional 2 Evasion. It’s virtually useless outside of the Villa.
- Dire Hit + MP Refresh 2 (⅖) does… literally nothing. 2 uses maxes Critical Rate easily, and nothing in the game drops Critical Rate currently, so the literal only use would be trying for MP Refreshes in the Villa.
Sync Grid Levels & EX Viability
The majority of N & Zoroark’s offensive power is locked behind ⅗, so that should definitely be the priority if you intend to pull on this banner. While their base kit alone is still solid, ⅕ and ⅖ don’t offer much additional Sync Grid utility, sadly.
When it comes to investing in an EX boost, this is definitely a Sync Pair worthy of the cost. N & Zoroark have access to a few Sync Grid tiles that boost their Sync Move damage significantly, and turning that Sync Move into an AoE move is definitely worthwhile.
As always, Critical Strike 2 is the gold-standard move for its universal boost. The other top option is Super Powered 3 for its superior damage-boost when attacking a Dark Weak stage. It’s also substantially better on N & Zoroark than many other Sync Pairs, as they already make use of the Super Effective Up Next effect, which means that they already want to fight Dark weak stages first and foremost.
The top partner for N & Zoroark has to be Sygna Suit Cyrus & Darkrai. The sheer power of Dark Zone raises Zoroark’s damage to new heights, while Darkai’s Dark Void makes many stages virtually non-issues thanks to constant sleep. Add to that the fact that Cyrus & Darkrai can drop the opposing team’s Accuracy and Special Attack with a little luck, and you’ve got a pairing that is genuinely dangerous.
Another option for compounding Dark Type damage is Marnie & Morpeko, as their Power Trip can hit extremely hard and is very cheap gauge-wise. Just note that their viability will depend on the Support that they’re paired with, as they want Critical Rate boosts as well as literally any other stats that they can garner.
If you’re running Devastation, then help dropping Special Attack is going to be appreciated. Champion Iris & Hydreigon, Bede & Hatterene, and Classic Elesa & Emolga are all examples of Sync Pairs that can do this job with various other benefits on the side.
Red & Snorlax also make great partners on the Support aisw, as it’s nearly impossible to save a naturally-occuring Super Effective Up Next effect to boost Sync Move damage given optimal play. Finally, Ingo & Excadrill deserve special mention, as they can help N & Zoroark out with Critical Rate buffs, can provide Free Move Next support, can buff the team’s Speed, and can even compound Accuracy drops with Mud-Slap.
Is It Worth Pulling?
A strong attacker for an under-represented type, N & Zoroark are definitely worth adding to your team. They have the potential to hit like a truck and cover a less-represented type beautifully. Their damage output is genuinely phenomenal when setup properly, but just be ready to deal with the fickle requirements to hit those numbers on their grid. Overall, N & Zoroark are genuinely great and very strong in the current state of the game.