TL;DR: Should You Pull?
What Does It Do?
Not long ago, a blinding light took this game by storm. A power outstanding rising unexpectedly and shedding its blinding brilliance on all. But every light must eventually cast a shadow. Rising from the Distortion World, Giratina has come to strike a balance on Pasio, and at its side is the legendary Champion, Cynthia, ready to finally show the world just why she’s so revered, and why this duo is worthy of being feared. Hold onto your gems, because we have yet another out-of-the-blue Master Fair on our hands!
Cyntha & Giratina have solid Attack, outstanding Special Attack, and… usable speed, making them a force to be reckoned with offensively-speaking. Their bulk is well rounded and best described as “okay”, sitting in the same general neighborhood as Ghetsis & Kyurem, for example. This is admittedly a bit strange for a Pokemon that’s famous for being extremely bulky in the main series, but it’s to be expected at this point. To back up these stats, Giratina & Cyntha have Shadow Ball for a solid general-damage move, and Shadow Force for something a bit more unique. This is Giratina’s signature move in the main series, and it works very much like Phantom Force, as it’s a 3-MP move that has Giratina take up Shadow Presence on activation and then strike shortly after. The difference here is the fact that it has a fair bit more power at its disposal. For a Trainer Move, we have Show Me Your Secrets!, which is a 1-MP move that grants +4 Attack and Special Attack, and +3 Critical Rate at the cost of -1 Defense and Special Defense. Finally, we come to the crown-jewel of Cynthia & Giratina’s kit: Ghost Wish. This move is DeNA saying “we’re not waiting for Gamefreak to give us more Weather/Terrains to work with, we’re going to do our own thing”, and is proof that absolutely nothing that we think about the meta at any given moment is secure long-term. Why is that? Because this move sets a “Ghost Zone” effect on the field that boost Ghost Type moves while active. That’s right; it’s basically a terrain/weather without being a terrain/weather. While this is very nice for obvious reasons, it’s also a meta-shift harbinger in a single move. Every sub-optimal type in the game now has hope! …except maybe for Poison. Why does DeNA hate Poison so much? Either way, this move enables huge damage boosts for Cynthia & Giratina, as well for any Ghost Type team-mates. It’s also worth mentioning that this is considered a trainer move, so it can be used even if Giratina is incompacitated in one way or another.
Passive Skills are where we start to see a bit more of what makes Cynthia & Giratina a Tech Unit. Sundering 9 is famous for its effectiveness on Sygna Suit Leaf & Venusaur, as it can drop enemy Defense, Special Defense, or both at the same time when the user attacks. This last point is especially important as Giratina is capable of launching attacks from both sides of the spectrum. Invigorating Shadow 2 charges the Move Gauge by 2 any time Giratina enters the Shadow Presence state via Shadow Force, making Shadow Force a literal negative-cost attack move. Next is Super Shadow, which activates the Super Effective Up Next effect any time that Giratina enters the Shadow Presence state, which can result in some very nice Shadow Force damage. Finally, Sinnoh Flag Bearer is the titular Master Skill on display here, and it boosts damage output/reduces incoming damage for the entire team while increasing these numbers even more for each Sinnoh-tagged Sync Pair that Cynthia & Giratina are teamed up with.
So put this all together and what do we get? A very strong addition to the somewhat struggling Ghost type, and one that can enable huge damage output potential for their compatriots. Beyond that, we also have a Sync Pair with solid move damage and huge Sync Move damage potential with a bit of Grid help. They can tear down enemy defenses and strike hard with boosted Ghost Type damage, all while boosting Ghost Type damage for the entire team. They’re also potentially very gauge-friendly, as Shadow Force doesn’t take any bars to activate, and actually refunds two bars on use, though this will slow down the Sync Move cycle a bit along the way so it remains situational. Overall, Cynthia & Giratina have a lot going for them!
And now it’s time to be a kill-joy and say that this is not exactly an objectively perfect Sync Pair. To start with, we have the obvious flaw of Shadow Force. Despite its power and added effects, it will slow down Sync Move usage as previously stated, as it ticks down the Sync Move counter when initially used and not when actually activated. And in the current meta, slowing down Sync Move usage is not great. However, the alternate choice here is Shadow Ball, which is okay, but definitely not great. Though their Sync Grid does make it far more appealing by increasing the chance of dropping the opponent’s Special Defense, which synergizes well with the other part of the grids. This makes normal moves a bit of a case where neither choice is the 100% clear winner, as the choice is either great damage output with slow Sync Moves, or comparatively lackluster damage output with normal-speed Sync Moves. And, naturally, the choice between the two will eventually be made for the player as Shadow Force inevitably runs out of MP. We also have the issue of Cynthia & Giratina kind of pigeon-holing themselves into a single real use, as they have a focus on boosting team Ghost Type moves and dealing Super Effective damage to a certain degree. They can definitely operate outside of these parameters, especially with the sheer power of a properly setup Sync Move, but their effectiveness will fall if they wander too far from their comfort zone.
Champion Stadium: Master Mode
Weather and Terrain have long been the gold-standard meta for sheer damage output, but it’s time for them to move over because Cynthia & Giratina have a Wish, and they’re totally in the Zone!
…I’ll let myself out.
Seriously though: any Ghost weak stage will feel the fear as Cynthia & Giratina hit hard and enable new heights of power for their compatriots. Just note that many Ghost weak stages such as Agatha or Shauntal tend to carry Ghost Type moves and/or Sync Moves themselves, so Ghost Wish can be a double-edged sword if timed wrong (thanks to TPOO2000 for pointing this out in the comments!)
The Legendary Arena
The ability to boost up Ghost Damage is great, and a well timed Shadow Force can be absolutely clutch for evading scripted AoE moves. On top of that, their high-damage and single-target Sync Move damage cannot be ignored. And while this isn’t the team-comp section, it’s definitely worth noting that Cyntha & Giratina’s Ghost Wish plus Lillie & Lunala’s high Ghost Type damage and ability to ignore abilities when attacking work together to basically invalidate many Legendary Arena stages entirely. This is an outstanding fit to say the least!
Fast setup plus Ghost Type boosts can lead to high team burst damage to take out these fights quickly. Just watch out for stage gimmicks that could ruin your strategy. On the bright side, Cynthia & Giratina make battles that have a focus on the Sinnoh Theme Skill far easier.
The Battle Villa
Not much to say here. Reliance on MP and slowed down Sync Move cycles can make life rough on Cynthia & Giratina. They’re best brought in as a single burst if you need help with a Ghost weak stage, or just left home.
How To Use It?
These are generally the most important tiles on Cynthia & Giratina’s grid:
- Brain Sync 5 (⅗) is a powerful and fairly easy to activate tile that’s not far from the center, making it a prime choice.
- Shadow Ball: On a Roll 2 (⅗) turns Shadow Ball into a move that can quickly snowball damage, and also provides damage support to team mates.
- Smarty Pants (⅗) is another strong Sync Move buff, though it’s a bit harder to activate than Brain Sync 5 but synergizes well with the aforementioned tile.
- Shadow Ball: Move Gauge Refresh 2 (⅖) is a staple tile for Giratina’s staple attack.
- Sync Move: Power+25 (⅖) tiles are nice for a bit more Sync Move damage, and can provide alternate routes around the grid to other nice tiles for minimal net cost.
Next are the tiles that are nice to have, but are either niche or not generally worth going out of the way for:
- Ghost Wish: MP Refresh 2 (⅗) can provide good odds of gaining +1 use to this very important Trainer Move, but most battles should be over by the time it’s needed.
- Haunted Healing 1 (⅗) provides some easily activated passive healing and is along the way to Smarty Pants, so it’s a very solid pickup if on the way of important tiles.
- Sync Quickening 1 (⅗) is nice on paper. +1 MP to Shadow Force per Sync Move used by Cynthia & Giratina is nice, especially when considering the bonuses that Shadow Force gives on use. However, the very slow gains offered by this tile combined with the previously mentioned weaknesses with Shadow Force make it a very iffy choice in practice.
- Ghost Wish: Group Morale Boost 4 (⅖) provides a nice Supportive function to Cynthia & Giratina, and can be useful with select Ghost Type attackers as well. It’s also nice for potentially hitting +5 Special Attack naturally.
- Superduper Effective 2 (⅗) is potentially useful for Ghost-weak stages, but it’s not worth going out of the way for most of the time.
- Shadow Ball: Superduper Effective 1 (⅗) is a bit too expensive for the small boost that it provides.
- The two Ghost Wish: Move Gauge Refresh 2 (⅖) tiles offer very little, but they’re on the way to a few useful tiles, meaning many builds will pick one up along the way.
Finally, these are the tiles that are probably best to ignore unless they somehow play into a bigger strategy in some way:
- Ghost Wish: Pep Talk 4 (⅖) provides a nice Supportive function to Cynthia & Giratina, but its unreliable nature and lack of general synergy with most fellow Ghost Types makes it less than useful in practice. Though it is useful for having Giratna hit +6 attack naturally.
- Invigorating Shadow 1 (⅖) can turn Giratina into even more of a Move Gauge battery, but this can definitely run into the realm of overkill and become wasteful.
- Show Me Your Secrets! MP Refresh 2 (⅖) offers +6 Attack/Special Attack when successful, and can be useful for the Battle Villa, but it’s very lackluster overall since you’re generally going to fill the gap with a Support anyway.
- Sync Stat Reboot 9 (⅗) is a huge cost to get rid of -1 Defense/Special Defense. It can be a bit useful on stages that focus heavily on stat drops, but it’s just not worth it most of the time.
Critical Strike 2 is the go-to skill for now, but Deluxe Lucky Cookies are coming, so maybe we’ll have some actual variability in the future!
Anything Ghost-Type! The obvious choice here is Lillie & Lunala for their stellar Ghost Type damage output, making this team a force to be reckoned with any time a Ghost Type weakness shows up, though they’re still very potent even on neutral stages. And, as we already stated, this combo can basically invalidate Legendary Arena stages, which could be very useful for the upcoming Gauntlet. Other choices that are capable of dealing solid Ghost Type damage are Giovanni & Mewtwo, Allister & Gengar, and even Fantia & Mismagius.
When using Cynthia & Giratina as a main Ghost Type attacker, the main requirements are going to be a bit of Attack/Special Attack support, some Speed/Move Gauge support for some team comps, and some Sync Move Countdown support if Shadow Force is your move of choice. Sygna Suit Elesa & Rotom can provide most of this, maxing out Special Attack and helping with the Sync Move counter. Leaf & Eevee can cover all but Sync Move counter support at the cost of an early Sync Move. Sygna Suit Blue & Blastoise can cover all of the above, to varying degrees. Any grid that picks up Smarty Pants will also appreciate a bit of help dropping the enemy’s Special Defense, and the best option here is probably Dawn & Alcremie, who actually have fairly solid synergy with Cynthia & Giratina. Acerola & Mimikyu or Morty & Drifblim can also work alongside Cynthia & Giratina, taking advantage of Ghost Wish to deal even more damage and/or use their unique traits to soften up the opposing side. Though this may lead to a bit of a squabble over Sync Move usage.
Is It Worth Pulling?
Cynthia & Giratina are coming in at a bit of an awkward time. They’re here on the tail-end of Lusamine & Necrozma, and are also coming right before the New Year’s units with Lucas & Dialga on the horizon, so many players are bound to be stretched thin at this point. While definitely worth the investment, these two could very well break the bank and ruin future endeavors before they join your team, so think carefully before spending those hard-earned gems. That said, Cynthia & Giratina can potentially fill in the Ghost-shaped hole that Lillie & Lunala may have left in your roster not too long ago, and can also bring any of your existing Ghost Type attackers to a whole new level of damage. And when it comes to the potential investment that it may take to nab a low-rate Master Sync Pair, keep in mind that this banner will last until the end of February, so we’ll very likely be able to look into at least 2 future datamines before time starts running out. No pressure this time! When all is said and done, if the boxes are checked and spending on Cynthia & Giratina is worthwhile in your estimation, then open the flood gates and let the shadows rise!