Sync Spotlight/Should You Pull?: Archie & Kyogre

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TL;DR: Should You Pull?

What Does It Do?

Archie & Kyogre are the sea incarnate. They are here to wash away the old world and give rise to a primordial ocean that spans the globe itself. They are the ambition of Team Aqua, and Team Aqua’s ambition will not be stopped.

At first glance, it looks as though Archie & Kyogre were given the short end of the stick when compared to their Team Magma counterparts. Looking at Groudon’s huge Attack stat and comparing it to Kyogre’s substantially lower Special Attack makes them look very unequal, but this is not the case. The main difference here is the fact that rain gives a huge innate boost to Water Type moves, while sunny weather doesn’t directly boost Ground Type moves. In practice, this makes them very similar given similar favorable conditions.

When it comes right down to it, Archie & Kyogre have one purpose, and they serve this purpose well: to shroud the world in water. They are unparalleled in terms of Water Type damage thanks to their powered up Water Type attacks and grid-enabled Super Effective boost, and their synergy with the other top Water Types in the game means that they can threaten to drown everything in their vicinity. They can also operate as a fantastic pseudo-Electric unit with Thunder, adding even more value to an already amazing sync pair. They are designed for sheer power, and they can amass that power frighteningly well thanks to Storm Surge 3 boosting damage and move gauge speed in the rain, and Flood Alert 5 greatly extending the rain’s duration. The down side to this is the fact that they are on a bit of a timer from the start of the battle. While Archie & Kyogre turn the weather to Rain just by joining the battle, increase the duration of rain passively, and can even refresh the rain once per battle when they use a Sync Move via their grid, their damage drops quite a bit when the rain finally dries up. While this is a bit of an issue, their amazing synergy with Swampert, the best Rain Dance user currently in the game, makes this a very manageable drawback.

And then we come to Archie & Kyogre’s Master Skill: Hoenn Spirit. With this skill, the very presence of Archie & Kyogre on the field grants a tremendous 20% increase to Special Attack damage, and a 25% decrease to incoming Special damage. These numbers rise by 15% and 3% respectively per Hoenn unit on the field. Considering the number of powerful Special Attackers in the game, this makes Archie very attractive for a 3rd slot, where it can provide its boosts to many other top attackers and still perform well even in a neutral scenario. And it’s worth mentioning that Rain does not lessen Fire Type damage in Masters like it does in the Main Series, so Fire Type partners are perfectly happy to join Archie & Kyogre despite a drizzle!

The Champion Stadium: Master Mode

If you encounter a Water weak stage, then it’s basically all over. In a manner similar to N & Zekrom, Archie & Kyogre prey hard on any weakness to their attack types, and can potentially end the battle early on. They can also operate fairly well in neutral stages, leveraging their sheer power boosted by rain to quickly dismantle the opposition. Just note that the lack of access to their Super Effective boost in neutral stages means they will potentially deal far less damage. But Archie & Kyogre aren’t limited to being the team’s main attacker. They can also be a useful slot-in alongside other Special Strikers in neutral stages by virtue of their Master Skill. 

The Battle Villa

Archie & Kyogre can offer very solid unboosted damage thanks to the rain, offering high early power that can wreck many opposing teams in short order. They do feel the sting of their limited buffs, though.

Full Force Battles & Battle Challenges

In general, Archie & Kyogre should be able to leverage the rain for early-game damage, and stack enough boosts to keep momentum even if the rain ends before the battle is finished.

Legendary Arena 

Archie & Kyogre enter the field strong in the Legendary Arena, and can take solid chunks of damage off of the stage boss early on. However, they will likely need a bit of rain support to survive to the end.

How Do I Use It? (Grid, Lucky Skills, And Comps):

These are generally the most important nodes on Archie & Kyogre’s grid:

  • Super Rain 4 (⅗) provides a tremendous Super Effective damage boost any time it activates, making it a top node to aim for.
  • Shower Power 3 (⅗) is another top pick, offering a huge 40% damage boost while it’s raining. And it’s likely to be raining a lot while Kyogre is on the field.
  • Shower Sync (⅗) can grant a free rain refresh once per battle, which can mean prolonged damage boosts as a result
  • Origin Pulse: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅖) is a staple for virtually any sync pair that relies on a 4-bar move, though it’s a bit less important here due to Archie & Kyogre’s speed boost when it’s raining.

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

  • Shower Gear 2 (⅖) can provide some additional longevity. However, its expense and difficulty to reach makes it a less than appealing choice.
  • Torrential Tenacity (⅖) can be useful for select AoE status stages, but it’s an expensive and niche node to go for.
  • Rainy Propulsion 1 (⅗) is nice for co-op, but in any game mode that actually matters, it would take 3 procs in one sync move cycle to realistically reduce the number of
    “Turns” between uses. Still, it can be useful if other units have similar effects.
  • Nodes involving the move Thunder can be useful if you need an Electric Type attacker, or if a random stage is weak to both Electric and Water, as Kyogre can outright fry the opposition. These nodes can also be useful if you intend to just use Archie & Kyogre for their Master Skill, as Thunder eats up less of the move gauge. The nodes in question are:
    • Thunder: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅖ and ⅗)
    • Thunder: Paralysis Synergy 1 (⅖)
    • Thunder: Raging Rain 5 (⅗)

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

  • X Special Attack: MP Refresh 1 (⅖) looks nice, but Archie & Kyogre can already max their own Special Attack stat fairly easily, making it unnecessary outside of rolling for refreshes in the Battle Villa or stages that can drop Kyogre’s Special Attack.
  • Open the Oceans! MP Refresh 2 (⅖) has the same issue as the above, with only the extra Accuracy that it provides coming across as even mildly useful in most cases. 
  • Origin Pulse: Accuracy +10 (⅕) looks absolutely great for an 85% accuracy move, but Archie & Kyogre already boost their Accuracy by 2 stages with their trainer move in the rain, making it a less than appealing option for most scenarios. It can be useful for Battle Villa runs, though.
  • Healthy Power-Up 1 (⅗) is expensive and provides a tiny damage boost that’s not super easy to keep active.
  • Leg Up 1 (⅗) has low odds of success, only activates once per battle, is expensive, and is unlikely to have an actual impact on the battle. Skip this node.

For Lucky Skills, it’s worthless to beat around the bush: Critical Strike 2 will provide large and consistent damage boosts.

By way of teams: May & Swampert are Archie & Kyogre’s best friends! They both have attack and move gauge boosts in the rain, they both have outstanding Water Type AoE damage, and they can easily work together to keep the rain coming for what is likely to be the entire battle. Because Kyogre boosts the duration of rain and can potentially set rain on its first use of a Sync Move, giving the first Sync Move to Seampert is also fairly viable, letting Mega Swampert take the stage early.  They also have the advantage of both being Hoenn Based and Water Type Special Attackers, meaning Archie’s Master Skill will provide huge damage boosts. If you want Water Type damage, then this team comp is downright brutal.  Cyrus & Palkia are also outstanding in this setup, as a critical Hydro Pump coming off of them deals tremendous damage when boosted by Kyogre’s rain and Master Skill.

Zinnia & Rayquaza is another solid offensive Sync Pair that can take advantage of weather activated damage boosts and the Hoenn-based Master Skill’s Special Attack buffs to drop very powerful Draco Meteors, making for a potentially powerful dual-striker setup.  

In truth, Archie & Kyogre really don’t need a whole lot of support. They already max their own Special Attack and Critical Rate, so that’s easily handled solo. Their main desires are to have some help mitigating their high gauge cost via Speed support and a tank that can protect them while they bring the monsoon. They also like some help with Defense and/or Special Defense, but these tend to be less important. As always, Sygna Suit Blue & Blastoise are aces here, providing every buff that Archie & Kyogre desire while tanking like a champ and offering move gauge acceleration. The one issue is the fact that they love being able to sneak in a Sync Move so that they can Mega Evolve, so they may fight May & Swampert for an early Mega Evolution if the three are put together. Swanna & Skyla can boost Speed and Defense while tanking and providing Potion support.  Wallace & Milotic can slot in as another Hoenn Water Type for more Master Skill power, and can also tank, boost team defense, help out with the move gauge, and even harass the opposing team very well. Prof. Oak & Mew can be useful for their ability to lower enemy stats and can tank with high bulk and evasiveness, while the rain that Kyogre brings makes their use of Thunder 100% accurate. For cases where some extra rain support is needed, but May & Swampert are unavailable for whatever reason, Winona & Peliper can fill the gap.

Is It Worth Pulling?

Yes, Archie & Kyogre are very much worth pulling. They have tremendous damage potential and self sufficiency, and have outstanding team synergy to the point of being able to potentially wipe out any Water weak stage or slot into many non-rain teams with ease. But let’s be honest and ask the real question here: “is it better to pull for Archie & Kyogre, or Maxie & Groudon?”

The short answer is that it depends on your team's needs. Kyogre provides huge damage and has outstanding synergy with several great sync pairs, but it’s also entering a type that’s very populated, so it might not be a must-have pull. Sync pairs like May & Swampert or Cyrus & Palkia can handle most Water weak stages, so Archie & Kyogre may be overkill in some cases. Groudon, meanwhile, is largely comparable in practice, though a bit more unwieldy and harder to fit onto a team. The trade-off is the fact that it’s entering a niche occupied only by Cynthia & Garchomp, and doing so in a way that it doesn’t require as much weather support to shine. Maxie & Groudon also have the advantage of having higher damage without advantageous weather thanks to their higher base offensive stats. When making the decision, it's also worth considering the fact that Archie & Kyogre’s Master Skill boosts Special Attack and Defense, while Maxie & Groudon’s Master Skill boosts Physical Attack and Defense. This seems like a fair and even split on paper, but in reality it makes team-building a bit harder on Maxie & Groudon, as overly powerful Physical attackers are not extremely common.

When it comes right down to it, the real question here is “which team should I join?” If you believe in the noble cause of expanding the seas in order to provide more habitat for the countless oceanic Pokemon in the world, then consider the gems that you spend while pulling for Archie & Kyogre as your dues to join the illustrious Team Aqua! Welcome to our ranks, your official Team Aqua pin has already been delivered!

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