Sync Spotlight/Should You Pull?: Elio & Primarina

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TL;DR: Should You Pull?

What Does It Do?

Alola! Elio, one of the two protagonists from Pokemon Sun and Moon, is coming to Pasio along-side the Water Type Starter Pokemon, Primarina. This is a support unit that tries to do just about everything at once:

  • They can boost team Speed, Attack, Special Attack, Special Defense, and even Critical Rate when their Sync Grid is taken into account
  • They can drop enemy Defense and/or Special Defense with their grid, and put opposing sync pairs to sleep with Sing
  • They can tank fairly well, can heal themselves with First Aid 4, and can even heal their team with Team Inflict and Heal 3. However, it’s worth noting that this will only activate 35% of the time base given its imperfect odds of activation and Sing’s low base accuracy
  • They have what amounts to Move Gauge Refresh 5 on all of their moves as a passive skill

And they succeed in what they try to a fairly large degree. With a wide assortment of buffs and advantages, they can join most teams and fill holes with ease. However, they also find themselves as a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. Most of their buffs are incomplete or difficult to activate in some way, meaning they’re best at filling holes rather than acting as the all-in-one buff unit. In this regard, they can actually be somewhat useful in dual-striker setups, where they can fill in offensive holes, support both Physical and Special attackers at the same time, and even harass the opposing team with various disabilities thanks to Sing and their grid’s effects. The main issue here is the fact that their only attack, Sparkling Aria, is very expensive for a Support unit to use, so Elio & Primarina may be forced to rely on spamming Sing on most turns in order to not slow down the sync move counter, even if the entire enemy team is already asleep.

Champion’s Stadium: Master Mode

Elio & Primarina have the advantage of being able to slot into many different teams with ease thanks to their wide buff profile. The ability to put the opponent to sleep in particular can be valuable here, though they may struggle to find a niche where they’re not outclassed by another unit in some meaningful way.

The Battle Villa 

Elio & Primarina really want to use their skill to provide offensive support, and without it they’re fairly lackluster. They can help out by spreading Sleep with Sing and garnering heals as a result, but it’s still probably better to look elsewhere for a Battle Villa support.

Full Force Battles

Their best use here is to focus on providing support for a dual-striker setup with the goal of stomping out the opposing team as quickly as possible. The prolonged nature of these fights has the potential to wear Elio & Primarina down before the end, but they’re still solid for dual-team strategies.

The Legendary Arena 

Most Legendary Arenas call for a very specific gimmick, meaning Elio & Primarina’s generalist nature may not play well against many opponents. Still, the ability to put one opponent to sleep when you’re generally only fighting one opponent is well known for its effectiveness!

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

Elio & Primarina genuinely appreciate the recent Sync Grid update, as they will need to tailor their grid to benefit their team. 

These are generally the most important nodes on Elio & Primarina’s grid:.

  • Team Critical Nightmare 3 (⅗) raises the team’s Critical Rate when Primarina attacks a sleeping opponent 40% of the time. It’s a bit unwieldy due to Sing’s abysmal 50% accuracy rate and its own imperfect success odds, but can be massively useful in completing team buffs or making Elio & Primarina a near-complete offensive support unit, mainly lacking Accuracy buffs for its team as well as Sing.
  • Sparkling Aria: Team Fast-Track 4 (⅗) boosts the team’s speed when it takes effect, and is great for any team that intends to afford Primarina the support needed to be able to consistently use Sparkling Aria. It’s also great for those random moments where you find yourself with enough energy to randomly take the gamble for a very nice speed boost.
  • Sparkling Aria: Move Gauge Refresh 2 (⅖) may only have a 30% chance to refund a single move gauge bar, but the high cost of the move can make this worth the gamble in many cases.

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

  • Sparkling Aria: Defense Crush 4 (⅗) and Sparkling Aria: Mind Games 4 (⅗) delve into the Tech side of sync grids with a 50% chance to lower the target’s Defense or Special Defense respectively.  The fact that Sparkling Aria hits all targets means that these nodes could shred the opposing team’s defenses in short order. The problem here is Sparkling Aria’s high move gauge cost, which can make it very unwieldy if your attacker(s) are also hungry for the gauge. They are solid choices if you have a team that can afford them, but most teams don’t have the speed required.
  • Sparkling Aria: Trip Up 4 (⅗) works like the previous two nodes, but it drops enemy Speed instead. 
  • Team Sync Cure (⅗) has its niche in battles where the opposing team loves using status, and synergizes well with Elio & Primarina’s Six Star EX Support effect, but it’s ultimately not worth aiming for in most fights.
  • Sentry Entry 1 (⅗) grants +1 defense when Elio & Primarina hit the field, but it’s only +1 defense for a fairly high cost node near the bottom of their sync grid. 
  • Quick Cure can be an invaluable node for Support units, especially when facing Trapping units that can whittle into bulk in short order. It’s a solid choice if you have extra energy.
  • X Sp.Defense MP Refresh 2 can restore one MP to the move 30% of the time, so it gives solid odds that Primarina & Elio will be able to max out the team’s Special Defense.
  • Haste (⅕) and Unbending (⅕) can be nice when facing opponents that drop Speed or Defense respectively, but are also pretty niche.
  • Sing: Move Gauge Refresh 1 (⅖) has a 20% chance to refund 1 move gauge bar on a 1 gauge move. This is pretty lackluster and generally not worth the cost.

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

  • Impatient 1 (⅗) has low odds of activating, and in most cases 1 move count won’t be enough to actually reduce a full sync move cycle in solo play. It’s an okay choice if teamed up with other sync pairs that reduce the sync move count, but not reliable or generally effective.
  • We’ve Got Tricks! MP Refresh 1 (⅗) just has too much going against it. While an MP refresh would let Elio & Primarina potentially max out the entire team’s Attack and Special Attack, the fact that it only has a 20% chance of activating on a move with 1 MP means it will only take effect in one out of every five fights on average.
  • Good Night-mare 3 (⅖) is a solid boost to Elio & Primarina’s damage, but you’re probably not going to use Elio & Primarina for their damage.
  • Power Reserves 4 (⅖) is another solid damage node, but it’s also very difficult to rely on and, again, Elio & Primarina aren’t known for their amazing damage. On top of this, their innate First Aid 4 ability naturally staves this boost off when it activates. 

Sadly, you’ll note that most of the “good” nodes are locked behind ⅗. This means that ⅕ and even ⅖ basically just support Elio & Primarina’s base kit to varying degrees. This isn’t “bad”, but it does leave a lot of potential power on the table for most players.

For Lucky Skills, the tried-and-true Vigilance ensures maximum longevity, and ensures that Primarina’s Special Defense buffs aren’t simply ignored. If Elio & Primarina are used as a secondary Support unit, then Defense Crush 2 can be very useful when combined with Sparkling Aria’s AoE damage, or Troublemaker 1 can be picked up in order to increase the accuracy of Sing. Stoic 2 can also be great for patching up Primarina’s lower physical Defense, but it leaves the Soloist Pokemon open to a random Critical attack.

Because Elio & Primarina can do so many things, they work well with numerous team comps. However, some synergize better than others. New Years Lance & Gyarados appreciate their wide set of buffs that can save a substantial amount of HP that Gyarados would normally sacrifice to its Trainer Move, while Primarina appreciates the fact that it can potentially enjoy Potion support as a result. The same can be said of Lance & Dragonite, who have an abject lack of self-buffs at their disposal. Champion Iris & Hydreigon can also take advantage of Elio & Primarina’s buffing and stat-lowering capabilities to power up their moves, while the longevity that the resulting Attack and Special Attack drops provide make Primarina substantially bulkier.

As for providing support for Primarina & Elio, they generally only want three things: Accuracy,  Healing, and Defense. The latter two are easily provided by Skyla & Swanna in spades, making it the pair’s best supportive partner if you don’t intend to rely on Sing. Lillie & Clefairy can boost Accuracy and finish the offensive buffs that Elio & Primarina leave at +4, and Sabrina & Alakazam can boost Accuracy and offer healing while temporarily boosting the team’s physical bulk with Barrier, as well as taking care of team Critical Rate alongside a slew of other effects.

Is It Worth Pulling?

Elio & Primarina could be a great asset to newer players, as they can be used in many scenarios very effectively. However, their utility drops as other sync pairs that are better suited to fill specific support niches become available, such as Hillbert & Samurott with Physical attackers or Sabrina & Alakazam for Special attackers. As stated before, they can have utility with a dual-striker setup, but their overall niche is a bit shallow. For these reasons, it’s probably best to just skip this banner and wait to see what next month has in store. Besides, they’re going to enter the general pool after this, so you’ll probably pick them up naturally on a future Pokefair.

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About the Author(s)

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