TL;DR: Should You Pull?
What Does It Do?
Train your eyes in this direction, and conduct yourselves well, because at this juncture we’re right on track to meet Ingo & Excadrill, our newest Support sync pair! So step up before you run out of steam, and keep chugging along to victory or else you may just reach the end of the line!
...and now that the train puns are out of the way...
Ingo & Excadrill are, as previously stated, a support sync pair. And they’re actually quite good at their job! They can tank about as well as Hilbert & Samurott when looking at base stats alone, and have a number of ways to bring that bulk even higher in practice. Move-wise, they have the ever-popular Potion, they can drop enemy Accuracy with Mud Slap, and have some particularly nice effects with their trainer move, All Aboard! This trainer move gives +1 Attack and +2 Critical Rate on use, but it also enables the Free Move Next effect for the entire team if used during a sandstorm. And we still haven’t touched on what many consider to be the crown-jewel of their kit: Sandstorm! We’ve long been starved for alternative Sandstorm setters that aren’t Acerola & Palossand or eggmons, and Ingo & Excadrill finally join the fray as the single bulkiest setter of this powerful weather to date. This has the potential to open up a number of new strategies and offers actual flexibility to Sandstorm teams.
Skill-wise, Ingo & Excadrill play perfectly with the rest of their kit. Sandy Pep Rally 9 has a 100% chance to raise the team’s Speed when Excadrill attacks during a sandstorm, Ferocious Affliction 2 boosts team Attack and Special Attack by 2 stages each the first time that Ingo & Excadrill use a status move, and Sedimentary provides Sandstorm damage immunity and a whopping 30% increase to Defense and Special Defense in a Sandstorm. And keep in mind that this is a direct stat increase, meaning it even applies to sync moves! In short, Ingo & Excadrill can easily take on the Tank duty for your team while buffing your offensive pairs.
So the absolute most obvious use for Ingo & Excadrill is their ability to support a Sandstorm team featuring power-house sync pairs like Emmet & Archeops or Cynthia & Garchomp. But is that all that they can do? Unlike some weather setters that are generally only “good” if used within a specific team archetype, Ingo & Excadrill have a number of powerful supportive options that make them very viable on dual-striker setups; their wide buffing profile, their solid tanking capabilities, and especially their ability to give the team Free Move Next multiple times per battle. When combined with heavy hitting 4-bar sync pairs, this can open up tremendous damage potential that also gives the move gauge time to refill, which can result in barrage after barrage of devastating strikes that most other support units simply cannot enable.
Champion Stadium: Master Mode
Ingo & Excadrill are quite capable of tanking well thanks to their solid bulk and great defensive options, though they excel the most in scenarios where the battle finishes before they run out of Sandstorm MP. This can make long, drawn out battles from Master Mode a bit of a strain on their capability to effectively tank. Fortunately, Ingo & Excadrill can enable some absolutely devastating team comps that excel at beating down the opposition. They are definitely worth considering here!
The Battle Villa
The Battle Villa is a gauntlet that rewards sync pairs that have a focus on longevity and non-reliance on skills. Sadly, Ingo & Excadrill don’t really fall into this category very well as we’ve previously outlined. Outside of fishing for MP refreshes and re-starting if they don’t activate, this sync pair just doesn’t have the tools needed to excel. They also have the issue of virtually needing to be paired with sync pairs that can deal with Sandstorm’s chip damage, as it will definitely begin to take a toll on the team if activated across multiple battles.
Full Force Battles & Battle Challenges
Ingo & Excadrill excel in this format, as their ability to potentially keep Sandstorm up throughout the battle and tank like a champ makes them very threatening in short-to-mid length battles.
Sandstorm running out before the fight ends can be an issue, but a strong showing up-front and/or careful planning by way of Sandstorm’s timing should let Ingo & Excadrill give the team the momentum needed to finish the job. It is also worth mentioning that their Unova theme skill may come in handy in the future for challenges that require 3 Unova units to clear.
Daily Region Rotation
We already have a few really nice tanks from Unova, and Skyla & Swanna in particular are free-to-play. On top of that, the only Unovan attacker that genuinely likes being paired with Sandstorm is Ingo’s brother, Emmet. As of right now, Ingo & Excadrill can work well here, but they aren’t necessary.
How Do I Use It? (Grid, Lucky Skills, And Comps):
These are generally the most important tiles on Ingo & Excadrill’s grid:
- All Aboard! MP Refresh 3 (⅕) is definitely worthwhile, as it’s the entire crux of what makes Ingo & Excadrill so effective on hyper-offensive teams. Honestly, this is pretty much why 1/5 Ingo is already sufficient as it is (even though duplicates are always appreciated for other notable tiles of course).
- Sandstorm: MP Refresh 2 (⅗) supports a big part of what makes Ingo & Excadrill stand out from the competition; the ability to reliably set Sandstorm. Because of the way that their trainer skill only gives the Free Move Next effect and using a normal attack only buffs team speed during a Sandstorm, an added use could be a very real saving grace.
- The two Potion: Master Healer 1 (⅖) nodes are perfect for keeping Excadrill and its compatriots healthy throughout the battle
- Potion: MP Refresh 3 (⅗) is a staple node that can pay big dividends defensively.
- Guarded Entry 1 (⅖) can provide an instant longevity boost, which lets Excadrill tank longer right off the bat.
Next are the nodes that are nice to have, but are either niche or not generally worth going out of the way for:
- Soothing Sand 1 (⅔) is a nice node that’s great for tanking, but Ingo & Excadrill may have to fight a bit to actually utilize it consistently. This is due to the fact that Sandstorm is limited, and Ingo & Excadrill really want to use their Trainer Move while it's active, not to mention unforeseen emergency Potion use, so the final regeneration offered by this node can be somewhat limited. This can be rectified if the Speed buffs that Ingo & Excadrill amass by using Mud Slap during a Sandstorm can provide enough move gauge support to make the Free Move Next effect less important, but even then it’s a bit iffy.
- Pocket Sand 4 (⅗) is hilariously named and can indirectly provide a good bit of longevity as the opponent fumbles around while trying to score a hit. It also works very well with…
- Mud-Slap: Ripple Effect 2 (⅗) makes lowering the opposing team’s accuracy far easier, and can chain into…
- Fail Forward 1 (⅗) can provide a bit of longevity once accuracy drops start to rack up, though it is pretty unreliable.
- Mud Slap: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅕) gives Excadrill a bit more flexibility with its only spammable move, but is primarily useful in more drawn out battles that actually give Ingo & Excadrill time to start focusing on Mud Slap.
- Mud Slap: Accuracy +5 (⅕ and ⅖) can help to ensure that Mud Slap doesn’t miss, and they are very inexpensive nodes.
- Gritty Guardian 1 (⅖) is very nice for its ability to steadily make Excadrill bulkier as the battle rages on, although the activation odds aren’t great.
- Quick Cure (⅗) can be a useful node in select battles, and can get Excadrill out of a bind that could otherwise cut its run short.
- Adrenaline 1 (⅖) can be useful for ensuring that the team can reach their 2nd Sync Move directly before the opposition can reach their 1st, and can be nice if paired with other sync pairs that have similar effects. However, the effectiveness of this strategy given the cost of the node is debatable, and the power that it gives is a bit niche overall, so it should only be considered when Ingo is EX’d (incentive to Sync) and the team will wipe out the stage more effectively as a result of accelerating their second Sync.
Finally, these are the nodes that are probably best to ignore unless they somehow play into a bigger strategy in some way:
- Endurance (⅗) can be a literal run-saver in select cases, but it’s locked behind a number of less useful nodes and is very expensive, making it awkward to actually pick up.
- Sync Cure (⅗) is a way to purge status, but as sync nuking becomes more and more prevalent, using a sync move just for this becomes more and more questionable. It can be nice with Ingo & Excadrill’s EX form if they suffer status early on, at least.
For Lucky Skills; the good, old fashioned Vigilance is generally the way to go, especially if picking up Guarded Entry 1 or Gritty Guardian 1 due to the fact that Critical Hits pierce Defense boosts. Defense Crush 2 can also be nice when paired with physical attackers, though it is risky to not protect a tank of Excadrill’s caliber from Critical attacks.
So what kind of team support do Ingo & Excadrill appreciate? Why, anything that works well in Sandstorm, of course! The first stand-out is obviously Emmet & Archeops, who enjoys a substantial boost in power when a Sandstorm is raging while also enjoying the buffs that Ingo & Excadrill can provide. The other big-name for this role would be Cynthia & Garchomp, who now have a partner that can tank and set Sandstorm at the exact same time! This opens up the 3rd slot for other powerful teammate options that can support the team even farther. Olivia & Lycanroc can take full advantage of the sand via their grid and hit very hard as a result. Prof. Kukui & Lycanroc also appreciate Sandstorm support, and can hit surprisingly hard while also dropping the opposing team’s Defense. Outside of Sandstorm, 4-bar attackers such as Lance & Dragonite, Sygna Suit Cynthia & Kommo-o, and Gloria & Zacian appreciate the wide boosts and Free Move Next effect that are so generously provided by Ingo & Excadrill, as it enables them to easily rain damage down on the opposing team as previously stated. This works extremely well with virtually any powerful damage-dealer, as the sheer utility of being able to outright ignore the move gauge bar and freely spam some of the most powerful moves in the game genuinely cannot be understated.
Another strategy to pair with Ingo & Excadrill is Evasion support, as it pairs perfectly with the Accuracy drops of Mud Slap. In this, New Years Lillie & Ribombee are the gold-standard, as they can spread full-team evasion and block status while Ingo & Excadrill offer Attack, Critical Rate, and Speed bonuses. This can help make Leech Life easier to use and stronger. Just keep in mind that while this strategy can be effective, it’s also using Ingo & Excadrill in a manner that wastes the talents that make them so effective on a hyper-offensive team.
Is It Worth Pulling?
If this were a month or so ago, the answer would be… “Probably yes”? One aspect of the value of Ingo & Excadrill is directly proportional to Sandstorm-ready teammates available, and the other is based around how many gauge-hungry strikers can fit onto one team, so their utility can vary from player to player. As of right now, they can be a very solid pull for many players, but remember that the 2-year anniversary is on the near horizon.