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Sync Spotlight/Should You Pull?: Marnie & Morpeko

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TL;DR: Should You Pull?

What Does It Do?

Marnie’s Morpeko is a niche character that draws comparison to the likes of Will’s Xatu and Bianca’s Musharna. In place of the latter duo’s Stored Power, Morpeko gets Power Trip, the Physical Dark Type variant that gets a decent power boost while Morpeko is in its Hangry Mode. (Yes, Stored Power/Power Trip is considered a niche, a powerful one at that for Pokemon Masters EX. Not to be confused with "gimmick").

The gimmick that is Hunger Switch is more of a hindrance since Morpeko cannot choose to stay in the mode that best suits its intentions. With Morpeko switching modes with each move, Power Trip loses that tasty 1.5x boost every other turn. Players could adapt to that by alternating between Power Trip and Aura Wheel, but this results in such a loss of overall power that it’s nearly always worse than simply spamming the former move.

The limitations of Hunger Switch also indirectly affect Morpeko’s otherwise admirable value as a dedicated Dark Type sweeper. Regardless of its form, Morpeko is still classified as an Electric Type Pokemon, meaning that it cannot utilize a Dark Type Sync Move like Karen and Halloween Hilbert, dedicated Dark Type strikers. 

Players looking to run Morpeko as a Power Trip abuser will find that it really depends on external Speed support (and Critical Hit Rate buffs, to a lesser extent) to be anywhere near efficient. These issues of team dependency are what really costs Morpeko in rating. As compared to units like Sygna Suit Red and Alder, who can work with just about any decent Support/Tech Sync Pair, there is much less flexibility on Morpeko teams. This issue rears its head in the Champions Stadium, where players need 5 separate teams. This means that players cannot use their gridded (ML3) Samurott, if they have it, or Swanna on every single team. As a result, players need to carefully ration the use of their best units. This problem is especially pressing for newer players without the luxury of roster depth. Thus, Morpeko falls just short of breaking 5 on the newly amended scoring scale (see the new criteria for a 4/6). Stored Power/Power Trip aficionados might find the more accessible Bianca & Musharna a better candidate since the Unovan Sync Pair offers a lot more team utility and is more independent. Unlike Musharna, Morpeko needs a Luxray to set up Electric Terrain if it wants to maximize its Sync damage. As is the case with Hilbert's Samurott, not everyone has Volkner (or even if they do, they may only have him at ML1, making him unsuitable for certain fights. Players would also want at least one duplicate of Morpeko (for Power Trip nodes etc.), ideally two (for Sync multipliers), which can turn Morpeko into an expensive investment.

As a 1/5 (or 2/5) 5 Star Tech Unit, Morpeko is probably best used as a secondary striker in a two Strike core. Power Trip’s cheap move cost allows players to quickly burn through the Sync Countdown, while the primary striker assumes Sync duties. Of course, as a Tech Unit, players with the perfect setup can run Morpeko as an extremely high damage-cap Sync Nuker instead, thanks to Inertia and Static Shock on its Sync Grid as well as Hangry Wild Charge’s inherent damage boost against Paralyzed targets. However, the importance of that boost creates the need to either rely on RNG through Hostile Environment bolstered Thundershock, or dedicate a precious team slot to guarantee it. Likewise, it faces stiff competition from N as the chief Electric Type unit. 

Lastly, the MP Rekindle node on Morpeko’s Sync Grid helps immensely with eliminating its MP cost in Battle Villa, allowing the electric rodent to churn through multiple Halls with ease. This applies to longer stages like Full Force Battles as well, though players might be undone by a bad bout of RNG.

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

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The first setup focuses on maximizing Morpeko’s damage output with Power Trip, with an eye towards increasing the multipliers for its Sync Move. Investment into Speedy Entry is mainly meant for better charge efficiency, though players who run Morpeko with the proper Speed Support can (and should) drop the bottom right sector and reinvest the energy into Static Shock and Snack Time Super Preparation instead.

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The second setup is better designed for 2 Strike cores, boasting fantastic synergy with Karen’s Mega Houndoom by triggering Dirty Fighting and Foul Fighting with Morpeko’s ParaFlinch capabilities. This set would retain some form of Power Trip buffing too, which players can tap into as they see fit.

As a dedicated Power Trip sweeper, the best support options would be those that can maximize Morpeko’s Attack, Speed, and Critical Hit Rate in the least amount of moves. Hilbert and Skyla’s Speed boosts can kickstart a cycle with Aura Wheel, which Morpeko can then utilize to quickly max its Attack with Hangry Mode’s Snack Time. Hilbert’s Sync Grid adds Critical Hit Rate and Defense into the mix, though the latter accumulates slower, while Skyla offers Defense boosts and Potion, with a cheap Sync Countdown burner in Gust. The last slot could be filled by a Sync Pair like Phoebe & Dusknoir or Volkner & Luxray. As Swanna’s partner, Dusknoir fills the boosts that would have been provided by Hilbert, namely Critical Hit Rate and Defense, as well as Move Gauge Refresh and Defense Crush (Lucky Skill) Shadow Punch. Volkner, on the other hand, helps improve the odds of securing Paralysis (through move quantity) and provides Electric Terrain support for Morpeko’s Sync Move.

In terms of Lucky Skills, Morpeko does well with multiple options, albeit with varying levels of success. The top picks are typically Critical Strike, Power Flux, and Defense Crush. Critical Strike is standard fare for any damage dealer who can land Critical Hits consistently. However, Morpeko’s low energy cost sees it perform well with Power Flux, which bypasses opposing Vigilance. Lastly, Defense Crush is a decent shout even if Morpeko lacks a cheap AOE option. Power Trip benefits against reduced Defense, while Physical allies also appreciate this support.

Is It Worth Pulling?

Players who really desire Power Trip can consider the much more readily available Bianca & Musharna, who is more flexible and easily adaptable into other team cores. Likewise, Morpeko isn't necessarily the game's best or most self-sufficient Sync Nuker (*ahem* Hydreigon *ahem*). However, it is this offering of two powerful strategies that makes Marnie worth pulling, albeit at a significant cost.

The operational requirements of Power Trip and Paralyze Sync Boost mean that Morpeko relies on hefty investment for it to truly shine. The reliance on a 2nd duplicate to realize its Sync Move’s full potential makes Marnie an expensive acquisition, a luxury on her initial release as she is pit against fellow heavy-hitters Gloria, Leon, and Diantha. Likewise, access to 6* EX’s Sync power boost is also painfully expensive for players with limited resources. When blessed with the perfect setup, Morpeko hits harder and ramps up faster than Musharna does, but she demands an equally expensive and very specific support crew to get there.

The need to dedicate an entire team around her for Morpeko to work is what really costs Marnie in the scoring department. Overall, less affluent players are encouraged to ignore this banner, at least in its debut offering. The other PokeFair banners in this time period generally offer better value, whether it be better overall flexibility or self-sustenance.

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