TL;DR: Should You Pull?
What Does It Do?
On paper, Nessa’s Drednaw is a pretty powerful unit. It is capable of maxing its own Attack (MPR), Speed (Rain), and Critical Hit Rate (Grid), with 4(or 5) different Damage Multipliers. Drednaw’s Sync Multipliers are split into two categories: Layered Stat Drops and Field Conditions.
Layered Stat Drops: Drednaw’s Passive Skills allow it to AOE lower Defense (50%) or Speed through Razor Shell and Rock Tomb respectively, which feeds into Relentless and Cakewalk on its Sync Grid.
Field Conditions: Drednaw applies the Restrained effect on the target through Jaw Lock, which triggers quite a lot of goodies. These goodies would include affiliated damage boosts (moves and Sync), a 30% chance for a Free Move Next effect on each attack, and HP recovery. This is arguably Drednaw’s biggest niche. Having a 30% chance to move for free can come in really handy for Move Gauge manipulation, a big concern for the Rain teams that Drednaw thrives on. Rain triggers Shower Power 5 on Drednaw’s Sync Grid, as well as being a natural power boost to its Water Type Sync Move.
However, due to the inefficiency in the accumulation of the first two Sync Multipliers, Drednaw is usually unable to reach its full potential. Another big dealbreaker is that most of the aforementioned nodes are locked behind a 2nd duplicate, which makes Drednaw an expensive acquisition. It is fortunate that the only MPR node is available from the start so Drednaw can rely less on external support with good RNG.
Then there is the case of Cyrus’ Palkia, who is by far the best Water Type Strike unit in-game, and a free Legendary unit that players can easily max. Awkwardly, Drednaw also ends up competing with May’s Mega Swampert in the role of the team’s Sync Nuke in the context of the Rain teams it should thrive on. Fortunately, it is still one of the better Physical Water Type damage dealers, since it doesn’t need to worry about recoil or accuracy.
Battle Villa: Decent unit thanks to Drednaw’s wide Type coverage. Players will have to conserve Move Points well, which would likely mean giving up on Rain and relying mostly on Restrained and either or both Defense and Speed drops to rack up damage multipliers.
Full Force Battles: Troublesome due to the foe replacement rule. Once you take down a foe, a new one will take its place without any of the stat-drops that the player has spent so much time carrying over, so at that point, it’s basically time to start from scratch. Fortunately, Drednaw can still reliably call upon Rain and Restrained boosts while slowly layering Speed and/or Defense drops.
Legendary Arena: Much better than in FFB, since LA is primarily a single target format. However, the fact that the opponent resets stat drops at each stage results in the same operational hazards as FFB.
Champion’s Stadium Master Mode: Not as defensively useful as Champion Iris, but AOE Speed lowering through Rock Tomb can help buy the time needed to chain more move cycles before the opposition can use their own Sync Move
How Do I Use It? (Grid, Lucky Skills, And Comps):
Cakewalk - Sync Multiplier for target Speed Drops
Shower Power 5 - Sync Multiplier for Rain
Raging Rain 3 - Move Multiplier for Rain
Hunter’s Instinct - Move Multiplier for target Speed Drops
Relentless - Sync Multiplier for target Defense Drops
Restrained Recovery 1 - Slight recovery per move when Restrained
Razor Shell: Critical Focus 1 - +1 Critical Hit rate per Crit landed
This Grid setup gives access to the three most reliable Sync Multipliers for Drednaw, completely ignoring Relentless due to Razor Shell not guaranteeing the Defense drop.
This Grid setup allows Drednaw to hit maximum Sync power.
There is no escaping May’s Mega Swampert when it comes to finding a teammate for Drednaw. The only MPR Rain unit with a useful AOE move in Muddy Water can even be tapped to unlock Drednaw’s 4th and final Sync Multiplier. This would be done through adopting Defense Crush as Swampert’s Lucky Skill. Swampert would take the first Sync to enter Mega Evolution, buying time for Drednaw to layer the stat drops before relinquishing Sync duties to the latter.
The last slot is typically reserved for Sygna Suit Blue’s Blastoise owing to its insane supportive capabilities. It can easily top up Drednaw’s Attack while providing more HP recovery. The former is especially great for eliminating Drednaw’s reliance on MPR. However, this does mean that the team now has 2 candidates fighting for the earlier Mega Evolution opportunity, which would inadvertently delay Drednaw’s own Sync.
Other candidates would include Elio’s Primarina, another good mixed Support that can help top up both Swampert and Drednaw’s offenses. As a regular Gacha unit, Primarina is a great stand-in for Mega Blastoise if players missed out on its earlier offerings.
Is It Worth Pulling?
Nessa is a really powerful unit that requires quite a bit of care and investment to make it work. The payoff allows Drednaw to function as a lesser but arguably viable Physical alternative to Cyrus’ Palkia, even if Drednaw is unable to fire on all cylinders. Like May’s Swampert, however, Nessa is not a PokeFair unit and debuts a short way before the game’s upcoming 2nd anniversary. As such, players may find it more advisable to hold off on acquiring her without much penalty.
NOTE: Drednaw is, as of writing time, one of the only three potential Gigantamax options, the others being Leon’s Charizard and Raihan’s Duraludon, who are both Fair locked. The release of the mechanic may change Drednaw’s outlook, but until then, the verdict stays.