Sync Workshop: Ghetsis & Kyurem

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Ghetsis, the Great Sage of Team Plasma and dominator of the Unova region, has come. No longer does he seek to rule from the shadows through a puppet king, instead unleashing the sheer cold from his frozen heart and calculated plans to crush all who would stand in his way! The very world is his, and very soon he alone will be allowed to wield the power of Pokemon within his new world order! Oh, and Kyurem is here too, I suppose.

Ghetsis & Kyurem are one of the better Legendary Event sync pairs that we currently have thanks to their mix of general utility and power in an underrepresented type. They also have the advantage of being, arguably, the most unabashedly evil sync pair that we’ve seen to date. Seriously; Lear hasn’t been able to use sync moves until recently despite having a soft heart under his bravado and thinly masked fear because he sees Pokemon as tools, so why is it that Ghetsis, a man who has Kyurem as a virtual slave for which he shows no hint of caring, can? Even Giovanni seems to treat Mewtwo with more respect! But I digress. When using Ghetsis & Kyurem, it’s possible to take their grid in a few different directions, but most can be summed up as either a dominating damage-focused set like the Ice Type Attacker grid, or a debilitating tech-focused set like the Pure Tech build. Either way, Ghetsis & Kyurem are a powerful and versatile, although somewhat cumbersome sync pair that will serve their purpose well.

Sync Grid Build 1: Ice Type Attacker

Ice is one of the least populated types when it comes to powerful Attackers, leaving Ghetsis & Kyurem all too happy to come in and fill this strategic vacuum. The goal of this grid is to create an effective and reasonable setup for damage output. The key damage-nodes for this are Paralysis Synergy 3, which is made a bit easier to activate with Dragon Breath: Hostile Environment 1, and Overpower. Glaciate: Move Gauge Refresh 3 and Glaciate: Accuracy+5 are next for their ability to make Glaciate a bit easier to use and to ensure that it never misses under normal circumstances. 

If you need Ice Type damage, then this grid or some variant of it is the way to go. But let’s be perfectly honest here: picking up both Paralysis Synergy 3 and Overpower is a bit awkward in terms of team comp. It’s doubtlessly powerful, but fitting paralysis, Special Attack drops, a tank, and Critical Rate/Special Attack on a single team without occupying Ghetsis & Kyurem with extensive setup can be daunting. In this case, the best option may be to fish for Paralysis with Dragon Breath early game, and get team support to drop the target’s Special Attack. In this case, it may not even be necessary to paralyze the two sides, as they’ll generally drop to Glaciate before the center falls. The reverse option is to pick up Noble Roar: Double Drop, but then you’ll need to sacrifice either Paralysis Synergy 3 or Glaciate: Accuracy+5. For these reasons, this is basically the most efficient grid if you want to score maximum damage. If set up properly, the damage output is definitely worth the stress of getting everything setup perfectly, as Ghetsis & Kyurem are able to deal unrivaled Ice Type AoE damage.

In order to check all of the boxes, this grid needs team support. First up is the need for Special Attack and Critical Rate buffs. Top picks here include Sabrina & Alakazam, Lyra & Meganium, Easter Burgh & Togepi, and the ever-popular Sygna Suit Blue & Blastoise. Because Ghetsis & Kyurem can boost their own Critical Rate and Special Attack to some degree, even “imperfect” buffing options such as Sygna Suit Elesa & Rotom or Elio & Primarina are phenomenal in this role. In fact, Sygna Suit Elesa & Rotom in particular can also help out with Paralysis support, making them very attractive partners in general. The other side of the support requirements is the need to drop enemy Special Attack. It’s possible to just stick with Noble Roar to make Ghetsis & Kyurem more all-in-one, but the turns spent using it are turns not spent ushering in the next ice age. The top picks for this are Champion Iris & Hydreigon, who also appreciate Kyurem’s ability to drop enemy Speed and boost their damage as a result, or Viola & Masquerain for a great Free to Play option. Lt. Surge & Electrode can also do the job, and their high base speed can be helpful for keeping the ice flowing. Another option would be to go all-out with a dual-attacker setup, which Karen & Houndoom and Alder & Volcarona are great for. Both can reliably drop enemy Sp.Attack, meaning they bring high damage and support to the team at the same time. Just note that this setup will likely run into speed issues as they fight Ghetsis & Kyurem for the move gauge, so pick your support unit carefully in these cases. Finally, a special mention needs to be given to Easter Serena & Whimsicott for their ability to spread paralysis, boost the team’s Speed, and even drop enemy Special Attack with Moonblast… occasionally.

Sync Grid Build 2: Pure Tech

Glaciate Move Gauge Refresh 3 is a must-have for this grid, as it helps out with Ghetsis & Kyurem’s mediocre speed and high gauge cost. Next is Glaciate: Cold Snap 2 which gives 30% odds of freezing the entire enemy team at the same time with each use of Glaciate. Noble Roar: Double Drop makes Ghetsis and Kyurem very viable for dropping enemy offenses, and makes Overpower a natural choice to ensure that this tech build still hits like a truck, though Pecking Order is also viable if you’d prefer to use Ghetsis & Kyurem for their sync-nuke capabilities. If your team worries about Speed early-game, then dropping the Glaciate Accuracy path and the random Dragon Breath Power node in favor of two Noble Roar: Move Gauge Refresh 3 nodes is also viable.

While this team has less sheer damage output than the previous, it’s still able to hit very hard while also being a bit more flexible. Using Glaciate early to drop enemy Speed and fish for a full-team-freeze is generally going to be the way to go, followed by dropping a few Noble Roars while the enemy is encased in a block of ice. Frail sync pairs in particular love being paired with this grid, as it gives the team huge defensive team support on multiple fronts while still dealing enough damage to potentially shorten the battle.

As with the previous grid, a bit of Special Attack and Critical Rate support are key here, and the same usual suspects are all top picks: Sabrina & Alakazam, Lyra & Meganium, Sygna Suit Elesa & Rotom, Elio & Primarina, and, of course, Sygna Suit Blue & Blastoise. Since they don’t rely on other sync pairs for stat drops with this grid, they work fantastically well along-side damage-dealing sync pairs, and the absolute top pick for this is Pryce & Dewgong. The Winter Trainer has long had fantastic damage potential lost to the lack of a viable partner, and at long last their search is over. With the ability to freeze the entire enemy team in one blow, Ghetsis & Kyurem can unlock the absolutely cataclysmic damage potential of a combined Freeze Synergy 16 on their grid, while Pryce & Dewgong can help to drop the opposing team’s Speed with Icy Wind. Add to this the fact that these two require virtually identical support to operate at full power, and this definitely a match worth using. Summer Steven & Alolan Sandslash also bring very, very heavy Ice Type damage to the table when paired with Ghetsis & Kyurem, though Kyurem doesn’t care for the hail that Alolan Sandslash thrives under. Christmas Rosa & Delibird are outstanding in this role, providing valuable support that this team comp needs to excel.

Lucky Skills

Passive Skill
Passive Skill
Passive Skill

If the goal is damage, then Critical Strike 2 is going to be the move of choice. It offers reliable damage boosts that also work with their Sync Nuke for maximum effectiveness. If you intend to play Kyurem & Ghetsis for their tech skills more than their DPS, then Fast Track 2 is an acceptable choice for its ability to slowly rectify the ever-present speed issue, while Defense Crush 2 has utility as Glaciate can hit the entire enemy team and spread defense drops effectively. However, this is only worth considering when Ghetsis & Kyurem are consistently paired with physical attackers, and even then the damage loss will be substantial

Sync Workshop Index:

If you're looking for help building your other Sync Pairs or getting a sense of what each does for your gem economizing efforts, the Sync Workshop Index is the place for you! Even if you aren't, really, you can't go wrong with it in an attempt to broaden your understanding of the meta or just find something interesting to binge read either. 

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