In between "Pokémon" journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a pharmaceutical chemist and campus manager.
Building a Team in Pokémon Masters
Combat functions much differently in Pokémon Masters than the core video games. Battles are 3 vs 3 real-time encounters where each team uses three Pokémon at once, but they share the same move gauge; the more it's filled, the stronger attacks you can use. Each Pokémon is paired with a trainer, so you'll control three trainer/Pokémon duos at once, and trainers provide various support items and new sync attacks.
So, with this vastly different battle system, which fighters deserve a slot in your team? These are the ten best characters in Pokémon Masters!
10. Skyla & Swanna
Here's arguably the best healer/tank duo, great for outlasting foes in the Battle Villa. Skyla's "Take Flight!" technique sharply boosts all allied defense and speed stats, and potions provide healing that's boosted by the Master Healer ability.
Swanna's sync grid upgrade path also includes numerous MP Refresh slots, granting her attacks a chance to recover move points when used.
9. Olivia & Lycanroc (Midnight Form)
Role: Striker (Physical)
With amazing single-target damage, Lycanroc is one of the best sweepers around. Primary attack Stone Edge has questionable accuracy, but this is easily mitigated with the "Hard As Diamonds!" buff, which sharply raises accuracy and critical rate at the cost of special defense. Throw in Stone Edge's natural critical increase, and you'll be landing crits like no other, which, thanks to the Amped Up passive ability, also raises Lycanroc's speed.
The only catch is Lycanroc's noticeable lack of area damage, so while he's amazing at single-target damage, he has take opponents one at a time.
8. Acerola & Palossand
Hailed as an excellent support unit for Garchomp (more on her later), Palossand heavily relies on the sandstorm weather condition, so you want to partner her with Rock, Ground, or Steel allies.
But boy does she excel in her favored terrain, buffing her own and allies' attack and critical rate, with additional chances to recover move points. Of course, it's easy for Palossand to generate a sandstorm since she knows the move, and she can also heal herself and taunt opponents with the "Over Here!" command.
7. Phoebe & Dusknoir
Long considered the best support in the game, Dusknoir earns it with the Dire Hit + item, which sharply raises the critical rate of all allied pairs, the easiest way to boost any striker's aggro.
From there, Dusknoir's Double-Edge inflicts strong damage at the cost of some recoil, but this in turn fuels Phoebe's "Unbreakable Bonds" technique, which raises your team's attack and move gauge based on how much HP Dusknoir has lost.
6. Will & Xatu
Don't let Xatu's tech role fool you—with the right supports, she's an amazing offensive unit with solid tanking. Xatu's strategy revolves around her Stored Power attack, which increases in strength based on the number of buffs she has. Luckily, her Impervious passive skill prevents stats from being lowered, so once she has them, she has them, and her damage will skyrocket accordingly.
Xatu's also noted to be one of (if not the) best unit for auto mode due to her simple yet effective gameplay.
5. Flannery & Torkoal
Torkoal is a tricky fighter who burns her foe with Will-O-Wisp, outlasting them until the burn damage defeats them. Torkoal's attack strength is weak, but can be boosted with her X Sp. Atk item and "Too Hot to Handle!" command, which heavily increases both defense and critical rate.
Build up towards sync move "Fiery Passion Overheat", which deals increased damage if the target is burned, and you've got a surprisingly versatile tech unit. Torkoal also enjoys some benefits from harsh sunlight weather (though she can't generate it herself), making her especially useful in Fire-based teams.
4. Cynthia & Mega Garchomp
Role: Strike (Physical)
While formidable on her own, Garchomp goes from powerful to deadly while allied with Palossand, leading to their team name "Chompossand". As in the core games, Earthquake is an excellent aggro move that hits all opposing units. But before that, you'll want to buff attack with Cynthia's X Attack item and "This Match Is Too Fun!", which raises both speed and critical rate and offers stronger bonuses during a sandstorm.
So, use Palossand for the weather, buff your stats, and you're soon hitting with devastating AoE damage each round. Like other megas, Garchomp won't mega evolve until her sync move is used "Earthquake of Ancient Lore", but once triggered, she'll be even stronger throughout the match.
3. Steven & Mega Metagross
Role: Striker (Physical)
We've mostly been talking about moves, but don't overlook stat totals when comparing units; Metagross has some of the best, especially after he mega evolves mid-fight. Most notably, he packs the highest physical attack, further energized by the X Attack item and "Best There Is!" command, which raises defense while guaranteeing Metagross's next hit is a critical.
Impervious yet again provides an excellent passive that negates any debuffs, ensuring Metagross's stats remain strong. While using Garchomp practically demands Palossand, Metagross works well with almost any supports (Palossand is still a strong option due to Metagross resisting sandstorm weather).
2. Giovanni & Mewtwo
Role: Striker (Special)
Mewtwo makes a great aggro option for players who want to start strong from the get-go; unlike many top-tier strikers, he doesn't need to mega evolve. His "Nowhere to Hide!" raises evasiveness and highly raises critical chance; from there, he can begin dishing out painful blasts of Psychic and Shadow Ball, which can hit two different weak points and can potentially lower their target's special defense. Good boosts, but you'll want to team with someone who can raise Mewtwo's special attack for even better damage (like Sabrina and Mega Alakazam).
Note that, similar to cards in the Pokémon TCG, each pairing has only one type and one weakness; Mewtwo is weak only to Dark, not Bug or Ghost as he would be in the main games. This makes weak points harder to hit, highlighting Mewtwo's ability to strike either Ghost or Psychic-weak foes.
1. Sygna Suit Red & Mega Charizard X
Role: Strike (Special)
As of this writing, Charizard's easily the best striker in the game. Heck, his tier rating lists his weaknesses as "none"—what makes him so good? Well, he has moves and buffs for both physical and special attack, letting him switch between the two based on his opponent's weaker defense.
And he's a juggernaut with both; once mega-evolved, X wields the best special attack and second-best attack, plus impressive speed and workable defenses. He's also got some of the most unique and powerful passives available, like Piercing Gaze, which ensures he never misses, and Propulsion, which can reduce his sync move countdown and let him mega evolve faster, overwhelming even the best tanks before they can respond.
Other Characters in Pokémon Masters
Today we covered the best of the best, but just because you don't see a pair here doesn't mean they're not worth using. It'll take time to unlock everyone, so you'll have to make do with subpar options for a while, and some characters favor co-op play vs single player, making them better in their preferred format.
With ongoing support, we'll undoubtedly see updates that bring new characters and tier lists, but for now, vote for your favorite teammates and I'll see you at our next Pokémon countdown!
© 2020 Jeremy Gill