Trainer’s School Lesson Five: Choosing Your Supports

The right set of assists can turn the tide in battle

Image for post
Image for post

This is part five of a series of written guides on Pokkén Tournament Deluxe for Nintendo Switch. I’ve always loved this game and I’ve wanted to give back to the community and generate more interest in it. I’ll be creating more guides like this in the future and I hope this gets new players invested in the fighting game that taught me about fighting games. If you would like to try out Pokkén Tournament Deluxe, and learn more information about the game, be sure to check out the community Discord!

In the latest article, we briefly went over the entire roster in order to help new players figure out who they might want to pick up in Pokkén. Hopefully after reading it, you’ll have settled on at least one character that you might want to try out and play against others.

Once you’ve figured out who you wanna play, the next screen after Character Select is the Support Set Select. Supports are a big deal in Pokkén- even outside of the metagame, using a Support at the right moment can turn the tide of a round into your favor. At the beginning of the game, you may use a simple Set that doesn’t require much thought, something like Espeon-Umbreon or Jirachi-Whimsicott that may focus solely on buffs or easy-to-use attacks. However, there are eighteen Support Sets in the game with two Pokémon each, and each of them serve a different function. Figuring out which Support Set fits most in your gameplan and how to use them effectively is key to improving your performance. You can even swap out your old comfort Support Set for a new one if you want to experiment, or you can use a specific Set depending on the matchup, or even to neutralize someone else’s Support Set.

Image for post
Image for post
Support Pokémon can be anything from a classic starter Pokémon, to an apparent dud like Magikarp, to the almighty Mega Rayquaza.

Support Pokémon are assists that can be summoned once, maybe twice per round, depending on how fast the Support Gauge fills. If you’ve been keeping track of everything I’ve been laying out, you know that Braixen can charge her Support Gauge in order to use her assist more than once. For everyone else, however, the Support Gauge fills on a timer that begins at the beginning of each round, with a charge time that increases in increments of ten depending on the listed recharge time. In spite of this timer, some especially powerful Supports like Reshiram, Cresselia, and Mega Rayquaza will go on cooldown for the entire round once used. You can also potentially use your Support right away depending on what Cheer benefits you’ve selected- more on that later.

Support Sets are fixed pairs, with eighteen pairs total. You cannot mix and match individual Pokémon between Support Sets- for instance, I cannot take the Cubone from Cubone-Diglett and pair it with the Snivy in Snivy-Lapras. Furthermore, before each round, you have to pick which Support you want to actually take- you can’t toggle between the pair mid-round. You can, however, change which Support you want to use at the beginning of the next round. If you’re using Frogadier-Eevee and you brought Eevee into round one, but the Attack buff from Helping Hand didn’t work out well for you, you can choose Frogadier in round two to use his Water Pulse projectiles instead.

Supports are generally divided into three types, but much like the playable Pokémon, these types have a lot of overlaps. Supports are split into Attack, Enhance, and Disrupt, and these categories are pretty straightforward. Attack Supports focus on dealing damage, Enhance Supports focus on providing buffs, and Disrupt Supports debuff your opponent. The overlap here mainly comes from the Enhance and Disrupt supports also being able to deal damage with attacks- Rotom and Magneton, for instance, apply speed debuffs with their projectile attacks.

The large heal from Cresselia can keep Blaziken in the game before he puts himself in a disadvantageous position with his self-damaging EX moves.

Here, I’ll run down each of the Support Sets in the game with a brief description of the properties of each Pokémon in the Set. Please note: Although the actual charge times may be different per Pokémon, a Fast charge time is typically a 10–20 second timer, an Average charge time is typically 20–30 seconds, and a Slow charge time is typically 30–40.

Image for post
Image for post
You can also reference this Burnside graphic for the exact timer values!

1. Litten-Popplio is the first Set completely new to Pokkén in the DX version. Litten’s Fire Fang is a charging Attack with three stages of strength and duration depending on how much HP you have when you call it. Popplio’s Bubble Beam will Enhance you with an attack buff and a unique property that allows you to double jump, something no one else in the cast can do. Litten’s charge time is Fast and Popplio’s is Average.

2. Emolga-Fennekin is a pure damage-oriented Set. Emolga is an Attack type whose Shock Wave beam applies a debilitating speed debuff when it lands a hit. Fennekin is a Disrupt type, but doesn’t apply any debuffs; instead, the Ember projectile it uses is a reversal move with invincible startup. Emolga’s charge time is Fast and Fennekin’s is Average.

3. Snivy-Lapras is another damage-based Set, with two Attack Supports. Snivy’s Leaf Tornado is an anti-air attack that can hit an opponent’s jump-in, and also provides the user with counter armor frames. Lapras’s Surf is slow moving, but it covers a wide range and can eat some projectiles. Snivy’s charge time is Fast and Lapras’s is Average.

4. Frogadier-Eevee is a very basic Support Set. Frogadier is an Attack Support who fires two sets of Water Pulse bullets over a very long range. Eevee’s Helping Hand is an Enhancement that heals you a little bit and provides an attack buff. Frogadier’s charge time is Fast and Eevee’s charge time is Average.

5. Cubone-Diglett consists of two Attack-based Supports, both of whom have a Fast charge time. Cubone’s Bonemerang is a long-ranged attack that will come back to the point of origin, meaning it can pull the opponent back in as it crosses them up. Diglett’s Dig can change properties depending on Phase: in Field, Diglett piles on a ton of little hits that allow you to confirm a combo or apply block pressure, but in Duel, Dig is instead a huge launcher attack that you can use to begin an air combo.

6. Jirachi-Whimsicott is a pair of Average-charging Enhance Supports. Jirachi’s Wish provides you with a medium-sized Synergy Gauge increase and a buff that increases the potency of Synergy Burst. Whimsicott gives you three Substitutes that will protect you from up to three projectiles, and heal you a little bit.

7. Croagunk-Sylveon is a Set oriented around defense- and yes, the Croagunk Support is a different Pokémon than the playable Croagunk. This Croagunk lays a proximity-triggered Disrupting trap- Toxic will do damage and leave a defense debuff. Sylveon, on the other hand, will use Reflect to buff defense and heal you a little. Croagunk’s charge time is Fast and Sylveon’s is Average.

8. Pachirisu-Magikarp is a pair of Disrupt Supports whose functions vary wildly. Pachirisu uses Follow Me to completely negate most projectiles while it’s in use. Magikarp, on the other hand, will Bounce away and only come back down once the opponent lands an attack on you, making it great for combo breaks. While Pachirisu charges Fast, Magikarp charges Slow.

9. Mismagius-Ninetales is a Set based around controlling attack damage and space. Mismagius will Attack and charge forward with Ominous Wind, which also provides you an attack buff. Ninetales’ Will-O-Wisp is a Disrupting move that puts a barrier up in front of you which triggers an attack debuff if an opponent trips it. Mismagius’s charge time is Average, while Ninetales’ is Slow.

10. Rotom-Togekiss is a Set oriented around the speed of the battlefield. Rotom’s Thunder Shock will Disrupt the opponent by instantly attacking them as soon as they enter the air, whether they jumped or were launched by a combo. Togekiss will Enhance you with Tailwind, healing you and providing you a speed buff. Rotom’s charge time is Fast; Togekiss’s charge time is Average, but it reads as Normal due to a localization error.

11. Farfetch’d-Electrode are both focused on doing damage. Farfetch’d will Attack and run forward with Fury Cutter- you can attack along with him as a hit confirm. Electrode, like Magikarp, will provide you with counter-armor frames, Disrupting any opponent who attacks you by parrying with Explosion. Both Pokémon have an Average charge time.

12. Dragonite-Victini are two devastating Slow-charging Supports. Dragonite’s Draco Meteor is a powerful Attack that brings several projectiles down over a wide area, which your opponent has no choice but to block or get hit by. Victini will Enhance you with V-Create, which will heal you, fill your Synergy a little, provide you with an always-crit buff, and even anti-air any opponent trying to cross you up!

13. Espeon-Umbreon will either Enhance you or Disrupt your opponent. Espeon’s Morning Sun will heal you and remove any debuffs- the amount it heals you depends on the amount of time remaining in the round. Umbreon’s Snarl, like Fennekin, is an invincible reversal that will drain the opponent’s Synergy Gauge and also pass a No-Crit debuff onto them. While Espeon charges Fast, Umbreon charges Slow.

14. Reshiram-Cresselia both charge Slow and can only be called once per round. Reshiram’s Blue Flare is an Attack that launches pillars of flames in a straight line- if they land, they’ll pass an attack debuff. Cresselia’s Lunar Dance is an Enhancement that will cleanse any debuffs, heal you for a large amount, and fill a good chunk of your Synergy Gauge.

15. Magneton-Quagsire consists of two Attack types with an Average charge time whose focus is on controlling space. Magneton’s Tri-Attack is a laser beam that is fired upward as an anti-air and provides a speed debuff. Quagsire’s Mud Bomb is an area-of-effect attack on the ground that will do a lot of damage- even if blocked.

16. Yveltal-Latios is another Set of Legendary Pokémon that focuses on dangerous debuffs. Yveltal will Attack with Oblivion Wing, a laser that strikes and leaves an area-of-effect that will prevent the opponent from using Synergy Burst if it lands successfully. Latios’s Luster Purge will Disrupt the opponent with a set of barriers that pops up around the opponent; if they try to pass through the barriers and get hit, they’ll be struck with a defense debuff and juggled into the air. Yveltal charges Slow, and Latios charges Fast.

17. Mega Rayquaza-Mimikyu are the first Set of DLC Supports, included with the purchase of Aegislash. Mega Rayquaza’s Dragon Ascent is an Attack that charges Fast, costs Synergy Gauge as well as Support Gauge to use, but will appear instantly and deal massive damage when it lands. Mimikyu is a Disrupt-type who uses Play Rough to provide you with counter-armor frames and a barrier, within which it will attack an approaching opponent. The attack deals a Synergy gain and attack debuff, and is also stronger when used as a parry. Play Rough has an Average charge time.

18. Mew-Celebi is the second Set of DLC Supports, included with the purchase of Blastoise. Mew’s Miraculous Power will Enhance you with a completely random set of buffs- either an attack buff, all-crit buff, or a combination of the two- and will also fill your Synergy. Celebi’s Time Travel move can’t deal damage, but it’s unblockable and will trigger a Phase Shift. Mew charges Fast and Celebi charges Slow.

Picking a Set from these may be difficult, but hopefully it’ll be easier now that you understand all of their properties. In general, different Pokémon and playstyles will require different Support Sets, and experimenting with them will help you figure out what you’re most comfortable with. Because of this, my own experience with using Supports is very narrow, but I can still provide some examples in order to help set new players on the right path.

Snivy’s Leaf Tornado allows me to punish unsafe jump-ins with counter armor frames and an antiair move which I can follow up with a basketball combo.

For people who’ve seen me play in tournament or in highlights, they know that Snivy is my preferred Support; it’s also the favored Support of RARA, a top Japanese Scizor main. Scizor is a character with many strengths, but one of his main weaknesses is a lack of safe and reliable anti-airs outside of 8Y. Snivy mitigates this weakness: it provides me with even more counter-armor frames (like I didn’t already have enough, between normal CA, U-Turn, and Swords Dance…) and also lets me use an anti-air move that juggles into an air combo. This means it can protect me from grounded approaches while effectively punishing aerial ones.

Other Scizor players will use different Supports for different situations. Emolga is very common for Scizor players because it’s also an effective anti-air option, but it also covers Scizor’s other main weakness- approaching characters like Gardevoir and Chandelure from fullscreen. Emolga can even pierce counter-armor, meaning it can stuff CADC approaches. Still others use Cubone as ways to set up unblockable Field Phase approaches or to continue combos. Rotom and Togekiss are also a good pair of Supports- Rotom for the same reasons as Emolga and Snivy, and Togekiss as a means of buffing Scizor’s already fast approach options.

When Accel was more active, he would use Cubone in order to crossup opponents and bring them closer for a hit confirm.

When I started out with Pokkén, and even further into Pokkén DX, I played Blaziken and used Espeon-Umbreon as a very easy-to-use Set. Espeon would heal me, which I needed a lot of since Blaziken’s EX moves cost HP, and Umbreon was a good ‘get off me’ burst option that would prevent the opponent from using their Synergy Burst. Later on, I switched to Cresselia so that the HP gain would be bigger and I could fill my Synergy faster. Some other popular Support choices include bringing Jirachi for Lucario in order to buff his already powerful Burst mode, or using Electrode, Mimikyu, or Magikarp in order to punish approaches on zoners. The only Support Set I would recommend never using is Magneton-Quagsire. Magneton’s laser is very prone to whiffing, can’t be comboed into, and is overall just not as good as Rotom or Emolga; Quagsire’s area-of-effect damage is similarly outdone by numerous supports, such as Diglett, Croagunk, Yveltal, Latios, and Mimikyu.

And that’s it for this article! This guide on Supports is less about specifically picking easy-to-use, top-tier Supports, because almost every set is useful in any situation. If you’re not feeling confident with situational sets, you can still go with easy ones that will provide you buffs or guaranteed situations, like Eevee, Jirachi-Whimsicott, Victini, Mew, and so on. The next article will be shorter, and will go into more detail on the final screen that comes after picking your Support: the Cheer Select screen!

Written by

Nathan “Lite the Iron Man” Dhami can be found on Twitter (@LiteTheIronMan,) on Twitch (twitch.tv/litetheironman,) and at your local.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store