Trainer’s School Lesson Six: Picking a Cheer Skill

Nia’s support can help you when it counts the most

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This is part six 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!

This Trainer’s School article will be the last one that covers all of the select screens before you actually begin a game of Pokkén. We’ve gone over every playable Pokémon, and we’ve also run down the properties of each Support Set. This article will probably be shorter than the other two, but that does not mean at all that the contents are unimportant. The final selection players must make before going head-to-head in a Ferrum League battle is choosing a Cheer Skill.

After picking a Support Set, you are offered a choice of six Cheer Skills that Nia will use to provide you buffs between rounds. These buffs affect your Support and Synergy Gauges in different ways: the Support Gauge-oriented buffs will allow you to begin a round with a full Support Gauge ready, while the Synergy Gauge buffs will fill your meter by an incremental percentage if certain conditions are met. The ingame descriptions are mostly self-explanatory, and the pre-round screen will always tell you which buff in what amount you have acquired for your meter gains. However, knowing what Cheer Skill to pick is important when it comes to optimizing your gameplan, so familiarizing yourself with the properties of each one here will be helpful regardless.

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The ingame conceit is that Nia’s Weavile will use Psych Up to “Cheer” you on and provide you with your choice of one of six buffs.

The Standard Cheer will begin providing buffs for you from the second round onward, and its buffs will be different depending on whether you won or lost the prior round. If you won the prior round, the Support Gauge for the Support Pokémon you didn’t choose before will be full at the beginning of the next round, thus incentivizing you to mix up your Support choice. If you lost the prior round instead, both Support Pokémon will have a full Support Gauge, and the Synergy Gauge will be filled by 30%. The Standard Cheer is mostly useful if you’re completely new to the game and not used to experimenting with Cheers, or if you would like a substantial guaranteed comeback mechanic on a round loss.

The Synergy Cheer, as the name suggests, focuses exclusively on filling your Synergy Gauge and will affect you every round. You will begin the game with 10% of your Synergy Gauge filled. If you win a round, you will gain an additional 10% Synergy; if you lose a round, you will instead gain a massive 40% Synergy. Since you normally gain Synergy for successful play- winning a Phase, scoring critical hits, etc.- this is a great fallback Cheer to have if your gameplan revolves around Burst and you need it to be filled even if you drop a round. This would be especially helpful for characters like Mewtwo, Gengar, or Garchomp, since they have larger Synergy Gauges than the rest of the cast.

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If you find that your character builds Synergy slower than most of the cast, picking a Cheer that grants you more of it can allow you to Burst more frequently. (Graphic by Burnside.)

The Pressure Cheer will only affect you if you make it to the third and final round. You will not receive any buffs on the first or second round. Regardless of if you won or lost the prior round, you will be granted 30% Synergy Gauge and both of your Support Pokémon will have a full Support Gauge. You will recognize this buff as being identical to the buff that the Standard Cheer grants you after a round loss. This Cheer is thus difficult to use since it emphasizes playing around making it to round three, which you could avoid entirely if you just win the first two rounds. Likewise, since you are granted nothing on a round loss, it is difficult to justify picking this Cheer since you can get the same buffs from Standard.

The Support Cheer will exclusively fill your Support Gauges and will affect you from the second round onward. Regardless of whether you win or lose, both of your Support Pokémon will have a full Support Gauge. This is a very easy Cheer to use and will especially benefit you if you rely on having a particular Support early on. If the Support you use has a fast charge time- or if you’re Braixen- you can potentially use this Cheer to cast your assist multiple times in a single round! It will even allow you to use Supports with longer charge times right away, which can be useful if there’s a Support you need but don’t want to wait around for. (Of course, remember that certain powerful Supports can only be called once per round.)

The Special Cheer will affect both your Synergy and Support Gauges from the second round on, and the buff you earn will change depending on whether you won or lost the previous round. On a round win, you will gain a huge 40% Synergy Gauge buff. On a round loss, however, you will instead receive a buff that fills both of your Support Pokémon’s Support Gauges to max. This is a Cheer that is very momentum based. If you’re already winning or if you burned Burst in order to guarantee a round win, you can gain most of that meter back for free. On the other hand, even if you dropped the previous round, being able to have your Supports on deck right away will let you score the comeback you might need. Special is a difficult Cheer to use, but if you strategize around it you’ll be pleased with the results.

The Whimsical Cheer is a wildcard Cheer that may- or may not- affect you every round. You will literally get a completely random effect every round- you could get a combination of any of the buffs listed above, regardless of if you won or lost, even on the first round. However, you are just as likely to not get any buffs at all. Picking Whimsical might not pay off for you, but if you feel comfortable with gambling, it could end up being worth it. The most important element of Whimsical comes into play when you win a round via time-out. With every other Cheer, you normally would not earn the promised buffs if you won a round on time-out. However, Whimsical ignores this rule and can potentially grant you a buff even if you won on time-out… or, you know, it might not.

Look at how much my Mewtwo’s meter has increased from round one to round two. (I deliberately threw the first round against the NPC to get the guaranteed 40% meter gain.) If you play well, using Synergy or Special Cheer can allow Mewtwo to Burst as soon as the second round!

Much like with picking a Support Set, picking a Cheer Skill depends on your personal preference and gameplan, as well as covering any deficits you may have with your combination of Pokémon and Supports. As previously mentioned, you may pick something like Synergy Cheer in order to guarantee or optimize the meter gain for characters who may be lacking in it. You may also want Support Cheer in order to gain access to certain Supports right away, or to use other Supports as frequently as possible. With regards to how useful certain Cheers are, the delineation between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Cheers is more easily recognizable here. Standard and Support are both very useful no matter what the situation is, although Standard’s benefit on round win is only useful if you use both Supports in the Set you run. Special Cheer allows you to snowball very effectively while also providing you with a cushion if you happen to lose a round. Synergy may not grant you as much as the other Cheers if you happen to win rounds, but guaranteeing that meter gain can be useful for certain characters and playstyles. Whimsical is very gimmicky, but if you believe in yourself and your innate luck, you could turn the tides on your opponent, especially if you run Mew for maximum RNG gains. The worst Cheer by far is Pressure- there’s no real reason to pick it instead of Standard Cheer, since you’re depriving yourself of any and all buffs until round three, and the buff you earn is exactly the same as the Standard Cheer buff.

As far as my personal preferences go, I run Special Cheer as Scizor in order to keep my momentum going during each game of a set. The 40% Synergy buff incentivizes me to use my Burst in order to guarantee a round win, since I know I’ll gain most of that meter back in the next round. Likewise, even if I lose, I get to keep the meter that I didn’t burn and also gain access to Snivy immediately on round start, which can still turn the tide of the game in my favor. As Blaziken, I run Support Cheer for the sole reason of having Cresselia on deck immediately so I can get the heal, Synergy, and debuff cleanse whenever I need it.

And that’s it for this installment of Trainer’s School! You are now fully equipped with all of the information you need before beginning a game of Pokkén Tournament. The next lesson will see us breaking down the flow of battle so we can create a basic gameplan while playing against real opponents!

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

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