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Video Game / Pokémon Masters

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Pokémon Masters is a 2019 mobile game in the Pokémon series that was released for Android and iOS devices on August 28th, 2019, produced in cooperation between The Pokémon Company and DeNA, the same company who co-developed with Nintendo for mobile games based on their existing franchises. It was then rebranded as Pokémon Masters EX on its first anniversary.

Masters takes place on the artificial island of Pasio, where the Pokémon Masters League is being held: a grand tournament that invites Trainers from the world over to compete against each other. In Pasio, Trainers form Sync Pairs, a duo between a Trainer and a single Pokémon, and ally with other Sync Pairs to compete in 3v3 Pokémon battles. You are placed in the shoes of one such Trainer, who arrives on Pasio and quickly befriends Kanto Gym Leaders Brock and Misty. To gain entry to the PML, the player and their allies set out to collect five Badges held by particularly strong Trainers scattered across the island, and along the way add some familiar faces to your party on the journey to conquer the PML. However, during their journey they will have to contend with some particularly powerful foes: Lear, resident Jerkass and the creator of Pasio, and the villainous Team Break, a band of masked thieves who steal Pokémon from other Trainers.


The game enables players to form teams using famous Pokémon Trainers from past main-series games. The concept originated from Game Freak character designer and founding member Ken Sugimori, who had the idea for a game where every single character from past games would appear.

The game has a four-minute animated trailer.

This game provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Red is heavily implied to be this for the entire Pokemon Masters League. Lear, the founder of the tournament, was shown to be able to fight on par with Iris, who is stated to already be Unova's Champion (and thus strong enough to defeat Alder). Despite this strength, Lear regularly vents about how frustrated he is to have lost to Red, implying that Red's strength surpasses that of a typical Champion. This is in line with his strength in the main series; as of Pokemon Sun and Moon, he is one of only two trainers with a title implied to be beyond that of "Champion" — namely, "Battle Legend" — a title that he shares with Blue.
    • Red's description refers to him as a "legendary" trainer, and his sync move with Charizard is Living Legend Blast Burn. Being called legendary when even other Champions are not referred to as such cements Red's reputation as the strongest trainer even among Champions. His Charizard's stats, moves, and abilities also make it the most fearsome Striker Pokémon in the entire game, with no clear weaknesses. The Developer Letter preceding his release even explicitly notes how powerful he is in-game and how long players have been waiting for him in particular to arrive.
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    • Cynthia was also shown to be able to defeat a massive number of Team Break members on her own, shocking even Acerola (a Trial Captain-turned-Elite Four member and the adoptive niece of Nanu, who is implied to be even stronger than herself).
    • Blue's stats far and away surpass those of every other Sync Pair in the game as of his release, with his Pidgeot's Special Attack being the only one in the game over 400 points (for reference, the next-highest — Karen's Houndoom — is in the mid-300s). Like Red, this is in line with Blue's status of a Battle Legend in the main series.
    • Coincidentally, Red, Blue, and Cynthia are all on the same team in the Pokémon Masters League, perhaps intended to be the final opponents of the Pokémon Masters League arcs — though they end up becoming the opponents for the quarterfinals.
  • Adaptational Curves: Zigzagged. Because this is the debut of many characters for the first time with full 3D models (as opposed to 2D artwork or chibi models), their physiques are a lot less ambiguous. In particular, females like Hilda, Winona, Cynthia, and Viola are shown to have much more obviously large chests than in their artwork, which downplays their assets somewhat. Slightly subverted for Skyla and Zinnia, however, as their chests appear to be slightly smaller than their art depicts (much more so in Zinnia's case).
  • Allegedly Free Game: The game has a premium currency in the form of Gems, which can only be used to buy more sync pairs from the gacha system. Gems can be obtained at a fairly steady rate by playing through missions and battles, so it doesn't pressure you to spend real money just for a chance at obtaining a new Sync Pair. Everything else in the game, such as battle items, can be easily obtained as quest rewards or by grinding up coins to buy with. The game even lets you set a hard cap on the amount of gems you can buy at any given period of time, and differentiates between gems that were purchased and gems obtained through play. You can't use earned gems to purchase daily discounted sync offers, but the story itself hooks you up with a good handful of trainers just for playing through it.
  • Always Accurate Attack: The Piercing Gaze ability ensures the user will never miss with their moves.
  • Always Someone Better: In spite of Lear being strong enough to pressure Iris, a Champion, he still harbors a massive inferiority complex due to losing against Red and feels uncomfortable just being in his presence. Many other characters in the game acknowledge directly or indirectly that they look up to Red and his abilities in spite of their own strength, and the game itself also lampshades this fact through developer comments and its mechanics.
    • Lance feels that the title of "strongest" isn't one worth chasing after due to having witnessed Red end Blue's tenure as Champion almost instantly and establish himself as being even stronger.
    • Cynthia is excited to battle against Lance, but she herself seems to have decided to team up with Red and Blue in spite of this, meaning she could respect their abilities even more.
    • Blue himself proudly declares himself to be the strongest trainer in the world during his Sync move and various conversations, but despite this confidence (and strength that might even back it up), he at one point walks this back and points out that he's the strongest other than Red.
    • Even the developers go out of their way to note that they know that Red is someone many players have been waiting for, and that they made him as strong as he is to live up to player expectations. Fittingly, he is the first mascot for the game — being the face of the App's icon and having the largest portrait in the official art, despite being surrounded by fellow Champions among others. His Charizard also appropriately has greater combined offensive stats than any other sync pair in the game and can max out its stat boosts using just its own moves, foregoing the need for supports that Dragonite often relies on.
    • Despite the sheer power of the other Champions in the game prior to Red's release (Blue, Cynthia, Lance, and Steven), only Red is described as a "legendary" trainer in his description, and his sync move "Living Legend Blast Burn" only emphasizes his superiority even more.
    • Kris' "A Day With..." storybit is about this — she's wondering if it's even worth chasing after being Champion anymore, because there's so many others who have taken and lost the spot. She wants to find something she's truly good at.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Trainers occasionally address their Pokémon as female/male when their profiles state they're male/female, such as with Marley and her Arcanine and Candice and her Abomasnow.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different:
    • The field parts of the "Blasting Off Again" event takes place in James's perspective.
    • With her introduction, Lusamine is (so far) the only character in the game to use an Ultra Beast.
  • Animal Motifs: The game purposefully invokes these through the Sygna Suits, unique outfits that combine aspects of the wearer's new partner Pokémon with those of their original look.
    • Brock's Sygna Suit features triangular markings on both his Fingerless Gloves and the back of his shirt that are reminiscent of the impressions on a Tyranitar's body.
    • Elesa's has two blue and white ribbons that resemble the limbs of Rotom, a bustle with the shape of Rotom's lower body forming at the bottom, and the shade of orange Rotom possesses on her bustle, gloves, and headphones.
    • Grimsley's has the star marking of Sharpedo's body on the armbands, suspenders, collar, and cape, the scars of Mega Sharpedo on his pants, gloves, cape, and collar, and Sharpedo's overall color scheme.
    • Cynthia's features motifs of Kommo-o's scales in her jacket, pants, shoes, ribbons, and ring as well as Kommo-o's colors throughout.
    • Blue's entails Blastoise's cannons and shell patterned onto his jacket, pockets that resemble the openings of Blastoise's shell, and Blastoise's shades of blue and cream.
    • Leaf's is characterized by Venusaur's flower patterned on her hat and bag and Venusaur's shades of blue, pink, green, and brown throughout.
    • Lusamine could be a non-Sygna Suit example, due to how similar (albeit coincidentally) Pheromosa looks to her and vice-versa.
    • Acerola and Hilbert' s Halloween outfits also qualify, being based on Mimikyu and Mightyena respectively, even though they aren't Sygna Suits in the usual sense.
  • Anti-Climax: The "Two Champions" side story revolves around Lance and Cynthia, and the debate surrounding which of them is "the strongest Dragon-type master". Just as they're about to settle the debate with a battle, a group of Ace Trainers arrive to challenge them, and Lance and Cynthia team up with you to battle them instead. Then they move to a stadium to duke it out... and Iris and Clair arrive to challenge them. After that, they decide they've worn their Pokémon out and agree to postpone the battle until the PML finals.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The characters you earn in the story are recommended for the next chapter. Your Pikachu and Rosa's Snivy are super effective against Barry and Piplup, who will be helpful against Flannery's Torkoal, who will be useful against Erika's grass-type, etc.
    • Special items called Evolution Shards are required in order to take part in the Evolution Stories, and they can be pretty hard to get hold of, costing up to 300,000 coins when you require three of them. If you fail the story, you get the Shards back, so you can try again immediately without having to buy more of them.
    • Failing a Supercourse stage won't count against the number of times you can challenge a particular stage — only actually winning ticks it down.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: An update one year after release implemented a Stamina Meter, which can be refilled with Gems, the Daily Gifts or a Rank-Up. Also, the characters are aware of the time, and will suggest that you go get some sleep if it gets too late. Likewise, they also greet you in the morning. Whitney will greet you with the regret of her staying up too late and not getting enough sleep.
  • April Fools' Day: On April Fools Day, all music in the game’s menus was replaced by 8-bit music from Red and Blue.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI used when the a battle is set to Auto is... not very tactical, to say the least;
    • Type Advantages and Disadvantages are not considered by them, just using the strongest move in the team over and over again without using anything else.
    • They use support skills basically at complete random, often using them all at once if they do, even if doing so will allow the opponent to fire off their Sync Move and wipe all those stat bonuses (at least before the update that removed the debuff(s)).
    • They will exclusively use moves that take three bars if a character has them, and will happily wait in place taking hits to charge one. Even if the opponent is weak and would go down to a weaker movenote . Even if that move hurts them. Set the AI to Auto when Phoebe is on the field and watch her Dusclops/Dusknoir Double-Edge itself to death without pause.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • Guzma and Nanu's victory quotes are ones that the fandom took a large liking to. Specifically:
    Guzma: Y'all are stupid!
    Nanu: I'll make sure that your remains get safely back home.
    • A badge you can get is called "Dragonite, Hyper Beam!", which is an obvious reference to the infamous scene from Gold/Silver where Lance straight-up orders his Dragonite to use said move directly on a Team Rocket Grunt outside of a battle.
  • A Taste of Power: Most 5* Sync Pairs added post-game, such as Hilda and Caitlin, have had their releases accompanied by side stories in which you get to battle with them, with all their moves and abilities unlocked and their level no lower than 30.
    • Some of the events require you to use fixed sync pairs at fixed levels and (previously) with all four of their moves unlocked. This is subverted when you reach and exceed those levels with the sync pairs you actually own, though.
  • Badass in Distress: The tutorial starts with a Punk Girl and a Street Thug harassing Sinnoh League Champion Cynthia and challenging her to a battle. Cynthia claims that her and her Garchomp are too exhausted from recent battles to take up their offer, and Rosa protests that they can't just challenge her whenever they want. It's up to you, Brock, and Misty to put them in their place.
  • Black Comedy: A badge you can earn is called "Dragonite, Hyper Beam!", which you earn by using Hyper Beam against 10 Pokémon owned by Black Belts. This is an obvious reference to the infamous scene from Pokémon Gold and Silver where Lance orders his Dragonite to use Hyper Beam against a Team Rocket Grunt, who even apparently appears as a Black Belt NPC at the Pokémon Center.
  • Boring, but Practical: When playing solo, rapid-firing cheap moves and/or support skills to mill through the Sync Move counter faster can help if you need to get your Sync Move out before the opponent. (This doesn't work as well in co-op, since your teammates are eating up time with moves of their own.)
  • Broad Strokes:
    • In regards to the continuity of the main series. The Alola Trial Captains, Kahunas, Elite Four, and Team Rainbow Rocket exist, apparently placing the game after the Generation VII games. Yet, Red and Blue are still teenagers instead of adults, while Grimsley is still his younger self instead of his older-looking redesign from Gen VIInote . The game also depicts Alolan characters as their counterparts from Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, making those games seemingly canon in the main series. Many of the trainers also take after their anime characterizations, and Trainers who were replaced in their remakes appear (namely, Kris, who was replaced by Lyra). Then again, considering that Hoopa may be dipping into other timelines...
    • In regards to Generation 8, it appears to take place prior to that game's events, as Steven makes mention of Leon still being Galar's champion.
  • Brutal Honesty: Cheren takes this approach with Lear in Interlude 5, essentially telling him to his face that his attitude makes him unfit to be a king. Lear notes that it's been a long time since anyone was so blunt with him.
  • But Thou Must!: ...say Yes to letting story-mandated characters like Rosa or Flannery join your team. When Rosa asks if you were reconsidering your offer for her to join your team, your options are "Nah, we'll be counting on you", and "Nope, welcome to the team." This trend continues to much of the campaign and "A Day With..." Sync Pair bond missions. Lampshaded in Jesse's mission, where if you hesitate in welcoming Team Rocket to the crew, she gets furious and joins your team to spite you, anyway.
    Jessie: You don't want me?! I don't care if you turn me down! I'll tag along anyway!
  • Canon Immigrant: The Team Rocket Trio appear as part of the Double Trouble event. Unlike their previous game appearances, and every other character in the game, they are explicitly the anime versions of the characters, as the event is a tie-in to the newest Pokémon movie Coco, Meowth can speak human language for the first time in the games, and the trio's Japanese voice actors reprise their roles from the anime.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Hoopa, who in an early chapter is revealed to be responsible for bringing some of the PML contestants to Pasio. Team Break later steal it and force it to start summoning Pokémon to Pasio for them to use.
  • City on the Water: The entirety of Pasio, an artificial island. It's even commented on how realistic the volcanoes are.
  • Combatant Cooldown System: Pokémon can only use moves when enough of the team's shared move gauge has filled over time.
  • Combination Attack: In co-op, when you and your allies attack in succession without the opponent getting a move in enough times, you trigger a Unity Attack, in which everyone teams up for a powerful strike on an opponent. The power of the attack is boosted if one of the sync pairs in it is a supereffective type, further if two are used, and even further if three of the same type, in which case the attack turns into the type of the users and becomes even more powerful.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Well, it is Pokémon. To its credit, the game does sometimes provide disclaimers that the AI opponents' capabilities do not reflect their playable versions.
    • Most enemies have Sync Moves that can hit your whole party, which your own Sync Moves can't do. Enemies often also charge their Sync Moves in fewer actions than the player, though this is balanced out by giving the computer relatively low APM. Enemy Sync Moves used to remove all your stat boosts, but this was removed in a January 2020 update.
    • Certain playable trainers originally couldn't have their Pokémon evolved into their final forms, but if you face those same trainers in an AI battle, they will be using those final forms. For example, you can't evolve Phoebe's Dusclops into Dusknoir, but when you face Phoebe in the Supercourses and in Stage 17 of Story Mode, she's using Dusknoir. This ended in February 2020, when every such trainer had their Pokémon's evolution released.
    • In Stage 18, Hilbert apparently has five moves available to him (two attacks and three support skills) when four has always been the hard limit. This is possibly balanced out by the fact that Hilda only has three moves.
    • Co-op battles give bosses moves that they shouldn't have available to use when under the player's command.
  • Continuity Nod: A lot.
    • If there was official art or battle intros for any named trainer, the game basically replicates it all in 3D form (such as Burgh dropped on his knees when he's a boss fight) or face shots when using support moves (such as Hilda's VS. trainer shot from her debut game).
    • One of the random trainers who can show up in the Pokémon Center is a Black Belt who talks about how he used to be a security guard for a gift shop and is now scared of Hyper Beams. He's the poor man who Lance ordered Dragonite to attack at Mahogany Town back in Pokémon Gold and Silver.
    • Brendan reminisces about watching the stars with May, as they do after the end credits of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. He also says her eyes were pretty like stars.
    • Rosa talks about how she had some roles in movies filmed at Pokéstar Studios, and she still tries to keep up on her acting skills even now. For extra fun, Snivy's evolution mission has Brycen showing up in-character as Brycen-Man to challenge her, complete with a Zoroark.
    • Drake refers to Mr. Briney as his "old friend" several times, something that was previously established in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.
    • When chatting in the Pokémon Center, Gym Leaders will occasionally mention other Pokémon of theirs that they left behind at the Gyms. These other Pokémon are always ones that the Leaders did in fact use in Gym battles in the original games.
      • One example may be a case of Canon Discontinuity, though: Flint mentions his Drifblim... which he only used when you fought him in Diamond and Pearl. However, numerous continuity nods both in the main games and this one (see the "New World Dilemma" example below) suggest that Platinum is the canonical Gen IV game, and in it, Flint's Drifblim is replaced with a Flareon. The possible answer for this is that the Flint in the game is the one from Diamond and Pearl instead of the one from Platinum.
    • During the "Two Champions" event, Lance recalls that, back when he was a member of the Elite Four, he was beaten by a trainer who claimed to be "the greatest". Then, three years later, another trainer came along and beat both of them. He explains that this is why he has no interest in titles like "the strongest" — because you won't be the strongest for long.
    • During the "A Day with Professor Oak" Sync Pair Story, Blaine says that he and Mr. Fuji used to research Pokémon together. Their friendship was first established in FireRed and LeafGreen, then followed up on in Let's Go.
    • When Cynthia first sees Cyrus at the start of the "New World Dilemma" story event, she notes that the last time she saw him, he was being dragged into the Distortion World by Giratina. Cyrus replies that he has no idea what she's talking about, revealing him to be from the Diamond and Pearl timeline. Then at the end of the event, after Cynthia defeats him, Cyrus gives the exact same Villainous Breakdown speech his Platinum counterpart gave, right down to his parting threat that one day, Cynthia will wake up in a world without spirit.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: While bosses are not necessarily immune to status conditions unless they have a passive which prevents specific ones, later ones tend to have passive abilities which makes it so that they heal from them quicker than player characters.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Played for Laughs according to a male Swimmer, who discovered that every single other swimmer in Pasio somehow decided to buy the same exact swimming trunks.
  • Cool Mask: All members of Team Break wear one. Unlike other villainous teams, Team Break doesn't have a standard uniform, so this is the only way to identify their members. For some reason, the designer behind them thought it'd be a good idea to put glue on the inside so it can stick to the wearer's face.
  • Covers Always Lie: Of the seven trainers (minus the player characters) who appear in the game's splash image, only Brock and Rosa were actually playable at launch. The rest were gradually added over the next six months, and only Diantha is still missing.
  • Cutscene Boss: During Skyla's chapter, a very pissy Lear forces the player into a one-on-one fight against his Krookodile. Lear's Krookodile handily wipes the floor with the player's hilariously underleveled Pikachu, and he tells you off before he and his posse book it.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: This game's Female Swimmer class, whose design is recycled from X and Y.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Masters was designed to highlight the human trainers for once, instead of putting the focus on the Pokémon like most spinoff games do.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Although most of the Trainers are already pretty buddy-buddy with each other, you will typically have to beat them in a Pokémon battle before you can obtain their Sync Pair. Although in Barry's case, he mistakes the party for Team Break grunts and challenges you to a fight before Rosa can get a word in.
  • Difficulty Spike: The Main Story mode is this. Early chapters give the players a good challenge to breeze through, but Chapter 5 onwards steep up the difficulty, and it gets harsher during Pokémon Masters League story arcs.
  • The Dreaded: Red is this for Lear, who constantly vents about how frustrated he is to have lost to him. Lear is so wary of Red that just giving the opening speech for the Pokémon Masters League with Red in attendance (along with his teammates Blue and Cynthia) unnerved him enough to have to blow off steam about it afterwards to his retainers. Blue even takes the time to correct himself when claiming he's the strongest trainer by noting he's only ever lost to Red, meaning even he wouldn't claim to be stronger.
  • Dream Match Game: Trainers from across the series are available to recruit and battle.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Mallow makes her debut as a boss during the "Rosa's Party" storyline.
    • Wallace appears alongside Steven Stone in the "The Strongest There Is!" event.
    • The Serena update adds a talking Meowth as occasionally appearing in the Pokémon center, who mentions his two friends that got lost looking for a Mythical Pokémon, no doubt teasing an event involving the anime’s Team Rocket Trio.
    • Both Lisia and Ryuki first appear during the "Summer Superstars" event.
  • The Eeyore: Several characters get depressed (hilariously, or otherwise) after defeat.
    • A Hiker says he's trying to chase his dream of being a master. After defeat, he realizes he can't achieve that dream.
    • A young trainer attempting to impress his girlfriend by battling your team gets smashed. In a depressed funk, he moans the fact he's never gonna be cool at anything... except setting tents, and further bemoans the fact he'll be bragging about being only good at setting tents.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Much like other Pokémon spin-offs like Pokémon Shuffle, type matchups are greatly streamlined compared to the main series. Pokémon are weak to one type only, but may have attacks of two types. In addition, Pokémon weaknesses are determined on a case-by-case basis instead of being tied to their typing; for example, the Normal difficulty Level Up course features a Slugma (Fire) that is weak to Rock but NOT weak to Water. Similarly, all type immunities are removed, meaning Normal and Ghost can hit each other, Poison can hit (and even inflict the poison status on) Steel, Ground can hit Flying, etc.
  • Enemy Mine: It's possible to hire Giovanni, Jessie, James, Cyrus, Zinnia, Guzma, Plumeria, and Lusamine as Sync Pairs — the latter four have already done a Heel–Face Turn in their home games.
  • Evasive Fight-Thread Episode: The "Two Champions" story event goes to some lengths to avoid a conclusive answer to the question of whether Cynthia or Lance is stronger.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While Lear may be a dick to the general public, even he knew that mistreating a time and space-warping being would be a horrible idea, so he fed Hoopa donuts in return for it willingly finding and bringing contestants for the PML. If said contestants didn't want anything to do with it, they would be sent back without any hassle.
  • Exposed to the Elements: In Pryce's story segment, Flannery follows the player, Barry, and Norman around a glacier to look for him, and consequently shivers the entire way due to her attire.
  • Face of a Thug:
  • Fish out of Water: When you first meet Calem, he's still trying to adjust to the Sync Pair mechanics after being used to the traditional mechanics from the main series.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: When scouting for sync pairs, you can tell what you're about to get based on the animations of the Poryphone. If an antenna pops up out of the top of your Poryphone during the scouting animation, you're about to roll a 4*. If the antenna folds out into a radar dish, then congratulations: you're about to roll a 5*!
  • Food as Bribe: It's revealed that Lear gave donuts to a Hoopa in exchange for bringing contestants for the PML, which it happily did under that condition.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • One of Giovanni's dialogues in the main lobby could hint that Team Rainbow Rocket might, at least at one point, own Pasio, instead of Lear as most people implies. That would possibly make Pasio a true home base for Team Rainbow Rocket.
    • Elesa's Sync Pair Story reveals her purpose for coming to Pasio is to look for the tailor who makes Sygna Suits, as she seeks to have one for herself. As of Chapter 24, she is revealed to have obtained a Sygna Suit with Rotom, which became a playable Sync Pair the following month.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Story-important trainers with Pokémon that can evolve, such as Rosa, will always show up in their first form. This means that Snivy and Piplup will be present with Rosa and Barry, regardless of whether you've already evolved them in your party.
  • The Ghost:
    • Trainers will often talk of friends and other Pokémon of theirs that they left back home, but those characters don't appear in the game (or in a lot of cases, they don't appear yet).
    • It's mentioned that a fashion designer is behind the creation of Sygna Suits, but we have yet to meet him in person.
    • Tying into the release of the Isle of Armor DLC, characters mention Galarian trainers- but nothing from Galar is in the game yet.
  • Gilligan Cut: After Cynthia defeats Cyrus in battle, she and Sophocles both express hope that the defeat will make him see sense and change his ways for the better... cut to Cyrus staring into the sunset and declaring, "I haven't changed". While you do recruit him immediately after, his recruitment quote has him tell you straight up that his plans haven't changed either.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • As in the main series, Korrina's Lucario. Despite only being a 3* pair, Lucario sports great offensive pressure, with access to buffs like Dire Hit, Mega Evolution, and Power-Up Punch after Mega Evolving. However, its Defense and Sp. Defense are lackluster, and repeated usage of its strongest move, Close Combat, will quickly whittle away at what measure of defense it has, if any.
    • Even compared to most other Strike-category Sync Pairs, Roark stands out as being all offense. With his attack buffs and his final skill giving him perfect accuracy on his next attack along with a full move gauge, his Cranidos/Rampardos can easily Head Smash things into oblivion, but Head Smash also retains its hideous recoil damage which will inevitably shave off half of Cranidos's health bar or more on each hit.
    • Due to her choice of partner being an Ultra Beast, which are known to heavily sacrifice one or more stats for another, Lusamine has some of the weakest defenses out of all characters available (as Pheromosa are known to sacrifice defense for offense and speed).
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language:
    • All Professors in Masters sprinkle basic non-English words into their dialogue. Blue, being the son of a Professor, inherited this habit.
    • Later lampshaded and mocked when, during a mission with Professor Bellis, a Gentleman approaches the Professor and asks to go on a date...
      Mi corazon is going doki doki because you're so belle, capiche? How about tu and je go for a walk conmigo?Translation 
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Story events allow players to temporarily use a featured character, even if they haven't obtained them, in story battles with fixed teams.
  • Healer Signs On Early: Your Player Character and Brock both start with the Potion skill. The first Sync Pair you get from the story after Brock and Misty is Rosa, a Support buffer who has X Sp. Atk All and can learn "Time to Energize" to instantly charge the Move Gauge.
  • Heel Realization:
    • A Swimmer talks about how he can't find any strong Pokémon to capture because someone always interferes with his attempts. Another Swimmer says that there aren't any wild Pokémon on the island, which makes him realize that he was actually trying to steal them the whole time and didn't know it.
    • A Team Break goon put his mask on wrong during the Team's assault, and regrets joining. He notes that the mask makes him feel really bad, and is glad the player is able to knock it off.
    • One Team Break goon can't bring himself to force the Pokemon he stole to battle, finding it too cute. After you beat him, he resolves to return it to its rightful owner.
  • Hope Spot: In Interlude 5, just when it looks like Cheren is about to get through to Lear, the latter is baited into fighting Team Break alone, subsequently disregarding all of what the Gym Leader said about how the prince's overdependence on his own power has made him short-sighted.
  • Interface Spoiler: Zig-zagged with regards to the boosted Sync Pairs for each story event. Some of them will show up during the event (in which case, the fact that they're boosted spoils their appearance), but others won't. For example, Clemont and Elesa are both boosted for the "Eccentric Electrician" event that's supposedly about Flint and Volkner; Clemont shows up halfway through, but Elesa isn't even mentioned.
  • Jerkass:
    • The two Punks who aggressively demand Cynthia battle them after she just got done with a fairly big battle. Not only are they hilariously underlevelled and interrupting a conversation, they also threaten the player. Needless to say, they get what's coming to them.
    • A Lass gets mad at you when she realizes you're not a photographer here to model her session, and tells you that you're ugly and should go bother other ugly people.
    • Lear immediately insults your intelligence based on your fashion sense, nurses a grudge solely because of this, throws you into unwinnable battles to assert his dominance, and treats his Pokémon as nothing more than disposable tools who'll be thrown away if they don't perform to his standards.
    • Team Break members are almost all uniformly egotistical assholes dead-set on robbing you of your Pokemon and insulting you the entire way through.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In a side-story, Lear's perfectly capable of being nice and welcoming — several Pasio visitors gush about his generosity, philanthropy, and dedication to making Pasio for everyone. Too bad he shows none of this to you.
  • Jiggle Physics: Surprisingly for a Pokemon game, some of the bustiest girls in the game like Karen, Lorelei and Olivia actually have mild jiggle physics for their chests, which respond to the movements of the characters.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: A Rising Star's response to a Punk Girl's joke.
    Punk Girl: What keeps Crobat going?
    Rising Star: Hmm... You got me there! I dunno! What keeps a Crobat going?
    Punk Girl: Heh heh... Bat-teries!
    Rising Star: *sigh* And I had such high hopes for that one...
    • Elesa frequently makes attempts at good ones, but they all fall flat.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Some of the story events give away major plot elements from whatever mainline game the event's central character hailed from, such as Cyrus getting dragged into the Distortion World by Giratina at the end of Platinum, or Lusamine being the true Big Bad of Sun and Moon.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: If talked to at the Pokémon Center, Giovanni recalls his Rainbow Rocket evil plan in Alola, which failed because of a kid. He then comments that the protagonist reminds him a lot of them, who technically might be the same person in regards to the player.
  • Limit Break: Sync Moves are powerful attacks that can be performed by Sync Pairs after completing a certain number of actions. In co-op, chaining enough attacks together will charge a meter and trigger a Unity Attack.
  • Loot Boxes: The game uses a gacha system to scout new Sync Pairs. If you get a repeat of a Sync Pair you already have, their Sync Move will level up and become more powerful (and if the Sync Move is maxed out, you'll get upgrade materials for other trainers instead). The story mode provides a healthy number of free trainers, but most Sync Pairs can only be obtained through scouting them in the shop for gems.
  • Magikarp Power: No, not for actual Magikarp. There aren't any.
    • Glacia's Glalie does extremely pitiful damage, even to Pokémon that are weak to Ice-types, and even with her Sync Move, which upgrades Glalie into Mega Glalie. It takes a lot of Training Manuals and level uncaps to make them do real damage, and even then, her role is still more about spamming basic attacks until a Sync Move is ready.
    • While Sync Pairs from the gacha start at 3*, Egg Pokémon start off at 1*, meaning their stats are initially so low that they're not worth using. This is especially noticeable with Egg Pokémon that can also be obtained as regular Sync Pairs, such as Victreebel and Onix. Once you max out their Affinity and get them up to 3* or more, however, they become just as strong as the gacha Sync Pairs, if not stronger.
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter: Unlike all the other sync pairs, Leaf and Eevee's sync move does no damage, instead granting major buffs to all of Eevee's stats.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • A Youngster that shows up in the Pokémon Center loves to talk about how great and comfortable shorts are to wear, a Running Gag that has persisted throughout franchise.
    • The first trainers who join you are Brock and Misty, just like in the first seasons of the anime.
    • Following that, Brock is depicted as the opposite of his anime personality: he admits he's very nervous around pretty girls.
    • When Brock uses his Sync Move, he stands shirtless with his arms crossed over his chest, exactly the same as his original sprite in the Generation I games.
    • Kris says here she wants to be a researcher. Her Pokémon Adventures counterpart is Professor Oak's aide.
    • According to Brendan, May focuses on Contests, like her anime counterpart.
    • Barry in this game is properly named, just like his anime counterpart (see Named by the Adaptation below), and has an Empoleon if you decide to evolve his Piplup twice. Unlike his anime counterpart which comes off as a Butt-Monkey Leeroy Jenkins Satellite Character, he's an Adaptational Nice Guy here — though he still constantly threatens to fine people.
    • Most, if not all, characters from Alola have Sync Moves named after and based on Z-Moves, unlike other characters who use powered-up normal moves for Sync Moves.
    • Before he found Mew, Professor Oak's Sync Pair Story reveals that the Pokémon he brought to Pasio was a Nidorino. He uses it to battle Agatha's Gengar, referencing the opening of the original Red and Blue.
    • You now can turn Professor Oak forgetting his own grandson's name right back on him by asking "Who are you, again?" after his lengthy intro. Blue immediately knows that you're taking the piss.
    • Sabrina's English VA voice matches her stoic, to-the-point incarnation from the anime, just without the evil attitude.
    • Serena’s sync pair Pokémon being a Fennekin (at least when starting out) is a clear nod to her anime counterpart.
    • The entirety of the "Double Trouble" event is a direct reference to Jessie, James, and Meowth's roles in the anime, with Meowth translating Pokémon, him hitting on a Purrloin (who is actually female this time, unlike a previous incident), Meowth throwing a fight to a Bug-type to boost its confidence (though it's Nincada instead of Paras), all three are still nearly financially-broke which leads to James not wanting to build a Humongous Mecha until they reach the forest to lower costs, building a cheap pitfall trap, and they even recreate their famous introduction with the player protagonist inserted in.
      • The same applies to the "Blasting Off Again" event where the player character actually fights Team Rocket- with the inevitable blast off once you win.
    • Lear, Rachel, and Sawyer correspond to Arlo (haughty Kantonian royals with snobby, elitist attitudes and who used to be good guys), Sierra (elegant Dark-type specialists with Liepard motifs and known for being devious sneaky bastards), and Cliff (soft-spoken Lightning Bruiser brutes with undying loyalty and a major temper) of Pokémon GO.
    • Leaf, Blue, and Red being buddy-buddy is a callback to their Fire-Forged Friends status in Pokemon Special.
    • Lusamine, Gladion, and Lillie being a family harkens back to their reconciliation in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, on top of Lusamine taking far more after her anime version.
    • Gladion's ability to change Silvally's type on the fly appears to be a nod to how, in the anime, he could toss Silvally the type Memories during the middle of a battle.
    • Lusamine's EX palette changes her clothes to black, referencing the warped appearance she took as Mother Beast.
    • Lusamine's choice of partner, Pheromosa, references her original counterpart's obsession with the Ultra Beasts.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Kris and Barry, who were cases of Hello, [Insert Name Here] in their debut games, are properly named here. In both cases, their first selectable default name became their canon name, the latter being a recursive nod to his anime counterpart.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The sheer number of trainers who appeared in the trailer but weren't playable at launch was well into the dozens. Subsequent releases have gradually whittled the number down but it's still not quite zero.
  • New Season, New Name: In celebration of the game's 1-year anniversary, and to reflect how much the game had been refined over that period, the title officially changed to "Pokémon Masters EX".
  • New Work, Recycled Graphics: Pokémon models and animations are once again reused from the recent 3DS titles. The trainer models are all built from scratch, each with their own different heights (something usually avoided in mainline games) and extremely detailed animations and expressions.
  • Not Me This Time: Of a sort — Rainbow Rocket Giovanni is accused of his counterpart's deeds, which, given what kind of person they are, they've most likely committed those deeds in their own region. Rainbow Rocket Giovanni notes that they have him confused for their Giovanni, but runs with it, anyway.
  • Not So Above It All: After some kids make fun of Koga and Claire's outfits, the two are surprisingly hurt about it, which you'd never expect from their usual personalities.
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: There's a weird variant where a Hiker you meet is described to be strangely powerful and wise when you first go into the Glacial area. Once you beat him, he laughs and says you've made him realize his true calling in life is ice hiking. He walks off into the sunset (sundown, really), and a blurb appears that legends claim to this day he is still ice hiking.
  • Older Than They Look: Hilbert and Hilda are using their designs from Black and White even though Cheren's design and Rosa being a Trainer show that Black 2 and White 2 has already happened. As a result, even though Hilbert and Hilda are the same age as Cheren, they look a couple of years younger than him.
  • One Steve Limit: A variation. Very few Sync Pairs even share evolutionary families, much less the same Pokémon: the Pikachu line (the player's Pikachu and Hau's Alolan Raichu), the Rockruff line (Olivia's Midnight Lycanroc and Kukui's Midday Lycanroc, plus major NPC Paulo has a Rockruff), the Eevee line (Leaf's Eevee and Valerie's Sylveon, plus NPC Rachel's Umbreon), the Onix line (Brock's Onix and Jasmine's Steelix), and the Ralts line (Wally's Gallade and Diantha's Gardevoir). The only potential duplicates come because of the Pokémon Egg feature, as the player is given one of the three Kanto starters while the Sygna Suit versions of the Kanto cast also have Kanto starters.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Elesa's Sygna Suit is a Rotom-themed dress.
  • Play Every Day: There are daily login rewards. The game entices you to log in the next day by telling you what you'll get.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Red, the main trainer protagonist from Pokémon Red and Blue. In fact, the vast majority of the previous playable characters are playable, with only May, Lucas, Nate, Elio, Selene, Victor, and Gloria not being playable at the moment.
  • The Problem with Pen Island: A humorous example happened after the game changed its name to Pokémon Masters EX. #Pokemonmastersex began to trend on Twitter. Since then, the official Twitter account very subtly acknowledges this by going back to the previous #Pokemon Masters hashtag instead of the new one it used in previous tweets before it went viral.
  • Promoted to Playable: Every recruitable Sync Pair who doesn't fall into the above category falls into this one.
  • Reused Character Design:
    • Most of the common trainer classes seen in the game resuse a design they had in a previous generation.
    • In a similar fashion to the Super Smash Bros. series (another Nintendo IP), a great deal of characters, particularly those from before the Diamond and Pearl era, reuse their designs from their most recent appearances.
      • The only Kantonian characters who don't use their FireRed and LeafGreen designs are Red (who appears in his Sygna Suit by default, Misty (who is based on her Let's Go design), Koga and Bruno (who use their HeartGold and SoulSilver designs) and Giovanni (who appears in his Team Rainbow Rocket guise from Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon).
      • Kris is a case of Outdated Outfit, due to the fact she has not appeared in any games since Crystal (which was her debut).
      • The only exceptions to the characters from Unova are Iris, who appears as she did in Black and White rather than their sequels (but is still identified as a Champion regardless), and Grimsley, who also appears in his original design rather than his Gen VII design.
  • The Rival: Paulo is this for the player, and declares it in determination when he battles you alongside Wulfric and Wikstrom. Blue also continues to see Red as his rival in addition to his best friend, and despite recognizing that Red is probably the one trainer stronger than him, Red also still considers Blue to be his own personal rival.
  • Sand In My Eyes: In "The Eccentric Electrician", when Flint is moved to tears, he claims he's practicing using Scald with his eyes.
  • Sequel Episode: "Blasting Off Again" is one to "Double Trouble", continuing the events of the Team Rocket trio’s arrival on Pasio as they attempt a heist during a festival. By the end, they get defeated, but decide to stick around and help the player further, with James becoming a Sync Pair.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Lear, who is of actual royalty (a prince-in-waiting), thrives on being sucked up to (and has two sycophants who do so), and is brash, mood-swingy, and disposes of loved ones on a whim.
  • Signature Mon: Most trainers in the game are paired up with their most well-known Pokémon. For example: Cynthia has her Garchomp, Red has his Charizard, Whitney has her Miltank, and Brock has Onix. A few, however, didn't have a signature to begin with (the most obvious being Factory Heads Noland and Thorton, who don't even have set teams in their home games due to Battle Factory rulesets using random rental Pokémon) or use a Pokémon other than their famous one; for instance Lt. Surge uses a Voltorb/Electrode instead of his Raichu (likely due to Hau already having dibs on Alolan Raichu and the player having Pikachu, which has the potential to evolve), and Lusamine uses a Pheromosa instead of her Bewear (justified in-game during a sub-area in the Family Ties event in that it came to Lusamine out of nowhere and had been with her since).
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: The Sygna Suit, a specially-made costume produced by a mysterious fashion designer in Pasio (and thus exclusive to this game) for certain recognized Sync Pairs:
    • Brock gets his in the interlude between Chapters 10 and 11, indicating his shift from the role of mentor to teammate.
    • Elesa's purpose for coming to Pasio was to seek said fashion designer and obtain a Sygna Suit of her own. She gets one prior to Chapter 24.
    • Grimsley, having been knocked out of the PML in Chapter 15, is convinced by Will and Karen to join their team and re-enter, and obtains a Sygna Suit to signify his change of allegiance.
    • Cynthia gets hers during the "New World Dilemma" event, after she decided that she has to get serious in order to defeat Cyrus.
    • Averted with Red, who's already in his Sygna Suit in all his appearances in the game from the start.
  • Starter Mon: The player character starts out with Pikachu, and Brock and Misty (and their Onix and Starmie) also join immediately so as to make a three-pair team. Rosa and her Snivy and Whitney and her Miltank also come pretty darn close, as they join you at the end of the Forced Tutorial section before you download the rest of the game data. Also, in the first egg update, the player could get one of the Kanto Starters.
  • Stealth Sequel: The events of Giovanni's special event reveal that Pasio is where Rainbow Rocket Giovanni ended up directly after the events of Ultra Sun/Moon, and he is still plotting to take over the world.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Since the main series games lack voice acting, virtually all characters in the game make their voice acted debut (not counting their anime counterparts, who often have different backgrounds and don't follow the games quite as closely). Special mention goes to Red, who is more faithful to his main series self than the version of him in Super Smash Bros. He has a voice, but only grunts.
    • Red's general speechlessness is lampshaded by Flint during his Sync Pair Story, but as a shocking first for Red, he actually speaks written dialogue — saying "Words are unnecessary!" when Flint asks how he commands his Pokémon if he barely ever talks. Turns out Red and his Pokémon are so in sync that his gestures tell them exactly what they need to know.
  • Super Mode: A select few Sync Pairs have the ability to Mega Evolve upon using their Sync Move. The Mega Evolution persists after using the Sync Move and enhances the Pokémon and their moveset. For most cases, a more powerful and/or practical move replaces one of the Pokémon's attack move slots. With the exception of Korrina, who was the only Gym Leader to use Mega Evolution from the start in her original games, all trainers with the ability to Mega Evolve their Pokémon have a title beyond the rank of Gym Leader, including Karen, Glacia, Noland, Blue (sort of; he's a rival in Red and Blue but a Gym Leader in Gold and Silver), and Red. For some trainers like Karen and Agatha, this is their first time using Mega Evolution (as the mechanic did not exist in their original games), but being capable of it with their ace Pokémon (Houndoom and Gengar) makes sense. Noland, on the other hand, Mega Evolves a Pinsir despite the fact that as the head of Hoenn's Battle Factory, he has no set team of Pokémon (although it's possible that since the Battle Frontier is not present in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, he has a different role and acquired the means to do so separately). These additions are more noticeable considering some trainers that have used Mega Evolution in their home games, like Drake, Brendan, and Team Rainbow Rocket Giovanni, lack the ability to do so here (at least, for now).
  • Teleporters and Transporters: A scientist you encounter asks you to help with his investigation of the strange sightings of black rings showing up. Apparently, not every trainer arrived at Pasio by boat. He just misses out on the sighting of the mythical Pokémon Hoopa floating around in the background, causing mischief. Many trainers arrived on Pasio by passing through Hoopa's portals (except Team Rainbow Rocket's Giovanni, who does have his own universe-hopping systems). Marlon mentions that he swam the entire distance from Unova to Pasio with his Carracosta. He saw this shiny black portal open up right in front of him and decided to go through it, and found himself in Pasio's waters.
  • Totally Radical: An Ace Trainer in Chapter 23 tries to talk like this — key word being tries. His team-mates find him very embarrassing.
  • Uncatty Resemblance: Invoked by the fashion designer behind the Sygna suits, who specifically tries to incorporate a Pokémon's design into its Trainer's outfit. Most notable is Elesa's, which has Rotom wings attached to it.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: According to Interlude 5, Lear used to be extremely-kindhearted and openly trusted Sawyer and Rachel, but took a personality-180 after his mother died and his father subsequently sent him to a very strict school.
  • Villain Protagonist:
    • Giovanni openly states that he is still planning his evil schemes, and the player only allows him to join the party so they can keep an eye on him.
    • Zinnia borders on the Anti-Villain shades, like her counterpart in Delta Episode. She Defrosts in the latter half of her Legendary Event "The Dragon that Rules the Sky" story arc, though.
    • The player in the Team Rocket episode, having been utterly convinced Jessie and James are truly good guys. Jessie later joins the player's team to leech off of them until she can go chase Celebi again. Even after the truth is revealed, they're willing to work with them still since they can tell Jessie and James care for their partners, although they also note they still plan to stop any schemes they try enacting.
      • Taken to new levels in the "Blasting Off Again" event: you actually play as James for most of it, and there's an entire sequence where you get to sneak through a fireworks festival and steal other Sync Pairs' Pokémon.
    • Cyrus, like Giovanni, openly states that he still plans to destroy and remake the world. Unlike Giovanni, absolutely no explanation is given for why he decides to join up with the player; his event doesn't even show him asking to do so.
  • Voice for the Voiceless: Flint does most of the talking on Red's behalf in "A Day With Sygna Suit Red".
  • Wham Line: Red isn't one for talking, so the one time he does speak has this effect.
    Red: Words are unnecessary!
  • You Have Failed Me: Lear uses a Staraptor in his second boss battle. When asked about the Krookodile he used last time, he says he released it as punishment for losing to Red's Charizard and tying against Iris' Haxorus. Then after that gets beaten, he’s shown using a Donphan to fight Team Break. When Cheren then beats his Donphan in Interlude 5, he clearly anticipates this reaction from Lear, as the very first thing he says is to assure him that the loss wasn't Donphan's fault and that it fought well.
    • It seems that Sawyer and Rachel also follow in Lear’s footsteps, as when you encounter them in the Battle Villa, Sawyer’s swapped out his Honchkrow for a Bewear, while Rachel’s swapped out her Umbreon for a Lapras.
  • Writers Suck: Whenever James hits maximum level, he says, "No one can stop us now! Not even the writers!"
  • Zero-Effort Boss: Subverted with Hapu. Unlike the other PML leaders, who have to be fought for a badge, Hapu gives you hers for free on account of you standing up to Team Break and then battles you anyway for funsies.


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