Having played a number of MOBAs prior to Pokémon Unite, I understand that they aren’t always the most welcoming to new players. They tend to be overwhelming for any variety of reasons, and they aren’t known for having the most welcoming communities, which can turn a lot of people away from playing them. Thankfully, since Pokémon Unite is a rather simplified MOBA, it’s significantly easier to jump in and see what the craze is about. If you’re still having trouble finding your footing though, we’ve gathered a few Pokémon Unite beginner tips in a guide that should provide a solid starting point!
1. Be a Pokémon master.
The first beginner tip to improve your Pokémon Unite game is simply to familiarize yourself with the roster. You don’t need an encyclopedic knowledge of everyone; even being vaguely aware of their abilities can have a big defensive benefit. Knowing what sorts of moves and what type of play style your opponents have allows you to develop better strategies for dealing with them in game. Once you have this baseline knowledge, you can further supplement it by observing how other players utilize the characters in matches. For example, I’ve learned which Pokémon I have trouble going up against simply because I’ve faced them enough to know they give me trouble. Knowing that, I can then plan my strategy around avoiding those characters if possible.
Furthermore, there are offensive benefits too, since you’ll have to choose from among the roster to play the game! I recommend picking out two or three characters and learning them at a detailed level — practice playing as them, test out different move sets, look up different item builds, etc. You can try out all Pokémon in the game in a 1v1 setting by hitting X from the main menu, selecting Practice, then choosing Practice Area. There are a few customization options here, including the ability to remove move cooldowns or become invincible, so this is a great way to test how a Pokémon’s moves work in synergy. If you want to face actual opponents though, you’ll be limited to using those on the current free rotation. That said, don’t get too used to the free rotation characters if you want to dive into ranked battles, as you’re limited to using only Pokémon you have a Unite License for.
The main reason for wanting to be handy with multiple fighters is that a Pokémon can only appear once within a team. If you main Snorlax, but someone chooses it before you get a chance to do so, you’re forced to pick a different character. Being able to effectively play a few characters thus gives you options, saving you from having to learn a new character on the fly.
2. Be mindful of your rewards.
MOBAs commonly lock away characters for permanent access until you pay for them, either with in-game or premium currency. Pokémon Unite is no different, as you’ll need either Aeos Coins (the in-game currency) or Aeos Gems (the premium currency) to unlock a character for permanent use. However, currently a few characters are being offered as login rewards. You can get Alolan Ninetails after two days, Cinderace after eight days, and Greninja after 14 days. You also unlock Slowbro at Trainer Level 2 and Venusaur at Trainer Level 5, both of which are easy to hit with a little playtime.
Don’t waste your currency unlocking these characters! By going the free route, you save a total of 40,000 Aeos Coins or 2,300 Aeos Gems, which can be used to unlock as few as four other characters. While you’re at it, don’t forget to get your free Zeraora for logging in once through August 31. This is currently the only way to get Zeraora, so don’t miss out!
3. Pick your battles wisely.
One play mistake I see often in MOBAs is the tendency to focus on killing your opponents. This is only natural, as most multiplayer games reward us for doing so. However, engaging opponents in a MOBA is one of the riskiest plays you can make and isn’t always worth doing. Pokémon Unite is no different. Knowing when to fight opponents and when to retreat is essential to your success on the battlefield and an essential Pokémon Unite beginner tip.
Imagine you’re advancing through your lane and you see an enemy in prime position to be attacked. What can happen if you engage? It’s certainly possible that things go smoothly and you take them out. But it’s just as likely that there’s an enemy waiting in the nearby grass to ambush you, suddenly placing you into a 1v2 situation or worse. Next thing you know, you’re dead. What if you chase a weakened enemy into their own territory? Now you’re slowed down in case you need to retreat, making you a prime target for freshly spawned opponents.
That’s not to say killing is never the right play. Though the game isn’t scored on enemy kills, there are tangible benefits to doing so. Killing an enemy knocks them out of the game for a brief period, which gives your team a numbers advantage, especially if you can take out multiple opponents in quick succession. It also makes enemies drop a portion of the points they’re currently carrying, making enemy kills one of the best sources of gathering points quickly.
Of course, all of these points work in reverse as well. A tactical retreat can lure enemies into a deadly trap. It can prevent you from losing the points you worked so hard to gather, and it can keep you in the game longer to assist your team. So don’t fall into the trap of pushing too hard or thinking that running away is a coward’s move. It may be hard to grasp at first, but it’s a skill that can be learned almost exclusively through experience. So if you keep this in mind while you play, you should be able to pick up on it with time.
4. Don’t ignore wild Pokémon.
In the same vein of not focusing too much on enemy players, don’t ignore the wild Pokémon around the arena. Most of these creatures are standard encounters and are quick to beat. Catching these Pokémon gives you the points needed to score and eventually win the game, alongside providing you and your teammates with the experience needed to level up and get stronger. Late in the game, these Pokémon evolve and are worth more points as well, so make sure to stay on top of fighting them throughout the whole match!
Pokémon Unite also features special Pokémon to keep an eye out for in matches, as they give bonuses for defeating them. In the standard map, a Ludicolo and a Bouffalant spawn near each team’s base. Defeating these creatures gives you a personal buff that can be used to turn the tide of battle. Bouffalant’s buff gives your attacks the ability to decrease opponents’ movement speed for a short time. Meanwhile, Ludicolo gives you a buff to your attack power when defeating wild Pokémon with low HP. Pairing this with an attack on Rotom, Drednaw, or Zapdos can be the deciding factor in capturing their massively useful bonuses.
Speaking of this trio, they have a more drastic impact on the tide of battle. Landing the final blow on Rotom gives you 20 points immediately. It then proceeds on a path to attack the nearest enemy goal and destroys the protective shield around it, allowing your team to score your stored points almost immediately instead of having to wait a few seconds. While Rotom can only be found at the top of the map, Drednaw can only be found at the bottom. Landing the final hit on Drednaw gives your team 20 points, in addition to granting shields to your entire team.
Zapdos is the big boss Pokémon of the standard map, only appearing within the last two minutes of the match. Securing a defeat here can make or break a victory, as it kills the shields on all of the opposing goal zones for 20 seconds, acting as sort of a supercharged Rotom. If your team is holding on to a lot of unscored points, this gives them a massive opportunity to turn those in without having to endure the usual delay. I’ve won more than a handful of matches simply because we were able to defeat Zapdos and make full use of its advantages! Further, the Shivre City map in Quick Battles features Avalugg as the Legendary Pokémon, which acts as a reverse Zapdos / supercharged Drednaw, granting shields to your team and your own goal zones, preventing the opposing team from scoring.
It’s worth noting that, in all of these cases, the benefits only go to the team that delivers the final hit, so if you’re working on depleting their health, make sure the area is secure first. You can also wait and let the opposing team do all the work before sweeping in to steal the final hit. In any case, taking advantage of the various perks afforded by wild Pokémon is a major Pokémon Unite beginner tip.
5. Scoring only works in the closest goals.
On the standard/ranked map, the goals are arranged in three columns, in a 2-2-1 pattern, starting at the middle. Only those furthest toward the middle on the top/bottom paths are active at any one time. What this means is that if you want to attack the top middle goal, you’ll need to destroy the top left goal first. It’s often hard enough to work behind goals anyway, so just do yourself a favor and don’t waste your time trying to sneak in behind the active goals to score. It won’t happen, and you’re just opening yourself up to get killed because of the slowdown the enemy zones inflict. Likewise, don’t spend your time defending your inner goals, since the attacks will only be concentrated on the outer zones. If you ever get confused as to which goals are active, look for the highlighted goals on the minimap.
6. Adapt your strategy on the fly.
It’s always wise to head into a game with a general idea of what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it, but don’t be afraid to change things up if you find something isn’t working for you. The battlefield and state of the match is ever changing, and in order to win, you’ll have to adapt. If you’re being super aggressive and getting destroyed, maybe play more defensively. If you go along the top lane and your entire team follows you, consider swinging down to the bottom lane to bolster your position there. The game rewards a series of smaller good decisions more so than one overarching plan, and you’ll want to take advantage of that to come out on top.
7. Teamwork makes the dream work.
The last important, albeit expected Pokémon Unite beginner tip is that good teamwork is everything. I personally haven’t had many problems with random teammates thus far, but I’ve seen plenty of people complain about others who just do what they want and don’t work together for the greater good. Often game-winning moves such as defeating Zapdos require at least a little team effort, or else you wind up spending precious seconds fighting it only to get sniped at the end. Use the minimap and notification system to your advantage and go help defend your goal zone if able!
One easy way to combat bad teammates is to grab a few friends (and a good method to communicate) and join a queue together. Not only will it be more fun for everyone, but it will be easier to coordinate and execute strategy. Sure, there’s a light in-game chat system to help coordinate, but I rarely see anyone use it. Even having one other person you trust and can strategize with can give you a much-needed advantage over other teams.
Hopefully these beginner tips will help you elevate your game in Pokémon Unite and become more confident in your abilities. If you have any other useful tips, be sure to let us know in the comments below!