Pokemon Unite Patch 1.2 – Gameplay Balance and Pokemon Changes
Patch 1.2 for Pokemon Unite brings a bunch of new items, balance changes, and bug fixes. There’s a lot of Pokemon balance changes in this patch meant to break up the meta for popular Pokemon and introduce some new, viable builds for Pokemon that have been neglected in competitive play.
We’ll go through these patch notes and give you our perspective on how these changes will affect Pokemon in-game. While we’re not Master rank yet (Ultra 2 baybee), we hope our insight will benefit your approach to the game.
Pokemon Unite Patch 1.2 – New Held Items
Three new held items have been added to the Aeos Emporium: Razor Claw, Choice Specs, and Weakness Policy. These items are available for purchase for 1,000 Aeos coins or 625 Aeos tickets each. Each item has new effects, which we will list here. Be sure to note that held item’s effects increase in strength the higher level they are:
Razor Claw: After a Pokemon uses a move, its next basic attack deals a minimum of 10/15/20 more damage. The higher the Pokemon’s Attack, the more this damage increases. When this item is held by a melee Pokemon, this basic attack also decreases the movement speed of opposing Pokemon for a short time. The item gives a passive Attack and Critical-Hit Rate bonus.
This item’s an absolute must have for both ranged and melee attackers, as Razor Claw’s effect refreshes every few seconds meaning that your Pokemon’s damage will scale as it levels up during the game. The increased Attack and Critical-Hit Rate will benefit Pokemon like Garchomp who benefit from Crit increases.
Choice Specs: Increases the damage of moves by a minimum of 40/50/60 when they hit. The higher the Pokemon’s Special Attack, the more damage is increased. This item grants a passive Special Attack bonus.
Unlike Wise Glasses which raise your Pokemon’s Special Attack by a flat percentage, Choice Specs will activate its effect after a move has been used, then go on cooldown. The cooldown on this item is kind of long, making it an unreliable bonus for Pokemon that are looking to burst down opponents with their special moves and useless in prolonged engagements.
Weakness Policy: Increases the Pokemon’s Attack for a short time by a minimum of 2%/2.5%/3% when the Pokemon receives damage. This increase grows larger the more times damage is received. This item gives its user a passive HP and Attack bonus.
Weakness Policy’s effect stacks four times, meaning that its user will gain a bonus of 12% attack when fully activated. Weakness Policy would have been great on last patch’s Greninja, but it definitely feels like this item was made with Pokemon like Blastoise in mind, who has solid attack options while also being a great frontliner.
The only drawback to Weakness Policy is that you have to consistently be taking damage for this item to activate, and the refresh timing is rather quick, meaning that you have a small window to take advantage of the Attack percent bonus.
Overall, Razor Claw seems to be the standout item of this patch as its reliable activation and short cooldown means that you can consistently keep the effect active with smart play.
Pokemon Unite Patch 1.2 – Pokemon Balance Changes
A lot more Pokemon have become viable with the release of Pokemon Unite Patch 1.2. It’s possible we could see a greater variety of junglers now that Pokemon like Lucario and Greninja have seen some changes to their kit. Let’s take a look at the Pokemon changes in Patch 1.2.
- Night Slash – Cooldown Reduced. Area of Effect adjusted.
- Sucker Punch – Cooldown reduced. Duration of unstoppable condition while move is in use increased.
These changes will make both abilities more reliable during fights and help increase Absol’s passive Crit % and attack speed, making him a dangerous duelist who can output damage quickly in 1v1s. It felt like Absol needed better gank pressure during the early to mid game, and cooldown changes to moves that give him increased combat stats will give him that much needed edge.
- Slash – Number of attacks decreased. Damage of each attack increased.
- Spark – Lengthened the time allowed between uses to make the move easier to use. The number of attacks in the Wild Charge combo will now increase even if the player performs a basic attack while using Spark.
- Wild Charge – Cooldown reduced. Damage taken by the user while this move is in use is reduced.
While the Slash change may feel like a nerf, it actually helps Zeraora’s early game jungle clear by having all the damage come out sooner, including the move’s knockup. This change helps Zeraora interrupt both buff camps and opponent Pokemon moves in the early game. Changes to Spark help Zeraora’s chase by giving him more opportunities to dash in, attack, and dash out should an exchange go in the opponent’s favor.
Overall, Zeraora’s kit gives him improved escape options and survivability, which should make him a good tempo jungler/ganker for those who like to play surgically precise characters.
- Fire Punch – Target(s) affected by the burn adjusted.
- Flamethrower – Movement speed increase strengthened.
- Fire Blast – Cooldown reduced.
- Unite Move: Seismic Slam – Charge rate decreased. Bug fix affecting the possible timing for ending the move. Changed to the following:
- Has the user grab a Pokemon from the opposing team and slam it onto the ground from the air. For a short while afterward, the user can move freely over obstacles. While this Unite Move is being used, the user’s basic attacks deal increased damage and leave the opposing Pokemon burned. In addition, when the user deals damage to an opposing Pokemon, the user recovers HP.
Charizard gets some overall balance to his kit that should help him be more of a lane bully and have a stronger presence in team fights. The changes to Seismic Slam also helps Charizard’s late-game when opponents will have enough HP to survive his ult and Charizard has no other options of contributing to the fight with his moves on cooldown.
- Giga Drain – Damage reduction increased.
- Petal Dance – Damage dealt to opposing Pokemon increased. Cooldown reduced. Movement speed increase strengthened.
Some rather straightforward balance changes to a Pokemon that didn’t see much play outside of the meta of attackers like Greninja and Cramorant. These changes could see a change in playstyle for Venusaur, who has decent defenses and a kit capable of punishing opponents who want to play up close. Midrange Venusaur could be a viable build that we see with more experimental players.
- Pyro Ball – Damage dealt to opposing Pokemon increased. Cooldown reduced.
- Flame Charge – Cooldown reduced.
- Unite Move: Blazing Bicycle Kick – Fixed a bug that occurred when the move failed to activate.
- Passive: Blaze – Ability effect timing adjusted.
Cinderace’s Blaze Kick is a great poke tool that provides immunity on activation, which made it far more preferable over Pyro Ball. The increase to Pyro Ball’s damage and cooldown reduction may help push players into playing Cinderace as a midrange attacker who can Flame Charge into fights, land Pyro Balls, and have Flame Charge back up to disengage. Blaze’s change helps Cinderace stack Blaze on opponents, ensuring that fifth Blaze stack pops more often.
- Attack increased.
- Fly – Cooldown reduced. Aerial movement speed increase strengthened.
- Unite Move: Flame Sweep – Unite Move charge rate increased.
Talonflame’s kit made him an awesome jungler with some great teamfight potential coming out of Flame Sweep, but it felt like he was challenged by his slow speed in clearing wild Pokemon camps in comparison to Pokemon like Gengar, Absol, and even Greninja. Changes to Fly help his overall mobility in going from camp to camp, as well as joining fights. Having Flame Sweep up more often lets him contribute initiation to team fights with well placed Flame Sweeps.
- Defense and Special Defence increased.
- Rough Skin – Adjusted the time between instances of this Ability’s effect triggering.
There’s not much to say about these 1.2 balance changes in Pokemon Unite, other than Garchomp should be harder to kill now, and that Rough Skin should even out combat trades at lower levels.
- Attack and max HP decreased.
- Smokescreen – Fixed a bug causing the Smokescreen+ effect to trigger even before the move is upgraded.
- Double Team – Improved the movement of the illusory copies.
- Water Shuriken – Fixed a bug affecting the decreasing to opposing Pokemon’s movement speed.
- Torrent – Attack increase weakened.
- Unite Move: Waterburst Shuriken – Adjusted the move to allow it to trigger more quickly.
Only two words: Thank goodness. There was little reason for carry players to pick any Pokemon besides Greninja in upper level play because he could easily jungle, get a quick level 5, and gank you super early with either a bugged Smokescreen or Double Team and Water Shuriken. His kit just felt way too strong, even with previous changes. Greninja should see a return to lanes now that he’s had his jungling potential nerfed. Completely unbalanced Pokemon that needed severe changes.
- Max-level Sp. Attack decreased.
- Pound – Damage dealt to opposing Pokemon decreased.
- Dazzling Gleam – Damage dealt to opposing Pokemon decreased.
- Sing – Fixed a bug affecting opposing Pokemon put to sleep by this move.
- Cute Charm – Adjusted the time between instances of this Ability’s effect triggering.
As a Wigglytuff main, these changes hurt, but they were absolutely necessary. Wigglytuff didn’t feel like a support Pokemon whatsoever and contributed way too much uninterruptible CC to team fights. Both Pound and Dazzling Gleam’s damage secured last hits on wild Pokemon too easily. Dazzling Gleam could safely and reliably last hit Drednaw which felt unfair to teams that were playing well together to secure objectives, only to get them sniped by an enemy Wigglytuff.
Sing’s sleep effect would last even after a Pokemon was hit by either basic attacks or other moves which betrays the logic of crowd control effects in MOBAs. Essentially, crowd control effects in MOBAs are divided into different categories, and sleep effects are canceled once a character is hit with another move. That wasn’t the case with Wigglytuff’s sleep.
Overall, Wigglytuff was a CC and damage stacking machine that really needed some balance changes in 1.2 to make the Pokemon fit it’s support role in Pokemon Unite.
- Boosted Attack – Damage dealt to opposing Pokemon increased.
- Surf – Damage dealt to opposing Pokemon decreased.
- Dive – Cooldown reduced.
- Unite Move: Gatling Gulp Missile – Damage dealt to opposing Pokemon decreased.
Cramorant’s kind of an AoE monster, but it felt like he excelled at both dealing single target damage with his Unite Move as well as AoE crowd control. Well placed Surfs could chunk Pokemon health and leave them vulnerable to Cramorant’s basic attacks. Surf’s animation is really good, so it can be challenging for newer players to avoid it. The damage reduction to Surf should balance the impact the move has in team fights and ganks simply due to the move’s fantastic control potential. Dive looks just as appealing as Surf now and should help create a new build for Cramorant that’s focused on Prey activation and single-target attacks.
- Power-Up Punch – Damage dealt to opposing Pokemon decreased
- Close Combat – Damage dealt to opposing pokemon increased. Number of attacks increased.
- Close Combat+ – Fixed a bug affecting this move’s damage.
I’m not really a Lucario player, so I don’t know if these 1.2 balance changes for Pokemon Unite will affect Lucario or not. It definitely felt like Lucario had a lot of options in terms of damage and gap closers, so any changes to his damage are probably welcome.
- Blizzard – Changed how the move deals damage after the Blizzard hits an obstacle
- Unite Move: Snow Globe – Fixed bugs
- Snow Warning – Fixed Bugs
It felt like there was rarely a reason to ever go anything besides Aurora Veil + Dazzling Gleam on Ninetails as Snow Warning’s effect was great at controlling opponents and setting up Alolan Ninetails for basic attack damage. Changes to Blizzard may make Blizzard + Avalanche more appealing and rewarding to use.
There were way too many times that Snow Globe didn’t do any additional damage to frozen enemies in my games, which definitely affected several team fights that could have been won had Snow Globe’s effect worked correctly. Alolan Ninetails should be a far more reliable Attacker in games now.
- Cotton Guard – Fixed a bug affecting the HP recovery when the move ends.
- Leaf Tornado – Improved the move’s effects and adjusted the move to match the feel of the controls.
Cotton Guard saw nerfs happen back in August, so the new change to Cotton Guard may be to finally put this move’s overly reliable damage mitigation to rest. The changes to Leaf Tornado will benefit mobile players and help them place Leaf Tornado effectively in the middle of heated team fights.
- Boosted Attack – Fixed a bug affecting this move’s damage.
- Psyshock+ – Fixed bugs.
Gardevoir’s Boosted Attack is meant to lower an opponent’s special defense, but this would rarely occur. It’s possible the changes to Gardevoir address this bug, as well as Psyshock’s damage not increasing after being upgraded. As I don’t really play Gardevoir, I can’t be certain.
- Yawn – Fixed a bug affecting opposing Pokemon put to sleep by this move.
Much like Wigglytuff, Yawn allowed Snorlax and his team too much uninterruptible CC. Yawn + Flail would give Snorlax too much duel pressure, making him less of a tank for his team and more of a tanky duelist. Changes to Yawn will balance Snorlax and put him back in the Tank role again. However, this change could make Flail really unpopular as a move.
- Lick – Fixed a bug that occurred when opposing Pokemon are pulled toward the user. Fixed a bug affecting this move’s timing.
This change should help Gengar’s early gank pressure and jungle farm. Sometimes Lick felt like it wasn’t connecting on Pokemon or that it wouldn’t pull Pokemon if they were in the middle of the move. A more reliable Lick means that Gengar should be able to gank more often.
- Barrier – Adjusted the move so that when it is upgraded, it refills its reserve uses to the maximum.
- Guard Swap – Fixed a bug affecting the swapping of Defense.
Changes to Barrier will give Mr. Mime more outplay opportunities around his level up timing. Any changes that can introduce mind games or outplay moments help increase the complexity of the game, so these changes are definitely welcome. Guard Swap felt useless as a move, so now players should feel like Mr. Mime is a balanced controller with viable movesets for a variety of different matchups.
- Adjusted the Pokemon’s contact area.
Hopefully, this change will nerf Crustle’s stupid infinite Unite Move bug and how X-Scissor interacts with opponent Pokemon. It felt like Crustle could use X-Scissor from the strangest angles and still send you in the direction he wanted, so maybe this change will help reduce the ridiculousness that’s associated with this Pokemon.
UPDATE: Nevermind, the infinite Unite Move bug is still in the game.
- Basic Attack – Fixed a bug causing both basic attacks and boosted attacks to decrease the Special Defense of opposing Pokemon.
- Surf – Adjusted the area of effect.
Nothing much to say here other than these were changes that honestly needed to happen earlier. Slowbro still feels rather uninspired in Pokemon at times, and these 1.2 balance changes how unreliable his Unite Move can be.
- Rapid Spin – Fixed a bug causing attacks performed while spinning to decrease the movement speed of opposing Pokemon. Fixed a bug allowing the user to use either Hydro Pump or Water Spout at the same time as basic attacks while spinning.
The interaction between Rapid Spin, Blastoise’s basic attacks, and his other moves made it feel like it was nearly impossible to avoid dying to Blastoise if they got close enough to you to unleash this combo. Blastoise’s damage output was simply way too high once you included his Unite Move which also displaced their opponents. Blastoise simply had way too much control, damage, and survivability to be considered balanced.
- Unite Move: Barrage Blow – Fixed a bug with the shove effect. Fixed a bug with the move being used on superjump springboards.
Not super certain what the interaction between the Diglett springboards and Barrage Blow was, but being able to more reliably shove your opponent feels like a step in the right direction.
Overall, the meta for Pokemon Unite will definitely be shaken up after some of these 1.2 balance changes, especially as Pokemon like Cinderace and Venusaur get changes that align them more to midrange attackers that can punish aggressive Pokemon who get in close and don’t have a means of backing out. Talonflame’s Unite Move changes should help him initiate fights for his team more often. I’m definitely excited to try out these changes on my path to Master rank.