Pokemon Unite Is Out Now: How to Play and Win Matches
Pokemon Unite is the next Pokemon game to release for Nintendo Switch and it is out now by the time that you are reading this around the world. This next take on the long-running Pokemon series has a lot of features, which is why we are going to help with how to play Pokemon Unite and win matches.
Pokemon Unite Is Out Now on Switch
At the time of writing this, Pokemon Unite is now out on Nintendo Switches around the world. The game is a MOBA with a Pokemon twist, taking just a handful of the Pocket Monsters you know and love, and bringing them to a lane-based MOBA game that is strategic and fun. What is interesting about this title is that it is coming to both the Switch and mobile devices, including both Android and iOS, much like some of the other free-to-play Pokemon spin-offs lately, like Pokemon Cafe, but it is only on Nintendo Switch at this time.
Players who would like to check it out on mobile devices and the touchscreen controls there will have to wait sometime longer as we expect it to come out for those platforms sometime in September later this year. For now, though, you can play it for free on Switch. Being that it is a free-to-play game, players will be able to get in there and enjoy what it has to offer but expect to have to shell out some cash or grind a whole lot if you want to enjoy the Pokemon Unite unlocking Pokemon feature as this is somewhat stuck behind a paywall.
This is not usually an issue in some of the other free MOBAs on Switch, like Arena of Valor, but the problem here is that there are so many fans who are going to want to play as their favorite Pokemon from the series. However, you may not be able to if yours is not one of the initially unlocked ones, like in the case of my pal Greninja.
General Background Info for the Game
Here is what you need to know about how to play Pokemon Unite. The game is a MOBA, but do not let that deter you if you are a fan of the franchise but have never played a MOBA before. This game is by far the most welcoming and accessible MOBA we’ve ever played, especially for a top-down one. This is basically the beginner’s MOBA and it will introduce you to the mechanics of how the genre works in some smart ways. One of the most controversial parts of the game is the fact that you are not dealing with typical towers and the like, but, rather, goals that you score in.
The towers are traded out for these goals, which is the main mechanic in the default game mode for winning matches. On the normal map for the game, there are only two lanes as well, instead of the usual three, which is there to ensure that players are able to focus a bit better and work more easily as a team. Even if you are playing with strangers online, there is some simplicity to be found in this game that you can do rather well since it is easier to divide up between the group. Matches are five versus five in the normal unranked game mode, but there are other modes beyond that one.
There is also a pretty thorough tutorial segment, some of which is optional, that will guide you through the basics of playing Pokemon Unite and even the Pokemon Unite unlocking Pokemon aspect. In general, two teams of five Pokemon each battle it out. There are five main categories of Pokemon to choose from, each with their own specializations. There is the All-Rounder, Speedster, Defender, Supporter, and Attacker. Some of these names are pretty weird and may be confusing, even for veteran MOBA players, but we have the breakdown.
How to Play Pokemon Unite
For starters, you have the All-Rounder, which is the most balanced class in the game and one that is capable of just about everything. They have solid damage, speed, and defense, but they are the typical jack-of-all-trades and master of none. Charizard and Lucario are some of the most notable All-Rounders in the group and they are powerful because of how versatile they are. They have elements of multiple classes, like Lucario having elements of an Attacker and a Speedster, while Charizard has parts of an Attacker and a Defender in their abilities.
Then there is the Speedster class, which is basically the Assassin class from other MOBA games. They are fast and will destroy enemies in no time, but they do not have a lot of health and/or defense, so they have to play smart. Zeraora is the only mythical/legendary playable at this time and is one of the Speedsters, and we highly recommend playing as this Pokemon. Then there is the Defender class, which is the tank class that you will want one of on your team in each match. They are bulky monsters that do not deal a whole lot of damage but can eat up a lot, control the battlefield, and buy some time for your more powerful allies to beat up the enemies.
Then there are the Attackers who are exactly what they sound like: they focus on attacking but they are sometimes a bit bulkier than Speedsters and they sometimes have elements of crowd control, like in the case of Pikachu. This is a pretty solid starting class as well. And last but not least, the Supporters. This is your support class that will buff up teammates, heal them, and keeps you on the battlefield. Like the Defenders, you will most likely want one of these on your team, but they can sometimes even replace a Defender depending on the monster you choose.
When you have selected your Pokemon for the match, you will start out at a low level and will gain experience from taking out enemies, both NPCs, and other players. As you level up, you will be able to boost your abilities and upgrade them. In general, there are only three abilities that you can use in Pokemon Unite: your main two abilities and the third one, which is your ultimate move. You might recognize some of the move names, like Thunder Shock and Agility, and these each does something different.
What is great and also can be confusing is that each Pokemon has two options in the end for what abilities to use. You can let the computer decide for you or you can customize it outside of matches. This is something that will require an understanding of the character and the moveset to know which one works for you, so keep that in mind.
For the most part, each Pokemon has abilities that can be used separately, but the main two ones are usually meant for use together in fights against other Pokemon, if you are one of the three attacking types.
I recommend trying out the CPU battles where you team up with other players on your team but battle against CPU enemies if you are concerned about playing against real people. Then, when you are comfortable with that, you can move onto the real deal: fighting other players.
How to Win Pokemon Unite
With the basics out of the way about how to play Pokemon Unite, how do you now win at the game? For this, you need to make sure that, first and foremost, you have a balanced team (or at least mostly balanced) one that works well. This does not mean that you need one of each class, though, to be fair. In general, though, I recommend having at least one Defender or a Supporter class that will fill that role. This game is a bit more forgiving than most MOBAs when it comes to this aspect. From there, try to have at least one Attacker, Speedster, and All-Rounder.
If you do not have one of every class, make sure to have an extra Attacker or All-Rounder; you do not need more than one Speedster. The reason for this is because of their weak nature and the goal that the Speedster on your team should have, which is jungling. Yes, jungling is in Pokemon Unite but it is something that is pretty simple. There is a middle “jungle” area on the default map that you can use to get around between the two lanes and fight Zapdos when it appears. Also, there are some solid Pokemon roaming around here, some of which give buffs.
I normally play Speedster with Zeraora and the general idea I like to do is start out the match, take out an enemy or two, then fight Ludicolo in the jungle. This will grant a buff that is great against wild Pokemon in the jungle and then I go fight Bouffalant. From there, I just grind and help out the lanes until Drednaw appears, in which I try to get him. The roles need to play their roles in order to win in Pokemon Unite, so the Supporter and/or Defender should be with a teammate at all times and the other two attacking roles should be attacking enemies, wild Pokemon, and building up scores.
As you defeat opponents and wild Pokemon, you will build up a score. If you die, you drop some of it for enemies to pick up and vice versa. The goal is to, well, go to the enemy goals and score there. However, the more score you have, the longer it will take to put it into the hoop. You also have to be careful as the enemy goals will heal the enemies there, so you want to go when there is no one around to stop you and make sure to have some escape abilities ready if you have them. There is definitely room for some risky plays for you to do, but I do recommend saving that for after you’ve gained some experience with Unite.
How to Unlock Other Game Modes
There are two other game modes that you can unlock and play in Pokemon Unite: ranked and quick battles. Ranked is there for players who have reached a certain trainer level and have at least five Pokemon that you own. This does not include any Pokemon that are temporarily free for the week, so you will need to own them. And the other mode is quick battle, which is the last one to unlock in the base game until we get any future modes. This one is for shorter matches that are intense and only have one goal for every team to use to score in matches.
Quick battles is an intense experience and one that I highly recommend for players who have tons of experience with the game at that point in time. But by the time you unlock it, it is likely that you have already learned how to play the game and found some main Pokemon to play as. Also, if you are struggling with matches online, be sure to invite some friends to play with you. You are able to do this and, perhaps, you can link up through Discord or another service to communicate with one another. This will put you in a much better place than the randoms who only have a very limited communication system to work with.
Beyond unlocking game modes, there are also outfits, new Pokemon, and different types of in-game currencies that you will get as you continue to play. There is also a seasonal battle pass with cosmetic items and other currency that you will be able to get, plus daily and weekly challenges. Be sure to stay tuned here for more of our coverage of Pokemon Unite, including our tier list for all Pokemon in the near future.