Pokemon Unite is a new free-to-play game from developers TiMi Studio Group and The Pokemon Company. This game takes the world of Pokemon and fuses it with various MOBA elements from games like DOTA 2 or Heroes of the Storm. Players pick from a roster of Pokemon, which serve as the game’s champions, and battle it out to score points for their team. Whichever team earns the most points or destroys all the enemy team’s point receptacles wins the match. Boasting 26 Pokemon at the time of writing this, it can be tricky to figure out which Pokemon to play as.
However, not all Pokemon are created equal and some simply perform better than others. This doesn’t mean you cannot be successful with any of the characters, every Pokemon can be dangerous in the right hands. But, some simply outshine the rest in their archetype and will certainly be more common picks as you play. Finally, this tier list is based on my own personal research, experience, and data gathered from other sources. I’ve seen players absolutely dominate with Absol and I’ve seen players completely flub it with Lucario, so the list is assuming equal skill levels.
Original guide by Collin MacGregor, updated by Junior Miyai.
Pokemon Unite Tier List
Along with Cinderace, Lucario is one of the best damage-dealing Pokemon in the entire game. A versatile character that’s capable of being in any lane, he can be terrifying to face one on one. Much of this is thanks to his high damage output and the Steadfast passive. This ability boosts Lucario’s damage, movement speed, and makes him harder to kill when their health gets low. Lucario can apply a lot of early game pressure, being able to push lanes and challenge most Pokemon in their respective lanes. Once we shift to the late game, Lucario has a nice balance of skills such as Bone Rush which damages and shoves opponents.
I think everyone at this point knows how ridiculous Snorlax is. Far and away the best tank in the game, Snorlax has terrific crowd control that allows a skilled player to easily dictate the flow of hectic battles. Being able to just shove your opponents away from injured teammates or pin them into a wall makes securing kills easy. Snorlax also has a comical amount of health, which is only enhanced by its Unite move. If you need a defender on your team you literally cannot go wrong with a Snorlax.
Do you need to melt that enemy Cinderace from the maximum distance possible? Venusaur is your ‘mon. With quite possibly the furthest hitting ability in the game in Solar Beam, you can snipe enemies from a relatively safe distance, while also denying enemy advances with Sludge Bomb. If you’d rather run a more close-range build, you can swap in Giga Drain and Petal Dance, but you’ll need to go to the jungle to level effectively, as Venusaur is very squishy in its Bulbasaur/Ivysaur stages. Make sure to run Eject Button at all times on this not particularly mobile Pokemon.
The “Pyro Mouse 1 + W” of Pokemon UNITE, Sylveon is one of the easiest characters in the game to do reasonably well with. Do people even play Team Fortress 2 anymore? Anyways, Hyper Voice and Calm Mind are your go-to abilities. Calm Mind before every Hyper Voice and snipe enemies from afar. Eject Button away when you’re targeted.
I cannot express how much I hate this Pokemon. Greedent is the most effective jungler in the game — with Stuff Cheeks and Belch, and its innate Berry mechanics, this Defender is extremely hard to defeat. The good news is Greedent is very difficult to play, compared to other options. Greedent’s effectiveness is reliant on how aware you are of your Berry stacks, which can get tricky to track in tense situations. Even worse, if you were to use Covet and Belch, you become a crowd-controlling machine that works fantastic in lanes. Run Buddy Barrier on this horror show.
Everyone’s been on a team or against a team that gets absolutely rolled by a Cinderace player. One of the most terrifying Pokemon in the game, Cinderace’s ability options provide so much versatility. You can go a more mobile route with Flame Charge or play a little defensively thanks to Feint. Cinderace can also do an insane amount of damage, allowing her to burst down pretty much any Pokemon standing in their way. Blaze, Cinderace’s passive, is exceptionally strong in the early to mid-game. Being able to increase basic attack damage is always strong, but when combined with the rest of Cinderace’s abilities it makes her quite terrifying to face one on one.
Possessing strong early, mid, and late-game abilities, Gengar is capable of dealing a ton of burst damage. A lot of this comes from its ability to reset the cooldowns of both the Sludge Bomb and Shadow Ball skills. This makes Gengar comically deadly in the right hands, as a skilled player can obliterate an unsuspecting player before they can even react. Combine that with Gengar’s Unite and you can devastate a team’s backline in seconds.
Don’t let this clown fool you; Mr. Mime scares most players who come across them. Mr. Mime can function as either an offensive debuffer with Confusion and Guard Swap, or as a lane controller with Psychic and Barrier. The choice is dependent on your team make-up — if you have semi-squishy Attackers like Cinderace or early-game Venusaur, the Guard Swap choice works great to give them a little extra staying power. However, if you have some decent bulk on your team, the Barrier choices allow you to bully opponents out of lane.
Do you play healers in games? Not even aggressive healers, like say, Ana in Overwatch, or Discipline Priests in World of Warcraft, but pure “I can only auto-attack” healers? Blissey is your unit. With Safeguard and Helping Hand, you can wade into the frontlines and give your team the oomph they need to bulldoze through the enemy — all while enjoying immunity to slows and other effects. Be aware, however, that when you are alone, you are the deadest of weights.
Probably one of the easiest Pokemon to play in the game, Zeraora is capable of doing ludicrous amounts of damage in a short time. Volt Switch gives Zeraora some nice mobility to close the gap between you and another Pokemon, while Discharge makes even being around you deadly. This skill has the added benefit of providing a shield and its Unite skill is basically a guaranteed way to secure a kill on any non-defender Pokemon. Alternatively, players can combo Wild Charge with Volt Switch or Spark to deal additional damage to foes. Zeraora is just a strong Pokemon and one of the best starting points if you want to be a Speedstar player.
I feel as if a lot of people are sleeping on just how good Ninetales actually is. All about dealing high damage and constantly freezing your enemy in place, Ninetales can be really scary to lane against. However, while she does quite a lot of damage thanks to moves like Avalanche and Snow Globe, her real strength is Aurora Veil. When triggered, this skill will reduce incoming damage to you and all nearby Pokemon. Players in the veil also gain increased movement speed and basic attack damage as well. This ability by itself is an absolute game-changer in team fights. A well-timed Aurora Veil can not only save your team from a big attack, but allow you to swiftly take down an enemy Pokemon or clear a lane.
The bane of Snorlax players everywhere, Greninja is a tank buster that attacks the percentage of an enemy’s health not a specific number. Because of this, Greninja is especially good against Defender class champions like Crustle, Snorlax, and Slowbro. Greninja can also be pretty tricky to actually pin down thanks to its fantastic escape options like Smokescreen, Double Team, and Surf. These are also terrific for hunting down any Pokemon trying to escape a fight or diving in, securing a tank kill, and getting out before another Attacker class Pokemon hits you.
I feel like a lot of people underestimate how strong Pikachu really is. Capable of doing a lot of damage if left alone, Pikachu can mop up squishier Pokemon with relative ease. Much of this is thanks to a mix of its passive and damage abilities like Electro Ball. Given Pikachu can stun Pokemon, this makes escaping this electric mouse pretty tricky for those without X Speed or Eject Buttons. Pikachu’s major weakness is against Defender archetype Pokemon, as its burst damage isn’t enough to bring down a Slowbro or Snorlax. This can be a bit of a liability at times, but in most cases (especially at low ranks) Pikachu absolutely dominates and is pretty simple to play.
While previously a little under-tuned, Charizard has come into its own recently with some balance passes. Currently operating as a potent mid-range, mid-game monstrosity, Charizards running Flamethrower and Fire Blast can spread the Burning effect and trap enemies in with Fire Blast. You want to maximize your damage as much as possible, but take a tank item as well, because Charizard can be a little squishy. As with most attackers, you really want Eject Button as an escape tool.
Previously the cream of the crop when it came to Supports, Eldegoss has fallen a little bit. Make no mistake, however, as Eldegoss still boasts very effective healing in Pollen Puff and buffs in Cotton Guard. Much like Blissey, you lack any real offensive options, so always go with a buddy.
When it comes to Slowbro I am pretty torn. While my personal experience with this Pokemon has been mixed, I know a few people who utterly swear by this Pokemon. Unlike Snorlax and Crustle is who can fill a more traditional tank role by just soaking damage, Slowbro is all about picking a single opposing Pokemon and making their life a living hell in a team fight. Setting aside its powerful Unite move, Slowbro can drag Pokemon towards it, decrease their movement speed, or just buff their own damage. This makes Slowbro pretty scary in a big chaotic fight, as it ensures that squishy, key damage Pokemon are easy to eliminate.
The backbone of a good Crustle is the ability to use Rock Tomb without messing up your own team. This is one of the best crowd control abilities in the entire game, as it lets you just cut off a lane or isolate a Pokemon during a fight. But, it’s a double-edged sword since your teammates cannot pass through the wall. Because of this, Crustle has a much higher skill ceiling than Snorlax. Inversely, Crustle is probably the most aggressive tank and is capable of cutting up squishy Pokemon with its X-Scissor move.
Garchomp is one of the most balanced Pokemon in the entire game. A powerhouse up close, Garchomp can tear through a team’s frontline in seconds. Most of this is thanks to its Rough Skin passive and Dragon Claw ability. These combined make your basic attacks a force to be reckoned with. Dig is also a solid initiation attack that briefly stuns anything hit, allowing you to quickly follow up with other moves. All that being said, Garchomp is heavily focused on melee combat. Because of this, Pokemon with good mobility skills can dance circles around this Pokemon or just evade its attacks. This doesn’t make Garchomp bad at all, it just means you need to be smart about when you dive in for an attack.
When it comes to Cramorant I both love and hate this Pokemon. It’s not that I think this bird is bad, but it’s very reliant on hitting all its abilities. With no real movement skill or cooldown reset ability, Cramorant can be pretty underwhelming in fights at times. But when Cramorant has his abilities? You better watch out, because this bird has a surprising amount of damage and control. Moves like Surf can literally drag opposing Pokemon out of position while Hurricane can hurl them around. While you may not get the big damage numbers, Cramorant has some solid battlefield control tools that make him great for lane fighting.
Wigglytuff is a fantastic support unit. Functioning at her best as a crowd controller, utilizing Sing and Dazzling Gleam, Wigglytuff can lock opponents for several seconds, allowing teammates to secure kills. While you lose the ability to bonk into opponents via Rollout, there is something satisfying about watching health meters drop while they’re unable to move. Wigglytuff absolutely needs an offensive partner, however, as her damage output is horrendously low without Rollout and Double Slap.
The trick to playing Talonflame is to forget literally any advice you’ve ever read about team synergy, ganking, etc, and instead focus on one thing and one thing only — scoring those POINTS BABY YEAH LETS GO METS LOVE DA METS
Anyway… run Fly and Flame Charge, and farm the Jungle. If you think you can secure a kill, it’s okay to roam into a lane once in a while, but your primary goal is gathering points and using Goal-Getter or Score Shield to lock in that point lead. You don’t pump out a ton of damage and you definitely can’t tank any, so roam the map and score whenever possible.
Do you like watching your opponent helplessly flail around while getting picked off? Blastoise is the ticket for you. Hydro Pump and Surf give you the ability to shove your opponents around, which is especially useful for mitigating damage from enemy Zeraoras. Blastoise should be built tanky and mobile, allowing you to bully opponents while your teammates secure the kills.
Similar to Blastoise, Mamoswine is another lockdown style Pokemon, however, unlike them, Mamoswine has a bit more directional control. Ice Fang and High Horsepower allows you to grab enemies and shove them in any desired direction, which is fantastic for isolating squishy damage dealers and dragging them towards your team. Your entire gimmick is rushing in, snagging the enemy Cramorant or Cinderace, and pushing them to their doom.
Let’s be honest, you’re playing Machamp either because you always liked this Pokemon or because you want to use Submission. What makes Machamp so scary is the sheer amount of damage he can output against certain teams running a lot of status effect moves. That being said, Machamp is a very predictable Pokemon to fight around because it’s always charging into battle, looking to isolate and kill a single player. Once you understand this, it makes playing around Machamp pretty simple. That being said, a skilled Machamp player who knows when and when not to push into a team to grab someone is terrifying.
I am sorry to report that Gardevoir is arguably the worst unit in Unite. While boasting some of the best range in the game, Gardevoir literally folds as soon as any Attacker so much as looks at her. If you are dead set on mastering this Pokemon, your best bet is to roll as an offensive Support with Moonblast and Future Sight. Make sure you grab the machine-gun upgrade for Future Sight and pile on the damage and stuns, but if you notice anything moving towards you, Eject Button away or enjoy the death timer.
I’ll be honest, I am not sure what Absol does that other Junglers or assassin-types don’t do better. I suppose you could run Critical Hit items and use Psycho Cut and Night Slash to try to eliminate a unit, but much like Gardevoir, Absol folds the instant something targets it. The worst thing about Absol is it has nothing that I would want to run it over, say, Zeraora (for assassinations) or Talonflame (for scoring).
[Disclaimer: Fanbyte is owned by Tencent, which also co-developed Pokemon Unite. Though the company has no editorial oversight with Fanbyte Media. Nor have any of its representatives had direct contact with this writer.]