March has brought a new major patch to Pokémon UNITE, putting at end to the meta that ended Dragonite, brought us Hoopa and saw continued dominance from Lucario. With so many changes now working their way through the game, what was the last snapshot of usage among the top 100 players?
- Lucario – 23.17% (-2.16)
- Hoopa – 11.33% (+0.5)
- Pikachu – 7.17% (+0.67)
- Greedent – 7% (+2.92)
- Cinderace – 6.5% (-2.75)
- Slowbro – 6.5% (-0.83)
- Wigglytuff – 6% (+2)
- Talonflame – 4% (-1.17)
- Eldegoss – 3.83% (+0.83)
- Dragonite – 3.5% (+1.17)
- Absol – 2.83% (+0.33)
- Greninja – 2.5% (+0.92)
- Crustle – 2% (+/-)
- Snorlax – 1.5% (-1.5)
- Mime – 1.5% (+0.5)
- Machamp – 1.33% (-0.67)
- Blissey – 1% (+1)
- Gengar – 1% (+1)
- Gardevoir – 0.5% (+0.5)
- Sylveon – 0.5% (+0.17)
- Blastoise – 0.33% (+0.33)
- Charizard – 0.33% (+0.33)
- Zeraora – 0.33% (+0.33)
Aegislash (-0.5), Garchomp (-1), Mamoswine (-1), Trevenant, Decidueye (-0.25), Cramorant, Ninetails, and Tsareena all saw only negligible play among top 100 players.
Below are the monthly averages of the 10 most used Pokémon:
The end of patch 22.214.171.124
On Jan 20, Pokémon UNITE dropped patch 126.96.36.199, which introduced substantial balance patches and Trevenant into the game. Since then, there have been a few minor bug fixes alongside the introduction of Aegislash and Hoopa.
Back in January, I declared winners and losers from the patch. The winners included Charizard, Cinderace and Lucario. Cinderace did ultimately see increased play during the patch, becoming the most used jungler in the game. Lucario also maintained its dominant position, and in the last few updates has been recording some of its highest usage figures ever. Charizard did receive noticeable buffs, but they were ultimately unable to compete in the upper echelons of play.
Among the losers of the patch I pointed out Dragonite, Tsareena and Trevenant. Dragonite’s abilities were toned down significantly, knocking it down from the most used Pokémon in the game during the month of its release. It now sits at more even footing to compete for the role of jungler against the likes of Cinderace, Talonflame and Greninja. Trevenant has seen little play since it’s release, making it one of the most under-used Pokémon in the game. Tsareena’s nerf dramatically reduced her sustain, leaving her as the only Pokémon to not see some level of play among the top 100 players this season.
A diversity in play
Overall, patch 188.8.131.52 saw a dramatic increase in the number of Pokémon seeing play among the top 100 players each week. While the game has introduced three new Pokémon throughout the patch, that isn’t all that accounted for the change. Ultimately, in a top 100 system, there is an upper limit to how many Pokémon will see competitive play. For a long time in the game, 18 was a high average — but this patch averaged 21 with a maximum of 25 at one point.
While Lucario continued to dominate the top lane, Machamp and Blastoise served as occasional alternatives. Blissey rebounded in usage only for Hoopa to blow a hyperspace hole into what constitutes a support role in the game.
The jungle has been a hotbed of options, with four defined junglers seeing consistent play and other Pokémon sometimes substituting in like Garchomp or Gardevoir. The role of attacker has been one of the more limiting, with Pikachu and Venusaur trading off top spot while other Pokémon saw niche play.
Slowbro rose to dominance as the default defender, with Wigglytuff firmly in second and a handful of others seeing inconsistent play. Hopefully, patch 184.108.40.206 will be able to build on this diversity.
A more traditional distribution
Looking at role distribution throughout the history of Pokémon UNITE, you can see patch 220.127.116.11 marked the end of the short-lived, all rounder meta. That period of the game was largely dominated by Tsareena and Dragonite, with Lucario being a very consistent presence throughout the entire history of the game.
Instead, there was a distribution a little more reminiscent of the time before: Attackers were generally the most-used role in the game with defenders rebounding after a period of seeing less use. Speedsters and supporters did ultimately see below-historic averages in play, but with such an influx of new all-rounders it was to be expected there would be slight drops somewhere.
Methodology: This data is collected using both the rankings tab in Pokémon UNITE and the Pokémon UNITE API. A Pokémon is considered a “main” of a player if is it the most played Pokémon in their most recent 15 ranked matches. In the event of a tie or near tie the data will reflect that. If more than three Pokémon are tied, the 25 most recent matches will be considered instead.