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Pokémon UNITE patch 18.104.22.168 went live earlier this week, just three weeks after patch 22.214.171.124. Hoopa, Blissey and Tsareena had been dominating the meta following the release of 126.96.36.199, but can their dominance persist in the face of new adversity?
- Hoopa – 18.5% (-1.5)
- Blissey – 17.5% (+3)
- Tsareena – 14% (+0.5)
- Absol – 12% (+11)
- Dragonite – 7.5% (+1)
- Aegislash – 5.5% (+0.5)
- Lucario – 4.5% (-0.5)
- Cramorant – 2% (-1)
- Venusaur – 2% (+0.5)
- Delphox – 1.5% (-7.5)
- Machamp – 1.5% (+/-)
- Charizard – 1.5% (+1.5)
- Wigglytuff – 1.5% (+/-)
- Greninja – 1% (-4)
- Cinderace – 1% (-2)
- Greedent – 1% (-1)
- Pikachu – 1% (+/-)
- Slowbro – 1% (+1)
- Decidueye – 1% (+1)
- Eldegoss – 1% (+/-)
- Garchomp – 1% (+/-)
- Talonflame –1% (+/-)
- Snorlax – 1% (+/-)
- Zeraora – 0.5% (-0.5)
Blastoise, Ninetales (-2), Trevenant, Slyveon, Azumarill, Gengar, Duraludon, Gardevoir, Mamoswine, Crustle, Espeon and Mr. Mime all saw no noticeable usage among the top players.
Below are the monthly moving averages for the top 10 Pokémon:
Normally there would be a list of three winners and three losers in the game. Most major Pokémon Unite patches touch on a lot of Pokémon, causing some serious waves in the meta. This, however, isn’t a major patch; this time, substantial buffs were limited and nerfs were scarce. Instead, there is a continuation of some old trends paired with a very interesting surprise.
Absol vs the jungle
If there was a single purpose of this patch, it would be to buff Absol. Absol has been a consistent, if niche, presence in the meta for the duration of the game, normally seeing 1-3% usage rates. Leading up to this patch their highest usage rate was 3.5%, but now Absol has a new high of 12%.
The major buff for Absol here is around how Psycho Cut interacts with other moves — with proper timing, Absol can now shred through the first Drednaw in about five seconds. Pursuit movement speed and range were also increased, and Absol was given lifesteal to better scale at higher levels, but the fast objective secure is going to be doing a lot of the heavy lifting.
This buff left every other fragile jungler on the back foot. Cinderace and Greninja, two meta stables who were dominating the game not even a month ago, have been knocked down to 1% usage each, despite being untouched in this patch. Talonflame, Zeraora and Gengar also remain barely used, despite them all being either recently competitive or buffed.
The only other jungler seeing noticeable play right now is Dragonite, who recently received a buff and has the next best objective secure behind Absol. Cinderace and Greninja do still have ranged unite moves that will allow them to objective snipe, but the other options are just so much better at bursting things down.
Blissey vs the defenders
Rock Tomb, a very off-meta move for Crustle, now slows opponents on hit. Mamoswine saw their second buff ever with this patch, reducing the cooldown of Ice Fang, Icicle Crash, and their unite move. Slowbro’s Scald has been fixed, further increasing the damage dealt and attack reduction of the target. Snorlax received a 10% increase to special defense along with cooldown reduction to Heavy Slam, Block, and their unite move. The collective usage rate of these four Pokemon was doubled after this patch, from 1 to 2%.
Defenders are at a prolonged low in Pokémon UNITE lately. Blastoise, Greedent, Slowbro and Snorlax have all previously seen sustained usage, even against the likes of previous meta stables Wigglytuff and Mr. Mime. That is no longer the case, as Blissey has done more to consolidate the bottom-lane defender role than any Pokemon has since Wigglytuff during season one.
Blissey is able to soak damage, heal allies, snipe objectives and provide immunity to crowd control. It has always been able to do these things, but following a series of buffs Blissey has been broken. Despite this, they remained untouched in this patch. With no stop in sight, Blissey has clocked its highest usage rates since the launch of the game at 17.5%.
Tsareena vs the top lane
Unlike the other dominant Pokemon of this balance patch, Tsareena did receive a small nerf to Stomp’s damage output. However, the effect seems minimal so far, as Tsareena is seeing a record high usage rate this week, like Absol and Blissey. Aegislash, Lucario and Machamp continue to flounder against the ballerina. In fact, this week Lucario has seen a new record low in usage rates among top players.
Tsareena’s ability to stun, sustain and damage opponents is outdoing the competition and has put Lucario’s status as meta defining monster on hold for the first time since the game was released.
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 16 ranked matches. In the event of a tie or near tie the data will reflect that. If more than two Pokémon are tied, the 32 most recent matches will be considered instead.
Maxwell Kappes covers Pokemon Unite for UpComer. When he isn't busy having Zapdos stolen from him he's speaking at anime conventions, making bad jokes at a local open-mic night, or playing his favorite video game: Microsoft Excel.