Pokémon UNITE Season 2: A Meta Evolved
Tiers based on Pokémon play rates throughout Pokémon UNITE Season 2
Tiers based on Pokémon play rates throughout Pokémon UNITE Season 2 | Provided by Maxwell Kappes

Pokémon UNITE Season 2: A Meta Evolved

Dragonite dominated while Eldegoss eroded

The second season of Pokémon UNITE was a rollercoaster. Dragonite, Tsareena, Decidueye and Trevanent joined the roster, bringing UNITE up to 30 playable characters. Decidueye and Trevanent hadn’t effected the meta, while Dragonite and Tsareena loomed large throughout the season. Meta staples like Lucario and Eldegoss continued to see high usage rates, while Wigglytuff, Venusaur and Pikachu saw an increase in play compared to the previous season.

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Weekly data of the main Pokémon the top 100 players in Pokémon UNITE use shows which Pokémon did well through the season. Below are the averages of that data, sorted into tiers based on meta prevalence:

Pokémon UNITE Season 2 S Tier:

  • Dragonite – 16.9% (NEW)
  • Lucario – 16.6% (+0.8)

Pokémon UNITE Season 2 A Tier:

  • Eldegoss – 11.1% (-4.1)
  • Wigglytuff – 9.8% (+3.5)

Pokémon UNITE Season 2 B Tier:

  • Venusaur – 7.1% (+2.7)
  • Greedent – 6% (-5.5)
  • Tsareena – 5.8% (NEW)

Pokémon UNITE Season 2 C Tier:

  • Pikachu – 5.1% (+3.4)
  • Greninja – 5% (-1.6)
  • Talonflame – 4.7% (+2.9)
  • Mime – 4.1% (+0.3)
  • Zeraora – 3.5% (-0.4)
  • Cinderace – 3% (-4.9)

Pokémon UNITE Season 2 D Tier:

  • Snorlax – 2.1% (-4.6)
  • Blissey – 1.5% (-1.3)
  • Blastoise – 1.3% (-5)
  • Gardevoir – 1.2% (+0.7)
  • Slowbro – 1.1% (+1.6)

Pokémon UNITE Season 2 F Tier:

  • Absol – 0.8% (+0.4)
  • Charizard – 0.8% (+0.1)
  • Decidueye – 0.7% (NEW)
  • Ninetails – 0.6% (-3.6)
  • Sylveon – 0.5% (-5.8)
  • Trevenant – 0.5% (NEW)
  • Cramorant – 0.4% (-3.9)
  • Machamp – 0.3% (-0.9)
  • Mamoswine – 0.3% (-0.7)
  • Crustle – 0.2% (-0.7)
  • Gengar – 0.2% (-1.6)
  • Garchomp – 0.1% (+/-)

S Tier: Dragonite and Lucario

Dragonite was introduced midway into the second season and didn’t waste any time dominating the meta. Dragonite’s Hyper Beam allows it to easily secure objectives, while Draco Impact gives it the ability to dance around the map and score on unsuspecting opponents. When Sylveon and Greedent entered the game the developers wasted no time balancing them, but Dragonite took a month to be nerfed down to a reasonable level. With such a large period of dominance, it’s no wonder Dragonite ranks at the top for the season.

Lucario had seen some faltering in player base towards the end of the season, but has otherwise been a commanding presence in the meta. Lucario has incredible sustain, a strong early game, and powerful damage scaling when paired with the right held items. Even after a string of nerfs throughout the season, Lucario remains one of the most played Pokémon in the game.

A Tier: Eldegoss and Wigglytuff

Despite seeing a sizable erosion in play rate, Eldegoss maintains its position as the premier healer of Pokémon UNITE in Season 2.  People have speculated the decline of Eldegoss play is due to the introduction of Pokémon like Greedent and Tsareena, who have incredible sustain. While Eldegoss did see a large drop in the number of players when Greedent was introduced, there haven’t been any other introductions or balance changes that led to long term reductions in players. And because Eldegoss remains the only ranged support in the game, it would likely take a large nerf to see any further drop in its usage in the meta.

Wigglytuff was initially passed over for other defenders until it received a sizable buff in damage and survivability early in the first season. Wigglytuff experienced nerfs later in the season, leading to a decrease in play. But towards the end of the first season, Wigglytuff’s trajectory reversed and throughout the second season it has become the primary defender in the game, despite further nerfs.

B Tier: Venusaur, Greedent and Tsareena

These three Pokémon are all known for their sustain in combat. Venusaur saw buffs midway through the first season and has more or less ridden them throughout the second season despite repeated nerfs.

Tsareena entered the game in an absolutely dominant position only to see the developers repeatedly and methodically target its toolkit, leaving it teetering towards irrelevancy.

Greedent is no longer the objective shredding beast it was introduced as, but has maintained its position in the meta primarily as a stealth scorer and disruptor thanks to its high mobility.

C Tier: Pikachu, Greninja, Talonflame, Mr. Mime, Zeraora and Cinderace

When the second season started, Greninja and Zeraora were the primary junglers in the game. But as nerfs took hold and Dragonite entered the game, the two saw dwindling play rates. Talonflame was able to maintain steady play rates throughout the season despite receiving direct nerfs. Cinderace saw a buff to its moves leading it to finish the season in arguably the strongest position of any jungler in this tier.

Pikachu entered the season weak, but thanks to a large buff has seen increased play, finishing the season as one of the primary bottom lane attackers. Pikachu is better at dealing out ranged damage than its competition, but is at a disadvantage when against highly mobile characters.

Mr. Mime began this season in a strong position, directly competing against Wigglytuff as the premier bottom lane defender. As the season aged, Mr. Mime’s usage dropped thanks to an increase in mobility that more easily allowed players to bypass its Barrier and Confusion moves.

Pokémon UNITE Season 2 usage

Understanding the play rates of the season isn’t the only way to see how Pokémon are being used. The charts below show which Pokémon have a significant overlap in players. The charts use data from the top 100 players based on their three most played Pokémon for the season of the chart, their three most played Pokémon overall and their main Pokémon at the end of the respective season.

Pokémon player overlap among top 100 players during season 1 of Pokemon UNITE | Provided by Maxwell Kappes
Pokémon player overlap among top 100 players during season 2 of Pokemon UNITE
Pokémon player overlap among top 100 players during season 2 of Pokemon UNITE | Provided by Maxwell Kappes

Junglers

In the first season of Pokémon Unite, people who played junglers found themselves playing many other Pokémon as well. Greninja and Zeraora saw heavy overlap with Venusaur players. Cinderace and Greninja saw heavy overlap with Lucario. In one of the oddest turns, Cinderace players found themselves playing a lot of Eldegoss as well.

Blastoise and Talonflame players had a lot on common with each other, but little in common with other jungle picks. Blastoise was a primary jungler for a short time, before dropping off at the same time Talonflame received a set of buffs that made it viable for high level play. Because of this timing, a lot of players switched from Blastoise to Talonflame mid-season.

In the second season this trend did not continue. Talonflame and Zeraora were entirely disconnected from the rest of the junglers and instead saw high overlap with Greedent. This is due to Greedent and Talonflame being most prevalent in the score-based Japanese meta. Cinderace, Greninja, and Dragonite all saw heavy overlap with each other, with Greninja also having overlap with Lucario players.

Lucario

Lucario players, along with Wigglytuff players, are the primary connectors in these charts. In the first season Lucario sees heavy overlap with the meta definers of Cinderace, Greninja, Wigglytuff, and Venusaur. In the second season this trend continues, albeit with Greedent replacing Cinderace.

Support

The lane support role has consistently gone to Eldegoss, with Blissey as a distant second. Eldegoss players often branch out into defender roles, with Wigglytuff seeing heavy overlap in both seasons. Eldegoss players also have a healthy streak of playing damage oriented roles, with Cinderace and Venusaur both seeing high player overlap. Blissey players, on the other hand, were more serious about playing the support role and  only saw heavy overlap with Eldegoss.

Defenders

Wiggytuff anchors the defenders in the meta of the first season. Snorlax, Mr. Mime and Slowbro saw play as well and were all connected to Wigglytuff, if not each other. In the second season Mr. Mime had the most connections between defenders, while Wigglytuff and Snorlax had players that overlap with other roles. Mr. Mime’s connectivity is due to seeing its players move on to other defender roles, noticeably Slowbro. Blastoise spent most of the first season as a jungler and is now firmly rooted to the defenders, albeit sharing players with Ninetails for some reason.

Attackers

In the first season the attackers were entirely disconnected from the meta outside of Venusaur. Cramorant started the season strong but saw its players migrate to Sylveon. Nintails had a similar trajectory to Cramorant and saw its players split more evenly between Sylveon and Pikachu. The second season saw fewer Pokémon filling the attacker role with only Venusaur and Pikachu remaining.

Author
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Maxwell Kappes
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.