‘Pokémon UNITE’ Reveals First Major Update

The Pokémon MOBA on Nintendo Switch, Pokémon UNITE, is set to receive its first and most impactful update since its release. The game’s official Twitter page tweeted yesterday that the update would be rolling out Wednesday, August 4 12AM PDT/ 7:00 UTC, with significant balancing changes at the heart of the update.

Pokémon UNITE - How to play Gengar - Gaming | esports.com
Notorious speedster Gengar, known most for its Hex/Sludge Bomb combo. CREDIT: Pokémon UNITE

Details of the update, found here, include dozens of changes to key Pokémon abilities, Unite Moves, and more, and have already ignited conversations around the lack of significant changes to some of the game’s more overpowered Mons. Players were also concerned about the lack of clarity in the language used throughout the update, citing phrases such as “Cooldown reduced” and “Effects on opposing Pokémon strengthened” that make clear no numerical values.

The first major fixes are for bugs and text issues, as many players have reported issues with in-game menus, the main menu, switching from docked to handheld mode, and so on. The update also notes that the highly requested Spectator Mode will be tested for a limited time from “8-4-2021 at 12AM PDT/ 7:00 UTC until 8-6-2021 at 12AM PDT/ 7:00 UTC.”

Getting into the meat of the update, we’re first hit up with a Charizard buff. When the game first dropped, the early favorite, All-Around Mon saw limited viability with regard to basic attack damage and the effects of its Flamethrower ability. Flamethrower’s cooldown has been reduced (again we don’t know by how much until the patch goes live) and its effect on opposing Mon has been increased. Its other tools Fire Punch and Fire Blast have been buffed similarly as well.

Pokémon Unite roster: All playable Pokémon characters, roles, and prices |  iMore
CREDIT: Nintendo

Talonflame, the Speedster who already packed a wallop, has seen a buff with regard to damage across nearly all its moves, that includes Aerial Ace, Aerial Ace+, Acrobatics and Fly. The attacker Venusaur will see a buff to the damage Sludge Bomb deals, as well as to its Unite Move Verdant Anger. Solar Beam‘s cooldown has been reduced too and with the ability to increase Sp. Atk with Held Items like Wise Glasses, we’re sure to see this move’s viability increase in-game.

Bug fixes for Lucario, Greninja, and Ninetales have also been added to the update. Machamp will see a decrease in damage for its Cross Chop but an increase in damage for its Close Combat, with bug fixes also coming for its basic attacks. Absol will certainly be more vicious in ranked matches, with damage increases slated for its Night Slash and Sucker Punch moves.

The always viable, and personal favorite, defender Wigglytuff is getting a boost to its stats in the following areas: Defense, Sp. Def, and HP, making the slap-boxing fairy an absolute tank with the right build. With a damage increase to Double Slap, as well as to its strength, and Sing‘s strength, against opposing Mons, the buffs round out this already stellar defender. Cramorant was hit with a nerf and buff in the same update, with a damage increase added to Dive but a decrease toward Whirpool, an ability that made for a horrendous encounter when grouped up with teammates.

Gardevoir Is on the Attack in Pokémon UNITE | Pokemon.com
Recently added Pokémon Gardevoir. CREDIT: Nintendo

Cinderace seems to have been obliterated the most by this update, with a nerf to its Attack stat, Blaze Kick, and Feint ability but with a slight consolation prize in damage added on to its Pyro Ball. The moment most players have been waiting for regarded the overpowered strength of Speedsters Gengar and Zeraora, whose abilities and Held Item builds could be combined to perform HP melting combos. Gengar’s Hex ability has been nerfed but its Shadow Ball and Dream Eater have been buffed. Many are hesitant to embrace this nerf to Gengar as a legitimate move, at least until tomorrow’s update goes live. Finally, Zeraora’s Unite Move Plasma Gale has been nerfed but its Wild Charge damage has been increased and cooldown, reduced.

All in all, players were somewhat pleased with the update considering a spectator mode has been requested for other Pokémon titles, like Sword & Shield, but to no avail, and yet UNITE is receiving one within a month of its release. Despite no fixes to Zapdos‘ gamebreaking mechanics, players are still excited to take this update for a spin when it drops August 4.

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