Breaking down all the Unite moves in Pokémon Unite

by Xander Torres

Pokémon Unite is the hottest new game on the Nintendo Switch, combining the beloved Pokémon intellectual property with classic 5v5 MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) gameplay. Pokémon feature a wide range of abilities in Unite, but none more important than Unite moves. In addition to powerful effects, all Pokémon gain bonus movement and attack speed during their Unite move, making the abilities that much more important.

In the MOBA classification, these are best compared to ultimates -- abilities on long cooldowns that should be timed appropriately for the greatest impact in any given fight. In a game that is as fast and hectic as Pokémon Unite, it’s easy to miss what exactly is going on in any given teamfight. To clear the air of the turbulent gameplay of Pokémon Unite, we’ve explained each Unite Move and their various applications.

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Absol

Midnight Slash

Absol’s Unite Ability, Midnight Slash, quickly damages enemy Pokémon in a cone AOE (Area of Effect) before sending off a wave of energy blades that knock back and further damage enemy Pokémon. Given Absol’s mobility, Midnight Slash is best used as a way to close out knockouts at the end of a fight. Alternatively, it can be used to peel off carries with the second-half knockback.

Image credit: TiMi Studio Group / The Pokemon Company via Xander Torres

Charizard

Seismic Slam

Charizard takes to the skies with Seismic Slam, allowing you to move freely over terrain while dealing increased damage and leaving enemies burned. In addition to becoming a flying flamethrower, Charizard also heals from damage dealt during the duration of the ability. If that isn’t enough, targeting an enemy Pokémon with Seismic Slam will immobilize the target in the air before slamming it into the ground for massive damage. Charizard is borderline unstoppable during Seismic Slam, and it’s best to commit the ability to snowball a fight from the very beginning, giving your teammates the space to secure the fight and future objectives.

Cinderace

Blazing Bicycle Kick

Cinderace is one of the newly discovered Pokémon from the Galar region, but players are already setting enemies ablaze with the Striker Pokémon in Pokémon Unite. During Blazing Bicycle Kick, Cinderace launches a giant ball of flame at a target location, dealing AOE damage in a wide circular range, similar to Ziggs’ Mega Inferno Bomb in League of Legends. Cinderace also gains a brief movement speed bonus once the ability hits an enemy, giving the already speedy carry Pokémon even more tools to carry a fight.

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Cramorant

Gatling Gulp Missile

Cramorant is one of the few Pokémon from a main series game to actively use other Pokémon to deal damage, hurling Arrokudas and occasionally Pikachus for bonus damage in Sword and Shield. In Unite, this mechanic was packed into Cramorant’s passive, but its Unite move takes it to a whole other level. Gatling Gulp Missile creates a puddle and roots Cramorant, continually reloading Arrokuda in its mouth to deal massive ranged damage during the duration of the ability. Cramorant is unable to use abilities during Gatting Gulp Missile so the move itself is solely offensive and requires proper timing for maximum efficiency.

Crustle

Rubble Rouser

Crustle is arguably the premier defender Pokémon of Pokémon Unite, and its Unite Ability Rubble Rouser is a big part of that. After using Rubble Rouser, Crustle gains a shield and stuns nearby enemies, dealing bonus AOE damage if the user receives damage during the duration of the ability. Rubble Rouser is perfect for close-quarter fights where carries like Zeraora and Gengar try to run wild with AOE damage.

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Eldegoss

Cotton Cloud Crash

As the strongest support Pokémon on launch, Eldegoss’s Unite move Cotton Cloud Crash is yet another tool that allows the Cotton Bloom Pokémon to protect its carries during major teamfights. During Cotton Cloud Crash, Eldegoss flies into the air and becomes invincible. Eldegoss can then recast Cotton Cloud Crash to pound the ground and knock back enemies, healing all allies within its damage radius.

Garchomp

Livid Outrage

Garchomp has a reputation for being one of the strongest Pokémon ever discovered, and that reputation holds true with its Unite move. After activating Livid Outrage, Garchomp becomes enraged and unlocks a powerful three-combo dash attack that knocks back enemies at the end of the combo. Following the rampage, Garchomp is unable to act for a short period of time.

Image credit: TiMi Studio Group / The Pokemon Company via Xander Torres

Gengar

Phantom Ambush

As one of the first Ghost Pokémon ever discovered, Gengar is already haunting players in Pokémon Unite with its strong chase capability and overwhelming damage. Gengar’s Unite move, Phantom Ambush, makes Gengar invulnerable as it sneaks underground with increased movement speed. Once activated again, Gengar will reappear and knock up enemies, dealing AOE damage and briefly slowing their movement speed. If you think you’re getting away from Gengar, think again!

Greninja

Waterburst Shuriken

The amphibious Ninja lives up to its name as a ranged assassin in Pokémon Unite, often slipping around with deadly abandon. Greninja’s Unite move Waterburst Shuriken functions as a giant AOE slow that explodes and deals damage upon impact, knocking away all enemies. Once the shuriken explodes, Greninja can dash forward, allowing it to chase and clean up knockouts in the middle of a fight.

Lucario

Aura Cannon

Lucario is often focused on quick fights centered around its daring mobility, but its Unite move, Aura Cannon, is a long range skillshot nuke that deals damage to all enemies in the AOE, similar to Ezreal’s Trueshot Barrage from League of Legends. As an added bonus, Lucario’s next Power-Up Punch will deal bonus damage after launching Aura Cannon. Like Cinderace or Greninja’s Unite move, it’s best to unleash Aura Cannon at the start of a fight.

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Machamp

Barrage Blow

Machamp is the big muscle man on the map, throwing punches and chasing enemy Pokémon with increased movement speed. Since Machamp’s kit features limited gap closing, Barrage Blow offers Machamp increased movement speed, crowd control immunity and bonus damage and resistances. After coming into contact with a target, Machamp unleashes a flurry of blows that deal massive damage and knock back the target, making it great for locking down priority backline carries.

Mr. Mime

Showtime

Mr. Mime is one of the most complicated Pokémon in the game, but Showtime is pretty simple. Mr. Mime jumps to a target location and puts on a Pantomime show, dealing AOE damage and leaving all enemies unable to act. As an ability, Showtime is strong for either assassinating squishy backlines or peeling off speedster carries like Zeraora and Absol.

Image credit: TiMi Studio Group / The Pokemon Company via Xander Torres

Alolan Ninetales

Snowglobe

Snowglobe is one of the strongest and most devastating AOE Unite moves in the game. After a brief cast time, Alolan Ninetales deals special damage in an AOE around it, dealing bonus damage to frozen Pokémon. When coordinated with other AOE Unite moves, Snowglobe can completely wipe out a fight. A specific trick that Alolan Ninetales can pull off with Snowglobe is starting the cast time and then using Eject Button to dash forward to surprise enemies with the burst AOE damage.

Pikachu

Thunderstorm

It’s the face of the franchise. Pikachu is not only one of the cutest Pokémon on the field, but one of the strongest with high speed and overwhelming damage output. After activating Thunderstorm, Pikachu strikes all nearby enemies with lightning bolts, completely maintaining its mobility and ability usage. As a strong offensive ability, Pikachu can use Thunderstorm to both snowball a winning fight or to kite out a losing fight in hopes of turning it around.

Slowbro

Slowbeam

The Hermit Crab Pokémon might look a bit absent-minded, but its strongest abilities actually center around psychokinesis. Slowbro’s Unite move, Slowbeam, roots an enemy with a beam of energy, dealing damage over time and granting Slowbro a shield, closely resembling Malzahar’s Nether Grasp from League of Legends. During Slowbeam, Slowbro also gains immunity to crowd control, making it impossible to cancel.

Image credit: TiMi Studio Group / The Pokemon Company via Xander Torres

Snorlax

Power Nap

Just behind Crustle, Snorlax stands out as one of the best Defenders in Pokémon Unite with strong crowd control and durability. After activating Power Nap, Snorlax knocks up all enemies within the AOE, dealing damage over time and fully healing during the duration of the ability. Snorlax is also immune to crowd control during Power Nap and can reactivate the ability to roll around and deal bonus damage. On top of being a strong “wombo combo” ultimate, Power Nap allows Snorlax to create space for its backline carries in a teamfight.

Talonflame

Flame Sweep

Talonflame’s mobility already makes it one of the best junglers in Pokémon Unite, but Flame Sweep pushes that mobility to another level. After activating Flame Sweep, Talonflame quickly dashes to a target location, damaging enemies in Talonflame’s path and carrying them forward. Talonflame can either fully disrupt a fight that has already started or initiate a favorable fight from a flank, giving no time for the enemy team to respond.

Venusaur

Verdant Anger

Venusaur’s Unite move, Verdant Anger, is similar to Alolan Ninetales -- Venusaur casts an AOE nuke around itself, dealing damage and slowing enemies. Since Venusaur largely relies on ranged auto attack and spell damage, it’s best to use Verdant Anger early in a fight for the global movement and attack speed bonus. This way, Venusaur can maximize its damage output in the middle of a fight.

Wigglytuff

Starlight Recital

Eldegoss is currently heralded as Pokemon Unite’s strongest support, but Wigglytuff’s Starlight Recital is just as powerful as Cotton Cloud Crash. After activating Starlight Recital, Wigglytuff shields itself and all allies, removing all status conditions and granting crowd control immunity for the duration of the ability. Starlight Recital can be used both reactively and proactively, but it’s best used proactively to soak damage cooldowns at the start of a fight.

Zeraora

Plasma Gale

Zeraora is already one of the game’s strongest junglers, but Plasma Gale further enables its carry strength in both teamfights and smaller skirmishes. After activating Plasma Gale, Zeraora fires off a bolt of blue lightning that deals AOE damage and creates a plasma zone where Zeraora’s auto attacks gain bonus range, in addition to bonus damage. Ideally, Zeraora should activate Plasma Gale to follow up on crowd control for maximum damage output.

Lead image credit: TiMi Studio Group / The Pokémon Company

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