8 useful card mechanics the game won’t tell you about


Pokemon Unite has a lot of mechanical depth, with a surprising number of systems that might surprise those who thought it was a “MOBA for kids”. Players need to worry about lane rotation, getting buffs from certain jungle Pokémon, incoming ganks from enemies, status effects, and more, all within a 10-minute time frame.

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That said, all of these systems are pretty easy to learn, with enough playing time, but what’s hard to learn are all the little things the game just doesn’t tell you (or explain poorly). So, let’s go over the mechanics of the map in particular, from Remoat Stadium to Shivre Town, and shine the spotlight on all the little tips and tricks you might be missing.

When the Vespiquen & Combee swarm appears

Pokemon Unite - Combee and Vespiqueen in-game with Pokemon PNG overlays on top

Let’s start with one of the early game spawns that people constantly fight for – the Combee swarm surrounding their Vespiquen. All four of these Pokémon are a fantastic source of early game XP, as well as a great way to get your opponents to stretch too far.

That said, it would be helpful if the game had a small timer to let players know when they would spawn as they do 30 seconds before Rotom / Drenaw spawns. Fortunately, this swarm reliably spawns at the exact same time every game (1 minute 10 seconds), so as long as you keep an eye open for 8 minutes and 50 seconds, it’s pretty easy to capitalize on this group of personified EXP. .

When specifically the two big jungle monsters appear

Pokemon Unite - PNG of Rotom and Dreadnaw overlaid on blurry image of Pikachu fighting Drednaw in game

Speaking of Rotom and Drednaw: while it is enjoyable the game lets you know when they are within 30 seconds of spawning or respawning, it can take a little longer than that in many cases to turn to the bottom lane, or set the right opportunity to seize them. But, if you keep in mind that these two big spawns for the first time fall within 3 minutes of the game (7 minutes left), then it becomes much easier to prepare these matchups in advance. For example, knowing this time of onset early allows you

  • Finish destroying the first row goal so Rotom allows you to instantly score their second highest goal.

  • Collect a big pile of points to score instantly with Rotom.

  • Push your opponents back to their door (or knock them out) in the bottom lane so they can’t reliably fight you on Drednaw.

Zapdos Hidden Damage Debuff

Pokemon Unite - PNG of Drednaw overlaid on Zapdos image

So far, all of these mechanics we’ve been talking about are things that you can sort of easily figure out after playing a few matches. But, that next one is something you might never have figured out on your own.

It turns out that Drednaw’s last appearance before Zapdos is actually damaging. Doing this gives your entire team a debuff that reduces the damage you deal to Zapdos by 55% for 90 seconds (which would only leave 30 seconds to kill Zapdos when exhausted). So, only catch the last Drednaw spawn when your team plans to defend Zapdos from the other team rather than attacking it. That said, this debuff doesn’t seem to be widely known to the casual Unite community, so you’ll likely have to deal with others killing Drednaw before Zapdos anyway.

How Instant Scoring Works in Shiivre Town

Pokemon Unite - Circle Unite Ball in Shiivre City Map

Going from Remoat Stadium to some of the quick match maps, each of these little arenas has a little twist that many Pokemon Unite players have no idea even exists. For example, while the city map of Shiivre might make it seem like you can just take out random mobs instead of fighting the enemy team like you can in Auroma Park, you can’t.

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Turns out this map has a “loadout” mechanic for your Unite Ball where killings and assists fill the bar below on your HUD. And, once that bar is full, it allows you to instantly score once in goal on the enemy side. At first it was strange to many that players seemed so much more aggressive on this map, but now it all makes sense.

How double points work in Auroma Park

Pokemon Unite - Aerial view of Auroma Park side by side with the image of 2 buff points on the same map

Compared to the Shiivre city map, Auroma Park is so much less aggressive with its larger size, easy escape routes, moving sidewalks, and ability to score goals from both sides. In Auroma Park, you can easily roam the map avoiding non-AI encounters and grinding Jungle Pokemon to collect points and everything be fine.

But did you know that the double points you get for 15 seconds after scoring sometimes don’t have a minimum score? Even scoring 1 point starts or restarts the 15 second timer, which means you can start the Double Point timer for your teammate with a single point and then run to the other side to confuse enemies. You can also use this system to ruin your enemy’s point potential, as scoring on an enemy goal with double points active ends it immediately.

Is Rotom still like Drednaw?

Pokemon Unite - Rotom PNG overlaid on the in-game Rotom fight

One of the biggest differences between the large top lane Rotom and the bottom lane Drednaw is their sensitivity to crowd control. Dreadnaw is basically immovable and has a slam motion which can be quite annoying, while Rotom is honestly a lot easier to fight overall.

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But, the best thing about Rotom, in general, is that grabbing and pushing abilities like Machamp’s submission or Mr. Mime’s Confusion-into-Barrier combo work on it. With this information in mind, you can easily reduce Rotom’s health or slowly move it to your side of the lane, making it harder for an enemy that has respawned way too quickly to come in and fire the last shot.

In-depth mechanics of tall grass

Pokemon Unite - Pikachu sneaking into the brush in the game's cinematic trailer

It’s probably the case that those of you who are already familiar with MOBAs like League of Legends, Dota, or Smite, have incorporated this mechanic into your playstyle without even thinking about it. But, for Pokemon Unite players new to the MOBA genre, it might not be immediately clear that the bushes / brushes / tall grass are here to help.

Basically when walking in tall grass you are completely invisible to all enemies outside of the bush even when attacking (which actually makes it better than bushes in LoL). Additionally, entering tall grass interrupts the automatic targeting of an enemy’s movements. They can, of course, still hit you, but because they can’t “aim” their basic attacks like they can with their moves. This severely limits both their information and their potential damage.

So if you ever find yourself in a disadvantageous 1 on 1 scenario, try using tall grass to level the playing field by:

  • Enter and exit repeatedly while fighting them to interrupt their targeting.

  • Hidden in long enough for the reminder bar to fill up

  • Or, hiding in it while your cooldowns are cooling off and shattering them.

What the text “Attention” actually means

Pokemon Unite - An example of the pop-up -We're having a really hard time-

Pokemon Unite has a lot in common with the more popular MOBAs, but its hidden scoring mechanic is more reminiscent of something like Splatoon than DOTA. You cannot see the point difference between your team and the enemy team at any time during a match! You can use visual clues to estimate the difference, like counting every time an ally scores, keeping track of how many goals you and the enemy team have, or just guessing, but the best tool is actually calls. “Attention” that appear five, seven, eight and nine minutes after the start of the match.

How is this information useful? Well, those calls actually tell you the rough difference between the two teams. To be more precise:

  • “We are REALLY struggling! “ means you are over 100 points behind.
  • “We have trouble keeping up! is a hopeful yet disturbing message that says your team is only losing 22-99 points.
  • “It’s a close battle! “ means there is about a slight difference of 0 to 20 points.
  • “We are in the lead! ” tells you that you beat the enemy team by a minor amount of 21-99 points.
  • And, “We have a huge lead! ” informs your team that you are ahead by more than 100 points

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