Pokémon Unite battle guide: How to play each role

Pokemon Unite Greninja Vs Pikachu
Pokemon Unite Greninja Vs Pikachu (Image credit: iMore)

There are five different roles to play Pokémon Unite: Attacker, All-Rounder, Defender, Speedster, and Supporter. They each have a different balance of stats and are better at doing specific things in the battle arena. For your team to work efficiently and come out victorious, you'll need to play to your strengths and assist others when it comes to their weaknesses.

Not all Pokémon within the same role are the same. Some are much higher on the tier list than others. We'll go over which Pokémon are the best within each given role, along with how best to use them in battle. With this knowledge, you'll soon see how this is both one of the best Pokémon games on Nintendo Switch and one of the best games on mobile.

Pokémon Unite Roles

Pokemon Unite Lucario And Team (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

In both the mobile and Nintendo Switch versions of the game, Pokémon have one of five roles assigned to them: Attacker, All-Rounder, Speedster, Defender, or Supporter. Their moves and abilities correlate with how they are best played on the battlefield. We'll go over what kind of player is best suited for each role, which Pokémon in that role are the best, and exactly how each role should play to be the most efficient.

Every Pokémon Unite Role has a different balance of stats: Offense, Endurance, Mobility, Scoring, Support. These different balances determine how best they should be played. It's also important to note that there are three lanes in the arena: Top, Jungle (middle), and Bottom. The role you chose will perform better on some lanes than on others.

Pokémon Unite Attacker battle guide

Pokemon Unite Attackers (Image credit: iMore)

Who should play as an Attacker?

The Attacker role is probably the easiest one to handle. Players focus on dealing a lot of damage to opponents. These are also the players that should help defend goals and come to the aid of their friends when they're in trouble.

  • Strengths: Highest Damage Per Second (DPS) of any other Pokémon roles to quickly deplete opponent HP.
  • Weaknesses: Hardly any Endurance, meaning they can easily get knocked out if they're not careful.

Best Attackers to choose

  • Alolan Ninetales: Alolan Ninetales' Dazzling Gleam freezes opponents in place, temporarily allowing you to attack without being attacked. The Blizzard attack also damages from afar, allowing you to stay away from harm.
  • Pikachu: Pikachu is probably the easiest Pokémon to handle, making it a great choice for beginners. He attacks quickly with electricity and can even leave opponents temporarily paralyzed to deal more damage while they can't move.
  • Cinderace: This rabbit uses ranged fire attacks to hit opponents from a short distance away. This makes it so he can stay out of trouble more easily.

Best Attacker Lanes

There are three different lanes on the arena: Top, Jungle, and Bottom. Each of these paths handles differently and provides different types of challenges. Attackers should stick to the Top or Bottom lane as this leads to more wild Pokémon and brings them to goals faster.

How to play as an Attacker

Since you don't have a lot of Endurance, Speed, or health, you need to travel with at least one teammate wherever you go. A Defender or All-Rounder is your best buddy since they have better defense, and you can attack alongside them while staying safe from a distance. Avoid one-on-one battles as these will likely take you out. Stay near your goal, so you are ready to heal up and defend your side from opponents.

Pokémon Unite All-Rounder battle guide

Pokemon Unite All Rounders (Image credit: iMore)

All-Rounder playstyle

All-Rounders have balanced stats, meaning they can do just about anything they want on the field. This is a good role for people who are experienced with all the other playstyles and can come to the aid of their allies. It's also a good role for people who don't want to be stuck doing the same thing during the whole battle.

Strengths: Balanced stats mean they can transition into any other role when they feel like it. That means it can take more strategy to play well but can be very powerful if done correctly.

Weaknesses: The opposite is also true, as they don't excel at any stats, making them potentially weaker than some opponents. That means there's a steeper learning curve to playing them effectively.

Best All-Rounders to choose

  • Lucario: Lucario can move behind opponents quickly and deal a lot of damage, both ranged and up close.
  • Machamp: Machamp is a strong Melee fighter whose Bulk Up move increases his attack and mobility.

Best All-Rounder Lanes

Since All-Rounders are the most balanced Pokémon of the bunch, they can go just about anywhere they please and succeed. Use them to help teammates take down wild Pokémon or score points.

How to play as an All-Rounder

Stick close to an Attacker, and the two of you will be a force to be reckoned with. All-Rounders also pair well with Supporters to take down special Pokémon like Rotom, Drednaw, and Zapdos. As a transitioner, you'll want to stay at the frontline to take down enemies, score goals, and protect your own side. Just don't take on ranged opponents alone, as these are the ones that are likely to take you down fastest.

Pokémon Unite Speedster battle guide

Pokemon Unite Speedsters (Image credit: iMore)

Speedster playstyle

These are fast-hitting Pokémon that are perfect for scoring points. Use their dash attacks to quickly move from one end of the battle arena to the other.

  • Strengths: Have the most mobility of any Pokémon role in the game. This makes them good at avoiding attacks, scoring, and confusing enemies.
  • Weaknesses: They don't have as much HP or Endurance as other roles, so they shouldn't try to take other Pokémon on solo.

Best Speedster to choose

  • Zeraora: Zeraora's Spark (Lv 6) can be used three times in a row and has a long-range, letting you ambush enemies from a distance. The Discharge (Lv 8) attack does AoE damage and provides a shield for the user. If opponents happen to be paralyzed when hit with Discharge, they will be hurt even more, so aim for a combo.
  • Gengar: Gengar's Hex ability lets it disappear and then reappear at a specified location to poison any opponents in the designated area. This allows it to get the jump on opponents or get away from danger easily. It can also throw poison sludge at opponents with Sludge Bomb. Its attack becomes devastating when it uses Sludge Bomb and then Hex right afterwards.

Best Speedster Lanes

Since these Pokémon can dash around faster than the others, they can easily traverse the Jungle area of the arena or either lane to both farm or quickly get to their allies.

How to play as a Speedster

Use the Jungle area to quickly move between the top and bottom lane. Find areas to score points that aren't protected. You can also use that mobility to swoop in to help your teammates score points or defend your area. If things start to look overwhelming, use your dash ability to either get away or get directly behind opponents and deal massive damage.

Pokémon Unite Defender battle guide

Pokemon Unite Defenders (Image credit: iMore)

Defender playstyle

Defenders are basically tanks that have a lot of Endurance. These Pokémon take on the role of the goalie, fighting off opponents and preventing them from scoring.

Strengths: High Endurance makes them last longer against opponents.

Weaknesses: Low Mobility and Offense.

Best Defender to choose

  • Snorlax: Snorlax can take a lot of hits while fending off opponents. Its Rest ability helps it regain health, while Heavy Slam helps it stun enemies.
  • Slowbro: Slowbro has high defense and can use Surf to push enemies away. Its Telekinesis Move also prevents enemies from moving for a short period, while Slack Off allows it to regain HP.

Best Defender Lanes

Defenders are best suited for the top and bottom lanes of the arena. This allows them to patrol goals and push opponents back.

How to play as a Defender

Defenders can stand their ground and prevent opponents from successfully scoring. However, they don't land a lot of damage. That's why it's best to buddy up with an Attacker. The two of you will balance out your weaknesses to become a strong force.

Use the blockade or stun attacks to halt Pokémon in their tracks and be prepared to be the first one to take on enemies. Your abilities also make it possible for you to protect teammates when they are in trouble.

Pokémon Unite Supporter battle guide

Pokemon Unite Supporters (Image credit: iMore)

Supporter playstyle

As the name implies, this is the role for anyone who likes to help their friends succeed. Supporters provide buffs, heal allies, and apply status conditions to enemies.

  • Strengths: Can put up shields, heal allies, and place status effects on opponents.
  • Weaknesses: They can't do a lot of damage, and they don't have a lot of HP.

Best Supporter to choose

  • Eldegoss: Eldegoss is especially good at healing allies and improving their movement speed. Both Synthesis and Pollen Puff can heal enemies while Cotton Guard helps protect allies.
  • Wigglytuff: Wigglytuff can remove negative status conditions and make it harder for enemies to get around. Sing slows enemies down while Pound and Rollout are damaging attacks that can whittle away at opponent health.

Best Supporter Lanes

Navigate the top and bottom lanes with your allies to assist them while taking down enemies and scoring points.

How to play as a Supporter

When playing as a Supporter, you should never go anywhere alone. Stick to one of your allies and help heal and protect when they need to fend off opponents or score points. Supporters are ideal for taking down special Pokémon like Drednaw, Rotom, and Zapdos. Focus your energy on keeping your allies alive while they take on these special Pokémon, and your whole team will benefit from it.

Critical role

By being aware of your Pokémon's weaknesses and playing to their strengths, you and your team can do massive damage. These tips work regardless of if you're playing the mobile versions for iPhone and Android or the Nintendo Switch version. Work together to score goals, take down special Pokémon, and come out victorious.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.