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Pokémon Unite build tips and tricks

How to create the best builds for your favorite Pokémon

trainers walking towards a stadium in Pokemon unite Image: The Pokémon Company/Tencent Games

The competition in Pokémon Unite can be fierce. While you feel like you might understand how to use each Pokémon, there may be times when you notice players using the same characters performing better than you. Skill can play a role in this, but equally important is the build you use for each Pokémon. Depending on what held items you use, you’ll see how much better each Pokémon can be.

Polygon’s Pokémon Unite build guide explains what to keep in mind when creating the best build. We’ll also show you how to stay current on top players’ builds. This guide will show you an easy technique you can use to always have the best held items on your Pokémon with no guesswork at all.

Table of contents

The difference between Physical vs. Special attack

Regardless of which class a Pokémon is — either All-Rounder, Attacker, Defender, Speedster, or Support — each falls under one of two categories: Every single Pokémon uses either physical attacks or special attacks as the type of damage they deal.

A Cramorant in Pokémon Unite
Each Pokémon has one of two attack types. Cramorant is Special Attack.
Image: Nintendo via Polygon

Even if a Pokémon uses melee or ranged attacks, their attacks are one of those two types. This distinction is important because it determines which items you should give your Pokémon to boost their stats.

Based on the research from places like, the current roster of Pokémon fall under these attack type categories:

Pokémon Unite attack types

Physical Special
Physical Special
Absol Alolan Ninetails
Charizard Cramorant
Cinderace Eldegoss
Crustle Gengar
Garchomp Mr. Mine
Greninja Pikachu
Lucario Slowbro
Machamp Venusaur
Snorlax Wigglytuff

Once you know what type of attacks your favorite Pokémon uses, you can figure out which items to give them.

How to use held items

Each character in Pokémon Unite can have three held items. These pieces of support gear boost different stats of your Pokémon. Depending on which you choose, you can increase the power or endurance of your characters.

While each held item will benefit whatever Pokémon you put them on, certain creatures perform much better with specific gear in their inventory. To figure out which gear works best, it helps to know what each held item does.

Pokémon Unite Held Items

Held Item Special Function Stat Boosts
Held Item Special Function Stat Boosts
Aeos Cookie Increases max HP after the Pokémon successfully scores a goal. HP
Assault Vest When the Pokémon is not in combat, grants it a shield that nullifies Sp. Atk damage. HP + Sp. Def
Attack Weight Increases Attack after the Pokémon successfully scores a goal. Atk
Buddy Barrier Grants a shield to the Pokémon and to nearby all Pokémon with the lowest HP when the Pokémon uses its Unite Move. HP
Energy Amplifier Has the Pokémon deal increased damage to opposing Pokémon for a short time after it uses its Unite Move. Unite Move energy generation + Respawn time decrease
Exp. Share Increases the Pokémon's passive Exp. Point gain while it has the fewest Exp. Points on its team. However, the Pokémon will only receive Exp. Points for defeating wild Pokémon if it deals the final blow. HP + Movement speed
Float Stone Increases movement speed when not in combat. Atk+ Movement Speed
Focus Band Continually restores the Pokémon's HP for a short time when the Pokémon drops to low HP. Def. + Sp. Def
Leftovers When the Pokémon is not in combat, it recovers 1% of its max HP every second HP + HP recovery speed
Muscle Band Increases basic attack damage. Def. + Sp. Def
Rocky Helmet Deals damage to nearby opposing Pokémon when the holder receives damage. HP + Def.
Scope Lens Increases critical-hit damage. Critical Hit % + Critical Hit damage
Score Shield Grants a shield while the Pokémon is attempting to score a goal. HP
Shell Bell Restores some of the Pokémon's HP whenever it successfully lands a move. Sp. Atk + Special move cooldown time
Sp. Atk Specs Increases Sp. Atk after the Pokémon successfully scores a goal. Sp. Atk
Wise Glasses Increases Sp. Atk. Sp. Atk

While each held item provides a main benefit, each piece of gear also boosts certain stats. You won’t see these extra increases to your stats until you give an item to a Pokémon. Knowing these secondary benefits is key to creating the best build.

For instance, the item Shell Bell restores a Pokémon’s health when it lands a special move. While this is a good item for most Pokémon, its secondary benefit increases the power of a character’s special attack. So the item has a wasted benefit for physical attack types like Charizard but is great for special attack types like Pikachu.

Once you know the secondary stat boost benefits of each held item, you can create more appropriate builds for each Pokémon.

How to give held items to Pokémon

To create the best builds in Pokémon Unite, give your Pokémon specific held items that increase stats relevant to their roles and attack types.

A Cramorant build in Pokémon Unite
These items all boost Sp. Atk, which is perfect for Cramorant
Image: Nintendo via Polygon

To change the held items your Pokémon are using:

  1. Press X on the main menu to bring up the options tab.
  2. Select Battle Prep > Held Items.
  3. Select Give Items, and then press X to select a Pokémon

From here, you can select any of the held items listed above. You can buy held items by entering the Shops from the main menu and then Aeos Emporium > Items.

How to find the best builds

Pokémon Unite has a built-in feature that not only has developer-recommended builds to get you started, but it also features three builds from master players for each of the game’s Pokémon.

A master build in Pokémon Unite
You never have to guess what the best builds are in Pokémon Unite
Image: Nintendo via Polygon

To access this list of recommended and master builds:

  1. Press X on the main menu to bring up the options tab
  2. Select Battle Prep > Held Items
  3. Select Give Items, and then press X to select a Pokémon
  4. Press Y to see Example Sets

In the Example Sets screen, you’ll find two recommended builds from the developers that focus on different gameplay styles for each Pokémon. You’ll also find three other builds from the game’s best players for each Pokémon.

To find the best build, examine what held items the developers or the best players use. The sets created by the developers and the top players are all battle-tested, removing all the guesswork from determining the best builds in Pokémon Unite.