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Pokemon Unite’s Zapdos Conundrum: Nerf or Nah?

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The titular monsters you play as in the franchise’s first-ever MOBA, Pokemon Unite, are, without a doubt, the most important among the titular monsters. The second most important bird after them is Zapdos, the legendary bird. The bird, on the other hand, is crucial to the metagame because it is divisive, and many players have called for its nerf.

From Zero to 500 

Zapdos is the most powerful neutral creep in Pokemon Unite in terms of MOBA terms. Beating it, like beating Roshan in DoTA 2 and Baron Nashor in League of Legends is primarily a team effort that rewards the team with a distinct advantage. However, when compared to the two legendary neutral creeps from more established MOBAs, Zapdos provides a greater advantage to the team that defeats it: twenty seconds of the enemy’s goals are rendered defenseless. This effectively reduces the loading time proportional to the number of points scored to zero. Stopping someone from shooting on an undefended goal is difficult, but not impossible.

It may not appear to be much on paper. In a MOBA, however, twenty seconds is an eternity. It also doesn’t help that Zapdos only appears late in the game, with only two minutes remaining. Each player can have up to 50 points in this section of the game, and every goal scored is worth double. According to the math, a team that has defeated Zapdos can score up to 500 points if they play their cards correctly.It may not appear to be much on paper. In a MOBA, however, twenty seconds is an eternity. It also doesn’t help that Zapdos only appears late in the game, with only two minutes remaining. Each player can have up to 50 points in this section of the game, and every goal scored is worth double. According to the math, a team that has defeated Zapdos can score up to 500 points if they play their cards correctly.

Loser, Winner, Zapdos Dinner 

Is it fair for a team to score 500 points in 20 seconds while the opposing team has worked hard for the last eight minutes for fewer points? If you answered yes, you are most likely a member of the “nerf Zapdos camp.” If, on the other hand, you appear to be doing fine in the game or don’t seem to mind, you shouldn’t write out the criticism just yet.

Because, while some people only complain about Zapdos when they can’t win and love it when it helps them win, others have been objective in their criticisms.


One Twitter user initially bemoaned the fact that an opposing team was losing and scoring no goals for the majority of the game, but that they were able to turn things around after Zapdos. Following that, he tried not to do much in another game but managed to pull off another Zapdos-led victory. This demonstrates how quickly obtaining Zapdos can turn the tables.

It also doesn’t help that it doesn’t matter if an entire team whittles down Zapdos. The only thing that matters is who gets the last hit, so a lone enemy Pokemon from a losing team could land that last hit and cause a massive upset.

No Changes Needed 

Of course, there are those who are opposed to the proposed nerf. The most common argument against it is that teams with a significant lead, especially if it’s a large one, have no business allowing the enemy team to have Zapdos. If they did, then they are to blame. It’s also a common mistake, they say, to try to get Zapdos when your team is already in the lead. Attempting to capture Zapdos increases the risk of it being killed, so those in command are better off guarding the big bird rather than attempting to capture it.

Another is that, as previously stated, defending against the enemy team, even if they have Zapdos, is difficult but not impossible. The best way to accomplish this is to remove them from the situation long before they get close to the goal.

The final argument against the Zapdos nerf is that the game requires a way for losing players to recover, or at the very least even the scale. Snowballing, a MOBA phenomenon in which one team gains momentum while the other struggles, is something Pokemon Unite is attempting to avoid, and Zapdos is the answer.

Whether you like it or not, Pokemon Unite is a less serious alternative to DoTA 2 and League of Legends. Of course, this isn’t a bad thing. Arceus realizes that instead of a strictly objective-based MOBA where a game can last up to 50 minutes, we can use a more relaxed MOBA with a time limit per session. However, Zapdos’ place in this is up for debate. Hopefully, the developers can reach a compromise and keep the bird, as well as the game’s fun and fairness. So, what are your thoughts? Nerf Zapdos or leave it alone? Or are there other issues that need to be addressed? Please let us know.

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