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How to play Defenders in Pokémon Unite: Snorlax, Crustle, Greedent, and more

Pokémon Unite gives you plenty of ways to customize your gameplay experience. Whether you’re slotting items before heading into battle or customizing your Blastoise with a flashy outfit, there’s no shortage of entertaining ways to change up your play session. The most exciting way to mix things up, however, is by picking a new character — with more than a dozen iconic Pokémon up for grabs, you’ve got plenty of choices when it comes to picking a main.

If you have a penchant for being a team player and don’t mind being the center of attention, consider opting for one of three Defender Pokémon. These characters excel at taking a beating and play very differently from the four other groups available in the Pokémon MOBA.

Before taking Snorlax, Crustle, or any of the characters in this class into battle, here are a few things you need to know about Defenders in Pokémon Unite.

Further reading

Role of Defenders

Gameplay from the Japanese Pokémon UNITE beta test.
Gameplay from the Japanese Pokémon UNITE beta test. Image used with permission by copyright holder

Forget about dealing damage — Defenders aren’t made to bring down the opponent. Instead, you’ll be on the frontline soaking up enemy attacks. Your job as a Defender is to keep your team safe and position yourself to take the brunt of the damage from incoming assaults.

Whether fighting Wild Pokémon or the opposing team, Defenders need to do their best to remain the centerpiece of the battle. If you lose their interest or put yourself in the wrong spot, you’ll expose your vulnerable Attackers to an early knockout.

It might sound easy on paper, but running as a Defender is harder than you’d think — not only do you need to watch where the enemy is moving, but you’ll also need to be acutely aware of what your team is doing and where they plan to advance. Lose track of one and you’ll pay the price.

Basic Defender tips

Defenders boast some of the best Endurance in Pokémon Unite but fall short in most other categories. Because of this, you’ll need to play them differently from most other groups. Here are a few key tips to keep you alive and your teammates happy:

  • Learn to hold a lane by yourself. It’s not easy, but skilled Defenders can hold the enemy at bay without the need for an Attacker or Supporter. Use your abilities wisely, retreat if necessary, and your team will thank you for holding the line.
  • Crowd Control is key. While most Pokémon have a few skills that help limit enemy movement, Defenders bring a unique combination of Endurance and CC moves that make them well suited to the task. Keeping the enemy at bay is only part of your job — you’ll also need to stun, paralyze, and otherwise disorientate your foe.
  • Use your teammates to level up. With low DPS, you’ll want to pair up with your Attackers to quickly level up while grinding Wild Pokémon.
  • Watch those Goal Zones. It’ll probably be up to you to take control of these high-priority areas and make sure enemies aren’t putting up massive points.
  • When in doubt, follow your Attackers. If you’re not up for controlling a lane solo, make sure to stick by your high-DPS buddies. Not only are Defenders and Attackers formidable as a team, but it’ll help you to observe how other classes are playing Pokémon Unite.

Tips for specific Defenders

The above tips will only get you so far — to become a master Defender, you’ll need to understand how to best utilize each Pokémon’s skillset. All of them can take plenty of hits before calling it quits, but they go about it in slightly different ways.


Snorlax battling in Pokémon Unite.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It should come as no surprise, but Snorlax is incredibly slow. That’s counteracted by a maxed-out Endurance stat, so you can easily withstand a beating from multiple directions. If you’re looking to become the ultimate tank, consider heading into battle with an Assault Vest to boost your HP even further. It’s also not a bad idea to use the Exp. Share item to quickly gain XP if you’re the lowest-level player on your team. Since Defenders are notoriously bad at dealing damage, this item can help you keep pace with everyone else in the match.

When it comes to actual combat, make sure you opt for Heavy Slam. Its cooldown of seven seconds isn’t terribly long, and it deals massive damage while also throwing around anyone it hits. Once you hit Level 8, you can use Yawn to put opposing enemies to sleep, then hit them with Heavy Slam for an easy bit of damage. More importantly, those two moves help you control the battlefield and keep all eyes on you.

If things get really dire, Snorlax’s Unite Move — Power Nap — will restore your HP while dealing a bit of damage to anyone who dares come close. Best of all, you’re invincible while the skill is active.


Crustle casting Rock Tomb in Pokémon Unite.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Believe it or not, Crustle is even slower than Snorlax. That uber-slow movement speed makes Crustle a prime target for opponents. Thankfully, its Endurance and Support stats more than make up for it. You’ll want to quickly evolve from Dwebble to Crustle at Level 4, unlocking the flagship Rock Tomb move that’ll give you quick command of the battlefield.

Before learning anything else about Crustle, it’s essential you master Rock Tomb. This ability creates a physical barricade at your target area, completely halting progress and temporarily altering the battlefield. It’s a great move to have in your back pocket if an Attacker slips past you — or if they are trying to flee before your Attacker delivers a finishing blow.

Once you’ve figured out how to properly use Rock Tomb with your team, consider learning how to use X-Scissor at Level 6. Propelling you forward and dealing surprisingly damage, it’s a great way to move the sloth-like Crustle around the map and speed to the frontline of a battle.

As far as Held Items are concerned, you’ll want many of the same picks as Snorlax. Assault Vest and Rocky Helmet are always solid choices, but so too is Exp. Share to help you evolve from Dwebble.


Slowbro fighting in Pokémon Unite.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Slowbro brings a surprising mix of Endurance and Support to Pokémon Unite. Offense, Mobility, and Scoring all leave much to be desired — so forget about taking out enemies and lighting up the leaderboard. Instead, you’ll be holding lanes, slowing opponents, and controlling your opponent’s movement with a variety of powerful skills.

Unlocked at Level 4, Surf should quickly become a staple of your arsenal. Letting you quickly move forward and damage nearby enemies, the attack can also slow enemies down with subsequent wave strikes. It’s a useful move that gives your team a few extra seconds to get into position and can even be used in a pinch to quickly flee to a new location.

Amnesia is the other go-to skill for Slowbro experts. This skill eliminates a portion of incoming damage and also gives a temporary boost to your defense. Use it before casting Surf, and you’ll even see a bit of a damage boost. The key with this character is to take advantage of all these Crowd Control abilities to augment its innate ability to take a beating. Between its gigantic health bar and impressive Support skills, playing Slowbro right should cause enemies to flee in fear any time they set eyes on you.


Blastoise using Surf in Pokémon Unite.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

As one of the few Gen 1 characters available in Pokémon Unite, Blastoise has quickly become a favorite of the community. Thankfully, they’re also highly rated and capable of fending off even the most deadly of foes. It takes a bit of time to master their abilities, but Blastoise is a well-rounded Defender that can easily keep opponents away from key spots on the field.

Your first task when picking Blastoise is to quickly evolve from Squirtle to Wartortle at Level 5, at which point you can add either Water Spout or Hydro Pump to your arsenal. Both are viable options, although the ability to push back opponents with Hydro Pump makes it a great skill for beginners.

Continue to battle mobs and pull last hits until you’ve reached Level 9 and evolved into Blastoise. This unlocks your Unite Move — Hydro Typhoon — which attacks all enemies in your immediate area and shoves them backward.

After you’ve fully evolved, you’re ready to finally jump into the heat of battle. Blastoise is incredible at crowd control and holding off approaching enemies. They can also deal a bit of damage, but your best bet is to coordinate with teammates, repel attackers, and keep control of important areas on the map.


Mamoswine defeats an enemy in Pokémon Unite.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Although it’s not the most popular choice, Mamoswine is still capable of holding its own during a match. Paltry Scoring, Support, and Mobility stats are offset by tremendous Endurance — and it even packs a bit of an offensive punch.

Unfortunately, you’ll need to wade through the low-performing Swinub and Piloswine stages before evolving into Mamoswine at Level 10. Along the way, we’d recommend picking up Ice Fang and High Horsepower to help control the battlefield. Ice Fang is highly effective at stopping enemies in their tracks, while High Horsepower can quickly put you right into the heart of an ongoing battle.

Pair these skills with an item that boosts your Attack or Attack Speed — such as a Muscle Band — to augment your offensive chops.

If you’d rather not charge into the middle of a fight, you can always swap out Ice Fang for Icicle Crash and become an effective jungler. Not only will this result in impressive damage output, but it also freezes opponents and makes it easy to continue the attack without taking much additional damage.

No matter which route you go, be sure to keep your eyes on the enemy team — as a Defender, it’s important not to stray too far from your intended role, and keeping them away from your Scoring Zones should always be on the forefront of your mind.


Greedent attacking in Pokémon Unite.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Despite its happy-go-lucky appearance, Greedent is absolutely deadly in Pokémon Unite. Boasting an incredible Offense stat (and lackluster numbers for everything else), this unique Defender is one of the most difficult characters to master.

Unlike most in this class, Greedent has one of the lowest Endurance stats in the entire game. This means you’ll need to make liberal use of Berries and continually be on the attack — which is a stark departure from the norm. If you’re looking to be in the middle of combat, consider picking up Bullet Seed and Stuff Cheeks, which will let you deal loads of damage while inflicting negative status effects on your targets and buffing your own abilities.

As far as Held Items are concerned, augmenting your lackluster Endurance stat is a priority. Consider equipping an Assault Vest to make up for the shortcoming.

Once you’ve unlocked your Unite Move of Berry Belly Flop, start using it to ambush groups of enemies and force them to retreat. The skill allows you to recover HP, leap to a targeted area, then eat another Berry that lets you stash multiple Berries for later use. Master the skill, and you’ll quickly be able to turn the tide of battle.

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Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
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