A long fight against Team Nemesis at the Zapdos pit left team Blossom in a disadvantageous position. Despite looking like Team Blossom had the teamfight won, their opponents still took Zapdos from under their noses.
Under pressure, Blossom coordinated a four member push onto the enemies’ bottom tier two tower in an attempt to score with their Buddy Barriers. While the rest of his team pushed, Zack “Retsu” Siharaj’s Lucario discreetly snuck into Nemesis’ top tier two tower scored 100 points, bringing the advantage down to double digits. But it wasn’t until Kyle “Phaz” Dornian’s Blissey scored 38 more points at the buzzer that Blossom managed to snake victory at the Pokémon UNITE Championship Series March Finals.
“We expected to lose,” Retsu said. “And then once we saw the score, I just started slamming my desk, our whole team was just going wild. We were screaming.”
That excitement tracked, considering the final score was 442-429 in Team Blossom’s favor. Without Phaz’s last minute heroics, even Retsu’s sneaky play wouldn’t have been enough.
Winning made Blossom the second team to win the monthly tournament hosted by the Pokémon UNITE Championship Series. The league, which started two months ago, has given the new scene support. And as a result, what looked like a simplistic MOBA at first has rightly revealed itself as a fast-paced, heart-wrenching, competitive esport.
A round of applause for all our #PokemonUNITE March Finals Champions! 👏
— Pokémon UNITE Championship Series (@UniteEsports) March 28, 2022
As a new game with incredible depth at the highest level, the Pokémon UNITE landscape fluctuates often. So far, since the announcement of the Pokémon UNITE Championship Series, every new Pokémon release has changed the meta significantly.
Right now, for example, Duraludon brought more diversity to the jungle pool due to its strength early in the game. Meanwhile, Hoopa’s ability to create portals and travel between lanes has added an entirely new dimension to map movements. Most importantly, the newest additions to the game have allowed for adaptations of drafts between games, which is the most important part of any competitive MOBA.
Managing the map
While new Pokémon can shape the meta, members of Team Blossom said they firmly believe that UNITE is a game all about macro and map rotations. Phaz pointed toward additions like Hoopa made this clear.
“I actually said the other day, I think Hoopa was the best addition to unite so far, because of the ultimate teleport,” Phaz said. “It’s added just so much diversity and macro. There’s a lot you could do with it that you couldn’t do before.”
Meanwhile, Garrett “micspam” Davis said teams that understand how to take advantage of Hoopa’s rotations better than others will find success.
“I think we just understand what Hoopa does and how it enables us to just make more choices than other teams,” micspam said. “I think we show that this weekend.”
In fact, the importance of macro combined with UNITE’s competitive depth can allow for teams like Blossom to focus on their game plan without relying on metagame staples like Duraludon. After all, while the Alloy Pokémon has dominated the solo queue ladder since its introduction, the most popular pick was nowhere to be found during their victory.
According to Retsu, that’s because Team Blossom knew Team Nemesis would be prepared for such a seemingly powerful pick.
“We scrimmed Nemesis maybe once or twice. We knew they were going to run Decidueye because of the Spirit Shackle, to poke Duraludon out from far,” Retsu said. “But, Decidueye is super squishy. So we decided we just wanted to death ball into them, get to the Decidueye so it can’t do damage.”
Blossom’s composition, which centered around Charizard and Venusaur, did just that, ultimately helping them take the March finals against Team Nemesis. And now, with two different winners in the first two monthly tournaments of the North American UNITE Championship Series, the upcoming Aeos Cup should be one to watch — especially considering Team Blossom’s confidence.
“There was a team, I won’t name them, who were so convinced they would win every tournament that they started complaining to the admins that the format doesn’t reward someone who wins every tournament prior to the world’s qualifier,” micspam said. “But luckily, we came in and solved that problem.”