Go to overview

Which held items should you upgrade first in Pokémon UNITE?

Held items – and their upgrades – are an integral part of Pokémon UNITE gameplay. Which held items should you upgrade first?

How do you upgrade items (and why?)

Picking the right held items for the Pokémon you’re using in Pokémon UNITE can literally be game-changing, so make sure you’re upgrading your items to make them more powerful. If you want to be able to upgrade your items, first and foremost make sure you’ve reached level 9 in Pokémon UNITE, as you won’t be able to upgrade before you’ve reached that mark.

If you’ve reached level 9 you can navigate towards the Battle Prep menu and select Held Items. There you can select the Pokémon you want (by pressing the X button) and your held items (by hovering over them). To upgrade your items you’ll need Item Enhancer tokens, which you can collect by simply playing the game (Challenges, Battle Pass, Aeos Emporium, …) as much as possible or you can go the microtransaction way and pay for them with money. Items can be upgraded up to level 30.

It’s no secret that the game, especially early on, can become kind of pay-to-win, as it’s possible to upgrade items with real life money. Pokémon UNITE has already faced some criticism for this aspect of the game.

Which items should you upgrade first?

So now we know that we need Item Enhancer tokens to upgrade items, we know they are often scarce and we know how to earn them. Then let’s take a look at the items that you should prioritize. There’s quite a few items that are used by a variety of Pokémon, with some having a bigger impact than others.

  • Sp. Atk. Specs

the Sp. Atk. Specs are used by a lot of the ranged attackers and damage-dealing carries in the game and are often a staple of their held item set. You’ll receive permanent Sp. Atk upon scoring a goal, which can help you escalate your lead even further. If you’re a player that enjoys these ranged attackers and carries, invest early.

  • Float Stone

Similar to the Sp. Atk. Specs, Float Stone is an item that’s used by a wide range of Pokémon. It increases your movement speed while you’re not in combat. This can be a very important item for some of the faster carries in the game, but if you’re running inside the jungle and looking to gank, it can be essential.

  • Buddy Barrier

If you’re looking for an item you can basically slap on every Pokémon and you’ll still get use out of it, you’re looking at Buddy Barrier. While it obviously works the best on Support and Tank Pokémon, it’s a very handy and versatile item, especially in a team-based game such as UNITE. It grants you and nearby ally Pokémon (with the lowest HP) a shield equal to 20% of their max HP, which can be increased by upgrading. Putting Item Enhancers into Buddy Barrier isn’t a bad choice.

  • Muscle Band

There’s a lot of Pokémon that basically build themselves around their Basic Attacks. Muscle Band is there to help out with that, increasing damage by 1% of the opposing Pokémon’s remaining HP (which can be increased further with upgrades), increasing attack damage and basic attack speed. As it’s a staple in many builds, there’s nothing wrong with investing.

  • Other options

Of course a lot of these options vary based on your playstyle and the Pokémon you enjoy playing. Scope Lens is another item that could potentially be upgraded if you enjoy playing Pokémon like Machamp and Absol. If you want to hit harder. If you’re into tanky Pokémon like Snorlax and Slowbro, Focus Band is also a great choice.

What are your favorite builds? Join the discussion on social media or our Discord!

You can also help improve our website by submitting direct feedback!

Image Credit: Pokémon / Nintendo
*The listed articles are provided through affiliate links. A purchase after clicking through them supports us at esports.com as we will receive a small commission without additional cost to you.