In a recent update, developers drastically changed the uncontested strongest held item in the game. These held items make and break the game, especially when reaching level 30 upgrades. Finally receiving nerfs, Buddy Barrier and Score Shield both no longer dominate the meta. But these were such great items, so were the nerfs really enough to displace them in the meta? Where do these held items truly stand? When considering if Buddy Barrier is worth it or not, here are some factors to consider.
[Related: Is Score Shield still good in Pokemon Unite]
Before the nerf, Buddy barrier provided 600 health as a base stat, alongside a barrier that shielded for 40% of maximum HP. But now, the item only grants 400 bonus HP, and grants a 25% maximum health shield. This is a huge nerf. Oh, and Buddy Barrier doesn’t stack with other Buddy Barriers anymore. In other words, multiple players can’t just pop Buddy Barriers at once to make a straight up unkillable team anymore.
Time to take a look and analyze the numbers.
So mathematically speaking, before the nerf Buddy Barrier granted 240 shield (a bit inaccurately calculated from the bonus HP stats only). Post nerf, it grants only 100 shield (once again inaccurately calculated using bonus HP stat from the item only). Regardless, that’s a huge difference. Especially when taking into account that 200 HP was trimmed off the bonus HP, the item’s utility drops substantially. A lot of pokemon used the item not only for the shield, but also for the massive buff in HP stat. This would remain active quite literally the entire game. What does this exactly mean for the game?
Well, the item no longer grants the uncontested highest HP stats in the game. This means that not every pokemon can make great use of it. The meta prior to the nerf allowed literally every pokemon in the game to run Buddy Barrier. No item in the game came close to the amount of defensive capabilities, and the utility of it far outweighed any offensive item in the game. With the nerfs, it no longer holds the same precedent. Therefore, most attackers are now better off building another offensive item in its place. After all, without the constant bonus HP and invulernability during Unite Move usage, Buddy Barrier is but a shallow shell of what it used to be.
Not completely useless
The item is definitely not good on every pokemon, as it used to be. But the item still has its uses. Many support pokemon should definitely still consider utilizing Buddy Barrier. For example, Blissey and Wigglytuff definitely still work fantastically with the item. And here’s why.
Both of these supporters typically build defensive held items regardless. For example, EXP share and Focus band are two staples on the mentioned supporters. EXP share provides health, and focus band grants defense and special defense. Also, both of these playable pokemon already have a high base HP stat. Therefore, the barrier provided by Buddy Barrier is sure to put in work. But that’s not all.
Blissey and Wigglytuff prioritize keeping allies alive when using their Unite Moves. Buddy Barrier synergizes perfectly with such objectives, and therefore still sees great use on these pokemon.
Both Buddy Barrier and Score Shield were in dire need of nerfs since literally the game’s initial release. The developers likely held off of the nerfs due to the “pay to win” mechanics of the game. After all, the held item upgrades, especially in the beginning of the game’s economy, determined how a vast majority of players used their real life money. Nerfing an item that players used real money to upgrade would have been an incredibly controversial move.
But since Pokemon Unite’s release, the game has made held item upgrades far easier to acquire than they once were. In essence, don’t hesitate to fully upgrade either Score Shield or Buddy Barrier. Especially for players who utilize dunk heavy pokemon. Item upgrades are honestly quite easy to come by now, so frugality is definitely not the move. Playing the game regularly will inevitably result in tons of upgrade material.
It’s great to see the meta change in such a way. Both Score Shield and Buddy Barrier are worth it fin regards to upgrading, but definitely aren’t a one size fits all anymore. So be mindful of the pokemon that players utilize these held items with.
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