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 score shield is worth it or not, here are some factors to consider.
[Related: Is Buddy Barrier still good in Pokemon Unite]
The biggest nerf to Score Shield was to its internal cooldown. What was once a 6 second cooldown is now a 20 second cooldown. Now that’s a huge change. In addition, the Score shield barrier disappears first, rather than any other barrier a pokemon may have. These changes have a lot of different implications for the meta.
First of all, the continuous dunk strat is now rendered useless. A lot of different pokemon abused Score Shield in the past, utilizing the barrier to dunk small amount of unstoppable points. And since dunking with a small amount of points provides invulnerability during the dunk, alongside bonus HP and EXP thereafter, players would acquire immense leads to carry the game. But since the cooldown is now 20 seconds, the first dunk abuse still very much works. However, after that dunk, players must play prudently rather than simply spam goals. In other words, Score Shield users must be far more intentional with their dunk timing than they had to be before.
This nerf also renders the Buddy Barrier shield stack to score massive points completely useless. In the past, pokemon like Crustle and Dragonite would pop their Unite Move, then dunk with Score Shield and Goal Getter thereafter. It would make for quite literally unstoppable, massive dunks. But since the Score Shield barrier goes down first, before any other shielding, this strategy no longer works at all.
Not completely useless?
The held item will undoubtably still see play, but it’s not nearly as versatile as it used to be. Dunk abusing has been massively nerfed, so only a select number of pokemon will realistically make use of the item. What used to be a dominant held item that provided a playstyle that was almost uncounterable has become much more of a niche itemization option.
Dunk spamming doesn’t work nearly as well. But for players who are incredibly skilled at timing their dunks, especially with low points, Score Shield will still provide some added insurance to optimize their play.
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 Buddy Barrier and Score Shield are still good, but definitely aren’t a one size fits all anymore. So be mindful of the pokemon that players utilize these held items with.
You can find more pieces like ‘Is Score Shield worth it?’ and you can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Terry.
“From Our Haus to Yours”