Pokémon players believe changes need to be made to save Unown in Legends: Z-A

The mysterious Unown will likely be featured in Pokémon Legends: Z-A, but the Gen II ‘mon is in desperate need of some changes and buffs. Fans this week shared some ideas that could help the symbol Pokémon leave a mark in the new game.

In a March 21 Reddit thread, one player suggested giving Unown a new signature Ability rather than Levitate or another that already exists. The Ability would activate when there are two or more Unown on the team, boosting their Special Attack by one stage for every ally Unown. In other words, if you had a full team of six Unown, the Ability would automatically maximize their Special Attack stat.

This would at least encourage players to collect and utilize a team of Unown for the sake of this fun gimmick. And as overpowered as the boost might sound, it’s still not as threatening as strong Belly Drum users like Azumarill or Iron Hands—especially since Unown’s only attack is Hidden Power. Perhaps Hidden Power needs to change as well.

Pikachu standing next to a group of Unown.
Unown is shrouded in mystery. Image via The Pokémon Company

When it comes to Pokémon lore, Unown is full of mystery with 28 different forms that resemble the alphabet and punctuation marks, or “ancient writing,” according to its Pokédex entries. They may also have some sort of special connection to the Alpha Pokémon Arceus considering the 28 Unown forms were scattered across the Hisui region in Legends: Arceus as unique captures. Based on their brief yet puzzling appearance right before the big Legends: Z-A announcement, we can anticipate their return in the upcoming game.

The problem is Unown is one of the worst Pokémon in the franchise from a battling perspective. With a base stat total almost as pathetic as Luvdisc and access to only a single move, Unown is pretty much useless in any serious Pokémon battle that isn’t against a Splash-spamming Magikarp. Its Levitate ability gives it a nice immunity to Ground-type attacks, but there are so many other Abilities that would be way more beneficial. A couple of changes to Unown’s Ability and signature move could definitely help it out.

Interestingly enough, Hidden Power was quite handy in the past, allowing special attackers to have a move of any type to cover their weaknesses. There’s just one issue: It has a much smaller presence in recent games. For example, it was nowhere to be seen in Sword and Shield, and it was replaced with Tera Blast in conjunction with Terastallization in Scarlet and Violet. In addition, Unown was the only Pokémon that could learn Hidden Power in Brilliant Diamond, Shining Pearl, and Legends: Arceus, when it was previously accessible to all Pokémon aside from a select few from Gen II to VII. 

Hidden Power may return again in Legends: Z-A as Unown’s signature move, but this could actually be a great opportunity to phase it out completely and introduce a permanent substitute for it. One player in another Reddit thread suggests “Type Blasts” that would essentially work like Tera Blast with secondary effects without needing the Terastallization mechanic.

This would give each Pokémon one slot on their moveset for type coverage if they need it, just like how Jolteon or Raichu would commonly run Hidden Power Ice to hit Ground-type Pokémon. For Unown specifically, I think it would be fair to let it have four of these “Type Blasts” to make it more useful than having just one Hidden Power. 

With more type coverage and a better Ability on its side, Unown would finally be able to hold its own in battle. But it’s up to Game Freak to make these big changes and completely rework the symbol Pokémon.

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