Everyone Hates The Spooky Tree

My sincerest condolences to fans of the spooky tree. Like the spirits of the children that died in the forest and became Phantumps, the Pokemon Unite developers have clearly lost their way. Trevenant has nothing to offer players that other Pokemon don’t already do much better, especially in the Defender role. There’s no reason to spend your hard-earned coins on Trevenant until it gets some serious upgrades, especially with Aegislash right around the corner.

On paper, Trevenant seems like a cool Pokemon. Its Wood Hammer and Curse abilities both offer big AOE crowd control, while its Horn Leech and Pain Split moves provide healing and single-target slaying potential. Its passive ability, Natural Cure, should provide it enough healing to stay in the battle, and its Unite Move, Phantom Forest, has the potential to turn any team fight instantly.

The problem is that none of those things are actually true in practice. Both Wood Hammer and Curse offer very little CC or damage, yet they both self-inflict damage to Trevenant. Pain Split doesn’t deal enough damage or provide enough healing and it's too easy to escape. Like the Aeos Cookie held item, Natural Cure doesn’t provide enough passive healing to make a difference in the midst of battle. And Phantom Forest is easy to avoid once you know to expect it. The only really viable build uses Curse to reset Horn Leech’s cooldown, but the combo has neither the impact or the sustain to make big plays or outlive an equal-level attacker. Simply put, Trevenant can’t really do anything.

This lack of purpose speaks to Pokemon Unite’s flawed role system, which organizes characters based on stats rather than utility. There’s a misconception among players that a Pokemon’s role defines their function and playstyle, but that isn’t the case at all. The best Junglers in the game aren’t Speedsters, they’re Attackers and All-Rounders like Cinderace, Greninja, Dragonite, and Tsareena. Two of the four supporters are actually tanks – Wigglytuff and Mr. Mime – and now, two of the Defenders – Trevenant and Greedent, have no ability to defend.

Trevenant is classified as a Defender because it has a large health pool and a high defense stat, not because its abilities make it good at defending goals. As a ‘drain tank’, Trevenant should be able to sustain tons of damage with lifesteal abilities while providing ample crowd control to protect its teammates so that stronger Pokemon can secure kills. This is what great defenders like Snorlax, Mamoswine, and Slowbro can do. Unfortunately, Trevenant can’t stay alive long enough to fulfill its role, and even if it could, it has very little impact in team fights because it can’t effectively kill or secure kills.

It’s disappointing to see a 10,000 coin Pokemon launch with so little utility, especially after the extra-long wait since Dragonite. Every aspect of Trevenant needs a buff before it will have any competitive viability. It needs better self healing, less self-inflicted damage, longer CC, and higher defense stats. Trevenants job is to sustain and soak damage for its team, but without survivability, it can’t do that well.

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