Klawf isn’t just a retread of the first-generation Krabby for Generation 9 and the Scarlet and Violet video games, but is instead a Rock-type Pokemon with a unique ability. The in-game sprite is much better looking than the cartoonish representation on the official Pokemon Company website, and among the early looks at the Paldea region, it appears to be an early fan-favorite.
It’s a bit of a shame that Klawf is a mono Rock-type and not a dual Rock/Water type, a la Omastar. What it does have in abundance is a great deal of early lore to sift through in order to get an idea what you can expect from this Ambush Pokemon.
One of the neater aspects of Klawf’s design is its “spinning eyes that leave no blind spots.” It can rotate its protruding eyeballs to see everything around it. Klawf often clings to cliffs upside-down in order to ambush prey from above. However, it can’t stay upside-down too long, as the blood rushing to its head can make it dizzy. This lore suggests that whenever a trainer is near sea-side cliffs, you need to tread carefully and watch for Klawf potentially hiding out.
Next, we learn that Klawf has claws that are “both strong and dexterous.” The Pokemon website explains that its claws offer it a very tight grip, especially when it holds onto its prey. It will often use one claw to immobilize the prey while using the other to beat it down. Also, like many real-life crabs, Klawf can lose a claw in battle or in an accident and it will eventually grow back. As it would happen, Klawf claws are a delicacy in the Paldea region and are a valuable component in many recipes.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Klawf, however, is its unique Anger Shell ability. The Pokemon website explains:
“When Klawf’s HP drops to half or less, the Pokémon gets angry. This lowers its Defense and Sp. Def stats but boosts its Attack, Sp. Atk, and Speed stats.” – The Pokemon Company
Interestingly, while it’s likely that Klawf will ordinarily be a physical Attacker, it’s important to note that it also boosts its Special Attack stat with its ability. This means that Klawf may actually be a somewhat decent mixed attacker, but as a mono Rock-type, it will be limited in its movepool.
Klawf does have another potential ability in Shell Armor, which prevents critical hits from landing. While this isn’t a bad ability, you’ll want a specimen with Anger Shell if you plan to use it on your team long-term.
Defensively, the Rock-type is one of the worst in the Pokemon franchise, being weak against Fighting, Grass, Ground, Steel, and Water-type moves. The Rock type does resist Fire, Flying, Normal, and Poison-type moves, however. Rock-type moves on offense are super-effective against Bug, Fire, Flying, and Ice-type Pokemon, although half as effective against Fighting, Ground, and Steel-type Pokemon. Fortunately, Klawf will probably be well-situated to being a team member for the early to middle part of the main adventure if you choose its type match-ups carefully.
For an unevolved Pokemon, Klawf has pretty good stats. While 70 HP is mediocre, its 115 physical Defense is above average. It also has a fair 75 speed, which in the first half of the game is going to be perfectly OK, especially if you invest in its stats with Power held items, vitamins, etc. Klawf is going to tank a lot of hits, long as they aren’t Water, Grass, Fighting, Ground, and Steel hits. Klawf is pretty lousy on Special Defense, though, so you may as well go all in on its Attack or Defense at the expense of Special Defense or Special Attack.
If you want to use Klawf more on offense than defense, you’re in luck. Klawf has an excellent 100 base Physical attack. Sadly, it does not learn Body Press, which would take advantage of its high Defense stat. Klawf learns decent attacking moves in X-Scissor, High Horsepower, and Rock Slide. It also has Protect and Iron Defense to shore up its defenses. Notably, Klawf also learns some excellent egg moves in Crabhammer, Endeavor, and Knock Off. So, there are some good options here, especially if your Klawf has a Tera Type to take advantage of any of the non Rock-type moves.
On defense, Klawf unfortunately has those five weaknesses. On the plus side, Rock resists Normal, Fire, Poison, and Flying moves. So, it can be a decent defensive switch-in that can outspeed slower threats with solid hitting moves and type coverage. All in all, this is not a bad Pokemon on either offense or defense, but, it does require that your team be able to cover for its many weaknesses while also leaning into its strengths.
While Klawf is a Pokemon that requires very deft team-building around to use effectively, it’s one of the best early game Pokemon you can get in Scarlet and Violet. It may never break into high-tier competitive play, but it’s not intended for that. Klawf is actually a Pokemon you could use the entire game, although it will have to be left out of some battles due to its shortcomings when it comes to being hammered by so many different types.
Fortunately, not only is Klawf a popular Pokemon from Generation 9, it also happens to be a good one. What do you think of Klawf?
Photo Credit: The Pokemon Company
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