Is Komala Good? – A Scarlet and Violet Pokemon Review

Komala Pokemon 775

Komala is a particularly fascinating case to study for its inclusion in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. The cute koala-like Pokemon is only making its second ever appearance in the franchise for Generation 9, after debuting in Generation 7 with Sun & Moon, and appearing after that only in the upgraded Gen 7 games Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

The Normal-type Komala is a tiny bugger, standing only one-foot-four and weighing roughly 44 lbs. Komala is only weak to Fighting-type moves and is immune to Ghost-type moves. However, despite its uninteresting defensive typing, it does have above-average Attack and Special Defense stats and a decent move pool. Also, the Drowsing Pokemon has a unique ability called Comatose.

Serebii.net gives this description of the Comatose ability:

It acts as if it is affected by the Sleep status condition. All special effects of moves based on the Sleep status condition affect this Pokémon such as Snore & Sleep Talk working from the Pokémon with Comatose and double damage from Hex & Wake-up Slap, Dream Eater & Nightmare and even abilities such as Bad Dreams will activate. This Pokémon can still attack.

There are few Pokemon in recent generations that are this unique and have a flavor win that can actually work in the pocket monster’s favor. According to its Pokedex entries from Sun and Ultra Sun, each Komala is actually born asleep and it even dies asleep. Any movement that it makes is apparently little more than Komala turning and tossing in its dreams. Also, Komala apparently can still function even while asleep, eating a bunch of leaves with sedative properties while it sleep walks. The Moon Pokedex entry adds a bit more depth, revealing that the log that Komala holds is a gift given to it by its parents at birth. Also, Komala are known to cling to the arms of friendly trainers. How adorable!

Far as lore being translated to in-game mechanics, not being affected by status conditions is a major point in Komala’s favor in terms of gameplay. It’s also good to know where the log Komala holds comes from, which also backs up Komala’s strong physical attack base stat, which we’ll get to in a moment. But, for some inexplicable reason, Komala learns neither Snore nor Sleep Talk by level up; it only learns the latter by TM. It’s not like it really needs a Sleep Talk set to succeed, but that’s a bit of a flavor fail.

Also, despite having a strong 115 base Physical attack and strong 95 Special Defense, it has a meh special attack stat of 75, and its other stats are base 65. Naturally, these are not stats that will gain you much favor with competitive players. That being said, although now Smogon University lists Komala as untiered, they don’t dismiss it entirely in their write-up of its niche it once enjoyed in the lowest tier (PU) of competitive singles during the Sun and Moon era.

To summarize, Komala was used by players to pivot into status condition inducing moves, plus being immune to Toxic Spikes, still fairly common at that point in competitive Pokemon history. In addition, Komala can actually learn Rapid Spin to blow away entry hazards. Also, Komala can learn U-Turn, which many commonly played Normal-types couldn’t learn, such as Stoutland, Kangaskhan, and Zangoose. This allows Komala to Rapid Spin, then U-Turn to chip in some damage and switch into a better match-up.

Strangely enough, Komala’s main issue is what’s often referred to as “four move-slot syndrome.” This is because since the beginning of the Pokemon franchise, Pokemon have only ever been able to hold four moves at once; while this used to be much more of a drawback in regular gameplay, Generation 8 finally made it easy to relearn moves. But, in competitive play, there are certain Pokemon that must have their move-sets customized purely to the needs of the battle team around them.

As alluded to earlier, Komala actually learns some pretty good moves, including hard hitting Physical moves such as Earthquake, Play Rough, Sucker Punch, and Wood Hammer. But, it obviously can’t run all of these, as it’s best to have Rapid Spin and U-Turn on Komala for utility purposes, so you can only choose two. Komala did used to run Return as a Normal-type move for STAB (Same-Type Attack Bonus) but that move was removed in Generation 8. So, your typical Komala would now run Rapid Spin, U-Turn, and two of Earthquake, Play Rough, Sucker Punch, and Wood Hammer, whichever you need to cover your team’s offensive downsides.

The other major downside to Komala is despite having solid bulk against special attackers, it’s pretty frail against physical attackers. So, in addition to having to pick your spots to pivot into status moves, you have to keep in mind whether the opposing Pokemon leans into physical or special moves. Also, you need to keep in mind the opponent’s speed stat, to ensure you’ll be able to U-Turn effectively, or even get in a Rapid Spin before peacing out.

Most competitive players in Gen 7 would actually dump a lot of Effort Value (EV) investment into HP and Attack, with a tiny bit being added to Speed just to outspeed certain common Pokemon in the PU tier. Dumping the investment into HP is better than into the defenses sometimes, especially if the extra HP helps Komala live another day.

The best teammates for Komala back in the day were anything weak to Stealth Rock, particularly Fire and Flying types, which it could help with its Rapid Spin. The Drowsing Pokemon also appreciates Healing Wish support from the likes of Clefairy and Musharna.

Ironically, despite Komala being immune to Ghost-type attacks, because Rapid Spin is a Normal-type move, Ghost type Pokemon such as Spiritomb can “spin block.” While Komala can carry Sucker Punch, it was better for a teammate to be able to clear opposing Ghost-types first. Considering the number of new Ghost-type Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet, this is not in Komala’s favor.

As far as Komala being competitive in the massively power crept Generation 9, I don’t see it hanging around even in the lowest tier of Smogon competitive singles for very long. That being said, I think Komala should still be a fun Pokemon to use in the open-world adventure of Scarlet and Violet. It remains to be seen how common entry hazards will be, but one thing that Rapid Spin definitely can’t deal with is Substitute, a move that appears to be one that will be extremely common in Generation 9 play. Still, having a Pokemon immune to status conditions will be helpful in many situations, and it hits hard enough with some good type-coverage moves to warrant a spot on an adventuring team.

When it comes to lore, it seems that Komala will still be hunted by Hypno in Paldea just as it was in the Alola region. I’m more than happy to cut down some Hypno to save these cute drowsy mons. I’m also going to be using one in at least one of my playthroughs of Scarlet and Violet. I just love the koala-like Pokemon’s flavor and potential to be a solid teammate during my adventure.

What do you think of Komala? Do you plan to use one in your playthroughs of Scarlet and Violet?

Writing words, spreading love, Amelia Desertsong primarily writes creative nonfiction articles, as well as dabbling in baseball, Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, and whatever else tickles her fancy.
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