Smoliv was one of the first new Pokemon revealed to be in Scarlet and Violet, the Generation 9 pocket monster adventure games for the Nintendo Switch. According to the official Pokemon Scarlet and Violet website, Smoliv is a Normal/Grass type that stores oil made from nutrients gathered through photosynthesis in the fruit on its head. While it may seem like a token reference to Spain, which the Paldea region this game is based on, there may be more to this little olive than meets the eye.
Among the early reveals for Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, Smoliv stands out as an early-game Pokemon. It’s specifically one of the Pokemon that one of your in-game friends Nemona uses. Besides, the token Electric Mouse in Pawmi and the regional Normal-type in Lechonk, Smoliv has a few interesting qualities that could make it a solid team member in the Scarlet and Violet adventure.
What stands out about Smoliv is its dual typing. Normal/Grass is a typing only shared in the Pokemon franchise by Deerling and Sawsbuck from Generation 5’s Black and White installments. Sawsbuck was a low-tier competitive Pokemon in its debut generation, in part because of its Normal type. (Interestingly enough, Deerling and Sawsbuck are returning for Scarlet and Violet!)
The Normal type gives Sawsbuck an immunity to Ghost-type moves, the same immunity Smoliv receives in this case. But, the other major tool that Sawsbuck has is its Sap Sipper ability, giving it not only an additional immunity to Grass-type moves, but also a boost to its physical Attack were it to be hit with a Grass-type move.
Alternatively, Sawsbuck can also have the Chlorophyll ability, which doubles its speed in Intense Sun set up by abilities such as Drought or moves like Sunny Day. Both are useful abilities, but in competitive Smogon singles, Sawsbuck has typically run with Sap Sipper as a switch-in against competitive Grass types such as Cacturne, Cradily, Ludicolo, Serperior, or Tangela.
Unfortunately, Smoliv does not have access to the Sap Sipper nor Chlorophyll abilities, despite both of these potentially making sense with the Pokemon’s design. What Smoliv has instead is the Early Bird ability. This ability is situational, but it can be helpful; it cuts the time a Pokemon would be asleep in half, including self-induced sleep. If Smoliv ends up with an evolution, this ability would give it the ability to use the move Rest more efficiently as a recovery tool.
Unlike Sawsbuck, Smoliv will most likely be more of a special attacker. On the plus side, Smoliv may end up with a signature move, as many of the Scarlet and Violet new Pokemon do. This is suggested by the mention of Smoliv having “oil so bitter and astringent it will make you flinch.” A status move that could serve as a sort of Fake Out effect could be rather useful in the early game to help you catch Pokemon for your team.
It’s also fully possible that in the open-world environment of Scarlet and Violet, when encountering one in the wild, Smoliv could use this oil as a defense mechanism when startled to make the player character flinch. While Smoliv seems more of a Pokemon created for flavor (no pun intended), I think while its design is quite basic, it should be a welcome addition to the early parts of the ninth generation experience.
Photo Credit: The Pokemon Company
Pokémon and All Respective Names are Trademark & © of Nintendo 1996-2022