– Hidden Fates
September 3, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Well, this is one frustrating Pokémon to go up against. Komala greatest niche is keeping its eyes closed, so the developers will make sure Komala remains Asleep as long as possible. Snooze is it’s first step to put itself to sleep and hopefully remain asleep as long as you flip tails. While in it’s snoozing state, it’s Drowsing ability puts SIX damage counters on your opponent’s Active Pokémon between turns! If you’re lucky, you could eventually KO Tag Team Pokémon……….well, potentially! You’re guaranteed to put six damage counters after you used Snooze, but then you have a lot on your plate to make the RNG in your favor in addition to surviving attacks. 90 HP isn’t going to get you far.
Expanded has more combos, like Bursting Balloon to further put damage counters if it gets damaged from your opponent’s attacks. Hypno from Breakpoint has an ability that put both Active Pokémon Asleep to hopefully make sure your opponent doesn’t get to attack. So far, we’ve get a deck whose strategy revolves about sleeping, but there are couple switch related cards that can mess up the sleep strategy. That, and Guzma ruins any hopes of Komala. If left unattended, however, then Komala will decimate any Pokémon by accumulating damage between turns.
Komala (SM – Unified Minds 185/236) is our subject today, and this is the first Komala card we’ve reviewed. Granted, the only other one is Komala (SM – Guardians Rising 114/145; SM – Black Star Promos SM41), so it isn’t like we’ve been ignoring a lot of cards. Komala lacks any specialty mechanics; in a metagame dominated by Pokémon-GX, it giving up only one Prize when KO’d is something of an advantage. It is a [C] Type; no Type support or counters in Standard, and none that have proven useful for Expanded-play for years, if memory serves. Weakness and Resistance wouldn’t be a concern regardless of Type as – peeking ahead – Komala has no attacks that deal damage.
Komala has 90 HP, making it an easy OHKO while Active and not too much better while on the Bench if your opponent can strike it there. 90 is small enough for Level Ball in Expanded, which may prove relevant. [F] Weakness is dangerous, though not the worst at the moment. Lack of Resistance is the worst, though not dangerous; -20 damage for a single matchup is handy, but hardly a requirement. The Retreat Cost of [C] is typical for Basic Pokémon, and reasonable to pay, plus an Escape Board or U-Turn Board would let Komala retreat for free.
Komala has one Ability and attack. The former is “Drowsing”, which places six damage counters on your opponent’s Active between turns only if Komala is (and remains) Asleep during that time. The latter is “Snooze”, which costs [C] and puts Komala to Sleep. This is a straightforward combo; Snooze so that Komala is Asleep, then Drowsing places six damage counters on your opponent’s Active. If Komala isn’t KO’d by your opponent and remains Asleep, another six damage counters would be placed going into your turn. There is a word for this: complicated. Which doesn’t mean it is or is not good, but does mean I’ll have to explain.
In a roundabout way, Komala is attacking to place six damage counters on your opponent’s Active. 60 damage for [C] would be a great return, though without offensive tricks to hit key numbers and/or defensive buffs to keep Komala from being easily KO’d (or make it so the KO’s don’t matter), it wouldn’t be enough to matter. Defenses against damage from an attack are much more common than those that protect from damage counter placement by an Ability, but counters for the latter do exist. Komala is fortunate that, right now, Ability denial in Standard is almost non-existent; in Expanded there are many hard counters to Abilities, being run to handle parts of the existing metagame.
Yet I can’t think of a good Standard deck for Komala, but Expanded might have something. Use Hypno (XY – BREAKpoint 51/122) for its “Goodnight, Babies” Ability that leaves both player’s Active Pokémon Asleep. Add in Slumbering Forest (SM – Unified Minds 207/236) so that both players need to flip two coins (and get “heads”) to wake up from Sleep between turns. Finally, since we’re not attacking, how about cards like Wynaut (SM – Unified Minds 77/236). They have potentially useful Abilities that can be used from the Bench but not only do the Abilities require a coin flip, but regardless of “heads” or “tails” your turn ends after using them. Besides this, Komala looks quite good for the Limited Format; 90 HP might survive an attack or two, while the attack and Ability combo provide a very good offense here.
Komala is one of the cards nominated for our countdown of the Top 11 Cards of SM – Unified Minds. It fell far short of making it, clocking in at a would-be 20th place after losing a tie-breaker roll-off to Beheyeem (SM – Unified Minds 91/236). I like what it is trying to do, but it seems more like it can only harass an opponent, instead of seriously threatening them… and I just don’t think a “Komala Harass” deck is worth it. Which is why it didn’t make my own list. If you’re wondering why the score is the same for Standard and Expanded; I had an idea for how to use it in Expanded, but it faces so many counters and competition there; Standard is more open, but I’ve got nothing.
Bonus: Let’s address that other Komala. It has the same everything as today’s version except for 10 less HP, [C] more Retreat, a different Ability, and a different attack. The Ability is “Comatose”, which puts Komala to Sleep if you attach an Energy to it from your hand while it is Active. [CCC] pays for the attack, “Hypno Roll”, which does 100 damage… except its effect text states the attack can be used while Komala is Asleep but does nothing if Komala isn’t Asleep. Which means this is just an easily OHKO’d Basic that cannot hit for Weakness and does 100 for three in a very complicated manner… when 100 for three is merely “okay” under normal circumstances. At least this all fits with the lore of the Pokémon.
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