Cool battle picture coming soon…
Dragon Pokémon. They’re hard to find, hard to catch, and a royal pain to raise, but once you’ve got a fully-evolved dragon on your team, having its power at your disposal is a pretty awesome payoff. While the type isn’t at OP as it once was (Fairy types just laugh at dragons, and everyone and their mother carries Ice Beam these days), they’re still potent Pokémon that you’d better have a game plan for.
Nearly every Pokémon generation has a new Dragon-type line for you to lose sleep over, and Pokémon Sun and Moon’s addition to the family is Kommo-o, a giant scaly monster that pushes you to the limit in the Vast Poni Canyon trial late in the game. The sudden-but-deadly encounter reminded me a bit of when Lance sprung his Dragon-type monsters on me in Pokémon Red, closing the fight with his nasty-tough Dragonite. Both encounters were close battles of attrition, but which of these dragons is the tougher out? This could only be settled with…a face-off!
(As always, the data in the following analysis comes from the good folks at Serebii.net.)
|Kommo-o (Dragon/Fighting)||Dragonite (Dragon/Flying)|
|Strong Against…||6 Types||4 Types|
|Ineffective Against…||1 Type||1 Type|
|Can’t Hit Type?||No||No|
|Resists…||7 Types||5 Types|
|Weak To…||5 Types||4 Types|
|4x Weakness?||Yes (Fairy)||Yes (Ice)|
The numbers advantage belongs to Kommo-o here, as it both stronger against and resistant to more attack types than Dragonite. It’s worth noting, however, the Fairy types are a huge blind spot for Kommo-o, as it takes quadruple damage from their attacks while only having ineffective fighting moves to counterpunch. (In contrast, Dragonite can at least hit Ice-types for neutral damage with Dragon-type moves.) The raw numbers are enough to tilt this category in Kommo-o’s favor, but only by a nose.
Advantage: Kommo-o (slightly)
With total stat counts at 600, it’s clear that these two aren’t playing around. The special stats are mostly a push, so it’s the other four stats on the board that will settle this category:
- Both Pokémon will be leaning on their Attack stats for damage, but Dragonite’s eye-popping +24 advantage means it will hitting significantly harder.
- Kommo-o, however, has an even-more-eye-popping +30 Defense advantage, which becomes even more imposing when paired with its type resistances. Even if attacker focus on its Spec. Defense, it still has a +10 advantage on Dragonite’s relatively-low 95 Defense.
- Dragonite’s +16 HP advantage helps mitigate its defensive deficiencies, however, while Kommo-o’s mediocre 75 HP means it’s going to need every last point of its Defense.
- The dragons’ Speed stats are pretty close, but being both the slowest and the squishiest of the pair is a significant strike against Dragonite.
Here again, I think the numbers give Kommo-o the advantage, but only by the slightest of margins.
Advantage: Kommo-o (slightly)
Unlike the prior two categories, this one isn’t close at all. Flinch-preventing abilities like Inner Focus have limited usefulness, and Multiscale requires some sort of healing-backed strategy to make it useful more than once a battle. Bulletproof and Soundproof block entire classes of attacks (which include some fairly powerful ones), while Overcoat prevents hail and sandstorm damage and nullifies powder-based attacks (and as someone who makes heavy use of Sleep Powder, this scares the heck out of me). Kommo-o wins this one going away
|Top 3 STAB Attacks|
|Sky Uppercut||Fighting||85||P||Dragon Rush||Dragon||100||P|
|Top 3 Non-STAB Attacks|
|Bide||Normal||Damage Taken x2||P||Slam||Normal||80||P|
|Other Notable Moves|
|Dragon Dance||Raises Attack and Speed||Fire Punch||Fire||75||P|
|Iron Defense||Sharply raises Defense||Dragon Dance||Raises Attack and Speed|
|Dragon Claw||Dragon||80||P||Roost||Heals up to 1/2 HP|
This might look like an impressive table on the surface, but in reality both Pokémon pay a huge price for their power:
|Outrage||120||Confuses user after 2-3 turns|
|Clanging Scales||110||Lowers user’s Defense, uses Spec. Attack|
|Hurricane||110||Poor accuracy (70%), uses Spec. Attack|
|Hyper Beam||150||User loses a turn, uses Spec. Attack|
|Dragon Rush||100||Poor accuracy (75%)|
|Slam||80||Poor accuracy (75%)|
Basically, if you’re looking for phenomenal cosmic power out of these two, you can get it, but it may not be as OP as you might think.
So what can you get out of these two Pokémon reliably? It depends on what you’re looking for:
- For raw STAB power, Kommo-o is your dragon. Dragon Claw and Sky Uppercut are two of the best physical, no-side-effect moves for Dragon and Fighting types respectively, and it has a ton of stat-boosting moves (Dragon Dance, Iron Defense, Work Up, Autotomize, and even Belly Drum) to boost it from ‘tough, powerful Pokémon’ into ‘potential team-sweeper’ territory.
- If you want a Swiss army knife with some decent type coverage, Dragonite is the better fit. With moves like Fire Punch, Thunder Punch, Aqua Tail, and even Hyper Beam at its disposal, Dragonite has a few options for taking on a wide variety of foes. (Compare this to Kommo-o, whose non-STAB options—Tackle? Bide?—are just pitiful.)
The winner of this category, therefore, depends on the answer to the question “What do you want in a Dragon, anyway?” For me, a Dragon-type Pokémon is a safety blanket, a Pokémon I can toss against foes that I have no other viable counter for. Type coverage isn’t quite as important as just being able to do some credible damage to my opponent, so I’m looking for safe, solid STAB attacks, with the option to unleash Outrage-esque fury in an emergency. For my tastes, Kommo-o is the way to go.
|Top 4 TM Moves|
|Poison Jab||Poison||80||P||Stone Edge||Rock||100||P|
|Shadow Claw||Ghost||70||P||Dragon Claw||Dragon||80||P|
|Aerial Ace||Flying||60||P||Steel Wing||Steel||70||P|
As usual, TMs ride to the rescue to fill in the gaps in both Pokémon’s natural movesets:
- With Ground-, Bug-, Ghost-, Flying-, Dark-, Fire-, Steel-, and especially Poison-type moves (Fairy types beware!) at its disposal, Kommo-o finds itself with more than enough type coverage to go around.
- Dragonite not only gains access to less-risky STAB moves like Dragon Claw, Aerial Ace, and Fly, but it also sees its type coverage broaden with powerful moves like Earthquake and Stone Edge. Some of these gains, however, are watered down by their reliance of Spec. Attack (Fire Blast, Surf, Thunder, etc.).
Dragonite gains a bit more in terms of power and flexibility, so it wins the battle here. Kommo-o, however, fills in its one major weakness and positions itself to win the war.
What is a Dragon-type Pokémon? André Malraux would call it a miserable little pile of power, and I would agree with him wholeheartedly. Dragons are less about working type matches and exploiting weaknesses, and more about drawing a line in the sand and daring your opponent to cross it. Dragonite may have more raw power, but Kommo-o’s defensive stinginess, its steady, to-the-point moveset, and its superior type and abilities give it the edge to emerge victorious from most any battle, just as it does here.
However, Dragonite is only deficient in a relative sense: With its impressive stat count and raw power, there aren’t a lot of Pokémon that will stand in its way either. Dragons have been a stalwart of strength ever since the days of Pokémon Red and Blue, and will likely be a staple of strong Pokémon teams for many generations to come.