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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Snorlax

- Fates Collide

Date Reviewed:
July 14, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard:
Expanded:
Limited:

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

And now for a lazy day with a lazy Pokemon...ahhh, Snorlax, you're as popular as ever. 

BUT WOW DOES SWALLOW...well, it's bad. Swallow is Snorlax's second attack, at 4-for-50. But hey, at least it heals off the damage he deals! This is a bad attack, a really really bad attack, and I've no remorse if I were to just write off Snorlax as just plain bad because of it. 

At the least though, he makes up for it. Toss and Turn is his first attack with 3-for-30, so it's not that much better, but it does come with a catch! The attack can actually be used while Snorlax is Asleep, and if he is, it'll deal an extra 90 damage. That makes this a 3-for-120 hit when he's sleeping, which is a pretty big deal. This could actually make him a decent backup attacker in Darkrai-EX/Hypno decks where Sleeping is a good thing! 

That being said, outside of such a deck, he's an overcosted slob of a Pokemon card, so I wouldn't recommend him anywhere else. Snorlax you've got a lot of good things about you, just stay asleep and they'll be great. 

Rating 

Standard: 2/5 (his biggest asset is literally going to sleep...) 

Expanded: 2/5 (...) 

Limited: 2.5/5 (......yeahhhhhhh) 

Arora Notealus: But seriously, where can you find Snorlax in Pokemon Go? I'm sure he's around, I keep seeing people with him taking over Gyms. Where are you, you sleepy giant lazy bear... 

Next Time: DOUBLE AURA POWER


Otaku

Cue up some Skeleton Key, ‘cause it’s time to watch the fat ‘mon swing! 

Snorlax (XY: Fates Collide 77/124) is a Colorless Type, so it 

·         Doesn’t get to enjoy Weakness
·        
Have to worry about Resistance
·        
Enjoys some proven Type specific support
·        
Doesn’t face any proven Type-specific counters 

“Proven” in this instance means something that at least one noteworthy deck has used well in high level play (like top cutting at a major event), or multiple decks have used reasonably well in slightly lower level play (top cutting in multiple low level events).  Let’s keep with the bullet points today: as a Basic Pokémon Snorlax

·         Takes minimal deck space to run (1 card = 1 copy)
·        
Takes minimal effort to put into play
·        
Can be your opener/meets minimum deck requirement
·        
Enjoys proven Stage specific support
·        
Enjoys a natural synergy with certain card effects
·        
Has to deal with Stage specific counters 

Quality can matter as much or more than quantity, but in this case all the points may be equally valid, so five to one being a Basic is awesome.  140 HP is the new record set by this card for Basic Pokémon which lack a special gimmick like being a Pokémon-EX.  Fighting Weakness is still probably the worst Weakness to have right now; the Fighting Type does not contain the current top decks, in fact I’m not sure if any of the current best decks are Fighting Types, but we are looking not just at how often something is played, but how dangerous it is when you encounter it.  The Fighting Type typically enjoy attacks with good damage-to-Energy ratios, often at least one single Energy attack, and multiple effects that boost damage done which stack not only with each other, but damage buffs from the general card pool.  Lack of Resistance is the worst, but also typical; here it is a bit noteworthy since even if only against a single Type it would have meant an effective 160 HP against OHKOs, 180 against 2HKOs, etc.  The Retreat Cost of [CCCC] is pretty obviously bad, but perhaps not as bad as it looks; at one less Energy it would still be too expensive to afford in the long term, often even pay at all.  Pack at least one reusable alternative to retreating at full price, several that aren’t, or a way to tank if it is forced Active too soon; preferably some combination of at least two of the preceding.  Heavy Ball and Heavy Boots become possibilities, but I’ll tell you now they aren’t likely to matter. 

Snorlax knows two attacks: “Toss and Turn” and “Swallow”.  The first one requires [CCC] and the second [CCCC]; it is good they are staggered, but such a high cost on the “cheap” one means this is a slow attacker by modern pacing, with even Double Colorless Energy you’ll need one more form of Energy acceleration to ready it in one turn.  Toss and Turn does only 30 damage, which would be awful but there is a “+” symbol beside it.  The effect text clarifies that not only can the attack be used while Snorlax is Asleep, but it does an additional 90 damage if that is the case.  The card has no way to put Snorlax itself to Sleep, so this attack is decent but not great; your opponent is unlikely to do it for you (a bit better odds in Expanded thanks to Hypnotoxic Laser) but the card pool does contain an answer.  If it didn’t the attack would be terrible because while 120 for three is awesome and even 30 for three is at least barely functional filler, the awesome damage would be almost impossible to pull off.  Swallow, the second attack, does 50 damage while healing Snorlax by the same amount of damage it did to the opposing Pokémon.  On its own, this would be bad because it is a lot of Energy for not a lot of damage; even with its massive HP the healing is only going to matter some of the time, so it is merely decent.  Really wish he has this attack with lower damage but a lower Energy cost.  Though a way to inflict Sleep on itself would probably be best of all. 

Before we get into the combo you probably figured, let us run through the other currently legal Snorlax cards.  As my favorite Pokémon, I forget how often it is printed because most versions have been so lackluster, especially those legal for Expanded or Standard play: BW: Boundaries Crossed 109/149, BW: Plasma Storm 101/135, XY: Kalos Starter Set 36/39, XY: Flashfire 80/106 (reprinted as Generations 58/83), and XY: BREAKthrough 118/162.  All are Basic Colorless Pokémon with 100+ HP, Fighting Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CCCC], and no Ancient Traits.  BW: Boundaries Crossed 109/149 is the run of the litter with 100 HP exactly and two attacks, both very vanilla and recycled from older non-Snorlax cards.  “Double Lariat” needs [CCC] so you can flip two coins good for 40 damage per “heads” (“tails” adds no damage) while “Rollout” does 60 for [CCCC].  Badly underpowered, and if you’re going to make a Snorlax this small (relative to its norm) then it could at least have lower attack costs so it could be the “fast one”.  Gonna skip to XY: Kalos Starter Set 36/39 because it is the same story, but the details are different; 120 HP is better but its attacks are also recycled.  “Rock Smash” costs [CCC] to do 10 with a coin flip to add 30 (so if lucky 40 for three) while “Strength” at least improves on Rollout since it still costs [CCCC] but does 70.  From here, things won’t always be good but at least they’ll be interesting. 

BW: Plasma Storm 101/135 jumps up to the then maximum HP for a non-Basic Pokémon-EX of 130, gains Team Plasma affiliation (and thus access to their card support), the Ability “Block”, and the attack “Teampact”  Being a Team Plasma Pokémon is a good thing; a few cards punish you for it but they have some great themed support.  Block stops the opponent’s Active Pokémon from retreating.  Another effect can still change out the Active, but it is a solid trick that at least partially counters effects like those of Keldeo-EX; even with Float Stone a Keldeo-EX is stuck up front unless another card effect gets it out.  Teampact is crazy expensive with a cost of [CCCCC] but thanks to the extra Energy acceleration available to Team Plasma Pokémon (plus some available in general), while difficult this attack was used successfully in some competitive decks.  Block however ended up being good enough to be used without it, as some would try to open with Snorlax [Plasma] to soak hits and disrupt an opponent’s open (which often needed something to be able to retreat).  Add in Hypnotoxic Laser and additional disruption and there was even a Quad Snorlax deck that did well for a short, short time.  This Snorlax was reviewed here. 

XY: Flashfire 80/106 loses the Team Affiliation but still has 130 HP, an Ability, and a pricy attack.  This time the Ability is “Stir and Snooze”, which causes you to flip two coins instead of one to see if Snorlax wakes up from Sleep and if either is “tails” this Snorlax is still Asleep.  The attack is “Sleepy Press” and does 120 damage for [CCCC], heals 20 damage from Snorlax before putting itself to Sleep as the last part of the attack.  Decent attack with an Ability designed to keep Snorlax from working as well as it otherwise might.  Really wishing today’s card had gotten Sleep Press instead of Swallow.  Last up is XY: BREAKthrough it has 120 HP with an Ability and attack.  The Ability is “Plump Body” which reduces the damage this Snorlax takes by 30 (after Weakness and Resistance, of course).  The attack costs [CCCC] again, but “Knock Away” only does 50 damage with a coin flip to try and make it 80 (“heads” adds 30 damage, “tails” adds none).  Glad we didn’t get stuck with Knock Away on today’s card but imagine if Swallow had been skipped and it just had Plump Body.  This Snorlax was reviewed here but with that attack he was only worth it as a meatshield, and we’ve already got plenty of great walls. 

So none of these Snorlax are likely competition for today’s card since they just aren’t that good or are Snorlax [Plasma] and can be good but with a very specific deck that doesn’t do much for Snorlax (XY: Fates Collide 77/124).  Which is a shame because that might have been an answer to a problem with its deck.  Yes, it has its own deck.  Not a tournament winning deck, but a functional piece of work using Hypno (XY: BREAKpoint 51/122) to constantly put both your own and your opponent’s Active Pokémon to Sleep.  This enables you to swing away with Toss and Turn while the opposing Active may even be Asleep and unable to attack or retreat.  This harkens back to Snorlax (Jungle 11/64, 27/64; Legendary Collection 64/110) and how it was used in Turbo Snorlax decks where Drowzee (Team Rocket 54/82; Legendary Collection 73/110) could use its “Long Distance-Hypnosis” to flip a coin and if “heads” the opponent’s Active was Asleep but if “tails” yours was instead.  Dark Gloom had a similar Poké-Power (Pollen Stench) except the flip was for Confusion.  Toss in a Dark Vileplume to block Trainers and you could have a chunky Active immune to Special Conditions while each Drowzee gave you a coin flip for Sleep, each Dark Gloom a coin flip for Confusion, and Snorlax itself a coin flip for Paralysis via its attack.  For the record, the Drowzee turned out to be overkill. 

So do we do the same thing here?  Unfortunately no; even though we could use Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98) to lock down Items, you need Hypno to put Snorlax to Sleep.  You also will want to make sure you can get Fighting Fury Belt onto its ample frame plus there are other Items you won’t want to part with so even though it might be tempting, it isn’t happening.  You do have the option of running the deck without Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108), though you’ll need Octillery (XY: BREAKthrough 33/162).  Altaria (XY: Roaring Skies 74/108, XY: Black Star Promos XY46) is nice to rid Snorlax of its Fighting Weakness as well.  It isn’t bad for a budget deck but you get slaughtered if Abilities go offline.  There are other smaller issues like you would expect, but the crippling bit is that without Abilities, Snorlax has to swing for 30 or 50 damage.  I remembered to build and test this deck on the PTCGO before writing a review this time, and once I faced a Greninja BREAK deck I realized how fragile this deck could be: the Fighting Type opponent’s weren’t fun either but one could still fight back against them.  Makes me miss the obscure Item Tropical Wind, which could leave both Active Pokémon Asleep. 

So for Expanded and Standard, Snorlax (XY: Fates Collide 77/124) is super niché but at least it has a small role it performs well (better than some versions of the card).  For Limited it is good but not for Toss and Turn.  Hypno is from another set so your opponent would have to put Snorlax to Sleep.  Instead Swallow becomes amazing due to the typically lower average HP scores and damage output seen here.  Snorlax may seem immortal with 140 HP while doling out and healing 50 damage with each attack.  Though Swallow improves, that Fighting Weakness is still quite dangerous given this set’s focus on the Type, so while Snorlax is nearly a must run. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2.5/5 

Expanded: 2.25/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Even being a huge Snorlax fan (pun intended), Snorlax (XY: Fates Collide 77/124) is basically half of a combo that exists, but in a form that faces some key counters right now.  Enjoy it in a fun or budget deck and in Limited play.  Unless we get a Trainer or Energy that can allow you to put Snorlax to Sleep without relying on Abilities, or Ability counters suddenly become less effective.  Then revisit this card and its deck, as it might surprise us all.


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