Snorlax is an interesting Pokémon. There are currently three available cards in the modified format; two from RR and one from DP. In addition, there is a Snorlax LV.X. This article will only discuss the RR versions. I’ll differentiate the two Basic cards by their illustrations – one has Snorlax eating apples in an orchard and the other in a kitchen. All of these Snorlax cards have some common advantages and disadvantages.
Pros – They are Basics with high HP, they can gain some advantage from Sleep, their attacks do a decent amount of damage.
Cons – They are weak to Fighting types, they have a high Retreat Cost, they have huge energy costs for their main Attack, they often suffer from falling Asleep.
In my opinion, it’s the sleeping problem and high Energy requirements that really limits them. To give them a chance of being viable, both of these downfalls need to be eliminated or greatly reduced.
Wakey Wakey –
Snorlax needs an alarm clock, and that clock’s name is Xatu SW. Xatu’s Poké-Power “Psychic Shift” not only lets you remove the Sleep condition from Snorlax on your turn, but transfers it over to the Defending Pokémon. With Xatu on your Bench, Snorlax is free to use any of his Attacks, or his Level X Power, without the worry of being Asleep next turn. Here are a few examples:
The level X Power “Big Appetite” lets you draw until you have a six cards in your hand – but it puts Snorlax Asleep. Use “Big Appetite”, then use “Psychic Shift” to wake him up and he is free to make his Attack.
Kitchen Snorlax has an Attack called “Roll Over”. On a coin flip, Snorlax falls Asleep. If you are unlucky enough to get tails then “Psychic Shift” will transfer the Sleep to the Defender, leaving you free to Attack next turn.
Orchard Snorlax’s “Heavy Press” attack suffers from an automatic Sleep. While the “Toss and Turn” Attack nullifies this somewhat, I would rather have Snorlax awake and ready to “Heavy Press” next Turn.
Now, there are some times that you may want Snorlax to be Asleep. Using the Poké-Body “Bad Sleeping Habits” requires that Snorlax be Asleep. The key with Xatu is that you get to choose when Snorlax stays Asleep and when he wakes up. You also get to transfer the Sleep condition to your opponent’s active Pokémon. Imagine how irritating it will be for your opponent to have to roll for Sleep almost every single Turn that Snorlax is Active.
Having two Xatu’s on the Bench should allow the following scenario to be played out. You enter your Turn with Snorlax Asleep from his Attack last Turn. Xatu #1 uses “Psychic Shift” to wake him up. You then use the Level X Power “Big Appetite” to refresh your hand and Snorlax falls Asleep again. Xatu #2 uses “Psychic Shift” to wake him up again for his Attack – and the opponent is put to Sleep. Obviously, having only one Xatu would force you to choose between Power or Attack.
4C – Are you Crazy? –
The Snorlax cards have three attacks that each cost 4C Energy. The attacks themselves would be good (not great) if they had less Energy requirements. There are several ways to try and compensate for this disadvantage. Most revolve around getting lots Energy into your hand and onto Snorlax.
First off, Kitchen Snorlax has an energyless Attack called “Pick and Collect”. It will let you put four Energy from your discard pile into your hand. Not that useful at the beginning of the game, but helpful in a pinch in the mid to late game stretch.
Second is Munchlax – Snorlax’s precursor. If you can put Munchlax in play first, it will hopefully give you the time to add the Energy before getting Knocked Out. The RR Muchlaxes have a respectable 70 hp and all damage will be removed when you use the “Baby-Evolution” Poké-Power. Munchlax RR69 also has a “Rest” Attack that can remove 6 damage counters from Munchlax for 2C. Of course, the Attack puts him into Sleep, so hopefully you will have Xatu set up and ready to transfer the Sleep to your opponent.
Third (and most important) – Ninetales PL. If you can get Ninetales active early game and use his energyless “Flame Bash” – you can flip for heads and attach R Energy from your deck straight onto a Benched Snorlax. On a lucky roll you could get Snorlax powered up in one turn. Ninetales has no Retreat Cost so, when he has done his job or gotten into damage trouble, he can make a quick exit.
Fourth is Parasect SV (if you don’t like flippy Ninetales). His 1C “Nutritional Support” Attack lets you attach two Grass energy, from your deck, onto a Benched Snorlax. The disadvantage is that he has a one Energy Retreat Cost and so is harder to get out of the Active Spot.
Fifth – Upper Energy. If you fall behind a Prize and have not yet leveled up your Active Snorlax, Upper Energy will cut your Energy requirements in half. That should give you enough time to catch up on Prizes and finish the proper power-up.
Finally, there’s Lucian’s Assignment. Once you have one Snorlax powered up, don’t let him be Knocked Out with all that Energy on him. Playing a Lucian’s Assignment at the key moment will transfer all of the Energy over to another Snorlax to continue the battle.
Final Thoughts –
Snorlax – Xatu – Ninetales : Is it a good combo or just too slow and complicated to work? Everything looks pretty good on paper but only testing will tell. I love the idea of being able to keep 6 cards in my hand and attack, while putting my opponent’s Pokémon into Sleep almost every Turn. Snorlax is a Basic so there is no problem getting him into play. Getting both Stage 1 Xatu and Ninetales into play early is a little more problematic, especially if you are trying to set up a Claydol at the same time. Although, if you can get Snorlax Level X into action with Xatu on the Bench, you may not need Claydol.
What do you think; is Snorlax viable? Are there any ways you think Snorlax can work better? If you are interested in this idea, why not make up a decklist for testing and post it as a reply.