Snorlax, The Sleeping Pokémon. 's typical day consists of nothing more than eating and sleeping. It is such a docile Pokémon that there are children who use its big belly as a place to play. It is not satisfied unless it eats over 880 pounds of food every day. When it is done eating, it goes promptly to sleep. Very lazy. Just eats and sleeps. As its rotund bulk builds, it becomes steadily more slothful.
In all the preceding generations Snorlax has always been a popular choice, and understandably so with incredible stats and a great move-pool.
So, what has changed for Snorlax this generation? The special and physical split has pretty much passed Snorlax by. It lost Shadow Ball but gained Crunch and Pursuit. The elemental punches from the Emerald Move Tutor have also become viable options. Aside from that the Special and Physical split is just something that happened to other Pokémon as far as Snorlax is concerned and has had very little direct effect on Snorlax, however its indirect effects could prove to be devastating for Snorlax now that there are Special-based Fighting moves, the most notable of which is Focus Bomb which is spread to a fairly vast number of Pokémon through TMs.
On top of the addition of Special Fighting typed moves there were also several large changes to how Special attackers functioned:
The final big indirect change for Snorlax is the increasing number of offensive threats that are being spread throughout the 4th generation's Competitive Battling scene. Snorlax has only one form of immediate self-recovery: Rest, which has the unfortunate side-effect of putting Snorlax to sleep. Rest has always been a move that is risky to use, a sleeping Pokémon is one that can be set-up against with relative ease, and this generation has included many new Pokémon with the ability to boost their stats and follow it up by sweeping the opponent's team. Allowing Snorlax to Rest will have to be thought through thoroughly by the battler, more so than in previous generations, since a Resting Snorlax may just be the invitation your opponent needs to go for the win.
Rather than just repeating myself throughout each move set I will detail the pros and cons of both traits beforehand.
Immunity: grants Snorlax Immunity to Poison. It's nice as it protects you from Toxic but when Snorlax is running Rest you don't need to fear Toxic too much, although Immunity can save you from having to use Rest earlier than expected. If you have a Heal Bell or Aromatherapy user on your team Toxic can also be removed fairly easily, severely diminishing Immunity's worth.
Thick Fat: on the other hand, grants Snorlax what is essentially a resistance to Ice and Fire attacks, halving the damage done by them. Since Snorlax is primarily a Special Sponge this added resistance can be of great use. There's no real negative downsides to using Thick Fat but if you have other Pokémon on your team who can deal with Ice and Fire types it may not be that much of a bonus.
The Sleep Talker
- Body Slam / Return / Double-Edge
As the name implies, this Snorlax is designed to last through a combination of Resting and Sleep Talk. As mentioned in the overview, using Rest on Snorlax can be an invitation to your opponent to set-up their Pokémon for a sweep, since normally Snorlax would be asleep and immobile for two turns. With Sleep Talk, Snorlax can overcome this problem: 'sort of'. You will have no control over what Snorlax does, which is a very unfortunate side effect of the Sleep Talk set. There's a one in three chance of it picking any of the available moves, so you may end up using Return on a Ghost or Earthquake on a Flier, or, just as bad, using Rest again and failing to do anything since you're already in Rest. The set certainly has risks involved, but compared to most other variations of Snorlax this set will be the one most suited to the duties of a Special Sponge.
As far as its choice of moves go, Rest and Sleep Talk are a given. The superior choice between: Body Slam, Return and Double-Edge is something that cannot be determined and so it comes down to the preference of the user.
Body Slam comes with a 30% chance of paralyse in exchange for the loss of 17 Base Power when compared to Return (prior to the addition of STAB), a reasonable trade off.
Return is the bread and butter move of Physical Normal Types. It has a solid Base Power of 102 and no negative (or positive) side effects. You can't go wrong with it.
Double-Edge is the powerful option. It has a 18 point Base Power advantage over Return (prior to STAB) but in exchange Snorlax will suffer recoil damage with each use of it, depending on the damage it causes (so against an Alakazam Snorlax can't expect to suffer much Recoil but against a Blissey a fairly large chunk of HP will be removed through recoil). Being that Snorlax is a tank it could be argued that it shouldn't be throwing away HP so easily, however with Rest it can recover its HP and in turn Double-Edge has shared a lot of popularity on Sleep Talk Snorlax when used in the 3rd generation, something that is likely to carry over to the 4th generation.
The choice between Earthquake and Crunch comes down to two simple things. What does Snorlax need to handle the most? Levitating Ghosts (such as Gengar) or Rocks and Steels (such as Tyranitar and Metagross). This decision usually weighs on what your team set-up is. If your team has no problems handling Gengar, as well as Ghosts in general, you can safely run Earthquake knowing full well you have available counters for any Ghosts you may face. On the other hand if your team has no problems with opponents like Metagross and Tyranitar you can safely run Crunch. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes down to it, the decision comes down to the set-up of your team.
EVs and Nature:
As touched upon in the overview, Snorlax is going to have a much tougher time playing as a Special Wall. In the 3rd generation 500-ish HP combined with 300-ish Special Defence would usually suffice in walling almost all Special threats, however Special Attackers have now gotten a significant boost and it may even be worthwhile to consider running Max Special Defence on Snorlax with a Nature Boost, giving Snorlax a potential 350 Special Defence. 496 HP is all you will really need on Snorlax, it gives it fairly reliable HP and strong Leftovers recovery. The rest can be thrown into Snorlax's Attack, although placing the leftovers in Defence is also an option, although its defence is low its large HP stat allows it take a fair few physical hits.
- Return / Body Slam
Choice Band Snorlax was another set that enjoyed a fair bit of popularity in the 3rd generation, and can probably expect some popularity in the 4th generation. Its already large Attack stat, boosted with its good physical move pool and Choice Band make for a fairly strong force, especially since it has the durability to switch in and out of play fairly easily.
Return or Body Slam are your best STAB options here, Double-Edge is usable but when you factor in the lack of Leftovers as well as the lack of Rest the HP it loses from recoil can start to build fast. Earthquake is pretty obvious, it gives a lot of coverage and covers two types that resist Snorlax's STAB. Crunch handles Ghosts but Pursuit is also a very viable option for picking off opponents who are switching out. Selfdestruct was a gift from XD that Snorlax greatly appreciates, STAB combined with its ridiculously strong power is a very nice combination (and for those who don't know, its Base Power is double what its Base Power statistics say due to a game mechanic that halves defence during its use). Focus Punch is always on the sidelines as an option, with proper prediction the move can be a big difference maker and is one of Snorlax's only ways of getting an effective hit in against Skarmory, as well as having the advantage of hitting Steels and Rocks for super-effective damage. It's also because of this that Focus Punch is also an option over Earthquake for those who want to use Focus Punch but also want to keep Selfdestruct.
EVs and Nature:
Picking EVs for a Choice Band Snorlax is always hard, 252 Atk / 252 SDef is a pretty much a safe way to go. Either Adamant or Careful is a good choice but for the sake of the example I went with Adamant. Usually, Choice Lax shouldn't be your main Special Wall, but if it is Careful will probably pay off.
- Body Slam
The mighty Curse-Lax, at one time in the 3rd generation this was the standard and definitely something to be feared. It sponged Special Attacks with ease and with one or two Curses under its belt the only physical moves it had to fear were Fighting typed and if its HP was starting to get chipped away it would simply use Rest. There were obviously counters to this set: Hazers, the aforementioned Fighting Types as well as opponents who can stat-boost faster than it (such as Swords Dancers), but if saved until the late game when those threats were nullified, Curse-Lax had a fairly strong chance at a sweep.
The main thing stopping Curse-Lax this generation is that it seems more and more likely that this generation will revolve around sweeping, there's going to be more than just one or two opponents potentially using stat boosts, and it bears repeating that Snorlax isn't able to sponge every special attack thrown at it anymore. Still, this set will be able to carve a niche and certainly isn't reduced to the level of novelty, with the right set-up this set still has potential.
EVs and Nature:
The 3rd generation Curse-Lax usually ran about 300 Special Defence, 200 Defence and 500 or so HP with whatever was left thrown into Attack. Short of increasing that Special Defence to its Max not much has changed, of course now there's nothing left to throw into Attack but Curse can sort out that problem.
- Body Slam / Return
Counter Lax. It was a bit of a niche set but it was reasonably popular, the addition of Selfdestruct made it just a fair bit more appetising. With a lot of HP but a fairly forgettable defence stat Snorlax is a strong candidate for Counter, especially since it's a magnet for physical attacks. Whilst Snorlax doesn't like absorbing the big hits, the 'average' hits are fairly absorbable (such as Swampert's Earthquakes). You can normally expect to KO at least one Pokémon with Counter and the Special and Physical Split has increased the number of physical attackers who can be targets for a set like this. As Snorlax's HP starts to drop feel free to Explode, probably taking down another Pokémon with you.
The final move slot is up to choice, Crunch stops Ghosts from walling all your attacks, Focus Punch can make opponents regret trying to set-up against Snorlax whilst Earthquake stops Steel and Rock types who can shrug off Self Destruct.
EVs and Nature:
This is one of those cases where it may be worthwhile pumping up Snorlax's Defence stat to its Max, although there isn't much to gain from a Nature boost. The very minimal amount of Defence you'll want is about 200. You should also be shooting for about 500 HP (ideally 496). The rest can be dumped into Attack or Special Defence. Counter Lax definitely cannot fill the role of the primary Special Sponge so it's possible to forego max Special Defence, but you definitely don't want it to fall behind, at the very least you'll want to give it the Nature Boost.
Body Slam / Return
Sub-Punch Snorlax never really enjoyed any popularity in the 3rd generation. It's certainly a viable option but its other choices are usually better. Still, it's unexpected and it has several advantages, the most notable of which is the fact that Substitute blocks status attacks, meaning Snorlax can't be Burned or Poisoned or Paralysed. Aside from that it's pretty self-explanatory really, Sub up and then you're good to go.
EVs and Nature:
EVs: 120 Atk / 136 Def / 252 SDef
You can probably forego any HP, boosting the HP of each Substitute by 16 or so hit points won't help them much. 200 or so Defence, Max Special Defence and the rest in Attack is probably the way to go.
Belly Drum Lax truly defines 'novelty', it 'can' work but in comparison to its other options it really isn't its strongest choice. Save it for the late game when you've gotten rid of all of your opponents counters, Belly Drum, Chesto-Rest and then try to sweep. It should be able to absorb the hits it takes whilst it attacks since it certainly isn't a pushover defensively. Paralysis support will greatly aid this set and it would be better to rely on a different Pokémon to be your primary Special Wall since you don't want to blow Snorlax's HP too early (since it only has one shot at a Chesto-Rest). Once again, I'd like to state quite clearly, this is a novelty set, it's workable but it certainly hasn't got the same reliability as the other sets.
EVs and Nature:
Belly Lax doesn't need any Attack, Belly Drum will cover that. You should pretty much work off of the Curse-Lax EV set-up: Max Special Defence, 500-ish HP and 200-ish Defence.
Fire Punch, Ice Punch, Thunderpunch, Yawn, Whirlwind, Amnesia, Block, Protect, Fire Blast, Flamethrower, Thunder, Thunderbolt, Charm, Surf.
The elemental punches can be obtained from Emerald, so trading a Snorlax grown in the 3rd generation with those moves is a possibility. Unfortunately, the moves aren't all that great, when they're super-effective they are still weaker than a STAB Return, it's only when they are 4x effective or when Return will be not very effective that they will start to shine. Fire Punch hits Steel types, including the ever annoying Skarmory. Ice Punch can catch a fair few opponents for 4x damage, especially since a lot of the strong attackers are given a 4x Ice weakness. Thunderpunch is the weakest of the bunch, it can hit Skarmory but so can Fire Punch, it does well against Gyarados (and the other couple of Water/Flying types) but that's really the only situation where it shows any superiority to Fire Punch, it really isn't worth the use.
Yawn and Whirlwind offer Psuedo-Hazing options, the former is likely to force a switch but at the very least will put the opponent to Sleep, Whirlwind on the other hand will force a switch barring Suction Cups or Ingrain. A lot of Pokémon gained stat boosting moves this generation so Snorlax may find a niche as a Psuedo-Hazer, making it difficult for opponents to stat boost successfully. Add in some Spikes and Stealth Rocks for added damage and you have two very effective moves.
It has been touched upon that Snorlax may have problems with some of the stronger Special Attackers. Amnesia may solve any problems it may potentially have.
Block is a trapping option. It's not seen often since its worth is questionable in comparison to its other moves but it could be useful at times. The main problem is that when you have something you want to trap in play, as you are ready to Block it they will usually switch straight to a counter immediately, so in the end you will trap something that can counter Snorlax, which really doesn't help Snorlax much.
With Adherence Scarf and Glasses added to the mix with Choice Band, Protect is looking nicer and nicer. Being able to see what move your opponent locks themselves into will always be useful and at the very least, it's free Leftovers recovery.
Fire Blast, Flamethrower, Thunder and Thunderbolt present options for taking out Skarmory as well as a couple of other threats. Without them, short of Curse-Lax being the last Pokémon on your team (preventing Pseudo-Hazing), Skarmory will almost always beat Snorlax one-on-one. Each of those Special moves can do over 50% or more damage to Skarmory (Thunder and Fire Blast can do so without EV investments), meaning it isn't free to set-up Spikes against Snorlax.
Fire Blast is the most popular of the bunch, as well as handling Skarmory it could do a respectable 30% or so to Metagross (and the majority of Steel types) without any EV investments, all of this off of a fairly reliable 85% accuracy. Flamethrower is a usable second place to it, it can't be stalled into missing by Substitutes and will likely never run out of PP but it normally required a small investment of EVs to keep up with Fire Blast.
Thunder's 30% chance of paralysis is its main reason for use over Fire Blast, against Water types it wouldn't do much damage anyway and its accuracy is inferior to Fire Blast's. Thunderbolt is just the electric equivalent of Flamethrower, however its advantages over Flamethrower are few and far between. Whenever using these Special Attacks it's better to run a minus Speed Nature rather than a minus Special Attack Nature to save on EVs (so for the most part Sassy or Brave is the Nature to go for).
Charm will make physical attackers cry, although Metagross salivates at the possible free switch in. Much like Yawn and Whirlwind, combining it with Spikes and Stealth Rock might cause a lot of damage as people are forced to switch around to escape from Charm's attack lowering side-effect.
I am only mentioning Surf for one reason, in-case Rhyperior becomes a popular counter to Snorlax, since Earthquake won't be doing all that much to it when you factor in its trait and great defence stat. If Rhydon's evolution becomes as popular a Snorlax counter as Skarmory has then it might see use in the same way Fire Blast does. Once again, run a minus Speed Nature instead of minus Special Attack if you ever intend to use this.
Well, Snorlax certainly has options, it's been popular in every generation for a reason. Good move pool with good stat distribution has bred one of the staple Pokémon of Competitive Battling. I expect it to continue to remain a staple even in the 4th generation's Competitive Battling scene, although it may see a slight drop in usage as compared to the 3rd generation.
First and foremost, Snorlax has only one weakness: Fighting, and it should be pretty obvious that this weakness should be exploited whenever possible. Catching it with a Focus Bomb from a Special Attacker as it switches in will take a fair chunk of HP away, for example a Modest Alakazam will do about 40% damage to a 500 HP and Max Special Defence Snorlax and about 60% if it has the Adherence Glasses boost. Physical Fighting attacks hurt even more since it won't have a bulky defensive stat to hide behind, Heracross and Lucario have the potential to OHKO with In Fight as do most Fighting types. In Fight, Arm Hammer and Focus Punch are spread across a fairly wide cross-section of physical attackers so there are plenty of options to work with.
The second way to counter Snorlax is simply through resisting its attacks. Most variations of Snorlax will have a Normal Attack and either Earthquake or Crunch, usually not both. If Snorlax lacks Crunch that means all the levitating (or flying) ghosts can walk all over it with Gengar being the most prominent one. Also, most of the bulkier Ghosts won't be too hurt by Earthquake anyway so they work fairly well as walls anyway. On the other hand if Snorlax lacks Earthquake almost all Steel and Rock types can walk all over it, the prominent ones being Tyranitar and Metagross. Skarmory resists all three of those available attacks, Bronzong also resists two of those and shrugs off Crunch, although both of those need to be aware of a potential Fire Blast. Electro-Levitating Steel Types might also be trouble makers since after Electro-Levitate they don't need to worry about Earthquake, but once again, Fire Blast may be used and will cause some problems.
Snorlax's massive HP stat can be used against it with Leech Seed. Pokémon like Celebi and Venusaur love coming in on it and shrugging off its attacks easily with Snorlax's drained HP, Celebi especially who will happily use Recover and set-up Calm Minds if you let allow it to.
Aside from that Snorlax just generally doesn't like Physical Attacks, Choice Band boosted ones in particular. Snorlax also doesn't like a large majority of Adherence Glasses boosted Special Attacks, even ones that aren't Fighting typed are still going to hurt when they have STAB tagged on, you can't expect an OHKO but a 2-3KO is possible.
Snorlax doesn't like Sandstorm at all since it cancels out its Leftovers recovery and it is even more frustrating for Snorlax when it isn't carrying Leftovers. Stealth Rocks is a new addition that'll chip away 12.5% of Snorlax's HP each time it switches in, that combined with Spikes is a lot of HP that can be eaten away on switches. Will-o-Wisp has been spread around a fair bit through TMs and will make all non-Resting variations of Snorlax cry whilst forcing the ones with Rest to use it earlier than expected. If it lacks Immunity Toxic does a fairly nasty number on it as well. Paralysis doesn't bother Snorlax too much since it's slow anyway but a chance to be fully paralysed is never enjoyable.
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