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Pokémon Through the Generations: Snorlax

Discussion in 'Articles' started by pokemonnerd, Dec 18, 2016.

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  1. pokemonnerd

    pokemonnerd Only uso listens to pnerd. Devo too. Article Contributor Article Contributor

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    [​IMG]

    OVERVIEW

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    Happily gorging itself on the competitive scene since Red and Blue (or Green if you're in Japan), Snorlax has never fallen so far from grace to be directly outclassed by any Pokémon. From RBY to DPP, it remained battling with the best of them in the OU tier, and only in recent generations has the power creep slowly pushed Snorlax down into UU. Even in this tier, it remains a top threat, and a Pokémon you should always keep in mind when building your team.

    GENERATION 1: RBY

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    In Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, Snorlax had the foundations of a good Pokémon down pat. A high Attack stat, tons of bulk, and a movepool to handle almost any situation that its low Speed wouldn't hinder it in. Probably the best trait about Snorlax in this generation is that it was so powerful yet simple to use. Give it Body Slam, Self-Destruct, and choose between Earthquake, Surf, or Hyper Beam for the remaining two moves depending on what your team has problems with. Then start making it jump on things with some Earthquakes, and show those Rock-types that you can be the next Snorlax Phelps.

    Amnesia is also an option, allowing Snorlax to show off its impressive butterfly strokes and sweep like Slowbro does, trading out special STAB moves for the ability to beat Chansey by using Body Slam and the ability to shock opposing Water-types with Thunderbolt. Ice Beam and Blizzard tend to be more commonplace than Surf; however, if you want to style on an opponent with your water ballet training, Surf is a viable option that hits Lapras slightly better than Blizzard, which can be relevant in some team builds.

    And remember, when all else fails, just turn yourself into fireworks to inspire the rest of your team to victory! Self-Destruct is Snorlax's best tool to deal some hefty damage when it's just about ready to fall back asleep after taking hefty amounts of punishment and was another reason as to why its base 110 Attack stat made it an amazing Pokémon.


    GENERATION 2: GSC

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    This picture very accurately depicts Snorlax's standing in GSC. It is the undisputed God, the one that stands above all and demands tribute in Berries and poffins. It's the reason why Skarmory is actually good in the tier, and why the otherwise dreaded Electric-types run Thunder over Thunderbolt. Aside from the things it forces other Pokémon to do, Snorlax had three things added to its arsenal that made it ascend from being a mere champion to divinity in its own right. It even discarded its ability to be a special sweeper in order to level the playing field for the mere mortals it shares the OU tier with due to the Special stat from Gen 1 splitting into two separate stats.

    The first was Curse, the move that has made Snorlax so deadly. Its training with Red at the peak of Mt. Silver allowed it to mend its subpar Defense and take its impressive Attack stat to new heights. This complemented its high HP and Special Defense, making it extremely intimidating to any special attacker that wasn't an Eeveelution using Growth. Whether you went the slow and steady route with Body Slam, went a little more proactive with Return, or went full on attack mode with Double-Edge, Curse Snorlax gave teams a never before seen inevitability factor. Steel-types can handle Snorlax's normal technique of "jump on them and let gravity do the rest;" however, this is why Snorlax developed the Earthquake technique, which was "jump up and let gravity do the rest." Snorlax also learned how to use Shadow Ball from certain Street Fighter legends, and although the move is not helpful in this generation, it would serve it greatly later on.

    You had to win the battle of attrition with Snorlax, slowly weakening it and narrowing opportunities to Rest so your Pokémon could find a moment to slay the beast while weakened. Even a Cross Chop from Machamp failed to 2HKO Snorlax after it spouted obscenities at the foe, and letting it Curse twice without any answer usually means that you've won the match outside of the RNG goddess blessing you with crits or wasting turns PP stalling.

    Lovely Kiss and Belly Drum were the other two moves Snorlax learned in GSC, and both completely flipped games on their heads. Snorlax could whisper sweet nothings into its counter's ear as it falls asleep with Lovely Kiss and then beat the counter like an a red-headed stepchild. Meanwhile, Belly Drum brought out the warrior spirit of Snorlax, pounding its stomach and challenging teams to take +6 Body Slams to the face. Lovely Kiss could even be used on this set as well to lull Skarmory or Steelix into a sweet dream. It's a mercy really, as seeing a +6 Snorlax in the air coming down towards you would probably give them a heart attack anyway. Snorlax is so bulky, it could even afford to run Rest with a Belly Drum set, for when your opponent outplays you — because if Snorlax was at the helm of a team it would never lose — and allow it to attempt another sweep later in the match. Another thing to note is that pounding its stomach is never a bad idea, as even below 50% HP, Belly Drum still gave it a +2 Attack boost.

    It really cannot be overstated how good of a Pokémon Snorlax is in this generation. Combined with the above gains, it still retains Fire Blast, which is now very relevant against Skarmory, Forretress, and Steelix. It can combat Gengar and Raikou with Earthquake, and Self-Destruct Snorlax is still a threat carrying over from its RBY set. Snorlax is always a Pokémon you must prepare for; if you don't, be prepared to be smited by the newly ascended Kanto gatekeeper.


    GENERATION 3: ADV

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    After seeing the peak it could reach, Snorlax looked down from its mountain home and noticed a boredom at being the world's strongest, non-legendary Pokémon. With the advent of a new generation, Snorlax was surprised to see that everything had improved while it had taken time to rest. With the new Generation introducing new abilities, new moves, and new Pokémon to battle, Snorlax quickly learned two abilities and jumped straight back into the fray, ready to battle for the new challenges the Generation had to bring!

    The two abilities Snorlax learned were Immunity and Thick Fat, the former being trained by all the poisonous Berries Snorlax had eaten throughout its life and the latter a consequence of its appetite. Despite some Pokémon being horrified by gaining weight, Snorlax is a true sumo warrior, taking advantage of whatever girth it can gain and using it to combat the incredibly powerful Regice. Immunity, although useful at times, was largely unneeded because Snorlax could just take a nap mid-game to clear away status.

    There were a few other important changes as well. The Pokémon deities decided that other Pokémon were feeling too privileged about their stats and disallowed Pokémon from being able to have 255 EVs in every stat. This was both a help and a hindrance, as Snorlax needed to adjust its training to make sure its Special Defense was still top notch. Curse largely prevented physical attackers from being much of a problem; however, Snorlax would train against them to combat the new Choice Band that was recently discovered. Pokémon like Suicune and Raikou took note of how Eevee's evolutions could possibly muscle past Snorlax and utilized Calm Mind to boost their Special Attack, allowing them to meditate on defeating the sumo warrior.

    Snorlax's Curse set still proved to make it one of the most feared foes in ADV. The core of the set was the same, except Body Slam was very much preferred with the EV changes to this generation. Since everything couldn't have the maximum amount of Defense possible at all times, it gave Snorlax a much easier time deciding on Body Slam rather than needing the raw damage of Return or Double-Edge. Rest was still on the set because Snorlax didn't need to worry much about the special attacks that the tier could bring this Generation. Curse allowed it to tank even Choice Band-boosted attacks.

    Earthquake was still a very strong move since it now hits the new prevalent Steel-types, Jirachi and Metagross, along with the Pokémon it was effective against before. Fire Blast was still a relevant move from its GSC glory days, as it was able to break Gengar's Substitute while nabbing a 2HKO on Skarmory and an OHKO on Forretress, as well as not leaving it completely helpless against Jirachi and Metagross.

    The main thing that had to change about Snorlax's fighting style was the fact that Gengar had Levitate, meaning Snorlax's tactics of "jump and let Gravity do work" were ineffective. This is why Snorlax got in touch with Gouken, who trained Snorlax to use its own Hadouken in the last Generation. Not wanting to breach copyright, Snorlax gathered the other Pokémon together and named it "Shadow Ball." With this technique, Gengar still had to fear being defeated by the sumo warrior.

    Choice Band allowed Snorlax to immediately hit the field and threaten many team compositions with an enormously powerful STAB Self-Destruct. Even Skarmory, which neglected its Defense EV training, was forced to bow to it. By paying homage to Ryu and wrapping the Choice Band around its head, there weren't many things that liked taking an unresisted Choice Band Return. Even bulky Swampert could not take two Returns if Spikes were set. For the grounded Steel-types, Earthquake dealt with them quite handily off of its great Attack stat, while Shadow Ball still took care of Gengar. Who would have known Ghost-types were this weak to zoning?

    GENERATION 4: DPPt&HGSS

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    Snorlax was still in a good spot from ADV. Its special bulk and Attack stat still made it stand out as a premier tank among OU titans such as Tyranitar and Dragonite. The main thing that was catching up to Snorlax was its love of sleep and lack of drive. Content with being past its prime after GSC and ADV, it became lax on its training routines. As it got lazy, other Pokémon saw their chance to grab the spotlight and went for it.

    One thing that started Snorlax's fall from being a top tier competitor was the physical/special split. Now that Arceus had revealed itself, it fielded a lot of complaints about certain Pokémon—like a certain Fire-type Eevee evolution—not living up to their potential since their typing was mismatched with their offensive stats. "Physical" moves use the Attack stat, and "special" moves use the Special Attack stat. After the physical/special split, Dark-type moves like Bite and Crunch could use the Attack stat instead of the Special Attack stat. Tyranitar, physical Dragon types, and other Pokémon like Gyarados loved this because they could finally live up to their potential. Pokémon such as Alakazam and Gengar even sought out the Street Fighter legends to learn their own variation of the Hadouken, Focus Blast, which was a Fighting-type move that could pressure Snorlax despite the fact that its girth gave it massive Special Defense.

    Unfortunately, all this change was not kind to Snorlax. Snorlax's biggest weakness was that it had low starting Defense. Curse could mend it, but it needed time work. Now that Pokémon like Dragonite could use their massive Attack stat with moves like Outrage and Dragon Claw due to them being physical moves now, Snorlax had a much more difficult time setting itself up at its slow and steady pace. Gyarados and Scizor had new ways to intimidate and damage it with their newfound physical moves. Its Shadow Ball could no longer be nearly as effective since Arceus turned it into a special attack. With Focus Blast becoming a Fighting-type special move, Snorlax now had to watch out for certain Pokémon trying to out-zone it with their own projectiles.

    Luckily, Crunch helped Snorlax use its voracious appetite to take a chunk out of Ghosts. With some training from Ken, its Fire Punch became a physical move, able to uppercut Steel types such as Scizor and Forretress who could take neutral damage from Earthquake. Snorlax still had to be wary of half the competition gaining ways to pressure it like never before; however, with these moves utilizing its Attack stat, it managed to stay an OU competitor.

    Other items started to be discovered as well, though among them Life Orb was the most important regarding Snorlax. It didn't use the orb, but it augmented opposing Pokémon that gained physical moves out of the split and made it a nightmare for Snorlax to keep up with physical and even some special attackers, thanks to them learning how to fire off Hadoukens themselves in the form of Focus Blast.

    Even though things were looking down for Snorlax this generation, it was very comfortably in OU thanks to several factors. It was still a premier special tank, but it had to be wary of the new physical attacks and Focus Blasts from other Pokémon. If Snorlax connected a hit with its Choice Band boosted attacks, anything that wasn't bulky was not going to be in a good spot afterward. Thick Fat was extremely relevant in the tier since Heatran was everywhere. Curse Snorlax was still a monster to watch for, as a +1 Snorlax can't be KO'd by the LO Close Combats in the tier without being weakened a bit beforehand. Ultimately, Snorlax was just rendered a bit worse in OU due to things changing around it, while not changing or adapting enough itself.​


    GENERATION 5: BW&BW2

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    By the time Generation 5 came around, Snorlax was already weary of all the new Pokémon and the changes happening before it. Snorlax longed for the simpler OU days, where all its stats could be at their full potential, Belly Drum still gave +2 while at half health, and putting opposing Pokémon to sleep by whispering into their ear was an option. However, the changes this generation brought finally made Snorlax quit. The sumo warrior moved back to its mountain home and gorged on its collection of Berries, distraught that it had let itself fall this low. That is when Snorlax saw a letter on the front porch, stamped by Arcanine, Heracross and Shaymin. It was an invitation to the UU tier and a welcome buffet!

    OU was not kind to the sumo warrior, as the introduction of both Terrakion and Conkeldurr already signaled massive trouble for Snorlax. In addition, Politoed and Ninetales learned how to summon permanent weather, and this made Snorlax's job of being an effective special tank nearly impossible since Pokémon like Keldeo could attack its Defense with special attacks. Snorlax was also still being greatly pressured by powerful physical attackers like Dragonite. The introduction of Tornadus and other mixed attackers, as well as not gaining anything new from Arceus, ultimately drove Snorlax away from OU.

    The UU tier was a much more forgiving environment. Snorlax thrived in the tier, proving capable of checking the massively powerful Darmanitan's monstrously powerful Flare Blitz, being able to challenge Victini, completely blanking out Chandelure, and otherwise matching up favorably against many of the special attackers that found their way into the tier. With its great Attack stat, Snorlax could wrap its Choice Band around its head and pressure the likes of Shaymin, Raikou and Zapdos. Pokémon such as Heracross and Scrafty posed a threat to Snorlax; however, they couldn't take a Sumo warrior pouncing on them while they switched into battle.

    As arguably the best special tank of the tier, Snorlax had a few sets it could be found running. Base 110 Attack was still very strong, and even though it wasn't fighting in OU, Snorlax still practiced its Shoryukens and sumo moves. Pursuit was a mainstay on Snorlax this generation, as it would imagine that the prominent Psychic- or Ghost-type Pokémon switching out was a poffin he needed to catch. Fire Punch was still very useful, as it let Snorlax muscle past Bronzong or Escavalier, and it did hit Roserade and Shaymin as they tried to jump into battle. Body Slam was largely preferred if Snorlax was not found with its Choice Band wrapped around its head, as the paralysis from jumping on opponents and bear hugging them was too good to pass up in many instances. In addition, if Snorlax thought it was going to fight the more hefty Ghost- or Psychic-types like Cofagrigus or Mew, instead of Chandelure or Alakazam, Crunch was always useful. Of course, Slowbro was weak to a second monster taking a nibble out of it as well.

    Snorlax didn't discard its foul mouth going into UU either. Curse was a monster of a set that gave Snorlax's team a win condition. It could be used in two ways: either Snorlax embraced its drowsy nature and used Sleep Talk to cuss Pokémon out in its sleep, or it was proactive and yelled profanities while charging straight at its foes. Using Curse and three attacking moves gave Snorlax a pseudo Choice Band, allowing it to pressure enemy teams that relied on special attackers. The set was used to throw Snorlax's weight at enemy teams to soften them up. The Curse + Rest Talk set was more like laying siege to the kitchen's pantry and fridge rather than blasting through a buffet devouring everything as quickly as possible—it happened nice and slow until it inevitably broke through and gorged on its victory. One key thing Snorlax had to keep in mind, however, was that it could no longer tag out on a whim after sleeping. Because of the new sleep mechanics in Generation 5, Snorlax had to wait out the two turns Rest made Snorlax sleep, or the counter would reset.

    Even though Snorlax was forced out of OU, it enjoyed its new home in UU and embraced its new role in the tier. Never broken but never outclassed in what it did, Snorlax reigned supreme as top sumo warrior throughout the generation.​

    GENERATION 6: XY&ORAS

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    It would probably be OU if it had this.
    This pretty much sums up Snorlax's tenure in XY and ORAS. As Arceus kept adding new Pokémon and giving existing Pokémon new forms, Snorlax got the cold shoulder. A Mega Stone wasn't created for it, it couldn't evolve further, and it did not gain a move like Slack Off that could take its sumo wrestling to the next level. Although OU was becoming further out of reach, UU was still Snorlax's home, so it welcomed new Pokémon to the UU ranks and continued to be a top class Pokémon in the tier.

    There truly was not much that changed for our sumo warrior from last generation. Curselax was once again its strongest set thanks to the sleep counter no longer resetting after switching out, meaning Snorlax did not have to sit there as a Fighting-type's punching bag. Snorlax kept its Choice Band around since it had great success with it since ADV, and by Pursuit trapping the powerful Ghost- and Psychic-types in the tier, Snorlax could still be the boogeyman of many frail special attackers with its high Attack stat and special bulk. Its Choice Band also gave Snorlax a reason to practice its Shoryuken, as Fire Punch was relevant on Choice Band sets for some of the Steel- and Grass-types that were still great in UU.

    The only notable change was that there were simply more threats in UU with which Snorlax had to contend. Mega Evolutions pressured its ability to be a tank as many of them were physical threats that preyed on Snorlax's weaker Defense, and monsters like Mega Blastoise had Aura Sphere to do very respectable damage to it.

    There has been a running theme of the generations: not much changes about Snorlax, but things constantly change around it to the point where it gets overwhelmed by all of the new threats. With all of the new, monstrous, bulky physical attackers like Salamence and Mega Swampert, special attackers that can boost up to overcome Snorlax's special bulk like Suicune and Reuniclus, and mixed attackers like Hydreigon existing in this generation's UU tier, Snorlax simply became less of an ideal Pokémon to use.
    CONCLUSION

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    Only time will tell if Snorlax's access to Z-moves will make it a better sumo wrestler or if its Street Fighter techniques will have a bit more relevance. Snorlax is very proud in finally being able to run, and very excited to see what challenges it will have to face as a new generation is sprung upon it. With the power of every new group of Pokémon creeping farther and farther, Snorlax will probably be very content to stay with the UU buffet; however, there are still very few Pokémon that have the skills Snorlax possesses. If you find yourself playing one of the tiers this sumo warrior has trained in through the generations, be sure to use it on your team: Snorlax won't disappoint!


    pokemonnerd - Writer
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  2. Joyverse

    Joyverse Back for a blast!

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    This, I'll read everyday cuz it's awesome.
     
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