Gen 2 Sleep Trapping

Sleep Trapping
"sleep trap is gay lol ban plz"

Sleep Trapping has never been a problem before, so why now? Some of you may not be aware that sleep mechanics have been incorrect for a good while now, only lasting up to 5 turns instead of 7 6. This isn't a new discovery, but it has never been properly implemented on Showdown until recently*. A number of notable consequences include LK Curselax and Nidoking becoming much more potent, more unpredictable sleep counts, and finally Sleep Trapping as a whole becoming much more viable. Notable players such as Earthworm have brought up and started using sets such as this Misdreavus set.

The Current State of Related GSC Bans
As it stands, there is a SleepPerishTrap ban, which bans any combination of: a Sleep inducing status move + Perish Song + Mean Look or Spider Web. As most of us are aware, the SleepPerishTrap ban was created primarily to prevent Misdreavus from being able to score free KOs with near impunity. Misdreavus could run a set consisting of Mean Look / Perish Song / Hypnosis / Protect and would only require an average sleep roll to guarantee a KO even on a phazer. Pokemon without Roar or Whirlwind were guaranteed gone unless Misdreavus had very poor luck with Hypnosis or they had very lucky crits and/or Sleep Talk rolls. Needless to say, such a ban had to be implemented.

Sleep Clause is another modification to the rule set, which I believe most of us are aware exists to prevent one from simply putting the entire team to sleep and mandating multiple rest talking Pokemon. Again this is necessary for GSC as we know it today. Some believe that it need not necessarily be a modification of mechanics and take a more purist approach, but this clause is in general universally agreed upon.

SleepTrap Ban Proposal
A SleepTrap ban would ban any combination of: a Sleep inducing status move + Mean Look or Spider Web. Some communities have implemented such a ban in the past such as PO, whereas other communities such as PP have considered such a ban, declining it in favor of deferring to Smogon's GSC OU. Jame$ G has brought up that partial trapping moves may circumvent the intentions of current bans. I have not included partial trapping moves in this ban since they are not currently included in the SleepPerishTrap ban as it exists currently, although now would probably be the best time to modify this should the player base see fit. I'll leave this up to discussion.

My personal thoughts on sleep trapping are that it is broken. The primary purpose of sleep clause is to allow one to fodder a Pokemon off to sleep and safely bring in another who can deal with the opposing sleep user while not asleep. Sleep trap abuser circumvent this entirely with effectiveness not dissimilar to sleep perish trapping.

Examples of Sleep Trap Abusers:

Smeargle @ MiracleBerry / Leftovers
- Spider Web
- Spore
- Baton Pass
- Agility / Substitute / Protect
In my opinion one of the more brutal examples of sleep trapping. More experienced GSC vets will see this coming, especially in a lead position. Lead Smeargle should always carry MiracleBerry. There are a few possible scenarios one could be faced with. An exploding lead such as Exeggutor or Cloyster stops this cold... kind of. As it turns out, longer sleeps allow Smeargle to forgo Agility if it so chooses and run moves such as Substitute and Protect to block Explosion, making entire games potentially decided by turn 1 coin flips. Not to mention requiring a turn 1 explosion is a horrid gambit to begin with as no one could possibly know their team. A Roar lead puts a temporary stop to this, but can't actually do damage to Smeargle lest it get trapped, which gives Smeargle numerous opportunities to set up throughout the game. Phazers switching in to Smeargle will be trapped, slept, and then Baton Passed to something which can OHKO, e.g. Raikou sees Marowak or Drumlax, Skarmory sees Jolteon or a different Electric, etc. Spikes are difficult if not impossible to set up as Smeargle outspeeds both Spikers and puts the opponent in a situation similar to the Exploding lead, assuming their Spiker has explosion at all which it may very well not. This means Smeargle is likely to stay healthy for most of the game, at least until it tries to trap an opponent. Any non-Roar, non-Explosion leads such as Snorlax are immediately trapped, slept, and then passed into an appropriate counter. Nidoking would first see an Agility, and then a Spore in order to assure that Smeargle can pass +2, although admittedly you will not get a trap off. Jynx and Sleep Talk Snorlax stop this entirely.

Some of you may have noticed that I only focused on lead Smeargle baton passing to offensive threats, but I think defensive teams are far more dangerous, especially with non-lead, Leftovers Smeargle. Generally such a team might look like Smeargle / Starmie / Blissey / Misdreavus / Snorlax / Skarmory or Umbreon. The strategy is fairly simple, keep Spikes off and keep Smeargle in good health with Leftovers and conservative play to allow multiple chances at sleep trapping. Blissey and Snorlax handle both trapped Electrics, the latter of the two can Curse up or Belly Drum. Charm Baton Pass Umbreon and Perish Trap Misdreavus handle any and all Curselaxen. Skarmory can serve as a back up check to say Drumlax, however that can simply be put to sleep by Smeargle anyway. Throwing out Explosions to prevent trapping is obviously highly dangerous with Misdreavus constantly lurking in the background, and if they do happen to lead Smeargle you have no way of knowing it's there. This team is downright nasty to face and isn't even stopped by Sleep Talk Snorlax nor Jynx.

Misdreavus @ Leftovers
- Mean Look
- Hypnosis
- Curse
- Pain Split
Misdreavus's iconic set is Mean Look / Perish Song / Protect / Filler. The modern metagame tends to see a Thief set I'm sure many of you are familiar with, but one must always initially treat Misdreavus as caution lest they find themselves down 5-6 early in the game. This set, while a bit riskier, outperforms the previous two sets in many scenarios. Generally one gets Misdreavus in on Snorlax or some other Pokemon fearing either Perish Trap or Thunder, and Mean Looks the switch in. Said switch in Roars, only to be hit with a Hypnosis. From there you Curse, Pain Split back up, and hope for the best (or worst). On average you will sleep 3-4 turns, so with Pain Split you give yourself a more than likely chance to KO the opposing Pokemon. This devolves the game into simply hoping that you wake up/your opponent doesn't wake up; at this point you're not really playing a two player game anymore. Blindly switching in sleep talkers is a bad idea for obvious reasons until the full set is revealed. There is no reliable way to scout this as Misdreavus outspeeds or ties all common sleep users, and scouting with the incorrect Pokemon will result in an very likely KO.

Jynx (F) @ Leftovers
- Mean Look
- Lovely Kiss
- Ice Beam
- Nightmare
A fairly simple set and not nearly as broken as the previous two due to it tending to attract sleep talking counters. Snorlax, Blissey, or some other Pokemon comes in to be foddered to sleep, only to get hit by Mean Look on the switch in. Nightmare allows Jynx to power through Pokemon which would tank its usual attacks such as Snorlax, Raikou, and Suicune. Many sleep talking Pokemon are weak to Jynx, such as Zapdos and Heracross, so they may instead attempt to take sleep with a non-sleep talking Pokemon to allow Raikou and/or Snorlax to take on Jynx. Even RestTalk Raikou is at a disadvantage due to Thunder's abysmal chance to hit through Sleep Talk and Nightmare's constant damage combined with Ice Beam. This set prevents the player from switching out and incapacitates them, effectively awarding the advantage of sleep without ever having to worry about being careful about which Pokemon one puts to sleep, negating the whole purpose of Sleep Clause.

Hopefully we can settle this before SPL 9 starts. I know a number of experienced GSCers who would very much like to see this banned, and I know I that I personally would not enjoy facing this given how much it turns GSC into a one-player game at times. Ideally I'd have tour matches to back this up, but given how recent the change to sleep is and how much this turns games into shitshows I'm hopeful that we'll be able to resolve this first.

*It looks like Zarel tried to implement GSC sleep turns as 1-6, but ended making them 1-7. This mistake is actually likely correct, but some sources seem to cite sleep turns as being 1-7 whereas others cite them to be 2-7. Awaiting confirmation from Crystal_.
*1-6 is the correct number of sleep turns according to Crystal_. Can't tell what Zarel did exactly.
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Like ships in the night, you're passing me by
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while it's true that PS had sleep mechanics for gen 2 wrong for a long while, I believe previous simulators, including super old ones that existed more like in the time of GSC (like NetBattle, heck maybe the super old IRC battles), had sleep mechanics correct... can anyone confirm that?

I think it's somewhat important to know if we're considering modifying a really, really longstanding clause under the same circumstances and sleep mechanics that have existed for like... almost 2 decades, or if the mechanic was always implemented wrong on simulators and this is the first chance to consider it with correct sleep mechanics.

Like if this is totally new, I think the standard for modifying the clause is way lower than if this is a change on 20 years of the clause.
Metagames evolve and afaik nobody has seriously tried abusing this until now; so in a way it might be considered relatively new, if not rediscovered. I'm not aware if older simulators implemented the relevant mechanics correctly, but they are notorious for having certain mechanics simply not working as they should, e.g. rapid spin on sub. GSC has been significantly changed over the years by revising the rule set, such as with the unbanning of hp legends, and it's not as though there are some unforeseen consequences of putting a blanket ban on sleep trapping. Sleep trapping itself is not currently an integral part of other parts of the metagame. To a large extent I'd argue it creates its own metagame by taking autonomy away from the players and frequently turning it into a 1 player game. At the end of the day if we ban sleep trapping, Snorlax is still Snorlax, Electrics are still Electrics, and Spikes are still spikes, you just won't have to play the game of "hope I wake up and don't lose a mon for nothing".

If anything this would simplify the rule set with no collateral damage to the rest of the metagame.

I was a bit vague before about Fire Spin, Wrap, Whirlpool, et al previously to not distract from the main point of this thread. Obviously they're not as good as Mean Look, but Smeargle really only needs two turns out of them if you're not Perish Trapping and instead passing to a counter. I think it'd just allow a cheesy loophole, and as I've said before this isn't otherwise a part of the metagame.
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It's worth pointing out that a number of groups have opted to ban SleepTrap as opposed to SleepPerishTrap- PO and Pokemon Perfect springing to mind. Even on PP, we opted for a SleepPerishTrap ban for a bit, but when I actually took advantage of SleepTrapping I got met with complaints and people thinking what I'd done was against the rules (iirc the Smeargle set was the primary offender). As for PO's ban, you can say what you like about the origin of the ban (and the terrible way it was implemented), but it was the premier GSC simulator for a while, and I think a lot of people have grown accustomed to SleepTrap- SleepPerishTrap's position as the "status quo" I feel is misrepresented since it's not as though it hasn't been challenged with some degree of success. I generally play under the assumption that SleepTrap is off the table, and as Sulcata says it's not really a normal part of the metagame. It's literally only seen in these sorts of cancerous sets, which is why there's not really anything to lose in banning it.

I mean my personal perspective is that we ought to ban Mean Look/Spider Web altogether because a) it's a simple ban and b) PerishTrapping is aids, but I know that's never going to happen *shrugs*
Mean Look and Spider Web are fine. Trapping moves have consistent mechanics and are a fairly notable part of the metagame, if a bit uncommon currently. Most teams do not even need to make adjustments to deal with these teams because of how necessary a Roar user is for Snorlax on most teams. They coexist with the meta rather than just forcing you to flip coins. Banning trapping moves is unnecessary collateral.
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World's Strongest Fairy
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solid write up. keep in mind that most smogon tiering decisions are actually kinda arbitrary - it's not like the pkmn community was cohesive enough when gsc was current to establish a truly standard ban on stuff like sleep trapping. most everything tiering-wise on Smogon for rby & gsc is a couple old farts who remember those times deciding "yeah that makes sense" long after those gens were ancient history.

basically a long way of saying that the 15+ years of gsc's existence aren't a great argument for the status quo.

on sleep turns: pretty sure it's 1-6, only 2-7 if you count the wake-up (which only really makes sense for rby).

on sleep trap ban as a whole: am indifferent. in theory it's real stupid, but in practice using it comes with opportunity costs in terms of team synergy and is easily derailed by a couple bad turns. it's like wrap in rby - not the world's best most fun mechanic, but also not really super busted.

on whirlpool & stuff in gsc: lol if you can kill something with sing-ptrap lapras i ain't even mad, congrats dude
yeah i've always been on the end of no sleep trapping altogether, so naturally when asked to set up PO rules i implemented what i thought was most fair. there isn't really a healthy way to use sleep trapping that isn't utterly cheesing kills -- but abuse on a whole is really a technicality in the sense that there was never some clear cut understanding on whether something was allowed or not (which is why you never ever saw celebi took over back in 2000-2004, because there wasn't a clear ban/not ban).

on the topic of whirlpool/whatever, i think if you kill something using whirlpool, sing, perish trap lapras, more power to you.

and whats the verdict on mean look sand attack pass umbreon :)
damn we both brought up lapras at the exact same moment... using the exact same diction. trippy.

Edit: Damn. Even your paragraph 1 reads the same as mine.
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Was thinking more along the lines of a slightly cheesier Smeargle set that would still be viable. Lapras certainly isn't good nor consistent, but Smeargle could easily trap long enough to get a Baton Pass off. Granted you have less accuracy, but it's not really that bad when you consider that you still have 100% accurate sleep. That's the only reason sleep partial trapping should be included. Nothing that gets it is particularly broken, but none of it really gets used anyway and it would just allow Smeargle a potential loophole.


World's Strongest Fairy
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you get way more counterplay vs. wrap & its cousins. rapid spin frees you and I don't believe it gets baton passed, so smeargle has to perish trap with it (and wrap has a 75% chance of ending before that ends, 87.5% if you try to spore too)


Always more to find
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*It looks like Zarel tried to implement GSC sleep turns as 1-6, but ended making them 1-7. This mistake is actually likely correct, but some sources seem to cite sleep turns as being 1-7 whereas others cite them to be 2-7. Awaiting confirmation from Crystal_.
*1-6 is the correct number of sleep turns according to Crystal_. Can't tell what Zarel did exactly.
Where did you get this information? Zarel didn't implement any of Gen 2's code originally; Joim did. Specifically, there were two mistakes with sleep: whatever source he was using said that it lasted 1-5 turns, and then his actual implementation made it 1-4 turns.

I fixed it within minutes of someone pointing out that they'd never seen sleep last more than 4 turns in GSC matches, and also checked Gen 1 and Stadium while I was at it and found the same mistake. This took 3 years for anyone to notice and/or report it.

Edit: If it's not clear, random(m, n) on PS returns an integer in [m, n), so random(2, 6) means a roll of 2, 3, 4, or 5, i.e. 1-4 turns of "fast asleep" messages.
Oh, I had thought zarel made that commit, sorry. I think myself and a few others noticed it a year ago but didn't really have time to test it. And yeah I saw that the upper bound is excluded.

Royal Flush

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Oh I'm happy we can finally discuss bans again without the "for purism's sake" argument. I do agree with the ban if you want more vets opinions.

edit: just for reasoning I guess, I don't humbly believe it's a super consistent strategy, but I do agree that sleep is pretty darn broken in gsc: getting a pick because of sleeptrap it's just uncompetitive rng imo.

also can we discuss hp on electrics in the future pls
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agree with royal flush. sleep trap in gsc is kinda like moody in bw, where it only works with shit mons and it's usually terrible, but occasionally you get the rng and pop off for no good reason. seems like it falls pretty squarely under the umbrella of "uncompetitive strategy" so why not get rid of it? don't know who would miss it.

hp legends ban next? LK lax?? to be continued
Forgot partial trapping isn't baton passed. I'd say to just leave the ban at Mean Look / Spider Web then. Lapras isn't good to begin with and the perish trap set needs to hit Sing + Whirlpool + roll long enough sleep + 50/50 to trap long enough. Not to mention a SleepTrap ban would be solely in response to Smeargle, Misdreavus, and Jynx anyway.

clarifying because lavos is drunk: i mean not including partial trapping, not making the ban only trapping lol
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Well, I've been trying sleep trap on ladder today. Not really many good games. The few I got vs actual players like james ended in me losing. Overall it felt a bit underwhelming, but at the same time I feel like that's because the luck I needed didn't quite go my way. SleepTrap + Curse is just so risky when you factor in Hypnosis accuracy. The problem I still have is that there's no real way to mitigate this chance consistently, you just kind of have to take it and hope for the best.

Smeargle on the other hand was a tad more effective. Getting it in on something slower is an insane advantage to abuse. Smeargle is still frail though and it usually forces the game into some sort of 50/50 explode or don't explode situation.

In the end I still think they should be banned, not because of consistency, but because of how much it turns important parts of games into a series of coin flips. Doesn't really feel like the players are actually playing one another.

edit: for the record I haven't tried out offensive SleepTrapping strategies yet. Just some passive teams alternating between SleepTrap Missy and SleepTrap Smeargle.
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im the best
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I've shied away from technically legal only-sleep-trap movesets in the past myself, so I'd be cool with axing it, but ultimately I take Jorgen's stance in that I don't think it's super-broken and ultimately not such a problem that I think it necessary. It's at best "uncompetitive" and isn't super likely to do more than trade 1-1 as an end result.

I wouldn't ban Mean Look + Spider Web on their own, I've successfully used them many times in the past on their own. Naked Mean Look is unexpected on Gengar and I've used it numerous times to, for example, counter-trap Perish Trappers and free-kill unsuspecting Miltank and Monolax. They're rather limited moves on their own, honestly. Wrap and friends are temporary and inaccurate and not worth including in the discussion.
Sleep traps kinda cheesy, wouldn't mind it actually getting banned. Not gonna type a lot, since I would just repeat what others said regarding conistency and such.
As lavos already said, I doubt anybody would actually miss it if we would ban it.

It would be cool if there would be like a vote or something on this. The people playing GSC in tours would apprciate it a lot if we could have a vote on it.
I think these strats are pretty unreliable, but scary nonetheless. I'd like to see people actually try to use them more before they get voted on or banned. Does anyone have any replays where they are used?
On a personal level I just do not & cannot support bans; any of them.

I do however absolutely agree with the sentiment of the post. We have some form of sleep perish trap ban to eliminate game dictating rolls which pivot around which move your pokemon draws from sleep talk. While nothing capitalises on sleep trap quite as effectively as & protect; playing against any form of sleep trap always has the potential to put you in the same scenario where you are at the mercy of the hax gods. What are your options for countering sleep trap? Something fast with Substitute/Safeguard/Encore? Thats a pretty niche thing to make space for on the team for something you see probably once in every 20 matches. Or you go for the common option of drawing for your sleep talker & praying for the best. At that point it really is just a game of luck & nothing else; nobody knows when that sleeping poke will wake up unless it cycles a rest and that makes it a hax fest for both the attacking & defending parties; especially as the potential pay off of the sleep trap could be so influencial.

I don't really have any strong feelings either way with this one; but given that mean look sleep perish trap ban is a thing I think I'd vote to just ban sleep trap completely. It kinda feels like we have a solid rule set with a few obscure loopholes in it.