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Snorlax has always been a really, really good Pokémon. However, there are two undeniable facts that one must consider when making an assessment of its history: 1. The roles it has played have varied a ton from generation to generation, and 2. It will never be as good as it was in the past, relative to its own environment. Let's begin our journey back in the dark ages known as RBY, where Snorlax was best known for being a huge pain in the ass that was blocking your way to Fuschia City.
Competitively, Snorlax was great in RBY. I'm certainly no expert in the generation, but my sources tell me it was essentially a tank that could beat almost anything one-on-one, and had STAB on Hyper Beam (which was actually good back then) and Body Slam. I know even less about GSC, but if there's one thing that you can be certain about, it's Snorlax's absolute dominance over the entire competitive scene. Almost anyone you talk to will tell you that if we were to go by today's tiering standards, Snorlax would have been Uber without a question in GSC. Many even agree that it was better than actual Ubers like Celebi and Ho-Oh. With access to Lovely Kiss, Belly Drum, Curse, Earthquake, Fire Blast, and STAB Body Slam and Selfdestruct, along with massive bulk and really high Attack, it's no wonder this is the case. Snorlax could essentially do anything it wanted to in GSC, and building a good team without Snorlax was, and still is, considered impossible.
Then came ADV, and with it, the fall of Snorlax. Well, not really. Many still consider Snorlax a top tier Pokémon in ADV, with its ability to check or counter many of the metagame's top threats while still posing a big offensive threat to the opposition via Curse or all-out attacking sets. The true fall of Snorlax came in DPP, where its great tanking abilities were just not quite enough to pull off its classic Curse set effectively. Other sets were even worse off, being mostly outclassed by other DPP titans such as Tyranitar.
Then finally, the fifth generation rolled around and Snorlax found itself, for the very first time, in the realm of Underused. While many consider this unfortunate, we UU players have been loving it so far. In BW UU, Snorlax is considered by many to be the best Pokémon in the tier, and even those who disagree are in no way contesting that it is among the absolute best. Let's get into why.
The first thing worthy of note about Snorlax in BW UU is that it is the only Pokémon in the tier that can reliably switch into Chandelure. This alone would be enough to make it great, but the fact is there's a plethora of other reasons why Snorlax is good.
For one, there's that amazing base 160 HP and 110 Special Defense that allows it to brush off most special hits. Its Attack is nothing to scoff at either, also sitting at an above average 110. The remainder of Snorlax's stats are mediocre at best, sitting at 65 Special Attack and Defense, and a virtually nonexistent 30 Speed. However, what's cool about this stat distribution is that its absolutely massive HP allows us to invest no EVs in it and only small quantities in its defenses to improve its bulk exponentially. This frees up a lot of EVs to invest in its Attack, ensuring its ability to really put the hurt on enemies.
Then there's also the ability factor. Typically, Normal-types are shunned because of their lack of resistances, but Snorlax's Thick Fat changes this by giving it a resistance to Ice- and—more importantly—Fire-type attacks. Its movepool is also noteworthy, as what with its STAB Return or Body Slam and Crunch, Pursuit, Earthquake, Fire Punch, Ice Punch, and even obscure options like Seed Bomb, Superpower, and Zen Headbutt, it has no shortage of viable moves. Even its support movepool is also decent, with moves such as Whirlwind, Yawn, and Curse being the most noteworthy.
Its most prominent role in high level UU play is similar to the one it played in RBY: a tank that can beat nearly anything one-on-one, which it accomplishes via its Choice Band set. With an EV spread of 252 Atk / 52 Def / 200 SpD / 4 Spe, it can tank all sorts of special hits from offensive behemoths such as Zapdos and still have enough physical bulk to tank a +1 Outrage from Kingdra after Stealth Rock. It should also go without saying that with a Choice Band equipped, Snorlax OHKOes virtually every offensive Pokémon in the tier. A variation of this set is also seen sometimes, the main difference being that it runs Leftovers (and sometimes Protect) to try to prolong its lifespan.
The next best sets are Snorlax's trademark Curse sets, which in BW UU, come in two variations: offensive and defensive. Offensive CurseLax uses a lot more Attack EVs and doesn't bother with Rest, opting to use three attacks instead. The idea is to scare something off as it sets up Curse and then proceed to go on a mini-rampage by simply being impossible to 2HKO and O-2HKOing almost everything in return. This set is typically used in bulky offense or more offensively-oriented balanced teams. Defensive CurseLax aims to act as more of an "all-game-long" tank that only sweeps late-game if presented the opportunity. With this in mind, it's obviously EVed in a much more defensive manner and is used on more defensively-oriented balanced teams. The main problem with these sets is that the UU metagame is so offensive that they find it hard to get a turn to set up.
Finally there's the old standard RestTalk + Whirlwind set which was considered the best special wall in the tier until the metagame shifted to a much more offensive pace. The recent discovery of Foul Play Umbreon did it no favors either, as it took away one of the few advantages Snorlax had over Umbreon—the ability to actually hurt things. This set is generally considered very mediocre now, mostly because it's a huge momentum-killer.
If you're trying to hard-counter Snorlax with something that's actually UU-viable, you can forget it, because it's not happening. Actually, I lied; I guess Sableye counters it pretty reliably, but other than that, you can forget about it. Dragon Tail Rhyperior is pretty close, but as gimmicky as it sounds, Seed Bomb is sometimes seen on Snorlax precisely for this reason. Taunt Gligar also beats most versions of it, as it isn't even 2HKOed by Choice Band Ice Punch (but it has to Roost against it to halve the damage done), which is rare to begin with. However, it will lose against Leftovers versions if they land a paralysis with Body Slam and use Ice Punch afterwards. However, these scenarios are all pretty rare, so these two are still extremely safe options to deal with Snorlax.
Choice Band versions are the hardest to switch into, but also the easiest to play around. Their lack of recovery and weakness to the very common Fighting-type attacks cuts their lifespan shorter than any other version. CurseLax, on the other hand, is quite a bit harder to play around because if it sets up a couple of Curses, you're going to have a very hard time taking it down. However, that initial setup is not very easy to achieve against a well-constructed team, making it a lot less dangerous. This is the primary reason for Rhyperior needing Dragon Tail if it plans to switch into Snorlax often, as without it, it risks becoming set-up bait for Curse variants.
In all honesty, the easiest way of dealing with Snorlax is by simply hitting it hard enough that it won't be able to come in and do its thing more than once or twice. Using extraordinarily strong attacks such as Life Orb Rain Dance Kingdra's Hydro Pump or Life Orb Zapdos's Thunderbolt will make it think twice about switching in in the first place, as Snorlax usually plays a very crucial role on people's teams, making it a bad idea to let it get worn down that much before it actually does anything.
More like "how do I avoid using Snorlax on all my teams", to be honest. There are very, very few teams in UU that wouldn't benefit in one way or another from adding Snorlax to their roster, and most of them are extremely offensive ones that simply can't afford to run a Pokémon that slow. I'm not exaggerating, either; as of late, many top players have noticed that the typical teambuilding style has become: "start with Snorlax, add one or two good Snorlax partners, fill in the gaps".
Who are these good Snorlax partners, you ask? There's a few ways this question can be answered. If you're looking for a two-Pokémon core featuring Choice Band Snorlax that can cover nearly the entire metagame pretty well, look no further than Offensive Trick Room Cofagrigus. Snorlax tanks nearly all the special attackers in the tier pretty well while Cofagrigus does the same with physical attackers. Choice Band Snorlax is also a huge threat under Trick Room to boot. Now, if you're willing to dedicate half your team to such a core in exchange for a little more reliability, you can go with both Slowbro and Nidoqueen as partners. The principle is similar, except it eases pressure on the physical side of things by letting Nidoqueen tank the most common Fighting-type in the tier, Heracross, meaning double-Fighting-type strategies won't break through your core as easily.
On the offensive side of things, Fighting-types actually make good partners for Snorlax. Choice Band variants, anyway. This is due to the fact that Snorlax is one of the most effective users of Pursuit in the tier, and we all know how much Fighting-types love Pursuit support. Paralysis support from partners such as Slowking and Togekiss is also a great help to Snorlax, as it will let it overcome its flawed Speed to rampage past enemy teams.
There isn't much to think about, really. You should already be using Snorlax, and if you're not, then you were going to eventually. It's really that good. Until next time!
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