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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



- XY BREAKthrough

Date Reviewed:
January 7, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.83
Expanded: 1.50
Limited: 4.14

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


Ahhh yes, the original fatty mctubby tubs - Snorlax! Ahh, I've always had a soft spot for this gluttonous...um...bear? He seems like a bear. 

And naturally the game has taken advantage of his ridiculous amount of bulk! Ever since the early days, Snorlax has always had at least 3 Energy in his Retreat Cost, all to represent his effective "weight" as "really really heavy." Aside from that, they'll also usually implement his bulk in ways such as high HP scores and effects that keep the opponent's Active Pokemon from retreating, and if they're not working around those effects, they're revolving around putting Snorlax to sleep! 

Another notable feature that gets attributed to Snorlax cards are the ABSURDLY HIGH ENERGY COSTS FOR HIS ATTACKS!! 

Most of Snorlax cards will have a big attack around 3-4 Energy, though there are a few that do have weaker 1-2 Energy attacks (and even one from Dragon Frontiers with NO attacks or Energy requirements! Look it up!). That being said, this one isn't much of an exception, but let's not focus on that - let's focus on his Ability first! Plump Body acts a lot like Thick Fat does in the video games, in that it reduces damage that Snorlax is taking. 

Granted, it's much more versatile as Plump Body than as Thick Fat, but details.

This is great! This could make Snorlax a bulky offensive threat, since he's soaking up at least 30 damage on attacks! Okay, so some of those attacks will still OHKO his 120 HP BULK for a basic non-EX, but still! Against those smaller forces, he's going to be tough to beat! And what attack does he get to use to deliver the beatdown against those other worthy foes? 

Knock Away, a 4-for-50 and a coin flip for 30 more. 



Standard: 1.5/5 (he's not much of an attacker with that attack, even when he is bulky and has a damage-reducing Ability) 

Expanded: 1/5 (let's face it, he can't do that much) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (...well, except for here, where his bulk and damage-reduction will make it worth it to build up to his 4-Energy coin flip 80 at most damage maneuever) 

Arora Notealus: Maybe there will be some Snorlax-EX love one of these days, right? Right? I can dream, can't I? Then again...he might just end up like Wailord-EX. 



I’m going to be upfront with you: today we are looking at Snorlax (XY: BREAKthrough 118/162) primarily because it is my favorite Pokémon.  If I could work it into the schedule at all, I knew I would.  It was helped by a few other things, but in the end I was able to squeeze it into this week.  I haven’t had time to test it, but I’ll tell you now I’ve not heard of anyone using this card in a competitive venue.  Actually since I’ve always been lazy and like it when tournament results are spoonfed to me a la The Charizard Lounge unless I get lucky while on the message board or PTCGO, I don’t often know about the “fun” decks that could be using it either.  The same thing has been true of other cards that surprised me, so there is still hope that this card could be good… so let us take it apart and see how it works (or doesn’t). 

Snorlax is a Colorless-Type, which means it can’t hit anything for Weakness but doesn’t have to deal with Resistance.  There are two cards with attacks designed to be anti-Colorless - Exeggcutor (XY: Roaring Skies 2/108) and Haxorus (BW: Dragon Vault 16/20) - and they are most underwhelming.  Slightly more Colorless-Type support exists and while not brilliant it offers some nice options: Altaria (XY: Roaring Skies 74/108; XY: Black Star Promos XY46) which cancels out Weakness on your Colorless-Types, Aspertia City Gym to grant +20 HP to Colorless-Types and Winona to search your deck for up to three Colorless-Type Pokémon.  Being a Basic is the best as there are no extra cards or turns of waiting required, some Basic Pokémon support exists and some card effects just work better for Basics.  You don’t even have a legal deck (or opening hand you can keep) without at least one Basic Pokémon, though there are some anti-Basic Pokémon effects to deal with Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106) which shows up in some capacity sooner or later every time I write it off. 

Snorlax has 120 HP, just 10 shy of the maximum currently printed on any non-Pokémon-EX Basic with what I guesstimate to be decent odds of surviving a hit from your opponent’s attackers, at least before other factors.  One of those other factors is Weakness: Fighting-Types will find the OHKO fairly easy.  No Resistance which is to be expected (still more common than having Resistance) but as we’ll see in just a moment, is either a huge missed opportunity for the card or potentially justified for more than the usual reason of just not being all that appropriate to the card’s Typing: as a video game Normal-Type a Snorlax is Resistant to nothing though it is immune to Ghost-Type attacks… which is awkward as the TCG doesn’t do Immunity and the Ghost-Type is combined with Psychic-Types and Poison-Types.  Snorlax has a Retreat Cost of four which is expected on a Snorlax the lowest it has ever been printed with is [CCC] and its in the video games it is known for its weight and low Speed stat.  You’re going to need to pack something to deal with this, either lowering the cost or bypassing your need to pay it (which includes effects to enable tanking). 

Speaking of tanking, what I’ve danced around so far has been the card’s Ability “Plump Body”.  This is pretty sweet as it reduces the damage done to Snorlax (meaning itself) from attacks by 30 after applying Weakness and Resistance.  It doesn’t specify “while Active” or “on the Bench” so it works in either position and it also just doesn’t specify a player so it works against not only the opponent’s attacks but those by your own Pokémon!  This is quite impressive when paired with that 120 HP: if it isn’t hitting for Weakness or finding a way to ignore the Ability, your opponent needs to score at least an effective 150 damage for a OHKO, 180 for a 2HKO, 270 for a 3HKO, etc.  That means if your opponent fails to score the OHKO Snorlax soaks as much damage as a typical Basic Pokémon-EX and if your opponent needs three attacks the damage surpasses what is required to KO even Wailord-EX!  Even against Weakness it might matter: as damage is done in increments of 10 your opponent needs to score 80 instead of 60, which means a Lucario-EX or Landorus-EX sporting a Strong Energy and Muscle Band will still miss the OHKO by 10 damage with their single Energy attacks. 

Plump Body coupled with 120 HP is so impressive that Snorlax will have to have a pretty poor attack to not have a bright future in at least Standard.  Something like needing [CCCC] to do 80 damage and… Snorlax needs [CCCC] to use “Knock Away” to hit for 80 damage on “heads”; on “tails” it only hits for 50 damage!  This is one of the many reasons “headdesk” needs to join “facepalm” in English dictionaries.  In a better balanced format, this would be a good way to keep Snorlax from getting out of control but in the current metagame, it means Snorlax in a deck with abundant Energy acceleration, just maybe it is worth actually attacking with Knock Away.  So what can we do with this card?  Well first let us run through the other Expanded and Standard legal options for Snorlax: BW: Boundaries Crossed 109/149, BW: Plasma Storm 101/135, XY: Kalos Starter Set 26/39 and XY: Flashfire 80/106.  All are Colorless, Basic Pokémon with Fighting Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat Cost of [CCCC], no Ancient Trait, at least 100 HP and at least one attack. 

BW: Boundaries Crossed 109/149 is one of the 100 HP versions and sports two attacks, probably because it lacks an Ability.  For [CCC] it can use “Double Lariat” to flip two coins good for 40 damage per “heads” or for [CCCC] it can use “Roll Out” to hit for 60.  These attacks are horribly overpriced and were when this card was new.  Probably why it didn’t even get a filler review.  BW: Plasma Storm 101/135 is a Team Plasma Pokémon with 130 HP, the Ability “Block” that prevents the opponent’s Active Pokémon from retreating and at a cost of [CCCCC] can use “Team Pact” to hit for 30 damage times the number of Team Plasma Pokémon you have in play.  This card really psyched some of us out (like me): it seemed like it might seem pretty good given the Team Plasma support we had or knew was coming and it was, just not how we expected it.  While it was used as a solid attacker in Team Plasma decks, it was usually just a back-up.  Instead its Ability proved quite useful with decks relying on manually retreating (often Keldeo-EX) pretty heavily; there was even a deck built around not attacking with Snorlax [Plasma] but instead spamming cards like Crushing Hammer and Hypnotoxic Laser to slowly beat your opponent’s stranded, struggling to attack Active.  This one did get a review, though it was written well before we knew how to really use the card.  These two are only legal for Expanded play. 

XY: Kalos Starter Set 26/39 is back to being vanilla but at least it has 120 HP like today’s Snorlax.  It has no Ability, just two attacks: “Rock Smash” for [CCC] to hit for 10 (plus 30 if you get “heads” on a required coin flip) and “Strength” for [CCCC] to hit for 70.  These are badly overpriced and this time there isn’t an Ability to even remotely justify it; while not a mainstream release a “starter set” doesn’t have to under power cards.  Ideally it would simply contain cards that were simple but sound.  Unsurprisingly this also received no review.  The final alternative to today’s card is XY: Flashfire 80/106: back up to 130 HP and this time we’ve got an Ability in addition to an attack that requires [CCCC].  The Ability is “Snore and Snooze” and it… forces you to flip two “heads” instead of one should this Snorlax be Asleep in order for it to wake  up.  Ouch.  “Sleepy Press” is the attack and it hits for 120 damage, heals 20 damage from itself and… puts itself to Sleep.  This one also didn’t get a review probably because it is not a good card, but it isn’t hopeless: even with the Ability functioning, 120 for four and 20 points of healing on a 130 HP Basic is decent, nearly adequate.  With a means of dealing with Sleep, such as Keldeo-EX and a Float Stone, one could use Silver Bangle or Muscle Band alongside Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym to hit the “magic” numbers to OHKO most Basic Pokémon-EX… but for that much effort one is better off focusing on something else. 

So no, I don’t think any of these are going to play well with today’s Snorlax.  Are there any other cards to consider?  Yes.  Lucky Helmet won’t keep Snorlax alive longer but it does mean you’ll usually get to draw some cards off of it.  Rocky Helmet or Rock Guard or possibly something we might be getting next set can allow a Snorlax to get some damage counters on the opponent’s Active even while not attacking.  Assault Vest, Eviolite, Giant Cape, Hard Charm and (again) something we ought to be getting next set can help soak more damage.  The reason I am focusing on such a thing is that I don’t think much of Snorlax on offense, but if you have a deck that needs to stall it seems to have at least a little potential.  It might also have some merit as of all things, a counter to Seismitoad-EX.  Why?  Quaking Punch does not hit hard so unless it is backed by cards to deny Snorlax its Ability, your opponent is going to lose a lot of time taking it out.  Time you can use to possibly build up something in play to actually fight back… and in some decks that something might even be Snorlax itself given the barely there damage output Seismitoad-EX can manage against Plump Body. 

So give it a try in Standard or Expanded if you have nothing better, like Snorlax or simply wish to be thorough.  In Limited, Plump Body means almost every deck can use it, possibly every deck.  It is just a bit too slow to risk using it on its own in a +39 deck as by the time Snorlax starts swinging your opponent should have a decent set-up.  On the other hand, it should have the endurance that maybe - just maybe - it could turn a different +39 deck into a +38 deck.  If you’re not familiar with typical Limited play, usually (but not always) it involves building a 40 card deck at the event from the contents of six booster packs provided at said event.  You don’t get to trade or use anything other than the contents of said booster packs to build your deck except for Basic Energy cards (usually provided as needed alongside the packs).  So when you run a +39 deck you select a single Basic Pokémon to run ensuring you open with it because you have to mulligan until it is in your opening hand.  Even with the lack of draw and/or search power in most Limited decks, Snorlax ought to have enough staying power most of the time that the 50% of games you would expect to open with it, it can survive long enough to get your other Basic Pokémon into play (maybe even powered up) or just handle things itself.  Knock Away goes from bad to acceptable here while Plump Body goes from great to amazing.  Mostly though Snorlax scores high here because it will be run in everything other than+39 decks. 


Standard: 2.15/5 

Expanded: 2/5 

Limited: 4.75/5 

Summary: Snorlax is so close to being an obviously good card, held back by its overpriced, low damage attack.  It still may have a shot because the rest is just that good and you might even find a use for it while not attacking at all… but we looked at it just because Snorlax is my favorite Pokémon and there was an opening in the schedule.

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