– Sword & Shield
April 17, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Munchlax (SM – Unified Minds 173/236) a [C] Type Pokémon. Weakness and Resistance wouldn’t matter as it lacks an attack. There’s no [C] Type support or counters in Standard, and the ones in Expanded don’t see much play. Munchlax is a Basic Pokémon, so it is easy to run, fast to the field. 60 HP is all but guaranteed to be OHKO, and not likely to last long on your Bench against spread or bonus Bench-hits. No Weakness, Resistance, or Retreat Cost are the best, worst, and back to the best again… but the HP means only the Retreat Cost matters.
Munchlax has an Ability and no attacks. “Snack Search” may only be used once during your turn, before you attack or do anything else that ends your turn upon resolving. When you use this Ability you flip a coin; if “heads” you topdeck a card from your discard pile, and then your turn ends. If “tails”, your turn simply ends. You may use this Ability whether Munchlax is Active or on your Bench, and you can pick any card from your discard pile.
The recycling Snack Search provides is potent, and combos with most forms of draw power. As your turn ends, it doesn’t really combo well with existing effects that require a particular card be on top of your deck, though I believe our next set contains a few cards where that could actually matter. Snack Search is unreliable, given the coin flip. Sure, you could use Will to ensure you recycle a card, but that means you’re giving up both your attack and Supporter use for the turn to do it.
Fortunately, Munchlax has already shown up in some well-performing decks, but over the past three months, those have only been in the Expanded Format. The decks in question tend to use at least some stall tactics, which means they have at least some – often many – turns where they’re not attacking anyway. Of course, Munchlax use in these decks does come with a powerful drawback; whether through Guzma, Bench hits, or similar tricks, its an easy OHKO. Some of these decks include disruptive elements as well, which end up protecting Munchlax from such common plays.
Munchlax should work in a similar fashion in Standard. In fact, given the lack of Guzma or Lysandre, you’d think it would work better, but I didn’t see anything from those past three months. In the Limited Format, unless you’re running a Mulligan deck, go ahead and include Munchlax. You’ll most likely have turns where you either can’t attack, or can’t attack all that well, so a 50-50 chance of reclaiming a powerful card from your discard pile is worth it. Even if it wasn’t, just having a Basic with a free Retreat Cost is especially handy here.
Munchlax has a powerful effect… when it works. Plus, even when it fails, it comes with a hefty, hefty cost. Seems like it has found its niche in Expanded, but not for Standard. There’s potential here, though it is also worth noting that this is only one of seven “baby” Pokémon, which all have the same stats other than Type, and Abilities with the same coin flip and turn-ending drawback. Even if a seemingly suitable deck pops up in the future, they might be a better fit for it than Munchlax.
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