Starting July 1st, Snorlax will be the prize Pokemon for research breakthrough rewards. Being a hatch-able and catch-able Pokemon, the prospect of getting Snorlax instead of a legendary Pokemon sounds pretty lackluster, that is until you read the fine print: Body Slam. Body Slam is Snorlax’s greatest move on defense and has been unobtainable since Gen 2's release in February, 2017. While the gym meta has seen better days, Body Slam is an absolute pain to deal with. If you don’t have a Body Slam Snorlax, you may want to pay extra attention to your daily quests these next few weeks as we may never get this opportunity again!
Moveset Ranking Explanation
Zen Headbutt has far better defensive damage than Lick, and it hurts Fighting-types seeking to prey on Snorlax.
Lick may lead to increased battle times and therefore extra charge moves, but is less objectively powerful than Zen Headbutt.
Body Slam is tricky to dodge, as it comes with little warning and can happen in quick succession.
Heavy Slam can have the tricky properties of Body Slam while dealing effective damage to Tyranitar that are commonly used to attack Snorlax.
- Hyper Beam and Earthquake both maim attackers if they hit, but are very telegraphed and easy to dodge.
It is no surprise that Snorlax has consistently been one of the most coveted Pokemon and most powerful defenders since Gen 1 of Pokemon GO. It has the 6th highest CP of gym worthy Pokemon, the 5th highest HP stat in the game, and the 3rd highest generalized bulk (HPxDef). Even without Body Slam, its objective performance on gym defense is absolute, forming one half of the infamous BlissLax defensive core -a core so wicked that the sight of it turns most players away from attempting to fight, even at middling motivation levels.
When looking at the properties of the “Big 4” (Blissey, Chansey, Slaking, and Snorlax) it is recommended to level up Snorlax as high as possible, as Snorlax is defined by its higher CP cap and dealing heavy, consistent damage. That said, Snorlax hits the numbers required for most CP based defensive strategies. 1500 CP is the cut off for the “after 8 hours” strat. Snorlax’s breakthrough catch level has a max CP of 1438. 1952 is the optimal CP for both the motivation decay and the gym height strat. Snorlax’s egg hatch/raid catch max CP is 1917. If you want full, at the moment defensive value or to maximize gym height time, then going for level 40 is the best option.
While Snorlax is great, it is the legacy move Body Slam that has us hyped for the research breakthrough, so let’s look at the stats on that!
|Damage||Energy Cost||Move Cooldown||Damage Window|
You may have experienced the horror of being Outrage locked while Blissey launches Dazzling Gleam, but rarely experience this lock when using Dynamic Punch. The reason for this is Dazzling Gleam’s damage window is at 2.1s, which is further extended by the “defender delay” of 1.5-2.5s. Outrage, having a cooldown of 3.9s, can easily get get locked into this range, but you’d have to be unlucky to get locked with Dynamic Punch’s 2.7s cooldown. Body Slam on the other hand has a damage window of 1.2s, meaning only charge moves with a less than 2.7s cooldown are safe (RIP Machamp).
To further substantiate Body Slam’s speed, the fast moves Confusion, Waterfall, Dragon Tail, and Counter have cooldowns of 1.6, 1.2, 1.1, and 0.9s respectively. This suggests that if Snorlax’s most common counters aren’t attentive, they could very easily get trapped in a Body Slam. Trainers that spam quicker fast moves such as Low Kick or Psycho Cut (0.6s), can fall victim to this too if they don’t react to the animation in time, as they’re only one tap away from getting slammed. In short, if you want to minimize the damage you take from a defending Body Slam Snorlax, you have to be on your toes at all times.
Body Slam also has clear advantages over other charge moves in general. Stone Edge and Hydro Pump have earlier damage windows (0.7s, 0.9s) but are single bar charge moves, suggesting they may not even launch. Brick Break and Cross Poison have earlier damage windows (0.8s) but lack the power of Body Slam. The only charge move that can compare is Aqua Tail (which is an exact clone of Body Slam). However, the only fully evolved recipient of Aqua Tail is Vaporeon, which is dominated by the Grass and Dragon-types that resist it. As a result, Aqua Tail lacks the power and therefore the prestige of Body Slam.
As for the other 27 Pokemon that learn Body Slam, Miltank is the only one that is fully evolved. Interestingly enough, Miltank matches Snorlax in performance when at the same CP. Unfortunately, Miltank caps at 2312 CP, which is Snorlax’s CP at level 24. While Miltank will never match Snorlax in sheer utility and power, for what it’s worth, Miltank does have an easier time finding the “after 8 hours” low CP range of 1000-1500.
The art of objectively rating charge moves based on their stats is near completely trivialized by simulation results of the whole Pokemon. However, simple objective rankings can further substantiate a moves raw power. On gym defense, it can be argued that damage per energy (DPE) is the bottom line since defenders have a fixed attacking cycle. To compare, Dazzling Gleam’s DPE is 2 where Body Slam’s is only 1.52 (1.82 with STAB). However, if you consider the damage per energy per second (DPES), Body Slam is one of the best in the game, scoring 0.797 DPES vs Dazzling Gleam’s 0.571.
DPE is an important piece of the puzzle, but without time factored in it is only so useful. The advantage of DPES is that it highlights moves that are more spammable for defense, suggesting they are more likely to hit and deal damage. DPES should not be confused with DPSxDPE. Where DPSxDPE is a great objective measure for a charge move’s offensive potential, DPES is one of the best for assessing the objective power of a charge move on defense.
Body Slam Snorlax is in the box, get hyped! What was once a moveset that many dreamed of ever getting, even with trading, is now obtainable by everyone starting July 1st. What’s even more exciting is what Body Slam Snorlax’s return suggests for the future of legacy moves. Perhaps we may also see the return of Cross Chop on Machamp, giving it a charge move with a cooldown fast enough to reliably evade Body Slam. Maybe October will bring Shadow Claw Gengar. Only time will tell!