TL;DR: Should You Pull?
What Does It Do?
Back when Pokemon Masters was released, it was extremely common for Strikers to need help getting their offensive stats maxed out. As time passed, we had better and better Support units show up to provide more and more complete buffing, but many new strikers also adapted to the changing times and found themselves capable of fully buffing themselves. Now we’re to the point where maxing out a damage-dealer’s offensive stats is considered par for the course, and many buffing Support units find themselves less outright needed, and more nice to have around for faster buffing. So how do we break this cycle and grant Support units renewed life? By going beyond stats!
To start with, let’s break Red & Snorlax down so that we can better talk about what they can do. First up is the fact that they are bulky! At their most basic, this unit is a tank that can take a lot of punishment and keep going. Second up are their attacks: Body Slam and Rock Smash. Body Slam is capable of Paralyzing an opponent when successful, while Rock Smash has a chance to lower the target’s Defense. They’re both two-bar moves, and are very nice in that they provide actual utility in using them beyond just ticking down the Sync Move counter. These moves are also capable of turning into Max Moves, with Body Slam turning into G-Max Replenish, which adds +1 use to Red & Snorlax’ Trainer Moves, and Rock Smash becoming Max Knuckle, which adds +2 Attack to the team. These moves also deal substantially more damage than normal, but still not enough to be genuinely note-worthy in most cases. This also segways us into their Passive Skills nicely, as the first is MAX Regen. This skill provides Auto-Recovery to the entire team after using a Max Move, which can be very useful for keeping the team alive. Group Moral Support, meanwhile, has a 50% chance of raising the team’s Special Defense by one rank whenever Red & Snorlax use a trainer move. No, not a normal move: a trainer move. Finally we have Team Alert Mind 1, which raises team Defense by 1 rank when Snorlax' HP drops to half or below. It’s not a great skill, but it’s nice to have. And now let’s get into Red & Snorlax’ trainer moves. First is Mini Potion All, which is a 20% Recovery move that affects the entire team. It’s nice for a bulky pair like Red & Snorlax, and helps the entire team on use. Finally, we come to the meat of this sync pair: You and Me!. This is one of those “single target” Trainer Moves. It reduces the Sync Move counter by 1, which is a huge help given the fact that Max Moves don't count down the Sync Move counter, grants the chosen Sync Pair +2 Critical Rate, and enables the Super Effective Up Next effect. This effect increases the damage that the next Super Effective attack used by the affected Sync Pair will deal to the opponent, meaning it is a damage boost that surpasses basic stat boosts, and breaks the damage ceiling for many Sync Pairs that have otherwise been capped.
Sparse buffing capabilities, high bulk, multiple sources of team healing, and the ability to provide the Super Effective Up Next all come together to make Red & Snorlax a very attractive pick for self-sufficient Strikers/damage dealing Tech units, as the entire point of this Sync Pair is to keep the team alive and enable huge bursts of limit-breaking damage. And nowhere is this more apparent than with a boosted Sync Nuke! Sync pairs like N & Zekrom or Marnie & Grimmsnarl are well known for their ability to score huge damage with their Sync Moves thanks to the very effect that Red & Snorlax can provide the team, so why not grant the same boost to Alder & Volcarona, Diantha & Gardevoir, or Blue & Aerodactyl? The result is potentially a screen-clearing burst of damage that can end many stages very cleanly. And that’s where the real gem that is Red & Snorlax begins to shine! They’re not just a bulky, lumbering support with awkward abilities, they’re a focused Sync Pair that has two jobs: to stay alive and provide damage boosts that go beyond what was once thought to be peak-performance in this game. And in this job, they succeed splendidly!
Alright, we’ve uncovered the diamond in the rough, polished it, and held it up for all to see. But what about those remaining rough edges? Red & Snorlax bring an entirely new paradigm to the field, but they’re not flawless in this role. First up is the fact that they’re slow, and have no way to rectify this problem. Add to this the fact that their signature buff only works on one Sync Pair per use, and it becomes obvious that they are not designed to work on multi-striker teams for the most part. They also have the previously mentioned lack of buffing profile, which means that some Strikers that need more than a Critical Rate boost will need some additional outside help to reach their maximum potential. Mini-Potion All, while useful, can also be a bit of a liability in some cases. Since Red & Snorlax will be taking the lion’s share of the hits, it’s possible that their HP may drop significantly before the rest of the team even takes any damage. In these cases, the question becomes “do I use this now to get A BIT of extra HP on Snorlax, or do I wait a bit longer, risk losing Snorlax along the way, and use it at a time when the entire team can benefit?" Finally, we have the big issue of the Super Effective Up effect; Super Effective damage itself. In the majority of stages, this is an outstanding effect to have. Added damage is always nice! But what about stages where someone doesn’t yet have a good Striker to capitalize on the weakness, or stages where the game hasn’t even released any good Strikers to capitalize on the weakness? While it’s true that this effect can help lesser Strikers stand up and become heroes, it’s just as true that the core offensive utility of Red & Snorlax directly scales with the type versatility that a given player has available at a given time. If you’re not dealing Super Effective damage, then Red & Snorlax are little more than a bulky Support unit with middling boosts and team healing, so why bother using them over other Sync Pairs at that point? On that same matter, they also don’t do much for Sync Pairs that have automatically-refreshing Super Effective Up Next as a part of their kits, like Lillie & Lunala.
Champion Stadium: Master Mode
Red & Snorlax are tanky, so they can survive onslaught after onslaught with ease and can also help the team survive powerful AoE moves thanks to their healing and regeneration capabilities. They can also give the coveted Support EX boost for huge damage gains, and can help to turn some Sync Nukes into stage-clearing balls of cataclysmic damage with Super Effective Damage Up. They require the right team and stage to excel, but they can definitely be considered an ace unit here if played to their strengths, as Super Effective Strikers can clear stages in record time with Red & Snorlax by their side.
Again: Red and Snorlax are tanky! They can tank and heal off attacks that could mutilate other tanks. And since the stage weakness is generally what most players will build their team around, they can put in very real offensive work as well. The one issue here is stages that change weaknesses mid-fight. They also don’t have a set of Theme Skills that are particularly likely to be featured for challenges outside of Kanto, possibly.
These fights tend to put up a very strong front, so the use of a powerful tank that can also give a unique Super Effective boost can be extremely useful.
The Battle Villa
Red & Snorlax is poised to be one of the absolute best Villa support units, sitting near Sycamore & Xerneas in terms of utility. The fact that they can score at least one MP refresh on their skills every single stage means that they can provide at minimum +2 Critical Rate to a unit on every single stage, not to mention a boosted Super Effective move on stages where applicable, and keep the team alive with frequent uses of Mini Potion All.
How To Use It?
These are generally the most important tiles on Red and Snorlax’ grid:
- Mini Potion All: MP Refresh 2 (⅗) provides fair odds of an MP refresh, but actually better than it appears. Due to MAX Regen adding one use to all skills if timed properly, Red & Snorlax effectively have 3 uses to this skill, so players picking up this tile will score an MP refresh in about ⅔ battles on average.
- Mini Potion All: Master Healer 1 (⅗) raises the healing capabilities of Mini Potion All, which is one of the draws of Red & Snorlax.
- Flag Bearer 3 (⅗) offers decent odds of raising the team’s Attack with every attack used, granting Snorlax a stronger supportive presence.
- Rock Smash On a Roll 1 (⅖) and Rock Smash: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅖) are great when Red & Snorlax are paired with Physical attackers, as they help Rock Smash chip away at the opposing team’s Defense.
- You and Me! MP Refresh 2 (⅕) offers more chances to drop the Sync Move timer, and more chances for Super Effective Up. And, like the previously mentioned Mini Potion All MP Refresh tile, it’s deceptively likely to actually take effect.
Next are the tiles that are nice to have, but are either niche or not generally worth going out of the way for:
- Body Slam: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅖) and Body Slam: Hostile Environment 1 (⅖) can make Body Slam easier to use, and make the resulting Paralysis more likely to take effect, respectively. However, Paralysis isn’t the greatest status in the game outside of Sync Pairs that can capitalize on it, and once it’s been inflicted, Body Slam’s utility drops quickly.
- Adrenaline 1 (⅗) Since Red & Snorlax can potentially drop the Sync countdown by 2 moves, this tile can actually remove one full “turn” off of their Sync Move cycle if played right. Otherwise it’s mainly good for if used with EX Red & Snorlax to help lessen the time until the next Sync Move.
- Safety Net can be useful for keeping the team alive, and gives a second chance for Red & Snorlax to team-heal for the save, but it’s very expensive to obtain and is only easily obtainable for select builds.
- MAX Group Therapy 9 (⅖) can be useful for clearing the team of status; an effect that’s actually a bit uncommon nowadays.
- MAX Shielding Strikes 2 (⅗) makes Snorlax even bulkier when using a MAX move, and also shores up its lower base Defense a bit.
- Quick Cure (⅖) and Antitoxin (⅖) are useful for select stages, as Poison/Trap in particular can badly whittle down Snorlax, and lessen its utility. Though MAX Group Therapy is in direct competition here.
Finally, these are the tiles that are probably best to ignore unless they somehow play into a bigger strategy in some way:
- G-Max Replenish: Power+100 (⅗) and Max Knuckle: Power+100 (⅗) apply nothing but power to moves that aren’t generally being used for their damage, so they’re easy-skips.
While an argument could be made for Defense Crush 2 to help Rock Smash do its job faster for Physical attackers, the fact that Red & Snorlax are made to tank first and foremost means that Vigilance is basically a requirement.
So right out of the gate, let’s just say that they have synergy with every good Striker or damage-dealing Tech unit in the game that is capable of dealing Super Effective damage and cannot give themselves an auto-refreshing Super Effective Up Next effect. That covers most of our bases.
But let’s go a bit deeper than that! Since Dual-Striker setups are a bit hard to pull off for the aforementioned reasons, a team of Red & Snorlax with one Striker leaves the 3rd slot open. This slot can be filled by other Support Units if buffs are a challenge, with Sabrina & Alakazam as the big stand-out for Special strikers, and Hilbert & Samurott for Physical. Status-spreaders like Serena & Delphox are also great for that third slot, as are debuffing units like Champion Iris & Hydreigon. Units that provide non-offensive buffs are also an option for high damage stages, with Morty & Mismagius standing out for their ability to potentially max team Defense and Special Defense, provide even more recovery with Potion, and even spread Flinch/Confusion. Finally, a self-sufficient Striker is always an option for the third slot to aim for even faster clears, as long as the gauge management doesn't become an issue for your team.
Is It Worth Pulling?
“Why are they only 4/6? They can add so much extra power in a way that no other Sync Pair can!”, I can hear some asking. Well, as stated in the article, the core utility of Red & Snorlax is directly proportional to how many different types of Strikers/damage dealing Tech units that a given player has at their disposal. If a player has missed a number of big-name limited banner Strikers or is just starting out recently, then Red & Snorlax will likely just sit on the bench or be used as a bulky Potion unit. If a player already has a large arsenal of damage-dealers that cover multiple types, then Red & Snorlax will be able to slot into many teams in order to provide that last tremendous boost needed to clear the stage.
And that’s where the answer to “Is It Worth Pulling?” lies. If you’ve got the Sync Pairs for Red & Snorlax to boost, then they can tip the scales through their ceiling-breaking buff and high bulk. If you just want something bulky as heck to help with high-damage stages, then they can do the job just fine. Or, heck, if you just like Red and/or Snorlax, then that’s great too! I pulled for them for that primary reason myself. But if these reasons aren’t outright appealing, then they’re fine to skip, and possibly pull for on a later rerun. Heck, they’re the first to be able to share Super Effective Up Next, and they probably won’t be the last!