Join our discord to join the fun!
blog image
author's image
Phoenixfire712 @phoenixfire7127 Monday, June 3, 2024

What would actually happen to Colorless if Snorlax LOR was banned?

Depending on how active you are in online discussion on Twitter and in GLC discords, you may have heard of the heated debate surrounding Thumping Snore Snorlax and Colorless in general. Out of any type in the format, Colorless has by far created the most controversy. As of yet four cards have been banned because of various Colorless decks.

In this article I will be discussing what makes the most popular Colorless deck (Turbo Snorlax) so strong, investigating the three cards which have caused the most controversy, and presenting some testing that I did personally to find out what would actually happen to Turbo Snorlax if one of these lynchpin cards in the deck was banned or limited. 

First Disclaimer:

While the community at large doesn’t officially have the authority to make ban decisions for GLC, it’s an interesting discussion point, and community discourse does have some influence on the decisions of those who do have that power. None of the cards mentioned in the article are currently banned except for Pokemon Research Lab. Check for official ban list updates. 

This article is on the longer side since there’s so much to cover, but bear with me. I'll be summarizing the results of what I've found through my testing at the end of the article, as well as my personal thoughts on the issue.

In various different forms, Colorless has dominated tournaments since GLC was first invented. In the beginning, it consistently locked players out of playing the game in the form of Oranguru Control until three cards were banned to keep that in check. Then, it dominated the metagame for a year with Snorlax and Primal Turbo Archeops until Pokémon Research Lab was banned. More recently, Turbo Snorlax has significantly outperformed every other type in online and local tournaments for the past 6 months.

After the Lab ban, Archeops is no longer a problem in the competitive GLC scene. However, the question that many players have been asking is: was that ban enough? With Colorless continuing to dominate using a different, albeit slightly slower way to accelerate energies, does something else need to be done for the overall health and balance of the format?

Why TurboLax Gets So Much Hate

Colorless has access to the most consistent early game draw engine in the format with Skwovet and Oranguru. As early as the first turn of the game, Colorless can aggressively dig through the deck with Rotom Phone, Pokegear 3.0, and Trainers’ Mail to find cards like Technical Machine: Turbo Energize, any of the three double energies, Raihan, or Mela. These cards all accelerate energy into play quickly and easily, for the deck to swing out with huge big basic attackers like Snorlax and Kangaskhan. 

Once the deck is set up, using Nest Stash, Instruct, and Industrious Incisors while playing the hand down each time it sees new cards, it can draw upwards of 9 cards a turn using just abilities! No other deck in GLC can do that consistently. Using its absurd draw, it can dig for and reuse powerful non-draw Supporters like Guzma, Boss’s Orders, and Hex Maniac using VS Seeker and Pal Pad to ensure that the opponent never has a chance to set up. At the end of the game, Reset Stamp can work together with Hex Maniac to shut down your opponent’s comeback or to secure an already dominant position. Unlike other aggressive decks in GLC, it doesn’t suffer late game due to early aggression. 

While there are decks that have good matchups into TurboLax, they are few and far between compared to the majority of the format. This creates a lot of hate for the deck from players who enjoy playing their favorite decks that happen to have terrible matchups into Colorless. 

Several potential solutions have been proposed to this problem by members of the community.

  1. A ban on Snorlax, the strongest attacker in the deck
  2. A ban on Skwovet, the backbone of its aggressive draw engine
  3. A format limitation to allow decks to only use one of either Twin/Double Colorless Energy per deck, the lynchpin of TurboLax’s energy acceleration plan

I’ll present some pros and cons to each solution that I found in detailed testing against several matchups, along with some testing that I did with the original list as a control. 

Second Disclaimer:

This data I’m presenting is by no means concrete. It is very limited in scale compared to the format at large and the huge variety in deck archetypes and player skill. Due to dead drawing and low sample size, the results are not conclusive of what would actually happen in these matchups in a larger quantity of test games. I did the best I could do with my limited resources and time, and drew most of my conclusions from the turn-by-turn gameplay, and not the win/loss results of the matchups. 

First test: Switching the Thumping Snore Snorlax to the Collect Snorlax

If Snorlax LOR was banned, then Snorlax RCL is the next best candidate for the deck to use as an attacker. It has the same HP and attack cost, and the only differences are that Snorlax RCL has Collect as an attack instead of the Unfazed Fat ability, and Collapse does 60 less damage, but Snorlax has a higher chance of waking up after using it. This means there is less of a need for Therapeutic Energy, so I swapped it for Counter Energy in my list.

I tested several games against different matchups, and here’s my results

Collect is a great attack to have on Snorlax. I used it several times over the course of these testing games, much more than Unfazed Fat would have had any relevant effect. Counter Energy was great as another double energy in several situations. The Collect Snorlax also woke up much more often.


I didn’t test the Turbo Dark matchup, because I realized that having the Collect Snorlax actually flat out improves the matchup and it’s unnecessary to spend time testing it for comparison reasons. Zoroark can’t use Foul Play for a knockout, there’s one less ability in play for Weavile, and using Collapse has a higher chance of Snorlax waking up. The Derail attack on Yveltal is little more than a stalling tactic in this matchup, and with three or sometimes even four double energies, TurboLax can just reattach any discarded energies and keep taking knockouts. The only time the damage reduction matters is against Guzzlord, and there are several ways to deal enough damage to deal with that.


Even though the deck has several huge attackers in Torterra and Rillaboom, TurboLax has little problem in gusting the evolution Pokemon before they evolve and gusting around them once they do. With some well timed Reset Stamp and Hex Maniac plays, despite having to two-hit-KO Torterra most of the time, the matchup is a piece of cake. An easy 3-0 victory for Colorless.


Collect Snorlax did fail to take a knockout on an Entei due to prizing Turbo Energize, falling behind in energy attachments, and Skwovet being discarded early on by bad luck. Other than that, both the wins and losses that I tested were mostly dead draws from the opposing deck. Each deck is fast and aggressive, able to capitalize on any misstep from the opponent.


The damage difference only came into play against Gallade. In that case, the deck plays several damage modifiers such as Powerful Colorless Energy and Muscle Band. These, when used together, boost the damage of Kangaskhan, Snorlax, and Cyclizar to be able to knock it out in one hit. Psychic’s win was due to having Raihan in a 2 card hand after a Hex play. One of its losses to TurboLax was due to running out of energies late in the game, and Snorlax never even attacked during that game. The other loss was an interesting game, where a turn 1 Let Loose bricked both Colorless and Psychic, but three uses of Collect helped Colorless to draw out of it more quickly. No Unfazed Fat did let the Inkay put it to sleep, but one turn it woke up, and the other it had Guzma to knock out a benched Natu with Lugia. Finally, only dealing 120 damage means that Mimikyu can’t counter this new Snorlax by using Copycat to use its own attack against it, as it can against the current choice.

Pros of a Snorlax ban:

  1. Tanky decks such Special Whales, Metal, and Grass have a better matchup into Colorless

  2. Doesn't affect non-Colorless decks

  3. Collect Snorlax makes the deck have a higher skill ceiling with planning when to use each attacker and when to use damage mods and gust cards

  4. The ability on the current Snorlax, Unfazed Fat, prevents some niche energy disruption scenarios and counterplay in specific matchups like Turbo Dark and Lost Zone Psychic. Snorlax can't be put to sleep or paralyzed, preventing setup decks from buying extra time to deal with it. Getting rid of Unfazed Fat gives those decks a more manageable matchup into Colorless.

Cons of a Snorlax ban:

  1. Switching to Collect Snorlax actually improves several matchups such as Turbo Dark and Psychic

  2. This ban does nothing to actually nerf the early game aggression or late game Stamp + Hex comeback potential of the deck

  3. Collect Snorlax has a higher chance of waking up, so the deck can drop Therapeutic Energy for Counter Energy, situationally a 4th double energy

  4. Colorless has other ways of hitting 180-200 damage with a little extra investment, such as Lugia with Muscle Band and Powerful Colorless

  5. Collect is a great bonus attack, usually better than Unfazed Fat in most situations. Attacks that discard special energy such as Derail are less effective against basic energy builds of Colorless, and are often little more than stalling tactics when the deck has access to 3 double energies and a multitude of switching outs.

  6. I’ve heard of players who currently play Collect Snorlax in their lists with disruption cards like Delinquent even with LOR Snorlax still legal because it wakes up easily and is harder to knock out with Mimikyu and Zoroark. For some decks the ban would change nothing.

Second test: Replacing Skwovet and Oranguru with Cinccino and Dodrio

This next test required a huge list change. If Nest Stash Skwovet was banned, the deck would have little reason to use Instruct Oranguru, Mallow, and Rotom Phone as consistency cards. The next best replacements for Skwovet are Make Do Cinccino and Zooming Draw Dodrio. These evolving draw engines take up more deck space, so strong cards like Adventure Bag, Scoop Up Net, and Reset Stamp need to be cut to make room. With a slower draw engine, the deck also needs more draw supporters. I also swapped Gift Energy for Rainbow Energy to help Dodrio attack for more damage faster. Finally, this deck plays Parallel City over Chaotic Swell with less fear of Lost City and Silent Lab.

Here's the results of testing out this massive list change:

If Skwovet was banned, TurboLax as we currently know it would die. The evolution draw engine is not even close to the consistency or speed of Skwovet/Oranguru/Bibarel, and TurboLax decks would likely have to adapt to be slower and more similar to setup builds like Porygon-Z. In all of the matchups, either simply attaching to Snorlax or Cyclizar won games, or TurboLax failed to draw the cards it needed mid-late game and lost.


I could really feel the inconsistency of the evolution draw engine in these games. The game that Colorless lost was because it bricked off of an early game Marnie. It's easy for the deck to set up a full board of basics, but having to also find the evolutions and change its game plan if key parts are prized makes the evolution engine far less consistent. If something in the draw engine is gusted it also requires more recovery pieces to get it back. The games that Colorless won were mostly due to Dark bricking and the overall tankiness of Kangaskhan when equipped with tool cards.


Parallel City and Grass’s inconsistency were the key points in this matchup. The games Colorless won were due to Grass not setting up properly, and the games it lost were due to Colorless failing to stream attackers well or getting Marnie’d into oblivion without a draw engine in play. Snorlax + double attach + knockout is still a thing, but without Skwovet or Reset Stamp its long-term game plan suffers tremendously.


These games weren’t great for testing data, as ES bricked badly and got a slow start in all three games. An important thing to note however is that Colorless didn’t get off the early Turbo Energize play in any of these games. Sometimes due to bad draws, other times due to going for an early knockout. Without Skwovet and Oranguru, Turbo Energize is far less consistent.


Colorless has a much harder time coming back from a bad prize trade against decks like Psychic without Reset Stamp, and a much harder time finding Turbo Energize and starting an aggressive prize trade. There was a game where TurboLax could have pulled off the early Turbo Energize play with GuzHala, but it would have required discarding Iono or Twin Energy, in a situation where Iono was the only draw supporter in hand. With Skwovet and Oranguru as a draw engine, this would have been an easy decision. In this case, failing to get that early aggressive play or a proper draw engine set up led to it losing the game.

Pros of a Skwovet ban:

  1. Much lower chance of finding turn 1 attachments or Technical Machine: Turbo Energize

  2. Less consistent at finding Guzma, Hex, Raihan/Mela, and recovery cards every turn

  3. Evolution draw support is easier to disrupt, less consistent, and takes up more deck space. This means that there is less room to run powerful item cards like Scoop Up Net, Reset Stamp, Battle Compressor, Rotom Phone, Pal Pad, etc.

  4. Doesn’t hurt non-Colorless decks, or even many Colorless decks outside of TurboLax

  5. With this type of draw engine, Porygon-Z is probably a better Colorless archetype than TurboLax. TurboLax as it is currently designed pretty much dies, and something else will likely replace it as the best Colorless deck

Cons of a Skwovet Ban:

  1. Kills a deck archetype and unique draw engine entirely, rather than nerfing the rest of the deck so it can still survive healthily in the metagame

  2. TurboLax still does everything it's currently doing (albeit less consistently), losing the best draw engine doesn't mean that it can't continue attaching double energies to Snorlax and taking multiple early knockouts

  3. Of the options, this ban leaves the most room open for innovation in the Colorless consistency engine to be found to break the deck once again, making the ban pointless. Another Colorless deck may be found someday that’s even better than the current Skwovet build, we just don't know what cards may be printed in future sets

  4. The deck has less reason to run Chaotic Swell over Parallel City with less fear of Silent Lab and Lost City, providing a net improvement to some common matchups

Third test: Switching Twin Energy to Counter Energy

In Colorless, the three double energies (Double Colorless, Twin, and Double Turbo Energy) are essentially three Double Dragon Energies for the type. Double Turbo has a downside to it with a -20 reduction in damage, but Twin and DCE do not. 

Some Colorless decks even use a situational fourth double energy: Counter Energy. The main difference between Counter Energy and Twin Energy in Colorless is that Twin Energy works well with the deck's aggressive early game plan, while Counter is only a comeback mechanic. 

Here's my results:

Losing the third double energy made the resource game a lot tighter. This was especially the case if the deck failed to get off the early Turbo Energize for whatever reason, and I was often left scrabbling for resources to secure a knockout. Special Charge became even more important, and it was hard to time correctly to get back both of the remaining doubles. That said, with no other nerf to the deck, TurboLax still won a similar amount of games as before using the same busted draw engine and attackers. 


If Turbo Dark gets an early lead then Counter works perfectly as a third double, but even without it Kangaskhan can pretty much win this matchup by itself with Hammer In and Rally Back. Without the second double energy the resource management is more difficult though, there were several points during the games where Colorless was barely scraping by with its energies. 


The Grass deck dead drew without supporters and prized important cards several times, as it often does, due to the importance the deck places in each of its Stage 2 evolution lines. Having Counter instead of Twin did slow down Colorless several times, preventing it from getting a couple early donks. Colorless wins this matchup easily because it's simply too aggressive at taking out benched support Pokemon before they can evolve into stage 2s and playing Hex Maniac for Grass to handle. 


Each of these games was incredibly close, and they all came down to a late game Reset Stamp. In the game that ES won it drew Mela to get out of the Stamp, and in the other two it barely missed the pieces it needed to close out the game. In the last game I felt the absence of Twin Energy. Changing Counter to Twin would have let Colorless attack with Lugia one turn earlier and given ES one fewer chance to top deck out. Another thing Twin could have done was give TurboLax another out to win the game with Ryme and Kangaskhan. That game, I also had to use Special Charge for only DTE, making the energy economy much tighter for Colorless without another double energy recycled.


Here, more testing needs to be done to come to more concrete conclusions, but the matchup seems fairly similar to what it was before. In these games both Colorless and Psychic dead drew a couple times.

Losing the third double means that Colorless has a more difficult time spamming 3 energy attackers when taking an early aggressive route if it didn't start off with Turbo Energize. The deck often has to resort to Kangaskhan to take repeated knockouts mid-game, which has a lower damage ceiling than Snorlax and Cyclizar.

Pros of a DCE/Twin Limitation:

  1. Affects all current and future builds of Colorless, keeping it in check regardless of what new attackers and draw support Pokemon are printed in the future

  2. Decreases the longevity and reliability of the deck's early aggression, encouraging it to play a more resource-conserving game plan

  3. Makes streaming Raihan/Mela more difficult. Especially Mela, which is much less likely to find a double energy

  4. Going for aggressive game plans going first will more often require the use of Turbo Energize to establish a stable board 

  5. Prizing double energies becomes much more detrimental to the deck

  6. Special Charge becomes harder to use for maximum effect, the window of timing to be able to shuffle two double energies back in is much narrower

Cons of a DCE/Twin Limitation:

  1. Hurts several other decks other than Colorless, requiring them to switch to the -20 damage reduction of DTE instead. Notable popular decks that would be affected include Guzzlord Dark, Garbodor Psychic, and some Earthquake Fighting builds

  2. Some games of testing the Twin/Counter switch didn't matter at all. Occasionally TurboLax gets a good enough setup that it doesn't need to use all of its double energies

  3. There will still be many games where an early Snorlax or Cyclizar with a DCE/DTE will sweep a game while spamming Hex and Guzma

  4. This limitation might be confusing to implement, compared to a simple card ban like the other two options. It depends on whether the Twin/DCE limitation would just be a GLC specific ruling like the Expanded ruling on not allowing both Boss's Orders & Lysandre and Professor's Research & Professor Juniper in the same deck, or be applied to all effectively duplicate cards in GLC like Gloria and Brigette. This is still up for debate.

Third Disclaimer:

I will admit that I have inherent biases on this matter. As the original creator and one of the most successful players of TurboLax in the online webcam scene, I do have a couple biases towards the deck and whether or not cards should be banned from Colorless. I’ve tried to be as unbiased as possible in this article, but keep in mind that these biases do exist.

My personal thoughts:

Banning Snorlax is not the answer, and never will be. As strong as LOR Snorlax is as an attacker in Colorless, it’s not the defining feature of the deck. There’s been numerous discussions in several GLC discord servers about this card, and nothing conclusive has ever come from those discussions. 

When it comes down to it, Snorlax is just Colorless' current best attacker. The moment another better attacker is printed, the ban would be rendered pointless. Furthermore, in my testing, I found that even if it was removed from the deck, it didn’t change anything! The deck was still doing all the broken things it did before. Banning an attacker from GLC simply because its HP and damage are currently overtuned for this single-prize monotype format is unprecedented. It also doesn’t make sense in the long run based on the recent power creep in single prize attackers that are built to survive in Standard.

I believe if something were to be banned to keep this deck in check, it would have to be either Skwovet or Twin Energy. There’s great arguments to be said for either one, and it’s up to you to decide which you think is better.

That said, after all my testing, research, and deliberating, I personally side with the idea of limiting Twin Energy and DCE to one per deck in GLC for several reasons:

  1. It nerfs all current and future Colorless decks by preventing them from overusing duplicate energies in a singleton format, and decreases the chance that another Colorless deck becomes too broken in the future.

  2. It decreases the longevity of the aggressive game plan of the deck. If the first few early attackers are responded to, then if the deck did not take the time to properly set up extra energies in play, it has a harder time continuing to use its powerful, energy hungry attackers like Snorlax.

  3. This limitation makes the most sense with the “precedent” of the Expanded format rulings that Lysandre/Boss’s Orders and Juniper/Sycamore/Professor’s Research are limited to 1 per deck.

  4. The deck feels incredibly boring to play without Skwovet. It loses the basic draw engine that made the deck feel unique and interesting to play. Games with the evolution draw engine reduce the deck down to attaching to Snorlax and hoping that it doesn’t get knocked out, with no nuance to the deck such as correctly timing when to play critical cards like Reset Stamp, Scoop Up Net, and potentially Special Charge. 

  5. I personally enjoy the archetype and believe that it’s possible that it could exist healthily in the metagame with a nerf, instead of being destroyed.

Whew! That was a long article. Thanks for reading, I hope it was helpful and interesting! Good luck, and I hope you continue to have fun enjoying the amazing, nuanced format that is Gym Leader Challenge!