Image source: Wikia

Last weekend’s North American International Championships had two big surprises: not only did Australians sweep the tournament, a Snorlax dodged more than half a dozen chances to be paralyzed or flinched. And, in classic Snorlax fashion, it won a tournament by eating.

As one of the smaller and newer regions to Pokémon’s Video Game Championship series, Australians have historically struggled to close out tournaments outside of their home region. Despite that, Nicholas Kan won the juniors age division (born in 2006 or later), Alfredo Chang-Gomez won in the seniors age division (born from 2002-2005), and Christopher Kan—the older brother of Nicholas—won the masters age division (born in 2001 or earlier). Christopher Kan’s victory was ultimately possible because of a Snorlax that refused to faint.

Christopher took the lead after game one, leveraging the survivability of his Assault Vest Garchomp to cause major problems for his opponent, American and three-time regional champion, Paul Chua. In game two, Christopher brought in his Arcanine and tried to whittle Chua’s Snorlax away with Toxic. Unfortunately, this only boosted Snorlax’s damage output, thanks to its Facade attack. With the help from that (and a freeze onto the opposing Porygon2), he forced the set to game three.

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Things were looking grim for Christopher as the final match began, as Chua eliminated half his team with his Tapu Koko and Snorlax. However, Christopher doubled down on the residual damage of Toxic and banked on his Snorlax’s recovery to keep it alive. By just spamming the move Recycle, he could keeping picking up his Aguav berry and recover half his health each turn while Chua’s Pokémon withered away.

It would have been a flawless plan, if not for his opponent’s attempts to take his turns away. By spamming Rock Slide with his Garchomp, Chua hoped for its 30 percent chance to flinch its target to stop Snorlax from recovering for a turn. That would help him deal damage and seal the game before his Pokémon fainted to Toxic. To make matters more difficulty for Christopher, Chua’s Tapu Koko scored a rare 10 percent chance to inflict Paralysis on Snorlax, which tacked on another 25 percent chance for Snorlax to lose its turn.

With a combined chance of about 45 percent to stop Snorlax in its tracks, the odds were just barely in Christopher’s favor. However, during the next handful of turns, Christopher’s Snorlax recovered through 4 attempts at a Rock Slide flinch and 3 turns of paralysis. Despite the odds, the Snorlax kept taking its turn, allowing it to pick its berry back up, eat it, and gain HP. Eventually, Snorlax broke through a final paralysis to deal the last point of damage to Chua’s Ninetales.

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Christopher’s victory was well-deserved and largely enjoyed by the community.

More than anything, though, Christopher’s win proved that Australia as a region is on the rise in the VGC community, and that Snorlax continues to be a strong option for this season.

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Correction 6:15PM: The odds have been updated to accurately portray how likely it was for Snorlax to lose its turn.

Jason Krell is a freelance journalist, VGC player and managing editor at the Trainer Tower.