Welcome back to Super Smash Step-Brothers, a series where we discuss possible entrants to the Super Smash Brothers series, and explain why they are unlikely to appear in Nintendo’s All-star gathering. Today’s installment is a bit of an indulgence on my part, as I have seen no one suggest this as a possible character, and it’s one I have a particular soft spot for. So today, we will be discussing the Dark rat, Sneasel.
Sneasel is a Pokemon introduced in the second generation of games — Gold, and Silver. It is one of the premier Dark type Pokemon of the series, along side creatures like Houndoom, Murkrow, and Tyranitar, which are immune to the powerful effects of Psychic Pokemon. This was fairly significant at the time, as Psychic Pokemon in the previous games were far stronger than other Pokemon types. This was due mostly to Psychic’s original weaknesses were Bug and Ghost. However, since most Bug and all Ghost Pokemon had the sub-type of Poison, most never lasted long enough to land a hit against them.
Sneasel was also one of the last Pokemon you could capture in Gold and Silver, as the area they roamed about was only accessible after defeating the Elite Four. It finally gained an evolved form of Weavile in the forth generation of games — the Diamond and Pearl generation.
I remember seeing the character design first, as a friend had a magazine that spoiled the new cast of Pokemon for Americans. The names hadn’t been translated or relabeled yet, so a number of them were not what they would eventually be called here in the States. They had given the creature the name Nyuura and colored it dark green. I had no idea what it meant, but it was pretty awesome looking. Once the trading card art for the creature started floating around the Internet, I got more excited to try it out.
Sneasel, as the name is meant to imply, is a weasel-like creature that hangs out in cold climates — i.e. snow weasel. It has dark fur, typically dark blue or purple, with yellow markings and pink or red blade-like feathers which come out of it’s spine and replacing one of it’s ears. The incredibly rare versions are pink with yellow feathers, though the yellow markings typically stay the same color. Their least prominent, but most significant features are the claws on hands and feet, which are razor sharp and are used as Sneasel’s primary weapon.
Sneasel biggest weakness .. is, well, it’s weaknesses. Sneasel turned out to be a Dark and Ice hybrid type. At first that sounds pretty cool. However, the Ice type does very little for Sneasel defensively. Dark is weak against Bug and Fighting type pokemon to balance out it’s strength against Psychic types. Ice not does nothing to help against the weakness against Bug, but Ice is also weak against Fighting types as well. Ice also adds a whole host of other weaknesses. Complicating matters was the fact that Sneasel in Gold and Silver did not learn very many strong Dark or Ice type attacks. Building a good Sneasel team involved patience and careful use of TMs, something a young me didn’t have much of. I felt let down by the fact that the character was not terribly strong in those games, but still loved the design. Sneasel’s evolved form Weavile alleviated some of it’s statistical weaknesses later on, and Weavile, has appeared in Smash Brothers as a Pokeball assist. However, Weavile is not the topic at hand.
That being said, Sneasel has had a history in the card game. Being one of the earliest cards in the game that was banned from play, Sneasel’s Beat Up skill became far too powerful for a two energy attack during it’s debut. It also shows up in the latest variation of the card game, Plasma Freeze, though it’s superior Weavile is still the highlight in that case.
Regardless of his strengths or weaknesses in the Pokemon games, Sneasel would make for an interesting contender in the Smash Brothers series. Many of it’s Pokemon abilities, such as faint attack, slash, or steel claw, all play on it’s physical advantages, it’s claws. Sneasel is also well known for being a quick and agile Pokemon, so a play-style that lets it use its speed to get into an opponent’s face and slice and dice is ideal. Also, while not the most learned Pokemon, it could learn some more devastating attacks through TM’s, such as Blizzard, Ice Beam, or Shadow Ball. This keeps Sneasel’s repertoire reasonably flexible, while still giving it it’s own flair.
All this taken into account, however, Sneasel being a playable Pokemon in Smash Brothers is little more than a pipe dream. Much like Knuckles before it, Sneasel faces stiff competition from more popular and well-known Pokemon, such as Victini, Lucario, Mewtwo, or Blaziken. Also, it has an evolved form that has appeared in the games already. Even without the high contenders, Sneasel also faces an actual animal kingdom’s worth of competition. This also makes it’s chances of coming out of the PokeBall item slimmer as well, since there are so many other possibilities out there now.
Probability Forecast: “Completely Unreasonable”
I would bet not only the purchase of a WiiU and eat the box, but the purchase of a WiiU for each member of my family as well against Sneasel appearing as a playable character in the next Smash Brothers. I label this as completely unreasonable, since there’s no way I’d be able to manage spending that much money in one place, not to mention the ramifications of eating an entire WiiU box. This is a character I really like, and would love to see in the game, but even I have to admit the chances of this happening are so slim as to be non-existent.