Ice types. Cold, hard, and fast. Ice is a great attacking type, as double weaknesses are common, such as Dragon and Flying. Ice types have good offensive typing, meaning that they can tear down some of the bulkiest walls. There are many notable Ice moves plus nice abilities to couple them. All of these make the Ice typing a great choice offensively.
The Ice type was first introduced in Generation I with Red, Blue, and Yellow. In this generation, it was the only type super effective against dragon. This made it good to take out Dragonite considering it was dual weak. Throughout the generations, the type has had many additions, some good, some not as good, but the few offensive mons getting good stats have been very influential in their respective metagame. That is because most walls are either weak to Ice or at least neutral to it (for example Skarmory, Gliscor, Hippowdon, Landorus-T, etc). With Pokemon like Mamoswine, Weavile, and Kyurem-B, there are so many ice types that can dent a hole on walls, helping teammates late game.
Ice will almost always run offense because its defensive typing is lackluster to say the least. The type unfortunately has some shortcomings, mainly in its defensive stats, and defensive typing. Ice is weak to four types, and with only one resistance – to its own type. Offensively, it is super effective against four types, with four resisting it. Of those types that are weak to Ice, one is Flying, one of the most common types in the game.
By the Numbers
# of Pokemon with this type: 40
# of Fully Evolved Pokemon: 27 (Including two mega evolutions)
2x super effective against: Flying, Dragon, Grass, Ground
Effective against: Rock, Bug, Psychic, Dark, Fighting, Fairy, Ghost, Poison, Normal, Electric
2x resisted by: Fire, Water, Steel, Ice
Ineffective against: None
2x weak against: Fire, Rock, Fighting, Steel
Damaged normally by: Bug, Psychic, Dark, Fairy, Ghost, Poison, Normal, Electric, Water, Grass, Dragon, Flying, Ground
2x resistant to: Ice
Immune to: None
- Alolan Ninetales
- Alolan Sandslash
- Mega Glalie
Physical-Icicle Crash, Ice Shard, Icicle Spear, Ice Punch
Special-Ice Beam, Blizzard, Freeze-Dry, Icy Wind
Status-Hail, Aurora Veil, Haze
Z-Moves- Subzero Slammer
Type in OU
In the OU metagame, the Ice typing fairs well offensively. Defensively, you would be better off using Dunsparce against 6 Mega Rayquaza. With Flying being one of the most prevalent types in the metagame, Ice can reliably net some KO’s. Landorus-T is one of the most common pokemon in OU, but it has a four times weakess to Ice – meaning one Ice Beam or Hidden Power Ice from a strong special attack will OHKO. With many steel types in OU, such as Mega Scizor, Skarmory, and Celesteela, Ice won’t fare well defensively.
There are only two Ice type Pokemon that technically break OU usage: Kyurem-Black and Mamoswine.
Kyurem-Black has been an OU staple since its introduction in generation five. It briefly fell to UU in usage at the start of this generation, but was quickly banned and eventually rose to OU. The main reason for its ban was the introduction of a potent new weapon in Subzero Slammer. While Kyurem’s traditional Scarf and Life Orb sets are still viable, Icium Z finally gives it a one-shot physical ice move. Used with Freeze Shock, Kyurem packs a 200BP ice move for one-time use. Backed by STAB and base 170 attack, that hurts, OHKOing even some versions of Ferrothorn.
Mamoswine fills a similar role to the one occupied by Weavile in the XY/ORAS metagame. It is just slightly more powerful and bulky and has a more potent offensive typing, allowing it to serve as a great blanket check to mons like weakened Tapu Bulu, Salamence, and Landorus-Therian.
While Weavile no longer cracks OU by stats, it still has some presence there since being banned from UU. Weavile’s best set is still a Life Orb all-out attacker with Knock Off, Icicle Crash, Ice Shard, and Low Kick or Poison Jab for coverage.
Sadly, the prevalence of powerful steel types like Mega Metagross, Mega Mawile, Mega Scizor, Celesteela, and Kartan in OU hurt ice’s viability. Few, if any, ice type pokemon aside from these three are seen on the OU ladder.
Type in Mono
In the monotype metagame, Ice still struggles like it does in OU. With many steel, fighting, and fire monotype teams, Ice has issues. Still, these issues can be worked around.
In monotype, almost every ice team should have Avalugg. It has access to rapid spin, and high physical stats. Avalanche makes up for its middling speed, so any hit it takes, the opposing Pokemon will be taking a 120 BP stab attack back. It has access to recover, but unfortunately cannot take any special attacks.
Other pokemon in the monotype metagame are Ninetails-A and Sandslash-A. These two work hand in hand with each other. Ninetails can set hail with Snow Warning, and Sandslash has Slush Rush to take advantage of that. Hail + Aurora Veil is a viable strategy for assisting hyper offense teams and alleviating some of Ice’s weaknesses.
The Ice typing in Monotype should be running Hyper Offense, here and henceforth referred to as “HO”. The purpose for this is because there aren’t any pokemon with high enough defenses to stall (excluding avalugg). Instead, the most common ice types have high offenses and decent speed. An example is weavile, who has a 125 Base Attack stat and access to Low Kick – meaning steel types should be wary. Cloyster has shell smash, skill link, and multi hit moves to cover for its average offensive stats.
When teambuilding in Mono, Ice will always need a pokemon with access to Rapid Spin, whether that is Cryogonal or Avalugg – Cloyster is not mentioned as it works better as a sweeper. A setup sweeper like Cloyster works wonders, and a scarf or band like Kyurem-B works amazingly as well. Due to the fact that Ice runs HO, there is not a need for status moves.
There wasn’t much of a change for Ice in Generation VII from VI. Steel is still prevalent and extremely annoying to deal with, and Ice can’t handle fighting, rock, and fire. This forces Ice teams to run specialized sets that are able to compete against common steel teams.
Type in Other Metas
Cloyster is a monster if it gets to setup. At level 100, running a jolly nature, it outspeeds fully invested + speed natured base 188 pokemon. With the ability skill link and access to Rock Blast and Icicle spear, it can get up to base 125 STAB move, and 125 rock type move. After one shell smash, it has a chance to 2HKO the standard bulky Mega Scizor, which can only 4HKO in return, unless it sets up. Despite this, it almost always needs to run focus sash, which can hinder its ability to nab some KO’s, thus leaving it in UU.
In Ubers, Ice has just Arceus and Kyurem-White. Kyurem-White is an awesome special wallbreaker, boasting the most powerful Draco Meteor in the game and being able to make use of a base 170 special attack for truly powerful Ice Beams. Arceus-Ice is occassionally useful to check Pokemon like Zygarde-Complete on offensively inclined teams.
Ice has just two mega Pokemon, and unfortunately neither of them are very good. Mega Glalie is the only one of these two currently released, and it sits down in RU in terms of usage. Its ability, Refrigerate, gives it a small niche as a suicide attacker in OU: Refrigerate-boosted Explosion hits everything hard, even when resisted. Mega Abomasnow probably won’t make much of a dent when Abomasite is released, as it is slow and suffers from multiple weaknesses.
Tips and Tricks
My favorite thing to do is practice my Ice vs. OU on pokemon showdown. With a whole bunch of steel types running around, it’s quite difficult. A standard core I run for it is Ninetails, Sandslash, and Kyurem-B. I really like this core because it has the Fairy/Steel/Dragon core alongside the Ice typing, and there is a strong special attacker, and two physical – one sweeper, one wallbreaker.
My favorite Ice type to use however, is Cloyster. Ignoring its low Special Defense, it is actually decent defensively. A 180 base defense is nothing to laugh at. Most of the time it will run focus sash so it can guarantee a shell smash setup, boosting its speed and both attack stats by a factor of two. Sometimes, it will run a white herb instead to allow its defenses to stay up. An example of a Cloyster doing work is against Skarmory. These calculations are done after a shell smash, with white herb. Cloyster is faster, so the shell smash is first.
0 Atk Skarmory Brave Bird vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Cloyster: 64-76 (26.5 – 31.5%) — guaranteed 4HKO
So skarmory will 4HKO. That isn’t great. Cloyster on the other hand…
+2 252 Atk Cloyster Icicle Spear (5 hits) vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Skarmory: 195-230 (58.3 – 68.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Now, keep in mind, that it will always be five hits as it has skill link as its ability. It will 2HKO. Meaning cloyster will be left with at best 20.5% of HP left. It can still nab some KO’s after that thanks to its high speed, and attack.
As shown, despite their many weaknesses, Ice types can still shine and don’t always fall down a slippery slope of being KO’d right after the other. In fact, since a few common types are weak to ice, it makes for a great attacking type. With the strong wallbreakers such as Kyurem-B and Mega Glalie, and the set up sweeper Cloyster, even steel types need to be on the look out for surprises – like an Earth Power from a Specs Kyurem. Ice is a hard type to use, but with practice, it is a lot of fun and can win quite a bit more often than one would think.