Cryogonal has usable Speed and Special Attack, and a brilliant STAB typing in Ice. It also has an excellent Special Defense stat, capable of surviving Chandelure's super effective Heat Wave, allowing it to serve as a reasonably bulky special attacker. However, its absolutely terrible Defense stat and numerous weaknesses due to its Ice typing means it will hardly ever survive a physical hit, although its ability, Levitate, allows it to avoid Earthquake. Cryogonal's STAB Ice Beam or Blizzard does severe damage to many of the common Pokemon in VGC 2011, but its movepool is relatively barren otherwise. While Cryogonal may not be the best choice for many teams, its ability to fire off a fast and powerful Ice Beam can prove deadly, and gives it a definite niche over its fellow Ice-type, Vanilluxe.
Cryogonal's Ice Beam has excellent coverage, and can OHKO or do severe damage to the genie trio, Hydreigon, Whimsicott, and a multitude of other common Pokemon. Hidden Power Dark allows Cryogonal to do decent damage to Jellicent and Chandelure, two common Pokemon that resist Ice Beam, while its huge Special Defense stat allows it to take any of their attacks in return. Protect is a staple move in doubles play, and is especially useful on Cryogonal due to its atrocious physical bulk, giving its partner a turn to eliminate physical attackers that may threaten it. Ice Shard provides a priority attack, breaking Focus Sashes and Tornadus's and Thundurus's Substitutes, and it also allows Cryogonal to get a last hit off before going down.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Cryogonal can run Icy Wind, slowing down and damaging faster opponents and allowing slower teammates to outspeed and take them down, but its low Base Power means that it's only really useful for the Speed drop, and having Tailwind or Trick Room up can much more reliably and effectively allow slower teammates to outspeed the opponent. A Charti Berry allows Cryogonal to almost always survive a Terrakion's Rock Slide, provided it does not hold a boosting item, but means that Cryogonal will easily lose to the multitude of Fighting-type moves and is generally an inferior option. Cryogonal can equip an Ice Jewel to do severe damage to or OHKO most Amoonguss sets with Ice Beam, but it leaves it open to a multitude of physical attacks such as Rock Slide that it just can't take with its base 30 Defense. Light Screen can be used in conjunction with Reflect to make Cryogonal extremely hard to take down with special attacks, and also makes it a usable dual screen user, but its terribly low Defense stat and inability to outspeed Terrakion and the genies means that a faster, physically bulkier dual screen user such as Serperior is usually a better choice for the job. Recover allows Cryogonal to abuse its excellent special bulk and throw around a few more Ice Beams before dying. However, its atrocious physical frailty means that any sort of defensive moveset will prove ineffective.
Hail is an option to allow Cryogonal and its teammates to abuse a 100% accurate Blizzard, which is quite deadly in VGC 2011, but as with other support moves, Cryogonal's terrible physical bulk and middling Speed, coupled with its inability to deal with the genies and Terrakion, means that Cryogonal will likely die before it is able to abuse Blizzard, or even before it is able to set up hail. A bulky Water-type, such as Jellicent or Samurott. is generally superior for setting up Hail due to their greater bulk and lack of the weaknesses that plague Ice-types. Other types of Hidden Power are also viable options; although Hidden Power Dark hits the two most common Pokemon that resist Ice Beam, Jellicent and Chandelure, for super effective damage, Hidden Power Electric retains the super effective hit on Jellicent, and also hits other Water-types such as Samurott hard, attaining a pseudo-BoltBeam coverage. Hidden Power Water still hits Chandelure hard, but also hits other Fire-types, such as Emboar, Darmanitan, and Volcarona, for super effective damage. Hidden Power Fire hits Steel-types as well as opposing Ice-types for super effective damage, so it's also a reasonable choice. Explosion may seem like a good idea to get some good spread damage, but Cryogonal's terrible Attack stat and the move's nerf from last generation means that it will do absolutely pitiful damage, maxing out at 80.1% damage on opposing Cryogonal, the most physically frail Pokemon in the tier.
Checks and Counters
A Rock Slide from Terrakion or Conkeldurr easily brings Cryogonal down to its Focus Sash, while Conkeldurr's Mach Punch will often KO it quite quickly. While 2HKOed by Hidden Power Dark, Chandelure can still do huge damage with its super effective STAB Heat Wave, and can set up Trick Room to outspeed Cryogonal. 252/0 Jellicent takes a maximum of 36.7% from a super effective Hidden Power, and resists Ice Beam, allowing it to easily take any of Cryogonal's attacks. Most Fighting-types are a complete pain for Cryogonal, easily OHKOing it with their STAB Fighting-type moves. Cryogonal is also useless against Darmanitan without Hidden Power Water, unable to 2HKO it, while Darmanitan easily OHKOes with Flare Blitz or Fire Punch. Steel-types leave Cryogonal completely helpless, resisting its main STAB and easily OHKOing back with their STAB moves. However, they must watch out for Hidden Power Fire, which severely damages most Steel-types.
Most Trick Room users can completely stop Cryogonal, as Trick Room uses its relatively good Speed against it, and leaves it open to crushing physical assaults that will almost always leave it KOed; additionally, Cryogonal cannot deal much damage to any common Trick Room user, allowing them to set up freely. Almost all priority users will bring Cryogonal a swift death due to its atrocious Defense stat, and Fake Out users can break its Focus Sash while preventing it from moving unless Cryogonal uses Protect. Many Tailwind teams can leave Cryogonal in the dust as well, bypassing its Speed and hitting it on its weak Defense stat. If Cryogonal's partner has Tailwind, though, Cryogonal's excellent super effective coverage with Ice Beam and good Speed will make it difficult for many Tailwind teams to stop. Choice Scarf users can completely destroy Cryogonal, outspeeding it before it can attack and likely KOing it due to Cryogonal's terrible Defense stat. However, if its partner can get Tailwind up, Cryogonal's good Speed stat allows it to bypass most Choice Scarf users.