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Ice has always been hailed, pun intended, as one of the better offensive typings in the game of Pokémon. It hits four common types for super effective damage and has the benefit of being one of only two attacking types that hit Dragon-type Pokémon for super effective damage.
Unfortunately it is a rather horrible defensive typing, bearing only a single resist to moves of the same type, and four fairly common weaknesses to Fire, Fighting, Steel, and most notably Rock, which means a Stealth Rock weakness. As far as competitive Pokémon is concerned, it's best to have Ice moves, but not be an Ice-type.
This is where Ice-type really shine. The OU tier is rich with Pokémon that powerful Ice-type moves hit super effectively. Over a quarter of the tier is hit with double damage from them. And with the large amount of Pokémon that learn Ice-type moves due to the availability of the Ice Beam TM, it’s no wonder that Ice Beam is the fifth most popular move in the OU tier. That being said, Ice also makes a great coverage move on many sets, giving near perfect coverage to any Pokémon who also has an Electric move, creating the popular BoltBeam combination that hits every Pokémon, bar Magnezone, in the tier for at least neutral damage.
While having access to a powerful Ice-type move is generally a great thing in OU, being an Ice-type is generally not the best. Only two Ice-type Pokémon make the cutoff for OU, those being Mamoswine and Weavile. However, they are incredibly lucky for their Ice-typing because it gives them access to STAB Ice Shard, making them the best Dragon revenge killers in the game.
Ice, especially in OU, is far better suited as an attacking type. With so many common weaknesses, it’s not exactly the best typing around defensively; not to mention the weakness to Stealth Rock already weakening them on entry. The only Pokémon that even comes remotely close to being able to compete defensively in OU is Mamoswine; but he has his impressive stats and partial Ground-typing to thank for that, rather than his Ice-typing. When thinking about defensive OU Pokémon, you should probably be looking elsewhere.
While OU is rife with many Flying-, Ground-, and Dragon-type Pokémon for Ice to prey on; the UU environment is a bit less saturated with Pokémon that Ice hits for substantial damage. Couple that with the fact that there are a myriad of good bulky Waters, more so than in OU, and you begin to see why Ice moves are a bit less effective in UU. However, that isn’t to say that they are worthless. The UU tier is has many Grass-type Pokémon, of which Ice-type attacks hit for super effective damage, so all in all Ice is a bit of a wash in UU.
One can’t help but mention Articuno when thinking of Defensive Ice-types. While its defensive prowess comes mainly from its statistical advantages and Flying-type, its Ice-typing can not be ignored as a major asset to its defensive sets. The Toxic staller in particular loves having access to STAB Ice Beam as most Pokémon who are not able to be hit with Poison, also have poor Special Defense (barring Registeel, but he can be PP Stalled) or are weak to Ice. Couple this with the fact that there is a significant lack of strong Rock-type move users, and you have a tier where a defensive Ice-type Pokémon can really shine.
Ice Punch – 75 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – 10% Chance to inflict Freeze status
This is most reliable STAB move for physically based Ice-type Pokémon. While the 75 Base Power is a bit low, it still gets the job done, and the chance to inflict the Freeze status is really nice too. It also has the added benefit of being a Move Tutor move, which means that many Pokémon who previously lacked much coverage before Platinum, gained a nice new toy to play with.
Ice Shard – 40 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – Has priority over normal attacks
Probably the single greatest asset to any physical Ice-type attacker. This move alone gives Mamoswine and Weavile their niche use in OU as great Dragon revenge killers. It’s not that bad for helping those two get a sweep against faster attackers either.
Ice Beam – 95 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – 10% Chance to inflict the Freeze status
Ah, the bread and butter of Ice moves. Being a TM, a lot of Pokémon have access to this, and since Ice is such a great attacking type, most Pokémon who can use it, do. One of the most influential and best moves in the game. Great STAB for those who hold the Ice-type, and solid coverage for those who don’t.
Blizzard – 120 Base Power – 70% Accuracy – 10% Chance to inflict the Freeze status
It’s the old accuracy for power move. However in D/P Blizzard went from nearly never used to being a great special asset for those employing the use of hail, due to Blizzard’s increased accuracy to 100%. If you’re running hail, you’re running this over Ice Beam.
While no one uses the move Hail, it’s important to note the field effect nonetheless due to their being an auto starter of the weather, namely Abomosnow. Hail gives many Ice-type Pokémon a chance to shine such as Walrein who under hail jumps from non-existant threat to monstrous wall. It also gives offensive Pokémon like Glaceon a chance to do ridiculous amounts of damage through STAB 100% accurate Blizzard. Not to mention that because Ice-types are seriously lacking in OU and UU, the odds of your opponent being able to mitigate the secondary damage from the hail is slim to none.
While few Pokémon can take advantage of hail’s supportive nature, the ones who can are dangerous forces under the effect.
The Ice-type has long been known to be an incredibly effective attacking type, and for good reason. The lack of resistances, with the number of incredibly useful targets that it hits for double damage makes Ice-type moves staples on nearly every single team used competitively. However, it’s important to note the defensive drawbacks of Ice. When looking at Ice, it’s almost entirely better to have access to the arsenal of an Ice-type, without having to actually be an Ice-type.
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