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Hailing from the frozen north, Ice-types have always been misfits in any metagame they find themselves in. While they may have solid stats, they are always held back by their most notable trait- being Ice-types. While Ice is a fantastic offensive type, providing great neutral coverage, it is almost without a doubt the absolute worst defensive type in the game. Its only resistance is Ice itself, while it packs weakness to some of the game's most common and effective types- Rock, Fire, Fighting, and Steel. These weaknesses are so significant that Ice-types can barely scratch the surface in the OU and UU metagames. However, through a combination of stats, movepool, and specific utility, some Pokemon manage to rise above, making them threats that cannot be ignored.
When it comes to Ice-types in OU, there's one that immediately comes to mind- Cloyster. Its newfound fame is the result of one of the most notable new moves in the entire game- Shell Smash. This insane stat-up move cranks up Cloyster's Attack, Special Attack, and Speed to double, making even Cloyster's mediocre stats fearsome. Combine that with Icicle Spear's Base Power being buffed to 25, and factor in Skill Link, and Cloyster can go from zero to hero in one turn. For coverage, it's also got boosted Surf, Hydro Pump, or the new Shell Blade. It also has Skill Link Rock Blast, giving it excellent three-move coverage with which to sweep through OU. However, that's not the only trick in its book. It also packs a massive 180 base Defense, which not only lets it set up extremely easily, but also play a defensive role with Rapid Spin and Spikes. It can also bust out Ice Shard, letting it pick off weakened foes and revenge boosted Dragon-types with ease.
There's also Mamoswine, which is pretty much a sledgehammer made of ice. Its Ice / Ground typing gives it incredible two-move coverage, and its massive base 130 Attack makes it a real terror. STAB Earthquake coming off of 394 Attack is quite the force to be reckoned with, especially when backed by Icicle Crash, one of Generation 5's contributions to the type. It's also got Ice Shard, which hits remarkably hard even without any boosts considering Mamoswine's impressive Attack. It's not especially fast, sitting at base 80, but it's fast enough to outspeed plenty of notable Pokemon, especially Heatran. On top of that, it's a bulky beast, packing 110 / 80 / 60 defenses. To cap it off, it'll eventually get its Dream World ability- Thick Fat, which gives it neutrality to Fire and a real Ice resistance, making it one of the few Pokemon to resist BoltBeam in OU. As of right now, Mamoswine can't have Thick Fat with any of its good moves (Icicle Crash, Ice Shard, Icicle Spear, and Stealth Rock), and STAB Earthquake does not an OU Pokemon make.
Abomasnow (and its little bro, Snover) aren't quite OU material, but they're still too good for UU. The main issue is hail- when there's stars like Ninetales, Politoed, and especially Tyranitar to compete with, hail doesn't really make the cut. However, it can sometimes prove especially good. Abomasnow's secondary Grass typing gives it a resistance to Water, which can make a bulky set good for shutting down some notable Rain abusers. It also has access to some incredibly powerful STABs in the form of Wood Hammer and Blizzard, and the newly buffed Giga Drain can keep it in the game for a bit longer. Unfortunately, it's weak to Stealth Rock, making it hard for it to switch in enough to keep its hail up for the rest of the team.
Then there's Kyurem. With any other secondary typing at all, Kyurem would probably easily make the OU cut. It's got a huge 660 BST, massive 130 / 130 offenses, incredible 125 / 90 / 90 defenses, a solid 95 base Speed, and the much sought after Dragon typing that can turn any capable attacker into a superstar. So what went wrong? Ice did. While it's got a devastating STAB Draco Meteor and Outrage coming off of base 130 offenses, the Ice typing takes away way more than it gives back. Dragon's coverage is remarkably redundant with Ice, and all Ice does is give it a nasty Stealth Rock weakness and the inability to deal with a number of notable foes, especially Ferrothorn, Scizor, Tyranitar, and Jirachi. Its only other notable special attacks are Focus Blast and Hidden Power, and Outrage is basically the entire extent of its physical movepool. With another secondary type or a better movepool, Kyurem could have been a real star. Unfortunately, it's just another bust.
Once a denizen of OU, Weavile now finds itself solidly UU in this Generation 5 metagame. However, in UU, it's a real terror. Packing 120 base Attack and 125 base Speed, it's more than capable of zipping past the competition and nailing them with its powerful attacks before they have the chance to respond. Its main issue lies in the power of its moves- Ice Punch is its strongest physical Ice attack at 75 BP, while it has to settle for a meager 70 BP on Night Slash. That said, even at these low powers, they're more than capable of dishing out hurt from 120 base Attack after a Swords Dance. To cap it off, it's got Brick Break and Low Kick to beat up nasty Steel-types that would otherwise wall it, and Ice Shard to pick off faster Pokemon like Crobat and some weakened Scarf users.
However, the real superstar is Froslass- not as an attacker, but as a source of raw utility and annoyance. The real draw is Spikes, as Froslass brings a unique asset to the Spiking game- its own spinblocking. Taunt comes along for the ride as well, making Froslass an easy winner in any heads-up between setup Pokemon. It's also got an impressive 110 base Speed, which allows it to not only abuse Spikes, but also Confuse Ray, Thunder Wave, and most notably Destiny Bond. And while its 70-all defenses don't win any awards, they're good enough that with some investment, Froslass can definitely take a bit of punishment and either just set up or use it to fuel Pain Split. With Deoxys-D gone, Spike layers are even more at a premium, and while it's not as popular as it was in the Abomasnow / Snover days, Froslass still has what it takes to be a star in UU.
Icicle Crash – 85 Base Power – 90% Accuracy – 30% chance to Flinch
This attack is basically a stronger Ice-type version of Rock Slide, and it's definitely a welcome addition for Mamoswine, its main user. It's the first halfway decent physical Ice-type attack, and when combined with Mamoswine's STAB Earthquake, it's a real force to be reckoned with. The flinch is especially nice, as it lets Mamoswine bust through some tough defensive opponents with a bit of luck.
Ice Fang – 65 Base Power – 95% Accuracy – 10% chance to Flinch, 10% chance to Freeze
The low-rent physical STAB. Great distribution, but nothing that gets it really actually wants to use it. Gliscor picks it up from time to time for Dragonite and opposing Gliscor, but other than that, sightings are few and far between.
Icicle Spear – 25 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – Hits 2-5 Times
Solid yet unreliable damage, this move really shines on Cloyster, which uses Skill Link to ramp up its power to a reliable 125 Base Power. A base 125 Ice-type STAB move is tough to deal with, especially when it's used by a Pokemon that can boost as fast as Cloyster.
Ice Shard - 40 Base Power - 100% Accuracy - +1 Priority
A standard Quick Attack-esque priority move, Ice Shard is especially useful because of the large number of significantly Ice-weak sweepers. It's a prime move for picking off Dragon-types like Dragonite, Salamence, Latios, Latias, and Haxorus, as well as other assorted frail or Ice-weak sweepers such as Landorus, Alakazam, and Gengar. It's especially fearsome coming from Mamoswine, whose base 130 Attack lets a 40 Base Power attack hit deceptively hard.
Ice Beam – 95 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – 10% chance to Freeze
Your standard elemental beam, Ice Beam is a top notch coverage move for many sweepers, especially Water-types that rely on it to take out Dragon and Grass-types. Its distribution is excellent, and its coverage is indispensable with all the devastating Dragon-types floating around.
Blizzard – 120 Base Power – 70% Accuracy – 10% chance to Freeze, -- accuracy in Hail
Blizzard is to Ice Beam as Thunder is to Thunderbolt... except not quite as good. The combination of hail's weakness, the lack of a reliable status effect, and the fact that Ice Beam more than suffices for most Pokemon means that Blizzard is rarely seen in most metagames.
Haze - --% Accuracy – Resets all stat modifiers on all Pokemon in play to 0
While it's not seen especially often, Haze is the original counter to stat-boosting Pokemon. It's completely unavoidable, as it targets the entire field and ignores Substitutes, evasion, and has no nullifying ability. It's especially notable on Milotic in UU, where it can pretty much shut down most stat boosters hard.
A thoroughly unexceptional type with a couple notable unique snowflakes makes Ice a bit of a diamond in the rough. While it leaves a lot to be desired, it's still got a couple real champions keeping it alive, and as long as Dragons dominate the metagame, those Ice-type attacks won't be far behind.
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