Weekend of Winter: Top 5 Ice-Type Moves

Holy cow, snow everywhere! In my home state of KY, Old Man Winter has unleashed his fluffy wrath upon the world. School is canceled, work is canceled, driving is canceled, all over snow that they’d probably say is just a rabbit-tracker somewhere that actually gets a lot of snow (for you non-southerners, a “rabbit-tracker” is a light dusting of snow just thick enough to see a rabbit’s footprints. You’re welcome). So while I’m trapped inside staring out at eight to ten inches of snow, I thought I’d dedicate this weekend to some winter-themed posts!

Today, we’re going to talk about my favorite ice-type moves from the Pokemon series. Ice types definitely don’t rank among my favorite Pokemon: they’re quite fragile, and most of the time I find myself just sticking an ice type move on a reliable water type Pokemon. But the type is pretty solid offensively, being good against flying, grass, ground, and most importantly, dragon. Dragon Pokemon are hard to beat without an ice type move, particularly those that sport both the dragon and flying types. So which ice moves do I find most effective? You’re about to find out, adventurers!

Number Five: Aurora Beam
Gen One hype! Aurora Beam has been around since I first started training Pokemon, and buddy does it get the job done. It’s not the strongest ice-type move by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s the first relatively strong ice-type move that most ice-type Pokemon get. I wonder how many times I can fit the phrase ice-type in one paragraph. Ice-type ice-type ice-type ice-type. Okay, I’m done.
My favorite thing about Aurora Beam is the aesthetic of it. Most moves are named in a pretty straightforward way. Fire Blast, Thunder Punch, Water Gun, it’s all just the name of the type and then what kind of attack it is. But the name “Aurora Beam” just has a really cool sound to it, and it looks awesome! A focused laser of rainbow energy fires out and smashes into the enemy, possibly lowering their Attack stat in the process…it’s great. Aurora Beam is awesome and you should teach it to your Dewgong.

Number Four: Ice Beam
Yeah, I know, I was just talking about the whole naming thing and here I am liking a move with that naming scheme. But really, how can you hate on Ice Beam? It’s pretty strong while also being 100% accurate, something that matters a lot to me as a player. Ice Beam is my go-to move anytime a gym leader or Elite Four member decides to send out their Garchomp or Altaria or whatever other overused dragon type they might have. Plus, unlike Aurora Beam, Ice Beam actually has a chance to cause the freeze status condition, and that’s pretty debilitating as it completely stops the other Pokemon from moving. Ice Beam does its job, no more, no less. This is also the ice type move that’s easiest to teach to water type Pokemon (in my experience playing the game; please don’t bust out a statistic about how more water types actually learn Icy Wind or Haze or something). Give me a Milotic and the Ice Beam TM and I will gladly tear the Elite Four to pieces.

Number Three: Avalanche
Probably the most powerful-sounding ice move. Imagine being crushed by an avalanche. Now THAT would hurt! Avalanche is a relatively unimpressive move at first glance with only base 60 power. It even has what’s called reverse priority – it makes your Pokemon go last regardless of the Speed stat. “Why in the world would I want my Pokemon to go last?” Excellent question! The reason for that is the fact that if your Pokemon takes damage from an attack before using Avalanche, the move DOUBLES IN POWER. Suddenly, your 60 power attack jumps up to 120 power. That’s more damage than Blizzard, one of the most well-known and most powerful ice-type moves in the game. Stick Avalanche on your Avalugg and watch as that behemoth takes hits and wrecks shop.
I’d probably put Avalanche higher on the list if not for the fact that ice type Pokemon are so frail. Even the ones with naturally high defenses are crippled by the typing itself – ice has FOUR weaknesses (steel, fighting, rock, and fire) and NO resistances other than resisting itself. This means that even with high defense, attacks of any type are going to be doing neutral or increased damage, never lowered. Despite this type disadvantage, the Avalanche move has incredible potential for pain.

Number Two: Ice Shard
Remember how Avalanche had something called reverse priority? Well Ice Shard has normal priority, and here’s what that means: it goes first. Even if the other Pokemon is faster. You still go first. The only time Ice Shard isn’t the first thing that happens is if both Pokemon use priority moves and the other is faster, or if the opponent has a move with the highest possible priority (something like Extremespeed, Protect, or Fake Out). So yes, while it is possible to be outsped when using Ice Shard, most of the time using this move means you’re the first thing that’s gonna be moving.
This is pretty advantageous because having the chance to hit and knock out the opponent’s Pokemon before yours gets hit is important. Having a priority move can be clutch when your poor, vulnerable ice Pokemon might be knocked out by the next hit. Just knock out the other guy first! Plus you have that nice ice typing for the attack, making it very effective priority against opponents with grass, flying, ground, and dragon types. The biggest disadvantage of Ice Shard (a disadvantage shared with the majority of priority moves) is that the power is pretty low, at a measly 40.

Number One: Freeze-Dry
A new move for a new generation of Pokemon players, this attack is pretty awesome. Want to know why? Probably, or you wouldn’t be reading this. Freeze Dry is an attacking move with 100% accuracy, 70 power, and a 10% chance to freeze the opponent. This means it is almost identical to Ice Beam except for two things. One, its power is somewhat lower than Ice Beam’s. But the second thing is what makes it worth it.
When Freeze-Dry is used against a water-type Pokemon, it is super-effective instead of being resisted.
What a move! Freeze-Dry adds another type to the four types already weak to this attack, and that type was previously resistant to ice-type moves. So someone decides to be sneaky and send out a water type to resist your attack? They’re in for a painful surprise. Moves that turn the typing system on its head to give the vulnerable Pokemon the advantage are few and far between, and Freeze-Dry does this very well. It’s also cool because water type is one of the harder ones to find a weakness for – it’s only weak to electric and grass. Freeze-Dry allows you to add a third weakness to that list, and it’s one a water-type trainer may not be expecting.

There are plenty of other ice-type moves in the game, and I’m sure some of you adventurers love one that isn’t on this list. Be sure to comment with your favorite ice type move and let us know why you like it so much. And remember to come back tomorrow for the second day of Weekend of Winter so you can enjoy some more snowy shenanigans!

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