There are now 8 full generations of Pokemon and while some Types have repeatedly received much love, care, and upgrades in the Pokedex, fans know that Ice-Types are not one of them. The fact is that Pokemon has ignored Ice-Types for far too long. Fans want more of them, better choices, and a variety of other improvements that will give the lowly Ice-Type a fighting chance.
This certainly would not be unprecedented. Over the past few games, Game Freak has gone out of its way to make improvements to Ghost-Types. So, isn’t it time to give their chilly brethren a little love? Let’s take a look at a few of the immediate changes needed to improve Pokemon Ice-Types.
Out of the 4 different kinds of Weather in Pokemon (the other 3 being Sun, Rain, and Sandstorm) Hail is currently the least useful. Comparing Hail to the other Weather, we see that:
Sun boosts the power of Fire-type moves, reduces the power of Water-type moves, makes the moves Solar Beam/Blade take only one turn, and activates the ability Chlorophyll (Doubles the Speed stat of the Pokemon with this Ability while Sun is up).
Rain does the reverse of the boosting and reducing Fire/Water-type moves done by Sun, makes the moves Hurricane and Thunder never miss, and activates the Ability Swift Swim (Rain version of Chlorophyll).
Sandstorm activates the Ability Sand Rush and gives Rock-type Pokemon a passive 50% Special Defense boost. That Special Defense boost is immensely helpful.
Why Hail Is Underwhelming (& How To Fix It)
Hail on the other hand, only makes the Blizzard move never miss, allows the use of Aurora Veil (an effect that reduces damage from both Physical and Special attacks for the team that has it up), and activates the Ability Slush Rush (the Ice version of Chlorophyll/Swift Swim). When compared to the other Weathers, Hail just doesn’t stack up. Even the move Aurora Veil falls somewhat flat compared to the Special Defense boosts Sandstorm gives. This is because Aurora Veil is a move. A player has to take up a Pokemon’s entire turn to set it up. With Sandstorm, the boost is completely passive as long as it’s still in effect.
Improving Hail is easy. Simply make Hail give Ice-type Pokemon a 50% Physical Defense boost when it’s up. This one change would make a world of a difference. Hail and Sandstorm are very obviously meant to be counterparts, so it’s extremely odd that this isn’t already the case. This would make Aurora Veil more viable too, as the Defense boost would make it easier for an Ice-type to set it up.
Increase The Number Of Ice-Type Pokemon
At only 51 Pokemon (as of Pokemon: Sword and Shield), Ice is the rarest type. This hurts the type’s viability. Because Ice is so rare, options for which Ice-types to use are limited, especially when compared to the other types. If a player doesn’t like any of the Ice-types in the game, because none of them would fit well on their team, there’s little option. With so few of the frosty creatures available, building a team with an effective Ice-Type is difficult, to say the least.
More Pokemon would give the Ice-type some much-needed variety. It is not necessary to have a huge build-up of Ice-Types, but they are currently so drastically limited in number, that something needs to be done to bolster the ranks immediately. However, this variety wouldn’t mean anything if the Pokemon themselves weren’t good, which leads directly into the next point.
Increase The Number Of (Good) Ice-Type Pokemon
Pokemon developers love to follow “Type Archetypes” closely. A Type Archetype is defined as a Pokemon’s general play style and stat distribution according to its Type. Water-types normally have high HP and defenses. Electric-types are usually fast. Psychic-types are usually great Special Attackers, etc. Type Archetypes are not inherently a bad thing. They’re a good way of giving each type a general role to fill and making all of them feel distinct. The problem with them is that Game Freak loves to follow them to an absolute T and they rarely make a specific type that defies its respective archetype.
This comes back to the Ice-type in that the archetype they gave it is completely nonsensical. Ice-type Pokemon are (generally), slow and defensive which just doesn’t work in the slightest. Ice is a horrible type defensively. Combine that with a low-Speed stat and most Ice-types will get KO’d before they can even get started. Look at Pokemon like Aurorus. While yes, it has a very high HP stat and good Special Attack, the bad Speed and horrible type combination mean that a decently fast Pokemon will KO it immediately.
Even Frosmoth, with its amazing ability that doubles its Special Defense, still suffers due to being somewhat slow. Compare these to a Pokemon like Weavile, who has rather poor defenses but is extremely fast and uses the fact that is a good offensive type to hit hard, which is all it needs to do.
Make Ice Hit Steel Neutrally
Steel is far and away the best defensive type in the Pokemon series, resisting a whopping 10 different types and having an immunity to another. Ice is included in that list of resistances, but it really shouldn’t be. Players have often pointed out that metal becomes extremely brittle when exposed to extreme cold, and they think this should be reflected in the Pokeverse. This should translate in Pokemon as Ice hitting Steel for neutral damage. It’s an easy and logical fix to make it neutral, since it’s not actually breaking the steel, just weakening it.
Steel simply doesn’t need another strength, and Ice certainly could do without the weakness. This would help even out these two types pretty well since Steel is currently so overwhelmingly good, any opportunities to make it less resistant are welcome, and this would make the Ice-type better overall.
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Ice is a very solid type offensively, having 4 strengths against Dragon, Flying, Ground, and Grass. However, it’s the worst defensive type in the game, hands down, and this is Ice’s most glaring flaw. Ice has 4 weaknesses: Fire, Steel, Rock, and Fighting (those last 2 being very good offensive types) and a single resistance: itself. This makes the type very difficult to use, as it can only switch in safely against other Ice-type moves.
Additionally, the high number of weaknesses and the fact that basically every type hits Ice neutrally combine to make Ice-type Pokemon very easy to KO. Ice should resist itself, Water, Flying, and Dragon. With this correction, Ice’s number of resistances would increase from a pathetic 1 to a respectable 4.
It would help out the game balance tremendously, as Water and Dragon-types, in particular, are noteworthy for how good they are. These extra resistances might also potentially make those more slow and defensive Ice-types actually useful since it would enable them to take more hits.
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