Merry Christmas (for those who celebrate it)! As part of the Winter Wonderland event, we get the following:
- Kyurem with its Ice-type signature move, Glaciate, is in Tier 5 raids until the morning of Sunday, January 1 at 10am.
- You can already Elite TM Glaciate onto your old Kyurem.
- Mega Glalie is in Mega raids until the morning of Sunday, January 1 at 10am.
While people have been hyping up the “ultimate” fused forms Black Kyurem and White Kyurem for many years, the grey, base form Kyurem (without Glaciate) had generally been neglected since release, and seen as candies for the eventual B/W forms.Ice-type mega evolutions are also less notable as raid attackers. Not only are there only two mega Ice types in the main series, but Mega Abomasnow is quite weak in raw power since the Weather Ball nerf.
Would Mega Glalie and Kyurem with Glaciate change things? We’ll find out in this article.
What’s coming up? What’s it useful for? How does it compare to other types? How do counters compare within the type? It’s a pretty strong type with good stuff on the way (Baxcalibur? Kyurem? G-Darm Zen?)
Glaciate Kyurem: Don’t see it as an Ice attacker! It’s really an honorary Dragon attacker, only below shadows and sometimes Rayquaza, but somewhat inconsistent in utility. You’ll make great use of it if you do power one up, but not a must-have (and not a high priority ETM target). Save your passes for Reshiram (and Zekrom) instead.
- Kyurem leads the pack among the sub-Rayquaza dragons (Salamence, Palkia, Garchomp, Zekrom, Dialga), but the difference is extremely small and situational. Firmly ahead of Dragonite though.
- You can use Glaciate against 70%+ of the dragon T5/mega raids. Just not against Palkia and Reshiram (the former may be huge as Palkia is only weak to Dragon and Fairy).
- In a more typical Ice role (killing Rayquaza, Landorus and maybe flyers), Kyurem is worse than Glaceon. Yikes.
- IF Kyurem ever gets a brand-new Ice fast move, it will be only behind Shadow Mamoswine/Weavile, and way above non-shadows. That may never happen, though.
Mega Glalie: Best Ice mega in individual power, but still only a Mamoswine clone.
- Mega Abomasnow is technically better with 5+ raiders, but with only 1% difference. Basically equivalent in group raids.
This article also serves as a deep dive for Ice types.
Keep reading for
- How OP is Glaciate the move
- Table of bosses that you want to use Ice, Dragon and Kyurem against
- Ice vs Dragon attackers as anti-dragon
- Ice vs Electric and Rock attackers as anti-flying (ft. Fusion Bolt Zekrom – 2% improvement over WC)
- Future and speculative Ice attackers
- List of my previous analyses (in Appendix 2)
Glaciate, the move in a vacuum
First of all, despite being a 1-bar move, Glaciate is a solid overpowered (OP) move, perhaps more so than any of the new moves introduced in 2022.
- Theoretically, Glaciate has a DPS*DPE metric of 102.40. This is only behind Meteor Beam, Shadow Force (both 103.15 so basically the same as Glaciate), Aeroblast+ and Aeroblast++.
- Using a typeless Arceus with Tackle, an average fast move, here’s how Glaciate scores:
Keep in mind the performances can vary greatly by fast move in many ways, but here are some general observations:
- Compared to 1-bar moves, Glaciate is probably the strongest 1-bar move in PvE, above things like Aeroblast, Meteor Beam and Shadow Force.
- Compared to multi-bar moves, Glaciate is likely at Frenzy Plant and Sacred Sword level. Glaciate would probably be a little bit worse in practice, but still way above the likes of Blast Burn.
No ice fast move – What does it mean?
TL;DR: Glaciate Kyurem is NOT an Ice attacker. It’s a Dragon attacker that, with the exception of a few bosses, does as well as most other non-shadow dragons!
But despite having an OP charged move, Kyurem still does not have an Ice-type fast move. Because it’s not allowed to: In the Main Series Games (MSG), Kyurem doesn’t learn any of the 4 Ice-type moves that have become fast moves in Pokemon Go. Instead, it has to rely on Dragon Breath or Steel Wing, and neither move is good in PvE either. Not to forget Kyurem’s base stats are not amazing – 246 base attack, with overall stats even worse than Dragonite.
You might think that’s an automatic death sentence… But not really.
Let’s first consider what Glaciate can be used against. Ice is super effective against: Dragon, , Grass and Ground. Conveniently, Kyurem’s Dragon Breath is also super effective against other dragons!
In terms of Tier 5 and Mega raids, that translates to the following:
First, let’s look at the rows:
- Ice deals 1.6x damage: Almost entirely Dragon and , with only a little bit of Ground (non-primal Groudon) and Grass (Shaymin Land, Mega Venusaur).
- However, Ice attackers are never the best counters without weather boost, mostly outclassed by Dragon, Rock and Electric.
- Ice deals 2.56x damage: Not too many bosses here, but quality over quantity especially for PvE relevance: Rayquaza, Landorus, 4 top-tier megas, and Shaymin Sky in case it comes to Elite raids.
- Here, Ice attackers are the best counters by far.
Problem for Kyurem: In situations when you would traditionally use an Ice attacker (bottom row), Kyurem disappoints, becoming worse than Weavile and Glaceon. When its Dragon Breath does 40%+ less damage than the Ice fast moves from other Ice attackers, that really hurts.
But here comes the twist. Against most Dragon bosses (green cell) – where you typically won’t consider Mamoswine – you DO want to consider Kyurem, and it does as well as most other dragons (Salamence, Palkia, Zekrom, Garchomp, Dialga – basically anything but Rayquaza and shadows)!
Such “Good Cases” include:
- Latias, Latios, Giratina, Zekrom, Mega Latias, Mega Latios (& Mega Ampharos)
- and every unreleased Dragon legendary: Eternatus, Regidrago, Miraidon, etc.
The only dragons that Ice is bad against (blue cell, “Bad Dragon Case”) are: Palkia, Reshiram, and Mega Charizard X. (I didn’t count (B/W) Kyurem as a boss. Don’t use dragons against it.)) This means 70% of the time where you use a dragon, you can also use Kyurem. It goes up to 77-80% if you consider future dragons.
Even with Glaciate being an Ice-type move, Kyurem really shouldn’t be seen as an Ice attacker. There’s zero overlap between when Kyurem is a top counter and when Ice is a top counter.
The remaining sections, which consist of my typical by-level plots, are mostly there to justify everything I said above. So the section above really serves as a high-level summary regarding Kyurem.
Ice attackers: The Average Charts
See Appendix 1 (at the end of this article) for technical details and how to read the charts. The Chandelure analysis also contains explanations on ASE vs ASTTW.
Clarification on Kyurem’s fast moves: Dragon Breath is the choice in 90%+ of cases. Steel Wing may be better if the boss is also weak to steel (Aerodactyl, Altaria, Togetic, Togekiss).
As I mentioned on the charts: This shows average performance across all bosses shown in the table above, so it’s a weighted average of the Good Case, the Bad Case and the Worst Case. Kyurem’s placement on this plot is irrelevant, so don’t make judgments from here. I’ll have more targeted plots later.
Instead, I’ll use this to make some general observations, before moving on to Mega Glalie:
- Shadow Mamoswine defines Ice attackers. Don’t forget that with High Horsepower, it’s also the best Ground attacker, too! Double move them!
- Shadow Weavile is worse, but still great and top-tier. It can also double duty as one of the best non-mega Dark/Ghost attackers.
- Shadow Mewtwo with Ice Beam can be situationally above or below Weavile, depending on metric and IVs. If you’re building one as Psychic, get Ice Beam as the second move.
- Galarian Darmanitan (Standard Mode – the form we have now) technically takes the crown for non-shadows, but the difference is small (2-3%), and gets almost eliminated in Estimator sense (smaller lobbies with relobbying).
- Given how rare Galarian Darumaka is today, and how many people have 6 Mamoswines, I don’t think the improvement is worth heavy investments. Depends on whether you think we’ll change its form into Zen Mode later…
- Then, the typical stuff. Mamoswine dominates the rest, then Weavile, Glaceon and Ice Beam Mewtwo.
Mega GlalieGlalie (Mega) Ice
Mega Glalie (Frost Breath/Avalanche) is the best Ice-type mega in raw power, but it is virtually identical to Mamoswine (and Galarian Darmanitan). Just like Mega Abomasnow is to Weavile and Glaceon. Still, definitely worth running in group raids for the 30% mega boost to other players.
Unlike mega evolutions of many other types, the two Ice-type megas don’t have extraordinary stats at all. Mega Glalie has 252 base attack to Mamoswine’s 247. Mega Abomasnow has 240 base attack to Weavile’s 243. The two megas have better fast moves (and Weather Ball Ice ≈ Avalanche on Abomasnow), but that doesn’t do much.
Comparing the two megas, Mega Abomasnow does have 24% more bulk than Mega Glalie, which gives Mega Abomasnow an advantage in larger lobbies by providing the boost for longer. Assuming you run L40 mega and everyone else runs L40 Mamoswine:
- 2-3 players: Mega Glalie better
- 4 players: Same
- 5+ players: Mega Abomasnow better
But the difference is EXTREMELY small (1-2% either way). I would say they’re virtually identical, so don’t stress about which one to use.
For the FOMO-concerned players: Glalie already has the best Ice moves. The only possible way to improve it would be to make Ice Spinner, Icicle Crash or Freeze-Dry new moves in PoGo and have them be OP… Nah, I don’t expect that to happen (at least until a future Vanillite CD).
“Bad Case” for Kyurem
Now let’s get to the charts that actually matter for Kyurem. In the plot that immediately follows, focus specifically on where Kyurem is.
Starting with the “Bad Case”, where either Ice deals 1.6x damage but Dragon deals 1.0x (e.g. Lugia), or Ice deals 2.56x damage but Dragon deals 1.6x (Rayquaza).
In this case, Glaciate Kyurem falls slightly below Weavile and Glaceon. Good for Unique 6 teams, but considering you can even get a Glaceon with a hat for free right now, yet Kyurem requires rare candies… Nope.
And I won’t even begin to show the “Worst Case”, aka against Landorus.
Ice vs Dragon – Where Kyurem really shines
Here’s the “Good Case”, against Dragon that are single weak to Ice. Because we’re basically talking about anti-dragons, it’s only fair to bring Dragon attackers out to play too:
See? Kyurem is far from useless!
As an anti-Dragon, Kyurem is equivalent to every top-tier Dragon not named Rayquaza, but sits at the top of the whole pack. These include: Salamence, Palkia, Zekrom, Garchomp and Dialga (in no particular order). In Estimator (if you may relobby), Kyurem is even comparable to Rayquaza at non-XL levels!
Unless your Dragon team comprises of 6x Rayquaza and/or shadows, Kyurem at an equal level can be an addition to your team, too!
- Even in TTW, the difference between Kyurem and Rayquaza is still small, less than 2%.
- Note that dodging seems to benefit other dragons more than Kyurem.
Now, let’s get down to earth and see the downsides of building Kyurem:
- There are 3 bosses that Kyurem is useless against (Palkia, Reshiram, Mega Charizard X). So you can only use Kyurem as an anti-Dragon for 7 out of 10 bosses, or 6/8 if you ignore released megas.
- Palkia raid in particular is really annoying, as it’s only weak to Dragon and Fairy – so there are no alternatives. It’s probably the one raid in which Dragon attackers are most needed… And you can’t use Kyurem for that.
- Unless your dragon team still has Dragonite(s), you’re already set, and don’t need to power up a Kyurem. Even if it does, it’s no big deal.
- The difference between Kyurem and the whole pack of other dragons isn’t huge, and very situational. (Though you can say the same to Kyurem vs Rayquaza.)
- Most other dragons can pull double duties. Zekrom is top-tier Electric, Garchomp is best non-shadow Ground, Rayquaza is good , and Dialga is mandatory in Master League. While Kyurem can “double-duty” as an Ice attacker… It’s worse than Glaceon lol.
- Zekrom will be in raids in 2 weeks, and is far more useful. If you’re really desperate for anti-Dragon counters, save your passes for it instead.
Btw, take a look at how the more conventional Ice attackers compare to dragons:
- Shadow Mamoswine sits between Shadow Salamence/Dragonite and Rayquaza. Technically not the best, but arguably better bang for buck (dust).
- Shadow Weavile is very similar to Rayquaza.
- The non-shadow ices, and Shadow Mewtwo, are outclassed by dragons. Mamoswine and the likes are still good for people who don’t have dragons.
Verdict: Kyurem with Glaciate
TL;DR: Top-tier anti-Dragon attacker only below shadows and sometimes Rayquaza, but somewhat inconsistent in utility. You’ll make great use of it if you do power one up, but not a must-have (and not a high priority ETM target). Save your passes for Reshiram and Zekrom instead.
This would have been a different discussion if we didn’t have more great dragons than I can count with one hand, but alas. Dragon types are simply too highly contested.
If you’re a new player or a Unique 6 player, Kyurem will still be of interest to you. But new players will find it much cheaper to have a Dragonite team instead (which is also easier to go L50). Also consider Salamence’s CD move Outrage will probably return during Hoenn Tour in February.
As for Black/White Kyurem considerations: Even though Black Kyurem looks promising to be the best non-shadow Dragon attacker by far (as good as Shadow Salamence), we don’t know how they’ll be implemented. It can be a mega, a form change, or an entirely separate form in raids. So don’t power up a Kyurem solely in anticipation of B/W.
- They’ll share the same candies, so candy/XL farming now may still be useful. But I would still save the passes until we know how B/W are implemented.
One last reason that might push some players to consider getting a good Kyurem… In case it gets an Ice fast move in the future, similar to what Terrakion did. More on this in later sections.
Ice vs Electric vs Rock
This section is more for completeness: Since we compared Ice to Dragon, why not compare it to other competitors too?
As I mentioned, the vast majority of raid bosses to use Ice against are Dragon and types. Rock attackers are always good against these bosses (with rare exceptions), and Electric attackers can also be used except against Zapdos and Thundurus.
Note: This does not consider Zapdos and Thundurus raids.
Notice how every plot generally goes yellow > brown > cyan? Yup, that’s right. In neutral weather, Electric attackers are always the strongest when applicable, then Rock, and Ice is the weakest (except Shadow Mamoswine).
- Non-shadows: Xurkitree > Rampardos > Mamoswine. The gaps are huge.
- Shadows: Shadow Raikou/Electivire > Shadow Mamoswine > Shadow Tyranitar. They’re much closer.
- Even Shadow Mamoswine is worse than Xurkitree and similar to Fusion Bolt Zekrom. However, against Zapdos and Thundurus, it’s the best non-mega.
- Among the budget options, Rhyperior >= Electivire > Mamoswine. But if CD Gigalith is your best budget Rock, use Mamoswine instead.
- RIP Kyurem.
This is why I was saying at the beginning that, unless the boss is double weak to Ice, a veteran player will probably not use ice attackers at all. Ice is quite a weak typing in raw power, honestly, but most of its utility in raids come from double weaknesses, and to help new players get a cheap anti-Dragon and anti- team.
As a side note: This is the first time I’ve run simulations on Fusion Bolt Zekrom. In this anti-flyer role, Fusion Bolt IS an upgrade over Wild Charge in almost all cases… But only by 2-3%, give or take.
- Yes, this accounts for practical disadvantages of 1-bar moves, as it’s purely based on simulations.
Future Ice Attackers
Note: Shadow Galarian Darmanitan, Baxcalibur, Chien-Pao and Iron Bundle are only on the ER/DPS plots, because I can’t run their simulations on Pokebattler.Mewtwo (Mega Y) Psychic
Mega Mewtwo Y is not an Ice-type mega, but with Ice Beam it still becomes the best Ice attacker by far, because it’s just too OP. Not having an Ice fast move actually hurts it less than you may expect, even against Rayquaza and Landorus.Darmanitan (Galarian Zen) IceFire
Galarian Darmanitan (Zen Mode), on the other hand, is a proper non-mega Ice type. Not as OP as Mega Mewtwo Y, but still OP and transformative for Ice attackers – IF it keeps the current Game Master moveset, Ice Fang/Avalanche.
- That’s a big if, because as seen from Landorus, moves for different forms can change prior to release.
- But if that happens… It has even higher DPS than Psystrike Mewtwo! Needless to say, it outclasses even Shadow Mamoswine.
- It also makes Ice types truly competitive. Near Shadow Salamence level against Dragon, and near shadow Electric level against . Basically, the Kartana of ice types.
- We don’t know whether Niantic will treat it like a form change, split evolution or a raid-only form, so don’t rush to evolve and power up your Galarian Darumaka just for that.
- Shadow Galarian Darmanitan (Standard Mode) is incredibly similar.
Black Kyurem gets most of its hype on the Dragon side, because it again doesn’t have an Ice fast move. It’s a lot more useful than base form Kyurem, though. If it keeps Blizzard in the Game Master moveset, even in the “Bad Case”, it still slots between Shadow Weavile and Galarian Darmanitan (Standard), depending on metric. (It fares better against dragons, but then you want Outrage.)
White Kyurem is strictly worse according to the current GM moveset due to inferior fast moves.
Gen 9 brings up to three more viable Ice attackers, but they all need Avalanche. They will all likely land on the Galarian Darmanitan-Mamoswine tier, from best to worst: Baxcalibur (pseudo-legendary, Dragon/Ice), Chien-Pao (legendary, Dark/Ice), and Iron Bundle (future paradox of Deilbird, Ice/Water). Not too exciting, and they get screwed up if not given Avalanche.
- RIP 9% nerf for Baxcalibur, the only pseudo-legendary that got hit by it. It could have had 280 base attack…
One more victim of no Ice fast move: Calyrex (Ice Rider). Even in the best case, it’s still only as good as Mamoswine. You’ll want Shadow Rider instead.
Speculation ZoneKyurem DragonIce
Motivating question for this section: What if Kyurem does get an Ice-type fast move?
- How to make this happen? The only logical candidate for it is Freeze-Dry. In the MSG, it does have a 10% chance of freezing the target, so you might think it will be a charged move with PvP debuff effects instead; but many other Ice-type moves have the same effect, and have not been given debuff effects. So a Freeze-Dry fast move is still possible, even though not particularly likely.
IF Freeze-Dry does become a fast move given to Kyurem… Using Ice Shard as an approximation, Kyurem immediately jumps to Shadow Weavile/Mewtwo tier, way above Galarian Darmanitan and Mamoswine, even though still below Shadow Mamoswine.Kyurem (Black) DragonIce
Black Kyurem has a bit more hope: In addition to Freeze-Dry, it also has its own Ice-type signature move Freeze Shock. Assuing the move becomes good – like Avalanche – getting either a fast move or Freeze Shock puts Black Kyurem above or below Shadow Mamoswine levels, while getting both pushes it above Galarian Darmanitan. Certainly has lots of potential.
- An Avalanche clone is also enough for Black Kyurem to forgo Outrage for it against dragons.
We saw Crabominable and Hisuian Avalugg for the first time recently, but did you know that they both have signature moves in the MSG? They need to be as OP as Glaciate to make the mons viable, though; and even then, they’re still at Weavile/Glaceon level at best.
- Crabominable with “Glaciate” has interesting DPS but too glassy.
- Not that anyone should stress out about them, but if you have a 100% Crabrawler, might as well save it in case a Community Day happens.
Articles coming up next
When my IRL schedule permits, I plan to analyze the following:
- Fusion Flare Reshiram and Fusion Bolt Zekrom: This one caught me by surprise, but I’ll work on it ASAP. If you’re lucky, you may see it before Reshiram enters raids!
- Frenzy Plant Chesnaught: A minor article, but will be up before CD. Should be a quick one.
- Dragon: Probably when Mega Salamence comes, since its mega portrait is being hinted at in the datamines.
- Potential Larvitar CD Classic: A rehash of rock and dark/ghost analyses, but with more focus on Mega Tyranitar and/or how to improve Tyranitar’s moveset. Also comes with the long-overdue dark/ghost future attackers.
- Shadow Mewtwo and other shadow legendaries: It will still definitely come at some point, but no ETA. The writer me is hoping for no Rocket takeover in January…
- Fairy: Probably when Mega Gardevoir comes, if the speculations come true.
Appendix 1: Guide on how to read the charts & Technical details
Don’t know how to read the charts?
If you’re totally lost, just look at the first two plots, or just the first one if you don’t dodge in raids. These two plots are based on my Average Scaled Estimator (ASE) metric, which approximates in-raid performance using Pokebattler Estimator, best suited for realistic shortmanning (2-5 raiders).
The Average Scaled Time to Win (ASTTW) plots are similar, but best suited for medium or large lobbies (6+ raiders). This metric assumes no relobbying (i.e. reentering the raid after all Pokemon fainted).
The ER (aka DPS3*TDO scaled) and DPS plots are for experienced players who want to check these metrics.
In all six plots, the higher, the better. Example: Shadow Mamoswine is generally better than Mamoswine, which is better than Weavile, if they’re all at the same Pokémon level. But everything listed is perfectly usable and will let you pull your weight in raids.
You can also compare different attackers at different levels: points on the same horizontal line mean they’re equally as good. Example: Looking at the “ASE no dodging” plot, A Level 35 Shadow Weavile performs similarly to Level 40 Mamoswine and Level 45 Mega Abomasnow.
Reminder: All plots show average performance against many raid bosses. Against a specific raid boss, the rankings can be different.
- The first two plots are based on my in-house Average Scaled Estimator (ASE) metric, which estimates in-raid performance by automatically computing the average Pokebattler estimators against a variety of T5, Mega and T3 raid bosses, scaled so that the best attacker at L40 gets 1.0. The smaller, the better. For more details, refer to my Venusaur analysis in January 2022 and the comments.
- The middle two plots using Average Scaled Time to Win (ASTTW) follow the same methodology, but replaces Pokebattler estimator with TTW.
- “ASE Dodge” uses simulations with the “Dodge Specials” + “Realistic Dodging” options on Pokebattler. You can compare it to ASE without dodging to see how much dodging helps an attacker.
- For example, Galarian Darmanitan’s ASE at Level 40 drops from 1.186 without dodging to 1.146 with dodging, so dodging generally helps Galarian Darmanitan’s performance.
- However, Mewtwo’s L40 ASE rises from 1.278 to 1.321 with dodging, so dodging may hurt Mewtwo more than it helps.
Appendix 2: Past analyses on other types
- Bug: Bug Out
- Dark/Ghost: Shadow Force Giratina-O (no future attackers yet); Chandelure CD (with Shadow Chandelure)
- Dragon: December CD 2022 (no future attackers yet)
- Electric: Bug Out
- Fighting: Keldeo & Mega Blaziken; September update (future megas); Galarian birds, Ultra Beasts & Sneasler
- Fire: Gen 3 mega starters
- Flying: Staraptor CD
- Grass: Gen 3 mega starters; Kartana (more future attackers)
- Ground: December CD 2022 (no future attackers yet)
- Psychic: September update/Psychic Spectacular
- Rock: December CD 2022 (with MB Tyrantrum); Gigalith CD
- Steel: Mega Aggron
- Water: Gen 3 mega starters
Missing types: Fairy (planned – Mega Gardevoir), Poison