The “Under The Lights” article series provides some deeper dives on Pokémon of particular interest in PvP. And today we have a double feature: this week, we will be getting one all-new addition to the game, and one other being reintroduced to the game for the first time in a year… and for the first time, free of charge. Let’s get right to it and put this pair of chilly Pokémon — Avalugg and Mr. Rime — under the lights.
Great League Stats
|113 (111 High Stat Product)||142 (143 High Stat Product)||124 (129 High Stat Product)|
(Highest Stat Product IVs: 2-15-15, 1500 CP, Level 17.5)
Ultra League Stats
|145 (142 High Stat Product)||181 (184 High Stat Product)||164 (167 High Stat Product)|
(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-14-15, 2492 CP, Level 29.5)
Master League Stats
|167 (177 at Level 50)||202 (214 at Level 50)||182 (194 at Level 50)|
(Assuming 15-15-15 IVs; CP 3198 at Level 40; CP 3615 at Level 50)
Good and bad news here. Bad first: Ice is an absolutely awful typing. Its deficiencies are often masked in the Pokémon franchise by being paired with other typings that help shore it up, most often Water (which takes away two of its biggest vulnerabilities and doubles up a shared resistance). But by itself, Ice is weak to Fire and Steel (the two that Water negates), plus Rock and Fighting. None of those are awful, but they’re counterbalanced by only one single resistance: Ice resists other Ice. And that’s it. No other single typing in the franchise is worse on its own. Even Normal types, which also have only one resistance, at least have that as a double resistance (to Ghost) and are saddled with only one vulnerability (to Fighting). And in case you didn’t get why I’m discussing all this: Avalugg is a mono-Ice type Pokémon. Seeing as how prominent Fighters and Steels populate all three leagues, and Fires and Rocks are pretty common encounters as well, this is a problem.
Good thing then that Avalugg is a heckin’ chonker. It’s not QUITE as tanky as things like Lugia, Cresselia, or the Regis, but it’s not far behind, and outbulks notable things like Drifblim, Alolan Muk, Nidoqueen, Scrafty, Ninetales (regular and Alolan), Clefable, Sylveon and more. Its overall bulk is comparable to Snorlax and Greedent, and virtually identical to Meganium at Great and especially Ultra League levels. If it has to have a very bad defensive typing, at least Avalugg is sturdy enough to take a few hits. We’ll see some examples of that in action after we check out what moves it has to offer.
- Ice Fang – Ice type, 4.0 DPT, 2.5 EPT, 1.0 CoolDown
- Bite – Dark type, 4.0 DPT, 2.0 EPT, 0.5 CD
So even without considering the famous Same Type Attack Bonus (“STAB”, which adds 20% more damage to moves that share a typing with the Pokémon using them), Ice Fang is pretty clearly superior to Bite, dealing the same on-paper damage but generating 25% more energy. But then put STAB damage on top of it, and the gap grows even further. And that in and of itself is rather significant; Ice Fang basically never gets STAB in PvP. The only other Ice Pokémon that even has it in GO is Galarian Darmanitan, which you’ve likely never seen and probably never will… G-Darm is even glassier than Haunter, if you can believe it. Ice Fang shows up on occasion on variants of Drapion, Mawile, Hippowdon, and Zamazenta. The only time it’s had any kind of real impact on PvP was in the early days of Ultra League, when Ice Fang Feraligatr was a scary opponent in a Dragon-and-Grass-dominated meta. But what do all of those have in common? Right: they’re not Ice types. With STAB factored in, even despite having less Attack than those other potential Ice Fang users, Avalugg at least matches (or even surpasses) their damage output with Ice Fang.
If that got too long and you just need a quick summary: run Ice Fang on Avalugg. It’s better in every way. Moving on….
- Body Slam – Normal type, 60 damage, 35 energy
- Crunch – Dark type, 70 damage, 45 energy, 30% chance to Decrease Opponent Defense 1 Stage
- Avalanche – Ice type, 90 damage, 45 energy
- Mirror Coat – Psychic type, 60 damage, 55 energy
- Earthquake – Ground type, 120 damage, 65 energy
How far removed we are from the days of every Pokémon arriving to the game with just three charge moves! Now coming with five from the get-go hardly even seems odd. My, the times have changed. Anyway….
The downside to high-power fast moves is that they often lag behind in generating energy. There are exceptions, of course — Confusion and Dragon Breath deal 4.0 DPT but still generate “average” 3.0 Energy Per Turn, the new-and-improved Dragon Tail deals 4.33 DPT while still generating 3.0 EPT, and the otherworldly Counter deals 4.0 and has 3.5 EPT — but by and large, anything that deals 4+ Damage Per Turn will have under 3.0 Energy Per Turn to help compensate. Such is the case here, with Ice Fang only generating 2.5 Energy Per Turn. Fair, and still an above average move overall (+1.0 in damage and only -0.5 in Energy). But for Pokémon with such moves to work, they have to have at least one cheap charge move to maintain any kind of shield pressure.
Thankfully, Avalugg comes with Body Slam, tied for cheapest charge move in the game, and also one of only four moves (the others being Sacred Sword, Leaf Blade, and Psycho Boost, the last of which comes with a self-nerf) that deals 60+ damage at that cost. Perhaps even better, it has TWO other viable moves costing only 45 energy with STAB Avalanche (powerful enough to be a true closing move) and Crunch for neutral coverage and potential debuff hijinks that makes Ice Fang and Body Slam even deadlier.
So let’s start with those and see how things look. Does Ice Fang hold Avalugg back, or does the combination of its high damage but low energy output work out with those inexpensive charge moves?
We’ll begin, as we usually do, in Great League. There are many relevant Ice types to choose from already, from half-Water Lapras and Dewgong that just wear down a wide swath of the meta, to half-Grass Abomasnow that maims Waters, to half-Ghost Froslass and half-Fairy Alolan Ninetales that often turn the tables on Fighters. By record, you can quickly see that Avalugg carries itself well in comparison. Obviously it chills out Grasses and Flyers and Grounds as you would expect, including Shadow and normal Nidoqueen (the latter of which it beats most consistently by just going straight Ice Fang), Skarmory, Diggersby (laughing in the face of Fire Punch), Abomasnow, Trevenant, the Mud Boys, Ferrothorn, and many more. (And it’s nice the number of them it can beat with just fast moves, too.) None of that should be too surprising. What’s nice to see is what else it can outtank, like Hypno, Drapion, Greedent (or Froslass instead, if Lugg instead runs Crunch), Galvantula, Cofagrigus, and even the Charmers. A really high stat product Lugg can add on Shadow Hypno and even worst-nightmare-combination-Flame/Wild Charge Mew as well. It may not have flashy wins against Fires or Fighters or Steels like some of the other established Ice types can boast, but Avalugg DOES appear to have a legit place in Great League.
Before we move on, a word on other moves. I already briefly mentioned Crunch, but to make sure you didn’t miss it, it’s a very viable alternative to Avalanche, especially in certain limited metas. For example, in the current Holiday Cup, Crunch is arguably a slight upgrade as compared to Avalanche, as Lugg can still beat the major Flyers, Grounds, and Grasses without Avalanche, and Crunch provides better coverage against the Waters, Fires, and Ghosts… and specifically beats Froslass.
As for the other moves, Earthquake and Mirror Coat are coverage moves, pure and simple, dealing super effective damage to Steels/Fires/Rocks (Quake) and Fighters (Coat) that plague Ice types like Avalugg. The problem is that they’re a little awkward to use. Earthquake is actually a very good PvP move for the cost, but the cost is a bit high with Ice Fang’s below average energy generation. Mirror Coat is more affordable, but has an awful energy-to-damage ratio. You know how Air Cutter and Draining Kiss are never used because they’re terrible? Mirror Coat has the same stats (55 energy for only 60 damage). What this means in practice is that even against targets where Mirror Coat is super effective and Avalanche deals neutral damage (such as versus, say Machamp or Haunter), Avalanche will still deal, on average, 10 more damage… and for 10 less energy. Mirror Coat a good typing for coverage, but just a terrible, no good, very bad move. And as for Earthquake, while the typing is fantastic in covering three of Avalugg’s weaknesses, even with shields down, it is just far too slow, and inferior to Avalanche. (Earthquake’s only unique wins there are versus Froslass and Greedent, while Avalanche gets Cresselia, Diggersby, Pelipper, Pidgeot, Sableye, Swampert, Trevenant… and the list goes on.) I love the idea of both Quake and Coat on paper, but at least at Great League level, they just don’t do what you want them to do.
So finally, moving on to the major leagues. First off, I can quickly eliminate Mirror Coat, and I think even Crunch, which has no truly unique wins to its name. Earthquake at least looks viable here, with notable wins against Poison Jab Alolan Muk, Skarmory (yes, Earthquake truly contributes there), and a unique win versus Shadow Politoed. But the standout is, once again, Avalanche, which also brings down Skarm and A-Muk with big neutral damage, and has several unique wins of its own, to include Swampert, Snorlax, Shadow Abomasnow, Dragon Breath A-Giratina (in fairness, Crunch wins that too, but it’s the only win Crunch gets that Earthquake doesnt, so….), Snarl A-Muk, and even big fat Umbreon.
…at least, that’s all assuming we continue to utilize Body Slam spam. Now that we’re getting into beefier territory, we can consider running Avalanche as the “bait” move, and alongside Earthquake, the results are still pretty good. Avalanche does the vast majority of the work, but Earthquake brings in the potential of wins like Alolan Ninetales. And with shields down, it’s probably not surprising that Avalanche/Earthquake is the best in UL… better than Body Slam/Avalanche. I think I’d still recommend Body Slam/Avalanche as the most well-rounded set, but it’s nice that you have some more options.
And finally, the main event: Master League.
Ice is a relative rarity at this level. You have Mamoswine, and usually Ice Beam on Mewtwo… and that’s really about it. But Ice is a really good typing in Master, with lots of juicy Dragon, Flying, and/or Ground targets to freeze. Hence why things like Articuno and Glaceon can work, something like Mamoswine and its terrible Ice/Ground typing works at all, and even badly underpowered things like Regice and even Lapras can make more of an impact than you’d probably ever expect.
Now here comes Avalugg, with a top CP (at Level 40 and at Level 50) that’s actually higher than any of those other Ices I just mentioned except for the one Ice already established in Master League: Mamoswine. So how does it stack up?
I’ll save you the suspense: Avalugg looks overall better than Mamo. Here’s what I see:
- In Master League Classic (Level 40 max), Avalugg blows Mamoswine out of the water. Literally, in many ways, as Mamoswine is weak to Water and therefore loses to things like Swampert, Gyarados, and Palkia that Avalugg can beat. Mamoswine does have the advantages of beating Magnezone (by virtue of resisting Electric damage), Excadrill (by making Rock Slide deal only neutral damage), and Dialga (thanks to Bulldoze), but otherwise it’s all Avalugg, with unique wins against those Waters I mentioned, plus Groudon, Snorlax, Sylveon, Zamazenta (though that one is sweaty close), and Flying types Landorus and Dragonite (both regular and Shadow). To reiterate, in ML Classic, Mamoswine typically loses all of those.
- Things do tighten up in open, Level 50 Master League, but it’s still advantage Avalugg. You can see its performance does slide back a bit when everything is maxed out (and some Legendaries start to really flex their sky-high CP potential), as it now suffers close losses to Zamazenta (which was admittedly a super close win in Classic), Palkia (ditto), and Lugia… the latter two manage to just barely escape with 3 HP, so still well within the margin of overtap/undertap/lag/less-than-perfect-IV error. But even if it does actually lose those, Avalugg still outshines Mamoswine, with Lugg still holding wins Mamo cannot achieve over Gyarados, Groudon, Swampert, Landorus, and Shadow Dragonite, and beats Mamo head to head, though Mamoswine starts to catch up by now being able to beat non-Shadow Dragonite, Sylveon, and Snorlax. And Mamo still has the advantage against ‘Zone, Excadrill, and Dialga while Lugg falls flat. Still, though… at worst, Avalugg is as good as Mamoswine overall, even at Level 50 and 150 less CP, and arguably even better!
The long and short of all that: Avalugg is quite a bit better than Mamoswine in Master League Classic, which is good since candy for it may be hard to come by for a while. If you intent to play ML Classic, I recommend stopping at Level 40 with any Avalugg you decide to build. For Level 50, Mamo is on more equal footing, though Lugg has its own distinct advantages that make it a worthy alternative, especially if you haven’t already invested in a Level 50 Mamo.
Either way, Avalugg is an exciting and very viable new addition to Master League. Be prepared to see it once Bergmite is released into the game!
And speaking of BERGMITE specifically, does it have any utility in the game? It maxes out at 1374 CP at Level 50 and has a much more limited selection of moves (Icy Wind/Crunch, and only Bite as a viable fast move option), and as you may have guessed, doesn’t work in Great League. And I checked, and no, Little League does not accomodate it well either. (Avalugg may have some promise though, if you catch a really small Bergmite.)
So that’s probably more than you ever expected to read about Avalugg and Bergmite in Pokémon GO. But we’re not quite done. There’s another frosty ‘mon coming during the event that is likely a first-time addition for many players….
Great League Stats
|130 (127 High Stat Product)||114 (115 High Stat Product)||116 (121 High Stat Product)|
(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-14-13, 1497 CP, Level 20)
Ultra League Stats
|167 (163 High Stat Product)||142 (149 High Stat Product)||157 (157 High Stat Product)|
(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-14-14, 2496 CP, Level 36.5)
I WILL try and keep this relatively brief, because we’re running a bit long already, and uh… I already did this, well, song and dance (sorry, Rime joke!) back when Galarian Mr. Mime was originally released one year ago for players that shelled out for it. But there’s some stuff to say anyway, so let’s push on….
Firstly, as you can see, Rime is a bit heavy in the Attack department. It’s not glassy, per se, but it’s never going to be confused as a tank, that’s for sure.
But there’s a bigger problem here, and it’s in the typing. Of course, we’ve had an Ice/Psychic type since the very first day of the game, with Jynx. And as I imagine you also already know, Jynx has had NO impact on PvP, in open or any limited format to date. Jynx has even less bulk than Rime (about a dozen more Attack and about a dozen less Defense and HP), so it’s an even more extreme example, but Jynx does have good moves (including Avalanche, Ice Punch, and Psyshock), so the fact that it has completely failed to do anything in PvP is not a good sign. The stats are part of it, but again, the typing does it no favors. Ice removes Psychic’s resistance to Fighting moves and the two typings do nothing to help each other, so Ice/Psychic types are left with all the other vulnerabilities of each (Bug, Dark, Ghost on the Psychic side, and Fire, Rock, and Steel on the Ice side) and only two resistances, to… well, Ice and Psychic. Yuck.
Can the moves save it?
- Confusion – Psychic type, 4.0 DPT, 3.0 EPT, 2.0 CD
- Ice Shard – Ice type, 3.0 DPT, 3.33 EPT, 1.5 CD
- Zen Headbutt – Psychic type, 2.67 DPT, 2.0 EPT, 1.5 CD
Not bad, I gotta say. Confusion is well known in PvP for being a punishing move without sacrificing energy generation. Remember how Avalugg’s Ice Fang deals 4.0 DPT but only 2.5 EPT? Yeah, Confusion is strictly better. And here we have the option of above average energy gains with Ice Shard, another fast move that has driven many big-name Pokémon to PvP success. And uh… we don’t need to discuss Zen Headbutt, do we? 😅
- Ice Punch – Ice type, 55 damage, 40 energy
- Icy Wind – Ice type, 60 damage, 45 energy, Lowers Opponent Attack -1 Stage
- Psychic – Psychic type, 90 damage, 55 energy, 10% Chance to Lower Opponent Defense -1 Stage
- Psybeam – Psychic type, 70 damage, 60 energy
Oooooooo, Icy Wind too? We may have something cooking here! Let’s see what the sims tell us.
In Great League, let’s start by going with Confusion/Icy Wind/Psychic for a nice mix of damage. It’s not a super impressive performance, but there are bright spots to mention. This is an Ice that beats Fighters (Machamp, Toxicroak) and big-name Waters (Lapras, Dewgong, Politoed, Mud Boys, and most impressively, Azumarill). It also picks off Cresselia, Nidoqueen, Diggersby, Alolan Ninetales, and of course the Grasses and Flyers and Grounds you would expect of something with Icy Wind. Sure, there are a lot of things it can’t handle, but at least the win column is loaded with good names. And that is Rime’s high bar, with Ice Punch/Psychic and double Ice falling off. Ice Shard carries itself alright though, giving up Azu, Machamp, Toxicroak, and those various Waters and/or Ice types to instead be super reliable versus Flyers (adding on Altaria, Mandibuzz, Drifblim, Noctowl, and Pelipper that it couldn’t beat before), as well as Meganium, Vigoroth, Drapion, and Shadow Hypno. Again, not a really long list, but a good one!
But overall, that typing is just a mess that leaves Rime vulnerable to too much in Great League, with too little bulk to overcome it.
However, it seems that Ultra League may fit Rime a little better. With Shard/Wind/Psychic, it has a nice niche as an Ice type that does standard Ice things, beating the Giratinas, Dragonite, Articuno, Skarmory, Lugia, Togekiss, Nidoqueen, and Gyarados, as well as Grasses too. And it can also do things other Ices may not be able to replicate, such as beating Poliwrath (thanks, Psychic move!), Cresselia and Armored Mewtwo (thanks, Psychic typing!), plus Gallade and Galvantula (without having ANY super effective moves), and comes a breath away from beating Swampert too. (That one is well within the margin of IVs.) On paper it’s actually better with Confusion instead, but becomes less versatile and more a hard counter to things like Machamp, Toxicroak, and Haunter, which it beats with Confusion, but on the flipside Confusion also abandons wins you get with Ice Shard like Cresselia, Giratina, Dragonite, Mewtwo, Drifblim, Ferrothorn, and the major Charmers. Maybe you just want that hard countering Confusion instead, but it seems to me that Ice Shard is the better bet overall, despite the slightly lower numbers.
So my recommendation, if you decide to build a Mr. Rime? Take it up to Ultra League level and don’t look back! But uh… focus more on Avalugg. 🙃
And don’t bother with Galarian Mr. Mime. It also has Confusion and Psychic (the move), but lacks the Ice Shard alternative and has only Ice Punch (no Icy Wind) for its Ice damage output. As you’ve probably guessed, it’s much tamer than Rime.
This has been MORE than long enough! Let’s wrap it up with a quick TL;DR:
- Avalugg enters the game immediately relevant in ALL leagues. It gets a bit more interesting the higher up you go, to the point that it becomes arguably the best Ice type in Master League. Mamoswine still has its niches, but Avalugg is a more dynamic performer overall, especially in Master League Classic. If you’re going to build just one Avalugg, build it up to Level 40.
- Mr. Rime has some nice things going for it, and is far better than any Ice/Psychic type we’ve had before. But it’s fighting an uphill battle with so-so bulk and a very bad defensive typing combination, and is unlikely to be more than a curiosity in PvP. If you’re going to invest, Ultra is a slightly better fit for its set of skills than Great League. There are crazier ideas.
- No real hope for Bergmite or Galarian Mr. Mime though. Their more limited move options leave them quite disadvantaged in PvP. Neither are worth it, IMO.
Alright, finally done! Hopefully this hypes you up a bit for Avalugg, at the very least… one of the more exciting additions we’ve had this year, really! May you find many, and some good specimens among them!
Until next time, you can always find me on Twitter with near-daily PvP analysis nuggets or Patreon. But do feel free, of course, to reply to this article with your own thoughts below… I always like kicking off further discussions among my fellow players!
Catch you next time, Pokéfriends… I still have a couple more analyses to finish up before the year is completely out. ✍️ Stay safe (and warm!) out there, Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays, and good hunting!