Hello again, fellow PvPers! Well, we already previewed Community Day Walrein back in what remains the most comprehensive analysis out there back in December, and at the time I speculated with new move Icicle Spear costing 45, 40, or 35 energy. And now it’s confirmed… we got the best case scenario!
Icicle Spear costs only 35 energy, making it a clone of pre-nerf Weather Ball and current Body Slam. AKA, it’s really freaking good.
Icicle Spear Ice stats
|Trainer Battles||Gyms and Raids|
|60 damage||60 damage|
|-35 energy||-33 energy|
|No buffs||2.2s duration|
I already covered Walrein’s full stats and moves in that previous breakdown I linked to, and I strongly recommend going back and reading that (again?), as I won’t be repeating all the nitty gritty details from that writeup.
It’s a great starting point that this analysis will merely add to rather than replace. Many questions you may have about this analysis are likely answered there already, such as comparisons to other Ice-types (Lapras and Avalugg in particular), how much better 35-cost Icicle Spear is than other costs we could have gotten instead, and a few more specifics on alternate formats like UL Classic that I won’t rehash here.
No need to say it all twice and make this even longer, right? So with that all behind us, let’s just quickly summarize and then get into the new info.
Icicle all the way
In all leagues moving forward, the move package you’re gonna want consists of both of Walrein’s Community Day moves (fast move Powder Snow Ice and new spammy charge move Icicle Spear Ice) along with the unique coverage/closer it has in Earthquake.
There may be some metas that prefer Waterfall as the fast move, and/or Blizzard over Earthquake, but I think they’re going to be very few and far between. That said, if you have the extra candy and more than one good Walrein candidate for any particular league,
I suppose it couldn’t hurt to build a second one with Waterfall/Icicle Spear/Earthquake, just in case.
But I won’t be going into great detail on anything in this analysis except the new hotness: Powder Snow / Icicle Spear / Earthquake.
As a very brief reminder, Walrein is decently thicc. Wally’s overall stat product is right in line with things like Meganium and Cofagrigus (who are very, very slightly bulkier) and Scrafty, Obstagoon, and Politoed (who are very slightly less bulky than Walrein).
As a more direct comparison to a fellow Ice/Water type, it has nearly identical Defense to Lapras (Walrein’s is very slightly higher), but about 10 more Attack and 25 less HP in Great League, and about a dozen more Attack and about 35 less HP in Ultra League, on average.
In other words, it is NOT as tanky as Lapras (or Dewgong)-+63 but still falls in the “tanky” category of Pokémon overall.
That all out of the way, here’s a very brief review of Walrein’s moves:
- Powder Snowᴱ – Ice type, 2.5 DPT, 4.0 EPT, 1.0 CD
- Frost Breath – Ice type, 3.5 DPT, 2.5 EPT, 1.0 CD
- Waterfall – Water type, 4.0 DPT, 2.67 EPT, 1.5 CD
- Icicle Spearᴱ – Ice type, 60 damage, 35 energy
- Water Pulse – Water type, 70 damage, 60 energy
- Earthquake – Ground type, 120 damage, 65 energy
- Returnᴾ – Normal type, 130 damage, 70 energy
- Blizzard – Ice type, 140 damage, 75 energy
- ᴱ – Exclusive (Community Day) Move
- ᴾ – Purified-exclusive Move
As I said before, you want Powder and Spear, and Earthquake is an excellent move for the cost, having a higher DPE (Damage Per Energy) than good, established closing moves like Moonblast (60 energy for 110 damage), Shadow Ball and Stone Edge (55 energy for 100 damage), Sludge Wave and Hurricane (65 energy for “only” 110 damage), and many others.
But the move of the hour is, of course, the all-new one. Let’s spend a minute breaking it down.
- Type: Ice
- Power: 60
- Energy: 35
- DPE: 1.71
Say hello (again) to the next coming of Ice Weather Ball. These are the exact stats Weather Ball had before it was nerfed, in case you hadn’t heard. (Like, just four or five paragraphs ago. 😅) Obviously if even Niantic knew it needed to be nerfed, you know it’s good.
But HOW good? Well, 35 energy ties it for the cheapest charge move in PvP, a distinction shared with several other moves. Let’s just list them all here for comparison’s sake, shall we?
|Move Name||Base Power||Energy||DPE|
Now obviously this doesn’t take into account buffs, or potential buffs, that come with stuff like Power-Up Punch, Fell Stinger, and Night Slash, game-changing debuffs that come with things like the Fangs, or self-nerfing that keeps stuff like Psycho Boost somewhat in check.
But all that aside, you can see that purely in terms of damage output, Icicle Spear trails ONLY Psycho Boost and crazy powerful Leaf Blade, and is tied with the awesome Body
Spam Slam and Sacred Sword.
Everything else deals less damage, but of course several of them are great PvP moves anyway: Weather Ball, Aqua Tail, Cross Chop, and Dragon Claw are all very meta, and even slightly underpowered things like Bone Club, X-Scissor, and Shadow Punch have made big impacts in PvP on the right Pokémon.
And Icicle Spear is strictly better than all of those. Just stop and think about that for a minute.
Now, let’s get to some cold, hard numbers. The new wins/losses I’ll list below are as compared to Walrein’s pre-Community Day best, which are admittedly pretty pathetic. (Typically Frost Breath/Earthquake/Blizzard or Water Pulse.)
1v1 shielding massively improves:
In 1v1 shielding, Walrein picks up potential wins over *deep breath* 😮💨 (in alphabetical order) Abomasnow, Azumrarill (regardless of Azu’s charge moves), Bastiodon, Dewgong, Diggersby, Drapion, Froslass, Greedent, Lapras, Lickitung XL, Mandibuzz, Alolan Marowak, Powder Snow A-Ninetales, Pidgeot, Politoed, Sableye, both Stunfisks, Swampert, Sylveon, Trevenant, Venusaur, Whiscash, Wigglytuff, and partridge in a pear tree! (Or so I heard. 🐦)
That’s a jump in win percentage from 11% up to nearly 60% now, higher than Lapras and even Dewgong! Now SOME of those, of course, require proper bating, but less than you may think… only Play Rough Azumarill, Bastiodon, Drapion, Lapras, Politoed, and Galarian Stunfisk escape themselves out of that win list above. And heck, even with JUST Powder Snow/Icicle Spear, Wally is tons more interesting than it used to be.
With shields down:
With shields down, Earthquake not surprisingly still does a lot of the work, but Icicle Spear adds on potential as compared to pre-Community Day, with new wins including Hypno, Skarmory, Razor Leaf Tropius, Shadow Victreebel, Munchlax, Politoed, Sableye, and Pelipper.
And in 2v2 shielding, Wally tacks on Azumarill, Cofagrigus, Dewgong, Diggersby, Drifblim, Froslass, Shadow Hypno, Lapras, Mandibuzz, Alolan Marowak, Meganium, Pelipper, Pidgeot, Politoed, Serperior, both Stunfisks, Swampert, Whiscash, Skarmory, Sableye, Venusaur, Chesnaught, Cresselia, Greedent, regular Hypno, Shadow Nidoqueen, and Trevenant! Holy smokes! 👀
So yeah, I don’t think there’s any overhyping it… new-fangled Walrein becomes an overnight sensation in Great League. But most of that I covered last time. What about Shadow Walrein?
Shadow Walrein 🟣
As compared to non-Shadow Wally, the new Shadow Walrein loses to Abomasnow, Greedent, Lapras, Lickitung, and Politoed, but retains all the other wins and adds Cofagrigus, Cresselia, Shadow Hypno, Meganium, and Pelipper on top of it. In short: Shadow Walrein is a very viable sidegrade in Great League, and yes, if you have a good candidate ready, I DO recommend building it.
One final final thing before I leave Great League behind. My buddy Mr. PvPoke himself shared some useful tidbits on Twitter (seriously, if you’re not already following him, WYNAUT?) regarding Walrein’s meteoric rise in the rankings after this huge update, and some handy advice on IVs and some breakpoints to watch out for in Great League, so do be sure to check all that out. Thanks for all you do, u/Empoleon_Dynamite!
Now, on to the big boy leagues…
As mentioned last time, even just adding on Powder Snow to Walrein’s existing charge moves increased its win percentage by about 400%. (Seriously, I’m not even exaggerating.) Add Icicle Spear into the mix, and here’s what happens as compared to the old best of Waterfall/Earthquake/Blizzard.
In 1v1 shielding, the very long list of new wins includes Shadow Abomanow, Bronzong, Clefable, Cofagrigus, Dragonite (regular and Shadow), Drifblim, Empoleon, Gallade (super close but usually falls in Wally’s favor), Gengar, both Giratinas, Granbull, Gyarados, Jellicent, Lugia, Alolan Muk, Powder Snow A-Ninetales, Registeel, Scizor, Skarmory, Snorlax (plus Shadow), Galarian Stunfisk, Swampert, Sylveon, Togekiss, and Trevenant. Again, very impressive, no? I wouldn’t say this is a death knell for Lapras, but it certainly has some serious new competition on the block!
With Shields down
It’s a bit less impressive with shields down, adding “only” wins against Dragon Breath Charizard, Dragonite, Galvantula, Gengar, Origin Giratina, Lugia, Meganium, Melmetal, Politoed, Sylveon, Togekiss, Toxicroak, and Trevenant, and surprisingly suffering new 0v0 shielding losses to Galarian Stunfisk, Talonflame, and Bronzong… but again, remember that former Walrein usually ran Waterfall, so those are to be somewhat expected. Still a very clear upgrade overall.
The improvement is FAR more impressive in 2v2 shielding… look at that win-rate! Most of the same usual suspects as above are now in the win column, but of particular note are additions like Venusaur, Abomasnow (regular and Shadow), Armored Mewtwo, Politoed, and Cresselia, all things that give Lapras fits.
Shadow Walrein 🟣
And yet again, a quick peek at Shadow Walrein again says “sidegrade” to me, though it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Shadow tends to lose to stuff non-Shadow can beat more easily, like DB Charizard, Gallade, Scizor, Skarmory, Shadow Snorlax, and Swampert. What it gains, though, is stuff like Greedent, Umbreon, and Venusaur, while more reliably beating Lapras and Melmetal too. I don’t feel quite as good about Shadow Wally here as I did in Great League, but it’s certainly viable, yeah.
Which just leaves us with just one more league to (re-) examine. That’s right… it’s time for Walrein in the majors.
Yes, despite topping out just above 2700 CP at Level 40 and barely eclipsing 3000 CP even at Level 50, Walrein now becomes a VERY impactful addition to Master League. Once again, the improvement as compared to its former best is astounding. To this point, Wally was only capable of beating Dragonite and DOUBLE-weak-to-Ice Garchomp and Landorus. And that’s it. No Flying Togekiss or Yveltal or Lugia, no Grounds like Groudon or Rhyperior or Excadrill, no other Dragons like Zekrom or the Giratinas. It was really pathetic, actually.
But now? Now it CAN beat Grounds like Groudon and Rhyperior and Excadrill and Mamoswine and Swampert, and Flyers like Togekiss and Yveltal and Lugia and Gyarados, and Dragons like Zekrom and Origin Giratina, and even big bads like Sylveon, Avalugg, Heatran 😱, and current ML thug Zacian. Now on that last one, yes, a very crafty Zacian player can sneak away with a win and a greatly hobbled, practically dead Zacian with just the right baiting and all, but basically ONLY wins by replicating that exact scenario: baiting with a non-nerfing Play Rough, getting a shield out of it, and then following up with two back to back Close Combats. Wild Charge doesn’t work, straight Close Combat usually doesn’t work. It’s advantage Walrein, incredibly enough, and only a near-perfect series of events will flip it the other way.
With shields down
Now I WILL point out that with shields down, Wally looks somewhat tepid, losing things like Zacian, Yveltal, Lugia, Swampert, Origin Giratina (though ironically it now beats Altered instead), Rhyperior and a couple of others.
But in 2v2 shielding it’s once again pretty darn impressive, still losing to Lugia, Giratina-O, Gyarados, and the Charmers, but otherwise holding the line from its lofty 1v1 shielding win list… and finally adding Dialga! Yep, if you’re willing to push the issue with Dialga, you can wear it down. Nice!
So that just leaves a couple more things. Because the grind for 296 XL candy may be a bit much, yes, Walrein is also great in Master League Classic… actually even a bit better, as it now beats Dialga and Altered Giratina more easily, as well as even Kyogre (provided it lacks Thunder), though Gyarados and Swampert can outlast it, so there is a tradeoff. Still, though… WELL worth building even if just for Level 40 Master League.
Shadow Walrein 🟣
And finally we come to the super expensive ML Shadow Walrein. And while I hate to end on a sour note, here we finally have some bad news. Being underpowered compared to many Master League Pokémon with significantly more HP, Walrein gets by in large part with its still-impressive-even-by-ML-standards bulk, being able to hang in there long enough to just outlast stuff. With Shadow Walrein shedding some of that critical bulk, while its increased Attack prowess allows it to now beat down Dialga, Altered Giratina, and Thunder-less Kyogre (just as in ML Classic), Shadow Wally also sheds important former wins like Origin Giratina, Groudon, Gyarados, Lugia, Sylveon, Swampert, and most damningly, Zacian. Shadow does do some nice things, but those are some hard losses to swallow. And yes, the dropoff is similar in ML Classic, with wins now versus Metagross and Swampert, but at great cost: losses piling up versus Giratina-O, Groudon, Kyogre, Lugia, Sylveon, and Zacian again. Drat.
So my advice? If you have a hundo (or VERY near hundo) Shadow Spheal/Sealeo, sure, keep it a Shadow, evolve it during Community Day, and consider building it up to Master League level at your leisure. But if you have, say, a 13-13-13 Shadow or something close… for my money, I would instead strongly consider purifying it, thus getting a hundo (or near-hundo) Walrein that is cheaper to power to up than normal. That’s my plan, at least!
Alright, between a super long article a couple of weeks and now another long one here, I think you deserve to be freed so you can go out and prep your storage and item bag for Community Day. THIS IS NOT ONE TO MISS! So let’s wrap it up here.
- In Great League, Walrein becomes an immediately viable alternative to Lapras… in any formats where Lapras is potent, which admittedly is moreso in limited/Cup formats than Open GL. Walrein is still not quite on the same level as Dewgong (which just grinds things down like precious few other Pokémon in the game can), but in any format where you want a solid Ice-type, Walrein is now exactly that. Its biggest advantage — even as compared to Dewgong — is Earthquake for its ability to overcome Steels like Galarian Stunfisk, Melmetal, and even the mighty Bastiodon.
- In Ultra League, Lapras is currently it as far as Watery Ice types. (And really only Aboma, A-Tails, or sometimes the odd Articuno may pop up here and there among all Ice types.) Walrein once again arrives as a very viable alternative to Lapras, and indeed pulls away even more than it did in Great League, owing to good spam potential and that unique Earthquake (which beats stuff like G-Fisk again, Melmetal, Bronzong, Jellicent, and many others). Walrein should immediately become meta in the various Ultra League formats, and requires no XL Candy (even with #1 IVs), which is always nice.
- The biggest shocker is that Walrein, which fails to reach even 2700 CP at Level 40 and only barely crosses 3000 CP at Level 50, looks to be full-on meta in Master League after Community Day. With Icicle Spear costing only 35 energy (giving it pre-nerf Weather Ball stats), Walrein becomes as good, if not situationally better, than Avalugg and way better overall than Mamoswine. It looks like it’s arriving as THE best Ice in Master League, and Ice is fantastic in Master. Walrein will instantly find itself right in the thick of the Master League Classic, Premier, and even Open metas as a true contender. That’s no exaggeration or vain hope either… post-Community Day Walrein WILL noticeably impact Master League moving forward. Mark my words on that one.
But now, real quick before we go, let’s dream big with some other potential, future Icicle Spear recipients!
- You think FROSLASS is crazy good now? This is one I pray doesn’t get Icicle Spear, because if it does… run for your lives! 🥶
- Already having a good start with Ice Shard and Night Slash, CRYOGONAL is one I’ve had my eye on for a while now, as it just needs a second, decent charge move to perhaps go somewhere. Icicle Spear would at least make it interesting.
- If Niantic wanted to pacify all the Master League players that invested in MAMOSWINE for Master League only to see it get lapped first by Avalugg and now by Walrein, Icicle Spear would be a decent peace offering.
- There’s still time to add Icicle Spear to CURSOLA’s moveset before it releases, Niantic. Pretty please?
- REGICE can learn Icicle Spear in MLG. I don’t think Niantic would ever do that in GO, but can you imagine?! That thing would flip all three leagues on their heads.
- It could potentially go in the movepools of the Shellder, Vanillite, and Galarian Mr. Mime families as well, plus stuff like Articuno, Beartic, Avalugg, Alolan Sandslash, and a few other Ices. But generally, they already have cheap stuff like Ice Punch or Icy Wind and don’t really need Icicle Spear… some get a very slight performance bump, but only of a win or two, and some actually take a small step backwards trying to force Icicle Spear upon them. This, plus the fact that its stats hearken back to a more widespread move that Niantic went out and nerfed, leads me to think that Niantic perhaps really does intend Icicle Spear to be a Walrein-exclusive. That said, perhaps they’ll be generous down the line and grant it to pre-evolution SEALEO as well, as they eventually did with Porygon2 and Tri-Attack. Don’t evolve ALL your good Sealeos just yet… hold one or two back, because you never know…
Okay, NOW I’m finally done. Promise! 😅 Once again, VERY long story short: Walrein WILL become meta relevant in all three leagues after January Community Day, despite the presence of established Ices across those formats. It may even become THE go-to Ice-type in Master League especially. Get ready, and get hyped… THIS IS NOT A DRILL!
Good hunting, folks… but as always, please stay safe out there. I myself have been fighting off a second round of COVID (we initially had it 13 months ago) running through my household (and me in particular, despite being fully vaccinated) this past week, and it’s a real drag. 😷 PLEASE, be safe and, yes, aware of your surroundings.
Catch you next time, Pokéfriends!