And now, we return for more Ice-type fun, with Generation 4’s Ice-types now being highlighted. The variety here is also quite fascinating, if I say so myself. Despite having five subjects, only two of them appeared in Diamond and Pearl, which was one of the problems with the games: type imbalance. Thankfully, Platinum fixed that by putting every Ice-type here in the game in some way. Now we move on from the intro to the main content.
Snover & Abomasnow
Compared to the other Ice-types, who are based on Pokémon of a previous Generation, these two are original, meaning they debut in this Generation and are not related to any old Pokémon. These two are clearly designed as coniferous trees (which are commonly represented as Christmas trees), with elements of a Sasquatch in Abomasnow’s case. It is also possible that they are created to facilitate the viability of Hail, since they have the exclusive ability to start Hail as soon as they enter the battlefield, giving them a reason to be used.
While cold areas are normally devoid of plant life, it does not mean none exists. It’s just that there are different types of plants that are able to adapt to the cold, such as the aforementioned coniferous trees. The trick is to minimize the area of the leaves to reduce the amount of water loss. Being dark green helps too, for the ability to absorb more solar energy in areas with weak light. The latter would explain the darker shade of green found on both Pokémon. Fruits are not common in colder areas, but there is a fruit called the bearberry that could grow in the Arctic. This coincides well with Snover’s berries that grew on its waist (not the belly, as shown in the anime), which are also edible and grow in cold areas. I have never taken bearberries before, but from what I read, it is tasteless, unlike Snoverberries, which are said to be tasty. Since it’s (probably) based on bearberries, then Beartic would like some of it too.
Snover is more curious with humans, having never met them due to the overall reclusive lifestyle of the species, considering how Abomasnow is itself a reclusive species itself. Even footprints of humans (maybe shoeprints, actually) attract Snover. In fact, Snover is common in the snowy regions of Sinnoh, compared to how rare Abomasnow is. If there is a time when Abomasnow would appear, it’s when snow flowers bloom. Usually, that would happen when it’s not so cold, so that seems to be the best time for them to appear. Similarly, Snover only appears when it’s not too cold, which is during spring time. When the flowers have lost its petals, presumably when it’s cold again, then they would go into hiding again (or in Snover’s case, escape to the lower parts where it’s warmer).
Having the ability Snow Warning, they can do what no other Pokémon could do: summon Hail that lasts for the entire battle (unless interrupted by a change of weather). It’s not explicitly stated in the PokéDex about this nature, unlike some others with unique abilities such as Slaking and Cofagrigus. This seems strange, because Snover and Abomasnow are not too keen when the weather gets cold, but they are able to summon permanent hail themselves. It would be funny to see them unexpectedly (http://i.imgur.com/P89Cn.png) summoning hail wherever they go, which is probably how they repel anything in the first place, besides Abomasnow whipping out blizzards to obscure others out of their sight.
Since Abomasnow is a reliable Hail starter with its ability, it becomes an integral part of a successful Hail team. Not only does it benefit Ice-type users by allowing them to outlive other non-Ice-types, it also helps offensive Pokémon by increasing the chances of KO’ing their opponents. Abomasnow isn’t only good for summoning Hail, since it is a capable Pokémon itself. Pairing this with Leech Seed is even better. When weather lasts temporarily, Abomasnow’s viability is reduced, since permanent Hail is required for Ice-types to be viable, unlike other weather. Still, Abomasnow got a Mega Evolution, which is more powerful and defensive than its original, although its Speed is sacrificed. The extra power is very good, so it works best when Trick Room is active. Sometimes Soundproof is used so that Snow Warning’s turn limit is a lot more usable.
Abomasnow is one of Candice’s Pokémon, and the main one in Diamond and Pearl. Its ability to summon Hail throughout the battle is a source of advantage to her, as every Pokémon on her team are Ice-types. It’s even used in Pokémon Special when it carried Platinum/Platina to safety from the harsh snowstorm, and in the anime, it is indeed her main Pokémon as it gave Ash the most trouble (though his improvision with the icy field led him to victory). Snover is also used alongside Abomasnow before Platinum’s extra variety comes to the rescue, which is why you faced both Pokémon in Diamond and Pearl (as well as Medicham, a non-Ice-type). Even the anime has Ash face against both these Pokémon in the same match. It’s surprising that even though Abomasnow is crucial for starting Hail, none of the other Ice-type Gym Leaders in the World Tournament has it.
As the only original Ice-types this Generation, Snover and Abomasnow are different from the others because their inspiration is original. It’s always great to have variety among the species of Pokémon. They are known to be plant life that thrives in the cold, which is something we never have before. For additional points, Abomasnow is also based on the abominable snowman, a creature that is said to thrive in icy places and its existence is a mystery, much like Abomasnow. I can say that despite them being the only new Ice-types, they live up to be one of the best ones there are (not just because I love Grass-types).
Abomasnow: 10 Trees out of 10!
+ Unique Grass-type (one that thrives in cold places)
+ Appearance match their personality
+ Essential Ice-type for Snow Warning
– Their unique ability isn’t mentioned in the PokéDex
Coming straight from Sneasel is Weavile. There are various reasons new evolutions are made for old favourites, such as updating the look of old Pokémon without directly changing them too much (Dusknoir), or just giving them an upgrade to allow them to be better at battling (Ambipom). In Weavile’s case, it’s more of the former, although Sneasel isn’t quite terrible itself.
Weavile was introduced before Diamond and Pearl were released, making it a pre-release Pokémon. In addition to this, it made appearances in the anime way before the games, and it’s not just in the movie (Lucario and the Mystery of Mew) that it made its early appearance in. It certainly is interesting to know what fans expected Weavile to be like when it was first revealed, being one of the first Generation 4 Pokémon to be revealed.
In order for Sneasel to evolve into Weavile, you need to have Sneasel hold a Razor Claw and level up, but this could only be done at night. Moreover, the Razor Claw you used will be gone if you evolve this way, so it’s a good idea to withhold it until you are sure you want this Weavile for battling. If you don’t need it for battling, then you could do it. After all, an extra page on the PokéDex is a welcomed addition. This evolution method is frankly funny because it’s like the item they held is assimilated into the Pokémon itself. Of course, like with unconventional evolutions, they won’t make it easy for you to find Weavile naturally, since they are nowhere to be found. Some of Unova’s Pokémon that evolve in other ways besides levelling up could be found in rare spots (including Wigglytuff and Tangrowth), but Weavile isn’t one of them.
Based on the kamaitachi yokai, Weavile hunt in groups with the superpower of teamwork, similar to Sneasel. To elaborate, they carve some patterns on trees, ice and rocks with their sharp claws as a method of communication. This aids the group in their raids to work in packs to overwhelm their enemies or prey. The PokéDex adds that “evolution made it even more devious”, which would explain is skilfulness with claws. All these sounds like a documentary episode in the making, so if Pokémon allows for it, this would be great subject matter. Weavile also has a styling that gives it the Egyptian trademark look, with those red coverings on its head that resembles the crown similar to the one worn on Nefertiti, and that red collar around its neck, as well as ornamental markings on its face (particularly the eyeshadows and the round thing on its forehead). This gives Weavile a sort of deity visage, because some Egyptian deities have animal heads or look like animals, so this makes Weavile kind of an “ice god”.
Weavile appeared in the first pair of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, which are considered Generation 3 games due to the Pokémon available and its release date. In those games, you receive a Weavile statue as a reward for completing a tough optional mission. In the second batch of games (Time, Darkness and Sky), Weavile is part of Team AWD (Arbok, Weavile and Drapion). This Weavile is the leader of the team, and is given the title of “Lady” and held with high respect by the other two members.
Based on its two highest stats (Attack and Speed), Weavile is a Physical attacker. It is an upgrade from Sneasel for its higher stats, so its attacks are stronger. More importantly, Weavile is able to learn Knock Off, a powerful Dark-type attack. Of course, it has a number of Ice attacks, but the ones of use are only Ice Punch and Ice Shard. It even got Icicle Crash, but since it is an Egg Move, it couldn’t use it along with Knock Off. The latter is so important that the viability of Icicle Crash would need to wait. Weavile has an edge over Dragons since it is naturally faster than all of them. Coverage is important for an attacker like Weavile, so a Fighting attack would do, making Low Kick a great choice. If you want to take the risk, you could use Swords Dance to make every attack you hit stronger, potentially starting a sweep. Weavile’s defences are normally referred as “paper thin”, but looking at the stats, I don’t complete agree, since it could at least take a moderate neutral Special attack, which is not bad for its typing and Speed.
Much like Sneasel, Weavile doesn’t look too much like an Ice-type unless you look into the PokéDex for information or find one there. However, it is acknowledged that Weavile is an Ice-type in the PokéDex, so that’s something. All in all though, Weavile is an improvement over Sneasel in almost every way.
+ Interesting origin and fascinating design choices
+ Great social network among its kin
– Abilities it can’t take advantage of
– Resemblance to Ice-type is still vague
Normally, I would like to cover more subjects on the first part, but I am making an exception for this one, only because there are three Pokémon here out of six. We will be looking at the rest of Generation 4’s Ice-types next time. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have writing them.
Thanks for reading.