Welcome to the first edition of “How to battle with [Pokémon]”, where I shall explain how you can use an underused – yet cool – Pokémon in a competitive setting, and when and where not to use them.
Today I shall rant about a Pokémon introduced in the 4th generation as an additional evolution for female Snorunt, bearing the unique typing of Ice and Ghost. It is said to be a reincarnation of a woman lost in an icy mountain, and its body is actually hollow. Ewwwww. I am, of course, referencing Froslass. I will now proceed to explain where, when, why, and how to use it in Smogon’s OU tier while making as few terrible Frozen puns as possible. Bundle up and hang onto your hats, because winter is coming. Onward!
Obligatory Term/Abbreviation Dump
For those new to the scene, here are a couple terms and abbreviations I throw around in this post.
4MSS – 4 Move Slot Syndrome – wanting/needing to run more than the allowed 4 moves
SpAtk/SpDef – Special Attack/Defense
OU, UU, RU – Smogon’s Tiers of Overused, Underused, and Rarely Used respectively. These are a set of rules that most people play by outside of official tournaments that group all Pokémon into strength tiers. These are all played in Singles, rather than Doubles like official tournaments. Info about OU can be found here.
M-[Pokémon] – Mega [Pokémon]
Species: Snow Land
Type: Ghost, Ice
Abilities: Snow Cloak, Cursed Body (Hidden)
Weaknesses: Ghost, Dark, Steel, Rock, Fire
Evolves from: Snorunt (Dawn Stone, Female Only)
Height: 1.3 m
Weight: 26.6 kg
Tier: UU (Banned from RU)
January OU Usage: 0.594% (174th)
Base Stats (range @ Lv100)
HP: 70 (250-344)
Attack: 80 (148-284)
Defense: 70 (130-262)
SpAtk: 80 (148-284)
Speed: 110 (202-350)
Froslass has a wonderful base 110 Speed to its name, but its other stats are a bit below average. It has weaknesses to the annoyingly common Fire and Steel types. Its abilities are unimpressive, with Cursed Body having a 30% chance of disabling any enemy attack that hits Froslass, and Snow Cloak raising its Evasion in Hail. However, its access to high quality utility moves such as Spikes and Taunt make it an ideal suicide lead, often being able to set up a layer or two of Spikes while still trading on the opposing lead with either Destiny Bond or Ice Beam.
Froslass can also lay claim to a great Special movepool, with access to the mighty BoltBeam combo (Thunderbolt and Ice Beam, which have perfect neutral coverage together), Shadow Ball, Psychic, and the like. However its Physical movepool consists of… Ice Shard, Avalanche, and Wake-Up Slap, I guess? Not much. It lacks any form of stat boosting though, so it is not recommended.
SPIKES OF DESTINY!!!!!
Froslass @ Focus Sash
Ability: Cursed Body/Snow Cloak
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (Speed>Attack)
– Destiny Bond
– Ice Beam/Icy Wind/Thunderbolt
This is the default Froslass set, and it works like no other Pokémon in OU can claim to do.
Spikes are what Froslass ends up providing to the team, by damaging anything that switches in until they are cleared. Taunt annoys most common hazard setters by preventing them from setting hazards (or using any other Status moves for that matter), and prevents Defoggers from removing your Spikes.
Destiny Bond rewards correctly prophesizing your demise by taking the enemy down if Froslass is KOed when Destiny Bond is the last move you used. Running Focus Sash makes this easier by allowing you to survive a killing blow from full health, which usually results in opponents going for the kill the next turn.
Your 4th moveslot is largely situational. Ice Beam hits the hardest, and gets the OHKO on defensive Garchomp and Landorus-T. Icy Wind provides great utility with its 100% chance to slow, and has a 98.3% chance of OHKOing uninvested Landorus-T, but loses the ability to one-hit Garchomp. Thunderbolt is a coverage move to be used only if the rest of your team is specifically weak to a Pokémon. In this case it allows for Froslass to 2HKO the omnipresent Skarmory and Talonflame, because the cold never bothered them anyway.
Timid nature is used because the speed boost allows for tying with other +Speed base 110s like Timid Latios and Latias, as well as Jolly M-Metagross and M-Gallade, and outspeeding neutral natured base 125s (or lower) like Adamant Weavile or Modest Raikou and Serperior while only losing points in an unused Attack stat given Froslass’ non-existent Physical movepool. The EVs are placed where they are to allow for said speed checks and maximize the damage of the attacking move of your choice, as it is just not bulky enough to take a hit and its physical movepool is still lacking. Note that it does not outspeed most forms of Talonflame, even if it tries to Flare Blitz you. Cursed Body is the preferred ability because disabling things is fun, however it does screw up predicting Destiny Bond sometimes, so go with Snow Cloak if you are worried about that (or are running a Hailteam, which is another story).
Other options include a bulkier Pain Split set, but 70/70/70 defenses are not ideal for any bulky set. It is also in theory the best Specially Attacking Ice type, so a set with Thunderbolt, Ice Beam, Shadow Ball, and Destiny Bond doesn’t sound like the worst idea until you consider its low 80 base SpAtk stat, which is lower than Stunfisk and Prinplup (really bad).
To Use or Not to Use…
· Base 110 Speed is better than most other leads, like Landorus-T’s base 91 speed, Excadrill’s base 88, and Garchomp’s base 102
· Checks many Stealth Rockers i.e. Garchomp and Landorus-T
· Latios and Latias don’t enjoy switching into Froslass, despite them being perfectly good switch-ins for leads other than Scarf Landorus-T
· Destiny Bond gives it more trading potential than other leads. Froslass will often give you the advantage in a matchup by taking out one enemy Pokémon while still getting Spikes out
· Very good at protecting its Spikes, as its Ghost typing prevents Rapid Spin from working and Taunt blocking the use of Defog
· Its Spikes can be stacked with Stealth Rocks from a teammate (sure, this applies to all Spikes users, but you cannot stack Rocks with more Rocks)
· Much less likely to be setup bait then other Hazard setters, as Taunt blocks most forms of setup (except possibly Hawlucha Unburden trigger, but Ice Beam OHKOes him anyway)
· It does not get Stealth Rocks, and Spikes just is not as strong
· Is an Ice type, and has a metric ton (5) of weaknesses
· Suffers from pretty heavy 4MSS
· Does not get Prankster
· Gets completely screwed over by Pursuit trappers like Bisharp, Weavile, and Tyranitar. Tyranitar also has Sand Stream, which allows for bypassing Focus Sash
· Heavily prediction-based
· Defog and Rapid Spin can be used to remove Spikes as soon as Froslass goes down (which it will)
· Utterly useless in most roles other than a suicide lead (no bulk and no stat boosting moves)
· Anything that outspeeds, including Choice Scarf users like Excadrill, prevent Destiny Bond revenge-kills and hugely inhibit Froslass’ potential, as you cannot take one hit and then Destiny Bond
· Magic Bounce users like Mega Sableye and Mega Diancie render Froslass helpless
· Priority attacks that can hit Ghost types (Bullet Punch, Flying type attacks with Gale Wings, anything used by Mega Lopunny) have the same effect as being outsped in that you cannot easily Destiny Bond them
Points of Comparison
Here, I’ll throw out some common Pokémon that are hypothetically better at doing some of the things Froslass does.
· Hazard Setters: Excadrill, Landorus-T, Hippowdon, Garchomp, Tyranitar, heck, even Klefki. The list goes on and on. The first five mentioned get the far superior Stealth Rocks, and Klefki has this nice ability called Prankster, which gives your opponents hell by turning every non-damaging move into Quick Attack.
· Spinblockers: Gengar and M-Sabelye. Ewwww. Both of these will be mentioned again below, don’t you worry about it.
· Destiny Bonders: Gengar or Gardevoir (but don’t run D-Bond on Gard please). This one is a utility (Froslass) vs damage (Gengar) issue.
· Hazard Prevention: Mega Sableye. Magic Bounce exists. I suppose I could throw the other Magic Bounce users (M-Diancie, M-Absol, or Espeon/Xatu if you want to pretend it’s gen 5) in here too, but what gives?
· Taunters: Thundurus has Prankster should he choose to accept it, but does not have the rest of Froslass’ utility.
I generally use Froslass on teams that need hazard setup and are noticeably weak to Stealth Rocks, especially if I already have Rocks on the team, as Froslass checks many common Stealth Rock users. The other situation where I use Froslass is when my team truly cannot afford to be down a Pokémon after the setup turns.
TL;DR: If you need a combination of the ability to set hazards, get trades, and control enemy hazards and boosting all in one nice package, Froslass is for you. If you just need one of those things however, it is probably better to just let it go.
So that’s it for this segment of “How to battle with [Pokémon]”. Check back later for more shenanigans and a Pokémon that literally could not care less about anyone or anything. Or maybe it’s just Unaware of what goes on around it. Until then, discussion in the comments below is accepted, encouraged, and requested. Direct questions or suggestions for this column as a whole, including suggesting new Pokémon to rant about, may be posted to the discussion thread for this column. Until next time, you stay classy PokéCommunity.
I assure you, no Frozen puns will be made in the next article.
Sprite from http://www.pkparaiso.com/, courtesy of The Pokémon Company.
Edited by Archy, Astinus, bobandbill, Christos, Jake, Sylphiel and wolf.