Abomasnow (Poké Monday 2/13/17)

rng-abomasnow

Type: Grass/Ice

Base Stats:

  • 90 HP
  • 92 Attack
  • 75 Defense
  • 92 Special Attack
  • 85 Special Defense
  • 60 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Snow Warning Abomasnow, upon switching in, conjure a hailstorm lasting five turns.
  • Soundproof Abomasnow are immune to sound-based moves. (Hidden Ability)

Changes upon Mega-Evolving (with Abomasite):

  • +40 base Attack
  • +30 base Defense
  • +40 base Special Attack
  • +20 base Special Defense
  • -30 base Speed
  • Snow Warning Ability

Notable physical attacks: Earthquake, Ice PunchIce ShardWood Hammer

Notable special attacks: Blizzard, Energy Ball, Focus Blast, Giga Drain (via ORAS tutor), Ice Beam

Notable status moves: Leech Seed (Egg move), Swords Dance

Notable Z-moves:

  • Bloom Doom (Grass)
    • Physical – Converts one use of Wood Hammer into a base 190 physical Grass-type attack.
    • Special – Converts one use of Energy Ball into a base 170 special Grass-type attack (or Solar Beam into base 190).
  • Subzero Slammer (Ice)
    • Physical – Converts one use of Ice Punch into a base 140 physical Ice-type attack.
    • Special – Converts one use of Blizzard into a base 185 special Ice-type attack.
  • All-Out Pummeling (Fighting)
    • Physical – Converts one use of Brick Break into a base 140 physical Fighting-type attack (or Focus Punch (via ORAS tutor) into base 200).
    • Special – Converts one use of Focus Blast into a base 190 special Fighting-type attack.
  • Tectonic Rage (Ground) – Converts one use of Earthquake into a base 180 physical Ground-type attack.
  • Z-Grass Whistle (Grass) – Grants +1 Speed with one use of Grass Whistle.
  • Z-Role Play (Psychic, via ORAS tutor) – Grants +1 Speed with one use of Role Play.

Overview

So, um…Pokémon Bank got updated recently, although sadly without another free trial, and so the floodgates are now open. Unfortunately, held items cannot be transferred, and the only available Mega Stones in Alola are those of native Pokémon, the Kanto starters, and the Hoenn legendaries (granted the latter don’t technically have Mega Stones, but that’s beside the point). For that reason, Pokémon like Abomasnow are rendered unable to Mega Evolve legally until their respective Mega Stones are released as entry gifts for online competitions. That is a shame because Abomasnow’s regular stat distribution is mediocre, and with the rise of Alolan Ninetales (and, albeit less importantly, an improved Vanilluxe), it is no longer the fastest or most viable Hail setter in the game.

Speaking of the improved Vanilluxe (improved in that it now gets Snow Warning as an extra Ability choice alongside Ice Body), it has better offenses and fewer weaknesses, but it’s slightly less bulky, has fewer resistances, and is very much lacking in the coverage department (especially with the lack of secondary STAB). As for the other new Snow Warning user, Alolan Ninetales, that one is hands-down the best of the bunch because of its access to Aurora Veil (which none of the other Snow Warning users, surprisingly including Aurorus, possesses), secondary Fairy typing, nice base 109 Speed, and access to Nasty Plot for its own brand of offensive prowess.

With that in mind, Abomasnow isn’t nearly as notable for its Snow Warning Ability as it was in days of old, especially since it cannot legally Mega-Evolve as of now, but it is one of few viable users of its alternative Ability: Soundproof. This notably allows it to block Boomburst, Clanging Scales, Chatter, Z-Grass Whistle, Hyper Voice, Parting Shot, Perish Song, and Z-Sing. Not the greatest viability helper in the world, but it’s something.

So, for the time being, Abomasnow is better suited for lower tiers. Moreover, even if Abomasnow could Mega-Evolve, its Mega form would never see the light of OU, considering it was one of the seven lowest-tiered Megas in the previous generation (the others being Audino, Banette, Camerupt, Glalie, Houndoom, and Steelix) and it doesn’t help that turn order is now determined after Mega Evolution (which actually makes Mega Banette and—to a lesser extent—Mega Glalie more viable). I mean, 90/105/105 bulk and 132 for each attacking stat (with priority, even) is great and all, but the base 30 Speed, Ice typing, and use of a usually adverse weather effect really hurt Mega Abomasnow’s viability.

Sets

1: Z-Grass Whistle (pre-Abomasite)

Abomasnow @ Grassium Z
Ability: Soundproof
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Grass Whistle
– Swords Dance
– Wood Hammer
– Ice Punch

Z-Grass Whistle is a neat little tool against balanced teams. When Grass Whistle is enhanced by Grassium Z, the move becomes perfectly accurate and grants a +1 boost to the user’s Speed when used (even if blocked by some Ability like Soundproof). Because of this, Abomasnow can put a slower Pokémon to sleep, gain +1 Speed, potentially boost its offensive prowess with Swords Dance, and sweep any team without a bulky Fire-type or anything faster than base 114 (or base 60 with Choice Scarf). The dual STAB combination of Wood Hammer and Ice Punch hits anything not mono-Fire or mono-Steel. Also note: If Z-Grass Whistle is not needed, Grassium Z can instead be used to turn Wood Hammer into a base 190 Bloom Doom, which, unlike Wood Hammer, is perfectly accurate, lacks recoil, and does not make contact.

Ability choice is Soundproof to block various harmful moves (including its own Z-Grass Whistle if it gets affected by Magic Bounce/Coat) and to not bring usually adverse weather, while EVs and Nature are focused offensively for maximum Speed and as much Attack as possible.

2: When Abomasite comes out…

Abomasnow @ Abomasite
Ability: Soundproof
EVs: 8 HP / 68 Atk / 252 SpA / 180 Spe
Mild Nature
– Blizzard
– Giga Drain
– Earthquake
– Ice Shard

This is just a rehash of a mixed set analysis from the previous generation, because even if Abomasite were to become legal, Mega Abomasnow would be not much different if at all from the previous generation. (I mean, turn order is now determined after Mega Evolution as mentioned earlier, but that’s not much of a change because Abomasnow is quite slow regardless.) Blizzard boasts perfect accuracy under hail and hits hard off of base 132 Special Attack with STAB. Giga Drain is its best bet for secondary special STAB, which allows it to hit Water-types and gain back HP, all without having to use its other attacking stat. Earthquake grants coverage against Fire- and Steel-types, notably including potential switch-ins of Alolan Marowak and Metagross. Ice Shard grants Abomasnow STAB priority, which somewhat helps its sluggish Speed.

Ability choice is Soundproof for the same reason as before. (Even though Snow Warning would give it 100% accurate Blizzards without M-Evo, it’s much more worthwhile to have the move immunities and to not have to pass around harmful weather before M-Evo.) Mild Nature (preferred over Rash because Abomasnow has a better time dealing with special attackers than physical attackers with maximum Special Attack investment allows it to hit as hard as possible with its Blizzards and Giga Drains. The Speed investment serves to creep past Relaxed Swampert, the HP investment gets it up to 323 HP (which gives it slightly more HP for Stealth Rock switch-ins), and the rest is dumped into Attack for stronger Ice Shards and Earthquakes.

Other Options

On the first set, Earthquake can be used as alternative coverage over Wood Hammer for grounded Fire- and Steel-types, albeit at the expense of strong STAB, coverage against bulky Water-types, and the ability to use base 190 Bloom Doom. Either that, or you could have Earthquake over Swords Dance, granting the utmost of its physical coverage at the expense of offensive presence. Additionally, Role Play, if obtained via transfer, can be used as a Speed-boosting alternative to Grass Whistle. While this doesn’t put the target to sleep and precludes the possibility of Bloom Doom, it works for fun shenanigans if used upon forcing a switch or similar misplay. For instance, imagine having Wood Hammer with the recoil prevention of Rock Head from an incoming Aggron…

On the mixed set, Wood Hammer and Focus Blast are alternatives for Giga Drain and Earthquake respectively. The former is its strongest option against Blissey but induces recoil instead of giving HP back; while the latter hits off of Abomasnow’s more invested attacking stat and hits particular Levitate / Air Balloon users but is far less accurate and leaves the set walled by some Fire-types such as Victini and Alolan Marowak.

To mix things up, you could also use special attacks on the Z-Move set, or Swords Dance on the Mega set. Using special attacks on the Z-Move set would mean more powerful Ice STAB (Ice Beam) and safer Grass STAB (Giga Drain); at the expense of weaker Grass STAB, less accurate and arguably worse coverage (Focus Blast), and lack of a power-boosting option. On the other side, Swords Dance with Mega Abomasnow grants it stronger physical attacks (including priority) albeit at the expense of Blizzard (or any Ice STAB stronger than base 40, for that matter).

As another alternative, Leech Seed can be used in lower tiers to pull off a more defensive set. I mean, its bulk and Speed are respectable enough for its tier, right? (At the time of writing, Abomasnow is currently NU.) It’s worth noting that Abomasnow is one of a handful of Leech Seed users with STAB that’s super-effective against Grass-types (which are immune to Leech Seed).

Problems and Partners

Problems

Abomasnow’s only 4x weakness is Fire, so Fire-types are an obvious threat, particularly those that can withstand its hits (e.g., Torkoal and Rotom-Heat) or are faster than it under all circumstances (e.g., Salazzle). Rotom-Heat is particularly notable as it resists all of Abomasnow’s notable attacks not named Focus Blast. (Well, there is Rock Slide (for base 140 Continental Crush if running Rockium Z), but that option is not very viable otherwise.)

Other bulky/fast attackers that can take advantage of Abomasnow’s many other weaknesses are also problematic. Mega Venusaur and Mega Aggron in particular work well for counters, being neutral or resistant to all or most (respectively) of Abomasnow’s attacks and able to retaliate with Sludge Bomb / Hidden Power Fire and Heavy Slam / Iron Head respectively.

Partners

Because of Abomasnow’s 4x weakness to Fire, a Flash Fire user would be a usable complement, potentially pressuring the opponent into thinking twice before bringing out the lighter. In lower tiers, Ninetales and Flareon are the best special and physical candidates respectively, while Chandelure is the candidate for higher tiers (unless Mega Abomasnow falls a tier below). Chandelure’s Ghost typing also allows it to switch into Fighting- (and Poison-)type moves with ease.

Another thing to note about Abomasnow is that it is weak to Stealth Rock and prone to any form of Spikes, so running a form of hazard control is imperative. In lower tiers, Claydol can take Rock- and Fighting-type attacks while hitting Fire- and Steel-types with its Ground STAB. In higher tiers: Empoleon resists all of Abomasnow’s weaknesses except Fire and Fighting, while Abomasnow can take Electric- and Ground-type attacks, and Empoleon has the ability to Defog hazards away and hit Fire-types super-effectively; while Starmie actually resists Fire (and Steel as well) and can also hit Fire-types with super-effective special attacks (and can run Reflect Type in case of problematic type match-ups).

Abomasnow may no longer be the best Hail setter around thanks to Alolan Ninetales, but Mega Abomasnow’s inevitable Snow Warning Ability can actually be helpful to at least one member of the team, thanks to the introduction of a new Ability in Slush Rush. Currently there are only two users: Beartic (secondary Ability) and Alolan Sandslash (Hidden Ability). Beartic has greater raw power, but Alolan Sandslash has arguably better typing and coverage (as well as Speed).

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