Ty asks:

Can you share your thoughts on Ice-Types and how they work a little? I’ve always had a pet peeve with the way the games treat Ice’s strengths and weaknesses as if the Pokemon themselves are all actually just made of ice, when that doesn’t seem to be true. All Ice-Types also seem completely fine and safe in warm weather, which shouldn’t make sense if heat and fire actually harm them. The way their moves and abilities work also seem to imply that Ice-Types are capable of removing extremely large amounts of heat from the environment, but that heat has to go somewhere right? Wouldn’t it make the most sense for Ice-Types to be absorbing heat in order to make everything else cold? If so, wouldn’t Ice-Types be extremely threatening to Fire-Types?

Yeah, I’ve always had trouble with Ice-types too, and I kind of alluded to the reasons why a little while ago, talking about Eevee’s evolutions, although I didn’t actually mention Ice-types specifically. Pokémon take on the traits of their environment, even when there are pretty clear reasons that might not actually be useful – or, in the case of Fire- and Ice-types, even make thermodynamic sense. It does make sense to me that, since Ice-types normally live in cold places, they’re bad at dealing with extreme heat. Having cold-related powers is strange if you live in a cold place, because everything else around you has to be cold-adapted and your cold powers are probably not very useful. It starts to make sense again if having cold-related powers means you’re extracting heat from the world (and other organisms in it), because then you’re surviving by being a sort of heat vampire, but then, as you note, you’d expect Ice attacks to be very strong against Fire Pokémon, who both produce a lot of heat and rely on it. I think if we want to understand Ice Pokémon and Ice attacks from a thermodynamic perspective, we can do it by saying that the extreme heat produced by Fire Pokémon overwhelms their abilities – they can’t drain enough heat to meaningfully weaken a Fire-type, or to blunt a Fire attack, and being exposed to that much excess heat can actually stop their powers from working for a while, because they just can’t take any more. But I also suspect Game Freak probably doesn’t think about Ice Pokémon in a strictly real-world physics-oriented sense. In our world, according to a modern understanding of physics, “cold” doesn’t really exist; it’s just the absence of heat. Maybe the existence of Ice Pokémon and the nature of their powers suggests that in the Pokémon world there is an actual force of cold, such a thing as “cold energy”; maybe the entire physics of their universe is built around pairs of opposites. Or… maybe we should just stick with the other thing, so someone doesn’t ask me to build an alternate version of physics to run the Pokémon universe on.

6 thoughts on “Ty asks:

  1. I came to a similar conclusion for my own perspective with the idea that Fire-Types normally produce far more heat than Ice-Types can handle, but I think it would be really interesting if there was a way Ice-Types could flip that dynamic. It could be a new Icy Terrain, or it could even be a buff to Hail which, even with Aurora Veil, is still considered the weakest weather type. Basically laying out Icy Terrain/Hail changes the Fire-Ice dynamic such that Ice-Types now resists Fire moves and Fire-Types are now weak to Ice moves. The Ice Pokemon who can bring the surrounding environment down to subzero temperatures create an overwhelmingly cold environment that now cause Fire Pokemon to struggle to hold onto their own heat.

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    1. I actually like that idea… like, perhaps such a concept would make ice a decent type to use competitively? That gives it, in certain circumstances, resistance against a common offensive type AND a new strength! Next just buff grass because it’s prob in my top 3 favorite typings but needs a buff especially if we’re buffing one of its weaknesses.

      And like, this “icy terrain” makes sense… well, as much sense as we can hope to achieve with the weird physics of this fictional world.

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      1. There are pros and cons to adding this effect to either a new Icy Terrain or to Hail. If you give it to Icy Terrain, the effect can’t be eliminated with weather setters like Mega Charizard Y, and can only be reliably eliminated by the Kokos who are already at war with one another for keeping their terrains up. Only a few Ice Types would probably get Icy Terrain, though, and you would ultimately need a new “Icy Surge” abilitied Pokemon to actually compete against the Koko’s unless this Pokemon found itself in a lower tier than them (which would ultimately make Icy Terrain uncontested in that tier), and it would also make this new mon a requirement on all mono Ice teams.

        On the flip side, giving it to hail would make it exceptionally more reliable of a weather effect, be available to virtually all Ice Type Pokemon, and have more flexibility in being set up by Snow Warning Pokemon, which is at least a few more options than a single Icy Surge Pokemon. It would be easier to counter though, as there are more Drizzle/Drought/Sand Stream Pokemon that can eliminate your Hail just by switching in, and Drought setters especially since they’ll immediately return the power dynamic back in their favor and force you out. Same goes for the moves that set up those weather effects as well, particularly Sunny Day which is the most common.

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