Power Plant Event: Thunder Regice Analysis & New Shadows
Nesabethan and Tangent444
8 months ago
Kanto Power Plant Event: Thunder Regice Analysis
Written by Nesabethan, Tangent444, and NHoff
Graphic by G47ix
Since the introduction of Lock On to the game, Regice has always been a forgotten Regi. Registeel, with its superior bulk at 1500 and 2500 CP and endless Steel resistances, stole the show for a long time. Regirock has even seen more play than Regice, with some popularity in Silph's Labyrinth Cup and Go Battle League's Retro Cup. This has left Regice, like its position in the Pokédex relative to the other Regis, as the forgotten middle child.
And yet Regice has some appealing characteristics. Its fast move is strong, it has fairly high bulk and it has charged moves with good DPE and exceptional type coverage. In fact, Ice + Ground is possibly the best offensive type pairing in the game. The pairing is effectively unresisted, with both types only resisted by the irrelevant Surskit and the unreleased Araquanid, Frosmoth, and Golisopod. And the spread of types Ice + Ground is super effective against is exceptional: nine types are weak to either move (only Rock + Fighting and Ice + Fighting are also super effective against nine types, and those two pairings are resisted by more dual-type Pokémon). And those nine types include three of Ice's four weaknesses: Fire, Rock, and Steel. A certain clown-faced walrus is already wielding these two types to fearsome effect since its community day.
So why hasn't Regice seen more play? Well it is saddled with the worst defensive type in the game: Ice is weak to four types and only resists itself. Even Walrein isn't quite that bad, with an extra Water resistance to offer alongside a double resistance to other Ice types. Another problem of Regice is its expensive charged moves: to finish off a low-health Pokémon, it has to burn at least 65 energy, especially given Lock On only contributes a small amount of damage by itself. This is a major reason why Regirock has had more luck in PvP: it can make use of the relatively cheaper 55 energy Stone Edge.
So what does Thunder mean for Regice? Well, essentially, it slightly helps with the speed problem, but slightly undermines Regice's coverage. Thunder is a 60 energy move, helping slightly with landing a move, shield baiting, and minimizing energy wastage. Regice will most likely pair Thunder with Blizzard: Ice + Electric is another rarely resisted combination, made famous by the "BoltBeam" combo in the main series games. However, it isn't super effective against as many things as Ice + Ground: Electric is only super effective against two types, and one of them (Flying) is already weak to Ice. It actually drops Regice's super effective weapon against three of those weaknesses mentioned above, which makes it harder for it to fight back against those Fire, Rock, and Steel types. The exception is the one type where Regice gains improved coverage: Water. With super effective Thunder, Regice can serve as a counter to popular Great League Waters such as Azumarill and the newly upgraded Walrein, giving it a niche it couldn’t offer before.
These effects can be faintly detected in PvPoke's multi-sims. Regice's win rates against shields increase slightly with Thunder replacing Earthquake: against the whole of Great League, Earthquake + Blizzard wins 65.2% in 1s, and 33.7% in 2s. Thunder + Blizzard wins 66.9% in 1s, and 47.3% in 2s. The slight speed advantage flips a small number of neutral matchups, especially in the 2s scenario. However, Regice's win rate drops in 0s, where it is better able to wield its super effective coverage: T+B only wins 77.3%, whereas E+B wins 84.9%. And perhaps more interesting is the 1-0 shield scenario. When Regice is at a shield advantage, you would expect only its worst matchups to be able to beat it. Without the super effective damage of Earthquake against its weaknesses, these matchups get worse: E+B's win rate in 1-0 is 98.1%, whereas T+B's win rate is 95.8%, with a bunch of Fire, Rock, and Steel types emerging to hard counter Regice, such as Magcargo, Regirock, Registeel, and Bastiodon. We focused on Great League simulations, but the story is likely similar in Ultra League.
Alternatively, Regice could run Thunder + Earthquake and play like a slower but harder-hitting Stunfisk. Flounder on Ice, or FunFisk, you pick your cheesy name of choice. This accesses the speed of Thunder and the coverage of Earthquake for its weaknesses, but leaves Regice suddenly walled by Grass-types (a twist of fate for an Ice-type) and loses its biggest boom of a weapon in Blizzard when shields are down. This might be more helpful in Great League, where Azumarill, Bastiodon, and Galarian Stunfisk are all increasingly abundant, but more harmful in Ultra League where Giratina Altered may be more desirable to cover.
Overall, Thunder seems like a nuanced addition to Regice. Maybe a small upgrade overall, due to the additional speed it offers, but not a major change, and with significant tradeoffs in the super effective coverage it has. It will make Regice slightly more unpredictable, and could help it find use in restricted metas where an Ice type with Electric moves is desired.