The new Sword and Shield games have come out, and people are scrambling to experiment with the new Pokémon and see what they can do!
One new Pokémon, however, has not had the warmest of receptions: Eiscue. As a stand-alone, rare random encounter, version-exclusive Pokémon, it has had little time under the sun (perhaps to its relief?). Eiscue’s design of a penguin with an ice cube head has left fans out in the cold, citing it even possibly as the worst design of the new generation. What a chilling start!
But don’t be fooled! While you might be inclined to give Eiscue the cold-shoulder, it’s actually quite adept at battle with its stats, n-ice moveset, and exclusive ability.
So, let’s embark on our adventure into the cool world of Eiscue!
(Yes, I’ll stop with the puns)
Stats and Ability
At first, the base stats of the Pokémon may seem quite underwhelming:
Eiscue (Ice Face Forme)
That’s Defense is nice and the Sp. Defense is not bad, but the HP isn’t quite up to par. 80 Attack also isn’t great, not to mention the low speed! So what’s the deal?
Astute viewers may notice that this is just one forme of Eiscue: Ice Face Forme. In fact, Eiscue switches between its two formes with its Ice Face ability:
The Pokémon’s ice head can take a physical attack as a substitute, but the attack also changes the Pokémon’s appearance. The ice will be restored when it hails.
Pokémon Sword and Shield Flavor Text
For Eiscue, being hit with a physical move transforms it into its Noice Face Forme, which has a water drop head and no physical shield. To clarify, only setting up hail or being switched into it will instantly revert Eiscue to its Ice Face Forme. The Noice Face Forme has very different stats:
Eiscue (Noice Face Forme)
In this forme, the defenses are drastically lower, but the speed is jacked up to crazy levels! (To be fair, the Defense drop doesn’t really matter as it took no damage from physical hits anyway, but the increased speed is incredible).
With Ice Face, against physical attackers, Eiscue can use one turn to set up or attack, then quickly attack again with its newfound speed. It will usually only want to come in on physical attackers to trigger Ice Face, but Eiscue can usually take at least one special hit and fire back if needed.
Now let’s take a look at the Some it can learn and construct some sets!
Eiscue actually has quite versatile physical type coverage. Keep in mind that all these moves have their Max Move equivalents.
Icicle Crash: 85 power, 90% accuracy
Max Hailstorm sets up hail, perfect for reverting to its Ice Face Forme in order to do some damage an also take an extra hit.
Liquidation: 85 power, 100% accuracy
Max Geyser set up rain, powering up any following water attacks.
Iron Head: 80 power, 100% accuracy
Max Steelspike increases Eiscue’s defense.
Zen Headbutt: 80 power, 90% accuracy
Max Mindstorm sets up Psychic Terrain, not only increasing psychic power but also preventing priority from knocking Eiscue out.
Head Smash: 150 power, 80% accuracy, 50% recoil
Max Rockfall sets up sandstorm, which is not ideal for Eiscue.
With these moves, Eiscue handles most of its weaknesses well. Liquidation handles Fire and Rock types while Zen Headbutt deals with Fighting types. Iron Head handles Fairy and other Ice types well. Generally, you can use any coverage that your team specifically needs, but most sets will have an ice move for STAB as well as Max Hailstorm. Ice type is not a great defensive typing, so most Eiscue sets will all be centered on offense.
Some Standard Sets
There is a single move that single-handedly makes Eiscue a potential unstoppable sweeper. However, let’s first discuss some other sets.
The first set here is a standard attacker, utilizing the move Agility as well as the Life Orb to give its attacks more oomph:
Eiscue @ Life Orb Ability: Ice Face EVs: 252 Atk / 140 SpD / 116 Spe Adamant Nature – Agility – Icicle Crash – Liquidation – Zen Headbutt / Iron Head
After one use of Agility, Eiscue will be able to outspeed everything in its Noice Face Forme and 100 base-speed Pokémon in its Ice Face Form. With full attack investment, Eiscue will sure be able to make a dent in the opponent’s team.
Even so, Eiscue’s 80 attack is middling, so a Choice Band is sure to give it some more fire power (or ice power):
Eiscue @ Choice Band Ability: Ice Face EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 SpD Adamant Nature – Avalanche – Liquidation – Zen Headbutt – Iron Head / Head Smash
This set can easily blow a hole in the opposing team as it shoots off a boosted Avalanche after taking a hit. Although its will lose Choice Band’s attack boost, Dynamaxing allows Eiscue to select any move, even if Choice Band has already locked it into a move.
The final set here is one built specifically for hail teams:
Aurora Veil is a great move for any hail team as it substantially decreases damage taken. Alternatively, Amnesia or Iron Defense can also be used if Eiscue plans to stay in. It can even run special moves such as Blizzard or Icy Wind!
With its great ability, Eiscue can be an effective attacker, but Eiscue’s stats hold it back from being a true sweeper. If only there was something to make Eiscue even more powerful…
Enter: Belly Drum
Belly Drum maximizes the user’s attack at the expense of 50% of its max health. Azumarill, Linoone, and Slurpuff have been effective users of it, but given the exclusion of many Pokémon from Sword and Shield, it seems like Slurpuff, Eiscue, and Galarian Darmanitan will be the prime Belly Drum users in this metagame.
Eiscue boasts not only good coverage but also an ability that has almost perfect synergy with Belly Drum. (Imagine if Mimikyu got Belly Drum!) Sent in against a physical attacker, Ice Face allows Eiscue to get a Belly Drum for free and have immediate speed. Here is a standard Belly Drum Set:
Eiscue @ Sitrus Berry Ability: Ice Face EVs: 12 HP / 252 Atk / 244 Spe Jolly Nature – Belly Drum – Zen Headbutt / Iron Head – Icicle Crash – Liquidation
After Belly Drum, Eiscue will not only have massive attack but also blazing speed, all while maintaining 75% HP. Already a formidable sweeper, Eiscue can even Dynamax to gain a boost or even revert to its Ice Face Forme against a bulkier opponent with Max Hailstorm. See what a difference a single move can do for a Pokémon?
As Eiscue gets Endure and Reversal, you could even do a slightly gimmicky Reversal set:
Eiscue @ Salac Berry Ability: Ice Face EVs: 252 Atk / 252 SpD / 4 Spe Lonely Nature IVs: 0 HP / 0 Def – Belly Drum – Endure – Reversal – Icicle Crash / Zen Headbutt
After Belly Drum, Eiscue can use Endure to hold on at 1 HP, activating Salac Berry to increase its speed. There’s nothing like a 200-power Reversal coming off of a maximzed attack top rip through opposing teams. This strategy is prone to priority moves, but Max Mindstorm’s Psychic Terrain could save you.
For any strong sweeper, however, there will be Pokémon to counter it. There are some defensive Pokémon such as Aegislash who can take can still take a hit after Belly Drum. Eiscue’s teams members must take out its counters before Eiscue can effectively sweep.
Despite this, Belly Drum still single-handedly makes Eiscue a monster on the battlefield.
Time to Use Eiscue
To summarize it all, Eiscue’s Ice Face ability is an incredible ability that allows it to survive an extra hit and become extremely fast. While this alone isn’t bad at all, the addition of Belly Drum is a match made in heaven, making Eiscue one of the scariest sweepers around.
By now, you may be wondering where to get an Eiscue. Unfortunately, Eiscue is exclusive to Pokémon Shield, where it can be found with a 2% chance of encountering it in random-encounter spawns on Route 10 or at the Lake of Outrage while its snowing or during a snowstorm. Eiscue will also appear in Max Raid Battles.
Eiscue’s level up moveset is not the best as it learns predominately special moves. Luckily, the use of TMs, TRs, and Egg Move can solve this problem and grant it the give it the proper set-up and coverage moves.
If you’re planning to use Eiscue in competitive battling, be aware that Icicle Crash and Belly Drum, its most important moves, are both egg moves. Icicle Crash is trivial as it can be passed from Beartic. However, Belly Drum as of now can only be passed from the Galarian Darmanitan line, which is exclusive to Pokémon Sword. This means you’ll have to either have both games or receive Galarian Darmanitan from a trade. When Pokémon Home is released, Hoennian Linoone and Unovan Darmanitan will also become viable candidates for Belly Drum.
Even if you’re not into competitive battling, Eiscue’s Ice Face ability can be extremely useful in-game. So I encourage you not to be cold-hearted and instead get warmed up to your very own Eiscue!