Froslass Safe Switch Guide
Graphic By: Mikeiff
Special Thanks: Everybody on the GO Stadium Meta Analyst team
— The Setup —
Pokémon GO PvP is sometimes described as Rock-Paper-Scissors (RPS). If you lead with Rock and your opponent leads with Paper, some might say that’s game over. Except, sometimes it isn’t. Safe Switching is a strategy that can help you reduce the RPS nature of lead calls, regain your footing, and climb your way back into the match. This month we are highlighting Froslass, the Ice Queen that is often in the conversation for the Safe Switch role whenever eligible for a Silph Cup format. Be sure you know what Froslass is capable of achieving on the switch, whether that be for using it yourself or protecting yourself from it being used against you. A number of other Pokémon are viable in the Safe Switch role this month but we chose to highlight Froslass, as it is the one you want to come prepared to handle as Froslass is currently one of the highest usage Pokémon in Vortex Cup (according to data on the Silph website).
Thanks as always to PvPoke for supporting simulations. Also if you love discussing Cup Metas, come join in on the daily discussion at GO Stadium and forge new friendships with people as passionate about Meta discussion as you. If any terms or abbreviations are unfamiliar to you, please read the section at the bottom of the post for an explanation.
— Featured Pokemon —
Froslass Powder Snow + Avalanche + Shadow Ball
Wins (All Even-Shield, Even Energy Scenarios)
Using straight Avalanche, Froslass typically beats all pictured Pokémon in the first row in all even shield scenarios. The only potential exception is Diggersby, which has an IV dependent 0S win with straight Fire Punch. To achieve this, Diggersby needs to have enough attack for a Mud Shot breakpoint. This is only achievable for non XL versions of Diggersby and only when facing Froslass that are not a high stat product. Froslass does need to be a bit weary of taking an Earthquake, which could cause it to lose to Diggersby but it can secure the win from even energy by matching shield for shield.
Situational Wins (Some Even-Shield Scenarios)
Froslass defeats Hypno in 1S with straight Shadow Ball, but has an IV dependent 0S matchup where Hypno could last long enough to land a Shadow Ball of its own. The 2S matchup comes down to Froslass trying to land a Shadow Ball and requires shield-baiting with Avalanche, and it particularly challenging against Shadow Hypno, which is why it that scenario is not shown on the graphic.
Froslass cleanly wins 0S and 1S against Zweilous. The 2S scenario is complicated and could be won by either side.
Froslass cleanly wins 0S and 1S against Mantine with straight Avalanche. The 2S matchup is a loss against Bubble Mantine that goes straight Bubble Beam, but Froslass does win against Wing Attack Mantine that tries the same.
Froslass defeats both shadow and non-shadow versions of Sealeo in 0S using straight Shadow Ball, but any other shield scenario depends on shield-baiting by either side if Sealeo is carrying Water Pulse.
Froslass defeats Pelipper in the 1S scenario, but 0S and 2S are more of a toss up and are more often won by Pelipper. This means Froslass can potentially defeat Pelipper but that might come at a shield disadvantage, but also Pelipper could elect to win the matchup by using two shields, which could produce a shield advantage for the Froslass user.
Froslass defeats Whiscash in the 0S scenario with straight Avalanche, but the 1S and 2S scenarios are more of a toss up. The 1S matchup depends on IVs but can be secured by a high stat product Froslass. The 2S matchup depends on Froslass landing a Shadow Ball, as Whiscash tends to win close in the 2S matchup against a Froslass that goes straight Avalanche.
Froslass defeats Dragonair in the 0S scenario, but is unlikely to win any other scenario. The 1S scenario is a CMP tie, but Dragonair typically has more attack that Froslass and will pull it off more often than not. However, if you have a higher attack Froslass you might be able to pull it off on players running a very high stat product Dragonair. The 2S matchup is almost always pulled off by Dragonair, though occasionally Froslass can win it if it happens to get a Powder Snow breakpoint.
Froslass defeats Primeape in the 0S scenario. It typically secures the 1S scenario with a Counter bulkpoint at 115.66 defense, although there is a 12.5% chance that Night Slash boosts and completely flips the win condition to a loss. Primeape secures the 2S win over Froslass thanks to Night Slash and enough Counter damage to take out the Ice Queen.
Froslass defeats Galvantula in 0S and 2S, although the 2S matchup could easily be flipped by a fast move sneaking in for the Spooder. Galvantula wins the 1S matchup with straight Discharge, due to being able to win CMP with its higher attack stat.
Froslass and Mandibuzz have a very complicated matchup. Snarl is a popular moveset combination and allows Mandibuzz to outspeed Froslass and win 0S. It is a fairly straight forward win with Foul Play but requires optimal move timing with Dark Pulse or Shadow Ball (which also involves finishing Froslass off with an Aerial Ace). The 1S scenario is incredibly close between Snarl Mandibuzz and Froslass, with Froslass often coming out on top against but can fall if Mandibuzz has a very high stat product (which may be uncommon due to the limited nature of getting Buzz) or if Froslass does not have a high stat product itself that puts it at risk, especially with Dark Pulse or Shadow Ball Mandibuzz. The 2S scenario is often won by Mandibuzz, but can be flipped by Froslass sneaking through a Powder Snow or if Mandibuzz is running Dark Pulse or Shadow Ball. Against Air Slash Mandibuzz, things are more straightforward as Froslass wins all even shield scenarios.
Against Dewgong, Froslass wins 0S and 1S using straight Shadow Ball, but drops the 2S matchup to Dewgong as Dewgong can comfortably use straight Icy Wind to secure it. However, this likely comes at a significant shield disadvantage for Dewgong which means that the matchup is heavily in Froslass' favour.
Froslass can take out Quagsire in the 2S scenario with straight Avalanche, although a high stat product Quagsire comes close to reaching a third and would be decisive Stone Edge.
Wins With Energy Advantage
With one Powder Snow of energy advantage:
Froslass can pick up 1S Dragonair and 1S Galvantula (no longer involved in a CMP tie)
Froslass now secures the 2S win against Snarl Mandibuzz, no longer being outpaced by Snarl + Foul Play. Froslass does need to watch out for Mandibuzz sneaking an extra Snarl through.
Froslass also gains bait-dependent 1S wins with Mew and Water Gun Lanturn. Note that Spark Lanturn is a bit more complicated as Spark Lanturn already needed to land Hydro Pump to win 0S or 1S with Froslass, but needs straight Thunderbolt to win 2S.
Froslass can also pick up 2S Wormadam Trash, which is an interesting one. It a bait-independent win with straight Avalanche, but requires a Powder Snow breakpoint at 123.21 attack. This breakpoint might not hold up against XL versions of Wormadam Trash, but those should be fairly uncommon at the current moment.
With two Powder Snow of energy advantage:
Froslass gains a bait-dependent 1S win against Lapras, one of its most potential counter switch answers. This remains a bad matchup for Froslass, but there is a potential path to victory or shield advantage to be gained here. This shows that Lapras is a solid answer to a Froslass safe switch but not a sure-fire one.
Froslass now has a bait-independent 1S with with Water Gun Lanturn.
Froslass can sometimes win against Spark Probopass in the 0S scenario, although Probopass can often secure this with a high stat product. The matchup is more easily flipped by Froslass that have a high attack stat.
Froslass now secures the 0S win against Mandibuzz.
Loses (Threats To Safe Switch, Even With Energy Advantage)
Ninetales is one of the hardest counters to Froslass in the meta, even able to secure the win at an 0-1 shield disadvantage. Froslass will be unable to flip this loss with an energy advantage.
Rock type fast moves are another way to deal with Froslass on the switch. Rock Throw Carracosta and Probopass are very hard counters to Froslass, due to their resistance to Ice they can take Shadow Ball comfortably. Carracosta should be able to farm Froslass all the way down, but Probopass' lower attack means it will need to either throw a charge move or inviest a shield to take Froslass out. Smack Down Crustle is a great counter to Froslass on the switch, although there is a small chance that Froslass can pull off a 1S win by landing a Shadow Ball. Crustle should pull off the win by shielding the first move, as Froslass is unlikely to get to the winning Shadow Ball due to taking chip damage which switching in, but as the Crustle user make sure you keep a good count in order to not get surprised by the Shadow Ball miraculously being reached. Crustle is able to take an Avalanche and secure the matchup.
Melmetal has comfortable wins in 0S and 1S, and typically wins 2S as well. However, Melmetal does have one strange losing condition in 2S which involves missing a Thunder Shock breakpoint. Were you excited during your Meltan box to get a Rank 1 Melmetal for GL? Be careful, because you need 121.74 attack to secure the needed brekpoint to defeat Froslass in 2S (although a little bit less should take out most Froslass outside of extremely defense weighted versions).
Froslass is always a threat as a Safe Switch whenever eligible, and Vortex Cup is no exception. Be sure you are packing an answer to it on your team of 6. The hardest answers include Ninetales, Probopass, Carracosta, and Crustle, while other Pokemon such as Lapras, Lanturn, and Wormadam Trash can do a solid job but do have a few loss conditions.
Outside of Froslass, there are lots of Pokemon to consider as a Safe Switch. Dragon is less resisted than ever with Fairy types banned, meaning that Zweilous, Dragonair, and Kingdra could all see play in this role. Mandibuzz is incredibly bulky and is one of the toughest Pokemon to hard counter in the meta. Whiscash, Diggersby, Quagsire, Pelipper, and Mantine all have broad coverage that you can use to threaten their would-be counters. Primeape puts up a big threat, even against its would be counters. Galvantula threatens just about anything outside of most of the ground and fire types. Ninetales could be packing either Overheat or Solar Beam, which can create a big threat to a lot of its potential counters. All of these are worth a look, so do your research on PvPoke before the tournament starts and read your opponent's team of six to figure out what Pokemon could fit in as your Safe Switch.