Let’s kick some ice
The Ice-Type is great for glass-cannon Pokemon. While it has absolutely no resistances to anything but itself, Ice-Type Pokemon deal Super Effective damage against four different Types. While Fighting-Type Pokemon technically hit more weaknesses, Ice-Type monsters are effective against powerful threats like Dragon and Ground-Type Pokemon. Despite its lack of defensive capabilities, it’s easy to see why many trainers want Ice-Type Pokemon on their team.
Having said that… Ice-Type Pokemon are exceedingly awkward in Scarlet & Violet. The vast majority are bound to Glaseado Mountain, which you realistically won’t enter until the late game. This wouldn’t be so bad, but by the time you enter this area, you’ll have cleared most of the content Ice-Type Pokemon would have been good for. Even the Ground and Dragon-Type Titan Pokemon both feature secondary Types that make Ice-Types ineffective against them. This makes Ice-Type Pokemon relatively unfavorable for clearing the main story, especially since most are inexplicably slow and tanky despite the Ice-Type’s absolute lack of defenses.
That isn’t to say there aren’t any good Ice-Types in Scarlet & Violet. Excluding the extraordinarily fast and powerful Ice-Types you can find in the endgame, you can deal significant damage using the Pokemon below.
Baxcalibur is the signature Pseudo-Legendary Pokemon of Scarlet & Violet. Typically, a Pokemon that doesn’t fully evolve until level 54 would be unfavorable for clearing the story. However, since Ice-Type Pokemon are functionally bound for endgame use anyway, why settle for anything less?
This is just a beast of a Pokemon, even if it isn’t dealing Super-Effective damage. Its insane base attack allows it to deal devastating blows with moves like Ice Fang and Icicle Crash. It even has access to Ice Shard, which gives it a priority move to pick off weak Pokemon quickly. This is on top of its powerful Dragon-Type attacks, including its signature move Glaive Rush. Baxcalibur can wipe the floor with more than half the Pokemon you’ll see in the Elite Four, so strongly consider searching out a Frigibax when you get to Glaseado Mountain.
Cloyster seems like an awkward pick at first, but it has a few unique traits going for it in Scarlet & Violet. Shellder can be found before you step foot into Glaseado Mountain by exploring the sea around Paldea. More importantly, it requires a Water Stone to evolve. While Pokemon like Glaceon would theoretically be viable in the early game, finding an Ice Stone also requires exploring Glaseado Mountain. Meanwhile, you can buy a Water Stone at any Delibird Presents location once you’ve defeated three Gym Leaders.
You’ll want to find a Shellder or Cloyster with the Ability Skill Link. Skill Link guarantees any multi-hit move will always strike five times, which has insane synergy with Cloyster. Upon evolution, Cloyster will learn the move Icicle Spear, a multi-hit physical Ice-Type attack. Combined with Skill Link, this effectively gives Cloyster a 125 power STAB attack with very few drawbacks. You can also teach Cloyster Rock Blast to capitalize on Skill Link further, giving it a devastating Rock-Type attack as well. This ironically makes Cloyster incredibly effective against other Ice-Type Pokemon, since its Ice and Water Typing both resist Ice-Type Attacks.
Cloyster’s biggest problem is that it’s effective as an Ice-Type, but weak as a Water-Type. Ice-Type Pokemon are weak to Rock and Fire-Type attacks, two types you’d typically send out a Water-Type to fight. The Ice-Type already deals Super Effective damage to Ground-Types too, which makes Cloyster feel extraordinarily awkward. Just consider its Water Typing to be a defensive boon and plan for other options to deal with Rock and Fire-Type Pokemon.
As mentioned above, Glaceon is functionally locked off until you reach Glaseado Mountain. Even if you’ve been training an Eevee, there’s not a whole lot you can do without an Ice Stone.
Even with this consideration, Glaceon is still your best option if you want an Ice-Type that prioritizes Special Attack. While it does require a TM to learn Ice Beam, it at least has other options it can use naturally. It can even learn Freeze-Dry, an Ice-Type attack that deals Super-Effective damage to Water-Type Pokemon. Also, if you’re already on Glaseado Mountain, you’ll be able to encounter Glaceon in the wild. This may seem like a strange perk, but this means you’ll have an opportunity to catch a Glaceon with the Ice Tera-Type. This will benefit Glaceon much more than a Normal Tera-Type, which is what you’d most likely be stuck with by evolving an Eevee with an Ice Stone.
Frosmoth is the Ice-Type Pokemon you can obtain earliest in Scarlet & Violet. When you arrive in Cortondo, you’ll see an NPC who wants a Flabébé. If you trade one to him, you’ll get a Snom in return. Snom is… functionally useless when you get it. To evolve it, you’ll need to boost its friendship stat and level it up at night. This means you can potentially get Frosmoth before you fight the Grass-Type Gym Leader over in Artazon.
Unfortunately, this is a lot of work to fight an early-game Gym Leader that you can easily clear with whatever monsters you happen to pick up. Also, since Frosmoth is partially Bug-Type, it’s a liability against the Flying-Type Titan Pokemon that you’d want an Ice-Type for. It’s not all bad, of course. Frosmoth’s Special Attack is extraordinarily high for how early you can acquire it. It also learns Bug-Type attacks to give it some extra coverage and earn resistances to two-types you’d want to use Ice-Type Pokemon against. Take all these factors into account when deciding if you want to raise a Frosmoth.
Literally any Tera-Ice Pokemon
Look, it’s not that the Ice-Type Pokemon are bad in Scarlet & Violet. The game’s main story just doesn’t give them a chance to shine until the very end. Because of this, you might be better off just using any Pokemon you might run into that has an Ice-Tera Type. This will give you all the benefits of an Ice-Type attacker without the awkward downsides of when and where to use it. You also acquire Tera Blast by default after completing five gym challenges, which technically gives any Tera-Ice Pokemon a powerful Ice attack to use.
You can also consider grabbing a Rotom, which can acquire a partial Ice-Typing if you can snag the Rotom catalogue. Ice-Type Pokemon can work, just make sure you consider their practical strengths and weaknesses when building your team.