AOTW: Snow Cloak and Sand Veil

Weather effects were an insane addition to the Pokémon franchise back in 2000 (1999 for Japanese players- jerks) with the release of Gold and Silver Versions. Weather conditions debuted with three possible effects as we took our first excursion through the Johto region: intense sunlight, sudden downpours, and damaging sandstorms. In generation three, hailstorms became a possibility, and we would find our paths obscured with fog in generation four. The most obvious uses for weather involved improving moves like Solar Beam and Thunder, but of course, Abilities that generated and took advantage of the weather were sure to follow. We already discussed Dry Skin a few weeks ago, and this week it’s a twofer! Get your Mamoswines and Garchomps out, because this is Ability of the Week: Snow Cloak AND Sand Veil!

Much like my debut article about Overgrow, Blaze and Torrent, (and should have included Swarm, as an astute reader pointed out) these two Abilities have precisely the same effect but apply to different types of monsters, so I’m grouping them in one edition of AOTW. The effect of these Abilities are that, when their corresponding weather condition is in effect (hailstorms for Snow Cloak and sandstorms for Sand Veil), the pokémon with the Ability will automatically gain 20% evasiveness bonus! Also, outside of battles, if the pokémon with the Ability is in the first party position and the corresponding weather condition is in effect, wild pokémon encounters will decrease by 50%. A fair amount of monsters can use these Abilities, some of the most noteworthy being Mamoswine, Glaceon, and Beartic (the polar bear from Black and White) for Snow Cloak, and Garchomp, Gliscor, Dugtrio, and Sandslash for Sand Veil.

On It’s Super Effective, we’ve beat it into the ground more than Hartigan did to Roark Jr. that Snow Cloak lends itself to a killer combo with Hail and Blizzard, yet Sand Veil, strangely, doesn’t seem to have been given that sort of treatment. In place of granting an accuracy bypass to a powerful move, as Hail does with Blizzard, Sandstorm’s primary function is to ruin your opponent’s strategies. Sandstorm halves the effectiveness of Synthesis, Moonlight and Morning Sun, and halves the damage dealt by Solarbeam. It also increases the Special Defense of Rock type pokémon by 50%, though there are no Rock types that can use Sand Veil, apart from the Golem line in the Dream World. Again, we’ve said time and again that the best use of Snow Cloak on the podcast is using Hail to increase your monster’s evasiveness as well as the accuracy of Blizzard. As for Sand Veil, I’d say that the monster that can benefit most from it is Garchomp. Already a powerful monster, Garchomp’s appearance is enough to fill many a trainer with dread. Now imagine a Garchomp you already have a decreased chance to hit. Yeah.

Froslass gets the drop on Pikachu thanks to Snow Cloak in the animeMaking your monster incredibly difficult to hit takes a little patience, but you can further ruin your opponent’s day by combining your Sand Veil or Snow Cloak bonus with Double Team, and you can reach the 60% evasiveness cap in five moves rather than six. The held items Smooth Rock and Icy Rock will increase the duration of your weather effect as well, so your Ability will stay in play even longer! I myself have been training a Mamoswine who is designed specifically to become as difficult to hit as possible, as quickly as possible, and to reach that end I’ve equipped her with a Bright Powder. Therefore, once Hail is activated on the first turn, she reaches 30% evasiveness, and can reach the 60% cap in only four turns. There’s probably many other ways to exploit these two Abilities that I haven’t thought of discussing, too!

That’s all I have for you this week, trainers. Hopefully you learned something, and whether you prefer to set the stage for Hoth or Tatooine, you’re now prepared to use those weather conditions to their maximum potential. Later, folks!