Top 10 best Pokémon Abilities, ranked

These Pokemon Abilities will give you an edge

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When building a Pokemon team, players need to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each creature. Though many trainers may want to focus on a monster’s move pool, it’s important to consider Abilities as well.

Abilities provide passive effects during battles. These include a wide range of benefits, from boosting certain moves to making your monster immune to attacks. Some Abilities will work outside of battles as well, such as Pickup. When catching or breeding Pokemon, players should look out for the following Abilities, as they are some of the best in the franchise.

Screenshot by Destructoid.

10. Guts

Status ailments really weaken your Pokemon. On one hand, conditions like Poison and Burn will slowly chip away your Pokemon’s HP. Meanwhile, Freeze and Paralysis can prevent a Pokemon from making a move when its turn has come.

Fortunately, the Guts ability may turn these lemons into lemonade. Pokemon with Guts receive a 50% boost to their Attack stat if they are struck with a status ailment. Additionally, Guts ignores the stat loss normally inflicted by Burn. Many Pokemon have access to this Ability, including Luxray, Ursaluna, Heracross, and Throh.

Screenshot by Destructoid.

9. Good as Gold

Meanwhile, if you want something stronger than Guts for countering status ailments, perhaps you’d prefer ignoring them entirely.

Gholdengo’s Signature Ability Good as Gold gives it immunity from all status ailments. A fitting name, considering the Pokemon consists entirely of gold coins. This Ability, combined with moves like Make it Rain, makes Gholdengo one of the hardest opponents to overcome in Generation 9.

Screenshot by Destructoid.

8. Protean/Libero

Pokemon live or die by their typing. Not only does a Pokemon Type determine a monster’s weaknesses, it also decides whether or not a move receives a Same-Type Attack Bonus (STAB). Protean lets you flip this dynamic on its head.

A Pokemon with the Ability Protean will change its Type to match the move being used. Since the Ability triggers before a Pokemon uses a move, you’re guaranteed a STAB-boosted attack. That said, Protean will only trigger once per switch-in in Generation 9, so plan your moves carefully.

Libero works the same way, though the Ability is only available to Cinderace’s evolutionary line.

Screenshot by Destructoid.

7. Shed Skin

Shed Skin grants a Pokemon a one-in-three chance of being cured of its status ailment. Best of all, the Ability cures the Pokemon before the status ailment even takes effect.

Quite a few Pokemon have the Shed Skin Ability, and it makes sense for most of them. For example, Arbok, Sandaconda, and Seviper are snake Pokemon, so it naturally they would be able to shed their skin if they needed to.

Screenshot by Destructoid.

6. Commander

Commander is available exclusively to Tatsugiri, and it truly shines in Doubles Battles.

When it appears on the battlefield along with Dondozo, the Commander Ability will activate. Afterwards, Tatsugiri will jump into Dondozo’s mouth, causing Dondozo’s Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed stats to raise by two stages. This turns Dondozo into a near-unstoppable monster. The downside is that Tatsugiri cannot be used while it is in Dondozo’s mouth, turning Doubles Battle into a 2v1 match-up.

Screenshot by Destructoid.

5. Toxic Debris

If you play Singles battles in Pokemon, you’ll see many entry hazard moves like Toxic Spikes or Stealth Rock. When used, enemy Pokemon will take damage or suffer from a status ailment when they enter the battlefield. Entry hazards also make it hard to switch Pokemon out, so they’re an easy way to put pressure on an opponent.

To this end, Glimmora’s signature ability Toxic Debris is amazing. This Ability causes Toxic Spikes to scatter on the opponent’s side of the field if hit by a physical move, putting your opponent on the back foot immediately.

Screenshot by Destructoid.

4. Speed Boost

Speed is very important in Pokemon, as it decides the rhythm of a battle. A high speed stat raises the likelihood of acting first in battle, letting you take out an enemy before it can act. A fast Pokemon with high attack stats will likely sweep an entire enemy team.

Speed Boost is a powerful Ability, as it raises the Pokemon’s Speed stat by one stage at the end of every turn. It has turned Pokemon like Blaziken, Espathra, and Sharpedo into deadly creatures that must be stopped as soon as possible.

Screenshot by Destructoid.

3. Sand Stream

During a Sandstorm, 1/16th of all Pokemon’s HP will be cut down at the end of each turn, unless the Pokemon is a Ground-type, Rock-type, or Steel-type. It also raises the Special Defense of all Rock-type Pokemon by 50%.

With the Sand Stream Ability, a Sandstorm kicks up as soon as the Pokemon enters the battlefield. Notable Pokemon with this ability include Tyranitar, Hippowdon, and Gigalith.

Screenshot by Destructoid.

2. Pure Power/Huge Power

Raising a Pokemon’s stats ensures it hits harder, faster, or can take more hits. With Pure Power, a Pokemon’s Attack stat doubles. Combine this ability with a stat-boosting move like Swords Dance, and you can see how this Ability can become very dangerous.

Medicham is the sole user of Pure Power. Pokemon like Azumarill may learn Huge Power, which gives the same attack boost that Pure Power does.

Screenshot by Destructoid.

1. Intimidate

Intimidate lowers an opponent’s Attack stat by one stage when the user enters the battlefield. This is a great way to ensure that the Pokemon begins its turn with a leg up, which is why it has been so commonly used in competitive battles for many generations. In Pokemon Generation 9, many players use a Clear Amulet to protect themselves against the sheer threat of Intimidate.

Many Pokemon can learn up to three different Abilities, so you’ll want to figure out which Abilities your opponent will bring. If you prioritize Abilities that work well with the rest of your team, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a strong Pokemon Trainer.


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Smangaliso Simelane
Staff Writer - Smangaliso Simelane is a writer with a passion for all things related to video games. He has been writing about video games since 2020.