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In every game there is always something that gets a raw deal. While not every ability has to be as universally wonderful as Intimidate, Magic Guard, or Wonder Guard, some abilities are borderline worthless; some don't even have an in-battle effect at all! This is odd, because all these abilities would have great potential if they worked in a remotely logical fashion.
Anticipation is one of those "information" abilities that is functionally useless—it doesn't even give specific information, which might otherwise have been valuable in deciphering an opponent's set. The evasion boost is fairly token, but makes Substitute sets more difficult to address. In Toxicroak's case, it could mean a free Focus Punch or Swords Dance.
It's rarely useful to learn one of the opponent's moves, especially because the strongest move on a set is usually a STAB attack. Knowing Lucario has Close Combat or Salamence has Earthquake isn't particularly useful information. Knowing if Salamence has Dragon Dance or Scizor has Swords Dance is vastly more important. Granted, neither Hypno nor Jynx are top OU material, but Pokémon is a game of information and good information means better decisions.
Essentially Intimidate for accuracy. As much as people hate hax in battles, the ability to reduce the effectiveness of almost any sweeper is extremely valuable. Considering that both Starmie and Lanturn already have excellent abilities, the potential of this ability should be able to match them.
Or in other words, every attack used by these Pokémon has Swift accuracy. For the Flying-types this has marginal value, since Flying and Normal STABs are generally accurate, and most of them aren't great Heat Wave users. The biggest winner is Hitmonchan, who can get DynamicPunch from ADV tutors. While not as powerful as Machamp, it wouldn't have the drawbacks of No Guard (Hypnosis and Will-O-Wisp always hitting), and Hitmonchan can be given a Jolly nature and Choice Scarf and outspeed all other non-scarved leads. Lack of Payback for coverage is discouraging, but there's still Stone Edge.
Even though it lacks STAB, Sableye gets the same perfect accuracy DynamicPunch, and Will-O-Wisp to back it up. Considering Sableye also gets Foresight, it's not a bad combination to have. Noctowl picks up perfect accuracy Hypnosis and Air Slash. Not bad, but it's still, err, Noctowl.
In truth, since most of the Pick Up Pokémon are NFEs, this would be much more applicable to Little Cup than OU (or, since we're talking Linoone here, UU), but the long and short of it is that Belly Drum Linoone could use Natural Gift the way most other Pokémon use Hidden Power.
As limited as the distribution is, the ability to escape from trapping effects unconditionally would be a huge boon. Rapidash would still have to choose between this and Flash Fire, but the ability to escape Dugtrio would be very welcome. This is another ability that will see more use in Little Cup, where Diglett runs rampant.
The original intent of Stall seemed to be messing with attack priority; it's just they made it so bad even Sableye is wondering why Regigigas got it going first. Sableye is an odd duck, and this ability would be very interesting for one reason: Focus Punch. With a +6 priority message and a -3 priority execution, Focus Punch ends up being a +3 priority attack, and the only moves that could outprioritize it are psuedohazing moves and Avalanche (Sableye is immune to Revenge). This is decent enough for Sableye alone, but its true strength would be in doubles, where Trick Room would possess the highest priority and Fake Out would be slower than standard attacks (nevermind Protect, which drops to the bottom). Too bad Sableye doesn't get Trick Room itself.
Considering it's only given to two Pokémon, and Lucario has Inner Focus, Steadfast is pretty poor. The primary flinch abusers are Togekiss and Jirachi, and both of them can paralyze, so the Speed boost does little good. This upgraded Steadfast won't prevent flinch, but it will prevent damage, turning the tables on the Serene Grace abusers. Unreliable as it might be, it might turn Gyarados' Waterfall flinch hax against it as well.
It's basically a +1 Defense boost against most physical attacks, although sadly most Rock and Ground moves are excluded because they are physical, but not contact attacks. This gives Muk and Skuntank a lot more attacks to switch into, the most notable category being Fighting attacks.
Unlike Lightningrod, which has a few Ground-types that possess it, Storm Drain-s Pokémon don’t have an immunity to the type of attack they draw in. Gastrodon is notably neutral. Water already has two abilities with an Absorb effect, so in Game Freak style, a third Water "immunity" granting ability would probably be more akin to Motor Drive than Volt Absorb.
Let's be honest, Tangled Feet's low distribution and the fact confusion cannot be self-induced (at least not by any decent move these Pokémon get) makes the ability suspect to begin with, but why make it a 50/50 luckfest? You should at least be able to reliably exploit confusion's temporary duration; otherwise Own Tempo of all things is superior.
Some Pokémon would be better with new types, some with better stats, but some Pokémon just end up with mediocre abilities that prevent them from truly shining. Some abilities are meant to be limiting, like Truant and Slow Start, but that doesn't explain why Pokémon like Sableye and Pachirisu have two borderline worthless abilities. Lack of imagination on Game Freak's part may be partially responsible, but ultimately it comes down to their job being to make the game fun, not maximize competitiveness.
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