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Abilities are interesting things, confusing scientists and trainers alike in how they work and why they aren't better, respectively. While scientists have yet to fully understand why and how abilities work, and why certain Pokémon have abilities while others don't, one thing is clear: there are a few 'elite' abilities that are only given to a few Pokémon, and some that are only given to one Pokémon, and its evolution chain if necessary.
Our group of absolutely qualified and knowledgeable scientists will ponder the usage and application of these special abilities, giving their thoughts and conclusions to these questions, give or take.
Our panel will be Lady Salamence, Joeyboy, shade, and Superpowerdude, represented here by Salamence, Golduck, Totodile, and Zangoose, respectively.
Shedinja, the afterthought of Nincada's evolution, seems like it is the runt of the litter. With 1 Hit Point, even things like wild Rattata seem to have the edge over this weakling. Despite this, the sheer numbers of wild Shedinja seems to indicate that this is a species of Pokémon that is defying all odds. Shedinja owes its evolutionary success to its ability—Wonder Guard. Wonder Guard prevents the angelic Pokémon from being attacked in the wild, unless it is the recipient of a super effective move. This allows Shedinja to roam freely around grasslands and wastelands, where there are many Normal-type Pokémon that cannot even lay a scratch on it. It is easy to conclude that Shedinja would be highly endangered, or even extinct, if not for its ability.
There's only reason anyone would ever use Shedinja, and that reason is its radical little halo! I mean look at it, just hovering over its head, looking all angelic... What? Oh, sorry, folks, my editors are telling me that's not the reason why people use Shedinja. According to this paper I'm being handed, it's used because of its ability, Wonder Guard. It says here Wonder Guard makes it so that only super effective moves will damage Shedinja. That's way overpowered! Seriously, Game Freak, why would you make such an ability? Way to kill competitive Pokémon. Regardless, I'm sure we've rightfully banned it from any real competition... This is embarrassing; I'm being told I've got this wrong yet again. It appears that even with this overpowered-sounding ability, Shedinja has been a member of our NeverUsed tier for the past two generations. That is interesting, considering this is a Pokémon who essentially has twelve immunities; it should have free switch-ins galore! Oh, I see! Shedinja has a max HP of 1. Yes, that's not a typo; Shedinja can have no more than a single point of health. Plus, it looks like Wonder Guard doesn't save this Bug-type Pokémon from entry hazards, like Stealth Rock, and passive damage from weather like Sandstorm.
Shedinja is certainly a rarity in the Pokémon world, coming into existence through strange circumstances, having literally 1 HP, and owning a one-of-a-kind ablity in Wonder Guard. Wonder Guard nullifiess the damage of any type not super-effective against it, and with the typing of Bug/Ghost, a mere 5 types can damge Shedinja. Sadly, they're pretty common types—Rock- and Fire-types come to mind.
Shedinja certainly has problems, being immobile, hollow, and probably addicted to meth. Jokes aside, an immobile, empty shell isn't necessarily the most joyous Pokémon. You would think with wings, he would be mobile, but joke's on him: those aren't wings. That's his back torn out to let the real Pokémon, Ninjask, free. So having the ability to not be hurt by a majority of attacks in the game is probably its only positive in life. Oh, don't forget, status still kills him.
In battle, Shedinja's ability should—wait. Stop. Why are you using Shedinja? This is not Hackmons.
Shedinja is blessed with the greatest ability in the world of Pokémon. Any other Pokémon could only dream of having the Wonder Guard ability. This is because Wonder Guard gives Shedinja an immunity to every single move that can't hit it super effectively. Scientists are still not entirely sure how Shedinja does this. Attacks just seem to bounce off Shedinja's body unless they're super effective, entry hazards, or damage from weather effects like hail and sand.
Wonder Guard would be a godsend to any Pokémon (especially Sableye and Spiritomb, who carry no weaknesses) because it would give them a huge defensive buff, but unfortunately for Shedinja, due to it being just a lifeless carcass of a Ninjask, any super effective hit or residual damage from entry hazards and weather effects will knock it out immediately. So to sum this up, Wonder Guard is a very good ability, but on Shedinja all it does is save it from being the most hilariously weak Pokémon ever to exist.
Shedinja is also rumored to have another special ability, stating that any human that looks into the crevice on its back will lose their soul. However, this has myth has never been proven and I believe that the hole in Shedinja's back is only there because Nincada had to break out of its old skin when turning into Ninjask.
Zoroark is the Lucario of the generation; it was revealed early and mimics Lucario by being a bipedal animal. Where it really sets itself apart is in its ability. Zoroark's ability is Illusion, which allows Zoroark to change its appearance to anything it wants. I remember this one time when I went on this great date with this girl; she was super pretty and we had a great time. But as the night wore on, she kept letting out this weird evil cackle... Anyway, it turned out this girl was a Zoroark in disguise; I found that out the hard way when I went in for a goodnight kiss, and I got a Flamethrower to the face. Well, I've gone thoroughly off track and my editor is giving me a very evil look... Oh, no—what if he's a Zoroark too?! No, no, that'd be ridiculous. So, Zoroark uses its ability in battle to confuse and bamboozle the opposing Pokémon. Your opponent might send out a Fighting-type Pokémon like Hitmonlee out against your Psychic-type Alakazam. You laugh and command your genius Pokémon to use Psybeam, only for it not even effect the Hitmonlee, who in return uses a powerful Night Daze to knock out your 'kazam. What happened? The Hitmonlee was a crafty Zoroark in disguise! And just like that female Zoroark did to me, it lured you into a realm of false security and then pulled the rug from right under your feet. Seriously, I spent good money on that date. I could've at least gotten a kiss... There's that look again; I'm starting to believe the editor may well be a Zoroark. Maybe everyone on staff is...
The illusion master, Zoroark, is truly an enigma of the Pokémon world. Zoroark uses its illusions to hunt undetected amongst hordes of Patrat and Blitzle, two of the most difficult to hunt Pokémon in Unova. It does this by using its ability to disguise itself as one of the herd and slowly weeding out the weakest member from the inside, guaranteeing it a kill almost 100% of the time. However, there is a downside to Zoroark's master plan—unlike Ditto, Zoroark's transformation is merely an illusion, so a few keen-eyed Pokémon and trainers can spot this if they look closely enough. Zoroark is also unable to transform into Pokémon it has never seen before, meaning many young Zorua are sitting ducks for the region's more physically powerful predators. Once grown though, they become masters of illusion and very difficult Pokémon to catch or defeat.
As the others above me have mentioned, Zoroark has the ability to create accurate illusions that are almost impossible to distinguish from reality, if it wasn't for a few tricky cues. While Zoroark can make itself appear as a particular Pokémon, it cannot copy its moves or ability, so knowing this can help you determine whether you are facing a Pokémon (let's say Gyarados) or a Zoroark disguised as said Pokémon. First off, Gyarados's abilities are either Moxie or Intimidate, so if a Gyarados comes into a battle and Intimidate doesn't activate and neither does Moxie when it gets a KO, it would definitely be a Zoroark. Gyarados are also known to be strong physical attackers whereas Zoroark is not, so that would also help you determine whether a Zoroark is disguised as a Gyarados.
However, this ability isn't just useful in a battle. Zoroark are known to be very protective of other Zoroark and Zorua in their packs and will use their Illusion ability to disguise as other Pokémon to scare off predators and, if they are in big danger, use their Illusion ability to create an entirely different landscape!
Poor thing. Poster child of Gen V, yet special ability is just a dumbed-down Transform in the form of an ability. Sure, the illusions are extremely powerful, but it's not real, it just looks real, like Molk's badges.
Sure, it may sound like I'm bashing the ability and Zoroark, but in all honesty, it's an amazing ability. Oh, a Machamp challenging you? Run away, hide behind a rock, appear to be an Altaria or something, and scare the Machamp off. In battle, facing down a Keldeo? Well, you're a Gengar! You get the idea.
Without its Illusions, Zoroark is still pretty well off. It has a nice movepool supported by 120 Special Attack, and enough Speed to outspeed base-100s, and it's weak to only two types, one of which is pretty much unheard of. Plus, it's a scary Pokémon.
Man, I must be having a bad day for analyzing; I think this guy also has a pretty bad ability. Mummy, Co[redacted]rigus's (OK, I won't do that) only ability, is completely useless when dealing with Pokémon that don't make use of their ability. For those who do, they simply have to avoid hitting Cofagrigus with a direct attack, which transfers the Mummy ability to them. And for some reason, if you wanted Mummy back on your Cofagrigus, which, coincidentally, it never lost, you could use Skill Swap. Because that makes sense!
Apparently, Cofagrigus's special abilities go beyond ability stealing. A Pokédex entry for it (because those are never wrong) state it could eat nearby humans and when they died, turn those dead bodies into mummies. While that doesn't have use in battle, in nature, should humans ever come down to its tombs and crypts... Let's just say society would be glad to have those people off its hands, for the most part.
Cofagrigus without Mummy would probably be exactly the same as with Mummy. It might last if it's battling Breloom with Effect Spore or something with the ability as opposed to without, but all in all, the normal effects of this ability, not including eating people, don't give much to Cofagrigus.
Cofagrigus has to be one of the weirdest Pokémon out there; after all, it is a coffin with four arms. Its ability, Mummy, also suggests that it is under some sort of curse. Taking a closer look at a Cofagrigus, I noticed that it has two red eyes and a cheeky grin coming from inside the coffin. Because of this, I believe that there is a mummy inside the Cofargigus's body that passes on the "Mummy" curse to any Pokémon that makes contact with it. However, the curse is pretty harmless and doesn't do much in a battle aside from removing the attacking Pokémon's ability and replacing it with Mummy. The interesting thing is that Mummy keeps getting passed around whenever a Pokémon with it is attacked by a move that makes contact; this can easily make Mummy backfire, affecting some of your team members by replacing their abilities.
Without Mummy, Cofagrigus could quite possibly be better than it is now, since the ability overall isn't too effective, but perhaps Cofargrigus needs Mummy to survive. I believe that this ability is responsible for keeping the mummy in Cofagrigus alive so it can control the coffin's attacks and movement. Even then, Cursed Body still seems to fit Cofagrigus quite well as an ability and would provide greater utility by potentially disabling an opponent's move.
The mummy Pokémon, Cofagrigus, is a throwback to the Pokémon world before there were Pokémon trainers to capture wild Pokémon. Cofagrigus's ability comes from its lineage that links it back to the pharaohs of the ancient world. This ability changes an opposing Pokémon's ability to Mummy if the Pokémon makes contact with it. This allows Cofagrigus to stop many wild Pokémon that rely on their abilities to function at their peak. This ability works by passing on Cofagrigus's inner spirit to the attacking Pokémon, giving Cofagrigus some kind of loose control over it. It is likely that Cofagrigus is reliant on this inner spirit for any kind of sentience, as Cofagrigus cannot be found with any other abilities. It is also theorized that this ability is the reason Cofagrigus came back from the dead as a Ghost Pokémon, but it is not clear to what avail. Maybe Cofagrigus is planning to make every Pokémon in the world a mummy?
The mummy's curse! The old tale goes that Cerulean Jones, the famous PokéArchitect, discovered a labyrinth of mazes far beneath the Relic Castle. In those dusty tunnels he came upon the sarcophagus of the Pharoah Tutanpokamun. As he edged closer and closer to the golden tomb, he sensed that someone was watching him and then... BAM! It got him, and he was never heard from again. It's a story thats all too common when dealing with the Coffin Pokémon, Cofagrigus. Cofagrigus, and its pre-evolution Yamask, have the unique ability with the super unique and original name, Mummy. When a Pokémon uses a contact move on Cofagrigus, their own ability is replaced by Mummy. This aids Cofagrigus in its goal to mummify as many people and Pokémon as possible, because as the saying goes, "misery loves company", and Cofagrigus are miserable all the time. Rumor has it that each Cofagrigus is haunted by a soul who is not able to "move on". These ghosts become trapped in the golden tombs and have to find a replacement soul before theirs is able to leave. So Cofagrigus lure likely targets with gold and treasure before mummifying them! The new mummy then must play host to the coffin and the cycle repeats itself. Frankly, it's terrifying. The Pokémon's ability transforms a living creature into a mummy—do you know how they make mummies?! They pull their brains out through their noses! Their noses! I've got the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it. I for one think we'd all be better off if Cofagrigus had a different ability, something less horrifying and more battle-oriented.
Cherrim's ability, Flower Gift, is responsible for making it react unlike any other Pokémon when it is under bright sunlight. Its petals open up to help it absorb as much sunlight as possible. This is proven through its Pokédex entry that states "If it senses strong sunlight, it opens its folded petals to absorb the sun's rays with its whole body." Cherrim's Flower Gift is known to boost the Attack and Special Defense of all party Pokémon in sunlight. Scientists are still not sure how Cherrim does this, but some hypothesize that after absorbing the sunlight through its petals, Cherrim releases a special kind of chemical which turns the sunlight into an energy source that can be transmitted to other Pokémon telepathically; once this energy has entered another Pokémon, it begins to flow down to the muscles, strengthening them and thus boosting Attack. A lot of the energy stays at the mind to help absorb special attacks. While this theory does make perfect sense, it is often rejected because Cherrim has not been proven to possess psychic abilities.
This ability does seem pretty good in a battle where Ninetales can provide sun support via Drought, but unfortunately Cherrim would probably be dead weight on one of these teams due to Chlorophyll Pokémon being much better options for Drought abusers.
These little suckers are adorable! They're all shy most of the time, but get a little sunlight on them and they become the life of the party! Flower Gift is just that, a gift. When a Cherrim unveils its leaves in the sun, everyone around it benefits. The petals on its head contain very special chemicals that not only react within its own body but release themselves and take root in neighboring life. These chemicals are found nowhere else in the natural world and are considered by many to be the single strongest all-natural boost for your body. When this information became public, the news had rather unsettling consequences. The chemicals began showing up in Lemonades all over the Kanto region. It appeared that Team Rocket were harvesting the spores of Cherrim in their underground base in Celadon City and were distributing these "loosted Lemonades" all over the globe. Officer Jenny was quoted as saying, "It was a real sick business, the poor Cherrim were being milked like a bunch of Miltank." Officer Jenny—this appears to be a different Officer Jenny—man, that must get confusing—was also quoted in saying, "Boosted Lemonades give me the strength I need to catch criminals like these everyday!" What? Was she advertising for them? Anyway, even with this unique trait, Cherrim are infrequently found in real Pokémon competition due to the scarcity of its desired conditions. Also, its stats ain't good...
Such a cute Pokémon, but such a weird ability. Flower Gift, Cherrim's only ability, raises Cherrim's Attack and Special Defense stat by 50%, as well as Cherrim's teammates in Double Battles, but only in sunny weather.
I'm not sure what I can say about this combination, as it literally does nothing for it in the natural world—but who'd want to hurt such a cute Pokémon?! In battle, it sounds worthwhile, but it's not really worth a slot on your team for it, and another slot to set up sun.
In darkness, the flower Pokémon Cherrim is nothing to be frightened of. However, when the sun's rays are beaming down on this Pokémon, it transforms into a much more powerful version of itself. Cherrim's ability, Flower Gift, is the reason for this transformation. Flower Gift works due to the highly sensitive light sensors in Cherrim's outer body. Akin to rod and cone cells in the human body, these cells send rapid impulses to the central nervous system when excited. The result of this is clear: Cherrim becomes a much more powerful Pokémon after this has occurred. Many scientists believe that Cherrim's body allows for rapid muscle hypertrophy and atrophy, meaning that it can grow and shrink at will. In strong sunlight, Cherrim has the ability to constantly photosynthesize, so the energy for rapid hypertrophy will be there. In the absence of sun, however, it folds back into a bud and shrinks slightly to conserve its energy.
The Color Swap Pokémon Kecleon was a mystery to the Pokémon world for a very long time. When Professor Birch first discovered it, he had it classified as a Grass-type Pokémon. Not long after its discovery numerous science geeks—excuse me, professors—began arguing over its typing. Professor Oak said it was a Water-type, Professor Elm insisted it was a Rock-type—there hadn't been a bigger debate over a Pokémon's typing since the great Sudowoodo debacle. The professors agreed to disagree and began learning more and more about Kecleon, which is when they discovered its amazing ability. Its ability, Color Change, changes Kecleon's typing to whatever move it was last hit by. It was because of this that the professors had been finding numerous different Kecleon types out in the wild. For research purposes, Kecleon are considered a Normal-type, but thanks to Color Change, they've been able to adapt to many different environments. Ice-type Kecleon live in Snowy landscapes, while Fire-type Kecleon thrive in harsh volcanoes. Color Change also makes Kecleon a real nuisance in battle, as you must plan your moves carefully if you wish to hit it super effectively. The one downside is that Kecleon will rarely get boosts due to STAB, which means it will lose a lot of potential attacking power.
Despite, as per usual, having a subpar ability for battling, Kecleon has one of the most interesting abilities, being similar to only Ditto and Arceus in that its typing changes. According to my research, the only time the ability takes effect is when Kecleon takes direct damage—no Substitutes or anything. Status seems to fail as well.
In battle, Kecleon's defenses are... decent, but the opponent gets to pick the typing, unless its trainer can successfully use switching Pokémon around to their advantage. Out of battle, Kecleon has much more control over its ability, being able to change color at will, even becoming invisible. Sadly, its trademark zigzag across its belly is the end of it, as that does not turn invisible as well. Maybe he can hide in front of Charlie Brown.
Chameleons are mighty creatures sculpted by the Gods themselves. Kecleon, however, is a pretty terrible excuse for a chameleon. Relatively weak and with a less than desirable movepool, Kecleon is generally outclassed in any situation it finds itself in. In the wild, however, Kecleon is known for its main ability—trolling. Kecleon, using its ability Color Change, creates invisible walls which block unsuspecting trainers from passing. This is generally the only use for Color Change, so wild Kecleon simply use their ability to cause trouble for trainers wherever they go. Even when in battle, Kecleon is trolling you. After using an item to reveal the invisible wall to be a Kecleon, you might think Kecleon is a mighty beast that deserves a slot in your team. However, on capture, you realize that Kecleon is pretty mediocre and instantly discard it into your box. That is the true wonder of the ability Color Change. It gets Kecleon captured and allows it to live a safe life in Lanette's PC, rather than falling victim to predators that would have no trouble ripping this poor excuse for a chameleon limb from limb.
Kecleon is an amazing Pokémon in the way that it can adapt to different conditions very easily. Firstly Kecleon can change the color of its skin to help it camouflage with its surroundings. Speaking about its camouflaging technique, not all of Kecleon becomes completely invisible; there is a red zigzag pattern on a Kecleon's belly that is always visible. I believe that the zigzag pattern stays visible so older Kecleon can still have an eye on younger Kecleon even if they are being cheeky and turning invisible, so that they can protect them.
The ability also has an effect if the Kecleon is in a battle. Whenever Kecleon is hit with an attack, its skin senses the attack and changes Kecleon's type into the type of attack that hit it. This defense mechanism lets Kecleon more often than not resist the opposing Pokémon's attacks. Quite possibly due to its ability, Kecleon can also learn a large variety of move types for a Normal-type. By level-up, Kecleon learns a lot of Psychic, Dark, and Ghost moves, and the invention of TMs help Kecleon even further by boosting its different coverage options.
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