Ability Balance

Original Idea from Magma
Approved by Eevee General

Ability Balance

Welcome to Ability Balance! This pet mod aims to balance the metagame by tweaking--you guessed it--abilities. Everything from redistribution of viable abilities to a complete reworking of previously unviable abilities is considered in this pet mod. Changes in type, movepool, moves, and stats will not be addressed in this pet mod.

Now, labeling an ability as "unviable" is ambiguous; but thankfully, the good folks at PokemonShowdown have a creditable rating for each ability, so this project will loosely follow their rating system:
-2: Extremely detrimental (The sort of ability that relegates Pokemon with Uber-level BSTs into NU.)ex. Slow Start, Truant
-1: Detrimental (An ability that does more harm than good.)
ex. Defeatist, Normalize
0: Useless (An ability with no net effect on a Pokemon during a battle.)
ex. Pickup, Illuminate
1: Ineffective (An ability that has a minimal effect. Should never be chosen over any other ability.)
ex. Damp, Shell Armor
2: Situationally useful (An ability that can be useful in certain situations.)
ex. Blaze, Insomnia
3: Useful (An ability that is generally useful.)
ex. Volt Absorb, Iron Fist
4: Very useful (One of the most popular abilities. The difference between 3 and 4 can be ambiguous.)
ex. Technician, Protean
5: Essential (The sort of ability that defines metagames.)
ex. Drizzle, Shadow Tag

Analytic 1

Clear Body 2

Competitive 2

Cursed Body 2

Defiant 2

Friend Guard 0

Frisk 1.5

Gluttony 1.5

Harvest 2

Heavy Metal -1

Honey Gather 0

Inner Focus 1

Klutz 0

Light Metal 1

Limber 2

Liquid Ooze 1

Magma Armor 2

Minus 0

Overcoat 2

Pick Up 0

Pickpocket 1

Plus 0

Pressure 1.5

Shell Armor 1

Shield Dust 2

Sniper 1

Soundproof 2

Stall -1

Super Luck 1

Symbiosis 0

Telepathy 0

Unnerve 1

Victory Star 2

Water Veil 1.5


The "Useful" abilities are borderline. The main problem with these abilities is distribution and we have-been/will-be extremely cautious when upgrading their functionality:
Aftermath 3

Air Lock 3

Aroma Veil 3

Bulletproof 3

Cloud Nine 3

Early Bird 2.5

Filter 3

Flare Boost 3

Flash Fire 3

Flower Gift 3

Gooey 3

Guts 3

Heatproof 2.5

Hustle 3

Infiltrator 2.5

Iron Barbs 3

Iron Fist 3

Marvel Scale 3

Mega Launcher 3

Mold Breaker 3

Motor Drive 3

Quick Feet 3

Reckless 3

Refrigerate 3

Rock Head 3

Rough Skin 3

Scrappy 3

Solid Rock 3

Strong Jaw 3

Sturdy 3

Suction Cups 2.5

Synchronize 3

Thick Fat 3

Toxic Boost 3

Tough Claws 3

Unaware 3

Wonder Skin 3


*CLICK HERE* for a list of all of the revamped abilities so far. If you have an idea for any unviable ability that hasn't been revamped yet, please PM them to one of the Council Members. (DO NOT POST YOUR IDEAS HERE, AS THEY WILL BE DELETED.)

Here are the Council Members that have been, and will continue, working on Ability Balance

Until the metagame is coded feel free to discuss potential move sets, metagame shifts, new cores, and new strategies. Looking forward to seeing some great discussion on a cool metagame--happy posting!
 
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Valmanway

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is a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus
Anticipation - Ferrothorn will certainly be more annoying to face now, since Anticipation is now basically a defensive Download. Fighting a Mega Metagross? Get +1 Defense for free to take the Hammer Arm. How about Mega Gardevoir? +1 Special Defense to take the Focus Blast. I like Ferrothorn and all, but this just seems a bit evil.

Big Pecks - Mandibuzz would certainly appreciate this buff now that it basically acts like Unaware and ignores physical setup moves. Now Bisharp, Mega Scizor, Talonflame, Excadrill, Garchomp, Mega Gallade, and Gyarados have a much harder time breaking through Mandibuzz's defenses, and Foul Play will really go the extra mile for handling them.

Ice Body - I actually really like this one. It gives Hail teams a chance to do stuff thanks to removing their multiple weaknesses, so Avalugg in particular is actually looking pretty smexy right about now. That ridiculous physical bulk would do it so much good if it lost its weaknesses, and I wouldn't mind using it on a serious team.

Justified - lol What's Knock Off?

Toxic Boost - This is a pretty crazy sounding buff to Zangoose, but I certainly do like it. A free Choice Band AND Choice Scarf combined with Prankster Will-O-Wisp and Thunder Wave immunity already sounds too good to be true, but STAB Facade with great coverage moves in Close Combat, Knock Off, and Fire Punch to work with is just insane. Loving this.
 

EV

sksksksk
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  • When a Pokemon with Synchronize is cured, does it cure the enemy also?
  • Shed Skin = permanent Hydration. Sucks you lose all your boosts though.
  • Rivalry just made Haxorus an excellent Dragon check. It basically gets Gale Winged Dragon Claws to use against its brethren and doesn't care if they've setup Dragon Dance beforehand. Nidoking is also a decent check to some Ground and Poison-types with Ice Beam and Earth Power. Sadly it loses the power it had with Sheer Force.
  • Having Magician on your team is a nice deterrent to setup in the right conditions. Not sure what Klefki will be doing afterward, however. It probably still prefers Prankster.
  • Keen Eye Swift is cool but nothing's going to use it besides Noctowl (?). Aerial Ace is great for Braviary to have a recoil-less Brave Bird. Heck Skarmory might even forgo Sturdy for that as well. I could see Feint Attack on Drapion or even Sneasel. Losing the extra effect of Knock Off isn't too bad when you realize it has a 120 BP Dark STAB attack to spam with no repercussions. If only Hitmonchan learned Shadow Punch. :(
  • Illuminate makes Blizzard, Thunder, and Hydro Pump spam a thing for Starmie, which is slick. Chandelure likes it for Fire Blast.
 
I'm not sure about Pressure at 1.5 rating. Speaking from experience in UU, it's a big part of the power of Suicune that allows it to stall out its would-be counters. While most pokemon with Pressure really can't make much use of it, those that actually use PP stalling as a tactic get a lot of value out of it.

Nidoqueen giving up Sheer Force seems kinda cruel, since her movepool is basically screaming for Sheer Force with all those high damage +10% status chance moves. Still, I get the idea; the King and Queen are too similar and anything to differentiate them is welcome.

Zapdos with lightning rod sounds scary. New Static looks even scarier, glad Zapdos doesn't have it.

Synchronize affects the frozen condition - nice. It's just mean that this ability normally doesn't retaliate against the nastiest status ailment of them all.

Tangled Feet looks interesting, but could you clarify whether it's a random switch (like roar) or a controlled switch (like u-turn)?
 
I'm not sure about Pressure at 1.5 rating. Speaking from experience in UU, it's a big part of the power of Suicune that allows it to stall out its would-be counters. While most pokemon with Pressure really can't make much use of it, those that actually use PP stalling as a tactic get a lot of value out of it.
The primary intention is to redistribute Pressure, maybe upgrade it slightly. The main issue with Pressure is, indeed, most of the current users have no use for it.

Tangled Feet looks interesting, but could you clarify whether it's a random switch (like roar) or a controlled switch (like u-turn)?
Controlled switch.

  • When a Pokemon with Synchronize is cured, does it cure the enemy also?
Nope.
  • Keen Eye Swift is cool but nothing's going to use it besides Noctowl (?). Aerial Ace is great for Braviary to have a recoil-less Brave Bird. Heck Skarmory might even forgo Sturdy for that as well. I could see Feint Attack on Drapion or even Sneasel. Losing the extra effect of Knock Off isn't too bad when you realize it has a 120 BP Dark STAB attack to spam with no repercussions. If only Hitmonchan learned Shadow Punch. :(
Don't forget Female Meowstic have an actual niche! (Magical Leaf Keen Eye) Sort of! It also gets Shockwave, so it's not a one-dimensional boost.

Anticipation - Ferrothorn will certainly be more annoying to face now, since Anticipation is now basically a defensive Download. Fighting a Mega Metagross? Get +1 Defense for free to take the Hammer Arm. How about Mega Gardevoir? +1 Special Defense to take the Focus Blast. I like Ferrothorn and all, but this just seems a bit evil.
I do sometimes wonder if most Ferrothorn will stick to Iron Barbs, though. But yeah, it's a nifty combo.
 
Synchronize - Really dangerous in the hands of RestTalkers, because they can recover all their HP and status while neutralizing the opponent. Question: would this bypass Sleep Clause? If so, this is crazy.

Zen Mode: Not so useful, since Darmanitan would have to go mixed AND run Rest, limiting coverage severely.
 
So Regigigas has an option to lose Slow Start in exchange for basically Normal type -ate? Wow. It can't hit Ghosts, but it can Thunder Wave Ground types now. Cool

Anticipation adjust defenses according to foe's attacking stats. It'll be hard to kill the poke with this ability.

Instantly sets two layers of Toxic Spikes is really good considering that poke doesn't waste momentum. I think it can be good for destroying Stall teams.

Forewarn basically says "fuk you Choice Specs/Scarf/Band users that rely on STAB." This will be very useful, especially against Latios, Keldeo, Smogonburd.
 
Synchronize - Really dangerous in the hands of RestTalkers, because they can recover all their HP and status while neutralizing the opponent. Question: would this bypass Sleep Clause? If so, this is crazy.
The Pad said:
Synchronize (Synchro)

When the Pokémon becomes Poisoned, Paralyzed, Frozen, Confused, Burned or falls Asleep, so does the opponent who inflicted the status.
That's not how Synchronize works at all. In fact, in Standard something like a Flame Orb won't trigger Synchronize either -it must be an effect inflicted by another Pokemon to trigger Synchronize. The only advantage a Synchronize Rest Talker has is that they'll have Sleep Talk anyway and thus won't be completely disabled by Spore.

Zen Mode: Not so useful, since Darmanitan would have to go mixed AND run Rest, limiting coverage severely.
Alternatively, you can not run mixed and simply focus on Zen Mode Darmanitan. Rest only requires a little bit of damage to legally trigger, and of course hazards are popular. Not only that, but Darmanitan becomes an excellent Sleep absorber, since it remains a fully functional Pokemon while asleep and yet Sleep Clause prevents the opponent from putting any of your other Pokemon to Sleep, allowing you to skip the Rest turn and go straight to Zen Mode on the switch-in, turning a Spore from the enemy into a turn to your advantage.

Sheer Force Darmanitan will probably remain the default -it's a fantastic jackhammer- but Zen Mode is plenty nice for its own niches.
 
Hey, so I'm working on code. I'll edit this when I'm done and you guys can go bug hunting because I'm bad.
EDIT #.5: I'm not done yet, but I have some questions:
  1. Does Magician only steal Snatchable moves? If not, should it, since it's basically Snatch: The Ability?
  2. Does Swarm have a correlating boost to the starters' Abilities?
  3. Will there be Grassy and Misty Terrain summoning Abilities?
  4. I think Leaf Guard should get buffed to be the Sun version of Sand Veil and Snow Cloak, as those two are strictly superior right now.
  5. I also think that Shed Skin has been nerfed. One of its best uses was dispelling status while setting up Coils or Dragon Dances, but now those are removed with it.
 
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ZANGOOSE THE META

honedge definitely sounds great, countering bisharp, m-gallade checking t-tar....rip in piece knock off
empoleon sounds great with hail support, basically having filter while being immune to hail and still walling a good portion of the meta
base hoopas actually kinda usable now, huzzah!
good luck dealing with infernape? m-bro on every team basically
chansey/blissey are so annoying now holy shit
aromatisse sounds like a crazy cool wall now, with some support to deal with poison types i can definitely see it being improved

cool meta tho :toast:
 
Honestly the shed skin change is pretty cruel, cause pretty much all shed skinners dont really have the stats to tank apart from scrafty, and pretty much need their stat ups in order to get something going.
For balance wise thinking its really damn drastic

Lightning rod is also bit questionable; the old effect had global effect on all the moves due of just getting plain old +1, if the current version only effects the electrict moves like it seems to imply, well, thats a bit of a nerf and kills any seaking's special attempts.
Same goes for storm drain as the plants really do not really have water moves and would've just preferred the old +1, granted the bugger does enjoy psudeo stab aqua jet, but still.


Tho I do admit that some of these ability changes are quite intresting, I personally like Vital Spirit's no recharge as it gives giga impact & hyper beam some viability use, bulk up eviolite vigoroth ahoy.
 
good luck dealing with infernape? m-bro on every team basically
Keep in mind a crit is just a 50% damage increase and the good punching moves are 75 BP. After a crit Fire Punch is almost as strong as a non-crit Flare Blitz, but not actually as strong. It's a great way of punching right through Cosmic Power gimmicks and the like though.

chansey/blissey are so annoying now holy shit
A lot of them will still run Nature Cure, in all probability, but a weak automatic Wish is pretty amazing off them yeah. (The Pad is currently slightly misleading -the healing occurs at the end of the turn)

cool meta tho :toast:
Glad to hear it!

Honestly the shed skin change is pretty cruel, cause pretty much all shed skinners dont really have the stats to tank apart from scrafty, and pretty much need their stat ups in order to get something going.
For balance wise thinking its really damn drastic
Honestly, none of the existing Shed Skinners have the bulk to do stuff like Coil up like crazy while Shed Skin hurries you through Rest. (Especially since only Arbok and Seviper get Coil) Being a perfect status absorber and able to use Rest as a free full heal is considerably more useful to all but Scrafty out of the existing Pokemon -Dragonair and maybe Pupitar admittedly being the main potentially OU-relevant ones, to be fair, but even so.

Tho I do admit that some of these ability changes are quite intresting, I personally like Vital Spirit's no recharge as it gives giga impact & hyper beam some viability use, bulk up eviolite vigoroth ahoy.
You can even use Giga Impact/Hyper Beam as (slightly iffy) coverage on the likes of Magmortar with it.
 
i thought cc was a punching move for some reason haha
but a mach punch that always crits would be cool. fire punch would still do less than flare blitz, but it has no downside and i dont think it misses any notable KOs
Lol yeah, I was worried that this may be over-powered. We may have to add an Assault Vest-like clause that limits poisoned Toxic Boost users to attacking moves only. (That way Zangoose can only use a Swords Dance on the first turn of the battle or right after a teammate has fainted... I think.)
imo that really wouldnt help balance it? really the only way you can kill it now is with a scarfer with 91+ speed (like lando-t or keldeo or something) or walling it with honedge. the big thing holding goose back was its low speed and now it just...offense is gonna be a lot more priority/scarfer reliant to handle this. maybe make it so toxic damage does twice as much as it normally would while still doing as much? it puts you on a clock like nothing else, but i mean....yeah haha itd be super broke tho due to minimal downsides

some things i missed my first time around:
blissey cant be taunted if it runs aroma veil, which makes it great v. things like gengar
thunder m-amphy y/y
roserade seems like it could have a really chill defensive set, despite having competition from other bulky grasses like ferro or chesnaught, as t-spikes really help with balance versus balance wars
dodrio/tyrantrum/emboar essentially now have really strong u-turns; prepare
 
It's a shame Heatproof still isn't that good, and has no redistribution. I'd still see most Bronzong running Levitate over Heatproof.
Hyper Cutter seems like a more limited Super Luck, but it's better than its previous effect.
Run Away's new effect helps Hoopa a lot.
Vital Spirit Eviolite Vigoroth with Giga Impact seems pretty OP if this meta was PU-based.

Anyway, I really like the idea of this Pet Mod. Hope it is coded soon! :]

EDIT: No Pickup effect change?
 
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Hyper Cutter seems like a more limited Super Luck, but it's better than its previous effect.
The previous description was inadequate and misleading: Hyper Cutter increases the critical hit stages by 2 for contact moves, ensuring a minimum 50% crit rate, 100% if holding a Scope Lens or using an increased critical hit ratio move. (Such as Crabhammer) The pad has been corrected.
 
Ctrl-F "Aura Break" gives no results. Why isn't Aura Break on the list? Based on Zygarde's current competitive status, it is a useless ability (unless used in Ubers, but who'd want to do that?). I think Aura Break should be edited to "reverses the effect of most foes' abilities." So, for example, Iron Barbs will heal the user if using a contact move, Intimidate will raise its Attack one stage, and Huge/Pure Power will halve the opponent's Attack. Abilities that have no clear opposite to their effect, such as Drizzle or Protean, are unaffected. What do you think?
 
Ctrl-F "Aura Break" gives no results. Why isn't Aura Break on the list? Based on Zygarde's current competitive status, it is a useless ability (unless used in Ubers, but who'd want to do that?). I think Aura Break should be edited to "reverses the effect of most foes' abilities." So, for example, Iron Barbs will heal the user if using a contact move, Intimidate will raise its Attack one stage, and Huge/Pure Power will halve the opponent's Attack. Abilities that have no clear opposite to their effect, such as Drizzle or Protean, are unaffected. What do you think?
reversing almost all abilities seems kinda busted tbh. im not on the council or anything, but many an ability that reverses opponents abilities that have multipliers could work? like, tough claws or -ates have a .67 damage multiplier over a 1.33 one. reversing ALL abilities just makes so many mons deadweight and makes zy seem kinda busted
 
Ctrl-F "Aura Break" gives no results. Why isn't Aura Break on the list? Based on Zygarde's current competitive status, it is a useless ability (unless used in Ubers, but who'd want to do that?). I think Aura Break should be edited to "reverses the effect of most foes' abilities." So, for example, Iron Barbs will heal the user if using a contact move, Intimidate will raise its Attack one stage, and Huge/Pure Power will halve the opponent's Attack. Abilities that have no clear opposite to their effect, such as Drizzle or Protean, are unaffected. What do you think?
Not sure why it's in not in the OP, now that you mention it. Hopefully Sun King will edit it in when he has time.

While making Aura Break reverse everything is an obvious "fix", it's also kinda ridiculous and it raises weird, tricky questions. (Does Arena Trap now trap the user?) Not only that, but it would be an enormous pain to code compared to most possibilities. While the council will probably do something with Aura Break at some point (Keeping in mind Zygarde is still an OK Pokemon, and the point of this meta is to balance the meta through Abilities, not to balance Abilities against each other per se), I don't see that particular scenario occurring. (You're also supposed to submit ideas via PM to me, The Reptile, or Sun King)
 
I'm not entirely sure I understand the changes to Lightning Rod and Storm Drain - looking at them all I could think is that they were nerfed, before they raised special attack one stage and now they raise one particular type one stage...? There's not even any Lightning Rod users who'd use physical electric moves or Storm Drain users who'd use physical water moves, so I'm just completely dumbfounded by the change.
 

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