Introduction to Almost Any Ability

By asterat. Art by Arhops.
« Previous Article Home Next Article »


Almost Any Ability (often referred to AAA) is a popular Other Metagame based off a simple concept: Pokémon can forgo their game-given ability for almost any other ability of your choice. A short banlist is necessary (Kyurem-B, Slaking, Regigigas, Archeops, Simple, Contrary, Fur Coat, Huge Power, Pure Power, Speed Boost, Imposter, Shadow Tag, Arena Trap, Aerilate, Parental Bond, Wonder Guard, Prankster Smeargle, and Sturdy Shedinja) in order to keep the metagame stable. Despite these bans, Pokémon that naturally get the banned abilities are still allowed to use them (for example: Huge Power Azumarill is still legal). Recently, Protean and Keldeo were also added to the banlist as well. AAA also features an unbanlist, or a list of Uber Pokémon that are allowed. In AAA, it is legal to use Aegislash, Blaziken, Deoxys-D, Deoxys-S, Genesect, Mawilite, and Shaymin-S. With so few restrictions, this metagame is a hive of creativity and innovation. When you combine unique typings, movepools, and an ability of choice, some truly creative sets can be created. Some popular choices are Poison Heal Snorlax with Facade, Serene Grace Entei with Sacred Fire, and even Skarmory with Flash Fire! While these are popular, the sky's the limit and there is still a near endless number of sets to be discovered. Because of the unique way sets are constructed, AAA often allows lower tier Pokémon to shine; for example, Kyurem (a BL2 Pokémon) is a serious threat with its Sheer Force sets.

Sample Sets

While Almost Any Ability features tons of different sets, here are some common ones to help you get started or know what to expect in a battle. All of these sets feature a different ability, all of which are top tier threats in AAA. Remember that what is here is just the tip of the iceberg, so I fully encourage you to design sets of your own!


Braviary (M) @ Choice Band
Ability: Gale Wings
EVs: 80 HP / 252 Atk / 176 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Brave Bird
- Return
- U-turn
- Superpower

Braviary is a perfect example of a lower tier Pokémon that can really shine in AAA! One of the most powerful abilities around is Gale Wings, which Braviary can use like a champion. While many OU players may quickly assume that Staraptor is better, Braviary boasts much better bulk and slightly higher Attack. Staraptor is faster, but Gale Wings Pokémon usually spam Brave Bird or hit something with a coverage move on the switch anyway. In addition, Braivary's bulk lets it take a hit if necessary. Superpower is another shortcoming when compared to Staraptor, which has Close Combat, but it will rarely be used more than once per switch-in, as it is generally used to nail a switch-in like Bisharp. Here, the main move to use is Brave Bird, with Return being secondary STAB for annoying Electric-types such as Zapdos. U-Turn can be used to gain momentum when a counter is switched in. Superpower can nail a few Pokémon that are weak to it. A Choice Band allows for maximum revenge killing power, but all sorts of other sets are definitely options. With priority Brave Bird, Braviary is one of the biggest threats in AAA: so it is recommended to bring a counter to it to every battle.


Gengar @ Life Orb
Ability: Sheer Force
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Shadow Ball
- Sludge Wave
- Focus Blast
- Destiny Bond

You can't talk about offensive threats in AAA without mentioning Gengar. Sheer Force is notorious in OU due to Landorus, which has base 115 Special Attack and 101 Speed. Gengar has base 130 Special Attack and 110 Speed! In addition, Gengar has flawless coverage in only three moves, two of which are STAB, and all of which hit extremely hard. With the boosts from STAB, Sheer Force, and Life Orb, Gengar reaches a nearly unmatched level of power. Unfortunately, our ghastly friend suffers from the same flaw Gengar always has had: practically no defenses. This is why Destiny Bond is such an excellent move on Gengar: it makes directly attacking Gengar suicidal at times, which allows Gengar to play all sorts of mind games. There are other options for the last slot, such as Thunderbolt and Taunt. However, Thunderbolt has limited coverage, and Gengar has little bulk for taking the attacks forced by Taunt. Gengar is not without its flaws, but it is without rivals in destructive power. Treat Gengar as a threat, or else it will rip your team to shreds.


Mamoswine @ Life Orb
Ability: Adaptability
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Naughty Nature
- Earthquake
- Icicle Crash
- Ice Shard
- Freeze-Dry

Adaptability is often the go-to ability for offensive Pokémon for a good reason: it's an easy way to boost STAB attacks to ridiculous levels of power. Mamoswine is one of the best examples around because it has such an amazing dual STAB combo. Not much can switch into this with ease outside of Levitate Pokémon like Heatran. The set is fairly straightforward; it's simply all of Mamoswine's good STAB moves crammed onto one set. It might seem illogical to run Adaptability when Refrigerate is available, but Mamoswine really appreciates boosts to all of its moves instead of just to one (Double Edge over Icicle Crash is the only improvement). If you like Mamoswine and want to try out other options, Technician is also a cool set, using Icicle Spear to hope for extreme damage (the Ice Shard boost is also appreciated). Mamoswine forces a lot of switches, so it is nice to support it with entry hazards. If Levitating Pokémon prove to be a serious annoyance, Superpower is definitely a viable option over Freeze-Dry in order to hit them for heavy damage. Freeze-Dry can also be replaced with Stealth Rock if nothing else on your team carries it. Mamoswine does suffer from a lot of pretty common weaknesses, but if you can work around those, Mamoswine will almost always be a big threat to the opposing side.


Suicune @ Toxic Orb
Ability: Poison Heal
EVs: 220 HP / 252 Def / 36 SpD
Bold Nature
- Scald
- Calm Mind
- Protect
- Roar

With all of the dangerous offensive threats in AAA, creating a defensive team can be a daunting task. Don't worry, though, for there are tons of awesome defensive threats. One of the most well known is Suicune. Poison Heal is an amazing ability and particularly effective on bulky Pokémon that can really take advantage of the passive recovery and status immunity. Suicune is one of these bulky Pokémon and can be a notorious terror to teams that lack a way to dispose of it before it sets up. With Poison Heal and Protect, Suicune can recover a ridiculous amount of HP on a turn-by-turn basis. Scald is excellent for fishing for burns, and after enough boosts from Calm Mind, it actually does a lot of damage. Roar can be used to prevent setup wars or phazing from slower Pokémon like Skarmory. Roar Suicune is especially nightmarish to face when backed by Spikes. With this combination in place, offensive teams will crumble as they struggle to end Suicune's reign of terror over the battlefield, all the while getting worn down by Spikes and Scald burns. After Keldeo's ban, the usage of random Water Absorb Pokémon has come to a complete stop, making Suicune able to take control of the metagame (again).


Victini @ Choice Band
Ability: Tough Claws
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- V-create
- Bolt Strike
- U-turn
- Trick

With an amazing movepool and an incredibly powerful STAB V-create, Victini is a perfect canvas for designing AAA sets. While most sets focus around augmenting V-create, Victini definitely has potential as a special attacker (with No Guard, Inferno, and Thunder) or as a bulky pivot with Regenerator. This set is one of Victini's best, and one of the most consistent. Tough Claws is an excellent ability for many physical attackers, famous for use on Lucario and Haxorus in particular. Victini's edge is its access to V-create and even Bolt Strike. Trick is not really necessary, but it can prove to be useful on occasion to cripple a frustrating defensive opponent (Flash Fire Ferrothorn for example). Brick Break is sort of an alternative, but it's pretty lame in comparison to Victini's other high-power moves. If you really want to bring on the pain, using Victini on a sun team is a great option. Other abilities that function similarly include Tinted Lens and Drought, with Mold Breaker as a last resort to crush Flash Fire walls. While Victini is constantly competing with Blaziken and Entei, its superior movepool allows it to usually outshine them both and claim its title as top Fire-type of AAA.


Remember that while these sets are proven to be effective, they are by no means the only things that you can use. Often, the unexpected and original sets are the ones that are the most dangerous. If you are a very creative person who is constantly thinking of new ways to use Pokémon, this sandbox of a metagame is for you. If you want to get involved, make sure to check out the General Metagame Thread and the Viability Rankings. If you want to discuss the metagame live, check out the Other Metas room on Showdown!, where AAA tournaments are periodically hosted and the metagame is constantly discussed. AAA also has a permanent ladder, which makes it really easy to find matches.

« Previous Article Home Next Article »