Underwhelming Fifth Generation Abilities

By Flora. Art by Nastyjungle.
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Let's say that you're traveling throughout the wilderness of Unova. You are met with the almighty trash Pokemon known as Garbodor. You catch it with your only Pokeball (that happens to be your Master Ball, mind you) and rush to your Party menu to find out what ability it could have. You see... くだけるよろい, which is Breakable Armor. Very new and sounds cool, but what does it do? You can't read the Japanese gibberish on your Japanese Black cartridge so you get on Smogon and read from Uncharted Territory's Research Thread, "Breakable Armor lowers Defense but raises Speed one stage when hit by a physical move. It activates for every hit of a multi-hit move." You think, "Hey, sounds awesome!" Then you look up Garbodor's stats and movepool from Serebii and... let's just say you threw up at the trash can, big time. How in the world is +1 Speed ever going to help this piece of poison trash? Sweep with Gunk Shot? Have fun when every single Steel-type in the game walls Garbodor's face! Oh and looky, Garbodor's Defense has dropped so almost any physical attack will utterly destroy it now when it can barely dish out any damage! What, you want to activate Breakable Armor so that Garbodor can get off several layers of entry hazards? Why not just use Forretress, Tentacruel, Ferrothorn, Skarmory, you name it. This, my friend, is terrible game planning at its finest.

Abilities are very important in the game of Pokemon. In three words, they change everything. But, they change only if the owner of the ability has the capabilities of effectively using that ability. Why is it that Excadrill is so good? Its Sand Rush ability lets it outspeed basically everything! That, combined with 135 Attack, Steel typing, Swords Dance, and a just good enough attacking movepool, makes it a top-tier threat. How did Espeon, a NU, become fairly popular in this new generation? Its new ability, Magic Mirror, of course! It even has the special bulk and Speed to pull it off neatly. To succeed with a given ability, the Pokemon must have excellent synergy with it. "So what about Palkia? Ho-Oh? Mewtwo? Their abilities suck balls!" Simply put, they're Ubers for different reasons. Their stats, typing, and movepool proved them Uber, not their abilities. Back on-topic, we're here today because Game Freak wasn't so kind in Generation 5 to a select few Pokemon. Why is that? They created abilities equivalent of trash in certain ways, such as stuffing an ability on the wrong Pokemon or making an ability having a terrible effect. Well, some may not be exactly trash worthy in your opinion, but you should still get the idea. Now, if you're ready, I'd like to bring your attention to the following six abilities that I think could use some polishing:


If the Pokemon attacks last, then its damage output increases by x1.3.

This is essentially a Life Orb boost without the recoil, with the exception that the Pokemon must attack last, which is very hindering. As such, this ability looks great on slow, bulky attackers. The ability does NOT take effect when the foe switches, which devalues this ability by a huge mile.

What Pokemon did Game Freak give the ability to?

Beheeyem, Watchog, Porygon-Z, Magnezone, and Starmie. Sadly, most of the Pokemon that got this ability aren't exactly the type to abuse this ability. Starmie, Magnezone, Porygon-Z all have better abilities to be using, and two of them aren't even that slow while also being somewhat fragile. Watchog can't really use this ability as it's weak as hell and needs its Speed to do anything useful.

Beheeyem is the best available candidate for this ability, but it's honestly still not that great of a Pokemon. Lack of resistances and only decent defenses really shut this Pokemon down. All types of status will greatly hinder Beheeyem, even paralysis if only for the chance to be fully paralyzed. It does have access to Recover to make up for this, however. At the end, Oobemu will still be in the shadow of its brother, Reuniclus, which boasts better defenses, lower Speed, and the arguably better ability in Magic Guard. Beheeyem's best potential set with this ability would probably look something like this:

Beheeyem @ Life Orb
Nature: Quiet
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
- Psychic
- Hidden Power Fighting
- Substitute / Shadow Ball
- Recover / Shadow Ball

Beheeyem is actually not too shabby with this set if, and only if, it can get some hits off considering its typing and bulk. It's terrible that it needs to use Substitute to even take advantage of the ability, as with Life Orb, its health will be zooping downward like a crashing waterfall. Still, it's actually interesting. Here are some damage calculations if you can get the set to work:

- 84.91% - 100% to neutral nature Garchomp
- 81.99% - 96.46% to neutral nature Volcarona

Hidden Power Fighting
- 66.33% - 78.21% to Careful 252 HP / 252 SpD Tyranitar
- 92.63% - 109.2% to neutral nature Hydreigon

Shadow Ball
- 85.37% - 100.47% to neutral nature 252 HP Reuniclus
- 94.37% - 111.25% to neutral nature 252 HP / 4 SpD Cofagrigus


A slight boost to x1.5 would be welcomed, though not necessary. Huge Power and Pure Power are still overshadowing this ability any day so it doesn't really hurt if that were to happen. Not like Azumarill and Medicham are storming the metagame though. The biggest change that I'd love to see is the ability taking effect when the foe switches. That way, you don't have to waste a slot for Substitute, and the ability finally starts working frequently!

Suggested Pokemon

Escavalier @ Life Orb
Nature: Brave
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
- Megahorn
- Iron Head
- Double-Edge
- Reversal / Pursuit / Swords Dance

Escavalier's base 20 Speed, great base 105 defenses, and a huge base 135 Attack stat would allow it to happily take advantage of Analyze. Its abilities—Shell Armor, Swarm, and Dustproof—aren't particularly that useful (Shell Armor is just a filler ability really) so Analyze would help it a lot. Without an item, it gets 526 Attack; Life Orb, 684 Attack; and Choice Band, 789 Attack. And this is all without a single Swords Dance! The problem is, low Speed is low no matter how you put it. Low Speed means easy to revenge kill and take advantage of. Chandelure will happily switch in on any day of the week, dual resist Megahorn, and toast the cavalry bug with any Fire attack, so you will have to be very wary! However, the low Speed can still be a blessing if you can remove Fire-type attacks from the opposition. You can easily stuff in Politoed to ease the Fire weakness with Drizzle, so it's all good. For instance, Modest Choice Scarf Magnezone's Hidden Power Fire does 61.62% - 73.25% to max HP Escavalier in the rain, which gives Reversal 80 Base Power. That means, dead Magnezone should you select Reversal in that situation. In terms of Speed, even Bronzong, the Pokemon we all know that is as slow as a turtle, is faster than this soldier. Now that's nuts!

Unfortunately for our little knight, it will be walled by virtually every Steel-type that isn't neutrally hit by Megahorn or Iron Head. This means Heatran, Magnezone, Genesect, you name it, get almost free switch ins against Escavalier. However, Megahorn will still dent them hard. Megahorn is Escavalier's spam attack; if you don't know what to do, then press the Megahorn key. Iron Head is there because Escavalier's movepool is kinda limited (I wish Mach Punch or Sucker Punch was there...), but it's still a decent secondary STAB attack. Double-Edge covers anything not called Steel, though Frustration is a perfectly fine alternative (screw Return, I don't love you and I always forget to set the happiness to 255 anyway). Reversal is very unreliable and Steel-types will still probably be able to take it, but what else can Escavalier do? Pursuit is great for absolutely destroying any Ghost- and Psychic-type that wants to squiggle out of Escavalier's grasps. Swords Dance is a bit hard to pull off, especially with that terrible Speed. Still, if the opposing side has nothing that can 1-2HKO Escavalier, Swords Dance will definitely allow the knight to destroy any castles in its sight, no matter the size, and rescue its beloved princess from the lost tower. Castles? I meant Pokemon.

As with Beheeyem, here are some interesting damage calculations for Escavalier (these are the same x1.3 boost, not x1.5):

- 83.41% - 98.26% to Bold 252 HP / 252 Def Jellicent
- 68.9% - 80.91% to neutral nature Genesect
- 80.11% - 94.6% to neutral nature 252 HP / 60 Def Ferrothorn

Iron Head
- 51.72% - 61.3% to neutral nature Chandelure
- 62.56% - 73.91% to neutral nature Conkeldurr
- 80.8% - 95.04% to neutral nature Dragonite

- 88.47% - 104.36% to neutral nature 4 Def Zapdos
- 85.26% - 100.62% to neutral nature Landorus
- 60.54% - 71.38% to neutral nature 4 HP Gyarados (with Intimidate factored in)

Reversal (these calcs are assuming that Escavalier is at 34% to 21% HP for 80 Base Power)
- 26.55% - 31.35% to Impish 252 HP / 252 Def Forretress (damn you)
- 71.02% - 83.8% to neutral nature 252 HP / 60 Def Ferrothorn
- 104.98% - 123.84% to neutral nature Magnezone

Big Pecks

Stops any Defense drops made from the foe.

If this ability could speak, it would say "I suck." Seriously, it's a rare case for a Defense drop, and that's probably coming from a Crunch off 10%. The only value I see in this ability is in-game, where those terrifying Leers and Tail Whips from vicious noobs will be negated, but not like your bird needed it. Absolutely terrible and a complete disgrace to mankind. Just kick it out the door already...

What Pokemon did Game Freak give the ability to?

Unfezant, Swanna, Mandibuzz, Pidgeot, and Chatot. All are pretty terrible and already have a terrible ability coupled with this terrible ability and their incredible terribleness. At least they look cool. Let's see if we can improve this ability and maybe they won't be so terrible...


Since Big Pecks is so terrible that its only use is for pecking Machamp's 6-pack, let's make it do this. Defense AND Special Defense will not be dropped. Also, the Pokemon will gain a +1 boost in the defensive stat that was supposed to be dropped. Kinda like an opposite Competitive Spirit for two sides, except no +2 boost. Not terribly gamebreaking, but gives a niche for a certain Pokemon...

Suggested Pokemon

Skarmory @ Shed Shell
Nature: Careful
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
- Spikes
- Roost
- Brave Bird / Taunt
- Whirlwind

Let me introduce you to Skarmory @ useful ability. It is disappointing that Skymin was recently banned (by 100%, sheesh, how racist are we) so we cannot see this Skarmory in full flight. However, there is still Shaymin the hedgehog that we can annoy with this Skarmory (albeit very rare). When Life Orb Shaymin uses Seed Flare to deal 16.2% - 19.2% damage and drops Skarmory's Special Defense, it will be negated and instead give a +1 boost to Special Defense. Thanks Shaymin! Skarmory now has 393 Special Defense. If Shaymin tries to use Hidden Power Fire, voila, only 33.5% - 40.1% damage! Magic! Now let's continue off to a new course of Pokemon. If Life Orb Tyranitar fires off a Crunch and gets a Defense drop, it just made mama bird mad and raised its Defense to 474. Definitely not better than mama! If Tyranitar tries attacking with Stone Edge next turn, it's only dealing a pitiful amount of 27.5% - 32.3% damage while Skarmory Spikes up on Tyranitar. Afterward, Skarmory can just chill out and Roost at the cafe while drinking a cup of joe, no problem. It's likely that Skarmory can preserve its boosts (who the hell is unlucky enough to give Skarmory both a Defense AND a Special Defense boost needs to go see a fortune teller, right now) and outstall any team without Taunt or some annoying move. If there are annoying guys with Taunt or something, then thrash them with Brave Bird, head first. If they're slower, then Taunt them with insults about their girlfriend cheating on them and watch them squirm like the losers they are. Whirlwind when you're done and have fun watching them go around and around like a merry-go-round. Keep Whirlwinding until the entire team gets dizzy enough for you to win. Pretty simple. If there are any meanies like Chandelure and Magnezone in sight, flee to the forest with the Shed Shell and call for backup. Once you have removed Chandelure and Magnezone with Dugtrio (which is basically 3 on 2 if you think about it logically), you have won the game.

Breakable Armor

Lowers the Pokemon's Defense by one stage but raises Speed by one stage when hit by a physical attack. It activates for every hit of a multi-hit move.

Seems useful on any sweeper with good enough Speed, high offenses, and either decent defenses or decent defensive typing. Rock Blast, Icicle Spear, essentially any Pokemon that relies on Skill Link and/or Technician to do damage (hi Cloyster and Breloom) will essentially give this Pokemon +2-5 Speed. Although, each Speed drop means a Defense drop, so each hit of the multi-hit move will probably end up killing the Pokemon anyway. As such, I would much rather have Speed Boost, which boosts Speed without that annoying Defense drop. Still, a generic +1 boost is perfectly fine (and probably the best way to go with this ability). Well, we can't have everything.

What Pokemon did Game Freak give the ability to?

Garbodor, Omastar, Kabutops, Magcargo, Skarmory, Crustle, Vanilluxe, and Mandibuzz. Most of these guys are slow walls that barely benefit from this ability. The best users would probably be Omastar and Kabutops, and even then, Omastar would be reluctant to use Breakable Armor in conjunction with Shell Smash while Kabutops really wouldn't want to become more vulnerable to physical priority than it already is. Everything else is just too slow or too weak in the attacking department. You can't even make a suitable moveset out of these guys without being completely dominated on the battlefield. How disappointing...

However, what most of these Pokemon have are access to entry hazards. With the extra Speed boost, they can take a hit, gain a boost in Speed, and set up Spikes, Toxic Spikes, whatever. On the next turn, they can then set up another layer of hazards due to the +1 boost from Breakable Armor. Essentially, Breakable Armor makes these Pokemon a suicide entry hazard set upper. Why not just use a more reliable source of setting up entry hazard though?


As this is a fairly creative ability, it should stay as it is. The Speed boost(s) could be pretty helpful for the Pokemon as physical attacks are pretty common, so there shouldn't be much trouble getting that boost in.

Suggested Pokemon

Lucario @ Life Orb
Nature: Modest / Adamant
EVs: 252 SpA or Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
- Nasty Plot / Swords Dance
- Aura Sphere / Close Combat
- Shadow Ball / Crunch
- Vacuum Wave / ExtremeSpeed

Due to its many resistances and having a Speed stat that would love to be raised, Lucario would turn out beastly. After switching into Tyranitar's Stone Edge or Crunch, Genesect's U-turn, or even Ferrothorn's Power Whip, it could pull off a Swords Dance or Nasty Plot and start destroying the unboosted world. Not like Inner Focus and Steadfast helped Lucario much anyway. The Defense drop is a total downer though; Lucario gets 117 Defense with the drop, which is terrible. However, with a Speed boost, neutral nature Lucario would reach 418 Speed, while positive nature versions would reach 459. This isn't the same old slow Lucario anymore, people, so watch out! Anything lower and fragile to Close Combat/Crunch/ExtremeSpeed or Aura Sphere/Shadow Ball/Vacuum Wave will be easily thrashed. Sadly, Excadrill is still faster in the sand than Lucario and OHKOes with Earthquake (unless Lucario has Vacuum Wave!), while Conkerdurr is a meanie with Mach Punch, so that part won't change.

You know what the standard Lucario does and what it is capable of. You don't need any damage calculations for our lovely blue jackal so let's move on!

Competitive Spirit

Raises the Pokemon's Attack by two stages when hit by a stat-lowering move or ability such as Intimidate. If multiple stats are dropped, there is a +2 boost for each stat dropped. Does not apply to self-inflicted stat drops like those from Close Combat and Superpower.

Very interesting ability. Makes throwing out Intimidates a backfire. No one will ever use Screech again for fear of a +4 Attack Pokemon. Now why is this ability listed in this article when it looks so good? It basically ends with luck when a stat dropping move such as Energy Ball lowers the Competitive Spirit Pokemon's stat down (and it almost never does). Oh, did I say Energy Ball? Sorry, I meant Giga Drain. Looks like Energy Ball will never be used ever again for favor of the newly improved Giga Drain. And with both Salamence and Gyarados falling out of usage due to competition with the newer and improved Pokemon, Competitive Spirit sure does have a hard time activating. Tough luck.

What Pokemon did Game Freak give the ability to?

Bisharp, Primeape, Farfetch'd, Empoleon, Purugly, Braviary, Tornadus, and Thundurus. This looks decent on Braviary, but too bad its Speed is sub-par and it has no reliable way of increasing it. Both genies are better off with Mischievous Heart and are special attackers at heart. Primeape could like this ability if it had just a little more Speed to outspeed Salamence, and regardless, it loves Vital Spirit (sleep is always a mess). Farfetch'd could sweep your team now so watch out dude. Empoleon is usually a special attacker, but MAYBE you can Agility + Swords Dance sweep with it. Purugly could actually be the strongest abuser of this ability, if it had a better movepool and typing, as well as more Attack (you seriously don't have to throw a Salamence or Gyarados at that pussy cat to defeat it).

Bisharp is perhaps the best available user of this ability, even with its base 70 Speed. With an Adamant nature and a Rock Polish boost, it gets 478 Speed, which is amazing. Considering that Bisharp's typing allows it to resist "common" stat dropping attacks such as Crunch, Bug Buzz, Seed Flare, and Shadow Ball (no Psychic is a bummer), it could have a decent time getting that Attack raised to 766 and sweep with Night Slash, Stone Edge/Iron Head, and Brick Break (if it can survive the turn to set up Rock Polish anyway, thanks a lot 65 HP and 70 SpD). Now here's the problem. Remember Weavile and its movepool full of low Base Power attacks? Yeah, Bisharp has that problem too. Stone Edge is the only exception and it might as well be called Stone Miss, while Weak Slash, Iron Poke, and Brick Brake do squat damage, even with that "Swords Dance" boost from Competitive Spirit (which oh so rarely activates). What a bummer.


Honestly, this ability needs no major changes. But, what could make this ability just a little more active? Yeah, self-inflicted drops. That's exactly what we all want.

Suggested Pokemon

Dragonite @ Life Orb
Nature: Naughty
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
- Draco Meteor
- Superpower
- Outrage / Dragon Claw
- Agility

This big boy has the ability to benefit from the improved Competitive Spirit big time. Inner Focus was alright and Multi-Scale helps a lot defensively, but with Competitive Spirit, Dragonite takes offense to a whole new level. If you take into consideration that you can go mixed with the deadly Draco Meteor, lower Dragonite's Special Attack by -2 while boosting its Attack by +4 (let's see, that's about 1209 Attack so far), AND smack the opponent with Superpower, which further improves Dragonite's Attack stat by +2 (and with that, you got 1612 Attack), then you got a complete monster in your capable hands. Just click the Outrage or Dragon Claw button and let it rip! Oh, Speed is a problem? Just patch it up with Agility, no problem. With 252 Speed EVs, Dragonite gets 518 Speed with a neutral nature, and 568 with a Speed boosting nature. Okay, now you're saying this is broken, and with all these huge numbers, I can see why. Take into account that Dragonite will NOT have all of these boosts at the same time, unless you slack around and make it have the boosts. If it uses Agility, it doesn't have its Competitive Spirit boost yet and you can smack it back without worrying about a boosted attack. If it uses Draco Meteor or Superpower, it's still slow, so take advantage of that. But if you make it get both a Speed AND a Attack boost, you should start worrying now. However, essentially any physical priority attack that's neutral or super effective will totally obliterate this little dragon knight due to Superpower lowering its Defense. It seriously looks beastly, but it has its downsides.

If you wanted calculations, you better be joking. Just imagine the universe blowing up into tiny microscopic pieces and be satisfied with the result of everything being OHKOed by Outrage or Superpower, except for Shedinja, that bastard.

Cursed Body

Gives the Pokemon a 30% chance of Disabling an attack that hits it. Works even for non-contact moves or moves that faint the Pokemon.

Awesome concept, poor distribution, and luck-based. Having a chance to trap a Choiced Pokemon into Struggling is a great sight to see if it happens.

What Pokemon did Game Freak give the ability to?

Jellicent, Banette, and Froslass. It looks beastly on Jellicent, but Water Absorb is generally preferred to the 30% luck-based ability that is Cursed Body. Banette and Froslass are way too frail to even think about abusing Cursed Body. What a total downer.


The ability is pretty decent if it activates. Basically, it's fine the way it is, but a higher chance of activation doesn't hurt at all, say, 50%. This is logically comparable to Desukan's Mummy ability, which always works. No harm done, right?

Dusclops @ Evolution Stone
Nature: Impish
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
- Will-O-Wisp
- Night Shade / Seismic Toss
- Pain Split
- Mean Look

Pressure was never that great, but maybe for PP stalling if you want to go that route. Cursed Body finds a niche with Dusclops, however. With an Evolution Stone, Dusclops has the ability to take many attacks with ease. And with that ability to take hits, it has a better chance to survive and let Cursed Body activate and Disable the attacking move. Taking into account that many Pokemon only have one or two reliable attacks against Dusclops means that this can be fatal. By then, Dusclops can lessen the offensive pressure from the foe with Will-O-Wisp, tickle their HP down with Night Shade or Seismic Toss, and recover back some HP with Pain Split (however unreliable it is). What's Mean Look there for? You know when Cursed Body activates, your foe has lost their chance of attacking Dusclops and wants to switch? They can't switch when Mean Looked and thus will suffer from pain and agony from the wispy burns and shadows. Pretty evil should I say myself.


Protects the Pokemon from damaging weather effects. It does not protect against additional boosts from weather (such as rain's boost to Water moves).

Uh, inferior Magic Guard. Otherwise, could be useful on walls that take weather damage, not. Really generic, boring ability. I'd certainly love to be dustproof though...

What Pokemon did Game Freak give the ability to?

Reuniclus, Mandibuzz, Cloyster, Forretress, Wormadam, Leavanny, and Escavalier. Reuniclus is much better off being nominated for Ubers by kiddies with Magic Guard; Cloyster just loves blasting its foes to shreds thanks to Skill Link; Leavanny appreciates Chlorophyll so that it can exercise faster; Escavalier needs its Shell Armor or else it has no armor at all; and Forretress isn't sturdy without Sturdy. The ability looks decent for Mandibuzz and Wormadam as they are vulnerable to weather, are kinda bulky, and their other abilities are horrible. But that's all the ability does. Kinda like a poor man's ability—it's underwhelming.


Let's make the ability prevent weather damage and reflect the damage back at the opponent regardless of immunity. So basically, your opponent is losing 6.25% damage every turn in hail or sandstorm. Not bad! Also, let's make it reflect entry hazard damage back at the foe! So every time your Volcarona loses 25% from Spikes and 50% from Stealth Rock, it reflects back 75% damage back to anything! Neat! Nah, just dreaming. I'd keep the first reflection part though.

Suggested Pokemon

Rotom-S @ Leftovers
Nature: Timid
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
- Will-O-Wisp / Thunder Wave
- Air Slash
- Pain Split / Thunderbolt
- Substitute

Rotom-S takes damage from all forms of weather, has good overall bulk, has Will-O-Wisp to make sure the physical threats don't get too wild, AND has a fan that runs 24/7, making it actually dustproof! Little Rotom-S doesn't even NEED its ability, Levitate, so why not give it a better ability? Its transition to Electric / Flying might be a bother, but that doesn't mean it's not up to the task! If burning with Will-O-Wisp isn't your cup of tea, then you can employ a Thunder Wave + Air Slash strategy to paraflinch the foe while they take 6.25% damage every turn. As if that wasn't painful enough, Pain Split ensures that Rotom-S can stay alive throughout the battle so that it can keep constantly damaging its foe WHILE damaging its foe! Thunderbolt is a great alternative to strike foes with lightning, though I'm not sure why you'd skip recovery for that in this case. Adding Substitute to the mix would only add to your foe's agony when they can't fling a single status moves in Rotom-S's face. Rotom-S may only be Skymin 0.5, but it's definitely nothing to scoff about, especially when its opponents have their HP draining down the toilet.


Abilities shape the way of how the metagame is played by astronomically high levels. You saw what happened when Ditto got Eccentric; Espeon got Magic Mirror; Politoed got Drizzle; and Ninetales got Drought. You even saw the greatest ability of all, Inconsistent, reach its peak and get banned. If you aren't in the know, then you better delve into the matter now. Besides that matter, it's a pity that Game Freak created such obsolete abilities, such as the ones talked about in this article. Why is that? Is it a fault? Who knows, but all I know is, these abilities suck giga balls.


Thanks to the Research Thread for researching how the abilities work.
Thanks to Deck Knight for coming up with some of the ideas.
And finally, thank you, the reader, for coming by and reading this huge pile of trash!


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