An Ability (Japanese: 特性 ability) is a game mechanic introduced in Generation III that provides a passive effect in battle or in the overworld. Individual Pokémon may have only one Ability at a time. Prior to Generation VI, an Ability could not be changed after a Pokémon was obtained except by Evolution—where the new Ability is determined by the former Ability—and form change. Not every Ability is beneficial; some will hinder the user.
Some species of Pokémon have multiple possible Abilities. The most Abilities any species or form has is three: two normal Abilities and one Hidden Ability. In most wild Pokémon encounters, the Pokémon's Ability will be one of its non-Hidden Abilities (each having an even chance of appearing if the species has two). Hidden Abilities were introduced in Generation V; they are relatively rare and usually require some type of special encounter.
In technical terms, a species' Abilities may be thought of as having separate slots, with an individual Pokémon's non-Hidden slot determined by its personality value. For example, an Eevee—with two non-Hidden Abilities—has Run Away for its first non-Hidden slot, Adaptability for its second, and Anticipation for its Hidden Ability slot. Vaporeon—with only one non-Hidden Ability—can be considered to have Water Absorb for both non-Hidden slots. When a Pokémon evolves, its Ability slot remains the same. This means that a Poochyena with Run Away will evolve into a Mightyena with Intimidate, while a Poochyena with Quick Feet will evolve into a Mightyena with Quick Feet.
Aside from Evolution, there are three ways for Pokémon to change Abilities in a permanent manner. One way is if the Pokémon has different forms with different Abilities. Another way is through the Ability Capsule, which was introduced in Generation VI. The Ability Capsule actually changes a Pokémon's non-Hidden Ability slot, but it will not work if the Pokémon has its Hidden Ability or if the species has only one non-Hidden Ability. Third, transferring a Pokémon from one generation of games to a later one in which the Ability in a given slot is different. Aside from these methods, during battle, Pokémon may also change their Ability through Mega Evolution or Primal Reversion, and certain moves and Abilities can also change a Pokémon's Ability.
When Abilities were introduced in Generation III, some Pokémon only had one possible Ability. A number of these species were given a second Ability in a later generation. If a Pokémon whose species gained an Ability after Generation III is transferred to Generations IV or V, it will initially retain its original Ability; upon evolving, however, its Ability slot will be recalculated and its Ability may change. When a Pokémon is transferred to Generation VI or Generation VII, however, it will be locked into the appropriate slot for its current Ability.
Aside from in-battle effects, some Abilities also have effects outside of battle.
- Main article: List of Pokémon with released Hidden Abilities (Generation V)
- Main article: List of Pokémon with released Hidden Abilities (Generation VI)
- Main article: List of Pokémon with released Hidden Abilities (Generation VII)
Beginning in Generation V, most Pokémon were given an additional, Hidden Ability (Japanese: 隠れ特性 Hidden Ability). A Pokémon with its Hidden Ability will retain its ability slot upon evolution, unless the evolved form has no Hidden Ability. Hidden Abilities can only be acquired under special circumstances. Such circumstances are listed below.
- Certain event Pokémon may have their Hidden Ability.
- In Generation V, all Pokémon encountered in Entree Forest (i.e. obtained from the Pokémon Global Link, either via the Pokémon Dream World or a Global Link promotion) will always have their Hidden Ability, if they have one.
- Pokémon obtained from the Pokémon Dream Radar will have their Hidden Abilities.
- In Pokémon Black and White, some overworld Pokémon have their Hidden Ability:
- Any Pokémon found in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2's Hidden Grottos have their Hidden Ability.
- In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, some overworld and gift Pokémon have their Hidden Ability:
- On Mondays, a male Jellicent at Undella BayB2 or a Braviary on Route 4W2.
- On Thursdays, a Mandibuzz on Route 4B2 or a female Jellicent at Undella BayW2.
- A Deerling given as a gift on Route 6.
- A male Eevee gifted by Amanita in Castelia City, after the player has entered the Hall of Fame.
- Yancy/Curtis will trade the player a specific Pokémon with a Hidden Ability after entering the Hall of Fame and riding the ferris wheel with them.
- Any Pokémon encountered in a Horde Encounter may have their Hidden Ability.
- Pokémon encountered in the Friend Safari have approximately a 1 in 3 chance of having their Hidden Ability if the Friend to whom the Friend Safari corresponds has been recognized as a Friend in the PSS (i.e. if both players have been on the PSS at the same time).
- Hidden Pokémon have a chance of having their Hidden Ability, which increases as the Search Level for that species increases.
- In Generation VII, Pokémon that appear as the tenth or later Pokémon in an SOS Battle have a chance of having their Hidden Ability, which increases as the chain lengthens.
- All Pokémon transferred from the Virtual Console releases of the Generation I or Generation II games via Poké Transporter have their Hidden Ability.
- In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, some Totem-like Pokémon have their Hidden Ability. This is to ensure the Totem Pokémon in question has only one possible Ability upon being received.
Abilities and breeding
Before Generation V, the Ability slot that a Pokémon Egg would have when it hatched was left to random chance, resulting in a 50% chance of having either slot. Since Generation V, though, special mechanics have been introduced.
Starting in Black and White, female Pokémon with Hidden Abilities have a 60% chance of passing on the Hidden Ability to their offspring when bred with a male Pokémon from the same Egg Group. In Generation VI, this was extended so that male and genderless Pokémon with a Hidden Ability can also pass it down if they are bred with Ditto. The chance of the offspring having either non-Hidden Ability is 20% each.
Starting in Black 2 and White 2, there is an 80% chance that the offspring's Ability slot is the same as its mother's if the mother was bred with a male Pokémon from the same Egg Group. Starting in Generation VI, this chance is generically applied to any non-Ditto parent.
List of Abilities
In other games
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series
- Main article: Mystery Dungeon game mechanics#Abilities
Abilities available in the core series games are also available in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series. Some Abilities differ from their counterparts in the core series (e.g. Intimidate reduces the opposing Pokémon's Attack by 20%). Pokémon that may have one of two abilities now have both simultaneously.
- Main article: List of Abilities in Pokémon Conquest
While most Pokémon species in Pokémon Conquest have access to three Abilities (similar to the main series, Hidden Abilities included), many of these Abilities are different from the main series due to differences in the battle system. For example, Abilities like Cute Charm and Rivalry do not exist in Pokémon Conquest (due to the game's lack of a gender mechanic), while other Abilities utilize mechanics unique to Pokémon Conquest battles (like "Sprint", which increases the user's movement Range).
Like the main series, an individual Pokémon's Ability is dictated by its current species (i.e. evolutionary form) and may change during evolution.
In the anime
Abilities have been shown in the anime, but are usually only used in battles; however, sometimes they have an effect on the plot, such as Ash's Infernape's Blaze. Abilities sometimes work differently in the anime than they would in the games, such as Mold Breaker, which in the anime cancels out more Abilities than it would in the games.
In the original series
In the Advanced Generation series
In the Diamond & Pearl series
Abilities proved important in the battles Paul and Ash had with Roark. During Paul's battle in Shapes of Things to Come!, his Elekid uses Static to paralyze Roark's Onix and Cranidos although the latter shakes it off with Mold Breaker. Paul also deliberately allows his Chimchar to take extra damage so that it can activate Blaze. After Ash's first match with Roark ends in defeat, Brock briefly lends him Sudowoodo in Wild in the Streets! because its Ability Rock Head makes it similar to Roark's Pokémon Onix, who also had the Ability. During Ash's rematch in O'er the Rampardos We Watched!, Pikachu also activates Static against Roark's newly evolved Rampardos and it is similarly ineffective.
In Tag! We're It...!, Ash and Paul found themselves at a disadvantage during their first Tag Battle in the Hearthome City Tag Battle Competition because the Rhydon used by one of their opponents possessed Lightning Rod, rendering Pikachu's Electric-type attacks useless.
In Glory Blaze! Ash, Dawn and Brock found Paul and his other Pokémon evidently abusing his Chimchar, repeatedly attacking it until it eventually collapsed from exhaustion. When confronted, Paul explained that Chimchar actually wanted the brutal training regimen; when they first met, Chimchar was being attacked by wild Zangoose and when pushed to the limit it activated Blaze and defeated all of the Zangoose with Flame Wheel. This incredible power was what drove Paul to capture Chimchar in the first place and the two have been trying to replicate the experience ever since with no success.
Blaze returned in Chim - Charred! when Ash's Chimchar became enraged during a battle with Paul's Ursaring. It took considerable effort for Ash to return Chimchar to normal after it defeated Ursaring, causing Paul to leave the battle a draw. Paul told Ash that they would only battle again when and if Ash and Chimchar learned to control Blaze.
Paul's Aggron used its Rock Head Ability in Familiarity Breeds Strategy! to avoid damage from its Double-Edge attack. In the next episode Paul's Froslass and Ninjask used Snow Cloak and Speed Boost respectively.
In the Best Wishes series
Luke's Zorua often used Illusion to help Luke in making his movies. It was first seen in Movie Time! Zorua in "The Legend of the Pokémon Knight"!.
In The Club Battle Hearts of Fury: Emolga Versus Sawk!, Iris's Emolga used Static to help her win a battle against Stephan's Sawk.
Three Darmanitan used Zen Mode in A Maractus Musical!.
In the XY series
Two Abilities were seen in Mega Evolution Special IV, both in battle against Alain's Charizard. A Mega Venusaur used Thick Fat to half the damage it took from a Flamethrower. Malva's Houndoom later used Flash Fire to absorb another Flamethrower.
In the Lumiose Conference, many Pokémon were seen activating their Abilities during battles. In A League of His Own!, Trevor's Mega Charizard Y was shown to have Drought as its Ability. In the following episode, the effects of three different Abilities were shown during the battle between Tierno and Sawyer; Tierno's Ludicolo was shown activating Swift Swim while Sawyer's Mega Sceptile and Aegislash were revealed to have Lightning Rod and Stance Change as their Abilities, respectively. In Analysis Versus Passion!, Sawyer's Slaking was shown to have Truant as its Ability. In Finals Not for the Faint-Hearted!, Alain's Tyranitar was shown activating Sand Stream.
In the Sun & Moon series
Acerola's Gengar, the Greedy Rapooh, activated its Cursed Body Ability in its fight against Kiawe's Marowak in SM131. In the same episode, Snowy activated its Snow Cloak Ability in its fight against Gladion's Umbreon.
In the manga
In the Be the Best! Pokémon B+W manga
In the movie adaptations
In the Pokémon Adventures manga
During Sapphire's battle with Roxanne in Blowing Past Nosepass I, Roxanne's Nosepass proved superior to Rono. Worried that Rono would be defeated, Sapphire attempted to switch Rono out for Chic but was unable to. Roxanne explained that because her Nosepass has Magnet Pull, Steel-type Pokémon cannot switch out.
Ruby's first encounter with Abilities arrived in Stick This in Your Craw, Crawdaunt II when he and Mr. Briney were attacked by a wild Crawdaunt. Peeko tried to defeat it with Quick Attack, but the Crawdaunt's Shell Armor prevented it from doing much damage at all. After Mr. Briney fell unconscious, Ruby had Kiki use Double-Edge and infatuate Crawdaunt with its Ability Cute Charm.
Sapphire later struggled against a potent counter Ability when she faced Brawly in Mashing Makuhita. After Rono was quickly defeated by Brawly's Makuhita, Chic used Flamethrower against Makuhita, but it had little effect due to its Thick Fat.
While on their way to Slateport City, Ruby and Sapphire were attacked by Courtney and Tabitha at the Abandoned Ship during Adding It Up with Plusle & Minun II. They escaped with the help of a wild Plusle and Minun after Ruby realized that their complimentary Abilities Plus and Minus greatly amplified their power when they fought together.
After Wattson is captured by the New Mauville generator, Sapphire devised a double battle strategy using his Electrike in Plugging Past Electrike II. While Electrike did not have the moves to defeat the generator itself, and the wild Donphan that Wattson and the Trick Master had originally intended to capture would be quickly eradicated by its powerful attacks, Electrike's Ability Lightning Rod would allow it to redirect the bolt away from Donphan, buying Donphan enough time to destroy the generator with Rollout.
In the Pokémon Battle Frontier manga
In the Pocket Monsters BW: The Heroes of Fire and Thunder manga
In the Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl manga
In the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Adventure manga
Hareta's Luxio activated Intimidate in A Novel Test!! on Candice's Regirock and Regice but Regirock's Clear Body prevented Intimidate from working. Regice and Registeel were revealed to have Clear Body in the same chapter but weren't shown activating it.
In the Pocket Monsters Platinum: Aim to Be Battle King!! manga
In the Pokémon Pocket Monsters manga
In the Pokémon - The Legend of the Dragon King manga
In the TCG
- Main article: Ability (TCG)
Abilities under the name of Abilities did not appear in the Trading Card Game until the Black & White expansion kicking off Generation V. However, this was merely a renaming of the longstanding Pokémon Powers. Pokémon Powers were very similar to Abilities, but were introduced much earlier, appearing in the very first Base Set during Generation I. In fact, some Abilities from the games originally appeared as Pokémon Powers.
With the introduction of the Expedition Base Set, Pokémon Powers were split into two groups: Poké-Powers and Poké-Bodies. Poké-Powers are special effects that the player must trigger or announce using. A Poké-Body's effect is a passive Ability that is always in effect. When Pokémon Powers were renamed to Abilities in Black and White, these distinctions were done away with.
- The unused Ability Cacophony was included in the coding for third-generation games as Ability #076 (Air Lock was #077). From the fourth generation, Cacophony was removed and Air Lock was renumbered as #076, with the new Abilities positioned from #077 onward.
- Generation III introduced the most Abilities, with 76. Generation VI introduced the fewest, with 27.
- In Generation III, there is an unused Ability placeholder labeled as "-------" with the description "No special ability".
In other languages
|This article is part of Project Moves and Abilities, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on two related aspects of the Pokémon games.|