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 entirely beneficial; some of them are hindering.
- The descriptions of Role Play, Skill Swap, and Trace mention either "special ability" or "special abilities".
- In the placeholder text for a Pokémon with no Ability: "No special ability."
- Some non-player characters mention "special abilities".
- A male NPC in the house south of Devon Corporation, in Rustboro City: "Every Pokémon has a special ability that it can use."
- A female NPC in the first floor of Mossdeep City's Pokémon Center: "Depending on the special abilities of Pokémon, some moves might change or not work at all."
- Cooltrainer Jennifer in Route 120: "Pokémon have many special abilities. If you want to become a first-class Trainer, learn about them.", "The special abilities of Pokémon will make battle styles change."
- In the easy chat system: "Sp. Ability"
- In the manual of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, about the Pokémon's summary: "Displays the special Ability of the Pokémon"
Sometimes in Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, but more often in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen and Generation IV, this is written as "ability" (in lowercase; without the word "special"). Some examples:
- The Pokémon's summary has an "Ability" field.
- The description of TM48 (Skill Swap) mentions "abilities".
- When Skill Swap is used in battle: "<Pokémon> swapped abilities with its opponent!"
- In Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen and Generation IV games, the descriptions of Role Play, Skill Swap, Trace, and Worry Seed mention either "ability" or "abilities".
- In Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, said by the NPC who delivers TM48 (Skill Swap) in Canalave City: "You know how Pokémon have their own abilities? Well, the move Skill Swap exchanges the user’s ability with that of its target Pokémon."
From Generation V onwards, this is consistently written as "Ability" (starting with a capital letter).
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: Hidden Ability
A Hidden Ability is essentially a rare Ability that Pokémon normally do not have access to, introduced in Generation V. Most Pokémon encountered in the games will not have a Hidden Ability; but usually, there are special encounter methods where Pokémon can have a Hidden Ability. Certain event Pokémon and special in-game Pokémon may also have their Hidden Ability.
The Hidden Ability is implemented as an extra slot, and a Pokémon with its Hidden Ability will retain its Hidden Ability slot upon evolution in the same way that its normal Abilities may change. For example, a Caterpie with its Hidden Ability of Run Away will have Shed Skin upon evolving once and Tinted Lens upon evolving into Butterfree. It is not possible to change a Pokémon's Ability slot from a normal Ability to a Hidden Ability.
- Main article: Pokémon breeding → Inheriting Abilities
Since Generation V, it has been possible for female Pokémon to pass down their Ability. In Pokémon Black and White, if a female Pokémon has its Hidden Ability and is bred with a male Pokémon, it has a 60% chance of passing it down. In Black 2 and White 2, a female Pokémon bred with a male Pokémon has an 80% chance of passing down its Ability slot (regardless of whether it is a Hidden Ability or not). From Generation VI onward, a female Pokémon has an 80% (60% for Hidden Ability) chance to pass down its Ability slot, regardless of whether it is bred with a male Pokémon or Ditto.
Since Generation VI, it is possible for male and gender-unknown Pokémon (such as Magnemite) to pass down their Ability if bred with a Ditto, in which case it has a 60% chance to pass down its Hidden Ability. They cannot pass down a Hidden Ability when bred with any Pokémon other than Ditto. Ditto's Ability is always irrelevant to inheritance.
If an Egg does not inherit its Ability from a parent, it can only be born with one of its non-Hidden Abilities.
Various items, moves, and Abilities can affect a Pokémon's Ability, usually in battle.
|Ability Capsule||Item||Permanently changes a Pokémon's Ability slot||VI|
|Ability Patch||Item||Permanently changes a Pokémon's non-Hidden Ability to its Hidden Ability||VIII|
Protecting Abilities in battle
These items protect the holder's Ability from some effects in battle.
|Ability Shield||Item||Protects the holder's Ability from being changed and from effects that bypass it||IX|
Changing Abilities in battle
The following moves and Abilities can change a Pokémon's Ability in battle, giving it a different Ability. If a Pokémon's Ability is changed, its original Ability is restored when it switches out; if the original Ability has an effect triggered by switching, like Natural Cure, it will function properly.
|Transform||Normal||Status||Copies the target Pokémon, including its Ability||I|
|Role Play||Psychic||Status||Replaces the user's Ability with the target's Ability||III|
|Skill Swap||Psychic||Status||Exchanges the Abilities of the user and the target||III|
|Trace||Ability||Copies an opposing Pokémon's Ability upon entering battle||III|
|Worry Seed||Grass||Status||Changes the target's Ability to Insomnia||IV|
|Entrainment||Normal||Status||Changes the target's Ability to match the user's||V|
|Mummy||Ability||Contact with the Pokémon changes the attacker's Ability to Mummy||V|
|Simple Beam||Normal||Status||Changes the target's Ability to Simple||V|
|Power of Alchemy||Ability||Copies the Ability of a defeated ally||VII|
|Receiver||Ability||Copies the Ability of a defeated ally||VII|
|Wandering Spirit||Ability||Contact with the Pokémon exchanges the Abilities of both Pokémon||VIII|
|Doodle||Normal||Status||Changes the Ability of the user and its ally to match the target's||IX|
|Lingering Aroma||Ability||Contact with the Pokémon changes the attacker's Ability to Lingering Aroma||IX|
These moves and Abilities can suppress the effects of an Ability or Abilities. This effect wears off when it leaves battle.
|Gastro Acid||Poison||Status||Suppresses the target's Ability||IV|
|Core Enforcer||Dragon||Special||Does damage and suppresses the target's Ability if it has already had its turn||VII|
|Neutralizing Gas||Ability||Suppresses the effects of all Pokémon's Abilities||VIII|
Countering other Abilities
These moves and Abilities have an effect that ignores most Abilities that hamper the success, damage, or effects of moves.
|Mold Breaker||Ability||Moves ignore most Abilities||IV|
|Teravolt||Ability||Moves ignore most Abilities||V|
|Turboblaze||Ability||Moves ignore most Abilities||V|
|Light That Burns the Sky||Psychic||Special||Does damage and ignores most Abilities||VII|
|Menacing Moonraze Maelstrom||Ghost||Special||Does damage and ignores most Abilities||VII|
|Moongeist Beam||Ghost||Special||Does damage and ignores most Abilities||VII|
|Photon Geyser||Psychic||Special||Does damage and ignores most Abilities||VII|
|Searing Sunraze Smash||Steel||Physical||Does damage and ignores most Abilities||VII|
|Sunsteel Strike||Steel||Physical||Does damage and ignores most Abilities||VII|
|G-Max Drum Solo||Grass||Varies||Does damage and ignores most Abilities||VIII|
|G-Max Fireball||Fire||Varies||Does damage and ignores most Abilities||VIII|
|G-Max Hydrosnipe||Water||Varies||Does damage and ignores most Abilities||VIII|
|Aura Break||Ability||The effects of "Aura" Abilities are reversed to lower the power of affected moves.||VI|
The Abilities below interact beneficially with each other.
|Minus/Plus||Ability||Boosts the Sp. Atk stat of the Pokémon if an ally also has one of these Abilities||III|
Countering other Ability and move effects
These Abilities counter effects of other Abilities and moves.
|Clear Body||Ability||Prevents other Pokémon's moves or Abilities from lowering the Pokémon's stats||III|
|Full Metal Body||Ability||Prevents other Pokémon's moves or Abilities from lowering the Pokémon's stats||VII|
|Propeller Tail||Ability||Ignores the effects of opposing Pokémon's Abilities and moves that draw in moves||VIII|
|Stalwart||Ability||Ignores the effects of opposing Pokémon's Abilities and moves that draw in moves||VIII|
List of Abilities
Prior to Abilities' introduction, Generation II games already featured a mechanic similar to Pickup and Honey Gather uniquely available to a single Pokémon species: after each battle, a Berry held by a Shuckle can automatically transform into Berry Juice. No other Pokémon has this trait, and it hasn't been translated into an actual Ability in subsequent games.
While Abilities are officially absent in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, the effects of Flower Gift and Slow Start are nonetheless applied to Cherrim and Regigigas respectively. Plates are also available as Key Items to replicate Arceus's Multitype.
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%). Prior to Gates to Infinity, Pokémon with two Abilities would have both rather than just one. There are no Hidden Abilities in Mystery Dungeon games.
- Main article: List of Abilities (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 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.
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.
Volkner's Electivire used its Motor Drive Ability in The Eighth Wonder of the Sinnoh World! against Ash in their Gym battle. The same Ability was later used by Paul's Electivire in Battling a Thaw in Relations!.
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.
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!.
Two Abilities were seen in Mega Evolution Special IV, both in a battle against Alain's Charizard. A Mega Venusaur used Thick Fat to halve 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.
Acerola's Gengar, the Greedy Rapooh, activated its Cursed Body Ability in its fight against Kiawe's Marowak in The Battlefield of Truth and Love!. In the same episode, Snowy activated its Snow Cloak Ability in its fight against Gladion's Umbreon.
In Bewitch, Battle, and Bewilder!, Cynthia's Togekiss activated its Ability Serene Grace to increase its chances to make Ash's Pikachu flinch with Air Slash. In the same episode, Cynthia's Roserade was burned by Ash's Gengar's Will-O-Wisp. In the next episode, Roserade was revealed to have used its Natural Cure Ability to heal itself upon being switched out.
In A Flood of Torrential Gains!, Leon's Cinderace activated its Hidden Ability Libero to change its type to match the move it used. During the same episode, Ash's Gengar activated Cursed Body against Leon's Mr. Rime.
In the manga
Be the Best! Pokémon B+W
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 him 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 her 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 his Thick Fat Ability.
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 him to redirect the bolt away from Donphan, buying Donphan enough time to destroy the generator with Rollout.
Groudon and Kyogre activated Drought and Drizzle, respectively, in The Beginning of the End with Kyogre & Groudon III.
The Battle Factory's Golem used Rock Head, and the Battle Factory's Pinsir, Mawile, and Linoone were revealed to have Hyper Cutter, Intimidate, and Pickup respectively by Emerald's Pokédex in Pinsir Me, I Must Be Dreaming.
In Just My Luck...Shuckle, Lucy's Shuckle and Milotic were revealed to have Sturdy and Marvel Scale respectively as their Abilitys by Emerald's Pokédex. Crystal's Rapidash was also revealed to have Run Away as his Ability by Emerald's Pokédex. Crystal's Blissey used Natural Cure in the same chapter.
Platinum's Cherrim activated Flower Gift in The Final Dimensional Duel X. In the same chapter, Diamond's Reg, the Lake guardians, Palkia, Dialga, Palmer's Cresselia, and Charon's Heatran all used Insomnia via Marley's Shaymin's Worry Seed.
In Zap!! A Rising Beam of Light, Casey's Scorbunny burned a Team Yell Grunt's Galarian Linoone. However, this ended up activating Linoone's Hidden Ability, Quick Feet. In the same chapter, a Team Yell Grunt's Thievul burned a Dynamaxed Gurdurr, activating his Ability, Guts. He was soon defeated and caught by Henry Sword.
Pokémon Battle Frontier
Pocket Monsters BW: The Heroes of Fire and Thunder
Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl
Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Adventure!
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.
Pocket Monsters Platinum: Aim to Be Battle King!!
Pokémon Pocket Monsters
Pokémon - The Legend of the Dragon King
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.
- Zygarde is the only Pokémon that has two standard Abilities but does not have a Hidden Ability.
- 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 a total of 76. Generation VI introduced the fewest, with a total of 27.
- In Generation III, there is an unused Ability placeholder labeled as "-------" with the description "No special ability".
- Every Ability introduced in Generation VIII is a signature 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.|