Ever since Pokemon’s third generation, abilities have been a determining factor for how good a Pokemon could be. They could take an amazing Pokemon and make it terrible, like with Slaking and Truant. Alternatively, they can take a bad or mediocre Pokemon and raise it to new heights, like with Shedinja and Wonder Guard.
With every new set of games, a bevy of new abilities are introduced that can change everything, and Scarlet & Violet are no different. So let’s take a look at the best new abilities that are definitely going to make their mark on the ninth generation.
12/12 Earth Eater
In Pokemon, there are plenty of abilities that grant immunities and can even restore health, like Water Absorb and Volt Absorb. These make it easier for the user to swap into battle while also adding longevity to a Pokemon that may not have many recovery options. This is the case with Orthoworm and Earth Eater.
Earth Eater takes Ground-type damage and converts it to HP. Not only does this eliminate one of Orthoworm’s weaknesses, but it also prevents your opponent from spamming Earthquake, one of the most powerful physical moves in the game.
11/12 Guard Dog
One of the most common abilities you’ll see in competitive battles is Intimidate, which lowers the opponent’s Attack stat by one when every time the user enters the battle. It has made it so that physical attackers aren’t quite as viable as special attackers. Fortunately, the new ability Guard Dog completely curtails this.
Guard Dog takes that stat reduction and turns it into a boon, raising the Pokemon’s Attack instead of lowering it. This is awesome and can easily surprise opponents who aren’t ready for it.
10/12 Wind Rider
Tailwind is an incredible support move that doubles the Speed of all Pokemon on your side of the field. This is important in battle because it allows you to control the tempo of the battle. Wind Rider takes Tailwind even further by also boosting the user’s Attack stat by one stage.
On top of that, it grants the user immunity from any wind-based move. So even though Brambleghast is partially a Grass-type, it can’t be hurt by the likes of Hurricane, Blizzard, or Heat Wave. And it still gets the Attack boost! This makes Brambleghast a very threatening sweeper even though it’s incredibly frail.
9/12 Beads Of Ruin/Sword Of Ruin/Tablets Of Ruin/Vessel Of Ruin
While most people have drawn attention to the Box Legendaries and various Paradox Pokemon, another powerful group has slipped under the radar: the Ruinous Pokemon. These four Pokemon are incredibly strong with a single stat raised to astronomical heights. And this is aided by their different abilities.
Each member of this quartet has an ability that lowers a single stat of every Pokemon around them in order to make them stronger. Chi-Yu and Chien-Pao lower their defensive stats to make themselves hit harder while Wo-Chien and Ting-Lu lower their offensive stats to make themselves tankier. However, this also lowers the stats of your allies, so it’s a double-edged sword.
8/12 Well Baked Body
Some of the cutest Pokemon introduced in Scarlet & Violet are Fidough and its evolution Dachsbun. And while it seemed that Dachsbun would just be an adorable puppy and nothing more, it wound up getting an awesome new ability with Well-Baked Body.
Since Dachsbun is made of bread, it is completely undamaged by Fire-type attacks. In addition to the immunity, the Fire also causes its body to harden, raiding its Defense by two stages. That’s awesome, especially since every other absorbing attack that raises stats only does it by one. This looks to be one breed of dog that is incredibly well bread.
7/12 Zero To Hero
Transformative abilities are nothing new to Pokemon with Greninja changing based on its Battle Bond ability and Cherrim changing during the sun due to Flower Gift. However, we may be seeing one of the most powerful yet with Palafin and its Zero To Hero ability.
While Zero To Hero will make most people think of Disney’s Hercules, this ability is actually based on a superhero motif. Palafin needs to switch out from battle and when it returns, it will be in its Hero Form. This form is incredibly strong with 160 base Attack and a decent 100 base Speed. Slap on a Choice Scarf and you’ll have a truly dangerous sweeper.
6/12 Armor Tail
Another form of speed control is with the move Trick Room, which reverses the battle order so slower Pokemon move first. A great new Trick Room user is Farigiraf, the long-awaited evolution for Girafarig. What makes it so great is its great typing, decent bulk, and its ability Armor Tail.
One of the things that makes Trick Room harder to pull off is fast Pokemon with priority moves like Extreme Speed or Sucker Punch. With Armor Tail, all priority moves are negated for Farigiraf and its teammates. This means that there is a good chance we’re going to see a lot of Farigarif in competitive play.
5/12 Thermal Exchange
The easiest way to disable any physical attacker is to burn. This halves the Pokemon’s damage output while also taking away HP turn by turn. It’s one of the reasons moves like Scald and Will-O-Wisp have been so prevalent in competitive battles. Fortunately, the new Pseudo Legendary Baxcalibur has an answer to that with Thermal Exchange.
Thermal Exchange halves the damage dealt by any Fire-type move while also preventing Burns completely. This gives Baxcalibur a lot more longevity while also making it much harder to stop. Move over, Tyranitar. There’s a new kaiju in town.
4/12 Quark Drive/Protosynthesis
One of the most exciting things in the trailers leading up to Scarlet & Violet was the teases of Paradox Pokemon. Seeing an ancient and futuristic version of Donphan was awesome! But how strong were these Pokemon going to be? Well, not only are Paradox Pokemon incredibly powerful, but they also have awesome abilities.
Futuristic Paradox Pokemon have Quark Drive while their ancient brethren have Protosynthesis. The former raises the Pokemon’s highest stat in Electric Terrain while the latter does the same in Harsh Sunlight. This means that any of these paradoxes can be powerful sweepers in the right conditions.
3/12 Orichalcum Pulse/Hadron Engine
And those proper conditions can be set by the Box Legendaries Koraidon and Miraidon. With Koraidon’s Orichalcum Pulse, it summons Harsh Sunlight onto the field while Miraidon’s Hadron Engine ability summons Electric Terrain. But these abilities don’t stop there.
On top of the weather and terrain, Orichalcum Pulse and Hadron Engine boost Koraidon and Miraidon’s Attack and Special Attack respectively as long as their Sun and Electric Terrain are active. This is incredibly dangerous, especially considering these Legendaries’ already high stats.
2/12 supreme overlord
Some of the most broken new attacks in Scarlet & Violet have been ones that get a 50 base power increase for each of your party members that have fainted. But Game Freak wasn’t done doing this with attacks because Kingambit, the new evolution of Bisharp, has the same effect with its Supreme Overlord ability.
For each of its party members that is defeated, Kingambits Attack and Special Attack will raise by 10 percent. This means that if Kingambit is your final Pokemon, its attacking stats will be boosted by 50 percent overall. This is incredibly dangerous, especially since it gets access to a STAB priority move with Sucker Punch. Kingambit may be slow, but it is definitely going to pack a punch.
1/12 Good As Gold/Purifying Salt
If you said that the newest Pokemon games were going to have a golden snowboarder and sentient salt that looks like it’s out of Minecraft, no one would believe you. And if you also said that they’d have the best new abilities in the game, you’d be laughed at. Yet, here we are with Gholdengo’s Good As Gold and Garganacl’s Purifying Salt abilities.
Both Good As Gold and Purifying Salt prevent the user from being affected by status moves. That means they can’t be Paralyzed, Burnt, Poisoned, Frozen, or put to Sleep. These are supported even more by Gholdengo’s awesome Ghost/Steel-typing and Garganacl’s incredible physical bulk. While Purifying Salt is the better of the two since it reduces the damage dealt by Ghost-type moves in half, both are similar enough that they easily deserve to share the top spot.
NEXT: Pokemon With The Most Type Immunities