We’re here to talk about how abilities work, and which ones are actually worth considering in player vs. player battles. Some Pokemon are even viable in competitive play because of their abilities. We’ll be noting some of those in this guide as well.
What are Abilities in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl?
Abilities are built-in traits that every Pokemon in the game has access to. Introduced in Generation III, abilities provide passive effects for Pokemon to enjoy — whether in battle or in the overworld. For example, the ability Intimidate allows a Pokemon to automatically lower their opponent’s Attack stat by one stage upon switching in. The ability Sturdy, on the other hand, acts like a built-in Focus Sash.
Each Pokemon may only hold one ability at a time, though many — if not all — have access to more than just one. Some Pokemon even have what are called “Hidden Abilities”, which we’ll talk about in a later section.
Not all abilities are beneficial, though. Abilities like Truant and Slow Start actually work to the detriment of the Pokemon holding them. Also, abilities that work only in the overworld, such as Honey Gather, don’t have any use in actual battles. And with nearly 300 abilities throughout the mainline series, things can get quite confusing quickly.
How Exactly do Abilities Work?
In general, a Pokemon has access to three abilities. Two are Normal Abilities, and the third one being their Hidden Ability as mentioned in the previous section.
Normal Abilities come naturally to Pokemon, and which one a Pokemon has upon encountering it in the wild is determined by its personality value. We won’t get into the nitty-gritty of how personality values determine abilities, but to make things simple, we’ll just say it’s random chance.
For example, a Shinx caught in the wild may have either Rivalry or Intimidate, depending on what the random number generator spits out when the encounter happens. Therefore, it can take some time to catch a Pokemon of the same species with a competitively-viable ability, depending on luck.
It’s important to note using the Shinx example above that both Rivalry and Intimidate take up their own, fixed ability slots. Rivalry takes up slot 1, so to speak, while Intimidate takes up slot 2. On the surface, this doesn’t really seem like it would affect anything. But when it comes to evolution and how abilities can change as a result of it, each ability slot determines what might change when a Pokemon evolves.
For example, a Poochyena that possesses Run Away (slot 1) will evolve into a Mightyena with Intimidate. Conversely, a Poochyena that starts out with Quick Feet (slot 2) will evolve into a Mightyena with the same ability. This helps when it comes to choosing Pokemon of the same species, as some competitively viable abilities will be locked into a dedicated ability slot.
Hidden Abilities, introduced in Generation V, serve as a Pokemon’s “third” ability slot. These tend to be very powerful or even game-breaking in some cases, but generally speaking players can only obtain them through special means like real-world events.
In Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, though, an item called the Ability Patch allows players to change their Pokemon’s Normal Abilities into their Hidden Abilities. Players can obtain the Ability Patch in the Battle Park for 200 Battle Points (BP). In addition, using the Poke Radar to scout for wild Pokemon allows players to more easily look for Pokemon with Hidden Abilities.
Contrary to the evolution mechanics for Normal Abilities, a Pokemon that possesses its Hidden Ability from the outset will always possess its evolved forms’ Hidden Abilities as well. For example, a Dragonair with Marvel Scale will evolve into a Dragonite with Multiscale, the latter of which is its Hidden Ability.
For more details on how to obtain certain Hidden Abilities, check out the entry on the topic on Bulbapedia.
Which Abilities are the Best in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl?
As mentioned before, not every ability in the game is going to make a difference in competitive play. But with nearly 300 of them out there, narrowing the list down to the most useful ones in PvP battles would be a pretty big task still.
Nevertheless, here are some of the best and most commonly used abilities in competitive battles in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl:
- Adaptability — Increases the Same Type Attack Bonus (STAB) of a Pokemon by 50 percent. Highly desirable for all-out attackers, and for Pokemon with two useful offensive types with powerful STAB attacks like Crawdaunt.
- Analytic — Powers up a Pokemon’s attacking moves by 30 percent if they move last in a given turn. Acts sort of like Life Orb, but for slower Pokemon and without the drawback of taking away health with every attack.
- Chlorophyll — Doubles a Pokemon’s Speed under the sun.
- Competitive — Doubles a Pokemon’s Special Attack stat, for each time any of its stats are lowered.
- Defiant — Doubles a Pokemon’s Attack Stat, for each time any of its stats are lowered.
- Drizzle — Automatically summons heavy rain for five turns, or eight turns if the Pokemon holds a Damp Rock. Mandatory for rain teams.
- Drought — Automatically summons harsh sun for five turns, or eight turns if the Pokemon holds a Heat Rock. Mandatory for sun teams.
- Flame Body — When a Pokemon with Flame Body is hit by another Pokemon with a contact move, there is a 30 percent chance of burning the attacker.
- Flash Fire — Gives the wielder complete immunity to Fire-type moves. If the wielder absorbs a Fire-type move, its own Fire-type moves receive a 50 percent power boost.
- Guts — If a Pokemon with Guts has a status effect, its Attack stat receives a 50 percent increase. This ability ignores the Attack-lowering effect of burns.
- Heatproof — Halves all incoming Fire-type damage, while also halving the damage per turn of the burn status effect.
- Huge Power — Doubles a Pokemon’s base Attack stat.
- Intimidate — Lower’s the opposing Pokemon’s Attack stat by one stage upon switching in. One of the best abilities in the entire series.
- Levitate — Gives a Pokemon immunity to Ground-type moves, regardless of its typing.
- Magic Bounce — Blocks status-inflicting moves like Toxic or Will-O-Wisp, and returns them back to the user. Also affects entry hazards like Stealth Rock.
- Magic Guard — Gives a Pokemon immunity to residual damage, such as from entry hazards and/or status effects.
- Magnet Pull — Prevents opposing Steel-type Pokemon from switching out. Commonly used by Magnezone, this ability allows it to trap Steel types and eliminate them.
- Mold Breaker — Mold Breaker allows a Pokemon’s moves to ignore the effects of other abilities. For example, a Pokemon with Mold Breaker can hit Levitate users with Ground-type moves.
- Multiscale — When at full health, a Pokemon with Multiscale takes half damage from all incoming attacking moves.
- Overcoat — Renders a Pokemon immune to damage from weather effects like sandstorm or hail, as well as powder-based status moves like Sleep Powder.
- Poison Heal — Heals a Pokemon when it is poisoned. Combine with Toxic Orb for best results.
- Rough Skin — Deals damage to opposing Pokemon that make contact with the wielder, equivalent to 6.25 percent of its maximum health.
- Sand Stream — Automatically summons a sandstorm for five turns, or eight turns if the Pokemon holds a Smooth Rock. Mandatory for sand teams.
- Sheer Force — Increases the base power of a Pokemon’s attacking moves by 30 percent, in exchange for nullifying any secondary effects. For example, Sludge Bomb would effectively have a base power of 117, but would have zero chance to poison the opposing Pokemon.
- Skill Link — Multi-hitting moves from this Pokemon will always hit the maximum number of times.
- Snow Warning — Automatically summons hail for five turns, or eight turns if the Pokemon holds an Icy Rock. Mandatory for hail teams.
- Sturdy — If at full health, this Pokemon survives one hit with at least one health. Also renders the Pokemon immune to one-hit KO moves like Fissure.
- Swift Swim — Doubles a Pokemon’s speed in rain.
- Synchronize — If this Pokemon receives a status effect, its opponent also receives the same status effect.
- Technician — Boosts a Pokemon’s attacking moves with less than 60 base power by 50 percent.
- Thick Fat — Halves incoming damage from Fire or Ice-type attacking moves.
- Unaware — This Pokemon ignores any stat changes when taking or dealing damage.