DO NOT USE THEM — You've been warned.
Some Pokémon have been blessed by Arceus with amazing abilities, and others were cursed with rotten ones — the worst Pokémon abilities often relegate otherwise-promising battlers to the lower tiers of competitive play or worse ... the storage PC!
Abilities were introduced to the already-complex game of Pokémon in Generation 3 and they completely upended the competitive landscape. Some Pokémon who were mediocre in Gens 1-2 suddenly skyrocketed to prominence — while others, who were once popular, faded into obscurity.
But, which abilities are the absolute worst? This list examines the top (or bottom?) 20 Pokémon abilities that are useless, annoying and downright debilitating in battle!
20. Run Away
'Run Away' allows a Pokémon with this ability to always flee successfully during battles with wild Pokémon, regardless of trapping moves and abilities.
This ability does not work during trainer battles, which makes it completely useless during competitive play.
Pokémon who can have the 'Run Away' ability: caterpie (hidden), weedle (hidden), rattata, raticate, oddish (hidden), venonat (hidden), ponyta, rapidash, doduo, dodrio, eevee, sentret, furret, aipom, dunsparce, snubbull, poochyena, wurmple (hidden), nincada (hidden), kricketot (hidden), pachirisu, buneary, patrat, lillipup (hidden), nickit, thievul, wooloo
Pokémon with the 'Illuminate' ability are able to increase their trainer's wild Pokémon encounter rate by 100% when they're in the first place in the party, even if they're fainted.
'Illuminate' has no effect during a Pokémon battle, which makes it completely useless in a fight.
Pokémon who can have the 'Illuminate' ability: staryu, starmie, chinchou, lanturn, volbeat, wachog, morelull, shiinotic
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18. Honey Gather
The 'Honey Gather' ability gives Pokémon who have it the chance to receive an item — honey — after battle if they do not already have a held item.
Since honey is completely useless IN battle, and the active part of this ability doesn't happen DURING battle either, it's easy to see why this ability is included in this list.
Pokémon who can have the 'Honey Gather' ability: teddiursa (hidden), combee, cutiefly, ribombee
Outside of battle, Pokémon with the 'Pickup' ability have a 10% chance of receiving a held item after their trainer wins a Pokémon battle, even if they did not participate or are fainted.
During a battle, a Pokémon with 'Pickup' will collect a one-time item that another Pokémon used at the end of the turn.
This effect is super situational and unlikely to ever help you in a competitive battle because of the specialized game play of each attacking Pokemon.
Pokémon who can have the 'Pickup' ability: meowth, aipom, teddiursa, phanpy, zigzagoon, linoone, pachirisu, ambipom, munchlax, lillipup, bunnelby, diggersby, dedenne, pumpkaboo, gourgeist, pikipek (hidden), trumbeak (hidden)
During battle, Pokémon with the 'Forewarn' ability show their trainer the highest-powered move of their opponent. If two or more of the opponent's moves have the same power, one of the moves will be chosen and shown at random.
Experienced and competitive Pokémon battlers have built their teams so carefully that they know which Pokémon they can setup against, take advantage of, and which opposing Pokémon threaten members of their own team. They already know which moves each of the opponents Pokémon are most likely to have, so the 'Forewarn' ability is effectively useless.
You're better off choosing a Pokémon with an ability that actually HELPS you in battle!
Pokémon who can have the 'Forewarn' ability: drowzee, hypno, jynx, smoochum, munna, musharna
Usually, having a trick up your sleeve is a good thing in a Pokémon battle. But, unfortunately, Pokémon with the 'Magician' ability don't really have a good trick.
'Magician' allows a Pokémon with this ability to steal the held item of another Pokémon when it hits it with a damaging move. It will not activate if the 'Magician' is already holding an item.
Usually, competitive Pokémon are holding items that benefit them in battle, so stealing their item is actually semi-useful. But, it doesn't really help YOUR Pokémon's battle strategy, and you're probably better off holding an item with an effect that will assist you in a way that you can better plan for.
Pokémon who can have the 'Magician' ability: fennekin (hidden), braixen (hidden), delphox (hidden), klefki (hidden), hoopa
'Pickpocket' allows Pokémon with this ability to steal the held item of an attacking Pokémon when that Pokémon makes contact with a physical move. It will only activate if the 'Pickpocket' Pokémon does not already have a held item or if it is knocked out by the attacking move.
Like 'Magician' mentioned before, stealing an opponent's held item can be semi-useful, but it's mostly situational. But with 'Pickpocket', unlike 'Magician', you have to wait for an opposing Pokémon to hit you before it activates! Ouch. Overall, 'Pickpocket' is far too passive and situational to be useful in a competitive environment.
Pokémon who can have the 'Pickpocket' ability: sneasel (hidden), seedot (hidden), nuzleaf (hidden), shiftry (hidden), weavile (hidden), binacle (hidden), barbarcle (hidden), impidimp (hidden), morgrem (hidden), grimmsnarl (hidden)
13. Plus / Minus
The two abilities, 'Plus' and 'Minus', raise the special attack of the Pokémon with the ability when an ally Pokémon on the battlefield has 'Plus' or 'Minus'.
Originally, these abilities were only available for Plusle and Minun, however, it was expanded to a handful of other Pokémon in Generation 3.
Even though there are more Pokémon with the chance of carrying these abilities, they're only activated in double battles and in extremely limited situations.
What's more, most of the Pokémon with these abilities are of similar typing and compounding weaknesses is NEVER a good strategy when battling unless you're cruisin' for a bruisin'!
Pokémon who can have the 'Plus' -OR- 'Minus' abilities: mareep (hidden), flaaffy (hidden), ampharos (hidden), plusle, klink, klang, klinklang, dedenne (hidden), toxtricity, electrike (hidden), manectric (hidden)
12. Weak Armor
When Pokémon with the 'Weak Armor' ability are hit by a physical move, their defense is decreased by one stage and their speed is increased by one stage. If the physical move that they're hit with is a multi-strike move (such as 'Rock Blast'), each hit activates 'Weak Armor'.
As a general rule, any move or ability that decreases your Pokémon's stats in some way is not desirable unless the trade-off benefit it receives far outweighs the stat loss (i.e. 'Shell Smash').
In the case of 'Weak Armor', the single stage boost to speed isn't worth the loss of defense. Plus, it only activates when your Pokémon is hit by a physical attack which makes this ability too passive and unpredictable to be useful.
Pokémon who can have the 'Weak Armor' ability: onix (hidden), omanyte (hidden), omastar (hidden), kabuto (hidden), kabutops (hidden), slugma (hidden), magcargo (hidden), Galarian corsola, skarmory (hidden), roggenrola, boldore, dwebble (hidden), crustle (hidden), garbodor, vanillite (hidden), vanillish (hidden), vanilluxe (hidden), vullaby (hidden), mandibuzz (hidden), sinistea, polteageist, cursola
11. Heavy Metal
'Heavy Metal' doubles the weight of Pokémon with this ability and it's the only way any Pokémon can weigh more than 999.99 kg. For most Pokémon with this ability, it's hidden.
Weighing more has notable benefits, but they're very few and far between. Moves like 'Heavy Slam' and 'Heat Crash' will do more damage with this ability ... and that's about it folks!
On the flip side, there are relatively common attacking moves that will do more damage to Pokémon with the 'Heavy Metal' ability. 'Grass Knot' and 'Low Kick' are two of the main culprits, and they also have the added benefit of being super-effective against many 'Heavy Metal' Pokémon.
Pokémon who can have the 'Heavy Metal' ability: aron (hidden), lairon (hidden), aggron (hidden), bronzor (hidden), bronzong (hidden), cufant (hidden), copperajah (hidden), duraludon
10. Light Metal
While doubling your weight with 'Heavy Metal' was bad, halving it with 'Light Metal' is arguably worse. It really doesn't do anything for Pokémon with this ability except for reduce the amount of damage taken from moves like 'Grass Knot' and 'Low Kick'.
But, experienced attacking trainers wouldn't use those moves against the Pokémon who can have this ability in general because they mostly resist or are neutral to them and would opt to attack with more effective moves.
Pokémon who can have the 'Light Metal' ability: scizor (hidden), beldum (hidden), metang (hidden), metagross (hidden), registeel (hidden), duraludon
Pokémon with the 'Damp' ability prevent other Pokémon from using moves like 'Explosion', 'Mind Blown', 'Misty Explosion' and 'Self-Destruct'.
These aren't very common attacking moves in competitive Pokémon battles, but some Pokémon like blacephalon, golem, electrode, and weezing are more likely to have them than others.
'Damp' is really only useful if you're hunting for specific shiny Pokémon who use self-destrucing moves. Otherwise, it's pretty useless in battle.
Pokémon who can have the 'Damp' ability: paras (hidden), parasect (hidden), psyduck, golduck, poliwag, poliwhirl, poliwrath, horsea (hidden), seadra (hidden), politoed, wooper, quagsire, kingdra (hidden), mudkip (hidden), marshtomp (hidden), swampert (hidden), frillish (hidden), jellicent (hidden)
'Normalize' is about as useful as it sounds. It makes all the attacking moves, including status moves, used by Pokémon with this ability turn into normal type instead of their actual type.
Normal type is one of the worst offensive types in the game because it isn't super-effective against anything. Therefore, this ability really dulls the effectiveness of your attacking Pokémon's moves — especially since the goal is to carry coverage moves that allow you to score as many super-effective hits as possible!
'Normalize' also makes it so you're pretty much completely walled by ghost type Pokémon who are immune to normal-type attacks.
Pokémon who can have the Normalize ability: skitty, delcatty
7. Magma Armor
Fortunately, very few Pokémon are cursed with having 'Magma Armor' as one of their abilities. It prevents the Pokémon with 'Magma Armor' from being frozen solid, but it's really silly in practice.
The Pokémon who carry this ability are all fire type, so no one would use ice-type attacks on them because they're not very effective.
Even if there were non-fire-type Pokémon who had this ability, it would still be far too situational and passive of an ability to be useful in competitive play.
Pokémon who can have the 'Magma Armor' ability: slugma, magcargo, camerupt
6. Emergency Exit / Wimp Out
In a Pokémon battle, you generally send a Pokémon out on the battlefield to perform a specific action until a time which you determine it has done its job or its effectiveness has dwindled. Then, you recall the Pokémon and send out another.
This decision-making is one of the most important parts of a Pokémon battle and the abilities 'Emergency Exit' and 'Wimp Out' basically take that right to choose away from you.
There are some nuances to how these abilities works (i.e. they will not activate if their hit points drop below 50% due to hurting themselves in confusion, with substitute, belly drum, etc.), but it's generally a terrible ability that only serves to stall your momentum.
Pokémon who can have the 'Emergency Exit' -OR- 'Wimp Out' abilities: wimpod, golisopod
'Klutz' prevents Pokémon who have this ability from using their held items. Since each Pokémon's held item is one of their most important tools in battle, it's easy to see why this ability is so high on our list of worst Pokémon abilities.
The only way 'Klutz' is useful is if you were to use the 'Switcheroo' attack to trade your opponent's item with something harmful like a 'Flame Orb', but the only Pokémon who can currently learn 'Switcheroo' and have 'Klutz' as an ability are Buneary and Lopunny — two Pokémon who aren't super prominent in competitive play.
Pokémon who can have the 'Klutz' ability: buneary, lopunny, woobat, swoobat, audino (hidden), golett, golurk, stufful, bewear, toxel (hidden)
'Stall' sounds much more useful than it actually is, since it's a very complex competitive battle strategy and many people love to run 'stall' teams! Unfortunately, this ability is completely unrelated and really doesn't live up to its name.
Most of the time, you put a lot of effort into managing your Pokémon's IVs and stats so you can move first. When you move first, you're able to get the upper hand in battle by dealing damage or setting up entry hazards.
'Stall' makes it so Pokémon who have this ability always move last. The only benefit to this ability is that it increases the power of attacks like Payback, but this ability is too situational to be worthwhile in a competitive sense.
Pokémon who can have the 'Stall' ability: sableye
'Defeatist' is an ability that makes you feel sad for the few Pokémon who have it. Like, what did they do to make Game Freak hate them so much?!
This awful ability lowers its users special and physical attack by 50% when their own hit points are 50% or less.
Considering the only two Pokémon who currently have 'Defeatist' as an ability — archen and archeops — are also weak to common entry hazards like 'stealth rock', it makes using them in competitive battles that much more difficult.
Pokémon who can have the 'Defeatist' ability: archen, archeops
2. Slow Start
Some abilities were clearly introduced for parity's sake, and 'Slow Start' is definitely one of them. It causes the attack and speed stat of the using Pokémon to be 50% of their normal values during the first 5 turns. This resets each time the 'Slow Start' Pokémon is switched out.
Fortunately, only one Pokémon has this ability. Unfortunately, for Regigigas, it pulled the short straw. During the first five turns of battle, Regigigas' is weaker than rhyhorn and slower than onix.
But, not all is lost! Regigigas has incredible stats that sometimes allow it to overcome this terrible ability. There are also other ways around it in double battles: 'Slow Start' can be negated by moves like 'Gastro Acid', 'Skill Swap' and "Worry Seed'.
Pokémon who can have the 'Slow Start' ability: Regigigas
Finally, the WORST ability in Pokémon battling ... 'Truant'!
'Truant' makes it so Pokémon who have this ability can only attack every other turn. They're basically so lazy that they can only muster up enough energy to attack after they take a break.
It's clear why this is an incredibly detrimental ability to have in a competitive Pokémon battle. It makes your battle strategy super predictable and allows you to be completely walled with attacks like 'protect'.
Pokemon who can have the 'Truant' ability: slakoth, slaking, durant (hidden)
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