19 Best Defensive Pokémon Abilities
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19 best defensive Pokémon abilities

Sometimes the best offense is a good defense. These abilities showcase that.

Every Pokémon has an ability, and some are more suited to offense while others are to defense. Here are the 19 best defensive Pokémon abilities.

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This is a very subjective and relative list, as quantifying what is a more valuable defensive ability is not exactly black and white like a certain set of games in the franchise. With that in mind, these are the best defensive abilities the game has to offer.

19. Harvest

Harvest gives the Pokémon a 50% chance to get a new berry after its current one is consumed at the end of each turn. While you could potentially use this ability offensively as well, it is best suited to defense with a Sitrus Berry, especially on Pokémon with Leech Seed such as Trevenant, Tropius, and Arbolivia. Combined with Protect and Substitute, this can get annoying quickly if your luck is good.

18. Shield Dust

Shield Dust protects the Pokémon from the secondary effects of attacks. This can be very situationally valuable — no burns from Scald, no Poison from Sludge Bomb, no defensive stat lowering from moves like Liquidation, Crunch, Shadow Ball, Energy Ball, Psychic, Earth Power, etc. All of these can be a pain for defensive Pokémon to deal with.

17. Intimidate

Intimidate lowers the attack stat of the opposing Pokémon when the Pokémon with the ability is sent out. This is a fun and cheeky ability that can get annoying quickly when you keep switching an Intimidate Pokémon in to hinder any physical attackers trying to keep momentum and knock out an entire team. And I don’t know about you, but I love being cheeky and annoying in a battle. Especially if it’s with a friend.

16. Battle Armor/Shell Armor

These abilities both protect the Pokémon from critical hits. Not being able to critically hit a Pokémon is massively valuable, as critical hits deal 1.5x more damage than normal hits and ignore stat changes, meaning they rip through defense boosts. This means you can always know for certain the damage range an attack will do without having to account for an extra variable.

15. Sand Veil and Snow Cloak

These abilities boost evasion in sandstorm and snowstorm weather effects respectively. This means it’s harder to land moves on Pokémon with these abilities as long as the correct weather effect is up. Is it a pain to deal with? You bet. Time to once again test the luck stat.

14. Bulletproof and Soundproof

Bulletproof protects the user from all bomb and bullet moves, while Soundproof blocks all sound moves. Soundproof Pokémon therefore cannot have their Subsititues bypassed except by Infiltrator. Meanwhile, Bulletproof protects you from select common attack moves such as Energy Ball, Shadow Ball, Sludge Bomb, Focus Blast, and Aura Sphere. Any of these can be quite nasty to take a hit from, but Bulletproof will save you from the blast.

Related: 17 strongest Pokemon of all time

13. Thick Fat

Thick Fat halves damage from Ice and Fire moves. This downgrades these two types to a resist or a neutral depending on the Pokémon’s typing. This ability is most useful on Mega Venusaur followed closely by Appletun. It effectively eliminates two of Venusaur’s weaknesses. In short, it’s an all-around useful ability to have for certain Pokémon.

12. The Absorption Abilities

Several abilities in the game give complete immunity to a type:

  • Levitate: Immunity to Ground-type moves.
  • Volt Absorb: Electric-type moves are absorbed as HP.
  • Lightning Rod: The Pokémon draws in all Electric-type moves and boosts Special Attack.
  • Water Absorb: Water-type moves are absorbed as HP.
  • Storm Drain: The Pokémon draws in all Water-type moves and boosts Special Attack.
  • Sap Sipper: The Pokémon’s attack stat is boosted instead of taking damage from Grass moves.
  • Flash Fire: The Pokémon absorbs fire-type moves and boosts the power of their own.
  • Well-baked Body: The Pokémon absorbs fire-type moves and has their defense raised one stage.

Of these, Well-baked Body, Volt Absorb, and Water Absorb are the most useful defensively, boosting defense or restoring HP as well as providing a type immunity.

11. Multiscale/Shadow Shield

These abilities both reduce the amount of damage a Pokémon takes when their HP is full. This allows a defensive Pokémon to more easily heal from damage and get their defenses up. It’s just a shame these abilities only cover three Pokémon in the entire game when more of them could benefit.

10. Disguise and Ice Face

The signature abilities of Mimikyu and Eiscue respectively, Disguise takes one hit for Mimikyu with only a 12% HP loss, and Ice Face will take one physical hit for Eiscue before its protective ice helmet melts, though it regenerates in Snow weather. These two abilities have even drawbacks, so they go on the list together. Nonetheless, they make their respective Pokémon a valuable defense to any team. Being able to freely absorb even a single hit in a battle can sometimes make the difference between a win or loss.

9. Filter, Solid Rock, and Prism Armor

All three of these abilities reduce the power of supereffective moves on the target. This is an incredibly valuable defensive boost to make any Pokémon survive better out in a battle if they can even take hits that are most likely to decimate them. These are especially valuable for Pokémon with 4x weaknesses, of which Dawn Wings Necrozma and all four Pokémon with Solid Rock possess, so they really needed this one.

8. Marvel Scale and Ice Scales

Marvel Scale increases the defense of a Pokémon by 50% if it has a status condition. This means you can put a Flame Orb on a Pokémon, and for the cost of a burn condition, your Pokémon is far more physically durable. Ice Scales, meanwhile, halves damage taken from special attack moves. Both are valuable with a similar effect in opposing directions. Needless to say, they go a long way to making your Pokémon survive more hits.

7. Stamina

Stamina increases the defense of the Pokémon by one stage every single time the Pokémon takes a hit. This can quickly stack up and get ridiculous with no extra effort on your part. This ability is especially funny if someone (which definitely wasn’t me a couple of times) dares to use a multi-hit move on a Pokémon with Stamina. It’s practically a free way to get maximum defense. Watch out, Cloyster, Torterra, and especially you, Maushold.

6. Poison Heal

Of all the abilities on this list, I would cite this one as the single most annoying. Poison heal gives a Pokémon +12% hp recovery at the end of each turn if they are poisoned. This means a Toxic Orb will instantly get you regeneration, and then you can hypothetically Fling the Toxic Orb off and steal a Leftovers from another Pokémon with Thief for even more regeneration. Gliscor makes the most annoying use of this ability with Protect and Substitute, making it almost impossible to take down without an Ice or Water move most of the time. Needless to say, Poison Heal is effective.

5. Regenerator

Potentially even more annoying than Poison Heal, Regenerator restores 30% of a Pokémon’s HP when it switches out. There are several Pokémon who make good use of this ability, and one is hard enough to take out sometimes. But when stacked in a team of multiple Regenerator Pokémon, winning a battle often becomes a nightmare without the right composition. This makes Regenerator a top-tier defensive ability.

4. Triage

My favorite ability on this list, Triage is the signature move of Comfey, and it catches everyone off guard. Triage gives +3 priority to all healing moves. Priority moves go first even if the other Pokémon is faster. The only higher priority moves than Triage are Protect and Detect. This means Comfey goes first using moves such as Giga Drain, Draining Kiss, and Synthesis. Most people don’t know about this ability and are caught off-guard when Comfey drains their Pokémon. And if they ever gave another Pokémon this ability, moves like Drain Punch, Bitter Blade, Roost/Recover, and Revival Blessing could all hypothetically have priority, which would be a nightmare. Of course, Skill Swap can make this a reality if you so desire.

3. Unaware

Unaware ignores stat boosts from the opposing Pokémon. This may not sound like much on the surface until you think about what that means. If the opposing Pokémon used a powerful stat-boosting move like Tail Glow, Nasty Plot, or Swords Dance, an Unaware Pokémon would take the same amount of damage from it. An Unaware Pokémon can stop a rampaging Pokémon dead in its tracks by shrugging off its power and retaliating. That makes it pretty difficult to cut through the defenses of some Unaware Pokémon.

2. Magic Guard

A Pokémon with Magic Guard can only be damaged by direct attacks. This means that Toxic, entry hazards, Leech Seed, Sandstorm, Salt Cure, etc won’t do any damage. You know what else won’t inflict damage? Life Orb. That alone makes this ability terrifying, but also incredibly valuable. A defensive Pokémon not needing to worry about Toxic allows it to have so much more room to keep itself alive indefinitely.

1. Wonder Guard

In theory, Wonder Guard is the ultimate defensive ability. A Pokémon with Wonder Guard can only be damaged by supereffective attacks, entry hazards, status moves, Leech Seed, etc. This makes a Pokémon otherwise unstoppable, with nothing else able to hit it for damage. In reality, this ability only naturally belongs to Shedinja, a Pokémon with a single hit point. But with the existence of moves like Skill Swap, Wonder Guard can be transferred in Double Battles, and in that, this ability still has the potential for scary levels of being nigh indestructible. It’s hard to top what Wonder Guard can do for a Pokémon in terms of pure defensive ability.

Those are the 19 best defensive Pokémon abilities in the game thus far. Sometimes the key to beating your opponent is simply to outlive them, and these abilities help you make the best of that.


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Author
Alexa BeMent
Alexa BeMent is an aspiring media creator and writer who may also secretly be a manatee masquerading as a human. A Virginia Tech graduate with Creative Writing and Cinema degrees, she has been a Freelance Writer for PC Invasion since February 2023, and enjoys writing stories and consuming video essays when she's not planning the Manatee Uprising. Having played video games since before she could read, she is a lover of all things Legend of Zelda, FFXIV, horror games, and can play competitive Pokémon, especially as a Ghost type Gym Leader. We don't discuss how big her Pokémon plush collection is.