AOTW: Guts

What’s up, pokémaniacs? Ability of the Week is back this week, and back to mixing it up between all the generations of the franchise we know and love that featured the passive pokémon powers! Today we’re heading back to the heyday of the GBA, with one of the Abilities that debuted in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. We’re finding an excuse for inducing all that ails you, because this is Ability of the Week: Guts!

Guts, and its spiritual siblings, Quick Feet and Marvel Scale, are Abilities that activate when the pokémon with the Ability is afflicted with a burn, paralysis, or poison. While Quick Feet increases your Speed and Marvel Scale your Defense, with Guts it’s all about giving a boost to your Attack stat. A 50% boost, to be exact! So, how do you take advantage of this Ability? You can’t exactly bank on your opponent packing a Thunder Wave up his sleeve. Fortunately, there are a couple of held items you can use to activate Guts without fail at the end of the first turn of battle. I am, of course, referring to the Flame Orb and Toxic Orb. Don’t worry about the Attack decrease from being burned, Guts ignores that. Your health will decrease quickly, but your pokémon is now the Incredible Hulk.

Twenty-one pokémon have access to Guts, and twelve evolutionary lines. Interestingly, a couple of the pokémon that have Guts must not evolve to continue taking advantage of the Ability. Namely, Tyrogue and Larvitar. Four of the twenty-one Guts-users must obtain it in the Dream World, and those monsters are the Luxray evolutionary line and Flareon. Some big-time hitters have access to Guts, too, making it a highly useful Ability. Monsters like Heracross, Conkeldurr, Machamp, and Hariyama can take advantage of Guts and score massive damage against their opponents.

Of course, one cannot discuss Guts without bringing up the move it goes hand-in-hand with: Façade. For those that don’t know, Façade is a Normal-type move that normally deals 70 damage, but doubles to 140 when the user is poisoned, burned, or paralyzed. What’s more, every single Guts-user, and indeed, every pokémon that can learn TM moves in the first place, can learn Façade. Three of the pokémon that can use Guts will also get a STAB when using this move. The first is Raticate (81 Attack, meh), Swellow (85, bit better), and the man, the myth, the legend… Ursaring (130 Attack, holy crap).

Where is your God now!?

Let’s break this down. Façade has a base damage of 70. You induce a status ailment, increasing its base damage to 140. Ursaring’s STAB adds a 1.5 multiplier, bringing it up to 210. Ursaring’s base Attack is 130, and when Guts is activated, it increases to 195 base Attack. Unfortunately, I’m still without a reliable damage calculator or an easy manual formula, but I don’t need to do the rest of the math to know that that’s a heck of a lot of damage! And here’s a fun suggestion for a doubles match: pair your teddy bear with something faster than it that has access to Toxic, Will-O-Wisp, Poison Gas, etc, and have the partner attack Ursaring with it. Instead of having Ursaring hold a Toxic or Flame Orb, have it hold the Life Orb. Now you’re getting your Guts and Façade bonuses, plus a 30% bonus to all your moves including Façade, at about the same cost as the bad poison ailment from the Toxic Orb! That means that on the first turn, if I’m doing my math properly, Façade will dish out 273 base damage before your Attack stat (where the Guts bonus lies) is even factored in! And the bonuses don’t even have to stop there! Throw a Swords Dancing Baton Passer on your team, and have Ursaring start with a +6 boost to his Attack stat before Guts is even activated! Ursaring: He’s tooougher than the av-er-age bear!

It’s risky business using Guts, but if you use it properly, you can decimate your opponent’s team in nothing flat! Train hard, train smart, and I’ll see you next week, folks! This is the absurd editor of all things Ability, signing out!