AOTW: Sheer Force

Last time on Ability of the Week, we talked about Liquid Ooze, which turns your opponent’s HP-stealing moves against them. We also discussed adding onto the effect with moves like Toxic for some damage over time. While building damage slowly is fun (particularly watching your friend’s reaction), sometimes you just wanna get in there with some blunt-force trauma to Pikachu’s cutesy little face. This week we’re talking about an Ability that can give an automatic boost to your damage-dealing moves and Hulk out your pokémon! This is Ability of the Week: Sheer Force!

Sheer Force. This is a pretty sweet Ability. Think of it as a built-in Life Orb, just with a different catch. While the Life Orb drains a bit of HP for each move you use in exchange for a 30% boost, Sheer Force gives that 30% boost without the HP cost, but only to a limited pool of moves. Specifically, moves that have secondary effects, but moves that cause recoil or stat reduction like Submission or Close Combat don’t count. But! In the hands of a Hariyama with Sheer Force and a Life Orb, even the lowly Rock Smash can dish out over 100 damage!Things like Thunderbolt’s 10% chance to paralyze the opponent, or Waterfall’s new 20% chance to cause the opponent to flinch do fit into Sheer Force’s criteria. If I’m counting correctly, there are 108 different moves that work with Sheer Force. The catch is that those secondary effects go out the window, but that’s a small price to pay when you consider the extra icing on this particular cake. If you have a Sheer Force-using pokémon and you do equip it with the Life Orb, any time you use a move that your Ability affects, the move will receive the boost from both Sheer Force and the Life Orb without Life Orb draining your own HP! That’s two 30% boosts without any drawback other than negating your secondary effects, and if you equip it to the right pokémon, you’ve got a great shot at a one-hit KO, so who cares about that!?

Twenty-four pokémon have access to Sheer Force, most of them through the Dream World, and pretty much all of them are heavy hitters. We’re talking the likes of Rampardos, Hariyama, Kingler, Druddigon, and Conkeldurr, just to name a few. Playing Devil’s Advocate, let’s assume you go with a Nidoking with Sheer Force and a Life Orb. A typical Nidoking would probably have Earthquake and Poison Jab in it’s moveset. Keep the Poison Jab, but you can ditch the Earthquake, and here’s why: Nidoking does have superior base physical attack as opposed to special, but it’s by a margin of less than 10. Switch out Earthquake to Earth Power, and now you have a STAB’d Sheer Force move! Earthquake, with STAB and Life Orb dishes out 195 base damage. Earth Power, conversely, with STAB, Sheer Force, and Life Orb, deals about 230 base damage with no Life Orb HP reduction! Poison Jab on this same Nidoking sits at a hefty 203 base damage as well! Scour Bulbapedia and see if you can find something you like, because there’s a lot to choose from!

I’m outta here, trainers! Don’t forget that Wednesday marks the debut of PKMNcast’s explicit podcast, Leftovers- I know I’ll be listening!