AOTW: Serene Grace

Ladies, gentlemen, year two of PKMNCast has commenced, and with it, Ability of the Week #30. Let’s settle in. My favorite way to play Pokémon is rather juvenile, I’ll be the first to admit. I love stacking damage like a fiend, and there’s nothing better than scoring a one-hit knockout. But, my own personal preferences aside, there is definitely a case to be made for inflicting status ailments and doing it often. Well… maybe there’s a way that we can have both, and you know what they say about “where there’s a Wil!” This is Ability of the Week: Serene Grace!

Serene Grace shows up a LOT in the Featured Team segment on It’s Super Effective, and it’s pretty easy to see why. Introduced in the Abilities base set back in days of the Game Boy Advance Pokémon titles, Serene Grace was originally available to six pokémon, and that number has doubled as of generation five. Appropriately enough, too, because that’s precisely what Serene Grace does. If a move used by your pokémon with Serene Grace has a chance to activate a secondary effect, Serene Grace will double the probability of that secondary effect occurring. Bulbapedia gives the example of Rock Smash’s 50% chance to lower the target’s Defense by 1, now will always do so.

Twelve pokémon have access to Serene Grace, and all but one evolutionary line can acquire it naturally- no Dream World excursions necessary. The Serene Grace-users include Dunsparce, Jirachi, Shaymin, the Deerling line, the Chansey line, and Meloetta , but the most notable Serene Grace user (as far as Featured Team is concerned) is the Togepi line. And for good reason! This guy has a huge move pool with lots of additional effect attacks, and it knows how to use them. One particular Togekiss that comes through quite a bit combines Thunder Wave and a STAB’d Air Slash, making it an excellent staller. Serene Grace boosts Air Slash’s 30% chance to cause the opponent to flinch to an impressive 60%, which, when combined with the 25% chance of losing their turn entirely, makes a Serene Grace-using Togekiss a daunting opponent. Dunsparce also has access to this combo, just substitute in Headbutt or Bite for Air Slash. Back to Togekiss, it may also learn Ancient Power or (in generation four) Ominous Wind or Silver Wind, which with Serene Grace have a 20% chance to boost Attack, Sp. Attack, Defense, and Sp. Defense by one stage.

While Togekiss and Dunsparce probably take advantage of Serene Grace the most, all of these guys have access to TM moves with secondary effects. I talked a lot about the Togekiss stalling combo, but there’s also moves like Poison Jab. Normally, it has a 30% chance to poison the target, as well as being a great attack. Thunderbolt, Flamethrower, and Ice Beam are all elevated to a 20% chance to inflict their individual status effects. All of the Serene Grace users can learn Shadow Ball, so they all get a 40% chance to lower the target’s Special Defense.

That does it for me this week, trainers! This is an Ability I’ve been wanting to tackle for a while, being that it shows up so often in the site’s most popular segment, so I hope you enjoyed it. Next weekend I’ll be attending Wizard World Chicago Comic Con with my other comrades of sequential imagery from Lonely Robot Comics. As usual, if you’re going to be in the area the weekend of the 13th, stop by our Artist’s Alley booth! If you buy any two Lonely Robot Comics books and mention The Pokémon Podcast to me, I’ll do a free pencil sketch of you as a pokémon trainer (or whatever you want, I’m open to anything). See you next time, folks!