AOTW: Plus and Minus

It’s interesting writing this article sometimes. Generation three is, by necessity, an important set of games to Ability of the Week, being the games that introduced the titular mechanic. Of course, many of us who are readers of this site and listeners of this podcast never played generation three. As such, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that most of you have never heard of this week’s passive powers, because up until now, you could only find them on generation three’s Not-Pikachus, Plusle and Minun. (Look at me, I’m coining a phrase for the generation Pikachu knock-offs!) This is Ability of the Week: Plus AND Minus!

Now, if you’re like me, you’ve been aware of Plusle and Minun, at the Same difference, right?very least because of the PKMNcast t-shirts evoking their designs, but you’ve probably never bothered trying to use them. In fact, I have more fond memories of Mas and Menos from Teen Titans than these two. First of all, they’re both pretty rare. Usually, they inhabit only one location in the game, or at least it’s required to use an item like the Hoenn Sound to find them. Apart from their rarity… they’re not especially great battlers, with stat totals of only 405 apiece, and none of their individual stats break the 100 mark. Until, that is, you factor in their Abilities. In a double battle, when a pokémon with Plus is partnered with a pokémon with Minus, they each get a 50% boost to their Special Attack stats. Plusle’s Special Attack goes up to 127, while the more defensive Minun sees an increase to 111. And actually, the Abilities’ rule about opposite polarities activating the Special Attack boost has since been removed. Now if two pokémon with Plus are on the field, the boost will still occur, and the same goes for two pokémon with Minus. Doesn’t make much sense to me, but hey, if it works…

The thing about Plusle and Minun is that when you see them together, you know that they’re designed to be a pair. Take out one, and the other will go down far easier because it’s lost its partner. But nowadays in Pokémon Black and White, there are three new evolutionary lines that can gain these Abilities. The Klinklang line may naturally have either Plus or Minus, and via the Dream World, the Ampharos line gains Plus while the Manetric line gets Minus. A Klinklang with its Ability activated actually has a greater Special Attack stat than standard Attack. Suddenly that Flash Cannon doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, does it? Meanwhile, Ampharos is looking at a Special Attack of 172 with Plus activated, and Manetric 157. I think it goes without saying that these already Special Attack-heavy monsters are a force to be reckoned with these polarity-driven Abilities in play.

That does it for me in this twofer AOTW! I’ll see you next time, poké-fans!