AOTW: Stall

Oh column. Sometimes you’re too good to me. So good that it actually makes things a little harder. Here I am, picking Abilities almost arbitrarily on a weekly basis, and then having to figure out a somewhat clever lead-in to the article. Maybe a play on words? A what-if scenario? How about a pop-culture reference? And then fate just decides to go a throw me an Ability with a name so obvious to its effect, there’s really nothing I can say except complain that all I can say is this is Ability of the Week: Stall!

This could be a tricky one to explain in simple terms, so buckle up, people. We first encountered Stall when we laid eyes on the lake-dotted vistas of the Sinnoh region in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Versions, where we would find it the new signature Ability of the generation three monster, Sableye. The Darkness Pokémon already had a few tricks up its sleeve, being the first known pokémon to exploit the lack of elemental weakness that comes with the novel Dark/Ghost type combination. Generation four brought with it Spiritomb, making Dark/Ghost more than a one ‘mon party, but Sableye’s new Ability would help it to maintain relevance.

Stall’s effect takes hold when the pokémon wielding it and the You probably haven't heard of it.pokémon opposing it both use moves in the same priority bracket. As long as the opponent’s pokémon or teammates are using attacks that are in the same or higher priority bracket, the pokémon with Stall will always move last. An opponent packing a decreased priority attack, like Revenge, or is using a held item like the Lagging Tail will ignore the effects of Stall and move second, but I wouldn’t count on encountering too many opponents with a contingency plan against such an obscure Ability. Of course, combined with Sableye’s natural STAB for Dark moves with Stall makes Payback an ideal move.

You could also try your hand at incorporating Stall into your Trick Room team (particularly a doubles Trick Room team), as Stall ignores the effects of the dimension-bending attack. Trick Room teams are all about making the slow, bulky powerhouses into wicked fast sweepers. Throwing in a Stalling Sableye will confuse your opponent, who will likely be sending out their slowest pokémon to try and out Trick Room yours. Using it on any doubles team offers a few fun possibilities. Pairing Sableye with a pokémon with lots of buffing moves like Swords Dance, Double Team, or Iron Defense will allow it to gain the same boosts on the same turn with Psych Up. You could also have the partner poke Sableye with a low-powered attack, and get a powered up Payback every turn. Stall can also provide a guaranteed one-two punch when partnered with a Spore-user, as one of Sableye’s TM moves is Dream Eater.

So, that’s Stall! An interesting little chess piece of an Ability that could help you breed some imaginative new strategies! Keep those wheels on the Battle Subway turning, and I’ll see you next time!