11 Best Hidden Abilities in Pokémon Sword & Shield (Ranked)

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Hidden abilities have come a long way since their introduction in Gen V.

It used to be unbelievably convoluted to get access to them, including some external steps that you had to take on the Pokémon website.

Nowadays you still need to jump through hoops to access them. But rather than flaming hoops suspended 20 feet above a shark tank, they’re more like walking through some hula hoops on a warm Summer’s day.

The reason these abilities take some effort to get is because of how powerful they are. So powerful, in fact, that I’ve put together a list ranking some of the best ones you should chase down in Sword and Shield.


11. Scrappy

Scrappy Pokémon SWSH Hidden Ability

Hidden abilities have a major impact on the metagame, so most of the abilities on this list are battle exclusive.

Scrappy, on the other hand, doesn’t see competitive use. It does have one particular niche use that is invaluable, though.

Scrappy allows the user to hit ghost-type Pokémon with moves that otherwise couldn’t. In other words, it allows you to False Swipe ghosts.

Pangoro has both Scrappy and False Swipe, making it a staple of many post-game Pokédex filling and shiny hunting teams, including my own.


10. Moody

Moody Pokémon Sword & Shield screenshot

Moody is a niche hidden ability that can turn otherwise useless Pokémon into monsters.

It’s limited to a handful of weak ‘mons, but we’ll get to that.

On every turn, Moody will raise one random stat by +2 and decrease another by -1. That’s not OU territory, but it is both powerful and fun.

More importantly, though, both Bidoof and Bibarel can get this ability.

The concept of a staller Bidoof with Eviolite, Substitute, and Toxic that has Moody is incredibly amusing. Imagine the terror in your opponent’s eyes when they realize their Ubers team can’t do a thing to touch your buff beaver.


9. Poison Heal

Poison Heal in Pokémon Sword & Shield

Poison Heal has been around for a good few years now, but age hasn’t dampened the effectiveness of it in the least.

Its effect is pretty simple.

When the user is poisoned, it heals health rather than loses it. This can be powerful on its own.

But combine it with the Toxic Orb and it becomes incredible.

The Toxic Orb poisons the user upon entry to battle, and checks on each turn to make sure it’s poisoned. So to make a long story short, Poison Heal allows your Pokémon to heal 1/8 of its health every turn.

There is a limit on the healing before it starts damaging. But that shouldn’t come into play if you time your strategies right.


8. Multiscale

Multiscale Pokémon SWSH screenshot

Multiscale is exclusive to Dragonite and Lugia. But both of those are incredible Pokémon, so that doesn’t matter too much.

The ability decreases damage by half when your Pokémon takes damage at full health.

Given that Dragonite is a powerfully stylish Dragon Dancer, this ability effectively gives you a free turn to use it.

That’s the extent of the ability’s use, unless you use a stalling Lugia.

But still an incredible use all the same.


7. Protean

Protean Pokémon Sword & Shield screenshot

Protean is a lizard exclusive ability, which isn’t something I ever thought I would say.

By lizard, I mean Kecleon and the Greninja family.

It’s a shame that other Pokémon can’t obtain the ability, but that’s probably for the best. Protean makes your Pokémon’s type change to whatever attack it uses prior to the attack hitting.

In other words, it makes every single attack a STAB attack. That is absolutely massive, both in competitive and casual.

It’s so powerful that it’s almost exclusively the reason Greninja sees any play at all.


6. Contrary

Contrary Pokémon SWSH Hidden Ability

Contrary is more of a niche ability than others on this list, but it’s still powerful none the less.

It reverses the stats changing effects applied to the Pokémon with the ability.

For example, if you used Swords Dance on a Contrary Pokémon, it would lower its attack instead of increasing it.

“How is that useful?”, I hear you ask.

Because it also works the other way.

There are plenty of powerful attacks that lower your stats when you use them. With Contrary, those attacks would boost stats instead.

This turns what are already fantastic attacking moves into nothing short of overpowered catastrophes.


5. Unburden

Unburden Pokémon Sword & Shield screenshot

Unburden is unusual in how it works.

When the user loses its held item, the ability doubles its speed.

This includes items like berries and focus sash, as well as moves like Knock Off.

There’s a good range of Pokémon that can learn the move, including everyone’s least favorite Gen III starter, Sceptile (if you disagree, you have weird tastes).


4. Unaware

Unaware Hidden Ability in Pokémon Sword & Shield

Unaware is another unbelievable hidden ability that Bidoof and Bibarel can learn.

You wouldn’t be using it on them, though.

This is the kind of ability with little-to-no Pokémon in a position to take advantage of it, which is for the best.

However, Swoobat does have access to the ability. Which makes it a particularly powerful battler.

To put it simply, Unaware ignores the opponent’s stat changes in damage calculation. This includes defense buffs when you attack, and any attack buffs when you get attacked.

It completely nullifies moves like Swords Dance, Dragon Dance, Calm Mind, and many, many more.

If you’ve ever even dabbled in competitive, then you know how absurdly powerful this is.


3. Magic Bounce

Magic Bounce Pokémon SWSH screenshot

You might think at this point, “how is any ability is stronger than Unaware?”

You would be surprised.

Magic Bounce, for example, has defined team compositions since it was introduced in Gen V.

It reflects all status condition moves, all stat lowering moves, and all entry hazards your opponent tries to use on the Pokémon with the ability.

That is an insane level of coverage. Reflecting entry hazards alone would be enough to earn a spot on the list, but Magic Bounce takes it to another level entirely.

It allows your Pokémon to effectively be a hard counter to the majority(if not all) setup Pokémon.

Most competitive teams open with their entry hazard setter. Countering it with Magic Bounce can completely destroy your Opponent’s strategy straight out of the gate.

On top of that, it’s the ability of a number of mega evolutions, giving it even more competitive viability.


2. Technician

Technician Pokémon Sword & Shield screenshot

Technician increases the power of your Pokémon’s weaker moves. This wouldn’t be all that great, except for the fact that Breloom has access to it.

This powers up both its Bullet Seed and Mach Punch. The latter gives Breloom priority to deal with faster threats, but it’s more impactful when we’re talking about Bullet Seed.

Having an increased power on each individual hit that Bullet Seed makes, which can be up to five, along with a strong attack stats, all turns Breloom into both a defensive and offensive monster.


1. Speed Boost

Speed Boost Pokémon Sword & Shield Hidden Ability

Speed Boost is so powerful that it’s exclusively the reason Blaziken is useable in the Ubers category.

It’s a simple ability.

All it does is raise the speed stat of the user by one stage each turn. That’s all an ability needs to do, though. Especially when it’s on an attacker like Blaziken.

It turns everyone’s favorite Kung-Fu chicken into one of the biggest threats in the game. Blaziken already has a great attack stat, but its speed was a few points short of being phenomenal.

Speed Boost negates that completely.

If a hidden ability by itself is powerful enough to put a Pokémon into Ubers, then you know it’s good.

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