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Rebuilding the Ultra Beasts

A Solidly Ossified Braincase
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Hi all. As I was going to sleep last night, my mind wandered over to the Ultra Beasts, of which I am enormous fan. But something I've always felt was rather underwhelming about them is how the game mechanics, in my opinion, really don't sufficiently capture their alien and unique characteristics. Sure, they have their gonzo minmaxed stat spreads and a couple of low-distribution moves throughout their movepools, and their type combinations are generally solid choices in terms of exemplifying their physiology, even if only one of them has a truly unique type combination. But I still feel like something - some secret ingredient that would bring the concept all the way home - is still missing. So I asked myself, what about them would *I* change to better illustrate their strangeness? Would I give them all their own signature moves? Special Z-Moves? Unique moves are a tempting option as they are commonly used to give special Pokémon a particular functionality that only they can perform, but in this case, I feel like giving them access to things like Triple Kick (for Pheromosa) and Tail Glow (for Xurkitree) works well enough to that end.

I think what bothers me most is their uniform Ability, Beast Boost, which functions in the exact same way across all 11 Ultra Beasts. This is jarring to me, since they are such a diverse group of creatures all from different worlds. The thing is, we know from sources of flavor text - such as Wicke and the Pokédex - that the UBs all have some pretty intriguing characteristics of their own. But these rarely, if ever, come to play within the actual battle mechanics. So I decided to take a stab at designing unique Abilities for each UB. I also thought it would make sense to name their Abilities and design their functionality around each UB's "codename," like in the TCG, in order to better justify those codenames within the universe (because otherwise they largely exist just for marketing purposes). So here's my attempt:

Nihilego
Ability: UB Symbiont - When this Pokémon is sent into battle, it boosts the most proficient statistic of its ally by 3 stages, but also inflicts confusion.

The idea here is a beefy, automatic Swagger, to tie in with what we know about Nihilego's neurotoxins. Rather than defending itself, Nihilego is known to get its host to do the work for it by stimulating its most natural instincts and capabilities. However, this also causes the host to lose its inhibitions, hence the boost being bundled with confusion. I liked the idea of this Ability being rooted in a mechanic that already exists, but taken to an extreme.

Moreover, I feel like what we know about Nihilego suggests that it could be designed far more consciously and overtly as a support Pokémon, rather than an offensive threat in of itself. I would like to see it shine in Double Battles, where it has to rely on a partner. In conjunction with this, I would also consider giving Nihilego access only to moves that have 60, maybe 70 base power or lower, while giving it a wide array of support moves. I think it would be a fun strategy to send out Nihilego alongside a Pokémon that's holding a Persim/Lum Berry, which then immediately benefits from Nihilego's effect and from whatever support move you choose to have Nihilego open with.

Buzzwole
Ability: UB Absorption - The power of any draining move used by this Pokémon is halved, but Buzzwole receives a 1-stage boost to its Attack and Defense when it uses them, while also lowering the target's Attack and Defense by 1 stage.

So, Buzzwole's whole thing is that it's a giant mosquito. Here, I like the idea of Buzzwole trading the offensive power of self-healing moves like Drain Punch and Leech life - after all, mosquito bites aren't very noticeable as they're happening - in exchange for sapping the target's energy and generating more of a snowball effect (again, referring to mosquito bites, I would compare this to the itch that's left over being far more enduring and annoying than the bite itself). I used Wicke's dialogue about each Ultra Beast as a reference point for all of these Abilities, and for Buzzwole, I took note of her statement that, "Its muscles bulge and are so thick and dense that they are stronger even than steel. Both its Attack and Defense experience a clear leap in power," which gave me the idea for the stat boosts.

Pheromosa
Ability: UB Beauty - Inflicts confusion on all other Pokémon and negates their Abilities.

Pretty simple and straightforward here. I thought about having it inflict Infatuation, but decided that would be a) overwhelmingly broken and b) probably rather complicated mechanically, what with Pheromosa being genderless. Fortunately, Wicke's dialogue came in clutch with its choice of words: "Most any creature that squares off against a Pheromosa becomes confused, as if struck by the beast's beauty, and loses the will to fight." But, just slapping confusion on everything felt a little underwhelming (and a little too detrimental in Double Battle scenarios), so I also decided to take a page out of Galarian Weezing's book and paired it with a Neutralizing Gas effect, to sort of represent the other Pokémon "losing the will to fight."

Xurkitree
Ability: UB Lighting - As long as it remains Electric-type, Xurkitree regains a small amount of HP at the end of every turn, and takes no damage from Electric-type moves, instead converting them into HP.

Built-in Leftovers + Volt Absorb. I'm fudging a bit here, since this doesn't really have much to do with the codename "Lighting," but I feel like it better captures the spirit of Xurkitree than any of my lighting-based ideas did. My inspiration here is Wicke's statement that when Xurkitree runs low on power, that's when it plugs its tail into the ground and begins absorbing electricity. I would also have it so that Xurkitree receives considerably more HP at the end of each turn if Electric Terrain is active. I added the clause about it needing to stay an Electric-type in order to get these benefits so that you could possibly shut it down with something like Soak.

(By the way, they took Tail Glow out of Xurk's movepool in Gen 8!?!?!?!?)

Celesteela
Ability: UB Blaster - When Celesteela uses or is hit by a Fire-type move, the flammable gas that it emits scorches the area below and erases any entry hazards, screens, and terrains.

Here I'm imagining what it must be like whenever Celesteela takes off into the sky - it might burn everything on the ground beneath it. I also like the idea of turning one of its weaknesses - Fire - into a kind of strength.

Kartana
Ability: UB Blade - Boosts the power of moves that make contact by 50%, and ignores the foe's Defense boosts. Kartana also takes heavy damage from Water-type moves.

It's so razor-sharp that it cuts through defense buffs! And have you ever gotten a paper cut? Shit hurts. Furthermore, I always thought it was a bit odd how Wicke mentions that it is very susceptible to heat and moisture, but because of its type combination, it is actually highly resistant to Water-type moves. An Ability-induced 4x weakness to Water along with its natural 4x weakness to Fire would help to counterbalance its ridiculously high offensive capabilities somewhat. Very minmax-ey logic - a lot of power in a small package, but it's rather easily swept away with the right moves.

Guzzlord
Ability: UB Glutton - When another Pokémon's held item is activated, Guzzlord steals the effect. If the effect is not applicable to Guzzlord, then it is just negated.

Guzzlord eats everything. It eats your Lum Berry. It eats your Leftovers. It eats your Weakness Policy. This Ability might seem very chaotic and unfocused, but I like that about it - I think it fits well with Guzzlord's all-over-the-shop design. This Ability essentially gives it up to four held item slots in a Double Battle, but as a trade-off, it can't necessarily control what it gets. It's just ravenous, consuming everything in sight without a second thought.

Poipole
Ability: UB Adhesive - While Poipole is in battle, opponents that are Poisoned cannot switch out.

Again, pretty intuitive based on what we know about Poipole - it shoots out sticky poison. I also see it as a bit of a mischief-maker, so I can imagine it "cackling wildly" as its opponent suffers under the effect of Toxic without being able to switch out and reset its Bad Poison counter.

Naganadel
Ability: UB Stinger - Retains the effect of UB Adhesive, and any Poison condition inflicted by Naganadel becomes Bad Poison.

Didn't make sense to take away the Adhesive Ability, since Naganadel still shared those signature traits of Poipole, so I just buffed it, thinking that Naganadel's poisons would be even more potent.

Stakataka
Ability: UB Assembly - Stakataka takes no damage from increased-priority moves, and its own attacks will never miss.

Stakataka is a colony of eyes in all directions, so perhaps it can see priority moves coming well in advance, and can simultaneously keep a close eye on the opponent's movements so as to ensure that every one of its own attacks is successful. I like that the protection against priority moves is more on the defensive side, and gives it insurance against Mach Punch/Vacuum Wave; meanwhile, the accuracy guarantee is mostly just a boon for Rock Slide and Stone Edge. I guess at its heart, this Ability is ultimately just Dazzling + a one-sided No Guard, but I feel content with that - although I will admit that I find Stakataka and Blacephalon a little more difficult to work with here in general, since we don't have as much insight about them as we do the other UBs.

Blacephalon
Ability: UB Burst - Fire-type moves used by Blacephalon can bypass Protect and Detect, while Ghost-type moves that inflict damage will also restore a small amount of Blacephalon's HP.

More offensive in contrast to Stakataka's Ability, while still maintaining something of an offense/defense duality in of itself. The reasoning here is that Blacephalon's firework displays dazzle opponents and cause them to let their guard down, while there's also that lovely detail about how it distracts its prey so that it can "steal their vitality," which I think is more of a ghost-like quality.

So... there you have it! That's what I'd do to the UBs. I thank you for reading, and I hope this was a thought-provoking exercise. Feel free to shred me in the comments below, or put forth your own ideas!
 
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i like it but if the UBs have...well UB ability's that no other pokemon has its really unfair to the rest of the pokemon if those abilitys arent really rare, and if the UBs has abilitys to heal,break protect and all those other counter moves and moves that would be very effective would instead take away spikes, all the terrains,...ect ect then what sto say people wont just try to make a full team of them? it would be very unfair to other trainers that r new to the pokemon games when they fight other people in online fights. it would also be bad for gamefreak and the other developers because they would lose alot of people buying there stuff and eventruly have to stop makeing games if they want to keep those abilitys in the rest of the games. but i agree the UB's need some other stuff :)
 
The Mega Multishipper of Miroir Way
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I like these concepts for abilities! It adds such a nice sense of randomness/otherworldliness to the Ultra Beats.
 
Eyes of Ruby
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i like it but if the UBs have...well UB ability's that no other pokemon has its really unfair to the rest of the pokemon if those abilitys arent really rare, and if the UBs has abilitys to heal,break protect and all those other counter moves and moves that would be very effective would instead take away spikes, all the terrains,...ect ect then what sto say people wont just try to make a full team of them? it would be very unfair to other trainers that r new to the pokemon games when they fight other people in online fights. it would also be bad for gamefreak and the other developers because they would lose alot of people buying there stuff and eventruly have to stop makeing games if they want to keep those abilitys in the rest of the games. but i agree the UB's need some other stuff :)
There are several abilities unique to one Pokémon or evolutionary line—in fact, I’d argue they’ve become more common over the years to help make the smaller rosters of new Pokémon more unique—and they haven’t exactly had a negative effect on sales. Heck, the Ultra Beasts’ original ability Beast Boost is exclusive to them. Giving each their own unique ability is just a step up from that.
 
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There are several abilities unique to one Pokémon or evolutionary line—in fact, I’d argue they’ve become more common over the years to help make the smaller rosters of new Pokémon more unique—and they haven’t exactly had a negative effect on sales. Heck, the Ultra Beasts’ original ability Beast Boost is exclusive to them. Giving each their own unique ability is just a step up from that.
it would be yes i agree 100%. im just thinking outside the ''box'' if u will, for everything that could go wrong but it proply wont do anything to the game developers though. i think that they should make the UBs have one amazing ability and thats it cuz they are other dimensional pokemon and they are basicly saying that the UBs are just like normal pokemon, which they arent like at all. it would make them somewhat more special if they are the only ones who can have those abilitys for the rest of pokemon history.
 
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