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Make sure no opinions are present in this conversation! (singles format for convience, post another for doubles specifically if required)

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@PX If the answer is completely format-dependent, and the person who asked the question never told us the format, is that a reason to hide this question?
I never deemed it format dependant, the answer goes by competitive viability, i.e which is usually or generally better in its current sense, which while sometimes affected by format in lieu of specific uses and niches, can still be listed and stated as being overall more or less 'viable'. I don't require specifics or in depth reasoning if the question also doesn't ask for it. The question and answer are both fine, and if you think otherwise I'll pass any complaints you have along
First, all of the abilities that only work in doubles are obviously format dependent, right?
Even between different singles formats, the rules are so different that I think it is often impossible to know if something is "generally" more viable than something else. If there was, why do different formats have different viability rankings? Specifically, Snorlaxes in RU usually have thick fat, but thick fat Snorlax is nearly useless in BSS compared to gluttony Snorlax. Same with trace Porygon2 in RU and download Porygon2 in BSS. Moody Glalie is okay in some official formats but completely banned in all Smogon formats. Of course, I didn't look at every Pokemon, so I don't know exactly how often you can say an ability is "generally" more viable than another ability. I just wanted to say it's a lot less than 100%.
Then an answer should distinct between singles and doubles if prompted by the asker, and don't if they don't. It's really not complicated. There's no reason for this to be taken down imo, if another auth disagree they'll do something. Hell, if it makes you feel better ill specify singles in the title to make sure it's allowed, something we're and you're allowed to do yourself you know
The entire second paragraph of that comment was about how there might not be a good answer even if it specified singles...

2 Answers

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Best answer

I am judging by competitive viability. Here is the list:


Gen 1

Charizard Line's: is debatable, both don't have much use, and it is often Mega Evolved anyways

Caterpie: Run Away doesn't have much Competitive use

Weedle: Same as Caterpie

Ratatta Line: Guts is superior to Hustle

Alolan Rattata Line: Thick Fat isn't as useful as Hustle

Ekans Line: Intimidate is generally more useful than Unnerve.

Cleffa and Clefairy: If not in a double battle.

Iggly Line: Depends if you value Cute Charm or Frisk more

Oddish Line: Run Away and Stench aren't that Great

Paras Line: Damp...

Venonat: Run Away

Diglett (and Alolan) Lines: Sand Force isn't amazing :P

Meowth Line: Technician>Unnerve

Growlithe Line: Intimidate is often better than Justified

Machop Line: No Guard is better than Steadfast

Bellsprout line: Doesn't use gluttony much

Tentacool Line: Clear Body is favored over Rain Dish

Geodude Line: Rock Head and Sturdy Surpass that of Sand Veil

Ponyta Line: Flash Fire is more consistent than Flame Body

Magnemite Line: Magnet Pull is used far more than Analytic

Dodou Line: Early Bird is favored over Tangled Feet

Seel Line: Thick Fat is better than Ice Body

Alolan Grimer Line: Unless in doubles

Shelder Line: Skill Link is their best ability

Onix: Weak Armor is rarely used on Onix

Drowzee Line: Insomnia is the most beneficial

Cubone Line (non Alolan): Battle Armor isn't that great

Tyrogue Line (excluding Hitmonlee): All have better Regular Abilities

Lickitung Line: Oblivious is used more often

Happiny Line: Unless doubles.

Kangaskhan: Inner Focus...

Horsea Line: Damp...

Mime Jr. Line: Soundproof/Filter are favored over Technician

Scyther Line: Technician is key

Eevee: Adaptability is Eevee's Best ability

Umbreon: Synchronize is more useful than inner focus.

Porygon-Z: Is fast enough than analytic is pretty useless.

Kabuto: Swift Swim is favored

Aerodactyl: Unnerve...


Gen 2

Ledyba Line: Iron Fist... with that base attack...

Chinchou: water absorb

Togepi Line: Serene Grace is best

Mareep Line: unless you are in doubles...?

Azuril Line: Close, but Huge Power Takes the Cake

Bonsly Line: Rattled isn't great

Sunkern Line: Early Bird isn't great

Yamana Line: Speed Boost is better than Frisk

Wynaut Line: Telepathy is very useless

Dunsparce: Rattled isn't great

Snubbull Line: Intimidate>Rattled

Teddiursa Line: Honey Gather and Unnerve are not as good as Quick Feet or Guts

Delibird: Hustle is better than Insomnia

Skarmory: Sturdy is best

Raiku, Entei, Suicune: Pressure is better than Inner Focus

Larvitar: Sand Veil...

Tyranitar: Unnerve...


Gen 3

Mudkip Line: Damp...

Poochyena: Rattled isn't great

Wurmple: Run Away...

Beautifly: Rivalry...

Lotad Line: Swift Swim is better

Pelipper: Drizzle is most useful

Ralts Line (except Gallade): Uness doubles...?

Surskit Line: Swift Swim and intimidate are better

Nincada: Run Away...

Nosepass Line: Other abilities are better than sand force

Meditite Line: Unless doubles...?

Electrike Line: Lightning Rod is Used More

Milotic: Cute Charm isn't great

Spheal Line: Thick Fat is better

Beldum Line: Light Metal isn't useful

Registeel: Light Metal Isn't that useful.


Gen 4

Turtwig Line: Fails to make good use of either

Empolean: Close, but defensive Torrent is used more than offensive Defiant

Kricketot: Run Away

Sheildon Line: Sturdy is more important than Sondproof

Buizel Line: Swift Swim is more "Dangerous" than water veil

Gastrodon Line: Storm Drain and Stricy Hold are used more than Sand Force

Buneary Line: Limber is only good Competitive Ability

Glameow: Keen Eye isn't great

Hippopotas Line: Sand Stream>Sand Rush

Skorupi Line: Sniper is best ability

Finneon Line: Water Veil isn't great

Snover Line: Snow Warning>Sound Proof

Dialga/Palkia/Giritina: Unless Doubles.


Gen 5

Tepig and Pignite: Thick Fat doesn't help much.

Oshawott Line: Shell Armor isn't that useful

Lillipup: Run Away...

Munna Line: Unless Doubles

Pidove Line: Rivalry isn't great

Roggenrola Line: Sand Rush isn't great

Audino: Klutz...

Sewaddle Line: Overcoat isn't as good as Chlorophyll

Cottonee Line: Chlorophyll is used less than Prankster

Petilil Line: Leaf Gaurd isn't that useful.

Sandile Line: Both abilities are better than anger point

Darumaka Line: Zen Mode and Inner Focus aren't great

Sigilyph: Tinted Lens isn't as good as other abilities

Vannilluxe: Snow Warning is better than Weak Armor

Emolga: Static is luck based, whereas Motor Drive grants an Immunity

Frillish Line: Damp...

Ferrothorn: Iron Barbs>Anticipation

Axew Line: Mold Breaker>Unnerve

Stunfisk: Best ability is Static. Sad.

Meinfoo Line: Regenerator used more than Reckless

Pawniard Line: Defiant is better than Pressure

Bouffalant: Reckless is used most

Durant: Traunt is unreliable

Larvesta Line: Swarm is rarely used if ever

Tornadus/Thundurus: Prankster is used more than Defiant.


Gen 6

Fenekin Line: Magician isn't great

Fletchinder/Talonflame: Flame Body is generally better

Scatterbug Line: unless doubles

Flabébé Line: unless doubles

Espur: Own Tempo isn't that great

Inkay Line: Contrary is Favored

Binacle Line: Pickpocket isn't great

Helioptile Line: Solar Power isn't great

Hawlucha: Unburden is preferred

Dedenne: unless doubles

Klefki: Prankster>Magicain

Noibat Line: Unless doubles


Gen 7

Rowlett Line: Long Reach doesn't do much

Pikipek and Trumbeak: Pickup doesn't do much

Crabrawler Line: Anger Point isn't great

Cutiefly Line: Unless doubles

Rockruff and Lycanroc Midday: Steadfast/Own Tempo isn't as useful as it's other abilities

Mudbray Line: Stamina>Inner Focus

Dewpider Line: Water Absorb isn't very useful

Salandit Line: uses Corrosion more often than Oblivious

Stufful Line: Uses Fluffy most

Bounsweet Line: unless doubes

Comfey: Triage is its best ability

Sandygast Line: Sand Veil is almost never used

Togedamaru: Uses Iron Barbs more than Sturdy

Bruxish: Strong Jaw is used the most

Drampa: Cloud Nine isn't really used much


Source + Smogon's Strategy Pokédex

Hope I Helped!

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edited by
If Nidoqueen/king's sheer force is better than their regular abilities, why did you mention them?
I think Clefairy is viable in several double battling formats purely because of friend guard. It even says so in your own source. https://www.smogon.com/dex/sm/pokemon/clefairy/vgc18/
How do Vileplume and Bellossom have better hidden abilities?
How is Arcanine's justified better than its intimidate?
How is the Machop family's no guard dynamic punch not good?
https://www.smogon.com/dex/sm/pokemon/tentacruel/
How does the Ponyta family's flame body activate more reliably than flash fire does?
https://www.smogon.com/dex/sm/pokemon/dodrio/
Is power of alchemy ever useful in singles?
If Alolan Exeggutor's hidden ability is better, why did you mention it?
Why does the Lickitung family hate weather so much?
How is Chansey's hidden ability useful in singles?
The Goldeen family has lightning rod, not damp.
https://www.smogon.com/dex/sm/pokemon/mr_mime/
Are you really expecting Kabutops to survive an attack and activate weak armor?
I metioned Nidoqueen/King and Alolan Exeggutor on accident. :P

Edited. :P

I  didn't say Arcanine's justified is better than its Intimidate, I said the opposite, actually.

I didn't say the Machop family's No Guard wasn't good, I said the opposite, actually.

I don't think either of Ponyta's abilities activate better than the other, and therefore don't think either are "better". :P

Does the Lickitung family ever really need Own Tempo, though? Confusion is way less effective than it was before and a weather canceling switch can help shut down or hinder weather sweepers, at least. :P

I didn't say Chansey's Hidden Ability was useful in singles, I said the opposite, actually.

Goldeen was listed having damp in the bulbapedia article; I see it has Lightning Rod from looking elsewhere. :P
Your answer still doesn't mention Vileplume, Bellossom, Tentacruel, Dodrio, Mr. Mime, or Kabutops.
Flash fire doesn't depend on luck to activate, so it's better than flame body.
Lickitung and Lickilicky don't use own tempo, either. Their best ability is oblivious, which prevents taunting.
@Stakatacool, isn’t flame body pretty good on ponyata’s line?(I was asking about hidden abillities that are worse than regualr abillities)
Flame body isn't a good ability because it has a low chance of activating. Rapidash's defenses are so low that it'll usually faint before it can activate flame body.
Also, Weavile's pickpocket is really bad, and the only reason Reuniclus is ever used is magic guard. Why are you including Buneary if its hidden ability is the good one? Also, this answer appears to ignore the fact that a mega evolving Pokemon still needs to pick either a regular ability or hidden ability before mega evolving. The fact that the pre-mega ability disappears immediately leads to some complications and extremely situational choices.

Both Charizards carry blaze in case there's sunny weather before it mega evolves.
Gyarados prefers intimidate over moxie for what should be obvious reasons.
Mawile prefers intimidate over sheer force for what should be obvious reasons.
Medicham carries telepathy in case a Ditto tries to impostor it before it mega evolves. Regardless of the pre-mega ability, it'll mega evolve and gain pure power before it uses any attacks.
Pinsir carries hyper cutter in case someone tries to intimidate it before it mega evolves.
Scizor prefers light metal because low kick is the most common weight move.
Swampert carries damp to stop the occasional explosion.
1 vote

The "viability" of each Pokemon and ability was taken from Smogon Forums's viability rankings and Smogon stats. This answer only includes the most popular singles format and most popular doubles format.

OU
Chansey: natural cure > healer
Mega Charizard X: blaze > solar power
Mega Charizard Y: blaze > solar power
Clefable: This one is really close and might change over time.
Ferrothorn: iron barbs > anticipation
Gastrodon: storm drain > sand force
Mega Gyarados: intimidate > moxie
Hawlucha: unburden > mold breaker
Hippowdon: sand stream > sand force
Kingdra: swift swim > damp
Magnezone: magnet pull > analytic
Mega Mawile: intimidate > sheer force
Pelipper: drizzle > rain dish
Mega Pinsir: hyper cutter > moxie
Reuniclus: magic guard > regenerator
Suicune: pressure > inner focus
Tyranitar: sand stream > unnerve
Mega Tyranitar: sand stream > unnerve
Volcarona: flame body > swarm
Weavile: pressure > pickpocket
Zapdos: This one is really close and might change over time.
Everything else: They have 1 ability, have a good hidden ability, or are unviable no matter what ability they have.

VGC19 Sun
Bronzong: levitate > heavy metal
Crobat: inner focus > infiltrator
Ferrothorn: iron barbs > anticipation
Hitmontop: intimidate > steadfast
Ludicolo: swift swim > own tempo
Salazzle: This one is really close and might change over time.
Toxicroak: dry skin > poison touch
Tsareena: queenly majesty > sweet veil
Everything else: They have 1 ability (like just about every legendary Pokemon that dominates this format), have a good hidden ability, or are unviable no matter what ability they have.

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