Good morning, pokéfanatics! Your chubby buddy of an Ability editor feels like he’s finally recuperated from an insane holiday season, and he’s got a reasonably juicy passive power to sink his proverbial teeth into! We’ve been talking a lot about weather, buffs, battlefield control and the like lately, but this week we’re going back to my personal favorite subject matter: blunt force trauma. Or at least the prevention of such a thing. Ladies, gentlemen, let’s dive in. This is Ability of the Week: Shell Armor!
First of all, I need to clarify something before we properly begin. The proper title of this article really ought to be “Shell Armor & Battle Armor”, as the two Abilities really have precisely the same effect. However, without noticing that Battle Armor had a brother Ability, I already covered it in a Rapid-Fire article back in August that also discussed Frisk and Damp. So if you’d like to see what other monsters can receive the benefits of this week’s Ability, head over there and reread that article. But today, we’re just discussing Shell Armor!
Introduced in the base set for Abilities in Ruby and Sapphire Versions, Shell Armor at the time was usable by ten different monsters. As of Black and White, however, the ranks have swollen to twenty-one monsters, many of them acquiring it in the Dream World. Also, in a bit of serendipity for me, a few of them are turtles.
But we are talking about the likes of Torkoal and the Torterra evolutionary family, both via Dream World. Other noteworthy users of Shell Armor include Escavalier, Samurott, and Cloyster, to name a few. As for the Ability’s effect, like it’s brother Battle Armor, Shell Armor prevents your monster from ever being struck by a critical hit! I’ll just go ahead and quote myself here from my earlier Rapid-Fire:
That Scope Lens your buddy is packing? Useless. That Octillery with Sniper? Oh well. All the [Shell Armor users tend to] have pretty respectable Defense and Special Defense stats in the first place, and with this Ability, their staying power improves even more.
Well, I guess that’s kind of half-true. As far as Shell Armor is concerned, most of the monsters with access are far more blessed in the Defense category than Special Defense. Oh, some of them are pretty well-balanced, like Lapras or Samurott, but most of them are playing much more of a physical game than special. From where this editor is standing though, you want to have both bases covered in a defensive monster. Gigalith’s amazing Defense is all well and good, but a well-placed special attack (and not even a super-effective one) is enough to unseat the walking stalagmite. So for today, we’re examining the most well-balanced of the Shell Armor users. Let’s start, appropriately enough, with the starters, shall we?
The Formidable Pokémon and the Continent Pokémon, Samurott and Torterra are likely to be sentimental favorites if you picked them to begin your gen four or gen five games (unless you have a personal vendetta against using starter pokémon. You heartless monster). Both of these guys have barely a 20-point difference in their individual Defense and Special Defense stats, Torterra having the higher defensive stat total. This, as well as his 4x weakness to Ice, lends Torterra to a more defense-based strategy, making Leech Seed a must-have on the big guy. Samurott is definitely the more offensive of the two, and has the makings of a mixed attacking monster, with 100 in Attack and 108 in Special Attack, as well as no 4x weakness. Use Shell Armor as insurance to keep Samurott in play longer.
Moving along, let’s discuss Lapras. Built as much more of a wall than Torterra or Samurott, Lapras has balanced and respectable defensive stats, and a high HP stat of 130. Shell Armor is a great fit here because you never have to worry about being surprised while your opponent tries to whittle down your health. Set up Hail/Blizzard to your heart’s content, and perhaps pack a Rest onto your move set or Leftovers as a held item, and Lapras will have some impressive staying power.
Finally, let’s end this thing off with the Cavalry Pokémon- Escavalier. This thing was made for Shell Armor, boasting impressive Defense and Special Defense stats with a pretty sad HP stat. But that low HP is pretty much it’s only defensive con, as it also has only one weakness, a 4x to Fire. The lance-wielding bug will be right at home on a Trick Room team, too, with a mere 20 in Speed, but unfortunately no access to a STAB’d Gyro Ball. You can still hook the lice knight up with Iron Head and X-Scissor to take advantage of its 135 base Attack, Iron Defense to bolster its protection, and maybe even a bred Screech to make the attacks hurt all the more.
So that’s Shell Armor! Hopefully this article wasn’t too repetitive for you, considering that I already covered an Ability that does exactly the same thing a few months ago. Man, I won’t be making that mistake again. Well, I guess I’ll just look nonchalantly to my left at my list of Abilities to write about and see what I’ve selected to talk about next week, confirming that this one-time error was indeed just that.