Abilities are a passive feature introduced back in Generation 3 of Pokemon. As of Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet, there are well over 200 Abilities. A Pokemon may share its Ability with another species, or it may have an exclusive Ability. Then, there are Hidden Abilities. Pokemon with Hidden Abilities have a 1/250 chance of appearing/hatching. Fortunately, there's a simpler way of getting a Pokemon their Hidden Ability.
Pokemon Scarlet & Pokemon Violet have a special item called the Ability Patch. This was introduced back in Sword/Shield (Generation 8) and, unlike their Ability Capsule counterpart, overrides a Pokemon's regular Ability with its Hidden Ability... if it has one. Ability Patches don't require Battle Points (BP) to obtain, but Scarlet/Violet players won't be able to get their hands on one until the postgame.
Ability Patch Location
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet players may notice that an item called the Ability Capsule becomes available for purchase at Chasey Supplies. While this item does change a Pokemon's Ability, it will only change it to the Pokemon's second Ability if they have one. For example, Eevee has the following Abilities: Run Away, Adaptability, and Anticipation (Hidden). An Ability Capsule will change an Adaptability-Eevee into a Run Away-Eevee. Ability Capsules will not give Eevee its Anticipation Ability.
This is where the Ability Patch comes in. The Ability Patch can be gained by completing 6-Star Tera Raids. It has an extremely low drop rate, so it might take Scarlet/Violet players more than one 6-Star Raid to complete before obtaining one. Unfortunately, 6-Star Raids are not only rare, but they also won't spawn in Paldea until the following requirements are met:
- Complete the three main story quests: The Way Home, Starfall Street, Path of Legends.
- Complete the final quest: The Way Home.
- Defeat all the Gym Leaders a second time.
- Win the postgame tournament at Naranja/Uva Academy.
Once this has all been completed, Jacq will contact the player character about "black Tera Dens" and caution them. If a Scarlet/Violet player hasn't fought in a 6-Star Raid before, then Jacq will call again when the first 6-Star Den spawns on the map.
6-Star Raids will share the same icon with other Tera Dens, only they're black and have a faint aura. Tera Raids refresh every day, so make sure to check all the den icons. 6-Star Raids are much tougher than 5-Star Raids, and the Ability Patch only has a 4.5% drop rate. Players can increase the Raid Rewards by making sandwiches with the Raid Power Meal Effect.
Once players have the Ability Patch, they can use it on any Pokemon that has a Hidden Ability. Legendary Pokemon such as Koraidon do not have Hidden Abilities, so the Ability Patch won't work on them. To use the Ability Patch, go into the Bag and look in the pouch with the Rare Candy icon.
More Information About Ability-Changing Items
Even if a Pokemon has a Hidden Ability, that doesn't mean its better than its First or Second Ability. For example, the Dunsparce line's Serene Grace Ability may be preferred over Rattled. Serene Grace raises the chance of a move's additional effects occurring, such as Flinching. Rattled raises Dunsparce's Speed by one stage, but only if it's hit by a Ghost, Dark, or Bug-type move. If a trainer keeps Dunsparce with its Serene Grace Ability, then it can run a move like Zen Headbutt (coverage against Fighting-type, Dunsparce-line's weakness) and have an increased chance of causing its opponent to Flinch.
There are also Pokemon that have not-so-good First and Second Abilities. For example, Toxtricity may have the Plus (Amped Form) or Minus (Low Key Form) Ability. These Abilities will boost Toxtricity's Special Attack, but only if an ally Pokemon opposite of Toxtricity's Plus/Minus Ability is on the field. Essentially, this means Toxtricity can't get any use out of its Plus/Minus Ability in Single Battles, which aren't too common in Paldea. However, Toxtricity's Hidden Ability, Technician, will increase the power of its "weaker" moves, and doesn't rely on another Pokemon's Ability to work.
Finally, there are Pokemon with Signature Abilities. Usually, a Pokemon with a Signature Ability will have a Second or Hidden Ability. Example: Tatsugiri's Signature Ability is Commander. Then, there are Pokemon like Palafin, who only have one Ability (Zero to Hero, in this case). Scarlet/Violet trainers can't use the Ability Capsule or the Ability Patch on Palafin or any of the Paradox Pokemon and Legendary Pokemon.
If Scarlet/Violet players aren't sure, then they should check and see what other Abilities their Pokemon have available. A Pokemon's current Ability (along with a description) can be seen on the Moves and Stats tab of the Summary page.
While an Ability Capsule can change a Pokemon's Ability from its First to Second Ability (or vice versa), it cannot change it to its Hidden Ability. Also, to change a Pokemon's Hidden Ability to one of its other Abilities (ex: Rattled to Serene Grace or Run Away), they'll need an Ability Capsule, not an Ability Patch.
Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet are available for Nintendo Switch.