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Hustle: What The Pokémon Ability Does (And Who Actually Has It)

The gameplay in "Pokémon" has — for better or for worse, depending on personal taste — simultaneously gotten more complex and easier to navigate over each generation. Successive installments have incorporated ways to actually gauge previously hidden information like EVs and IVs, as well as providing more parameters to Pokémon stats and battles.

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Though they might seem like an integral part of Pokémon optimization nowadays, there are some mechanics that were entirely new to the series once upon a time. Even abilities — the cornerstones of some of the most powerful builds — were only added as of Generation 3's "Ruby" and "Sapphire," evolving once again in Generation 5's "Black" and "White" to include hidden abilities.

Unfortunately, not every ability makes the cut when it comes to newer games, similar to how there's not enough room for every Pokémon since "Sword" and "Shield." Even if they do return, they might not always have the same effects, as is the case with Hustle, a relatively uncommon ability inherent to faster and scrappier Pokémon. Here's a breakdown of how Hustle actually works and which Pokémon even have access to it in "Pokémon Scarlet" and "Violet."

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How does Hustle actually work?

The description of the Hustle ability isn't the most enlightening at a glance: claiming that it "Boosts the Attack stat, but lowers accuracy." The game doesn't really tell the player how much of a buff/debuff it provides, not even with the standardized in-game qualifiers like "sharply" or "drastically." The exact numbers are a 50% buff to Attack and a 20% debuff to accuracy — that is, the Pokémon's Attack is boosted to 150%, and its accuracy is lowered to 80%.

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Understanding how the percentages work exactly is key to properly utilizing this ability, as trying to stack it with effects from other factors can get a little confusing. You might combine Hustle with a Wide Lens to offset the accuracy loss, but that combo will only get you to 88% cumulatively (as Wide Lens gives 10% of the accuracy after factors like abilities).

Additionally, it's missing an important effect that it had in previous games: Alongside Pressure and Vital Spirit, it had the overworld effect of enforcing "a 50% chance that a Pokémon will be forced to the upper bound of their encounter level range" if the party's lead Pokémon had the ability, allowing for more frequent higher level encounters. Currently, it's unknown if this overworld effect will return in any future patches or — failing that — future generations.

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Which Pokémon have Hustle?

As of "Scarlet" and Violet" version 1.1.0's Paldean Pokédex, only seven obtainable Pokémon have access to the Hustle ability:

  • Delibird
  • Combee
  • Rufflet
  • Deino
  • Zweilous
  • Flapple
  • Squawkabilly

For Delibird and Squawkabilly, Hustle is one of the two regular abilities that they can have; for Deino and Zweilous, it is the only ability they can have (until evolving into a Hydreigon); and for Combee, Rufflet, and Flapple, it is a hidden ability only accessible via use of an Ability Patch.

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As far as possible builds go, this isn't the greatest selection. Hustle is the best option for Combee, but not worth the Ability Patch use when you can evolve it into the more powerful Vespiquen. The same goes for Deino and Zweilous — though it's their only option, these Pokémon's end goal is ultimately becoming a Hydreigon. Rufflet follows a similar logic, where it can combine Hustle with the guaranteed hit chance of Aerial Ace, but it's smarter to build a moveset around the effects of Sheer Force, which it will retain upon evolving into a Braviary.

Squawkabilly also has access to the wider viable move pool affected by Sheer Force, but Hustle is a good second-best option if you'd rather not use an Ability Patch. For Delibird, it's really just better than the other two lackluster options — leaving only Flapple with a notably useful build using Hustle, taking advantage of its wider Same-Type-Attack-Bonus eligible Physical move pool.

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