Shedinja is one of my favorite Pokemon, easily in my top three, and part of the reason why is because it's so unique in so many ways. No other Pokemon is obtained the same way, as the discarded husk left over from another evolving Pokemon. No other Pokemon has a similar design, that halo and the wings formed by the shredded skin giving it a distinctly angelic appearance. And Shedinja even manages to be mechanically unique, the only Bug/Ghost type, the only Pokemon with only 1 HP, the only Pokemon that can't benefit from its HP EVs, and the only Pokemon with the infamous Wonder Guard ability.
So, it's kind of a bummer to me that Shedinja didn't get a Hidden Ability. Maybe it was too much to ask for, Shedinja already being so awesomely unique, but it has the thematic and mechanical potential for so much more than Wonder Guard. And, no, as awesome as it would be, I don't mean Sturdy. I think that the problem is that some folks look at Shedinja and think that it couldn't possible be even minimally useful unless it has Wonder Guard or some other similarly defensively-oriented ability. I disagree. I think that the key to making Shedinja even more awesome is to embrace its frailty, to let it go. So, here are a couple of unique abilities I thought up that they could have given Shedinja as a Hidden Ability instead of Wonder Guard.
Angelic: When Shedinja faints and you have to choose one of your other Pokemon to send out in its place, you can choose to send out a fainted Pokemon. If you do, then that fainted Pokemon enters play again with half of its maximum HP, rounded down. This ability will not work if all of your other Pokemon have fainted and Shedinja is your last Pokemon.
In death, the bug's angelic mercy smiles upon one of its allies. Without Wonder Guard, any attack that isn't Fighting or Normal will KO Shedinja automatically and thereby revive another member of your party. Basically, Shedinja sacrifices itself, both thematically and mechanically, to give a team member a second chance. In-game, gimmick runs could be set to carry four Shedinjas to constantly revived a primary party member. Species clause prevents that in competitive battles, but the opportunity to bring back a fainted Pokemon, even at half HP, can often be well worth Shedinja's slot on the team.
Spirit Void: When Shedinja faints, another Pokemon has their Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed all reduced by two stages each. If Shedinja faints as the result of an attack, then this ability will target its attacker. If Shedinja faints as the result of something other than an attack, then this ability will target one random opponent.
Here, the bug finally puts to use that rumor that staring into the hole in its back will steal one's soul. It gets its revenge in the form of an ability reminiscent of Memento, essentially designed not to harm the opponent directly but rather to turn or reset the momentum by forcing a switch. After all, not many Pokemon want to stay in after all of their offensive and defensive stats have been cut in half. This one wouldn't be very useful in-game, but it could see a lot of use competitively. One often has to sacrifice a Pokemon or two anyway to stop a devastating sweeper or tear down a difficult wall, for example, so why not speed things up with Shedinja?
So, what would you think of Shedinja getting an ability like one of these? How do you think they might affect Shedinja's competitive usage? Is Shedinja, already being so awesome, even in need of a new unique ability? Do you have any ideas of your own for the wondrous angel bug?
I approve. Might make people think twice about knocking it out, because it will either benefit its allies or cripple the opponent. Seems like a better idea than Wonder Guard, since so many moves can work around it.
You know you read too much when you dream about flying books.