CAP 4 (Aurumoth) Post-mortem: Which competitive step did we screw up on the most?
I made a proposal relating to making this something we do after every CAP in PRC, but Birkal and SgtWoodsy said that I should post this right now for Aurumoth... so why the hell not? For reference, here's the Final Product post with the competitive information only.
Here's the challenge: I want you guys to identify which competitive step you think harmed the concept the most. It's easy to just say "well it was a big train wreck", but I want to see if you guys can argue WHICH step, if fixed, could have helped Aurumoth actually achieve its concept the most! So basically, your choices are stuff like Typing, Abilities, Stats, Movepool, Concept Assement, ect. But the goal at the end is to identify what you feel was the most IMPORTANT part that harmed the CAP, not everything!. After a certain amount of discussion (not sure about the exact time frame at the moment), we may have a Poll on this, to see what the overall community thinks we screwed up the most on!
One thing I don't want here is bashing of bugmaniacbob. Yes, I get the fact that many of you have problems with how he ran this CAP, but that won't help us learn anything. So get ready folks, I want to see what YOU think was the step that screwed up Aurumoth the most!
I don't think I can choose one way we fucked up because we fucked up equally with No Guard and the movepool and they tie into each other extremely closely. (hey let's give aurumoth a bunch of high power low accuracy moves and quiver dance and say that it's still risky because stone edge always hits us huehuehuehue)
Close Combat is also a mind-boggler.
Well, that's what you get for ignoring dozens of posts (about of half of which were mine) during the early development stages about how ludicrously broken this thing was going to become.
Even if you didn't ignore them, surely you realized that it has the best movepool in the game after Smeargle (yes, it's even better than Arceus and Mew's), excellent stat distribution and two of the safest abilities in the game.
Anyway, let's get to business.
I think the main problem here is that Aurumoth doesn't just have perfect neutral coverage, it has excellent super-effective coverage to boot.
It has the best fire, ice, water, electric, fighting, psychic and bug attacking moves in the game for goodness' sake.
Absolutely nothing is safe from it, especially with Illusion protecting it.
I'd say to drop the OP coverage moves that make no sense flavor-wise, namely Close Combat and Overheat. Maybe Hydro Pump too.
Next is the boosting moves. Too good, too many.
Dragon Dance should be dropped: not only does it make no sense flavor-wise, it also discourages the use of Weak Armor, the only ability it has that makes sense on this CAP concept. It could be replaced with Swords Dance (which actually makes sense on bugs) in order to make physical sets still viable and it would encourage the use of Weak Armor and bulky sets to set up.
About Quiver Dance, if the above changes aren't enough to balance it (though they should), then it would be necessary to replace it with Calm Mind.
Yeah, I personally never got why either of the Dances were on this one, especially since reliable speed boosts make Weak Armor pointless as a concept.
I also think No Guard was a step too far, and may not have been taken into consideration in the movepool stage. The final vote came down to No Guard vs. No Competitive Ability I believe, and I think a mistake some voters may have made is thinking that Not Competitive equals Nothing, while a weaker ability may have some nice niches.
I think the biggest problem though is that "risk" at every step of the way was so vaguely defined it led to a multitude of options that ended up canceling each-other out.
Not to call out the topic leader, but similar to the No Guard comment above, I do feel that the poll options slated left out some options that were justifiably defended in the forums. There were times when the voting was too restricted, and others when options were left up that shouldn't have been, but it comes back to the concept being ill defined. Try to appease everyone, and those options cancel each other out to create a final product that wasn't what people hoped for.
Bottom line. Concept needed a more specific direction, cause even in the later stages like abilities and movepools, I still didn't even know what the goal was, and I saw that problem in the very first discussion. The thread was created, but closed before a true consensus was reached.
There was also a HUGE misstep before the movepool stage in failing to select proper checks, thereby giving a potential movepool to deal with everything, especially with No Guard. This was another thread I felt closed prematurely.
In the future I say, if a thread hasn't reached it's goal DON'T CLOSE IT UNTIL IT HAS. Or at the very least have the topic leader fill in the gaps and stick to them in inconclusive results.
i see a issue right away that stand out above the others and i wasn't present for this cap.
no guard with several really powerful moves that are otherwise held back by being inaccurate the thing is this thing has like 5 of them when machamp and golurk only really have 2 moves that do so because even gamefreak knew that the always hitting bit benefited the attacker more than the defender and both are slow while this guy is fast well not amazingly fast but still much faster than both machamp and golurk enough that it doesn't need a scarf to out speed stuff and it for some perplexing reason has not one but 2 speed boosting moves to make it even faster without having to waste a item slot on scarf
like wisp thunder (without needing rain and it ignores sun) focus blast hydro pump and overheat(why?)
seriously just having always hitting focus blast+wisp/hydro pump and thunder is just insane on something that fast and it has the special attack stat to abuse them too and that's before it starts quiver dancing.
tl;dr drop no guard and this thing looks less borked in my eyes in terms of looking OP.
seriously it has way too many good moves to go with no-guard it the always hit by stone edge/fire blast is NOT balanced out by gaining always hitting thunder/focus blast/pump/
i don't mind it on the physical end as much since only megahorn gets benefited although personally if your keeping no-guard drop DD and quiver dance with what has right now it too good with it's stats.
the combo of speed and attacking stat boosting+ always hitting powerful move with good base attacking stats is just too much.
just wow how did that get voted on that's a massive screw up and i would had probably said so if i was present.
We screwed up simply on how everyone has a different defintion of "risk".
Depending on the individual, risk could have meant anything from "keeping your heatran in on theirs so you could possibly outspeed and earth power it for the KO", to "BIDE. 3 TARN NOT MOVE. VARY RISKY." and "ACROBATICS NOT ITEM HIGH RISK".
When I draw, if the underlying sketch sucks, I end up having either a bad picture or having to go back and re-correct it constantly, wasting time and causing headaches.
In my opinion, we failed to nail down an absolute, concrete meaning of "risk" from the get go.
Alright because of Yilx's post, I made the OP a bit less restrictive... however, I still want you guys to try and hone in on what step of the CAP you feel harmed the CAP the most. Its fine to mention that yes, this CAP had a ton of issues, but I think friendly debate here on what the biggest misstep was could help us learn more. I want to focus on stuff like "I think abilities was the biggest misstep because after Weak Armor, we gave Aurumoth totally safe abilities that overshadowed Weak Armor" or "We gave Aurumoth too much bulk", not "Well if we remove Quiver Dance, No Guard, Illusion, Dragon Dance, and a bunch of coverage moves, this CAP would have been perfect". If we do that, we might as well change this thread's name to "how would you change Aurumoth" instead of "Where did we screw up the most on".
As for my opinion at the moment... I'm not actually 100% sure on how I feel yet, since there are PLENTY of angles we can go with this. I think movepool might have been a pretty serious issue though. One of the Pokemon that was brought up in the concept was Hydreigon. If you look at that Pokemon, you notice that while it has a great offensive movepool, it's middling speed and lack of good set up moves is a pretty serious problem (well besides the whole competing against Latios deal). I wonder if just removing Quiver Dance and Dragon Dance would have made Aurumoth much more risky to use. Without its amazing set up moves, Aurumoth would have to rely much more on luring threats in with Illusion than sweeping. I'm not 100% sure if that'd be the riskiest tactic out there, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I imagine that once Aurumoth is revealed, it wouldn't have been that hard to revenge kill. So you would be forced into playing cleverly with illusion or weak armor, or try to hit switch ins as hard as possible with No Guard before they revenge you... which could be tough because of Aurumoth's not so great defensive typing!
i agree i wouldn't bother with weak armor not with no guard and Illusion are so much better because they are so much more consistent with minimal risk which goes against any real sense of risk.
i think that the start of were this mon went wrong we gave it a risky ability but then we gave it 2 not so really risky abilities (well illusion is somewhat risky but not with the overall bulk this thing has) and no guard pretty much throws out risk with the moves it has to use with it since outside of being outspeeded or a target living your attack the always get hit part only comes into play after you made your attack.
i personally think that we stepped over the line on the Stat stage. I mean sure, there were problems with the whole No Guard "temper tantrum" slate, and maybe illusion would totes overshadow weak armor, but -- maybe not. I figured if we walked out of the stats stage with a reasonable spread, with say scizor-politoed levels of speed and low bulk, that the project would be not only a perfectly reasonable definition of risk but also make use of all its abilities.
unfortunately, it was in Stats that bmb displayed once and for all that aurumoth was not there to fill the concept but to get him off - slating only 600 bst spreads was pure bullshit. We called it "risky" because we gave it the special bulk of Mamoswine, you know, that thing that dies to all good neutral special hits WAIT THAT'S NOT WHAT MAMOSWINE DOES. in general, a complete failure is the only way to describe the stats stage.
and then we go and compound the stats problem with our movepool problem. "low" speed 2 risky, we must fix. "low" spd 2 risky, we must fix. bad stab 2 risky, we must fix. At the end of the movepool stage, every hedge we'd given ourselves, however slight, to ensure that the cap was not broken was thrown out the window as we tried to fucking fix them all. at this point, CAP4 was a couple contributors masturbating themselves to death with more and more power while the rest of us helplessly looked on.
Basically, CAP people have two tendencies - to go the "safe play" way, and to go the "top tier" way. Note that both routes are NOT mutually exclusive. The former is founded on the mindset throughout competitive players that "If you can win via safe play, then don't take the risky route and curse profanely later." The latter is founded on the fear that "CAP-mons must be good enough to see viable usage come playtest, else we won't be able to test our concept at all."
Which isn't exactly a good attitude. I think this is why the problems outlined by Yilx and Sgt.Woodsy exists - a less-defined risk provides for broader "safe" options, while in every step of CAP we as a community gunned for nothing but top-tier safe play. So I'd like to say that in the end, the individual steps aren't flawed - its more likely our whole thought process is, resulting in a jumble of good pieces that are already good even when jumbled, rather than a flawed work of art that is beautiful in its incompleteness.
So that's probably why DJD in particular say something along these lines:
Err, I just realised I went off-topic. Sorry Tmon. To me, the part where we went awry with the most long-standing impact would be the Concept Discussion and Threats Discussion steps. In the former, we didn't manage to home in on a locus (which is pretty hard to do, given such a vague concept), and then in Threats, we didn't correct our mistake by simply stating that Aurumoth should have a lot of situational checks, but not hard counters. Again, having vague terms as our guiding stars gave us so many options, we ended up grabbing them all and made something that went off-concept. Often, its easy to lose our noggins halfway down a CAP, but if we had a more defined focal point or upper limit to work with, then we might have not been in over our heads. Having established grounds early on would be much easier to salvage should we go astray in later parts of the CAP.
P.S. Looking back, I can see jewels in the trough, particularly early in the project (somewhere along the threat / stat discussions) where a lot of new people (like I did, and still do) try to make coherent statements despite being their first time, despite having no recognition, despite having little to no driving guidance. So in terms of new participants, I think we aren't lacking - though I concede that we do need more good competitive battlers who can hold their own and who can stay in CAP longer than your average Joe.
P.P.S. To jas and DJD - feel free to dowse me in dog blood if you think I misused your words in any way. I apologise in advance.
Too bulky to be risky
I enjoy liechi weak arrmor dd. The problem is it can take terrakion scarf se, get liechi and wa boost, dd in its face, and then wreck with cc, zen headbutt, and megahorn. Also, too many amazing moves. Wow and physical bulk withqd and wish. Why is it so good? The people who proposed the moves did not realize how good it is. CC, overheat, hydro, thunder, blizz, megahorn- and all of this with no guard? Too powerful.
Get rid of some physical bulk, thunder, overheat, and we will be set,as long as your heatran is chople. Such an amazing wall breaker. Final gambit and trick make scarf viable. Overheat one shots skarm, ferro, and forrry out of rain. If everyone uses heatran, just use duggy.
Please, bmb, fix this.
Wait, are we implementing changes? Krillowatt along with everything else got movepool changes yes, but even the failed CAPs (or at least failed in initial premise such as Voodoom) weren't changed after the fact.
Nope, we never implement changes. You all are welcome to discuss what changes you'd implement in another thread (not this one, because that's off topic posting), but what we've created is final. As you said, jynx KB, we historically have not done revamps or edits. The reason for this is that we learn from our mistakes; making edits would only hide those lessons. In Krilowatt's case, we learned that a bloated movepool and a fantastic ability can wreck a concept. In Voodoom's case, we learned about pairings in general and actually found a great partner for it in Zapdos.
I'd encourage you all to read capefeather's CAP4 Report in the latest issue of The Smog. He mentioned that, although CAP4 itself wasn't a risky Pokemon, the entire playtest felt risky because of its existence on other teams. So in a roundabout way, we did learn about risk. So maybe we did make some mistakes, but we learned an awful lot about risk in the metagame through CAP4. Putting in edits would only complicate things and take away from the lessons we learned. It is best to just leave it be.
Also, sorry about Strategywin being banned. He was already on the verge of being banned; posting off topic in this thread only tipped him over the scale (one point infraction). He had committed multiple offenses recently, so I didn't really give him a PM warning (we usually do). The CAP mods don't like giving out infractions, so please don't be afraid of us :<
I don't think there was a single part that we screwed up on. I am not saying we did not screw up at all. We screwed up majorly. We would have screwed up less if the wife came home to us screwing the neighbor's dog.
By themselves, the DEF and SPD stats are risky. But factoring in the rest of the mon, they are not risky. You have Quiver Dance to boost the SPD. It will also boost its already respectable Speed. No Guard is not risky in a metagame where 90%+ accuracy moves are common. There was no risk to Illusion (oh yeah, if your ruse is found out you might as well not have an ability! ... which doesn't seem to be a problem for Mollux). Too many stat boosting moves (Quiver Dance... AND Tail Glow... AND Dragon Dance). There is almost no incentive to use Weak Armor. It has access to a number of good Special moves, some of which it gets STAB on. Did I mention the speed? That is boosted by 2 of its moves?
However, like Birkal stated, we did learn about risk in the metagame. CAP is not really about creating concept mons. Rather, it is about learning about the metagame.
Good to see this is getting its own topic. I've been around for the last few Caps and have absolutely loved the process. Aurumoth was the first CAP where i stopped checking in on the progress before completion though, because it was clear to see that once we good through the allowed moves that this Pokemon was going to fail.
Now, why it failed to me is not in any 1 stage, but distributed through three: Ability, Stats and Moveset. While the moveset was obviously broken without help, these three stages failed not due to the end result or the input, but the lack of conceptual themeing.
Weak Armour was the perfect ability for our concept. Needing to rely on taking a physical hit in order to boost its speed would work perfectly with the right selection of boosting moves and stats.
No Guard was still on track. There was some fear that it would reduce risk with the wrong moveset, but i was optimistic. I could easily see it being used for Megahorn/Thunder mixed set without being too terribly broken. As long as it didn't get Fire Blast/Hydro pump/Focus Blast or something silly like Zap Cannon, this seemed like the perfect second ability. Had it just been No Guard/Weak Armour, risk and reward would've been perfect. Both abilities possess an obvious strength and an obvious weakness, meaning picking an ability would be twofold in "how often will i take advantage of the benefit and how often will the downside bite me?"
Illusion i never understood in the least for this Pokemon. It is the exact opposite of the concept, there's no risk in pretending to be another Pokemon to get the jump on the opponent. Still, being a bug type without levitate means that SR/Spikes on the field would reveal Aurumoth as any CAP other than Mollux (assuming no TSpikes) and Pyroak, so i tried not to harp too much on the selection. It would outclass Weak Armour pretty heavily if Aurumoth were to get any form of Speed Boosting move, and was too safe an option alongside the others.
600 bst only had trouble written all over it. However, the one we chose was so close to what we needed.
-Correct speed to need Weak Armour
-Correct physical defense to be able to take a hit to use Weak Armour
-Poor enough Special defense to make you want to be taking physical hits anyway
Well over 100 in HP, Attack and Special attack didn't sit well for me. Not because they were too high just by themselves, but because of the power it gives Illusion. This thing could go Banded, Scarfed, Specs or LO Mixed and get in such a powerful hit under Illusion that it could eliminate its own threats far too easily. The HP especially is to blame for this. Just look at Zoroark who has the same ability, but isn't able to dominate with it because powerful enough neutral hits will still OHKO it easily. Still, even with all this, giving it the right movepool could still make this 'mon work.
This is the part where we take our conceptual goal and throw it out the window. This could barely get worse for what it is. Look at the first damn move this Pokemon gets! Dragon Dance! Why? If it could boost its speed, one of its only two low stats, what's the point of Weak Armour in the first place? Oh, look at the second move: QUIVER DANCE! Now it can boost its only two bad stats AND a massive offensive stat and the same time, which is pretty easy to do when you have a proper Illusion going. Had we just given it Swords Dance and Nasty Plot (Tail Glow gtfo), atleast it would have to run Scarf, Trick Room or Weak Armour to boost its speed. At least Weak Armour would be on the table. Heck, DD/Weak Armour/Liechi is the only thing i've seen Weak Armour used for, and its there so you get one turn that gives you +2/+2 Speed Attack and sweep from there with crazy coverage i'll bring up in a bit. We could've given it Work Up and made Weak Armour mixed sets amazing and we give it DD/QD.
Speaking of mixed sets, Megahorn/Thunder make the cut, which is great. Shallow coverage with powerful moves that make you choose between No Guard and Weak Armour. Except ofcourse there's Illusion. And some other notable moves like Hydro Pump, Overheat, Focus Blast, Close Combat, Blizzard, Thunderbolt, ice Beam, Surf and X-Scissor. Not only did we give it absolutely godly coverage with great power, we gave it the option to run 100% accurate versions of all of them bar Overheat's 90. So now there's no reason to run No Guard over Illusion other than personal preference. You can get a bit more bang for your buck if you so desire, but there's no pressure to. Final Gambit makes the list, but is tainted by Illusion plus insane HP stat, which is a shame given its one of the best Risk vs reward moves in the game. The only thing we didn't give it were recovery and priority. Oh wait, we gave it Wish. Just priority then. And ESpeed was on the table for a while as i recall. This thing was almost Geneseus.
So, what really went wrong?:
The moves were too good sure. But they aren't the real reason this CAP failed. It's because there was a fail safe for every stage of risk. The two risky abilities lost all their risk by having a third, more powerful, safer ability. The two lower stats to make use of a risky ability were overshadowed by sheer bulk, power and a set of boosting moves to make them negligible. The movepool had too many options, and gave a set specifically for No Guard but then also gave outs for Illusion. Good risk moves lost their luster against a stat spread that was too powerful (Final Gambit, Counter). We missed opportunities to add other forms of risk (how about a recoil move or two? Or a move like Solarbeam that needs two turns or support?). We gave it almost no benefit to any weather but Rain, just like every other darn CAP (Blizzard and slightly more powerful Overheat just aren't enough). All in all, we just made it too self sustaining.
What to improve?:
Not an easy question. Its hard to keep a vision in a community environment without abusing power. Maybe that means we need to spend more time with the actual concept before moving right in to abilities, hammering down the theme or gimmick to get a skeleton of what we actually want. We are reprimanded for skipping ahead steps but i think this might be something to change. Stats, Abilities and Movepool really need to have more synergy, and i think that working on them in a non linear fashion may be necessary.
Actually come to think of it, what we have here is a not quite as bad repeat of the Krillowatt situation. Abilities and Movepool skew a concept off course. We learned from that, so wouldn't the same issues we had last time be applicable here? And if so, how were they solved? Also if so, why wasn't the mistake learned from and not repeated?
I'm going to go indy here and answer "none of the above."
Because my answer is that the step this project was screwed up the most at is Concept Assessment itself.
You might ask how it is a non-voting discussion is the lynchpin in all of the competitive woes of the project. Simple: There was never supposed to be a competitive focus at all because the concept was never pared down to something competitive aspects could address.
I'm going to use myself as an example later but lets start with CAP 1 and what reachzero did with Momentum. Momentum was at least as ethereal as Risky Business was from a concept baseline standpoint, but because reach forced us to focus not on moves that maintain momentum like U-turn and Volt Switch but instead focus on moves that can break an opponents momentum of give your team momentum for multiple turns, we had some inkling of the competitive direction we wanted to go in. Prankster buffed a ton of momentum altering non-attacking moves, while Intimidate was a stopgap against the prevalence of physical sweepers.
What I did in Mollux was try and crystallize what would actually qualify as a bad typing before making the slate, and I dragged that concept assessment out for quite a while because typing was the lynchpin of the project. Had I just let people pick whatever and go with say Bug/Dragon, it'd be tough to argue we actually selected a Pokemon with a "bad" typing, even though it'd be weak to Stealth Rock, Ice Beam, Hurricane, and Outrage.
The CAP was doing fairly well through Weak Armor, but since the TL didn't want it even though it was a great ability for the concept, it went down hill from there as no one had a clear indication of direction and ironically all of the abilities that had risk inherent to their usage (Flare Boost, Guts, etc.) were all prohibited.
Ultimately I feel its a matter of a concept that started out vague, got little in the way of direction, and then when it started to take shape was then purposefully muddied into incoherence, and people just bandwagoned the strongest remaining ability posted within five words of some variant of "risk."
While I feel it is easy to say that concept assessment was the biggest problem, and I definitely think that a better concept assessment might have fixed a lot of them, I am not sure that that by itself would have fixed the problems. I say it is easy to say that because while a more solid concept assessment does mean a lot, it is still the individual stages that would need to be fixed as well.
So, if we were to pinpoint any one of them as the problem stage, I would go with movepool. While I personally didn't agree with all the decisions made at the other stages throughout the process, I think every stat and ability had its reasoning, and I think none of them alone were necessarily bad for this project. However, all of them depended on the movepool in order to do what they were intended to for the purposes of the concept. I really feel that when it came to movepool we ignored why we chose what we chose and just gave it moves that would make it really good.
Now, I don't want this to come off as me being a sore loser in the movepool poll or anything. I am not going to say "I told you so" or anything as I can't say that my movepool would have made Aurumoth what we wanted. However, I think a lot of the resoning for major moves that it ended up getting really had nothing to do with what we actually wanted at all. I know I was practically beating a dead horse back then, having said it like 5 times in my movepool submission alone, but I think this deserves repeating once more. The best example of this is with No Guard, where we selected it as an ability due to the reliability it provides, but when it came to movepools we threw that out and just went for power. While No Guard had potential to relate to the concept, we needed movepool to be focused for this to work, and we did not focus it.
I feel like this is what happened at all the stages. We chose things that had potential, but depended heavily on the movepool to fulfil that potential, and we just squandered that potential. Maybe other stages could have been better too, but I don't think changing any one other stage could fix Aurumoth nearly to the extent that movepool could.
I'm with Deck on this. While individual stages were pretty much all messed up at least somewhat, maybe Typing excluded, in fulfilling the concept effectively, the real issue is that the combination of mess-ups. This is only avoided if clear framework is provided in concept assessment. And it wasn't.
With broad concepts such as "momentum" or "risk," the direction, or at least a narrow range of directions, has to be discussed and reached through consensus in the concept assessment. When that isn't achieved, the entire CAP process from there on out can founder. This is not the first time this has happened, but it certainly is the clearest example of it. Reachzero showed well how to take a multi-definitional concept and deal with it step by step. Deck to a lesser degree, since bad typing is not nearly as vague as "risk" or "momentum," had similar leadership in the assessment stage. Even though I disagreed with the direction the community reached consensus toward, it still worked, and I was confident it still would result in a successful CAP, if not the one I thought it would be.
Consensus, even if it's a 55-45 consensus, is better than the road we traveled with Aurumoth... Which would be best described as, "Hey we have a 45/35/20 (or something) split on ideas. No one has a clear majority, so let's just throw them all in and everyone can be happy and surely it will work!"
I agree with Deck that the Concept Assessment was where the CAP doomed itself. Just go back and read that last two pages of it and you'll see there wasn't anything accomplished in that stage at all. Even Bob at the end said "check my last post for how we're gonna do this," directing us all to his previous post, which said "I really have no clue how we should do this." It's no wonder we got off track during Abilities because we were all still trying to discuss the concept using all our wildly different interpretations.
Now, the movepool. I won't be so proud as to defend the inclusion of Quiver Dance, which in hindsight was probably over the top (the only such move, IMO). I really underestimated the physical bulk of this mon when I decided to include it; I missed the part where Scarf Terrakion couldn't necessarily OHKO it without Rocks. No Guard + Blizzard/Thunder/Focus Blast/Hydro Pump would hardly be an issue without QD, and the physical movepool is so purposefully predictable that DD shouldn't be brought up in this discussion (who ever used Overheat or Tail Glow?). I think the old CAP ways of wanting to try everything out ("when are we ever going to get another chance to try Quiver Dance?") must have crept into my decision-making process. Genesect put a lot of pressure on the build of this CAP, not only as a strong and obvious check that literally half of OU teams were using, but as powerful competition for teamslots (better typing, similar coverage, Download, higher Speed). The banning of Genesect right after the playtest makes Moth look more OP than when we were actually discussing and making these decisions.
But the whole process was a huge joke. When people were getting their well-reasoned, publicly supported Ability ideas shot down with little or no explanation from the TL, and when the stat slate was chosen amongst 7 or whatever nearly identical spreads, and when the counters discussion ended with "no counters," it was pretty obvious that the only way to get slated was to submit whatever bob wanted at the opening of the thread. And he wanted the ultimate Bug Pokemon. With a more than nominal attempt at a Concept Assessment thread, we could have had multiple stages that actually worked together cohesively instead of individual submissions catered to the TL's very specific demands.
I tried to join in on the discussion a bit at the beginning, but ended up just being baffled. Mostly I was really confused as to what risk was interpreted to be. In particular, I couldn't understand why a reliance on low accuracy moves didn't qualify as risk. In fact, I saw a lot of people coming in with this conception of risk, such that other posters had to frequently explain to people that that was not the risk we wanted.
Hint: if you have to repeatedly explain yourself because EVERYONE DISAGREES WITH YOUR INTERPRETATION UNTIL YOU TELL THEM OTHERWISE then something might be wrong :/
Deck, as others agree, made an excellent point in that our own interpretation of risk may have been the biggest flop of all throughout CAP4. I never really understood why low accuracy was not an option to be interpreted as risk, but because it's not "the risk we want", we ruled it out... I don't see how we thought we know what risk we do want when we were still identifying it.
I also feel that the other biggest blunder in our project was our selection of abilities. Of all the available risky abilities, we were rather push-pinned into only a certain selection. Weak Armor worked excellently towards the concept, but then Illusion distracted us from the concept... What was Illusion's argument again? Something about the opponent predicting correctly? Honestly, I never understood what our reasoning was for having Illusion as a risk above not having it.
And then there was No Guard... Oh god, that was a dreadful stage. Despite all the decent arguments for things like Flare Boost and Marvel Scale, we were presented with a poll of No Guard or No Tertiary Ability. Of all things, No Guard was definitely not risky enough to fall into the concept of high risk, high reward. Considering how most things run base 100 accuracy moves anyway, it was practically a straight upgrade ability. In spite of all this, the passerby votes came--you know, the crowd that makes no participation in the project beyond just voting in the polls, completely disregarding what was discussed prior--and no doubt the winner would be that shiny ability that made Machamp AWESOME!
If we were to ever redo any step in the process, I would definitely say we'd profit off redoing our ability selection. Aurumoth would still be too good to really be considered risky, but at least Substitute+Quiver Dance sets wouldn't be veiled underneath death/status protection and +1 SpA/SpD/Speed on top of an illusion. And impossible to miss Thunder and Blizzard... Yeah, that was risky all right.
I'm a complete outsider to CAP, and to be honest I was only really attracted to pay much attention for the same reasons that bystanders slow down their cars to stare at a train crash, with all the talk about the disaster that was CAP4. But taking a look at it all, as well as my recent experiences laddering for quals in OU, put a thought in my head which I'd like to share. This is a bit of a long rambly post, but hopefully some useful ideas can be gotten out of it.
I think "Risky Business" definitely wasn't doomed from the start. When I look at the Risky Business concept in fact, there is one pokemon already in OU which I think fits that concept to a T, nailing it from several directions:
As I was laddering with Gengar, I constantly had to assess risks, and rarely was anything involving Gengar safe by any stretch of the imagination. Most obviously, nearly all successful Gengar sets are going to use Focus Blast, the quintessential high risk/high reward move. It converges with Shadow Ball to give perfect type coverage, but the closest "accurate" version is the wretched HP Fighting, forcing Gengar to take heavy risks whenever he hits that button. Due to Gengar's extreme frailty, these risks are very real, and missing a Focus Blast will often result in Gengar's death and the unwounded survival of whatever it was trying to kill.
There are several other risky elements to Gengar. Most Gengar sets try to capitalize on Substitute, which on a frail fast poke like Gengar is essentially gambling 25% of your HP that your opponent will switch out of the threatening ghost. Gengar is frail and pursuit weak, but very dangerous to common pursuiters Scizor and Tyranitar. Will the Scizor Bullet Punch or Pursuit, and do you want to risk that Focus Blast will cripple it? Gengar has three immunities, most importantly letting him dodge Earthquake and Close Combat, which Garchomp and Terrakion respectively will often choice themselves into. Should you switch in Gengar to save a poke and pick up a free sub, or will this adventure result in Gengar being obliterated by a Garchomp Outrage?
Pain Split is the perhaps the most "unreliable" recovery move there is, and Gengar is perhaps the best user of the move, especially since he can beat Chansey/Blissey with it, who usually are his hardest counters. Being the frailest commonly used ghost, one can even use Gengar to spinblock, but if you switch him into anything other than an actual rapid spin he might be done for before he can threaten the spinner out with his strong offensive moves. Lastly, Gengar is at a very common speed number and often winds up in a speed tie with other Gengar and/or the Lati twins, giving users an option to gamble their pokemon 50/50.
Thinking about this, it surprises me that CAP4 didn't really capitalize on any of these sorts of things. It'll never end up in a speed tie (except with itself), it can safely switch out of its counters, it can use No Guard to never miss moves, and I don't see any mention of Substitute being common in sets, let alone pain split. It's even bulky enough to take neutral hits and still be able to do its job after, meaning that missing a Hydro Pump or Focus Blast on the Illusion set isn't a gamebreaker either.
I think that the conservative bulky and slow stat spread of CAP4 is really what doomed it more than anything else. Fast, frail, offensive pokemon are inherently risky to use, since misplaying them or getting haxed on a move can easily result in their deaths, swinging the whole match. Even with a great movepool and wonderful abilities, a pokemon with a stat spread like Gengar's is always going to be at least moderately risky to use, though interesting abilities, typings, and movepools can obviously increase that attribute. Though its a bit frail on the special side, Aurumoth looks like your quintessential bulky offense poke, able to switch into reasonable hits safely, spam its set up moves, and flee it's counters without paying much of a price (it may be pursuit weak but it actually has HP and defense).
I have to go the obvious route and say that Movepool Discussion/Movepool Polls were the biggest mess-up in the recent project.
The first mistake we made when designing Aurumoth was giving it Illusion. We had clear direction once Weak Armor was slated and chosen, but once Illusion was chosen to complement Weak Armor we changed the focus of this CAP completely. Though the movepool was the main flaw with this CAP, the Secondary Ability was the biggest problem. When Weak Armor was chosen, we had a clear motive: make Aurumoth able to abuse the Speed boost from Weak Armor and turn that into a win condition, but do not make Aurumoth so good that it's independent of Weak Armor.
Illusion destroyed that because it completely overshadows Weak Armor. Aurumoth's abilities were much like Krilowatt's: first we started with Trace (comparable to Weak Armor), a solid but not spectacular ability. Then we added Magic Guard (comparable to Illusion), and based the Pokemon around Magic Guard rather than Trace, the original intended ability. Instead of designing Aurumoth around Weak Armor, a high risk-high reward ability, we decided to base it around Illusion, a low risk-high reward ability.
Though in the end every aspect of the CAP comes from the Concept Assessment, I felt like the wheels really came off of the track because we misinterpreted risk and reward when designing a movepool. Aurumoth is definitely a high-reward Pokemon, and the stats and abilities (Illusion notwithstanding) reflected that. Weak Armor, a high Defense stat, great attacking stats, and a middling Speed embody a risk-reward Pokemon. The risk was that if you couldn't get a Speed boost then you had trouble getting past most revenge killers, but the rewards were great: an Aurumoth at +1 was guaranteed to kill at least one Pokemon, most likely more unless a high-speed revenge killer was waiting in the wings.
Illusion stuck a monkey wrench in the problem. Instead of basing Aurumoth around Weak Armor, we based it on Illusion. Much like Zoroark can run either Swords Dance or Nasty Plot because of Illusion, Aurumoth can run either Dragon Dance or Quiver Dance because of Illusion. The reason why Illusion is low risk is because with those boosting moves, Aurumoth is guaranteed a Speed boost. Who cares if you mispredict with Aurumoth, the bug will have a Speed boost, Attack/SpA boost, and probably enough HP to keep on truckin' with the bulk we gave it.
With the movepool we gave it, Aurumoth's risk element is low. You get a Speed boost no matter what. You get an attack boost no matter what. Sure, different Pokemon wall different sets, but how is the opponent supposed to know what moth set you're using when you can disguise your Dragon Dance Aurumoth as a Nasty Plot Celebi, draw in a Special Wall, and probably end the game right there? The only person who's in a risky situation is the person playing against Aurumoth, as they're the one who has to solve for the set Aurumoth is using.
The movepool was a casualty of a poor ability choice. Once Illusion supplanted Weak Armor as the ability we cared about, we destroyed the "risk" element of the concept and only focused on the "reward" element. Sure, we convinced ourselves that Illusion is a risky Ability, but it's really not when you have a movepool and stat spread like Aurumoth's. Illusion is not the crux of Aurumoth as a risk-reward Pokemon, it's merely the icing on the brokenness cake.
High risk, high reward essentially means that the ceiling for this Pokemon is very high and the floor is very low, i.e., that this Pokemon could be the linchpin for a sweep or mere death fodder depending on the user's skill. Wear Armor embodies that spirit by requiring that the Aurumoth user switches correctly in order to get the boost necessary for a sweep.
If Weak Armor were the ability of choice, we probably would have given it good mixed offenses, solid Physical defense, low Special Defense, and high-but-not-too-high Speed. This is what we did, however. The Stat spread benefits Illusion and Weak Armor equally, which may or may not be a coincidence. This stat spread allows Weak Armor to be the deciding factor in whether or not Aurumoth is effective. If you switch Aurumoth in well, it will crush. If you don't, you'll either die or likely be revenge killed.
The movepool would probably not contain any Speed-boosting moves. Boosting Speed to a level where Aurumoth can sweep is where the risk in using Aurumoth exists, and QD and DD exist to complement Illusion. If we were to remove the Speed-boosting moves from Aurumoth, then the only way Aurumoth could get to acceptable sweeping levels is through Weak Armor.
In the end, I felt like Illusion was the first problem with Aurumoth, and that mistake dictated the downfall of the project because it begged for the bug to have Speed-boosting moves. When a Pokemon has titanic mixed attacking stats, giving it a way to boost its Speed is a recipe for disaster if the purpose of the Pokemon is to be risky.
Regarding Concept Assessment itself, had it reached more precise conclusions, it would have hopefully dictated a better outcome in all the later stages. However, I can't agree with Deck that it's solely to be blamed here - at least I came out of that stage with some conviction that 'we knew what we were going to do' (misguided as that was, heh).
The stage where things went wrong I'd say was Abilities. Weak Armor was great, but mixing in Illusion and No Guard to outclass it ruined CAP4. And then things went downhill from there - if not for the Abilities chosen, our Stats and Movepoll would've looked differently, or at least I hope they would have.
And still, if Aurumoth had two other abilities (or even if Weak Armor was its sole ability), it'd be riskier with its current stats and movepoll than it is now, with what Illusion and No Guard enable. So if I were to go back and redo just one stage, that'd be my choice.
In short, the lesson to take away from this (besides 'pin down vague concepts') would be "don't overshadow your primary ability with stronger secondary and terciary abilities". A lesson we needed to repeat, apparently. Hopefully for the last time now.
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