I suppose I may as well add my two cents.
To me, when I hear the word "risk" I generally think of a strategy or command that has the potential to put the user in the lead by a wide margin, and
the potential to backfire horribly.
Now, naturally, this definition of risk is a bit intricate, because if we make too much reward, and too little risk, then that ability will always be chosen over the other one (think Bronzong and Heatproof). However, if we make too much risk with too little reward, then the ability is dead space. Thus we have to strike a delicate balance between those two.
was a good option because it certainly falls into the category of risk. If CAP ges hit with enough physical attacks, then it has a huge reward of extra speed to blow through your enemy's competition. However, if the CAP's hp hits zero, or the enemy has a Pokemon that doesn't care about the speed (Choice Scarf users, particularly bulky pokemon, priority users, etc.) then the end result is a horrible backfire. This sort of risk vs. reward is the sort of balance I'm looking for.
Now as for the second ability, it seems we're looking for a few basic things.
- Duality with Weak Armor; ergo, if CAP chooses one ability, it will miss the other ability. This is a little difficult, because we don't want to make a Pokemon that is mediocre with both abilities. To be honest though, I think this will be best fulfilled in future polls, thus I won't go there.
- Balance between risk and reward. As I outlined above, give CAP too much of either and it becomes either too good or too bad.
- This ability will hopefully come into play most if not every game, unless the ability backfires. Basically, if we give CAP an ability that only works some of the time, then people will pick the other ability because it's more reliable.
I'm probably missing a few things, but I think this list will do for now. My emphasis is really on #2 though. To be honest, I think one of the main problems we're running into is that few of the abilities actually have a backfire mode on it. This isn't so much the fault of the players as it is of the game itself, as most abilities don't have a drawback.
Based on that, here are some abilities I like (from most liked to least liked):
is probably my favorite ability out of the bunch. It gives a clear, albeit psychological, element of risk v. reward. If the opponent calls the bluff, then it just backfired. However, if the opponent is fooled then it has the potential to absolutely wreck the opponent. Let's look really quick on how it fits the three points above:
- It doesn't have the best duality, since as soon as the opponent sees a CAP without a disguise, he'll know that it has Weak Armor. That said, it comes down to a decision on how much risk a player wants, which I think is awesome. Does he choose Weak Armor, and get a more reliable risk, or does he choose Illusion, which is riskier and doesn't always work, but when it does work it tends to make a huge dent in the opponent.
- Risk and reward are quite balanced here. I feel like I'm repeating myself a bit too much here, but Illusion gives CAP both a high risk and a high reward. The risk comes from the opponent calling the bluff and using Crunch, but the reward comes from possibly slamming his Tentacruel with a Psyshock while he thought you had Houndoom out.
- Obviously, Illusion comes into play every game, and it depends a lot on what the player's team structure is as to its effectiveness.
So really, I don't see any well defined argument against Illusion. Honestly, the only thing I'm concerned about is outclassing Zoroark.
One interesting ability I found while looking through the Ability list on Smogon proper was Hustle
. The risk v. reward aspect is pretty clear here, as it gives us a huge power boost, but at the expense of valuable accuracy. The only problem I really see here is a bit too much intensity between reward and risk (i.e. it has a lot of risk and a lot of reward).
is pretty decent I think. It's reward v. risk aspect is in whether you nullify the ability of something like Gyarados's Moxie or whether you nullify something like Archeops's Defeatist. The only trouble here is really that most popular OU Pokemon don't have things like Defeatist. Thus, I think it does fall a bit short on point #3. I'd still recommend it as a possible Dream World ability though.
is an interesting concept I think. The ability itself doesn't have much of a backfire potential, but when one uses it they have to make absolutely sure their opponent doesn't have a backup plan. That said, I am a bit wary as if you look at most Pokemon with Moxie, they are all generally used either late game, or whenever their counters are dead. Thus, I am a touch worried that it will only make our Pokemon an effective late-game sweeper, and not much else. That said, my feelings are overall positive, as I think we can work around it if need be.
is fairly good since it opens a lot of unique opportunities to mess around with items. It also has a pretty significant drawback since you can't use more useful items like Lefties or Life Orb. That said, it does lack the backfire possibility that I think we may want on this pokemon.
Now for the abilities I think won't work at all (from most hated to least hated).
...geez how did this get so popular? My opinion is that it shouldn't have even been considered. I think jagged angel hit the nail on the head on this one. This concept has the potential to either have too much reward and not enough risk, or be completely useless, depending on the movepool we choose. The only remotely viable move with this would be Megahorn, which I don't feel would be enough to justify No Guard. By far my biggest gripe with this ability is simple: There is zero risk for the user.
Now, let me explain here. There would be plenty of risk if people commonly used things like Dynamicpunch, Inferno, and Zap Cannon. The fact is though, they just don't, and if they do, they already have a way to patch up the accuracy. With the obvious culprits of risk out, it's down to the subtler moves that qualify risk, namely Fire Blast, Blizzard, etc. The thing here is, people use these because they at least work more often than they don't. All No Guard does in this situation is remove the possibility for the opponent to miss and CAP, and all CAP gets is more reward with not a whole lot of risk added to it. As such, where is the risk coming from? It isn't coming from the opponent, since the only moves he's likely to have were probably going to hit CAP anyways, and it certainly isn't coming from the CAP or ability itself.
Basically, what I'm saying here is that No Guard fixes an entirely different problem than we're trying to solve
. Practically, all it does is make sure CAP cannot win because of miss hax, otherwise it is entirely dependent on the movepool. And since the movepool can only make No Guard worthless or entirely overpowered, risk isn't really involved at all.
Guts/Flare Boost/Marvel Scale/any other status dependent ability
: These on the other hand I can understand why they were proposed. My only trouble with these are really that the risk is rather subdued. In fact, I'm not sure I'd even call it risk, since it's really more of a reward in exchange for a limited time for the pokemon to be useful. Again, there isn't really much that's bad about these, it's just there may be better options.
Defiant and similar abilities:
This is a pretty good idea on paper, but in practice it's worthless more than anything else. It's far too situational. The only stat down move that is commonly used is Intimidate. Most other pokemon just boost their own stats rather than mess with stat down moves.
My main gripe with this one is simply that it severely limits our options as far as stats go. If we make it more than 100 Attack, then it goes into uber territory, and if it's much less, then Weak Armor becomes less viable. It also lacks a risk element. However, this isn't all bad, as it could fulfill two roles as a Specially inclined Weak Armor Sweeper or as a Physically based sweeper.
So there's my two cents.