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Using/checking Cawmodore properly in the CAP meta

Discussion in 'Create-A-Pokémon Project' started by Vryheid, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. Vryheid

    Vryheid fudge jelly

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    After around 200 matches on the Cawmodore ladder and many more test matches in the CAP meta, I've come to the conclusion that at most 3-4 people in the entire playtest either have the knowledge or willingness to use Cawmodore as more than easily countered deadweight or cannon fodder on their team. This is a crying shame because of how ridiculously good this Pokemon is, and what really grinds my gears is that instead of embracing how fun it can be to use, most of the players near the top of the ladder have instead chosen to either ignore it completely even when they have it on a team or just outright refuse to use it in most of their matches.

    Because Cawmodore will almost invariably be added to the main CAP meta once it returns, and because these ridiculously overcentralized teams of 5th gen Cawmodore checks will be utterly ineffectual once that happens, I took it upon myself to write up a guide on how you might use and threaten Cawmodore properly in the CAP meta. The good news is that this is not the end of the world (or the CAP metagame) as we know it, the bad news is that Cawmodore has the potential to be an Aurumoth level threat which you must have Pokemon directly prepared for in advance. As such, I figure that prevent a lot of pissed off players from giving up on the CAP meta, there had to be some sort of guide to help people properly use and have some chance at beating this Pokemon. Note that this is NOT A GUIDE for using or countering Cawmodore in the Gen 5 playtest, though some similar strategies do apply.

    I'd also like to thank Fuzzie on Showdown for helping me with playtesting and number crunching this madness.

    [​IMG]
    Sup.
    What Cawmodore is, and why should you care

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    Cawmodore is the most devastating Pokemon in existence after a single turn of setup. Being a Pokemon custom tailored to make use of Belly Drum, this is the set you are going to see used the most. Catching an opponent off-guard is not particularly tricky to do, even if they're familiar with Cawmodore, and if it does set up there is very few Pokemon currently used in competitive battles which has any chance at stopping it. Whether you want to score a quick win by using it as a risky lead or want to throw it on defensive teams as an incredibly powerful late-game sweeper, the giant Wolverine bird can be amazingly effective on practically every team.

    The catch to using Cawmodore, of course, is that the “single turn of setup” requires actually keeping Cawmodore in one piece while losing half of its health. Cawmodore has some excellent typing and defensive abilities to help with this process, but its awful HP and Sp Def stats mean that it will rarely get a chance to set up on any special attackers using a move that it doesn't outright resist. Cawmodore can be useful even against teams that are ridiculously overprepared to deal with it (see- most of the teams in this playtest), but to do so you will need a fair amount of team support and some clever maneuvering to first exploit holes in the opponent's offense.

    If you do manage to set up, the combination of Drain Punch, Acrobatics, and Bullet Punch is nearly unstoppable and will OHKO almost everything in the game that isn't a massively invested defensive bulwark. For comparison, a boosted Acrobatics hits so hard that it can OHKO Dragonite through Multiscale. When you consider that even a Swords Dance boosted Adamant Mega Blaziken cannot do the same feat with Stone Edge, it becomes clear how ridiculously hard this Pokemon is to stop.


    The Sets

    Bulky Sweeper
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    Cawmodore @ Sitrus Berry
    Ability: Intimidate/Volt Absorb
    EVs: 252 Spd / 252 Atk / 4 HP
    Jolly Nature
    - Belly Drum
    - Acrobatics
    - Drain Punch
    - Bullet Punch

    This is the easiest set to use, and requires the least amount of team support. However, it is incredibly vulnerable to certain Scarfed revenge killers, and any attempt at sweeping will require that they're removed or severely weakened first. Try to come in after one of your Pokemon is taken out by a physical attacker that Cawmodore can take a hit from relatively comfortably, such as Garchomp or Tyranitar. With the Intimidate drop and extra health from Sitrus Berry, Cawmodore should have little trouble setting up.

    Remember that a resisted Acrobatics does more damage than a neutral Drain Punch, and you should mainly save Drain Punch for Pokemon you're certain will be OHKOd by the move (such as Blissey) and bulky Steel types such as Heatran and Aggron. Bullet Punch can do a surprising amount of damage to revenge killers that don't resist it, dealing as much as 97% damage to a scarfed Latios. It's also useful for smashing priority users such as Breloom and Sableye that would normally cripple it or do severe damage.

    Bulky Cawmodore is best used as a late game sweeper, so anything that can lay hazards easily is a great supporter. Ferrothorn and Blissey both can easily tank many of the special attacks aimed at Cawmodore and can put down Stealth Rocks. Blissey can also pass Wishes to Cawmodore, giving it an easy time switching in due to it's low HP stat. Smeargle can Spore something for Cawmodore to set up on, and it can put down Sticky Web to shut down threats like Scarfed Starmie and Keldeo. Gastrodon is outright immune to both Water and Electric attacks and doesn't mind Fire attacks either, is a great switch-in to scarfed Keldeo, and is good at stalling out many of the revenge killers which give Cawmodore trouble such as Scarfed Heatran or Wash-Rotom. In CAP, Colossoil often baits in many of the same Scarfed revenge killers that Cawmodore does, and can try to use Knock Off on them as they come in to facilitate a late game sweep.

    This set can be effectively checked by practically any special attacker that is scarfed and resists Bullet Punch. Examples include Wash-Rotom, Keldeo, Heatran, Magneton, and Chandelure. Skarmory can survive a hit and phase out with Whirlwind, but this only works once, and the Drain Punch absorption will give Cawmodore another opportunity to set up. Note that electric attacks are not reliable at stopping Cawmodore due to the availability of Volt Absorb, which is less common on this set but is still very viable. Certain Pokemon can also effectively wall this threat as described in the section “Defending against Cawmodore” below.


    Substitute Sweeper
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    Cawmodore @ Salac Berry
    Ability: Volt Absorb/Intimidate
    EVs: 252 Spd / 252 Atk / 4 SDef
    Jolly Nature
    IVs: 30 HP
    - Belly Drum
    - Substitute
    - Acrobatics
    - Drain Punch

    This set trades access to priority and initial bulk for the ability to easily beat common Choice Scarf checks such as Rotom and Keldeo. Sub also helps prevent Ditto from switching in for free, and stops Prankster users such as Klefki and Liepard from potentially crippling Cawmodore with Swagger. The best time to use this set is against Pokemon which are forced to switch out, such as Blissey or Breloom fearing an Acrobatics. Volt Absorb is the preferred ability of choice for this reason, as it gives Cawmodore more opportunities to keep up that Substitute.

    Zoroark using Illusion on Gyarados or Heatran can suicide Trick a Scarf into a move Cawmodore is immune to, like Earthquake, giving it an easy opportunity to set up. Even Tricking something on a Pokemon which you can take advantage of later on is a great early game approach. Predicted Spores or Will-o-wisps can be blocked by Sub and give Cawmodore a free setup opportunity. Hazard users which can't phase, such as Ferrothorn and Donphan, have little chance at breaking through a sub and give Cawmodore an easy opportunity to set up. In some situations it's worth forgoing Sub entirely and going straight for the Belly Drum on an attack which would do 25%-50% damage, giving Cawmodore a much wider range of physical attackers to set up on.

    Another approach to setting up involves a large amount of direct support. Dual screen support from the likes of Latios or Espeon can make Cawmodore incredibly bulky on the physical side, and if you throw in a Memento user (Latios also can use the move), it can set up even in the face of most special attackers. Wobbuffet with Charm can weaken any physical attacker to the point where Cawmodore is guaranteed an opportunity to set up. You can even try a gimmick set like Mew with Barrier, Amnesia, and Baton Pass to make a sub incredibly hard to break. Once the sub is up, there is very little stopping Cawmodore from wiping out an opposing team, so having one or two Pokemon who's sole purpose is to support Cawmodore can be entirely worth it.

    Good partners to this set include any Pokemon capable of the support tactics listed above, as well as those which appreciate Cawmodore's ability to devastate Electric and Grass type attackers.

    Checking this set is rather complicated, and you will have to constantly be on your guard for potential Cawmodore set-up opportunities. Don't lock yourself into a ground type move unless you are certain you can deal with Cawmodore switchins. If Cawmodore does set up, your best bet is hitting it hard with priority moves that Cawmodore doesn't resist such as Sucker Punch and Aqua Jet. Azumarill, Mega-Lucario, and Mega-Kangaskhan all work well in this regard. There are also a few gimmick sets which outspeed Cawmodore and can severely damage it even after a boost, such as Choice Scarf Jolteon and Greninja, but become much less threatening by holding a Scarf as a result. Other tactics which are effective against Cawmodore are described in the section below.


    Defending against Cawmodore

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    In a nutshell, Cawmodore is ridiculously powerful and potentially overcentralizing in the CAP metagame. When properly used by an opponent, it makes dealing with Deoxys and Blaziken in OU look like child's play in comparison. It completely flies in the face of the traditional “bag of tricks” approach used to shut down most threats in CAP due to it's ridiculously high speed stat, near perfect attack coverage, and amazing abilities. The rain teams used to deal with Cawmodore in the playtest are inherently dysfunctional in Gen 6 and will easily be shut down by Pokemon like Mollux and Revenankh in CAP. Don't think that you can prevent Cawmodore from setting up either, because with a little bit of support from its team Cawmodore can set up on just about anything (even so called “checks” like Wash-Rotom). And once it does, all the hard hitting sweepers in the world aren't going to save you from having every one of your Pokemon knocked out in one hit.

    Part of the frustration when dealing with Cawmodore is that most checks which are useful against one set fail entirely when used against the other. Greninja, for instance, outspeeds Cawmodore and resists Bullet Punch, and thus can easily take down the Sitrus Berry set with a Surf. However, it still gets outsped by the speed boosting set and is swiftly demolished by Acrobatics. Mega Kangaskhan can take on the speed boosting set and easily deal 60%-70% damage with Fake Out+Sucker Punch, but the Sitrus Berry set will survive and take all that health back after a devastating Drain Punch. Dealing with Cawmodore offensively often requires at least two checks, one for each set, and even then most offensive checks fail in the face of dual screens, Sticky Web or hazards. In the face of the ridiculous power Cawmodore can bring to the table even without any support, it may look nearly impossible to deal with in CAP OU.

    On the other hand, Cawmodore's total lack of versatility works against it. There are only two Cawmodore sets that are competitively useful, and they both have similar damage outputs. Any defensive wall with at least 100/100 HP/Def on average and max investment while not being weak to Flying or Fighting attacks will be able to survive any one attack and at least get a chance to strike back. Vaporeon is an example of a Pokemon who, while not being able to wall Cawmodore at all, can check it in a pinch if it's kept at full health and any sub Cawmodore has up is broken first. Bulky Zapdos and Thundurus resist all of Cawmodore's common STAB moves and can take out Cawmodore with Heat Wave or Focus Blast, but have a hard time taking even one attack if Stealth Rocks is up. Keep in mind that you will still take a large amount of damage in the process of taking Cawmodore down no matter what defensive check you are using, and that these checks are only useful if they're kept healthy and away from status or hazards.

    Not even a max defense Metagross or Mega-Aggron can consistently avoid being 2HKOd, so if you expect to wall Cawmodore completely no matter what it does you are in for a rough time. I'm only aware of four Pokemon in existence that can claim to guarantee avoiding a 2HKO by Drain Punch/Acrobatics at +6, and only two of them are allowed in CAP. The first would be Cyclohm, who's physically defensive set is the only reason to use the Pokemon in Gen VI and is practically mandatory on any stally/defensive CAP team. Unlike most defensive checks (think Skarmory or Jirachi) it can OHKO even a healthy Cawmodore with a devastating Flamethrower. It can also phase out sets with Whirlwind and heal off any damage with Slack Off. It also has utility as a great counter to Keldeo, Talonflame, Arghonaut, and many other physical threats lacking Earthquake as an attack move, and thus can work as a defensive pivot on many teams.

    The alternative is Quagsire, who is predictable and rather weak offensively to the point that it has a hard time even denting Cawmodore if Light Screen is up, and will invariably lead to a lot of easy switchins for dangerous Pokemon like Ferrothorn and Necturna. Because it lacks a niche beyond simply walling Cawmodore and is otherwise totally outclassed by Arghonaut, Quagsire has very little reason to be considered viable in CAP.

    Offensive threats that can check both sets are rare but do exist. Talonflame is a pretty good check to both Cawmodore sets if you manage to keep Stealth Rocks off the field. The idea is that you get a Jolly set with at least 192 speed EVs, allowing it to outspeed Cawmodore. The Sitrus Berry set cannot take down Talonflame with Bullet Punch and is wiped out by Flare Blitz, and the speed booster set loses that last 25% health to a Flying Gem boosted Acrobatics. Because Talonflame is a fantastic check to devastating sweepers like Necturna and Aurumoth, and because of how incredibly useful priority Tailwind can be in CAP, using Talonflame as a primary Cawmodore check is in no way crippling and is worthy of a slot on practically any team.

    Dual check approaches are more comfortable for most teams who don't want to dedicate a teamslot to a Cawmodore counter and generally require moves which any well designed team should be using anyways. Slapping Flamethrower, Shadow Ball or Surf onto any general purpose Choice Scarfer which resists or is bulky enough to tank Bullet Punch is a great answer to any Sitrus Berry set. Genesect would be a fantastic choice for this role. Anything with hard hitting priority or that simply can survive a hit and wipe out Cawmodore in one attack is a good choice for dealing with the Salac Berry set. Mega Lucario with Vacuum Wave, most Sucker Punch users, and Kitsunoh all work well at this, and all have plenty of utility outside of dealing with Cawmodore. The main problems with the dual check approach is that it means more Pokemon you have to keep in reserve just to deal with one threat, and that if you send in the wrong check on the setup turn you may end up losing a Pokemon in the process.

    The final approach to dealing with Cawmodore is through trickery, which to some degree has its merits. Anything with Perish Song, for instance, can switch into the sub set during the first turn and put a death timer on Cawmodore after it Belly Drums. Prankster Encore users can switch into the sub and shut down Cawmodore's sweep entirely. This fails against the Sitrus set, however. If you can prevent Cawmodore from keeping up a Substitute, Ditto will consistently beat every Cawmodore set due to its higher HP stat and can proceed to potentially wipe out the opponent's team. Because of the number of devastating sweepers in the CAP metagame already, Ditto is very viable choice for any team. Anything with Focus Sash or Sturdy can survive a hit and thus can smash through Cawmodore, but this fails entirely against hazard users (expect plenty). Mega-Bannete's priority Destiny Bond can also bring a quick halt to any Cawmodore sweep, though it needs a fair amount of HP or defensive investment to guarantee surviving a +6 Bullet Punch. On the negative side, all of these tactics can be easily worked around if the Cawmodore user is aware of their threat.


    Conclusion

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    Cawmodore is a tricky Pokemon to check, an even trickier Pokemon to use, and absolutely devastating when it works. Entire teams can be built around this Pokemon because it rarely needs any support to sweep teams once it manages to set up. However, if you simply throw Cawmodore out randomly and expect it to do damage, you're going to be disappointed by Cawmodore's mediocre bulk and poor initial Attack. Checking and even countering every Cawmodore set is also manageable, but you MUST have moves/Pokemon specifically prepared for it ahead of time. Play to Cawmodore's strengths, be aware of its weaknesses, and give it the conditions it needs to set up and win matches, and you will find Cawmodore to be worthy of a teamslot on practically every CAP team in existence.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
    Magistrum, Shiruba, Fuzzie and 4 others like this.
  2. Shiruba

    Shiruba

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    Great guide! I've actually seen a fair amount of Rotom-H out and about in X/Y, as he's got a good typing for the new threats out there - he seems like he would be nice in dealing with Cawmodore. Resists both of its STABs [particularly Bullet Punch], and can annihilate with Overheat. Maybe mention him, or do you think he's too niche?
    Luigifan likes this.
  3. Lord Ghetsis

    Lord Ghetsis

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    I got trolled really hard by an Infernape (in hindsight, should NOT have switched in). Belly drumed and got OHKO'd by FlareBlitz.
    Luigifan likes this.
  4. gust_r

    gust_r

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    Nice guide vryheid

    So for some time i used a (not very) different set on my cawmodore, and it is quite unusual given what people usually think of this pokemon:

    Cawmodore @ Sitrus Berry
    Ability: Intimidate/Volt Absorb
    EVs: 252 Spe / 252 SpD / 4 HP
    Jolly Nature
    - Belly Drum
    - Acrobatics
    - Drain Punch
    - Bullet Punch

    NOTE: 252 SpD. That's right. The concept with this is that cawmodore simply isn't OHKO' ing what it shouldn't be OHKO'ing, so why care about full attack investmest? Also note that after you lose that attack, a some few pokemon will now become threats, so you may have to be supporting it a little more by taking some more health of your opponents before they come in, whether it is bby using entry hazards or using some volt turn before you switch in cawmodore. The rest is the same as the sitrus berry set, the diference in this is what you do before using it. recently i ran some calcs, but was a little dissapointed by the results i found. Here are all possibilities i could think of (using gen 6 mechanics):

    Numbers (open)
    0- SpA Gastrodon Scald vs. 0 HP / 252 SpD (custom) in Rain: 103-123 (42.7 - 51)
    252+ SpA Keldeo Surf vs. 0 HP / 252 SpD (custom): 153-181 (63.4 - 75.1%)
    252+ SpA Latios Draco Meteor vs. 0 HP / 252 SpD (custom): 110-130 (45.6 - 53.9%)
    252+ SpA Latias Draco Meteor vs. 0 HP / 252 SpD (custom): 98-116 (40.6 - 48.1%)
    252+ SpA Rotom-W Hydro Pump vs. 0 HP / 252 SpD (custom): 160-190 (66.3 - 78.8%)
    252+ SpA Starmie Thunderbolt vs. 0 HP / 252 SpD (custom): 170-202 (70.5 - 83.8%)
    252+ SpA Starmie Hydro Pump vs. 0 HP / 252 SpD (custom): 156-184 (64.7 - 76.3%)
    252+ SpA Starmie Surf vs. 0 HP / 252 SpD (custom): 127-151 (52.6 - 62.6%)
    252+ SpA Greninja Surf vs. 0 HP / 252 SpD (custom): 130-154 (53.9 - 63.9%)
    252+ SpA Greninja Dark Pulse vs. 0 HP / 252 SpD (custom): 117-138 (48.5 - 57.2%)
    252+ SpA Cyclohm Draco Meteor vs. 0 HP / 252 SpD (custom): 99-117 (41 - 48.5%)
    252+ SpA Cyclohm Fire Blast vs. 0 HP / 252 SpD (custom) in Rain: 112-132 (46.4 - 54.7%)
    0 SpA Krilowatt Thunderbolt vs. 0 HP / 252 SpD (custom): 158-188 (65.5 - 78%)
    0 SpA Krilowatt Surf vs. 0 HP / 252 SpD (custom) in Rain: 118-141 (48.9 - 58.5%)


    There is also the suicide LO set which is very much like the sitrus one but i dont feel like postinng it here
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
  5. Bedschibaer

    Bedschibaer does it for free
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    Roaring/Whirlwinding it out the turn it belly drums is what i tried to do most of the time. Hippowdon does the job, Skarmory does it too. The main problem with that being your main response to Cawmodore is that last poke Cawmodore will be practically unbeatable. Other than that the best responses to it are offensive ones. The already mentioned Rotom-H is probably the best thing that deals with it, any fast fire type checks it. Scarfed Volcarona is an unorthodox but really effective way to deal with it (when no stealth rocks are up of course). It might sound like a bad idea to scarf one of the most prominent setupsweepers, but it's unexpected and still hits like a truck. Most Cawmodores go for the Acrobatics, thinking they outspeed Volcarona and get OHKOed by a Fiery Dance/Fire Blast.
    +6 252+ Atk (custom) Bullet Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Volcarona: 107-126 (34.2 - 40.3%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
    This is Adamant nature btw, otherwise it's only (31.4 - 36.8%)
  6. Pwnemon

    Pwnemon judges silently
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    i didn't participate with the playtest, but it seems to me that scarftoed is a very obvious answer to cawmodore, either beating the acrobatics as scarf wasn't expected or tanking the bullet punch and KOing quite well. Of course, if you switch in and the opponent was smart enough to not BD as you have a scarftoed on your team, acrobatics will sting, but that's why you don't reveal your scarf until you need to.
  7. Vryheid

    Vryheid fudge jelly

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    In practice, bulky Cyclohm has been the number one answer I see on most teams to attempted Cawmodore sweeps, and has been the primary reason I can't simply sweep with Cawmodore every single game. You really have to figure some way around that lug if you want to get anywhere with this Pokemon. Vest Krilowatt seems to do pretty well, though Genesect can usually force it out just as easily with Ice Beam.
  8. Integer Mova

    Integer Mova

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    Even though I am terrible at battling, I had a suggestion about using a physically defensive Aegislash as a counter, since it resists both of Cawmodore's STAB's. It's also immune to Cawmodore's main coverage move, Drain Punch.

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