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CAP is a simple metagame to grasp, despite what randomly jumping into the battling scene might initially suggest. In the first volume of OU vs. CAP, we covered how play styles themselves differ from OU to CAP. In this article, we will focus more on some very key threats to be aware of and their resulting impact on how you make your teams. Since many of you will come straight from OU, with little or no knowledge of CAP, you'll probably play your first few matches using a OU team. This will work remotely well, but you'll want to fine-tune your team further to deal with the very specific threats that CAP has introduced. In order to do that, you must first understand the threats and how to beat them.
Despite the fact that we, as a community, have put a lot of effort into balancing the CAP Pokemon, they continue to dominate the metagame. Below is a list of some of the CAP Pokemon with the most unique of niches. These Pokemon have such a serious impact on the metagame that they directly influence how successful teams are made for the metagame. Fortunately, all of these Pokemon are readily dealt with by standard Pokemon in the OU tier or other CAP Pokemon.
Revenankh has all of the right stats in all of the right places, the right ability, and the right movepool to do what he was intended to do: set up numerous Bulk Up boosts and sweep your team. The set you'll want to be making sure you can handle is as follows:
Revenankh @ Leftovers
Ability: Shed Skin
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Careful nature (+SpD, -SpA)
- Bulk Up
- Hammer Arm
- Shadow Sneak
One of Revenankh's greatest assets is perfect neutral type coverage between just two attacks. This allows Revenankh to use Rest alongside Shed Skin to keep healthy. Needless to say, this Revenankh is terribly annoying and almost impossible to beat without either substantial hax or proper planning. If you're looking for CAP Pokemon to check Revenankh, the three best Pokemon for the job are Kitsunoh, Fidgit, and Arghonaut. Kitsunoh can use ShadowStrike to penetrate even a boosted Revenankh's defenses and 2HKO him, while avoiding a 3HKO in return. Fidgit can switch in on any move of Revenankh's and Encore it, turning Revenankh into setup fodder. Lastly, Arghonaut ignores all of Revenankh's boosts and can force him out with powerful Water-type attacks. If you'd prefer a more classic OU route, don't be tempted to use Tyranitar! Revenankh, unlike every Ghost-type Pokemon in OU, is neutral to Dark-type attacks. Instead, choose something bulkier and not weak to Fighting-type attacks. Skarmory makes an excellent response to Revenankh by threatening to 2HKO him with Brave Bird or phazing him with Whirlwind. Revenankh is also deathly afraid of being crippled by Trick. Choice Scarf Jirachi is an excellent candidate for this with access to super effective Zen Headbutt, Iron Head for flinching, or Trick to take Revenankh out. Choice Band Azelf can perform the role well too, but takes a serious hit from Shadow Sneak before dropping Revenankh with Zen Headbutt. Agility Metagross can even go so far as to set up on Revenankh and proceed to destroy him with Zen Headbutt.
Stratagem is a Pokemon that, despite your best efforts, you will have difficulty handling with a normal OU offense team. If your team happens to be carrying Blissey, you'll be home free, but if not... You run the risk of it cleanly sweeping your team. Stratagem has immense super effective coverage, a great base 120 Special Attack stat, and a blistering base 130 Speed stat. If your team can handle the following set in some fashion, you'll be able to deal with pretty much anything Stratagem can throw at you.
Stratagem @ Life Orb
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Giga Drain
- Earth Power / Vacuum Wave
It looks intense, doesn't it? Stratagem achieves perfect type coverage in those four moves and becomes impossibly hard to switch into without perfect prediction skills. However, in OU and CAP there exist a few hard stops to Stratagem as well as some solid checks that put it in its place. Blissey, as mentioned before, stops Stratagem hard with her immense special bulk. Once she's in, she can pretty much have her way with Stratagem. In CAP, the special wall Revenankh is a good choice to beat Stratagem. So long as you have a healthy Revenankh in the wings of your offense team, Stratagem will never sweep your team. If neither of these complete special walls strikes your fancy, then priority attacks are your next best option for breaking Stratagem. Scizor's Bullet Punch annihilates Stratagem, but Scizor will take a serious hit switching in. If Breloom can get in on a resisted move, he can threaten Stratagem with an OHKO through the use of Mach Punch. Choice Scarf users, like Flygon or Jirachi, will destroy Stratagem once they get in. The trick is getting them in safely. Basically, the rule of thumb for beating Stratagem without a dedicated special wall is to play smart and always try to maintain the upper hand. If it predicts correctly once or twice, it can mean the end of one of your precious Pokemon.
Arghonaut is a pest, through and through. He can switch into pretty much any setup sweeper, such as Dragonite, Gyarados, Infernape, or even Lucario, and beat them soundly thanks to his ability, Unaware. As if that weren't enough, Arghonaut poses a serious offensive threat with his base 110 Attack stat and he can easily capitalize on the switches he forces by setting up a Substitute. The set you should really be concerned with, though, is his defensive set.
Arghonaut @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Def
Impish nature (+Def, -SpA)
- Low Kick
- Stone Edge / Ice Punch
Fortunately, Arghonaut is not a difficult beast to handle, but he does force your hand a bit in team building. Super effective attacks, particularly those with STAB, will beat Arghonaut into the ground. Starmie can switch into either of Arghonaut's STAB attacks and threaten him with a Life Orb-boosted Thunderbolt. Celebi completely walls Arghonaut, avoiding a 2HKO from even Ice Punch, and messes him up with Grass Knot. Shaymin doesn't resist Fighting-type attacks, but will cleanly OHKO Arghonaut with STAB Seed Flare. Zapdos makes an excellent switch-in to Arghonaut as well, resisting Fighting-type attacks and waving a Thunderbolt at him. If you decided to run Pokemon with STAB Psychic-type attacks to deal with Revenankh, you'll find those Pokemon also end up being handy against Arghonaut. Azelf, Jirachi, and Metagross all crush Arghonaut with their STAB attacks.
Up until now, you've been led to believe that Psychic-type attacks were somehow marvelous in this metagame. Don't get me wrong, they are—at least until Colossoil switches into one of them. This behemoth is bulky, and, while not fast, has Sucker Punch to make your life that much more difficult. Make sure that you have a way to deal with the following set in your team.
Colossoil @ Life Orb
EVs: 4 Def / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Sucker Punch
- Taunt / Stone Edge
It seriously says something about Colossoil when he actually replaces Tyranitar in the metagame. Between Sucker Punch and Pursuit, your Dark-type weak Pokemon have to play a mindgame for the slightest chance to survive. If you are using a Choice set and are stuck into a Psychic-type move, your Pokemon is pretty much dead. That said, Colossoil is not nearly as bulky as Tyranitar, although he is still very bulky. Skarmory deals with Colossoil in ways nothing else can. Since Colossoil can't recover off damage and will Taunt Skarmory, just attack him with Brave Bird to do some damage. That damage racks up with Life Orb and will KO Colossoil before long. Grass-type Pokemon that aren't Celebi also fare extremely well against Colossoil because they aren't weak to any of his typical attacks. Beware, though! Because of STAB on Earthquake, frail Grass-types like Breloom are still 2HKOed by Colossoil! Shaymin is a great check even with an offensive set as it can survive Sucker Punch and OHKO with Seed Flare. Bulky Water-type Pokemon such as Vaporeon and Suicune will function the same way, taking an Earthquake and OHKOing in return.
Pyroak is a very powerful Pokemon with amazing type coverage. Between his Grass- and Fire-type STAB attacks, he pretty much covers every defensive Pokemon in the game. At the very least, however, Pyroak is very exploitable. He is always slower than Tyranitar, and is weak to Rock-type attacks. He will take 25% damage upon switching into battle and can be OHKOed after that by powerful super effective attacks. The set to watch out for is listed below.
Pyroak @ Life Orb
Ability: Rock Head
EVs: 4 Def / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Swords Dance
- Flare Blitz
- Wood Hammer
- Earthquake / Stone Edge
Typically, Pyroak will run Earthquake to deal with Heatran, but he can also run Stone Edge to put Dragonite down. His type coverage with this set is monstrous, and pretty much your only chance to beat him is to take him down in one fell swoop. Fortunately, Tyranitar is 1 base Speed faster than Pyroak and can OHKO him with STAB Stone Edge. If you want to try a CAP, Choice Specs Stratagem can OHKO Pyroak after Stealth Rock damage with Paleo Wave. Aerodactyl can switch in on the turn that Pyroak uses Swords Dance and OHKO him with STAB Stone Edge after Stealth Rock damage. Anything with a powerful Flying-type attack also maims Pyroak. Choice Band Crobat and Life Orb Staraptor both OHKO Pyroak with Brave Bird. In a pinch, anything with Explosion that's faster, such as Heatran, can take Pyroak out.
So CAP is a place of new Pokemon and new challenges. Your top-notch OU teams may do respectably in this metagame, but until they're tweaked to deal with the new threats, you really won't be achieving nearly as much success as you'd like. The above listed offensive and defensive threats are the ones that change the metagame the most from OU to CAP. There exist lots of other Pokemon that can be problematic, like Fidgit or Kitsunoh, but many of them can be dealt with by their types and movepools alone and won't completely decimate your strategies. Krilowatt, for instance, can be largely dealt with by Grass- or Ground-type attacks. Fidgit functions a lot like Forretress, but with a fast Encore, lower Defense, and a weakness to Ground-type attacks. Other such Pokemon exist as well, but the general trends remain. Follow the tips I've listed above and you'll find yourself building teams much more in tune with the threats, both offensive and defensive, that lurk in the CAP metagame.
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