Clearing the Air: CAP's Biggest Questions

Article and art by Plus and Magmortified.
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Since the beginning days of CAP, there has been much controversy as to why we continue this seemingly pointless project, or how such a project can be looked upon from a competitive perspective. Hopefully, this article will clear some misconceptions about CAP.

What exactly are we learning from CAP? I hear some people say things like "Arghonaut proves that you can't make a Pokémon that dominates the top ten", but those kind of things seem really obvious to me. Are we really learning anything important here?

As they say, hindsight is 20/20. While some of the stuff we learn from CAP seems really obvious, it's mostly because of the work that's gone into making and learning from our concepts. Maybe somebody says, "I could've seen that a mile off," but at the time we were developing Arghonaut, many people didn't guess that Arghonaut would have ended up getting absorbed by the top ten instead of taking it out head-on. While some of that might have had to do with the lack of details early on, even later on in the project many people weren't really sure what the result would be until they saw how it worked out in the wild.

For the people who did guess the lessons we ended up learning from CAP, you could think of CAP being like Mythbusters. You find a concept/myth, and you ask, "What would happen if we actually did this?" CAP presents a framework that generates intelligent discussion and theorymon, and then goes the extra mile by proving what's what. There's no outright guarantee we'll find what we're looking for, but most of the time, we do learn about the execution of the concept, or why it wasn't executed. Whatever else somebody thinks will happen when we start, they know for sure by the end.

How does Kitsunoh have elemental punches? Better yet, why does Fidgit have Tailwind? Why doesn't Colossoil get Stealth Rock?

Kitsunoh's tail turns into a fist that can punch things with different elemental auras. Fidgit's drill spins at a high speed to produce wind. Colossoil is deformed and was born without the ability to control rocks. But then again, these are all explanations coming from a project based on a game where there are little yellow mice shooting electricity out of their cheeks, and God is a Pokémon. If you think about it, it's really just Pokémon. How does anything in the world of Pokémon make sense realistically?

Contrary to popular belief, CAP builds Pokémon with competitive value as its top priority. I'd love to hear Nintendo's explanations as to how Gastly used to be able to use punches, as well as Wooper, or how Primeape is able to use Iron Tail without a tail. This is not to say that CAPs should be built completely independent of in-game precedents to the game, but competitive value outweighs flavor in the long run. Pokémon as a whole is a game that lacks some common sense, and the CAP community shouldn't be scrutinized for these kinds of questions in a competitive environment.

Why are these Pokémon broken?

No, they aren't. When somebody unfamiliar with the CAP metagame approaches it, they will immediately claim that the Pokémon are broken. Of course, if one came to CAP playing regular OU, the CAPs would demolish the team. Just as an OU player unprepared to face Gyarados has a high chance of being swept by one, a CAP player unprepared for Colossoil will be destroyed by it. It would be foolish to think that the addition of nine Pokémon would not affect regular OU in any way.

Perhaps the Pokémon most accused of being broken in CAP is none other than Fidgit. Fidgit, in a way, is similar to Blissey, as it shifts the metagame and makes certain Pokémon less viable. If Blissey did not exist in OU and was made in CAP, I am quite sure that we all would have the same initial impression that it is broken. However, there are many different ways to beat Fidgit. Colossoil, Gyarados, Salamence, Suicune, Swampert, Latias, Stratagem are all excellent checks and counters to Fidgit.

Another Pokémon commonly claimed to be broken in CAP is Arghonaut, with the ability to stop set-up Pokémon instantly with its ability, Unaware. Though, apart from Unaware, Arghonaut is just your usual bulky Water, sporting Recover, Roar, and STAB moves. It might make Pokémon like Swords Dance Scizor and Lucario or Dragon Dance Salamence less common, but again, this is extremely similar to Blissey in the fact that it puts special sweepers in the state they currently are in. Does Arghonaut completely invalidate these set-up Pokémon? Not at all, but any team sporting these Pokémon must be prepared for Arghonaut, just like how a team with a Life Orb Latias must be prepared for Blissey. Rotom-A, Celebi, Latias, and Cyclohm are easy counters to Arghonaut, while Stratagem, Colossoil, and Salamence all threaten Arghonaut with Energy Ball, Earthquake, and STAB Dragon-type moves, respectively.

Why do these Pokémon always have dual typing, dual abilities, and bloated movepools? This isn't needed to succeed in the OU metagame, or probably even CAP!

CAPs are not created like regular OU Pokémon. It's definitely possible that we can create an interesting Pokémon that does not require two abilities, two types, and a movepool a size of a whale. However, I would say that it is more interesting to create Pokémon with different type combinations and ability combinations, which are the answers to the "what if" questions that power the curiosity of the CAP community. It would be pretty interesting to see what a Swampert would be like with reliable recovery in its arsenal, or if Weavile had both Crunch and a fire priority move to use.

CAPs are only made once, so testing each CAP as much as possible is definitely the most fun for a playtester as well as a project contributor. Of course, the more opportunities we have to playtest different styles of CAPs, the more insight we gain on competitive Pokémon itself. The worst thing that could happen due to bloated movepools is that a Pokémon is deemed broken (which none of the CAPs at the moment currently are) or that the final product looks bad aesthetically.

So if CAP isn't a fanboy project, what's with all the time being spent on artwork, sprites, names, and so on? They get a lot of focus, but they don't have any competitive value...

Let's face it. Most people don't play games where the characters are shapeless blobs, or are referred to as Hero 1, Villain 3, etc. As much as we'd like to say we are not a fanboy project, period, it's inevitable that any project with a label like "Create-A-Pokémon" is going to be making a Pokémon, and not a faceless list of stats and moves. Sure, it's not competitive, but all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Running into a Missingno. sprite representing "CAP 1" and then seeing another Missingno. representing "CAP 5" is just boring.

If you want to get technical about it, yes. There's actually a tangible reason to keep this fanboy stuff going. The lifeblood of CAP is having a lot of people to do things like contribute ideas, or test the darn thing out when we make it. It's tough admitting it, but yes, CAP is largely made up of "the mob". The mob does not like faceless, nameless blobs either. More importantly, the mob is often much less dedicated to competitive ideal. "A boring project is a project that does not deserve our attention", they might cry. CAP does not want to hear such a cry. So if we spend a little extra time adding stuff that makes everybody happy to participate in CAP, so be it.

So what's the best playstyle in CAP?

None. Offense and defense both have their merits in the CAP-infested metagame. Stall gets Revenankh, Fidgit, and Arghonaut, while offense gets Stratagem, Colossoil and Kitsunoh. For those who haven't touched CAP with a 10-foot stick, or played CAP a year ago and quit, stall is no longer entirely dominant. Colossoil and Stratagem are huge enemies of stall, and there are many different tactics to break stall, including Colossoil + a special sweeper, Spikes offense, and Taunt, appearing frequently on the most common offensive threats: Colossoil and Gyarados.

Stall in CAP has stayed about the same. There's cookie cutter CAP stall, consisting of Hippowdon/Skarmory/Blissey/Ghost-type/Arghoaut/Fidgit, which is still somewhat effective, but has more schtick to deal with. Many stall users in CAP have resorted to semi-stall, in order to have a more offensive edge to a defensive team, as heavy stall is becoming considerably worse with the addition of Colossoil, who 2HKOes most stall members and Taunts the rest. You can play with nearly any playstyle in CAP and succeed.


While CAP still attracts many fanboys and their ideas, CAP attempts to reduce the fanboy in the project, and maximize the competitive aspects in creating a Pokémon. It actually does take a lot of effort for CAP contributors to design stat spreads and movepools that work for Pokémon, while still staying under a nice OU radar, and not venturing into the Ubers abyss. With that said, CAP 10 is starting soon, and we encourage you to participate in the project. Also, be sure to get your dose of CAP at Doug's CAP Server and experience a new metagame!

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