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The Create-A-Pokemon Project is Smogon's unique attempt to learn more about the standard metagame by directly modifying it. One at a time, we add new Pokemon and study their effects. This is why CAP always aims to create Pokemon that are about as good as the best Pokemon in OU – we wouldn't be able to learn much at all if nobody was able to use the Pokemon successfully! CAP is now very good at hitting the mark, and the latest CAP creation proves it – Colossoil is generally considered to be “as good as it could possibly be, without being broken”.
The ability to create Pokemon that are “just right” in terms of power is something we gradually learned from CAP. The popular expression “learn from your mistakes” applies here; the first three CAPs all wildly missed the mark. These three were barely used at all on the CAP server, and except for a few dedicated fans who insisted otherwise, they were generally considered not really viable. As a community, we felt that there was more to be learned from these Pokemon, so we decided to enhance their talents, hoping to thrust them back into the limelight. We needed to add in the HeartGold / SoulSilver tutor moves anyway, so why not?
Syclant was the first ever CAP creation. It was led by Cooper, back before anyone knew whether or not CAP had any chance of taking off. Throughout the project, many users were envisioning a Pokemon that was similar to Infernape in terms of function, but differed in type and movepool. CAP ended up with a powerful mixed sweeper that, when tested on Doug's new Create-A-Pokemon server, turned out to be extremely overpowered. The combination of Tail Glow boosting its Special Attack to obscene levels and Compoundeyes enabling it to abuse high-powered moves like Blizzard and Focus Blast meant that Syclant had no trouble tearing through almost the entire OU tier.
Syclant thus underwent a shattering revamp that took away many of its best tools, like Focus Blast and Superpower. In addition, it had its stats lowered. When it was introduced back onto the server, it was suddenly found to be a little bit underwhelming, but nobody wanted to revise it again, especially with CAP 5 coming to a close. Syclant was left alone, struggling to find a place in OU teams; once Platinum was released and Bullet Punch became widespread, it sealed Syclant's fate.
To improve Syclant, most agreed that we should stick to the original idea: “like Infernape”. Syclant's movepool was given new life, with Superpower and Focus Blast returning, as well as several new moves, such as Megahorn, Grass Knot, Earthquake, Stone Edge, and Super Fang given to it. Its stat spread was given one small improvement – the Speed was bumped up to 120 to beat Starmie and Azelf and to allow for more EVs to be invested in mixed attacking. Spikes was also added, and Syclant became the fastest legal user of the move.
In playtesting, many users tried different things on Syclant. Some went with a mixed set, with Tail Glow, Ice Beam, Bug Buzz, and Superpower, while others used a lead set with Spikes, Taunt, Ice Shard, and Megahorn. There wasn't, and still isn't, a universal agreement on what the best set is – presumably because Syclant has so many excellent options now.
Syclant has proven that it still isn't the crowd favourite – Scizor being able to OHKO with priority while resisting both STAB moves is heavily crippling, but arguably even worse is that most Syclant can't do much of anything to Arghonaut, and therefore Syclant doesn't break stall nearly as well as Infernape does. Syclant won't be revised again – CAP has too much on its plate at present, and Syclant really isn't so bad as to warrant it. At the very least, we can always hope that Generation 5 may bring positive changes for Syclant, allowing it to shine once more.
CAP 2 was run by Hyra. Revenankh was expected to be the ultimate Bulk Up user, and that's exactly what it was. Revenankh had fabulous typing and loads of HP and Special Defense, and after a couple of Bulk Ups, it was nigh impenetrable. Once again, CAP realized that its creation was a little bit too good. It was far too easy to set up, had solid recovery, and had perfect coverage between just its two STAB moves. Revenankh was revised, but not nearly as much as Syclant: Revenankh only had its base Special Defense reduced by ten points. However, this combined with the faster metagame of Platinum, and the addition of Arghonaut, and later Kitsunoh, was enough to drop Revenankh out of popularity.
A popular idea in the early stages of Revenankh's second revision was to simply reinstate the lost Special Defense points. However, it was eventually decided that CAP wanted to go all-out and make Revenankh as good as it could be. It was given a wide new movepool, including Will-O-Wisp, Stone Edge, and Taunt. Its Special Defense was boosted by twenty points, and it was also given smaller HP, Attack, and Speed boosts. The formerly useless Air Lock was replaced with Mold Breaker, allowing Revenankh to bypass Arghonaut's Unaware and hit it with boosted attacks.
For the first time, people were successfully employing Revenankh in their teams without Bulk Up. A mixed wall became popular, utilizing Will-O-Wisp and high Special Defense to absorb hits. Some players ran Speed EVs with Taunt, intending to beat out slower Pokemon and set up on them, or break walls with Toxic (or Will-O-Wisp). Offensive sets even saw occasional use, as Revenankh's much wider movepool could now support a touch of unpredictability that Revenankh users had never experienced before.
While the Bulk Up set remains by and large the most threatening, Will-O-Wisp supporters have become the backbone of many offensive and balanced teams. Taunt and offensive sets have mostly died off, but can still function as lures for certain threats (especially with ThunderPunch, Ice Punch, or Fire Punch). Mold Breaker never saw much use; quasi-invincibility to status is simply too useful to pass up. Revenankh is much more difficult to beat now, and is currently considered one of the very most threatening Pokemon on the CAP ladder.
CAP 3, run by Gothic Togekiss, was merely intended to be a Fire / Grass Pokemon with very little direction otherwise. Some envisioned a great Leech Seed user, while others wanted a Sunny Day sweeper. Several users were in favor of trying out Drought, while others suggested Greenhouse (an auto-Sunny Day, but that only lasted for five turns). For the first time, everybody was concerned about making this Pokemon too powerful. Before the final product (a mixed wall with very high defensive stats) was implemented on the server, people were crying that it, like Syclant and Revenankh, would be very broken.
Playtesting, however, revealed that theorymon was way off base. Pyroak failed to make a serious impression on the metagame, simply because players were unable to use it successfully. Its typing was defensively far worse than anyone had expected, for although it has few weaknesses, the Rock weakness and lack of resistances meant that Pyroak had a hard time switching in. On top of that, Pyroak had terrible type coverage and no reliable recovery. It was generally agreed that CAP had created a slightly inferior Celebi.
To make Pyroak useful, the CAP Revision Project decided to take it in a different direction. Instead of trying to wall offensive threats, Pyroak would become one itself. This decision instantly turned Fire/Grass from a terrible to a fantastic typing. Pyroak was given more Attack and Speed, and had a huge movepool expansion, with the most notable additions being Dragon Dance, Earthquake, Stone Edge, and Dragon Claw.
Dragon Dance Pyroak instantly became a huge hit. Between Wood Hammer and Flare Blitz, Pyroak can hit almost every physical wall in OU for super effective damage, and Rock Head cancels out the recoil damage. They also give sufficient type coverage in tandem with Earthquake or Stone Edge. Stall teams almost require a Dragon-typed Pokemon like Salamence in order to counter it. The new Pyroak is feared in CAP much the way Lucario is feared in Standard.
The rest of the CAP Pokemon were given tutor moves from HeartGold and SoulSilver shortly after their release. In most cases, this change didn't have much of an effect, but anyone who was complaining about the size of the CAP Pokemon's movepools before should take another look at them now!
Fidgit did not receive any new support moves whatsoever. It did get some new offensive options, such as ThunderPunch, Ice Punch, and Seed Bomb, but coming from base 76 Attack, these new moves are not useful except possibly to lure in Gyarados, Salamence, or Swampert, respectively. Even then, Fidgit has very little potential in the physical offense department, so it remains the same Encore supporter that it always was.
Stratagem received one excellent move: Trick. This change has made Stratagem far more unpredictable in battle, as Choice Specs sets are seeing excellent use, and Choice Scarf sets make good leads. Blissey, formerly a hard counter, now has to worry about Stratagem until she knows what item it is using. This Pokemon has become much more of a threat to stall teams, and sees increased usage as a result.
Arghonaut got several notable additions. Probably the most obvious is Low Kick, which has replaced Brick Break on nearly all defensive sets. In general, it will do a little bit more damage than Brick Break would, but get a serious boost against heavy opponents. For example, Metagross is sure to be 3HKOed, and Gyarados actually takes more damage from Low Kick than from Ice Punch. Other new moves include Aqua Tail and Superpower, both of which can increase Arghonaut's effectiveness offensively, but neither has been used much. Knock Off is also a nice support option gained from the tutors.
Kitsunoh got very little from the HG/SS tutors. Probably the cream of the crop is Endeavor, though it hasn't been experimented with much. It also got Low Kick, but Superpower is usually preferred. Cyclohm's best new move is Whirlpool, which is practically useless, but personally I think it's a very cool flavor move!
If you haven't played the CAP metagame in a while, I highly recommend it: it's a nice break from Standard without requiring you to learn a ton of new material. CAP is very fresh right now – we're just getting used to having Syclant, Revenankh and Pyroak rage through the metagame in ways they never have before. Come visit us on Doug's Create-A-Pokemon server and help us learn!
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