I am the Scientist now
Given its performance in the recent CAP Snake Draft (named after the drafting style not snake rattler), the CAP metagame council (-Voltage-, Jordy, Mx, snake_rattler, and I) has decided it's time to take action on Astrolotl.
Astrolotl has shown itself to be a remarkably resilient lizard/amphibian/alien/axolotl thanks to the longevity granted by its ability Regenerator, and its ability to force consistent progress throughout a game with its endless utility movepool featuring standouts such as Spikes, Wish, Encore, Thunderwave, and importantly Knock Off, as well as one of the best attacking moves in the game, Fire Lash. While it does have solid individual checks such as Hippowdon, Tyranitar, Hydreigon, Mandibuzz, and Colossoil, one of the defining features of Astrolotl is that it has no reason to stay in a losing matchup thanks to Regenerator. Spikes and Regenerator combined means that it is exceptional at outlasting almost all of its checks, and its pool of utility options mean that it is additionally fairly difficult to set up against.
Here are some choice replays showing its efficacy of consistently making progress regardless of the game while outlasting most of its checks:
Here Astrolotl is able to repeatedly grab momentum using Encore, notably preventing Lasen from Teleporting out after Encoring Future Sight, and uses Spikes to consistently force Hydreigon in to defog, controlling the game even further.
Here Astrolotl again uses Encore to completely prevent the opposing Landorus-Therian from gaining any momentum against it, Encoring it into Substitute, and despite being forced to near death, Regenerator allows it to come back to full and check the opposing Spectrier. The Spikes it set vs the Landorus-Therian were also instrumental in denying Voltage free setup and closed out the game.
Showing that it matches up well vs more than just balance, Astrolotl is able to force out Magearna using the threat of Encore, uses Fire Lash and Encore to beat Zarude, Kommo-o, and Cawmodore, and Regenerator to stay healthy enough to do so the entire match.
This match features Astrolotl on both sides, and both of them truly dictate the pace of the game. Both of them show how easy it is to set Spikes during a match, getting up to full layers multiple times while still staying healthy. Sunmyser's Astrolotl is able to consistently stay at high HP despite losing its Heavy Duty Boots, getting Toxiced and having to switch in repeatedly thanks to the combination of Wish and Regenerator, and thanks to Spikes, Fire Lash, and Knock Off it is able to force PDT to constantly switch out, wearing down their team until victory.
Some questions to start the discussion:
1) Do you think Astrolotl's presence in the metagame reaches a bar such that a nerf is needed?
2) What aspects of Astrolotl do you consider to be out of line, or potentially nerf-worthy?
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