CAP 12 CAP 1 - Concept Assessment

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the pastor of disaster
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The concept for CAP 1 is Momentum, submitted by Admiral_Korski.

Concept: Momentum
General Description: This will be a Pokemon that can be utilized to gain or regain momentum for a player's team at any point in the match as its primary function.
Justification: Gen. 5 is a very powerful metagame. As such, most battles are won by the smarter strategist who can best maneuver around his/her opponent's onslaught to gain even a single turn's advantage, potentially clinching them the match. This process of gaining and regaining momentum is most often the defining element that makes a winner and a loser out of a single Pokemon battle. Any top player in this metagame should agree that momentum is the most crucial element in any given match; however, "momentum" itself is a rather vaguely defined term that is never really explored in concrete terms. Is it keeping opposing teams on the defensive? Forcing switches? Good prediction? Spamming U-turn? These have all been approaches to achieving momentum, but they are also player-side and largely synonymous with "strategy," as opposed to Pokemon-side and regarding a Pokemon's role on the team. Certainly there are threats like Ferrothorn/Gliscor (defensive) and Scizor/Latios/Voltlos, etc., etc. (offensive) that can achieve momentum as we know it, but there is no current niche for a "momentum Pokemon" because the concept has been purely delegated to players and not to Pokemon.
Questions to be Answered:
-How do we define momentum in terms of competitive Pokemon? What factors make current Pokemon able to achieve momentum and how can we incorporate that information into a successful CAP?
-How do different styles of play (Weather-based offense, stall, bulky offense, etc.) use momentum to achieve their goals and how can our CAP play to those strategies in an effort to take their momentum away?
-What type of traditional role (sweeper, tank, wall, support) would a Pokemon like this most resemble? Would it have to be able to fit more than one of these roles to fit in a variety of teams?
-How will the different playstyles be affected by the addition of a Pokemon that can regain offensive/defensive momentum at any given point? Will offensive teams play more conservatively? Will defensive teams play more recklessly? Will everything simply adapt to a new threat and move on normally?
This concept raises some extremely important questions for us to address in this thread. How we answer these questions will fundamentally set the stage for all the decisions we make in the later stages. Here are some of the major questions:

  • What is momentum? How can we define it?
  • How does a player gain or lose momentum over the course of a match?
  • What sort of Pokemon tend to shift the momentum of a match? Which currently existing Pokemon do so the best?
Keep in mind that having momentum is not the same as winning. We COULD fulfill this concept by simply creating an overwhelming threat with good typing and overwhelming offensive stats like Shaymin-s or Dialga with Levitate, but doing so would not teach us much.

Finally, be aware that poll jumping will be taken very seriously in this thread. Don't do it. Try not to use comments like "this Pokemon has to have U-turn!" Instead, discuss how Pokemon gain or give up momentum, and how they do so.

This thread will likely remain open for 48 hours due to the sheer importance of this discussion, though it may close sooner if we reach consensus on the important issues.
I've not participated in any competetive Pokemon, but I think that a loss of momentum might be something like... Falling a few rounds behind due to luck hax or something. Or losing a Pokemon before it can be put to it's use. I don't know, but that can be something that makes you lose momentum... Maybe.
Most teams see to have a "theme" anything causes them to move away from the central "theme" is a loss of momentum E.g if you have a team based around stalling with rain dance the momentum is lost every time the weather is changed since you have bring back in a drizzle/rain dance pokemon and "start again."

Or if you have a hyper offensive team, every time you have to bring something in for the sole reason to take a hit is a loss of momentum.

I'm not sure how good of an answer that is, but that's my two cents as it were.
There are a lot of things that can be said here, but what I want to avoid creating here is a Pokemon that purely responds to other Pokemon or a Pokemon that purely threatens other Pokemon. These things are different, and we need a bit of both to successfully create this Pokemon.

reach and I spoke a bunch of this on IRC just now (feel free to join in!), but he proposed two metrics that would go a long way in helping us design this Pokemon. First, we have threat. Threat, in terms of your opponent, is pressure to respond in a certain way or risk taking major damage to your chances of winning. Every Pokemon that is threatening has this quality, some more than others. Threat can often be seen as setting up in some fashion, though many of the most threatening Pokemon need not set up at all. This doesn't have to be Dragon Dance or Quiver Dance, though, it can be Spore or Substitute or Toxic Spikes as well. Infernape's mixed attacking sets are a good example of high threat with no setup; attacking immediately goes a long way. Being threatening is important, and this is why creating a Pokemon like Flygon won't work here. Flygon isn't threatening, so while it can capitalize on opponents, it can't regain momentum reliably or even successfully in some cases when played right.

The second concept is responsiveness. Responsiveness is the ability of a Pokemon to respond to opposing threats. This is why Bronzong is such a fantastic transition Pokemon, for instance. Being able to regain momentum requires that we be able to respond to an opponent's threat. See how these two concepts tie together? A good example of a Pokemon with high threat but low responsiveness is Infernape; he can barely switch into things safely, but is incredibly threatening once out. We need a healthy balance of these things in order to create a successful momentumon.

Lastly, I want to talk a little bit about how we can accomplish these things. Like reach said, we don't want to just create something arbitrarily strong that overwhelms everything on God's green earth, ie. DPP Salamence. For this reason, I think having near-perfect counters inside the metagame is important for CAP1. I am reminiscent of DPP Breloom, where he could come in at very common, yet very specific moments, and would force the opponent's to play very predictably or lose. They'd have to go to their sleep absorber, they'd have to go to their specific and well-known Breloom checks. By forcing the opponent into being predictable, you give yourself an opportunity to seize a substantial amount of momentum. This, combined with how threatening Breloom is without being overwhelming, makes it a good example of a specific type of momentumon. DPP Jirachi worked in much the same way; the opponent would predictably switch to Heatran against virtually all Jirachi. I think we could do to use this as a good starting point for the direction of this CAP.
Well I agree with Rising_Dusk that threats and responses are two ways to gain momentum. I know that once the discussion gets going, we're going to see a lot of suggestions for momentum-based moves such as U-Turn. I for one, think we should tread away from simple solutions, mostly because I feel that they won't really teach us much about momentum. Yes, Pokémon with U-Turn can give you momentum, but they weren't designed to generate momentum, it's more of a happy coincidence.

Additionally, I would like to recommend something more on the responsiveness side of things. There are tons of things that gain momentum on the offensive side. All you need is a nice set-up move to force your opponent to switch in their counter or revenge killer. The moment you get a free set-up turn by scaring something away, you have gained momentum. Offensively, I think there's not a whole lot to do here.

Defensive momentum, however, is much harder to quantify. As a player of stall this Gen, I can assure you that momentum is a huge deal for a Stall player. You need to force those switches or get your Skarmory/Forretress/Ferrothorn in to get those hazards down. You need to keep the OPPONENT on the defensive even though you're the one playing stall. Additionally, this is just a personal opinion, but I don't think offensive playstyles really need a boon now - the stallers are barely holding on as it is! So my hat's thrown in to a study of defensive momentum because I think that would yield a more interesting mon who is not similar to any of the offensive threats we see today.
When it comes to momentum I tend to think of a Pokemon that can balance between offense and defense at will. Something that can tank and defend by absorbing blows, while still being able to sweep. However, I feel that for a momentum Pokemon its bulk is far more important than its offensive power. The most important and deciding factor I feel in gaining momentum is on a switch. A pokemon that will allow the trainer to gain the upperhand in a losing situation is a pokemon that can absorb a blow on the switch in, like a sponge. The switch especially in the current meta game is more important than it has ever been in previous generations because there are various and very different threats across all areas of the pokemon type and power spectrum. So If I ave not reiterated it enough, i feel this pokemon will have to be able to absorb a blow on the switch in during a disadvantageous situation to give the trainer an upper hand. Once the pokemon is able to switch in and sponge up a hit, it should tehn be able to turn the tables with something like a status effect, or a sweep of some kind.


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I feel momentum is when you are forcing your opponent to "play by your rules" and respond to your moves. It's when your opponent can't adequately execute any of their plans because you've cornered them into making a necessary, yet very predictable, move allowing you to stay a few turns ahead until you've lost said momentum. I feel like that was a very vague explanation and I'll try to better sort out my thoughts later. I'm glad momentum was chosen because I've always wondered what it really was. :)
I agree with Joeyboy to an extent, however I feel one way especially in this meta game to force your opponent into a corner is to get in a key switch in that can sponge up an attack at a time that will push your opponent in the corner and give you an upper hand, its all about the surprise factor on the switch because one good switch in can turn the game around for you and lead you to victory.
Agreeing with Dusk and Joey here. Momentum is about forcing your opponent to respond to you, allowing you to further your goals (ie weaken pokemon X) and distract them from theirs. It forces them to act in a particular way lest they get opened up, and that means you can stay a couple of steps ahead, often for long enough to win.


the pastor of disaster
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I think Joeyboy is onto something very important here, which is that I believe the definition of momentum has a lot to do with control.

<%reachzero> "Controlling the flow of the match by maximizing the amount of time spent threatening compared to responding"
<%reachzero> if you are doing most of the threatening, you have momentum
<%reachzero> if you are doing most of the responding, you have lost momentum

Of course, how you get control and how you lose it is a major question.
Man, I find it hard to detail momentum in long explanations.

I believe momentum can't be defined as simply accomplishing certain feats. You do gain momentum by doing those, but there are much more ways to gain it or cause your opponent to lose it. Straying away from your original plans definitely doesn't have to do with it either.

Simply, I think momentum is exactly what you'd think it is; the "pace" of a match for a participant. Whether you're playing at a well flowing pace or if you're slowing down can be tied into momentum.

I think the golden rule for one to achieve momentum is being able to make every turn productive. That's the bare bones. Wasting a turn is obviously not doing you any favors in preparation for what may happen in a future turn. Forcing your opponent to be reactive and not proactive is also a big part of it.
Forcing your opponent to do something that they wouldn't necessarily want to do is in my mind how you gain momentum. Forcing your opponent to switch to, for example, their sleep absorber is one way gain momentum. However, phasing that pokemon is another way gain momentum if you force in, eg. Blissey on Conkeldurr (nobody wants that). So unwanted switches, either through the threat of super effective attacks, priority moves or unwanted statuses, walling your opponent, or phasing, are one way to create, break and regain momentum.

However, threats are possible without forcing a switch. For example, the moves encore, taunt and torment create a situation that limit a pokemon's options. However, the threat of such moves also limits your opponents options, as a wall may switch out rather than risk being taunted or encored.

One move that I believe has unlimited threat potential is the move substitute. Once a sub is up, it hugely limits your opponents options. Jellicent can no longer burn your physical sweeper and subseeders can't leech seed you, because status is unavailable. It also protects you from (at least!) one attack. While behind a sub you opponent has to worry about weather you use will use the chance to set up or attack. You opponent can no longer rely on speed or priority to revenge kill your sweeper because they can't hit it through the substitute. Now they have to rely on bulky mons which may be set up on in turn. It severly limits your opponents options while expanding your own.

Therefore, I believe the teams gain momentum in the following ways:
Threatening a Pokemon with Super Effective Moves
Threatening a frail pokemon with priority moves
Inflicting a threat with adverse status
Forcing an opponent to switch
Inflicting an opponent with Taunt, Encore, Torment, Disable (I know, I know), Leech Seed (switch or slowly die), or Confusion (these aren't considered statuses)
Stating up
Seting up a field effect
Getting a substitute
I think that to regain momentum you'd need to be able to return to the point you where at before you lost it. I would think the best method for this would to make a pokemon with the stats to setup for a few turns and come with a huge variety of support moves that can Get you back in the saddle.
It would most likely be a supporting wall
Plus haveing the Prankster ability would help here.
This pokemon could be customised to be able to fit to what your team needs are.
*I hope this isn't poll jumping*
re starting Wheather Moves
Evening the score (destiny bond)
Healing teamate (lunar dance)
Re appling status
field effects (Screens/Harzards)
Stat boosts and Baton pass
Basically a pokemon that nets you a free turn to do what ever you want, no matter what.This pokemon would have the unpredictablity to threaten the opponent while haveing the move pool to respond to many situations.
Echoing what Rising_Dusk has already pointed out, there are certain key words or phrases that come to mind when we think about momentum: threats and responses (or answers, as I'm used to saying). And, when you combine the two, you get tempo.

Every competitive game has threats and answers, and usually the best of these incorporate some aspects of their counterpart. Taking an example from another game I play, Magic the Gathering, one of the more commonly known tempo generators of the (relatively) recent tournament magic scene is a little guy name Spellstutter Sprite. When he comes into play, assuming certain criteria are met, he counters a spell. Thus, he effectively negates one of your opponents threats, while presenting one, albeit a rather small one alone, at the same time. He gives you tempo; he creates a 2 for 1.

This is, in my opinion, the very central idea of momentum and tempo. Not only does it need to answer a threat, it must be a threat. Looking at the DPP metagame, let's consider you have a Blissey in play and your opponent just withdrew his Zapdos, which couldn't do anything to you, and sent in their Infernape. Naturally, you don't want your helpful special wall to get annihilated, so you switch to Gyrados. (Hope there's no SR on your side!) Now, not only does this guy counter your opponents threat by first intimidating it and secondly resisting all the likely attacks to come your way, but also represents quite a force to be reckoned with. Now, you're opponent most likely has to play in a predictable manner in switching out, and this has afforded you some tempo. You have a free turn to do what you will. Dragon dance, Thunder wave, Taunt, Waterfall, etc.

Taking the idea from this angle opens us to the question of what things do we want to answer/threaten? Sure, slapping a couple good defensive typings on a poke, and a descent attack potential (perhaps even a set-up move?) would be an easy solution, but I think we can do better than that.
So basically, to sum up everything everyone is saying: Respond, Regain, Threaten. Get in, resist something, force a switch, boost on switch, sweep.
To me, a Pokemon based on momentum is defined as not necessarily KOing a certain number of opponents in a row, but as being able to force a switch to set up hazards and stat boosts (such as Spikes + Swords Dance/Nasty Plot) and then either Baton Passing out to a capable sweeper like Scizor or using the boosts itself to sweep the opponent.

The key here is, like Joey mentioned, to make sure the opponent has as little say as to what goes on in the game as possible. If you keep the opponent at least relatively checked, The game becomes much easier. That's because of momentum.

So all that to say, I agree with Joeyboy.
I like using pivots for these pokemon. I always associate these types of Pokemon as the 180 points of course for teams, as I see them as a useful catch-all for any team in case of an emergency which can gain back the momentum (defined in the way joey said it). If you're slipping in the dirt, you can send out said pivot and regain a foothold to push back with.

Whenever I think of pivot I think of DPP UU. Staples such as Venusaur, Registeel, and Milotic are all exactly what I first think of when I think pivot. They do this by having a great set of resistances for the offensive threats in the metagame, respectable support movepools, and usable offensive attack scores with decent STAB moves. I guess this kind of momentum falls more under the defensive pivot category. Offensive pivots look more like Scyther and Toxicroak who have key immunities and resistances that allow them to switch in and re-apply the pressure.

All pivots though are a balance of offense and defense though - as I see it they must be able to switch in to omnipresent threats (in UU, Milotic could switch into most of the top 10) and pose an immediate predicament for the threat, whether it be a possible OHKO-hard hit, a U-Turn/Volt Change, or a decent check.
I play magic as well, and I have to say I agree with b07 in this situation. I don't know if this is what you meant, however in Magic, especially when playing against a blue player you always have to keep your resources available in order to respond to a counter spell or card that will disturb your attack pattern.

This all points to a very important concept, that concept being, a good way to gain momentum is to create an environment where your opponent is always on edge, and always has to keep an eye out for something.

If a pokemon is created to be able to counter or disrupt an opponent's strategy while just the fact of the pokemon's existence will cause your opponent to feel edgy because they know its on your team, this could be an advantage of the fact that your team is shown to your opponent before the match begins.

The only question is how would something like the scare factor or a produced edginess be implemented in a pokemon?

I hope my input is being read, sorry for my sloppy formating :P


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What we shouldn't forget here is that one Pokemon is not going to counter an entire team or strategy, so it would follow that one Pokemon cannot just switch into anything and force it out. What I like most in this thread so far is Dusk's "forcing the opponent to act predictably" line and his Breloom example.

Double switching is a big part of maintaining momentum once you've got it, and building a CAP with a specific and controlled group of checks is a great way to make sure it can, along with its teammates, maintain the momentum that it builds. Team Preview will make things all the more interesting in this regard, as a CAP1 user can see beforehand which of CAP's checks he/she can expect to see switching in. Forcing your opponent to "act predictably" by switching in said check/counter/move resist (or else dramatically lower his/her chances of winning) will go a long way to fulfilling the concept.

Breloom is a great Poke to look at as it can switch in on a specific chunk of the metagame and immediately force the opponent into response-mode with the threat of Spore / Sub / Swords Dance. The choice between those moves, all incredibly threatening, is made easier on the user because of the opponent's forced reaction. I'm not saying we should give CAP1 as threatening a move as Spore (please god no), but we can certainly build it to have as immediate a threat to as sizable a chunk of the metagame as Breloom does.

<%reachzero> "Controlling the flow of the match by maximizing the amount of time spent threatening compared to responding"

This is as close to a definition as we've gotten to so far. There is a definite push-pull effect in battles, and the one pushing is normally the one with the advantage (i.e. the momentum). If we can tailor our CAP to push back hard enough, it should be successful at regaining momentum.


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Dusk took the words right out of my mouth - I firmly believe we should take a good look at Breloom in order to see what exactly a Momentum-mon should do. Breloom, under almost any circumstances, can switch in and use its somewhat decent resistances and power to force switches (not to mention Spore, of course). We then force the opponent to react to a certain move or action (I'm not saying that CAP1 needs Spore, but something of that magnitude of difference could easily force the opponent to abandon strategy). Then, it can take advantage of the lost momentum and gain ground by punching a few holes into the opposing team. It should be fairly easy to stop a Breloom sweep for most players, though, so I don't see CAP1 being able to fully sweep a team if played against correctly. The idea for CAP1 should be to gain momentum without having the immediate power to counter. It's more of a disable-hit type of approach, the way I see it.

Branching off of this, I can somewhat see status as being a fairly large player in how Momentum will work. It's easy to just stand here and say "of course status would work, it always works", but the fact that status can completely cripple a threat is a definite sign of stopping momentum while also preventing CAP1 from trying to switch momentum through sweeping.

One last point: a good way to look at momentum is through elimination. What do I mean? The simplest form of momentum in the competitive world of Pokemon is by eliminating a team threat. Breloom can do this through sleep. SubRoost Zapdos can do this through Toxic. Reuniclus can do this through Trick Room (although Reuniclus can sweep, I'm more talking about forcing a switch). They're universal strategies that can be applied to many situations, while at the same time can be very effective at eliminating a team counter. If I lose a Breloom to get rid of, say, a Tornadus, which can rip apart the rest of my team through sweeping, then I'd say that I just gained good momentum throughout the match. So that's now two new areas we can explore: momentum through eliminating a counter(s) and gaining momentum for the long run, not just short term.

Keep in mind, though, that these threats I mentioned, like Breloom, are either easily dealt with once their roles are done of if significantly weakened, which happens often. That's one aspect I'd like to see from Momentum as well.
I view momentum as who controls the match. Basically if your opponent is doing what you want them to do, you have momentum. If they are constantly forced out and just focused on responding to you, you have momentum.

The most important thing I'd like to say is this; If you can execute your strategy, you have momentum. If you can do what you want to do and your opponent is struggling to stop it, that's momentum.
To me at least, momentum in pokemon is forcing your opponent to react to your actions. It's not necessarily forcing your opponent to play defensively, as that is what stall is all about. It's about forcing your opponent to predict correctly.

If you have a Salamence out versus your opponent's Ferrothorn, then you probably want to hit it with a fire blast, but what if they bring in their Garchomp? Then you might want to dragon dance. While this is a simple example of good prediction, the winner gains momentum. If Salamence dragon dances while Ferrothorn switches to Garchomp, you will gain momentum, as you and your opponent both know that they need to switch in order to not lose a pokemon. You are at a clear advantage here, as no matter what move you choose, you will put a dent in your opponent's team. They, however, need to react correctly to your Salamance (aka momentum) in order to not lose a pokemon.

I see momentum as making the right choice over and over again. If you slip up, then your opponent is going to gain some momentum while you lose some.

CAP1 should be able to ease your prediction, so that you have a better chance at making the right choice and gaining momentum. At the same time, it needs to be able to trick your opponent into making the wrong choice, thus causing them to lose momentum.

To me it seems that we need to decide whether CAP1 will be an offensive momentum-getter or a defensive (pivot) momentum-getter. Do we want our poke to be like breloom, able to come in on certain moves and force an opponent to react to the threat of status/offense/stat-up? Or do we want our poke to be like bronzong, able to come in using stats and resistances and force an opponent to react to the threat of status/walling/support moves?

Notice both force a reaction from the opponent, hopefully in a way that gives an opportunity to gain or regain momentum in a battle.
(A lot of this came from the discussion on #cap and aren't necessarily my original ideas. Come join us!)

Man, there are a lot of ways to go about fulfilling this concept, but I agree with the general sentiment that we should focus on controlling the match. In any competitive game in general, when someone talks about a player having "an edge" or "momentum", that roughly refers to the fact that one player is executing a strategy and the other player is being prevented from executing his/hers. However, there's another aspect of a competitive game, "position", that also becomes important.

"Positioning" generally leads to the ability or inability to use certain tactics. In Pokémon's context, the Pokémon that are out seem to constitute a good rough definition of "position", because obviously we can use only one Pokémon's moves at a time. Now, obviously we can't do much about the CAP 1 user's "position" because we're building one Pokémon. However, we can force the opponent into certain positions. One way to do this is (like R_D said) to have well-defined counters, which leads to double-switching (or U-turn) being effective. CAP 1 could even capitalize on the switch-in by crippling it with status or setting up a support move like Stealth Rock, Dual Screens and Memento. On the other hand, phazing moves come to mind because if it forces the opponent into an unfavourable position, that's time wasted for him/her. Essentially, putting the opponent into an unfavourable or predictable position works to mitigate the opponent's ability to respond in an advantageous way.

A good way to address momentum directly is to consider ways to shut down the opponent's options, essentially reducing his/her ability to threaten. These "choke point" strategies are universally important, especially in Pokémon. A good example of a "choke point" move is Toxic Spikes, which puts the opponent on a timer. Most Life Orb attackers get their sweeping time cut roughly in half and become more susceptible to weak, fast moves (e.g. priority), while defensive Pokémon are put under serious pressure as their walling capabilities get worse and worse unavoidably. Stat-reducing status changes such as paralysis, burn and Intimidate also go a long way; when an opposing Pokémon no longer outruns important speed tiers or can't hit you hard enough, its threat level greatly diminishes.

I'm sorry that I just listed a bunch of moves/abilities and put them in context, yet didn't really provide an opinion on where I think that CAP 1 should go. I'm just rather indecisive sometimes <.<


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I agree with the idea of Breloom as a pokemon very capable of giving the player momentum. I feel I have another example, I have been running a Slowbro on a recent trick room team. It utilizes Yawn to ensure I get one of my frailer TR sweepers in. After I've set up trick room I use Yawn, now my opponent has a difficult decision to make, lose a pokemon to sleep or switch, those are the ONLY moves he can make. He knows it and more importantly I know it, so I can properly prepare for both of those scenarios. This I believe is a perfect example of a pokemon gaining momentum as the opponent has been put in a veritable "checkmate" position.
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