CAP 21 CAP 21 - Part 4 - Primary Ability Discussion

Not open for further replies.


Maize and Blue Badge Set 2014-2017
is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a CAP Contributor Alumnus
Welcome to CAP 21's Primary Ability Discussion! Here, we'll decide our Pokemon's first Ability. The last step in the process was the Threats Discussion, so make sure to read up on what should threaten and be threatened by this Pokemon before arguing in favor of or in opposition to an Ability. The Abilities Leader is DetroitLolcat (that's me), so I'll whip up a slate of Abilities once the discussion has concluded.

We sort of recently updated our rules about abilities; you can read about them here. In summary:
  • Custom abilities are banned
  • There are ability banlists for the different stages of ability discussion
  • Flavor abilities do not have any place in this thread. Do not bring up flavor reasoning.
The following abilities are banned from this discussion:

Air Lock
Bad Dreams
Color Change
Sand Veil
Shadow Tag
Slow Start
Snow Cloak
Victory Star
Wonder Guard
Zen Mode

Big Pecks
Friend Guard
Honey Gather
Run Away

CAP21 so far:


Leadership Team:

jas61292 - Topic Leader
imanalt - Typing Leader
DetroitLolcat - Abilities Leader
sparktrain - Stats Leader
HeaLnDeaL- Movepool Leader

Name: Typing Underdog

General Description: A Pokémon which utilizes an undervalued typing to its full potential, by playing towards both its strengths and weaknesses.

Justification: Each typing possesses a unique set of characteristics, causing all of them to perform very differently in various aspects of battle. However, not every typing has been granted the opportunity to display this potential, being forced into suboptimal roles by virtue of stats, ability and movepool, and therefore often being labelled as “bad”.
This concept aims to do a detailed analysis on the primary function of such a typing along with its potentially unexplored capabilities, by creating a Pokémon that that emphasizes the typing’s most prominent traits and utilizes them effectively.
This approach will not only allow us to widen our understanding on the unique niche and preferred playstyle of the typing, but will also give us additional insight on the mechanics that lead to success and failure of the typing when comparing CAP to the wielders in the lower tiers.

Questions to be answered:
  • What are the most important traits the Pokémon gains from the chosen typing, both positive and negative?
  • Is quality or quantity of weaknesses/resistances/immunities more relevant to the chosen typing? What does this mean for the way it is played?
  • How significant is the niche provided by the typing in OU? Are there any striking flaws in the typing that can’t be played around and prevent the Pokémon from performing reliably?
  • How reliant is the typing on stats, ability and movepool in order to succeed in OU?
  • Are the unique characteristics granted by the typing enough to set the Pokemon apart, or does it face strong competition for its role from Pokémon of other types?
  • Is there any distinct playstyle that suits the chosen typing the best? Or can the same typing be utilized in an entirely different approach to similar success?
  • How important is a type’s versatility for its overall success?
  • Is a single Pokémon capable of portraying most relevant aspects of the entire type?


Maize and Blue Badge Set 2014-2017
is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a CAP Contributor Alumnus
Before we start, I'd like to point out that this discussion is for the base form's Primary Ability. This is not the Mega Ability Discussion. The order in which we complete Abilities will be Primary Ability - > Mega Ability - > Stats - > Secondary Ability.

We've recently completed our Threats Discussion, so it makes sense to pick up where that thread left off. We want CAP21 to threaten Water, Fairy, Flying, Ice, and Bug-type Pokemon, essentially without exception. We want CAP21 to be threatened by Ground, Steel, and Psychic Pokemon. Right now, our typing is conducive to all of that besides threatening Water Pokemon. However, that doesn't mean that we need to use our Primary Secondary, or Mega Abilities to threaten Water-type Pokemon. CAP21 has a multitude of areas in which it needs to excel in if it wants to be viable in the OU meta, such as its weaknesses and the lack of synergy between its STABs.

The question I wish to open this discussion with is: "What do we want CAP21's Primary Ability to accomplish?" When answering this question, take into consideration that CAP21 will not be spending a lot of time in its base form and that many of CAP21's potential weaknesses can be addressed in later stages. For example, our Water weakness doesn't need to be addressed in this stage because it's possible to threaten Water-type Pokemon with proper stats and coverage moves, even if our Ability doesn't make up for our weakness. That doesn't mean we can't patch the weakness in this step, just that we don't have to. I'm starting this discussion open-ended for a reason: I'd like to see what you all can come up with in order to ensure our project's viability and adherence to the concept.

Also, as we all know, the Primary Ability isn't the main focus of the Abilities stage this time. The Mega Ability will undoubtedly be the most important Ability on this Pokemon, and as a result this step doesn't need to be too drawn out. I intend to end this discussion and post a slate in around 72 hours, so don't hesitate to post your ideas!
I would think that we would want our primary ability to either:
A. Assist in threatening what we want to threaten, or
B. Patch up an undesirable weakness or two to make its life in OU easier.

Option B sounds like the best course of action for the base form. To be more specific, I think it'd probably be the best course of action to choose an ability that gives the CAP more switch-in opportunities. Under the assumption that it's going to want to mega evolve as soon as possible, any other kind of ability will probably have limited use at best.

Going off that, I think the best course of action is just handle the Water weakness here. Being able to switch in on Keldeo and Azumarill, among other extremely powerful attackers, would be a massive boon to the CAP and make it just that much more usable. So my proposal is Water Absorb. I say Water Absorb in particular due to the potential health recovery being useful for a tank. Our typing would probably be better off attacking physically than specially, which would make Storm Drain's special attack raise a little useless. Dry Skin also provides potential health recovery (both through water-type attacks and through rain), but it'd also compromise our ability to threaten Fire types and losing health in sun isn't desirable (especially when one of the things we're trying to threaten is Charizard Y).
I think a good and fitting typing for our CAP would be Solid Rock. While not as excellent as Thick fat is for Venasaur Solid Rock allows us to manage all of it's weaknesses a little better (except ground because nothing beyond levitate can fix that) but without becoming immune to them.
Following Yomegami's train of thought I'm gonna go with option A (assist in threatening what we want to threaten) and suggest the boring and repetitive Water Veil, I know it was the last CAP's ability but I just fell making us even more of a good check to Fire types and also somewhat less annoyed by Scald is a good idea on the base form, I think the base form's ability really should not do too much and the great ability that will make or break our mon should be on the Mega Form, so just a little insurance against a Status that can wreck us, can be very good for giving us switch opportunities.
Would like to second Solid Rock as a Primary ability. It's a fairly decent way to give CAP 21 an easier time switching in on things it is weak against by reducing incoming damage. Multiscale would perform a similar damage mitigation role, and since we will probably give CAP a different ability once it mega evolves, not worry too much about the fact that it'll only trigger once.

Besides that there is the route where we could give it an ability that provides it a useful boost that it would keep when it Mega Evolves. So something like Rattled or Justified seem like they would work great, especially since it would also allow CAP to benefit on coming into a type it is neutral to or resists. Speed Boost is another cool idea that will trigger no matter what.


Like ships in the night, you're passing me by
is a Site Content Manageris a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a CAP Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus
I think the obvious answer in terms of making a Pokemon defined by both the strengths and weaknesses of its typing would be Sand Stream. By using it as the base form's ability, this would enable us to give the mega a different useful ability too, while still benefitting from its initial Sand Stream. It also lets the base form potentially be useful in its own regard. And believe me, this Pokemon is going to need a lot of help to overcome that awkward typing.
Since someone mentioned Sand Stream, I actually think Drought can be a pretty useful ability for CAP 21 too. Right off the bat sun weakens Water type moves such that it becomes neutral against it, such that it can easily take 2 Surf/Scald from Manaphy even without giving it much special bulk. Aside from that, Drought gives a possibility to run stuff like Solarbeam to power past these Water types like how Heatran does; possibility to run pseudo-stab Fire moves or even HP Fire for Steels and stuff which give CAP 21 trouble.

But really Rock/Poison just sounds pretty fantastic for providing sun support as a non mega. Practically every Sun team welcomes a resistance to Flying. Bug and Poison resistances are also pretty darn valuable as far as sun team go. On top of that, it also makes it pretty much the only Sun setter not bait for other Fire types. Notably this really gives base form a very solid niche to claim and also potentially gives Sun the push it needs to be viable.

The best part is that non Mega sun support still does not deter CAP 21 from its intended orientation, as that typing shines as a utility counter for sun teams and is capable of using its strengths and weaknesses in said environment.
Last edited:


Tier 3 Audino sub
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
Honestly, removing the ground weakness will provide a lot more utility for CAP 21 and will allow it to check pokemon like Landorus and Garchomp without too much effort as well as Mega Altaria and Flash Cannon-less Heatran. The water weakness isn't as much as an issue than Ground due to the vast amount of coverage options moves like Earthquake and Earth Power provide and whilst it'd be nice to check things like Keldeo and Manaphy, Levitate seems like the best option.
I am personally against any ability that removes the CAP's weaknesses directly; Levitate, Storm Drain, Water Absorb seem very anti-concept, because they artifically patch up a weakness that this CAP otherwise would have. Our goal is not to patch up the type's shortcomings, it's to focus on its strengths. However, I feel like damage reduction abilities would be nice, such as Sand Stream, Drought, Solid Rock, Intimidate, because they work on a more broad spectrum and have utility outside of just trying to make this CAP survive longer.

Right now, I'm in support of Drought and Sand Stream as our initial ability. Both provides this CAP with a useful defensive buff, by either reducing Water damage and allowing us to better threaten Manaphy so that it doesn't just steamroll through us, or giving the CAP a 50% special defensive boost and chip damage.

I feel like I need to warn people about trying too hard to make this CAP "not broken", because this CAP is going to need a great ability (and other things!) to be chosen in balance teams, which is bloated with more options than any other team archetype.
As an advocate of taking a Special Attacking route with the CAP, I'm also in favor of Storm Drain. It patches up the Water weakness, and we agreed we're supposed to threaten Water types, it gives the SpA boost to hit harder with Sludge Wave/Power Gem/Ice Beam/whatever we give it, and it isn't Levitate that we agreed not to do to maintain the defining 4x Ground weakness. (Patching up a different, lesser weakness is okay in my book, though, and again, helps against Manaphy which we're supposed to be helping against.)

Alternatively, if people insist on physical attacking, I could be in favor of Guts. This way Scald doesn't immediately ruin our day, and, in fact, can make it.
I feel the ability here should be something that either gives CAP 21 more opportunities to enter the battle and Mega Evolve or something that can benefit Mega CAP 21. So, I would say Sand Stream is the best suggestion so far, as it fulfills both of the criteria. The only reason I don't like Dry Skin or Drought is that both would reduce CAP 21's ability to take Fire attacks, which is not a desirable trade-off.


is a Community Leaderis a Top CAP Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
CAP Co-Leader
Water Absorb or Storm Drain both sound like great choices if we want to patch up CAP21's water weakness; it really depends if we want to be physical or special. Dry Skin just chips away health when we want to counter Mega-Char-Y. Drought softens the water weakness a lot, and Sand Stream will soften special blows. Seeing the array of threats we have to check, we need to be both physically and specially tanky, so Sand Stream can help us in that regard. Although we have to check fire types, Flame Body might not be such a terrible idea either to spread around burns; however I feel like one of the other five abilities would be better. If we give CAP21 a weather inducing ability, it could stay in base form and switch out and back in to renew weather and then mega-evolve later.
If we want to threaten Water mons, Drought would be our most ideal bet. However, I would restrict Drought to our Mega forme, so as not to permit 8 turn sun to avoid establishing a particular role we do not intend to give to it. Shed Skin also seems important so our CAP can bypass Will-O-Wisp from Talonflame, which would be particularly annoying for this CAP. I would press for Water Veil, but being able to bypass Paralysis and Sleep is quite useful for this CAP as well.
1 thing particular about picking sustaining effect like Drought or Sand Stream is that it carries on when you Mega evolve. By opting for direct immunity abilities like Storm Drain we are actually limiting on our own ability to deal with waters by holding back our own Mega evolution unless we keep ability upon Mega. Drought and SS means that you are still able to deter switching in of water types even after Mega evolving, for a few turns at least.
I'm in favor of Sand Stream. For this pokemon we have to justify using it's subpar typing mainly in the form of survivability and versitility while simultaneously exemplifying the type itself. It raises the Special Defense of rock types by 50% (which it is), gives us access to a more powerful special rock move in the form of Weather Ball if we decide to go that route (100 Base Power vs Power Gem's 80 Base Power) and gives this pokemon utility as a weather inducer for sandstorm teams. It will also benefit from it's poison typing not being weak to toxic unlike Hippowdon and not being 4x weak to fighting and can check fairies unlike Tyranitar. Further more, this ability doesn't affect (or actually benefits from it in some cases) 2/3rds of the type of pokemon that are suppose to beat it. Since the sandstorm will last even after it Mega Evolves it can take advantage of this in the means of Sand Force, Sand Rush or just any useful ability as essentially free set up and can help separate itself further from Mega-Tyranitar. The issue I see with giving it this ability is that it does little to help it against water pokemon outside of bolstering it's special defenses.

I also support Solid Rock, but not to the same degree.

Da Pizza Man

Pizza Time
is a Pre-Contributor
Personally, I think Sand Stream and Drought are the perfect abilities for us. These abilities are great since we can keep their benefits after Mega Evolution while still supporting the concept, which is pretty much the holy grail for abilities, and on top of that these abilities help us take on rain teams, which are otherwise a major threat to this cap. In my opinion, both of these abilities have their ups and downs. Sand Stream gives us more direct benefits from our typing, giving us a nice Special Defense boost which can help us preform our role as a utility mon, and it also lets us deal some chip damage to other bulky mons (Think of stuff like Unaware Clefable and maybe Suicune). As a down side, it doesn't help us to much against Water Types, especially Physically oriented ones like Feraligatr and Gyarados. On the other hand, Drought helps us deal with the Water types that we want to beat, thanks to its ability to turn a weakness to water into a neutrality. However, it somewhat screws up our resistance to Fire, causing them to not be as threatened by this CAP as they should be. Personally, I support Sand Stream more, but I think either of these abilities would be great
Looking at some of the other suggestions:

Drought - Does not really seem to have much synergy with CAP, besides the fact that it makes switching into Water easier. However Sand Stream seems a bit superior to this due to the fact that Rock-types benefit directly from having Sand up (1.5x Sp. Def increase, which helps mitigate damage from multiple types) and does a better job playing to the type's strengths.

Water Immunity Abilities - We do want CAP to do well against water-types, and this is a very easy way to accomplish this goal. After all, barring stellar defenses and/or Sand being up most Water attacks would do tons of damage to CAP on a switch in, and KO it the following turn, so giving CAP a way to safely switch in isnt a terrible idea, no? However, I think we should look at other damage mitigating abilities before these. While I don't feel these are anti-concept, I think we shouldn't rush to use one of these since there are other options that can help in other areas too.

Unaware - Would help immensely vs our enemy #1 (Manaphy) and works out pretty well for helping CAP on both the offensive and defensive front. Only real downside is that it doesn't mitigate damage from unboosted attacks. Not sure if i would prefer this ability for non-mega, mega, or both, tbh.
At the moment, I really like the idea of Sand Stream for CAP21's primary ability. After all, one of the most unique defining traits of being a Rock-type in the first place is receiving a Special Defense boost in sand. As such, Sand Stream is very pro-concept in this sense, as it directly plays towards one of the typing's best strengths. In addition to this, it allows complete freedom for us to pick another completely different, useful ability for Mega CAP21 if we so choose, as CAP21 will continue to benefit from sand even after mega evolving. It's hard to go wrong here-- it's a great defensive and supporting ability that plays towards the typing.

The second group of abilities I'd like to touch on are the abilities which grant CAP21 a Water immunity. I can certainly see the appeal in these abilities from a viability standpoint, as this allows CAP21 to directly threaten and switch into Water-types much more easily, and also provides a notable immunity to Scald. There are just a few issues I see with picking a Water immunity ability. The first issue, which has been discussed a bit already, is that an ability like this is simply patching up a weakness of the typing, as opposed to directly playing towards a strength or a weakness of the typing. Water Absorb and Storm Drain are certainly great options in terms of viability, making the Manaphy, Keldeo, Azumarill, etc. matchup much better for CAP21, as it can directly benefit from their Water-type attacks. These abilities are just a bit shakier in terms of adherence to the concept, whereas Sand Stream has a very positive interaction with the concept. Dry Skin has also been brought up, but I'm more hesitant with this one, as this worsens our matchup against Fire-types, notably Zard Y, despite Rock/Poison resisting Fire (though our threatlist does not state that CAP21 is required to threaten all Fire-types, Dry Skin would still be playing against one of the typing's strengths, which seems rather anti-concept), so I'd think that Water Absorb or Storm Drain would be preferable choices over Dry Skin if we were to choose one. It's my opinion that an argument could be made either way regarding Water Absorb and Storm Drain, as they're not quite as clear-cut as Sand Stream in terms of concept adherence. I might edit my post later with some further thoughts on them.

Drought was also brought up earlier as a method of patching up the Water weakness, which is interesting, but I'd still lean towards Sand Stream or a Water immunity as the primary ability, as I think that an all-around Special Defense boost or an immunity would be just a bit more synergetic with the typing overall. Levitate was also brought up earlier, and while it'd certainly be a very strong and viable ability, it's another case of just patching the typing's weaknesses (the most prominent weakness of the typing, no less) as opposed to playing towards a strength. Besides, we've already elected for Ground-types to threaten CAP21, so this would be going directly going against our threatlist.

Some other abilities that I could support are Solid Rock / Filter; they're useful for all-around weakness mitigation without being too extreme or excessive. Intimidate is also a cool choice; it's a neat ability which bolsters CAP21's ability to take on physical attackers and force switches, though it's admittedly not quite as pro-concept when compared to Sand Stream (it's pretty neutral in this regard). Another ability that could work is Regenerator; seeing as Talonflame is one of the main threats we'd like to handle, giving CAP21 the ability to switch and regain its own health from chip damage caused by resisted hits, U-turn, and entry hazards would be quite useful for maintaining CAP21's longevity (it's useful for more than just Talonflame of course, not being as much of a momentum sink against VoltTurn is really helpful for one). Even with all these taken into account, I'm still quite pro-Sand Stream at the moment, as it exemplifies one of the typing's strong suits in addition to being a great defensive and supporting ability. I'm still very interested to hear about other possibilities though!
I am personally against any ability that removes the CAP's weaknesses directly; Levitate, Storm Drain, Water Absorb seem very anti-concept, because they artifically patch up a weakness that this CAP otherwise would have. Our goal is not to patch up the type's shortcomings, it's to focus on its strengths.
Echoing Exclaimer here. The concept specifficaly calls for "playing both towards the strengths and weaknesses" of the undervalued typing. Eliminating a weakness outright is the exact opposite of the concept. I especially loathe Levitate because it runs counter to pretty much everything that we established in the threats discussion, namely that CAP should have no business coming in/staying in on Ground-types (plus, I thought the ability to absorb Toxic Spikes was one of the main draws of the typing that people voted for?).

But yes, I believe sand-related abilities make the most sense with what we want to do, so the aforementioned Sand Stream gets a mention. However, since we apparently wanted to exploit that whole Sand team archetype (as people were already pairing CAP up with Hippowdon ever since the typing stage), maybe we could look at Sand Force? Sand Force would give CAP even more of an incentive to be run with sand support, plus it helps deter some of our counters from coming in outright by really powering up one of CAP's STABs plus one of its preferred (probably) coverage types. Sand Force-boosted STAB Stone Edge + residual damage from sand + possible hazard damage at least lets us not insta-die to teams with Manaphy (RD + Rest notwithstanding).

Idk man, maybe it's more of a secondary ability, but I think it's worth a mention.
I'm personally against Sand Stream as our base/primary ability. While I think this could be excellent for our Mega form, for it's base form it seems counter productive. If we want to take advantage of sand's sp.def bonus then we'd have to stay in the base form for as long as possible and then the Mega would only get at best a five or four turn bonus and then never again. If we want the Mega to take advantage of sand as well then unless we make Sand Stream the Mega's ability too then it won't benefit from the weather for long enough. I understand wanting to make the base form relevant but I just think this would be the wrong way to go about it.
And these are reasons why I'd suggest Storm Drain as the ability for the base form. In a way, it'd clip into another concept a little - the one investigating having two useful abilities and getting to use both, which cited Sableye as an example.

If CAP got Storm Drain in base form and Sand Stream in Mega, it'd be somewhat like Manectric - immunity/power boost ability in base, which can allow a free switch-in and the power boost carries over through going Mega, and a mostly defensive ability in Mega. Arguably, this would be a better Manectric on all counts, with base stats good enough to make a non-mega set viable (I hope, I'd like it to be so), the immunity ability covering a weakness and not a resistance, and the defensive ability persisting through the enemy's switch and just being overall more useful given a favorable team composition.

It is, this way, not the most original of ideas, but I like it. It is, again, an opinion.
I'm personally against Sand Stream as our base/primary ability. While I think this could be excellent for our Mega form, for it's base form it seems counter productive. If we want to take advantage of sand's sp.def bonus then we'd have to stay in the base form for as long as possible and then the Mega would only get at best a five or four turn bonus and then never again. If we want the Mega to take advantage of sand as well then unless we make Sand Stream the Mega's ability too then it won't benefit from the weather for long enough. I understand wanting to make the base form relevant but I just think this would be the wrong way to go about it.
Piggybacking off that point, it seems even more counter-productive to give the base form Drought. At least in Sand Stream's case, Hippowdon and Tyranitar can be used as back-ups to reset the weather. The only other viable Drought setter is Charizard-Y, which only comes in mega form. You could never take advantage of the Mega form on a Sun team.

I think we should consider weather setting for a Mega ability, but as a base ability, this seems the wrong way to approach the problem.

That being said, I could get behind Solid Rock/Filter as an ability. It makes our weaknesses less severe without outright negating them. I think we should also give some serious consideration to Rattled as an ability worth having. Two of the biggest advantages going for our CAP is that it isn't devastated by U-Turn or Knock Off. This actually gives our mon a pretty significant advantage to using Rattled, as we can now not only shrug off Knock Off and U-Turn, but actively punish it, which would be highly relevant to balance teams.


Maize and Blue Badge Set 2014-2017
is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a CAP Contributor Alumnus
I'm seeing a lot of support for weather Abilities, and for good reason. Sand Stream and Drought will aid CAP21 immensely in dealing with Water-type opponents. However, I'm not convinced they make good Primary Abilities as opposed to Mega Abilities. Remember that once we Mega Evolve, we only will be able to keep the weather up for at most five turns, then we're weak to Water again. It's not hard to switch out, wait five turns, then come back in. And if we Mega Evolve, we lose the ability to check Water-types for good For those of you who wish for our Primary Ability to be weather-related, I'd like to know your reason for making the Primary Ability weather-related rather than the Mega Ability. If you believe both the Primary and Mega Ability should be weather-related, I'd also like to hear that reason. As an aside, note that Drought comes with the trade-off of decreased capacity to take Fire attacks as well as increased capacity to attack with potential Fire coverage.

Another Ability I'm not entirely sold on is Solid Rock. CAP21 is going to be taking significant damage from super-effective moves whether or not it has Solid Rock, so I'm not convinced that Solid Rock will really give us that many more opportunities to switch in and Mega Evolve. While it does have niche appeal, it's not going to help us come in on Manaphy, Keldeo, or Earthquakes.

I'm more partial to Water-immune Abilities and/or Levitate here, as it's not something we're going to be able to take with us when we Mega Evolve. I agree with the argument that SoTheBlacKnight Minnakht put forth in previous posts. While I agree that a Water-immune Ability for the Mega forme runs a risk of being anti-concept, I don't believe the same for the base form. An immunity that we can't take with us when we Mega Evolve doesn't really "patch" the weakness, but it does give us additional opportunities to switch in and Mega Evolve.

I like the idea of CAP21's Primary Ability disrupting opponents. Niche Abilities such as Rattled, Storm Drain, and Flame Body allow CAP21 to come in more easily on U-Turns, Knock Offs, or Water attacks and potentially scare opponents off. And then once CAP21 Mega Evolves, it will be that much scarier with both the boost from its Primary Ability and whatever it gets as the Mega Ability.

So, moving forward,

1. To those of you who wish for the Primary Ability to be weather-related, explain how the Pokemon benefits from the base form having the weather Ability.

2. Continue discussing what we want from the base form's Primary Ability. Should we patch a weakness, provide additional opportunities to switch in, or something entirely different?
Not open for further replies.

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 1, Guests: 0)