CAP 25 - Part 3 - Concept Assessment

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Sunfished

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#1
With our concept decided, it's time for Concept Assessment! reachzero will lead the discussion and take the opening post, in which we decide which direction we take the process. Subsequent posts should closely follow reachzero's topics and questions.

NEW: This is a Celebration CAP, meaning that we are going out of our way to break some rules. We'll be creating a set of three Pokemon this time around, a set of Fire, Water, and Grass-type starters! You can read exactly which rules we'll be breaking here and the logic behind Celebration CAPs here. Give these a read-through to get some context.

Deck Knight said:
  • Name - Astounding Ability Actualization
  • Description - These Pokemon each maximize the potential of their given, separate abilities by coordinating their movepools and that ability's competitive effect.
  • Justification - This is an Actualization concept much like Cyclohm's original "Neglected Ability." In my research on what made Pokemon with "Starter Level" stats effective, the common denominator was they all had abilities they used to full effect with their other competitive aspects. This framework gives us a unique opportunity to A-B test some fairly powerful abilities we usually shy away from and bring out an effective competitive starter trio.
  • Questions To Be Answered
    • Which Abilities are best suited to a full, comprehensive exploration of their specific mechanics?
    • Why does Ability seem to be the common factor in taking "starter-esque" Pokemon into prominence (e.g. Protean and Battle Bond Greninja, Contrary Serperior, Speed Boost Blaziken to Ubers, etc.)
    • What is the threshold where maximizing an ability goes toi far, such as Blaziken's combination of Swords Dance, strong attack and mid-grade speed, and high BP STABS with Speed Boost or Protean Greninja's huge speed and just-varied enough movepool in prior Generations?
    • How will introducing three specialized Pokemon into the metagame at once impact it overall?
    • Which type combinations along with the starter types are best suited to maximizing the potential of a specific ability, and why?
  • Explanation - Competitive Pokemon has suffered from a massive power creep for a long time. In order for a Pokemon to be effective, not only does it have to be fairly good generally, it also can't be directly outclassed. Considering our Framework, our Pokemon are already competing against Heatran/Volcarona, Toxapex/Keldeo/Greninja, and Ferrothorn/Kartana for offensive or defensive roles. However, each of those Pokemon have their own flaws that give our FWG CAP Trio space to explore if we are focused on a key niche for each of them.

    Let's take Grass for example, and Tough Claws. Tough Claws boosts one of the most incredibly CAP-relevant moves, Grass Knot, because it is a special contact attack. Only Mega Metagross ever even came close to utilizing this combination, and Mega-Meta was banned (for other reasons, of course). Grass could also use it's huge number of healing options with Triage, including priority Strength Sap that even outruns Bullet Punch. Nearly every Fire attack has a secondary effect chance perfect for Serene Grace or Sheer Force. Water has a few specific moves that would also love Serene Grace, but would also appreciate breaking through Gastrodon and Mollux with Mold Breaker. Suffice it to say, this concept gives us an ability to meet our Framework demands and think through a huge combination of synergistic types and abilities in a single project.
Guidelines:
1) Pay close attention to the Topic Leader during this discussion. Their job is to keep us focused and to bring insight.​
2) Do not poll jump. Poll jumping is a serious offense in these threads, and you can get infracted for it. Poll jumping is when you discuss something that should be discussed in the future, like specifying a CAP's stats or typing. You're allowed to hint at such things to conclude a point or to provide an example, but do not centralize your post on a poll jump. Poll jumping hurts the focus of early threads and can cause us to go off on a tangent. If you're not sure if a particular argument is poll jumping or not, err on the side of caution and don't post it.​

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CAP 25 so far:

Topic Leader: reachzero

Topic Leadership Team:
EpicUmbreon29 - Typing
snake_rattler - Ability
jas61292 - Stats
cbrevan - Movepool
 
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reachzero

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#2
Welcome to Concept Assessment, where we will begin answering some significant questions about our concept, Astounding Ability Actualization, and particularly its interactions with our Framework, Starter Trio.

For reference, this fact sheet contains guidelines for how the TLT is choosing to define "Starters". All of these guidelines are official, and should be taken as law for this project, though note carefully which areas are considered "trends" and which are considered hard "limits":
Starter Fact Sheet

"These Pokemon each maximize the potential of their given, separate abilities by coordinating their movepools and that ability's competitive effect."

Much of the learning experience in this concept comes from the word "coordinating"--this is not as simple as slapping a great ability of each of our starters and calling the project a success. Instead, we are investigating how the pieces of a Pokemon come together to form a coherent whole: we have a guarantee that these Pokemon will have the means to effective use their ability, and the mandate to produce a near-optimal ability/movepool combination. Since this is a competitive project, we still need to stay within reasonable boundaries, but I am nevertheless excited to see an opportunity to explore new elements, ones we have not worked with before often.

The first question that must be addressed is what it means to "coordinate" a movepool with an ability's competitive effect--how great a degree of correlation is sufficient? Must the ability have moves it directly impacts, or is it sufficient to have moves that support the role that the ability suggests?

Our second question relates to the process itself: How strongly does the Typing of a Pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for? This question addresses an issue that is vital for our process, the issue of whether choosing the full Typing of each starter will be excessively restrictive on the Ability Stage. Considering how much of this project is centered around the Ability Stage, the importance of having multiple options is paramount.

Finally (for now), what are some examples of ability-driven Pokemon in the same power level (i.e. non-ability elements) as our expected starter limits? What kinds of internal synergy made them effective? How do they differ from failed Pokemon (too strong or too weak) of a similar power level?
 
#3
Must the ability have moves it directly impacts, or is it sufficient to have moves that support the role that the ability suggests?

I think that we should keep ourselves open to having moves support the ability and vice versa, even if they don't impact each other directly. While some abilities have direct correlations that have yet to be explored, I believe limiting ourselves to those abilities and moves alone would pidgeonhole this concept to the point where it wouldn't be as interesting. There are a lot of options for abilities that work together with moves, even indirectly, that I feel like we would be doing ourselves a disservice if we ignored these possibilities.

This doesn't answer the second question directly, but I personally think we need to do ability before typing, as it otherwise would hurt the process. Specifically, the typing stage will involve a lot of people internally polljumping when proposing type combinations. For example, someone could propose a Water/Flying type, not because it would be interesting to explore, but because Lightning Rod on a Water/Flying type would be super cool and all. However, when you get to the ability stage, Water/Flying either has Lightning Rod rubberstamped, or you get a Pokemon whose type doesn't leave a lot of flexibility for viable abilities. This hypothetical could lead to a mediocre Water/Flying starter with an ability that doesn't do anything interesting for it (pretend we give it Water Absorb and this hypothetical is Mantine for some reason) or a process that only goes the way it does due to what is essentially a stealthy polljump. While the same sort of polljumping scenario could happen with abilities going first, especially with things like Pixilate, not only can TLT easily pinpoint these specific examples and simply not include them, but even if we do end up with something like Pixilate, we can always give a type that isn't Fairy and explore a STABless Pixilate. That isn't to say I personally want that, but it is to say that doing the ability first does not restrict typing to the point where it's going to end up badly for the process a whole.
 
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DetroitLolcat

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#4
Must the ability have moves it directly impacts, or is it sufficient to have moves that support the role that the ability suggests?

This is a matter of preference, but I see the latter option here as a half measure. I'd like the Ability to have moves it directly impacts because the definition of "support the role that the Ability suggests" is ambiguous and can result in a Pokemon that only nominally fulfills the concept. To draw from a recent example, look at Trace Jumbao and its relationship with Sand teams. Trace Jumbao is a generically good Pokemon that doesn't really see use on dedicated Sand teams. We justified Trace on Jumbao by saying Trace on a Grass/Fairy Pokemon will support the "breaker" role that the concept (assessment) suggested, but the proof is in the playtest and Jumbao is far from a Sand staple. I'm not looking to re-litigate that Ability discussion or complain, but rather to warn folks that it's easy to take one's eye off the ball. I would prefer if we tailored our movepools around the chosen Abilities.

If we go the other route, however, all is not lost. There are Pokemon that one could argue are Astounding Ability Actualizations whose movesets do not necessarily draw from their Abilities. Magic Guard Clefable and Poison Heal Gliscor are good examples of this, although one could just as easily argue that those are "generically good" Abilities that are slapped onto existing Pokemon with good typings, stats, and movepools. If we're trying to avoid simply making "Good Pokemon with Good Abilities", I would recommend at least trying to directly take advantage of the Ability.

How strongly does the Typing of a Pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for?

This varies a lot from Ability to Ability, but I'd suggest that Typing is not that important. There are some Ability-focused Pokemon such as Protean Greninja whose typing is irrelevant, while others such as ORAS Gale Wings Talonflame really require their typing. Let's look at the Pokemon in the CAP metagame that are primarily Ability focused:

Protean Greninja, Magic Guard Clefable, Poison Heal Gliscor, Huge Power Mega-Mawile and Mega-Lopunny, Swift Swim Mega Swampert, Magnet Pull Magnezone, and Unburden Hawlucha constitute a far-from-exhaustive list of Ability-driven Pokemon. Of these, I would say that most do not rely on their typing. Sure, Gliscor loves its Ground immunity and Hawlucha loves access to two strong STABs that come from a Fighting/Flying typing, but there are other typings that would be just as great for them.
 

LucarioOfLegends

Has both direction and magnitude
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#5
Must the ability have moves it directly impacts, or is it sufficient to have moves that support the role that the ability suggests?

I think abilities that support are much better for this process than moves that impact. The reason I say this is because a lot of abilities that directly impact tend to be incredibly offensive in nature, with specifics looking at Tough Claws, Technician, Iron Fist, Adaptability, and the -ate Abilities for example. These abilities are absolutely fine if we are going for an offensive mon, since we aren't going to be packing much power with a pretty strict max of 126 Atk/SpA on a max 535 BST mon.

However, I feel the issues arise when we look at good defensive abilities. If we want to make a good defensive Pokemon, we would need at least a decent defensive ability, somewhere along the lines of Bulletproof, Soundproof, Iron Barbs/Rough Skin, or Stamina for example. However, these abilities do not work in a way that directly impacts moves, hence making them unusable for the first option. In fact, a lot of strong and interesting abilities for this concept could be cut from the first option, even for an offensive mon.

Honestly, we can choose one or the other for each of the different mons, since we are making three of them. But If I had to choose, I'd probably settle for the second option, just because we could get some more interesting abilities instead of the generally good offensive abilities for all three mons.

How strongly does the Typing of a Pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for?

This is a confusing question, so I'll try and answer it to the best of my abilities.

I don't think that a typing has that much effect on abilities honestly, as almost any pokemon can have almost any ability. Sigilyph, Clefable, Krilowatt share nothing in common with each other type-wise, but all of them have Magic Guard. There is only one scenario where I feel that an ability should be restricted from a certain type, and this scenario is where the ability specifically indicates a type orientation that is completely contradictory to the typing (A Fire/Steel mon getting Refrigerate for example).

However, I still feel that Ability should be done before type, as it will help decide out the rest of the process much better than the normal Type>Ability formula, since this entire project is so forced on Ability interaction.

What are some examples of ability-driven Pokemon in the same power level (i.e. non-ability elements) as our expected starter limits? What kinds of internal synergy made them effective? How do they differ from failed Pokemon (too strong or too weak) of a similar power level?

I think its honestly best that we look at some of the actual starters competitively to see what makes them tick in this case.

Contrary Serperior and Protean Greninja (I won't be including Battle Bond because I consider it another form of Greninja and I don't think it falls within the same constraints) work I believe for one very specific reason: their speed stats and thier movepools. Speed is huge in these abilities's ability to function, as Serperior wouldn't likely be known to be so scary of a wallbreaker/sweeper if it couldn't break base 100 speed, as that would leave it outspeed by a lot of mons that could kill it with its only decent bulk and mono-Grass typing. Similar case with Greninja, its Speed tier is one of the reasons why that ability works, as it can hit the move before the opponent gets to attack, letting it change its type and cause the incoming move to be not very effective or have no effect at all. If Greninja was operating at a 97 speed tier, none of this would likely work at all and I doubt we would see it still in OU today.

Compare this to another mon who is defined by its ability, and while its not a perfect comparison since its defense is significantly higher than our limit, I think Golisopod is a perfect example of how a speed tier can screw over a Pokemon. Golisopod has a pretty great attack stat, numerous moves at its disposal, and some really strong physical defense paired with a decent typing. Emergency Exit could actually work out well if Golisopod was operating at a better speed tier, as it could put in work with its good stats, maybe even set a layer of Spikes, and then be switched out by the opposing mon into another that checks it. However, Emergency Exit is instead a massive liability simply because Golisopod has a speed stat of 40. 40 is absolutely terrible for any offensive mon under the sun and even with its good bulk, it is so easily forced out before it can even act in most cases. This means that it has to run Aqua Jet to hit stuff before its forced out, meaning you can't run even decent coverage to cover for Flying types or Rock-types or Electric-types. Because of its speed, Golisopod is stuck to using bad priority moves and a possible helpful ability is turned into its biggest downfall.
 
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#6
Must the ability have moves it directly impacts, or is it sufficient to have moves that support the role that the ability suggests?
Originally I was going to say yes, as if you get too vague than technically every non-flavor ability "requires coordination of movepool and stats to support it" to be fully actualized. For example Intimidate is much better on a Pivoting Pokemon or a physical tank or something with boosting moves or recovery than it is on some random Pokemon. There's obviously more to it than just coordination, but the coordination of ability, movepool, and typing is part of why Lando-T is a top-tier Pokemon and Arcanine sees play in UU and VGC while Hitmontop is NU and Stoutland is awful and when seen is never seen with Intimidate. However, it's totally possible to make a "good Intimidate" Pokemon and ignore its movepool - although I struggle to find an immediate example, I'd say going back to Gen 5 that Choice Band Gyarados of course appreciated Intimidate, but wasn't taking advantage of it with its movepool and typing even though it was capable of doing so as seen in Dragon Dance and RestTalk sets. And so I was worried that if we opened it up to just having moves to support the role the ability suggests, we'd end up with Pokemon who fulfill the concept on paper but end up not doing so in practice because they just have a generically strong ability.

But as I went through every ability in the game that does directly impact moves, I realized we're going to have to be more flexible if we don't want to end up with three different flavors of attackers with some move that boosts damage of very specific and predictable moves. There are very few abilities that directly impact moves but don't just boost damage or accuracy of those moves, and several of the ones that are non-damage related are insanely niche and not particularly competitive. While we need to be careful, I also think it's fine to have an ability and move that work together to support a role without directly and specifically interacting.

How strongly does the Typing of a Pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for?
Somewhat, but not a lot. We've had some weird stuff from CAP, so I don't think we have to worry a ton here. What is a concern is whether or not some abilities are flat-out busted if it is used anywhere else, and I'll discuss an example below.

What are some examples of ability-driven Pokemon in the same power level (i.e. non-ability elements) as our expected starter limits? What kinds of internal synergy made them effective? How do they differ from failed Pokemon (too strong or too weak) of a similar power level?

A few Pokemon leapt to mind. First, we can look at the actual starters...

- Serperior: Contrary Leaf Storm singlehandedly put this 'mon on the map and yet Serpy still isn't particularly high tier. It does make me question, however, if this is an ability where typing dictates how viably it can coordinate its movepool. Grass is the only typing we've ever seen a Pokemon get STAB Contrary moves on, because Grass is not great offensively. Malamar didn't get STAB (there isn't a move in Dark or Psychic) and is bad, and it's not hard to imagine that Contrary with STAB on an actual good attacking type would be extremely oppressive. Serperior is also at least played in CAP/OU meta despite having literally no coverage outside of Hidden Power, which should indicate just how terrifying some abilities can be in the hands of a better offensive type like, say, Water or Fire. Serperior succeeded where Malamar and Lurantis failed, in my opinion, by also having the speed and recovery to just brute force it despite his mediocre offensive typing.

- Greninja: Protean with a diverse movepool makes everyone's favorite Frog able to have psuedo-STAB on his Ice, Grass, Fighting, Bug, Rock, Poison, and Psychic coverage moves and to change his weaknesses and resists on the fly. Valuably, Greninja also threatened everything with STAB, which gave it plenty of opportunity to force a switch and use its time to set up Spikes or Toxic Spikes. As we've never seen another Protean user, it's hard to draw comparisons.

Next, we can look at a few 'mons that are similar in range to what we're aiming for stat-wise...

- Tomohawk: The CAP King sits at a BST of 535, right at the fringe of our limits. Tomohawk succeeded where other Pranksters have failed by just having a better BST than Klefki (the other Prankster Hazard-layer) and Sableye (the other user of Priority Healing); specifically Tomo has better bulk and an actual usable Special Attack stat that allows for some chip damage. Tomo also has excellent role compression that allows him to "do it all" - set hazards, clear hazards, stops set-up with Haze, breaks stall with Taunt and Toxic. What's nice as well is how those moves support BOTH abilities, since having access to great utility and recovery also makes him a great user of Intimidate. In as much as Tomohawk is a success, it is also an inspiration for our trip of CAPs.

- Stratagem, Scizor, and Breloom: These Pokemon are within our BST Limit, although all three break the max stat limit by having one stat that is at 130. These Pokemon are lumped together as the most succesful Technicians in the game. The key to a great Technician seems to be having access to non-normal type Priority - all three have access to non-Normal priority, and it's even STAB priority for Scizor and Breloom. From there there's a few other handy factors that are unique to each - Breloom has access to the extremely rare Spore, Stratagem is one of the few special Technicians in the game, allowing him to get STAB Hidden Power for ultimate coverage, and Scizor's amazing typing leaves it with only one weakness and a boatload of resistances. Despite that, all three are power-creeped out of the current meta; Scizor only sees use because of its Mega Evolution with takes all those advantages I mentioned and cranks them up to 11, Stratagem tends to use his Levitate Special Attacker set, and Breloom has dropped down to unranked as per the most recent viability thread. For an example of a Pokemon that went too far with Technician, we can see Marshadow - but Marshadow's insanity is because of its signature move, high BST, and unresisted STABS with STAB Technician Shadow Sneak as the cherry on the cake, so that's unlikely to be an issue we run into here. It does again, however, highlight how an ability that might be "fair" on one type is "busted" on another; it turns out Technician Shadow Sneak on a high BST, high physical attack ghost type is pretty ridiculous!
 

GMars

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#7
1.) Must the ability have moves it directly impacts, or is it sufficient to have moves that support the role that the ability suggests?

It is entirely possible to maximize the potential of a given ability without having that ability directly impact a Pokemon's moves. Looking at an ability such as Speed Boost, it's clear that powerful abilities don't need to have a direct impact moves. Rather, for Speed Boost, powerful offensive STAB combos and coverage are key to making the ability relevant, and this is where the coordination of movepool and ability come into play. Other examples of maximizing the potential of abilities which do not directly impact moves are Regenerator on Toxapex, it having a phenomenal support movepool in Toxic Spikes / Haze / Recover etc. to maximize Regenerator's ability to operate as a defensive pivot, Poison Heal on Gliscor being coordinated with Swords Dance and Roost to allow it to setup and stallbreak effectively without having to fear status and chip damage, and Hawlucha's Unburden being coordinated with Acrobatics along with great setup in Swords Dance and more powerful STAB with High Jump Kick. Clefable is another great Pokemon to bring up in this sense, having Magic Guard combined with Stealth Rock + Reliable recovery allowing it to be one of the most consistent Stealth Rock setters, or Unaware combined with Wish and Heal Bell to allow it to be an incredible support Pokemon for a stall or balance team. These are Pokemon known for their powerful abilities with sets and roles that revolve almost entirely around them, and yet these abilities have no direct impact on their moves. It is sufficient to have moves that support the role that the ability suggests to achieve our concept's goal of coordination.

2.) How strongly does the Typing of a Pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for?

Many of the strongest abilities are usable by nearly every type of Pokemon and can be viably built around. Consider Regenerator, considered by many to be among the top abilities in the game. Water and Grass types, phenomenal defensive typings, have gravitated towards being defensive pivots with this ability (Slowking/Bro, Alomomola, Tangrowth, Alomomola, Toxapex, etc), whereas more offensively-inclined types like Flying and Fighting still make great use of the ability to become offensive pivots and offset hazard damage. Another example along this line is Magic Guard, able to be used offensively by Alakazam through negating Life Orb damage or preserving a Focus Sash and defensively by Clefable and Reuniclus, even despite Psychic generally being considered a poor defensive typing.

On the other hand are abilities which play more off of direct interaction with the opponent. Rough Skin or Iron Barbs is great for Pokemon with good defensive typings like Ferrothorn and Garchomp, but it falls completely flat on Sharpedo due to its poor defensive typing (and abysmal bulk). Lightning Rod is great to provide Marowak-Alola with additional defensive utility, but it's pointless on Ground-types like Marowak and Rhyperior and only marginally useful on Mega Sceptile to block Volt Switch.

Typing is unimportant for the majority of stronger abilities, but less powerful abilities will require avoiding specific secondary types to really maximize their potential.
 
#8
Must the ability have moves it directly impacts, or is it sufficient to have moves that support the role that the ability suggests?

I think abilities that that support are much better for this process than moves that impact. The reason I say this is because a lot of abilities that directly impact tend to be incredibly offensive in nature, with specifics looking at Tough Claws, Technician, Iron Fist, Adaptability, and the -ate Abilities for example. These abilities are absolutely fine if we are going for an offensive mon, since we aren't going to be packing much power with a pretty strict max of 126 Atk/SpA on a max 535 BST mon.

However, I feel the issues arise when we look at good defensive abilities. If we want to make a good defensive Pokemon, we would need at least a decent defensive ability, somewhere along the lines of Bulletproof, Soundproof, Iron Barbs/Rough Skin, or Stamina for example. However, these abilities do not work in a way that directly impacts moves, hence making them unusable for the first option. In fact, a lot of strong and interesting abilities for this concept could be cut from the first option, even for an offensive mon.

Honestly, we can choose one or the other for each of the different mons, since we are making three of them. But If I had to choose, I'd probably settle for the second option, just because we could get some more interesting abilities instead of the generally good offensive abilities for all three mons.
I sorta like this suggestion; part of me wants to say since we have three CAPs:

- One should fulfill this concept in an extremely obvious way, by having an ability that directly impacts its moves as an offensive powerhouse (since most abilities that directly impact abilities do so to improve their damage or accuracy).
- One should fulfill this concept in a fairly obvious way, using an ability that directly impacts its moves to be a surprising Pokemon with plenty of utility, role compression, and defensive abilities (our chance to ues the handful of move-affectiing abilities that aren't damage related, or to explore surprising coverage).
- One should fulfill this concept in a subltle, non-intuitive way, using an ability and move that in concern support a specific role.
 
#9
How strongly does the Typing of a Pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for?
Most powerful and widely used abilities such as intimidate and prankster have been proven to be useful regardless of typing and hence I think should be avoided. The concept encourages that we maximise the potential of the given ability and this effect is lost when we pick a generically good ability. This is why I think we have to pick an ability that typing affects to a significant degree to achieve the concept fully. Examples would be a defiant mon that has a good matchup against defoggers, or a tinted lens mon with otherwise mediocre stab coverage. Most lesser used/distributed abilities give a clearer goal of where to take the pokemon and often a more defined role as opposed to generically good abilities that will be great with any pokemon. Also, these abilities have already been explored and we know what they can do, however, abilities like gale wings and fluffy present interesting opportunities to learn about the adverse affects that a pokemon with these abilities could have on the metagame.
 

nyttyn

From Now On, We'll...
is a CAP Contributoris a Forum Moderator Alumnus
#10
Must the ability have moves it directly impacts, or is it sufficient to have moves that support the role that the ability suggests?

Not necessarily. While it's not the most intuitive thing in the world, many abilities by virtue of neutering the opponent's responses give you a free turn by forcing a swap, which in and of itself is fantastic for anything that just needs that one turn (set-up moves, hazards). That sort of indirect support is pretty useful for the ability slot, since a free turn can seriously impact a match with the right move, even if it's not directly being boosted.

Our second question relates to the process itself: How strongly does the Typing of a Pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for?

Typing again ties in to the whole idea of abilities potentially granting free turns, since the proper resistance coverage combined with the right ability (usually stuff like flash fire) can increase the opportunities to get one. As such, typing potentially plays a large role if attempting to use the ability slot in this manner, but plays a far more limited role for direct power boost abilities (such as tough claws or prankster). Doubly so since only five types are beaten by type immunity abilities, which are more generically useful for this role than their more situational counterparts such as magic guard or intimidate.

Direct boost abilities are still somewhat affected by typing however, since STAB is a big deal and not every ability can be STAB abused by every type (for example, the given example of Triage can only be utilized effectively offensively by just a handful of types).
 
#11
Must the ability have moves it directly impacts, or is it sufficient to have moves that support the role that the ability suggests?

First, I want to make a very clear distinction about this question. It is not asking about if we should include moves that 'indirectly support the ability.' It is asking about "moves that support the role that the ability suggests." For those who do not see the difference, allow me to elucidate. Moves with a secondary effect are directly buffed by Serene Grace and Sheer Power. A movepool filled with those moves would directly support a Pokémon with either of those abilities. Strong Jaw is directly supported by bite moves, Iron Fist by punches, etc. The relationship is clear between both move and ability. Meanwhile, an implied role would be something as with Huge or Pure Power. Those abilities are not tied to moves. Now, you might say that they are tied to physical moves, which is true to some extent; however, for the purposes of this question and project, it is more helpful to view those moves as supporting the role of a hard-hitting physical attacker. The moves are less a direct consequence of the ability as much as they are synonymous with the role the ability implies.

Now, this is not to say there are not gray areas. For example, take Protean Greninja. Protean does not necessarily imply a sweeper. Type changes could theoretically be used defensively. However, either way, the key to Protean is a variety of typings to use, which Greninja's movepool supplies in abundance. In truth, Greninja fulfills the AAA concept exceptionally, but refuses to neatly slot into either category. Its moves bear no direct impact on the ability; Energy Ball would work roughly as well as Grass Knot, and Psychic in lieu of Extrasensory. Still, Protean does not inherently define Greninja's role - the relatively frail stat distribution does.

Taking all of this into account and acknowledging that the gray area (while attractive) is relatively small, I would strongly advocate that we stick to a course that clearly establishes a direct link between certain moves in the movepool, rather than relying on a decided role. DetroitLolcat summed up the risks of that method quite well in my opinion, so I'll direct you to their post if you haven't read it for some reason.

How strongly does the Typing of a Pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for?

I would say that the main issue here is how typing impacts movepool. Our goal here isn't to make a 'mon that uses an ability well, but to make a movepool that uses an ability well, and then make *that* into the rest of a mon. As a result, typing actually does restrict us somewhat. We could technically just slap whatever moves we want onto any old typing, ala Krilowatt, but it would be nice to be a bit more tactful.

Additionally, typing's relationship is inherently more important when considering ability/attack move pairings than ability/status move pairings, as STAB and coverage become key to making sets work. For the sake of an example, let's consider the ability Strong Jaw. Fire Fang is a move that exists. Grass Fang and Water Fang are not. We could make a Grass or Water starter that uses Strong Jaw to boost its coverage moves' power, assuming those moves are all bite attacks; but, the ability would likely be better used by the fire starter, as it gets STAB on a Strong Jaw-boosted fang move, while water and grass types do not. Obviously, this excludes secondary typings, but the point should still stand. Depending on the ability we choose, some options will be closed off to us based on precedent of move distribution and the nature of STAB. Again, defensively oriented ability/move combos don't suffer from this issue as much (Cheek Pouch + Recycle is not greatly inhibited or helped by typing, for example). Still typing's impact on the moves generally available for the movepool, though not large, should be considered.

What are some examples of successful Ability-Movepool coordination? Failures?
*looks furtively to make sure the coast is clear* Okay, so this isn't exactly the question in the OP, but as I started collecting examples, I noticed that focusing on BST level seemed to take me away from Pokémon that I felt had legitimate claims to ability-move interactions... so I went with that. Sorry! I have quite a few examples here, so I'm saving space by organizing them in tabs based on how they appear to succeed or fail. Admittedly, not all of these are really out of the aforementioned 'gray zone' between supporting a role and direct interaction, but I still included them to make sure the strategy underlying the interaction could be mentioned.

Pokémon can successfully coordinate their abilities with their moves in two key ways: The can have a good use over a variety of moves in a Pokémon's movepool, or the ability can synergize well with one particular move on which a successful strategy is based. Additionally, some Pokémon can have the appearance of ability-movepool synergy without actually having it. Some examples of that are listed under 'Pseudo Coordination.' Obviously this is not all the examples of such synergies, I've simply pulled examples from various metagames that come to mind.

Multiple Moves:
Jirachi's ability of Serene Grace has long been the frustration of many poor low-ladder souls. While it may be better suited to setting up rocks and Wish passing, the potential for hax with this mon is strong. Boasting a plethora of moves with relatively high secondary-effect chances, such as Heart Stamp, Iron Head, Body Slam, Meteor Mash, and Moonblast, Jirachi has a movepool that is well-coordinated with its ability, even if its better utility options outclass these hax-centered sets.
Scyther's Technician grants it interesting STAB options in Aerial Ace and Bug Bite, while also beefing up non-switch Pursuit. The variety of moves available for boosting here isn't as wide as with Jirachi, but they do provide reliable STAB options that are more powerful or less punishing than the alternatives. Upon evolution, Scizor picks up Bullet Punch for use, but tends to drop the other moves in favor of more utility in Defog, Roost, and SD.
The monster itself, Mega Crucibelle's Magic Guard pairs exceptionally well with the recoil-inducing Wood Hammer and Head Smash, granting Cruci extremely powerful STAB and coverage moves with only the accuracy as a drawback. Yes, it is only two moves, but those two moves synergize so well with the ability, it's no wonder they are so common on sets.
The main weakness of a Normal/Fighting type attacker would almost certainly be a Ghost type, which is immune to both STABs, and can potentially resist coverage. Thanks to Scrappy though, Mega Lop has no need to worry. Now, this could technically be seen as typing synergizing with ability as well, but since base form Lopunny is pure Normal type, but still gets HJK (or Drain Punch or what have you), I like to think of it as more of movepool. Regardless of how you splice it though, the ability synergy is most definitely there.
Ah, Prankster. The most beloved ability in the game... or not. Prankster is a generically good ability, but Klefki's movepool makes it extremely potent. A variety of useful status moves including Spikes, Thunder Wave, Dual Screens, and previously Swagger combine with Prankster to make a frighteningly good utility Pokémon. This, and the next one down on the list I find to be excellent proof that AAA doesn't necessarily mean offensive in nature.
Prankster Pokémon number two. One of the most frightening aspects of Tomohawk is its ability to abuse Prankster to mind bogglingly good defensive power. Roost and Haze allow Tomo to muscle past almost any physical threat. Combined with optional roles to set up Rain on weather teams, set up Stealth Rock, or even launch a surprise priority attack in Nature Power, and you have a Pokémon that makes excellent use of Prankster.
Revenankh my friend... the updates were indeed kind to you. Triage grants both Drain Punch and Moonlight +3 priority, which allows Rev to sustain itself and also overcome its slow speed in attacking. Again, it's not too many moves, but they work so well with Triage that it's worth a mention.

Single Strategy:
Disguise grants Mimikyu a free turn with almost no repercussions, barring status moves like Will-o and Toxic. A free turn for a Pokémon to do whatever they want is powerful, and Mimikyu usually uses it to set up Swords Dance. It's just one move, but the guarantee of being able to set up is a powerful card to play, especially when sitting on a good combination of STABs, decent speed, and the option to Z-Nuke the opponent. SD and Disguise together have wonderful synergy that shows how just one move can sometimes be enough.
Gluttony combined with Belly Drum. If you have ever played Random Battle, you know the potency this combo can have. Being able to eat a 50% HP restore berry after putting yourself at 50% means Linoone can essentially sacrifice its item slot in order to get a Belly Drum and end up at the HP is started at. Once again, it's only one move, but it's the perfect one to make use of this ability.
Plasma Fists' secondary effect of turning Normal-type moves to Electric-type is not particularly useful in the CAP meta, mostly due to the lack of Normal-type moves being thrown around. Still, there is a remarkable synergy between that move and Zeraora's ability of Volt Absorb. Essentially, as long as you aren't immune to Electric-type attacks, you are unable to use a Normal-type attack without healing the opposing Zeraora. It's good synergy, but the meta won't let it really work.
Aurora Veil is quite a good move. Receiving the effects of both Light Screen and Reflect at once reduces set up time greatly... or at least it would if Hail wasn't also required. Well, luckily, Nintales-A packs Snow Warning, allowing it to actually skip the additional turn of set up required to establish the right weather. It's pretty cut and dry, but it's worked quite well so far.
Admittedly, Baton Pass is dead, so this isn't too relevant of a point now. However, Speed Boost and Baton Pass are nevertheless a match made in heaven, allowing a Pokémon to catch a speed boost, and then Baton Pass out into the desired recipient, usually without having to take damage from the incoming attack onto their Speed Booster. Still, Scolipede also combos Speed Boost with SD decently as well, allowing for a variant of dual dance without costing two moveslots.
Here we can actually observe a two-for-one, as Mienshao possesses both Reckless HJK and U-Turn Regenerator. The first combo might be better seen with Staraptor's Reckless Brave Bird and Double Edge, but I want to save tabs here, so I'm lumping it together here. Meanwhile, the second combo has fallen off in use over the generations, but being able to maintain momentum through VoltTurn while also keeping HP at a good level remains a useful strategy.

Pseudo Coordination:
"What? -ate abilities aren't actualized by movepool? Crazy talk!" you might think. Well... hear me out. -ate abilities aren't dependent on movepool really, but on what the strongest Normal-type move a Pokémon has is. Physically, this is typically Return, a required TM, as exemplified by Mega Pinsir, Altaria, and Glalie; occasionally you might see Double Edge. Meanwhile, the special side is dominated by Hyper Voice, as seen on Mega Gardevoir and Altaria as well as Sylveon and Aurorus. The movepool here doesn't actually actualize the ability, it supports the role of sweeper or wallbreaker by providing coverage to go along with the boosted STAB move. -ate abilities aren't made better by certain movepools, they only really serve to extend the STAB potential of the Pokémon by granting higher power or priority STAB moves. For most non-priority cases, this can be done with other abilities or by adding a stronger STAB option. To put it a bit more concisely, I would argue it's not really ability-move coordination if you can do it just as well with another ability. That's not to say there's no potential here. Priority could be an interesting take, but it certainly wouldn't be something we haven't seen before thanks to Mega Pinsir.
Beast Boost is a cool ability. It's a good ability too! But it isn't directly supported by movepool choices. Let's analyze Xurkitree as our example. Beast Boost on Xurkitree boosts Special Attack, making its insanely hard hits even harder. However, this boost is not the fault of the moves its using. Thunderbolt may be slightly stronger than Discharge, and more accurate than Thunderbolt, but the sets would still function mostly the same. For these Pokémon, it is not the moves that make the ability potent, but the stats behind those moves. Kartana is not amazing because of its movepool, but mostly because of its great Speed and Attack, as well as its ability to boost those. This isn't to say that movepool doesn't play a role here, but as we go into this project, it provides a useful look at whether we are actually fulfilling the concept, or are using stats or unrelated fluff moves as crutches.

Interestingly, most Pokémon. No, seriously. Pokémon combine Stats, Movepool, Typing, and Ability to varying degrees, but there are SO MANY Pokémon that simply don't have much direct coordination between abilities and moves. Pokemon's moves and abilities may work together to facilitate a role, yes, but they don't typically directly interact to produce that role, and as such, they have effectively 'failed' to actualize their ability through movepool. Now, that's not to say that failing to do so is bad; many abilities simply don't coordinate well with moves, but rather contribute to an overarching playstyle. I'll discuss more in the Ferrothorn example, but this is another reason I particularly dislike the idea of 'supporting a role' as AAA - it's been done before. Additionally, some Pokémon have interesting abilities that we can consider, but to strike the iron while it's hot, I'd like to address why some of those Pokémon actually don't fail at coordination. These are discussed under 'Pseudo Failures.'

Actual Failures:
The physically defensive wall to end them all... or just Mega Cruci. Ferrothorn's most common ability is Iron Barbs, occasionally augmented with Rocky Helmet, but usually Leftovers. Iron Barbs's ability to punish physical attackers just because most physical moves are contact moves directly contributes to its role as a physical wall. In addition to this, its partial Steel typing provides many useful resistances, while the Grass typing makes it neutral to common Ground-type attacks. Throw on stats that also align with a physically defensive role and... well, you're done. The moves such a Pokémon have don't particularly matter. Yes, Leech Seed is nice for additional recovery, and Spikes/SR helps to further weaken opposing Pokémon as they switch in to try and take you out, but at the end of the day, the ability and movepool don't have that direct association I think we should be aiming for with this concept. If the focus is movepool, we shouldn't crutch on stats, or items, or typing too much. The move-ability pairings should help guide those choices.
Oh, Liquid Voice. How utterly useless you are. In actuality, this ability isn't that bad. It could be pretty useful to have Water-type coverage off of Hyper Voice or Boomburst. However, Game Freak gave the ability to a Water-type Pokémon... a Pokémon that already has pretty powerful Water-type attacks in Hydro Pump, Surf, and Scald. This is a case of Move Overlap. Liquid Voice tries to encourage the use of certain moves by changing their type, but in doing so forgot that the other moves in Primarina's movepool outclass those retyped options. Giving Primarina Boomburst could have created a trade-off between Torrent's 'in a pinch' boost versus a generically stronger STAB move, but the movepool wasn't catered to the ability, and as a result, the ability became useless.
Strong Jaw Bruxish is kind of scary with a Choice Band or a Swords Dance up. But still, at the end of the day, it's going to be clicking Psychic Fangs or Waterfall. Crunch is okay coverage, and Ice Fang can help against Grass-types, but the STAB boost generally trumps the others. With additions of Thunder and Fire Fang to its arsenal, Bruxish may have been more difficult to predict in terms of coverage, but with only three moves to make use of its ability, on top of its relatively low stats compared to other physical attackers like Mimikyu, it's hard to justify its use. Its other ability, Dazzling, doesn't fare much better. If Bruxish had been gifted powerful priority attacks, it may have been able to put pressure on the opponent by making revenge killing difficult. However, with only Aqua Jet to rely on and a cut in power from the loss of Strong Jaw, a lack of viable attack options prevents the ability from seeing any use. The movepool simply couldn't support the ability's usage.

Pseudo Failures:
I'm honestly a bit tired of all this typing, and LucarioOfLegends gave a great break down of why Golisopod fails to make use of its ability, so go read that if you haven't, and then pop back. Read up? Ok, good. As established, Golisopod fails from a lack of speed. If it was faster, it could throw out its strong attacks and then gain momentum by gaining a free switch when the going starts to get rough. But, that's it really. As Lucario mentioned, its movepool isn't that bad, with Liquidation, First Impression, Leech Life, Drill Run, Iron Head, and Knock Off. It just can't make use of them because it constantly gets switched out before getting to act. Golisopod's high attack and surprisingly good coverage actually work well with Emergency Exit, albeit not directly enough for my tastes. Its issue is a stats failure more than a movepool one.
And here comes the generic, in your face, obvious warning about some abilities. Not all of them are good. I could mention Sableye's Stall here, or potentially Truant. But for the sake of being as extreme as possible, let's make fun of Normalize. Yes, Delcatty gets STAB on all of its attacks. But Normal-type STAB isn't particularly outstanding. You can use Thunder Wave on Ground types if you want to! But, that's a pretty niche thing to want, especially when you're sacrificing all forms of coverage just to do it. Ultimately, when you're faced with a bad ability, there will always be one move that synergizes well: Skill Swap. But, when you're forced to steal your opponent's ability to take advantage of your own, you've kind of undermined the purpose of designing a movepool to take advantage of an ability, now haven't you?


Obligatory TL;DR - 'Supporting a role' has distracted us before, and it would probably be best to just not muddy the waters of 'using moves to take advantage of an ability.' Typing doesn't really limit ability choice, but it does tend to limit movepool a bit, so we'll need to think carefully about potential move choices when selecting the typings to go with our abilities. Lastly, there is a decent amount of Pokémon that use moves to take advantage of their ability, but many abilities also cheap out on this process by providing effects that can be accomplished in other ways or simply aren't dependent on the moves you use. In order to fully actualize an ability, we should pick one that we know can have direct relationships with a few moves or a strong synergy with just one or two. A lack of options or overlapping options will be extremely bad for this concept.

As always, feel free to argue, critique, and disagree with me. That's what this thread is for!
 
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#12
What are some examples of ability-driven Pokemon in the same power level (i.e. non-ability elements) as our expected starter limits? What kinds of internal synergy made them effective? How do they differ from failed Pokemon (too strong or too weak) of a similar power level?

So the first mon that comes to mind is Clefable, which has both Magic Guard and Unaware. It's stats are poorly distributed, but it has incredibly good defensive typing, which both of those abilities call for. In the case of the Magic Guard set, it's recovery movepool is also instrumental to it's success. In the Unaware sets case, access to super effective coverage on boosting mons, in addition to having boosting moves itself, is what puts Clef over.

The next mon I want to bring up that not everybody thinks about when we talk about ability-centric mons is Tangrowth. Tangrowth's main asset in the metagame is that it's a Regenerator mon with a Ground resist. If Amoongus or Alomomola were Ground resists, they would almost certainly see more play than Tangrowth. Regenerator works best where there's a hard hitting mon that you want to switch into over and over again. In OU, this comes in the form of beaters with Ground, Water, and Electric STAB, which Tangrowth resists. Of note, Tangrowth also has a shockingly good movepool. However, even if it didn't, it would still probably see a decent amount of play based solely on it's typing.

The last mon I want to touch on is Salazzle, because in my mind, Salazzle represents the antithesis of what we're trying to accomplish. Corrosion is a defensive ability that helps mons that can't beat Steel and Poison types if you have room for Toxic in w moveslot. It only exists on an offensive mon that counters most steel types already that not only has no room for Toxic in it's movepool, but wouldn't run it if it did. If Corrosion was on a mon like Vileplume instead of a mon like Salazzle, I think it could have actually gotten somewhere.
 

Granny Pie

Mafia Champion
#13
Must the ability have moves it directly impacts, or is it sufficient to have moves that support the role that the ability suggests?

With three Pokemon, I believe the best option is to be as open as possible with this interpretation. We can have a Pokemon whose abilities will impact moves directly, such as with Reckless or Magic Guard combining with recoil moves, or U-turn and Volt Switch with Regenerator, and we can also have a mon whose ability defines its role in the meta, maybe as a physical sweeper with Moxie, so we give it moves based on that role, like Agility to perform a pseudo-double-dance. With three Pokemon, we can easily explore both spectrums of this issue, and limiting ourselves to only one interpretation feels needlessly restrictive.

Our second question relates to the process itself: How strongly does the Typing of a Pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for?

Typing is huge, especially in the second interpretation of the first question, wherein the ability defines the Pokemon's role. When the point of the concept seems to be very, very open about abilities, creating a seemingly offensive typing could pigeonhole that Pokemon into an offensive ability before we even discuss abilities. As such, Typings are a lot more restrictive on this concept than an ability would be, which prompts me to possibly request doing the ability stage first, defining our three Pokemon before we do anything else.

What are some examples of ability-driven Pokemon in the same power level (i.e. non-ability elements) as our expected starter limits?

Clefable immediately jumps to mind, but NumberCruncher touched on that before I did. Colossoil also fits this criteria very well, because it typically has different moves and playstyles between Guts and Rebound, Guts typically being used on a Flame Orb offensive set, and Rebound often seeing use with a specially defensive Assault Vest Utility set. Kitsunoh sees a bit of this as well, often scouting moves and items with Scarfed Frisk, or attempting to revenge kill or clean with Banded Iron Fist. And to an even lesser extent, Lightningrod Marowak-A is meant to be a switchin to Tapu Koko, while Rock Head is most successfully used on HO teams like Trick Room to spam recoilless Flare Blitzes. In these examples, Colossoil fulfills the second interpretation of the first question: a Pokemon whose moves are centered around the role its ability defines, and not the ability. Kitsunoh fulfills the second interpretation: a Pokemon whose moves are more centered on its ability, dropping U-Turn or Trick for Meteor Mash or Bullet Punch, moves boosted by Iron Fist.
 
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#14
Must the ability have moves it directly impacts, or is it sufficient to have moves that support the role that the ability suggests?

I think that much of what has been said in this assessment already supports my view that most (but not all) abilities don’t require that they be coordinated with specific moves. I think the most notable exceptions to this point that have been discussed so far are: No Guard, Tough Claws, Sheer Force, and Serene Grace. Others that have been discussed less but require coordination include: Contrary, Liquid Voice, abilities like Iron Fist and Mega Launcher, and supporting abilities like Prankster and Simple which require a movepool to take advantage of them. However, outside of these examples most abilities are sufficiently fulfilled by having moves that support the role suggested by the ability, and in some cases even a strong supporting movepool is not necessary. For instance, Landorus-T has a mostly offensive movepool, and yet remains an extremely effective intimidate user, mostly by virtue of its stats.

However, having read DetroitlolCat’s and Okamu’s excellent posts (if you haven’t read them, do it now), I think that to hold to the spirit of AAA we should be specifically aiming for abilities which require coordination between movepool and ability. To quote Deck Knight’s original post:
“These Pokemon each maximize the potential of their given, separate abilities by coordinating their movepools and that ability's competitive effect.”
I think we wouldn’t be fulfilling the concept if we went with a generic ability like Intimidate, Magic Guard, Stamina, Iron Barbs, or most of the other abilities available to our list. To fulfill the concept properly, we need to pick abilities which require coordination between the ability and movepool.

How strongly does the Typing of a Pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for?

This is a complicated question, because there are a lot of parts at play with typing. I think the main effects of typing are weaknesses and resists, both offensively and defensively. Some offensive abilities will be constrained by having an offensive typing that gives them poor STAB choices, and some defensive abilities will be constrained by having a typing which leaves them weak to attackers they would otherwise counter. Typing also suggests flavour which can influence a Pokemon’s movepool.

For CAP 25, I’d like to propose that we change the process slightly. Because the primary typing of each Pokemon is already decided, we’ve essentially already done part of the typing stage. I think we would be best served to pick an ability for each of the Pokemon based on their primary type (FWG) and then choose the secondary type afterwards. That way, we can work with the typings we already have, allocate abilities to them, and then choose a secondary typing (or go forward without one) based on the abilities we have in mind.


As for the final question, I think Okamu answered that very thoroughly. I may chip in with any thoughts I have on another post.
 
#15
When the point of the concept seems to be very, very open about abilities, creating a seemingly offensive typing could pigeonhole that Pokemon into an offensive ability before we even discuss abilities. As such, Typings are a lot more restrictive on this concept than an ability would be, which prompts me to possibly request doing the ability stage first, defining our three Pokemon before we do anything else.
Well said, I was planning on saying something to that effect myself. On top of that, typing is also very important when it comes to the metagame. If the CAP is going to be a wallbreaker but can't hit many of the best walls supereffectively then it's not a good wallbreaker, or a wall that doesn't wall the top threats isn't an effective wall. So even if a type combo and an ability work well together in a vacuum, but that doesn't translate well into the current meta, then that would be the typing letting the ability down. I also agree that we should do the ability stage first.
 

Gross Sweep

Almost Halfway There
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RMT Leader
#16
Must the ability have moves it directly impacts, or is it sufficient to have moves that support the role that the ability suggests?

I'm going to say no, you do not need a direct effect. I know everyone has been leaving this one fairly open, but I just think if you look at it in a more technical manner you'll be boxing yourself in to much. Take an ability like Magic Guard, most of its best abusers use it to do other things. Something like Clefable using it to avoid status and hazards to help serve as a Wish passer or a win con late game spamming Calm Mind. No matter how you slice it Clefable does not directly use its ability with correlation to one of its moves, but it absolutely relies on its ability to be successful. Regenerator is something that falls into this category as well. People throw out U-Turn and Volt Switch as moves that pair with Regen amazingly well as a way to take advantage of the ability, but I disagree based on what we've seen from metas in the past. First off most of your Regen mons are fat like: Amoonguss, Tangrowth, Alomomola, and Toxapex with no access to these moves. The biggest exception to this list that people love to talk about is Tornadus-T with access to U-turn, but that's honestly not the biggest boon to regen on Torn. Torn loves Regen as it helps it avoid being worn down by rocks throughout the game more than anything. In fact there are a decent amount of Torn sets that just drop U-Turn as it's the least needed move. It really boils down to a pivot that can keep itself healthy, not remotely a pivot that uses U-turn + Regen or something convuluted like that. I'm diving a bit deep into Regen, but I feel like my point that moves and abilities that directly connect doesn't need to be our focus to still have an ability that greatly aids a pokemon is reflected well enough. There are several more examples that fit into this like set up mons abusing an ability that adds bulk in some way, Gyarados using Intimidate and Dragonite using Multi Scale, none of these mons have a direct move to ability connection but the ability is greatly involved in this mons success. Another example being immunity examples like a M-Latios with levitate, Flash Fire on Heatran, or Dry Skin on Mollux. None of these pokemon directly use their ability in conjunction with a specific move, but they wouldn't be the same Pokemon without them.

I feel if you go and say the ability and moves must have a legitimate direct connection you're pigeon holing yourself into a smaller amount of options that just isn't necessary for this project. Maybe if this was a different scenario my opinion would change, but seeing as this is a celebration CAP where we are creating 3 Pokemon simultaneously that are supposed to be competitive I feel limiting to an extremely direct connection isn't ideal.

How strongly does the Typing of a Pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for?

I really don't see a lot of connection here either, aside from something like an immunity giving ability. Examples being Flash Fire Heatran, Levitate Rotom, and Dry Skin Mollux. At the end of the day you see a lot of abilities being used by multiple mons, with multiple typings. Intimidate for instance is a great ability no matter the typing. If you really think about all of our CAPs how many have a non flavor involved ability that doesn't fit with several other typings. Something like Static on Cyclohm comes to mind, but that has no connection to moves. Compound Eyes on Syclant and Drought on our two grass types are the only things that really came to mind for me connecting typing, ability, and moves. But a lot of our better CAPs have abilities that have no type restriction such as Magic Guard, Intimidate, Guts, and Unaware. I'm not saying we completely look past an ability that needs to be paired with a certain type, just that it shouldn't be a hard guideline going forward. Also as it stands now I believe we are doing typing first, which I believe is a mistake for this CAP, but it would definitely aid to not sticking with anything type specific. People will be voting for a secondary typing solely thinking about the ability they want to pair with it, which could potentially lead to a really poor typing if that ability the voters had in mind initially doesn't get chosen. An example being all the people on discord discussing Water/Steel with Corrosion. People will be drawn to voting looking ahead instead of simply looking at the task at hand possibly compromising the process unless we mitigate this by making the abilities non type specific or change the order for the celebration.

what are some examples of ability-driven Pokemon in the same power level (i.e. non-ability elements) as our expected starter limits? What kinds of internal synergy made them effective? How do they differ from failed Pokemon (too strong or too weak) of a similar power level?

I have to ask why do we need to look past starters. we have 21 examples to go off, shouldn't be hard to see what made some work and others fail (excluding megas for obvious reasons). Greninja, Blaziken, and Venusaur have historically probably been the most dominating starters at their peak. While Meganium, Torterra, and Typhlosion. All of these pokemon fit well within the starter limit as they're starters themselves. The big difference is obviously abilities as Protean/Speed Boost/Chlorophyll in Gen 5 perma sun obviously out does Shell Armor/Leaf Guard/Flash Fire. That being said I think speed is a pretty big factor to a competitive starter as with the power creep a 535 BST limit really hurts a starter being a significant breaker in the tier as an attack/special attack near 125 is fairly low by current standards. Meaning something that is fast with a good combination of offensive options will probably end up working best. Bulky waters have found success with a strong secondary typing, but tend to lack recovery needed to make them elite (Empoleon and Swampert). With all of this I think the picture of picking a niche on one end of the offensive/defensive spectrum starts to become more clear. Either aim the mon towards being an offensive threat with speed and coverage, or go the bulky route (without forgetting recovery) aiming towards typing and utility in things like Rocks, Toxic, Defog, etc... Basically don't get caught up wanting all the stats to be evenly distributed with a mon capable of playing solid offense or defense. Stay in your lane. Water tends to be pretty flexible in this regard of picking which route to follow, Fire tends to have more success offensively with examples like Blaziken and Infernape, and Grass usually just has issues. If I had to make a prediction making a strong water type will be fairly easy, Fire will be alright if we stick with a more offensive route, and Grass will be a tougher one where the people who like pushing more potentially broken aspects should gravitate as that typing will need it to be successful.

I think I'll wrap it up here for now. Just wanted to get my initial thoughts out, and will probs be replying to stuff in the upcoming days. Also it's super late as I finish this so I'm going to post without proof reading, so I'm sorry for any horrific grammar. I'll probably wake up tomorrow and edit most of the mistakes out, my apologies.
 
#17
Must the ability have moves it directly impacts, or is it sufficient to have moves that support the role that the ability suggests?

The first option would limit the concept for no reason: we can fulfil the “coordinated movepool” without having a direct impact of the ability on moves. For example, I think we all agree that blaziken and scolipede fulfil our concept. Those ‘mons have access to a great ability, speed boost, and have the coordinated movepool (sword dance and strong STABs). Speed boost does not directly impact sword dance, as would do simple, but it is designed for a sweeper and you can’t sweep without a setup move or a very high attacking stat. Without sword dance, scoliped and blaziken would be in lower tier, like yanmega. And if yanmega had the coordinated movepool, it would be stronger. I’m not a STABmon player, but I’m pretty sure that tailglow yanmega is not as bad in that tier as yanmega is in OU/CAP.

To conclude my answer, I want to react to what thathyena has said

I think we wouldn’t be fulfilling the concept if we went with a generic ability like Intimidate, Magic Guard, Stamina, Iron Barbs, or most of the other abilities available to our list. To fulfill the concept properly, we need to pick abilities which require coordination between the ability and movepool.
I disagree with you when you say that we can’t fullfil the concept with stamina, for example, and that this ability doesn’t require a coordinated movepool. Mudsdale has a great typing and correct stats. The problem of this ‘mon is that he doesn’t have the coordinate movepool. I mean, his movepool is nice, with sr, eq, rock tomb and rock slide, but he lacks recovery. So to make that ability work, we need to coordinate the movepool, and that is, basicly, the concept.

How strongly does the typing of a pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for?

I won’t really answer the question, because much have already been said, but I want to say that, like many people, I belive that we need to do the typing stage after the ability stage because those CAP are focused on their abilities, so it impossible to choose the perfect typing without knowing the ability.

What are some example of ability-driven pokemon in the same power level (i.e. non-ability elements) as our expected starter limits? What kinds of internal synergy made them effective? How do they differ from failed pokemon (too strong or too weak)?

For the failed pokemons, I already talked about yanmega and mudsdale in first question. I can also add aerodactyl, which has good stats, good offensive typing, good coverage and rock head, but lacks recoil STAB moves, such as head smash and brave bird.

ON the side of the pokemon that succeded, I want to talk about manaphy. Hydration is not a great ability, but paired with the movepool of manaphy (tail glow + rain dance + rest + surf/ice beam) and the 7G Z-moves it become very strong. So coordinated movepool can make an bad ability become good. Pidgot-M is also worth mentioning, even if he is UU, because of the combination of no guard+hurricane, which is a good example of coordinated movepool and ability.
 
#18
I think it is important to remember that this is a project about synergy, with ability being the cornerstone.

Must the ability have moves it directly impacts, or is it sufficient to have moves that support the role that the ability suggests?

I'm the type who likes to stick as close to the concept as possible, making me want to suggest the former. However, it is not strictly speaking necessary, and doe limit us a lot for three starters. I don't think the former forces us to go the offensive route, but it does make that the easiest option. So, I think my answer is that the former is preferable, and should be the case for at least one mon, but not necessary for all three.

How strongly does the Typing of a Pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for?

I agree that the process would be a lot soother and more focused by doing ability before typing. Otherwise, we'd basically be forced to give our mon types that leave us as many options as possible without true synergy.

If we don't change the order, we'd basically have to avoid typings that provide immunities. Eg. We can't have a Poison or Steel mon as that means no Poison Heal, Toxic Boost or Immunity. We can't have a Flying type as that means no Levitate (we are not making Rotom-Fan) . We can't have Electric as that means no Limber (we are not making Stunfisk). We can't have a Ground type as that means no Lightning Rod, Volt Absorb or Motor Drive (We ae not making Kantonese-Marrowak or Rhyperior). etc.

Otherwise, there is less interaction, but we want to avoid typings with no desire to use moves their abilities will synergise with and would prefer typings that would appreciate those moves. Eg. if we chose Iron Fist, we should give a typing that appreciates Fighting, Electric, Ice and Fire coverage and/or STAB. While we should avoid typings that would use moves that outclass the ones that synergise with the ability.
 
#19
Must the ability have moves it directly impacts, or is it sufficient to have moves that support the role that the ability suggests?


However, having read DetroitlolCat’s and Okamu’s excellent posts (if you haven’t read them, do it now), I think that to hold to the spirit of AAA we should be specifically aiming for abilities which require coordination between movepool and ability. To quote Deck Knight’s original post: I think we wouldn’t be fulfilling the concept if we went with a generic ability like Intimidate, Magic Guard, Stamina, Iron Barbs, or most of the other abilities available to our list. To fulfill the concept properly, we need to pick abilities which require coordination between the ability and movepool.
I mean, the exact words are as you said:
“These Pokemon each maximize the potential of their given, separate abilities by coordinating their movepools and that ability's competitive effect.”
Additional emphasis added by me. The concept does not require us to make sure the ability and moves directly interact, simply that the movepool coordinates to maximize the potential of that ability's competitive effect. Basically I agree with Rifou88; a Pokemon could make better use of Stamina if it had a recovery move or a boosting move to take advantage of its bulk. That an ability ALSO requires a good typing and stat spread doesn't undermine our need and directive to coordinate the movepool and ability for success.

I think it is important to remember that this is a project about synergy, with ability being the cornerstone.

How strongly does the Typing of a Pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for?

I agree that the process would be a lot soother and more focused by doing ability before typing. Otherwise, we'd basically be forced to give our mon types that leave us as many options as possible without true synergy.

If we don't change the order, we'd basically have to avoid typings that provide immunities. Eg. We can't have a Poison or Steel mon as that means no Poison Heal, Toxic Boost or Immunity. We can't have a Flying type as that means no Levitate (we are not making Rotom-Fan) . We can't have Electric as that means no Limber (we are not making Stunfisk). We can't have a Ground type as that means no Lightning Rod, Volt Absorb or Motor Drive (We ae not making Kantonese-Marrowak or Rhyperior). etc.

Otherwise, there is less interaction, but we want to avoid typings with no desire to use moves their abilities will synergise with and would prefer typings that would appreciate those moves. Eg. if we chose Iron Fist, we should give a typing that appreciates Fighting, Electric, Ice and Fire coverage and/or STAB. While we should avoid typings that would use moves that outclass the ones that synergise with the ability.
I get the concern and generally agree, but it's not like doing Ability first makes us immune to these issues. To use your own example - if we decide to give our Water-type Volt Absorb, we've basically de facto taken Ground type out of consideration during the typing discussion, and we've furthermore strongly incentivized a Flying typing while moderately discouraging a Grass, Dragon, or Electric typing. If we choose Levitate, that makes it fairly hard to justify Flying on whatever gets it, and again strongly encourages a secondary type to take extra advantage of that immunity like Rock, Steel, Poison, or Electric. So one could argue we'd also basically have to avoid abilities that grant immunities and even increased resistances (like with Thick Fat), since it will limit our Typing discussion.

Less dramatically as you said, Iron Fist chosen as an ability strongly encourages Fighting as the secondary typing to truly maximize the power and not just provide coverage. It's not a guarantee, as there's also Ice, Electric, and Steel-type punches, but it does somewhat centralize the typing discussion around those types and when deciding which 'mon if any to give Iron Fist too, makes it hard not to poll jump.
 

david0895

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#20
How strongly does the Typing of a Pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for?

On a scale from 1 to 10, I say 8: while a type well coordinated with a good ability can result into a very powerful pokemon, there have been during the last gens, cases of threats that are well known, despite they have an abililty with a poor utility (Celesteela, Zygarde, Hoopa-U, Keldeo, Weavile, etc...)

What are some examples of ability-driven Pokemon in the same power level (i.e. non-ability elements) as our expected starter limits? What kinds of internal synergy made them effective? How do they differ from failed Pokemon (too strong or too weak) of a similar power level?

Obviously the best examples are Greninja and Serperior: their ability combined to a very good speed stat made them strong enough to threat a huge part of the metagame.
Another example is Blaziken, where its ability, combined to its movepool, made it too strong for meta, resulting into its ban
 

Deck Knight

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#21
How strongly does the Typing of a Pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for?

Typing is very important, however critically it is dual typing that informs the full range of potentially viable abilities. To this end, I believe it is crucial to *not* change the process order even though this is an ability-based CAP concept.

As mentioned in good posts above, typing and ability are so synergistic that choosing one will bias the other in many instances. Immunity Abilities will bias typing, as will abilities that depend on, say, contact, recoil, or mitigation of drawbacks. Dual typing gives a much clearer picture of how everything will interact, and crucially it allows a fully informed choice. The issue with selecting abilities first is that coverage gaps matters a great deal more than STAB, and also that abilities can impact a very specific subset of moves that will strongly bias typing choice. While an assessment of which abilities benefit Grass, Water, or Fire typing specifically can be helpful, it ignores the 14 other types that have different interactions with abilities.

Just to be thorough about it, here is a broad rundown of FWG and the types of moves they have that our abilities may directly or indirectly synergize with:
Grass:
Contact Physical and Special Moves
Non-Contact Physical and Special Moves
Physical, Special, and Status Draining/Recovery Moves
High Critical Move
Multi-Hit Move
Recoil Move
Self-Stat Down Move
Target Stat-Down on impact move (Trop Kick Atk lower)
Target type-addition move
Multiple Permanent Status Moves
Technician-Eligible Secondary Effect Moves

Fire:
Contact Physical Moves
Non-Contact Special Moves
High Critical Move
Recoil Move
Stat-Up on impact moves
Self-Stat Down Move
Target Stat-Down on impact move (Fire Lash Def lower)
Retaliatory anti-Physical Move
Many Secondary Effect Moves that inflict Burn
Burn Status Infliction Status Move
Technician-Eligible Secondary Effect Moves

Water:
Contact Physical Moves
Non-Contact Special Moves
Priority Move
High Critical Move
Target type-change move
Many Secondary Effect moves that inflict Permanent or Temporary Status (Burn, Stat downs, flinch, etc.)


As you can see, Fire and Grass have more overlap and Water is pretty different - much smaller pool of moves with more individual effect diversity. If we only select abilities based on those characteristics though, we miss choosing a range of abilities that would account for whatever strengths or additions another type brings to them. Fighting for example shares a ton of overlap with Fire, but if we select abilities first the overall slate of potential types to combine it with shrinks.

And that is what is really key: It is easy to identify a broad array of advantages and disadvantages for each type and vote on the secondary STAB in the type stage. Most abilities are relevant to both STAB and Coverage, but strongly bias whatever specific category of moves or playstyle they impact.

In summary, doing Ability first drastically reduces the viable slate of secondary typings to select. Doing Secondary Typing first may restrict potential abilities, but our Abilities will select from this broad pool of these identifiable overlaps instead of a narrow pool of an ability's specific boost to these subcategories.

Therefore retaining our usual process order is less detrimental to the overall process than changing process order.
 
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#22
How strongly does the Typing of a Pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for?

Typing is very important, however critically it is dual typing that informs the full range of potentially viable abilities. To this end, I believe it is crucial to *not* change the process order even though this is an ability-based CAP concept.

As mentioned in good posts above, typing and ability are so synergistic that choosing one will bias the other in many instances. Immunity Abilities will bias typing, as will abilities that depend on, say, contact, recoil, or mitigation of drawbacks. Dual typing gives a much clearer picture of how everything will interact, and crucially it allows a fully informed choice. The issue with selecting abilities first is that coverage gaps matters a great deal more than STAB. While an assessment of which abilities benefit Grass, Water, or Fire typing specifically can be helpful, it ignores the 14 other types that have different interactions with abilities.

Just to be thorough about it, here is a broad rundown of FWG and the types of moves they have that our abilities may directly or indirectly synergize with:
Grass:
Contact Physical and Special Moves
Non-Contact Physical and Special Moves
Physical, Special, and Status Draining/Recovery Moves
High Critical Move
Multi-Hit Move
Recoil Move
Self-Stat Down Move
Target Stat-Down on impact move (Trop Kick Atk lower)
Target type-addition move
Multiple Permanent Status Moves
Technician-Eligible Secondary Effect Moves

Fire:
Contact Physical Moves
Non-Contact Special Moves
High Critical Move
Recoil Move
Stat-Up on impact moves
Self-Stat Down Move
Target Stat-Down on impact move (Fire Lash Def lower)
Retaliatory anti-Physical Move
Many Secondary Effect Moves that inflict Burn
Burn Status Infliction Status Move
Technician-Eligible Secondary Effect Moves

Water:
Contact Physical Moves
Non-Contact Special Moves
Priority Move
High Critical Move
Target type-change move
Many Secondary Effect moves that inflict Permanent or Temporary Status (Burn, Stat downs, flinch, etc.)


As you can see, Fire and Grass have more overlap and Water is pretty different - much smaller pool of moves with more individual effect diversity. If we only select abilities based on those characteristics though, we miss choosing a range of abilities that would account for whatever strengths or additions another type brings to them. Fighting for example shares a ton of overlap with Fire, but if we select abilities first the overall slate of potential types to combine it with shrinks.

And that is what is really key: It is easy to identify a broad array of advantages and disadvantages for each type and vote on the secondary STAB in the type stage. Most abilities are relevant to both STAB and Coverage. In summary, doing Ability first drastically reduces the viable slate of secondary typings to select. Doing Secondary Typing First may restrict potential abilities, but our Abilities will select from this broad pool of these identifiable overlaps instead of a narrow pool of an ability's specific boost to these subcategories.

Therefore retaining our usual process order is less detrimental to the overall process than changing process order.
Doing either ability or typing first will inherently restrict the other, but since the concept is all about fully actualizing a given ability, wouldn't it make sense to do the ability first? And if we do typing first, what would the discussion be about, really? We wouldn't have any goal to work towards yet.
 
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reachzero

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#23
The discussion so far has been very good! I'll weigh in on the questions as well, and comment on what some others have said along the way.

Must the ability have moves it directly impacts, or is it sufficient to have moves that support the role that the ability suggests?

I feel that both the spirit and the letter of the concept demand that there be a certain recognizable degree of connection between the ability and the movepool--while I completely agree with DetroitLolCat and Gross Sweep that a Pokemon can absolutely be viable with an ability that is not specifically coordinated with the movepool, this concept calls for such a connection explicitly, and if the connection is too tenuous it will be difficult indeed to judge whether we have accomplished our goals or not. This does not mean that the connection needs to be as direct as Serene Grace/Air Slash, but it does mean that the connection should be intuitive and clear to an outside observer, and something more involved than "Huge Power boosts physical attacks and it has physical attacks." I do not think, in other words, that every ability that is strong is an ability that is suitable for this concept.

How strongly does the Typing of a Pokemon dictate which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for?
I believe that we are in a bit of a bind in terms of the process--the typing of a Pokemon has a lot of say about which abilities it can viably coordinate its movepool for, simply because STAB is a big deal and not every typing has moves that coordinate equally well with any given ability. Jirachi could use Serene Grace very effectively as a Steel/Psychic, but its ability would have been far less effective if it had been a Ground type. This does not mean that any given typing will not give us a range of abilities to draw from, it will. It simply means that often if you want a given ability to attain its maximum effectiveness, you need to coordinate the type carefully, since STAB is a such a significant factor.

On the other hand, choosing an ability first does constrain typing as well--this is particularly true of abilities that have direct effects, such as -ate abilities--it is almost impossible to imagine getting an -ate ability in the Ability Stage without there being immense pressure to take that typing as the secondary typing in the Typing Stage. Could it simply provide coverage? Yes. But the probabilities involved would be extremely skewed.

The combination of these two factors means that no matter which stage we do first, the other is likely to be affected; either way there is likely to be some unspoken poll jumping. I feel, however, that knowing our primary typing at least gives us a lot more direction for deciding ability than it does for deciding our secondary typing. I worry that if we do the Typing Stage first, there will be little direction to follow other than stealth poll jumping to get the secondary type that best suits the individual's favorite ability.
 

Gross Sweep

Almost Halfway There
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#24
I'd like to give my full opinion on which stage to do first is the best option as we advance in the process, and this becomes a hotter debate. I mentioned it a little bit in my earlier post, but I feel that if you do typing first people will be looking ahead to their choice ability, which could then ruin the cap when it comes to the finished product. I will say ruined is a bit of an over-exaggeration, but the fact it may make the mon lean towards mediocrity can't be argued. At the same time though picking an ability first could restrain, or even write the typing for itself. The only reason that option becomes allowable is due to the framework stressing our ability over anything else.

Earlier on I mentioned doing the typing first would be a mistake, and while I still have some lingering feelings of this I have started to come around a bit. I personally feel we could plausibly choose our typing first if we respect the role that typing suggests going forward. What I mean by this is if you go with something like Fire / Fairy for example you have to respect the offensive nature this typing suggest. Meaning we as a community have to discourage suggestions of more defensive abilities in the next phase (or at least make sure they have tremendous reasoning behind them). I understand that sounds rough, but in a situation like this where we have a 535 BST limit the typing/role must go hand in hand along with the ability. I know that might come across as something incredibly obvious, I just want to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Basically saying typing works going first if we use a solid typing that lends itself towards a more offensive/bulky role that does not put us in to small of a box ability wise. I feel a lot of this should be obvious for making a successful starter, but if history proves anything making a super competent starter is no easy task. Just look at the 21 starters Game Freak has given us, and how there are a lot more examples of mediocrity at the highest level than stories of triumph. This post ended up emphasizing how we need one clear picture for the mon from the jump than anything else, but that's ok I guess. We just need a niche for the mon early on, and can't get caught up having to many contradictory aspects of the mon as we go along, no matter what aspects are chosen first since a starter that's more balanced offensively and defensively will likely be nothing special if history has taught us anything. (obvious slight exception to megas, but they don't really count for what we're currently doing and don't have any real place in this discussion).
 
#25
As this is an ability centered concept, I feel that establishing an ability to buil around should be done as early as possible to provide direction. Otherwise, we'll be forced to make choices that are generic instead of synergistic. Restricting typing choice is not too bad as the typing is supporting the central ability. Restricting the ability is more damaging as it is the central focus.

In addition, our primary typings already gibe us something to work with. Water Viel, and to a lessor extent, Guts, are not attractive on a fire type. O vercoat is less useful on a grass type. Serene Grace is dangerous with ice moves like water starters tend to get, but is attractive whencombined with fire moves.
As suvh, I feel that an order change would be the less damaging option. Remember that this is a project about synergy with ability as the centrepiece and not typing.
 
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