CAP 26 - Part 3 - Threats Discussion

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In this stage, we will try to analyze which Pokemon sets could threaten or be threatened by us. Based on our typing and concept we will also decide which specific threats we should focus on later stages, and which ones should be mostly left alone. Then, the Topic Leader will organize them into a list, following this basic format:
  • Switch in: The list of Pokemon on which we should be able to have a easy time switching in and then forcing them out, more than once in a game. This doesn't mean that we should be able to come into any of their moves, just their most commonly used ones.
  • Pressure: The list of Pokemon that might threaten us, but should not be able to switch in easily. They should not be able to check us easily.
  • Checks and Counters: The list of Pokemon should, in some way, threaten us. This might mean that they will probably be able to beat us 1v1, or at least severely cripple us. Certain Pokemon, in particular Revenge Killers might be included both in here and in Pressure, because once they switch in, they should be able to check us.
This threatlist should serve as a guideline for the rest of the project. However, this is not set in stone, and might change later if the Topic Leadership Team deems it necessary.

The following is a set of questions that we should try to answer during this discussion:
  • Going specifically by typing, what Pokemon found in the CAP metagame will be able to comfortably give this project trouble?
  • What Pokemon will be major threats to this project right off the bat?
  • What Pokemon have the potential to become counters?
  • What Pokemon may end up as threats, but must be contained or dealt with per the concept?
  • Will the concept succeed with this list of threats?
  • Is this list of threats acceptable for the project?
  • What Pokemon will be threatened by the CAP based off of typing?
  • Are these Pokemon targets that we want CAP to hit?
  • Will these targets be "unavoidable" to threaten based solely on the typing?
  • What direction must the project go in now that a set list of basic threats has been identified?
  • What must be done in order to make these threats "wanted counters" or these threats be eliminated from counter discussion?
  • Are there any Pokemon that we want to completely counter?
No individual post has to answer every question.

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.​
3) Refer to Pokemon by specific sets. This way we can clearly identify which specific sets we should be focusing on, and what specific characteristics makes us threaten or threatened by them. Adding complete movesets, EV spreads and Natures is recommended, but not mandatory.​
4) Assume that Stealth Rock in on both sides of the field, unless otherwise specified. This can be changed by the Topic Leader during the discussion.​
4) This are the exact definitions of check and counter that we will be working with:​
-Pokémon A checks a Pokémon B set if, when Pokémon A is given a free switch into that Pokémon B set, Pokémon A can win every time, even under the worst case scenario, without factoring in hax.​
-Pokémon A counters a Pokémon B set if Pokémon A can manually switch into that Pokémon B set, and still win every time, even under the worst case scenario, without factoring in hax.​

CAP 26 so far:


Name - The Future is Bright!

Description - A Pokemon that makes usage of the 'delayed-attack' moves - Future Sight and/or Doom Desire

Justification - Given we're attempting to create a Pokemon that uses one of two specific moves, this is an Actualisation concept. Future Sight and Doom Desire are incredibly unique moves, which see limited usage in spite of their high base power, and ability to have a target Pokemon struck twice in the same turn. In using CAP26, the aim is to create a Pokemon that inspires a feeling of being able to trap opponents, to establish win-win situations.

Questions To Be Answered -
  • One Pokemon which has been seen to fairly reliably use Future Sight is Slowking. What can we learn from Slowking about what makes a viable user of Future Sight? On the same token, what has led Jirachi to not be effective at using Doom Desire, and other Pokemon to not effectively use Future Sight?
  • What is the optimum usage of Future Sight/Doom Desire, both on the turn immediately after using the move, and the turn on which the move will land?
  • Should the user of Future Sight/Doom Desire be primarily helping itself, or other teammates. If helping itself, what is the aim? If helping teammates, then what types of teammate?
  • Are Z-Future Sight and Z-Doom Desire mandatory, or just useful tools?
Explantion - Doom Desire is almost one we've done before, as people from the era of Cawmodore probably remember. Whilst little has changed since then, we have seen Future Sight get another power level increase since then.

This isn't a case of using a move which we know can't be used - we can look to Slowking (Future Sight) or Dialga (Balanced Hackmons, Doom Desire) for inspiration on what makes these moves workable. At the same time, we know that they're not automatic locks in spite of their high base power, allowing us room to explore what makes these moves often fall flat.

The beauty of Future Sight and Doom Desire as concept leads is that they don't massively restrict our ability to choose a direction right from the gate - focussing on these moves for their ability to strike twice in a single turn likely produces a Pokemon that is very different from focussing on these moves for their ability to force specific Pokemon out for a teammate to switch in. Whether we create a Pokemon that breaks walls, or pivots around, or supports a very specific partner, or something else entirely, these moves make for a concept that should be both interesting to implement, and with many avenues to explore.
Topic Leader: SHSP

Topic Leadership Team:

Typing Leader: GMars
Ability Leader: Jordy
Stats Leader: Jho
Movepool Leader: G-Luke

Typing: Steel/Ground
Another piece of the Doom Desire puzzle is in place: we're working with Steel/Ground as a typing. Before we jump into the discussion, I want to highlight the three categories and their influence on our concept:

Switch In: We're going to be able to come in on these and use the matchup advantage one on one to force them out and set up a Doom Desire. Simple enough, but we should aim to have this list well thought out to understand that phase of Doom Desire-ing well.

Pressure: This is an interesting category as it's focused much more on offensive mons like revenge killers, or mons we don't have a very favorable defensive matchup against. What we should aim for in this category is a good balance in the size of the list: we want it to be big enough where we can be pressured offensively, but not too big where we rarely get pressured at all.

Checks and Counters: This is my pick for the most important of the three, because this is ideally what we're forcing in as we Doom Desire. As noted in the past stages, these (specifically the Counters) are going to be much more passive and defensive mons, and are also going to be what we're forcing into "checkmate" scenarios.

With that in mind, let's start off by detailing our Switch In category.
Switch in

Mega Crucibelle
-With the recent loss of low kick, CAP 26 should be able to switch in to mega Crucibelle fairly easily, resisting both of its STABS, only being wary of the niche wood hammer. Cruci cant do much while its in and is pretty much forced to eitehr set up rocks or U-turn out.

Clefable-Most Clefable sets run mono-fairy coverage (wish pass, cleric and calm mind to say a few), and are thus unable to reliably threaten CAP 26, most likely forced out except after a few calm mind boosts. CAP 26 should watch out of flamethrower which could threaten it.

Non-FB Magearna-While Focus Blast is a common coverage move on Mage, sets not running it such as CM+pain split and Double dance Boltbeam could be forced out.

Defensive/Support Tomohawk-Non-offensive Tomo rarely carries its fighting stab, rarely able to run it. CAP26 should be able to switch in on typing alone and force Tomo out through its weaker s-def. CAP 26 shouldnt come in on offensive sets however, as focus blast is common.
CAP 26 and Switch-ins: This is the most important part of our entire process, really - if we can’t switch into certain ‘mons repeatedly and force them out (thus buying time to set up Doom Desire), we don’t have a successful concept. We want to play things out in three phases:
  1. We switch into something that Steel resists well, and scares out that ‘mon.
  2. We use the free switch to set up Doom Desire; our opponent switches into something that resists Doom Desire and FC to be safe.
  3. We switch into something that beats the DD-resister, and set up a checkmate situation as anything that stops our answer to the DD-resister dies to DD.
As some corollaries in this game of 4D Chess, we are also hoping that…
  1. If the “DD-resister” is primarily offensive (Heatran, Greninja, Volcarona, Volkraken, etc) we can handle it ourself with some combination of Earth Power, coverage, and stats.
  2. We also will fulfill our role as a pivot if we switch out into an ally as a mutual switch, but will not fill the role of actualizing Doom Desire. This is preferable to failing, but not a pure win.
It makes sense that we’re starting with Step One. Analyzing it, our defensive typing is great on paper, but coverage spells, well, Doom. That’s by design; we chose to have a typing that is really good at “Corollary A - Threaten Offensive Switch-ins”, and we’re going to pay for it in other steps.

On paper, CAP should be comfortably switching into, and scaring out, the following ‘mons that are A-ranked or better. I am calculating this purely by our ability to resist all STABs of these mons.
  • Mega-Crucibelle
  • Aurumoth
  • Magearna
  • Mega-Alakazam
  • Mega-Latios
  • Mega-Mawile
  • Tapu Lele
  • Mega-Diancie
  • Magnezone
  • Mega-Pinsir
  • Syclant
  • Tapu Koko
  • Zapdos
So, that’s 13/40 of the top ‘mons in the meta, which again sounds like a fine useful Pivot on Paper. The problem is when we look at sets. I will color code these as great switch-ins versus bad-switchins versus shaky-switchins.

  • Mega-Crucibelle: We’re golden here, as we resist everything she throws at us and we definitely scare her away with Earth Power.
  • Aurumoth: Aurumoth very commonly carries powerful boosting moves and Focus Blast. While we can come into its Psychic and Bug Buzzs and Thunder coverage, we won’t be happy staying in against Focus Blast. It also resists Earth Power and is neutral to Doom Desire, so it’ll be happy to set up in our face and become unanswerable.
  • Magearna: We have a Good Time versus CM + Pain Split Magearna, as that set typically can’t afford to run moves other than its STABs. AV Magearna and SG Magearna almost always run Focus Blast or HP: Fire, however, and while she is weak to EP she’s only neutral to DD. We’d need to work on our stats to feel good about beating her reliably.
  • Mega-Alakzam: With a monstrous SpA stat, boosting, and Focus Blast we are in real danger of getting blown up by Mega-Alakazam and can’t reliably switch into it. It's going to be really hard based on my initial dummy calcs to ever make a CAP bulky enough to feel good about this, so we'll need to get creative.
  • Mega-Latios: Almost always carries Earthquake and laughs at our Earth Power.
  • Mega-Mawile: Another good one, as it has poor special bulk and an EP weakness. It also carries nothing that really threatens us although it’d be nice to consider making 26 not care about getting smacked around with Knock-Off.
  • Tapu Lele: It won’t take ridiculous bulk to soak STABs, but Z-crystal Lele runs Focus Blast. It’s going to take a lot of bulk or recovery to soak FBs, but we need to have a plan for that if we want to have a good game against anything other than Specs Lele.
  • Mega-Diancie: Is a problem. It’s a problem because as a 4x Steel-weak mon that is not very effective with its STABs, it SHOULD be a perfect switch-in. Sadly it usually runs Earth Power and has a tremendous SpA stat that rips huge bloody chunks out of us. Mega-Diancie pushes us to utilize Flash Cannon, which we may not want, as it won’t be immediately threatened by Doom Desire. I personally think we should have Diancie as a switch-in but we’ll need to work on it.
  • Magnezone: A great switch-in for us; we resist its STABs and HP Fire doesn’t hurt us too bad if we have even moderate bulk unless it’s Specs Zone (and we should be able to scout/trap for that). A 4x weakness to Earth Power should have ol’ Mags running for the hills.
  • Mega-Pinsir: Not great; while M-Pinsir is frail enough to need to be afraid of Doom Desire, it almost always carries an Earthquake or Close Combat to heavily maim us, which will make us reluctant to switch into it willy-nilly.
  • Syclant: Similar to M-Diancie and M-Pinsir, this is a mon that should be afraid of our Steel STAB but that carries coverage that is extremely threatening to us. Normally Syclant is banded, which means we can in theory wait for it to get locked into an ice move, but it makes it a dangerous thing to switch into blind. It also incentivizes FC, although less so since it is most commonly reliant on a Choice Band.
  • Tapu Koko: Tapu Koko has tons of good sets, but we’re great against all of them as its most common coverage is HP: Ice which is just neutral and it favors its electric STAB to which we’re immune. Many TKs are support, but our Earth Power should scare it from wanting to stay in and set screens or whatever.
  • Zapdos: Sort of our gold standard as a ‘mon to force checkmates, we are immune to its primary STAB but unable to hurt it at all with our own. Heat Wave means we’re not actualyl a great switch-in if it is just mashing Heat Wave...but that might be okay. We’d love for Zapdos to switch into us and feel good about it, but don’t actually need or want to be switching in to it.
To try and summarize a bit:

We reliably switch into the following based on typing and STABs alone:

Crucibelle-M (all sets)

Magnezone (all sets)

Mawile-M (all sets)

Tapu Koko (all sets)

Magearna (CM+Pain Split)

We have shaky ability to switch into the following, but I believe it is crucial for our success to BE a good switch-in to…



Magearna (AV set, Shift Gear set)

Tapu Lele

We have some ability to switch-into Zapdos, but I believe we should ensure Zapdos remains reasonably threatening to us (we should NOT be a great switch-in to it).

I have no strong opinions on our match-ups with M-Pinsir, Syclant, and Aurumoth. We’re shaky switch-in to them now, and if we stay that way it’s fine.

In my next post, I'll try to look at some less-obvious switch-ins (namely electric types like Caribolt and fairy types like Jumbao) unless someone beats me to it.
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Switch In

I believe that CAP 26 should be able to reasonably switch into the following Pokemon: Mega Crucibelle, Tornadus-T, Magearna, and Tapu Koko.

Mega Crucibelle: Although Mega Crucibelle isn't that big in the metagame anymore, I believe that it's a very natural choice for a typing like this to check. Particularly, CAP 26 resists both of Mega Crucibelle's STAB moves, really allowing it to switch into play against it naturally quite easily. This is especially notable because CAP 26 will need a solid amount of opportunities to switch into play.

Tornadus-T: Similarly to Mega Crucibelle, this seems like a very obvious pick based on typing alone, with CAP 26 resisting Hurricane and being able to take advantage of Defog and potentially even Knock Off depending on what item it starts to run. CAP 26 should be wary of All-Out Pummeling sets, though, which are a plausible option to deal with Mega Tyranitar and Heatran in the current metagame.

Magearna: CAP 26 should be able to check Calm Mind + Pain Split variants because it resists Fleur Cannon and Hidden Power Ground most likely won't do much to it, whereas it's completely immune to Thunderbolt. It should be wary of any other Magearna variant, though, because they commonly run Focus Blast and that will be annoying to deal with.

Tapu Koko: Considering that CAP 26 is immune to Tapu Koko's Electric-type STAB moves, it seems like a perfect Pokemon to use for opportunities to switch into play for CAP 26. Tapu Koko has the ability to adapt with U-turn, though, so CAP 26 most likely will not be a full counter.

There are some Pokemon that I disagree with putting down as Switch-ins.

Mega Mawile: Mega Mawile was brought up here and on Discord, and I believe that we should not count Mega Mawile as something that CAP 26 will counter. Why I believe this is rather simple: Mega Mawile has such an insane Attack stat, and when assuming that CAP 26 will run an item that can be removed by Knock Off like Assault Vest for example, CAP 26 just won't be that great of a switch in and will probably find itself quickly overwhelmed. It can also carry Brick Break / Focus Punch on 4 Attacks variants. Because of this, I believe that Mega Mawile would be a better fit for the "Pressure" section.

Mega Alakazam and Tapu Lele: Mega Alakazam and Tapu Lele could reasonably fit into this section because CAP 26 is shaping up to be a Steel-type that'll aim to be a pivot. However, don't forget that CAP 26 is still weak to Focus Blast and All-Out Pummeling and can definitely be overwhelmed by the moves. Because of this, I believe they're better fit for the "Pressure" section.
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Here is a list of some of the most important Pokemon to consider from best switch ins for CAP 26 to worst:

Mega Crucibelle: While not as common as before its nerf, Mega Crucibelle is still a common pivot and SR setter, and CAP 26 should be able to easily switch into it. Not only that, but it doesn't even require much bulk in order to tank any of its common moves barring the rare Wood Hammer, which means that Mega Crucibelle is one of the safest switch ins for CAP 26.

Tapu Koko: Just like with Mega Crucibelle, our typing is particularly well suited to deal with Tapu Koko, not requiring much bulk in order to switch in safely against any of its common sets, therefore Tapu Koko will be a very safe switch in for CAP 26.

Toxapex: Given that its Scald is incredibly weak and we shouldn't care too much for a burn, Toxapex is another easy switch in.

Mega Diancie: Its only move capable of threatening CAP is Earth Power, which when backed by its very high SpA becomes very hard to switch in, although its shouldn't be too hard for CAP 26 to avoid being KOed by it. Given that any of our STABs should also be able to decimate it without too much issue, which means that if we avoid EP on the switch, we should be on an advantageous position, so CAP 26 should be a relatively safe switch in to Mega Diancie.

Tornadus-T: Flyinium Z and Rocky Helmet sets shouldn't pose too much of a threat to CAP outside of Knock Off, so this sets can give us plenty of opportunities to switch in. The rarer Fightinium Z variants are much more menacing, and would require CAP 26 to have impressive special bulk in order to survive (252 SpA Tornadus-Therian All-Out Pummeling (190 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Excadrill [100 HP / 100 SpD]: 368-434 (91 - 107.4%) -- 43.8% chance to OHKO after Leftovers recovery). That being said, if we want CAP 26 to threaten Tornadus-T, coverage or status would be required, as its immune to our Ground moves and we shouldn't rely on our Steel moves too much if we want to use Doom Desire. I think CAP should be able to safely switch in into non Fightinium-Z sets.

Magearna: Despite its Ground weakness, Magearna is still pretty threatening to us, as it often runs Focus Blast and Calm Mind. Even just being able to OHKO it with Earth Power is also quite difficult due to its good SpD, for reference 139 SpA is the minimum required to guarantee a OHKO against uninvested Magearna (252+ SpA Excadrill [139 SpA] Earth Power vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Magearna: 302-356 (100.3 - 118.2%) -- guaranteed OHKO). However, Bulky Pain Split+Calm Mind and Assault Vest sets shouldn't be too scary for us, so we should attempt to check them.

Tapu Lele: This matchup very tricky, as Calm Mind+ Fightinium Z is Tapu Lele's main set, which would require titanic bulk in order for CAP 26 to survive. Not only that, but while we have a super effective STAB to use against it, depending too much on our Steel moves could be very detrimental to our concept, because moves like Flash Cannon or even Iron Head could give us a much better matchup against Tapu Lele if we wanted to use CAP 26 as a check to it. Coverage is also unlikely to be enough to compensate for our lost STAB, as neither Poison nor Ghost are particularly good coverage types. This makes me conclude that CAP shouldn't be able to switch in safely against Fightinium Z sets, because it would require an incredible amount of bulk, and doing so incentives the use of other Steel moves over Doom Desire . Choice Specs are relatively more manageable, as they don't usually run Focus Blast, although we need to significant mixed defenses to be able to comfortably tank both Psychic and Psyshock, and recovery in order to switch in repeatedly through the game. Because Tapu Lele is an very important metagame threat, and CAP 26 is not well suited to face Fightinium Z sets, I think that making it able to switch in against Choice Specs would be ideal (and Scarf too I guess, but nobody cares about that set).

Zapdos: This is an interesting case, because CAP 26 can't really threaten Zapdos, at least with its STABs alone, but Zapdos best options against us are Heat Wave, which we could avoid a 2HKO pretty easily if we want to give CAP 26 some special bulk (0 SpA Zapdos Heat Wave vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Excadrill [100 HP /100 SpD]: 166-196 (41 - 48.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO) and trying to Pressure Stall us, which is a pretty slow method and would consume a lot of Zapdos's own PP. It's also important to note that is risky for Zapdos to use Roost if we are slower, because that leaves it vulnerable to Ground. However, Zapdos is not a particularly important part of the current metagame and I doubt this matchup could make or break CAP 26's viability, so I think that we should ignore Zapdos for this discussion, there are too many variables to consider for a relatively unimportant Pokemon. If we beat it, we beat it, if we lose, we lose.


Master Procraster
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Switch-ins in general is a pretty tricky area for this mon due to the delayed nature of our Steel-STAB. No mon will be threatened by a move coming in 2 turns, so a lot of Switch-in Matchups will most likely rely on our Ground-STAB for threatening out. I keep this in mind during my picks.

Mega-Crucibelle: Seems like consensus right now, but Mega Cruci can no longer touch any Steel-type due to the loss of Low Kick. This includes CAP, as we resist STAB and only ever have to fear the niche Wood Hammer. Otherwise Cruci is forced to U-turn out or risk eating a Ground-STAB. Should be able to switch in reliably against it.

Tornadus-T: Not totally sold on this due to Fightinium Z sets existing, but our typing pretty easily allows us to set up a DD, although we don't do too much else until it lands. Has to scout before hand but otherwise pretty solid.

Fidgit: More iffy due to its Speed and TR setup as well as Earth Power, but I don't think CAP should be frail enough to fall to it and has no other solid way to stop us from dropping a DD, and we can still threaten it with our Ground-STAB.

Magearna: Calm Mind + Pain Split we stop pretty nicely due to typing, although using DD during a Calm Mind boost might be annoying for trying to crack it. We still threaten with Earth Power though. All other sets are more likely pressure since the threat of Focus Blast gives CAP a much harder time setting up DD.

Tapu Koko: We completely stop both STABs and threaten with both of ours, as well as blocking any Volt Switch it may use. We reliably switch in.

Toxapex: We can switch into pretty nicely. Scald is super effective but Pex hits about as hard as my self-esteem on a typical Friday so we have nothing to worry about. We also have immunity to Toxic and don't care for Scald burns, as well as hitting super-effective with Ground-STAB, resulting in an easy setup. Killing them would be difficult however if we aren't strong enough due to bulk + recovery.


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Since my post, Toxapex has been brought up as a Switch In, which I massively disagree with. While I understand the assumption that Scald will not do a significant amount of damage to CAP 26, Toxapex will still be able to pressure CAP 26 with it; Scald burns are simply too much. Burns are extremely significant against Steel-types in general and I'm not ready to assume that CAP 26 won't be crippled by it. Additionally, assuming that we don't get an absurd amount of Special Attack, Toxapex will be able to scout Earth Power and throw off a Scald or even set Toxic Spikes with ease and go almost unpunished thanks to Regenerator. Because of this, I think that Toxapex is a better fit in the Pressure than Switch In section.

Also, in regards to Fidgit, it's definitely not something CAP 26 should consistently switch into, because that's asking for way too much from CAP 26 imo.


Mercy Main Btw
Since there are some Pokemon with the same opinion, I'll jump on the most discussed:

Magearna: Focus Blast can deal heavy damage to Steel types, even with the AV set, so CAP26 shouldn't be able to switch in safely.

Toxapex: I'm unsure about it, because burn is the only status that CAP26 can get. Should it be crippled by burns?

Mega Diancie: due to its high Special Attack, Earth Power can do very high damage, so CAP26 shouldn't be able to switch in safely.

Also I agree with Mx about Zapdos.


Sugar, Spice and One for All
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Pokemon that I think that CAP 26 should be able switch in on comfortably

  • Mega Crucibelle - With us resisting its dual STAB, Mega Crucibelle is forced to set up rocks or pivoting out. We then threaten to OHKO Mega Crucibelle pretty easily with our dual STAB. Outside of the very rare Wood Hammer, this should be a done deal.
  • Tapu Koko - Just like Mega Crucibelle, we take little damage from Tapu Koko's STABs and coverage, and it is forced to pivot out if it doesn't want to be KO'ed.
  • Non Fight-Z Tornadus-T - Without Focus Blast, Tornadus-T might have have trouble dissuading CAP 26 from switching in, depending on what item it holds. Also, assuming we will have very respectable bulk, Hidden Power will be doing mediocre damage. Keep in mind that AoA TornT is on the rise however.
  • Clefable - Outside of Jho and his peculiarities, no Clefable set be threatening to CAP 26 and should provide plentiful opportunities to force out Clef and set DD.
  • Magearna lacking fighting coverage - Plenty of Magearna sets opt to skip out on fighting coverage, and for those that do, CAP 26 should be able to switch in and force them out adequately, thanks to resisting its dual STAB and not taking a great deal of damage from its other popular coverage options.
Pokemon that are currently up in the air

  • Mega Diancie - When based purely on typing, our matchup with Mega Diancie seems set in stone. But realistically, we would find ourselves hard to justify letting CAP 26 be a viable switch in to Mega D, thanks to its high 110 speed, powerful 160 Special Attack and access to super effective coverage in Earth Power. I think it is best to place this Pokémon in a pressure list.
  • Toxapex - Oh Toxapex. With its ridiculous bulk, access to hazards / Scald / Knock Off utility and Regenerator, it might be very hard and frankly unrealistic for us to be a Pex switchin. Pex can cripple us with burn, Knock Off or set a hazard on the switch, stomach a single Earth Power while repeating itself, and then switch out healing itself. Unless we plan on amping up our power, Pex can reasonably only be pressured by us.
  • Lele and the Psychics - While we resist Psychic (and Moonblast in Lele's case), we should not forget that every Psychic type in the metagame carries Fighting coverage, which basically means with proper prediction and a little luck, they have little trouble outright KOing us. CAP 26 would require a massive amount of bulk to avoid this, and that would place unnecessary strain on stats stage.
Also I think we should stop with the Zapdos discussion. With Stealth Rock + it not being a great Pokemon in the meta, we should not be dwelling on it. If it beats us, whatever.
I'm gonna throw my thoughts in and agree that we should not focus on being solid switchins to Diancie and Toxapex. I think G-Luke hits the nail on the head with Diancie- we're not a guaranteed switch in to it unless we beat EP, and doing so would be quite the task. We're a situational switch in if we can eat one, but it doesn't seem smart to focus on it. As for Pex, Jordy's mentioning of Scald burns being super difficult for a steel type to manage makes a lot of sense, as well as Pex's ability to use us as Toxic Spikes fodder.

With our discussion, we seem to agree that Mega Crucibelle, Tapu Koko, Clefable and most Tornadus T should be solid switchins, with certain Magearna sets as shakier ones thanks mostly in part to Focus Blast. I want to swing around to the other side of the spectrum, and start looking at our Checks and Counters.
Counters: When we chose Ground, we chose it wanting to not have a ton of counters, and sure enough there's few things that can come into any of our moves and stay in and feel good about it. I will be using a strict definition of "Counter"; in addition to following the text in the OP I will be saying that I wouldn't consider a 'mon taking 60%+ on the manual switch-into us plus ensuing conflict as "being able to beat us under all circumstances" unless that 'mon has significant recovery. I'll list the ranking of the mon next to it to see how common those counters might be.

Celesteela (A+): By intention and design, we wanted Celesteela to hard counter CAP 26, the better to pave the way for a Checkmate scenario. I think it'd be nice to have enough bulk to stomach a Flamethrower and not be totally crippled, but on paper we are incapable of harming Celesteela and I think we ought to keep it that way.

Arghonaut (A+): We would need an unhealthy amount of SpA to have our STABs threaten to out-damage Argh's Recover, meaning Argh is (again, by design) a natural counter to us as it can come in, tank our STABs, hammer us with Earthquake, set up Spikes, neutralize us (maybe) with Knock-off, and just Recover away the damage.
Chansey (B+): Once again, we have next to no way based on STAB alone to pummel past her considerable defenses and outdamage Softboiled heals. Chansey can't toxic us, so she won't have a great time, but she can wear us down with Seismic Toss or set up Rocks while we flail.

Suicune (B+): It's a bit of a shakier counter depending on our stat spread, but assuming we have good but not nuclear offensive abilities Suicune laughs at our Steel STAB and can soak numerous hits from our Ground STAB. Depending on how we're built, that gives 'Cune the option to either set up with CM to the point we can't break its Subs or just kill us with Scald.

Latias (Mega) (B+): Unlike her brother, Latias has the bulk to not mind eating a Doom Desire and the recovery to heal off DD, FC, or any HP we choose. That lets her set up at her leisure and then kill us with whatever move she's carrying, potentially steamrolling - a bad time, to be sure, for our team.

Rotom-W (B): Rotom-W is a perfect counter to us, with a double Steel resistance and a ground immunity plus Water-typed STAB to mangle us. We also don't love getting burned. We can "Switch-block" it but it punishes us so heavily that it isn't worth it.

That's the easy part, so more interesting to me is to discuss some 'mons one might ASSUME are counters but are not...

Ferrothorn, Landorus-T, Pelipper, Gliscor: These 'mons are reminding me of Smokomodo and the "Schrodinger's Hidden Power" problem. Basically, we can't consider them counters because all four boast an extremely exploitable 4x weakness. That means we can never build CAP 26 to be 100% counter by these 'mons, because if the meta determines it needs to beat them it will be able to (unless we cripple its SpA to an absurd degree). Lando and Gliscor further wouldn't feel great about trying to come in and have a DD hanging over their head. Landorus-T is still a strong Check to us, and Pelipper can be a check to us depending on our stats. Ferrothorn pressures us with Leech Seed + Power Whip. Gliscor is just straight up not a great answer to us.

Latios (Mega), Tangrowth (any set), AV Slowking, AV Tyranitar, Sableye (M): While these 'mons probably all beat us one-on-one, they take SO much damage doing so (especially with a DD hanging over their head) that any prior damage can give them difficulty countering us and even at full health we'd be able to render them functionally out of the fight. In particular, we are unlikely to be slower than Slowking or Sableye meaning they'll take a huge chunk to Earth Power. They are more Checks than Counters.

EDIT: Cleaned up some typos and metagame faulty assumptions; thanks Jordy and the folks in Discord! Turns out Cawmodore is EXTREMELY poor against us and Rotom-W is only B in viability now but is an extremely relevant counter.
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Sugar, Spice and One for All
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I'll be using Heatran as a dummy spread for CAP 26, since based on discussion in Discord it was generally preferred to hit a similar level of bulk and power. Keep in mind that these calculations are not definitive, as CAP 26 can and might have more or less bulk and or power than Heatran.

Checks to CAP 26
  • Assault Vest Tyranitar - The raw bulk of Assault Vest Tyranitar is ridiculous, thanks to both Sand and Assault Vest bolstering its bulk. Thanks to this, CAP 26 will struggle to beat it if its is running more defensive pivoting sets, as even Doom Desire + Earth Power fails to 2HKO, while Tyranitar can threaten to 2HKO with Earthquake. And that is assuming that CAP 26 will even outspeed Tyranitar
    252+ SpA Heatran Earth Power vs. 224 HP / 252+ SpD Assault Vest Tyranitar in Sand: 104-126 (26.1 - 31.7%) -- 37.5% chance to 3HKO after Stealth Rock. 252+ SpA Heatran Doom Desire vs. 224 HP / 252+ SpD Assault Vest Tyranitar in Sand: 162-192 (40.8 - 48.3%) -- 64.8% chance to 2HKO after Stealth Rock 32 Atk Tyranitar Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Heatran: 180-214 (46.6 - 55.4%) -- 41.8% chance to 2HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
  • Mega Latios and Latias - Mega Lati twins are able to switch in on our Ground STAB and either threaten us out with Earthquake (in Mega Latios's case) or procede to stall us out / use as set up bait (in Mega Latias's case). Mega Latios fears Doom Desire however, as it risks taking massive amounts of damage from the attack.
  • Ferrothorn - Ferrothorn takes minimal damage from Earth Power and Doom Desire, and can proceed to set Spikes or gain chip with Power Whip / Leech Seed, or remove its item with Knock Off. However the fact that Ferrothorn can easily be worn down throughout a match from repeated Earth Power hits, and fears the threat of a surprise Hidden Power Fire, it resides here amongst the checks.

Counters to CAP 26

  • Celesteela - It cannot be stressed at how much Celesteela counters us. With its most common set resisting Doom Desire and being immune to Earth Power, we cannot touch Celesteela, while it can in return do good damage with Flamethrower or Earthquake, or annoy switch ins with Leech Seed. It was intended for Celes to be able to counter such a typing in order to create ideal "checkmate" scenarios.
  • Rotom-W - CAP's second favoirite hazard remover gains another niche as a Hard Counter to CAP, thanks to a x4 resist to Doom Desire and an immunity to Earth Power. CAP 26 also hates getting burned and does not appreciate a Hydro Pump.
  • Chansey - It goes without saying that Chansey, being the immortal special wall it is, cannot be realistically be beaten by CAP 26 with STABs alone, and should remain as such. Chansey can then procede to cripple a switch in with Toxic or Thunder Wave, can set up Rocks and can even beat CAP 26 with Seismic Toss if it needs to.
  • Arghonaut - 252+ SpA Choice Specs Heatran Earth Power vs. 252 HP / 132+ SpD Arghonaut: 195-229 (47.1 - 55.3%) -- 16.4% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery. We won't be 2HKOing Arghonaut anytime soon. In return, Arghonaut will be able to set up Spikes, 2HKO us with Earthquake, remove our items and just about anything one thinks Arghonaut can do, it will be able to do it against CAP 26.
I think we need to talk about Heatran and how we envision CAP 26 playing against Heatran. The idea and point of our Ground typing was, I thought, to be able to answer offensive DD check-ins (like 'Tran). And for sure, 'Tran can't just be switching into us willy-nilly. I ran some calcs using Heatran as a stand-in for CAP 26, as G-Luke did, and even with no investment neutral nature and a smidgen less SpA than 'Tran we are OHKOing with Rocks support. In reality, we likely disintegrate any 'Tran that tries to switch into us, assuming we click Earth Power as our prediction.

The question is if we feel that's enough. Why? Because in those same calcs, any offensive 'Tran (so both Firium-Z and Steelium-Z sets) can easily deal massive damage to CAP 26 with SE Fire STAB:

252+ SpA Flash Fire Heatran Magma Storm vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD CAP 26: 372-440 (96.3 - 113.9%) -- 93.8% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock and trapping damage
252+ SpA Flash Fire Heatran Lava Plume vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD CAP 26: 300-354 (77.7 - 91.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

This is with a likely unreasonable max tank spread for CAP 26, and we're still getting nuked. Now, Heatran isn't a fast 'mon, but most offensive sets run maximum Speed investment. That means Heatran is a hard check to CAP 26 unless we A) Outspeed it or B) dedicate item or ability slots to answering 'Tran or C) have significantly more bulk than 'Tran.

For most 'mons, they just are naturally going to be a predator to CAP 26 and there's not a lot we can do about that (at least, not in a way that is healthy for the metagame). But with Heatran, we have the ability to choose if Heatran is a Check to us or is just something that we don't want to switch into and that pressures us. For my part, I think it is a serious danger to CAP 26's viability if Heatran is a check to it. We've already established that CAP 26 is countered by Arghonaut, Rotom-W, and Celesteela, three prominent 'mons in the metagame. We've also established that CAP 26 is going to be an unreliable to poor switch-in to the likes of Tapu Lele, Magearna, and Alakazam-M (i.e. three prominent 'mons that one would like a Steel type to answer when buildign a team) due to their access to Focus Blast. If CAP is also checked by Heatran, I worry we're going to have a 'mon be that is straight-up unviable since now we have a Steel-type that can't switch into prominent psychics and fairys and a Ground type that can't handle the deadliest 4x-ground weak 'mon in the meta.

But I am more of an architect than a player, so I am curious what everyone else thinks.

EDIT: Okay, I'm not going to delete all that but for some reason the calculator automatically activates a Flash Fire buff on Heatran. So let's try those calcs again, eh?

Versus Max SpD Tank:
252+ SpA Heatran Magma Storm vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD CAP 26: 248-294 (64.2 - 76.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock and trapping damage
252+ SpA Heatran Lava Plume vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Heatran: 200-236 (51.8 - 61.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

Versus "Bulky but no SpD investment":
252+ SpA Heatran Magma Storm vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Heatran: 342-404 (88.6 - 104.6%) -- 50% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock and trapping damage
252+ SpA Heatran Lava Plume vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD CAP 26 : 272-324 (70.4 - 83.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

So in reality, this means that Magma Storm Heatran checks us, and Steelium-Z and SpD Heatran get wrecked by us (although Steelium-Z builds can leave a big dent or kill us with some prior damage). That is more livable, but I stand by my comments.
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Master Procraster
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I think our typing makes it difficult for Heatran to outright check us, mostly due to our implied access to Earth Power, however it is still an annoying matchup due to Fire-type STAB being holy effective against us and Magma preventing us pivoting out if we get caught. I think it is most likely a pressure matchup, but could slide its way to being a soft check at worst.

Chansey: Very obvious pick, but Chansey eats literally any special attack thrown its way, and can set up hazards or Seismic Toss us. Setting up a DD isn't a terrible idea due to Chansey's relative passivity, but a switch has to be forced on the turn it comes down otherwise:
252+ SpA Choice Specs Magnezone Doom Desire vs. 248 HP / 8 SpD Eviolite Chansey: 238-282 (33.8 - 40.1%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
This is a STAB 130 Base Stat 140 BP Doom Desire with a Modest Nature and Choice Specs, sweet lord.

Celesteela: Very bulky and resists/is immune to both our STAB options while it can proceed to destroy us with its respective coverage options. Unless we get strong coverage to beat it, which I deem fairly unlikely, it is almost impossible for us to face Celesteela safely.

Rotom-Wash: Similar to above in the regard of resisting/immune STABs and destroying us with its move, this time Hydro Pump. Hard to CAP to fight in any sense.

Arghonaut: Resists Doom Desire and can do dozens off different things in the meantime against us, including setting spikes, knocking off items, and possibly phazing if it decides to carry Circle Throw. While it doesn't resist Earth Power like the above two it is very bulk and has the added benefit of Recover, guaranteeing a long-term stall against us.


Landorus-T: Immune to Earth Power and can threaten us out with an Earthquake. Only a check due not being able to take a Doom Desire and the possibility of Hidden Power coverage, but it is absolutely not great for CAP.

Ferrothorn: Can be worn down eventually and Hidden Power coverage will break through, but Ferrothorn otherwise is bulky enough to tank consistent Earth Powers and is straight up resistant to DD. In response, it can wear us down with Power Whip and remove items with Knock Off, as well as setting up Spikes and Leech Seed.

Volkraken: Much more on the soft check side, since it dies to Earth Power, but it is a check that utterly destroys us if it gets in safe and can actually come safely in on Doom Desire if it needs to.

Ash-Greninja: Frail as paper so can't come in on our attacks, let alone any coverage but kills with Hydro Pump if it gets in.


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Discord Leader

: As has been pointed out, Celesteela completely walls CAP 26's STAB combination and can retaliate with Flamethrower. Because of this, I think it should be listed as a counter.

Arghonaut: Similarly to Celesteela, Arghonaut completely walls CAP 26's STAB combination. It can also take this as an opportunity to set Spikes, which kinda sucks for CAP 26. However, Arghonaut might be a very desirable Pokemon to force checkmate situations with because of its general passivity.

Rotom-W: Completely walls CAP 26's STAB combination like Celesteela.

Zapdos: If we aim to make Pokemon like Celesteela and Rotom-W counters, Zapdos has to be because of their glaring similarities in regards to weaknesses and resistances. I'd be fine with keeping it off the list to maybe enable something like Power Gem, though I believe that it's an extremely unlikely coverage option anyway.

Here's some of my thoughts on other Pokemon that were brought up as counters.

Ferrothorn: Ferrothorn just seems like a bad idea to put in counters because putting it in counters means that we want to encourage it to switch into CAP 26, which is an unrealistic situation. Not because of Hidden Power Fire, but simply because Earth Power does too much unnecessary damage, and health is super important on Ferrothorn to do what it wants to do consistently.
To add a few thoughts to a few of the 'mons that have been mentioned:

Zapdos: While Zapdos is likely to end up being a strong counter or check to us, I'd prefer to keep it off the list. I think we'll be sane enough to see that strong ice coverage is irresponsible on CAP 26 whether Zapdos is on the list or not, but would hate to lose the option to have strong Rock coverage if we determine we would like it to pummel other 'mons (specifically Volcarona and Charizard-Y, both of whom it seems would be pro-concept for us to have strong answers too). I recognize a C&C list is a guideline not a straightjacket but I think it is best to embrace the "if it beats us it beats us, if we beat it we beat it" attitude we had when discussing switch-ins.

Greninja: It probably goes without saying but I did want to note that Ash-Greninja is an absolute check to us (even not transformed as it almost always runs Specs), but Protean Greninja are a bit shakier assuming we aim for Heatran-esque bulk:

252+ SpA CAP Earth Power vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Greninja: 213-252 (74.7 - 88.4%) -- 6.3% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock
252+ SpA CAP Corkscrew Crash (200 BP) vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Greninja: 236-278 (82.8 - 97.5%) -- 62.5% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock

252 SpA Greninja Hydro Pump vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Heatran: 290-344 (75.1 - 89.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock
252 Atk Protean Greninja Low Kick (120 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Heatran: 302-356 (78.2 - 92.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

Greninjas not carrying Water or Fighting coverage (for instance a dual hazard Greninja) are actually not checks at all to us, and even Greninja with those moves are going to be forced to burn their Z-crystals if they want a clean OHKO on us before they die.

I also wanted to do a quick hit on a few more offensive switch-ins from the Frostbiyt list.

Mons who seem like strong, solid checks: These 'mons meet the traditional definition which means if they come in on a "free turn" (i.e. off a mutual switch, off a teammates death, or on a predicted Doom Desire or passive move) they seem likely to beat us 100% of the time.
  • Volkraken (all sets)
  • Kartana (choice band set)
  • Charizard-X
  • Charizard-Y
  • Smokomodo
  • Mega-Swampert (even without rain, but is much safer in the rain)
  • Victini (Choice Band and Choice Scarf sets)

Mons who seem like shaky or questionable checks: These mons are more reliant on RNG (ie. have a worse than 50% chance to OHKO us, or they need to be at 100% health, or something) or they lose to us but still do ridiculous damage meaning they aren't totally useless as they can beat us with prior damage or pave the way.
  • Gyarados (Flynium DD)
  • Kartana (Choice Scarf and Z-move sets)
  • Volcarona (Fire Blast sets are much better off thank Bulky sets)
  • Naviathan (Dragon Dance)
  • Caribolt
  • Excadrill

Mons who are poor to bad checks: These 'mons don't check us; they fail to do more than 60% damage to us before dying in a mutual switch situation.
  • Kitsunoh
  • Krilowat
  • Magnezone
  • Mega-Camerupt
  • Victini (Z-Celebrate sets)
  • Mega-Scizor (can roost off our damage all day, but can't really threaten us meaning we can set up whatever we want and move out)
This discussion has gone quite nicely, if not quietly, but we're about to get to the trickiest part in pressures. Here's what we've got locked down for C&C: For counters, we've got a clear view on Celesteela, Rotom-Wash, Arghonaut, and Chansey. Chansey is the "softest" of them, where if we get utility like Taunt, it pushes us more to a stalemate. I'm in agreement with Jordy that Zapdos follows a logical progression from some of these, but I'm not inclined to put it down in stone. It's something to keep in mind when it comes to movepool, but I don't think it's a necessity to have down.

As for Checks, we agree on the Mega Latis, Ash Gren, Volkraken and the Zards. AV Ttar and Lando-T weren't big points of discussion, but I see them as fitting- if you think otherwise, feel free to challenge this. Ferrothorn seems to fit best as a check, as well- notably from Jordy's post about how it fears chip from EP if we were to slot it in as a counter.

Here comes the hard part: Pressures. What we're threatened by is going to be a huge element in the viability of CAP 26, thanks to needing to hit yet another "Goldilocks zone"- we want to keep the list from being too big, leaving us too threatened to set up a Doom Desire, and from being too small, where we'd rarely be challenged offensively. I think some of the biggest questions for pressures are Heatran and Psychics. Hawk mentioned Heatran earlier, where he feared that if we were checked by Magma Storm Heatran we would significantly struggle. Psychics are probably the most important matchup for a Steel type in our metagame, and how we handle that matchup is going to define us going through this process, not only with concept, but as a Steel type in CAP as a whole. I want us to put importance on these matchups as we look through what we're going to be pressured by.
These two matchups are very different but as our leader notes, are absolutely crucial for the success of CAP 26. We can really summarize these matchups as "How do we do versus powerful Fires that aren't specifically on our C&C list" (with Heatran being the most crucial, as Heatran is an omnipresent 'mon in this meta) and "How do we do versus Psychics and Fairies" (with Tapu Lele and M-Alakazam as particularly important matchups). The key difference here is that we can't reasonably expect to be switching into fire type attacks. This means it is okay for these 'mons to pressure us, as the idea and hope is that they switch into us and we can either punish them with our Ground STAB or set up DD or some other utility and then bail out before having to take a hit. That's actually Pro Concept, in the end. As long as our Ground STAB is threatening enough to them that they'd feel reluctant switching into us and playing the 50-50 of us hitting EP versus something else, we'll be okay. I'll look at some calcs for us versus these 'mons again, because I think it'd be nice if we could live a few attacks against these 'mons and still hit them hard, but ultimately our ability to switch-in or stay in versus these 'mons is a luxury and not a necessity when it comes to our concept.

On the other hand, it is imperative for a Steel-type Pivot to feel comfortable switching into Psychic and Fairy attacks. A steel type (generally) and a bulky steel pivot (specifically) who CAN'T come into the likes of M-Alakazam or Tapu Lele is a 'mon without a lot of value or teeth in the meta. Of course even with a resistance, soaking Spec, Terrain, or CM-boosted Psychics and Moonblasts doesn't exactly tickle so we need to watch our bulk and offenses closely. The real problem with this though is that those 'mons almost universally carry Focus Blast, a move we are weak too and that will cause us to play some 50-50s of our own or be forced to switch back out of unless we specifically build with it in mind.

For all calcs, I am going with what has seemed to be a fair estimate; a clone of Heatran as a Ground/Steel type with Modest 252 SpA 252 HP as a stat spread. While these numbers could all obviously change, it seemed a good starting point. I'll also, as needed, plug in Leftovers versus Steelium-Z versus Life Orb as items, and for now leave ability blank so as to not polljump. I calced with Specs CAP 26 earlier but in hindsight I think it is extremely unlikely that a 'mon centered around Doom Desire is going to find Choice Specs a profitable item.

Fire! Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Heatran:

252+ SpA Heatran Magma Storm vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD CAP 26 : 342-404 (88.6 - 104.6%) -- 50% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock and trapping damage
252+ SpA Flash Fire Heatran Inferno Overdrive (180 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Heatran: 920-1086 (238.3 - 281.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
252+ SpA Heatran Earth Power vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD CAP: 206-244 (53.3 - 63.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
252+ SpA Heatran Lava Plume vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD CAP: 272-324 (70.4 - 83.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock
0 SpA Heatran Lava Plume vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD CAP: 206-246 (53.3 - 63.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

252+ SpA CAP Earth Power vs. 252 HP / 128+ SpD Heatran: 496-588 (128.4 - 152.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO

As I had concluded earlier, we can't really "come in" on Magma Storm Heatran without significant risk, as even tanking an Earth Power from 'Tran feels bad. But that's, again, okay; we don't need to come in on Heatran. What we want is for the following sequence to happen:

Turn "1": CAP 26 comes in on a switch-in, like Tapu Koko or Tornadus or something, to sponge a hit.
Turn "2": The opposing Pokemon switches into Heatran while we set Doom Desire.
Turn "3": We switch out into something that can tank fire attacks better.

Again, that's a pro-concept arrangement as now we hopefully can put 'Tran in a bind and set up a checkmate scenario for it or its teammate. With Heatran-esque bulk, we have a few other key things here that make this matchup fine:

  • Even a Bulky Heatran spread can't possibly come in on Earth Power and live. That means Heatran will need to be extremely scared of switching into us because if we click EP instead of DD, it just dies. The threat of EP is hopefully sufficient to pressure Heatran away from us despite the fact it can kill us. Those calcs show we even have some wiggle room to have less Special Sweepiness and to use more defensive abilities and items and still be fine to lure and crush Heatrans.
  • We have enough bulk that if we come in on a mutual switch, or if we choose to gamble after setting DD, we can actually live an EP or LP from Heatran and kill it with Earth Power. Only Magma Storm Heatran truly threatens us. If we absolutely need to stomach a Lava Plume or Earth Power or if we want to next-level opponents by trying to come in on Heatran's Stealth Rock or Flash Cannon, we can do that and I think an aim of future stages should be to continue to do that.
Finally, while I promised to avoid abilities, I will say that this matchup is extremely hard to improve on in the ability phase. Any ability that lessens our fire problems will turn Magma Storm into a 2HKO, but Inferno Overdrive will still be a OHKO and Lava Plume will still be a 2HKO, so we gain extremely little unless we're willing to resort to much more extreme (and possibly anti-concept) measures. Even then, almost every Heatran carries Earth Power to beat itself and other fire-resistant 'mons, and we get 2HKOd by that too.

In conclusion, while I was the one who raised 'Tran Concerns, I now feel like it is completely fine if Heatran pressures us, as long as we stay cognizant enough of our stats and builds to ensure we still clean OHKO any 'Tran build with EP and that we can possibly live an EP or LP from it in an emergency situation. Like Zapdos, we sort of want Heatran to switch into us as it means we can bait it and KO it or we can set up our Doom Desire and then pivot to a partner, and it's possibly anti-concept if we can just freely switch into it and murder it instead.

Psychic Blasts:

Starting right into calcs...

252 SpA Alakazam-Mega Psychic vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD CAP: 87-103 (22.5 - 26.6%) -- 73.8% chance to 4HKO after Stealth Rock
252 SpA Alakazam-Mega Psychic vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD CAP: 87-103 (22.5 - 26.6%) -- possible 5HKO after Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Alakazam-Mega Shadow Ball vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD CAP: 104-123 (26.9 - 31.8%) -- guaranteed 4HKO after Stealth Rock
252 SpA Alakazam-Mega Focus Blast vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD CAP: 312-368 (80.8 - 95.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

252+ SpA CAP Flash Cannon vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Alakazam-Mega: 138-163 (54.9 - 64.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock
252+ SpA CAP Earth Power vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Alakazam-Mega: 156-184 (62.1 - 73.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock
252+ SpA CAP Doom Desire vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Alakazam-Mega: 241-285 (96 - 113.5%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Stealth Rock
252+ SpA CAP Corkscrew Crash (200 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Alakazam-Mega: 345-406 (137.4 - 161.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Stealth Rock

252 SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD CAP in Psychic Terrain: 105-123 (27.2 - 31.8%) -- 41.7% chance to 4HKO after Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Tapu Lele Moonblast vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD CAP : 74-87 (19.1 - 22.5%) -- possible 6HKO after Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Tapu Lele Focus Blast vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD CAP: 248-294 (64.2 - 76.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Tapu Lele All-Out Pummeling (190 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD CAP: 394-464 (102 - 120.2%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Leftovers recovery

252 SpA Choice Specs Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD CAP in Psychic Terrain: 156-185 (40.4 - 47.9%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Tapu Lele Hidden Power Fire vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD CAP : 186-220 (48.1 - 56.9%) -- 90.6% chance to 2HKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Tapu Lele Hidden Power Fire vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD CAP: 186-220 (48.1 - 56.9%) -- 39.5% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Choice Specs Tapu Lele Focus Blast vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD CAP: 372-438 (96.3 - 113.4%) -- 75% chance to OHKO after Leftovers recovery

252+ SpA CAP Flash Cannon vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Tapu Lele: 254-302 (90.3 - 107.4%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Stealth Rock
252+ SpA CAP Earth Power vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Tapu Lele: 144-169 (51.2 - 60.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock
252+ SpA CAP Doom Desire vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Tapu Lele: 444-524 (158 - 186.4%) -- guaranteed OHKO

and as extra credit...
252 SpA Aurumoth Psychic or Bug Buzz vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD CAP : 65-77 (16.8 - 19.9%) -- possible 7HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Aurumoth Psychic or Bug Buzz vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD CAP: 65-77 (16.8 - 19.9%) -- possible 5HKO after Stealth Rock
252 SpA Aurumoth Overheat vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD CAP: 250-296 (64.7 - 76.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Aurumoth Focus Blast vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD CAP: 230-272 (59.5 - 70.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock
252 SpA Aurumoth All-Out Pummeling (190 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD CAP: 364-430 (94.3 - 111.3%) -- 87.5% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock
+1 252 SpA Aurumoth Focus Blast vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD CAP: 346-408 (89.6 - 105.6%) -- 56.3% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock
+1 252 SpA Aurumoth All-Out Pummeling (190 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD CAP: 544-642 (140.9 - 166.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Stealth Rock

252+ SpA Life Orb CAP Flash Cannon vs. +1 0 HP / 4 SpD Aurumoth: 187-222 (51.8 - 61.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock
252+ SpA CAP Flash Cannon vs. +1 0 HP / 4 SpD Aurumoth: 144-171 (39.8 - 47.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock
252+ SpA CAP Flash Cannon vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Aurumoth: 216-255 (59.8 - 70.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock
252+ SpA CAP Doom Desire vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Aurumoth: 378-445 (104.7 - 123.2%) -- guaranteed OHKO

We can see straight away the problem:

  • If we switch into these 'mons STABs, we are actually relatively safe against anything except Specs Tapu Lele, and even then it's not toooo bad.
  • But, since all of them run SE Coverage against us, we are in danger of getting baited and nailed with lethal damage on the switch-in...
  • And since all of them are likely to outspeed us, we can't really stay in once we pivot in to tank a STAB attack even if we do correctly jump in front of their STABs. We'll be forced to switch out. In theory, with 'Tran-esque speed, we can outspeed Lele at max investment Choice Scarf but again, I find the idea of a Choice-based CAP 26 very suspect.
  • Further, while we may be able to heavily threaten Tapu Lele, we don't threaten a OHKO against the other two meaning they may very well feel safe switching into us and wrecking house.

The real problem here is Focus Blast. It's a problem with Alakzam and Lele, and it is a problem that extends to our matchup with Tornadus-T (which we'd like to be good!) as well as some Jumbao sets (a mon we haven't discussed a lot but that we'd like to mangle, I imagine). As my calcs show, I think we could in theory go max SpD tank and be okay against Lele's Focus Blast, but we're still getting nuked by Alakazam and we are still struggling versus All-out Pummeling.

Aurumoth is much harder to beat, since it can also go to +1 or even +3 if it wants too. It also can run Overheat instead which is dangerous as it blows out its SpA but it does hit a smidge harder than Focus Miss. I think personally that it's okay if Aurumoth is a check to CAP 26 that pressures it, although we should consider grabbing some coverage moves to turn it into a match-up like Volkraken and Heatran where it feels scared of switching directly into us.

For Tapu Lele and M-Alakazam, I think having a way to not be so pressured by them is imperative for the success of CAP 26. We might want to find some sort of silver bullet ability, or tailor our stats and movepool to have better answers to them.


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Pressure is interesting, since it comes down to a list of 'weak checks.' Here's my thoughts on threats as a whole:

S Rank

Magearna: Pressure seems fitting for Focus Blast variants of Magearna, given it shouldn't be able to switch in on us easily and we'll have a harder time checking it with most offensive blasts likely to 2HKO after Stealth Rock.

S- Rank

Aurumoth: Despite its stat distribution, Aurumoth will likely be able to tank Earth Powers and boost up, possibly even eating Doom Desire well if it's a Quiver Dance set. While Auru may have to fear a Steelium Z-boosted Doom Desire, this generally looks like more a null relationship to me. Auru is a shaky check, but we don't do much to it in return - wouldn't classify this as pressure, personally.

Heatran: A pressure relationship through and through - Ground STAB scares it, and Fire STAB scares us. We can't switch into each other for any set, and relationships outside of that is going to come down to Speed. Either way, pressure suits this well.

Tornadus-T: As others have said, we counter non-Fighting Torn-T, and can otherwise lose to Fightinium Z variants. Hard to call this pressure if we aren't running dual Steel STAB or coverage, though.

A+ Rank

Alakazam (Mega): As it stands now, this would be pressure. Earth Power will do a chunk to Zam, and Focus Blast will do a chunk to us.

Arghonaut: Decided as a counter.

Celesteela: Decided as a counter.

Ferrothorn: Decided as a check.

Greninja: Decided as a check.

Necturna: Without secondary Steel STAB or interesting utility, we're setup bait for Necturna. Sub sets could play around Steelium Z, but in general Sub has died off in favor of Shadow Sneak, so Doom Desire could put a stop to its sweep. Considering this a null relationship like Aurumoth right now.

Volkraken: Pressure relationship - we'll never switch in to it, but Earth Power should do an absolute ton (Big strength to Steel / Ground - by not letting in Volkraken, you have the option to click Doom Desire without having to find some way to be able to switch into Volk when it comes in)

A Rank

Ash Greninja: Decided as a check.

Fidgit: Fidgit's a weird one, there's sort of a pressure relationship going on there since we go back and forth with Earth Powers and utility, but depending on bulk it might not end up mattering. Not a relationship we should really focus on.

Garchomp: Chomper wasn't mentioned, but I believe it should be listed as a check.

Kartana: Earth power is likely to OHKO Kartana, but even an unboosted Sacred Sword can hurt real bad - pressure.

Kitsunoh: Potential switch-in opportunity for us, only potentially fearing Trick depending on the movesets and items we end up running and maybe an EQ depending on our physical bulk, though a choice-locked EQ can be easily exploited.

Landorus-T: Decided as a check.

Mawile (Mega): Nothing really switches into Mawile - Fire Fang and Brick Break sets are destructing especially. Pressure relationship here, since Earth Power will do big damagio and Sucker isn't likely to do much to us. CAP 26 is more likely to end up as a check to Mawile.

Medicham (Mega): Medi doesn't appreciate Earth Power much, but we sure don't appreciate HJKs, though we handle the rest of its coverage fine. Either a pressure relationship or Medi is a check.

Pajantom: We probably lose to most Pajantom, though we might stalemate versus Specially Defensive Trapper variants. Doesn't seem like a relationship that's worth focusing on as far as tuning our mon in future stages goes.

Tangrowth: AV Tangrowth is an answer to most of what we want to do, and its EQ can chunk us for a bit. However, it's not the hardest Pokemon to switch into. It's an ideal counter to enable Doom Desire usage - one that stops CAP 26 but doesn't place much strain on CAP 26's teammates.

Tapu Koko: Decided as a switch-in.

Tapu Lele: Currently a pressure relationship in my book due to the threat of Focus Blast and AoP.

Weavile: Band Weavile can be painful with crash, but most Earth Power should 2HKO. Depending on what CAP 26 runs Knock Off is either crippling or easy to laugh off. Wouldn't call Weavile a good check, gonna slot this one in pressure for now.

A- Rank

Caribolt: Depending on our bulk, Power Whip could end up doing around half, and Earth Power could end up doing around half to Cari. Seems like a Pressure relationship right now.

Colossoil: Colossoil is a check or a soft counter imo, it takes most Earth Power and Flash Cannon well enough to come in comfortably and Earthquake or Knock are devastating.

Crucibelle (Mega): Decided as a switch-in.

Diancie (Mega): Pressure relationship with Earth Power sets, switch-in against non-Earth Power variants. Agreed not to focus on.

Hawlucha: We can stop Hawlucha's sweep with a Doom Desire, but we're likely to lose a lot in the process, and HJK has the potential to OHKO specially-based spreads. Hawlucha's a check or a counter.

Jumbao: HP Ground from defensive Jumbao tickles us and is free Doom Desire fodder. We're also likely to take a scarf Leaf Storm well, especially after the drop, though a Drought Flame Burst could sting. Life Orb Drought Flame Burst stings a lot, as does Life Orb Focus Blast. Defensive Jumbao is a switch-in, offensive Jumbao can be a pressure relationship if we're running reliable Steel STAB, and otherwise would be a check to us.

Krilowatt: We can switch in to non-Water move Krilowatt rather nicely with a specially defensive build. A little less nicely with physically defensive builds, but this ranges between a Switch-in and Pressure depending on what we do with our defensive stats.

Latios (Mega): EQ is threatening and we'd need reliable Steel STAB to fight back. Latios is either a check to us or a pressure relationship.

Magnezone: Specs HP Fire can damage us, but it would fail to 2HKO SpDef builds. Any Magnezone that isn't Magnet Rise is under switch-in if we're specially defensive, and Specs Magnezone can tend towards pressure if we're physically defensive.

Rotom-W: Decided as a counter.

Syclant: If we have reliable Steel STAB, it's a pressure relationship, and if we don't run that Syclant can counter us.

Toxapex: Agreed not to focus on.

Tyranitar (Mega): Pressure relationship.

Volcarona: Would say that Volcarona, especially Roost variants, counters us, as Earth Power won't overcome its natural SpDef and subsequent Quiver Dance boosts.

B+ Rank

Chansey: Decided as a soft counter.

Cyclohm: Defensive Cyclohm is a switch-in for us, whereas offensive Cyclohm is a pressure relationship.

Excadrill: Pressure relationship.

Gliscor: Gliscor counters us and forces us out, though it can tank a chunk from a decently powerful Doom Desire.

Kyurem-B: We can handle Kyurem-B decently well, especially if we run reliable Steel STAB. Only Life Orb Earth Power (or a Z-Freeze Shock if not played around) in conjunction with Roost is enough to scare us and turn Kyurem-B into a solid check.

Latias (Mega): Similar to Latios, except Latias can abuse us to set up Calm Mind + Stored Power, and if it's a Reflect Type variant it would gain immunity to Toxic. It could also kill us quickly with Calm Mind + Surf (disclaimer: I'm not sure what Mega Latias sets are currently popular in CAP). Mega Latias is a counter to us.

Naviathan: Pressure relationship.

Pelipper: Pelipper is a counter to us, but likely not one that's worth focusing on for fear of discounting helpful coverage to improve the status of the rest of our list.

Pinsir (Mega): Only a pressure relationship if we run reliable Steel STAB, otherwise Mega Pinsir can catch some kills before being forced out by an approaching Doom Desire.

Reuniclus: If we lack disruptive utility, CM Reuniclus can counter us. Doesn't seem like something that's worth focusing on though.

Sableye (Mega): Sableye can definitely annoy us with Knock Off + burns and has the potential to recover through an Earth Power + a Doom Desire depending on its spread, since it will most likely be recovering second due to its very low Speed. If we can boost, we can beat it, otherwise most sets will be counters.

Slowking: CAP Slowking counters us.

Swampert (Mega): Mega Swampert is able to tank most Earth Powers rather well and force us out easily, potentially even when the rain has stopped. Seems to me like a counter, or at least a very hard check.

Tapu Bulu: Unless we have reliable Steel STAB, Tapu Bulu can counter us. Even with something like Flash Cannon, Specially Defensive Swords Dance sets could be scary with Horn Leech recovery. I'd throw it down as a solid check.

Tyranitar: AV Ttar slotted as a check. Band Ttar seems to be a pressure relationship.

Zapdos: Decided not to focus on.

B Rank

Amoonguss: It doesn't do much to us except Spore and is a good target for setting up Doom Desire on. Other than that, we don't do much to it either. Probably best not to focus on this relationship.

Charizard (Mega-X): Decided as a check.

Clefable: Decided as a switch-in.

Gyarados: Will most likely counter us. Question is whether this relationship is worth preserving since it cuts off a large amount of coverage - doesn't seem like something that should be focused on, imo.

Hoopa-U: Hoopa-U checks us efficiently.

Jirachi: Jirachi is a switch-in for us.

Scizor (Mega): Unless we can boost, Earth Power might not do enough to prevent Scizors from boosting and Roosting. We handle Toxic Scizors fine.

Serperior: Doesn't like Doom Desire, but we don't like Leaf Storm. Hard to force it out with Doom Desire since it can try to play around it with Subs. Serperior seems like a check to us.

Smokomodo: Clear-cut pressure relationship.

Suicune: CM Suicune is a solid counter to us.

Tomohawk: Hard to force out without Doom Desire and Focus Blast does a ton to us. Tomohawk checks or counters us.

Victini: Pressure relationship.

B- Rank

Camerupt (Mega): As it's ranked for its Niche under Trick Room, Mega Camerupt can check us. Honestly though, not something worth focusing on.

Cawmodore: Doom Desire can do a nice chunk to this to make it worried after setting up, but since we're a Drain Punch target Cawmodore will likely be able to exploit us without us able to do much to stop it. Reminds me a bit of the Hawlucha relationship.

Charizard (Mega-Y): Decided as a check.

Gastrodon: We won't do much to it without Toxic, while it can force us out with Ground STAB or annoy us with Scalds. Gastrodon seems to be a counter to us.

Lopunny (Mega): HJK obliterates, and Earth Power will likely do around halfish depending on how offensive we go. Lopunny is a solid check, though you could argue it as a pressure relationship.

Mamoswine: Pressure relationship depending on speed, though you could argue Mamoswine as a hard check.

Manaphy: Manaphy either checks or counters us depending on how offensive we go.

Mew: Mew is a counter if we're unable to boost, able to deal solid damage with attacks, annoy us with burns, and be bulky enough to recover off any damage we do.

Moltres: Hard counter given STABs, but not probably worth focusing on due to its niche nature.

Tapu Fini: Scald Tapu Finis can do a chunk, but they honestly don't enjoy taking Earth Powers without recovery. Seems like a null relationship.

You'll notice that by virtue of the way Ground pairs offensively with Steel's defenses, that CAP 26 is currently defined by a large number of pressure relationships. Now the question is, do we want all of these pressure relationships? I believe a large list of high-viability pressure relationships is bad for the success of a pivot - pressure essentially meaning we can't switch in and neither can they. Our list of switch-ins is also quite small going solely off of typing right now. We should definitely look to improve these pressure matchups into situations where we can force more switches, either through helpful defensive/offensive abilities or by looking at our Speed. This will be critically important to the success of CAP 26.
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Gonna call a 48 Hour Warning on this thread, happy with the discussion but please make sure to get your posts in!
Pressure because FIREPressure because GROUNDPressure because FIGHTINGPressure because Focus BlastPressure because OTHER:
S: S:S:S:S:
FidgitKartana**Tapu Lele**Weavile
Tyranitar (CB)**

I created this table to try to summarize what pressures us based on moves, as I generally agree with G-Mars that A) we have way too much that pressures us and B) we should consider if the ability phase is the right place to solve that problem, as our typing is already locked in. As a note, I listed 'mons that carry moves of multiple times up their multiple times (for instance, M-Pinsir runs Earthquake OR Close Combat and thus appears in both columns), and tried to only include folks that G-Mars indicated as pressures even if I think personally some of the other 'mons are relevant to discuss. I avoided including Latias due to a lack of consensus on moveset, and only listed Cyclohm once due to Hydro Pump seeming extremely uncommon compared to Fireblast + ICebeam on offensive sets. Also, I put "**" For 'mons utilizing those moves as non-STAB, both to indicate less power and to indicate 'mons we might otherwise switch into if it wasn't for their common coverage.

A few conclusions:
- In total, 23 'mons Pressure us at B rank or higher.
- Ground-type damage pressures us the most, with a total of 9 different 'mons/sets putting pressure on us.
- But Fire and Focus Blast coverage are more "relevant" pressure relationships.
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Pressure because FIREPressure because GROUNDPressure because FIGHTINGPressure because Focus BlastPressure because OTHER:
S: S:S:S:S:
FidgitKartana**Tapu Lele**Weavile
Tyranitar (CB)**

I created this table to try to summarize what pressures us based on moves, as I generally agree with G-Mars that A) we have way too much that pressures us and B) we should consider if the ability phase is the right place to solve that problem, as our typing is already locked in.

A few conclusions:
- In total, 23 'mons Pressure us at B rank or higher.
- Ground-type damage pressures us the most, with a total of 9 different 'mons/sets putting pressure on us.
- But Fire and Focus Blast coverage are more "relevant" pressure relationships.
I like the formatting you've done here, but I want to point a couple things out with the way it's set up. Heatran is able to pressure physically defensive spreads with Earth Power as well as Fire STAB, Volkraken threatens with both Fire and Water STAB, and Smokomodo is also able to threaten with its secondary STAB. Jumbao's Hidden Power Ground is generally too weak even with a Life Orb set to be considered pressuring, and Syclant pressures with Band or Life Orb Earthquakes/Earth Powers. Mega Tyranitar can also pressure specially defensive spreads with Fire Punch rather than just Earthquake, and Kartana's Leaf Blade will do a large chunk to any non-physically defensive spread. Given this, I'd like to alter the table to look at what solely pressures us off of an option to make for a good resource when looking at potential abilities or Speed tiers.

Using * to identify mons that only pressure with a specific set rather than with all common sets and ‡ to identify mons we'd only be in a pressure relationship with if we ran reliable Steel STAB:

Solely Pressures w/ FIRESolely Pressures w/ GROUNDSolely Pressures w/ FIGHTINGPressure w/ Focus BlastMultiType Pressure or Other:
S: S:S:S:S:
FidgitMedicham-MegaTapu LeleKartana
Tapu LeleWeavile
Diancie-MegaHawluchaJumbao*‡ (also Flame Burst)Caribolt
Latios-Mega‡ Jumbao*‡
Syclant‡ Tyranitar-Mega
Tyranitar (CB)*
(argument for Crunch)

This alters the conclusions, namely that Fire covers more relevant pressure relationships, as solely tackling pressure coming from Fire attacks would leave those mons with quite a few other viable options to pressure CAP26 with on the same set. I agree that Focus Blast coverage covers the most relevant pressure relationships given the current CAP meta, though looking at Ground also has merit since it could turn a number of potential pressure/otherwise losing matchups into opportunities for Doom Desire usage.
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The posts made here about pressures are excellent, and serve to finish this thread up quite nicely. CAP 26, as it stands, has a lot of pressure matchups- notably from common coverage (Focus Blast, Fire Blast, Ground-type moves) and matchups that are common in the metagame currently (Psychics, Magearna, Heatran, etc). The most important takeaway from this whole threats stage is that we need this list trimmed down. Look at Hawk's and GMars's posts and see the number of things that can really, really make our lives difficult and stop us from safely Doom Desire-ing. If we want to succeed, we need to really keep this in mind. To refresh:

Switch Ins: Mega Crucibelle, Clefable, Tapu Koko, Most Tornadus-T, Magearna lacking Focus Blast

Counters: Celesteela, Rotom-Wash, Arghonaut, Chansey

Checks: Mega Latias and Latios, Ash Greninja, Volkraken, Mega Charizard X and Y, AV Tyranitar, Landorus-T, Ferrothorn

All in all, we've got a solid handle on our counters and what we can really take advantage of with switching into, alongside what we need to pay attention to with the remainder of the process. Next up is Ability, headed by J my name is Jordy!
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