CAP 29 - Part 1 - Concept Assessment

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snake_rattler

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After two days of polling, we have CAP 29's concept! Defective Ability, submitted by quziel, is copied below. This is a very important stage: we're now going to discuss the concept and determine the direction of the project! Be sure to review the concept and the two guidelines above as well.

Name: Defective Ability

Description: This Pokemon manages to work around an ability that is generally considered harmful, and is viable, or even better for it.

Justification: Defective Ability is an Actualization concept; aiming to create a Pokemon that works around, or works with, an ability that would be considered bad on most pokemon.

There is not a single Pokemon ranked above NU that has a generally negative ability; for good reason, while most pokemon gain a benefit from their ability, these Pokemon are held back. Golisopod, the currently highest ranked pokemon with a negative ability is also unique among its brethren in that its movepool is set up to synergize, and benefit from its ability Emergency Exit, with First Impression benefiting heavily from being switched out directly after use. A non-exhaustive list of negative abilities is Color Change, Defeatist, Emergency Exit, Klutz, Normalize, Slow Start, Stall, Truant. These abilities are yet-untouched by CAP, and I believe that exploring them with typings, movepools, and stats specifically meant to work with, and work around their shortcomings can help us to understand more about how abilities interact with CAPs, and how important the ability slot really is. I do not consider a NCA to be a defective ability as it does not specifically have to be planned around.

This concept aims to question how impactful these abilities are when their downsides are specifically planned for, their strengths, if any, are accentuated, and how viable of a CAP we can make with a handicap in the ability stage.

Questions To Be Answered:

  • How much of a drawback is a negative ability? How much should a negative ability be compensated for in the typing, move, and stats stages?
  • Are there some negative abilities that are more suited to exploration in a CAP process? Why or Why not?
  • If a negative ability is chosen for a primary what abilities are suitable for a secondary ability slot? Purely negative ones, or is there a situation where a pokemon would prefer an ability generally thought of as negative?
  • How does typing interact with a negative ability like this; slow start obviously wants a Toxic immunity due to how long it'll stay on the field, but is it needed, do other abilities have strong typing-ability interactions.
  • How can movepool change the impact of a harmful ability? Golisopod shows that it is possible to leverage the early switch out, are other negative abilities something that can be leveraged or minimized with the correct movepool?
  • How much do stats have to compensate for a negative ability, what are the ideal stat spreads for each negative ability?
  • How can we define a "generally harmful ability"? What are some metrics to define it? Are comparisons with neutral abilities helpful?
  • Which abilities can be worked with? Which abilities can only be worked around? Is it better to choose an ability that can be worked with? or only around?
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.

CAP 29's TL Birkal will open the thread with his thoughts. Please make sure to read his initial post and his subsequent posts carefully and follow them for discussion! Keep posts civil and on topic, or else they will be deleted.

CAP 29 So Far
 

Birkal

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Welcome to the Concept Assessment stage of CAP29! We have chosen Defective Ability as our concept for this process, meaning we're going to have a lot of engaging discussions about ability reliance, finding viability with a noticeable drawback, and general balance within the CAP metagame. I couldn't be more thrilled! I'd like to propose a few questions here before we jump straight into the next stage. Some of these are directly lifted from quziel's concept, while others are posed by me. Just like in Concept Chat, feel free to address each of these questions, or bring up thoughts of your own that pertain to the concept and CAP29.

As snake_rattler noted above, please do not polljump during this stage. In very blatant terms: discussing specific abilities for CAP29 is off the table for right now. We'll get into that during Ability Discussion, and there are a few key questions that we need to answer first before digging deep into the soil of this concept. Take a look at those questions here:

1) How can we define a "generally harmful ability"? What are some metrics to define it? Are comparisons with neutral abilities helpful?​
2) How much of a drawback is a negative ability? How much, would you say, do Pokemon generally rely on their abilities to be viable?​
3) Which Pokemon in the CAP metagame rely on their abilities? Which ones don't rely on them much at all? Do any have actively harmful abilities? And finally, which highly viable CAP metagame threats would lose their viability if burdened with a negative ability? Conversely, which ones might still be viable, even with a negative ability?​

4) What are some Pokemon in other metagames (past and present) that have harmful abilities? How do they find viability in their respective tiers? How do these Pokemon even function: do they work with their ability, or work around it?​
5) As per this PRC thread, there is a current proposal about allowing the CAP process to switch around its process to better suit the concept. As a result, the moderators have given me permission to ask this question: do you think Primary Ability Discussion should come before Typing Discussion? Why or why not?​

These are all of the questions I feel comfortable asking at this time. If the answer to Question 5 above is unanimously, "Let's do Primary Ability Discussion before Typing Discussion," then I expect this thread to be completed in roughly 72 hours. Once we determine that primary ability, I reckon that I'd have more questions to follow in a Concept Assessment sequel thread. If the answer is that there is merit to doing Typing Discussion first, then expect me to pose some more questions before we jump into that stage.

Let's keep our eyes on the prize. Hop to it!
 
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quziel

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5) As per this PRC thread, there is a current proposal about allowing the CAP process to switch around its process to better suit the concept. As a result, the moderators have given me permission to ask this question: do you think Primary Ability Discussion should come before Typing Discussion? Why or why not?​
Thing, but imo doing Typing First is nearly impossible here and would just be implicitly deciding that we'd be focusing on a much smaller set of the abilities. Doing Ability first lets us specifically tailor our ability to the chosen bad ability, and would lead to a better process.

As for how to define a "bad ability" its sorta difficult. Imo we have to specifically do so by comparison. There are some that are clearly bad, that is, those that have no upsides whatsoever, and only constrain us with no potential for actualizing them, but I would argue that we should include any ability that can be considered "bad".

We should include any ability that makes a generic pokemon worse defined as an ability that would generally not be chosen over a neutral ability such as Illuminate on a pokemon such as Zapdos, Garchomp, or Mew (pokemon that are relatively ability-independent, and do not cater to their abilities). While there are pokemon such as Golisopod that would arguably like to keep their "bad ability" due to being designed to abuse it (even then it is very arguable, and the majority of Golisopod would rather have Illuminate), this test of the ability on a generic mon is something I think as worthwhile,
 
To answer these questions...

Question 2: An ability would be outright negative if it is designed to hurt the wielder of that ability somehow with no benefit in doing so, rather than being outright useless. I should not mention anything specfic, so it cannot be anything that "only has in-game use" or just does nothing regardless. This ability should also not have benefits of any sort. I was reminded that even the most harmful of abilities technically have their situational benefits, so we can still make them work after careful planning.

Question 3: Looking at the Pokemon from CAP alone, Syclant is quite reliant on Mountaineer on physical sets due to switching frequently with U-turn, allowing it to run Choice Band instead of Heavy-Duty Boots.

Question 4: Strangely enough, Slaking of all things had enough raw power with Choice Band in Gen 3 that it could be used as a hit and run, and was supposedly too powerful for that generation's UU.

Question 5: I agree with quziel that dicussing Typing first would be pretty impossible, as the whole point is to focus on a smaller set of Abilities that would harm the mon. It would be to build the typing around the ability of choice.
 
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First off, I want to congratulate quziel for winning the Concept Polls! Now onto the questions:

1) How can we define a "generally harmful ability"? What are some metrics to define it? Are comparisons with neutral abilities helpful?

In my eyes, a generally harmful ability is an ability that limits the capabilities of a Pokémon. This can be through its movepool (Normalize, Color Change), its stats (Defeatist, Slow Start), or just poorly impacts the Pokemon's game plan (Truant).

2) How much of a drawback is a negative ability? How much, would you say, do Pokémon generally rely on their abilities to be viable?

I think that Abilities are a huge part of what makes a Pokémon viable. A good ability can be the sole difference between a top-tier Pokémon and a low-tier Pokémon. A great example of this is Pelipper, which went from being PU in XY to OU in SM after it was given Drizzle. Another example is Cinderace, which was just good before Libero was made available, but shot up to top tier once it was released.

3) Which Pokémon in the CAP metagame rely on their abilities? Which ones don't rely on them much at all? Do any have actively harmful abilities? And finally, which highly viable CAP metagame threats would lose their viability if burdened with a negative ability? Conversely, which ones might still be viable, even with a negative ability?

Looking at the current CAP viability rankings, all of the Pokémon currently on there have good (or at least usable) abilities. The only exception I could find was Zarude with Leaf Guard, but Zarude is also the last mon in the entire ranking. As for which ones would be burdened with a negative ability, Cawmodore would definitely become a lot worse if it lost Volt Absorb. All of the Regenerator mons would be worse off as well.

4) What are some Pokémon in other metagames (past and present) that have harmful abilities? How do they find viability in their respective tiers? How do these Pokémon even function: do they work with their ability, or work around it?

One great example of a Pokémon that is able to shine competitively despite its bad ability is ADV Slaking. In the ADV metagame, it actually used its bad ability to its advantage, functioning as a hit-and-run revenge killer with Choice Band. Even then, however, Slaking is heavily prediction-based, so it still has some minor drawbacks.

Another example is DPPt Regigigas. It was still NU, but its great defensive stats actually gave it a small niche in UU, allowing it to stall out the five turns necessary for it to be able to wreak havoc. Slow Start still hampered it, though, so I would say that this is an example of the Pokémon working around the bad ability.

A final example of this is Lopunny. Thanks to its access to Switcheroo, it is able to take advantage of Klutz as an offensive utility Pokémon in the lower tiers, being used to hamper threats with items like Flame Orb and Assault Vest. This is only by coincidence, however. If Lopunny didn't get Switcheroo, Cute Charm would no doubt be considered the better ability for it.

5) As per this PRC thread, there is a current proposal about allowing the CAP process to switch around its process to better suit the concept. As a result, the moderators have given me permission to ask this question: do you think Primary Ability Discussion should come before Typing Discussion? Why or why not?

I think that we should absolutely do Ability Discussion before Typing Discussion. Since this CAP is based on its ability, I think we should do that first, so the ability can influence the typing, stats, and movepool.
 
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1) I would define a generally harmful ability as one that causes notable detriments to the Pokemon. That is to say, a generally underused ability, like Shield Dust, or even an ability that does nothing, like Illuminate, do not count. An ability needs to pose a real disadvantage to the mon to be harmful. Therefore, comparisons to neutral abilities for this concept would be unhelpful.

2) While most Pokemon live and die by their abilities (Clefable and Nidoking, for instance), I think comparisons to Pokemon that don't necessarily rely on their ability, such as Volcarona and Swampert, are quite helpful. A negative ability, as I mentioned already, needs to pose a noticeable drawback.

3) In all honesty, most of the viable CAP mons rely heavily on their ability. The only ones that don't are Necturna and Kerfluffle, but even in Kerf's case, it can be quite helpful. No mon in the CAP metagame runs a true negative ability, and most would lose their viability instantly if their primary ability were replaced with something negative. Astrolotl, for instance, would be quite bad with Color Change, and Equilibra would not be able to perform at all with Defeatist over Levitate. That isn't to say that these Pokemon couldn't operate with a negative ability, but ability does have a large impact on a mon's viability.

4) I'll bring up the example of Archeops in B/W RU as a mon that performed well despite its ability. Archeops was a solid B in B/W RU, yet it had Defeatist. It operated as a massive offensive threat, a sort of nuke, that took something down with it before it reached Defeatist range. This is an example of a mon working around a negative ability to use its other advantages, in this case it's Archeops's massive attacking stats, to fulfill its role.

5) Primary Ability should without a doubt go before typing. Considering that the ability will be massively impactful on every other stage, it should go first.
 
What we define as a defective ability will probably be the most important question we answer. How do we take advantage of entirely negative abilities like slow start, or do we allow more situational abilities that require more strategic limiting like weak armor or fluffy, even something like guerrilla tactics could be considered a negative ability on a Pokémon with a strong supportive movepool.

Ideally I’d describe a defective ability as an ability that negatives are clearly known and are either always active or easily triggered. Whatever positives the ability has can’t clearly outweigh the negatives and the pokemon can’t be overtuned to overcome those negatives (EX: No skill swap on truant mons, no resistance to fire on fluffy mons, not giving guerrilla tactics to a Pokémon with even a respectable offensive kit).


Because of that I truly believe we should discuss ability before typing, doing it any other way would severely limit the abilities we could work with.
 
1) How can we define a "generally harmful ability"? What are some metrics to define it? Are comparisons with neutral abilities helpful?
I think that any ability, that would make a Pokémon less viable, if it previously did not have an ability (think pre gen 3), should be considered harmful. Going with examples, giving a mon without any ability „pure power“ would make any mon better, illuminate would not change anything and defeatist would certainly harm any Pokémon, that got it.

2) How much of a drawback is a negative ability? How much, would you say, do Pokemon generally rely on their abilities to be viable?
3) Which Pokemon in the CAP metagame rely on their abilities? Which ones don't rely on them much at all? Do any have actively harmful abilities? And finally, which highly viable CAP metagame threats would lose their viability if burdened with a negative ability? Conversely, which ones might still be viable, even with a negative ability?
Going to answer these two together.
There’s obviously a spectrum to how much Pokémon rely on their ability to function well.
RN there isn’t any Highly Ranked mon in CAP, that has an ability, that’s considered harmful.
Pokemon like :Mandibuzz:, :Zapdos: or :Swampert: might get a situational benefit from their abilities, but they largely don’t need them to function. Other Pokémon like :Melmetal: or :Landorus-Therian: benefit a lot through their abilities, but they’d probably still be good with another ability. And then there are Pokémon like :Pelipper:, :Hawlucha: or :Nidoking: that would suffer a huge blow to their viability if they lost certain abilities.
I think bad abilities can be compensated for and there are certainly differences in how bad abilities can be, going from „this will probably make a mon unviable“ (truant) to „situationally helpful“ (color change) to “this is going to be uncompetitive with the right tools“(normalize).
A lot will depend on other tools that the Pokémon has access to and how bad the bad ability actually is.
But every mon will be happy to not get hampered by its ability and some will only be functional because of it.
And i don’t think there are a lot of mons, that would still be viable in CAP with a bad ability.

5) As per this PRC thread, there is a current proposal about allowing the CAP process to switch around its process to better suit the concept. As a result, the moderators have given me permission to ask this question: do you think Primary Ability Discussion should come before Typing Discussion? Why or why not?
I definitely think that ability needs to go first, as we´ll have to carefully build around it, to be able to achieve viability.
 
I don't have too much to say except to echo ability going before typing, but maybe a 'generally harmful ability' could mean something that is a direct downgrade from a similar ability (especially in concert with other elements like the mon's type), but still has its uses. Kind of like how Leaf Guard is worse than Hydration, and puts the grass-types that possess it at greater risk for fire moves, but still has the use of preventing status. To this end, risk could be a factor toward defining a generally harmful ability, like if the benefits are too small for the risk undertaken, but still has the potential for meaningful capitalization of those benefits, like Torrent. I know that the concept is not Risky Business 2: Risk Harder, but I feel like utilizing a suboptimal ability inherently has risk to it, and maybe that's something that can be used to broaden our definition.
 
1) How can we define a "generally harmful ability"? What are some metrics to define it? Are comparisons with neutral abilities helpful?​
There are 2 categories of what I would consider a harmful ability:

Category 1: Explicitly Harmful---Abilities designed with the express purpose of weakening a pokemons power and viability in a certain way. These abilities give a direct, negative consequence without a directly stated positive, or even a positive at all, such as lowering a pokemons stats when a certain threshold is met or by taking control away from the player in a certain circumstance.

Category 2: Negatively Skewed---Abilities intended to have positive effects with drawbacks, but instead of balancing out those positives and negatives, the negatives are more prevalent, causing the abilities strength to become a non-factor or even a detriment.

Overall, the main traits of a "generally harmful" ability is that even if it has traits generally seen as positive, its drawbacks not only hinder the strength of the positives but also restricts the pokemon with the ability's playstyle into a specific way of being used and handled. For example, if an ability sacrifices a pokemons longevity, then that pokemon needs to be able to make every opportunity it has count, and if its ability doesn't give it enough of those opportunites or doesn't optimize them enough, then that would be considered a harmful ability. While a neutral abilitylimits the usability of more diverse options in a pokemons toolkit, an outright negative ability weakens the already stong options that a pokemon has in their movesets and prevents them from being used at their full potential. An example of this in my eyes is Quick Feet, an ability that boosts your speed by 50% (an effect that many other abilities and moves can match or even outright eclipse) in exchange for that pokemon being burdened with a status condition, with the only two statuses that the user can inflict on themselves being burn or bad poison, meaning that pokemon that want to utilize this ability are put on a timer, and either have their physical damaged halved, or risk losing more than a third of their health if they on the field for more than 2 turns. This makes this ability situational at best, and outright detrimental at worst.

TL;DR A negative ability is one that weakens a pokemons strong options overall, while a neutral ability merely limits the amount of variety a pokemon has in their moveset.

2) How much of a drawback is a negative ability? How much, would you say, do Pokemon generally rely on their abilities to be viable?
While it is difficult to fully establish how much abilities play into the viability of pokemon overall, it is easy to see that negative abilities hold a huge drawback for a pokemons viability. Pokemon such as archeops, regigigas, and slaking, who have superb stats and movepools, are crippled heavily by the abilities they were given to literally restrict their strength. Even Golisopod, the best of the negative abilities bunch, would probably benefit more from an ability other than Emergency Exit, even if it was designed around that ability.

When it comes to how much pokemon rely on their abilities to be viable, there tends to be a notable trend in stat distrubution and total vs ability reliance. Pokemon that have lower stat spreads tend to rely more on good abilities to function, such as Clefable and Nidoking, while pokemon such as Garchomp and Dragapult, who have noticeably higher stats, especially speed, rely less on their abilities overall. This isn't a universal rule however, as pokemon such as Heatran or Equilibra use their abilities to help better fulfill their roles in the metagame.

3) Which Pokemon in the CAP metagame rely on their abilities? Which ones don't rely on them much at all? Do any have actively harmful abilities? And finally, which highly viable CAP metagame threats would lose their viability if burdened with a negative ability? Conversely, which ones might still be viable, even with a negative ability?
It seems somewhat silly to try and say that CAP mons specifically don't rely on their abilities, as many are designed to have at least one ability they are designed to maxmize the potential of. Pokemon such as Astrolotl, Krillowatt, Tomohawk and Equilibra rely on their abilities in order to demonstrate their unique places in the meta, though Equilibra is somewhat less reliant. And when it comes to other commonly used pokemon, very few seem to have harmful abilities, with the only ones coming in mind is Nidoking's Rivalry and Mandibuzz's Weak Armor, and even then neither is used over other abilities they posess.

The viability of any CAP pokemon if a negative ability was given to it would drop for sure, but that doesnt mean that all would drop equally. For example, while many might drop drastically if they were given slow start for an ability, Equilibra may not fall too far if it was given it, as despite the speed reduction and lack of levitate it could still find switch ins and perform its role with Doom Desire, while Astrolotl would certainly fall harder due to a lack of regenerator and a giant cut in its speed.
 
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Mowtom

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What we define as a defective ability will probably be the most important question we answer. How do we take advantage of entirely negative abilities like slow start, or do we allow more situational abilities that require more strategic limiting like weak armor or fluffy, even something like guerrilla tactics could be considered a negative ability on a Pokémon with a strong supportive movepool.

Ideally I’d describe a defective ability as an ability that negatives are clearly known and are either always active or easily triggered. Whatever positives the ability has can’t clearly outweigh the negatives and the pokemon can’t be overtuned to overcome those negatives (EX: No skill swap on truant mons, no resistance to fire on fluffy mons, not giving guerrilla tactics to a Pokémon with even a respectable offensive kit).


Because of that I truly believe we should discuss ability before typing, doing it any other way would severely limit the abilities we could work with.
Fluffy and Gorilla Tactics are both very good abilities. The one user of Gorilla Tactics was banned for it being too powerful, and Fluffy's halving of contact damage is an extremely good effect even though it comes with a Fire weakness and would see use even on mons that are 4x weak to Fire. Harmful abilities should be abilities a Pokemon would rather not have, not abilities that have any negative affect at all.
 

Bughouse

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Tackling the two questions I find the most important to address at this stage:

re: 5) like pretty much everyone (I assume), I would agree that yes we should do ability first. Much like other "make a CAP based around X" concepts, it is always helpful to decide what X is as soon as possible. Generally in the past this has been a move i.e. delayed effect->Doom Desire or trapping->Spirit Shackle or unusual moves in OU->Belly Drum, and we decide those moves early on, but we haven't had to decide the entirety of the movepool and thus kept stages in order, once we had the move in mind. Here though if it's to be focused around an ability, ability as a whole should go first. I think that means we even need to do so in terms of the secondary and flavor abilities, since there's a possibility we could choose 2 defective abilities, as well as the consideration that having any other abilities available (even totally neutral ones like Illuminate) inherently offers the option to avoid the harmful ability. I think all of that is more important to nail down first before we ever turn to typing and the rest.

re: 4) I think it's important to recognize that the ideal relevant comparisons would only be OU-caliber pokemon. While pokemon with defective abilities like Archeops may be genuine threats in say BW RU or ORAS NU, that's not exactly a helpful guide for what might work in an OU-power level metagame. And truth be told there have been precious few pokemon with defective abilities that can succeed in OU in any generation. Pokemon with double edged abilities like Weak Armor or Dry Skin, sure, sometimes. But defective ones, no. We'll be breaking some new ground here if we can genuinely make something OU viable with a pretty much purely harmful ability. The only example I can think of a truly defective ability being used on an OU viable pokemon was Slaking in ADV OU, which is a meme, but can kinda be used? (it's still not ranked though). I think we will have a rather boring process though if we just make SS Slaking, or buffed Archeops, etc.

I also want to say that I am explicitly disavowing ANY attempt to "solve" this concept by giving the Pokemon Skill Swap, Role Play, Transform or any other way of removing its own ability, if I forgot any others.
 
1) How can we define a "generally harmful ability"? What are some metrics to define it? Are comparisons with neutral abilities helpful?

We can define a harmful ability as any ability that has an implicitly negative effect on a pokemon's viability in the majority of cases. Abilities like Truant, Slow Start, and Defeatist all come to mind. Personally, i think going a specifically neutral ability, like Inner Focus or something wouldn't really be all too helpful to the process. As, if we go for specifically a Do-Nothing ability, we may as well just skip the ability stage all together.

2) How much of a drawback is a negative ability? How much, would you say, do Pokemon generally rely on their abilities to be viable?

Abilities are the make-or-break in Pokemon. A Pokemon that would otherwise be completely unremarkable (:nidoking:, :magnezone:, or :reuniclus: for example) become viable once their ability comes into the equation. I think have an ability that vibes well with the Pokemon's stats and movepool can make all the difference.

3) Which Pokemon in the CAP metagame rely on their abilities? Which ones don't rely on them much at all? Do any have actively harmful abilities? And finally, which highly viable CAP metagame threats would lose their viability if burdened with a negative ability? Conversely, which ones might still be viable, even with a negative ability?

Based on how we try to make CAPs viable; the majority of CAP's viablity hinge on their abilities. Because of this, few of them are actively harmful to them; those some are more neutral: such as :smokomodo: or :necturna:. Almost every viable CAP would instantly lose their viability without their ability. Mons like :Krilowatt:, :tomohawk:, :astrolotl:, and especially :miasmaw: for instance need their abilities to stay viable versus the OU mons. The only CAP that i could see staying somewhat viable with a negative ability is :cawmodore: due to its status as a matchup fish.

4) What are some Pokemon in other metagames (past and present) that have harmful abilities? How do they find viability in their respective tiers? How do these Pokemon even function: do they work with their ability, or work around it?

While i am not as familiar with older metagames (i only started on here around mid-gen 6) the only pokemon with a negative ability that comes to mind that saw any level of play is :archeops:. While i remember it being banned from PU last gen, i remember it was mostly in spite of it's ability rather than because of it. :archeops: was generally able to blow past most of the tier with it's insane power and varying sets. It's only weakness was it's ability tied to :archeops:'s weakness to rocks. :archeops: was viable in spite of it's ability rather than because of it.
 
This ability should also not have benefits of any sort.
I think we're limiting ourselves too much if the ability can have literally no upsides (this is pedantic but there are few abilities in the game that have truly zero upsides– Slow Start presumably halves confusion and Foul Play damage, Klutz allows the user to trick bad items, etc.); I think the downsides simply need to heavily outweigh the upsides. quziel 's definition is perfect: an ability with no in-battle effect would generally be used over it.

The original concept asks whether an ability generally considered negative can ever be beneficial in battle. If we limit ourselves to abilities with literally no upsides, that question has already been answered.
 
1. I want to consider a negative ability as one that has a major downside, one that can occur in most situations, and not only in specific interactions with your opponent. Every ability has at least niche situations where it has "upside," even Truant versus a pokemon with Wandering Spirit has "upside" in that your opponent could be forced to gain it and give you Wandering Spirit instead (I'll admit this is an extreme example). I think it's more interesting to consider how the downside affects the pokemon than in which situations you can squeeze a tiny bit of upside out of the pokemon.

I am going to try to illustrate my thoughts with examples of abilities. I am not trying to argue these should or should not be on CAP 29, just discuss how I feel about them in regards to the idea of a negative ability.

Intimidate activates the effects of a few other abilities, producing a benefit for your opponent, such as Defiant, Competitive, Contrary, and so on. I would still not describe Intimidate as having a downside, because Intimidate has no direct adverse effect on the pokemon that has it, and cannot benefit most opposing pokemon.

Normalize has the benefit of increasing the power of your own moves. However, normalize means that (outside of a very limited pool of moves), its user is incapable of using any form of meaningful coverage. I think this does qualify as a significant downside, in that there are few situations where normal is the absolute best coverage type, and many situations where a pokemon would strongly benefit from being able to use another type of move.

I am not entirely convinced about the illuminate test. I think it's difficult to conceive of a truly generic pokemon, and for nearly any ability (maybe not Truant), I beleive there is at least one pokemon that either could benefit from the ability, or would not care about the ability. For example, Defeatist would have essentially no effect on Pyukumuku versus illuminate. That said, I don't think there's any perfect test for which abilities are "generally negative," and there is some merit in looking at what abilities pokemon have actually chosen to use versus other abilities, given that it's a bit more objective than most of what we can argue about (e.g. Durant has tended to use Hustle > Swarm > Truant).

2. I think a negative ability can be a significant downside. The most blatant example is probably that Slaking is Untiered in gen 7, despite having incredible stats and a reasonable movepool. That said, Truant is probably the most extreme negative ability, and others would have a less severe effect.

I'm uncertain that you can state in general terms how strong an ability is. Some abilities are so strong that having them is a reason to use a pokemon, regardless of everything else about it, such as Drizzle, Drought, and Magic Bounce. On the other hand, some pokemon have succeeded despite having incredibly underwhelming abilities. For example, both of Volcarona's abilities are fairly weak in my opinion, but it has been fairly successful in OU since it was introduced, thanks largely to its stats and movepool.

3. pass.
4. pass.

5. I strongly support doing the ability stage of this project first. This project is strongly focused on the possible abilities, and I feel certain typings would restrict the pool of possible abilities. In particular, the concept directly mentions Color Change, which is not permitted for consideration if this project were to do the typing stage before ability.
 
1 : I feel the term "generally harmful" falls between abilities that clearly have both positive and negatives (such as Simple, Weak Armor, Dry Skin, Solar Power) and abilities which can cause more trouble then they are worth (such as Stall and Color Change). I've found that the worst abilities are either direct downsides on the Pokemon, or have effects that take control away from the player using them. Of course, some really good abilities can take control away: nobody in their right mind would say "Libero is a bad ability," but it could cause your typing to become something potentially undesirable even if you'd rather not at that time. It really depends on what that Pokemon needs and what kind of control is taken. As such a "generally harmful" ability should be designated as an ability which at the very least takes some control away from the user without any significant gain in return.

2 : Historically speaking negative abilities are awful. :regigigas: has been a 670 BST behemoth with fantastic stats all around for over a decade now, and has only just now been able to contend with the "strongest" Pokemon thanks to Neutralizing Gas completely nullifying its horrible ability, and even then it requires a good amount of support to actually function, and only in a specific type of Metagame.

There are some Pokemon, conversely, that are much weaker without their Ability. Anything with Huge Power or Pure Power really wants that Ability to actually pose a threat. Others, however, are just fine. :magearna: certainly enjoys having Soul Heart but a Steel/Fairy type with great bulk, naturally high Special Attack, and a stupidly vast movepool was probably going to be extremely good anyhow. In a similar vein Pokemon like :swampert: barely have an Ability but still prove useful regardless. Overall, however, it often seems that the best Pokemon are those that are rounded out with a similarly good ability, or even make it because of that ability alone.

3 : Well for starters :astrolotl:, :clefable:, :toxapex:, :slowking:, :cinderace:, :tornadus-therian: and :krilowatt: wouldn't be nearly as strong as they are now without their respective abilities, while the likes of :fidgit:, :rillaboom:, and :pelipper: only exist because of the unique niche their abilities provide. CAP being designed around their abilities so often means most wouldn't really work the same without them, and even small changes could have dramatic effects. :equilibra: without Levitate would strip away a very prominent and powerful Ground Immunity while also worsening its longevity as Spikes are now able to take their toll. :stratagem: would suffer a similar fate even if Technician isn't a bad ability. As for viable CAP that don't rely on their abilities... there aren't too many. I'd wager the best CAP that doesn't need an ability is :kerfluffle:. Yes Natural Cure is really good, but at the end of the day it's a 119 Base Speed 115 Special Attack Fairy/Fighting Poke, that's the best part about it. Not that it wouldn't be worse, but it'd still be a fantastic offensive Fairy. Non-CAP would probably be :magearna: as I previously mentioned, :zapdos: as its abilities are second to its fantastic defensive/offensive qualities (ditto for :moltres: as well, though not to the same extent), and :ferrothorn: as its still going to be an annoying defensive roadblock even without Iron Barbs.

I'd say practically all Pokemon would be worse with a harmful ability, though it depends on the ability. Give anything Truant and its worse. Give an offensive Poke Defeatist or Slow Start and its worse. Pokemon relies on its Speed? Give it Stall and its worse. Likes to have items? Give it Klutz and its worse. Like moves that are not Normal type? You get the idea. The more interesting question is which could still be viable. Blissey stands out as something like Slow Start would honestly be better in some regards as it gives it an even slower Teleport.

5 : I too would like to entertain the idea that our ability-centric Pokemon should focus on its ability as soon as possible. Less satirically, if we didn't do this we would be really be kicking ourselves for it later. I fear settling on a typing before the ability is already making strides towards deciding what kind of ability we're going to have, and at the very least will be in the minds of the community (i.e. the "I want [X]/[Y] typing because it might work really well as [ARCHETYPE] with [BAD ABILITY] so I'm going to submit [X/Y] typing without mentioning why exactly!" sort of thinking even if unintentional), prior to actually getting to the Ability Stage.
 

DougJustDoug

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Truant has been mentioned a lot as an example of an ability that is so defective that it has no upside at all, except for a weird case like against Wandering Spirit. But I want to point out a Truant mon that I think is a great example of the spirit of this concept, although in a very narrow metagame -- Battle Tower Durant. In Battle Tower singles, Truant Durant is so powerful that it was argued for a time that streaks achieved with Durant leads should be categorized separately from other streaks. Basically, Truant Durant is so good, it was the Battle Tower equivalent of Uber.

In the unique battling conditions of the Battle Tower, when combined with the move Entrainment, a Choice Scarf, and Durant's naturally very high speed -- Truant is not "defective" at all. In fact, the ability Truant is Durant's most powerful weapon. I am not exaggerating to say that even if Durant had access to some obscenely good ability like Wonder Guard, people would still use Truant in the Battle Tower -- precisely because when used in combination with Scarf Entrainment, Truant Durant teams become virtually unbeatable.

I am not saying we can duplicate something like Truant Durant here in CAP. Like I said already, the uniquely narrow conditions of battle facility singles play allows gimmicks like Truant Durant to work really well sometimes. But I am pointing out how, even a completely defective ability like Truant, on the right pokemon, in the right metagame, with the right stats, moves, and teammates -- can be amazing because of its "bad" ability, not in spite of it.

And that's the spirit of this concept that I hope we can achieve in some way on this CAP. A pokemon with an ability that would be a hindrance on most pokemon, but on CAP 29, it is good, in part, because of its ability, not in spite of it.
 
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Fluffy and Gorilla Tactics are both very good abilities. The one user of Gorilla Tactics was banned for it being too powerful, and Fluffy's halving of contact damage is an extremely good effect even though it comes with a Fire weakness and would see use even on mons that are 4x weak to Fire. Harmful abilities should be abilities a Pokemon would rather not have, not abilities that have any negative affect at all.

I agree, a harmful ability should be an ability a Pokémon rather not have and while I’m not advocating for either fluffy or gorilla tactics I think properly controlled they both apply. If for example you replace clefable’s magic guard with gorilla tactics clefables best attributes are effectively neutered in exchange for a very respectable but not overwhelming attacking power. I personally would call that a negative trade off and believe you’d be more likely to see unaware clef than this.
 

Jho

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1) How can we define a "generally harmful ability"? What are some metrics to define it? Are comparisons with neutral abilities helpful?
I would define a harmful ability as one with purely downsides, however, there are extremely few of these. Things such as Defeatist, Slow Start, and Truant are few and far between and 2 of these are just stat modifiers so exploring how to make them work is relatively straight forward and wouldn't provide too much discussion in my opinion. I think Neutral abilities actually do fit into the scope of this project as next-to-no ability is still detrimental to the Pokemon and something that has to be worked around. It can be just as interesting to explore what makes something with "no ability" viable, a great Pokemon to look at for this is Zarude, which while not exactly S tier does have its niche and uses in SS OU and CAP despite having essentially no ability.

Another way to look at this concept is to take a generally "bad" double edged sword ability and accentuate the good edge. Abilities such as Stall, Emergency Exit, Klutz, etc would be examples of abilities that fit this method. I think using abilities such as these opens up a lot more room for discussion about how to best use a "bad ability", what makes it bad, how to get the most out of it despite this and ultimately understand the value of abilities more. This also fits best with the following line from the concept:

Description: This Pokemon manages to work around an ability that is generally considered harmful, and is viable, or even better for it.

So I guess I would define abilities which fit this concept as Strictly Negative, Neutral, or bad abilities with potential upsides. Of these I think the latter has the most potential for in-depth discussions.

2) How much of a drawback is a negative ability? How much, would you say, do Pokemon generally rely on their abilities to be viable?
I went over my thoughts on the first half of this question above so will skip over it here but the second point is obviously and extreme case by case basis. Obviously good abilities make Pokemon better, but Pokemon with good abilities can still falter, and those with less than stellar ones can still be viable in OU based tiers. However, I think strictly negative abilities have an exponential effect on Pokemon that would be otherwise good. Slaking and Archeops come to mind here.

Pokemon with neutral or double edged abilities are far more variable on their viability though, and tend to be reliant on their other charecteristics. Mega Gallade for example saw quite a bit of use in SM CAP despite having effectively no ability, Keldeo has an ability with no upside for it and dominated the OU metagame for 2 generations etc. I don't think its possible to draw a direct line from ability = viable because of these factors and we should absolutely avoid doing so. Ability can for sure play a big role in a Pokemon's viability but whether or not its make or break for the Pokemon heavily depends on the surrounding factors.

To look at how much a Pokemons "bad ability" holds them back we can look at AAA to see how viable Pokemon with bad or negative abilities would be with better ones, and for example Arceheops sit in A+ in that metagame with Magic Guard, while the aforementioned Zarude is in A utilising abilities such as Tough Claws, Poison Heal, and Grassy Surge. Slaking, when it existed prior to Generation 8, was banned from this metagame. It's really interesting to see how such Pokemon perform without their downsides and would definitely be relevant to look at and think about for this concept.

3) Which Pokemon in the CAP metagame rely on their abilities? Which ones don't rely on them much at all? Do any have actively harmful abilities? And finally, which highly viable CAP metagame threats would lose their viability if burdened with a negative ability? Conversely, which ones might still be viable, even with a negative ability?
Looking at CAPs might not be the most relevant metric for this since they tend to be hyper designed in a way where every stage synergizes with the others which would definitely influence how reliant or not they are on their abilities. That being said there are a few outliers which stick out - the biggest one being Smokomodo.

Smokomodo does not use Technician despite being apart of the Ability Actualization concept, and only gets minimal use out of Blaze due to how fast it kills itself with Flare Blitz recoil. Despite this Smokomodo had a niche in both pre-Equilibra SM CAP and early SS CAP. This was due to it having a generally good defensive typing for the metagame threats, as well as good utility in the form of Stallbreaking with Toxic and Taunt, as well as access to Stealth Rock.

There are a few CAPs which have an ability that doesn't actively harm nor boost their viability such as Necturna, Kerfluffle, and to some extent Cyclohm that all still manage to find use every now and then, even if they arent the pinnacle of viability. Absolutely no CAPs have a directly harmful ability, although you can argue that Snaelstrom having Poison Heal making it not able to use Heavy Duty Boots is a downside. But since it doesnt use Torrent as a result of this, it would need something else (recovery) before it using Poison Heal would be a complete downside.

4) What are some Pokemon in other metagames (past and present) that have harmful abilities? How do they find viability in their respective tiers? How do these Pokemon even function: do they work with their ability, or work around it?
I've touched on this point here and there throughout this post so won't go fully into it again but instead just reiterate that what makes a Pokemon viable is the roles and niches which it fills - if its ability allows it to fill more of these it the ability will of course increase is viability, however, if it can fill a niche well without an ability or despite a negative one (Zarude/ Suicide Lead Arhceops respectively), the detrimental ability wont impact its ability to fulfil that and thus it will still be viable.

5) As per this PRC thread, there is a current proposal about allowing the CAP process to switch around its process to better suit the concept. As a result, the moderators have given me permission to ask this question: do you think Primary Ability Discussion should come before Typing Discussion? Why or why not?
Not doing Ability first with this concept makes no sense; you cant account for a negative ability in prior stages if you dont know what the downsides are. Ability should 100% be the first stage
 
I'd like to bring some discussion on how to execute the last question:
5) As per this PRC thread, there is a current proposal about allowing the CAP process to switch around its process to better suit the concept. As a result, the moderators have given me permission to ask this question: do you think Primary Ability Discussion should come before Typing Discussion? Why or why not?​
First, yes, I think Primary Ability Discussion should come before Typing Discussion. Choosing typing blindly, before any real decision has been made on what ability we want to pursue, or what direction we want to go in with that ability, opens up the possibility of picking a typing that then doesn't at all interact with, or even conflicts with, the chosen ability. With a concept so focused on exploring the effects of the ability, it would be best to decide the ability first, then discuss what kinds of typings can bring out certain interesting interactions that we want to explore.

What I want to discuss is Bughouse's proposal of moving up the other ability stages, or at least determining whether we want more than just our primary ability. To quote:
I think that means we even need to do so in terms of the secondary and flavor abilities, since there's a possibility we could choose 2 defective abilities, as well as the consideration that having any other abilities available (even totally neutral ones like Illuminate) inherently offers the option to avoid the harmful ability. I think all of that is more important to nail down first before we ever turn to typing and the rest.
I agree that, with such an ability-centered concept, fully hammering out what exactly we are doing with all of the abilities, even if it just deciding there will not be any other abilities before the primary, is very important. One way this could work out is the following order:
Concept Assessment -> Primary Ability Discussion/Poll -> Concept Assessment Sequel -> Determine Existence of Other Abilities -> Secondary/Flavor Ability Discussions/Polls, if necessary -> Typing Discussion
A potential drawback with this specific ordering is that this could shut the door early on any potentially interesting combinations that don't get brought up during the Concept Assessment sequel. In addition, the Concept Assessment sequel might now get burdened with both how to deal with the primary ability and what to do about other abilities, although you could separate these into two different discussions.
Regardless of the ordering of the stages, I think getting a completely clear picture of what we are doing with our ability(s) is very important, and moving up all of the ability stages, not just Primary Ability, is very helpful for this.
 
1) How can we define a "generally harmful ability"? What are some metrics to define it? Are comparisons with neutral abilities helpful?

I think that as mentioned a few times already, there's a wide range of "generally harmful." There's the absolutely detrimental- Slow Start, Defeatist, Truant- that have absolutely no upside realistically. There's the useless or mostly useless abilities- doubles specific abilities, Run Away or Pickup type abilities, or ones that are just so incredibly niche that they don't realistically matter and don't really boost a mon in any way- Frisk, Forewarn, Tangled Feet, etc. The final sort of category is the double edged ones, so to speak- Emergency Exit, Stall, Klutz and the like. There's also the fact that we can sort of engineer situational abilities to be bad- a Simple mon that only gets something like Close Combat.


2) How much of a drawback is a negative ability? How much, would you say, do Pokemon generally rely on their abilities to be viable?

Using what I talked about above- the absolutely detrimental ones tend to be a huge drawback. Regigigas is terrible mostly thanks to Slow Start. Same with Slaking and Truant, and Archeops with Defeatist. Strictly detrimental and negative abilities would take a lot to circumvent during this process, and I'm quite unsure about how successful we'd be picking one of these designed directly to cripple mons. The other stuff tends to tie more into the idea that Jho mentioned earlier- abilities are only one part of a mon, and a lot has been successful without an ability that has any impact.


I'm also in support of moving ability to first up in this process- doesn't really make much sense to not have ability first in a concept that is so entirely dominated by that decision.
 
1) How can we define a "generally harmful ability"? What are some metrics to define it? Are comparisons with neutral abilities helpful?
https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Category:Abilities_with_negative_effects
I'm mostly pulling from this list but there are more as well. I think all of these abilities that lead to concept-fulfilling directions fall into 3 categories:

1. Purely negative. No clear positives whatsoever outside of giving it to the opponent. This route is more about overcoming the flaws of the stage by excelling elsewhere rather than harnessing it. I'd consider Defeatist and Truant some examples of this.

2. Half bad. These abilities are unfortunate, but they have a positive element that can be used, or a double-edged quality to the negative that can be harnessed in some situations. The negative element of these heavily outweighs the positive. These are flexible as you can choose to ignore the positive and tackle it like a purely negative concept, or fully lean into the positive element and minimize the negative. Id consider Slow Start, Stall, Normalize, and Klutz to be examples of this.

3. Awkward. This creates a mon that usually revolves entirely around its ability, hindered less by its ability being bad but more by being a victim to improper activation leading to being forced out. This is similar to the half bad concepts where you can lean fully into the positives so activating it correctly is a huge payoff, or you can choose to play down the positive aspects and leave it as mostly a hinderance to be overcame by excelling in other fields. Id consider Color Change, Emergency Exit, Perish Body and Weak Armor to be examples of this.

I dont think its super helpful to compare the "badness" of the bad abilities to NCA abils like Run Away. A lot of the awkward tier and even half-bad tier are more useful when utilized a little. The abilities are difficult to order from best to worst, since they all have different ceilings and floors. I think its better to compare the positives and negatives inside the ability itself.

The awkward abilities are definitely the least harmful of the bunch, but they still greatly dictate what your Pokemon is able to do and can be a game-loser when activating, so I'd still consider them to be fitting. Half-bad abilities without the criteria that the negative element heavily outweighs the positive (like Sheer Force, Solar Power, Unaware, Dry Skin)- it starts to become disingenuous to the project imo. If we go the NCA route, I think it would be a waste of the process as the most mild exploration possible.


Also, Im down to do ability first for the reasons already mentioned in the thread
 
2) Most Pokemon either rely on their ability or don't need it at all imo. Dialga would be equally effective if its ability were Run Away instead of Pressure simply based on stats and movepool, for instance, while a strong ability can cover a multitude of weaknesses elsewhere. There are a few mons defined entirely by their ability though, and that seems more interesting to me than just trying to make a functional Slaking or Regigigas by slapping high stats and good moves on.

5) Ability discussion should come first in a concept that revolves entirely around having a certain ability
 

Zephyr2007

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1) How can we define a "generally harmful ability"? What are some metrics to define it? Are comparisons with neutral abilities helpful?

I think what constitutes as a "generally harmful ability" is pretty easy to define: it's an ability that a Pokemon would rather have no ability than having the harmful ability. Truant, Defeatist and Slow Start are some good examples of this, as are Stall and Klutz. However, there's an interesting ground to explore with abilities that are either amazing or awful, depending on the build of the specific Pokemon. An example that comes to mind is Weak Armor on Mandibuzz and Vullaby. Mandibuzz is a defensive pivot that would be kinda awful if it used Weak Armor, due to the Defense drops interfering in its role as a defensive pivot, and chooses to run the less-than-stellar abilities that are Big Pecks and Overcoat. However, LC Vullaby makes amazing use of Weak Armor, as the speed boosts from getting attacked help shore up its middling speed tier, and it's natural bulk means that its able to live most physical hits, even Super Effective ones. Its Nasty Plot set specifically makes great use of Weak Armor, as physical hits that don't kill it turn Vullaby into a speed monster that is very scary to face. Exploring how some abilities that would usually be terrible on a Pokemon and making them an essential part of this mon's purpose, or even vice-versa, seems like a fun way to explore this concept.

2) How much of a drawback is a negative ability? How much, would you say, do Pokemon generally rely on their abilities to be viable?
I don't think there are too many "good" Pokemon with neg. abilities that we can make a case study out of with regards how much of a drawback they are, but there is one example in Golisopod, who would be an amazing pokemon if not for its ability in Emergency Exit. From Golisopod alone, we can assume that negative abilities have the potential to completely ruin a Pokemon's viability, so imo it's ideal for us to not do an "absolutely detrimental" ability if we want to not overpower it in every other stage.
 

Estronic

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How can we define a "generally harmful ability"? What are some metrics to define it? Are comparisons with neutral abilities helpful?
I believe that the best way to define a generally harmful ability would be an ability that negatively affects the user with no additional effect that compensates for it. Moreover, a generally harmful ability would also negative affect the user so much that the user would be better at performing its role if it had no ability at all. For an obvious example, if Archeops had no ability at all instead of being forced to have Defeatist, it would be able to more freely stay on the field without juggling the need to stay above half HP while also having to break through the opposing team. Since most of these types of abilities are meant to hold the user down, comparing such abilities to neutral abilities aren't really helpful because both types of abilities have different purposes for being on specific Pokemon.
How much of a drawback is a negative ability?
The best way for me to answer this is to show how impactful Slow Start is on Regigigas and its viability. Besides its ability, it looks to be an amazing physical wallbreaker with additional all-around bulkiness and a fairly diverse movepool as well. However, with Slow Start crippling its capabilities for five turns, Regigigas finds itself all the down in ZU. Despite methods to stall those five turns out, it's still incredibly difficult to keep in due to being forced out by potential checks and counters, not to mention the fact that such methods involve filling up half or more than half of its moveset, making its diverse movepool fairly irrelevant to its viability. If we use Regigigas as an example when creating CAP 29, we can conclude that a generally harmful ability can reduce the viability of a Pokemon in many ways, most notably crippling its main and potentially only role and forcing it to run moves for the sole purpose of attempting and usually not fully succeeding in trying to counteract the negative effects of its ability.

I'll (hopefully) answer the rest of the questions later.
 
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