CAP 29 - Part 1 - Concept Assessment

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Dogfish44

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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.
Very quick "emphasis mine" here, as I'm curious - why have you logged Defeatist as strictly negative, whilst logging Slow Start as double-edged - what sort of distinction can be drawn between the two abilities? At a glance to me, they look similar (conditional weakening), just with different enough conditions that I'd love to know the thought process.

e: As to not clog the thread further, pipotchi quickly pinged me their rationale - Slow Start by definition slows, and being a lower speed in some cases being slower can be beneficial to a Pokémon. That justifies the difference in my head happily :-)

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More generally: Trying to define a 'bad ability' in a vacuum is tricky - especially as we're sort of trying to play up the stronger aspects of a 'bad' ability. The closest I can get (and this process is making me understand why physicists have spherical cows...) is "in a vacuum of Pokémon which have access to a highly restrictive movepool consisting of effectless STABs, a bad abiity is one where a Pokémon would rather have a neutral ability like Illuminate over the ability".
 
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Rabia

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1) I've seen some discussion surrounding abilities like Illuminate being bad because they don't contribute positively to a Pokemon; I disagree really strongly with this and think that bad abilities should be limited to those that directly inhibit a Pokemon, i.e. Slow Start and Defeatist. I also think that Color Change needs to stop being referenced as a bad ability like, now; it's very situational in terms of being good or bad and largely depends on what you expect the function of the Pokemon in question to be.

The issue with going too in-depth w.r.t. Color Change is that the only Pokemon with it---Kecleon---has never been good, but I attribute this to stats rather than the ability. The only setting I have experience with Kecleon in is ADV NU, and I can say with certainty that it's not a net negative ability. Complicating how special wallbreakers can play into Kecleon is a fantastic boon for it; foes like Haunter, Flareon, and Wailord are significantly less problematic for it because they cannot spam their primary attacks as easily because of Color Change. Sure, for more offensively oriented sets it can be obnoxious losing your STAB on Return/Frustration or whatever move you opt for, but overall I think the notion that this is an objectively bad ability is a bad one.

When talking about neutral abilities, I think they should be out of the question entirely. No one can tell me that giving something with the stats of Regigigas or Slaking Run Away as opposed to what it currently has would be anything but an upgrade. With these two examples, they're quite literally held back entirely by their ability (a case can be made for movepool too for Regigigas, especially before its Generation 8 "buffs," but the fact they felt inclined to try to help it out at all speaks volumes about how influential ability has been for its viability).

The point I'm trying to make here is that there's a lot more to classifying abilities as bad/neutral/useless or whatever label you want; looking at more than just the negatives is very important.

2) It's an extreme drawback. As we look back at previous generations, the closest a Pokemon has gotten to OU with a bad ability is Slaking in Generation 3 when it was tiered UUBL. However, do remember that UUBL in Generation 3 is NOT to be confused with UUBL in literally any other generation; back then, it also meant "any Pokemon conceivably viable/usable in OU" (or something to that extent); it's a relatively loose definition, and I don't think we should read too far into what that meant for Slaking overall. Beyond this example, the only other Pokemon I can think of is Archeops in Generation 5 RU; bad abilities have otherwise held Pokemon to NU or below because of how much an ability generally provides a Pokemon, be it immunities to typing/status, damage buffs, or what have you.

3) There is not a single Pokemon in CAP with a bad ability; hell, pretty much every single one has an upper level good ability. The closest example I can think of to one with simply a useless ability is Necturna given Forewarn is very, very situationally useful. I think this is our best example of a Pokemon that doesn't rely on ability to function properly, and this generation we've seen Necturna nosedive in viability due to nerfs from Generation 7 and the loss of Z-Moves. In terms of Pokemon that'd suffer from a bad ability... uh, all of them. Unsure what to do with this question beyond state the obvious; a bad ability will hold a Pokemon back to a significant degree unless you give it stats and movepool cracked to hell and back.

4) The easiest example for me to note would be Archeops in past generations of NU. Defeatist absolutely sucks for it because it's a wallbreaker, and as a result we've seen it adapt by running utility-based sets. Be it sets that invest heavily in HP to avoid getting into Defeatist range for as long as possible or simply going exclusively for early-game impact with a suicide lead set, Archeops generally is unable to take maximum advantage of its fantastic offensive stats and reasonably good movepool. Golisopod is an interesting case too given it was rather solid in RU last generation and remains a good NU pick now; because of Emergency Exit, you have to very carefully manage its HP to avoid losing insane momentum, and so to offset this we saw it use Sitrus Berry to stay out of ability range last generation. Golisopod got access to Heavy-Duty Boots this generation, and honestly the buff wasn't that great given its insane Knock Off vulnerability.

5) Yes. Establishing ability for an ability-based concept quite literally could be one of the most logical decisions ever made.
 
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I'm new to this, but I'll try:

1- I think the idea of "generally harmful" means the ability was made to nerf the Pokémon in some way, be it competitively or for the base game itself. The latter can be exemplified by abilities such as Klutz, which were given to early game mons like Buneary and Woobat. In competitive, the examples that come to mind as the most clear are Slow Start and Truant, which considerably nerf Pokémon that could otherwise be threats (such as Slaking and Regigigas).
As for neutral abilities, while not necessarily harmful, still can leave something to be desired. Having an ability that synergizes well with a mon is way better than one that simply does nothing useful, even if it does nothing bad either.

2- Drawbacks range for me. They can either be something that you should try to be mindful of (like Defeatist) or something that is always a nuisance (like Truant). The first is an avoidable problem that can still allow a mon to work (even if it's just on lower tiers), while the second is a massive nerf that makes a mon really easy to predict.
As for reliance on abilities, some Pokémon can work regardless of ability, but it all depends on the current meta. I do remember Cinderace being viable even on the early days of Gen 8 OU since it probably had some tools that allowed it to work even without access to Libero. Additionally, a bunch of mons that would otherwise be useless can get a niche somewhere thanks to their abilities (Venipede in Gen 6 PU, which has Speed Boost, is the example that comes to my mind).

3- I'm not too familiar with CAP myself, but I like the example brought up earlier of Syclant using its ability as a way to avoid Stealth Rock damage, which otherwise would cripple it hard. The original niche intended for Colossoil seemed to be complemented by its Rebound ability too.

4- I do remember some Lopunny in lower tiers using Klutz to counter Trick/Switcheroo or safely hand out harmful items to its foes. In this example however, it's just a tiny niche. Still, I think it's an example of a mon working with its abilities.

5- I think doing an ability choice first would give us a direction for the project sooner, since it looks to me like we want to design a mon around a certain ability/set of abilities.
 
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Birkal

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I’d like to gently remind everyone to not polljump by talking about specific abilities. If you bring it up as an example for a sentence, you’re ok. But if you write a whole paragraph on one ability, you’ve gone too far; back it up. Multiple contributors have done this so far, so I just wanted to flag it now. There will be PLENTY of opportunity to discuss all abilities in depth in the upcoming Primary Ability Discussion. We’ve got bigger fish to fry right now.

Speaking of, due to the unanimous approval here, we will run Primary Ability stages before Typing stages for CAP29. Feel free to keep chatting about it if you think this is a bad idea. But otherwise, let’s lock it in.

I’ve got two more questions to ask. Feel free to address these, the previous questions, or respond to another use in this thread.
6) I’m not very interested in putting specific abilities into specific baskets (categories) at this point in the process. That’ll come in the next few days. For now, I want to know which basket we should be choosing from, and why. Or even more compelling: which basket(s) do you think we should avoid for CAP29? There is a lot that goes into an entire CAP process, so you might want to consider how each basket might bring something new to the table at each stage, and how some might severely limit us. How do “only bad” abilities affect typing? How do “double edged” abilities affect which movesets can be run? Are all of these baskets even pro-concept? These are the kinds of questions we need to dig into right now.​
7) We’ve seen some discussion about the nature of transferring or sharing our ability through Entrainment or Skill Swap. I think it might be advisable to make a decision on these moves in this thread. Is shifting around abilities pro- or anti-concept? Why?

Keep the conversations coming! You are all amazing people. It’s been a joy to read your thoughts thus far.
 
I think Entrainment could be a pro-concept move. If we make a mon based on a certain ability, it may be able to use it effectively, but a Poke not designed around it would most likely have problems with it, so passing abilities sounds like a good way to cripple foes.

Perhaps this could be a thing to consider when choosing the project's main direction.
 
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I’d like to gently remind everyone to not polljump by talking about specific abilities. If you bring it up as an example for a sentence, you’re ok. But if you write a whole paragraph on one ability, you’ve gone too far; back it up. Multiple contributors have done this so far, so I just wanted to flag it now. There will be PLENTY of opportunity to discuss all abilities in depth in the upcoming Primary Ability Discussion. We’ve got bigger fish to fry right now.

Speaking of, due to the unanimous approval here, we will run Primary Ability stages before Typing stages for CAP29. Feel free to keep chatting about it if you think this is a bad idea. But otherwise, let’s lock it in.

I’ve got two more questions to ask. Feel free to address these, the previous questions, or respond to another use in this thread.
6) I’m not very interested in putting specific abilities into specific baskets (categories) at this point in the process. That’ll come in the next few days. For now, I want to know which basket we should be choosing from, and why. Or even more compelling: which basket(s) do you think we should avoid for CAP29? There is a lot that goes into an entire CAP process, so you might want to consider how each basket might bring something new to the table at each stage, and how some might severely limit us. How do “only bad” abilities affect typing? How do “double edged” abilities affect which movesets can be run? Are all of these baskets even pro-concept? These are the kinds of questions we need to dig into right now.​
7) We’ve seen some discussion about the nature of transferring or sharing our ability through Entrainment or Skill Swap. I think it might be advisable to make a decision on these moves in this thread. Is shifting around abilities pro- or anti-concept? Why?

Keep the conversations coming! You are all amazing people. It’s been a joy to read your thoughts thus far.
6) I think that the baskets said by pip are all acceptable with the exception of akward abilities, who are mostly just underated abilities. A basket of abilities that Should absolutely be banned are abilities with no effect. When I refer to this I mean abilities that straight up do nothing such as illuminate or run away. We point of this concept is to make a Mon whose ability's downsides outweighs its good sides, and having an ability who doesn't actively weaken a Mon sounds very anti concept.

7) This is an interesting question. While I can support ways of using the bad ability to our favor, such as giving it to our opponent just like truant Durant has done in the past, We should absolutely avoid any ways that may lead to getting rid of the bad ability. The whole point of this CAP is working around a bad ability and if we gave the mon a way to get around it easily the whole working around its downsides would be ditched out. Giving the opponent our ability is fine as long as we don't get rid of it in the process. For that, moves like role play and skill swap should be banned.

Edit:Upon discussion on discord I have changed my mind on moves like entrainment. It may be very limiting as one may choose the ability with consideration of using it to pass bad abilities to others. In other to prevent this move from clogging up discussions or derailing from the concept Entretainment discussion should be banned until the movepool stage comes around.
 
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quziel

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I’d like to gently remind everyone to not polljump by talking about specific abilities. If you bring it up as an example for a sentence, you’re ok. But if you write a whole paragraph on one ability, you’ve gone too far; back it up. Multiple contributors have done this so far, so I just wanted to flag it now. There will be PLENTY of opportunity to discuss all abilities in depth in the upcoming Primary Ability Discussion. We’ve got bigger fish to fry right now.

Speaking of, due to the unanimous approval here, we will run Primary Ability stages before Typing stages for CAP29. Feel free to keep chatting about it if you think this is a bad idea. But otherwise, let’s lock it in.

I’ve got two more questions to ask. Feel free to address these, the previous questions, or respond to another use in this thread.
6) I’m not very interested in putting specific abilities into specific baskets (categories) at this point in the process. That’ll come in the next few days. For now, I want to know which basket we should be choosing from, and why. Or even more compelling: which basket(s) do you think we should avoid for CAP29? There is a lot that goes into an entire CAP process, so you might want to consider how each basket might bring something new to the table at each stage, and how some might severely limit us. How do “only bad” abilities affect typing? How do “double edged” abilities affect which movesets can be run? Are all of these baskets even pro-concept? These are the kinds of questions we need to dig into right now.​
7) We’ve seen some discussion about the nature of transferring or sharing our ability through Entrainment or Skill Swap. I think it might be advisable to make a decision on these moves in this thread. Is shifting around abilities pro- or anti-concept? Why?

Keep the conversations coming! You are all amazing people. It’s been a joy to read your thoughts thus far.

6) which basket(s) do you think we should avoid for CAP29?
I think that we should be fairly permissive when looking at abilities, if only to increase the diversity of the ability stage. A fully hardline approach (that is, only taking abilities that have no upsides whatsoever) would limit us to perhaps 3-4 abilities total, which is not something I'd like to inflict upon Tada. I think that a very permissive approach, looking at any ability that falls under the following definition would be better for both the running of the project, and the resulting product.

"Our Ability should impose a substantial constraint in many battles that would not be there with a different ability."

This broader definition of any ability that forces you to take on that negative constraint does include some traditionally "good" abilities, but it is general enough to include all of our bad abilities, and frankly, if you are specifically working with and around the downsides of a "good" ability in such a way that the downsides are present, I think you are fulfilling the spirit of the concept. Aka I fully agree with the "Double-Edged" + "Traditionally Bad" set as our training set.

7) Is shifting around abilities pro- or anti-concept? Why?

I am sorta of a mixed bag with this, because I think stuff like Skill Swap is absolutely just ignoring the concept, but Entrainment really does let you leverage these bad abilities in a way that wouldn't be possible without them. You only have to look to BH and DJD's example to see a few being used that way. Overall fairly ambivalent, would recommend hard banning Skill Swap, and only carefully looking at Entrainment.
 
7) Is shifting around abilities pro- or anti-concept? Why?
I think it depends on the moves that we use to shift abilities. Role Play and Skill Swap are absolutely anti-concept, as they remove our bad ability. Entrainment, while still giving the opponent our bad ability, doesn't lead to us losing said ability, so I think it should be fine.
 
6) which basket(s) do you think we should avoid for CAP29?
I'm mostly echoing Gekokeso's opinion that the basket of completely neutral abilities (as in, abilities with no impact in-battle whatsoever) should be avoided. A Pokemon that essentially functions abilityless is interesting in itself, but it's also not pro-concept because, by the nature of being neutral, it doesn't really do anything for the Pokemon, and the Pokemon doesn't really do anything to work around it if it's not being actively impeded or constrained in some way. Other than that, I generally agree with quziel on casting a wide net for any ability with a notable drawback that constrains how you would otherwise act in battle. This include completely negative abilities (no upsides whatsoever), as well as double-edged abilities (good and bad traits together). I do think care has to be given to double-edge abilities, as some of these double-edged abilities are already taken advantage of for their good traits while having the negative traits mostly ignored, and if we choose to work with a double-edged ability, we need to make sure that we don't fall in this pattern in order to stay on concept.

7) Is shifting around abilities pro- or anti-concept? Why?
I pretty much completely agree with what quziel said: Role Play and Skill Swap are completely ignoring the ability and the concept by replacing the bad ability, and should be off the table. Entrainment is different because it is actually working with the ability in a way that can really only be done with that ability, but a Pokemon that can invalidate what's in front of it by using its ability to completely cripple the opponent can turn really dangerous, and it also potentially risks overshadowing how the Pokemon interacts with the ability outside of spamming Entrainment. We need to be very careful with Entrainment. At the very least, I think it needs to be carefully evaluated in at least the Concept Assessment sequel, when we can better determine how it will interact with our ability, and any decision we make on an ability cannot be completely dependent on its interaction with Entrainment.
 
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6) I’m not very interested in putting specific abilities into specific baskets (categories) at this point in the process. That’ll come in the next few days. For now, I want to know which basket we should be choosing from, and why. Or even more compelling: which basket(s) do you think we should avoid for CAP29? There is a lot that goes into an entire CAP process, so you might want to consider how each basket might bring something new to the table at each stage, and how some might severely limit us. How do “only bad” abilities affect typing? How do “double edged” abilities affect which movesets can be run? Are all of these baskets even pro-concept? These are the kinds of questions we need to dig into right now.​
7) We’ve seen some discussion about the nature of transferring or sharing our ability through Entrainment or Skill Swap. I think it might be advisable to make a decision on these moves in this thread. Is shifting around abilities pro- or anti-concept? Why?
When it comes to the two categories that are being decided on, I definitely think that "double-edged" abilities offer more interesting and nuanced interactions than "only bad" abilities, and part of this has to do with question 7. When abilities designed to only have negatives come into play, the question we ask becomes less "How can we take a bad ability and optimize it" and more "How can we take a bad ability and work around it". While the second Idea isn't neccesarily bad, it also leads to simple solutions such as giving the pokemon amazing traits everywhere else to make up for it, or in the case of question 7, giving the ability to the opposing pokemon. Instead of simply seeing the ability as a flaw, It would be more interesting to have its user be able to gain some benefit out of the ability with some negative drawbacks.

When it comes to transferring or sharing the ability through Entrainment or Skill Swap, I definitely think it starts to become anti-concept if the ability is in the "only bad" category, since the CAP's interaction with its own ability becomes limited to pawning it to the enemy pokemon. However, if it's in the "Double-edged" category, it becomes more interesting, as we can not only optimize this pokemons usage of this ability, but then transfer the ability to weaken other pokemon that are not optimized for it, allowing this pokemon to have a unique style of crippling opponents.
 
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jas61292

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A lot has already been covered as far as what abilities really count as negative ones for the purpose of this concept, so I'm not going to focus on that too much. All I really would say is that I think any ability we pick should, in the abstract, at least, be considered worse than having no ability at all. That's not to say we can't find a way to use it, but if we do the use should be derived from the negative effect.

This sort of bleeds into question 6 a bit, in that I think abilities that are purely negative are the safest route for us to go. That said, I think it is fine to pick an ability that can be used positively, so long as the positive outcome is a niche use of the generally negative effect. An example of this would be using Normalize to hit ground types with Thunder Wave. While Normalize is generally negative, taking advantage of the fact that it technically lets you do something you otherwise could not is a fine way to go about it. Emergency Exit/Wimp Out are another example of this, as being forced out at half health is a single effect, and it is generally negative, but could in theory be used to your own advantage in certain situations. But, I think these sort of double edged abilities are very different from abilities that have separate negative and positive effects.

If an ability has a positive effect that is separate from its negative effect would allow us to maximize how we benefit from the positive and minimize how we are hurt by the negative, and thus I don't think that is what we want. While it is not an ability that I think most people would be thinking of for this concept, a good example to illustrate this is Weak Armor. While it is a generally decent ability, technically, it has a positive and negative effect: raising speed on a hit and lowering defense on a hit. And while they activate simultaneously, it is not a positive that derives from a negative, but a separate positive and negative effect that happen simultaneously. Because this is the case, it is easily possible to envision pokemon where this ability is quite good (ie Aurumoth), but also cases where is is almost purely a hinderance (ie Galarian Corsola). Again, I don't think anyone is trying to say Weak Armor is a negative ability, but this concept is about using a generally negative ability, and I think that any ability that has separate negative and positives effects can likely be optimized in such a way that the ability ends up not being negative at all.

Now, as for question 7, I would just like to state agreement with quziel and others. Anything that gets rid of our own ability seems to me like it is trying to just get out of having to do the concept. But Entrainment, on the other hand can be used to turn something that is negative for us, into something that is negative for our opponent, without stopping it from being a negative for us. And I think that is very much in line with the concept, even if I don't personally find it to be the most interesting way to approach it.
 

Ignus

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Hi all, haven't posted in CAP in a longgg time, so forgive my rusty writing skills.

I don't agree that skill swap and role play should be banned. Even if those moves "remove" those abilities, the ability returns after switching out, AND it still costs a move slot, not to mention it costs a turn to even use the move.

I can't think of any Pokemon that even uses either move in a competitive setting - practically every mon out there would rather have something more objectively beneficial on their moveset. I personally believe that those two moves should be treated like boosting moves; they cost a turn in order to directly benefit the user. They aren't cure-alls, and they are only even remotely viable if the user has a detrimental ability.

Now, I'm not saying that those moves should be on CAP no matter what, all I'm arguing for is that they aren't banned before we've even chosen an ability. I think there's an interesting play-space there that hasn't been explored by CAP before.

It should be considered.
 
1) How can we define a "generally harmful ability"? What are some metrics to define it? Are comparisons with neutral abilities helpful?
I think we can divide abilities in five categories:
  1. Fully harmful abilities: Abilities that do not have any possible upside.
  2. Generally harmful abilities: Abilities that have severe downsides, but also provide some situational upsides. For example, Slow Start or Stall can be advantageous for Pokémon who want to go second.
  3. Abilities that have absolutely no effect in battle: Given that CAP is a project focused on Singles, this also would include abilities created specifically for Doubles such as Healer.
  4. Generally useful abilities with a downside: Abilities that in spite of their strong, broadly applicable effects, have drawbacks that can limit the move selection of a Pokémon or its teammates, or affect how it plays in battle.
  5. Abilities with no major downside: I divide this in two subcategories, powerful abilities, and situational abilities; the former includes abilities with a powerful effect and no downsides (i.e. Adaptability or Magic Guard), while the latter includes abilities that are not very useful, if at all, like Keen Eye, but nonetheless still have an effect that can't really be turned against the user in any consistent way. I do not count situational things like Intimidate weakening Foul Play as a major disadvantage. What subcategory an ability belongs to might depend from the specific Pokémon, compare Pressure on Weavile and on Corviknight, for example.
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?
Although having a negative ability (one that belongs in the first two categories) is a severe disadvantage, a powerful ability is not necessary for a Pokémon to be successful, albeit lacking one usually means that the Pokémon needs to be backed up by good stats or moves. An example would be Keldeo, a Pokémon that gets absolutely no leverage from its ability and in fact is very slightly hindered by it (gets 5HKOd by a STAB Foul Play instead of 11HKOd, an effect that can potentially be augmented by Swagger); despite this, it was a dominant Pokémon through BW2 and XY/ORAS, while maintaining a respectable status in following generations. Other examples, of varying levels of viability, include Zygarde, Swampert, Weavile, Zarude and so on. Similarly, some Pokémon might have access to powerful abilities but might utilize sets that don't let them take advantage of them fully, for example Jirachi without Iron Head, screens Regieleki or Kyurem without Substitute.
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?
I'd say the vast majority of CAPs relies on their ability and possesses a powerful one, this is mostly by design of the creation process of course. The ones that don't can be counted on one hand, basically amounting to Necturna (a deliberate hindrance due to its access to Sketch) and Pyroak (who has a great ability without the stats to actually take advantage of it, and has been reduced to a non-viable wall for a long time). I guess Smokomodo is worth a mention without accounting for Scale Shot, as well. It's obvious that almost every Pokémon would have a greatly reduced, if not completely nullified, viability if they had to use an hindering ability. Even Slow Start/Stall Blissey, a Pokémon that has been cited for taking advantage of the reduced speed with Teleport, would miss Natural Cure a lot, which is one of the reasons why it is an hard Pokémon to wear down.
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?
An example with metagame relevance I can think of is VGC Regigigas, which relies on Weezing to cancel out its hindering ability and is therefore obviously working around it. Another infamous one are Normalize Ghost types in Balanced Hackmons, who take advantage of moves like Entertainment to cripple their opponent and Imposter proof themselves. Golisopod is a Pokémon whose ability, that arguably was not designed with the intention to be crippling, can be used to gain momentum and make Golisopod a pivot; however its poor speed makes it not well fit for the role and ultimately overall crippled by Emergency Exit.
6) I’m not very interested in putting specific abilities into specific baskets (categories) at this point in the process. That’ll come in the next few days. For now, I want to know which basket we should be choosing from, and why. Or even more compelling: which basket(s) do you think we should avoid for CAP29? There is a lot that goes into an entire CAP process, so you might want to consider how each basket might bring something new to the table at each stage, and how some might severely limit us. How do “only bad” abilities affect typing? How do “double edged” abilities affect which movesets can be run? Are all of these baskets even pro-concept? These are the kinds of questions we need to dig into right now.
The first two categories I highlighted are clearly pro-concept, while the third category of "null" abilities is not, I'm echoing other users here. As for the fourth category, good abilities with downsides, it can be pro-concept, but it requires extreme care, and probably unusual design that would magnify the flaws of the ability and minimize its advantages. Not all abilities even lend themselves well to that sort of thing, either. In short I would consider it but probably wouldn't make it the final choice.
7) We’ve seen some discussion about the nature of transferring or sharing our ability through Entrainment or Skill Swap. I think it might be advisable to make a decision on these moves in this thread. Is shifting around abilities pro- or anti-concept? Why?
I do not think it is necessarily anti-concept because of the inherent unreliability of the tactic and the fact it takes up a moveslot (it can be countered simply by switching out and sending in a mon that forces out an uncrippled CAP 29). Not to mention it is possibly the only way to remedy to fully harmful abilities to begin with. I think Entertainment, Role Play and Skill Swap do not warrant being barred so early in the process, especially Entertainment which does not "uncripple" 29 to begin with.
 
I do not think it is necessarily anti-concept because of the inherent unreliability of the tactic and the fact it takes up a moveslot (it can be countered simply by switching out and sending in a mon that forces out an uncrippled CAP 29). Not to mention it is possibly the only way to remedy to fully harmful abilities to begin with. I think Entertainment, Role Play and Skill Swap do not warrant being barred so early in the process, especially Entertainment which does not "uncripple" 29 to begin with.
The problem itself isn't the abilities, is the kind of behaviour they will encourage. If we allow the choosing of the ability to be influenced in its capacity of being changed or transmitted it will lead to conversations that derails from the point of the concept. The main idea of the concept is making the Mon work even if it's bad ability hinders it, getting rid of the ability is quite literally the opposite of what we are trying to do. That why I'm saying to ban then from discussion until the movepool stage, where we can determine if such options would be optimal or sensible.

The idea of just giving up on fully bad abilities is also very wrong. If slaking had pivot moves, archeops wasn't as frail as paper or if regigigas had a role to fullfil in the time it takes for its ability to finish charging, these Mons would be years better. Our mission with this concept is not just make the Mon viable, but to find creative ways in which a Mon can be designed in order to thrive despite the bad conditions it is subjected too and even make use of them. To say it is impossible to make a Mon work with bad abilities without removing them manually is to just give up instead of searching for very doable methods of giving viability to the Pokémon.
 
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2) How much of a drawback is a negative ability?

In terms of abilities that are purely negative (things like Truant and Defeatist, as opposed to ones with positive and negative effects like Comatose), I would say that having a negative ability is a massive drawback in most cases. Most of the Pokémon with these abilities are unviable in the modern metagame, as despite the raw power they can offer, the negative effects of their abilities overcompensate for it. While most OU Pokémon with abilities get a decent amount of power out of them on average, ranging from small boosts to being defined by them, giving up the ability boost for a handicap will definitely require a lot of power to overcome.

I agree with others, like Talpr0ne, that there's an important distinction to be made between situationally-harmful abilities and ones that are just flat-out handicaps. The example that I've seen used for the first is Golisopod; it has good, but not amazing, stats, because it exploits the negative effect of its ability to land more than one First Impression over the course of a battle without losing momentum. I like the idea of the first more, as the second would likely require inflating the CAP's base stats a bit too much to overcome the drawbacks.

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?

The aforementioned Golisopod is an example of a Pokémon that works with its ability, though it's been discussed at length already. A CAP that followed the Golisopod model would use its ability, drawbacks included, to supplement its moveset, perhaps by allowing it to use some function of a move (e.g. Sleep Talk with Comatose) that's normally too situational to otherwise consider.

Slaking is normally a joke, but was able to make decent use of its ability in RSE OU, when its stats were still significantly higher than the average. Slaking is perhaps the biggest example of a Pokémon that works around its negative ability; it uses hit-and-run tactics to partially negate the crippling Truant, and the ability forces it to function in a way that few other Pokémon do.

5) [...] Do you think Primary Ability Discussion should come before Typing Discussion? Why or why not?

This would probably be a good idea, as it'll be easier to design CAP29 around its ability considering the concept.

Is shifting around abilities pro- or anti-concept? Why?
I feel like shifting around abilities would be somewhat anti-concept; instead of working around the ability's handicap and seeing if the CAP could be made viable despite it, it'd just use the ability as a support option to cripple an opposing Pokémon. It's still something to consider, though.
 

-Voltage-

OTTN5
is a Pre-Contributor
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?​
1) A generally harmful ability is an ability you would rather not use if given the option. I don't think there's much more that can really be said that hasn't been said already with regards to this question. I will say though that defining metrics can often be very circumstantial and it's hard to have metrics apply to a variety of different situations, I do think comparisons with "neutral" abilities can be effective, but there's a very fine line when it comes to comparisons. Ultimately I like how Estronic phrased it, as "an ability that has a negative effect with no way to compensate for it". You look at an ability like Fluffy, which make you take x2 damage from fire moves, which may be a significant detrmient... until you realize that Fluffy also halves damage from contact moves. Compare this to something like Defeatist, where the Pokemon with Defeateist literally gains nothing from running this ability, and is actively hampered by it.

2) That said, a drawback of a bad ability does not break a Pokemon into the depths of "Untiered". I mean, yes, you're not going to see something with Truant going to the top of CAP's viability rankings without some SERIOUS compensation, but compensation is possible. But abilities make or break a Pokemon. If we can go to the opposite end of the spectrum and return to Equilibra before it lost Bulletproof, Equilibra was able to use its two extremely useful abilities to its advantage and really be a monster of a Pokemon. Now obviously, EQuilibra's Special Attack was also massive, but my point is that an ability can absolutely make or break a Pokemon. If we want to look at a Pokemon in the CAP metagame that absolutely relies on its ability to me viable, I feel like you can really rely on Rillaboom. While Rillaboom has some decent stats and a solid movepool, the fact that it can self-set Grassy Terrain dramatically increases Rillaboom's viability. but even though this example, a Pokemon is not LOST without its ability, but the ability really supplements the viability of the Pokemon.

3) I sort of already answered this a bit, but Rillaboom really fits this nicely. Without Grassy Terrain, it loses a lot of power for its Wood Hammer, its priority in Grassy Glide, and its marginal recovery. I would also argue that any Regenerator Pokemon will always be worse without Regen (Slows, Astro, Toxapex, etc.). In contrast, there is not one Pokemon on the entire Pokemon on the viability rankings in S or A doesn't use its ability to its advantage in some way. It's only when you get to B+ where you find threats that aren't as dependent on the ability, like Colossoil, Kyurem and eventually Victini and Swampert.
 
6. I think I am in relative agreement with "Our Ability should impose a substantial constraint in many battles that would not be there with a different ability." I feel it roughly encompasses my idea of "ability with downside," in a fairly elegant fashion. I think if the ability has some upside, it could still be interesting to explore how the ability does constrain us. The description of the concept is " This Pokemon manages to work around an ability that is generally considered harmful, and is viable, or even better for it."-- to me that suggests gaining some degree of benefit from the ability is within what the concept specifies.

I think it could be workable to explore the generally negative abilities, although it would be somewhat limiting, perhaps especially in the area of stats. Still, I am not opposed to them as a group, and I think some of them could be interesting to explore.

I am somewhat opposed to the Illuminate-equivalents. They do represent something of a downside in that most pokemon have an at least marginally useful ability, but I would prefer to consider a more significant downside than the opportunity cost of not having something else. Most pokemon could be improved somewhat with at least one other ability. However, few pokemon are truly limited by their ability, which is more interesting to me.

7. I do not like the idea of removing our ability. I think that removing our ability is largely a way to avoid engaging with the ability, which I think is at least, not in the spirit of the concept. If we want to explore a negative ability, we should intend to actually produce something that can't just get rid of its ability at will.

I have somewhat more mixed feelings on spreading the ability, although I feel fairly opposed on the whole. It does not necessarily remove that we still have to deal with our ability, and it could be one of few ways to squeeze some use out of some of the worst of these abilities. However, I feel that for most of the abilities relevant to this concept, it would be either not worth a moveslot to spread it, or would be fairly unhealthy to do so. In particular, I would not want to deal with a pokemon that replicates the BH normalize + entrainment strategy, which would have even less counterplay outside of BH.
 
7) We’ve seen some discussion about the nature of transferring or sharing our ability through Entrainment or Skill Swap. I think it might be advisable to make a decision on these moves in this thread. Is shifting around abilities pro- or anti-concept? Why?
I want to echo, that skill swap and role play are certainly anti concept. Getting rid of the very thing that should define this mon, the instance it comes into battle is a huge cop out and should not be considered.
I also can agree that entrainment doesn’t quite fit this criteria. The mon would still be left with its crippling ability.
But I believe it introduces a certain uncompetitive element into the metagame. Not only have we seen this move paired with crippling abilities being abused in BH to the frustration of any unaware player, i also think, that it severly cripples our ability to design reliable counterplay to CAP29, which is even more concerning.
I think there could be ways to implement it, but imo it’s going to cause more trouble than it’s going to bring meaningful discussion and understanding.
So I I’d say ban Skill Swap, Role Play and Entrainment from discussion.
 

Wulfanator72

Clefable's wish came true!
is a Pre-Contributor
I think Bughouse made a valid and valuable point by instructing us to focus on OU-caliber Pokémon as opposed to Pokémon from lower tiers. This is smart because I would argue the term “harmful ability” has vastly different meanings based on the tier being analyzed. Being OU viable often necessitates a healthy balance between typing, ability, stats, and movepool. Any mon that lacks in one of these categories is greatly compensated in one or more of the other attributes.

A few examples of this would include but are not limited to
  • :Clefable: Clefable’s below average stats get heavily carried by a stellar ability, diverse movepool, and favorable retyping.
  • :Spectrier: Spectrier’s one-dimensional movepool is a non-issue since it has great offensive typing, near unrivaled special attack and speed, and an ability that allows its offensive power to rapidly snowball.
  • :Melmetal: Melmetal’s unimpressive typing as it pertains to its offensive potential gets elevated by an ability that positively impacts both STAB and relevant coverage as well as possessing the third highest base attack in OU, second largest base HP, and the best base defense.
A rudimentary understanding of what constitutes as a “harmful” ability in OU would be a Pokémon having a lesser option and not being compensated for it. It is harmful in the sense that in brings down the overall power-level of the Pokémon in question. These abilities do not actually have to have a purely negative effect for them to impede viability. But seeing as we want to actively shoot ourselves in the foot, it would be beneficial to identify possible ways abilities can negatively impact us.

Pip provided us a great foundation for bad abilitiy categories, but I feel it could be expanded upon. Building off Pip’s list,
Purely Negative/Devastating are abilities that only actively work against the Pokémon using it. The power-level required to elevate a Pokémon to a usable position is unreasonable or forces you to completely abandon the elements they impact. Defeatist and Truant are valid examples, but I would move Slow Start into this category.
Awkward/Unreliable are abilities that are out of the control of the player. Color Change and Emergency Exit are the two that come to mind. Color Change is dependent on the move you are last hit by. More specifically, most of the power this ability has is dependent on matchup and opponent. Emergency Exit is just eject button that is dependent on a damage roll as opposed to just being hit.
Niche/Mechanic Dependent are abilities that could see more reliable use, but their success is limited to specific mechanic interactions. Klutz, Stall, and Normalize all fall into this category. [This is where I would explain the positive interactions these abilities could have, but that is just poll jumping.] The problem with these options is that they are moveset dependent, and movesets are never guaranteed. Without these options, these abilities probably move into the purely negative category.
Give and Take are abilities that have an advantage but also have an associated negative effect with it. Weak Armor, Perish Body, and Hustle all fall into this category. Weak Armor and Hustle are self-explanatory since they grant a boost at the cost of defense and accuracy, respectively. Perish Body activates the Perish Song counter which impacts both players and could result in KOing your own Pokémon.
Self-destructive/Contradictory are abilities that create negative effects for the user based off how they interact with other mechanics. SHSP already mentioned something about Simple + moves that drop the user’s stats. This could also extend to terrain/weather + negatively impacted type or boost from specific type damage + 4x weak.
Redundant/Meaningless are abilities that provide no meaningful contribution to the Pokémon. Abilities that can only be used in double battles, Rotom-Fan Syndrome (Flying + Levitate), and move boosting abilities + no moves that get the boost are all options here.
Expanding the concept to include Give and Take, Self-destructive, and Redundant would create a more meaningful process for us to learn from since there are more routes to explore.
 
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I just wanna say that I feel that we should not consider options that effectively leave us without an ability, because while making a Pokémon that does not rely on an ability to be successful would perhaps be interesting, I absolutely feel it wastes the major opportunity we have with this concept to take a greater risk. I’m not saying we have to go with Truant exactly, but I feel picking a NCA or giving this CAP Rotom-Fan Syndrome is a wasted opportunity for this concept. I like the idea of self-destructive abilities brought up by Wulfanator72 above, though. I would like to caution that if we go this route we should not choose an ability that’s extremely strong and then shoot the rest of the CAP in the foot to make it fit the self-destructive lane, however. In fact, I’d argue that Jumbao as it currently stands outside of it running Solar Beam sees Drought as a self-destructive ability right now, so in a way that is somewhat covered, but I digress.
 

Sputnik

Bono My Tires are Deceased
is a Contributor to Smogon
I think question four is the most interesting here, so...

I feel like a very challenging part of this concept is the idea that we have to make a Pokemon that is viable while also having a detrimental ability. Most Pokemon that have a detrimental ability have been considered to be pretty much unviable in OU metagames. Slaking was OK in Gen 3, and past that most of the other stereotypical "bogged down by their abilities" Pokemon, like Archeops and Regigigas, have been hot garbage by OU standards.

There have been Pokemon that have succeeded in the OU environment with basically a useless ability (Weavile and Keldeo come to mind) but a purely detrimental ability is something that I do not recall ever being truly a staple of the OU environment.

I think Bughouse made a valid and valuable point by instructing us to focus on OU-caliber Pokémon as opposed to Pokémon from lower tiers. This is smart because I would argue the term “harmful ability” has vastly different meanings based on the tier being analyzed. Being OU viable often necessitates a healthy balance between typing, ability, stats, and movepool. Any mon that lacks in one of these categories is greatly compensated in one or more of the other attributes.

A few examples of this would include but are not limited to
  • :Clefable: Clefable’s below average stats gett heavily carried by a stellar ability, diverse movepool, and favorable retyping.
  • :Spectrier: Spectrier’s one-dimensional movepool is a non-issue since it has great offensive typing, near unrivaled special attack and speed, and an ability that allows its offensive power to rapidly snowball.
  • :Melmetal: Melmetal’s unimpressive typing as it pertains to its offensive potential gets elevated by an ability that positively impacts both STAB and relevant coverage as well as possessing the third highest base attack in OU, second largest base HP, and the best base defense.
A rudimentary understanding of what constitutes as a “harmful” ability in OU would be a Pokémon having a lesser option and not being compensated for it. It is harmful in the sense that in brings down the overall power-level of the Pokémon in question. These abilities do not actually have to have a purely negative effect for them to impede viability. But seeing as we want to actively shoot ourselves in the foot, it would be beneficial to identify possible ways abilities can negatively impact us.

Pip provided us a great foundation for bad abilitiy categories, but I feel it could be expanded upon. Building off Pip’s list,
Purely Negative/Devastating are abilities that only actively work against the Pokémon using it. The power-level required to elevate a Pokémon to a usable position is unreasonable or forces you to completely abandon the elements they impact. Defeatist and Truant are valid examples, but I would move Slow Start into this category.
Awkward/Unreliable are abilities that are out of the control of the player. Color Change and Emergency Exit are the two that come to mind. Color Change is dependent on the move you are last hit by. More specifically, most of the power this ability has is dependent on matchup and opponent. Emergency Exit is just eject button that is dependent on a damage roll as opposed to just being hit.
Niche/Mechanic Dependent are abilities that could see more reliable use, but their success is limited to specific mechanic interactions. Klutz, Stall, and Normalize all fall into this category. [This is where I would explain the positive interactions these abilities could have, but that is just poll jumping.] The problem with these options is that they are moveset dependent, and movesets are never guaranteed. Without these options, these abilities probably move into the purely negative category.
Give and Take are abilities that have an advantage but also have an associated negative effect with it. Weak Armor, Perish Body, and Hustle all fall into this category. Weak Armor and Hustle are self-explanatory since they grant a boost at the cost of defense and accuracy, respectively. Perish Body activates the Perish Song counter which impacts both players and could result in KOing your own Pokémon.
Self-destructive/Contradictory are abilities that create negative effects for the user based off how they interact with other mechanics. SHSP already mentioned something about Simple + moves that drop the user’s stats. This could also extend to terrain/weather + negatively impacted type or boost from specific type damage + 4x weak.
Redundant/Meaningless are abilities that provide no meaningful contribution to the Pokémon. Abilities that can only be used in double battles, Rotom-Fan Syndrome (Flying + Levitate), and move boosting abilities + no moves that get the boost are all options here.
Expanding the concept to include Give and Take, Self-destructive, and Redundant would create a more meaningful process for us to learn from since there are more routes to explore.
Just taking Pip's list here is very nice, but I think the primary focus should be on the Give-And-Take, or Double Edged, abilities. Frankly I think it will be more interesting thing to build; instead of just beefing the hell out of something to counteract a purely disadvantaged ability we will have to craft a mon that specifically caters to the strengths of whatever double edged ability it ends up with. I feel like the disadvantages can far outweigh the advantages, but there should definitely be some conceivable upside to whatever ability gets locked in on here.
 
6) I’m not very interested in putting specific abilities into specific baskets (categories) at this point in the process. That’ll come in the next few days. For now, I want to know which basket we should be choosing from, and why. Or even more compelling: which basket(s) do you think we should avoid for CAP29? There is a lot that goes into an entire CAP process, so you might want to consider how each basket might bring something new to the table at each stage, and how some might severely limit us. How do “only bad” abilities affect typing? How do “double edged” abilities affect which movesets can be run? Are all of these baskets even pro-concept? These are the kinds of questions we need to dig into right now.​
7) We’ve seen some discussion about the nature of transferring or sharing our ability through Entrainment or Skill Swap. I think it might be advisable to make a decision on these moves in this thread. Is shifting around abilities pro- or anti-concept? Why?
6.) I think we should definitely avoid abilities that are neutral or could situationally be turned into a positive for the wielder (i.e. Normalize, Klutz, etc.) or serve as a metaphorical contact virus (i.e. Mummy, Wandering Spirit). Abilities discussed for CAP29 should have a strictly negative effect on the wielder. It should be a hindrance, such as Slow Start, Defeatist, etc. We’re not necessarily operating under the umbrella of “bad ability”, because in the right circumstances most abilities could have some sort of downside. We need to operate based specifically on an ability that directly hinders the wielder. After all, the concept of CAP29 is to create a Pokémon that manages to maintain viability despite—and likely because of—an ability that is directly detrimental to it.

7.) I don’t think that spreading the ability is anti-concept, to an extent. I think that entrainment could potentially be very pro-concept, should CAP29 hypothetically become a mon that traps and neuters offensive threats with block/entrainment. This the caveat, though. That is a very specific niche, and it operates by not removing the ability from the wielder, but merely spreading it. Moves such as Skill Swap would be anti-concept in my eyes, as that involves removing the ability from the wielder rather than spreading it. For risk of polljumping or theorymonning I won’t indulge any more of that hypothetical scenario I discussed with block/entrainment, but I definitely think that CAP29 should not operate by removing its own ability. I think removal is very firmly anti-concept, while spreading is potentially quite pro-concept.

Hope this makes sense, somewhat!!
 
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I fairly strongly disagree with the idea that we should prioritize abilities that are purely negative for CAP 29. We already know what the likes of Slow Start and Truant do because we've seen it firsthand. Slaking and Regigigas have stats comparable to Ubers, yet they've been in the lowest of the low tiers for a good five generations now. Bear in mind the concept summary (emphasis added by me):
This Pokemon manages to work around an ability that is generally considered harmful, and is viable, or even better for it.
As such, I think something like Defeatist is firmly anti-concept, while abilities that are generally bad but have at least some redeeming qualities are a lot more pro-concept. Most of these abilities haven't been fully explored in any tier, because in nearly all cases, there are other options that are simply better. Why is Kecleon ever going to use Color Change when it has Protean? Why would you run Normalize Delcatty when it's outclassed by basically any fully evolved Pokemon? I feel like we have a golden opportunity in this CAP, to experiment with a much more interesting ability than just "your stats are worse than they should be", and I'd hate to see it squandered.
 
On Slow Start, I do not think it is entirely fair to dismiss it as a purely harmful ability just by looking at Regigigas. Contrary to what we are trying to do here, Regigigas was designed to be hindered as much as possible by Slow Start (being a fast physical wallbreaker). It was deliberately not even given the tools to stall Slow Start out on its own until now, such as Protect and Rest. Of the two effects of Slow Start, the lowered attack could be outright circumvented easily by making 29 a special attacker, while the lowered speed could be used to its advantage; I won't go too much in detail on how because of poll jumping, but the point is that it is possible to build a Pokémon that could take actively advantage of Slow Start.
 
I actually don't mind which basket we take all our abilities from, as long as every single ability would be shunned in favour of a flavour/redundant/meaningless ability given the choice. This means that the only basket I'd completely ban at first sight is the Redundant/Meaningless basket.

I do see the Give and Take/Double-edged basket to be a very risky one to take from without the above restriction. I have too many nightmares of Entrainment Normalize Ghosts in Balanced Hackmons, along with Gorilla Tactics being banned from Balanced Hackmons for being too good. Heck, every single Surge can be seen as double-edged, as Electric Surge and Misty Surge both prevent Rest from being used, Misty Surge also prevents Scald and Scorching Sands burns from being inflicted for the most part, Grassy Surge impedes wallbreaking for non-Grass moves by healing your opponent, and Psychic Surge infamously prevents priority from working for the most part. Honestly, I kinda hate building teams with Tapu Lele in them because of that last reason, but Psychic Surge was banned in Gen 7 Balanced Hackmons for good reason.

Amusingly, some of the baskets restrict the movepool stage noticeably, such as the Niche and Self-Destructive/Contradictory baskets. At least the Niche basket fixes in a few moves and is an interesting exercise to construct movepools for, while the Self-Destructive basket is arguably a manifestation of the Double-edged basket and prevents entire classes of moves from being selected (e.g. Contrary prevents self-debuffing moves from entering the movepool).
 
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