CAP 29 - Part 2 - Primary Ability Discussion

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Slow start: What routes are available to us in terms of surviving those 5 turns?
Rather than surviving for 5 turns, we should look for a niche that the slow start Mon can carry without having to wait for the five turns of the activation of slow start. The best way I can think of building around slow start is by making a regular good utility Mon such as ferrothorn or skarmory, then dropping like 100 on one of it's stats. It will be pretty much like every utility Mon but once it reaches the 5 turns it goes ham on the opponent.
What options are available for what we do after those 5 turns? If the chosen stat to give the massive stat buff was attack then petty much any attack such as knock off will pack a serious punch on the opponent. If it is speed however, extremely high speed gives us so many options. We could abuse substitutes like dragapult does, use fast recovery like Lugia and Eternatus do in Ubers, or maybe have the option bro sweep.
How do we avoid making the end product broken while still rewarding successfully staying in 5 turns? I feel like the debilitating nature of slow start is more than enough to make sure this Mon will never be overwhelming (unless the final product has zacian levels of unbalance), plus its usually quite easy to punish mons that stay on the field for various turns. What we should definitely do is to not try to completely circumvent the ability, such as if we made a very strong slow attacker with like 200 special attack.

Might do more posts of another abilities but I only have time for slow start right now
 
I'm going to throw my hat in the ring for Normalize here.

First of all, I don't think the comparisons to Spectrier are accurate, for a few reasons:

1: CAP 29 will not have Grim Neigh, because...under this scenario, it would have Normalize. We aren't going to have to worry about a snowball effect.
2: CAP 29 is almost certainly not going to get 145 Atk/SpA and 130 Spe.
3: Ghost is a better offensive typing than Normal by far.
4: Spectrier does have some coverage; even as terrible as said coverage is, it's not totally non-existent.

As for the unique benefits of Normalize, there are tons of non-Normal moves with unique secondary effects that would be able to effectively hit mons that normally never have to worry about those moves. Body Press and Knock Off doing appreciable damage to Fairies, Clear Smog hitting Steels, Future Sight hitting Darks, Volt Switch and Nuzzle hitting Grounds, the list goes on. Sure, we'd have to worry about Ghosts and Steels (and Rocks to a lesser extent), but...isn't that the point of the threatlist discussion? No mon can break everything. CAP 29 would have switch-ins no matter what.

There are quite a few ways we can go with this concept - a wallbreaker with strong STAB, a fast status spreader, a wall that requires a unique approach to break. All of these can utilize the many, many interesting natively non-Normal move effects to do its job(s). It also helps that unlike Color Change or Emergency Exit, our hypothetical Normalize mon is consistent in what it does. I don't think focusing on "we already know what walls Normal" is worth ignoring the potential that Normalize brings to the table.
 
I realize I posted not long ago, but I just had a stroke of inspiration regarding one question in particular.

  • Slow Start: It seems as if the general discussion surrounding this has tended to avoid a key point. Five turns is an incredibly long time to stay in with a single Pokemon in this meta, especially if we are attempting to do so without being at full power.
    • What routes are available to us in terms of surviving those 5 turns?
How do we pass five turns without letting the opponent make massive headway? By forcing the opponent to pass turns with us.

Moves like Spore and Sleep Powder inflict status on the opponent to prevent it from acting, thereby giving CAP29 one or more turns to get its act together in peace. In conjunction with defensive setup like Bulk Up, scouting plays like Protect/Substitute, or disruption like Encore, it is reasonable for CAP29 to carve out a space for itself. It pressures the opponent into (1) switching out and letting a different Pokémon take a swing or (2) passing time asleep in the hope of waking up. Both of these waste turns in CAP29's favor—especially if the hit fails to connect on account of Substitute and the like.

Further, even if the switch-in does break through, sleep is a strong status on its own. A player forced to abandon the Slow Start gambit may not find himself at a total loss, though he may find it difficult to try again after the fact. I think we can find a way to balance this.
 
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MrDollSteak

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I'm going to be answering these three questions simultaneously as best as I can:
  • Which abilities are more restricting on the rest of the process?
  • Which abilities are less restricting on the rest of the process?
  • How much should we take this into account?
I think that restrictions on the rest of the process aren't inherently problematic, that being said, I think that thinking about what things we need to be aware of in the process going forward is important as it can naturally affect the quality of discussion. As Jas says, going with an ability that may result in a somewhat interesting end-product but that had terrible discussion because everything was limited wouldn't be a great idea. I think that Normalize in particular embodies this idea, as it all but guarantees a Normal typing and actively destroys the moveset stage. Conversely, I think that certain abilities that will lead to fairly straightforward mons at least in terms of playstyle, can still result in interesting discussion and shouldn't be seen as inherently negative. In this regard I think that Defeatist and Slow Start run the biggest risk of this, it's not to say that I think either of the abilities are bad for the process, however, I think that both can run the risk of creating a fairly linear mon. That being said, neither ability will actively delete the importance of later stages. Although both have implications for the stat stage, there are still a variety of direction to take the stage in, and individual benchmarks will prove to be crucial, even if both imply going big. Overall, what I hope to argue here is, I would caution against choosing abilities that don't allow for flexible and vibrant discussion in later stages, but to also point out that even if certain abilities would seem to not have a variety of avenues to actualise a Pokemon with a range of playstyles, that there can still be good discussion.
  • Slow Start
    • What routes are available to us in terms of surviving those 5 turns?
    • What options are available for what we do after those 5 turns?
    • How do we avoid making the end product broken while still rewarding successfully staying in 5 turns?
I personally think that in the case of Slow Start, the idea of a wall turning into a wall breaker is very interesting, as I think there are a lot of different directions about how to both take advantage of the Pokemon in battle, and in terms of designing it in the first place. I think the key to this ability is finding the sweet spot between using its move slots to help it stall out the five turns, and to later start punching holes in teams. There has been a lot of discussion on discord about how this could occur, and ultimately has pointed towards needing to give the Pokemon a few key utility moves that teams will want, that it can freely use while powered down, but not enough that it will only ever want to run pure utility moves. I think that provided we follow this rule carefully, I can't ever see the Slow Start Pokemon being broken. Even with a hypothetical attack stat of 180 like Kartana, a Slow Start mon after its 5 turns will only realistically have 2 offensive moves that it will be able to use, and can't ever utilise a Choice Scarf or Band. As such, the biggest risk for making the Pokemon frustrating if it has too many utility tools that it ends up as a generic wall like Mandibuzz or Toxapex.

  • Defeatist
    • What roles can we fulfill while above half HP?
    • What roles can we fulfill while at or below half HP?
    • How do we make room for this mon to be able to fulfill both?
Although there has overall been more support for this ability than Slow Start in the purely negative category, I actually find it the less interesting of the two, and the one with far more potential to result in a broken end product. I think both are quite similar in that it involves a transition between an offensive playstyle and a utility playstyle, however, where I think the danger is, is that by starting off with full access to the offenses, to ever try and support its ability to run its utility moves when it is below half HP, might imply that it may be somewhat difficult to get that point in the first place. It's not to say that I don't trust our ability to make it balanced, but rather I think that the transition between the two roles by being somewhat more out of the player's control, could lead to overcompensation.

  • Klutz
    • What ways are there to effectively make use of this ability other than Trick/Switcheroo?

Basically none. The only other strategy would involve something like Knock Off Sticky Barb shenanigans which is ultimately an inferior Magic Guard.

  • Stall
    • What paths are available to us with this ability other than making a slow pivot?
I think this is quite literally the worst ability we could choose for this concept as I think it is almost guaranteed to result in a linear end product, some kind of slow bulky attacker, slow pivot, or general utility wall, and will most likely not encourage interesting discussion, as its limitations are for the most part just being a slow Pokemon. The only unique aspect of Stall in comparison to having a low speed stat is it can't be abused by Trick Room, but that's arguably a bad thing.

  • Normalize
    • What non-attacking strategies are bolstered by this ability?

As mentioned previously, while the end product might be a pretty unique Pokemon, I can't say that I support how restricting it is on the later discussion stages. As far as the benefits of Normalize, it is almost purely just raw damage and guaranteed STAB attacks, and as such all we need to think about is what high base power options do we want to give the Pokemon access to, and how to avoid its lack of coverage. The only real non-attacking strategy is access to a Normal-typed Thunder Wave, which as others have mentioned is just Glare.
 
Normalize
  • What non-attacking strategies are bolstered by this ability?
I dislike how many people seem to dismiss some of the interesting aspects of Normalize, for example Future Sight/Doom Desire becoming normal moves with an already significant base power become ridiculous if the user doesn't have a ghost type (though admittedly this would be a lot better if Pursuit was still in the game), we can also use Nuzzle to paralyze others under Taunt (even if Glare might still the best option), there's also the ability to use Encore/Teleport against ghost types as they think they have free turns. Even for purely offensive strategies the fact that we would have access to the strongest priority move by far in a 96 BP ExtremeSpeed shouldn't be underestimated as the user could force the opponent into a bad position by predicting a switch into a Ghost/Steel (though again, this would have been significantly easier last gen).
 
I wanted to make a quick point about something for Normalize:
A few posters have mentioned using Future Sight as a normal type move under Normalize. 2spoopy4u decided to test it, and got this:
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8customgame-1271600558-39wwxpu7iz9hqhprskqyqbr6lyyterrpw
This replay shows that, if you switch out, Future Sight (and Doom Desire) return to their original typings, and they don't stay as Normal type. The Normal type only sticks around if the Normalize Pokemon is still in. This is a somewhat interesting twist, since this does mean that we get a rather roundabout form of coverage, but you don't get the Normalize boost, and it's also extremely telegraphed (so not particularly useful in trying to hit something that's walling you or threatening you out).
EDIT: Going to add a caveat that this is based on Showdown mechanics. Without Skitty and Delcatty in SwSh, we don't have a way to be absolutely sure of how it works in Gen 8. I assume the Normalize mechanics are extrapolated from how they worked in Gen 7, though.
 
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One thing I'd like to note about a pokemon with Stall is that it gives an interesting relationship with the items lagging tail and full incense, since it isn't really affected by their effects. this means it can have a unique niche of using trick or switcheroo to give these items to other pokemon, crippling them and allowing its teammates to better deal with certain threats. Not only can this be done, but unlike using stats to make a slow phaser, Stall can go last regardless of speed stat, meaning that if we have a high enough speed stat and trick a lagging tail onto an opposing pokemon, we can make it move after the Stall pokemon, potentially allowing this pokemon to turn the tables in certain matchups and be the faster one in certain scenarios, all while still having the ability to phase out moves like teleport and other pivoting moves.
 
  • Klutz: I don't really have much to say on this since it seems to me like the process would generally revolve around trying to trick our item away or disposing of it otherwise.
    • What ways are there to effectively make use of this ability other than Trick/Switcheroo?
Don't really think there's much of a route here without trick, which doesn't thrill me. We'd effectively be making a mon with no item, and no ability, and in turn have to make up for them in the other stages something fierce. I feel like that's pretty binary from a process perspective, and also doesn't give us any sort of guide for what to do for the rest of the process. Give it Trick, and we're making a Trick abuser that again does not seem to give us any sort of direction other than "trick an AV," without even going into discussing how genuinely unhealthy that would be for the metagame to play against. Very much not a fan of Klutz.


To talk a bit about restrictions and process impact:

Not a fan of Normalize from a process perspective. It's extremely restrictive, and though it has its upsides, I think it has extreme challenges to fulfill this concept regardless- the restriction is that severe. I think that it gives us little direction for other stages to work with immediately after this stage, as well: we have a very limited idea of where we're going with these niche interactions like normal type Future Sight, Thunder Wave and Knock, which doesn't lend itself well to typing discussions, and carries on from there. What role does this mon actually play?


Stall is a very different problem, personally. There's enough you can do with it, as has already somewhat been discussed, but I want to agree with what MrDollSteak said. It's a design pool that looks like it's far deeper than it is, ends us up with a linear product, and one that is already pretty explored as it is mostly just "extremely slow mon."

Apologies for this being a bit smaller of a post than I'd like it to be, I'll likely have a more positive one up soon once I get my first round of school essays done.
 
Slow Start
  • What routes are available to us in terms of surviving those 5 turns?
  • What options are available for what we do after those 5 turns?
  • How do we avoid making the end product broken while still rewarding successfully staying in 5 turns?
Slow Start is pretty interesting because theres a few ways to "survive" the 5 turns.
1) stalling them out. You can use recovery moves, protection, and defensive boosting while you get going, in the most greedy manner, and then rampage once the time comes. this is really hard to do in practice because you wont be able to do this until all your counters are dead, and even then there will be tools available to beat you before that time comes.
2) using them as a positive. Low speed is valuable in mons. There are a lot of routes to abuse this, such as moves you want to hit last, higher BP when going last/being slow, being part of a TR squad and probably others.
3) Winning the defensive stalemate. Often in mons you can get 2 pokemon that dont really want to be hitting each other, or cant beat each other. An example is when an Excadrill is vs a Corviknight(without bpress): Exca can throw up hazards 10 times in a row, but it cant make any progress vs a Corvi who can defog every single time. Meanwhile Corvi doesnt want to switch or attack in case the rocks stay up. Another example is in a walling situation, where something like Snaelstrom can Swords Dance as much as it wants in front of a Toxapex who will always haze it and cause a stalemate. If you have a ticking time bomb of Slow Start in these scenarios, you are winning these stalemates because your opponent cant afford to just click the same inoffensive button against you for 5 turns, be it hazards, hazard removal, boosting, hazing, whatever.
4) Support the team. This overlaps with some of the above points. Instead of trying to bunker down and sweep, you can support the team while still carrying a couple of STAB moves, you can be helpful early on and then when your counters are dead pose a real threat in the late or midgame.

After 5 turns its pretty simple that the mon should be able to go all-out offensively with at least 1 strong STAB move probably with a good-or-better speed tier. It comes down to wallbreaking, cleaning, or sweeping.

We stick the landing with Slow Start by imo doing one of the above routes and keeping an eye on checks and counters. It really is hard for even strong defensive mons (with strong beneficial abilities, typings and stats!) to forcefully stick around for 5 turns IF the opponent wants them to switch. I dont think we stress about breaking it at this stage. The only thing that I dont see being successful is a full greed bunker-down setup set that doesnt provide anything to the team but an unreliable sweeper. That will be really hard to justify.
 
I wanted to make a quick point about something for Normalize:
A few posters have mentioned using Future Sight as a normal type move under Normalize. 2spoopy4u decided to test it, and got this:
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8customgame-1271600558-39wwxpu7iz9hqhprskqyqbr6lyyterrpw
This replay shows that, if you switch out, Future Sight (and Doom Desire) return to their original typings, and they don't stay as Normal type. The Normal type only sticks around if the Normalize Pokemon is still in. This is a somewhat interesting twist, since this does mean that we get a rather roundabout form of coverage, but you don't get the Normalize boost, and it's also extremely telegraphed (so not particularly useful in trying to hit something that's walling you or threatening you out).
EDIT: Going to add a caveat that this is based on Showdown mechanics. Without Skitty and Delcatty in SwSh, we don't have a way to be absolutely sure of how it works in Gen 8. I assume the Normalize mechanics are extrapolated from how they worked in Gen 7, though.
Am I the only one seeing a potential flip side to this? You don’t have to have the Normalize ‘mon lay down future sight. It just has to be there when the move lands!

That makes a normalize pivot kinda terrifying! They could get pivoted into on turn 2 of FS and suddenly it’s a mindgame whether it’s going to be a 120 power psychic move or a 144 power normal one! This honestly makes it *scarier*. This isn’t extremely telegraphed, it’s a 50-50 choice with a huge amount of damage at stake for both players!
 
Am I the only one seeing a potential flip side to this? You don’t have to have the Normalize ‘mon lay down future sight. It just has to be there when the move lands!

That makes a normalize pivot kinda terrifying! They could get pivoted into on turn 2 of FS and suddenly it’s a mindgame whether it’s going to be a 120 power psychic move or a 144 power normal one! This honestly makes it *scarier*. This isn’t extremely telegraphed, it’s a 50-50 choice with a huge amount of damage at stake for both players!
By "The Normal type only sticks around if the Normalize Pokemon is still in", I meant the Normalize pokemon has to set Future Sight, then proceed to stay in until the Future Sight lands.
Replay where Slowking sets Future Sight, then Delcatty comes in and it's still Psychic type: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8customgame-1271672589
Replay where Delcatty sets Future Sight, then stays in and it's Normal Type: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8customgame-1271673363

EDIT: Weirdly enough, Future Sight stays Normal if you set with the Normalize Pokemon, then switch out, then switch back to the Normalize Pokemon: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8customgame-1271674548
 
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These are awesome questions. In response to the three about Slow Start:
I agree with MrDollSteak that the most interesting route is a defensive Pokemon that transitions into a win condition. The dynamic of a Pokemon who drastically switches its role mid-battle is one that’s really cool, and it's built into Slow Start’s design so we should take full advantage of it. This is also why I hate the path of simply stalling out turns—we would stop discussing anything meaningful about how to carefully balance these two roles within the same Pokemon and simply spend our other three stages figuring out how to avoid being bad until we become good. The moveset stage is the one that’s perhaps restricted the most by going down this route but I don’t think it would be interesting at any other point in the process either. Regigigas also does this already and it’s still an unmon, stuff like Suicune relies on its actual ability to pull this sort of thing off successfully, so I just don’t see a world in which this path is both a) feasible and b) even slightly interesting. As for some other paths laid out by Pipotchi- I think there are very few positives to Slow Start other than low speed which is already sorta questionable, so I don’t love this option, and winning the defensive stalemate is a more interesting route but I struggle to see how we’d actualize it. Toxapex wars are the classic example here where both players are awkwardly treading water, but I think in general these situations are pretty rare and I don’t completely trust CAP’s ability to manufacture them, especially if the opponent knows they can never let the stalemate drag on. I think it also implies a lot about our end product and restricts our options in other stages a fair bit, so again I don’t love this route but I think it’s probably the second most viable.

I said earlier that having a defensive Pokemon turn into a wincon is the coolest route here, and I think the best way to accomplish this is in line with pip's "supporting the team" path. Essentially, we should have “something to do” or “tasks to complete” while active; staying on the field will never be your primary objective and any turns you stay in are a byproduct of contributing something greater to your team. While this would theoretically make it more reasonable to stay in for five turns, the fact remains that this is still an insanely long time, and this approach has its fair share of pitfalls.

One such pitfall is a point that MDS also brought up in his post, being that if this Pokemon is useful before it’s done starting up, then there’s nothing stopping it from just never staying in for that long, effectively having 0 interaction with its ability. This is a real concern, and I think we’d have to get comfortable with the fact that CAP29 wouldn’t be transforming in every game it’s in. Even transforming in a third of its games might be a tad generous if we expect CAP29 to be a valuable defensive pivot for its team during the initial turns. Personally I’d be very okay with this, but I feel like everyone’s expectations should at least be on the same page if we do go for this route.

Though, this is also sorta an issue that any route will face with this ability, and it brings me back to just how long five turns really is—no matter how we do it, staying in for the entire duration almost guarantees that you sacrifice a ton in the process. You give your opponent so much room to do whatever they want: they can remove your hazards, status you, switch into slowking, set future sight, and teleport into cinderace by the time you’re done starting up. You will literally never want to do this unless you’re expecting an equal or greater reward at the end, which may simply be too much to ask for. Especially since we'll likely have at most two attacking moves, it's pretty weird thinking about how strong we should aim to be after our timer is up. What kind of defensive answers do we want to have after five turns? Should the incentive be enough to make it actively worth going for in every game? Or should it be something that’s only worth pursuing when specific conditions happen to align in late-game situations? Imo, with only 1-2 attacking moves we'd probably end up more on the underpowered side of things and land in the latter category of situation-specific late game cleaner, but ultimately balancing this “reward” is still probably one of the biggest hurdles if we go for this ability.

All that being said though, Slow Start is still a cool ability to me and I’m optimistic we can work through these challenges and have a great process along the way. It isn’t my favorite option but it could lead to a great end product if we’re smart about it. Wanted to talk about defeatist too but this post is getting pretty long as is so I'll save my thoughts on that for later.
 
Which abilities are more restricting on the rest of the process?
I believe, that mechanic dependent abilities are somewhat restrictive, due to - well - being dependent on other mechanics. Klutz will make us look at what items we can Trick and that’s mostly it. Exploring how a mon works without item or with items that can be detrimental is also something I feel should be used in its own concept. Other than that there isn’t a lot to do with it, outside of making CAP 29 viable.
Stall is even worse, in that it can be replicated with low speed for the most part and has only some gimmicky options, that might be interesting.
These two, while pretty open with regards to what role they could play in a team, restrict us in the sense, that there isn’t a lot to explore.
Normalize falls into a similar category, in that it restricts us heavily during movesets and makes typing probably pretty linear, without allowing poll jumping. Essentially we would pick a strong defensive type and chose between hard hitting move, move with side effect, utility and moves that ignore the effects of normalize.
That said I still find it fascinating working with only a subpar coverage type (although that could have been its own concept as well).

I believe that Slow Start and Defeatist might also end up restrictive, because they’ll probably demand very specific answers to the problems they pose. Still I think, in the end these would offer some more interesting design space, than the previously mentioned.

Which abilities are less restricting on the rest of the process?
Color Change and Emergency exit stand out to me the most, but I believe mimicry and perish body are equally interesting.
All of these abilities offer a lot of room for us to explore and design and give us a chance to ask more questions other than „how do we make it good?“. They all have certain implications about choices during team building and in battle and we would be able to examine and tweak a lot of interesting interactions with regards to roles, playstyles, checks and counters as well as type and move interactions.

How much should we take this into account?
I think taking into account the restrictiveness of the ability we choose on designing 29, is very important.
CAP 29 might end up in a tough spot once released and might be not too fun to play (with or against), so we might at least try to maximize the amount of learning, through going with a less restrictive ability.
That said the more room for exploration these abilities have, the less focused the project might become, so if we end up voting for one of these more open routes, having a clear picture of what we want to do after concept reassessment is of utmost importance.

  • What routes are available to us in terms of surviving those 5 turns?
  • What options are available for what we do after those 5 turns?
  • How do we avoid making the end product broken while still rewarding successfully staying in 5 turns?
I think we have Four possibilities here. The classic Regi: Stalling out turns with disruption moves (paralysis, sleep, taunt, encore, sub, protect or recovery moves or Using the five turns for utility say (spiking up a la ferro). These two would probably be more interesting for a mon that would become an early game wall breaker.
The third option would be setting up, to a) reduce the effect of slow start and b) become an absurd sweeper, once the boost kicks in.
The last option combines the first three options.
This would probably work as an early game pivot with some sort of utility, that might be able to clean late game, once it is able to stay in for these five turns, because checks have been worn down.

I think the first and third option might be hard to control in the end, depending on how good this mon would be at stalling out turns/setting up.
The other two seem rather tame, which might end up with the mon rarely even using the power boost from slow start.
i believe it is possible to balance these out, but it’s going to be hard to judge the quality of our decisions until we see it in action.

What ways are there to effectively make use of this ability other than Trick/Switcheroo?
I cannot think of any other interaction, where not being able to use a held item can be interesting.

  • What roles can we fulfill while above half HP?
  • What roles can we fulfill while at or below half HP?
  • How do we make room for this mon to be able to fulfill both?
As long as CAP 29 is above half HP the only things I can see it doing with this ability is fast Pivoting and wall breaking, basically everything, that utilizes the attacking stats while they are at their full power.

I guess below half there are several utility options, that might be interesting and give it something to do until the Pokémon is koed.
Other than dying while say setting hazards, there’s only the option of getting back up, while utilizing a good defensive typing to serve as a sort of wall.
I think it isn’t too hard to build a mon that can pressure the opponent really hard during the first few turns, serving as a wall breaker/suicide lead, that smashes stuff and sets hazards before it dies (ho Lando T for example.)
Similarly, designing a pivot, with good offensive pressure and decent defensive utility also seems doable (think Tapu koko, when it ran roost Defog, with the downside of having to stay above half hp as long as possible).
I do see a bit of a problem with this second approach, as it might be difficult to exert enough pressure after being worn down, to get back up above 50 percent HP.
 
Regarding Stall:
  • What paths are available to us with this ability other than making a slow pivot?
As much as MrDollSteak is right and all the paths I can think of fit neatly into a slow bulky attacker, slow pivot, or general utility wall, there are a fair few moves and items that take advantage of going second:
  • Metal Burst: Yeah, we've already brought this up. Yeah, this is a normal-priority move that needs to go second in order to work. Zygarde-Complete and Chansey tear offensive mons up with this in Gen 7 Balanced Hackmons.
  • Weakness Policy: Speaking as a Metronome Battle player and a Same Solo tournament competitor in Pokemon Showdown, not using a turn to get an Attack and a Special Attack boost, then delivering carnage back as early as Turn 1 can feel pretty good. Note that going first directly hurts this aspect of using Weakness Policy to its full potential, as you have one fewer turn to take advantage of it.
  • Stat-Nerfing Moves: While Spectral Thief is the quintessential stat-nerfing move mons in Balanced Hackmons and Pure Hackmons purposefully underspeed in order to set up with a speed-and-power-boosting move in relative peace and hit the opponent with a boosted move one turn later, other moves like Clear Smog and Haze can similarly replicate never giving a chance for the opponent to hit you with a boosted move as long as you go second. Power Swap pulls off something similar but only once per time that you switch in.
  • Defog/Rapid Spin: Similar to stat-nerfing moves, removing hazards second ensures that, in a head-to-head matchup with a hazard setter, the setter either needs to stop you from removing hazards or needs to stop laying hazards as long as you go second and keep removing hazards.
  • Payback/etc.: Some moves have more power when you go second, get damaged that turn, etc.
  • Core Enforcer
 
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Normalize is interesting to me. While taking out, super-effective hits, it still has potential to reduce which mons resist/are immune to a move. For example, I like the idea of being able to hit a Normal-type with a hard hitting Ghost move like Poltergeist. However, judging by the current CAP and OU meta, there aren't really many Normal mons around aside from Blissey, which kind of limits its potential to work in the way I'm suggesting.
Aside from that, all I can think of is using it for the STAB boost or to trick the foes with Future Sight, like some mentioned before.
 
Long-time lurker here finally deciding to weigh in: though apologies if my input isn't good or appropriate, since a number of these involve potential move-sets.


Out of the 5 options in question: Slow Start is the least interesting: I feel that almost all solutions to the issues would either just amount to stalling and healing until the effect ends, or ignoring the attack drop entirely.

Klutz: While item swapping is the obvious choice, a potential alternative would starting item-less and making use of Covet instead as damaging version of Corrosive Gas, allowing a 1-time damaging item removal from a key target with no options for downside.

Regarding Normalise, a niche that could work that isn't 100% limited to attacking would be as a Rain or Hail setter. Assuming the CAP in question would also obtain STAB on top of the Normalise boost: a move set that involved Thunder, Hurricane or Blizzard would allow the CAP to have high guaranteed damage assuming they survive after the set-up.

Aside from that: my stance on Defeatist and Stall have already been echoed by others.

-----

Additionally: One ability that borderlines both the Give and Take and the Unreliable category in the parent post I would be interested in seeing debated is Simple. It would be move-set coordinated for sure, but it creates the potential of a variant of a Contrary -sweeper.
 
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Additionally: One ability that borderlines both the Give and Take and the Unreliable category in the parent post I would be interested in seeing debated is Simple. It would be move-set coordinated for sure, but it creates the potential of a variant of a Contrary -sweeper.
The problem with this is that we would have to be so careful when making the moveset that I fear that we could end up banning too many moves. It would be a hassle and would just unnecessarily complicate the process.

Speaking of Give and Take abilities, the one ability from that category that I wouldn't mind seeing is Perish Body. It's the only ability from that category that doesn't have any real positives, but it still has some potential that I think we could really bring out.
 
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Dogfish44

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ModNote: Please keep discussion focussed on the Metagame we're developing for, rather than a non-existant CAP Doubles format which we do not build for. Cheers :-)

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I'm focussing my post primarily on Slow Start, as it's the ability I've been considering the most - and I think there's some pretty interesting stuff to learn in the world's most bizarre set up sweeper ability. I will say that I've been remarkably unimpressed by Klutz, Stall, and Normalize - Stall's perhaps the most interesting on the grounds of it's interaction with Teleport, but I don't think there's much learning there.

Slow Start - What routes are available to us in terms of surviving those 5 turns?
Surviving five turns is tricky - but it's not impossible. I would expect it to need a combination of... I'm going to say three things;

Recovery is the most pertinent here - perhaps a bit obvious, but even on a perfect matchup most Pokémon aren't able to survive five hits without healing some of it off.

Next, I think for anything close to reliable activation you realistically need some form of Trapping - Trapping + Slow Start's ability to suddenly snowball actually emphasises Slow Start's mechanics in an interesting manner, and makes Slow Start into an ability that exerts a lot of pressure to switch to a response, in that it says "If you don't switch to your response, like, NOW, you are not going to have a response after five turns". Without some form of trapping, Slow Start makes you very easy to switch into and force out - and whilst some Pokémon work fine around that or only care about being in for one turn, I think going the route of "doesn't care about attacking" sort of sidesteps the ability entirely.

The last thing we need is a collection of Pokémon that we wall. This shouldn't be huge, but it should be enough to give us switch ins and an opportunity to make use of the pressure that Slow Start can be used to create.

tl;dr: To survive the five turns needed to activate Slow Start, I believe that we need the specific matchups to win, the ability to keep those matchups for long periods, and the ability to recover the chip damage that's inevitable over five turns, even against something we theoretically wall. Y'know, not much really!

What options are available for what we do after those 5 turns?
If you can survive five turns, you're hitting hard when Slow Start clears. I don't think we should mince words here - if you can pull off the Slow Start, I think that should be putting you in a state to win. A strong, spammable damage dealing move seems essential to back this up mind.

How do we avoid making the end product broken while still rewarding successfully staying in 5 turns?
The CAP Balancing Act! I think we should err on the side of "more power" here if this is the ability we go for. We are not talking about an easy challenge - we are speaking of surviving five uninterrupted actions - an act that very few mons can manage, and fewer stll without any ability helping them.
 

quziel

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Hey, Defeatist is weird because it offers a ton from an in-battle perspective and also has a load of super odd implications for process, but I like it, and the playstyle it sorta suggests.

If anyone didn't play ORAS NU (small meta from ages ago), then ya probably didn't run into the diversity of Archeops sets there, including Physical Offensive, Mixed Offensive, Defensive, and Lead. This set diversity was really due to the limitations its ability placed on it, that is, basically forcing roost on most sets, as well as the increased power level that it managed to get away with because of the sometimes crippling nature of its ability. We can explore the bulky archeops set (seen below) to have some idea as to what specifically a defeatist user implies:

:archeops:
Archeops
Ability: Defeatist
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Acrobatics
- U-turn
- Knock Off
- Roost

Now, this is only one example, and there are undoubtedly more examples in the mold, but by examining this one we can sorta see the limitations and strengths that are implied by the ability. This set is fairly nice because it shows 2 very strong plays that it can make when in its "mini" forme, that is below half, with the utility of Knock Off (even doing 0 damage this can still cripple a Steelix), and Roost, which lets Archeops leverage its ok defensive typing and extant defensive stats to its best. This can be contrasted with its other mode of play which utilizes the sheer strength of a 110 BP STAB off over 140 attack to really put on that offensive pressure. One final clue is U-turn, which lets Archeops do damage without risk of being put below half health.

  • What roles can we fulfill while above half HP?
Frankly this is anything and everything, but I think some of the most important are the sorta "fast cleaner/breaker/pivot" route that is currently shown to us by pokemon such as Cinderace and Dragapult. This really works excellently with Defeatist, as it utilizes the non-lowered attack stats to their fullest, but thanks to its speed means you can usually get an attack off before being put back under half. On an opposite approach, a Tank style pokemon that is very good at only ever taking 40% from hits could also fit Defeatist, but the unreliability from your opponent potentially putting you into range first really hurts it.
  • What roles can we fulfill while at or below half HP?
Frankly any kind of well, "annoyer" role, that is, a pokemon that makes progress by either inflicting status, removing items, or, well, in Astrolotl's case, Encoring pokemon into stuff really fits our below half stats well.
  • How do we make room for this mon to be able to fulfill both?
This is really the golden question, but I'd argue moves that double dip between the two roles are going to be key. In Archeops's case above Knock Off is great coverage (with flying), giving it a ton of use when you're over half HP, but is also still able to remove items and make progress that way below half. Conditional effects are also something I suspect will work well, as well as status moves, especially if we have a way to synergize them with our attacks.
 
I think people are seriously underestimating just how debilitating Slow Start is.

Let's look at the ZU viability list for reference. Some of their best mons include Sneasel, Kangaskhan, and Basculin. Regigigas outclasses them in every single stat except Sneasel in speed. The raw power level of Regigigas in comparison to its peers in ZU is honestly ridiculous. We're talking about a mon that has better stats than some Ubers. And yet...the viability list doesn't even mention Regigigas. It's not even in their "low" tier. Slow Start is just. that. bad. It's better than Truant, but the fact that that even needs to be said should tell you everything you need to know.

We're trying to make a mon people will use in OU. Unless we give a Slow Start mon stats akin to Mega Mewtwo X, or go against concept by making it a special attacker, I don't see any realistic reason anyone would want to use Slow Start CAP 29 apart from new toy syndrome. We'd have to give it crazy amounts of power for anyone to want to use it at all; even if we gave it 600 BST with good distribution and a good typing and a good movepool, there are mons that already have that, don't need to deal with Slow Start, and aren't in OU (hello there, Salamence.)

Our mon should have a real niche. It should be able to do something that other mons can't duplicate better. Slow Start doesn't allow for that. It wrecks our mon before we've even really gotten started.

We can do better.
 
I think people are seriously underestimating just how debilitating Slow Start is.

Let's look at the ZU viability list for reference. Some of their best mons include Sneasel, Kangaskhan, and Basculin. Regigigas outclasses them in every single stat except Sneasel in speed. The raw power level of Regigigas in comparison to its peers in ZU is honestly ridiculous. We're talking about a mon that has better stats than some Ubers. And yet...the viability list doesn't even mention Regigigas. It's not even in their "low" tier. Slow Start is just. that. bad. It's better than Truant, but the fact that that even needs to be said should tell you everything you need to know.
Rather, Regigigas is that bad.

Slow Start is certainly a monumental factor in its poor performance, but other factors include the following.
  1. A milquetoast typing that offers nothing offensively and but one immunity defensively.
  2. A complete absence of recovery apart from Rest.
  3. A feeble base SpA with no reliable STAB, meaning it cannot run a mixed set.
  4. No setup options other than Rock Polish.
  5. A fairly standard array of utility options (e.g. Thunder Wave, Knock Off) that encourage it to bounce rather than realize its potential.
We have the power to address these problems. There is no denying that Slow Start is pure sewage, but this project is capable of more than matching the "raw power level" that is a BST without any teeth. I think you underestimate the tools and creativity we have at our disposal.
 
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Has anyone considered that slow start can be viewed inversely? It doesn’t need to be “bad offense and a lot of bulk to hope it makes it through”. What if it starts with decent stats and goes berserk? Something like 170 base attack and speed on a relatively fragile mon with common enough checks. Starts ok, but if it keeps making ground and forcing the opponent out or killing them, it turns into a monster.

It’d be similar to setup sweepers, rather than being a stalling type ‘mon. Slow Start wouldn’t define it but rather be a toolkit to make a good ‘mon great if unpunished. Of course it’d have to be a balancing act. I just figured I’d look at it from the perspective of “two free dragon dances after 5 rounds” rather than “bad stats until they get good”.

Just coming up with alternative builds rather than the tanky slow stall route most people are suggesting.
 
We're trying to make a mon people will use in OU. Unless we give a Slow Start mon stats akin to Mega Mewtwo X, or go against concept by making it a special attacker, I don't see any realistic reason anyone would want to use Slow Start CAP 29 apart from new toy syndrome.
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-539201
In this match from like yesterday, you can see a :regigigas: being used in a serious high level OU game.
Yes slow start crippled it. But it served as a complete roadblock to :Spectrier: and a solid wall to :Zapdos: throughout the match and knocking off :Zapdos: was invaluable in securing the win late game.
Granted, this probably could have been done with another mon, but it never looked like Regi was an awkward pick. It fulfilled its niche well enough, even though its really badly designed to use slow start. We have the tools to make a much better Slow Start abuser. For example, If it just had recover and heal bell, Regi might have been able to break through Zapdos much earlier and put a lot more pressure on the opponent. Or if it was able to set hazards as well as knocking of stuff, the opposing team could have been worn down even faster. Imagine this game with Regi being say normal/ground. Just adding a type would have made it much better at what it did.

As long as we give a hypothetical Slow Start CAP 29 something to do, a niche it can work in, there is no doubt imo, that it can be usable, maybe even good.
 
Has anyone considered that slow start can be viewed inversely? It doesn’t need to be “bad offense and a lot of bulk to hope it makes it through”. What if it starts with decent stats and goes berserk? Something like 170 base attack and speed on a relatively fragile mon with common enough checks. Starts ok, but if it keeps making ground and forcing the opponent out or killing them, it turns into a monster.

It’d be similar to setup sweepers, rather than being a stalling type ‘mon. Slow Start wouldn’t define it but rather be a toolkit to make a good ‘mon great if unpunished. Of course it’d have to be a balancing act. I just figured I’d look at it from the perspective of “two free dragon dances after 5 rounds” rather than “bad stats until they get good”.

Just coming up with alternative builds rather than the tanky slow stall route most people are suggesting.
I want to emphasize how crippling Slow Start is on the stats. A fully invested base stat of 170 comes out to 439. Under Slow Start, that's equivalent to 219.5, which is about Base 60, fully invested (which comes out to 219). Choosing not to invest lessens this impact, as Base 170 uninvested (a stat of 376) becomes Base 76 uninvested (a stat of 188), but now those EVs are now going into our bulk, which is going to have to be mediocre, and now this Pokemon needs to be spamming healing in order to be able to keep itself alive (if it isn't getting threatened out), because it most likely isn't going to be staying alive long enough to get Slow Start to wear off, barring endgame scenarios where the only mons your opponent has can't chunk you. Sure, the payoff would potentially be amazing, but this particular methodology makes the payoff exceptionally difficult to get to.
 

Birkal

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I want to emphasize how crippling Slow Start is on the stats. A fully invested base stat of 170 comes out to 439. Under Slow Start, that's equivalent to 219.5, which is about Base 60, fully invested (which comes out to 219). Choosing not to invest lessens this impact, as Base 170 uninvested (a stat of 376) becomes Base 76 uninvested (a stat of 188), but now those EVs are now going into our bulk, which is going to have to be mediocre, and now this Pokemon needs to be spamming healing in order to be able to keep itself alive (if it isn't getting threatened out), because it most likely isn't going to be staying alive long enough to get Slow Start to wear off, barring endgame scenarios where the only mons your opponent has can't chunk you. Sure, the payoff would potentially be amazing, but this particular methodology makes the payoff exceptionally difficult to get to.
This is a pretty short-sighted take on what a Pokemon is supposed to be doing for five turns, as The Crusade noted above. There are plenty of examples of mons that stay in for that amount of time in competitive battles, but they have the tools to not only stay in, but to be useful utility for the team. Yeah it sucks if your primary attacking stat is borderline unusable offensively, but you can still spread status, remove items, heal, set or remove hazards, and perform a variety of other rules. Those all cost moveslots, but I think you can leverage the advantage of Slow Start ending with just two or even one move.

It's also why I find the comparisons to Regigigas unconvincing: that mon doesn't have the tools to realize Slow Start. Its horrible typing doesn't come with any resistances or immunities to status (especially burn, and to a lesser degree poison), and its STAB options aren't particularly inspiring if it's going to run only one attack. It's also missing a few key moves that would make it more viable to use: recovery outside of Rest, and imperative team support moves (sans Knock Off). These are all issues we can mitigate in the CAP process, and I think would lead to some fascinating discussions, particularly in Typing and Movepool stages.

As for stats, yes, it will probably have some pretty high stats, but I think the same will have to be said about a lot of these bad abilities. We are already working with a neutered ability, mons can only carry four moves at once, and typing can only take you so far when it comes to viability. This isn't to say that Slow Start is my favorite ability in discussion right now, but I think it's a far better one for this process than most are giving it credit for. We'd be able to explore what it means to support a team, to be self-sufficient for five turns, the benefits and costs of switching (particularly in the middle of the Slow Start timer), and even explore what it means to get a massive boost as a reward for staying in. I think just above every ability we're discussing in this thread is going to need to be circumvented in some way with high stats, so I don't find it a convincing argument to levy solely against Slow Start.

Otherwise, my thoughts line up almost exactly with jas61292 from the previous page. I find Klutz and Normalize to be particularly constrictive, as the former is an easily-telegraphed gimmick that is already well-explored in multiple metagames across multiple generations (at least, comparatively to some of these other abilities), while Normalize would lead to a linear process centralized around finding moves with beneficial side-effects to make them worth running. Conversely, Color Change and Emergency Exit could cover a plethora of roles and lead to some cool conversations about prediction and team composition. Defeatist is also intriguing, because it gives us a good opportunity to talk about overall match structure, and how a mon might perform comparatively in a 10-turn match versus a 100-turn one. Longevity is something we haven't overtly explored. Slow Start gives me similar vibes, as I mentioned above, and would also lead to a process varied enough to keep us interested.
 
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