CAP 30 - Part 2 - Primary Ability Discussion

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Unpopular opinion here: I really dislike Tinted Lens as an option. I just feel like it would be way too hard to balance and we'd have to deliberately weaken other parts of CAP30 in order to make it not broken.

I feel similarly about Cotton Down. I think the implications are interesting, but lowering Speed after every attack seems a bit too extra. I feel like either Gooey or Tangling Hair would be better options if we want to go for the Speed-lowering aspect, since it will still allow us to explore a similar ability without getting too broken.
 
I feel similarly about Cotton Down. I think the implications are interesting, but lowering Speed after every attack seems a bit too extra. I feel like either Gooey or Tangling Hair would be better options if we want to go for the Speed-lowering aspect, since it will still allow us to explore a similar ability without getting too broken.
If anything based on its lack of performance in Almost Any Ability and Balanced Hackmons, Cotton Down might actually be a touch too weak instead of broken (but we're here to make abilities like it, Rattled, Weak Armor, Aroma Veil, Steam Engine, and Filter that similarly don't really appear in both of those metas good, right?). I wouldn't be worried that Cotton Down is too powerful.

I gave the Balanced Hackmons V-Create spam comparison for Cotton Down in an earlier post for a reason: if your mon is too passive, it is in fact still somewhat easy to let opposing mons attack right into Cotton Down and not care. (Even nastier, the V-Create spammers like Gen 7 BH Primal Groudon dropped their defenses at the same time. And I still see them fire off 2 V-Creates in a row into the same mon - that survives both - often enough.)
 
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Gonna hop on the tiering train.

Berserk: Basically said what I needed to about this in my previous post. But I'll reiterate again that this ability leaves the design space wide open, except that we'll have to be a Sp. Attacker. That doesn't necessarily mean offensive; I wouldn't want Toxapex racking up SpA boosts and hitting me with +3 Scalds every time I get it low. It has the potential to be super powerful, but at the same time, is not difficult to balance without gimping the mon on purpose.

Stamina: Similar to Berserk in that this has snowball potential, but in a different way. I imagine this will play somewhat like Dauntless Shield in practice, where you come in on a resisted hit, get the +1 Def, then your opponent switches to something that can hit you on the special side or KO you through the +1. Getting to more than +2 off Stamina boosts (barring a Surging Strikes or Triple Axel resist) should be a bonus, or a misplay by the opponent. Of course, this is highly contingent on the mon's natural special bulk and its typing, but this will not be difficult to balance. Again, leaves the design space open, especially considering this one doesn't have the HP threshold interaction.

Cotton Down: This one is very cool. I don't think the presence of a Cotton Down mon in the tier immediately invalidates every set-up sweeper, given the speed drop is only -1. However, it's interesting that a not insignificant number of set up sweepers in the tier use multi-hit moves (Pult, Chomp, Weavile). I think this obviously has the potential to be an outstanding ability. I don't think this would be super difficult to balance, but may require some light gimping. Design space is wide open; it can really be any kind of mon because even if it's super frail, it'll still get the -1 off as it dies, allowing you to revenge kill. But there's also plenty of mons that really don't need their speed at all.
Filter/Solid Rock: These are great abilities, and are probably the least constraining on the rest of the process among all the abilities we are considering. This is a childish gripe, but my honest to god biggest problem with these is that they're a bit... boring? Obviously, the mon is going to be interacting with these abilities at all times, but it still feels like we can just build anything we want and don't really have to take the ability into account, because it's going to work regardless of what we do with the rest of the process. Obviously, the ability is not super useful if we give the mon a bunch of 4x weaknesses, but we were likely to avoid doing that anyway. All we have to do is give it more bulk than Nidoking and we're set.

Poison Touch: This one could lead to a very interesting CAP process, but I would not want to see this guy on the ladder. Truly fully optimizing this ability means giving this thing multi-hit contact moves. I would not want to fight that. Obviously, multi-hit moves are not a given; I'm exaggerating to say that if this mon is any good, it's going to be either SUPER annoying or completely useless if it has no pivot moves or ways to hit steel. I do think it can be fun to figure out how to make sure this guy doesn't become oppressive.

Rattled: I am not a huge fan of situational abilities, but this one sneaks into Mid Tier because of how common Bug, Ghost and Dark moves are. I think a +1 speed boost can be pretty useful, but it's probably not difficult to just switch to a fat mon if you give the opponent a +1. If this were a +1 Attack or SpA boost, that could get pretty gnarly. I'm sure this will lead to an interesting process though, I just think it has more constraints than the payoff is worth.
Cursed Body: I am not a huge fan of the % chance to activate abilities either, but this one is pretty fucking strong when it does activate. Most mons only carry one move that can hit things like Pex and Corviknight. Imagine Pex just spams recover on Plasma Fists till Cursed Body procs. When building this mon, we'll either have to be content with the idea that this ability may or may not actually help in a battle, or building so that its whole playstyle is to fish for the disable. Neither of those sound very fun to me. I just feel like Cursed Body is basically just depending on an opponent's Focus Blast miss every game. And I never feel great when I win a game because of a Focus Blast miss.

Steam Engine: This one is just pretty annoying to me. Only activates on Water and Fire moves, so 90% of the time, that's going to be Scald. Which means we'll either need to be Fire type or be a special attacker, and also likely not weak to either of those types. Because of the chance that this thing gets to +6, we'll have to make sure it isn't super strong. Which means we'll have to give it something to do for the times it doesn't get to +6 and also tools to use when it does get to +6. It just seems like it would lead to an overly convoluted process where we spend the entire time tiptoeing around this ability.

Water Compaction: Only water moves activate this, so it's going to be Scald most of the time, so you have to be okay with being burned. We probably shouldn't be weak to water either. This could end up being a great mon, but only if it forces the opponent to think twice about clicking Scald. We would essentially be building around Scald and Scald users in the meta. If it doesn't have enough SpDef or offensive presence that the opponent can just stay in, it's kinda useless. Could be cool, but still very situational.
Long Reach: This is one is just garbage.

Blaze, etc.: Berserk lets you keep your +1 if you heal back to full health. Building a mon around trying be below 30% sounds shitty, and also uncomfortable to play with.

Effect Spore: I couldn't begin to imagine how we could 'optimize' this. The only thing I can think of is a Ghost type with Hex. I guess it could force switches by threatening the opponent with status, but plenty of other stuff also forces switches. I could be swayed on this though, almost put it in Low Tier.
Tinted Lens: This one has been discussed extensively. It's stupid powerful, and we'll have to gimp the mon on purpose to make sure it doesn't get out of hand. But it could make for an interesting mon. The ability itself is similar to Filter in that it'll make anything work, but it also much easier to allow it to become too oppressive by giving it too much coverage. We would have to tiptoe around the abilitiy here.
Discord mods suggested that Tadasuke's list is not exhaustive, so I thought I'd bring up a couple abilities that I like that were not mentioned or banned.

Analytic: I think this one leaves the design space wide open, and is not as oppressive as Stakeout. I think giving a mon the tools it needs for the ability to work will not be difficult, and a successful mon with this ability would be pretty interesting. Because the ability activates on switches too, you don't have to be the slowest mon in the world to make use of this ability. It would be easy to design an interesting mon that isn't useless when it moves first, and isn't super oppressive when it moves last or you switch out.

Competitive: This is special defiant, but even Defiant isn't super optimized or common right now. This is a situational ability, but given the ubiquity of Defog, Intimidate, Moonblast, Shadow Ball, and to a lesser extent, Fire Lash, Earth Power and Sticky Web in the meta, Competitive has a very good chance to proc, or at the very least deter mons from clicking these moves and pressure Intimidate mons. I do think this differs from Rattled in that a Competitive boost is immediately more threatening than a +1 speed boost. I think deterring Defog is this ability's greatest strength, but given the number of Spinners in the tier, I don't think it will be super oppressive. Definitely a strong ability that I believe is worth considering.

Wandering Spirit: I don't think this ability gets the attention it deserves because it gets lumped in with Mummy. Wandering Spirit allows you to steal the opponent's ability when hit with a contact move. Here are some examples of what it can do. Switch in on Knock Off, steal Zera's Volt Absorb, Clef's Magic Guard, Pex's Regen, Torn's Regen, and Intimidate the Lando. Steal Libra's Levitate on a Spin, Astro's Regen on a Fire Lash, Buzzwole's Beast Boost. If you're feeling frisky, maybe Steal Guts from Colossoil to deter status, or stop Excadrill/Barraskewda/Arctozolt mid sweep by stealing their speed. You could remove Hawlucha's Unburden, or (gasp) Blissey's Natural Cure. The world is your oyster if the opponent has contact moves, which you know they do because every team at least has Knock or U-turn. This clearly won't set the world on fire, but it has the potential to be super fun, and VERY interesting. There's not a whole lot of constraints, except that you should be able to take physical hits. Clearly not optimized by Runerigus in PU.
 
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I've been trying to get on to join the discussion, but IRL conspired against me :blobsad:.

I tend to agree with a lot of people that Blaze and friends would be poor choices for this CAP. While I definitely get the idea that these Abilities have never been optimized, I'm not sure building a mon that's ideal usage is at <30% HP is really "optimal". Maybe I'm wrong, but I think we can do better.

Cotton Guard sounds really interesting to me for it's various uses. Pretty much any team appreciates speed control to some extent, and it also makes the enemy think twice about attacking CAP 30. For those reasons, I also feel like Gooey and Tangling Hair would also be good choices, even though they aren't listed.

I also really like Poison Touch, just for the way it boosts damage output without any real "boosts". Since we have two forms to work with, I don't even think being forced to use contact moves is a problem.

The idea that Steam Engine is bad because it's only triggered by Fire and Water moves it isn't worth using or can't be balanced is...perplexing to me. Even if Water and Fire aren't typically seen as STABs, they're used pretty often as coverage, so it's not like it will never trigger. It would require us to more carefully consider Typing and Stats to keep it from getting OP, but that's kinda the idea behind "optimizing" the Ability, so I don't think it's a bad thing. Steam Engine would give whichever form of CAP30 ends up getting it the opportunity to punish an enemy for bad predictions or spamming their Fire/Water coverage moves recklessly, and a potential edge against Fire and Water Type mons in general. Might this be hard to balance around? Sure. But sometimes, the best things in life are hard.

Finally, it's not on the list, but I feel like Merciless deserves some support. While the obvious usage of crit-boosted offense is itself pretty novel, I think the idea of being able to "mark" a mon with Poison and also threaten it with a crit for (potentially) the rest of the match is a really cool niche. If the enemy doesn't have Heal Bell/Aromatherapy or you eliminate them from the enemy team, you can seriously throw a wrench in the opponent's plans just by Poisoning something and making them really think about sending/keeping it out.
 
I'd like to also throw some support at Steam Engine. I see that people are often grouping it alongside Water Compaction, but the two are very different in practice and viability. Water Compaction, as outlined earlier, is extremely strict on what situations where it can be optimal before even looking at the mon itself. Its a defensive ability that is extremely situational and generally just worse than Stamina (another ability I like.)

Steam Engine however meaningfully triggers against more mons/moves, such as any fire or water coverage move rather than a specific subset of water moves. Likewise, the stat it boosts is the much more versatile speed stat, rather than a defense stat that will more often than not be ignored by common water types or water move users. The interesting discussion comes from how can we make it do a meaningful job without the Steam Engine speed catapult, and how can we make its super speed variation meaningful. There is also the case that the threat of having a powerful Steam Engine user would discourage the use of Fire and Water type moves, most notably Scald, as the threat of a dangerous switch in that will outspeed is a serious threat. There are defensive applications of this too, such as using it to near-guarantee you will be able to use moves such as Taunts, Recovery or Status moves before the opponent gets their chance to attack. Other (less useful) considerations are being able to guarantee the opponent loses a turn with Memento, or to use the dynamic between low speed and high speed to be a rather unique Trick Room user/setter. There is a lot of potential and direction we can take a mon with Steam Engine, that I feel it is being unfairly judged when simply placed alongside Water Compaction in a lot of peoples posts.

TLDR: Steam Engine has many more different routes, applications, and meaningful triggers, than the crummy Water Compaction it is often grouped alongside. Despite both being "Stat boost on Scald" abilities, their approach and flexibility vary wildly.
 
While I'm here, I would like to talk about some abilities I haven't seen mentioned that I think would work great with this concept.

Battle Armor/Shell Armor: This one seems simple, but I think it could be interesting. Critical hits are a big part of the game, and it would be fun to explore a Pokemon that isn't affected by this mechanic.

Mirror Armor: I'm honestly surprised this ability hasn't been brought up yet. Reflecting all stat drops back at the opponent is just so interesting and would be fun to explore. There are many ways to proc Mirror Armor in the meta, from Defog and Intimidate to Fire Lash and Sticky Web (yes, Mirror Armor does reflect the Sticky Web drop, according to Bulbapedia). IMO, Mirror Armor would be really interesting and just give us alot of options. (And in case you guys think that this doesn't fit into the mold of an unoptimized ability, only Corviknight gets Mirror Armor, and Corviknight prefers to run Pressure, so IMO it fits)

Justified: Yet another ability I'm surprised hasn't been brought up yet. With how prevalent Knock Off is, this ability could be so good if given to the right Pokemon. It has interesting repercussions without being too broken, and I just think it would be very interesting to explore.
 

Estronic

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Battle Armor/Shell Armor: This one seems simple, but I think it could be interesting. Critical hits are a big part of the game, and it would be fun to explore a Pokemon that isn't affected by this mechanic.
For me at least, Battle Armor and Shell Armor have a similar problem like Cursed Body and Effect Spore in that its entire basis, critical hits, it's reliant on luck. Yes, Urshifu-R is relevant in the current metagame, but it's really the only Pokemon in the metagame that can land consistent critical hits, consistent enough for these abilities to be useful. Besides that, though, their entire niches are luck-based, and like Cursed Body and Effect Spore, building around an ability dependent on luck (and not even your own luck, most importantly) just seems entirely difficult and not entertaining at all.

Mirror Armor: I'm honestly surprised this ability hasn't been brought up yet. Reflecting all stat drops back at the opponent is just so interesting and would be fun to explore. There are many ways to proc Mirror Armor in the meta, from Defog and Intimidate to Fire Lash and Sticky Web (yes, Mirror Armor does reflect the Sticky Web drop, according to Bulbapedia). IMO, Mirror Armor would be really interesting and just give us alot of options. (And in case you guys think that this doesn't fit into the mold of an unoptimized ability, only Corviknight gets Mirror Armor, and Corviknight prefers to run Pressure, so IMO it fits)
This ability I think is actually pretty neat. It's unfortunate that it got buried by other discussion, but I do agree that it could be a strong candidate for us to choose. My only (slight) issue is if all of the guaranteed stat reduction and its users would make Mirror Armor more useful than others, but besides that, it could be a nice ability to shape our process around.

Justified: Yet another ability I'm surprised hasn't been brought up yet. With how prevalent Knock Off is, this ability could be so good if given to the right Pokemon. It has interesting repercussions without being too broken, and I just think it would be very interesting to explore.
My liking for Justified basically has the same reasoning as my liking for Rattled besides the additional utility against U-turn pivots and Ghost-types. Especially if we assign it to CAP30i, Justified could help pave the way for us to create a Knock Off absorber, something the CAP metagame seems to lack. I like Rattled a bit more because of its more overall utility and usefulness with its Speed boosts, but I'd be pretty content with Justified as well.
 
Mirror Armor
I had brought this up originally and learning that it reflects Sticky Web has definitely renewed interest.

I think it'd be useful to see just how many opportunities Mirror Armor has to take effect so we can better judge its potential value.

Here's a list of common moves (and similar) in the metagame that result in stat-drops Mirror Armor can reflect back.

Parting Shot
Intimidate
Fire Lash
Moonblast
Bug Buzz
Earth Power
Flash Cannon
Focus Blast
Psychic
Shadow Ball
Sticky Web

Additionally there are a few other stat drops from other sources that aren't as common or impactful, including but not limited to:

Lunge
Play Rough
Memento
Crunch
Liquidation
Mystical Fire
Energy Ball
Defog


There's also King's Shield which I'm not 100% sure on if it works or not.

I feel this is a bit on the small side, though some are fairly common. There's a lot that would need to go right for this to work which is a shame because being able to hit Lando with its own Intimidate or have Clef drop its own Special Attack would fill me with joy.

Shield Dust would be a much better version of Mirror Armor in terms of match-up relevance. While it doesn't block Intimidate or Sticky Web, you get protection from any additional move effects of which there are a lot. To give an idea, Shield Dust prevents the secondary effects of Scald, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam, Sludge Bomb, Hurricane, Dark Pulse, Icicle Crash, and even getting trapped by Spirit Shackle, on top of dealing with moves Mirror Armor can like Moonblast and Fire Lash. I'm more partial to stuff like Poison Touch right now but this is at least extremely overshadowed and unoptimized for how powerful the effect is, and the end result would likely be something we'd appreciate having in the builder.
 
I wanted to mention a few more abilities that hadn't been mentioned much yet, and so I will.

Sand Spit: Though this ability isnt as great as Sand Stream at setting up sandstorm raw, I feel it can hold it's own as a sand setting ability as well as being a useful ability beside sandstorm setters, switching in to other weather abusers, taking a hit, and starting sandstorm again, allowing sand stream mons to more easily reset sand.

Justified: As a knock off absorber ability, I personally feel this is a better option than Rattled. The main reason is that this feels more streamlined than Rattled, only activating with dark type moves rather than bug and ghost moves as well. While this might make Justified less versatile than Rattled, especially with its attack raise as opposed to speed, I feel Justified would create a more focused approach, allowing us to make a well made knock absorber while Rattled might strain us between trying to deal with Knock, U-turn and Shadow Ball trying to get the most out of Rattled's triple threat.

Mirror Armor: I really like the idea of this ability. Where Defiant and Competitive bring straight offense in the face of stat drops, Mirror Armor allows for a unique mix of offense and utility, being immune to stat drops opponents try to use on it while giving this mon the ability to cripple opponents both for itself and its teammates. I really hope this ability gets discussed more, I for one think it's really cool.

(Possibly more abilities coming stay tuned)
 

Earthflax

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I do think it runs into the same problem Rattled does. CAP30 needs to strike the balance between good enough to use without proccing its ability and being overbearingly strong when it does. Finding that sweet spot is part of the challenge;
I said this on the Discord already but this should definitely be our attitude towards "proc'ing" abilities like Rattled, Water Compaction, Weak Armor, etc. At the end of the day, the mon shouldn't be useless without its ability, and it shouldn't be broken with it. It should be able to function well without the proc while still appreciating the ability to leverage it.
Justified: As a knock off absorber ability, I personally feel this is a better option than Rattled. The main reason is that this feels more streamlined than Rattled, only activating with dark type moves rather than bug and ghost moves as well. While this might make Justified less versatile than Rattled, especially with its attack raise as opposed to speed, I feel Justified would create a more focused approach, allowing us to make a well made knock absorber while Rattled might strain us between trying to deal with Knock, U-turn and Shadow Ball trying to get the most out of Rattled's triple threat.
(Possibly more abilities coming stay tuned)
I do not think that Justified's more specific interaction leads to a more focused Knock Off absorber. It limits our design space greatly compared to abilities like Rattled and Weak Armor, as Justified almost immediately constricts us to being a physically-oriented attacker, whereas we have multiple different routes to take with similar "Knock-punishing" abilities. It also wouldn't necessarily create a better Knock absorber, as it still has to deal with multiple different ways it's used. Everything from Arghonaut to Zeraora can run Knock. Especially with the design constraints Justified brings simply by existing, can it really be made to check Knock users better than other alternatives, while also doing practically nothing else in the context of the meta?

I'll also pitch a few of my thoughts on the newly mentioned abilities:

Weak Armor: Wasn't a fan of this one when it was initially proposed, and I still think its weakness to most priority and multihit moves is less than optimal, but now I'm pretty chill with it. Speed control is speed control!

Wandering Spirit: Not including Mummy here because that's an ass ability. This feels like Neutralizing Gas in some ways, but in others it becomes even cooler. For example, reflecting a Lando's Intimidate back? Getting free recovery off of Torny-T? Sign me up! There are also a lot of contact users whose abilities are straight up bad for us and as a result both slots are effectively void. Stealing abilities instead of negating them is pretty cool overall, but I fear it'll be situational.

Mirror Armor: Solidly good, but it doesn't particularly excite me. It's one of those abilities where I'm fine with it being chosen but I wouldn't personally vote for it, or at least not my first option.

Steam Engine: My main problem with this is that it will probably proc once every 3 games as opposed to the opportunities where you can use Weak Armor, Poison Touch, or similar. I wouldn't be devastated if this was picked either; I just don't think it's got the frequency I like.

Competitive: I'm still not hyped for this, but it's a really solid ability and I'd vote for it if slated. Stat drops are frequent enough that you see them several times during a competent battle, and Competitive being able to capitalize on stuff like Lando's Intimidate and a SpD drop from Pult (the bane of everyone's existence) is really appealing.
 
The abilities that interest me the most are Weak Armor, Competitive, Merciless, Cotton Down, Stamina, and Berserk.

As others have mentioned, Weak Armour is similar to Rattled (which still like a lot too) except that it triggers off a wider variety of moves and gives a larger speed boost. It could be really fun to see a mon that switches from being slow and bulky to fast and offensive.

Competitive is interesting for it's ability to punish the common usage of defog and intimidate. In particular, the ability to discourage (or benefit from) the opponent defogging open up some uniques directions for optimisation as a hazard-controller. For example, giving CAP 30 access to hazards or rapid spin would create situations where the oponent wants to click defog, while giving CAP 30 a ghost typing would allow it to shut down both defog and rapid spin.

Merciless just seems like a cool ability, particularly if CAP 30 was also able to use moves like venoshock and hex to really punish the opponent for getting poisoned.

The last three have been discussed plenty by others and I don't really have anything to add, they're interesting and should be be worthwhile to explore.
 

Zephyri

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copying a thingie i wrote in the cap chat and posting it here for posterity because i think its a decent argument

neither long reach nor mirror armor would be very good in the current meta lol @_@
its been very understated but
the current meta is super special-focused
phys mons like kart and shifu and zera do exist for sure but
rocky helmet usage has dropped significantly (corv and skarm are the only sorta common ish users and corv prefers lefties usually and skarm doesnt see a ton of usage)(edited)
zappy is overall less relevant because koko's on a steady rise
and although ferro is a really nice pick imo it is sorta nonexistent
people are talking about how unique long reach's utility is but rn its nothing more than a situational perk
mirror armor is uh
objectively just bad
there are like 3 mons it helps you abuse and you prob wont be able to take advantage of them anyway
tldr please dont slate either one
 

Tadasuke

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Alright everyone, we're back with another round of questions. I've been really happy with the wide breadth of discussion based off of the last post. There's been a lot of ground covered, but right now I'd like to get into more specific questions on a few abilities, and open up discussion on some others that didn't make it onto the last post.

To continue to be a killjoy, I'm going to ban discussion on Magic Bounce and Analytic. Although these haven't received as much attention as many of the other abilities, they seem pretty well explored to me. Despite being a reference from an older generation, Sableye-Mega in XY and ORAS was an absolute terror on defensive teams, and I believe is a perfect example of an optimized user of Magic Bounce. Similarly, Starmie and Volkraken in previous generations have showcased the potency behind Analytic fairly well, and while not the primary ability on Magnezone, I think we've thoroughly explored the extent of the effects offered by it.

Now for some more specific questions on some the abilities brought up in my last post:
  • On Cotton Down: How great is the effect of gaining a single stage in speed over the opponent? To what degree does their capability to switch their Pokemon out mitigate the strategy behind it? How can the opponent switching out after having their speed lowered be taken advantage of?
  • On Berserk: How do we incentivize the opponent to put us into the HP threshold necessary to activate this ability? How effective is a single boost to our special attack? What methods are available for us to get multiple boosts while staying in? How often might that happen?
  • On Tinted Lens: How do we ensure this has a lasting impact rather than reacting to popular typings in the current meta? In what situations do we run the risk of overpowering this ability? How can those risks be avoided while still ensuring the ability is used effectively?
  • On Steam Engine: How common are Fire and Water moves in the meta as either STABs or coverage? Can we expect the opponent to be motivated to click Fire or Water moves as often once they see this mon on team preview? Can the potential discouragement of said moves be taken advantage of while still not proc'ing the ability? How would a mon with this ability be able to function in a battle without receiving the +6 boost to speed, while still having room to take advantage of said boost?
  • On Filter/Solid Rock: In what ways can this be optimized for an offensively functioning mon? Is there much room to explore with this ability on a defensive mon?
  • On Poison Touch: What routes are open to us to most effectively proc this ability? How do we take advantage of spreading the poisoned status across the opposing team? What counterplay is available to the typings/mons with immunity to poison, and to what degree should we account for that in order to expect this mon to function well?
Similar to my last post, I'm not going to pose any specific questions on these just yet, but I'd like to see deeper discussion on the following abilities:
  • Merciless
  • Ice Scales/Fur Coat
  • Triage
  • Weak Armor
  • Simple
I'd like to wish everyone happy posting, I'll be back with a preliminary slate in a bit more than 48 hours.
 
On Cotton Down: How great is the effect of gaining a single stage in speed over the opponent? To what degree does their capability to switch their Pokemon out mitigate the strategy behind it? How can the opponent switching out after having their speed lowered be taken advantage of?
Being able to potentially outspeed an opponent is always good. Bringing in a check to the opposing mon, that can take a hit and outspeed an opponent’s offensive mon is pretty rare. Usually defensive checks are quite bulky but slower and offensive checks often need a cushion mon to switch in safely. Being able to compress both defensive check and speed control into one mon can change Match ups drastically.
I think that cotton down actually wants to force these switches to break the opponent’s momentum and regain control over the tempo of the game.
There are probably a good number of ways to take advantage of these switches. I think looking through Miasmaws process might give us some cues as to how one can capitalize of forced switches.
On Berserk: How do we incentivize the opponent to put us into the HP threshold necessary to activate this ability? How effective is a single boost to our special attack? What methods are available for us to get multiple boosts while staying in? How often might that happen?
I think you’d need to force the opponent into wanting to 2hko, because otherwise the mon gets out of hand, similar to how goltres does it. While it doesn’t get recovery and speed boosting in regular OU goltres can run Rest in meras that allow dynamax because of Max airstream and becomes a near unbeatable killing machine once it has set up even just one NP. It still manages to leverage its ability through its great special bulk on screens HO. Where it even can take a Jumbao moonblast and acquire an additional boost.
 

dex

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In what ways can this be optimized for an offensively functioning mon? Is there much room to explore with this ability on a defensive mon?
I think there are a few paths for Solid Rock to be optimized on an offensively functioning mon. The tank role really appreciates Solid Rock for its ability to allow tanks to do what they do best: stomach hits and hit back harder. Rhyperior is the prime example of how this works, as it was mainly used to stomach EQs and hit back ridiculously hard with Stone Edge or an EQ of its own. Sweeper is another role that appreciates the benefits of Solid Rock, as Solid Rock allows it to be less easily revenge killed and increases its sweeping potential. Necrozma is the example I would turn to here, being able to stomach super-effective moves on its sweep. As for the defensive mons, obviously walls would appreciate the ability, as it just makes them generally harder to kill, but a really interesting application of the ability would be on a pivot. Being able to tank a hit you normally would not be able to and then pivot out to a counter is a really strong way of getting a lot out of Solid Rock. All in all, there are a ton of ways to go about optimizing Solid Rock on both offensive and defensive mons, and this ability, more than any other, has the design space to really let us explore how to best use this ability.

What routes are open to us to most effectively proc this ability? How do we take advantage of spreading the poisoned status across the opposing team? What counterplay is available to the typings/mons with immunity to poison, and to what degree should we account for that in order to expect this mon to function well?
Obviously, a physically-leaning mon would be best in this scenario. However, I think there are more than a few ways to go about this. Plenty of "good" moves become just that much better with Poison Touch. Force a Knock Off onto a Tornadus? Congrats, you could also Poison that Torn, leaving it crippled the rest of the game. U-Turn on a Dragapult? Heyo, that Pult is gonna be taking damage every time it clicks Shadow Ball. There are so, so many ways to take advantage of Poison Touch that I really think it's an excellent choice. Walls, Tanks, and Breakers all could in theory effectively use this ability.

One ability not mentioned in Tada's post that has seen some interest as of late is Mirror Armor, which is a super unique ability. I like its applications outside of just reflecting Intimidate, however. Specifically, its the ability to avoid stat drops that interests me. Obviously the main attraction is avoiding Intimidate, but reflecting Shadow Ball's SpD drop and Moonblast's SpA drop are really interesting results that make me think this ability has some room to work with.
 
Alright, lets do this :
Cotton Down
On Cotton Down: How great is the effect of gaining a single stage in speed over the opponent? To what degree does their capability to switch their Pokemon out mitigate the strategy behind it? How can the opponent switching out after having their speed lowered be taken advantage of?
While on a purely defensive pokemon, speed drops mean very little, more offensive or offensive support roles relish in the ability to outspeed a pokemon that previously outsped it, allowing them to hit their opponent back harder or cripple them. Switching out can actually be beneficial for cotton down, as it allows for possible setup or further support your team.
Berserk
On Berserk: How do we incentivize the opponent to put us into the HP threshold necessary to activate this ability? How effective is a single boost to our special attack? What methods are available for us to get multiple boosts while staying in? How often might that happen?
Giving this pokemon a strong balance of good offensive and defensive traits like recovery is essential, as being able to avoid harm from residual damage as well as have the offensive force to scare out a pokemon attempting to use it as setup bait is crucial. While getting multiple boosts is probably very rare, making sure this pokemon is resistant to residual damage (something it probably already wants in the first place) is a good way to ensure it more.
Tinted Lens
On Tinted Lens: How do we ensure this has a lasting impact rather than reacting to popular typings in the current meta? In what situations do we run the risk of overpowering this ability? How can those risks be avoided while still ensuring the ability is used effectively?
Simply put, giving this pokemon a good or decent defensive typing that struggles offensively due to being resisted to common defensive types can greatly show tinted lens' ability to make a uniquely strong pokemon. furthermore, as previously discussed, tinted lens also allows for less moveslots to be used for more, meaning that more support moves can be used in different ways compared to other mons.
Steam Engine
On Steam Engine: How common are Fire and Water moves in the meta as either STABs or coverage? Can we expect the opponent to be motivated to click Fire or Water moves as often once they see this mon on team preview? Can the potential discouragement of said moves be taken advantage of while still not proc'ing the ability? How would a mon with this ability be able to function in a battle without receiving the +6 boost to speed, while still having room to take advantage of said boost?
Between Scald, Rain Teams and Fire being an excellent coverage type, I feel that water and fire type attacks will never be at a point of never being seen in the meta, and scald especially allows them to exist commonly. While the opponent will very much be motivated to not click these moves as often, this allows us to take advantage of that via pairing our Steam Engine mon with pokemon who dislike taking these moves, especially the many physical attackers who dislike scald. By dissuading pokemon from clicking these moves, it can allow teammates to act in situations they usually wouldn't be as comfortable taking the stage in. Finally, +6 speed is a massive boost, and easily allows us to invest in stats elsewhere while still outspeeding plenty while having the boost, making this pokemons presence even more intimidating through both potential bulk and destructive power, and thus helping teammates out even more.
Filter/Solid Rock
On Filter/Solid Rock: In what ways can this be optimized for an offensively functioning mon? Is there much room to explore with this ability on a defensive mon?
Having an offensive mon that can stay in and deal damage to enemies for slightly longer than most allows for a mon that can help build momentum and push a team to the finish line. While there may be ways to explore a defensive pokemon with this ability, a defensive pokemon simply becoming harder to kill doesn't really feel like it tests this abilities capabilities too much.
Poison Touch
On Poison Touch: What routes are open to us to most effectively proc this ability? How do we take advantage of spreading the poisoned status across the opposing team? What counterplay is available to the typings/mons with immunity to poison, and to what degree should we account for that in order to expect this mon to function well?
Having a lot of contact moves that focus on utility over raw power seems like the best route to go for this, as it allows us to spread poison chip and other damages around the enemy team while still allowing us to handle poison immune pokemon without taking it too far.

Will talk about other abilities in a bit :)
 
May as well give some input on Simple since Tadasuke has brought it up and it didn't seem to get as much discussion as the others:
Simple feels like Contrary to me in that it's dependent on boosting moves in the movepool but can rocket a mon's viability skyward with those boosting moves. Simple sees significant enough play in Balanced Hackmons (granted, BH mons get to play with No Retreat and Clangorous Soul) that BH players often don't let go of their set-up blanket checks in Unaware, Prankster Haze, Fur Coat, and Ice Scales users anytime soon. Simple lets you relive the glory of Tail Glow, Z-Splash, Shell Smash, Shift Gear, or Power Herb Geomancy - or stronger - with a mere Nasty Plot/Swords Dance/Dragon Dance/Quiver Dance/etc. Simple also happened to get Swoobat banned from Sketchmons this generation. I'm personally prone to treating Simple as rather close to the dangerous Contrary power-wise and give the mon lower stats, figuring that the now-insane boosting options will be enough to make the mon viable. I'll note that Stored Power or Power Trip can easily take advantage of the quick stat stage gain (and Swoobat's natural access to Stored Power is part of why it got banned from Sketchmons).

  • On Cotton Down: How great is the effect of gaining a single stage in speed over the opponent? To what degree does their capability to switch their Pokemon out mitigate the strategy behind it? How can the opponent switching out after having their speed lowered be taken advantage of?
It's somewhat easy to make any speed edge over your opponent - let alone one speed stage - not matter if your mon is too passive. I've mentioned the existence of V-Create spam in Balanced Hackmons earlier as a manifestation of how little an opposing speed edge can matter if the opponent is passive enough, but Trick Choice Scarf sets are another example of how gaining speed against your opponent may not be good enough (especially since defensive mons wearing Choice Scarfs are often even more passive than usual).

So the key is taking advantage of the speed edge Cotton Down provides well enough that your opponent feels like switching out. The opposing capability to switch their Pokemon out does not mitigate the strategy behind it - in fact, it is the strategy we want to produce. Otherwise, Cotton Down is useless. (At least it doesn't matter whether the Cotton Down mon or a teammate is the one to abuse the speed edge, although the Cotton Down mon risks getting KOd if it cannot abuse the speed edge well enough.)

Regardless of my earlier pessimism, gaining enough speed to outspeed the opponent can be abused quite well. Recovery, Taunt/Encore, Substitute, defensive boosts, status, Parting Shot, Healing Wish/Memento, and attacks that 2HKO that suddenly go before the opponent's moves are all ways to abuse a speed edge reasonably well.

A mon in other metas that shows how well an ability that inflicts some kind of speed drop when attacked can be abused is (Gulp Missile) Cramorant-Gorging, which got banned from Balanced Hackmons and is quite viable in Pure Hackmons for its ability to inflict paralysis on any (non-immune) mon that attacks it while it has a Pikachu in its beak (and it always switches in with a Pikachu in its beak). While the 25% chip Gulp Missile provides does increase Cramorant-Gorging's viability somewhat, Cramorant-Gorging already abuses the paralysis well enough with access to Taunt (which especially reduces defensive mons such as the normally faster Eternatus-Eternamax into being passive), Encore (this was more common in BH due to offensive mons being more common there than in PH), Strength Sap and other recovery moves, and even pivot moves to get Cramorant-Gorging away from a mon that 2HKOs it without completely losing momentum.

Ways to take advantage of forced switches from speed-lowering include hazards (this especially punishes your opponent for switching again), set-up moves, Substitute, phazing (to force a mon that performs more poorly against the Cotton Down mon in), status-inflicting moves, utility attacks like Knock Off/Rapid Spin/Scald, pivot moves (to take advantage of whatever your opponent switches in), and powerful attacks. (OHKO moves became Cramorant-Gorging's primary way of abusing switches in Pure Hackmons, while hazards gained some popularity in Balanced Hackmons since not even Fishious Rend was often powerful enough. Pivot moves are/were often found on Cramorant-Gorging in both metas.)
  • On Berserk: How do we incentivize the opponent to put us into the HP threshold necessary to activate this ability? How effective is a single boost to our special attack? What methods are available for us to get multiple boosts while staying in? How often might that happen?
Perhaps ironically, one of the best ways to incentivize the opponent to get us into Berserk range (or a Weakness Policy proc, for that matter) is to be threatening enough to elicit the 2HKO or near-OHKO from any team unwilling to let us set up or wallbreak.

On a powerful enough offensive mon like Tapu Lele or Genesect, even a single special attack boost is enough to break teams harder and turn 3HKOs into 2HKOs. (There are reasons why mons in any meta with a good enough Download user purposefully arrange their token EVs so the Download user boosts its worse attacking stat against them.)

Recovery and draining moves help a mon get multiple boosts while staying in, and Leftovers does its part to help. However, only defensive mons and opposing weak attack spam (e.g. U-turn/Knock Off/Scald chip) will let a Berserk mon get multiple boosts in practice, and even those need to be in tandem with HP gain. Given that our opponent is incentivized to 2HKO, OHKO, or force out (e.g. phazing, Haze, Topsy-Turvy) the Berserk mon if it has good enough offences, getting multiple boosts may be a surprisingly tall order.
  • On Tinted Lens: How do we ensure this has a lasting impact rather than reacting to popular typings in the current meta? In what situations do we run the risk of overpowering this ability? How can those risks be avoided while still ensuring the ability is used effectively?
A way to make Tinted Lens a lasting option is to give its user a mediocre-to-poor offensive typing with often-resisted STABs. Kartana and Dialga are often found with Tinted Lens in Balanced Hackmons, both of them having high-powered nukes in Power Whip, Sunsteel Strike, Doom Desire, Draco Meteor, and Core Enforcer but many opposing Grass, Steel, and Dragon resists in the way. (Primal Groudon's use of Tinted Lens before it got turned into a Groudon with Red Orb in Gen 7 BH was more of a reaction to Dragon-types' enduring popularity, as Fire is a good offensive typing and V-Create is a nuke that appreciates the extra breaking power Tinted Lens gives it.)

As seen above with the Primal Groudon example, we run the risk of overpowering Tinted Lens some of the most easily when giving it to a mon with a powerful nuke attack with a good offensive typing that gets STAB on it. We can avoid those risks by nerfing even one of the offensive STAB typing(s), the base power of the nuke attack, or the mon's stats (so the nuke attack doesn't hit as hard in practice). Reducing the mon's coverage options or making all its nuke attacks not have STAB can also help nerf Tinted Lens into manageability, though reducing coverage may be one of the least likely to actually nerf the mon if the nuke STAB is powerful enough.
  • On Poison Touch: What routes are open to us to most effectively proc this ability? How do we take advantage of spreading the poisoned status across the opposing team? What counterplay is available to the typings/mons with immunity to poison, and to what degree should we account for that in order to expect this mon to function well?
Others have mentioned multi-hit moves as a way to maximize the chance that Poison Touch procs in any given turn.

I'll say that being reasonably defensive and able to survive hits while swinging also helps a mon proc Poison Touch more often per game.

I'll take a look at Pokemon Showdown's Metronome Battles for examples on how to use Poison Touch more effectively, as Poison Touch is actually reasonably popular there. Poison Touch is used in Metronome Battles more often on defensive mons (think Mega Venusaur or maybe even Mega Sableye) instead of offensive mons like Dragapult or Glastrier. Unlike in other metas, Poison Touch gets to take advantage of Metronome Battles mons' increased defensive stats (from no EV restrictions) as well as their much-reduced access to recovery. This helps tell us that some of the best ways to take advantage of spreading the poisoned status across the opposing team include cutting off the team's access to recovery with Taunt and Trick/Switcherooing on Choice items as well as using the poison chip like hazard chip to get more 2HKOs and OHKOs. (There are also Hex and Venoshock.)

Perhaps just forcing mons immune to poison in is already enough for a Poison Touch mon to function well. But counterplay to those mons such as Will-o-Wisp, Scald, attacks that are super-effective against Poison and/or Steel, and Thunder Wave for offensive Poison-/Steel-types are commonplace. Taunt and Trick/Switcheroo help again against the defensive poison-immunes.
 
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Brambane

burn the midnight oil
is a Contributor Alumnus
How great is the effect of gaining a single stage in speed over the opponent?
Depends both on team match-up and how you are getting it. Sticky Web against offense teams without Boots or Flyers/Levitate mons is amazing in tiers without consistent removal (see: LC atm). String Shot is terrible. Rock Tomb is situationally decent on certain Pokemon. Speed drops are typically weak to useless against slow, fat teams unless you are using some kind of equally slow wallbreaker (i.e. Melmetal). Its very situational, but given how the current meta is mostly balance offense variants and screens HO, there is room for it to carve out some utility.

Cotton Down is kind of hard to judge, but where Speed drops standout over Speed boosts is allowing your ally to take advantage of them. However, Speed drops are generally outclassed by paralysis in singles, which is more permanent and has the bonus of full paralysis. Part of Cotton Down's appeal is being able to keep a moveslot free and proccing on more than just contact moves. Cotton Down's effectiveness against Electric-types is also relevant in the current meta.

To what degree does their capability to switch their Pokemon out mitigate the strategy behind it?
Giving the opponent -1 Speed with Cotton Down is like a component of a strategy, so this is kind of awkward to answer. If we are looking at literally JUST Cotton Down, then switching out removes the Speed drop, so that's mitigation in a sense, but so long as you keep attacking the Cotton Down Pokemon, its just going to keep lowering your Speed. If you are some kind of offense team, that is could be disruptive throughout the course of the game if Cotton Down Pokemon stays alive. How exactly your team, or CAP30, takes advantage of those Speed drops is the other component of the strategy. I could go more into my ideas of what those strategies could be, but the line between discussing why we should/shouldn't vote for this ability and making bold assumptions/polljumping would become blurry.

How can the opponent switching out after having their speed lowered be taken advantage of?
The general answers of how you punish switching: hazards, pivoting, using CAP30 to punish whatever is. I dont't think we are breaking any new ground here; taking advantage of the opponent's switching is a fundamental and well-explored part of Pokemon.

How do we incentivize the opponent to put us into the HP threshold necessary to activate this ability?
This is mostly what Moltres-G does already; they don't really run Substitute to activate Berserk themselves. The way you can avoid proccing Berserk is with status damage, but Moltres-G is either Nasty Plot so its going to boost anyways, or RestTalk so it doesn't give a shit. Other than that, straight up OHKOing the Berserker or going for a weak attack into a strong attack that still 2HKOes could work to avoid it. Negating status and making sure we aren't being OHKOed by a million different things would be a good start.

How effective is a single boost to our special attack?
Depends on what you're committing for it. Good enough that you would commit an item slot and lock yourself into moves for it. But also bad enough that almost nothing runs Work Up. In the case of Berserk, it comes down to stats, moves, typing, etc. You can't really judge how good it is unless you know the baseline for your damage anyways.

What methods are available for us to get multiple boosts while staying in?
Recovery.

How often might that happen?
Depends on what our recovery options are, our stats, and our typing.

How do we ensure this has a lasting impact rather than reacting to popular typings in the current meta?
How are we defining lasting impact? Post-playtest? Months? Generations? I don't think Tinted Lens is even a reactionary ability to the metagame; if anything, the ability tries to make your attacking move good independent of the metagame by hitting most things for at least neutral.

In what situations do we run the risk of overpowering this ability?

If we make it so strong that it doesn't have to predict at all and/or very few things can realistically switch-in to it. Orit can super easily clean games due to high Speed and a boosting item/move or with a single move and Choice Scarf. Generally those are the things that break offensive Pokemon.

How can those risks be avoided while still ensuring the ability is used effectively?
You can give it weaker offensive stats, weaker moves, and/or make its main attacking options countered by immunities/common 4x resists. Alternatively, instead of leaning in to Tinted Lens for breaking power, use it for compressing coverage and open up moveslots for utility moves. I really don't think with Defining Moves we are at any risk of making this Pokemon overpowered, especially if we also do the stat testing stage (flawed as it sometimes was) we used for Chromera, too.

How common are Fire and Water moves in the meta as either STABs or coverage?
Decently common. Heatran is quite good, Glowking runs Scald/Flamethrower, Zapdos and Torn-T run Heat Wave, Urshifu-R and Toxapex exist. There are more as you move down the VR. I think most teams have one or the other in some capacity.

Can we expect the opponent to be motivated to click Fire or Water moves as often once they see this mon on team preview?
That depends on your team and theirs. If you have a Pokemon that Heatran needs to click Magma Storm against in order to make progress, then that is a pretty good motivator.

Can the potential discouragement of said moves be taken advantage of while still not proc'ing the ability?
Well, kind of same idea as above. If you have a Pokemon that requires Torn-T to click Heat Wave against in order to make progress, you can make it hesitant to do so with CAP30 and force it into a guessing game of what you are going to do. With that being said, you still have to read your opponent and decide if they are going to risk it or not, so in still kind of goes both ways. I think this part of Steam Engire isn't worth focusing on; focus more on making sure your team incentivizes clicking Water/Fire moves imo. A minor point and I don't really like the ability much, but I admit Rattled does this better since it is easier to discourage Knock Off and especially U-turn imo, since there are fewer examples where those moves are the Pokemon's main attacking/coverage option compared to Magma Storm, Surging Strikes, Heat Wave, etc.

How would a mon with this ability be able to function in a battle without receiving the +6 boost to speed, while still having room to take advantage of said boost?
We can treat Steam Engine as if the Speed boost is +1 or +2. It doesn't matter how many boosts it takes to get there; only how many turns it takes to get there, how you get there, and what the actually Speed benchmark you are trying to hit is. I think when it comes to making sure this Pokemon is viable without the Speed boost and not batshit insane with the Speed boost, treating Steam Engine as if it would be hitting the same benchmarks at +1 or +2 seems like a solid route, with some minor fun things you can do with the actually +6 modifier in terms of moves.

In what ways can this be optimized for an offensively functioning mon?
I agree with dex here and here. Not much else I would add to the argument, less damage=easier to set-up, harder to revenge kill, etc.

Is there much room to explore with this ability on a defensive mon?
A defensive Pokemon that takes LESS DAMAGE from SUPER-EFFECTIVE MOVE? Wow!

Really though, I think making a strictly defensive/reactive Pokemon, while a viable option for the ability and probably the "optimal" way for getting to most out of it, I don't think its terribly interesting. Feels a bit like a waste of potential, ya know?

What routes are open to us to most effectively proc this ability?
There are a variety of different contact moves. Some of them are purely used for damage, sure, but a LOT of them are used for their secondary effects and utility as well. There is a deep pool of potential move options here; check moves that make contact on your favorite Pokemon reference site and you will see what I mean. But basically, any contact move you can click pretty freely, multiple times over the course of a game, or has a higher than average chance to inflict poison are probably the optimal choices.

How do we take advantage of spreading the poisoned status across the opposing team?
HEXPULT HEXPULT HEXPULT. Aside from the amphibian in the room, having passive chip to wear down Pokemon like Arghonaut means you can force it to run out of Recover PP faster. Against mons like Landorus-T, you negate its Leftovers and make it even more vulnerable to chip. Against Colossoil, we proc Guts so it does enough damage that I can KO it back with Counter Obstagoon.

What counterplay is available to the typings/mons with immunity to poison, and to what degree should we account for that in order to expect this mon to function well?
There are contact moves that hit them super-effective, so damned if you switch-in, damned if you don't I guess. Poison Touch is a good tool for piling on the pressure, so I think we should keep to that theme. Its a matter of picking which ones we should be able to pressure and which ones we shouldn't; I don't think making it able to slam every single poison immune Pokemon in the metagame is going to lead to a particularly healthy design; we should leave some room in teambuilding for avoiding Poison Touch, and some room in teambuilding for CAP30's teammates to take advantage of the Pokemon that avoid Poison Touch!

Merciless
One of my personal favorite abilities in the entire game, it adds another layer of intricacy to the already useful Toxic. This ability has potential on both defensive and offensive Pokemon; it somewhat can turn a defensive Pokemon INTO an offensive threat. The ability also has a clear weakness which has well-established counterplay. I think deciding how we get around the common counterplay to Toxic and poison in general, as well as which counterplay options we shouldn't touch to strike the right note of good design, would make for an interesting conversation. Toxic is a good move, and building a Pokemon around the move fascinates me.

Ice Scales/Fur Coat
The ONLY reason I like these abilities is because you can turn a shit defensive typing into something acceptable, at least on one side of the attacking spectrum. These abilities effectively turn 2x super-effective moves into neutralities, neutralities into resists, and resists into SUPER RESISTS. That's pretty cool, and let's you focus more on a typing's offensive STAB potential without sacrificing too much defensive utility. Offensive Pokemon with defensive utility can be quite valuable, see: Urshifu, Jumbao, Zapdos, Melmetal, you get the idea. I think this both works for and against our framework. Our signature item reinforces our STABs, which means we get a bit more optimization from leaning into strong offensive STABs (or alternatively, use it as a tool to keep CAP30i away from stronger items.) Being able to hyper focus on a type's offensive potential while keeping some defensive potential with Ice Scales/Fur Coat is quite cool. I think these abilities would also lead to a fun stats stage, so I am on board.

Triage
Considering that Revenankh is being explored now for its extremely uh "fascinating" ladder potential and utilizes Triage decently, I don't have any interest in seeing this ability for CAP30. Give the poor guy a chance.

Weak Armor
I spoke about this one already, so go back a page; my thoughts haven't changed. Great ability.

Simple
Here is a perfect example of an ability where we have to take the word "optimization" and look at it as a process; not the final goal. Highly optimized Simple would be an absolute mess. Instead, Simple allows us to optimize weaker stat boosting moves i.e. Work Up, Hone Claws and bump them up to acceptable level. I think that is a pretty cool design space, and I would love to see this one fully explored. It does harshly limit what moves we can give the other form. In this case I am okay with it because the payoff of building around weird Simple shenanigans is a lot of fun and it kind of forces us into a position where some moves are already off the table for the other form, which is another layer of depth for the process.

i wrote this half asleep so bear with the grammar shit
 
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LucarioOfLegends

Master Procraster
is a CAP Contributor
On mobile so bear with the formatting.
On Cotton Down: How great is the effect of gaining a single stage in speed over the opponent? To what degree does their capability to switch their Pokemon out mitigate the strategy behind it? How can the opponent switching out after having their speed lowered be taken advantage of?
For slower mons its far less of an issue since they are more reliant on thier bulk, but for the faster it can become a very big deal. And that is because most of its gameplan is pressuring the foe to switch.

As a decent example, let's say Cotton Down CAP30 is picked off by an SD Garchomp through Scale Shot. Under a normal scenario, it'd get the +1 Speed boost and you couldn't switch something like Dragapult in because you fear being blasted by Scale Shot. With Cotton Down in the equation, Dragapult could come in freely, and now the losing matchup forces the Chomp out since its speed canceled out, leaving it at 0. This is just one scenario I can see Cotton Down affecting.

On Berserk: How do we incentivize the opponent to put us into the HP threshold necessary to activate this ability? How effective is a single boost to our special attack? What methods are available for us to get multiple boosts while staying in? How often might that happen?
A Berserk user is most likely looking to play a longer game, most likely by forcing 3hkos and recovery back to a safe range whilst getting its boosts. Full incentivizing opponents to knock us into Berserk range is the tricky part I think since they'll want to knock us out hard and fast before we have a chance to use the boosts. I dont see a single Berserk being super useful but multiple could make the mon effective.

On Filter/Solid Rock: In what ways can this be optimized for an offensively functioning mon? Is there much room to explore with this ability on a defensive mon?
I dunno, Solid Rock on a defensive mon feels more like a supplement than a true optimization, since they are already using good defensive stats to be a tough nut to crack. On offensive mons I think the Rhyperior route of slow, bulky attacker which uses Solid Rock to compensate for taking hits first is an easy optimization, but I can also see a faster mon with less defense that uses Solid Rock to survive the hits it needs to for kills as a form of optimization as well.
 
How do we ensure this has a lasting impact rather than reacting to popular typings in the current meta?
Honestly, this is not a problem exclusive to tinted lens. All caps are created in the context of the current meta and while we can do our best to futureproof them, there's always a chance that Gamefreak will introduce the perfect counter/better version of whatever we make (e.g. pex fucking kerf). So we just do what we always do: 1) try to make the cap have good traits that compliment it's concept and 2) try not to hyperfixate on the current meta such as focusing entirely on beating pult and weavile or whatever.

In what situations do we run the risk of overpowering this ability? How can those risks be avoided while still ensuring the ability is used effectively?
Giving this mon an established strong stab combo or stab + coverage combo like boltbeam could definitely lead to a broken end product. Similarly, overloading in the power department during stats could create a bit of a monster. Tinted Lens would require restraint but that's not a negative, just a factor to bear in mind.

We can circumvent these issues by using type combos that have good synergy but shared resistances such as poison/fighting or typings that are generally poor offensively but have strong stab moves available such as normal or grass. We can also prevent these issues through defining our checks and counters with a focus on immunities and non typing based answers, ie stuff like Blissey and Buzzwole that use their incredible stats more than their typings as a means to check threats. I don't want to poll jump but just to illustrate what I mean I'm going to use the example of a psychic/dragon type. Tinted lens would let it work around the shared steel resist but neither type inherently invalidates the others immunities. Making it a special attacker would also likely mean that Blissey and Galarian-Slowking become answers despite not resisting either stabs through virtue of stats. This would give us a workable list of checks and counters despite tinted lens invalidating resists.

We can also limit lens by giving it to 30i and being rocks weak, which would allow us to invest more in the power department.

How do we incentivize the opponent to put us into the HP threshold necessary to activate this ability?
The most obvious way of doing this is to literally just force them to use attacking moves, s/o taunt. The second most obvious way is through the use of set up, putting your opponent in a catch 22 where you can boost no matter what they do.

How effective is a single boost to our special attack?
Honestly depends. Clefable getting +1 spatk isn't suddenly going to ohko everything but lele doing the same is significantly more threatening. A +1 boost is also more of a boon when combined with manual boosting, much like how Moltres-Galar plays.

What methods are available for us to get multiple boosts while staying in?
Reliable recovery, defensive boosting and sub/taunt to avoid status are all solid options.

How often might that happen?
A bulky booster in the style of fini or clef can probably get a few attempts to set up, a more offensive booster like Moltres-Galar is likely only gonna get one shot but for more offensive teams that could well be enough.

Just want to reiterate what I said about this in cord earlier.
Here is the list of methods by which stats are consistently dropped in the cap metagame:
- Lando T Intimidate
- Astro fire lash
- Tomo Intimidate
- Pult shadow ball
- Various moonblasts, mainly clef and fini
And honestly that's pretty much it. There's others like psychic spdef drops and rarer shadow ball users like aegi but honestly this is the main few and even including Tomo is kind of a stretch lol. That's really not a lot and therefore countering that list is not going to make for a very compelling process imo. As well as this, if you really wanted to beat these mons, you don't need mirror armour. There's plenty of tools available to help vs any/all of this list in the later stages of this process. To be honest, it kind of just seems like a waste of an ability when we're starting with the ability. Not a fan.

May give thoughts on the others tomorrow if I have time, mainly just wanted to throw out some support for tinted lens and the opposite for mirror armour.
 
On Tinted Lens: How do we ensure this has a lasting impact rather than reacting to popular typings in the current meta? In what situations do we run the risk of overpowering this ability? How can those risks be avoided while still ensuring the ability is used effectively?
I think that the effect of tinted lens basically makes reacting to popular typings useless in a sense, as it already removes the concern of being resisted for most types. Tinted Lens will always give a niche and is kind of timeless.

Tinted Lens will become overpowered with too much of everything. Idt it’s inherently different to other abilities in that regard. We just have o make sure, that viable counterplay exists, be it through limiting stats, so there are mons, that can be switch ins regardless of type interaction or through choosing types, which have immunities against them or a combination of both.
I don’t think that we run the risk of overpowering the mon even with strong offensive types, bc a typing always has at least two sides and defensive typing is still important. Yes bolt beam tinted lens is probably really strong offensively wrt resists, but electric ice is also an ass defensive typing and has pretty awful physical stabs.
I also think there are some pretty interesting types that can leverage the boost tinted lens provides, even though you’d consider the type pretty bad offensively (still crying about not getting tinted lens Miasmaw)
I think it will be cool, arguing, how this relation between defensive and offensive typing and access to moves can be leveraged and how the powerful aspects of tinted lens can be balanced in a clever design.
On Poison Touch: What routes are open to us to most effectively proc this ability? How do we take advantage of spreading the poisoned status across the opposing team? What counterplay is available to the typings/mons with immunity to poison, and to what degree should we account for that in order to expect this mon to function well?
Obviously multi hit moves drastically boost the chance of poisoning the opponent. Other than that, I believe that moves that hold other forms of utility maximize the power of Ptouch, as it possibly allows for some cool role compression (read Astros ability discussion for that). I do think that it also has some merit on usually effectless nukes, that now would have an added poison chance.
There are obviously different ways to capitalize on this status.
I do want to highlight here, that regular poison doesn’t fit on a defensive mon or defensive team as much as toxic poisoning. A mon or team, that takes advantage of it, would have to be able to use the added chip to break defenses, but cannot expect to poison stall the opposing team, as the damage can be healed off more easily.
I believe teams and mons, that force a lot of switches, would take advantage of the regular poison status far more, as it racks up faster, than toxic for the first few turns, so if cap 30 is able of keeping the game fast, it will be able to maximize the effects of ptouch compared to just toxicing a mon.

On Merciless I think this is a really cool ability. I am a sucker for abilities that are really strong, If you are able to create the conditions, which trigger them.
It will be fascinating to see, how we would deal with inflicting the status in the first place, wether 30 does so by just running toxic, a move with poison chance or relies on teammates, similar to specshex Pult.
I like that we might be able to get away with a lot of power, bc the counterplay to this ability is well established and also pretty varied with more niche options.
Discussing how 30 or its team can leverage situations where they can put the opposing team in a bind seems like just a very interesting prospect.

Simple just avoid the big boy boosting moves and we’re good
I think there are some very cool avenues to pursue with this ability and we could make a very unique mon with it.
 
Just wanna discuss two abilities that haven't really been mentioned: Download and Gale Wings.
Download is super cool because it gives an absurdly strong 1.5x boost, but the situational nature of it gives us a lot of design space to work with. It gives us the potential to be a very strong breaker that can change what it breaks depending on what it comes in on. Mixed Attackers are pretty much nonexistent currently and exploring this untapped potential would lead to a really cool process. Genesect has proven how well Download can be used, and has several sets taking advantage of the ability. I think there's a lot to learn from Genesect and making a balanced version of it with the same variety and versatility would make for a great process.
Gale Wings has definitely fallen since its introduction in Gen 6, but regardless there is a lot to explore with this ability. Strong priority is invaluable, and having access to strong priority with such a great offensive typing in Flying is a fantastic tool to have. It should come to no surprise that Talonflame far from optimizes the ability, with middling offenses and it's best Flying attack hurting itself. Situational it may be, access to such a powerful option, leaves no doubt in my eyes that Gale Wings can be used effectively if optimized properly. I actually find the Gale Wings nerf to be a tremendous boon to the process, since it forces us to consider how to best keep this mon at full health, adding a great deal of depth. I envision that an optimized Gale Wings user will be usable even when not at full health, and as such the power ceiling afforded to us with this ability is quite high. The discussion of the impacts of such strong priority as well as how to best keep a mon at full health I believe will make for a fascinating process.

Now to talk about some other abilities:

Merciless is an ability that is super sick on paper but I fear may not be so effective in practice. I feel like even with Tspikes, realistically 1-2 opposing mons will get poisoned over the course of a game, and in most cases being able to score crits on said mons isn't super impactful. While there are some matchups where you can say "Merciless CAP30 breaks this mon if it's poisoned" it feels like a lot of mons can accomplish that same feat even without Merciless. Basically not enough mons get poisoned in games for Merciless to be relevant, and for the ones that do Toxic is normally crippling enough that Merciless feels more redundant than anything.
Ice Scales and Fur Coat are kinda interesting, but my main gripe with them is that they can effectively be accomplished with just stats alone. If we do want to explore these, we can just build the effective stats and also explore another ability.
Triage is already pretty solidly used on ladder hero Saddam "Revenankh" Hussein, so it feels like ground we've already treaded on.
Steam Engine is kinda meh in my opinion just because it feels like more of a Target "I hate Scald" sort of concept more than anything. To be fair, getting +6 Speed is really funny and there's a good amount of space to explore there so I wouldn't mind this one.
 
Before talking about any other abilities, I'd like to look at just Ice Scales/Fur Coat and why I think this is the wrong concept for them. What makes these abilities interesting is that you have to be actively choosing to forgo an ability in order to inflate your stats. For example, Alolan Persian has to choose between Fur Coat and Technician. The problem is its stats suck too much for Technician, so it only uses Fur Coat to bandage its awful defenses. These abilities are interesting when you are given the choice between stats and a powerful ability. What we are looking at, however, is ability optimization. As the core focus of a form, this is a really boring route since we are currently looking at doing 1 core ability per form (or at least that's how I read it.) It might as well just be a stat stage change, I'd rather not see these on this concept.

Now, to answer a few questions.

> How great is the effect of gaining a single stage in speed over the opponent?
> How would a mon with this ability be able to function in a battle without receiving the +6 boost to speed, while still having room to take advantage of said boost?

I'm going to bundle these two for Cotton Down and Steam Engine. I know that they do not behave the same, with one being a universal -1 debuff while the other is a situational +6 buff, but they do both approach asking the same question. How can we make stat manipulation matter, without making the Pokemon redundant when the ability is not active. In Cotton Down's case, the opponent switches out and is at max speed. In Steam Engine's case, it doesn't trigger because no Fire/Water move. However in both cases, its the threat of the ability proccing that is forcing the opponent to change their playstyle. The threat of that +6 Steam Engine prevents the opponent from spamming Scald or Fire Lash or whatever other move purely because of the threat that they will enable a +6 monster. Likewise, that initial -1 speed on Cotton Down means that unless the opponent is already super slow like Equilibra or Glowking, they're going to switch out or they will be punished hard by a Pokemon that doesn't already threaten them out. Even if they KO Cap 30 with Cotton Down, whoever switches in next, even if they didn't used to be a threat, is suddenly a threat. For example, at -1 Speed, Miasmaw suddenly outspeeds Specs Dragapult, and suddenly forces the opponent into a bad situation where someone needs to eat a very deadly Dragon Hammer or Earthquake. Even more interestingly, Cap 30 can manipulate this by pivoting themselves. They are slower before the speed drop, get hit, then U-Turn out and whoever drops in next is slower. They can also manipulate this to enable their own sweep. Press Swords Dance after getting hit, and now they are faster. Even if the opponent switches out rather than take the speed drop, you still get a free turn of set up. There is a lot of room for both Cotton Down and Steam Engine to manipulate the opponent and take advantage of their abilities with and without them actually proccing.

> On Tinted Lens: How do we ensure this has a lasting impact rather than reacting to popular typings in the current meta?

The reaction would be mostly tailored to its initial launch. But beyond that, this Pokemon would have a very lasting impact as being able to hit everyone mostly neutrally without needing to read the correct switch ins (ie :yanmega: being able to click Bug Buzz safely and do damage against a Steel switchin, rather than reading the switch and pressing non-stab Shadow Ball for neutrality instead). This also enables a Pokemon with a useful defensive typing but generally poor STAB options such as Poison, Grass, or rather uniquely Normal to retain a powerful offensive STAB presence.

> In what situations do we run the risk of overpowering this ability? How can those risks be avoided while still ensuring the ability is used effectively?

Typing and stats are key here. If we pick an already good offensive typing like Fighting or Fire, and try to elevate it by removing its resistances, this will turn into a monster that is mostly Super Effective with very few safe switch ins. Likewise, picking an incredibly high atk/spa stat will also provide very few safe switch ins. Typings that do have opposing immunities would be safe, but whether picking something that has an immunity is optimazing it is debatable (ex Normal. Resisted by Rock/Steel, which is relevant for Tinted Lens. Ghost is immune, which renders it useless. Is this optimization and balance? Or a problem?)
 

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On Cotton Down: How great is the effect of gaining a single stage in speed over the opponent? To what degree does their capability to switch their Pokemon out mitigate the strategy behind it? How can the opponent switching out after having their speed lowered be taken advantage of?
It's hard to say exactly how great of an advantage dropping the foe's Speed by one stage is because, in my opinion, the two most important factors to take into account that are the user's own Speed and ability to take hits from certain Pokemon. For example, against the standard Choice Specs Dragapult set, the slowest Pokemon according the SS CAP Speed Tiers that can outspeed Dragapult if it was affected by Cotton Down once is Heatran, with its natural base 77 Speed alongside a Speed-boosting nature and maximum Speed EVs, bringing its raw Speed up to 278. At the same, however, we would also need to take into account how well we can take hits from it. If we get 2HKO by Choice Specs Dragapult and can't really retaliate hard enough, it won't be worth it to just hard switch in, making the application of Cotton Down a lot less useful. There's obviously a lot of other effects that can be discussed about the applications of Cotton Down that don't involve things we don't know about CAP30b and CAP30i, but I believe our own Speed stats and ability to take certain hits are definitely two of the most important attributes to keep in mind.

This may deviate a bit from the other two questions, but I think I can better explain it this way. The ability to force switches with Cotton Down has a out of applications, both offensive and defensive, giving us a lot of room to get creative with the process. Using Choice Specs Dragapult as an example, if we want to go an offensive route, we can possibly allow the forme we assign Cotton Down to take a hit and cause it to now outspeed Dragapult after one Speed drop, potentially either forcing it out and giving it an opportunity to switch or KO it in return now that we outspeed. Additionally, it we want to go another route, we can potentially use Cotton Down's potential to force switches as an opportunity to provide free utility as well, including but not limited to setting and removing entry hazards, spreading status, and Knock Off. As a whole, Cotton Down's overall ability to force switches gives us a lot of room for nearly of the attributes for CAP30b or CAP30i, depending on what we assign it to.

On Berserk: How do we incentivize the opponent to put us into the HP threshold necessary to activate this ability? How effective is a single boost to our special attack? What methods are available for us to get multiple boosts while staying in? How often might that happen?
These will be a bit tough for me to answer, since I don't really like Berserk as an option for us, but I'll try my best.

The most optimal way we can cause Berserk activate often would be to give the forme we assign it to would be to give it enough bulk for it to take most attacks to obviously get under half HP. The problem I think with that, though, is that we would need to decide what should and shouldn't allow the assigned forme to get into that threshold, making the some stages, especially the stats stage, a fairly large challenge we need to balance. The fact that this ability forces us to be at a natural disadvantage at having to force ourselves to be at low HP. Of course, there are workarounds like recovery, but I think that would add another annoyance to the process.

A single boost in Special Attack could mean a lot, the best example being how Choice Specs can make a Pokemon an even more fearsome wallbreaker (not the greatest example, but it's the one that popped into my head first). The problem I have with it though, is that I don't think a single boost in Special Attack is worth losing more than half our HP. Sure, we can use the turn the user loses half of its HP as an opportunity to set up another stat, but couldn't the opponent use that opportunity to switch out into another Pokemon that can just OHKO it outright? Again, the fact that Berserk's mechanics are contradictory towards success makes these workarounds all the more difficult.

The best way for us to get multiple boosts while staying in would be to give the user recovery, but in a similarly, that's a whole other problem we would need to think about. A Berserk user with access to reliable recovery could potentially be a really big problem in battle and in creation. In battle, if you don't have anything to OHKO it outright, you may be a bit screwed as it just recovers off that damage while it gains boosts for free. So, we could balance it by making its defenses mediocre, but then it may not be able to activate it often. If we don't give it reliable recovery, it probably would only activate once, but is that something we would want to do, considering that our goal is to optimize it?

On Tinted Lens: How do we ensure this has a lasting impact rather than reacting to popular typings in the current meta? In what situations do we run the risk of overpowering this ability? How can those risks be avoided while still ensuring the ability is used effectively?
Similar to what Brambane said, I don't Tinted Lens has the capability to have a "lasting impact" compared to potentially capitalizing on the current metagame. Making it have a good impact for the short-term is fairly easy through picking at least one type that can take advantage of the boost on not very effective hits on certain target, but for the long-term, such a type or types could fall out of flavor in the metagame, whether it be through simple developments like what OU experiences or even as we create more CAPs. It would be really hard to optimize Tinted Lens in a way that would stand the test of time in the CAP metagame.

Obviously, if we pick a type or types that are really good offensively, then Tinted Lens can easily get out of hand, especially if we throw in coverage moves into the mix. The easiest way to avoid this risk would probably be to make sure our typing doesn't excel offensively but is still workable and making sure our movepool isn't over the top, but again, like with Berserk, are we really fulfilling the concept we chose if this is what we would call optimization?

On Steam Engine: How common are Fire and Water moves in the meta as either STABs or coverage? Can we expect the opponent to be motivated to click Fire or Water moves as often once they see this mon on team preview? Can the potential discouragement of said moves be taken advantage of while still not proc'ing the ability? How would a mon with this ability be able to function in a battle without receiving the +6 boost to speed, while still having room to take advantage of said boost?
I would say that as a whole, most teams are going to be running at least one Water-type move, most likely in the form of Scald for most balance teams. Fire-type moves aren't as common, but they still have a good presence in the metagame. Our opponent would definitely have to take into account that they can't use their Water- and Fire-type moves as freely anymore, though that is still someone dependent on what Pokemon we choose for whatever forme we assign Steam Engine to can and cannot face. For example, depending on if we want it to have a good or bad matchup against it, Toxapex can potentially activate it with Scald, which could force it out and give the user a free switch. On the contrary, it could very well just eat up an attack or wait next turn for it to set up with another move to use Haze. I know I'm thinking pretty ahead here, but I would like to point out the consequences if we were to choose Steam Engine, as well as other abilities that have a similar explanation.

The discouragement of not wanting to use Water- and Fire-type moves straight from Team Preview can definitely help the user be able to provide additional utility similarly to Cotton Down. For example, once again, if it's up against Toxapex and it can only really use Scald against it, the user may use the opportunity of Toxapex most likely switching out to provide extra utility, from removing the Toxic Spikes Toxapex might've set to setting its own entry hazards. Again, there are many other applications we could have, but I thought this would be the best example to understand clearly.

Another more interesting example is the potential matchup against Heatran, where it may be discouraged to trap the Steam Engine user with Magma Storm. Sure, Heatran can trap it and take advantage of that by inflicting Toxic on it or setting Stealth Rock, but would that be worth it if it's able to outspeed it after the Steam Engine boost? Again, this is entirely based on the other undecided attributes of CAP30b and CAP30i, but is just to showcase what Steam Engine can potentially do to the forme we assign it to.

On Filter/Solid Rock: In what ways can this be optimized for an offensively functioning mon? Is there much room to explore with this ability on a defensive mon?
My answer to the question doesn't really deviate from what I've said before about these abilities here, but I'll just paste them here to stress how I feel about them even more (and for your convenience).
While this is true, Solid Rock, Filter, and Prism Armor's effect and impact on all of those archetypes is basically the same: take overall less damage in order to perform their role better. Sure, it's probably gives us the most freedom with role creation, but when it comes to actually optimizing it, is it possible that we can go beyond the utility of purely beefing up the user? I just personally think that choosing such an ability sacrifices a lot of freedom room for one part of the process in order to give another part a huge boost in creative room, but that's something that I think we shouldn't aim for.
My response was mostly aiming towards offensive archetypes, but the same thing applies to defensive archetypes. The only difference is that since Filter, Solid Rock, and Prism Armor are all defensive abilities on the surface, it would restrict our creative freedom in what ways we can optimize it. It's an unnecessary sacrificing for an uninteresting reward, no matter what direction we go.

On Poison Touch: What routes are open to us to most effectively proc this ability? How do we take advantage of spreading the poisoned status across the opposing team? What counterplay is available to the typings/mons with immunity to poison, and to what degree should we account for that in order to expect this mon to function well?
The only route we can take with Poison Touch guaranteed is to make primarily a physical attacker, since most contact moves it can take advantage of with Poison Touch are physical moves. Is that an unfortunate restriction? Yes, but I don't think it's as restrictive as the other abilities mentioned, since we can still do a lot with just a physical movepool plus all of the potentially additional utility we can give it.

Poison may not provide the amount of utility other status like burns, paralysis, and even Toxic poison do, but the consistent damage reduction notably prevents certain Pokemon from staying in even for a short time, because unlike Toxic poison, the damage can rack up in only two or three turns. And what can you do as the Pokemon switches out? That's right, attack the switch-in and poison it. This may sound a bit overwhelming, but I think there's enough counterplay to definitely justify us choosing Poison Touch, from the handful of Steel- and Poison-types to Pokemon that don't really care like Magic Guard Clefable. That is assuming that the user doesn't have counterplay to them, though, so we do need to be a bit cautious picking and choosing our checks and counters. Such Pokemon have potential counterplay as well; Heatran can trap it with Magma Storm and wear it down, Toxapex can try to fish for a Scald burn, and Clefable can cripple it with Knock Off (if it's assigned to CAP30b, obviously). We should take into account cleric support with Heal Bell and the like, which may not be popular now, but the metagame can potentially shift into its favor if our Poison Touch deems that teams need it to ease the matchup against it.

In terms of counterplay in terms of coverage, one of the easiest ways is to give our Poison Touch some sort of way to force it out; Ground-type coverage comes to mind, since it's super effective against Steel- and Poison-types, but that's definitely too overbearing for one Pokemon. I don't really think we should devote a lot of work into giving whichever forme we assign Poison Touch a lot of counterplay for Pokemon that may not care for Poison Touch, since Poison Touch already would potentially impact a good chunk of the metagame, and I think there is just enough counterplay for it to be healthy in the metagame as well. If we give our Poison Touch user potential counterplay to such Pokemon, it would definitely be pretty overwhelming to handle properly.

If I'm really feeling it later, then I'll try to make another post about the other abilities mentioned.
 
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The only route we can take with Poison Touch guaranteed is to make primarily a physical attacker, since most contact moves it can take advantage of with Poison Touch are physical moves
A minor point this reminded me of. There are a few special contact moves, but they're a bit more... Niche, and we will probably not use them much even if we had Special Poison Touch as our Pokemon. These are:

  • Petal Dance
  • Infestation
  • Draining Kiss
  • Grass Knot
Wring Out and Trump Card also used to make contact, but they don't exist anymore. I cannot see any of these being optimized however, so I feel that Physical is the only viable route for this ability. With that being said, I'm not too interested in this one for our first ability choice. The routes it provides are very narrow, as not only do we need to be physical, we would want to be a type that takes advantage of poison status on foes, as well as one that would discourage the usage of enemy Poison/Steels who would switch in to prevent our ability from functioning.
 
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