CAP 30 - Part 2 - Primary Ability Discussion

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The biggest thing I like about Merciless, besides not being an ability that’s been optimized fully, is the pressure and undue burden that it can exude onto opponents. Yes, it only works effectively in tandem with Toxic or T-spikes, but that pressure to switch a poisoned Pokémon back into CAP 30 goes a long way in a game. It could make would-be checks much more weary about coming in safely on it once poisoned, whether it’s be through team support or CAP 30 itself.

So in other words, don’t write it off just because “it isn’t a t-spikes friendly meta.” Poison damage alongside the guaranteed crit chance can make huge strides in a game to pressure opponents. The meta doesn’t have to be poison-friendly to spread it and make Merciless effective. Even there, Steel, Flying, and Poison mons can be covered in the typing stage if worst comes to worst.
 
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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’m a bit late to the party, the only additional thing I wanted to add here for methods for multiple boosting is draining attacks and wishpassing. There’s been a lot of discussion around recovery, but no one I noticed specifically called out draining moves as a way of offensively healing and putting CAP 30 back into Berserk range. Like CAP30 goes down to 40%, gets Berserk, hits back with a draining attack at +1, goes to 65%, goes down to 5%, gets a second +1, hits back with a draining attack, etc.

As well, not to wander too far into the territory of partner concepts, but simply planning around how to receive Wish options helps with multiple Berserk activations as well. G-Moltres doesn’t want to pack HDB and takes 25% from SR with a poor defensive typing, doesn’t make it a great Wish receiver. I’m considering getting another chance to activate Berserk after switching as “multiple boosts” in the wish example, in the sense that it will be triggered multiple times per match.

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?
For offensive optimization I think we can look at any mon that would carry a SE reduction berry like Yache in order to try to lock in a sweep. It isn’t a very common strategy, but it shows how being able to tank a SE hit in order to get momentum up works offensively. Generally I find this more interesting for a more frail choice, as instead of just making a bulky offence option that is bulky, its used to try to tank through one or two hits to get a big high risk set-up.
 
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Estronic

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Time to comment on the new abilities mentioned because I don't have to double post now.

I'm pretty fond of Merciless mostly because of the same reasons Dece1t described above. You're already trying to manage opposing Toxic and Toxic Spikes so that your team won't get worn down so easily, and Merciless adds a lot more depth to that pressure. Even Pokemon that don't really mind getting Toxic poisoned like Magic Guard Clefable all of a sudden have to be careful of the potential damage from a Merciless user. It doesn't even matter if you can't poison most of the opposing team, as again, the threat that it's POSSIBLE you can poison them is already enough pressure, which could even allow whatever forme we assign it on to take advantage of that pressure with additional utility.

I'm going to put this very bluntly: I don't want us to choose Ice Scales or Fur Coat for our process. I could mention how either of these abilities would make the process pretty bland, but I would much rather stress the issues that could arise during the stats stage if we pick either ability. Since either ability doubles one of the two defense stats, we would need to make sure its stats aren't so overwhelming to compensate. However, since our framework requires the two formes to have the same BST, the forme that wasn't assigned one of those abilities will most likely be underpowered, and there won't be much for us to compensate for it. Moreover, if we try to make the other forme not have an underpowered stat line, that may cause the forme with Ice Scales or Fur Coat to be overpowered. It's something we would have to jungle around tremendously, and no matter what, it would be impossible to achieve an outcome that we are satisfied with.

I've unfortunately lost some interest in Triage because the restrictions it will place on us, notably during the typing and moves stage, may be difficult to work in our favor. I still think on paper that's it's a cool ability with a lot of applications, but the workarounds we need to tackle kind of take away from that.

I haven't had much time to develop a solid opinion on Weak Armor other than the fact that it's a more applicable Rattled with an additional downside, which could be neat. I am a little concerned on if it would fit with our concept, though, as Vullaby's domination in SS LC before it was banned gives a lot of its thanks to Weak Armor allowing it to outspeed the entire metagame, so I'm not sure if they'll be other things to explore about it. If it's alright, though, then we can definitely use it as a model as we build around the ability.

I was talking with quziel a while ago about Simple and, simply put (heh), it could be very fun to optimize. There's a lot of unique boosting moves that can provide additional utility such as Hone Claws and Power-Up Punch, but the fact that they're fairly weak in terms of boosting makes running moves like Swords Dance a much better option. With Simple, though, those moves essentially become Sword Dance plus a huge accuracy boost and additional damage to the foe, respectively, allowing us to really play around other niche boosting moves. It does restrict us when we have to discuss the role of the forme we assign it to, but the unique applications it has I think makes up for it a ton.
 
I think Tinted Lens could also be a fun ability, and I don’t think people should be so scared of it. We can adjust factors such as move pool, typing, stats, etc to make it so overpowering. It’s not like Fur Coat or Ife Scales where we’re straight up doubling a stat—we’re essentially making not very effective moves neutral. To me that doesn’t immediately scream broken. We have the ability to balance it out, so let’s not overstate it.

Merciless for me is still #1, but this ability is still a good one to make for an interesting project. Simple also sounds fun, albeit a bit linear, as well as Cotton Down/Stamina. The rest I’m not exactly crazy about, either because of bad trade offs/the abilities already having been explored.
 
It's taken me forever and half to post in here, so this post is really so I can actually participate in this discussion outside of Discord.

If I'm going to be honest, there are only two abilities that I strongly favor at the moment: Filter/Solid Rock and Tinted Lens. In particular, I really like how they unlock typings that would otherwise be overlooked for either bad 2x weaknesses or bad type coverage as STAB.

For Tinted Lens, I agree that we would have to work to avoid the worst case scenario of something that just runs rampant with no resists, but I think we are certainly capable of avoiding those pitfalls without impossibly high restrictions or binding the other form to being unviable, and the new typings and moves we might not often touch otherwise is worth it. I particularly like Brambane's point that Tinted Lens allows us to consider role compression and utility options in cases where we might instead be trying to cram coverage moves to compensate for a poor STAB typing (see Miasmaw).

I have a similar sentiment regarding Filter/Solid Rock. Because of its specific application in avoiding super effective hits, a Pokemon can still struggle with strong neutral hits while being in a position to tank weaker super effective ones. As D2TheW pointed out, this allows us to create a CAP with a pretty unique defensive profile that I think would be a rather interesting consideration throughout the whole project, not to mention how it can potentially open us up to typings that tend to be avoided due to common weaknesses. I particularly want to highlight Rhyperior's increased ability to stand up to its would-be checks despite a historically poor typing in Rock/Ground; I think this kind of interaction poses a very good question of how a Filter/Solid Rock mon should be interacting with its super effective checks and certain super effective coverage moves, in comparison to other Pokemon of similar types or weaknesses. Is non-STAB coverage enough at that point? Can defensive Pokemon still lean on super effective but weaker STABs? I believe we can look at at more than just "it takes less damage" with this ability.

I also wanted to address this concern about Tinted Lens (and some other abilities):
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?
Already expressed my opinion on Discord, but I might as well include this in here. We already established in Concept Assessment that optimization for us meant having the ability be central to the mon's viability without breaking it. The full quote:
We want the ability to be a leading element of CAP 30’s functionality while avoiding optimization that removes healthy counterplay.
If we take a measure to not break the mon that doesn't deliberately gimp the ability into irrelevance, I feel it is perfectly within our definition. There are many ways for us to create a Pokemon that consistently and directly utilizes Tinted Lens without expanding its movepool with dangerous moves or picking a typing that is left with no holes whatsoever, and those routes directly achieve what we established in Concept Assessment. I think opinion has shifted already, but I want to emphasize that an ability's peak being broken should not necessarily stop us from considering it, especially if an interesting and concept-relevant product can still be derived from a more moderate approach.
 
Abilities I Don't Like

Tinted Lens: Yes its a cool ability, but what do we stand to learn from this? CAP isn't the only place to explore Pokemon what-ifs such as unoptimized abilities. Other Metagames are great for that, and Tinted Lens has been thoroughly demonstrated to be excellent on any offensive mon with two decent STABs, to the point where it has been banned from most ability-based OMs. Making a muscle mon who doesn't care about resists is a potentially fun but probably useless exercise.

Long Reach: Not enough use of Barbs/Skin/Helmet for this to have any use beyond extremely niche applications.

Effect Spore: Haxy and inconsistent. If we're going to punish contact moves lets just use Poison Point, Flame Body, or Static.

Blaze / Overgrow / Torrent / Swarm: Please no. These abilities are terrible and we already wasted a chance to explore them with the CAP25 starters. Let's not reject an interesting ability for this rubbish.

Water Compaction: A part of me really wants to see this one work but I just don't think we can get ourselves hit with water moves reliably enough for our strategy to revolve around this. If we're going to do one of the water-triggered abilities I think Steam Engine has a better payoff.





Abilities I Think are Okay

Stamina: It has kinda been explored already in OMs, but mainly in Shared Power where it is stacked with other abilities, so I think there is still room to investigate how to optimize it.

Filter/Solid Rock: Not super flashy, but for people who like to do damage calculations it could lead to some decent stat and check/counter stages.

Berserk: Challenging to use and probably not super revelatory, but would be a fun product.

Steam Engine: This would make a really interesting product and process, though I share some of the concerns already mentioned.

Rattled: I definitely see the appeal for this ability and how, with the existence of 30i, this is the perfect time to use it (if I'm jumping ahead here, come on, that's what everyone's thinking). It's Exhibit A for an ability that has always been mediocre but now has the potential to impart some solid benefit. I kinda agree with some others that the balance between the strength of that benefit and the reliability of getting it might not be the best, but of the middle tier candidates I think this is my favorite.





Abilities That I Really Like

Cotton Guard: A really interesting ability that has multiple routes. We could either design something that takes advantage of the speed drop itself, or make a team support pivot that takes a hit and slows the opponent, and then swaps out for a teammate. This latter option would be also be an excellent way to take advantage of the slowed-down opponent switching out, giving the Cotton Down user momentum for their team.

Poison Jab: Really cool ability that allows us to explore offensive chip. Nothing to add that hasn't already been said.

Merciless: I don't have anything new to add here either, but it seems really interesting. The payoff is balanced by the potential difficulty of getting it prepped, and finding ways to reliably do this in the face of switching and poison-immune mons will make for great discussions.

Mirror Armor: A unique way of punishing the opponent that we haven't seen before.
 
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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?
Sorry I really need to rant about Cotton Down because I honestly think it's terrible. The problem is, Cotton Down isn't Speed Control, at least not in any relevant sort of manner. The fact that CAP30 will most likely proc its ability on switching means that it most likely checks whatever it's coming in on. As such, in most situations, the opposing mon is switching out the next turn, making Cotton Down's speed drop kind of pointless. When we consider this, the cases where Cotton Down becomes useful outside of forcing switches in 1v1 situations are virtually nonexistent.

When it comes to Cotton Down in these 1v1 situations, designing around Cotton Down activation puts us in a horribly awkward position from a process standpoint. We of course want to check the mons we switch into, we also don't want to be good enough to check these fast mons by virtue of stats and typing alone, otherwise, Cotton Down doesn't really do anything. This kind of forces us to aim to be mediocre checks to the fast threats in the meta, and as a result the mon will probably only come in to eat a hit against these mons once or twice per game, similar to how Weavile responds to Dragapult. As such, the mon will probably come into play more often in other situations, and only make effective use of Cotton Down very rarely.

From a defensive standpoint, activating Cotton Down and pivoting out simply isn't feasible for the reasons mentioned above. If we can solidly soak up the hit that activates Cotton Guard, it's highly unlikely that the opposing mon will stay in for us to take advantage of the speed drop. If we're at a bulk range that gives the opponent some incentive to stay in, we're probably incurring too much damage for our pivot to be worthwhile in the long run, or losing utility in some other form. Admittedly you can make some good predictions to bring the Cotton Down mon in on a move it resists, and then bait an option to pivot in your next mon in on. However, while certainly useful, cases like this are unreliable and can't be built around for the process. Even if this is the route we decide to take, pivoting out into a wallbreaker isn't anything unique to the meta and isn't particularly interesting.

Both defensively and offensively, Cotton Down does provide some sort of utility in giving us extra leverage in forcing switches. However, forcing a switch isn't anything remotely unique to Cotton Down, and as such I find the route of capitalizing super hard on forcing the switch to be very uninteresting. For instance, we could make a very strong breaker that deals great damage to switch-ins, but that still enables this mon to be effective when simply pivoted in instead of trying to activate Cotton Down. Despite being seemingly the best route to take, focusing on capitalizing on switches feels tangentially related to what the ability is intended to do, and because of that feels kind of pointless.

With regard to the matchup against HO, Cotton Down's requirement that the mon incurs a hit actually makes it a pretty bad answer to HO teams. HO is defined by setup sweepers, and expecting this mon to somehow take down HO when it has to eat so many powerful hits is nonsensical. While we can target a handful of HO threats so that we live one hit from them and pivot out to take advantage of the speed drop, this can only really happen once per game. Even at best, Cotton Down is more of a trait that is just something nice to have rather than a defining aspect of the HO matchup.

Furthermore, I fear the actual effectiveness of being able to take down many of the tier's fast threats. By virtue of typing alone, it's basically impossible to switch in on all of the fast threats in the metagame. Just between Dragapult, Weavile, and Zeraora there isn't really any typing that can switch into all three of these. As such I'm worried that the concept will overfocus on beating one specific fast mon in the tier like Dragapult or Zeraora, which isn't at all appealing to me.

In conclusion, Cotton Down is awful and shouldn't be slated. Thank you for coming to my TedTalk.

TL;DR: Cotton Down is bad because it doesn't do anything because the effect is lost when the opponent switches out. Because we need to be able to take hits to activate Cotton Down, it kind of mandates that we somewhat check these fast mons by virtue of stats and typing, which means we probably force them to switch anyway even if we had a different ability. The cases where this isn't true are too fringe to built an effective process around.
 
Tinted Lens: Yes its a cool ability, but what do we stand to learn from this? CAP isn't the only place to explore Pokemon what-ifs such as unoptimized abilities. Other Metagames are great for that, and Tinted Lens has been thoroughly demonstrated to be excellent on any offensive mon with two decent STABs, to the point where it has been banned from all ability-based OMs. Making a muscle mon who doesn't care about resists is a potentially fun but probably useless exercise.
This is utter garbage.
Yes it has been shown that tinted lens is banworthy broken (although it is currently not banned in AAA for example)
But that is in metas, where you can build mons with out restrictions and consideration for the powerlevel of the meta.
Yes it is probably not interesting to just slap tinted lens on Archeops or Urshifu like you could in AAA (if they weren’t banned)
But now consider a meta with actual restrictions like CAP, say AAA but with the caveat, that OU level mons don’t get other abilities and any Pokémon-Ability Combination from lower tiers, that surpasses their power level, gets banned.
Having to really think about how strong you can make the mon, while still being balanced for CAP/OU AND at the same time using the ability effectively, is a design challenge, with potential for varied and deep discussion, that will certainly bring out interesting ideas about how types function, about role compression and team building.

In general, I really dislike comparisons of other Metagames like Almost Any Ability or Hackmons to CAP, because their competitive essence is just so wildly different.
I think it’s fine to look at OMs for cues, as to what mechanics can work etc.
But dismissing any option, be it moves, abilities or types or combinations of those, with the argument, that „it has been done“ in other (modified) metas, is ridiculous to me bc most of these metas, set entirely different restrictions on, what can work and what not.
Especially since they are often „you can do anything until it gets banned“, whereas CAP is „you can do anything, as long as it doesn’t get you banned“.
 

Zephyri

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im seeing quite a bit of discussion about merciless and i want to talk about why i really dont think its that great of an ability.

to put it simply, teams are more prepared for status rn than ever before. corv and fini have had a pretty meteoric surge in viability, glowking has gotten better; toxic isnt nearly as good as it once was. tspikes are also reeeally eh imo; i think tons of mons are running hdb and the fact that cap inherenetly has a lot more removal than ou makes tspikes a lot worse here than in ou.

furthermore i dont think the boost that merciless provides is significant enough. a lot of "would-be counters" dont really mind crits (if theyre good counters) because they're taking 20-35% from the hit. if theyre taking more than that, they're going to be an answer thats easy to pressure with toxic anyway; merciless doesn't really matter in that regard. what merciless does is turn counters into checks; the thing is, with 90% of games involving a "breaker/offensive pivot/sweeper wincon" gameplan, counters are going to be turned into checks anyway, especially when you're involving toxic poisoning. thats the reason people use hazards; to weaken an opponents counter to the point where it isnt a counter. merciless is just speeding up that process by turning that counter into a check the instant it gets toxic'ed. all in all i think merciless is sorta just an mediocre/likely-to-be-ineffective take on a mons concept that has been thoroughly explored, while also removing the interesting gameplay that comes from the breaker wincon gameplan
 
Fur Coat / Ice Scales: As I see it, the primary niche of these abilities for this project is thus: it has the unique ability to give defensive utility to unresistant typings without straining the process elsewhere.
At the power level of the average Pokemon, 2HKOs off of neutral hits are fairly common, and, barring Recover or Regenerator, 3HKOs are practically ubiquitous.
It’s easy to forget just how much the ability to stomach neutral hits is dependent on access to extremely powerful recovery. Looking at the OU suite of genuine defensive mons without it, you’re limited to Steel types (:heatran:, :equilibra:, :celesteela:) or those with a stellar combination of various defensive traits (:landorus-therian:, :tapu fini:).

This isn’t only relevant to defensive mons; any non-glass-cannon lives or dies on its access to resistances. :dragapult:’s dominance is largely driven by having 2 immunities and 6 resistances, alongside two barely resistable STABs.
Weaknesses are negligible by comparison;:rillaboom:, despite having 5 weaknesses, has plenty of defensive utility thanks key resistances to the incredibly common Ground and Water.

This can leave typings without many resistances out in the cold - Ice, Rock, Normal, and Psychic being the most notable (but far from only) examples.

This issue is particularly important for CAP 30. Sharing a type between two defferent but equally-matched mons increases the demand for that type to be well-rounded; otherwise, both forms might be forced to fill the same archetype. This ultimately biases us towards more defensive typings; there are a myriad of ways for an ability to turn a primarily-defensive type offensive, but there really aren’t any that can turn a primarily-offensive type defensive. Fur Scales is the only exception.

Ice Coat is best considered as a supplement to typing, rather than stats. It converts neutralities into resists, and weaknesses into neutralities, but only on either the physical or special side.
While strong, it is far from broken. Even ignoring the physical/special limitation, Ice, Rock, and Grass would still have fewer resistances than Steel; mons such as :bisharp: prove that having a wide array of resistances isn’t enough to make one an impenetrable wall.

TLDR, it goes without saying that, like any ability, it takes some work to keep Fur Ice Coat Scales balanced; you can’t just slap it on :swampert: and call it a day. But it is perhaps the single least restrictive way to explore broad archetypes like “defense without recovery”, and places so few demands on type that it can enable offensive typings ability 2 can explore to their fullest.


A Quick Aside on Filter/Solid Rock
As it’s the only other defensive ability being discussed, you may be tempted to compare Filter to Fur Coat, and say something like “it can achieve the same thing”. Do not be fooled; these abilities are nothing alike.
The damage reduction Solid Filter applies to super-effective hits is roughly equivalent to knocking off a Life Orb. While this is nothing to sneeze at, it doesn’t change the mon’s defensive profile that much. You still don’t want to take super-effective hits; at best, it converts some OHKOs into 2HKOs, to allow you to fire off a critical move at a key moment. It doesn’t give you any new opportunities to switch in, and it doesn’t alleviate any pressure from neutral hits, which are some of Scale Coat’s greatest utilities. As I mentioned above with Rillaboom, resistances are the key to defensive utility, not a lack of weaknesses; Filter Rock does nothing to help in this department.
 
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im seeing quite a bit of discussion about merciless and i want to talk about why i really dont think its that great of an ability.

to put it simply, teams are more prepared for status rn than ever before. corv and fini have had a pretty meteoric surge in viability, glowking has gotten better; toxic isnt nearly as good as it once was. tspikes are also reeeally eh imo; i think tons of mons are running hdb and the fact that cap inherenetly has a lot more removal than ou makes tspikes a lot worse here than in ou.

furthermore i dont think the boost that merciless provides is significant enough. a lot of "would-be counters" dont really mind crits (if theyre good counters) because they're taking 20-35% from the hit. if theyre taking more than that, they're going to be an answer thats easy to pressure with toxic anyway; merciless doesn't really matter in that regard. what merciless does is turn counters into checks; the thing is, with 90% of games involving a "breaker/offensive pivot/sweeper wincon" gameplan, counters are going to be turned into checks anyway, especially when you're involving toxic poisoning. thats the reason people use hazards; to weaken an opponents counter to the point where it isnt a counter. merciless is just speeding up that process by turning that counter into a check the instant it gets toxic'ed. all in all i think merciless is sorta just an mediocre/likely-to-be-ineffective take on a mons concept that has been thoroughly explored, while also removing the interesting gameplay that comes from the breaker wincon gameplan
How do you know what would-be counters would be taking? We don’t know what 30s stats are and typing, so I feel as though that’s a bit of an unfair argument to make.
 

dex

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This'll probably be a long post, so sorry for the incoming wall of text.

We should stray away from inconsistent abilities. These are abilities whose effects are inconsistent in activation or utility. I believe this because this is not some ordinary ability stage. This ability will define the rest of the CAP process. I will give an example of each.

Rattled has seen a lot of support in this thread, and to be honest I really cannot wrap my head around why. Rattled is an example of an inconsistent activation ability, and we should not look to build an entire mon around an ability like this. Rattled would be a fine choice if a different concept called for it, but here we are looking for an ability that will define the rest of the process, and an ability with an effect as negligible as Rattled has compounded with its inconsistent activation makes it a poor choice to build the rest of the CAP around. Trying to optimize an ability with Rattled's inconsistency will result in a mon that would probably succeed without Rattled, where Rattled is more of a "nice situational bonus" rather than a defining aspect of the mon. I would bring up Kerfluffle as an example that would probably do the exact same thing it does now without Natural Cure. Kerfluffle rarely activates Natural Cure, but that's totally fine given that its concept was not predicated on optimizing its ability. Rattled is too inconsistent on activation to be seriously considered for this concept. Other examples of inconsistent activation abilities are Merciless and Steam Engine.

Cotton Down is the next ability I will look at, this time as an example of an inconsistent utility ability. Cotton Down has been hyped a lot in this thread as a possible way to slow down HO teams that have been running rampant lately. However, not only does Cotton Down not do that, but its effect, while seemingly powerful, does not actually affect the opponent that much outside of the HO matchup given that they can simply switch. Cotton Down's utility seems to be tied to the belief that it puts a stop to setup sweepers, but then you're sacking your Cotton Down mon to the now setup sweeper and they can just swap out on your check. Herein lies Cotton Down's inconsistency: the utility it provides, while consistent in activation, is not consistent in practice. Cotton Down's -1 speed is useful in a pure 1v1, but that's not how Pokemon is played. Using Cotton Down as the defining aspect of a CAP process would be a mistake. It's a really cool ability, but it should not be the choice for us moving forward. I'll bring up Necturna as an example of a CAP that has an inconsistent utility ability. Forewarn's utility is almost always negligible on Necturna, but every now and then it helps for scouting. Another example of an inconsistent utility ability would be Effect Spore.

I don't want to seem like I'm coming down too hard on these abilities or the posts supporting them. In a different concept, they would certainly lead to interesting final products; however, this is CAP 30. We are looking to build a mon around the ability we choose here, and we should stray away from inconsistent abilities that would lead to a process where we are essentially making a generically "good" mon instead of a mon centralized around getting the most out of its ability.
 
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Zephyri

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How do you know what would-be counters would be taking? We don’t know what 30s stats are and typing, so I feel as though that’s a bit of an unfair argument to make.
because a counter that takes more than that is a pretty ineffective counter. at that point, you're extremely vulnerable to being overwhelmed by hazards+status+attack damage from the mon youre supposed to be answer. ofc there are exceptions (regen mons being the main ones) but unless we want to target regen mons and only them with merciless its sorta disingenuous to expect a counter to be taking any more than the above.

i'll concede that teams with multiple "takes 35-50 and has recovery" counters to a mon can be said to have sufficient counterplay to a non-merciless, and a merciless mon could potentially flip the mu on those teams but that sorta shoehorns us into an mlop/kartana build which could be maybe interesting but it isnt nearly as free as the other options. maybe i gave it too much slack but i still maintain that it isnt nearly as good an ability as being advertised
 
because a counter that takes more than that is a pretty ineffective counter. at that point, you're extremely vulnerable to being overwhelmed by hazards+status+attack damage from the mon youre supposed to be answer. ofc there are exceptions (regen mons being the main ones) but unless we want to target regen mons and only them with merciless its sorta disingenuous to expect a counter to be taking any more than the above.

i'll concede that teams with multiple "takes 35-50 and has recovery" counters to a mon can be said to have sufficient counterplay to a non-merciless, and a merciless mon could potentially flip the mu on those teams but that sorta shoehorns us into an mlop/kartana build which could be maybe interesting but it isnt nearly as free as the other options. maybe i gave it too much slack but i still maintain that it isnt nearly as good an ability as being advertised
The point being made is that Merciless adds pressure. Hazards are another factor in that, and that has more to do with team support than anything else. Merciless can add another complexing factor in games, similar to how Equilibra’s Doom Desire hits delayed—they both complicate switching and can make it less safe. I get how counters operate, and what becomes a counter to CAP 30 will be balanced out in future stages of the project. The point you’ve been making is that Merciless is not a great choice of ability because the meta is anti-toxic and anti t-spikes. That’s not to say CAP 30 could very well overwhelm moms that happen to be vulnerable (because most competent teams don’t run 6 steel and poison types). Even there, CAP 30 could* still operate well even if Merciless can’t be taken advantage of in a given turn through the use of hazards as you mentioned and additional team support. The goal of this concept is to optimize an ability, and Merciless IMO has great potential to break holes under the right conditions and create additional limiting factors to overwhelm opponents and make game progress. It’s an under-explored dynamic that we’d be able to learn a lot from. Just because some mons can’t be poisoned doesn’t mean it isn’t a great choice for ability, so I feel as though that’s a bit of an unfair argument.

edit: just so mods aren’t concerned, I’m not going to reply on this topic further in fear of flooding/rehashing the same arguments. I think I made my points clear enough at this point, and I apologize if I was repetitive.
 
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im seeing quite a bit of discussion about merciless and i want to talk about why i really dont think its that great of an ability.

to put it simply, teams are more prepared for status rn than ever before. corv and fini have had a pretty meteoric surge in viability, glowking has gotten better; toxic isnt nearly as good as it once was. tspikes are also reeeally eh imo; i think tons of mons are running hdb and the fact that cap inherenetly has a lot more removal than ou makes tspikes a lot worse here than in ou.

furthermore i dont think the boost that merciless provides is significant enough. a lot of "would-be counters" dont really mind crits (if theyre good counters) because they're taking 20-35% from the hit. if theyre taking more than that, they're going to be an answer thats easy to pressure with toxic anyway; merciless doesn't really matter in that regard. what merciless does is turn counters into checks; the thing is, with 90% of games involving a "breaker/offensive pivot/sweeper wincon" gameplan, counters are going to be turned into checks anyway, especially when you're involving toxic poisoning. thats the reason people use hazards; to weaken an opponents counter to the point where it isnt a counter. merciless is just speeding up that process by turning that counter into a check the instant it gets toxic'ed. all in all i think merciless is sorta just an mediocre/likely-to-be-ineffective take on a mons concept that has been thoroughly explored, while also removing the interesting gameplay that comes from the breaker wincon gameplan
While I dont agree that Toxic is in a different place than it has been previously (its on every team and the viability of tspikes seems to depend entirely on Toxapex's usage) I do agree that Merciless is not perhaps as impactful as it is generally considered, or exciting to build around. A Merciless set mostly just sounds like a regular set except with Toxic- no change in gameplan, nothing new really- and even without Merciless that identical set would succeed in punishing the counter the turn that it switches into Toxic. There's some very specific cases where Merciless is very valuable and has unique interaction- thats vs Clefable, Snaelstrom, and you can also swap out some offensive moves for one of the more powerful versions that drop your offensive stat (as crits dont take into consideration your stat drops). Overall there's more interesting things to try out here.

I'm coming around to Tinted Lens, when looked at as moveslot efficiency rather than sheer breaking force. I still really really don't like the idea of making a Tinted Lens dedicated offensive or boosting threat, but I do like the idea of something like Milotic (not a CAP example) that could save slots for defensive utility. Something in that stat bracket could also maybe lean offensive without being too degenerate.

I'm tempted to say fuck it and suggest Technician. This seems like the perfect ability for this style of concept which is only soured by the fact that we did it last time around and failed. Even though we've done this ability twice (edit: 3 times???), neither one has been used correctly and no Technician user has come close to covering anything near the full scope of the ability. For discussion, Technician Arghonaut was its secondary ability and Smokomodo discussion was so heavily constricted by our hyperfocus on Bonemerang and Flame Charge as well as lack of coverage thanks to our excellent dual STAB- so I dont feel like its too overdiscussed either. Gen 8 has also buffed/added new moves to look at, for instance Rapid Spin, Triple Axel, Dragon Darts, Scale Shot, and Breaking Swipe. It seems as if the vast majority of Technician boosted moves have never seen exploration or real discussion and this is still pretty exciting.
I'd also add that it has little/no crossover with other ability choices and existing users like Breloom and Roserade give me hope as examples of two competing good abilities that both see usage.
 
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I have warmed up to Tinted Lens a lot more (thx brambane post) under the stipulation that we use it for more than just an unstoppable breaker: I love the idea of a Pokemon that can reliably force meaningful progress with its attacking moves rather than just always threatening 2HKOs on anything that dares to take a hit. By not needing coverage to apply pressure and consolidating it into a singular moveslot we have a lot of extra space thay can be used for sustain, utility, or perhaps some form of boosting.

I definitely do not want to see Venomoth OU Edition where it just annihilates the whole tier after setting up or with a Choice Item, but there is a lot more promise to Tinted Lens than I saw before.

fuck it and suggest Technician
After what seems like every ability people liked are now being skinned alive I'm going to have to agree lmao, obviously this would be the third time Technician was used for CAP but Arghonaut always runs Unaware, Stratagem is more partial to Levitate and being borderline unviable and Smokomodo is sorta this complete disaster of a competitive design. If we actually stop restraining ourselves and give Technician the tools it desires (utility, priority, multi-hit, unique/weird coverage) we'd end up with a pretty awesome Pokemon. I would want to make sure that using Technician would be optimal over something like Adaptability or other boosting abilities, but I am postive we wouldn't have any trouble doing thay since the amount of moves which can benefit from Technician is quite high and few have actually been explored that well. It's straightforward, sounds fun to work with, and makes a lot of good <60BP moves much stronger without overpowering those that already have BPs well over the 100 range.

Us not really doing Technician justice throughout history may be a scary precedent, but at the same time should serve as plentiful resources at how things can go wrong, and what we should avoid doing so the end product is what we envision.
 
While I dont agree that Toxic is in a different place than it has been previously (its on every team and the viability of tspikes seems to depend entirely on Toxapex's usage) I do agree that Merciless is not perhaps as impactful as it is generally considered, or exciting to build around. A Merciless set mostly just sounds like a regular set except with Toxic- no change in gameplan, nothing new really- and even without Merciless that identical set would succeed in punishing the counter the turn that it switches into Toxic. There's some very specific cases where Merciless is very valuable and has unique interaction- thats vs Clefable, Snaelstrom, and you can also swap out some offensive moves for one of the more powerful versions that drop your offensive stat (as crits dont take into consideration your stat drops). Overall there's more interesting things to try out here.

I'm coming around to Tinted Lens, when looked at as moveslot efficiency rather than sheer breaking force. I still really really don't like the idea of making a Tinted Lens dedicated offensive or boosting threat, but I do like the idea of something like Milotic (not a CAP example) that could save slots for defensive utility. Something in that stat bracket could also maybe lean offensive without being too degenerate.

I'm tempted to say fuck it and suggest Technician. This seems like the perfect ability for this style of concept which is only soured by the fact that we did it last time around and failed. Even though we've done this ability twice (edit: 3 times???), neither one has been used correctly and no Technician user has come close to covering anything near the full scope of the ability. For discussion, Technician Arghonaut was its secondary ability and Smokomodo discussion was so heavily constricted by our hyperfocus on Bonemerang and Flame Charge as well as lack of coverage thanks to our excellent dual STAB- so I dont feel like its too overdiscussed either. Gen 8 has also buffed/added new moves to look at, for instance Rapid Spin, Triple Axel, Dragon Darts, Scale Shot, and Breaking Swipe. It seems as if the vast majority of Technician boosted moves have never seen exploration or real discussion and this is still pretty exciting.
I'd also add that it has little/no crossover with other ability choices and existing users like Breloom and Roserade give me hope as examples of two competing good abilities that both see usage.
My biggest gripe with Technician is, although it’s a great ability, it is optimized (see: Scizor) and it’s been (at the very least) explored as you explained in past projects. I can’t see why further exploration into Technician can’t be covered in, say, another buff process. I just feel like it’s not the greatest ability to use since it doesn’t fit the concept 100%. I’d rather pick an ability that we don’t know all that much, or one that can be made adequate for a CAP/OU meta game environment that hasn’t been (usually because of the Pokemon that these abilities are plopped on more than not).
 

Tadasuke

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With the discussion starting to wrap up, I feel it's now time to post a preliminary slate. Keep in mind that none of this is necessarily set in stone, but these all seem to be the strongest contenders to me. Feel free to post any final arguments for abilities that didn't make the slate, however there's no guarantee that they'll be added.
  • Cotton Down: Out of all the abilities triggered by being hit, this one seemed to have the most opportunities to proc while also leaving the most room for the rest of the project to work with. I think there's a lot we can do with manipulating our opponent's speed tiers, and while not being universally good, I believe this can be tailored into a highly effective ability on the correct mon, and the likely effect of forcing your opponent switch more frequently can be capitalized upon greatly.
  • Filter: Bolstering a mon's defensive seems to be a universally beneficial effect. As evidenced with mons like Necrozma, we don't necessarily have to build this as a primarily defensive mon, as there are a wide variety of offensive strategies that would gain a great boon from worrying less about sponging super-effective hits. As with many other abilities on this slate, it leaves a lot of room for interpretation throughout the rest of the project, and I'm excited to see how that might be actualized if this ability is picked.
  • Poison Touch: Although I wasn't sold on this one at first, there's a ton of room for optimization with regards to buffing already potent contact-based moves. Poison as a status in general is a very effective method for wearing down checks and counters, and I'm interested to see where the project would go with it. The likely constraint of being a physical attacker doesn't worry me too much since that says nothing about our bulk or speed tier. Nothing says that we can't be a mixed attacker either, or take advantage of special attacks that also make contact.
  • Simple: Despite limiting the movepool choices for our other form, Simple opens up a ton of unexplored routes with regards to lesser-used boosting moves. Its interaction with chance-based stat drops would also lead to a very nuanced discussion for the stats stage, which I'm looking forward to.
  • Tinted Lens: Being able to break through would-be checks and counters on the basis of typing alone allots us a good bit of room to explore typing/move combinations that have yet to prove themselves effective in the meta. Compressing moveslots on a defensive mon is also a really intriguing route to take, so I'm not worried that choosing this ability would shoehorn us into any particular build.
I'd like to touch briefly on a few abilities that received a good bit of attention but didn't make the slate.
  • Rattled: This one got a lot of attention, but its effect seems pretty underwhelming. The idea that we can capitalize on the opponent clicking U-Turn seems pretty moot since they can just switch into a counter and negate any positive effects the ability may have had. This seems to me more like a response to Ghost and Dark types being popular in the meta right now, and I'd much rather go with an ability that would have a lasting impact.
  • Steam Engine: I'm not convinced that we'll be able to proc this ability enough for it to have any meaningful impact in most games. Counterplay to it is simple enough, and even if the ability goes off I don't think the mon would play much differently than prior to getting the boost. It'd be hard to have an interesting process based around maybe being faster than the opponent in some games.
  • Mirror Armor: While being able to mitigate drops from moves like Shadow Ball or Fire Lash, this just screams target concept to me. This is also an ability where getting the effect to proc is entirely out of our control, and I find that very difficult to optimize.
  • Merciless: This got a good bit of support towards the end of this discussion, however it seems to be fairly one-dimensional and risks greatly depleting effective methods of counterplay. It also seems fairly restrictive on the rest of the process in terms of the typing and movepool stages. Zephyri and Pipotchi summed up my issues with this ability fairly well in their posts.
I'll leave this open to discussion for the next 24 hours, then post the final slate and open polling.
 
I've got nothing to say on the slate. While I would love to see Steam Engine, I think that all 5 options on there are great choices with their own merits. I've wrote on Cotton Down and Tinted Lens earlier. Poison Touch and Simple enable us to explore a variety of underused moves and playstyles, as well as giving us quite a bit of liberty in typing stage. (Poisoning on a non-Poison type STAB? Multi-hit moves? Knock?)

Filter is one that, as mentioned, has a wide variety of directions we can take with it as well. It is a great defensive tool as well as an offensive one, essentially buying us a free turn. It can also make for an extremely fun typing stage as well, opening up a wealth of possibilities that we would normally never consider because of their weaknesses. The only downside I can think of at first glance is picking a riskier typing that loves Filter, but struggling to find a good second ability for that typing, but I am sure that we will be able to make two great forms with any ability from those provided here as our starting point.
 

Zephyri

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  • Cotton Down: Out of all the abilities triggered by being hit, this one seemed to have the most opportunities to proc while also leaving the most room for the rest of the project to work with. I think there's a lot we can do with manipulating our opponent's speed tiers, and while not being universally good, I believe this can be tailored into a highly effective ability on the correct mon, and the likely effect of forcing your opponent switch more frequently can be capitalized upon greatly.
i want to dispute this by addressing these points individually;
-Although, objectively, cotton down is activated the most of all of the damage-triggered abils, its use is rather niche, so even though it has the most opportunities to get proc'ed, only a small percentage of those procs will actually matter; and the ones that do matter have the sole effect of forcing the opposing mon out. whereas with say weak armor or steam engine, although you're getting proc'd less, those procs can fr just flip the entire game.

-There are a total of 2 things you can do by manipulating the opponent's speed tier; forcing them out and stopping a sweep (after which you force them out). You're also only forcing out the mons we decide to target + the mons you inherently beat; its not like perish body where every mon that attacks you is on a timer lol. Keeping that in mind i dont see where "we can do a lot by manipulating our opp's speed" is coming from

-To your next point i think ive sorta established why i dont think cotton down is an effective ability whatsoever so "tailoring it into a highly effective ability" is sorta moot.

-"forcing your opponent switch more frequently can be capitalized upon greatly", i mean yea ig, but like, wouldnt this be the case with any counter to these mons? Like, if i had a hypothetical cotton down mon that beats weavile and a skarm, i dont understand how they differ in the way in which they force the weavile out. Would the perk be that we could address multiple fastmons? The fastmons of the tier rn are: pult, zera, weav, koko, and scarfbao. There isnt really a type combo or stat spread that would address more than like 2 of these mons at a time. Thats probably my biggest gripe with cotton down; in function you have little to no difference to a regular counter or switchin to these fastmons, you just force them out in a shiny and quirky way.

(hopefully this doesnt come off as an attack and hopefully im coherent in the point im trying to make lol, class finished a few mins ago and im very tired so sorry if i was unclear anywhere. planning to make a post later about weakarmor so look forward to that ig uwu)
 
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Estronic

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Glad to see that most of these abilities are ones that I have support for; Tinted Lens admittedly even grew on me after reading some discussion here and on Discord. Filter is really the only ability I wouldn’t be satisfied with (I’m sure I’ve explained myself in regards to this so many times that I don’t need to rehash it all again), though I do think it could be a neat option for when we have to choose the ability for the other forme when we actually have a typing to evaluate it with more clarity. It’ll have my support then, but for now, I remain cold towards it.

Zephyri’s post contains a lot of valid reasons why Cotton Down shouldn’t be slated, which is why I will use it to counterargue why it should (sorry). I am writing this on mobile in the car, so apologies if things happen to look messy.

Although, objectively, cotton down is activated the most of all of the damage-triggered abils, its use is rather niche, so even though it has the most opportunities to get proc'ed, only a small percentage of those procs will actually matter; and the ones that do matter have the sole effect of forcing the opposing mon out.
I feel like calling Cotton Down’s capabilities “niche” is downplaying it a bit. In a metagame as fast-paced as CAP, Speed is arguably the most important stat to have. Being able to activate it often provides such a unique method of speed control, especially when the only forms of speed control I can think of that are used in the CAP metagame are Thunder Wave and Sticky Web, which isn’t even that common. Of course some of the times it’s activated won’t be able to be taken advantage of, but if it was able to be taken advantage of too often, it obviously wouldn’t be as much of a good contender. Most of the time, it will force the foe to switch out, but the number of applications that has. Landorus-T and its Intimidate is probably the best example of this in action and can perhaps be used as a reference if Cotton Down happens to be chosen. Sure, the Pokemon that Landorus-T can best switch into would be prompted to switch out, but the number of things Landorus-T can do with that forced switch is why it’s a very viable Pokemon in the metagame. It can potentially do damage to whatever may come in of course, but it can also use that opportunity to set Stealth Rock, cripple the switch-in with Knock Off or Toxic, and even pivot out itself into a teammate. Sure, you can say Cotton Down will only really force switches, but forced switches can really go a long way, especially considering that Cotton Down lowers arguably the more important stat in some cases. This is what Tadasuke was most likely referring to when saying that “we can do a lot by manipulating our opponent’s Speed tiers.” Thinking of it purely as “we can outspeed so and so after it hits us but we can’t do anything to it because it’ll switch out anyways” is looking at its potential one-dimensionally. There is obviously things like foes pivoting on the switch that do make Cotton Down not as useful, but similarly to Intimidate, that’s simply just counterplay inherit in any form of competitive Pokemon.

Trying to make on mobile is a pain in the ass, so I’ll stop here. Most of my argument can stem from what I’ve wrote, though.
 
Compressing moveslots on a defensive mon is also a really intriguing route to take
If this is the route we take for Tinted Lens, we need to make sure that our defensive mon's offensive stats can actually take advantage of, say, a close-to-unresisted Moonblast or Ice Beam. Otherwise, the defensive mon will switch to Seismic Toss or Night Shade as its primary attack, and both of these notably ignore resistances (but not immunities). Chansey, Blissey, Registeel, and Corsola-Galar are all defensive mons seen with Seismic Toss or Night Shade, so yes, this does happen. Once our defensive mon uses Seismic Toss or Night Shade and skips Knock Off and Scald, Tinted Lens is useless.

Tinted Lens on a defensive mon also risks ending up like Merciless on Toxapex, where the ability is overlooked and replaced with any secondary or hidden ability with any actual defensive utility despite the mon's strong tendency to proc the offensive ability. If I continually have the feeling that I'd rather stick Filter on CAP 30b/30i instead of Tinted Lens, I'd say we've failed to optimize Tinted Lens.
 
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Warning: I'm not entirely sure what exactly I'm getting at myself.


Trying to cover all the abilities brought up so far would take well into the next stage, but the one that still sticks in my head is Tinted Lens.

To start out with a digression, the one thing about CAP that has always nagged me is that in spite of the leadership and procedure growing steadily smoother every time, the nature of Smogon as a competitive Pokémon community means that it's not really built towards making uncompetitive Pokémon.
That's self-evident, sure, but it also means that over the years, the process has been tweaked here and there every time to make it more suitable for designing a mon intended to function in the Showdown metagame - and that's pretty much gotten self-contained by now, with cartridge-based official metas being wildly different from the competitive battling that Smogon has constructed over all these years.
Fluff elements are added at the very last, after carefully optimizing the mechanics so that every number, every move, every typing, every ability, has a premeditated purpose - Speed tiers tweaked to the point, long lists of counters, checks and targets - and to be blunt here, it's resulted in a steady power creep especially evident lately, with uniquely-typed 550+-BST monsters like Astrolotl or Equilibra ending up playing like cover legends and otherwise beautifully fluff-faithful concepts like Snaelstrom self-destructing on contact with the metagame and never pay off because they're made more like cartridge mons.
How this becomes relevant for Tinted Lens is that, thanks to immensely reducing the risk of clicking an offensive move, it allows even a potential offensively iffy 30 to maintain a certain measure of offensive momentum - knowing that anything not immune will likely take neutral damage contributes offensive momentum not through damage, not through actively playing mind games with the opponent but instead by applying "defensive pressure", where the ability to put out safe if not powerful offensive presence through neutral STAB incentivizes clicking an offensive move even in the presence of potential resistant switch-ins instead of hard-switching or using a pivoting move (which can completely make or break a mon in current metagames).
This means that Tinted Lens on 30 has the potential to immensely ease the rest of the project by contributing to a mon that is capable of staying in and applying moderate, broad-spectrum, low-risk offensive pressure in order to create opportunities to fulfill any other roles it might end up having - opportunities that don't depend on granting it massive stats, an ideal typing or a versatile toolbox movepool.
By making reliable, mostly safe offensive pressure easier to apply, Tinted Lens in my opinion incentivizes a kind of 30 that's a rare sight by now - compared to the dragster-like threats of OU-based metas, capable of turning a match around with one revenge kill but with a list of hard checks and counters that makes offensive misprediction extremely risky and often creates a domino effect when they're outpredicted, Tinted Lens in my view has the potential to create a Pokémon comparable to a 70's Citroën - sure, it doesn't go very fast and it doesn't pack much of a punch, but it doesn't require any fancy parts to repair, it's cheap in use and because you're going slower than everyone else you have more room to steer and even if you manage to crash it you're unlikely to die instantly.

Sorry for the fuzzy jazz-hands post and the car metaphor, but TL;DR I feel that Tinted Lens has promise as a way to enable and incentivize a mon that establishes its niche not through applying or subtracting momentum through coverage, setup moves or wild pivoting, but through reducing the risk/opportunity cost inherent in keeping the 'mon in even when it isn't actively "fulfilling its niche" - a 'mon that might not have the raw power and versatility of so many other threats, instead having the surplus to stay in even when it isn't actively "fulfilling its niche" or threatening an established check without relying on balance-threatening vertical viability in the form of coverage, BST or what have you.

I still have no idea if I got my point across, but my eyes hurt by now so take me as I am.
 
-There are a total of 2 things you can do by manipulating the opponent's speed tier; forcing them out and stopping a sweep (after which you force them out). You're also only forcing out the mons we decide to target + the mons you inherently beat; its not like perish body where every mon that attacks you is on a timer lol. Keeping that in mind i dont see where "we can do a lot by manipulating our opp's speed" is coming from
Sure, you can say Cotton Down will only really force switches, but forced switches can really go a long way, especially considering that Cotton Down lowers arguably the more important stat in some cases. This is what Tadasuke was most likely referring to when saying that “we can do a lot by manipulating our opponent’s Speed tiers.” Thinking of it purely as “we can outspeed so and so after it hits us but we can’t do anything to it because it’ll switch out anyways” is looking at its potential one-dimensionally
Just felt like jumping into this convo:
I've gone off Cotton Down a little since my first post, but I wanted to put these 4 interactions into the same post because I think together, it sounds like a pretty decent package still:

  • 100% hp Jumbao switches into Dragapult's Shadow Ball. Lets pretend for this scenario, the drop from Cotton Down has now allowed Jumbao to become faster. Both Cotton Down Jumbao and regular Jumbao have the momentum right now: they win this 1v1, and Dragapult is forced to switch. VS regular Jumbao, Dragapult can press U-turn here. Vs Cotton Down Jumbao, it needs to ideally hard switch so Jumbao can't hit it with Moonblast before it has left the field. This is a very very mild bonus for Cotton Down, and the weakest positive it has. This is just because Dragapult was switching anyway, and while it allows you to make a double-switch thanks to discouraging U-turn that's about as far as it goes.

  • 50% hp Jumbao switches into Dragapult's Shadow Ball. Lets pretend again that Cotton Down has allowed it to outspeed. Here, it avoids getting 2hkod on the switch- Jumbao's additional speed has allowed it to heal first, almost like how Prankster healing lets you switch in at low percentages and heal up vs anything that cant 2hko. Of course the difference here is that Cotton Down does not allow spdef Jumbao to outspeed Dragapult. The higher speed tier mons will still always outspeed uninvested mons at -1 unless they reach ridiculously high speed tiers (which I guess is always an option).

  • 100% hp Jumbao switches into Cawmodore's Belly Drum. This effectively ends Cawmodore's sweep, because even though it will be ohkoing Jumbao, it will be forced to go -1 speed and that will make it easily revenged by non-scarfed teammates and its highly unlikely it can Belly Drum twice. This is really powerful as even mons that it doesnt "check" can still be crippled 100% of the time by its ability. Other one-time sweepers include Hawlucha who becomes revengeable by scarf, and Necturna (becomes revenged by Astrolotl and above).

  • 100% hp Jumbao switches into Kyurem Freeze-Dry. It wont survive 2, but it was able to be a one-time switchin thanks to Cotton Down. Kyurem is forced to switch to avoid getting hit by Moonblast. Cotton Down has the ability to squeeze one addtional switchin vs anything that doesnt KO you outright. This feels like another mild bonus that might not be that exciting but definitely can be added to the pile.

I do think this ability is still pretty slateable because the above list of interactions is good enough. No-one had really mentioned the prankster-esque healing capability and I figured that it was worth bringing up as one of its main strengths. That being said its not one of my top picks anymore.
 

quziel

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This is the latest, but bringing up a few and endorsing some others:

No Guard

This ability is more interesting from a design perspective than an explicit optimization perspective for me. It allows us to give one forme some very strong tools without having to give them to the other forme. If our goal is to ensure two very viable formes, then having the ability to explicitly designate power to one forme without having to give that same power to the other forme is very valuable. Beyond its usefuless as a design tool, No Guard is something that I don't think has been really optimized in recent gens, yes Aurumoth does use it, but its use is practically running Thunder over Tbolt, and not dipping into the truly unreliable options.

Shed Skin

This one has not been mentioned as far as I know and its really cool! Blissey manages to leverage Natural Cure to a similar level that I think the peak for Shed Skin could be, and this one is like really cool? Yeah, its definitely not that strong as an ability, but a 33% of the time Comatose is legitimately very cool, and gives us a lot of opportunities to hard in on stuff like Scald.

Rattled

I am frankly very torn on this one. It is definitely the easiest to activate of the conditional activation abilities, with U-turn (common), Knock Off (common), Ghost moves (literally pult, as you are likely dying to Blace) all give you a very strong speed boost. The thing that makes this one actually slateable imo is that it also activates on the relatively common Intimidate. The amount of potential target points here are really what make me like this one sorta. That said, its potential for a "fix the meta" kinda aspect really scares me as I do not like it when the project can close down like that.

As for the ones already subbed:

Cotton Down

I do think this one offers a lot of in-battle complexity by optimally preserving and spending HP, setting up specific forced switches, and leveraging "double hits" to further work around the constraints of the design. At the same time, this is very reactive ability, and would be very reliant on hard switching into attacks to force an opponent to switch out, which could limit how it gets played.

Simple

I quite like this one because it has the potential to make weaker boosting options really shine; Power-Up-Punch on Mkanga is an example of a very weak boosting move synergizing with an ability to become a top tier option, and as a result giving a slightly off normal playstyle. I think this one is very interesting from the perspective of also gating some options off the alternative forme. Something like Howl turning into SD essentially means one forme has access to meaningful boosting options while the other forme has no such access. This is a useful tuning parameter.
 
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