CAP 31 - Part 4 - Primary Ability Discussion

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I want to start by explaining something I’ve tried to capture in prior posts and in Discord, since the question is here now:

How much power budget are we willing to invest into our ability? Should we be worried about limiting ourselves for future stages or not being able to create a strong enough product?

Lots of folks have talked about how they’d prefer to take a weaker ability here because it opens more design space, and saves power budget for later. And in a vacuum, I agree! I like the flexibility and design challenge of a weaker ability - “restrictions breed creativity”, after all. But for CAP31, personally, I’m significantly more worried about not being able to create a strong enough final product if we “low-ball” the ability stage.

A mono-type pokemon has some strengths that we’ve covered (notably a lack of 4x weaknesses), but more often that not I’d consider it a drawback and limitation, as it leaves a smaller defensive profile and a lack of dual STABs. While a pokemon is more than their typing, it seems important to me that there are only 10 mono-typed Pokemon viable in CAP, and the only two in A- or better (Clefable and Melmetal) are arguably the two best mono-types in the game in Fairy and Steel respectively. On top of that, Clefable has an insane movepool (STAB Moonblast, every coverage move a special attacker could dream of or wish for, and a stacked utility pool including Stealth Rock, Heal Bell, Wish, Calm Mind, Thunderwave, Toxic, Dual Screens, and Soft-boiled) alongside not one but two amazing abilities in Unaware and Magic Guard. Meanwhile Melmetal boasts an excellent and optimized BST, a devastating exclusive move in Double-Iron Bash, and a movepool that is small but mighty with great coverage options (bolstered by his solid, synergistic ability) and even a few utility moves like Toxic and TWave.

Going to ground, the most successful mono-grounds of all time are Groudon (a weather setter who is also freaking Groudon), Hippodown (a weather setter), and Dugtrio (who boats a broken and unfun ability in Arena Trap). All three of these ‘mons boast extremely powerful, pokemon-defining abilities.

Out the gate - we’re not those typings, and Diamond Storm is no Double Iron Bash. We also can’t really give CAP31 a Clefable-eqsue Movepool, as that will threaten Diamond Storm’s viability if we load this sucker up with every physical coverage move it could dream of plus a mountain of utility moves. We probably can’t even give it a movepool as crazy as Melmetal’s, TBH, or we’re going to end up with DStorm as a niche option. So…we’re basically only saving for the stats stage? That just feels too risky for me. Sure, we could give CAP31 Groudon-level stats…but are we really helping it differentiate itself from Landorus-T and Garchomp at that point (‘mons who don’t have Groudon-level stats but certainly are no slouches).

This is already turning into a novel, so I’m not going to go point by point through each other ability. I do still think it is wise to be cautious on Poison Heal and Regenerator (and to have banned Parental Bond, Stakeout, and Magic Bounce from further discussion) - these are some of the most powerful abilities in the game and we’d best be cautious. But to quickly summarize:

If we want Status Immunity - we need to be looking at Poison Heal, Misty Surge, Comatose, Guts, or Water Bubble. A more narrow ability (Water Veil, Immunity/Pastel Veil, Shield Dust) or a more RNG-dependent ability (Shed Skin) is not going to cut it for CAP31.

In terms of immunity/resistance, our fearless leader was wise to centralize us into focusing on Water Absorb and Flash Fire. Something like Dry Skin just isn’t going to work. I don’t hate Thick Fat, but generally think we should get a straight immunity.

For Intimidate-busting; I think we definitely should consider Defiant and Mirror Armor over Own Tempo. If we are going for these abilities its because we’ll have decided that all we want from our ability is to make sure Landorus-T thinks twice about mindlessly switching into us (a fair thing to decide; Lando is everywhere and is our biggest threat); Own Tempo doesn’t do enough of that alone since it only protects us from Lando-T and doesn’t actively punish him. Which of these is better is sixes; I prefer Defiant for sure since I think it’s pretty dubious we’re actually going to build a CAP31 who enjoys switching in to Choice Specs Shadowball from ‘Pult, but I respect those that want the option.

If we want a CAP31 who can snowball, we should 100% be looking at Moxie or as a worse but still good alternative Speed Boost. Relying on taking hits and then not being forced out before we can use that boost means that I think Weak Armor is just that - weak, despite the fun synergy with DStorm.

I think we should be very open to powerhouse abilities like Regenerator, Serene Grace, and Analytic. I think we should strongly favor these over more niche (although by no means bad) options like Solid Rock/Filter, Unaware, or Corrosion or abilities that are awfully similar to other grounds like Sandstorm or Rough Skin.
 
How effective is Water Absorb at deterring Water type switch-ins? Which Water types are no longer able to check us, and which ones still do not care?

How effective is Diamond Storm into these Water types? Do we run the risk of forcing CAP31 into matchups where Diamond Storm isn’t encouraged?
I think Water Absorb will deter Fini, Toxapex, Slowbro, Naviathan, and Swampert, but will struggle against Gastrodon, Krillowatt, and Arghonaut.

Fini can't really do much against us aside from Tricking us a Scarf, but we might not even mind that in some cases. Toxapex can poison us, but if we build for offense, we should be able to take it out if it's chipped. Slowbro can do Slowbro things, but can't threaten us directly at all and would only be useful to pivot into something else. Naviathan doesn't want to try and set up in front of a Ground type that it can't RKO. Swampert just... can't touch us. Again we can get poisoned, but it doesn't want to switch in and get chunked by EQs off our likely high attack. Gastrodon has Ice Beam, and can still hit us hard on our (likely) weaker defense. Gastro can switch in on us whenever it wants and threaten us out. Krillowatt is the same as above, but might have a harder time switching in on us due to its Ground weakness. It might live an EQ due to it's bulk though so it could go either way. Arghonaut doesn't really use its Water STAB, and doesn't care if we have defensive boosts, because we'll just get phased out.

Note that these are all relevant mons we almost assuredly will lose pretty hard to without WA, and we have to decide if we're ok with the potential for a Scald burn to just ruin our offensive potential. Nobody has really brought up how Water Absorb makes us harder to burn, which imo is the most dangerous status for us to have in a vacuum due to how it just keeps us from doing any of our Diamond Storm Earthquake shenanigans.

How often would these abilities actually come into play if the opponent knows to play around them? Is the existence of these abilities alone enough to justify their usage?

On Defiant: How concerned should we be about balancing CAP31 at +2 Attack? Could this potentially have negative impacts on how CAP31 plays at +0?
Own Tempo feels very mediocre for a mon that kinda needs to have a strong defining niche to succeed in any capacity. I think the only counter play to Own Tempo is just to ignore it? Even if we can get Intimidated, Landorus still doesn't want to switch in very much, because it can't do much to us. The main boon of Own Tempo is a better matchup against Hurricane users, and I'm quite honestly not worried because we bonk flying types as is.
Mirror Armor is interesting, but I'm not as hyped about it. I don't see many of the Intimidate mons in the tier really caring. Cawmodore is really the only other mon in the tier with Intimidate, and it runs Belly Drum so it does not care about -1 on switch in. As mentioned earlier, Lando isn't a big worry as far as checking us, so Mirror Armor doesn't do much.

Defiant is the most interesting ability here. I think that in realistic terms, Defiant will either be underwhelming or extremely overtuned. If we balance around +0 with Defiant, we only need one boost to snowball out of control, but if we balance around +2, if we can't get that buff, we'll be limp and useless for the whole match. Defiant has lots of counter play as well, such as not switching in Intimidaters and avoiding using moves with stat lowering effects, and I don't really feel good about designing a mon with an ability that relies on the opponent being 1.) unaware of what Defiant does 2.) unsure of which equally viable ability we have, or 3.) having no options left in a battle that's pretty much already won.

I'm still pushing hard for Water Absorb. It defines our matchup set so singlehandedly, and gives a clear direction for where we should go from here.
 
I want to start by explaining something I’ve tried to capture in prior posts and in Discord, since the question is here now:

How much power budget are we willing to invest into our ability? Should we be worried about limiting ourselves for future stages or not being able to create a strong enough product?

Lots of folks have talked about how they’d prefer to take a weaker ability here because it opens more design space, and saves power budget for later. And in a vacuum, I agree! I like the flexibility and design challenge of a weaker ability - “restrictions breed creativity”, after all. But for CAP31, personally, I’m significantly more worried about not being able to create a strong enough final product if we “low-ball” the ability stage.

A mono-type pokemon has some strengths that we’ve covered (notably a lack of 4x weaknesses), but more often that not I’d consider it a drawback and limitation, as it leaves a smaller defensive profile and a lack of dual STABs. While a pokemon is more than their typing, it seems important to me that there are only 10 mono-typed Pokemon viable in CAP, and the only two in A- or better (Clefable and Melmetal) are arguably the two best mono-types in the game in Fairy and Steel respectively. On top of that, Clefable has an insane movepool (STAB Moonblast, every coverage move a special attacker could dream of or wish for, and a stacked utility pool including Stealth Rock, Heal Bell, Wish, Calm Mind, Thunderwave, Toxic, Dual Screens, and Soft-boiled) alongside not one but two amazing abilities in Unaware and Magic Guard. Meanwhile Melmetal boasts an excellent and optimized BST, a devastating exclusive move in Double-Iron Bash, and a movepool that is small but mighty with great coverage options (bolstered by his solid, synergistic ability) and even a few utility moves like Toxic and TWave.

Going to ground, the most successful mono-grounds of all time are Groudon (a weather setter who is also freaking Groudon), Hippodown (a weather setter), and Dugtrio (who boats a broken and unfun ability in Arena Trap). All three of these ‘mons boast extremely powerful, pokemon-defining abilities.

Out the gate - we’re not those typings, and Diamond Storm is no Double Iron Bash. We also can’t really give CAP31 a Clefable-eqsue Movepool, as that will threaten Diamond Storm’s viability if we load this sucker up with every physical coverage move it could dream of plus a mountain of utility moves. We probably can’t even give it a movepool as crazy as Melmetal’s, TBH, or we’re going to end up with DStorm as a niche option. So…we’re basically only saving for the stats stage? That just feels too risky for me. Sure, we could give CAP31 Groudon-level stats…but are we really helping it differentiate itself from Landorus-T and Garchomp at that point (‘mons who don’t have Groudon-level stats but certainly are no slouches).

This is already turning into a novel, so I’m not going to go point by point through each other ability. I do still think it is wise to be cautious on Poison Heal and Regenerator (and to have banned Parental Bond, Stakeout, and Magic Bounce from further discussion) - these are some of the most powerful abilities in the game and we’d best be cautious. But to quickly summarize:

If we want Status Immunity - we need to be looking at Poison Heal, Misty Surge, Comatose, Guts, or Water Bubble. A more narrow ability (Water Veil, Immunity/Pastel Veil, Shield Dust) or a more RNG-dependent ability (Shed Skin) is not going to cut it for CAP31.

In terms of immunity/resistance, our fearless leader was wise to centralize us into focusing on Water Absorb and Flash Fire. Something like Dry Skin just isn’t going to work. I don’t hate Thick Fat, but generally think we should get a straight immunity.

For Intimidate-busting; I think we definitely should consider Defiant and Mirror Armor over Own Tempo. If we are going for these abilities its because we’ll have decided that all we want from our ability is to make sure Landorus-T thinks twice about mindlessly switching into us (a fair thing to decide; Lando is everywhere and is our biggest threat); Own Tempo doesn’t do enough of that alone since it only protects us from Lando-T and doesn’t actively punish him. Which of these is better is sixes; I prefer Defiant for sure since I think it’s pretty dubious we’re actually going to build a CAP31 who enjoys switching in to Choice Specs Shadowball from ‘Pult, but I respect those that want the option.

If we want a CAP31 who can snowball, we should 100% be looking at Moxie or as a worse but still good alternative Speed Boost. Relying on taking hits and then not being forced out before we can use that boost means that I think Weak Armor is just that - weak, despite the fun synergy with DStorm.

I think we should be very open to powerhouse abilities like Regenerator, Serene Grace, and Analytic. I think we should strongly favor these over more niche (although by no means bad) options like Solid Rock/Filter, Unaware, or Corrosion or abilities that are awfully similar to other grounds like Sandstorm or Rough Skin.
How is Unaware a niche option for CAP31? It allows us to sit around and boost Defense with Diamond Storm without being out-boosted by wall-breakers AND allows us to blank opposing boosting walls if we set up our own offenses with Swords Dance, Nasty Plot, Dragon Dance and other options. Unlike Arghonaut, which almost never uses boosting moves to take advantage of Unaware offensively, we could make great use of both the defensive AND offensive properties of Unaware with Diamond Storm.
 

dex

And then, Hefest got this run
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I think Water Absorb will deter Fini, Toxapex, Slowbro, Naviathan, and Swampert, but will struggle against Gastrodon, Krillowatt, and Arghonaut.
It should be noted that Fini, Pex, and Bro are absolutely the most prominent water types in the tier. Arghonaut doesn't run Water moves and should generally match up well anyways into 31 due to how it plays. Kril and Gastro are niche at best. You do not, however, mention here that a big mon that Water Absorb helps against is Urshifu-R, which could otherwise get by Diamond Storm's boost. Now it can't, making Diamond Storm much more effective against it.
 
How is Unaware a niche option for CAP31? It allows us to sit around and boost Defense with Diamond Storm without being out-boosted by wall-breakers AND allows us to blank opposing boosting walls if we set up our own offenses with Swords Dance, Nasty Plot, Dragon Dance and other options. Unlike Arghonaut, which almost never uses boosting moves to take advantage of Unaware offensively, we could make great use of both the defensive AND offensive properties of Unaware with Diamond Storm.
Fair shot. Unaware is clearly a strong ability; Clef still uses it sometimes over Magic Guard, it helped Quagsire stay relevant even in OU/CAP metas in past generations despite its objectively terrible BST, and has kept Arghonaut at least somewhat relevant for 4 gens running. I worry that it doesn't necessarily help us versus some of the stuff we'd identified previously as our previous discussions as concerns - it doesn't do a whole lot to help us with bulky waters or Urshifu-R, it isn't a huge help in letting us switch in on Astrolotl or stay in on Ferrothorn, and it doesn't have a meaningful interaction for our match-ups with Equilibra, Landorus-T, Skarmory, or most Corviknight sets.

It helps our Kartana, Zeraora, and Weavile match-ups some - Weavile and Zeraora are never going to stay in and try to boost past us, since they are frailer and have a weakness to a move, but it'd let us switch into a predicted Swords Dance/Bulk Up more safely, confident we won't insta-die. Kartana is more relevant, as it is resistant to Storm, neutral to Ground, and has non-terrible physical bulk. More excitingly, it really helps our Venomicon match-up (since we'd get to ignore Nasty Plot boosts AND ignore its Stamina), as well as making sure CAP31 always no questions has a good match-up versus Cawmodore. But I'm not too worried about us pressuring Cawm, personally, and think other abilities also help with our Kartana matches or answer more pressing concerns. Still I was a bit too dismissive to this ability , and it would for carve out a unique niche especially on a more offensively-inclined 'mon.
 

spoo

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I've been thinking over Defiant and Thick Fat some more and I don't think either would be ideal choices for us.

Defiant is admittedly an ability I don't love for more subjective reasons (though hopefully they're still convincing). In my use of Defiant Pokemon like Gapdos and Bisharp, I find the ability just interacts with gameplay in a really strange way... it's like, I'm always trying to get my Defiant in on a Lando or Defog, but my opponent also knows that and will be avoiding it, and I know that they know that and will be trying to play accordingly... it's the kind of ability that will absolutely centralize our gameplan around it. I think we should be more focused on orchestrating situations where we leverage Diamond Storm boosts than always trying to execute "get hazards up / Electric breaker in, double to CAP31 at the right time."

It's not just gameplay that Defiant affects, either; eg, how many proven teams have featured Galarian Zapdos without hazardstack or some mon that lures in Lando-T (most often Koko/Zera)? Obviously CAP31 will look very different from Gapdos (read: probably won't be a nuclear choiced breaker), but the principle holds: naturally you want to proc Defiant in a game, so building is often centered around enabling it, otherwise the ability is just a total dud. I think Defiant immediately kind of pigeonholes the structures CAP31 will be most effective on. It's true that even if we don't always proc Defiant, though, the mere threat of it will affect how our opponent plays around CAP31; still, that goes back to my point about warping gameplay in a direction that has very little to do with Diamond Storm.

Finally there's just the balancing factor that one of Darek's questions touches on. Designing a CAP that's balanced at +2 and +0 is totally possible –– see current Venomicon-E –– but it's absolutely tricky, especially when we take the control of boosting out of the player's hands. Defiant is ultimately just a choice that I think is too polarizing, inconsistent, and not necessarily in line with CAP31's goals. I greatly prefer Mirror Armor out of the "anti-Indimidate" category for an option that will A) constrict our options less going forward, and B) be easier to predictably design around.

I'm not the first to criticize Thick Fat at this point, but it definitely feels too low-impact / niche / inconsistent for our purposes... like, I'm not even sure the ability accomplishes what it sets out to do. Looking at relevant Fire-types we have Heatran (often runs Toxic), Astroltol (often runs Wisp), Victini (not common), Pyroak (not that common, often runs Giga), Volcanion (lmao), and Blacephalon (specs SBall go brr). I don't really know who we're switching into here? Of course there's Weavile, which –– while we wouldn't beat –– we would deny from revenge killing us. Cool, I guess, but we could probably do that with +2 from Diamond Storm boosts anyways. Overall this feels bad. Flash Fire is kind of whelming for me but still a much better choice.

On a more positive note, Unaware is really cool! What I find most interesting about it is that there's not a single offensive Unaware user in the game. An offensive Unaware CAP is literally completely new territory. Unaware immediately gives us a spot apart from other Grounds as uniquely strong into setup options, and still interacts with Diamond Storm in cool ways by denying offensive boosting as counterplay when we hit +2. It's a more low-power option I think, so the door is very much open down the road for strong shit, but it's got enough interactions to make it worthwhile.
 

Brambane

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It's a little late to submit a new ability, but for like, completion's sake, I wanted to bring up Neutralizing Gas.

Rather than explaining in large paragraph what it does, it's easier to list what abilities are meaningfully nullified by a pure Ground-type.
  • Intimidate (Lando-T)
  • Regenerator (Astrolotl, Torn-T, Slowbr, Slowking, Toxapex)
  • Stamina (Venomicon)
  • Iron Fist (Melmetal, basically a nerf to its damage output)
  • Psychic Terrain (Lele, same as above)
  • Multiscale (Dragonite)
  • Pressure (Corviknight, Weavile)
  • Contrary (Pyroak)
  • Snow Warning (Ninetales)
  • Unaware (Arghonaut)
  • Levitate (Stratagem, Equilibra, Rotom-Wash)
And then a whole bunch of situational stuff like Berserk, Guts, Slush Rush, etc. And other stuff that may become relevant depending on our movepool.

The main appeal with Diamond Storm is negating Multiscale, Pressure, and Stamina. You greatly improve your match-up into Dragonite, Corviknight, and Venomicon where Diamond Storm is THE move you are using to hit them, bar none.

The only downside to Neutralizing Gas is that its basically kicking Miasmaw while its down. But we shouldn't let the son bear the sins of the father, and Miasmaw is definitely a bad daddy. Unacceptable beetle. Gaseous airhead. But I digress, this is a good ability for us since its a good ability with specific direction, and one that tangibly improves our ability to use Diamond Storm.
 
Weak Armor - I like it. It is both a defensive and offensive ability at the same time and let us turn the table on weak U-Turns or Knock Offs by immediately getting the jump on our opponent. We have two strong moves as our main coverage so we should be able to either threaten an OHKO on most stuff that would otherwise outspeed us or get a boost from Diamond Storm to withstand their attack. It seems very pro concept because Diamond Storm let us use Weak Armor in a way impossible without it. Speed will be very important for this CAP as the ability to fire off Diamond Storm before being attacked is important and Weak Armor is good way to leverage that.
It is also a more interesting that Speed Boost: it needs interactions, the -1 Def is noticeable and needs to be played around (with Diamond Storm for example) and we will avoid snowballing into unreachable speeds like Gen5 Blaziken could. As mentioned by others, a moveset of Protect / Diamond Storm / Earthquake is already plenty strong and Diamond Storm is basically better Stone Edge there.

I also feel it is a strong but not overbearing ability, we should still have some power budget for the next stages. The main downsize is that it shoehorns us into offensive builds for the time being which is something I am fine with. The meta is full of bulky defensive-ish mons so we can create a different niche.

Water Absorb - It is not the most original ability but it definitely works for us. Immediately gives us an niche in being a Ground-type that can switch on Scalds, improve our match-ups against several threats (Urshifu-R being the most relevant one). It gives us more set-up opportunities while still retaining some exploitable weaknesses (Toxic, Weavile etc.) and is just overall balanced and good. I do feel it is less interesting that others options but it is the safest choice if we don't want a defining ability like Poison Heal. Speaking of which...

Poison Heal - It is the most powerful option. Sustain and pseudo-immunity to status and a Knock-off absorber is really, really good and once again significantly improves CAP 31 niche. Poison Heal synergies decently well with Diamond Storm (unlike Regenerator) and covers a lot of our potential weaknesses. It does eat up a lot of our power budget in my opinion and most of all mostly make CAP 31 better overall. It doesn't really open up new possibilities, it just makes a better at what we can do. Still, a reliable choice, even though the mention of Facade does worry me. After all, Gliscor was all too happy to run EQ + Facade in its movesets.
As for the weaker status-absorbing abilities, I think only Comatose and perhaps Natural Cure are worth mentioning. The others are just too weak, blanketing one particular status is not enough to gives an interesting niche without going overboard on the other stages. Comatose is nice: we are still not too hot switching into Scalds but it makes us more reliable overall. Natural Cure is basically bad Comatose so eh.

Defiant / Mirror Armor - I prefer Mirror Armor: while less rewarding than Defiant, it makes it easier for us to stay when we are on the field. No risk of getting a random SpD drop that forces us out, lets us threaten Astrolotl much more efficiently etc. It also keeps our options more open: Mirror Armor is not an ability you can really focus your build around, whereas Defiant-mons kind of rely on getting a boost to make a breakthrough.

Last ability I want to mention is Analytic. It is the power option, makes Diamond Storm less bad in the face of Steel-birds (for example, with 125 base Attack, we do at least 25% to standard Corviknight which is... well, less bad) and compliments well our expected plan (i.e. force a switch and either punch holes or grab a DS boost).
 
You do not, however, mention here that a big mon that Water Absorb helps against is Urshifu-R, which could otherwise get by Diamond Storm's boost. Now it can't, making Diamond Storm much more effective against it.
Imagine forgetting the funny crit bear. Blanking Urshifu-R is a big deal and I really don’t think it’ll be able to revenge kill us if we have WA.

I think Mirror Armor is the next best thing. I can’t foresee Defiant performing quite as well as we’d hope, and Moxie, another very strong option, makes us very very vulnerable to phasing, which is already a weakness inherent to a boosting mon. Mirror Armor not prevents intentional debuffs from the opponent, but random stat drops from stray Shadow Balls and the like, which just lets us play with even greater confidence in our Defense boosts.
 
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I've been thinking over Defiant and Thick Fat some more and I don't think either would be ideal choices for us.

Defiant is admittedly an ability I don't love for more subjective reasons (though hopefully they're still convincing). In my use of Defiant Pokemon like Gapdos and Bisharp, I find the ability just interacts with gameplay in a really strange way... it's like, I'm always trying to get my Defiant in on a Lando or Defog, but my opponent also knows that and will be avoiding it, and I know that they know that and will be trying to play accordingly... it's the kind of ability that will absolutely centralize our gameplan around it. I think we should be more focused on orchestrating situations where we leverage Diamond Storm boosts than always trying to execute "get hazards up / Electric breaker in, double to CAP31 at the right time."

It's not just gameplay that Defiant affects, either; eg, how many proven teams have featured Galarian Zapdos without hazardstack or some mon that lures in Lando-T (most often Koko/Zera)? Obviously CAP31 will look very different from Gapdos (read: probably won't be a nuclear choiced breaker), but the principle holds: naturally you want to proc Defiant in a game, so building is often centered around enabling it, otherwise the ability is just a total dud. I think Defiant immediately kind of pigeonholes the structures CAP31 will be most effective on. It's true that even if we don't always proc Defiant, though, the mere threat of it will affect how our opponent plays around CAP31; still, that goes back to my point about warping gameplay in a direction that has very little to do with Diamond Storm.
IMO that first paragraph is exactly what I love about Defiant. Like with Ditto, the ever-present threat of the opponent taking an early win condition off of your greedy plays is an underappreciated dynamic that changes how players make decisions.



I'm also going to ask that if we want to seriously consider Serene Grace that we also look at exploring other 50% exclusive moves like Fiery Dance, Mist Ball and Luster Purge. Moves that combine stat changes with damage combine what's typically two turns into one (a status move AND an attack). Even though they don't do as much damage, they have a snowballing effect that takes advantage of the users' longevity. We should really try making the most out of the Ability, otherwise it's kind of a waste of a slot outside of trading 100% boosting DS and a stronger weakness to Scald

Another path I'd like to second is Magnet Pull. Currently, trapping dynamics in the metagame affect Corviknight and Ferrothorn worst, because Magnezone is the premier Steel trapper. A Ground-type trapper catches the Steels Magnezone doesn't, and would compliment Magnezone in certain team structures.


I'm going to say that I am strongly against Neutralising Gas. Unfortunately, Brambane's pros list is pretty much applicable with any potential user. Imo Bug or Electric-type pivots are the best users of the ability.
 
Going to make a short post but I'm gonna post against Magnet Pull. It is sorta different from the banned Arena Trap/Shadow Tag in the sense that it only traps one type of Pokemon, but Steel is an extremely dominant type and trapping abilities in general are just uncompetitive in nature. Not to mention that we already have a Magnet Pull trapper in the metagame in Magnezone and one is more than enough. The fact that we are Ground type is really the nail in the coffin though. I am very much not interested in creating a psuedo-Dugtrio, and I think that's what Magnet Pull would create, and especially when paired with Magnezone it seems like it'd be a competitive nightmare and very obnoxious for the tier to deal with.

Unfortunately, Brambane's pros list is pretty much applicable with any potential user. Imo Bug or Electric-type pivots are the best users of the ability.
Saying "we can't have this ability because we aren't this specific type" is silly to me. A Ground type with Rock coverage has plenty of positive interactions with Neutralizing Gas, namely forcing Astrolotl and Tornadus-Therian out without them getting Regenerator recovery, and being able to hit Prologue with Diamond Storm without activating Stamina is huge. Also every Levitate mon would REALLY hate a Ground type with Neutralizing Gas. Also we tried a Bug type with Neutralizing Gas and that didn't end up turning out super great anyway.

Basically Yes to Neutralizing Gas, no to Magnet Pull
 
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I’d like to show some love to Water Absorb. This ability has grown on me recently. While we don’t outright beat Pex, Bro, and other bulky Waters, it heavily influences the matchup in our favor, and it gives us an immunity to one of the most common ways to spread burns, Scald, which is huge for a physical attacker. Additionally, the Urshifu matchup becomes significantly in our favor, which gives CAP31 a serious niche as a Ground type. Mostly, this ability solves a problem that I was worried about in the typing stage, which is handling bulky Waters. I was a huge Rock/Electric advocate, as I see these Waters as a huge threat. This allows us a positive matchup while not outright beating all of them. A Ground that does well into Waters will certainly maintain a great niche in the metagame, and easily differentiates itself from other Grounds.

Looking at other favorites, for all the Moxie fans, I’d like to once again suggest Beast Boost. It does the same thing, and more. I still haven’t seen any reason why Moxie would be better than BB. One person mentioned that it would make the stat stage a bit more difficult as we would need to make space to ‘customize’ our boosts, but to me this just sounds like something new and exciting to explore!

I really don’t like Serene Grace. It just seems so uninspired. Whoopee, we get (almost) guaranteed boosts. For me, part of the fun of using Diamond Storm is that it potentially turns matchups around, and not always. If it always procced, then the mons we can use boosts to turn the tables on would never go up against CAP31. It is, in a certain sense, against what one would want to do with Diamond Storm (unless we’re just boosting Body Press, and in that case it’s just Taunt immune Iron Defense).

With regards to Status Immunities, I’d suggest Comatose. The other abilities (save the nuclear option of Poison Heal) are all too specific to be of much use. If you want to be really good against burns, use Colossoil. If you want to beat Toxic, use Equilibra. Comatose allows us to beat all status, which is just kind of massive. This also gives us many opportunities to switch in on stuff like Lando and Bliss and force switches to get up DStorm.

Poison Heal, tbh, scares me. This ability is so damn powerful. We’d have to walk on eggshells the entire rest of the process, which doesn’t really sound all that fun to me. It would guarantee us a niche, but it could make us a meta-warping threat like Astro or Libra on release.

The other abilities I’m not suuuper invested in, but decent options include Flash Fire, Mirror Armor, and Speed Boost.
 

DetroitLolcat

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I'm going to post in favor of Serene Grace and Moxie or Beast Boost. These two abilities center our concept - Diamond Storm - better than any other and Serene Grace especially opens up a few other doors that no other ability really does.

We said in the Concept Assessment that we need a niche compared to other Grounds and that we need to leverage the +2. I'm not sure there's a better Ability than Serene Grace for that - it guarantees we actually get the boost to leverage plus unlocks moves like Scorching Sands or even Body Press that gives us a niche against Physical attackers that no other Ground really has. Heck - we could become the first Serene Grace user not to rely on RNG for everything!

Moxie or Beast Boost, on the other hand, turns us into the ultimate "boost and attack at the same time" machine. We're seeing the metagame trend in this direction already with the rise of Nihilego, Celesteela, and Stratagem - and for good reason. Even Garchomp is in on the "boost while attacking" craze, but Moxie still distinguishes CAP31 from Garchomp because unlike Scale Shot, Diamond Storm makes us harder to revenge not easier.

I'm not concerned with Serene Grace being less powerful than some other Abilities or that there isn't an obvious second move to abuse with Serene Grace other than the mediocre Scorching Sands. Serene Grace is a worthwhile Ability on CAP31 even if Diamond Storm is our only move that abuses it. If Serene Grace isn't a powerful Ability then we can spend more of our power budget on the Stats or Movepool stage. We don't need a high-impact Ability to make a high-impact Pokemon.

I don't think there's a better Ability than Serene Grace for leveraging our +2 or giving us a niche compared to other Grounds. Serene Grace gives us a serious leg up on maximizing Diamond Storm's potential. Moxie and Beast Boost do too, since it lets Diamond Storm accrue even more boosts for us.

--------------------------

For similar "this Ability synergizes well with Diamond Storm" reasons I think Sand Force would be neat if Sand were a better playstyle. But Tyranitar and Hippowdon are tumbling down the Viability Rankings and I'm not sure Sand Force would be viable at all. Unaware also gets an honorable mention for booster-proofing our +2s to Defense.
 
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snake_rattler

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Looking at other favorites, for all the Moxie fans, I’d like to once again suggest Beast Boost. It does the same thing, and more. I still haven’t seen any reason why Moxie would be better than BB. One person mentioned that it would make the stat stage a bit more difficult as we would need to make space to ‘customize’ our boosts, but to me this just sounds like something new and exciting to explore!
For me, it's less about whether Moxie is better than Beast Boost or not and more that Moxie just does what I'd personally like CAP31 to do. The concept is about Diamond Storm, a physical attack that would benefit from Moxie. Why do we need to explore Beast Boost's intricacies when Diamond Storm should be at the forefront of the concept? Aside from that, Moxie isn't just worse Beast Boost - Moxie boosts Attack no matter what stat is highest, so we could make a fast CAP or a really bulky CAP that still boosts Attack. No Lonely Stakataka or Timid Kartana will be required for this project. Even beyond that, there's also how Beast Boost comes with a lot of Ultra Beast flavor baggage that we'd either have to blatantly ignore or conform to it, and I'm not really thinking that we should put that pressure on the TLT.

----

I'm just going to formally say that I don't like Serene Grace. I haven't found another move aside from Diamond Storm that gets boosted by Serene Grace and really fits on CAP31 without going very painfully mixed (and thus risking dropping Diamond Storm) or making CAP31 become a flinch machine (very unideal). Diamond Storm on a Ground-type is so close to making Serene Grace work, but I just feel like it's not going to do anything other than make Diamond Storm boost 100% of the time, which is cool, but not the kind of power we need out of this stage imo.
 
As one of the few Analytic stans, I spent a bit of time crunching some numbers and...it's tough. Overall, I don't think its the play. I hope this isn't too poll-jumpy; I'll fix it if it is!

The theory on Analytic is that EdgeQuake is a pretty threatening attacking combination, so we expect to force out a lot of 'mons especially Electric and Fire types. Traditionally the joy of EdgeQuake is that the 'mons that would pivot in to dodge an Earthquake are weak to rock, and will take heavy damage from Diamond Storm. But! As we've identified, the meta is lousy with flying types or Levitate 'mons that are resistant or neutral to Diamond Storm - namely Landorus-Therian and Corviknight, but to a lesser extent also Equilibra and Skarmory (for completeness, this is true of Gapdos, Hawlucha, and Cawmodore too but as offensively-inclined 'mons I'm less worried about them casually switching into eat a bunch of damage). The meta also has a pair of powerful Grass/Steels in Kartana and Ferrothorn - these 'mons resist Diamond Storm and are only neutral to our STAB, so they are a concern for our viability. Finally (as if all of these A or higher ranked 'mons aren't a big enough problem) - there's a concern about bulky waters like the Slows or Tapu Fini (or Toxapex, but 'Pex is at least weak to our STAB) coming in on us, absorbing neutral hits, and then forcing us out with the threat of a SE water attack or just sponging our hits with their recovery and utility.

Given how many switches CAP31 provokes, in theory, Analytic has seem really tempting to improve our ability to punish these common switch-ins. But in practice, I'm seeing that even with something in between a Donphan and a Garchomp for attack stat and investment, we're going to struggle a bit.

Against Corviknight: Analytic seems helpful, as we physically won't be able to kill it without it. Whether we want a bulkier build or the ability to attack with reckless abandon, Analytic meaningfully seems to improve our ability to hurt Corviknight. But, we're still looking at a 3-4 hit KO (that's a lot of our precious PP!) and we'd take a boatload of damage in the process or allow it to defog away hazards. And a Banded CAP31 also can't outdamage Roost + Lefties without a truly nuclear attacking stat. Overall, Analytic does something but it still doesn't make this a winning match-up by any stretch.

Against Landorus-Therian a Banded Analytic CAP31 only has an 11.1% to 3HKO with Diamond Storm after leftoves recovery, while Lando is 99% likely to 3HKO us. Our odds of winning this shoot-out are quite poor.

Equilibra isn't as common anymore, but is a nightmare. Even a Banded CAP31 is just chipping Libra with Leftovers recovery, letting 'Libra just set up Doom Desires in our face or Rapid Spin away hazards before pivoting into someone else or just finishing off with Flash Cannon or Earth Power. We're losing even with Analytic; we're just losing slightly less hard.

Skarmory is rarer still. Here - if it's Iron Defense Skarmory we lose, and Analytic doesn't add enough to stop that. If it's not Iron Defense we win, and we don't really need Analytic to do it.

Turning to our Steel/Grasses - with enough offenses and a Band, Ferrothorn would just take so much to an Earthquake and is so slow that we'd win with or without Analytic. Ditto Kartana, although with Kartana it's notable that we get a clean OHKO with Analytic if it comes in on a ground STAB, but fail to nab that clean OHKO without Analytic. That's a big deal considering that even with theoretically respectable bulk the average Kartana is likely capable of OHKOing us back with its Leaf Blade, even unboosted.

For the bulky waters:
- If we went this nuclear with an offensive spread, Slowking, Toxapex, and Arghonaut are just nuked down by us whether we're analytic or not. Likewise, we're losing to or running from Slowbro with or without Analytic most of the time. Tapu Fini is the only bulky-ish water where this matters, as like Kartana Analytic means that a 'fini who comes on on Earthquake would be clean OHKOd; without Analytic we miss without some other chip. But it's moot, if it comes in on anything else.

The TL;DR here is that if we went Analytic AND committed to a Choice Band niche - a niche I'm not sure I want to be married to - Analytic is only meaninghfully improving our match-up versus Kartana and Tapu Fini. While it's mathematically an improvement versus Corviknight, Lando-T, Slowbro, and Equilibra, we're still losing to them on paper and that's with projected pretty good stats. And while it's powerful and a bit of help, we're still capable of making a decision on beating the rest of the bulky waters, Skarmory, and Ferrothorn later in movepool or ability without analytics' help.
 
Going to make a short post but I'm gonna post against Magnet Pull. It is sorta different from the banned Arena Trap/Shadow Tag in the sense that it only traps one type of Pokemon, but Steel is an extremely dominant type and trapping abilities in general are just uncompetitive in nature. Not to mention that we already have a Magnet Pull trapper in the metagame in Magnezone and one is more than enough. The fact that we are Ground type is really the nail in the coffin though. I am very much not interested in creating a psuedo-Dugtrio, and I think that's what Magnet Pull would create, and especially when paired with Magnezone it seems like it'd be a competitive nightmare and very obnoxious for the tier to deal with.



Saying "we can't have this ability because we aren't this specific type" is silly to me. A Ground type with Rock coverage has plenty of positive interactions with Neutralizing Gas, namely forcing Astrolotl and Tornadus-Therian out without them getting Regenerator recovery, and being able to hit Prologue with Diamond Storm without activating Stamina is huge. Also every Levitate mon would REALLY hate a Ground type with Neutralizing Gas. Also we tried a Bug type with Neutralizing Gas and that didn't end up turning out super great anyway.

Basically Yes to Neutralizing Gas, no to Magnet Pull
Magnet Pull wouldn't create another Dugtrio, because Dugtrio trapped EVERYTHING grounded, not every Steel type. It also wouldn't be too hard for teams to deal with unless they rely heavily on steel-types for their defensive utility. Against a team without a reliance on Steel-types, you're basically operating with only 2/3s of an optimal team. That doesn't remotely compare to two abilities that trapped virtually every Pokemon in the game, you could basically run Dugtrio and Gothitelle without messing up your team (if anything Memento Duggy/Diggy into CM Goths was a pretty funny part of Gen 6).

Also, a significant reason why Miasmaw didn't work out was because it doesn't have access to U-Turn to fully punish pivots. The issue with it is less about typing and more about several community decisions that resulted in a final product that doesn't actually do the job it wants to. There aren't even any particularly good Levitate mons outside of Stratagem and two other B-rank mons, so it's kinda perplexing trying to figure out what this thing's job with NG is. There really doesn't seem to be a whole lot of compelling benefits other than "cool ability" that have any real competitive use.
I'm just going to formally say that I don't like Serene Grace. I haven't found another move aside from Diamond Storm that gets boosted by Serene Grace and really fits on CAP31 without going very painfully mixed (and thus risking dropping Diamond Storm) or making CAP31 become a flinch machine (very unideal). Diamond Storm on a Ground-type is so close to making Serene Grace work, but I just feel like it's not going to do anything other than make Diamond Storm boost 100% of the time, which is cool, but not the kind of power we need out of this stage imo.
Crush Claw, Mist Ball, Luster Purge, Fiery Dance, Poison Fang, Razor Shell all become moves with 100% chances of activating secondary effects after Serene Grace. Physical attacks are bolded. IMO there's a LOT of versatility you're overlooking. While I appreciate (and second) opposition to flinching moves, I really think Serene Grace is one of the better options alongside Defiant and Magnet Pull. I also can't get over just how awesome it would be to have a Pokemon that can badly poison WITH AN ATTACK and take advantage of Diamond Storm's boosts.
 
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I have a few different thoughts to share while I've got a minute, both to do with general discussion and the present set of questions.

How much power budget are we willing to invest into our ability? Should we be worried about limiting ourselves for future stages or not being able to create a strong enough product?
I think we should feel free to pick a very strong ability here, because as it stands 31 doesn't have much of an identity or a reason to see use. The combination of monoground typing and diamond storm access doesn't immediately suggest anything terribly relevant to do, and the single STAB certainly doesn't help. We can't add the draw during the moves stage or we risk 31 dropping DS - leaving abilities and stats as the only reasonable ways to spend our power budget.

Neutralizing Gas
This is straight-up awful. Out of the list of match-ups where NG is relevant, only a handful are ones we actually care about right now; landorus, weavile, corv, and the regenerators. The slows don't give a shit; they come in, cripple us with scald, and either slack off back to full or switch out and get the regen heal after 31 has switched out. "We can only click diamond storm 4 times" is only our problem in the corv matchup if 31's attack ends up being astronomical, and taking pressure off weavile doesn't do anything to make +2 triple axel any less completely lethal.
This leaves astro and landy... Which both Defiant and Mirror-Armor deal with both more effectively, and with better upside. This is just another, worse anti-landorus ability.

Speed Boost
How constraining is speed boosting in future stages of the process? Do these abilities threaten to funnel us into offensive cleaner roles?
I don't think it's very constraining at all. Moreover, given the nonexistence of fast ground types in the current meta, I think it creates a lot more room to differentiate 31 from the other options! The only design space we could conceivably edge in on with a speed boost ability would be, like, scaleshot boosting garchomp. I don't think it threatens to funnel us into strict offense, either; the mini-uber concept submission mentioned Lugia's role as fast defense in Ubers, a role I think there's absolutely room for Diamond Storm to capitalize on given both the defense boost, and the threat it poses to Torn-T and Weavile.

Serene Grace
What are the implications of having a Defense boost that is guaranteed? How does avoiding hax entirely alter play on behalf of the user and the opponent?
Given the precedents scald and shadow ball set, I think it depends on whether the user is an offensive pokemon or a defensive pokemon. It's common to play around sending a physical attacker into a scald user as much as possible, because in any case it's going to take a few hits to break through and the likelihood of getting scalded is very high. On the other hand, playing around a shadowball stat drop from dragapult is less important, because it's got so much punch behind it that any one pokemon is going to get hit fewer times overall anyway. As such; I believe that Serene Grace is only useful on an offensive 31 that is forced out more often and by more of the meta. An offensive 31 needs that boost as soon as it can get it; a defensive 31 can take its time.

Filter/Solid Rock
I've talked a little bit about these ones already, but there's still been relatively little conversation. I'd like to argue that these represent potentially very strong options for one possible role in particular where Diamond Storm would excell: anti-offense. Torn-T, venom-E, Dragonite, Pyroak, Blacephalon, and the common screen-setters are all already afraid of us just from edgequake; Filter or Solid Rock add the likes of Weavile and Kartana to the list, while also reducing the damage we take from the odd scald.
 

snake_rattler

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Crush Claw, Mist Ball, Luster Purge, Fiery Dance, Poison Fang, Razor Shell all become moves with 100% chances of activating secondary effects after Serene Grace. Physical attacks are bolded. IMO there's a LOT of versatility you're overlooking. While I appreciate (and second) opposition to flinching moves, I really think Serene Grace is one of the better options alongside Defiant and Magnet Pull. I also can't get over just how awesome it would be to have a Pokemon that can badly poison WITH AN ATTACK and take advantage of Diamond Storm's boosts.
I'm going to ignore Mist Ball and Luster Purge because they're legendary exclusives not chosen during the concept assessment; thus, they're not on the table in the first place. Fiery Dance builds up Special Attack, which is great, but Diamond Storm is a physical attack. Is the hope that CAP31 will run both non-STAB Diamond Storm and non-STAB Fiery Dance on the same set? Feels like either it's not going to be worth running either move, or Fiery Dance will actually be used to boost Special Attack and Diamond Storm will be glorified Iron Defense. Hence "painfully mixed" from my last post.

With Crush Claw and Razor Shell, you are suggesting that CAP31 will dedicate its 3rd moveslot (after presumably Ground-type STAB and Diamond Storm) to non-STAB 75BP attacks. That we build for Serene Grace and force ourselves to run Ground-type STAB / Diamond Storm / Razor Shell or, worse, Ground-type STAB / Diamond Storm / Crush Claw. CAP31 doesn't have infinite turns to get all these boosts and drops set up - Defense dropping moves don't seem like they're particularly helpful for enabling Diamond Storm specifically. Suddenly, we've lost a lot of versatility in movesets AND lost out on the opportunity to use a different ability that will preserve that moveset versatility as well as provide a decent effect for CAP31. The benefit that CAP31 actually gains from these moves is pretty minimal at best..

Serene Grace Poison Fang is just Toxic, but it deals damage. Rather than implying that CAP31 should essentially have Toxic because CAP31 has Serene Grace (and thus we have to shoehorn in weak, non-STAB attacks to make the most of Serene Grace), I think we save the conversation for Toxic for the proper moves stage. I think that's going to be an important conversation given this project and how it occurs in Gen 8, where Toxic is not necessarily implied in all movepools.

I'd also like to preemptively pose a counterargument to "We don't have to run Crush Claw / Razor Fang / Poison Fang with Serene Grace." If these moves are brought up in the first place to support Serene Grace, then the implication is that they ought to be run. These are the least bad options that were presented, and I feel like I've shown how they don't provide value to the CAP31's movesets, and thus why Serene Grace doesn't provide value over other abilities mentioned so far. Good ability overall, just not a good ability given our STAB move selection and how Diamond Storm is already locked in. We're building for Diamond Storm, not for Serene Grace.
 

Brambane

protect the wetlands
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Neutralizing Gas
This is straight-up awful. Out of the list of match-ups where NG is relevant, only a handful are ones we actually care about right now; landorus, weavile, corv, and the regenerators. The slows don't give a shit; they come in, cripple us with scald, and either slack off back to full or switch out and get the regen heal after 31 has switched out. "We can only click diamond storm 4 times" is only our problem in the corv matchup if 31's attack ends up being astronomical, and taking pressure off weavile doesn't do anything to make +2 triple axel any less completely lethal.
This leaves astro and landy... Which both Defiant and Mirror-Armor deal with both more effectively, and with better upside. This is just another, worse anti-landorus ability.
This assessment hyperfocuses too much on the specific set of Pokemon that give CAP31's physical Ground+Rock coverage trouble instead of the greater metagame as a whole.

Ignoring Multiscale improves the Dragonite MU immensely; instead of being stymied by Venomicon's Stamina + Roost stalling, you can power through it without needing absurd attacking power. Pyroak goes from an offensive tempo machine to a total momentum sink. We are unaffected by Intimidate; we can hit Equilibra and Stratagem with STAB EQ. Ninetales cannot set-up Aurora Veil if a lead vs lead scenario, denying HO teams a major component, and we can potentially threaten it with Diamond Storm . Arghonaut, if we are a boosting Pokemon, suddenly gets chunked for massive damage. And we don't burn double PP if Corviknight switches in a Diamond Storm, making that interaction far less punishing. (The bit about Weavile is just saying the mon runs Pressure, it doesn't actually really matter for us most likely.)

The ability's interaction with Regenerator is nice, but really isn't the primary point. But to entertain it, we almost certainly pressure Toxapex and Slowking-Galar out, and depending on Speed and/or bulk, Astrolotl and Tornadus-T as well. Yes, getting burned would probably suck, as it does for Miasmaw, but Neutralizing Gas has other critical interactions that matter more than Regenerator. And, not to get super into the future here, but maybe we could include a way to mitigate that problem? But, it doesn't do anything to Slowbro, but I am sure we can afford to pass up one of six (seven if you still count Crucibelle)

I am not here to stan NGas as my hill to die on, it isn't close to my favorite ability. But your argument paints the ability is a genuinely unfair light and is based upon a limited scope, especially when NGas would definitely give CAP31 a useful and unique identity.
 
Going on the offensive against Magnet Pull.

The reason Magnet Pull is a bad option for 31 has less to do with concerns of it being too powerful on a Ground-type or how trapping is often viewed as uncompetitive in the metagame. Magnet Pull is bad because it just reroutes the focus of our concept from "using Diamond Storm efficiently" to "trap and eliminate Steel-types," which Diamond Storm does not assist in doing. The most you could say is that Diamond Storm would bait in Steel-types that we can target with Ground STAB, but any Steels willingly switching into a Magnet Pull users are probably the ones most comfortable beating us, and non-STAB Diamond Storm simply isn't threatening enough to force in Steels when something like Slowbro or even Landorus can do the job just as well.

If the primary goal was to make a viable Ground-type, Magnet Pull would have merit, but making a viable Ground is a by-product of fulfilling our concept as a Diamond Storm user. Magnet Pull would only distract us from this purpose, and does nothing to accentuate usage of the unique move we've been given. End of discussion.


I feel a lot of other popular choices have been talked to death here or on Discord so I want to give underdog Unaware some attention.
How relevant is Unaware into the setup mons of the tier? Can CAP31 effectively check them even if it has Unaware?
One of the biggest selling points here is that we can freely attacks into Venomicon-Prologue without Stamina getting in the way, and Unaware protects us from it boosting itself with Nasty Plot. This is still largely a pressure match-up as Hurricane Confuses are a problem, but being able to ignore its shenanigans is quite useful.

Other Pokemon where Unaware is helpful:
:stratagem: Meteor Beam boost blanked
:clefable: CM sets aren't as threatening
:garchomp: SD blanked
:pyroak: Hits us with its pitiful unboosted Special Attack and we don't get CTeamed by demon marcus pork
:cawmodore: lol
:tapu-koko: CM Gleam is way worse at breaking us late-game.
:zeraora: Bulk Up is similarly not as threatening late-game.
:dragonite: Dragon Dance being ignored leaves a significant amount of sets at a disadvantage.
:magnezone: No amount of Iron Defense is enough to stop us and Body Press isn't an issue. Magnet Rise only delays inevitable and probably gives us chances to go Diamond Storm fishing.

Pokemon where Unaware is not as helpful:
:weavile: Kicks our ass with Triple Axel (literally)
:tapu fini: Water STAB ruins us and we can't even attempt to block it with Diamond Storm boosts.
:zapdos-galar: We ignore Defiant but CB Brave Bird/Close Combat probably owns us anyway without a prior +2 Defense, and we don't got that prior to switching in.
:slowking-galar: We scare CM off but we also don't want to hard-in else we eat a Scald and get burned, or even just Sludge Bomb poison. Maybe useful in a pinch but probably better to be pivoted in safely.
:tornadus-therian: Both Hurricane and Heat Wave might hax us which really sucks.
:blacephalon::kartana: Depending on stats and if they are choice-locked into a favorable move, we ignore any Beast Boost procs, but these two can still delete us anyhow.
:reuniclus: Stored Power is an issue but we can attack through Acid Armor if needed.
:necrozma: Photon Geyser moment.
[VENOMICON_EPILOGUE_MINISPRITE] Does not need boosts to chunk us, but is pretty well screwed if we have +2.

So it's not amazing versus all setup but some key targets (venom-p, zera, koko, roak, dnite) are substantially improved, and if we do have Defense boosts prior a couple of our shakier match-ups look a lot better.

Overall it's a decent option that doesn't define us too heavily and IMO leaves us with enough room to pursue a potential secondary.


Oh and BTW Neutralizing Gas is dumby strong, maybe a bit too much for my liking. It is a BS ability in terms of what it does to a lot of mons and team structures, and we are not bogged down by Bug/Dragon and poor bulk diminishing its useful properties. I wasn't sold on it until Brambane revealed just how much you can annoy certain Pokemon with this ability, and what you don't cover can be solved with the rest of your 5 slots. Not a one-to-one example but do remember that this one ability completely ripped Pure Hackmons to pieces as it was literally the best offensive and defensive ability in the entire game, and even in the much weaker realm of OU a lot of Pokemon live and therefore die with their Abilities. Our concept is also a lot more open than Miasmaw's was and the typing we have is way more flexible, so NGas 31 would be plenty capable of abusing its effects.


TL:DR Magnet Pull bad, Unaware good, Neutralizing Gas scary.
 
So, let's talk about Magnet Pull (Going to be short since shnowshner cucked me).

Like shnowshner said, the ability overall is just very distracting to the overall concept, and I feel like the best way to back this up really would be to sort of look at the current discussion regarding the ability. Right now, I'm seeing very little discussion about how the ability actually interacts with Magnet Pull, and most of the support seems to just be coming from a place of "Hey guys, a Ground-Type with Magnet Pull would be really cool". While I'm not saying that all discussion is like this, as I have seen a couple of arguments in support of the ability in regards to how it interacts with Diamond Storm, it really just makes it all the more apparent that going with the ability is just going to derail the project away from the core concept at hand. For this reason, and the obvious potential concerns about introducing a Ground-Type Magnet Pull user, it would be best if we stayed away from this ability.
 
This assessment hyperfocuses too much on the specific set of Pokemon that give CAP31's physical Ground+Rock coverage trouble instead of the greater metagame as a whole.
I've given this some thought. It's been established already that the biggest challenge for 31 right now (and the reason edgequake has fallen off recently) is the ease with which hugely important pokemon like bro and corv can switch into both DS and EQ. Out of these, NG only improves the matchup against Landorus, Arghonaut, and Equilibra - two of which only see relatively niche play at the moment.

That being said, the number of potentially iffy matchups it turns into solid wins for DS is pretty staggering, and picking up the the win against landorus is obviously very important. As such... I think I now like Neutralizing Gas more than both Defiant and Mirror armor! The additional upsides beyond landorus are extensive, and seem custom-fit to our concept.
 
I'm going to ignore Mist Ball and Luster Purge because they're legendary exclusives not chosen during the concept assessment; thus, they're not on the table in the first place. Fiery Dance builds up Special Attack, which is great, but Diamond Storm is a physical attack. Is the hope that CAP31 will run both non-STAB Diamond Storm and non-STAB Fiery Dance on the same set? Feels like either it's not going to be worth running either move, or Fiery Dance will actually be used to boost Special Attack and Diamond Storm will be glorified Iron Defense. Hence "painfully mixed" from my last post.

With Crush Claw and Razor Shell, you are suggesting that CAP31 will dedicate its 3rd moveslot (after presumably Ground-type STAB and Diamond Storm) to non-STAB 75BP attacks. That we build for Serene Grace and force ourselves to run Ground-type STAB / Diamond Storm / Razor Shell or, worse, Ground-type STAB / Diamond Storm / Crush Claw. CAP31 doesn't have infinite turns to get all these boosts and drops set up - Defense dropping moves don't seem like they're particularly helpful for enabling Diamond Storm specifically. Suddenly, we've lost a lot of versatility in movesets AND lost out on the opportunity to use a different ability that will preserve that moveset versatility as well as provide a decent effect for CAP31. The benefit that CAP31 actually gains from these moves is pretty minimal at best..

Serene Grace Poison Fang is just Toxic, but it deals damage. Rather than implying that CAP31 should essentially have Toxic because CAP31 has Serene Grace (and thus we have to shoehorn in weak, non-STAB attacks to make the most of Serene Grace), I think we save the conversation for Toxic for the proper moves stage. I think that's going to be an important conversation given this project and how it occurs in Gen 8, where Toxic is not necessarily implied in all movepools.

I'd also like to preemptively pose a counterargument to "We don't have to run Crush Claw / Razor Fang / Poison Fang with Serene Grace." If these moves are brought up in the first place to support Serene Grace, then the implication is that they ought to be run. These are the least bad options that were presented, and I feel like I've shown how they don't provide value to the CAP31's movesets, and thus why Serene Grace doesn't provide value over other abilities mentioned so far. Good ability overall, just not a good ability given our STAB move selection and how Diamond Storm is already locked in. We're building for Diamond Storm, not for Serene Grace.

The entire premise of the concept is to utilise legendary exclusive moves. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to dismiss Luster Purge or Mist Ball on the basis of them being legendary exclusives. Regardless, you said you couldn't think of any moves that pair well with Serene Grace, and these are several moves that do pair well with both the concept and the proposed Ability. I also did not suggest these moves because they are the "least bad options," I stated these options on the basis of them 1) synergizing well with Diamond Storm and 2) the novel utility these moves offer because Serene Grace changes their usefulness entirely. I think it's pretty obvious that 100% stat (de)buff attacking moves have increasing returns with greater longevity, which Diamond Storm offers. Maybe I should have mentioned that, sorry if that wasn't clear. That's why I'm puzzled by your suggestion that "We're building for Diamond Storm, not for Serene Grace." I am demonstrating the depth to which Serene Grace pairs well with Diamond Storm beyond just simply guaranteeing a boost. If you want an easy example of a Pokemon leveraging longevity to utilise those stat (de)buffs, Astrolotl uses Fire Lash successfully alongside Regenerator.

As an aside, I am also surprised by your assessment of a 50 BP Toxic. Nuzzle isn't really a copy of Thunder Wave, it's an objectively better version, and Poison Fang with Serene Grace is much better than Toxic.


This assessment hyperfocuses too much on the specific set of Pokemon that give CAP31's physical Ground+Rock coverage trouble instead of the greater metagame as a whole.

Ignoring Multiscale improves the Dragonite MU immensely; instead of being stymied by Venomicon's Stamina + Roost stalling, you can power through it without needing absurd attacking power. Pyroak goes from an offensive tempo machine to a total momentum sink. We are unaffected by Intimidate; we can hit Equilibra and Stratagem with STAB EQ. Ninetales cannot set-up Aurora Veil if a lead vs lead scenario, denying HO teams a major component, and we can potentially threaten it with Diamond Storm . Arghonaut, if we are a boosting Pokemon, suddenly gets chunked for massive damage. And we don't burn double PP if Corviknight switches in a Diamond Storm, making that interaction far less punishing. (The bit about Weavile is just saying the mon runs Pressure, it doesn't actually really matter for us most likely.)

The ability's interaction with Regenerator is nice, but really isn't the primary point. But to entertain it, we almost certainly pressure Toxapex and Slowking-Galar out, and depending on Speed and/or bulk, Astrolotl and Tornadus-T as well. Yes, getting burned would probably suck, as it does for Miasmaw, but Neutralizing Gas has other critical interactions that matter more than Regenerator. And, not to get super into the future here, but maybe we could include a way to mitigate that problem? But, it doesn't do anything to Slowbro, but I am sure we can afford to pass up one of six (seven if you still count Crucibelle)
Nothing you've mentioned regarding these matchups is substantially differentiated from other users of Neutralising Gas, barring (possibly, depending on stat stage) the Venomicon match-up. Venomicon doesn't exactly like eating 100 BP super effective moves anyways. Not losing as much PP vs Corviknight isn't a particularly relevant situation and a really weak case for having NG. Outside of that, there's nothing suggested here that Miasmaw can't already do. As stated before, I really don't get the point of this suggestion OR what role CAP31 with NG is actually supposed to fill or how it's great for a Diamond Storm user, and this isn't really a satisfactory explanation.
 

Wulfanator

Sableye used Foul Play!
is a CAP Contributor
The entire premise of the concept is to utilise legendary exclusive moves.
No. The entire premise of our concept is using a singular move from the prohibited moves list. Diamond Storm was selected by the community to be this move. The consideration of additional moves from the list directly contradict the wording used in the concept and undermines our selection.

1) synergizing well with Diamond Storm and 2) the novel utility these moves offer because Serene Grace changes their usefulness entirely.
Of the remaining examples, 75 BP is atrocious for STAB let alone coverage. Neither Crush Claw nor Razor Shell are helping patch up the short comings of Ground+Rock. These moves would only be considered if we constrict movesets to force their inclusion, but this would be a horrible way to build CAPs.

At this point, Poison Fang is the only real point in Serene Grace's favor from what you've listed. That being said, we could get far more mileage out of another ability and provide the mon toxic. It would accomplish the same thing and not try to force such a limited ability. Regardless of these suggestions, these examples assume we'd get any of these moves. Since none of these examples are STAB nor mandated by our concept, their discussion is a polljump.
 

snake_rattler

is a Community Leaderis a Top CAP Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
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If you want an easy example of a Pokemon leveraging longevity to utilise those stat (de)buffs, Astrolotl uses Fire Lash successfully alongside Regenerator.
I don't think Astrolotl is a fair comparison here. Regenerator is what gives Astrolotl so much more longevity than Diamond Storm defense boosts would. Fire Lash is also STAB, so it's extremely easy to add Fire Lash to a moveset and not run out of moveslots. This is not the case for Serene Grace Razor Shell and Crush Claw. Agreeing with wulf's points above on these moves.

As an aside, I am also surprised by your assessment of a 50 BP Toxic. Nuzzle isn't really a copy of Thunder Wave, it's an objectively better version, and Poison Fang with Serene Grace is much better than Toxic.
It's 50 BP Toxic once you use up your ability slot, which comes with some pretty steep opportunity cost of not having a better ability (many discussed in this thread). I doubt Nuzzle would be as good if it required Serene Grace to have a 100% paralysis chance. I still don't like how the implication is that CAP31 should get Toxic before that discussion is supposed to happen, as I explained earlier.
 
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