CAP 31 - Part 5 - Threats Discussion

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I feel like making Zapdos and by extension other flying types a target for switching in looks like a stretch goal, if we also want to be generally offensive. It’s definitely possible for this Mon to be able to tank a Hurricane but without defensive investment or really tanky SpD, 31 is going to be on the backfoot coming in on Zapdos, unless you catch an electric move or have recovery and can stall for a Hurricane miss. Im definitely of the opinion that CAP31 should win a 1v1 and should never be threatened out above half health.
At the same time being an actual switch in to Zapdos, will take a hefty chunk out of our power budget, so imo we shouldn’t mandate CAP31 dealing with Zappy consistently but make it a stretch goal/a really fucking nice to have.
 

SHSP

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We've had a very illuminating discussion on our switch ins, and there's a number of things we can take away from it. My approach to threats is not going to be building a hard and fast sort of list we are bound to later: this is more about getting aquainted with the metagame, what we're likely built to take on already, and what we should be aiming to do ideally. That being said, here's a few conclusions I'd like to draw from this early discussion:

Of the Electrics, Zeraora is a focus: There's been a lot of talk about how we match up into the popular Electrics, and the most dominant topic of that discussion has been answering Zeraora. It's arguably the hardest of them to answer, and the one that takes the most advantage of the current Grounds we're competing with. Moving forward, this is absolutely something to keep in mind.

Answering Flyings is Tricky: There's additionally been a lot of focus on Flying types, mainly because of the urge to use Diamond Storm to hit them super effectively. Offensive Flyings, however, are going to hit us pretty damn hard, Zapdos included, and stretching our stats to answer them effectively may end up railroading us into a more defensive build, which doesn't look to be what we're aiming to do. It's something to think about as we go on, but it's not something we absolutely must do.

I'd like to move us into discussion on our Pressures list, but more importantly I'd like to talk about something that Dex and Astra brought up in addition to it. We're a mon that inherently wants to get in easily- something we've just covered- and then stay in for a good long time once we do. What pressures us if it's able to get in? What do we need to do to be able to stay in effectively in the face of pressure, and preserve our longevity?
 
What pressures us if it's able to get in? What do we need to do to be able to stay in effectively in the face of pressure, and preserve our longevity?
I think you can generally build three categories of mons, that can pressure CAP31 if it faces them:

1) Can get in on a Resist, Immunity or sheer bulk and threaten big Damage or Crippling Status, while being able to trade a hit or two.

These include Equilibra which especially doesn’t care about 31 and is going to be hard to deal with in any case. Others are Lando, Ferro, Buzzwole, Slowbro, Garchomp, Gastrodon (with Toxic), Jumbao, CB Rillaboom, Gapdos, (Melm might trade in a pinch)

Some of these can be dealt with through appropriate stats or additional coverage, that scare them from switching in and troubles them if they are in.
In some of these cases the defense boost from Diamond Storm will help, tilt the Match up, especially if 31 has moves that block or remove status or Set up, that helps it break past these mons.
I think especially Libra and slightly less so Buzz are going to be hard to deal with regardless of our tools, as we don’t threaten them and they punch fairly hard.

2) Uses 31 as Set up fodder
These mons can come in on a resist or immunity and are bulky enough to take edge quake to set up (or set hazards, etc)

a) Set Up

Garchomp (Aqua Tail sets likely destroy us EDIT: obviously they don‘t, i guess I was still hoping we’re poison heal), Venomicon, Dragonite, (these two depend more than others on how hard we hit, how fast we are and/or if we have set up, because they rely on their abilities to deal with 31) Revenankh, (Buzzwole), Cawmodore, Hawlucha, Scizor, Rillaboom, Bulu, Kartana.

We give considerable Space for setting up to all of these atm.
Especially Kartana, Tapu Bulu and Rillaboom are incredibly threatening due to hitting us super effectively. Mons Like Hawlucha, Rev and Scizor could end up having trouble with us boosting defenses, but it’s still an uphill battle and dealing with any of these likely requires additional coverage and fairly high speed and bulk.

b) Hazards/Walls
Skarmory, Ferro, Corviknight, Arghonaut, Gastrodon
These mons just sit on us atm and can stack or clear hazards, remove our item and status us or pivot into a breaker.
Since they are mostly fairly passive, set up or taunt can help with these (doesn’t help with argh and likely not with Skarm).

3) Revenge Killers
Pult, Weavile, Tapu Lele, Urshifu, Gapdos, Rev, Jumbao, Rillaboom, Syclant,
The defense boost from Dstorm can probably help us against some of these mons. Especially Weavile doesn’t like it bc we hit it Super effectively and it might not be able to break us at plus two. Other than that, only maybe priority or enough bulk and a move that cripples fast attackers might help dealing with them.

4) Astro depends how hard we hit and how fast we are. Astro loses a 1v1, but if it’s faster it might risk a wisp to cripple us and likely will end up coming out of the MU as the winner in the long term.
 
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Astra

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What do we need to do to be able to stay in effectively in the face of pressure, and preserve our longevity?
This will come down to what aspect we would like to add to CAP 31 in order to differentiate it from other Ground-types. As a mentioned before, this can done through some sort of combination of good special bulk, status circumvention, and lack of a heavy reliance on its item, all of which can improve its longevity, though for good special bulk and less worrying about Knock Off, I'd like to add that CAP 31 would need to have some sort of reliable recovery in order to actual be successful in that regard. That's asking for a lot, but it fits the bill for our goal with CAP 31, considering that every viable Ground-type in the current metagame besides Gastrodon lacks a source of reliable recovery and that it will most certainly help it stay in longer to take advantage of its Diamond Storm boosts and whatever else we give it.
 
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What pressures us if it's able to get in?

Defensively: Pokemon that resist Ground and Rock, Levitate Pokemon with Rock resists, Flying types with Rock neutrality, and Syclant are the things that are a worry with our combo of Ground-STAB/Diamond Storm.

Offensively: Fast Ice types, offensive Grass types, Fast or Bulky-Offensive Pokemon with coverage. I cannot think of specific examples for Pokemon that run Ice or Grass coverage that are not also weak to either Earthquake or Diamond Storm, but the pressure they exert if we miss that 5% chance, if they have the bulk to survive, or if we are slower all exist. For example, Nidoking, Krilowatt, or Galarian Slows and have the option of running a SE coverage move that would threaten us.

Overall: I think we just lose to Syclant. It gets a free switch in against us, and is not something we can realistically outspeed. Weavile is also just as fast, and can probably revenge kill us. I also feel that Jumbao and Kartana are also threatening enough to incinerate us with speedy Grass STAB as well, and arent the most scared of switchin in if they're not outright revenge killing.
 
What pressures us if it's able to get in?
First let's look at offense:

In terms of Physical Attackers, we can fish for +2s with Diamond Storm that will make it hard for all but the hardest-hitting, fastest, and most SE of physical attackers to brawl past us. With a single +2 and 'just okay', moderately invested physical bulk it's basically just Weavile, Kartana, and Urshifu-R that could pressure us or revenge kill us even at +2 if someone like Slowbro helps them get in safely, and in Weavile's case it will need assistance to come in against us since we hit it omega-hard if it straight switches in. Zapdos-Galar and Garchomp are the other two notable physical threats at B+ or better that can deal fairly heavy damage to us by being neutral to our attacks; we win shoot-outs from full with that moderate bulk but would be on death's doorstep. Lando-T is a problem too, winning in a shoot-out or toxicing us. Also threatening but rarer, viability-wise, is Buzzswole (who isn't overly threatened by our attacking combination) and Rillaboom (CB Rillaboom is rough). Despite our +2s, physical has significant amount of pressure.

Special Attackers can be hard for us to switch in to, but less likely to exert pressure on us if they try to get in; while our +2s don't save us versus them many of them are frail or weak to one of our primary moves. The two exceptions are Dragapult, who is very dangerous and threatening if it gets in safely via prediction or assistance from a teleporter, and Jumbao, who we probably just generally lose to and which is fine.

The actual threats to CAP31 are less attacks like this, and more 'mons that can sponge our attacking combo and laugh at us for trying. Defensively we will feel some pressure from Corviknight, Equlibra, and Slowbro.

But the true fear is status, as being worn down by poison and burn is a huge hit to our efficacy as a 'mon. We're safe from Scald but not Will-o-Wisp or Toxic.

What do we need to do to be able to stay in effectively in the face of pressure, and preserve our longevity?
We don't need all of these things, but among the things that can help us:

  • Speed. It's probably unreasonable to be able to outspeed Zeraora, Dragapult, or Weavile (and Weav packs priority anyways), but being able to speed creep Garchomp, Urshifu-R, Gapdos, and possibly even Kartana would dramatically improve our ability to not be pressured by these 'mons.
  • Recovery. Being able to pull ourselves back together is a good way to stay in even in the face of pressure.
  • Status resistance. Being burned or toxiced is disastrous for our longevity.
  • Coverage that nails some combination of Corvinkight, Equlibra, Slowbro, Buzzswole, Landorus-Therian, and Rillaboom SE, to curb their excitement at switching in on us willy-nilly. This is tough, however, as good enough coverage threatens to drop Diamond Storm.
  • Resistance to knock-off; not in the sense of damage (we laugh at the damage especially at +2) but in terms of not being hyper-reliant on our item for recovery or damage breakpoints. A few of the above help with this.
 
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SHSP

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Discussion's dried up a bit, so I'm gonna give some of my own thoughts about this set of questions I've asked.

What threatens us as of now? Admittedly, this is a bit difficult to conceptualize before we get anywhere near stats, but considering the prevailing wind of sorts leaning towards being more offensive than defensive, strong attackers that can hit us neutrally seem to top this list in my opinion. Physical attackers in general are better matchups, as those will likely change a LOT at +2 Def (especially with Urshifu unable to crit through us, thanks to Water Absorb). Of course, with a more offensive lean, we're also looking at speed tiers and how those interact, but again, a question for a later stage.

What do we need to do to preserve our longevity? Here's the question that's going to be defining from here on out. We've identified this lean and this avenue we want to pursue: get in relatively easily, abuse the fact we can boost, stay in for longer periods of time. We have a really good start to this, as well: two amazing immunities, Rock/Ground coverage, and really effective defense boosting attached to a move we inherently want to click. What makes us struggle in this role, then? I mentioned above that we're probably not going to have the raw stats to go toe-to-toe with the strongest tier of attackers- Weavile and Kartana hit hard enough without considering their super effective hits, and things like Lele, Galarian Zapdos, and Blacephalon will do so neutrally. Status could be problematic, if we eat a Toxic or the like it can harm our ability to stay in and abuse our snowball-y boosting potential. Other boosting mons can be a threat later on, if they're allowed to boost alongside us without us threatening them. To get around these holes better, we have a lot of tools. Our power budget feels particularly open to me at this point, and though some of these holes are always going to suck- getting Toxic'd is always going to be a pain in the ass, for example- a lot of them we can absolutely handle with tools still available to us, be it in attacking threats to us in Stats or changing our matchups through smart additions of Moves.
 
Promised I would share thoughts on Discord and kept forgetting

What do we need to do to be able to stay in effectively in the face of pressure, and preserve our longevity?
The most basic answer to this question is that we don't fall prey to chip damage.

Since the consensus right now is that we will be coming in on a fair amount of Pokemon to leverage our useful defensive profile, getting worn down by repeated weak hits, hazards, status, or losing our item are going to be common and often unavoidable hurdles to overcome. We're not going to be some HDB using "come-in-on-slow-pivot" attacker that can go the whole match unscathed if we're trying to compete for a team's dedicated Ground-type.

I would like to add that Spikes are going to be a pretty massive headache for us without some sort of way around then. With Ferrothorn at the top of its game right now and a fair amount of other viable Spikers being used, this vulnerabiluty puts us at a pretty big disadvantage to all other defensively-played Grounds (i.e. not Colo), who either aren't affected, have coverage to punish said Spikers, or can heal off the damage. It doesn't help that Ferrothorn matches up quite well against us, threatening to stack Spikes, Toxic/Leech/Knock us, or raw Power Whip in our face, which only grants it more turns to make progress.

Our best option to mitigate these flaws is likely just Recovery: status is going to be tricky to deal with but I definitely can see teammates picking up the slack here so we don't have to (a means to shrug off status would be nice, regardless). If we can heal damage taken when given a chance, which should be often since we have a dangerous Ground + Rock coverage combo, our ability to stay on the field increases immensely.

I also believe preventing (or even punishing) the opponent for using moves against us either as we switch in or when predicted that we switch out is another way to increase our longevity, simply by eliminating the problem before it becomes one. For example, something we aren't immediately threatened by but also don't really beat 1v1 is Slowbro, who would be very happy to Teleport out on us and send us packing by proxy. A way to take advantage of or outright deny such a situation can give us chances to hard force Slowbro out into something we might be able to hit hard with our Attacks or find another means to wear down. By doing this we're given more opportunities to make progress and out-pressure our own pressures, until they are no longer able to harass us.

I'm probably not conveying my thoughts terribly well, so the gist of what I assume is my train-of-thought is that having Recovery may not instantly equal optimal longevity for our project. I feel it is just as important to limit the opponent's available turns to cripple us or find ways to dance around our kit, so that we can minimize our odds of being worn down in the first place.
 
This is not much of a point/opinion but the top threats are the most common users of Toxic, and it'd be great to make mitigating the status a top priority. And as an offensive mon with a boost, we have to remember our boost is a defensive, not offensive one. Mons that are centered around quickly boosting offensively, may not mind toxic as much because they snowball fast enough to sweep or create holes before dying to toxic. While for our case, our central concept is not directly tied to us "quickly snowballing offensively," so I feel maintaining longevity against one of the most popular forms of defensive play is a must.
 

Korski

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What threatens us as of now?

Buzzwole and Equilibra especially, but really anything fat w/ recovery or fat w/ status like Landorus-T, Corviknight, Skarmory, Slowbro, Ferrothorn, Arghonaut, Hippowdon, Jumbao, Clefable, and Blissey. Even if the CAP ends up getting Substitute or Taunt and uses either move regularly, these guys can most likely just park it on the field and collect all your PP or chip you down sooner or later. CAP's Atk stat could knock a couple of these off the list, but our collection of checks and counters will almost certainly start here and I would be comfortable with a lot of them remaining as such. That said, I think a recovery move would break this list and, in conjunction with Substitute (which is a pro-concept move for creating momentum and extra turns off of attempts to use status moves against us) would be a bridge too far.

We are also theoretically threatened by any number of common offensive Pokemon, depending on stats, which brings me to the next question:

What do we need to do to preserve our longevity?

I think “longevity” in this case ought to mean KOing your opponent before they KO you, and we should be trying our best to avoid direct damage entirely via immunities and offensive pressure vs. opposing offensive Pokemon. Pretty much all of our targets are offensive in nature and used on offensive playstyles, so this should be a natural focus for us. The notion of absorbing chip damage and then using a recovery move while the opponent switches out (to a check/counter) so that you can come in again the next time to absorb the same move is called pivoting, and it is the opposite of staying in to take advantage of stat boosts. Don't count on your opponent just letting you use Diamond Storm on Turn 2; If CAP forces a switch to something that both cannot force CAP out and cannot disincentivize Diamond Storm or Earthquake, the match is already over, you’ve won. And if CAP is constantly spamming recovery in order to come in multiple times throughout the match, you’ve lost the concept entirely.

The best-case scenario should be to come in only once or twice, really, force a switch, and take that free turn to fish for a Diamond Storm boost and ride that wave all the way through as many opposing Pokemon as possible before winning/dying, using the Def boost along the way to give the finger to Ice Shard and random Scarfers, or to gain access to sustaining a hit vs. tanky opponents we can only 2HKO once they are in against us. Outspeeding Kartana, Tornadus-T, and Weavile should very much be on the table, imo, and going even faster than that should not be off of it. Remember, we are using a defensive boost on an offensive Pokemon; our CAP should therefore be strongest against opposing offense and weakest against fat/stall if we want this build to make any sense at all. If Diamond boost gave you +2 Atk, it would be a totally different story, but it doesn’t, and you’re nuts if you think we can give this CAP enough juice to muscle through fat teams where no one cares about your Defense stat. The best way to achieve “longevity” here relies on our ability to do damage first, and on threatening enough damage to force the opponent into a reactionary position and allow the CAP space to set up. We should focus on the areas we can actually make a difference with the tools we have on hand, and that is vs. offense. This direction gives the CAP a place in the tier as well as a clear and well-defined niche amongst its Ground-types.
 
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dex

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The best-case scenario should be to come in only once or twice, really, force a switch, and take that free turn to fish for a Diamond Storm boost and ride that wave all the way through as many opposing Pokemon as possible before winning/dying, using the Def boost along the way to give the finger to Ice Shard and random Scarfers, or to gain access to sustaining a hit vs. tanky opponents we can only 2HKO once they are in against us. Outspeeding Kartana, Tornadus-T, and Weavile should very much be on the table, imo, and going even faster than that should not be off of it.
Yo... No.

Diamond Storm's boost is absolutely strong; however, it is not strong enough to keep CAP 31 on the field after getting just one. There's a whole other side of the attacking spectrum. Furthermore, angling CAP 31 to come in "once or twice" at maximum is at best limiting and at worst ruining. Frail attackers (and CAP 31 won't necessarily be frail!) like Blacephalon and Kartana are capable of coming in more than this per game via pivoting, doubling, or situational tanking. Also I wanna push back on the whole recovery is anti concept idea you got going on here. Recovery is a pretty clear way to differentiate this mon from other Ground-types. I don't think that it's anti concept considering recovery gives CAP 31 more chances to use Diamond Storm via staying alive longer to use Diamond Storm more. Seems pretty straightforward to me that recovery is, if anything, incredibly helpful for a Ground-type Diamond Storm user.

Threats:
Buzzwole, Libra, corviknight, Landorus-T, and ferrothorn are the big boys here. These are the mons that are tough for CAP 31 to make progress into, so some way to pressure a few of them or use some of them for setup of some kind would be appreciated.

Longevity:
As I mentioned above, recovery is king here, and has the very nice effect of making CAP 31 a more attractive option over other Ground-types. Stats play a small role here as well, but I think recovery is the biggie. Other than that, a lot is still up in the air considering how pivot heavy the metagame is.
 
Remember, we are using a defensive boost on an offensive Pokemon; our CAP should therefore be strongest against opposing offense and weakest against fat/stall if we want this build to make any sense at all. If Diamond boost gave you +2 Atk, it would be a totally different story, but it doesn’t, and you’re nuts if you think we can give this CAP enough juice to muscle through fat teams where no one cares about your Defense stat.
I think the point of the Def boost is a little lost here. We aren't and can't rely on the Def boost to perform our main role. Which would you rather have on your team, a Landorus-T that's able to pressure offensive and defensive mons with Swords Dance and Toxic respectively? Or CAP 31 that needs a good coin flip to match up into offense, and can't matchup to defense because it's immediately decimated by status? If we wish to be able to lock horns with other Ground types in the team builder, we must have the ability to provide immediate value without a Diamond Storm proc. Against offense, we should at least have the ability to take 2-3 hits against staples like Astro, the Books, Garchomp, and Lele, and Lando, while threatening at least major chip damage when they switch in. Against defense however, we need to come up with some way to be able to provide at least an adequate level of value, either through status dodging/immunity, hazard removal, recovery, or not being afraid of Knock Off.

If we want to be a viable Ground type in a metagame so dominated by strong Ground types, we have to provide at least something, however small, against any archetype of team we come up against, or we WILL be outclassed by Landorus every time.
 

SHSP

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Discussion's picked back up a bit, so thanks to everyone for that. One quick takeaway here before we move into the next, and last, step of threats:

Progress Matters: A lot of what my earlier post was about was covering what can threaten us out directly- status, stronger offensive mons, opposing boosting. What others have brought up to kind of complete this picture is things that we can't handle offensively- the Buzzwoles, Lando-Ts and Corviknights of the meta that we are going to struggle to break through and will force us out by being a total roadblock. Being able to make progress into some of these popular mons is going to matter a lot as we go forward.

With this in mind, let's spend 24-48 Hours discussing Checks and Counters. Specifically:

What would be a healthy Check or Counter to CAP 31? To be balanced, what should we avoid being too strong or too good into?
 
I don't think it'd be a stretch to say that Lando-T should have the capability to check us, at least when healthy. Not only is it extremely common, but its typing and Intimidate put us in a noticeably disadvantageous position, and it has options to cripple us via Knock Off and Toxic.

This match-up will obviously be dependent on gamestate since Lando tends to get worn down, but it would impose an immediate limitation to our effectiveness and prevent us from getting away with too much too quickly, requiring more long-term strategy to maneuver around it (something Diamond Storm could potentially help with).

I need to mull over counters more, right now I'm seeing Corviknight (and by proxy Skarmory) as a likely candidate.
 

Zetalz

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C&C is something I've been stewing on for a bit now, it's a rather awkward stage for this CAP in particular. There are a fair few natural checks and counters to 31 that you simply cannot afford to have a terrible (or at least net-negative) match-up into if you don't want to be dropped for a different Ground that has some value to compensate. Trick is discussing ways to differentiate 31 at this stage would be heavy poll-jumping so it's a sort of strange impasse.

I'm of the opinion that we really shouldn't lock down very many (if any) hard checks our counters at this particular moment since so much is liable to change in the coming stages. Right now I feel like we'd be better served with a rough guideline of harder checks (or counters) that are most likely to remain solid counterplay going forward barring any hard shifts in direction. These are what we should strive to preserve but having some wiggle room to shift depending on the outcome of defining moves/stats. More looser would be a guideline of softer checks that we can pull from the pool of natural checks as we go as we build a clearer understanding of where 31's strengths are and where to put a cork on things.

Right now I'd only consider a small handful of harder checks to be pretty set in stone barring a big shake-up, those being the likes of :corviknight:, :skarmory:, :ferrothorn:, and likely :equilibra:. A lot strong natural matchups into 31 are very subject to being made shaky with the inclusion of things like recovery, anti-status, or potential coverage picks such that it's difficult to get a solid grasp on a definitive list of checks at the moment, so as I've said I think it may be to best to let our checks list more fluidly develop as we progress rather than anchoring too much down at this stage.
 
There are a fair few natural checks and counters to 31 that you simply cannot afford to have a terrible (or at least net-negative) match-up into if you don't want to be dropped for a different Ground that has some value to compensate. Trick is discussing ways to differentiate 31 at this stage would be heavy poll-jumping so it's a sort of strange impasse.

A lot strong natural matchups into 31 are very subject to being made shaky with the inclusion of things like recovery, anti-status, or potential coverage picks such that it's difficult to get a solid grasp on a definitive list of checks at the moment, so as I've said I think it may be to best to let our checks list more fluidly develop as we progress rather than anchoring too much down at this stage.
I agree. At this stage, developing a hard list of mons we're supposed to lose to is just very uncertain. We could say we want to be fully countered by Ferrothorn, but that limits our access to Knock Off resistance. We could say that we want to be checked by Landorus, but that limits our access to anti-status options. Yeah we can't do anything against Corviknight, but it can't do anything to us either. We really need a more solid idea of stats, coverage, and utility (secondary ability?) to have a strictly defined list of counters.

To be balanced, what should we avoid being too strong or too good into?
I think its a lot easier to determine what we need to be strong against. We should definitely avoid being a hard counter to all Flying types. We can't let just having Diamond Storm determine how we match up into an entire type, Skarm and Corv notwithstanding. The Zapdos matchup in particular feels like one that could go either way, and I think that's for the best. I think it's OK for us to be really good into the Books, and Tornadus, but we should be careful we don't get free switch ins against third type. I also think we shouldn't worry too much about our coverage. Looking into the damage calc with a Hippowdon as a stand-in for 31, we smack just about everything that isn't immune to EQ for some nasty 2-3HKOs. We really don't need a move for everything we want to check, because our main options are so strong already.
 

Korski

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I’m sorry to say it but I think if CAP is meant to be the team’s answer to really good Pokemon like Zeraora, Tornadus-T, Venomicons, Tapu Koko, Heatran, Rotom-W, Krilowatt, Zapdos, and things like that then we should avoid being too strong into defense and passive walls. I think we should do our best to preserve Buzzwole, Jumbao, and Equilibra as hard counters, and we should get stalemated / PP stalled vs. Corviknight and Skarmory. Ferrothorn and Landorus-T should be troublesome checks that CAP can only muscle through sometimes if it’s already at +2 Def or higher, and I think switching into Knock Off should make CAP frowny face at least a little bit, I mean come on, give it Sticky Hold then, or don’t switch into Knock Off. CAP should have a way to avoid status while in advantage state, but otherwise switching into Toxic and Will-o-Wisp should suck, too, don't do it. Slowbro, Arghonaut, and Hippowdon probably won’t mind switching into us and pivoting around, either, although their ability to do anything back will rely on the recovery / status questions. Other situational checks like Zapdos-Galar will naturally find their place through the remaining stages, so this list is probably just fine.
Thank you backslash447 for the respectful engagement, I suppose I ought to respond and clarify some of my arguments. I admit I am at a disadvantage in these debates because I only have what’s posted in the threads to go off of and only short, irregular blocks of irl time to follow along. I just like to pop in with some of my free time to give my two cents, so please just take my opinions with a grain of salt.

I really like CAP and have had it as a hobby for a long time, and I’ve seen the project develop over four generations now and for years have followed the parade of “law of averages”-type creations that tend to come out of these discussions, and that’s sort of why I tend to advocate for more unique approaches to these concepts. I remember back in the DPP days DougJustDoug famously said “CAP could never make Salamence,” i.e. create a Pokemon that is nutso broken in theory, but in practice is perfectly balanced on the head of a pin and a brilliant and diverse aspect of the metagame. I could update that quote a decade+ later to say maybe “CAP could never make Weavile/Kartana/Zeraora” in that they all in their own ways fail the theorymon test and are deeply out-of-the-ordinary, while in practice they are truly unique and healthy role-players in the metagame. I’ll always advocate trying, though, in the spirit of the Project, if only to further discussion and exploration of ideas.

CAP is risk-averse, I acknowledge that. It is the natural consequence of the democratic process, and I can absolutely understand where the desire to “take 2-3 hits against [some of the strongest neutral STABs on both ends of the spectrum] while threatening at least major chip damage [and] provid[ing]… status dodging/immunity, hazard removal, recovery, or not being afraid of Knock off… [and] provide at least something… against any archetype of team we come up against” comes from. There are a lot of threats to take into consideration! This exact wishlist has appeared in every project since the beginning of this forum, and it’s why so many CAPs have Rapid Spin and entry hazards and recovery and status resistance and 560+ base stat points. It’s also why the power creep since the shift to full-CAP meta is so severe. However, no current OU Pokemon actually does all those things in that list, and only the most borderline or overtly broken Pokemon have an answer for everything the metagame has to offer (I could argue that the CAPs that *have* accomplished a majority of these things have universally been forced through a nerfing process since their inception). The big idea of this specific stage and the Concept Assessment stage when we created them was to prioritize and parse through what is truly important for fulfilling the concept and to create a vision for how the CAP will function to that effect. The rest of the steps are designed to bring this vision to fruition and fit the CAP into the metagame.

My previous post was intended to lay out my personal vision based on what I’ve read so far in this and in the previous threads. I don’t want CAP 31 to try and replace Landorus-T (good lord please do not make something better than Landorus-T, or Landorus-T + Recover, I beg of you). My argument is we should make something with an entirely different role / playstyle with as little risk of overlap as possible, precisely to avoid that trap. I’m not suggesting CAP be totally frail, either; I said as much in my first post in this thread. I just think there are more pro-concept areas here to prioritize than tankiness, especially considering we’ve put so much effort so far into not taking any damage at all in common gameplay scenarios. Plus there are ways to achieve tankiness without raw defensive stats that could help set us (far) apart from the currently very effective Ground-type tanks, as opposed to simply copying their playstyles and adding 10 base Speed points and Recover or whatever.

I think the build I have in mind is well in-line with our typing and primary ability, and more importantly with our concept. A fast offensemon would get a chance to do something in every match by virtue of attacking first, boosting before taking damage, and/or getting two turns in a row out of most forced switches. It would not necessarily rely on the Diamond Storm boost because of this, although the boost could certainly provide a step further and a wincon with the right maneuvering. With only two required attacking moves, a fast Substitute would have plenty of space in the moveset, blocking weak Knock Offs, providing an answer to all status attempts (besides Lava Plume), and netting you even more turns in the process, especially if the Def boosts also help keep your Sub intact. You won’t need Sub against all teams, and you won’t need +2 Def against all teams. You set up what you need to win, and high Speed will almost always give you at least a chance. With a final moveslot for coverage (or even recovery, who knows? I am not in charge), this sort of Pokemon makes sense to me. Being weaker (but not useless) vs. fat teams (but not necessarily all fatmons) would be balancing, not ruining, especially as we are only really targeting opposing offense as far as I can tell. 6 Pokemon per team, and all that. Anyway, these are all stated goals and priorities from the discussions so far, and I think it would make for a focused and coherent end product. I argued for coming in “once or twice” because I think the CAP should have a stronger advantage state to poke holes and nab momentum in the mid- or end-game, as opposed to a stronger reactive state and a gradual, mildly threatening but mostly just frustrating buildup whenever and in any generic situation, which sounds kind of crazy strong if it can do that consistently. But again, all I have is my opinion and my own ability to advocate for it. Feel free to disagree!

I am interested counterarguments, though, and in competing visions. I am certainly interested in seeing the stats others have in mind here for the RecoverTank build, which seems like the leading contender right now, as there have been some pretty incredible demands placed on the CAP with a design like that. Also at this point is it fair to assume the secondary ability will be devoted to status immunity in a “which ability is it?” sort of plot? It’s tough to parse through the “anti-status” euphemisms without being on Discord, as there are only so many ways to do that. Surely this is no longer an offensive Pokemon, though, if we aren't making any decisions in the offensive direction. So far I am seeing that we want CAP to be sturdy enough to proc to +4 or +6 Def (but also not rely on any boosts to do its job), without being forced out and with naturally high SpD for longevity, while blocking status and not caring about its item and doing primarily chip damage while the opponent spends all these turns trying to come up with a way to break it down through its recovery move, so maybe I have the wrong idea. Maybe this CAP is a wall instead; idk to me this seems like an unfocused direction and leaves tons of space to break the CAP. Again, I can only base these assumptions off of what I read in the thread. If I am missing something, I can wait until the later stages to see what the big plan is.
 

quziel

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Yo, just here to say that if we get any recovery at all we are not countered by standard Buzzwole. Gotta be noted that Buzz's best way to hit us is a non-STAB 2x SE Ice Punch (CC hits harder but w/e), and with Diamond Storm we're likely to get out of 2HKO, maybe even 3HKO range from that really, really quick. I'd argue that placing and keeping Buzzwole on our counters list will overly limit our movepool options.

In terms of proper hard checks, Equilibra is a fairly obvious one for me, given that it can hit us with a very strong STAB, 4x resists Dstorm, is immune to EQ, and others. I would be wary about committing to too much else atm, as we don't really have our exact role nailed down. If we don't have a boost up yet, I'd also argue that Kartana would be a pretty solid check, as would Ferrothorn. Corviknight (and by extension Skarm) are two mons that I think are heavily dependent upon movepool options.
 
I really like CAP and have had it as a hobby for a long time, and I’ve seen the project develop over four generations now and for years have followed the parade of “law of averages”-type creations that tend to come out of these discussions, and that’s sort of why I tend to advocate for more unique approaches to these concepts.
In the grand scheme of things you might be right that CAP used to like the “bulky offense type with good utility “ - Tommanical, but imo we’ve definitely seen a paradigm change this gen, where all mons except base book have elements in their design, that are more risky than not. Astro is a defensive Mon that is fairly frail (without Regen) and an offensive Mon that doesn’t really punch that hard, Miasmaw has one of the most inefficient stat spreads I know of and a really awkward typing for an offensive Mon, Mera uses and entirely limiting ability and still can perform well and ebook is a frailish rocks weak breaker and still is wildly successful.
I can absolutely understand where the desire to “take 2-3 hits against [some of the strongest neutral STABs on both ends of the spectrum] while threatening at least major chip damage [and] provid[ing]… status dodging/immunity, hazard removal, recovery, or not being afraid of Knock off… [and] provide at least something… against any archetype of team we come up against” comes from. There are a lot of threats to take into consideration! This exact wishlist has appeared in every project since the beginning of this forum, and it’s why so many CAPs have Rapid Spin and entry hazards and recovery and status resistance and 560+ base stat points.
I feel like you misinterpret the opinions of different users about what the CAP should beat, as a consensus, that it has to beat all of the things meantioned in the thread in one build.
Maybe some users actually think that, but I’m pretty sure that most of us know, that this will be a pick and choose Project.
Since the typing was chosen we know that checking flyings is a stretch goal and that competing with other grounds is rough, when we want to be an offensive Mon (thanks to the moves we want to use) and also provide similar defensive utility, some say that recovery is the key, but at the same time it restricts how much utility we have on a team, some say we need to be resilient to status, when they know that our options to that rn are like taunt, sub and cleric/recovery moves, which will limit our moveslots similarly.

Slaps roof of CAP 31. This bad boy can only fit so much. And I think most of us know that.

I think we should wait how the following stages run before we can say: “Ah yes!, this is again the CAP special!”

I do agree with you, that limiting ourselves to a tanky build with recovery rn is restrictive BUT so is limiting ourselves to a frailer offensive build.
I feel like CAP 31 is one of the recent CAPs that’s still most open to interpretation at this stage of the process and all of us probably have differing opinions on how to move forward, but we also have tons of discussion and decisions ahead still to narrow these things down.
 

SHSP

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Alright, I think discussion has ran its course, and we're about ready to wrap up threats. The big takeaway from this C&C discussion has been that we're generally quite open: a lot of our matchups are wholly dependent on our stat spread and movepool, and trying to iron out a specific pool of checks and counters is a bit of a fool's endeavor. I quite like Zetalz's post detailing harder vs softer checks, and the way that we match up into them: the list of Libra, Ferro, Corvi and Skarm as a jumping off point makes a great deal of sense in the harder category, as they are quite difficult for us to get around with what we have available. Playing the looser, less nailed down checks and counters list a bit more by ear makes a lot more sense then trying to tie us to any specific list now and forcing the rest of the process to bend to that when it really doesn't need to.

With that being said, it's time for some Defining Moves! Excited to hand it over to Rabia and let him take the reigns of what I'm sure is going to be an incredibly interesting and fun stage.


Edit: Gonna make a list of each category so we have what we discussed visualized. There's not going to be a lot here, because we're still very open ended, but this is a nice way to have a glimpse of what we're dealing with.

Switch Ins: :zeraora: :tapu-koko: :toxapex: :magnezone:

Pressures: :landorus-therian: :zapdos: :tornadus-therian: :tapu-lele:

C&C: :equilibra: :skarmory: :corviknight: :ferrothorn:
 
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