CAP 31 - Part 9 - Secondary Ability Discussion

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Quanyails

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Please pay very close attention to Darek's posts during this thread and remain on topic. DO NOT begin by posting massive lists of abilities!

Some general rules for this discussion:
  • Custom abilities are banned. No exceptions. Posts suggesting custom abilities will be deleted.
  • There are ability banlists for the different stages of ability discussion. Posts suggesting banned abilities will be deleted.
  • Flavor abilities do not have any place in this thread. Do not bring up flavor reasoning. Posts that rely on flavor reasoning will be deleted.
The following abilities are banned from this discussion:

Arena Trap
As One
Aura Break
Bad Dreams
Battle Bond
Chilling Neigh
Dark Aura
Dauntless Shield
Delta Stream
Desolate Land
Disguise
Dragon's Maw
Fairy Aura
Flower Gift
Forecast
Full Metal Body
Grim Neigh
Gulp Missile
Hunger Switch
Ice Face
Illusion
Imposter
Intrepid Sword
Moody
Multitype
Neuroforce
Power Construct
Primordial Sea
Prism Armor
RKS System
Schooling
Shadow Shield
Shadow Tag
Shields Down
Soul Heart
Stance Change
Teravolt
Transistor
Turboblaze
Unseen Fist
Victory Star
Wonder Guard
Zen Mode


These abilities are banned by default and should not be discussed barring exceptional cases. If you believe one of these abilities should be considered, you can make a post trying to explain why an exception is warranted in this specific case and if both the TL and Ability Leader agree, it will be allowed. If the TLT disagrees with the unbanning proposal, they should be considered fully banned and should not be further discussed.

Bulletproof
Color Change*
Defeatist
Dry Skin
Flash Fire
Fur Coat
Gorilla Tactics
Huge Power
Ice Scales
Libero*
Levitate
Lightning Rod
Magic Guard
Mimicry*
Motor Drive
Parental Bond
Protean*
Pure Power
Regenerator
Sap Sipper
Slow Start
Stall
Storm Drain
Truant
Volt Absorb
Water Absorb
Water Bubble

*These abilities can only be considered for an unban if the Ability stage is done before typing.


Beast Boost
Comatose
Drizzle
Drought
Electric Surge
Fluffy
Grassy Surge
Innards Out
Magic Bounce
Misty Surge
Prankster
Psychic Surge
Sand Spit
Sand Stream
Snow Warning
Speed Boost
Stamina
Steam Engine
Triage
 
Hey everyone, now that we have Zetalz’s stat spread of 70/120/105/65/130/90, it’s now time to delve into CAP31’s Secondary Ability:

  1. Revisiting CAP31’s Primary Ability Discussion, which abilities still hold relevance to Diamond Storm given our stats and movepool? Are there any that don’t threaten to overshadow Water Absorb?
  2. With Water Absorb, what matchups does CAP31 struggle into? What abilities would help improve these matchups?

Important note: No Competitive Ability will be guaranteed to be slated. As such please keep the discussion focused on what potential secondary abilities CAP31 could have, not on whether or not CAP31 should have a secondary ability.
 

quziel

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For both "Intimidate Blocking Abilities" are highly relevant. Own Tempo is my personal favorite, but Inner Focus is also relevant here. They were both mentioned in the original discussion, they both have a smaller, but still relevant niche over Water Absorb, by specifically targeting the Landorus-Therian matchup, and are unlikely to overshadow Water Absorb by virtue of not providing an immunity to a typing that would otherwise be a weakness.

Lando-T is absolutely a mon we must be prepared to face, and Own Tempo does an excellent job of reducing the impact of its Diamond Storm Power Reducer aka Intimidate. This means we suddenly do 46% to Specially Defensive Landorus-T, instead of doing 32% (assuming max attack Adamant), buffing specifically this matchup into what is definitely the most common Ground-immunity. I prefer Own Tempo from the list of Intim blockers purely because preventing Confusion is a great quality of life change, and its a slightly lower power-level to Mirror Armor, which reduces concerns of overshadowing Water Absorb.
 
In terms of abilities that synergize with Diamond Storm that were brought up previously and don't really threaten to overshadow Diamond Storm, I think Moxie seems to be the most appealing. I think that the snowballing potential is still valuable enough that it would be useful on us, and the lack of any defensive utility whatsoever makes me think that there wouldn't be any issues with Water Absorb potentially getting overshadowed.

Flash Fire was an ability that saw a bit of discussion as well, and was on the previous slate, and while I still think that the idea of an ability that let's us deal with Fire-Types better would be helpful, I'm not on board with giving CAP31 access to two different immunity abilities, as we learned with Equilibra last gen that this can cause problems. As such, I think Heatproof or Thick Fat would prove to be valuable alternatives for us to pursue this route. Of the two of these, I personally would prefer if we went with Heatproof, as I don't like how Thick Fat messes with the Weavile match-up and diminishes the importance of Diamond Storm in that interaction. I don't see either of these abilities overshadowing Water Absorb, since the impact of a full-on immunity to both Scald (An annoyance for any Ground-Type) and Surging Strikes (Which just ignores Diamond Storm boosts) cannot be understated, but being the only Ground-Type in the tier to actually be able to switch-in on Balloon Tran and pop the balloon without dying is an incredibly valuable niche.
 
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Zetalz

Expect nothing, deliver less
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Revisiting CAP31’s Primary Ability Discussion, which abilities still hold relevance to Diamond Storm given our stats and movepool? Are there any that don’t threaten to overshadow Water Absorb?
Looking back on the slate from Primary most of the other abilities definitely have high likelihood of pushing out Water Absorb and/or causing dumb guessing games over which ability it will be. All of Poison Heal/Speed Boost/Flash Fire/Defiant are likely too high power level for a Secondary at this stage.

The three notable exceptions from Primary Slate, Moxie, Unaware & Mirror Armor do stand out as convincing secondaries. Moxie is a cool option that can lean further into offensive 31 builds. Unaware is excellent both offensively and defensively, having very cool interactions with Diamond Storm's defense boosts. Mirror Armor insulates 31 further vs one of it's weaker match-ups in Lando-T and has other niche applications vs things like Astrolotl. However, aside from Mirror Armor, I do feel like these abilities may be slightly too-high of a power level for what we are going for. Moxie & Unaware do call into question what we can reasonably give 31 with regards to boosting and longevity (neither are guaranteed at this point but still), and can reasonably push out Water Absorb which is not super desirable imo. Still, they are at least doable which is more than can be said for the rest of primary.

With Water Absorb, what matchups does CAP31 struggle into? What abilities would help improve these matchups?
quz answered this pretty well, targeting specific important match-ups is an ideal direction for a secondary so I won't re-hash what he said. Own Tempo is also very funny and pog.


As far as other abilities I haven't really put a lot of though into em before now tbh so Ima just ramble for a bit.

Filter/Solid Rock are neat generalist abilities, kinda insulates you more into the likes of Weavile/Kartana, but you can definitely argue that that role should be being fulfilled by Diamond Storm boosts anyway.

Mold Breaker is very niche, basically just lets you fuck with the rare TR teams and giga-murder Arghonaut without having to resort to Power Whip.

Thick Fat/Heatproof are viable lower power alternative to Flash Fire, think of the two I prefer Heatproof simply for it bolstering the match-up into Heatran exactly, similar to Solid Rock/Filter I think leaving the Weavile matchup to Dstorm boosts is a good idea.

Analytic is pretty cool way of capitalizing on forced switches and leans into an offensive profile. It's been demonstrated that it works on mildly fast mons, though 31 doesn't exactly have the greatest combo of coverage for forcing switches like Volk.

Immunity is pretty nifty, a Toxic immunity can go a long way to helping out vs long grind games, also effectively trading your Scald Burn immunity for a Toxic one ensures it can't ever fully push out Water Absorb (Natural Cure works in much the same vein as an anti-status ability but I like Immunity more for being simpler).
 
Unaware was a strong contender in the primary ability discussion, making it to the second poll, and for good reason. It is very pro-concept, and it improves our matchup against Prologue, further encouraging us to use our concept move. We have enough bulk to make effective against certain offensive setup sweepers like Bulk Up Zeraora, and we naturally outspeed Dragonite. I do not believe it would completely overshadow Water Absorb either, as opting to run Unaware makes us a worse Toxapex switch-in and worsens our matchup against Water types in general.

I do not support Thick Fat or Flash Fire. Regarding Flash Fire, like Da Pizza Man mentioned, two immunity abilities on one Pokemon is a bad idea, as Equilibra proved. Thick Fat is also a very hard no from me. Even if it isn't an immunity ability, having two abilities that each remove a different type weakness does not sound any better to me, and I fear it would make it fairly obnoxious to deal with in the builder. It also detracts from using our Diamond Storm boosts against Weavile. Heatproof I think is fine though, it only really affects our matchups against Heatran, Astrolotl, and Pyroak without Giga Drain, and doesn't alter any of our checks.
 
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Targeted abilities are the best ones here. Water Absorb is all-around good (there is very often a Water-type move in a team). But an ability less useful overall but that lets us overcome one specific weakness is good.

Revisiting CAP31’s Primary Ability Discussion, which abilities still hold relevance to Diamond Storm given our stats and movepool? Are there any that don’t threaten to overshadow Water Absorb?

The two big groups are abilities that cover our lack of immunity to status (except Scald, I guess) and our shaky match-up against Landorus-T. Less relevant but notable, any ability that cover how we might often be knocked off (hi Zeraora) to make it less bad can be useful too. Overall, an "no-risk, low reward" ability seems the best if we don't want it to overcome Water Absorb. After all, we have a versatile spread and a situationally very strong ability may overshadow Water Absorb.

In my mind, that covers abilities such as Immunity (Toxic immunity is pretty cool, also makes us stronger against the odd Poison Jab), Mirror Armor (lets us be more proactive against Landorus-T, our strong Special Defense can lets us tank Dragapult reliably) and Sticky Hold. All of these abilities received some discussions during the Primary ability phase but were deemed a bit on the weaker side. I think there are fine now, definitely less useful than Water Absorb but they are pretty coold if you need to focus CAP on one specific task.
 
Revisiting CAP31’s Primary Ability Discussion, which abilities still hold relevance to Diamond Storm given our stats and movepool? Are there any that don’t threaten to overshadow Water Absorb?
Unaware is still very strong on our build, though I am worried it might be a bit too much for us at this stage. Zeta's spread had a lot of tools in mind, and I'm not sure how I or others may feel about Unaware getting stuff like SD or 50% Recovery, and if they don't get included because of Unaware, then the spread may not really work with Water Absorb either.

With Water Absorb, what matchups does CAP31 struggle into? What abilities would help improve these matchups?
I'm definitely feeling the whole "no-risk, low reward" sentiment Full_Korbe mentioned. Weaker options that provide a cool effect for specific situations but are generally worse than Water Absorb and lose a lot of their value once revealed. So for the case of Inner Focus, we can block an Intimidate from Lando and hit it harder than it expected, which can provide valuable chip or even a KO, but from that point on the opponent is now aware they can use their Water-type moves against us, and that leads to a whole host of issues (Urshifu now destroys us, Scarf Fini is a problem, God help you if you load into some Lando Rain build and no longer can force Barraskewda's hand). It improves one singular matchup that's otherwise annoying for us, but at the cost of making us a lot easier to threaten once revealed.

Own Tempo is a very good option as it also blocks Intimidate, but comes with the secondary benefit of letting us pressure the big three Specially-offensive Flying-types in Tornadus-T, Zapdos, and Venomicon, thanks to preventing confusion from throwing in a ton of risk into making any move. Honestly being immune to confusion would make bulky 31 one of the better short-term switches into these Pokemon solely because RNG can't get in the way, something even resists aren't able to boast about. This is a pretty powerful combo as a result, especially when you factor that the opponent has to play around Water Absorb unless Own Tempo fully reveals itself. Such strength as an option does open the door for Inner Focus, whose secondary effect is far less compelling, and thus would be a safer choice to ensure that Water Absorb is our go-to general purpose Ability.

Mirror Armor has a lot of applications in that we are even better into Intimidate, and don't have to worry about moves like Shadow Ball or Fire Lash lowering our stats. It's also stronger than Inner Focus in terms of "yeah we just want to be better versus Lando" but it's definitely a real option, and it would give the opponent plenty of chances to notice that we're not Water Absorb when Fini uses Moonblast and suddenly gets its Special Attack dropped.

Heatproof is something I've been waiting to talk about because it is very relevant to our position as a Ground-type with solid all-around stats.

252 SpA Heatran Eruption (150 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Heatproof CAP31: 99-117 (35.2 - 41.6%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Stealth Rock

This is why. Grounds are not always the go-to answer to Fire-types, but they're good at forcing them out and bringing in the few Pokemon willing to take on powerful Ground STAB. Having a Ground that actually switches into Fire-types and is able to seriously threaten them all is greatly appreciated. I will mention that this does reduce Burn damage we take, which doesn't solve the issue of Burn halving our Attack, but it does mean that Wisp Astro/Plume Heatran is further worse into us given that we can maintain a portion of Leftovers recovery. In all this is a very strong ability that does a lot for some key MUs, unfortunately is too might be a bit overboard seeing as Heatproof is unlikely to reveal itself until we've already taken a hit from a Fire move, and prior to that the opponent will likely have to play with both in mind.

And yes, Heatproof > Flash Fire/Thick Fat. The former lets us pick and choose our immunities which is rarely fun to fight, and the latter making us neutral to Ice is overstepping our boundries a fair bit. Heatproof over Flash Fire is ideal here because it only reduces damage, instead of nullifying it, and that's something you can reasonably calc and weigh into during a match (for example, using a strong Fire move onto a severely weakened 31 is not punished by Heatproof if you know it will KO anyhow, but it would be a risk with Flash Fire, and those kind of 50/50 situations are not what we want from a Secondary).

Immunity is a good tool because Toxic is everywhere and not getting crippled by it is really big. Being immune to both poisoned status conditions but in turn being hit by Water moves and Scald Burns makes this a very targeted pick, especially when a lot of Toxic users have other options they can hit us with if they want to play it safe. This would also help us a tad against Glowking, as we don't have to fear getting poisoned by Sludge Bomb and it's probably not going to risk a Scald if it expects us to come in.

Also would like to bring up Dry Skin since I do think it's worth making a decision about. Overall Dry Skin is a gimmicky, generally worse Water Absorb due to making us take more damage from Fire-type moves, but it would make 31 even more of a nightmare for Rain teams, while also being an even better partner for them. It's not really the biggest upside given that Water Absorb already does the job (Ground type not threatened at all by rain-boosted Water moves is massive for/against Rain), but getting extra recovery while Rain is active, which also shores up the increased Fire damage, is just the silliest thing imaginable. I don't know if you can even say this "overshadows" Water Absorb as they basically do the same thing, just that Dry Skin is a bit weirder, but it is a bit of an odd choice for our Secondary to just be a dumber version of the Primary, and if we want our Primary to stay distinct I could honestly see us wanting to blacklist this one so we can explore different routes (which is the main reason I feel it's worth bringing up).
 

Wulfanator

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Unaware is still very strong on our build, though I am worried it might be a bit too much for us at this stage. Zeta's spread had a lot of tools in mind, and I'm not sure how I or others may feel about Unaware getting stuff like SD or 50% Recovery, and if they don't get included because of Unaware, then the spread may not really work with Water Absorb either.
We have seen pokemon with Unaware+Recovery before. Clefable and Quagsire come to mind. Even Arghonaut is a part of this group. Trading the water immunity is a rather big loss and opens the door to more counterplay, so I think that alone will keep it in check.

Given the general lack of defensive boosting, I highly doubt Unaware would remove SD from consideration. SD would be just as threatening without the ability. Perhaps something to be mindful of, but certainly a low concern to have.

I believe Unaware is an option we could consider with minimal issue. It would be a more compelling secondary ability to use compared to some of the other options listed, and I am a fan of having multiple abilities that are not just niche at best.
 
Revisiting CAP31’s Primary Ability Discussion, which abilities still hold relevance to Diamond Storm given our stats and movepool? Are there any that don’t threaten to overshadow Water Absorb?
It is probably the boring answer, but I feel that it should have its obligatory mention in the thread. Serene Grace fits this definition as an ability that makes Diamond Storm a consistent defensive boost without threatening to overshadow Water Absorb. To argue against it however, the rest of our movepool so far contains... No moves that benefit from Serene Grace. Unless we were to get polljumpy with coverage options or other attacks that have a chance of triggering, this ability would really be just "Diamond Storm always triggers." It feels as though it is an option that fits along the lines of "No Competitive Ability" to me at this point, but otherwise isn't worth much discussion beyond that. However, I felt it was worth its obligatory mention in the thread.

For another line of abilities I am not a fan of, having a second immunity option feels like it will either never use it if it is one that is too minor (Own Tempo) or it will create a new problem like we had with Equilibra where we had to guess between two powerful immunities (Thick Fat).

To go off from that, I would much prefer looking at a more offensive role for the secondary ability. Something along the lines of Moxie from the first slate does fill that niche. Another one that might be too strong, but I would like to hear another opinion on, is Guts. It some discussion early on in Primary Ability Discussion, but it sort of petered off and never really felt like it was harshly shut down. It is higher on the power scaling levels, but it is something that we can make use of with our stats, typing, and movepool thusfar.
 

Brambane

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Water Absorb is an extremely hard ability to pass up. Sacrificing hard answering Toxapex, being excellent into Volcanion, and severely limiting Urshifu is a massive opportunity cost. I don't think abilities that block Intimidate or Toxic are even going to hold a candle to the utility that a Water-immune Ground-type. I firmly believe if we opt for a truly competitive secondary ability for CAP31, it should push it into a different niche role, as oppose to try to cover other weaknesses. Our stat spread affords this flexibility, and allows use to pursue a parallel avenue for exploring Diamond Storm. I think Water Absorb will always be competitive unless we push for an extremely powerful offensive ability, which doesn't seem like our direction anyways.

The only ability mentioned so far that I think really does the above is Unaware. This is an excellent suggestion. It has both interesting offensive applications and reliable defensive applications. Unaware has niche uses that completely unable to be replicated and cover a wide range of threats, which is exactly what I am looking for here. One of the things I really like about it here is QuakeStorm and stats make CAP31 really effective at stopping some of the snowbally sweepers in the metagame. Our SpDef is massive for Beast Boosted Blecephalon, Zeraora is obviously going to struggle, DD Nite can't handle Diamond Storm boosting, you get the idea. You can have a Pokemon that utilizes Unaware very effectively without needing to invest in its defenses to do so. But the spread affords that option as well! You CAN make CAP31 an Unaware wall, and one that is neutral to Flying unlike Arghonaut. That is such an injection of life into the blood of more defensive teams in the format that I am really excited about. I absolutely love this idea.
 
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Newcomer here, I might be quite wrong.

I think we should consider that at least to some degree, the threat of Water Absorb is stronger than its execution. Running an ability other than Water Absorb does remove your ability to switch in on Water moves, but it still will make almost every Water attacker hesitate to attack, for fear of granting 31 a free turn. Even if our secondary ability isn’t stronger than Absorb on paper, if it nears the power of Water Absorb I fear it will overshadow Absorb, due to Absorb’s lingering possibility. Our abilities shouldn’t be so niche that Water Absorb is always better, but we need to be careful.

Unaware seems like the right power level for this. A good secondary ability with lots of utility, Unaware lets us win a few interesting matchups. I’m not experienced enough with calcs to definitively say this, but it looks like it could improve our matchup into Venomicon-P, Garchomp (without Aqua Tail), Zeraora, and maybe Stratagem or something if we have Grass coverage.

Mirror Armor would be my second choice. Out of the Intimidate blockers, this seems just strong enough. Defiant is too much in my opinion, enabling a snowball if you predict and get the boost, while Own Tempo seems a bit too weak. In particular, I like how this improves the Lando matchup:

-1 252 Atk Landorus-Therian Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Escavalier: 114-135 (33.1 - 39.2%) -- 99.9% chance to 3HKO
(EVs may be wildly unrealistic)

Immunity seems like a great option, insulating us against the number one threat to a mon that wants to stay in. Like Water Absorb, the possibility alone might dissuade walls from trying. But here’s a weird one: what about Toxic Boost? Perhaps slightly weaker than Immunity, but it seems fun. Now if a wall clicks Toxic against you, you still die in five turns, but you get a chance to rampage a bit before that. Guts does the same thing, but that seems rather distracting and pushes us into Flame Orb sets. Edit: thought about it a bit more and I don't think Toxic Boost is a good idea. It's pretty weak for purposes of dissuading Toxic, and it also distracts us with Toxic Orb sets like Guts lite.

Finally, I’m intrigued by Justified and Sticky Hold. With Justified, we still don’t want to switch in on a STAB Knock Off, but it dissuades opponents from clicking it against us, especially if they don't have STAB. With Sticky Hold, we can now switch in on it, but lose the potential punish against something like Toxapex who we can threaten with our boost. (for Toxapex in particular, this reveals our ability, but we can threaten a KO)

+1 252+ Atk Donphan Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Toxapex: 270-320 (88.8 - 105.2%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Stealth Rock
 
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Voltage

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Admittedly I came into writing this post being staunchly opposed to Unaware due to the fact that 31's natural immunity, plus insanely good bulk plus recovery was enough to make it a serious defensive problem in the metagame should it be running Unaware. However, I have also reread a couple of the posts in support of Unaware, and they make really good points, including pointing out that this would create a rise in defensively oriented teams in the metagame, an archetype that CAP has been solely missing for a while (Brambane makes a great point). That said, I still can't shake the wariness of 70/105/130 + an immunity + Unaware. If we consider the three other relevant Unaware users like Clefable, Quagsire, and Arghonaut, none of these Pokemon come close to having all of the defensive boons CAP31 would have.

Clefable: Immunity (to Dragon) + Reliable Recovery + 95 / 73 / 90 bulk
Quagsire: Immunity (to Electric) + Reliable Recovery + only one true Super Effective weakness + 95 / 85 /65 bulk
Arghonaut: No Immunity, but access to Spikes and Knock off + Reliable Recovery + 105 / 95 / 100 bulk
CAP31: Immunity (to Electric) + Reliable Recovery + 70 / 105 / 130 bulk + means of boosting its defenses

I genuinely think that the trade off for an immunity to Water for Unaware as a defensive means is not equivalent right now as, despite a lower HP, CAP31 can easily become a defensive menace with Unaware if we're not careful. Maybe I'm just being a little gun-shy here, and maybe it would be ok if we went strictly defensive on CAP31, but giving CAP31 Unaware plus that much bulk, plus a natural immunity in the Ground type, plus taunt, plus recovery, plus some kind of boosting of its own, plus hazard removal, plus the ability to boost its own defenses makes me EXTREMELY wary of Unaware.

I'm happy to change my opinion on Unaware if there's a post that can convince me that these worries are unfounded and that the metagame would not be supremely negatively impacted as a result of Unaware on CAP31, but right now I really don't like it here.

As an alternative I like a few ideas that have already been presented in the thread. I think Dry Skin is actively a worse version of our initial ability, providing only a slightly better niche against Rain teams, and I would be very much for it as our secondary ability. I also really like the idea of abilities that negative the Intimidate drop such as Inner Focus and Own Tempo with the latter having the extra bonus of allowing CAP31 to confidently switch into Tornadus-T's Hurricane without fear of confusion. Mirror Armor also feels cool to use as it would allow us to directly check Landorus-T when it wants to switch in, as well as providing additional defensive utility against Astrolotl, for example.

These are just some of my thoughts right now, I plan to be pretty attentive on this thread since the second ability on this mon is going to be crucial.
 
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ausma

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Truthfully, a lot of the abilities we originally explored are pretty good here considering a lot of them packed super simple yet neat effects that improved some subtleties in off matchups. I think the primary abilities that would overshadow Water Absorb would be versatile ones that have a wealth of consistently positive effects for CAP 31, or mirror Water Absorb in how they instantly define positive matchups. Abilities like Poison Heal and other practical immunity abilities such as Flash Fire and Sap Sipper come to mind here respectively as abilities we ought to avoid in this discussion.

As I said on Discord, I think subtle abilities that provide helpful attributes into different matchups than Water Absorb but wouldn't redefine them are ones that would really work the best as secondaries in the context of CAP 31. With Zetalz's spread doing well in emphasizing bulk, I think it's reasonable to want to improve some subtle interactions that CAP 31 could otherwise be annoyed by, but wouldn't directly compete with Water Absorb as a defining ability. In other words, I think it's important to consider abilities that only improve matchups as opposed to outright redefining them, since that's Water Absorb's primary strength and one we should do our best to respect with the potential options.

I think making CAP 31's matchup into Landorus-T more convenient has very practical and consistent applications, especially with how relied-upon Landorus-T is as an Electric-type deterrent; with Swords Dance and a bulky spread in the equation, giving CAP 31 Intimidate-proof abilities is a subtle yet very solid way of doing so. Own Tempo is a big favorite of the options. In addition to being immune to Intimidate and letting Diamond Storm sting Landorus-T harder, it also comes with the bonus of letting CAP 31 play into Hurricane users much more reliably with its built-in confusion immunity. Since Zetalz's spread heavily emphasizes Special bulk alongside CAP 31 already packing a fundamentally good matchup into birds with Diamond Storm, we're going to be, on average, taking more Hurricanes compared to other Tornadus-T and Zapdos checks, meaning that confusion is a much more stringent inevitability by comparison. Being immune to both confusion and Intimidate are both pretty subtle effects that are a bit less useful on average compared to Water Absorb, but it is still practical enough to be worth considering on teams that appreciate the added Landorus-T pressure and a more reliable matchup into dangerous Specially-oriented Flying-type Pokemon given their consistency and notoriety in the metagame.

Mirror Armor is my other favorite option regarding an anti-Intimidate approach. Flipping the script on Landorus-T is, again, immensely practical as it plays to the aforementioned pressure on Landorus-T; however Zetalz's spread also considers Sword Dance, making the inversion of power not just defensively helpful, but actually threatening on offensive variants of CAP 31 since it gives CAP 31 setup opportunities into the most ubiquitous Pokemon in the metagame. I think it is worth considering though that it doesn't come with any extra defining caveats aside from giving it a de facto Dragapult Shadow Ball drop immunity and an easier time coming into Astrolotl, which is relevant enough to note given our spread's bulk, but not really a game changer considering both of these Pokemon have other noteworthy options to punish aggressive use of CAP 31. That being said, I think turning Landorus-T into more consistent setup fodder alongside doing more damage to it on average still makes this an incredibly compelling option by itself.

Heatproof is a pretty good idea and probably my ability of choice regarding an ability that exclusively improves CAP 31's matchup spread. As others have mentioned, being able to pivot more reliably into offensive Heatran (and Heatran in general really) is really useful, but not packing a Will-O-Wisp immunity keeps it vulnerable to Astrolotl and being potentially overwhelmed by Heatran. This also means that although it provides a good alternative option for teams especially weak to Heatran, it isn't really redefining as we already considered Heatran a Pokemon we check. It just improves an already good matchup and makes it more consistent, which is pretty good and imo builds a very convincing case for slating Heatproof.

Unaware I have mixed feelings about. Without a doubt it most certainly is good enough to warrant usage, especially as being an Unaware Ground-type with recovery is pretty damn good for bulkier teams, demonstrated by Quagsire. Though, I think shnowshner made an excellent point in that its sheer strength as a defensive ability of its caliber in tandem with CAP 31's current kit may limit defining options that would really help make Water Absorb variants consistent in the first place, most notably Taunt and Swords Dance. That being said, I do believe Unaware has a compelling case to be in this discussion as its utility is consistent into offense, Unaware with Diamond Storm, Taunt, and Swords Dance to flip the script on offense is unironically really cool, and it also doesn't directly redefine matchups in the way Water Absorb does especially as running Unaware means regaining a key Water- weakness and its vulnerability to Scald and Surging Strikes. I think I'd be open to seeing it as the tradeoff into Water-types is very huge, especially as Unaware calls for a bulkier lean. Though, I'd want to talk about the nuances and potential ramifications a bit more considering Unaware's potential strength on a bulky Ground-type with longevity, Taunt, and Swords Dance. A lot of these concerns are massively theoretical and may be a non-issue in a vacuum, but I do think it's worth considering these caveats regardless as the potential in limiting good and potentially important options for the sake of having Unaware is worrisome in the context of Water Absorb as a primary.

Moxie I'm actually much more of a fan of than I originally was. I've mentioned a lot about how potentially weak and limited its offensive potential would wind up being until the late game, but Zetalz's spread and defining moves actually make it a lot more practical imo and I'd actually be quite down to see it. In particular, its potential strength into bulkier structures with great bulk, longevity, and access to boosting makes it very compelling, and it especially makes sacking Pokemon dangerous in tandem with Swords Dance if your main CAP 31 check is in 2HKO range. I also appreciate that although it provides CAP 31 with the potential to blank bulkier structures, it preserves CAP 31's fundamental checks in Equilibra and Corviknight while adding new ones in Slowbro which you otherwise would not have with Water Absorb, respecting Water Absorb as CAP 31's primary ability. I also think its presence diversifies CAP 31's boosting style. Particularly, Water Absorb lets it boost with Swords Dance more often and more consistently thus making it a more stable win condition, whereas Moxie instead allows it to boost autonomously when it may want to just boost and get right to attacking thus making it a stronger and more dangerous fixture on dedicated offense by comparison. Overall, Moxie is really neat in the context of Zetalz's spread/choice of defining moves and has a very solid dichotomy with Water Absorb, making it, imo, a stronger contender than it used to be.
 
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dex

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An important component of a secondary ability is that it does not outshine the primary ability. I think quite a few of the options mentioned in this thread already threaten to do just that, so I wanted to go through the ones that have seen discussion and give my thoughts on them.

Moxie: Moxie has a niche on offensive teams seeking to make the most of the momentum they generate. It's pretty similar to the Intimidate-Moxie interactions with Salamence and Gyarados, and while it isn't my favorite, it's totally fine here, especially if we stick to no Dragon Dance.

Unaware: Unaware really, really threatens to outdo Water Absorb. You need only look to Quagsire for an example of this very thing happening. Unaware is uniquely strong and changes the entire playstyle of CAP 31 away from what it has been designed for up to this point. Hard no.

Heatproof: To be honest, I don't think this would ever be run over Water Absorb despite the improved matchup into Heatran and Victini. It's fine because of that, but I doubt it is in any way useful.

Mirror Armor: Kind of a funny option, I think it's actually somewhat fitting as a means of getting around Dragapult, Scarf Blacephalon, Landorus-T, etc. No chance it outpaces Water Absorb, yet it has a distinct use case. This is my personal favorite.

Own Tempo: A toned down Mirror Armor with an improved Tornadus-T matchup. It's also quite nice here, though I doubt anyone but quziel would use it.

Dry Skin: I kinda like this one purely cause it'd be funny to have both water absorbing abilities on one mon, but it does perfectly fit the criteria of being worse than Water Absorb outside of one place: rain. Works very well here.

Justified: It's... Fine. Doesn't tread at all into Water Absorb's turf, but I doubt it would see much if any usage.

Sticky Hold: Never go Full Gastro. It works, probably has a couple defensive use cases and doesn't compete with Water Absorb too much. Pretty solid.

Immunity: I think there are some issues with this one, mainly that it completely blanks Landorus-T, which has a chance to really mess with Water Absorb. I don't think it'd be too good to be like that, but I think caution should be expressed here.

Guts: Guts can change a mon. This is a hard no. I don't even think CAP 31 would be that good of a Guts breaker, but I don't want to risk it.

Serene Grace: Considering it works with all one (1) of CAP 31's moves, this seems more like a ladder noob trap if anything. I don't think it adds anything meaningful.

Analytic: Stronk, kinda similar to Analytic Zone where it's suboptimal to use but can catch people off guard. I think it's fine but it is a stronger option.

Thick Fat: Better Heatproof is sorta mid to me, I think Water Absorb should be the focus for ignoring/reducing damage. It also runs some risk of overshadowing Water Absorb, so I'd rather stay away.

Filter: To be honest, I don't know what breaks fully specially defensive Filter +2 Def CAP 31. For this reason, probably best to skip on Filter, despite it being funny.

Mold Breaker: I can see the use case for this; it's probably not too common but I think it would be fine here.

Good to go:
Mold Breaker
Analytic
Sticky Hold
Dry Skin
Own Tempo
Mirror Armor
Moxie
Heatproof

Kinda mid and don't do anything really but wouldn't overshadow Water Absorb:
Serene Grace
Justified

Would potentially overshadow Water Absorb / be unhealthy:
Filter
Thick Fat
Guts
Immunity
Unaware

I think the biggest point here that I want to make is that, despite the allure of an offensive Unaware user, CAP 31 has been designed around Water Absorb and its offensive role. Unaware derails the train.
 

spoo

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I would like to disagree with a lot of the talk about overshadowing Water Absorb. Brambane put it really nicely in his post; Water Absorb is legitimately insane for an offensive Ground-type to have, and there are very few abilities that would see equal or more use than it. Also, maybe I'm alone on this train, but even if our secondary ability does pose legitimate competition to Water Absorb –– so what? If the secondary ability fits with our concept, does not break us balance-wise (this is the biggest risk IMO), and does not seriously complicate the remaining Movesets stage, we could end up with something that adds a lot of depth to our design and playstyle. Equilibra was actually a fantastic example of this, but people took issue with the guessing games that two immunity abilities can sometimes cause; thankfully, we can avoid this by simply not giving out a second immunity ability.

I feel like there has been a lot of talk about "overshadowing Water Aborb" without questioning why that is intrinsically a bad thing. So then, what are the material repercussions that a strong secondary ability would have, as long as the ability is not distracting or balance-breaking? I do not think strength is something we should shy away from in this stage –– again, as long as we have balance in mind. If we give out a secondary ability, don't we actually want it to be used? I am not convinced that something like Immunity, Sticky Hold, or Own Tempo would see significant play. They feel more akin to Compound Eyes on Miasmaw; cute abilities that offer fun upsides on paper, but are realistically too outclassed.

I would also like to push back against Flash Fire, Heatproof, and Thick Fat. One only needs to look to the Primary Ability discussion where these abilities recieved a lot of flack. I will quote my stance from that stage, which I still stand by:
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.

There has been a lot of talk about Unaware so far and I think it is a solid option. Again, I would like to stress that very few abilities could be better than Water Absorb at this point, and even so, that is not inherently a bad thing. The fear is largely blown out of proportion imo. Despite Unaware faring well into some stuff like Dragonite and SD Garchomp, it still would not let us beat most of the current best setup sweepers in Weavile, Tapu Fini, Kartana, and both Venom formes, even with max bulk. There has never been an offensive Unaware user in the history of the game (maybe CM Clef on stall but that's stretching) which makes it very interesting to explore, and the ability is something I do not think would break us and could give CAP31 additional depth with a strong secondary niche.

My current favorites are Moxie, Mirror Armor, Unaware, and maybe Filter/Analytic.
 

quziel

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Serene Grace is probably the single ability we can choose that has direct synergy with Diamond Storm. Turning a 50% chance into a 100% chance is legitimately a huge upgrade, and takes Dstorm from 4 expected boosts to 8. This is huge, and really impacts how we can play. Suddenly we can stay in on Buzzwole knowing that we'll get a +2 defense boost in its face and tank it, instead of hoping we do, suddenly we can click Dstorm against a low health mon knowing that we'll tank the Weavile that's sent in afterwards.

When it comes to Own Tempo vs Mirror Armor I'm legit 50/50. Being immune to Hurricane confusion on a mon with special bulk on our level is huge, and lets us come in on Torn/Zap with a ton more confidence. That said, Mirror Armor is very cute, and makes lando into us even sadder than it is.
 
I think Galvanize as a secondary ability to use CAP 31 to counter Corviknight or Venomicon if they believe it can switch into an EQ. This still keeps making bulky waters (Except Swampert) scared of showing their face in front of our creation while still making it vulnerable to grass pokemon as well as switching in and letting electric pokemon have a defensive option if the ability has been scouted.

Another idea would be Filter/Solid Rock to focus add to the idea that this Diamond Ground pokemon would be able to use the durability of Diamonds to support the tanky aspects of our ideas so far. This makes Diamond storm a credible move to consistently use on the set. Making Power whips from Ferrathron, Waterfalls from Naviathan, and Triple Axels from Weavile tickle after a boost. There is still an option of hitting from the special side, but it would be harder to scout without actually throwing a chance of doing nothing on a turn with a Scald or Hydro Pump.
 
Galvanize
I just want to chime in quickly that I think Galvanize is extremely anti-concept and shouldn't be on the table for discussion. We determined in Defining Moves that Electric and Ice coverage are both dangerous to our concept and would threaten replacing Diamond Storm. Galvanize just undermines that entirely by reintroducing the same problem with Facade, which will outperform Diamond Storm severely.
 
Serene Grace is probably the single ability we can choose that has direct synergy with Diamond Storm. Turning a 50% chance into a 100% chance is legitimately a huge upgrade, and takes Dstorm from 4 expected boosts to 8. This is huge, and really impacts how we can play. Suddenly we can stay in on Buzzwole knowing that we'll get a +2 defense boost in its face and tank it, instead of hoping we do, suddenly we can click Dstorm against a low health mon knowing that we'll tank the Weavile that's sent in afterwards.

When it comes to Own Tempo vs Mirror Armor I'm legit 50/50. Being immune to Hurricane confusion on a mon with special bulk on our level is huge, and lets us come in on Torn/Zap with a ton more confidence. That said, Mirror Armor is very cute, and makes lando into us even sadder than it is.
I'm going to second this. I'm a big fan of serene grace, I think it meshes really nicely with diamond storm, the combination of those two moves obviously being unique and very fun, lending a unique type of defensive power that can fit into different types of teams while not completely changing 31's role as a bulky offensive mon, leaning into defense if it needs to.

Initially I was a fan of intim immunity (own tempo/mirror armor), but I have since been serene-gracepilled. I think they're fine and useful enough, and mirror armor is an interesting and fun ability with lots of neat interactions (fire lash astro, for example), but I fear that water absorb is just more useful in every single team than a mon that realistically isn't countering lando anyway. Like, miasmaw gets compound eyes which is a very good ability, it just doesn't ever want to run it over neutral gas.

Another interesting ability that's being thrown around is moxie. I like the idea of throwing off a diamond storm, nabbing a KO alongside +1 attack and +2 defense, that's very fun. I worry about how oppressive it can be with swords dance (which is optional, but I do like it as an option), and also how prediction-heavy it might be. The difference between water absorb and moxie is very great and getting a moxie boost can quickly snowball into a victory under the right conditions, and they have to worry about water absorb on top of that. I agree with what's been said on this forum, that just having water absorb as an option is a type of power that we have to be aware of. At any rate, I think any of these options are good, and would be pleased with any of them.

On the other hand, I'm going to second the hard no to galvanize. If we wanted to give 31 electric coverage we would've given it electric coverage. I also think that unaware is a bit strong and will be too restrictive going forward. Flash Fire is a huge no, if moxie makes 31 into a guessing game then flash fire makes it into a coin flip. I just want to comment on one more thing.

some more abilities that I think would get no play and I'm also not very excited by are thick fat/heat proof (not impactful enough, water immunity will always be preferred) and analytic (has miasmaw syndrome, fun ability but doesn't carve enough of a niche).
 
Just feel like parroting what's said above but I've been SG-pilled as well. It's just so nice knowing with Serene Grace that if you can get in a SD or even 2, then you'll be able to kill something and know you'll get that defense boost as well. Making it the plan instead of just the perk.

Also, as an aside I'd really like SD on this as well as 50% recovery, and I'm concerned a couple other suggested abilities might take the power budget away to implement these two moves.

Other abilities I'm OK with and how I'd rank them from most to least preferred, at the moment:
Shed Skin
Mirror Armor
Own Tempo
Heatproof
Sticky Hold
Justified
Mold Breaker
Dry Skin
 
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I realize that this has been done to death, but I too have hopped on the Serene Grace train. It is an ability which is strong enough to warrant some usage, due to it guaranteeing Diamond Storm boosts, making CAP31 play more consistently overall. However, it is not so strong to where it risks to outclass Water Absorb, as it would only impact Diamond Storm in our moveset; more importantly, not using Water Absorb opens CAP31 to being burned by Scald or having its boosts broken through by Urshifu-R’s Surging Strikes. As others have mentioned, a Diamond Storm certainty does not deter us from allowing options such as Swords Dance and 50% recovery as heavily as other powerful abilities do. Moreover, Serene Grace with Diamond Storm does not inherently alter the way CAP31 plays. This means that opponents do not have to play a 50/50 as to guessing which set CAP31 will have, which reduces the amount of pressure CAP31 would put in the teambuilder. I find Serene Grace to be my favorite ability option right now.

In regards to Unaware, I personally like it, as it gives CAP31 a way around the likes of Book, Nasty Plot Torn, and Blace, which compliments CAP31’s good special bulk. Moreover, it strengthens our matchup against BU Zeraora, which is a serious boon for a Ground-type. That said, I do understand the criticisms of it being too strong an ability for secondary at this point, given how there are many strong options being considered in defining moves for CAP31; removing these moves from Water Absorb sets would not be ideal, and while I personally feel we do not need all of Taunt + SD + Recover (just because you will need EQ and DStorm), I completely understand that we should not be restricting Water Absorb’s sets based on what Unaware is balanced with. Unaware was my top pick last time, but I’m much more mixed on it as a secondary. If we as a community can live with the defining moves being called into question during moves, I am still completely on board with it, but the community seems to be leaning against that at this point.

While I personally have mellowed on the Intimidate blockers as Serene Grace as taken the spotlight given how it is not very likely that any of them would be run with any level of frequency next to Water Absorb, I still want to point out my pick between them should the community decide it wants a weaker secondary than Serene Grace. My personal choice of Intimidate blocker is Own Tempo, as being a specially bulky Pokémon which can be immune to Hurricane confusions is a very nice space to occupy. Mirror Armor is fine, but given how any Astrolotl carrying it would be better off burning CAP31, as well as Shadow Ball on Pult not dropping extremely often, I do feel its secondary benefits are less than those of Own Tempo. That said, weakening Lando is very nice, so I do think it’s not a terrible choice.

Moxie I don’t have a major attachment too, but I do like it. It gives CAP31 an ability to snowball and yet is somewhat telegraphed. I do wonder if it may cause a bit of headache in teambuilding though, as a more defensive Water Absorb set may drastically differ in checks compared to an offensive Moxie set. Either way, I kinda want to see what others think of it before I really make up my mind on it.

Pretty much everything else that’s been suggested I feel would literally never get run or has other concerns. Thick Fat, and to a lesser extent Heatproof, do have me wondering if it would be Libra Lite, with something like a Heatran expecting to heavily dent CAP31 only to find it is Heatproof. On the other hand, they simply may not be run at all compared to having an immunity to a weakness. With Sticky Hold, we match very well against Zera as is and Weavile’s Triple Axel nukes us without any boosts anyway. Immunity might be run but while Toxic reduces CAP31’s time in battle, burn basically renders CAP31 useless.
 
Ok, discussion’s looking solid so far. There’s been plenty of talk on the specific merits of a plethora of abilities, but I want to pivot the discussion slightly to focus more on how these abilities will play out in tandem with Water Absorb. So here’s some questions on the main abilities. As before, don’t feel obligated to answer every question since there's a lot:

  • Own Tempo/Mirror Armor
    • How impactful is improving our Landorus-T matchup over losing our Water immunity?
    • Own Tempo helps remove Hurricane hax and Mirror Armor helps against Astrolotl and Dragapult. Are these perks, combined with the Intimidate answer, enough to be used over Water Absorb?
  • Moxie
    • How susceptible is CAP31 to getting revenge killed given its Speed tier? Are they infrequent enough for Moxie to see notable usage?
  • Unaware
    • What specific threats does Unaware enable CAP31 to beat?
  • Serene Grace
    • What effect does scouting play with Serene Grace? Is it a problem if players cannot tell if the opposing CAP31 has Serene Grace, or was just lucky?
  • Heatproof
    • How distinct is CAP31 with Heatproof from Garchomp, another Ground-type with a Fire resist?
  • Filter
    • Given our 70/105/130 bulk, which Pokemon are immediately able to force out CAP31 at +2 Defense?
  • Analytic
    • Would CAP31 find itself attacking switch-ins to take advantage of Analytic, or will it more often than not try to set up, heal, or use other potential utility?
    • Are there any specific Pokemon that CAP31 can defeat thanks to an Analytic boost that it would lose to otherwise?

For any specific ability, try to answer the following:
On what team styles or cores would CAP31 find itself running its secondary ability over Water Absorb? How does CAP31 with its secondary ability set itself apart from other Grounds in the tier, despite lacking a Water immunity?
 
Own Tempo/Mirror Armor
  • How impactful is improving our Landorus-T matchup over losing our Water immunity?
  • Own Tempo helps remove Hurricane hax and Mirror Armor helps against Astrolotl and Dragapult. Are these perks, combined with the Intimidate answer, enough to be used over Water Absorb?
Tbh I don’t see these abilities ever be run over Water Absorb. Making it difficult for Lando to check and threaten 31 is neat, but Lando gets overwhelmed easily and Water Absorb and recovery help 31 play the long game and outlast Lando. These abilities would only make a bit of sense on teams that are fairly offensive and don’t have the time to wear down Lando. And I don’t think 31 fits those teams that well atm.

Moxie
  • How susceptible is CAP31 to getting revenge killed given its Speed tier? Are they infrequent enough for Moxie to see notable usage?
Id compare Moxie 31 to Buzzwole. Without Speed boosting the Atk boost might come in handy against really fat teams but otherwise it’s unlikely, that it is too impactful and 31 is certainly not going to be as snowballs as say Kart or DD Mence. 31 also really isn’t build for Scarfing with it’s only STAB being met by an immunity, so it also doesn’t really fit into a cleaner role. I think moxie with taunt has pontetial into fat if your team needs a stall breaker, but that’s it and even there just Taunt or Swords Dance might be enough.

Unaware
  • What specific threats does Unaware enable CAP31 to beat?
Unaware looks really nasty on this build. If you invest a good portion of EVs in bulk, this Mon gets stupidly sturdy. It is pro concept making the defense boosts from DStorm even more valuable and comes at a big opportunity cost in losing out on the water immunity but 31 looks to be able to take on the gros of CAPs current sweepers/boosting breakers.

At least it loses to the two most viable sweepers/breakers in Kart and Weavile, although Weavile needs 31 Chipped and to not be fully invested.
Other than that you have more dedicated HO threats like SD Rilla, Necturna, Skewda or Naviathan that have a shot.
Garchomp and Balloon Blaziken can trouble it but can’t break through Max phys defense.
Special Boosters are blanked entirely, with even Calm Mind Fini getting handed the short stick in the short run.
Mons like Venom P, CM Clefable or Volcarona are not able to take it on on their own.

252 Atk Weavile Triple Axel (40 BP) (3 hits) vs. 252 HP / 68+ Def Donphan: 306-366 (88.9 - 106.3%) -- approx. 18.8% chance to OHKO

252 Atk Life Orb Kartana Leaf Blade vs. 252 HP / 68+ Def Donphan: 400-476 (116.2 - 138.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO

0 SpA Tapu Fini Scald vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Donphan: 134-158 (38.9 - 45.9%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery and burn damage

A defensive Core of Arghonaut, unaware 31 plus Steel Type(s) looks really hard to take down for offensive teams at least in the short run.
 
  • Heatproof
    • How distinct is CAP31 with Heatproof from Garchomp, another Ground-type with a Fire resist?

For any specific ability, try to answer the following:
On what team styles or cores would CAP31 find itself running its secondary ability over Water Absorb? How does CAP31 with its secondary ability set itself apart from other Grounds in the tier, despite lacking a Water immunity?
the obvious one is no 4x ice weakness and much stronger special bulk

4 SpA Porygon2 Ice Beam vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD CAP31: 110-130 (39.1 - 46.2%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
4 SpA Porygon2 Ice Beam vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Garchomp: 312-368 (87.3 - 103%) -- 18.8% chance to OHKO


252 SpA Charcoal Heatran Eruption (150 BP) vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Garchomp: 168-198 (47 - 55.4%) -- 16.4% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Charcoal Heatran Eruption (150 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Heatproof CAP31: 118-139 (41.9 - 49.4%) -- guaranteed 3HKO


Own Tempo/Mirror Armor
  • How impactful is improving our Landorus-T matchup over losing our Water immunity?
  • Own Tempo helps remove Hurricane hax and Mirror Armor helps against Astrolotl and Dragapult. Are these perks, combined with the Intimidate answer, enough to be used over Water Absorb?
I think these are important considerations, and realistically speaking the answer is not at all.

252+ Atk Cap31 Diamond Storm vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Landorus-Therian: 124-146 (32.4 - 38.2%) -- 2.1% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
+2 252+ Atk Cap31 Diamond Storm vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Landorus-Therian: 247-291 (64.6 - 76.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

and with defensive lando

+2 252+ Atk Cap31 Diamond Storm vs. 252 HP / 164+ Def Landorus-Therian: 189-223 (49.4 - 58.3%) -- 69.1% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

A defensive lando can switch in, toxic, and then switch out with a minimal chance of 2HKO. Immunity is a much better ability for checking lando, but I think we all agree that immunity is a little too strong, especially with water absorb.

Serene Grace
  • What effect does scouting play with Serene Grace? Is it a problem if players cannot tell if the opposing CAP31 has Serene Grace, or was just lucky?
This is a fair point. Every time CAP31 gets a DS boost the chance of it having Water Absorb goes down by half, but of course even if it hits all 8 diamond storms there's still a 1/2^8 = .39% chance it has water absorb. IMO this is fine. I want you to think of it this way: imagine if CAP31 only had Serene Grace. This would be useful, but not totalizing and certainly not as useful as Water Absorb. Now imagine it gets Water Absorb. How much stronger does Serene Grace CAP31 get? Does that make it overpowered, or unfair or unfun? I don't think so, though I suppose that will always be a matter of opinion. At any rate, voting for mirror armor or own tempo is an admission that any decent ability is totalizing and unfun when paired with the ability to bluff WA, and imo is just about as impactful as giving it no ability at all.
 
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