CAP 15 CAP 4 - Part 4 - Secondary Ability Discussion

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Here we will be discussing the merits of competitive abilities on CAP4, as they pertain to the concept below. This is not the place to be discussing flavour abilities - if you wish to discuss these, please visit the Create-A-Pokemon Kitchen thread, where such discussion is allowed.

Below is CAP 4 so far:

Name: Risky Business
(formerly "Living On the Edge")

General Description: This Pokémon is very risky to play, but very rewarding if played correctly.

Justification: Many of the Pokémon that are successful in OU are relatively easy to play or have great "safe" options (e.g. U-turn). Yet, many other Pokémon look very powerful, but are less successful than they could be because of some large risks involved (e.g. Hydreigon), and some aren't successful at all (e.g. Honchkrow). This self-balancing concept intends to explore what it takes for a risky Pokémon to be successful, and how much inherent risk a Pokémon can get away with. It should be emphasized that this concept is NOT about luck management, but rather, it is about what the user can afford to do given his/her opponent's options, and vice versa.

Questions To Be Answered:

  • What is the relationship between risk and potential consequences, both positive and negative?
  • What kinds of inherently risky tactics are successful in the OU metagame?
  • Do risky Pokémon need some form of safe options (e.g. switch-ins) to be successful in OU, or can it get away with having few really safe options?
  • How does Substitute, a well-known "safe" move with nearly universal distribution, impact how this Pokémon is built and played?
  • How do existing Pokémon use and deal with risky situations?
  • Can risky Pokémon be played well in the early game, or are they better off put into action later on?
  • How do different playstyles interact with risky situations?
Typing: Bug / Psychic
Abilities: Weak Armour / ??? / ???


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Abilities II, the exciting sequel. Drama, action, and what not.

Well, anyway, here we are. With the close of the last poll, we have as a community decided that our first ability shall be Weak Armour (and henceforth it shall be spelled thus). But that's not going to be our only ability – we still have two more to go! So, let's see where we go from here.

I don't have an awful lot to say, except that this Abilities Discussion will be more or less a continuation of the first, except that this time, I will be taking Weak Armour into consideration, as per how well the second ability interacts with the first, as I develop a slate, and I would encourage you all to bear it in mind when proposing abilities – or, later, voting on abilities. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. What I would particularly like to impress upon you all is that what we want to achieve from our abilities is some sort of necessary duality – in that by choosing one, you are making a conscious risky decision, as per that the ability you chose will help in some situations but not in others. I would like to refer you back to the Yanmega example of the previous thread – Speed Boost aids it against faster revenge killers, but Tinted Lens allows it to deal more damage – and, indeed, to prevent a comfortable switch on the part of the opponent. It is important to also consider, here, the competitive ramifications of said ability – we should aim for an ability that is roughly equal to Weak Armour in competitive viability, or more accurately, one where Weak Armour would provide a greater Reward in about half of all potential situations. Naturally, the rest of the CAP will also be built with this principle in mind – but that's no reason to shelve the issue until later.

As far as abilities likely to come up are concerned, as regards the abilities rejected in the last poll, I would still be in favour of No Guard and Illusion, largely because they can be useful with almost any stat spread and have their own reasonable share of advantages and disadvantages when compared to Weak Armour, in addition to those concept-related reasons we discussed earlier. Moxie is another interesting option, as per the relationship between either needing Attack boosts or needing Speed boosts in order to sweep, though I worry about how we can make both Attack and Speed low enough that these abilities are a significant part of how the Pokemon is played without impacting upon its overall competitive viability. Still, I am relatively confident that we could, realistically, make it work. I no longer believe that Simple is a viable option, however; it seems it could only ever be far more powerful or far less powerful than Weak Armour, depending on what boosting moves we decided to give it. Still, if anybody felt like arguing for it, you're still welcome to put it up for a second look.

Anything else people feel like suggesting is fair game. Just remember to try to keep a level head on proceedings. Please.

Now that Weak Armor (really, why the 'u' spelling?) is set in stone, I find Analytic even more appropriate than before. Where Weak Armor would belong on a sweeper set that aims to setup and clear a team outright, Analytic would be more suitable to a wall-breaker set, especially one that fires off strong hits on the expected switch-in. Also, one favors a rather high Speed stat and Speed investment, whereas the other works best with the lowest possible Speed. Making the most of both when designing the stats would surely challenge the community, too.


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Still in favor of Analytic, Being slow is a risky way to play if you don't have the bulk to back it up, but it does reward you for being slow with a boost on your attacks. Making it a high risk high reward pokemon. Both anaylytic and Weak armor pokemon can have similar stats as well, Being slow and getting a boost to make you faster from weak armor, well with analytic you would want to be slowish anyways. This is why Analytic gets my vote. And for my 2nd ability I vote Honey gather because it's more risky then using no guard
Damn it, bmb, you're such a ninja.

In my opinion, we should pick an ability that works with likely stat builds implied by Weak Armour, rather than tries to alter likely stat builds more. If Weak Armour takes advantage of good temporary physical bulk to boost its Speed, the secondary ability should take advantage of good permanent physical bulk in some way. If Weak Armour allows CAP 4 to outrun fast Pokémon and Choice Scarf users, the secondary ability should either boost Speed in a different manner or provide a decisive advantage that can compete with the possibility of a Speed boost. I pretty much agree with bugmaniacbob's assessment of the slated abilities for the previous stage, though I guess I'm still more apprehensive about Illusion than I would have been under a different typing.

I suppose I should add my thoughts on Analytic in particular. I like the ability in principle, but I don't like the strong implications that people are making with it. Somehow, Analytic supporters are pushing an additional desire to make CAP 4 slow and bulky. Besides the fact that I would greatly prefer not to pursue this kind of build, this might actually make Analytic clash with Weak Armour, as the pressure to make CAP 4 slow might make the Speed boost from Weak Armour not enough to be worth it. We are, after all, in a metagame containing such delightful threats as Choice Scarf Terrakion and Choice Scarf Genesect.
I'd think an ability similar to Solar Power, where the pokemon's health is drained (as opposed to it's bulk) in order to gain additional firepower, which when combo'd with a Life Orb is going to be a very short sweep.

Another option is Rivalry, which has a 50/50 chance of being a positive ability, and 50/50 of being negative.
Cape is right about Analytic, which is why I don't support that idea.
On the other hand, I believe MOXIE would allow CAP4 to be able to be played in completely different roles. Say we give it a solid SpA, okay Spe, and meh Atk, but good bulk. Running Weak Armour would turn it into a frailer, faster special sweeper, while running Moxie would turn it into a slower, bulkier setup physical sweeper.
Option A (WA) risks being more easily revenge killed for a better chance of sweeping easily, while
Option B (M) risks not being able to do much without boosts (low Atk) for being harder to revenge and a more solid sweep, once certain threats have been removed.
Good players could choose which of these fit their team better and thus get better rewards for the risk they take (which, I believe, is the main concept of this CAP)

In addition, both abilities could work just fine off the same stat spread.
I'm inclined to agree with capefeather; in order to make a Pokemon slow enough to make Analytic viable, I fear it'd have to be far too slow to make gathering speed boosts from Weak Armour a worthwhile tactic.

As far as abilities that boost speed from other methods, I think Quick Feet might be a suitably risky option. Less so if CAP 4 manages to get itself paralyzed as opposed to being burned or toxic poisoned, but still risky enough to consider before actually using it over Weak Armour.

Alternatively, we could go with Rattled, but Bug, Dark, and Ghost all hit CAP 4 super-effectively, and it may just be too dangerous and situational to outweigh the risks. Also, I don't know how people feel about using two speed-boosting abilities, but hey, food for though.
I would like to propose a completely different ability. Anger Point. This is a very risky ability as you have to tank a critical hit then outspeed whatever hit you the next turn. Now this ability doesnt have that much of a risk factor mainly because it revolves around hax.

I would still also like to support Illusion. It is a very interesting ability and is a big risk factor because of the whole stealth rock weakness.


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I'm going to throw some more support behind analytic. It really will work near perfectly with the stat spread weak armor will likely have.

First of all, in the speed category, we can give cap4 a base speed of 71 which would "out-slow" a vast majority of the tier (even more if it has a minus speed nature and 0speed ivs). And on the flip side, with one boost from weak armor, cap4 will outspeed everything in the tier barring choice scarfs and chlorophyll sweepers. Therefore, we do not have to worry about the need for a low speed stat hindering the effectiveness of weak armor.

Also, both abilities call for some defensive investment since cap4 must absorb an attack before receiving its boost in both scenarios. Lastly, both abilities give offensive rewards so there will be a need for at least a useable attack or special attack stat to make these abilities work.


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I'm going to propose that the best option is No Secondary/(or at least Non-Competitive) Ability

Weak Armor is probably the riskiest option we could pick. Offering other options seems counterproductive. I personally am leaning towards offering No Secondary Standard Ability and then (for the required more or less) Dream World offer something so bad Weak Armor is forced. Truant comes to mind.
I think Analytic could work, but at the same time we could very well go without another ability. I think Weak Armor would make CAP 4 interesting enough, but Analytic provides another interesting point in that it works on the switch: Should that CC-locked Terrakion switch out and let you hit something else even harder, or should they stay in and possibly give you the Weak Armor boost? I think Weak Armor is the best in any case, and maybe we should stay away from overshadowing abilities like Illusion or Moxie in that case (even though they both are good concepts for this CAP).


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Hmmm...tossing out an idea, what about Magic Bounce? CAP4 will probably have an average-to-good Speed and passable physical bulk to take advantage of Weak Armour, and will probably try to switch into a weak physical attack like Rapid Spin, maybe Power Whip or a resisted Fighting attack; this allow it to take relatively low damage, get a +1 Speed and hopefully sweep if priority users/faster Scarfers are already fainted. Your opponent is encouraged to just toss out a supporting/special move, like hazards or Thunder Wave, that either give it some kind of advantage or just cripple CAP4 outright (every single status in the game would screw CAP4 greatly since it already takes huge chunks of damage switching into hazards, and even normal Poisoning will cut its lifespan VERY short with its periodical damage). Giving it Magic Bounce puts both you and your opponent into a mindgame, since he/she doesn't want to throw attacks at you if you're running Weak Armour, but also is frightened to see its support move bounced back; not only, but you absolutely don't want to switch your Magic Bounce set into hazards just to take a Power Whip or something that probably puts CAP4 into priority's KO range without reaping any benefit, while you don't want to switch into Thunder Wave, Leech Seed, WoW or whatever if you picked Weak Armour. The combination of the two abilities, thus, adds a layer of risk on top of the already dangerous typing, granting you a reward while switching into something, and a risk since switching into the wrong thing will likely result in CAP4 dead.

Also, as a nice added boon, Magic Bounce fits perfectly the flavor of a Psychic pokemon.

EDIT: I just readed srk's post, his point makes perfect sense. Still, Magic Bounce was nice in combination with Weak Armour, so it would be nice some feedback on that. If the general consensus is that Magic Bounce is too good overall and will most likely replace Weak Armour on the vast majority of the sets, then I have no problem supporting srk's idea.
I think Rattled is the bets option for a secondary ability. It has a lot in common with Weak Armor, having to take a hit to gain a speed boost. However, the difference is that Weak Armor activated with any physical moves, meaning that it can take a 4x resisted CC. The risk is, of course, the Defense drop. Meanwhile, Rattled requires us to take massive damage from a SE hit, since Dark, Ghost, and Bug are all SE on CaP. However, we don't get a Defense Drop here. Either way, both of them leave you weak to priority, as Weak Armor lowers defense, making all the common priority moves stronger, while Rattled leaves you weaker and could potentially leave you to being revenged by priority. The only problem with Rattled is that it is too similar to Weak Armor, however, I feel that if we choose another ability, that ability will overshadow Weak Armor. Rattled doesn't do this, it's more or less gives the same benefits and risks, having +1 speed at the cost of being weak to priority. The difference is how you get the boost.


I'm of two minds about this secondary ability.

On the one hand, even though bmb has said that he absolutely hates it, I think that Analytic actually forms a great duality with Weak Armor. The downside is that suggesting that must necessarily include some poll-jumping on stat assumptions. It implies a somewhat slower and somewhat physically bulkier build, where the choice between abilities results in either sacrificing physical bulk for speed with Weak Armor or using physical bulk to offset low speed and survive long enough to use Analytic. I don't agree with cape's argument against this, because I have no trouble envisioning speeds in a Goldilocks zone slow enough to regularly abuse Analytic but still fast enough for Weak Armor to turn the tides and make it quite speedy, but I could be persuaded otherwise.

On the other hand, the community selected an ability so darn risky in Weak Armor that I'm legitimately worried that including anything else (even Analytic and even a useless flavor ability later on like Honey Gather) will cause Weak Armor to be massively outshined in usage. As much as I loved No Guard and hated Weak Armor for our Riskymon, I think that slating No Guard again would be a slap in the face to the majority of the community who voted for Weak Armor, because I know that barring some crazy "nothing with below 100% accuracy" shenanigans during the move-set phase or some absolutely masterful stat engineering, I sure a heck would never use Weak Armor if No Guard were available to me just because of how darn risky Weak Armor really is (I can already hear Cloyster and its Skill Link making plans to skyrocket in usage). Following this line of though, it seems that if we really want Weak Armor to get used at all, then srk's proposal of having No Competitive Secondary Ability should be considered, as should No Secondary Ability Whatsoever.

As a final note...
And for my 2nd ability I vote Honey gather because it's more risky then using no guard
Saying crap like this is unnecessarily antagonistic. Please help us have a productive conversation.
So much love for Analytic... No love for Trace!

Trace is a less conventional way to think of risk. You have a chance to get an amazing ability, however you also have the chance to get one that may not help or might even hinder the mon's performance! I believe this has a higher element of risk than several of the abilities listed (I mean seriously, Magic Bounce???) And is a good choice for this CAP!

Other abilities I would support are Hustle and Special Hustle even though I may be shunned if I do so xD

I would NOT like Rattled as the second ability, because it's essentially the same as Weak Armour

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I'm gonna go over the second part of the pair I liked before, Flare Boost.

Flare Boost only aids our CAP if it is burned, in which case its attack drops but its Special Attack is increased by 1.5x, and that's a BASE increase, meaning if it were to be used with something like Quiver Dance, the net SpA increase would be 2.25x, not 1.5x.

Flare Boost also works well with some other movepool options like Psycho Shift, where a physical attacker expecting to capitalize on Weak Armor now has to contend with shifted Burns, which actually avoid Burn Damage on the turn shifted, meaning that physical attackers are not an instant stop to CAP4, and in fact may even be walled by it. The only bad news is that our CAP can't use STAB Dream Eater on a Burned foe while it can do it to a sleeping one. There are of course, other Special-based draining attacks.

Not only does Flare Boost have its own inherent risk, it also juxtaposes the risk of Weak Armor well by focusing on power and strategy rather than capitalizing on opponent attacks.


Ain't no rest for the wicked
I personally like the idea of Harvest as CAP's secondary ability. Harvest, while not inherently risky, does inspire risky strategies such as pinch berry abuse, custap berry sweeping, and resistance berry abuse. The first two require that our bug be at less than 25% health to work, which means that if SR is up, this will be the CAP's last stand. you take the risk of allowing one of your pokemon to sputter to a quick death due to low health or the reward of sweeping the opponents with ease thanks tothe repeated boosts provided by harvested pinch berries. The resistance berries force you to play a game of chance where if your opponent doesnt have the appropriate SE move, your item and ability become completely useless. Finally, if you want to get any utility out of harvest, you have to sacrifice your item slot to support the ability, meaning no Life orb or lefties for you, which would be a destinct disadvantage of trying to abuse this ability.

Harvest syncs pretty well with weak armor since both abulities allow cap to occupy different niches and harvest doesn't mandate any overly specific spread to be effective as weak armor does. This allows our stat spread designesrs more freedom to make sure weak armor is an effective ability while still offering another unique, risky ability to explore.
I'd like to put forward Defiant. When considering that the only common reliable way to actually activate it would be to either switch in on an Intimidate user or somehow bluff Weak Armor, it really does make you question its worth over Weak Armor- which is exactly what we want. Can you even guarantee your opponent will be using an Intimidate user? If you carry CAP4 into a battle with no Intimidate mons on the opposition, you essentially have no real ability to work with. And then you still must ask yourself, is this necessarily bad? Not having your defense dropped from Weak Armor could be a good thing. Conversely, not having the Speed to sweep the opposition could also cost you. Neither choice is inherently better than the other.

Additionally, the two abilities work well in tandem with each other when you consider the 3 main Intimidate users in OU- Landorus-T, Gyarados, and Salamence. All three are primarily physical attackers. Earthquake is an easy switch in for our CAP mon, with Weak Armor we net +1 Speed- or, we end up switching into Stone Edge/Dragon Claw and get mashed. On the other hand, they can switch in our Weak Armor CAP mon and Intimidate it, giving us -1 attack and an incoming SE move to be scared of, or switch in on a Defiant one and alternatively take a +1 STAB Psychic move. It creates an interesting and VERY risky dynamic for both parties.

But these are just my initial thoughts. There is, of course, the arguable downside of accidentally activating Defiant through a random Psychic Sp.Def drop and then consequently annihilating the opposition with +2 STAB Megahorns or whatever we give it, but then, its still arguable, and tbh, its not in the same boat as Anger Point where its utterly reliant on hax to work.


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I should probably address some of this while I'm still young.

Non-Competitive Ability is not happening. I have made the point that I want this CAP to have some sort of essential duality between its abilities. I allowed Weak Armour onto the last poll on the basis that it could work in tandem with various other competitive abilities. I am not reneging on that deal now.

Analytic I have made my thoughts clear on. Its risk is solely composed as a part of the Pokemon itself - that it either has to force switches or take a hit to get the boost. That is not, in and of itself, risky. I can accept similar abilities such as Moxie because the boost is not guaranteed, but Analytic is really no different in my mind to such abilities as Tinted Lens and Flash Fire. I would like to see a more interesting interpretation of the concept than this - we have already had our literal interpretation through Weak Armour. I would like to see an ability with risk and reward inherent to it, but not necessarily so utterly dependent on stats as to its effectiveness.

Rattled is far too similar to Weak Armour to be of interest.

Magic Bounce... no comment.

I want to reiterate that I want us to be challenging ourselves with this CAP above all else, and to that end, we should be thinking outside the box when talking about abilities. Yes, Solar Power and Flare Boost and Reckless all the rest fit the concept admirably, but they lend themselves far too comfortably towards the glass cannon build, which is something I said I did not want to move towards under any circumstances. Weak Armour was about as far as I was willing to go. On that note, I want us to pick something that doesn't necessarily make sense, but represents an entirely original way of looking at the concept. Perhaps some of the abilities I favour don't quite all fit this mould, but that's where I want you lot to come in. I don't want this to be a rehash of the previous thread; it should be a continuation and an evolution.

/end politics mode
I think Simple could still work. Curse or defensive boosts like Cosmic Power could be used to give it a different role than Weak Armor without making Weak Armor useless. Choice sets and sets that need the extra speed would prefer Weak Armor.
What about Defiant? It is no very often used ability, admittedly. But ... It is a high risk to switch into a status-lowering move like Screech, Charm, Metal Sound or Icy Wind. Most of this moves are seldom used, however. This ability will revert the effect of Intimidate, however. Also you could use a move like Metal Sound against a Magic Bounce user to increase your attack stat (if CAP4 doesn't get Swords Dance/Coil/Sharpen). Another possibility would be Simple. Simple in combination with Curse, Shell Smash or Psycho Boost (maybe an event move only allowed with this ability) can be very risky.


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So how exactly would no guard and Weak armor work in tandem with each other.....
Yes, while Analytic and Weak Armor go hand in hand with the stats, working in tandem with each other perfectly. I honestly don't understand how No Guard works with ANY other ability.
Hmmm, I've got a few ideas, but one that sticks out to me is Justified. If this Pokemon has the physical bulk to take advantage of Weak Armour, then it would also be possible for it to take a physical Dark attack (such as Pursuit on a predicted switch) to boost its power. The big risk is, of course, its weakness to Dark, but as bulky psychics such as Slowbro and Reuniclus prove, taking a type-advantageous attack doesn't necessarily mean a KO. Assuming this Pokemon is physically offensive, this could certainly be used effectively as long as it has the bulk it needs to utilise the boost. As a plus, the Pokemon's part-Bug typing means dark types such as Tyranitar, Hydreigon and Weavile are less inclined to switch in.
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