CAP Updates: Stratagem Discussion (Complete)

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boxofkangaroos

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Stratagem Update Discussion


Welcome to the update process for CAP 5, Stratagem! Although it was made in Generation 4, Stratagem is one of those CAPs that has aged incredibly well. Stratagem's original concept was known as Break the Mold:
Name: Break the Mold
Description: An OU viable pokemon that goes completely against the stereotypes of its typing.
Stratagem has always been extremely successful in fulfilling its concept. As a fast, special-attacking Rock-type Pokemon, it obviously stands out from its slow, bulky Rock-type brethren, and this has made it a very unique Pokemon in general. Stratagem has a solid place in the metagame. Ranked A- in the SM Viability Rankings, it is the fastest CAP Pokemon and has one of the highest Special Attack stats. Stratagem also has two fantastic competitive abilities – Levitate and Technician – one of which grants it an immunity to one of CAP's most daunting offensive types, and the other of which provides Stratagem access to strong special moves of every single type. These two abilities allow Stratagem to be a relatively unpredictable threat, and they force the opponent to scout for its coverage and immunities. Stratagem is most commonly used as an all-out attacker that can shock the opponent with its variety of coverage options. Overall, Stratagem is a Pokemon that is good but not too good, so it does not merit any sort of competitive update.

However, some flavor-related aspects of Stratagem pop out as outdated. These include its lack of Hidden Ability, and its outdated movepool.

We will start by addressing its lack of Hidden Ability.

1. What Abilities would suit Stratagem based on its design or typing?
2. Why do these Abilities hold little-to-no competitive value?

Have fun!
 

erisia

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I was going to suggest Rock Head since it fits very well with the overall flavour and movepool, but it might be a little too viable with Head Smash being able to lure in and 2HKO Chansey after Stealth Rock with full attack investment. However, this has the large opportunity cost of 252 EVs and an otherwise more useful ability, so it might still be acceptable. Skill Link is a less viable alternative that boosts the weaker Rock Blast and makes some good flavour sense (Stratagem fires off parts of its body that return to its main core very quickly). No Guard also seems like a good candidate as it's basically a debuff due to Stratagem's current movepool not containing many useful low accuracy moves, and it also makes sense from a flavour perspective (how on earth is Stratagem supposed to defend itself with those spindly arms?).
 
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1. What Abilities would suit Stratagem based on its design or typing?
It might seem weird, but Inner Focus is actually a good fit for Strat. It was actually considered during the original process for it, and it makes sense. It has all of those eyes and has Levitate. They hint towards somewhat psychic abilities. Also, Strat gets Calm Mind, so it isn't like it hasn't been shown to be peaceful.

2. Why do these Abilities hold little-to-no competitive value?

Inner Focus only prevents flinching. The only thing that uses flinches reliably that's any good is Jirachi, which is already kiled by Fire Blast but kills back with Iron Head. Either way, Inner Focus is pointless to run.
 

Quanyails

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In general, Stratagem is in a weird position in that it gets both Levitate and another ability, when most Levitate 'mons don't get other abilities. Duskull and the Bronzor line are exceptions, so Stratagem could be an exception, too. I guess, though, it'd be unusual to omit giving Stratagem a hidden ability if it has two different regular abilities, though.

Sand Veil feels like an okay enough choice, Stratagem being a bunch of floating rocks that could maybe blend into a bunch of other floating rocks. No one would use Sand Veil when it has to sacrifice either an immunity or a boost to its coverage.

Rock Head won't do anything off of Stratagem's base 60 attack, but I'm a little worried it might go the way of Pyroak if people see Rock Head + Head Smash and try that out. :P

Stratagem has big, hooked claws, so Hyper Cutter or Tough Claws could work. Again, Stratagem has base 60 attack, which doesn't give it use.

Sableye has gemstone eyes and gets Keen Eye. Stratagem also has gemstone eyes, and has more of them than Sableye. Hence, Keen Eye would also be fitting there.

If we wanted to be punny, we could go with Contrary. :P It's a humorous nod to Stratagem's concept and it has no moves to abuse it with. Stratagem can already avoid Sticky Web with Levitate, so its use is limited to gaining boosts from secondary effects, which is more situational than its other abilities.
 
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Soundproof seems to fit Stratagem, it has no visible ears, and likely a floating rock can't hear something screaming, soundproof is extremely gimmicky and unreliable due to only working on sound moves, which are fairly rare.

Sand Veil could also work, given that Stratagem would blend in in a sandstorm, and it has no competitive value.

Sniper might be a bit of an odd choice, but given Stratagem means something like a plan that searches for weak points in an opponent, I feel like Sniper fits with it. I doubt anyone would go for crit spam with Stratagem
 

jas61292

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On the one hand, I really do not think there is any problem with Rock Head. Head Smash Strata is and always will be bad, recoil or no. And it is a very thematic ability for it. On the other hand... Pyroak has shown me that being good doesn't matter when it comes to people using things that look cool together in theory, and it would pain me to support something that could lead us down that road again. Like, I really like the idea of the ability a lot, as far as flavor. But... if I actually saw people use it, I think I would be physically ill. And I don't like betting on my health. I guess you could say I am neutral on it.

Some other nice options that Quanyails brought up are Sand Veil, Hyper Cutter and Keen Eye. All of them are quite flavorful and competitively useless. Tough Claws was also an interesting suggestion, but I am less on board with that, as I fear the same things as I do with Rock Head, but for something I find less flavorful.

Contrary is also a fun ability we could give it as it is incredibly fitting for its concept. However, I'm just not sure I like the idea of giving it an ability it cannot use in any way whatsoever. It would make it seem too meta or a reference, and not at all fitting with the Pokemon itself. If we ended up giving it some move, any move, that lowers its own stats (even something like Curse) I'd be cool with it, but... I don't know right now.
 
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snake_rattler

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Since Stratagem's ability is to "break the mold," we should give a Hidden Ability that fits that descriptions.

No I'm not about to suggest Mold Breaker.

Instead I'd like to suggest Sniper. Sniper is inferior to Levitate (immunities to a weakness are amazing, especially Ground-type) and Technician (who's going to pass up Ice Beam with Tech Hidden Power Ice?) because it just powers up a chance mechanic anyways. The only remotely viable user of Sniper is Kingdra who, if we ignore the fact that Swift Swim is 1000x better in our metagame, has access to Focus Energy and has access to Draco Meteor, whose Special Attack drop with consistent critical hits. Stratagem has neither of these, meaning it cannot abuse the ability, so competitively, Sniper is outclassed by Technician and Levitate.

The pre-requisite for having Sniper is having one move with a high critical hit ratio, and Stone Edge fits the bill, even if it doesn't use it. Sniper is almost exclusive to Water- and Poison-types, the only Rock-type having access to it being Binacle and Barbaracle (which are part Water-type). This means Sniper is not on the grand majority of Rock-types unlike other a lot of suggestions in this thread, meaning that Sniper can fit the concept of going "completely against the stereotypes of its typing."

As for actual flavor, Stratagem floats around, searching for its enemies' weak spots, and before they can react, it hits them there. It's a fitting ability for such a tactical Pokemon.
 
The funny thing is that Mold Breaker is widely distributed among Rock-types. However, Stratagem wants to defy that by having Abilities that don't typically fit Rock-types. It seems that it can lock on to opponents by utulizing a tactical strategy as snek said above. As such, I say that Sniper would work well for Stratagem. Stone Edge is the only move that can use this Ability, and it's a physical attack. Gem is a special sweeper, so the ability remains useless.

EDIT: I'm now rooting for either Inner Focus or Magma Armor for reasons stated below.
 
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Normally I'd be on board with something like Rock Head, as it's very fitting for a Rock-type, but I do like the idea of sticking to the concept. So I'm in favor of abilities like Inner Focus and Sniper. Inner Focus especially has some nice flavor with Stratagem's movepool as Reviloja pointed out, and no Rock-types currently have the ability, so it's a good fit concept-wise as well.
 
Other than my own ability (Inner Focus), I want to give my support to two abilities- Contrary and Sniper. Contrary is pretty punny seeing how it acts contrary to its typing in terms of use and thusly works with the concept. It also cannot abuse the ability whatsoever. As for Sniper, I like the idea that snake_rattler stated. Another flavor reason is that with all of those eyes, it would be able to easily snipe its foes.
 
Putting my support for Inner Focus and Sniper because they fit the intelligence aspect of Stratagem. Looking at its PokeDex entries, it's not an aspect that has been touched upon much despite being a major part of its design. The entries also contradict most of the other Abilities: It lives in volcanoes, so Sand Veil would be unusual, and its Platinum entry mentions its claws being brittle so Hyper Cutter, Tough Claws, and to a lesser extent Rock Head aren't appropriate.

I also don't like Mold Breaker or Contrary because they're based off of its CAP concept. Mold Breaker, similar to Sheer Force, is seen on Pokemon that use physical strength to solve all their problems. Mega Ampharos is the exception to this, but it's also a Mega so I don't think it's a good counterargument even if it also has red orbs. Contrary is a bit more complicated, but it generally involves deception of some sort and is a rare Ability. Stratagem doesn't leave much to the imagination and doesn't fit the bill.
 

G-Luke

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Rock Head, Inner Focus and Sniper all seem like very solid options for a hidden ability, but here is another suggestion - Weak Armour.

Weak Armour may sound too competitive, but combined with a poor defensive typing and stats, the extreme usefulness of Levitate and the strong niche that Technician has makes Weak Armour rather obsolete in comparision.
 

LucarioOfLegends

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I really like Sniper as an ability, because it reflects Stratagems abilities as a Pokemon who hits from afar using fast projectiles. I also don't see it using it over Technician or Levitate, unless we stupidly (or accidentally) gave it some more high-crit moves. Inner Focus also I one I really like, as it focuses more on its intelligence. Also very little reason to use it over other abilities. Not totally sold on Rock Head, as if given the chance to do it, someone will use Rock Head + Head Smash no matter how much we try to prevent it. The only other ability that stands out to me is Hyper Cutter, but that really doesn't have much going for it.
 
Ok so a quick tought on some of the nominations:
Sniper - I do like the idea behind it and Strata being a (really) fast mon and taking out its opponents in a quick shot
Hyper Cutter - utterly useless, but does fit well surprisingly
Inner Focus - I....don't really see much to it. I guess you could say that since he's a alien space rock and probably highly intelligent it can focus its mind and not get distracted (by inferior life forms).
Contrary - fits with the idea and concept that Strata was built on, but when it comes to abilities, I would rather have a mon that learns at least one move that takes advantage of its ability, instead of one that has a completly usless ability under any possible circumstances and no moves that can abuse said ability.
Weak Armour - good flavor, not so useful in battle
Skill Link - tfw to smart for moves to hit less then 5 times
No Guard - NG Heatwave I guess ?

Rock Head - this one I wanted to give it a bit more attention which is why I let it last, but in all seriousness, WHAT'S so threatening/unappealing about it ? Yeah Pyroak also has it and it has an abysmal ATK stat to, but there is a big difference beteween the two: Pyroak has base 70 Atk, Stratagem has base 60. Even if it's just 10 points difference, 60 is very diferent from 70, it's still really low, but the difference in damage (although still small) is definitely there (sorry for no calcs) (also, if HS from Stratagem actually does more damage compared to Pyroak's WH and FB, let me know bellow) . And another thing, Pyroak has a dual STAB that takes advantage of Rock Head in Flare Blitz and Wood Hammer. What does Stratagem have ? Only Head Smash. And even if someone decides to say fuck it and run a psysical Stratagem, what moves could it use ? Return and Double Edge ? Normal is not bad for neutral coverage, but it's not worth sacrificing a moveslot for it, unless you have no other options or have a -ate ability or Galvanize. Earthquake ? Strong coverage, but still backed up by a terrible Atk stat. It doesn't even get Zen Headbutt ! (Which btw, I should remember it when move suggestions start).
 

Deck Knight

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Personally I Iike Magma Armor, as it's different enough and the only other Pokemon that gets it is Camerupt. Freeze immunity is incredibly circumstantial.

Sniper boosts all critical hits, not just ones caused by high-CH moves. It's not as good as Levitate or Technician but it's still free damage on a crit.

Shuckle is another Rock type with Contrary, if possible I'd like to avoid overlapping abilities. Obviously Levitate is shared with Solrock and Lunatone, but otherwise Stratagem has abilities Rock types don't have and I'd like to maintain that.
 

snake_rattler

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Rock Head - this one I wanted to give it a bit more attention which is why I let it last, but in all seriousness, WHAT'S so threatening/unappealing about it ? Yeah Pyroak also has it and it has an abysmal ATK stat to, but there is a big difference beteween the two: Pyroak has base 70 Atk, Stratagem has base 60. Even if it's just 10 points difference, 60 is very diferent from 70, it's still really low, but the difference in damage (although still small) is definitely there (sorry for no calcs) (also, if HS from Stratagem actually does more damage compared to Pyroak's WH and FB, let me know bellow) . And another thing, Pyroak has a dual STAB that takes advantage of Rock Head in Flare Blitz and Wood Hammer. What does Stratagem have ? Only Head Smash. And even if someone decides to say fuck it and run a psysical Stratagem, what moves could it use ? Return and Double Edge ? Normal is not bad for neutral coverage, but it's not worth sacrificing a moveslot for it, unless you have no other options or have a -ate ability or Galvanize. Earthquake ? Strong coverage, but still backed up by a terrible Atk stat. It doesn't even get Zen Headbutt ! (Which btw, I should remember it when move suggestions start).
I mean for what its worth...
252 Atk Stratagem Head Smash vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Mew: 150-177 (43.9 - 51.9%) -- 10.9% chance to 2HKO
252+ Atk Pyroak Flare Blitz vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Mew: 144-169 (42.2 - 49.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO

Note that Stratagem isn't even running a plus Attack nature. Head Smash's base power is why its higher.


"Physical Stratagem is competitive" isn't the problem. The problem is that it's just one more unnecessary "noob trap" involving the same ability as Pyroak, which is what jas was getting at in his post (Post #6). Pyroak using a Swords Dance / Rock Head set is really bad and should never be used, yet people still use it because the combination of dual recoilless STAB moves with Swords Dance is appealing, and they don't notice Pyroak's terrible Base 70 Attack. While Stratagem doesn't have Swords Dance or anything to abuse it, "Recoilless Head Smash" will still make people fall into the same trap as Pyroak. We preserve Rock Head Pyroak for the same reason we preserve Air Lock Revenankh, so while we're stuck with Rock Head Pyroak, let's not cause any more problems with another Rock Head user that isn't abusing its ability for its concept. Rather ironically, on the subject of recoilless Head Smash, do you know how many Stone Edge Mega Crucibelle sets I see on the ladder? Even still, I'd rather be saying "Mega Crucibelle has Magic Guard which gives it recoilless Head Smash" rather than "Mega Crucibelle is much better at abusing Head Smash than Stratagem."

My argument is purely an optics argument. While it might seem like really bad reasoning, it's to prevent unnecessary confusion for new players and more unnecessary explanations for older players (because I know I repeat the same things on a daily basis and I really don't want another one.

Personally I Iike Magma Armor, as it's different enough and the only other Pokemon that gets it is Camerupt. Freeze immunity is incredibly circumstantial.

Sniper boosts all critical hits, not just ones caused by high-CH moves. It's not as good as Levitate or Technician but it's still free damage on a crit.

Shuckle is another Rock type with Contrary, if possible I'd like to avoid overlapping abilities. Obviously Levitate is shared with Solrock and Lunatone, but otherwise Stratagem has abilities Rock types don't have and I'd like to maintain that.
I like Magma Armor, especially given Stratagem's Pokedex entries.

While Sniper boosts all critical hits (I knew about this), there's still a lot of problems with running Sniper. It /is/ more damage, but the opportunity cost of not running Levitate or Technician is so great for an ability that Stratagem cannot even abuse. While it is more competitive than, say, Magma Armor (which is basically useless), it doesn't provide a boost that Stratagem can use consistently.
 
I don't really have an Ability to suggest unfortunately, however I do have an opinion on the current topic: Magma Armor.

I don't really like the idea of Stratagem getting Magma Armor simply because I think it sounds really stupid flavor wise.
 

Deck Knight

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I don't really have an Ability to suggest unfortunately, however I do have an opinion on the current topic: Magma Armor.

I don't really like the idea of Stratagem getting Magma Armor simply because I think it sounds really stupid flavor wise.
Stratagem is an Igneous Rock, the kind you find in volcanos, it's Dex references volcanos. Yeah it isn't molten itself but it has plenty of Fire attacks, which it uses often.
 

LucarioOfLegends

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Stratagem is an Igneous Rock, the kind you find in volcanos, it's Dex references volcanos. Yeah it isn't molten itself but it has plenty of Fire attacks, which it uses often.
Magma Armor doesn't work in this case because it's design doesn't directly correlate with magma, unlike the other holders of this ability who have direct connections to magma (Slugma line is made of magma, while Camerupt is based off of a volcano). To the common passerby, Stratagem is just a sentient space rock, and they would be confused by it having Magma Armor when its direct design has nothing to do with magma.
 

G-Luke

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Heatproof can be a viable alternative to Magma Armour if one doesnt think the flavour fits
 
Heatproof fits quite nicely in place of Magma Armor's additional volcanic flavor, and Gem doesn't need the extra resistance. I mostly support Sniper because of Gem's capability to aim its focus on an opponent's weak spot.
 

boxofkangaroos

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After some talk with my GL Deck Knight, we have decided on the final slate.

Inner Focus
Sniper
Magma Armor
No Hidden Ability

Any other abilities discussed either did not have enough support, or had noticeable competitive implications.

The poll will be up shortly!
 

boxofkangaroos

this is the day of the expanding man
The Hidden Ability has not ended yet, but since the winning ability probably won't have an impact on moves, we might as well start our Consistency Move discussion now.

What moves from Generations 5-7 should Stratagem receive due to its typing or design?

Moves from Generation 4 or earlier are allowed as well, but the movepool update should focus more on newer moves. Note that Round and Confide will be required because they are universal TM moves.
 
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