Defining Moves


The Scientist is Gigalith
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As can be seen in the process for Smokomodo and Jumbao, there are multiple cases where the stat spreads submitted are too strong for certain concept relevant moves to be added to the pokemon without breaking it.

In Smokomodo's case, we have Bonemerang and Flame Charge as the most relevant examples; two moves that interact wonderfully with its ability Technician, and the centerpiece of the "Move-Ability" interaction concept. However, despite being heavily concept-relevant, these moves were both too strong for the resulting stat spread, and Smokomodo now runs Blaze instead of Technician.

In Jumbao's case, Weather Ball interacts very favorably with its desired concept as "Dual weather abuser", giving it very customizable coverage depending on the team its used on. However, because of the overall strength of Jumbao's stat spread, it was deemed too strong to be included (to be fair, Drought Weather Ball is an incredibly strong option).


The TL along with the Moves and Stats TLT should create a list of Defining Moves before the Stats stage begins, which statspread creators should draw one or more from to use explicitly when creating spreads, and calcing spreads. This process has already been somewhat present implicitely (see Head Smash Cruci implictly, and Shackle Paj and DD Libra explicitly), and formalizing it should result in more concept-fulfilling CAPs.

Defining Moves here are those which heavily impact the limits on the stat spread, and are taken to be exceptionally powerful STAB moves and Coverage moves, Boosting moves (calcing for Belly Drum ~= calcing for Bulk Up), and Recovery Moves (Calcing for Recover vs Calcing for Leftovers + Protect). Knowing the limit on STAB moves is extremely important for attack limits; imagine calcing for Hyper Voice vs for Boomburst, same with Coverage and Boosting moves, and Recovery places important limits on bulk, specifically needing to survive 2hkos vs 3hkos with and without recovery.
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Deck Knight

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I feel like this is a solution looking for a problem.

Smokomodo's primary issue is that its framework combined with the imposed stat limits really did not allow for the "slower, bulkier" spreads many hypothesized. Its maximum defensive limits for example were still 2HKO'd by Ferrothorn Power Whip. Even though I submitted the winning, "too offensive," spread I did argue for higher defensive limits.

I also think the ensuing Flame Charge discussion was one of the best in CAP, even if the result was ultimately to prohibit the move. I don't think Bonemerrang was ever balanceable by comparison. It also had Weather Ball Drought levels of power, but with even less counterplay or drawbacks.

+1 Speed from Flame Charge and calculations for Tech moves were also included in the submission (and every other submission), so it is not as if the move slipped under the radar.

I suppose if the idea is we break out such a discussion before stats for the purposes of guaranteeing the move that is one thing, but that just makes the process much more convoluted.

I think Jumbao just ended up too strong period. I can't really blame Gen 7 because of all the extant power creep, but nobody can look at a Pokemon that fast, powerful, and bulky with two amazing abilities and tell me the problem is we didn't define it's SpA by Drought Weather Ball calcs by discussing Weather Ball as Defining beforehand.

Even creating Defining Moves creates a decision point where we could select the "wrong" Defining Moves or encourage even greater polljumping. For many concepts it isn't even particularly relevant.

I don't see how this can be added into the existing CAP Process without causing more issues than it might resolve.
I have a few caveats, but I'm mostly in favor of this idea, as in many concepts, this could be very beneficial to the final product. Since at least Gen 7, there has been a noticeable tendency in CAP to favor incredibly strong stat submissions that then force us to be extremely careful during movesets, so this new stage could serve as a way to mitigate this trend, which can be extremely useful in cases where it could cause problems for the concept, like in the examples the OP provided.

Something that I think it's very important to note is that, as Deck Knight pointed out, this stage might not be relevant in some concepts. Let's look at Pajantom for example. Which move could we put in this category on this project? Besides obviously Spirit Shackle (which would be an automatic inclusion with zero discussion) I don't really see many good ideas. Coverage like Ice Punch, Earthquake and Brave Bird are good, but they're not vital to the concept and didn't really cause any issues in the normal process anyways. Other notable types of coverage that Pajantom didn't get in the end like Poison, Fire, and Fighting would have clearly gone against the goals we put on the threat discussion, so it would have been very hard to argue in their favor. Something like Taunt could have been added to completely shut down the passive walls we were supposed to trap, but I don't think that is worth adding an entire new stage to the project.

For this reason, while I think this is a great idea, it should still be handled with care. I believe the better solution would be the make this an optional stage, similar to the current Counters Discussion. Therefore, before moving to stats, the TLT would have the option to make a Defining Moves thread. I think that the most important cases where to consider using this stage would be when certain moves can directly help our concept, but there are other uses like better defined STAB moves, like the Hyper Voice vs Boomburst example in the OP. Making this stage optional achieves the best of both worlds in my opinion, we can pick our moves much more precisely in cases we want to, and when this is not as important, we can easily skip it and continue with our normal process without wasting any time. I personally believe that by default this stage should be skipped if there are no moves that can make or break our concept, but I definitely can see arguments for using this stage unless the discussion is very trivial.

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