Defunct CAP Buff 1 - Voodoom

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Rabia

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With the official buffing process over, Voodoom has gained +25 SpA and Sucker Punch!

The next "phase" so to speak will mostly consist of seeing how Voodoom now fares and just general notes about how this process went as a whole. Given it was the first buffing ever done, we certainly ran into a few issues along the way---some of which I'll note at a later point---but I'm more interested in how you the people felt throughout it. How did you feel this worked? Was the process effective? Should we formalize some aspects of it for down the road to make it a bit more defined? Feel free to be liberal with your feedback---the mods will appreciate it, probably.
 
Overall, I think the process went fairly well, at least for a first-time process. I liked the short discussion period at the very beginning about what exactly is bad about Voodoom, as it allowed the establishment of a general idea of what was useful about Voodoom and what it lacked. I also liked the discussion periods between the buffs, giving us some time to reorient after the major buff. I ultimately think this was a success (although we'll have to see how well Voodoom actually performs), so don't let the following giant list of things I am about to write make you think I think this was a disaster.

Some (scattered) thoughts:
  • We should definitely take some time before the next buff process to write a more formal OP (in the style of the process threads) and make sure everything about the process is clearly established from the start. I recognize that this was a bit rushed in order to actually get the buff process going, but there were a couple times where quziel had to step in and establish certain principles that were discussed in the PR thread but not actually stated anywhere in the buff thread itself, including what priority we are assigning to different kinds of buffs.
  • This leads into a general point I have about clarity. I will completely admit to taking my understandings of the process and completely running with them, only to later find out that they were not meant as hard and fast rules. This includes thinking that C/B- was a hard goal instead of something closer to a suggestion to prevent severe overshooting, and that typing changes were completely banned when they are just generally discouraged due to all the other options being generally preferred from a process standpoint. A lot of this was me jumping to conclusions, but now is a good time to hammer these out and make them more explicit.
  • This has been discussed and recognized on Discord, but I think better names for the buffs would be "primary" (instead of major) and "supporting" (instead of minor), to better indicate that the supporting buffs might be entirely dependent on the major buff to work.
  • I think polling the major buffs first and the minor buffs second went relatively fine. We will likely have cases in the future that are similar to this process's No Guard Thunder, where people vote for No Guard on the possibility of getting Thunder later, although I am not totally clear on whether this is polljumping or not. This also plays into a more general point of whether we should have only major buffs proposed and polled before opening minor buffs.
  • We should definitely continue to include "no buff" options on all polls, even for the poll where we select the CAP to be buffed. If people generally think that no CAP is really in need of a buff, I feel like it would be worth it to leave that option open, even if the likelihood of it gaining actual steam probably won't happen for years.
  • We also need to figure out under what circumstances multiple buffs can be chosen. My understanding is that there will always be one primary buff, but for Voodoom we also ended up selecting only one minor buff as well. I think this turned out relatively fine this time, but in the future it might be worth opening discussion during the minor buff section over whether multiple buffs should be chosen or not.
 
This has been discussed and recognized on Discord, but I think better names for the buffs would be "primary" (instead of major) and "supporting" (instead of minor), to better indicate that the supporting buffs might be entirely dependent on the major buff to work.
I think there’s a distinction to be made between a supporting buff, that only makes sense if the complementary Major buff is chosen I.e. No Guard+Thunder and minor buffs, that don’t raise the power level a lot on their own, but work as a buff on their own I.e. +10 Speed for Voodoom.

We also need to figure out under what circumstances multiple buffs can be chosen. My understanding is that there will always be one primary buff, but for Voodoom we also ended up selecting only one minor buff as well. I think this turned out relatively fine this time, but in the future it might be worth opening discussion during the minor buff section over whether multiple buffs should be chosen or not.
I think this is going to be more important for Mons where single major buffs aren’t as likely.
The question here is, if a bundle of minor buffs can be voted on (similar to Miasmaws post play lookback) or could even be treated as a major buff.
For example Snaelstrom might have the minor buff options Calm Mind and Recover.
Let’s say Individually they’d be minor buffs and thus would be voted as such.
But if we could bundle them in one vote I think they together would amount to a major buff, so should there be an option where they are bundled or should every buff only be allowed exclusively/seperately like we did with Voodoom.
I think the latter is technically cleaner as we don’t have to list every single combination of buffs for the votes and could just decide after the first poll if we want to add another option but at the same time this process would significantly prolong the buffing process for extensive bundles so the prior might be preferable.
 
I would say there were a few misconceptions and unclear directions on how this process was going to play out (likewise quziel did a good job at addressing such issues as they came up, but the core problem is still there regardless)

  1. I know my initial understanding of the buff process, and from what it seems many others as well, was that this wasn't going to be much different from our usual CAP processes like Typing, Stats, and Abilities. As time went on, however, it had to be explained through a variety of modposts how the buffing procedure was supposed to work, which was often in conflict to what people expected. There was no clear language on this in the beginning, so when designing my initial No Guard Sub, there was a sense of "competition" to make mine stand out versus the other No Guard submissions. It was only later that we were told our submissions weren't going to be shipped together, but only individual aspects of them.
  2. Buffs being divided into Major or Minor feels restrictive and complicated. In some cases what one person might consider a Minor Buff another would see as Major, and that has ramifications for how things are going to be polled. More importantly, however, is that certain Buffs are codependent on other inclusions to really be impactful. I don't think No Guard alone would be that much of a boost if all it affected was Focus Blast, which is why Thunder was a common addition as it was a pro-concept improvement to our coverage as well. The way the Buff process works, however, can't guarantee that this combination happens. Not only does this cause polljumping, but it also made No Guard much less appealing to me, which caused my vote to flip towards the more reliable +25 Special Attack. Obviously this isn't the worst thing in the world, but it does show how, in the current system, certain buffs may be unfavorable compared to others when important aspects of why such a buff is appealing can't be bundled together. That opens a whole different can of worms, where multi-buff submissions may have a polling advantage over those with less in them, or vice-versa. Point is, I think we would benefit a lot from ironing out what exactly makes a buff Major or Minor, and the limits of what each Buff is able to add to the CAP in question. This may even have to be a case-by-case situation: for Voodoom we certainly seemed to have gotten by just with a simple stat boost and the niche Sucker Punch, but for a different CAP that may not be enough.
  3. To ride off the above point, we had Major and Minor buffs both get submitted at the start despite only initially polling for the Major Buff. This honestly doesn't make any sense. Minor Buffs are likely to be added as supplements to a given Major Buff, and if only one Major Buff is chosen, then most Minor Buffs may not be relevant anymore. If we're going to poll Major Buffs first and Minor Buffs second, then our focus should only be on Major Buffs during the first phase with no consideration towards any potential Minor Buffs until we get to that stage. Otherwise all it does is cause unnecessary polljumping and clutter to the whole process.
For our first attempt at such an in-depth buffing process, at least compared to the generational updates, I would say we got there in the end and the result is one I'm certainly happy with, but in the future we shouldn't have someone guide the thread along every few posts due to critical information not being clear or just straight-up absent.

Beyond that I have just a few other related thoughts that don't pertain towards this process specifically but Buffing in general:
  • I think this fits nicely in-between standard CAP projects, which tends to have some downtime as things settle. A question I have is do we want to start the Buffing process during the tail-end of a CAP (29 is mostly done but not 100%), or only after we've completely finished? I'm not sure myself, but it's still something to consider.
  • Buffing as a whole doesn't entirely sit right with me. It's enjoyable for sure, but I worry about its sustainability. As time goes on more Pokemon, both official and CAP, are going to be added, and eventually there's just not going to be enough room for everything to be viable. This was a concern from the start iirc, and we went along with it in the end. The issue is, what's the stopping point? Are we going to be in a constant race against time trying to keep things viable? Long-term our chances of having every CAP "viable' feels increasingly difficult to accomplish with how volatile generational shifts can be. Just look at how different Gen 8 is from Gen 7. What I'm getting at is that we may be better off striving for "usability" versus "viability." There are certainly Pokemon out there that are "useable" but not strictly "viable." Ditto stands out to me in this regard: its not ranked anywhere in the VR nor does it see high usage, but it has a clear and defined niche so that if you wanted to use it, you certainly could, and even find success. That's an extreme example as Imposter Ditto is literally unlike anything else in Pokemon. Closer to home is something like Fidgit, which also cheats by having a signature one-of-a-kind ability. It's not ranked either but it has an entirely unique role; everyone knows what it does and how to best utilize it, so while its not currently viable I wouldn't say it's a Pokemon you couldn't realistically squeeze a strong team out of. I think this process stands to gain a lot more from making a CAP "function" in a given role instead of simply being "viable" in a singular metagame, as viability is extremely volatile based on the current metagame climate. Hopefully everything I just said doesn't come off as insane.
  • The moveset > stats > ability > typing hierarchy is perfectly acceptable though I'm not sure if its something that needs to be set-in-stone for each process. We could end up buffing a CAP that has great moves but its just got bad stats or its ability isn't good anymore. I don't think this has too much of an effect, but at the same time there should also be a better way of showing buff priority. I agree type changes are a "last resort" situation and should always stay at the bottom.
  • By far the most successful part of this process was the initial stage, where we outlined Voodoom's problems, its original intent, and what exactly we should do to remedy its problem. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered at the beginning, and we were able to answer the bulk of them right away. I have no doubt this led to a more focused and constructive buffing process along the way as opposed to immediately opening the door for submissions.
 

quziel

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Mod Post:
Hey, we'll be reopening the PRC thread on the defunct CAP buff process after this, please use this thread to only give opinions on how the Voodoom buff has turned out so far, and if you think we need any further work. Thanks
 
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Sharing my replays using Voodoom so far, I didnt save some of the replays unfortunately:

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/captest-gen8cap-418-yabkdxsq5r9bwr9t4k8hi0jk97xlaq2pw
Voodoom has an insane matchup vs my team. Luckily it got greedy on a Cyclohm and got ohkod.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/captest-gen8cap-415-zmg63e4r1pcwm3e5hg2b4jqhbn2j6wfpw
Voodoom puts in work on both sides. NP vs Specs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/captest-gen8cap-414-zepp7xkuioussc5vxobi2noas46pio6pw
Voodoom plus future sight proves to be annoying

These arent high quality replays. But they show Voodoom doing some stuff. In particular, I think the NP set is pretty formidable as it threatens to OHKO basically everything slower than 110 and nothing faster wants to switch into Voodoom's coverage. Tornadus turned out to be pretty annoying though wouldve been manageable if I ran Tbolt. Specs was ok, but it turned out to be much more easily switched around and can create really awkward scenarios with mon combinations like Tomo, Slowking, Clefable. The guessing game gets pretty awkward. Voodoom pairs decently with mons like Rilla and Slowking, Rilla shares checks with the likes of Tomohawk that Voodoom can potentially remove, while almost removing LO damage. Slowking's Future Sight makes Voodoom impossible to switch into and they cover each other's answers somewhat. I feel pretty happy with where the buff left Voodoom, it feels usable, and it can find it much easier to convert the games where it does well in the team preview.

Regarding process, I think it went ok. I agree with this point:

  • Buffing as a whole doesn't entirely sit right with me. It's enjoyable for sure, but I worry about its sustainability. As time goes on more Pokemon, both official and CAP, are going to be added, and eventually there's just not going to be enough room for everything to be viable. This was a concern from the start iirc, and we went along with it in the end. The issue is, what's the stopping point? Are we going to be in a constant race against time trying to keep things viable? Long-term our chances of having every CAP "viable' feels increasingly difficult to accomplish with how volatile generational shifts can be.
Especially when it comes to the likes of sweepers and offensive mons, they dont have special universal niches that stand the test of time. They tend to die off and fall into lower tiers, and its unlikely you'll find that special Ditto-, Fidgit- or Kabutops-esque niche that gives them longevity as a mon in the lower tiers/UR. But since this is about the buffing process itself, I think most of the stuff has already been said. It would make more sense to get minor buffs suggestions after the major buff goes through. And certain buffs just need to be a bundle- for instance abilities with specific move additions like No Guard, that offer next-to-nothing by themselves. I think in general, abilities that replace the most commonly used ability should always go in the Primary buffs, no matter how powerful they are, because they reshape the pokemon's playstyle. Abilities that can become a secondary ability should go into the Secondary buffs.

I think it would be helpful to clear up the thing about placement aim. Lots of ppl including me were thinking of this as a small buff to provide the mon some low-tier usability and small niche - thats something that has been mentioned constantly by mods on the discord when debating buffs. That didnt seem to be the intention behind this buffing process. Maybe there is an internal discussion here thats taken place, or it was a sudden decision by the process leader. Ive heard mods even say that having a placement aim is a bad idea in general. Ultimately this could be discussed further so at least everyone is on the same page, and have some reference wrt the mons we want to buff it to the level of.
 
Posting another replay at the request of Pipotchi. This isn't particularly high quality either, but between what Pip has posted and what I have here, I think this is about the entire quantity of publicly available buffed Voodoom replays.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/captest-gen8cap-411
Dragapult does the cleanup, but Voodoom a few holes, including one in Clefable in order to set up the sweep, and its power is pretty noticeable here.

In my extremely small sample size, the buff seems to have been effective. There's definitely a power increase that makes it easier to Voodoom to lock into a move and be able to chunk something. I know SpDef/mixed Clefable has been gaining some momentum, and I think it will probably stand as one of the more reliable switchins (Flash Cannon nonwithstanding). Time will tell on whether the buff is enough to get Voodoom out of the pits for an extended period of time, but at first glance, I think the choice to be conservative with our minor buff has been relatively fine.
 
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