Announcement np: SM CAP Stage 1 - Toxic [Mega Crucibelle nerfed]

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Jordy

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Hello everyone, the council has discussed what the first Pokemon to undergo a nerfing process will be! This Pokemon will be Mega Crucibelle, which the CAP council has identified as a problematic threat in the metagame.

Between Mega Crucibelle's amazing pre- and post-mega ability, access to U-turn, and most importantly, STAB Head Smash, alongside a great Speed tier and amazing bulk, it's undeniably one of the best, most influential Pokemon in the CAP metagame. There's very little opportunity cost to running Mega Crucibelle, meaning that it will often outclass other Mega Evolutions like Mega Alakazam, Mega Latios, and Mega Mawile, which would otherwise be excellent options for teams. Regenerator in tandem with U-turn allows Crucibelle to function as an early-game pivot, providing tons of utility and weakening the opposition for itself late-game, while it can turn into a frightening wallbreaker once it Mega Evolves. Furthermore, its typing provides a very valuable Flying- and Fairy-type resistance, meaning it will not struggle to switch into play often. It should also not be undervalued just how threatening it is to be able to use Head Smash without getting punished unless Mega Crucibelle misses because of the significant lack of solid Rock-resistant Pokemon. Bulkier teams will often have to resort to incredibly niche Pokemon like Swampert, Seismitoad, Mega Aggron, and Hippowdon as well as defensive Kartana (Synthesis, HP invested) to check Mega Crucibelle, further evidencing just how centralizing of a force it is. Even facing these checks, Mega Crucibelle can still either gain momentum and pressure by pivoting out of them with U-turn or luring them with coverage moves like Low Kick and Wood Hammer. To add onto that, Mega Crucibelle is also incredibly hard to check offensively because its Speed tier puts it above Pokemon like Mega Latios and Mega Diancie, while its special bulk allows it to avoid being OHKOed by what would otherwise be good offensive checks, like Volkraken and Mega Alakazam. Pokemon like Jumbao and Tornadus-T are often forced to run the otherwise unconventional Hidden Power Ground just to prevent them from being bait for Mega Crucibelle. This issue has become even more apparent with the departure of Zygarde, which was Mega Crucibelle's strongest check.

Arghonaut – With enough investment, Arghonaut can be made to avoid being 2HKOed by Gunk Shot from Mega Crucibelle and threatens it out with Earthquake. However, if Mega Crucibelle uses U-turn on the initial turn Arghonaut comes in, it cannot do this again. Arghonaut also loses to Crucibelle if Gunk Shot ever poisons it on the switch, making it extremeley unreliable. It must also be careful of Mega Crucibelle carrying Wood Hammer, as this can knock out Arghonaut after it switches in to any attack.

Garchomp – Garchomp avoids being 2HKOed by both of Mega Crucibelle's STABs and can threaten to OHKO it in return. However, if Garchomp is U-turned on once or otherwise takes chip, it can no longer switch into Mega Crucibelle.

Fidgit – Very similar to Garchomp, as it lacks reliable recovery whilst it can take Head Smash twice. It is extremely prone to being worn down, especially by Mega Crucibelle's U-turn.

Landorus-T – Forces Mega Crucibelle out because it has to respect the possibility of Choice Scarf, but Head Smash does 2hko offensive variants, and defensive variants suffer the same issues as Garchomp and Fidgit; they're extremely vulnerable to U-turn.

Hippowdon – An extremely niche pick, but Hippowdon can be used to fix a team's Mega Crucibelle weakness, as it can easily switch into Mega Crucibelle's STAB attacks and threaten it with Earthquake. However, due to Mega Crucibelle's access to Wood Hammer, which has a chance to 2HKO Hippowdon, it must be wary coming in until Crucibelle's moves are fully revealed. Hippowdon, like every other defensive check to Mega Crucibelle, can be taken advantage of with U-turn to easily gain momentum.

Ferrothorn – Whilst Ferrothorn is one of the best checks to the usual Mega Crucibelle sets, it must scout for Low Kick before it's comfortable staying in on it because Low Kick can 2HKO it with a little prior chip damage. Otherwise, Mega Crucibelle can still U-turn for free on Ferrothorn, as it ignores Iron Barbs damage, allowing it to gain momentum even on its best check. Despite this, well-built Mega Crucibelle teams will often have multiple Pokemon which pressure Ferrothorn; it's often partnered with Pokemon such as Ash-Greninja and Tapu Lele, making Ferrothorn's job much more strenuous.

Magearna – Same as Ferrothorn, but Head Smash can 2HKO after Stealth Rock and U-turn damage.

Kartana – Defensive Kartana, much like Ferrothorn, can easily take on Mega Crucibelle and is much better against Low Kick variants. Mega Crucibelle must also be wary of Choice Scarf Kartana, as it can outspeed and OHKO.

Jirachi – Super niche Pokemon that can be used to somewhat check Mega Crucibelle, as it threatens it with Iron Head, but it is vulnerable to U-turn. Mega Crucibelle must be wary of Choice Scarf Jirachi if its item is not revealed, though.

Excadrill – One of the few removal options that can take on Mega Crucibelle as long as it is lacking Low Kick. Like everything else that is slower than Mega Crucibelle, it can easily be worn down by U-turn into a range where it can no longer switch in.

Celesteela – While it can take a Head Smash and threaten Mega Crucibelle out with Heavy Slam, this allows Mega Crucibelle's common partners to much more easily break through teams. It can also be taken advantage of with U-turn, because Celesteela has to attack.

Naviathan – Naviathan can set up on most variants of Crucibelle; however, it must be wary of Low Kick.

Ash-Greninja – Outspeeds Mega Crucibelle and threatens to OHKO it even before transformation as long as it's holding Choice Specs.

Mega Mawile – Mega Mawile can safely come in on Crucibelle as long as it has not Mega Evolved because it needs to Intimidate Mega Crucibelle in order to beat it one-on-one.

Volkraken & Mega Alakazam – Both Pokemon can come in and revenge kill Mega Crucibelle. Prior chip damage is needed, though, as both their STAB options have extremely low chances to OHKO Mega Crucibelle from full.

Tapu Lele – Choice Scarf variants can outspeed Mega Crucibelle and OHKO it from full HP, but these variants have been struggling recently because it is easily Pursuit trapped and just not that threatening in general.

Kitsunoh – Kitsunoh can come in on Mega Crucibelle once and can also threaten to OHKO it with either Meteor Mash or Earthquake.

Cyclohm – Whilst Cyclohm can't threaten Mega Crucibelle with any attacks, Mega Crucibelle is often forced out in fear of being Paralyzed by Static.

Syclant – Thanks to its signature ability, Mountaineer, Syclant can come in on Head Smash without taking any damage and also force Mega Crucibelle out with Earthquake. This is extremeley risky however, as Gunk Shot can OHKO Syclant.

Swampert & Seismitoad – While these Pokemon are great Mega Crucibelle checks, they lack recovery and are prone to being worn down, lose to Wood Hammer, and are easily taken advantage of with U-turn. They also offer very little to a team outside of checking Crucibelle.

Mega Slowbro – Mega Slowbro can comfortably take Mega Crucibelle's attacks but can end up losing if Gunk Shot poisons it. Mega Crucibelle can also force Slowbro to Mega Evolve earlier than it would like, as Slowbro can't take on Mega Crucibelle nearly as easily.

Crawdaunt – Can force Mega Crucibelle out because Aqua Jet has a strong chance to OHKO it.


Revenankh – Forces Mega Crucibelle out with Earthquake or its many status options. It takes very little damage from any of Mega Crucibelle's attacks but can easily be taken advantage of with U-turn.

Mega Aggron – Mega Aggron can take many hits from Mega Crucibelle, because even sets with Low Kick fail to 3HKO it. However, as it lacks reliable recovery by itself, it is prone to being worn down easily. Because of this, it is really only seen on defensive builds where it has access to Wish support, limiting the amount of cases where this is relevant.


While it may not seem broken on paper, here are a few replays that prove how threatening Mega Crucibelle is.

Jordy vs pythonsl:
Python's team features a very solid answer to Mega Crucibelle on paper in Mega Aggron. However, all it's able to do is force Mega Crucibelle to use U-turn, and it ends up being lured by All-Out Pummeling from Tapu Lele, leaving Python's team unable to handle Mega Crucibelle, with only Arghonaut being able to stomach a hit. As you can see, Mega Crucibelle is able to come in several more times, setting Stealth Rock every time while taking advantage of the passive Jumbao and Clefable.

SUNmyser vs EpicUmbreon29:
EpicUmbreon brings a set that shows off Mega Crucibelle's other options here, in this case Coil. Coil allows Mega Crucibelle to force Defensive Tomohawk to Haze its boosts and get KOed. Additionally, thanks to its great Speed tier, it continually forces Mega Medicham out. Even with a setup oriented set, it's still able to pivot out of Magearna and set up again, enabling Kitsunoh to clean up.

Process:
snake_rattler said:
1. The CAP Metagame Council identifies a broken/unhealthy threat. Input from the metagame discussion thread, Discord, high-level tournament replays, etc. are ways the community can voice their concerns to the CAP Metagame council.
2. The CAP Metagame Council begins a thread. The OP, written by the CAP Metagame Council, summarizes why the Pokemon is broken. Metagame shifts, game mechanics changing, or OU bans can be potential points. The CAP Metagame council will also include a checks and counters list. Hard-counters to soft-checks, hazard damage, relative ability to switch-in, etc. should be considered. Keep in mind that with the broken Pokemon in the metagame, we can continue to understand why it is broken.
3. In the thread, the community discusses the simplest solution(s) to making the CAP not broken. Here, we can well-define a new list of checks and counters. Some solutions may be changing its ability to one that's similar but not as good, reducing its speed tier, removing some of its bulk or attack, or removing a certain move or two from its movepool. The community will play a huge role in identifying what solutions are available, but CAP Metagame Council will have the final say on what nerf is implemented. Keep in mind that the nerf(s) that is(are) implemented MUST preserve the identity of the CAP (i.e. Necturna uses Sketch, Pajantom uses its powerful trapping move, etc.).
The Council under this process has the ability to change Mega Crucibelle in whatever method that does not remove its identity, which is utilizing an underused typing. This can include changes to its stat spread, movepool, and ability. Things like the removal of Head Smash and U-turn are within the realm of possibility. This does not mean we should actively look to nerf Mega Crucibelle a significant amount, but to a level where it remains good in the metagame.

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/!\Rules for posting in this thread/!\
Do not post one liners, nor uninformed posts;
Do not hold discussion on other potential nerfing processes;
Do not hold discussion on the nerfing process;
You are required to make respectful posts.
If you fail to follow these rules, your post will be deleted and you will be infracted.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask Jordy, SHSP, snake_rattler, Jho, and/or Mx.
 
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Jordy

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Hello! To begin the discussion, we have decided to make a list of potential edits that have been discussed on Discord. These are all just ideas for now, by the end of the process only some of them will be implemented, if any. Use this thread to discuss which combination of these nerfs you think are the best to make Mega Crucibelle balanced, or to make suggestions not on this list.

-Removing Head Smash: Head Smash is undoubtedly the most powerful move at Mega Crucibelle's disposal. If it were to be removed, it would have to rely on Stone Edge, which is 33% weaker. This would make Mega Crucibelle miss a ton of important benchmark; for example, it would now fail to 2HKO Kitsunoh and Celesteela.

-Removing Magic Guard: Removing this ability would make it much more easier to wear Mega Crucibelle down with entry hazards. In particular, once Crucibelle has Mega Evolved, it would be much harder to spam U-turn without having to worry about residual damage. Rock Head is an alternative ability if we want for Mega Crucibelle to still have access to a recoiless Head Smash, although some other niche options could be considered if we remove a (recoiless) Head Smash too.

-Removing U-turn: While U-turn is a weak move by itself, it gives Mega Crucibelle the ability to almost always maintain momentum against solid checks while slowly chipping them down. On top of that, this move has great synergy with both of Crucibelle's abilities, as both Regenerator and Magic Guard mitigate damage from entry hazards, which usually wear down pivots over time.

-Lowering its Speed: If we lowered Mega Crucibelle's speed by just 5 points, to 109, this would make it easier to revenge kill it with Pokemon like Mega Diancie and Mega Latios. If it was lowered just one more point, it would be enough for Kartana to outspeed it. If its speed were lowered to 104, it would then lose against Mega Pinsir and Krilowatt. This drops would not only make Mega Crucibelle easier to check offensively, but it would also increase the opportunity cost of using it, as it would now face increased competition from the Megas that would then beat it 1v1.

-Lowering its Special Defense: Mega Crucibelle's great bulk makes it incredibly difficult to revenge kill with faster attackers. For example, Timid Mega Alakazam's Psychic and Choice Scarf Volkraken's Hydro Pump only have a small chance to KO from full health. If this stat were lowered, it would be easier for these Pokemon to deal with Mega Crucibelle.

-Removing Low Kick and/or Wood Hammer: Although these moves are not particularly common, they give Mega Crucibelle a way around would be counters like Ferrothorn and Hippowdon. If they were removed, these Pokemon would become even more reliable checks.
 
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Alright, so I have a set of nerfs that I believe would balance out Mega Crucibelle while keeping what makes it special. Furthermore, I believe that these nerfs make MCruci riskier to use, as opposed to decreasing the reward for using it. The combination of nerfs I want are as follows:

  • Losing Magic Guard for Rock Head
  • Losing 6 speed (New total = 108)
  • Losing U-turn
  • Losing Low Kick & Wood Hammer
Without Magic Guard, Mega Crucibelle has to think twice about switching in if Spikes or Stealth Rock are present, as with hazards, MCruci becomes easier to revenge kill with MegaZam and Scarf Volk, the two Pokemon mentioned for dropping SpD.

252 SpA Alakazam-Mega Psychic vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Crucibelle-Mega: 306-360 (86.4 - 101.6%) -- 87.5% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock
252 SpA Volkraken Hydro Pump vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Crucibelle-Mega: 306-362 (86.4 - 102.2%) -- 93.8% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock

Losing 6 speed allows MCruci to be revenge killed by Kartana, Mega Diancie and Mega Latios. Mega Pinsir should still lose to MCruci, due to being quad weak, so I do not think we should drop to 104.

My most controversial nerf, I believe U-turn should be removed. People say that Head Smash would increase a lot of defensive checks with the loss of power. However, if you look at the checks and counters section, a vast majority of MCruci’s checks are invalidated by U-turn. I believe that removing U-turn would do a much better job at increasing the defensive checks without removing what in my opinion is the identity of MCruci in recoiless Head Smash. While getting around checks is what U-turn does, the sheer ease MCruci is able to do this is the issue.

Finally, I believe Low Kick and Wood Hammer should go, especially if U-turn does as well. While currently not seen much, they allow MCruci to work around Ferrothorn and Arghonaut. If U-turn goes, these moves will be seen a lot more often, and I believe we shouldn’t let Mega Crucibelle work around these two so easily, if at all. At the very least, I want to remove Low Kick, as it gets around a much stronger counter in Ferro compared to Arghonaut.
 
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Frostbiyt

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-Removing Head Smash: Head Smash is undoubtedly the most powerful move at Mega Crucibelle's disposal. If it were to be removed, it would have to rely on Stone Edge, which is 33% weaker. This would make Mega Crucibelle miss a ton of important benchmark; for example, it would now fail to 2HKO Kitsunoh and Celesteela.
For this change I'd like to see some calcs before I decide what my opinion is, currently I'm neutral on it.
-Removing Magic Guard: Removing this ability would make it much more easier to wear Mega Crucibelle down with entry hazards. In particular, once Crucibelle has Mega Evolved, it would be much harder to spam U-turn without having to worry about residual damage. Rock Head is an alternative ability if we want for Mega Crucibelle to still have access to a recoiless Head Smash, although some other niche options could be considered if we remove a (recoiless) Head Smash too.
I think removing Magic Guard would probably have the greatest impact of any single change made to Mega Cruci. Taking hazard damage will cut down on the number of times Cruci could switch in and U-Turns could be punished by bringing in a Pokemon with a Rocky Helmet or Iron Barbs.

-Removing U-turn: While U-turn is a weak move by itself, it gives Mega Crucibelle the ability to almost always maintain momentum against solid checks while slowly chipping them down. On top of that, this move has great synergy with both of Crucibelle's abilities, as both Regenerator and Magic Guard mitigate damage from entry hazards, which usually wear down pivots over time.
While this would undoubtedly be an effective nerf, I would prefer to explore other options first as I feel like removing U-Turn would greatly impact the role Cruci has in the meta rather than just how effective it is at that role.

-Lowering its Speed: If we lowered Mega Crucibelle's speed by just 5 points, to 109, this would make it easier to revenge kill it with Pokemon like Mega Diancie and Mega Latios. If it was lowered just one more point, it would be enough for Kartana to outspeed it. If its speed were lowered to 104, it would then lose against Mega Pinsir and Krilowatt. This drops would not only make Mega Crucibelle easier to check offensively, but it would also increase the opportunity cost of using it, as it would now face increased competition from the Megas that would then beat it 1v1.
I'm not pro or anti speed change, but I think if necessary, it should be done to fine-tune Cruci's power level after other changes have been made.

-Lowering its Special Defense: Mega Crucibelle's great bulk makes it incredibly difficult to revenge kill with faster attackers. For example, Timid Mega Alakazam's Psychic and Choice Scarf Volkraken's Hydro Pump only have a small chance to KO from full health. If this stat were lowered, it would be easier for these Pokemon to deal with Mega Crucibelle.
While this is a pretty minor change, I think it's an important one. The calcs for Volkraken and Mega Alakazam vs Cruci currently are:
252 SpA Alakazam-Mega Psychic vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Crucibelle-Mega: 306-360 (86.4 - 101.6%) -- 12.5% chance to OHKO
252 SpA Volkraken Hydro Pump vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Crucibelle-Mega: 306-362 (86.4 - 102.2%) -- 18.8% chance to OHKO
252+ SpA Alakazam-Mega Psychic vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Crucibelle-Mega: 336-396 (94.9 - 111.8%) -- 68.8% chance to OHKO

Reducing SpD by just 3 points(to base 122) in conjunction with removing Magic Guard would give these calcs:
252 SpA Alakazam-Mega Psychic vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Crucibelle-Mega: 312-368 (88.1 - 103.9%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Stealth Rock
252 SpA Volkraken Hydro Pump vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Crucibelle-Mega: 312-368 (88.1 - 103.9%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Stealth Rock
252+ SpA Alakazam-Mega Psychic vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Crucibelle-Mega: 342-404 (96.6 - 114.1%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Stealth Rock

If we want these two to be able to revenge kill Cruci even more reliably, that would require a drop of 20 SpD(to base 105):
252 SpA Alakazam-Mega Psychic vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Crucibelle-Mega: 354-416 (100 - 117.5%) -- guaranteed OHKO

-Removing Low Kick and/or Wood Hammer: Although these moves are not particularly common, they give Mega Crucibelle a way around would be counters like Ferrothorn and Hippowdon. If they were removed, these Pokemon would become even more reliable checks.
While both of these moves are uncommon, just the fact that it can run these severely limits your ability to play around Cruci before you have figured out its set which makes it even easier for its user to keep their momentum going. I think we need to lose at least one of these moves at the very least, though I'd prefer both to be removed.

I'm not sure what exact combination of nerfs will lead to a balanced Cruci, but this is the order in which I would personally make changes until I came to a power level I found acceptable:
1. Remove Magic Guard(most likely replaced with Rock Head)
2. Remove Low Kick and Wood Hammer
3. Reduce SpD
4. Reduce Spe
5. Remove Head Smash
6. Remove U-Turn
 
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Before I start I'll just say my priorities are heavily in line with Frostbiyt's list and as such I'll try my best to not super rehash what they or anyone else has said so I'll to keep things concise. Above all else I believe Magic Guard must go, it's simply gives Cruci too much room to be the menace it is. Allowing Cruci to take any chip is so huge. I'm firmly in the Rock Head camp as a replacement ability but if Head Smash were deemed to go as well I'd lean to some other options like No Guard.

On removing coverage moves (Low Kick & Wood Hammer) I have no qualms about axing both of these no matter which way the discussion goes. Despite low usage on these Cruci has no rhyme or reason to have the option of beating down it's counters if it wants to.

On stat changes I wasn't super into them before this started but after seeing the discussion in the Discord I've really come to like the idea of minor stat nerfs. In particular I love the idea of a Speed drop of at least -6 (placing Cruci at 108) is an exceptionally good step. This opens the door to allow it to be revenged and pressured far more heavily by offense as well as raises Crucis opportunity cost over other faster megas. I'm not for or against a SpDef drop atm but I don't think it'll be particularly needed if Magic Guard gets the boot.

On Head Smash (& U-Turn) I disagree with removing these. These are the moves that have defined Cruci's identity and role since it's creation and to remove them feels like extreme overkill. While I understand the idea of removing Smash to lower Cruci's 'power ceiling' and make it more manageable defensively I don't think it's necessary if other changes are made. That drastic of a power decrease (which also changes it's strongest STAB from Rock to Poison) goes beyond making Cruci more manageable and straight up changing how it's played. In the same regard, while U-Turn is a key part of allowing Cruci to be the dominant pivot it is I feel it's not the primary issue, the combination of U-Turn + Magic Guard + Speed tier is.

I'm not set in stone on anything yet for right now I'm heavily leaning into at the very least the removal of Magic Guard. My priorities list would prob be something like

Preferred
-Kill Magic Guard
-Kill Low Kick & Wood Hammer
-Lower Speed

Not Preferred
-Lower SpDef
-Remove Head Smash
-Remove U-Turn
 
HEY CAP!
:psyglad:
I know its been a fat minute since I've posted in this part of the forum. Obviously I haven't played CAP in a long time so take what I say with a grain of salt. This is what I feel should happen to Crucibelle!

In order from Most Important to Least important Nerfs
-Magic Guard
-Low Kick & Wood Hammer
-Nerf Speed

I agree with a lot of what Zetasniper and Frostbiyt said in their posts. If anything is going to be dropped it should be Magic Guard. Magic Guard allows Crucibelle to just throw off Head Smashes & Wood Hammers without fearing the damage from the recoil. In addition, Mega Crucibelle no longer cares about Hazards. This allows it to come in more often and abuse its STAB Head Smash. Changing Magic Guard would be the single biggest nerf to Crucibelle we could possibly make.

If Crucibelle loses Magic Guard and its still somewhat overwhelming, I believe dropping Low Kick and Wood Hammer would be the next best nerf. Wood Hammer and Low Kick allow Mega Crucibelle to work around some of its checks such as Arghonaut, Ferrothorn, Naviathan, and Excadrill. This is really good when taking into consideration Mega Crucibelle's ability to be one of the best late game sweepers in the tier. With both of these moves removed, mega Crucibelle requires more support than it needed prior.

Lowering mega Crucibelle's speed is the next best nerf we could make. Mega Crucibelle currently sits at around 359 Speed at max. I'm going to quote Jordy's post here because I feel it sums up everything I want to say.
If we lowered Mega Crucibelle's speed by just 5 points, to 109, this would make it easier to revenge kill it with Pokemon like Mega Diancie and Mega Latios. If it was lowered just one more point, it would be enough for Kartana to outspeed it. If its speed were lowered to 104, it would then lose against Mega Pinsir and Krilowatt. This drops would not only make Mega Crucibelle easier to check offensively, but it would also increase the opportunity cost of using it, as it would now face increased competition from the Megas that would then beat it 1v1.
 
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I think an important thing to keep in mind when nerfing a Pokemon is to make sure you're only targeting the areas that are actually problems. If you ask any top player why they think Mega Crucibelle is broken they almost certainly will not say "because of its great coverage options in Wood Hammer and Low Kick". While there's no doubt these moves can be useful, they really aren't the root cause of Mega Crucibelle's dominance. Its ability to come in heaps throughout the game thanks, mainly, to Magic Guard and then proceed to set up Stealth Rocks or pivot out with U-Turn are arguably the most oppressive things this Pokemon does. And with that in mind I think the following changes are best.

Remove Magic Guard in favour of Rock Head
Lower Speed


Both of these nerfs main function is to reduce the amount of times Mega Crucibelle can come in throughout the match. Rock Head over Magic Guard means that Cruci is taking more residual damage from hazards and/or Iron Barbs/Rocky Helmet. The lowering of speed also decreases switch-in opportunities because it decreases the amount of things Crucibelle can threaten. With there nerfs Mega Crucibelle would have more competition from other Megas and would also require a lot more team support (hazard removal & having more answers for checks because Cruci can't just wear everything down by itself w/ U-Turn and resisted Head Smashes as easily) which actually makes you stop and think rather than mindlessly clicking on it in your teambuilder (I am def guilty of this).
 

Bughouse

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I think the least offensive places to start would be lowering speed (please also lower base Crucibelle so that it still follows standard Mega conventions) and removing Low Kick and Wood Hammer. An optional reduction of spdef while you're in there making edits. If that proves to not be enough, then revisit it once again.

Replacing Magic Guard with Rock Head is also a possibility but in my mind probably more extreme than necessary, since starting to take hazard damage is really quite a large change and a massive debuff. Lowering stats is probably sufficient and ensuring some hard counters through removing niche coverage is an added bonus.

Removing Head Smash or U-turn should only be a last resort.
 

snake_rattler

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I'd like to present an argument in favor of removing Head Smash. Whether or not we go through with this nerf, we must go over this possibility's reasoning and consequences. I'll first go over the motivations of undergoing this nerf, and then present calcs to back up those claims.

Motivations for the removal Head Smash:
First, it addresses the most broken element on Mega Crucibelle, recoilless Head Smash. I've thrown around the term "power ceiling" on Discord, and I've realized that the term apparently...isn't the most intuitive. Thus, I'd like to elucidate what I mean by it. A Pokemon's power ceiling is how much damage it can deal out with its strongest attacks that it most commonly runs. So, Mega Crucibelle's power ceiling is most certainly defined by Head Smash, as it can outright OHKO and 2HKO the majority of the metagame. Gunk Shot definitely does too, but not to the degree that Head Smash does. Now, removing Head Smash would lower Mega Crucibelle's power ceiling quite dramatically. But why is this the problem I choose to focus on? Think about why U-turn is so effective. U-turn is effective when the user can force switches. Thus, the Pokemon's power ceiling should correlate with how well it can use U-turn. If Mega Crucibelle can't force as many switches, it doesn't get as many successful U-turns off of checks. It's also how Mega Crucibelle generates free turns to get Stealth Rock so consistently.

This is important because we can say that we can decrease a few stats here and there and call it a day, but if Mega Crucibelle still has the ability to force as many switches as it does now, how well are we really nerfing it? Sure, we can make sure that it takes residual damage with Rock Head, but it still has the ability to dish out huge volumes of damage. If we settle on it taking residual damage, the metagame will ultimately center around chipping down Mega Crucibelle with Stealth Rock, Spikes, Leech Seed, etc. I'm not sure if this achieves the level of balance we want for Mega Crucibelle.

Second, removing Head Smash preserves Mega Crucibelle's current niche in the metagame. Without Head Smash, Mega Crucibelle would have to rely on Stone Edge, but a set consisting of Stone Edge / Gunk Shot / U-turn / Stealth Rock is much different than the sets that would arise if we, say, removed U-turn. I find this important because Mega Crucibelle's niche is definitely an interesting niche: a strong, bulky, and fast pivot that sets Stealth Rock. In fact, it's basically the perfect niche. I do think have the distinct niche of a bulky and fast pivot (read, less strong) is important though, because if Mega Crucibelle loses its niche as a pivot, it faces intense competition from other Mega Pokemon like Mega Medicham, Mega Alakazam, and Mega Mawile, who are arguably better wallbreakers, especially if we got rid of U-turn. Thus, lowering Mega Crucibelle's overall damage output through removing Head Smash allows it to compete with other Mega Pokemon simply by occupying a different niche. As it is now, it blatently outclasses them because it reaches a power ceiling as similar to theirs while also having the bulk and speed attached to it.

Now, I'd like to look into the drop in power from Head Smash to Stone Edge. To put it in perspective, think about the damage output of Choice Band Weavile. Now, think about how much its power drops when its Choice Band is knocked off. That's the same drop in power that Mega Crucibelle would face by having to run Stone Edge. However, this allows a lot of breathing room for many of Mega Crucibelle's would-be checks! Most of them are worn down extremely quickly by Head Smash, but definitely not as fast with Stone Edge. Take a look:

Calcs:
Celesteela
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Head Smash vs. 248 HP / 28 Def Celesteela: 238-282 (59.9 - 71%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Stone Edge vs. 248 HP / 28 Def Celesteela: 160-189 (40.3 - 47.6%) -- 3.1% chance to 2HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
Some Celesteela can elect to run more physically defensive sets, but it should be apparent how different Celesteela's matchup is affected by Stone Edge Mega Crucibelle. While it's not the best check, it can more reliably switch in, not be overwhelmed by Mega Crucibelle, and threaten to KO with Heavy Slam

Landorus-T
-1 252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Head Smash vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Landorus-Therian: 183-216 (57.3 - 67.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock
-1 252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Stone Edge vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Landorus-Therian: 123-145 (38.5 - 45.4%) -- 14.1% chance to 2HKO after Stealth Rock
With Landorus-T's Z-Fly set, its best set right now, Landorus-T can soft check Mega Crucibelle. Again, it can be overwhelmed, but it's definitely not as easy to do so.

-1 252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Head Smash vs. 252 HP / 112+ Def Landorus-Therian: 148-175 (38.7 - 45.8%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
-1 252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Stone Edge vs. 252 HP / 112+ Def Landorus-Therian: 100-118 (26.1 - 30.8%) -- 99.9% chance to 4HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
Defensive Landorus-T has a much better matchup also.

Magearna
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Head Smash vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Magearna: 111-132 (36.8 - 43.8%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Stealth Rock
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Stone Edge vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Magearna: 75-88 (24.9 - 29.2%) -- guaranteed 4HKO after Stealth Rock
Magearna, a Steel-type, can actually set up against Stone Edge Mega Crucibelle. Otherwise, it doesn't have time to get the necessary boosts to break past Mega Crucibelle with Focus Blast.

252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Head Smash vs. 248 HP / 92 Def Magearna: 102-121 (28 - 33.3%) -- 0% chance to 3HKO
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Head Smash vs. 248 HP / 92 Def Magearna: 102-121 (28 - 33.3%) -- 28.9% chance to 3HKO after Stealth Rock
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Stone Edge vs. 248 HP / 92 Def Magearna: 69-81 (19 - 22.3%) -- possible 5HKO
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Stone Edge vs. 248 HP / 92 Def Magearna: 69-81 (19 - 22.3%) -- guaranteed 5HKO after Stealth Rock
The difference is all too apparent with the Pain Split set. Magearna can use this set to pretty reliably check Mega Crucibelle, especially with Pain Split.

Fidgit
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Head Smash vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Fidgit: 117-138 (35.2 - 41.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Stealth Rock
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Stone Edge vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Fidgit: 78-93 (23.4 - 28%) -- guaranteed 4HKO after Stealth Rock
This calc is deceptively useful. With Stone Edge, now Mega Crucibelle is much more likely to put pivot Fidgit into Iapapa Berry range.

Mega Mawile
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Head Smash vs. 92 HP / 0 Def Mawile-Mega: 104-123 (39.3 - 46.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Stealth Rock
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Stone Edge vs. 92 HP / 0 Def Mawile-Mega: 69-82 (26.1 - 31%) -- guaranteed 4HKO after Stealth Rock
-1 252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Stone Edge vs. 92 HP / 0 Def Mawile-Mega: 46-55 (17.4 - 20.8%) -- possible 5HKO after Stealth Rock

-1 252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Head Smash vs. 92 HP / 0 Def Mawile: 96-114 (36.3 - 43.1%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Stealth Rock
-1 252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Stone Edge vs. 92 HP / 0 Def Mawile: 64-76 (24.2 - 28.7%) -- guaranteed 4HKO after Stealth Rock

Especially factoring in the pre-mega Intimidate drop, Mega Mawile can more reliably check Mega Crucibelle.

Kartana
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Head Smash vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Kartana: 100-118 (38.4 - 45.3%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Stealth Rock
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Stone Edge vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Kartana: 67-79 (25.7 - 30.3%) -- guaranteed 4HKO after Stealth Rock
I'm blowing the same horn, but look at how much better this Steel-type with good, but not great, physical bulk can check Mega Crucibelle.

Naviathan
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Head Smash vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Naviathan: 138-162 (39.7 - 46.6%) -- 32% chance to 2HKO after Stealth Rock and burn damage
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Stone Edge vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Naviathan: 92-108 (26.5 - 31.1%) -- 97.1% chance to 3HKO after Stealth Rock and burn damage
Alright, Low Kick aside, Stone Edge Mega Crucibelle can't inhibit Naviathan's setup with its standard U-turn + Rocks set. Meaning, it has to go out of its way to run Low Kick to beat Naviathan.

Garchomp
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Head Smash vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Garchomp: 131-155 (36.5 - 43.2%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Stealth Rock
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Stone Edge vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Garchomp: 88-104 (24.5 - 29%) -- guaranteed 4HKO after Stealth Rock
Again. Garchomp, anatural check to Mega Crucibelle, running an offensive set (SD Rockium Z) like it wants to actually putting up a good chance.

Ferrothorn
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Head Smash vs. 252 HP / 24 Def Ferrothorn: 97-115 (27.5 - 32.6%) -- 99.8% chance to 4HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Stone Edge vs. 252 HP / 24 Def Ferrothorn: 65-77 (18.4 - 21.8%) -- possible 6HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
Low Kick aside, this means that Mega Crucibelle has a much lower chance of hitting Ferrothorn on the switch-in and then following up with another hit and knocking out, further solidifying Ferrothorn as a check to non-Low Kick sets.

Toxapex
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Head Smash vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Toxapex: 175-207 (57.5 - 68%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock and Black Sludge recovery
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Stone Edge vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Toxapex: 117-138 (38.4 - 45.3%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Stealth Rock and Black Sludge recovery
While it's still a 3HKO, this gives Toxapex more opportunities to fish for a Scald burn and to recover stall out Stone Edge.

There are some notable guaranteed OHKOs that Mega Crucibelle loses out on:

252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Head Smash vs. 248 HP / 240+ Def Zapdos: 408-482 (106.5 - 125.8%) -- guaranteed OHKO
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Stone Edge vs. 248 HP / 240+ Def Zapdos: 272-324 (71 - 84.5%) -- 75% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery

252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Head Smash vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Pajantom: 334-394 (107.7 - 127%) -- guaranteed OHKO
252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Stone Edge vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Pajantom: 223-264 (71.9 - 85.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

However, I think that these calcs show how Mega Crucibelle can overwhelm a lot of its would-be checks with Head Smash AND without even considering its coverage moves, Low Kick and Wood Hammer. Even if we change Magic Guard to Rock Head and keep Head Smash, which would allow it to be chipped down by hazards, none of these Head Smash calcs go away. Thus, if we really want to look at what's making Mega Crucibelle broken/unhealthy, Head Smash definitely one of the big points.

Now, obviously if we do go through with removing Head Smash, this raises the question of potential alternatives to Magic Guard if we also want to change its ability, since Rock Head doesn't really do much anymore. However, I think that's a discussion for later; in terms of this post, I'd rather everyone focus on the argument for the removal of Head Smash.

To summarize,

1. With Mega Crucibelle's power ceiling lowered, it's much, much easier to check Mega Crucibelle defensively. We directly address why Mega Crucibelle is broken.
2. The above calcs support point 1.
3. By keeping what differentiates Mega Crucibelle from other Mega Pokemon, it can continue to compete with them, but not completely overshadow them, by occupying a unique niche.
4. While this chance would affect potential alternatives to Magic Guard, please focus on the Head Smash argument when addressing this post.
 
After much deliberation on discord, I've decided on what I think should be done to Mega Crucibelle. I'm in favor of changing Mega Crucibelle's ability and lowering its base speed from 114 to 104. This is Essentially just a more informed and updated version of my previous post. I can't remember who said this on Discord but I agree with the philosophy that these nerfs should be conducted under a Same Risk Lower Reward premise.



Removing Magic Guard:
I agree with a lot of what snake_rattler said about recoil-less Head Smash. He provided the calcs and it proves Head Smash is an Insanely powerful move enabling it to OHKO and 2HKO much of the metagame. However, I do not believe this warrants the removal of Head Smash. I believe the correct course of action is changing Mega Crucibelle's ability so that it is able to take recoil damage from Head Smash. This reduces Head Smash's merit and instead makes Stone Edge the better choice. Furthermore, with the removal of Magic Guard, Crucibelle is now able to take damage from hazards, burn, hail, Leech Seed, etc. Meaning Mega Crucibelle can't just U-turn all willy-nilly anymore like it does currently. This change would successfully create a much higher risk situation for Mega Crucibelle.

Pressure
Liquid Ooze
Shell Armor
Oblivious
Anticipation
Cute Charm :heart:


Lowering Speed:
In addition to removing Magic Guard, Mega Crucibelle's overwhelming Speed seems to be a hot issue as well. Jordy already covered the entirety of this issue in his post earlier.

-Lowering its Speed: If we lowered Mega Crucibelle's speed by just 5 points, to 109, this would make it easier to revenge kill it with Pokemon like Mega Diancie and Mega Latios. If it was lowered just one more point, it would be enough for Kartana to outspeed it. If its speed were lowered to 104, it would then lose against Mega Pinsir and Krilowatt.
As you can see lowering Crucibelle's speed to 104 means it loses to a handful of more Pokemon. This, in-turn, increases the opportunity cost of using Mega Crucibelle as it now receives Competition from other Megas in the metagame.


EDIT: Sorry for quoting the exact same Excerpt from jordy's post as I did with my previous post
 
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Funbot28

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I will probably write a more detailed post later on but I definitely wanna give my support behind the idea of replacing Magic Guard to Rock Head, an ability that is similar yet not as powerful. The main issue I see whenever I face a Mega Crucibelle is the amount of free switchins it gains thanks to its ability nullifying any entry hazard damage. With this in mind, Mega Crucibelle would need to think twice before coming into SR and Spikes. Now I know this expressed concern to some as many believe the meta to be already warped around hazard stacking and I tend to agree, however I cannot claim this issue on Mega Belle specifically and instead hope that we may further look into reverting the addition of Spikes on Argonaught, as it seems to be the main perpetrator when it comes to this specific issue. To me, this change helps with nerfing Mega Crucibelle while simultaneously keeps the original concept behind the CAP in mind.

I also agree that a reduction in speed (114 -> 104) to be exact can be warranted as it can help threats like Latios, Serperior, Mega Diancie, and non-Scarf Kitsunoh actually have a chance in revenge killing it. I don't think we need to reduce the Speed of its base forme as we can always carry the extra base 10 points to somewhere else in its stats (like maybe a Special Attack buff from 75 -> 95 seems to be the least hostile). I also can accept a Speed decrease to 109 Speed as Kartana always had the chance to come into it regardless, anything above seems a bit too lenient.

Removing coverage options (mainly Low Kick and Wood Hammer) seems slightly unnecessary when considering that most Mega Crucibelle's tend to run dual STAB, U-Turn, and Stealth Rock and moves such as Gunk Shot can potentially 2hko stuff like Argonaught regardless. I can maybe see a case for Low Kick though as it can at least make Ferrothorn a better check.
 
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Deck Knight

CAP Triple Crown
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A few thoughts on the nature of Cruci's identity:

Crucibelle was unique as a process in that it was explicitly built to explore Mega Evolution, and intended both the base and Mega to be viable. Here's the full concept:

Concept:
Name: Typing Underdog

General Description: A Pokémon which utilizes an undervalued typing to its full potential, by playing towards both its strengths and weaknesses.

Justification: Each typing possesses a unique set of characteristics, causing all of them to perform very differently in various aspects of battle. However, not every typing has been granted the opportunity to display this potential, being forced into suboptimal roles by virtue of stats, ability and movepool, and therefore often being labelled as “bad”.
This concept aims to do a detailed analysis on the primary function of such a typing along with its potentially unexplored capabilities, by creating a Pokémon that that emphasizes the typing’s most prominent traits and utilizes them effectively.
This approach will not only allow us to widen our understanding on the unique niche and preferred playstyle of the typing, but will also give us additional insight on the mechanics that lead to success and failure of the typing when comparing CAP to the wielders in the lower tiers.

Questions to be answered:
  • What are the most important traits the Pokémon gains from the chosen typing, both positive and negative?
  • Is quality or quantity of weaknesses/resistances/immunities more relevant to the chosen typing? What does this mean for the way it is played?
  • How significant is the niche provided by the typing in OU? Are there any striking flaws in the typing that can’t be played around and prevent the Pokémon from performing reliably?
  • How reliant is the typing on stats, ability and movepool in order to succeed in OU?
  • Are the unique characteristics granted by the typing enough to set the Pokemon apart, or does it face strong competition for its role from Pokémon of other types?
  • Is there any distinct playstyle that suits the chosen typing the best? Or can the same typing be utilized in an entirely different approach to similar success?
  • How important is a type’s versatility for its overall success?
  • Is a single Pokémon capable of portraying most relevant aspects of the entire type?
As to how Crucibelle manifested itself, its base form utilizes the typing's general resistance to passive damage with Regenerator and U-turn, and this is its bread and butter for those sets.

Mega Cruci really has two elements thanks to Magic Guard:
1. Further residual damage resistance, building from base Crucibelle.
2. Absurdly strong recoil free Head Smash for STAB and Wood Hammer for coverage.

Replacing Magic Guard with Rock Head removes the first application, making Mega Cruci's ability fully offensive.
Removing Head Smash and Wood Hammer removes the second application, making Mega Cruci's ability purely defensive/preservative. This choice does have the drawback of significantly weakening Base Crucibelle's Choice Sets, but Base Crucibelle isn't the direct concern of this process.

I think the nerf most consistent with maintaining Mega Cruci's identity is one of these two. Low Kick is a separate issue to me. If Cruci loses Wood Hammer but retains Low Kick, fighting resistant and neutral defensive Pokemon (Arghonaut, Hippowdon) become much more viable, and with the Head Smash nuke gone a better set of bulky offensive checks can present themselves too.

Finally, technically if you nerfed Mega Cruci's speed stat by exactly 10 points, the Mega Boost would be 90 which matches Mega Alakazam (which exists because Base Zam got a 10 point stat boost that generation).

I don't have the competitive bona fides to comment on which of these would be the most proper, however I think these options would be the most consistent with maintaining Mega Cruci's identity while remaining true to its original project outline and current metagame role.
 
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Jordy

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I just want to make a quick response to people who don't want to remove Head Smash from Mega Crucibelle because it defines Mega Crucibelle in the current metagame(this is debatable), because I believe you're looking at it way too closely. Identity and concept are so closely knit together I do not think it's worth looking at them from a different point of view. To add onto this, I'd just like to post some logs from Birkal, which do confirm this.
Birkal Last Saturday at 3:43 PM I would say identify for mcruci is as follows
Birkal Last Saturday at 3:44 PM Mcruci is that it is rock/poison and uses its stabs
It would still use its STAB moves, even without Head Smash.
 
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xavgb

EVs: 20 HP / 20 Def / 240 SpA / 116 SpD / 112 Spe
is a Pre-Contributor
Hi, so I wanted to give my personal thoughts on the potential nerfs that were brought up in this post:

Hello! To begin the discussion, we have decided to make a list of potential edits that have been discussed on Discord. These are all just ideas for now, by the end of the process only some of them will be implemented, if any. Use this thread to discuss which combination of these nerfs you think are the best to make Mega Crucibelle balanced, or to make suggestions not on this list.

-Removing Head Smash: Head Smash is undoubtedly the most powerful move at Mega Crucibelle's disposal. If it were to be removed, it would have to rely on Stone Edge, which is 33% weaker. This would make Mega Crucibelle miss a ton of important benchmark; for example, it would now fail to 2HKO Kitsunoh and Celesteela.

-Removing Magic Guard: Removing this ability would make it much more easier to wear Mega Crucibelle down with entry hazards. In particular, once Crucibelle has Mega Evolved, it would be much harder to spam U-turn without having to worry about residual damage. Rock Head is an alternative ability if we want for Mega Crucibelle to still have access to a recoiless Head Smash, although some other niche options could be considered if we remove a (recoiless) Head Smash too.

-Removing U-turn: While U-turn is a weak move by itself, it gives Mega Crucibelle the ability to almost always maintain momentum against solid checks while slowly chipping them down. On top of that, this move has great synergy with both of Crucibelle's abilities, as both Regenerator and Magic Guard mitigate damage from entry hazards, which usually wear down pivots over time.

-Lowering its Speed: If we lowered Mega Crucibelle's speed by just 5 points, to 109, this would make it easier to revenge kill it with Pokemon like Mega Diancie and Mega Latios. If it was lowered just one more point, it would be enough for Kartana to outspeed it. If its speed were lowered to 104, it would then lose against Mega Pinsir and Krilowatt. This drops would not only make Mega Crucibelle easier to check offensively, but it would also increase the opportunity cost of using it, as it would now face increased competition from the Megas that would then beat it 1v1.

-Lowering its Special Defense: Mega Crucibelle's great bulk makes it incredibly difficult to revenge kill with faster attackers. For example, Timid Mega Alakazam's Psychic and Choice Scarf Volkraken's Hydro Pump only have a small chance to KO from full health. If this stat were lowered, it would be easier for these Pokemon to deal with Mega Crucibelle.

-Removing Low Kick and/or Wood Hammer: Although these moves are not particularly common, they give Mega Crucibelle a way around would be counters like Ferrothorn and Hippowdon. If they were removed, these Pokemon would become even more reliable checks.
Removing Magic Guard - To me this looks like a fix that only applies to offense's ability to pressure Mega Crucibelle. Whilst pretty much every playstyle in cap utilizes hazards, fat teams struggle far more to pressure a rock head mcruci than offensive teams. Essentially there's three reasons for this. The first is that offensive checks can pick off mega crucibelle from a much higher percentage of hp. Mega Alakazam is able to revenge Cruci after some chip which is now easier to achieve, and in doing so it tends to make in-roads into the opposing team, since most of its checks lack recovery. The likes of offensive torn-t and offensive magearna also appreciate the ability to indirectly chip Mega Cruci, as crucibelle won't be able to beat those two indefinitely. On the other hand, bulkier teams can find themselves stuck in situations where they repeatedly let MCruci in (for example, Jumbao being forced to check Krilowatt and then immediately shore up). The result of this is that crucibelle can continue to claim momentum and chip away at defensive "counters" with rocks damage + U-turn. The second reason that Magic Guard -> Rock Head is only an effective nerf against offense is that defensive teams mostly use hazards as a long-term win condition, and they don't have the offensive pressure necessary to get up hazards and keep them up early on in the game when crucibelle is starting to do damage. An example of this would be Jho's stall team, which can't really set hazards effectively against Tornadus-T (best defogger in the meta) until it has used all 24 of its defogs, since Chansey fears Knock Off and Arghonaut fears Hurricane. Despite having two hazards on the team, it still isn't much better at hindering rock head crucibelle's presence compared to magic guard, and it could still cause problems against the arghonaut and cyclohm, which aren't fully solid checks due to gunk shot poisons, u-turn and sr chip. The third, and maybe the most important reason that changing mega crucibelle's ability doesn't hurt its impact against defensive builds that much, is that crucibelle often stays in its base forme for quite a while in order to keep Regenerator. Its job against balance is mostly to shift momentum against Torn-T, Jumbao, and Clefable, whilst getting up rocks to harm the longevity of bulkier builds against other offensive threats. Against offense, Crucibelle finds itself in many more scenarios where it wants to mega immediately and go straight for head smash, particularly against mons that it can outright OHKO such as Pajantom and Smokomodo. For these three reasons, I'd encourage anyone supporting this nerf to consider whether Crucibelle losing Magic Guard in favour of Rock Head is a truly consistent nerf to balance its matchup against all playstyles.

Removing U-turn - I don't have much to add here that wasn't already brought up by snake_rattler, but I'd just like to say that I am personally not a fan of removing U-turn, as I don't believe it's the best way to preserve Mega Crucibelle's unique role that it provides to a team. Without U-turn, Crucibelle becomes much more similar to other powerful Mega Breakers, and I'm a fan of what Crucibelle currently does for a team, since it represents something unique that gamefreak hasn't really created yet, which to me is exactly what's great about CAP.

Lowering its Speed (vs Lowering its Special Defense) - I prefer the Speed nerf here. To summarise the effects of both of these nerfs, they increase the amount of mons that can offensively revenge kill Mega Crucibelle, however nerfing Speed allows more mons to do this (and more megas). In the case of Mega Alakazam and Volkraken, the two main mons affected by a change in spdef, neither of them can switch in on cruci, and in the case of scarf volkraken it can lose momentum to the likes of arghonaut, which then sets spikes.

On the other hand, a speed nerf enables both revenge killers and varying level of offensive checks. A 10 base speed drop enables kartana to offensively check mcruci twice, and krilowatt to switch in on one attack and revenge if cruci can take rocks damage (Rock Head would be appreciated alongside these nerfs). On top of those two, Mega Diancie, Mega Pinsir and Mega Latios all now outspeed and OHKO Mega Crucibelle, both allowing for them to revenge MCruci and also avoid having their momentum disrupted by MCruci.

One notable benefit of lowering Special Defense instead of Speed however, is that Rocky Helmet Tornadus-T improves its roll to 2HKO Mega Crucibelle with Hidden Power Ground. This can significantly affect the matchup of some teams vs Crucibelle in a way that dropping Speed cannot, since balance's faster mons are typically Tornadus-T, Weavile, and Choice Scarf users, all of which outspeed Cruci regardless of what speed stat it is given.

Removing Low Kick/Wood Hammer - No one uses these moves right now, but any solution involving keeping Head Smash should strongly consider removing at least Low Kick. My concern with having these moves available is that in the event that the nerfs create an actual opportunity cost to running cruci, people may resort to running Low Kick as a lure for ferrothorn (which could see an upwards trend in builds as a crucibelle answer that can actually punish U-turn, provided that magic guard is removed), and to have such a common mon almost make it as one of the best checks but then fail is silly. And also, as seen in the threats discussion thread, ferrothorn was intended to beat crucibelle (this may have been with reference to older ferro spreads that ran more defensive investment, but now ferro faces this roll - 252 Atk Crucibelle-Mega Low Kick (100 BP) vs. 252 HP / 24 Def Ferrothorn: 174-206 (49.4 - 58.5%) -- 64.5% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery). A similar issue exists when attempting to run Arghonaut and Mega Swampert as switchins to a potential Wood Hammer Crucibelle - I don't see why there should be a risk attached to these switchins.

Removing Head Smash - Okay I saved the big one for last.

Things about removing Head Smash.
First off, I'd like to say how much I appreciate someone taking the time to thoroughly explain a proposal like this. The last thing that anyone would have expected from the direction of the talks that have been going on in the CAP Discord was removing Head Smash - people treated it as a given that Crucibelle would definitely keep Head Smash and that it would be nerfed too much if it didn't have it.

Of course, the metagame council have since made it clear that removing Head Smash is an option, and as for the second statement, I simply don't think it's true. In fact, I think it could potentially work as a standalone nerf.

In order to explain why I think Stone Edge>Head Smash is ideal for balancing Mega Crucibelle and could even work on its own, I would like to go back through the other potential nerfs and explain how the drop in Cruci's overall power impacts each of its arguably broken aspects.

Magic Guard - The direction of this nerf was intended to make it easier for opposing offensive builds to chip crucibelle down with hazards so that it was easier to revenge kill. Without Head Smash, Crucibelle loses both its ability to force out the likes of Pajantom and Smokomodo as I mentioned, as well as improving the standing of various offensive checks such as offensive Lando-T, Garchomp, and Magearna. Since offensive teams gain a plethora of extra switchins, Crucibelle's utility against offensive builds would be cut down to forcing the occasional mon out for a free U-turn, which puts it in a similar position as other pivots such as scarf Lando-T and Kitsunoh - not bad by any means, but nothing world-ending
and mostly controllable in the builder for the opposing offense player (they would have to be aware of which mons can't really damage cruci well).
In the case of fat matchups, everything I said earlier about Crucibelle not necessarily having to mega very early against these builds still applies, but the difference is that with the lower power ceiling, Crucibelle requires more free switchins and more correct U-turn reads in order to actually break down defensive cores on its own. I think it's a reasonable standard to expect defensive teams to either make an effort to not let cruci claim free switchins (even though this should still be fairly difficult with Regen/Magic Guard and Poison typing) or simply run checks that don't mind U-turns and Rocks damage that much (Steel types would be good examples - particularly Leftovers Magearna). The important thing here is that in both of these matchups, cruci fulfills its purpose as a pivot with solid typing, as opposed to a pivot with solid typing that also happens to just kill everything sometimes.

Lowering Speed/Special Defense - These were designed to add offensive revenge killers, but as snake has already outlined in his post, we've added something even better (offensive checks). There's not much to say about this now, other than "the faster the better" - in light of losing head smash in a bid to preserve cruci's role as a pivot, it's better if it can actually force out the likes of Mega Pinsir so that there's real opportunities for Crucibelle to claim momentum.

Removing Low Kick/Wood Hammer - My earlier arguments about ferro's place in the threatlist as well as Ground types still apply, but with the lowered power ceiling, removing the coverage may not be as necessary. Again from snake's post, the list of new/improved checks that aren't hit by Low Kick/Wood Hammer is as follows:

Celesteela, Landorus-Therian, Magearna, Fidgit, Mega Mawile, Kartana, Garchomp, and Toxapex.

With this many options it may not be necessary to preserve Ferrothorn and Naviathan as answers - maybe choosing to run those two over the above answers should come at the cost of losing to low kick. Either way I don't have a strong opinion on this right now.

Summary of preferences

A) Remove Head Smash (preferred)

1) Remove coverage (undecided)
2) Lowering Special Defense/Lowering Speed/Magic Guard (would rather not do any of these unless I'm convinced otherwise)

B) If Head Smash is kept

1) Remove Magic Guard
2) Lower Speed
3) Remove Coverage (I would stop after this)
4) Remove U-turn
5) Lower Spdef
 
Alright, so I have a set of nerfs that I believe would balance out Mega Crucibelle while keeping what makes it special. Furthermore, I believe that these nerfs make MCruci riskier to use, as opposed to decreasing the reward for using it. The combination of nerfs I want are as follows:

  • Losing Magic Guard for Rock Head
  • Losing 6 speed (New total = 108)
  • Losing U-turn
  • Losing Low Kick & Wood Hammer
Without Magic Guard, Mega Crucibelle has to think twice about switching in if Spikes or Stealth Rock are present, as with hazards, MCruci becomes easier to revenge kill with MegaZam and Scarf Volk, the two Pokemon mentioned for dropping SpD.

252 SpA Alakazam-Mega Psychic vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Crucibelle-Mega: 306-360 (86.4 - 101.6%) -- 87.5% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock
252 SpA Volkraken Hydro Pump vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Crucibelle-Mega: 306-362 (86.4 - 102.2%) -- 93.8% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock

Losing 6 speed allows MCruci to be revenge killed by Kartana, Mega Diancie and Mega Latios. Mega Pinsir should still lose to MCruci, due to being quad weak, so I do not think we should drop to 104.

My most controversial nerf, I believe U-turn should be removed. People say that Head Smash would increase a lot of defensive checks with the loss of power. However, if you look at the checks and counters section, a vast majority of MCruci’s checks are invalidated by U-turn. I believe that removing U-turn would do a much better job at increasing the defensive checks without removing what in my opinion is the identity of MCruci in recoiless Head Smash. While getting around checks is what U-turn does, the sheer ease MCruci is able to do this is the issue.

Finally, I believe Low Kick and Wood Hammer should go, especially if U-turn does as well. While currently not seen much, they allow MCruci to work around Ferrothorn and Arghonaut. If U-turn goes, these moves will be seen a lot more often, and I believe we shouldn’t let Mega Crucibelle work around these two so easily, if at all. At the very least, I want to remove Low Kick, as it gets around a much stronger counter in Ferro compared to Arghonaut.
I actually agree with basically everything Rev has said, but I'm not sure if the speed nerf is necessary as well. I think the loss of U-Turn, Magic Guard, and coverage would be more than enough to limit its power.

In particular they open up Ferrothorn, Arghonaut and Revenankh as consistent switchins that can force Cruci out and take more chip damage.

Because Megas tend to have base stat increases of at least 10 in each, although this is just a minor flavour consideration, I think dropping speed would mean it would probably have to be 104.

I'm not completely opposed to a Head Smash nerf, but I think these changes will be enough to preserve the current most flavourful aspects of Crucibelle as we currently know it, while reducing its power level appropriately. In particular the loss of meaningful coverage makes it more built around utilising its STABs.
 
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Bughouse

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The target power level and usage should be clear.

Removing Head Smash is the biggest nerf on the table and will make Mega Crucibelle far from the best Mega imo. Is that the desired outcome? Regular Crucibelle is apparently not viable. If the Mega is not still a top Mega choice, it would see very little use.
 

Frostbiyt

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These last few days of reading posts and the Discord discussion has shifted my opinion on Mega Crucibelle. I think there are two major problems with Mega Cruci that make it as broken as it is.

One is that it is a fantastic wallbreaker. Snake's post shows this really well with his wall of calcs. Head Smash lets Crcui do insane amounts of damage. Just for some perspective, a Head smash from Mega Cruci's 135 base Atk is equivalent to a Stone Edge from a base Atk of 227. Anyways, i don't have much else to say on this point, Snake's post speaks for itself.

The second problem with Mega Crucibelle is its ability to switch in and U-Turn out of matchups nearly consequence free. Removing Head Smash, while it does give Mega Crucibelle more reliable switch ins than it has now, that just means it will take a bit longer for Crucibelle to wear them down. Right now, Cruci comes in on something it forces out(taking minimal damage due to its bulk), does some damage with its STABs or U-Turn, then switches out. Removing Head Smash will just force Cruci do do that same play pattern one or two more times than it does now. The best way to disrupt this powerful, low effort play pattern is to make it take hazard damage and other chip by removing Magic Guard.

Now, removing Magic Guard will not solve the problem entirely because Head Smash would still do ridiculous amounts of damage, which is why I think both are necessary. If both Head Smash and Magic Guard are removed, Mega Crucibelle would still be an effective pivot, strong wallbreaker, and arguably the best rocker in the tier, it would just be much more manageable and less restrictive teambuilding.

So to revise my ranking of nerfs I made in my first post, this is what I suggest:
1. Remove Magic Guard
2. Remove Head Smash
3. Reduce SpD by 3 points(see my first post)
4. Remove Low Kick
5. Reduce Speed(I prefer 108 if this is necessary)
6. Reduce SpD by another 17 points(20 total)
7. Remove Wood Hammer(not that necessary with Magic Guard gone)
8. Remove U-Turn
I think we'd get the best results by doing the first three or four, I don't think anything beyond that should be necessary.
 

Deck Knight

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I wasn't particularly specific on Mega Crucibelle's role in the last post, but here's a solid definition:

Mega Crucibelle is a residual damage resistant, hazard setting wallbreaker with both pivoting and set-up potential.

In this it is similar to Mega Mawile, but Mega Mawile doesn't set up hazards or pivot. Mega Scizor pivots and removes hazards (and could set up too were Tomahawk not omnipresent.) Mega Medicham is a pure wallbreaker.

I have considered a third option that mitigates both Head Smash and Magic Guard, while retaining the core of Mega Crucibelle's niche: Replace Magic Guard with Regenerator, retaining it from Base Crucibelle.

This does a few things: First, it makes Head Smash an extremely high risk high reward Wallbreaking option. While Mega Crucibelle would now be susceptible to burn, hazards, Rocky Helmet/Iron Barbs, and its own recoil damage, by pivoting out after a Smash it can regain enough health to use it again. It would be an even more fantastic hazard setting pivot, however Head Smash's huge recoil drawback would potentially require multiple chipping pivots to be effective. It would likely force set-up sets to either drop Head Smash or drop a coverage move to use Head Smash as a breaker attack.

Base Crucibelle would then only have the advantage if item choice, but at least it isn't losing anything.
 

LucarioOfLegends

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So I have thought about this quite a lot over the past few hours. About Head Smash, about Magic Guard, about stat drops, and about what would be the best course of action. And after going through a change of heart on it, I fully think the best course of action for re-balancing Mega Crucibelle would be to remove Head Smash.

To begin, I would like to reference all of the calculations snake_rattler makes in his brilliant post about Head Smash, thank you good sir. The general gist for those who don't want to look is that Head Smash is a ridiculously powerful STAB move that kills stuff that it shouldn't be, and the removal and replacment on movesets for Stone Edge both increases checks/counters, and makes existing ones far more reliable. Power will never truly be a major problem for Mega Crucibelle, considering its base 135 attack and powerful STAB moves like Gunk Shot to boot, so the calcs show in snake's post truly give perspective to how utterly broken the move truly is on Crucibelle.

The other debatable broken elements on Crucibelle actually also link up quite well and eventually trace back to Head Smash. Sure it may be annoying that Mega Crucibelle is notably very fast, but its only an issue because it can U-turn out of bad matchups so easily (which a lot of fast Pokemon can do like Koko and Gren) but also completely destroy so many not completely unfavorable matchups with Head Smash. Yes, the special bulk is very annoying, but only because not killing Mega Crucibelle means that your Pokemon almost always dies to a STAB 150 Power Head Smash with no recoil. It all links back quite nicely to Mega Crucibelle, and shows that the other complaints about it are the symptoms, while the true disease is actually the move question.

And for those worried about Crucibelle without Head Smash, it still has a lot of great tools and options that make it plenty usable in the metagame. Mega Cruci still has a great Speed tier, a fantastic abiliability, and access to U-turn, making it a solid pivot. It also has a but of utility stuff like Stealth Rock and Toxic Spikes, as well as a plethora of good coverage, meaning it has an array of options and team optimization abilities. Plus Gunk Shot will still be really good. I dont think viability is a issue with all the thing going for Crucibelle.

tl;dr Head Smash is the central disrupting element in Mega Cruci's kit, as it allows it to break through stuff it really shouldn't be. Mega Cruci will still be totally viable as a great pivot without it and csn still kill what it needs to, so removing Head Smash is right choice.
 
What I would particularly like to quickly state is the obvious. Crucibelle's concept is, of course, in its concept. The essence of the pokemon is indeed its odd typing that it uses in conjunction with the utility given to it to reek havoc among offensive and defensive threats alike. Briefly I would just like to propose a consideration that I have seen tossed around throughout my talks with people on this particular subject. Recoilless Head Smash is not the essence of what Crucibelle is. Think back, if you would, to a team made by a wonderful contributor to this community and father to this progressive idea, DrapionSwing. As seen archived in the post below, it would do good to remind yourself of the team when considering my point:

There is also the version of offler team with the same idea based around crucibelle and krilowatt that shares the spotlight with bulu and banded kartana that you can go and find. It was heavily used. edit: crediting offler: https://pokepast.es/9962f64b87cafbf8

This was one of the most influential teams of an entire era of the cap metagame, and it centered around voltturn. Do not get fooled or scared off by the pheromosa, I asked for this team particularly for the voltturn aspect, as I saw something that Drap himself had seen at the time of the creation. The easiest way to see what is the most defining part of crucibelle that cannot be lost in this update is to look at the core. Two status immune pokemon with the ability to pivot. This is essential to crucibelle's character and cannot be lost upon us. The only issue with magic guard and uturn being pivotal to the being that is crucibelle, it is also the part that gives it such a throat-hold on the meta. I would like to see what suggestions others have to work around this pivotal point, but I would like to once again reiterate: Magic Guard and U turn should not be removed; they are the essence of Mega-Crucibelle. Jordy has given wonderful examples, and I would like to see them thoroughly explored.
 
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All I have to say is that I do not have much of an opinion as to HOW we should reach our result. All I feel is that we should preserve Mega Crucibelle's viability as much as we can. Seeing it drop down a lot would just be sad. The higher viability it remains while not being broken, the better.

Another thing on top of that: Undershooting is arguably better then Overshooting. If we undershoot, ok, sure, its a pain, but the thing is, we can just nerf it again/differently. But if we Overshoot? Sure, we COULD buff it a bit back up again, but lets be honest, we wouldn't do that. It would be nice to get it on the first try, but we dont necessarily NEED too.


edit: After a bunch of talk in the Discord, my opinion has shifted a bit. If it stays in its same general area of viability without being broken, its still somewhat unhealthy due to one big thing; It's a mega. If Megacruci is still so good, why use another mega when most of the time, Megacruci works? My new target area of viability (NOTE: I'm using general VR areas due to a lack of better examples. I just mean this general area of viability) is A or A- area. A+ area may work out fine, and B+ area is alright I suppose. But A and A- sits it alongside a bunch of other megas currently, including a couple of the other rock-type mega stealth rockers (Mega Diancie and Mega T-Tartar)
 
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I think for my opinion on Mega Cruci is that we should preserve U turn and Magic Guard. I feel as though if we were to focus the one problem people have on the mega it would be Head smash so removing it might be the best solution. By removing Head Smash I feel as though more counters would survive against M-cruci and would enable us to play more cautiously and not spam Head smash to win us battles.
 
My opinion has already been stated a few times by others, but I'd like to specifically point to snake rattler's post as my motivation for my stance on this. I firmly believe that the removal of Head Smash alone can nerf Crucibelle effectively because it allows the typing meant to defensively check it to do so. He posted the calcs already and I feel that those are more than enough to prove that removing Head Smash alone accomplishes what the goal here is, which is to make Crucibelle not broken. Without Head Smash, it'll still be a fantastic pivot and rock setter, etc, but it won't break the meta by 2HKOing half of it.
 
I also support Deck Knight's proposal of changing Mega Crucibelle's ability from Magic Guard to Regenerator. It will become a lot riskier for Mega Crucibelle to spam its strongest move and easier to securely revenge kill when it's no longer outright immune to residual damage. It also enables Mega Crucibelle to retain many of its unique traits, overall identity, and a pretty good level of viability while opening up more avenues for reliable counter-play.

Another potential nerf I considered was replacing U-Turn with Volt Switch. Coming off its notably worse Special Attack stat (especially when a stat dropping nature and lack of investment is accounted for), it can't freely chip checks/counters with its pivoting tool to the same efficiency that it once could. Even better, it can no longer mindlessly pivot in and out of battle when the opponent has a Ground-type, lest it risk sinking a significant amount of momentum. On the other hand, it does a fair bit more damage to a few checks (such as Argonaught, Celesteela, Kitsunoh, Mawile, Mega Aggron, and Revenankh) and alleviates it from making contact with users of Rocky Helmet and/or Rough Skin/Iron Barbs. However, the downsides of Volt Switch over U-Turn at least make this avenue worth considering.
 
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