np: SM CAP Stage 4 - Freed From Desire[Equilibra Nerfed]

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Jho

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After the conversations had in the metagame discussion thread and with the Playtest tournament coming to an end shortly, it is finally time for the 4th nerfing process of SM CAP, featuring Equilibra.



Ever since its release into the metagame, Equilibra has been extremely centralising and forced many Pokemon completely out of the meta thanks to its incredible role compression, allowing it to take on many roles within a team whilst also shutting down many threats thanks to its incredible defences coupled with its immunity abilities. Thanks to this, it often finds multiple opportunities to come in and use Doom Desire, which applies a lot of pressure to opposing teams. All of these factors compounded together have made Equilibra the most common Pokemon in the tournament metagame and the community has deemed it worthy of a nerfing process.



Equilibra's strength comes from its limited checks and the checks that it does have being easily worn down due to the commonly ran Toxic. This means Pokemon such as Rotom-W, Arghonaut and Zapdos are not as consistent at checking Equilibra, as they are worn down quickly when taking Toxic damage, incoming Doom Desires and any present hazards. This results in Equilibra being able to put opposing teams into unfavourable situations by wearing down Doom Desire switch-ins to the point where they can no longer come in, forcing guaranteed KO scenarios very often. This has put an enormous strain on teambuilding in the Equilibra meta, as people struggle to find reliable checks and counters, often resorting to niche lures and suboptimal sets in order to deal with it effectively. This can especially be seen with the usage spike of Snaelstrom.


Another factor which makes Equilibra so common is its outstanding defensive utility. Thanks to its typing and two immunity abilities, Equilibra makes for one of the best pivots in the current meta, being able to come in on many common threats such as Tapu Lele, all Magearna variants, Mega Alakazam and Trace Jumbao for Bulletproof sets. Levitate sets can come in on many threats as well, most notably Garchomp, Landorus and opposing Equilibra. Being a good check to so many common Pokemon gives Equilibra many opportunities to come in and either create pressure utilising its high Special Attack stat, or clear hazards thanks to its access to Rapid Spin. This dynamic with its abilities also presents an issue where players must play around both of Equilibra's immunity abilities until one is confirmed, making it much harder to punish. This "50/50" with its abilities has been one of the most notable points of frustration with regards to Equilibra.


Equilibra also has access to Whirlwind, which makes playing around Doom Desire turns even harder, as it is possible for your Equilibra check to be phazed out. This creates a sense of uncompetitiveness as it gives the Equilibra player a random chance to either get a KO or a significant amount of damage due to Equilibra's high SpA stat. This is also fairly risk-free for the Equilibra user despite Whirlwinds negative priority, as you can safely assume they will switch to their intended Equilibra check on the turn Doom Desire "lands". Despite this, Whirlwind is not a staple of Equilibra sets as it competes with moves such as Flash Cannon, Protect, Toxic and Rapid Spin for the 4th move slot on most Equilibra sets.


Counters:

These Pokemon either resist or are immune to all of Equilibra's STABs whilst also being able to shrug off Toxic, making them much harder for Equilibra to wear down, allowing them to consistently switch into it.

Celesteela: This is one of the most consistent answers to Equilibra thanks to its bulk and typing. although its overreliance on Leech Seed and Leftovers means that teammates like Krilowatt and Knock Off Tornadus-T can help Equilibra to wear it down over time.

Snaelstrom: Poison Heal allows Snaelstrom to ignore Toxic, it resists all of Equilibra's usual moves and threatens it with Scald. However due to its reliance on Poison Heal+Spiky Shield to heal itself, it is not hard for Equilibra's teammates to wear it down and can lose to the rare Whirlwind.

Equilibra: Levitate variants are capable of taking any attack, so they're able to beat Bulletproof sets. However, the fact that Equilibra itself its one of its best checks only serves to further centralize the metagame around it.

Chansey: Chansey can shrug off Toxic thanks to Natural cure and beat Equilibra 1v1 thanks to Seismic Toss. However, unlike the other counters, it is restricted to certain team archetypes due to its passivity. Equilibra variants with Toxic and Protect can beat Chansey though they are not as common.



Checks:

All of these Pokemon can safely switch into Equilibra multiple times, however, they can often find themselves easily worn down and therefore are not as consistent stops to it as the counters mentioned above.

Rotom-W/Arghonaut/Zapdos/Pelipper/Mega Charizard Y: These mons have the bulk and typing to tank both of Equilibra's STAB moves, however, they're all heavily crippled by Toxic. Additionally, the last three are also weak to Stealth Rock, which can quickly wear them down.

Gyarados: With its typing, Gyarados can switch into Equilibra without much trouble while using it as set up bait for Dragon Dance. However, due to its Stealth Rock weakness and lack of recovery, it can only switch in a handful of times.

Ferrothorn: Ferrothorn is able to stomach an Earth Power, resists Doom Desire and is immune to Toxic. However, multiple Earth Power can still wear it down quickly because of its lack of recovery outside of Leech Seed.

Gliscor: Just like with Snaelstrom, Poison Heal means that Gliscor doesn't care about Toxic, and Sword Dance sets can set up on Equilibra. However, because Gliscor still takes very heavy damage from Doom Desire, it can be beaten with the right prediction, and utility sets with Earthquake as their only attacking move can't do anything to Levitate Equilibra.

Soft Checks:

This Pokemon can win against Equilibra in a 1v1 situation, but are unable to reliably switch in.

Ash-Greninja: Thanks to its Specs-boosted Hydro Pump, it can guarantee a KO on Equilibra after just a slight amount of damage, even before transforming. However, its extreme frailty means that it takes massive damage even from a resisted Doom Desire.

Mega Medicham/Mega Gallade: Both Fighting-type Megas are capable of easily overwhelming Equilibra and can even break past common cores like Equilibra+Toxapex. However, they're find it difficult to come indirectly and Mega Medicham, in particular, needs to watch out for sets with Protect

Mega Charizard X: It can switch in relatively easily prior to Mega Evolving, however, just like its alternate form, it's easily worn down due to Stealth Rock weakness.

Victini: While Victini is unable to switch in and vulnerable to Stealth Rock, it can threaten to OHKO Equilibra with V-create.


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.).
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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.

Due to real-life commitments both SHSP and Snake_Rattler are unavailable for this process. In order to secure a possible swing vote, Jordy will join myself and Mx when it comes time to vote. Please don't hesitate to ask us any questions!
 
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Alrighty then, let's get this shit off the ground. Up front I'd like to admit I like several others have been pretty inactive in CAP for the past couple months (partially from life, partially from Libra meta) so please bear with if some of the things I say are outdated and/or not fully formed.

To start I'd like to list the most discussed upon nerfs in the discord and share my thoughts


1) Removing Levitate OR Bulletproof
I'm very much in the boat of axing Levitate on Libra. While the combination of two immunity abilities is what causes such teambuilding and playing problems I firmly believe Levitate is the larger culprit of it's centralization. By removing it sufficiently hampers Libra's role as a spinner as it can't safely deal with rockers like Chomp, Ttar, Lando etc. (Ttar also isn't forced to use Fire Punch just to hit Libra. Also minor but worthy to note is that it means Libra takes Spikes chip) But by far I think the most important part of axing Levitate is that it kills Libra as being the best check/counter to itself. This would effectively drop it's centralization.

On the flipside I haven't actually seen much discussion on keeping Levi over BP so I can't really speak to much on it. I feel like axing BP is only going to hurt Libra's role as a pivot rather than hurting it's role as a spinner, and it obviously still allows Libra to be it's own best answer which isn't desirable when we're trying to nerf centralization.

2) Removing Toxic
I am 100% in favor of axing this garbage. Toxic is so goddamn good at neutering Libra's defensive counterplay that it fucking hurts. I've used it on every Libra I've used and never regretted it, it's so free. This shit makes Libra's supposed "counters" like Argh and Washtom exert so little pressure and get overloaded extremely quickly between checking Libra and the myriad other mons they're needed for.

The only foible with removing Toxic is the precedent but I think Mage not learning it is a good enough justification.

3) Removing Whirlwind and/or Dragon Tail
Admittedly I am not experienced with phasing Libra but other users like Reach and Pip have been quite vocal about it and have steadily been convincing me that at the very least we should drop Whirlwind. It's not consistently effective like Toxic but giving Libra the ability to roll it's checks around till they're no longer checks or getting lucky Doom kills definitely isn't a healthy thing. I'm not sure if the same applies to Dragon Tail due it being a fairly worse option and not having been used so I'd like to pose the question to others if they believe Dragon Tail is just as bad as Whirlwind in practice.

4) Power/Bulk Nerfs
This is the one I'm most on the fence about. Several users have stated that Libra's power, bulk or the two in conjunction lend to it's overbearing presence but I'm not quite convinced. I'm against dropping Libra's Sp.Atk as to effectively lower it's power level it'd have to be a significant drop and that's going to hurt DD's damage which I think is necessary to preserve concept. If someone has calcs that show that a minor SpA nerf is worthwhile then I'd like to hear em. Another avenue I've seen to reduce it's damage output is dropping EP, which I find ridiculous honestly. The precedence case of EP is even higher than Toxic as the only ground that doesn't learn it is Nincada, and it effectively renders Libra without a ground STAB. This severely hurts Libra's ability to function in general which isn't what we want. We're not trying to nerf Libra into the ground (ha) here.

As far as nerfs to defensive stats go I'm more inclined to agree with minor drops. I think Libra's immunity abilities tie into it's bulk and ability to switch in constantly more than stats but it does take a bit too little damage from SE special hits like Kril's Scald. I've not personally experienced Libra's physical defense being that annoying but if others do please feel free to show. At the moment I'd lean towards a drop of around 10 or 15 at most for SpDef.


I've got my initial thoughts out and will probably have more to say as we go on but in the meantime, get posting people! Let's get this train rolling!
 
I didn't know Equi even had Whirlwind. Forcing Dragon Tail for phazing seems pro-concept, and I can't think of any Sub users that Whirlwind on Equi would be keeping in check, so dropping Whirlwind seems like a good idea no matter what else happens.

A SpDef drop could encourage AV to deal with mons like Kril, which would make Toxic costly: Equi would have to choose between Toxic for Argh/Washtom and AV for Kril.
 

reachzero

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To summarize this post in case it runs long, I believe Equilibra needs a few minor tweaks (i.e. the loss of its phazing moves) more than a major nerf because counterplay is very nearly sufficient and because Equilibra's metagame impact is on par with other metagame-defining threats.

I find much of the thinking that has gone into the comments on Equilibra so far fails to address the issues involved, namely comparing Equilibra to other powerful Pokemon, the ones that required nerfing and the ones that have been deemed acceptable. Here are some of the issues I would like to bring forward.

Is Equilibra really so far above the rest of the top metagame threats that is warrants a major nerf?

To establish that it is, I would expect several characteristics to emerge, characteristics that have been met by each of the previously needed CAPs, plus the threats that have been banned from OU.

Does Equilibra have reasonable counterplay for a reasonable range of team styles?

The previous four nerfed CAPs (counting Tomohawk losing Reflect) each had at least one set that lacked solid counterplay outside of intensely niche solutions. Mega Crucibelle, for instance, was able to inflict massive damage, U-turn out of any bad matchups (like Jirachi) or Low Kick most of the best answers to Head Smash. SubSmash Necturna could kill literally everything if it was allowed to set up, and the only reliable counterplay was to build your whole team to not allow Necturna to set up, ideally along with Scarf Kitsunoh to clean up if it managed to set up anyway. I'm not talking about counters specifically, but Equilibra had vastly more counterplay than any of those did, and honestly more than some of the other top CAP metagame Pokemon (Pajantom and Mega Medicham come to mind).

Specifically, bulky offense and balance have really good weapons against Equilibra in Charizard-Y, Gyarados, Fighting move Tornadus-T and lesser options like Mega Latios and Latias that dislike Toxic but offer enough offensive presence to threaten the opposing team immediately. In addition, Equilibra is unusually easy to lure, vulnerable to things like Superpower on Landorus-T and Aqua Tail on Garchomp. Equilibra is also easily chipped down by Knock Off and taking chunk damage from things like Tapu Lele Psyshock and Krilowatt Scald/Surf. Snaelstrom is, of course, a full stop to Equilibra, though not a good fit on every team.

Heavy offense teams have little issue with Equilibra, so I won't go into the impact on HO in great detail.

Stall and semi-stall, however...this is where there are issues. Passive Pokemon (and passive teams) cannot deal with Equilibra at all because of the ease of being Whirlwind shuffled and the danger of something like Jumbao being shuffled in on a Doom Desire turn. This particularly harms things like Celesteela and Chansey that otherwise would be very hard counters. This is where I feel a tweak is needed--Equilibra does everything you could reasonably ask for if a Steel type and a Ground type (except check Pajantom), and does these things fine without phazing. Phazing moves eliminate the potential counterplay of CMing alongside Equilibra and eliminate every passive answer, so I feel that Whirlwind and Dragon Tail should both be removed.

Is Equilibra unusually metagame-altering? Does it put an undue pressure on team building?


Equilibra definitely has significant metagame impact, but I feel that the extent of that impact had been overstated somewhat--Tapu Lele is still a major threat, and Magearna and Mega Alakazam are still major threats as long as Levitate is more popular than Bulletproof on Equilibra. It does impact any number of sets on popular Pokemon, but do many other metagame threats-- Landorus-T forcing Ice moves onto so many physical attackers comes to mind. One could even argue that Equilibra is good for metagame diversity, as it offers amazing compression with its ability to check Tapu Lele and Tapu Koko with one set.

Does Equilibra choke out every other Steel type by its presence?

Equilibra actually offers some real disadvantages in you are using it as your primary Steel over Ferrothorn or Celesteela, Steel types which play similar roles and which are rather defensively redundant with Equilibra. Notably, it is very vulnerable to Pajantom, not an easy weakness to fix. It is much worse against Rain than Ferrothorn, and can't set hazards. Equilibra does inflict some awkwardness in covering for what it does *not* do as a Steel type, so it is not without its flaws.

Concerning Toxic...

Toxic is the toughest issue in front of us. Simply cutting Toxic out of the movepool would add a full handful of Pokemon to the true counter category for Equilibra, and we'd be having a very different discussion. Cutting Toxic would be a major nerf by itself, and if we were to do it, that would definitely be enough to bring Equilibra down from S viability to something more like A / A+. My concern is lack of precedent; Magearna, Wobbuffet, etc are so clearly exceptional cases that I feel it would be a bit messy and counterintuitive to cut Toxic, even though it is a pretty clear best answer from a strictly competitive standpoint.

One final thought: if CAP had built Landorus-T, Tornadus-T or Tapu Lele, I'm pretty sure we would have nerfed them into the ground by now. Pajantom and Jumbao have each been noted as very powerful in their own right, and are now widely accepted. "How strong is okay" is a really hard question for us, and I suspect we are overreacting a little at a Pokemon that really is not that much stronger, if it is stronger than Pajantom or Landorus-T (more splashable than either one, but not necessarily stronger from game to game). Let's not use the nuclear options (dropping abilities, changing stats) when we have more surgical options available (removing phazing and/or Toxic).
 
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I haven't paid much attention to what was going on during CAPTT 5 or the Equilibra playtest up close or personal, but I have heard on the Discord that Toxic has been a huge problem for Pokemon that would otherwise be counters. It may sound weird to remove Toxic from a flavor standpoint, since Magearna is the only one with other TMs that cannot learn it, but it allows more Pokemon to counter Equilibra, such as Zapdos, Charizard-Mega (both), Gyarados, Latias/Latios-Mega, and so on. Also, this method of nerfing Equilibra doesn't force us to drop abilities or modify any stat spreads, so this nerf would be tame.
 

G-Luke

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I really wanted to avoid this, as I have been phasing out of CAP since my team dropped out of CAPTT, to focus on IRL and other Smogon duties, but I believe that, not only as part of the TLT responsible for helping to create Libra, but a regular user of the mon after it's debut, I should shed some of my thoughts.

So to get straight to the point - do I think Equilibra is a metagame defining threat? Yes. Do I think it is outright broken? No. Do I think Equilibra has an unhealthy effect onto the CAP metagame? That question is a lot harder to answer.

In a vacuum, the answer may be simple, but we must try and understand, what is the state of the metagame prior to and after Equilibra. The metagame of old is was very offensively geared, with top offensive threats such as Quiver Dance Aurumoth dominating the metagame, highly promoting Hyper Offense, Offense and in general high pressure fast paced gameplay. Compare that to the metagame of now, it has slowed down slightly - the introduction of Equilibra and the nerf of Aurumoth has narrowed the amount of fast, frail attackers and set up sweepers that are prominent in the meta. Mega Alazakam and Magearna has took a dip in viability thanks to Bulletproof Equilibra being a bonafied hard counter, and with Moth absent, the need for faster scarfers like Weavile and Kitsunoh has diminished. Now, slower wallbreakers that either competed with the mega slot, or didnt prosper with faster Pokémon threatening them have now risen up as prominent Pokémon - instead of Mega Alazakam, Weavile and Kitsunoh running rampant, Mega Charizard, Colossoil and Pajantom are now "top dogs" so to speak. Now, is this unhealthy? In some ways it is. Equilibra has near single handly knocked an S ranked threat down to B rank in the viability rankings, and several other Pokemon have taken a hit to their viability. On the flip side, several others have risen in response, with Mega Gallade exploding onto the metagame taking full advantage of the slower and bulkier metagame with several checks being now deemed unreliable. Normally I'd write it off as having too much of a negative presense, but with Equilibra its different. This CAP was intentionally designed to take the current status quo of the metagame and flip it on its head, simultaneously countering, checking and competing with all of the then current S rank Pokémon, and several A ranks. Now, Equilibra has done just that, and I think this overall shift has upset people used to the status quo, or people who have gotten accustommed to certain metagame trends. Though, I will admit, Equilibra was created a little TOO well - as even if shuffling all of the top decks was its intent, doing so with its efficiency may have made it difficult to handle, but still nowhere on the level of previous nerfs such as Necturna and Mega Crucibelle. So, I personally do not think Equilibra is overall unhealthy as I think being able to handle in particular, most of the oppressive Psychic and Fairy types in the tier is a valid niche that should not be thrown away, but I do think that some small adjustments should be made to allow for easier counterplay. Here are some of the proposed suggestions


Axing of an Ability

Some people think that Equilibra should lose an ability in order to open up more checks and counterplay. While I personally do not fall in this camp, if an ability were to eventually be placed on the chopping block, I honestly think Levitate should be the one to get bopped. Pre Libra meta was characterized by the dominance of Psychic and Fairy type Pokemon, with Mega Alazakam, Aurumoth and Magearna, and to a lesser extent Tapu Lele, being top tier threats that dictated what Pokémon are viable and what aren't, so much so that these mons demanded teams to run 2 to 3 Psychic / Fairy checks, which often took the form of dual Steel cores and heavy usage of Choice Scarf Weavile. Whether people like to admit it or not, it was this fact that heavily leaned into Equilibra's design - from the winning stat spread being specifically designed to beat Tapu Lele (the most oppressive Psychic type to bulky builds) hitting key benchmarks, to granting the ability Bulletproof allowing it to swallow up all of the Psychic and Fairy types means of bypassing their checks based on typing alone. Levitate, on the other hand, ehile the primary ability, was given to mainly just give it a blanket immunity to one of its most prominent weaknesses and to avoid Spikes, which were extremely prominent at the time. I think its this combination that may have impacted the limited counterpaly to Libra, as the saying goes, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. I would much prefer axing Levitate and keeping Bulletproof, finally having a solid check to Psychic types while at least giving them fair counterplay in the form of Spikes wearing them down and having Pokemon like vanilla Garchomp being able to pressure it.

Removal of Toxic

Toxic is generally a universal TM, so it was a given to receive this move. However, it has been shown that Toxic allows it to place two of its originally 3 counters on a timer, greatly reducing their overall effectiveness, while also making it hard to handle in combination with Doom Desire's pressure. I am not a sticklier for flavour, so if Toxic is deemed to be a problem, it is one I wholeheartly support for its removal (you can even argue Equilibra, the physical embodiment of Law and Order, wouldn't have any form of corruption within).

Stats
I
personally do not have a problem with Equilibra's stats at all, and I think nerfing the stats of Libra would cause more harm than good. Most of Libra's defensive utility comes from its various immunities and inability to be worn down by hazards and Toxic anyways.

Whirlwind / Dragon Tail

I don't really have much more to add to reach and Zetas comments, but I am just reaffirming that Whirlwind is probably too strong on Equilibra, and would support its removal.

And that is that. I suck at summarizing, so basically - Equilibra is a pretty great mon that made a new meta upon its debut, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing, and these nerfs should look to make Libra much more managable in this meta, instead of nerfing it to more closely resemble the metagame of old.
 

Funbot28

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Everyone kinda summed up what I think by the various posts published above so I don't wanna echo too much here but after observing this past CAPTT and just by playing on the ladder, I think I and many others can agree that the post-Libra meta is extremely centralized and completely warped around balance cores that synergize and take advantage of Equilibra. While the offensive nature of the previous meta dominated by threats such as Necturna, Auromoth, Magearna, and Mega Alakazam did have its grievances as well don't get me wrong (well now we can exclude Moth from this due to it's nerf), teams nowadays need to dedicate way too much to counteract Libra imo and this is demonstrated via the rise of previous extremely unpopular picks such as Mega Gallade, Tapu Koko, Rotom-W and various other threats that need to allocate their moveslots / items to counter Libra (ie: Fightinium Torn-T, Fightinium Magearna, Surf Mega Latias/Latios, U-Turn Tapu Koko, etc...).

Tbh I am not sure what the best course of action can be done to properly nerf Libra without taking too much of it's value away and to not deviate from it's core concept. I can concede to the notion that it being able to check threats such as Mega Alakzazam and Magearna is very valuable and helps stabilize the previous offensive metagame, however the nuiance between Bulletproof and Levitate in combination with coverage moves that let it bypass it's checks (mainly being Toxic + Protect / Whirlwind) is what pushes Libra over the edge imo and makes it too much of a blanket check to an abundance of threats imo (if that makes any sense).

If I were to vote, I would take the route of removing Levitate and maybe Toxic as well. I feel this change nerfs Libra's flexibility in terms of what it can check and how it can maneuver it's checks respectively but still enables it to function as a great check to a great amount of special attackers and perform it's role as a Doom Desire wallbreaker / spinner pretty well.
 

reachzero

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Everyone kinda summed up what I think by the various posts published above so I don't wanna echo too much here but after observing this past CAPTT and just by playing on the ladder, I think I and many others can agree that the post-Libra meta is extremely centralized and completely warped around balance cores that synergize and take advantage of Equilibra. While the offensive nature of the previous meta dominated by threats such as Necturna, Auromoth, Magearna, and Mega Alakazam did have its grievances as well don't get me wrong (well now we can exclude Moth from this due to it's nerf), teams nowadays need to dedicate way too much to counteract Libra imo and this is demonstrated via the rise of previous extremely unpopular picks such as Mega Gallade, Tapu Koko, Rotom-W and various other threats that need to allocate their moveslots / items to counter Libra (ie: Fightinium Torn-T, Fightinium Magearna, Surf Mega Latias/Latios, U-Turn Tapu Koko, etc...).
Are you arguing that the post-Equilibra meta is extremely centralized because previously unpopular Pokemon are now being used? That sounds to me like an argument that Equilibra has (partially) de-centralized the metagame. If anything, I would think that having one Pokemon that can take on Shift Gear Magearna, Tapu Lele (to some extent) and Mega Alakazam leads to a less centralized metagame than the pre-Equilibra metagame, in which bulky offense builds needed two Steels (at least) to have some reasonable degree of security against Psychic spam and/or Magearna. People criticizing the Equilibra metagame need to remember what the pre-Equlibra metagame team buillding process was like: you had so few slots to cover so many threats that you had very little space to use things you actually want to use. Does Equilibra have too much compression for one Pokemon? Maybe. But to say it has made the metagame more centralized or less healthy is, for me, unconvincing. There are still good reasons to use other Steels, there are new available options, and there is less opportunity cost for dropping Steel types to use good stuff like Greninja that give you almost nothing defensively.
 
Brief post getting my opinion out there, there's definitely a lot more nuance that I could cover but I'm not great with articulation and I think reach and g-luke have summed it up very well

What makes Equilibra unhealthy?
It think really comes down to a combination of extreme difficulty to check defensively while also being incredibly self sufficient and reliable defensively making it straining in the team builder, it's almost forced out more passive team styles due to the ability to invalidate its checks with whirlwind and toxic, it shines similarly against the common offence teams we are seeing, albeit to a lesser extent, largely thanks to incredible bulk that lets it survive a surprising variety of hits before punching a hole through the opponents team. I think this would be remedied if it had more reliable long term checks. Another thing to note is the state of hyper offence at the moment, or rather the lack of Equilibra acts as an incredible check to many staples of hyper offense that existed before its introduction while also making slightly more niche teams that relied on screens set by koko completely worthless by countering koko and bypassing screens by setting dd and switching out. However I don't know how much this really needs to be addressed. I think the main takeaway is that libra has lead to limited variety in the meta and over centralised it around itself.
So now to consider the different approaches

Removal of whirlwind and dragon tail
This is something I see as a no brainer. Phazing is increadibly unhealthy on equilibra giving the few defensive checks it has the potential to be invalidated. I think they both need to be axed regardless of what other changes are made.

Removal of toxic
This has slightly more to consider however I think it deserves to be removed alongside phazing as even if we remove those alone equilibra will still have very few defensive checks that aren't worn down easily I think its just as important to drop toxic as it is one of the largest factors making this pokemon incredibly difficult to build for, you might argue that its not worth going against precedent when other options may be available but this is by far the simplest and most effective strategy that doesn't undermine other aspects of the CAP process.

Removal of an ability
I personally don't think removing either of its abilities is the right option. For starters bulletproof is by no means overpowered and actually is responsible for one of the positive affects of equilibras introduction, decentralising the metagame by allowing libra to solidly check tapu-lele and magearna. Levitate however I think is worth taking into consideration as it would make libra far less decentralising but I think would be far too strong a nerf for a pokemon that is clearly not broken or overpowered, while also making it a much less reliable spinner and somewhat undermining its role as a pivot.
 
I unfortunately don't have a lot of time to contribute something overly thought out, but i did want to voice my two cents.


Is Libra unhealthy?:
Yes. Its lack of definitive answers and the inability to reliable OHKO with what would seem like reasonable checks makes it incredibly hard to deal with. Its incredible bulk really plays into the latter. There needs to be easier ways to break Libra and more options to hard stop it.


Removal of an ability:
This is the most important topic in my mind, and I am strongly opposed to the idea of losing either ability.

Levitate is the primary ability and helps Libra fulfill its roll as a pivot the most. With ground, fire, and fighting being some of the most used coverage options, levitate helps reduce being quickly whittled down. Also, levitate, in combination with rapid spin, makes Libra one of the best hazard removers.

Bulletproof is in no way a problem. Running bulletproof is arguably worse because you've traded a practically guaranteed immunity for a niche and team specific immunity. Not to mention, you're allowing yourself to whittled down faster due to spikes.


Removal of toxic:
I support removing toxic regardless of the argument of being a near universal TM. Toxic significantly reduces the ability for defensive counter-play by crippling the things that can reasonably take a hit from DD and Earthpower. I think that removing toxic would be healthier for the metagame as a whole, and give players have more definitive answers to addressing Libra if they see the need to.

Removal of phazing moves:
I've personally seen very little use of phazing in the Libra meta. I've seen it maybe once. For this reason, I can't form a strong opinion regard removing them; however, from the arguments others have made, I can see the negative impact it has and would not be opposed to their removal.

Reduction of stats:
I still believe this is the major source of what makes Libra such a headache. The combination of monstrous spatk and phenomenal bulk make it a major threat. I feel the high spatk stat is needed to make DD such a viable, but the bulk could go. If bulk were severely reduced, Libra would fall faster and be less problematic. It would place a greater importance on the immunity abilities while not feeling impossible to deal with at times. This would also address the problem of Libra's investment being able to reach major benchmarks with minimal investment. A major reduction in bulk would force hard decisions on how players want to invest in stats.
 

Jho

is a Forum Moderatoris a CAP Contributor
Moderator
Hi me again, the council has discussed and Libra has been nerfed. Below is a summary:


Equilibra
Movepool: - Toxic, - Whirlwind, - Dragon Tail

tagging Marty to have this implemented on PS please (they can just be removed since libra is a gen 7 mon unlike the others)

We started by identifying that Toxic and Levitate were the two most discussed and prevalent issues for Equilibra, as both limited the ways it could be checked and forced this centralisation where Equilibra was the best check to itself due to Levitate and being Toxic immune. We decided that removing one of these options added enough counterplay to Equilibra that removing the other was unnecessary and so we voted on which of the two to remove. The vote went 3-0 in favour of removing Toxic.

Next, we moved onto the other most discussed element of Equilibra, that being its access to Phazing moves. Phazing adds uncompetitiveness to Equilibra when combined with Doom Desire. We unanimously agreed that this was the case and that both Whirlwind and Dragon Tail should be removed.

We then talked about whether we wanted to continue the discussion further and noted that we should address the posts about stats. We feel the combination of the nerfs we had decided upon and no clear stat drops being bought forward, it was fine to keep them as is. We then moved on to address the only other discussion point which was -Bulletproof which got little attention but we wanted to get to everything. We all agreed that Bulletproof was healthy for Equilibra and would be overkill to remove it here alongside its current nerfs.

With every major point in the thread discussed, we decided to call it here and end the nerfing process. We feel these removals serve to add much greater defensive counterplay to Equilibra and to limit its centralising effect on the meta by introducing checks other than itself, whilst also removing the uncompetitive aspect of Phazing. Thanks to everyone for your posts and patience whilst we addressed this. We look forward to seeing the meta develop after these changes!
 
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