Step 2 On Necturna in Generation 9

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Necturna has had an interesting journey. Its concept, that it can learn the move Sketch only once, is quite interesting but has been increasingly difficult to implement into Pokemon Showdown. Since Generation 7, due to changes in Egg Move mechanics, Necturna Clause had to be implemented so that Necturna could not learn more than one move from outside its "natural" movepool (aka the moves Necturna does NOT need to use Sketch to learn). In Generation 8, because Sketch was not coded into the game, Necturna could only learn Sketch moves from previous generations. This meant that Necturna could not learn any Generation 8 moves via Sketch; hence why we never saw No Retreat Necturna, Bolt Beak Necturna, etc. Now we reach to the present, where moves from previous generations will no longer transfer to Scarlet and Violet. Sketch is also not programmed into the game. Therefore, Necturna can no longer fulfill the niche we set out for it to do.

The purpose of this thread is to decide if we should provide Necturna some surrogate way to "use Sketch" in Generation 9. If so, we must find a way that is programmable into Pokemon Showdown. If not, we must also decide whether or not Necturna should be left as-is or have some special remedial action taken for it. While the viability of CAPs is typically left to be decided within the shifting metagame, Sketch is so clearly integrated to Necturna's place in the metagame that is worth having this discussion.

Please note that the "programmable into Pokemon Showdown" requirement is integral to this discussion. We cannot reprogram Pokemon Showdown to implement a Necturna workaround. I personally am NOT knowledgeable on how Showdown is programmed, but I do understand that some of the solutions proposed in #prc on the CAP Discord would be infeasible to program into Pokemon Showdown.

While I do have a preferred solution to Necturna at this time, I will propose it formally in this thread later so that the OP of this thread will not be biased.

Please answer this question (and associated questions, depending on the answer to the first question):
  • Should we provide Necturna some surrogate way to "use Sketch?"
    • If yes, how should this happen? Is there an existing mechanic (either on cartridge or on Pokemon Showdown) that we could leverage so that it can be programmed into Pokemon Showdown?
    • If no, should we hold a buff process for Necturna? Or should we just allow for Necturna to gain moves from Generation 9 CAP Updates?
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I spoke to the devil in Miami
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I'm not totally decided on what to do with Necturna yet, but I think that both options have pretty simple answers. Here's my proposed solutions, one for each option.

Option 1: Rotom-A Style
We essentially say that there is some NPC/in-game way of having Necturna learn any move, and that that move is replaced when it wants to learn a new move via the same mechanic. This is similar to Rotom-A in that it can only have one of Hydro Pump, Overheat, etc. This will keep Necturna's concept intact and essentially operates under the same Necturna Clause that every CAP game has.

Option 2: Movepool Additions
Every generation, CAP will have a discussion about what moves to add to Necturna's movepool. This can include older moves (Shell Smash would be an example) and newer moves (ahem ahem Last Respects). This essentially kills Necturna's concept but does not introduce any bogus flavor outside of Necturna having some funky moves.

As a matter of concept, I find option 1 to be preferable; however, as Game Freak seems hellbent on introducing broken moves into the game, option 1 may not be the best path. This is the bigger question with regards to Necturna: is a Pokemon that can learn every move, especially with Necturna's stats, balanceable? What if Necturna can run multiple "Sketch" moves at once?

I think I'm leaning towards the first option but would be willing to be convinced otherwise.


protect the wetlands
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Necturna is not the only CAP that has had it's concept and design philosophy upended by changes between generations. You could go as far back as Gen 4 to Gen 5, with the introduction of team preview making Kitsunoh's concept more or less irrelevant. You could probably argue that losing permanent sun made Malaconda's design philosophy defunct, although the introduction of Fairy and later loss of Pursuit probably would have doomed it eventually anyways. Even now, Doom Desire is lost on Equilibra in Scarlet and Violet. This is probably the most comparable case to Necturna, as it lost the move that defined its concept, whereas the other two examples were either not movepool related or emergent movepool choices later in the project.

I do not see a reason to give Necturna special treatment compared to Equilibra. There is no way to replicate Sketch that wouldn't introduce some kind of custom element in the game, as how would you create tutor locked moves similar to the Rotom forms without giving Necturna separate forms? We would be introducing hypothetical scenarios and elements into a game we attempt to emulate. I am not opposed to this; I think it is a wonderful solution. But the implications that we would make an argument to preserve the competitive identity of one CAP (Necturna) necessitates what is effectively a modification of the game but not another (Equilibra) is does not sit with me. This thread is not about that CAP though.

I think the solution that would be most in line with the traditional CAP philosophy and policies would to say tough break and include move additions to compensate to the lack of Sketch. This leaves Necturna's concept dead in the water, but again this is nothing new to CAP. If we choose to somehow introduce a custom game mechanic to enable Necturna to use a Sketch-style move, this would be staunchly against a traditional mindset of staying as loyal to the games as possible. We have done this in the past with Venomicon's process since custom elements were banned, but this is obviously a very different scenario.

I am ultimately content with either solution, but want to be clear with the implications. If we bend the rules for Necturna, can we bend them for others?

Da Pizza Man

Pizza Time
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Should we provide Necturna some surrogate way to "use Sketch?"

Like Brambane said, it is borderline impossible to create a method of replicating Sketch that doesn't in some way, shape, or form require us to be using some sort of custom mechanic. This requires us to ask ourselves if preserving Necturna's concept is worth calling into question our integrity of being a metagame based on OU, and my answer to that question is that it simply just isn't. Necturna is not the only CAP to have it's concept essentially deleted (Kitsunoh very much suffered the same fate when Team Preview was introduced, and you could argue that this has happened to a lesser extent with a lot of the CAPs with target concepts as well), nor is it even the only one that had this happen to them this gen (Equilibra no longer fulfills its concept since Doom Desire is no longer in the game, although it's largely not being talked about as the general consensus is that it will still be fine viability wise). Trying to preserve the concept of all of our CAPs across every generation is a complete lost cause with our current philosophy in mind, and unless we want to have a serious discussion on whether or not we should stick with that philosophy, the unfortunate truth is that this is just something we are going to have to deal with.

Also just as another small point, but I'm sort of worried about how feasible balancing Necturna will be this gen if we decide to take this approach, and a large part of that has to do with the fact that a lot of the moves that were introduced this gen are just outright broken. Moves like Last Respects, Revival Blessing, Rage Fist, and Population Bomb are all incredibly powerful moves that I'm not entirely comfortable with giving a mon with a fairly respectable stat spread such as Necturna, even with the caveat that it can only use one of them at a time.

If no, should we hold a buff process for Necturna? Or should we just allow for Necturna to gain moves from Generation 9 CAP Updates?

I think we should just allow for Necturna to gain moves from Generation 9 CAP Updates. I don't see there being much merit to having a formal buff process for Necturna when pretty much all of the ground that we would be touching in said process will be covered when we start talking about Generation 9 CAP updates anyways.


The Goofy Fella
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I’m not as sympathetic to the plight of the Necturna, I must admit. Brambane has mentioned it already, and while getting access to every move once is a super neat concept, with the removal of sketch and inability to transfer, the concept just seems like it can’t go on. Not only that but obviously with the introduction of several more powerful moves to the new generations the concept just power creeps itself. So even if we continued along the path of staying faithful to the concept, Necturna would continue to be in some way problematic. So I’m in the camp where we should just live and let die, necturna’s original intention is not able to proceed.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom for the flytrap waifu, I think this is an opportunity to build a more rounded mon just like we did Pyroak last gen. It’d take it’s own similarly styled buffing process of course, but we can bring nect back from the brink of death. Alternatively, but probably the less fun option, Nect can just get it’s cross generational move update, and we could leave it at that. Some people in the discord have already made their case that Necturna doesn’t need to be viable and we don’t have to spend our time making changes to what we could be putting elsewhere. But I don’t think that’s a nice thing to do to leave one of our mons in the dust like that. So I think having a Necturna Defunct Cap process somewhere down the line would be the best course of action.


You've Gotta Try
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I think we should take a step back and think about what Necturna's concept sought to accomplish, and what exactly came of that.

Having access to just one of the hundreds of moves in the game, alongside its "natural" movepool, immediately grants Necturna a massive array of options that most other Pokemon lack, either for balance reasons or because having said move in the first place makes zero sense in-universe (Shell Smash is only ever given to Pokemon with a distinct shell/carapace, or Legendary signatures meant to be used by none other than the powerful Pokemon that wield them). Realistically, however, Necturna uses less than 1% of the moves you have access to, with only a select few having any sort of competitive merit (smash, geomancy, v-create), which means almost all of what Necturna could use on a set is never going to see serious play.

Now, part of the draw with Sketch is that you'd be getting even stronger options as more stuff is added to the game, creating a unique dynamic where Necturna is constantly gaining new tools every generation. This was the case for Gens 6 and 7, but with the removal of Smeargle, and thus Sketch in Gen 8, that aspect was lost. This permanently changed what kind of mon Necturna is, from "can use one of any move it wants that it otherwise wouldn't learn" to "has an absolutely massive movepool but a majority of it is mutually exclusive with one another." Since Necturna no longer learns every available move in the main series, and of the moves you do have only a handful are actually of any benefit, what exactly is separating Necturna from any one of our other CAPs with strange move inclusions like Wood Hammer for Crucibelle, Brave Bird for Pajantom, or super-specific things like SM Jumbao learning exclusively Flame Burst as its Fire-type coverage or Aurumoth's insanely stacked movepool?

The point I'm trying to make is that, while there are certainly steps we could take to preserve some of Necturna's original identity, I simply don't think it's worth our time to conjure up a way that Necturna has access to every move in Gen 9 when you'd only run like, the top 5 most broken ones. (This raises another issue of the ludicrous moves introduced this generation like Revival Blessing, Last Respects, Rage Fist, Victory Dance, etc. and what'd that mean for Necturna's effect on the metagame.) Like other's have said before, CAP concepts have died before and will probably continue to do so.

I think the most important thing a CAP can do is accomplish its concept in the generation it was designed for, because any environment outside of that one completely ignores the specificity of a CAP's stats, typing, moves, and Abilities. We shouldn't have to bend over backwards trying to preserve a CAP's identity at all costs when GameFreak will continue to make changes that invalid the original intentions of a process, and in many ways we simply cannot achieve this.

For those concerned about Necturna losing Sketch and transfer moves because of viability concerns – isn't that something which can be addressed with generational updates? If there was ever a CAP that we can just give a move because we wanted to, it'd be the one that was made to have any move in the first place, and was even given a cool reason how it does so in the supporting artwork, for the flavor fans out there. Since concept loyalty is still something we'd want to adhere to as much as reasonably possible, letting Necturna have access to a bunch of powerful moves that don't fit the aesthetics of its design, or the move distribution philosophy of Pokemon in general, keeps the spirit of the original idea fairly intact.

It hasn't been brought up on here yet, but the changes to Egg Moves this gen could help us find a good solution. From the Serebii page:
joe merrick gaming said:
a Pokémon can in fact learn one of its Egg Moves from ANY other Pokémon it is in the Picnic with. To do this, the Pokémon wanting to get the Egg Move just needs to hold the Mirror Herb item. When it has it, it will learn the moves from any Pokémon, regardless of if it is the same gender, species or even in the same Egg Group.
I'm not sure how others may feel about giving Necturna Egg Moves nothing else gets, but it would provide a means of giving Necturna some of the moves that are otherwise hard to fit. This wouldn't help if we wanted to keep the whole "one Sketch move" thing a reality, but strictly speaking if we wanted to give Necturna X move than this would be a simple way to do so.

Otherwise, I do like the proposal dex made about an in-game NPC/event interaction that lets you give Necturna any one move, but the old one gets overridden when choosing a new one, and simply have that as a means of justifying the existence of Necturna clause.
While I am very intrigued by the idea of replacing the current Necturna Clause with a new one, that replicates Rotom Forms move additions, I agree with my precursors, that particularly gen 9 introduced a couple of absolutely bonkers moves, that would give Nect balancing issues, which could end up in an actual banworthy Mon. Especially the addition of two STAB moves with potential for bonkers base power along with other moves like Vcreate, Bolt Beak, Shell Smash or thousand arrows, means we might end up banning Nect just after we give Nect a special treatment - which also implies additional work for the Coding Staff.

For that reason we are left with the choice of
A) leaving Necturna alone and see what future GF updates bring with them (which might be good anyways, since it’s still possible, that transfer moves or even sketch return in the future)
B) adding significant movesthat it was already using to its movepool
This option again has two cases,
1) in which we only give it one move, that is most likely to make it viable (this means we abandon Nects concept entirely)
2) We give it several strong options it can choose from, which are locked from being usable alongside each other via event. (Which I don’t know how much effort has to be put into but sounds more complex the more moves have to be put through the validator).

Honestly I’m not a fan of any of these options and thus I’m currently leaning towards the simplest, which is to wait and see what happens with Nect without any substitutes for Sketch while just adjusting its movepool according to gen 9 movepool trends.
Should the updates not bring any solution and Nect end up unviable, it would be eligible for a buff process anyway and we could adjust it accordingly, which has the added bonus, that by then we might have a developed metagame, where we can more easily gauge the effect of any additions we make.

Da Pizza Man

Pizza Time
is a Pre-Contributor
Posting this on behalf of Taigavia on the CAP Discord (I'm not sure what there name on the forums is unfortunately).

I'm not the best CAP player, but I would like to chime in to say that I personally don't believe that the arguments for Kitsunoh or Malaconda losing the identity of their concept and Necturna losing its are quite comparable. Kitsunoh and Malaconda were due to a shift in fundamental gameplay mechanics rather than the removal of specific moves and tools. In the case of Necturna, it is the removal of Smeargle (Sketch itself does still exist in Gen 9) rather than a shift in how the core gameplay mechanics work. To that end, I don't see this particular change as Gamefreak killing the concept as much as us choosing to kill the concept.

If we were to look at a shift of fundamental systems, that would have been back when Egg Moves were capable of being taught and we had to make the Necturna clause. She has already been running on Sketch in-name-only as a system to fulfil the concept. In gen 8 when Smeargle was first removed, it was then decided that the clause would allow Necturna to learn any moves that existed in Gen 7 instead of any new moves. We've already had multiple cases of making the Pokemon function in places where core system mechanics failed. Necturna has already functionally been running a custom element for the past few generations rather than running Sketch outright. Now in gen 9, the problem that has arisen is the problem that moves that get ported over to SV from Home get removed. Except... We currently can't port anything to SV from Home. The fundamental system that is causing Necturna to become problematic in Gen 9 is one that is still as-of-yet unavailable. I think making any decision to rework or destroy Necturna's concept is a bit hasty, and instead should be put on hold until Home arrives at the absolute soonest.

Of the more time prompt solutions, I like Dex's Rotom style solution, where an NPC allows Necturna to learn any 1 move. This allows Necturna to continue to be Necturna, and does fit within the style of generational changes we get for these unique mechanics in between generations. Deoxys was changed from being a game-specific form to one that could change at will when interacting with the meteorite from generation 3 to 4 for example.

However, if this solution is not really feasible, I think we should just... Wait and see what happens. I would much rather Necturna is temporarily on the Dexit list waiting for Home to return like the Hisuian Pokemon, the genies, Heatran, etc, giving us more time to either decide on a feasible solution or to see what Gamefreak does that can solve our problem.
I agree on the majority sentiment here that we should probably just wait for movepool updates for now, but I want to address Dex's Rotom-esque event solution:

Even if we manage to deal with/exclude the potentially broken moves Necturna may inherit, I still find this solution problematic. Balance and viability aside, adding a fake event to remedy Necturna ultimately harms the integrity of the CAP Project as a whole. The reasoning here is very similar to why CAP no longer does custom moves and abilities: CAP is intended to explore competitive Pokemon through the toolkit given to us by Gamefreak. A major aspect of CAP is exploring the given options Gamefreak offers and fulfilling our concept as best we can- rather than implementing custom elements to fulfill our concepts for free. Adding an in-game event for Necturna is indeed a clean solution to the lack of Sketch, but it ultimately goes against the spirit of what CAP stands for.

Looking long term, it will likely be the case that Gamefreak will keep cutting moves from subsequent generations. As such, I doubt this will be the last time we face such an issue- even now, Equilibra is in a similar situation. In future generations we may run into problems like Pajantom losing Spirit Shackle, Saharaja losing Diamond Storm, and the fates of whatever move-based concepts we work on in the future. We must consider the precedent that our Necturna solution sets for future CAPs, and I find that adding a custom in-game event is a poor precedent to set.

I believe that CAP has no obligation to uphold Necturna's concept in the current gen, nor to keep Necturna viable. The same goes for all CAPs of previous generations. While upholding concepts in future generations is certainly nice to have, it's far from something CAP should be going as far as implementing a custom element to fulfill.

So yeah


I am the Scientist now
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Honestly I favor just undergoing a standard generational update with Necturna, and then committing to handling it during the first buff process of this gen. While this is passing the buck to a large degree, the extra time to let tera/bans settle would help us a lot to understand if nect needs a full restructuring, and if so, what bounds we need to place on it.
I wouldn't mind if Necturna got some of the common moves it uses normally, or had them integrated via Abilities. Anger Shell is an example, even though it is relatively tame compared to the move it's based on. On top of that, we can re-buff Necturna from the nerfs it had in Gen 7, if that's a viable option.


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Yeah, I'm inclined to agree with others about saving Necturna for Gen 9 updates + buff processes. CAPs can age poorly and lose both concept relevance and viability over time - this isn't a new phenomenon to us. While Necturna is an especially bad case of this and isn't a 1:1 comparison to other CAPs, I still see little justification for special treatment, especially when some of the proposed solutions are so logistically complex or outright infeasible. I'm fine with punting Necturna down the road and dedicating the generation's first buff process to it; not only will HOME support be out by then, but in a setting like this we'll have the tools to address issues surrounding both its original concept and viability, as opposed to this thread which seems mainly focused on the former. I'm also fine with simply handing out Shell Smash during generational updates as an interim solution and then reevaluating this decision at a later stage. Either way, I don't think there's much impetus to rush to Necturna's aid so soon.


You've Gotta Try
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oh yeah i'll throw this out here before i go to bed

since the whole sketch thing has largely fallen apart and a solution to preserve this design aspect is convoluted and either requires some custom mechanic/function or sim clause i was wondering if there were any other directions we could take in the whole "learning a bunch of moves" thing

i thought it might be cool if we copied mew and let necturna learn every tm (preferably just the SV ones). this would significantly bolster set diversity with all the strong coverage options + status available, but would both remove the "one move" limit since, they're tms dummy, and also prevent certain staple moves like shell smash from being available.

idk if we feel the need to "rebrand" necturna like this but given the precedent of precedent being upheaved by gamefreak i find this to be a neat solution that (hopefully) frees us from needing to figure out how this mon works every subsequent generation

either way i'm good on waiting until updates/buff processes to worry about necturna


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Based on the replies in this thread, it seems the prevailing opinion is that "learn Sketch but only once" is an increasingly difficult mechanic to conjure without custom elements, and new high-powered moves like Rage Fist, Population Bomb, Victory Dance, etc. makes this concept less appealing to actualize. Additionally, making a work-around for Sketch would open the door to making work-arounds for other CAPs who lose out on their essential attributes, such as Equilibra losing Doom Desire in Scarlet and Violet as well.

  1. Necturna will receive the same treatment as other CAPs in the Generation 9 Updates Process, including the chance to gain one potential new competitively relevant move (as detailed in the Generation 9 Updates PRC thread).
  2. If it fits the criteria for Defunct CAPs by the end of the next CAP project, Necturna can be an eligible for a Buff Process, just as any other CAP.
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