Resource USM CAP Metagame Viability Rankings

snake_rattler

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Let's end the year with a VR update! First though, I have a couple of announcements.

cbrevan is retiring from the VR team. We thank him for his long service on the team!

Drapionswing and Rat With Wings were very busy for the holidays, and to have an odd number for the voting, the VR team invited xavgb (stresh on Discord and PS!) to fill in the gaps. Thanks!

Tapu Koko: A+ to A-
Tomohawk: A+ to A-
Clefable: A to A-
Krilowatt: A to A-
Chansey: A- to B+
Cyclohm: A- to B+
Gastrodon: A- to B-
Mega Scizor: A- to B
Pyroak: B+ to B-
Revenankh: B+ to B
Mega Venusaur: B to B-
Mew: B to B-
Mollux: B to C
Stratagem: B to B-
Tapu Fini: B to B-
Azumarill: B- to UR
Mega Gallade: B- to UR
Keldeo: B- to C
Malaconda: B- to C
Mimikyu: B- to UR
Alolan Ninetales: B- to UR
Mega Aerodactyl: C to UR
Alomomola: C to UR
Crucibelle: Blacklisted
Gengar: C to UR
Mantine: C to UR
Plasmanta; C to Blacklisted
Skarmory: C to UR
Thundurus-T: C to UR
Tornadus-T: A+ to S
Aurumoth: A to A+
Magearna: A to A+
Kitsunoh: A- to A
Mega Mawile: A- to A
Mega Diancie: B+ to A-
Tangrowth: B+ to A-
Weavile: B+ to A
Mega Tyranitar: B to A-
Excadrill: B- to B
Garchomp: B- to B
Rotom-W: B- to B
Serperior: B- to B
Victini: B- to B
Mega Aggron: C to B-
Moltres: UR to C
Slowbro: UR to C

Caribolt: UR to A-
Smokoodo: UR to B+
Snaelstrom: UR to B+

As for reasoning for these changes in rank, we've included most of them, as well as our votes, on this Google Sheet. Please read the comments to understand why we voted the way we did. Comments appear mostly on votes for change.

Heatran: A+ to S

First up, the VR team is heavily split on Heatran's rise to S-rank. It's grip on the metagame is heavy, often necessitating two checks to it on a well-built team, akin to Mega Crucibelle or Zygarde. Its splashability due to its access to Stealth Rock and its access to Magma Storm make it a unique pick in the metagame. However, Heatran suffers partly due to Mega Crucibelle's prominence by sharing similar weaknesses to it. For example, Heatran suffers from Mega Crucibelle lures like Hidden Power Ground Tornadus-T and the abundance of Ground-type coverage in general. It simply might not reach the same level of metagame-definition that the other S-rank Pokemon fit. With such an important nomination, we wanted to open it up to discussion.

Hawlucha: A to A-

Currently, Hawlucha is almost exclusively run with Tapu Koko, which just dropped to A-. While Hawlucha can be run with Tapu Lele, Tapu Fini, and Tapu Bulu, these are often far less effective than Tapu Koko + Hawlucha. We would like to know what the community thinks about dropping Hawlucha to A-. Is the fact that it's almost exclusively run with Tapu Koko enough to warrant a drop? Or is the fact that it can be run with other Tapu's too enough to warrant being ranked seperately from Tapu Koko?

Mega Pinsir: A to A-

The VR team is split on whether or not to lower Mega Pinsir. On one hand, it’s still a powerhouse with its Flying-type attacks, forcing out Arghonaut, Snaelstrom, and Jumbao and threatening Necturna with priority. On the other though, many metagame trends go against it. For one, many top metagame threats like Mega Crucibelle and Tornadus-T force it out, and the high usage of Celesteela makes it harder to run Earthquake. The rise of Glare Zygarde means Mega Pinsir is less of a reliable switch-in to it as it was in the past. Most importantly though, by choosing Mega Pinsir, you give up the opportunity to run Mega Crucibelle, Mega Alakazam, Mega Latios, or Mega Mawile, which are much more consistent mega evolutions. Is Mega Pinsir’s power enough to stay in A, or are these drawbacks enough to push it down into A-?

Syclant: A to A-

While Syclant is a good offensive Ice-type, the value of Knock Off and Pursuit that Weavile offers leaves the VR team wondering if Syclant should be ranked alongside Weavile, which is a much more popular choice as an offensive Ice-type thanks to the aforementioned Knock Off and Pursuit. However, Syclant sets itself apart from Weavile with its access to U-turn, Ground-type coverage, and Spikes, which allow it to take advantage of Pokemon like Arghonaut and deal with common Ice-type resists, namely Toxapex, whereas Weavile can't. What does the community think? Does Syclant have enough to stay ranked alongside Weavile? Or should it drop because of the competition it faces from Weavile?

Weavile: A to A+

It should be no surprise that Weavile was voted to rise. However, the VR team wasn't sure if it should rise to A or A+. Weavile is arguable the best Pursuit trapper in the metagame, keeping Pajantom at bay for otherwise unprepared teams, while also fending off Necturna in one teamslot. Does this utility warrant another rise to A+? Or does its general lack of defensive potential hold it back at A?

Kartana: A- to B+

Although Kartana is one of the best Mega Crucibelle checks, it faces quite a few issues in the current metagame. The ubiquity of Tornadus-T pressures it out, and the viability of faster attackers like Mega Latios, Mega Diancie, Syclant, Weavile, and Greninja further increase the pressure. Although Choice Scarf variants would be able to counteract this problem, Kitsunoh has eclipsed Kartana's role as a Choice Scarf weilding Steel-type due to its access to U-turn, Ice Punch, and Earthquake. The VR team is thus asking this: is Kartana's Choice Band set worth keeping it in A-? If not, it should fall to B+, where it's not a bad pick at all but finds itself inconsistent.

Tangrowth: A- to A

The VR team understands the value Tangrowth has on teams, hence its rise to A-, but we would like to discuss if it should rise further. With the combination of Assault Vest and Regenerator, it checks potent threats such as Zygarde, Mega Alakazam, Ash Greninja and Tapu Koko consistently. As bulky Grass-types become increasingly important on most builds, Tangrowth and Jumbao often compete for the same spot on a team, making it hard to get an understanding of Tangrowth's strength in the metagame. How often is the additional bulk, pivoting, coverage, and Knock Off utility better than Jumbao's Wish support, Fairy typing, and offensive sets? Does the strength of this niche over defensive Jumbao warrant a further rise for Tangrowth?

Tomohawk: A- to B+

Even though Tomohawk just dropped to A-, the VR team feels that it could potentially drop further. Defensive Tomohawk has had an undeniably prominent grip on the metagame, but this has also turned against it. Notably, just about every setup sweeper is designed to beat it. If you take a quick look at the top ranked sweeper, you can see that Tomohawk does not really check any of these Pokemon, making its Prankster Haze not as useful as it used to be. It also lets in Psychic- and Fairy-types like Mega Alakazam, Mega Latios, and Magearna in for pretty much free, often making it a momentum sack. All in all, defensive Tomohawk tends to bring more issues to a team than that it patches up and we feel that this could be enough reason to drop it. While defensive sets have been falling, offensive sets have been getting explored more, and have proven to be effective. But generally speaking, offensive sets tend to be hard to justify using over Tornadus-T. We would like to hear what the community thinks about Tomohawk's ranking. Are the flaws of Tomohawk's defensive set and the fact that offensive sets are hard to justify using over Tornadus-T enough to drop? Or is the fact that offensive sets are being explored more enough to keep Tomohawk in A-?

Tapu Bulu: B+ to B

Though Tapu Bulu finds itself on almost all consistent Trick Room builds, it struggles to keep up with the metagame on other teams. Specially Defensive Tapu Bulu has no place in the metagame anymore due to competition with Jumbao and Tangrowth and to letting Necturna set up for free. Choice Band is where it shines, and while it's a great set, it's not the most consistent set with how many Pokemon pressure it out. As long as Mega Camerupt is ranked at B though, Tapu Bulu shouldn't fall beneath B, as Tapu Bulu's importance on Trick Room teams cannot be understated. The VR team would like to open up this to community discussion.

Amoonguss: B to B-

Amoonguss is a bit of an anomaly among the Grass-types of the metagame. On one hand, with less Tapu Koko around, there's more room to Spore and be successful with it. On the other hand, it's generally overshadowed by Tangrowth and Jumbao. The VR team wants to know where it stacks on the VR. Should it stay in B? Or drop to B-?

Serperior: B to B+

As one of the users of the coveted Glare, Serperior rose to B to reflect its usefulness. The VR team wants to open it up to discussion on whether consistent enough to rise again to B+. While its offensive presence is quite terrifying after a Leaf Storm, it has to pull one off, and its measly 8 PP can sometimes run out too quickly. Additionally, it faces a slight case of 4MSS.

Cresselia / Uxie: C to UR

The VR team is questioning the viability of these Pokemon at all. With Fidgit Trick Room teams finding more consistency, do these Pokemon even have a sizable niche in the metagame?

Hydreigon: C to B-

Hydreigon is an interesting Pokemon in the current CAP Metagame as its typing, coupled with its ability Levitate, allow it to check a good portion of the tiers threats such as Caribolt, Volkraken, Smokomodo, Ash Greninja, and non-Steelium Z Heatran. With that Hydreigon's respectable power and coverage options, it can be a potent wallbreaker. Despite this, it’s middling speed tier and reliance on Z moves to break through common walls such as Jumbao can often make it hard to fit into teams, and for this reason the VR team is unsure if it should rise.

Additionally, feel free to comment on the initial rankings for Caribolt, Smokomodo, and Snaelstrom. However, please first read the comments from the VR team on the Google Sheet before doing so to understand why we placed it where it is.
 
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Shokkking

No man can walk out on his own story
is a Pre-Contributor
I would like to do a very ambicious nominating

Mega Pinsir: A --> A+

1546747923639.png

I played a lot of matches using Mega Pinsir, and if the enemy team doesn't have any answer to him, he can just break past opposing defensive walls and win the game with the help of the rights teammates. With a great Attack and Speed tier, Mega Pinsir has the BEST offensive stats and the perfect coverage combination. Return with Aerilate + Earthquake doesn't have a lot of checks, being walled just by Celesteela, Skarmory and Cawmodore. (Maybe Air Balloon Heatran).
Mega Pinsir can act as a lead against Snaelstorm teams, getting a free setup opportunity or just killing it with Return STAB. Rock- and Steel-types can't switch safely into it, as Mega-Pinsir has Earthquake, punishing them if predicted correctly, namely Crucibelle, Magearna, Kitsunoh and Magnezone.

Difference between Mega-Pinsir and other wallbreakers

A Flying-type STAB move with a good Attack is the most important thing that makes Mega Pinsir unique. Return resistances being coveraged by Earthquake means that a few mons will be able to switch in safely. Mega Pinsir can't be revenge killed easily thanks to its 105 Base Speed, which means that the enemy will have to use a faster mon or a scarfer, luring them to its teammates.

Priority

Mega Pinsir has STAB priority. Quick Attack is a threatening move after +1 with Aerilate boost, allowing him to safely kill weakened foes, cleaning the enemy team easier than other wallbreakers, such as Mega Medicham and Mega Mawile
 

snake_rattler

Pajantom's Daddy
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Hi everyone! The VR team has a special announcement. Check out the amazing new artwork by BlueberryBlanket for the VR thread OP!! Thank you BlueberryBlanket for the quick and amazing work!

We also wanted everyone to share their thoughts on the VR now that Zygarde has been banned. The discussion points in the last update post are still good starting points for discussion. Keep in mind, though, how nominations work. A post that wants to highlight what a Pokemon can do is a great post for the metagame discussion thread. However, for the VR, nominations need to say what's changed in the metagame around that Pokemon. Replays, especially for those towards A, A+, and S, are highly appreciated for more concrete evidence of the nomination. Replays for nominating a Pokemon from Unranked to C rank are also required.

Finally, we've linked the analysis pages to the Pokemon on the VR. Check them out!
 

Jordy

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Hello everyone, you can expect the next VR update some time soon. Furthermore, we have decided to add xavgb and Mx to the VR team, please welcome them!

On another note, I just wanted to make a quick response to your post. Your post completely failed to explain what has changed for Mega Pinsir at all, and it just tells us what it does, which is common knowledge. Furthermore, I just want to point out that nothing has actually changed in Mega Pinsir's favor, matter of fact, things have gotten worse for it. A good example of this is Mega Crucibelle rising to dominance post-Zygarde's ban. Not only does Mega Crucibelle give Mega Pinsir competition for the mega slot, it's also the best offensive check to it. If anything, I'd drop Mega Pinsir right now.
 

Jordy

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Just before Mega Crucibelle gets nerfed, we're here with another slate!

Heatran to S
Tangrowth to A
Moltres to B-


Jumbao to A
Pajantom to A
Hawlucha to A-
Mega Pinsir to A-
Syclant to A-
Clefable to B+
Snaelstrom to C
Revenankh to C
Pyroak to C
Mega Venusaur to C
Cresselia to UR
Uxie to UR


Just like last time, you can look at the votes on this Google Sheet.

Tapu Lele to A+

Tapu Lele has seen an uptick in usage to combat the passive teams that have been appearing more and more lately. The VR team wants to know whether this is enough to make Tapu Lele rise. What are your thoughts?

Weavile to A+

Weavile provides a lot of utility and finds its way onto many teams right now. Pursuit provides a lot of utility in the current metagame, as it allows it to guarantee KOes on Pokemon like Tornadus-T, Mega Latios, and Pajantom. Furthermore, Ice Shard provides a lot of utility for many teams to check Shell Smash Necturna. We would like to know whether you think this is enough for Weavile to rise or not?

Clefable to B

Although Clefable just dropped, the VR team feels like it might warrant another drop. As was pointed out, Clefable provides free switches for Mega Crucibelle. Furthermore, it does not provide a lot of utility to teams, currently. Is this enough to warrant another drop? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

Stratagem to C

Although Stratagem seems like the perfect Pokemon thanks to its great coverage, its mediocre Special Attack stat makes it very prediction reliant, meaning that it's extremely inconsistent. Furthermore, it's a mediocre Tornadus-T check due to its mediocre bulk. Additionally, it faces competition from Mega Crucibelle, Mega Diancie, and Mega Tyranitar.

Snaelstrom to BL

Ever since Zygarde got banned, Snaelstrom lost a majority of its niche as an answer to Zygarde. Its weakness to Stealth Rock and lack of reliable recovery often let it down as a wall that is supposed to check multiple Pokemon. However, Snaelstrom might have some use on Trick Room teams. Would Snaelstrom losing most of its niche warrant a drop to BL, or can it stay in C as an incredibly niche Trick Room setter? We'd like to hear your thoughts.
 

Birkal

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Snaelstrom potentially moving to BL is a farce. I agree that the removal of Zygarde didn't do it any favors, as Snaelstrom can't really serve as a counter to most sets of Garchomp. But Snaelstrom is still incredibly bulky, and I'm still personally using it as a defensive core with Defog Gliscor and Wish Jumbao. I think people are underestimating how good Poison Heal is as an ability; it allows it to simultaneously soak up status and heal good chunks of damage. Combined with Spiky Shield and SR, and you have yourself a reliable rocks setter that can come in frequently throughout the match.

I certainly don't think it's A material or anything, but the idea that its entire viability is gone now that Zygarde has been banned is not true.
 

Jordy

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It's been a while since this thread was last updated. In light of the new Mega Crucibelle and Necturna nerfs I'd like to make a lot of noms. I've been sitting on some of these for a while now, whereas some others I've thought of recently.

→ S-
While Tornadus-T is undoubtedly the best Defogger in the CAP metagame, I believe that it has one major flaw that prevents it from being S rank. I'd like to propose a drop to S-, because Tornadus-T is very susceptible to the many common Stealth Rock setters, like Mega Crucibelle, Mega Diancie, and Mega Tyranitar, which are quite prominent in the current metagame. I know that S- as a rank is generally frowned upon, but I believe that Tornadus-T is ahead of the rest of A+, so it definitely doesn't fit better there, but it also doesn't fit the description of an S rank Pokemon.

→ A+
With its recent nerf, Necturna definitely took a hit, though it is not bad by any means. The reason I'd like to see it drop to A+ is because it still has plenty of potential on Spikes stacking teams, but it is nowhere near as metagame defining as it was previously or as the current S ranks.

→ A-
Similarly to Necturna, with its nerf, Mega Crucibelle took a hit in its viability, but by a larger extent. Mega Crucibelle is nowhere near as defining as it was, but it is by no means bad, as it is still a Rock-type Stealth Rock setter with a lot of potential as an offensive pivot, meaning that it still holds quite a bit of value. I'd like to drop it to A- to reflect on this.

→ A-

I've recently been using Garchomp a lot, it's a really good offensive Stealth Rock setter that brings tons of defensive utility with it. Notably being an offensive Heatran and Mega Crucibelle check.

→ A-

Kitsunoh's main niche was as a Choice Scarf user that was capable of pressuring Mega Crucibelle and Necturna, which are both notably worse now, so I'd like to see a drop to reflect the fact that there is less need for it. However, don't get me wrong, Kitsunoh still holds a lot of value, because it is still a Steel-type that is completely unbothered by Focus Blast, meaning that it goes quite well with other Steel-types.

→ A-

Although definitely not a bad Pokemon, Mega Latios just struggles in a meta where Pursuit thrives.

→ A-

Rotom-W is amazing right now, it's probably the best alternative Defogger available to Tornadus-T, being capable of discouraging Rock-type Stealth Rock setters. To add onto that, it's a really nice check to Flying-, Fire-, and Ground-types like Tornadus-T, Heatran, and Landorus-T, which all thrive in this meta. Lastly, Necturna is not as threatening now, which is great for Rotom-W.

→ B+

While Zapdos possesses most of the same qualities as Rotom-W, it's really not that great in this meta. I say this mainly because of its weakness to Stealth Rock; it's easily overwhelmed if Stealth Rock is up, which is especially important for a Defog user lol. Keeping Ferrothorn and Arghonaut's Spikes off forever is nice, though, so I don't think it should drop lower than B+, atleast for right now.

→ B+/B

I know this might seem like bias considering how much I've dumpstered Tomohawk already, but Tomohawk is just not good. It's really hard to justify using its offensive set over Tornadus-T. Additionally, as the metagame progresses, and Pokemon like Magearna and Mega Mawile get even better, it's just far too passive.

→B-/C

There is little to no reason to run Mega Scizor. While it is quite nice as a Defog user that pressures Rock-types, especially now that Mega Crucibelle can't just overwhelm it, being Spikes fodder for Arghonaut is really bad.

→UR

Offler, put the gun down. Sadly, Keldeo just has no place in the metagame.

→UR

While Quagsire has a theoretical niche on stall over Arghonaut in blocking Volt Switch from Tapu Koko, I think it should still be unranked. Every time I build a stall team, I ask myself why I'd ever run Quagsire over Arghonaut, and the answer is basically always that I wouldn't; Spikes are simply too valuable.

Snaelstrom potentially moving to BL is a farce. I agree that the removal of Zygarde didn't do it any favors, as Snaelstrom can't really serve as a counter to most sets of Garchomp. But Snaelstrom is still incredibly bulky, and I'm still personally using it as a defensive core with Defog Gliscor and Wish Jumbao. I think people are underestimating how good Poison Heal is as an ability; it allows it to simultaneously soak up status and heal good chunks of damage. Combined with Spiky Shield and SR, and you have yourself a reliable rocks setter that can come in frequently throughout the match.

I certainly don't think it's A material or anything, but the idea that its entire viability is gone now that Zygarde has been banned is not true.
I actually disagree with this. Snaelstrom just doesn't check a whole lot in a metagame that is dominated by Tornadus-T, offensive Rock-types, and Electric-types like Tapu Koko and Rotom-W. To add onto that, it is easily overwhelmed by Landorus-T and Garchomp, the 2 main offensive Ground-types. You mention how it is a reliable Stealth Rock setter, but Tornadus-T and Rotom-W come in on it for forever. Additionally, the necessity of having to run Spiky Shield means that Snaelstrom is quite the momentum sink against properly built teams. To be frank, I believe that there is little to no reason to run Snaelstrom in the current meta, despite it being able to soft check a bunch of different Pokemon.
 
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xavgb

EVs: 20 HP / 20 Def / 240 SpA / 116 SpD / 112 Spe
is a Pre-Contributor
Thought I'd drop in and make some higher rank nominations of my own, since the meta is changing fairly rapidly right now.

-> A

Honestly Lando has been fairly dormant in the meta for a while now, and that's largely because it can't really claim to be as versatile in CAP as Lando is generally famous for being. Choice Scarf sets, even with the nerf of Necturna, face competition from similar role compressing scarfers such as Kitsunoh, generally losing out due to its less useful defensive typing and the fact that it has Earthquake as its STAB move, which is prone to letting in Aurumoth in particular, which is the most dangerous setup sweeper in the tier. Defensive sets suffer from the dominance of Tornadus-Therian, both as a mon that takes momentum off defensive Lando and competes for a teamslot, and once again its typing isn't amazingly useful when considering that it can't really come in on nearly all of the top offensive threats in the tier (see tran, gren, z magearna, alakazam etc). Rockium Lando also struggles to carve a niche for itself - whilst it is potent offensively, it faces heavy competition from Rockium Garchomp, which offers a better Speed tier (notably putting it above Tapu Lele and Aurumoth) along with important resistances to Fire and Rock, as well as being neutral to Water, making it easier for Garchomp to get rocks past/break through Rotom-Wash, whilst also allowing it to take on Scarf Volkraken better in 1v1 scenarios. This leaves the two Lando-T sets that are the most justifiable on teams - Flyinium Z and Sash. Flyinium Z faces competition in the utility department from Tornadus-T, and whilst it has the notable niches of having Rocks and hitting Steels well, most current teams are already quite good at pressuring Steels and there's definitely other options for rockers, especially when they have better matchups vs Torn-T/Rotom-W than Lando. There isn't much to say about sash Lando-T, other than the fact that it's specifically a supporting mon for HO, which means that individually it couldn't really be considered of any more value than Tapu Koko, as Koko is the defining mon for the strongest form of HO right now (screens). Overall I don't think that Lando can really be considered as an equal to the rest of A+, even though it is a strong mon in its own right, due to the issues actually justifying it on good teams.

-> A+

Zam is an opposite case to the Lando nom above - I'm proposing for this to rise based on how well it fits with current team structures. Zam's blazing speed tier, along with the fact that its main answers being steel types that lack good recovery, make it a very nice fit with other very strong mons. Here's some examples of great mons that Zam fits well alongside:

- Torn-T is capable of drawing in steel types and removing their items with Knock Off, harming their longevity against Zam. It can also provide free pivots for Zam to start wallbreaking. Torn-T can also punish Kitsunoh for trying to gain momentum against Zam with Rocky Helmet chip.

- Both CM Split and double dance Magearna pair well with Zam for similar reasons. Magearna and Alakazam are able to draw in the same types of offensive and defensive checks and wear them down over the course of the game. Cm split Magearna is also exceptional at breaking down bulkier builds that may not let Zam have as much freedom to use its attacks.

- Spikes are generally good in the meta and Zam definitely takes advantage just by nature of being fast. By decreasing the longevity of any defensive Zam answers, many teams can find themselves struggling to keep offensive checks at a high enough amount of hp to stop Zam from cleaning up. Protean Greninja is particularly notable as a partner for its ability to hit steels for heavy damage with Low Kick. Additionally, Zam is able to benefit from rocks chip in the same way that it benefits from Spikes, which every team should have anyway.

- Heatran takes a different approach to the first three partners that I mentioned; instead of wearing down Steels alongside Zam, it simply takes advantage of them in order to wallbreak. This approach still works since Zam will be able to get through Steel types over time and will often have support from one of the other good Zam partners. On top of that, Heatran itself doesn't really have safe switchins, so it will be making progress over time the more free switches it is given.

- These last two may look odd, but they happen to benefit from the same partners as Zam - in other words, they pair well with the above mons that pair well with Zam. Both Tangrowth and Krilowatt form great pivoting cores with Torn-T, and they also both deny Celesteela's Leech Seed recovery, which is relevant since it significantly decreases Celesteela's ability to act as a long term check to Psychic types in general. Krilowatt is also notorious for its ability to take advantage of Spikes, and together with Zam and hazards, it's capable of breaking down most of the builds in the metagame.


Alakazam can also enhance its ability to annoy Steel types as well as other soft checks such as AV Tangrowth by carrying Knock Off over Shadow Ball. However, this option loses out on the ability to pressure opposing Zam and Aurumoth well, so teams should be cautious about what checks to those mons they pack alongside Zam if it's running Knock.

-> S- (with Torn-T)

This may be a bit controversial, as it is part of a significant restructuring of S rank, but similar to my views on Torn-T, I don't think Heatran quite defines S rank, nor do I think it's at the same level as A+. My issue with Heatran is that the meta provides us with a good amount of soft checks whilst also giving it fewer opportunities to switch in than it has had in the past. With Jumbao and Clefable falling, Heatran loses out on the ability to find completely free switchins, normally taking a solid chunk of chip which can be amplified when dealing with the popular hazard stacking going on. In particular, Z-Move variants lack any way to heal off this damage, and as a result it can be limited in the amount of time it can get to break down teams. Leftovers Heatran with Toxic is still capable of pressuring a lot of teams, but this runs into another issue regarding its defensive role on a team. Heatran's typing still leaves it prone to the coverage moves of a lot of mons that Steel types would ideally beat - Focus Blast and Hidden Power Ground from Magearna, Hidden Power Ground and to an extent Knock Off from Tornadus-T, and Focus Blast from Zam and Lele. These problems can be somewhat mitigated by adding a secondary steel, but this doesn't fully solve the problem, since the likes of Kitsunoh can still find themselves overwhelmed by combinations of mons that steels are expected to resist. The result is that it's often more practical to run double Steel backbones with Magearna instead of Heatran, so that the steels can effectively share roles. Recently the meta has also had some short-term switchins to Heatran pick up in usage, such as Protean Greninja, Mega Alakazam and Garchomp, and all three are fairly punishing for Heatran's momentum. Despite these flaws, Heatran can still actively punish a few common mons in the meta such as Ferrothorn, Celesteela, and Thunderbolt Magearna, and it still doesn't really have long-term switchins, so it continues to be imposing enough to stay above A+ in my opinion.


-> S

I believe that Magearna stands out as the best and most consistent mon in the meta right now. The cm split set is able to beat/take advantage of a lot of other strong mons in the meta, such as Tornadus-T, Mega Alakazam, Weavile, and most of the more passive mons used in the tier, and it can use those breaking opportunities very well, being able to muscle through most teams very well. Personally, I'm a big fan of pinch berry variants of cm split Magearna, as it frees up turns where Magearna doesn't have to click Pain Split, allowing more aggressive play in which Magearna can sometimes even 1v1 grounds and fires if it wishes to. Regardless of whether it has the opportunities to break through its answers, it always does a job for a team, and a fairly important one at that. Shift Gear Magearna operates similarly but it has to play more conservatively in exchange for the ability to clean up in offense matchups.

Even Magearna doesn't come without its flaws though; Calm Mind+Pain Split is forced to choose between Thunderbolt and Hidden Power Ground as its coverage move - either leaving it as bait to Heatran or giving up its ability to break some variants of stall. Thankfully, both of these can be worked around with the right teammates, as hp ground variants can be paired with strong rockers to wear down Moltres, and a combination of hazards+offensive checks to Heatran can help even Tbolt Magearna break through. Shift Gear Magearna can sometimes get caught in awkward situations where it both wants to switch into opposing offensive threats whilst preserving enough hp to sweep late-game. Once again, this can be worked around by adding a second Steel type to the team (Kitsunoh and Ferrothorn are notably good at this due to their roles as a psychic check and a spikes setter respectively). In any case I believe that the drawbacks to using Magearna are smaller than those of Heatran (steel that struggles against psychics/hp ground users) and Tornadus-T (Defogger that often lets Stealth Rock go up), and the VR could represent that by making Magearna the lone S rank mon.

-> S-

Similar to pre-nerf Necturna, Aurumoth proves to be a very dangerous force in the metagame, and it now takes the crown for the best setup sweeper in CAP. Aurumoth can set up a second quiver dance on just about any attempted check due to its fantastic bulk allowing it to live hits from nearly every scarfer. As always, Aurumoth's coverage allows it to beat just about anything it wants to, but in general its Quiver Dance set only really needs to pick from Psychic/Psyshock, Blizzard, Thunder, Focus Blast, and Bug Buzz. It is important to note that even though there's 5 options for 3 slots here, Aurumoth only misses out on a small amount of mons from dropping two of these moves, and it can still get through even without the perfect coverage. To give examples of this, Psychic+Focus Blast+Thunder and a pinch berry is still able to beat Mega Latios with Quiver Dance and non-Bug Buzz variants of Aurumoth still break through Mega Alakazam. The only real difficulties that pinch berry Aurumoth runs into when picking moves is whether it wants to improve its matchup vs Tangrowth and Jumbao or avoid being beaten by Mega Tyranitar (Blizzard vs Focus Blast), and also choosing between immediate power (Z-move/offensive spread) and ease of setup (Iapapa Berry/Same spread as double dance Aurumoth). Generally I go for the bulkier spread with Iapapa since Aurumoth is actually capable of cheesing through just about anything with that combo (poor Volkraken) but both variations are definitely valid.

As for its other sets, Tail Glow + Z-Move is arguably the best breaker in the meta, since it dismantles pretty much every defensive core, including the ones found on stall which is much harder to do with other fat breakers such as Mega Medicham and Hidden Power Ground Magearna. It is worth noting that whilst Aurumoth may have the most breaking potential out of any mon in the meta, it still requires significant prediction to get in safely and avoid the likes of Torn-T coming in on attacks that don't harm it. Additionally, as its main defensive role is resisting scarf Lando's Earthquake in a meta that already barely sees it, Tail Glow Aurumoth is rarely a great fit on a team despite being absolutely terrifying in fat matchups. Double dance Aurumoth takes a different approach, as it simply aims to overwhelm nearly everything under the support of screens by using the speed and bulk boosts from Quiver Dance to its advantage, making it even more nightmarish to revenge kill even without having perfect conditions to set up.

There are two reasons that I'm not nominating Aurumoth to S, even though I said that it claimed Necturna's crown. Firstly, it can't quite compress all of its breaking prowess and ability to roll right over offensive "checks" into one set. This doesn't mean that Aurumoth isn't capable of breaking most things, just that Aurumoth can find itself in need of extra power in more obscure scenarios, such as breaking through a Ferrothorn before it clicks Thunder Wave, or other various bulky mons before they manage to click Toxic, or in some fringe cases of offensive mons being able to live one hit and KO back, like Smokomodo. Since these emergency options aren't the most common picks, Aurumoth remains very strong against the meta, although when it does face the scenarios mentioned above, it can be less useful due to its lack of notable defensive utility. Secondly, Aurumoth is weak to rocks; the trouble with this is that Aurumoth massively appreciates the help of hazards to wear down certain checks such as cm split mage, but at the same time it wants rocks to be kept off its own side, which is a tough ask in the current meta, given the state of defoggers in CAP. Even with these issues, I think that Aurumoth is worthy of more than A+ as an offensive threat in the current metagame.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7cap-842105926 - Here's a replay to demonstrate the basics of how Quiver Dance Aurumoth works.
 

Jho

Sobble Squad
is a Pre-Contributor
Keep The Discussion Going. New Meta New VR rest in peace to the fallen

rise to A+
Tapu Lele is without a doubt one of the most dominant wallbreakers in the metagame, being able to break through even the sturdiest checks thanks to Choice Specs or Calm Mind + Z Move. Since very few Psychic resists have reliable recovery, Lele finds it very easy to wear them down with incredibly powerful terrain boosted Psychics, putting them into Focus Blast or All Out Pummeling range very quickly. This coupled with the fact that the majority of its checks are quite passive allows Lele to often go unpunished. The drop in Crucibelle usage means that one of the most punishing Pokemon that could force Lele out is now much less of an issue. This coupled with the fact that teams are leaning towards Scarf Kitsunoh rather than Assault Vest Magearna as the Steel type on offensive builds means that defensive checks to Lele are much more limited, as Scarf Kitsunoh can only switch into Choice Specs Lele once, and other sets only twice. Other Steel-types that offensive teams use, such as Ferrothorn and Heatran cannot switch in due to the fear of Focus Blast and All out Pummeling and are slowly worn down by hazards and chip.

drop to A-
Jumbao faces intense competition in the bulky grass slot with Tangrowth and recently, Tangrowth has been coming out on top. This is mainly due to the rise of Mega Alakazam, which Tangrowth can check, giving it has its Assault Vest intact. The perks of running defensive Jumbao over Tangrowth, namely Wish support, just aren't needed on most builds currently. This would make Offensive Jumbao the premier set which I do feel fits in at around A-, due to the respectable power of its attacks in the Sun, and the great speed tier it has for Scarf - notably outpacing +2 Nerfturna.

drop to UR
This one hurts me to post since Snael is easily my favourite of the 3 starters, and I tried really hard to champion its usage. Unfortunately, Snael's one niche over other Bulky Waters left us some time ago and since then its only gotten worse as Arghonaut is slowly becoming one of the most used Pokemon in the metagame, Snael finds it extremely hard to compete as it does not fill all the roles a bulky water needs to on a team, roles such as: Checking Ash Gren, Volkraken and Heatran - all of which are extremely popular right now with Heatran usage at an all-time high, which only continues to make Arghonaut the better choice. These metashifts coupled with Snael's weakness to rocks and extremely slow, exploitable recovery make it so that it's never a serious consideration for a well-built team, despite its utility as a slow U-turner and Rocks setter, the benefits just do not outweigh the downsides for poor snael. It's one upside may be that it is a Ground Resistant TR setter which, since CAP builds no longer use Uxie and Cresselia, may be of value, but I feel like this slight possible, unexplored niche isnt enough to keep snael out of UR for the time being.
 

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