CAP3 Report: Mulling over Mollux

By capefeather. Art by sandshrewz.
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Mollux is the Create-a-Pokemon project's latest concoction. In a way, it is the last hurrah of the original Black/White metagame, as we move on forward to a dangerous realm ruled by the Therians, Keldeo, and various new abilities for existing Pokemon. After going through three projects with deep, interesting concepts, the community decided that, for this project, they would go back to the simpler concepts of old — designing a Pokemon to fit specific criteria and examining its effect on the Black/White metagame — led, fittingly enough, by one who has been there since the beginning, Deck Knight. However, the ensuing discussions would turn out to be anything but simple. This project has, in a way, been more about the social dynamics of the community itself than just the final product. What this means as to how future project discussions should be handled remains to be seen.

What it was supposed to do

Mollux's concept comes from Theorymon:

Extreme Makeover: Typing Edition

General Description:
The idea here is to create a Pokemon who's typing, while normally considered poor defensively and/or offensively, becomes a strong selling point of the Pokemon itself via help from an ability, stats, and/or movepool.

There are a lot of typings we scoff at on a daily basis because of their serious flaws, often forgetting about their strong points. For example, Poison is a really terrible offensive typing, but a decent defensive typing, while the Ice typing is good offensively, but awful defensively. Instead of just accepting that some typings will just ruin a Pokemon, this CAP concept aims to take that "terrible typing", and find ways to fix it (usually via ability, movepool, or stats) to the point where the formerly terrible typing becomes the CAP's strong point! The reason this CAP could benefit OU is because a Pokemon who makes a "bad typing" into a great one could find many unique offensive and/or defensive niches that aren't currently found!

Questions To Be Answered:

This concept turned out to be very divisive for the community. Many people wanted another dose of intellectual maturation in the vein of the past three projects, resulting in extremely bold suggestions like the typing Ice / Rock and the ability Drought. People divided into camps of differing opinion, preaching their vision of how to interpret the concept and staunchly rejecting all others. The main problem was that the general description and the justification said two very different things. Consequently, it is difficult to say definitively what Mollux was intended to do.

Some people focused on the general description: the bad-looking typing was to be made into a selling point of the Pokemon. Some who emphasized the "selling point" view were resistant to abilities that granted immunities, fearing was that an immunity-granting ability would take the focus away from the typing. Consider Tyranitar, for example. It has epic stats and a weather-summoning ability that makes its special bulk skyrocket. However, its typing still plays a key role in how it plays; you wouldn't casually switch it into Politoed's Hydro Pump or Gengar's Focus Blast, and it still runs away from physical Grass- and Fighting-type moves. Gastrodon is an example that brings to light another crucial point. Even with the immunity granted by Storm Drain, Gastrodon is still mostly thought of as a Water/Ground Pokemon, largely because its only weakness is to Grass, a trait shared only by Rotom-W, which plays vastly differently offensively. As for Fire/Poison, with Dry Skin involved, it would take more than a double Ground-type weakness to distinguish the typing decisively from Heatran, Tentacruel, and even Ninetales.

Another prevailing school of thought was based on the justification: the goal was to take the typing and "fix" it with the abilities and movepool. Simply put, take an allegedly bad typing, compensate for what supposedly makes it bad, and subsequently make it good. Levitate is the classic example of a type-patching ability; without it, Gengar, Hydreigon, Latias, Latios, and Rotom-W would certainly be much worse than they are now. In a similar vein, Psychic-types like Alakazam, Reuniclus, and Espeon have powerful abilities like Magic Guard and Magic Bounce, without which none of them would have any business in OU. It became well-established early on that CAP 3 had to be able to hold its own against rain teams to be remotely worth using. There was a compromise with people whom, as mentioned earlier, disliked giving an ability like Water Absorb, which resulted in Dry Skin. There was also an agreement to leave the weaknesses to Ground and Rock alone, leading to the sound rejection of Levitate.

One can imagine these two very different approaches clashing throughout the project, especially when Drought became a very real possibility. For people who wanted to sell the Fire/Poison typing (as opposed to just Fire or just Poison), Drought was almost perfect because it utilized one advantage of the Poison type that wasn't nullified by the Fire type: the immunity to Toxic, which, along with the immunity to burns from the Fire typing, which Tyranitar and Politoed would kill to have. On the other hand, there were those who saw Drought as such a defining trait that it would be seen as overshadowing the typing, even if the typing did synergize well with the ability. For many people focused on compensating the "bad" typing, Drought was nonsensical because it didn't do enough to make up for the Water weakness directly, and there were fears that Drought would make CAP 3 too powerful. Some disagreed with this, saying that Drought would be balanced and would do enough for the Water weakness to compete with Dry Skin. Whichever side you agree with, the result is set: Mollux does not have Drought.

Again, it is hard to say what the community at large really wanted out of this project. After the Drought wars subsided, people began to realize that we had just made a Fire-type that wanted to be in the rain. This put some people into a panic in the movepool stage. The movepool was potentially a deciding factor as to whether Mollux would be bad, good, or broken. Everyone looked to the playtest to find out just where the lava lamp snail would end up on the OU totem pole...

What it did

Mollux was good. Very good. Defensively, it had similar stats and weakness/resistance palette to Tentacruel, and in fact it was actually bulkier specially. In addition to this, Mollux had far more support moves and better coverage, possessing all of Stealth Rock, Recover, and Thunderbolt and Thunder off a base 131 Special Attack stat, in addition to Tentacruel's niche moves, such as Rapid Spin and Toxic Spikes. Offensively, it was reminiscent of Heatran, though again, Thunderbolt and Thunder set it apart, while Dry Skin, Rapid Spin, and Recover provided major versatility advantages over Heatran. This isn't to say that Mollux outclassed Tentacruel or Heatran, but the fact that it competed rather successfully against two high-tier Pokemon for their niches is a good indicator of just how good Mollux became with its expansive movepool and awesome ability.

Below are two of the most common sets that were used in the playtest, showing just how versatile Mollux turned out to be:

Mollux @ Leftovers
Ability: Dry Skin
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpD / 4 Spe
Calm nature (+SpD, -Atk)
- Rapid Spin
- Recover
- Lava Plume
- Thunderbolt / Sludge Wave
Mollux @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Fire Blast
- Thunderbolt / Thunder
- Hidden Power Ice / Hidden Power Grass / Hidden Power Ground
- Trick / Sludge Wave

The specially defensive set was a resilient tank that took advantage of most of Mollux's positive qualities. With its mammoth special bulk and Recover, few special attackers could hope to break through it, outside of strong Psychic-type attackers, such as Alakazam and Reuniclus. Dry Skin activating under rain made Mollux even more difficult to vanquish. As if that weren't enough, physical attackers always had to be wary of Lava Plume burns. In a sense, specially defensive Mollux played not unlike a bulky Water-type, except it had Fire-type STAB and Electric-type coverage outside of Hidden Power. All this was backed up by a high base 131 Special Attack. As well, Mollux was one of the best spinners in the metagame, since it could beat Jellicent with Thunderbolt or a burn while Jellicent struggled to do anything back, and it walled Gengar unless it resorted to Psychic.

The high Special Attack could also be used to great effect offensively, like on the Choice Scarf set. This set took advantage of Mollux's wide neutral coverage to revenge kill a variety of threats. Stealth Rock would normally deter Mollux somewhat from running a Choice Scarf set, but Dry Skin recovery could make up for it. Mollux could also power through enemies without a Choice Scarf, by using Recover instead to last a little while longer.

Mollux's weakness to Ground-type moves meant that Flying-types and Levitate users were great teammates. Gliscor could check threats to Mollux, such as Terrakion, Tyranitar, and Landorus, while in return, Mollux could switch into the Water- and Ice-type attacks directed at Gliscor. Using both in a Toxic stalling role in the rain turned out to be an effective strategy, since both could make up for the HP lost to Substitute with their abilities and Protect. Skarmory was another effective teammate for similar reasons: it could check physical attackers while Mollux switched into the special attacks that Skarmory hated.

The Verdict

So, okay, Mollux was good. The project successfully compensated for a typing that was seen as bad. That much is pretty clear-cut. However, the other side of the concept — whether the typing is actually a main selling point of the Pokemon — remains to be examined, and thus it is the focus of this verdict section.

There are a final couple of questions that I would personally like to address:


Whew, what do I even say after all this? Mollux is another good Pokemon that the community has made and inserted into the OU metagame to see what happens. It will also be the last CAP Pokemon to be made relative to the original BW metagame. It marks the end of an era that saw the community experience major setbacks, such as incompatibilities with Pokemon Online and the departure of many excellent contributors. CAP 4 will be a bold entrance into a new era, with new threats to consider, new thought processes to uncover, and new star contributors to bring fresh perspectives to the community.

If you want to learn more about the Create-a-Pokemon Project, you can hit up the CAP site, which has been recently updated to include the Pokemon that have been made for this generation. The project also, of course, has a forum to itself, where all the action happens. We are always looking for new contributors bringing their various talents to this community, so don't be afraid to get in there and participate!

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