ReCAP - What we did, what they did

By bugmaniacbob. Art by Bummer.
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Recently, Smogon's Create-A-Pokémon Project stumbled clumsily yet purposefully into the eighteenth iteration of the overly complicated and inexplicably entertaining process, hoping to produce an addition to the existing canon that will provide the best foot forward into the new generation. We wish the brave young men and women all the best of luck for this endeavor, but here, we would like to draw attention to a topic that is often discussed, yet rarely with the seriousness that the subject deserves. Has Game Freak been stealing our ideas?

Well, no. Obviously. Probably. But when we have a project that now spans three generations, nearly six years of development, over a hundred thousand posts with who knows how many millions of words contained within (only half-joking), it has to be expected that certain newer introductions to the games would mirror those that we ourselves had come up with beforehand. Type combinations that were once new and exciting now have their own representatives within the games. Concepts that introduced new niches into the metagame now have shining examples that fit the bill nicely. It is a little-known fact that Pyroak, the third CAP, was once going to have Drought as its ability as early as pre-Platinum DP, and when that was deemed too powerful, was cut down to a new ability that generated sunlight for five turns ("Greenhouse") for the polls, before being discarded entirely owing to a mid-poll poll. Two-thirds of this prophecy, it would seem, have already been fulfilled.

In this article, then, we will be investigating those CAPs that were created as never-before-seen beasts, yet have seen their unique typings plagiarized by unworthy followers, and their roles taken over, albeit to a greater or lesser extent, by the denizens of subsequent generations. How do the old and the new stack up? How are they similar, and how are they different? What even are these CAPs anyway? Will you be able to finish reading this article before midnight? All of these questions and more will be answered, if you will only read on, dearies...


What's a Kitsunoh?

It could be a kitty, or it could be a kitsune. All I know is, it ends with an "oh", and as a person who speaks the Queen's English, that makes me a sad panda.

Kitsunoh was the seventh CAP of the DP era, and began in the middle of the golden era of Suspect Testing for that generation. Shaymin-S had only just successfully got the boot, and Latias without Soul Dew was the new object of scrutiny; not that much of this mattered to the ruthlessly efficient ectoplasm fox... cat... I really have no idea what it is, but you can't deny it's pretty intimidating. Kitsunoh's concept stipulated that it be the ultimate scout, which of course meant that it should be able to switch in easily, tell you everything you needed to know about that Pokémon, as well as the different members of the team you were up against, then get out again. And, well, it succeeded, to a point. Kitsunoh's Steel/Ghost typing gave it only two weaknesses, to Fire- and Ground-type moves, as well as a truckload of resistances it could use in order to switch in with little fuss. Unfortunately, we also decided that hurriedly jumping into and then escaping from the battle was a boring way of scouting, so it would be a much better idea to give Kitsunoh all the tools it could ever need to shuffle the opponent's team until they had revealed every member of the team, which was far more important back in DPP, where Team Preview did not exist.

And yes, Kitsunoh did indeed get more or less everything it could ever possibly need to scout an opponent's team. The Frisk ability let you see an opponent's item, and likely as not everything you needed to know to deduce the set. Roar could force switches. Yawn could force switches. As could Curse... and FeatherDance... and Taunt... and, of course, the custom move ShadowStrike, which had 80 Base Power and a 50% chance to lower the opponent's Defense. Unfortunately, as we would soon learn, giving a diverse array of offensive and disruptive tools to a Pokémon with 103 base Attack and 110 base Speed tends to make an end product that rather remarkably resembles a sweeper or wallbreaker. Between Taunt, Will-O-Wisp, Substitute, ShadowStrike, and a coverage move such as Earthquake, Superpower, or Ice Punch, Kitsunoh could cause no end of grief to stall and offensive teams alike. Frisk was barely ever used, while its secondary ability, Limber, was far more common. It wasn't a half-bad Choice item user either, especially given its access to Trick and U-turn.

The retroactive movepool revisions that took place following Krilowatt (CAP10) removed large parts of Kitsunoh's movepool, though nothing that was particularly crucial to its game disappeared; the only competitive losses were the elemental fangs, which were never used regardless given its access to the elemental punches as well. As far as its prowess in XY is concerned, it's as good as it ever was, with the only minor annoyance of now having two additional weaknesses in Ghost and Dark, but the presence of a certain undead bread knife seems to have, ahem, cut into its usage statistics somewhat.

Who nicked its typing?

Said bread knife is none other than Aegislash, the first Steel/Ghost in the Pokémon canon, and indeed a Pokémon with precisely nothing in common with Kitsunoh except the typing. Aegislash hits ridiculously hard and takes hits ridiculously well, while Kitsunoh hits fast and often, and is quite content to whittle opponents down between Taunt and Will-O-Wisp on top of weakening them with ShadowStrike. Actually, to say that they have nothing in common is not quite true—they're both exceptional wallbreakers, though through completely different means, which I suppose is a testament to how exceptional and versatile the typing is. Probably.

What about the concept?

Kitsunoh's concept was that of the "ultimate scout", which rather ceased to be a viable niche, or at least it lost its original meaning, after the introduction of Team Preview in Black and White. The concept was conceived only a few months after the release of Platinum in Japan, and at a time when people were still going giddy for the new Bullet Punch Scizor, and while Swords Dance Scizor had not turned out to be the beacon of death that everyone had predicted it would be, people had turned their watery eyes towards the newly revitalized Choice Band Scizor, whose scouting abilities in combination with its revenge killing utility had turned it into something of a phenomenon. Since Bullet Punch Scizor preceded Kitsunoh by some margin, we cannot exactly describe it as a successor to Kitsunoh's concept, even though it does the job marvelously. Even so, that's not to say that there aren't others with the same potential.

Genesect is something of a halfway point between the Scizor and Kitsunoh schools of scouting—it is fast, hits hard, and scares stuff away, but can also easily U-turn out of danger should the need arise. However, it's traditionally considered more of a revenge killer than a scout. It's likely the closest thing there is to Kitsunoh, even though neither wholly follows the concept of the "ultimate scout", as outright murdering things is so much easier than learning something about them and then running away. A Pokémon that can do this would, perhaps, be something like Noivern—fast, access to abilities like Frisk, able to U-turn out of danger or force switches with Taunt or sheer offensive ability. And yet, Noivern is nowhere close to OU status. In this world of Team Preview, the only things you won't know when going into the battle are those things that no scout could tell you, until it was too late to do anything about it—at least, not without a custom ability that gave full information on moves, nature, EV spread, and item. For this reason, although it is rarely used for such a role owing to its frailty, Zoroark is possibly the closest Pokémon in the games that matches the concept, despite being wholly different in every respect to Kitsunoh. Through Illusion, it can obtain information about a particular opposing Pokémon that may give you an indication of how the opponent would respond when faced with the Pokémon that Zoroark was mimicking. Even so, Zoroark, like Noivern, isn't viable in OU. Maybe some day there will be a dedicated scout Pokémon released, but until that time, we're left waiting.


What's a Cyclohm?

Cyclohm was the eighth CAP of the DP era, and no name could possibly be more fitting for a three-headed cumulonimbus dragon... thing. Unfortunately, it was created long before BW ever came out and so missed out on the deliciously fitting Hurricane, but thankfully it received a tonne of other powerful special moves, courtesy of the flavor implications of an Electric/Dragon typing, including but not limited to Thunderbolt, Flamethrower, Hydro Pump, and Draco Meteor, which meshed well with its 112 base Special Attack. Now, Cyclohm's concept was built around bringing a single rare ability into the spotlight, which in this case was Shield Dust. Brilliant—giving it high Special Defense, Electric/Dragon typing and Shield Dust made it a nigh-on pitch-perfect Shaymin-S counter. Throw in a few flavor moves which make precisely zero sense (Stun Spore, Volt Tackle) and call it a day.

...Would that the narratives we weave were ever so simple. Shaymin-S was banned to Ubers long before this CAP ever took place, and Shield Dust's supporters in the Concept Assessment thread set their sights lower, upon such irritating yet manageable threats as Choice Scarf Jirachi with Iron Head and anything that happened to carry a move with a status-based secondary effect (so, Thunderbolt and Flamethrower really). The ability, the core of the concept, was chosen based on the secondary typing, which was based on the primary typing, which was based on the whims of the CAP community—without a discussion. It's really quite hard to see how Cyclohm ever managed to end up as such a cohesive Pokémon when there was so little metagame context involved in the initial competitive choices, yet apparently, something clicked—Cyclohm's bizarrely high 108/122 physical bulk, plus easy healing in Slack Off, gives it a very useful competitive niche. Some nice additions from the retroactive movepool revisions in Ice Beam, Fire Blast, and Heal Bell amongst others helped it out even more, as well as removing a lot of the poorly-thought-out flavor moves (as well as the really good ones, like Double Hit to Tri Attack, though this is legal on Showdown! for who knows what reason).

In short, Cyclohm was a fun project that perhaps lost sight of its original intention right about the point where we chose Static as a secondary ability (which proved, in the long run, to be the far more successful choice), but yielded a good-looking and more importantly competitively enjoyable Pokémon, not least because it is a big reason why Talonflame is rather substandard in the XY CAP metagame, and is one of the few Dragons that Azumarill and Togekiss dare not switch into. If I may be permitted to butcher a relatively innocuous phrase in the interests of my own substandard sense of humor, Cyclohm is far, far more than just a storm in a teacup.

Who nicked its typing?

The first challenger approached in Black and White in the form of Zekrom, one of the two immensely disappointing successors to Dialga and Palkia (we get the gods of time and space, and then we get half a dragon. Yay). How does it compare to the mighty Cyclohm? Well, for starters, one is physical and one is special, and one actually has a movepool (and the other doesn't). Well, that's not strictly true; Zekrom's Special Attack is higher than Cyclohm's, but I've yet to see a Zekrom use any special move save Draco Meteor (not that I play Ubers, but anyway). Both have high HP and high Defense, though Cyclohm just edges out Zekrom in both departments. Both are certainly tanks, but Zekrom's higher Speed and offensive stats make it much more suited to the smashing other things aspect of tanking, while Cyclohm's higher physical defense and recovery moves make it more suited to the taking hits side. Zekrom was also very disappointing in Pokémon Conquest. I feel this cannot be emphasized enough.

The second challenger appears, on the surface at least, to be a bit more similar. By which I mean, it actually uses special moves, and is a decent cleric. But Mega Ampharos is, in my humble opinion, even more different to Cyclohm than Zekrom was. Mega Ampharos cannot take hits effectively, owing to the lack of Leftovers or any reliable recovery move, and while bulky, is slightly more durable on the special side than the physical. Which is a real pity, because its only really exceptional stat is that 165 base Special Attack, which is great and all but is only slightly higher than that of Life Orb Cyclohm, and that 45 base Speed means it will essentially never move first. Score one for the storm in a teacup.

I guess Hydreigon also merits a mention, given that it totally stole the one-two-three headed dragon idea from Monohm, Duohm, and Cyclohm, but it's not really very similar aside from that.

What about the concept?

Oh yes, the concept. Now, Nintendo has naturally released a great many new Shield Dust Pokémon since Cyclohm was...


...Oh. Okay then.

Well, anyway, part of Cyclohm's identity, which makes it interesting, is that it is lopsided in a way that very few official Pokémon ever are—it has high physical defense and special offense, but is lackluster in the other two camps of note. And it's not a subtle difference, as with Mega Ampharos—the discrepancy between the physical and special defenses, and the same with the offenses (Dragon Dance notwithstanding) is thoroughly noticeable. Just about every other Pokémon you can think of will typically have either a physical or a special bias, or else have the same or negligible difference between the two. I mean, you could make a case for things like Omastar, Ho-Oh, Gallade, and Gyarados, but these are some of the few exceptions to a startlingly widespread rule. One has to admit that it makes some sort of sense from a flavor perspective, but these lopsided Pokémon are some of the most interesting to play with in the game, and it's a real pity there aren't more like them. Perhaps that's Cyclohm's strongest legacy, and why it tends to be looked back on as something of a real success.

Of course, there are plenty of tanky dragons that have cropped up since DP, and indeed they seem to be far more common than they were back then; the concept of a defensively-aligned tanky Dragon, so alien and refreshing in DP (I guess we had Wish Salamence but that was about it) is now something, if not common, then at least represented in OU. Goodra is perhaps the archetypal example, thanks to its ridiculous special bulk and expansive movepool, but isn't really all that viable in OU. There's also Zygarde, who isn't a slouch in terms of taking physical hits and can augment this even further with Coil, or indeed just say "screw it" and stake the lot on Dragon Dance. The only relatively common one in OU, however, is probably Mega Garchomp, who not only has Stealth Rock and a ridiculous amount of power, particularly in a sandstorm, but also happens to have a colossal amount of bulk as well. None of them deviate from the expected physical-physical or special-special tilt, however, which is a real shame.



Despite the finest crop of narwhal-related names on the market (Narwhirl, Gnarwhal, Narbrawl, you get the idea), our strangely-shaped terrestrial sperm whale with obligatory drill was christened Colossoil, and by Jove it lived up to its name. It was designed to break Pokémon that used non-attacking, or "secondary" moves, and it certainly did that, though how successful it truly was is up for debate, since it casually snapped any other kind of Pokémon unfortunate enough to run across it just as easily. Its Dark typing let it mash Celebi, Rotom-A, Cresselia, and all those nasty bulky Pokémon that seemed without exception to be weak to Dark, while its Ground typing broke Steel-types and gave it a nifty immunity to Thunder Wave. Nothing was safe, especially when you factored in the 122 base Attack and 95 base Speed. Which was, in hindsight, possibly a little over the top, but oh well. Oh, and it also had 133/72/72 defensive stats, which made it something of a slightly more balanced Vaporeon in terms of raw defensive ability. Well, it's not like we gave it much else apart from that.

Unless, of course, you count the last ever custom ability, Rebound, which generated an automatic Magic Coat on the turn that Colossoil switched in, plus the ever-helpful Guts, which made anybody stupid enough to start indiscriminately throwing Will-O-Wisp about with Rotom-A very, very likely to regret having done so. In addition to the obvious Crunch and Earthquake, its movepool also gave it a few little helpful extras, like Megahorn, Drill Peck, Fire Blast, Stone Edge... U-turn... Taunt, Rapid Spin, Ice Shard, Fake Out... Sucker Punch, Encore, Zen Headbutt, Heal Bell... Aqua Tail... Knock Off... yeah, pretty much everything that could conceivably be used to stop a Pokémon from using a non-offensive move. And then punish them for not using a non-offensive move. In fact, it punished you no matter what you did.

Perhaps I am exaggerating a little—it was certainly a roaring success in the playtest, despite the dull murmurs of our having over-done it in the background, and it remains a CAP that a great many people, myself included, look back on with a great deal of fondness. It was our adorable little drill whale. I should perhaps make it clear at this juncture that Colossoil would eventually, like Cyclohm and all of the DP CAPs, have its movepool severely cut down to where it was in keeping with the more typical OU Pokémon, but at the point of its genesis, we just didn't care, because it looked great and it was entirely unique. Much better than anything the dunderheads at N-HQ could come up with, that's for sure.

Who nicked its typing?

Nintendo's general headquarters answered the challenge at the onset of the fifth generation, where Sandile, Krokorok, and Krookodile were introduced. Herein, then, was the Ground/Dark that Nintendo would have us believe is the best they could come up with. And apparently this meant a giant, red, bipedal crocodile... thing. With sunglasses. No doubt, seeing a sperm whale with a drill led the latecomers to determine that they couldn't possibly match us without some sort of arbitrary accessory tacked on at the last minute to appeal to the "cool crew". So, we get a croc with sunglasses. How does it stack up?

Well, it's got rather suspiciously similar Attack and Speed, but with a noticeable decrease in its defensive stats. Like Colossoil, it too has a choice between a defensive/support and an offensive ability, in this case between Intimidate and Moxie. Sadly, it didn't quite have the stats to make use of either of these abilities, which is a shame, really. The defensive stats do, then, really seem to make the difference between near-broken and downright unusable. Well, that and the movepool. And the abilities tailored to its typing. And the utility in the metagame in general. And, of course, to quote the famous general Gaius Iulius Caesar, "terebrum solis vitra vincit".

What about the concept?

Of course, to compare Krookodile to Colossoil is perhaps a touch unfair, as Krookodile couldn't "stop the secondary" if said secondary had bound and gagged itself and put a meat cleaver in the clueless croc's hands. No, Colossoil is leagues ahead in this department, and as such we will need to look elsewhere for a true comparison. Naturally, the first thing that comes to mind is Espeon and its eyebrow-raising Magic Bounce ability, or at least it seemed to cause a few furrowed brows at the CAP common room, particularly among those who had strongly disapproved of "Rebound". "Why," they had sniffed, "should we make such a clearly broken custom ability purely to satisfy the needs of an exceptionally demanding concept?". And then, of course, Nintendo throws out an ability that straight-up outclasses our own. Oh, and they've now extended the privilege to no less than three Pokémon, in Espeon, Xatu, and of course Mega Absol. Now, the former two were predicted to have done exactly what Colossoil had done, and to utterly destroy the opponent's ability to effectively use secondary attacks. We all remember the days when Mold Breaker Pinsir was being used to set up Stealth Rock reliably (or was that just me?). Of course, time showed us that nearly anything these Pokémon switched into could simply shrug and nuke them with one of those absurdly strong attacks that defined the Black and White metagame. Colossoil didn't have an infinite Magic Coat, but it did have bulk and staying power on its side. Try as they might, these three simply cannot be described as spiritual successors to Colossoil.

One Pokémon that could, however, potentially be described as Colossoil's heroic twin is none other than the mighty mole, Excadrill. First it was hyped as heck, then it was probably-overhyped-so-who-cares-when-infinite-rain-exists, then it was banned. Excadrill certainly shared Colossoil's monstrous offensive presence when in, and both had a very useful and almost unique type combination centered around the Ground-type, which allowed for a large number of different switch-in opportunities at the cost of common weaknesses. It's true that Excadrill was more reliant on raw power through set-up moves and lacked Colossoil's versatility and immediate power through Guts, but the end result was the same. Even so, their defensive sets were also quite telling. Excadrill itself was one of the better offensive spinners in the game, and indeed, its excellence in hazard control gave it something of a Stop the Secondary feel to it as well.



Voodoom holds the distinct honor of being the only CAP to have an official name long before the name polls began. Well, that's not strictly true, but many would say that the absurd-looking six-foot-six voodoo doll's official name poll was nothing more than a formality after the artist christened his work "Voodoom". To be honest, it's pretty hard to imagine it being anything else. Voodoom was the end result of a CAP that has been in the spotlight recently for its similarities to the current CAP Project, CAP 18 (which I encourage you all to take part in); its goal was ostensibly to create a Pokémon that formed a core with one other OU Pokémon in the manner of celebrated cores such as CeleTran, much like the current CAP is being designed to create a Pokémon that forms a core with two other OU Pokémon. Unfortunately, the Pokémon we picked was Togekiss (which was still a rather forgettable low-OU Normal/Flying tank at the time), who as it turns out failed miserably in trying to establish a definite niche for itself in DP, leaving many to scratch their heads and wonder why it was even OU to begin with (spoilers: Serene Grace Air Slash).

Happily, however, Voodoom did indeed form a very successful core, but with Zapdos, a Pokémon that many had said would definitely supplant Togekiss as a core member unless we went out of our way to make Zapdos a bad partner. It goes without saying that we were unsuccessful. Voodoom was a fast and powerful (for its time) special sweeper, with a Dark/Fighting typing, which handily dealt with Rotom-A and Blissey, two big threats to Togekiss, and rendered it hilariously weak to Zapdos, arguably Togekiss's biggest counter, which we attempted to remedy by giving it the Volt Absorb ability (to which Zapdos shrugged and started using Hidden Power Flying). All in all, then, the creation process was a bit of a mess, but the result was something that, quite by accident, turned out to fulfill the concept rather well. Of course, it has rather lost its spark in XY even with the sudden upgrade to Lightningrod, as its main STAB moves have had their power cut and its Special Attack no longer cuts the mustard. I'd be lying if I said I liked the design, but I'd also be lying if I said I disliked Voodoom. There's nothing quite like basking in the warm glow of an old and probably heavily undeserved success.

Who nicked its typing?

Dark/Fighting, as with many of the other typings on this list, was immediately picked up by Game Freak as the next big thing, which led to their conferring this magnificent typing upon none other than Scrafty. Yes, Scrafty. Well, it wasn't a complete waste of time—Scrafty conformed perhaps a little more to what most people would expect on being told to imagine a Dark/Fighting Pokémon. A scum-class lizard with Crunch and High Jump Kick, as opposed to the specially-inclined Voodoom, and with Bulk Up and Dragon Dance, as opposed to, well, Bulk Up, if for some reason Bulk Up Baton Pass Voodoom was ever a good idea. It was also slow and relatively bulky, in stark contrast to the fast and comparatively fragile Voodoom. So, yes, Scrafty was "playing to type" a lot more than Voodoom ever was, if you'll excuse the inexcusable pun. In fact, pretty much the only thing they have in common is that nobody has ever looked at either of them and thought "that is definitely a Dark/Fighting Pokémon". Which can be a good or a bad thing, depending on how much you like hipster designs.

Generation 6 was kind enough to give us another Dark/Fighting Pokémon, because as everyone at Nintendo knows, if it hasn't been done before it probably isn't worth trying. This time, we got Pangoro, who is just as slow as Scrafty but a touch frailer on both sides, compensated for by a higher Attack stat. It also lacks Drain Punch, High Jump Kick, or indeed any vaguely powerful Fighting-type attack, as well as Scrafty's elemental punches, but does have access to the unique Parting Shot, a presumably fantastic move that is utterly useless on the waste of a Pokédex slot that Nintendo decided it should be given to. Oh well.

What about the concept?

Togekiss was, it has to be said, mediocre in DP and nigh-on unusable in BW. Even so, come XY, Togekiss briefly came back into the limelight as one of the standard-bearers of the new Fairy typing. The unfortunate loss of STAB Tri Attack was quickly forgotten with the addition of STAB Dazzling Gleam, some new 4x resistances to Fighting- and Bug-type moves, and a nice immunity to all Dragon-type moves. Rather amusingly, in fact, Togekiss is now pretty much the single best counter to Voodoom in existence. A 4x resistance to Fighting-type moves as well as a resistance to Dark-type moves, both on account of the Fairy typing, plus quick healing in Roost, the reduction in power of Aura Sphere, Dark Pulse, and Hidden Power, and even a way to beat the Substitute + Toxic + Pain Split set through Heal Bell, all come together to make Togekiss rather the bane of Voodoom's existence. For Voodoom's part, the Fighting resistance means that Togekiss can switch into moves aimed at Voodoom more easily, and Voodoom can perform somewhat satisfactorily against those Steel-types that don't resist either of its STAB moves (notably, Aegislash is now hit super effectively by Dark Pulse). However, Voodoom doesn't exactly do very well in XY regardless for reasons already mentioned. Oh, and the fact that Fairies exist now. And Talonflame. And Mega Pinsir. And yeah to be honest everything in OU seems to be conspired against it, at least for the foreseeable future.

Lest this section rapidly turn into a regurgitation of Togekiss's Team Options section, I feel it's briefly worth driving home the point that Voodoom, if it ever was the flying tricolore's "Perfect Mate", it certainly isn't now. Togekiss would need something to put a solid stop to things like Aegislash, Kyurem-B, Thundurus, Zapdos, and indeed a whole host of varied Pokémon. It'd help a tonne if Togekiss could actually wall anything save Voodoom (if that even counts) or a Dragon like Garchomp that for whatever reason isn't running Stone Edge... or Iron Tail... or Poison Jab... where was I? Oh yes, the problem with Togekiss, as I can't help but keep repeating, is that even now it's either too slow or too frail to be a consistent stop to anything of note, as common Fighting-, Bug-, Dark-, and Dragon-types can still beat it—think Terrakion, Tyranitar, Scizor, Mega Pinsir, Mega Charizard-X—and its versatility isn't that great an asset on something so comparatively slow. It's still OU at the time of writing, but it certainly isn't the second coming that we all expected.

Okay, I'll stop now.


Are all of these names terrible puns?

Yes. Yes they are.


Tomohawk was the first CAP of the BW era, and also the first CAP after a long period following Voodoom, in which the challenges of adapting to a new generation were encountered for the first time, and the uselessness of Pokémon Online as a modifiable battle simulator was thoroughly established. But for the timely intervention of Zarel, we might have bid farewell to CAP as we know it at the close of the fourth generation. Thus, in high spirits we got cracking on Tomohawk, and we also decided to give it a concept named "Momentum", which naturally gave us leave to see how many momentum-generating moves we could stack on a single Pokémon without sending the entire proverbial edifice crashing to the ground. What followed was a Fighting/Flying monstrosity with both Prankster and Intimidate on top of 105 / 90 / 80 defensive stats, not to mention a 100% accurate (in rain, which was everywhere) STAB Hurricane coming off a base 115 Special Attack stat. It could also control hazards with near impunity thanks to access to Rapid Spin and Stealth Rock, and heal off any damage accrued with Roost. Thanks to Intimidate, it had nothing to fear from physical attackers, or alternatively, Prankster Roost meant it could heal off damage regardless of whether or not the enemy was faster than it, bypassing its mediocre base 85 Speed entirely, and giving it a surprisingly effective Substitute + Toxic set. Fighting and Flying coverage in the form of Aura Sphere, Hurricane, and Air Slash meant it could hit a whole host of threats, such as Terrakion, Tyranitar, Ferrothorn, and the like for super effective damage, and very little could actually take either of its STAB attacks. It also had Prankster Baton Pass to combine with Substitute, as well as Taunt, Haze, Yawn, Whirlwind... I could go on.

The long and the short of it is that Tomohawk ended up pretty much the strongest CAP, at least in terms of usage, of the entire BW metagame. It's no stretch to say that it defined the heavily rain-reliant BW CAP metagame, although by the end of the generation there were plenty of other CAPs that were helping on that front. The fact that two of its designated counters or at least checks, Thundurus and Deoxys-S, also found themselves shunted up to Ubers at varying points in the development of the BW metagame didn't hurt either. In short, then, Tomohawk more than fulfilled its role as a Pokémon that could win back momentum at any point or in any situation. It was simply that once it had regained momentum, it absolutely refused to give it back until it had poisoned half your team and won a free switch to a perfect counter to your Tomohawk counter. It should perhaps, I think, be noted that Tomohawk was hit somewhat hard by the changes in XY, perhaps even more so than Voodoom was; in addition to sharing Voodoom's problems of Fairies, a weakened Aura Sphere, and the occasional Talonflame, it lost its 100% accurate Hurricane with the weather nerf, Rapid Spin is no longer so valuable with Defog available (which it lacks), and its offensive stats have slipped even further from ideal as the average power shifts ever closer to the ridiculous. It says quite a lot that, even with all of that taken into account, it is still one of the most-used CAPs in the CAP metagame (and, indeed, the single most-used in 1760 stats).

Its pre-evolution is still adorable, though.

Who nicked its typing?

Much like with Voodoom, we have here a case of a typing that practically screams "physical attacker" from the rooftops, yet which we resolutely disdained to give any sort of physical prowess, instead opting for another case of the lopsided build that I took such pains to praise earlier. Nintendo, of course, having neither the sensibilities nor the scruples of a few hundred Internet nerds with all the creative cohesion of a herd of cats, entirely disregarded this approach and gave us exactly what we expected from a Fighting/Flying Pokémon in XY—brilliant Speed (and not much else in the stats department), High Jump Kick plus Acrobatics, with some optional extras in Stone Edge, Poison Jab, and U-turn, a slight expedient in Swords Dance, and Roost and Encore for the dunderheads who somehow failed to spot its middling defensive stats. All in all, then, Hawlucha is the polar opposite of Tomohawk in everything but typing—high Speed, low defenses, powerful STAB moves with boosting options, very little staying power, utterly useless in OU—which I suppose deserves some sort of praise. Somehow.

Oh, and as with Pangoro, Hawlucha has its own signature move in Flying Press. Except in this case, I'm not certain any Pokémon could make good use of it.

What about the concept?

A Flying-type with the ability to almost always move first and almost always grab momentum back for its team? Talonflame practically fits the concept to a tee, though it had to grab an entirely new and unique ability in order to do so. It takes a more forward approach to the concept than Tomohawk ever did, and indeed, why bother messing about with entry hazard control or Toxic stalling when you can outright murder the object of your displeasure with priority STAB Brave Bird, priority STAB Acrobatics, or STAB Flare Blitz? While it's true that Talonflame can die a lot more quickly than the more survivable Tomohawk through Stealth Rock and recoil damage, it can also make use of Will-O-Wisp, Roost, and other defensive options effectively, regardless of its comparatively poor defensive stats, and its difficulty in switching in can be wholly averted through liberal use of Defog. All in all, Talonflame is a terribly faithful inheritor of Tomohawk's legacy, though interestingly, the two fill entirely different roles.

Noivern perhaps deserves a mention for its Infiltrator ability, with which to nick momentum from Substitute users. Or maybe it doesn't. It's a Flying-type, anyway, which makes it somewhat similar to Tomohawk, I guess... well, it's rather hard to follow on from Talonflame. I shall therefore end by thanking the stars that Tomohawk does not actually exist in OU and is thus prevented from using Prankster + Swagger + Roost there. With that mental image fresh in our heads, let's move on.


Can I read the Eevee article now?

No. Stop moaning and finish this one first.

Necturna was the second CAP of the fifth generation, following on from Tomohawk, and is arguably the CAP Project's greatest-ever deviation from the rules it typically sets itself, unless you count things like custom abilities and moves. Necturna's concept not only specified a particular move, but also a particular condition regarding that move—this Pokémon could learn Smeargle's signature move Sketch, albeit once and only once. This was the concept in its entirety, and what followed was a Pokémon that could do almost anything, to a greater or lesser degree of success. It could be the ultimate sweeper, or a generic wallbreaker; it could go physical, special, or mixed; it could be a supporter, with a vast array of potential tools to choose from; it could even be something completely new, making use of some forgotten move that had never been thought useful beforehand; indeed, the only thing all of its sets had in common was severe four-moveslot syndrome. You could write a novel on all the different things it could do and all the strategies that were available to it.

I'm not even joking. And I would know.

Necturna was a Grass/Ghost, which meant that she had a number of doors open to her. Thanks to a crisp 120 base Special Defense she was a pretty corking special tank, and this coupled with her Ghost typing made her a great spinblocker, especially given her ability to beat both Starmie and Donphan one on one, and at least go toe to toe with Forretress and Tentacruel. She also had Toxic Spikes and Pain Split naturally, thus further augmenting her ability on the supporting side. Will-O-Wisp was also a perfectly good option for patching up defensive faults. On the offensive side, Power Whip played well alongside a 120 base Attack stat, Horn Leech meant that she could live forever, and Shadow Sneak gave her priority for the sets that demanded it. As for the actual Sketch move, this could be anything, from Rapid Spin or Stealth Rock on supporting sets to Recover on slower setup variants to powerful boosting moves such as Shell Smash, Quiver Dance, or Belly Drum to absurd coverage options such as Sacred Fire, V-create, High Jump Kick, or Bolt Strike. This was hardly the limit, though. Spore occasionally turned up, allowing Necturna to entirely neutralize a counter. Soak was an unexpected but effective discovery, where Necturna could Soak a Heatran or Skarmory on the switch and then threaten it out with a now super effective STAB Power Whip. For sake of our collective sanity I'll stop here, but perhaps it has been made clear that Necturna was, to no uncertain extent, a really cool little cookie.

Who nicked its typing?

As with Tomohawk, it fell to X and Y to introduce Grass/Ghost into the Pokémon canon, but unlike in the former case, we received not one but two offerings from our gracious celestial overlords. Now, if you think of Grass/Ghost, doubtless you will immediately think of those creepy haunted trees that occasionally crop up in Disney films and possibly All Hallows' Eve. Now, we'd been somewhat creative in our approach, and gone with a shrine maiden... miku... venus flytrap... thing. To be honest, I'm not really sure what it is, but I'll eat my head if it doesn't positively ooze personality. For some reason I personally think she looks like she needs a hug. Sorry, what was I saying? Oh yes. Plants. Surely, then, Nintendo, in seeking to one-up us, wouldn't stoop to the depressing creative lows of creating a haunted log and a jack-o'-lantern, would they? Of course they wouldn't. That would just be silly. No, their haunted log and jack-o'-lantern have gimmicks. Which makes them totally different, wouldn't you agree?

Trevenant is about as generic a generic haunted tree as you can get, with a couple of distinguishing features that separate it wholly from the sort of rubbish you could reasonably expect anybody to have come up with. For one thing, it's a cyclopean haunted tree, which is a refreshingly new and entirely original concept. Oh, and it also proves conclusively that Pokémon have Pax genes (which would explain why it, and indeed the Duskull line, are Ghost-types). The second feature is that it, like every single other Pokémon introduced in XY, has a signature move, this time the immensely disappointing Forest's Curse, which does very little for Trevenant aside from rendering its only gimmick, that of stalling the enemy to death with Leech Seed, unusable. Oh, and apparently it is "kind to the Pokémon that reside in its body" according to its Pokédex entry for Pokémon Y, which is definitive proof, if any more were needed, of an as-yet-undiscovered STD Pokémon.

...OK, I admit it. Despite everything I've said, I like Trevenant. Not quite as much as Necturna, but it does at the very least have some likable design elements. Indeed, it's pretty similar to a less versatile Necturna, actually, since it lacks all the options that make Necturna usable (and as such cannot run a good offensive set), but it does still have that high Attack and moderate Special Defense that lets it shut down the few Rapid Spinners that are left, including Starmie in UU, as well as make effective use of Will-O-Wisp and Horn Leech. It also has a Power Whip analogy in Wood Hammer. These admirable qualities I cannot, however, extend to its colleague Gourgeist, who is anathema in everything from its name to its cry. It is, admittedly, in much the same boat as regards spinblocking and general disruption, but its gimmick is that it comes in different sizes, and its signature move is... sigh... Trick-or-Treat. Now, Forest's Curse at least has the advantage that it's quickly forgettable. The very name "Trick-or-Treat" and the clarification that Gourgeist will "take the target trick-or-treating" does, in my imagination, veritably take all those precious, nostalgic childhood memories of blood-and-guts Earthquakes and Hyper Beams and Blizzards and Take Downs and everything you ever had thrown at you in a Gym Leader battle, and drags them kicking and screaming to a bench before hammering a selection of barbed nails into their collective scrotal sac. It is honestly that painful to see new moves reduced to this. I'll leave my assessment of the relationship between Gourgeist and Necturna at that, lest I descend to an even less sophisticated tone, but I'll just leave you with these two sequential YouTube videos as an accurate assessment of my feelings on the subject.

What about the concept?

And here, at the very last hurdle, I am thoroughly stumped. Nintendo has never had a Pokémon that even remotely conforms to this concept, unless you count the ridiculous versatility of something like Mew as being some sort of parallel. Indeed, a Pokémon that can learn Sketch once, and only once, is something that, while I hated it and the very idea of it at the concept stage, I grew to love once the finished product started coming together, simply because it was so removed from anything that has ever existed before in the game—an actually competent Pokémon with near universal versatility—and very probably from anything that will ever exist. I say this because, barring event moves, Necturna's concept can no longer be fulfilled. The changes to Egg moves in the sixth generation mean that Necturna can actually learn Sketch more than once, through the Move Reminder, although this has not been implemented on Showdown owing to fears for the players' safety. There is a very real danger that a Necturna given Shell Smash, Power Whip, Sacred Fire, and Earthquake, or some similar combination, could escape from the Internet and begin eating people. So, for now Necturna must content herself with her old roles of just about everything you can think of and quite a few you can't, as well as a few new ones, like being pretty much the only competent Sticky Web user in existence.

So, until the day Mewtwo gets Sketch via an event (you know it will happen sooner or later), nothing of note can go here. But since this would make a rather muted end to the article, I'll say this. Necturna is possibly one of my favourite "Pokémon" of all time, even factoring in actual, canonical Pokémon, and probably would still be even if I hadn't written a book on the subject. Yet, at the same time, many of the things I could say about her—that she oozes personality, that she is tonnes of fun to play with on Showdown, that she brings up memories of a hugely stressful, immensely divisive, and undeniably enjoyable creation process—are true of the other CAPs in this article as well, and indeed of nearly all the CAPs I can think of. I don't know whether it's some fundamental superiority they possess to their canonical cousins, or some function of their design to suit a particular purpose, or if our artists and spriters really are just that good, or if, indeed, it is just the knowledge and memory of the blood, sweat, and tears that went into all of them. Whatever it might be, for all that the Pokémon introduced after their genesis may resemble them, they all have something that seems to keep them elevated.

I can't answer that question, but perhaps it's something you'd like to experience for yourself. The current CAP is the first of the XY generation, and is clamoring for new and eager contributors, both for discussions and for submissions. As of yet, we only know that it is a Fire/Water Pokémon, with the ability Analytic, and a view to forming a three-man core with Latias and Lucario. Will it be successful? Will it have the same je ne sais quoi as its predecessors? Will you, perhaps, have a part in it? All of these questions and more will be answered, if you will only read on, dearies...

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