By Fuzznip and Umbreon Dan. Art by Plus.
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We've been told that the CAP metagame can be tricky to get into. It's very similar to the Standard metagame, but playing it has a slightly different "feel". A CAP metagame tutoring system was brought up once in the past, but it failed to gather much support and it never took off. Instead, we have pulled together a collection of many of the most notable differences between CAP and Standard in the hopes that this will inspire some new players to try out this unique metagame.

Where are all my favorite frail sweepers?

Pokemon like Weavile, Lucario, Azelf, and Porygon-Z are even rarer in CAP offense than they are in Standard. Because Arghonaut can counter so many different threats, and because Kitsunoh is such a dependable revenge killer, offensive CAP teams tend to be built bulkier than their Standard counterparts. Even Colossoil's powerful, death-inducing Sucker Punch made frail sweepers more susceptible to a revenge kill. Pokemon like Metagross, Gyarados, and Pyroak tend to be the main sweepers of such teams, and when you see a mixed Salamence, you can count on Roost. Even Lucario is present less often, due to increased difficulty of setting up and the more reliable revenge killers in the CAP metagame.

Is this guy seriously using Salamence on a defensive team?

Yes. In fact, almost all CAP stall teams are nearly required to use a Dragon-type Pokemon, or they tend to have a severe Pyroak weakness. With its Fire- and Grass-type coverage, Pyroak hits the staple Ground-, Steel-, Water-, and Grass-types of OU stall teams for super effective damage, and has the power to OHKO most of them. That's why, in CAP, Salamence's previously untapped defensive prowess becomes an invaluable resource. With Wish, Roost, Roar, and good type coverage with a single attack, either Latias or Salamence, or occasionally Cyclohm, have important niches on defensive teams.

Are suicide leads still popular?

Well, yes and no. As it is often harder to keep offensive momentum in CAP than it is in Standard, many players prefer to use bulky Stealth Rock Pokemon like Swampert or Metagross. On top of that, it is also easier to find good Rapid Spin users in CAP, as Fidgit, and to a lesser extent, Colossoil, do an excellent job. On the other hand, the CAP project has given us a very fun new Spikes lead to toy around with: Syclant. Syclant has all the requirements of an awesome offensive lead: high Speed, Spikes, Taunt, Compoundeyes to help its powerful STAB moves, and priority in Ice Shard. One could almost say the only move that Syclant lacks is Stealth Rock!

Somebody told me that a Spikes immunity is more important than a Stealth Rock resistance. Certainly this can't be true?

Well, it's a subject of debate for sure, but it is totally factual that Spikes are far more prevalent in CAP than in OU. The novel suicide lead, Syclant, does not learn Stealth Rock, but its ability to set up Spikes makes up for it. On top of that, Fidgit, who is capable of switching in several times throughout the course of a battle, loves to set up Spikes (and Toxic Spikes) and will rarely be caught using Stealth Rock. That said, Stealth Rock is still found on almost all teams, coming from Pokemon like Swampert and Jirachi. One way to put it would be that both entry hazards are frequently used, but that Stealth Rock is often set up a little later than Spikes. In any case, a Ground-type immunity can never hurt, especially with Colossoil running around!

Should I start setting up my Pokemon as soon as the opportunity appears?

This is probably the main difference players face in the CAP metagame, with regards to playing style. In CAP, it is often better to attack the first time you switch a Pokemon in, rather than set up immediately. The reason for this is twofold: Arghonaut and Fidgit. Arghonaut ignores stat boosts anyway, so it is better to hit it with Latias's Dragon Pulse rather than set up Calm Mind, only for it to Roar you. A fortiori, Fidgit poses a huge threat to Pokemon who like to set up. Fidgit can switch into almost any set-up move from a Pokemon with 100 or less base Speed and Encore it. If you have the choice between using Substitute and DynamicPunch on your Machamp, and you haven't seen much of your opponent's team, consider trying DynamicPunch. You don't want Fidgit to Encore your Substitute. Likewise, Suicune should probably Surf before using Calm Mind, Breloom should Seed Bomb before Spore, and Zapdos should Hidden Power before using Toxic, Thunderbolt, or Substitute.

What's up with all of these sweepers that use hard-hitting attacks? Why isn't anyone setting up boosts anymore?

Again, it's simply because of Arghonaut. Its Unaware ability makes it really difficult for sweepers to set up and sweep effectively; the boosts they gather are just ignored. This has led to the increase of powerful, hard-hitting Pokemon, rather than Pokemon who attempt to set up and sweep. For example, Salamence is commonly seen using a mixed set with Draco Meteor and Outrage, instead of utilizing Dragon Dance. Infernape has also stopped using Nasty Plot and commonly runs an all-out offensive set, usually with Overheat and Close Combat, even Stone Edge. Latias fires off Choice Specs or Life Orb-boosted Draco Meteors, rather than using Calm Mind. This is not to say that there are no Pokemon who set up and sweep, as there are a few; however, these are usually Pokemon who have some way of getting around Arghonaut. For example, Dragon Dance Pyroak has Wood Hammer, Agility Metagross has Zen Headbutt, and Dragon Dance Gyarados has Bounce.

How come I'm having such a hard time setting up my Lucario's Swords Dance on Choice-locked Pursuits?

Because in CAP, Pursuit-users are rarely equipped with a Choice Band. Colossoil has effectively become the premier Pursuit user to such an extent that almost all others have disappeared; when using Colossoil, many players prefer it with a Life Orb than with a Choice Band. For that matter, Colossoil also outspeeds Lucario, preventing you from forcing it out with the threat of Close Combat. As a result of this, far fewer players find themselves locked into weak Pursuits.

Hey, where'd Scizor and Lucario go?

Scizor and Lucario, two of the most prominent physical sweepers in the OU metagame, have hit a major roadblock in CAP. The introduction of Arghonaut, Fidgit, Revenankh, and Kitsunoh have massively hindered their sweeping potential. Arghonaut's Unaware ability blocks any Swords Dance boosts they have acquired, and Arghonaut resists both of Scizor's STAB moves. Fidgit has made life hard for Lucario, boasting high Defense and Speed stats that force Lucario to use ExtremeSpeed, making it vulnerable to Fidgit's Earth Power. Both Revenankh and Kitsunoh laugh all day at Scizor and Lucario. Revenankh resists U-turn and packs an immunity to Superpower and Close Combat, while having access to Will-O-Wisp and Bulk Up. On the other hand, Kitsunoh's Steel/Ghost-typing offers it resistance to Scizor's U-turn and Bullet Punch and Lucario's Ice Punch, and immunity to Scizor's Superpower and Lucario's Close Combat and ExtremeSpeed. Like Revenankh, Kitsunoh also has Will-O-Wisp to cripple the aforementioned sweepers, as well as having Taunt to prevent them from setting up any further Swords Dances and Superpower/Earthquake which destroys Lucario.

I haven't seen Mamoswine or Tyranitar in a while. What happened to them?

It's hard to believe how two of the strongest hitters in OU have drastically fallen in popularity, only because of the recently created beast of CAP: Colossoil. Colossoil's high base 122 Attack stat and great base 95 Speed; fantastic offensive typing in Dark/Ground; ability, Guts, to further enhance its offensive potential; and gargantuan movepool, which includes Selfdestruct all contribute to the overlooking of Mamoswine and Tyranitar. Colossoil is arguably better than Tyranitar at Pursuiting Ghost-types, such as Rotom-A, as it doesn't care about Will-O-Wisp due to Guts, resists Shadow Ball, and is immune to Thunderbolt, which greatly affected Tyranitar who was once known as the best Pursuiter. Access to Sucker Punch has also made Colossoil that much better at Pursuiting enemies, as it can force a mind game against the likes of Latias and Gengar.

Are Vaporeon and Suicune really challenged by that squid thing?

That "squid thing" happens to be named Arghonaut, and yes, Vaporeon and Suicune are constantly challenged for a teamslot because of it. Arghonaut is one of the best defensive Water-types to date in the CAP metagame, due to its excellent defensive typing in Fighting/Water; the ability Unaware, which negates all gathered boosts by the opponent; and access to Recover to increase its overall longevity. Vaporeon usually has a better chance than Suicune at coming out on top of Arghonaut when one looks for a defensive Water-type, only because its a great Wish passer. The constant denial of Suicune has left it helpless defensively, and is now more commonly seen as an offensive Water-type who can brew trouble for Arghonaut, utilizing Calm Mind, Hydro Pump or Surf, Ice Beam, and Hidden Power Electric / Hidden Power Grass.

Why haven't I seen any toasters on the CAP ladder?

Rotom-A has taken several major hits in the CAP metagame. First of all, it's not the "only good Ghost-type" anymore. Revenankh and Kitsunoh both have unique, fabulous type combinations, and more bulk than Rotom-A. Most importantly, neither of them are weak to Pursuit, which leads us to the second point: Colossoil. Rotom-A can't do a thing to Colossoil, who resists Ghost-type attacks, is immune to Thunderbolt, and enjoys Will-O-Wisp because of Guts. Lastly, many of the reasons to use the common Rotom-H have disappeared: Lucario and Scizor have both taken huge drops in usage. On the other hand, it's not all bad news! Togekiss, a big threat in CAP, is handily countered by Rotom-A (a trait Revenankh cannot boast) and the prominence of Metagross and Gyarados certainly doesn't hurt it at all. If you really want a Ground-type immune Rapid Spin blocker in CAP, Rotom-W or Rotom-C will usually be preferable; they're not so easy for one of the biggest Pursuiters in the game to eliminate, and you won't miss Overheat too much.

Is it just me, or has Breloom gone extinct?

Breloom is a considerable threat in the OU metagame; however, it has really died down in usage and effectiveness. From being able to always sleep an opponent successfully with Spore, set up Substitute, and fire off hard-hitting Focus Punches, Breloom is struggling to be even thought about on any team. The reason for this is because of the inclusion of Fidgit, Revenankh, and Kitsunoh. Fidgit gives Breloom massive trouble due to its immunity to Spore via Vital Spirit and access to Encore to keep Breloom using Spore or Substitute over and over again, forcing it to switch out. Revenankh can set up Bulk Up easily against Breloom, as it is immune to Focus Punch and is not necessarily threatened by Spore because of its Shed Skin ability. Finally, Kitsunoh is immune to Focus Punch and is resistant to Seed Bomb, two of the most common moves on Breloom, and can then threaten Breloom with ShadowStrike, an 80 Base Power physical Ghost-type attack that has a 50% chance to lower the opponent's Defense.

Okay, can you please tell me what the heck happened to Forretress?

While it is one of the best Rapid Spinners and entry hazard supporters in the OU metagame, Forretress, like Breloom, took a massive drop in usage. The addition of Fidgit has basically caused Forretress to hide in a corner and never be seen in daylight. It can arguably do the setting up entry hazards and Rapid Spinning hazards away much better than Forretress ever will. On top of this, Fidgit has a lot of opportunities to switch in via its excellent defensive typing and Vital Spirit ability, as well as having Encore and Taunt to keep its opponents from setting up against it.

How come every Skarmory I see seems to be running Taunt?

It's simple: Taunt is an excellent move. You might find it useful in Standard, but it's game-changing in CAP. Since the CAP metagame is somewhat bulkier than Standard is, more Pokemon carry status moves, recovery moves, entry hazards, and the like. Did you know that Gliscor with Taunt and Toxic can actually outstall an Arghonaut, even with Waterfall and Ice Punch? And these aren't the only Pokemon who use Taunt, either; many offensive Pokemon use it, such as Gyarados, Colossoil, and Kitsunoh. Taunt is just an invaluable move in the CAP metagame.

I heard that people actually use Zen Headbutt Metagross and Bounce Gyarados in CAP. Is this true?

This is very true, as a matter of fact. Metagross and Gyarados have been hindered offensively by Arghonaut, whose high HP and Defense makes it difficult for Metagross to overcome, even with ThunderPunch, while Gyarados's Dragon Dance boosts are instantly ignored due to Unaware. This has led to the increase of popularity in Zen Headbutt for Metagross, especially on Agility sets. With Zen Headbutt, Metagross is now capable of 2HKOing Arghonaut and is no longer stopped dead in its tracks; in fact, Metagross threatens Arghonaut. On the other hand, Bounce is the only way for Gyarados to deal with Arghonaut, even though it isn't the most reliable method, due to it being able to Recover as Gyarados charges for the Bounce. With Bounce, Gyarados can safely accumulate several Dragon Dance boosts and is not instantly countered by Arghonaut, who must face powerful STAB Bounces that may end up paralyzing it.

That's about all we've got to say, at least for now. There's no doubt that there are some things that we missed in this article, but what we've provided here should be more than enough to help anyone transition from Standard to CAP without any trouble. Of course, there are plenty of Smog issues yet to come, so you may see us again in the future. Have fun playing CAP!

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