CAP 31 - Part 4 - Primary Ability Discussion

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Mirror Armor does more than this against Landorus; it essentially refutes landorus's ability to pressure CAP 31 meaningfully without Toxic, making it much easier to play around.
My main point is that an ability that only counters Landorus isn't as useful game to game as an ability with wider use. I'm not convinced Landorus can really even pressure us at this point. That depends on our movepool and stats, because the greatest threats Landorus has against us are Toxic and Earthquake. Mirror Armor makes EQ's less impactful, but if we have +2, the Lando is more likely to U-turn away or click Toxic. I just don't foresee the Lando matchup as being essential enough to warrant an ability that solely remedies it. What other practical consistent use does Mirror Armor offer? I'm not against the ability, but it feels lacking when compared to the other high impact abilities we're considering.
 

Da Pizza Man

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Rattled/Speed Boost/Weak Armor: I don't really think these abilities do as much for us in practice as on paper. Rattled and Weak Armor require us to take damage to activate, and Rattled specifically only procs on like 3 types in the game, which is just too unreliable. The main thing to keep in mind with these abilities is how they compete with Choice Scarf. Scarfing CAP 31 is something we might see if our speed tier is in a position where a single buff lets us outspend crucial threats, and we have to ask, would we rather have a Scarf, or an ability that MIGHT let us get the speed we need. Speed Boost is the only exception because of it's consistency relative to Rattled and Weak Armor, but most Speed Boost mons sacrifice a move slot for Protect to guarantee a boost. Are we willing to commit to having even tighter moveslot margins?
While I'm not a big fan of Speed Boost myself (In fact I actually kinda hate it), I have to question the logic that it forces us to sacrifice a moveslot for protect. This simply just isn't true at all. For instance, Blaziken and Scolipede (the later in UU) don't run Protect this generation because they would much rather use the slot on a coverage move instead. Plus, Protect is usually run because a lot of these mons are relatively frail and they sort of need the free +1 Speed to not die to a lot of attacks. I really don't see this happening in our case, since we have a relatively decent defensive type and access to a move that can tremendously bolster our physical bulk. Unless we decide to go with a spread that makes us very frail we should be fine with having to take a couple hits so we can get Speed Boost rolling.
 

dex

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My main point is that an ability that only counters Landorus isn't as useful game to game as an ability with wider use. I'm not convinced Landorus can really even pressure us at this point. That depends on our movepool and stats, because the greatest threats Landorus has against us are Toxic and Earthquake. Mirror Armor makes EQ's less impactful, but if we have +2, the Lando is more likely to U-turn away or click Toxic. I just don't foresee the Lando matchup as being essential enough to warrant an ability that solely remedies it. What other practical consistent use does Mirror Armor offer? I'm not against the ability, but it feels lacking when compared to the other high impact abilities we're considering.
Considering Landorus-T is up and away the most common Pokemon in the tier, boasting a usage approaching or over 50%, and the fact that it is used as a catch-all check to Pokemon that CAP 31 would most likely perform similarly to, I don't think the targeted nature of Mirror Armor is inconsistent. I think it enables CAP 31 to go a bit stronger in future stages and gives it some more uniue properties. Landorus-T is the meta-defining Pokemon. If CAP 31 has an ability that improves its matchup into Landorus-T, that is a huge boost in its viability and potential. Mirror Armor is not inconsistent when the majority of teams have Landorus-T. Watch any recent tour game for evidence. It's assuredly weaker than Defiant, but that's ok cause it absolutely leaves things more open for CAP 31's future stages.

Also wanna take this time to explain why Water Absorb works so well with Diamond Storm. Not only does it let CAP 31 differentiate itself from other Grounds by avoiding pesky Scalds and Hydros, but it also let's CAP 31 get around the one physical attacker that can ignore Diamond Storm's boosts: Urshifu-R. That's pretty massive, especially if CAP 31 leans into relying on Diamond Storm's boosts.
 
While I'm not a big fan of Speed Boost myself (In fact I actually kinda hate it), I have to question the logic that it forces us to sacrifice a moveslot for protect. This simply just isn't true at all. For instance, Blaziken and Scolipede (the later in UU) don't run Protect this generation because they would much rather use the slot on a coverage move instead. Plus, Protect is usually run because a lot of these mons are relatively frail and they sort of need the free +1 Speed to not die to a lot of attacks.
We aren't forced to run Protect, but given how up in the air our movepool is and how strong Ground/Rock coverage is, it is something to keep in mind as a possibility. I think Speed Boost is only good if our speed is just slow enough that we need +1 to compete with the meta game and our bulk is high enough we're willing to take free hits turn 1.
 
Da Pizza Man just sniped me on Speed Boost, so I’m just gonna add that Speed Boost has plenty of options for those last two moveslots beyond simply Substitute and Protect and then move on.

Last but not least, Neutralizing Gas: This one surprised me when it appeared in the thread. I don't really know exactly what the intended purpose of the ability on this mon is, but my guess is primarily Intimidate blocking, Levitate blocking, and Pressure blocking. All of these are extremely valuable on a Physical attacking Ground-type with a strong coverage move with low PP. I'm sure NG will give us other more matchup specific boons, but these universal attributes are still enough for me to think it's a worthy contender for a spot in the vote.
While I do acknowledge its uses against the likes of Intimidate on Lando, Levitate on Equilibra/Stratagem, and Stamina on Venomicon, Pressure is definitely not a reason to go for Neutralizing Gas. Weavile blows CAP31 with Triple Axel every time at +0 Defense and we definitely will not like it at +2 Defense either. Corviknight, on the other hand, is so tanky to where it will not care about literally anything we could throw at it unless we do something weird like Gravity, and even then it has Roost. NGas isn’t something we should slate for all the reasons people have bashed it.

As for the Mirror Armor fight currently going on, while I definitely agree Mirror Armor has value in shutting Landorus down, I do find the fact that Landorus can simply click Toxic and then pivot out slightly undermines its effectiveness. If I had to pick between the Intimidate hating abilities, I would probably go for Defiant simply due to it having more uses than just Landorus. That said, Defiant is also weird in terms of said usage regarding both sides trying to play around the boost, which may also detract from the concept. I really don’t like either of them.

Last thing I will mention is in regards to Misty Surge. I meant to mention this in the last mega post, but giving Misty Surge lets CAP31 utilize Misty Seed if it so chooses, giving it a temporary +1 SpD and rendering Knock Off useless against it at the cost of not being able to use other items. I find that to be an interesting dynamic for a Pokémon running Diamond Storm, and so I figured I’d bring it up.
 
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snake_rattler

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Moxie/Defiant: These abilities are very similar in that they grant us extra power for staying in and doing what we were already doing. Moxie is in my opinion more consistent alone, but Defiant is much stronger if we have a viable second ability, because even the threat of Defiant accomplishes the same purpose in preventing Intimidate and Defog. I don't dislike these abilities, but both benefit from a strong secondary ability, which I think is almost required for Defiant to reach the power threshold we need to distinguish ourselves from the other Grounds in the tier.
I will say that although these abilities do encourage CAP31 to stay in and do boost Attack, they play very differently in practice, and I think both Moxie and Defiant ought to be slated for their individual strengths. Moxie especially should be because it encourages CAP31 to click attacking moves.

Other comments: While Discord discussion helped me understand Speed Boost, I'm still not a huge fan. My assumptions (without polljumping) are:
  • Speed Boost increases the probability that we pass over Attack-boosting moves
  • Regardless of ability, we won't be able to add certain utility moves that pressure Flying-types because they would push Diamond Storm out of CAP31's movesets.
Based on these assumptions, I find Speed Boost to be potentially limiting to later stages. There's no guarantee that my assumptions will pan out, of course, but if we're not careful, we could end up with a Pokemon that can be super fast but has no way to meaningfully pressure defensive Pokemon and thus have a hard time ending up on teams over other Ground-types.

I also don't really feel like Speed Boost meshes with Diamond Storm as well as other abilities like Moxie (encourages clicking attacking moves), Water Absorb / Flash Fire (increases switch-in opportunities), or status immunity abilities (can't get around Defense boosts with Toxic). Speed Boost just doesn't feel like it'd work with Diamond Storm specifically but Speed Boost + Diamond Storm would make for a functional Pokemon, which isn't bad, but also not the best.

Finally, while I do understand the impact of Mirror Armor against Landorus-T, as dex has explained very nicely, I don't think it's high-impact enough. As a pure Ground-type, CAP31 is on the back foot offensively having only 1 STAB. Defiant would also improve the Landorus-T matchup and also provide auxiliary benefits that help for the lack of a secondary STAB bonus.

tl;dr
  • slate Moxie and Defiant - they're both good
  • Speed Boost is on thin ice for me, I don't think it should be slated but I understand the appeal
  • Mirror Armor isn't high-impact enough; slate Defiant instead imo
 
Here's my final calls on the abilities I have opinions on.

Water Absorb is certainly one of the best options on the slate. It turns a weakness into an immunity, specifically one against the omnipresent Scald, which gives us a great matchup into bulky Waters that would normally dumpster us. Additionally, it turns a losing matchup against Urshifu-R to a winning one, which is huge for a (potential) physical tank. This gives us a massive niche of being an offensive(ish) Ground type that beats most Water types. Should definitely be considered for the slate.

Over time, I've become more and more convinced that Poison Heal is just straight-up busted. It would make CAP31 almost as splashable as Lando, especially considering how well it would do against the ever-present Lando. It just wouldn't be able to make any meaningful progress against CAP31, which would result in, imo, CAP31 becoming 'the new Lando,' considering that it has reliable EdgeQuake and the beneifits of offensively boosting its Defense. I think such a mon, unless we give it Delibird-level stats, would be insanely meta-warping and not what we're going for. Please do not slate.

Mirror Armor tries to fulfill the same purpose as PH (screwing Lando's wife), but without being absolutely busted (screwing Lando's mom instead). The only major progress Lando could have would be to remove 31's item or Toxic it, which aren't necessarily super crippling. Other than that . . . well, it don't do much. We get to switch in on Fire Lashes from Astro well (who can still burn us), do better against Shadow Ball spam (which still chunks us anyway) and have perfectly accurate DS on Defoggers (not super huge, as 95% accuracy is reliable enough). I don't think this should be on the slate, as I just think there are better abilities for screwing Lando's family, including . . .

Defiant. This allows us to actually threaten Defoggers, Lando, SB spammers, and (sort of) Astro. Instead of screwing Lando's mom, we screw his hot sister. The main concern I've seen is the metagaming and mind-games that having a Defiant user on a team leads to, and its hypothetically constrictive teambuilding implications, which are as much of a concern for me, because, as I've mentioned before, CAP31 seems to lend itself, regardless of ability, to forcing switches and pivoting, which is very good for hazard stack teams. Making it punish Defog just reinforces this niche. It should definitely be considered for the slate. However, my favorite way to screw Lando's family is with . . .

Neutralizing Gas. This ability gives us an edge against Lando without us really shutting him down (screwing Lando's hot third cousin). It also gives that slight edge against a number of very viable targets including . . .
  • Melmetal (reducing damage output of physical attacks, especially DIB and Ice Punch)
  • Venomicon-E (reducing Gunk Shot damage)
  • Corviknight (saving our meager DS PP)
  • Dragonite (neutralizing Multiscale to smack it with DS)
  • Pyroak (no boosts, no sweeping)
  • Arctozolt (can't outspeed and smack us before we smack it)
  • Colossoil (Flame Orb variants now do much worse into our physically defensive mon)
  • Rotom-Wash (can smack it with EQ now)
  • Stratagem (see above)
  • Equilibra (see above above)
  • Scizor (neuters its offensive potential of BP)
All of these are B and up on the VR. There are several targets that this allows 31 to heavily threaten, including our Regen bois (Astro, Slows [sort of], Torn-T, Pex) and Venomicon-P, who can't outlast us through Stamina. This allows CAP31 to be very viable, but without becoming the Lando-destroying god that PH would make it. All in all, I think it's a very useful and strong ability, but not absolutely busted, and it should definitely be considered for the slate.

Enough of screwing Lando's family, let's move on to Moxie (and Beast Boost if y'all wanna go crazy). I'm not super huge on this specifically, but I agree with others that it's very pro-concept and synergizes with DS and good coverage. Yes for the slate.

Comatose, imo, is one of the best status-immunity abilities we've had suggested. It's just that, nothing more: pure status immunity (unless you want more RNG with Sleep Talk shenanigans). I won't waste time explaining why this is good. This would work very well for 31 without being overbearing. I don't like others for dependence on other conditions (eg the right status for Immunity/WV, keeping up terrain with MS, RNG for Shed Skin). If we're going to consider only one for the slate, I think it should be Comatose.

TL;DR - WA good, please God not PH, MA bad, Defiant good, NGas better, Moxie and Comatose are aight.
 

dex

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Over time, I've become more and more convinced that Poison Heal is just straight-up busted. It would make CAP31 almost as splashable as Lando, especially considering how well it would do against the ever-present Lando. It just wouldn't be able to make any meaningful progress against CAP31, which would result in, imo, CAP31 becoming 'the new Lando,' considering that it has reliable EdgeQuake and the beneifits of offensively boosting its Defense. I think such a mon, unless we give it Delibird-level stats, would be insanely meta-warping and not what we're going for. Please do not slate.
While this isn't totally reflective of the current metagame, Gliscor existed. It wasn't busted. It arguably has a better defensive typing than pure ground and had crazy tools in Knock Off, U-turn, Stealth Rock, Defog, and Roost. Poison Heal is not busted and is absolutely balanceable.
 
While I do acknowledge its uses against the likes of Intimidate on Lando, Levitate on Equilibra/Stratagem, and Stamina on Venomicon, Pressure is definitely not a reason to go for Neutralizing Gas. Weavile blows CAP31 with Triple Axel every time at +0 Defense and we definitely will not like it at +2 Defense either. Corviknight, on the other hand, is so tanky to where it will not care about literally anything we could throw at it unless we do something weird like Gravity, and even then it has Roost. NGas isn’t something we should slate for all the reasons people have bashed it.
I'm not so sure NGas is completely useless against Corviknight. It doesn't win the matchup, but as I've seen discussed in the discord, its not likely that 31 is going to be beating Corvi in any scenario. What it does mean is that if Corvi comes in on 31, since it can likely do so very freely, its not going to be tearing through our DStorm PP which is ideally a move that is rather important to us.
 
While this isn't totally reflective of the current metagame, Gliscor existed. It wasn't busted. It arguably has a better defensive typing than pure ground and had crazy tools in Knock Off, U-turn, Stealth Rock, Defog, and Roost. Poison Heal is not busted and is absolutely balanceable.
Dex, do you think Poison Heal would take a substantial chunk of the power budget, arguably leaving us with too little flexibility? I'd also like to hear from others that haven't commented on PH in a bit, detail out their thoughts more on Poison Heal vs our "budget".
 

ausma

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I still have roughly the same opinions I had on the abilities I brought up previously that have remained relevant in discussion (Mirror Armor, Defiant, Water Absorb) and are all abilities I most definitely think deserve a place on the slate.

I wanted to give some support in slating both Mirror Armor and Defiant. It's true that Mirror Armor and Defiant are both anti-Landorus-T abilities that really help milk immediate value out of CAP 31's EdgeQuake combo by punishing one of its best pivots. But, they operate in very unique ways, and strengthen CAP 31's matchups against Landorus-T and certain other Pokemon differently by merit of how both abilities deflect/exploit stat drops. Mirror Armor, on one hand, is a more generally defensive ability that lets CAP 31 check things like Astrolotl Fire Lash (steering clear of having its own defense lowered) and Landorus-T better while helping give it an option to hit Landorus-T harder by not being impacted by Intimidate in the first place. This can help give CAP 31 greater staying power and also focus more on defensive utility by essentially decreasing the average damage output of Pokemon CAP 31 would actively find itself against. Plus, of course, having a more powerful Diamond Storm against Landorus-T as a result really diversifies this ability's utility in the Landorus-T matchup specifically should it try to pivot into its EdgeQuake combination. Defiant on the contrary is much more offensively inclined, and unlike Mirror Armor, has a very practical and one-of-a-kind interaction with Defog users that are naturally vulnerable to Diamond Storm (even including Landorus-T), but at the cost of Mirror Armor's defensive utility. While these abilities may heavily consider Landorus-T specifically, dex put it best in his post: Landorus-T is immensely centralizing and is near omnipresent, making it one of few Pokemon worth specifically considering for an ability slot, especially considering that CAP 31 can only damage it with a neutral, non-STAB Diamond Storm. I think Landorus-T's ubiquity makes these abilities very viable picks in and of themselves, especially alongside other very relevant, unique, yet albeit more nuanced interactions.

On that note, I also think slating Moxie is fair as well, as stated prior. For me, it's not really a personal favorite since it feels like it feels more intrinsically oriented for the end-game and thus limiting CAP 31's potential utility throughout the game, but I get the appeal due to how good CAP 31 should be in theory at sticking around to accumulate boosts and clean chipped teams that can't break past it. Furthermore, it's certainly functionally distinct enough to warrant being slated alongside Mirror Armor and Defiant.

I'll try to give further thoughts on Poison Heal and Neutralizing Gas later since they're very topical and very important to hash out while we can, but this was something I really wanted to get out while I had time. I might not be able to finish a post on them before the slate closes since I have classes for a while tho. Great stuff from everyone regardless!
 
Mirror Armor is 99.9% for Landorus, but does have some other upshot.

  • While it's unlikely we'll be able to find a way to do it, it gives us the option to build this 'mon to switch in to Shadowball spam. The two Shadow-spammers in the meta (Dragapult and Blacephelon) don't care about having their SPDEF cut by Mirror Armor, but by protecting us from a random drop it saves and spares us some calculating.
  • It protects us from Defense Drops from Astrolotl's Fire Lash. A small consideration considering it can just click Will-O-Wisp, but a possible boon nonetheless.
  • It spares us the badness of a Parting Shot - not super relevant anymore since Kerfluffle isn't super present in the meta currently, but it also ain't nothing.
  • It's a bit of a double-edged sword against Gapdos's Thunderous Kick, but if we can force Gapdos out we'll appreciate not losing defense on the switch-in?

Also more importantly it doesn't just improve our match-up with Lando; it might prevent him from switching in on us at all, a huge victory for our ability to click Diamond Storm to great effect in general. I definitely prefer Neutralizing Gas and Defiant if we want to hate on Lando, specifically - NGas because it is so much more powerful and verstaile, Defiant because it's so much more powerful and also punishes Defog Spam. But Mirror Armor has some other upshot over these abilities and is a great way to preserve power budget if we're looking to just go nuts in the stats stage.
 
Last-second post here to argue in favor of Poison Heal. In the back half of the thread there's been some major pushback, largely due to the strength of the ability and due to an argument that, like Defiant or Neutralizing Gas, it could reframe the project away from diamond storm.

I heavily disagree with both of these arguments. Firstly, I'm just going to restate that the necessity of running Diamond Storm means that we cannot spend our power budget during moves! It's fully appropriate to pick a very strong ability here, and poison heal obviously fits the bill. It doesn't make us more likely to drop diamond storm imo; any version of 31 with knock off or toxic or other utility could run that same risk.

Second, it does not have the same strange applications that Defiant or NG do. I don't think it threatens to reframe the project in the same way because "build a pokemon that appreciates healing off chip" is nowhere near as narrow or as particular as "build a pokemon that fishes for +2" or "build a pokemon that counters particular threats with strong abilities."

Poison Heal has obvious and very strong synergy with a Diamond Storm using ground type, and I don't believe it suggests any obvious conceptual move away from that central idea. It ought to be slated.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Without further ado, here is our slate:

Poison Heal: The benefits of Poison Heal are crystal-clear: Being immune to status, resilient to chip, and indifferent Knock Off, Poison Heal offers a solution to the problems that other Grounds in the tier like Landorus and Garchomp face. While there have been concerns over the ability’s power level, examples in the past(namely Gliscor) have demonstrated that Poison Heal is certainly balanceable, and a Ground with Poison Heal can coexist in a metagame with Landorus.

Water Absorb: Water Absorb has received close to unanimous support in the thread, and for good reason. It’s a clear-cut method of differentiating CAP31 from other Grounds, as well as turning would-be checks like Tapu Fini and Urshifu-R into winning matchups for CAP31.

Flash Fire: Another immunity ability with plenty of support behind it, Flash Fire enables CAP31 to hard switch on Heatran and Astrolotl, granting plenty of opportunities to use Diamond Storm.

Moxie: Moxie has fantastic synergy with Diamond Storm. By attacking and boosting Defense simultaneously, CAP31 can pick up kills while becoming exceptionally difficult to revenge kill, and Moxie fully capitalizes on this fact.

Speed Boost: Speed Boost is a cool ability that surprisingly works very well with Diamond Storm. It’s generally agreed upon that Diamond Storm wants to be used by fast Pokemon, as going first allows CAP31 to gain a Defense boost before getting hit by the opponent. Speed Boost offers a means for CAP31 to do this without dumping all of its stats into Speed, creating more design space in this regard.

Defiant: One of the biggest challenges CAP31 will likely face is Landorus’s ability to pivot in and out on it. Defiant turns this matchup on its head by making Landorus afraid of switching in, giving CAP31 a lot more space to freely click its STAB and Diamond Storm. It also has the added bonus of punishing Defog.

Unaware: Unaware offers plenty of unexplored space for CAP31 by establishing CAP31 as the first Unaware user that isn’t complete fat. It also has excellent synergy with Diamond Storm by denying opponents from boosting to break past CAP31’s Defense boosts, and ensuring that CAP31 is never hard-walled out by Venomicon-P.

Mirror Armor: Mirror Armor provides an alternative means to punishing Landorus switch-ins without being as nuclear as Defiant. Compared to Defiant, Mirror Armor leaves a lot more room for power in future stages. It also offers quite a few defensive bonuses as well, such as avoiding Dragapult Shadow Ball drops, but how much we lean into these other aspects is unclear for now. Still a solid option all around.
 

SHSP

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Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Without further ado, here is our slate:

Poison Heal: The benefits of Poison Heal are crystal-clear: Being immune to status, resilient to chip, and indifferent Knock Off, Poison Heal offers a solution to the problems that other Grounds in the tier like Landorus and Garchomp face. While there have been concerns over the ability’s power level, examples in the past(namely Gliscor) have demonstrated that Poison Heal is certainly balanceable, and a Ground with Poison Heal can coexist in a metagame with Landorus.

Water Absorb: Water Absorb has received close to unanimous support in the thread, and for good reason. It’s a clear-cut method of differentiating CAP31 from other Grounds, as well as turning would-be checks like Tapu Fini and Urshifu-R into winning matchups for CAP31.

Flash Fire: Another immunity ability with plenty of support behind it, Flash Fire enables CAP31 to hard switch on Heatran and Astrolotl, granting plenty of opportunities to use Diamond Storm.

Moxie: Moxie has fantastic synergy with Diamond Storm. By attacking and boosting Defense simultaneously, CAP31 can pick up kills while becoming exceptionally difficult to revenge kill, and Moxie fully capitalizes on this fact.

Speed Boost: Speed Boost is a cool ability that surprisingly works very well with Diamond Storm. It’s generally agreed upon that Diamond Storm wants to be used by fast Pokemon, as going first allows CAP31 to gain a Defense boost before getting hit by the opponent. Speed Boost offers a means for CAP31 to do this without dumping all of its stats into Speed, creating more design space in this regard.

Defiant: One of the biggest challenges CAP31 will likely face is Landorus’s ability to pivot in and out on it. Defiant turns this matchup on its head by making Landorus afraid of switching in, giving CAP31 a lot more space to freely click its STAB and Diamond Storm. It also has the added bonus of punishing Defog.

Unaware: Unaware offers plenty of unexplored space for CAP31 by establishing CAP31 as the first Unaware user that isn’t complete fat. It also has excellent synergy with Diamond Storm by denying opponents from boosting to break past CAP31’s Defense boosts, and ensuring that CAP31 is never hard-walled out by Venomicon-P.

Mirror Armor: Mirror Armor provides an alternative means to punishing Landorus switch-ins without being as nuclear as Defiant. Compared to Defiant, Mirror Armor leaves a lot more room for power in future stages. It also offers quite a few defensive bonuses as well, such as avoiding Dragapult Shadow Ball drops, but how much we lean into these other aspects is unclear for now. Still a solid option all around.
discussed this with Darek and co as he built it and it’s a fantastic slate. We’re gonna come out of this poll with a great ability, it gets my sign off. Let’s get ready to vote!
 
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