CAP 31 - Part 5 - Threats Discussion

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Tadasuke

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CAP 31 So Far

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All right pals, we're officially a Ground-type Diamond Storm user with Water Absorb. Please pay very close attention to SHSP's posts during this thread and remain on topic.

In this stage, we will try to analyze which Pokemon sets could threaten or be threatened by us. Based on our typing and concept we will also decide which specific threats we should focus on later stages, and which ones should be mostly left alone. Then, the Topic Leader will organize them into a list, following this basic format:
  • Switch in: The list of Pokemon on which we should be able to have a easy time switching in and then forcing them out, more than once in a game. This doesn't mean that we should be able to come into any of their moves, just their most commonly used ones.
  • Pressure: The list of Pokemon that might threaten us, but should not be able to switch in easily. They should not be able to check us easily.
  • Checks and Counters: The list of Pokemon should, in some way, threaten us. This might mean that they will probably be able to beat us 1v1, or at least severely cripple us. Certain Pokemon, in particular Revenge Killers might be included both in here and in Pressure, because once they switch in, they should be able to check us.
This threatlist should serve as a guideline for the rest of the project. However, this is not set in stone, and might change later if the Topic Leadership Team deems it necessary.

The following is a set of questions that we should try to answer during this discussion:
  • Going specifically by typing, what Pokemon found in the CAP metagame will be able to comfortably give this project trouble?
  • What Pokemon will be major threats to this project right off the bat?
  • What Pokemon have the potential to become counters?
  • What Pokemon may end up as threats, but must be contained or dealt with per the concept?
  • Will the concept succeed with this list of threats?
  • Is this list of threats acceptable for the project?
  • What Pokemon will be threatened by the CAP based off of typing?
  • Are these Pokemon targets that we want CAP to hit?
  • Will these targets be "unavoidable" to threaten based solely on the typing?
  • What direction must the project go in now that a set list of basic threats has been identified?
  • What must be done in order to make these threats "wanted counters" or these threats be eliminated from counter discussion?
  • Are there any Pokemon that we want to completely counter?
No individual post has to answer every question.

Guidelines:
1) Pay close attention to the Topic Leader during this discussion. Their job is to keep us focused and to bring insight.
2) Do not poll jump. Poll jumping is a serious offense in these threads, and you can get infracted for it. Poll jumping is when you discuss something that should be discussed in the future, like specifying a CAP's stats or typing. You're allowed to hint at such things to conclude a point or to provide an example, but do not centralize your post on a poll jump. Poll jumping hurts the focus of early threads and can cause us to go off on a tangent. If you're not sure if a particular argument is poll jumping or not, err on the side of caution and don't post it.
3) Refer to Pokemon by specific sets. This way we can clearly identify which specific sets we should be focusing on, and what specific characteristics makes us threaten or threatened by them. Adding complete movesets, EV spreads and Natures is recommended, but not mandatory.
4) Assume that Stealth Rock is on both sides of the field, unless otherwise specified. This can be changed by the Topic Leader during the discussion.
4) This are the exact definitions of check and counter that we will be working with:

-Pokémon A checks a Pokémon B set if, when Pokémon A is given a free switch into that Pokémon B set, Pokémon A can win every time, even under the worst case scenario, without factoring in hax.
-Pokémon A counters a Pokémon B set if Pokémon A can manually switch into that Pokémon B set, and still win every time, even under the worst case scenario, without factoring in hax.
 

SHSP

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After yet another close poll- these can't be good for my blood pressure, can they?- we're gonna take a look at Threats next. Remember the best resource for this step is the (link to Viability Rankings), which keeps us on topic with what's relevant in the current CAP metagame we're building in. We'll start off by looking at Switch-Ins. Some questions to keep in mind as we go forward:

What can we easily come in on?- Being a Ground automatically gives us some definition as to what and how we switch in: Electric immunity. Not many Electrics in the current meta, however, solely run Electric moves- how do we match up on paper against the popular ones? Water Absorb additionally gives us another suite of immunities, but common Water types also often carry coverage, like Tapu Fini's Moonblast: how do we match up there? Additionally, what other popular threats do we solidly answer, be it through our typing, ability, or both so far?

What should we be looking to come in on?- There are additionally going to be a number of current metagame mons that we have neutral or worse matchups in on paper, ones that will often be decided based on our stats going forward. With Diamond Storm and our other tools in mind, what is important to the success of CAP 31 to be able to switch in on?

Thanks again for the continued great discussion- it's really showing in the constant nailbiter polls and the quality of option's we're picking. Let's keep it up through Threats!
 

dex

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What can we easily come in on?
Out the gate, Zeraora, Tapu Koko, and Magnezone seem to be quite straightforward switch-in opportunities. Switching into Zapdos, however, requires a certain level of special bulk and longevity. This isn't impossible, but it is important to note. Rotom-W is completely stonewalled by CAP 31; however, it can carry Wisp, which makes scouting necessary for switching into it. Outside of the Electric-types, Toxapex without Toxic and both Slowking formes are probably safe bets for switching in. Tapu Fini, like Zapdos, requires some extra longevity to switch into consistently, and it can always pressure CAP 31 with Trick. Urshifu-R is not a safe switch-in opportunity due to its nuclear Close Combat. Slowbro isn't really a switch-in opportunity since it isn't threatened by a whole lot physically; however, this is a whole other story if CAP 31 has access to physical setup and decent special bulk to cover the odd Slowbro that runs Ice Beam.

What should we be looking to come in on?
If possible, coming in on Flying-types like Tornadus-T and Zapdos would do wonders for justifying Diamond Storm's usage. Both come with their own worries: Hurricane is a strong move. Tornadus-T also has Knock Off, making me think that we should look into making CAP 31 not totally reliant on its item.
 
What can we easily come in on?
how do we match up on paper against the popular (electric types) ones?
We should be able to come in on most electrics - for free, if we catch an electric move. That said we still have to deal with neutral STAB and coverage moves from Zera and Koko, while we are able to blank Rotom-W almost entirely (we have to be cautious of Wisp) and can definitely risk pivoting into Krilowatt, since we’re immune to both STABs.
Being neutral to the coverage of a lot of electrics, means we have I solidly positive match up at the moment. We still have to be careful of taking Status like toxic or Knock from Zera or wisp from rotom and especially Zera, Zapdos and (Specs) Koko still can give us trouble with neutral Attacks, which we are going to have to deal with through our bulk.
Water Absorb additionally gives us another suite of immunities, but common Water types also often carry coverage, like Tapu Fini's Moonblast:
how do we match up there?
I‘d say it’s pretty similar to the electrics we’re facing. We still have the ability to catch a move we are immune to and come in for free. But we have to be cautious of coverage, which we can only deal with through Bulk and additionally we can’t force out these water types as easily as we don’t threaten them with STAB.
Aside from Rotom and Kril, especially our Matchup into Toxapex is greatly improved. We are able to come in on it without much fear and deal heavy damage with Super Effective STAB.
what other popular threats do we solidly answer, be it through our typing, ability, or both so far
We deal Fairly well with Galarking, as we threaten it Super effectively and aren’t bothered by scald like other ground types.
We also are ok dealing with Rock type Spam not named Strata (levitate kills that MU)
I think Fire types and some steels are on the list of what we can reasonably check. While we can’t come in as easily, as we don’t resist STABs from Heatran, Astro or Melmetal, we still should be able to threaten the former two pretty hard and should be in a winning position against the latter if we come in for free.
Additionally I think we have a pressure Matchup into flying types, that aren’t neutral to Diamond Storm, that tilts slightly in CAP31 favor, because it can hit Super effectively, while they can’t.
These matchups definitely depend on our bulk and in Astros, Zapdos, Venomicon E and Torns Case on our Speed as well.

What should we be looking to come in on?- There are additionally going to be a number of current metagame mons that we have neutral or worse matchups in on paper, ones that will often be decided based on our stats going forward. With Diamond Storm and our other tools in mind, what is important to the success of CAP 31 to be able to switch in on?
I don’t think we need to be able to switch in on fire and Flying types all the time, but they shouldn’t be able to force CAP31 out immediately and be heavily pressured if we come in.
In the case of a boost we also shouldn’t be immediately threatened by (non CB) Kartana and Weavile, and be able to stay in to scout moves and/or deal damage.
Ground might also be good as neutral Sponge into weaker attacks from Bulky Pokémon such as Clefable.
 
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Brambane

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Imo we should have a better idea of what we should pressure, and leave some of what we should switch-in on more open to interpretation during the stats stage. My reasoning for this is that this is still a very open CAP in terms of direction, perhaps the most open in my recent memory. We still only really know that we should be offensive in some capacity and we have two useful immunities. Our existing traits can be interpreted in a wide variety of ways going into stats, which imo should be embraced. Maybe one spread really excels at switching into Zapdos and tanking Hurricanes, while another doesn't switch into them easily, but can force them out if you double switch it in or pivot to it. These are equally valid routes given what we have so far, which should lead to a very exciting and dynamic stats stage.

But with that being said, there are some low-hanging fruit that we can use to justify out teamslot by making CAP31 a good switch in against. They are:
  • Toxapex
  • Zeraora
  • Tapu Koko (at least 3 Attacks Roost)
  • Magnezone
  • Gastrodon
  • Slowking
  • Rotom-Wash
  • Barraskewda
  • Knocked Krilo lmao
I think we can be less sour about a weaker Calm Mind Koko MU if we can switch in on every Zera with confidence. So basically, switch into the weaker special Electrics, weaker bulky Waters, and hee hoo bandfish. I didn't include Slowbro because I both don't think its super necessary for us to switch in on Slowbro, and its hard to switch in on effectively such physically bulky mon that pivots so effectively. This is a mon that warrants further discussion down the line.

The overarching threat that some of these Pokemon hold (Zera, Toxapex, Gastrodon, Rotom-W) is status. Zera can tech into Toxic, its a viable option of Pex and Gastro, and Rotom-W can carry Wisp. We should probably decide fairly early exactly HOW vulnerable we want CAP31 to be to status. Lando-T gets statused and the mon is gets quickly worn down by repeated Knocks from Zera. We should, in some capacity, be able to mitigate the damage from Toxic to serve as a consistent switch in to Zera throughout a match (sequence scenario: if the opp baits in CAP31 with Pex and hits us with Toxic, we shouldn't now be on life support against their Zera.) I don't really have a stance on Wisp yet.
 

snake_rattler

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Before I begin, I want to highlight CAP31's defensive profile:

Ground:
Weaknesses: Grass, Ice
Resistances: Poison, Rock
Immunities: Electric, Water, Sandstorm damage

What can we easily come in on?
Although the resistances are lacking, immunity to both Electric and Water is very potent. Additionally, while Grass and Ice have a couple common users, they are not too many in number. Ferrothorn, Kartana, and Pyroak take neutral damage from Ground-type STAB, and Rillaboom has had a hard time with every CAP this generation. Although Weavile is one of, if not the top, Pokemon in the metagame, it's not too many other Pokemon are presently using strong Ice-type moves.

From typing alone, the CAP31 should have a decent matchup into the Electric-types of the metagame, CAP31 not weak to Zeraora's Close Combat and Knock Off, Tapu Koko's Dazzling Gleam, Zapdos's Hurricane and Heat Wave, and Magnezone's Flash Cannon and Body Press. Furthermore, Rotom-W and Krilowatt must rely on Will-o-Wisp and Ice Beam respectively to chip down CAP31, but we notably block all of their pivoting attempts (including Double Pivot Krilowatt's Flip Turn).

In terms of Water-types, we have an interesting relationship with Slowbro, given its usual reliance on Scald; however, CAP31's ability to hit Slowbro for effective damage might be rough. Toxapex, Slowking, and Tapu Fini are suddenly much easier to deal with when Scald and Hydro Pump are not options against CAP31. Switching directly into Urshifu-R without a Fighting resistance seems like a tall order to deal with, unfortunately, but not being OHKOed by Surging Strikes is good. Apply the same logic to Volcanion, except that CAP31 doesn't resist Flamethrower.

For other threats, Galarian Slowking has a less than ideal matchup, given that Scald is blocked. CAP31 resists Meteor Beam users like Nihilego, although Stratagem and Celesteela might be able to withstand CAP31's hits due to their immunity to Ground-type moves. Given Diamond Storm, switching into Tornadus-T might be within CAP31's reach as well.

What should we be looking to come in on?
Coming in on least a few of, if not all, of the prominent Electric-types in the metagame would give CAP31 a huge niche, but I'm unsure how feasible this is. Being able to switch into Slowbro and Slowking and gaining free turns as they use Teleport would be great. As dex mentioned, being able to switch into Zeraora, Toxapex, Tapu Fini, and potentially Tornadus-T and not care about losing its item would be a plus, but not a requirement. Heatran and Astrolotl would be good Pokemon to be able to switch into, but it might be a stretch goal.


As I close this post, I feel that it's important that this Pokemon sufficiently differentiates itself from not only Landorus-T and Garchomp but also from Gastrodon. Gastrodon has a similar defensive profile (trades having 4x weakness to Grass for a Fire resistance and no Ice weakness) and has a niche in the metagame. While I definitely think it's possible to do so, especially given Gastrodon's low stats, I think it's important to note how similar and yet different we are to Gastrodon.
 
Being a ground type that is also immune to water, we should be able to come in on waters and electrics.
Stuff like boots koko, magnezone (depending on the stats flash cannon might 2hko).
Slowbro might be a free switch depending on how much we take from future sight/ how much we do to Bro.

Generally, we are our own weakness. Bulky grounds are hard to break past for us, and we even check ourself.
Argh could be a decent check to this mon, forcing it out with Circle throw.
Libra resists edgequake.
Landorus also takes little from edgequake, especially at -1, and can click Toxic on us.
Rotom Wash cannot kill us with anything, but can cripple us with Will-o, Toxic, or possibly a tricked scarf.
 
Going specifically by typing, what Pokemon found in the CAP metagame will be able to comfortably give this project trouble?
I think in no particular order, our greatest offensive threats are Kartana, Weavile, and Jumbao. Kartana clicks Leaf Blade and we will most likely still die even at +2 due to the insane power behind it. Weavile is probably the best revenge killer against us because Ice Shard + Triple Axel will probably beat us down if we're chipped. Jumbao Leaf Storms in our face and can probably switch in on our moves without breaking a sweat. A lot of these examples will be more realized when we have stats to go off of, but as of now, these are things to keep in mind as quite honestly we don't have a lot of outright checks yet. On the other hand, we have to be careful of defensive Grass types, namely Ferrothorn. Currently, we have a relatively neutral matchup as EQ will probably do work into Ferro, but Power Whip can do a lot of damage in return. Bulky Rillaboom might also be a threat, but Rillaboom doesn't do much right now.

  • What Pokemon will be major threats to this project right off the bat?
  • What Pokemon have the potential to become counters?
  • What Pokemon may end up as threats, but must be contained or dealt with per the concept?
In lumping these questions together, I mean to make the point that we aren't really "countered" by anything on the viability list yet in theory. Nothing can switch in for free and outright kill us. Weavile can't switch in to a Diamond Storm, Kartana doesn't want to switch in because of how much it fears us switching out next turn into a bulky special attacker after doing major chip damage with EQ, namely Zapdos, who we pair really well with (more on that later), Jumbao is probably the closest thing to a counter we have, but even then, it still is wary of the mad chunks EQ is going to do, especially if it's switching into rocks. Our stats are going to be everything in deciding what we actually need to fear, as if we can take even one hit from most of our threats, we have a chance to do massive damage with our strong offensive presence, maybe even enough to dissuade them from switching in.

  • What Pokemon will be threatened by the CAP based off of typing?
  • Are these Pokemon targets that we want CAP to hit?
  • Will these targets be "unavoidable" to threaten based solely on the typing?
Last things I'm going to cover before I'm off to class. The matchup against Water types is funky. We still need to fear Ice coverage, and most Waters carry other strong moves we need to worry about. We don't outright threaten Water types yet. Electric types are just death fodder into us. Koko, Arctozolt, Krillowatt, Zeraora, they'll all get bonked on the switch in, aside from a strong maybe on Slush Rush Arctozolt, but it still can't switch in on a Diamond Storm. Additionally, most Flying types are going to struggle immensely to deal with Diamond Storm, aside from the funky metal birds. We blank both Tornadus, both Venomicons (E moreso than base), Zapdos, and both Moltres. I think there's really nothing we can do to make mons of these types comfortable being in against us aside from being super slow or unreasonably weak offensively. As I've been saying for a long time, Landorus is probably our most funky matchup. If it runs Toxic we're kinda screwed, but if not, it becomes much more even. It's likely to try and Knock us or U-turn out, but we really don't have much to threaten it with in a vacuum. If we want to outright beat Lando, we need a tool specifically for that matchup, namely in terms of our coverage.

Also as promised, good lord above do we synergize well with Zapdos. Combine we cover over 70% of the Pokeverse for super effective damage with STABS + Diamond Storm alone, Zap's Rock weakness is covered by our Ground STAB, our Grass weakness is covered by Zap's Flying STAB, the only thing to fear is Special Ice coverage, and that can be easily covered by another teammate.
 

spoo

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and we even check ourself.
Very minor point, but I want to push back against this statement (and ones like it) –– I don't think we can assert stuff like this with any confidence given we have no clue what our stat spread and moveset will look like. We just aren't a fully built mon yet. I've seen similar statements in the discord, eg "corv/libra beat us," "the books beat us," "we beat the books," etc, and like, I don't know where people are pulling these from. If anything, we know surprisingly little about this CAP's direction right now.

To give this post some substance, IMO Electrics are our #1 priority and should be near-mandatory winning matchups. Existing as a viable Ground-type in SS CAP virtually necessitates being able to switch into Electric-type attackers; just looking at the VR confirms this. Unless we offer some other highly desirable trait, there will be an immediate ceiling on how often we're used if we can't switch into Zera/Koko/sort of Zapdos (especially Zera). Thankfully we shouldn't really have to go out of our way to make this happen.

It would also be pretty cool for us to switch into some of the tier's Fire-types, as bulky Grounds are often used as a soft check to mons like Heatran (at least, non-offensive Tran). This might be too big of an ask, but it would be nice if we can swing it. Our matchups against bulky Water-types are kind of all over the place, as we do very well into Pex, so-so into Fini, and Slowbro can probably just farm us for momentum. Flying-type matchups feel very "blank slate," and whether or not we can switch into them will depend on what stats and moves we end up with.
 

Astra

skill issue
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The one important obstacle I believe we need to clear very early is to figure out is out how safely CAP 31 can come in on the current viable Electric-types, among a couple other Pokemon, in the metagame. Out of all of the Electric-types, most if not all of them have a potential way to still punish CAP 31 for switching in, with the degree of the punishment varying based on what direction we want to go. Zeraora can punish CAP 31 with Knock Off, Tapu Koko could potentially chip it down slowly with Dazzling Gleam, and Rotom-W can cripple it with Will-O-Wisp. Magnezone could either chip it down as well with its non-Electric-type and/or cripple CAP 31 with Toxic. Zapdos also proves to be annoying, being able to either chip it down with Hurricane or potentially burn it with Heat Wave. Pokemon that otherwise would be taken care of thanks to Water Absorb also have various means of punishing CAP 31 switching it; Toxapex has Knock Off, Gastrodon has Toxic, and even Slowking could potentially get some pressure on with Future Sight.

Most of these issues can be circumvented very simply, as some have already pointed out. Making CAP 31 not incredibly reliant on its item let's some pressure off of switching into Knock Off, a good Special Defense could help against strong special attackers (recovery could also prove useful in that regard), and a means to prevent status would ease the pain from burns and Toxic poison. CAP 31 obviously doesn't need all of these aspects, but I believe that choosing at least two of them would put it on the same level as other Ground-types within the metagame. I personally prefer circumventing Knock Off and status because those two attributes would help CAP 31 differentiate itself from other Ground-types (notably how Landorus-T has no real means around status and Equilibra is severely hurt when it loses its Leftovers). At the very least, though, when it comes to making CAP 31 unique and worth using over other Ground-types, giving it the ability to circumvent status in some way would be the best path to take.
 
Out of all of the Electric-types, most if not all of them have a potential way to still punish CAP 31 for switching in, with the degree of the punishment varying based on what direction we want to go. Zeraora can punish CAP 31 with Knock Off, Tapu Koko could potentially chip it down slowly with Dazzling Gleam, and Rotom-W can cripple it with Will-O-Wisp. Magnezone could either chip it down as well with its non-Electric-type and/or cripple CAP 31 with Toxic. Zapdos also proves to be annoying, being able to either chip it down with Hurricane or potentially burn it with Heat Wave.
These are all extremely valid, but something to keep in mind is that we, by design, benefit immensely from getting in for free. Getting in for free via pivoting or sacs gives us more opportunities to click Diamond Storm and fish for boosts, and it lets us get in on a lot of these mons relatively risk free. The exceptions being Zera and Rotom, because there's really not much hope we'll outspend Zera without a scarf, and Rotom still threatens a burn regardless. We're a mon that wants to get in, stay in, and wreak havoc with our powerful coverage and free boosts. Dry switching into Electric types is great, but I think a better target to focus switch ins on is a Predicted Water Move. We can get in on a Scald from Fini, Slowbro, Pelipper, Gastrodon or Toxapex, a Hydro Pump from Rotom-W, Steam Eruption from Volcanion, Waterfall from Naviathan, or even Flip Turn from Swampert absolutely scot free. To make this deal even sweeter, any chip we've sustained from hazards or prior switch ins is negated with 25% healing, and we threaten big damage on pretty much every Water in the tier, and immediately threaten Peli, Pex, Navi and Volc with a probable KO on that very turn. Not to suggest anything too early, but if we have even a respectable speed tier, we can threaten huge damage on just about everything in the tier after we get in for free, and I think the best way to do that consistently is to focus on forcing our way in on a Water move via hard switches or fast pivoting from Dragapult, Tornadus-T, Zeraora, and Tapu Koko.
 
I think we should be able to take on some Hurricanes. This isn't too much of a tall order in CAP, since offensive Zapdos is relatively rarer, and Venom-P/Torn-T don't commonly run 252 SpA sets. Not delving into particular benchmarks or anything but setting 'uninvested STAB Hurricanes' as something we can tank also likely ensures we cover stuff like Fini's Moonblast and Koko's Dazzling Gleam, which will definitely help us find a slot on many teams.
 

snake_rattler

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Dry switching into Electric types is great, but I think a better target to focus switch ins on is a Predicted Water Move. We can get in on a Scald from Fini, Slowbro, Pelipper, Gastrodon or Toxapex, a Hydro Pump from Rotom-W, Steam Eruption from Volcanion, Waterfall from Naviathan, or even Flip Turn from Swampert absolutely scot free. To make this deal even sweeter, any chip we've sustained from hazards or prior switch ins is negated with 25% healing, and we threaten big damage on pretty much every Water in the tier, and immediately threaten Peli, Pex, Navi and Volc with a probable KO on that very turn.
I contest your claim that it's better to focus on switching into predicted Water-types moves. Instead, I view leveraging our immunities against Electric-types and Water-types as equally good.

Although Water Absorb is good when it activates, the opponent will know that CAP31 has Water Absorb and will play accordingly. It's also important to consider how Tapu Fini can definitely cripple CAP31 with Trick and Nature's Madness, Slowbro can set up Future Sight and Teleport, Pelipper can U-turn, Toxapex can use Toxic or Knock Off, Rotom-W can burn, Volcanion can respond with Fire-type STAB, and Naviathan's Facade will likely do lots, to pull some from your list. Again, the 25% HP boost is amazing and shouldn't be diminished, but I view trying to switch into predicted Electric moves from Zeraora and instead getting hit by Close Combat, Knock Off, or Toxic in the same vein as switching into those Water-type moves.

Thus, rather than deciding which of "switching into Electric-types" and "switching into Water-types" is better, we should focus on which specific Electric-types and which specific Water-types are most attainable based on the tools CAP31 has so far.

I personally prefer circumventing Knock Off and status because those two attributes would help CAP 31 differentiate itself from other Ground-types (notably how Landorus-T has no real means around status and Equilibra is severely hurt when it loses its Leftovers). At the very least, though, when it comes to making CAP 31 unique and worth using over other Ground-types, giving it the ability to circumvent status in some way would be the best path to take.
Astra gives a solution to what I'm thinking about. Focusing on how to circumvent certain Electric-type and certain Water-types' means of getting around CAP31 is how CAP31 will differentiate itself from other Ground-types for sure.

To give this post some substance, IMO Electrics are our #1 priority and should be near-mandatory winning matchups. Existing as a viable Ground-type in SS CAP virtually necessitates being able to switch into Electric-type attackers; just looking at the VR confirms this. Unless we offer some other highly desirable trait, there will be an immediate ceiling on how often we're used if we can't switch into Zera/Koko/sort of Zapdos (especially Zera). Thankfully we shouldn't really have to go out of our way to make this happen.
This is a great comment about the current metagame, and why I want to make sure that Electric-types are properly addressed during this stage. Zeraora is perhaps the hardest Electric-type to check, and checking Zeraora effectively will differentiate CAP31 from other Ground-types. Zapdos and Tapu Koko would also be good targets, but Zeraora is the hardest one to check.
 
As a head's up - I agree with spoo that we don't actually know anything about CAP31's match-ups yet. While it seems obvious on its face with our ability + typing, the meta and movepools are diverse enough and well-documented enough this late in the SS era that we actually have a lot to decide on in future stages for what sort of niche and role CAP31 will fulfill, what it can "easily" switch in on, what it pressures, and what it is countered or checked by. I'm also mostly focusing on B tier or better.

What can we easily come in on?

Water and Electric, obviously - that's what our typing + ability does. To look deeper though:

On the one hand, Waters are easier because it carves out a unique niche for us compared to the non-Garchomp, non-Gastrodons of the tier. Ignoring Scald and other water moves is awesome, and being able to ensure that Urshifu-R's Surging Strikes can't break past our +2s is cool too. And waters overall are a bit easier to "come in on" because two of the metas premier waters are often Choice-loving; once Fini and Shifu lock in on Hydro Pump or Surging Strikes respectively we can come in for free!

Buuuuttt...almost every water in the Tier still potentially threatens us, whether via status (Toxic on Toxapex and Gastrodon, Will-o-Wisp from Rotom-W) Object Removal (Knock-off/Trick from Arghonaut and Tapu Fini), extremely powerful secondary STABs (Urshifu's Banded Close Combat, Fini's Moonblast/Nature's Madness, the Slow's Future Sight), or dangerous coverage (Ice Beam from Kril). And we don't apply a ton of pressure to most of the waters on our STAB + Diamond Storm alone; only Toxapex really fears staying in on us and tangoing and some 'mons like Slowbro welcome us to waste our PP trying.

So, from that perspective, I'd say the only B or higher waters I feel awesome about us being switch-ins to on their faces with no scouting are Arghonaut (who actually rarely bothers carrying water moves these days anyways). That's not to say Water Absorb is a bad ability (it isn't!) or that it won't give us momentum and power (it will!) - but, if we want CAP31 to be a reliable switch-in to the strongest waters in the tier, we'll need to tailor our Stat Spread carefully and/or look to our movepool for some answers to some of these issues.

Electric doesn't seem as easy because there's fewer electrics and they all carry devastating secondary STABs (for Zapdos, Tapu Koko, and Arctozolt) or they carry powerful coverage (for Zeraora and his Knock-Off/Close Combat combo and Krilowatt's aforementioned Ice Beam). Again, we'll need to be mindful in our stats stage to not get worn down into oblivion by these moves. But the advantage here, unlike the waters, is that we apply tremendous pressure to these 'mons as all of them are weak to either our STAB or Diamond Storm (or both, for Arctozolt). They also tend to be a bit more eager to click their electric moves than the waters (again, it's not uncommon for 'Pex, Arghonaut, and Gastrodon to not actually carry any water-type moves) and they won't be as gun-shy about doing so just because they saw us at team preview, since getting blocked isn't as horrible as getting blocked and healing us. I agree with others; our priority should be to shore up these match-ups and ensure that not only do we pressure and check these 'mons but that we can reliably switch into them multiple times in a match.

To echo snake above in so many words - the meta is too vast for CAP31 to just "auto-switch" in to any of the 'mons we have immunity to these days. Our exercise should be to look for commonalities in the above 'mons and see what we can do in stats or movepool to improve these match-ups. We also likely can't do it all - for instance, if we invest heavily in Physical Bulk for Urshifu and Zeraora, we will likely find it tough to also have monstrous special bulk for the rest (without going for a fully defensive or uber-slow 'mon). That's why we have this stage, right?

Finally, I'll own I'm more or less ignoring our other two resistances. It's neat we resist rocks, but it's more neat for resisting Stealth Rock and freeing up our item slot than it is for actually worrying about rock-type attacks in the meta. Poison is one of the rarest attacking types in the 'meta, so that is also not super helpful. It's not nothing that we resist these types, but it's darn close and doesn't afford us any special switch-in opportunities that I can see. I guess it lets us easily switch in on Nihilego?

What should we be looking to come in on?

The whole dream of CAP31 is to be able to pressure Flyspam from Venomicon, Venomicon-E, and Tornadus-Therian with its Diamond Storm while punishing steels and rocks that would try to counter-pivot us with our Ground STAB. CAP31 wants to come in on these 'mons and force them out, and wants to ensure it is not checked by them.

We'd also like the ability to come in and force out fires, but this is much more challenging due to the existence of WoW on Astrolotl and Toxic on most Heatran sets and the sheer, dumb power of Choice Specs Blacephalon and Contrary Overheat Pyroak (who has Grass STAB to boot!). Again, just like for our first question - that's a lot, and it's unlikely we'll come up with a stat spread and movepool that accomplishes all of it and also accomplishes our objective (Diamond Storm is the star) and doesn't unbalance the meta. For what it's worth, I think we have a significantly easier time finding a way to come in on Books + Torn than we do finding a way to come in on all of the different fires of the meta. We pressure these fires by default - only 'roak would dare dream of switching into us on paper and even that's pretty sketch depending on our speed tier. In other words - I think we should accept that we can easily check and pressure most Fires by virtue of our STAB + Diamond Storm, and not sweat being able to switch in and eat Overheats/Magma Storms repeatedly as a goal for CAP31.
 
I contest your claim that it's better to focus on switching into predicted Water-types moves. Instead, I view leveraging our immunities against Electric-types and Water-types as equally good.

Although Water Absorb is good when it activates, the opponent will know that CAP31 has Water Absorb and will play accordingly. It's also important to consider how Tapu Fini can definitely cripple CAP31 with Trick and Nature's Madness, Slowbro can set up Future Sight and Teleport, Pelipper can U-turn, Toxapex can use Toxic or Knock Off, Rotom-W can burn, Volcanion can respond with Fire-type STAB, and Naviathan's Facade will likely do lots, to pull some from your list. Again, the 25% HP boost is amazing and shouldn't be diminished, but I view trying to switch into predicted Electric moves from Zeraora and instead getting hit by Close Combat, Knock Off, or Toxic in the same vein as switching into those Water-type moves.
I agree that our immunities are both equally valuable, my main point here is that if we focus on winning matchups against bulky Water types, we'll have a clearly defined niche and a role to fill as a wallbreaker. Trying to counter Electric types is definitely something we should aim for, but if we can convincingly beat Water types, we'll have something Lando, Chomp, Gastro, and Libra don't have.

Also worth keeping in mind is that yes, the opponent can play around Water Absorb, but they can play around our Ground typing as well. This is why I think having a hard pivot to guarantee we can get in safely on a move we tank and proceed to fire off strong damage that not much in the tier is happy to be on the receiving end of. If we can bring ourselves into a Choice locked Fini, Magnezone, or Urshifu, we gain significant momentum and can put the opponent on the back foot immediately with how few mons want to switch into our coverage.

If we can minimize the number of times we have to switch, we can stay in for longer, which is very pro-concept as it lets us rack up boosts easier. Any free switches we can force are going to be massively impactful for us.
 
Most of these issues can be circumvented very simply, as some have already pointed out. Making CAP 31 not incredibly reliant on its item let's some pressure off of switching into Knock Off, a good Special Defense could help against strong special attackers (recovery could also prove useful in that regard), and a means to prevent status would ease the pain from burns and Toxic poison. CAP 31 obviously doesn't need all of these aspects, but I believe that choosing at least two of them would put it on the same level as other Ground-types within the metagame. I personally prefer circumventing Knock Off and status because those two attributes would help CAP 31 differentiate itself from other Ground-types (notably how Landorus-T has no real means around status and Equilibra is severely hurt when it loses its Leftovers). At the very least, though, when it comes to making CAP 31 unique and worth using over other Ground-types, giving it the ability to circumvent status in some way would be the best path to take.
I totally agree with Astra here. These three options (SpDef, KO absorption, and status resilience) allow us, most importantly for me, a way to switch in on things. CAP 31 has great offensive presence, but its lack of useful resistances makes it quite difficult at times to switch in safely. I think that we should be able to switch in on prominent Flying- and Electric-types, like Torn, Zap, Books, Koko, Zera, and Magnezone. Most of these mons are very strong special attackers, so I think that having a high SpDef to check these would be important. Additionally, this helps us to check some other useful mons for us to beat, like Volcanion, Heatran, Pyroak lacking Giga Drain, Glowking and Slowking. This allows us to switch in on many moves and apply pressure. I think that, though this is a large list, we should, at least in a vacuum, be able to beat all of these mons. However, I think that if given two of these mons are on the same team, given time, they should be able to wear CAP 31 out, with status or item (passive recovery/resilience) removal. As such, I think that having high SpDef and being able to check non SE special attackers, especially Electric and Flying-types, is super important, as well as ONE of either status resilience or lack of item reliance is important. I lean toward status resilience more than KO, because I think status is much more prevalent, but I could hear arguments for the latter.
 

quziel

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I would argue that the only mon we absolutely must switch into is Zeraora, if we do so we already are on the path to getting a place on a team. If you look at the defensive roles Ground-types generally must fill on a team, checking the electric cat/rodent/thing is by far the most unique to them. Other mons, eg Tapu Koko, Zapdos, Heatran are all important for Ground-types to check, yes, and are a ton of what gets SpD Lando and Chomp onto teams, but in terms of roles that teammates cannot fulfill, Zeraora is the big one. This is coincidentally part of why Equilibra, Colossoil are so insufficient as Ground-types currently; they require a ton of support in specifically this matchup that is quite difficult to provide elsewhere.

With that said, there are several groups of mons we can easily treat as stretch goals.

Electric Types: Perhaps the easiest of this group for us to take on is Pivot Tapu Koko, which, while invested, still only has 95 SpA and an 80 BP move to nail us with. A step up is Defensive Zapdos, which does hit us substantially harder with Hurricane while also being immune to our main STAB move, forcing us to likely 2HKO it rather than OHKO it, which taxes our bulk a tad more. At the higher difficulty mons to answer there's Specs Tapu Koko, Offensive Zapdos, and Krilowatt all of which imply fairly high bulk to answer more than once, though frankly we probably beat them all at least one time if we come in on the Electric move.

Ground Weak Special Attackers: This is a more limited category, and I'm keeping with special threats atm. The easiest to switch into here is probably Slowking-Galar who cannot burn us with Scald, can only really threaten us with Ice Beam, and likely dies to EQ relatively quickly. After this comes Defensive Heatran which, while uninvested, still carries the power and chip damage of Magma Storm and/or Toxic. Volcanion is a noted step-up, and its Flamethrower is gonna be difficult to take on for us. A final potential benchmark is Offensive Heatran which is one of the most difficult mons to take on atm, and implies hefty bulk.

Toxapex is related to the above, but is a test of our power and not our bulk, cause it legit cannot harm us majorly besides a potential Toxic. Tapu Fini is also sorta related, as it can't majorly damage us, nor trap us, but implies a specific Attack stat to break past CM + Dkiss builds.

Urshifu-Rapid Strike is another likely stretch goal, but given that we're immune to Surging Strikes, being able to take on its CCs is something that could provide a very unique niche for most teams.

Flying-Types: Are a final category to look at and come in two flavors. I covered Zapdos earlier, but facing it is going to be fairly similar to facing Tornadus-Therian. Taking on their defensive sets is going to be relatively easy, and taking on their offensive sets is going to be significantly more difficult. Venomicon-P is an interesting comparison to Toxapex, as its moreso a question of our offensive than defensive presence, and its more of a potential switch in to us, than we are to it. Venomicon-E is a great stretch goal, and checking it would give us a fairly nice defensive niche.

My preferred Switch-in list is something like this.
Mandatory: Zeraora
Recommended: Pivot Tapu Koko, Slowking-Galar, Toxapex
Nice to have: Defensive Heatran, Defensive Zapdos, Non-CM Tapu Fini
Stretch: Venomicon-E, Offensive Heatran, Specs Tapu Koko



Edit: Posted before the post was ready.
 
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Korski

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Not to beat a dead horse, but even despite our primary ability, I think going the tank route, which is clearly the prevailing direction in this thread once again, is a bad idea that will lead to either an unbalanced or redundant addition to the metagame. The direction we've chosen has been for the CAP to come in for free. The *entire* power budget so far has been laser-focused on this trait, acknowledged in discussions and validated by polls resulting in a resistance to Stealth Rock, 100% immunity to damage from TWO of the most common attacking types in the game, and otherwise the most neutrally interactive typing/ability combo in CAP history, forcing us to rely entirely on stats for offensive presence as well as for tanking incoming, nonzero damage. As a complete bonus, one of our immunities gives us both momentum and HP regen simply by switching in at the right time! Even this thread admits that Water Absorb does not actually even address switching into or threatening Water-types in a general sense; they all have standard moves that can punish CAP specifically and the bulk to stay in and use those moves against us, even Toxapex (base 150 Atk 252 EV Life Orb STAB Earthquake vs. 252/252+ Toxapex: 98% max). We *need* to bait out their Water attacks in order to switch in *and* have the offensive presence / snowball potential to make them care we are in in the first place, same goes for the fast Electrics and Zapdos. There is simply no balanced way to confidently and reliably switch into all of these intended attacks throughout the battle without going full stat-heavy passive wall. If you want to be allowed to mispredict once or get out of a tough position once by absorbing a Moonblast or Dazzling Gleam or Hurricane, I think that's fine and I agree the CAP should not be paper thin, but the notion of turning this CAP into some sort of "reliable-bulky-status-resistant-Knock-resistant-SpD-but-also-Def-boosting-EdgeQuake-wallbreaker-maybe-with-a-recovery-move-even" is a recipe for disaster, imo.

Without any stats at all, and in addition to the standards (slow pivoting, coming in after a sac/KO, double switching), this Pokemon already has several valid and thoughtfully designed methods of coming into battle without needing much in the way of defensive capabilities. We should be more focused now on how the CAP will contribute to winning once it's in and how it will be incentivized to use Diamond Storm and take advantage of its secondary effect. Personally, since it is still just a 50% reliable non-STAB option, I still prefer the idea of using it primarily as setup to dodge physical RKOs while cleaning, although I'd be open to other interpretations beyond a general acceptance that +2 Def is good news for any Pokemon.

But this thread is about threats, and if we change course to a cleaner/snowballer, the best threats to us will be, ironically enough, stat-heavy passive walls and tanks, Will-o-Wisp and Toxic status, and faster offensive Pokemon. Offensively we should force out all Electric-types and Flying-types on turn one no matter what and 1v1 all grounded Steel-types at +2 Def, and yes, that involves outspeeding as many of them as possible and 2HKOing Zapdos while taking less than 94% from Hurricane. We can debate if CAP should need an item to do these things or not, but based off of our decisions so far, if you really want to also switch into Knock Off so badly, you're arguing *against* switching into special attacks all day, and vice versa, due to reasonable stat limitations. If you want to avoid status, a fast Sub is actually a pretty neat idea for this build, and I'd be interested in supporting the idea, otherwise we're looking at Secondary Ability for a solution there. We really need to pick a lane, though, or at least stick to the one from the Concept Assessment. We can't do everything all at once, and I sincerely hope we don't end up trying to do something that's already pretty well-covered by the Pokemon we already have available and who do the job overwhelmingly well already.
 
I think quz makes a good point above.
Yes a Ground type would be cool to check half the meta but I feel like we are going to be spread pretty thin if we try to pull CAP in all these directions.
I agree that Zeraora is the one Mon we must check reliably, bc that gives us immediate value over the less used grounds in the meta.
I would like to also add both Toxapex and Glowking to this list. All grounds except gastro struggle to check these over the course of a game due to scald and its burns plus Regenerator, making them hard to answer just with grounds, which would give 31 an instant defensive niche, especially for more offensive builds, that can immediately apply pressure to the opposing team.
If we can add Koko and some of the mons of the nice to have list i think we are pretty set defensively.
 
Repurposing myself as a glorified echo chamber: being able to serve as a strong Zeraora check would be a great way to differentiate ourselves from the various other Grounds that will compete for our slot.

For comparisons sake, here's how current Ground-types match into Zera (ranked from best with overall metagame viability weighted), and what shortcomings they have against it:

  1. :landorus-therian: A secondary Flying-type to lower CC damage, not being worn down by hazards as easily, and Intimidate let Lando serve as a great check to Zeraora, though its reliance on an item and vulnerability to Toxic (which many Pokemon slot to wear down Lando in particular, including itself) means it struggles to check Zera long-term. Zera' Knock Off is an easy way for it to win the war of attrition, but Lando is still a fantastic check to it, while also being one the best, if not the best Pokemon period in the meta right now.
  2. :garchomp: Good physical bulk and Rough Skin puts a lot of pressure on Zera, and Garchomp's ability to threaten teams means the opponent will want to respond to it with more immediacy, forcing Zera off the field. Unfortunately, Chomp is even more prone to being worn down due to vulnerability to Spikes and lack of Intimidate softening Physical hits, meaning you need to invest more into bulk if you want to better check Zera.
  3. :hippowdon: Slack Off and great Physical Defense lets Hippo last against Zera longer than other Grounds, and Sand Stream can help wear down Zera into Priority range or just after enough Sandstorm hits. Hippo's main issue it its passivity and the hostile metagame towards it, meaning that despite a good matchup, it is often hard to justify on a team.
  4. :equilibra: Being weak to Close Combat is rough, but good bulk and strong Earth Power lets it annoy Zera in a pinch, especially with its natural resistance to chip damage due to being immune to Toxic and Spikes while barely taking damage from Rocks, and its "recovery" via Pain Spit.
  5. :gastrodon: Recovery and Sticky Hold means Gastro can be a nuisance for Zera to wear down, but this Pokemon suffers from similar weaknesses to Hippo in vulnerability to Status and draining momentum, but with worse bulk and no automatic means of wearing down Zera unless it decides to stay in. This is also an extremely fringe Pokemon at the moment, only fitting well on specific builds, making it hard to slot in on most teams in the face of its Ground-type competition.
  6. :colossoil: The offensively-inclined nature of Colo means that it barely functions as a Zera check, only really able to come in once, and needing safe entry if it doesn't want to be made useless by a predicted Close Combat. It has almost all of the vulnerabilities of the mons above it, without any real compensation to gain an edge. The best that can be said about Colo is that Zera can fail to RK it when weakened if you have used Rapid Spin prior, and Guts-boosted Sucker Punch can finish it off or leave it in range for a teammate, but neither of these perks allow it to come in on Zera better than anything above.
Crafting a "perfect" check to Zera may not be feasible, but one that can mitigate the flaws that hold other Grounds back (vulnerability to chip/being worn down, reliance on item to check, passivity versus the metagame) would have immediate value alongside anything else 31 provides, such as threatening the many Ground-and-Rock-weak Pokemon in the tier with an offensive role, or taking advantage of common Pokemon like Toxapex or Slowtwins which may not able to effectively threaten us.

(As an aside, although not relevant to the current metagame, we shouldn't put too much focus on being the "ultimate Zeraora answer," despite how much a lot of us want that, as we will probably never outclass Gliscor in that role: if we can simply serve as the best check to Zera out of the available options, we have more room to lean into other avenues possible thanks to Diamond Storm and our Typing + Water Absorb, which would be a lot better at keeping us distinct from competition.)
 

dex

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I’d like to take a moment to divert conversation away from “this mon needs free switch opportunities” and more to “this mon gains a lot by staying in once it gets in”. CAP 31 already has been gifted the ability to freely switch in on the numerous Electric-types in the tier via its typing. It won’t struggle to get in. Where CAP 31 needs support is in staying on the field. Due to Diamond Storm’s secondary effect, CAP 31 gains so much momentum by being able to stay in and take advantage of its boosts preventing revenge killers from doing their job. To make the best use of Diamond Storm, CAP 31’s ability to stay in should be a pretty high-priority concern.
 

Astra

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dex makes probably one of the most important points we need to be aware of alongside the need for CAP 31 to differentiate from other popular Ground-types. Being able to stay in matters so much more considering the amount of momentum CAP 31 can get with Diamond Storm boosts; while free switch-ins are always pleasant, I would imagine that the attributes that we give to it in order to stay in often would by associate give it free switch-in opportunities regardless. For example, giving CAP 31 a way to work around Will-O-Wisp and Toxic let's it stay in very comfortably without worrying about the chip damage that would add up otherwise. Such attribute would very likely also let it be a fairly comfortable switch-in against status inflictors. Such example is very simple, but for other more in-depth aspects, focusing on staying in would lead to the most successful path.

I don't have much time to elaborate more on that and other things, but I would like to agree on the sediment that CAP 31 needs to be a consistent answer for Zeraora in order to be considered as a team's dedicated Ground-type just as quziel pointed out. If it can't switch into Zeraora without the risk of taking big damage from it's non-STAB moves (notably how Equilibra and Colossoil aren't fond of Close Combat), it would be hard to justify running it over other Ground-types that can, specifically Landorus-T.
 

Rabia

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Agree with current notions that doing something while in is much more important than being incredible at switching in; we're not at all strapped for pivots in this metagame: Dragapult, Tornadus-T, Tapu Koko, Zeraora, Eject Button Toxapex, etc. are all present and effective. If we're going to make 31 have an identity that separates it from its competition, we need to actually do something with Diamond Storm and its boosts. We have the means to get in just fine as is with our combination of ability and typing; from here, let's focus on maximizing our on-field effect.

Alongside Zeraora, I think targeting Zapdos could be interesting as a foe we switch into. As it stands, offensive Zapdos sets are really, really cumbersome for even specially bulky Ground-types like Equilibra and Landorus-T to switch into; even if they get in safely, they're generally just Hurricane fodder from there. I think looking into having this be a more positive matchup, in addition to the Zeraora notes that others have made, could be beneficial.
 
I feel like Zapdos is something that we really should be targeting being able to come in on and stay in against. It is the only Pokemon that we have an immunity to, resist its coverage, and is Rocks weak (thus encouraging Diamond Storm.) A lot of the other Pokemon I am seeing discussed here such as Zeraora, Toxapex, or Tapu Koko, while good things to be able to switch in on and deal with, are all Pokemon that don't let us benefit from the strength of Diamond Storm as efficiently as they do from getting pressured by Earthquake. Especially so in the case of status spreaders like Toxapex.

Astrolotl was discussed some, and fire types in general such as Volcanion are something we resist/are immune to, but there is sitll the general threat of burns that threatens us as well. These are not things that we can switch into easily, but something that we might want to focus on switching into, as they are targets that we can resist and then pressure out with SE Diamond Storm.
 
I don't have much time to elaborate more on that and other things, but I would like to agree on the sediment that CAP 31 needs to be a consistent answer for Zeraora in order to be considered as a team's dedicated Ground-type just as quziel pointed out. If it can't switch into Zeraora without the risk of taking big damage from it's non-STAB moves (notably how Equilibra and Colossoil aren't fond of Close Combat), it would be hard to justify running it over other Ground-types that can, specifically Landorus-T.
I think a good benchmark here is Garchomp, who takes at most 40% from CC and as little as 34% without investment. These are somewhere around the ideal damage calcs I think we can take against Zeraora and still be able to win the matchup, because its already fair to say we won't outspeed Zeraora, and ensuring we still have a decent amount of health left after the fact (20-28% with Garchomp's stats) is important to staying true to our concept of being able to stay in as long as possible. The ideal scenario is switching in on Plasma Fists and taking only one CC and being able to OHKO back. This may be poll jumping (I haven't been here during this stage ever idk if this is too soon) but having defensive stats comparable to Garchomp is necessary for ensuring we can actually be a reliable answer to Zeraora without needing full defense investment.

As far as Zapdos goes, the inconsistency of Hurricane as an attacking move works to our advantage, and using Garchomp again as a baseline for convenience, we wouldn't be in a great spot switching into Offensive variants, but we'd be alright switching into Defensive variants. This matchup is actually less clearly cut than Zeraora, because Zap has a lot more variety in its sets and roles. Being able to switch in on Offensive Zapdos at full health and win realistically requires that we outspeed. Unless we want to invest a LOT of our stat spread into special bulk, we will almost always be 2HKOd by Hurricane. If we can switch in on a predicted Thunder, we'll probably take somewhere between 50-70% from Hurricane the next turn, and that's assuming it hits. Staying in on Zapdos isn't a problem though, as Defensive and Offensive Zap both take massive damage from Diamond Storm.
 
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