Defunct CAP Buff 2: Pyroak

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dex

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Synthesis needs to go.

Roak is not broken broken right now, but it sure is not fun to play against or account for while building, and its already inconsistent counterplay really relies on it being chipped.

Solution: remove Synthesis. This doesn't gut Roak, but it now has to rely on Giga Drain recovery, more consistently leading to situations where it can be revenge killed.
 
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Seems like the strongest pyroak (HO) is not going to worry as much about aromatherapy, or synthesis removal. Pyroak is strong imo because Overheat, unlike Leaf Storm on Serperior, is hitting off one of the strongest offensive types in the game and that means it actually hurts everything that should be switching in on it.
Swapping Overheat in its movepool for Leaf Storm would pull it back in line and make it a lot cleaner to work with moving forward. It would struggle more with Tornadus for instance, which Overheat Pyroak will always be able to trade hits with if Torn comes in and ko it first, or win 1v1 under screens. It also gives it less slots to play with, forcing it to drop synth or aroma etc as it will be forced to have a grass move.
 
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spoo

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As a preface to my suggestions, I think it's important we keep in mind the goal of these buff processes as a whole.
At the same time, injecting a newly S rank Malaconda into the meta does not help out the goal of metagame development, so we should take measures to firstly only update one cap at a time to minimize the impact, and secondly, ensure that these buffs do not aim to bring a mon to A rank strength, more from UR to C/B.

My proposed guidelines for this are then:
  • Any power-increasing update (for defunct caps) should not aim for the result to be "meta dominating".
  • Changes should be as small in scope as we can manage while bringing the mon into usability.
  • We should prioritize small movepool changes over small stat changes over any ability changes.
Emphasis added is mine. Pyroak was never meant to be good, it was meant to be usable. I believe allowing Pyroak to stay remotely powerful sets a poor precedent for these buff processes moving forward. Because buffing every defunct CAP to viability is already a controversial project as-is, these buffs are meant to introduce the changed CAPs into the metagame as seamlessly as possible. Pyroak has been, and still is, anything but low-impact and seamless.

As for changes to make-
I believe that, having seen Slack Off-less Pyroak in action, we can give it the move back. Slack Off has little to nothing to do with Pyroak's current power level or problems in the meta. The argument at the time was that fewer PP means chip damage affects Pyroak harder, but that's just not how the mon plays in practice; incremental damage is an naturally ineffective way of checking a mon that's capable of snowballing so quickly, especially when it can heal its own status afflictions. At least it makes Tyranitar a better check, which is like... cool? Not that the mon answers Pyroak well at all, even now. Overheat PP is honestly much more of a limiting factor than recovery PP. I have never used or seen someone else use 8 Synthesis PP, and the nerf effectively had no bearing on Pyroak's gameplan or efficacy as a breaker. Again, Pyroak's gameplay is too fast for this to matter. Our resources are better spent gutting Pyroak where it will actually be felt.

WRT preserving/removing recovery as a whole, there is a good chance removing it is a sufficient nerf, but I am personally in favor of other options right now. Frankly, we have no information on how Pyroak operates without recovery in its kit and I think its consequences would be fairly unpredictable as a result. Maybe if it were the initial "quick fix" it would be fine, but given we're at the final tuning, I don't think this is the place to take that risk and shift Pyroak's playstyle yet again. For example, is 3A Leech Seed Pyroak even that much worse on offense teams? I'm not sure we can answer that with certainty. If we do cut recovery altogether, IMO we don't give it back anything in return (such as the SpA it lost), but again, I prefer we commit to the track we already put ourselves on with the first "quick fix."

With that said, stat nerfs are largely my preferred route here. I think we had the right idea with -20 SpA but still need to go further.
Some benchmarks (hopefully I calculated these right lol):
73 SpA = 252 SpA Pyroak can never 2HKO 192 HP / 80 SpD AV Tornadus-T with Overheat, 252+ SpA Pyroak can never OHKO -1 Zeraora with Earth Power
70 SpA = clean -5 off of SpA
68 SpA = 252+ SpA Pyroak can never 2HKO 252 HP / 88 SpD AV Tornadus-T with Overheat
66 SpA = 252+ SpA Pyroak can never 2HKO itemless Physdef Arghonaut with Giga Drain
65 SpA = 252 SpA Pyroak can never 2HKO standard Venomicon with Overheat, 252+ SpA Pyroak can never 2HKO Physdef Toxapex with Overheat -> EP
60 SpA = 252 SpA 252 SpA Pyroak can never 2HKO 56 HP / 252 SpD Leftovers Colossoil with Overheat

115 HP = 252 HP / 0 SpD Pyroak is 2HKO'd Specs Dragapult's Draco Meteor
110 HP = 0 bulk Pyroak is OHKO'd by 56+ Spa Zapdos's Hurricane
101 HP = 0 bulk Pyroak is OHKO'd by Modest Specs Tapu Lele's Psychic
100 HP / 99 Def = 0 bulk Pyroak is 2HKO'd by Scarf Astrolotl's Flare Blitz, 252 HP / 0 Def Pyroak is 2HKO'd by Band Pajantom's Spirit Shackle
100 HP / 94 Def = 0 bulk Pyroak is 2HKO'd by Garchomp's EQ
98 HP = 0 HP / 252 SpD Pyroak is 2HKO'd Specs Dragapult's Draco Meteor, 0 bulk Pyroak is 2HKO'd by +1 Zeraora's Close Combat, 0 bulk Pyroak is OHKO'd by +2 LO Kartana's Knock Off, 252 HP / 0 Def Pyroak is OHKO'd by Venomicon-E's Brave Bird
91 HP = 0 HP / 252 SpD Pyroak is OHKO'd by 252+ SpA Zapdos's Hurricane

Personally I want a combination of bulk and SpA hit, roughly 5-7 SpA and like 20 HP lost is my ideal. Some of these can obviously be tinkered with too –– like, instead of cutting HP by 19 for Lele's Psychic, you can also cut SpD by 11. These benchmarks also don't tell the full story, because Pyroak runs varying EV spreads right now and will surely invest its EVs differently depending on what gets nerfed; for example, a nerf to SpD may end up effectively nerfing SpA as it moves EVs from one stat to the other, or vice versa. Still, I think they're helpful points of reference.
 
I don't have much to say, but based off of the calcs that Spoo has supplied above, I think that -5 to -8 SPA is a good range if we want to be able to 2HKO Arghonaut with Giga Drain.

The other main change I still like is the idea of removing Earth Power and keeping Scorching Sands. The 80 BP Ground move is still a potent tool in our arsenal and will allow Pyroak to keep up its offensive coverage, but it will be a bit tamer. Likewise, this allows Pyroak to still 2HKO Venomicon with Overheat without allowing it to 2HKO Toxapex with Overheat -> Ground move.

Overall, I think the combo of -5 SPA and -Earth Power is a good way to tone Pyroak down offensively.

Defensively, I don't really support removing Synthesis and Aromatherapy for the reasons others mentioned above. If we do need to nerf its bulk, I think just some raw stat removals should do the trick. I'm not very good with making calcs, but I think that a clean -20 HP using Spoo's calcs above does the job, as we will be threatened byZapdos and Tapu Lele. All of the 98 HP calcs also bring us down from any form of chip damage as well, and they mostly require some form of investment in one of our defensive stats.
 

Rabia

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I think nerfing further just because "it's actually good and that's not ok" is wack. Yes, the buff process was meant to aim for the lower realms of viability; that should not mean unintentionally overshooting is deemed as bad or a failure that requires revisiting. If that's to be the case, then I call into question why Voodoom was not given another (several) lookback(s) given it never even managed to make it to the lowest possible VR rank. This just feels like a super weird double standard to me that isn't worth chasing just because we created something more viable than anticipated.

That said, I think a further nerf is justifiable if only because Pyroak is genuinely one of those Pokemon that doesn't require a whole lot to snowball super hard. I support dex's proposal of -Synthesis the most because it helps further define what exactly Pyroak wants to be, and I think stat nerfs could accompany it. What I don't support, however, is trying to forcefully shove Pyroak down to like C+ on the VR.
 

spoo

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The structure of buff processes had multiple policy changes following Voodoom, our first test run. The result of Voodoom's buff process is arguably the reason we're even able to conduct these several lookbacks now; at the time, we didn't have the policy mechanisms in place that currently allow for the meta council to revisit buffs in post. If the structure we now use for buff processes was in effect during Voodoom's buff, I have little doubt the council would've made further tunings after all was said and done.

As it stands, I think there is significant incentive to overshoot the strength of a buff package because we are able to tune things down the road. It's easier to release a CAP overbuffed, identify the problematic elements, and tone it down than do the opposite –– ie, buffing a CAP, having it underperform, and going "well shit... what do we do with it now?" One can also consider that the stronger, flashier options will predictably place better in polls. We also saw the pervasive attitude during Pyroak's process that, because the mon hadn't seen a sliver of viability for generations, we needed to shoot for the moon. I think it is perfectly fine to over-aim on release, or vote for stronger options. However, what's important is that we actually follow through and eventually tone the CAP back down. We should not go in with the explicit goal of lower-end viability (bare usability), miss that goal, and then abandon it entirely. We must also recognize that the goal is set in place for a reason. In fact, if we revisit the original PRC thread, near every post is in agreement that these buffs should be fundamentally conservative and not rise the CAPs above B-/B –– it's especially notable because witnessing everyone agree with each other in a CAP PRC thread is like seeing a unicorn.

I'm mainly arguing for consistency here. I feel it's a very undesirable precedent and standard to be setting where we overshoot and then don't address it. It's not helpful for metagame development or buff processes as a whole. If we feel it's also in the interest of consistency to retroactively apply the new meta council tuning to Voodoom, then that's perfectly fine, although this isn't really the place for me to be discussing it any further.

It seems like pretty much everyone is in agreement that Pyroak should be nerfed more, which I'm obviously on board with, but I probably want to see it worse off than most others. I really don't think it's some extreme or forceful stance, though; kicking Pyroak to between the C and B ranks is quite literally what we started off trying to accomplish.
 

Brambane

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It's as Darek said: the Pokemon is a fat deathball that is somewhat awkward to fit on teams. If you play it halfway well its almost always going to trade while keeping momentum in your favor. I like AV Torn-T as much as the next guy, but if that specific Torn-T is a go-to answer for stopping the mon, we have a problem. AV Torn-T is obviously extremely vulnerable to both Stealth Rock and Knock Off, and then has to hope it hits a Hurricane on Pyroak; if you miss you basically lose two mons now since Pyroak is at +4 and probably between 100% and 75% HP. If our most accessible answer to Pyroak is a Pokemon that can only do it with substantial EV commitment, item intact, no Rocks, and hit a 75% accurate move, Pyroak is going to feel like its dumb to play against. And that doesn't even take into consideration the nightmare of Pyroak switching in on Defog and now you have to try to hit a +1 Evasion Pyroak with Hurricane.

I don't think Pyroak is truly broken as it stands; it just happened to be really fuckin good into the common team structures at the time and pushed an offensive meta in an even more offensive direction. I think the overall perception of "what we want Pyroak to be" and "what we got" misaligned. We wanted (or at least, I wanted) Pyroak to be an offensive utility tank that leveraged its Grass/Fire/Ground coverage in a meaningful way. What we got was tanky deathball that often requires you to trade into it, because it often explicitly wants to trade into you and you can't ignore it.

So, imo the direction for Pyroak is one of three things:
  1. We remove Synthesis; this basically forces Pyroak into "we trade, you die" direction without it able to heal tank through weaker mons as easily
  2. We hit its Special Attack again; this would make Pyroak less able to trade and less efficient with its Overheat PP, "slowing" the mon down
  3. We say fuck it and restore Slack Off and its old Special Attack, removing Contrary; basically, old Pyroak with better recovery
I have no particular preference of which of these 3 we choose.
 

D2TheW

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Been stewing on this one for a while because, to be quite honest, this mon is a pain in the ass. We clearly overshot a bit here, but honestly it's understandable. Roak was such a directionless Pokémon with a bag of kinda random traits that getting this right was always going to be a struggle, especially on our second buff process. Pyroak has continued to be a slippery bugger and if I'm honest, I'm inclined to be a bit harsh here. I think the current opinion of Roak as a kill trader undersells it somewhat. It's certainly a kill machine if played right, but it's under no obligation to trade for those kills. It can and should make it's way back in against a host of things depending on it's health and heal up. Ferro, pex, and slowbro are notable ones here but by no means the only culprits. Pyroak can play quite liberally with it's own health to get itself going, knowing that opportunities can be constructed for it to heal back up. Basing action on potential future outcomes isn't advisable but I'd be lying if I said that Roak is being used to its full potential right now. It can fit a variety of playstyles if you want to accommodate it (which is usually worth it) and it has tools to work around it's few defensive answers, such as slotting dpulse for dnite. This fucker has room to grow and that's scary.

As such I am in favour of going ahead with both the removal of synthesis and a minor stat nerf. Specifically, I think the benchmark spoo listed of 68 spatk seems reasonable. If others aren't in favour of both, my preference for one nerf would be the removal of synth. I'm not against the idea of dropping overheat for leaf storm, though I do think that would necessitate reassessing this cunt yet again which doesn't fill me with enthusiasm. I am strongly against Brambane's suggestion of removing contrary and leaving it with just slack off and no other compensation. In my mind that's a one way ticket to UR city and that's not the intended destination here.

TL:DR: Mon dummy strong, remove synth and drop spatk a bit
 
I'm going to drop an opinion that people probably won't like, though I am a bit surprised it hasn't been brought up in a serious capacity yet. And that's to remove Contrary and find another buff.

The main takeaway I'm seeing from this thread post-implementation is "we made a mistake." I'll echo spoo's post that the goal of C/B-rank was the consensus in doing buffs at all, and needing additional nerfs alongside a hefty, non-community-made quicknerf (because of a tournament) just to make it into the top of that viability range shows that Contrary is really too good of an Ability for Pyroak. While I believe that removing Overheat would effectively neuter it to where it should be, we have to ask ourselves, "At what cost?"

I think that these nerfs go outside the scope of what we should be changing about Pyroak's established identity and flavor from its introduction and two generations of updates. Overheat is a ubiquitous move available to every single Fire-type in the series, barring Marowak's Alolan form and Oricorio who changes types, due to its presence as a TM/TR. Synthesis had the same status up through Gen VII as a Tutor move, with the sole exception being the Ferroseed family that is covered head-to-toe in metal and lives in caves. If we were to apply either of these changes, we would have to either a) retroactively remove them from all generations, overriding 14 years of Pyroak's existence, or b) make a special exception not to be able to transfer Pyroak in with these moves. We did the former for Cawdet's Belly Drum because it was unhealthy even in past gens, this is not true of Pyroak, and hopefully the latter is obvious in how it goes against CAP's standards for keeping with canon rules. I'll also note that Pyroak's Sp. Attack wasn't very high and post-nerf is actually quite low, especially compared to the only stat nerf Game Freak has ever given, which is a mere 10 points to Aegislash's effective 150/150/150/150 attacks and defenses.

Continuing with Contrary and trying to invent ways to make it balanced isn't a good avenue, and it sets a bad precedent for future buff processes. I think we should take a step back and re-consider our options here, whether that be going with the second-place winner of the original poll, running a re-vote without the winning package, or starting a whole new discussion with our gained knowledge of Pyroak's potential strength in mind. I know any of these will be strenuous with CAP31 ongoing, but I believe it's important that we do this right and keep to the original vision of Defunct CAP Buffs.
 

Zetalz

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I'm going to drop an opinion that people probably won't like, though I am a bit surprised it hasn't been brought up in a serious capacity yet. And that's to remove Contrary and find another buff.

The main takeaway I'm seeing from this thread post-implementation is "we made a mistake." I'll echo spoo's post that the goal of C/B-rank was the consensus in doing buffs at all, and needing additional nerfs alongside a hefty, non-community-made quicknerf (because of a tournament) just to make it into the top of that viability range shows that Contrary is really too good of an Ability for Pyroak. While I believe that removing Overheat would effectively neuter it to where it should be, we have to ask ourselves, "At what cost?"

I think that these nerfs go outside the scope of what we should be changing about Pyroak's established identity and flavor from its introduction and two generations of updates. Overheat is a ubiquitous move available to every single Fire-type in the series, barring Marowak's Alolan form and Oricorio who changes types, due to its presence as a TM/TR. Synthesis had the same status up through Gen VII as a Tutor move, with the sole exception being the Ferroseed family that is covered head-to-toe in metal and lives in caves. If we were to apply either of these changes, we would have to either a) retroactively remove them from all generations, overriding 14 years of Pyroak's existence, or b) make a special exception not to be able to transfer Pyroak in with these moves. We did the former for Cawdet's Belly Drum because it was unhealthy even in past gens, this is not true of Pyroak, and hopefully the latter is obvious in how it goes against CAP's standards for keeping with canon rules. I'll also note that Pyroak's Sp. Attack wasn't very high and post-nerf is actually quite low, especially compared to the only stat nerf Game Freak has ever given, which is a mere 10 points to Aegislash's effective 150/150/150/150 attacks and defenses.

Continuing with Contrary and trying to invent ways to make it balanced isn't a good avenue, and it sets a bad precedent for future buff processes. I think we should take a step back and re-consider our options here, whether that be going with the second-place winner of the original poll, running a re-vote without the winning package, or starting a whole new discussion with our gained knowledge of Pyroak's potential strength in mind. I know any of these will be strenuous with CAP31 ongoing, but I believe it's important that we do this right and keep to the original vision of Defunct CAP Buffs.
Been quiet in this thread since I haven't been playing but this is not a good take. We are not in a position where we have so catastrophically failed that the only course forward is to completely start over, not even close. We are absolutely not going to scrap weeks of discussion and playtesting. We are at the stage where we are taking a Pyroak that is slightly too problematic in it's current form and tuning it down.

"Pyroak's established identity" didn't even exist in the meta before the buff, we spent the entire buff discussion thread talking about this exact thing. Pyroak has an identity and direction now, which it did not before. The flavor stuff is also hardly applicable when the entire point of this stage is rooted completely in competitive (we also do NOT fuck around with retroactive changes on a dime).

I truly do not understand how one can say continuing on with Contrary and ironing it out further is not the correct path to take when the alternative of starting completely over is not productive, giving up because we weren't exactly happy with the outcome? Awesome, we have unexpected outcomes all the time in CAP. Do we scrap anything the moment it doesn't meet expectations? No, we roll with the punches, learn from our mistakes, and keep moving forward. Throwing out Pyroaks buff is an exceptionally defeatist attitude and does not help us learn anything, it does not help us learn and refine the process, and it mostly certainly is not going to be healthy for CAP or Pyroak itself to be shoved through two back-to-back buff processes.

EDIT: Also we as a community do not have infinite time or mental capacity to be doing shit like this repeatedly over and over again, burn out and disinterest is a real thing and if we started roak over would hit CAP user real hard.
 

dex

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I'm going to drop an opinion that people probably won't like, though I am a bit surprised it hasn't been brought up in a serious capacity yet. And that's to remove Contrary and find another buff.

The main takeaway I'm seeing from this thread post-implementation is "we made a mistake." I'll echo spoo's post that the goal of C/B-rank was the consensus in doing buffs at all, and needing additional nerfs alongside a hefty, non-community-made quicknerf (because of a tournament) just to make it into the top of that viability range shows that Contrary is really too good of an Ability for Pyroak. While I believe that removing Overheat would effectively neuter it to where it should be, we have to ask ourselves, "At what cost?"

I think that these nerfs go outside the scope of what we should be changing about Pyroak's established identity and flavor from its introduction and two generations of updates. Overheat is a ubiquitous move available to every single Fire-type in the series, barring Marowak's Alolan form and Oricorio who changes types, due to its presence as a TM/TR. Synthesis had the same status up through Gen VII as a Tutor move, with the sole exception being the Ferroseed family that is covered head-to-toe in metal and lives in caves. If we were to apply either of these changes, we would have to either a) retroactively remove them from all generations, overriding 14 years of Pyroak's existence, or b) make a special exception not to be able to transfer Pyroak in with these moves. We did the former for Cawdet's Belly Drum because it was unhealthy even in past gens, this is not true of Pyroak, and hopefully the latter is obvious in how it goes against CAP's standards for keeping with canon rules. I'll also note that Pyroak's Sp. Attack wasn't very high and post-nerf is actually quite low, especially compared to the only stat nerf Game Freak has ever given, which is a mere 10 points to Aegislash's effective 150/150/150/150 attacks and defenses.

Continuing with Contrary and trying to invent ways to make it balanced isn't a good avenue, and it sets a bad precedent for future buff processes. I think we should take a step back and re-consider our options here, whether that be going with the second-place winner of the original poll, running a re-vote without the winning package, or starting a whole new discussion with our gained knowledge of Pyroak's potential strength in mind. I know any of these will be strenuous with CAP31 ongoing, but I believe it's important that we do this right and keep to the original vision of Defunct CAP Buffs.
CAP is no stranger to wack flavor. The idea that we should adhere to some minor flavor trends in such a competitively inclined discussion is not in line with CAP's goals. The arguments you've made here regarding flavor reasoning over some of the proposed nerfs are completely pointless and unhelpful. Furthermore, a Roak nerf (and the buff itself) does not impact any previous generation. Pyroak doesn't have contrary in gens 4-7, the buff did not impact it there, so there is no need to do any "overwriting" of Roak. The argument about transfer moves is further out of line. The CAP metagame is not concerned with how Roak gets its moves. What matters is what it is right now, in the current generation. You have to remember that CAP is not played on cartridge. It is a metagame focused process revolving around using CAPs in the CAP metagame on Showdown. Complaining that there is dubious flavor regarding the original buff and the proposed nerfs is meaningless.
 

dex

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Apologies for the double post, but I had an idea that hasn't been mentioned here too much yet as to how to possibly nerf Pyroak.

Remove Earth Power and Scorching Sands

What does this do? It entrenches Heatran and Galarian Slowking as complete counters to Pyroak without taking away from the playstyle it has developed already: Overheat boost and tank canes. This forces Pyroak to rely on its Grass-type STAB moves or other inferior coverage options, making it a lot more easy to deal with without majorly changing how the mon plays. In my opinion, this is a very elegant and clean-cut nerf that neither changes too much nor does too little.
 
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We can also get away with removing only Scorching Sands as well, as a way to discourage Pyroak from spreading burn. Earth Power does not have to go, particularly.
 

dex

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We can also get away with removing only Scorching Sands as well, as a way to discourage Pyroak from spreading burn. Earth Power does not have to go, particularly.
That changes quite literally nothing. Pyroak runs Earth Power. Sands is notably weaker into Galarian Slowking. Pyroak doesn’t care about spreading burn, it cares about sweeping and wallbreaking, thus Earth Power utterly outclasses Scorching Sands and is what has been raised as a potential nerf.
 
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Brambane

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I am generally against the removal of Earth Power and Scorching Sands. The offensive potential of Pyroak's three type coverage of Fire/Ground/Grass is not only a big part of the reason why the mon is viable in the first place, but it was also identified very early as one of Pyroak's defining traits, arguably its most defining trait. While I don't doubt that removing its Ground coverage (if we are cutting Earth Power and Scorching Sands, we should consider removing Earthquake as well) would be an effective way to reduce Pyroak's viability, removing what was, and to some extent still is, the Pokemon's strongest aspect seems like a cut too deep compared to the other proposed staff nerfs or recovery removals.

I would also argue that heavily nerfing Pyroak's match-up into Heatran changes A LOT. Pyroak has a lot of weird attributes that come together to make the mon good, but a Fire-type that can pressure Heatran and most bulky Waters simultaneously is obv very strong, along the lines of Volcanion. You take away one of those two halves of its offensive profile and the mon starts to look very unfavorable next to Pokemon like the aforementioned Volcanion. The inherent nature of Pyroak's snowbally-ness is its ability to punish a lot of the common defensive staples in CAP with its two-to-three move coverage. I am not convinced that Pyroak would be able to hold itself up to a reasonable degree of viability with its current stat distribution if one of those legs where removed. And to premptively buffer against "Serperior gets by with only Fire/Grass coverage in NatDex/SM" I don't think we can draw a perfect comparison when Serperior is not only faster, but has generally more utility from additions like Taunt or effectively making its teammates faster against the specific Pokemon you can switch into it without letting it go baller crazy with boost thanks to Glare. Pyroak has good utility options too, but not the same utility and not the same Speed to leverage it.

Imo the best solution to maintain Pyroak's current playstyle, its original and current defining traits, all the while making it just slightly less obnoxious is what D2 mentioned a few posts above me: remove synthesis, and a minor stat nerf.
 
I'm going to drop an opinion that people probably won't like, though I am a bit surprised it hasn't been brought up in a serious capacity yet. And that's to remove Contrary and find another buff.

The main takeaway I'm seeing from this thread post-implementation is "we made a mistake." I'll echo spoo's post that the goal of C/B-rank was the consensus in doing buffs at all, and needing additional nerfs alongside a hefty, non-community-made quicknerf (because of a tournament) just to make it into the top of that viability range shows that Contrary is really too good of an Ability for Pyroak. While I believe that removing Overheat would effectively neuter it to where it should be, we have to ask ourselves, "At what cost?"

I think that these nerfs go outside the scope of what we should be changing about Pyroak's established identity and flavor from its introduction and two generations of updates. Overheat is a ubiquitous move available to every single Fire-type in the series, barring Marowak's Alolan form and Oricorio who changes types, due to its presence as a TM/TR. Synthesis had the same status up through Gen VII as a Tutor move, with the sole exception being the Ferroseed family that is covered head-to-toe in metal and lives in caves. If we were to apply either of these changes, we would have to either a) retroactively remove them from all generations, overriding 14 years of Pyroak's existence, or b) make a special exception not to be able to transfer Pyroak in with these moves. We did the former for Cawdet's Belly Drum because it was unhealthy even in past gens, this is not true of Pyroak, and hopefully the latter is obvious in how it goes against CAP's standards for keeping with canon rules. I'll also note that Pyroak's Sp. Attack wasn't very high and post-nerf is actually quite low, especially compared to the only stat nerf Game Freak has ever given, which is a mere 10 points to Aegislash's effective 150/150/150/150 attacks and defenses.

Continuing with Contrary and trying to invent ways to make it balanced isn't a good avenue, and it sets a bad precedent for future buff processes. I think we should take a step back and re-consider our options here, whether that be going with the second-place winner of the original poll, running a re-vote without the winning package, or starting a whole new discussion with our gained knowledge of Pyroak's potential strength in mind. I know any of these will be strenuous with CAP31 ongoing, but I believe it's important that we do this right and keep to the original vision of Defunct CAP Buffs.
Tbh I actually agree with this idea. When looking at our original slate of buffs, most of our other options were pretty balanced. Flower Veil + Calm Mind solved every one of Pyroak’s main problems regarding status and stat drops with hazards being the only concern it faced, Magic Guard + Calm Mind solved the hazards and status problems and even gave Pyroak the ability to use niche Dragon Dance sets better if it went physically oriented, and the Grassy Surge option allowed it to go full physical with powerful 120BP dual-stab, but at the cost of longevity. I would say that even the Grass-type Volcanion + Slack Off was also a boring, but decent option as it allows it to be more offensive as a wallbreaker without having any opportunity to snowball

The distinct part of all these other sets is that they either required Pyroak to spend a turn making itself vulnerable to set up, and in the case of the Grassy Surge set it would be taking massive chunks of its health out with Wood Hammer/Flare Blitz recoil as a drawback of that high power. The Calm Mind sets for Flower Veil and Magic Guard were also much more vulnerable to Knock Off, with Flower Veil preferring not to lose HDB and Magic Guard wanting to hold onto Life Orb. Calm Mind and Dragon Dance as boosting moves also took a turn of vulnerability to give important stat boosts, but still quite minor ones to help Pyroak out.

However, when Contrary entered the slate for buffing Pyroak, the first thing I thought to myself was “this thing’s going to turn into a bulky Overheat button that’s hard to stop, and everyone will end up hating it”, and that’s exactly what happened. Contrary solved the problem of Pyroak being vulnerable to stat drops, yes, but it created an even bigger problem in the fact that it can now use powerful 130 BP STAB to raise its Special Attack by 2 stages while attacking in the same turn, making more passive or defensive mons outside of Blissey complete setup fodder to it. It isn’t punished by clicking Overheat at all, and Heatran wouldn’t ever switch in to take the Overheat as it would risk immediately being taken out by Earth Power. After the initial 2x boost to its SpA, almost nothing is safe switching into it as it can either spam the 130 BP STAB while boosting again or stamp something out with its coverage. Even with just Synthesis for recovery, the thing becomes very annoying to have to stop, especially since it can take a super effective attack once and still be alive to punish that move. Even if you consider how Serperior isn’t considered broken with Contrary despite also having Leaf Storm to spam, 113 Speed and amazing utility in Glare and SubSeed sets, the reason why it’s so easy to check is due to Leaf Storm basically being its best attacking move as it doesn’t have much more to use aside from Hidden Power Fire or Dragon Pulse (easily walled by Heatran), and also how it isn’t the bulkiest thing in the world to take on. Trying to balance Contrary without severely crippling Pyroak and dumping its stats/movepool out the window isn’t going to be a good idea and doesn’t set a good precedent for future CAP buffs going forward, like En Passant said.

Going with one of the more balanced directions originally presented to us that actually enhance Pyroak’s existing qualities and solve its main problems while keeping it overall balanced will present more success for this CAP and future CAP buff processes than if we kept trying to neuter an instant nuke button. It’s better that we take the time to fully give this mon the buffing it truly needs than to scramble to nerf it every week that people realize how broken Contrary really is.
 
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Zetalz

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Small update after having been playing around more and familiarizing myself with Roak definitely think I've landed in the bulk nerf camp being the most concise option available. I think either/or of a significant HP hit, (like -30) or -Synth are sufficient, don't think stacking them or going for other stats nerfs like -SpA is necessary. Both would radically shift what Roak can get away with sitting it's fat ass in front of but personally I do prefer -HP overall, wouldn't be able to get away with the ridiculous spreads it can right now and would cause sufficient enough strain on it's EV distribution that I don't think Synth would remain a huge issue.
 

quziel

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As a FYI, council is currently deliberating on Pyroak. Its taking a while cause well, its finals time, and scheduling a working time can be difficult then, esp given time zones. I don't have a time on when we'll get a tuning up for a vote, but one is coming. We currently are not intending to go with a full overhaul, as Pyroak frankly is fairly close to where it needs to be; a lot of the strength early on has been adjusted to by changes in team compositions, as well as a council move to a full overhaul has sketchy precedent.
 

quziel

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Hello,

The metagame council has voted on firstly, whether we believe Pyroak should undergo a tuning package, and secondly what that package that should be. The results are summarized below:

Voting Slate:
Do Not Change: Rabia Lasen snake_rattler
Minor Change: D2TheW quziel
Major Change: N/A

(TNM sat out as he did not feel up to date with Pyroak enough).

Summary:
The metagame council generally felt that the meta has adjusted adequately to Pyroak's presence, and its over-performance post-rework was largely a result of slightly over-tuned special attack, as well as preying on the standard builds at the time. Several counters and checks to Pyroak such as Dragonite, Stratagem, Assault Vest Tornadus, Slowking-Galar, and Air Balloon Heatran have become more and more common, reducing its ability to break teams, and straining its moveslots. Without Giga Drain it can never even damage Air Balloon Heatran, without Aromatherapy it is significantly worse into Landorus-Therian, and barring the uncommon tech in Dragon Pulse it is nearly helpless into Dual Wingbeat Dragonite. All of these answers have found themselves becoming significantly more common as of late, and as a result we do not feel the need to propose a tuning package.

To summarize the first quicknerf, Pyroak is at 75 SpA, and no longer has access to Slack Off.

With that the second buffing process is concluded. Thank you to all who participated (aka Lasen)
 
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