Rare Candy and Everstone are completely absent despite being the metric for balancing the new Signature Items. Expert Belt is relegated to Normal-types alone, as any other Pokemon would be selected with the intention of using its super-effective STAB moves, and a damage-boosting Item that ignores this function is unattractive in most matches. Life Orb is solidified as the Signature Item of Pokemon with Magic Guard or Sheer Force, as it simply isn't worth using if it cannot guarantee that its user will always receive a higher benefit than the opponent will; the fact that 3 HP recoil is equivalent to a free Item boost for the LO user's for only further seals the Item's fate.
Choice Items' "buff" instead cements their status as trap options. Battles are now run with a 3-substitution standard due to an acknowledgement of the sheer difficulty of ordering first with only two subs. Why would a rational player make their own orders even more exploitable for a damage boost that would be considered mundane in any other generation? Muscle Band and Wise Glasses are faced with a similar "fix;" an extra +10% accuracy is nice, but is insufficient to make a +1 BAP Item optimal in any situation. The only Items left to fill the role of a damage booster are Silk Scarf and friends, which turn their users into monotype beatsticks that are ultimately linear, predictable, and exaggeratedly reliant upon STAB type advantage for success.
I understand that the desired Item metagame is one that emphasizes tactical choices and inpromptu adaptations that allow a player to optimize each matchup that arises in a battle, but this system is severely flawed without a reserve of strong, reliable Items as alternative choices. Remember that a player with first sendout cannot counter-pick an Item in this way, as their foe has complete control over the first matchup and can further extend this advantage by picking a specialized Item. A similar problem occurs when a player must replace a fainted Pokemon after ordering second, as an Item chosen to defeat their foe's active Pokemon quickly loses value when the foe can simply switch into a better matchup; even if the first player counter-switches, the difficulty of securing that same match-up once can leave the replacement Pokemon burdened with a sub-optimal Item for most of the match. Strong, generically useful damage boosters allow a player to circumvent these issues; without such Items, the smallest decisions can easily snowball into insurmountable advantages, further exacerbating the game's notorious focus on switching and match-up control.
Overall, it seems that every generic damage-boosting Item has been hamstrung since the start of Generation VIII with little concern for their importance the overall metagame. This raises a simple question: why can't generic damage-boosting Items be good?
I strongly recommend against changing Heavy-Duty Boots in this way, as the mere existence of this new version renders entry hazards virtually unusable. The idea that any Pokemon on the opposing them can remove a hazard for free on send-in removes any incentive to lay hazards until the entire team's Items have been announced, which will only occur in late-game scenarios; however, entry hazards are primarily useful in the early-game to maximize the damage payoff and are nearly useless in the late-game for similar reasons, as it is often more efficient to spend an action striking the active foe with the strongest attack bailable lie than it is to set a hazard worth ~9-24 damage total to the opponent's depleted bench, especially if that hit can KO the foe.
The "weakness" of the new Heavy-Duty Boots appears to be its inability to remove more than a single layer of hazards, but this is a non-sequitur in practice. Primarily, many Pokemon lack access to multiple hazards, meaning their setups are completely removed by HDB. Moreover, it is difficult to find more than one opportunity to lay hazards throughout a match, as most players are smart enough to avoid triggering hazard-laying substitutions more than absolutely necessary, and attempting to set multiple layers dry can cripple a Pokemon for the rest of the match. Remember that entry hazards exhibit diminishing returns; unless the user has access to Spikes and Stealth Rock, the additional 3 damage per switch from successive layers of Spikes is an awful trade when the user must stomach another 24+ damage hit in the process, leaving it at half health without even scratching its foe.
You'll notice that I have discounted Toxic Spikes and Sticky Web so far. Sadly, these hazards are plain gimmicks: Sticky Web's potentially powerful effect is even more situational than other hazards, as it shines only in volatile matchups between powerhouses whose survivability is entirely determined by Speed order; while Toxic Spikes is worth much less damage than other hazards and is significantly less useful when used twice, as our game's emphasis on switching and match-up control effectively halves T-Spikes's damage output. The new HDB almost completely erases the last shreds of justification for these moves, as they can no longer force an opponent to spend time clearing them. Most importantly, though, Toxic Spikes grants us insight into the effects of this Heavy-Duty Boots: recognizing that T-Spikes are invalidated by the presence of a grounded Poison-type or Guts user on the opposing team, the proposed Item treats all 890 Pokemon as the grounded Poison-types to other entry hazards' Toxic Spikes.
I don't understand the point of this change. If the Item lasts for only three actions, a player can easily stall out the first round of a match-up involving Focus Sash, leaving the opposing Pokemon at a significant disadvantage without any Item to support itself. Moreover, the damage mitigation effect makes this new Focus Sash a prime target for Item control, and its holder cannot meaningfully dissuade a slower Knock Off or Corrosive Gas thanks to the Item's drawback. Either way, the Focus Sash user is unlikely to benefit from the Item's effect for more than a single action, which makes the idea of nerfing a user's damage output unnecessary.
This move is underpriced. Court Change condenses Defog, entry hazards, and Screens into a single action while costing less than all of them. Moreover, the move's sheer power means that Cinderace's presence on a player's team will prevent their opponent from using hazards and Screens until Cinderace is KO'd, by which point the moves will likely come too late to meaningfully affect the battle. With this in mind, I would consider 15 Energy a fair starting point for Court Change's cost, although I expect the move would still see use at 18 EN.
-Bolt Beak / Fishious Rend:
I think we could feasibly buff these moves to a more accurate 9/14 BAP. Although this would make the Galar fossils noticeably scarier in their good matchups, these moves are very vulnerable to tactics such as Disable, Torment, Counter/Bide/Metal Burst, Trick Room, Speed control, D/E moves, and Mud Sport (for Bolt Beak only), making them surprisingly manageable for many Pokemon. Admittedly, the issue of Speed control can be mitigated for a fossil by running Barometer, but this, in turn, makes them vulnerable to Item control. Finally, the unique prerequisite for these moves' boost prohibits them from seeing use in combinations, further restricting their power.
Encore is very difficult to balance properly; once the undisputed best in the game, it rarely sees use in the current system. One major problem involves the timing of the move. Because Encore only changes its target's next action, fast users have almost no reason to employ Encore; without the ability to capitalize upon the foe's next action or set up a play for the next round, these Pokemon can only use Encore as a shoddy P/E move to soak up a resisted or failed move. Thus, I would like to suggest the following change:
*Flavor*The user gives its opponent an encore, compelling it to repeat the last move it used.*Flavor* On the action after Encore is used, the affected Pokemon will perform the last move it used before receiving the Encore.
-Shell Side Arm:
I think it would be surprisingly easy to give this move a combo class. The physical and special variations are given different listings and different descriptions under the same header, and we intend to allow Galarian Slowbro to intentionally perform a specific version regardless of the target's defenses. Thus, I think that we could simply make the physical version "Body / Arm" class, make the special version "Pelleting" class, and add a line to the move's description that says something similar to the following text:
Shell Side Arm said:
This move has two different versions. By default, Shell Side Arm will use whichever version will deal more damage to its target, but its user may choose to perform either version. If Shell Side Arm is used in a different-move combo, the user must specify which version is being used.