winter is coming
Join Date: Aug 2009
Okay, all the votes are in, but I don't have the energy to c/p all the paragraphs right now. The result is a surprising unanimous decision to unban hail. I'll talk to Zarel about reinstating the standard ladder with hail allowed as soon as he can and I'll edit this post (or maybe make another one) with all the paragraphs tomorrow night.
Here you go:
I’ve done extensive testing with Hail teams, and I can say with certainty that the playstyle is not imbalanced in this metagame. With Abomasnow, Snow Cloak, and Mamoswine no longer in the tier, Hail is only just barely viable. Every Hail team is forced to run Snover, an extremely mediocre Pokemon that has very little use beyond starting weather. Furthermore, the metagame revolves heavily around Fire- and Fighting-types, all of which pose a significant threat to Hail teams. Due to Ice's poor defensive typing, Hail teams have to run multiple counters to these threats, which usually leaves room for two Ice-types at most. (One of which must be Snover) As a result, the residual damage from Hail ends up working against the user because Pokemon like Swampert, Qwilfish, and Blastoise depend on Leftovers recovery to stay alive. Moving on to the actual abusers of Hail, all of them have shit typing and gain nothing other than the ability to use Blizzard instead of Ice Beam. A few, such as Glaceon and Walrein, benefit from Ice Body, but that hasn't stopped their performance from being subpar. Moral of the story: Hail isn't broken, unban that shit.
Hail has nothing but a positive effect on the UU metagame, increasing diversity in the tier while allowing a few more playstyles to become relevant than in the pre hail metagame. More importantly, Hail is far from broken in the current UU metagame. Offensive hail teams fall easily to the variety of common Fire- and Fighting-type threats in the metagame, or if they opt for a more balanced route and put in a defensive backbone strong enough to avoid being demolished by many common threats, they lack the power to beat down other (non hail) offense teams. In fact, Hail offense doesn't really have much of an impact, as teams can't stack too many STAB Blizzard users without automatically being weak to a number of common Pokemon, and the worst that well made Hail offense is bringing to the table is a few Pokemon with Blizzard over Ice Beam.
Stall in UU is difficult enough to pull off as is, and defensive Hail falls into a similar boat. It has to spend a teamslot on the semi useless Snover, only to gain little benefit besides an extra 6.25% damage per turn versus most teams (at the cost of their own Leftovers being nullified). This simply isn't worth it in a tier where teams are hard pressed to cover all the common threats as is, and it leads to teams being made with easily exploitable holes if they choose to run Hail.
To conclude, Hail does nothing but good for UU at this time. It adds a nice level of variety to the metagame, making a few more teamstyles playable, is far short of being broken, and is overall an excellent addition to the tier.
I wanted Hail banned in UU because I didn't like the idea of having Auto-weather in the UU tier, nor did I like the idea of players winning with hail by spamming a bunch of hail abusers and winning. That's not really the way to think though. Testing has shown that BW UU2 is durable & fast enough that Hail does not need to be banned. Sure, the Blizzspam strategy is easy in execution and basically rewards you for click Blizzard, but its got several significant flaws that keep it from dominating. The biggest flaw with Hail by far is Snover. Snover is utterly terrible. Hail teams more or less operate with 5 Pokemon + Hail because of how useless Snover is. Admittedly, I got some mileage out of Choice Scarf Snover spamming Blizzard, but that was the only set I got to work and it was still very bad. BW UU2 is very anti-hail; Snorlax is everywhere, and the vast majority of hail sweepers are straight up beaten by Snorlax, Fire-types and Fighting-types are also extremely common in UU, and they basically get to fire off their STAB moves and get near-guaranteed kills against hail teams. Hail teams want to get the most out of their auto-weather, so hail abusers like Rotom-F, Walrein, etc are par for the course. However, Hail teams that stack on hail abusers only compound their weaknesses. Opponents can capitalize on this against a hail players by utilizing their Fighting and Fire type to mess with hail teams (most of which don't even have checks to them). Ice-type Pokemon also have a nasty Stealth Rock weakness, and while running a rapid spinner might alleviate that weakness, UU is a tier that makes it very difficult for players to Rapid Spin. There's little point to running a hail team that barely abuses hail because a little residual damage on everything isn't worth losing a team slot. With Hail teams, I noticed that building one basically comes down to the classic stability vs immediate power decision. In my experience, the best hail teams were the ones that relied on few hail sweepers and prioritize on making their team sturdier. (Slowbro/king is really good on hail for example.) Even then, well built hail teams are still riddled with flaws (you can't build a hail team that doesn't suffer from at least one of: Snorlax, Fighting-types, Fire-types and a rampant Stealth Rock Weakness) that keep it from dominating. I played the hell out of hail and I noticed it didn't really win me matches as much as i'd like it to, It was too inconsistent for my liking. Blizzspam ends up being a crapshoot against stall, or balance that has Snorlax and (or) Fire-types. I think the combined experience of everyone on the ladder have shown that hail is extremely overrated since some of suspect players straight up stopped using hail. With Abomasnow (a Pokemon that was extremely powerful on its own) and Snow Cloak (an ability that basically broke Froslass) banned, there's little reason to keep hail banned as it stands right now.
After doing some playtest, I have come to the conclusion that hail isn't overpowered in the current metagame. While it's certainly true that Hail was broken when it got banned months ago, it's been severly nerfed since then, and it isn't what it used to be.
The main flaw every Hail team has, whether it is offensive or defensive, is Snover. This just couldn't be stressed enough, but having to use Snover is a huge drawback that is often not worth it, considering how terribly useless Snover is in every match. Furthermore, the benefits of Hail are just not good enough to make Snover worth using.
On one hand, defensive Hail teams can't abuse Hail as good now that Snow Cloak is banned, which means the #1 Hail abuser, Snow Cloak Froslass, isn't available anymore. This leaves defensive Hail teams with only residual damage and Ice Body Pokemon to toy with; and considering the way the UU metagame is shaped currently and the little viability and effectiveness of defensive play, we can conclude that defensive Hail teams are simply put, far away from being broken.
On the other hand, offensive Hail teams or ''BlizzSpam teams'' while dangerous, are usually crippled by weaknesses to common attacking types and Stealth Rock. This usually turns out on having to reduce the number of hail abusers to fill their spots with pokemon that can check the major threats to Hail teams (think of Heracross, Chandelure, Snorlax, etc) which is easier said that done, taking into account that you only have 5 slots (''thanks'' to Snover) to deal with as many threats as you can while still being able to abuse Hail. In summary, offensive hail teams (and every hail team in general) are very restricted teambuilding-wise due to the amount of flaws they usually have, which makes them much less threatening, so I think Hail is a viable, yet balanced, playstyle in UU, and I'm voting Unban Hail
The recent suspect test has shown that Hail is no longer the giant that it once was. From both playing with and against hail, it becomes apparent that the play style lacks the edge it used to have. The banning of Snow Cloak is a huge boon for those fighting against Hail.
The current UU environment is not at all kind to Hail teams. Top tier threats such as Heracross, Raikou, Mew, and Darmanitan already cause regular teams plenty of grief, and are just as potent if not moreso against Hail teams.
It is hard enough to try and account for the threats that exist in UU with regular, non-Hail teams, but when you are down to 5 real free slots outside of Snover, the task becomes much more difficult. The reason being that Hail teams in their nature, in order to get the most of the playstyle require the player to:
- Try to be as offensive as possible with Hail aiding your assault, employing small defensive unit to keep things together. This is a high risk playstyle. Once your unit is taken out, which usually isn't that hard to do seeing as they have to cover so much, the rest of the team basically has to KO to survive.
- Forego the route of direct offense and attempt be as defensive as is possible, allowing Hail and hazards to break down the opposition. This however opens you up to the threat of boosting sweepers such as NP Mew or SD Cobalion, and your lack of offensive presence leaves you at the mercy of more offensive teams.
- "Balanced" Hail teams usually tend to not fare well, as they are neither here nor there and succumb to the offensive pressures of the opponent while not being able to do enough back.
In addition to this, one must realize that Hail teams will be looking to get the most out of the weather condition. However, getting the most out of Hail usually tends to boil down to "How can I make my team suffer less in Hail than my opponents?" More often than not it ends up being a double-edged sword.
Outside of using Magic Guard or Overcoat Pokemon, none of which are much to write home about outside of Sigilyph, by using Hail you gimp your defensive Pokemon by stripping them of leftovers recovery and hasten the demise of your offensive Pokemon by chipping off an additional 6%HP each turn. Or you can stack up on Ice Pokemon, increasing the number of (easily) exploitable shared weaknesses and Stealth Rock weaknesses, which is less than favourable to say the least.
So in closing, while the residual damage caused by Hail, and the random Blizzard freezes here and there can prove annoying, Hail is not game breaking and does not put any new constraints on team building. I believe that at present, any well built UU team is more than able to cope with whatever Hail teams may throw their way and as such I propose that Snow Warning is unbanned.
During this testing period, I found Hail teams to be viable competitively, but a far cry from overpowering. The primary hardship faced by Hail teams is that Snover is an extremely bad Pokemon; its terrible stats make it a horrible liability in a way that Abomasnow plainly was not (Abomasnow was individually excellent). Hail teams have to worry a great deal about accounting for Fire and Fighting attacks, which are extremely common in this metagame, and with essentially five-and-a-half Pokemon to use, the problem only becomes more pronounced. Generally, this means using fewer Ice-types: my most successful Hail team had "only" two, plus one other Pokemon using Blizzard. However, the fewer Ice-types are used, the less overall benefit the team derives from actually using Hail.
The overall impact of Hail is decidedly limited. The major reasons for Hail's previous dominance in UU were twofold: the first, as noted above, was that Abomasnow was individually a very strong Pokemon. The second is that Snow Cloak Froslass created tremendous problems for the metagame. Without Snow Cloak available anymore, courtesy of the evasion abilities ban, the only real ways to "abuse" Hail are by utilizing Ice Body Pokemon (Walrein and Glaceon) or by using offensive teams with many Blizzard users ("blizzspam"). The Ice Body Pokemon have been decidedly underwhelming when I have seen them, as defensive play in general is not especially effective in UU, considering the quality of the UU wallbreakers. Blizzspam is viable, but as noted above it tends to depend on one or two Pokemon very heavily to cover the repeated weaknesses of Ice-types, and as such cannot dominate easily the way Sand teams could, or Hail teams with Abomasnow could. Overall, Hail is balanced in UU at the present time, and should be retained in the metagame.
As a play-style, Hail is nothing if not restrictive. Ice is the type that fairs best in the weather condition, escaping the extra passive damage and gaining powerful STAB Blizzards. However, Ice is just not a type that is easy to stack on a team. With Heracross as the new king of UU, and the addition of the powerful Mienshao and often underestimated Scrafty to the tier, strong Fighting types are rampant. Darmanitan and Chandelure are also as strong as ever, and are difficult enough to counter on non-hail teams. Hail teams often have several Ice-types (not to mention Snover, which takes an entire teamslot and doesn't contribute much if any to team synergy), and are forced to dedicate the many if not all of the remaining three or four Pokemon to countering these big threats. These necessary concessions take away from Pokemon that could otherwise help achieve the team's win condition, instead of just preventing sweeps by some of the most common Pokemon in UU. At the end of the day, it's tough to even have 2 strong Ice-types that can fully abuse Hail.
Because it is so difficult to stack Ice-types, the traditional Hail abuse, the effective use of Hail often requires a focus on the passive damage, rather than the 100% accurate Blizzards. While this can still be an effective strategy in the UU metagame, it doesn't have the raw power of spamming Blizzards. With only a few Ice-types (again, including the weak Snover), passive damage often effects both teams, and takes some work to abuse. However, the work can be done, and there have been a few very effective Hail teams in this suspect test. However, the teams were no more effective than a well crafted weatherless team. Hail doesn't force players to use it or risk having an inferior team, and a well built team doesn't provide an easier win than any other well built team. Hail is not broken, and should be unbanned.
My vote was actually Abstain
due to not feeling secure enough in my ability to vote on this subject in an unbiased way. However, my vote didn't "matter" so its okay.
Last edited by kokoloko; Dec 2nd, 2012 at 8:51:51 PM.