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A Plea For Less Conservative Suspect Testing

Discussion in 'BW OU' started by MikeDawg, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. MikeDawg

    MikeDawg contrary to popular belief, I do not bring the mosh
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    From my understanding, Smogon is quite conservative when it comes to bans, both in the amount of them as well as what is actually suspected. Heck, until Drizzle+Swift Swim, a complex ban was unheard of. Now, I have only entered into the realm of competitive battling rather recently, so my opinion is being shared at risk of sounding uninformed, but I feel as if remaining so conservative while GameFreak is making all of these radical changes is purely illogical. In the last few gens we have seen the creation of Stealth Rocks, an entry hazard with extremely wide distribution and a ridiculously potent effect with only 1 turn of required setup; U-Turn, which, essentially, reduces skill drastically by reducing the need for, and even punishing, prediction while even inflicting damage in the process. The rise of trappers, whether through the physical/special split, new ability distribution, or even just new abilites, that reduce skill even further by eliminating the sheer ability to make predictions, bar "predicting" (ie. inhibiting oneself) to avoid these checkmate situations. It is extremely evident both on paper and in practice that all of these things, plus many others, have changed competitive pokemon, though this may be for the worse. Smogon is attempting to create the most skill based metagame possible, yet is inhibiting itself by limiting its suspects to pokemon and nothing else. This is without even consideration that it may be concepts, moves, items, abilities that create the bulk of the problem. Recently, discussion over stealth rock testing has occured, and I believe that, even if SR is not found broken, the sheer fact that it was tested is a step in the right direction. As GameFreak becomes more innovative/radical/stupid/whatever, Smogon must follow suit with its policy, lest the real issues will never be targeted and removed.

    So how does the community feel about suspect testing, namely in Gen 6 at this point. Should we be looking more at moves and abilities and other "unorthodox" suspects?
  2. Lavos Spawn

    Lavos Spawn
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    gamefreak gave auto weather to otherwise mediocre pokemon in gen v which was a hugely radical change from the norm and smogon hasnt done anything about it other than some passive nerfs that havent worked at all. id expect gen vi will bring more crazy shit to the table, so yeah id say less conservative suspecting is in order, though i know a lot of people are scared over the potential "snowball effect" of these move/ability bans, i.e. ou unbans mold breaker exca, suddenly uu is now banning magic guard zam but allowing synchonize/inner focus and all this. personally i think the idea's a bit far fetched but it's definitely a concern for a majority of the community as a relatively recent policy review poll has shown. yes, we should be less conservative in our testing, but no, i dont think we will be since people are so afraid of change around here.
  3. Jazz

    Jazz

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    Smogon is so reputable that I believe complicated bans will truly not be a problem. Also, considering how competitive many players are on this forum/PS server, I can't imagine "complicated" bans would be too complicated.
  4. Houndoomsday

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    i dont think we need to be less conservative. if we start banning all sorts of threats we lose the feeling of pokemon and invent a new game: "smogon". yes it takes a while to ban things, but that is good. if we went ahead and banned weather the meta would be so unrecognizable that it wouldnt even be comparable to current ou. rash bans are not going to be good bans.

    obviously this meta has some major problems but becoming ban happy in an attempt to make it better will not help a thing. in addition banning specific moves like you have implied with your connection to sr is not acceptable. sticking with banning pokemon and simply for simplicities sake is the way to go. imagine a meta where moves a, b, and c are banned, and so are abilities d, e, and g. ability f is not banned unless with move t. you get the point. while i obviously dont expect anything as extreme as this to happen, my point still stands. imo while the drizzle+swift swim ban was a great idea, it is pushing the borders of complexity.
  5. MikeDawg

    MikeDawg contrary to popular belief, I do not bring the mosh
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    You seem to misunderstand. As clarification for any with this thought, I don't believe the quantity of bans should be increased, rather the nature of the suspects themselves should be changed. Not complex bans, moreso just different bans. A ban on a move like stealth rock. Or an ability like drizzle. Or a whatever. I do not believe banning JUST pokemon is sufficient anymore to attain a good meta in a proper amount of time.

    As Lavos said, the biggest fear is the slippery slope argument, and alongside being an inherent logical fallacy, I would assume that falls under the same category as banning a pokemon/refraining from doing so because of what the future meta might look like: it's dumb and not what the suspect process is for. Since any insight into the future is pure hypothesis, it should not be taken at all into consideration when suspect testing/choosing suspects. Rather the thing in question should be looked at objectively: is it harmful to the meta or not, as that is the only way for progress to be made.

    I'm honestly not certain that I'm qualified enough to make such a suggestion, but The idea of a u-turn suspect has been brought up and I feel as if that is definitely a fantastic start.
  6. Houndoomsday

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    Makes sense. What would you suggest be tested, if you could test anything?
  7. Lady Alex

    Lady Alex This game sucks. Ban everything and it might not.

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    I feel pretty comfortable in agreeing with this idea. I'm concerned about what gen VI will bring and what it will mean for Pokemon as a competitive game. Gen V has brought in so many ridiculous threats that have completely changed the metagame for the worse, and I think that this problem is only going to be amplified. I've half-jokingly told my friends who play that I hope everything in X and Y totally suck, just so we can avoid making the cluster fuck that is gen V any worse than it already is. I think we've move past the point where banning a handful of overpowered pokemon is going to salvage the metagame and that turning our attention to some of the more core issues with it is important if we want to continue to have a competitive game where player skill is the most important facet of winning consistently, rather than winning the rock-paper-scissors matchup. Haunter has already mentioned that an unofficial stealth rock-less ladder is going to be put up before X/Y are released that will be used to determine how we approach its tiering going into then next gen, so I'm hopeful that that will open the door for us to question the existence of other things that are detrimental to the metagame. An example that immediately comes to mind is U-turn/Volt-switch, which has been brought up by a couple of users already. They're responsible for the cancer that was the BW1 metagame completely dominated by Rotom+Scizor teams, and are largely the reason Genesect and Tornadus-T were banned. They're also being used to promote banning Landorus-I.
  8. alexwolf

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    I am totally in favor of trying new things, as long as those things are justified and for the right reasons. For example, imo Aladaron's proposal was justified and had many good reasons behind it, so i support it. I don't think that SR should be suspected not because it is a move, but because it isn't a broken move (once again, this is my opinion, and there is no point to argue about it in this thread) and i am mentioning this certain move because it was the most recently mentioned for suspecting. I think we should be willing to try new banning methods and criteria where we need to, and not make it a general moto which would result in a ban-happyness that is equally bad with the rejection of change and being conservative.
  9. Lavos Spawn

    Lavos Spawn
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    if alexwolf and i can agree on something i think that says a lot
  10. MikeDawg

    MikeDawg contrary to popular belief, I do not bring the mosh
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    I am only commenting on a tangent here, but I feel as if we should also move away from the suspect=broken mindset. The more unorthodox suspects especially, like moves, are so embedded into the metagame that we may have simply become used to them and don't recognize them as broken. To circumvent this, I feel as if we must also be able to suspect more optimistically. If we test the things that do not /seem/ to be broken but are a wholly integral part of the meta, the worst that could come out of it is a learning experience if said subject is not actually found broken and/or unhealthy.
  11. Lady Alex

    Lady Alex This game sucks. Ban everything and it might not.

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    I didn't expect alexwolf to agree with this. :p
  12. G-Von

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    I also believe that Smogon has been a little too conservative when it comes to the suspect process. We have administrators and moderators starting up threads nowadays trying to decide whether something should be a suspect or not, thus making it basically a suspect of a suspect test and I find this to be incredibly redundant. If an entire thread has to be made to determine whether something has to be suspected or not, than it should probably be tested instead of losing time by discussing if it should or shouldn't be suspected.
  13. TheFourthChaser

    TheFourthChaser #TimeForChange
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    Hmm well I don't think conservative is really the word for it. I don't think Stealth Rock or U-Turn were broken moves during their introduction and this is where I might even see your post as too lenient with bans. Trappers that were seen as broken, Wobbuffet, were taken care of. Rain, though I don't agree with the method, has been nerfed. I do agree, however, that these things have become worse over time and in XY we should definitely look into their bans. I don't think voters are really against it but just took another route. As for complex bans, I think I speak for the majority when I say I'd like to avoid those as much as possible.

    With Fire being rumored as one of the only Fairy, which could become an insane offensive typing, resistances maybe we should remove SR and Rain, both of which have already been argued as detrimental to the game.

    I feel like there is a large misunderstanding here. Those threads are only for the discussion of the current suspect, not for choosing what the suspect is. Even when players had the choice of the next suspects these threads didn't serve that purpose.

    I agree with the lameness of VoltTurn but I see that as a harder thing to ban/limit without creating a slippery slope. While I think U-Turn is THE reason Genesect, who is becoming stronger and eventually would've been banned anyway, was banned I don't think that holds true for Landorus. As for the SR-less ladder, people need to remember that it means nothing. People that argued against weather banning/testing because of a Clear Skies ladder are just lame as hell.

    This is a very good point and I believe it is one of the main reasons we continued banning Rain abusers over the weather itself. However, I think this is much easier to applier to older things. Having seen a generation of Rain and its effects, influences how you want it taken care of in the next. It's harder to ban something new because you don't know the full extent of its influences. In the scenario of Fairy being an overpowered offensive typing do we ban those who abuse it or change the meta to power up their resistances?
  14. Lady Alex

    Lady Alex This game sucks. Ban everything and it might not.

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    I think he's referring to the thread a couple months ago whose purpose was to discuss whether or not Landorus-I should be suspected.

    Being open to suspecting anything unorthodox will generally carry the possibility of creating a "slippery slope," but, in my opinion, we're getting to a point where being willing to suspect things we would have never dreamed of testing in the past is important. Note that I'm not specifically advocating a u-turn/volt-switch suspect (wouldn't oppose it at all, though), but was using it as an example of the kind of things we might turn our attention toward. I'm not going to get too into U-turn in regard to Landorus-I since this isn't the place for it, but u-turn is a significant part of what makes Landorus-I as overbearing as it is. About the SR-less ladder, it only means nothing if the council doesn't place any importance in it. If Haunter was being sincere when he said that it would be observed and that we may adjust its tiering in gen 6 depending on how it plays out, I would take his word for it.
  15. George Eliot

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    Yup I agree with this completely. The critical part is recognising that Pokémon bans alone aren't sufficient any more to have an enjoyable metagame.
  16. UltiMario

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    A balanced metagame with the minimum amount of bans should always be the ideal.

    If it wasn't for that, we'd be playing RU or something.

    Hell, even with it we're probably banning too much stuff even in Gen V. If anything bans should be much more conservative than they already are.

    Edit@Lady Alex: Do you have a reason to straw man my post or are you just trying to shit up this thread?
  17. ginganinja

    ginganinja Dating Haunter
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    I get the point of this thread (it brings up a good one) but I just wanted to highlight this post because I think it has the wrong idea.

    To be clear here, those threads we started by the OU moderations staff to get a general idea as to how the playerbase felt about pokemon x or move y. They were not "Official Suspect Threads". As most of you know, The Suspect Council decides what gets a suspect test (assuming something needs to be suspect tested at all) and the threads were a way of developing how the playerbase felt about certain things, which could hopefully add perspective to the Suspect Councils decision. If you don't want us to try and get the community involved, or think those threads are a negative, then thats ok, we won't do them in future! (which im ok with since they take a lot of work to make + moderate)

    I am fine with being "less conservative" however, please put things in perspective. For instance, smogon has been getting more complex in its bans. We had the Drizzle + Swift Swim Clause, as well as the total Moody Ban which are significant steps. If we had more time left before XY arrives, then it is highly likely Rain would actually be suspected. So while I 100% understand the personal feeling going on with the playerbase I do think that most of what you want is already being looked at. (For instance, I would say there is an excellent chance that Rain (if not other weather) gets suspected in XY). I guess im trying to say that we are aware of your concerns, and they are not being ignored lol.

    Personally I am always going to be "that guy" and worry about slippery slope. Smogon traditionally has always fought to create a competitive metagame (where previously none had really existed) while at the same time not really allowing personal bias to enter into the suspect process. It is, as you might imagine, a really really thin line we walk and its important to try and find the balance. It is easy to say, for instance, to simply change game mechanics to (for instance) 'fix' the sleep mechanics this gen, so that we can make the meta "more fun". It is harder however, to really justify that decision, especially when you get the push and pull factions of some players wanting to play the game as close as possible. (Please note that im not actually arguing for or against looking at the sleep mechanics or looking at game mechanics in general, its just an example). It is really easy then, for things to slip and people pushing for things to ban because they are lazy, or "feel like it".

    Just an example of how the slippery slope is relevant, I'm going to ask a general question here. Please raise your fucking hand if you would enjoy / want / prefer a metagame with Scald banned. It would be easy to do, but hard to justify when someone puts their hand up and asks, "So why can we ban Scald and not Spore / Draco Meteor / Hydro Pump etc".

    I guess im saying I can see both sides here. On one hand, we really want to make the best possible metagame for everyone, and thats important. On the other hand, its important to remember the goals of smogon and the suspect test process, and ensure that the right call is made, because moving far too quickly will cause issues down the road.

    PS

    Saying this again cos I know how this forum works but please don't derail this read into full on discussions about the examples in my post. I don't want this thread (or any other) to turn into a "Lets ban Scald" rant.
  18. Lady Alex

    Lady Alex This game sucks. Ban everything and it might not.

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    I think more conservative than they already are would be no bans.
  19. Melee Mewtwo

    Melee Mewtwo lol, nice
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    We banned OHKO moves, we banned evasion moves, we banned Moody, we banned Sand Veil/Snow Cloak. I don't think Smogon is afraid of non-pokemon bans already. They just prefer to ban Pokemon most of the time because it is often times just a specific Pokemon that is abusing these things to the point of brokenness. (With the exception of the previously mentioned cases where the ability/move itself were broken)
  20. MikeDawg

    MikeDawg contrary to popular belief, I do not bring the mosh
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    I feel like rain, as an example, even further eccentuates the need for a change. Rain was found to be broken in some aspect, so it was nerfed by essentially banning a trio of pokemon (Swift Swim). Then later came thundurus who also served to support rain and was banned (though I do not believe this was a ban entirely based off of rain support). Then even later was Tornadus-T. Now we have keldeo. Then we have ____? In an attempt to weaken rain, we have targeted only pokemon, as tradition does, and the result is a weather that people STILL find to be broken. Having the optimism to simply target the ability or something similar from the beginning would have accomplished the attempted goal, but it would have done so much more eloquently, in a simpler way, and much more quickly. In the same regard (simply theoretical in this example), if volt-turn were to become an extremely large issue, what would be more efficient? Banning abuser after abuser until the issue is (maybe) fixed, or just banning u-turn itself?

    I really appreciate your post, ginga, but would like to respond to this part in particular. Would not this kind of slippery slope be able to be stopped by the council? Or do you believe that they too may fall subject to that reasoning? It really is a tough call though where to draw the line, and it's nigh-impossible to just do so at "common sense" because of the subjective nature of the meta and its inhabitants. Possibly a purpose statement could be developed for 6th gen suspect procedure? A sort of goal that can be set for an ideal metagame? I feel as if doing so could partly serve as a safety net against awry suspecting, as any suspect that proves to deviate from that goal can simply be returned to the meta.

    And one final question: what exactly is the goal of Smogon suspect testing? To create an ideal, skill-based metagame, or simply to remove any threat perceived as broken? Or are these issues supposed to tie together? If so, it is the validity of that very tie that I am questioning at this point in competitive pokemon. I feel as if a greater emphasis should be placed on the former, with the latter simply relegated to the role of a vehicle of accomplishing it. My hope is simply that the quantity of different vehicles of this sort could be expanded past the norm, something that, as Eo has pointed out, is already happening to an extent.
  21. Lady Alex

    Lady Alex This game sucks. Ban everything and it might not.

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    I think those bans are a lot different than the kind of bans the OP is thinking we should be looking at. All of those are completely luck reliant and, aside from OHKO moves, are all somewhat related to evasion, which has always been frowned upon. It's a lot more difficult to get something like Stealth Rock put in the spotlight for a potential suspect test because it's completely unlike anything else that's been banned/suspected before.
  22. Eo Ut Mortus

    Eo Ut Mortus Elodin Smells
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    Irrelevant. They all set a clear precedent for move/ability bans, no strings attached. Furthermore, Soul Dew, which has nothing to do with luck, was also banned, thus setting a precedent for item bans. Smogon's suspect test already allows non-Pokemon bans. If Stealth Rock, U-turn, etc. isn't being tested, it has nothing to do with the format of suspect tests.
  23. TheFourthChaser

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    Exactly, I am unhappy about the way we have dealt with Rain this generation BUT because we have gone through it this way we can at least handle it much more efficiently later. That is the only positive view I have on that matter lol.

    That is a difficult question to answer. Had we started the generation with pokemon like Genesect and Sheer Force Landorus we might've been able to gather more support for a U-Turn ban, but since things are unreleased it becomes a larger issue (part of the reason I dislike Dream World). If we started XY with Genesect, have all the current abusers being at least as good as they are now, and gain maybe another strong abuser (with U-Turn and the rise of Parting Shot I'd expect this 100%) we may be able to gather support for the move ban. We might decide to ban the abusers but my point is, if you start out with all those strong options it'll be much easier to gather support for the more "unorthodox" choice. If Keldeo and Tornadus-T existed at the beginning of BW it would have been much easier to remove Rain. The aforementioned problem of the slippery slope starts here though, ginga summed it up well enough.
  24. Chou Toshio

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    Just keep in mind that generally speaking, we want to be as in-touch with the wider Pokemon playing community as possible.

    We want Smogon metagames to be in-touch with the prominent shifts in mechanics, strategy, and playstyle characteristic of each generation. To a certain degree, we want to be on the same page as GF, and all other Pokemon playing communities. If we ban things in a new gen until it no longer looks like that new gen, then we're kind of ruining the spirit of the game itself.

    We could ban things in BW to the point where it's almost identical in play style/feel to DPPt. We could ban things in BW to the point where it almost feels like ADV.

    Fuck, we could even ban the use of EVes, and ban certain abilities and items to the point where it feels like GSC (Let's ban hazards exceeding 1 layer of Spikes!).

    But if we did that, it wouldn't be in the spirit of the game-- and we'd be completely out of touch with "Pokemon." Not to mention spitting in the faces of all the developers who put the games together.

    Remember that what makes a metagame "ideal" is largely subjective. I personally STRONGLY disagree with basically ALL the subjective sentiments expressed in the OP-- SR, U-Turn, Weather, etc. are all awesome and give BW something distinct and new from other gens. BW is its own distinct strategy game as worthy and entertaining (or more entertaining!) than any older one competitively. My opinion.

    The point is that severely curtailing the game of Pokemon in favor of subjective preference is not something Smogon as a community should take to a great extreme. Everything in moderation. Excessive bans, or radical bans will only serve to further alienate us from communities like VGC, who are ultimately-- MUCH larger than our small, English-speaking competitive circle.


    Please remember that if GF ever decided to make a reasonable, official, tournament-oriented Singles Format, our days of metagame designing would basically be over.
  25. ginganinja

    ginganinja Dating Haunter
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    It could...but you would need more detail as to how you would want this to work. As it stands, the suspect council are in charge of OU tiering, and under their care the OU tier has (in my opinion) never really found itself in a slippery slope situation. The offshoot of this is that (from this thread), people have felt the council (or the suspect test process) is 2 conservative and we need to change that. So I guess on the one hand you can have the council continue doing what they do, and avoid the snowball, but then you have people pushing for tests on moves, combinations, abilities etc etc which is sorta against the status quo. Like im just saying as it stands you cannot have the slippery slope with the OU council and the suspect test process as it currently stands, but on other hand your not getting Scald banned with the OU council and suspect test process as it stands either.

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