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Arceus & the Uber metagame

Discussion in 'The Policy Review' started by locopoke, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. locopoke

    locopoke indulges in unsavory behavior
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    I expect to take a lot of heat for this thread, but I feel that this should be seriously considered, so here goes nothing.

    I am aware that the idea of banning Arceus has been thrown around several times on various IRC channels in the past and has always been shot down immediately. The fact that BW Ubers is included in the SPL 2 format, an official tournament, has motivated me to bring this controversial topic up once again, in a professional manner.

    Being an avid Gen 4 Ubers player, I've played an extensive amount of Ubers with and without Arceus ("Farceus" in Gen 4 and unlimited Arceus in Gen 5). Contrary to popular belief, Pre-Arceus Ubers was actually relatively balanced, as seen by the consistency of various players in Smogon Tour over the past 3 years. However, with the addition of Arceus, Ubers matches have become crapshoots, plain and simple. I and other Ubers players have found a metagame with Arceus to be unpleasant, to say the least. The metagame is much more dependent on team match-ups and which type of Arceus each player is using. Arceus has incredible stats and a myriad of moves at his disposal.

    The sheer unpredictability of Arceus is what makes it so deadly. It's impossible to check every Arceus type and nearly every type is competitively viable. While Extreme Killer is normally what people think of when they think of Arceus, it can also run some killer Calm Mind sets while holding any plate thanks to always having access to a 100 BP STAB move. Arceus can just as easily go on the defensive, utilizing great moves like SR, screens, Recover and Perish Song, just to name a few.

    Yes, I know, "We can't ban Arceus, Ubers is a ban list!". I've heard it before. I think now that we finally have unlimited Arceus at our disposal it's time to consider banning it. I'm not suggesting making some God Tier above Ubers just for Arceus, but rather, simply banning Arceus from standard Ubers play (ladder, SPL and tour if Ubers is still included). I've made my points and I think a lot of Ubers players can agree with them, so now I'd like to see what the rest of you think.

    Fire away.
  2. Scofield

    Scofield Ooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhh hhhhhhhhhhh, Kate.......
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    Erm, why? So what if Ubers is unbalanced? It was never meant to be balanced and any prior semblance of balance was only serendipitous. Ubers doesn't need to be balanced. In other words, just man up and play the game or don't play it.
  3. PK Gaming

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    I agree with banning Arceus. Yes by definition Ubers is a banlist for OU, but over the years it has grown into its very own tier. The fact that SPL and tours include Ubers as an official metagame is a testament to this. I've spoken to various players on IRC the majority thinks that Arceus is too strong for the Uber tier.
  4. Fireburn

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    You can't ban something from Ubers just because its 'too good', which Arceus is not. Ubers isn't necessarily a ban list, but rather a tier where all Pokemon are usable, and this includes Arceus. Ubers obviously is not going to be a balanced tier. If Ubers were meant to be balanced, then it would be OU we are playing.

    I'd also like to see some logs of Arceus being "too powerful". I really don't see what you are getting at with these Ubers matches becoming crapshoots. I've personally had no big problems dealing with Arceus, and without some sort of proof in logs, I can only assume your team is not adequate to handle Arceus. "Help it has too many moves and can do too many things" isn't gonna cut it without proof. Arceus isn't a single Pokemon, its 16 Pokemon in one depending on the type, and each type is entirely counterable. (Arceus could only be counted as one Pokemon if it could switch between all of its types at will mid-battle.) And its not like you're going to run into all 16 types at once. There are several "main" types (Normal, Steel, Ghost, maybe Poison, Electric isn't common but its as at least as threatening as the other main types) that are the most common types. All the others are rare and honestly not too difficult to handle. Furthermore, each team can only have one kind of Arceus. It can't be all of its types at once.

    Arceus can kind of be compared to Mewtwo. Mewtwo is actually less counterable than Arceus because of its new toy Psycho Broken that lets it smash through pretty much ALL of its old counters. Mewtwo is "if you don't have a revenge killer you're totally and utterly screwed" good. In fact, News flash, ALL of the Ubers are too good. That's why they all ended up there in the first place! And now we're going to start banning Pokemon from the tier where everything is too good because its "too good?"

    tl;dr I strongly oppose banning Arceus from Ubers. I kinda feel like I rambled a lot but I wanted to get my opinions out there.
  5. Elevator Music

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    I don't know much about Ubers so feel free to disregard me, but if we're including Ubers as a metagame in official tournaments (and Arceus does indeed make Ubers very unbalanced), it should be somewhat playable so the better player actually wins.

    And if banning it isn't something that we want to consider, Ubers should be removed from all official tournaments...
  6. eric the espeon

    eric the espeon maybe I just misunderstood
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    The game has changed hugely of course, but I don't see anything to suggest that played skilled in the new metagame are unable to win consistently. Only that players who know the old metagame very well can;t just transfer their abilities over. Personally I enjoy the Ubers metagame much more with the introduction of Arceus (there being a single highly variable and broken force within a metagame is very interesting strategically for a competitive game, though many do not like it which is why we have many other metagames which aim for balance), and agree with the idea that Ubers is by definition the metagame where there are no Pokemon banned. Some form of "balanced Ubers" could be created, but the standard tier is no holds barred. Every other major metagame aims for balance, lets stick to the founding concept of Ubers and keep some variety between metagames.

    And calling for the removal of a metagame because it is unbalanced or centralized does not follow good logic. All good players can and will abuse the broken elements of a metagame equally. It is still an equally competitive game.
  7. undisputed

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    I agree with you loco. I don't play Ubers much (but I do enough to know that Arceus isn't much fun) and the fact that it is so customizable makes it like several Pokemon at once. It's almost like Deo-a with a little less attack, and the ability to change Type along with superb defenses and a wide array of more viable sets. Ubers has gone from a metagame that no one cares if it is unbalanced and changed into a real competitive metagame. Something that is making one of Smogon's official tiers imbalanced needs to go imo. There's nothing worse than a metagame where the best players can't win with a frequency that distinguishes them from the crowd, and a full Arceus pushes Ubers toward that status.
  8. The_Chaser

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    I agree with Locopoke. Arceus is just too good for ubers, and removes the fun from the tier. 4th Gen Ubers was an enjoyable metagame which was reasonably balanced. And for those who argue that ubers is banlist not a metagame are misguided and stuck in the game. Ubers only became a banlist because in RBY Mewtwo and Mew were far better than any other pokemon and could not form a tier in their own right. Now ubers has more variability than rby and maybe gsc so there is no reason why it should be classed as a metagame rather than a banlist.
  9. Mario With Lasers

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    Arceus doesn't change types and moveset during battle, so we're talking about 16 different pokémon with an item restriction (such as Giratina), a gigantic movepool (such as the majority of the Ubers) and 120 in all stats (such as--well ok).
  10. undisputed

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    lol, im fully aware of that, but you have to be prepared for 16 different types of arceus (arecei??). Also theres no item restriction unless you change its type which isnt a must, but still must be perpared for.
  11. Toaster

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    Can we stop treating Arceus as if we have to prepare for every single one of its types? Of the 17 different Arceus types, only one third of them are common and definitively worth preparing for. The majority of the other Arceus types beyond that are usually rarely seen and as such are usually less likely to encounter and thus pose a threat. Yes, most of them are indeed very viable, but not necessarily to the extent that they are all assumed common and highly encounterable.

    That said, Like a few others who stated so, I never really saw banning something such as Arceus in a tier supposedly to be unbalanced valid. Ubers wasn't supposed to be a balanced "metagame" in the first place. Also personally, I never really had any significant troubles with Arceus, being an avid uber player myself. Arceus is also quite counter able, despite the versatility it possess. And I doubt you had much experience in ubers nor an adequate enough team if stated otherwise.
  12. cim

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    Arceus is not the problem. This is.

    If the metagame is stable enough to be played officially, it sounds like a balanced metagame where the most skilled player wins. The whole point of "broken" is that the overpowered Pokemon disrupt the game enough to overweigh particular aspects of the game, skewing skill.

    So either

    1. Ubers is playable enough to hold serious, official competitive tournaments in, which begs the question of what about the game is too broken for OU but not broken enough for its own metagame...

    2. Ubers isn't, in which case it shouldn't be in any official tournaments at all.
  13. Chou Toshio

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    Any 2 players, having previously agreed on a ruleset, can play with that ruleset-- it just won't be a Smogon recognized matched.

    The question, before considering Arceus, should be: "Should there be a distinction between 'Ubers the OU ban list,' and a supposed 'standard competitive Ubers'."

    Since Smogon has recognized Uber tournaments, and includes Ubers play in big tournament events like the Smogon Tour, I think this question deserves a well thought and serious answer-- this is obviously the point the OP is pressing. As someone who doesn't play Ubers, I obviously have no opinion. I'm just rephrasing the situation . . .

    This is untrue. A ban list is not only formed to ensure skill comes on top-- in fact, only a small minority of bans (Double Team, OHKO, Sleep Clause) are made solely for this reason.

    While there is a relation, most of the pokemon bans are implemented with a strong motive of preventing over-centralization. Centralization does not necessarily remove the "skill element" from a game-- in fact, a certain degree of centralization is important to keep the game skill-based (if there are too many relevant threats, there's a risk of lucky team matchups becoming more important than skill). Let's take a hypothetical fighting game that had only 1 character. Obviously, that game would still be very skill based (in fact, much more skill based than competitive pokemon), since whoever played better would win. It would just be very boring compared to multi-character games because of its 1-dimensional nature.

    Decentralization-based banning occurs in the attempt to "make a better game", and I'd say OU's overwhelming popularity compared to Ubers is a testament to this. Traditionally OU is a game that, for all its faults, is much less centralized than Ubers (with or without Arceus), and is overall more balanced. "Balanced" does not necessarily mean "more skill based." It just means that there are fewer overwhelming threats and more pokemon can generally be at the level to play competitively.

    I think a distinction should be made between a tier that is competitive and a tier that is an ideal standard.

    To be "competitive," all it needs is to be skill-based. Ubers is obviously capable of being played competitively, and skilled players have obviously showed their capacity to rise in the top to it. That doesn't mean it is an ideal standard, which to me, should also require addressing the issues of decentralization (promoting a certain degree of variety) and generally setting a standard degree of power.

    Don't insinuate that just because Ubers can be played competitively, skill-based, that OU should be dismantled or redone. There is so much more that goes into building OU than simply "make sure skilled players win more often."


    tl;dr:

    Competitive = Skill Based

    Ideal Standard (OU, UU) = Competitive + "Balanced" + x-degree of decentralization

    You can have competitive Uber play and Uber competitions without recognizing Ubers as an "Ideal Standard" tier like OU/UU.
  14. Steven Snype

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    I have not been an active 4th Gen Ubers player, but I have become more involved with 5th Gen Ubers when BW first came out. Frankly, I do not see how Arceus is broken: the only common types I see are: Dragon, Steel, Ghost, and Normal. Second: The only one of these that has access to leftovers and Life Orb is Normal. I don't have much experience with Ubers outside Arceus, but I'm fine with the Arc meta.
  15. JabbaTheGriffin

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    Yeah I've always been a proponent of banning arceus from ubers if we were to use it in any official tournaments. I agree with the OP wholeheartedly.
  16. iss

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    I've played quite a bit of Ubers in both Gen 4 and Gen 5. Arceus is a great Pokemon, but it is perfectly counterable. Screw having 17 formes, only a few are regularly used and only Normal can use an item other than a plate. I also have to say that centralization is not always bad. Chou's post really explains that. Ubers is supposed to be quite unbalanced. I don't see the point in banning anything other than Evasion, which is uncompetitive. Arceus is completely competitive, and is not even broken for Ubers.
  17. Fireburn

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    My thoughts too.

    And anyways...let's face it. The only reason Ubers was kind of balanced in 4th gen was because "Ubers check Ubers". However, as Game Freak continues to create more Pokemon, there will eventually be too many Ubers to check anyway. The only reason, I think, people think Arceus is "broken" is because, as Arceus in actuality is 17 different, totally counterable Pokemon, that it makes "too many Ubers to check in one team". Arceus isn't broken, but the sheer number of forms it can take sharply increases the amount of viable Pokemon, and its just speeding up this process.

    (I got this from firecape but he's actually neutral on the subject, which is why he didn't post it himself.)
  18. B-Lulz

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    'No.'

    Ubers is not the main tier, hell I wouldn't even put it as the 2nd tier. It really is just a glorified banlist where there are a few rules to make it somewhat playable. Arceus doesn't ruin Ubers, so I completely am against banning Arceus.
  19. Ice-eyes

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    Completely agree with this. Arceus is 'ruining' Ubers because there are so many viable types that it's now virtually impossible to check them all, all the other ubers, and still have a coherent strategy.
  20. bojangles

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    Alright, several people have asked me to post so I will.

    I am of the belief that nothing should be banned from Ubers (unless of course it's luck-based). The Ubers tier has always been run this way, and in my mind it always should. This may be an "old guard" approach, but I would argue that if we start banning Pokémon as being too prevalent, we will end up taking out many more than just Arceus. Therefore, as a blanket rule, I stay away from banning Pokémon. The only way I could see banning a Pokémon is if it is pervasively and utterly format-warping in a way that "you must run Pokémon X with moveset Y or else you will lose in a matter of turns."

    However, Arceus does not fulfill this requirement for me. There is no question that it's one of the best Pokémon in the game. It is in fact 17 Pokémon with diversity in itself. You are never forced to only run Normal Arceus or Dragon Arceus. Every Arceus is competitively viable (except maybe Psychic Arceus) with the right support. People should stop looking at Arceus as one collective Pokémon and realize that it is essentially 17 different Pokémon, each of which is, as locopoke said, "competitively viable." At the end of the day, you still can only choose a single one to be on your team. Therefore, I don't think we can collectively lump them together for the purposes of banning.

    No.

    Balanced ≠ Skill-driven. Yes, OU is seen as "the pinnacle of skill-driven metagames," but you need to get out of that mindset for a few seconds. Yes, there are 17 Pokégods in Ubers, but that does not eliminate the skill involved at all. In fact, I would argue that it strengthens it, but that's an issue for another day. Regardless of whether Arceus is banned, Ubers is still a skill-intensive, official metagame that is tournament worthy.

    Yeah, I agree with you on the Arceus issue, but the rest of your post is bothering. Ubers may not be as populated as OU, but it is just as much a metagame as the latter. We may not have routine suspect tests or attempts at balancing (ignoring this thread), but we have a strong player-base that legitimizes this official metagame.

    I would kindly ask that if anybody sees Ubers as "just a banlist" and not a real metagame, or has no intention of ever playing Ubers, please refrain from posting.
  21. B-Lulz

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    I didn't mean it like that, I meant UU has more players and followers than Ubers has. Hence why I said it wasn't a '2nd tier' metagame because UU has far more players than Ubers does, just look at the statistics. As for not playing Ubers i've played plenty enough Ubers, 4th and 5th gen, to know that Arceus isn't as big of a problem as the OP makes out, regardless of what Ubers is or isn't.
  22. Jibaku

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    I'll just make a short post in case someone cares about my opinion on this. Truth is I don't really care whatever happens to Arceus (as long as it doesn't get banned in DW Ubers because atm I find it more balanced there!). If it stays, fine. If it gets banned, so be it. Having played both non Arceus and full-Arceus (and Farceus) metagames for a while, I have found that none of the metagames are more appealing than the others. Although often times I wish Arceus wouldn't exist because...well I will admit...it sometimes really limits my options, other times no Pokemon fit better on the team than a certain Arceus forme.

    The thing I really care about is maintaining a good amount of people playing the metagame.

    Two cents.

    Have fun
  23. Philip7086

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    So there have definitely been some interesting points brought up here that I haven't considered in the past. Namely, that we should not include Ubers in any of our official tournaments if it is decided to be uncompetitive. I do not support the banning of any Pokemon in Ubers, because that really defeats the purpose. Before you do that, you would have to redefine what Ubers means, as currently it is in place for people who want to play without any Pokemon restrictions. The fact that it achieved some sort of balance in 4th gen was just a coincidence. Anyways, here are some options to consider that don't require banning Arceus:

    1. Determine that Arceus makes Ubers uncompetitive, and therefore remove it from official tournaments (of which, the only one that currently features Ubers is SPL).

    2. Determine that Arceus is fine in Ubers and that it's still a competitive metagame.

    3. What about banning the different plates Arceus could use? This would significantly hinder its ability to be a threat, as users can prepare better when they just have to worry about one type of Arceus as opposed to 17, and I can see something like this being justified as a clause without ruining the definition of Ubers (after all, we still play Ubers with things like Sleep Clause and Evasion Clause).

    Those are just some of my thoughts. I am not much of an Ubers player, so I don't have any strong opinions on this, but as a Tournament Director, I do not think we should include metagames we find to be uncompetitive in any official tournaments.
  24. Fireburn

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    Option #1, in my opinion, shouldn't even be considered. Just because a metagame isn't balanced doesn't mean its not competitive, like what ete and bojangles said, and most people don't seem to realize that. They are not bound to each other in any way. Ubers is still an official competitive metagame with a sizeable playerbase. Its just a different kind of metagame.

    Option #3 is also not really a good solution. Each form of Arceus is technically a different Pokemon, and so by banning Arceus forms, you're techinically banning Pokemon. You can't argue that certain forms of Arceus are broken either, because this is Ubers we're talking about, and everything is broken. (That is the very definition of an Uber!) If you try to do that, you've already lost. Even though I know its not obtainable yet, its like trying to put Soul Dew Clause in Ubers. You can't limit any Pokemon in Ubers by any means, because it is the metagame where you are supposed to be able to use any Pokemon to its fullest legal extent.

    Option #2 is the only way to go.
  25. Kevin Garrett

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    My opinion is that if Ubers is determined to be uncompetitive, it should not be included in official tournaments. I'm not in favor of banning Arceus because Ubers is just a ban list and any previous balance that existed was because Ubers check and counter each other. That still remains true with Arceus, but it just has more possibilities than other Ubers.

    It's not a good idea to remove Arceus from official tournaments because it won't reflect the standard Ubers metagame. There is not a ladder to practice a BW non-Arceus metagame and making one would be officially considering it banned from Ubers. I see three options:

    1. Keep Arceus in Ubers and have it in official tournaments.

    2. Remove Ubers from official tournaments.

    3. Philip's third option.

    I'm really not sure if I like option 3, but it sounds like the only way you could dance around the issue without opening a can of worms. I would personally like to see option 1 or 2.

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