BW Excadrill

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#1

insert stupid moleman joke

Hi guys,

several years ago, I used to be very outspoken in how much I thought BW was terrible, even as a player of it. Then, when trying for another Smogon Tour win, I decided to get over myself and just roll with it, and found that when not overly worrying about all the broken stuff, it was actually a very fun and balanced tier. My results since then hopefully speak for themselves and give me some credibility in this thread. They show that I'm no stranger to getting over myself and dealing with busted Pokes--Latios, Garchomp, Keldeo, Alakazam, Breloom, all kinds of rain, Kyurem-B, you name it. However, the reason for this thread is because there is one busted Pokemon whose power is so great that I believe it throws the tier out of whack. Those other Pokemon make BW what it is; there is a balance in their strength. This Pokemon, howver, does not contribute to balance. This Pokemon is Excadrill.

I believe Excadrill contributes to a volatility of BW that I don't think was there when people didn't realize what it was capable of rather than helping (this balance could be seen throughout the entire year of 2016). Tyranitar is so necessary in BW to keep threats like Latios, Alakazam and rain as well as a few of its threats in line. These threats did not need to be bolstered by being partnered with an arguably broken Pokemon.

Against a rain offense team, the sand user must either contend with letting rain's various boosts go uncontested--hardly a desirable prospect--or face what is basically an uber. Yes this applies for Kingdra against rain too; however, Kingdra is much more manageable with rain's tactics (Ferrothorn + Water immunes + hell, Keldeo) and is a much worse Pokemon than Excadrill. There's a reason Excadrill is being used by the best players in tournament games and Kingdra almost never makes appearances.

It is nearly impossible to counter Excadrill safely, and to make matters worse its Rapid Spin often resets or nullifies any pressure the sand team is able to exert on the rain team. This was one of the reasons for its ban. Speaking of, it's still ridiculous to face for the same reasons it was banned to begin with; you must go entirely defensive to defeat it. Plus, with Iron Head, even this becomes an enormous task; look at the calculations against Landorus-T and Gliscor, then remember it runs Air Balloon so that must be broken first. Even Superpower variants of Landorus-T (as if this would be an argument against even if they weren't rarer, but still) lose 30% of the time, and we all know how powerful 30% is in Pokemon. Even Tangrowth gets 2HKOed and it can hardly do anything back (hitting Sleep Powder through Iron flinch, good luck with that, and it doesn't exactly damage it very much). Slowbro seems like a pretty decent counter but Scald does 68-80. Even Surf doesn't KO with SR up. Look at these counters and how they pair with SubToxic Toxicroak btw so the sand team tends to be really fucked. I haven't mentioned Rotom yet and it's alright but it gets worn down uncomfortably fast with Sand + SR and doesn't have great recovery. Also, Rapid Spin, there goes a major source of your pressure. SR shouldn't be free but it is a crucial part of dealing with ridiculously brutal threats and Exca makes it too easy to wipe out your work in getting it.

I think matchup claims in BW are overblown (and no longer commonplace, thankfully) but Excadrill's effects on the metagame cannot be seen any other way. By not running Tyranitar in order to not be throttled by Excadrill, I am leaving myself ridiculously open to a massive amount of threats that are probably overpowered otherwise. BW needs the option of Tyranitar and its permanent sand to be viable and not one Excadrill away from being at a massive disadvantage. A rain team with Excadrill + Scarf Keldeo threatens to clean you up no matter the weather.

I'm not speaking solely as a "I want to spam sand balance mindlessly in peace" kind of guy. I love being able to use different kinds of Pokemon and playstyles, but I also prioritize being able to handle the biggest threats in the tier. Tyranitar is an enormous part of handling those threats and Excadrill makes those huge threats even stronger to a ridiculous degree. Whenever I bring a non-sand team to a battle it's nice not having a slow Fighting/Ground weak Poke but it's largely outweighed by the fact that Latios is going to run circles around me, Zam is going to get a lot harder to beat, rain is going to have its free water boost (which means Scald for example turns into a 100% 24 PP 30% burning Hydro Pump, and SpecsToed Hydro outdamages Specs Latios' Draco Meteor) and fire resistance and Dry Skin and Rain Dish and 100% Hurricane and what have you. It's alright to bring these kinds of teams some of the time of course but I do not think the rock-papers-scissors factor of how Excadrill makes having a way to deal with the scariest aspects of the tier into a liability is good for the metagame. It actually increases the matchup element; nothing else has the "pick what you'd rather counter, and whatever you miss out on is nearly uber-level of power so have fun with that" factor that Exca does. It enables too much and if you pack a counter to the Pokemon it makes scary, then it will beat you itself.

That's not the only thing Excadrill can do, though. A sand team can abuse Sand Force Drill which, with a Scarf set, absolutely tears anything non-bulky to shreds, and is no slouch against defense because even though it being Scarf means it won't be a one-mon-army, it has Rapid Spin and still threatens an absurd amount of Pokemon.

The BW metagame was fine, competitive and interesting before it was realized how stupid Excadrill's offensive capabilities were. We are not going to lose anything enormous here by getting rid of the sand-abusing abilities on it, and we can have a viable spinner still around with Mold Breaker. I've used dice's SpDef set and it's a great Pokemon so I have confidence it'd be used plenty for those teams that want a spinner. Plus, MB ScarfDrill gets a very solid amount of use in ORAS, and there's plenty of Latios to threaten with Earthquake here as well.

The problems seen with the tier at the time of unbanning were Sun and the impossibility of spinning (which led to a lot of Reuniclus wars). The Reun problem largely solved itself not because of Excadrill's spinning abilities, but because people started using much better offensive teams (that don't feature Excadrill), whereas defensive teams evolved to counter it (you can look at Reun's usage/performances in the last few big tournaments to see this at work). Sand teams did not have some great need to be nerfed, they were and still are a pillar of the BW metagame. Without Tyranitar's sand, that's where BW really starts to become a clusterfuck, as opposed to the balanced metagame we've known for quite a while when Excadrill isn't pulling its sand abuse antics. It's been showing itself to be incredible for a while now. Feel free to tell me how I just need to get creative when handling this Pokemon but that's one of the biggest copouts ever in these matters. I can replace your "Excadrill" in "just be creative in finding ways to deal with Excadrill" with "Genesect" and everyone'd call me insane but that argument can be used for everything and it doesn't actually mean anything which is why it's so frustrating when discussions like these have it thrown around. It's basically a very polite "no fuck you" if you'd prefer to think of it that way. Oh sure, there can be good, interesting battles with Excadrill, it's not some Deoxys or Rayquaza that outruns and OHKOs everything. However, ubers do not need to do that in order to be uber. If that's the case, we have a Landorus-I to free.

As far as solutions go, I'm not sure, but I think I'd ban Sand Rush + Sand Force outright. Sandslash is no loss, Stoutland is already gone, Sand Force Hippowdon was cute on like 2 teams about 4 years ago but Hippo itself is barely used now and it wouldn't be a loss. I think MB Exca is a very good addition to the tier for its traits that can be seen on full display in ORAS, it's the sand-abusing nonsense that I believe has no place in BW. Going back to the pre-Excadrill metagame is also an option; Latios and Scarf Garchomp were not nearly as widely used then as they are now, and sun often got nearly singlehandedly destroyed by them. Venusaur in sun was horribly broken, but working around sun (as is done on occasion even now) is much better than Excadrill. It would not be my first choice, but I'd prefer it to Excadrill running rampant, as I believe the matchup issues he causes are much, much harder to work around than Sun (although I think getting rid of Venu antics was a great step for BW; again, not my first choice, getting rid of the Sand-abusing abilities'd be preferred by far if there's no more elegant solution).

PS if you say "be creative and stop trying to use safe sand balance for free wins" I will laugh in your face because 1) lol alright man whatever you say 2) you've either missed the point or 3) think that real rock-paper-scissors elements are good for metagames and prefer to win by trying to counterteam the hell out of people, which is a clearly Great and Consistent strategy. Excadrill throws shit outta wack. Also Skarmory is not a counter unless Rocky Helmet which cuts into its survivability and Rapid Spin will still clean the playing field for Exca's terrifying teammates when those hazards (mainly SR since Thund and Torn and Gyara don't give a fuck about Spikes) were a huge part of wearing away at them. You have to stack counters and Exca is still going to mess with one of them depending on how you respond (SD on switch against SR Land + Skarm with rocks up; if switch to Skarm, Spin and switch as its Spikes barely do anything, if switch to Lando, Iron Head for the 2HKO as it can only break Balloon and then you're free from there). Starmie could do this for rain but wasn't impossible to outspeed with anything short of Scarf Deo-S and Tentacruel was good too but not immovable if you cut off its rain. They were alright at it. Again, Exca'd be a fine tool if it didn't also (threaten to) utterly crush the sand team in the process, which is why I think strictly Mold Breaker should be allowed (or Sand Force + Sand Stream banned with a pure Sand Rush ban, that'd probably work too). The strain sand-abusing Exca sets put on sand teams (who have enough to contend with already) is enormous and not healthy for the metagame, in my opinion.

Last thing, if only Sand Rush were to be looked at, that'd be fine by me. Sand Force is still silly and I stand by it being too strong but Rush is the thing really straining the meta.

I have spoken to many BWers about this and they agree Excadrill's sand abuse is definitely a problem, or worth looking at at the very least, in case you were afraid this was just one guy's rambling.

Statistics, courtesy of Ciele:
https://puu.sh/wbdWJ/b90ab4a357.txt
 
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#2
Assuming people want to remove the ability to use rush Exca in any form, but don't necessarily mind Exca on sand teams currently, why don't we just ban Sand Rush? By extension, it seems preferable to undo previous weather tiering (undo the complex bans of weather setting ability + speed boosting ability), and then put in place a ban on the speed boosting abilities only. So, Sand Rush, Swift Swim, and Chlorophyll would be banned in BW OU. Not only does this solve said Exca issue, but it also gives us a chance to simplify tiering with no harm to the metagame.

The potential arguments against this I see people making are 1) we can't undo past tiering in an oldgen and 2) people should be allowed to use "weatherless swim Kingdra". 1 makes no sense because we just did this in DPP, and 2 is really shaky because Kingdra's usage is extremely low and there's no obligation to preserve it either - it isn't holding the metagame together in any shape or form.

tldr: Undo the complex weather bans; ban weather speed boosting abilities outright (rush, swim, chloro)
 

zf

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#3
I'm gonna echo ABR a bit here and say that Sand Rush is the only problematic aspect of Excadrill, mainly because the speed boost in gains in sand makes it tough to check offensively. By this, I mean that few mons can effectively revenge kill Exca (Loom / Azumarill / Conkeldurr) and even fewer can pivot in and force it out (Rotom-W / kinda Lando-T). To deal with Exca, sand is forced to run passive checks (Skarm, Tangrowth, Slowbro, etc) that can be broken with a bit of luck (flinches/ crits), chip damage (lower health fat shit can't live +2 moves), or trapping (Magnezone in particular). This leads to the types of builds BKC mentioned in the OP: teams built to capitalize on these near-mandatory passive checks can easily force lose/lose situations for the sand player. Furthermore, these teams don't sacrifice much in terms of other matchups either, making them fairly low risk picks with potentially high rewards (the tour stats back this statement). For these reasons, I definitely see a case for banning Sand Rush / Exca due to the constraints it places on teambuilding.

I do think both Sand Force and Mold Breaker Exca are healthy for the BW metagame. Firstly, the Scarf Sand Force set can be revenge killed and must lock into STABs that have common resists and immunities found on every team. In this way, I see Scarf Sand Force most comparable to something like Kyurem-B; it's strong but lacks good ways to break solid resists and is too slow to clean vs anything with a different scarfer (they're all faster). Because the limitations Scarf places on Sand Force Exca, I believe it's a manageable threat that can adequately be prepared for (sub lefties isn't even close to broken since it can be played around exactly like sub lando-t). Additionally, BW is a hazard-centric metagame, so having access to another viable spinner definitely helps all different types of teams and combats Magic Guard + hazard stack, allowing a broader range of viable teams and playstyles. I won't touch on Mold Breaker since everyone seems alright with it, but keep in mind it's just removing the power boost from Sand Force to hit some mons that would otherwise be immune to EQ (rotom, lati@s).
 
#4
I think Excadrill's impact on the meta is being overstated. From the posted stats, you can see that only recently has it begun to emerge as a common metagame fixture, and even still, its usage pales in comparison to the BW staples sitting at the top. I don't consider its win rate particularly egregious, either. Yeah, that looks like a huge spike for SPL, but that's a really small sample size and there were several other Pokemon with similar use and win rates, including Rotom-W and Breloom. More than anything, I believe Excadrill's rise to prominence to be a metagame trend that hasn't yet gained enough traction for judgment to be passed.

In terms of the Pokemon itself, I think you're giving way too much credit to Excadrill and not enough to its potential counterplay. You're taking into account Landorus-Therian's 30% chance to lose to an Iron Head flinch, for instance, but ignoring Slowbro's 30% chance to Scald burn. All this also assumes the optimal conditions for Excadrill: full health, sand up, a free setup turn, and in most cases, a correct prediction, because Excadrill lacks completely safe setup opportunities against most of the metagame. It is mediocre defensively and doesn't have a lot of relevant resistances, and if you're trying to preserve Air Balloon, your switch-in opportunities become even more limited. Because most sand teams are forced to carry Landorus and/or Skarmory already due to Garchomp (and other threats), Excadrill doesn't constrain teambuilding to any greater degree than to what the metagame already does, and in fact, their ubiquity means that it has a difficult time sweeping until later in the game.

Looking beyond that, Excadrill becomes inarguably manageable when sand is not up, meaning that there's already teambuilding counterplay by not running sand. I'm not actually recommending this, but if your argument is that Excadrill is broken because sand (specifically, Tyranitar) is required, then for argument's sake, why not instead ban the elements that make Tyranitar mandatory, starting with Latios and Politoed? These Pokemon are easily more overcentralizing and more responsible for the negative matchup elements cited in the post than Excadrill is. To me, this call to action is based less on the fact that Excadrill is broken and more on the idea that Excadrill is a clear metagame outlier whose absence has no real risk of upsetting the currently established status quo. I dislike this approach because it explicitly favors a certain style of team and play and establishes it as the de facto standard around which we base metagame health.

I think this is a hasty reaction and a problematic approach in terms of banning philosophy, but then again, so was the initial unban. I don't agree with the reasoning in the OP, but I wouldn't be opposed to banning Excadrill completely and simplifying the Drought / Chlorophyll bans for the sake of correcting the BW banlist.

Side-note: I feel like this is appropriate to bring up since the Excadrill unban came to fruition in a similar way. When are we going to let old metagames lie? Fine if the answer is "never" (but I don't really agree), but I believe there should at least be established protocol, or else we're going to be undoing each other's decisions for time to come based on whoever is playing and cares enough at the time. Granted, this is a different and much more general topic altogether, so I'll just leave it at that.
 
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#5
In response to ABR's post:
I think the right way to go about this is by just banning Excadrill straight up. I feel that Sand Force Excadrill also influences the metagame in a negative way so I think the most sensible way to get rid of both sand abusing Excadrill variants is to just ban the Pokemon, the same way Blaziken is banned because it gets Speed Boost regardless of Blaze Blaziken not being broken at all. Excadrill is the only thing really causing trouble here and I think it's really not worth messing with the entire BW ruleset and having collateral damage in order to complex ban 1 pokemon with 2 abilities that make it busted just to keep Moldbreaker Excadrill.
 

Jirachee

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#6
I don't see the Sand Force sets ever being an issue, to be honest. I can definitely see Sand Rush being problematic though. But to me it just feels more like a symptom of what's wrong with BW, rather than the root of the issue itself.

The root of the issue, in my opinion, lies in the reason why Tyranitar is used so much. To me it's not so much the Sand (because Weathers can be handled through bulky resists, like Gastrodon for example, relatively easily) but Latios. There is a reason why the two most popular team archetypes are Tyranitar Sand and Rain offense, and that's because they're the two best playstyles at handling Latios. The first handles Latios with Pursuit obviously, and the second can afford to switch Ferrothorn into Latios because rain weakens HP Fire. Coincidentally, the former happens to be the playstyle Excadrill thrives against, and the latter the playstyle Excadrill fits best on. Other types of teams, for example any kind of weatherless or Hippowdon sand, tend to have a much harder time handling Latios because between LO HP Fire and Trick Specs, it can just blow past any reasonable answer that isn't Pursuit.

Obviously though Latios' main strength doesn't even lie in the fact that it can screw over its counters. It's more the fact that nothing that isn't a Steel type stands a chance against Draco Meteor coming from 130 SpA, combined with enough speed to outpace the majority of the metagame. Add to that its incredible resilience thanks to Recover, an immunity to Spikes, 110 SpD, and some pretty neat resists. Latios is pretty much impossible to handle unless you can Pursuit it. Tyranitar is the only thing that can switch in and do that, but even then it needs heavy investment otherwise it risks being 2HKOed by Draco Meteor or Surf. The other users of the move aren't very adept at handling Latios, Scizor can't switch in Specs Surf and LO will just kill it with HP Fire. Weavile can't ever switch in and is very rare. Nothing else really uses the move.

All of this combines to create a metagame centralized around two archetypes, which favors "counterpick" Pokemon like Excadrill. Although Excadrill is kind of an extreme example of the consequences of such a metagame, I do believe that just banning it wouldn't solve the problem, and you'd see other "counterpicks" rise. Although they wouldn't be as strong, they'd still be undesirable.

tl;dr ban latios
 
#7
tl;dr ban latios
I have to disagree here, banning Latios isnt a smart move in my opinion.

Latios is the best pick for any offensive team that wanna have a check to the fight powerhouse of the metagame, especially Keldeo who would probably end up being broken with Latios gone. 2 of the biggest threats in the meta gone and it'll take 2 or 3 years for the meta to balance itself again, and we are not even sure if threats like Terrakion or Garchomp, with 2 of their greatest RKer gone, wouldn't be broken. While you guys are completely true on Latios impact on the metagame let's not forget what a ban could bring on the table as collateral damages.

Back when the discussion about unbanning Exca was the topic, it was to make life easier vs Spikes Magic Guard builds that were dominating the ST regular season metagame. Iirc Ojama asked for Mold Breaker Excadrill to be unbanned in his 1st post, but it was decided Sand Rush Excadrill would be allowed outsand of sand builds, which just put a huge pressure on Sand archetype when you have to run Skarmory or Rotom-W to be "safe" facing Sand Rush Excadrill. When Sand Force Exca is just another Ground attacker with a good second STAB that is kept in check when you have Garchomp in check (usually) with the ability to spin, which is always great especially considering how strong are Spikes when Rapid Spin and Flying/Levitate/Magic Guard mons are the only answers.

I believe Sand Rush Excadrill was allowed for consistency along Blaziken (+ it fits well with the speed boosting abilities restriction), so if it is still a problem and banning Excadrill as a whole is the only solution then maybe we should look into banning Magic Guard since it has little to no collateral damages in BW OU.

When are we going to let old metagames lie?
That's a very interesting question, I guess we'll let them lie when we'll be done playing them too often, BW is being played in half the official tournaments played on Smogon, so you kinda have to expect it to evolve even when it's not the current gen.
 

Finchinator

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#8
I guess the first thing that needs to be discussed before we keep piling on different opinions from every single side of the spectrum is where we truly stand when it comes to making changes to metagames of the past. Obviously, this has been a controversial topic ever since XY, when various threads were made discussing the prospect of changing the BW OU metagame (see: 1, 2, and 3), but there still seems to be a very varied assortment of opinions stemming off of this and that correlates to there being a lot of people with totally different "solutions" (i.e: some wanting to ban Excadrill entirely, some wanting to rid the tier of all of the x2 speed in weather abilities, some wanting to revert the entire initial decision re: Sun and Exca, and some wanting to ban other, more metagame defining Pokemon such as Latios). When it comes to the discussion of how to handle old tiers, there are a two extremes -- doing anything within reason to improve the tier/rid the tier of banworthy elements, regardless of how much this might shift a metagame of the past, or doing absolutely nothing regardless of the circumstance, because the tier already was the focus of the community for its true life span as the main generation and it should no longer be changed in the aftermath.

The prospect of banning Latios from the metagame clearly aligns with the former, in my eyes. As Jirachee himself alluded to, Latios dictates a significant portion of how teambuilding in the metagame ends up going and it also is a threatening presence in battle. Therefore, removing it from the tier would create a large shift in playstyles and trends, perhaps even causing other things to become out of hand (not that I am going to speculate or theorize this as theorymon is of no use in a practical discussion such as this, but the point is that this would drastically shift the state of the tier). Personally, I believe that Latios clearly is broken in the current BW OU metagame. With that said, I do not necessarily advocate banning it at this exact moment (going to refrain from giving a prolonged stance on the matter for the time being, but perhaps it will come up another day in another thread and I will discuss it then).

The idea of not changing anything from what we have right now obviously aligns with the latter, which is clearly a "do nothing" approach, but it does strongly promote the idea of not tinkering with old generation's metagames. People who side with this likely also did not favor the initial Excadrill plus Sun decision, even if they thought this current thread or that decision might've bettered the metagame. Personally, I believe that this is unnecessary and, to some extent, changing old metagames is acceptable, if truly warranted.

Beyond these two extremes comes a fairly vast middle-ground, which is where my personal stance lies. I feel that making changes to a tier past its prime is fine, but totally defacing the metagame and provoking clear shifts in the viability of numerous playstyles and Pokemon is perhaps a bit much when the tier is no longer being played as actively and consistently as a main generation tier is. Obviously, there is a bit of a gray area here and it is hard to truly quantify the things I just alluded to, but given that we have a knowledgeable and experienced playerbase discussing matters, I think it is not too dangerous to play with fire here as long as we do so with caution. Obviously, others are totally entitled to want to totally reshape the tier, which is what I personally feel banning Latios will ultimately lead to, and do absolutely nothing, be it because they feel the metagame is fine or they feel old tiers should not be touched, but I am going to base my post off of my belief that we can better the current metagame as long as we do not do something too fundamentally extreme.

In the current metagame, Excadrill has became one of the top Pokemon after being a bit underwhelming upon initial release back into the metagame. Truth be told, I do not think it was ever bad or truly underwhelming, but it did not mesh onto teams as well and people did not know how to properly use it (even if Sand Rush Exca Rain occupied both finals spots in the first suspect tour for Excadrill, I'll be the first to admit that it still did not appear anywhere near as relevant on my radar back then compared to now, where it is a top-threat and something you cannot be unprepared for on Sand). As time elapsed, it broke into the tournament scene on a bit more consistent of a basis, with this likely emerging at some point during SPL 7 or the following season of Smogon Tour. Ever since then, it has been on my radar as it is an incredibly effective and unforgiving force against what many people know as "standard" sand teams. However, my attention paid to it and general concern has, admittedly, grown much later ever since late 2016/early 2017. Before I even get into how I feel Excadrill may or may not be banworthy, I do think that discussion of it should not be labeled as a kneejerk reaction, nor premature. Excadrill has resided in the tier for a long time and even if you disregard the first period of it being released back into BW OU due to the playerbase not fully adjusting, it has been much longer than a year where it has been relevant in the tournament metagame and it has caught the eyes of numerous players at a high level, leading me to believe that this discussion (not necessarily action, but the topic at hand) is worth having at this point in time. I think a contradictory statistic, one that is not included in the OP, is the fact that Excadrill had a 1/3 win rate in SPL 7 despite seeing 13% usage. I do acknowledge this and want to explain why I think it does not invalidate my point --- I still think that around this time was when Excadrill's true potential was found by a lot of the people who frequent the tier and since then, it has become very good. I think a few players hit the nail on the head during this SPL and that represented a portion of the usage, but some people used the (in my opinion) mediocre sets, added it onto builds that it simply did not fit on, and these instances started to fade away as we grew out of this SPL whereas the more effective uses of Excadrill became more prominent in the aftermath of this tournament (and obviously into the future, aka this year). Moreover, this timing is fine for an Excadrill discussion as it has certainly grown on everyone, developed into the metagame, and the players have sufficiently adapted to facing and using it.

Getting onto my actual opinion on Excadrill and what we should do with it in the current metagame (only I can take five paragraphs to actually get to the fucking point, I know I know I know), I think that there are two sets worth discussing -- Sand Force + Swords Dance variants on Sand and Sand Rush + Swords Dance variants on non-Sand teams. The former is insanely strong, even to a stupid degree, but I feel it does not pose enough of a consistent and long-lasting threat to the extent that I could see any action being necessary seeing how the metagame is fairly fast-paced and Excadrill without the speed boost is relatively slow. I believe that while this can easily fit onto Sand teams and have lots of utility, I do not think that there is much of a problem with it when it comes to potential banworthiness. Moreover, I will dismiss this variant of Excadrill from here on out.

On the contrary, the Sand Rush + Swords Dance variants of Excadrill that find themselves on Rain or Weatherless teams, such as this, are far more controversial in my eyes. Initially, I found Excadrill to be harder to fit onto Rain than one might think and I sort of dismissed it, but as 2016 came along, I witnessed and eventually used this type of Excadrill and I have found it to be an element that can be scary in terms of how effective it can be as a utility in the Spikes game while also scary in terms of how offensively threatening it can be to a significant portion of the teams I encountered in the metagame. While there are various forms of counterplay that can find their way onto bulky offensive/balanced Sand teams, such as Rocky Helmet (on Landorus-Therian or Skarmory), Rotom-Wash, Slowbro, etc., this is still far from widespread and the immediate speed Excadrill has when you combine it with Rapid Spin and Swords Dance brings an arguably broken presence to the table in itself. I suppose I align my line-of-logic mainly with that employed in the OP by BKC, so I do not want to go overboard in elaborating as it would become repetitive, but I do think that there is necessary reason for something to be done on this front in order to prevent Excadrill from greatly limiting or potentially invalidating, to some extent, one of the most prominent playstyles in the metagame.

I suppose a counterargument to this, something that was brought up to me or in chats I was in by multiple people over the past few days, is that metagame trends and common playstyles are meant to shift and we should not necessarily be catering tiering decisions to preserving some idealized metagame that we may or may not actually have now or have had at any point in the past. While this point does have some truth behind it, I think that it fails to look at the big picture and it also ignores the fact that a single Pokemon playing such a large role, having such a significant impact that it limits things or invalidates things like I noted above, makes that presence outright broken to begin with, meaning that what we are doing is to rid the metagame of a banworthy presence, not preserve the metagame in a certain state or try and bend the rules in any way, shape, or form. Given the outlook of the current BW metagame, unless we do something drastic like the aforementioned Latios prospect, Sand teams will always be, by far, the most common and consistent forces in the metagame and that is sort of an inherent fact at this point, I feel. That does not take anything away from other styles as I am an avid user of Rain and it definitely does work in this current metagame, even with plenty of different options, but building with it and covering everything is more of a challenge than it is with Sand and, therefore, it is not necessarily as safe of a fallback/general playstyle, if you catch my drift. Working under the assumption that we do not mess with something huge like Latios right now and all of the aforementioned points in the last two paragraphs hold, I think that dealing with this Excadrill issue is certainly for the best in the current metagame.

As for what we can do, I personally see two options. One option is a bit more direct and simple in terms of what we do right now -- this would be simply banning Excadrill. Honestly, I know that a lot of people would not be entirely content with this as Excadrill going is essentially collateral in itself, but I do think that it is a fine option and I would not have any personal issue with it. This prospect is pretty straightforward, so I will not discuss it anymore, but it is pretty clear why it should be an option on the table seeing as Excadrill is the problem and all.

The other option, in my eyes, is what ABR mentioned in his post. Essentially, it would create some uniformity in the tiering policy while removing complexities of the past and having the same effect as the former option, but while also salvaging the non-Sand Rush variants of Excadrill, which are not problematic, as I discussed. Basically, we would be banning the weather speed boosting abilities outright, in Swift Swim, Chlorophyll, and Sand Rush, which removes the various complex bans of the past, avoids any future issues of this nature, and preserves the other variants of Excadrill, which is why I said that the former has more collateral in banning Excadrill as a whole. This option seems a bit more practical and even logical to me, but it is a bit unprecedented and generally we do ban Pokemon as a whole when making tiering decisions, so I see merit in both solutions and I am ultimately fine with either.

Finally, I tried to cater a significant part of my response to two parts of Eo's post above (1 and 2), so hopefully this either progresses discussion, gives people an alternative perspective, or at least explains why I put a certain emphasis on points and approached the whole post as I did in light of the context.

tl;dr = something needs to be done about
(specifically w/ sand rush), there are a couple solutions, and we are not in a state where doing something more drastic (i.e: banning Latios) would be an ideal move
 
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Reymedy

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#10
this whole issue may be an overblown though

the stats don't look that convincing to me, rain teams always had pretty extreme win % in tournaments anyway (either very high or very low), they did not wait for exca for that
you take ST stats, there's slowking a few ranks under exca but with a crazy win % but it's not like anybody ever considered this pokémon as mindblowing in the tier

so all in all, this case is relying on the personal thoughts of whats too good for some reasons
don't get me wrong, that's totally fine, but I'll like to point out :
- not long ago it was supposedly reuniclus, now this thing did a huge flop last tounaments and has seen its win % drop considerably

then people said it was mostly spikes, and now.. we're discussing the idea of banning a pokémon who spins them
that's not making a lot of sense

perhaps, just like freaking everywhere else, these are cycles and we must not overreact to them



a)basically, exca was introduced, everybody thought it was underwhelming and no one adapted
this thing got played like 4 times last wcop for reference and i dont think it was breaking any record in terms of performance

b)and then, actually, people learned to use it, to build with it and all

c)now it's netting alright results, finding a spot in some teams and whatnot

d)... maybe now we're simply in the phase where we have to adapt and take into account this pokemon that no one gave two crap about for like 2 years

e)and then, my prediction is that everbody will have forgotten about what was never actually an issue (ie: exca)

at least wait lol, just like reuniclus or magic guard (ider what was the riot about), and it was way "worse"
i mean you're not gonna make me believe that preparing for exca (slow, weak to like the 3 most common stabs in the tiers) is that bad when any of the sand teams you wanna spam is probably irremediably ruined by a version of volcarona
 
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#11
A Latios ban seems too drastic and really unwarranted at this stage, but I won't delve too deeply into this.

The other option, in my eyes, is what ABR mentioned in his post. Essentially, it would create some uniformity in the tiering policy while removing complexities of the past and having the same effect as the former option, but while also salvaging the non-Sand Rush variants of Excadrill, which are not problematic, as I discussed. Basically, we would be banning the weather speed boosting abilities outright, in Swift Swim, Chlorophyll, and Sand Rush, which removes the various complex bans of the past, avoids any future issues of this nature, and preserves the other variants of Excadrill, which is why I said that the former has more collateral in banning Excadrill as a whole. This option seems a bit more practical and even logical to me, but it is a bit unprecedented and generally we do ban Pokemon as a whole when making tiering decisions, so I see merit in both solutions and I am ultimately fine with either.
I just wanted to respond to this bolded bit here, and sorry if I misinterpreted what you were saying. Nevertheless, when you look at BW's banlist as a whole, this solution would simplify tiering. Starting from a blank slate, there are two potential banlists we end up with.

1) The combination of Drizzle + Swift Swim is banned; The combination of Sand Stream + Sand Rush is banned; The combination of Drought + Chlorophyll is banned; Excadrill is banned.

2) Swift Swim is banned; Sand Rush is banned; Chlorophyll is banned.

So yea, option 2 is vastly more simple and concise if we talk about how we tier from the get-go. You could argue that the Sand Rush component of option 1 is removable if Excadrill is banned, but that is still wildly inconsistent and retains the other complex bans. So if abilities are going to be banned in some way, I'd rather ban the abilities outright instead of doing a complex ban of 2 abilities on one team and then banning a pokemon.
 
#12
I wanted to put my 2 cents about latios and sand rush, more specifically on excadrill; in first place, I don't really believe that, in case of a Latios ban, Tyranitar's usage would drastically fall, therefore making Excadrill less threatening. Tyranitar is not only used as Latios check indeed, it's just an amazing Pokémon in this metagame as it can handle most Psychic and Ghost type mons, other than having a wide variability in its movesets and it works as a great support mon and so it can find place in many kinds of teams; for this reason I don't believe that a Latios ban would make Tyranitar disappear.
For what regards Sand Rush, or more specifically Excadrill, I don't see how it can hurt a metagame that almost always rely on entry hazards, and in which there are Landorus-T, Ferrothorn, Skarmory, Breloom and Politoed, to say some.
Leaving BW as it is would be the best thing to do, in my opinion.
Answering to Luckstard, a Magic Guard ban would make the metagame relying on hazards even more than it already is, and it would make them more troublesome and annoying.
 

Energy

Please tell me why do we worry
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#13
Insert four to five paragraphs.

Can we ban Reuniclus and Excadrill? I still think we should have banned Reuniclus ~2 years ago instead of unbanning Excadrill.
 

Finchinator

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#14
Insert four to five paragraphs.

Can we ban Reuniclus and Excadrill? I still think we should have banned Reuniclus ~2 years ago instead of unbanning Excadrill.
The metagame two years ago and the metagame now are quite different. Banning Reuniclus now would not be a good idea; the amount of usage it (and Alakazam) see now makes both of them a shadow of what they used to be. This isn't calling them bad, as they are healthy and viable team options, but they're clearly prepared for much more consistently and their effectiveness has been diminished over time. In round one of WCOP, Reuniclus only was used twice and it lost both times. Throughout all of SPL, Reuniclus only was used four times and it won twice. Even if the usage isn't entirely indicative of how viable or good Reuniclus may be, it is clear that the metagame is long past the phase of Magic Gaurd psychic types "dominating" the tier and this is unquestionable. Moreover, Reuniclus is not an issue and should not be discussed as a potential ban in the near future, in my opinion.
 
#15
Hello, I played this tier ever since its release in both SPL and WCoP, so I'll post what I think about the current state of BW. Pardon me if the post isn't "good", I haven't written a metagame related post in years.

Unfortunately I wasn't around for the whole Sun + Excadrill debate, but as soon as I got to know about it, I was genuinely curious as to why it happened, since XY was already out, and we've been playing the same metagame for years at that point, and I thought the metagame was perfectly fine (except maybe Venusaur). It doesn't look like Excadrill was the solution to the "Reuniclus wars" problem either, seeing as the problems solved itself, without Excadrill (as pointed out by BKC, and as shown by the usage stats over the period of time considered).

Excadrill is a very powerful Pokémon as explained by the various posts in this thread, but I partially agree with Eo about the fact that some are overexaggerated. I do think however it is broken to some degree, perhaps not as much as some users in this thread have depicted it, but it is undeniable that it creates teambuilding problems on a level hardly matched by other threats. We're talking about a Pokémon that not only has stellar Attack, but also finds his biggest problem, its mediocre Speed, fixed by your own team while facing it. While it is true that over the years we've seen Kingdra added on teams to combat Rain (well not anymore actually), I'm sure nobody would even be able to argue that the 2 are even remotely comparable, for a multitude of reasons, and even then, just look at usage stats for yourself, Tyranitar appears in over 50% of the teams in about every tournament, for all the reasons BKC already pointed out, while Politoed doesn't see as much usage. So adding Excadrill to your team isn't really a bad teambuilding choice in most cases, since even if you aren't facing Sand you still have a decent spinner on your team.

I do think Excadrill harms the metagame more so than it aids it, and it never served the purpose of its unban in the first place, since Spikes are still heavily used in BW, just because you need some measures to combat Dragons, and it just conveniently happens that said answers are also excellent Spikers, so Spikes will naturally fit onto multiple teams, just because of how easy it is so end up using Skarmory on Ferrothorn on your team.

It seems like Excadrill's main usage nowadays is "cheesing" sand teams, while still working as a standalone mon, unlike Kingdra on non rain teams, who loses most of its effectiveness if facing non rain teams, and even then, it's pretty easy to defeat for your average rain team, even offensive ones, because you will most likely pack a Ferrothorn + a Water immunity (Toxicroak in most cases), so you can still play around it, it also will have to use Draco Meteor on stuff to kill them, because it's Special Attack isn't stellar, so it will give you free turns at some point.

I personally agree with the removal of Excadrill from the tier, seeing as its introduction to the tier hasn't solved the issue it was unbanned for, while just causing some issues on a basic teambuilding level pointed out very well by the other users in this thread. I wouldn't mind seeing Sand Rush allowed again if Excadrill got banned, but I understand that allowing sand to run speed boosting sweepers under its own weather when it's already the "standard" playstyle might be a bit too much, but I'd be to up to try it at least.

RE: Latios

This is a bit of a tough argument to make, I've never kept hidden the fact I don't like using the mon (for some reason everyone transformed my "I don't like using Latios" into a "oh so you think Latios is bad"), but it definitely is an insanely powerful threat that is almost impossible to handle if played well, even with good teambuilding. Tyranitar unless fully invested in Special Defense risks getting 2HKOd, and even if it is fully invested, it will come out of the 1v1 almost dead (eg: in SPL I hard switched Latios into Eo's Tyranitar, and killed it), while Jirachi is pretty easy to chip with the abundance of Spikes, and if it runs Specially Defensive sets it's going to let either Ferrothorn or Skarmory Spike, which in turn is going to let Latios kill it at some point. Outside of those, we have Chansey , that can't tank Psyshocks, really hates permanent Sand, and needs a Spinner to reliably do its job, so it fits only on stall really, Blissey just dies to Psyshock, and just like Chansey hardly fits on teams that aren't very defensive. Then we have a bunch of checks that beat Latios under certain conditions (Heatran vs Surfless, the blobs for Psyshock less, Empoleon sorta checks all variants, but can't tank more than 2 Dracos, and is Spikes weak, Ferrothorn in rain), but aside from Ferrothorn, none of those conditions will "help" you while building, you just kinda have to hope the Latios isn't packing Surf when you're running Heatran.

I wouldn't be opposed to a Latios ban, it might just be the way to go at this point, but I'm not sure most people would take this well. A lot of people probably like to preserve old metagames "how they were" when they stopped being the main meta. On the other hand, the Excadrill + Sun debate happened after XY was introduced, so I'm not entirely sure about that either. I would have voted against that for what it's worth, but I wasn't around during the vote unfortunately.

Regarding Luckstard's concern, I find it a bit of a moot point, I could also theorymon here and say that with Latios gone, Ttar's usage should drop enough for Slowking to be used a bit more. Also, Latios doesn't even check Keldeo in a lot of cases (Scarf HPump in rain 2HKOs with SR up, and so does belt Icy Wind), and there's still Latias and Starmie for offensive checks. And probably something else would happen to the metagame that we can't predict right now, so saying that "Latios going could make Keldeo broken" is not an argument against Latios' ban.

Finally, I'm a bit confused about your post Finchinator, I'm going to quote 2 parts of it, and I hope you'll explain yourself a bit better:

Personally, I believe that Latios clearly is broken in the current BW OU metagame. With that said, I do not necessarily advocate banning it at this exact moment
(speaking of the possibility of banning Excadrill) meaning that what we are doing is to rid the metagame of a banworthy presence, not preserve the metagame in a certain state or try and bend the rules in any way, shape, or form.
My question here, regarding your post is: what makes you think banning a broken part of the metagame (Latios) wrong right now, while banning another one (Excadrill) is perfectly ok at the moment, citing that "what we are doing is to rid the metagame of a banworthy presence"?

Tl;dr: Ban Exca Ban Latios
 

Finchinator

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#16
hello!

I think that now is as good a time as ever to consider the prospect of undoing the complex weather bans and ban weather speed boosting abilities outright (rush, swim, chloro) as ABR alluded to above. I believe this not only fixes the problem at hand, being Excadrill's Sand Rush variants in the current metagame, but it also removes the complexity of past decisions and creates a clear, uniform policy regarding the entire topic. With SPL right around the corner, this is a topic if importance to the tournament community.

To respond to some points above, I believe that banning Latios would be a bad idea in practice. While I do admit that it is reasonable to consider Latios at least worthy of discussion, if not broken, I think that we have to consider the consequences of our actions when dealing with past metagames. If we ban Latios, then the entire metagame would change somewhat drastically and while this might not seem like a bad thing, we have to consider that the tier no longer has an active playerbase and the transition would not occur naturally at all. I am aware that the above solution would also change the tier, but it would do so to a much smaller extent, in my opinion, especially since we have had a metagame without Sand Rush Excadrill within the past few years already. We do not need a highly untested and potentially unstable metagame to be in tournaments such as SPL, Smogon Tour, and WCOP when there is no real way for it to fully and properly develop after something as substantial as a Latios ban, which is why I am opposed to this prospect even if it means drawing an arbitrary line over changes to old generation tiers.
 

McMeghan

Dreamcatcher
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#17
Eo's post has as much support as the OP, so I hope a decision isn't taken out of nowhere. There are people who believe there are no "problems at hand". If more arguments / discussion need to happen, I'll add some of my thoughts to the balance.

Edit: Actually nevermind, I do not have the motivation to do so at the moment.
 
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#18
Eo's post has as much support as the OP, so I hope a decision isn't taken out of nowhere. There are people who believe there are no "problems at hand". If more arguments / discussion need to happen, I'll add some of my thoughts to the balance.
There's no clear consensus about anything and the discussion is by no means one sided. Nothing is getting done for now. More people (from all sides) need to get more involved in the discussion, otherwise it would be extremely hard for us to reach a proper conclusion that doesn't need to be revisited in the future.
 
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#19
few months late but
I think Excadrill's impact on the meta is being overstated. From the posted stats, you can see that only recently has it begun to emerge as a common metagame fixture, and even still, its usage pales in comparison to the BW staples sitting at the top. I don't consider its win rate particularly egregious, either. Yeah, that looks like a huge spike for SPL, but that's a really small sample size and there were several other Pokemon with similar use and win rates, including Rotom-W and Breloom. More than anything, I believe Excadrill's rise to prominence to be a metagame trend that hasn't yet gained enough traction for judgment to be passed.
I don't really buy stats for shit like this or I'd have based my argument around them. They're just there because I know some people like them and they do show there is some element of truth to what's going on here. I more rely on what I observe through playing/watching the game. However, here's WCoP, which concluded after this thread was posted. (We don't have BW stats for this season of tour yet but I've watched Exca be Exca there as well).
In terms of the Pokemon itself, I think you're giving way too much credit to Excadrill and not enough to its potential counterplay. You're taking into account Landorus-Therian's 30% chance to lose to an Iron Head flinch, for instance, but ignoring Slowbro's 30% chance to Scald burn. All this also assumes the optimal conditions for Excadrill: full health, sand up, a free setup turn, and in most cases, a correct prediction, because Excadrill lacks completely safe setup opportunities against most of the metagame. It is mediocre defensively and doesn't have a lot of relevant resistances, and if you're trying to preserve Air Balloon, your switch-in opportunities become even more limited. Because most sand teams are forced to carry Landorus and/or Skarmory already due to Garchomp (and other threats), Excadrill doesn't constrain teambuilding to any greater degree than to what the metagame already does, and in fact, their ubiquity means that it has a difficult time sweeping until later in the game.
This is misinterpreting what I said. Exca doesn't immediately sweep a bulky sand team with Land-T and/or Skarm. Its Rapid Spin, however, is so easily pulled off multiple times that the sand team is left struggling to regain momentum against the terrifying rain team Exca's on. It doesn't constrain teambuilding but it certainly makes a difference in-game and no statistics would tell you that. Not to mention that for reasons mentioned it's still not too hard to pull off a sweep. It's nice to say Drill is frail and needs perfect conditions but this is not Volcarona, Drill gets on the field easily in most games. Tyranitar, Jirachi, Skarmory, electric immune, with Air Balloon active it can actually switch into quite a few EQs to get that all-important spin off and then Thund/Torn are going crazy without SR. Starmie could never switch in to so many things AND outrun quite literally everything in the game. This is one of the reasons Drill was banned to begin with, except this time it's the rain team abusing it to beat the sand team. It's still the same uber Pokemon except now it's even worse to deal with because Iron Head tears Tangrowth and the Ground/Flying counters apart. It's one thing to try to counter popular strategies in the metagame but it's entirely another when that counter-strategy involves a Pokemon that is agreed to be an uber if used alongside another Pokemon. Something something Blaze Blaziken Protean Greninja

Also Land-T doesn't just lose to an Iron Head flinch, defensive Superpower Land-T loses to an Iron Head flinch. Offensive sets just straight up die to +1 Iron Head after SR 12.5% of the time.

This is to say nothing for offensive sand teams (which are really just offensive teams with Tyranitar on), who don't counter Pokemon like Terrakion and Garchomp but rather outmaneuver them. There is no doing this with Excadrill. You need the full-out wall (of which there are very few, all of which can lose, and against which it spins anyway so there goes a big source of pressure).

Looking beyond that, Excadrill becomes inarguably manageable when sand is not up, meaning that there's already teambuilding counterplay by not running sand. I'm not actually recommending this, but if your argument is that Excadrill is broken because sand (specifically, Tyranitar) is required, then for argument's sake, why not instead ban the elements that make Tyranitar mandatory, starting with Latios and Politoed? These Pokemon are easily more overcentralizing and more responsible for the negative matchup elements cited in the post than Excadrill is. To me, this call to action is based less on the fact that Excadrill is broken and more on the idea that Excadrill is a clear metagame outlier whose absence has no real risk of upsetting the currently established status quo. I dislike this approach because it explicitly favors a certain style of team and play and establishes it as the de facto standard around which we base metagame health.
If this was years ago I'd have agreed like hell that rain is stupid but that ship has long sailed. I don't think it's realistic or practical or a good idea to redo the metagame after so long. Hell, this was the argument that was put forth more than 4 years ago whenever the idea of rain/weather was brought up. "It's too late, we can't do it anymore, BW is just the weather generation." Players made their peace with that and have adapted but Exca has thrown it out of wack. Going back to that status quo where Exca is around to help spin, which many agreed was good since people hate their hazards but minus this silly element of nonsense is all I want. (Or not, I'd live with a pure Exca ban as well. Please don't free Chlorophyll though.) It's not favoring sand because it's "free sand balance free wins yadda yadda," it's because it's proven itself to bring an element of consistency to a tier that can be incredibly volatile. Something isn't broken if it's good against sand or I'd be campaining to remove Garchomp, Keldeo, Hydreigon and God knows what else. However, Excadrill is so clearly agreed-upon broken when in sand that you can't even use it yourself.

I didn't get across everything on my mind for xyz reasons so hopefully others will join in and I'm not just talking to myself here. Rush Exca (I greatly enjoy its other sets) is solely the reason I've stopped playing BW in the last several months and I hope those who agree with me, of which I know there are quite a few, can elaborate in this thread as well.
 
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Luigi

A lion pokemon that's weak to flying could be a coba lion
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#20
What i'm gathering from this thread is that there is enough unrest in the BW playerbase to warrant perhaps doing something about it, for now the most productive thing we can do is focus on the tangible solutions that might show up in a vote in the future.

The solutions brought up in this thread and elsewhere that i've seen so far have been:

  • Do nothing
Leaves the metagame as it has been for the last 2 years
  • Ban Excadrill and unban Sand Rush + Sand Stream
Bans the problematic Pokemon and frees Stoutland/Sandslash while keeping sun in check
  • Ban Excadrill and unban Sand Rush + Sand Stream and also unban Chlorophyll + Drought
Reverts to the BW meta from before WCOP 2015, frees Stoutland/Sandslash and Chlorophyll sweepers
  • Ban Swift Swim, Sand Rush and Chlorophyll
The least complex option, effectively kills Kingdra


Please tell me if i overlooked any solutions btw
 
#21
I am back to BW after a 4 years long hiatus and I must say I enjoyed it so far, so I may as well share my views about Excadrill here…

I don’t think Excadrill (Sand Rush) is banworthy. Rain has to make a gamble when it chooses it over Garchomp as a ground-type beatstick, since it is noticeably slower, doesn’t wallbreak as well as Garchomp and doesn’t offer a Fire resistance against sun, being a Steel-type who gets clearly 2HKOed by most boosted dragons and not even being able to stomach 2 hurricanes despite its secondary typing. It’s also way less useful than Garchomp against Dragmags squads which saw a rebirth in ST.
Of course it has Rapid Spin but let’s be honest Sand Rush Excadrill mainly shines when put against a Sand team (that happens (ed) to be the most safe playstyle to run), where it can act as a secondary or even primary win condition and spin way more consistently over the course of a match due to its incredible Speed that threatens opponents out [yet many times you’ll have to choose between SD and Spin, and chances are you’ll lose the Air Balloon in the process].
Now, of course Excadrill is extremely powerful when put against that matchup, however in my opinion there are three reasons that exarcebate the “brokenness” perception of it.

1. Slowbro, Rotom-W, Physically Defensive Skarmory and other defensive checks fell into desuetude due to the Magic Guard Spikes-oriented metagame
Let’s give a look at Slowbro, for example. It feels…awkward to run Slowbro today. Slowking seems just more useful because it can tank Shadow Balls from Alakazam and check Keldeo, but that doesn’t mean Slowbro is a horrible Pokémon to run like Golurk in BW1 (Terrakion). Slowbro is actually a very good Pokémon and if you see it rarely it’s just a matter of metagame trends. While it is a defensive Pokémon, it doesn’t even sap too much momentum thanks to Regenerator, letting you throw a Scald on your opponent switch and then retreat [the same happens with Rotom-Wash and Landorus-t; of course they are defensive answers but not too passive].
By the way, speaking of passive answers, I don’t see how them being passive would be a problem. Sand balance teams already run passive Pokémons like Specially Defensive Skarmory, Gastrodon, Amoonguss, so why not try Physically defensive Skarmory (rarely seen outside of Stalls) and stop overpreparing for things like Alakazam? If there's a playstyle that greatly suffers from such defensive answers' passivity that would be Sand Offense, which has to rely on Rotom-W and Breloom's Mach punch or remove the Scarf from Landorus-T and make it defensive SP, but to be honest that kind of team also greatly suffers from things like Agility Thundurus-T or Specs Keldeo and determine whether Rotom-W / Landot + Mach punch is an adequate protection or not is rather subjective.

That said, the ones I wrote about aren't the only answers to Excadrill. Bronzong, Zapdos, Tangrowth, Hippowdon and Gyarados are all pretty unconventional and / or semi-reliable checks and you should use them carefully but hey, they can still help when they aren't the only answer to exca (just like when you run Latias + Gastrodon for Keldeo in case of Pursuit, for example). Bronzong and maybe Hippowdon are two notable exceptions, since they completely shut down Exca on their own so you can rest easier.

2. Polarized metagame (Sand & Rain) – this is due to Chlorophyll ban. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware that Sun + trap strategies were cancer to face, but oh my God removing Sun from the equation changed so drastically BW OU that I'm still investigating the consequences. Back then there were wayy more priority attacks around (…and Latios felt less powerful than today), more diversity, more speed outside of Scarfers, etc. In such a metagame SR Excadrill would be far less incisive. I know Smogon adopts the philosophy "broken doesn't check broken so we ban them both" but BW has always been a transiction metagame were powerful forces balance each other and exceptions are made -- let's think of Aldaron proposal, for example. I am not saying we should rediscuss Chlorophyll but again it's a matter of trends. If you think about it, the more Excadrill wins the more it becomes less effective, because eventually people will start dropping sand or overprepare for the mole. But I admit that's a bit theorymonning

3. BW, being a past metagame, is adapting to Excadrill very slowly outside of things like Superpower defensive Landorus-T (which I think Finchinator made) and past years trends are very hard to overcome, so we should just...wait? People are afraid Excadrill could ruin SPL - what if SPL just gives BW the right incentive to make Excadrill less of a threat? Seriously I lurked old threads and people also wanted to remove Reuniclus and Volcarona out of the game, but in the end the problem solved itself apparently

Overall I humbly suggest solution 1 but if Excadrill reveals to be unsustainable after SPL I'd advocate for solution 3. Thanks for reading.
_________________________________________________________

On the matter of Latios: I don't think banning Latios would be a wise choice because Keldeo is already a beast and even if you were to swap Latios with Latias Keldeo’s team would actually have an advantage because Latias doesn’t punish Keldeo’s team like Latios does

On the matter of Kingdra: I am a bit biased here because I'd always preserve diversity. SS Kingdra, Ludicolo, Kabutops get little to none usage but they are not completely irrelevant: while Specs Dra is absolutely shit nowadays, especially when randomly slapped into a team to "counter" rainstorm, I have tried RD Kingdra from DP in Heavy Offense and I have to say it's a good cleaner. Killing it for simplicity' sake would be unfair imho
 
#22
For a starting point, I think we can all agree that Sand Rush Excadrill, alongside Sand Stream, is broken. Evidently, this explains the current complex ban in place that prevents the use of these abilities in tandem with one another. Now, since we can all agree that Excadrill (rush) in sand is broken, I'd like to extend this point by saying that sand is a "given" component of the BW metagame. If you think that Exca in sand is broken, and that sand is a fundamental aspect of BW, then rush drill does not belong in the tier.

We are at a point where telling people to not use sand is unreasonable. Whether it be Latios checking or any of the other many ttar uses (setting aside hippo even), sand is something that will always be common. We have decided not to ban weather as a whole, so we have accepted sand as a part of the metagame. If we accept sand as something that will always exist, with very high usage, then we should remove that which is broken in sand, which is rush exca.

At this point you may be wondering how exca differs from kingdra or something of the sort, as kingdra can also be used on non-rain teams to abuse its broken state (swim) vs rain teams. The main difference here is the opportunity cost between the two mons. Kingdra is pretty mediocre
when not in rain, and is a huge matchup gamble to bank on. Contrarily, exca is going to be useful either way, and even if a team isn't facing sand, exca can be useful. This is also proven in the fact that non-rush drill is used on sand teams themselves, so it clearly has some general use. So you see, this is what makes rush excadrill so problematic. It's a generally good pokemon with many uses, but on top of that, it also becomes broken when in the sand, which is a very common, unavoidable occurrence in bw.

As for the physical solution to the problem of Sand Rush Excadrill, I'll reiterate what I said in a prior post:
tldr: Undo the complex weather bans; ban weather speed boosting abilities outright (rush, swim, chloro)
This ruling gets rid of the problematic rush drill but lets us keep the spinner that the tier appreciates having. This isn't us dancing around tiering definitions to save exca, because it's very logical to group together the aforementioned weather speed abilities, as they all share nearly identical traits. Considering the current ruling also groups the 3 weathers as needing the same rules, I'd like to keep that in play, for the sake of simplicity, consistency, and tier improvement (keeping non-rush drill).
 
#23
I've always been a fan of "only banning what's broken", and my problem with banning all speed boosting traits under sand does not fit with my personal beliefs. Out of the 3, I consider only Swift Swim to be broken as a trait, due to the sheer amount of boosts it provides, not only to the speed of its users, but also to their main STAB, which is why most Swift Swimmers are outright broken with permanent Rain (not just Kingdra Kabutops Ludicolo and Omastar, but even stuff like Poliwrath, Seismitoad and Floatzel becomes incredibly dangerous in Rain, Swift Swim breaks over half of its abusers). I do not believe Chlorophyll and Sand Rush are broken per se, they just have 1 really good abuser (Excadrill and Venusaur) and a bunch of mediocre ones: Stoutland is good but nowhere near as broken, Sandslash is underwhelming, Victreebel is ok, but just ok, and the other Chloro sweepers just don't compare, Sawsbuck is probably the 3rd best abuser and has some very heavy drawbacks (usually kills itself within its next 3 attacks, and has coverage issues, as well as power issues), Lilligant doesn't gain much from double Speed aside from getting more chances at trying its luck with Sleep Powder + Quiver Dance, but keeps its problems (coverage issues, Sleep Powder miss % and doesn't really have a good Grass STAB, Petal Dance locks you into a Grass move, while Solarbeam makes you basically countered by Tyranitar), other mons have coverage problems, or, in the case of Exeggutor and Tangrowth, are too slow even under Sun.

So my personal favourite way of doing this would be to ban Excadrill, ban Swift Swim, and reconsider Sun a bit (more on this in the next paragraph).

Personally, seeing how BW has been shaping up recently, and talking a bit on the tours discord server, I've changed my view on Sun. I've never considered Chlorophyll broken, and I remember while writing my other post in this thread wanting to open a parenthesis on how I think Chlorophyll was never the problem, but cancelling it because I thought my post was long enough already and I'd have gone off topic. I always thought Sun helped keeping the metagame super diverse, and while Venusaur felt a little bullshit at times, I'd trade the ability to use a fun archetype over maybe losing some games here and there to a mon that was a little overwhelming. Trapping might be the problem.

Sure, Dugtrio isn't as easy to use as it is in newer gens, mainly because keeping its Sash intact requires you to use Xatu (or Espeon but good luck with keeping Espeon alive without perfect play, and even then it's just not as reliable as Xatu), but there's also this to consider: you can just send Xatu on any SR setter, if it dies the setter then gets trapped by Dugtrio (or Gothitelle if it's Garchomp or Landorus-T), preventing rocks, and then losing Xatu is fine because it did its job of preventing rocks. Also the setters that aren't trapped by Gothitelle or Dugtrio can't really touch Xatu (think Ferrothorn). This has been showcased pretty well by the popularity of the Sun teams that has been run in this tour season, but sacrificing Xatu to Tyranitar or Heatran to trap it with Dugtrio has always been a staple of a lot of Sun teams' gameplay since their inception.

I've also built Sun teams in the past that didn't run Dugtrio, and I personally enjoyed them a lot, I've even brought them to official matches, with some ok results, nothing incredibly powerful, but a decent team style that could definitely see some further developing, but this is a very weak point to support the change. I do hope some other people like the idea of toying around with new interesting stuff though, it's one of the things that makes this game fun!

One could argue that this would be too much of a change for BW considering SPL is coming up in a couple months, but then one could wonder why Chlorophyll + Sun was banned in 2015, which was already 2 years after XY became the main generation, so the reasoning of "the metagame can't develop / adapt enough if it isn't the main gen" threw that out of the window already, and Chloro + Sun has been allowed for the 4 years prior to its ban, so it's nothing too new, it'd just be the undoing of a ban that changed the BW metagame without really fixing what it was intended to fix. Looking into Dugtrio / Gothitelle is also worth a shot I think. They've never been a driving force in the metagame, but if more people pick up the trend of just trapping whatever they are allowed to, they might get out of hand (especially Gothitelle).
 
#24
I've always been a fan of "only banning what's broken", and my problem with banning all speed boosting traits under sand does not fit with my personal beliefs. Out of the 3, I consider only Swift Swim to be broken as a trait, due to the sheer amount of boosts it provides, not only to the speed of its users, but also to their main STAB, which is why most Swift Swimmers are outright broken with permanent Rain (not just Kingdra Kabutops Ludicolo and Omastar, but even stuff like Poliwrath, Seismitoad and Floatzel becomes incredibly dangerous in Rain, Swift Swim breaks over half of its abusers). I do not believe Chlorophyll and Sand Rush are broken per se, they just have 1 really good abuser (Excadrill and Venusaur) and a bunch of mediocre ones: Stoutland is good but nowhere near as broken, Sandslash is underwhelming, Victreebel is ok, but just ok, and the other Chloro sweepers just don't compare, Sawsbuck is probably the 3rd best abuser and has some very heavy drawbacks (usually kills itself within its next 3 attacks, and has coverage issues, as well as power issues), Lilligant doesn't gain much from double Speed aside from getting more chances at trying its luck with Sleep Powder + Quiver Dance, but keeps its problems (coverage issues, Sleep Powder miss % and doesn't really have a good Grass STAB, Petal Dance locks you into a Grass move, while Solarbeam makes you basically countered by Tyranitar), other mons have coverage problems, or, in the case of Exeggutor and Tangrowth, are too slow even under Sun.

So my personal favourite way of doing this would be to ban Excadrill, ban Swift Swim, and reconsider Sun a bit (more on this in the next paragraph).

Personally, seeing how BW has been shaping up recently, and talking a bit on the tours discord server, I've changed my view on Sun. I've never considered Chlorophyll broken, and I remember while writing my other post in this thread wanting to open a parenthesis on how I think Chlorophyll was never the problem, but cancelling it because I thought my post was long enough already and I'd have gone off topic. I always thought Sun helped keeping the metagame super diverse, and while Venusaur felt a little bullshit at times, I'd trade the ability to use a fun archetype over maybe losing some games here and there to a mon that was a little overwhelming. Trapping might be the problem.

Sure, Dugtrio isn't as easy to use as it is in newer gens, mainly because keeping its Sash intact requires you to use Xatu (or Espeon but good luck with keeping Espeon alive without perfect play, and even then it's just not as reliable as Xatu), but there's also this to consider: you can just send Xatu on any SR setter, if it dies the setter then gets trapped by Dugtrio (or Gothitelle if it's Garchomp or Landorus-T), preventing rocks, and then losing Xatu is fine because it did its job of preventing rocks. Also the setters that aren't trapped by Gothitelle or Dugtrio can't really touch Xatu (think Ferrothorn). This has been showcased pretty well by the popularity of the Sun teams that has been run in this tour season, but sacrificing Xatu to Tyranitar or Heatran to trap it with Dugtrio has always been a staple of a lot of Sun teams' gameplay since their inception.

I've also built Sun teams in the past that didn't run Dugtrio, and I personally enjoyed them a lot, I've even brought them to official matches, with some ok results, nothing incredibly powerful, but a decent team style that could definitely see some further developing, but this is a very weak point to support the change. I do hope some other people like the idea of toying around with new interesting stuff though, it's one of the things that makes this game fun!

One could argue that this would be too much of a change for BW considering SPL is coming up in a couple months, but then one could wonder why Chlorophyll + Sun was banned in 2015, which was already 2 years after XY became the main generation, so the reasoning of "the metagame can't develop / adapt enough if it isn't the main gen" threw that out of the window already, and Chloro + Sun has been allowed for the 4 years prior to its ban, so it's nothing too new, it'd just be the undoing of a ban that changed the BW metagame without really fixing what it was intended to fix. Looking into Dugtrio / Gothitelle is also worth a shot I think. They've never been a driving force in the metagame, but if more people pick up the trend of just trapping whatever they are allowed to, they might get out of hand (especially Gothitelle).
I'm glad you brought up the trappers because I also think sun would be more bearable if they didn't exist, particularly dugtrio. So if banning Arena Trap and/or Shadow Tag is feasible, revisiting sun could be on the table.

That being said, you say that you've "always been a fan of 'only banning what's broken', and my problem with banning all speed boosting traits under sand does not fit with my personal beliefs". If you believe this, then why are you trying to remove non-rush exca? Now I'm not proposing to complex ban exca + stream, but I think it's silly to want to protect stoutland but not non-rush drills. Like, if variety and having more options is what you seek in BW OU, then it should be preferable to save the non-broken parts of exca instead of stoutland. Excadrill gives the tier another spinner, and we all know how badly those are needed, especially on non-rain teams. Both options of: 1) "banning sand rush in totality" and 2) "banning exca in totality" are plausible within our tiering principles, but it becomes a value question of what you're aiming to do.

The community should answer whether it prefers to have Stoutland or non-rush Excadrill preserved. I'd rather keep Excadrill, and thus ban sand rush.
 
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