Can we talk about Stealth Rock?

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#1
Hi guys, Gengod here, formerly known as Maniaclyrasist, (yes a name change was long overdue I know).

Anyways, I’ve been around since early ADV so I’ve seen my fair share of trends and bans and I was actually one of the members of Smogon to get the ball rolling around 08-09 with initial discussion of suspect tests with regards to the Lati twins without Soul Dew. Haven’t been too active outside of casual laddering to keep up with the meta but I intend to get back into it for Sun and Moon, both on Showdown as well as VGC but anyways….enough about me.

I’m here to bring you another controversial thread, about a topic that has been rehashed over and over throughout the last few years here on Smogon without any real conclusion… and that is the possible banning of Stealth Rock.

Now, I’m making this thread based on the general assumption that Stealth Rock will not be nerfed in Gen 7. It could be, considering the already revealed nerfs of moves like Thunder Wave, Paralysis and Confusion as a whole. However, since we have no idea whether it will be nerfed or not, or if Gen 7 will bring about any other changes that lessen the overall strength of the move so I felt this was a good time to discuss the move, before we all get enveloped in that Gen 7 fever.

With that out of the way lets get into it…

I’ve taken the time to read through most of the Stealth Rock ban related threads here on Smogon and below I’ve listed the primary reasons for both keeping the move around as well as banning it, well the ones that made some kind of sense anyway…

So for the pro-ban side we pretty much have the following:

• Highly skewed risk vs reward
• Disproportionate limitations based solely on typing
• Restricts and limits team building more than any other factor and as a whole the overall metagame

And on the anti-ban side we have:

• Keeps otherwise broken Pokemon in check
• The move has counterplay in moves/abilities such as Rapid Spin, Defog, Magic Guard
• “The Slippery Slope Argument”
• Focus Sash

In trying to look at this from an objective perspective it seems like the pro-ban side’s reasoning here is pretty much inarguable at this point whereas the anti-ban camp seems to be dabbling a bit more in subjective theory and a lot of arguments from that side have generally boiled down to a “what do we want from the metagame” conversation.

With that said, it’s hard not to invoke some degree of subjectivity as everyone has their own ideal metagame, however, taking a step back and trying to look at Stealth Rock in a vacuum you gotta think to yourself at some point…this move is pretty absurd. Imagine if any other move with the same attributes was released limiting masses of Pokemon competitively as arbitrarily as Stealth Rock does and on top of that doing as much as it does both offensively and defensively while basically forcing you to use it or be at a significant disadvantage to your opponent simply because of that alone.

I can’t see that going over too well with most of the community now, especially when people already complain about stuff like Scald and Prio T-Wave.

Stealth Rock’s power and influence is ridiculous bar none and with Sun and Moon fast approaching I feel it would be wrong to not at least get some discussion going on a possible outright ban of Stealth Rock with the start of the new metagame, again assuming Sun and Moon doesn’t nerf the move in some way.

In addition I have another question for the conservative or unsure ones out there leaning towards the anti-ban side. Would you be opposed to starting the new generation without it? We already have enough years of experience/data playing with the move and Sun and Moon looks to be quite the refresher in terms of how the game will be played. It would be a great time to test a Stealth Rock-less start to the meta and see how it plays out.
 
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PDC

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#2
this topic gets brought up all the time and it never really gets a serious response; this post will hopefully offer at least some sort of stance representative of the council, albeit being done individually by me.

stealth rock is the most dominant move in oras ou (and bw and dpp, but this is going to be mostly talking about oras and s&m). there is no doubt that it carries incredible amounts of influence in our metagame and is the one thing that almost every single team that dares to be called competitive possesses. naturally, something that dictates team choice so much will inevitably be brought up in the court of suspects.

so i will say it bluntly: i do not believe stealth rock is broken and it should not be banned. if we do decide to ban it, it would have to be incredibly early due to the weight this decision carries.

• Restricts and limits team building more than any other factor and as a whole the overall metagame
stealth rock does limit the competitive use of a lot of pokemon due to their typing. bug types, fire types, etc. have limited usage due to their need to be paired with a spinner, and for some pokemon, the need to carry a spinner which can reliably eliminate rocks (which doesn't even happen 100% of the time) is far to great and outweighs the benefit of using that pokemon in the first place. you're right, stealth rock limits team choice because pokemon which could be viable in a metagame where rocks does not exist (articuno <3) are not viable with such a hindrance. this is an intrinsic quality of entry hazards of all kinds, but is mostly attributed to stealth rocks.

i think this would be a stronger argument for older generations like dpp where rock-weak pokemon could see more of a viable use, but in modern generations, and oras specifically, the removal of rocks does not necessarily widen the horizons of viability all that much. in my opinon, the removal of rocks only makes already powerful 'mons which could potentially be suspect worthy (zard-x / torn-t) even more broken.

you're looking at a far more twisted metagame if you are advocating for the removal of probably the strongest check to some of the metagames best pokemon. stealth rock is useful in that it helps moderate otherwise ridiculous threats like zard-x and torn-t. in oras, it is impossible to bring a hard counter to everything, so why not pack a move which has very low risk and a reward of allowing such threats to not teeter over the broken line? i think stealth rock in a way increases the pool of viable pokemon in oras simply because it allows pokemon that who would otherwise be at least suspect worthy to be checked and still allowed in the metagame. a short list of pokemon i would consider suspect worthy with the removal of rocks would be:

torn-t
zard-x
zard-y
talonflame (maybe)
mega pinsir
thundurus (maybe)

i am not saying that you are not decreasing centralization with the banning of stealth rock; of course you are decreasing it to an extent. but centralization has always played a role in competitive pokemon, and while sr is the "ultimate centralizer," it affects the metagame in a way that it allows there to be a certain flow of archetypes and order instead of disunity.

• Highly skewed risk vs reward
this is obvious. stealth rock is a very low risk move with a very high reward. in the context of a turn-by-turn basis, the use of sr will affect the entire game and the way it is played. but of course my position on it is that this does not really matter. in the context of a broken pokemon, naturally the risk of using it is low and the reward high, but a pokemon does not dictate the entire metagame in the way stealth rock does unless it is so ridiculously broken that every literally circulates around it. stealth rock is sort of like a moderator; in theory it is broken and overpowered when taken completely out of context and described as only something that "limits team choice" and has no outside affect or purpose.

i also don't really want to see stealth rock be placed on an initial banlist. outside of just feeling "weird" to me, banning something that is so instrumental for checking so many things is bound to make the suspect testing system a mess. if you choose to ban stealth rock early on in the generation, and then for whatever reason there is a movement to repeal it, there will inevitably be a lot of room for re-tests due to the qualities that stealth rock has. having a precedent that stealth rock should be banned early on essentially limits the ability to re-test it later in the generation. you are effectively changing the metagame for good once you decide to ban stealth rock.

In trying to look at this from an objective perspective it seems like the pro-ban side’s reasoning here is pretty much inarguable
you're looking at objectively by taking everything at face value. of course your points are inarguable, they are banal and boring. also, saying that "banning sr increases diversity" isn't exactly all that objective. i already touched upon how banning sr would probably just result in more bans; banning sr just makes pokemon that are already of paramount importance in ou even more ridiculous to deal with.

in short: banning stealth rock is such a monumental change that it is something that cannot be walked by easily. you're not just changing the landscape of ou, you're probably shifting the entire paradigm for literally every lower tier to some large extent (except maybe little cup). i think the best solution would to have maybe a "sr-less" metagame, but i believe we had that in bw or something and it was exactly as i described: ridiculous because of the amount of threats allowed to just flow and no policing.
 
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Bughouse

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#4
My argument for keeping Stealth Rock has nothing to do with keeping specific mons in check or focus sashes or that it has counterplay in any particular sense. It's just this:

Yes it's an obviously important and very strong move.

But it's one that enhances the strategy of the game. Sure, it often doesn't take any strategy to set rocks, since it's low risk high reward (though sometimes you may have to do it at the cost of losing your rocks setter), but it leads to immense strategy about how to keep rocks up and when you can afford to let them go and how you can later get them back.

These are good things in a game, deep strategic elements that require more than 2 turns of thinking and have much longer term effects. Not the only time we've had these kinds of elements in games. VGC 2016 for example or BW OU often largely come down to weather control. How and when to set your weather, keep the weather setter alive, and when it's ok to let it go.

Punishing switches adds complexity. GSC and ADV would be far less interesting without Spikes for example. I think the same applies to Stealth Rock now, despite its disproportionate effects.
 

Steven Snype

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#5
Since this was a point brought up in permanent weather discussion in BW days, there are characteristics of a generation that define them. I would say SR is a gen-defining characteristic that adds to the identity of DPP onwards. I'm not saying whether or not SR is balanced, it and Life Orb imo are the two of the most defining factors of Gen 4 that really shaped it to be what it is. I would not say SR does not provide an effect as uncompetitive as Moody's.

Yes, some Pokemon get shafted out of actually being good, but thats going to happen with every generation! Take Alakazam, Claydol, Infernape, and Steelix for example. These mons are pretty decent in the gens they were introduced in, but the generation afterwards, they were nowhere near as good. Even Snorlax fell out of favor, a really strong mon in the first 3 gens (and though popular in early DPP, it's not as good as it used to be in post-XY DPP because of generational changes that made it not a good choice to pick. The fact of the matter is generations change and stuff gets comparatively weaker as new generational changes happen. The flying types and Bugs have a harder time switching in now, but I think it's a casualty we should accept because SR is a generational characteristic, something akin to say Close Combat.

With respect to modern mons, we have adopted a major stance of inheriting aspects of previous generations, notably hazards. Should this reach a point where we have too many generational features that reach a clown fiesta of strategies in terms of teambuilding, the community should decide how to cross that bridge when we get to it.
 
#6
• Restricts and limits team building more than any other factor and as a whole the overall metagame
i think this would be a stronger argument for older generations like dpp where rock-weak pokemon could see more of a viable use, but in modern generations, and oras specifically, the removal of rocks does not necessarily widen the horizons of viability all that much. in my opinon, the removal of rocks only makes already powerful 'mons which could potentially be suspect worthy (zard-x / torn-t) even more broken.

you're looking at a far more twisted metagame if you are advocating for the removal of probably the strongest check to some of the metagames best pokemon. stealth rock is useful in that it helps moderate otherwise ridiculous threats like zard-x and torn-t. in oras, it is impossible to bring a hard counter to everything, so why not pack a move which has very low risk and a reward of allowing such threats to not teeter over the broken line? i think stealth rock in a way increases the pool of viable pokemon in oras simply because it allows pokemon that who would otherwise be at least suspect worthy to be checked and still allowed in the metagame. a short list of pokemon i would consider suspect worthy with the removal of rocks would be:

torn-t
zard-x
zard-y
talonflame (maybe)
mega pinsir
thundurus (maybe)

i am not saying that you are not decreasing centralization with the banning of stealth rock; of course you are decreasing it to an extent. but centralization has always played a role in competitive pokemon, and while sr is the "ultimate centralizer," it affects the metagame in a way that it allows there to be a certain flow of archetypes and order instead of disunity.

Let me just start by saying this argument goes both ways and isn’t really a counter-argument for diversity as I can simply argue that the removal of Stealth Rock actually increases the number of checks and possible counters to these and most Pokemon in general.

The main problem I have however with this argument is the fact that it mainly focuses on using something “broken” to counter something else that’s “broken” which is an inherently flawed way to handle things for obvious balancing reasons.

Also when did it suddenly become ok to ban or unban something simply because of it being beneficial or detrimental to other very specific Pokemon? You would never see something like this even advocated if it referred to Pokemon instead of a move so why is this reasoning on the table for discussion now?

In addition, if these Pokemon are broken, then regardless of Stealth Rock they are likely still broken and addressing them should be handled separately to this issue just as any other suspect would be.

• Highly skewed risk vs reward
this is obvious. stealth rock is a very low risk move with a very high reward. in the context of a turn-by-turn basis, the use of sr will affect the entire game and the way it is played. but of course my position on it is that this does not really matter. in the context of a broken pokemon, naturally the risk of using it is low and the reward high, but a pokemon does not dictate the entire metagame in the way stealth rock does unless it is so ridiculously broken that every literally circulates around it. stealth rock is sort of like a moderator; in theory it is broken and overpowered when taken completely out of context and described as only something that "limits team choice" and has no outside affect or purpose.
I don’t get what you’re trying to argue here. If anything you’ve only shown how metagame defining Stealth Rock is in alluding to the fact that it’s effect on the metagame is more notable than most Pokemon unless that Pokemon is “ridiculously broken” which just lends to my point of the move being overpowered in the first place. The context whether it be turn by turn or as described in a vacuum has nothing to with this and are just different views that more or less would showcase the same outcome if looking at something that is inherently broken.
i also don't really want to see stealth rock be placed on an initial banlist. outside of just feeling "weird" to me, banning something that is so instrumental for checking so many things is bound to make the suspect testing system a mess. if you choose to ban stealth rock early on in the generation, and then for whatever reason there is a movement to repeal it, there will inevitably be a lot of room for re-tests due to the qualities that stealth rock has. having a precedent that stealth rock should be banned early on essentially limits the ability to re-test it later in the generation. you are effectively changing the metagame for good once you decide to ban stealth rock.
I don’t believe banning Stealth Rock should limit the ability to re-test it later on. It’s probably easier to re-test than most Uber Pokemon as we already have experience/data from playing with it for so many years and we could realistically see how it’s inclusion could affect the metagame probably before even testing. What I fear more is it’s inclusion at the start of the metagame as it’s influence would definitely shape the game entirely around itself again, like it already has for what 3 generations now?

In trying to look at this from an objective perspective it seems like the pro-ban side’s reasoning here is pretty much inarguable
you're looking at objectively by taking everything at face value. of course your points are inarguable, they are banal and boring. also, saying that "banning sr increases diversity" isn't exactly all that objective. i already touched upon how banning sr would probably just result in more bans; banning sr just makes pokemon that are already of paramount importance in ou even more ridiculous to deal with.

in short: banning stealth rock is such a monumental change that it is something that cannot be walked by easily. you're not just changing the landscape of ou, you're probably shifting the entire paradigm for literally every lower tier to some large extent (except maybe little cup). i think the best solution would to have maybe a "sr-less" metagame, but i believe we had that in bw or something and it was exactly as i described: ridiculous because of the amount of threats allowed to just flow and no policing.

The points being inarguable has nothing to do with them being taken at face value. They simply are that…inarguable. Them being banal or boring literally does not matter either.

I’ve addressed your other points in my comments above but with respect to having a SR-less Meta, I think this could possibly be a fine alternative in a “perfect world” but realistically I see something like that splitting the community and smogon’s resources up too much to make a strong effort into this worth it.


Since this was a point brought up in permanent weather discussion in BW days, there are characteristics of a generation that define them. I would say SR is a gen-defining characteristic that adds to the identity of DPP onwards. I'm not saying whether or not SR is balanced, it and Life Orb imo are the two of the most defining factors of Gen 4 that really shaped it to be what it is. I would not say SR does not provide an effect as uncompetitive as Moody's.

Yes, some Pokemon get shafted out of actually being good, but thats going to happen with every generation! Take Alakazam, Claydol, Infernape, and Steelix for example. These mons are pretty decent in the gens they were introduced in, but the generation afterwards, they were nowhere near as good. Even Snorlax fell out of favor, a really strong mon in the first 3 gens (and though popular in early DPP, it's not as good as it used to be in post-XY DPP because of generational changes that made it not a good choice to pick. The fact of the matter is generations change and stuff gets comparatively weaker as new generational changes happen. The flying types and Bugs have a harder time switching in now, but I think it's a casualty we should accept because SR is a generational characteristic, something akin to say Close Combat.

With respect to modern mons, we have adopted a major stance of inheriting aspects of previous generations, notably hazards. Should this reach a point where we have too many generational features that reach a clown fiesta of strategies in terms of teambuilding, the community should decide how to cross that bridge when we get to it.
I don’t disagree with the notion that Stealth Rock adds more complexity to the game. It definitely does, but that isn’t a problem I have with the move with the move at all. In comparing the disproportionate effects of the move to the slight additional strategy that it’s use provides as a whole I simply see it as being more detrimental to the game overall and would rather have it removed as opposed to keeping it around for the sake of having “something else to think about”.
 

Acast

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#8
Stealth Rock is not a pokemon. It's a move, so why should we treat it like a pokemon? At first I was on the fence about this, but the arguments made by others have convinced me that Stealth Rock is fine. It is undeniably one of the most metagame-defining factors of the past few generations, but it's not uncompetitive. It introduces a factor into a battle that can be controlled by smart teambuilding and skillful battling. As long as it doesn't impede the more "skillful" player from winning a battle, I don't think it's an issue.
 

Josh

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#10
But one does have to run Stealth Rock to create a successful team. It's arguably even more important than primal groudon in ubers, the most centralizing mon this gen with a 99% usage competitively. The fact the move is literally essential on any good team leads me to question how competitive it really is. Like, looking at it objectively, something with 100% usage competitively is ridiculous, so I'm having trouble seeing why stealth rock is the exception.

I'm not complete pro ban by the way but like nobody is addressing why it's OK for something outside of ubers to get 100% usage with a very low risk and a very high reward.
 
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erisia

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#12
Even if Stealth Rock is used on 100% of teams, I feel that it's less negatively centralizing than something like Primal Groudon because there is such a variety of good users of the move across all tiers, with a wide variety of types and stat distributions that can fit any team archetype. Centralizing != bad. And while it's almost always going to make a team better, you can still run a team that wins a decent proportion of games without the move if you really want to. Stealth Rock is also more manageable this generation with the introduction of Defog (which is also well distributed across all tiers) so I think the pro-ban argument has become weaker as a result. It's not like Gen 5 where NU teams had to run terrible Pokemon like Armaldo and Wartortle if they wanted to run Articuno. I think an other metagame without Stealth Rock and no other restrictions would be interesting but that's as far as my anti Stealth Rock sentiment goes.
 
#13
At the beginning of Gen 6 I was more open to this idea as it makes sense to me that having some types inherently worse in the metagame could potentially wrap things and be broken for having such a large effect. However, due to the rise of moves like Defog (which have pretty legit counterplay and good users in Pokemon like Lati@s) and a good Magic Bounce user in Mega Diancie, I'm currently more skeptical that SR is broken than in the past.

I've always held the opinion, like PDC, that if an SR test is to be done it needs to be early on in a generation. Maybe proving the point of certain anti-SR arguments, the metagame does sort of revolve around the hazard's existence. We've always seen Pokemon rise above their SR weakness, the ones that immediately come to mind are Charizard and Volcarona, and in removing that factor: how much more effort would a team need to combat these unhampered threats? It's an almost completely different environment and it seems to me that it would come down to largely subjective opinion. Do I enjoy a metagame with or without Stealth Rock? Do I mind how insanely good Volcarona has become or am I satisfied with the increased viability of certain Pokemon previously annoyed by SR? How much more viable do certain things need to be for SR to be deemed broken?

I'm not against an SR test but I have doubts in it's broken status and wonder if it's worth the time.
 
#14
Stealth Rock is not a pokemon. It's a move, so why should we treat it like a pokemon? At first I was on the fence about this, but the arguments made by others have convinced me that Stealth Rock is fine. It is undeniably one of the most metagame-defining factors of the past few generations, but it's not uncompetitive.
I think you’re missing the point a bit here.

It’s not simply about treating Stealth Rock like a Pokemon. Stealth Rock while being a move has a lot of similar qualities and arguably stronger attributes than a lot of the Pokemon Smogon has banned in the past and is an outliner in comparison to other moves in terms of strength by a considerable margin. I don’t really see anything wrong with comparing it to other outliners regardless of them being Pokemon when a lot of the arguments involving both tend to be similar.

As for it being uncompetitive or not, I feel like that’s mostly up to the players ideals of what they consider to be competitive or not so I won’t really comment too much there as it’s just diving right into subjectivity.

It introduces a factor into a battle that can be controlled by smart teambuilding and skillful battling.
As I’ve already mentioned. Stealth Rock limits team building considerably. There’s nothing really all that smart about not slapping a bunch of Stealth Rock weak Pokemon on your team to avoid being severely crippled by the move’s best attributes from the get go.

However, with that said this is where the problem with Stealth Rock starts as you have to take the move into consideration for every non-SR weak Pokemon as well on top of the bigger team building restrictions it’s already placed on you. What 2HKO’s can your sweepers now achieve what 2HKOs can your tanks and walls avoid, How often can I prevent this move from being set up, Which spinner/defogger am I forced to use? These are all things you generally have to now think of from a team building aspect simply because of all the possible limitations this move provides.

As long as it doesn't impede the more "skillful" player from winning a battle, I don't think it's an issue.
It doesn’t necessarily impede the more skillful player from winning a battle but comparatively it does place the more skillful player at a significant disadvantage if they aren’t using the move themself or are prepared to constantly remove or prevent it.

Correct me if I'm wrong but one does not have to run Rapid Spin or Defog in order to create a successful team.
I think you’re wrong on this one bud…

Can you even showcase any teams with proven success not using these moves? Stealth Rocks well as coverage to remove it is pretty much mandatory on any successful team as far as I can see.

In addition, if you choose to run one of those moves, you are not forced to use gimmicky or disadvantageous Pokemon.
Lets be real. Defog is mostly only Pokemon that it sucks on and Rapid Spin still has terrible distribution. You aren’t really using these Pokemon to their potential if they have to focus on being your spinner/defogger.

At the beginning of Gen 6 I was more open to this idea as it makes sense to me that having some types inherently worse in the metagame could potentially wrap things and be broken for having such a large effect. However, due to the rise of moves like Defog (which have pretty legit counterplay and good users in Pokemon like Lati@s) and a good Magic Bounce user in Mega Diancie, I'm currently more skeptical that SR is broken than in the past.
I don’t really agree with this.

Defog’s effect is good but it’s distribution isn’t all that great as most of the users of the move are actually weak to the move they are trying to remove thus you have to throw yourself in disadvantageous positions often to simply equalize the playing field.

Not sure what you mean with regard to Defog having direct counterplay as stuff like Taunt and Defiant are not concrete enough answers to it as you have to rely on predictions to make the most out of these.

Magic Bounce is simply too scarce to matter all that much really.

I've always held the opinion, like PDC, that if an SR test is to be done it needs to be early on in a generation. Maybe proving the point of certain anti-SR arguments, the metagame does sort of revolve around the hazard's existence. We've always seen Pokemon rise above their SR weakness, the ones that immediately come to mind are Charizard and Volcarona, and in removing that factor: how much more effort would a team need to combat these unhampered threats?
I’d honestly question the viability of Pokemon that are able to rise above Stealth Rock with a double weakness to it but keep in mind some of these Pokemon do gain new counters and checks with Stealth Rock’s removal.

It's an almost completely different environment and it seems to me that it would come down to largely subjective opinion. Do I enjoy a metagame with or without Stealth Rock? Do I mind how insanely good Volcarona has become or am I satisfied with the increased viability of certain Pokemon previously annoyed by SR? How much more viable do certain things need to be for SR to be deemed broken?

I'm not against an SR test but I have doubts in it's broken status and wonder if it's worth the time
Just as you and PDC have stated, yes the best time for this kind of test would be at the start of a new generation as the removal of Stealth Rock will essentially create an entirely new metagame. However I do want to stray away from the argument of meta game comparison for bit as we don’t really have an criteria to base it on at the moment as to which is objectively more ideal.

What I’m mostly trying to do with this discussion is to highlight and showcase just how much of a overarching and limiting factor Stealth Rock is in general and at the very least induce the idea that testing it at the beginning of the new metagame would probably be ideal should the move be tested (which I obviously think it should be).
 
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Kink

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#15
This is actually a ridiculous, irresponsible debate. Stealth Rock is a staple element to competitive battling. Yes, almost 100% of teams utilize a moveslot for Stealth Rock on their team. Just as almost every team carries Entry Hazard control for the four different kinds of Entry Hazards we have. If you build a team weak to Stealth Rock with no answer, it is not indicative of SR being the problem - you're just a shitty teambuilder.

Not all teams even require hazard control, such as some HO teams which just attempt to plow through the opposing team, often utilizing double switches and aggressive counterplay to force the opponent to not retain enough momentum to place Rocks. That's just one scenario among thousands which introduce VARIABILITY among games. Stealth Rock support is a means to an end in terms of strategy and is just one element of a larger whole to the dynamic additions that Pokemon introduces generation after generation.

The ubiquity of SR isn't a problem; it is a staple, an objective standard for every individual to plan and prepare for. Refusing to plan for rocks means you're a shit builder. Changing a fundamental aspect of this game to suit our rhetoric is not only a bad idea, but a damn irresponsible one (which is partially why the Scald debate has been SO frivolous, despite the popularity of a no-scald meta).

If you want UU help on how to deal with Stealth Rock, contact battling 101 and I'd be happy to educate you.
 
#16
Here's a thought experiment: S&M introduces a Fire-type version of Stealth Rock. Suddenly every Pokemon weak to Fire drops drastically in viability. Ferrothorn, Scizor, Abomasnow et al are unusable. Would you be happy with that?

No, because it would be stupid. You're only defending Stealth Rock because we've already let it stick around for three generations. "It's a staple" and "git gud" are not arguments.
 

Kink

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#17
Here's a thought experiment: S&M introduces a Fire-type version of Stealth Rock. Suddenly every Pokemon weak to Fire drops drastically in viability. Ferrothorn, Scizor, Abomasnow et al are unusable. Would you be happy with that?

No, because it would be stupid. You're only defending Stealth Rock because we've already let it stick around for three generations. "It's a staple" and "git gud" are not arguments.
Your thought experiment is useless because there is no Fire-Type Stealth Rock and even if there was I'd wait until I was absolutely sure there was a problem before posting my irrelevant opinions on it. You know what's a terrible argument? Theoryhazarding.

In response to your other point, an objective standard argument is in fact an argument, and you claiming otherwise does not make it any less true. "From personal matters to foreign policy, from the sciences to the arts, from education to legislation—there are demonstrably objective standards by reference to which we can assess what is true or false, good or bad, right or wrong."

What you're proposing is changing, by very definition, how every mon operates within every tier because every mon is affected by Stealth Rock, whether positively or negatively. That is irresponsible to suggest on a whim, and even more irresponsible to propose a radical shift into a SR-less meta for Gen 7 without a single shred of empirical data, whether personal or interpersonal, to support your claims.

You want to check out how Gen 7 would look like without Rocks? Host a SR-less tournament (or 7/8, one for each tier), force people to post replays, watch every game, and become an expert observer at how a SR-less meta would affect our tiers. THEN I (and I'm sure many others) would be willing to consider what you have to say. Until then, this is all pointless; all you're doing is causing newer less experienced users to think there's a chance at removing SR for poor reasons.

If you want to get involved in site policy, get involved properly. Earn a spot on a council, become a member of that tier's Viability Council, host tours that can exemplify the foundations of your argument, and provide proof of your claims without resorting to rationale arguments. The onus is on you to prove it's broken, not the other way around.
 
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Albacore

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#18
gengod You keep mentioning that banning Stealth Rock will also increase the number of viable checks to the big threats it empowers, but you haven't given a single actual example of this. The only one I can think of which is relevant to OU would be Zapdos/Thundurus acting as a better check to certain Flying types, particularly Tornadus-T. But otherwise, the typings don't really indicate that checks to SR-weak threats would benefit from SR being gone.

SR mainly affects Fire-, Flying-, Ice- and Bug-types, so those are the mons that will rise in viability with rocks gone. And while Fire- and Flying- types would have an easier time checking bugs, I highly doubt Scyther will suddenly become a massive threat with SR gone.
You can argue that offensive Fire- and Ice- will be kept in check by defensive Fires which will more easily fit on teams as a result, but the as far as I know only rock-weak Fire-types that can really work defensively are Talonflame and XZard (which admittedly can keep Volcarona in check, but I don't think that would make up for how much bigger threats both of these would become, especially since they really don't check each other at all) and Arcanine (which will almost certainly still be complete garbage even with rocks gone). Ice-types will always be awful defensively, and although you can argue that Weavile will be able to keep Flying-types in check, much like Talonflame and XZard, that would just be another case of broken checking broken.

If you look at the pokemon who do check Fire- Flying-, Ice- and Bug- types, you'll realise that they're primarily Rock- (duh), Steel-, Water- and Ground-types. Half of these types are resistant to rock and the other doesn't really mind too much, so I fail to see how SR is holding back checks to other SR-weak Pokemon.

This has been mentioned before, but it bears repeating : SR's ability to compromise specific types, thus reducing the need to check them, frees teambuilding immensely, especially given how impossible it is to check everything these days. Increasing the number of viable threats is absolutely not a good thing, and going out of our way to do that is a terrible idea.
The "Fire-type Stealth Rock" argument doesn't hold at all to me by the way, because that would, much like our current Stealth Rocks, free teambuilding even more by giving teams the option to no longer worry about Ferrotorn or Scizor walling/sweeping them. Which would be a good thing as a whole, and probably worth banning, say, Azumarill or Mega Diancie for if that becomes an issue.
On balance, I'd much rather render a bunch of threats less viable, at the risk rendering a few explicitly broken, than arbitrarily banning non-broken threats for contributing to a bloated metagame. And a metagame without SR would be very bloated indeed.


On a side note, while I do agree that there is no such thing as a viable team lacking SR, teams can absolutely be successful without hazard removal. I had fun going through WCOP replays and I found a lot of battles that were won without a hazard remover (way more than I expected, in fact):

boudouche's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-172878
boudouche's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-170064 (unless he was running no attacks skarm which I highly doubt)
TDK's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-172864
Nintendi's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-168934
Lysergic's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-167997
Lysergic's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-172311
man, Lysergic sure likes winning without hazard removal: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-169326
urban's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-172909
Kushalos's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-168847
xray's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-171727
xray's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-169803 (I mean, I'm assuming those last 2 aren't Defog Scizors at least...)
Asuk4's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-170284
improbable's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-172384
Ren-chon's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-172863
Hector Hard Mode's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-170750
Disenchanted's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-170939
p2's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-172396
rozes's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-170134
hsa's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-170837
Always's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-168936
Finchinator's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-170921
Mounts's team here: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-ou-172264


And those were all from the first round alone, and discounting teams which may have had hazard removal but never used it. So claiming that hazard removal is mandatory is outright false.
 
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#19
King UU My point was that you defend Stealth Rock because it's an integral part of the metagame, with no regard to what it actually DOES to the metagame. You failed to address that.

What you're proposing is changing, by very definition, how every mon operates within every because every mon is affected by Stealth Rock, whether positively or negatively. That is irresponsible to suggest on a whim, and even more irresponsible to propose a radical shift into a SR-less meta for Gen 7 without a single shred of empirical data, whether personal or interpersonal, to support your claims.
Arguing for drastic changes =/= irresponsibility. Too many words, not enough substance.

You want to check out how Gen 7 would look like without Rocks? Host a SR-less tournament (or 7/8, one for each tier), force people to post replays, watch every game, and become an expert observer at how a SR-less meta would affect our tiers. THEN I (and I'm sure many others) would be willing to consider what you have to say.
And then we'll be halfway through the metagame and it will be too late to consider testing or removing Stealth Rock. Again.

There was actually a no-SR ladder implemented in BW (here: http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/stealth-rock-less-ladder.3488323/), and feedback was mostly favourable. The issue was that too many of the threats kept in check by Stealth Rock were broken on that ladder, which wouldn't be a problem if the ban were implemented at the start of a generation.

-----------------------------

On the other hand, Albacore's point that Stealth Rock is necessary to reduce the number of viable threats is a pretty compelling one. It's worth noting, though, that Stealth Rock always benefits the aggressor. Removing it would represent a net increase in the effectiveness of defensive Pokemon, which could counterbalance the increase in viable offensive threats. It is possible that this exacerbates the match-up issue, though, which is going to get worse in S&M anyway.
 

Kink

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#20
King UU Arguing for drastic changes =/= irresponsibility. Too many words, not enough substance.

And then we'll be halfway through the metagame and it will be too late to consider testing or removing Stealth Rock. Again.

There was actually a no-SR ladder implemented in BW (here: http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/stealth-rock-less-ladder.3488323/), and feedback was mostly favourable. The issue was that too many of the threats kept in check by Stealth Rock were broken on that ladder, which wouldn't be a problem if the ban were implemented at the start of a generation.

-----------------------------

On the other hand, Albacore's point that Stealth Rock is necessary to reduce the number of viable threats is a pretty compelling one. It's worth noting, though, that Stealth Rock always benefits the aggressor. Removing it would represent a net increase in the effectiveness of defensive Pokemon, which could counterbalance the increase in viable offensive threats. It is possible that this exacerbates the match-up issue, though, which is going to get worse in S&M anyway.
First of all, I took the liberty of checking your other policy posts. I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but Smogon has zero responsibility towards catering to a "fun" or "enjoyable" metagame. Naturally it's nice if the decisions we make end up making the tier in question more enjoyable, but the two do not have a causal relationship by any means.

The next thing I'd like to address is how you don't believe drastic changes without empirical evidence is not irresponsible. What is your argument for disagreeing with me and the majority of all users that sit on a council? UU is currently suspecting Baton Pass at the end of Gen 6 because that is when the problem of its existence has arisen, and the individuals chosen to vote in that test are all users that can back up their claims. If we vote to remove Baton Pass, which is a drastic change, you better believe I need to offer responsible reasoning, otherwise I tarnish my credibility. Gen 7 doesn't even exist yet. SR with Gen 7 is an unknown variable. How can you claim to know how SR affects the Gen 7 meta? You cannot. These standards apply to everyone.

Next: so they tested the SR-less meta in gen 5, found it made certain mons broken which destabilized the meta, and proceeded not to remove it from the meta. Notwithstanding that you're trying to introduce gen 5 as a reason for us to remove SR in gen 7, but your own point just supports my argument anyway so rip.

Lastly, if the accountable thing to do is to wait a year or so to see how SR does its thing in Gen 7, then that's what will happen. It's perfectly ok to wait half a generation to suspect something if that's what's necessary. I fail to understand how this point is an argument in favour to suspecting SR. It took over half a generation just to start talking about Scald in gen 6. Do you understand that these things take time? Radical shifts require a long, drawn out process because should we make the wrong decision we impact tens of thousands of players negatively by giving them a less fair metagame.

I've said my piece.
 
#21
First of all, I took the liberty of checking your other policy posts. I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but Smogon has zero responsibility towards catering to a "fun" or "enjoyable" metagame. Naturally it's nice if the decisions we make end up making the tier in question more enjoyable, but the two do not have a causal relationship by any means.
lol it's a fucking game. please ban me from Policy Review if anyone else agrees with this

The next thing I'd like to address is how you don't believe drastic changes without empirical evidence is not irresponsible. What is your argument for disagreeing with me and the majority of all users that sit on a council? UU is currently suspecting Baton Pass at the end of Gen 6 because that is when the problem of its existence has arisen, and the individuals chosen to vote in that test are all users that can back up their claims. If we vote to remove Baton Pass, which is a drastic change, you better believe I need to offer responsible reasoning, otherwise I tarnish my credibility. Gen 7 doesn't even exist yet. SR with Gen 7 is an unknown variable. How can you claim to know how SR affects the Gen 7 meta? You cannot. These standards apply to everyone.
I agree, it's a big change. But we will never have a better opportunity than we do right now to remove Stealth Rock and potentially create a much better metagame. That's why I support a test, instead of sitting on our hands and doing nothing. If it doesn't work, it's not ideal but we can re-introduce Stealth Rock and then we'll have compelling evidence as to why it's a necessary part of the meta.

Next: so they tested the SR-less meta in gen 5, found it made certain mons broken which destabilized the meta, and proceeded not to remove it from the meta. Notwithstanding that you're trying to introduce gen 5 as a reason for us to remove SR in gen 7, but your own point just supports my argument anyway so rip.
But the majority loved the metagame (and it wasn't a suspect test btw). Things which are broken without Stealth Rock will get banned. You asked for evidence and I gave you the best available evidence. I don't know how else to get through to you.
 
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#22
Your thought experiment is useless because there is no Fire-Type Stealth Rock and even if there was I'd wait until I was absolutely sure there was a problem before posting my irrelevant opinions on it. You know what's a terrible argument? Theoryhazarding.
A thought experiment is never useless, setting a precedent in our way of handling this kind of stuff (our stance on Entry Hazards and how much they should be allowed to influence the game) is an important thing. Just look at how many issues and endlessly long pointless discussions there have been about Complex Bans and Baton Pass, just because they weren't addressed properly back in the day.

Besides, we're talking about a move (Stealth Rock) that has been on 100% of the teams for 3 generations straight, influencing the metagame far more than anything else has.

What you're proposing is changing, by very definition, how every mon operates within every because every mon is affected by Stealth Rock, whether positively or negatively. That is irresponsible to suggest on a whim, and even more irresponsible to propose a radical shift into a SR-less meta for Gen 7 without a single shred of empirical data, whether personal or interpersonal, to support your claims.

So basically your argument is that 'since this has never been banned before, we can't ban it now'. Now let's think about this modus operandi. An example that has actually happened (not just ''theoryhazarding'' here) is Baton Pass. It wasn't addressed for years, yet we ended up having to ban it in multiple ways. If we were following your ''if you don't prepare for this you're a terrible battler'' argument, we could have said the same about Baton Pass, and never had come around banning it. The fact that something hasn't been addressed before doesn't mean it shouldn't be addressed now.


As for the ''we shouldn't do it at the start of the generation'' argument. If instead of instantly banning all the strong Uber pokemon (talking about Kyogre, Groudon, Mewtwo etc), we instead dropped them to OU at the start of the generation, would we ever get around banning them? Considering that the Uber metagame has been usually balanced (except a couple fringe cases) it's safe to say our current OU banlist would consist of only Mega Rayquaza. So it would be possible to have (as this is demonstrated by older Uber tiers, such as ADV, DPP or BW) a completely different, yet balanced metagame, simply because the tier started with different rules at the start of the generation. It is balanced, so there shouldn't be any complaints about it. Of course, you mention how ''there needs to be a reason to actually suspect test Stealth Rock'', and the reason has already been said by yourself:

how every mon operates within every because every mon is affected by Stealth Rock, whether positively or negatively.
Has there ever been any Pokémon, Ability, Move or Status condition to have such impact on the metagame? Probably besides Evasion and Sleep (and look where those are), it's quite easy to see the answer is no. And it's also quite easy to see how testing a metagame without such a move is reasonable, especially at the start of a generation, because then we'll have time to backtrack in case we end up realizing the metagame actually needs Stealth Rock to be balanced.
 

Kink

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#24
A thought experiment is never useless, setting a precedent in our way of handling this kind of stuff (our stance on Entry Hazards and how much they should be allowed to influence the game) is an important thing. Just look at how many issues and endlessly long pointless discussions there have been about Complex Bans and Baton Pass, just because they weren't addressed properly back in the day.

Besides, we're talking about a move (Stealth Rock) that has been on 100% of the teams for 3 generations straight, influencing the metagame far more than anything else has.

So basically your argument is that 'since this has never been banned before, we can't ban it now'. Now let's think about this modus operandi. An example that has actually happened (not just ''theoryhazarding'' here) is Baton Pass. It wasn't addressed for years, yet we ended up having to ban it in multiple ways. If we were following your ''if you don't prepare for this you're a terrible battler'' argument, we could have said the same about Baton Pass, and never had come around banning it. The fact that something hasn't been addressed before doesn't mean it shouldn't be addressed now.

As for the ''we shouldn't do it at the start of the generation'' argument. If instead of instantly banning all the strong Uber pokemon (talking about Kyogre, Groudon, Mewtwo etc), we instead dropped them to OU at the start of the generation, would we ever get around banning them? Considering that the Uber metagame has been usually balanced (except a couple fringe cases) it's safe to say our current OU banlist would consist of only Mega Rayquaza. So it would be possible to have (as this is demonstrated by older Uber tiers, such as ADV, DPP or BW) a completely different, yet balanced metagame, simply because the tier started with different rules at the start of the generation. It is balanced, so there shouldn't be any complaints about it. Of course, you mention how ''there needs to be a reason to actually suspect test Stealth Rock'', and the reason has already been said by yourself:

Has there ever been any Pokémon, Ability, Move or Status condition to have such impact on the metagame? Probably besides Evasion and Sleep (and look where those are), it's quite easy to see the answer is no. And it's also quite easy to see how testing a metagame without such a move is reasonable, especially at the start of a generation, because then we'll have time to backtrack in case we end up realizing the metagame actually needs Stealth Rock to be balanced.
I see little-to-no problem with reassessing elements in previous generations and continuing to address potential problems since some of these metas are not dead and continue to develop: example, gen 3 uu. I'm not following your Baton Pass argument, because I already said UU is undergoing a Baton Pass suspect and expressed why the timing and nature of the suspect is the way it is (which argues against Clair's point), so it makes me feel that you haven't read my previous posts. UU suspected Chandelure long after Gen 5 was over. Revisiting metas and appropriately adjusting them after the fact is normal, encouraged, and actually points out that metas are still being governed and reviewed periodically.

I'm confused, is your problem with SR a Gen 6 thing? Then shouldn't we suspect it in Gen 6? Shouldn't each tier decide if they want to do that? The universality of the claims I'm reading is very disturbing considering the radical nature of what you propose.

No, my argument is not 'since this has never been banned before, we can't ban it now'. It's 'this move is not broken, you're making outlandish claims about Stealth Rock that has no basis in epistemic fact as you cannot suspect a staple objective standard before a Generation is introduced because you don't know how that move will impact the Generation compared to previous Generations. If this is the Story of Stealth Rock's demise then it deserves to see its chapter in Gen 7. If you hate it so much, make an argument to suspect it now in ORAS". That's my argument.

As I stated previously, radical shifts require a long, drawn out process because should we make the wrong decision we impact tens of thousands of players negatively by giving them a less fair metagame. My goal as a UU mod and council member is to fight for fairness and diversity in my tier. Anything else is a secondary concern, including "enjoyment".

I don't see how the example of including Uber mons in OU next gen is a fair comparison to suspecting SR or not including it in the beginning of gen 7. That's a non sequitur.

Please don't butcher my words. It makes it really difficult to reply to your points without feeling frustration, as it truly feels like you haven't read my points or took the time to understand them. My point was to illustrate that Stealth Rock has veins that permeate almost every mons viability and use and that this is neither a good nor bad thing, but a fundamental element of what Pokemon has become from gen 4 onward. Neither you, nor me, nor Clair, nor OP, or anyone else has sufficient information as to how Stealth Rock affects gen 7. The only argument that you can make, that's even remotely debatable, is whether or not SR is broken NOW and how it affects THIS tier or the previous generations. What this thread is proposing is a shit storm of a suspect with no empirical evidence to back up the claim that a suspect is necessary. You cannot just deconstruct the tiering system that has been put in place without good reasoning. I'm not suggesting our current tiering system is perfect, but what you're proposing is so radical, that it would involve changing our policies on these matters. Once again, the onus is on you to prove that this is necessary.

I hate to quote myself, but I've made several counter arguments that, for some reason, are being ignored: Not all teams even require hazard control, such as some HO teams which just attempt to plow through the opposing team, often utilizing double switches and aggressive counterplay to force the opponent to not retain enough momentum to place Rocks. That's just one scenario among thousands which introduce VARIABILITY among games. Stealth Rock support is a means to an end in terms of strategy and is just one element of a larger whole to the dynamic additions that Pokemon introduces generation after generation. The fact that you can choose between Blissey's SR or a support coverage adds to the dynamism of Blissey. You propose to take that dynamism away. That's irresponsible without solid reasoning. The onus is not on me to prove this to you, because our system is our system and you are the one that argues to change it.

Lastly, regarding theoryhazarding. I'd delete the post of any individual who attempted to theoryhazard, theorymon, or do any kind of non-relevant theorizing as a way of explaining the brokenness of anything. Fire-type SR don't exist, won't exist, so it means absolutely nothing to me. Until it does exist, I will not consider it as an element of a valid argument because it's all theoretical and we live in a world of data and empiricism. Things need to be verifiable in order for you to argue for or against them otherwise you're just speculating, or, even worse, posturing.
 
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#25
I think we've reached a point where Stealth Rock is about as intrinsic to Singles as Snorlax was in GSC. Removing Stealth Rock would completely change how we approach building the Sun & Moon metagame. We're talking months after months after months of constant testing (on top of the suspecting we'll inevitably have to do when we unban various Pokemon in order to test them). And it doesn't just apply to OU too; every tier would be significantly affected by the removal of Stealth Rocks.

It's just not worth it.
 
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