Categorizing Tiering Bans

I want to start this thread to discuss recognizing different types of ban types, namely the distinction between skill-based and over-centralization-based bans.

While this distinction is far from a new idea, with its reappearence in the recent Arceus thread, I think it would be a good idea to discuss it directly, if only to sort out semantics (and possibly policy).

My idea is to define Standard Tiers (OU, UU) as those tiers that are constructed (by bans and clauses) to be both skill-based and to lack over-centralization.

Being skill based means the metagame is conducive to the stronger players rising to the top.

Lacking over-centralization means that a certain amount of variety is in the metagame, in terms of usage of different pokemon.

The combination of both of these favorable characteristics would identify a tier as a standard tier (or "standard ideal"), which have the main focus of the site's support.

However, we would say that only being skill based is necessary to be recognized as a "competitive tier," and thus be represented in official tournaments, events etc. Smogon would also give these metagames freedom to make their own policy in smogon's name. Yes, I am talking about the Uber tier here. "Lacking Over-Centralization" is a desirable charactersistic for many players, which is where OU's popularity stems from, but it is not a requirement for a game to be playable.

Now, the main point of this discussion would be to acknowledge that bans also fall into 1 of 2 categories dependant on their infringement of the above requirements.

Type A Banning: Reducing the Metagame's Skill-dependancy

Inconsistant. I had to say it. But also OHKO clause, Evasion clause, and Sleep Clause. I think it is inherent that this type of banning will often have to do with luck, but at a deeper source, it has to do with taking control of the game out of the player's hands, therefore removing the aspect of skill. That is why 4th Gen's wobb ban also probably has to do heavily with this type of ban. Inconsistant falls under here even without the luck aspect-- it takes the skill out of the game. Luck factors are not the only ones that can do this (sleep, Shadow Tag), but they are probably the most prominent.

Type B Banning: Over-centralization

Yache Chomp. lol. Anyway, these bans are made in order to prevent the game from centralizing around a mere handful of pokemon (we can note that 4th Gen OU has double the "OU" pokemon of 4th Gen Ubers). These bans almost always have to do with power. Some pokemon is just such a bad ass that everyone falls under his sway. It's probably fair to say that the vast majority of 4th Gen's Pokemon bans were heavily contingent on this type of problem.

Now, this is not to say that (especially in OU) it can't be a problem regarding both. If we look at Shaymin-S, or 4th Gen Deo-S (and it's ridiculous control over the lead matchup), it's clear that it's not always clear cut. That's fine. It's only important that we are aware of the distinction, and also important for the larger community to understand that bans can fall under either.

Inconsistent or OHKO moves don't have to win every game in order to be reducing the skill factor of the meta. Even if the better players have forsaken [inconsistancy] in favor of more dependable strategies, that doesn't mean it's not hurting the game. It is. Players have to understand why.

For Ubers it should be noted that philosophically, there should be an effort to not make Type B bans. Ubers is where we ban all those bad asses, and Ubers players are probably well aware of the resulting over-centralization (they embrace it from what I understand). That said, Type A bans should be fair game, as making sure the game is skill-based is always a top priority if people are to play the game competitively.

At this point I would like to open the floor to discuss whether this is how we should think about bans/tiering, and/or whether there should even be a distinction made. If people like this distinction but want to improve on the semantics (have clearer terminology suggestions) please post.

Also, my 4000th post. :P


edit: Also, because I know it's going to come up, the above are just categories-- they do not clearly define why a thing is being banned. How much hax does it have to caused to get under Type A? How much usage/dominance does have to achieve to get under Type B?

Those questions are not for philosophy or terminology to define. That's up to the players, and their opinions-- their votes. By making bans, we are engineering a "better game," but what makes a game better is subjective. The only way to answer that, is with people's opinions. That's why we have the voting system.


The obssessive man of passion
I think this is a great idea. By establishing these distinctions I think there will be better guidelines for future tests and bans. However, how would this be implemented? Would suspects be nominated under one of these 2 categories as well as the guidelines for portrait of an uber?
No, probably not. I didn't post this intending it to be applied directly to the voting.

The real purpose is simply to clarify these concepts. Clarifying does however come with benefits.

  1. Clearly distinguishes standard tiers from others like ubers
  2. Established the minimum to be treated as a competitive tier (skill based)
  3. Clearly identified why dominance is not needed to be banned (if it demerits skill)
  4. Better established how some vague terms such as "overcentralization" and "haxy" fit into tiering

While this does do some work to set the mindset/thinking behind tiering like previous threads like "portrait of an über", I intend for this to have none of the vague opened-endedness of those threads. This is not all encompassing like those threads and is only detailing a specific fraction of what goes into background tiering philosophy. Not an end all be all, but very clear and specific.
I'm beginning to wonder whether Ubers and Standard should simply be defined as "Singles with initial banlist [nothing] / {Arceus, Kyogre, ...}" respectively. I'm not entirely certain that there is even a need to clarify which kinds of bans are appropriate, because each initial banlist carries with it certain mentalities and values that automatically go into each resulting metagame. The Standard initial banlist was produced in the first place because 50%+ of the voting population had certain common desires that they believed would be achieved with this banlist. Don't get me wrong - I'm all for clarity in communicating what we want out of Pokémon - but if the existence of these common values is all that is needed, then maybe we don't necessarily have to identify them in an exact, rigid manner that may not even reflect our actual beliefs.
I agree with capefeather entirely. Defining Ubers as a metagame that "shouldn't make bans based on overcentralization" seems pretty unnecessary. If Ubers players don't tend to like centralization-based bans, then those won't happen and most Ubers players will be happy. If Ubers players suddenly start thinking that centralization is bad even in Ubers and that those bans are fine, then centralization bans will happen, and... most Ubers players will be happy. Sounds good to me.
I'd be apt to agree with both of you, if our community wasn't weird in the head. Basically I'm hearing a lack of necessity here on virtue of the community's capacity for common vision and common sense-- very pragmatic and something I'd love to follow. I bring this part up in large part because the community has a tendancy to be stupid with itself when it comes to pragmatism, and pig-headed in it's need to produce similarly over-contrived philosophy in order to justify itself and actually function. I could point out any number of embarrasing examples from the over-inflated time-wasting hub-bub about even having an initial fifth gen ban list, or the even worse example (where pragmatism and community consensus were actually over-thrown) regarding strict implementation of game mechanics.

We don't have a good history of making it easy on ourselves. I' m just hoping to make things easier by hopefully adding a bit of lube to the over-relied on training-wheels of smogon philosophy.
We don't need a "common vision" because the pieces are already in place. Bans are determined by vote, problem solved. I don't see where the community could possibly "screw that up" or make it more complicated or whatever.
Blame Game, I think the point of this thread was to come up with a way to articulate and understand banning votes. Sure a lot of people can see that Inconsistent is a pain and uncompetitive, but is there a common definition everyone can understand and agree upon which accurately explains why it was banned? Probably not. And then there's also finding distinguishing types of bans. An inconsistent ban is not the same as a Deoxys-a ban as there was completely different criteria used for each, and I think its important to be able to articulate that with these 'ban categories.'

Anyway, I'll give it a shot at trying to define how much or to what extent a Pokemon has to be Category A or B to receive a ban. Probably won't work out as well in text as it sounds in my head lol.

Category A: A Pokemon or Ability may receive a Category A ban upon the decision that it promotes substantial or noteworthy amounts of 'hax' or 'luck' and down plays the importance of skill and critical thinking. These Pokemon or Abilities are very easy to use and set-up, require little to no team support to succeed, and usually rely upon random occurrences or statistically improbable odds to work. In addition, if the Pokemon requires unreasonable means to be countered efficiently, it can be deemed uncompetitive and fall under this type of ban.

Category B: A Pokemon that falls under the distinction of Category B is accurately described as over-centralizing. While every Pokemon has its merits, one symptom of these Pokemon is that they are often "too good to pass up" during team-building and require special attention to assure a team is able to defend against them. Although some Pokemon stand out as the top ones, over-centralization revolves around the notion that they are both strong and very popular in a large majority of teams.

Anyway, gave it shot. Take if you like em, ignore if you don't. Thanks.
I don't mind the "articulating and understanding" part of this thread. It's the "Ubers should allow (or encourage) this sort of ban, but not this sort of ban, and this is the best way to differentiate it from Standard" prescription that I'm calling into question.