Freeze Clause in GSC

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#1

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Hello fellow Pokemon Combatants. I want to bring up your attention about a concerning matter in competitive GSC, that is the lack of the Freeze Clause in OU. GSC as a tier, can be very frustrating to your average player as it requires not only long term thinking and planing during a match, but also knowledge of the generation's mechanics and match ups in order to grasp wins. This is due to the stallish nature of the generation, Pokemon have maxed out DVs (basically EVs) and leftovers being an incredibly powerful and splashable held item.

Additionally, hazards in GSC are limited to only 1 spike layer (that is 12% extra damage on the switch), compared to entry hazards like Stealth Rocks, Toxic Spikes, and the ability to use 3 layers of Spikes in future generations. This makes Pokemon in GSC exceptionally tough and forms solid cores that players base their teams off. Stall is widely accepted in GSC player circles, its one of the basic and fundamental keys of the generation. In GSC players want to grasp small advantages every-time, so that slowly but steadily avalanche these advantage into a solid leads, these being Pokemon kills.

Similar to RBY, where a Freeze Clause has been implemented, freeze is a very powerful status in GSC. Due to the stall nature of the generation, a player has ample turns to fish for a freeze. Being frozen in GSC gives you a 10% chance to thaw, at the end of the turn; as opposed to newer generation where the chance to thaw is 20%, and you are able to thaw and then make a move the same turn. This, has game breaking results making freeze arguably the strongest status in the generation (Stronger than sleep because of sleep talk mechanics in GSC allow you to call rest and reset the sleep cycle as well as healing the Pokemon back to full). If you're frozen, not only you're highly unlikely to thaw out but also you lose the turn you do thaw because thawing comes at the end of the turn. Pokemon can set up on something that has been frozen, without the fear of them being damaged on their turn simply because of this mechanic.

With 1 freeze someone may preserve their frozen pokemon in the backline to have some leeway in maneuvering switches and opposing roars to get them eventually to thaw out. With 2+ freezes, its essentially game over. Its exactly due to the nature of the gen, getting such a powerful immediate advantage over the opposing has little to no answers from the player that has been on the receiving end of the freeze.

The most recent example where the lack of a Freeze Clause has affected the outcome of a game was the SPL Finals Game between McMeghan and Mr.378. In this game McMeghan faces a very hard matchup to win, but through his use of Ice Beam Cloyster and Ice Punch Gengar to freeze Mr.378s Umbreon and Snorlax respectively, he was able to pull through a matchup he would never have been able to win otherwise. McMeghan explains this as well in his video describing his game, talking about why Ice Beam Cloyster in order to fish for a freeze due to how easily it can cripple his opponent. This game went from a sure win for Mr.378 to a sure loss due to the ease at which McMeghan was able to fish for the freeze.

Also similar to RBY, in Pokemon Tournaments held in 2000 had the same Freeze Clause used by Smogon in RBY today:
Freeze clause: Each player can only have one Pokémon frozen at a time.
This is basically all we are asking for in terms of a Freeze Clause for future games as it would fall in line with the uncompetive criteria from the tiering framework used to ban things like Sand Veil from DPP in the past
C.) This can be probability management issues; think OHKOs, SwagPlay, Evasion, or Moody, all of which turn the battle from emphasizing battling skill to emphasizing the result of the RNG more often than not.
 
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#2
I understand the concern and really the desire for such a thing, but this clause does not seem justified. I can't speak to the historical precedent involved in the RBY freeze clause, but I'm also not totally sold on the provided reasons for why we need this in GSC, so I'll try to respond to everything brought up.

One of the main points you stick with is that due to stallish teams being so common, freezes occur much more often than in other generations (per game). However, this really seems to me as the timeless issue that all generations face. The more passive you make your team, the more susceptible you are to secondary chances occurring - such is the very nature of pokemon. The logic of "stall is the status quo, secondary chances make stall less effective or secure, the most powerful of secondary chances should be dealt with" is definitely faulty (I know this isn't totally accurate but bear with me for the sake of argument). Rather, an appropriate way to look at this would be to acknowledge this tradeoff that players take on when constructing a team. You can say that "GSC is naturally stallish" but perhaps we are just delegitimizing odds that are fundamental in pokemon. Instead of changing how mechanics work to suit the status quo of playstyles, we should be adapting our playstyles to maximize the chances of winning considering the raw mechanics naturally provided (freeze mechs here). If stall is truly being hindered by freezes, maybe we shouldn't be using stall as much.

You also mention how freezes, or the moves that cause them, are uncompetitive. However, Ice Beam is a very long way from the type of pure gambling that is evasion or anything of the sort. There is no way that Ice Beam in GSC turns the game from "emphasizing battling skill to emphasizing the result of the RNG more often than not". I can tell you that when most people click Ice Beam with Nidoking it's to damage Zapdos or Exeggutor, not to bank the game on a freeze. I mean, its a 95 BP move that has a good offensive typing, the 10% freeze is really secondary.

Lastly, I really do not see this as a pressing issue worth creating a new clause for. The chance of freeze is, again, a mere 10%, and as such the chance of getting 2 freezes with no thaws throughout a common game is extremely low. In fact, I can't recall a single game besides that McMeghan one where someone got 2 freezes and won because of it. Even in his game, at least one of the freezes occurred on his very first try so using this as an example of a consistently problematic occurrence isn't exactly accurate. Maybe this clause would make GSC more subjectively fun and secure but it is not at all warranted considering Smogon's policy and really pokemon itself.
 

rozes

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#3
choolio asked me to post on his behalf since he cant:
Hi,

I usually have no interest in participating in such discussions, but since I actively play this tier I shall post for once.

GSC always has been played with Freeze Clause on in the past. I don't get why it was removed in the first place. Even SPL games in the past were played with it on. Guess why? Even if there is only a "mere" 10% chance to freeze something, going for the freeze is just a valid strategy. I'm also pretty sure most GSC players (the group of people which should have an actual say on this, since it's them playing this tier in official tournaments like SPL or WCoP and not those guys that want to keep Smogon's policy intact by not trying to break the game by adding a freeze clause) would prefer to have it added back. A tradition that should never have been removed.

The distribution of fire moves to get your frozen Pokémon thaw out is also very unlikely, since those are not that common to begin with.

This topic also had countless discussions in the past, here is one from last year. http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/freeze-clause.3563226/

This thread is only a year old but the most recent one of the old threads. Jellicent tagged a bunch of people who played GSC in tournaments at that time and asked them for their opinion. Bunch of people that play it actively voiced their opinion on the topic and most were in favor of it. Nothing has been done about it though.

Here is also a thread from PO where somebody smart removed all out of the sudden the freeze clause from GSC (and RBY): http://pokemon-online.eu/threads/11760/

This thread is way older and still important if you ask me, since back then people actively laddered GSC on PO. You had people like Tiba (who also participated in said discussion and is also in favor of a freeze clause).

Even if we kind of break the game mechanics, we already are breaking them by having sleep clause or species clause. And if we are going for the complete ingame mechanics, you can enter Link Battles in GSC with Pokémons pre statused and damaged. Something that is not supported and something I wish not to be added to the game anyway.

I think we should not care about Smogon's policy for once and just add it. We played before with it, why should we stop doing so? Just because some people are annoyed by it and think it looks ugly to break ingame mechanics?
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personally i would like to have some kind of vote on the clause similar to what dpp did with sand veil and leave it up to players who actively play the tier since this has been brought up many times in the past and having some solid way to show how active gsc players feel about this would go a long way for the future of the tier and the implementation of this clause.
 
#4
Similar to RBY, where a Freeze Clause has been implemented, freeze is a very powerful status in GSC. Due to the stall nature of the generation, a player has ample turns to fish for a freeze.
This is very misleading. There are not ample turns to fish for a freeze in the vast majority of games between competent players. If this were actually the case, we would see far more freeze strategies and freezes in general than we do now. I've tried making a freeze-based team and had very mixed results (if anyone else wants to try this I think all you really need as the core is Jynx and Curselax with Ice Beam with possible teammates as Nidoking/Gengar). I believe VIL also attempted to make a freeze team but it didn't work out for him either.

Being frozen in GSC gives you a 10% chance to thaw, at the end of the turn; as opposed to newer generation where the chance to thaw is 20%, and you are able to thaw and then make a move the same turn. This, has game breaking results making freeze arguably the strongest status in the generation (Stronger than sleep because of sleep talk mechanics in GSC allow you to call rest and reset the sleep cycle as well as healing the Pokemon back to full). If you're frozen, not only you're highly unlikely to thaw out but also you lose the turn you do thaw because thawing comes at the end of the turn. Pokemon can set up on something that has been frozen, without the fear of them damaging on their turn simply because of this mechanic.
This I can agree on. Freeze is extremely powerful in GSC. Some teams can handle Freeze well, but only those with Heal Bell, which is not all that common due to poor distribution.

With 1 freeze someone may preserve their frozen pokemon in the backline to have some leeway in maneuvering switches and opposing roars to get them eventually to thaw out. With 2+ freezes, its essentially game over. Its exactly due to the nature of the gen, getting such a powerful immediate advantage over the opposing has little to no answers from the player that has been on the receiving end of the freeze.
This is true in most cases as well. However, there are many cases where players are forced to face similar or worse odds with taking critical hits, paralysis, etc which is not all that different and this is simply part of the game. Obviously, the chances of two freezes occuring is also extremely low.

The most recent example where the lack of a Freeze Clause has affected the outcome of a game was the SPL Finals Game between McMeghan and Mr.378.
You say this is the most recent example, but where are the other examples? They are few and far between. There are many examples of games where singular freezes swing games, but freeze clause doesn't affect them anyway.

Also similar to RBY, in Pokemon Tournaments held in 2000 had the same Freeze Clause used by Smogon in RBY today: This is basically all we are asking for in terms of a Freeze Clause for future games as it would fall in line with the uncompetive criteria from the tiering framework used to ban things like Sand Veil from DPP in the past
It does not fall in line with that criteria as ABR explained in his post earlier.

The only real justification being given here is tradition, which was misguided due to not only breaking game mechanics but also being a ban of something which is not an overpowering presence in the metagame (it is overpowering when it happens, but the frequency that is happens is so low that it is not an overpowering presence).


(I edited my post a bit, one part in particular had some poor logic)
 
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#5
Before I procceed to the quote, I need to first say I respect your(plural) inputs, and I'm really interested to see how everyone perceives this.

This is very misleading. There are not ample turns to fish for a freeze in the vast majority of games between competent players. If this were actually the case, we would see far more freeze strategies and freezes in general than we do now. I've tried making a freeze-based team and had very mixed results (if anyone else wants to try this I think all you really need as the core is Jynx and Curselax with Ice Beam with possible teammates as Nidoking/Gengar). I believe VIL also attempted to make a freeze team but it didn't work out for him either
.

The fact that you and ViL tried to make freeze based teams, means in a sort of way you recognise something here is potentially abusable. It might or might not swang a game in your favor(you said mixed results, which in turn it means there were at least SOME results, right?). But this kind of thought process is what should be avoided thus the reason I'm asking for the clause in the first place. It is devastating when it happens. Everyone I asume agrees on that and I didn't read anything pointing out the opposite(that more than 1 freeze is playable). This to me should be enough to justify the clause.

You compared it to 2 in a row crits. I agree, partially in the thought process but I want to point out that freezing something with Ice beam or Ice punch is more likely to occur(10% vs 6.25%). So double freezing occurs with more than double the frequency of an attack criting twice in a row(1/256 for 2x crits and 1/100 for 2x freeze). And getting crit'ed still is much more recoverable. In selected scenarios where irreversible damage (i.e KO) does a crit become equally important, whereas a freeze will have an impact to the game whether it happens on a full healthy pokemon or not.

Apart from the tradition that GSC always has had a Freeze clause on, and not having it up right now is the change(not the otherway around). More opportunities to fish for freeze exist, by the very definition of GSC stall when sets exists like lovely kiss monolax or rest talk monolax, standard Miltank, Umbreon ect. Which is the proper way to aproach this then, should we not to use such pokemon because then your team can be exploited in a potential 2x freeze,or to have a freeze clause up like it has always been?
The problem shoudnt be adressed as in a way that it resides but only on a low frequency of this happening. An inteligent and powerful player such as McMeghan was able to flat out win an unwinable game because of intelligent use of the lack of this clause in my example. This is conditionally very abusable.
 
#6
The fact that you and ViL tried to make freeze based teams, means in a sort of way you recognise something here is potentially abusable. It might or might not swang a game in your favor(you said mixed results, which in turn it means there were at least SOME results, right?). But this kind of thought process is what should be avoided thus the reason I'm asking for the clause in the first place. It is devastating when it happens. Everyone I asume agrees on that and I didn't read anything pointing out the opposite(that more than 1 freeze is playable). This to me should be enough to justify the clause.
There is nothing wrong with building a team around a powerful game element. Paralysis teams are very common and more effective for example. Some teams also utilise confusion trapping to take advantage of the slower pace of some GSC teams but it is not consistent enough to warrant banning or see frequent use by top players. I would consider confusion trapping a more effective strategy than freeze spamming.

You compared it to 2 in a row crits. I agree, partially in the thought process but I want to point out that freezing something with Ice beam or Ice punch is more likely to occur(10% vs 6.25%). So double freezing occurs with more than double the frequency of an attack criting twice in a row(1/256 for 2x crits and 1/100 for 2x freeze). And getting crit'ed still is much more recoverable. In selected scenarios where irreversible damage (i.e KO) does a crit become equally important, whereas a freeze will have an impact to the game whether it happens on a full healthy pokemon or not.
The reason I edited my original post was because handling crit damage and paralysis tends to be more reliable than handling ice beam freeze chance. We naturally switch to resistances and electric immunities etc, which in some part accounts for potential crits by resisting the damage. The options for freeze are ice types and Pokemon with prior status, which is very limiting (although Rest spam can sometimes be effective to handle Gengar as monolax).

However, because only ice moves can freeze and not even the most commonly used ice move (hp ice), crits are actually more likely to happen in a game, as I'm sure you'd have noticed. Anyway my point is freeze, while super powerful, is not all that different to other secondary effects and adding a clause for double freeze as a sort of insurance policy for something that happens once in a blue moon is arbitrary and unnecessary. The only thing making it non-arbitrary is the fact it existed previously.

More opportunities to fish for freeze exist, by the very definition of GSC stall when sets exists like lovely kiss monolax or rest talk monolax, standard Miltank, Umbreon ect. Which is the proper way to aproach this then, should we not to use such pokemon because then your team can be exploited in a potential 2x freeze,or to have a freeze clause up like it has always been?
First, if you choose to use those sets you do it with the risk that you may end up failing to pursuit the ghost regardless of ice attacks being on the enemy team, or end up having your team in a condition where you can't avoid taking the risk of getting frozen. (also Miltank is kind of a counter to freeze, but anyway) This is already a thing regardless of freeze, especially for Moonlight Umbreon, which is extremely susceptible to status in general. Status amplifies the impact of chs and unfavourable variance in pretty much all cases bar rest. Second, if you are aware of the crit/freeze/para fp fishing opportunity, you are obligated to play around it or team build with it in mind. This is something any good gsc player is already aware of. If you have a non restalk Suicune vs a double-edge lax, you can theoretically rest loop because d-e is a 4hko. However, odds are it will CH at some point, so you typically switch to Skarmory to avoid the chance.

The problem shoudnt be adressed as in a way that it resides but only on a low frequency of this happening. An inteligent and powerful player such as McMeghan was able to flat out win an unwinable game because of intelligent use of the lack of this clause in my example. This is conditionally very abusable.
Honestly, McMeghan just got really lucky that game. He had maybe 3 or 4 chances to freeze the Umbreon and got it first try (378 couldn't get toxic off, which would have helped him a lot). He also froze Snorlax first try and it never defrosted even though enough turns passed for defrosting to have better odds than staying frozen. I won't deny that situations exist where fishing for multiple freezes is viable, but they aren't remotely common or relevant enough to warrant a clause, even if it wasn't breaking game mechanics. We shouldn't implement clauses to deal with the outlier cases of bad luck in a game like this.
 
#7
The two most common Pokemon in GSC that almost always use a freeze-inducing move are Nidoking and Gengar. Cloyster, Suicune, and Vaporeon sometimes use Ice Beam. That's about it aside from some fringe sets or the odd Jynx. Given the current popularity of Nidoking and Gengar, I'd say there's an above average chance that at least one potentially freeze-inducing move is used in any competitive game of GSC. Therefore, it's worth taking seriously. Say that Gengar switches in on Forretress, which can't touch Gengar, and switches to Raikou. Gengar uses Ice Punch to fish for freeze and gets it, 10% chance. Raikou doesn't immediately thaw, 9% chance. Raikou switches to the secondary Gengar check, Snorlax, which gets Ice Punched and frozen again, 0.9% chance. Snorlax doesn't immediately thaw, 0.81% chance. So in a game with a Pokemon that can induce freeze, this situation would happen a little bit under 1 in 100 times. But when this does occur, the game is effectively over because we don't have Freeze Clause in GSC. Is this worth it?

This is a really tricky subject, and it's hard to prove exactly why this clause should be reinstated. On one hand, you have the argument that getting frozen twice is just bullshit, and shouldn't be allowed. However, I think the comparison to Evasion Clause, OHKO Clause, etc. is a poor one. There is a difference between playing the odds to your favor, which is the core of much of competitive Pokemon, and using blind luck as your pre-planned avenue to victory, which is what Evasion Clause and OHKO Clause prevent. No one builds a serious GSC team around getting multiple freezes because it just doesn't work very well, as Earthworm can attest to. Instead, sometimes you find yourself in a situation where your only avenue to victory is that 1% chance of getting two freezes consecutively, and much like other low-probability win conditions such as chaining crits or praying for multiple misses, it's in no way inherently uncompetitive to allow this.

On the other hand, there's the argument that since Freeze Clause was standard for such a long time in GSC, it should be made standard again. In fact, I'm not sure anyone knows why it was removed in the first place. Yeah, this is a traditionalist argument, but it shouldn't be discounted on that fact. The GSC metagame is firmly established, it has a veteran playerbase that doesn't fluctuate too much in population one way or the other, and it's a format that is "owned" moreso by the players than anything else. If the majority of the real GSC players in this community want Freeze Clause back, I see no good reason to deny them. However, as someone who feels like he has a decently informed opinion on Smogon's policy and the state of GSC, I believe we should NOT reinstate Freeze Clause.

edit: I think it's worth noting that a year or two ago my opinion would have been the opposite, but it's important to consider how much we already rely on elements of luck in this game, and ask if we would want to have a situationally relevant path to victory removed from a match of ours in the name of "competitiveness"
 
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Zarel

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#8
No opinion, but I just wanted to point out that neither OHKO moves nor Swagger are overpowered. We ban them because they're not fun to play around and make the game more dependent on chance than we would like. In the same way, "freeze isn't overpowered" doesn't necessarily mean Freeze Clause is unnecessary.

Anyway, I feel like we should probably make a survey of gen 2 players so we have some idea of what consensus is like, before we do too much other discussion.

What do you think the requirements should be to qualify as "plays gen 2", for the purposes of a survey?
 
#9
OHKO moves are actually broken in GSC but fair point

How about played GSC for the most recent WCoP/SPL or made it to x round in Classic? Quarterfinals is my instinct, keeps the voter pool small. Ladder is a terrible metric and I can't think of anything else that's less arbitrary. This way we at least get decent, active GSCers
 

Mizuhime

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#11
What do you think the requirements should be to qualify as "plays gen 2", for the purposes of a survey?
What DPP did when it came time for vote for the evasion clause update was I believe use players who have played and won at least a game of DPP in team tournaments such as WCOP / SPL within the past year, we could also pull people who placed well within GSC cup for Smogon Classic as potential voters.
 
#12
It would be realy good if this got some more traffic/opinions/resolve by the time wcop starts, because there won't be another big GSC event till next year more or less.
As Zarel suggested, having out a survey off gen 2 players would be the best step right now, considering the limitations of responce PR offers to normal users.
 
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