With great status comes great responsibility: a case for thoroughgoing revision of primary status conditions I'm proposing to change status conditions in a way that should be seen as a re-balancing — to be judged as a collection of related proposals, not a list of free-standing ones. Some of these changes would be undoubtedly ridiculous in isolation, but I ask the reader to put aside painful memories of past annoyance at status conditions to consider their implementation holistically. The biggest change would be that primary (or durable) status conditions would no longer be mutually exclusive of one another. It would be possible to have poison, burn, paralysis, freeze, and sleep status all at the same time. Bearing in mind my prior admonition, the rest of the changes have the overall effect of weakening individual status conditions without abolishing their roles and uses. Impact on meta-game diversity, competitiveness, and the role of chance vs. skill will be discussed as I enumerate the changes. • Freeze The existing GenNext changes to freeze are incorporated with some minor clarifications. The two turn "freeze counter" does not reset upon switching out. The sleep counter does not decrement while a pokémon is frozen, nor does it take damage from burn or poison. Freeze status is checked, and the corresponding counter reduced, prior to checking other status. Justification: If the counter doesn't reset, you can exploit tactical opportunities and prediction to get through the 2 turns of freeze and make the pokémon useful again. This increases competitiveness by providing skillful players an opportunity for mitigation. Interaction between different status conditions has to work somehow, so it should work in the way that makes the most intuitive sense, unless that would be broken. • Sleep Putting a pokémon to sleep wakes up every other sleeping (but not Rest-ing) non-active pokémon on the same team; this replaces sleep clause. The sleep counter takes a uniform random value between 2 and 5, giving 1 to 4 turns of sleep rather than the existing 1 to 3. After a sleeping pokémon switches out, its sleep counter takes a new random value independent of the old one. When a sleeping pokémon is active, the controller of that pokémon is made aware (through a message under the move selections, like the "you are trapped" message) of the sleep counter's value, but the opponent is unaware of its value. That is, sleep gives an advantage of information to the controller of the sleeping pokémon. Sleep is the second status condition to be checked. Justification: This makes a lot more sense thematically than sleep clause, and it can be integrated with the game rules rather than existing as something separate. On its own, the change to waking up non-active pokémon instead of preventing sleep on the active pokémon boosts sleep's power somewhat by allowing a sleep move user to retain momentum against an opponent who switches. However, giving the controller of the sleeping pokémon the information advantage is huge. A large part of sleep's frustration comes from not knowing if you will wake up in time to do anything or if you should switch out of it, etc. With this change, you have actionable information that you can use to adjust your strategy. Part of the blind luck is replaced with mind-games, since the opponent facing a sleeping pokémon will have to try to get inside its controller's head. I consider this an elegant way to reduce sleep's power because it does so without undermining the nature of the sleep status, but rather it enables the player suffering from it to deal with that appropriately. • Paralysis A pokémon can't be "fully paralyzed" on consecutive turns. The chance to be unable to move is 25% as before but 0% when the pokémon was unable to move on the previous turn. Justification: This fits with the overall trend of reducing the impact of individual status and also prevents the worst sort of "hax" that can happen through paralysis. • Burn Burn causes a pokémon to lose 6.25% Max HP each turn, down from 12.5%. The Attack reduction remains unchanged. Justification: Burn would still be plenty powerful even with this change, since the attack drop is more important. If the damage output were not reduced here, stacking burn and poison could get a little ridiculous. • Poison Ordinary poison causes a pokémon to lose 6.25% Max HP each turn, same as burn. Toxic poison remains unchanged. If a pokémon has ordinary poison and it would be hit with toxic poison, the toxic poison replaces the previous ordinary poison condition. Justification: You may be thinking "Why nerf poison, the weakest status condition?" The answer is that poison gains the most from the ability to stack status conditions. Whereas there was previously an opportunity cost to causing poison, because you would lose the ability to inflict a more dangerous status, poison would lose this counter-intuitive protective aspect. These changes also make toxic poison strictly better than normal poison. You may think "Why NOT nerf toxic poison, when it's so strong already?" and the answer is that the MOVE Toxic should get the nerf (see below). Move & Ability specific changes: • Poison Gas Perfect accuracy ordinary poison. Justification: Come now, how exactly do you MISS with POISON GAS? Outdoors in a really stiff breeze? This helps make ordinary poison somewhat more useful. • PoisonPowder 100% accurate ordinary poison. Justification: to make ordinary poison somewhat more reliable / useful. • Toxic 90% accurate, inflicts toxic poison 2/3 of the time and ordinary poison 1/3. That is: 60% toxic, 30% psn, 10% miss. Justification: Reduces the power of toxic, in line with its ability to stack with other status and to supersede regular poison, without introducing the excessive variance that would come from making it less accurate. If you need the target badly poisoned but roll ordinary poison you could always try the move again, since toxic poison would override regular poison. • Poison Point 60% chance to poison against a contact move Justification: Weak ability gets a boost. • Poison Touch 60% chance to poison when using a contact move Justification: Weak ability gets a boost. • Psycho Shift Transfers all status ailments. Justification: This maintains the power of a situational status counter. • Shed Skin 1/3 chance to heal a single random status every turn. Justification: This ability is already good with rest, so there's little need to make it stronger. • Effect Spore 30% chance of poison, 20% chance of paralysis, 10% chance of sleep, calculated independently. That is, check each separately so the pokémon may get more than one status from it. Justification: Weak ability gets a boost and shows off the new overlapping status system. • Heatproof Immune to burn damage, but not to the attack drop. Perhaps this replaces the previous effect? Do we really want Bronzong to have 0 weaknesses? If you remove the filter effect against fire type moves, you could make Heatproof simply mean "immune to burn." • Magic Guard In addition to its existing effect, the pokémon can be afflicted with only one status condition at a time. Justification: This preserves the role of Magic Guard users as status absorbers. You may wonder why not the same thing for Guts and Quick Feet, but those benefit greatly from poison and burn damage being reduced to 6.25%. • Toxic Boost, Poison Heal In addition to their existing effects, the pokémon cannot become afflicted with new status conditions as long as it is poisoned. Justification: This actually boosts the abilities somewhat, since they can't be blocked from taking effect in the turn before Toxic Orb activates. • Flare Boost In addition to its existing effect, the pokémon cannot become afflicted with new status conditions as long as it is burned. Justification: See above. Overall Justification: Status under this system actually has less opportunity to spoil your plans with a huge dose of pure luck. The stacking of status conditions creates more synergy of defensive strategies, teams and move-sets, increasing the power of stall a bit. Status has many counters, and while this system arguably makes it harder to play around status without a counter, it doesn't weaken the counters any. There are ways of countering status that fit with defensive, offensive, mixed and stallish teams. Overall, I think clerics and status absorbers would become more of a team-building consideration, but that could be a good thing, promoting overall diversity. Need I point out that this system makes a lot more sense than the existing one? Why should it be impossible to poison a sleeping pokémon? Should someone have told poor Hamlet: "Your father's ghost cannot possibly be truthful, because everyone knows that sleeping people are immune to all toxins." The same goes for all the other status combinations. Finally, GF meddles with status at least once a generation, so it's certainly plausible that they would continue to do so. I hope this post is food for thought, because in all honesty it took some time to think through and write it.