Handling Broken Sets with Z-Moves

Steven Snype

Kunclord Supreme
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#51
An accepted argument to ban a mon is "hey this pokemon set is overpowered. We have to ban the mon." But to ban a move, "hey this move needs to be determined to be banned in all circumstances before we ban the move." Why do we have to do the opposite of it to ban the move?

If we're capable of banning an element in one explanation, why does it need to be argued in the inverse manner to ban another element of the game?
 

Finchinator

IT'S FINK DUMBASS
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#52
I'm going to be making a general statement regarding banning philosophy and the conclusions that can be drawn off of it are fairly straightforward.

Banning a Pokemon should be the priority over banning a move, item, ability, etc. in non-Ubers tiers. It has been the precedent set for many years and there is genuine reason behind it. Just to list the general justification for this:
  • We predominantly tier Pokemon, not moves, abilities, items, etc. (not saying we can't ban the latter three as we certainly can and will in appropriate cases, but tiers are made up of Pokemon)
    • If a Pokemon is deemed controversial, it gets suspected.
    • If a Pokemon is deemed banworthy, it gets banned after it is suspected (or quickbanned if it is banworthy to a blatant extent - see: Zygarde-Complete and Aegislash).
      • This is pretty fundamental and stating it simply as a reference point and a precursor to what proceeds.
  • What a Pokemon is defined as in a tiering context has evolved over the course of time and this has correlated to successful and practical applications of this philosophy in the context of current metagames over time.
    • We tier Mega Stones as Pokemon as their use easily triggers a fundamental change in the Pokemon being used to the extent that we deem them different for all intents and purposes when it comes to tiering.
      • Therefore, Gengarite, Kangaskhanite, Lucarionite, and Salamencite were all disallowed from SM OU at the start of the generation, being part of the initial banlist, but Gengar, Khangaskhan, Lucario, and Salamence were all allowed in SM OU.
      • Therefore, Charizardnite-X, Charizardnite-Y, Diancite, Gardevoirite, Heracrossite, Lopunnite, Manectricite, Medichamite, Metagrossite, Pinsirite, and Venusaurite were all in the OU tier while Charizard (NU), Diancie (RU), Gardevoir (UU), Heracross (UU), Lopunny (PU), Manectric (NU), Medicham (RU), Metagross (UU), Pinsir (NU), and Venusaur (RU) were all allowed in lower tiers. This decision wasn't made instantaneously during generation six, when Mega Stones were introduced, but eventually it was discussed and implemented. This means that Mega Stones are essentially Pokemon of their own as their usage and usage of their base forms are split when it comes to tiering. Mega Stones still cannot fall below the tier of their base forms because you need to be able to use the base form to trigger the Mega form, but otherwise Mega Stones are tiered as separate Pokemon with upward mobility in the tiering system.
      • Therefore, Mega Stones are items, but they're Pokemon for all intents and purposes of this discussion given how they're now treated in tiering decisions. This depicts the communal definition of Pokemon, in a tiering sense, changing in order to fit the circumstances of the current metagame. This also depicts a clear maintenance of the aforementioned philosophy that banning "Pokemon" is the priority in the non-Ubers tier.
    • What we tier as a "Pokemon" can be changed, in a similar or different fashion, in the future if we deem it appropriate. I feel like this clause is quite healthy given the nature of the games changing from generation to generation. Keep this point in mind before nagging everywhere, imo.
  • If a single Pokemon is banworthy solely due to a single element (such as a move, ability, item, etc.), then the Pokemon should be discussed, not the element.
    • If we were to ban the element, then this would set an incredibly poor precedent.
      • If a move isn't inherently or practically uncompetitive (I will concede that this is up to interpretation to an extent, but there is a stark difference between broken and uncompetitive), then there is very little, if any, precedent backing it being banned. Opening up this can of worms is not something that we should even flirt with, let alone actually do. There are myriads of slippery-slopes it will provoke and we do not want to get ourselves into a situation where we have to draw a subjective line as to where we should "stop" in this regard, go back on a precedent that we set by something like this that subsequently makes decision making look sloppy and questionable, or deal with anything ridiculous that threatens the overall integrity and value of our tiering system from any standpoint.
        • Under this line of logic that would prioritize banning an element that makes a single Pokemon broken and has no other consequence over banning the Pokemon (had to edit out this puush w/ a quote explaining the mindset, but that's the gist), the Underused playerbase would have to consider (not necessarily act on, but given this mindset, it would have to be in the picture) banning V-Create instead of Victini. It is obvious that Victini has much more going for it than V-Create, but there would not be certainty that Victini would be broken without it while they clearly deemed it banworthy with it in the past. The only other Pokemon that learn V-Create are Smeargle* (see sub-point) and Rayquaza. Therefore, it is not used in the UU metagame by any other Pokemon and the UU council would have to consider banning the move V-Create. That sounds completely and utterly ridiculous as is, but it could get even worse depending on how this mindset is applied and how future pokemon function with certain elements in the future. This should never be a mindset that is employed in tiering.
          • *Any arguments based on Smeargle getting the move are completely invalid due to the lack of viability of Smeargle and, specifically, the lack of viability of the move in question on Smeargle (assuming it's a move Smeargle never uses) - if you're trying to make an argument based off of this, then odds are your argument isn't very well-backed in the first place and you should reconsider your point-of-view. Sure, this is a bit subjective, but it's fairly obvious to the extent that it should not interfere with any tiering decisions.
    • If the element is something that other Pokemon use in a competitive fashion in any non-Ubers tier, then it would be a poor decision to get rid of.
      • It would detract from the viability of Pokemon that use this element in a fair, competitive fashion for the sake of allowing a Pokemon that, with everything in its disposal allowed, was banworthy. It would essentially have negative collateral damage depending on how people weigh the viability of the Pokemon that used the element competitively verse the viability of the single Pokemon, that was banworthy with the element, without the element, but regardless it's clearly a sub-optimal means of handling matters when compared to banning the Pokemon outright.
    • It would not always be a full solution to the problem.
      • We cannot base tiering decisions on theory and, therefore, we cannot be sure of the viability, banworthiness, and competitiveness (or lack thereof) of an individual Pokemon without this element that makes it banworthy. Banning a Pokemon is a certain solution if the Pokemon was banworthy, but banning a move still leaves the Pokemon in play. Most cases are fairly obvious and the Pokemon will no longer be controversial, but not all and we cannot leave tiering open to assumptions and generally uncertain to this extent.
  • If numerous Pokemon are banworthy solely due to a single element (such as a move, ability, item, etc.), then this element should be discussed and potentially dealt with.
    • This is where the "collateral damage" and various other argument posted above come into play, in my opinion.
    • The justification that differentiates a single Pokemon and multiple Pokemon isn't always crystal clear, but it has been practically applied in this fashion with elements of this nature in the past.
    • If numerous Pokemon are banworthy due to a single element, then the element clearly has an effect that has no place in the metagame.
      • I'm trying to keep these terms such as element and effect as general as possible due to the nature of the topic, but the message should still be clear nevertheless.
    • The burden of being a complete solution is also eased in this instance as even if a Pokemon that routinely used this element in a banworthy fashion is still potentially banworthy, the element is still rid from other things that were banworthy and the Pokemon can still be dealt with in the aftermath if need be.
I'm not going to specifically comment on z-moves or how z-moves should be dealt with (although it can be implied to an extent given the above), but there were some flawed posts and some disagreeable posts above that missed fundamental points and I wanted to give my .02 in that specific regard.
 
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M Dragon

The north wind
is a Tournament Directoris a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Tutor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnusis a Past SPL Championis the Smogon Tour Season 17 Champion
Moderator
#53
I'm going to be making a general statement regarding banning philosophy and the conclusions that can be drawn off of it are fairly straightforward.

Banning a Pokemon should be the priority over banning a move, item, ability, etc. in non-Ubers tiers. It has been the precedent set for many years and there is genuine reason behind it. Just to list the general justification for this:
  • We predominantly tier Pokemon, not moves, abilities, items, etc. (not saying we can't ban the latter three as we certainly can and will in appropriate cases, but tiers are made up of Pokemon)
    • If a Pokemon is deemed controversial, it gets suspected.
    • If a Pokemon is deemed banworthy, it gets banned after it is suspected (or quickbanned if it is banworthy to a blatant extent - see: Zygarde-Complete and Aegislash).
      • This is pretty fundamental and stating it simply as a reference point and a precursor to what proceeds.
  • What a Pokemon is defined as in a tiering context has evolved over the course of time and this has correlated to successful and practical applications of this philosophy in the context of current metagames over time.
    • We tier Mega Stones as Pokemon as their use easily triggers a fundamental change in the Pokemon being used to the extent that we deem them different for all intents and purposes when it comes to tiering.
      • Therefore, Gengarite, Kangaskhanite, Lucarionite, and Salamencite were all disallowed from SM OU at the start of the generation, being part of the initial banlist, but Gengar, Khangaskhan, Lucario, and Salamence were all allowed in SM OU.
      • Therefore, Charizardnite-X, Charizardnite-Y, Diancite, Gardevoirite, Heracrossite, Lopunnite, Manectricite, Medichamite, Metagrossite, Pinsirite, and Venusaurite were all in the OU tier while Charizard (NU), Diancie (RU), Gardevoir (UU), Heracross (UU), Lopunny (PU), Manectric (NU), Medicham (RU), Metagross (UU), Pinsir (NU), and Venusaur (RU) were all allowed in lower tiers. This decision wasn't made instantaneously during generation six, when Mega Stones were introduced, but eventually it was discussed and implemented. This means that Mega Stones are essentially Pokemon of their own as their usage and usage of their base forms are split when it comes to tiering. Mega Stones still cannot fall below the tier of their base forms because you need to be able to use the base form to trigger the Mega form, but otherwise Mega Stones are tiered as separate Pokemon with upward mobility in the tiering system.
      • Therefore, Mega Stones are items, but they're Pokemon for all intents and purposes of this discussion given how they're now treated in tiering decisions. This depicts the communal definition of Pokemon, in a tiering sense, changing in order to fit the circumstances of the current metagame. This also depicts a clear maintenance of the aforementioned philosophy that banning "Pokemon" is the priority in the non-Ubers tier.
    • What we tier as a "Pokemon" can be changed, in a similar or different fashion, in the future if we deem it appropriate. I feel like this clause is quite healthy given the nature of the games changing from generation to generation. Keep this point in mind before nagging everywhere, imo.
  • If a single Pokemon is banworthy solely due to a single element (such as a move, ability, item, etc.), then the Pokemon should be discussed, not the element.
    • If we were to ban the element, then this would set an incredibly poor precedent.
      • If a move isn't inherently or practically uncompetitive (I will concede that this is up to interpretation to an extent, but there is a stark difference between broken and uncompetitive), then there is very little, if any, precedent backing it being banned. Opening up this can of worms is not something that we should even flirt with, let alone actually do. There are myriads of slippery-slopes it will provoke and we do not want to get ourselves into a situation where we have to draw a subjective line as to where we should "stop" in this regard, go back on a precedent that we set by something like this that subsequently makes decision making look sloppy and questionable, or deal with anything ridiculous that threatens the overall integrity and value of our tiering system from any standpoint.
        • Under this line of logic that would prioritize banning an element that makes a single Pokemon broken and has no other consequence over banning the Pokemon (had to edit out this puush w/ a quote explaining the mindset, but that's the gist), the Underused playerbase would have to consider (not necessarily act on, but given this mindset, it would have to be in the picture) banning V-Create instead of Victini. It is obvious that Victini has much more going for it than V-Create, but there would not be certainty that Victini would be broken without it while they clearly deemed it banworthy with it in the past. The only other Pokemon that learn V-Create are Smeargle* (see sub-point) and Rayquaza. Therefore, it is not used in the UU metagame by any other Pokemon and the UU council would have to consider banning the move V-Create. That sounds completely and utterly ridiculous as is, but it could get even worse depending on how this mindset is applied and how future pokemon function with certain elements in the future. This should never be a mindset that is employed in tiering.
          • *Any arguments based on Smeargle getting the move are completely invalid due to the lack of viability of Smeargle and, specifically, the lack of viability of the move in question on Smeargle (assuming it's a move Smeargle never uses) - if you're trying to make an argument based off of this, then odds are your argument isn't very well-backed in the first place and you should reconsider your point-of-view. Sure, this is a bit subjective, but it's fairly obvious to the extent that it should not interfere with any tiering decisions.
    • If the element is something that other Pokemon use in a competitive fashion in any non-Ubers tier, then it would be a poor decision to get rid of.
      • It would detract from the viability of Pokemon that use this element in a fair, competitive fashion for the sake of allowing a Pokemon that, with everything in its disposal allowed, was banworthy. It would essentially have negative collateral damage depending on how people weigh the viability of the Pokemon that used the element competitively verse the viability of the single Pokemon, that was banworthy with the element, without the element, but regardless it's clearly a sub-optimal means of handling matters when compared to banning the Pokemon outright.
    • It would not always be a full solution to the problem.
      • We cannot base tiering decisions on theory and, therefore, we cannot be sure of the viability, banworthiness, and competitiveness (or lack thereof) of an individual Pokemon without this element that makes it banworthy. Banning a Pokemon is a certain solution if the Pokemon was banworthy, but banning a move still leaves the Pokemon in play. Most cases are fairly obvious and the Pokemon will no longer be controversial, but not all and we cannot leave tiering open to assumptions and generally uncertain to this extent.
  • If numerous Pokemon are banworthy solely due to a single element (such as a move, ability, item, etc.), then this element should be discussed and potentially dealt with.
    • This is where the "collateral damage" and various other argument posted above come into play, in my opinion.
    • The justification that differentiates a single Pokemon and multiple Pokemon isn't always crystal clear, but it has been practically applied in this fashion with elements of this nature in the past.
    • If numerous Pokemon are banworthy due to a single element, then the element clearly has an effect that has no place in the metagame.
      • I'm trying to keep these terms such as element and effect as general as possible due to the nature of the topic, but the message should still be clear nevertheless.
    • The burden of being a complete solution is also eased in this instance as even if a Pokemon that routinely used this element in a banworthy fashion is still potentially banworthy, the element is still rid from other things that were banworthy and the Pokemon can still be dealt with in the aftermath if need be.
I'm not going to specifically comment on z-moves or how z-moves should be dealt with (although it can be implied to an extent given the above), but there were some flawed posts and some disagreeable posts above that missed fundamental points and I wanted to give my .02 in that specific regard.
Your first statement is completely false. The proof is that we banned Soul Dew instead of Lati@s
About your V-Create Victini example, its a completely different case.
Porygon is broken because ZConversion, Greninja was broken because Protean, Blaziken is broken because Speed Boost. In your Victini example, Victini would not only broken because V-Create, it would be broken because a combination of power, bulk and movepool, which is a completely different thing.
I was talking about cases where there is something (an item like Soul Dew in Lati@s case, an ability like Protean in Greninja case, or an attack like Conversion in Porygon case) that makes the pokemon broken. In those cases you have to either ban the pokemon or ban the ability/item/move that makes it broken. If banning that element means that you fix the problem with no collateral damage, that is the better solution (look at Soul Dew case).

About Smeargle. You completely missed my point with Smeargle. My point was that Smeargle was the proof that KS is not broken. Why? Because KS is only broken with Aegi's ability, that lets it change its forme. The move KS is not broken at all. In Conversion case, a move that lets you change your type to the type you want AND gives you +1 to all your stats seem pretty broken to me.
 

Bughouse

Like ships in the night, you're passing me by
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#54
Your example of banning Soul Dew is mostly irrelevant here. It's a blanket ban of an item.

That could be justified as precedent for banning Eevium rather than Eevee. But not Normalium, which is what's used on Porygon and would have enormous impact for no reason.
 

Megazard

I'll show you the life of the mind!
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BSS Tour Champion
#55
Why is everybody prioritizing precedents as the main reason why we should avoid banning conversion? Z moves are new, there is no precedent for having something as inherently ridiculous as them. Once lower tiers are formed if it turns out they break half the mons are we going to rigidly stick to the idea that we should only ban the mons unless the crystal is broken on every single thing that can possibly use it? This looks like it's coming down to a personal idea of whether you think banning pokemon is sacred and we shouldn't get embroiled in complex / item bans or not, but personally I'd like to preserve playable mons as much as possible and the idea that there's no scenario where we should be abandoning the idea of only banning Pokemon is kinda ridiculous. If in this case Porygon is banned rather than Conversion, which I understand the reasoning behind, I'd at least like to present the idea for the future that Z-Crystals should be treated differently because of how inherently new and powerful they are so that this isn't the idea we're stuck with when it turns out that 180 BP coverage moves are really good in lower tiers with less of a power creep. For now we don't have the info and might not need it for another 5 months, but what happens to Porygon shouldn't necessarily become the general rule in the future and I don't think anybody can lay out a real defining policy post like the one above until we find out exactly what the collateral damage is going to be.
 

Sam

why not seize the pleasure at once?
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#56
Mostly agree with Finchinator

I don't think the point of "a move must be broken on everything that gets it" is to literally force people to say "this mon has the move and isn't broken" as examples but rather to make the focus on the brokenness of the move itself. It's limited here because Porygon is the only thing that gets Conversion in LC, but that can't be used as a technicality to preserve Porygon because it's "broken on everything that gets it". In ORAS UU, some people wished to suspect Entei and others asked for Sacred Fire to be banned. While neither ended up happening, the proper thing to do in this instance would have been to suspect Entei because Sacred Fire is not ban worthy.

M Dragon said:
Porygon is broken because ZConversion, Greninja was broken because Protean, Blaziken is broken because Speed Boost. In your Victini example, Victini would not only broken because V-Create, it would be broken because a combination of power, bulk and movepool, which is a completely different thing.
I think in all of these cases they are all broken by some combination of ability, movepool, stats, typing, etc. Greninja with base 10 speed is unusable even with Protean, and a Blaziken with Speed Boost is probably not broken if it doesn't have access to Swords Dance, Flare Blitz, and High Jump Kick.
 

Zarel

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#57
My tiering philosophy is "Ban Pokémon, leave banning moves/items/abilities as a last resort".

I posted a thread about this 2.5 years ago, but it was kind of muddled and people were confused about what I was arguing about (I was mainly complaining about UU banning Drought instead of Ninetales), but I'm going to edit and repost it now that it matters:

-----

Hello, PR!

Smogon has a tier system. The tier system is supposed to be, approximately, a list of Pokémon sorted from strongest to weakest:

OU, UU, RU, NU (I originally wrote this in gen 5; sorry PU)

Specifically, this roughly approximates a list of Pokémon ordered by how powerful their best set is. Note that we clarify "best set", because a Garchomp with nothing but Confide is clearly not at an OU level of power. Also note that by "powerful", we don't just mean "good at 1v1" but also "good at supporting a team" or "good at sweeping when given the right support".

And then we have banlists, which are Pokémon so powerful they make a tier unfun, but not powerful enough to get >1/60 usage in the next tier up.

Ubers, OU, BL, UU, BL2, RU, BL3, NU

This is still approximately a list of Pokémon from strongest to weakest (ignore NFE/LC for now).

We also have four metagames based on these tiers: OU, UU, RU, NU. Because of the tier system, it's very straightforward to describe the rules of these metagames:

- In all four metagames, we have Species Clause, Sleep Clause, OHKO Clause, Evasion Clause, and Moody Clause. These make up the Standard ruleset.
- In every metagame, any Pokémon in a higher tier than the metagame's name is banned.
- Oh, and every tier has a few other miscellaneous bans.

It's that third part: "Oh, and every tier has a few other miscellaneous bans" that should be a last resort, which brings us to the main point of the day:

Banning items/abilities/moves instead of Pokémon undermines the tier system, especially if you do it in only one tier.

Take Skill Link. Hypothetically, if UU decided Skill Link Cloyster was overpowered and banned Skill Link, Cloyster would fall out of UU and into let's say RU. Isn't that kind of ridiculous? A Pokémon at a BL power level, that falls to RU instead of rising to BL? Especially now that tiers don't inherit bans anymore, then you'd actually be able to use Skill Link, the exact set that made it BL, in RU!

The solution is rather simple: If a move/ability/item isn't broken enough to be globally banned in every tier (except Ubers, they can do their own thing), then it probably shouldn't be banned at all and you should just ban the Pokémon.

There are other advantages to this approach, too: You keep the rules list of every tier shorter, and make it easier for people to learn new tiers. New bans show up in the tier list which you look at at the start of teambuilding, instead of being an unpleasant surprise after teambuilding while trying to ladder. And you're not betraying the tier system (and me personally).

FAQ:

"But, Zarel, what if a move/item/ability is broken on two or three Pokémon?"

Well, then, ban two or three Pokémon.

"But, Zarel, what if a move/item/ability is broken on, like, ten Pokémon? What if it's broken on two or three Pokémon, but that's all Pokémon that get it, and we're pretty much sure all future Pokémon that get it will also be broken? What if it's broken on Smeargle?"

Well, then, ban the move/item/ability. In every tier. Since it's clearly broken as fuck.

"But, Zarel, what if a move/item/ability is broken on like five Pokémon but only in one or two tiers? And the other tiers don't want to ban them?"

Look, if it's broken on that many Pokémon, those Pokémon are bound to move up or down tiers at some point. Just ban the move/item/ability globally. At least ban it in a tier and every tier below it.

"But OU banned Soul Dew!"

Okay, that was an exception, and based on official historical precedent (Soul Dew has been banned in past VGCs). It's not what we usually do.

"But mega stones"

Mega stones are also an exception which we've already spent ages arguing about. We eventually decided the solution would be to pretend they're Pokémon, which allows us to ban them without spitting on the face of the tier system.

In conclusion, this is why there should be one Baton Pass clause and UU can ban Celebi if it's such a problem we should ban Porygon.
 
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M Dragon

The north wind
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Moderator
#58
Mostly agree with Finchinator

I think in all of these cases they are all broken by some combination of ability, movepool, stats, typing, etc. Greninja with base 10 speed is unusable even with Protean, and a Blaziken with Speed Boost is probably not broken if it doesn't have access to Swords Dance, Flare Blitz, and High Jump Kick.
Of course, that is why we banned the mon instead of the ability in those 2 cases, because the ability was not broken, it was the combination of stats + movepool + power + ability.

In the case of ZConversion in LC, it would be broken in p much any good LC mon (saying its not broken because shit mons like Wurmple would not be broken is ridic, its like saying like Moody Wurmple would not be broken)

Basically, if the ability/move/item is broken and its ban fixes the problem, thats the best solution. Protean is NOT broken (its only broken in Greninja with its huge movepool and big speed), Speed Boost is NOT broken (its only broken in Blaziken because its huge movepool that includes SD, BP, etc), KS is NOT broken (it is only broken in Aegislash because it lets it change its forme to the defensive one).

The solution is rather simple: If a move/ability/item isn't broken enough to be globally banned in every tier (except Ubers, they can do their own thing), then it probably shouldn't be banned at all and you should just ban the Pokémon.
Yeah for lower tiers this could be a better idea because drops can change the tier completely. I was thinking in OU and LC tiers tho.
LC is a completely different meta