Landorus

#1
Apologies if there have already been extensive discussions on this Pokemon.

Landorus is:
- likely to see 85%+ usage in SPL
- extremely spashable
- extremely easy to use
- versatile
- centralising

This sounds like many Pokemon who have been deemed Uber in the last 10 years. However, there is one key difference being that Landorus is a reactive Pokemon.

My question is if there is ever a circumstance where a Pokemon possessing Landorus' attributes can be seriously looked at as a potential suspect. I am baffled at the nonchalant response to his ridiculous usage statistics.

Now, back around the time I posted my infamous Pass the Trash warstory, we had three characteristics to consider when judging a potential suspect. The defensive characteristic (A Pokémon is uber if, in common battle conditions, it is able to wall and stall out a significant portion of the metagame) surely is applicable to Landorus.

There is a line in the current tiering policy (aldaron's post) where Kyogre, Groudon and Arceus are deemed broken because "they almost dictate / require usage". This is also applicable to Landorus.

By every definition, Landorus is broken.

Is Landorus uncompetitive though?

Do you have to satisfy both criteria to be considered as a suspect? Does it matter if Landorus only satisfies one? Leppa Berry is not broken by definition yet was banned for being uncompetitve. Can Landorus be banned for being broken but not uncompetitive?

- posted on behalf of Eo Ut Mortus
 
#2
I'm not a top SM player by any means but my 2 cents are that high usage does not intrinsically mean a certain pokemon is broken. In my book, when something is broken, it warps the competitive integrity of its tier/format to a point where the more skillful player is noticeably less likely to win due to extremely limited counterplay. Landorus (at least as its mostly used now) is an extremely efficient compressor of roles, which is valuable in a metagame with tons of constraining factors when it comes to building.

Tiering makes the most sense (to me, personally) when it's focused on creating the most competitive environment possible---one where the better player is most likely to win. Given that Landorus is mostly running its defensive SR sets + scarf (two sets that are clearly not broken in the capacity of being powerhouses lacking counterplay), I don't believe it warrants a suspect at all. Unless you consider the uncreative teambuilding Landorus contributes to (if you ban Landorus you're not going to end up with more creative builds, just worse ones due to them lacking Lando-T's role compression) uncompetitive due to the fact that you basically have to think less about how to lay out your team, then there isn't really anything inherently uncompetitive about having an effective, versatile, role-compression-heavy Pokemon.

Also, if you ban Landorus, you end up a huge void in the 'efficient threat coverage and (again) role compression' department, which would exacerbate matchup issues greatly since it's already a struggle to keep the metric fuckload of threats and viable strategies in check with six pokemon.
 
#5
Pheromosa was an excellent role compressor too. He could be a sweeper, revenge killer and wall breaker all in one.
The key difference here is that Landorus as it's most commonly used (defensive SR and scarf) is not an obscenely strong offensive juggernaut with minimal defensive and offensive counterplay. Defensive Landorus is not sweeping your team and a scarfer reliant primarily on EQ to clean up games has very obvious counterplay. On the other hand, Pheromosa was an offensive threat that had stupidly minimal counterplay (especially offensively because of beast boost and QD and its dumb speed tier), but it was not used as glue whose role was to pivot into threats and provide support through rocks/u-turn. Again, Landorus-T in the capacity its used now is not something with minimal counterplay that trivializes the impact of a player's skill on the game. The two are apples and oranges.

If Landorus was most commonly used as a Z-move SD breaker I could see a good reason for a suspect since that is an offensive juggernaut with minimal defensive counterplay, but thats not its most common set at all.
 

A

Just Monika~
is a Pre-Contributor
#6
Hi, just wanted to bring my thoughts onto this.

Landorus-T right now can be somewhat comparable to Primal Groudon in Ubers. An extremely splashable, zero-cost Pokemon that can fulfill a variety of niches and roles. And just like Groudon, while not being too overwhelming at the same time.



Landorus-T is a healthy glue for the metagame and unlike say the likes of Pheromosa, Genesect, Aegislash, Naganadel, or literally everything else that has been banned so far, hasn't forced extreme ways to deal with it. For Aegis you pretty much had to run unmons like Mandibuzz to even have a solid shot at answering it defensively. This is an important point because it means Landorus-T can be answered without resorting to overspecialized methods and a solid amount of counterplay is easily present. (It can also unironically beat itself.)


Think of Landorus as just another threat that one has to account for in USUM OU like say Tapu Koko or Zygarde. It lacks recovery and can't really do everything it wants to at once, and it also doesn't hinder metagame growth unlike some examples listed above (this is brought up because a common point is "Lando-T hinders metagame growth and is too overcentralizing").

New sets and developments have been created and will continue to be created in the forseeable future, a recent example I'd say is the likes of Shuca Koko, Payapa Toxapex, AV Tapu Bulu (which was non-existent for the entirety of SM), M-Latios (thanks to snake), and I can go on about this.


It's just a really good Pokemon for the tier and doesn't negatively strain it whatsoever, it's a fundamental part of OU and will remain to stay that way without really packing any aspects of being too overcentralizing, being too broken, or uncompetitive. If you remove it from the tier, it's going to have a really bad impact on it considering how players already struggle to try and cover up everything and the role compression is seriously a blessing, akin to ORAS Clefable which could do almost anything.
 

sedertz

a toxapex enthusiast
is a Pre-Contributor
#7
Think of Landorus as just another threat that one has to account for in USUM OU like say Tapu Koko or Zygarde.

I wouldnt even go this far.

Landorus-T usage is driven by defensive and scarf variants - to the best of my knowledge, i dont believe offensive z move lando has showed up yet this spl.

Opposing Defensive Landorus-T rarely needs to be accounted for at a teambuilding level. If someone asks me to rate a team, fairly often I’ll say you’re weak to Tapu Koko or to Zygarde, but I’ll hardly ever say you have no counterplay to defensive Landorus-T. The amount of counterplay that exists to defensive Landorus-T is incredibly high and varied.

One of the unifying factors across nearly every Pokemon that has banned from OU is that it requires you to run unreasonably specialized counterplay.

How often is a team weak to defensive Landorus-T? Pokemon like Pheromosa were so terrifying at a teambuilder level that you had to run shitmons like Alowak or Toxapex on every damn team.

As it stands now, the tiering policy framework makes reference to centralization as grounds for a Pokemon being banworthy. I would argue that the unifying thread across every suspect or ban in the history of OU is requiring unreasonably specialized counterplay. I think this gives us a lot more consistency in our suspect testing and allows us to explain how stuff like Baton Pass and Genesect are broken for the same reasons.
 
#8
I find Landorus to be majorly overpowered. That I can switch into it more safely than I can against something like Tapu Lele doesn't change anything at all. That's not what Landorus is about. The amount it contributes to any given team is far beyond that of every single other Pokemon in the game. This is despite the fact that its usage is literally higher than the second and third most used Pokemon combined. You can prepare for it, you can switch stuff into it, but you'll never stop it from doing what it's there to do. Is this what counterplay is? There's an abundance of Pokemon who can beat Landorus, virtually every physical-based offensive mon runs Ice coverage for Landorus, every other random thing runs HP Ice to help check Landorus (including Landorus itself), and yet, it's still on every team, it's still centralising the way the game is played, and it's still the most important Pokemon in almost every battle. Is this what preparing for it does?

Another thing is, no individual Pokemon should be entrusted to hold the weight of the metagame on its shoulders. If there's ever a case where this is actually happening, chances are the metagame is deeply flawed to begin with and major change is already needed. If certain mons are forcing the unprecedentedly high usage of Landorus, perhaps it's worth looking into suspecting these things, too.

Unrelated note, Toxapex is one of the most unhealthy Pokemon ever.
 

Albacore

sludge bomb is better than sludge wave
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#10
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there's any real precedent for banning a Pokemon simply because it is overcentralizing, and not because it is overwhelming either offensively, defensively or supportively. Aegislash is the only thing that comes to mind, and even that was considered broken in large part because it was a ridiculous offensive threat to deal with on top of its defensive capabilities. Landorus-T, on the other hand, isn't particularly threatening offensively (at least not in practice), and although it's very good defensively, it lacks the longevity to be considered broken in the regard, and its typing and vulnerability to Poison renders it pretty easy to play around if you really want to.

I'm not against suspecting Landorus-T, and I do think you could argue that it centralizes the metagame to the point of handicapping its growth and allowing other threats to be overpowered (the fact that some players currently consider Hawlucha to be a problem would be a good example of this). I don't really buy the idea that it checks otherwise broken threats (I don't think stuff like non-Ice Punch MLop or DD XZard would suddenly be broken without it), and even if it does that wouldn't be a good reason to keep it in the tier. However, I do think we need to acknowledge the fact that banning Landorus-T would set a new precedent, and that it isn't really broken in a conventional sense.

In any case, I would say that acting like Landorus-T is some kind of overpowered unkillable beast is silly given that it really really isn't, but also that focusing on the Pokemon itself and ignoring its overall effect on the metagame is also short-sighted. This is why I would support a suspect test even though I'm anti-ban: I think it's very, very important to see what a metagame without Landorus-T would look like if we want to know if it's banworthy or not.

Incidentally, I think relying on usage stats is a bit of a flawed approach given that Landorus-T is, by far and away, the best Stealth Rock setter in the tier, a fact that strongly contributes to its usage but very little to its potential brokenness. If it didn't get Stealth Rocks, I'm not sure it would even break 50% usage, and this thread may not even exist.
 

Bughouse

Like ships in the night, you're passing me by
is a member of the Site Staffis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a CAP Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus
#11
Surveys of smogonites have been done in the past (by Chou I think?) and diversity vs centralization has never been the most important thing to people in tiering. The theory goes: the more centralized a metagame is (think RBY), the more likely a better player is to beat a worse player, since there’s less variance caused by team matchup.

Admittedly, many people, myself included, can find these metagames boring... but the majority don’t seem to. Most people instead hate metagames where a bad team matchup means you lose at team preview. Landorus-T in theory helps that second group be comfortable with SM OU since it can glue so many teams together and avoid losses at team preview.

As long as the second group is bigger than the first group, Lando won’t go anywhere.
 
#13
I'll be speaking on behalf of the OU council here, as we are all in agreement.

To put it simply, Landorus does not meet any criteria of ban-worthiness, via the tiering policy framework and via our own subjectivity. Landorus will not be suspected any time soon.

I am aware that Ciele (and others) partially conceded this point but I find it beneficial to delve into nonetheless - Landorus is not "broken" neither offensively nor defensively. For starters, the Z move sets are not only reasonable to beat but they are also extremely rare compared to defensive and scarf variants. Saying that it's a broken offensive force is probably the least valid reason to want to ban it. Onto the defensive side of things, it's true that Landorus is a splash-able wall and it's true that it helps check many physically inclined pokemon - but it is by no means a true defensive behemoth, supremely difficult to kill. It lacks longevity, and is easy to chip over the course of a game - Pokemon like Zygarde and Kartana are shining examples of this.

There is ample counterplay to any and all Landorus sets in this metagame. On top of this, the point of versatility can be refuted in that Landorus is mostly incapable of being an offensive and defensive threat at the same time. Defensive is easy to switch into, Offensive is more frail, and Scarf is neither strong nor bulky. You also have to consider that it is fairly easy to scout a Landorus set - Even by getting a U-turn off on Landorus you can calculate it's spread and it's pretty much always running the same moves regardless (eq ice uturn). Minor tweaks like putting HP Fire on it don't change it's counterplay in any drastic way, unlike say a Metagross' coverage.

The only remaining argument to want to ban Landorus lies in usage itself. For starters, we've only had 1 week of SPL usage for USM so it would be quite the knee-jerk to deduce that Landorus is a problem so soon. Additionally, neither in our tiering policy nor in the minds of the council does usage alone break something. To sum it up in a more subjective way, Landorus is not mandatory. Landorus is just easy to use, and thus used a lot.

To quote the specific tiering policy thread, the most relevant part that refers to usage is as follows:

"They are broken because they almost dictate / require usage, and a standard team facing a standard team with one of them would be at a drastic disadvantage. These examples limit team building skill."

Even if Landorus has 90% usage in SPL week 1 (it won't always be this high), this does not mean that Landorus is truly mandatory. There have been countless Lando-less victories in SM OU and the non-lando user is by no means "drastically disadvantaged" due to this fact alone.