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Metagame Management in Five Easy Steps!

Discussion in 'Pokémon Policy' started by Jumpman16, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. Jumpman16

    Jumpman16 np: Michael Jackson - "Mon in the Mirror" (DW mix)
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    If it were only that easy...maybe it can be, though. There's no simple way to go from 493 pokémon (or, technically, 492, which is the subject of one of the topics I will get to) to perfectly created and balanced tiers that allow for perfectly played competitive metagames. There is, though, an objective and regimented way of going about creating the rules fairly. With our own Smogon server on Shoddy Battle, we have our long-awaited power over key influences on competitive battle, but with this power comes a world of responsibility.

    We can pick it up from scratch. It has been said that we need, in no particular order, to examine:

    Wobbuffet
    Lati@s
    Deoxys-S
    Mew
    Manaphy
    Garchomp
    Darkrai
    Arceus
    Event Moves
    Legendary IV Clause
    Evasion Clause
    Species Clause
    UU Tiers

    That's a lot. Some feel that, to move any pokemon from any tier fairly, its performance in the metagame in which it is being tested must be analyzed in a tournament. Some would champion its performance on the ladder over a fair period of time, say 2-3 months. Blue Kirby has suggested a long-term "tour" featuring any one pokemon that needs to be tested. All are good ideas, but first:

    1. We must decide on the order of importance of the issues concerning competitive pokemon.

    Divide and conquer. We can decide in here what the most important issues are currently, by ranking them in order, and then taking the ones with the lowest "points" and dealing with them in that order (1=Wobbuffet, 2=Garchomp, 3=Manaphy...you get the idea). There is no question, though, that we should be focusing our efforts on the most important issues first and foremost.

    The next step refers to the methodology above.

    2. We need to come to a decision on how exactly to conduct an analysis on a given issue.

    Sure, it may be the case that a test of Garchomp and Lati@s would all benefit from a "Special Smogon Tour", but this may not be the way UU Tiers or Species Clause should be tested. It may also be the case that it would greatly benefit the community to test more than one suspect at a time. Regardless, we need to pin down what would be the most effective way of tackling the most important issue or issues at any time before we can go forward. And, of course, issues like Arceus and the Legendary IV clause can't be "tested" the same way, but rather discussed in Policy Review/Stark Mountain properly.

    After this, it gets a little more difficult, but nothing we can't collectively handle.

    3. We must fairly collect many statistical data from the battles conducted concerning the issue in question.

    This includes both usage statistics (including pokemon, move and item) and battle logs as far as I'm concerned. Without hard data, it is hard to separate a real analysis from mere theorymon or conjecture. Our server will be capable of gathering usage statistics just like Colin's is, and in the event a tourney or "Special Smogon Tour" is being run, we can make it very plain that battlers are to save logs of all their battles so they can be properly analyzed.

    4. We must analyze these data to the best of our ability to determine our collective stance on the issue in question.

    This is the hard part, and where "we" really comes into play. It will not do our community any good for one or two people to be analyzing a handful of logs on how broken Wobbuffet is without any direction. To do this fairly we would need to have at least a dozen smart, trusted, battle-tested people analyzing battle logs. There is very much power in numbers in this regard, as I imagine a system where three people analyze the same log and give one of the following three assessments:

    [pokemon] reasonably dominated this battle.
    [pokemon] did not dominate this battle.
    [pokemon's] impact on this battle was inconclusive.


    That's just my idea, and you are welcome to propose changes or your own altogether. I do feel that analyzing battle logs is crucial, and that if we have 3-4 people sounding off on the same log we can get a more fair assessment on the pokemon's impact. We can make a sub-forum for these logs, and have people independently assess them so as not to sway the opinions of other log analyzers.

    I also feel that we all need to realize how big an undertaking this is going to be, and that there are no two ways about analyzing an issue if we want to do it fairly. I actually just had a faint pang of excitement right now typing this, thinking about how Garchomp could thus fairly be sent off to ubers, because even though my heart's told me forever that I wouldn't want to see it banned, I cannot argue and in fact embrace the results of a fair and thorough analysis no matter the results, and no matter the issue. That takes us to the final step:

    5. We need to accept the outcome of our analysis, implement the necessary policy change (if there is one) on the Smogon Shoddy server, and let the community know the results of the analysis of the issue in question.

    If a given issue is touched by enough people who adhere to Smogon's Philosophy, and given the effort it deserves, then the outcome is almost secondary.



    That's it. Please post in this thread to what extent you agree with this five-step process, and anything you'd change, add or take out. This needs a lot of input and attention if our server, and, on a larger scale, our community is going to be a long-term success.
  2. Tangerine

    Tangerine Where the Lights Are
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    This sounds like an infomercial...!
    Anyway, looks like we need to cover things in this order.

    Legendary IV Clause
    Event Moves
    Wobbuffet
    Garchomp
    Deoxys S
    Lati@s
    UU Tiers

    I don't feel as if the other issues are important at all - I'm of the opinion that Darkrai and Mew and such would never need testing.

    The reason the first two should be dealt with first is because it's more a philosophy behind the game thing and doesn't really require analysis. We just need to discuss it, come up with a policy behind what we want the game to be, what we want the metagame to be. That's the very first thing we need to do - only then can we make "unified" decisions.

    For Wobby and Garchomp, and even perhaps Deoxys S, I think there's enough evidence and enough experiences that we can decide on them now just by "talking it out".

    The problem with statistics again, is that we don't know what the numbers mean. We don't have anything to base our numbers on - what we need to do first is experiment to see and perhaps "feel" what those numbers tell us about the metagame.

    Naturally we can get the numbers, but we don't know the impact behind it, so I don't think we can "analyze" it, although we can analyze logs - but I'm not sure if that's the most efficient way to go about it - considering that if something is broken enough, I would have enough faith in the players who play the game (at least, the top tier players) that they would be able to recognize it (Garchomp, anyone?) We would get the same result as going through and analyzing each log and seeing if Pokemon X gave a "huge advantage" as playing a lot and realizing Pokemon X gives me a huge advantage and wanting to abuse it.

    Naturally right now, I think we just need to "experiment" if we ever want to use numbers at all as part of our statistics. I wouldn't be content in pulling out numbers that might be completely arbitrary and throwing meaning into them and using them for our "analysis"
  3. Earthworm

    Earthworm
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    I agree with this (pretty much in its entirety), and I would prioritise the matters in the following way:

    Event Moves
    Manaphy & Lati@s
    Wobbuffet
    Garchomp
    Deoxys-S
    Evasion Clause
    Mew & Darkrai
    UU tiers
    Arceus
    Species Clause

    I am glad someone finally posted something like this!
  4. Taylor

    Taylor stardust infinite
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    The list that I believe should be analyzed in numerical order:

    Event Moves
    Legendary IV Clause
    Wobbuffet
    Deoxys-S
    Garchomp
    Lati@s
    Manaphy
    UU Tiers
    Mew
    Darkrai
    Arceus

    It's great to see that we have a thread that covers all these un-answered aspects that must be studied soon. I feel that Species Clause and Evasion Clause are topics that shouldn't be up for discussion - who wants Double Team and a team that has six Garchomp? - therefore I left them out of my personal list.
  5. Mekkah

    Mekkah
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    These are in the order in which they are often met. I also gave slight priority to things I believe that can be solved more quickly than others.

    1. Garchomp
    2. Deoxys-S
    3. Wobbuffet
    4. Legendary IV clause
    5. UU Tiers
    6. Evasion Clause
    7. Manaphy
    8. Lati@s
    9. Mew
    10. Darkrai
    11. Species Clause

    I don't believe Arceus is relevant for anything.

    EDIT: Forgot Event Moves...since that mostly affects UU, it should be between 4 and 5 imo.
  6. Judgement

    Judgement
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    This is my list regarding the order; I chose it in terms of what I usually see when I play and which things would have the most widespread effect more quickly.


    Event Moves
    Garchomp
    Wobbuffet
    Deoxys-S
    Evasion Clause
    Manaphy
    Lati@s
    UU tiers
    Darkrai
    Mew
    Arceus
    Species Clause
  7. DM

    DM Ce soir, on va danser.
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    I'm not gonna lie, this strikes me as ludicrous. I understand that it's hard to decide on these issues, banning pokemon, etc. People have different opinions, and they defend them vehemently. But if you can't even decide on which issue to decide on first, how the hell do you expect to get anything accomplished??? Just take one at random and do it!
  8. Maniaclyrasist

    Maniaclyrasist custom user title of doom!!!
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    Sounds like an ok idea, but i'm also of the opinion that even when we have statistics we really have nothing to base them on and it would requires us spending more time to try and develop a way with which we can go about objectively interpreting them.

    Anyway this is my opnion on what order we should go about deciding things.

    Garchomp
    Wobbuffet
    Lati@s
    Event Moves
    UU Tiers
    Darkrai
    Manaphy
    Mew
    Arceus
    Deoxys-S
    Legendary IV Clause
    Evasion Clause
    Species Clause

    Garchomp, Wobbuffet and Deoxys-S have been up for discussion the most and it really is time that we made a decision on these three.

    Lati@s have long been neglected because of Garchomp, Wobbuffet and Deoxys S and its also high time we made a decision on them.

    UU tiers and Event moves are both currently under a lot of discussion and some decisions need to be made with regards to both. Event moves have a fairly significant impact on the UU metagame so I think we should go about working out that issue before we take on the UU metagame.

    Darkrai - Arceus can all be dealt with later after we've resolved the more prevalent issues.

    Deoxys has been on the ladder for some time and there really aren't that much arguments about it anymore. It's hardly something i would really worry about.

    I've listed Legendary IV Clause so low down since I don't think anything is wrong with us implementing it. The community doesn't seem to have much of an issue with it anymore and it is only a minor hindrance when making a team so i think it should be the last of our worries.

    I think Species Clause and Evasion Clause shouldn't even be up for discussion or consideration so i'm simply going to list them last
  9. X-Act

    X-Act np: Biffy Clyro - Shock Shock
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    I'd say that the ones that should take priority are the ones that we have already quite a lot of data about. So:

    Garchomp
    Deoxys-S
    Wobbuffet
    Event Moves
    Legendary IV Clause
    Lati@s
    UU Tiers
    Mew
    Manaphy
    Darkrai
    Arceus
    Species Clause
    Evasion Clause

    I agree with the process, all in all, except it seems to take too long to decide on one particular issue, given the amount of things we need to test... by which time another game would have been possibly issued by Gamefreak...!
  10. Mekkah

    Mekkah
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    Putting priority what the majority wants to solve first > putting priority on what random.org wants to solve first imo. I don't see anything wrong with this.
  11. Jumpman16

    Jumpman16 np: Michael Jackson - "Mon in the Mirror" (DW mix)
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    Others would say the Deoxys-S is similarly either a non-issue or something that doesn't need testing because it's been on the ladder for like five months and hardly anyone has spoken up about it, certainly not to the level the issue of UU tiers you rank under DX-S in importance has been raised. You wouldn't think that to be a fair reason to just leave it in standard play and not do anything, which is why I'm asking everyone to rank all the current issues in there interests of arriving at an order of importance objectively. Just put them at the bottom of your list and they will be addressed in the order determined by all staff members.

    Everyone should feel free to add more issues I may have forgotten, but we all need to have every one on the list them for all IS members to rank. This about it this way—if Darkrai and Mew are really the non-issues you would have us believe, not only will we collectively not get to them until a good 9-10 more important issues are addressed, the fact that those issues will have been addressed means that the issues of Darkrai and Mew will by default then be among the most important (allowing for other issues to surface during the resolution of the aforementioned 9-10, of course).

    I think we've proven that we have not yet been able to get anywhere by merely "talking it out". We need to stringently analyze the evidence you're referring to, which means it needs to all be in a place where it can be analyzed fairly and easily (another sub-forum as I've proposed), and then we can accept the outcome we arrive at following the collection of the data and our analysis of it. This is, in order, steps 3-5 that I've proposed. Again, feel free to propose new steps or change the ones I've proposed, but saying that arguably the three most important issues facing competitive battle right now are exempt from the most important steps seems to defeat the whole purpose of this thread.

    With regard to Wobbuffet, statistics themselves (at least as far as pokemon usage and move usage are concerned) have indicated that has not proven too powerful for the standard metagame, but it obviously wouldn't be fair to say that these numbers are telling us it is not too powerful for standard play. That's why I've been calling for the analysis of logs for months now.

    "We" and "playing a lot" are the operable words here. Who's doing the playing? Who's doing the analyzing? It wouldn't be fair to just analyze logs of ipl or MoP rampaging through the ladder with Garchomp or Wobbuffet, nor would it be fair to take just those logs of the "Garchomp isn't that broken" crowd. I imagine that logs would only be fair in large numbers from both sides of the issues as well as everything in between.
  12. Misty

    Misty oh
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    start with garchomp and wobbuffet.
  13. Jumpman16

    Jumpman16 np: Michael Jackson - "Mon in the Mirror" (DW mix)
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    misty ive asked people to rank all of them, not just a few
  14. Misty

    Misty oh
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    I don't play, so my opinions on the nuances between Darkrai and Manaphy are irrelevant, but I know people bitch about Garchomp and Wobbuffet far more than the other stuff. Therefore, as an outside observer, I consider those to be far higher priorities than the others.
  15. Jackal

    Jackal I'm not retarded I'm Canadian it's different
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    my order:

    Event Moves (simply a decision based on stance rather than statistics)
    Wobbuffet
    Garchomp
    Lati@s
    Deoxys-S
    UU Tiers
    Legendary IV Clause (i dont really think this is super important)
    Mew
    Manaphy
    Darkrai

    Arceus
    Evasion Clause
    Species Clause

    these last three i dont even see what there is to decide, it seems obvious to me what our stance should be.
  16. Jumpman16

    Jumpman16 np: Michael Jackson - "Mon in the Mirror" (DW mix)
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    virtually everybody knows that though, this is very likely going to be the outcome after everyone weighs in on anything so why not just take 30 seconds to rank the other 10? its not like i play pokemon either, that doesn't make my opinions any less relevant so nor should it yours

    for posterity, my own listing:

    1. Event Moves
    2. Legendary IV Clause
    3. Wobbuffet
    4. Garchomp
    5. Deoxys-S
    6. Lati@s
    7. Manaphy
    8. Mew
    9. Darkrai
    10. Arceus
    11. Evasion Clause
    12. Species Clause
    13. UU Tiers

    the first two are talking points that, while important can be addressed and decided on rather quickly. i then think it'd be best to focus on the pokes currently in standard and maybe shouldnt be, then those that are in uber and maybe shouldnt be. arceus is another talking point but not as important, then the two clauses that may need testing, then finally UU after the standard metagame is "settled"
  17. Aeroblacktyl

    Aeroblacktyl The pizza doesn't scream in the oven! LOL!
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    I'm seconding Jump's list, but with only Event Moves being #1 because I think that's the easiest thing we can figure out, and a list with our first problem crossed out always looks great.
  18. Tangerine

    Tangerine Where the Lights Are
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    In that case...

    Legendary IV Clause
    Event Moves
    Wobbuffet
    Garchomp
    Deoxys S
    Lati@s
    UU Tiers
    Evasion Clause
    Species Clause
    Manaphy
    Darkrai
    Mew
    Arceus

    The only reason I believe that talking never got anywhere is because because we have no prior example on what to base anything on. It will be the same result with analysis - without "experimenting" and testing the difference, and without anything to base anything on (who are we to say what is "broken" when we have no example prior to it other than... Manaphy who was banned pretty quickly without any statistics for us to look back upon?)

    There's a reason people say "Wobbuffet changes the very game we play", by making us play more guessing games - it's something you really shouldn't prepare for. I believe that statistics mean nothing on Wobbuffet, and it never will.

    Why should we care about the "lower tier" players? If we're going to be competitive the only opinions that matter are the players who are amongst "the best"
  19. CardsOfTheHeart

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    Jump's list is good enough for me, as well.
  20. Bologo

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    Hmm...well, here's my rankings if it matters at all.

    1. Event Moves

    It affects all of the tiers, and, since we've actually played with them in the metagame for a really long time, they should be super-hard to decide on. As long as we allow all of them, or none of them, then it's fine.

    2. Wobbuffet

    Though I personally don't think it's that bad, people have complained about this since day 1 of its addition to the ladder. This should be next on the list, because after event moves have been figured out, it'll be much easier to see if stuff like TickleWobb break the game completely.

    3. Deoxys-S

    It's been in the metagame long enough for people to voice their opinions on it. I haven't seen anyone post any logs to be analyzed for this, but I've only seen a select few complain about him, and by the amount of time that it's been in the game, people should be able to easily post some logs that go both ways, of him doing good and bad. Under Wobb, because honestly, people just don't seem to care about DX-S as much as Wobb right now, and they've both been in the metagame right now for a pretty long time, so that's what it comes down to when deciding for me who should be discussed first.

    4. Lati@s
    5. Manaphy
    6. Mew
    7. Darkrai
    8. Ho-oh?

    These are all lumped together because they're all the ubers we're planning to discuss unbanning. They're under the other guys because they haven't actually had a try in the metagame yet (besides the Eon tourney), but are easier than Garchomp to decide, because of how much easier it is to unban a pokemon, than ban one. Also, I added Ho-oh here because it might warrant some discussion for unbanning, but I'll remove it if it's not a good idea, hence the question mark. I'm not actually sure if that Ho-oh tourney proved anything at all, since I wasn't in it, but yeah.

    9. Garchomp

    See, now this is where it starts getting a little difficult for me to decide on my rankings. On one hand, people have been complaining about this guy for a long time, and it's held the #1 spot for quite a long time as well. On the other hand, IMO, it's really hard to analyze how the metagame has changed once a pokemon has actually been banned, because it's much harder for people to notice that a pokemon has been added, than a pokemon being kicked out. That, and, the other pokemon that we're thinking of moving down could possibly be good answers to Garchomp, which is another reason why I propose that we wait on Chomp and see what happens. That, and we really need a good definition of overcentralization before we can ban this thing. I suppose that you could ban it and then if nothing changes, just unban it, but keep one thing in mind, that there's ALWAYS going to be people complaining about Garchomp. People will complain if he IS banned, and people will complain if he ISN'T banned, so don't take people's complaints into consideration unless they can put evidence where their mouth is.

    10. Species Clause
    11. Evasion Clause

    These two things get low priority, because really, the threads for Evasion Clause have all been very inconclusive, and Species Clause hasn't even been talked about outside of Stark's Policy Review. These things are also much lower priority, because they would require a whole separate ladder to get any actual testing done, and that does require a lot more work than unbanning/banning a pokemon or move. Seriously, a tournament for these will NOT work, because everyone will just abuse the lack of these clauses a lot more than people would on a ladder, which means that a separate ladder is the only good way to do this, a pain in the ass IMO.

    12. UU Tiers

    Yeah, these definitely need to be decided on last. After all the rules and such are decided for the standard metagame, UU will fall into place much easier after that.

    13. NU Tiers

    Well, first comes UU, and then comes NU obviously.

    N/A. Legendary IV Clause
    N/A. Arceus

    I really don't know what to say about either of these ones, so I have no opinion, and no points for these ones. Arceus has two solutions, but none of them really work right now. One of them is to just plain allow it, but then that lets hackers have their way, and I'm not sure if smogon wants to allow that. The other is to wait until there's an actual way of getting Arceus, but then we have a huge dilemma here, because it's not like Mew had an actual event until something like RSE (then again, I guess that presents the whole other issue of whether glitch abuse should be allowed or not).

    Legendary IV Clause, is something I personally have no opinion whatsoever on, and is just something that honestly doesn't concern me, so I don't have any say on it.

    Yeah, so that's my rankings from my experience in the game. I may be going against everyone in saying that Garchomp should be dealt with later, but I have a bad feeling that if we don't even know what overcentralization is, we might be letting a bunch of lethal threats into our metagame, while banning Garchomp, who may not even actually deserve it.

    EDIT: Whatever, Garchomp is #4 for me.
  21. JabbaTheGriffin

    JabbaTheGriffin Stormblessed
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    1. Garchomp
    2. Event Moves
    3. Deoxys-S
    4. Wobbuffet
    5. Manaphy
    6. Lati@s
    7. Mew
    8. Evasion Clause
    9. Species Clause
    10. Legendary IV Clause
    11. Arceus
    12. Darkrai
    13. UU Tiers

    Garchomp 1st because I feel it's a huge issue that should be dealt with immediately, which puts it ahead of something as easy as Event Moves.
  22. IggyBot

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    1. Garchomp
    2. Wobbuffet
    3. Event Moves
    4. Deoxys-S
    5. Manaphy
    6. Latios/Latias
    7. Mew
    8. Darkrai
    9. UU
    10. Legendary IV clause
    11. Evasion Clause
    12. Species Clause
    13. Arceus

    Garchomp and Wobbuffet are first mainly because, if we're deciding with the majority, they will be the easiest to take care of immediatly. Event moves affect everything, and we need to take a official stance on them, either allow them or don't. After that, Deoxys-S is still debated by a few people, but a true final decision should be made in my opinion. Then we get into more uber testing. Once OU is decided, UU should be the next priority. Finally, I really don't care about the clauses/Arceus, so they all get to go last.
  23. jrrrrrrr

    jrrrrrrr wubwubwub
    is a Tiering Contributoris a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

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    1. Wobbuffet
    2. Garchomp
    3. Deoxys-S

    These I guess should all be #1, falling under the "Ubers in OU" category, but I listed them in this order because I feel that if we are going to attack them one at a time, this should be the order: easiest to hardest.

    I also feel like these three are the top priority because of Bologo's post. He lists Wobb at #2, citing that people have been complaining since day 1, but lists Garchomp at #9 with the exact same reasoning (and more)...all while dismissing both of them as threats. Those posts present convoluted, apparently effective arguments only because of how backwards and hypocritical they are. We really need to get our heads on straight and assess what the arguments regarding these things actually are before we make a choice, and this is much more important than anything else that we could be concerned with.

    4. Event Moves

    These do have an impact, and should be sorted out before UU Tiers simply because it hits UU the hardest. Things like Hypno and Vileplume wouldn't get a fair shake in the UU/BL test if we are still on the fence about Event Moves.

    5. UU tiers

    Why is this not being done again? What does sorting BL out have to do with any of the other issues? This I feel is really easy to do and would have an astronomically high impact for the effort required.

    6. Lati@s
    7. Manaphy

    Again with the Ubers <-> OU department, these are the only two that I feel have a chance of ever making it to OU...although this could be important, I want to give the game without Garchomp, D-S and Wobb to settle down before we do some trailblazing.

    8. Evasion Clause

    This needs to get put to rest. Why this was ever brought up boggles my mind, but as far as I'm concerned, keeping Evasion Clause is a no-brainer.

    9. Arceus

    Extended game clause already exists, but I guess allowing Arceus into Uber matches might promote some good discussion. I would personally be in favor of allowing it, but this just isn't that big of a deal compared to everything else.

    10. Legendary IV Clause

    Another no-brainer. I'm also confused as to why there is opposition to this.

    11. Mew

    Another no-brainer.

    12. Darkrai

    Another no-brainer. The only reason why Darkrai was ever brought up was because of someone trolling Stark.

    13. Species Clause

    I feel like this is also a no-brainer, although trying this out would certainly be interesting for a while.
  24. Great Sage

    Great Sage

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    6,666
    1. Event Moves
    2. Legendary IV Clause
    3. Arceus
    I agree with Jump that the first two should be resolved quickly since they are essentially just a quick discussion. I also think Arceus should be in this group, because the controversy around Arceus really isn't related to its power, but rather Nintendo's intent, and only requires conversation.

    4. Garchomp
    5. Wobbuffet
    6. Deoxys-S
    Then comes settling current OU issues. I listed these three Pokemon in the order that I believe the impact changes regarding them would have i.e. I think deciding on Garchomp would have a greater impact than deciding on Deoxys-S.

    7. Manaphy
    8. Lati@s
    9. Mew
    10. Darkrai
    This is the group of potentially OU Ubers, sorted by likelihood of status change.

    11. Evasion Clause
    12. Species Clause
    These can be seen as OU issues, although they affect the entire game, because OU is the most commonly played tier. I don't really care which one is acted on first.

    13. UU Tiers
    And when everything else is settled we can work on this.
  25. Bologo

    Bologo Have fun with birds and bees.
    is a Contributor Alumnus

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    Messages:
    2,841
    Yeah, really, I think that our first priority needs to be figuring out what the hell overcentralization even is. Honestly, it's the only way we're actually going to get anywhere with any of these bannings/unbannings. Perhaps this should be part of our rankings?

    Garchomp would probably be #4 for me if it weren't for the fact that we don't know what the definition of overcentralization is.

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