SleepTrapping in SM Ubers: A Proposal

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Fireburn

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#1
Hello, I am here to talk about a strategy that was banned (in one form, at least) way back when in GSC, and it is threatening to make SM Ubers unplayable competitively: SleepTrapping.

As you likely know by now, Ubers uses similar clauses to other tiers, Sleep Clause being one of them. This clause has been essential for competitive play in almost any tier, because it allows for good players to make counterplay against sleep possible. A player can, with proper assessment of the in-match situation, make a judgment on how to play against a Pokémon with sleep move. It boils down to two choices: staying in with the current Pokémon used or switch. After a switch has been conducted, an additional switch into another Pokémon can be made in order to circumvent the passive effects of this status condition. This might sound incredibly simple, but it is important to understand that this clause is, in our eyes, not just a rule, but a philosophy on how to handle sleep.

SleepTrapping refers to the combination of [Sleep-Inducing Move] + [Permanent Trapping Move/Ability] + [Kill Move]. Essentially, you trap your opponent, induce sleep, and kill them by some means, usually with Perish Song or some attack. While SleepTrapping doesn't break the letter of the law of Sleep Clause, it does violate the spirit of it because you can't use sleep fodder. The clause never really comes into play with this strategy: you can just theoretically keep trapping and sleeping and the clause never truly activates. If you get caught in the SleepTrap, all you can do is hope you get lucky or die.

While SleepTrap never seemed to be a bother in Gens 3-5, it started creeping back up towards the end of Gen 6 and it came back with a vengeance at the start of Gen 7. Hypnosis Mega Gengar is becoming a hot topic among both community and moderators alike as a large issue to metagame growth, and with major tournaments such as SPL just around the corner, we felt it prudent to take action. Shadow Tag eliminates the foe's chance to switch out, and assuming the opponent attempts to send in a "check" to scare off Mega Gengar, the Mega Gengar user has ~84% chance to hit one of two Hypnosis. With STAB 130 BP Hex off base 170 SpA, all Mega Gengar has to do is hope the foe does not get a first-turn wake (66.6% chance) and they are usually dead. Even if the Mega Gengar only has an opportunity to use Hypnosis once, they still have roughly a 40% chance (.6 chance of hitting Hypnosis * .666 chance of not getting a first turn wake) of just ending whatever comes in with two Sleep-boosted shots of Hex.

What this means is that Hypnosis is effectively a legal OHKO move when used by Mega Gengar.

The change in Mega Evolution turn order mechanics has only served to make this strategy even stronger as Mega Gengar no longer needs to sacrifice a moveslot for Protect (which it needed to check certain Pokemon), allowing it to run Substitute to make the strategy safer or an additional coverage move to successfully SleepTrap a wider variety of opponents. This isn't even throwing in the potential for Perish Song.

Anyway, there are no plans to ban Mega Gengar itself. We already went through that song and dance once. Rather, we are proposing that we bring back the SleepTrap ban for SM Ubers as an extension of Sleep Clause. The proposed SleepTrap Clause would read as follows:

"A Pokemon cannot use a move that can inflict sleep status on the opponent if it has the ability Shadow Tag."

We do not believe such a ban would be unreasonable for Ubers to implement because of these reasons:

1) There is some precedent for banning SleepTrap in GSC.
Granted, the specific ban is for SleepPerishTrap, and we are proposing a more general ban on SleepTrap. However, Perish Song isn't necessary to KO trapped targets in a timely fashion anymore, and the GSC ban did not factor in trapping abilities which defeats the main counterplay to SleepTrap in the old days (sending in a Sleep Talker).

2) The proposed ban is simply an extension of Sleep Clause. SleepTrap can be viewed as a loophole in our existing Sleep Clause: this proposal would serve to close that loophole.

We do believe, on the other hand, that banning SleepTrap is necessary so that the nascent metagame of SM Ubers can develop in earnest - especially given that SPL is right around the corner.

While this mostly pertains to Ubers, I am posting this here to give people a chance to voice any concerns, because I am well aware of how...controversial banning things in Ubers can be.

Thanks for reading!
 
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#2
I've experienced and observed this Hypnosis Gengar technique and I 100% agree it has to go.

That being said, is it possible that simply banning Shadow Tag or Mega Gengar itself is the move here? One could have argued that it was only Trick + trapping that put Gothitelle over the edge in ORAS OU, but we ended up banning Shadow Tag. In the spirit of avoiding complex bans, it seems to make more sense to just ban the pokemon or ability that is problematic, not make some complex rule that saves a certain Gengar set. And yes, it is a complex ban because it either complicates / adds to the current sleep clause or creates a new rule altogether.
 
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Lord Outrage

I'm so ahead of my time my parents haven't met yet
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#3
I've experienced and observed this Hex Gengar technique and I 100% agree it has to go.

That being said, is it possible that simply banning Shadow Tag or Mega Gengar itself is the move here? One could have argued that it was only trick + trapping that put Gothitelle over the edge in ORAS OU, but we ended up banning Shadow Tag. In the spirit of avoiding complex bans, it seems to make more sense to just ban the pokemon or ability that is problematic, not make some complex rule that saves a certain Gengar set.
The other Mega Gengar sets aren't close to broken and nobody ever complained about them. Also Mega Gengar is a big part of our metagame and banning it completely is really out of question and will definitely harm the diversity of Ubers.
 

Fireburn

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#4
I've experienced and observed this Hex Gengar technique and I 100% agree it has to go.

That being said, is it possible that simply banning Shadow Tag or Mega Gengar itself is the move here? One could have argued that it was only Trick + trapping that put Gothitelle over the edge in ORAS OU, but we ended up banning Shadow Tag. In the spirit of avoiding complex bans, it seems to make more sense to just ban the pokemon or ability that is problematic, not make some complex rule that saves a certain Gengar set. And yes, it is a complex ban because it either complicates / adds to the current sleep clause or creates a new rule altogether.
We actually tried this during Gen 6 and, botched execution aside, the community was overall in favor of "No Ban" to both of those. We understand that it is a complex ban proposal, but it is one that was both done before in an older gen and simply an extension of an existing clause, so in this case we believe it would be acceptable.
 

MrAldo

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#5
Eh, I suppose this is a start. Given that this set really sends mega gengar way over the edge (Sub Hypnosis and stuff) banning hypnosis on it through a sleep trapping sounds feasible and not so convoluted, and the precedent that it has been done before means it can be pulled off.

I still believe Mega Gengar is pretty broken even by ubers standards thanks to the mega buff by not having to run protect anymore but I guess time will tell the complete story, this is a good way to tackle an unhealthy issue in the meantime. Im fine with this if my opinion counts for anything.
 
#6
The other Mega Gengar sets aren't close to broken and nobody ever complained about them. Also Mega Gengar is a big part of our metagame and banning it completely is really out of question and will definitely harm the diversity of Ubers.
We actually tried this during Gen 6 and, botched execution aside, the community was overall in favor of "No Ban" to both of those. We understand that it is a complex ban proposal, but it is one that was both done before in an older gen and simply an extension of an existing clause, so in this case we believe it would be acceptable.
Jusr because one set is broken doesn't mean we only ban that set. Deoxys-defense is balanced without spikes, Mega Lucario without SD, and so on. Specs 4atk Gothitelle also was not broken. We lose "diversity" when we ban Greninja and not Protean Greninja but we do it anyways for the sake of our tiering philosophy and consistency.

Fireburn, if this set wasn't a major issue during the previous test then perhaps a resuspect can be done. If this set is a current issue, then I imagine people would rather ban Gengar as a whole than keep it as a whole. If the Ubers community votes no ban, then that's no different from any other suspect test voting, and there is no real issue because if a community doesn't find a pokemon broken it probably shouldn't be banned. I do understand the urge to preserve certain sets or to bypass the suspect system, but complex bans really should be a very very last resort. In this case, it seems we have simpler options left before needing to propose a new clause.
 

Lemonade

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#7
Is there time to do some sort of Mega Gengar / Shadow Tag runoff suspect (I'm not really familiar on the "viability" of voting methods so maybe this isn't a good idea)? I feel like new generation + mega evo buff are enough of a difference to make it a toss up, and iirc the votes were pretty close back then. Depending on the outcome you revisit the clause extension (is that something you suspect too?), which from what I can tell makes sense with the original motivation of sleep clause.
 

Lord Outrage

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#8
ABR why are you comparing this potential ban to random things like that.
It's called upgrading an already existing clause because an ability is able to indirectly bypass the core value of that clause. If you can't switch out your sleep fodder because of shadow tag then this just makes sleep clause useless and thus the need to upgrade it.
 

Krauersaut

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#9
abr you're applying ou tiering logic to ubers, an inherently overcentralized (note: not unhealthy) tier of which mega gengar is a pivotal member. we agreed there is no transitivity of bans through tiers, and as such, nor should banning policy or nuances of logic apply to whats definitely an outlier as far as the tiering process goes. this particular mega gengar set is broken, mega gengar itself is not broken. a complex ban is the best way to preserve a healthy metagame for ubers, regardless of the course of action that would be taken in ou.

in other news, hypnogar is beyond stupid and should get smacked asap; i agree with lemonade that a suspect would be optimal but im not sure on the logistics of getting that done before spl, which is obvi why this is trying to be streamlined now. an ubers w/ hypnogar would, unlike last year ago, actually be a justifiable reason to keep it out. if there's time to do a suspect, i suppose that's the 'correct' way, but this is pretty unprecedented in that an absolute majority of the playerbase (almost a consensus, this never happens) agree that it needs to go.
 
#10
Will sleep-trap strategies be banned in other generations of Ubers too? Or is the mega buff this gen heavily influent to its imbalance in the current meta?

Facing hypno gar in gen 6 wasn't fun but every Gar set needed protect for consistency/check ekiller and that really limited it I feel. Then you only get 2 moves so breaking past Ho-Oh for example was very difficult nigh impossible but for instance now you have room for Thunder or the like to just blow past sleep fodder.
 

Hack

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#11
Jusr because one set is broken doesn't mean we only ban that set. Deoxys-defense is balanced without spikes, Mega Lucario without SD, and so on. Specs 4atk Gothitelle also was not broken. We lose "diversity" when we ban Greninja and not Protean Greninja but we do it anyways for the sake of our tiering philosophy and consistency.

Fireburn, if this set wasn't a major issue during the previous test then perhaps a resuspect can be done. If this set is a current issue, then I imagine people would rather ban Gengar as a whole than keep it as a whole. If the Ubers community votes no ban, then that's no different from any other suspect test voting, and there is no real issue because if a community doesn't find a pokemon broken it probably shouldn't be banned. I do understand the urge to preserve certain sets or to bypass the suspect system, but complex bans really should be a very very last resort. In this case, it seems we have simpler options left before needing to propose a new clause.
From an OU mindset you are right, but Ubers should only ban pkmn in extreme cases (whatever that may be is still debatable, sadly). Ubers has to maintain the least number of pkmn bans, and considering the PR factor, banning Gengar would be infinitely more convoluted. This is a fairly simple extension to an existing clause, which pretty much the entire ubers playerbase agrees to be suitable. It is a complex ban but is it really that weird?

I would encourage users to stick to the topic. I think it's derailing to ask about previous gens of ubers. Also I want to clarify that we, as Ubers tier leaders, will not under any circumstance push for a Gengar suspect to happen.
 
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Minority

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#13
While not absolutely necessary to preserve the competitive edge of the tier, a Shadow Tag + Hypnosis ban is a good call here.

Hypnosis Mega Gengar cannot be countered using tactics within the control of the player: the outcome is decided by the accuracy of Hypnosis. Sleep absorbs / immunities can't be sent in, Sleep Clause can't function as intended because you can't switch out your sleeping Pokemon, nor can you hope to outplay your opponent by employing a similar tactic. Often times either your opponent lands Hypnosis and you lose a Pokemon for no gain, or your opponent misses Hypnosis and they lose their Mega Gengar for no gain: this is uninteresting and not something that should be deciding the outcome of matches.

Sleep Clause and RNG clauses set the precedent for this ban. There is something tangible to gain by banning this combination of game elements and there is virtually nothing interesting lost as collateral.
 

Aberforth

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#14
Can we do this sooner rather than later please? No response in 3 days, every Ubers player wants this to happen (hell there are people who want Mega Ray unbanned that want this to happen), all we're doing is expanding sleep clause to retain the spirit of the clause, and there's exact precedent. The sooner this happens the sooner the real meta can be developed.
 

Zarel

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#15
This is pretty simple to implement, so as long as a TL tells me to do it, I can do it pretty quickly.

Note that I'll be implementing it as making the sleep move fail, rather than be unselectable, because that's how Sleep Clause Mod currently works.

edit: On second thought, banning Hypnosis + Gengarite at the teambuilder level would probably be better, since there's no reason to carry both after this change.
 
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Bughouse

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#16
yeah GSC sleep trap banned mean look and hypnosis and perish song together, not making sleep fail once mean look was active or whatever.

"Your team was rejected for the following reasons: - Misdreavus has the combination of Hypnosis + Perish Song + Mean Look, which is banned by [Gen 2] OU."

Teambuilder ban is always preferable.

May I ask btw why it's now broken in SuMo Ubers? Hypnosis Gar was a thing in XY Ubers too and I don't remember seeing anyone try to ban that set specifically. People just went after Gengarite and Shadow Tag. Is it just that no one thought of this more limited ban til now? Would you also want to add this clause to XY Ubers too?
 

Edgar

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#17
yeah GSC sleep trap banned mean look and hypnosis and perish song together, not making sleep fail once mean look was active or whatever.

"Your team was rejected for the following reasons: - Misdreavus has the combination of Hypnosis + Perish Song + Mean Look, which is banned by [Gen 2] OU."

Teambuilder ban is always preferable.

May I ask btw why it's now broken in SuMo Ubers? Hypnosis Gar was a thing in XY Ubers too and I don't remember seeing anyone try to ban that set specifically. People just went after Gengarite and Shadow Tag. Is it just that no one thought of this more limited ban til now? Would you also want to add this clause to XY Ubers too?
They suspect tested Mgar as a whole back then with the excuse of it having an ability that could be seen as uncompetitve as it potentially eliminates choice from the player's hand, considering it a toxic element in the XY metagame (along with Stag mons as a whole), but in the end people didn't feel that way. The reason why we are specifically asking for a Hypnosis + Gengarite ban is because with the buff that mega evolutions got in SUMO, such as megas getting the mega evolution's speed change on the turn they mega evolve, i.e. Gengar's speed would go from 350 to 394 on the same turn it mega eovlve, allowing it to outspeed +Speed nature Arceus, since Arceus was naturally faster than Gengar it was forced to run Protect back then. Mega Gengar being faster than most Pokemon in the metagame and getting a Hypnosis turn 1 doesn't sound too difficult also, not needing Protect anymore makes Substitute a very good option to run on Hypno Gar as it increases the chances of getting a Hypnosis pff and capitalizing on it in the long run.

Hope this helped n_n
 
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Hack

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#18
yeah GSC sleep trap banned mean look and hypnosis and perish song together, not making sleep fail once mean look was active or whatever.

"Your team was rejected for the following reasons: - Misdreavus has the combination of Hypnosis + Perish Song + Mean Look, which is banned by [Gen 2] OU."

Teambuilder ban is always preferable.

May I ask btw why it's now broken in SuMo Ubers? Hypnosis Gar was a thing in XY Ubers too and I don't remember seeing anyone try to ban that set specifically. People just went after Gengarite and Shadow Tag. Is it just that no one thought of this more limited ban til now? Would you also want to add this clause to XY Ubers too?
I guess it really comes down to Gengar having less strong other options (Dbond nerf, wisp nerf) but also the mega speed buff making protect going from necessity to obscurity on hex sets. It gives Gengar a lot more room to construct combinations of moves that cater even better to the team's needs. Then there is also some external factors: the of paralysis nerf and its subsequent fall in viability/usage certainly helps while Yveltal's (good partner) increase in viability does more good than bad.

I also think an underrated fact is that the playerbase has become increasingly better - I'm not saying this because I wanna blow up the quality of the players in the tier - but rather that Mega Gengar in itself has a lot of small playing intricacies that just took a lot of time to discover. XY Ubers (pre ORAS) Mega Gengar was played primitively in comparison to what it is now. It's true Gengar had a lot of similarities on paper even back then, it just took a long time until its gameplay was optimized, i.e. Ubers doesn't develop at the same rate as OU.
 
#19
Forgive me, I have been out of competitive Pokemon for a while so I dunno how relevant this is to current stuff. Why is there a need to add a clause to the game when this is only broken on Mega Gengar? Shouldn't we only be enforcing complex bans or clauses when moves/abilities/etc are only broken on all or multiple Pokemon that have access to them?
 

Lord Outrage

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#20
Forgive me, I have been out of competitive Pokemon for a while so I dunno how relevant this is to current stuff. Why is there a need to add a clause to the game when this is only broken on Mega Gengar? Shouldn't we only be enforcing complex bans or clauses when moves/abilities/etc are only broken on all or multiple Pokemon that have access to them?
I think you should read everything in this thread because it has been discussed.
 
#22
Forgive me, I have been out of competitive Pokemon for a while so I dunno how relevant this is to current stuff. Why is there a need to add a clause to the game when this is only broken on Mega Gengar? Shouldn't we only be enforcing complex bans or clauses when moves/abilities/etc are only broken on all or multiple Pokemon that have access to them?
this post by hack should answer your question cos that's really all there is to it
From an OU mindset you are right, but Ubers should only ban pkmn in extreme cases (whatever that may be is still debatable, sadly). Ubers has to maintain the least number of pkmn bans, and considering the PR factor, banning Gengar would be infinitely more convoluted. This is a fairly simple extension to an existing clause, which pretty much the entire ubers playerbase agrees to be suitable. It is a complex ban but is it really that weird
 

Omfuga

Banned deucer.
#23
The other Mega Gengar sets aren't close to broken and nobody ever complained about them.
It was literally suspected. so yes, the sets are arguably pretty broken and people have complained about them.

Gengar was already cancer before, but this set pretty much pushes it over the edge. I dont know why, but the ubers community seems fond of gengar as a whole despite the inherent uncompetitive/cancerous aspects of it. Gengar literally adds nothing to the tier that it needs and it only causes problems.

Regardless, community voted long ago so there's nothing left to say. I just don't see the point in making a complex ban to save a cancerous pokemon that doesn't really add anything to the tier that other mons can't (check to ekiller on offense I guess??)

Regardless of if one feels gengar is balanced, it doesn't add anything important to the tier. going out of our way to cause a complex clause, the only purpose of which is to allow a pokemon, seems stupid. if u do add the clause at least add it to ORAS cuz this set was always a problem people are just stupid.
 
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Lord Outrage

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#24
It was suspected in XY and that was long ago. Also I can assure you that every single Ubers player in the community is fond of Mega Gengar like you just said and knows how important this pokemon is for the metagame. It brings another dimension to teambuilding and makes games more intense with the double switches it actually causes. It is a big part of ubers and many competitive and high level teams have been built with it. That's why banning Mega Gengar completely is out of question.
I also think that the Destiny Bond and Will O Wisp nerfs will compensate for the extra moveslot it got this gen and it will be just fine like it forever was.
 

The Immortal

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#25
From an OU mindset you are right, but Ubers should only ban pkmn in extreme cases (whatever that may be is still debatable, sadly). Ubers has to maintain the least number of pkmn bans, and considering the PR factor, banning Gengar would be infinitely more convoluted. This is a fairly simple extension to an existing clause, which pretty much the entire ubers playerbase agrees to be suitable. It is a complex ban but is it really that weird?

I would encourage users to stick to the topic. I think it's derailing to ask about previous gens of ubers. Also I want to clarify that we, as Ubers tier leaders, will not under any circumstance push for a Gengar suspect to happen.
Anything Goes exists. It is supposed to be metagame without clauses and bans. Ubers was declared a tier so shouldn't it be treated as such?
 
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