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Stealth Rock: The Most Harmful Move In The Metagame

Discussion in 'The Policy Review' started by Brawley, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. Brawley

    Brawley
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    Greetings ladies and gentlemen, we are in an interesting time for the general Pokemon community. This is a time when several Pokemon and clauses are under investigation by the public as a whole. The goal? To decide what is broken and should be removed, and what does not influence the metagame drastically and we decide should stay. What has not been done before is the banning of broken MOVES. Never before have we deemed any particular move too powerful to merit removal from competitive play. This is all about to change. I bring you the most broken move in the entire metagame: Stealth Rock.

    Now you may be wondering what exactly makes Stealth rock worse than its counterpart, Spikes, the answer is very simple ad consists of two parts. The first: No Pokemon is immune to Stealth Rock damage besides Magic Guard Clefable. Yes, every single Pokemon in the game takes damage from it, big or small. This ruins several strategies, including Focus Sash, Sub to Berry, and others. The second point has to do with something much greater, something with will take an entire paragraph to discuss: It does so much damage to Pokemon weak to rock that it ruins variability in the metagame.

    The following types are weak to rock: Bug, Fire, Ice, Flying. Some of the better types in the game take 25% from a switch in after the rocks have been laid, and guess what? It only takes one turn to lay them down. These rocks have no counter besides Rapid Spinning, a risky endeavor and a rather pointless one, considering it only takes one turn to set up. Regular spikes have no affect on Pokemon who fly or levitate, take 3 whole turns to put up and deal equal damage to everyone. Toxic spikes are even more limited in who they affect, as they don’t do anything to Grounded poisons (Who in fact remove them), Steels, Immunity Pokemon and everything spikes doesn’t affect. Stealth Rock only has one Pokemon immune to it, and it’s not even an OU Pokemon. Stealth rock reduced variability by a bucketful. When was the last time you saw a Fire type regularly in OU? Or an Ice type outside of Hail teams (Who are still forced to carry a spinner, sometimes two, because of the sheer magnitude of SR’s effect)? Some of the game’s top Pokemon like Salamence are in fact decimated by this move. It is probably not ridiculous to wager that Salamence and Dragonite usage are lower than Garchomp just because Garchomp shrugs off SR with pitiful damage and Salamence and Dragonite take 25% whopping percent. Articuno (Who is one of the game’s better Garchomp counters) takes 50% from it, and so does Moltres (A very solid Lucario counter). Good Pokemon like Yanmega are relegated to lead roles simply because taking 50% off your health is such gigantic a price to pay. Regice, one of the best Special walls of last gen, is no longer used nearly as much! Why? Because Stealth Rock makes it lose a ton of HP on switch in!

    Stealth Rocks also reduce the only real counter to Spikes and themselves. Armaldo, Cloyster and Torkoal, all good spinners, are barely used since it’s a crappy spinner who takes 25% on switch in. People argue that some Pokemon overcentralize, well, this move does more than they do. It highly prevents people from using several strategies, countless Pokemon, is easier to set up than it is to bring Wobbuffet in, and to top it off has virtually no decent counters in the metagame. Without this move the metagame would be more diverse with more usuable pokemon! Broken or not? You decide.
    _____________
    I myself believe it should be banned for the reasons stated above
    credit to Light for writing up this article.
  2. jrrrrrrr

    jrrrrrrr wubwubwub
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    After clicking on this topic, I was skeptical of what was going to come out of it. But for some strange reason, I can't find any reason to disagree.

    Rapid Spinning does seem to be on the decline, (this is based off of observation, I don't know what the actual stats are) and it could be based off of how futile it is. A one-turn set up to instantly make a large number of pokemon worthless is quite the reward, especially considering how many things learn it compared to how many pokemon can learn Rapid Spin, and even then compared to how many pokemon can actually use Rapid Spin effectively. Instead of wanting to Spin everything away, I personally build teams that are "not that weak" to Rock to avoid it because of how easy it is to set up. I'm sure that I am not in the same boat here.

    Although, one thing that should be mentioned is that it does keep certain other pokemon in check. Things like MixMence are forced to carry Roost or be less durable, reducing the amount of attacks it has available. Gyarados, one of the most potent offensive threats in D/P, suddenly becomes a lot less reliable. But, the real question is "is keeping these offensive threats in check worth making a very large number of pokemon unusable? I personally feel like Deoxys-Speed is Uber because it makes certain combinations of pokemon undesirable to use, and in this case I feel that Stealth Rock does the very same thing. Would you really use Zapdos, Salamence and Gyarados on one team? That is taking quite a risk.

    Even more evidence for this is Bronzong's rise in usage. This can be attributed to several other things, but I doubt that it would be the most used lead for 2 months in a row (and rising quickly) if it didn't learn Stealth Rock. Only 9 of the top 55 most used pokemon are weak to Stealth Rock (Gyarados, Salamence, Zapdos, Weavile, Togekiss, Yanmega, Ninjask, Dragonite, Abomasnow), and I can only wonder how many other pokemon could be used without its presense on the game.

    It's really surprising to me that such an influential topic hasn't been brought up before.
  3. Phuquoph

    Phuquoph
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    We have enough issues to debate at the moment.
  4. chaos

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    If someone wants to start a discussion, that's okay.
  5. Lee

    Lee @ Thick Club
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    I remember seeing someone bring up a similar argument on the Shoddy chat a while back and he was instantly ridiculed and his suggestions were lost amidst dozens of pointless comments but there is definately a strong case here; it's a fabulous move.

    Whilst banning it will almost certainly increase the usage of Pokemon like Charizard, Magmortar, Regice and Moltres it will probably have a detrimental effect on the usage of other Pokes; Swampert is often hailed as the "best Stealth Rocker in the game" but once you go taking away his best move he's suddenley not looking like such a great investment. Hippowdon will fade away even more as the only capacity I -ever- see him in is as a Stealth Rock-using lead. Having said that, it could also have the beneficial effect of increasing variety in these Pokes...without being burdened by the neccesity of packing SR, Gliscor for example, can now afford to play about with moves like U-Turn, Taunt and Baton Pass, that despite being excellent moves can rarely make their way into his set because of SR.

    It would certainly be interesting to see the results of such a restriction, but I do see a few problems.

    i) Stealth Rock has become such an ominpresent part of the metagame that removing it -will- cause a lot of drama. It will almost certainly finish off stall teams once and for all and many other teams that are built around abusing/avoiding Stealth Rock will become obsolete.

    ii) As jrrrrrr rightfully said, it's keeping Salamence, Gyarados, Zapdos and company in check. At the minute they're especially vulnerable to residual damage but without Stealth Rock, they'd be immune to all forms of trap damage. That's a big difference!

    iii) Stealth Rock is a strategical move and can be used skillfully to limit threats and ensure sweeps. It's not a mindless move like Sheer Cold. In that respect, it enhances the metagame.
  6. TAY

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    While I don't agree with all your examples--Regice has way more problems than SR; Yanmega is just generally a really good lead with hypnosis + protect; Garchomp's Speed and STAB Earthquake are much bigger factors in his higher use than SR--you bring up some very good points. In fact, I think there is something crucial which you did not mention: the sheer volume of pokemon that learn it.

    Even it you're not trying, SR is pretty easy to fit on your team, since nearly every ground, rock, and steel type, all the "pixie" legendaries, and Blissey learn it, whereas spikes only has two OU pokes that learn it (and both are trapped by Magnezone). So SR will be up early pretty much every game, and it doesn't generally relegate itself to defensive teams, like spikes do.

    You also mentioned that SR takes only one turn to set up, and this makes rapid spinning it a lot less useful than it perhaps should be. This makes it very difficult to stop SR from tearing through your team, since it takes the same amount of time to set up as it does to spin it away, and there are way more viable SR users than Rapid Spin users.



    Despite these things, I would argue that Stealth Rock makes the metagame more healthy as a whole. With SR gone, Gyarados and Salamence will become a lot more viable, and since Stall teams will have even more trouble with them than they do already Stall will become a lot more difficult. Stall will also lose the ability to hit all fliers and Levitators for passive damage. To sum up this paragraph, it seems like it would make stall even more difficult to play than it already is.

    Also, focus sash will become way, way too good. Essentially giving each of your pokemon "two lives" is a huge benefit, and while it would make the "glass canon" sweepers more viable, it would also lead to a huge amount of good gimmick teams that make it extremely difficult to play without either spikes or weather abuse. So it's likely that the metagame will become even more centered around TTar and co. (and Abomasnow!)

    I think you are overstating the number of pokemon who are crippled by Stealth Rock. Zapdos, Gyarados, Salamence, Togekiss, and Weavile can all play through it for various reasons, as is shown by their high usage; Regice, Armaldo, Cloyster, and Torkoal are all defensive pokes with lots of bad weaks and few (if any) useful resists, so even with SR gone they likely wouldn't see much play. I would say that Moltres, Articuno, and Yanmega are the only pokes that get shafted mostly from SR (though they also have pretty bad typing), and honestly I don't think it's worth it to ban a move just to make these guys usable.

    SR is certainly very powerful and easy to use, but I think it is a necessary evil in this game.
  7. Firestorm

    Firestorm I did my best, I have no regrets!
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    Double Team, Minimize, Fissure, Guillotine, Horn Drill, and Sheer Cold have been banned for quite some time actually.

    As much as I hate Stealth Rock, I'm really not supportive of banning it due to how much it would change the game. A ban of Stealth Rock seems to me like something that would completely change the landscape of the game. The other moves we've banned in the past only ban certain insignificant strategies that make games too long for the average tournament. Banning Stealth Rock seems to be a poor attempt at balancing a game that will never be balanced.

    I remember an idea being thrown around months ago of nerfing Stealth Rock so it does 50% of the damage it does now. That would have been a much more balanced move and I'm sort of surprised that Game Freak didn't do it themselves. However, I'm not sure if modifying moves is something we should be doing on a simulator. I really do believe that a simulator should mimic the game.
  8. JabbaTheGriffin

    JabbaTheGriffin Stormblessed
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    I really think an issue like this is extremely difficult to theorymon on simply based on the sheer magnitude of the effect it would have on the metagame. At the same time as it places checks on pokemon like Gyarados and Salamence, it also makes some pokemon completely nonviable.

    This is something I'd love to see tested because right now I don't even think we can grasp what the banning of SR would do to the metagame. I currently believe that having more viable pokemon comes before placing checks on major threats, but who knows if that's even what would happen?
  9. Brawley

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    Mimic the game? Last time I checked double team and those ohko moves were not banned in the game. As for stall not being viable, there still in toxic, and zapdos who hits those fliers for SE. As for gyarados and such slowbro and celebi are still excellent counters, as for mixmence heatran does a decent job at countering it.
  10. Firestorm

    Firestorm I did my best, I have no regrets!
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    Which is why I feel that we should look at unbanning OHKO moves and DoubleTeam/Minimize.
  11. Yagami Light

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    Well, seeing as how this is a joint effort between Brawley and me, I don't see how I could disagree.
  12. imperfectluck

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    There's a difference between banning a move from the game and changing the actual game mechanics.

    My view on Stealth Rock is that it is a useful balancer for the metagame, sure it'll allow more Pokemon into OU but I believe it will also centralize the metagame around a few different strategies than the current metagame, Focus Sash chief among them. Removing a move like this is on an order too large for us to theorymon about perhaps, but I see no reason why this should be banned... reminds me of the hype surrounding it pre-DP release in the States, in the end run it's still a move that takes a turn to set up and can leave you open to things because you used a turn to set up SR instead of attack or set up some dangerous sweeper.
  13. Brawley

    Brawley
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    There always is sandstream and hail for focus sash, and last time I checked tyranitar is everywhere lol. Also I dont reallly believe it balances the game as we still have spikes. *~*
  14. imperfectluck

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    Plenty of the top OU Pokemon are sandstorm-immune, and Abomasnow teams aren't nearly as common for Focus Sash... Spikes isn't seen on nearly the number of teams Stealth Rock is, and is limited to a very small pool of Pokemon that can learn it, unlike Stealth Rock. Stealth Rock's merely a great, versatile move.
  15. Taylor

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    But which Pokemon that are Sand Stream immune actually use Focus Sash on a regular basis, if at all?
  16. TAY

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    Lucario, for one.

    But my thinking here is that with SR gone, players would be forced even more than they are now to use offensive Sandstream teams (or skarm/forry) in order to stop the onslaught of focus sashes. I'm not arguing that Focus Sash will become a broken strategy, but it is likely to see heavy play, especially on gimmicky teams, and it would make it a lot harder to use teams that don't have TTar, Abomasnow, or Spikes.

    Keep in mind that the only OU pokes who could stop focus sash with stealth Rock gone are TTar, Abomasnow, Skarmory, and Forretress, so any team lacking one of these would be at a huge disadvantage against someone running a team of of 6 focus sashed pokemon. I don't think anyone wants that. IMO this is another one of those things that takes skill out of the game.

    Also, TTar, Chomp, etc are already a huge centralizing force, so I don't think we need to give everyone an extra reason to use them.
  17. Taylor

    Taylor stardust infinite
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    On a regular basis?

    I don't enjoy drifting off-topic, but I think that's a poor example. Personally, I've never seen Lucario with Focus Sash, but it's unfortunate that I can't speak for everyone here. I'm certain Life Orb varients see far more play than any other Lucario, added together, but that's not definate. Remember, though, even sets such as Choice Specs and Choice Scarf varients that seem to have their own trend, as rare as them sets may be. Cutting short, I don't believe that Focus Sash Lucario has warrented itself its own trend, yet.
  18. Brawley

    Brawley
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    The presence of Ttar in the metagame could force people to shy away from focus sash, also with stealth rock gone abomasnow would increase in usage, Lastly if a pokemon is using the item focus sash then it isnt using another item such as life orb, expert belt, leftovers, yache berry, etc thus limiting it a little.
    p.s with stealth rock gone it is easier to beat dragons and other threats such as mixape by turning 1hkos into 2
  19. Aeroblacktyl

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    ..........Sandstorm hits AFTER the turn. You can still get fucked over plenty even if you have sandstorm. Let's say your Scarf Heatran just killed something and took some Spikes damage (since no SR!) so now they send out their Focus Sash Gengar. Instead of just killing it outright, you just got killed because he survived, hit it with Focus Blash THEN Sandstorm took care of it.

    Sandstorm and Hail are NOT factors behind stopping Focus Sash.
  20. Brawley

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    That still may be so but gengar is still killed and sandstream does stop focus sash in a way if they dont kill you the first turn, but its not really a true counter, but I guess we just have to test it to find out. :]
  21. Jumpman16

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    I am of the opinion that this has everything to do with the fact that SR is currently extremely prevalent and easy to set up, which is why this topic was made.
  22. IggyBot

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    I haven't come to a true "side" in this yet, because I see the downfall for both sides. In one end of the spectrum, Stealth Rock helps to weaken pokemon such as Gyarados, Zapdos, Salamence, and other flying types. However, this may be one of the reasons why fighting is such a dominant attacking type at the moment, because the main counters to fighters come in at 75%.

    On the other side, I'm really sick of seeing new and viable sets come out, only to be dismissed as "Stealth Rock weak". Off the top of my head, I would absolutly LOVE to incorporate Moltres, Yanmega and Magmortar into my teams on a regular basis. However, these pokemon are all taking 25%-50% immediate damage just because they switched in. The question with getting rid of stealth rock, in my opinion, is "Do flying types become to dominant in the metagame?"

    The one thing that I really like about this issue is that it's a lot easier (in theory anyways) to draw more exact conclusions from a test tournament than with the testing of debatable ubers. Tangerine mentioned hosting a Stealth Rock-less Tournament, and I think this would be a great way to test.
  23. Cathy

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    I'm not sure what a tournament is supposed to prove.

    Let's suppose that we ban Stealth Rock and now the game is decentralised. So what? There are a lot of things we could do to decentralise the game, but we should only do them if the game as it stands is unplayably centralised, or else we embark on a slippery slope of banning every little thing to make the game more decentralised... it just isn't worth it. In fact I would say that Stealth Rock is already down the slope. There's no reason to ban things unless the game is unplayably centralised already, and that just doesn't seem to be the case.

    Stealth Rock should not be banned, and a tournament would provide no useful data.
  24. jrrrrrrr

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    Your post is hilarious, especially considering the source. This has been exactly what everyone has been saying since the whole Deoxys unbanning started yet for some reason you aren't just dismissing the argument now.... The game wasn't unplayably centralized when Deoxys was unbanned, so could you remind me of what logic was used to allow it if this is how you feel in the present day? This may be a slippery slope, but Stealth Rock makes a huge portion of pokemon unusable. There is nothing else as simple as SR that eliminates so many pokemon from competitive use.

    Why did we ban Deoxys? What about Wobbuffet? Because we wanted a more decentralized game with more choices. If eliminating Stealth Rock gives us more options as players to be worth it, I'm personally all for it. The precedent set in this generation is to do things in the interest of decentralization. If cutting the losses so we can gain things like Moltres, Articuno and Vespiquen in terms of usability is worth the significant gains in power things like Salamence and Zapdos would get, lets do it.

    There really isn't much to say, because as Jabba pointed out, this would change the game as we know it so much that theorymonning it out is impossible.
  25. Cathy

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    It's hilarious if you ignore what it says, I suppose:

    Notice the key word: ban. I'm talking about banning things, not unbanning them.

    Here's a recap: what it says is things should only be banned if the game is unplayably centralised. It doesn't say anything about unbanning. Things can be unbanned without the game being unplayably centralised.

    Tell me: when I have advocated banning any pokemon or move for balance reasons (aside from what is already banned)? That's right: I haven't, so there's no hilarity, or hypocrisy. You might want to read my posts more carefully before you insult me by completely missing what they actually say. You can disagree with me if you want, but I haven't done anything "hilarious" or hypocritical here.

    In fact for months I have been posting stuff similar to the above post. It's also my argument why Garchomp should not be banned and you can find it in the Garchomp topic, posted months ago. As I said, you can disagree, but don't insinuate I am a hypocrite when really you are just not understanding the argument.

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