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The definition of a tier

Discussion in 'Stark Mountain' started by Eternal, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. Eternal

    is a Battle Server Moderator Alumnusis a Past SPL Champion

    Apr 2, 2008
    I have created this discussion from my own curiosity. This thread is NOT a discussion on what determines a tier, but what a tier is?

    The OU tier is determined by some percentage of usage. Any Pokemon found to overwhelm this tier and decentralize it is moved to the Uber tier. Similarly, the UU tier is also determined by some percentage of usage beneath the OU tier. And similarly, the BL tier is formed from Pokemon that overwhelm and decentralize the UU tier. And the NU tier is formed through the same principle beneath the UU tier.

    Now, looking at the LC and NFE tiers, they do not follow accordingly to the same principles that determine the Uber, OU, BL, UU, and NU tiers. Similarly to the other tiers, LC and NFE use Pokemon with Standard rules. These are only certain characteristics in common. But, do not follow the exact principle that the Uber, OU, BL, UU, and NU tiers follow. So are the LC and NFE tiers considered to be tiers? That is the question.

    The definition of a "tier" is a "rank or class." We can see Uber, OU, BL, UU, and NU tiers being ranked through a certain principle. While LC and NFE do not follow these principles. But, the definition of a "class" is "a set, collection, group, or configuration containing members regarded as having certain attributes or traits in common; a kind or category." Lets emphasize on "certain" here. All tiers have a certain trait in which they all use Pokemon and follow Standard rules, does this mean you can correlate all of them as tiers? If not, then LC and NFE tiers would NOT be considered tiers.

    But, lets look at it another way. LC and NFE can be tiers, in which they do not follow the same general rules of Uber, OU, BL, UU, and NU tiers. They can be a seperate tier of themselves in no correlation towards Uber, OU, BL, UU, and NU tiers. But, LC and NFE tiers have no common principle that they follow with another tier. Can we consider a tier that only follows its own rules without any classification of another tier to be a "tier"?
  2. D0nut Eater

    D0nut Eater

    Nov 8, 2009
    I don't believe LC and NFE are considered "tiers" as they are more like there own metagame built off the non-evolved forms in the game. LC has it's own list of what is considered Uber or OU in a similar way that the regular metagame that most everyone plays.
  3. Zystral

    Zystral めんどくさい、な~
    is a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus

    Apr 16, 2009
    I agree with Donut Eater. Little Cup and NFE are wholly new Metagames in their own right, in that within Little Cup and NFE there are separate tiers and such.
    Example: Misdreavus is Uber in Little Cup, Croagunk is OU, Mareep is UU.
    You would say "LC Tier" since it is commonly put alongside the rest of the Metagame, but really, LC automatically subgenerates the OU-LC tier, since when we say "The Metagame" we mean OU.

    As you said, a tier is a grouping or a rank determined by a certain factor. In Pokemon this is generally Usage + Performance. Of course, you can also develop Tiers inside of Tiers.
    If we look at OU, Scizor, Salamence and Tyranitar are obviously all up there, while things like Electivire and Dusknoir.
    Because of this, you can technically class LC as its own 'tier' but then you get clear usage borders in that one tier itself.
  4. eric the espeon

    eric the espeon maybe I just misunderstood
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Researcher Alumnusis a CAP Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus

    Aug 7, 2007
    Here is how I tend to view things:

    Mechanics and possible Pokemon, ADV is a different game as is CaP. Technically Platinum is a different game from DP since there were a few notable mechanics changes (like hypnosis acc and rotom formes).

    The underling rules that make the foundation of the game, in the case of the "standard" ruleset this includes the Sleep, Species, and OHKO Clauses, bans Pokemon that are impossible to obtain "legally", and very little else. Little Cup has a different base ruleset, so is not just another tier, though it does have tiers within it. I, and many other people, tend to slip into using the term "metagame" to describe this, even though it is used for something else.

    A set of rules and bans by which people play. "Standard" is an example of a metagame which uses the standard clauses, and bans only Pokemon above the OverUsed tier. NFE, LC-OU, Ubers, Mono-Arceus, etc are all metagames. Some are more popular than others, and they develop more.

    A set of Pokemon which have a similar range of ability within a given ruleset, tiers set out to ban overly powerful or centralising Pokemon/Items/other elements to produce a "balenced" metagame when combined with all Pokemon in lower tiers. The lower bounds of tiers are determined by usage which is currently by far the best approximation of power. NFE is not a tier, Little Cup is not a tier (though LC-OU is, and it is what most people would think of when you say Little Cup), Mono-Arceus is not a tier. OverUsed is a tier, as is NU (even though it's not a smogon sponsored one yet), and Ubers which is an example of a specific category of tiers:

    Ban List
    A ban list is a form of tier which does not set out to be balanced, and is generally formed by removing Pokemon from the tier below that do not deserve to be in the tier above.
  5. mtr


    Jan 31, 2009
    First of all, it's important too remember that Ubers is not a tier, it is a ban list that smogon makes no effort to balance.

    Also, there always will be "tiers within tiers". In OU, the top 15 or so Pokemon are the top tier OU, whereas the likes of Ninjask, Electivire, and Tentacruel are low-tier OU.
  6. cantab


    Oct 22, 2009
    I would suggest the following as a definition of 'tier'.

    Within a chosen ruleset, a tier is a set of members grouped by performance, judgement of performance, or something deemed as correlating well with performance.

    In Pokemon, we have no objective measure of performance. (This contrasts to say a racing game, when you can set a lap on a chosen track.) Banlist tiers are 'judgement of performance' - they are judged too powerful for the tier below. Usage is considered to correlate well with performance - that is pretty much the reason for usage-based tiering.

    If you think evolution status correlates well with performance, you could deem NFE a tier. But I doubt anyone thinks the correlation is good enough. Little Cup is changing the rules of the game, so it's not a tier.
  7. Zacchaeus

    is a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Dec 5, 2009
    LC and NFE aren't tiers, they are classifications. Although, Smogon does say NFE is a tier, but in my opinion, that's only because they needed a place to put all Pokémon that aren't tiered in the Strategy Dex


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