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The purpose of the tiers

Discussion in 'Stark Mountain' started by david stone, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. david stone

    david stone Fast-moving, smart, sexy and alarming.
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    If there were no tiers, all Pokemon would be acceptable. This would be equivalent to the uber ladder. In that environment, there are something like 12 "OU" Pokemon (Pokemon that make up the top 75% of usages). This is seen as not enough, so we divide the game into two tiers: uber and OU.

    The uber tier is the unbalanced tier with little variance. OU is everything else. By this definition of uber (those Pokemon that are impossible to have in a balanced game, essentially), it is obvious that nothing is "too broken for ubers".

    So now we have one balanced tier: OU. However, there are many Pokemon that do not fit in the resulting metagame. They are completely overpowered by certain Pokemon. So we say "Hey, we could make another set of tiers that would allow more Pokemon to compete!".

    So we take the top 75% of those Pokemon in OU and those remain in the OU tier. The rest are moved down to a new tier, UU. By this view of UU, the only reason the OU tier exists is to create a ban list for UU.

    Now we have three tiers: Ubers, OU, and UU. However, UU was created strictly by usage in OU. This does not necessarily create a balanced tier. To balance this new UU tier. our only option is to ban, as OU Pokemon are automatically removed from consideration for UU. These banned Pokemon are moved to BL.

    By this definition of BL (those Pokemon that are impossible to have in a balanced game when the top x% of used Pokemon in the standard tier are removed, essentially), it is obvious that nothing is "too broken for BL", as long as the Pokemon isn't uber.

    So now we have 4 tiers: Ubers, OU, BL, and UU. OU and UU are balanced tiers, Ubers and BL are by definition unbalanced.

    "But wait! If BL is just a ban tier, what's the purpose of it? Why not just move those Pokemon up to OU? It would have the same effect on game play, right?"

    Not quite. Remember that OU is defined as the top 75% of the Pokemon usages. If a Pokemon is OU, there can be no debate as to whether it is allowed in UU. By putting a Pokemon instead in BL, you are saying "Current forces in UU are not enough to counter the effect of this Pokemon effectively.". In the future, there may be a new style of play that makes a certain BL Pokemon acceptable. By merging OU and BL, it makes discussion of tiers more difficult and turns OU into "banned from BL either based on it's effect on UU or based on how much it's used in OU", which I think is more complicated than having two tiers for banning from UU.

    However, some people realize that UU is still rather large. There are many Pokemon that cannot seriously compete in UU because there are still some Pokemon that are relatively powerhouses. So people repeat the process that was done in OU to create UU.

    Look at UU usages. The top 75% are UU, the rest are moved down to NU. However, because NU so far was created entirely on usages in UU, it's not necessarily balanced. So we create a new tier (let's call it... Limbo) and ban those Pokemon that prove to be impossible to have in a balanced NU tier.

    The reason we'd need this Limbo tier is the same reason we need the BL tier rather than just banning Pokemon to OU.

    This gives us the tiers as follows (red tiers are unbalanced tiers that exist solely to ban things):

    Ubers
    OU
    BL
    UU
    Limbo
    NU
  2. TheMaskedNitpicker

    TheMaskedNitpicker Triple Threat
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    Yes, this is indeed how the tier system currently works. Are you just posting this thread because a large number of people misunderstand the tier system, or are you starting a discussion about it?
  3. ParanoidDrone

    ParanoidDrone

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    Interesting. I was wondering something similar about the relationship between BL and OU, and this explained it nicely. Specifically, I thought BL was a combination of "OUs that aren't used as much for whatever reason" and "Banned from UU." According to this, they're the same thing, or at least that's the impression I'm getting.

    Also what TMN said.
  4. david stone

    david stone Fast-moving, smart, sexy and alarming.
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    Every time a tier discussion comes up, people post things like "Raikou is too good for BL, let's make it OU!". I decided to make a thread explaining just why that doesn't make sense. I also figured some people would still have questions because I probably didn't explain everything perfectly.

    Well, OU is defined as those that are used more than the other Pokemon. There is actually no requirement of power in OU. It's possible for there to be an OU Pokemon that is "weaker" than every BL and every UU (it's just unlikely). If, for whatever reason, people started using Whiscash a lot, it would be OU. If Gengar were to drop in usage out of OU, it would be bumped down to UU, where it would almost certainly be banned to BL. In such an unlikely scenario, Whiscash would still be OU and Gengar would be BL.
  5. Lawman

    Lawman

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    Thank you Obi! Hopefully this will clear up a lot of misunderstandings.
  6. Articanus

    Articanus

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    I have to disagree with your..... ummm...... well the.......

    fuck!

    yeah you hit it right on the head.
  7. Havak

    Havak I'm the Best. You're a Towel.
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    There's just one thing even I still don't get fully.

    Tentacruel was a UU Tier Pokémon, because obviously, it wasn't used a lot. However, since you posted your stall team with Tentacruel present, usage rose. Now, if it has once been proven to not be "too good" for UU, and usage drops, does it become BL or UU?
  8. Fatality

    Fatality

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    This is a great explanation of the Tiers. Maybe it should be put as a Sticky? Or linked to from the FAQ?
  9. david stone

    david stone Fast-moving, smart, sexy and alarming.
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  10. phalanx

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    well this should really me stickied, as it hits the nail on the head
  11. Bologo

    Bologo Have fun with birds and bees.
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    Are there any other pokemon in OU that would be dropped down to UU if their usage dropped them out of OU? From what I see, most of them would drop down to BL, but there very well may be a couple that would drop down to UU.
  12. Olie

    Olie

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    This thread could very well be used to document tier changes.
    Well done, Obi.
  13. HD

    HD

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    That means chomp would have a huge drop in usage (when hell freezes over) it would go to UU to be tested, right? And if it's too good for UU it would be moved up to BL, right?
  14. Icy_J

    Icy_J

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    This is indeed a perfect explanation, as I do get tired with people thinking that beating an OU team with BLs is supposed to be impressive, when in fact there are a number of pokemon in BL that can compete on equal terms with OU. This will definitely clear a few things up for some people.
  15. Mr.E

    Mr.E im the best
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    Pokémon is pretty much the only competitive community that bases tiers primarily on usage, explain THAT one!

    Maybe Forretress. :X
  16. Odinwolf

    Odinwolf

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    Mr. E... that's probably because Pokemon defines their playing environment based on their tiers. Whereas other communities tend to create tiers based on power/success (which, is actually often reflected in usage) and then sometimes create fun side events (like Low Tier tournaments) from the tiers.

    Also, Pokemon has 493 characters to work with. Street Fighter games have like 16, Smash Brawl has 40ish and MvC2 has 50ish. There are a lot more characters that get overlooked with nearly 500 running around and since pokemon evokes some personal feelings of attachment, there is room to accommodate the people that way to play with Seaking, Beedrill, etc by creating new environments.

    Think of this way, most other communities only play under the "Ubers" environment or ban just a couple of characters and play some version of "OU." But with fewer characters and smaller differences in stats and effectiveness, the majority of the cast tend to be tournament viable anyways. So there's no need to create new "tiers" or playing environments except to rank a character's relative strength. If that need arises, usage can help to determine those things. I think if a fighting game had 400 characters to choose from and a strong enough following, a similar system might arise.

    Competitive pokemon players aren't weird for doing this, they just have a very unique game with a unique set of challenges. The resulting play environments aren't always consistent or the best possible result, but they generally make sense and support a good competitive community.
  17. Chou Toshio

    Chou Toshio @Fighting Necktie
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    I hate to be negative, but after all the many times people have explained the tier system on smogon, and all the many places similar explanations are tacked here and there, I doubt much will change no matter how (or who) explains it [again]. It's not like the rest of the [intelligent] posters on this forum are bad at explaining the tiers themselves. In every tier discussion thread I've seen almost this exact explantion will appear 4-5 times as mods or more experienced members (including Obi) try to get people to understand, and we'll still have a number of idiots going "Moltres is OU!!!!~" I just don't see that changing.

    >.>

    edit: Bah, though Obi, you yourself must know that such idiots will not disappear from any discussion on the internet no matter what you do.
  18. SubVersion

    SubVersion

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    Good post and a great explanation, however Havak's post about Tentacruel raises a good point:

    Tentacruel seems to contradict the wording of the bolded line and the following justification for it. Tenta hops from UU to OU every now and again, so there is still a question mark hanging over the relationship of those two tiers. There's also a style of play right now in UU that makes Tenta acceptable (I don't play UU so I don't know how he fares down there at all, but if he is occasionally UU then I'm just assuming he's not overpowering), which makes it seem unusual that he's not allowed there.

    Yeah I know in Tentacruel's case it relies on usage rather than power, I'm not disagreeing with what you've said I'm just nitpicking the wording, lol.
  19. hinode

    hinode

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    I think you missed Obi's point; because Tentacruel is OU, it is banned from UU regardless of any power arguments. And for the record, Tentacruel has never fallen from OU even since it reached sufficient usage either, no "hops".
  20. Chou Toshio

    Chou Toshio @Fighting Necktie
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    There is no contradiction. Tentacruel does not overpower UU, which is why it is an interesting case, as it may be the only OU pokemon that distinctly does not overpower UU.

    That said, along the tiers its obvious what happens. If Tentacruel falls off of X-Act's OU list (always based on most recent 3 months), he is UU. If he stays on, he is OU. Simple as that.

    Since it does not overpower UU, it has no relation at all to BL.

    There is no contradiction or confusion (or shouldn't be, confusion only arises when people don't understand the logic of the tier system). It is purely based on Tenta's useage, which after all is the first and simplest reason pokemon are not allowed in UU.
  21. Droideka88

    Droideka88

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    I thought Limbo was a completely separate tier that did not directly belong in the tier ranking list. How did you decide that Limbo is between UU and NU? Does this mean that "borderline" UU and NU pokemon will become Limbo then? If so, I propose a new tier name for Limbo. :)
  22. Chou Toshio

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    Don't make it overly complicated Droid. Limbo has never been a true "tier" at all. Before the term was used to discribe the testing situation Wobb was in but was not a true tier.

    Here Obi is just using the phrase to describe a new theoretical "BL" or "Ban-List" tier for NU.

    Don't associate it with the earlier case with Wobb.

    edit: Bah, maybe people'd get it if we named Ubers "Ban List for OU" and BL as "Ban List for UU" and the next one as "Ban List for NU"
  23. Droideka88

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    As long as it sounds, that could work. You could also simply use something like XU? (X inserts a word like Rarely, Often, Never, etc)

    Obi's structure with putting Limbo between UU and NU confused me for a moment. Well it's much clearer now.
  24. gorm

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    the tiering system as it is will be much more stable once overcentralization is numerically defined, so that our ban lists can be truly usage dependent as well. the way things are we have usage dependent tiers and banlist tiers which gives the overall structure a bit of an "impure" feel, of course it still works


    the problem is that there's so much to figure out ~__~ which requires testing ~__~ which is not easy to preform let alone analyze (think MR's lati@s tourney, the ho-oh tourney, etc etc)

    these "what if's" are kind of silly since the assumption that usage is related to power is required for a "stable" metagame. i don't think that a metagame where everyone uses 6 nfes just to offset the numbers is a metagame worth tiering at all, so don't concern yourself with such fancies!
  25. Ambitions

    Ambitions

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    This should be common knowledge to anyone that has been a member of Smogon for over 2 months. Thanks for organizing the "must be known" into one simple post.

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