Tier names


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For the past generations, we have used the same naming system for tiers. Ubers, OU, BL, UU, and NU all have become ingrained in people's heads as the standard tiering system used on most, if not all, competitive Pokemon Sites. However, the tier names are somewhat misleading and seem to confuse newer people.

I would like to propose, rather than using semi-cryptic names like Borderline and NeverUsed, we change to a system that uses numbers for tiering, i.e. Tier 1 would be standard, Tier 2 would be the tier below it, ect. I feel this will be better in the long run, since it saves us from having to make up names for new tiers that we could easily have because of how many Pokemon there are to tier this gen.

There are two things that I am not sure of if we decide to do this. The first is the manner of what we call Ubers. I feel we could either call it Ubers still, call it Tier 0 (the ultimate tier), or we just have Ubers be Tier 1 and Current OU/Standard be Tier 2. The second thing that I feel should be done, but not everyone might agree with me about, is that if we switch to this method, their shouldn't be a BL buffer tier between Tiers 1 and 2. Instead, there would be two types of Pokemon tiered in Tier 1, those who are there by usage, and those who are there cause they are "broken" in tier 2. It's a little extra work, but I feel that would be better.

That's all I really have to say for now. Sorry if my thoughts weren't clear or were jumbled, but I've heard enough people talk about it that I feel it should finally be mentioned here.
The tiering structure worked fine last gen and I see little evidence so far this gen to suggest that there's any reason to mess around with it. I'd rather confuse newer players than completely change a system that's used in all competitive pokemon communities if those are the two options.

If the tiering structures were overly confusing maybe the balance between the two options would shift slightly. But as it stands, the tiering structure is not a very complicated thing to learn at all.


Nuke the Weebs
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I oppose this. I'm cping the argument I made on irc.
<Nails> honestly rbg, i don't think it's needed
<Nails> it's not necessarily bad
<Nails> but it's just not necessary
<Nails> and we shouldn't make huge sweeping changes because we feel like it
<Nails> just give a name to the tier
<Nails> but until nu gets a playerbase i don't think it's worth changing the name of every tier
<Nails> i mean
<Nails> it wasn't officially supported last gen
<Nails> and the ladder on cap had less usage than the lc ladder
<%RBG> we have, like, 20 times as many ladders
<Nails> and outside ou, ubers, and possibly dream world
<Nails> you can't consistently get a battle on any of them
<Nails> like, within a minute
<Nails> http://www.smogon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76754
<Nails> JUNE 2010 NU USAGE
<Nails> Battles: 957
<Nails> JULY 2010 NU USAGE
<Nails> Battles: 624
<Nails> so
<Nails> basically
<Nails> the name change would be for a tier with under 1000 battles per month
<Nails> about a battle per hour on the ladder
<Nails> when it isn't really necessary, as we can simply make names for different tiers

My basic point is that it's a significant change to make, and that while there's nothing wrong with changing the tier names, it's not really needed. A solution if we decide we want a lower tier is to use PO's term "Lowerused" for the tier between NU and UU. I don't think that we should go against 2+ generations of precedent without good reason, and this doesn't seem like it's needed.
The main problem with the current system is not so much in the existing tiers as it is in the naming of new tiers. I think that something similar to what the OP is asking for is definitely warranted on new tiers that we make.

The alternative that I'd like to propose is to have a numbering system to give each tier a "nomenclature name", as well as keep existing names as "common names". Namely, Tier 1 is commonly called "Overused", and Tier 2 is commonly called "Underused". It's similar to chemistry, where "dihydrogen monoxide" is called "water" (I picked that example intentionally to drive the point as far as possible). The advantage of this is that we don't *need* to name Tier 3 or Tier 4 if we don't want to further the awkwardness of the old naming system (if there ever was a "system"), but we can continue to call Tier 1 OU because we're just used to that and it's been relatively fine to describe the "classic" tiers.

I'm not sure of what the OP is getting at with abolishing the borderline tiers. In any case, I strongly believe that a clear distinction should be made between OU and the UU extra banlist due to the weird implications of merging them into one tier (in Gen 4, Walrein was used more than most of the BLs). What I would suggest is a "B-" prefix (meaning "banlist" or I guess "borderline") attached to each tier's "nomenclature name"; I'd include Ubers in this as well. That is, Ubers is "Tier B1", BL is "Tier B2", Tier 3's banlist is "Tier B3", etc.

Just my two cents :)

A solution if we decide we want a lower tier is to use PO's term "Lowerused" for the tier between NU and UU.
Ugh, I hate that name. js

Steven Snype

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I see no reason to change the naming. If the users are new, then they ask what the tiers are, regardless of what they are called. They'll get the answer from people who know what the names of the tiers mean. It isn't hard to ask around. If this nameshift does happen, then the thousands of people who've played the game now have to learn the new shift in nomenclature.

Overall, this issue is petty. Changing the nomenclature doesn't really make a difference in competitive battling.
I don't like "why change it now" as an argument. If a change is for the better, it's better to change now than later. Just because it's widely ingrained now, doesn't mean we should wait for it to be more ingrained later.

In the case of this particular change though, I think "both" is better than one or the other. There's no real reason why we can't have 2 naming systems for the same system (Tier 1: OU).

Actually, I think this would be a perfect method/opportunity to further clear up the tiering system. In the current system, OU stands for 2 things: There's an OU tier (based on usage, a ban list for UU), and there's an OU game (the OU metagame). RBG's system could be used as the label for the game, differentiating it from the tier.

Thus we can talk about "metagames" v. "tiers" more easily. Keeping the old names as nomenclature like suggested by capefeather also sounds good.

To make it more clear, the system would look like this:

Uber / Tier 0

Tier 1
"OU Metagame"
-OU (Pokemon banned from Tier 2 based on usage in Tier 1)
-BL (Pokemon banned from Tier 2 based on testing in Tier 2)

Tier 2 "UU Metagame"
-UU, or "Tier 2 OU" (Pokemon banned from Tier 3 based on usage in Tier 2)
-Tier 2 BL (Pokemon banned from Tier 3 based on testing in Tier 3)

Tier 3
-"Tier 3 OU"?
-"Tier 3 BL"?

Tier 4

etc. etc.

With this system, we have clear and easily understandable names for the various metagames that people will play. When talking to knew users, we can simply say "play tier 1," and in Tier 1, you use "all Pokemon in Tier 1 or lower".

If people want to know in greater detail why a Pokemon is Tier 1 or Tier 2, we can see whether they were classified their for power or usage, and reference the tier's "OU" or "BL" lists for clear categorization of the two tiering types.

Preserving the OU/BL system inside the "Tier #" system will also make it much easier for people to adjust. You can just say, "Tier 1 is the OU metagame" or "Tier 1 is OU + BL"
When I first roamed the site, the names were confusing, but I learned them easily. I have to believe that anyone with dream to become a Pokemon Master can easily pick the names up like I did. If you're confused by the names, then you're also probably confused why Charizard isn't uber.

I'd rather not change something when there isn't a glaring need.


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I feel like renaming OU, UU, and Ubers is unnecessary.

However, I do believe that renaming NU is necessary. Looking at amount of Pokemon this generation, NU is going to be gigantic, and I feel it will need to be split into at least 2 tiers.

You musn't forget. The reason NU didn't see much use last generation was lack of leadership and a place to talk about it until Project NU came along, and it was only playable on the CAP server (which most people probably didn't even know about). Now, however, the NU tiers will probably be on the same Smogon server, allowing for more access and possibly more usage and interest.
Rather than leadership, lack of time was a bigger factor imo. BTW we had a stable/accepted UU list, the gen was practically over and BW got announced.

If you want NU to get up and get going, you first have to get UU going, and hope that we don't take as long with tiering as we did in DPP.

Regardless, even the current system could definitely use some syntax work to make it more clear and less confusing-- even if you keep the same names, distinguishing between OU as metagame and OU as UU ban list would definitely make things make more sense.
In my opinion, changing the tiers' names is extrapolating something rather small. I understand it can be difficult to starters, but it's relatively easy to learn. Not to mention the effect it has on smaller pokemon communities that follow our tiers.

To be honest, the only parts of our tiers that I believe are sketchy are the Borderline and Neverused tiers. The BL tier should just be combined with the OU tier, either directly or as subsidiary tier. This can also apply as a solution for the NU tier. I guess it goes in the same vein of the OP, but this looks like a simple way that doesn't trade off our traditional tiers' names.
I support having both the old names and naming Tiers by numbers. Get the best out of both systems. We don't need naming of Tiers yet, but it'll be helpful when we will eventually make extra tiers, and it's better to get it done sooner than later. Numbers will help newer users learn the Tiers more quickly, whilst keeping the old names will be more helpful for those already familiar with the tiers (and it'll be very easy to learn the new system).

If I had to choose a naming system, I'd choose something similar to Chou Toshio's system. Split each Tier into "Number" and "NumberBL" e.g. Tier 2 Pokemon consist of "2" Pokemon, who are determined by usage, and "2 BL", who are determined by being banned from Tier 3.

Should we go ahead with this, NU should include all Pokemon who are Tier 3 or below. That way all the Tiers are named both by the old system and by the new system, and so that we don't have to think of more names for new tiers.

Uber / Tier 0

Tier 1 "OU Metagame"
1 = Pokemon banned from Tier 2 based on usage in Tier 1
1 BL = Pokemon banned from Tier 2 based on testing in Tier 2

Tier 2 "UU Metagame"
2 ("Tier 2 OU") = Pokemon banned from Tier 3 based on usage in Tier 2
-2 BL = Pokemon banned from Tier 3 based on testing in Tier 3

Tier 3 "NU 1 Metagame"
-"3 BL"

Tier 4 "NU 2 Metagame"
-4 BL
I want to chime in that NU will be a playable tier on the SU server once things get around to that point with stats and so forth. Additionally, I agree with the idea that we'll need another split usage tier, given the raw number of Pokemon that we have available to use. NU will be exceptionally large otherwise. I've been mulling over what I'd like to call it, and I really like RarelyUsed (RU) so far. I think it's important for it to have a distinct acronym that differs from the others and doesn't use a word that is repetitive with another tier.

That said, I really like OU/UU/NU as names and don't want to see them changed. I have phased out the idea of "standard" on the server, which was my main gripe before. However, I think the names OU/etc have distinct associated power-levels that people can understand fairly easily. A numbered naming schema wouldn't really have that, since everyone would have to readjust to it. I also think that most importantly the names are a part of Smogon's legacy, and I would hate to change them and abandon that.
This is a solution in search of a problem. There isn't anything wrong with the current system and I don't see anything that would suggest it will be a problem after we get usage stats for UU and subsequently NU. Who cares if NU is gigantic, there are so many pokemon that it should be expected to be huge (especially when we start talking about NFEs). IMO that would make it a much more fun metagame.
I don't think it's necessary to give each tier either a number or letter, and definately don't think that one of those should replace what we already have. I may be a minority in this, but the tier names never confused me when I started. Adding a number or letter will just make it more confusing imo. I will agree that NU needs to be split, and I love RD's proposed name of RarelyUsed. There are way too many Pokemon in it, and some of the were not used even in the NU tier cause they sucked so much.


Trying to get my Smods back D:
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My problem with a giant NU, is that there could easily be one or two more actual tiers below that that have playable metagames. I really don't like just coming up with more arbitrary _U names, as they just seem kind of arbitrary, while simply numbering the tiers gives you the ability to easily add a lower tier if you decide to when the stats for the lowest tier come out, and Tier # still coveys power level just as well as the names we currently use IMO.
Just change the name of the semi-cryptic tier names to a more accurate name (e.g. BL -> UU bans or something). OU and UU are fine and represent exactly what they are.


how many seconds in eternity?
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Earthworm's idea sounds good if any change is to be made, I know I personally would rather have a slightly confusing name for the minor metagames than have to change the names for the MAJOR metagames. I basically like to think of it in the context of what's more likely to annoy people ("Wow Smogon changed the tier name from OU to Tier 1? WTF?!") vs ("Damn NU isn't really the best name for this tier") and this change would probably only serve to isolate Smogon further from being 'The' competitive pokemon site (sure it might not seem like a big deal to some of the people here but it definitely will to a LOT of others...)

"If it aint broke don't fix it"
pana and jrrrr really hit the nail on the head here. There's no problem with the current system, and creating a mass upheaval just because of the potential existence of some super low level niche tiers is likely to create more confusion and problems than it will solve.
So I don't think that we've heard very many thoughts on the "use them both" option from people who (quite understandably) would reject changing the names at all. Just as no one calls water dihydrogen monoxide other than chemistry teachers looking for a cheap joke, no one would actually call OU "Tier 1". However, we'd be removed from the unnecessary obligation to name Tier 3 and just call it Tier 3 if there's no other consensus as to what to call it.

That said, I really like OU/UU/NU as names and don't want to see them changed. I have phased out the idea of "standard" on the server, which was my main gripe before.
I have the opposite opinion. I don't like OU/UU/NU as names because each tier is determined only by the tiers below it. Some NU Pokémon are used more in OU than most BLs are. This is mainly why I actually prefer the name "standard" to refer to the metagame that allows OUs but not Ubers. This is also why I probably won't agree to any consensus on naming Tier 3 (if/when we come to that). I don't like the name "RU" X( Each name seems to assume that it's going to be the bottom rung.
I agree with Earthworm in renaming BL to "UU Bans". This also solves the issue with when suspect testing begins for "RU" and NU when we get to that stage, because those will need "RU Bans" and "NU Bans" lists, respectively. I stand by my not wanting to rename OU/UU/NU, especially after Pana's excellent post on the matter that I agree with.


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tier A, tier B tier C etc would be cooler than tier #s imo! (ubers should still be called ubers either way)
how about S tier, A tier, B tier, etc?

i'm not sure i like the idea of numbered/lettered tiers that much, but i do agree with the sentiment of the op; the current tier names are pretty ridiculous and certainly misleading

edit: re: panamaxis' post, i really don't think that's a significant enough issue to be a concern. a) i imagine the fuss kicked up by changing OU to Tier 1, fex, would be minimal, and b) in reality it doesn't affect the way people that already play the game would play the game, so what does it matter? the point is that it makes the system for accessible and intuitive, which it isn't exactly atm, and that is definitely a plus


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One thing I've noticed is the misalignment between "Standard" and "OU". Or maybe "disagreement" is a better word, since "Standard" implies that it's normal and fine, whereas "Overused" implies... well, too much usage. Granted "OU" is simpler to say.

I think any systematic nomenclature is a good idea, be it letters or numbers. Ubers should remain "Ubers", as said above, with Tier 1 being "Standard" and we currently know as "OU". I think numbers is also the preferable alternative, since elsewhere they go by numbers (i.e. Tier 1 decks, Tier 2 Characters).
I wouldn't mind renaming the tiers as you suggest, RBG. The tier names are just kind of weird, and I feel like "Neverused" in particular could be somewhat of a turnoff. But in the event that there is wide disapproval of such a "sweeping change," then Earthworm's solution seems to sufficiently get at the core of the issue, which is that banlists shouldn't be referred to, in any way, as standalone modes of play.
In my opinion, even though I don't play anymore, this does seem like a rather unnecessary change. I mean, the terms OU, UU, BL, etc are all jargon that just about every "serious" Pokemon battler knows. Changing it now just seems to be frivolous and just an excuse to give everyone something to do / new to learn. (Granted, learning tier names aren't that hard) but it's kind of dumb. I'm going to make a parallel between CoD and Pokemon right now, but in BlOps, me and my friends all call the Ghost Perk, Cold Blooded still. Not because we are trying to be edgy or anything, but because we have played MW2 for the longest time. People online also still call it Cold Blooded from time to time. (same for Hacker and SitRep) The old names that people are familiar with tend to stick when they are so oftentimes used, as UU, OU, etc were all so commonly used for the past several generations.

tl;dr - change for the sake of change is often a waste of time and effort, unless there is some huge outcry akin to the Garchomp era, I don't think that its worth it to change around the tier names.