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Versatility & Efficiency

Discussion in 'Other Metagames' started by Chaoswalker, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. Chaoswalker


    Mar 20, 2010
    Ou, Nu, Uu...
    There is a lot discussion about the usability of Pokemon, but just what does that word mean? Why have Pokemon like Starmie and Gengar remained overly used from the start while others slipped through the cracks? When one looks at the most used pokemon, it starts to become apparent that there are two major factors at work here: Versatility, and Efficiency.

    Versatility is the number of jobs a Pokemon can do. The poster child for this would be Scizor. Let's look at the standard Scizor moveset:
    Show Hide
    Bullet Punch
    What does adding Scizor to your team give you? From the top, it gives you volt-turn, Priority, a fighting move, and trapping. It also has useful resistances due to its typing, and can sweep with swords dance. This means that Scizor can be used in many, many situations. You could also describe versatility as number of niches, in which case Scizor would fill and entire room.

    Efficiency is how well a Pokemon can do its job. This is a very simple idea, but maybe the most important. To examine it, let's pick up the case of Excadril.
    Show Hide
    With Sand Rush it has incredible speed. With high attack and the ability to fairly consistently get in a swords dance, it's attack is through the roof. It wasn't too shocking to hear that Excadril was banned when it often times could be found offing entire teams with 270 Atk and 176 speed. Sure it has rapid spin, but for the most part it did one job and it did that job very well: Sweeping.

    "Well that's great and all," you say, "But why did you post this in Other Metagames?" Good question.
    Show Hide
    There are often attempts at increasing the usability of weaker pokemon. These methods are typically increasing stats, like a boost to each stat depending on how low in tiers a Pokemon is, or making all stats uniformly add up to one number. The problem with these methods though is that they are very lazy quick fixes that can create odd situations. For example, let's say I wanted to use Charizard. Well all right then, let's give it plus 30 to all stats so that it has 139 SpA, and 130 Spe. With these boosts, Charizard can now do what everyone has always wanted it to do: Kill everything. But what if I want to use Mawile? Buffing all the stats through the roof has stranger concequences. Mawile is a small deceiving Pokemon, and to see it with 115 Atk and 80 spd is very strange. Sure Mawile could abuse sheer force to sweep, but it wouldn't be very much in that Pokemon's spirit.

    So here's the discussion I propose: What if every fully evolved Pokemon was altered through a consideration of it's versatility and Efficiency to create a meta with by far more usuable, flavorful, and diverse Pokemon? This means looking at a pokemon and asking:
    What theming/flavors are apparant?
    What uses does its Moveset, typing, and abilities afford?
    What changes should be made to bring out those flavors and uses?

    Here's an example, starting from the beginning.
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    Blastoise has alot of good things going for it that make it very interesting. Decent Bulk, Pure Water Typing, Rain Dish, Aqua Jet, Dragon Tail, Fake Out, Mirror Coat, Rapid Spin, Refresh, Roar, Scald, and yawn. This opens it up for a whole plethora of utilities for the team including taking hits, removing hazards, and phazing. Clearly Blastoise is not an offensive monster, but a defensive support type. With a diverse dependable move pool, all it would need is a small buff to HP (79-->99) and it would be that much more efficient at doing the many things it already wants to do.

    Current Pokemon Under Consideration: Butterfree
  2. Codraroll

    Codraroll Cod Mod
    is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributor

    Nov 6, 2011
    I don't know... after all, by buffing some currently inferior Pokémon, you end up shifting the metagame. For instance, say that you give Shell Smash to more Pokémon. Suddenly, a few of the 'mons whose only current niche is Shell Smashing, find themselves outperformed. Suddenly, there's no reason to use it, because one of the new Shell Smashers do most things a lot better than it. Then you'd have to find a new way to make that one viable again, without making it outclass the others.

    Also, I think there is a limited number of viable strategies to use. Even if every 'mon got a niche of its own, some niches would simply be better than others. For instance, why use Defense boosting 'mon X when 'mon Y is so efficient at dual screening that it completely outclasses defense boosting as a concept?

    I'm not saying that an "everything viable" metagame is impossible. I just say it is a lot harder than it might appear at first glance. It's easy to say "If Houndoom got (move), it would be viable, OU material for sure", but that only holds true for the current metagame. Change sixty percent of the 'mons, and the metagame WILL change too. The conditions Pokémon fight under, the threats they check and counter, the strategies they are put up against, everything is stirred around and it takes a LOT of playing before things settle. Making a single Pokémon "viable" is easy enough. We know how the game is played, what's threatening and what it can sweep. Making all Pokémon viable, on the other hand... not so much. It will take a humongous effort to balance everything out, and prevent some "good ideas" from being overcentralizing. It can be done, yes, but don't expect to be able to play such a metagame next week.
  3. Chaoswalker


    Mar 20, 2010
    Aheheheh, the truth is I never expected to play this meticulously balanced metagame. It would take months of planning, followed by another year of testing and tweaking. By then we'd be knee deep in X and Y. Still, I think it's worth discussion as to how one would tackle to problem of altering each Pokemon's individual case and propose a solution.

    You're right though, I completely forgot about the effects that changing the meta would have on the effectiveness of EVERYTHING.
  4. Arizona


    Sep 9, 2012
    Well, it would be more efficient than OU's progress, as they've been at it for what, a couple years now, yet they keep making bans. It's hard to solve the complex puzzle of metagame balance. It's harder to solve it with only a hammer at your disposal.
  5. Chaoswalker


    Mar 20, 2010
    Heh, at the very least it would be fun to figure out.

    Well let's get things rolling and see where this goes, shall we? I'll keep things relatively close to the beginning of the Pokedex for now..
    Show Hide

    Bug/Flying Compoundeyes/Tinted Lense Current Tier:NU
    HP60 Atk45 Def50 SpA80 SpD80 Spe70 Total 385

    As Butterfree exists now, it seems to primarily play the roles of quiver dancer and status abuser. It was born with low stats all around for being a first area catch, befitting such a frail and dainty looking Pokemon. (too low perhaps?) Relative to its stat total though, it emphasizes special attack/deffense and speed. Also, there is the stealth Rock issue...
    Moves that interest me:
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    Bug Buzz
    Energy Ball
    Quiver Dance
    Rain Dance
    Shadow Ball
    Silver Wind
    Sleep Powder
    Stun Spore

    Compoundeyes is what allows Butterfree to abuse it's low accuracy status moves, meanwhile Tinted Lens can make Butterfree's attacks essentially unresisted. It seems Butterfree has all the necesary tools for quiver dance offense excepting the necessary overall power. That could be alleviated with increased base stats, but that puts Butterfree in direct competition with the likes of Venemoth and Volcarona. What can it offer that they don't? Volcarona has the overall power, while Venomoth can baton pass. That leaves Butterfree with it's more accurate status moves.

    Speaking of which, Butterfree could run some proper team support if it had better bulk and a couple new moves. Perhaps dual screens? Spore? Wish? Aromatherapy/Heal Bell? Encore? Toxic Spikes? Personally, I prefer this route. I don't think Butterfree looks like it should be a setup sweeper, though it doesn't have to be entirely discounted.

    My proposed Butterfree changes
    Show Hide
    New Moves: Reflect, Aromatherapy, Encore, Taunt


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