History of Bans in BW OU
October 30, 2010
The evasion, sleep, species, and OHKO clauses were decided to be upheld in BW. Evasion Clause bans the use of Double Team and Minimize, Sleep Clause bans two opposing Pokemon being intentionally put to sleep, Species Clause bans two Pokemon with the same Pokédex number from being on the same team, and OHKO Clause bans the moves Sheer Cold, Fissure, Guillotine, and Horn Drill.
At this point, the fifth generation of Pokemon had just begun and huge debates were taking place in Policy Review concerning the Evasion, Species, Sleep, and OHKO Clauses. Evasion Clause, while the vote was nowhere near unanimous, had the majority of people agreeing that it was an uncompetitive strategy and useless element of luck that contributed nothing to the metagame and ought not to be encouraged in a competitive environment. Sleep Clause had a much more widespread level of agreement, with the general consensus being that in a metagame where Pokemon such as Breloom and Smeargle have access to a 100% accurate sleep move in Spore and could potentially use a Choice Scarf in order to shut down entire teams, which is not competitive play and takes absolutely zero skill to do. The then-new BW sleep mechanics only further bolstered the strength of this argument. Species Clause was determined to be necessary due to the fact that most checks and counters can only handle on of a given Pokemon and that it would be impossible for a team to cover an anywhere near decent amount of threats without being weak to two of any Pokemon. This also applies to walls: a more specially orientated team cannot break multiple Blissey, or the other way around with more physically orientated teams and physical walls such as Ferrothorn, Skarmory, and Gliscor. OHKO Clause was voted to stay mainly because a 30% chance of an OHKO was determined to be uncompetitive. Overall, these bans were pretty decisive and mainly based on philosophy, tradition, luck, and lack of competitiveness.
November 7, 2010
A list consisting of Arceus, Dialga, Giratina, Giratina-O, Groudon, Ho-Oh, Kyogre, Lugia, Mewtwo, Palkia, Rayquaza, Reshiram, and Zekrom made by Rising_Dusk was accepted as the initial banlist consisting of all the Pokemon deemed to be broken beyond reasonable doubt.
Now, the clauses for the new generation had been decided on and Smogon was in need of an official banlist, or lack of one for that matter. Many lists were talked about, but eventually this list was decided upon as the bare minimum of the most broken Pokemon in every way. Arceus is the most optimized and versatile Pokemon in existence, boasting amazing bulk, high power, blazing Speed, and an expansive offensive and supportive movepool. Dialga's titanic offenses, bulk, versatility, and amazing typing were the major reasons for its inclusion. Giratina can wall almost every Pokemon in existence and makes the use of Rapid Spin extremely difficult. Giratina-O has amazing bulk and power as well, also being near impossible to Rapid Spin against. Groudon is extremely bulky and powerful, also setting up the extremely dangerous sun. Kyogre is in the same boat as Groudon except that it OHKOes and 2HKOes almost every Pokemon in the game with Choice Specs Water Spout and that it sets up the arguably more dangerous rain weather. Ho-Oh is extraordinarily powerful between its amazing dual STABs, Brave Bird and Sacred Fire, the latter of which possesses a 50% burn rate. It also has humongous special bulk, which makes it difficult to KO. Lugia's defensive stats are too high and with an amazing Speed stat to match it is near-impossible to break. Mewtwo is absolutely devastating, being completely unwallable and extremely powerful. Palkia is extremely powerful offensively and has great defenses as well, not to mention its semi-unique typing that is only shared by Kingdra and its evolution line. Rayquaza is the best setup sweeper and mixed attacker in the game, hitting like a truck on both sides offensively. Reshiram and Zekrom, the new cover legendaries, had the same traits as the others that screamed broken. Overall, these Pokemon were the obvious bans that were pretty much required to proceed with the banning of other Pokemon that might be less obvious.
December 30, 2010
After Round 1, Darkrai, Deoxys-A, Deoxys-N, Shaymin-S, and Moody were banned from OU after having been determined to be broken. Drizzle was to be voted on the next round, and Latios, Excadrill, and Shadow Tag were not banned.
The BW metagame had officially begun with the upheld clauses and preliminary banlist, and this round just added to the banlist. Shaymin-S was on the top of the list, boasting blazing Speed and a high Special Attack stat, with the few things that could counter it being flinched to death by Air Slash and weakened by the 80% chance of a Special Defense drop from Seed Flare. It received the second of two unanimous ban votes in Smogon history, the other being DPP UU Yanmega. Darkrai was similar to Shaymin-S in Speed and power, but instead of harassing teams with flinch and Special Defense drops had an 80% accurate sleep move and an ability that caused Pokemon to lose health at the end of the turn if they were put to sleep. Deoxys-A was simply a monster, with base 150 Speed and dual 180 offensive stats being the literal definition of fast and powerful, completely dominating any game it took part in. Deoxys-N followed suit with Deoxys-A mainly based on theory as Deoxys-A completely outclassed it, but regardless it would have been extremely broken if it was allowed to stay. Moody was banned on charge of uncompetitiveness and being a unnecessary luck factor, making Bibarel and Octillery viable, no joke. Drizzle was very powerful, with Swift Swim users being extremely threatening, but other threats being more prominent issues left it put merely on notice. There were a few people thinking Latios, Excadrill, and Shadow Tag ought to be banned, but none of them really gained much footing, at least for the moment.
January 27 and 30, 2011
After Round 2, the use of Drizzle + Swift Swim on the same team was disallowed and Manaphy was deemed Uber. Deoxys-N was voted to not come back to OU and Excadrill, Latios, and Reuniclus were not banned.
Even with all of those Pokemon banished to the Uber tier, OU was still not stable. Drizzle was completely ridiculous at this point, with Swift Swim users and Manaphy benefiting demolishing with rain in play. A fellow named Aldaron had this bright idea that would entail banning Swift Swim on the same team as Drizzle, taking out the broken part of the combination but letting Drizzle stay, perceived not to be the broken piece. This came to be known as the famous "Aldaron's Proposal" and ended Smogon's long history of being against complex bans. Manaphy was banned because of Hydration allowing it a free recovery of all of its health and status with Rest to allow for setting up infinite Calm Minds or to set up the amazing Tail Glow that boosts Special Attack by three whole stages. With its boosting abilities, Manaphy didn't even need rain to be a murderer. Deoxys-N was thought about being retested but eventually it was decided that it shouldn't be, while Excadrill and Latios were deemed not broken again in addition to Reuniclus this time around.
March 25 and 27, 2011
After Round 3, Bright Powder and Lax Incense were banned under Evasion Clause and Blaziken was removed from OU. Deoxys-S and Latios were determined to be up for reconsideration next round, and Drizzle, Drought, Excadrill, Reuniclus, and Thundurus were banned.
With issues with rain out of the way, the focus was all on Garchomp and Blaziken. Bright Powder and Lax Incense were banned through Evasion Clause for the reason of being uncompetitive but in reality were banned because it was thought that they made Garchomp broken when combined with Sand Veil, even though Leftovers was better and the items were not useless otherwise. This ban was perhaps the single most useless in Smogon history. Blaziken, on the other hand, was completely overpowered. It need a mere one free turn to set up a Swords Dance with Speed Boost upping its Speed at the end of every turn and high-powered STABs in Flare Blitz and Hi Jump Kick. Sun-boosted Flare Blitz was so powerful that it could 2HKO Blaziken's premier 'counters', Jellicent and Slowbro. Latios had finally left his corner of shame and rose to dominance with his menacing Choice Specs Draco Meteor and great Speed, garnering enough support for a simple majority. Deoxys-S was the best entry hazard setter in the game and was quite dominant, but its time had not come as of yet. Apparently a lot of people had this idea that Drizzle was broken and suspected Drought alongside it for consistency and to prevent adverse effects on the metagame should Drizzle be banned and partially because of the menace that was Blaziken, but Drizzle was already crippled enough through losing Swift Swimmers and Manaphy, with Drought similarly lacking any backing for a ban. Excadrill and Reuniclus once again found their way onto the slate, this time being voted not broken with newcomer Thundurus, a rising star in the realm of setup sweepers. Overall, one could say the metagame was starting to settle down, but as with previous rounds, the Fifth Generation of Pokemon was not yet finished with Smogon's banning system.
June 12 and 14, 2011
After Round 4, Garchomp was banned. Thundurus was to be up for reconsideration next round, and Latios, Deoxys-S, Excadrill, Sand Stream, Drizzle, and Drought were not banned.
The people who had decided to ban the evasion items had finally come out of their mindset of the evasion items breaking Garchomp and banned the land shark. When considering its excellent stats, one might say that was what broke Garchomp, but in reality it was Sand Veil and Garchomp's signature SubSD evasion abuse set, with Sand Veil causing ridiculous feats such as allowing Garchomp to beat, if one prepared that much, a counter, a check, and possible backup check. The sheer luck and uncompetitiveness of Sand Veil caused Garchomp to be banned with Rough Skin not out quite yet. A Sand Stream ban was on the table for this reason but Garchomp itself was banned instead. Thundurus had found its complete dominance with a near-uncounterable Nasty Plot set that caused Gastrodon to rise two tiers from RU to OU, just barely missing out on the supermajority it was expected to receive. Drizzle was on the slate for this reason. However, the real surprise this round was Latios, who had suddenly gotten much less threatening with the metagame shifting to this round and stayed OU when the general assumption was that Latios was going to be banned. All autoweather was on the chopping block this round except for the nonexistent hail because a bunch of people hated weather but the general voting population realized that weather was a part of BW and did not have to go. Excadrill fell to the wayside with Garchomp taking the spotlight this round, and Deoxys-S had two excellent counters in Excadrill and Thundurus, but both had the banhammer dangling directly above them, selecting the right time to strike.
October 3 and 9, 2011
After Round 5, Excadrill and Thundurus were banned. Baton Pass was to be up for reconsideration the next round, and Deoxys-S, Dragonite, Volcarona, Sand Stream, Drought, Drizzle, and Snow Warning were not banned.
I know you, the reader, cannot believe what happened. Thundurus was banned. All jokes aside, he tore apart teams and was nigh uncounterable with priority Taunt and Thunder Wave being other contributing factors to his ban, getting a supermajority just as a smack across the face on the way out. Now think of this: how can a Pokemon be voted OU for four whole rounds and then be considered broken just like that? That Pokemon was Excadrill, who tore apart everything with its Adamant Life Orb set being used over its inferior Jolly Air Balloon set, both of which had doubled Speed in sand thanks to Sand Rush. It was such a boss that it could Rapid Spin too. Yes, one of the most devastating sweepers in the game was also the best Rapid Spinner in the game. What a coincidence. Who would have guessed it could take the creation of one set, the only change from the other being nature and item, would be enough to break a Pokemon? Baton Pass was receiving the traditional "oh my gosh easy win" argument, receiving enough support to be considered for the next round. Deoxys-S, Volcarona, Dragonite, and autoweather all had the honor of staying OU. At this point, little did anyone know that there was not going to be a next round.
December 8, 2011
After the switch to a council system, the OU Council composed of Earthworm, JabbaTheGriffin, and Aldaron decided that Deoxys-S was unhealthy for OU and removed it from the tier.
Round 5 had ended, but the policymakers of Smogon were not happy. They found that the slates every round were becoming increasingly more stupid and Excadrill being banned after being not banned for four rounds was a wake-up call. The suspect system was failing, at least in the eyes of the powers that be, so a council composed of three of the greatest policy makers on Smogon, Earthworm, JabbaTheGriffin, and Aldaron was formed. They decided that Deoxys-S was unhealthy for the OU metagame after heated discussion and unanimously voted to oust it. Deoxys-S could do its job with ease, which was getting guaranteed Stealth Rock and layer of Spikes at the very least or getting up dual screens right off the bat and setting them up constantly throughout the match thanks to its blazing Speed, usually in the lead position. Every Rapid Spinner was KOed with the right move, such as Starmie with Thunderbolt, Tentacruel with Psycho Boost, and Forretress with Hidden Power Fire. Deoxys-S also had the ability to threaten Tyranitar, a Pokemon that can hold it to just Stealth Rock, with Superpower, given that Tyranitar did not hold a Chople Berry. Due to its blazing Speed and massive neutral and super effective coverage, it was among the greatest revenge killers in the game, a testament to its effectiveness because its offenses are inferior to most every other offensive Pokemon in OU. Thundurus and Excadrill, both major threats to Deoxys-S, had been banned in Round 5, and Deoxys-S followed suit with one of the most controversial ban debates in Smogon history. At last, it seemed as though the metagame had settled down, but this was only for now, with many more changes still yet to come.
October 12, 2012
With the reintroduction of the old suspect testing system with one change—a permanent council composed of Bloo, Haunter, Aldaron, JabbaTheGriffin, and Iconic (previously Earthworm, who stepped down)—the long-awaited Round 6 ended with Sand Veil and Snow Cloak banned under Evasion Clause and Garchomp unbanned; additionally, Bright Powder and Lax Incense were removed from Evasion Clause.
After the OU metagame settled down from the release of BW2 and its many additions, people were ready to continue suspect testing for OU, as quite a bit had changed. A form of suspect voting that had recently been adopted in RU was placed in OU, with a permanent council composed of some of Smogon's most prolific names; these people were Bloo, Haunter, Aldaron, JabbaTheGriffin, and Earthworm. Earthworm later stepped down, with Iconic taking his place. The council would direct all tiering efforts and automatically had the ability to vote, with any others wishing to vote having to reach the ladder rating requirements. The first Pokemon chosen for evaluation was Garchomp. Rough Skin had recently been released, and the piece of Garchomp that had been broken, arguably, was Sand Veil. Garchomp was a complex Pokemon to handle, so a suspect ladder was opened and changed to reflect the multiple ways the council wished to test Garchomp. It was first tested on the suspect ladder for two weeks with Sand Veil banned to get an accurate picture of how Garchomp without its beloved evasion would affect the metagame, culminating with a practice tour for the Smogon Tour with those same rules. This test having been completed, Round 6 of suspect testing commenced, with Garchomp unbanned fully, Sand Veil and all, on the suspect ladder. After that test was completed, a vote was taken, including every possible option for Garchomp. These were to unban Garchomp with no restrictions, ban Garchomp, ban Sand Veil and unban Garchomp, ban Sand Veil used in conjunction with Sand Stream, ban Sand Veil and Garchomp, and ban both Sand Veil and Snow Cloak under Evasion Clause. Snow Cloak was included into the latter for sake of completeness and to make sure that there were not any flaws in the banlist. In the end, banning Sand Veil and Snow Cloak under Evasion Clause came away with a landslide victory, with the reasoning being that evasion, especially with no opportunity cost, is unhealthy for any metagame. Of course that was not the entire reasoning, as the general population of Smogon wanted Garchomp back in OU, but that's beside the point. Bright Powder and Lax Incense were unbanned on a whim because they are entirely useless items that come at the cost of forgoing other items with much more benefits attributed to their use, such as Yache Berry and Leftovers, and thus are useless to be banned.
November 6, 2012
After Round 7 of suspect testing, Kyurem-B was unbanned.
Throughout BW, a community called Pokemon Online has coexisted alongside Smogon, although a notable difference is that Pokemon Online had large amounts of bans in every tier not OU. However, this community decided to unban Kyurem-B and pretty much universally decided that it was not broken. Continuing down the road of unbanning, the OU Council decided that Kyurem-B was next to be tested. Similarly to PO, it was decided by many to be not broken, even with the bulk of a wall, an unreal Attack stat that gives Kyurem-B the most powerful Outrage in the game, and a high base 120 Special Attack stat to boot. The reasoning was that its physical movepool literally consists of Dragon-type attacks, Fusion Bolt, and Freeze Shock, which requires a charging turn, and its special movepool is essentially Focus Blast, Ice Beam, Dragon moves, and Hidden Power. Although this is better, this still means that Kyurem-B cannot utilize its Attack stat very well. A downright bad typing that gives a Stealth Rock weakness is not great either. Kyurem-B was only sixth on usage on its own suspect ladder, which just shows that it was underwhelming. Despite negative feelings about the metagame from many, the great majority decided that Kyurem-B was not broken.
November 30, 2012