Why do OMs Succeed?

By Whydon and Snaquaza. Art by LifeisDANK.
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Art by LifeisDANK


It's no secret that there are some very popular Other Metagames, some way more popular than others. But why is it that some OMs become so popular while others don't? How do some OMs win Other Metagame of the Month twice when others can barely reach two pages of discussion? Why is it that an Other Metagame can spark five pages of discussion on the day it was created, but then immediately die out afterwards? This article will answer all of these questions and tell you everything you need to know about creating a successful, long-term Other Metagame.

Long-term vs. Short-term

There are two different kinds of popular metagames: the short-term ones and the long-term ones. Short-term metagames are usually only popular for a small amount of time, and then people tend to lose interest and activity begins to die down. Long-term metagames, as you may have guessed, are the opposite of this; they are popular OMs that are consistently popular and active within the OM community. Many metagames tend to not be very active because there isn't a lot to explore, no matter how unique or interesting they are (e.g., Same Type Stealth Rock). However, there is one leading cause that results in the death of those metagames that managed to be popular for a month but then quickly died out: hype.

When the OM community sees a metagame idea they like, they tend to all squeeze out as much as they can all at once. This is similar to throwing a piece of meat to a horde of hungry lions. The lions will easily eat up and devour the meat if you throw it all at once. When the OM community sees something they like, they won't hesitate to get involved. So, for about a few weeks or even a month, the metagame will retain active discussion. However, once people feel as if they have found every possible strategy there is to find, they will lose interest, and the hype will die down.

A good way to avoid a short-term popularity span is by keeping up active discussion by posting questions, asking for replays, and creating various resources for your metagame. However, don't forget that your metagame's lifespan is ultimately decided by the community. If the community shows little interest from the get-go, your metagame is most likely doomed to not even have a short-term popularity span. In the end, it is up to which piece of meat the lions find to be the most appealing that determines the longevity of your metagame's success.

Thread Activity and Theorymonning

One of the main things that leads to a popular metagame is an active thread. Many threads get lots of activity because of one thing: theorymonning. People love to discuss how a certain Pokémon will fare in a metagame where the mechanics are changed and what new tools they can use to their advantage (or disadvantage). A perfect example of this would be Inheritance, which is an incredibly diverse metagame that is open to lots of theorymonning. This is what lead to its extreme popularity, as many people were drawn to all of the new possibilities the metagame brought and were happy to discuss with other people who felt the same.

You don't need to make lots of big changes in order to have a popular metagame (e.g., Monotype), but the metagames that become popular usually have active threads and discussion, and theorymonning is usually the number one thing people love to talk about in a metagame's thread when it is first created. When there is a lot to theorymon about, there is a lot to test, therefore leading to a lot to discuss.

Again, you don't need to create a theorymon-heavy metagame in order to be successful, but rather promote an active and open discussion for your metagame. Encourage people to discuss and test out the various mechanics in your metagame. Leaving the door wide open for discussion is what allowed metagames such as Mix and Mega, Inheritance, and Monotype to rise to the top.

Simplicity and Complexity


If a metagame can be described in one sentence, it is usually considered to be simple. Simplicity in a metagame tends to be more appealing to newer players, which is why OM creators like to keep their metagame as simple as possible and not too confusing or difficult to learn. However, metagames that are too simple tend to dwindle in discussion and activity after a while, as there may be not much left to talk about after a week or two of the OM's creation.


Complex metagames are metagames that usually cannot be summed up in one short sentence. Because complex metagames may be a little bit difficult to understand at first, newcomers will tend to ask questions about the various mechanics. If they find the metagame to be too complex, they will consider it to be too complicated and be drawn away. However, a right amount of complexity leaves room for a lot of creativity, leaving room for active and position discussion.

Creating a Balance

One thing that many OM creators are often confused about is finding a good balance between simplicity and complexity. It's important that your metagame has the right amount of simplicity and complexity incorporated into it; this will allow its elements to synergize well. A good example of an OM that is a great mix of simplicity and complexity is Inheritance. Its premise can be summed up in one sentence: A Pokémon can have any moves and abilities that are compatible on another Pokémon. Suicune can have Stealth Rock and Regenerator because this combination is compatible on Corsola. Of course, Inheritance has various bans and clauses to help keep the metagame balanced, but as you can see, Inheritance has enough complexity to the point where there is a lot to discover and try out while also being a fairly simple metagame to understand.

Sparking Discussion

Has your thread been a little bit inactive lately? Are people not really focusing on the cool and unique aspects of the metagame? Sounds like what you need is some new discussion! Sparking discussion is insanely important in creating a successful metagame. If the OM community sees that the owner of a metagame is fully invested in the metagame, then they will very likely give the metagame a chance and check it out. This is where sparking discussion becomes very important.

When trying to spark discussion in an inactive or derailed thread, here are some good questions you can pose to the readers:

  1. What new threats arise in this metagame?
  2. How can these threats be handled?
  3. Which team playstyles seem effective here?
  4. Do you think/agree we should unban/ban Pokémon?
  5. Here are some replays I have of this metagame:
  6. Here are some good cores I have for this metagame:
  7. Here is a sample team for this metagame:
  8. Any other questions that you think will spark positive discussion!

Remember, try to ask questions that are relevant to the metagame and that make sense; don't try to bring up Knock Off or Trick in Mix and Mega! A good host and owner of an OM will be able to spark discussion in even the most inactive thread. Active discussion is key to success!

Difficulty of Learning (and a little bit about OPs)

I think I'll answer this question with a question: how exactly does a metagame's playerbase grow? It's simple: with new players, of course! Attracting new players to come and try out your metagame is a very important component to developing a successful metagame. However, it's not just about attracting new players, it's also about making them stay. Having rules that are difficult to understand is one thing, but having a metagame where even the teambuilding aspect is confusing is a huge turnoff to newcomers.

However, don't let this confuse you with simplicity—a metagame does not need to be simple in order to be easy to learn. There is a plethora of complex metagames that are easy to learn. For example, Balanced Hackmons is probably one of the most diverse and complex metagames out there—in fact, there's probably thousands of different options you can run in this metagame. However, it is very easy to teambuild for, and thus new players will most likely stick around to try it out with some friends of their own.

If you're concerned that your metagame will be a little too complicated to teambuild for, why not supply some sample teams? Sample teams are a great way to help new players become familiar and comfortable with the rules and teambuilding aspects of the metagame. Eventually, if they find themselves enjoying the metagame, they will try and build a team of their own. This is usually how many players tend to get into different tiers, such as OU or Ubers.


As you can see, it takes a lot to create a successful and popular metagame. However, as one last piece of advice from us, remember that popularity isn't what's important! Don't create a metagame in hopes of it becoming the next OMotM—make a metagame with a cool concept that you would enjoy to play! That's exactly what OMs are, anyway—fun, interesting alternatives to the standard Smogon tiers. Above all, make a metagame that is interesting and something that you would personally want to play!

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