History of XY/ORAS OU Bans

By Celticpride.
« Previous Article Next Article »
Art by LifeisDANK

Art by LifeisDANK.

Introduction

While in earlier generations the concept of banning anything outside of cover legends and event only legends was outlandish and absurd, that is simply not the case nowadays, ever since the introduction of suspect testing during Smogon's DPP era. Additionally, Smogon began relaxing their stance on initially banning legendaries, injecting powerful threats that often come with wide movepools and great base stats into the metagame, such as Deoxys, Keldeo, and Genesect. Finally, due to power creep, a general increase in the variety of Pokémon available, and a philosophy of actively pushing the metagame in a better direction through suspect testing, banning has become more commonplace. This is not to say that Smogon actively tries to ban threats; as the Metagrossite suspect and Sablenite suspect prove, sometimes the community chooses to stay the course. This article aims to provide a comprehensive look-through of the history of XY OU bans and hopefully as a result make it easier to understand in what order and why the metagame moved in the direction it did.

Initial OU Banlist

Every generation starts with an initial banlist. This is typically made up of cover legends but can include other threats deemed to be too powerful for OU virtually without a question. The initial banlist for XY included: all Arceus formes, Darkrai, Deoxys-A, Dialga, Giratina, Giratina-O, Groudon, Ho-Oh, Kyogre, Kyurem-W, Lugia, Mewtwo, Palkia, Rayquaza, Reshiram, Shaymin-S, Xerneas, Yveltal, and Zekrom. All of the prior listed had a BST of 670 or more, outside of Darkrai, Deoxys-A, and Skaymin-S, which all sit at extremely high Speed tiers while also having extremely potent offensive skillsets.

Quickbans

Shortly after the initial banlist was established, the OU council decided to make additions to the initial banlist in the form of quickbans. The definition of a quickban is something that the council felt should have been part of the initial banlist, and if a suspect test had been held it would have been extremely one sided to the point where the results could have been predicted to be near unanimous. These tend to be used very conservatively.

Nov 12, 2013

Blaziken Deoxys

Quickban: Blaziken and Deoxys

Blaziken had been selected for a quickban mainly due to its ability Speed Boost. Blaziken is a very potent wallbreaker, and Speed Boost differentiates it form other wallbreakers in that it can pressure offensive teams relatively easily. Blaziken could grab a Speed Boost with near certainty and could also often end the game in short order if it managed to get off a Swords Dance boost, which in combination with Speed Boost allowed it to snowball quickly. Blaziken also has a deep movepool capable of picking off most of its checks with the right coverage moves. Finally, it received access to Baton Pass in XY, allowing it pass boosts off to teammates if it couldn't handle a given threat, making it that much more dangerous.

Deoxys was quickbanned due to its huge offenses and great Speed tier. As a slightly bulkier and slightly less powerful Deoxys-A, it is easy to see why Deoxys was put on the chopping block in a hurry. Like Blaziken, it possessed coverage to beat any potential checks, could beat down on defensive cores, and provided huge amounts of offensive pressure to most offensive teams due to having a maximum Speed of 438. It also has access to both Stealth Rock and Spikes, enabling it to act as a potent hazard setter given the opportunity.

Relevant Threads

Dec 2, 2013

Mega Gengar

Quickban: Gengarite

Mega Gengar (effectively banned as a result of banning Gengarite) was quickbanned in rather short order. This was primarily due to Shadow Tag allowing Mega Gengar to remove whatever it wanted at relatively little cost. This virtually destroyed any kind of defensive counterplay possible and opened to the path for many other sweepers once their counters were removed by Mega Gengar trapping them.

Relevant Threads

Dec 18, 2013

Mega Kangaskhan

Quickban: Kangaskhanite

Mega Kangaskhan made itself apparent as a force in the OU metagame quickly. Parental Bond combined with Power-Up Punch enabled Mega Kangaskhan to boost up in a hurry. Parental Bond also boosted Mega Kangaskhan power enough, well as the same time breaking Substitutes. Mega Kangaskhan also possessed a wide movepool to complement its decent STAB Normal coverage, as well as Sucker Punch to make up for its lacking Speed against more offensive teams.

Relevant Threads

XY Suspect Tests

Feb 16, 2014

Mega Lucario Genesect Deoxys-S

XY Suspect Testing Round 1: Lucarionite, Genesect, Deoxys-S

In the first OU suspect test, three suspects were chosen. Mega Lucario was a hard hitter with access to both Nasty Plot and Swords Dance, several forms of strong priority in Bullet Punch, Extreme Speed, and Vacuum Wave, a great Speed tier of 112, a decent defensive typing, and high-powered STAB moves like Close Combat, Flash Cannon, Focus Blast, and Iron Tail, all boosted by Adaptability.

Genesect brought tremendous versatility to the table. Whether it was Choice Scarf, Choice Band, Rock Polish, or one of its assortment of other sets, Genesect could fit in virtually any type of team. It also gained momentum absurdly easily thanks to a potentially Download-boosted STAB U-turn and a defensive typing that allowed it to pivot in very easily, so Genesect was very deserving of its selection as a suspect.

Deoxys-S was seen as threatening, but its time in OU was going to last a bit longer. We'll dive into this a bit more during Deoxys-S's second suspect.

Results

  • Lucarionite: Uber with a 94% supermajority
  • Genesect: Uber with a 62% supermajority
  • Deoxys-S: OU with a 37% pro-ban minority

Relevant Threads

April 6, 2014

Klefki Thundurus

XY Suspect Testing Round 2: Swagger

SwagPlay teams became a common sight on the ladder, turning the game into a RNG contest more than anything. Teams often consisted of multiple members that had the combination of Swagger, Thunder Wave, Foul Play, and Prankster. Simply start by either using Swagger and Thunder Wave the first two turns, and then use Foul Play to take advantage of target's Swagger-boosted +2 Attack, allowing weak Pokémon like Liepard to deal large amounts of damage. The staggering math in favor of the SwagPlay user led many to consider the strategy uncompetitive, leading to a very large percentage of suspect voters to ban Swagger, and putting an end to these teams.

Results

  • Swagger: Uber with an 86% supermajority

Relevant Threads

Jun 25, 2014

Scolipede Smeargle Espeon

XY Suspect Testing Round 3: Baton Pass

Full Baton Pass chains became commonplace on the ladder during the months leading up to the suspect of Baton Pass and led to several heated threads before an actual suspect thread. The suspect thread was also fairly unique, as it presented three options: do nothing, a complex ban reducing the number of Baton Pass users per team, and a complex ban restricting whether Baton Pass could be used in combination with specific abilities, namely Magic Bounce and Speed Boost. The first Baton Pass chain was fairly linear; it started with Scolipede, which stalled with Protect and Substitute to accumulate Speed boosts and then passed to a teammate. The boosts would often get passed to Vaporeon, which would use Acid Armor a few times to accumulate some Defense boosts, or Smeargle, which could use Spore to cripple certain threats, boost up itself with Quiver Dance, or use Ingrain to provide passive recovery to the next recipient. After a few boosts, the end receiver would often be Espeon, which used Magic Bounce to block Roar, Taunt, and Whirlwind, or Sylveon, which was immune to Dragon Tail. Both end receivers could boost their own stats with Calm Mind and could sweep easily with boosted Stored Power. Baton Pass chains also had little counterplay and could adapt themselves to deal with whatever threats arose as the metagame adapted to the current chain.

Ultimately, Option 2 of restricting Baton Pass to 3 or fewer team members won out. However, this would not be the last we would see of Baton Pass restrictions.

Results

  • Baton Pass: Option 2 with a 62% majority

Relevant Threads

Jul 9, 2014

Part 2: Restriction to one member per team from three members per team

The initial Baton Pass nerf was not enough to effectively restrict Baton Pass, and shortly after the suspect test the tiering council made an adjustment and further cut down on the number of team members that can use Baton Pass. The new, adapted teams included a dual screen user and a second possible Baton Pass recipient in Clefable, in addition to parts of the original Baton Pass chain.

Relevant Threads

Jul 6, 2015

Part 3: Limit 1 Baton Pass user; user must not have both a way to boost Speed and a way to boost other stats

The final iteration of the Baton Pass clause came almost one year after the second version of the clause was implemented. This came about as a result of so called "GeoPass" teams. The team was fairly straightforward and can be seen here.

Relevant Threads

Jul 10, 2014

Deoxys-D Deoxys-S

XY Suspect Testing Round 4: Deoxys-D and Deoxys-S

Deoxys-S evaded the wrath of the ban hammer in the first XY suspect round, but that would only serve as a brief reprieve from a trip to Ubers. It excelled on a number of roles, be it as a cleaner that can revenge kill virtually any Choice Scarf user, outrunning even Choice Scarf Garchomp with a Timid nature and maximum Speed investment, or as a suicide lead that virtually guaranteed Stealth Rock or a layer of Spikes at minimum.

Deoxys-D, on the other hand, took advantage of its tremendous natural bulk to act as an incredible dedicated lead. It was extremely hard to OHKO, could use Mental Herb or Red Card to mess with other opposing leads or methods of disrupting it, and was fast enough to Taunt most opposing bulky lead options. A key factor in Deoxys-D's functioning was its ability to get Stealth Rock and Spikes down against slower teams, as it was commonly found on hyper offense teams that forced bulkier counterplay. Deoxys-D arguably tilted these matchups more than any single sweeper could due to its ability to get down hazards reliably.

Results

  • Deoxys-D: Uber with a 78% supermajority
  • Deoxys-S: Uber with a 79% supermajority

Relevant Threads

Aug 2, 2014

Aegislash

XY Suspect Testing Round 5: Aegislash

Aegislash was one of the most dominating presences OU has ever seen. The unique combination of King's Shield and Stance Change made Aegislash a very effective pivot, wallbreaker, sweeper, and everything in between. Its Steel / Ghost defensive typing allowed it to check a boatload of different threats in OU, reducing the viability of threats like Mega Gardevoir and Mega Heracross tremendously. It possessed a great deal of versatility in sets and could also break cores very effectively thanks to its tremendous offenses and great offensive options like STAB Shadow Ball, Sacred Sword, and STAB Flash Cannon.

Results

  • Aegislash: Uber with a 62% supermajority

Relevant Threads

Aug 24, 2014

Mega Mawile

XY Suspect Testing Round 6: Mawilite

Shortly after Aegislash, the OU council wasn't done yet. Mega Mawile was the next suspect, and it's not hard to see why. It had a great defensive typing in Steel / Fairy and as a result could pivot in very easily. STAB Play Rough boosted by Huge Power made it a huge threat as a wallbreaker, and Mega Mawile had options such as Fire Fang, Iron Head, and Focus Punch to beat common threats that resisted its main STAB move. Sucker Punch was also a mandatory move on Mega Mawile, making up for its lacking Speed tier and making Mega Mawile a threat to more offensive teams as well. It also had access to great moves to support a wallbreaker in Swords Dance and Substitute.

Results

  • Mawilite: Uber with a 78% supermajority

Relevant Threads

ORAS Era

Nov 28, 2014

Mega Salamence

Quickban: Salamencite

Mega Salamence proved to be the only ORAS Mega introduced to merit a quickban. And boy, was Mega Salamence a doozy. Mega Salamence was tremendously bulky, especially physically. Its offensive Dragon Dance set blew through most checks to it. A slower set using Refresh and Roost was certainly viable as well. Its base 120 Speed was a notable step up from most other Dragon Dancers, as it could outspeed a host of threats without even boosting, and that Speed tier also really limited the Choice Scarf users that could even hope to revenge kill it (Choice Scarf Greninja anyone?). This one was really a no-brainer and caused little if any controversy.

Relevant Threads

Jan 11, 2015

Greninja

ORAS Suspect Testing Round 1: Greninja

Greninja had been a large threat throughout most of XY, as it could hit very hard thanks to Protean and also had a great base Speed of 122. However, come ORAS Greninja gained two coverage moves that put it over the top, Gunk Shot and Low Kick. Gunk Shot enabled Greninja to beat Fairies such as Clefable and Azumarill, which were some of its only consistent checks in XY. Low Kick gave Greninja yet another coverage move, and while it didn't hit anything that Greninja didn't hit before, it offered some compression in certain instances. These factors put Greninja over the top in the eyes of many voters and it was promptly banned as a result.

Results

  • Greninja: Uber with an 82% supermajority

Relevant Threads

Mar 7, 2015

Mega Metagross

ORAS Suspect Testing Round 2: Metagrossite

Mega Metagross holds the distinct honor of being the first suspect to avoid Ubers since Deoxys-S in the first round of XY testing. Mega Metagross seems like a behemoth at first glance. Titanic bulk, a great Speed tier of 110, and many Tough Claws-boosted coverage options certainly look threatening on paper and are still very threatening in practice. However, Mega Metagross seemed lacking in just enough areas to avoid the ban hammer. Its moveset of two STAB moves, Hammer Arm, and Grass Knot seemed to make for a strong wallbreaker, especially where Grass Knot hit typical physical walls like Slowbro and Hippowdon very hard. However, the case against Metagross built. It was prediction reliant, and it often felt strapped for moveslots, especially when less coverage-heavy sets such as Pursuit and Bullet Punch were used. The meta also began to adapt during and shortly after the suspect, with options like Slowking and Rocky Helmet Garchomp becoming more popular.

Results

  • Metagrossite: OU with a 57% pro-ban simple majority

Relevant Threads

May 15, 2015

Aegislash

ORAS Suspect Testing Round 3: Aegislash

Ah, the only generation 6 suspect to propose dropping a Pokémon from Ubers, and one that was initially banned by a close margin to boot. Would community opinion still be mixed? In a word... no. The community seemed to resoundly reject the idea of Aegislash dropping. Dropping an Uber was a non-starter for many; if anything, OU needed more threats banned for the purpose of a general threat level deflation. The strong community opinion of "Aegislash: do not unban" lead to another quick suspect test starting only a short time later. It's almost like poor Aegislash didn't have a leg to stand on.

Results

  • Aegislash: Uber with a 73% supermajority

Relevant Threads

Jun 5, 2015

Landorus

ORAS Suspect Testing Round 4: Landorus

Lurking in the shadows beneath other more powerful threats, Landorus eventually earned itself a suspect in its own right, boasting an absurd power level at virtually no drawback thanks to the combination of Life Orb and Sheer Force, which made Earth Power a chore to switch into. With Earth Power tearing through virtually all non-Ground-imune Pokémon, Landorus could afford to run virtually anything else it wanted and could still be effective. Options such as Knock Off, Focus Blast, Sludge Wave, Psyshic, Calm Mind, and Rock Polish were all common and mitigated some of Landorus's lesser matchups, such as beating Chansey with Knock Off removing its Eviolite, or Rock Polish allowing it to devastate offensive teams if given a chance to set up. Being so versatile, Landorus pushed the viability of its few hard counters, Cresselia being the most notable example.

Results

  • Landorus: Uber with a 76% supermajority

Relevant Threads

Dec 11, 2015

Mega Sableye Gothitelle

ORAS Suspect Testing Round 5: Sablenite and Shadow Tag

With so-called "GothStall" plaguing the ladder throughout the second OLT, the council decided something must be done. There were two main culprits to the effectiveness of GothStall, Mega Sableye and Gothitelle. Mega Sableye could switch in on most Stealth Rock and Spikes users with ease, granting the GothStall user tremendous control over the hazard game. As a result of this, it became much harder to beat Mega Sableye's teammates, such as Chansey, Quagsire, and Skarmory, because a common strategy to wear down stall is to stack Stealth Rock and layers of Spikes in an effort to turn 3HKOs into 2HKOs.

Gothitelle was the main culprit in getting Shadow Tag suspected. Thanks to its ability, it could trap many different stallbreakers and render them useless by Tricking them a Choice Scarf. Stallbreakers such as Clefable and Manaphy rely on boosting moves, and once Tricked a Choice Scarf, they were made near useless. This led Gothitelle stall teams to be able to be broken by only a small handful of powerful wallbreakers, such as Mega Heracross. This pushed the metagame towards rather niche options such as Shed Shell Togekiss to beat these teams.

At the end of the suspect, the vote ultimately ended with only Shadow Tag receiving the votes need to ban it. Mega Sableye became the second ORAS Mega Evolution to be suspected and not receive the majority needed to ban.

Results

  • Sablenite: OU with a 53.5% pro-ban simple majority
  • Shadow Tag: Uber with an 89% supermajority

Relevant Threads

Apr 15, 2016

Hoopa-U

ORAS Suspect Testing Round 6: Hoopa-U

Introduced midway into the ORAS portion of OU, Hoopa-U immediately established itself as one of the tier's premier threats. Capable of hitting hard both physically and specially and having the STAB moves in Hyperspace Fury and Dark Pulse to effectively do so, Hoopa-U provided a ton of power upfront. The popularity of the Choice Specs set in particular pushed Hoopa-U over the edge for a potential suspect. This was because the Choice Specs set did not suffer recoil, unlike the Life Orb set, and needed fewer moves to hit the entire metagame, being able to do so in three slots (Dark Pulse, Psychic, and Focus Blast) where a Choice Band set needed four slots and still couldn't make the same claim. While it did have notable downsides, such as a lack of physical bulk and a susceptibility to Pursuit trapping, Hoopa-U was banned by a very narrow margin.

Results

  • Hoopa-U: Uber with a 61% supermajority

Relevant Threads

Nov 17, 2016

Mega Sableye

ORAS Suspect Testing Round 7: Sablenite

Mega Sableye was selected again for a suspect test right before ORAS OU concluded. Many of the same reasons it was selected the first time held true for the second test. A uniquely strong control of the hazard game thanks to Magic Bounce made Mega Sableye stall teams difficult to break effectively. Magic Bounce also helped Mega Sableye deter most Taunt-based stallbreakers, which could otherwise trouble stall teams. On top of Magic Bounce, Mega Sableye also has a high amount of statistical bulk and only one weakness, making it a natural fit on defensively focused teams. The second time around, Mega Sableye was banned from ORAS OU due to the effect it had on stall teams and their matchup with the metagame.

Results

  • Sablenite: Uber with a 66% supermajority

Relevant Threads

Conclusion

That just about covers it. The XY/ORAS tiering process was a long one, stretching from the release of the initial banlist to Sablenite's banning just before Sun and Moon were released. Several unconventional suspects were explored, alongside some repeat offenders that had been banned in previous generations. However, even though ORAS tiering may be finished, things don't sit still for long. Quickbans and suspect tests for SM OU have already kicked into gear at the time of this article's release, which means there is a whole new generation of tiering waiting to unfold!

HTML by The Dutch Plumberjack | Design by jumpluff.
« Previous Article Next Article »