AAA Almost Any Ability (Sample teams @ post #337!)

Heracross2.0

And I was the MVP. You were all thinking it!
is a Social Media Contributoris a Tiering Contributor
Survey Results!
Thanks to everyone that responded to the survey! This time around we were able to gather 47 individual responses. While this isn't meant to be a representative sampling of every single person who builds and plays AAA, it's a decent gauge of the thoughts of those who are invested in the tier's development :]

The first question: On a scale of 1-10, how much do you enjoy playing the current metagame?

The average response was around a 7.28 out of 10. For the first survey of the gen, this is a decent result, but while a majority of respondents did rate their enjoyment pretty high (7/8/9), the fact that ratings even went as low as 2 is a surprising extreme. Hopefully, this rating increases by the time the next survey rolls around.

On a scale of 1-10, how competitive and balanced do you find the current metagame? The average response was around a 6.15 out of 10. The responses this time were a lot more "middle of the road" (3/4/5/7/8), meaning respondents collectively aren't finding the metagame as competitive/balanced as it is enjoyable.

Next, everyone was asked to rate several Pokemon and abilities on a scale of 1 to 5 ( 1= Very healthy / 2 = Healthy / 3 = Unsure / 4 = Unhealthy / 5 = Very unhealthy).

:Dragapult: Dragapult :Dragapult: Average response: 3.2 out of 5. 36 out of 47 responses were 3 or higher.

:Dragonite: Dragonite :Dragonite: Average response: 3.26 out of 5. 39 out of 47 responses were 3 or higher.

:Gholdengo: Gholdengo :Gholdengo: Average response: 3.26 out of 5. 38 out of 47 responses were 3 or higher.

:Great Tusk: Great Tusk :Great Tusk: Average response: 2.35 out of 5. 20 out of 47 responses were 3 or higher.

:Iron Bundle: Iron Bundle :Iron Bundle: Average response: 3.43 out of 5. 39 out of 47 responses were 3 or higher.

:Iron Valiant: Iron Valiant :Iron Valiant: Average response: 3.66 out of 5. 40 out of 47 responses were 3 or higher.

Fur Coat Average response: 3.43 out of 5. 29 out of 47 responses were 3 or higher.

Good as Gold Average response: 2.94 out of 5. 31 out of 47 responses were 3 or higher.

Ice Scales Average response: 3.32 out of 5. 30 out of 47 responses were 3 or higher.

Hadron Engine Average response: 2.64 out of 5. 25 out of 47 responses were 3 or higher.

Orichalcum Pulse Average response: 2.9 out of 5. 28 out of 47 responses were 3 or higher.

Stakeout Average response: 4.07 out of 5. 44 out of 47 responses were 3 or higher.

Respondents were also asked to share their opinion on FurScales: Should they be tiered together or separately? As you can see, ~75% are in favor of them being tiered together. NOTE: Any action will be a suspect test, NOT a quick ban vote.

Unlike previous generations of AAA, in SV we decided to start with a Single Ability Clause or SAC, which limits the number of times you can use each ability to one instead of two. Because of this, we felt it was a good idea to see what the community thinks of this [fairly major] change so far: 66% are enjoying SAC so far, and 23.4% find it restricting. While the former is in fact a supermajority, no version of the metagame is absolutely locked in stone; if collective opinions continue to favor one or the other, then the council will act accordingly.

Is there anything (Pokemon, Ability, Move, etc.) that you would like to see unbanned or suspect tested back into the tier?

> Magic Bounce: This was quick banned relatively early in the metagame and was mentioned the most (8/47 or ~17%). While a Magic Bounce retest is certainly on the table as a possibility, it will likely have to take the backseat until the more pressing tiering issues are resolved.

> Annihilape: There were some responses asking us to revisit Annihilape now that Poison Heal is banned. Considering that it [already] viably makes use of existing abilities like Regenerator, Fur Coat, and Ice Scales even without Poison Heal's presence, Annihilape's level of balance isn't so clear-cut that it can just be unbanned. At the very least, it won't be unbanned without a suspect test or a soft reset like Home release/DLC.

> Terastallization: As of right now, there's no set-in-stone plan to keep Terastallization banned or not banned after Home release, but if the time does come to revisist it, that will of course be a suspect test and is unlikely to come up as a quick unban.

> We're not unbanning Magnet Pull.

> Unburden also came up a few times. At this time, it's not being considered for an unban for the reasons already laid out in its ban post, but the general tl;dr is that the instant double Speed boost is too problematic to reliably answer.

Once again, thanks to everyone that took the time to respond to the survey. These results are extremely valuable, and reading through them absolutely helps and makes an impact on how the council chooses to tier. With that settled...


Moving Forward

1) VOTING SLATE: After analyzing the survey results, the council decided to vote on some of the elements perceived as leaning towards unhealthy in the metagame :P.
IsaiahUTAthaJrdnDeepFriedMagikarpQuantum Tesseract
StakeoutBANBANBANBANBANBAN6-0 BAN
Iron ValiantDNBBANBANDNBDNBBAN3-3 DNB
Iron BundleDNBBANBANDNBDNBDNB4-2 DNB
Fur Coat + Ice ScalesSUSSUSSUSSUSDNSDNS4-2 SUS[PECT]

So with that, Stakeout is banned from Almost Any Ability! Tagging Kris and Marty for implementation.

The Iron Valiant vote ended up in a tie, which under normal circumstances would mean it should probably get a suspect test. However, the council deemed (based on our voting process) that reaching a conclusion on how to handle Fur Coat + Ice Scales is currently a bigger priority, so any further action on Iron Valiant and Iron Bundle will have to wait until after the Fur Coat + Ice Scales suspect test. As usual though, the council will keep up with any metagame developments and everyone's thoughts as we work to balance the tier :]

2) Wait, Fur Coat + Ice Scales suspect test...?! YUP. Stay tuned hehe
Images currently can't be viewed.

Also glad to see FurScales suspect coming soon! Hoping to see it banned.
 
Hey all a combination of gen 9, hearing about ghosting tour and winter break has gotten me to play alot of AAA over the past few weeks. Now that im out heres some teams that got me to #1 and #3 on ladder at the same time :o (just in time for the suspect lmao)

Teams

:Dragapult: :Ting-Lu: :Corviknight: :Iron Treads: :Volcarona: :Florges:
Took me infinity iterations to make a GaG fat team work but I think this one really does. Prob the team Im most proud of making this gen, too bad it loses to a few random setup mons (but o well). also volcarona is the dragonite answer lmao

:Garganacl: :Meowscarada: :Clodsire: :Corviknight: :Gholdengo: :Braviary:
was making a lot of corv + clod teams and this was one of the best. the first 5 is enough to beat alot of teams and the brav is some crack that actually turned out good

:Grimmsnarl: :Cyclizar: :Glimmora: :Volcarona: :Gyarados: :Dragapult:
this team is funny bc it looks like OU shed tail HO but the abilities are well-baked body/regen/corrosion/ice scales/fluffy/fur coat lol. the wincons on this are crazy but u can play longer hazard games too. also wanna mention scales volca feels underused as a check to all gholdengo

:Corviknight: :Clodsire: :Dragapult: :Iron Hands: :Sandy Shocks: :Iron Valiant:
another corv / clod take. just a bunch of fun sets, if ur curious ab the valiant it hits volca / florges / clod which are like most of the normal switchins to it (knock > jab for ghold/moth is also ok). Pult is nice too cus it looks specs which makes surge surfer hands more surprising.

:Oricorio-Sensu: :Vaporeon: :Florges: :Gholdengo: :Great Tusk: :Dragonite:
this was made when i was salty ab getting counterswept by furscales setup so i started making 2 min degen teams to spam myself on ladder (to a decent degree of success!). this was prob the most consistent of those teams

Couple sets lying around in my builder

:Chi-Yu:
Chi-Yu @ Life Orb
Ability: Sheer Force
Tera Type: Dark
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
- Snarl
- Dark Pulse
- Flare Blitz
- Fire Blast

pretty neat set that hits scales mons way harder and also snarl fucks on sub gholdengo

:Gholdengo:
Gholdengo @ Salac Berry
Ability: Well-Baked Body
Tera Type: Steel
EVs: 244 HP / 12 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Recover
- Nasty Plot
- Substitute
- Shadow Ball

i think salac berry bulky setup is pretty strong ive gotten a couple pretty crazy sweeps w this guy (many teams rely on shit like pult or smth to revenge ghold, esp +2 def ghold)


anyways had fun playing this meta again lol, see yall again sometime (probably)
 
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Tea Guzzler

serial waffler
is a Contributor to Smogon
might as well drop a sample

:chi-yu::dragapult::great tusk::corviknight::hippowdon::iron valiant:

Team Name: Pets at Home's Finest

Description: No Guard Chi-Yu Offense

How to use: Chi-Yu is a great offensive tool, both as an easy cleaning option and as a reliable source of burns, so keeping rocks off is recommended to maximise how much use you get from it. Dragapult is a secondary fast option that suppliments the special wallbreak, and works particularly well as a pivot thanks to Boots and setting Electric Terrain for Iron Valiant, the main wallbreaker you'll be using. Regenerator Great Tusk is crazy good both as a spinner and offensive threat, you'll mostly end up using this to brawl with breakers like Kingambit, Gholdengo, and Garchomp. Hippowdon and Corviknight are pretty standard walls, in many games you're just using them to switch in on setup stuff and give chances to the rest of the team.

Weaknesses: :iron moth::volcarona: These 2 are the only issues i've really encountered since your only special tank is Fire-weak. The best option against these is usually to just outplay and give these as few chances as possible, although you have a lot of one-time emergency switch-ins to these. Using FC Garganacl instead of Hippowdon can help with both these and Moldy Bax.

Replays & Effectiveness: Went 23-2 on ladder with it (should have been 24-1 but QDQC still exists for some reason), won ghosting game with it.
 
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I know this will probably go unnoticed, but I personally think Electric + Earth Eater is WAY too powerful, due to not having a single weakness. Personally I believe it should go suspect.

Thank you for your time, and sorry for being a lazy ass and not formatting this. :sphearical:

Flareon and Orichalcum Pulse Set Cuz Idk

Flareon @ Life Orb
Ability: Orichalcum Pulse
Tera Type: Fire
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpA
Lonely Nature
- Flare Blitz
- Fire Fang
- Overheat
- Trailblaze
 
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Heracross2.0

And I was the MVP. You were all thinking it!
is a Social Media Contributoris a Tiering Contributor
I was laddering in my attempt to get reqs, and quickly realized that my 850th post would likely be a reqs confirmation. As someone who loves posts milestones, this simply wouldn't stand! I had to make a post worthy of being called my 850th, all while getting reqs and before the deadline. But what was it to be about? I then remembered that stall, the "unviable" playstyle during the previous generation, has improved this generation, at least on paper. With strong defensive abilities such as Fur Coat and Ice Scales currently being legal, as well as Dexit meaning fewer amount of offensive threats in the tier, surely this means that stall would be quite strong, right? Actually, I'd argue it's quite the opposite, and that stall is harder to build and isn't as effective as one would think. Don't get me wrong, it's still a very easy-to-pilot playstyle, and can cheese wins out with the right gameplan, but actually building a competent stall is decently difficult. After experimenting around with different Table-based stalls, I have come to 5 separate reasons about why stall is hard to build in this tier, what they are, and how I personally attempt(ted) to get around them.

1. :dragapult:
Dragapult @ Life Orb
Ability: Magic Guard
Tera Type: Dragon
EVs: 188 Atk / 68 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
- Dragon Darts
- Will-O-Wisp
- Hex
- U-turn

The reason for this being #1 is simple: this Dragapult set has very little long-term defensive counterplay. Trust me, I tried looking for a long-term answer to this, utilizing everything from Rocky Helmet Purifying Salt Gastrodon to SpD Rest Great Tusk, but nothing would last longer than 50 turns vs a well-played Dragapult. There is however one long-term answer to this set: WBB Kingambit/Bisharp with Rest. It cares little for either STAB, laughs at puny Wisps, and with SD + RestTalk, can become a win condition once Grounds have been removed. However, utilizing Kingambit would make the team semi-stall, not stall; there's also the fact that Kingambit lacks a decent support movepool to capitalize on Dragapult switching out, and since it already needs RestTalk to work, that's 2/4 moveslots already taken up.

Without dedicating an entire slot to Kingambit, the best I could do is just flail around aimlessly and hope I could trick my opponent into thinking my frantic switches were actually calculated moves in a master plan. On THE TABLE Stall, I've been using TWave Blissey + GaG Skeledirge to both defensively and offensively threaten it short-term by keeping them out of Dragon Darts and Hex/Shadow Ball range respectively, as well as a Knock Off user kept healthy enough via Regen to live at least 2 or whatever (in case the Dragapult tries to play aggressive). Your best hope if not using WBB Kingambit is hoping that the Dragapult plays recklessly enough to get punished with a Knock/TWave, then chipped down into SBall range, all while keeping your checks healthy. It's not something that absolutely requires resources, as shown by my 4-1 record vs the set; however, it requires something people rarely use when piloting stall (skill) as well as your opponent playing aggressively in order to secure a dub.

2. :great tusk:

Offensive sets are ultra mega-broken but it's not hard to run something like FC Avalugg + a Ghost-type, get some TSpikes up, and try to limit the number of times it comes on the field. Regen LO sets are an issue but still rare enough that you can get by not prepping for them. The issue with Great Tusk actually lies in its defensive profile. It's nearly impossible to spinblock it long-term. Ever since Flutter Mane left, the tier lacks a viable and consistent defensive Ghost-type that doesn't crumble to it long-term while not using up a precious ability slot in Fur Coat, so defensive Regen sets can spin for free more than a few times. Unlike the above though, it's absolutely mandatory to be able to spinblock this long-term; unless you somehow land a Burn on it, those Knocks and Quakes will definitely hurt, especially if backed up by its own Rocks or a Bulk Up boost. With SAC, you can only afford one Regen mon, so you can't just endlessly pivot resists into it to PP stall it either. If given the chance, it will not only remove all your hard work in setting up hazards, but also remove important items from mons, and then switching out to negate any damage dealt to it. It's stall's worst nightmare: the ultimate progress-making machine.

In trying to deal with Great Tusk, I've tested out 3 Ghosts, each with varying degrees of sets. They are detailed below.

:brambleghast:
Brambleghast @ Colbur Berry
Ability: Aerilate
Tera Type: Grass
EVs: 232 HP / 248 Def / 28 Spe
Bold Nature
- Spikes
- Rapid Spin
- Strength Sap
- Giga Drain

My personal favorite of the bunch, Brambleghast provides tons of role compression thanks to Spikes + an unblockable Spin. Aerilate may seem weird but becomes more apparent once you read this post some more. The Speed creeps 48 Spe Great Tusk which has been popping up lately, and you always win the creep wars because you have a higher base Speed stat than Great Tusk. Even better, Strength Sap wasn't given the recovery PP nerf this gen, making it twice as hard to PP stall its recovery compared to other Ghost-types like Gholdengo. If all else fails, Giga Drain can give you a bit back. Just make sure you have Corvid dealt with first, and make sure it's not Ice Spinner, or you'll be met with a bad surprise.
:palossand:
Palossand @ Colbur Berry
Ability: Opportunist
Tera Type: Ghost
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Shadow Ball
- Stealth Rock
- Earth Power
- Shore Up

Cool mon, although not being able to run Fur Coat is a hinderace at times. Opportunist lets it beat BU Regen sets more consistently but Tablets doesn't hurt either. Pretty straightforward at spinblocking. Loses to Ice Spinner as well, although less bad because it has more bulk.
:polteageist:
Polteageist @ Colbur Berry
Ability: Tablets of Ruin
Tera Type: Ghost
EVs: 248 HP / 72 Def / 188 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Calm Mind
- Strength Sap
- Shadow Ball
- Stored Power

More of a semi-stall mon than a stall mon but it gets the job done. Tablets let it always avoid the 2HKO from whatever defensive Tusk does, and Stored Power always OHKOs Tusk after 2 Calm Minds. It also 2HKOs Blobs at +6, which is nice, although you don't outspeed after a para.

I would heavily recommend using one of the above 3 mons on stall at all times. You never wanna be caught in an unwinnable war versus Great Tusk.

3. :iron valiant:

Like #1, this mon has no long-term defensive counterplay, except this time I really mean it. MB/CC/SB/Knock takes care of most of the meta if you're only scared of SFLO, but if you're a Clodsire lover, then you can't handle Sword Of Ruin sets with coverage for it, or Zen Headbutt on SFLO. If you're using ANYTHING that would be considered an Iron Valiant switch-in, your best bet is to hope it's not running the exact coverage move that can fuck you over. With Stakeout banned, Ice Scales Hippo with some PhyDef investment can switch in even with Rocks up, but I saw a Taunt variant that honestly made me wanna hurl so even that might not work for long. Just pray it's not in the tier for much longer.

4. Lack of hazards removal options that don't lose to GaG/aren't reliant on Regen

If you thought it was weird Brambleghast had Aerialate, blame the lack of hazards removers with recovery. Brambleghast needs an unblockable Spin considering all the Gholdengo that are running around, along with Dragapult being a general annoyance. "Why not just use Great Tusk?" Well because you either have to use something like Refrigerate RestTalk (bad + you either lose to FC or EE Ghold depending on your second move) or cave in and run Regen, making it unusable on any other mon. Of course, you can totally run a Regen Great Tusk on stall, but with so many threats running around, trust me, you'll prefer the role compression that something like Aerialate Brambleghast provides.

You also don't want a Defogger. Unless you're perfectly fine running Mold Breaker Corviknight, not only will you get blocked by all the GaG mons in the tier, but you'll also be removing your own hazards as well. A stall should be able to make progress through passive means such as entry hazards, so removing your own progress at the cost of removing the opponent might look even, but actually ends up being a net loss for you since you probably spent more turns trying to set up Spikes + Stealth Rock, while your opponent is most likely using only Rocks to pressure your switches.

Oh and you absolutely NEED more than 1. Even unblockable spinners can be overwhelmed with proper pressure. Having 2 or more mons that can learn Rapid Spin gives you more flexibility and provides extra mindgames since your opponent most likely does not know if you're Spin or not.

5. Popularity of mixed attackers

So let's say you've prepped for all of the above. You got your WBB Kingambit, one of 3 Ghosts that beat Tusk long-term, a way to beat Iron Valiant regardless of set (maybe you've hacked the site to let you bring 24 mons or something?), a couple of spinners, and whatever defensive filler you've decided with work. Well, here comes SFLO Tyrantiar to shit all over you. Due to the brokenness popularity of Fur Coat and Ice Scales, mixed attackers have risen in popularity to combat this trend. MG Dragapult and Iron Valiant are quite troublesome for stall, but they are only the 2 most common mixed breakers. Pokemon like Dragonite can run Fire Blast or Ice Beam on DD sets, turning Fur Coat users like Avalugg and Hippowdon from solid switch-ins to dead on arrival (or close to it), SFLO SD Iron Valiant can run something like Moonblast to threaten Fur Coat users, and Chien-Pao can probably get away with Dark Pulse or something. Anything with solid mixed attacking stats could be a mixed attacker, and while they're not super common, they're common enough that you definitely have to think about whether the Dragonite in front of you is mixed or not.

Usually what I do is run a Regen mon and designate it as my "scouter", which basically means it switches into anything mildly suspicious to scout and see what it does. This isn't perfect by any means; the breaker might have the tools to get past it, or maybe the set was actually not suspicious and I could've switched to a better answer. The opponent can also hide their move until the time is right, ruining the scout. However, this can make games more manageable than they otherwise would be, like letting you take a Gholdengo Trick meant for your Ice Scales mon so it can still beat Gholdengo, or giving you a sack in case you need to bring something in but can't risk the hard switch. 6 slots is always better than 5, and even having a completely disposable 6th (although I would recommend making it something decently viable like Toedscruel) is better than not having one at all.

So yeah, these are what I believe to be the 5 biggest threats to stall right now. Stall is a bit weaker in this gen compared to last gen imo solely due to the amount of brokens running around that make it difficult to prep for the broken stuff all on one team, and FurScales being on the chopping block leaves stall's future uncertain. However, I think that if you can get past the building issues that stall has, you can have a lot of fun tilting people on ladder or beating good players if you manage your tools correctly. For those who have been inspired to build stall now, I hope this has helped.
 
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Tea Guzzler

serial waffler
is a Contributor to Smogon
ok instead of just shilling my sample team i'll drop some thoughts on some stuff

:sv/iron valiant:
Iron Valiant @ Life Orb
Ability: Sheer Force
Tera Type: Fairy
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- Moonblast
- Close Combat
- Thunderbolt
- Knock Off / Shadow Ball

this thing is broken. for the majority of teams, defensive counterplay is literally just "predict right", with the only non-momentum-sink answers being moth and volcarona (which still risk getting 2HKOed by terrain tbolt even with max spdef). offensively answering it usually requires tip-toeing through CC and Moonblast in order to bring something fast (like pult) in on a CC or a sack, which isn't ideal. this is the single best breaker at the minute, i can see it potentially being banned.

:sv/gholdengo:
Gholdengo @ Leftovers
Ability: Fur Coat
Tera Type: Steel
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpA
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Substitute
- Nasty Plot
- Shadow Ball
- Recover

the only fur coat ghold i'm ever scared of is sub, because it's the only one that isn't complete fodder for scales corv's u-turn into literally any special attacker. confirming its ability is generally pretty safe when it's unboosted (through bulky bruisers like kingambit, tusk, hippo, even just u-turns), and with how good some of the faster special attackers are, i don't think i've actually had trouble dealing with non-sub (and sub obviously can't touch normals). some sets like scales, EE, and WBB can be annoying but are rarely game-deciders from my experience and a lot of the fast stuff in the meta ruins them.

:ss/dragapult:
Dragapult @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Hadron Engine
Tera Type: Dragon
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Shadow Ball
- Draco Meteor
- Thunderbolt
- U-turn

pult greatly appreciates not being put on a timer, whether through boots, regen, or mglo, giving the flexibility to use it both as an offensive mon and as a pivot. physical sets are pretty fake IMO just because you hit no common walls for good damage, at most you're running darts on a mixed set so you should always be 252 SpA. as stated above and in the sample sub, hadron giving other teammates electric terrain is often overlooked and allows for some disgusting stuff, also it's just a direct upgrade from beads of ruin since there's currently very little risk of accidentally buffing opposing volt switch.

:sv/corviknight:
Corviknight @ Leftovers
Ability: Ice Scales
Tera Type: Flying
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Def / 252 SpD
Careful Nature
- Brave Bird
- Defog
- U-turn
- Roost

by far the best glue mon in the meta, this does all of walling, clearing, and pivoting in one slot. u-turn alone makes it a lot better than other defensive alternatives like florges and clodsire, and within this you also have the flexibility to run setup that doesn't get walled by the most common mons in the meta (cough cough cm florges cough). the only real concern with running this is that you want backup checks to moth and volc, usually ending in you bringing your own moth, however this isn't too bad to account for.

:sv/iron bundle:
Iron Bundle @ Choice Specs
Ability: Primordial Sea
Tera Type: Ice
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Hydro Pump
- Ice Beam
- Freeze-Dry
- U-turn

originally i thought this would be demonic to counter because of its speed and power, however it requires a lot of support to actually get past walls like scales users and desland iron moth, and hates pult being free to just click the draco button all the time. mglo sets have started popping up that keep the lethality of hydro but also can be used while rocks are on the field, however this forfeits a massive chunk of offensive power and means it's totally reliant on either teammates or freezes to actually beat ice scales users. the use case is similar to pult in this sense, essentially trading speed for more spammable STABs.

overall i like the meta as is, there's a couple things that probably should go but otherwise everything's fine.
 
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Well it's annoying I have to come out of the shadow again but the turn of events does not seem to leave the choice... So yeah ofc the subject of this post will be Fur Coat and Ice Scales associated together under the shorter name, FurScales.

On the topic of FurScales

First let's start by announcing the color, this post is supporting the ban side. I never thought people might think this combination (and even independently) could be balanced in AAA, ever, but it seems that's what it is nowadays. Following the path of unbanning broken to reach "a balanced" state instead of what we always did in every metagames, ban things until the metagame reachs a balanced state.

So let's try following some DNB point and why I disagree with some of them while given the BAN point.

DNB side


Furscales enables diversity in the metagame by preserving as many Pokemon as possible by making them manageable (therefore not banned).


This is partially right and partially wrong.

- Well, if we don't think far enough, this is right. By allowing FurScales, you somehow make some mon balanced and then you can allow them to stay in the metagame. Here's a list of the mons I think are allowed* to stay on the metagame thanks to FurScales (implied that action would most certainly be taken against them without):
:iron bundle::dragapult::cinderace::iron valiant::gholdengo::great tusk::chi-yu::baxcalibur::ceruledge::dragonite::kingambit:
* some of them might be still okay without FurScales ofc but it might not be that obvious.

It's likely that people want to avoid all the above mon getting banned (I definitely don't think they'll all be banned) for diversity purpose, although it should not overshadow what we're really looking at during this suspect: is FurScales broken/unhealthy for the metagame or not?

- What happens when you think ahead? Let's see some stats to begin with:
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1673347380397.png
1673347425323.png
1673347460804.png

The idea is then to extract, how diverse the metagame is? What we will reduce to an estimate of how centralized is the metagame.

Mathematically speaking, a centralized metagame results in some mon being played a lot while the others only get low usage (and the other way around, a metagame not centralized is a metagame in which almost nothing gets really high usage but high/mid usage with a certain continuity).

To estimate that, we can simply calculate the standard deviation quantifying, in mean, how far we are from the mean value in our statistical series. Probably it exists a better parameter but I don't want to dive deeper in mathematics. The below results have been calculated considering the top 20. The more the centralization, the more the standard deviation.

Tier​
Standard deviation (%)​
SV AAA​
5,27​
SV OU​
4,68​
SV BH​
5,96​
SV MnM​
4,19​
SS AAA​
4,35​
SS OU​
3,96​

So what do we see? SV BH is the most centralized metagame followed by the SV AAA metagame. Every metagames are more centralized with respect to what they were in SS but we can explain that by the difference in terms of development (SV is still in development while the SS metagame was already a developed one).

Note that these stats sometimes take into account Pokemon that have been banned during the month.


The conclusion of this statistical study is that, no, the metagame isn't diversified, it's centralized with respect to what it was in the past and with respect to some other metagames. Hopefully other metagames take action in order to remove the broken/too unhealthy elements and therefore reduce the centralization they made. Maybe AAA should do the same?

In fact, it's clear that FurScales doesn't enable diversity and quite the opposite in fact. FurScales is an (over)centralizing element that restrict the teambuilding around the few things sufficiently powerful to break through and almost completely shut down the rest. Usually, this is what we call an unhealthy element for the metagame.

By banning it we will enable (at some point) more diversity in our offensive and defensive cores for sure. But maybe for you diversity is running Ice Scales Corvi + a FC in almost every team and change your MB breaker? I talk about MB there because it's one if not the best offensive ability in the current metagame considering everything is running FurScales and this ability just bypass it. However, it's not like you have the choice to not run FurScales and then be open to MB things. If you don't you will just be destroyed by how violent the offensive threats are considering nothing is as good as FurScales is. So yeah build a balance team could be as simple and restricted as FurScales + MB. Note that mixed breakers work too. If you try something else, then you enter the field of MU fish.


We need FurScales otherwise we will no longer have any defensive options.


Ok well not even looking at the assumption yet, something is wrong: "will". What we're looking through a suspect test is the following: is the element in the current metagame is too much (broken/too unhealthy) or not? We're not interested in the fate of the Pokemon if it's banned. The mindset of "if we ban that then we will have to ban this and this so it's annoying" is awful and has also nothing to do with the consideration of the current metagame only. If we end up with a metagame with still some problematic elements, then we also look at them, that's all. That how things work there and how they always worked.

This is also something that have been assumed by the AAA council saying they will "tier aggressively" in the case of a FurScales ban. Nobody said we will instantly reach a balanced metagame in banning FurScales, this is wrong. Of course banning such centralizing defensive element will necessarily create other issues that will have to be addressed. However, by getting rid of the broken/too unhealthy elements one by one, we almost all the time finally reach a state closer to a true balanced one.

So please, consider only FurScales being too much or not in the current metagame by voting. Also on the assumption itself, we already demonstrated that yes, banning FurScales will not result in achieving a balanced metagame because problematic elements will necessarily emerge. However this is a different question to which we'll have to answer later. You have the choice to be lazy and to be satisfied by a "fake" balanced state but chosing to run the long and maybe hard way, you will finally reach a better state for sure. Atm AAA is just a nicely painted wall to make you forget pieces of paper have been put to mask the holes and the absence of cement between the bricks.


Banning FurScales will result in banning many breakers and at the end nothing will be left as cool and reliable offensive tools in the metagame.


First, again, this is not a valid argument for a suspect test because it looks at a state of the metagame that doesn't currently exist and which is therefore completely hypothetical. Again, we look at current metagame only.

Now this point is over, is this assumption right? Probably not? Of course the metagame will change a lot if we ban FurScales but will the resulting metagame lack of breakers? Certainly not. Many potential breakers are just actually completely overshadowed by some crazy one and just crushed by FurScales. They will just emerge in banning both. There a (non-exhaustive) list of things that could take over but are currently mid-bad:
:noivern::chien-pao::gardevoir::sandy shocks::meowscarada::quaquaval::armarouge::gengar::iron jugulis::kilowattrel::lucario::slither wing::toxtricity::tauros-paldea-fire:
And yeah, you probably never expected to see that right? You know... Noivern being a second-rank mon. But this is the current power level of the metagame lol.
So no, the tier will not lack breakers. Ever. We just have to ensure that offensive and defensive tools are correctly proportionned with respect to each other while not be too much by themselves.

BAN side


FurScales x2 boost is just too much, this isn't balanced.


Fur Coat and Ice Scales both have the incredible potential to create artificial resists or to remove x2 weaknesses respectively on the physical or special side. This is just crazy. We're talking about a metagame in which Iron Moth with Desolate Land, a mon with 140 Spa, requires to be fully Spa invested to GET A ROLL OF 2HKOING Corviknight Ice Scales. And we have many funny calcs like that. Do you think you're gonna kill this frail Iron Valiant with your Specs Hadron Engine Pult Shadow Ball, too bad for you, it was Ice Scales SD. You thought to be safe bringing your Tinted Band Slither Wing on a Clodsire? Oops, it's FC Counter so if you clicked CC you're now dead and if you clicked U-Turn, something will take a lot of damages.

In a metagame like BH where the mons, the movepool and the level of power are absurd then, yes, it feels FurScales is balanced. And Ice Scales is in fact in competition with RegenVest offering an additional utility move especially with Ceaseless Edge. We're not in such a metagame. They are few elements that are extremely powerful but they don't justify to keep such extremely defensive ability. We should just get rid of both.

Another important point that we raised there is unpredictability. Both Ice Scales and Fur Coat are super splashable abilities and being on the metagame together, you sometimes just don't know what it's gonna be. I heard people saying "Oh well, this AAA y'know? Of course things are quite unpredictable sometimes, this is how is it. Just make do lol." I think it's a bit of a loser or fatalist mentality which is not only sad but damaging for the metagame health. Especially considering you're not gonna lose to some fishy and quite unpredictable FurScales sometimes but many times. This is how powerful FurScales is being able to potentially shut down a sweeper/breaker thinking it could take the kill/rk. Just assuming at any time the mon in front of you can be FurScales is simply not realistic and just make the game unplayable. This is particularly true when you're playing creative team builders knowing how to abuse unpredictable FurScales well.
We have the tools to avoid that and make AAA still fun, diversified and competitive at the same time. But it's not gonna happen with FurScales being allowed.

However I somehow understand people saying "FurScales is required due to powercreep and recovery pp nerf". Obviously this is wrong because, again, people dressed an imaginary barrier preventing them to run the path of banning things that are just overpowered. Like we always did when GF manages to make things even worst generation after generation lol.


FurScales enables stupid bulky setup everywhere which is uncompetitive and MU reliant.


I want to preface this part just saying some facts that happened in other metagames.
  • SV BH recently ban Poison Heal due to how annoying bulky setup was combined to terrastalization (somehow) and reduced counterplay options.
  • SS and SV AAA both banned PH due to bulky setup with too limited viable counterplay for too many abusers.
  • During the last generation, Camomons has been criticized for lacking competitiveness due to bulky setup issue (bringing also high MU dependence). It was a reason involved in its exclusion from OM main teamtours and that forced its council to walk a long and hard way to finally fix it through a ban of Calm Mind.​
  • Setup is basically stronger this generation with Toxic reduced distribution and some other things such as Toxapex lower viability.​
Bulky setup has been an issue for many other metamages so far and it's easy to understand why. Setup is an element that gets the potential to just win the game at preview under certain circunstances which is something we try to avoid in balancing because it only based on MU with almost nothing competitive to do. Hopefully, in normal circunstances, setup mon you should look at are not so many and you can reasonably take most of them into account while building.

This is absolutely not the case there. Because FurScales is so splashable you're not even limited to some CM FC and Scales BU shits. It's not rare to run into a FC NP Gholdengo or a FC SD Iron Hands after all. Basically everything that get a boosting move can become a threat with FurScales. What's terrifying is both being is the metagame at the same time. What does it mean? Well, you never really know if entering your defensive Great Tusk on the opposing Iron Hands it the play or not. If it's FC SD, then you're setup fodder because EQ does like 23%. If it's Ice Scales then just forget about revenge killing it with your Specs Psea Iron Bundle or Specs Hadron Engine Dragapult. So yeah Gholdengo is annoying to play around because you have to predict between WBB, Earth Eater, Bulletproof, FC, IS and some other shits but tbh just look at the Viability List (which is not perfectly up to date I think) to see you're gonna find Ice Scales and Fur Coat both as viable options almost everywhere from defensive mon to offensive ones. This is just unplayable competitively speaking.

I also want to write a side note on Good As Gold setup being also present in the metagame as a more fishy option. Because FurScales setup exists, we're trying to find counterplay ways not based on a guessing game by using phazing moves (Whirlwind, Roar, Dtail), Trick/Switcheroo or Encore. These are all quite viable "anti-setup" options that completely fall in the trap of GAG. It just makes AAA a bulky setup hell where at any time you can randomly to either FurScales setup or GAG one. Not to mention again AAA feels already really hard to play competitively given the above point about revenge killing possibly vanishing with FurScales.


I want to say this is really funny to see many DNB people saying "FurScales setup is dumb" but saying FurScales is fine at the same time. It's dumb or it's fine you have to choose lol. Or maybe they didn't understand something idk. It's also surprising to see people tried and are still trying to get rid of the uncompetitiveness brought by the bulky setup in many different metagames and some AAA players just thinking it's okay or at least thinking disadvantage does not outweigh the supposed advantages. If an element is too much to handle, that's sad we're going to lose the advantages but we have to get rid of it for the competitiveness sake and the process of reaching a balanced metagame.

Also just posting what would have been my plan for AAA from a FurScales ban now if people are interested.
- QB Iron Valiant, Iron Bundle, Dragapult
- Watch carefully Gholdengo, Great Tusk, Chi-Yu, Ceruledge, Cinderace, Baxcalibur and Kingambit for next QB/Suspect
- Watch carefully Fluffy, Hadron Engine, Orichalcum Pulse and Good as Gold for next QB/Suspect
- Keep in mind Slither Wing, Iron Hands, Dragonite, Noivern, Cyclizar and Houndstone
- Keep in mind Tinted Lens

You can find me on the ladder above 1600 with what's currently the best GXE (like last gen lol) so ig I'm not completely senile and still know what am I talking about? Although I reduced laddering recently because I dislike the current state of the metagame and will prob just stop playing it if FurScales isn't banned.

Thanks for reading and have a good day all :)) Because facts are important, you can ask me to dive into replays for actual facts but I'm too busy to do it rn. However many people prob have replays of them losing to a random stupid bulky setup enabled by FurScales...but maybe they don't want that to be shown?
 
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Team post! (sample)
By far best team I've been using lately, feels very solid: :gholdengo: :great tusk: :skeledirge: :iron moth: :corviknight: :dragapult:
Been using it on ladder and in the ghosting tournament

The gameplan is to wisp thier defensive core with Dragapult so Gholdengo can abuse it for free opportunities to start blowing holes in the opposing team. If you can't immediately break, the triple ghost core + tusks support can eventually wear down everything.
:Gholdengo: he is your main progress maker, abuses corviknight extremely well. Double stab allows you to hit more things for more permanent damage before being forced out like ting-lu. Sub + nasty plot is necessary to maximize offensive potential. The EVs are offensive so you don't get forced out with little progress done, and I felt the team was safe enough vs iron valiant to not need recover/defensive EV's. Well baked body allows you to beat mons like iron moth and volcarona, as those are usually a harder stop to your breaking than the ground types are. Can make it max speed timid to get better speed tiers and speedtie opposing fast Gholdengo

:Great tusk: provides a great defensive support partner for Skeledirge, to handle dark and ground types. Great tusk also provides great support for the entire team with knock + spin + potentially rocks. Bulk up is an additional option to have a better mu vs some physical threats and let's you win the Great Tusk mirror.

:Skeledirge: This mon is a solid fur coat option, beating common attackers like Dragonite and spreading wisps. At the very worst it can get suicide wisps off vs the strongest super effective physical attacks. Its also a safer form of making progress, as it's slow enough to not get pivoted around (by corviknight) and spreading wisp/burning recovery pp. Helps eventually overwhelm the gholdengo/dragapult checks. Shadow ball over hex is to better pressure Well baked body Gholdengos that like to switch into it.

:Iron moth: This mon is a decent way to compress an iron bundle check/random setup sweepers with whirlwind. Its also helpful in giving more midground options vs various special attackers to assist corv and keep up offensive prsssure. Whirlwind also helps you beat opposing gholdengos, even if WBB, which this team would otherwise struggle immensely with. Also an additional iron valiant check, which overall makes iron valiants life vs this team very hard.

:Corviknight: does what it do, spdef, omnipresent

:Dragapult: provides great speed control and is supremely great at chipping things down, and generally harrassing thier offensive core in service of gholdengo. Its generally a safe option to apply soft pressure with compared to something like the slower more commital Gholdengo as you can safely U-turn out. Magic Guard makes you a great Garganacl answer. Is often my lead, I often spend my early game trying to get pult in is often as possible to set the stage for a later midgame Gholdengo "sweep". Can make it special leaning shadow ball to better handle opposing Gholdengo

Threatlist:
:dachsbun: be extremely careful of well baked body on various physical setup sweepers like :grimmsnarl: :iron hands: :kingambit: :meowscarada: anything really. Not only does it invalidate Skeledirge as counterplay, it gives them +2 defense often leaving Great tusk unable to check them. It also leverages it's wisp immunity vs your Pult and stonewalls Iron Moth. Not unwinnable but you have to be very careful of it and scout for it when possible. Bulk up on Great Tusk helps alleviate these mons.

Various bulky/and or fast setup sweepers such as :polteageist:. You have decent cplay with stuff like whirlwind Iron Moth but it can be hard as this teams average power is pretty low, and the team outside of Dragapult is slow.

Opposing :Dragapult:. Mixed MGLO puts lots of pressure on the team. Specs sets and such are easier to deal with, as you can pivot around them easier with stuff like Corv and Iron Moth.
 
Here to just show a cool set that was theory-crafted with DeepFriedMagikarp and Shadowpea because Gholdengo needs more viable sets clearly (although I swear I've seen and heard of this set before).

Gholdengo @ Flame Orb
Ability: Quick Feet
Tera Type: Steel
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Recover
- Nasty Plot
- Shadow Ball
- Make It Rain

So what's so cool about this set? Essentially it acts as a nice offensive mon that can outspeed every non-Scarfed/boosted mon in the meta allowing it to ably clean weakened defensive cores or straight go for the sweep. It can Nasty Plot up on Scales Corv and it pivoting to a revenge killer will mostly be in vain due to the speed boost from Flame Orb. Unlike Sub variants who can do similar, it saves a slot and can use MIR which can let it potentially beat things it couldn't with mono-attacking like Ting-Lu and normals and it doesn't need to trick away its Scarf to beat Scales Corv. I'm not too sure what type of team you could fit it on with the lack of defensive utility (and I'm not bothered to cook with the FurScales suspect potentially ruining any team) however I put it on my Bazaar Corrosion Hazard stack team and it worked fairly well over the MGuard variant.

Also, TIL, Quick Feet also negates the Para speed drop... which allows for super-niche but also super hilarious baits if you get Para'd and the opponent goes into a safe revenge-killer assuming the speed drop will keep them safe like in this replay, assuming you don't lose to the 25% Para.
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen9almostanyability-1769259036 they never saw it coming...
 

Isaiah

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If we're theorymonning Gholdengo (since it doesn't really have any viable sets atm), here's another:

Gholdengo @ Leftovers
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Substitute
- Nasty Plot
- Shadow Ball
- Recover

It's strong enough that you don't really need any SpA investment, and you still get the sub on all of the guys, only you're even more of a nuisance bc you farm their PP. I've tried Unaware and Mold Breaker as well, although I personally haven't found much success with either.
 
:garchomp: :great tusk: :iron moth: :noivern: :scream tail: :ting-lu:
Submitting the team I used for reqs as a sample team. I think groundspam is a good archetype since 1) we have a shitload of viable ground types and 2) the close-to only viable bird right now is Corviknight. So the team puts maximum pressure on Corviknight with Ruination Ting-Lu, Super Fang Noivern, Bulk Up + Knock Great Tusk, SD DTail Garchomp and T-Wave Scream Tail. Corviknight kind of checks everything but is never left undamaged. When the Corv is weakened, little can prevent you from spamming Earthquake, especially with Mold Breaker Great Tusk.

All of the Ground types work in tandem and appreciate greatly the Wish passing from the (probably) very annoying to face Regen Scream Tail. It's a set you come up with if you try to find a pokemon that not only switches into Regen Tusk, but punishes it for clicking anything (Noivern kind of does that too, but to a much lesser extent). When playing this team, you shouldn't be scared to let one of your pokemon get knocked (such choices occur a lot), although choose carefully so that Scream Tail is able to heal it if needed. Scream Tail + Iron Moth is a decent core againt Iron Valiant.

The second main idea of this team is being as cheese-proof as possible. So there's Trick + Encore Scream Tail, DTail FC Chomp, Whirlwind IS Ting-Lu AND Acid Spray Iron Moth (for Florges mostly but also CM + FC / CM + GaG in general). I think the only way to cheese through this team is being named Osake.

The team has 4 Ice weaknesses, with the FC mon being a quad weakness, and one resist that loses to physical moves. So yeah Baxcalibur is a problem here, there's not much to do about a well played MB Bax*. Although more rare (and probably not explored enough), Chien-Pao obviously is a problem as well, and anything that hits physical and has an Ice move like Beam/Spinner Dnite, Ice Punch Hands etc. need to be played around carefully. Usually Scream Tail is what holds the team together.

*if you want to make a different version of the team, probably try to replace Noivern and Ting-Lu but I wasn't able to do it correctly.
 
yo ik i said i was out and im cringe for this but saw some takes in the suspect thread that made me wanna drop my own lmaoo. also ik Siamato wrote a giant post up there and ur the goat for that + i agree probably. Anyways im just here to focus on setup

To start, here's a short list of some furscales setup guys that come to mind https://pokepast.es/feb86e874a6ee5c7. This list is a small fraction of whats possible/viable, point is theres a LOT of reasonably fittable sets to keep in mind that have strong potential to win a game at preview or after just one favorable interaction. this is extremely uncompetitive.

Furscales is good enough to make mons with otherwise poor defensive stats have lots of defensive utility -- for ex. you can slap a 85/65 defense fur coat bug type to your team and be fine against 90% of physical attackers in the meta, including aerilate dragonite. This is what makes so many mons viable as furscales users. Instead of running passive momentum sinks for your defensive backbone there is minimal opportunity cost to instead running a furscales setup mon, perhaps something that would more conventionally be seen as offensive. The way I see it is you still get the defensive utility, but by running a setup move you have (usually 2, up to 3 including fluffy) free realistic slots to fish an easy win without compromising the rest of your team noticeably--you can still easily fit your breakers, your crazy ideas, your gag hazard spinblock core, whatever. They dont even often throw much momentum either, like what are you doing to force out a (basically) +2 / +2 / +2 / +2 oricorio or a +2 / +1 / +1 florges? Ive found you can often pigeonhole your opponent into picking options that are just favorable for you. This is all just to say furscales setup is far from dead weight if it doesnt instantly win and fits on most teams. Meta rn encourages fishing to not play the game.

Theres a lot of other dumb interactions with furscales setup, for ex. simply losing because you gave a furscales mon too many turns to setup while you were trying to figure out what ability/set it was (this actually happens a LOT in my experience and its not even necessarily due to poor play). I think there is some degree of counterplay but it will always be easier for furscales setup to adapt than it is for new counterplay to pop up. You could carefully engineer your team to be better versus some furscales setup mons and the furscales mon just adds, say, taunt, to its moveset and 6-0s you. Funnily enough the most reliable answer ive found is to just run furscales setup yourself and hope yours beats theirs

I think it would be fine if it didn't feel optimal to run this degen shit or if these setup guys didn't win that much or if there just werent so goddam many options but i swear a third to half the games i play end the same way (with my many games against jordan even though we run shit like unaware, trick + phasing, etc i swear like 50% of them end with furscales setup dominating no outplay possible; on ladder im usually the abuser lmao). Which sucks cus i have enjoyed the meta otherwise but it gotta go
 
yo ik i said i was out and im cringe for this but saw some takes in the suspect thread that made me wanna drop my own lmaoo. also ik Siamato wrote a giant post up there and ur the goat for that + i agree probably. Anyways im just here to focus on setup

To start, here's a short list of some furscales setup guys that come to mind https://pokepast.es/feb86e874a6ee5c7. This list is a small fraction of whats possible/viable, point is theres a LOT of reasonably fittable sets to keep in mind that have strong potential to win a game at preview or after just one favorable interaction. this is extremely uncompetitive.

Furscales is good enough to make mons with otherwise poor defensive stats have lots of defensive utility -- for ex. you can slap a 85/65 defense fur coat bug type to your team and be fine against 90% of physical attackers in the meta, including aerilate dragonite. This is what makes so many mons viable as furscales users. Instead of running passive momentum sinks for your defensive backbone there is minimal opportunity cost to instead running a furscales setup mon, perhaps something that would more conventionally be seen as offensive. The way I see it is you still get the defensive utility, but by running a setup move you have (usually 2, up to 3 including fluffy) free realistic slots to fish an easy win without compromising the rest of your team noticeably--you can still easily fit your breakers, your crazy ideas, your gag hazard spinblock core, whatever. They dont even often throw much momentum either, like what are you doing to force out a (basically) +2 / +2 / +2 / +2 oricorio or a +2 / +1 / +1 florges? Ive found you can often pigeonhole your opponent into picking options that are just favorable for you. This is all just to say furscales setup is far from dead weight if it doesnt instantly win and fits on most teams. Meta rn encourages fishing to not play the game.

Theres a lot of other dumb interactions with furscales setup, for ex. simply losing because you gave a furscales mon too many turns to setup while you were trying to figure out what ability/set it was (this actually happens a LOT in my experience and its not even necessarily due to poor play). I think there is some degree of counterplay but it will always be easier for furscales setup to adapt than it is for new counterplay to pop up. You could carefully engineer your team to be better versus some furscales setup mons and the furscales mon just adds, say, taunt, to its moveset and 6-0s you. Funnily enough the most reliable answer ive found is to just run furscales setup yourself and hope yours beats theirs

I think it would be fine if it didn't feel optimal to run this degen shit or if these setup guys didn't win that much or if there just werent so goddam many options but i swear a third to half the games i play end the same way (with my many games against jordan even though we run shit like unaware, trick + phasing, etc i swear like 50% of them end with furscales setup dominating no outplay possible; on ladder im usually the abuser lmao). Which sucks cus i have enjoyed the meta otherwise but it gotta go
hoooooly crap you may have just changed my life
---
:Veluza: Veluza @ Leftovers
Ability: Fur Coat
Tera Type: Water
EVs: 252 HP / 116 Def / 140 Spe
Lax Nature
- Fillet Away
- Liquidation
- Stored Power
- Recover

This thing is CRAZY, it eats hits from mons like Great Tusk, Cinderace and non-MB Baxcalibur. Easily comes in on choiced Tusk and Corvi. Scared easily by dark types like Kingambit and Chi-yu.

---

also atha's team is literally everywhere and its starting to piss me off so thats fun :sphearical:
 
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some unsets i've made:

:iron moth:
Iron Moth @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Opportunist
Tera Type: Fire
EVs: 252 SpA / 76 SpD / 180 Spe
Modest Nature
- Fiery Dance
- Discharge
- Morning Sun
- U-turn
switches into guys like all ghold variants and all volc variants (except timid psychic but if you're really concerned for that run 176+ speed on moth) 76 special defense is just leftover since there's nothing you want to outspeed between 301-319

:chien-pao:
Chien-Pao @ Life Orb
Ability: Sheer Force
Tera Type: Dark
EVs: 184 Atk / 72 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- Icicle Crash
- Crunch
- Blizzard
- Sucker Punch
72 SpA Life Orb Sheer Force Chien-Pao Blizzard vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Garganacl: 216-255 (53.4 - 63.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
good luck landing both blizzards in a row though

:roaring moon:
Roaring Moon @ Leftovers
Ability: Fur Coat
Tera Type: Dragon
EVs: 252 HP / 148 Def / 108 Spe
Impish Nature
- Crunch
- Dragon Dance
- Substitute
- Roost
garchomp dtail doesn't break the sub, though this just lets valiant in for free
also probably the worst set here
 

Isaiah

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My teambuilding process
I figured it would be cool to share my teambuilding process in hopes that it gives people some perspective on how someone who plays a lot of AAA might approach it. I should put the stipulation that this is by no means "solved"; nothing I say here is absolute or infallible. There are 1001 different ways to approach teambuilding, and there is no perfect formula to always producing a good team. There's a quote attributed to Thomas Edison about failure that I think applies pretty well here:

“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

Sometimes trial and error is what it takes, and that's totally fine. Don't be discouraged if you finish a team you worked hard on and get a test game, only to lose to something you forgot to account for or just didn't know to be ready for. It happens. Just use those experiences as information on what to improve on next :]

Step 1: Inspiration
In my opinion, before defensive cores (unless a particular defensive core is the idea), before techs, and even before entry hazards/removal, the first thing you want to identify is your ideal path to victory--that is, in an ideal battle, how do you want to win? Is it setting screens/webs and clicking buttons? Is it spamming hazards + phazing? Is it 1-2 cool/broken sets? The more you can narrow it down, the better. Oftentimes people try to cram too much "heat" into a team and corner themselves into a position where it can be difficult to reliably beat standard builds. Here's a basic of how that can happen:

https://pokepast.es/6b6ebce78438db20
Here's a team Kris made (full disclosure: I lost to this ;-;). You could probably fly with 1-2 of these sets and make it work, but when you have all six on the same team, there's nowhere else to go--it's get the gimmick or face eradication.


I'll refer to a team I built like two days ago since I feel it has enough good and bad points to serve as a decent example:

I'm pretty goofy and I like to build teams based on tiers completely unrelated to AAA. This time, I wanted to adapt a cool BH team I saw @Ivar57 use in OM Circuit Championship Finals, so here goes.
:sv/Slowking:
Slowking @ Light Clay
Ability: Prankster
Tera Type: Water
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Sassy Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
- Reflect
- Light Screen
- Slack Off
- Chilly Reception
Suicune might not be in gen 9, but Slowking comes close enough (in theory). Thus, the "inspiration" is set: some kind of double screens team where I can set them up and (ideally) pivot out to Pokemon that abuse screens being up. With this, I'm probably next looking for:

  • Physical attacker(s) that can abuse screens being up to set up and click strong moves
  • Special attacker(s) that are either immediately powerful or can Nasty Plot/Calm Mind to a sweep
  • Maybe something for weather-related abilities? I don't want to run into rain/sun and just autolose to random sweeper number umpteen
  • Whatever else seems cool

Step 2: Finding some friends
This is basically a Kyurem, right...?
:sv/Baxcalibur:
Baxcalibur @ Life Orb / Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Mold Breaker
Tera Type: Dragon
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Dragon Dance
- Icicle Crash
- Glaive Rush
- Ice Shard
I really wanted to try DD Baxcalibur under screens, so I decided to make this the "stubborn" slot: AKA the set I'm trying to preserve/build around no matter what because it's part of my defined "ideal path to victory". I vacillated between LO for power and HDB for safety a lot, but the latter is probably more consistent in theory.

This and Xerneas are basically the same mon if you keep your eyes closed
:sv/Florges:
Florges (F) @ Leftovers
Ability: Ice Scales
Tera Type: Fairy
EVs: 248 HP / 164 Def / 96 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Moonblast
- Calm Mind
- Wish
- Synthesis
Any team with a Baxcalibur on it is immediately super weak to Fighting-types, so I figured it would be cool to have some kind of Fairy-type to take advantage of them and try to start up a win of its own. Scream Tail has 3 Special Attack and Flutter Mane is banned, so I settled on Florges (also: this happened to give me a switch-in to Iron Bundle, Dragapult, and Iron Valiant, which seemed good considering how slow Baxcalibur is).

Step 3: Patch up holes (as well as you can)
Most of the time, you'll have an up-to-date Viability Rankings to refer to so you can have an idea of what "major" mons you want to have some kind of gameplan against. Due to the constant tiering in AAA, we don't have that right now, but there are still some things that generally never fail when filling out the rest of an AAA team:
  • Resident fast/priority mon(s): No matter how fast your team is with abilities (perhaps you're running weather/terrain to double Speed), you always want a backup plan against other fast foes.
  • "Anti-cheese": You always want SOMETHING that can at least blanket cover things like random immunity abilities and super common setup users like QD, CM, SD, and DD mons, or at least weaken them enough for you to revenge kill.
  • Find the most obvious things you lose to and figure out how you can make it possible to win. e.g. If you're running a team with three Fighting-types, somebody on your team must beat Fairy-types and Aerilate Dragonite; it's pretty much non-negotiable.
  • Don't forget to abuse whatever The Combo (super common + consistent combination of abilities that [almost] everyone is using on their teams)is: In this case, it's Fur Coat and Ice Scales, which power up pretty much any half-decent mon you slap them onto.
> To satisfy the first point, I threw on a MGLO Dragapult because it's 1) very fast 2) can burn physical attackers 3) has the coverage to severely weaken pretty much every offensive Pokemon (anti-cheese) 4) pivots.
> In this team's case, I realized that pretty much any Fire-type (especially if Desolate Land or Orichalcum Pulse) dances all over my team and calls it a day, so I added a Primordial Sea Kingambit, which covers things like Gholdengo (terrifying mon), Volcarona, Iron Moth, can pivot into Cinderace (afraid of HJK, though), and non Close Combat Ceruledge. Sucker Punch also cleans up anything that Dragapult doesn't quite KO (anti-cheese). Well-Baked Body (WBB) is actually also an option since the team ends up being really weak to Skeledirge. WBB also gives me a pretty consistent switch-in to MGLO Dragapult other than Florges, which is nice.
> I realized that I didn't take advantage of Fur Coat, so I decided to try out Fur Coat Great Tusk; the idea was to replicate the Bulk Up + Rapid Spin set that used to be popular when Poison Heal was allowed--basically the same thing, right? Also gives me some form of entry hazard control and checks most of the common physical attackers.

The finished paste: :Dragapult::Baxcalibur::Kingambit::Slowking::Florges::Great Tusk:
Dragapult = Giratina
Baxcalibur = Kyurem
Kingambit = Heatran
Slowking = Suicune
Great Tusk = Groudon
Florges = Xerneas

Step 4: TEST YOUR TEAM (LOSING IS FINE, EVERYONE DOES IT)
A lot of people build a team, then delete it without even giving said team a chance :C. TEST YOUR TEAMS. You never know what you might learn: maybe all you need is a couple of tweaks to get a decent build, or maybe you'll get inspiration for something even better! If testing in a battle isn't possible, at the very least share it with someone you trust to give you good advice. If you're really trying to get to the point where you can make decent teams without even testing them, you've gotta start somewhere.

Step 5: Trial and error
Because I built this team to speed run a suspect test, I wasn't too worried about the things I lost to (got thrashed by Skeledirge a couple of times and also lost my very first game to OPulse Cinderace + Mold Breaker Specs Chi-Yu), but I still noted ways to fix that (see: Primordial Sea vs WBB Kingambit). There are a lot of things you can change about a team: movesets, EV spreads, abilities (Gholdengo can use like 617 of them viably!), and even entire Pokemon themselves.
1673669458916.png

It's absolutely fine to swap things around until you find the one that works--and sometimes, it's also okay to accept that an idea isn't working and take a break (or move on from it entirely)!

Anyway, that's all I've got for now. If you want help with stuff you're working on, you should definitely ping me in the OM Rating channel in Smog Discord or the AAA channel in the OM Discord; I will see it eventually :]
 
:florges: :garganacl: :great tusk: :kingambit: :iron moth: :gholdengo:
wanted to share this team i used for the suspect test
It has a bit of everything to counter most offensive and defensive pokemon.
:florges: answers special attackers and acts as a wish passer if needed
:garganacl: answers corv and physical attackers
:great tusk: great for taking physical attacks and dishing out overall reliable attacks agaisnt many pokemon in the tier, and knock off is just good
:kingambit: eats skeledirge for breakfast as well as chi-yu, dragapult and most iron moth and gholdengo sets.
:iron moth: secondary special wall that breaks through non WBD steel types and annoys the opponent with tspikes.
:gholdengo: earth eater gives it a couple of good matchups agaisnt defensive garchomp and can take on tusk and treads decently well, as it doesn't take much from knock off after losing its item, it does have to be careful with offensive tusk sets tho.

The threatlist:
:iron valiant:
Which pokemon is your counter for this depends on its moveset, does it have poison jab as its 4th move? use moth. Does it have zen headbutt as its 4th move? use florges. Gholdengo is also solid if the valiant doesn't have shadow ball,
:iron hands:
Usually tusk can deal with it but be careful with fur coat/regenerator variants as those can be tricky to answer. Gholdengo can also be an emergency check if its belly drum + triage.
:gholdengo:
More specifically bulletproof subplot gholdengo, shoutouts to the 2 people i found using it. Usually kingambit is your answer but you have to make sure you can pass some wishes to it otherwise it will eventually die.

Mold breaker:
Well it's an issue for most defensive teams really, answering mold breaker abusers becomes a game of shutting them down early or prediction. Some pokemon using this i encountered were:
:gyarados: This one can be answered with garganacl who can't be 2hko'd by a +1 waterfall and do huge damage with salt cure (still takes huge damage tho so don't underestimate it)
:chi yu: use moth or florges depending on what move you think they'll go for. Moth for fire moves and florges for anything else.
 
My teambuilding process
I figured it would be cool to share my teambuilding process in hopes that it gives people some perspective on how someone who plays a lot of AAA might approach it. I should put the stipulation that this is by no means "solved"; nothing I say here is absolute or infallible. There are 1001 different ways to approach teambuilding, and there is no perfect formula to always producing a good team. There's a quote attributed to Thomas Edison about failure that I think applies pretty well here:

“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

Sometimes trial and error is what it takes, and that's totally fine. Don't be discouraged if you finish a team you worked hard on and get a test game, only to lose to something you forgot to account for or just didn't know to be ready for. It happens. Just use those experiences as information on what to improve on next :]

Step 1: Inspiration
In my opinion, before defensive cores (unless a particular defensive core is the idea), before techs, and even before entry hazards/removal, the first thing you want to identify is your ideal path to victory--that is, in an ideal battle, how do you want to win? Is it setting screens/webs and clicking buttons? Is it spamming hazards + phazing? Is it 1-2 cool/broken sets? The more you can narrow it down, the better. Oftentimes people try to cram too much "heat" into a team and corner themselves into a position where it can be difficult to reliably beat standard builds. Here's a basic of how that can happen:

https://pokepast.es/6b6ebce78438db20
Here's a team Kris made (full disclosure: I lost to this ;-;). You could probably fly with 1-2 of these sets and make it work, but when you have all six on the same team, there's nowhere else to go--it's get the gimmick or face eradication.


I'll refer to a team I built like for furscales suspect test since I feel it has enough good and bad points to serve as a decent example:

I'm pretty goofy and I like to build teams based on tiers completely unrelated to AAA. This time, I wanted to adapt a cool BH team I saw @Ivar57 use in OM Circuit Championship Finals, so here goes.
:sv/Slowking:
Slowking @ Light Clay
Ability: Prankster
Tera Type: Water
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Sassy Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
- Reflect
- Light Screen
- Slack Off
- Chilly Reception
Suicune might not be in gen 9, but Slowking comes close enough (in theory). Thus, the "inspiration" is set: some kind of double screens team where I can set them up and (ideally) pivot out to Pokemon that abuse screens being up. With this, I'm probably next looking for:

  • Physical attacker(s) that can abuse screens being up to set up and click strong moves
  • Special attacker(s) that are either immediately powerful or can Nasty Plot/Calm Mind to a sweep
  • Maybe something for weather-related abilities? I don't want to run into rain/sun and just autolose to random sweeper number umpteen
  • Whatever else seems cool

Step 2: Finding some friends
This is basically a Kyurem, right...?
:sv/Baxcalibur:
Baxcalibur @ Life Orb / Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Mold Breaker
Tera Type: Dragon
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Dragon Dance
- Icicle Crash
- Glaive Rush
- Ice Shard
I really wanted to try DD Baxcalibur under screens, so I decided to make this the "stubborn" slot: AKA the set I'm trying to preserve/build around no matter what because it's part of my defined "ideal path to victory". I vacillated between LO for power and HDB for safety a lot, but the latter is probably more consistent in theory.

This and Xerneas are basically the same mon if you keep your eyes closed
:sv/Florges:
Florges (F) @ Leftovers
Ability: Ice Scales
Tera Type: Fairy
EVs: 248 HP / 164 Def / 96 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Moonblast
- Calm Mind
- Wish
- Synthesis
Any team with a Baxcalibur on it is immediately super weak to Fighting-types, so I figured it would be cool to have some kind of Fairy-type to take advantage of them and try to start up a win of its own. Scream Tail has 3 Special Attack and Flutter Mane is banned, so I settled on Florges (also: this happened to give me a switch-in to Iron Bundle, Dragapult, and Iron Valiant, which seemed good considering how slow Baxcalibur is).

Step 3: Patch up holes (as well as you can)
Most of the time, you'll have an up-to-date Viability Rankings to refer to so you can have an idea of what "major" mons you want to have some kind of gameplan against. Due to the constant tiering in AAA, we don't have that right now, but there are still some things that generally never fail when filling out the rest of an AAA team:
  • Resident fast/priority mon(s): No matter how fast your team is with abilities (perhaps you're running weather/terrain to double Speed), you always want a backup plan against other fast foes.
  • "Anti-cheese": You always want SOMETHING that can at least blanket cover things like random immunity abilities and super common setup users like QD, CM, SD, and DD mons, or at least weaken them enough for you to revenge kill.
  • Find the most obvious things you lose to and figure out how you can make it possible to win. e.g. If you're running a team with three Fighting-types, somebody on your team must beat Fairy-types and Aerilate Dragonite; it's pretty much non-negotiable.
  • Don't forget to abuse whatever The Combo (super common + consistent combination of abilities that [almost] everyone is using on their teams)is: In this case, it's Fur Coat and Ice Scales, which power up pretty much any half-decent mon you slap them onto.
> To satisfy the first point, I threw on a MGLO Dragapult because it's 1) very fast 2) can burn physical attackers 3) has the coverage to severely weaken pretty much every offensive Pokemon (anti-cheese) 4) pivots.
> In this team's case, I realized that pretty much any Fire-type (especially if Desolate Land or Orichalcum Pulse) dances all over my team and calls it a day, so I added a Primordial Sea Kingambit, which covers things like Gholdengo (terrifying mon), Volcarona, Iron Moth, can pivot into Cinderace (afraid of HJK, though), and non Close Combat Ceruledge. Sucker Punch also cleans up anything that Dragapult doesn't quite KO (anti-cheese). Well-Baked Body (WBB) is actually also an option since the team ends up being really weak to Skeledirge. WBB also gives me a pretty consistent switch-in to MGLO Dragapult other than Florges, which is nice.
> I realized that I didn't take advantage of Fur Coat, so I decided to try out Fur Coat Great Tusk; the idea was to replicate the Bulk Up + Rapid Spin set that used to be popular when Poison Heal was allowed--basically the same thing, right? Also gives me some form of entry hazard control and checks most of the common physical attackers.

The finished paste: :Dragapult::Baxcalibur::Kingambit::Slowking::Florges::Great Tusk:
Dragapult = Giratina
Baxcalibur = Kyurem
Kingambit = Heatran
Slowking = Suicune
Great Tusk = Groudon
Florges = Xerneas

Step 4: TEST YOUR TEAM (LOSING IS FINE, EVERYONE DOES IT)
A lot of people build a team, then delete it without even giving said team a chance :C. TEST YOUR TEAMS. You never know what you might learn: maybe all you need is a couple of tweaks to get a decent build, or maybe you'll get inspiration for something even better! If testing in a battle isn't possible, at the very least share it with someone you trust to give you good advice. If you're really trying to get to the point where you can make decent teams without even testing them, you've gotta start somewhere.

Step 5: Trial and error
Because I built this team to speed run a suspect test, I wasn't too worried about the things I lost to (got thrashed by Skeledirge a couple of times and also lost my very first game to OPulse Cinderace + Mold Breaker Specs Chi-Yu), but I still noted ways to fix that (see: Primordial Sea vs WBB Kingambit). There are a lot of things you can change about a team: movesets, EV spreads, abilities (Gholdengo can use like 617 of them viably!), and even entire Pokemon themselves.

It's absolutely fine to swap things around until you find the one that works--and sometimes, it's also okay to accept that an idea isn't working and take a break (or move on from it entirely)!

Anyway, that's all I've got for now. If you want help with stuff you're working on, you should definitely ping me in the OM Rating channel in Smog Discord or the AAA channel in the OM Discord; I will see it eventually :]
This is actually an amazing process for building and almost step by step what I like to do when building. Because our teambuilding processes are so similar I thought I'd give another example of this process working out well.

:iron valiant: :dragapult: :Corviknight: :Garganacl: :garchomp: :Iron moth:

BugGoBrrrrrr, SammyCe123, and I created this team for round 1 of the AAA Ghosting Tourney and also submitted it for samples since it was so good and we used the same process that Isaiah outlined above. After reading Isaiah's post I thought that I would go in depth about how we built and refined the team into the insanely cracked version of it that we posted.

:Dragapult: :iron valiant: :corviknight: :garganacl: :kingambit: :iron moth:

This was the early version of the team that I created to send to Bug and Sammy, it's very similar to the original version but we went through quite a few variations, I'll start by analyzing how I created this version of the team and then move on to how we refined it.

Step 1: The Inspiration
I was heavily inspired by another team I saw on ladder with the core of Pult+Valiant, we kept matching up against each other and I kept getting frustrated by this insane offensive core. Magic guard Pult is already a super good mon that can beat a lot of mons by itself and those that it cannot beat alone it is able to either wisp for later breaking or pivot out to something that can, such as Valiant. Iron Valiant is the premier wallbreaker of AAA currently as it only needs good pivoting and minimal chip on certain mons in order for it to run away with the game, both of which Pult is able to provide. I decided that the "ideal path to victory" for this team was going to be getting Pult and Valiant in as often and as safely as possible in order to claim kills and wear down opposing walls.

Step 2: Finding Some Friends
In order for my core to work I decided to go to work on a defensive core to provide support for it. I always thought that fur coat Garg was both underused and underrated so I decided to use it here in conjunction with the tried and true ice scales Corv and this proved to be a great core that was used in the final version of the team.

Step 3: Patching Up Holes
From here I noticed 2 very distinct holes in the team, first off I saw a large weakness to sub plot Gholdengo and added Kingambit since it was the most consistant check to it while remaining decently offensive. The other thing I noticed was that Iron Bundle can beat Corv with rocks up so I added desolate land moth to help support it VS Bundle.

Step 4: Testing the Team
After testing the team a bit and discussing it with my teammates Bug didn't believe in fur coat Garg as a blanket check so he came up with another version of the team with fur coat Corv and ice scales Garg. We also discussed if we needed Kingambit on the team since the first version lost to a lot of fire type attackers that Garg couldn't check. We came up with quite a few other mons that could fit in that slot like regen Great Tusk, Regenvest Ting-lu, and a few other regenerator mons that could beat gholdengo without weakening our matchup VS fire types as much as Kingambit did.
https://pokepast.es/6e1137a865a1b8cc
This is the version of the team that I had saved in my builder but it went through a lot of different versions in the days before our tourney game and the creation of the final version.

Step 5: Trial and Error
I kinda already went over this in step 4 but we tested our team an immeasurable amount between the three of us on ladder, going through version after version and replacing mons to see what is the most effective. I even at some point made the defensive core back into fur coat Garg and ice scales Corv because it felt better to me, around the same time Bug also had that same revelation and messaged the group about swapping back to the original core. After a lot of trial and error either Bug or Sammy suggested using regenerator Garchomp as our special fire check since it can also beat Gholdengo as long as it wasn't earth eater, in which case Iron Moth should have handled it fine. We also decided to make Iron Moth max HP in order to more easily take hits. At the last moment we settled on the team that won us our round and we felt so good about it that we submitted it for samples.

I hope this example can be of use to anyone trying to build a good team and if anyone needs help you can feel free to ping me in the AAA channel in the OM discord too. Great post Isaiah, I'm sure it'll help a lot of ladder gremlins like me (although I am doing tourneys now so I may hopefully establish myself as more than a ladder gremlin soon) Until then though I'm off to bully low ladder on my 50 alts again!
 
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Tea Guzzler

serial waffler
is a Contributor to Smogon
ok so i feel like i've not really explained my stance on furscales outside of rambling on discord at 1am for far too long and just entering back-and-forths with people, so this will probably fix that.

(for clarity, i'm voting dnb)

By far the most common reason I see for people voting ban is due to furscales setup stuff. You have things like ghold, volc, teapot, tusk, hands, rmoon, even stuff like oricorio running around with one of the two and grabbing free boosts. Denying that these mons aren't kind of stupid is just sort of wrong, however I think the majority of ban voters hideously overstate how uncounterable these things are. Games with these rarely end "as soon as it hits the field" unless you just have an objectively bad team (even if it's a setup mon with an advantage against your furscales mon, you should never just "not have options"), and the majority of offensive mons can pretty handily keep these things out since, even despite furscales, they're not exactly keen on switching in to stuff. Hazards, Knock, Moldy, Phazing and random hardwalls because of abilities are also all things that these mons hate (even if some, such as the last, can't really be relied on too much). There's also ultra-cope stuff like Prank Clodsire but doesn't anywhere near warrant its own point.

The next most common argument I see is that furscales is centralizing because it forces furscales on every team and only allows for pokemon that can beat furscales. The first bit is right; yes, furscales are going to be on every team, because they are the best legal abilities by a significant margin. My point to this is just: so what? If we ban furscales, we'll probably have a couple different defensive sidegrades like intim/tablets and AV/vessel but structures will likely remain the exact same and these abilities will still be as omnipresent as furscales are. Centralization is inevitable in most metas, even moreso with OMs where the power level is higher and the meta's mechanics have clear "best recipients", and chasing a meta which isn't centralizing just isn't realistic. The second bit is also just pretty fake, making progress against furscales mons is pretty easy if you do things that aren't just trying to brute-force through, both due to limited recovery and to their general passivity, you just need to not be impatient.

Perhaps i'm a little jaded with this one, which is that defensive furscales is too bulky, and my honest response would be to just cope and play the game. FurScales metas mean that the pool of autonomous attackers is significantly smaller (look at Gen 8 BH, where Moldy Band Kyu-B is the only one you could maybe describe as autonomous, and in Gen 9 BH there are just 0), so the solution with not getting hardwalled is to just accept it and support your wallbreakers. At the end of the day, if you can't be asked to give a mon support, it's not going to break through, so stop giving it no support and then complaining it can't break through. The stuff running this also doesn't have the option to "just be non-passive" like in BH, most defensive furscales mons pose very little threat by themselves and you can take advantage of this.
1673734413874.png

(ignore the tera type, PS removed gen8bh as a format so couldn't do in that builder)
this is THE clicker mon of gen 8. dragon energy does some ultra-busted stuff, like being able to OHKO RegenVest Dialga, and the other coverage does about what you'd expect with blue flare hitting even zama-c for 70. yet, you very consistently wouldn't see this mon do well into many team structures, because it fails to break past ultra-bulky stuff like scales zama-c, AV Kyogre, and obviously has to pick and choose which move-with-immunities it's using. the whole point in here is that, in a furscales meta, damage dealers are only getting through if you give them support to get past hard walls, because just throwing this at the scales dog is not going to make it any more successful.

One more thing is that banlist inflation is very possible and real if furscales gets banned. Last gen there were 16 non-uber bans (not including base kyurem & gene) in a meta with better defensive options, 2AC for double regen, and higher recovery PP. In my opinion, this number is going to be SIGNIFICANTLY higher if furscales gets banned, since there are less defensive options, 8PP recovers (which people will figure out how to take the piss out of), and nerfed longevity through 1AC whilst offensive abilities are basically not impacted by the clause. The argument that "you shouldn't use the hypothetical future meta as an argument for keeping furscales" is not good either, since by this logic, you could ban something where the meta very clearly becomes horrible in subsequent weeks due to people innovating and abusing brokens, but you obviously can't do anything about this with a no-forward-looking policy.
 
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Heracross2.0

And I was the MVP. You were all thinking it!
is a Social Media Contributoris a Tiering Contributor
The next most common argument I see is that furscales is centralizing because it forces furscales on every team and only allows for pokemon that can beat furscales. The first bit is right; yes, furscales are going to be on every team, because they are the best legal abilities by a significant margin. My point to this is just: so what? If we ban furscales, we'll probably have a couple different defensive sidegrades like intim/tablets and AV/vessel but structures will likely remain the exact same and these abilities will still be as omnipresent as furscales are. Centralization is inevitable in most metas, even moreso with OMs where the power level is higher and the meta's mechanics have clear "best recipients", and chasing a meta which isn't centralizing just isn't realistic. The second bit is also just pretty fake, making progress against furscales mons is pretty easy if you do things that aren't just trying to brute-force through, both due to limited recovery and to their general passivity, you just need to not be impatient.
My issue with FurScales is not merely that it's centralizing, it's that FurScales is simply TOO centralizing. As an example, a non-insignificant number of breakers, such as Great Tusk, Baxcailbur, Chi-Yu, and Iron Bundle, are running Mold Breaker solely to break past FurScales mons, forfeiting other damage amp abilities like the Ruin abilities or Adaptability. The limited recovery also doesn't really matter IMO; due to the way healing works in conjunction with FurScales bulk, items like Lefties actually heals double of what it would on a non-FurScales mon if you're only hitting on one side (basically, if your Fur Coat mon only takes physical moves, the effectiveness of healing is doubled, which isn't hard considering you also get other defensive slots), effectively doubling your recovery PP with proper management. This is why the only realistic ways to beat FurScales are by using things that are already broken, such as mixed Iron Valiant and Dragapult, or your own FurScales mons with setup moves.

As for the second point, this is more personal but I don't want games to be 100-turn fat fests trying to play around ultra bulky defensive cores if I'm not running one of the few (most likely broken) ways of dealing with them.

One more thing is that banlist inflation is very possible and real if furscales gets banned. Last gen there were 16 non-uber bans (not including base kyurem & gene) in a meta with better defensive options, 2AC for double regen, and higher recovery PP. In my opinion, this number is going to be SIGNIFICANTLY higher if furscales gets banned, since there are less defensive options, 8PP recovers (which people will figure out how to take the piss out of), and nerfed longevity through 1AC whilst offensive abilities are basically not impacted by the clause.
Gonna throw back a question you asked: so what? Who cares if 20+ brokens are banned in a hypothetical FurScalesless meta? A Pokemon being banned from a tier means that 99% of the time, the player base has decided that the negative aspects that these brokens provide outweigh the positive aspects that they provide. The 1% of the time they don't, they are unbanned and treated as healthy aspects. The only currently broken mon with a sizable amount of defensive utility is Great Tusk (great STABs + Ice Spinner + Knock + tons of offensive set diversity + solid Speed = no switch-ins and limited offensive counterplay), and while it would be sad to see it go, many previous tiers have consistently decided that broken mons with sizeable defensive utility are still banworthy. I don't really see an issue with a big banlist, especially in a meta with a double digit amount of brokens as is.
 

Tea Guzzler

serial waffler
is a Contributor to Smogon
My issue with FurScales is not merely that it's centralizing, it's that FurScales is simply TOO centralizing. As an example, a non-insignificant number of breakers, such as Great Tusk, Baxcailbur, Chi-Yu, and Iron Bundle, are running Mold Breaker solely to break past FurScales mons, forfeiting other damage amp abilities like the Ruin abilities or Adaptability. The limited recovery also doesn't really matter IMO; due to the way healing works in conjunction with FurScales bulk, items like Lefties actually heals double of what it would on a non-FurScales mon if you're only hitting on one side (basically, if your Fur Coat mon only takes physical moves, the effectiveness of healing is doubled, which isn't hard considering you also get other defensive slots), effectively doubling your recovery PP with proper management. This is why the only realistic ways to beat FurScales are by using things that are already broken, such as mixed Iron Valiant and Dragapult, or your own FurScales mons with setup moves.
This sort of goes into what I explained in the second-last paragraph with the spoiler, but Moldy is essentially making the trade-off between higher autonomy into furscales in return for worse autonomy into everything else. These threats by no means have to run Moldy, it's just that doing so reduces the need for team support to break furscales; all of these mons above can viable run other abilities and beat furscales mons (whilst still maintaining a good matchup into everything else), they just can't win as fast as Moldy does. Don't think this point really holds since that's sort of just explains how a meta works (if i told you that more pokemon were running regenerator in response to taunt spam teams taking over, would you say taunt is broken?). Second point also sort of makes sense but the attackers that furscales lets be free mostly still force defensive mons to recover after 1 or 2 hits, so the "doubled" healing doesn't really materialize IMO.

As for the second point, this is more personal but I don't want games to be 100-turn fat fests trying to play around ultra bulky defensive cores if I'm not running one of the few (most likely broken) ways of dealing with them.
Hate to break it to you, but with how much the power level has to decrease to accommodate no-furscales, there's a non-trivial chance that no-FS meta would be equal or worse than this. Wallbreakers have to be tuned down proportionally more than defensive options in order to have a more balanced meta post-furscales (as in, you're going to struggle to justify banning top defensive mons like corv, florges or treads, whereas even for offensive stuff that's mid now like noivern/gengar the chance of them staying free is low), so the meta if anything gets proportionally more fat.

Gonna throw back a question you asked: so what? Who cares if 20+ brokens are banned in a hypothetical FurScalesless meta? A Pokemon being banned from a tier means that 99% of the time, the player base has decided that the negative aspects that these brokens provide outweigh the positive aspects that they provide. The 1% of the time they don't, they are unbanned and treated as healthy aspects. The only currently broken mon with a sizable amount of defensive utility is Great Tusk (great STABs + Ice Spinner + Knock + tons of offensive set diversity + solid Speed = no switch-ins and limited offensive counterplay), and while it would be sad to see it go, many previous tiers have consistently decided that broken mons with sizeable defensive utility are still banworthy. I don't really see an issue with a big banlist, especially in a meta with a double digit amount of brokens as is.
I'll be honest, I don't understand why you decided to drop the entire philisophy of Pokemon bans here, especially given it adds nothing to the argument; stuff will be banned if furscales goes, yes, nobody's debating this - the argument has always been that too much stuff will be banned, creating a stale meta. People will care more about having 30 options they can't choose from (post-furscales) as opposed to having 5 mons they have to choose from (current), bearing in mind with the latter there's a very decent chance people are just going to happen on them anyway.
 
By far the most common reason I see for people voting ban is due to furscales setup stuff. You have things like ghold, volc, teapot, tusk, hands, rmoon, even stuff like oricorio running around with one of the two and grabbing free boosts. Denying that these mons aren't kind of stupid is just sort of wrong, however I think the majority of ban voters hideously overstate how uncounterable these things are. Games with these rarely end "as soon as it hits the field" unless you just have an objectively bad team (even if it's a setup mon with an advantage against your furscales mon, you should never just "not have options"), and the majority of offensive mons can pretty handily keep these things out since, even despite furscales, they're not exactly keen on switching in to stuff. Hazards, Knock, Moldy, Phazing and random hardwalls because of abilities are also all things that these mons hate (even if some, such as the last, can't really be relied on too much). There's also ultra-cope stuff like Prank Clodsire but doesn't anywhere near warrant its own point.
"The majority of offensive mons can pretty handily keep these things out since, even despite furscales, they're not exactly keen on switching in to stuff." The majority of offensive mons don't have much to say about a FurScales guy setting up in front of them. In fact, furscales setup mons can be quite accurately be described as walls. FC Polteageist (60/65 on the physical side) does wall most physical attackers like Tusk, Hands, Dragonite, even Kingambit. Only thing it struggles walling on the physical side are Orichalcum Pulse boosted Fire moves and Mold Breaker moves. The same applies for Florges, Volcarona, Oricorio and Scream Tail ; but also any random mons with CM like Armarouge or Dudunsparce. In normal tiers like OU and gen8AAA, when your opponent has a random setup mon, you can always just hit it very hard - because there's nothing he can do about that. When a Corviknight starts bulking up, worst case scenario (= you don't have Pex or a Regen guy with whirlwind for example) you can just go Zapdos or Zarude or whatever your special breaker is, click attacking moves and be fine. That is out of question against a FurScales mon, cause you're doing 30%. You're left with your status / phazing moves. Not reliable. Take FC Oricorio-sensu and look at Grim Blazer's (strong) team that he posted above. Taunt Oricorio ? You're fine with Dragon Tail. Sub ? Too bad, you lose. On the physical side you have ID + Body Press FC Garg keeping most things in check (a ghost type like Sub IS Ceru will be a problem but we're arguaby getting into nitpicking territory). Put Whirlwind > Tspikes on Moth, now you have 2 phazing options, one defensive, one specially defensive - starting to look solid. But your only option against most Furscales setup guys (IS Curse Hippo, IS Curse Dozo, CM FC Vaporeon, I can find you loads), is clicking a phazing move. Should that be expected from every team ? No. Should clicking attacking moves against setup mons always be an option ? Yes.

I'll give you that FurScales being centralizing isn't really a problem since the abilities can be put on anything. Yes IS Corv goes stupid but also it's the only slow pivot we have so arguably it's not at all because of FurScales. I'm not sure where you're getting with your "autonomous attacker" idea, that concept doesn't look all too promising ; but also in gen8aaa we had 0 of them (I think ?) in a FurScales-less meta. On the banlist inflation thing, that's just not the point as Siamato and others said - you're overestimating your ability to visualize the future of a meta. I don't think there's anything we can ban "where the meta very clearly becomes horrible in subsequent weeks due to people innovating and abusing brokens". That would apply to unbans, but as you see unbans are not commonplace in smogon tiering.
 
My perspective is a bit different in regards to Fur Coat and Ice Scales, I personally do not have much of an issue with it as a whole yet I can see the merit to both sides arguments. In spite of this, I have chosen to vote do not ban purely because I want to see how the meta develops both during the lead up and shortly after the release of Home before I make a firm decision whether it is unhealthy or healthy. I question any arguments regarding the over-centrality of Furscales as every generation regardless of tier has central elements within a given metagame (look at OU and Landorus-Therian for the past several gens or in ubers such as Yveltal last gen or Primal-Groudon 2 gens ago) as I am never sure how to judge whether something is central because it is broken or because it is a necessary element or some combination of these points and more. I personally think a lot of this comes down to personal preference and perspective on the metagame and the direction it is heading. Don't get me wrong, Fur Coat and Ice Scales are definitely centralizing and broken, but whether this warrants their banning considering the potency of abilities at hand and the outrageous stat-lines we deal with is another question entirely.

How they enable bulky setup on some of the most random of Pokemon is without a doubt fishy and often match up dependent in nature. In some regards I'd argue that bulky setup (even setup in general) has always been this way, look at old examples such as Crocune where teams could basically autolose versus it. In other ways I'd agree that it negatively bolsters the Pokemon that are able to pull off bulky setup like Polteageist, Flutter Mane prior to ban, and quite few other cases. Even those that lack recovery options can buy enough time to setup and sweep with Furscales support (Great Tusk, Iron Hands, etc...), however, I also am worried about the consequences of banning Furscales. Yes, this is projection, and in some ways entirely antithetical to standard tiering principles but when we are talking about a tier that has currently shaped itself around these abilities I honestly consider it a good idea to look at the impact of a supposed ban and how it may negatively effect a tier. This may be a short-sighted perspective as we'd usually just deal with it in due time through the natural evolution of the meta but as previously mentioned, I also want to see where Furscales takes us and make a decision when we have a larger roster at hand. I don't consider the bulky setup conundrum to be egregious enough to warrant a ban just yet, nor do I find the metagame to be that slow and trundle-some. Mold Breaker finding viability isn't that large of a deal with me as it is doing what it was intended, shutting down abilities.

My point isn't to argue against either side, as I am not trying to convince you (the reader) or anyone that furscales is or isn't unhealthy (it is broken compared to most other abilities and quite centralizing) but that I think we should give it more time, wait till Home releases and see how a larger roster either positively or negatively effects our perception of Furscales, only then do I plan to make a firm stance.

And before I get an earful about centrality =/= broken, I consider these concepts to have an inextricable relationship with each other, for something to become central to a meta it has to have a certain number of qualities that elevate it above the rest of the tier whether that be offensive, defensive, or supportive in nature. From my perspective for something to be central to the tier it will always have certain elements of brokenness (ie, excessively stands out compared to the other Pokemon) due their ability to warp the metagame around themselves or help cope with other aspects of the meta.

I hope that this makes sense, and don't mind if it gets banned, just that in my experience it has not been that large of an issue.
 
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