Aurora Veil in NU

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Hey everybody, after some discussion between myself, Hootie, and the NU council members we've decided to start this thread to gather your opinions on a rather controversial tiering decision. Aurora Veil offense has been an infamously powerful playstyle in the tier for some time now and, after the recent suspect, we've decided it would be a good idea to present an open discussion on the move itself.

There are typically two ways that you can deal with the set up sweepers; revenge killing with an offensive Pokemon that either outspeeds or has priority and walling the set up sweeper defensively. Aurora Veil dramatically reduces the effectiveness of revenge killing offensive threats and grants a significant amount of set up opportunities versus defensive threats

Sandslash-Alola and Cryogonal outspeed significant portions of the metagame and find a plethora of opportunities to set up within the 3 available turns of Hail. The high Speed of the Veil setters makes it far more difficult to incorporate countermeasures for Aurora Veil on a team. The convenience of Aurora Veil completing the same job as Light Screen and Reflect in one turn makes it far more easy to abuse than other Screens offense archetypal teams.

Additionally, the available methods of removing Aurora Veil without having to stall out its turns on the field are rather lackluster in NU. Brick Break is often a wasted slot on an offensive Pokemon in any other matchup but Aurora Veil and our most common Defog users are heavily pressured by the two common Aurora Veil setters, Sandslash-Alola and Cryogonal, and the most common Hail setter, Aurorus. Additionally, Aurorus is not just a throwaway Hail setter because it functions as a very reliable suicide Stealth Rock setter that threatens a lot of the tier with Blizzard and Freeze-Dry.

NU Council's current plan of attack is to hold a council vote on the move itself a week after this thread is up. We're very interested in hearing the opinions of the community before we hold the vote and would love to get as much feedback as possible.


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Honestly Aurora Veil to me just doesn't feel healthy no matter what way I look at it. Even if you ignore the fact that people are running Brick Break on random shit (although I guess noone subscribed to my Spicy™ 248 Spe variant of Brick Break Alolan Sandslash to guarantee Veil doesn't go up while Slash is on the field...), Veil is just fundamentally lacking in counterplay. For every method of pressuring Veil as an archetype there is a Veil variant which has counterplay for that means of counterplay, and trying th prep for every variant simply isn't a very practical goal. While matchup elements like this certainly aren't something that you can expect to not exist in any given tier, the combination of Veil's effectiveness, largely brainless elements (formulaic gameplay), and the fact that it creates these matchup issues both within and outside of the Veil matchup means that it skews success in favor of its user to an unfair extent and fundamentally reduces the degree of skill within games to the point where a less skilled player can defeat a more skilled player on a consistent basis just by bringing Aurora Veil.
I was the council member most against a blanket ban on aurora veil until recently. The generic veil team of Aurorus / Alolan Sandslash / Vivillon / Virizion / Turtonator / Drapion is what most people are familiar with and has adequate counterplay. The real issue I see with Veil is as Martin pointed out, there are so many different variations you can run to defeat every tech choice meant to handle the standard Veil. meeps Triple Screen Cryogonal team is actually just ridiculous. If you can generate even a single free turn just about any Pokemon can be turned into a ridiculous threat. I saw a Vanilluxe do 3% to a Turtonator with Ice Shard.

It was the Cryogonal team that really pushed it over the edge for me. It showed me that Veil can simply adapt to just about every tech and come out on top. I plan on voting to ban Aurora Veil unless this thread convinces me otherwise.

I will likely expand more on my opinion later, just don't want to let this thread sit idle for too long


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I've been relatively torn on what decision to make during the time it was initially brought up in the past; I didn't think of it as much as an issue compared to more pressing matters at the time, but after seeing the way these teams adapt, it leads me to believe that Aurora Veil is an unhealthy component that should be banned from NU. The way it enables offensive Pokemon in the tier to flourish in a tier where offense is already a top playstyle pushes it over the edge compared to more typical offensive archetypes, namely standard bulky offenses and webs. With Aurora Veil, as it has already been stated in previous posts, it takes away typical counterplay to setup sweepers and the way it does so forces the opponent facing it to play a certain way whereas the user of Veil usually makes similar plays regardless of matchup. This in effect takes away skill from matches because there's no real predictions are risky plays that have to made using Veil unless the user under already unfavorable circumstances which tends to be a rare scenario. It's not an unbeatable playstyle by any means, but it requires teams to be made a certain way in order to adequately deal with this playstyle, more than what is required to handle any other offense playstyle that's trending in NU, adding an unnecessary matchup dependent element in a tier that is otherwise reaching closer to a balanced state. I believe banning this move is the best and simplest solution that fixes issues without causing much collateral in the process.


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I've been underwhelmed by aurora veil offense, after facing it 5 times~ in NU open now, assault vest slowbro/slowking seems to deal with all the aurora veil set up mons pretty well. It is fairly straight forward in how it is played, so it just takes some careful thought in not letting whatever you have to check it die. I see the power in theory behind it, but like, I feel like its naturally checked. If you really are /that/ weak to it, you can run brick break on a fighting mon which is a common enough VGC tech. Also, in most cases, I feel like you can kill the mon setting up aurora veil when it sets it up or the next turn, and at that point stall it out with fake out / protect etc
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i posted my thoughts a couple months ago in np thread about a couple months ago, my general thoughts on the playstyle haven't really changed, especially when methods of counterplay devolve to using brick break on pokemon (i always use brick break as 4th move on scarf emboar now); running one move for one playstyle isn't really healthy development. of course there is still whimsicott which can encore setup sweepers, but even then it still risks being ko'd by z-move users (also specs whimsicott is a lot better than encore pixie plate, but veil may be detracting from specs gaining more usage), and assault vest slowking, which isn't as great now due to some recent metagame trends, especially guzzlord's rise in popularity, which is becoming a more popular specially bulky tank than slowking.

also i'd like to talk more about cryogonal veil, since i've been using it a good amount the past few days, and my findings really demonstrate that overall it's a problem with the move aurora veil itself, not sandslash-alola being able to take advantage of slush rush to outspeed most of the meta and setup aurora veil. cryogonal's has a pretty solid speed tier, which still allows it to setup aurora veil rather effectively, alongside this it has very respectable special bulk which makes it easier to hard switch into than sandslash-alola. and of course, it also has access to reflect and light screen, which it can actually effectively setup after setting up veil, since its ability to take hits is better, thus with all screens up, pokemon behind these screens take 1/4 damage, which makes it even easier to setup and be even more difficult to revenge kill. it also allows for setup sweepers to safely run substitute (i've been using it on barbaracle) so it doesn't have to worry about being status'ed or being phazed by dragon tail from guzzlord or slowking. just an example of how ridiculous having all screens up is:

136+ Atk Steelix Earthquake vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Barbaracle through Reflect with an ally's Aurora Veil: 54-63 (18.9 - 22.1%) -- possible 5HKO

while cryogonal is still slower than sandslash-alola, the loss of speed isn't too hindering when considering some of the common pokemon that are faster. e.g. scarf emboar. emboar would need to lock itself into a fire- or fighting-type attack to try and ko cryogonal before it sets up veil; locking into these moves provides for solid opportunities for some common veil sweepers like vivillon or barbaracle to setup against when emboar is locked into a 4x resisted move. a number of other faster pokemon may fall into the same boat as emboar, or some like sceptile or scarf rotom-c aren't able to do enough damage against cryogonal, thus allowing it to at least setup veil, and maybe more. i just wanted to provide some discussion on cryogonal veil in case there are any arguments that veil isn't broken but it is only with sandslash-alola (i honestly think veil with cryogonal is better than veil with sandslash-alola at this point)

some ladder replays:

also in regards to the post above - i don't really see how the point that "it is fairly straightforward in how it is played" strengthens your argument. the fact that a player can use veil and make the most obvious/straightforwards plays and still win really demonstrates that it is veil is an unhealthy element in the fact that it can provide such as a solid team matchup against much of the tier, requiring opposing players to make solid plays to be able to beat veil against a veil player making straightforward plays.


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Aurora Veil being controversial in the SM NU metagame is nothing new. In fact, people have thought of it as potentially banworthy since day one. While it is true that Aurora Veil has seen somewhat less use than before throughout the most recent edition of NUPL, it still poses the same threat to teams in the tier that it did in the past. Despite thinking there was a clear problem with Aurora Veil for a while, I am glad that this has waited for a bit because the young metagame has evolved quite a bit over time and tackling what is essentially an entire playstyle that was not too common simply did not seem pressing with broken Pokemon such as Cofagrigus and Meloetta still residing in the tier. Additionally, given that Aurora Veil is a move that shapes an entire playstyle (see: 1 and 2), metagame shifts can easily make some element of the archetype become much better or worse in little-to-no time, meaning that jumping the gun and prematurely banning Aurora Veil could occur and I, personally, did not want to rush this decision. However, Meloetta is now banned, the metagame is reaching what I consider to be a consistent state (not ready to label it as balanced quite yet, but we're getting there), and Aurora Veil's not getting any worse. Therefore, I believe that it is now the appropriate time for a thread like this to be posted and for Aurora Veil to be banned from the SM NU metagame.

Why? some may ask. The answer to that question boils down to the fundamental means of counterplay for win conditions in any competitive metagame, in my opinion. If you face any set-up sweeper or win condition in general, there are generally two ways to respond to it. These two ways are by using a defensive check/counter that can defeat the win condition or by revenge killing the win condition.

Now that we have this fundamental down pat, let's look at how Aurora Veil works and the impact Aurora Veil has on gameplay. Aurora Veil significantly reduces the damage that Pokemon take, but can only be set up when Hail is present. In the SM NU metagame, Aurorus is a passable lead that has Snow Warning, Stealth Rock, Encore, and the ability to threaten most Pokemon with Blizzard and Freeze Dry. Generally speaking, Aurorus functions as a suicide lead on Aurora Veil teams and once it dies, you send out an Aurora Veil setter with Light Clay -- the two main setters are Sandslash-Alola and Cryogonal. Sandslash-Alola has Slush Rush, so it can outrun pretty much everything to make setting up Aurora Veil pretty much foolproof. Cryogonal has a great speed tier and it can also set up Reflect and Light Screen alongside Aurora Veil, making any attempt to actually damage Pokemon via attacking become relatively futile.

Once Aurora Veil (and potentially Reflect and/or Light Screen) is set up and the early game is out of the way, Aurora Veil teams tend to have their remaining four Pokemon dedicated to sweeping through opposing teams. Essentially, these teams have four normally potent win conditions stacked together to abuse Aurora Veil and break open teams together. Here is where we go back to the aforementioned fundamental means of counterplay from the paragraph above -- in order to defeat a win condition, you have to actually kill it and doing so is either done via defensively checking/countering it to the extent that you can kill the win condition before it can kill you or revenge killing the win condition. The presence of Aurora Veil in SM NU makes eliminating win conditions via either of these methods incredibly challenging and, for some teams, borderline impossible.

Think of it this way -- if you have a win condition like Barbaracle, which is already seen as one of the tier's better win conditions, then you are going to want to chip away at the opponent's team until it can sweep and then find an opening to set-up in order to enact this sweep. If Aurora Veil is present, then finding the opportunity to set-up safely becomes much easier. If you pair Barbaracle with numerous other win conditions that force opponents to react in the same fashion, that forces them to be on the defensive, then you are going to get an opening for Barbaracle quite easily. This same line-of-logic can, more or less, be applied to any of the other common win conditions found on Aurora Veil (if you're using the standard team, then these would be Turtonator, Vivillion, and Virizion, but other Pokemon such as Scrafty can also perform quite well under these circumstances, too). This whole hypothetical above, which is actually a very realistic scenario that Aurora Veil essentially presents itself with most games, demonstrates the fact that Aurora Veil prevents a healthy, fundamental facet of the game when it comes to having counterplay to opposing win conditions. I can go through countless games with examples and I can explain how preparing teams for Aurora Veil teams makes you either go far out of your way to the point where you have compromised quite a bit or used something very specific (partially due to the tier's poor pool of viable Defog users), but I think that the counterplay point in itself should really be what we put the most emphasis on when making most arguments here seeing as it connects to everything else that I have referenced to and it ruins competitive gameplay in the metagame itself.

Given how Aurora Veil teams have performed in the SM NU metagame, I believe that there clearly is a problem and we must address it. As for what should be done, I believe that this is pretty straightforward. There are multiple users of Aurora Veil, in Sandslash-Alola and Cryogonal, and both prove to have similar effectiveness. Additionally, there are multiple other viable Pokemon that learn Aurora Veil and could potentially replace Sandslash-Alola or Cryogonal (not going to say they would do as well or lead to there being a banworthy problem as that is theorymon and I do not welcome any theorymon in discussions like this). Therefore, banning either or both of these Pokemon should be off the table, in my opinion. The problem also is not any singular win condition or threat under Aurora Veil, but rather the collective nature of the archetype. As an extension of this, Aurora Veil is the only reason why this archetype exists in the first place and should be the subject of any potential vote or ban. Furthermore, the move Aurora Veil should be banned from SM NU.


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Though most of the matter has been said, I'll reiterate some key points on why Aurora Veil is banworthy. Aurora Veil in itself has very little counterplay when handling setup sweepers, and the user of these teams is able to make little to no predictions while being heavily rewarded in the process. Because of this fact, it skews the game in favor towards the Aurora Veil user and makes those that are facing these teams with very little options to work with without getting heavily punished. With the tier now having three viable users of the move, Alolan Sandslash, Cryogonal, and the newly introduced Froslass, all of which are just as effective, it shows that the move itself is the issue. I'd like to touch on Froslass a bit too because it arguably pushes Aurora Veil to a further degree, sporting even more support in Spikes, making the several setup sweepers found on these teams having that much of an easier time sweeping through teams. All of these are examples of how Aurora Veil is able to adapt and still manage to remain consistent, despite the extremely linear approach how these teams play in practice.

Now for the reasoning why it's more favorable to ban Aurora Veil as opposed to the users. As it has been stated, Aurora Veil has a few users of the move that all use the move to varying success, all of which provide something unique to the table that allows Aurora Veil teams to adapt, with Alolan Sandslash being the fastest user of the move thanks to Slush Rush, Cryogonal with the option of running Dual Screens alongside Aurora Veil, and Froslass being able to set up Spikes all while preventing hazards from being cleared. As for the abusers, all of Barbaracle, Vivillon, Turtonator, Virizion, Delphox, and Scrafty are very good sweepers in their own right, already finding themselves several opportunities to set up through bulk and typing, respectively, but with the defense boosts provided by Aurora Veil (and the possibility of Dual Screens as well), it makes dealing with these Pokemon a difficult task to pull off without sacrificing Pokemon in the process. All of these Pokemon outside of providing Aurora Veil are not considered unhealthy for the tier otherwise, with Alolan Sandslash in particular having limited to no viability outside of these teams.

The way Aurora Veil provides unsurpassed bulk to various setup sweepers in NU ultimately makes this move unhealthy and gives offensive teams too much of an advantage to overpower through several teams with incredible efficiency. This alongside the limited amount of counterplay being available make dealing with these teams a chore and often results in games being determined by matchup, as several teams have little to no way to apply pressure. Even if one setup sweeper has been successfully revenge killed or taken down by some other means, there's still additional setup sweepers to deal with, and with how long Aurora Veil lasts, finding multiple setup opportunities is a simple task. The council and the a large portion of community have come to an agreement that this move is broken and unfit to be in the metagame.

With all that has been said so far in this thread, the council's decision is unanimous and thus Aurora Veil is banned from NU.
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