Announcement Baton Pass is banned from SM Ubers

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Hello, I have two orders of business.

The first is Baton Pass. Again. Yes, I know, we've had like a thousand threads on Baton Pass in other places and I'm sure we'd all just like to put the issue to bed. However, much like a cranky toddler, Baton Pass refuses to stay in bed, and now it's wandered into Ubers and throwing a tantrum in there.

I'll keep this short and sweet. Baton Pass teams have been proliferating recently in Seasonals and UPL, and over the course of that time we have come to believe that Baton Pass is a mindless, uncompetitive move and needs to be eliminated from the tier in order to preserve a competitive metagame.

The most common form of Baton Pass in Ubers has been the infamous EeveePass, popularized by this RMT. EeveePass focuses on creating a safe situation for Eevee to pass Extreme Evoboost to a strong recipient such as Power Trip Krookodile or Stored Power Espeon, usually with the help of a dedicated lead such as Gravity + Tailwind Mew. With Evoboost, Krookodile is capable of OHKOing virtually everything in the metagame with STAB Power Trip, including very bulky Dark resists such as defensive Xerneas and Arceus formes. Attempts to shut down the chain are extremely limited due to Espeon's ability to shut down phazing moves and act as a strong intermediate link with Stored Power (with Dark-types generally allowing an easy pass into Krookodile, which is usually game over), as well as Eevee being able to shut down most attempts to counter the pass with Gravity-bolstered Sing. There have since been other experiments with Baton Pass, but EeveePass is the most common form.

Here are some replays of Baton Pass in action:

It is telling that Baton Pass in its entirety has been banned from every other official tier (barring LC) - Ubers is the last holdout. However, after extensive observation of tournament play and community input, we conclude that it is also an uncompetitive strategy in Ubers for the following reasons:

  • Baton Pass eliminates the cost of setup moves. Setup moves typically require the Pokemon to give up one (maybe two) moveslot(s), limiting room for coverage and thus creating a limit for the amount of Pokemon they can easily defeat post-setup. Furthermore, using a setup move consumes a turn, which gives the opponent a chance to switch to a check or to attack the setup Pokemon in order to weaken it for revenge killing. This kind of cost forms the counterplay against setup moves and requires the player to consider carefully when and how to use setup, which is an interesting strategic choice in a given Pokemon match. Baton Pass undermines this by giving the recipient free boosts without the need to sacrifice moveslots, as well as giving it to them safe from harm - this reduces the cost of setup to zero.
  • Baton Pass does not require skill to execute. This directly harms Ubers's goal to preserve a competitive metagame.
  • Baton Pass has precious little counterplay other than stopping the chain, which is very difficult to do as tools such as Magic Bounce and sleep-inducing moves shut down most options to break the chain. While the sheer power of many Uber Pokemon helped keep Baton Pass in check in past generations, Baton Pass teams continue to get more tools to work with each generation, and brute force is no longer enough.

While Ubers is committed to preserving a minimalist number of bans, it is our duty to preserve a competitive metagame and eliminate factors that threaten that goal. Given that we have overwhelming community support, we have decided to go ahead and act by banning the move Baton Pass in Ubers, effective immediately.

Some may question why we have decided to ban Baton Pass the move instead of, say, Eevium Z, given that EeveePass is by far the most prominent style of Baton Pass in the metagame. It is true that removing Baton Pass as a whole would compromise uses of Baton Pass that aren't necessarily uncompetitive, such as DryPass. We have decided to ban the move itself for these reasons:

1. Eevium Z does not hurt competitiveness on its own. While it might seem obvious that a move that gives +2 to all stats is busted, Extreme Evoboost is only usable by Eevee, which is zero threat on its own. Rather, it is Baton Pass that allows such a move to be abused to dangerous extents, and banning Eevium Z does not do anything to alter or disprove the logic behind Baton Pass's uncompetitiveness. Therefore, we conclude that the problem is Baton Pass.

2. DryPass is nonexistent in Ubers - the only Pokemon that can make use of such a strategy is Mega Mawile, which is frankly a terrible Pokemon in the metagame. Thus, collateral damage from banning the move Baton Pass is also nonexistent. Furthermore, just because there exists a "competitive" way to use some uncompetitive element doesn't mean that element is fine. For example, a "competitive" way to use Mega Rayquaza would be to run an Iron Ball and no EVs on it.

3. We do not believe that attempting to "nerf" Baton Pass by simply placing arbitrary restrictions on its use is consistent with tiering goals nor a productive course of action. If there is a problem, it should be cut off at the source, to keep our rules clear and straightforward. This tenet is consistent with Smogon's tiering philosophy in general, and is not specific to any one tier. We see no reason to deviate from this goal.

To conclude about Baton Pass:

chaos - Yesterday at 3:15 PM
that seems fucked

This ban is effective immediately. Note that this only applies to SM Ubers - we see no reason to ban Baton Pass from the past generations of Ubers at this time, but if it becomes an issue in the future we will consider it then. Feel free to send a message on forum/Discord PM to myself or Hack if you have any questions. Tagging Zarel to get this implemented on PS!

The second order of business: the Ubers moderation team has officially declared that this is to be my 4000th post, effective immediately. Such a milestone is already common practice as a way to significantly increase one's like count through the use of "shoutouts," simple blurbs posing as fond memories of friendship that mask the true purpose of the X000th thread to the populace. Unfortunately, I do not have the time or energy to write a shoutout for everyone I know, so I have selected one person via RNG for which to write an explicit shoutout.

That person is Nayrz. This shoutout is effective immediately.

Thanks for reading!
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