Clarifying and Laying Groundwork for Policy Surrounding Non-Pokémon Bans and Complex Clauses


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With the recent banning of Baton Pass in UU combined with a personal distaste for the slow increase in the rate by which things like this get seriously considered, it feels like as good a time as any to look at this.

There has been a pretty dramatic shift with regards to the way that bans have been handled over the past two generations, and with the recent banning of Baton Pass combined with the fact that SM's release is literally on top of us it is necessary for us to iron out this as soon as possible. As far as I am aware, the mindset surrounding this is has shifted around as follows (please correct me if there is anything wrong here, as some things--especially BW points--are just based on things that I've read in passing in the past):
Start of BW: Moves and abilities are not banned unless they are broken/uncompetitive on all users; no complex clauses; items are not banned unless they are broken/uncompetitive on all users

Mid BW: Same as previous, but now 2-part complex bans are tolerated, as shown with Alderon's proposal, and they do not need to be consistent with other policy (Excadrill was banned but DrizzleSwim was introduced to preserve otherwise-broken Swift Swim users (Kingdra, Kabutops, Ludicolo))

Some point in XY: Same as previous, but single-stage complex clauses are tolerated if they are consistent with one another (evidenced by them extending Alderon's proposal to all weathers due to Venusaur being deemed broken)

Later on in XY or early ORAS: Same as previous, but stupidly complex clauses are tolerated now too (Endless Battle Clause, 3-part complex clause on Baton Pass (1 user on a team (I); no speed boosting move/ability/item alongside Baton Pass (II) but only if it is also alongside a method of boosting another stat (III))

Some point in ORAS: Same as previous, but abilities which are not broken on absolutely all users can also be banned now (Shadow Tag in OU, Sand Veil/Snow Cloak in DP)

Most recent: Same as previous, but now banning moves which are not broken/uncompetitive on all of their users is apparently a thing now too (Baton Pass in UU)

Quite frankly, I think that the way policy has been handled over the past two generations gotten progressively worse, and as far as I can tell this all traces back to radical proposals within tiering policy which have been passed creating precedent for both non-Pokémon bans and increasingly complex clauses--with the former just kinda creating its own precedent at some point and the latter pretty decisively tracing back to Alderon's proposal--and it has led to both inconsistencies within policy and, in some cases, outright contradictions within policy (see: Excadrill being banned while DrizzleSwim gets special treatment until quite a long time after the launch of gen 6; endless battle clause's entire existence (why are Tag and BP banned for being broken on some users but not Leppa Berry and Heal Pulse which are in the same boat?)). This is a trend which either needs to outright stop (litearlly all of these barring endless battles can be solved with Pokémon bans*) or needs clarification with regards to how to consistently apply it.

Anyway, I'm now going to state my opinion on the matter. If you have alternate proposals or anything just post them itt, as this thread isn't aiming to decide whether my proposal is good or whether my opinion is at all shared so much as it is just trying to clear up the whole deal so that there is a much more consistent floor on which future suspect discussions to take place on.

In my opinion, banning Pokémon should always take priority over banning non-Pokémon elements or the formation of complex clauses in cases where not all users are broken. This means that, for example, Moody and Swagger would be banned (they have proven to be uncompetitive on all usersof the move/ability) while Weather ability+WeatherSpeed ability, Baton Pass or Shadow Tag are not--with prominent WeatherSpeeders, prominent stat passers and Gothitelle being banned instead. In cases where it is not possible for any number of individual Pokémon to be deemed the broad issue with a strategy (e.g. endless battle clause, where there is always a new user of the strategy who can replace the previously banned user), then the move/s, ability/ies and/or item/s that are necessary for all methods of execution being banned should take priority over the formation of a complex clause (continuing the endless battle example, Leppa Berry and Heal Pulse would be banned). If this is also impossible, then--and only then--should a complex clause be considered.

In addition to this, the argument regarding the number of Pokémon being banned should not even be a consideration imo because we should aim for all broken elements being removed regardless of how much time it takes/how many bans there are, and this is just further backed up by both a) how many hoops were jumped through for the preservation of Leppa Berry/Heal Pulse with endless battle clause, and b) how many hoops have been jumped through over the preservation of Baton Pass--both of which show the willingness of the site to dedicate large amounts of time and policy amendments towards banning sub-elements of one major problem.

Once again, if you disagree with anything here or want to pose an alternative proposal go ahead and post it. All that matters to me is for this thread to run its course and finish with a reasonable framework for structuring priorities when determining which elements need restriction (which currently does not exist imo).


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Later on in XY or early ORAS: Same as previous, but stupidly complex clauses are tolerated now too (Endless Battle Clause, 3-part complex clause on Baton Pass (1 user on a team (I); no speed boosting move/ability/item alongside Baton Pass (II) but only if it is also alongside a method of boosting another stat (III))
This has been brought up before and seversl times in your post so I'd like to address it. Please, stop using endless battle clause as an example of a complex ban. It's nothing of the sort, it's a collection of minor restrictions that prevent an infinite battle as best as possible, and is absolutely irrelevant to the average player. If you aren't specifically trying to make an endless battle it doesn't matter. It's not a clause related to anything competitive, it just makes games more enjoyable by, yknow, not letting them last forever. It is not an example of a complex ban.


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The reason Endless Battle Clause is "complex" is because there are ways to cause endless battles without using Leppa Berry or Heal Pulse.

It's a lot easier to say "endless battles are against the rules" than banning a list of things that cause endless battles and hoping that you got all of them. The enforcement might be complicated, but the rule itself is very simple: don't cause endless battles.
Consider Scald, which was discussed as a possible suspect on the grounds of being uncompetitive.

Would you really want to ban every effective Pokemon in OU which uses Scald, when you could just ban the uncompetitive element itself?

To me, limiting collateral damage should always be taken into consideration. I agree that there's been some inconsistency in banning decisions, which needs to be addressed, but I don't think blindly adhering to a simplistic formula like "always ban the Pokemon" is the answer.

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