DPP Baton Pass Revisited [Baton Pass is now banned]

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The DPP council held a vote regarding Baton Pass, with the following options:

a) Ban Baton Pass
b) Ban Baton Pass + stat boosting moves (complex ban)
c) Do nothing

However, this vote was a bit rushed and we now wish to open this thread to discussion of the topic before committing to a final decision on the topic. Please post your thoughts sooner rather than later so we can proceed in the optimal fashion for the DPP OU metagame!
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I'm not a very avid DPP player myself and don't take a strong stance on BP specifically... but this seems out of nowhere. No thread mentioning interest in a BP vote/suspect, no public discussion from members of the council, no big tournament event showcasing BP (unless this was just done in retaliation to two DPP cup games from abr). Councils are meant to represent the players and make decisions based on how the community feels. How is anyone being represented besides voters abc, abc, abc, bac, bac? We didn't even get names attached to these votes.

This is an act of the council just stepping over the players to dictate the metagame purely on their own accord without community say. If that's going to be precedent for other formats let's just abolish the TC badge now while we're at it.

edit: Mana pointed out to me that this is literally dealt with in the post introducing the councils:
These councils are in place in order to maintain the balance and competitive nature of the non-main or recent generation metagames. There will be discussions about matters that potentially warrant tiering decisions within this subforum; the RBY through BW councils are in charge of starting and following the discussion. When a topic comes up and the generation's council deems it worthy of acting on it, each decision made will ultimately be at the discretion of the respective metagame's council.
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This decision was a bit rushed and this is not entirely on the shoulders of the DPP Council; I should have overseen this and warned them prior to the proceedings. Keep in mind that handling old generation metagames is still largely uncharted territory and we are simply working to achieve the best metagame possible, so thank you for patience and the constructive criticism.

To provide some context, Baton Pass teams featuring Ninjask passing Speed Boosts to various threatening Pokemon like Belly Drum + Hypnosis Poliwrath, Swords Dance + Hypnosis Gallade, Swords Dance Marowak, and Spore + Swords Dance Breloom or Gliscor passing Swords Dance boosts (behind screens as well) into Pokemon like Agility Metagross have been deemed problematic by the council; these teams have been seeing steady usage in DPP Cup and other tournaments such as DPP Winter Seasonal, Ruins of Alph Premier League, and even Coronavirus Premier League. Because of that, the DPP Council will now open this thread up to discussion this week. The OP has been edited to reflect this. Please leave your thoughts in the immediate future so that we can handle this issue promptly, thanks!
As someone who has been using bp lately (replays hyperlinked in zom’s post) I’d like to offer my perspective - which is that baton pass should be banned.

With the thunder wave support offered by mie, zone, and optionally azelf, ninjask gets a ton of sub chances. Once the sub is up and you’re at 2-3 boosts (sub + tect for 2 usually but u need 3 for scarf lati), then the only thing you need to avoid as u bp is sub being broken + your receiver being killed / status’d afterwards. Given that you can choose between mons with very different weaknesses (poli wak) this is usually pretty easy to do. A +6 poli or a +2 wak kinda solos every team. If poli’s sub is broken it can potentially hypnosis stuff in front of it as well. If you can’t keep your sub up, there’s still the option of poli or wak setting up freely anyway. Poli can set up on tar crunch or zong (damp) regardless, and wak can abuse stuff like scarf rotom. Ninjask itself also scares out many of the types that threaten poli wak, like lati mie and the grasses.

So, what are the bad matchups? Haze milo, or a phazer that isn’t skarm or lati (weak to zone and x scis respectively) like tran or hippo is nearly impossible to beat.

So, yea, it can just autolose. But it can also just autowin a huge portion of the time, and I don’t think we want to start requiring those phazers to be used in fear of getting baton passed.

Moreover, there already is a baton pass ban in place. This isn’t even a totally fresh movement, it’s just a revision of the current ban to make it more universal or whole.

Thanks to the council for doing something, even if it wasn’t in the smoothest of ways.


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Hi! Here’s my two cents as a member of the DPP Council. Of course keep in mind these are just my opinions and this is not on behalf of the entire council:

Baton Pass has historically been an issue in DPP. The two most relevant examples of problematic Baton Pass strategies are Ninjask Pass and Gliscor Pass (Swords Dance). Like Finchinator said, in recent time we have seen both these strategies emerge in a number of tournaments.

To say Baton Pass is “broken” or “not broken” doesn’t accurately paint the picture of why it should be banned. Like ABR specified in his post, Baton Pass either autowins or autoloses for the most part, but the issue of having to actively go out of your way to ensure you have a good matchup vs it is problematic. Phazers are actually not that common on many teams and are not so simple to fit on a large number of structures; also like ABR said, the most common phazers do not simply autowin versus problematic Baton Pass teams. I think statpassing is inherently uncompetitive in DPP’s landscape and unless we take action and ban it as a whole, people will always find ways to create teams with similar dynamics of autowin/lose matchups with at least enough consistency to incentivize its usage in important tournaments. Banning Baton Pass will improve the health of the metagame; any experienced DPPer is all too familiar with how unbearable Baton Pass is to face and even account for in the builder at the expense of many more conventional matchups.

I’d like to talk about lesser common strategies that the ban also encompasses that aren't exactly problematic at the moment. Will add this in a spoiler for those who don’t care as much about more nitty gritty metagame detail:

Baton Pass Zapdos, Celebi, Jolteon, and Vaporeon: Zapdos and Celebi barely ever use Baton Pass largely due to the fact that they have U-turn and Baton Pass strategies with these Pokemon are quite flawed. Vaporeon is already an extremely uncommon Pokemon to begin with. Perhaps its Choice Specs set uses Baton Pass on occasion, but even here this is far from the norm and it has not been seen in ages. I actually liked the idea of Substitute + Baton Pass Vaporeon and spent quite a bit of time trying to build with it and found it unbelievably difficult to make a conventionally solid team around it. This strategy has not been used in a major tournament since 3 years ago and I’m inclined to believe it has barely ever seen use in tournaments at large. The Pokemon most affected by this ban is Jolteon (Baton Pass filler on Choice Specs or SubPass Jolteon). However, Jolteon is not exactly a common threat in the metagame at all and it will still be usable without Baton Pass.

When approaching these topics, my natural instinct is to try to preserve as many strategies as possible with bans, and I honestly feel liberal about “complex” bans. I think that there is often not much wrong with them (ie. the initial Speed pass ban was fine at the time despite its “complex” nature compared to a blanket Baton Pass ban). However, if we were to try to preserve very niche Baton Pass strategies I’ve outlined in this post, the complexity would create large controversies as to how to handle it, whether attempting to ban many combinations of moves in the teambuilder or, even worse, making Baton Pass unclickable ingame with a stat boost. I do not think it is ultimately worth it to preserve other Baton Pass strategies for a number of reasons and I fully support banning Baton Pass as a whole. Looking forward to reading more discussion on this topic and I encourage anyone to reach out to me if they have any questions.
First-time poster in PR, please be kind. I was looking at the Tiering Policy Framework thread, and I thought I'd use the language in there to support my argument for why BP should be banned.

II.) Uncompetitive - elements that reduce the effect of player choice / interaction on the end result to an extreme degree, such that "more skillful play" is almost always rendered irrelevant.

  • This can be matchup related; think the determination that Baton Pass took the battling skill aspect out of the player's hands and made it overwhelmingly a team matchup issue, where even the best moves made each time by a standard team often were not enough.

So my understanding is that something is uncompetitive if a player who makes a skillful play still has no control over the outcome of the game because this "uncompetitive" feature is what is primarily dictating the outcome of the game. In fact, BP is mentioned right there in the definition as an example, but I'll still explain a bit more.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen4ou-495776 (ABR vs M Dragon)

M Dragon's team consisted of Jirachi / Scarf Rotom / Latias / Bold Cune, as far as we know. I'm going to make a presumption that the last two were probably Clefable (without encore too) / Magnezone. This qualifies as a standard team (and a good team imo), and just looking at the matchup on paper, I cannot see what moves M Dragon could've made that would've changed the outcome of the game. It feels to me like Ninjask was always going to have an opportunity to pass speed to either Marowak or Poliwrath to set up the sweep, and there was nothing M Dragon could really have done about this. This to me is a matchup issue where BP just took the battling skill out of a player's hands which allowed the BP user to completely dictate the direction of the game, and simultaneously nullified an otherwise good team in the meta.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen4ou-498350 (ABR vs snaga)

An offense-oriented team by Snaga where Ninjask again set up vs a choice-locked mon. I don't think snaga made any wrong moves in the game, as going to Jirachi vs the Ninjask was the correct move as well, because it's not choice-locked, and can potentially paralyze whatever the incoming receiver is, thereby preventing the sweep. However, that didn't happen. I don't really see what other moves snaga could've done to stop the sweep.

The effect that BP has on the choice of a player is that it forces players to use a haze user / roar user, and because of this, it limits the extent of skillful play on the outcome of the game.

1) I know that the current ban would remove baton pass as a whole from being used, which would stop strategies like sub-pass. I get that it would be frustrating for those who do use it, but I haven't really seen this strategy being utilized so often (or effectively) such that having it removed would be a real loss. This isn't relevant from a tiering standpoint, but this is just to say that I think the price of removing sub-pass is a small one for having the negative effects of baton pass removed. The initial baton-pass ban restricted the passing of speed + another stat, and then people still found a way to exploit BP by still passing one of attack or speed. If a new policy of passing any stat was banned, I can't say with certainty that people would still not find a way to effectively exploit it, and I would personally hate to be on the receiving end of this.

2) If I wasn't articulate enough in this post to support my stance, I apologize, but to me this just feels like one of those "I know it when I see it" problematic issues.

Thanks for reading, and if you are one of those sub-pass users who still want to use this strategy, please do contribute to this discussion.
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This is like the fourth old gen tiering decision since the councils were instated that has either received massive backlash, been terrible in terms of policy, or outright ignored public opinion. Surely you guys will learn after this one (...?).

Again, as a disclaimer, I'll start by saying that I don't oppose banning Baton Pass in DPP, but I think this was first of all extremely rushed, and second of all that there's a way better solution to Baton Pass that I will touch on later. But first, a slight detour.

To provide some context, Baton Pass teams featuring Ninjask passing Speed Boosts to various threatening Pokemon like Belly Drum + Hypnosis Poliwrath, Swords Dance + Hypnosis Gallade, Swords Dance Marowak, and Spore + Swords Dance Breloom or Gliscor passing Swords Dance boosts (behind screens as well) into Pokemon like Agility Metagross have been deemed problematic by the council; these teams have been seeing steady usage in DPP Cup and other tournaments such as DPP Winter Seasonal, Ruins of Alph Premier League, and even Coronavirus Premier League.
Two questions here. How high does the usage have to be for a council to react to it? And... can we see the actual statistics? I've looked around (mostly DPP Cup replays from early rounds) and there's only a select few games that I could find where Ninjask BP has been used:

I'm sure there are a few others, and I know it's been spotted on ladder as well, but surely this is not notable usage considering how many games there have been in these tournaments altogether. Claiming there's a ton of usage and not putting up the actual numbers sounds a bit lazy to me. This isn't meant as a jab, it's just a bit over the top to say the usage here is noteworthy, because it really isn't. Yet. I don't think a slight usage spike is the reason Baton Pass should be quickbanned from DPP, without notifying the public. This was changed fairly swiftly, so it's not that big of a deal, but I figured I'd point this out anyway.

The second part of my post is going to sound somewhat contradictory to what I just talked about, but that is for a reason. I disagree with ABR in that doing something is better than doing nothing in this instance, since doing "something" but not "everything" is why Baton Pass has been kept alive for so long. This is similar to the BW Arena Trap ban. Dugtrio was banned first, but this was a half-assed attempt at fixing a very recent issue, and it left the tier in a weird state for several months until it was fixed. Baton Pass is in that weird state now, and it has been ever since it became an issue with dEnIsSsS-pass in ORAS however many years ago.

Anyway, what I ultimately want to sort of propose is a universal Baton Pass clause across the generations where the move exists. We have four different rules regarding Baton Pass now, and we just about change them just about every year. I don't understand why we kept the triple pass team (Zapdos+Celebi+Vaporeon) and banned Smeargle-pass in ADV, when that team is arguably just as braindead to use. I don't understand why we didn't axe Baton Pass as a whole to begin with in BW. It took several years and multiple attempts in ORAS. We know this issue is going to come up again sooner or later, and since we're on the topic of Baton Pass we might as well start here.

I think the three options suggested in the OP are the most reasonable options to have available. You could argue a fourth option of Ban Baton Pass + Speed boosts would be reasonable too, as I can't think of any successful BP strategies that didn't include a speed boost (maybe something like Unburden or Tailwind could be successful, but I haven't seen it around yet). This allows us to keep stuff like NP Pass Celebi in BW, CM Pass Celebi in DPP and ADV, and less common but cool strategies like Kevin Garrett's Charge Beam Baton Pass Jolteon from SPL, or SubPass Vaporeon/Celebi/Zapdos in ADV and DPP. Maybe I'll be completely wrong and something like passing SpDef to a Curse Cradily will break DPP, and there's some similar stuff in BW that's very dangerous, so maybe not. I still would like the keep the option available.

I think it's been proven that Full Baton Pass is game-breaking enough to the point where doing nothing isn't really a realistic option. Banning the move in its entirely is a clean and simple solution, but it also takes away the non-stat passing utility Baton Pass has like escaping Pursuit and slow-passing on a switch/vs. a faster Pokemon. You shrink the viability of certain mons (Jolteon especially), and it makes the already broken Pursuit slightly better, but these are lesser issues and an acceptable trade in most, if not all cases. I think this is the most realistic scenario going forward, as the others have some clear issues.

The final option of Ban Baton Pass + any stat boosting move is one I would ideally support, as I think it keeps the previously mentioned utility of dry-passing, while shutting down any attempt at a potentially broken strategy. While this is a complex ban, and I believe those should be avoided if possible, Baton Pass is such a unique case that I think in all honesty that it's preferable to the constant changes we do now. However, this (as well as the BP + speed limit option) has some issues in a different department. Do we ban damaging moves that has a chance to raise a stat alongside the pure boosting moves when on the same set as Baton Pass? SD + Agility + BP Gliscor is banned, but something like RP + Fiery Dance + BP Mew (in BW) is currently legal. A Jolteon could want to use Charge Beam as a boosting move, but also Baton Pass as a general utility move, do we ban this in the teambuilder? What happens if the move Flatter (Swagger is banned so it's irrelevant) is used on you? You open a can of worms by forcing a complicated ruleset like this.

Deciding which clause to follow would be one thing, but getting it across all gens is another task. Baton Pass in GSC is pretty bad and insignificant, but Lavos has proven how deadly it can be on multiple occasions. It is still a pretty stupid playstyle, and can similarly to Perish Trapping win the game on the spot with enough luck (think paralysis+Confuse Ray+potentially Sand-Attack and BrightPowder). Is there much reason to keep full pass around? I mentioned that I think the ADV BP clause is stupidly specific and will just bring more trouble down the road if it is left untouched. We're seeing the effects of DPP BP right now, and there's some heavy match-up stuff in BW just waiting to get exploited (Mew passing defensive boosts into something like Taunt SD Gliscor/Taunt Terrakion/whatever).

I think solving this now would be the best for every tier. Pretty much every "pseudo-BP" team (more than one passer) is a match-up gamble at some point and keeping it around just to let a few mons be viable isn't worth it. I think I'm repeating myself at this point, but I'll finish by saying I hope this decision is made by some overlooking superior, because Jesus Christ I do not trust the old gen councils to make decisions at this point.
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Hey guys,

First of all council guys, thanks for your work and all the effort you put into making the DPP OU's landscape more enjoyable for competitive players.

It is important to ensure that decisions made regarding the tier are with the goal of making it more competitive so that players can stand out because of their in-game skill and not their ability to set up Marowak or not depending on the matchup. Regarding Ninjask and its recent use in tournaments; we all agree that the DPP OU is a bit sick these days and it is clear that we can see Poliwrath and Marowak doing spectacular sweeps using the same strategy/process (lead Aero/Azelf taunt rock + Starmie + Ninjask + receiver + mag) which makes it even more ridiculous. Indeed, we realize that despite the popularization of this new yet predictable technique, counterplays are limited for common patterns and this is problematic because winning at team preview (I guess you got it lol) consistently without requiring any prior thought process just by loading baton-pass is purely anti-competitive in the strict sense of the word. However, I'm not against the fact that there are niche strategies that can auto-win to the match up but are unreliable. On the contrary, it adds diversity to the game, and that's what makes this tier so interesting because there is a multitude of under-exploited strategies that are viable to some extent, and I think as players we all want to preserve that aspect here.

I, therefore, approve of the council's decision to ban this strategy, which is considered anti-competitive. However, withdrawing the Baton Pass move in its entirety is contrary to the values that should want to keep the diversity of the tier as intact as possible. Let me explain my reasoning:

I am aware that Baton Pass is a relatively rare move and that banning it will have a lesser or almost undetectable impact on the metagame as a whole since 1) the use of this attack (except Ninjask or Gliscor) on pokémons who learn it is rare 2) until now, no one used to take into account the Ninjask + Pass strategy in teambuilding. However, I would like to point out, that by banning Baton Pass the move, we are also removing a small niche in the DPP OU that has nothing to do with the strategy mentioned above.

The biggest loser in this story is in my opinion Jolteon, its above-average speed with its electric type forces switches while Baton Pass is a momentum tool that makes Spikes / Stealth Rock profitable. The set was already rare and I don't really see myself reusing Choice Specs Jolteon which thanks to baton pass could keep the momentum against Hippowdon, Swampert or Ttar and punish offensive cores such as Ttar + Gyara / Ttar + Dnite with entry hazards. On the other hand, Sub + Baton Pass is another interesting move-set this pokemon can use. Although again this is limited to particular patterns, Jolteon's offensive presence forces switches providing it the necessary momentum to place a substitute that can then be Baton Pass on an ally that has good synergy with Jolteon such as Gyarados or Lucario like The Sprinkler did in this recent game : https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen4ou-496465
Or as mentioned W3K on KG's match during last SPL with Charge Beam BP Jolt.

Another loser is Zapdos, so it's not too bad because 99% of Zapdos are played without Baton Pass. However, in a context and with adequate support, Substitute + Baton Pass Zapdos can be a good set because, similarly to Jolteon, it has certain ease in using the Substitute attack. This can be rewarding when coupled with pokémons who synergize well with it and who appreciate having a Substitute such as Swampert, Breloom or Dugtrio who could cover the coming of Tyranitar and keep the offensive momentum. In this DPP cup match that opposes Lucix to Sakito, although the RNG distorts the outcome of the match and some plays may be questionable, the strategy of Sub + Baton Pass to switch in Breloom against Clefable is good. https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen4ou-1107540021-etc2lc04pqk6b54ph145o53p29xt8ccpw

Another loser, in this case, is Celebi. Turns out Celebi Passer is very rare, a bit like Zapdos. But also in the right context and with a bit of creativity in the teambuilder, it is possible to make it work and make it interesting in some match-ups. I'm thinking of NP Pass, SD Pass, and CM Pass which provide unexpected and viable strategies to a certain extent as in this recent match on which I'm against Void (Excal's team btw). https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen4ou-497869

By the way, we can also point out that Baton Pass makes them immune to Tyranitar's Pursuit when they switch out as they all fear it. It seems to me that these are the 3 biggest (we could add Vaporeon but as Excal said it's barely viable) although there must still be a few but that are not really important in my opinion.

I don't have a particular love for these sets, but although the Baton Pass move ban solves a non-competitiveness problem, it creates another by removing a niche in the metagame. I really like the DPP OU and I would like to keep its diversity intact as much as possible even if we have to ban strategies like Ninjask Pass. if Ninjask Pass is a problem, banning the problem and not the move is the solution that avoids banning the other strategies at the same time. As for Gliscor, it doesn't seem to me that Gliscor has been a problem lately and I don't see him (for now at least) being able to be as reliable as Ninjask in terms of passing stats. Although I admit that the latter seems to be a difficult case that would deserve a discussion about it, it seems to me that it requires dual screens to work and can't Baton Pass Sub + Stat as easily as Ninjask does because it requires 2 turns of set up. Also, it requires Yachee Berry to survive and therefore has no sustain for doing it later again. Gliscor has Taunt, but it still seems to be slightly harder to set up which makes it a different case from Ninjask whose ban may be questionable. In any case, a complex Baton Pass + Speed ban, or simply Ninjask ban would preserve these little niches. That's just an idea tho, I guess you got the general thoughts.

That's all for me guys, thanks for reading.
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Baton Pass should have never been banned. It seemed originally as a rushed decision because it had a few good tour performances. It doesn't have the consistency it had in BW OU.. by comparison, there was 1 player who used BP heavily on Shoddy (objqy -- or something similar) to any success and they peaked around 30-40...

In BW OU, several players got to #1 with BP. Of course not apples to apples, just don't think BP is that bad in DPP.


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Baton Pass should have never been banned. It seemed originally as a rushed decision because it had a few good tour performances. It doesn't have the consistency it had in BW OU.. by comparison, there was 1 player who used BP heavily on Shoddy (objqy -- or something similar) to any success and they peaked around 30-40...

In BW OU, several players got to #1 with BP. Of course not apples to apples, just don't think BP is that bad in DPP.
Posts like these really shouldn’t be made. You are drawing off of metagame states that are now years behind us, citing examples from when the generation was current and ladder scene was accordingly active. I respect knowledge of the tier’s history as much as the next guy, but this simply isn’t relevant to the current metagame discussion.

Baton Pass in the modern DPP OU metagame takes a somewhat different appearance than what it may have looked like even 5-7 years ago, forget during the generation alone. BW Baton Pass — which you seem stuck on — is also an entirely different, incomparable entity that is seen far less frequently (note: this isn’t me saying it’s bad and I am sure someone will end up spamming it in the near future). The fact of the matter is that above posters such as ABR, Excal, DBC, W3K, and Emeral (e: mb misspoke before) do a great job outlining the archetype and explaining why it may very well be problematic in the current metagame. While I am not a DPP main and not trying to overstep here, this post does not serve much of a purpose in this thread and you really need to touch on the current metagame instead of solely drawing from the past and making dates claims.

Edit: according to August, you’re wrong anyway. Wdro was consistently top 5 on Shoddy with Baton Pass.
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