Gen 4 Dugtrio

RoA instead of PR so there are no posting restrictions.

The DPP council is aware that Dugtrio is a point of contention in the current metagame and that several SPL players would like to see it banned or at least discussed for a suspect. Our current position is that Dugtrio is not deserving of a test, although we of course welcome anyone to raise any points about the tier they think are problematic.

My view: when the Latias suspect thread went up, I felt that sometimes I was arguing about Dugtrio's (and Jirachi's) brokenness more than Latias itself. While the metagame has shifted, my view has not changed. Dug is still a high-risk, high-reward Pokemon that can blow up in your face just as much as it can win you the game. It gives completely free opportunities to very scary Pokemon, and the defensive hole it will inevitably leave in your team is highly exploitable. Plus, it is not even close to getting guaranteed traps against the Pokemon it preys on. When Dug is more prominent in the metagame and people are more aware of the threat, it loses effectiveness - it does not become bad, but it certainly loses its "autowin" potency. Clefable does not become unbeatable when paired alongside it, either. SPL players mentioned the restriction they felt when building a team each week...but this is not exclusively a Dugtrio problem and we had similar complaints before he became more prominent; this is a result of a pressure-filled best-of-one.

I am also hesitant to immediately slap Dug on the chopping block because this is coming off of one dominant tournament and not too long ago before it people were clamoring to ban Jirachi and even Clefable. Of course, I am not personally opposed to banning Dugtrio on principle, and I even empathize with some of the complaints against it - I just don't (currently) think it is entirely banworthy.

Discuss away!
 
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Not a top DPP player by any means but I've been fairly vocal about Dugtrio generally since Torn-T / Genesect BW days so thought I'd just say a word.

The really broken part of Dug for me has always been the combination with team preview, which basically lays out a game plan. It tells you what Dugtrio can trap, it tells you what openings that would create for teammate x, and it also lets you be more careful of reverse-sweeps by something setting up on you. Pretty obviously, if you know your opp has Gyarados in the back you're not gonna rush to trap stuff until you're certain you can get away with it.

For this reason, Dugtrio in ADV / DPP has always seemed far less brainless than it is in other generations. If you aren't good at guessing your opponents unrevealed Pokemon, then you probably won't get very far with Dugtrio. Say you catch a Jirachi with a U-turn early game, with only 2-3 Pokemon per side revealed - going straight to Dugtrio here is a pretty risky and probably inconsistent play given the number of potential combinations of unrevealed Pokemon that your opponent could have. It seems like this delays Dugtrio's best use to the mid/late-game, which means that 1) trapping targets can still perform at least some of their intended role before the Duggy is confident enough to trap and 2) it allows some room for the better player to develop an early/mid-game advantage and overcome what is, on paper, a bad team match-up in spite of Dugtrio.

I think whats also relevant is that spinning in DPP seems fairly difficult cos of how good a spinblocker Rotom is, making Focus Sash Dugtrio a little less appealing and therefore making it a lot more reliant on U-turns / Baton Passes / sacs to get in and do its job. You have to "earn" your switch to Dugtrio on Tyranitar, because without Sash it can't just do it for free like it could in other formats where hazard removal is easy. Also choice sets exacerbate the issue of it being set-up fodder.

Trapping grounded mons is still as dumb as its always been and I wouldn't be opposed or shocked to see it banned, but in ADV and particularly DPP even when I lose to it, I feel like I could have done a better job of revealing too much information too early, or failing to get momentum early in the game. Just my two cents.
 
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Firstly, thank you for creating this thread, Kevin. I remember initially being of the mindset that I did not want Latias in the tier because 1) I didn't think Latias was good enough to be brought back, and 2) I thought it encouraged the use of Dug even more since there was an additional need for steel types to answer to specs draco meteor, and I also felt that CM Lati-Dug teams would be very threatening.

I was wrong on the first count for two reasons - 1) Something not being good enough to be brought back shouldn't be a valid basis for tiering, and 2) Latias is an excellent mon that clearly was good enough to be back. On the second count, when speaking with you in PMs, you told me something very important that realized to me that Dug was the issue, not Latias. You said that the very same teams that would be lose to Dug-Latias would be the same that would be weak to Dug-Cress, and in the back of my mind, I always wanted my teams to be good against Dug-Cress combo. This made me realize that it was Dug that helped something like Cress become better, or basically give something like Cress the ability to sweep a team entirely.

I will address my issues regarding Dugtrio with the following points:

1) Constriction in team building

I can't vouch for all the other SPL DPP Players, but I personally feel like I have gone out of my way to make sure that I am good against Dug-CM Clefable teams (or other kinds of support) because of how good they've gotten all of a sudden lately. There are two ways I can go about this:
a) Not run pokemon that can get trapped by Dug as an answer to a threat, and
b) If I do run pokemon that get trapped by Dug, make sure that I'll pair myself with enough answers to punish the Dugtrio user

a) The first approach isn't really a healthy approach, because it holds me back in a lot of ways. For example, let's say my answer to a Zapdos is something like Tyranitar. In order to avoid not getting trapped by Dug and while simultaneously being able to answer something like Zap, I could run something such as spdef Rotom, Latias, or Swampert. Of course none of these are guaranteed answers, but they're simply an example of pokemon that are capable of beating Zapdos while not being weak to Dug. The issue here is that if my team badly needs a weatherbreaker, for something like rain, then my need for TTar is so huge that by running like Spdef Rotom / Latias / Swampert, I am making myself weaker to a rain-oriented team. Another example of this would be something like SD Scizor. I love using Lefties Heatran with either Taunt or Roar as an answer to SD Sciz. The tier has multiple options to wall SD Sciz that aren't trappable by Dug - like Bold Rotom / Impish Fire Fang Glisc / Heat Wave Zap. So if I run lefties Heatran as an answer to SD Sciz, I could be screwed if it gets trapped by Dug. An example of this would be KG's team vs Shawyu, and luckily there was a Fire Fang Gliscor in the back as a back-up. This is basically the constriction in teambuilding that I am facing, where I don't want my defensive answers to be trappable by Dug. Osgoode ran Curse Gastro for the purpose of being answer to CM Fable + Dugtrio simultaneously. So my current mentality when building is that my defensive answer should be able to answer to threat X + not being weak to Dug.

b) I don't think Dug-oriented teams are invincible, they will have some flaws or the other. If you overload your team with multiple answers to abuse a Dugtrio, I think it will be harder for such Dug-oriented teams to keep up with such threats. There are two issues with this approach for me:

i) By overpreparing your team to potentially abuse Dugtrio, you could be creating a defensive hole in your team with respect to other common threats in the metagame, like Starmie.
Realistically speaking, some of the best Starmie answers are actually grounded pokemon like Passho TTar / Spdef Jirachi, and now thankfully we have Latias at least. But the point being that while you may be good against Dug-oriented teams, you can become weak to generic teams. So this becomes a situation where you have to pick and choose what playstyle to be weak to.

ii) You kind of have to pray that you have the right offensive mons to abuse Dugtrio
A list of pokemon that can abuse Dugtrio - Gliscor / Gengar / Rotom / Dragonite / Breloom / Latias / Gyarados / Bronzong. I don't know if a Dugtrio-oriented team has been built to handle all of such threats, but I am perfectly sure that these Dug-oriented teams are built to handle some of these threats; there's just an uncertainty regarding which threats are not covered. Even then, not all of these pokemon are 100% going to shift momentum against the Dugtrio user. Something like Gliscor needs SD to be threatening vs CM Clefable, Rotom requires Scarf to punish more defensive teams that have Clefable. Dragonite is one of the scariest answers in that list. Breloom to me is the second closest on that list. I feel like Spdef Jirachi can handle Lati + variants of Gengar, although it still has to be wary of the trick from Lati or WoW / DB from Gengar. CB Gyarados can be contained by Milotic, while DD Gyara can be handled by CM Fable. Bronzong is going to have a hard time breaking through Skarmory or Bold Rotom, and vs something like Hippo, it will need explosion. I have given myself the benefit of the doubt here where I've listed the scenarios as ideally as possible it would be for my argument, but the point I want to get across is that such Dug-oriented teams do try to make sure that they are answerable to such deadly threats, so it isn't like just having these offensive threats on your teams makes you solid against Dug-oriented teams.

2) Risk vs Reward

You're right when you say that Dugtrio is a high reward pokemon, but I want to elaborate more on the risks that I see with using Dug. To me, the risks associated with Dugtrio trapping are:
i) its ability to come in to trap a threat;
ii) its ability to trap said threat (whether that threat is carrying scarf or shuca)
iii) the ability to be punished for being choice-locked -> pursuit / AA / EQ

i) U-Turn into Dugtrio has become a very prominent strategy for Dugtrio to come in and safely trap a threat. Off the top of my head, I can think of KG's SD Scizor U-Turning into a Heatran, and it being trapped by Dug; then Bab's Jirachi U-turning into a Heatran and trapping it with Dug. Dugtrio has decent enough bulk to switch in on an Iron Head from Jirachi and take it out then too. Dugtrio can also come in on a Fire Blast from Tyranitar (an example of this would be if a Tyranitar faces a Skarmory), but risky nonetheless. Out of those all, I'd say U-Turn gives Dugtrio the safest pathway to be on field.

ii) There is a risk that something like non-lefties Heatran could be Scarf, but it is possible to perform a calc or two that would clear up your doubt as to whether that Heatran is scarf. There is also this same risk with trapping something like Shuca TTar or Shuca Jirachi (if revealed to not be scarf). I do also think that if your objective is take out TTar or Jirachi, then being able to incur has much damage as possible on those mons is beneficial to you because the lack of lefties + rocks damage means that they won't be able to switch in constantly to handle whatever threat you have remaining.

iii) I addressed the weaknesses associated with EQ-locked in the previous paragraph, but I do agree that there is a much higher risk when Dug is locked into Pursuit / AA because it also allows other powerhouses like SD Lucario to possibly clean through.

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I may have missed a point or two that I wanted to get across, but I think this is good enough to start the discussion.
 
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I would like to bring up a couple points about Dugtrio that have not been raised yet, and one that requires further discusssion.
  • It is easy to use
  • Substitute can remove some of its defensive flaws
  • A lot of people are talking about it trapping particular Pokémon, but Trio is better at trapping weakened Pokémon of any grounded species
To elaborate:

Despite the lack of team preview, it is still easy to use Dugtrio as a revenge killer. The ability to trap weakened grounded Pokémon, which are common, justifies the use of Dugtrio against teams without a Pokémon weak to it.

When you do see a Pokémon that is weak to it, such as Infernape, it is even easier to use as a revenge killer. Switching Dugtrio in is harder, but with the right teambuilding it is possible. Several players have mentioned U-turn, but I would like to specify that slow U-turns are the best method to switch it in.

Substitutes on fast Pokémon are known to slow down offensive teams. This provides a defensive aspect to Dugtrio, and removes a some of the risk when using it. It also makes it immune to status when Toxic Spikes are not in play. Substitute can also be used offensively against choice item Pokémon, who cannot harm Dugtrio with electric moves, or who risk missing with inaccurate ones. If they are not grounded and switch, substitute ensures that a threat is still present on the Dugtrio's side of the field.

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This may look like a short post, but I spent 1.5 hours writing it to ensure that no information contained was false.
 

Jerry the great

Banned deucer.
OK, so Oatmon mentioned something about lack of team preview getting in the way, but wouldn't the lack of team preview HELP it? I mean, wouldn't that make it to where you never know the opponent had a dugtrio in the first place, therefore if the opponent had one, it can come in without the worry of the opponent switching to a Dragonite or Gyarados or something like that predicting the dugtrio? Also, just letting a Tyranitar or Metagross kill one of your mons that are low on HP and then switching in dugtrio blindlessly without the worry of them playing smart and then just smash them with earthquake... Being able to smash a team member that effortlessly without them being able to switch to keep their Pokemon alive... Can't that be quite a problem?
 
OK, so Oatmon mentioned something about lack of team preview getting in the way, but wouldn't the lack of team preview HELP it? I mean, wouldn't that make it to where you never know the opponent had a dugtrio in the first place, therefore if the opponent had one, it can come in without the worry of the opponent switching to a Dragonite or Gyarados or something like that predicting the dugtrio? Also, just letting a Tyranitar or Metagross kill one of your mons that are low on HP and then switching in dugtrio blindlessly without the worry of them playing smart and then just smash them with earthquake... Being able to smash a team member that effortlessly without them being able to switch to keep their Pokemon alive... Can't that be quite a problem?
I didn't mention that team preview got in the way, I said it's easy to use without team preview. I agree that letting a Pokemon go down, then switching into Dugtrio is a problem, as it doesn't require a lot of thought.

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This post is not as carefully written as the first.
 

Kevin Garrett

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I feel like something ought to be done with DPP since giving it a close look for the last six months.

As Latias was being discussed, I did not agree with its reintroduction (I was someone who voted in the minority to ban it in Stage 2 before it later got the axe in Stage 3 at the end of the gens lifespan). My position on Latias differs from most of the arguments presented by other members in that Latias itself is not the problem: there is nothing offensively or defensively that makes it uncompetitive. The area where Latias dominates is in the choices across the board—it warrants very specific structures of checks and abusers that can themselves be exploited.

Fast forward to the current day, Dugtrio was an omnipresent factor in this last SPL. Even in games without its presence, many of the choices were geared to it in mind. Do I think Dugtrio is inherently uncompetitive in DPP? No, it had never crossed my mind that its place in the tier should be in question until this moment. Its role is more specific than it is in ADV and there are more ways that it can be exploited and driven ineffective. U-turn greatly assists Dugtrio, but to no greater extent than Baton Pass does in ADV. Not to mention it can also be used to help something like Jirachi pivot out.

Jirachi has been on my mind for 10 years in DPP. I‘ve viewed it as an undesirable part of the metagame since it can effectively check all of its own checks and counters within its own moveset variety. That alone doesn’t make something broken, just incredibly balanced, but when you account for its enhancement of luck, I have to ask why are we encouraging this as apart of the metagame when Sand Veil is deemed uncompetitive? It’s a valid question given a 70% chance for immobility with paraflinch (and boosted odds for burning and freezing to match the chance of Sand Veil all packed into one Pokemon). I feel like the only reason why no one brings it up is because Jirachi is basically an institution in this tier and provides a lot of options and flexibility that are melded with its innate ability to check a large portion of the metagame.

Sadly, my words on Jirachi are mistimed since it’s more vital than ever with Latias in the tier. Are there enough checks to Latias without Jirachi? Sure, but not without forcing teams to polarize their strategy into places that provide more openings for their threats. I can’t really envision a tier with Latias and not Jirachi.

Do we just leave the tier as is? Perhaps we should give it more time to develop. The metagame looked vastly different than it did last year, which suggests we will see the same occur moving forward. However, the trend is not going in a positive direction. Personally, I would be curious to see what a metagame without both Latias and Jirachi looks like and how much of a factor Dugtrio plays. It could still be prevalent due to Clefable.

Ultimately, we need to define the problem well in order to get this right.
 
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Excal

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Metagame-wise, I really think DPP is in a fine place. I completely understand thoughts of wanting to ban Dugtrio, Jirachi, Latias, etc, but I don't think those would solve the current issue. I think peng's post about Dugtrio is great and basically sums up my thoughts on it quite eloquently. I wouldn't be too sad to see Dugtrio go, but I'd be a little sad to be honest. I don't think Dugtrio is "broken" by any means and is inherently an extremely risky Pokemon to use despite its success this past SPL. The idea of banning Jirachi seems not practical given this tier's history. While Jirachi is great, ridiculous, absurd, and will make people want to pull their hair out during some battles, it seems to be a necessary glue that only helps us teambuild, which is already extremely difficult as is.

The people who played DPP this past SPL are correct that there is currently a problem. For me, I definitely felt tremendous restriction when building each week, but I was never too worried/paranoid about Dugtrio, Jirachi, or Latias. I think the biggest issue with DPP right now is that it's played in a Bo1 format, which BKC alluded to in his post. I cannot speak for other tiers, but I think that consistently matchup fishing and bringing unsound teams that "get the job done" brings out the worst in DPP. There are many other reasons why I think Bo3 would be better for DPP overall, such as making it more competitive, the better player winning more consistently, etc. However, it certainly decreases the effectiveness and practicality of matchup fishing. There's no denying it will still exist, but the odds of it working decrease. I see three main arguments against the idea of making DPP Bo3 in team tournaments:

1. It would take way too much effort to build 3 teams per week
2. The time investment for playing 3 games of DPP would be asking too much of the players
3. The mental strain alone of playing through 3 DPP games compared to 1 would not be worth it

I think that argument 1 is probably the most compelling one that can be made compared to 2 and 3, as RBY Bo3s are longer than DPP Bo3s on average and the mental strain aspect seems a bit bizarre seeing as many other individual tournaments are played in Bo3 format, and there are other semantics that are at play. I agree that it takes a ton of effort to build 3 new teams per week for a Bo3, and one of the supporting arguments for RBY Bo3 was that building teams wasn't that difficult, but I don't think we'd see people building 3 brand new teams for DPP often. Teams were already reused in Bo1s this past SPL, so I don't see the same thing happening in Bo3 games as destructive. Anyway, I don't want to go too far into detail with that discussion, as it may be pointless and Bo3 DPP in team tournaments may never happen for reasons I'm not 100% aware of at this time. Also, maybe I missed a crucial argument as admittedly I haven't seen any PR discussion on DPP Bo3 (and perhaps those threads exist somewhere). It would be interesting to get some perspective from people who've been actively playing Bo3 DPP in past cups and seasonals that also have Bo1 DPP experience in team tournaments. The main point is that you can put Dugtrio, Latias, Jirachi on the chopping block and maybe even ban one of these Pokemon, but as long as DPP is played in a Bo1 format in team tournaments, the restrictive issues teambuilders have felt this past SPL will always be prevalent.
 
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Kevin Garretts post mirror my thoughts almost exactly. By mirror, I mean that the information therein matches my considerations on the issues facing DDP at the moment. I didn’t post such thoughts of my own as I am not a tournament player, and I was unsure if writing about Latias, Jirachi and luck would benefit the thread or just contribute noise.

I disagree with Excals remarks on Jirachi being the necessary glue that helps us team build. While I acknowledge that Jirachi provides a lot of flexibility when teambuilding with it, I think that the myriad of options it possesses, and its omnipresence on opponents’ teams, restricts teambuilding by an almost equal amount.

A team is only good if it has some way to deal with Jirachi. Since there are several variants of Jirachi, several ways to deal with it are often required. In the right hands, Jirachi can be used to overcome its own counters. As such, you need not only counter several Jirachi variants, but often need to build your team with the flexibility to dance around it, while you determine its set.

I agree with Kevin that removing Jirachi right now is mistimed, due to the introduction of Latias. While there are enough counters to Latias without Jirachi, building a team without it will lead many to leave their team open to certain threats.

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This may look like a short post, once again I spent a few hours writing it to ensure that no information contained was incorrect. In this particular case, I wrote the post weeks ago, and revisited it regularly to improve it over that time.
 
DBC has been right this entire time.

What exactly is the argument in favor of defending a game mechanic that doesn't allow the opponent to take their turn?
The entire game of Pokemon is based around two players who each get to make a decision, but any turn where Dugtrio is out vs a grounded mon (Read: most of the metagame) the opponent doesn't really get to make their turn, their play is forced for them, they aren't allowed to switch, and any move they select does not matter if their Pokemon is slower (Read: most of the metagame) and within KO range of CB Dugtrio (fairly common). Even if it isn't within KO range, the amount of damage it takes will likely incapacitate from performing a necessary role.

Any metagame knowledge, or ability to read or predict their opponents play is rendered completely irrelevant, the series is forced for that turn. This is a highly noncompetitive game mechanic, where necessary breakers or checks may be guaranteed for automatic disposal, and the victim of Dugtrio won't have a needed piece of their team for necessary counterplay the rest of the game.

Any DPP veteran knows how difficult it is to cover all the relevant threats in the metagame, being able to cover them twice is just not possible. If your needed team piece in a matchup is vulnerable to Dugtrio (a decent amount of the metagame is), what options do you have to conserve it?
I don't believe any argument that Dugtrio isn't broken based off its abysmal defenses holds enough weight. It can still come in for free and get a guaranteed revenge kill if its targets KO anything. If you know your Dugtrio vulnerable Pokemon is necessary for that matchup, the constraint for using it, is that it isn't allowed to get any KOs at all or else it is automatically gone, I don't believe that is a reasonable at all.

tl;dr Trapping is an noncompetitive mechanic that can turn many games into glorified rounds of rock/paper/scissors at builder, and if anyone disputes this I'll analyze examples of specific games to show how.
 

pasy_g

Banned deucer.
DBC has been right this entire time.

What exactly is the argument in favor of defending a game mechanic that doesn't allow the opponent to take their turn?
The entire game of Pokemon is based around two players who each get to make a decision, but any turn where Dugtrio is out vs a grounded mon (Read: most of the metagame) the opponent doesn't really get to make their turn, their play is forced for them, they aren't allowed to switch, and any move they select does not matter if their Pokemon is slower (Read: most of the metagame) and within KO range of CB Dugtrio (fairly common). Even if it isn't within KO range, the amount of damage it takes will likely incapacitate from performing a necessary role.

Any metagame knowledge, or ability to read or predict their opponents play is rendered completely irrelevant, the series is forced for that turn. This is a highly noncompetitive game mechanic, where necessary breakers or checks may be guaranteed for automatic disposal, and the victim of Dugtrio won't have a needed piece of their team for necessary counterplay the rest of the game.

Any DPP veteran knows how difficult it is to cover all the relevant threats in the metagame, being able to cover them twice is just not possible. If your needed team piece in a matchup is vulnerable to Dugtrio (a decent amount of the metagame is), what options do you have to conserve it?
I don't believe any argument that Dugtrio isn't broken based off its abysmal defenses holds enough weight. It can still come in for free and get a guaranteed revenge kill if its targets KO anything. If you know your Dugtrio vulnerable Pokemon is necessary for that matchup, the constraint for using it, is that it isn't allowed to get any KOs at all or else it is automatically gone, I don't believe that is a reasonable at all.

tl;dr Trapping is an noncompetitive mechanic that can turn many games into glorified rounds of rock/paper/scissors at builder, and if anyone disputes this I'll analyze examples of specific games to show how.
i dispute this and would like to see the analyses
 

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