Dynamax Discussion

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Finchinator

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The Generation 8 OU council has recently been discussing Dynamaxing internally. It is very early on in the generation and banning a major mechanic that is new to this generation is not likely to occur within the first few days, but if Dynamaxing is deemed problematic, then we can take steps towards removing it in the fashion deemed appropriate. To clarify, this is not a formal ban/suspect discussion and should not be taken as such.

We would like to hear the thoughts of individuals who have been playing the metagame on the mechanic of Dynamaxing. While we are not currently close to formal tiering action, we do believe that there is potential for Dynamaxing to be problematic in the competitive metagame. Because of this, we would like to know if people believe it is competitive and balanced or not. In addition, seeing as it is entirely new to the competitive landscape, there are likely to be new or surprising applications of it, so feel free to back any arguments with replays if you wish. Finally, Gigantamaxing is also open for discussion in this thread, but it will not necessarily receive the same treatment as Dynamaxing.

Personally, I take issue with Dynamaxing being allowed seeing as it is entirely unpredictable. Unlike Z moves or Mega Evolutions, you are able to use it with any Pokemon at any time during the battle, unless you have already Dynamaxed. On top of this, it is not limited to a single type or move like Z moves, causing you to deal with a whole movepool's worth of threatening prospects from versatile attackers. Seeing as there are so many strong Pokemon that can abuse the Dynamax mechanic, it is hard to prepare defensively and account for all of their options, oftentimes making counterplay of Dynamax into a bit of a guessing game, especially during the early stages of games. However, as people have been gaining more experience, they have been using their own Dynamax defensively in order to level the playing field, which also merits discussion. Given this, there is evidence of there being defensive merit to Dynamaxing, proving that there is more to the mechanic than just snowballing an offensive advantage.
 

Colonel M

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I don't think Dynamax is a very healthy mechanic. While there are potential stops to some of the more dangerous sweepers (one example is using Dynamax defensively), there is a major amount of unpredictability as well as major snowballing potential with the moves. I get that a lot of people really hated Z Moves in Generation 7. I disagree to some extent on how "broken" Z Moves were (in OU at least, in lower tiers it looked worse for the tiers overall). But, Dynamax presents a major problem in making Pokemon much bulkier and difficult to kill while also bolstering their power levels thanks to the efficiency of Z-like Moves (Dynamax Moves) boosting stats / providing terrain / providing weather / lowering stats while still having a respectable amount of base power behind the attacks.

I would like to post a few Pokemon that really make Dynamax a mechanic that is very difficult to prepare for properly, at least for most teams.


I want to start with Ditto for a few reasons. Ditto is a good Pokemon that helps with a lot of bulkier teams from being snowballed on. What makes this worse at the moment is Ditto also can take advantage of many of the Dynamax setup sweepers and reverse the sweep against them. Unless it's Pokemon behind a Substitute or Hawlucha there isn't much stopping a Ditto from reversing the snowball against you. Since Dynamax stops Choice Scarf from locking you into an attack it gets a lot easier to switch in, Dynamax, and then reverse the game against your opponent.

To be clear I am not saying Ditto is broken, by the way, but while it is a solution to such a mechanic it creates another problem for the mechanic as well.


Hawlucha is probably the prime example of how badly a Pokemon can snowball out of control. Hawlucha has two important STABs that help it get going - Fighting boosts Attack one stage while Flying boosts Speed one stage. What makes things worse is that it can activate Unburden through Dynamax Thunderpunch - which also gives Hawlucha a Speed boost and a Defense boost (Electric Seed). Unburden keeping Hawlucha from being revenge killed by Ditto is a huge help.


Gyarados is another prime example of a Dynamaxing Pokemon that is extremely efficient. Max Airstream giving Speed boosts while Moxie granting Attack boosts after every knockout makes Gyarados very easy to snowball. Earthquake helps blow through Toxpaex a bit easier, and the nice thing is that Earthquake also offers a SpD boost if you use its Dynamax move.


Excadrill is yet again another efficient Pokemon, but what it does is a little different from the two previously mentioned. Excadrill having Ground- and Steel-type STABs boost its Defense and Special Defense during Dynamaxing and using these moves. This, coupled with Excadrill's already monstrous HP, can make Excadrill difficult to revenge kill. Being able to set its own sand via Dynamax Rock-type attack is just icing on the cake.

I feel there are a few more honorable mentions that can snowball out of control. One example is Barraskewda - A Pokemon that greatly benefits from Dynamaxed moves and the HP to patch its weakness. It can be extremely efficient in keeping itself from being revenge killed via Speed (Swift Swim), priority (Psychic Fang's as a Dynamax move), and then boosting its power (Dynamaxed Close Combat / Waterfall). Corviknight is another great example: Power Trip lets Corviknight abuse its boosts from Bulk Up and Max Airstream while being difficult to check thanks to its improved bulk via Dynamaxing and access to Roost outside of Dynamaxing. There are other examples I feel that others will likely chime in with, but overall I think Dynamaxing is a major step backwards in the competitive direction of Pokemon and will create a horrible experience to watch in terms of high level tournaments and for those playing in said tournaments as well. I don't think a healthy metagame can really exist with Dynamax's existence, and thus I think the mechanic should not be anywhere near our most played tiers.

EDIT: Bringing up Gigantamax Pokemon reminded me of something, so I'll edit my post and put it here. I think rozes covered mostly what I wanted to say, but I have another potential example. Something to keep in mind with some of the Gigantamax Pokemon is that some of their special moves could be problematic in lower tiers. A really good example is Gigantamax Lapras - while it's not a terribly powerful Pokemon, it can freely set up Aurora Veil in Gigantamax form simply by using a Gigantamax Ice-type move. I'm not saying Gigantamax Lapras will be OP, but it still could be a problem further down the road.
 
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Sage

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Been playing a fair bit of OU, I've found that way too many games come down to who is able to use their Dynamax most effectively while simulteanously being prepared to stop the opponent's (mostly via Ditto.) This doesn't really make for exciting gameplay in my opinion and creates super linear game states, not to mention how individually broken it is making certain Pokemon (Gyarados, Excadrill, Hawlucha, etc.) that snowball far too quickly and have super limited checks. I don't think this is a problem of the abusers because there are really any number of threats that can abuse Dynamax to start chaining KOes, it's just that the efficient / strongest ones are being used the most. When Ditto is this common and feeling near mandatory, I find it hard to believe the meta is in a healthy place when you could remove the intrusive mechanic in the first place. Dynamax is way harder to deal with than Z-moves due to the multiple turns of increased bulk / offensive pressure, as well as not being able to prep for it in the builder like you could with Mega Evolutions.

I also want to mention the somewhat popular idea (to my knowledge) of preserving Gigantamax. With its much smaller pool of Pokemon, think that it would be much more manageable from a building perspective and would remove a lot of the awkwardness in having to prepare for every Pokemon being able to Dynamax at any time. Some of the Gmax Pokemon are straight up worse than their regular Dynamax forms (Charizard / Drednaw not setting weather, Corviknight losing speed boosts, etc.) I don't quite know the specifics of how tiering them would work (you theoretically could keep them separate from their base form since a lot of them will be in lower tiers), but I think it would be a good way to preserve some of the unique flavor of gen 8 without keeping the unpredictability in the meta.
 
At first I thought Dynamax to be a completely unbalanced mechanic, and banning it seemed like a mere formality. I mean.. how could three (almost) Z-moves that also have their own unique bonus, and double your HP not be overpowered? You don't even need to hold an item!

Well. This isn't exactly how it should be looked upon. Dynamax isn't an intrinsic feature of any Pokemon like Z-moves or Mega-Stone were, no, it is a boost you as a player can use anytime, on any Pokemon. As can your opponent. Trading one of your Pokemon who used Dynamax for an enemy Pokemon who did not should be seen as a massive loss for you. Likewise, trading one Pokemon (give or take) for your opponent's ability to Dynamax could be a decent trade, as you will be able to do the same with your ability to Dynamax, later.

In the CCG 'Shadowverse' you have evolution points (2 if you are going first, and 3 if you are not)

These evolution points let you evolve your followers once per turn... as long as you have evolution points. The evolved followers gain powerful abilities and far surpass other followers that cost the same amount of mana, so you need to take compromises when dealing with your opponent's use of evolution points, and carefully make use of your own. The whole 'one for one' concept doesn't always apply due to these points.

Currently a very common practice of Dynamax is to try and use it defensively, at the same time as your opponent, allowing you to tank the hits due to your absolutely massive HP, while hitting back for respectable amounts. This can be a bit unreliable since you need to predict the exact timing of your opponent's Dynamax. It is still a good strategy to employ, but it is noteworthy that the attacker is favored in most scenarios.

Additionally Choice item users can circumvent being locked in by Dynamaxing, which prevents things like Protect scouting. While it disables the benefits of the item as well when doing so, it is incredibly hard to switch into Choice Band / Choice Specs already and the mindgame is once again very much in favor of the attacker.

Certain Pokemon also make exceptional use of the ability to Dynamax. Colonel M does a good job of going over some great examples in the post above.

Due to all of the reasons mentioned above I believe offensive applications of Dynamax to be too game-breaking in their current form. In Shadowverse followers with effects too powerful are barred from evolving using evolution points. Before removing the mechanic as a whole we could look for ways to prevent the Pokemon that make use of Dynamax to unhealthy levels from doing so. This can also be extended to items or abilities. Experiencing a less abusive version would allow us to determine whether or not we want Dynamax adding this new layer to competitive Pokemon or not. I know that this sounds like a huge hassle, but I can see the concerns of a passive metagame being very true if Dynamax were to be removed entirely. While I would personally not mind this, I believe that a lot of the playerbase would.

Thank you for reading :psynervous:
 
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rozes

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I also want to mention the somewhat popular idea (to my knowledge) of preserving Gigantamax. With its much smaller pool of Pokemon, think that it would be much more manageable from a building perspective and would remove a lot of the awkwardness in having to prepare for every Pokemon being able to Dynamax at any time. Some of the Gmax Pokemon are straight up worse than their regular Dynamax forms (Charizard / Drednaw not setting weather, Corviknight losing speed boosts, etc.) I don't quite know the specifics of how tiering them would work (you theoretically could keep them separate from their base form since a lot of them will be in lower tiers), but I think it would be a good way to preserve some of the unique flavor of gen 8 without keeping the unpredictability in the meta.
was going to bring this up myself, but i might as well just reply to you.

personally i am fairly against keeping gigamax if we do decide to go ban dynamax (which i do support). while it may be more fun to have the gigamax mons in, i think theres really no way to justify keeping it and not dynamax. since gigamax is basically the same as dynamax, with the difference only being the effects certain moves have, gigamax is just the same mechanic. due to this, many could argue that we may as well just cherry pick the mons that can dynamax in the meta, if the only reason we are banning it is due to the unpredictability of the mechanic. it basically comes down to people wondering, if we are allowing gigamax mons, why not just allow a few dynamax mons that wont be broken as well? while i get they are different in name, i feel its just to similar to try to justify keeping in the metagame, for very little gain aside from "it keeps some of the gen8 core mechanic". i think the healthiest thing to do is just to ban the feature overall, and maybe have side metagames where dyna/gigamaxing are allowed for people who want to play with that feature to do so.
 
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Tricking

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Hello, I usually don't post in these threads because I don't really care about discussing the tiering process, but after having played a decent amount of games on the ladder (i was #1 before beta ladder was nuked :psysad: ), i completely changed my view about dynamax moves and maybe there are other people that feel this way.

i started off thinking that dynamax was too broken for singles and possible worse in doubles/vgc formats and i was really hoping for a quickban. after the mechanic has been correctly implemented on PS, i slowly started to change my mind: i began to get used to dynamax boosts, damages (even if we still lack a calculator), secondary effect. this changed the way i used to see the mechanic. i think it's important to say that i forgot to dynamax in some of the games i played because it took a while to get used to it and find the moment to use it in an optimal way, but i still won most games and ended up using dynamax in the last turn with a random mon to avoid a possible flinch, remove the chance of losing to a crit or whatever.

though, it must be said that dynamax features some pros and cons in terms of balance (at least i view them in this way) that need to be considered when making a decision about whether the mechanic should stay or not.

Pros:
- it is possible to use your own dynamax defensively to check a prominent threat (see: darmanitan, hattarene...) or another mon using dynamax. this requires different levels of prediction based on your matchup/your knowledge of your opponent and your opponent's sets.
- it is complex to use dynamax involving boosts (regardless from the fact that you boosted before or you are getting dynamax boosts) without risking to get counterswept by ditto.
- dynamax can be used to avoid getting hax in late game thanks to the higher hp stat, the impossibility of getting flinched, the impossibility to miss the selected move.
- dynamax is an effective (if not one of the very few) way to be unpredictable and to break fatter cores that would be really dominant in a metagame without dynamax (just think that all the things you used to break stall with in previous generations - such as sr spikes + offensive pressure, pursuit, do nothing teams with regen cores are literally gone due to heavy-duty-boots that basically make your offensive presence + hazards useless and making double switches vs lets say a mandibuzz w/boots and a toxapex is often counterproductive for you instead of leading you somewhere).
- dynamax on choiced mons effectively prevents opposing mons (that might use dynamax themselves in future turns) to set up without worries - if you just KO'ed a toxapex with your cb darmanitan eq and then your opponent goes hydreigon to start doing hydreigon things, throwing dynamax ice is for sure a legit thought.
- dynamax can be stalled out by a faster substitute user (idk if it was a programming mistake but if the dynamax hits the substitute, secondary effects do not activate either).

Cons:
- dynamax from some broken mons that were listed in previous posts are literally the definition of broken (i would add hatterene too because its coverage + his stats + trick room is literally a much stronger version of tapu lele where you literally have to pick or make perfect predictions for 3 turns unless you dynamax yourself too, but that might not be the play because you need dynamax later in the game).
- unpredictability (that translates in extra difficulty when teambuilding and playing)
- secondary effects

Clearly my emphasis was more on pros because the cons are really straightforward and were already discussed. Currently, i'm kinda torn about dynamax moves but i think it's mostly related to mons that can become impossible to check after dynamax (hawlucha) rather than the mechanic itself that i think i'd always keep because that's what it makes this new generation peculiar and less boring in my opinion.

not all broken mons atm depend on dynamax (darm/dragapult/corviknight/hatterene), but dynamax can definitely make them way more annoying to deal with although it seems counterintuitive for darmanitan.

thanks for reading, sorry for grammar/formatting mistakes (i've written this on mobile) or bullshit, i'm new to this kind of posts :p
 

Ophion

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Given what we’ve seen from high ladder and what we can figure out on paper, I think dynamax is unhealthy for the metagame and should be banned, hopefully before SPL (although it could be seen as a good way to see if it’s broken or not in a similar way to DPP Latias last SPL). Charmflash and Tricking do bring up good points regarding the defensive utility of dynamax, newfound variety for some Pokemon, and its utility in breaking fatter cores, I find the cons outweigh the pros given what we’ve seen so far.

One big issue in my opinion is the fact that defensively, the only way to fully handle dynamax is to dynamax yourself, which is pretty centralizing or spam Substitute (we don’t even know what can fully viably run Sub to begin with, and we may need to run it on multiple Pokemon so you aren’t automatically fucked if you dynamaxed earlier on (which makes games over reliant on dynamax in theory)). I say this because Protect without Dynaming doesn’t fully shield you, you can’t flinch it, and there’s no way to phase them.

Another thing is it’s unpredictable and there isn’t really any way to know which Pokemon they’re gonna dynamax in that game since it offers so much to anything that does dynamax. This makes playing around it to be even harder than it already is and seeing as dynamax can be so punishing, that’s quite concerning in my opinion.

The way dynamax works for offensive Pokemon also makes them quite insane due to how obscene the effects of dynamax moves are as well as the ability to free yourself from Choice locks. So you could make pivots for Choice locked Pokemon potentially obsolete. So it also gives offensive Pokemon newfound freedom, perhaps too much freedom. I think this is reason Ditto is so mandatory for so many archetypes, which CM outlined very well. He also outlined all the insane stuff that can be broken as hell with Dynamax and there’s likely even more insane abusers we haven’t even seen. The dynamaed stuff can abuse the effects to make offensive threats even harder to beat (Gyara bringing rain, Gengar getting SpA boosts, etc).

EDIT: Gigantamax should be handled separately in my opinion, because while it probably is just as healthy or unhealthy as dynamax, its predictability of who gigantamaxes can maybe make it ok as the unpredictability is one of, if not, the biggest issue with dynamax. If it doesn’t, we can cross that road later.

I’m pretty new to posting here as well so hopefully what I said makes sense and I didn’t miss anything.
 
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talah

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Prefacing this, I think there are legitimate points to be made for keeping Dynamax in the tier, Tricking's post covers a lot of them nicely. Moving on-

Playing SWOSH a bit more is making me realize the mechanic isn't really as broken as I originally thought. That being said, I still currently am of the opinion that Dynamax is ultimately an unhealthy mechanic for the tier.

First I want to echo a couple points that were already said and I fully agree with;
  • its versatility of being able to be used at any point in the fight, by any Pokemon, makes counterplay to it unpredictable and borderline random. This especially effects long-term gameplans and makes them a lot less impactful and viable, in exchange for more reactionary play.
  • using Dynamax offensively will generally sway odds in your favour, while using it defensively is generally undesirable and/or unfavourable.
  • it makes scouting significantly less effective, can even bait you into an unfavourable position after you already played correctly/better.
I wanna touch on the second point more - Dynamaxing defensively, while a mostly viable solution to counteracting your opponent's Dynamax, is more difficult to pull off and significantly riskier than Dynamaxing offensively. The 'optimal' way of using Dmax defensively, is using it at the same as your opponent is using it offensively; be it break something, activate a secondary effect and what have you. The problem with this arises from the fact that you quite literally have to guess when your opponent is gonna pull the trigger, AND on which mon specifically. Is this doable? Sure, Pokemon is a game of guessing and mind games after all. But it still makes the guessing game way more favourable for your opponent than for you(or the other way around). If you misjudge the turn and use yours while they switch out, for example, say goodbye to your absolute best way of countering the biggest thread to your team.

I think what I just said is all part of a bigger problem: Dynamax centralizes the game too much around itself and those 3 turns it is active. Is it possible for games to happen without Dynamax being the biggest factor? Definitely. However, more often than not, that is how it works.

A good question to ask about that is: is that inherently 'bad', or 'unhealthy'? I'd lean towards the answer that no, it is not inherently so. You could call it another form of resource management(albeit an extremely important one), or a fundamentally different way to play the game that we're just not accustomed to. I think these are, in a way, valid defenses of it; but the sheer scope and raw power of Dynamax I think does overwhelm those defenses.

I think centralizing the average match around those few turns brings the competitiveness of the game down. Dynamax is strong enough to completely eliminate a lot of long term progress, planning and positioning in any given game. It rewards the in-a-moment decision, which is another very important part of the game, sure, but I believe it does so too much.
 

ABR

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I know Finch himself said it but please do not take this as hastiness or a rush to ban - we merely want to begin discussing policy in a more formal and public setting.

As for my opinion on the matter, I feel it is still too early to have a strong one. We simply have not had enough time to examine the metagame and speculate it’s future with much certainty.

To me, we should be looking at 3 different options here on how to handle dynamax.

1) Ban dynamaxing (and gigamax)
2) Ban dynamaxing, keep gigamax
3) Do not ban either

If certain mons are problematic then they should be banned as a whole; For ex we could suspect test Gyarados theoretically, instead of handpicking “you are not allowed to dynamax your Gyarados.” I feel like this is way too arbitrary and involves too much handpicking to be a viable solution.

1) is fairly straightforward and is fitting if everything about the mechanic is unhealthy but I don’t expect this to be necessary.

2) is probably a fair distinction to make but I can see why some people think otherwise. Much like megas, there is a limitation / predictability factor that makes it much easier to play around than all pokemon having the option at all times. In terms of justifying it policy wise, this very teambuilder designation can support a distinction between gmax and dmax if it turns out to be the best option competitively.

3) is self explanatory as well, and is the most conservative of the approaches. Technically we will be going with this in the short term but time will tell how viable it is in the long term.

I’m definitely open to hearing the pros and cons to all these options as well as alternatives I may have missed. At the moment my preference is probably 2, 1 and 3 seem a bit extreme for both ends of the spectrum.
 

Shurtugal

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Since we are discussing how to fit Dynamaxing into our Tier Policies, I have a few questions to ask:

1. What is the likelyhood/chance of a Dynamax Clause?

I understand clauses like Sleep Mod are not the standard and should be avoided; however, we are dealing with a new game and mechanic, and it should be explored for many different angles. Dynamax Mod would basically allow us to ban the use of Dynamax on Pokemon that we decree broken/banned from using it. The reason why this would be important would be to preserve Pokemon that are otherwise healthy components to our metagame.

A good example of a Pokemon that could be removed for these reasons would be Excadrill. It is one of the few strong Stealth Rock setters in wake of Dexit, but its Dynamax set can setup its own Sand and can be used to snowball teams, which could lead to Excadrill becoming banned according to what ABR has mentioned above me. This is something I fear & has happened in USUM tiers as well. Example: Jirachi was banned from USUM UU because of its Normalium set, despite being a very healthy component to the metagame otherwise. Nothing was done about Z-Moves & Jirachi had to leave that meta as a result, which was pretty relevant with the existance of Latias being there.

The cons to this would be implementing something that isn't true to the Cartridge. However, since we are playing on a simulator, I think it is fair to consider implementing a clause to benefit the balance of the metagame for a mechanic this huge.

So basically: should we choose to not ban Dynamaxing as a whole (and I really think we shouldn't until a lot more time has passed), then I think we should consider Dynamax Mod/Clause and if it is something to be considered for SWSH OU.

2.) If there comes a time where the OU Council wants to ban/limit Dynamaxing, will it be suspect tested, or will it just be done irregardless? Also: time frame??

I feel very strongly that with a mechanic this big that it should not be taken lightly, and that the community should be able to voice their opinion in a relevant way via voting. (I am sure I speak for many here.) My concern is, with the Shadow Tag quickban & what happened with Sleep Clause earlier, that this issue will not be handled with care & a small group of people will be handling something that will impact the tier greatly.

Another question that's fairly related to this one is: how much time should pass before we can make a decision about Dynamax? This game is barely a week old, so it should be out of the question to do anything now, but how much time is too much?

-.-.-

To clarify, not trying to attack anyone here. voicing questions and concerns, hoping to balance gen 8 as much as possible & to enjoy the new gen!
 

Finchinator

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Shurtugal,

As for the first part of your post, we will either ban Dynamaxing altogether or Pokemon that are banworthy with it in place. We will ideally not be engaging in any complex banning such as the sort you outlined above; that will never be the optimal solution to the situation we are presented with. To reiterate, my personal priorities would be:
  • Determining if Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing are banworthy as mechanics or not. If they are, then we just ban them outright and there is no more discussion to be had.
  • If they are not, which is very much a possibility, then we would proceed to banning specific Pokemon that are banworthy in the metagame, which may or may not be because of Dynamax and Gigantamax capabilities.
As for the second part of your post, we are not taking this lightly at all; the whole point of opening up a thread this early into the generation for discussion is to let people voice their opinion so that we could have as much insight as possible. I personally understand that individuals, myself included, care a lot about the state of the metagame, but I do not think that your concerns are worth worrying about here as it is clear that we are taking steps to determine the state of the metagame, the banworthiness (or lack thereof) of this mechanic, and how to proceed in the best way possible for the metagame moving forward. This thread is here for that reason and I am personally very happy that people are contributing to it. I hope to see many more posts moving forward and I plan to personally pay a lot of attention to any and all posts. Additionally, my PMs (on here and discord) are always open to anyone to discuss the metagame and their potential problems. I want full transparency here and I want to make sure everyone can have an enjoyable and competitive experience this generation.

Shadow Tag was an obvious ban and getting that out of the way limits complication when it comes to handling this problem; I do not think anyone is actually upset with this development or considers that a problem when it comes to handling this. The Sleep Clause topic is an entirely separate matter and is not currently impacting anything; we have all moved on from it for the time being and it does not impact our focus on Dynamaxing. As I alluded to multiple times in the OP, we do not have a timeline currently. There are a lot of factors and if you want us to not take this lightly, which you indicate in your post, then you should also respect that doing so will take time, playing, and thorough discussion. I do not think anything will happen today, tomorrow, or within the next couple of days, but we are working towards finding a solution that is right for the metagame without taking too much time so we can let it develop beyond this in the near future. This is a tall task, but we are very much up to it.
 
The way dynamax works for offensive Pokemon also makes them quite insane due to how obscene the effects of dynamax moves are as well as the ability to free yourself from Choice locks. So you could have a wallbreaking Specs user that locks into a setup move (you can’t set up while Dynamaxed), dynamax to break your Choice-lock, then lock into a different move and win.
That's not how Choice items interact with Dynamax. When you lock yourself into a move before Dynamaxing, you're going to be locked back into that move once again after your Dynamax turns are over. You'll basically be crippling yourself for no reason, especially considering the fact Dynamax Pokemon don't benefit from any of the Choice item boosts; only their regular forms can.

As for my stance on the main subject, I'm also going to have to disagree with separating Gigantamax from Dynamax. To piggy-back on what rozes said, even though they're categorized differently and their GMax moves generally aren't as powerful as regular Max moves, keep in mind that they still have access to regular Max moves at the same time, and they can just as easily snowball teams no problem. You can also run two or more Pokemon that do have Gigantamax forms, say for example, Corviknight and Drednaw on the same team, and the unpredictability factor comes back in a way, albeit not as overwhelmingly as Dynamax where any of the 6 Pokemon on the team can Dynamax. As it has been said here, some of the Gigantamax moves can be problematic for the meta, as well, like Gengar's Shadow Tag-like trapping move, Lapras's free Aurora Veil, the russian roulette that is Butterfree's G-Max Befuddle, heck even Orbeetle's G-Max Gravitas would be a godsend for Sand Teams basically eliminating Ground-immunities for 5 turns without needing to run Gravity.

I currently don't know whether or not Dynamaxing as a whole is unhealthy for the meta as it hasn't even been a week since the games came out, not to mention that more discoveries are still being made about Gen 8's battle mechanics as we speak which could change everything in an instant if something significant enough is found. However, I'm on the camp that if we ban Dynamax, Gigantamax should go with it.
 
i agree with ABR: it is far too early to determine whether dynamax is broken or not. as of right now, however, i think dynamax is fine. regardless, certain things need to be taken into consideration:

it is clear that dynamax is the defining characteristic of how generation 8 is played (the new mechanic of the gen), meaning a potential dynamax ban would have much more gravity than the pokemon, ability, and move bans we've become accustomed to. i know the timeline thing has been mentioned and responded to, but i think it is extremely important to have a rough timeline in place when it comes to dynamax. besides shadow tag, i don't think anything else can be tested or quickbanned until we know whether we will be playing generation 8 with dynamax or not.... at least not permanently.

i propose keeping dynamax around for SPL and then coming to a decision (preferably through a suspect test) near SPL's end. if certain pokemon need to be dealt with while dynamax is still around, they can be temporarily banned until the dynamax decision is made on the condition that they return to be (eventually) retested once dynamax's fate is determined.

on the dynamax mechanic itself:

while dynamax is the new mechanic of the generation, the changes it brings are far more significant than mega evolutions and z moves. while megas and z moves made a significant impact, they did not fundamentally change the way the game is played. the changes they brought were more or less in line with the mechanics of the game and how things were played, so the impact they had was more akin to power creep than flipping the entire game on its head.

i'd say dynamax is as significant as the physical/special split or team preview. it is clearly way more than mid game form changes or random nuke/lure moves for pokemon. at a fundamental level, it changes how the game is played. dynamax is a very extreme mechanic. as other posters have pointed out, mostly with disdain, dynamax ultimately becomes the center of each game. i don't think the magnitude of this addition is debated by anyone, regardless of whether you think it's broken or not. however, this leads to a huge tiering question: is it competitive for the whole game to center around 1 mechanic? i would say yes. overcentralization arguments are valid when it comes to specific pokemon, but make no sense regarding a specific mechanic.

while dynamax changes the game significantly, i believe it still rewards good pokemon fundamentals. it adds another layer of resource management and prediction skill to the game. talah's point about the importance of those 3 dynamax turns diminishing the importance of the other turns is flawed imo. holding and eventually using your dynamax is part of your long term gameplan. if your dynamax is your win condition, the moves you make in other turns should be optimized to set up / support that win condition. if it is not your win condition, you are likely using your dynamax defensively against an opposing threat, or you are using your dynamax to break holes in your opponents team, paving the way for something else. it is undeniable that the dynamax turns are extremely important, but i hope these examples show how it is just another part of a gameplan.

i also think the argument about your opponent's dynamax being unpredictable is extremely flawed. i remember when mega evolution first came out there was a lot of concern regarding teams with multiple potential megas and having to guess which one is the mega and which one isn't. this isn't something we think about whatsoever nowadays because in those rare cases, it is usually easy to pick out which pokemon is the mega based on team structure.

i know, dynamax is much more generic than mega evolution. as i said before, it is a much more impactful mechanic, so this makes sense. the point of this example is that as the meta starts to take shape AND as players get used to managing the dynamax mechanic, it will become more intuitive to predict what pokemon your opponent might use their dynamax on. this is in line with testing good prediction skill, a hallmark of competitive pokemon.
 

Deck Knight

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I offer this only as a general commentary, however as Smogon tends to set the standards other people use as shorthand, I think Dynamax being this Gen's new mechanic and Smogon deciding against implementing it for our meta would set a bad example.

That being said:

Like Z-Moves, Dynamaxing does add a mechanic that is in many ways "unhealthy." Gamefreak seems to love these unhealthy mechanics and this one is a doozy. It's inarguable how strong and centralizing this mechanic is, and just like Z-Moves it will only grow in use and application over time.

Also like Z-Moves, Dynamaxing does require skill, timing, and maneuvering to use. Even the strongest abusers can't just blow up and start their Dyna sweep, and indeed most of the best DMaxers need a turn to set up, then stay in to Dmax and tank a hit with the increased bulk (easy) and try to overwhelm with the slightly buffed BP of moves and the secondary effects.

Notably, what Dynamax doesn't do is block status, and (non-Defiant) physical attackers hate Intimidate or burn, all DMaxers hate Sleep, and there's no ability changes like there were with Megas.

It is entirely more troublesome to identify Pokemon broken by Dmax than it is to ban DMax wholesale, however going back to my original observation it may be the best way to maintain Smogon as the standard others look to while also keeping our own identity.
 
I don't think we need a ton of words to get the point across on this one. Nearly every single high level competitive player is in agreement that the mechanic as a whole is absolutely absurd. There is no reason (aside from drawing new players to the site that are interested in Dynamaxing) that we should not quickban the mechanic and maybe thereafter test it down.

This one is so outrageously plainly obvious to me that I have to make an assumption that the decree is due to drawing player interest rather than any serious merit for the metagame. It's just simply outrageously broken.
 

EviGaro

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Played a fair bit with Dynamax and seen a bit as well, so some early thoughts in this early discussion:

- I don't really get the whole "using it defensively" thing, and not just because the use of Dynamax effectively makes using defensive turns muddled with the no recovery and such. Dynamax has defensive value, purely by the most obvious effect of doubling HP making even frail mons significantly harder to take down, but also with max moves potentially boosting your defensive value as well. So, anyone who is using Dynamax is using it defensively to an extent, but it's just that when used at the appropriate time it doubles as an amazing snowball effect. So, I'd prefer to specify the people using Dynamax to not get owned on the spot to be using Dynamax reactively, Yet... that seems oddly in favour of Dynamax being broken? Dynamax is generally a proactive mechanic for obvious reasons, and it's how you do things with it. But if you do it because the mechanic in front of you made it so you HAD to... well. It seems to me that it was intended to an extent to be a Dynamax vs Dynamax thing, and in shorter VGC matches that makes more sense I suppose? But the 6v6 game offers so many turns and shifts in a game that it rarely happens like this, and currently matches tend to devolve into who is getting the more out of their Dynamax turns so very often.

- While it ignoring some mechanics is a twist and twists in themselves aren't a problem, it is a big concern to me just how many it just breaks. Choiced mons were always valued but the point of them is to get a key advantage at a certain cost, Dynamax effectively changes that calculus for a few turns and yeah, that's a very big deal when you get three turns of potential havoc - including potentially on the mon coming in to take advantage of your locked status - before going back to your standard bonus... which might be even harder to deal with. I was toying with a CB Crawdaunt for example, not a big threat in this current state but hey fun mon. You click Aqua Jet, Dynamax and get an atrociously high powered stab with weather or you click fighting move and get attack boosts, both things that are a huge boon to your previous locked move, on top of alleviating one of the mon's two big issues with the massive HP boost. It's one example, but the applications of this are too many with the absolute freedom of the mechanic to not be a bit concerned. Oh and just Ditto really that it copies the boosts AND can be the opposite mon's Dynamax is absolute bonkers.

- Going on the early Gigantamax discussion here, I'm very much in favour of tiering that separately, however. It's true that it's cherrypicking, but honestly I can't really care, GameFreak cherrypicked the mons having access to it first so their decision bop. It's similar to Dynamax but different in two key things: heavily restricted in possibilities and less freedom on moves due to the signature. Two things that are actually a big deal with Dynamax tbh. Vengeance417's post, if anything, is exactly why I want to see Gigantamax treated separately. Sure, some mons could be broken material... so just suspect those mons, you'd have that freedom in tiering you are severely lacking with Dynamax. And while some players could stack potential G-Max to bluff, there's such a spike in viability between those mons that you'd probably hurt yourself more. If you're using Butterfree in OU, you're using the G-Max, otherwise... You're using Butterfree in OU. Then there's also the fact that we've never seen G-Max without Dynamax so throwing them together just seems like a shame to me.
 
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A Cake Wearing A Hat

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Hey folks just gonna touch on gigantamax real quick and build off of EviGaro. I think Gigantamax Pokemon should be allowed whereas Dynamaxing is banned, and the Gigantamax formes of Pokemon should be tiered separately like Mega Evolutions were.

Gigantamaxing is extremely, extremely similar to Dynamaxing, yes, but there are a few features that both make this feature significantly less broken than free Dynamaxing and that justify allowing it but not Dynamaxing.

The biggest feature that seems to bring Dynamax over the edge is the unpredictability of it; Gigantamax-only fixes this by opening only a select few Pokemon to the mechanic, heavily lowering the overall pressure placed on a player during the battle to predict whether or not any given Pokemon will Dynamax on any given turn and heavily increasing the reliability of counterplay to the feature by tying them to said Pokemon. This alone makes it inherently less broken than the concept of Dynamaxing. There will of course be viable teams with multiple Gigantamax Pokemon, but often movesets need to be tailored at least somewhat to Dynamaxing/Gigantamaxing to use the mechanic optimally, such as the inclusion of Flying moves where they otherwise wouldn't make sense.

Gigantamax Pokemon are completely separate formes in the code from their base Pokemon, identical in every way except they can Gigantamax instead of Dynamax. Because these Pokemon are separate formes this gives us precedent to tier them separately from their bases. We would not be able to justify merely banning a Pokemon from Dynamaxing under current tiering policy anywhere near as easily as we could justify banning the forme of the Pokemon that can Gigantamax and keeping the forme that cannot Gigantamax. Gamefreak separated them from Dynamax for us already in more than just name.

Gigantamax moves are often (but not always) significantly weaker than Dynamax moves. There are obvious exceptions to this, of course, with Gengar, Copperajah, and Lapras, but these are the exceptions, not the rule, and tiering them separately, as we could with Gigantamax Pokemon as a whole, would fix any balance issues their moves provide.

tl;dr keeping gigantamax isn't cherrypicking because it's infinitely simpler to manage tiering-wise and ban-wise without affecting the base pokemon, it's significantly less broken than dynamax as a standalone mechanic, and at least administering a test of gigantamax-only-but-no-dynamax would show whether or not the mechanic is still overwhelming. So yeah, do that please. Thanks for listenin'.
 

Gross Sweep

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I have been thinking about this thread a lot. As someone who plays an unhealthy amount of OU I care about what happens here. Also when Finch was proposing this thread I mentioned that I'd be posting, and was met with a certain lack of confidence so I've got to make a post.

tony hates me.PNG


When I first started thinking about whether or not Dynamax should stay or go, I looked at whether or not anything could turn into a high level threat by simply clicking a button. When Dynamax first came out I think a lot of people assumed it would turn an otherwise RU mon into a one mon wrecking crew grabbing 2-3 elims, and ruining the game we all love. I think it's a pretty clear majority among people who have played a good amount of games that the answer is no. There is still a split on whether or not the mechanic is broken, but at the very least it's more manageable than people expected. There are obviously some Pokemon like Gyarados and Hatterne that should be looked at down the road, but at a glance I don't find myself looking at every offensive mon as broken simply by clicking the Dynamax button.

Another aspect of Dynamax I wanted to address was offensive vs defensive usage of Dynamax. I agree with the idea that most of the times the exchange favors the offensive user. More defensive teams in general act in a reactionary manner, so why would Dynamax be any different? An example I think about would be Toxapex vs Dugtrio. Usually Dugtrio traps and KOs Toxapex barring a burn. However, with Dynamax Jolly Dugtrio is getting a 4HKO with EQ vs SpDef Pex. This is seen as a victory for the Pex at first glance, and it certainly can be if attacked. Dugtrio though has the option to switch out, as weird as it may sound. Dugtrio switches out to safety as Toxapex uses up its Dynamax, and now Dugtrio can safely pick off Pex later. This is obviously only one situation, but I chose it as an example since Arena Trap puts it closer to a vacuum setting as Pex cannot switch out to something like a Corviknight freely. Also this scenario showcases Pex burning the Dynamax vs a regular mon, so the opposing Dynamax is still at large, which is a negative. Obviously this is a negative scenario for defensive users, but it's important to remember the defensive user could make the call correctly and stop an offensive Dynamax user in their tracks. This match up is something that I think needs to be considered when considering the health of Dynamax in the tier, but as things stand right now I don't think that the match up is so one sided towards offensive users that it would make the interchange irredeemably broken. I just wanted to make it clear offense is favored more times than not.

I also wanted to talk about how Dynamax morphs the meta in this post since I think it's an important thing to consider. How centralized is the meta on winning games through Dynamax usage. The past 2 generation we've been introduced to Z-Moves and Megas, which both dominated the metagame. In OU at the very least there was never really a great reason not to have a Mega and a Z move on your team last generation. Could it be done? sure, but it often wasn't. Dynamax is pretty similar to me in this regard. I think it's a powerful mechanic that people will/should make use of in every game given that it doesn't take anything special in the builder. That said I think offensive teams or defensive teams aren't being built significantly different than they were last gen adapting to Dynamax with one exception: Ditto. Don't get me wrong Ditto was very much on the rise late last gen, and was seeing significant usage at the end of this past Snake, but it's nothing compared to now. Ditto is a great check to Dynamax, a great Dynamax user itself going for the reverse sweep, and is probably on track for an extremely high usage rate that would put Lando-t to shame. Personally I do not see the Ditto usage uptick as a big deal since it was already a great scarfer, and before the most likely broken abusers are removed from the tier it provides some much needed cushion in the team builder. I would hypothesize that once some needed bans occur Ditto usage will drop. Also just to be clear on why I don't see offensive teams being built differently since at this point I feel it's normal to single out 1-2 pokes that could get an insane power boost mid game whenever I decide by way of Z-move or mega, since most teams I feel are built in a fashion that favors 1-2 mons utilizing the teams Dynamax. Obviously that plan can be deviated from in a pinch which is different from what we've known in the past, but sets like DD Dragapult rocking Phantom Force more often than not are taking up the teams Dynamax slot.

With all of this in mind I'd prefer the approach of taking it slow when it comes to Dynamax as a whole. I believe we should start by looking at some of the more troublesome abusers, and work our way down. Obviously if we start banning mons like Gyarados, and a new mon just keeps popping up as the completely busted mon terrorizing the tier we'd need to regroup. For now though I would urge the council to act slowly, not just throwing out a blanket ban of Dynamax.
 

termi

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i'd say dynamax is as significant as the physical/special split or team preview. it is clearly way more than mid game form changes or random nuke/lure moves for pokemon. at a fundamental level, it changes how the game is played. dynamax is a very extreme mechanic. as other posters have pointed out, mostly with disdain, dynamax ultimately becomes the center of each game. i don't think the magnitude of this addition is debated by anyone, regardless of whether you think it's broken or not. however, this leads to a huge tiering question: is it competitive for the whole game to center around 1 mechanic? i would say yes. overcentralization arguments are valid when it comes to specific pokemon, but make no sense regarding a specific mechanic.
I don't think I agree with your conclusion here, but I do think it's important to stress the impact of dynamax. One could argue that dynamax is uncompetitive and leads to an objectively worse metagame (which I currently am inclined to believe as well), but even if it's not, I think the question remains: is this the game we want to play? When matches revolve in such a great part around the dynamax mechanic, it arguably becomes a different game. Some people are justifiably put off by the idea that the game they enjoyed playing suddenly has quite a different identity, forcing them to reinvent the meta the way they already had to do to some degree past gen thanks to Z-moves. Some might say that this is good, that the game shouldn't be too samey every gen and that new mechanics can positively shake things up, but I fear the shakeup is too big and we're gonna be taking all gen to "figure out" dynamax. The same happened with Z-moves imo: years into gen 7 people were still finding more ways to abuse Z-moves, to make otherwise healthy threats broken. Dynamax is an even more impactful mechanic, so I have little reason to think metas will stabilize in due time. What's more, now that we know that GF is more than willing to unscrupulously throw past mechanics (megas, Z-moves) out of the window, do we really want to figure out dynamax for a whole gen just so GF can say in ~3 years "oh by the way, that dynamax thing is gone now, here's the new broken gen 9 mechanic, have fun with that"? Frankly, I think Pokemon should have some sense of continuity, and I can't help but see dynamax as a disruptive force that threatens to alienate people from the game and causes the competitive scene to struggle to adapt for way longer than should be necessary.
 

Ereshkigal

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I've been playing a few times and I just wanted to drop some lines on the subject.

First of all I want to say that I think dynamax is both broken and uncompetitive and should be ban but anyway.

Well SS gave us brand new toys to play with some new Pokémon and new mechanics in the form of dynamax and to a lesser extent gigantamax. And while Gigantamax has proved to be a bit underwhelming, we can all agree that Dynamax has established itself as a tremendous force to be reckoned with. Since the release of SS OU Dynamax has been really ready strong and has a huge impact on the metagame with the good number of threats which can be used as Dynamax abusers, Gyarados, Hawlucha Excadrill and Ditto, which i will speak about later, to name a few. These Pokémon, with the exception of Ditto, which is different, all share the same aspect of being threatening sweepers even without Dynamax. But with the appearance of this mechanic they were brought to a whole another level letting them benefit from a 3 turn upgrade with HP boost which give them insane bulk, enhanced moves which are slightly stronger in term of base power but which also provides secondary effects, stats change to setting terrain/weather, most of them being really powerful.

But the important thing is that this allows to Dynamax abusers to muscle through their checks and being nearly unstoppable resulting in a loss for you or your opponent. The fact that it also prevents Choice Items user to be locked is also a huge advantage on some situations since some users like Scarf/Specs Hydreigon and Band Barraskewda can Dynamax to break through Pokémon which otherwise would be hard to deal with for the rest of the team, even though they lost the boost provided from them which is a fair trade considering the sheer advantage Dynamax gives.

Hell this mechanics is so impacting that it forces you to use shaky technics to try to not lose too many Pokémon or simply the game like dynamax defensive Pokémon to stall Dynamax with the combination of Max Guard and the enhanced bulk, try to switch between your Pokémon to force your opponent to use the coverage hitting super effectively the mon in front of him. Another meaning to counter it is to reverse sweep using a Pokémon I mentioned earlier : Ditto. Indeed Ditto is at the moment one of the defining Pokémon at the moment since he's able to copy the boost of a setup sweepers and follow with a reverse sweep while being able to Dynamax in the same time if you haven't already to benefit even more of his ability. But even that is not a 100% countermeasure since it fail against a Pokémon under Substitute or against Hawlucha with Unburden boost.

A mechanic which allow already threatening Pokémon to being completely unbearable, help your team by allowing a Pokémon to break through opponents to ease a sweep by a mate, which force you to use Ditto on nearly every team is incredibly obnoxious for the metagame.

While I already said that I'm in favor of a ban of Dynamax (do what you want with Gigantamax I don't really care) I think it might still be a little early in the metagame to make a decision so I think wait until SPL to make it may be the best thing to do.

I wrote this in two gos so the second part could be a little poor but anyway I hope you saw my point.
 

lyd

i can't fight, holding much
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Been playing a bit on my own and watching a lot of games from players far better than I (very easy feat to be honest, but point still stands), so I'd like to add my two cents here to the conversation.

So... Early on—pre-release—testing some stuff on the Nexus server I thought Pokémon like Gyarados, Hawlucha, and Kommo-o were straight up broken this generation, but the more exposure I've been getting to gen 8 OU the more clear to me it is that the mechanic is the issue and not these Pokémon themselves. Of course, these three are outstanding set up sweepers and really have the potential to turn games completely on their own, if it wasn't for Ditto, these three and a few more would be running rampant right now and totally dictating the metagame. However, they're far more manageable without Dynamax and are nowhere near as influential. Playing more with these games also made me realize how dreadful other applications of Dynamax can be as well. Choice Item users, most notably Galarian Darmanitan and Ditto, (but Dracovolt, Barraskewda, and Dragapult, for example) can totally spin the game around by being able to bypass their choice lock with Dynamax and deal straight up irreparable damage. Assorted breakers like Hatterene, Bisharp, Conkeldurr, and literally dozens of others can also just become really overbearing with Dynamax and demolish teams that would normally handle them alright. Bulkier Pokémon like Corviknight and Reuniclus can also make use of the secondary effects to really get going and also turn the tide of the battle. Granted, not all of these can insta-win a match, but in three turns they can totally dictate the pace of the battle and bring an insurmountable advantage to the user of Dynamax. That makes it clear to me that the problem is with the mechanic itself, not the Pokémon. If there were two or three Pokémon only that were too much with this mechanic, but nothing else to take their spot, I could totally see banning said Pokémon to be a great solution, but that really doesn't seem to be the case from where I'm standing.

Some bring up the supposed defensive Dynamax as an argument claiming the mechanic isn't as unhealthy as it seems, but that has two big problems, recovery moves get replaces with a Max Guard, but most importantly, it's extremely reactionary... Getting only one Dynamax per match means a defensive Dynamax is kind of a guessing game most of the time, especially when the potential offensive Dynamax user isn't a setup sweeper but rather a random wallbreaker or, even worse, a Choice Item user, making it even more unpredictable and unfair. This ends up causing a really contrived metagame where fatter teams are in this awkward position (after Shadow Tag ban, that is) and Offensive teams are frawned upon because of Ditto being everywhere. And in general it's a metagame extremely centered around 3 turns and playing around said turns. I won't talk much more about how Dynamax is unhealthy because other posts already did an amazing job in that subject in my opinion, most notably talah's, so I'll leave it at this. If anyone wants me to elaborate on this by all means let me know.

My main point here is how the mechanic itself is the problem, and not it's abusers. Ditto, Gyarados, Hawlucha, Hatterene, Corviknight, and whoever else you want to add to that list aren't the problem. Dynamax is. I don't think banning Gyarados or Hawlucha will solve much as there are dozens of Pokémon ready to take their place. Banning Ditto won't help either as it's literally one of the few Pokémon that still protect some of these sweepers from running rampant in a way or another, as far as I can tell. I feel like banning Pokémon instead of the mechanic here is just going down this rabbit whole, and I'm not sure where and when that rabbit hole ends, if it does end at all.

Now, I know banning a mechanic is unprecedented and I completely agree that it shouldn't be taken lightly, but I'm not sure if I see a good solution to fix this metagame other than doing so at the moment. To anyone comparing these to Z-moves they are inherently different and it's clear to all of us that Dynamax is far more negative to the metagame than Z-moves could ever dream to be. While banning a whole mechanic may feel not feel like the best approach to some, I think it has to be banned somewhere down the line.

Those are just my two cents and I'm sure the council will handle this responsibly, I just wanted to share my opinions here. Peace!
 

PK Gaming

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There's no getting around the fact that Dynamax is without a doubt, the most broken and centralizing mechanic that has ever been introduced in all of Pokemon. Seriously, if we want to preserve balance in a way we're accustomed to, we should ban it completely and move on. But despite saying that, I find myself wanting to preserve it anyway. It's gen VIII's signature new mechanic, and while it completely flies in the face of competitive Pokemon play, there IS depth to it. It's not something that completely derails singles OU to the point where it literally becomes unenjoyable.

Don't get me wrong, it completely warps the game around it to the point where you aren't really playing a traditional 6v6 Pokemon battle anymore. Every battle I've seen has literally come down to who could manage Dynamax better/the matchup. In that respect, it kind reminds of me a X-factor from Marvel vs Capcom 3.

1574373547910.png


Here's an example

I know Pokemon and Fighting games are different genres, but there are similarities of interest. For one, it's possible to pop a Dynamax/X-factor early on to gain some early momentum. Or you can do the opposite and bank on setting up the conditions for a possible lategame sweep. The versatility of any Pokemon being able to Dynamax contributes to how "overwhelming" it feels, but it also ensures that you always have an out, as long as you preserve Dynamax.

Now with all that said, there are still a few problems with I just said. For one, Pokemon clearly isn't balanced around Dynamax like X-factor is for Marvel. There's also the possibility that the meta might just devolve into people relying on the handful of broken Dynamax mons and, with weaker players using it as a crutch to beat stronger players. So I'm ultimately in favor of giving this mechanic a chance, even if it ends up being banned in the long run.
 

Martin

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An approach that I think is worth bringing up would be to run two separate ladders for this—one which has Dynamax legal and one which does not—in order to look at the way the two formats evolve over a potentially longer time scale before settling on one that we consider to be a "preferred" official format.

Obviously this doesn't solve the problem of which format to include in SPL+whatever other official tours are coming up over the coming months, but it does allow us to really take a more thorough look at the implications of a Dynamax-centric metagame and to compare it directly to one which cuts out this new, overwhelming force in favor of something we're already more familiar with. And yeah: there could potentially be differences in ladder activity, but that'd also serve as a metric to see the way the two metagames are able to draw the attention of the player base as a whole (beyond just those with the motivation to post about it in various channels).

The only question that'd be left then would be the one of whether to group Gigantamax together with Dynamax or not, for which I think there are good points on both sides. I'd personally be in favor of culling them both in a non-Dynamax metagame due to their mechanical similarity, but at the same time the impact that having Pokemon like Gigantamax Lapras available without the mess of other Dynamax Pokémon does loosely interest me, and I'd be kinda interested to see whether moves like Protect, which can weaken Dynamax even if it doesn't outright stop it, would rise in usage in a metagame with this very restricted form of maxing available.

While Gigantamax as a mechanic is far more overwhelming than Z moves in a vacuum, the fact that it is restricted to such a limited pool of Pokemon means that the impact it has on the dynamics of teambuilding would be an interesting development, and because of said distribution limitation we wouldn't see it invalidating a lot of traditional luring options in the same way that Z moves did. Probably still too powerful+similar to not be grouped with Dynamax though, hence why I'm still leaning towards banning both.
 

MattL

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I think it's helpful to keep the tiering policy framework in mind during all of these discussions (not just in this forum, but everywhere). Obviously that's what its purpose is, and it's not about going by the framework just for the sake of going by the framework. Even though its original form was written before the insanity of the latest generations was revealed, and even though most of us think about things in this way naturally, it lays a good foundation for the questions everyone should be asking in order to guide us towards what we're trying to achieve as a community. Based on our limited sample size thus far, is the metagame in a state where the stronger player defeats the weaker player the majority of the time? If not, what specifically is preventing that from happening, and how do we modify the metagame in the way that makes the most sense for everyone who plays under our rules? I know that people have already been giving strong answers to those questions, but I also know that there are a lot of people reading these posts who aren't as familiar with how Smogon policy works or even knew that tiering policy framework existed, which is why I began this post the way I did.

For the purposes of metagame development and getting it into a more competitive state sooner rather than later, I completely understand why there is a bit of a rush for action to be taken. I also understand that SPL will be upon us shortly and that having the metagame in disarray at that point would be disastrous. But it would be wise to take caution. For one, even though for the most part it's all right, not everything is correctly implemented in Showdown yet. Not at the fault of the researchers and developers (who by the way don't get enough praise, shoutout to everyone who's put dozens and even hundreds of hours into getting Gen 8 up and running for zero pay), but just because the games are still so new. There have been game-changing Dynamax mechanics that were discovered after people had already been playing Gen 8 on Showdown main. I'm not saying Dynamax isn't broken - the fact that there are several mons who can boost themselves to >500 attack, speed, and HP while simultaneously firing off incredibly strong attacks is ridiculous. But due to the magnitude of this decision and all of its implications, I would rather be more confident that we made the right decision in the right way than have an extra couple weeks of metagame development.

I am completely in agreement with Martin about having two ladders, one with and one without Dynamax. But banning Dynamax isn't the only option. Is this where Kokoloko's experiment makes its impact on standard (which is the philosophy of banning everything that seems broken from the get-go, and then testing stuff by gradually unbanning it, rather than gradually testing stuff to be banned)? I know most of us are in agreement as to what the answer to that probably is, but it is technically an option. Anyway, regardless of which direction people want to go in, having two ladders will give us valuable data that will help give more credibility to everyone's arguments and help us discover, at a deeper level, what the actual state of the metagame is and what's causing any potential problems.

Are there any major downsides to having a second, no-Dynamax ladder? I can't think of any. There aren't any official/extremely important tournaments or competitions or anything going on right now that depend on having one distinctive OU format. If anything, the tons of extra data gathered from this second ladder will help us make a better decision so that way we can have a good OU format when the big tournaments come. I'm not suggesting we use this to make delays either - it's just a bonus to benefit us. Being able to see what the metagame would actually be like is infinitely more valuable than just theorycrafting, and importantly, being able to compare the two side-by-side while everyone is aware that they should be paying attention to which is a better metagame. It should only be a small amount of work for the devs to add this ladder in (love you guys), in exchange for a massive supplement to our discussions and decision-making going forward.

Putting these in this spoiler tag to not distract from the post.

1. I think that this thread was well-written and I recommend that ban announcement threads are formatted like this one. It does a good job explaining any common concerns and this makes the ban justification much more clear. Especially good during the part of explaining the existence of the Beast Boost or setup phenomenon and why it was problematic.

2. Related to what I was talking about in the final paragraph, I advocate for suspect tests in general to be conducted under this set of circumstances. Not necessarily two ladders, but being able to actively compare while everyone is in that mindset. For example, a two-week suspect period where it's allowed one week and not allowed the next, or announcing the suspect test a week before the suspect ladder goes up. To me, this is better than just changing the ladder to temporarily ban the suspected thing because before the suspect starts, not everyone is necessarily playing with the mindset and awareness of how good the metagame is with that suspected element in it. Being able to compare allows everyone to more thoughtfully assess the scenario and have more data overall.


Just clarifying the intent @ below.

First of all, I'm fine with Dynamax being quickbanned because it's so ridiculous. If Dynamax is removed, then this whole point is moot. I was saying that in the event that Dynamax isn't quickbanned by the council, then this is the intent:

It's really just the exact same reason why during a traditional suspect test, the ladder is changed to one where the suspected Pokemon is not allowed. The intent was not to have this second ladder be competing with the existing one to be the main tier. Also, nobody is forced to play on just one - it's not about dividing the community or dividing anything. The main ladder would stay as THE main ladder. The intent was to provide a location in which supplemental information can be gained. And it doesn't have to necessarily be a second ladder. My point was that any mechanism which achieves the concept of being able to provide comparison and actual "in practice" information is preferable compared to the scenario in which none of that supplemental information is available, and everyone is just going off theory. If Dynamax is quickbanned (which I totally understand - not saying Dynamax isn't broken) then that's fine, but if not, the point was that we would want to use whatever mechanism, whether that be a second ladder or something else, to give us real, supplemental information we can use to benefit the main tier without detracting from the main tier. If a manufacturer knows something is broken in the materials they use, it's fine for them to throw it out. But in the event in where they're not 100% sure, they test the new alloy to see if it's better than what they already have rather than just theorize if it would be better. And when they're testing their new alloy, their main manufacturing continues on as usual using the old allow while the new one is simply being tested.
 
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Finchinator

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Personally, I believe having a second ladder will not do much good. It will ultimately splinter the playerbase, compromising the ongoing investigation of the current, real metagame. In addition, the ladder that is not official will not gain enough traction to draw any important conclusions. We should be focused on if Dynamax is banworthy or not in the current, real metagame instead of seeing if we believe a currently non-existent, theoretical metagme is better without it. Making a second, unofficial ladder does not provide us with any information on Dynamax and it does not give us anything concrete to use moving forward. I understand that the intent is genuine and I respect the underlying idea -- the idea is fine on paper, but in practice it is less than ideal and unnecessary. We should continue to focus on the current metagame and more people should share their thoughts on Dynamax as it stands.
 
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