Generation 9 Updates - Preparation and Expectation-Setting


heralds disaster.
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributor
February this year, TPCi announced Pokemon Scarlet and Violet for a late 2022, presumably November, release date.

As is our custom, we'll be updating BBP to include the new Pokemon, moves, and other game pieces introduced in the new games at a leisurely pace. This pace is mainly dependent on Smogon's own mechanics research, conducted with every game release in threads such as this one. This generation of games seem to be shaping up to be ordinary entries in the series, and they don't look to introduce anything that would cause us to deviate from this pattern.


Since the launch of Generation 8 BBP and the surprising (but much appreciated!) surge of activity among the playerbase, the age of the game and the less rigorous nature of its creation have been sorely felt by its players. Many times a day, there is a rules question asked in Discord or in private messages with no clearly written answer. Here are some examples from the BBP Discord general channel, all of them quite recent:
  • Stealth Rock has --- Accuracy, and sets hazards even if the target is in the middle of evasive Dig. Does it cause a combo to hit a Digging foe?
  • Many abilities and items mention Secondary Effects of moves, but they don't agree on what those are. What is a Secondary Effect?
  • Pursuit states that it "strikes before the opponent acts". If the target uses Fly enhanced by Gale Wings, would an ally's Quick Guard protect the flier from Pursuit?
The game has chugging along mostly on a combination of implementation threads, hotfixes, ad-hoc rulings in Discord and offhand word of God answers from whichever moderator happens to be awake at the time of asking. This results in misinformation and assumptions piling up quickly, and can be as big a factor in the outcome of a match as any RNG roll. An order set that is predicated on a common, but false, assumption about the workings of the game (or perhaps based on how the game may have worked some years ago) can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when it turns out to be invalid. For example, expecting to be able to use Sky Attack in front of an enemy's Arm Thrust, since Sky Attack makes no mention of charging up:
Arm Thrust
[...] "disrupting opposing attacks that take a while to charge " [...]
Sky Attack
[...] "The user gathers its strength, then takes wing and performs an incredible diving attack. The user begins preparing themselves at Priority +1" [...]
Where is the definition of a charge move? The answer is nowhere--the game has no rigorous definition of the terms it uses, which just creates friction with how players interact with the game at a basic level.

The primary way BBP is played, emphasizing specifically the act of playing a match rather than the work of reffing or other book-keeping, is that a player sits down and explores the possible interactions in the round in front of them. The player weighs different move options, and how they interact with possible enemy moves, the abilities and field status of Pokemon in play, and envisions the results of those actions. When the interactions between game pieces is unclear, and the process of building out situations while ordering is frustrating, the game just literally doesn't work at a basic level. This is one of the root causes, I suspect, of the cycles of activity and burnout that BBP often undergoes--the game as it currently stands actively fights attempts to play it.

So, scheduled to release with the coming Generation 9 BBP Update, your moderation team has the following initiatives currently under construction:

The BBP Glossary

Collecting a list of game terms, defining them, and storing them in a single place goes leaps and bounds to help resolve interactions between two niche game pieces. Creating a tool like this allows players to plan their turns with greater confidence.

Getting every player on the same page, calling game pieces and rules by the same names, is a big stride towards ensuring players can help one another resolve complex situations and understand the implications of their own orders. Cutting through dubious interactions should make both ordering and reffing faster and easier, as well. However, a glossary alone would be of little use if moves, abilities, and other pieces continued to use slapdash and seemingly random terminology in their text.

Which segues nicely into the next initiative.

The Great Effect Text Update

To help streamline and clarify the dozens upon dozens of interactions and edge cases that occur daily in BBP--to say nothing of options considered by players when planning their orders but not chosen--the newly defined terms need to be applied to the text of BBP's moves, abilities, and other pieces. This process would have to be done manually, and painstakingly by the same user at that, to ensure consistency. Which goes a long way in explaining why no one's done it in all of BBP's history.

Until now.

These snippets are selected from an ever-growing document containing every move, ability, and item in BBP; as well as many rules rewrites to use the new terminology. Consider the following examples of (highly tentative!!) revised move text:
The user soars across the arena with a flourish to strike the opponent.

While the user has no item or a partially-used item: Acrobatics has 11 BAP instead of 6.
Court Change
The user blows a whistle and declares that their team will play from the opposite side of the field.

(In battles with three or more teams, you must specify a target team as a parameter for this move.)

The user's team trades all of their own Field Conditions with those of the target team.
The user conspicuously indicates the target.

Inflicts a unique status on the target for the next six (6) turns, with the following effects:
● The subject's positive Evasion stage is ignored.
● While the subject is being attacked: The attacker's negative Accuracy stage is ignored.
● The subject's Ghost-type immunity to Normal- and Fighting-type damage is ignored.

Z-Effect: Raises the user's critical stage by three (3) for the next six (6) actions, without extension.
The new format segments a piece's flavor text, any special costs and requirements for use, and its effects from one another. If an effect on the game piece has a specific timing or trigger condition, it is now separated from the effect's result with a colon to clearly indicate what happens, when. Combined with the elimination of certain repeat-offending ambiguous terms (begone, "secondary effect" and "can't be used") in favor of multiple more specific terms, and the interaction of even several overlapping effects should be much easier to parse for both players and referees.

The attentive reader might notice that stat stages have a duration specified in turns in the above move descriptions, implying changes to the existing stat stage decay mechanic.

Which, again, segues into the last major overhaul.

The Support Rework

Among longer-time BBP players, the general sentiment is that the current state of the game is an improvement over its past versions. Pokemon stat ranks now matter at all, moves and effects are generally clearer and better defined than they once were, combinations have consistent logic instead of being entirely at the whim of the referee, and posting first against a full movepool Pokemon isn't an utter crapshoot. However, there's always room for improvement, and a particular concern rises when players are pressed for details: the stat ranks of Pokemon matter more than anything else about them, and rubbing stat-blocks against one another can get a little dull.

The cause, as determined by your moderation team, is the action inefficiency of support moves and the strategies around them, compared to simply attacking the enemy. By design, stat stages have always been hamstrung in the game to distance ourselves from in-cartridge sweeper-centric gameplay. In addition to this, though, most forms of team support are highly niche or simply not very usable at all. Consider the last time you saw Reflect or Light Screen used in a serious match, except as filler for an anti-Protect substitution.

Many Pokemon in the Pokedex are designed to wield these moves as their main function, to set up the battlefield and weaken opponents in order to set up their allies for success. But, because their moves of choice are simply weak, trying to use these strategies in a serious battle would be the same as simply letting the enemy hit your Pokemon for free without fighting back.

Most supportive moves have come under review in the scope of this update work, to sculpt them into options that may tempt players away from the raw damage race. In addition, the rules themselves are up for revision, such as the following:
Stat Stage Damage Modifier (Rules Change)
When calculating damage for an attack, subtract the target's relevant Defense stage from the user's relevant Attack stage.
● If the difference is positive, increase the final damage by 4 times the difference in stages.
● If the difference is negative, decrease the final damage by 3 times the difference in stages, to a minimum of 1.
Stat Stage Duration (Rules Change)
Effects that modify stat stages do so by a stated duration.
● If the Pokemon's stage is 0, the effect will modify the stage, and that modification will last for the effect's stated duration.
● If the Pokemon's stage is not 0 (positive or negative), the effect will modify the stage and then add its duration minus one (d-1) to the stage's current duration.
● When a stat stage becomes 0 (but not when it crosses 0, such as from -1 to +1), the stage duration is discarded. The next effect to modify that stage will apply its full duration.
● When the stage's duration elapses, the stage resets to 0.
With this in mind, consider the following (highly tentative!!) updated effect text, as examples of what's to come:
Swords Dance
The user performs a graceful but ferocious spinning war dance.

Raises the user's Attack stage by two (2) for their next three (3) turns.

Z-Effect: Resets the user's negative stat stages to 0.
Power-Up Punch
The user flexes tightly, and then releases the stored strength in a snap punch.

On hit: Raises the user's Attack stage by one (1) for their next two (2) turns, without extension.
Double Team
The user moves around the battlefield in a blur, becoming almost impossible to track by sight.

Raises the user's Evasion stage by one (1) for the next three (3) turns, without extension.
Power Belt
Increases the damage dealt by the holder's moves of their own types by two (2), plus two more (+2) per positive Defense stage of the holder.
When the holder is hit while their Defense stage is one (1) or greater: The attacker loses two (2) HP.
The hope is that these stage changes breathe life into the movepools of Pokemon across the entire game. Changing stat stages is one of the pillars of the Pokemon design, and vast swathes of the game are dedicated to it. Hundreds of moves, and dozens of abilities and items, are devoted to changing stat stages. Bringing those pieces up to viability and streamlining the process of tracking their duration should make them both easier to use in a match, and more impactful when used. If these changes land their mark, the decision between attacking and offensive boosting should represent a careful choice of greater risk for greater reward.

Boosting up, whether it's offensive or defensive, would have all the risks it's associated with in-game: yielding momentum, missing out on a favorable matchup, and the possibility of being forced out for no reward. However, with the chance to efficiently deal high damage to multiple opponents, or to weather and contain the offense of a troublesome opponent, boosting and weakening moves should be a staple in every trainer's arsenal.

Besides stage-changing moves, however; many other supporting moves exist. Screens, manual weather, manual terrain, Gravity, most forms of major status, and more moves besides need a hard look to bring them into relevance. Consider the following (highly tentative!!) reworked supporting moves:
Lucky Chant
The user chants a heartfelt plea for the safety of its allies.

Grants the user's team a unique field condition for the next six (6) steps, with the following effects:
● The affected team can't be critically hit.
● Effect checks fail against the affected team.
Healing Wish
The user entrusts an ally with all of their lifeforce, withdrawing from the battle.

The user faints.
The ally that replaces the user gains three-fourths (x0.75) of the HP and half (x0.5) of the Energy that the user had when this move was executed, rounded down, as they enter play. This HP gain and En gain can exceed the recipient's maximum HP and En.

Z-Effect: None
Light Clay
Extends the duration of Reflect, Light Screen, and Aurora Veil created by the holder by three (3) steps.
Damage dealt to the holder is not reduced by Reflect, Light Screen, or Aurora Veil.
This list is NOT exhaustive, and this rework is the furthest from completion. Furthermore, many existing forms of lingering support, such as entry hazards, Tailwind, and moves such as Memento and Parting Shot, are quite good already.

Most of the current powerful meta Pokemon--the stat-block types that currently see the most play--enjoy some benefit from these changes. Metagross and Dragonite can easily set screens for themselves to cushion a troublesome combo, and Garchomp or Togekiss both threaten setup using powerful offensive boosting moves if they're given free turns. But there exists a large number of Pokemon who have the majority of their power budget allocated to these types of moves, such as Blissey or Ninetales-Alola, or Fidgit, who are unusable in BBP because their main contributions to teams is weakened in this game compared to cartridge play. In addition, the entire archetype of "disruptive" Pokemon, including old standbys such as Weavile, Whimsicott, Kitsunoh, and more stand to benefit from their preferred prey re-entering the meta, giving these kinds of Pokemon a new lease on life as well.

Backing up your powerful attackers with appropriate support, and attacking your opponent's support Pokemon with appropriate disruption, should be as much of a consideration in teambuilding as type synergy.


These three initiatives are no small undertaking. They may in fact, taken together, be the largest single update to occur in BBP (perhaps bigger than the progression rework of Generation 8).

In this thread, I would love to see discussion centering on the following topics:
  • Effects and rules that are currently unclear or contradictory.
  • Game terms that are confusing or undefined.
  • Moves, Items, or entire Pokemon that are under-served despite having clear intended strengths (Fidgit, not Unown.)
  • Potential users and abusers of stage-based strategies.
Such replies would go a long way in helping myself and the rest of the moderation team sculpt these updates to best benefit the game.

Last edited:


heralds disaster.
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributor
To confirm certain users' suspicions, this has been what's been delaying my work on both Seasonal Events (expect February's event in June at this rate, lol), and any work towards re-releasing the Battle Pike.

It's hard to see a point in releasing content for a nearly-broken game when it could be fixed up, so try to distract yourself with the Tournament and existing facilities for the time being.

When discussing stage changes, please consult the following table of (roughly) expected durations, for "types" of stage modification.

TurnsStage Sources with this Duration

Z-Effects that modify stats.
Consumable Items that give stages.
No "ordinary" moves reach this duration.
Howl, Leer, Growl, Meditate, etc. (All versions.)
Work Up
Sweet Scent
Bulk Up, Calm Mind. (Also rare versions such as Coil, Quiver Dance etc.)
Swords Dance, Nasty Plot. (Also rare versions such as Tail Glow, Shell Smash, etc.)
Iron Defense, Amnesia. (Also rare versions such as Cotton Guard.)
Screech, Feather Dance, etc.
Snarl, Bulldoze, Struggle Bug (Weakening damaging moves.)
Sand Attack
Lunge, Skitter Smack, Mystical Fire (Strong weakening damaging moves.)
Power-Up Punch, Charge Beam (self-buffing damaging moves)
Draco Meteor, Superpower (Self-debuffing moves.)
Double Team, Mud-Slap
Skull Bash, Meteor Beam (poor starters on their own.)
Stages modified by Simple (You must extend boosts to use them effectively.)
Last edited:
Can we get a few glossary terms that are being used in the examples? Specifically I’m not sure what a “turn” or a “step” is in the examples. Also what are Rounds and Actions in the new system, or are those terms getting axed?


heralds disaster.
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributor
...I have no idea how much of the unfinished glossary you want. I also don't know why you would assume terms like Round, one of the most concretely defined terms we have in the entire game, would be axed.

A unit of game time. Within Rounds, there are one or more Steps.

Typically, a Singles Battle has three (3) Steps per round, a Doubles Battle has two (2), and a Triples Battle has one (1).

The number of Steps per Round may be specified by the match parameters. In most battles, each Pokemon will be given one order per Step by their trainer.

This has to change because of this term:
A specific, named behavior of a Pokemon that can be issued by their trainer as an order.

Actions are divided into moves, commands, and combinations.

When the action is executed and it succeeds, it influences the game state as specified in its effect text. In addition, other results may be specified in its action data, such as dealing damage according to its Base Attack Power, Category, and Typing.
And we end up somewhere like this:

There's no world where we call these both "actions", and force ourselves to durations in "actions".
Imagine having to explain that "the next three actions" doesn't mean the next three times you act (ending after you act), but instead means this complete other thing named "actions" (ending at the end of the... action?).
Last edited:
I think it should be clarified when stat stage duration decreases. Is it at the end of every turn? At the end of turns where you don't boost at all? At the end of turns where you don't change your stat away from 0?
I personally think that the stat change duration thing is intriguing and I see how you nerfed it by making it harder and harder to extend the duration of stat changes. I do think that this is rather interesting to think about because it makes you think about whether it's worth getting that little bit of extra damage for that period of time or not. I have a question: will the stat changes decay by one stage at a time or do they all vanish at once. If all of the stat changes from a move vanish at once, it seems like it'll get complicated fast keeping track of multiple stat change timers which could prove to maybe be a slight issue. Other than that, I'm looking forward to exploring the new effects of all of the moves and also participating in How Much for a Heart (whenever that gets released).


heralds disaster.
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributor
At the end of your turn, except the turn it was changed from 0.

The majority of stat-changing effects will adjust durations "for the next X turns." This means that those durations decrement at the end of the subjects turn (not the overall step), except for the turn that they are created. (e.g. "next turns" explicitly excludes "this turn". the same is true of rounds and any other time units.)

Since it's very rare for an effect other than a move to change a Pokemon's on own stats on their own turn, that last clause ends up mattering for almost exclusively self-targeting moves and on-hit effects like Gooey.

The relevant line for stage duration is:
● If the Pokemon's stage is not 0 (positive or negative), the effect will modify the stage and then add its duration minus one (d-1) to the stage's current duration.

So if you use Swords Dance (3 turn duration) twice:
  1. The first one raises your Attack stage to +2, with a 3 turn duration.
  2. The next turn, you use Swords Dance again. You'll have 5 turns of +4 Attack... if you somehow live to use all five turns after spending two on boosting.
I had a choice between either saying "refreshing your duration stalls the timer" (using the "for the next X turns" logic above), or saying "refreshing duration adds X-1 turns instead" and I'm not the biggest fan of either, but I went with the one I disliked the least.

I'd still like to hear about any current effects or other text you've found troublesome. In particular, if there's a move or item you've shied away from using specifically because you don't think it would be ruled to work the way you think it works, I'd like to hear about it.

I have some other initiatives I'd like to work on, but these are the main ones that my attention will be on for now.
Oh, I remember what I was trying to say now. Basically, it wasn't about durations but rather how fast the stats would decay. I was curious as to whether the stat boosts/drops would decay one stage at a time.

For example, let's look at this hypothetical situation:

Turn 1:
Lucario used Swords Dance!
Lucario +2 Atk
-7 EN

Then we skip to Turn 3. Will Lucario's +2 Atk decay to +1 Atk or 0 Atk?
I support most of what's been proposed, but I'd like to verify that I'm understanding the rationale behind the stat change rework. Basically, meager boosts like those from Howl become equivalent in strength to the current "exciting" options such as Swords Dance, which merits a nerf to the latter group to prevent them from becoming overtuned. By similar reasoning, Power Items are ostensibly reworked into a sort of funky, dynamic Rare Candy-type Item to prevent the accumulation of a stack of newly amplified boosts.

However, several "fun," Item-enabled uses for stat changes, including such combinations as Macho Brace + Shell Smash and Power Lens + Stored Power, will be lost in this revamp. I'm disappointed by this idea, but I'll wait to see what replacement could arise.

I don't know how Simple users are supposed to extend their stage changes, though. Regardless of the move, Ability, or Item used, any stat changing effect will last for d = 1 turn, meaning that they can only be extended by (d - 1) = 0 turns. Given that Simple often costs the entirety of its bearers' power budgets, this seems unnecessarily harsh.

I'd also like to know whether stat changes enacted by Abilities have a universal duration.

As far as underserved game elements go, I'd like to vouch for Berries. They're basically weak counterpick Items that are especially vulnerable to Item disruption techniques. While the Enigma Berry has the rare distinction of possessing consistent practical applications, practically everything else associated with these Items is underwhelming: Ripen users don't survive long enough to enjoy their extra bites, Harvest users are burdened with abysmal defensive typings and unremarkable stat lines, and the strengths of Belch and Natural Gift are often insufficient to warrant spending an Item slot on a Berry.
I agree that the nerf on Simple boosts seems too harsh. I believe that probably it might be more reasonable to simply reduce the duration of Simple's stat buffs by a set amount of turns and not go lower than 1 turn (so maybe it could be decreased by 1 or 2 turns which lets Howl become +2 Atk for 3 turns or 2 turns and Swords Dance becomes +4 Atk for 2 turns or 1 turn). Buffing berries could be an interesting decision and I'd like to see where that would go if they are buffed.


heralds disaster.
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributor
Then we skip to Turn 3. Will Lucario's +2 Atk decay to +1 Atk or 0 Atk?
We got to this in Discord, but I should put it here:
● When the stage's duration elapses, the stage resets to 0.

(It's in the first post, but it is a very dense post.)

However, several "fun," Item-enabled uses for stat changes, ... *item content, Simple content*
The main use Power Items got previously was to pidgeonhole certain RP opponents into boosting strategies, and to make up for how impotent boosts were by granting a lot of them upfront. With boosts themselves becoming stronger, there's no way that's staying.

The text of abilities can override the default rules for how durations are created and extended.

That said we were inclined to just let Simple and Contrary rip and deal with them as appropriate in a later balance pass, except that Pyroak got its shiny new CAP update, and is positioned to become far and away the strongest stat stage abuser unless we take some kind of action.

So, now I'm mulling over some possible adjustments to keep these kinds of abilities strong but sane. But the priority in my work will be making sure "regular" Pokemon can use boosts effectively. These abilities can simply be adjusted later if need be.

*berry content*
Berries are unfortunately going to remain pretty niche. Type-resist berries and Enigma Berry already lend Harvest users considerable bulk, and who knows what kind of Harvest user we may get in the coming games.

I'd also like to know whether stat changes enacted by Abilities have a universal duration.
No, duration is the main tool we have for strengthening or weakening these abilities. Expect to refer to these effects every so often to confirm their duration.


There's other gripes, if they exist, that we'd like to solicit. If anyone has concerns regarding Progression, especially Pokemon progression, we'd like to hear them.

And please, keep any questions about the opening post coming as well.
My main concern for Progression is the relative difficulty of earning a 5* Pokemon. Currently the only methods of obtaining a 5* Pokemon are:
  • Defeating three consecutive floors of the Battle Tree.
  • Defeating a certain set of Realgam Tower sims.
  • Winning a certain number of tournament matches. For the Sinnoh Mythos Tournament, this is winning three out of the five battles.
Of these, the current form of the Realgam Tower has precisely zero wins on a 5* granting simulation for the two years it has been open. The Battle Tree is the most likely source of 5*, but in it's current form the Tree relies on a lot of luck to obtain matchups are beatable with your setup (see: Epicdrill's two attempts ending in failure because the Tree rolled Mega Scizor both times), and the entry cost is a still staggering 10 JC. And naturally, the tournaments only happen sporadically and are a relatively slow and unreliable method for 5* Pokemon.

Normally, this would not be a problem, since you do not NEED a 5* Pokemon to play the game at a reasonable level. However, having access to a Mega Evolve capable/Z-move capable Pokemon when your opponent does not is a significant competitive advantage. This is especially true with the stronger Mega Pokemon like Mega Blastoise and Mega Kangaskhan.

While I agree that the 5* should not be trivial, in it's current form I think getting 5* Pokemon is too difficult of a challenge. My personal thought would be to allow purchasing 5* rank with a large amount of TC (about 50 or so). This would still not be trivial, but would ensure that people at least have access to certain meta-defining Pokemon.
A smaller gripe I have is that 2* is currently useless. Few people have a team of 2* Pokemon available, and the only ones likely to have them in a normal situation are newer players. These newer players then have to find an opponent willing to fight them, generally in a lopsided 1* vs. 2* or 2* vs. 3* affair. The rank just seems to have no reason to exist in the game as it stands.

The solution I would propose would be to just get rid of 2*, and let people advance to 3* with 1 or 2 TC. This may also open up room to add more moves to the default 1* pool, since there are Pokemon who have trouble at 1* (Plusle/Minun having no moves at 1* that can harm a Ghost/Ground type for example). There could be a discussion of whether to allow middle evolution Pokemon at 1* (whose stats are comparable to some non-evolving Pokemon) or leave both evolutions for 3*.


It's beauty and rage!
is a Pre-Contributor
I agree with the sentiment that getting 5*s at present is a bit too hard. Not that they should start getting handed out for free, but as of writing this post, only two 5*s have been earned since the start of 2022 by anyone in the playerbase, which does feel low (that being said, there are a couple others on the verge atm, and some that have come really close but some untimely RNG said no.)

This is more concerning when we consider that the new mechanic in Scarlet and Violet, the terrestrializing thing, will likely be locked behind 5* (if it gets added at all, that is), further increasing the gap between 5* and not 5*.

While buying mons from 1*-4* can be done by just playing enough, 5*s need skill and also generally some luck to get, and a single misplay or bad roll can set back weeks or even months of progress. Buying 5*s straight up is (most likely) out of the question, but I think it would be neat to somehow reward players who have made notable time contributions to the game an easier and/or more consistent way to acquire 5* mons. Unfortunately I'm not really sure how this would be done, but discussion is wanted so here I am.

EDIT: I think getting one's first 5* mon should be made easier, if anything. One thing I noticed is that in round 1 of the sinnoh tournament, there were 7 matches, and the 7 winners all used a mega evolution while the 7 losers did not (this does include battles that ended in DQ and those swayed by last minute RNG, to be fair). I think it’s important that battlers are able to feel like they’re at least entering important battles on a level playing field, and aren’t at a disadvantage from the get go cause they lack powerful tools their opponent may have. From observation, players with 5*s do tend to bring them to their important games more than they don’t.
Last edited:
I think it’s important that battlers are able to feel like they’re at least entering important battles on a level playing field, and aren’t at a disadvantage from the get go cause they lack powerful tools their opponent may have. From observation, players with 5*s do tend to bring them to their important games more than they don’t.
I especially agree with this part because I have noticed that people do tend to bring the 5* Pokemon that they do have to important matches simply because of the enormous power levels of Mega Pokemon. Also, as a (relatively) new player who has to face more experienced players who often have 5* Pokemon, I often have to take them into account which widens the gap between me and my opponent who has more experience as well as stronger Pokemon. I might have just ran all over your argument and said some things that didn't make sense but it's 11 PM spare me


It's beauty and rage!
is a Pre-Contributor
Follow-up post cause work is slow and I still have some thoughts.

Call me crazy but I think having more 5*s in play would actually open up team building more so than it is now. Most players with 5*s only have a couple of them. Often, it's their mega they got through tree and their mega's tree partner (which is often also a mega, but sometimes not). So in a serious match, the opponent has to target those 5*s specifically with their send ins, which places an artificial limit on which mons they can bring to a match. Similarly, there's a high opportunity cost not to be using your 5* (again, often a poweful mega), which restricts team building on the other side. I meme about :CHOMP:, but the opportunities where I'd want to bring another Dragon or Ground type in its place are few cause it's just better.

We can look to a player like GT to see how having many 5*s can actually open up team building on both sides. He has 3 megas, a sig z-move, and then a few others at 5* without unique capabilities. Due to the common limit of 1 mega and 1 z-move per match, he is able to rotate through which of his 5*s he brings and can build different but comparably powerful teams depending on what he wants to play. Similarly, since his opponent can't hone in on just one or two large threats, they would end up building teams that are generally powerful and cover weaknesses well, which I'd say gives you more options than trying to beat specific mons. Compare this to the "How do I beat Garchomp?" someone asks in discord whenever they're matched up against me :P


heralds disaster.
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributor
let's see if y'all will read bullet points instead

After convening with the other mods earlier this afternoon (after no rescheduling, somehow), I'm finally being forced to do all of the typing able to share something on some of the above.

The following points are not promises, and subject to change at any time.

The short of it:
  • Expect stages to change from what we currently have. Worry about "max level" in a general sense.
  • Expect to call Stages "Levels" (finally!). Expect your existing Pokemon to become a new equivalent Level.
  • Expect progression to br less "vertical" (climbing to max power) and more "horizontal" (collecting power from various sources).
  • Expect early-level Pokemon to be more competent than current Stage 1 Pokemon.
These changes were on the back burner for months, while we chewed on priority work like the Text Update. Now that we're further along, we're able to better hash out what we're doing with other systems... All of which lean on progression in some way. Some of the issues we've had crop up in the game in the last year include, but are not limited to, the following:

Problem: Every player is trying to force every relevant Pokemon through the same two facilities. Every Pokemon that isn't well suited to fight one of the few sources of Stage 5*, that needs or wants Stage 5*, is rendered unviable.
Solution: Create more "high-tier" rewards than just a single monolithic Stage.​

Problem: Players feel as if have no reason to promote a Pokemon to Stage 5* if it has no associated Mega Evolution or Z-Crystal. The content that awards this stage is routinely challenged by the same few Pokemon.
Solution: Offer rewards that are powerful when wielded by any Pokemon.​

Problem: Players balk at taking reffings that could "unleash" 5* Pokemon on the game at large, when that's the point of the reward structure. Refs feel pressured to not just provide resistance, but to entirely gatekeep content; and self-select out of the reffing pool if they feel they can't.
Solution: Reduce the expectation to defeat every challenger. Reward Refs with tangible progression for resisting powerful challengers.​

Problem: Players with less time to invest in practicing the game, and to invest in repeated attempts at facilities, find themselves stonewalled by content tuned to challenge our strongest players.
Solution: In addition to awarding highly skilled play with swift rewards, award competent play that is backed with time investment with steady rewards.​

Problem: Large swathes of content, including several ready-to-fire facilities, lay in various states of completion pending a place in the reward structure. Looping back to the above issue of only having one "worthwhile" reward to hand out in content.
Solution: Prepare additional facilities to house the new additional rewards.​

Problem: Lastly, players who have only a single or a couple fully promoted Pokemon find themselves unable to use their prize due to counter-teaming. (Though, isn't an aura of fear from your onlookers a worthy enough prize?)
Solution: Ease progression somewhat to let players build robust and versatile rosters. Promotion should remain prestigious, but not so exclusive as it is now.​


This brings us to preliminary changes, pending detail work. Reiterating: Any of the below could change.
  • Pokemon will have a Level (analogous to current Stages) that determine what Moves the Pokemon has access to, as well as additional sources of power.
    • Moves will be assigned a Level. Pokemon will have access to every move they learn in-game that belongs to their own Level and below.
    • Move Level is a function of complexity and necessity. Flamethrower will have a low Level, and Memento will have a high level.
    • Pokemon who reach the maximum Level will be able to begin earning their advanced mechanic privileges.
  • Level 1 Pokemon will be fully evolved, with a "passably functional" list of moves. Pokemon will be purchasable at Level 1 for roughly the current cost, or cheaply for entirely unleveled Pokemon.
    • LC, NFE, and single-stage Pokemon will exist below the Level system, with their Level 1 movepool. They may evolve by battling once or by payment. Like any other Pokemon, they can Level Up. Once you begin Leveling a Pokemon, it may not Evolve further.
    • It is likely that beginning players will start with unleveled Pokemon starting in Gen 9.
  • Access to advanced mechanics (Mega Evolution, Z-Moves, and more) will be divided between multiple facilities.
    • To earn multiple advanced mechanics on the same Pokemon, that Pokemon must earn each privilege individually. This can result in a single Pokemon such as Charizard needing to clear a Mega-awarding facility multiple times.
      • If a facility awards a given Level for completion, it can also award EXP towards that level for near-completion. A high-level Pokemon won't be able to earn EXP from a low-level facility. Punch in your weight class!
      • The pursuit of ever-higher Levels will lead players through multiple facilities' entry difficulties in a sensible progression. Many facilities will offer multiple difficulties, tuned to differing Levels.
    • With some exceptions, facilities will be tuned to be a little easier.
    • One, more difficult, facility will be capable of awarding any single desired advanced mechanic; acting as a catch-all.
    • For facilities with very high difficulty, particularly special rewards (that players have been patiently awaiting) are not off the table...
What this means for now:
Some familiar facilities will be relaunching very shortly, with somewhat attenuated rewards compared to the rest of the Gen 8 ecosystem. The hope is to evaluate their difficulty and investment relative to one another, so we can assign them appropriate rewards as Gen 9 is solidified.

A certain missing Pokemon will shortly be made available for purchase, at long last.

With October on the horizon, expect the Event Season to restart. Expect Season's Beatings to be, essentially, entirely recycled in December of this year with perhaps a new set of rewards. And expect "How Much is a Heart?" to make its year-belated debut at the appointed time thereafter. The Event Season cycle is to be October, December, February, and April on schedule.

Expect more previews of the Text Update, and please stop breaking the game on a daily fucking basis bear in mind that many current ambiguities and contradictions will be cleared up--and remember that surely some new issues will need ironing out right after.

Over the next few months, certain administration threads will be combined with one another or put to rest entirely. We're very long overdue for a clean-up.
There's a lot of interesting and important information in that post—in fact, it's too much for me too address under my current schedule. Nevertheless, I'd like to ask whether advanced Stages in our current system will transfer to the proposed revamped system; while I have no Stage 5 Pokemon, myself, I wouldn't want anyone to feel as if they wasted the time spent grinding through facilities when their "maxed" Pokemon is demoted to match everything else.
There's a lot of interesting and important information in that post—in fact, it's too much for me too address under my current schedule. Nevertheless, I'd like to ask whether advanced Stages in our current system will transfer to the proposed revamped system; while I have no Stage 5 Pokemon, myself, I wouldn't want anyone to feel as if they wasted the time spent grinding through facilities when their "maxed" Pokemon is demoted to match everything else.
In Discord when this was previously asked the mods indicated that any current stage 5 mons would likely keep the ability to use Z-moves and Mega Evolve, but would probably have to earn any future special mechanics that get implemented (e.g. Terrastalize if we implement that) the way other pokemon would.


heralds disaster.
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributor
I feel like I'm getting an usually high volume of ruling requests this week; likely prompted by the Tournament. I will probably double post after this with real news and feedback questions soon, but I wanted to stress this point ASAP:

When the Generation 9 PHB and DAT come out, any existing rulings, regarding the current battle engine and its rules, will expire.

  • Currently you can beat Detect + Double Team with Stealth Rock, a perfectly-accurate move that targets all opposing Pokemon.
  • In Gen 9, Stealth Rock targets a team instead of any Pokemon, and "---" Accuracy means no accuracy at all, with different implications for combinations. Moves with perfect accuracy instead say so in their effect text.
Any ruling on situations leading up to Gen 9 release are band-aids at best, to help keep the game from breaking apart while we all limp over the finish line together.

have a nice one

25-minute edit: decided to be even harsher in phrasing
Last edited:


heralds disaster.
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributor
Running into a templating issue with abilities that both have automatic triggers and commanded triggers, where those triggers are optionally prevented by the trainer. This problem I'm having affects the following abilities:
  • Sand Stream
  • Snow Warning
  • Drought
  • Drizzle
  • Grassy Surge
  • Psychic Surge
  • Electric Surge
  • Misty Surge
  • Trace (special, must specify ability)
  • Rebound
  • Receiver
  • Color Change
  • Intimidate
  • Power of Alchemy
Here's an example:
Sand Stream (WIP)
The Pokemon enters battle accompanied by a raging sandstorm.

The user gains the command "Summon Sandstorm".

When the user enters play (unless ordered not to on sendout) or gains this ability (unless ordered not to in their order post): The user uses Summon Sandstorm as a triggered action.

Command: Summon Sandstorm
● --- BAP, X En, typeless, --- Acc, Status, CT: None.
● Discard any weather in play, and create Sandstorm for X rounds.
Triggered actions are a keyword for "use this without taking a turn". They cost Energy and perform all the steps of using an action, unless something says otherwise.

What I'm struggling with, here, is as follows:
  • I have to specify which posts the trainer can "order the Pokemon not to trigger their command" for each scenario (on sendout, or on ability gain). This is pertinent both to proper ability-manipulation behavior, and to Mega Evolution / Primal Reversion where applicable.
  • This doesn't even include the text that the trigger is skipped if it would have no effect, such as a Tyranitar entering play and Mega Evolving in the same round.
  • For abilities that create custom weathers, such as Desolate Land, the command has to specify all of the additional effects of that weather, resulting in extremely dense effect text for the ability.
I'm not sure if I want to name different posts made by trainers (sendout post, order post), or create a specific syntax for activation/prevention, or do something else. Any input is welcome.
Last edited:


is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributor
Policy/Admin changes:
We intend to reduce the total number of policy/admin threads, in order to improve clarity of communication. For example, we may start putting patch notes directly into the Handbook thread.
To that end, Ooraloo and Gemini Taurus have been assigned by the mod team to gather, organize, prioritize, and communicate feedback across Smogon and Discord discussions.

Level System changes:
Intending to improve gameplay imbalances in low/intermediate level battles, we are reworking how Pokemon's movepools progress.
New players will start with Lv0 Pokemon. Pokemon can be advanced to Lv 1, 2, 3, then 4.
Pokemon may be purchased at Lv0 or Lv1.
Each Level will have an associated master list of moves. A Pokemon knows all moves that it can learn, so long as those moves are contained within their Level's master list.
Pokemon may battle at a lower Level then their current level. While doing so, they lose access to Level-related tools above the Level they are battling at, and their Trainer must send them in to the battle with an edited movepool.

Converting Pokemon to the new Level System:
Stage 1*-2* Pokemon will be converted to Lv0 Pokemon.
Stage 3* Pokemon will be converted to Lv2 Pokemon.
Stage 4* Pokemon will be converted to Lv4 Pokemon with no Advanced Techniques (no Z-Moves, Facility-only techniques, Mega, etc)
Stage 5* Pokemon will be converted to Lv4 Pokemon with their present Advanced Techniques: Mega Evolution (if applicable), and Z-Move access.

In an effort to address certain balance/design issues related to Items, the default battle format for Gen9 will be changed to include a Backpack limitation.
When sending in teams to the ref, players will send in a collection of Items (referred to as a Backpack). The Backpack encompasses all Held Items that that player may equip during the battle.
Default Backpack size = (# of Pokemon on the team * 2) + 1.
Attachments are not limited by the Backpack.
If a Pokemon is sent out without any Held Item, or with a partially-consumed Held Item, that Pokemon may be equipped with a Held Item from the Backpack. Held Items cannot be equipped twice (if you want two Life Orb equips, you need to bring two Life Orbs).
Related: Sticky Barb will be reworked to allow its victim to re-equip on a future sendout.

To allow fans of the Pokemon games to enjoy Scarlet/Violet spoiler-free, spoilers will be forbidden within BBP until Dec 2 UTC.
However, there still is a need to communicate game design across the playerbase. The mod team will be discussing certain implementations in general terms until then. A specific, updated Handbook will be made public on Dec 2.
Gen9 is scheduled to release on Dec 16th.
This looks good, but I have some questions.

  • What kinds of Moves will be available in each Level's list?
  • When will a Pokemon acquire its Nature?
  • How will Sketch function in a Level-based system? What will happen to Moves previously Sketched by a Pokemon updated to the new system?
  • Will the prohibition of evolution above Stage 3 translate to the Level-based system?
  • How will the effort required to obtain a Level-4 Pokemon compare to our current option of paying 25 TC for a promotion to Stage 4?
  • What are "Facility-only techniques?"


is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributor
P2X7 a lot of things are still being worked on, but I will try to answer what I can.

Q: What kinds of Moves will be available in each Level's list?
A: The master lists are under construction right now. What they will look like when they are finished is unclear. Still, there are some general ideas... (not set in stone.) The two main goals in designing the master lists are:
  1. To ensure that battles between Pokemon of the same level are reasonably balanced.
  2. To provide a steady stream of new moves to most Pokemon as they progress. If it is possible, we would like to avoid situations where Pokemon are getting key parts of their movepools super-late, or receiving too many or too few moves in a single Level. Therefore, we might choose to scatter moves with similar functions across multiple Levels.
With that in mind, some notes on the specific Levels:
  • Lv0: Exists only for beginners. Expect stingy movepools containing fundamental, high-distribution moves such as Surf, Flamethrower, Will-O-Wisp, or Protect.
  • Lv1: Pokemon at Lv1 should be able to legitimately engage with the mechanics of BBP. They will be fully-evolved, able to hold Items, etc. and their movepools should reflect that. Their narrow but functional movepools will likely prioritize moves that have wide application.
  • Lv2-3: These two Levels are still a bit nebulous. Probably the focus will be on filling in redundant/similar moves (Heat Waves and Fire Blasts to go with the Lv0 Flamethrowers, for example), tossing in increasingly niche utility moves, and slightly increasing the general power ceiling.
  • Lv4: Another vague Level. Likely motivated more by flavor than anything else, moves like Burn Up or Frenzy Plant may live here. Imprison and Assist also seem like good fits for Lv4. Naturally, a Pokemon will know its entire movepool after reaching Lv4.
Q: When will a Pokemon acquire its Nature?
A: I don't know yet.

Q: How will Sketch function in a Level-based system? What will happen to Moves previously Sketched by a Pokemon updated to the new system?
A: Naturally, Sketch will need to be limited by the user's Level. It wouldn't be fair for a Lv1 Necturna to have a Lv4 move.
At the same time, the current requirements for Sketching a move may need to be re-evaluated -- Smeargle is very expensive to build and its power does not justify its cost. What's more, the new movepool system will make certain moves much more difficult for Smeargle to obtain. We will take these things into consideration when figuring out what to do with Smeargle.

Q: Will the prohibition of evolution above Stage 3 translate to the Level-based system?
A: Yes, a similar system will definitely be in place for Gen9. I imagine that it will likely take effect upon reaching Lv1, but that could change.

Q: How will the effort required to obtain a Level-4 Pokemon compare to our current option of paying 25 TC for a promotion to Stage 4?
A: I cannot answer that question because I don't know yet if Lv4 will be purchasable. But in terms of effort when challenging Facilities, we aren't trying to make things any more difficult than they currently are. We're not trying to move the goalposts, we're trying to make the path to the goalposts smoother and more enjoyable.

Q: What are "Facility-only techniques?"
A: Techniques that can only be earned by completing a Facility. It's a placeholder for anything adjacent to Z-Crystals and Mega Stones that GameFreak may throw at us in the future (assuming it gets added to BBP).


heralds disaster.
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributor
To clarify on our thought process for some of these steps, and especially on what we're waiting for:

Natures will most likely be Lv3 or Lv4. The main factors driving this is that we don't want Pokemon to have their Nature until they've been "test-driven" in the earlier levels, or else it makes buying Pokemon more difficult. If people are frequently having to pay to re-Nature their Pokemon because they didn't get to play the Pokemon enough before choosing, that's an issue design-wise. The same is true of Hidden Ability: We want each of Levels 2, 3, and 4 to give one of Nature, Hidden Ability, and Hidden Power.

That last bit is important, because we can't assign Hidden Power to a Level just yet.

Move-tiering work is some of the last work we'll do before Gen 9 Launch, by necessity. Gen 9 will bring us new moves anyway, which many result in other moves rising or falling in Level. For example, if more countermeasures to Endure are added to the game, Endure could become lower in level. So we won't know what Level to put Hidden Power in for sure (and by extension, what level Nature and Hidden Ability are unlocked) until we have the new moves in front of us for tiering.

The main things guiding our process, as determined by NB, is that:
  1. Moves should exist in the same tier as their counter-moves, and
  2. Moves that provide the exact same functionality should be in the same level; while upgraded versions of other moves will typically be higher than their base versions, and
  3. Pokemon in each Level should be equipped to viably punch up to one Level above their own without being a liability.
For example, we may decide that Pokemon learn Phazing moves at Lv1, Partial Trapping at Lv2, Pivoting at Lv3, and Full Trapping at Lv4, if we wanted a Pokemon's suite of match-up control tools to grow and evolve as they Level up. What each of these "pillars" (broad categories of moves sharing a function) end up being, and what exact level each member of a pillar becomes, will depend on what Scarlet and Violet offer us to work with.

Levels 2, 3, and 4 won't be purchasable. The ability to buy these levels was a band-aid solution to having to grind Realgams and Trees, coin-tossing for match-ups you could win until you won your Stage. With EXP, even in a bad match-up you can play to squeeze as much of your next Level out of the battle as you can. Then, if you had earned, say, 80% of a Level, you could either rerun for the rest or just move on to the next-Level facility and earn the rest as you go.

Driving the above; Only Stage 5-granting facilities will retain their difficulty. You can expect facilities to gently curve both new and veteran players into this "end-game" difficulty. In development, we've referred to these facilities as being "Level 2, 3, 4, and 5" based on what they grant; however, I think calling them by the level of Pokemon that are allowed entry is better. So, loosely:
  • Battles for Level 0 (unevolved) Pokemon are "Early-game". Only the very most basic moves are in this Level, since players are still learning how to post orders and substitutions at a fundamental level. Any battle at all, win or lose, will evolve your Pokemon at this stage of play. So, this Level will pass very quickly. We're deciding if non-evolving Pokemon even experience this stage of play at all; starting your BBP career with a Heracross is battle-warping, but very very few of your battles will be Level 0, and Heracross vs. Cubchoo is very funny.
  • Level 1, 2, and 3 Facilities make up the "Leveling" tier of content. These are for learning the game and deepening your experience as a player piloting the Pokemon. Our hope is that, as you level each Pokemon and earn its Movepool in an intentionally-designed progression, you'll enjoy seeing that Pokemon grow into its unique strengths, and get lots of chances to learn its unique tricks and tools as you play.
  • Facilities for Level 4 Pokemon are "End-Game". Level 4 Pokemon have finished their movepool and have their Nature, their Hidden Power type, and their Hidden Ability. They are fully battle-ready. End-Game content is where these Pokemon battle their advanced challenges to earn their ability to Mega Evolve, to use Z-Moves, or any such technique we decide we're willing to write for addition to BBP.
  • "Level 5" or "Pinnacle" content is what we're calling "Post-Game". For players whose Pokemon have their advanced techniques on deck. This is intended to give players something with serious bite to use their Megas, Z-Moves, and TLG Legendaries on.
Pokemon who have "entered Leveling" by becoming Level 1 will become ineligible for evolution. Whether or not promoting a fully-evolved Level 0 Pokemon to Level 1 will have any cost, and what that cost will be, is a lower-priority decision for later.

The various content in each Facility is designed by that Facility's owner, not by the mod team. We only stamp things. That said, we asked our Facility Heads to target a winrate of 80-100% for Leveling challenges, about 50% for End-Game, and perhaps 20% or less for Post-Game. If we find any Facility is off the target and is either clogging Leveling (too hard) or giving stuff away (too easy), we'll adjust.

Early-game facilities (especially Level 1 battles) are analogous to the Tierno 1 or Trevor battles in Realgam in difficulty, as well as scripted content like 2021's Season Beatings. Content that is solvable, or at least very forgiving for mistakes. New players get their first tastes of "real battling" here. Really, the design of this Leveling progression as a whole is an admission that these types of facilities are okay; planning and preparation are worth rewarding. In addition, communicating with other players about known strategies or reading previous challenges brings new players into the folds of BBP's social structure; which is a pretty key component of the game and even the main draw for many players.

End-game examples include Realgam's Cynthia and Ciphers. Examples from the past might include mid-tier TLRs and Silver Pike. Level 2 Facilities (the easiest) need to be winnable even for players who have just finished evolving their very first Starter Pokemon in BBP; so they will fold easily to veterans.

(As an aside, fully clearing a facility challenge always awards a full Level. The amount of EXP per level is being decided. Some mods like 10 for its clean appearance and because they can call a mon "Level 1.9". Myself, I like 12 per level for its many factors of divisibility. We'll decide before launch, but it's a low priority overall.)

One last addition: Some certain select Pokemon will be given a specific move sooner. The most certain of these are Pokemon that mechanically need a certain move to function: The Dittos, Unowns, Aegislashes, and so on. Dive is normally is a bit too complex to be a Level 1 move, but Cramorant will have it at Level 1 because it's necessary for Gulp Missile to function. Similarly, Kitsunoh will always have Shadow Strike, and Stratagem will always have Paleo Wave. We already have this tech in the game (in the current Handbook, I think, which is an odd home), so iterating on that isn't too much to ask for the Pokemon that need it.

Sketch relies on move tiering to mostly finish before we decide how it will work. Though, I can't imagine Necturna will change much mechanically, if at all.

The other type of move getting this treatment is specifically Starter and Legendary Signature moves, such as Spacial Rend, Plasma Fists, Searing Shot, and so on. This will probably be for the move *very obviously designed to come out with the Pokemon*. For example, Victini's V-Create and Searing Shot. Victini learns the signature moves of the Gen 5 Dragons in Fusion Flare, Fusion Bolt, and Glaciate; but these are not Victini's moves. Similarly, Leaf Blade may be widely distributed, but it's designed for Sceptile (and Grovyle). This can get very subjective very quickly (just check the relevant Bulbapedia page), so we're limiting this treatment to Starter, CAP, and Legendary Pokemon initially.

Pokemon not getting this treatment are Pokemon who just learn some random move in-cartridge at "Level ?" or their evolution level (such as Venusaur's Petal Blizzard) and Pokemon who are somewhat mechanically bound to certain moves but can fight without them (such as Skill Link users). We decided that it's perfectly okay if that latter type of Pokemon be "late bloomers" who come on-line when their Hidden Ability or key coverage moves kick in. Building a team for early-level facilities that includes initially strong Pokemon, who help push your late-blooming Pokemon through the leveling process, is left as an exercise for the player.

The natural question is why we wouldn't just make these kinds of moves Level 1 to begin with. This would mean making mechanically-complex moves like Transform Level 1; which would have knock-on effects. If we got the inevitable Transforming CAP down the round, as just one example, that Pokemon shouldn't start with a CAP movepool and Transform. Letting specified Pokemon simply list a move to start with in their data both saves future headaches by allowing us to tier the move on its own merits, and makes the purchase of the Pokemon in question feel more special.

this type of essay is mainly brought to you by the power of imbibed substances and won't be the PR norm until we get closer to Gen 9 launch.

as a reminder:
nightblitz42 said:
To allow fans of the Pokemon games to enjoy Scarlet/Violet spoiler-free, spoilers will be forbidden within BBP until Dec 2 UTC.
However, there still is a need to communicate game design across the playerbase. The mod team will be discussing certain implementations in general terms until then. A specific, updated Handbook will be made public on Dec 2*
Gen9 is scheduled to release on Dec 16th, UTC.
*only december 2-ish. it will be up whenever i manage to move the thread that day, as I am terminally employed
Last edited:

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 1, Guests: 0)