In-game tier list policy discussion thread

Do we assume that players play while constantly looking stuff up (especially NPCs' movesets) on Bulbapedia? This question is especially important for tiering Shedinja, which as you may guess, is probably by far the most matchup-based Pokemon in the whole series. Shedinja may rank pretty well if the answer is yes, but if the answer is no, then it will be bottom tier in every game.
I can’t speak from my own experience using Shedinja here, because by the time I did, in a Bug-type run of Emerald, I basically knew all the moves used by major trainers’ Pokémon, and what moves wild and route trainer Pokémon were likely to know at most levels.

I suppose I would say ‘no’ for route trainers and wild Pokémon, because that seems excessive, and then maybe say that Shedinja should have a more detailed ‘Major Battles’ section outlining which Rival/Leader/E4 Pokémon know dangerous moves, eliminating the need to look up those movesets?

Either way, I don’t think Shedinja will be ranked very highly, because despite its ability to wall a bunch of key threats, raising it is a pain at every stage. Nincada levels up incredibly slowly to begin with, and as karxrida said, its movepool as a Shedinja is awful until it gets Shadow Ball. It’s hard to justify using it in an efficient run.
 
Still wondering what you guys think about this issue:

With regard to evolution, in which games of the series do players still have the option of trading with somebody to evolve, say, Kadabra? If it's hardly possible in 2k17, perhaps trade evolution shouldn't be considered in these games? Referring to the older gens here.
In some of the older games, is it still a realistic expectation that players are able to evolve some of their Pokemon through trading? Should we stop considering trade evolutions in some tier lists for this reason?
 
In some of the older games, is it still a realistic expectation that players are able to evolve some of their Pokemon through trading? Should we stop considering trade evolutions in some tier lists for this reason?
I don’t see the harm in continuing to include trade evolutions. If a player can’t trade to evolve Pokémon, they’ll just look at the tier listings for what they are able to obtain.

In my case, I’m lucky enough to have siblings who also played Pokémon when they were younger, so I have access to their devices and games for trading purposes. Even if this is far from the norm, omitting trade evolutions makes the lists incomplete for the people who can trade, while including them has no negative impact on those who can’t trade, as far as I can tell. Additionally, I don’t think there are enough trade evolutions to make the extra writeups constitute any significant burden.

Edit: I guess another way of looking at it is: if someone on this forum is capable of playing through the game, using a trade evo, and analysing its in-game usefulness, why shouldn’t we include that analysis? As long as it’s still possible to obtain a Pokémon, and someone takes the time to play through the game and assess it, the analysis has the potential to be useful to someone.
 
Last edited:
Also, even if has gotten harder in Gen 1/2; those games did get ported to the Virtual Console so it's not as hard anymore.
 

Karxrida

Corruption of Shadows
is a Community Contributor Alumnus
Trading is only really an issue for Gen III because you'd be hard-pressed to find the necessary hardware lying around. The Gen IV and Gen V games can still be played on a 3DS, and it's not terribly difficult to find used copies at a random GameStop (even if they're not exactly cheap).
 
I know we're not supposed to exploit glitches, but when we tier selfdestruct users, can we account for the glitch that doubles the base power of selfdestruct in the first four generations?
 

cityscapes

Formerly Gurpreet Patel (Sent you a Friend Request
is a Community Contributor
I know we're not supposed to exploit glitches, but when we tier selfdestruct users, can we account for the glitch that doubles the base power of selfdestruct in the first four generations?
yeah that's probably fine, because it's not a glitch you need to actively seek out (see: tweaking), it's part of the game.
 

Merritt

literally the textbook definition of a tsundere
is a member of the Site Staffis a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
Moderator
I know we're not supposed to exploit glitches, but when we tier selfdestruct users, can we account for the glitch that doubles the base power of selfdestruct in the first four generations?
It would be absolutely insane not to imo, that'd be like not taking into account the gen 1 issue with Psychic types being immune to lick. It's not gamebreaking, it's present, and how the hell would you avoid it.

Also worth noting, technically the way it works is halving opponent defense, not doubling move BP.
 
Last edited:
I know we're not supposed to exploit glitches, but when we tier selfdestruct users, can we account for the glitch that doubles the base power of selfdestruct in the first four generations?
But that's not a glitch. Were it the case, it would have been fixed in Gen II. Well, Gen III at latest if it was too hard to fix on that mess of an engine the GB/GBC one was.

But it was kept all the way to Gen IV, meaning it was intentional. So there would be no problem in taking that into account... if we disregard the fact you'd be forced to spend a Revive (or an equivalent item) after using Selfdestruct or Explosion, meaning they are inefficient.

I'll make an assumption and say the "halves target's Defense" trait was because they wanted to make the move extra powerful but they could only make Base Power go up to 255, which wasn't powerful enough for them, but given the relevance Selfdestruct and Explosion got in DPP Doubles (the official format, care I remind), they had to take that trait away.
 
Last edited:
Something that stuck out to me in the GSC thread in regards to catching Psyduck later in the game being much more viable than the earliest point you can catch it along with something Vengeance said:
Shouldn't Spearow have something like (Kenya) next to its name to help players distinguish which actual Spearow to obtain, or am I not seeing something and Spearow in general is an S ranked mon?
Realised it'd be better discussed in this thread than there, so I'm gonna ask here. Aside from trade evolutions - where I figure the distinction is fairly obvious due to trade not being physically accessible for some people - when ranking a Pokémon, should we assume the best possible point of obtainability as the basis for their rank, or should that be separately noted in their description as a much better Pokémon?
Like, if for instance a Pokémon appears for the first time on an early route where it has next to no attacking movies and requires babying and blah blah blah, but is also found at a much later point in the game where it's easily capable of fighting on its own and has past the frustrating point of its usability; do we just ignore the earlier point in the game where you can find it? Also notable in regards to evolution, especially if you can find a wild Kadabra in a game and don't have to bother with the Abra stage.

I guess the answer should be obvious but especially in regards to in-game trades and gift Pokémon like Kenya, I wanted it clarified. or maybe I'm just tired and dumb
 

Merritt

literally the textbook definition of a tsundere
is a member of the Site Staffis a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
Moderator
Something that stuck out to me in the GSC thread in regards to catching Psyduck later in the game being much more viable than the earliest point you can catch it along with something Vengeance said:


Realised it'd be better discussed in this thread than there, so I'm gonna ask here. Aside from trade evolutions - where I figure the distinction is fairly obvious due to trade not being physically accessible for some people - when ranking a Pokémon, should we assume the best possible point of obtainability as the basis for their rank, or should that be separately noted in their description as a much better Pokémon?
Like, if for instance a Pokémon appears for the first time on an early route where it has next to no attacking movies and requires babying and blah blah blah, but is also found at a much later point in the game where it's easily capable of fighting on its own and has past the frustrating point of its usability; do we just ignore the earlier point in the game where you can find it? Also notable in regards to evolution, especially if you can find a wild Kadabra in a game and don't have to bother with the Abra stage.

I guess the answer should be obvious but especially in regards to in-game trades and gift Pokémon like Kenya, I wanted it clarified. or maybe I'm just tired and dumb
I mean I'm inclined to keep them together and mention that in a writeup if there's such a big difference. At a certain point it gets absurd - do you rank route 106 Tentacool at B and route 111 Tentacool at C and route 126 Tentacool at E until the rankings are filled up completely? Do we need a writeup for each?

Personally, I think that we should take a cue from the competitive tier lists and only rank a mon once for its greatest potential. A Pokemon like Latias isn't put on the UU viability rankings more than once for different sets, but instead is ranked to its highest potential. The exception of course is for trade or split evolutions, but again we can take a cue from the competitive tier lists where different forms of a Pokemon (which is somewhat similar to our trade evolutions) are each ranked.

If Spearow when traded is S rank and when not traded is B rank, put it as S rank because that's what Spearow the Pokemon is, but in the writeup mention that it's best used as Kenya instead of wild caught.
 
I don’t think it’s necessarily the worst idea to assume the standard for ranking a Pokémon is “caught in the wild as soon as available” and then to rank that Pokémon a second time if its optimal form is obtained another way. I think most people reading through the tier list are probably assuming “as early as possible” is what the rankings are based on, not on optimized strategies like waiting to catch a pre-evolved form that’s at a higher level and therefore doesn’t require as much babying. We don’t have to rank every single version in between, just the “caught ASAP” version and the optimal version if those things are different.

If we don’t want to go that route (which is reasonable since it could massively expand the tier lists) I think it should be noted in the explanations at the beginning of all the IG tier list threads that they’re based on the optimal obtaining strategy, which may not always be catching the Pokémon in the wild ASAP. Maybr we should even mark the Pokemon to whom that applies in the tier listing in some way. This wouldn’t just be for things that should be caught later pre-evolved, but could even be for things like GSC Abra where the most efficient way to use it is buying it at the Game Corner rather than trying to catch a wild one.

I think as a quick resource it makes sense for this to be indicated somehow directly in the tier list, and then that at least tells people to look at the write up to see what the optimal catching strategy is. That way they don’t have to check every Pokémon they want to use just to ensure they’re getting the expected value out of it based on its ranking; I feel like the tier lists should more or less speak for themselves and the write ups should be more like background if someone is curious what determined a particular Pokémon’s rank. I don’t think they should be treated like competitive analyses, which are meant as guides on how to use a Pokémon (and ergo are updated as the meta shifts, something that doesn’t apply in-game).
 
I think as a quick resource it makes sense for this to be indicated somehow directly in the tier list, and then that at least tells people to look at the write up to see what the optimal catching strategy is.
If we put this directly into the list, then what else can we put directly into the list? What each evolution family's best moves are? When each Pokemon should evolve? Where do we draw the boundary? If we put a lot of information "directly in the tier list", then the list simply becomes a bunch of write-ups, which is what they already are right now.
That way they don’t have to check every Pokémon they want to use just to ensure they’re getting the expected value out of it based on its ranking;
Each writeup takes about 2 minutes to read. If a player is too busy for that, then he/she/it is probably also too busy to be playing Pokemon in the first place.
I feel like the tier lists should more or less speak for themselves and the write ups should be more like background if someone is curious what determined a particular Pokémon’s rank.
The problem is that the Pokemon don't speak for themselves. Because Pokemon games are so complex, the optimal way to obtain and use each evolution family can also be very complex, and some of the details are easy to forget. Some Pokemon work best when the player sidetracks for a certain item that's required to teach a certain move. Some Pokemon work best when their evolution is delayed in order to maintain a type advantage in the next boss battle. Where are people supposed to read about these time-saving, rankings-affecting tricks, other than the writeups?
I don’t think they should be treated like competitive analyses, which are meant as guides on how to use a Pokémon.
Isn't that what an in-game tier list is? A guide explaining how to use a Pokemon?
do you rank route 106 Tentacool at B and route 111 Tentacool at C and route 126 Tentacool at E until the rankings are filled up completely?
I don't think there are any Route 111s with wild Tentacool.
 

Merritt

literally the textbook definition of a tsundere
is a member of the Site Staffis a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
Moderator
I don't think there are any Route 111s with wild Tentacool.
:pikuh:

Ryolain I think that you’re correct, the average person probably does assume that if a Pokemon is in S rank it’s probably best to get it ASAP so making it more newbie-friendly is always a plus, but there’s two sides that I think make what you suggest not really desireable. The first is to reduce clutter - while there are many Pokémon where yes, you do just want to grab it ASAP (in fact this is probably the usual case) there’s also many where it’s better to wait to grab it. Putting in all those cases increases the list size which makes finding a specific Pokémon harder for newcomers as well. The main point though is that the final format for the lists isn’t the style you see in the threads - the final format has the brief write up linked directly to the Pokémon, making it much easier for a newcomer to notice information in there.

The part about adding a brief note saying that Pokémon are tiered as if caught at the optimal time/way isn’t a bad idea, I just don’t think it really fits - it’d be like if the competitive tier lists had a disclaimer saying Pokémon are tiered regardless of ease of obtaining ingame. While true and not necessarily self explanitory, it feels kind of basic and unneeded to me. I don’t feel strongly against this though, so if there was a demonstrated need to state it then sure it can be added in.
 
Well, there's some precedent to this question in the RBY tier list. While this part doesn't appear on the list as it is on the main site, the expanded entries in the thread occasionally have comments like this:

Availability: Seel is catchable in the Seafoam Islands, but the best way to obtain this is from the trade on Cinnabar Island. In RB, you trade Ponyta for Seel. In Yellow, you trade Growlithe for Dewgong.
In other words, that list already assumes optimal catching points and it's probably the least likely one to see a revamp, so it'd make sense to use similar assumptions for the others.

Also, the tier lists on the site already have extremely short entries, it's probably harder to not glance at the extra information given there. It seems to me that adding a sentence to the additional comments along the lines of "Should be caught in [this place] for optimal use", or highlighting the best catching location in the availability line by color-coding it or something would be the most efficient way to go about it.
 
IMO it's not worth using separate ranks depending on how or when you obtain a Pokemon, unless there's a major difference in terms of in-game capabilities. And even then, ranks can show that ("Oh look, this Pokemon sucks if you catch it before the first gym, but if you catch it later, it will steamroll with little effort. Could be B Rank")

Outside of some specific situations, there's no difference with in-game trades other than the guaranteed traits you get in newer games (e.g. the trade Hawlucha in USUM; it has a good nature, Unburden and fine IVs, but you could also get a wild one with those characteristics). At best, if that traded Pokemon is obtained much earlier than in the wild (which is not often the case). Kenya the Spearow's example does not seem like the case, as Spearow is fairly common before you can get it, and all Kenya has is that it's a free Pokemon with the traded experience bonus.
 
Last edited:
(On mobile so will try to respond to the main points but might not hit every individual point.)

Fair point that I was thinking specifically of the threads, not the published articles that include the write ups where you could easily see a Pokémon’s optimal catch method as you’re looking up its ranking. With that being said the threads do take a long time to complete in some cases - I mean, GSC’s rankings were just updated this week and are still being actively debated. People have had to rely on that thread for literally years since there’s no article for it yet (at least not that’s linked in the IG tiers link master post) so I think it’s reasonable that the threads should be treated as a resource as they’re being developed and not just a quick working document until the final product is published.

As others have pointed out in most cases “catch ASAP” is the best method, so arguably there’s no point in doing this for a handful of fringe cases. On the flip side of that, though, you could argue that since there aren’t that many where it makes a difference, it wouldn’t require that much effort to update the lists and/or write ups for the handful of Pokémon where it is applicable. And as noted above there is precedent for this in the RBY write ups.

The original example of Spearow vs Spearow (Kenya) is moot since wild Spearow was just moved to S in GSC anyway, but there are other examples where it matters (all of these are taken from discussions in the GSC thread): Abra, as I mentioned before; Teddiursa, who is a huge pain if you attempt to catch it as Teddi (low appearance rate, low catch rate, high run rate, limited availability hours) but is much easier to catch as Ursaring and also doesn’t require babying if caught pre-evolved; and the aforementioned Psyduck, who’s excellent if caught at a point when you have access Surf and Ice Punch to teach it but can be pretty much dead weight before that.

I’m completely ambivalent on changing the tier lists in the threads, and if people think it will be too much work or will make the lists too convoluted then that’s fine. But I definitely think it should be noted in the write ups where applicable.

Edit: one additional thought, if the assumption is “Pokémon are tiered once based on optimal form,” why are trade evolutions ranked separately? We already have that precedent for ranking Pokémon twice depending on a particular condition, and those don’t even always affect viability (eg Golem and Graveler are both A in GSC but Geodude is ranked twice). If the standard is “don’t rank twice unless they play dramatically differently” then trade evolutions in the same rank should probably be combined.
 
Last edited:
Fair point that I was thinking specifically of the threads, not the published articles that include the write ups where you could easily see a Pokémon’s optimal catch method as you’re looking up its ranking. With that being said the threads do take a long time to complete in some cases - I mean, GSC’s rankings were just updated this week and are still being actively debated. People have had to rely on that thread for literally years since there’s no article for it yet (at least not that’s linked in the IG tiers link master post) so I think it’s reasonable that the threads should be treated as a resource as they’re being developed and not just a quick working document until the final product is published.
I realize this is a problem. When I try to use one of those threads, I usually have to search the thread for discussions about a specific Pokemon. Still, I don't think it's a good idea to include any details in the list because, as Merritt said, it would get cluttered.
Edit: one additional thought, if the assumption is “Pokémon are tiered once based on optimal form,” why are trade evolutions ranked separately? We already have that precedent for ranking Pokémon twice depending on a particular condition, and those don’t even always affect viability (eg Golem and Graveler are both A in GSC but Geodude is ranked twice). If the standard is “don’t rank twice unless they play dramatically differently” then trade evolutions in the same rank should probably be combined.
The "trade" condition causes some Pokemon to be listed twice because stuff like Machop can be useful to a certain extent for players who can't trade and useful to a different extent for players who can. In this specific example of GSC Geodude, I guess they can be combined, but I personally would prefer to have it listed twice. I don't want someone to assume the A tier Geodude is for trading and get confused for a moment as he can't find the entry for trade-less Geodude.
 
Trade and non-trade is there because for a lot of people they may not physically have the ability to trade -- especially for early gens where wifi trading does not exist. So while of course some people will be able to fully evolve their Timburr in BW, a lot of people won't be able to, so we should tell them how Timburr will perform without being able to reach its final stage. Speaking as someone who has RBY on Virtual Console and has had no luck finding anyone else locally who has it - and I am certainly in no financial situation to buy a second 3DS - then the listings for no-trade Machop, Abra, Gastly and Geodude are much more useful than their trade equivalents. It's a situation that arises from things out of our control and I think this is simply the best way to handle it. It's a very different situation from what we're discussing since everyone playing GSC will have access to both wild Spearow and Kenya for instance, so I don't think it's fair to say trade evolutions are an equal precedent.
 
Trade and non-trade is there because for a lot of people they may not physically have the ability to trade -- especially for early gens where wifi trading does not exist. So while of course some people will be able to fully evolve their Timburr in BW, a lot of people won't be able to, so we should tell them how Timburr will perform without being able to reach its final stage. Speaking as someone who has RBY on Virtual Console and has had no luck finding anyone else locally who has it - and I am certainly in no financial situation to buy a second 3DS - then the listings for no-trade Machop, Abra, Gastly and Geodude are much more useful than their trade equivalents. It's a situation that arises from things out of our control and I think this is simply the best way to handle it. It's a very different situation from what we're discussing since everyone playing GSC will have access to both wild Spearow and Kenya for instance, so I don't think it's fair to say trade evolutions are an equal precedent.
All I’m saying is if we’re aiming to keep the list clean and avoid listing Pokémon twice, I think it makes sense to combine trade evolutions that are ranked the same, the implication thus being that the Pokémon is equally effectively whether you’re able to evolve it or not. Pokémon with different rankings depending on trade vs no trade could be kept separate. If people think that will be a confusing change it could be noted in the write up (since people seem to agree that’s a sufficient place to add comments like optimal catch method) that something is still equally viable if you can’t evolve it.

The consensus seems to be keeping things the way they are now, though, so I guess that’s that.
 
I understand that position to some degree since they're the same rank, but it's important to remember that the ranks are rough guidelines and just because something is in the same rank as another does not mean they are equally effective. As there are two different end results whether you go for trade and non-trade, even if they are very similar in effectiveness it simply will not be the same so it makes sense to rank them as the two separate entities they are. GSC Kadabra for instance will have weaknesses Alakazam does not and it is important to address those in the writeups whether they're the same rank or not.
 
I have no specific thoughts of my own on the matter, but I think at some point we need to have a discussion on ORAS' post-cave of origin selection and USUM's ultra wormhole. Both of these are unique instances within the franchise where essentially the entire national dex is opened up to you with an extremely large selection of Pokemon now available, including most every legendary. Arguments exist on both sides for whether to rank them or not - and in the case of the former, often how much to rank - but I do not believe it has ever been fully quantified what we do with these cases and while I may agree with not ranking them because it adds too much to the rankings, it is arbitrary at best especially when a fair few Pokemon are easily available for capture through this that are incredibly good. Again I don't have a specific stance on this myself but I feel the discussion should be had nonetheless.
 
I have no specific thoughts of my own on the matter, but I think at some point we need to have a discussion on ORAS' post-cave of origin selection and USUM's ultra wormhole. Both of these are unique instances within the franchise where essentially the entire national dex is opened up to you with an extremely large selection of Pokemon now available, including most every legendary. Arguments exist on both sides for whether to rank them or not - and in the case of the former, often how much to rank - but I do not believe it has ever been fully quantified what we do with these cases and while I may agree with not ranking them because it adds too much to the rankings, it is arbitrary at best especially when a fair few Pokemon are easily available for capture through this that are incredibly good. Again I don't have a specific stance on this myself but I feel the discussion should be had nonetheless.
My idea is to make a new tier for most of the post-national Pokedex Pokemon and only put them in a real tier if they would be C tier or better.
 
Last edited:
My idea is to make a new tier for most of the post-national Pokedex Pokemon and only move stuff out of that tier if they would be C tier or better.
Agreed, I think it’s only pulling up the ones that would be worth using despite extremely late availability. The rest don’t need to be dumped into E/F tier just to massively bloat the list, they can be put in a hide tag under “untiered” or something if people feel the need to at least list them for completeness’ sake. But the VRs for most competitive formats no longer mandate that all Pokémon in the tier be ranked regardless of their actual viability (eg Pokémon OU by usage but not actually viable in that tier can be unranked), so I think something similar could be applied here.
 

Merritt

literally the textbook definition of a tsundere
is a member of the Site Staffis a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
Moderator
But the VRs for most competitive formats no longer mandate that all Pokémon in the tier be ranked regardless of their actual viability (eg Pokémon OU by usage but not actually viable in that tier can be unranked), so I think something similar could be applied here.
I disagree with this bit, because the ingame tier lists do rank even virtually completely unviable stuff, rare as that may be for ingame. You'll still see Wobbuffet on lists for example, despite it being absolutely horrific to use ingame - I highly doubt that any of the Pokemon this situation applies to could be called worse than Wobb.

I personally think this should be an all or nothing deal - if any of them get put on the list then everything obtainable through that method should be on the list regardless of viability. Because bloating is unpleasant, I do lean towards not including them but I can see both lines of logic.
 

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

Top