In-game tier list policy discussion thread

But for the time being I want to put forward a proposal for those games which have ridiculously large ingame Dexes (looking at XY in particular). Going forwards, We do not bother with write ups for D Rank or worse Pokemon. We would still explain that D/E rank Pokemon are not great, and if people really want to do write ups for them I won't mind, but I would prefer higher ranks being completed first.
So we're still going to write 1-2 sentences for each one explaining why they suck? I think that's important for stuff like saying SE Lombre is an okay HM slave but shouldn't be used for battles.
By the way, according to the new policy, it seems that the BW2 thread is only needing one more write-up (Sawk). Are we going to finish it anytime soon?
 
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If I may make a suggestion concerning the latest policy change; I suggest that D-tier or lower Pokémon that have what I will call Heracross Syndrome be exempt from it.

Heracross Syndrome is my term for a Pokémon in a low tier which would be higher up if not for availability issues. A good example is the titular Pokémon in DPPt; great stats for in-game, good typing and coverage... but the method you get it through (Honey) is so time-consuming it's just not worth it for an efficient run. I'm suggesting write-ups not be required, but also not be discouraged for these Pokémon, in case players willing to put in the effort decide they want to use one in their playthrough.
 
If I may make a suggestion concerning the latest policy change; I suggest that D-tier or lower Pokémon that have what I will call Heracross Syndrome be exempt from it.

Heracross Syndrome is my term for a Pokémon in a low tier which would be higher up if not for availability issues. A good example is the titular Pokémon in DPPt; great stats for in-game, good typing and coverage... but the method you get it through (Honey) is so time-consuming it's just not worth it for an efficient run. I'm suggesting write-ups not be required, but also not be discouraged for these Pokémon, in case players willing to put in the effort decide they want to use one in their playthrough.
i support this on another note: it's entirely possible that you slather honey on a couple of trees after you get it bc why not, and then you get a heracross by chance. when it's E in the rankings due to availability, but would easily be A or B otherwise, we should have a distinction for that. because something like heracross just requires some lucky honey, whereas something like lapras in GSC requires backtracking so the "availability" issue is different.
 
Is this thread a good place to ask this question?
There's some Pokemon or evolution family A that completely relies on a one-time TM move in order to be useful, and several other Pokemon can use that TM a lot better. In which cases would you say, "A is bad because it relies on a popular TM move," and in which cases would you say, "A works great; just don't use it with one of those other Pokemon"?
Of course, this only applies to Generations 1-4 because no other games have one-time TMs.
 
I would call this the best place, yes.

Regardless, I would give the same answer to this as to many of your questions: take it on a case-by-case basis and just mention it in the bio. Off the top of my head though, I can't think of many TMs where you'd want to teach it to multiple of your Pokémon (Sludge Bomb is probably not something you're desperate to have on most your team), or where there's only one (Gen 2's Elemental Punch TMs can be bought as many times as necessary). I can only come up with Earthquake, which is fairly legitimate though most of the time is very late-game. Are there any specific examples that brought this on for you?
 
Regardless, I would give the same answer to this as to many of your questions: take it on a case-by-case basis and just mention it in the bio. Off the top of my head though, I can't think of many TMs where you'd want to teach it to multiple of your Pokémon (Sludge Bomb is probably not something you're desperate to have on most your team), or where there's only one (Gen 2's Elemental Punch TMs can be bought as many times as necessary). I can only come up with Earthquake, which is fairly legitimate though most of the time is very late-game. Are there any specific examples that brought this on for you?
Case by case, right? I guess one of the more recent cases for me was that one post about SE Seviper, where someone said that Seviper should be taught dig, flamethrower, sludge bomb, giga drain, and earthquake all in one game. One of my reactions was, "you can't just dump that many expensive TMs on one Pokemon every time! what if it had teammates?!" Was that reaction valid? I'm not saying Seviper really shouldn't be in a high tier, but if the hypothetical Seviper was in a high tier for this reason only, then should it drop?
Another thing I've been wondering about is my team for my next attempt at playing Emerald. I wanted to use both Manectric and Starmie, but they're both good thunderbolt users and I only really need one thunderbolt user to cover stuff. Is it a good idea to use both of them at the same time?
 
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Merritt

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Another thing I've been wondering about is my team for my next attempt at playing Emerald. I wanted to use both Manectric and Starmie, but they're both good thunderbolt users and I only really need one thunderbolt user to cover stuff. Is it a good idea to use both of them at the same time?
I mean this definitely isn't the thread to be asking that question in, but since Thunderbolt is a buyable TM and Staryu isn't around until a point where you should have the funds to buy at least one game corner tm there's no harm in using both.
 
On the BW2 tiers thread, why are some evolution families (namely Rufflet and Vullaby) tiered twice? I always thought these articles were supposed to rank each family exactly once in the tier that best represents how it'll perform when the player "does everything right". The only exceptions I know to this rule is that branch evolutions have separate writeups and tiers for each branch, and trade evolutions have one writeup assuming no trading and another assuming trading. Is this not supposed to happen, or am I missing something?
 

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On the BW2 tiers thread, why are some evolution families (namely Rufflet and Vullaby) tiered twice? I always thought these articles were supposed to rank each family exactly once in the tier that best represents how it'll perform when the player "does everything right". The only exceptions I know to this rule is that branch evolutions have separate writeups and tiers for each branch, and trade evolutions have one writeup assuming no trading and another assuming trading. Is this not supposed to happen, or am I missing something?
i'm pretty sure mandibuzz is only available in b2 and braviary in w2 (although the unevolved forms can be caught in both games) could be wrong tho
 

Merritt

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For BW2, there is a single encounter Mandibuzz (in B2) and Braviary (in W2) which can be obtained immediately after the third gym. Rufflet and Vullaby meanwhile are encountered only on Route 23 of their respective games (same version exclusivity as their evolutions), which is immediately before Victory Road. They also only evolve at level 54 (which is only slightly below the level of the Elite Four).

Honestly, they play so drastically differently that I support separating them despite them being the same evolutionary family, particularly since the Mandibuzz and Braviary are single encounters. I can't think of any other game where you'd have such a long difference in terms of how they play and almost no period where they're identical, so I think making a single exception like this should be ok. Even the Johto Gyarados vs Magikarp thing is nowhere near as big a gap in viability, availability, and playstyle as this.
 
Can the thread OPs include a "stuff we're discussing" or "discussion slate" or something like that? I think this would be a good way to keep track of all the possible changes in each thread and prevent potentially good proposals from being buried under other discussions.
 
To what extent (if any) should Audino grinding in BW(2) be allowed for in-game tiering?
You may also consider the hypothetical availability of Audino in future games or the advent of another easy EXP bank.

Here are a few ideas to consider when formulating your response.
  • Audino grinding is available to every Pokémon.
    • If every Pokémon can use Audino for easy levels, why should we consider the use of Audino for the tiering of one specific Pokémon? If I use Audino to train my weak Pokémon, what is stopping me from using the Audino to train my already-good Pokémon? This just slides the power scale further to the right for everything.
  • Audino grinding is sometimes inefficient.
    • Consider this situation: you catch a Pokémon at Lv30 with a completely unusable moveset for the next upcoming Grass gym (Take Down / Sand Tomb / Leer / Sand Attack). Its effectiveness against this gym is currently negligible. However, if you were to Audino grind for 10 levels, it would learn Fire Lash. With the additional power 10 levels provides and its new Super Effective attack, this Pokémon now obliterates the gym.
    • I would argue this is inefficient, because it requires you to halt your playthrough. Stopping to grind a Pokémon is inefficient. Ideally, the Pokémon is able to pick up and go from the outset, contributing positively to any upcoming trainers fights and pushing you further along in the story.
    • How would your opinion change if the aforementioned Pokémon learned Fire Lash at Lv31?
  • Audino grinding favors already-strong Pokémon.
    • Stronger Pokémon or Pokémon with super-effective attacks against the "EXP bank" (e.g., Brick Break Scraggy against Audino) are more effective at KOing Audino. These Pokémon would be able to farm EXP more quickly and more efficiently and therefore contribute more in later sections of the game.
---

Given the above information, I'd argue Audino grinding should be ignored for the purposes of in-game tiering.
 
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To what extent (if any) should Audino grinding in BW(2) be allowed for in-game tiering?
You may also consider the hypothetical availability of Audino in future games or the advent of another easy EXP bank.

Here are a few ideas to consider when formulating your response.
  • Audino grinding is available to every Pokémon.
    • If every Pokémon can use Audino for easy levels, why should we consider the use of Audino for the tiering of one specific Pokémon? If I use Audino to train my weak Pokémon, what is stopping me from using the Audino to train my already-good Pokémon? This just slides the power scale further to the right for everything.
  • Audino grinding is sometimes inefficient.
    • Consider this situation: you catch a Pokémon at Lv30 with a completely unusable moveset for the next upcoming Grass gym (Take Down / Sand Tomb / Leer / Sand Attack). Its effectiveness against this gym is currently negligible. However, if you were to Audino grind for 10 levels, it would learn Fire Lash. With the additional power 10 levels provides and its new Super Effective attack, this Pokémon now obliterates the gym.
    • I would argue this is inefficient, because it requires you to halt your playthrough. Stopping to grind a Pokémon is inefficient. Ideally, the Pokémon is able to pick up and go from the outset, contributing positively to any upcoming trainers fights and pushing you further along in the story.
    • How would your opinion change if the aforementioned Pokémon learned Fire Lash at Lv31?
  • Audino grinding favors already-strong Pokémon.
    • Stronger Pokémon or Pokémon with super-effective attacks against the "EXP bank" (e.g., Brick Break Scraggy against Audino) are more effective at KOing Audino. These Pokémon would be able to farm EXP more quickly and more efficiently and therefore contribute more in later sections of the game.
---

Given the above information, I'd argue Audino grinding should be ignored for the purposes of in-game tiering.
Great points. I think Audino grinding should only really be used for weak Pokemon that have a hard time contributing otherwise (Yamask, Tynamo, maybe Litwick). Otherwise, it seems pretty inefficent, but on the other hand Unova-native mons have higher evolution levels than normal so it somewhat balances out. I would say most in the BW in-game tier list not in D or E rank probably don't have to Audino grind.

I used to grind on Audino almost exclusively aside from Trainers in Unova. I don't because I want more efficient playthroughs.
 

Merritt

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To what extent (if any) should Audino grinding in BW(2) be allowed for in-game tiering?
You may also consider the hypothetical availability of Audino in future games or the advent of another easy EXP bank.

Here are a few ideas to consider when formulating your response.
  • Audino grinding is available to every Pokémon.
    • If every Pokémon can use Audino for easy levels, why should we consider the use of Audino for the tiering of one specific Pokémon? If I use Audino to train my weak Pokémon, what is stopping me from using the Audino to train my already-good Pokémon? This just slides the power scale further to the right for everything.
  • Audino grinding is sometimes inefficient.
    • Consider this situation: you catch a Pokémon at Lv30 with a completely unusable moveset for the next upcoming Grass gym (Take Down / Sand Tomb / Leer / Sand Attack). Its effectiveness against this gym is currently negligible. However, if you were to Audino grind for 10 levels, it would learn Fire Lash. With the additional power 10 levels provides and its new Super Effective attack, this Pokémon now obliterates the gym.
    • I would argue this is inefficient, because it requires you to halt your playthrough. Stopping to grind a Pokémon is inefficient. Ideally, the Pokémon is able to pick up and go from the outset, contributing positively to any upcoming trainers fights and pushing you further along in the story.
    • How would your opinion change if the aforementioned Pokémon learned Fire Lash at Lv31?
  • Audino grinding favors already-strong Pokémon.
    • Stronger Pokémon or Pokémon with super-effective attacks against the "EXP bank" (e.g., Brick Break Scraggy against Audino) are more effective at KOing Audino. These Pokémon would be able to farm EXP more quickly and more efficiently and therefore contribute more in later sections of the game.
---

Given the above information, I'd argue Audino grinding should be ignored for the purposes of in-game tiering.
Personally I think Audino grinding is just normal grinding with a fancy name, and grinding's already well established as 'something that you can do but is less efficient'.

To go through each part in order though:

Audino grinding is definitely available for every Pokemon (with a few potential exceptions that I can't think of off the top of my head in the form of Pokemon with mono-Ghost coverage at that time), but this is also true for normal grinding. If a Pokemon needs Audino grinding to catch up/win major battles, then it should be ranked lower than things which do functionally identical things but do not need Audino grinding.

Stopping to grind is definitely inefficient in general, however there's varying degrees. If you're stopping to grind for a solid hour then that's much more damning than stopping to grind for five minutes. So, for your hypothetical, it'd be three tiers. The Pokemon that needs no grinding to beat the gym is better than the Pokemon that requires one level of grinding to beat the gym which is better than the Pokemon that needs 10 levels of grinding to beat the gym.

Favoring Pokemon of a specific type in grinding isn't new (though the sheer pervasiveness of Audino is). Roll your eyes, but I'll direct you to RSE. After Lilycove, grinding Fire-types or pure Water/Ice coverage Pokemon instantly becomes significantly less efficient, especially when compared to Pokemon with Grass or Electric moves because basically all wild Pokemon are Water types. For RSE this also comes with most trainers using waters, so there's an inherent justification for valuing the grass/electric coverage more.

In terms of grinding though, yes a Pokemon that can OHKO the grinding targets is (somewhat) more efficient than a Pokemon which is going to need to 4HKO them, but they're both still less efficient than a Pokemon which doesn't grind at all.

I don't think Audino grinding should be excluded for two reasons: it's a factor that can be accounted for when ranking Pokemon and it's something that's intuitive to most players. I've hopefully already covered why I think you can account for grinding when ranking Pokemon, but the second part needs some explaining. Audino grinding is so incredibly obvious to basically everybody that ever checks out the tall grass that it'd feel weird to say "no, don't use this". While X-Items in RBY to abuse OHKO moves aren't nearly as immediately obvious to people so it's fine (in my opinion) to exclude them wholly, level grinding is something so pervasive in JRPGs that it'd be playing in a very unintuitive way for most newer players.

Excluding grinding as a whole also means issues where a Pokemon that can all but stomp the game if it's given a few minutes of grinding to catch up from its catch level will be put down in a very low tier next to Pokemon who need an equal amount of grinding to be barely competent, and I don't think that's a great look for the lists as a whole.
 
Is there any convention for transitioning from the initial stage to the writeups stage, or can the thread's OP just do that whenever he/she/it wants? Also, can Pokemon still change tiers during the writeups stage?
 
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This is an old post, and some people already replied to it. However, the replies only really addressed the first paragraph and seemed to ignore everything else. I'm bringing this up again because I thought it made some good arguments, and I don't want it buried under newer stuff forever. Of course, everything I say in reply to this post represents only my thoughts, so please correct me if you think I'm wrong.
The main issue I have with the lists is that they serve no purpose.

If they're supposed to be a guide towards an efficient run-through, there's nothing much to measure efficiency by; it's subjected to whatever arbitrary restrictions the writer assumes "sensible" from the view of the conjured-up Everyman, such as trading for Kadabra or Kingdra being plausible, but not for Seel, Houndour or Kangaskhan, or for a Metal Coat before Falkner;
This was discussed quite a bit in pages 3 and 4 of this thread. Basically, people think it's easier to find someone who's willing to let your Kadabra evolve and immediately return your Alakazam than it is to find someone who's willing to give you a free Kyogre.
and that the Average Party shall be composed of 4-6 pokémon, not 1-3,
This isn't an assumption. This is a fact. I frequent the QA on Pokemon DB, and I almost never see people talk about in-game teams of less than 4 Pokemon. If you have a problem with this fact, then Smogon is the wrong place to complain.
and they are all being kept at the same level, no matter their EXP growth curves, due to the allure of superficial symmetry.
It's not that they're intentionally keeping all the Pokemon at the same level. The different leveling rates are just not that different. 125000 points raises a medium fast Pokemon to level 50. With the same amount, a fast Pokemon only goes 3 levels higher. Of course, when leveling rates do make a difference, the tier lists address it. Fast leveling rate was a key reason for putting Grumpig in C tier in RSE.
In truth, these are not game restrictions as such and therefore irrelevant (trade should be tiered separately, that is sensible, but not when including some species and excluding others).

Furret benefits from its fast level curve, for instance; but apparently, the insight that faster level gains can actually counterbalance pure base stat advantages, and that you can calculate this, hovers all too close to the blasphemy of, er, "fucking algorithms". RBYer has the patience of a saint with his contributions such as this.
I personally never had problems with trying to calculate in-game tiers. I can't speak for everyone else, but my best guess is that there are experienced (yes pun intended) people who have seen several other people try to calculate stuff but have never seen the calculations really work because they were always ignoring some important but hard to calculate game mechanic. So maybe this stuff doesn't break some explicit rule, but it fails so often that the people here grow to dislike it. (by the way, Furret's leveling rate is medium fast, not fast)
Any "gut feeling" can be gained from looking at Serebii's pokédex for movepool / base stats, and perhaps the type chart for five minutes; nobody needs a Smogon guide for that, though. When I want to play through the game quickly while having the freedom to choose my party members, one to six, however many, I'd prefer to know these facts about them in advance, to help my planning, which are not easily extracted from a Pokédex:

* Which concrete stats / moves / hold item / usable battle items / level / total EXP (this is more important than level, see above, since it most immediately converts to time spent, but minimum stats are also important because they'll vary at identical levels, etc., nobody at Smogon needs an explanation of that) does this need to outspeed (if viable) and OHKO (if impossible, 2HKO, etc.) mandatory roadblock foe X, at minimum? (should only look at "boss battles") -- This allows players to compete, by looking to invent the demonstrably-best strategy against X while using Y, without leaving the grounds of anything-goes casual play. It still assumes every pokémon is a valid choice, but going from there, it explores how best to use it. I don't hold the position that everything below Totodile shouldn't be tiered in G/S, etc., quite the opposite; it's clear that anyone who thought I did hasn't earnestly considered my points at all.

For instance, assume that up to Whitney's Miltank (nothing before then is a threat at all, except when you pick Chikorita because it sucks), there is 30,000 EXP to be gained in total from mandatory trainer battles and the expected amount of wild battles on the way. If, supposedly, Totodile would only need 10,000 EXP and Chikorita 20,000 to obtain the means needed to defeat said Miltank, guaranteed, then Totodile should occupy a higher tier, since using it allows me to raise other things as well, perhaps slow-growing mons with a very strong late game that can usually not keep up early on, but can if they get an additional 10,000 EXP -- or alternatively, Totodile itself. (Anything is powerful when overleveled.)
First, I would certainly support publishing lists of stats of each of these "roadblock foes". I would extract the stats myself if I knew how. If anyone knows a place on the Internet with this information, then please show it to me.

However, I think you are asking for information about how much damage each Pokemon can do to each opponent, which is very different from a list of stats. Damage depends a few more variables, such as the player's Pokemon's levels and EVs. So the same Pokemon can 2HKO the same opponent with a high level and low attack EV or a low level and high EV. This results in a 2 dimensional graph that would look something like this.
163799

Of course, there are often even more variables. If a Pokemon learns a stronger attack or evolves at a high level, then there would be jumps in the graph. If the opponent had a weaker teammate, then Pokemon with swords dance can set up and possibly offset the effect of a low level. Additionally, this is for only one player's Pokemon and one opposing Pokemon. In a typical game, you can expect to fight around 26 "roadblock foes" and tier around 100 evolution families. If you wanted to graph the level and EVs required for each evolution family to 2HKO each "roadblock foe", then your in-game tier list would be an array of 2600 rectangles. Nobody on Smogon is stopping you from generating that if that's what you want, but I'm almost as sure that fewer people would be willing to help you generate it.
* Do I need to spend some irretrievable resource on this? (e.g. TMs in older games without access to simple methods of item reduplication) If so, what are the alternatives?
The writeups for each Pokemon should already list all the TM moves that the Pokemon is good at using. They could do a better job of distinguishing the one-time TMs. Or, you could get this information by looking at Bulbapedia's TM locations for 5 minutes. Nobody needs a Smogon guide for that.
(Then it's up to the player to gauge what they'd rather spend, which is where the onus should lie, rather than with the guide creators.)
Copied from Smogon's philosophy
Smogon is not a "boss" of the player, but a teacher—a valuable teacher, imparting knowledge that would require years of experience to attain otherwise.
These guides are intended to teach noobs the differences between "good Pokemon" and "bad Pokemon". If you already know the differences between "good Pokemon" and "bad Pokemon", then good for you. You don't need these guides. They probably need you as a contributor. Just remember that many people don't know how to make all the decisions that you can make.
* If this would be rather tedious (in a hypothetical game, grinding Heracross to Lv. 60 to OHKO some user of a Flying-type attack at the 7th badge, etc.), what do I need on my team to get rid of this threat and continue playing with my chosen mon?
The writeups should already list important battles where each Pokemon is particularly useful, so you can use that information to piece together a synergistic team.
Of course, this allows for what the current threads have a strangely murky attitude towards: clear comparisons between pokémon -- for example, what pokémon defeats the concrete threat X programmed into the game most quickly or safely while investing the least EXP / money into it, since this will always be the best team option "on average" when you have to assume all other slots as random.
Okay, this analogy might be kind of long. Soon after a new Pokemon game is released, information about every Pokemon, such as their stats, types, abilities, movepools, etc. become easily accessible to the entire competitive battling community. Information about game mechanics, such as stat calculation and damage calculation, also become accessible pretty quickly. Even though everyone has access to all this information, most people can't simply calculate the viability of a Pokemon.

To help people learn competitive battling, someone decided to invent something called "viability rankings". In that system, experienced people talk about their experiences, and the output is simply a list of Pokemon in what appears to be a random order. Offensive Pokemon, support Pokemon, etc. are all mixed in there together. People may notice correlations to the Pokemons' stats, movepools, or alphabetical order, but the list seems to break these patterns just as often as it follows them. The list makes no attempt to explain itself, and people who want explanations have to click links, read analyses, or ask around. But somehow, for whatever strange reason, the list (sometimes) achieves its purpose. People who use Pokemon near the top of the list tend to do better, for whatever strange reason, than people who don't. And for even stranger reasons, many people who are offered a list that includes complete explanations would still rather look at the unexplained, seemingly random list.

In-game tier lists have a similar purpose: giving people a rough idea of which Pokemon are "better" in case they don't know how or are too lazy to figure it out by themselves. A list like this naturally must be murky. I guess we could clearly calculate whether Pokemon a or Pokemon b needs less experience to defeat opponent c, but the problem is that each game has multiple opponents. If Pokemon a does okay against opponents c and d, and Pokemon b easily sweeps opponent c but is completely useless against opponent d, then we have to figure out which one is better "on average". So we end up making "murky comparisons" that are really summaries of dozens of clear comparisons, and they look so murky only because Pokemon is such a complex game. And we prefer to report the one murky comparison instead of the dozens of clear comparisons simply because people think one comparison looks prettier.
It'll be much more work. It'll also be much more meaningful.

If people complain that they're not so interested in the games that anyone would undertake such work about them... that is maybe a different point altogether (which would also prove that these tier lists were absurd eye-candy, if it were true).
Maybe it is true that writing really meaningful guides is too much work for the people on Smogon. Even if it was, I don't think that's the real problem. The real problem is that people are not interested enough to undertake the work required to read a really meaningful guide. If we made something that was so ugly or incomprehensible that nobody reads it, would it be any more valuable than "absurd eye-candy"? And if you have a problem with this fact, then Smogon is the wrong place to complain.

Again, please correct me if you think I'm wrong.
 

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