Announcement LC Suspect - Bush Doesn't Care (Abra not banned)

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Corporal Levi

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The next Pokemon we are suspecting in Little Cup is Abra. This Pokemon's Psychic typing combined with its high 19 Speed allows it to put severe amounts of pressure on an opposing team because of the lack of reliable switch-ins alongside its Special Attack. Would-be checks such as Vullaby are crippled by coverage moves. Abra's most reliable checks are hampered by Sticky Web or Trapinch support. For these reasons, the Little Cup Council has decided that Abra is too overbearing of a presence in the metagame and deserves to be suspected.

The voting requirements are a minimum GXE of 83 with at least 40 games played. For this suspect test, we will be using the regular LC ladder, so you must create a new account that begins with LCABS to qualify. The suspect will end on March 1st, 11:59 EST.

GXE ≥ 83​
Battle count ≥ 40​

You must use a fresh account registered after the posting of this thread for your reqs. This alt must begin with LCABS, e.g. LCABS levi

When posting in this thread, please keep in mind these rules:
1. No one liners or uninformed posts
2. No discussion on other potential suspects or the suspect process
3. Be respectful

Your post will be deleted and possibly infracted if you fail to follow them.
 
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About time this thing got a suspect, I swear ever since I started playing LC I've always wondered why Abra is just so amazingly good. It has amazing coverage with Shadow Ball and Dazzling Gleam. For any fake out users that try to break its sash, it can just run protect. Plus it gets Counter which is basically a free kill against any super effective physical attacker if you're still at full health. This thing has it all. I'm probably gonna try to get reqs but I'm not too good with LC, but it's worth a shot.
 
When posting in this thread, please keep in mind these rules:
1. No one liners or uninformed posts
hmm it's almost like this is in the op or something

anyways, unlike other suspects, I found the ladder (so far at least) to actually be pretty telling of abra's effect on matches. It's consistently used on multiple archetypes, ranging from webs ho, gasbra bo, and even as a glue on more balanced squads. this isn't just indicative of the ladder, though, as most of these roles have been seen ubiquitously throughout sm tourneys as well. having said this, I think there's more than enough information and experience to make a decision on abra.

i don't wanna do a huge post right now, but im probably leaning towards an abra ban at this point. this isn't to say I can't be swayed to the other side, but I just find the collaborative offensive capabilities of abra to be too much for the tier. it's one of the strongest mons in the meta, who happens to have that juicy 19 speed tier while also boasting some of the best coverage one can ask for. dgleam, hidden powers, and energy ball offer all the coverage abra needs, and that's not even mentioning counter. not only do you have to contend with its speed, power and coverage, but while rocking a sash, your abra counter isn't even a counter anymore because of.. uh.. counter. on top of all of this, abra might not even be sash, leaving you open to a subbed up lo abra with huge sweeping potential because sash and lo are often played (and checked) much differently.
 
I haven't played LC in months, but in the brief amount that I've played now since seeing this suspect go up, I'm leaning toward a ban right now. Abra just has so much going for it, and pulling back a 1v6 with my own Abra (although against not the greatest of teams) certainly didn't help in making me think it wasn't broken. I'm interested to see what other people have to say, but I'm fairly certain the consensus is going to be a ban
 

Fiend

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I have a quick 15 minutes to spend on a write up and I've been wanting Abra banned for well over a year at this point so I'm glad to have the chance. Fundamentally Abra is something we all have a handle on, and I simply do not feel that it is necessary to speak at length about Abra's traits. However, I will touch on the three or so main components contributing towards Abra being ban worthy:

Guaranteed Focus Sash: On its face, this isn't something negative. Sash Abra's raw power is still good, but it is notably weak. It does stonewall a variety of sweepers and generally serves as an inhibitor. Again, this isn't necessarily awful, except for how this greatly narrows your ability to deal with Abra. Counter Abra slightly worsens this fact and tends to beat its common checks outright anyway. However, LC has adapted to deal with Abra which makes the Focus Sash set very manageable.

Absurd Power with Life Orb: This is honestly dumb to spell out, but Life Orb Abra is only capable of being walled due to having but 4 moves to use. In early SM LO Abra was a phenom on Sticky Webs and warped the current metagame substantially around itself. LO Abra got more manageable as players adapted, but it was still a bastard to deal with though reserved nearly exclusively to Webs. Nowadays, with Trapinch limiting Diglett and forcing its usage underground, LO Abra is slapped onto teams just for the fuck of it. And now we are back to LO Abra making mincemeat of teams late game.

Ability to be either: The real kick in the teeth from Abra is how simply hard it is to counter, and how drastically different you ought to deal with Abra's two sets. Sash Abra can be adequately checked with a Vullaby mid game, while Life Orb Dazzling Gleam makes you waste your Vullaby instead. Some bulky Pokemon can just tank Sash Psychic adequately and get chip damage on Abra to allow it to actually be revenge killed, but it should obviously come across that LO Abra only wins in this situation. Of course, this is only two very broad examples of Abra's sets creating issues in regards to adequate counterplay. The issue extends into the sheer effectiveness of Abra, as true counters are hard to come by, and switch-ins are variable. Trapinch complicates this issue further.

The above is not entirely comprehensive, but it remarks on the forced reactivity of dealing with Abra. Often it comes in and cannot be dealt with in a manner that gives the opponent an adequate means of counterplay, as you can be reduced to sacking a Pokemon or two just to get by. Often this is due to the support given to Abra (via Webs, Trapinch, Diglett, motherfucking Geodude-A...) which is generally of low opportunity cost with high reward potential. And again, often the above is true and makes no reflection on the skills of the players in the match. Abra is ban worthy due to a combination of traits which leaves it arguably the single most difficult Pokemon to manage in the current metagame in addition to simultaneously reducing the advantage of better players when paired with inferior ones.
 

Altariel von Sweep

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I think Abra shouldn't be banned. Sure, its offensive prowess may be too excesive and quite extended to keep the opponent trying to guess which set is it, either LO or Sash, and how it fits in many offensive archetype teams. In short, the main point around my reasoning is said archetypes contributing to Abra's success, specifically, trappers.

As we all can see, Abra has always been accompanied by trappers such as Trapinch or Diglett that help it remove threats such as Alolan Grimer and Pawniard, which otherwise would be great answers to it. Curiously enough, they make as good answers to Abra, since they have the means to get around it (decent special bulk, Beat Up, respectively). The most reliable counterreattack in fact is trappers as they can just switch into after a teammate has fallen, which isn't much of an issue. However, the influence the former one has over the metagame has been increasing as crazy due to how easy is for it to switch into Volt Switch Magnemite or Knock Off from Alolan Grimer, meaning that part of Abra's success its atributed to Trapinch. Considering how Trapinch influence is becoming more and more notable as a bulky trapper forcing many other Pokemon to run some obscure options, Trapinch is able to countertrap Sashbra if played around given that it doesn't have Counter.

Leaving aside trappers, metagame's adaption has led to the use of odd Pokemon such as Honedge, a Pursuit trapper that can counter any set of Abra that doesn't have Hidden Power Ground / Fire and cannot be trapped, which helps a ton to look for answers to it. Pawniard and Vullaby can check it, with the former making it try to guess if it's going to Sucker Punch of normally attack, but throughout the match, they risk getting weakened due to how an emergency button Dazzling Gleam is and how Pawniard has to guess the second coverage option. Other bulky Pokemon such as Spritzee and Munchlax can win against Sashbra, but LO Abra can muscle through Spritzee and Munchlax doesn't like Diglett existing, but Diglett's presence has been influenced to be less restrictive with Trapinch around, which means Munchlax is another good counter to Abra.

All in all, I believe these are my reasons not to ban Abra. Ladder playing can stay alone, as I don't intend on play. Looking forward to, other replies with opinions on the suspect.
 
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Luthier

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Alright, now that I finally got some time off of dance, I thought that I could make a post on this topic. Unlike the other suspect for torchic and wingull, I decided to hop off of the bandwagon and finally start thinking for myself lol. That being said, I think just a brief rundown on what the mon actually does is kind of important. It obviously has one of the highest special attack stats in the tier, maintains a speed of 19, only outsped by like 3 non-choiced or boosted mons, and probably one of the most overlooked things about this mon is its ability: magic guard (which I will touch up later).

However, seeing that my job really isn't to reword the introduction post, I wanted to pose a question for the people that are reading this: What makes Abra so much better than the other mons in the tier that we are actually suspecting it?
Point 1: Abra is incredibly similar to wingull (aka a mon that was banned)
The next Pokemon we are suspecting in Little Cup is Abra. This Pokemon's Psychic typing combined with its high 19 Speed allows it to put severe amounts of pressure on an opposing team because of the lack of reliable switch-ins alongside its Special Attack. Would-be checks such as Vullaby are crippled by coverage moves. Abra's most reliable checks are hampered by Sticky Web or Trapinch support.
Wingull maintained a very similar situation to Abra in LC prior to its ban: ability to refute checks:
-wingull can scald burn pawn and use z move to get rid of other bulky threats such as vull
-abra simply uses counter to get rid of annoying stuff such as grimer and scarf pawn
-wingull gets access to 2 STABs that are incredibly versatile that hits any single mon in the tier for at minimum neutral coverage
-abra gets sash counter magic guard, which deals with any counter that it has - scarf pawn, grimer, even trapinch.
-both sat at a tier threatening 19 speed

Point 2:
And as Fiend had already said earlier, the ability for abra to be essentially almost any one of its 3 main sets (sash, LO, scarf?) means that opponents are stuck guessing and you can't use the build as a surefire way of guessing the correct set - people run sash on webs, people run LO on regular BO, people run scarf on HO.

Point 3: its specific typing and the current meta
i think it's fair to say that the current meta basically consists of mienfoo vull foongus a fairly standard core on most teams. post rocks, if you arent running spdef vull, abra is able to protect on fake out foos and then kill every single one of those mons with its coverage. The in terms of how to revenge kill abra, the usual way of diglett, trapinch, and pawn all lose to counter.

All in all, abra has some pretty unique sets and for that reason, it stands above ever special breaker in LC. However, I am still not sure if its worth banning. Going into this suspect, i was 100 percent voting ban, but after getting reqs and talking to other people i am still not sure what the best move. tbh i may just abstain but i think its worth looking at all sides before you pre-commit to voting ban/no ban. And although some people may say that trapping is a larger issue than abra, we are currently suspecting abra- not trapping. Focus on that before we get to the second part.
 
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Pawniard used Pursuit!
It's super effective!
The opposing Abra hung on using its Focus Sash!
(The opposing Abra lost 94% of its health!)

The opposing Abra used Dazzling Gleam!
(Pawniard lost 57.1% of its health!)
Being able to do over half damage WITHOUT CHOICE SPECS to a COUNTER is, imo, unhealthy for the tier. Base 105 sp. Attack is simply too much.

“But but pursuit trapping! But but bad defenses! But but arena trap!” Doesn’t matter if you have sash and there’s basically no switch-ins, plus you have no way to chip because magic guard. Which btw makes Abra even more abusively strong with life orb because it takes no recoil from that with magic guard. When you start having to put very obscure mons in to a team just to counter this thing, you know it’s unhealthy.

Since Abra is oppressively centralizing, has an ability which makes it incredibly difficult to take out, and has pretty much no switch-ins (even pawniard can’t switch in against it), I would vote to ban Abra. Even if we ban arena trap in this tier, Abra is still oppressively dominant. And it’s a separate issue anyway; Abra deserves to be banned on its own (de)merits.
 
Alright, now that I finally got some time off of dance, I thought that I could make a post on this topic. Unlike the other suspect for torchic and wingull, I decided to hop off of the bandwagon and finally start thinking for myself lol. That being said, I think just a brief rundown on what the mon actually does is kind of important. It obviously has one of the highest special attack stats in the tier, maintains a speed of 19, only outsped by like 3 non-choiced or boosted mons, and probably one of the most overlooked things about this mon is its ability: magic guard (which I will touch up later).

However, seeing that my job really isn't to reword the introduction post, I wanted to pose a question for the people that are reading this: What makes Abra so much better than the other mons in the tier that we are actually suspecting it? For example, if we just look at gastly, it is essentially almost the same mon:


Gastly hits a speed of 18: which honestly can be the same as 19. The only difference between the two is that fact that abra is able to revenge gastly without worrying about speed ties. However, if gastly runs sucker punch, gastly covers for the 1 speed point. Gastly is able to put severe amounts of pressure on opposing team: Legit abra's special attack is base 105 and gastly is 100. In calcs, they are very close to each other in terms of rolls and damage ranges. Gastly's would be checks of vullaby and pawn:

200 SpA Life Orb Gastly Thunderbolt vs. 116 HP / 156 SpD Vullaby: 23-29 (92 - 116%) -- 62.5% chance to OHKO
Possible damage amounts: (23, 23, 23, 23, 23, 23, 26, 26, 26, 26, 26, 26, 26, 26, 26, 29)

200 SpA Life Orb Gastly Hidden Power Fighting vs. 0 HP / 116 SpD Eviolite Pawniard: 26-36 (123.8 - 171.4%) -- guaranteed OHKO
Possible damage amounts: (26, 31, 31, 31, 31, 31, 31, 31, 31, 31, 31, 31, 31, 31, 31, 36)

And if anything, gastly is just as crazy on webs as is abra. Now, that being said, do we think that gastly is busted? No. Why? Because there are still ways to effectively deal with gastly. Example: pawn pursuit or scarf vull. This part right here is what i believe what makes Abra so busted: The combination of its movepool, item possibilities, and its legit perfect ability

Unlike with gastly or, even with wingull, once their answer was in, and there was no way of dealing with it (aka no scald burn), that mon was effectively dead. Gastly is trapped by grimer and has no way of beating it. Wingull gets trapped by pawn unless burn (not counting the 50/50s). However, abra gets access to sash, magic guard, AND counter. unlike the previous 2 mons i mentioned, once trapped, its over. But with abra in the game, its completely different. I was talking to plas earlier about this, but with abra on ur team, it essentially becomes a 7v6 game.

And as Fiend had already said earlier, the ability for abra to be essentially almost any one of its 3 main sets (sash, LO, scarf?) means that opponents are stuck guessing and you can't use the build as a surefire way of guessing the correct set - people run sash on webs, people run LO on regular BO, people run scarf on HO.

All in all, abra has some pretty unique sets and for that reason, it stands above ever special breaker in LC. However, I am still not sure if its worth banning. Going into this suspect, i was 100 percent voting ban, but after getting reqs and talking to other people i am still not sure what the best move. tbh i may just abstain but i think its worth looking at all sides before you pre-commit to voting ban/no ban. And although some people may say that trapping is a larger issue than abra, we are currently suspecting abra- not trapping. Focus on that before we get to the second part.
Gastly is by far not the issue on webs, and 18 vs 19 is massive for ponyta (which your post somehow completely ignores) as well as Abra/Gastly like you said (I'm not sure how massive you realize this is, though). In addition, doduo's not that common anymore but it's still a somewhat nice Mon to outspeed.

Something people don't talk about with Abra is rather simple: you threaten an OHKO on mienfoo (and, to a lesser extent, timburr) when you're against it. Aside from being 19 speed, this is also huge because it's harder to pivot around. Revenge killing the fastest mon in the tier bar Diglett (aside from eledick) is also kind of hard when running scarf vullaby means your removal is automatically far worse. I'm not sure I'm totally set on banning Abra, and this isn't a post trying to convince people abras broken, but I wanted to address some of your points.
 

tcr

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In disregarding any thoughts or conceptions about trapping as a whole, I will discuss my thoughts on Abra.

Abra is a Pokemon in LC with the absolute highest SpA, paper thin defenses, Magic Guard and a wide movepool, and more importantly, a blistering fast speed tier sitting at 19 Spe. This makes the only Pokemon that can really match Abra and revenge it being other Choice Scarf Pokemon, Diglett, Elekid, Voltorb, and certain priority users. Magic Guard means that it is impossible to ever wear down with things like Stealth Rock or Spikes, which makes Sash sets super dangerous. An almost guaranteed 2 hits with the ability to bluff any of Life Orb, Focus Sash, or the rare Choice Scarf make it an omnipresent threat that I personally believe is too volatile to deal with for teambuilding. Of course, there are other obscure sets that are seldom used as well, but might as well deserve a mention: Eviolite Abra, Eject Button Endure Abra, Psychic Terrain Abra, and Inner Focus Anti-lead. While gathering minimal usage, I believe that they attest to the diversity of Abra in that it can run quite a wide variety of moves to tailor itself to a team, far more so than the average Pokemon and bordering on the volatility of things like Vullaby. Focus Sash is the clear first place contender although there is no guarantee that it is Sash, and misplaying thinking it's Sash can lead to things like being rolled through Life Orb damage, or allowing Abra to get a free Sub up.

Within these plethora of sets there exists an expansive movepool. I have seen everything from Psychic, Dazzling Gleam, Energy Ball, Counter, Hidden Power Fire, Hidden Power Fighting, Protect, Substitute, Shadow Ball, Endure, Psychic Terrain, and within those there are even random sets you can run like Modest Sash so you can feign Life Orb and bluff 19 Speed. The movepool that Abra has allows it to threaten most if not every Pokemon in the metagame, and with additions from the RBY trades, things like Counter Abra essentially mean you almost always lose 1-2 Pokemon to Abra unless you happen to trap it with something like Beat Up Diglett. To me this is the main issue with Abra, that it can run a wide variety of sets and kill a great many Pokemon while also having Counter so even the 'counters' like Munchlax, Pawniard, or Grimer-A still tend to lose to it, or at the least you break the sash so Abra can no longer threaten your Timburr (or Feint Foo).

I think that the comparisons to Gastly are unwarranted. Abra is a menace due to its movepool, perfect ability for it to pressure everything, and due to Counter, specifically. Counter has been the biggest addition alongside specific meta trends that favor Abra to warrant the position we're in right now. Gastly at least is revenged by anything faster than 18 Spe and does not have a guaranteed Focus Sash. In a fast paced offensive metagame like LC, Speed is the name of the game, with most Pokemon rarely switching in to more than 2 attacks. This makes Abra insanely dangerous, forcing people to run things like Webs so as to easily deal with it while also abusing Abra on their own side. While trapping certainly plays an effect on Abra and dealing with Abra, I think that in a trapperless metagame Abra would still be busted, due to it's ability to use Counter Sash to get through it's own counters as well as it's expansive movepool and guaranteed two hits. There are a plethora of strategies that can deal with Abra, but they involve either the use of niche (Grimer-A, Munchlax, Honedge, Bronzor), centralizing and static teambuilds (Webs, Aurora Veil), or require you to use some priority spam that is never really that great. If I were to get reqs and vote, I would most likely vote ban on it, even if trapping was banned first, however I much would have preferred trapping having been looked at beforehand.
 
I’ve noticed a lot of misconceptions about what aspect of Abra is powerful enough to warrant a suspect. Many of these were misunderstandings of the meta as a whole and how Abra interacts with the meta, so I thought I would write up a post about how I believe Abra influences and is influenced by the current meta. I should preface this by saying that I personally am currently undecided as to my vote on Abra; When I get to how Abra interacts with the current meta you’ll here sentiments from both sides of the pro-ban anti-ban coin.

The Role of Abra
Abra has consistently been a prominent offensive presence in Little Cup, and looking at its traits it is not hard to understand why: a sky high special attack stat in a physically biased meta, decent coverage, high speed and an incredible ability all combine give Abra quite the résumé. Abra was a good pokemon in ORAS (enough so that some users (Shrug ) were calling for its ban back in ORAS, but that was considered a fringe opinion), and with the acquisition of Counter in SM now has a way to get past pursuit trappers it has only gotten more threatening. These traits basically guarantee that abra will be a solid pokemon to some degree, but how it has interacted with the meta has changed radically over the years, which I will into soon.

First, however, I just want to clear up the role that Abra usually plays; this is not as much directed to most of the people getting reqs, but to others that I have seen on the announcement thread and on PS that have fundamental misunderstandings on the role that Abra plays both now and historically. This is the charge that Abra is somehow needed to check fighters, and that its banning would only result in fighting types becoming broken. This is both an incorrect view of the role of abra and an incorrect view of the state of the meta: Abra primarily takes on one of two roles: that of a powerful check to offensive sweepers with sash (though with this set Abra is still more than powerful enough to be a massive threat to almost any team) or an extremely powerful LO attacker. It is this offensive presence that is now being perceived as too much for the meta to handle. It is important to realize that, especially for the first set, Abra absolutely does not want to be switching in on fighting types in the first place, and while it can threaten them out it is not a sufficient check to fighting types on most teams. Characterizing the meta as fighting dominant is incorrect (I simply don’t have time to go into why this is the case in a post talking about abra, but I would suggest watching LC exhibition and taking note of what pokemon are the primary offensive presences; I think you will find that other types are just as potent as the fighting type, if not more), and even if it was correct the banning of abra would not make it much worse.

2. Abra in Context
With the exception of the acquisition of Counter, what Abra actually does has not really changed that much over the past 3 generations. So, if this is the case, why is there an Abra suspect now when it wasn’t really considered much of an issue in the past? This is a very understandable question, and in order to answer it I have to explain how Abra interacts with the meta and why recent metagame developments have made it so much more potent.

ORAS
I know that we’re talking about SM right now, but I want to quickly bring up ORAS as an example of a meta where Abra still has all of these same strong offensive traits that are being called broken now, yet is considered balanced by all but those with fringe opinions (Shrug ) because of the way it interacts with what is prominent in the meta. Fletchling, Gothita, Porygon, Diglett, Pawniard and Spritzee (among other things, but with the exception of the last these were pretty clearly the most prominent pokemon holding Abra back) all being staples of the metagame were sufficient to keep Abra balanced despite its great offensive presence.

SM
Now, if you were around during ORAS you know that Fletchling, Gothita and Porygon were all cruelly dismissed in various ways from either viability or the metagame as a whole. Grimer-A and the rise of Vullaby in SM both hurt Abra, but considering the formers massive problems both as an independent pokemon against teams without abragast and against teams with trappers and the latters inability to take more than 2 dazzling gleams, they were not able to keep Abra down to the same extent as the presence fletchling porygon and gothita had. Still, through most of SM most did not consider Abra to be broken (though i’m sure you could find someone other than Shrug this time who thought that is was). Apparently, despite the loss of these valuable means of checking Abra, most teams were still able to have various ways of dealing with Abra without compromising viability against non-Abra teams. Strong priority, Pawniard, scarfers and very bulky pokemon were able to fill these roles, but before I go into what changed between this early and mid-SM period and now to make Abra potentially broken, I first want to mention two pokemon in particular that were absolutely crucial in keeping Abra in check.
The first is magnemite, who often found itself on teams consisting of a foongus+onix defensive core because of its ability to trap ferroseed. Although it could not switch into hidden power fires and fightings (it is important to mention that its popularity to some degree encouraged the use of hidden powers over the now prominent counter), with its steel typing it could usually deter abra from firing of STAB psychics with impunity, and could at the very least revenge kill it.
The second, and far more important, is diglett. I already mentioned diglett as part of the cast of pokemon working to keep Abra under wraps in ORAS, but considering just how instrumental diglett was in checking Abra in early and mid-ORAS it definitely warrants a singling out. As the only pokemon in the metagame to naturally outspeed Abra (or, rather, the only good pokemon to do it), diglett was the single most reliable way of revenge killing Abra, and could even dispose of Sash Abra with beat up and Eviolite variants. Of all the ways of dealing with Abra, diglett was not only the most reliable but the most popular; Because of the dominance of balance in early to mid-SM the ability of groundium Z diglett to potentially eliminate an important defensive pokemon (mostly foongus) became extremely valuable. Because of this diglett found itself favored on many teams even without consideration of Abra, and its frequent use was arguably the most crucial bar in Abra’s prison.

3. Abra now
If you read my post in the metagame threat you may have some idea where I’m going with this: I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist trying to route everything to one point but I do think I’m correct in this instance. The thing that, for me, separates mid-SM where Abra wasn’t considered broken from the present SM meta is the popularization of a single pokemon: Trapinch.
I know that I’m supposed to be discussing Abra here considering its the topic of suspect, but considering how Trapinch, at least in my opinion, fairly directly bought on this meta where Abra is considered to be potentially broken, I feel that without an understanding of Trapinch and the metagame trends it promotes it is impossible to understand what changed to make Abra so powerful all of a sudden. To those (hopefully) reading this post that might be a little behind on the LC meta, Trapinch is a pokemon that was popularized a couple months ago and with the banning of Wingull was able to stretch its influence even farther without having to fear a strong water type special attacker. It is, as the name suggests, a trapper, but with unique ability that its competitor diglett can frankly only dream of: Its bulk allow it to directly switch in on the pokemon that it likes to trap. Although the pokemon that diglett likes to trap like Mareanie and Ponyta are hindered by this vulnerability, they are still able to perform their roles to some extent even with Diglett on the other team. This is not the case with pokemon trapped by Trapinch, who are unable to perform the roles they would normally perform when Trapinch is present on the opposing team.
The only pokemon that Trapinch invalidates thoroughly that was once holding Abra back is Magnemite; The most important archetype of pokemon that is invalidated by Trapinch is the consistent Ponyta and Vullaby check. This check, be it either Onix, Tirtouga, or Pawniard (Though the last only has to fear revenging and u-turn) was absolutely essential to the defensive structure of the balance characteristic of mid-SM, and this massive threat to their viability made flying and fire offensive types absolutely menacing to the balance archetype. This led to more offensive teams that generally are less adept at checking Abra.
It is not, I would argue, this invalidation of defensive checks that has made Abra so powerful recently, though the tragic fall of Magnemite certainly helped it. No, it is the second role that Trapinch performs that has made Abra so good: Limiting Trappers. While pursuit trappers are certainly a component of this, Abra is already able to break those to some degree with counter. It is, in my opinion, the ability of Trapinch to trap diglett, a mon that was absolutely crucial in checking it in mid-SM, that has elevated Abra so high in addition to these other elements I’ve already mentioned. Trapinch teams are generally advantaged over diglett teams due to this revenge trapping factor, leading to a fall in diglett use, which Abra absolutely loves.
I’m reserving my thoughts on whether or not Trapinch is balanced for another time, but hopefully i’ve shown that the metagame trends that Trapinch has bought on have created an atmosphere where Abra can shine in a way it was prevented from doing in mid-SM by diglett, magnemite and other pokemon. For more information on how Trapinch has affected the metagame I would suggest looking at Exhibition usage stats and my post in the metagame discussion thread

3. To Ban or not to Ban?
The purpose of this post is mostly to fill people in on the metagame shifts that have caused Abra to become so powerful lately, but I’d like to use this opportunity to share my own opinions on a ban based on these trends that I’ve described. I’ll present my thoughts on both sides of the coins as these are a reflection of my admitted indecision at this point.

Pro Ban
I don’t think that Abra benefits any more from the metagame shifts resulting from Trapinch than, say, Vullaby or Ponyta, but at the same time I think that Abra, along with both of these pokemon, are frankly not able to be adequately checked right now, at least not when teams have to worry about other threats on top of them. According to the traditional view of only considering if a pokemon is broken or not and not looking at how the banning of x pokemon might make it balanced or the unbanning of x other pokemon might make it balanced, I think that Abra has a very strong case for a ban right now, in addition to the other pokemon that benefit immensely from Pinch, Ponyta and Vullaby.

Anti-Ban
Here are where my opinions get a little bit more complicated, because as much as my current impression of the meta and evaluations on paper should tell me that Abra is broken I just can’t see it in practice, at least to the same extent some other people have been talking about. I think this is primarily because there is some part of me that believes, at least to some extent, that the metagame has some adapting to do to this threat of Abra, adapting that we’re already beginning to see. Things like sucker punch gastly, timburr being favored over mienfoo, other strong priority like bunnelby and corphish, diglett being run in tandem with mons that have good matchups vs pinch teams like Staryu, scarf vullaby rising… All of these trends i’ve been noticing perhaps in response to Abra have the potential to work, and considering how much I use them myself I think to some extent they do. I split a little bit from my friends with these opinions, but still I think they are worth mentioning. As much as Abra should be breaking the metagame on paper I’m actually enjoying this metagame more and more, if anything the introduction of Trapinch took as away from a balance-y meta that I could not enjoy as much, although it may have admittedly been a bit more healthy. I don’t know if these sentiments are shared by others, but at least on a personal level I struggle to vote ban in a meta that I’m really enjoying.
 

dcae

naughty list
is a Tiering Contributor
I know there hasn't been much discussion bc of the issues with suspecting Abra in such a skewed metagame but I'm going to post my thoughts on why I'm voting no ban.

Historically our bans center around Pokemon that become too broken in an existing metagame. Pokemon banned this way tend to fall into distinct categories of either inherently broken mons (ie: Murkrow, Tangela, etc) or mons that become broken due to a shift in the metagame or their movepool (Wingull, Aipom respectively). Abra's brokenness falls into this second category, as it is the metagame shifts of the past several months that have created an environment where it is more difficult to handle than ever before. I don't think it is plausible to argue that Abra is not broken as it stands in the current metagame. It has a limited set of viable checks and is very limiting in the teambuilder, forcing one to include a couple mons with sets tailored to handle either Abra variant. Others have already espoused Abra's significant positives so I won't waste time rehashing them. Instead, I'd rather take a look at what changed for Abra to become this difficult to handle; essentially, what drove this meta change, and what we should do from there.

There are two reasons why Abra has become broken whereas it wasn't before. The smaller but still relevant reason is the banning of Wingull, which removed a top 19 speeder and opened that speed tier up further for Abra offensively, while also allowing frailer offensive teams to exist more often, a trend that benefits Abra. However, the larger and most significant reason is the rise of Trapinch. I've gone on record with my own opinion regarding Trapinch (that it is broken and should be suspected) so I won't delve too deeply there either, but the main issue is pinch has affected the metagame's composition in a way that only bolsters Abra even when they are not on the same team. Trapinch's mere existence in the meta dissuades bulkier balance builds and most importantly has limited the viability of top Abra checks. Magnemite, a classic offensive Abra check, has nosedived in usage and viability. Diglett, the most reliable check to Abra and once an undisputed top 3 mon, has become much less used. Furthermore, less direct but equally useful ways of dealing with Abra such as Scarf Pawn and AJet Tirt have seen drops in usage. Trapinch is creating an environment where Abra becomes overpowered.

However, this argument brings up a solid counterpoint: how can I justify pointing to Trapinch as the sole problem when Abra is broken right now? Is our policy not to ban what is broken in the current metagame? Traditionally, we'd ban Abra and then, if problems persist, suspect Trapinch. My counterargument to this is for us to take a look at another top mon of past metas (like Abra) that can be easily argued to currently also be broken based on the standards we are attributing to Abra. I am talking about Vullaby, which is widely accepted as the best mon in the meta right now. Vullaby is also a devastating offensive threat with any set due to amazing STABs, Knock Off, U-turn, tons of possible move combinations, and unmatched set versatility (much greater than Abra). There is an extremely good case that Vullaby is broken in the current meta but this is also due to the limitation placed on formerly viable checks to Vull. Onix and Tirt are both very impacted by Trapinch leaving Pawn (also pinch weak) as the only consistent Vull check. Even that is shaky, bc of the existence of HP Fight, so Vull ends up putting tons of pressure on teams similar to Abra. Although it is not as explicit a 1:1 like Abra can be with its Sash + Counter options, it often ends up being as dominant.

With this in mind, I look at Abra and Vullaby as broken mons in the metagame but not because they are broken but rather because the Pokemon that we know check them are invalidated by something else: Trapinch.

As we suspect mons and decide whether to ban something or not, our goal tiering-wise is to create a more skillful metagame with fewer bans. As I see it, banning Abra means we have to apply the same policy to something like Vullaby and that will require more bans than just Trapinch. I know the normal process would be to ban Abra now and then retest it after Trapinch gets banned, but as we all know, LCers have a tendency to overestimate what banned mons were like (case in point: non-Conversion Pory) and it would make it much more difficult to get a legitimately unbiased retest for Abra.
 
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Quote

Free Torvesta
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You guys know I'm not the best with words, but I'll try to talk a bit here of how I feel about this suspect. I'm not 100% sure if Abra is broken or not (leaning no but you never know) but I can't deny the effect it's having on our metagame. Like some of the others have mentioned though, part of the reason for its success is that Trapinch is a much better trapper than Diglett, with its power, bulk, and access to Giga Drain being able to support it a lot better than Diglett could.

I think the combination of Abra receiving Counter and the meta shifting towards offense due to Trapinch's ability to scare away defensive pokemon has made Abra much stronger than before, but even before that offense teams were increasing in popularity because of the influence Wingull had. I have to continue working towards reqs so I'll formulate better thoughts later on.
 

tcr

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After discussing at length with dcae I think I have shifted my opinion towards no ban. While Abra is indeed an issue, I look to what has made Abra broken now as opposed to previous metas. The answers I seem to come up with are that 1) the metagame favors Abra right now as a strong fast attacker and that 2) Counter Sash combined with it's variety of sets leave the opponent often guessing as to how they should deal with it. I believe the metagame favors Abra in that traditional checks to Abra, such as Grimer-A, Magnemite, Scarf Pawniard, and faster answers such as Elekid have all fallen flat in the metagame. Checks like SturdyJuice Onix are no longer viable due to the omniprescence of hard hitters like Trapinch that select delete Pokemon, literally all of those Pokemon. This makes Life Orb Abra a much less risky Pokemon to run since Trapinch can just hard delete Diglett, Pawniard, Grimer and all but functionally delete Magnemite as a Pokemon in this metagame. Additionally for the rare safety net one is apt to run Counter Abra which can take out at least 1 Pokemon. Abra could not do this before in metagames because it did not have Trapinch's support to stop things like Sturdy Onix, Diglett, Magnemite, Scarf Pawniard, Grimer-A, Elekid, etc. During Vulpix metagame the meta revolved around Chloro sweepers, things like Solarbeam Vulpix and Bellsprout and Oddish etc. Obviously Trapinch, a slow speed Ground-type, probably would not want to be in that metagame. Fast forward to Torchic meta, where the main threats were things like Timburr, Mudbray, Rufflet, Snivy, and Baton Pass Torchic, not to mention Corphish and Tirtouga. All of those Pokemon are things that check Trapinch and keep it from existing really. Wingull suspect had obviously Wingull, alongside Foongus omnipresent on every team, and Trapinch simply cannot break those bulky cores while also giving free Subs to Wingull.

My point is, every Pokemon is only broken insofar that the metagame at the time facilitates it. Swirlix is a broken Pokemon, and yet it was not nearly as 'broken' as previous threats that dominated the metagame. You can point towards previous Tangma usage stats with a 50% winrate of Swirlix for this to be seen. A pokemon is only broken at the point of its highest culpability, that is it is simply the 'best / strongest' pokemon and so takes the lion's share of blame. A metagame shifts and resolves itself with tech. On the ladder I started seeing things like FeintFoo, or answers like Corphish, fast Grimer-A with Giga Drain to deal with Abra.

I do not think that blindly selecting the outright best Pokemon in the metagame is the correct way to select a suspect and then eliminate it, but more that one should wade with caution into the metagame pool to see what might be the real issue. Dcae's post and rhetoric has me believing this issue is, and has strongly, always been, trapping, though he would lead you to believe that the issue is hyperfocused on Trapinch in particular. This is fine. I do not believe that council selecting the Pokemon that will be suspected is the correct way to go about addressing these contingencies, and firmly believe that less and less the closer the deadline gets to March 1st and only three members of council actually have reqs.

This is why I will be voting for no ban, as I believe the correct course to steer this metagame is to wait and see what meta answers develop to check Abra, after a proposed Trapinch / Arena Trap suspect test. I believe that banning Abra right now would be a mistake, as people would be clamoring for it to return after an inevitable Trapinch suspect, but the issue that remains is that the tiering policy framework outlines that an unban must "demonstrate why [an unban] is necessary and how it affects the ladder and the tournament scene, as well as provide evidence for both [to change the status quo]." I feel that to unban the Pokemon would provide an unreasonable amount of evidence so as to all but nullify any attempts to do so, and I feel this way due to the prior history that has been treated towards unban prospects (Misdreavus, Yanma, Gothita).

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Based on the tiering policy framework outlined in this post I do not believe that Abra fits the criteria of being broken, unhealthy, or uncompetitive, but instead is simply a stale element facilitated by a Trapper based metagame. Reading:
  • These aren't necessarily completely uncompetitive because they don't take the determining factor out of the player's hands; both can use these elements and both probably have a fair chance to win. They are broken because they almost dictate / require usage, and a standard team without one of them facing a standard team with one of them would be at a drastic disadvantage.
Abra is very clearly not required on every single team and a standard team without one is not at a disadvantage for having it. This can be shown through the extensive amount of replays that showcase either one team having an Abra and losing decisively or neither team having an Abra, as shown
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-410660 - Tazz v Shrug Exhib Week 1
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-847159292 - Fatty v Taranteeeno Exhib Week 1
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-847976308 - Burntzebra v london13 Exhib Week 1
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-847065693 -Heysup v Kingler12345 Exhib Week 1
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-847989425 - Toadow v Fille Exhib Week 1

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-851171113 - Sken v Burntzebra Exhib Week 2
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-850828079 - Ninjadog v Tazz Exhib Week 2
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-850808175 - Shrug v Serenes Grace Exhib Week 2
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-850916994 - Fille v tko Exhib Week 2
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-850239012 - LilyAC v london13 Exhib Week 2
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-851130118 - Heysup v Toadow Exhib Week 2

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-854640057 - Plas v tazz Exhib Week 3
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-854563570 - viper v taranteeeno Exhib Week 3
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-853846658 - Heysup v Santu Exhib Week 3
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-852002079 - Luthier v HT Exhib Week 3

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-857379952 - Toadow v Tazz Exhib Week 4
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-855126643 - Luthier v LilyAC Exhib Week 4
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-856577675 - Heysup v Fille Exhib Week 4

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-859141657 - Heysup v Tazz Exhib Week 5
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-859682578 - Fatty v Luthier Exhib Week 5
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-860845930 - Casparov v Toadow - Exhib Week 5
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-857972739 - Serenes Grace v HT Exhib Week 5
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-860786498 - Taranteeeno v LilyAC Exhib Week 5
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-860894428 - Burntzebra v plas Exhib Week 5

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-425814 - viper v Kingler12345 Exhib Week 6
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-862250529 - Heysup v Xayah Exhib Week 6
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-862387716 - Burntzebra v Luthier Exhib Week 6
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-863532950 - London13 v Shrug Exhib Week 6


I think those replays, well over half of the replays in this Exhibition, show that Abra is neither mandatory on a team nor are there inherent disadvantages to foregoing Abra. The second part of the tiering policy framework states that:

  • These also include elements whose only counters or checks are extraordinarily niche Pokemon that would put the team at a large disadvantage elsewhere.
Abra's counters and checks are not extraordinarily niche Pokemon. Abra is not Tangela with their only counter being Goomy, Abra is not Meditite with their only counter being Elygem. Abra's checks and counters include Staryu, Ponyta, Pawniard, Grimer-A, Vullaby, Honedge, Magnemite, Elekid, Diglett, Munchlax, Scarf Mienfoo (really any scarf), SturdyJuice Onix, Spritzee, Wynaut, Sucker Punch users, general priority users, etc. None of these with the exception of maybe Munchlax are niche Pokemon and all have some use on a team. Yes, many are routed by Trapinch although I perceive that as a symptom of Trapinch and trapping abilities as a whole rather than some extension of Abra. I think an argument could be made for Abra's prescence demanding these 'niche' Pokemon but at that point I feel that people are splicing up which metagame is more preferable, one with trapping and Trapinch or one with Abra, and its just splitting hairs.

Lastly: "Uncompetitive and Broken defined like this tend to be mutually exclusive in practice, but they aren't necessarily entirely so." I do not believe that Abra in itself is an uncompetitive Pokemon. Sash is a unique mechanic that is outright annoying most of the time but it is not something that is sweeping games by itself but a wincon that can be played around. Counter is a dumb set but has its own set of answers (such as Giga Drain Grimer-A). I do not think that either of these things are inherently uncompetitive or outright stronger than the competition (as people have argued that Pokemon like Vullaby are stronger answers to the metagame than Abra). Abra is not head and shoulders above every other Pokemon in the metagame as defined by the VR thread, in which it sits at a solid A+. This to me signifies that the council especially, seeing as a majority of the people who handle the VR thread are also on council, see it as well as something that is good, not great and mandatory on teams. I think an argument could be made for Abra being the top dog but as of know our forum resources for learning the tier do not reflect that.

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I do not believe Abra fits the criteria of "Unhealthy" either. Annoying, yes, strong, yes, unhealthy no. According to the definition of the tiering framework on site:
  • These are elements that may not limit either team building or battling skill enough individually but combine to cause an effect that is undesirable for the metagame.
  • This can also be a state of the metagame. If the metagame has too much diversity wherein team building ability is greatly hampered and battling skill is drastically reduced, we may seek to reduce the number of good-to-great threats. This can also work in reverse; if the metagame is too centralized around a particular set of Pokemon, none of which are broken on their own, we may seek to add Pokemon to increase diversity.
  • This is the most controversial and subjective one and will therefore be used the most sparingly. The Tiering Councils will only use this amidst drastic community outcry and a conviction that the move will noticeably result in the better player winning over the lesser player.
  • When trying to argue a particular element's suspect status, please avoid this category unless absolutely necessary. This is a last-ditch, subjective catch-all, and tiering arguments should focus on uncompetitive or broken first. We are coming to a point in the generations where the number of threats is close to overwhelming, so we may touch upon this more often, but please try to focus on uncompetitive and broken first.
I do not believe that Abra fits any of this criteria. Abra does not limit teambuilding to an extent, at least far less than things like Trapinch. Abra is not out there making Pokemon like Mienfoo, Foongus, or Timburr unviable. If anything Timburr is more viable right now due to Trapinch and Pawniard prescence on many teams, as well as Ponyta. The metagame is not centralized around Abra either, more I feel that Webs are simply an answer to a lot of balance builds, namely PonyPinch, StaryuPinch, and some AbraGas teams. Abra is also an excellent user of Webs itself, but this is by no means a broken strategy, simply a viable one (as evidenced by the exhibition usage stats and replays). I do not think Abra noticeably results in the lesser player winning over a better player, there were many cases in the above links of Exhibition replays in which Abra does not win despite being on one team and not the other, showing that there is ample playing ability to get around the Pokemon. It does not centralize the usage stats either, having about half the amount of games that Vullaby had been used. I do not think that Abra is uncompetitive either as it does not unduly influence RNG, though I feel this is self explanatory and not the argument many people are attempting to make. As such the last ditch effort would be to label it as unhealthy, but I simply do not feel it fits this framework any more after rethinking my stance. Due to these circumstances as well as the nature of what I think should b suspected first, I would find that Abra should be do not ban.



I would like to publically address and call for the responses and thoughts of the remaining council members who have not given ample reasoning, thoughts, or any discussion hereto. This thread is not meant to be a stance thread, but a discussion thread. Yes most people are going to post a solid firm stance at the time but being on the fence should not prohibit you from posting. I think that council members can provide the most insightful thoughts on the metagame at this current time, and a simple 3 liner of fluff does not particularly cut it. I would applaud fatty and dcae with their posts and thoughts as providing ample reasoning on both sides to make a stance, and would implore the rest of the council to do the same, even if you cannot make a decision just yet. Simply posting about your apprehensions one way or the other helps to make others decide and is conducive to sparking a discussion. I recognize that a lot of discussion goes on in the LC discord but the LC forums are the easiest and most transparent way for people to see others' thoughts on a somewhat permanent platform, and serve as good role models for other newer members of the community to step up and post their thoughts, especially if they feel that the environment is not actually conducive to a quality, non-judgemental discussion.
 
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Corporal Levi

ninjadog of the year
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Community Leader
I completely agree that Trapinch is banworthy as well right now, but my stance on Abra itself hasn't changed from my metagame discussion post; I believe Abra, as a standalone threat, is broken. I feel that Abra is such an overloaded offensive threat that it should be seen as an issue on its own. My understanding is that most of us agree that Abra + Trapinch is too strong, so the rest of the post is written with that in mind.

First things first - I am not arguing that Trapinch isn't broken. I'm not even arguing that it's less broken than Abra, even if that was what I believed when I was setting the suspect up. I am arguing that Abra is also broken, and that if you believe the core of Abra + Trapinch is broken, then your vote should go towards voting to ban it here by all metrics; we shouldn't delay the removal of a broken mon from the meta just to see if it would be better in a theoretical (Trapinch-less) future metagame.

While Trapinch does aid in Abra's viability, I do not believe it to be in a manner that should discount Abra's own brokenness. Trapinch's influence on Abra can be broken down into two factors: a) as a direct support, and b) as an overbearing influence on the metagame that shifts it in Abra's favour.

For a), I think it's fairly clear that Abra doesn't need Trapinch on its team specifically to be extremely strong. I listed a bunch of LCWC replays in my metagame discussion post to showcase how Abra came off as the dominant member of the GastBraPinch problem, and this conclusion hasn't changed; other means to abuse GastBra without Trapinch have since become uncomfortably prevalent, including Gastbra webs and Gastbra spikestack. As of the end of LCWC, Abra sits at a 59% win rate as the fourth most used mon, which is the most of any mon with over 20 uses if we exclude burntzebra vs tko for semis (which didn't matter). On the other hand, Trapinch is the 8th used mon with a 57% win rate. The fact that both of the central vs west semifinal SM games that mattered were GastBra web mirrors is pretty telling. Usage stats aren't everything, but I won't argue for this further as I feel it's pretty readily accepted that it's Abra the mon, not just AbraPinch the core, that's so powerful in the Trapinch metagame; its ridiculous combination of offensive strengths puts it head and shoulders above most of its competition.

So that leaves b), Trapinch overly shifting the metagame in Abra's favour. Let's break down exactly what has changed in the Trapinch metagame to make Abra so much stronger. I will be referring to the LCWC usage stats and the LCPL 7 usage stats here, but I don't mean to use them as definitive numbers because again, usage stats aren't everything; I'm just using them to paint a picture of how the metagame has changed. There have been some shifts related to the Wingull ban as well (pursuiters are less necessary, Snivy has an easier time, Trapinch becomes less risky to run over Diglett), but I don't think they impact Abra's brokenness in a hugely meaningful way outside of benefiting Trapinch, though it's hard to say for certain when Trapinch spent the last couple of months on the rise before the Wingull's ban.

1. Trapinch's rise has made Magnemite less viable; it went down from 7th most used mon in LCPL to 12th in LCWC. If my memory serves, it's mostly Scarf Magnemite that has become less common, as SturdyJuice Magnemite has risen to become its more popular set. However, Magnemite the mon is still reasonably common, and more importantly, it just isn't very reliable an answer to Abra to begin with. This becomes clear when we look at how how even non-Trapinch Abra builds don't really worry about Magnemite. In the case of Abra + Spikestack, Magnemite can be put into range of even an LO Psychic after coming in on rocks + spikes 3-4 times, and doesn't reliably OHKO with Thunderbolt anyways, often forcing it to Volt Switch first. In the case of Abra + webs, Scarf Magnemite of course isn't a check at all.

2. Trapinch's rise has not made Pursuit users noticeably less viable. It act as a nuisance to Pawniard and Grimer, yet they maintain similar usage and win rates (which are still abysmal for Grimer). Why is this the case? It becomes clear when we look at arguably the most notable part of Trapinch's influence -

3. Trapinch's rise has damaged Diglett's viability. Whether it's because Trapinch now directly competes with Diglett or because it countertraps Diglett, it doesn't matter - the end result is that Diglett has dropped in usage, win rate, and in the eyes of many, viability. Replacing Diglett with Trapinch as the dominant trapper hurts Magnemite, which generally struggles more against Trapinch, but it doesn't seriously affect Pawniard or Grimer. Because Trapinch hurts Diglett, Pursuit trappers have remained comparably strong. On the other hand, this is pretty clearly beneficial for Abra, as Trapinch is easily worn down into Abra range early on, whereas Diglett can KO Abra as long as its team is healthy enough for Beat Up, maybe even later into the match if Diglett is running Eviolite.

4. Outside of the above, the trends associated with Trapinch either do not drastically affect Abra's viability or actively hinder it. For example, another major Trapinch-related shift would be the decrease in Onix, but Abra doesn't really care for that. Mienfoo and Foongus becoming less popular as a direct result of Vullaby / Ponyta / Abra itself becoming stronger with Trapinch support means that Abra can no longer abuse them as often. You could perhaps construe an argument based around, say, Abra synergizing with another Trapinch abuser, but I don't think they would be impactful enough to be notable, or more notable than the various very minor trends that might damage Abra's viability.

In other words, I think we can narrow down almost all of Trapinch's influence on Abra's viability to how it hampers Diglett; the other shifts resulting from its rise, at best, benefit Abra only trivially.

Another way to look at this is that we have evidence that a single Pokemon, Diglett, is more or less the sole reason Abra is balanced in a Trapinch-less metagame. This should drive home just how strong Abra is: if you aren't running an Arena Trap user, Pursuit user, or a GastBra webs of your own, you're probably weak to Abra. Of the Pursuit users, Grimer and so on have inherent disadvantages that make them unreasonably difficult to fit onto the average team, while Scarf Pawniard is a single set on a single mon that carries the opportunity cost of not being able to run Eviolite Pawniard. Defensive answers are flimsy (we're not really about to call Ferroseed a reliable Abra answer, are we?), and most revenge-killers can't switch in + require sacks to deal with Sashbra anyways; in fact, even the aforementioned Pursuit users lose to Counter Abra. This leaves us with Diglett. In prior metagames, Diglett and Diglett alone was common enough to keep it in check. It was evidently still heavily constraining toward builds - it just wasn't as noticeable because Diglett was so splashable. We now have a metagame where Diglett isn't as splashable anymore.

Abra does not have a healthy amount of responses. When a mon's viable answers in the teambuilding stage are mostly limited to one or two revenge-killers, it's almost surely problematic. Gastly is easier to revenge-kill because of its worse speed tier; more importantly, it has far more options for general counterplay so that it can actually lose more than a handful of 1v1s, simply because it can't run sash for free and isn't immune to passive damage. Ponyta matches Abra's speed tier, but is even more susceptible to hazards. No other offensive mon can approach Abra's immediate threat level; they don't have its speed, its power, its coverage. Abra, by design, has strengths that are too powerful, too numerous, too difficult to counterplay for it to be balanced in any metagame that rests at a comparable level of power to ours (so it was probably fine in Tangma).

In short, Trapinch's rise doesn't push an otherwise balanced mon in Abra over the edge. It serves to highlight how problematic Abra has been all along.
 
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tcr

sage of six tabs
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Corporal Levi I would like to continue our conversation we were having in the discord channel because I feel you are either not making yourself abundantly clear or are not candid with your argument. For transparency's sake I will drop the short snippet of convo (with certain things excluded as the convo did take place in the pool and so there is superfluous dialogue).
[3:50 AM] leafeon: taranteeeno sr im struggling to see where Abra is broken enough within the context of smogon tiering policy seeing as it is not necessary on teams as exhib shows nor are its counters niche enough
[3:50 AM] leafeon: simply not liking webs squads and them being good right now does not seem like a reason towards it being broken more that its just a good and handy mon
[3:51 AM] leafeon: which while annoying does not make it broken under the criteria set
[3:53 AM] taranteeeno sr: i was mainly arguing w the understanding that abra, with trapinch, is too good
[3:53 AM] taranteeeno sr: i don't think it's like mega kangaskhan broken
[3:54 AM] taranteeeno sr: but i don't see it as significantly less broken than like
[3:54 AM] taranteeeno sr: missy or sth
[3:54 AM] taranteeeno sr: well
[3:54 AM] taranteeeno sr: it's definitely worse than missy
[3:55 AM] taranteeeno sr: but i don't think it's particularly easier to check than missy for example
[3:55 AM] taranteeeno sr: like even dig isn't an abra counter, it's just more reliable an answer than p much any other high tier mon
[3:55 AM] leafeon: ok but it being a good mon does not make it broken
[3:55 AM] leafeon: again where does it fit in our current understanding
[3:55 AM] leafeon: of the tiering framework
[3:56 AM] taranteeeno sr: broken
[3:56 AM] leafeon: with objective definitions of
[3:56 AM] leafeon: unhealthy and broken
[3:56 AM] leafeon: howv
[3:56 AM] taranteeeno sr: These also include elements whose only counters or checks are extraordinarily niche Pokemon that would put the team at a large disadvantage elsewhere.
[3:56 AM] taranteeeno sr: to a degree that our less banworthy bans are broken
[3:57 AM] leafeon: abra does not force extraordinarily niche pokemon to be used
[3:57 AM] leafeon: the common answers to abra on the ladder were
[3:57 AM] leafeon: vullaby, pawnoard, grimer, diglett, trapinch, feintfoo, surskuit
[3:57 AM] meii: [12:53 AM] taranteeeno sr: i don't think it's like mega kangaskhan broken
[12:54 AM] taranteeeno sr: but i don't see it as significantly less broken than like
[12:54 AM] taranteeeno sr: missy or sth
[3:57 AM] meii: what did i just read
[3:57 AM] leafeon: none of which are below B+ on viability
[3:58 AM] leafeon: if abra was forcing the use of hestproof bronzor to be used
[3:58 AM] ligma: can we clarify that statement levi
[3:58 AM] leafeon: then id agree
[3:58 AM] leafeon: but it doesnt clearly
[3:58 AM] leafeon: and teams arent bending over backwards to check ot
[3:58 AM] leafeon: u can check exhib replays for that
[3:58 AM] leafeon: where over half the teams used
[3:58 AM] leafeon: either didnt feature an abra
[3:58 AM] leafeon: or beat a team that had abra
[3:59 AM] leafeon: exhib is the most accurate means of discussing the meta rn
[3:59 AM] leafeon: considering its the most recent tour
[4:01 AM] Ninja: yea id agree tcr
[4:01 AM] Ninja: i think you can run
[4:01 AM] Ninja: v standard or conventional teams
[4:01 AM] Ninja: and have a strong abra mu
[4:02 AM] taranteeeno sr: like abra isnt equally broken as missy, it's definitely less broken on the sliding scale
[4:02 AM] taranteeeno sr: but there were viable ways to deal with it (less viable ways than abra) eg pory, scarfpawn etc
[4:03 AM] taranteeeno sr: none of them were wholly reliable at dealing with missy but there arent rlly wholly viable means to deal with abra either
[4:03 AM] taranteeeno sr: short of like sball munch
[4:04 AM] meii: Whyd abra have to get counter
[4:04 AM] meii: Are we rly sure its legal
[4:05 AM] ligma: yeah
[4:05 AM] ligma: it's legal
[4:06 AM] ligma: you don't think somebody would have figured that out by now
[4:07 AM] leafeon: idc about a sliding scale or comparing it to missy or porygon or whatever
[4:07 AM] leafeon: i want you to frame your argument within the context of the smogon tiering policy
[4:08 AM] leafeon: abra webs and abra counter have clearly defined answers that arent munchlax and bronzor and wynaut
[4:08 AM] leafeon: and teams have an easy abra matchup in many games using a standard ponypinch timburr team
[4:08 AM] leafeon: or any other teams of exhib
[4:09 AM] leafeon: i dont see how you can say there are wholly unviable means of answering abra when the exhib data clearly shows opposite
[4:09 AM] leafeon: are you discounting that data for some reason?
[4:10 AM] leafeon: abra 1) is not a mandatory prescence on teams and the meta does not revolve around it
[4:10 AM] leafeon: if it was wed see much higher usage, abra mirrors, and winrates in exhib and lcwc
[4:10 AM] leafeon: abra also 2) does not require niche pokemon
[4:11 AM] leafeon: scarfpawn vullaby feintfoo surskuit webs diglett are not niche
[4:11 AM] leafeon: the only answers to abra that can be considered “niche” (below B+) are honedge mumchlax bronzor and wynaut
[4:12 AM] leafeon: all of which have extremely low usage
[4:12 AM] meii: completely agree w tcr
[4:12 AM] taranteeeno sr: we don't ban mons literally only because every single answer is niche
[4:12 AM] taranteeeno sr: i used missy as an example of this
[4:12 AM] meii: felt like a lot of flashy words but not enough detail
[4:12 AM] leafeon: youre right but can you provide an example within the context of the tiering framework?
[4:13 AM] meii: In your post
[4:13 AM] taranteeeno sr: and from what i saw lcwc did kind of revolve around abra
[4:13 AM] taranteeeno sr: i honestly haven't looked at exhib lc games outside of the elite ones
[4:13 AM] Ninja: exhib has def been revolving around pinch
[4:13 AM] Ninja: if any mon
[4:13 AM] leafeon: you have yet to say how abra is objectively broken given the definitions of the word
[4:13 AM] leafeon: you mentioned extremely niche pokemon which was rebutted
[4:13 AM] leafeon: you cant fall back on “some mons are just nuanced”
[4:14 AM] taranteeeno sr: err
[4:14 AM] taranteeeno sr: i didnt say that
[4:14 AM] leafeon:

[4:14 AM] taranteeeno sr: i gave an example of how we don't treat the policy framework as the bible
[4:14 AM] taranteeeno sr: no i did use that phrase yes
[4:15 AM] taranteeeno sr: i didn't say the some mons are just nuanced
[4:15 AM] leafeon: you cant say in previous conversations we cant talk about trapinch bc tiering policy is violated
[4:15 AM] leafeon: and then not also subscribe to the definitions set out in the post
[4:16 AM] taranteeeno sr: i just spent an entire post detailing the relation between pinch and abra
[4:16 AM] taranteeeno sr: the definitions are something to consider
[4:16 AM] taranteeeno sr: but historically havent been used as more than that
[4:16 AM] Good Behaviour: tcr is right and levi is wrong
[4:17 AM] Good Behaviour: in this discussion
[4:17 AM] Good Behaviour: just my 2 cents
[4:17 AM] leafeon: ? missy was clearly head and shoulders above every other pokemon beinng super defensive having setup and the biggest attack
[4:17 AM] leafeon: its counters were porygon which still lost
[4:17 AM] leafeon: it had no niche counters bc none existed outside of munch who still lost
[4:17 AM] leafeon: i dont see the comparisons to abra at all other than they have 19 spe
[4:17 AM] leafeon: abra does not have defenses
[4:18 AM] leafeon: abra does not have setup
[4:18 AM] taranteeeno sr: abra potentially beats all of its counters is
[4:18 AM] taranteeeno sr: the biggest comparison
[4:18 AM] taranteeeno sr: but
4:18 AM] meii: not really though
[4:18 AM] taranteeeno sr: These aren't necessarily completely uncompetitive because they don't take the determining factor out of the player's hands; both can use these elements and both probably have a fair chance to win. They are broken because they almost dictate / require usage, and a standard team without one of them facing a standard team with one of them would be at a drastic disadvantage.
[4:18 AM] taranteeeno sr: this wasnt by the book true, teams could be viable w.o missy
[4:18 AM] taranteeeno sr: and
[4:18 AM] taranteeeno sr: o wait
[4:18 AM] taranteeeno sr: i pasted both pts
[4:18 AM] taranteeeno sr: err
[4:18 AM] taranteeeno sr: no i didnt
[4:19 AM] taranteeeno sr: These also include elements whose only counters or checks are extraordinarily niche Pokemon that would put the team at a large disadvantage elsewhere.
[4:19 AM] taranteeeno sr: this also wasn't true
[4:19 AM] meii: So are u saying free missy?
[4:19 AM] meii: Suspect logic from a prime pro abra ban guy
[4:20 AM] taranteeeno sr: no i want abra banned u dolt
[4:20 AM] meii: Ya ik
[4:20 AM] meii: Are u trying to argue tha tu dont have to prove abra broken via policy bc
[4:20 AM] meii: Missy didnt fulfill them?
[4:21 AM] meii: Whats next council deciding whats considered broke and whats not


In this exchange you repeatedly dodge the question of "what aspects underneath the tiering policy framework does Abra fall under," first stating that it is a 'Broken' Pokemon, which is just simply not true. Underneath the definitions laid out in the post, which I already posted above so feel free to peruse for a quick refresher, the tiering framework defines 'broken' as something that is
III.) Broken - elements that are too good relative to the rest of the metagame such that "more skillful play" is almost always rendered irrelevant.
  • These aren't necessarily completely uncompetitive because they don't take the determining factor out of the player's hands; both can use these elements and both probably have a fair chance to win. They are broken because they almost dictate / require usage, and a standard team without one of them facing a standard team with one of them would be at a drastic disadvantage.
  • These also include elements whose only counters or checks are extraordinarily niche Pokemon that would put the team at a large disadvantage elsewhere.
  • Uncompetitive and Broken defined like this tend to be mutually exclusive in practice, but they aren't necessarily entirely so.
    • Baton Pass was deemed uncompetitive because of how drastically it removed battling skill's effects and brought the battle down to matchup, but it could also be deemed broken because of the unique ways in which you had to deal with it.
    • While this isn't always the case, an uncompetitive thing probably isn't broken, but a broken thing is more likely to be uncompetitive simply due to the unique counter / check component. For example, Mega Kangaskhan was deemed broken because it was simply too good relative to the rest of the metagame and caused the tier to centralize around it, but it could also be labeled as uncompetitive because of the severe team matchup restriction it caused by punishing players if they did not pack one of the few obscure counters or checks for it.
Abra fits none of these markers. It is clearly not uncompetitive as it does not rely heavily on RNG to win like Swaggerplay, does not rely or autowin on matchup like Baton Pass, and does not influence probability management. Abra is very clearly not taking the skill factor out of a player's hands. How one plays around an Abra is a skillful part of the LC metagame, and employing useful tech to be able to check Abra is an addition to this skillful factor, TectDisable Grimer-A in ABR's set comes to mind as an adaptation to the metagame of AbraPinch. Abra does not require or dictate usage on a team and there have been many teams that have been shown to be fully functional, with non-niche Pokemon available to deal with Abra. I would implore you to take an actual look and not just skim through the post I made above. You yourself admitted that:
[4:13 am] taranteeeno sr: i honestly haven't looked at exhib lc games outside of the elite ones and this is a problem when you outright ignore the most recent take on our metagame via exhibition usage stats in favor of usage stats from 9 months ago (when you brought up LCPL usage). Over half the battles of Exhibition have shown immense adaptation to Abra via priority based teams, Webs based teams, PonyPinch teams, Scarf Vullaby, Scarf Mienfoo, still usages of Grimer-A and Diglett, among others. Look for yourself and you'll see that there are far more Abraless teams than teams with Abra mirrors and to me this shows me that Abra is not only not mandatory to have on a team, but is something that can be forgone and still win.

Since you wish to discuss LCWC usage stats instead of Exhib, I will indeed bite that bait. Here is a list of every battle in LCWC that either did not feature an Abra or one where one side featured an Abra and did not win, as well as the percentage of the battles relative to the Week.
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-411460 - Zorodark v Kingler
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-406846 - hamhamhamham v Star
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-826691448 - Osh v Shrug
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-829441542 - Levi v Viper
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-406553 - Sken v ggggd
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-829677902 - Eternal Spirit v Midnight Howl
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-406841 - trash v maomiraenya

Week 1: 7/12
Abra mirrors: 1

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-833066551 - taranteeeno v the idiot ninja
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-832345713 - theram v bebo7788
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-833097794 - Chill Shadow v Toadow

Week 2: 3/11
Abra mirrors: 2

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-408204 - Wabane v Zorodark
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-836456021 - Toadow v LilyAC
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-836349008 - Bouki v Jox
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-835722057 - Goao v Viper
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-835523130 - Chillshadow v lighthouses
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-408292 - Sken v TDK
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-835935291 - Kingler12345 v Midnight Howl
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-407795 - Pohjis v ABR
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-836548676 - dcae v Levi
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-408305 - Gondra v Fatty

Week 3: 10/12
Abra mirrors: 2

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-409059 - ggggd v gondra
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-839602065 - splash v jytcampbell
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-408467 - the idiot ninja v ninjadog
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-838700114 - chillshadow v midnight howl
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-839709343 - hamhamhamham v luthier
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-838866040 - lilyac v burntzebra
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-838942882 - osh v bebo7788
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-408381 - Wabane v ABR
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-838778158 - toadow v tdk

Week 4: 9/12
Abra mirrors: 1

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-845363491 - Levi v Teal6
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-843694459 - kingler12345 v taranteeeno
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-409201 - ABR v burntzebra
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-844023686 - HT v Chillshadow
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-841283452 - Viper v trash

Week 5: 5/12
Abra mirrors: 1

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-847143798 - Pamplona v Corckscrew
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-410654 - trash v neomon
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-847072963 - Osh v Ampha
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-848371064 - levi v maomiraeniya

Week 6: 4/12
Abra mirrors: 2

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-850725810 - Osh v Viper
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-851014125 - Midnight Howl v Aconit
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-850211649 - Toadow v Oibaf

Week 7: 3/12
Abra mirrors: 4

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-423799 - hamhamhamham v abr
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-423719 - kingler12345 v osh
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-423755 - tdk v lilyac
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-857053540 - tko v burntzebra

Semifinals: 4/6
Abra mirrors: 2

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-860999951 - kingler12345 v dcae
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-860999951 - abr v trash

Finals: 2/3
Abra mirrors: 0

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-425253 - kingler12345 v ht
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-425342 - abr v trash

Tiebreaker: 2/2
Abra mirrors: 0

Running total of non-Abra usage + Abra used but lost: 49/83


If you pay attention to the running stats, Abra is used or loses over 50% of the time. It seems to clear to me from this that Abra in itself is not an autowin Pokemon and is something that has its own variants and builds surrounding it, but those builds do not automatically win. It is also clear to me that Abra is not dominating team archetypes, as the usage rate of Abra was only 40%, almost half of the usage rate of Vullaby. Where then is your claim that Abra is dominating the field of competitive play? Yes there was a minor stint in Weeks 5 and 6 leading up to the playoffs of LCWC but the usage quickly dipped in Week 7 and finals, and this change has further been reflected as the state of the metagame is continued with Exhibition. I don't understand your claims that Abra is the more dominant of the three or even is outright broken when the usage stats beg to differ. No, usage stats are not an end all be all but I think that they can clearly show that Abra is simply considered only a good pokemon, not an omnipresent Pokemon, no matter what they would have you believe. Usage statistics go both ways, and simply having a 59% winrate does not dictate that the Pokemon itself is broken. Is Gastly also broken for having an identical winrate and 5% less usage? Is Pawniard broken for having a 50% winrate and more usage than Abra? What about Vullaby who maintained an above 50% winrate while having a whopping 70% usage rate? I think the stats instead support the claim that Abra is by no means a dominating and centralizing figure that "almost dictates / requires usage, and a standard team without one of them facing a standard team with one of them would be at a drastic disadvantage."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

When asked 'where does Abra fit within the framework of tiering policy underneath the Broken aspect' you listed:
[3:56 AM] taranteeeno sr: These also include elements whose only counters or checks are extraordinarily niche Pokemon that would put the team at a large disadvantage elsewhere.

How can you believe that this is the case when there are a plethora of counters available? Yes, Counter Sashbra can often take out 1 Pokemon that is attempting to check it but an Abra without Sash is partially useless, being unable to check Timburr or FeintFoo, or Sucker Punch Gastly, etc. On top of this offensive threats are still in the meta, such as Ponyta, Staryu, Scarfmons, Vullaby, preserving your regencore (as demonstarted by LCWC games like Star Week 1), priority in Timburr or FeintFoo, Pawniard, Grimer-A, Diglett, Munchlax, Honedge, Wynaut, Magnemite, Elekid, Sucker Punch Gastly, etc. All of these are somewhat common with the exception of 1 or 2 (wynaut, honedge, maybe Munchlax). None of these are extraordinarily niche Pokemon that put an immense disadvantage onto teams that carry them. When pressed further on this point despite not even watching Exhib replays or getting a grasp on those usage stats, you start drawing comparisons to Misdreavus for Abra. Let's be very clear, Misdreavus is head and shoulders above Abra in terms of metagame power. Misdreavus had 19 Speed and was a special attacker, and that's about the only comparison that can be made. Misdreavus in return had Nasty Plot and Will-o-Wisp, as well as actual bulk, allowing it to break past counters such as Porygon, Munchlax, Pawniard. Abra simply cannot do that, it can only deal as much damage as it can with Life Orb, unless you use some unset like Charge Beam or Calm Mind, and let's be real no one is out there using Calm Mind Abra to sweep with. While Abra is blown over by a stiff breeze, Misdreavus actually had a quarter chance to live Pawniard's Knock Off, with no bulk investment. The two simply aren't comparable, and you mention that Misdreavus's counters were unreliable at times (yes, this is why Misdreavus is banned) but that Abra's counters and checks also aren't really viable all the time, which is a factually wrong statement. Do you seriously believe that Vullaby, Pawniard, priority users, Magnemite, Grimer-A, Ponyta, Staryu, along with any other plethora of checks are just flat out unviable? This is an absurd claim and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence to back it up, not just defaulting to "I think we can all agree Abra is a little overbearing right now."

However, Magnemite the mon is still reasonably common, and more importantly, it just isn't very reliable an answer to Abra to begin with. This becomes clear when we look at how how even non-Trapinch Abra builds don't really worry about Magnemite. In the case of Abra + Spikestack, Magnemite can be put into range of even an LO Psychic after coming in on rocks + spikes 3-4 times, and doesn't reliably OHKO with Thunderbolt anyways, often forcing it to Volt Switch first. In the case of Abra + webs, Scarf Magnemite of course isn't a check at all.
How is Magnemite not a reliable answer to Abra now? Because it comes into hazards 3-4 times? It eats a Psychic, is often in position to RecycleJuice, and slow turns into something that can finish Abra off, or gains momentum as Abra switches out.

If you admit that "Another way to look at this is that we have evidence that a single Pokemon, Diglett, is more or less the sole reason Abra is balanced in a Trapinch-less metagame. This should drive home just how strong Abra is: if you aren't running an Arena Trap user, Pursuit user, or a GastBra webs of your own, you're probably weak to Abra. " then how do you come to the conclusion that Abra should be the Pokemon that is suspected first in this iteration of the tiering cycle? Surely if Trapinch or Diglett is dictated or required usage on teams, then that's a clear indicator that it violates the tiering policy framework? Surely you don't believe that a wide variety of 3, that you list, team archetypes and answers is sufficient enough to deal with Abra, especially when Webs teams are 1) not required to be AbraGas teams, 2) Pursuit can be run on a wide variety of Pokemon, and 3) you outright ignore both priority spam teams and scarfmons like Vullaby, Mienfoo, Snivy, and more. If you actually counted that that's 5 different answers you could run, none of which are hyper specific with the exception of running your own Abra or running an Arena Trap mon, and all can be combined in a multitude of ways.

I would very much like you to address what points, specifically, Abra breaks underneath the tiering policy framework. I do not see it being labeled as broken under any of the above bullet points, and it appears neither do you. Your points you argued earlier are riddled with faulty backtracking logic, because on one hand you wish people to not talk about Trapinch (don't say 'I just spent a whole post talking about Trapinch' when one of the first rules of this thread was to only, and specifically discuss Abra, as well as logs in Discord of you berating dcae for discussing Trapinch) due to it violating our definition of tiering policy (that is, focus on the suspected pokemon first).

Then you mention Misdreavus as: [4:14 AM] taranteeeno sr: i gave an example of how we don't treat the policy framework as the bible

Yet Misdreavus is very clearly broken underneath that framework so I'm not sure how your example works? It was almost certainly mandated on teams when it existed. You mention that it wasn't mandated to be on teams in this instance and yet, if you actually look at your own posts you argue that 'there are quite a few similarities that can be drawn between Misdreavus and a banned Pokemon in Gligar; a look at top of the 1630 stats from the Swirlgar era and the current era demonstrates that even their usages during their peaks are similar. ' Where is your dissonance coming from? How can you at one point argue that Misdreavus was a ubiquitous threat with overbearing setup, speed, defenses, coverage and utility moves that dominated the usage stats at its peak, then revise history to say that it was merely a one time powerful threat? THe comparisons to Misdreavus and Abra are not close at all.

I do not understand your insistence that you don't have to prove Abra broken via the tiering policy thread when that framework is specifically set up for instances like this. I would very much like a more indepth answer, after you actually read the posts above instead of skimming and take a look for yourself at the replays and usage stats of Exhibition, something that you yourself stated you had not done yet.
 
this is a lot of tl;dr to fully respond to, but I think a lot of it goes in circles anyways. first off, in response to tcr, if we want to rigidly adhere to a definition in which people still morph it to their specific purposes and hasn't been fully utilized in the past at all, then fine. tiering has never been fully done this way and there is absolutely no way in hell we can enforce this with every voter. you can claim you HAVE to prove something, but again, no one proves shit when it comes to suspects, they just state their case and hope people agree with them or not. you cannot convince me for a second that wingull was "proven" broken by the definition, rather that specific pool of players voting deemed they would rather play a meta without wingull than with. you can try and break pokemon down with definitions and facts but it's all a façade, competitive pokemon on smogon has been and always will be, especially within the confines of lc where we've always "done things differently" for god knows what reason, about opinions and what a player wants personally out of their metagame.

now, if you're so hell bent on me (well levi but w/e) "proving" that abra is broken within those definitions as apparently you have proven it isn't, then fine ill do my best.

Abra is very clearly not required on every single team and a standard team without one is not at a disadvantage for having it. This can be shown through the extensive amount of replays that showcase either one team having an Abra and losing decisively or neither team having an Abra, as shown
so what? no where in the definition does it say you're required to run said pokemon. it merely says that the one running it is has a significant enough advantage to warrant a ban, and I would argue that the abra user is at a significant enough advantage. if you want usage stats, abra has a very high winrate (around 60%) in recent tours for being as common of a mon as it is. no pokemon since bw missy has had 100% usage and yet here we are with bans. simply pointing to replays and saying "oh look abra lost here" is severely overlooking possible gaps in player skill, luck that might be involved in each match, and so on. I can point to an equal number of matches where an opponent was massively outplayed but because they had sashbra in the back they pulled it back.

Abra's counters and checks are not extraordinarily niche Pokemon. Abra is not Tangela with their only counter being Goomy, Abra is not Meditite with their only counter being Elygem. Abra's checks and counters include Staryu, Ponyta, Pawniard, Grimer-A, Vullaby, Honedge, Magnemite, Elekid, Diglett, Munchlax, Scarf Mienfoo (really any scarf), SturdyJuice Onix, Spritzee, Wynaut, Sucker Punch users, general priority users, etc. None of these with the exception of maybe Munchlax are niche Pokemon and all have some use on a team.
you're absolutely right in that first part, mostly because abra has no consistent counters or checks for that matter. just for argument sake and your apparent love for direct smogon definitions, here's the one for a check. "Pokémon A checks Pokémon B if, when Pokémon A is given a free switch into Pokémon B, Pokémon A can win every time, even under the worst case scenario, without factoring in hax." that entire list of mons that are abra checks / counters is grasping at straws and in no way fulfill the definition of a check. you can throw out staryu and pony, in no way are they solid switches into psychic, have to risk speed ties, and possible sash means abra has the upper hand. pawniard just loses to hp fight, sure you take out its sash but you just sacked your pawniard. not a check. magnemite and scarf foo are in the same boat, they're able to help slightly vs abra but in no way can they do it by themselves. grimer itself, the apparent abra counter of counters, doesn't even fall under that check definition because it doesnt win every time. in fact, abra wins that mu if it counters. also, the disable set is a clear indication of a sub optimal mon being used to have a better chance vs a threat as strong as abra. you even then backtrack when saying it has no niche counters and then state munchlax, honedge, and wynaut. those are the definition of niche counters, and again, abra can click counter vs lax. I don't mean to make it all about counter because its clearly not (altho it has a lot to do with it) but it goes to show that that list, within the confines of your definitions, is bullshit. vullaby is the closest thing to a check under that definition, and even then in in game scenarios it has to be spd, has to contend w/ sr, and again fuck counter. I would say vullaby being as good as it is is the only reason abra hasn't been banned earlier.

I do not believe that Abra fits any of this criteria. Abra does not limit teambuilding to an extent, at least far less than things like Trapinch. Abra is not out there making Pokemon like Mienfoo, Foongus, or Timburr unviable. If anything Timburr is more viable right now due to Trapinch and Pawniard prescence on many teams, as well as Ponyta. The metagame is not centralized around Abra either, more I feel that Webs are simply an answer to a lot of balance builds, namely PonyPinch, StaryuPinch, and some AbraGas teams.
no it doesn't make these mons unviable, the only mons that outright make something unviable are trappers in my opinion, and this is an argument ive seen you even make yourself. of course abra doesn't limit as much as trapinch, pinch makes onix use nonexistent essentially due to the trapping it. this is completely different. I do not agree, though, that fighters are as viable as ever. the only thing I will say is that timb is better than foo right now in my opinion, this isn't factual some people still think foo is the most splashable mon in the tier, but timb is definitely better at wall breaking. I don't see this as having anything to do with abra though. if anything, I've seen a uptick in non fighter teams (which was seen as a disadvantage in previous metagames) to the point where I would say non fighter teams are common. again, this wasn't the case in previous metas. gasbra has had a massive effect on the metagame and I don't think this can be understated. offense is better because people would rather outrun threats like abra than try and counter them, priority mons like corph and bunny seem like theyre at an all time high. to say the meta isn't revolved around gasbra right now I think is a blatant disregard to where the tourney scene is at right now. the simply fact that balance is unviable I think is a result of gasbra. and yes abra is the most important aspect of that core.

furthermore, I see you mention the usage of abra a ton. it gets very respectable usage, since when does a broken mon have to have the most usage? I can't even name one broken mon this gen that we've banned that had the most usage. the highest usage mons in literally every smogon metagame are not the most powerful, but rather the most splashable. I don't consider abra splashable because it doesn't fulfill a lot of niches for a team, provide a pivot, and is hardly reliable as a check to opposing mons.

I probably have more i'd like to say but this post is already getting longer than I like and honestly nothing pops out at the moment. these are just some of my attempts to answer some of your main points from what I saw, I am doing my best not to cherry pick or anything so sorry if it seems like it by me only quoting smaller portions.
 
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Fiend

the hound.
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I know discussion has moved on past dcae's post, but I'd like to circle back since it's problematic and is where the last few posts are derived from:
Historically our bans center around Pokemon that become too broken in an existing metagame. Pokemon banned this way tend to fall into distinct categories of either inherently broken mons (ie: Murkrow, Tangela, etc) or mons that become broken due to a shift in the metagame or their movepool (Wingull, Aipom respectively). Abra's brokenness falls into this second category, as it is the metagame shifts of the past several months that have created an environment where it is more difficult to handle than ever before. I don't think it is plausible to argue that Abra is not broken as it stands in the current metagame. It has a limited set of viable checks and is very limiting in the teambuilder, forcing one to include a couple mons with sets tailored to handle either Abra variant. Others have already espoused Abra's significant positives so I won't waste time rehashing them. Instead, I'd rather take a look at what changed for Abra to become this difficult to handle; essentially, what drove this meta change, and what we should do from there.
I don’t genuinely understand the purpose of your differentiation between Abra and other suspected Pokemon other than as somehow to tie Trapinch’s dominance to Abra’s as if that explains away the problems with Abra in the metagame as it is. In this way, you’re giving Abra preference in a not insignificant way.
Trapinch's mere existence in the meta dissuades bulkier balance builds and most importantly has limited the viability of top Abra checks. Magnemite, a classic offensive Abra check, has nosedived in usage and viability. Diglett, the most reliable check to Abra and once an undisputed top 3 mon, has become much less used. Furthermore, less direct but equally useful ways of dealing with Abra such as Scarf Pawn and AJet Tirt have seen drops in usage. Trapinch is creating an environment where Abra becomes overpowered.
I disagree with the entire pretense of your argument, both on the grounds of, in my opinion, Abra actually having been broken for most of SM and what I see as an undue preference for maintaining Abra in the metagame. It’s a bit irrelevant to the topic at hand, but in early SM LO Abra webs was being talked about as a suspect target which is worth remembering just as it suggests a weakness of your central idea. But even ignoring the problems I have with the foundation of your argument, you only simply explain the problems that Trapinch poses to some Abra checks, which broadly are limited as checks or one-time switch-ins in your given examples. As a point to not limit you to just the few listed checks to Abra which are neutered by Trapinch, I’ll list the few I can think of offhand: Berry Juice Onix (situational), Grimer-Alolan (specialized viability), Pawniard (great 'mon, but has some issues checking Abra by itself), Magnemite (offensive check that relies on Volt anyway), and most importantly Diglett (Evio can switch in, otherwise you’re just RKing). I feel like this list should speak for itself, being shallow and full of situational tools, but it is worth noting that most of these tend to ask that your team packs priority to help finish off Abra still, for Sash Abra at least.

You can really get into the weeds of a pretty worthless argument about Abra checks and how without trappers (as a collective) you could run more viable situational checks for Abra, and that at some point a saturation of viable situational checks makes it a fair Pokemon in the metagame, and this goes to say that the Abra user must then outplay these situational checks which is a double edged sword that begins to fall outside of valid arguments within policy considerations. There are valued considerations to make with solid counterplay against Abra being more viable without Trapinch, but this really only nets us about 3 more checks and counters (doubling our choices!).

As the last issue to take with you explaining Trapinch as the tool with breaks Abra, I find that Aqua Jet Tirtouga usage dropping and being partially tied with Abra’s increased viability a bit of a stretch outside of the scope of your premise. Tirtouga has been less common overall with an uptick in a better Abra check as a result (Pawniard, if all priority will be considered equal), and really should instead indicate the extent of Abra’s own issues.
However, this argument brings up a solid counterpoint: how can I justify pointing to Trapinch as the sole problem when Abra is broken right now? Is our policy not to ban what is broken in the current metagame? Traditionally, we'd ban Abra and then, if problems persist, suspect Trapinch. My counterargument to this is for us to take a look at another top mon of past metas (like Abra) that can be easily argued to currently also be broken based on the standards we are attributing to Abra. I am talking about Vullaby, which is widely accepted as the best mon in the meta right now. Vullaby is also a devastating offensive threat with any set due to amazing STABs, Knock Off, U-turn, tons of possible move combinations, and unmatched set versatility (much greater than Abra). There is an extremely good case that Vullaby is broken in the current meta but this is also due to the limitation placed on formerly viable checks to Vull. Onix and Tirt are both very impacted by Trapinch leaving Pawn (also pinch weak) as the only consistent Vull check. Even that is shaky, bc of the existence of HP Fight, so Vull ends up putting tons of pressure on teams similar to Abra. Although it is not as explicit a 1:1 like Abra can be with its Sash + Counter options, it often ends up being as dominant.

With this in mind, I look at Abra and Vullaby as broken mons in the metagame but not because they are broken but rather because the Pokemon that we know check them are invalidated by something else: Trapinch.
This really falls apart for me because I view Vullaby as essentially the upper limit of permissible Pokemon with low risk/high reward payoffs. There are a few issues with doing so as it does give Vullaby an unfair bias, but for the given comparison it should be permissible due to several fundamental differences between Vullaby and Abra. Trapinch does make Vullaby better, and perhaps to the extent which makes Vullaby itself broken. But this shouldn’t matter in this suspect test. Considering this is in some way a defiance of the process, which wants you to avoid considerations such as this for the purpose of still banning pokemon which are broken in the metagame, even if you don’t think they are the most broken element.

But let’s just ignore the suspect process and delve into the bigger issue with the comparison: your counter argument talks around the other argument, of Abra being broken in and of itself. You compare Vullaby, make a measured comment about it not being as overtly pressuring as Abra, and then state that because of metagame trends what would theoretically keep either in check are now unviable. You thus conclude that because we have two broken Pokemon you shall not ban one now in order to suspect a third broken Pokemon later, which has the irredeemable flaws in the premise which I mentioned in the previous paragraph while simply not giving time to why we shouldn’t ban Abra now. You can harp on Trapinch existing all you’d like, but you must also relate this to the idea that Abra (and Vullaby, since you brought it up) are truly not worth a suspect themselves.
As we suspect mons and decide whether to ban something or not, our goal tiering-wise is to create a more skillful metagame with fewer bans. As I see it, banning Abra means we have to apply the same policy to something like Vullaby and that will require more bans than just Trapinch. I know the normal process would be to ban Abra now and then retest it after Trapinch gets banned, but as we all know, LCers have a tendency to overestimate what banned mons were like (case in point: non-Conversion Pory) and it would make it much more difficult to get a legitimately unbiased retest for Abra.
Really odd of you to come back to policy and process here, especially since you make some really awkward claims about what the path after an Abra ban would look like, among other things (non-Conversion Porygon was a ban over policy, not normal Porygon being broken too...). I digress over these finer points, but to reiterate that I think Abra is a Pokemon which indices an unfair indicate for its user such that it limits counterplay (with your already limited options) by virtue of its collective traits. Even in a Trapinch free metagame, Abra has the ability to frequently force the opponent on the backfoot the instance it is on the field and the combination of its sets, or even if you’d like to examine the sets in isolation, and this is all regardless of skill. A worse player can (and has, and will) win using Abra against a better player, and it is not an issue of matchup. I can further explain my issues with Abra, beyond the scope of my initial post earlier in the thread, but there's honestly no point since people are not trying to frame Abra as a fair aspect of the metagame.

As per tcr's 2nd post, I find it disingenuous. fatty does a great job responding to it, but I really must say that the post takes too much as set in stone only to turn around and try to frame suspects as "fluid and flexible" in an effort to legitimize its claims. The use and framing of usage stats alone is duplicitous as it lacks larger context and ignores a fundamental issue of win rates with much-used Pokemon. This issue is that as a Pokemon's usage goes to 100%, their win rate approaches to 50%. This is put aside for the purpose of holding Abra to the abstract idea of what a broken Pokemon ought to be, without valuing any sort of contextualization or other substance. I understand this was mostly a rhetorical tool, but it is frustrating since it skirts the stronger argument you could have made instead to argue Abra not fitting within an outline definition based on this singular aspect.

Tangentially related to this, from the logs presented, is that standard/conventional teams can deal with Abra to the point that you can have a good Abra matchup. As I read arguments about this suspect and about not banning Abra for a want of a Trapinch suspect first, this is generally a throughline in every conversation. However, it means little. Abra has been a mainstay in LC; if normal builds simply did not have the teams to deal with them, and no one adapted, we're all fools. Of course we build teams that include at least some counterplay to one of the best Pokemon in the tier. We did that with Wingull, we did that with Baton Pass Torchic, we did that with Drifloon, we did our best with Cutiefly! This circles back into the issue of presenting usages stats as raw data and structuring points from this, and points to a fundamental flaw within the idea that Abra is the incorrect suspect target, and therefore it ought not to be banned. This flaw is the amount of assumptions and direct interpretations needed to get to the arguments conclusion, ignoring other issues of policy, process, and where the burden of proof lays.

To focus on the logs which appear to have generated the body of your post, tcr, I simply do not know what they are meant to show me. I see a serious of people not understanding levi and several gross misinterpretations of his word. I think I understand what I ought to get from the logs themselves, but I don't feel like it does anything but confirm our biases as they stand already. At worst, Abra is just a very good Pokemon (at like 4th in usage?) which must mean it is necessary to adapt to handle Abra and common Abra teammates. Sure, this could be construed to relate Abra and Trapinch as the broken element, and I'll gladly conceded that Trapinch is also broken, yet it cannot sufficiently support the notion that Abra is not broken in a metagame without Trapinch as the entire above section is only relevant to metagame with Trapinch. This general idea is used to frame every viable archetype as capable of dealing with Abra, but again that's why they are viable, no? These two large rhetorical tools I have mentioned are simply being applied in a vacuum which is not relevant to our purposes. I do not understand the weight given to these ideas other than they explain the conclusion of Trapinch being the one true problematic Pokemon despite other indications from Abra itself.

tcr, you make other problematic comparisons (especially given Levi mentions Missy are of a completely different nature than the way you talk about Trapinch, for instance) which I do not think add up. For instance you hyper-focused on Diglett being considered the most reliable/best way to remove Abra, as Levi had written, yet you concluded that this is a problem not with Abra but instead Diglett. Levi's point is that Misdreavus could be construed to not with within the definition of a broken Pokemon, as people argued for it in XY and in that very thread you linked back to. Nevertheless, digging up old forum posts 3 iterations of LC removed does not actually prove anything for any of us here. Instead, let's focus back on the suspect at hand as per the rules of the thread obligate. Your instance that the Abra suspect must present a burden of proof is absurd. It was the suspect of choice by the council at the time, and sure take issue with that as you see fit, but this places the burden of evidence and effort persuasion on you. You do not adequately argue towards this end however, instead opting to frame the Abra suspect as illegitimate, arbitrary, and not within the accepted process. But in an effort to do so, you're structuring arguments which fundamentally hinge on cherry picked interpretations of policy which you're already trying to subvert as it stands. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Sorry to make this a wall of a text, but I simply feel that an earnest response the structure of these conversations is required.
 

Ninjadog13

levi of the year
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Though I understand the arguments for Abra being broken, I think that even ignoring the presence of Trapinch, its influence and strength in the meta is being overstated, and that it is far more threatening on paper, nor does the fact that it is a top offensive threat make it unhealthy.

Something I feel that is being discounted when it comes to using Abra, is that it really fails to switch in on anything, given both it’s frailty and unwillingness to lose its sash (or reveal that it’s LO by doing so), making it harder to get into a good situation than in theory. It’s easy to say “Oh just pivot it in”, but when you look at the two main U-Turn users in Vullaby and Mienfoo, the Mons that Vullaby will typically turn on are Onix (at +2 speed thanks to WA boost), Spritzee, Pawniard, and Tirtouga, none of which are Mons that Abra particularly wants to come in on, and whilst Mienfoo’s targets are slightly more favourable in that you can get a free Abra switch-in if they go Foongus or opposing fighter on the turn, this generally is not as common as it would seem. This means the majority of the time for Abra to switch-in, it requires either something else on your team to die, or to perform a double switch, which is skilful play and should be rewarded.

Another thing I’ve seen mentioned is that it’s a 50/50 between Sash/LO which is not the case, and completely ignores the fact that a lot of the time you can deduce an opponent’s set based on both team composition and how they play their Abra, so I don’t think it’s fair to say this is a guessing game.

Tcr mentioned earlier that the majority of Abra’s best checks are some of the most viable Mons anyway and I heavily agree with this. One mon I want to mention right now that is hugely prevalent right now (I would say the best in the meta) is Scarf Overcoat Vullaby which is not just a reaction to AbraGast, but thanks to Pinch basically removing WA Onix and to a lesser extent Tirt from the meta, is the best cleaner in the tier right now. Counter I will concede is the part about Abra that brings it closest to being broken, however I don’t think just because it can potentially trade 1v1 makes it broken, nor is Abra at 1hp without LO’s power a huge threat especially given how common priority is the the current meta (which I feel is more a reaction to Vull than one to Abra).

The previous point ties in with how I don’t think Abra is hugely limiting in teambuilding, personally I find Vull far more difficult to deal with in the teambuilding process, as I think Abra answers whether it be Dark types, trappers, and priority etc. more naturally fit into teams than finding solutions for Vull do (though prio is admittedly a shared solution).

The final thing I want to touch on is comparisons to the Gull suspect which I think is a completely different situation, Gull was banned in large part due to it’s luck based nature and ability to burn through or in rarer cases confuse it’s checks, whilst Abra is probably more threatening offensively, it does not carry the same degree of uncompetitiveness that Gull did.

For these reasons, in addition to what dcae and tcr have already mentioned, I will be voting No Ban.
 
First off, let's get the wingull thing out of the way. Getting the uncompetitive buzzword shit aside (because that 100% isn't the criterion that was used to ban it, you can go back and check on the thread. levi made a post on it and council was absolutely clear that wasn't the metric to ban it), wingull was broken because scald's burn chance enhanced its ridiculous power and one-time 185 BP flying nuke. So yes, it was broken, not uncompetitive. I think that distinction doesn't really make a difference because we factored scald's burn chance into wingull's brokenness (just as much as we factored hurricane's accuracy and all that good stuff, pokemon is a chance based game and those chances can improve or worsen a poke).

As far as Abra goes, LO and sash fit on a lot of the same teams, you don't absolutely need sash in this meta for much (how often do you see like smash tirt?? it's a thing but still) so it pretty much frees you up to be spoiled for choice. I think it's definitely not easy to predict what it can be; you can pretty much change LO to sash on most abra teams you have and you'd probably do fine. Scouting abra is definitely not easy, I'm not sure why people are pretending standard offensive BJ vull is a good check to it. Fiend said it pretty well:
Fiend said:
Ability to be either: The real kick in the teeth from Abra is how simply hard it is to counter, and how drastically different you ought to deal with Abra's two sets. Sash Abra can be adequately checked with a Vullaby mid game, while Life Orb Dazzling Gleam makes you waste your Vullaby instead.
240 SpA Life Orb Abra Dazzling Gleam vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Vullaby: 23-29 (100 - 126%) -- guaranteed OHKO
That doesn't seem close to me at all, I'm not sure how remotely safe a pivot vull is into abra. SpDef vull does live one hit from LO abra too, but the story's different when rocks are down and that set has massive issues with passivity (as well as losing to mienfoo easily 1v1 lol, 12 or 13 attack is super detrimental to your 1v1 matchups). I super disagree with Ninjadog13 on scarf vull being the best cleaner; it simply isn't BJ vull in terms of the utility that's brought to the table and has a lot of flaws as a scarfer. We shouldn't assume trapinch is this trapper that's always gonna easily remove an Onix regardless of how many free turns it concedes; Onix can still be useful against trapinch teams, and the bigger issue with scarf vull is that it's SR weak and brave bird has recoil. You're not cleaning any teams with that, as 2 SR switchins and getting one high powered brave bird off (likely on an opposing vullaby too, which then outspeeds you) means you're basically dead. Scarf vull definitely is largely in part due to abra (as well as webs, but guess one of the prime abusers on that one lol).

I think levi/fiend/fatty make a lot of points so I'd rather not just plainly reiterate them, but that's some stuff I thought I should address.
 
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