approved by TonyFlygon To preface this, I consider BW Ubers a nearly perfect tier. I've played it for over seven years and have seen the metagame completely transform and still to this day progress. BW Ubers in current year looks nothing like BW Ubers in 2013, largely due to metagame developments resultant from BW Ubers' continued presence in the Ubers Tournament Circuit. The Tournament Schedule for 2020 lists six tournaments that feature BW Ubers: Ubers Premiere League, Most Wanted, BW Ubers Cup, Homefield Advantage, Ubers Live, and Ubers Pentathlon. The last four of these tournaments count toward the Ubers Ribbon, while the first two are widely considered Ubers's most prestigious ever since it was yanked out of officials. 2019 had a comparable number of BW Ubers tournaments, as did 2018, and so on. What this ongoing presence in tournaments has given us is a not insignificant BW Ubers playerbase, a playerbase that has pushed the tier's development forward even long after BW stopped being the main generation. What this means is that we fundamentally understand BW Ubers more now than we did when it was the current generation. Countless new teams, spreads, sets, and even Pokemon have surfaced that would have seemed outlandish or totally unviable in 2013. Regrettably, with all this development, we've also discovered something terrible, something that singlehandedly calls into question BW Ubers's competitiveness. I'm talking about the optimization of the infamous Evasionpass, a strategy that brings out the worst of two different yet related issues: Baton Pass and Evasion.
It's first of all notable that BW is the only generation of Ubers, and in fact one of the only competitive metagames on Smogon at all that allows evasion moves. What can we attribute this to? Some history: before the arrival of Mega Rayquaza, the formal establishment of Ubers as a tier, and the creation of Anything Goes, former Ubers leader bojangles experimented with making Ubers less, rather than more, restrictive. The thread discussing the philosophy behind this is here, and the actual implementation of it here. Back when Ubers was simply OU's banlist, there was a push to "determine...at what level the concept of risk versus reward devolves into uncompetitiveness" (quote from the OP of the first thread). At this time, Ubers had no banned Pokemon, so what this meant was suspect testing clauses put into place back in DPP: OHKO clause, Evasion Clause, Moody Clause, Sleep Clause, and Species Clause. The Species Clause suspect never happened, but the others did, and out of them, only Evasion was freed. Evasion remained in Ubers, to little fanfare, for a few years, saw an uptick in usage on the ladder, and was unceremoniously banned in ORAS Ubers by Sweep and Fireburn in 2015. It has been banned in every generation since, and is also banned in RBY-DPP Ubers.
Baton Pass, meanwhile, is only banned from USM Ubers and SS Ubers. USM did not suspect it; SS did. In both generations, it is overwhelmingly seen as fundamentally uncompetitive because it lacks counterplay, is excessively awkward if not impossible to check, and takes the skill out the game. Perception of the move in other generations of Ubers varies wildly. In ADV Ubers, full pass is seen as an inconsistent gimmick. Outside of full pass, Celebi and Umbreon can viably Baton Pass Substitutes and Mean Look, respectively. In DPP, full pass is seen as pretty uncompetitive (expect another thread on it later). Nothing in the tier viably runs BP outside of full pass chains. In ORAS, full pass chains don't exist and nothing viably runs the move, but a gimmicky strategy involving Smeargle passing Geomancy to something like a Mega Diancie or Primal Groudon is very rarely used. Baton Pass doesn't exist in RBY, and I can't comment on it in GSC Ubers due to having no experience with the tier.
Baton Pass in BW Ubers, meanwhile, is not viably run by anything outside of two team styles, one of which squarely falls under the category of cheese and the other of which directly threatens the integrity of the tier. The former strategy, referred to as Smashpass, involves clearing the field of entry hazards, setting up a Shell Smash with Focus Sash Smeargle, clicking Spore, and passing +2 Atk / Spa / Spe to a powerful recipient like Dialga, Kyurem-W, or Giratina-O. Popularized by this RMT, Smashpass has, since its inception, been perceived as a way to win on matchup versus a more skilled player. It has consistency issues and can be deceptively difficult to pilot, but it is outright impossible to overcome in some instances and can even cheese wins when the initial Baton Pass gets denied. The latter strategy, known as Evasionpass, takes the form of a full Baton Pass chain where multiple Pokemon run Evasion-boosting moves. When an Evasionpass team gets even a single free turn it throws every facet of competitiveness out the window, completely taking the game out of the opponent's hands and making them statistically less and less likely to win each additional turn the game progresses. Evasionpass is both incredibly easy to use in a number of matchups and maddeningly consistent — if its use wasn't so stigmatized, it would completely overrun BW Ubers tournament play. As-is, I'm worried about it cropping up in the upcoming BW Ubers Live and Pentathlon, hence why I decided to make this thread now.
Here are some replays of Baton Pass in action in BW Ubers.
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen5ubers-511517 (UPL game)
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen5ubers-512985 (UPL game)
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/ubers-45377406 (Smashpass mirror)
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen5ubers-288575 (UPL game)
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen5ubers-439244 (UPL game)
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen5ubers-1123070171 (winning with a recipient that's wholly competitively unviable)
What does overcoming either of these strategies look like? Smashpass is undeniably easier to beat — first-turn wakes, surprise Magic Coats, Taunts, Sleep Talks, or phazing moves, and losing the hazard game can all wrest momentum out of the Smashpasser's hands, not to mention that the two strongest Smashpass recipients in Dialga and Kyurem-W miss a handful of relevant KOs. Smashpass also struggles versus the sleep-inducing Darkrai, Espeon, and Accelgor, and hates multi-hitting sets like the uncommon Dual Chop Garchomp and Double Kick Terrakion. If your team can't make any of these things work, you probably immediately lose, but if it can you're a-okay. Evasionpass, on the other hand, has no meaningful in-game counterplay bar a phazing move from an unexpected Pokemon. You have to account for Evasionpass in the builder, and the ways to do this are so limited that it's completely unfeasible to run them on every team. There are six viable Pokemon in BW Ubers that learn Haze (Darkrai, Zekrom, Tentacruel, Xatu, Omastar, and Qwilfish), and none can viably run it. The only viable Pokemon that learns Perish Song is Arceus, and Perish Song is on the very fringe of viability — of the many dozens of BW Ubers teams I've built, I've found space for Perish Song Arceus on exactly one and am not even convinced it's optimal there. Heart Swap Manaphy is theoretically an option, but Manaphy itself is barely viable and has no space for the move if it wants to do anything besides check Evasionpass. There are a handful of 100% accurate attacks in Aura Sphere, Aerial Ace, and Thunder in Rain, but the most optimized Evasionpass team runs immunities to Thunder and Aura Sphere and simply doesn't care about Aerial Ace because nothing in BW Ubers viably runs it. What this means is that you need to go very, very far out of your way to achieve any sort of consistency against Evasionpass in the builder. You have high odds of immediately losing to it if you don't.
The inevitable question is this: why was something as obviously busted as Evasion allowed in the first place? I believe you can attribute this to a set of fundamental differences between the Ubers community then and today, as well as a lack of understanding within the 2012 playerbase about the full implications of allowing Evasion to roam free. These differences in the competitive community should be pretty evident from what I've already said. It's very telling that Evasion is illegal in every generation of Ubers except BW, just as it's very telling that it hasn't been seriously brought up for an unban in any of these generations in over half a decade. There is nothing at all that makes BW Ubers uniquely equipped to handle Evasion — it is just as uncompetitive here as it is in every metagame it is actually banned from. The only reason Evasion is free is due to a really terrible policy precedent set before Ubers became a tier, a precedent based on the whims of an uninformed voting base that has since almost entirely exited the community. Looking at the suspect discussion thread, past the first page a recurrent concern is that people haven't even played against Evasion on the ladder. When people did encounter full evasion chains, the teams they saw weren't anything like that which was linked in the previous paragraph. They looked like this, because people hadn't figured out how to build yet. It's unsurprising that there isn't a single good take in the entire thread on either the pro- or anti-ban side, given how little everybody had to work with. Now that we know what we do, there's really no valid argument, tiering-related or otherwise, for keeping Evasion in BW Ubers.
I am specifically recommending that we ban Evasion-boosting moves, items, and abilities from BW, in addition to Baton Pass. I see this as the most elegant way to solve the remaining uncompetitive elements in BW Ubers. Banning Evasion-boosting moves alone is not enough — the Pokemon in full pass chains just start running Brightpowder and/or Sand Veil, and you have exactly the same problem you did initially. Simply banning Baton Pass also does not completely resolve everything — recognize that sets like Brightpowder Sand Veil Garchomp and Double Team Gliscor are still fundamentally uncompetitive, passing boosts or no. Banning Evasion-boosting moves, items, and abilities yet keeping Baton Pass free is also a non-starter. You don't see full pass chains without Evasion right now, because they're strictly worse than the ones with Evasion. If you completely ban Evasion yet keep Baton Pass, people start running full pass without Evasion, which is still a massive pain in the ass to handle even if it's more susceptible to luck. The competitive downsides to banning Evasion are zero. The competitive downside to banning Baton Pass is that we eradicate the totally-fringe-and-dubiously-healthy-in-the-first-place playstyle of Smashpass but then prevent having to make another thread about this sixth months down the line. The choice, to me, is obvious.