Metagame Metagame Discussion Thread

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Smogon's Resident Robot
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I know some of you are less than excited about the current metagame because of the aforementioned Gastbra core showing its early dominance, but I think this has the potential to be healthy for the meta long-term. LC's history has shown us that as the metagame becomes faster and more aggressive the creativity starts to flourish because of the fragility of these offensive teams. This doesn't mean Kaleidoscope is gonna make a comeback any time soon, but other offensive weapons could start to see use as unique methods of support. What kind of offensive weapons? I'm honestly unsure, as I haven't had much time to build and play lately (December johns), but I do think with time we're going to see an explosion of variety sooner than later.

Of course, I could be wrong and Abra completely breaks the meta in half forever, but I'd like to think that isn't 100% the case.
 

Altariel von Sweep

Yoooo Mista!
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Doing some research and practise while wasting my time in Smash, I decided to try Honedge, which is in my opinion actually decent. You maybe are wondering if it's the normal set, well, allow me to present:

Honedge @ Berry Juice
Ability: No Guard
Level: 5
EVs: 76 HP / 36 Atk / 116 Def / 220 SpD / 52 Spe
Careful Nature
- Pursuit
- Iron Head
- Sacred Sword
- Shadow Sneak


While losing on firepower, it pretty much doesn't matter since all it does is to act as a the only Pursuit trapper that cannot be trapped by anything, be it Diglett, Trapinch or Magnet Pull Magnemite (which is horrendous given how common Diglett and Trapinch are in the metagame and Analytic outclasses, btw), which is already great, and deal with Gastly and Abra together. The investment in Special Defense allows Honedge to live Hidden Power of any set of Abra and Gastly and retaliate in return, as well as keeping the physical bulk for anything needed and deal with Spritzee much better thanks to the special bulk. Gastly still has a chance to OHKO Honedge with Shadow Ball, but it hasn't been very run recently, and other coverage options along with Sludge Bomb are prefered. Lastly, Honedge can counter any set of Abra thanks to its typing, making it also inmune to the rarer Counter variants, making it up for its value as Pursuit trapper. Here are some calculations:

Life Orb Abra
240 SpA Life Orb Abra Hidden Power Ground vs. 76 HP / 220+ SpD Honedge: 16-21 (72.7 - 95.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
240 SpA Life Orb Abra Psychic vs. 76 HP / 220+ SpD Honedge: 9-12 (40.9 - 54.5%) -- 6.6% chance to 2HKO

Focus Sash Abra
236 SpA Abra Hidden Power Ground/Fire vs. 76 HP / 220+ SpD Honedge: 12-16 (54.5 - 72.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
236 SpA Abra Psychic vs. 76 HP / 220+ SpD Honedge: 7-9 (31.8 - 40.9%) -- 91.6% chance to 3HKO

36 Atk Honedge Shadow Sneak vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Abra: 18-24 (94.7 - 126.3%) -- 81.3% chance to OHKO
36 Atk Honedge Pursuit vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Abra: 12-16 (63.1 - 84.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

200 SpA Life Orb Gastly Hidden Power Fire vs. 76 HP / 220+ SpD Honedge: 16-21 (72.7 - 95.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
200 SpA Life Orb Gastly Thunderbolt vs. 76 HP / 220+ SpD Honedge: 12-14 (54.5 - 63.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

36 Atk Honedge Shadow Sneak vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Gastly: 14-20 (73.6 - 105.2%) -- 6.3% chance to OHKO
36 Atk Honedge Pursuit vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Gastly: 10-14 (52.6 - 73.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

12 SpA Spritzee Moonblast vs. 76 HP / 220+ SpD Honedge: 5-6 (22.7 - 27.2%) -- 94.9% chance to 4HKO

36 Atk Honedge Iron Head vs. 212 HP / 196+ Def Eviolite Spritzee: 14-18 (51.8 - 66.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO


This said, Honedge fits very well on teams that require GastBra out in a safe way without getting trapped, helping Pokémon such as Bunnelby and Timburr to sweep. Don't try to use it as a Flying-check, it hasn't ever been that.

Ninjadog already suggested it to rise given the metagame state we are in, but it hasn't been echoed enough, which is why I am doing this post. The metagame is in a state where Abra and Gastly are able to run over every single team if they cover each other accordingly, with both counting on Trapinch and Diglett to remove common Pursuit trappers such as Pawniard and Alolan Grimer. The answer to the incognita may be the influence the trappers have on the metagame, as Diglett has been known to be a excellent trapper that makes use of its Speed and ZMoves to nuke anything needed, and Trapinch is skyrocketing like crazy thanks to its bulk to even countertrap the aforementioned Diglett, and Pokemon that Diglett usually struggles trapping such as Tirtouga, Pawniard and Magnemite. These trappers not only let GastBra wreck the whole metagame, but other threats such as Flying spam with Pokemon on the rise such as Doduo and Guts Taillow are placing themselves in the metagame as strong forces that should be acknowledged. Ponyta's usage is rising like crazy and that means that Guts Timburr can make a comeback easily, as Ponyta is absurdly great as a status inducer. Flame Charge / Flare Blitz / Will-O-Wisp / Morning Sun is the best set and can put the trappers in problems due to how easy is to spread burns and handle Gastly, more or less. For now, all we can do is to be creative and experiment, but always keeping an eye on the trappers. The metagame is very rewarding to those which can adapt fast and build very interesting teams, as we have seen in Week 4 to Week 5 of LCWC.
 
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Pitching the viability of Stunky as a faster, more fragile but stronger Pursuit trapper than Grimer-A. Stunky reaches 18 Speed with Jolly and 16 Attack, or 17 and 17 with Adamant. Carries the same resists and neutralities as Grimer albeit with much less defenses. Comes with a STAB Sucker Punch, but unfortunately doesn't have a physical poison STAB, but does get Sludge Bomb which will damage most Fairies. Play Rough gives it something to do against Mienfoo and Timburr switch-ins, and at 18 Spe you outpace them anyway (barring scarfed Foo). I've been running:

Stunky @ Groundium Z
Ability: Aftermath
Level: 5
EVs: 12 HP / 252 Atk / 244 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Pursuit
- Sucker Punch
- Play Rough
- Dig

Dig and Groundium-Z is kind of just filler because I didn't think Taunt would be viable given it's frailty, but it also can't get Knocked Off so there's that, which is nice. Pursuit/Punch to trap and Play Rough to miss in critical moments. There are alternatives for Dig: Fire Blast for Ferro, Sludge Bomb for Fairies, Explosion just because or Taunt to shut down slower set up sweepers or Memento to help your own guys come in.

Cons: Gets absolutely shit on by trappers and doesn't have much bulk. (11/10 Def/SpD, with no investment). Also doesn't have Knock Off which is probably the single most valuable move in LC. Also, Sucker Punch is fairly easy to play around, but the whole point of it being there is to force the switch and Pursuit.

This is not a meme, just an additional check to GastBra.
 
Possible that it is both a meme and a necessary check to gastbra. (Your post was good Alan, my post is saying something else. Though you’re going to want something other than z-dig)
 

sister

Banned deucer.
Here's a fun LO stunky set made by jake from the underrated sets thread.

plunder (Stunky) @ Life Orb
Ability: Aftermath
Level: 5
EVs: 252 Atk / 244 Spe
Hasty Nature
- Sucker Punch
- Play Rough
- Fire Blast
- Sludge Bomb / Hidden Power Grass

Basically LO Sucker kills Dig and Play Rough kills both Mienfoo and Timbuff after Knock Off. I've used it a bit and it can be scary to switch in to. Not a perfect mon but a nice choice in the current meta. Gets bonked by Trapinch though.

Edit: this is just the smogon analysis set lol I'm dumb
 
a pretty long time ago I was gonna RMT my meowth team because I went on a 20-0 streak in tournaments with it before losing to czim. I never got around to making it and don't think I ever will but I wanted to do at least a low effort version of it. The team is bad now and I wouldn't recommend using it, but for awhile it was nice against what people were using. I had a lot of fun using this team and fighting for meowth's viability ranking to be raised. I think me using meowth alongside other good players doing it too like dundies, star, and fitzy changed a lot of people's minds about the pokemon.
Pawniard @ Eviolite
Ability: Defiant
Level: 5
EVs: 156 Atk / 36 Def / 116 SpD / 196 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Knock Off
- Iron Head
- Sucker Punch
- Stealth Rock

Meowth @ Life Orb
Ability: Technician
Level: 5
EVs: 240 Atk / 40 SpA / 196 Spe
Lonely Nature
IVs: 15 HP / 30 Atk / 30 SpA
- Fake Out
- Feint
- Aerial Ace
- Hidden Power [Fighting] / Hidden Power [Grass]

Foongus @ Eviolite
Ability: Regenerator
Level: 5
EVs: 124 HP / 236 Def / 76 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Spore
- Sludge Bomb
- Giga Drain
- Synthesis

Magnemite @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Magnet Pull
Level: 5
EVs: 240 SpA / 240 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 SpA / 30 Spe
- Volt Switch
- Flash Cannon
- Thunderbolt
- Hidden Power [Fire]

Mienfoo @ Eviolite
Ability: Regenerator
Level: 5
EVs: 196 Def / 36 SpD / 236 Spe
Jolly Nature
- High Jump Kick
- Knock Off
- U-turn
- Fake Out

Vullaby @ Berry Juice
Ability: Weak Armor
Level: 5
EVs: 116 HP / 240 Atk / 116 Spe
Naughty Nature
- Brave Bird
- Knock Off
- Hidden Power [Grass]
- U-turn
exhibition finals vs trash https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-357742 the first time i used it

spring seasonal
lilyac ssnl r6 https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-729957891
false ssnl r8 https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-735690382
fille ssnl r10 https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-743473980
Blitzburgh ssnl winner finals https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-748523001
kingler12345 ssnl winner finals https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-746588961

swiss
yellowfin swiss r1 https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-721095095
mikaav swiss r4 https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-731695381
fuladono swiss r7 https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-742126420
zugubu royale playoffs r1 https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-745985074

summer seasonal
fitzy72 r1 https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-766978703
bdov r2 https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-762515918
arlaxeon r4 https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-773109149
kiyo r5 https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-776390562 this ones funny
raj.shoot r6
pamplona r7
tenebricite r8
Melon r9
MMagma r11

open
vs denisthemenace r3 https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-789079450

using a different meowth team (24-0 streak if u count these)
simbo swiss playoffs round 3 https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-753697994
shrug ban that mon finals https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-721080401
hawkie lcpl http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-743497330
heysup lcpl https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-750971651

the defeat https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-798971701


thank u for coming to my ted talk
 
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Quote

Smogon's Resident Robot
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LC Co-Leader
With LCWC soon reaching playoffs, and Exhibition + Winter Seasonal getting under way, I'd like to hear peoples' thoughts on the state of the metagame (again!). Considering how much bickering I get in my ear about aspects of the metagame there is a lack of posts to really show how you feel. Is there anything you guys think needs to be suspected? Any interesting trends you noticed from LCWC?

I'll get the ball rolling by saying that I don't think the Abra + Gastly + Trap core that started to gain popularity is as good as we thought it was. I think as an offensive team it's fine but it has obvious cracks that over the weeks have become easier to exploit. I've seen some people trying out Staryu again as an offensive support to hit switch-ins hard, and the Specially Defensive set allows it to take hits fairly well.

I've also seen webs being used more again because everyone remembered that Abra didn't stop being a menace on those teams. Scarf Surskit isn't the only setter I've seen though. Spinarak has been popping up recently because in addition to setting webs it can check grasses/fighters.

As for an actual suspect, with Trapinch becoming much more influential to our metagame I think we could finally see another trapping suspect, but this time focusing more on Arena Trap as a whole and not just Diglett. I think the diversity Trapinch adds to the trapping metagame makes it much more difficult to function at certain points of a game. While you can normally try to beat Diglett by tanking its hit or killing it with priority Trapinch makes that more difficult by having solid bulk while being stronger than Diglett on average, at the cost of Speed. I don't think either mon on its own is a problem, but the two of them together? Could be a problem seeing as how part of the success with Abra/Gastly relies on the trapping to neuter numerous would-be checks.

This wasn't the most coherent post, but I wanted to put some thoughts out there and see what everyone thinks. Have at it.
 
I'm gonna give my opinion and first comments real quick sorta deal rather than facts as I'm bad at those factual, fancy kinda posts.
Regarding an Arena Trap Suspect
Arena Trap needs a suspect.

I'm of an opinion that trapping in general is just dumb. It gets rid of one of your 2 core options every turn; switching and attacking. It's finally gotten to the point where it isn't just meta defining but it is literally the entire meta. When both diglett AND trapinch are top 10 in usage every single week for lcwc and will likely stay top 10 in usage for exhibition when those stats come out to me is fairly alarming.

Diglett alone is already borderline overcentralizing and obnoxious to deal with both in builder and in battle but now trapinch is around and thriving as a completely different but still absolutely fantastic trapper and to me we've got a serious problem.

Personally I really dislike all the specific mini mindgames both force as well. Do I go Pawniard/Onix on this Vullaby Brave Birding my foo or is he gonna u-turn into pinch and my bird resist is dead? Do I go into grimer-a/munchlax/pawn/other pursuiter here on gastly/abra or are they gonna double into their trapper and I lose to gastbra? Is she gonna hjk my foo in the foo mirror and I lose it or u-turn on my mareanie and ground z it with diglett and i lose my fight/fire resist turn 4? You've seen and or experienced them you know the deal just personally not a fan. I'm fine with a good double but if you make a good double and I am physically unable to switch out or sack something else off I find that uncompetitive.

TLDR: Individually I'm not sure if they are as big of an issue but combined to me the arena trappers are unhealthy both in the builder and in battle.
I am heavily pro suspect and would be pro ban at this time.
 

Corporal Levi

ninjadog of the year
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Diglett and Trapinch are individually superbly strong, potentially suspect-worthy threats, but suspecting Arena Trap because they're too much when you put them together doesn't make any sense. These are not Pokemon that you would ever want to run together on a serious team - you'll either run Diglett, or you'll run Trapinch. It doesn't matter that they have different checks, because they will not be used together; they are separate (but similar) threats to prepare for in the teambuilding stage. Looking at Diglett and Trapinch as a collective whole is akin to saying that Mienfoo is too strong because when combined with Timburr, the combined presence of fighters is too much - we need to look at each mon separately.

To be clear, Arena Trap is still a suspect-worthy issue because both abusers are highly centralizing (whether they're moreso than Mienfoo or Vullaby is up for debate). An Arena Trap suspect has been brought up in the context of GastBraPinch, and I think LCWC has made it abundantly clear that GastBra(trap) is every bit as good as we thought it was, which is way too good.

We've been seeing absurd sets like East's Protect/Disable Grimer-Alola because they feel necessary. Simply put, our metagame is not equipped to handle Pokemon with the level of offensive presence that Abra and, to a lesser extent, Gastly bring. They can, with minimal changes to a single standard set, get around every other Pokemon in the metagame with relative ease. This is fine for a wall-breaker, not for a Pokemon that outspeed the majority of the metagame and has significant potential to sweep. Balance does not have the general safety nets this generation to deal with such powerful offensive Pokemon, and offense is constrained by requiring several threats that can compete with GastBra in speed tiers (which often happens to be GastBra itself, judging by the number of times we've seen GastBra in LCWC), resulting in a metagame where creativity is often seen as more punishing than rewarding.

This is not the first time Abra has been on the fence this generation - late SM Abra webs comes to mind. This is also not the first time Diglett has been up there; FooVullDig has been extremely strong for some time now. But it's worth noting that in every actual suspect since FletchDig back in 2014, Diglett's immediate role was negligible - TorchDig, FloonDig and so on were fairly average standalone cores that weren't strong enough to play a large factor in their bannings, and Diglett's role was as a heavy metagame influencer only.

In the case of GastBraPinch, the trapper is only so powerful because GastBra has so few checks (and no counters) to begin with. Trappers aren't without their drawbacks; Trapinch suffers from being difficult to reuse in a single game, and the more reliable Diglett sets (Scarf, Eviolite as opposed to Z, LO) are basically non-threats on their own and have been treated as gimmicks in the past. In addition, they're pretty poor in 1v1 scenarios, and mostly rely on revenge-killing to do their work; often, they will be looking to trap Scarfed users or opposing trappers who are locked into the wrong move instead of healthy mons. These drawbacks are serious enough so that most other cores involving them, such as Ponyta-Trapinch and, in the current iteration of the metagame, even Mienfoo-Diglett, are seen as fairly balanced. Gastly and Abra are unusual for sweeping capable abusers in that each have a very strong chance against winning against their checks, to a degree where they not only lack counters, but even hard checks. Abra can hit its trappers with Counter, while both Gastly and Abra can KO Steel-types with HP Fire, for example. As a result, we're mainly left with revenge-killers to deal with them - to be "safe" against GastBra, you'll usually have to run a Pursuit trapper, Diglett, and/or multiple Scarf Pokemon. Against the likes of these, Trapinch and Scarf / Eviolite Diglett have no issues.

As the more immediately over the top of Gastly and Abra, both in terms of raw stats and in how it lacks chip-related counterplay, I would argue that Abra should be seen as the main culprit in the core.

To drive home how GastBra is too strong and how Abra is a problematic element, I've gone through each replay where the core is used and wins (currently 13 wins to 6 losses, excluding the 3 GastBra mirrors). You'll notice that Abra plays a large role in almost all of them compared to trappers. (Abra, Trapinch, Diglett, and Gastly individually sit at 24-11, 18-12, 14-15, and 16-8, respectively.) It's kind of repetitive so feel free to skip it if you already get the point.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-848022235 - ht vs tharam
HT does not use a trapper at all. Once hazards are down to bring Vullaby into range, Gastly and Abra are able to break through ThaRam's team with minimal effort. Abra ultimately cleaned after Gastly was taken out. This is a clear example of how slower teams tend to suffer, as they generally have a rougher time fitting in the multiple trappers required to consistently deal with GastBra.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-420068 - spl4sh vs zorodark
Trapinch removes a weakened Ponyta, which could otherwise force a tie vs Abra. ZoroDark would have had other ways to do this, though - if he had sent Vullaby in instead of sacking Pawniard, he could get rocks up with his Pawniard later for the same effect. The rest of Spl4sh's team would have a lot of trouble dealing with assaults from both Gastly and Abra at that point.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-847051635 - lily vs lighthouses
GastBra + Mudbray (no trapper) wins vs GastBra + Trapinch. Lily didn't really have an answer for both Abra and multiple Scarf users.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-420076 - tdk vs cs
This game is kind of telling because TDK brought the ultimate one-mon GastBraPinch answer in Disable Grimer, and the slow balance team was still broken through. Chip from Rock Slide was enough so that Grimer could only take out one of Gastly and Abra, allowing the other free reign against a slow team (outside of a weak Staryu) that could not revenge-kill them like TDK's. GastBra has effectively rendered balance almost entirely unviable where it was niche but at least usable in previous metas.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-834012625 - osh vs fran
This is the game that tcr linked earlier. This is entirely a Gastly sweep with a timely Shadow Ball crit - neither Trapinch nor Abra is brought onto the field even once. Even if Gastly didn't crit, though, it seems clear that Abra wouldn't have had much trouble cleaning up.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-843655573 - lily vs xray
Abra forces xray's Diglett in, Trapinch removes it and does nothing else, and Gastly cleans for free.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-410317 - ggggd vs toadow
Here is another game where a trapper is forgone, and GastBra is just used alongside hazards. In this case, Gastly doesn't need to come in. Once rocks are up and Spritzee is weakened, Abra has no trouble sweeping.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-842475083 - ren-chon vs mao
Mao uses a pretty weird offense team that relies on Wynaut for Abra. Though he does have the means to revenge-kill Abra and Gastly individually, mao doesn't really have a good shot at winning the momentum war.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-842483070 - lighthouses vs wabane
Another example of a balance team that, on paper, should be solid against GastBra, falling all the same. Diglett is included for Abra and Chespin is included for Gastly, but Diglett has to be blown on Timburr to be countertrapped by Trapinch, allowing Gastly to dismantle the rest of Wabane's team.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-838348896 - kingler vs xizaaa
This is the picture-perfect GastBraPinch game. Gastly breaks a bulky Pokemon (Timburr) on xizaaa's team; Trapinch gets rid of a single weakened Grimer; and then Abra spends four turns cleaning up the remaining four Pokemon.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-836471371 - trash vs tazzie
The same (trapper-less) hazards + GastBra team that has appeared in a few other games takes the win with an end-game Gastly clean.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-407114 - luthier vs xray
A different trapper-less hazards + GastBra team uses GastBra to break for Carvanha to clean. This is pretty typical HO and doesn't come off as GastBra being an issue.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-407578 - ggggd vs tdk
This would be a good game to showcase how even just Abra + trapper can be quite potent. After hazards are put up and Trapinch removes Magnemite, nothing on tdk's team can stop Abra.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-832783226 - lily vs trash
A GastBra mirror where trash gets 6-0ed by LO Abra

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7lc-829807365 - cs vs jake
Diglett is taken out early, and Pawniard is forced into play (by Chespin) so that Trapinch can trap it. After that, Abra cleans house.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7lc-406498
A GastBra mirror where GastBra + Dig beats trapperless GastBra. Diglett plays a pretty pivotal role in revenge-killing both Abra and Magnemite. so that lighthouse's Abra can sweep.

Diglett and Trapinch are both very strong, and both could be deserving of future suspects, but I'm confident that Abra is far and away LC's most pressing issue right now.

Baton Pass is something else I feel we should be looking at, but I'm not sure how we're going to suspect that since it's mostly a policy question.
 
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tcr

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Diglett and Trapinch are individually superbly strong, potentially suspect-worthy threats, but suspecting Arena Trap because they're too much when you put them together doesn't make any sense. These are not Pokemon that you would ever want to run together on a serious team - you'll either run Diglett, or you'll run Trapinch. It doesn't matter that they have different checks, because they will not be used together; they are separate (but similar) threats to prepare for in the teambuilding stage. Looking at Diglett and Trapinch as a collective whole is akin to saying that Mienfoo is too strong because when combined with Timburr, the combined presence of fighters is too much - we need to look at each mon separately.
This is highly misleading and twisting the arguments people say when they remark on their strength together. No one is trying to argue that Diglett+Trapinch on the same team is overwhelming because they cover each other's counters, and seriously equating Mienfoo and Timburr as a duo that is equivalent to the metagame prowess of Diglett+Trapinch is highly disingenuous.

To start with, the impact that Arena Trap has had on the metagame has always been in 1) an unhealthy attitude in regards to the basic functions of the game (as Plas pointed out in restricting the player's moves and unnecessarily punishing them for misplays, making a trapping oriented metagame highly punishing and flawed.) As Plas pointed out, and has been the argument for years now, there are two basic options that players have to gain the upper hand in battle, two options that if you boiled the essence of Pokemon down to the barest of basics those would be the options: a player can either attack, that is clicking a move whether it be U-turn or Toxic or Protect or Swords Dance or Close Combat etc, or they can switch out, thus gaining either momentum by switching in a counter, sacrificing a Pokemon to bring something with weaker defenses in, or by double switching so as to gain an incredible amount of momentum. In both cases the Player must make a choice, a prediction, that would best benefit their success in the battle.

Arena Trap removes one of these core concepts, forcing the Player to attack needlessly, just as Shadow Tag did the same. What this means is that the opposer to the Diglett team, hereby referred to as Greed, must always play on the backfoot and fear the switch, or fear killing the wrong thing lest their Abra get trapped or their Grimer. In my honest opinion this is not the style of play that should be encouraged, because it entails a lot more guesswork involved on Greed's part than Player's part. It's a form of negative playstyle that encourages safe play in an offensive metagame that hyper rewards players for predicting and outplaying, and the unique trait that Diglett and Trapinch share that no other Pokemon has is being able to trap a wide variety of things, offsetting the risk and reward scenarios that players should encounter. Arena Trap means that once you're trapped, that's it, you're done, you lose that mon. You don't have the chance to switch out to a counter, you simply lose a part of your team, and to me that reward of trapping is just too high of a cost associated with this game. That's one of the fundamental differences between the duo of Timburr / Mienfoo and Diglett / Trapinch; if I'm in a bad spot against a Timburr or a Mienfoo, such as a scenario of Pawniard vs Mienfoo, I can simply switch out to my Spritzee or Vullaby in the back, or some other check / counter. The opponent has the option to double switch themselves, to gain momentum, click Knock Off or attack for utility or damage depending on how they predict, or click something like U-turn and do both momentum and attacking at the same time. In all those scenarios there are associated risks involved that both players must weigh depending on the playstyle of their opponent, and it's that analyzing that makes this game indepth and fun, for me at least. Trappers take the reins out of Greed's hands, disrupting the flow of the game for a more stop and motion style of play that favors Player more so due to the restrictive nature of trappers.

The other fundamental difference between trappers and the two fighter core you mentioned is the idea of negative teambuilding versus positive teambuilding. If I build a team, and its weak to Timburr, i have the option to adjust my Pokemon and add a counter or check, resulting in a form of positive teambuilding in which I add extraneous elements to my squad in order to deal with a problem Pokemon. If I build the team to be incredibly weak to Timburr, such as having something like Onix + Pawniard + Magnemite or something else, then I have the option to also take away certain parts of my team, such as ditching Pawniard for a different scarfer or pursuit trapper, like Grimer-A with Gunk Shot, or Play Rough Stunky or something else (the purpose of this sentence is to highlight the difference between positive and negative teambuilding aspects, please do not focus on the bad mon examples because the point itself still remains. Yes I'm aware that adding Grimer with Magnemite is garbage or that Stunky is a terrible mon.) This would be an example of negative teambuilding, where I take away or replace certain parts of my core in order to deal with a threat.

With Pokemon that don't trap, you have to keep in mind that you can always run counters to whatever threat the Pokemon is weak to, and you can't expect one Pokemon to deal with everything else. If I have a Pawniard, that doesn't make it a bad Pokemon simply because its weak to Timburr. I have the option to either adjust my team to something else, or I can add a counter and switch out, thus preserving the overall structure of my team, maintaining momentum. Trappers, on the other hand, don't have that option. They only have negative teambuilding associated with them. If you build a team and find its weak to Mienfoo so want to use something like Croagunk to answer fighting types, you're already Diglett weak. It doesn't matter that you might have a Snivy in the back or a Corphish or something, Croagunk itself makes it weak and allows Diglett to break holes in teams that would be more solid in the vaccuum. Simply the threat of a trapper maybe existing is enough to make the team Diglett weak. You can only make a team less trapper weak by removing the otherwise perfectly functionable Pokemon, a form of negative teambuilding. You don't have the option to add something like a Snivy, or some counter to Diglett, because you can't switch into it, you still lose your main check to Fighting types (in this example. There are a plethora of examples that have existed with other more devious cores than FooDig throughout the tier's suspect tests).

I do not think forcing the metagame to revolve around trappers is a healthy concept for a metagame at all, simply because it restricts a player's teambuilding and ditches the ideas of switching in checks and counters. Moreover I do not think that keeping trappers around simply because they check other things that are "potentially more broken" (late XY counterarguments discussing Ponyta are one I can think of, for example) should be the way to proceed for the tier; there has long been a vocal section of the community that has lamented Diglett's existence, with the other side pointing to Trapinch as being an example where 'Arena Trap' itself wasn't the issue, well now there is ample evidence to show how powerful Trapinch also is. While I believe fundamentally that Magnet Pull is also antithetical to the player's choices, I do not feel as strongly that it is an issue worth looking at, seeing as the total amount of Steel types in the metagame are about 3 on a good day, with Magnet Pull being too limited in the types of Pokemon it can trap, and too underutilized in order to matter. It is definitely possible that in the future Magnet Pull could be considered too strong, and in that case I would support a suspect, but until such a policy oriented decision is made I feel that for the health of the metagame Arena Trap is the main culprit, as Shadow Tag was a generation ago in a different tier and different time.

As to Abra, my current thoughts are that Abra and Gastly are heavily facilitated by the trapping oriented meta that has been carefully crafted. In a pure, trapperless vaccuum with a thoroughly developed metagame, I would think that they would be easier things to handle, through the usage of scarfers that are currently scared out of the metagame, such as Magnemite, or Pursuit trappers such as Grimer-A that are also scared out by Trapinch. I think that losing Diglett and Trapinch would mean we lose two different checks / answers to Abra, but that their leave of the metagame would result in tons of other priority users and slower Pokemon that can all deal with Abra, such as Grimer-A, Sucker Croagunk, Scarf Magnemite, Elekid, Munchlax, among probable others. I think Abra could definitely be suspected, and if a solo Abra suspect were to go through and not Arena Trap I would most likely vote ban, due to its overwhelming power, speed, and ability in Magic Guard. Its movepool is often tailored to suit the team its on, similar to Gastly, and its immunity to Magic Guard combined with Focus Sash mean that it is often a backup cleaner lategame that is extremely hard to kill and deal with, and isn't punished by the same factors that other cleaners are punished for (such as entry hazards, OHKO's meaning it almost always gets 2 hits off which is enough to kill a vast majority of the metagame). I do not think Abra is the main problem, but simply a symptom of the growth of Arena Trap, a symptom that other Pokemon have fallen prey to being in the past and imo were never given a true functioning chance without their facilitators (that said many previous banned Pokemon are, and probably would remain, considered broken, all I'm saying is that many Pokemon in the past were facilitated by Diglett in particular, thus not allowing more creative answers to these top tier threats to develop).

tcr thoughts out
 
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So I was typing this up as tcr posted his and its VERY similar thoughts but put less coherently than his so check his out.
Abra is borderline broken so I wouldn't mind that suspect but for the love of everything can we NOT let arena trappers off the hook again.
TorchDig, FloonDig and so on were fairly average standalone cores that weren't strong enough to play a large factor in their bannings, and Diglett's role was as a heavy metagame influencer only.
Is that not an issue all of the sudden? If I run haze mareanie or ponyta to counter torchic I'm risking myself to a top 3 pokemon at the time trapping both and me being nearly handicapped from preview. If I don't bring them I either have to go with something like corphish or tirtouga or muchlax that are not great at the time or I get fucked up by torchic. Torchic was broken because of Baton Pass primarily but also how susceptible its defensive answers were to trapping. Don't brush arena trappers off as "metagame influencers only" or "negligible" cause that's absurdly underselling them.

We've been seeing absurd sets like East's Protect/Disable Grimer-Alola because they feel necessary.
They do yes. Wonder what ground type pokemon that traps you in makes it feel necessary to run this absurd set. I completely agree that the answers are obscure and stupid limited but you don't go on as to why they are so obscure and limited the reason being trap abusal in this case. I could run bulk on my grimer or try stunky out or use scarf pursuit pawn as solid gastbra checks unfortunately ALL of these are trapped immediately after you kill one of the two assuming they don't just double out.

Diglett and Trapinch are individually superbly strong, potentially suspect-worthy threats, but suspecting Arena Trap because they're too much when you put them together doesn't make any sense. These are not Pokemon that you would ever want to run together on a serious team - you'll either run Diglett, or you'll run Trapinch. It doesn't matter that they have different checks, because they will not be used together; they are separate (but similar) threats to prepare for in the teambuilding stage. Looking at Diglett and Trapinch as a collective whole is akin to saying that Mienfoo is too strong because when combined with Timburr, the combined presence of fighters is too much - we need to look at each mon separately.
The issue isn't the pokemon themselves unlike say Abra; It is solely their ability and they are the ONLY TWO in the tier that abuse this ability. I'm not sure why suspecting their ability doesn't make sense. Comparing them to fighters is just completely wrong as both fighters have checks and counters that are very viable and you can stack on. Trapping doesn't matter about what the pokemon is; It comes in on its victim and kills it.

In nearly all of the replays you show trapinch or diglett only removes one mon and one of the GastBra core does the rest therefore the Abra is the only broken part. If I get rid of my opponents one hard answer to a pokemon and they can't do shit about it cause they are trapped in and said pokemon proceeds to win to ME that is showing more so how easy and dumb trap support is rather than Abra being over the top though I agree Abra is borderline broken. I think this is due much more to the presence of the trappers personally though.

TLDR: While I do agree that Abra is borderline broken if not just broken you are either ignoring or VASTLY underselling the trappers influence and how absurdly easy it is to get these key traps that lets Abra or Gastly then win in these cases. I'm fine and dandy with an Abra suspect personally but ONLY AFTER an Arena Trap suspect. DO NOT let arena trappers get undersold and escape AGAIN cause we'll be having another conversation in 6 months about how Arena Trappers are dumb again with a different abuser. I don't want to continually ban pokemon because they are broken due to trapping and still never do anything about trapping ever. If Abra is still as dominant and dumb with Arena Trap gone we can suspect that too but for now Again, in my opinion an Arena Trap suspect should be had.

BP is also just stupid. No reason for it to still be around just get it out.
 
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Merritt

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Before any sort of action is taken on Arena Trap or Abra, I'd like to divert to something that has been around for a while and I'm fully convinced is not "uncompetitive" but is actually broken, and that's Baton Pass. Specifically, passing Speed to several Pokemon, most notably Rufflet.

A decent amount of this is going to be focused on Rufflet as a receiver, though I'd like to clarify that Rufflet is not the only viable receiver, just the best one. This isn't something that can be solved just by banning Rufflet, and I'll explain in depth why it's not just a matter of banning the strongest passers.

To clarify, none of this is based around FullPass. FullPass is an almost (if not actually) completely unviable strategy in the current metagame - setting up takes far too long and has a relatively low reward for high risk. This is all focused on short passing chains to strong receivers who can immediately take use of the boosts to tear apart otherwise prepared teams.

The issue with teams utilizing Baton Pass is that they're incredibly low commitment and as such, have far more winning matchups than losing. It's not a binary win-lose like FullPass was, but rather a team that can all but automatically win a significant portion of the time and most of the rest of the time is still able to put up a good fight. For an example of this, Serene Grace has some of the better Z-Me First Mienfoo pass teams out there. One of them, as of team preview, is Mienfoo/Vullaby/Spritzee/Pawniard/Diglett/Rufflet. This is not the type of team that's going to just roll over to anti-BP tech, but one that can stand on its own regardless of Baton Pass, just using Baton Pass as an option to all but win in far too many matchups.

That's something that needs to be expressed. Speedpassing has more winning matchups than it does losing. And those winning matchups are something incredibly difficult to outplay for a victory as long as the user of the BP team understands their team well. This is an undesirable thing for a balanced meta. But let's go into more detail about why exactly this Baton Pass archetype is so strong and needs to be banned.

First, let's talk about the most hyped and probably strongest user of Baton Pass right now - Z-Me First Mienfoo. This is essentially Agility+, giving Mienfoo the ability to potentially snag a KO in the process of setting up in exchange for only being able to set up once. The biggest appeals of Mienfoo as a passer though are its immense utility in roles outside Baton Passing, giving a very useful surprise factor to the team, the chance to snag a KO when setting up, and the ability to set up both Swords Dance and +2 Speed, making a majority of potential receivers into impossible to stop monsters. Zfoo+2/3 potential recievers with the rest of the team to clear up potential holes is a potent team all on its own. However, Mienfoo is far from the only potential passer.

One of the ones I'd like to draw attention to is the utter bullshit that is Z-Flash Venonat as a Baton Passer. For those unaware, Z-Flash does the normal lowering of the opponent's accuracy one stage and boosts the user's evasion one stage. When both are in effect, 100 accuracy moves have functionally just over 56% accuracy which is less than reliable to say the least. Venonat pairs this with Compoundeyes Sleep Powder to be incredibly difficult to actually stop from getting an Agility and Baton Pass off. To make matters even worse, the evasion boost gets passed along, which makes taking down the receiver an exercise in frustration. Venonat doesn't lack for chances to set up, having a typing that gives it plenty of opportunity to set up on common Pokemon in LC.

I'd like to reiterate that these aren't the only options. Really, anything with Agility and Baton Pass can enable some ludicrous strategies that are extremely difficult to actually prevent. To elaborate, let's talk about one of the receivers, Rufflet.

Rufflet is the best receiver in my opinion due to its high bulk, recovery, ability to set up offensively, and rather high Attack. If you've never seen it, Rufflet can easily set up on Onix since at +1 Def with an Eviolite, Rock Blast does 2 damage. Roost makes this even harder for poor Onix. It's not just Onix either, since Rufflet's bulk is absolutely outstanding.

236+ SpA Magnemite Thunderbolt vs. 116 HP / 196 SpD Eviolite Rufflet: 18-24 (72 - 96%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
236+ Atk Reckless Mienfoo High Jump Kick vs. +1 116 HP / 116+ Def Eviolite Rufflet: 10-13 (40 - 52%) -- 9% chance to 2HKO

The only requisite Rufflet needs in order to set up and sweep safely is Speed. Once provided, Rufflet is incredibly difficult to stop without heavy casualties, and the cost of getting Rufflet that Speed is not something particularly onerous.

Again, I want to stress that Rufflet is not the only receiver that's very difficult to stop once it gets passed +2 Speed. Mudbray is the most common other receiver, but there exist many other possibilities that don't see use both because of the stigma against Baton Pass and because of how good Rufflet and Mudbray in general are.

There does exist some counterplay to Baton Pass as a strategy. The issue is that much of it is mitigated by the low commitment that Agility/Speed passing requires. Cottonee Encore for example isn't debilitating to this, it's just somewhat annoying yet fully possible to play around. Haze Mareanie is again offset by the low commitment to the passing - Mareanie's taking a ton of damage just to get the Haze off and it doesn't shut down the team either. The thing is that a single misstep is incredibly punishing against these teams, but even playing near perfectly can sometimes result in just being unable to win.

I hope what I've said explains why banning specific passers or receivers isn't really a good course of action - there's just so many. While I think that banning Baton Pass + Speed boosting moves as a clause would function to eliminate this, I don't think it'd be something acceptable to Smogon policy as a whole. Personally, I'm left to the conclusion that banning Baton Pass is the only way forward.

Before you start objecting to what I've written, I strongly, strongly encourage you to try out a low commitment Speed passing team instead of just theorymonning it. Seeing really is believing here, though obviously I can't force you.
 

Corporal Levi

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Re: BP, we're probably going to be looking at a council vote in the very, very near future. A full suspect would be kind of strange since it's mostly a policy issue (it's already made stuff broken in the past, and it's obviously not a very competitive strategy). Torchic being suspected or freed accordingly would probably be done at a time that minimizes conflict with major tours.

Re: trappers, I fully believe that Trapinch and Diglett are not balanced in the current metagame. Plas you quoted a couple lines in my post with the implication that I was arguing against Trapinch or Diglett being suspect-worthy, but those lines were in the context of Abra being the more immediately pressing issue. It basically boils down to that
a) I believe GastBraPinch is the only over the top trapper core right now, and
b) Abra is the most dominant member of the core, so suspecting it will be more effective for neutralizing the core than suspecting Gastly or Trapinch (Arena Trap).
If Abra leaves and the metagame remains in a similar state such that Trapinch and Diglett are still too strong, then they will be suspected afterward.
It doesn't look like we actually disagreed on important points so I'll leave it at that

To start with, the impact that Arena Trap has had on the metagame has always been in 1) an unhealthy attitude in regards to the basic functions of the game (as Plas pointed out in restricting the player's moves and unnecessarily punishing them for misplays, making a trapping oriented metagame highly punishing and flawed.) As Plas pointed out, and has been the argument for years now, there are two basic options that players have to gain the upper hand in battle, two options that if you boiled the essence of Pokemon down to the barest of basics those would be the options: a player can either attack, that is clicking a move whether it be U-turn or Toxic or Protect or Swords Dance or Close Combat etc, or they can switch out, thus gaining either momentum by switching in a counter, sacrificing a Pokemon to bring something with weaker defenses in, or by double switching so as to gain an incredible amount of momentum. In both cases the Player must make a choice, a prediction, that would best benefit their success in the battle.

Arena Trap removes one of these core concepts, forcing the Player to attack needlessly, just as Shadow Tag did the same. What this means is that the opposer to the Diglett team, hereby referred to as Greed, must always play on the backfoot and fear the switch, or fear killing the wrong thing lest their Abra get trapped or their Grimer. In my honest opinion this is not the style of play that should be encouraged, because it entails a lot more guesswork involved on Greed's part than Player's part. It's a form of negative playstyle that encourages safe play in an offensive metagame that hyper rewards players for predicting and outplaying, and the unique trait that Diglett and Trapinch share that no other Pokemon has is being able to trap a wide variety of things, offsetting the risk and reward scenarios that players should encounter. Arena Trap means that once you're trapped, that's it, you're done, you lose that mon. You don't have the chance to switch out to a counter, you simply lose a part of your team, and to me that reward of trapping is just too high of a cost associated with this game. That's one of the fundamental differences between the duo of Timburr / Mienfoo and Diglett / Trapinch; if I'm in a bad spot against a Timburr or a Mienfoo, such as a scenario of Pawniard vs Mienfoo, I can simply switch out to my Spritzee or Vullaby in the back, or some other check / counter. The opponent has the option to double switch themselves, to gain momentum, click Knock Off or attack for utility or damage depending on how they predict, or click something like U-turn and do both momentum and attacking at the same time. In all those scenarios there are associated risks involved that both players must weigh depending on the playstyle of their opponent, and it's that analyzing that makes this game indepth and fun, for me at least. Trappers take the reins out of Greed's hands, disrupting the flow of the game for a more stop and motion style of play that favors Player more so due to the restrictive nature of trappers.

The other fundamental difference between trappers and the two fighter core you mentioned is the idea of negative teambuilding versus positive teambuilding. If I build a team, and its weak to Timburr, i have the option to adjust my Pokemon and add a counter or check, resulting in a form of positive teambuilding in which I add extraneous elements to my squad in order to deal with a problem Pokemon. If I build the team to be incredibly weak to Timburr, such as having something like Onix + Pawniard + Magnemite or something else, then I have the option to also take away certain parts of my team, such as ditching Pawniard for a different scarfer or pursuit trapper, like Grimer-A with Gunk Shot, or Play Rough Stunky or something else (the purpose of this sentence is to highlight the difference between positive and negative teambuilding aspects, please do not focus on the bad mon examples because the point itself still remains. Yes I'm aware that adding Grimer with Magnemite is garbage or that Stunky is a terrible mon.) This would be an example of negative teambuilding, where I take away or replace certain parts of my core in order to deal with a threat.

With Pokemon that don't trap, you have to keep in mind that you can always run counters to whatever threat the Pokemon is weak to, and you can't expect one Pokemon to deal with everything else. If I have a Pawniard, that doesn't make it a bad Pokemon simply because its weak to Timburr. I have the option to either adjust my team to something else, or I can add a counter and switch out, thus preserving the overall structure of my team, maintaining momentum. Trappers, on the other hand, don't have that option. They only have negative teambuilding associated with them. If you build a team and find its weak to Mienfoo so want to use something like Croagunk to answer fighting types, you're already Diglett weak. It doesn't matter that you might have a Snivy in the back or a Corphish or something, Croagunk itself makes it weak and allows Diglett to break holes in teams that would be more solid in the vaccuum. Simply the threat of a trapper maybe existing is enough to make the team Diglett weak. You can only make a team less trapper weak by removing the otherwise perfectly functionable Pokemon, a form of negative teambuilding. You don't have the option to add something like a Snivy, or some counter to Diglett, because you can't switch into it, you still lose your main check to Fighting types (in this example. There are a plethora of examples that have existed with other more devious cores than FooDig throughout the tier's suspect tests).
I'm not really following how the claim that trapping is unhealthy/uncompetitive because it prevents switching, and honestly it comes off as really buzzwordy. Arena Trap is something that both players are fully able to consider and account for in a team preview metagame; it only comes into account once the Arena Trap mon is actually in, which thinking one turn ahead will allow you to consider. Ponyta's ability to switch doesn't cease to exist because Diglett is on the opposing team. It makes switching Ponyta into Mienfoo's U-turn riskier, which is something the Ponyta user is fully aware of before doing so. Arena Trap doesn't remove risk-reward - both users still have total control over their choice of moves, and awareness of the potential results. As a guaranteed effect that takes place only when certain actions have been made, it's entirely skill-based; it doesn't really make sense to be called "uncompetitive" as defined in the tiering policy framework because it does not reduce the effect of player choice.

For their ability to skew risk-reward on certain moves, a balanced trapper will have significant drawbacks, enough so that the trapper user will not win more often. If the claim that the non-trapper user has to do significantly more guesswork to gain the upper hand is true, then we're probably in a metagame where trappers are straight up busted. If teams with Trapinch win more noticeably often than teams without trappers, it's because Trapinch is busted. They're broken, not uncompetitive. You don't have to do a lot more guesswork than your opponent who uses Wynaut, or in previous metas Trapinch.

Positive/negative teambuilding also seems really buzzwordy. Your team only has six mons, and ideally a combination of these six mons will be able to handle every other combination of six mons you come across. Why is the effect of Diglett on how you arrive at those six mons in any way worthy of a ban?

This is highly misleading and twisting the arguments people say when they remark on their strength together. No one is trying to argue that Diglett+Trapinch on the same team is overwhelming because they cover each other's counters, and seriously equating Mienfoo and Timburr as a duo that is equivalent to the metagame prowess of Diglett+Trapinch is highly disingenuous.
There's nothing misleading about my comparison, this is literally a 1 to 1 comparison in every respect. You can't claim a mechanic is broken by the total sum of its users' influence. I could use any other high tier ability here. For example, something like 90% of teams have a Weak Armor mon, but that doesn't make Weak Armor banworthy; its individual users are fine, and there's nothing preventing you from preparing for each Weak Armor abuser separately. Arena Trap differing mechanically doesn't change the logic of this argument.

Arena Trap is currently suspect-worthy because both Diglett and Trapinch are so - every single user of Arena Trap is borderline. If the sum of all mons possessing a trait is broken, that isn't really saying anything. On the other hand, if each mon possessing a trait is broken, then the trait is probably broken, and that's more of what we're looking at here.

Quote's original argument wasn't well thought out (as he said himself) so I'm not sure if that's 100% clear, but let me know if I can clarify.
 
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I'm going to pose an argument against banning arena trap - arena trap is used pretty much exclusively on trapping mons weak to ground (fire/electric), the most present of which is Elekid. A banning of Abra would make those mons significantly less reliable since right now the only way to check Abra once Stealth Rocks are up is Elekid. Hell, if your Abra is scarfed, maybe not even. Abra either runs Sash or Scarf. Since there isn't a particularly fair strategy that beats either when a Diglett or Trapinch is on the opposing team, Abra doesn't have a fair counter.

How to beat Abra without using Abra or Diglett;
1. Run Elekid, Volt Switch twice and hope he doesn't swap into Diglett either time then win the speed tie
2. If you lose the speed tie, hope he doesn't have stealth rocks up so your sturdy Onix can maybe do something about Abra (Rock Blast maybe)
3. If he has both Stealth Rocks and a Diglett alive, pray to RNJesus that your HP Grass crits.
4. Instead, run Meowth, then try for Fake Out/Feint after letting your first mon die because swapping Meowth directly into an Abra is suicide. Oh wait he swapped into Diglett so now your only counter has to fight through two mons in order to take care of their no-setup-sweeper. Also did I mention that at the sight of Meowth, he immediately swapped into literally any mon to take care of it knowing you're going to Fake Out on turn 1?
5. Ban Abra because Arena Trap can create excellent mindgames when the reward for winning is a kill and the punishment for losing could be the game. When the reward for calling it correctly is "well I guess I have to coinflip" and the punishment for losing is "I lose the game", that doesn't create for rewarding gameplay.

The fastest and strongest mon in the tier shouldn't be so dominant. If the only viable teams are ones that include (Abra+ArenaTrap) or (Three direct counters to Abra to account for all the options Abra has), then something has to give.

PS: +1 Levi
 
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I'm going to pose an argument against banning arena trap - arena trap is used pretty much exclusively on trapping mons weak to ground (fire/electric), the most present of which is Elekid. A banning of Abra would make those mons significantly less reliable since right now the only way to check Abra once Stealth Rocks are up is Elekid. Hell, if your Abra is banded, maybe not even. Abra either runs Sash or Band. Since there isn't a particularly fair strategy that beats either when a Diglett or Trapinch is on the opposing team, Abra doesn't have a fair counter.

How to beat Abra without using Abra or Diglett;
1. Run Elekid, Volt Switch twice and hope he doesn't swap into Diglett either time then win the speed tie
2. If you lose the speed tie, hope he doesn't have stealth rocks up so your sturdy Onix can maybe do something about Abra (Rock Blast maybe)
3. If he has both Stealth Rocks and a Diglett alive, pray to RNJesus that your HP Grass crits.
4. Instead, run Meowth, then try for Fake Out/Feint after letting your first mon die because swapping Meowth directly into an Abra is suicide. Oh wait he swapped into Diglett so now your only counter has to fight through two mons in order to take care of their no-setup-sweeper. Also did I mention that at the sight of Meowth, he immediately swapped into literally any mon to take care of it knowing you're going to Fake Out on turn 1?
5. Ban Abra because Arena Trap can create excellent mindgames when the reward for winning is a kill and the punishment for losing could be the game. When the reward for calling it correctly is "well I guess I have to coinflip" and the punishment for losing is "I lose the game", that doesn't create for rewarding gameplay.

The fastest and strongest mon in the tier shouldn't be so dominant. If the only viable teams are ones that include (Abra+ArenaTrap) or (Three direct counters to Abra to account for all the options Abra has), then something has to give.

PS: +1 Levi
This is my first post so, sorry if my wording is off. I just want to say that many of the claims made in this post is questionable or false.

1. Claiming that arena trap is used to trap only ground-weak mons is extremely misleading. There are many scenarios where that statement is false but two scenarios that came immediately into my mind was the rise of evio dig to trap abra and trapinch trapping dig.

2. I do not know what you mean by "fair counter" but I just want to state that abra does have counterplay, even if these counterplays may be hindered by arena trap. As the meta centralizes around gasbra, people have started to adapt around these threats. In particular, scarf dark mons like vullaby and pawniard saw alot of usage during lcwc and the aforementioned evio dig gaining usage. (BTW elekid is not an abra check.)

3. Just because the meta has centralized around gasbra trap doesnt equate to other styles being unviable. Recently, flying spam and speed pass are two styles that have been gaining popularity. Even uncommon strats like webs and av are still viable but requires careful planning and execution in game.

Sorry if I misinterpreted some of your statements and feel free to correct me if I did so.

Lastly, I just want to give my opinion on the arena trap debate. I do believe that arena trap is a problem that needs to be looked at in the future due its ability to enable certain playstyles, most notably the current gastbra. Personally, I view arena trap in the same light as wingull, something I could bring without having any major drawbacks. The ability to trap and revenge-kill is an extremely pivotal part of LC and I feel arena trap allows both ideas to succeed. That being said, I agree with Levi that arena trap should not be the first priority for suspect. Gasbra should first be suspected due to its versatility, minimal checks, and speed. Thank you for reading.
 
I personally think Abra is probably a better suspect than either of the Arena Trappers, so I guess I'd be agreeing with Corporal Levi. I feel like it's just enough to push the entire core over the edge and having 19 speed as opposed to Gastly's 18 is a big difference. So yeah, I think Abra is probably a better suspect. A case could be made for Arena Trap being suspected (???) but the idea of banning all trapping seems really inconsistent and I think the collateral from losing Abra (which would be in line with policy too) is far less. Again, I think both bans target the same thing in AbraGastTrapper (except the loss of Arena Trap also means you can't counter trap Abra), but banning Abra just seems like the better way about it.
 
Just a post to mention that I misspoke earlier - I meant to say that Abra almost always runs sash or scarf. My bad!

On the topic of Arena Trap again, I think that there are a ton of ways to deal with Abra anyways when you don't have to worry about Arena Trap - notably, Onix, Elekid, and Meowth all become better counters when swapping into them isn't suicide. Especially if Diglett is sashed.
 

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Just a post to mention that I misspoke earlier - I meant to say that Abra almost always runs sash or scarf. My bad!

On the topic of Arena Trap again, I think that there are a ton of ways to deal with Abra anyways when you don't have to worry about Arena Trap - notably, Onix, Elekid, and Meowth all become better counters when swapping into them isn't suicide. Especially if Diglett is sashed.
You're not necessarily wrong that checking Abra becomes a lot easier with Arena Trap gone, but that's because AGrimer, Scarf Magnemite, and Pawniard become easier to use. Onix is already good but not exactly a great Abra check while Elekid and Meowth probably won't be great even with ATrap banned, and they're definitely not the best Abra answers.

Yeah I know this post is sorta short but I don't have much else to say. My preference goes to testing Arena Trap before Abra but honestly both would solve the issue in the short term. Arena Trap is just better long term imo.
 
Just a post to mention that I misspoke earlier - I meant to say that Abra almost always runs sash or scarf. My bad!

On the topic of Arena Trap again, I think that there are a ton of ways to deal with Abra anyways when you don't have to worry about Arena Trap - notably, Onix, Elekid, and Meowth all become better counters when swapping into them isn't suicide. Especially if Diglett is sashed.
to my knowledge no abra runs scarf, life orb is the best set currently with sash going down in usage as well.

2/3 mons you mentioned speed tie with abra while onix is required to be sturdyjuice to beat abra as it's special bulk is quite low. Calling them counters is also incorrect as that implies that they can switch into abra, which they cannot. (exception is sturdy juice onix but that also requires rocks not be up)
 
to my knowledge no abra runs scarf, life orb is the best set currently with sash going down in usage as well.

2/3 mons you mentioned speed tie with abra while onix is required to be sturdyjuice to beat abra as it's special bulk is quite low. Calling them counters is also incorrect as that implies that they can switch into abra, which they cannot. (exception is sturdy juice onix but that also requires rocks not be up)
So what viable mons exist in the tier that can reliably switch into Abra, take the hit, then either beat Abra in speed 100% (priority or scarf) and multi-hit to kill a sashed abra? Shellder? As far as I see, a sashed Abra will always take down at least 1, usually 2 mons without question. And diglett isn't the answer since it's already something we suspect is off too.

I dont think a mon is fair is the only counter to it is a death-switch or a tanky trapper since it's just resurfacing the same problem in a different facet.
 
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Ninjadog13

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to my knowledge no abra runs scarf, life orb is the best set currently with sash going down in usage as well.

2/3 mons you mentioned speed tie with abra while onix is required to be sturdyjuice to beat abra as it's special bulk is quite low. Calling them counters is also incorrect as that implies that they can switch into abra, which they cannot. (exception is sturdy juice onix but that also requires rocks not be up)
Scarf Abra is definitely a set, and is largely viable thanks to the pressure that Abra being potentially LO applies. For example in this game (BurntZebra vs myself in LCWC) I throw away any chance I had at winning when I send in my Scarf Foo on his Abra rather than Ferro due to fear of his Abra being LO HP Fire. Scarf Abra is also able to safely run a modest nature, and if the set is unrevealed can bait people into throwing away their Dig. Similar sets like Z-Psychic Terrain also operate similarly, working on surprise and the opponent having to play around the LO/Sash possibility.

My general opinion on Abra is that the degree to which it abuses trappers in conjunction with its versatility in being to take down pretty much all of its counters 1v1 depending on the set make it unhealthy. Abra is also able to do this without taking away from the overall strength of the set - where for example Mienfoo running a Z-Bounce set suffers in overall viability for the ability to remove a check in Foongus, Abra loses almost nothing when running Counter to take out Grimer-Alola and Pawniard, Energy Ball for Trapinch and so on. With the Counter set Abra is also able to remove shared checks for it and Gastly whilst still remaining alive itself. Evio Beat-up Dig is arguably the most reliable option as it can switch-in and KO, but even that requires 5 mons alive.

Whilst having to guess sets is an important part of Pokemon in general and not unique to Abra, no other Pokemon applies the same pressure on the opponent to guess right or with as much fallout for guessing wrong.
 
I personally think Abra is probably a better suspect than either of the Arena Trappers, so I guess I'd be agreeing with Corporal Levi. I feel like it's just enough to push the entire core over the edge and having 19 speed as opposed to Gastly's 18 is a big difference. So yeah, I think Abra is probably a better suspect. A case could be made for Arena Trap being suspected (???) but the idea of banning all trapping seems really inconsistent and I think the collateral from losing Abra (which would be in line with policy too) is far less. Again, I think both bans target the same thing in AbraGastTrapper (except the loss of Arena Trap also means you can't counter trap Abra), but banning Abra just seems like the better way about it.

Abra is clearly not the problem lol , ill type more later but first off ive always used abra and yes it can sweep but it ONLY HAS 4 moves. sprit counters ferroseed most times , plenty to kill it with . scarf is a good answer . Feint mind games also works too if ur trying to get the sash off . I say arena trap is more of the problem . Having to play more cautious like people said earlier watchinh what you kill something with . like i could revenge kill with The {so broken Abra) but then just die instantly to trap or dig depending the threat by what im running , l0 or sash . Also instead of this lets bring up Z me first and that garbage bc it reminds me of torchic u want to be honest here
 
Abra is clearly not the problem lol , ill type more later but first off ive always used abra and yes it can sweep but it ONLY HAS 4 moves. sprit counters ferroseed most times , plenty to kill it with . scarf is a good answer . Feint mind games also works too if ur trying to get the sash off . I say arena trap is more of the problem . Having to play more cautious like people said earlier watchinh what you kill something with . like i could revenge kill with The {so broken Abra) but then just die instantly to trap or dig depending the threat by what im running , l0 or sash . Also instead of this lets bring up Z me first and that garbage bc it reminds me of torchic u want to be honest here
While I agree that Abra isnt broke (very good, S-level mon) your reasoning is pretty flawed. Every pokemon only gets 4 moves (except ones that dont learn 4 moves, if there are any left) and runs sets A, B or C.

There are valid points on both sides, yes it is really fuckin strong and only has a few true counters (Stunky, Grimer-A, Munchlax, Pawniard spring to mind and 3 of 4 lose to trappers), but imo it's something to be taken into account when team building. The best case for banning it is that it has such a complimentary movepool with Gastly that together they are nearly unbeatable, which I concede is a legitimate concern. The problem is how to go about finding out if Abra is the problem, GastBra, Arena Trap or NOTA.
 
I'm not really used to posting a lot and I really don't claim to have an excellent level, but I think that suspect Abra would be extremely dangerous for the metagame.

The fact is that the GastBra core is indeed very powerful at the moment, that's a fact and you only have to look at the LCWC usages to be convinced. However....

I think it would open a Pandora's box to talk about banning Abra. I think very seriously that Abra is a mon that cannot be banned from the LC without completely unbalancing the third. Paradoxically, I think that banning Abra would be a huge victory for heavy offense players.

My overall reasoning would be as follows: in LC, the speeds are quite low, and more or less any boosted pokémon can exceed the entire metagame without scarf. In parallel, wallbreakers are quite numerous and extremely powerful for the third in terms of pure statistics, like Bunnelby / Scraggy / Omanyte / Zigzagoon / Clamperl. Pokémon like Clamperl and Zigzaton can OHKO more or less all the big walls of the tier after a boost depending on their set. To make it short, you only have scarf users and priorities to revenge kill them. But you also have Abra.

For all these pokémon, Abra is a real thorn in the side. Abra's simple vision in the preview team forces heavy offense players to play in a much more cautious and thoughtful way, delaying their placement. Even without being a sash, it greatly influences the game by its very presence. Indeed, many heavy offense lacking defensive solidity, the time lost to delay the placement of a pokémon because of Abra often allows the balanced to be able to keep the momentum, which balances the match-up.

Ban Abra is a huge boost for all the boosting threats in the tier. With a Z-Move, it is now quite easy to destroy any wall supposed to "counter" a pokémon. I don't claim to be a "good player" at all, on the contrary, nevertheless to be a player used to playing very aggressive teams, I have the impression that Abra is really the keystone of the metagame, probably even more than a pokémon like Mienfoo.

You will certainly tell me that these pokémons will always keep countermeasures; yes, they will. Nevertheless, because I play from time to time extremely aggressive teams, especially on the high ladder (which is absolutely not a level reference, I understand it) based on spam of extremely powerful wincons (eg Scraggy + Shellder + Zigzagoon), the fact is that most LC walls do not survive taking several wincon in succession. And I really don't think it's just a matter of how well you play or not, it's just that if the player who plays the defense misses an anticipation or takes the haxx at the wrong time, it can finish a game.

Abra, by his offensive presence and his aspect of "safety net" is probably one of the best regulators of the metagame against this kind of team. I really fear that banning it could open the cage to lions, and eventually force players to run things such as scarf diglett more and more often, at the best. In the worst case, that this ban may result in a completely unbalanced and overly offensive metagame. Because in general, the best way to stop a pokemon that has been boosted in LC is not to be able to takes its blows (often, it is difficult to do so) but rather to have something to revenge kill it. Hence my theory that Abra's ban would lead to an extremely offensive metagame, with an increasing number of priorities and scarf choices, to compensate to compensate for the new power of offensive threats such as Clamperl, Omanyte, Scraggy...etc

Of course, you will certainly tell me that it is only theoretical, and you will be right. I do not claim to be right here, I may be totally wrong. Simply, no matter how much I think about it, I have a hard time imagining that a possible abra ban would have more of a positive impact than a negative one.
Suspecting Arena Trap makes a lot more sense to me. In fact, I would say more that it would be less damaging to suspect Arena Trap for the metagame than Abra.
 
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