np: SS UU Stage 3: As the World Falls Down (Venusaur banned, see post 110)

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In this post I argue we should immediately suspect something to deal with Dual Screens / Aurora Veil teams (henceforth referred to as screen teams). There were unfinished discussions on how to address complex bans in lower tiers with respect to Drought and I do not wish to start another discussion on complex bans before that is resolved. Therefore I'm arguing that we should "deal with" screen teams just to flag this as an issue over Haxorus - I am not offering a solution on how to resolve the issue. I argue that we should take action on Screens for three reasons: 1) Screen teams are uncompetitve in terms of match up fishing, 2) Screen teams create multiple overpowered threats (Haxorus, Blastoise, and Necrozma in particular), and 3) Screen teams are uncompetitive in skillless play.

For reference, this team is what I consider to be a standard Screen team but there are many others you can find littered throughout the forums.

Screen teams are uncompetitive in terms of match up fishing
By match up fishing I mean their match up advantage* has greater variance than a typical team.

*By match up advantage, I mean this definition: Team A has a match up advantage over Team B if Team A can win the game by making level 0 predictions (clicking Alomomola when your opponent has a Darmanitan out against a Blissey is a level 0 prediction for the Blissey user. If Darmanitan uses U-Turn, it's a level 1 prediction from the Darmanitan user since they predicted the Blissey switch). The more easily Team A can win the game by making level 0 predictions, the greater the match up advantage is.

So I'm basically saying, when you use a Screen team, you're more likely to have a very good MU or quite a bad MU - you're on either end of the spectrum, I am NOT saying that Screen teams always get good MUs (although I think they frequently do in my second reason). So what's the evidence for this claim? The best evidence is a sampling of some games that show how some teams are enormously weak to Screens:
  • In this game, the Screen team just instantly wins whenever Blastoise sets up which it can do on many Pokemon behind Screens. It's not like the opponent was using a team full of bad mons - all of them are ranked in the VR and many of them ranked highly. The lack of bulky water is of course noticeable but not atypical in this tier now
  • In a similar game, you can see the Screen team just auto wins again because the opponent is not using a bulky water. It's more or less impossible to stop set up
  • In this game, the opponent does bring a bulky water - Araq- but still loses on match up because the team simply has too many sweepers to prepare for, and nothing can stop Necrozma behind Screens. It's not a matter of playing right or wrong, there is literally nothing the opponent can do once Necrozma sets up. You could argue they could have prevented Screens from going up by leading differently - true but it still seems likely Screens would have went up eventually
  • In a stall game, you can see the Screens team has essentially no chance on preview because of the weakness to Toxic Spikes and inability to break through Umbreon, Quagsire and Avalugg
From these replays, I'd argue at least two points: 1) it's very clear that many Screen team games are determined nearly on preview and 2) this is much worse problem for Screen teams than typical teams (as in any other style except for weather and maybe stall)

Screen teams create multiple OP threats
The OP threats are numerous, but I would argue Blastoise, Necrozma, and Haxorus are simply overbearing when behind Screens. The obvious problem is that they are nearly guaranteed set up because of their massive bulk behind Screens. The less obvious problem is that these Pokemon are walled by completely different Pokemon and after one finishes an attempted sweep, another can use time to take advantage of so called counters. For example, Blastoise can completely abuse Incineroar that tries to check Necrozma - which it cannot even do under Screens.

Why not ban the threats instead of taking action on Screens? Clearly this is a similar question to why not ban Venusaur instead of taking action on Sun - except in this case, it's absurdly clear that there is no single Pokemon like Venusaur breaking Screens. It's a combination of many threats like even C+ ranked Blastoise and Barbaracle. We don't know what to ban in this case, there is no Venusaur of Screen teams.

Screen teams are uncompetitive in skillless play

I'll preface by saying I think this reason is the weakest and either of the first two should be sufficient for taking action on Screen teams.

This is closely related to the idea that screen teams have unusually high variance in match up advantages. I know there is still skill in identifying which Pokemon you want to sweep with and when. But it's a totally different type of skill, and much less of it, compared to what I see in more typical teams. This is best illustrated when Screen teams play against other Screen teams:
  • In this game, the Veil team gets to set up an attacker first because they were able to seize the initiative first by using Explosion. And after the set up, there is no skill to be had. Just click click click and Haxorus sweeps.
  • In another game, the Meowstic team is able to weather the storm from the screen team and set up itself while being attacked. Yes the Veil team arguably misplayed by not Subbing on turn 13 but in any case you can see it's not one side trying to outplay the other, it's just setting up with a decisive sweeper ASAP.
I do not think it's good for a competitive game for Screens to be such an enormous part of the metagame when Screens just isn't skillful play.

Potential Counterarguments
  • Can't Ditto sort out the issue by revenging Screen abusers?
    • This would be great if it happened, but I think this is on the burden of Ditto users to prove for two reasons - 1) the reason Screen teams work so well is because synergy. Even if a Ditto copies a Haxorus on the standard team for example, then Ribombee can promptly start to sweep and it cannot be revenged properly by Ditto.
    • The other reason is this isn't exactly helping the argument that Screen teams is very match up based, I don't want to see games where if you have Ditto you win nearly all the time (and I don't think that's going to happen) and if you don't have Ditto you simply can't deal with Screen teams
  • We are having enough issues with Sun and complex bans. Why go down this route?
    • Because Screens is broken and just because something is hard or complicated doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. It's quite clear a Pokemon ban is not going to work in this case - we aren't about to ban Espeon, Vanilluxe, Meowstic and Xatu all together, and I'm certain others could take their role. And we cannot simply ban all the abusers because most offensive Pokemon that learn a set up move can be an abuser
    • So yes, we most likely need a complex ban if we decide to take action, but we can do it as long as we make our arguments clear and reasonable. Nobody wants to see UU become a less competitive tier because of Screen teams
  • There are other more broken Pokemon in UU right now like Haxorus. Shouldn't we deal with them first?
    • I generally agree Haxorus and Necrozma are broken right now and deserve tests independent of Screen teams
    • That said, I think Screen teams are just more broken and more uncompetitive. Haxorus isn't going to be instantly sweeping instantly in any reasonable game but abusers under Screen can
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Great post, but I wish you also included in your counterarguments your stance on Light Clay. Banning screens is essentially banning Light Clay, so it would make sense to see if a nerfed version of screens is still just as problematic. Screen teams have 3 turns already used up (1 for setting up screens, 1 for sending out the abuser, 1 for setting up with the abuser). By turn 3, your opponent should ideally have their counter to the abuser sent out, so it could survive for at least turn 4 and retailate, then die at worst die by turn 5.
I've started playing this tier again after a brief pause and I can't really say that I've enjoyed myself. It's very difficult to account for everything while building and this is largely due to the presence of screens (and particularly Haxorus). I don't know if Haxorus is the main issue but I personally find it broken and I've thought so for a while. I've tried using Sylveon to check it only to get bopped by LO jab at +1 after rocks which it affords to run this gen as it isn't outclassed by dragonium-z. Fairies being worse at checking it makes building more difficult. Especially if you're a sucker for balance such as myself. The inability to check it with defensive fairies if it's allowed setup means balance teams must resort to revenge killing it and the pool of viable mons for this are Flygon and Inteleon (unless you wanna run scarf Noivern/Ribombee, plz don't). It's also difficult to prevent it from setting up when screens are so prevalent. I don't know if Haxorus is broken due to screens or vice versa but I personally find them both to be broken on their own and would be happy with a suspect/ban on either/both of them.

+1 252 Atk Life Orb Mold Breaker Haxorus Poison Jab vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Sylveon: 351-413 (89 - 104.8%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
Hi, I wasn't sure if I should post it now because of UULT but since I can't teambuild for shit in this tier (I always have to choose between getting destroyed by Haxorus or by Gardevoir) I figured I might as well.

First off, I wanna say that I think banning Venusaur was the right decision, at least until we get another stupid broken Sun mon. Back when we first ban Mega Houndoom I was against it because I loved it outside of Sun and thought banning Drought was better but my thinking has evolved from then. Venu has such a great combination of moves + stats that I even think it would've been broken last gen if it'd had Weather Ball, since its bulk and speed are everything Victreebel always wished it had. The Mamo ban and the drops were the final nails in its coffin (speaking of Mamo, I thought it was dumb even in the Obsta meta but I kinda wish Washtom dropping had been enough to keep it; but I digress).

That said, I'm sure you must have witnessed or being part of a situation where Venu was in while Sand was up, and realized suddenly that Noivern/Incineroar/Chandy were no longer "safe" switchins because of Weather Ball becoming a 100 BP Rock-type move. That made me realize: most of Roserade's checks are weak to either Fire or Rock, so why wouldn't I take advantage of that? Introducing:

Roserade @ Life Orb
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid nature

Leaf Storm | Giga Drain
Sludge Bomb
Weather Ball
Rest | Toxic Spikes | Synthesis

I used this with dual weather because I found it fun but it can basically fit your team's needs. Offensive Rose is a natural wallbreaker, Weather Ball allows you to lure in a mon that checks your sweeper (eg. SpDef Incineroar if you're using Polteageist or Escav/Bronzong/Rajah/whathaveyou if you're using Scarf Garde) and put it out of comission. I used to run this with Heracross back in XY UU to lure Crobat and Chandy and it might work even better now—at least if you play it better than me. You won't have many chances to use Weather Ball so you have to make it count, but it's very satisfying to see the health bar dropping after connecting it. It works similarly to Technician Hidden Power in the past but with the added benefit it's much less expected, Escav for example was always gonna be wary of HP Fire coming in.

Change of topic: are you tired of always having to put Scarf Gon or a First Impression mon to not autolose to DD Haxorus (knowing it might run Protect)? Do you find yourself getting rekt by the mindless Screens teams pif talked about? Well look no further!

Sneasel @ Choice Band
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly nature

Knock Off
Icicle Crash
Ice Shard
Brick Break

OK, so this was prolly better in theory than in practice. You basically have a mini Weavile (but with Inner Focus preventing Intimidate à la Mamo) which scares out the Magic Bouncers with the threat of Knock Off and shatters the Screens with Brick Break. Additionally, Ice Shard is a failsafe against a weakened Haxorus: 252 Atk Choice Band Sneasel Ice Shard vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Haxorus: 174-206 (59.3 - 70.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO. It does, however, come with two problems: first off, it isn't strong enough (for example, I failed to KO a Doublade at 78% with Knock Off); I guess you can run an Adamant nature which still outspeeds +spe base 100s, but I'm not a fan because you miss out on Espeon/Froslass/Coba/Helio. It is an option anyway. The other one is, you really don't wanna get locked into the wrong move against the Screens teams—such as using BB and allowing Necrozma to set up all over you or RKing Hax with Ice Shard and then having Barbaracle sweep. You might find Life Orb is a better option, although then you're gonna need even more prior damage on Hax. Overall I really like it when Sneasel can freely spam Knock Off but it can be very hit-or-miss in this meta, if you use it obviously a slow Volt Switch/U-turn is pretty much mandatory since it can't eat a hit to save its life.

Anyway I hope you found something interesting in reading my post and wanna try new things—with better results than me. #BanHax #BanAuroraVeil #FreeMamo Peace out.

EDIT: To whoever flagged me for inappropriate content and had my title removed (which was given by charmbot like 7 years ago), THANK YOU!! It had honestly stopped being funny a long time ago, I didn't like having to explain that I wasn't really motionless. Stay safe!!
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Alright, after building teams and playing in the post Venusaur metagame I'm ready to test (and subsequently ban) Haxorus.

Both the Choice Band set and the Dragon Dance set are extremely pressing in the team builder. Noivern being the only truly 'good' Ground-type immunity that isn't gaining said immunity via Levitate makes Choice Band boosted Earthquake frustratingly free to click. As for keeping Dragon Dance Haxorus in check, there is a similarly problematic issue there due to the lack of speed control in the tier to check it after a boost; Choice Scarf Flygon and Inteleon being the primary options outside of First Impression, which first requires some chip damage to knock out Haxorus.

Haxorus is admittedly frail and contributes little to nothing defensively to the structure of your team. It is by no means a perfect Pokémon. It is however too strong and too straining for the current metagame to function properly, in my opinion. Perhaps the issue with screens based teams that's been raised by pif in this thread will be addressed via a Haxorus ban as well. It will certainly make a big difference, that's for sure.

Outside of Haxorus I'm happy to report that I've loved building and playing now that the core issue with Drought has been addressed. I'd still very much prefer a clean Drought ban instead of banning Venusaur, but that's still a work in progress in Policy Review. How do you guys feel about the current state of the metagame and perhaps more specifically about testing Haxorus in the near future?


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Perhaps the issue with screens based teams that's been raised by pif in this thread will be addressed via a Haxorus ban as well. It will certainly make a big difference, that's for sure.
I don't think you can claim it will make such a big difference because in reality, Blastoise, Belly Drummers (Linoone/Slurpuff), Barbaracle, and Necrozma are all also badly abusing Screens, to an equal extent of Haxorus.

I'm unpleasantly surprised that you understand the logic of wanting to ban Drought/Drought setters over Drought Abusers (of which we really have had major experience with only 4: Venusaur, Darmanitan, Heliolisk, and Leafeon) but you don't translate that logic of wanting to ban Screen setters/Light Clay over Screen Abusers (of which there are MANY more than 4). In this UUPL game last week you can see Blastoise was the one making a game breaking sweep and Haxorus wasn't even used. There is absolutely no clear evidence produced yet that says Haxorus is the main abuser of screens and it would be rash to use the argument that Haxorus should be banned because it might alleviate the Screens issue. But I do agree Haxorus is obnoxious on it's own merits and I could easily agree (or agree to disagree) with suspecting it on that logic, that it's more broken than Screen teams.


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But I do agree Haxorus is obnoxious on it's own merits and I could easily agree (or agree to disagree) with suspecting it on that logic, that it's more broken than Screen teams.
This last line here is about where I stand. HO will always have some matchups where one of its members just sweeps, but thus far in my experience the most reliable offender by far is Haxorus (with Necrozma a likely second). But I also think that completely independent of screens, Haxorus is definitely suspect-worthy, and since its potential ban could also have a pretty major impact on screens as well it makes sense to hold off for a bit.

Right now to me the biggest question is whether we should run a suspect test simultaneously with the UULT, or if we should wait until the conclusion of week 4 to hold one. Laddering for both UULT and a suspect test simultaneously sounds pretty brutal, and it will probably only make matters worse to have even more high quality alts in the lower portions of the ladder. However, I think most people agree that Haxorus deserves a test, so it might be worth that potential disruption to address the issue sooner rather than later.

Regardless of when we have our next test, though, a lot of people expressed that the 81 GXE/45 game minimum on the Mamoswine test was a bit too much. We’ve been talking about adopting a sliding scale system where the number of required games adjusts based on your GXE akin to what LC uses for its tests.

I want to leave some thoughts. Even though I'm someone who tends to be conservative when it comes to bans, I support a Haxorus suspect test and will most likely be voting ban when this happens. For me what makes Haxorus ban-worthy is the fact that everytime it comes in (whether it is DD or CB), your opponent is put into an unfavorable 50/50 of whether you'll click DD/EQ or a dragon move. If you guess wrong and they bring in Noivern on EQ for example, you lose a bit of momentum but are otherwise not in a terrible position (provided that every good team has a Noivern check). But if you get the 50/50 right, your opponent basically loses someone everytime Haxorus is brought in. This skews risk/reward far too much in favor of the Haxorus user. This forces a severe strain on teambuilding where you are seeing a rise of Sylveon+Escavalier balance which is still not safe against CB Haxorus. Other breakers like Pangoro also basically claim a Pokemon everytime they come in, but Haxorus's speed (meaning stuff like Darmanitan, Roserade or Toxtricity can't just come in and revenge kill you) and versatility (I.e., DD Haxorus on screens) makes it too much for the tier.

That said, I do not feel that Haxorus is nearly as bad or as pressing as Drought was, so I am in favor of delaying a Haxorus suspect test to after UULT for the reasons Hogg mentioned above. A sliding GXE-scale system is a great idea to make voting reqs less rigid as well. Aside from this, I think that the tier is in a good state since there is a ton of room for creativity and a wide-variety of team styles. Even though some of them are a bit cheesy (screens), it isn't nearly as bad as last gen with Ninetails. I'm interested in hearing other people's thoughts on screens in particular since Pif brought up some great points, and because I'm a bit undecided on them. Thank you for reading.
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On April 1st I made a post discussing every single possible way to counter the most powerful wallbreakers in the tier, there were quite a few for Toxtricitee, Gardevoir was extremely shaky with what could possibly counter it, and when I came to Haxorus, my response was as follows: "
Haxorus lol no. What did you think? Sylveon can't do a thing against CB or SD poison jab. In fact max/max defense Sylveon dies to CB earthquake on the switch.
252 Atk Choice Band Mold Breaker Haxorus Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Sylveon: 169-199 (42.8 - 50.5%) -- 96.1% chance to 2HKO after Stealth Rock
Yeah no." People seriously suggest using Sylveon against Haxorus when in reality it's simply fodder. It stands no chance against band, swords dance, or life orbed sets. It stands no chance against any set carrying poison jab. In short, Sylveon, and all other fairies are effectively useless against Haxorus. Haxorus's only weakness is it being frail but that hasn't stopped us from banning metagame warping Pokemon before (Weavile, Crawdaunt for example), unlike Weavile Haxorus has a better defensive typing that's also not weak to rocks, and unlike Crawdaunt it's not slow. Haxorus absolutely destroys the concept of balance teams, and while offensive teams may do much better against Haxorus since their playstyle isn't built around having certain team members survive for long periods of time, when Haxorus comes in something has to be sacked.
I also want to speak on Gardevoir. While Gardevoir may not reach the level of Haxorus in certain aspects, such as being significantly slower, it's just as hard to counter, meaning it's uncounterable. Specs with Psyshock/Moonblast/Mystical Fire/X has only three counters, all of which are considered to be sub-optimal/non-viable sets or Pokemon. Heatproof Bronzong, Type;Null, and Specially Defensive Assault Vest Regenerator Reuniclus. Heatproof Bronzong loses the coveted Levitate which is considered by most to be more useful than heatproof, especially considering our tier's most prominent fire types all can OHKO or come close against heatproof Bronzong, Chandelure with shadow ball, Incineroar with Darkest Lariat and Darmanitan with Earthquake. Type;Null and every other eviolite user for that matter are destroyed by trick if Gardevoir carries it in it's last slot. Which brings me to the next point, which is that Gardevoir has the movepool to circumvent would be checks or counters. Both Gardevoir and Haxorus should be suspected if there is to be any sort of defensive teambuilding in this tier.


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I think it's fine to hold off on a Haxorus suspect until UULT has concluded, I personally don't think it is as demanding of an issue compared to the affect Drought + Venusaur had on ladder. With Sylveon dropping, giving us a good bulky Fairy-type that isn't Galarian Weezing, Haxorus has no reason to not run Poison Jab on its DD sets anymore. With more people opting for LO it doesn't matter whether you run a bulky Fairy-type because it can drop it at +1, which leaves the best means of revenging it usually being Escavalier/Shuca Cobalion + Choice Scarfer, Inteleon and Flygon being the main ones that come to mind. While Haxorus is kinda frail and offers no real defensive utility, with Screen teams being used so much this is an irrelevant point for it. Screens + Haxorus invalidating the ability for our most effective scarfer in Flygon from being able to revenge kill it because it can no longer OHKO or it allowed Haxorus to set up multiple DD's it becomes too efficient at killing 2-3 Mons. As people have explored with Haxorus more, a lot more users are dropping Outrage for Dragon Claw making it far harder to punish this Pokemon. Even CB sets are obnoxious to play against solely because this tier has no good Flying-types bar Noivern that can pivot into EQ, but this is still problematic when it is a Pokemon weak to Haxorus's Dragon STAB. EQ is so spammable that you don't have to predict a Sylveon to pivot in because you simply 3HKO it with hazards. In reality, this Pokemon only needs to run 2 moves to drop 1-2 Pokemon a game.

I think dual screens are a whole matter on its own and that Haxorus, while it contributes to it, isn't the sole problem with the playstyle. Haxorus is just one of many good abusers behind screens and banning it is just removing one breaker from the equation. I think Barbaracle is insanely difficult to play around because we have so few Pokemon that can even pivot into Stone Edge + Touch Claws Liquidation. Gastrodon and Quagsire are the best defensive answers unless something miraculously eats a +2 LO hit and I've had no issues simply dropping the filler option to run Grass Knot if I need a way to get past them. Linoone, SD Flame Charge Incineroar, Toxtricity, etc. they are all amplified so much further because of screens support. We could look at individual abusers but I don't think that is going to change anything without looking at multiple Pokemon. Like Pif said, you either have a good matchup or a bad one, there really isn't an in-between and from experience, it's usually the former. Screens make it harder to revenge kill something, which usually forces your hand to go into a certain wall or being forced to lock your scarfer into a certain move to deal with said threat for them to then potentially take advantage of for another sweeper. While this is a natural occurrence for any playstyle whether it be BO or Balance, I find that screen teams really push this over the edge and removes the competitive aspect of having the decision to take an alternate route because of the impact Reflect and Light Screen have.

The main issue could just be that we lack enough revenge killers and defensive counterplay to the abusers, but DLC also has the issue of giving us other problematic breakers/sweepers alongside it, this is theoretical ofc. If Haxorus gets banned after its suspect and screens still prove to be how they are in their current state I would like to see some more discussion on the matter. Aside from these two things I personally think the meta is fine and as stable as it's going to get. Necrozma is an oddball and I'd say the biggest issue with it is our lack of Dark-types to combat it but I don't think it's as prying of an issue compared to Haxorus. As for Gardevoir, I am still of the opinion that this Pokemon is fine.


Now that I think about it, Durant actually sounds like it would be quite manageable in the current meta. With all the sun teams running around here, Durant could easily be checked by stuff such as Darmanitan and Ninetales. I feel that Durant could potentially be bought back into UU in the current meta, because before, we didnt have the sun problem, and now we do. But hey, what do I know? Im just another low ladder noob who doesnt know anything, right?
Now that I think about it, Durant actually sounds like it would be quite manageable in the current meta. With all the sun teams running around here, Durant could easily be checked by stuff such as Darmanitan and Ninetales. I feel that Durant could potentially be bought back into UU in the current meta, because before, we didnt have the sun problem, and now we do. But hey, what do I know? Im just another low ladder noob who doesnt know anything, right?
Durant would still being able to deal whith those checks, u have rock/ground coverage for Fire Types, and also the base speed of Durant outspeed most of the metagame, also new Hone Claws to set up and dont miss moves due to Hustle, add to this a powerful stab First Imprission. In general Durant has speed, offensive capabilitys and a good coverage movepool.
Also: Smogon doesn't check broken threats with other broken threats, until the question of sun is settled (though there is talk that Venusaur was in fact The Problem) bringing Durant back is a mistake.
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