no longer Harry’s house
Hey everyone, the OU tiering council has decided to test Chien-Pao!
Chien-Pao will be the subject of the ninth generation's second ever Overused suspect test, and the first Pokemon to be suspected after Terastallization was tested and remained (fully) legal. Prior to this suspect test, we have managed to ban a handful of Pokemon over three rounds of quickbans (Flutter Mane and Houndstone, Palafin and Iron Bundle, and Chi-Yu, Annihilape, and Cyclizar). Now that the metagame has settled, we can strengthen our focus to a tiering process driven predominantly by and for the community by conducting suspect tests! In response to recent metagame developments, including our second tiering survey, Chien-Pao has stood out as suspect worthy.
Chien-Pao is one of the strongest and fastest Pokemon in the metagame, giving it a pedigree for potency. From there, it does not disappoint. Sword of Ruin allows for Chien-Pao to handicap any foe defensively in a similar fashion to how Chi-Yu did specially defensively. While it is true that Chien-Pao lacks the same exact power level of its already-Uber counterpart, it still has an impressive level of damage output coupled with superb speed to function alongside strong tools. Speaking of these tools, let's discuss its arsenal. The Ice-Dark STAB combination hits a vast majority of Pokemon neutrally, if not super effectively. When proven insufficient, complimentary coverage move Sacred Sword and priority moves Ice Shard and Sucker Punch also become noteworthy attacking options. In addition, when forgoing a choice item, Chien-Pao frequently run Swords Dance, allowing for it to break past virtually every wall that lacks Unaware.
Stemming off of this, Chien-Pao tends to focus on two general variants: Choice Band and Swords Dance. The former functions primarily as a powerhouse breaker, exhibiting unmatched offensive presence. Be it through strong natural STABs or going a step further with Tera-Dark Crunch, Chien-Pao's Choice Band variant finds itself with very few reliable switch-ins as even the bulkiest of walls cannot hold up without resistances. As for Swords Dance sets, they can also function as breakers as they trade the standalone power for the ability to abuse both STABs without locking in, but they primarily aim to clean out teams after a boost. STAB priority can help dispatch of faster would-be revenge killers such as Dragapult while a +2 Chien-Pao becomes a menace to handle for anything defensively.
It is true that counterplay to Chien-Pao exists, and some of it is quite applicable in this metagame state. For example, Pokemon like Tauros-Paldea-Fire and Water, Kingambit, Quaquaval, Azumarill, and Tinkaton all resist both of its STABs, making them range from temporary checks to reliable counterplay depending on the circumstances. The Tauros forms in particular match-up nicely into Chien-Pao while the others are not as durable, but still can do the trick once or twice. Priority such as Mach Punch from Breloom or Bullet Punch from Scizor can do very well depending on circumstances while Normal type Extreme Speed from Dragonite may play depending on other factors, too. Other strategies such as utilizing your Terastallization to stop Chien-Pao can be used, too, with numerous Pokemon such as Dondozo going to a Fairy typing for Crunch or Great Tusk going to a Water typing for Ice attacks being common. Finally, entry hazards can cause longevity issues with Choice Band Chien-Pao while Unaware Dondozo should be able to manage any Swords Dance variant.
Going back to the topic of Terastallization, Chien-Pao is a phenomenal user of it with Tera Dark allowing Choice Band Crunch to hit unreasonably hard. It is true that this comes with a substantial opportunity cost as you cannot use other strategies involving Terastallization with other team members when doing this. However, the same can be said for the mention of potential counterplay existing due to walls using their Tera types in an effort to dwarf Chien-Pao, so this is a two-way-street. In a sense, Chien-Pao's presence offensively being so destructive forces the hand of many walls, which could be seen as a testament to its prowess despite also being a limiting factor towards immediate progress.
Overall, Chien-Pao is among the most powerful offensive options in OU. It has a restricted pool of potential checks and counters, but both offensive and defensive counterplay exist sparingly thanks to select revenge killing methods and a couple of walls that resist STABs. While Chien-Pao is beatable, many worry that it warps teambuilding and contributes towards the metagame becoming overly repetitive as team construction remains hamstrung by it, potentially suggesting that a ban could open up the metagame in an addition by subtraction sense. On the flip side, Chien-Pao is an awesome presence to fit that can function as a revenge killer, breaker, or sweeper that fits onto many teams of its own, which offers merit of its own to operating within the metagame. It will be interesting to see if our players find it to be overbearing enough to warrant a ban or if they find it to be healthy presence not worthy of a ban.
- Reading this is mandatory for participating in the suspect test!!! The voting requirements are a minimum GXE of 80 with at least 50 games played. In addition, you may play 1 less game for every 0.2 GXE you have above 80 GXE, down to a minimum of 30 games at a GXE of 84. Also, needing more than 50 games to reach 80 GXE will suffice.
- You must signup with a newly registered account on Pokemon Showdown! that begins with the appropriate prefix for the suspect test. For this suspect test, the prefix will be OUZO. For example, I might signup with the ladder account OUZO Finch.
- Laddering with an account that impersonates, mocks, or insults another Smogon user or breaks Pokemon Showdown! rules may be disqualified from voting and infracted. Moderator discretion will be applied here. If there is any doubt or hesitance when making the alt, just pick another name. There are infinite possibilities and we have had trouble for this repeatedly. If you wish to participate in the suspect, you should be able to exhibit decent enough judgement here. We will not be lenient.
- We will be using the regular OU ladder for this suspect test. We will not be creating a new Suspect Ladder. At the beginning of every battle, there will be an announcement denoting the ongoing suspect with a link to this thread.
- The suspect being tested, Chien-Pao, will be allowed on the ladder.
- Any form of voting manipulation will result in swift and severe punishment. You are more than welcome to state your argument to as many people as you so please, but do not use any kind of underhanded tactics to get a result you desire. Bribery, blackmail, or any other type of tactic used to sway votes will be handled and sanctioned.
- Do not attempt to cheat the ladder. We will know if you did not actually achieve voting requisites, so don't do it. Harsh sanctions will be applied.
- Unlike previous tests, we will be posting the voting identification thread immediately after this thread. Your voting requisites will be confirmed by a Council member or OU moderator, to which we will edit in confirmation. Please avoid getting more games before getting confirmed.
- The suspect test will go on for roughly two weeks, lasting until February 10th at 11:59 pm (GMT-5), and then we will put up the voting thread in the Blind Voting subforum.
- No unhelpful one liners nor uninformed posts;
- No discussion on other potential suspects;
- No discussion on the suspect process -- this includes retesting Chien-Pao vs other potential suspects;
- You are required to make respectful posts;
- You are required to read this thread before posting.
- Failure to follow these simple guidelines will result in your post being deleted and infracted without any prior warning.
- Please also take a moment to read over some suggestions from the OU Council and the OU Moderation team for posting in this thread; adhering these will help out our time moderating the thread and present your arguments better and more educated.
- Do not argue because it's your favorite Pokemon. This should be common sense, but please don't do this, because we will delete posts like this.
- You do not need a boatload of experience to have an informed opinion, but please try to minimize the theorymon aspect and use your experiences watching and playing. Playing some on the ladder before posting is plenty if you're concerned about this.
- Do not flame, belittle, or be disrespectful to users in this thread. While not everyone will read this post in its entirety nor will everyone have an informed opinion, please be sure not to be disrespectful. If there's an issue, bring it up to a moderator.
- Do not use the argument of broken checking broken. Should your argument rest on your opinion that banning the Pokemon or mechanic being tested in this suspect test will make a Pokemon or mechanic broken, overpowered, and/or uncompetitive; don't. If something needs to be banned because of the result this suspect, then so be it.
- This thread is not to voice complaints about the suspect process or decisions of the council. While we are more than open to hearing complaints that may arise, this isn't the place for it. I suggest you message the OU Council, PM our Tier Leaders, Finchinator and Ruft, or make a post in Senior Staff requests, should you have a badge.
Keep in mind that our suspect tests are decided by the community; anyone who rightfully achieves voting requisites is allowed to vote. The outcome is up to you.