Metagame np: USUM DOU Stage 4 - Haunted - Gengarite Banned

talkingtree

Using headphones to drown out your mind
is a member of the Site Staffis a Community Leaderis a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributoris a defending Smogon Snake Draft Champion
Doubles Captain
#1

Come on, come on don't leave me like this
I thought I had you figured out
Something's gone terribly wrong, you're all I wanted

Welcome everyone to the seventh suspect of SM DOU, where once again we'll be taking a look at Mega Gengar and its impact on the metagame. Between amazing Speed and Special Attack, Mega Gengar is an attacker to fear, but the truly powerful tool it has is Shadow Tag, allowing it to trap foes in and keep its team in a favorable board position. While it was looked at in the most recent suspect test, since then, Substitute has been shown as the truly powerful set, fixing some of the issues of taking a turn to activate its ability and only decent bulk. Mirrors have also been brought up as an undesirable part of Mega Gengar's interactions, as some believe that too many games are decided by which Mega Gengar will win the speed tie and knock out the other. Mega Gengar's unique ability to take advantage of Shadow Tag over the other Pokemon that have this ability is what makes Mega Gengar solely the target of this test.

The only requirements to vote on this suspect are the ladder requirements posted below, there are no posting requirements. However, reading up on everyone's opinions both here and towards the end of the previous thread will help voters be informed in their thoughts, so I'd highly recommend that. Make sure your post adds something significant to the discussion on Mega Gengar and its impact, you could help someone else see it in a way they hadn't before.

Important: The ladder will be open for a single session of nine days, during which Daylight Savings Time will provide an extra hour.

Ladder Period
Start: November 2nd 11:00pm EDT (GMT-4)
End: November 11th 11:00pm EST (GMT-5)​

We will be using the new standard method for suspect testing, so there will be no dedicated suspect ladder. Instead, you will qualify to vote in this suspect if you achieve the following requirements:
  • All games must be played on the Pokemon Showdown! Doubles OU ladder on a fresh alt with a name of the form DOUNC (name). For example, I might register "DOUNC tree" to ladder with. You must follow this format to qualify.
  • Your alt must have been created after the suspect test has begun. That is, the join date and time must be after November 2nd at 11:00pm EDT
  • You need at least 40 games
  • You must have a minimum GXE of 80
That's it! Feel free to PM either MajorBowman or me on Discord if you have any questions about the qualification process. Happy laddering, and Happy (slightly early) Halloween!
 
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talkingtree

Using headphones to drown out your mind
is a member of the Site Staffis a Community Leaderis a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributoris a defending Smogon Snake Draft Champion
Doubles Captain
#2
This past few days has been fairly hectic, so I wanted to take this opportunity to recap and be transparent on everything and make a few requests for this suspect. Fair warning, this is going to be a long post, but I believe it’s important.

Before Snake started, MajorBowman and I had decided that we first wanted to test Marshadow as a result of the posts in the last Gengar suspect when we asked for opinions on the metagame. We didn’t want to mess with the tour itself, so we planned on starting it during the last week of playoffs. A couple weeks ago, we brought this up with both council and forum mods with mostly agreement but some apprehension on whether this was a good next move. We wanted to make sure to tell everyone ahead of time because we knew that a Marshadow retest would bring back some very strong opinions on both sides and needed to figure out how to best roll it out without making a drama. Last week, we started writing up the OP, asked council for paragraphs on their thoughts on Marshadow, and contacted the relevant people about making Marshadow legal for the suspect.

Then Tony’s first post and Discord movement starts. The timing of everything felt pretty awful, as we would have already started the Marshadow suspect a few weeks prior had there not been a tour happening. With everyone suddenly coming out of the woodwork, we didn’t want to weigh too heavily one day in months of discussion on what the next best step would be for the progression of the tier. How strongly everyone seemed to suddenly care made emotions run high and the unfortunate timing of everything made the situation blow up more than it probably needed to or would have otherwise, because from our point of view it seemed that we took months of planning how to best handle it only for a sudden wave of posts and discussion to come in and catch us entirely unprepared.

The sheer number of people speaking out meant we of course had to consider whether our current order of suspects was still the smartest - we were already planning to retest Gengar after Marshadow was done, but had figured that with Gengar being the most recent test and very few obvious metagame shifts since that time, we didn’t want to do it again and have it look like we were just trying to invalidate the previous test or keep trying to ban it until it worked. Although the situations are clearly different, the comparison to XY AzuRachi felt unavoidable at this point. After a long day of arguing and reconsideration, we came to the decision that it would be considerably easier to harness the current discussion than to ask people to table it. Attempting to shift everyone’s focus now would just result in a suspect that didn’t get a true look.

We’re still planning to resuspect Marshadow before SPL, as many things have changed since it was banned, including but not limited to Snorlax’s ban, Intimiroar and Zeraora’s release, Mega Manectric’s rise in popularity, the surge of physical attackers like Kartana making the tier less centered on special bulk, and the surge in popularity of Mega Gengar. The two Marshadow tests were done within a few months of each other at a time when the metagame was shifting considerably and the general consensus MajorBowman and I came to was that there was significant reason to believe that Marshadow would operate differently in the meta now compared to when it was banned. If Mega Gengar stays, we won’t wait long before starting this test, as the meta won’t need any time to settle. If Mega Gengar is banned, we’ll wait a bit longer to give people a chance to get used to a metagame without one of its best Pokemon.

Looking further forward to the future, the only possible other suspect that’s been brought up is a retest of Jirachi. The meta today is almost as different from Jirachi’s initial meta as SM and XY, with plenty of reason to believe current teams would handle Jirachi better. However, this is very theoretical at this point, as there are likely two suspects between now and this theoretically happening. It’s impossible to know whether it will be something we might want to allow back.

It’s clear that everyone has strong opinions of one variety of another, so keep your posts here about the metagame; any personal jabs due to differing views should be kept to a minimum (none). We will be strictly moderating this thread to keep it from going in the gutter, so don’t give us reason to infract.

We brought this suspect up to address a concern that many people have, but next time do not wait until you’re threatened with a different suspect to speak up. It seems nearly everyone in the community has posted at this point and somehow almost none of them spoke to me or to Bowman, so we had no idea that this many people felt this strongly until this past week. One of the main issues that probably caused this is the rise in sound bytes as stand-ins for discussion - phrases like “#freemarsh #justice” and “Ban Gengar lol, broken Gengar wins again” have turned into memes. As a result, people who share these beliefs think it’s true support and outsiders to these opinions just dismiss them as joking around. This atmosphere makes it very difficult to know where the community stands and turning important discussion into solely throwing in catchy phrases isn’t a path I want to go down again.

I need to thank you all for the amount of real discussion that we’ve had over the past few days, I truly appreciate it and think it’s the absolute best thing for our tier going forward. Though it’s been frustrating at times, I think this turned out for the best in the long run. We’ll be leaving this thread closed for 24 hours to make sure that people have a chance to read up on how things went down and why we made the call to switch the suspect target, so if you feel the need to add your voice to the discussion, take this time to organize your thoughts.

Let us know your thoughts on the new laddering system as the suspect goes!
 

talkingtree

Using headphones to drown out your mind
is a member of the Site Staffis a Community Leaderis a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributoris a defending Smogon Snake Draft Champion
Doubles Captain
#3
We wanted to include thoughts from everyone on council on the suspect, so here they are:

I'm of the opinion that Gengar as a standalone pokemon isn't necessarily a broken element in the metagame. I feel like there are a variety of ways to effectively deal with a Gengar, especially since we have seen a large shift in the typical 3rd moveslot from coverage to Taunt/Sub paired with the general fattening of pokemon (I am, in particular (but not only) referring to Landorus-T and Kartana here). I believe that it rewards skill based and strong positioning play from both sides, in effectively trapping necessary pokemon as well as working around the trap. Granted it is very strong and fast and proactively trapping rather than the supportive trapping we see from Gothitelle makes it more of a pain to play vs. However I don't feel like these factors are quite enough to call it broken in a sense.

The biggest issue with Gengar is definitely the fact that it can OHKO itself. It makes the mirror a real problem to play as a large number of times the eventual speed tie is unavoidable. There are ways to prolong this happening, and possibly avoid it altogether for sure. However, this very often results in a heavy loss of either health or board position. Given the fact that Gengar is the best mega in the format with little competition this situation happens a lot more at high-level play than it should. This is not my idea of a healthy meta, where I personally put heavy emphasis on the quality and maximisation of skill in games rather than variety/creativity in the teambuilding process.

I voted ban on the last Gengarite test and my opinion has not changed since. Mega Gengar may not seem broken since it fails to 1v1 most of the meta, but Shadow Tag allows it to choose which opponents to kill and when. The amount of pokemon that ev for Gengar's attacks is a good indicator of how centralizing it is. Common examples include berry Incineroar, bulky Lando-T, bulky Megagross, Zygarde, and bulky Kartana. Many of these one time "checks" are also ruined by the rise of Stealth Rock chipping their hp. There are almost no pokemon in the upper parts of the viability ranking that have a truly positive match up against Gengar. Mega Gengar is an unhealthy part of DOU and should be banned.

Even though I was firmly in the do not ban camp during the first Gengar test, I’m not really sure where I stand this time around. Having both used and played against a pretty high amount of Gengar over the course of SM, I definitely think it’s one of the best, if not the best, Pokemon in the tier. The control Gengar can exert over the course of a game is close to unrivaled, and its monstrous special attack means it takes full advantage of its disgustingly good ability. I originally voted no ban during the last suspect because Gengar never felt like an overly oppressive force to me, but I do think that people have vastly improved at both playing with and building around Gengar in the time since. A well-played Gengar can be tough to beat, and it’s gonna be a pretty tough call for me. I do want to address the speed tie argument that’s been brought up though. If the main way you beat Gengar is to win the speed tie, you’re either bad at playing against Gengar or using teams that don’t have great Gengar checks to begin with. I really don’t see why that’s an argument at all, everything obviously speed ties itself and the nature of Ghost types is that they’re probably going to be able to knock themselves out in a mirror. There are plenty of reasons why Gengar could be a problem, but I really don’t think speed ties are one of them.

As one of the original abusers and suspect proponents, I am happy to see Gengar back up for a suspect test. Stax stepped down from Council but I think his thoughts he shared in the NP echo with my own: "Many doubles players have continuously reiterated how problematic and nasty it is to play versus and have waited for months for another suspect. I, myself, have spoken with numerous of the newer vgc players and we've all agreed of how difficult it is to play vs gengar in a 6v6 format. The first test itself was one vote short from a ban. It came at a time when incineroar was just released and players did not yet figure out how to best abuse it with its type synergy and slow u turn capability with the cat. This coupled with the emergence of kartana essentially making a perfect core around gengar that people just had no knowledge of during the first test. I would try to make a poll(actually serious) asking players about gengar before just deciding that it is the same as the first test."

I think that after both DPL (where I tried my best to get my players to abuse gengar to the fullest extent) and Snake we have a larger picture of the Gengar metagame and even attempts to adapt to Gengar come up short because of its ability to pin down teams and remove answers to its teammates. We've tried to adapt to Gengar since the last suspect, it hasn't worked. It's time to ban the spooky one.

I think Mega Gengar perfectly fits the bill of “unhealthy” and it has for a long time. I think we all understand why Shadow Tag is so good, but to exert as much pressure on a trapped field as it does is ridiculous. It has unreal power and a versatile 4th move slot - sub, taunt, hp ice, d gleam, even energy ball have all seen serious use. Gengar makes DOU not only harder to play, as you generally have to think farther ahead so you don’t get trapped in a poor position, but it makes it less fun to play as well - i think the margin of error in gar games (especially gar mirrors) is a lot smaller than in games that don’t involve it. Shadow Tag is okay on gothitelle because you have to use it to support the partner, which means ~twice as much positional based play on your end. Gothitelle doesn’t come on the field on a slow u turn on turn 6 to pick the thing that dies. My conclusion is that gengarite is unhealthy and bad for dou and I am happy it’s being tested.

Are you saying I haven't written enough for you yet
 

Checkmater

a pinned butterfly is no butterfly at all
#4
Note that this is continuing the discussion from here

I think the analysis of Gengar's strengths has mostly been kind've shallow. This isn't to say that I think posters so far don't know how to analyze metas, but rather that we haven't thoroughly investigated what makes Gengar so strong. If, for example, I give a litany of arguments such as "high SpA, largely unresisted coverage, Shadow Tag" I haven't brought up anything that Mega Gengar didn't have last generation, or even previously in SM. So, in the interest of deepening the conversation, here are my thoughts on why Gengar is so good:

First off, it's the best Fairy check and one of the only hard counters to Tapu Fini. Tapu Fini's meta impact should not be minimized: Tapu Fini + Zapdos is a popular core, Fini is the main reason no one plays Rain, Heatran sucks this generation because of Tapu Fini, and it crowds out other Water-Types. Additionally, it is arguably one of the mons giving Kartana its place in the meta: as a Fini killer and a strong attacker, it capitalizes on positioning against Fini. Gengar operates similarly, and its rise is largely as a response to the need to have tools to dent Tapu Fini's ability to just sit on the field for 8 turns and win the game (which is boring). However, Kartana, and to some degree even Victini demonstrate that there are other choices other than Gengar. Maybe Char-Y will make a resurgence... Will Tapu Fini + Zapdos be auto-include if Gengar is banned? Strong poison coverage is hard to come by and electric resists/immunities are pretty easy to find.

Gengar's trapping is :sogood: at the moment largely because of the bulky, drawn-out nature of mon's games. Gone are the pre-Skymin-ban days of 2v6'ing with mad predictions, or 1-turn momentum swings that decide the game. Instead, right now, the meta favors creating and maintaining slight leads (either in position or hp leads) that accumulate over time. The best analogy I can think of is poker: having more hp/mons means you have more options / paths and more flexibility on your way to victory, similarly to having more chips. Once you have more chips than your opponent it's easier to leverage that advantage, and your opponent has to play riskier / make more predictions in order to get back in the game. One indicator for this is the popularity of bulky pivots like Incineroar, and of Stealth Rock.

Practically speaking, Gengar is also pretty much the best mega right now. Sure, there are teambuilding differences when building with other megas, and other megas definitely have good teams, but Gengar is both versatile and hard to punish.

Speaking of, how does one punish Mega Gengar? I haven't built much SM, but one team I came up with is this one which Croven used to success in his seasonal run. Central to this team's ability to deal with Mega Gengar is only one gengar weakness - which can be switched or used to bluff scarf, and good matchups across the board against both Gengar and its common partners. Some underused meta threats which have good matchups into Gengar are Hoopa-U and Amoonguss, as well as Ttar/Mega-Ttar.

Overall, I do think Gengar has reached a point of maybe being ban-worthy (and from the looks of it it sounds like it'll be banned in this suspect), but I'd like more discussion on why it's so good right now. Are there other choices for dealing with the things Gengar checks so well?
 
#5
First of all, I'd like to thank the council for listening to the community and adapting their plans with such short notice. You can bet we all appreciate it.

Now, moving onto the actual discussion, I'd like to address a point MajorBowman brought up. Gengar speed ties, in my opinion, are not that linear. You have to keep in mind that switching your Gengar out in the mirror means that, not only are you giving up on trapping the opponent, you're also bringing in a Pokémon that is going to be trapped, which heavily reduces your momentum. The only way you can avoid this situation is by not using your Gengar until the opponent's Gengar is KO'd, meaning that your opponent will have far more options than you, since you won't be using your mega for most of the game and you'll be forced to use 5 Pokémon against 6.


Note that this is continuing the discussion from here

I think the analysis of Gengar's strengths has mostly been kind've shallow. This isn't to say that I think posters so far don't know how to analyze metas, but rather that we haven't thoroughly investigated what makes Gengar so strong. If, for example, I give a litany of arguments such as "high SpA, largely unresisted coverage, Shadow Tag" I haven't brought up anything that Mega Gengar didn't have last generation, or even previously in SM. So, in the interest of deepening the conversation, here are my thoughts on why Gengar is so good:

First off, it's the best Fairy check and one of the only hard counters to Tapu Fini. Tapu Fini's meta impact should not be minimized: Tapu Fini + Zapdos is a popular core, Fini is the main reason no one plays Rain, Heatran sucks this generation because of Tapu Fini, and it crowds out other Water-Types. Additionally, it is arguably one of the mons giving Kartana its place in the meta: as a Fini killer and a strong attacker, it capitalizes on positioning against Fini. Gengar operates similarly, and its rise is largely as a response to the need to have tools to dent Tapu Fini's ability to just sit on the field for 8 turns and win the game (which is boring). However, Kartana, and to some degree even Victini demonstrate that there are other choices other than Gengar. Maybe Char-Y will make a resurgence... Will Tapu Fini + Zapdos be auto-include if Gengar is banned? Strong poison coverage is hard to come by and electric resists/immunities are pretty easy to find.

Gengar's trapping is :sogood: at the moment largely because of the bulky, drawn-out nature of mon's games. Gone are the pre-Skymin-ban days of 2v6'ing with mad predictions, or 1-turn momentum swings that decide the game. Instead, right now, the meta favors creating and maintaining slight leads (either in position or hp leads) that accumulate over time. The best analogy I can think of is poker: having more hp/mons means you have more options / paths and more flexibility on your way to victory, similarly to having more chips. Once you have more chips than your opponent it's easier to leverage that advantage, and your opponent has to play riskier / make more predictions in order to get back in the game. One indicator for this is the popularity of bulky pivots like Incineroar, and of Stealth Rock.

Practically speaking, Gengar is also pretty much the best mega right now. Sure, there are teambuilding differences when building with other megas, and other megas definitely have good teams, but Gengar is both versatile and hard to punish.

Speaking of, how does one punish Mega Gengar? I haven't built much SM, but one team I came up with is this one which Croven used to success in his seasonal run. Central to this team's ability to deal with Mega Gengar is only one gengar weakness - which can be switched or used to bluff scarf, and good matchups across the board against both Gengar and its common partners. Some underused meta threats which have good matchups into Gengar are Hoopa-U and Amoonguss, as well as Ttar/Mega-Ttar.

Overall, I do think Gengar has reached a point of maybe being ban-worthy (and from the looks of it it sounds like it'll be banned in this suspect), but I'd like more discussion on why it's so good right now. Are there other choices for dealing with the things Gengar checks so well?
I'm gonna have to disagree with your first point right there. Intimidate Incineroar's introduction has been one of the main reasons why Gengar is so broken and we've brought that up multiple times. We've also been mentioning its interactions with gen 7 specific Pokémon but, obviously, the more we do, the better.

While I have to agree with Gengar benefiting greatly from its ability to check Fini and with Fini being a key member of the metagame right now, lets not forget it very often runs Calm Mind and Gengar does not resist water, so it does not "hard counter" Fini at all. It's a solid check, yes, but it's no Kartana when it comes to countering Fini. I think you're definitely oversimplifying this interaction and how relevant it is for Gengar's usage. If you wanna look at what changed from gen 6, look at how prevalent fairies are compared to then. It's not necessarily just Gengar's poison STAB being extremely good vs them, but also how dificult it became to use any hard hitting dark types to check Gengar. Now those are interactions with far greater impact than simply "Gengar hitting Fini for a lot of damage!".

As for the Zapdos+Fini combo, I've said this multiple times over the last few months. Most Gengar teams struggle against Roost Zapdos, since their mega can't 2HKO it, Incineroar doesn't really do much to it, Bulu and Fini get checked by it, their lando's usually don't have rock moves besides SR and the most common steel types in Genesect and Kartana get OHKO'd by Heat Wave. This means that they often rely on a single Pokémon like Kyurem-B or Zygarde to check Zapdos, so the whole game comes down to this interaction. Zapdos also gives its team speed control, a trait most Gengar teams rely on Kartana for, a Pokémon that gets OHKO'd by Zapdos. The biggest issue here is Sludge Bomb poisons, which change the course of the game completely. Obviously, players can capitalize on the fact that Roost Zapdos doesn't run Protect to Fake it out and get an extra hit on it for free, so there are other ways around it, but my point is that Zapdos has a big role on this Gengar metagame and it will not become stronger if Gengar is banned.

Answering your question on how we punish Gengar, I have to say we don't. That's the whole point of this suspect. While this is an obvious exaggeration, it is really problematic to find proper checks to Gengar + Incineroar + Genesect/Kartana. The example you gave is just plain Hyper Offense whose only Flare Blitz switch in is a Pokémon without Protect and a 4x weakness to ground. The only thing that team punishes is the state of your teambuilder.
Jokes aside, I don't think it's that linear. People have attempted to run Pursuit Ttar and it didn't solve anything.

Finally, I'd like to say I'm enjoying this attitude of discussion. Lets keep going, friends.
 

miltankmilk

**hypnotic recorder plays in background**
is a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Tiering Contributor
#6
First of all, I'd like to thank the council for listening to the community and adapting their plans with such short notice. You can bet we all appreciate it.

Now, moving onto the actual discussion, I'd like to address a point MajorBowman brought up. Gengar speed ties, in my opinion, are not that linear. You have to keep in mind that switching your Gengar out in the mirror means that, not only are you giving up on trapping the opponent, you're also bringing in a Pokémon that is going to be trapped, which heavily reduces your momentum. The only way you can avoid this situation is by not using your Gengar until the opponent's Gengar is KO'd, meaning that your opponent will have far more options than you, since you won't be using your mega for most of the game and you'll be forced to use 5 Pokémon against 6.
I think Edu brings up a really good point about gengar mirrors. The problem with these interactions isn’t that you flip a coin in winning the speed tie, thats a problem with every speed tie; instead, its how refusing to engage in the speed tie can handcuff you the next several turns. When you switch out of the speed tie you are giving up your trap and opting in to being trapped yourself. Both sides enter into a lose-lose situation when gengars hit the field together. The speed tie isn’t the problem really, its the result of how awful a position opposing gengar puts players in even in a situation where they actually can switch out.
 
#7
There are two key elements that contribute to my support of the Gengar ban.
First, Gengar is the best mon in the tier.
Second, Gengar speed ties and ohko's itself, and the tie is effectively forced.

An overview on how Gengar works as a pokemon should come first, as, as checkmater pointed out, few people have explained why Gengar is good now, when it wasn't before. Gengar is only good in a meta where nothing can deal damage to it. This is the key distinction between this meta and previous metas, and i'll point to other examples to illustrate this point.

In VGC '15 and ORAS DOU, Gengar was a pretty mediocre Pokemon. the main reason for this was that, although Gengar has a high special attack stat and decent offensive typing, there were just too many Pokemon that didn't really mind getting trapped by Gengar. Heatran, Cresselia, Scarf Landorus, Thundurus, Amoonguss, Talonflame, etc. can all pressure Gengar effectively. These Pokemon also happened to be extremely high in usage in '15 and ORAS DOU. In a meta where every Pokemon is a threat and Gengar doesn't have a chance to effectively trap and support its team, Gengar can't do much. Gengar is unable to pressure any of these Pokemon with a KO, and all of them deal a bunch of damage back to it.

VGC '16, however, saw the rise of Gengar to prominence, securing 3 of the top 4 placements at Worlds. Why was Gengar good in '16, when it hadn't been good in '15? The reason was that, with the use of pokemon like Kyogre, Gengar could beat the only Pokemon in the format that could deal damage to it, Groudon. Gengar was able to pressure Groudon w/ the rest of its team, and then Kangaskhan, Smeargle, Cress w/o Psychic, Bronzong, Xerneas, Kyogre trapped in the sun, etc. couldn't deal with it. Gengar could then use its solid special attack stat to deal good damage w/ Sludge Bomb and control the board for its partners, which could also now deal more damage safely.

The key to Gengar is twofold: 1) Don't let it take damage and 2) have a way to blow up things.

The current meta allows Gengar players to fulfill those two maxims. First, Gen 7 introduced Z moves, allowing Gengar users to burst OHKO threats, like bulky waters and Landorus w/ Kartana's Z-Leaf Blade, Incineroar with Fightinium Z Pheromosa, as EmbC showed us recently, or every Pokemon with Landorus's Z-Earthquake. Second, Gen 7 (eventually) introduced Incineroar, which offers a bunch of buffs to Gengar.

First, Incineroar offers role compression that Gengar sorely needed. It gives: damage reduction, a way to remove berries, Fake Out for extra control, fire typing to hit Steels, U-turn to help abuse the trap as much as possible, and a safe switch out for Gengar.

Second, Incineroar is also very tough for offensive teams to break, shifting the meta towards a bulkier offense, which is easier for Gengar to take advantage of (and even if Gengar isn't great in a matchup, Incineroar can put in enough work to cover for it). The FWG core of USUM DOU of Incin, Fini, Kartana/Amoonguss is very weak to Gengar, even as they are strong in most matchups. Gengar can hit Incin for a very solid ~40% (with a 30% poison chance) and can avoid the OHKO from any of Incineroar's moves. It can also just switch in its own Incineroar either on the Gengar slot, or next to it to set up a Fake Out and reduce the opposing Incin's damage. Gengar does 90% to Fini at neutral, so if Fini gets chipped, it can get trapped and KO'd easily. Kartana doesn't carry moves that do damage to Gengar and has to run at least 176 spdef investment to take a Shadow Ball from Gengar.

So Incineroar singlehandedly creates the 2 conditions that are necessary for Gengar to have success, in addition to Fairy types being quite common, which gives Gengar things to do on its own. However, this doesn't explain why Gengar is bannable, it merely explains why it was good.

If this was the only problem with Gengar, I'm not sure I'd be willing to ban it. Gengar is good, but it's possible to play around it by getting Calm Minds up with your Fini, setting up Tailwind for your Zygarde, positioning Scarf Lele/Landorus well, using Incin well, etc. However, the biggest problem, in my opinion, is that Gengar being so good makes its speed tie with itself an unhealthy force in the metagame.

On speed ties: most pokemon don't beat themselves. Pokemon that invest in speed tend to do so for other mons in the metagame, and the speed tie is just an added bonus. With Gengar, however, i invest to max speed timid exclusively for the speed tie, because of how important i've found it is in the Gengar mirrors. Contra Bowman, and in line with EmbC's experience, I've found that the Gengar speed tie is often an unavoidable part of Gengar mirrors. This is for a couple reasons.

First, someone who is slightly down in position might feel that they have to go for it to win. This means that players who are down play more riskily and try to force the position to a ~50/50 to win as opposed to a far higher chance to lose. For reference in games, check my post here, and the replays linked. In my game against Emforbes, I was slightly behind and had to go for the tie to win. In my game against Bowman, I was significantly ahead and he had to go for the tie to win.

This wouldn't be a problem exactly, if not going for the tie wasn't so punishing, which is the reason the tie is unavoidable. For, say, M-mence speed ties where both have Draco Meteor, there are often easy switches (steels, fairy types) and you can burn the special attack and recover positioning easily. With Gengar speed ties, not going for them also risks losing the game, by dint of losing positioning so hard that you would have had better odds to win the game by going for the tie. Consider the game I linked vs bowman in my earlier post. I *could* have switched out my Gengar to Incineroar rather than going for the tie, but in so doing, I get extra damage on the Incineroar and barely improve my position; indeed, Bowman could probably force the exact same 50/50, or get better odds to win. In my game vs Emilio, he had no choice, cause none of his remaining switch ins resisted Ghost. Even more critically, if you choose not to go for the tie, your switch in will get chunked and trapped. Most of the answers to Gengar work as answers to it because of its status as a glass cannon; Landorus and Zygarde beat it because Gengar can't OHKO, and they can KO back. However, that math changes significantly when they take damage on the switch in. Incineroar also doesn't work cause it doesn't OHKO back, or might be next to your Gengar.

So Gengar is forced to run max speed to ohko itself, which is a situation that comes up in most high level Gengar mirrors, and winning the tie can be a massive momentum swing. This turns high level Gengar mirror matches, in many ways, into a 50/50, unless one person is blowing the other one out (my match vs Emforbes was a 50/50 because the positions were even up to the speed tie point, my match vs Bowman I was still able to win since I had amassed a decent lead already).

Gengar is a good Pokemon, that needs specific meta conditions to make it valuable; its tools rely on the meta being a specific pace, and not being able to deal damage to Gengar. That's the current meta, so Gengar is very good. I don't think I've used a team with a positive Gengar matchup in my 10 games of Snake, my entire DLT run, and my DLT top 16 match, or seen a team that was positive vs Gengar while maintaining its overall ability to respond to the rest of the metagame. The real bannable offense that Gengar commits though, is turning high level mirrors into cancer with the speed tie being so critical to the outcome of games. In Gengar mirrors in DOU currently, skill is not the true factor in who wins (although massive outplay can overcome the speed tie).
 
Last edited:
#8
Hello,
Idk how to take it out of my name, but I'm LightCore and I'm very obviously a VGC player. A friend of mine gave me a team, told me to click leads, and to play 40 games today.

I played some good players like Gramgus, Tman (4x), n10siT, Miltankmilk and HeatEdge, and that's all fine and dandy. I got 40 games, finished 33-7 (with some embarrassing loses due to me not fully understanding what I'm doing).

Let me start out by saying that out of my entire 40 games, I played a single Mega Gengar. That was also my last game of the day against Miltankmilk. I had already qualified at 39 games and just needed a 40th so I didn't take it too seriously.

What's actually insane to me is, that despite having never played the format before today, and not understanding anything of how this format is meant to be played (the intricacies that make it very different from VGC), is that I was able to qualify and have a say on what will happen on the metagame. While I'm not saying this should be impossible to happen in the future and for other users, I'm saying this was incredibly easy to do. 40 Games with an 80% GXE seems fine on a ladder like Ubers for the Gothitelle/Gothorita suspect test. The ladder is just naturally more competitive and has many more players on it. Not to mention that based on how many turn 1-5 forfeits I would get. Now I don't want to say that these games arn't competitive, I had some very great games today that were a lot of fun. If I were able to edit the qualifications for, in my opinion I would make it be 60-70 games required for the suspect. This weeds out people like me who most likely wouldn't have bothered playing past the first day and are not too experienced in the format.

Whether Gengar is actually unhealthy or not, I have no idea. Like I said, I played a single one. From the players I've talked to, its mainly the Gengar vs Gengar mirrors that make it so horribly unhealthy. I also understand that this is more of a problem in tournament matches as opposed to ladder games. I have been told to ban by almost all of my friends who actually play this tier, and I'm inclined to listen to them based on them having way more experience than myself. I'll probably play some more games, maybe use a Gengar of my own this time to get a feeling of how it actually functions in this format.

I hope what I said makes sense, and I hope you all can understand what I was trying to get at. I also understand that Jake and others have thought about how to go about suspect tests better in the future, so maybe all I have said it moot. Thank you for reading. This was a fun experience for me, qualifying for my first suspect test
 

GenOne

DOU ladder guy
is a Tiering Contributoris a Site Staff Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus
#9
Hello,
Idk how to take it out of my name, but I'm LightCore and I'm very obviously a VGC player. A friend of mine gave me a team, told me to click leads, and to play 40 games today.

I played some good players like Gramgus, Tman (4x), n10siT, Miltankmilk and HeatEdge, and that's all fine and dandy. I got 40 games, finished 33-7 (with some embarrassing loses due to me not fully understanding what I'm doing).

Let me start out by saying that out of my entire 40 games, I played a single Mega Gengar. That was also my last game of the day against Miltankmilk. I had already qualified at 39 games and just needed a 40th so I didn't take it too seriously.

What's actually insane to me is, that despite having never played the format before today, and not understanding anything of how this format is meant to be played (the intricacies that make it very different from VGC), is that I was able to qualify and have a say on what will happen on the metagame. While I'm not saying this should be impossible to happen in the future and for other users, I'm saying this was incredibly easy to do. 40 Games with an 80% GXE seems fine on a ladder like Ubers for the Gothitelle/Gothorita suspect test. The ladder is just naturally more competitive and has many more players on it. Not to mention that based on how many turn 1-5 forfeits I would get. Now I don't want to say that these games arn't competitive, I had some very great games today that were a lot of fun. If I were able to edit the qualifications for, in my opinion I would make it be 60-70 games required for the suspect. This weeds out people like me who most likely wouldn't have bothered playing past the first day and are not too experienced in the format.

Whether Gengar is actually unhealthy or not, I have no idea. Like I said, I played a single one. From the players I've talked to, its mainly the Gengar vs Gengar mirrors that make it so horribly unhealthy. I also understand that this is more of a problem in tournament matches as opposed to ladder games. I have been told to ban by almost all of my friends who actually play this tier, and I'm inclined to listen to them based on them having way more experience than myself. I'll probably play some more games, maybe use a Gengar of my own this time to get a feeling of how it actually functions in this format.

I hope what I said makes sense, and I hope you all can understand what I was trying to get at. I also understand that Jake and others have thought about how to go about suspect tests better in the future, so maybe all I have said it moot. Thank you for reading. This was a fun experience for me, qualifying for my first suspect test
This is indirectly the point I try to make every time I make reqs with monofire btw
 
#10
Gengar didnt become op tell incineroar came out.

I said it before and ill say it again, its incineroar that needs a suspect test.

Its almost impossible to kill, it has fake out, intimidate, can uturn. its complete bullshit. There are no fighting pokemon in the meta, no rain teams, rock mons get intimidated and cant one shot it and if they can hit it, it just recovers with its berry and lets the fini that is 90% out on the field with it take out the rock and the rare fighting mon.

All these problems started when it came out, no clue why you guys refuse to even look into it or acknowledge it.

banning gengar for being the symptom, when incineroar is the god dam cause.

bet money with out incineroar coming out this suspect for gengar is not even happening right now.
 

GenOne

DOU ladder guy
is a Tiering Contributoris a Site Staff Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus
#11
Gengar didnt become op tell incineroar came out.

I said it before and ill say it again, its incineroar that needs a suspect test.

Its almost impossible to kill, it has fake out, intimidate, can uturn. its complete bullshit. There are no fighting pokemon in the meta, no rain teams, rock mons get intimidated and cant one shot it and if they can hit it, it just recovers with its berry and lets the fini that is 90% out on the field with it take out the rock and the rare fighting mon.

All these problems started when it came out, no clue why you guys refuse to even look into it or acknowledge it.

banning gengar for being the symptom, when incineroar is the god dam cause.

bet money with out incineroar coming out this suspect for gengar is not even happening right now.
You're right to say Incineroar made Gengar better. EmbCPT and Ezrael's posts both talked about this quite eloquently.

That doesn't mean Incineroar is broken though. Incineroar is far less annoying when it doesn't have a Gengar beside it to trap your -1 Atk mons and prevent you from cycling in your own Intimidate user to mitigate Incineroar's offensive pressure.

Gengar is still what breaks the meta rn, because of the fast speed Tier, near-unresisted offensive coverage, the awful Gengar mirror 50/50s, and the uninteractive strategies/tactics it enables. Banning a good Pokemon to make a broken Pokemon less broken doesn't make much sense imho
 
#12
You're right to say Incineroar made Gengar better. EmbCPT and Ezrael's posts both talked about this quite eloquently.

That doesn't mean Incineroar is broken though. Incineroar is far less annoying when it doesn't have a Gengar beside it to trap your -1 Atk mons and prevent you from cycling in your own Intimidate user to mitigate Incineroar's offensive pressure.

Gengar is still what breaks the meta rn, because of the fast speed Tier, near-unresisted offensive coverage, the awful Gengar mirror 50/50s, and the uninteractive strategies/tactics it enables. Banning a good Pokemon to make a broken Pokemon less broken doesn't make much sense imho
i'm saying ban both of them. Game was perfect right after snorlax got banned.
 

MajorBowman

marketwoman of the serengeti
is a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Super Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributor
Doubles Colonel
#15
Can we move on quickly to marshadow now? the meta does not need to "settle" we already know where its going.

Back to rain teams and bulky fini zap incin cores. Does not take a scientist to figure this shit out. The ladder for the most part did not even use gengar, seen him less than twice during suspect.

Already faced a endless amount of rain teams today.

What is the projected date for the marshadow suspect?
 

MajorBowman

marketwoman of the serengeti
is a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Super Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributor
Doubles Colonel
#17
not so fast. Zekrom is widely considered to be worthy of a suspect next
Mention Zekrom again and you will get infracted. Zekrom will never be tested in DOU.
Can we move on quickly to marshadow now? the meta does not need to "settle" we already know where its going.

Back to rain teams and bulky fini zap incin cores. Does not take a scientist to figure this shit out. The ladder for the most part did not even use gengar, seen him less than twice during suspect.

Already faced a endless amount of rain teams today.

What is the projected date for the marshadow suspect?
Losing Mega Gengar is such a huge change for the metagame that we absolutely do need to wait for the meta to adjust before we think about reintroducing something.

Both rain and "bulky fini zap incin cores" were usable and good while Gengar was in the tier, and could even be used in conjunction with Gengar. Usage on the ladder has never really reflected usage during tournaments, and we have some time before the next big SM DOU tournament (the invitational next month). It's also been a grand total of 6 hours since the ban was announced, so you can't draw any conclusions from the ladder in such a short amount of time. SM DOU has never existed without Gengarite, and Gengar was the most common and arguably best mega over the past few major tournaments. Its sudden departure is cause for a short pause in action with respect to further adjusting the tier.

Our goal is to take another look at the metagame before SPL begins in January to see if anything else needs to be done. Until then, I'm looking forward to seeing what a Gengarite-less metagame looks like.
 

MajorBowman

marketwoman of the serengeti
is a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Super Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributor
Doubles Colonel
#19
Bringing back COIL isn't something that's under our control, but we are definitely aware that the voting requirements for this test were on the easier end. We'll be evaluating the requirements before the next test, but if anyone has any suggestions feel free to let us know!

I also wanted to say that I was very impressed with the quality of posts in both this thread and the back end of the last np thread. Discussion of that caliber is what keeps the tier moving forward, so keep it up!
 
#20
I've long been suggesting that using circuit tour points is a better way to determine eligibility for suspect voting. I think this idea should be reconsidered.

Will update this post later into greater detail
 

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