OU On the Baton Pass issue

Zokuru

The Stall Lord
is a Tiering Contributor
Hi,

I'm no council member nor someone who thinks Baton Pass should be changed BUT this has been a very hot topic for a long time and the discussions over Discord became pretty unhealthy, wouldnt it be better for everyone to make long posts here to debate with facts and logic ? I don't really care about nerfing BP teams or not, what I want is discussions about this to end because other topics are more important for tournament play and we shouldn't pay too much attention in banning specific cheese as a community, if we want to get rid of cheese we should think about tournament formats more than banning ONE cheese and wait for a new one some month later. Also it's 100% impossible to get rid of cheese, or even to limit it to a winrate below what it's already at.

Here are some arguments from both camps, and I'll let you guys sort the issue out :

Proban :

- Baton Pass teams are an issue for ladder players because they can't enjoy the ladder when their opponent is playing a team that is made to minimize the amount of interaction with the other player, is heavily reliant on matchup and contains very few lines of play.
- The surprise factor of some of certain Baton Pass teams makes you unable to get the read on what you are playing until it's too late, which make you play suboptimally
- Taunt + Baton Pass makes the strategy too consistant and you need a specific lead to beat that.

Anti-ban :

- Taking action wouldnt solve the big picture issue, some say BP will find other ways around most of the decisions, that complex bans aren't a good thing and that it could hurt the " standard " use of Baton Pass if we act without a complex ban.
- Bans shouldn't occur over stuff that are only used on ladder, because a team would be used in tournament if it was serious whatsoever, therefore Baton Pass teams are just like this guy using trash stuff on the ladder to have fun, and that shouldn't be banned.
- Offensive play as well as simple and common countermeasure are enough to prevent those kind of teams to be effective and you shouldn't lose to it too often if you play correctly , Zapdos not having an attacking move gives a lot of room to play around those teams for example.

I think that's basically the crux of the issue there, if you have more arguments please post them, if you think I stated wrong argument feel free to post about that too, if you want actions to be taken please explain what should be done and explain why precisely and argue with facts and examples that show how your reasoning works ( please refrain from saying " They did it in X tier so we should mirror it " ).

Have a nice and heathy discussion, hopefully I didnt write that for nothing and you will use it, I'm tired of seeing the debate devolve on Discord.
 
Just barely missed pming you my thoughts on the matter, so I suppose I'll write something a bit longer. My preferred change to the tier would be a ban on anything that boosts speed + baton pass, although I know that's unpopular. This would really solve any unhealthy issue with bp and we wouldn't have to revisit this topic ever again and I'm sure everyone would like to not talk about this, so it's at least worth considering.

As for why I think baton pass should be nerfed in general, Mead's baton pass team is tremendously effective and beating it generally comes down to both having something that is teched to beat it and getting several 50/50s right. My experience with it on ladder is that it is more difficult to beat than the old baton pass team (also most commonly used by Mead) that was around before Mr. Mime was banned. The ladder peak supports this too, while Mime pass got to around 1720 on the ladder Mead got to 1800 with his new version, which is notably the 2nd-highest ELO that's ever been achieved on the ADV ladder, after the GOAT Linear. Baton pass pre-nerf was less effective than it is now, which to me seems like evidence that, taking for granted baton pass was too strong before the nerf, something should be done about it. BP was already nerfed for CI5, but if the change is not official it seems like only a matter of time before it's SPL and Hclat wins a game with Meadpass and this whole thing gets taken care of in 48 hours and personally I'd rather not wait that long.

Just to elaborate on a pro-ban point zokuru put in,
Zokuru said:
- The surprise factor of some of certain Baton Pass teams makes you unable to get the read on what you are playing until it's too late, which make you play suboptimally
This is one reason why this current bp chain is stronger than the last one. Zapdos is an incredibly common lead in ADV, and for many opposing leads the optimal move to click against Meadpass is pretty much suicidal against standard zap lead. With lead skarmory, for example, switching out or protecting to scout a drypass or double switch means you give this zap a free substitute and may lose the game on the spot, and the only thing the skarm user can click to prevent the chain from starting is roar. This is obviously a nonsensical thing to do against standard lead zapdos, which will tbolt and kill you. The same thing goes for Suicune or anything else that would want to switch out of Zapdos at lead.

Also, something that gets discussion and is worth mentioning here is assist pass. Personally I don't think it's consistent enough to work, and having played against it a few times I don't think that I've lost to it, but some people swear by it.
 
Ok so, in order to not see the thread die after this wonderful one liner, that apparently doesn't even make sense for a lot of people, I'm goind to give my opinion on the matter and the OP, as a random adv enthusiast.



Baton Pass teams are an issue for ladder players because they can't enjoy the ladder when their opponent is playing a team that is made to minimize the amount of interaction with the other player, is heavily reliant on matchup and contains very few lines of play.
First of all, I think this minimize a bit what's perceived as the issue that largely fits the unhealthy criterias with the "they can't enjoy" part. Now, I might be off on that, but the oldest recording of the current mead pass I could found is roughly 2 month old. And I wanna say that 2 month old isn't that much. What I'm trying to say is that by taking some action right now, it would just be one more artificial patch.

To be clearer, what I'm advocating for is to at least delay any action, and by that I do not mean "yeah, we should take more time to decide what's the correct ban", but "2 month is rather short, let's see if with a bit more time it is possible to adapt to this.". I have no clue if this is an unpopular opinion or not but hey it's out now.
PS: Not to mention, we are blessed with a really active community.

Taking action wouldnt solve the big picture issue, some say BP will find other ways around most of the decisions, that complex bans aren't a good thing and that it could hurt the " standard " use of Baton Pass if we act without a complex ban.
Now on that aspect (warning, possibly another bad take from me?), I think if we do end up taking action, it should be an action that doesn't let space for potential need of other artificial patch. And that may just be me but I think artificial patch are more of an issue than hurting accepted uses of the move. Thus if any action are taken now, I think a Dry-Pass only should be the minimum.

To finish there are three things I want to clarify:
1) The reason I don't like what I've called "artificial patch" through out this post is because, in my mind, they put discontinuity in the metagame, and I believe it's important to have continuity to have real evolution (I know the tier but things always are able to evolve) (not sure my point is clear but w/e)
2) This post does not really follow the "fact and reasoning" zokuru asked for, but I still thought it could be worth mentioning

3) I don't claim my opinion is worth any thing, I might be underestimating the reflexion people put into ingame/builder adaptation to the issue, and I don't claim either I've seen enough to know for fact that my issue with artificial ban is not just some theory my twisted brain made up.
 
Some say speed pass should be banned other say that taunt + BP would be sufficient as the likes of taunt Hypno are vital to meadpass to insure other mons like celebi and Jirachi cannot attempt to set up calm Minds in an attempt to beat these passers outright. A taunt + BP ban would mean Hypno would basically be worthless, this would also effect BP + Taunt Umbreon as well. (As well as more fringe pokemon such as Mawile and Dodrio which ussually runs attacking sets on Mag Offense)

Some want speed pass banned which is are more impactful because Zapdos often agility to mons such as Metagross and Marrowak (sometimes even more neiche mons like the bear ) but in a meadpass line up Zapdos leads often run enough bulk to survive hits from the likes of Tyranitar and Jynx so an agility pass is as successful as possible. A speed pass ban would also impact Salacc pass users and would mean Ninjask is basically banned from OU.

Now Zapdos lead itself is one of the most difficult to deal with in the early game because you are not aware what it's going to do turn one. On ladder you must respect Zapdos lead and what it is capable of. Giving zapdos free turns on a baton pass chain can potentially be disastrous and you by default cannot take risks like leave Skarmory in to phase it out turn 1 because if it's a zapdos that tbolts you then you loose out on alot of momentum plus potentially even spikes.

I belive these are factors that are important to look at when discussing the so called meadpass. Currently I do not think there is enough evidence ( replays, showings in tournaments, ect) to warrant any ban of any kind. If we are going off of what Zokuru said earlier the cons outweigh the pros at this time. Meaning that the best thing we could do is wait and see. I am aware this might be an opinion that may not be very popular, the idea that we as a community should wait and do more research into this until enough evidence can be compiled to showcase if Meadpass brings undesirable/ uncompetitive aspects to our metagame. Feel free to rip this apart if you want, I am open to constructive criticism and insight from other players.
 
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I used to play ADV OU quite a bit but I was by no means the best ladder player so take what I say with a grain of salt. As of right now, I am leaning towards a ban on Baton Pass. The final two arguments in Zokuru's pro-ban section are enough for me as someone who's played full Baton Pass teams to agree with banning. I'm aware that this may sound bias but Baton Pass teams are obnoxious to deal with. I think a full outright ban of Baton Pass would shake the ADV OU metagame which I am a bit hesitant on agreeing with. Restricting it to Dry Passing seems really out of character for Smogon and the Old gens community as a whole. At this time I'm unsure of what the best course of action is but I believe restricting Baton Pass in some way shape or form to be the right one.

Bans shouldn't occur over stuff that are only used on ladder, because a team would be used in tournament if it was serious whatsoever, therefore Baton Pass teams are just like this guy using trash stuff on the ladder to have fun, and that shouldn't be banned.
Do tournament users simply choose not to use Baton Pass teams because they'd rather use standard and more fun teams? Obviously, tour players want to win games so why do we not see more Baton Pass teams? I find this argument to be one of the only ones with significant value for anti-ban and I'm looking forward to hearing what others such as BKC, Vapicuno, and other prominent ADV OU players think regarding the proposal.
 
Hey-o, I wanted to touch on what I really don't want to see banned and explain why.

Speed Pass:
This would definitely help dealing with baton pass teams. Meadpass obviously leads and starts the chain with agility sub pass Zapdos, and removing the ability to outspeed basically everything would allow for things like most roar users and taunt users to cripple the team. Technically the actualy sweeper can still boost speed, however agility is both uncommon on bp recipients and requires a moveslot that could use coverage or other useful moves. And actually boosting up and passing to the recipient becomes far harder ofc. I'm really opposed to this ban because while it does cripple baton pass teams while still keeping the actual move intact, it still has a rather large casuality in the form of agilipass Zapdos (exactly the mon it tries to hit on meadpass). I use this mon a lot and it has great synergy with slow attackers such as Metagross, Breloom, off Suicune, Marowak, even fast pokes like Jirachi and Celebi appreciate the protection from Aerodactyl and Dugtrio. This isn't a broken combo, a lot of common defensive staples like Swampert still check Metagross and Marowak and it's easily interuptred by phazing on either the agility or baton pass turn. Offensive teams can use their own set up and strike back as well, there's plenty of counterplay to this mon but it's still a nice part of the meta. I would really hate to lose it due to a ban targeted at cheese teams.

Baton Pass Itself:
Absolutely not. This would be a huge metagame shakeup akin to the sleep mechanics discovery. Lead Zapdos (an incredibly common, top 2 lead) heavily relies on this move that gives it a large degree of safety against double switches and predictions. Without BP lead Zapdos is far worse, and even back Zapdos lose a big momentum tool. CM pass and SD pass Celebi are both legitimate teamstyles that have a large amount of tour and ladder success, both of them are completely removed with this ban (not to say those teams 100% rely on getting a pass off, but it is what the team is built around). More minor impacts include Vaporeon losing sub pass and wish pass as options, both of which are very popular. Fighting types and other frail offensive mons become worse without baton passers to get them in safely. This is a very bad idea in my opinion and should be treated as a last resort if literally nothing else works, if not disregarded entirely.

Limit Teams to 2 BP Mons:

I don't mind this as much since the collateral isn't as big as the other two, but it's still unnecessary imo. Special offense with a structure like Zap/Cele/Vap is very much viable, even if the Zapdos only dry passes and the Vaporeon only passes subs. The ban also may not even work, it's likely to work, but who knows if a team with some combination of two pokes pops up again in 8 months that cheeses for wins just like what we have now? I'm sure nobody thought Hypno would be the star of the next big baton pass team.


As of rn my preferred choice is to just ban Hypno. It sees literally no serious use outside of baton pass cheese and falls under much the same justification as banning Mime did. If Hypno must be preserved for some reason then I suggest we wait it out and see how the metagame adapts, we still have 4 months before SPL and I'd rather wait than make an overreaching ban too early.
 
Before addressing the issues of collateral, I want to just say that Baton Pass is a broken move. We have over a decade of evidence from multiple generations and tiers that the mechanic of passing boosts and other conditions to other Pokemon can be easily abused in flagrantly broken combinations by otherwise mediocre or bad Pokemon. I last seriously played during ORAS, and as a ladder player, BP ruined the tier before it finally got banned -- after a few predictably unsuccessful attempts to preserve the move's "legitimate" uses.

We have seen a similar pattern with trapping, which is another broken mechanic. We don't ban Pursuit because, while trapping is broken by bypassing or limiting switching, the fundamental skill of the competitive game, Pursuit's application is so limited that it's almost baked in with the type chart. Magnet Pull is similar. Arena Trap? Depends on how good Dugtrio is in a given metagame. Shadow Tag? It's clearly intrinsically broken. We know this because otherwise terrible Pokemon have been made broken simply by having Shadow Tag.

BP is like the inverse of trapping -- instead of removing switching, it supercharges it, bending the 4-moveslot limitation and enabling otherwise impossible combinations, many of which have proven to be broken in many different metagames. As far as this "supercharged switching" mechanic is concerned, BP is more analogous to Shadow Tag than to Pursuit. Ignoring all the nuances and difficulties of tiering policy for just a moment, it is absurd that Mr. Mime is in the Uber tier. Mr. Mime is not broken; Mr. Mime is an abuser of a broken move/mechanic. The above poster suggested banning Hypno as well. How far is ADV tiering willing to go to protect lead BP Zapdos? How many broken abusers is too many? How complex of a BP restriction/ban is too complex? Why are we not just banning Baton Pass itself?

I respect that old gen metagames are resistant to tiering shakeups. I wasn't around for the Sleep Talk mechanic thing, but those types of situations seem best avoided if possible. I respect that people want to preserve SD pass Celebi or drypass Zapdos or other entrenched aspects of the metagame. I used to play ADV on Netbattle when Substitute blocked Rapid Spin. I get it. And I'm certainly not a good enough player or an active enough member of this community to tell any of y'all not to prioritize that.

But Baton Pass is broken. As we keep seeing again, and again, and again. If preserving those aspects of the metagame is worth a seemingly endless cat-and-mouse game with BP that makes the ladder unplayable, then I genuinely do respect that. But have no delusions that you're preserving an obviously, flagrantly broken mechanic to do so. Every ban has collateral, and it's not always irrelevant like Mr. Mime or Cacturne. We lost 4 attacks Deoxys-S in DP when the support sets ran amok and got it banned. And just as banning BP has collateral, so does keeping it. Many months ago I wanted to get back into ADV OU for the first time since, well, Netbattle. And after a long period of learning not to suck, it became unplayable once I hit the BP part of the ladder. It wasn't fun and I just wanted to play casually, so I quit. I don't even know what the current issue with BP is (and if you want to discount my post on those grounds, I suppose I don't really blame you), but I do know that if the above poster is suggesting a ban of Hypno, and this suggestion is seemingly pretty reasonable & consistent with the current approach to BP, then maybe that approach should reconsider the compromises it's making to preserve "legitimate" BP in the metagame. I respect that these choices are difficult and everything has trade-offs, but isn't the fundamental purpose of tiering to remove broken game elements?
 

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