OU Has Learned Nothing From Gen 7

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Yung Dramps

awesome gaming
Last September, right at the tail-end of Gen 7 OU’s lifespan, the one and only aim made a post in this very forum that gained quite a lot of traction. Entitled State of Sun & Moon OU, it was a response to the absurd amount of frustration that existed at the time towards the meta. Among the cited and most popular grievances was a decidedly passive approach to tiering with way, way, way less suspect tests than there should have been ultimately creating a situation where there were just too many threats to test and not enough time to do so.

Fast-forward to today. Here we are, one month out from a DLC pack that’ll introduce around 100 new mons that’ll surely flip the meta on its head. In the lead-up to this our current meta is possibly even more disliked than the late stages of USUM OU with extreme centralization around threats like Clefable and Dracovish. And yet, because of how little time is left until Isle of Armor with no delay in sight, Covid-induced or otherwise, we can’t suspect these or anything else that may potentially arise as broken. Sound familiar?

Now, I wanna make something crystal clear before I go any further. This is not a personal attack against the members of the OU council. I by default assume someone is a good person unless I am directly shown evidence to the contrary. In this case I have that same attitude with these guys, I’m sure they’re cool people who are fun to interact with. I also understand how TLs all across Smogon are struggling to deal with the shake-ups in policy this new DLC model is causing and very likely will continue to cause.

But with that said, I’m sorry, but there have been some absolutely terrible decisions, even independent of anything involving the DLCs. Like let’s be real: Unbanning Shadow Tag and Arena Trap at the start of the gen was a complete farce that pretty much everybody objected against from Day 1. And while Tag was rebanned pretty quickly, Arena Trap took literal months to get a suspect test up and running when everybody knew and was yelling about how it was broken and stupid. And while it isn’t directly related to the decisions themselves, what about those consistently horrendous On the Radar threads, eh? They usually start out fine, people make their points for and against banning something or deciding between quickban and suspect, but then they’re allowed to stay up and run long past the point where everyone has said their part and before you know it they come down to arguments over the semantics of a decision with absolutely nothing new being brought to the table, and only after this phase has gone on for like a week or even more will the council finally close it down and make a decision (see the Galarian Darmanitan OtR with the infamous argument over whether to just ban Gorilla Tactics to preserve Zen Mode or the Pokemon itself that, like I said earlier, overstayed its welcome and then some).

In addition, while I said earlier that the DLC model has caused newfound difficulties in tiering for sure, it’s not an excuse either. Just look at literally every other tier than OU, both last gen and this gen. Each has their own Alpha and Beta stages with regular council votes that will unflinchingly ban anything that poses or could pose a threat to meta health while also giving ample opportunity for the average joes to voice their opinions, which unlike the aforementioned On the Radars actually have set deadlines for people to speak out. But even after these rapidfire stages the councils across the lower tiers have shown a greater degree of proactiveness, making sure to at least suspect stuff that is obviously broken unlike what was done with Arena Trap in this generation of OU. The same thing applies for tournaments: It can be a bit rough sometimes to have mid-tourney tiering decisions but it’s once again not an excuse, considering how many tournaments across various tiers we have on this site it’s inevitable, otherwise we’d never be able to ban or unban anything.

I am sure that the OU council has their reasons for taking a much slower approach to tiering without the rapidfire intros lower formats get and I’m sure they’ll say those reasons as responses to this thead. But the fact of the matter is, when you look at Gen 7’s final days and the current state of Gen 8, it’s blatantly obvious that this approach does not work. And if the current council isn’t willing to pick up the pace once Isle of Armor drops, then maybe it’s time to pass over the reigns to someone who is willing.
 

Stratos

Banned deucer.
Is this a policy proposal or a tirade? In any community there are a few people who will always gripe that things are moving too fast and a few people who gripe that they are moving too slow. Your posts in PR up to this point have firmly established you to be in the latter camp.

Lower tiers have always been allowed greater leeway with bans, and it doesn't makes sense to apply their philosophies to OU. When OU bans something it is effectively removed from all standardized play, especially given that Ubers isn't in any officials anymore—the same is not true of lower tiers. While obviously having a playable meta trumps all, new players come to this site because they are Pokemon fans, and allowing people to use their favorite Pokemon truly is an important consideration. This necessitates a less ban happy approach.

We have 3-4 months between the Home drops and the next DLC. In that time, the OU council ran 2 suspect tests. A suspect test at least requires a two week ladder and discussion period but before you even get there, you need a meta stabilization period from the last shakeup. There's also so much work that goes into a suspect test that it is supremely not worth running one with only a few weeks left in the metagame. Genuinely, how many suspects do you wish the council had run between March 1st and now?

If you have an idea for a suspect process that evaluates more suspects in shorter time then please propose it. I don't even play OU and I can see that screeching at the council to do the same process but faster is just supremely unhelpful, particularly when the 1 week gap between Dug ban and Melmetal suspect could already be seen as unreasonably fast. I've thought in the past about holding multiple votes at the same time like in the old BW days and just banning the top vote-getter (assuming any cross 60%) but this really skews the discussion toward "which is worst" rather than "are any of these broken?" I haven't come up with a faster suspect process that doesn't have this flaw.

Council votes could technically work, but we generally stay away from them for anything remotely controversial because of PR reasons. While we could tell PR to shove it, if something is controversial in the first place, that means the meta is probably playable enough that we can afford it staying in the tier for a few more weeks to do it the long way. To corroborate this point, my friends who play OU have not been grumbling—loud enough for me to hear at least—about this.
 

Yung Dramps

awesome gaming
When OU bans something it is effectively removed from all standardized play, especially given that Ubers isn't in any officials anymore—the same is not true of lower tiers. While obviously having a playable meta trumps all, new players come to this site because they are Pokemon fans, and allowing people to use their favorite Pokemon truly is an important consideration. This necessitates a less ban happy approach.
I don't really get where you're going with this? I'm pretty sure the average person who's playing on here to have a fun time with their favs regardless of viability probably doesn't really care about tournament play and will be perfectly content with moving to Ubers/AG anyway. Besides, the cases I described (Clef and Vish in current Gen 8, for instance) are ones where a large contingent if not a majority agree they should've been dealt with, or in the trapping abilities' case should've never been allowed to begin with. You said it yourself: It may be worth considering sometimes but it's ultimately not top priority. We're 0 stranger to controversial bans, so I don't get why it suddenly matters now.

To corroborate this point, my friends who play OU have not been grumbling—loud enough for me to hear at least—about this.
Well if we're using this kind of testimony that I can ensure the opposite: Many of my closest Smogon friends think current OU is incredibly stale and unfun and needs to change. Hell, shortly after posting the OP I got a DM from two people I've never even met congratulating me for speaking out. While that fact of being from just two people I've never met may promote skepticism, it's also something that has never happened to me in my years on this site for any post I've ever made. While none of us can really get precise stats on playerbase satisfaction with SWSH OU right now I'm willing to wager it's probably not good.
 

Ace-11

Banned deucer.
I could waste my time writing a large essay about how much I agree with you, but it would be pointless. So instead, I am going to directly attack the ones in charge of this apocalypse in order to make a point, as I am done being nice. I will say it without beating around the bush, the OU council is simply incompetent and I am more convinced than ever before.

Let me explain myself. The people currently on the OU council are in my opinion clueless, because the good majority of them don't even play the tier. How can you be expected to provide an educated opinion on the tier if you don't even play it? How do I know that? Well, just look at the council members and tell me which one of them played SS OU in SPL or in any tournament recently. Also, why do I only see the same exact council members talking? Where is the other 1/3? Are they okay or they on the verge of retirement? I would like to hear more opinions other than Finchinator's. This is the reason behind the lack of proactiveness on the tier. I remember at some point, my main tier BW, was more frequently tiered than SM OU and that says it all. I was also playing lower tiers in SM at some point and I was surprised by the frequency of the suspect tests in them.

Since I don't like speaking without facts though, I would like to provide you with some to show you that I am not just talking nonsense. At around the start of the generation, the OU tier leader had mentioned in a thread how Dracovish was nowhere near banworthy. Really now? I could go on and explain why this is ridiculous, but I think if you have played this tier a bit, you shouldn't need an explanation. To make matters worse, when the Home additions arrived, the council didn't do anything about Zeraora when it was very much obvious that it had no place in the current OU metagame. Wouldn't it be better to quickban it and unban it when more Pokemon drop? At least the council did one good thing quickbanning Melmetal though, only to suspect test it later. Apparently, the tier leader was convinced that it was not broken and that the result of the suspect test would go his way, but I guess the ladder heroes got the better of him. I could also mention the Arena Trap fiasco, but you have covered me on that one.

All of the above examples scream incompetence to me and I know it is not just me. I have talked with many good players who have agreed that the council is not up to the task. And since nobody has ever made a post where he directly calls them out, I shall be the first. I know that this post lacks proper argumentation on some parts, but I never received proper argumentation of Melmetal being worthy of a suspect test when the outcome was obvious either. Besides, I think you can all very well understand the point that I am trying to make anyway.

By the way, I would like to mention that I am not going after anybody. I just speak based on what I see. If there are people at fault, then I will blame them. I just want SS OU to not end up the same as SM OU, if not worse. Feel free to agree/disagree with me, but do know that I have made up my mind regarding this topic a long time ago. So if you try to convince me otherwise, you will fail.
 

Leo

after hours
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The people currently on the OU council are in my opinion clueless, because the good majority of them don't even play the tier. How can you be expected to provide an educated opinion on the tier if you don't even play it? How do I know that? Well, just look at the council members and tell me which one of them played SS OU in SPL or in any tournament recently.
E583B7DF-8848-4013-9A4F-35FA73D01378.jpeg
 

p2

Banned deucer.
Dracovish 100% needs to be tested before wcop js, but we now have extremely little time to act before it is. For example if it does get banned it won't be gone before play-ins start which leaves us with a very small gap between when the tour actually starts/dlc dropping, I would rather have 2 slightly unstable phases (vish gone followed by dlc mons) than a massive shift at once which could potentially fuck over wcop SS OU completely. That's my main concern, we are simply running out of time to act

I think people are getting annoyed because a test for Vish is clearly on the table right now, it just never seems to be happening.

Ace11's post is extremely cringe however good lord
 

Colonel M

I COULD BE BORED!
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And while it isn’t directly related to the decisions themselves, what about those consistently horrendous On the Radar threads, eh? They usually start out fine, people make their points for and against banning something or deciding between quickban and suspect, but then they’re allowed to stay up and run long past the point where everyone has said their part and before you know it they come down to arguments over the semantics of a decision with absolutely nothing new being brought to the table, and only after this phase has gone on for like a week or even more will the council finally close it down and make a decision (see the Galarian Darmanitan OtR with the infamous argument over whether to just ban Gorilla Tactics to preserve Zen Mode or the Pokemon itself that, like I said earlier, overstayed its welcome and then some).
Thank you to the person who found this:

Don't even speak of OtR having the "infamous argument" when you were one of the people who fanned that flame to begin with.

I'll also speak in defense of OtR threads - these threads have helped give a lot more transparency between council and players on what they feel are suspect test worthy and arguments as to why the suspect test is needed / isn't needed. Like anything posted publicly, you're always going to have the occasional clown like Psyduckschilli or whatever his name was with LO Galar Darm, but these threads have had good discussion. They weren't always easy to moderate, and again, they'll never be a beacon of quality, but these threads help those express their frustration in support of the suspect or even to dissent and post why they do not support it.

As an aside, can we seriously talk about removing PR access from people? Genuine question, by the way.
 
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Yung Dramps

awesome gaming
Thank you to the person who found this:

Don't even speak of OtR having the "infamous argument" when you were one of the people who fanned that flame to being with.

I'll also speak in defense of OtR threads - these threads have helped give a lot more transparency between council and players on what they feel are suspect test worthy and arguments as to why the suspect test is needed / doesn't needed. Like anything posted publicly, you're always going to have the occasional clown like Psyduckschilli or whatever his name was with LO Galar Darm, but these threads have had good discussion. They weren't always easy to moderate, and again, they'll never be a beacon of quality, but these threads help those express their frustration in support of the suspect or even to dissent and post why they do not support it.

As an aside, can we seriously talk about removing PR access from people? Genuine question, by the way.
I also realized just how much of a mistake I had made and tried to amend it:
https://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/on-the-radar-vol-2-see-post-336.3658022/page-8#post-8320163
https://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/on-the-radar-vol-2-see-post-336.3658022/page-10#post-8320572

I promise with my hand over my heart that if I could've known in advance the insanity my suggestion would've caused I wouldn't have even bothered. My problem wasn't even with the OtR threads themselves, I myself said they provided some great and useful discussion in the early stages. But that's the key phrase here: In the early stages. As I said in the OP, the problems came when everyone had said their part but no deadline was set nor did someone come in to wrap things up, so they just continued and went around in circles after a point. I believe that if the OtRs had proper deadlines they would've been much better and not overstayed their welcome.
 
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MANNAT

http://spo.ink/ao2
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Perhaps if the posters itt had even a modicum of patience they would realize that the process leading up to a suspect test does not happen overnight, and that's why we can't just have immediate suspects back to back like the OP and other posts imply we should. The specific element to be tested has to be identified and agreed upon by the council, then a thread has to be written and approved, and only then can there be a suspect test, so it's obvious why there wasn't a test immediately following the Arena Trap suspect. There's not one mon that's incredibly suspect worthy with no other alternatives, so this process takes even longer. I'm sure that the OU council already has something in the works without people that have no grasp over the current tournament scene to paint them as incompetent fools when the opposite is clearly true.
 

Finchinator

Harry's House
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OU & NU Leader
I am posting a general statement as the OU tier leader, but this is not on behalf of the entire council and this is not in direct response to any prior post.

Ever since I became the OU tier leader, I have made various persistent efforts to show activity in the metagame, increase OU council transparency, and encourage public involvement in the tiering process/discussions.

In an effort to inform the public of my stances and let them know that I am actively involving myself in the metagame: I make sure to regularly post my stance on hot-button issues in the metagame discussion thread (13 posts since the start of April and I have read everything posted in this thread as well), I personally run the viability rankings to assure that I am keeping up, and I regularly post myself playing on the ladder on my YouTube channel (37+ hours of proof that I do, in fact, play SS OU).

In an effort to be increasingly transparent: I always read and respond to PMs on tiering matters and presenting tiering opinions (and I receive lots), I state the current council plans/opinions in the aforementioned metagame discussion thread whenever appropriate, and I advocate for any interested parties to state their tiering opinions in the appropriate places (such as the OU subforum or via a PM to myself or the entire council), especially prior to making any misled and accusatory threads.

In an effort to encourage public involvement in the tiering process and tiering discussion: I make sure to engage in discussion with as many active players as possible in order to gain an understanding of their opinions on the metagame (which has led to many topics being brought up among the council thus far this generation alone), I make sure to emphasize the importance of everyone's opinions that are presented civilly so that we have the most information possible to make tiering decisions on, and I have made sure to keep the council as active as possible, even by adding people that have been active players in recent months such as suapah.

As it stands, the OU tiering council is as knowledgeable of the metagame, transparent about our process, and open to public involvement and discussion as ever before. I also believe that we will continue to improve in all of these areas, which excites me as the leader. Any comparisons to the previous councils and sweeping generations are largely inaccurate or misinformed and I implore individuals seeking more progressive tiering action to state their opinions in the appropriate outlets instead of making complaints without first doing their due diligence and making use of their potential platform as active members of our community.

Finally, a Dracovish suspect has been in the talks for a number of weeks now. We are finally going to proceed with it early this week (haha spoilers), but I want to make sure that no credit for this action is given to the OP or other posters in this thread. A suspect tends to be well-thought out and oftentimes takes days, if not weeks, of discussion and planning prior. We are always keeping our eyes on the metagame, but nobody should expect impulsive or rushed action as that is simply something we refuse to do as a council. I expect this generation to have more proactive tiering decisions made than last, but that does not mean that there always needs to be an active suspect and anyone expecting that specifically needs to reevaluate their expectations.
 

Myzozoa

to find better ways to say what nobody says
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I have only been playing OU on the ladder and not in tours, so I know that by posting this I run the risk of being accused of 'not actually playing the game', but I just want to bring something up regarding the suspect process and timing of WCOP. The way things are set it seems unlikely that if Clefable were to be tested it would have to be after WCOP or during. I feel such a delay, although seemingly unavoidable, will make the tour, which consists in only Gen 8 OU games, extremely stale and possibly less competitive. Why do I feel this way?

Basically it all comes down to the Teleport Clefable set. I feel this pokemon is somewhat degenerative (not in the super obvious way that Dracovish is, but in other less easily spotted ways). It seems to me that this pokemon has very limited (or just plain 'bad') counter-play. It gets momentum from Teleport, and so the only efficient way to deal with it for run-of-the-mill offensive teams is by attempting the double switch, or by running trick on something unexpected. Now by the standards introduced in the OU suspect test for Dracovish, running trick on your own Clefable or some other unusual Trick user is not necessarily an excellent example of a longterm competitive way to deal with it, just like investing all of Ferrothorn's EVs in defense is not necessarily a long-term and competitive way of checking Dracovish.

"Ok", I hear you say, "myzozoa is bad at pokemon, the way to beat Clefable is just to outplay lol, get good and learn to use weezing-galar double switch."

But there is a small problem, imo, with this line of thinking: since Clefable has Magic Guard it takes no damage from hazards, so even when you try to double switch on it to get say cb dracovish Gengar in at the same time as Clef is coming in, you take hazard damage and Clefable doesn't, so if your opponent has a reliable answer to whatever you bring in, you are now, as agadmator would say, 'completely losing' and you even had to take a relatively significant risk to get your strong attacker in on Clefable in the first place by double switching. To me this is fairly significant as an example of how Teleport Clefable engenders limited counter-play, team building restriction, and 'rewarding' or at least bailing out "low-skilled" battlers.

Another example (imo) of the degeneracy of Teleport Clefable is that it can frequently Wish heal other pokemon on your team at no risk, even after your opponent has made big sacrifices to wear them down. Thinking about sacrificing your Bisharp (or whatever pokemon) to weaken their Defog-er so that it can't Defog the rest of the game? Too bad, because Teleport has negative priority and unless you have some reliable way of stopping it from using Wish that Defog-er is coming back in at 51-75% HP. As such, longterm thinking based in strategic sacrifice in order to open up bulkier teams is severely restricted (imo) as a play-style or tactic due to this set, which used to be a mainstay of how competitive pokemon was taught/played.

Anyway, even if I am wrong about Teleport Clefable, as is quite likely, I think it is important to think about this going forward, if only to spur users to come up with strong arguments for why Clefable shouldn't be banned, as it is especially overpowered in the abstract way I have glossed above, a new and unique case that I don't think we've seen before in competitive mons.

Anyway, it is not within my knowledge to propose how this situation with Clefable can be managed with regards to the timing of WCOP, as it is pretty obvious (imo) that Dracovish is more urgent, but I do feel a slight bit of disappointment about all the Teleport Clefable replays I'm going to watch this WCOP.

Lastly, the thread title is absolutely a hyperbole (imo) as is almost all of the OP, we are continuing to learn this metagame and to say we learned nothing from gen 7 seems irrelevant since the lessons from that metagame have almost nothing to do with what we are currently encountering in gen 8 OU. It is simply a wildly different metagame imo.

I made this post in the interest of turning this thread towards something slightly more productive, but if this is too off topic or logically flawed (after all I have def not been playing the meta in any significant amount) feel free to delete it, if only to protect me from the embarrassment.
 

Finchinator

Harry's House
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OU & NU Leader
Again, speaking on behalf of myself more than council as a whole

First off, the Dracovish test I alluded to is now up!

As for the above post, a Clefable test before WCOP is pretty much off the table, but I do think the topic deserves a proper response.

I understand your frustrations and I have even went well out of my way to be provoke Clefable discussion (here) within the last few days alone as it is such a focal Pokemon in the metagame. Additionally, I agree that the low-risk recovery sequences it provokes with the Wish+Teleport variant can be a large deterrent of progress that would otherwise be seen as permanent through outplaying, but identifying this element alone as one that is banworthy is something that I am not ready to commit to, especially considering this is the absolute worst timing for anything of this magnitude.

A test of Clefable would require a lot of precautions that alone potentially could take weeks of time -- this is not specific to the OU council so much as it is to any suspect of such a prominent Pokemon. Considering that Clefable is a vital piece of SS OU's identity (oftentimes seeing >60% usage), it would require an entire PR thread discussing the merits of a test and the potential subject of the test seeing as you can argue for Clefable and the move Teleport. This is not even getting to the fact that pinpointing Clefable as a suspect is controversial as a lot of people struggle to get this far with supportive elements, especially when they oftentimes are mainly enablers for other metagame forces that tend to abuse the support and could also be potential subjects of future suspects themselves (like Dracovish itself or even other strong attackers such as Kyurem, which is oftentimes kept in check by Clefable on balance teams).

Another thing is that banning Clefable or anything pertaining to Clefable before DLC would be outright premature in my personal opinion (and as far as I know nobody currently on council seemed to actively dispute this as well as we have discussed it). Why? Because the metagame will be shifting dramatically and there will be various other abusers of Teleport and other tools that Clefable has at its disposal. There will also be a whole slew of different Pokemon that can potentially take advantage of the passivity of Clefable, specifically the variants that rely on Wish+Protect. We have no real idea of what the post-DLC metagame will look like, so we want to avoid touching anything that is not as clear cut as Dracovish immediately. Sometimes, leaning towards the side of caution can be ok, even if that mandates temporary inaction. I do promise a more pro-active tiering approach than one that people were growing restless with during the stretch of generation 7, but this does not always mean we must be doing something if it is a stretch or forced. Finding an appropriate middle-ground that is appropriate to the metagame is the best solution.

Moreover, the timing is a complete disaster from a tiering perspective, tournament perspective, and metagame adjustment perspective. To elaborate, the test itself would have to be rushed unless we were to shift the entire timeline of WCOP and potentially limit the timeline of the Dracovish test, which you agree is more pressing as well. The WCOP metagame will already be dealing with a very new set of changes from DLC dropping that players will barely have time to adjust to; adding another confounding variable of Clefable potentially being out of the equation would prompt sheer pandemonium as the tier would be a completely different one than what was being played mere weeks prior and who knows what that would mean for the quality of play, teambuilding, etc. during the tournament itself. Finally, there will also be little turnaround for players of the metagame in general if we condense things or force any tiering action that we do not deem necessary and I would actively like to avoid this as I do not feel anything is worth rushing to this extent at this point in time. I do want to say that the overall health of the metagame and the importance of tiering actions do surpass the tournament calendar and we need to prioritize creating the most competitive SS OU above all else, but unfortunately DLC's timing is not the most convenient here either and ultimately we will not be acting on Clefable prior to DLC because of this group of reasons. I hope this explanation can help provide some context on why we are not looking into it currently and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know here or via PM!
 

tennisace

not quite too old for this, apparently
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I'm going to close this thread for the following reasons:

- The main point of this thread (a charge of inaction by the OU council) is false, as a Dracovish suspect is up.

- The tone of this thread has devolved from genuine (yet misplaced) frustration to petty squabbles about individual suspects, which is not the point of Policy Review. Clefable discussion needs to take place in the OU forum. PR is for the discussion of tiering policy in a general, meta sense.

Speaking as an admin, we have the utmost trust in the OU council's ability and judgement in deciding when suspects are needed. Finchinator especially has been more transparent than any TL I've previously worked with or seen. If you have issues with the way he or the rest of the council decide suspects, then as he said please feel free to message him to gain insight into the process instead of blindly firing off an angry thread.

I'll put it bluntly: this generation for tiering sucks. It's going to be rough. It won't be convenient with our schedules and tournaments. If it seems like this is Game Freak's new business model, then we may need to change our model. However, for now, we will adapt our tiering system as best we can.
 
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