Portrait of an Uber

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X-Act

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All I'm going to say for now is that, while I agree that the definition of uber shouldn't have anything mathematical in it, the three sentences that Tangerine bolded _can_ be converted into a mathematical formula. It would still be subjective in the way people are going to interpret its output. Say that the formula outputs the number of Pokemon that are likely to be sweeped by the Pokemon, and outputs, say, 400. Some people might think that sweeping 400 out of ~490 Pokemon is uber, while others might think it isn't. So basically the same part of Tang's definition of uberness that is subjective will still remain subjective even if it were to be made mathematically.

I'm not saying that I'm going to do it. Though I can do a definition for the first two bolded sentences if I wanted to, it's a massively huge undertaking and I don't have the time for it. The third bolded sentence would be even harder to formalise, but it's also possible.

Finally, if you want to use the diversity numbers I'm issuing, they're there if you want. While they do not define what is uber, they can help in discussions about uberness. For example, the removal of Garchomp from Standard increased its diversity by around 5 Pokemon. Also, the introduction of Platinum moves and Pokemon first reduced the diversity by around 4 Pokemon and then increased to what it was before a month later (maybe aided by the fact that Deoxys-S was sent to uber by that time).

Like financial graphs, these diversity numbers need to be interpreted, and there's no clear-cut way of interpreting them correctly yet. Maybe the increase in diversity in September wasn't due to the removal of Garchomp after all, for example, but maybe due to other things I'm not aware of.

(If people want to see all the diversity numbers from July onwards, I can provide them for you.)
 

Tangerine

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Applications of Characteristics to Specific Pokemon

1) Ninjask

It's clear that Ninjask is not much of an offensive threat, particularly because of its movepool which is limited to Aerial Ace, X Scissor, Night Slash, and Metal Claw. These are moves that are easily stopped by Steel Types, for example. Then it is obvious that Ninjask needs quite a bit of support to be able to "sweep" in standard metagame conditions.

However, the biggest threat of Ninjask comes from its ability to pass speed. However, because of its weakness to Stealth Rock and its inability to do anything to common phazers, Ninjask cannot accomplish this task consistently. Ninjask then cannot consistently set up other Pokemon to sweep Pokemon, therefore it is not uber.

Ninjask can wall pokemon like paper can stop a bullet. I think Ninjask's defenses are a non issue here =)

2) Bronzong

While at this the sheer ridiculousness of CM Bronzong allows it to sweep through teams, we notice the number of set ups and clean ups Bronzong needs to eliminate before it even considers sweeping. CM Bronzong will have to spend many turns eliminating and weakening certain threats to even consider sweeping through standard teams. Bronzong is not an offensive threat, so we need to consider the other characteristics.

A Pokemon is uber if a Pokemon is able to wall and stall out a significant portion of the metagame

Sadly for Bronzong, with its lack of a solid recovery move, won't be able to stall out a Pokemon for long - as even Neutral Hits will eventually break Bronzong. While it is capable of completely stopping threats such as Mamoswine, Bronzong is not capable of posing a threat to a huge majority of other offensive threats more than once. Its ability to wall is therefore too limied, and Bronzong can hardly stall. Because it cannot stall, it normally needs to force the opposing Pokemon out using its poor offenses - which is usually limited to Gyro Ball, Explosion, and Earthquake. Hypnosis is not an issue with sleep clause in play and the prevalence of status absorbers.

the ability of a pokemon to consistently set up a situation in which it makes it substantially easier for other pokemon to sweep

This is perhaps Bronzong's biggest strength, its ability to support. We need to however, differentiate between the ability of Bronzong to support Pokemon and the actual method of support itself. I think this is the biggest thing one needs to consider when writing up any argument for any Pokemon's ability to Support. Of course we have cases lilke Wobbuffet where the two categories are essentially the same, but I disgress.

What we need to consider is the ability of Bronzong to use certain moves, such as Explosion, Stealth Rock, Rain Dance, Hypnosis, Dual Screen, etc. I don't think I will be able to cover everything but we will see.

Believe it or not, its ability to switch into many threats at least once and explode is a great asset to any team, allowing the player to switch in a Pokemon for free after the explosion. Bronzong is a glue to many teams, as many players during the D/P Era has managed to deal glue their teams together with Bronzong's amazing ability "to switch in at least once, and explode to create free switch ins". But such a support does not make it easier for other Pokemon to sweep, as the opponent is still more than capable of outplaying the opponent, or carrying checks and counters to the offensive threats. Bronzong is more of a defensive glue to offensive teams, a much needed one, but we note that it does not make the offensive Pokemon more of a threat to sweep through a given team. Bronzong's ability to use Explosion does not make it consistently easier for a Pokemon to achieve the "Sweeper" Criterion, and it is obvious that Bronzong Exploding hurts the team's ability to stall.

Bronzong is also key support in a Rain Dance team, but as in the offensive team, it does not stop the opponent from being able to deal with critters with Rain Dance boost in any sort of way - while it "boosts" creatures who benefit from Rain Dance, but even if the one turn boost from a Rain Dance is considered too much, then it shouldnt be the fault of Bronzong, but the concept of Rain Dance teams itself.

Hypnosis is 55% accuracy, it is not consistent. Stealth Rock is a move that can be used in many other Pokemon. I don't think they even need to be considered. Then the last thing we need to consider is the Screens.

The lack of speed for Bronzong makes it difficult for it to carry out the rather controversial "Dual Screen" Strategy, because it needs to constantly take a beating. In order to utilize it well, it must use Light Clay, which hurts the overall ability of Bronzong to take hits. Bronzong is not a great user of Screens, as there is not much stopping Pokemon from setting up on Bronzong while it screens or beating Bronzong down. And this does not guarantee that the Pokemon who will receive the screens will be effective, but only through a well planned strategy. Bronzong's ability to use does not make Dual Screening "broken", as Bronzong is normally sacrificed, and the number of Pokemon capable of setting up on Bronzong is unbelievable

3) Wallrein

Gen. Empoleon pointed this out.

I find this flawed because what about pokemon like Stall Walrein? He has the ability to Stall out the entire metagame with Substitute + Protect + Hail + filler with toxic spikes support. So should we define Walrein as an "uber" I don't think so. SO I supose that I would like to change it to, "A pokemon who can wall and stall out a large portion of the metagame without support coming from other pokemon"
This means that pokemon like Stall Walrein are not declared "Uber" by your standards.
I'm not too certain about adding the concept of "support coming from other Pokemon" bit because I thought it would be implied, but it may be good to note. Stallrein was a very good example and I'm thankful that it was poitned out - but Stallrein heavily relies too much on Hail and it literally needs to be able to come in without taking a nice hit, and the opposing Pokemon need to be slower (or if it's fast it can't hurt it enough). It is true - that once Stallrein is "set up" it is difficult to shut down. But I dont think the concept of support will matter because as I have pointed out "Pokemon is a game of making your Pokemon broken to your opponent" and Support essentially accomplished that.

And in the end, I don't think Stallrein is as unstoppable as Lugia, since

Analysis said:
OU (Toxic Stall set): Since he relies on Toxic to deal damage, most Steel-types can cause problems. Earthquake can dent them, but the likes of Metagross and Jirachi have the defenses to handle a few hits. Metagross can fire off Meteor Mash or Thunderpunch, while Jirachi can smack Walrein around with Thunderbolt or Grass Knot. Empoleon can beat it down with Grass Knot and also resists Water, making switching in a little easier. Empoleon can also Roar away a Substitute, but rarely has enough Speed EVs to ensure it will phaze Walrein before being phazed itself. Bronzong walls it if it doesn't carry Surf, but can't do much in return unless it has Grass Knot.
Tyranitar screws up its Leftovers recovery and also removes Hail, making Ice Body useless. Repeated hits from Surf hurt, but Tyranitar will likely come out on top by firing off powerful Stone Edges and can also Taunt Walrein, effectively shutting it down. Gyarados can sponge hits from Ice and Water attacks and set up with Dragon Dance, before KOing Walrein with Stone Edge. Like Tyranitar, Gyarados also has access to Taunt. Suicune is faster than Walrein can easily Roar it out, taking minimal damage from any of the Walrein's attacks. Clefable was already mentioned, but it makes an even better counter to Stallrein than it does for the other sets. It is immune to the effects of Hail and poison and can Encore Walrein's attacks, before setting up Calm Mind or simply hitting back with Thunderbolt. Breloom can be a problem if you don't have Blizzard, as like Clefable it is still able to recover HP during Hail and can't be worn down by poison.
Many of these Pokemon are top tier OU - and the abundance of Steels in addition to that make it clear that Stallrein is not capable of stalling out a good majority of the OU Metagame, particularly because it is very situational and its need of support.
 

DougJustDoug

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I think another characteristic of an uber is if it does not follow certain "market forces" in the metagame. I use the term market forces, because I view an uber in OU, much like a monopoly in a free market. A monopoly is so harmful because it sets up a completely new set of market dynamics that destroys competition and reinforces the monopoly's market influence. In essence, a monopoly changes the game by its very existence. It's hard to tell when this has happened in a market, and requires a review of trailing market data and trends to see if the market is "behaving normally". I think a similar logic can be applied to certain ubers.

In the competitive metagame, as a pokemon's predictability increases, it's competitive viability decreases.

I think this is one of the "Natural Laws of the Metagame" (any game really). If a pokemon's build, moveset, and strategy becomes more predictable -- it becomes more easy to check, counter, and kill. For this reason, most top pokemon tend to either continually fluctuate in terms of predictability, or reach a certain competitive equilibrium in terms of viability.

Some pokemon never end up being "predictable", and seem to always be in a state of flux. Tyranitar, Gengar, and Salamence are decent examples of pokemon that are rarely predictable. Every time a set or strategy with those pokemon gain extreme popularity, the metagame reacts by countering those strategies -- thus forcing the users of those pokemon to change strategies or suffer the consequences of "reduced viability".

On the other hand, some pokemon are extremely predictable, but have reached equilibrium in terms of their usefulness in the metagame. Dugtrio and Mamoswine are decent examples this. While there are slight variations in strategy for using these pokemon -- their usage is extremely predictable. Just look at the detailed stats for these pokemon and you'll see what I mean. Although they are extremely predictable, and everyone knows what they do - they are still useful in spite of that. But, the viability of these pokemon have reached equilibrium. Usability of these pokemon is not rising in the face of high predictability.

A pokemon may be uber if there is not an inverse relationship between its viability and predictability.

Garchomp was a perfect example of this. Garchomp was somewhat unpredictable in the early DP metagame. But, eventually the YacheSD set became the de facto competitive set, to the point where almost no other sets were ever used -- and Garchomp usage continued to rise. This was an indication that "market forces" had broken down in regards to Garchomp.

Wobbuffet is another example of this, although the usage numbers did not necessarily support it. Wobbuffet is arguably the most predictable pokemon in the entire game, except for maybe Ditto or Magikarp. However, this total predictability had almost no effect on it's viability in the metagame. It's possible the usage numbers for Wobbuffet were skewed because many players refused to use a pokemon that employed such a "cheap" strategy. But, I think most people would agree that Wobbuffet was very viable in the metagame despite the fact that almost every single Wobbuffet in the game carried the exact same set and employed almost the exact same strategy.

Overall power level is certainly a mitigating factor in using the above characteristic in the definition of an uber. Like I said earlier -- Ditto is 100% predictable (in a way), and it's usefulness is likely unchanged despite that. But its overall competitive power level is too low for it to matter. The definition I mention can only be applied to pokemon that are useful in the upper echelons of the competitive metagame.
 

Ancien Régime

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What makes Lugia uber and not Cresselia?

HP: 1069013090154110

Lugia Defensive Stats:

HP: 106
Defense: 130
Special Defense: 154

Cresselia Defensive Stats:

HP: 120
Defense: 120
Special Defense: 130

Superficially, there doesn't seem to be much to distinguish between the two in terms of defensive bulk. Both are "levitators", resisting ground attacks, Spikes, and Toxic Spikes. Lugia, however, is weak to Stealth Rock, being a flying type, while Cresselia simply has the Levitate trait.

However, the thing that seperates the two lies primarily in:

1: Lugia's access to reliable, consistent recovery in Roost and Recover, whereas Cresselia can only use Moonlight which is 25% PP in a storm and has half of Recover/Roost's PP, Rest, which immobilizes it for two turns, or Rest/Sleep Talk, which takes up two move slots.
2: Lugia's ability to phaze set-up threats, cursers, and so forth that would normally force Cresselia out.
3: Lugia's speed, which allow it to set up Reflects, Light Screens, and so forth before many counters can unleash super-effective Dark, Ghost, Rock, Electric, or Ice attacks

Why is this comparison important? Because it is vital to know how aspects other than base stats can affect how dominant a pokemon is - while Cresselia has the stats to be a "Great Wall" on the level of Lugia, it lacks certain key moves and attributes to do so.
 

Tangerine

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A pokemon may be uber if there is not an inverse relationship between its viability and predictability.
If we see Blissey, we know what it is going to do. status you a little, or use one of a very few weak attacks, and Soak up special hits. Blissey to an extent is very predictable and it is still viable.

If we see Scizor, we know what it is going to generally do. It doesnt make it any less viable.

If we see Heatran, we know it will likely be scarfed. It doesnt make Heatran any less viable.

If we see Skarmory, we know what it is *exactly* going to do, it doesn't make it any less viable.

Back in DP, when we saw Lucario, it was going to be the SD set and it was still one of the biggest threats.

If we see Suicune, we know what it is going to do. It doesnt make it any less viable.

etc etc etc. I think while predictability is related to how useful it is, I don't think predictability and competitive viability is that directly related to the point where we can make that kind of statement. As I have pointed out before - the point of the game is to win *despite* people trying to stop you. I think if this was a measurable and solid characteristic we would see Mew as #1 in Ubers, but Mew is nowhere close to it. In the end I think predictability is a part of a bigger factor.

This is one reason I called predictability a sub-characteristic. I think being unpredictable makes a Pokemon more powerful and useful in that in Pokemon like Mew literally generates free turns by switching in because the opponent isn't going to have a clue what it is going to do, making it able to do what it wants to do more and more consistently. Hence, "Mew might be uber for OU" since Mew has a good base stats to pull off anything it wants to do very well.
 

DougJustDoug

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I did not say that predictability inherently makes a pokemon not viable. I said that increasing predictability reduces viability. Perhaps I oversimplified my one-sentence "rule" -- but the point of it was to say that a pokemon should not increase in viability while at the same time increasing in predictability. As to other applications of my "inverse relationship" comment, I'm not really concerned about it. I was trying to make a statement that could be easily understood, not a assert a mathematical law that could be proven to exist both forwards and backwards. So, perhaps someone else could suggest a narrower wording that is also easily understood.

I also said this:

DougJustDoug said:
For this reason, most top pokemon tend to either continually fluctuate in terms of predictability, or reach a certain competitive equilibrium in terms of viability.
I added emphasis in the quote, because I think you missed this part. A highly predictable pokemon either fluctuates or it reaches relative equilibrium. By "equilibrium" I mean that a pokemon settles into a narrow competitive set, and the usage of that pokemon stabilizes. It's predominant strategy is known, it's checks and counters are known and it's overall impact on the metagame is stable. This doesn't mean that it is worthless, or not viable -- it is simply stable.

Almost all the pokemon you listed have known general strategies, but that's not saying much. You make it sound like all those pokemon run a single set, when that is not true for all of them other than Skarmory. I realize you didn't say that literally, but you implied it.

There is a big difference between Blissey and Dugtrio for example. Yes, both pokemon could be generally referred to as "predictable". But Dugtrio really has almost no options to combat it's predictability. Fortunately, it has speed and a mega-ability that makes it useful anyway. Blissey, on the other hand is comparatively unpredictable as hell. Of course it's going to soak special hits, but other than that who knows? Look at the detail stats and you'll see that Blissey is all over the map. That's one reason why Blissey is so much more useful than Dugtrio.

Almost all the pokemon you listed have multiple competitive builds and they all continually fluctuate, for exactly the reason that "predictability+counterability" has forced it. That doesn't mean that their best set is bad, it just means that when a set becomes too predictable, a "lesser set" can actually be more viable because of the unpredictability.

You mentioned Scarftran. Heatran was carrying a scarf 62% of the time in October. It reduced to 56% in November. It is scarfed only 47% of the time now. This doesn't mean Scarftran is not viable. It means the metagame reacted to all those Scarftrans running around, and Heatran users responded in kind by running other sets. It's a very natural ebb and flow in the metagame. It's so natural that we almost take it for granted.

If Heatran could not viably run any other sets, its usage would likely decrease. Or at a minimum, it should stabilize. But, if usage increased and continued to increase in the face of increasing predictability -- then that indicates a problem. It indicates that the natural laws of the metagame are not functioning normally. Perhaps because such a pokemon (not Heatran, mind you) is, in fact, uber. Heatran usage has changed to reduce predictability and maintain viability. This trend indicates that Heatran is NOT uber, in accordance with the theory in my post above.
 

Tangerine

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There is a big difference between Blissey and Dugtrio for example. Yes, both pokemon could be generally referred to as "predictable". But Dugtrio really has almost no options to combat it's predictability. Fortunately, it has speed and a mega-ability that makes it useful anyway. Blissey, on the other hand is unpredictable as hell. Of course it's going to soak special hits, but other than that who knows? Look at the detail stats and you'll see that Blissey is all over the map. That's one reason why Blissey is so much more useful than Dugtrio.
Well

1) You can't really "prepare" for Dugtrio because of its ability and its paper defenses (meaning people will be bringing it in for free)

2) I don't think weak special attacks, "Seismic Toss", and Toxic/Thunder Wave is going to influence my decision on how to deal with Blissey that heavily. Yes, it has options. But even if all Blisseys were forced to run Seismic Toss, Ice beam, Aromatheraphy, Softboiled, you can bet Blissey will still be one of the top Pokemon used.

Almost all the pokemon you listed have known general strategies, but that's not saying much. You make it sound like all those pokemon run a single set, when that is not true for all of them other than Skarmory. I realize you didn't say that literally, but you implied it.
I think what matters is the general strategy, or the general "i know what it can do". To say that Heatran is unpredictable because it can run Leftovers or Choice Scarf (or Flamethrower and Lava Plume) is a bit extreme. When I play, I don't think "I need to stop the most commonly used set", I think "I need to stop what it can do and need to plot the best plan to do so".

I think this is the difference of what we are arguing about right now - I say "unpredictable" in terms of the general strategies, I believe you are saying that unpredictable in terms of sets.
 

X-Act

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What makes Lugia uber and not Cresselia?

Lugia Defensive Stats:

HP: 106
Defense: 130
Special Defense: 154

Cresselia Defensive Stats:

HP: 120
Defense: 120
Special Defense: 130

Superficially, there doesn't seem to be much to distinguish between the two in terms of defensive bulk. Both are "levitators", resisting ground attacks, Spikes, and Toxic Spikes. Lugia, however, is weak to Stealth Rock, being a flying type, while Cresselia simply has the Levitate trait.

However, the thing that seperates the two lies primarily in:

1: Lugia's access to reliable, consistent recovery in Roost and Recover, whereas Cresselia can only use Moonlight which is 25% PP in a storm and has half of Recover/Roost's PP, Rest, which immobilizes it for two turns, or Rest/Sleep Talk, which takes up two move slots.
2: Lugia's ability to phaze set-up threats, cursers, and so forth that would normally force Cresselia out.
3: Lugia's speed, which allow it to set up Reflects, Light Screens, and so forth before many counters can unleash super-effective Dark, Ghost, Rock, Electric, or Ice attacks

Why is this comparison important? Because it is vital to know how aspects other than base stats can affect how dominant a pokemon is - while Cresselia has the stats to be a "Great Wall" on the level of Lugia, it lacks certain key moves and attributes to do so.
Another thing about Lugia that people overlook is that it actually has decent attacking stats, having 90 Atk and SpA, and, more importantly, 110 Spe, compared to Cresselia's laughable 70 Atk, 75 SpA and 85 Spe. Not only that - it has a pretty good attacking movepool too. In fact, given Lugia's defenses, it wouldn't surprise me if Lugia can be made to CM 6 times and sweep the hell out of everything in Standard. This is something Cresselia obviously can't claim.

This illustrates a point: a wall can wall you all it likes, but if it can't hit you back, it's tame. Bronzong and Shuckle and similar Pokemon are obviously good walls, but they can't hit you back with devastating force as to be rendered uber. Walls like Lugia can. This is why my suggestion for uberness was the ratio of how much a Pokemon deals damage to how much that Pokemon takes damage (if you like, a combination of Tangerine's first two bolded sentences in his definition).
 

Legacy Raider

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Application of the 'characteristics of an uber' to an uber pokemon

Darkrai's 135/125 SpA and Spe stats are strikingly similar to Alakazam's 135/120, and even Gengar's 130/110, who shares the ability to immobilise threats by putting them to sleep. So what is it that sets Darkrai apart from these other special sweepers and makes it decidedly uber? (I'm assuming there is a general consensus that Darkrai is in fact uber). And then conversely, what is it that makes it so that Gengar and Alakazam are not uber? Well, if we look at the characteristics that have so far been agreed on, we can see that some things really stand out.

How easily a pokemon can sweep a team in common battle conditions with little or no risk to itself or its team
- A pokemon is characterised as being uber if it is capable of sweeping standard in common battle conditions with one turn of set up or less

Nasty Plot is obviously the first thing that comes into one's head when we think about setting up and being able to sweep. Darkrai has an excellent special attack stat to start off with, and with Nasty Plot it can double its damage output in a single turn. All it needs is that one turn to plot up and it will be throwing out STAB Dark Pulses from an effective attack stat of over 700. With Dark Void, it can get that free turn 80% of the time. Besides the fact that it has just immobilised a pokemon and to all intents and purposes taken it out of play, this simple Dark Void + Nasty Plot combination means that Darkrai is now a threat to not only that one pokemon it put to sleep, but to the entire opposing team as well.

When we compare this to Gengar, who also has a sleep move (albeit a far less reliable one) in the form of Hypnosis, we find that Gengar has no stat up moves to abuse in the free turn it gets from the sleep. It has no way to increase its own sweeping stats and therefore cannot sweep through a standard team by its lonesome. Alakazam has access to Calm Mind which lets it increase its already high attacking stat, but Alakazam finds it very difficult to pull this off because of paper defenses and no way to permanently immobilise an opponent. The closest semblance of Darkrai's Void+Plot strategy that it can employ is one with Encore and Calm Mind, which is not only slower but also not nearly as reliable. Gengar and Alakazam also both have terrible physical defenses and are a lot more susceptible to being taken out by priority attackers than the aforementioned Darkrai, who boasts reasonable 70/90/90 defenses.

So a pokemon is uber if it is 'capable of sweeping standard in common battle conditions', but how exactly does that relate to Darkrai? Common battle conditions, as illustrated above, are Darkrai with a Nasty Plot under its belt, achieved a reliable 80% of the time in conjunction with Dark Void. A Timid Darkrai has 369 SpA to begin with. Thanks to X-Act's excellent 'Pokemon Coverage' app we can find out just how much damage a Darkrai can on do average in OU:

Type: Dark
SpA: 369 x 2 (Nasty Plot) x 1.291 (approximate boost given by Life Orb to attacking stat) = 952
Attacking Moves: Dark Pulse, Focus Blast
Average Damage: 98.27%

With a moveset of Dark Void, Nasty Plot, Dark Pulse, Focus Blast, with a Life Orb, in common battling conditions Darkrai can on average take out the entire metagame with the slightest bit of prior damage (SR). Even with Dark Pulse alone, if we wanted to run say Substitute over Focus Blast, Darkrai manages 88.05% average damage in standard, which is still essentially an OHKO. From this result, I personally would classify that as 'overpowering', and therefore uber.

- A pokemon is classified as being uber if there exist no viable checks within the OU metagame for it

Well firstly, in order to combat Darkrai effectively, a pokemon to take the sleep is needed. This is still not foolproof as the ResTalker risks Darkrai plotting up instead of using Dark Void, and if this is the case will be most likely forced to switch out. There is nothing in OU that can both take sleep comfortably from Darkrai and is able to survive one of its attacks at +2, unless Blissey starts running something as ridiculois as a CM ResTalk set. On the topic of Blissey, the 'premiere special wall' takes up to 75% from a plotted Focus Blast, and that is with Calm and 80/176 investment. In short - there are no viable checks for Darkrai in OU. Nothing faster than it can OHKO it (Ninjask falls just short lol), and there is nothing that can reliably stop it from setting up and sweeping, or at least sleeping a pokemon and doing massive damage to a team. ResTalkers cannot stay in on Darkrai because of his ability slicing their health every turn, and by switching it is simply giving Darkrai an opportunity to stat up again.

Neither Gengar nor Alakazam can reliably get past Blissey withou Exploding or using a highly specialised set that is inefficient at sweeping. Like previously mentioned, they are also both taken out by strong priority users.

- A pokemon is characterised as being uber if it can consistently set up a situation in which it makes it substantially easier for other pokemon to sweep

This is more of a side note, but Darkrai can make it considerably easier for other pokemon on its team to sweep by crippling their counters. Dark Void's great accuracy means that this can be done consistently. In addition, Darkrai is one of the very few pokemon that can reliably inflict any of the four primary status conditions (sleep, paralysis, poison and burn), the other pokemon being the Ralts line and the Drifloon line. Darkrai also has a very fast Taunt, and is can use Haze, albeit ineffectively.

---

I just wanted to get some real examples of these qualities that are being discussed, as it makes it a lot easier to relate to an actual pokemon than to figurative analogies.
 

Jumpman16

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I'm not saying that I'm going to do it. Though I can do a definition for the first two bolded sentences if I wanted to, it's a massively huge undertaking and I don't have the time for it. The third bolded sentence would be even harder to formalise, but it's also possible.
Nah, don't worry about it. The onus is on the community to make a compelling argument. We are already going out of our way to make a more concrete definition of uber, where I would argue that most of the competitively intelligent players don't really need a definition.

Ok, after very slight modifications of Tangerine's latest attempts at characteristics, we have:


Offensive Characteristic
A Pokémon is uber if it is capable of sweeping through a significant portion of teams in the Metagame with little effort.

Defensive Characteristic
A Pokémon is uber if a Pokemon is able to wall and stall out a significant portion of the metagame.

Support Characteristic
A Pokémon is uber if it can consistently set up a situation in which it makes it substantially easier for other pokemon to sweep.


My first instinct is that these may be too subjective to be unequivocally grasped by the entire community. But I am taken back to what I just stated above: it is the onus of the community to decide what "significant" means, and what constitutes "little effort", and how often something has to happen for it to have happened "consistently". That's said, let's tackle these one at a time and make them perfect.

Offensive Characteristic
A Pokémon is uber if it is capable of sweeping through a significant portion of teams in the Metagame with little effort.

Very early in this thread, we attempted to quantify "little effort" as it pertains to sweeping by stating "one turn of set up or less". We can now use X-Act's latest ETCS (Excel Type Coverage Sheet, lol I just liked saying "applet", it's a sexy word =/) to get a 100% objective measure of the extent to which the entire OC (Offensive Characteristic). I did append an "in common battle conditions" to my first two cracks at characteristics, and while you would think that "SR could be up" and "not all pokes always come in at 100%" go without saying, what we are trying to do with this thread here is make a definition that everyone can understand and apply at a glance, not just those who have been around competitive pokemon for years. So I think it's fair to put that in there for all three chars.

Anyway, while an attempt at making the characteristic objective, "one turn of set up or less" is probably too restrictive, since Bulk Up Dialga and CM Giratina both will need more than one turn to sweep through most of standard (Skarmory is only one pokemon so "significant portion of teams" still applies) but definitely won't have too much trouble doing that since like nothing in standard can kill them.

We can use the ETCS to determine just how much is enough damage literally to the metagame, even though this part could be left up to the responsible and informed voter's intuition. According to the ETCS, 359Atk/178SpA Garchomp would do 81.93% damage to the Dec07 Metagame with just EQ/Outrage/Fire Blast without even SDing. Fire Fang brings this down to 81.19%. If we believe that Yachechomp can easily get a SD (we do), then 98.01% is the damage output with Fire Fang (better than what Levitate Bronzong will now take from any attack). That 98.01% average damage output can be a benchmark of sorts, since it was in large part Yachechomp that pushed Garchomp over the uber edge. If we try to compare what an Adamant, Yache, 405Atk DD Salamence can do...we only get 95.36% with Earthquake/Outrage/Fire Blast after a DD (and 95.22% with Fire Fang).

Besides being a lower percentage, Salamence obviously has to contend with Stealth Rock where Chomp does not, and Salamence is more susceptible, with a 4HP/252Atk/252Spe spread at least, of being revenge killed than Garchomp by things like Scizor's Bullet Punch and Lucario's Extremespeed. But besides the beauty of the ETCS being able to literally quantify this stuff, the intuition of smart voters will likely triumph regardless...there is a reason that Salamence is not uber and Garchomp is, and that reason may be just that difference between 98.01% and 95.36%, and it may be greater.

The only thing left here is whether we want to make the distinction betweem "teams" in the metagame or "pokemon" in the metagame. Thinking about it in terms of teams is actually better, whether or not this was intended, for this reason: Tyranitar, Houndoom, Toxic Porygon2, Spiritomb, Gyarados and BP Togekiss may all stop Wobbuffet in its tracks, but...this is not a team of pokemon at all. If one has to throw the few counters a pokemon has together in order to make a "team" and this team has no cohesion, guess what? The offending pokemon is probably uber. It's definitely uber by this OC, anyway (and the above "team" is easily dispatched with by a simple Zapdos/Scizor combination).

So finally, we have:

Offensive Characteristic
A Pokémon is uber if, in common battle conditions, it is capable of sweeping through a significant portion of teams in the metagame with little effort.

Now onto the DC:

Defensive Characteristic
A Pokémon is uber if a Pokemon is able to wall and stall out a significant portion of the metagame.

Ok, this to me needs to be distinguished from support moves like Toxic Spikes, and to a lesser extent, Stealth Rock and Spikes. A Calm Mind/Rest/Sleep Talk/Roar 252HP/252Def/4Spe Bold Suicune might be a dick for a while, but it isn't going to be able to literally do anything unless all three of the entry hazards are in play. An example of this we've seen in practice is Stallrein, of course. With Protect/Sub/Blizzard/Roar in the Hail, Ice Body Walrein shits on pretty much the entire metagame with little effort at all, and doesn't need much of anything besides Hail to do consistent damage to a significant portion of the metagame. However, when you add "in common battle conditions" to this DC, it accounts for the fact that neverending Hail just is not very common in the metagame (Abomasnow was #61 in usage with the latest stats). This is a good example of how "in common battle conditions" accounts for the almost-loophole but obviously standard pokemon without going out of our way to ensure they are included.

Finally, one of my favorite Deoxys sets goes a good job in my opinion of being one of the best embodiments of the DC: Deoxys-D@Leftovers: Night Shade/Taunt/Recover/Thunderwave, "245 Speed". You aren't doing much to this pokemon if you get Thunderwaved because all your stupid shit will get Taunted. Pressure adds to the mix here...yes, Tyranitar and Scizor would make this poke have a tough time, but again, "significant portion of the metagame". I rest my case here:

Defensive Characteristic
A Pokémon is uber if, in common battle conditions, it is able to wall and stall out a significant portion of the metagame.

Finally, we have our SC:

Support Characteristic
A Pokémon is uber if it can consistently set up a situation in which it makes it substantially easier for other pokemon to sweep.


Okay. Light Screen and Reflect, etc. First of all, one of the first things that crosses my mind here while playing devil's advocate against these characteristics is why the end of this couldn't apply to "stall out a significant portion of the metagame", as in say Forretress were able to very reliably get Toxic Spikes and three layers of Spikes and SR down, and the above Suicune I talked about came in...which would be uber? I don't think either, because Suicune still needed a shitload of outside help to then attempt to stall...and I don't think it'd be able to pull that off too long and pass on the DC front. Tough to theorymon this but whatever. The point is Dual Screen Deoxys-S, and that it was able to do this thanks to Taunt and ridiculous Speed. The point here is Baton Pass Mew, and how Maniaclyrasist's BP uber team was almost too cheap for a broken "metagame". And the point here is that Smeargle cannot reliably Baton Pass Belly Drums to anything it wants to. The SC is therefore kind of self-explanatory—you either lend great support, like a brand-new Miracle Bra, or you will eventually get popped real bad like a catcher who forgot his cup calling for a low fastball.

So:

Support Characteristic
A Pokémon is uber if, in common battle conditions, it can consistently set up a situation in which it makes it substantially easier for other pokemon to sweep.

Ok I think that's pretty straightforward. Any comments?
 

Tangerine

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The only thing minor I'd like to go back and change is

A Pokémon is uber if, under common battle conditions, it can consistently set up a situation in which it makes it substantially easier for other pokemon to accomplish the first two characteristics of uber

Because i think we both made it clear in our descriptions that there's more than one way of obtaining victory conditions rather than just sweeping


 

Jumpman16

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Well as I hinted at in my explanation of the SC, I can't really conceive of a scenario where one single pokemon can help a pokemon have the DC by itself where that pokemon wouldn't pass on the DC front by itself. If we reword it the way you suggest it would sort of be a catch-all but I just don't think it's necessary.

I mean, ok, maybe Timid Mew Baton Passing Amnesias and Iron Defenses with the help of Taunt or Roost to a Roar/Protect/Rest/Dive Suicune...but this still needs all three entry hazards to actually inflict damage on stuff, definitely Toxic Spikes and definitely Stealth Rock at least (or things like Taunt Gyarados would set up all day). Meaning that, yes, Mew is uber, but Suicune by itself cannot pass on the DC front even when given support from a "SC uber" pokemon. See what I'm saying? And if Mew, an uber in standard play, is able to pass the same stuff to Lugia (it will be), which is also an uber in standard play...isn't Lugia uber without needing to get support from an uber? (it is)

Anyway, Doug or anyone else, I have not ignored your suggestions:

A pokemon may be uber if there is not an inverse relationship between its viability and predictability.

Do any of you think or still think that this is necessary, though, given the now-polished OC, DC and SC that we have? I'm not even remotely trying to snub the effort here, but succinctness and ease of application is paramount for our characteristics/definition, given our real target audience. If not, this thread has finally served its purpose, and we will finally have a definition of uber we can use from now on.


edit also:

the ratio of the amount of damage it can deal with the amount of damage it can withstand

Almost forgot about this, but the above still applies. Can anyone think of pokemon or scenarios that indicate this is still needed? I will point out that the ETCS does a perfect job of detailing the "damage it can deal" part, where I think it can be left up to the responsible voter to determine "how much damage a 358HP/226Def/206SpD/333Spe Yache Garchomp can withstand" in the standard metagame, or "how much damage a 332HP/196Def/196Def/299Spe Salamence can withstand" in the standard metagame. One person can start to quantify how likely Ice Shard and Extremespeed and Stealth Rock are in an attempt to create a defensive equivalent to the ETCS, but I don't think that's worth it, especially when you start to consider that things like "Scarf HP Ice Gengar" would make such a defensive equivalent all that much harder to quantify. Again, "onus in on the community", etc
 

X-Act

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I really like Doug's post. Actually I really like both of his posts. In layman's terms, his definition can be worded as "A Pokemon is uber if you cannot prevent it from winning the game for your opponent even though you know what it's going to do". He mentions YacheChomp and Wobbuffet as excellent examples of such Pokemon.

I think Doug's definition is a natural consequence of at least one of OC/DC/SC. If a Pokemon has an offensive characteristic, then its usage will continue to rise despite it employing virtually the same strategy over and over to sweep a team (and hence being predictable). Same for DC and for SC. In turn, such a Pokemon would lower the diversity numbers of that metagame, which shows that diversity numbers can help in determining whether a Pokemon is uber or not.

The problem with Doug's definition is that viability and predictability can only be found after noting the stats changes over a period of time (one month at the very least). This is a problem with diversity numbers as well. However, this can be used to complement the OC/DC/SC definitions nicely. By viewing its statistics (increase in usages over time despite a predictable moveset), you can confirm that a Pokemon labeled as uber by OC/DC/SC is indeed uber.
 

Jumpman16

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Yeah, and that's why I think that the idea behind those suggestions shouldn't be forgotten. I just think, like you, that Doug's definition is inherently a byproduct of the OC DC and SC, and not necessarily needed in that regard.
 

Tangerine

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I got an interesting PM

zorbees said:
I had a hypothetical scenario that I thought was relevant to the Portrait of an Uber thread.

"Suppose Pokemon A has a sufficient amount of checks to be not Uber. However, all of these checks are OHKO'd by Scarf Dugtrio. Furthermore, suppose the item Shed Shell does not exist."

In this scenario, would Pokemon A, Dugtrio, both, or neither be Uber? Dugtrio would fall under the Support category, as he makes it easier for Pokemon A to sweep. However, if Pokemon A was gone, Dugtrio wouldn't be as useful, since he wouldn't be a 100% way to start a sweep.

You may respond to this in either PM, or in the Portrait of an Uber thread, as I think it can promote interesting discussion and possibly refine the characteristics of an Uber. In my hypothetical scenario, Dugtrio is arguably Uber in the Support category, which could be cause to change the definition.
This goes along with Blame Game's last post in the SR thread. "Is the support Broken, or the Pokemon Broken"?

I'll toy with this and comment on DJD's characteristic a little later since I'm too incoherent atm
 
I got an interesting PM

This goes along with Blame Game's last post in the SR thread. "Is the support Broken, or the Pokemon Broken"?

I'll toy with this and comment on DJD's characteristic a little later since I'm too incoherent atm
I think the answer to the hypothetical is pretty obvious, actually. 'Scarf Dugtrio' would be considered Uber, and likely for more reasons than just support. Why?

Well, scarfed Dugtrio can't actually OHKO all that much in the first place. STAB Earthquake is really all it has, unless it can exploit a 4x weakness to rock or something (which means nothing with SR around). So, the pool of pokemon is limited to, more or less, whatever pokemon can be hit by ground moves and are also weak to said ground moves, or as defensively weak as 'zam is. If they're as defensively weak as most of the pool of pokemon who can be OHKOed by Adamant Dugtrio's EQ, you have to wonder how they're checking such a huge threat to begin with. So, the reasonable pokemon dwindle down to things like Heatran and Magnezone, which can realiably check/counter quite a few things due to their unique typings/abilities.

Basically, the amount of pokemon that fit the scenario are too few to actually provide checks to this mystery pokemon in the first place.

So, the only real way to make this scenario work would be for 'Scarf Dugtrio' to really be something with Arena Trap which is much more powerful. As 'trapping' abilities are rather limited, and it seems obvious that Dugtrio was only allowed to have Arena Trap because it's so completely weak, I can't envision this supposed pokemon to be anything even resembling balanced. It would have to be Uber on multiple levels in order to fit the hypothetical.

I mean, the only other way I can see the idea working is if the original threat has the ability: This pokemon's attacks are checked against the defending pokemon's relevant offensive stat, rather than it's defensive stat. Also, it would have to not be able to learn a powerful ground-type move. In that case, it turns the entire system on it's back, and I don't see why we should go through the time to put clauses in our definitions for such a wild scenario.


I think it's much better to use a realistic one, such as the one mentioned by Blame Game:

I also think that this could have immediate relevance when the time comes to vote on Latias; if one of the primary pro-ban arguments continues to be "the metagame is too centralized around dragons and steels," do we worry about Latias being banned despite perhaps being inferior to Salamence, who it arguably "consistently sets up a situation in which it makes it substantially easier to accomplish the first two characteristics of uber"?
To make this one work, we'd be considering a situation in which it's possible that the addition any 'good' dragon type would cause Salamence to reach Uber status. In that case, would it be mence simply because it is the most offensively fearsome of the dragons? Or, would it be the most recent dragon added, because 'things were fine before it came around'? Could you instead argue that it was Outrage or Draco Meteor which were actually causing the problems, and that banning those would make things more reasonable as far as steel overrepresentation goes? After all, lots of pokemon can take a +1 Dragon Claw and Ice Beam back for the kill, but can't handle a +1 Outrage or a Draco Meteor from the same attacker. These are important things to consider.

Of course, now we revisit the 'overcentralization' talk. Salamence would be 'uber' only due to the fact dragon-type moves are incredibly powerful and only resisted by one type. Basically, the theoretical would centralize the metagame around steel typing even moreso than it is already. It would be really hard to blame Salamence alone for this, even if it's removal would return the game to a more balanced state.

So, is there a culprit here to begin with; and if so, what is it?
 

Tangerine

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I think we need a decentralizing characteristic for some hypothetical cases. Meaning that, a Pokemon/move may centralize the metagame around it so much that other Pokemon suddenly can achieve the Offensive Characteristic. Meaning, it takes a significant effort for a player to deal with the threat at hand that other threats suddenly become more dangerous because the player can't deal with "all the threats".

Should we/can we work this potentially into the characteristics? Or would it be a "support" characteristic of some sort?
 

Jumpman16

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No, it's still just the SC. In addition to how little meaning we can still attribute to "overcentralizing", to suspect that Salamence is the real culprit with an actual Suspect pokemon supporting it that definitely seems to pass on the SC front, especially when Salamence itself has not changed in months, would be silly. And the key here is "seems to". We should not forget that these Suspect Tests are only a month long, as this is the most practical length of time given that we "don't have all generation" to address all the Suspects. Maybe Latias is uber on the SC front, maybe it isn't. This is something we likely can only determine for sure in Stage 3, where we will have at least 9-10 weeks to really see if a pokemon is really uber on any of the three fronts given how they performed in isolation. But the issue in two weeks, if people think there even is that issue, would definitely be with Latias and not Salamence. If Salamence is not able to prove itself uber if Latias does get banned to ubers till Stage 3, then Salamence is not uber (not the issue), and never was.

The only kind of "support" that would make Salamence or Kingdra or any other dragon stronger without actually using support moves like Light Screen, Reflect, and Baton Passing stat ups is the very real possibility that Latias's SC capabilities may not be realized in just one month and cannot be confined to just moves. But before anyone starts to decry the Suspect Test Process (again), I will remind you how long it took for Garchomp and Deoxys-S to both prove themselves to be uber. Given that we implemented the Platinum changes on the Smogon server less then four months ago and we needed more time than that to decide that both of those pokemon were uber, it stands to unarguable reason that the same may happen with Salamence in a few months, regardless of Latias's presence on the Suspect Ladder. Sometimes pokemon take months and months to reach their true potential, and this is just a natural aspect of competitive pokemon. If a Latias/Salamence tandem indicates that either of them are uber, we will do something about it if and when it happens, be that if Latias is given a Stage 2 OU tag, or if the next time they are together is in Stage 3. Or even after the metagame finally settles when we're done with th Suspect Test Process, which is improbable, but the point is that it's silly to not only think that such a late potential realization is out of the question but to think that such an issue wouldn't be addressed regardless.
 

DougJustDoug

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I think my definition is more of a metric for determining "WHEN a pokemon can somewhat objectively be considered uber", not a definition of "WHY a pokemon is uber." The OC/DC/SC strikes me as a decent definition of "why". My definition makes no attempt to reason why a pokemon in question is dangerous. It simply indicates that when a certain fundamental law of the metagame (the law of predictability/viability) can be observed to be broken -- then you probably have an uber on your hands. Beyond that, it makes no indications of how it came to be uber.

For a community looking for a common ground of discussing what makes a pokemon uber -- then the OC/DC/SC is a good way to do that. I do think it will still promote way too much subjective reasoning, and many users won't really comprehend the underlying meaning of the OC/DC/SC. But, I think that is probably unavoidable.
 

Jumpman16

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I suppose, but I think we've done as good a job "dumbing it down" as possible for those who would have trouble with the essence of the characteristics. When you remember that from now on voters are going to have to appeal to Aeolus and myself, you realize that the ability to state your case based on experiences is something that we can't *really* help anyone to a great deal with no matter what we do. That's not to say that I don't think this new Appeal Round is unfair—making your point with the written word is something that literally everyone has to do in order to gain entry to colleges in the form of essays. In this regard, it's serendipitous to me that we have referred to ourselves as Smogon University since our "inception" in 2004.

Anyway, Aeo's gonna read over this thread soon and weigh in, then I can see ourselves having our Characteristics and having succeeded in our goal.
 

Aeolus

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I've read this thread and largely agree with the summary posts that have been made. I must say, however, that I am of the persuasion that the distinction between OU and Uber is a bit more nebulous than we have led ourselves to believe. As such, I think that each player's prefered tiering for those pokemon on the border is, at bottom, swayed by personal game preferences and tastes. But hey, that is why we vote!

In the coming days, we will see how well players who achieve the numeric requirements are able to articulate their positions to earn voting rights.
 

Jumpman16

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That we will. As for now, and as far as I'm concerned, we have reached our goal and succeeded in the most comprehensive and accurate definition of "Uber" that competitive pokémon has even known. I'd like to profusely thank everyone who contributed to this effort. I strongly feel that what we are doing with the Suspect Test Process, with its goal of making the game better, is by far the most important thing anyone in the community can be involved with, and is unlike anything anyone has ever both seen and attempted in the decade we've been playing this fantastic game competitively. Let this be the first of many successes we can all delight in together as a community.

For posterity:


Offensive Characteristic

A Pokémon is uber if, in common battle conditions, it is capable of sweeping through a significant portion of teams in the metagame with little effort.

Defensive Characteristic
A Pokémon is uber if, in common battle conditions, it is able to wall and stall out a significant portion of the metagame.

Support Characteristic
A Pokémon is uber if, in common battle conditions, it can consistently set up a situation in which it makes it substantially easier for other pokemon to sweep.


I'm closing and sticking this thread to give our accomplishment the sense of finality it deserves.
 
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