Proposal Post-Volc-Ban SV OU Meta Analysis & Tiering Proposal

CTC

I COULD BE BANNED!
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Quite a while has passed since the controversial volcarona suspect process during which I, a shining voice of reason in SV OU, was wrongfully banned according to many. To address the ramifications of the metagame shift since the (wrongful) volc ban, I will analyze trends and data from SPL and WCOP up to R1 to explain why the balance of the meta has shifted in the direction of unhealthy and overcentralizing.

SPL XV vs WCOP (up to R1) Usage
spl usage.png
wcop usage.png


Comparing SPL and WCOP up to R1 usage stats, we get similar aggregate numbers with about 100 more games for WCOP at 386 vs 470, making it a valid comparison.

SPL Analysis
Atop of SPL usage we have an obvious physical dominance structure, with #1 tusk, #2 gambit, #3 mixpult most of the time, #6 zama, #7 physical lando even tho less popular than ep at the time, #8 moon, #9 woger, #10 mostly mixval since knock was an auto include. This means that only ghold and gking are not mixed or physically biased but even gking runs shock often. Zama is key here being just good enough to check the physical guys below it and the top 2 splashable mons but itself being checked well enough by pult, ghold, and gking right above it and lando right below it. Even the next 2 most popular mons are nite and scor which are physical.
There is a clear hierarchy of physical attackers and physical checks, with tusk, zama, and lando being atop the checks list to keep the gargantuan amount of physical attackers from going haywire. As a result, nobody boasted too obscene of a winrate, at least on the offensive side of the spectrum, with zama being the highest among top 10 usage mons partly due to its defensive prowess. On the special side, Gking’s solid claim to top 5 status and its near 55% winrate shows just how effective it is at solo gatekeeping much of the special offensive threats in the tier, further bolstered by volc at #14 and lu at tied #15. Volc and lu’s winrate being 55% and 60% respectively shows how effective they are at keeping special offensive threats at bay, illustrating the rule that bulkier mons like zama, volc, kyurem, lu, alo and company tend to have higher winrates while offensive threats atop the usage chart even out at just above 50%, with a slight bias against common setup ho threats such as moon at 39%, val at 49%, bolt at 47%, and gouging at 47%.
This is extremely logical because brainless setup spam mons should not be rewarded the consistency of 50%+ winrate, and bulky mons with outplay potential are rewarded with slightly above par winrate to reward patience and plays. Further, we see darkrai at around 7% usage due to the amount of bulk this metagame has alongside an ho heavy top half of the meta, causing it to face stiff competition from pult, zama, roaring moon, deoxys, volc, and so on. Its usage is also impeded by enamorus and clodsire right below it, making it a niche pick with high reward for hitting the tech (60% winrate). Lastly, stall hovers around 4.66% to 5% usage as clod is slightly more splashable than dozo/dirge on non full stall.

WCOP Analysis
With the advent of volc's departure from OU, WCOP meta sees the removal of a cornerstone species in the meta and a huge shift in paradigm. Since, ghold, zama, rai, and moth shot straight up in usage, absolutely usurping the previous pecking order. The emergence of this special spam meta saw drastic changes for these mons, as ghold rose 30% in usage, moth shot up an astounding 136% in usage, bolt gained a hefty 19%, while rai took flight for an absurd 226% rise in usage. Now i'm no statistician or anything, but if as soon as one singular mon was removed and all special setup guys gain ludicrous usage and win rates to the point where darkrai is now considered borderline broken with its unmatched utility, breaking power, and ability to run greedy sets like wisp 3 or knock 3 now, I would take a wild guess that perhaps the ban was a bit shortsighted and that tiering action is needed.
Without the premier offensive check to special threats in the meta, we see special spam stacks run over the previous stalwarts of spdef such as gking, who despite barely falling in usage has tumbled from 5th to 8th highest (indicating centralization), in addition to dropping nearly 10% in winrate, effectively announcing its falloff as the premier spdef wall. Lu suffered a similar fate as its usage slipped a tad in concert with a 4% slide in winrate. This is a clear indication that the premier special walls in the meta are not able to hold off the assault of special stack teams utilizing darkrai, as it can knock, wisp, np, or simply abuse coverage to toolkit its way around almost every defensive anti special measure in the game. Further, without volc to deter these toolkit special attackers, utility special guys run amok. Ghold/rai/val/deos have item removal capabilities, rai/ghold/val/kyu are able to hit both def and spdef, and much of the meta is lacking counterplay to special biased offensive mons. In this sense, volc is like the special version of zama with higher ceiling and lower floor – it may sweep more often with its various options for defensive tera flip and offensive tera coverage, but that comes at the cost of being useless more often than zama is. However, the defensive profile of volc which deters special spam back rows is something the metagame sorely misses.
As it stands, there are hardly any drawbacks for stacking val + moth or ghold + rai for offensive/defensive synergy in one, whereas in the last meta those combos were just asking to get reverse swept by a snowballing volc. Moreover, the lack of need for volc countermeasures has allowed special setup mons to go greedier and tech breaking sets. Whereas mons needed to account for the volc countersweep and tech wave ghold or liquidation val, now coverage setup is free real estate in the meta.
Currently, the best defensive measures to special setup spam are offensive checks that are faster/have prio or tanks that trade; dnite being a catchall with access to prio and a body that tanks and trades vs most special setup, earning it a 36% increase in usage and also a near 6% winrate increase, which is the clearest indication that we are in full offense meta. To further exacerbate the unfair advantage that offense is privileged with (and setup mons in general), we see the unaware mons of OU shrink to 4% usage (dirge), 3.4% usage (dozo), and 2.98% usage (clod). Dirge saw the 13% slide in usage come with a 10+% rise in winrate, indicating that unaware is still viable, just not in full stall form but sprinkled into bo. Dozo dropped a whopping 27% in usage and 10% in winrate, while clod saw a 48% tumble in stock, causing investors to abandon it in a panic. Its winrate shrank 2% as well. This means the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. Special threats like ghold, rai, val, deos, bolt, kyurem are all packed with tools to deal with defensive measures such as gking, lu, dirge and clod, either knocking/tricking them, statusing them, hitting them supereffectively/mixed, or straight up being super effective vs them. This divide between defensive measures and setup special offensive threats has been magnified to comedic levels, with setup offensive guys posting extremely centralizing usage stats of 20% and high teens while still scoring well over 50% winrate, while most defensive measures tumbled in both usage and winrate.
If stall/fat with unaware tools is the main deterrent to set up offense, and the former got significantly worse while the latter got significantly better, can we really say the volc ban made a positive impact on the metagame? Volc used to be the special counterpart to zama, not only stopping sweeps from things like ghold/val/kyurem/moth but also running over setup stack teams with a greedy back row and lacking in utility. Now, we only have the option of using physical attackers such as roar zama, multiscale + prio nite, fast encore val, and some ol reliables such as gambit, salt, and lu to deal with special attackers, most of them being setup sweepers themselves which perpetuates the cycle of setup into setup into setup. A metagame where mindless set up drones can have absurd usage and winrate is not a good look, as offensive mons across the board have gained usage and winrate after the volc ban.
The rock paper scissors relation between darkrai, ghold, and zama further creates a feedback loop boosting the usage of all 3. Ghold’s insanely low opportunity cost to use causes a steady decline in pult usage, and rai competing with pult for the special utility slot shaves more usage off of it, making zama better. In short, the balance of top speedy mons has been broken as zama/ghold/rai, the trio that was once held back by king mothra, is eating off of everyone’s plate right now in an excessive manner. Greedy kyurem with the ability to run mixed ice dd or straight up mixed sets causes fat to slip even further, and this is not something that can be fixed unless we look to ban more mons in order to curb their culling of defensive mons.

Verdict:
the usage stats indicate an offensive, setup heavy meta where setup is king and anti setup teams utilizing hazard pressure is prince, with pretty much everything else lagging behind, and stall on the shortbus trailing the entire crowd outside a couple mu fish opportunities. Should we eject mons such as rai and kyurem, the meta may turn into a gliscor gking jerk fest of tanky pivots akin to last WCOP/OLT cycle's zap gking lu jerkfest, which diminished diversity. I mean come on, moth has essentially replaced volc in its offensive presence to some degree, but nothing can fill the defensive role and threat of snowballing unique to og volc with its longevity and versatility. I mean as much as people disliked the so called ‘mu moth’, is praying that the other moth doesnt boost 2x in a row that much better? If we complain about tera blast, the absurd dnite usage is still there to revenge most volcs. If we complain about flame body, well, moltres has taken the role as a literal flame body ability on a uturn motor, sporting an impressive 65% winrate to provide cheese fish even in the absence of volc. The fact that darkrai usage shot up literally 200+% and ghold skyrocketing despite ALREADY BEING TOP 5 is the surest indication that the volc ban broke something in the balance of the metagame. If we aim to fix things and bring back some semblance of parity to styles and encourage diversity, action must be taken.

Below is my proposal to fix the tier, with 3 tiers of goals from most urgent/realistic to something further down the line and more bold, like asking for complex bans after tiering has only existed for 20 years, I know, a man can dream

Primary Goal:
Retest volcarona, with tera blast staying in the tier. A retest would free the meta from ghold, rai, and za over centralization and show the healthy aspects of volcarona rather than letting voters take meaningless surveys and get egged on to believe that some mons are ‘overpowered’ in a meta where parity and balance had already been achieved. No shade to the tiering council though, everyone makes mistakes, and one of them is trying to fix what ain’t broken. This requires the least amount of tiering action and simply frees volc back into the meta to combat the cancer that is the new big three at high 20% usage apiece (ghold, za, rai).

Secondary Goal:
Quick unban volcarona + regieleki, ban tera blast. This opens the door for less so called cheese and mu fish and adds another valuable spinner/anti booster and anti offense mon in regieleki to bolster diversity. This idea may take away some key elements in mons’ toolkits such as ground on moth/dd kyu, ghost on band pult, fairy on gambit, stellar blast contrary duo, and random ice coverage from things like shocks or things that need to hit gliscor. However, it is overall a fair change that minimally impacts already underpowered mons while mildly inconveniencing good mons running alt sets. This opens the door for an easier time in the builder and keeps our metagame diverse with volc, eleki both being good into the current big 3 while possibly reviving pult due to its favorable mu vs these 2 drops, further weakening the centralization of the big 3.

Tertiary Goal:
Regardless of the above actions, I feel like palafin deserves a retest. Underwhelming speed and no 2 stage boosting means that its gargantuan power is not instantly overwhelming like urshifu rapid strike, while dragons + woger can keep this mon in check plenty well. Bulk and prio are also very much appreciated in the current meta as it can even serve as a deterrent for volc should we take the approach in the primary goal. Next, we must look into banning decidedly broken signature moves that relegate the likes of arch/ursa-bm/annihilape to ubers purgatory where they are infinitely less cheap than actual ubers but too broken (due to their literal ONE OBVIOUS overpowered signature aspect) for ou. Like come on its literally called a SIGNATURE MOVE cuz it is the epitome of special treatment. Get rid of it and these ou-compatible mons will make the tier more diverse and colorful. The goal of tiering is to promote parity and diversity, after all. Last but not least, we should look into banning stored power to free magearna. Stored is legit only used on like 2 mons, latias and crown, both of which are screens/veil cheesers that add nothing cerebral to the game. Even without stored, i'm sure they have their own niches, such as crown's pivot role. With this change, we can have magearna down in OU to be a blanket check to a myriad special threats while also boosting diversity as it has a niche that nobody can fulfill, not even its cousin tinkaton. Further down the line we can consider testing more former ubers, but I strongly believe that borderline ubers mons without a cheap instaclick button such as high damage/high coverage mons in the league of chien pao/chiyu deserve to be looked into, such as terapagos locked out of tera stellar. That alongside regi would bring the amount of OU eligible spinners to 4, combatting gholdengo’s dominance.

TLDR: Free volc for the sake of metagame balance and undo our mistake, discuss banning terablast and freeing eleki, then down the line test palafin, ursa/arch/mag/terapagos without the obvious singular broken aspect of their kit.​
 
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Finchinator

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Volcarona’s ban was no mistake; it got 76% ban votes across a 160+ person sample of suspect voters. There was no correlation found between GXE of suspect voters and ban votes either before people claim the suspect was too easy (another topic altogether) and the results were unfairly skewed.

To add onto this, we saw the biggest improvement in metagame enjoyment and competitiveness from our qualified demographic in our recent tiering survey we had seen all generation. This included a lot of people who played WCoP SV OU and many who played SPL SV OU. Volcarona’s ban was the only tiering change across that span, so there’s some correlation there.

The reality is that a lot of great, active players found Volcarona to be broken in the metagame and wanted it to be removed from the tier, so that happened as a result of the suspect process. That is the process working as intended, not a mistake.

—-

Sometimes there are indirect consequences of bans such as other Pokemon or trends popping up as problems later. That just means that we need to look into solutions of those. If Volcarons got 76% support to be removed from the metagame and qualified players find the metagame much better without it than with it, unbanning Volcarona without actual support or time having passed isn’t the solution we are looking for. You don’t unban broken to check broken; you look for the broken and remove it.

The solution would be to remove the things currently problematic in the tier or let the metagame settle further. Personally I want to suspect Darkrai (as do at least a handful of other council members as of now) as it feels close to broken and the community supports this given the data we have and recent discussions, but this is just one approach and others are valid as well.

You may say banning Darkrai makes bulkier Pokemon like Gliscor or Slowking-Galar a problem, but that’s not relevant to this current situation. You do not tier out of fear for the future or theorymon. You address the metagame one step at a time and let it settle. If more bans or unbans are needed, you handle it on a case-by-case basis from there. You cannot withhold tiering action that is needed and end up with an oversaturated metagame with numerous potentially broken Pokemon.

Obviously you’re entitled to argue Volcarona is not broken or Darkrai is not broken — all the power to you and I am happy to test/retest anything the community wants at the appropriate time, but taking a step backwards right now would be ill advised.
 

TPP

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A metagame where mindless set up drones can have absurd usage and winrate is not a good look
This is literally what Volcarona is most known for in every generation of OU it's been apart of barring gen 8, mostly due to a lack of gimmick for it to abuse and no Hidden Power.

That being said, I personally (just me and not speaking on behalf of the council) am interested in the potential of a Tera Blast ban as well as a Stored Power ban. Those 2 moves in this generation especially maximize the odds for mons to cheese through opponents with ease. Tera Blast was previously brought up here, but Stored Power hasn't had its own PR thread, and I would be interested in seeing how others view it. In other gens it's not hard to keep a Dark-type around to try and handle a Stored Power sweeper, but with tera in the equation, the Dark-type might end up being setter fodder instead, and there's not much you can do. I think it's not unreasonable to at least discuss in the near future, so I'll just leave it at that.

I'm probably gonna get hit by a "dude imagine complaining about stored power lol" but I don't care, and if you don't see it as problematic, then that's your opinion and that's totally fine. I want to hear what others say whether it's for or against Tera Blast and Stored Power in a respectful way and hope something productive comes out of it. That's all.

Have a nice day.
 

CTC

I COULD BE BANNED!
is a defending SPL Championis a Two-Time Past SPL Championis a Two-Time Past WCoP Champion
Big Chungus Winner
Volcarona’s ban was no mistake; it got 76% ban votes across a 160+ person sample of suspect voters. There was no correlation found between GXE of suspect voters and ban votes either before people claim the suspect was too easy (another topic altogether) and the results were unfairly skewed.

To add onto this, we saw the biggest improvement in metagame enjoyment and competitiveness from our qualified demographic in our recent tiering survey we had seen all generation. This included a lot of people who played WCoP SV OU and many who played SPL SV OU. Volcarona’s ban was the only tiering change across that span, so there’s some correlation there.

The reality is that a lot of great, active players found Volcarona to be broken in the metagame and wanted it to be removed from the tier, so that happened as a result of the suspect process. That is the process working as intended, not a mistake.

—-

Sometimes there are indirect consequences of bans such as other Pokemon or trends popping up as problems later. That just means that we need to look into solutions of those. If Volcarons got 76% support to be removed from the metagame and qualified players find the metagame much better without it than with it, unbanning Volcarona without actual support or time having passed isn’t the solution we are looking for. You don’t unban broken to check broken; you look for the broken and remove it.

The solution would be to remove the things currently problematic in the tier or let the metagame settle further. Personally I want to suspect Darkrai (as do at least a handful of other council members as of now) as it feels close to broken and the community supports this given the data we have and recent discussions, but this is just one approach and others are valid as well.

You may say banning Darkrai makes bulkier Pokemon like Gliscor or Slowking-Galar a problem, but that’s not relevant to this current situation. You do not tier out of fear for the future or theorymon. You address the metagame one step at a time and let it settle. If more bans or unbans are needed, you handle it on a case-by-case basis from there. You cannot withhold tiering action that is needed and end up with an oversaturated metagame with numerous potentially broken Pokemon.

Obviously you’re entitled to argue Volcarona is not broken or Darkrai is not broken — all the power to you and I am happy to test/retest anything the community wants at the appropriate time, but taking a step backwards right now would be ill advised.
If we are going by votes and people's sentiments, gouging fire would have been wrongfully banned. It was only after I spoke out vocally and rallied a change in opinion that the masses realized their mistake and voted overwhelmingly DNB, a strict 180. Who is to say that if I were allowed to post, volc could not have met the same fate?
If we are to look at survey results, even the qualified ones, this post, this post, and this post are examples that retroactively show how little the masses know about what is actually broken and needs tiering action, as all the borderline ubers that eventually got banned from ou received lower scores than shit like moon with a whopping 30 odd tour winrate and little old volcarona with around the same usage and winrate as kyurem. To respond to your argument about 'You don’t unban broken to check broken; you look for the broken and remove it', how was volc deemed broken in the first place? Neither absurd usage nor outstanding winrate elevated volc above the crowd, and this is a mon that was historically high winrate and difficult to prepare against, but we have allowed it from gen 5 to 8 without having to consult the so called 'qualified' public, which had zama-crowned and urshifus at 2 point something on the ban scale compared to volc's 3.66 btw. Therefore, this mon was basically banned on sentiment alone rather than facts, no matter what the '76%' majority suggests.
The problem with democracy is that most voters are, lets just say, uninformed and lack foresight, which is why we have representative democracy, and who am I to question the founding fathers.

Further, the ban-happy attitude perpetuated by constantly rolling out surveys and questionnaires is directly against the correct path of representative democracy in which the knowledgable members of OU council should use their expertise to parse and filter information from the masses, rather than leave the tiering load to the masses. Think of the average player and their opinion, and realize half of the player base is even less astute than that.

Lastly, this trigger happy ban-first attitude is unintelligent and too micro-focused, rather than having a macro picture of the metagame. If after my entire post showing the macro effects of volc ban causing a collapse in the established hierarchy and creating an unhealthy trend, and people still think that banning more shit will have the desired and predicted effects without unintended consequences, then the plot is lost and we will just lose more and more playable mons in this already limited and top-heavy metagame.

To respond to TPP
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If we look at the stats, volc had pretty good usage and winrate but definitely did not tower over the crowd. It held back the mass special guys keeping them around 50% winrate, and as close as the masses are to this benchmark the more parity we have in the tier. With volc gone, many more things rose in usage AND winrate exceeding 50%. This is the equivalent of zama having a comfortable 54% winrate which may seem excessive, but it holds other setup physical sweepers such as gambit, tusk, other za, nite etc to reasonable winrates around 50%. Volc did the same for the special side of the metagame, but let so called 'qualified voters' tell you it's 'i got swept by random tera blast from volc so we must get rid of it', just for ghold and rai which are universally good vs all to become kings and make EVERYBODY else worse off. There is a reason why volc had never had tiering action 5-8, because it is an indispensable part of the ecosystem whose niche nobody else can replace.

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It is no secret that I am vehemently against randomly surveying the entire player base for opinions. I also think the requirements to have valid opinions should be higher to avoid mob mentality at the bottom. Some may call me elitist, but am I crazy for still believing in merit? If you retroactively parse through the results of every survey, what people consider broken has not only been straight up comically wrong, but also all over the place with a clear lack of consistency.
Consider this my application to be a member of the OU tiering council, either in addition or to replace players who are no longer in touch with the metagame. My correct assessment of gouging fire's place in the metagame, alongside my warnings about post-volc ban centralization are, not to self glaze, quite prescient. Further, my resume of creating some of the most metagame defining teams surely qualifies me for the position, and I hope that management duly considers my proposal, as I only want to make the metagame more diverse, fair, and most importantly fun.
 
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Finchinator

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Gouging Fire rightfully remained unbanned. It’s a good example of why we don’t just go strictly off of surveys and why we are doing surveys less often now (see: 4 months between surveys rather than 1-2). Public data is good, but relying on it too much is a fool’s errand. It is up to the council to make final calls, not surveys.

I think it was awesome that you and others used your platforms to speak out, help change the metagame, etc. during the Gouging Fire suspect — this is the suspect process working as intended with people who wanted it to stay participating, leading to it remaining in the tier. A suspect isn’t a failure if it doesn’t result in change, especially when metagames evolve by trends and not just bans.

Volcarona is an entirely different Pokemon though and it’s not on the metagame to come to a halt because you were banned; I say this with all due respect, but no single person can dictate an entire metagame. Voters are entitled to make their own decisions based off of their own experience. Volcarona actually scored much lower on surveys (another reason why slowing down surveys was for the best), but managed to get banned by a very convincing margin. We can’t just ignore or overturn a 76% vote followed by people saying they like the tier better — that would be malpractice. I think either tiering admin would agree that a Volcarona retest would be on the table down the line, but trying again immediately after a 76% ban would be manipulative. I’m open minded to any test or retest at the right time though.
respond to your argument about 'You don’t unban broken to check broken; you look for the broken and remove it', how was volc deemed broken in the first place? Neither absurd usage nor outstanding winrate elevated volc above the crowd
To answer this on behalf of myself and the many people who voted ban: usage rate has very little correlation to brokenness and win-rate is similar. I understand you like these metrics, but they’re far from the full story. Taking a look at the burden Pokemon put on team construction and the shift in counterplay across variants is very relevant. Numerous Pokemon have been banned while being UU in usage (Espathra this generation, Deoxys-D in BW, etc.) or having under 50% win-rates. Should we look into all of these cases as well?

In short, I appreciate you taking a look at the statistics and win rates. It’s cool to see a top player analyzing trends in public and your passion is infectious, but I don’t think the conclusions you draw are fully backed by the data you use to justify it.
The goal of tiering is to promote parity and diversity, after all.
Finally (thanks to Ubers TL Aberforth for bringing this up to me), I just want to point out that this isn’t really true. The goal of tiering is to have a competitive metagame, which is usually defined by the better player winning more often than they otherwise would. There can be a connection between this and a diverse, varied metagame, but that’s not often the case. Some of the best historical OUs are centralized and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. This is a large part of why relying on sheer usage numbers for any component of a brokenness (or lack thereof) argument isn’t always ideal.
 

MANNAT

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While I can appreciate CTC's unique approach to tiering and his success in the tier, the logic in his post is pretty flawed. I'll start with the bedrock of his argument, which is extrapolating metagame trends from usage stats and win rate data.
Comparing SPL and WCOP up to R1 usage stats, we get similar aggregate numbers with about 100 more games for WCOP at 386 vs 470, making it a valid comparison.
The number of players starting SV OU in WCOP is 100, compared to the 40 players starting in SPL. Additionally, the SPL sample size stretches across 9-11 for each team, so individual players have a larger representation within that sample. A tour with over twice as many players is going to have a lower average quality of play as well as a wider range of skill levels. These factors result in win rates and usage stats being skewed and unreliable.
The emergence of this special spam meta saw drastic changes for this mons, as ghold rose 30% in usage, moth shot up an astounding 136% in usage, bolt gained a hefty 19%, while rai took flight for an absurd 226% rise in usage.
As I mentioned above, the WCOP sample size is unreliable, and you exacerbated this issue by including data from qualifiers, which featured a number of players that did not play in the main event, and only played a couple games. That being said, dramatic changes in usage are a regularity between metagames. Between SPL and WCOP usage stats in 2022, Tapu Fini usage dropped by 239% without any bans or DLCs making significant changes to the metagame. I opted to use data from 2022, rather than 2023 because an influx of new Pokémon disrupted the metagame after SPL that year.
we see special spam stacks run over the previous stalwarts of spdef such as gking, who despite barely falling in usage has tumbled from 5th to 8th highest (indicating centralization), in addition to dropping nearly 10% in win rate
Similarly, in the same 2022 data set, Garchomp's win rate dropped by over 10% between SPL and WCOP while maintaining pretty consistent usage. This is not to mention your point about Ting Lu's win rate dropping by 4%, which is pretty much completely irrelevant and par for the course in tour-to-tour win rate stats.

I'm not really here to argue about the broken-ness of different Pokémon, due to my lack of credentials in the tier, but let's be sure to mind the limitations of the data we're using when constructing arguments.
 

ausma

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I've been an extremely vocal advocate for the banning of Tera Blast since day one. I will not make it a secret that CTC's second proposal is one I align with quite heavily, as I do believe if you subtract the polarity and fishing qualities involved with Pokemon like Volcarona you end up having something with a net positive influence on the tier. I also feel non-Tera Blast Regieleki does something similar. In that regard I sympathize with CTC's argument and I will be continuing to advocate for action on Tera Blast.

This tier's state of balance is arguably one of the most divisive we've seen since CG BW imo. Many people think the state of the tier is excellent, others think it is fundamentally irreparable, and nearly everyone dissents on what the "issue" of the tier is, if there even is one. The fact we've recently been seeing very proximal survey answers around standout Pokemon I think is pretty telling of that. Hell, even in the council there is a good deal of dissent. I personally view Kyurem as the most problematic element of the tier subtracting Tera Blast, while others have commented on Darkrai and Zamazenta. It's for that reason that I think moving the needle in a major direction is just not really super feasible without a massive shift in the status quo. Tiering exists with precedent and is done the way it is for a reason; we all may have personal desires for what an ideal metagame would look like, but at the end of the day it's important that we recognize that the hundreds and even thousands of perspectives on the metagame ultimately help shape its identity and its sense of balance. We progress toward stability by assessing what has a positive and negative influence on the tier. We do this by understanding the in-battle and teambuilder-based dynamics we can observe in real time, and taking things one step at a time by having this up-to-date information to inform decisionmaking.

I would argue this is really why Volcarona was even suspected in the first place over Tera Blast. Tera Blast was ultimately shown to be a more divisive subject, and the sentiment against Volcarona's impact on the tier was far more agreed upon. This support was not only given by people who thought Tera Blast was the incorrect target, but included proponents of targeting Tera Blast like myself. More people found Volcarona to be the problem, and so we acted on that with reinforced reasoning. Surveys are used in the way they are because they are maybe the most empirical possible way to assess what deserves closer attention versus what should be deprioritized, as well as understanding how decisions impact the tier in the long run. We can talk about whether or not Tera Blast or Volcarona is the problem all day, but the fact of the matter is that this decision was a net positive for most people, and they have given us direct evidence that they feel as though the tier is in a better place because of this informed, deliberate decision. Regardless of tiering semantics, that is an important thing to work toward, and is what tiering ultimately aims to accomplish while aggregating as many perspectives as possible. That is how we manage to progress positively while operating on the scale that we do.

That isn't to say we should just charge blindly forward and not undo anything. The power of hindsight is obviously important and I think it's good to exercise, as we have with Volcarona's quickban earlier this generation. If Tera Blast continues to rear its ugly head (it still has honestly) and becomes widely considered as uncompetitive, then that hindsight absolutely can play a role in how we assess past subjects that made use of it like Volcarona. That extra layer of information can allow us to look back on previous decisions affected by a future ban, and then ascertain its merits with the current metagame in context. But in doing it in this way, the metagame is in a better and in a more-agreeably balanced state over a longer period of time, and that is important when you put into context the sheer quantity of major tournaments that this tier is involved with and how many people play it. My point is that it's important to have a balance of hindsight and empirical measurement; unchecked hindsight can lead to sloppy assessment and less reinforced decisions that ultimately are more likely to throw the tier out of balance.

To put this in perspective, it's not that I disagree with your assessment, CTC. It's more that I disagree with how rapidly you propose it should occur. It's important that we make decisions deliberately such that the metagame can remain widely considered as competitive for a longer period of time while still making major improvements in a meaningful way.
 

CTC

I COULD BE BANNED!
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Big Chungus Winner
Gouging Fire rightfully remained unbanned. It’s a good example of why we don’t just go strictly off of surveys and why we are doing surveys less often now (see: 4 months between surveys rather than 1-2). Public data is good, but relying on it too much is a fool’s errand. It is up to the council to make final calls, not surveys.

I think it was awesome that you and others used your platforms to speak out, help change the metagame, etc. during the Gouging Fire suspect — this is the suspect process working as intended with people who wanted it to stay participating, leading to it remaining in the tier. A suspect isn’t a failure if it doesn’t result in change, especially when metagames evolve by trends and not just bans.

Volcarona is an entirely different Pokemon though and it’s not on the metagame to come to a halt because you were banned; I say this with all due respect, but no single person can dictate an entire metagame. Voters are entitled to make their own decisions based off of their own experience. Volcarona actually scored much lower on surveys (another reason why slowing down surveys was for the best), but managed to get banned by a very convincing margin. We can’t just ignore or overturn a 76% vote followed by people saying they like the tier better — that would be malpractice. I think either tiering admin would agree that a Volcarona retest would be on the table down the line, but trying again immediately after a 76% ban would be manipulative. I’m open minded to any test or retest at the right time though.

To answer this on behalf of myself and the many people who voted ban: usage rate has very little correlation to brokenness and win-rate is similar. I understand you like these metrics, but they’re far from the full story. Taking a look at the burden Pokemon put on team construction and the shift in counterplay across variants is very relevant. Numerous Pokemon have been banned while being UU in usage (Espathra this generation, Deoxys-D in BW, etc.) or having under 50% win-rates. Should we look into all of these cases as well?

In short, I appreciate you taking a look at the statistics and win rates. It’s cool to see a top player analyzing trends in public and your passion is infectious, but I don’t think the conclusions you draw are fully backed by the data you use to justify it.

Finally (thanks to Ubers TL Aberforth for bringing this up to me), I just want to point out that this isn’t really true. The goal of tiering is to have a competitive metagame, which is usually defined by the better player winning more often than they otherwise would. There can be a connection between this and a diverse, varied metagame, but that’s not often the case. Some of the best historical OUs are centralized and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. This is a large part of why relying on sheer usage numbers for any component of a brokenness (or lack thereof) argument isn’t always ideal.
To address Finch:
The 'volcarona is completely different and game altering like nothing we have seen before' argument does not hold up.
It is very much in the same boat with gouging fire, having the bulk to set up multiple times and having tech sets to deal with counters like swipe gouging for physical checks/dtail for phazing checks/tera flip for status checks. In volc's case, tera blast is the offensive way it handles its checks. People are always averse to bulky set up wincons since they are difficult to kill and can sweep according to their user's tempo, making it reactive to play into them. In this case, both mons even share a fire typing. No offense taken by you saying no single person can dictate an entire metagame, I am but a cog in the SV machine doing my part to shape it. However, I must beat the dead horse and use the gouging precedent to show that quite literally one person turned the entire attitude on gouging 180 degrees and shifted majority sentiment from ban to dnb. The 76% rate on volc is not something we haven't seen before, and it even mirrors the sentiments of the first volc ban circa last wcop, and many people including yourself have come forth after the fact to say that the decision was perhaps questionable, or at least controversial. Usage may not paint the whole picture, but it certainly illustrates trends and ideas. I used usage and winrate stats to support my argument for gouging being manageable too, and was met with the same criticism, so without using the only sort of objective statistical reference we have, how am I supposed to make any argument or analysis? I cannot simply rely on anecdotal/subjective conjecture that '76% of players THINK this thing is broken' or that players 'feel like the meta is more enjoyable' according to some survey. While flawed, statistical analysis is the closes we can get to an objective analysis on the metagame.

To refute the comparison with espathra and deod, both had been dropped into a new metagame for not that long which and both were favored by noobs which tanked the winrate, not to mention both supported brainless one trick strategies that are quite literally diametrically opposed to the definition you referenced from Aberforth as the goal of tiering, since espathra and deod are not only centralizing but allow the lesser skilled player to flowchart into wins. They are in no way comparable to volcarona which has been an established part of any OU meta since the Obama administration and conducive to helping the more skilled player win, granted it also has had cheese potential for as long as it's been around. This however is completely different from deod and espathra who are exclusively cheese.

Lastly, if the centralizing mons are good vs every style and can run generic sets, they are closer to being espathra and deod than they are to volc. With volc gone, the zama/ghold/rai big three are allowed to run generic sets and be splashable onto many teams, causing their usage to skyrocket and be spammed on many teams. While usage/winrate statistics may not be the end all be all, the picture they paint is nevertheless evident. By definition of 'the skilled player winning more often', shouldnt the better builder/player with the better techs and nuanced teambuilding win more often than the spammer of generic, good, splashable setup wincons like za/gho/rai? Finally, I do not use statistics to make the entire argument, they serve as a factual guide in assistance of my logical explanation as to why the metagame has become this way and what issues there are, the key being my own analysis and logic underlying the numbers.

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While I can appreciate CTC's unique approach to tiering and his success in the tier, the logic in his post is pretty flawed. I'll start with the bedrock of his argument, which is extrapolating metagame trends from usage stats and win rate data.
The number of players starting SV OU in WCOP is 100, compared to the 40 players starting in SPL. Additionally, the SPL sample size stretches across 9-11 for each team, so individual players have a larger representation within that sample. A tour with over twice as many players is going to have a lower average quality of play as well as a wider range of skill levels. These factors result in win rates and usage stats being skewed and unreliable. As I mentioned above, the WCOP sample size is unreliable, and you exacerbated this issue by including data from qualifiers, which featured a number of players that did not play in the main event, and only played a couple games. That being said, dramatic changes in usage are a regularity between metagames. Between SPL and WCOP usage stats in 2022, Tapu Fini usage dropped by 239% without any bans or DLCs making significant changes to the metagame. I opted to use data from 2022, rather than 2023 because an influx of new Pokémon disrupted the metagame after SPL that year.
Similarly, in the same 2022 data set, Garchomp's win rate dropped by over 10% between SPL and WCOP while maintaining pretty consistent usage. This is not to mention your point about Ting Lu's win rate dropping by 4%, which is pretty much completely irrelevant and par for the course in tour-to-tour win rate stats.

I'm not really here to argue about the broken-ness of different Pokémon, due to my lack of credentials in the tier, but let's be sure to mind the limitations of the data we're using when constructing arguments.
To address Mannat:
As I explained above statistical reference is not my end all be all for making my point, the majority of the heavy lifting being my logic chain and understanding of the meta and its checks/balances system. Again, I do understand the limitations of statistical analysis but there is hardly any other way to objectively substantiate my arguments, so instead of shitting on statistical analysis we should really look at the alternative ways in which one can make policy change arguments.... or the lack thereof.
While win rates and usage stats may not be absolutely reliable, the existence of a 'metagame' and team stealing or style imitation can illustrate the many trends going on from meta to meta. Also, these are tour players who have been vetted and drafted to play for their teams, despite the inconsistency in skill I still trust the pool of official tournament players to random OU posters who happened to breach the near nonexistent barrier of entry for voting reqs. The tapu fini anecdote can be true concurrent with my analysis of trends being forced by volc's ban decision, perhaps fini simply fell out of favor in a revolving metagame. This is no indictment on my logical analysis that the removal of the only offensive special check of the tier caused many of its previous victims to skyrocket in usage. Darkrai also went from marginal usage at 7% to the top of the charts, by no means a statistical blip but rather representative of general metagame shift trends. What was fini's usage in the 2 tours? Did it go from a top 10 favorite to falling completely out of favor? Did it go from relatively niche to very niche? There needs to be more context surrounding the statistics, which is why I accompany my statistical analysis with my own chain of logic and reasoning, which I put more weight into than mere numbers to argue my point.
We should not attack current attempts at finding solutions but try to contribute to a proactive course of action lest we want to become a caricature of a certain wojak that rhymes with dude disser.
 
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Srn

The Monstrous Bird of New England
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What CTC is proposing is an upheaval of our tiering philosophy at the end of the day.

How we normally do tiering is focus on banning mons first, then moves/items/etc next. This is because we tier pokemon based on usage, not moves/items/etc. The proposals of conditional bans run counter to this: Ban tera blast so that we can free volcarona, ban stored power so that we can free magearna, ban tera stellar so that we can free terapagos, etc. The collateral damage of these conditional bans is imo acceptable, but it would be completely different from what we've always done.

And frankly? I'm not totally opposed to it.

The Pokemon Company has been releasing absurdly powerful moves as of late (Fishous Rend in gen8 really just broke open the floodgates), to the point that our current tiering philosophy has led to some clunky decisions. My main example of this is the first Houndstone ban, rather than a ban on Last Respects. Anybody with over 4 neurons can tell you that Houndstone is solely broken due to LR. I know this because I remember the OU room (average 5 neurons) asked me over and over why Houndstone was banned instead of LR. The logic was "You cannot alienate a singular move as being banworthy if only a single Pokemon learns it; the necessary burden of proof for banning a move would be it directly causing multiple Pokemon to be banworthy."

But like...is it thooo? Did we really need MORE evidence that LR was causing Houndstone to be banworthy and nothing else? Did we reeeeaaally need Basculegion to show up with LR to be convinced that LR is the real issue? Come on folks, obviously not.

This isn't the only example of one absurdly powerful thing being almost solely responsible for causing a mon to be banworthy. Shed Tail broke Cyclizar and Orthworm, Tera Blast broke regieleki (and I'd argue Espathra/Volcarona as well), Electro Shot broke Archaludon, and you can argue tons of other fringe cases (tera stellar breaking terapagos, tera fire breaking firepon, Unburden breaking sneasler, etc)

I don't believe all of these cases to be as cut and dry as Last Respects; I don't even believe all of them are true. But I do not like how we handled it the first go around. OU Council at the time wasn't in the wrong, they were just following tiering policy. For next time, we should be more open to the idea of banning powerful moves, abilities, and items in the future FIRST before banning mons, because I am pretty sure TPC is just gonna keep pumping out more and more powerful moves, abilities, and items. In gen9 alone we got Torch Song (strictly better than Fiery dance), Flower Trick (better than all the high crit ratio moves), Aqua Step (better than flame charge/trailblaze) along with unprecedented bullshit like Ceaseless Edge, Stone Axe, Dire Claw, Triple Arrows and more. Imagine what gen 10 alone will bring. The Smogon community does its best to make a competitive game out of whatever bullshit we are given, and our tiering policy should evolve to keep up with new forms of bullshit coming our way.

None of this means that any of the 3 proposals in the OP are going to pass. But I want these 3 proposals to fail because the playerbase does not vote in favor of it, not because old tiering policy that hasn't kept up with modern powercreep shuts them down from the start.

Thanks for reading.
 
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MANNAT

Banned deucer.
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Again, I do understand the limitations of statistical analysis but there is hardly any other way to objectively substantiate my arguments, so instead of shitting on statistical analysis we should really look at the alternative ways in which one can make policy change arguments.... or the lack thereof.
Not quite sure what you're getting at here. Statistical analysis can be a great tool for constructing strong arguments in an academic setting, but it doesn't really have a place in smogon tiering arguments due to the unreliability of the data. When people use faulty data points to justify their points of view, it merits being called out.
I still trust the pool of official tournament players to random OU posters who happened to breach the near nonexistent barrier of entry for voting reqs.
You're comparing apples and oranges here a bit, what players end up using in official tournaments is influenced by a myriad of things due to the nature of preparing for a team tournament game. The Pokémon that typically get used a lot are not those that are the most broken but those that fit onto the most teams. On the other hand, the OU surveys that the forum hosts explicitly ask players to discuss the Pokemon themselves. Now, if you believe the group of people being polled are underqualified due to lax requirements, there's a discussion to be had that I will go more into later.

What was fini's usage in the 2 tours? Did it go from a top 10 favorite to falling completely out of favor?
To expand on your questioning of the Tapu Fini anecdote, it went from being a top 10 staple that held together teams against top threats like Urshifu to being relatively niche and only used on specific compositions. The point of that example is that metagames are cyclical and wild changes in usage can be brought out by a number of things. You're indicating that the ban of Volcarona caused the change in Darkrai usage when it's likely just one of many factors contributing to the spike.

Usage statistics should absolutely not be taken as an indication of what players view as the most overpowered Pokemon in the tiers. Even between top players, viewpoints on strategy differ wildly. No one is objectively right in these debates, seeing as many of the top SV players disagree about something as simple as the generational mechanic. Expanding the voter pool makes it more likely that we are reaching a more equitable solution when conducting suspect tests.

That there are some basic changes that should be made to suspect standards to ensure that the voter pool is adequately qualified. I recommend raising the voting threshold on suspect tests to a higher GXE, such as 82 minimum from 80 minimum or imposing game limits to prevent people from spamming games until they hit the requisite GXE requirements. As you eloquently stated, your ban during the Gouging Fire suspect process largely contributed to it getting unbanned. Who's to say that the more easily swayed voters would have gotten a say with a higher GXE requirement? With regards to the forum polls, having a separate poll for the tournament community and the ladder community would be beneficial to identify gaps between the sentiments in both segments during contentious time periods.
 
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Aberforth

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Ubers Leader
To address Finch:
I cannot simply rely on anecdotal/subjective conjecture that '76% of players THINK this thing is broken' or that players 'feel like the meta is more enjoyable' according to some survey. While flawed, statistical analysis is the closes we can get to an objective analysis on the metagame.
Objectivity is the mistake here. We are not objective, impartial observers of something where data is the reasoning behind every change, we are running this as a hobby, where factors like fun and feelings do matter. Democratic voting in our tiering does not run on objective analysis, or we'd set the ban% requirement to be much higher than it currently is, because the whims of the majority of the playerbase do matter to our tiering. If we have an objectively fine and healthy metagame that nobody wants to play because they dont find it fun, then it means our tiering system has probably failed somewhere and some action needs to be taken.

Now I respect that you might find the Volcarona metagame more fun than the current metagame. Frankly, I cant stand SV OU, and havent been able to for a while, including when Volcarona was in the tier. But that 76% of voters deciding that Volcarona is indeed broken (and with no statistical quirks of gxe vs voting breakdown), is itself an objective statistical metric that should not simply be dismissed with a handwave that meritocracy has failed and we should move towards an oligarchic system, and I think that undoing that, especially by executive action rather than the same process that lead to it being banned in the first place, would be a big mistake. For a comparison between Ubers who have been suspected from OU, Volcarona has a meaningfully higher proportion of voters who believe it is broken compared to Pokemon like Early SV Chien Pao. Thats the sort of discrepancy that I dont think should be undone at a whim. If Tera Blast is banworthy, perhaps that should change, but I personally doubt that Tera Blast would see enough support to be banned, and until that meaningfully changes, I cant really see a situation where unbanning the matchup moth is the right path to go down.

As for the argument that tiering philosophy needs to change, I dont entirely disagree with it, but I do think that conditional banning (ie, banning signature moves) is something that should only be done in very extreme circumstances. For example, the OP of this thread lists Ursaluna-BM as something that could be unbanned by banning its signature move. But its signature move is not a broken one, it is a worse Boomburst. Blood Moon (the move) should not be banned to preserve Blood Moon (the Pokemon). And I personally dislike the idea of moves like Stored Power being banworthy, given their long history without causing issue on anything more than one or two pokemon across multiple generations. Rage Fist I think is a good example of a move where how broken it is is very difficult to gauge. Obviously Primeape isnt tearing up OU with the move, but would it be broken on any reasonable OU Pokemon with it? I'm not sure. Needing to be hit multiple times to snowball in power is a rather unique aspect to a move that makes Annihilape a perfect mon to use it, with its bulk, respectable speed, and forms of recovery giving it multiple opportunites to snowball its power over the course of a game. If you gave it to pokemon like Meowscarada (or a hypothetical Ghost type Meowscarada), it would be used, but there is definitely an argument it might not be nearly as unmanageable. Not to say Rage Fist is definitely not a move that could be broken, I dont want to get bogged down in an example, but not every unique move is Last Respects.
 
I wasn’t sure how to reply to this thread as there is a lot of suggested action with a lot of flawed statistical analysis but ultimately I decided to reply to every action proposed in this thread based on tier impact merit, I don’t want to bring up policy either because I agree it fails SV.

Briefly, other posts in this thread have already went into the misguided use of usage statistics to try to objectify subjective matter. There are way too many factors totally irrelevant to metagame strength that go into usage. Player quality, trends, team reuse, rogue individuals, new sets, etc. These factors don’t 100% accurately reflect a “Post-Volcarona Metagame” as they reflect a metagame that has developed since SPL concluded and new players have their chance at the official stage. For this reason, I believe usage stats should have little if any bearing on evaluating Volcarona’s impact.

Volcarona’s ban should not be overturned. Players were overwhelmingly in favor of Volcarona’s ban. To say we could ban Tera Blast, even if that were a good decision, allowing Volcarona back in the tier would be pure speculation. Sure, losing Ground Tera Blast is annoying but Tera Steel variants and sub variants (notably Tera Grass Giga and Tera Flying Hurricane) still have the potential to fish teams with incredible ease. Volcarona is fundamentally really hard for this meta to handle with its typing allowing for a massive amount of setup opportunities and Tera often allowing it to get that free sub or free QD that leads to a game over. Volcarona’s defensive benefits are nice but not relevant when the mon itself is broken, we don’t allow Giratina-O so we can have a cool Defog mon.

To be frank, a Palafin unban at this moment in time doesn’t make sense. Several of the suggested checks (namely Wellspring, Kyurem, Zamazenta, Raging Bolt) are controversial mons in their own right. We shouldn’t be freeing more Ubers mons when the meta is in this spot. I’m not totally opposed to it eventually receiving a test but now is not the time. Also honestly I think the chance this mon belongs in the tier is very small.

On complex banning moves, there is zero chance that this works in any replicable way. Let’s say for example we ban Blood Moon to free Blood Moon, why can’t we then ban Wicked Blow and Surging Strikes to free Urshifus? What about Sunsteel Strike off Solgaleo? Banning moves such as Tera Blast and Stored Power has even less efficacy. Scale Shot broke a lot of the Dragons in Ubers like Baxcalibur and hey it’s making Kyurem a lot harder to handle, why don’t we axe Scale Shot since it’s pretty “inherently broken”? Like Aberforth said earlier in the thread, it’s impossible to separate moves from their distribution. While I wouldn’t really care if Primeape was not allowed to use Rage Fist, you have to ask at some point where is a reasonable place to draw the line. In my eyes, signature moves learned by a single mon+Tera Blast+Stored Power can and should be tiered mon first. If we don’t abide by this, OU’s banlist will look like a draft league document.

In conclusion, these suggested actions has massive tunnelvision. Volcarona’s fickle benefits to the tier do not justify its warping of the tier. Tera Blast breaking Regieleki (C rank mon without Tera Blast with no positive metagame impact) does not justify nuking Iron Moth which makes up 50% of our viable offensive poisons and locks several legitimate users of the move for crimes they didn’t commit. Stored Power’s best users right now are Latias and Hatterrenne, far from negative presences, while Magearna -SP would still be broken as shit with Draining Kiss.

God knows I hate policy as much as the next successful tour player, however, some precedence has a purpose. This ridiculous draft tiering is ineffective and confusing. We should be pushing for quicker action with less red tape, not individual players shooting blind. I’ve repeated to nausea about what I believe should be done so I won’t here but you can’t check my posts elsewhere if you want to know. I just wanted to post that I absolutely do not support the suggesting tiering in this thread.
 
The following post should be taken as my opinion more than an attempt at a tight or structured argument, as I don't exactly have an enviable level of skill or results playing OU. That said I take some serious issue with several points made on an argumentative/debate level.

The talk about Glowking/Gliscor Fat spam if offensive mons like Darkrai or Kyurem are banned was the same concern they voiced during the Gouging Fire Suspect (for which they also want to claim credit for the DNB verdict since they were admittedly one of the few dissenting voices early in the thread). It doesn't inspire confidence or sway in the post because just like that suspect, it's appealing to a future hypothetical worse Meta rather than explaining or justifying the health of the problem mons in the current one. The same smug/condescending-to-disagreement tone also persists which didn't exactly help the conversation during the GF talk.

Besides the already cited correlation =/= causation on the data, I also don't particularly agree with the "goals" section towards the end of the post, because despite CTC's skill playing the game, it feels incredibly inconsistent with the tiering conduct the rest of the Gen has worked with (in this case I take particular disagreement in wanting some significant practices/philosophies changed within Gen 9 rather than reconsidering how we approach later gens based on these experiences). Making decisions that go against the Gen 9 Tiering approach we've used for the ~2 years of the tier would call into question a large amount of the generation shaped by that framework and just make a bigger mess out of changing halfway through rather than essentially rebooting the tier.
  1. Wanting to retest Volcarona (despite as of that thread being our most recent Suspect/Ban and the survey scores affirming an improved sentiment in the post-ban meta). The proposal is to check 3 Pokemon (among others) they cite as overcentralizing but also disagree with a ban on at least one of (Darkrai). Ignoring the issue of this flying in the face of Volc's significant ban majority, it almost makes bans by suspect arbitrary if a mon can simply be retested to drop back in at the suggestion of certain high ranked players. One argument made is that because of the GF turnaround, who's to say Volc wouldn't similarly have survived its test if they had been there to argue for it. While I think the presentation feels a bit egotistical/self-important (whether it's a bit or not), this also ignores that arguments about Volcarona's defensive merit in the tier were floated since its first Quickban and certainly after its reintroduction and new suspect. Unlike Gouging Fire, these arguments were being made outside CTC, they just weren't convincing on paper nor did they materialize in practice on the suspect ladder as those did. TL;DR This is arguing to drop Volcarona back rather than observe the mons they want checked as potentially unhealthy, while less-than-subtly calling the Surveys and Survey-takers (Qualified or otherwise) meaningless or easily manipulated compared to this plan.
  2. Unban Volc and Regieleki while banning Tera Blast. Tera Blast has frequently been a topic for the controversial effect Tera itself has on the Meta, but given the plan itself cites that this would minimally affect OU-viable mons, it amounts to eliminating the move to allow two users who were deemed extremely unhealthy with it in their tool kit. Besides the tiering policy shake up (the closest analogue we have being the fiasco that is BW OU with Weather/Speed abilities and stuff like Excadrill at the moment), I disagree with this proposal on the grounds that the mons would not add a great deal to the Meta without Tera Blast.
    1. Volcarona would still abuse the type changing to net Quiver Dance boosts, just with less coverage to narrow the "what to remove" list before that sweep in the same playstyle. It returns the defensive utility that was cited when it was suspect-banned, but only partially narrows the list of things it abuses for Tera-QD boosting, when the nature of its infamous "Match-up Moth" reputation isn't different in spirit, at most in magnitude.
    2. Regieleki meanwhile does literally 2 things besides attacking, those being Screen-Explosion and Rapid Spin, neither of which it's particularly good at without Tera: it lacks things like Grimmsnarl's Taunt Immunity, Pult's better typing and better-pivoting U-Turn, or the Veil Setters' turn compression to assist getting early screens up on other leads; it lacks the ability to threaten Spinblockers without Tera Coverage, needing a roll for T-bolt to 2HKO defensive Gholdengo without a Modest nature (which compromises its speed against anything faster than Scarf 102, notably falling below Booster Moth or Valiant for example) on top of trouble with breaking Electric Resists/Immunities meaning it's hard pressed to get more than 1 Spin opportunity without dying or giving away a massive amount of momentum for it.
  3. Unbanning Palafin. I'm not authoritative enough to say whether Palafin is as busted as it was when it was banned in base SV, but the reasoning stated does not convince me from my current skepticism. Citing Oger-W and Dragons as deterents feels more than a bit questionable when Wellspring and one of OU's most prominent Dragons in Kyurem are major suspect calls without it around (and Kyurem gets abused hard by its infamous Bulk Up set thanks to Tera-ing out of Freeze Dry and stealing HP back with Drain Punch coverage). Citing underwhelming speed while praising its bulk doesn't paint a picture of how dangerous Jet Punch combined with tanking to BU was the first go-around, and if anything the oppression this would put on offensive teams (between outrunning slow breakers and 60 BP Priority for faster ones) feels like it'd do far more to push the Fat Balance they want to discourage centralizing on with a Gholdengo or Darkrai removal.
    • Adding to this with the second part about looking into banning signature moves or abilities if they decidedly break an otherwise reasonable Pokemon (citing Archaludon, Ursa-Bloodmoon, and Annihilape). I actually am not the most opposed to a re-evaluation of tiering policy on this front, in that I think it would benefit us to evaluate more often if signature moves/abilities are overtuned or uncompetitive independent of their users, especially with Gamefreak clearly showing a greater and greater proclivity for adding such to Pokemon, viable or gimmicky (particularly the latter with "easy" reasoning like Dire Claw when we banned Sleep, whether or not Sneasler goes for other reasons). We are seeing several Signature moves that are basically just "way better version" moves that are "balanced" (quotes since some mons become busted anyway like Shed Tail users) by being balanced around a very narrow Kit to utilize them, so I think it fair to look at something like Electro Shot and say "this works by circumventing a major balancing trait of our closest comparable moves, the move itself has unfair design" whether or not it is deemed outright broken.
    • That said, the remainder of the plan goes into enabling more and more "partial kit" bans near the end like Chien-Pao/Chi-yu without high damage moves alongside Tera-Stellar Terapagos (which I also agreed with as a distinct form but was deemed complex due to its tie to the universal Tera Mechanic), which is where it loses me with moving away from what I agree with (anitquated/need-to-modernize Tiering Approach) into just defying the principle of the bans for the sake of having less Pokemon pushed to Ubers.
    • This point I want to dedicate an extra bullet point to a major crux of the issue there: This would be a significantly more arbitrary (as in decided by personal whim or autocratic authority rather than a system or consistent reasoning) approach to tiering given how granular it would be to start picking apart the kits of mons that don't go over the line to a "no duh" degree, at which point it either slows tiering to a halt to conduct Suspects, puts virtually all power in the Council's hands to expedite with QB votes, or completely kills the effectiveness of Suspect Tests when the question is to focus on one part of a Mon's kit and having to consider if the "neutered" version is balanced to put the onus on said piece rather than the full package.
    • No major comment on the Stored Power note, that one has been talked frequently as it is a debate in itself that a foot note in their or my post could not do justice to. I am neither strongly for or against action against the move, though I do not think this would make any currently-banned user worth dropping back into OU (Espathra gets worse but is still cheesy, and Magearna has 4+ other sets with extremely strong performance).
+1 8 Atk Palafin-Hero Jet Punch vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Mew: 147-174 (43.1 - 51%) -- 3.1% chance to 2HKO
+2 252 Atk Weavile Ice Shard vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Mew: 124-147 (36.3 - 43.1%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
252+ Atk Rillaboom Grassy Glide vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Mew in Grassy Terrain: 127-150 (37.2 - 43.9%) -- 99.9% chance to 3HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery

Keep in mind Palafin has next to no offensive investment while being compared to Invested 125 Base Attack mons with either +1 boost over it or a Positive nature and a Terrain boost on top of comparable BP (55 -> 71.5 vs 60). Not really the crux of the argument but I want to keep Jet Punch's power in context.


Where this primarily loses me is that at no point does the prospect of banning one of the "big 3" receive genuine entertainment as an approach, only as a shot-down option that would lead to a given hypothetical after, as if banning more things is undesirable or a failure on handling the tier. There's an inflexibility to simply treat continued bans as unacceptable in and of themselves, with little done to even address and rebut that position rather than assume it as a given before proceeding.

Combined with statements such as the following

"bold, like asking for complex bans after tiering has only existed for 20 years, I know, a man can dream."
"Therefore, this mon was basically banned on sentiment alone rather than facts, no matter what the '76%' majority suggests."
"The problem with democracy is that most voters are, lets just say, uninformed and lack foresight, which is why we have representative democracy, and who am I to question the founding fathers."
"Further, the ban-happy attitude perpetuated by constantly rolling out surveys and questionnaires"
"Think of the average player and their opinion, and realize half of the player base is even less astute than that." (This is essentially a George Carlin quote with "astute" as a more diplomatic descriptor from the original line, so I want to highlight it in particular)
"Lastly, this trigger happy ban-first attitude is unintelligent and too micro-focused, rather than having a macro picture of the metagame."
"Consider this my application to be a member of the OU tiering council, either in addition or to replace players who are no longer in touch with the metagame."
It paints a picture (intended or not) of contempt for the tiering process and approach Smogon employs, if not for the community said approach is intended to represent/be in service of. It is for this attitude that I would also vehemently disapprove (as a random goer) of the application they make (facetious or not) to try for the Tiering Council, as I like to think that even when applying their own judgement, the Council has some consideration for the community and playerbase the metagame they're responsible for is meant to foster. I also find this "application" troubling in light of my mention that the "ban parts" approach significantly skews the Council/Community dynamic towards the former (even assuming coincidence rather than conscious linking of the matters) in tandem with the seeming contempt/mockery expressed for said community throughout the post.

Frankly, this comes across as the kind of strawman a lot of casual/"outside" players assume Smogon to be: Elitist and tiering towards a personalized agenda/want of the tier rather than towards creating the most competitive environment the game allows under a consistent policy or set of guidelines we establish first. On their own these would just be tiering proposals I disagree with, but the speech pattern does not deliver it as a proposal (to invite discussion) in good faith, reading less charitably like a lecture or a call to be listened to rather than talked with.
 
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Finchinator

-OUTL
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OU Leader
I fear circular and repeated arguments if I continue to engage in the post-response-post-response trajectory, so I will leave some general pointers that apply and then only respond when I see specifically fit from here.

We should ban anything that is broken when given the opportunity. Withholding a ban out of fear for future bans or trends is doing the current metagame a disservice. Tiering is always intended to be a multi-step operation spreading across an entire generation, not a singular act. Any ripples can (and should) be addressed in the future. Obviously if the playerbase does not think something is broken, that's another story and it should always stay!

Example 1: If banning Volcarona causes other bans, then so be it -- this is not a reason to keep it. The reason to keep it would be if it were balanced, which the suspect determined it was not.

Example 2: If a Darkrai suspect is supported, we should follow through on it. Maybe it gets banned, but maybe not. Maybe it getting banned makes Gliscor or Slowking-Galar better, but that is a future problem and not one that we should worry about now, when this is not currently the case. The future should not dictate a decision to suspect something in the present.

Both exmples show addressing the current, real metagame being focused on over a future metagame or any theorymon, which is not a practice we should subscribe to. Shoutout to this OU Room guy who seems to explain this premise as I type this post, too.

It is up to the council to set up the best fitting process and playerbase determine what is broken or not. The main exception to this is early on in a release period when quickbans may happen, but that is no longer applicable. The council needs to be active in determine what needs action and players need to participate in discussions and suspects in order to make the metagame suitable for themselves.

Example 1: Some people on the tiering council found Volcarona problematic, so they used the forums to discuss it and even included it on a survey. From there, some players discussed how they felt and between the survey and direction of the metagame, the council kept Volcarona in discussions. While it was not the first suspect, eventually the council agreed to suspect it. From there, many passionate players spoke out in favor of acting on Volcarona and many capable players got voting reqs, banning Volcarona with a 76% supermajority.

Example 2: A lot of people complained about Gouging Fire, especially with the then-new Breaking Swipes set. It was included on a survey and scored very highly, so we suspected it immediately. Then, some people discussed how they did not find it problematic, some people began using Tera Fairy on certain Pokemon like Great Tusk or Gliscor to stop Breaking Swipes, and more convincing arguments came out over time, challenging the previous opinions that thought it was broken. The playerbase decided it was not broken and convicingly voted to keep it.

Both of these examples are the system working even if one resulted in a ban and the other did not -- people use their platforms to help dictate every single tiering decision ever and it goes both ways here.

Volcarona has Flame Body, higher speed, a more versatile set of options, etc. than Gouging Fire and the playerbase felt this heightened burden/lack of counterplay while they did not for Gouging Fire, leading to it being banned and Gouging Fire not being banned.

Discussion of what our processes and priorities should be is healthy and even encouraged. This is how we become the best possible tier, community, council, etc. Everything starts as trial-and-error, but through experience and communication, we find revision and improvement.

Example 1: Some people felt surveys held too much emphasis in our tiering or were done too frequently, generating either diminished returns or detrimental outcomes rather than their intended, positive impact. Others felt qualified responses were defined too loosely or spread out too far back. As a result, we started to survey less frequently and tried to tie it to recent/ongoing tournaments in the case of the last survey. This kept the data relevant and applicable while not risking having tiering data manipulated by the flavor of the week/month.

Example 2: Juggling sudden releases is hard. We saw a hasty Volcarona quickban, a kneejerk Walking Wake suspect, and a lot of conflicting stances on what should/should not be unbanned from Ubers with any release. We still lack perfect infastructure to combat the new release model Pokemon has adoptd, but we have a much better idea of what works and does not work. This is thanks to community policing through civil discussion and feedback, which comes on the forums, in my PMs, through surveys, etc.

We have made clear mistakes this generation even if tiering as a whole has moved forward and experienced a lot of success along the way. I will be the first to admit the '23 Volcarona quickban should have been a suspect and was the result of a rushed process due to time constraints and uncertain release terms. I will be the first to admit that the original Walking Wake suspect was a kneejerk reaction and it should have been given more time as it likely did not truly need a suspect at that point; I was even stubborn about it at the time and apologize for that. The point is that we continue to learn as we go and appreciate the feedback these threads provide -- maybe the tone is negative sometimes, but hard discussions are needed to reach conclusions when conflicts happen, so that's ok and we can take it.

I still do not think the Volcarona suspect or verdict was fitting into any of these, and it was not a mistake. I am content with Volcarona being banned and I do not see an immediate need to retest it. I prefer acting on Pokemon currently in the tier and then reassessing later.

I hope other strong players voice their opinion here, too. Thanks to those who have so far!
 

SoulWind

is a Community Contributoris a Top Tiering Contributoris a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis the 6th Smogon Classic Winneris the Smogon Tour Season 32 Championwon the 9th Official Ladder Tournamentis a defending SPL Championis a Two-Time Past SPL Championis a Past SCL Championis a Past WCoP Champion
Big Chungus Winner
As long as your only way to understand tiering is through bans and removing anything that is slighty more powerful than the rest, the consequence will be bad and snoozefest metagames like SM and SS.

This gen continues to go in the same direction that both predecesors took, the banlist continues to grow and Ubers is filled with useless Pokemon who hold no viability there nor not have a niche in any metagame because of it. Several Pokémon considered "broken" served an actual purpose to keep other "broken" pieces in check. Without them, the domino effect is unstoppable and the ban chain appears to be endless.

I suggest improving and leaving this archaic way of tiering behind, starting with the very basic principles. There is a genuine lack of understanding the game in both the playerbase and most of the Council. Stop giving us mediocrity and try to create something of quality for once.
 
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CTC

I COULD BE BANNED!
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Appreciate everyone joining in the discussion, I'm glad we can have a conversation at least about changes moving forward in tiering policy. Due to the number of responses I will address each briefly:

ausma
-I agree that the proposal to exact change seems sudden, but we have had almost 2 years to experiment with and understand SV. There is no exact timeline for my proposal, I just want to get the conversation started regarding a change on tiering policy moving forward rather than strictly 'ban what currently seems the most broken and move on to the next one that pops up'.
I appreciate the contribution.

Srn
-Absolutely agree with this assessment, I am content if we even move forward with a vote or even discussion about future tiering policy changes, even if the change does not occur in the immediate future. Thanks for joining in!

MANNAT
'You're comparing apples and oranges here a bit, what players end up using in official tournaments is influenced by a myriad of things due to the nature of preparing for a team tournament game. The Pokémon that typically get used a lot are not those that are the most broken but those that fit onto the most teams.'
- This is exactly why my analysis of the trends and statistics which you casted doubt on is relevant, because it explains a change in how tour players perceive the meta, offering valuable insight into metagame shifts, but thanks for joining us

'To expand on your questioning of the Tapu Fini anecdote, it went from being a top 10 staple that held together teams against top threats like Urshifu to being relatively niche and only used on specific compositions. The point of that example is that metagames are cyclical and wild changes in usage can be brought out by a number of things. You're indicating that the ban of Volcarona caused the change in Darkrai usage when it's likely just one of many factors contributing to the spike.'
- Well you see, thats exactly what I was concluding, that metas are cyclical and changes in usage can be brought about by a number of things, one of which is, you guessed it, the volc ban!

'Usage statistics should absolutely not be taken as an indication of what players view as the most overpowered Pokemon in the tiers. Even between top players, viewpoints on strategy differ wildly. No one is objectively right in these debates, seeing as many of the top SV players disagree about something as simple as the generational mechanic. Expanding the voter pool makes it more likely that we are reaching a more equitable solution when conducting suspect tests.' + the GXE rant which actually contributes no real solutions
- Ah yes, because we cannot know for certain, let us forever cease to ponder. Spirit of a true sit n nooticer rather than a go getter, I guess we fundamentally differ in philosophies.
I do appreciate you for speaking out and providing a textbook example of the stagnant mindset which has led to a lack of change in tiering philosophy, showing just how many people share your idea that we can not know for certain so that every current decision is justified due to it being just as arbitrary as the next suggestion to remedy any issues. This is a philosophy we must combat if we seek to move forward in the right direction and enact positive change. No shame in contributing though, you added a valuable perspective to the discussion and for that I am grateful.

Aberforth
- I understand that there is no true objectivity and that we cannot know for certain what truly is the correct tiering decision, but that is what trial and error is for. People keep bringing up the overwhelming support volcarona has gotten over chien-pao for example in the suspect process, when we know now that chien-pao is leagues ahead of it in terms of brokenness. This does not bolster your argument that the 76% majority is informed and objective, it just goes to prove my original point: people rated chien, zama-c, bax and other decidedly broken mons 2 point something while volc consistently had 3.5+ on the survey, indicating just how wrong they are as vindicated by the passage of time.

- People arguing that these are qualified voters who made the vote are overlooking my example with gouging fire: The reason that sentiments were overturned is because I spearheaded the movement to correct their erroneous beliefs, with much of the misinformation coming from the lower skill bracket. It makes sense, the higher the skill level, the less likely one is to overlook certain factors leading to their getting swept by setup threats. This is not to entirely dismiss the lower skill player base, but there is a reason for voting requirements. Less skilled players are more easily influenced and less informed, this is true for every skill and discipline in the entire world. The volc vote concluded with almost 200 votes, I think this number is simply excessive for all of the voters to be well informed. Going by the gouging fire example, the masses swore it was broken with an overwhelming and uniform attitude as well, until I brought facts to the table and dissuaded the top players, leading to them, including Finchinator, changing their mind about this mon. If this can happen to gouging fire, who is to say some of the 76% would not have changed their mind about volcarona when presented sufficienty evidence? The problem here is low requirements and high voter turnout, this is exacerbated by surveys which are framed as 'what mons are problematic' which, even in a balanced meta with no problem mons, may prompt responses from players who think something must be broken and pick one or multiple choices due to their perception relative to the other mons on the survey. I am not saying that the council is intentionally leading voters onto a path of ban happy philosophy, but the constant bombardment of surveys loaded with intent to figure out problematic mons, when combined with the fact that lower-skill players are more easily influenced, can lead people into false panic. This mass hysteria effect is evident in sociology and psychology, and it applies here. We must tighten restrictions so that only the most informed voters who have formed their own opinions and know the metagame throughout can vote and influence the meta, since the constant tiering surveys are inheretly conducive to the ban-the-next-threat tiering mentality.

To address your concern about 'Not to say Rage Fist is definitely not a move that could be broken, I dont want to get bogged down in an example, but not every unique move is Last Respects.'
- I agree, but looking into them individually in a 'complex ban' manner is a start. Maybe every signature move isn't the same, maybe BM's ability is the real culprit, but this does not preclude us from opening up discussions and suspects to begin with. The key here is to at least try and figure things out rather than leave scores of OU viable mons in Uber purgatory. I am simply asking for us to look into volc with or without terablast, this is not to overturn the vote immediately but just opening the door for a retest down the line because I have sufficient reasoning to support that it is a healthy presence in the metagame. I am just proposing we have a discussion at the very least, and take action to improve tiering philosophies in an ideal future.
Thank you for your unique insight as an Ubers head looking at OU from an outside perspective.

zioziotrip
- I already addressed Mannat and other stats deniers who are saying that stats don't matter, yes they do not paint the whole picture but they do support my logic and reasoning somewhat, so please provide your ban-side proof that volc is broken besides the '76%' majority anecdotal evidence which I have already disproved with precedent in the gouging fire suspect proving the majority wrong.

'Sure, losing Ground Tera Blast is annoying but Tera Steel variants and sub variants (notably Tera Grass Giga and Tera Flying Hurricane) still have the potential to fish teams with incredible ease. Volcarona is fundamentally really hard for this meta to handle with its typing allowing for a massive amount of setup opportunities and Tera often allowing it to get that free sub or free QD that leads to a game over. Volcarona’s defensive benefits are nice but not relevant when the mon itself is broken, we don’t allow Giratina-O so we can have a cool Defog mon.'

- So you won't even entertain the idea of discussing a tb ban even though its been a controversial topic for a while? The potential to fish teams with incredible ease applies to every setup sweeper from moon to gouging, to val and sinistea, and for every tera on volc that may be an issue like steel or grass I can name 3 more on gouging that causes fishing issues, from fairy, poison, ground, to flying. You have offered no factual evidence in favor of volc's ban but mere personal opinion, which seems quite hypocritical considering you refuted my statistical analysis as inaccurate or lacking objectivity. Comparing a 550 BST mon with distinct weaknesses to a literal cover legend BST Uber of 5 generations is laughable and I know you are not arguing in good faith.

- You refute any ideas I put on the table with repeated absolutes such as:
'To be frank, a Palafin unban at this moment in time doesn’t make sense', 'On complex banning moves, there is zero chance that this works in any replicable way', and 'In conclusion, these suggested actions has massive tunnelvision', but support your reasoning with only opinions. I don't know what you have done in this tier to think so highly of your own opinion, but to refute my attempts at using statistics to bolster my argument while toting personal conjecture and absolutes to make your point seems quite childish; it seems you are quite green at this whole debate thing. As I recall, you were one of the so called top players whose opinions I influenced and changed their mind about gouging fire's ban, so humble yourself and we can have a discussion that does not deal in absolutes. I will be here when the attitude changes, but thanks for joining the discussion.

pika pal to address your 3 points:
1. 'TL;DR This is arguing to drop Volcarona back rather than observe the mons they want checked as potentially unhealthy, while less-than-subtly calling the Surveys and Survey-takers (Qualified or otherwise) meaningless or easily manipulated compared to this plan.'
- Yes.

2. + 3. Sure, you have your opinion, but I am opening up the door for a discussion or a suspect. How can you shoot it down after the premise that you 'are not a high level player', implying that you don't know it all? Neither do I, but hey lets at least discuss and give it a try.

'It paints a picture (intended or not) of contempt for the tiering process and approach Smogon employs, if not for the community said approach is intended to represent/be in service of.'
'Frankly, this comes across as the kind of strawman a lot of casual/"outside" players assume Smogon to be: Elitist and tiering towards a personalized agenda/want of the tier rather than towards creating the most competitive environment the game allows under a consistent policy or set of guidelines we establish first. On their own these would just be tiering proposals I disagree with, but the speech pattern does not deliver it as a proposal (to invite discussion) in good faith, reading less charitably like a lecture or a call to be listened to rather than talked with.'

- If you want plumbing done, you consult an expert plumber. If you want cooking done, you consult a chef. Merit and specialization is championed in every discipline, competitive mons being no different. The notion that Gordon Ramsay's opinion holds more weight that the line cook you worked with at your part time job in highschool does not seem too farfetched. This is not elitist tiering philosophy, it's called reality, and it applies everywhere in real life. I apologize if my tone comes off as condescending and seems like more of a lecture than a discussion, but it is simply because I do think that I know best (with precedent to prove it) when it comes to the tier I had a major hand in shaping. Ignore the tone, give the message a chance.
Thanks for giving your opinion as a regular voter, and I do mean no disrespect to the average player when I say that voting should be merit based and have high requirements: I simply want the most informed and qualified opinions to be the basis for our decisions, just like in every other discipline out there in the real world.

Finchinator
- While I do agree with most of this post, and I appreciate the humility to admit that tiering is not completely objective nor can it be perfect and correct (such as the '23 volc quickban), I still do believe we can continue to improve tiering philosophy.

'We should ban anything that is broken when given the opportunity. Withholding a ban out of fear for future bans or trends is doing the current metagame a disservice. Tiering is always intended to be a multi-step operation spreading across an entire generation, not a singular act. Any ripples can (and should) be addressed in the future. Obviously if the playerbase does not think something is broken, that's another story and it should always stay!'

- This is a part of tiering philosophy that I am at odds with. A lighter seems broken in a metagame of matches in the absence of a fire extinguisher. If we ban the lighter, the metagame is left with a bunch of matches. Sometimes, we can introduce keystone species, which exist in nature, to create balance between other species. By introducing the extinguisher that is volc, we can suppress the immediate effects of the lighters of our current metagame (rai, ghold, za) and still achieve balance. I do not fundamentally believe that banning anything which seems broken in the current metagame when given the opportunity is always correct, which is why I have opened the door for discussion with this thread, hoping to shed light on a reversal of the volcarona ban. We may disagree, but I truly appreciate the contribution to the topic you provided and have brought about with your active posting.

SoulWind
- Took the words right out of my mouth, I support your proposal and attitude with the openness to discussion. We can talk about what to free and what to suspect and what to ban next, it's all about having the ability to come together and work out the issues and make the tier more fun and balanced to play.

At the end of the day, I only want the metagame to be fun and diverse, as using and playing vs the same group of cheap shit all the time because they are better than the rest, until that batch gets banned and we move to abuse the next batch, is an exhausting cycle.

Once again please excuse the tone, can't help myself but be passionate, but I do mean well!
I am always willing to argue in good faith if the opponent across the table is as well. Cheers
 
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ima

Take me to your leader
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quoting Kumiko from their SPL post, (idk if they feel this way still but i share the same opinion of this anyway)
i don't really have any complaints about how the tier is; i would, if anything, unban things. this is one of the most drastic increases in power creep between generations ever, with us getting so many minmaxed pokemon and outrageous abilities. the base power level has gone up, and so should the baseline for what ou is. i do not think the tier as it is is what is to be considered the least amount of bans possible. not really the place to, say, like, let's start a discussion about why this pokemon should be freed, but yeah. don't ban anything.
speaking for myself and not for the council. i dont believe anything should be banned going forward. unlike SS and SM we are dealing with something entirely different, this gen is easily the most unique gen we've had in years and there's nothing to compare it with. we are living in a timeline where history is being made with having the most active council ever and the most power-crept 'mons ever seen, so to continue to tier it like its predecessors just feels wrong to me.

banning wellspring opens alomomola wish-flip turn shenanigans and not to mention mola is already good as it is, removing woger (just as an example) would fry your teams to above and beyond and the meta would shift backwards.

banning Darkrai would be banning one of the only splashable options for 'mons like Gliscor (Kyurem is NOT splashable) and in my opinion it would shift the tier backwards. (unless you also ban Gliscor then idk how that would look like)

banning Zama would probably end up banning 5 more mons (gambit, etc) and obviously that would shift the tier backwards.

the way this gen is right now should be a good gague already on what we should strive for. there are a lot of potential unbans that we could try: Palafin is definitely one of them. I'm unsure about Volc still but I understand the assessment. volc definitely had a big showing in keeping mons like 'rai at bay.

i dont really support a tera blast ban. im still of the belief that Tera should either be banned or not banned, get rid of it or don't. any other option to me just feels unfaithful to the game of Gen9.

as someone who plays this gen actively, ladder and building every day, i love playing this gen and theres so much creativity on the table i wouldnt want it any other way. to ban any mon to me rn would be going backwards from the real issues at hand. i highly agree with SW, CTC and Srn's posts, I think the best way to attempt to move forward is to change our tiering philosophy for Gen9 and focus on things like unbanning 'mons and even moves in dire circumstances as Aberforth said.

also, if we wanna ban something rn can we just ban quick claw for the sake of it, like haven't any of yall been terrorized by the quick claw 6 on ladder at all? that team is so terrible to play against lmfao
 

Finchinator

-OUTL
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OU Leader
Ubers is filled with useless Pokemon who hold no viability there nor not have a niche in any metagame because of it.
There has never been a point where the goal of tiering was to find a viable tier for every Pokemom. Every (modern) Ubers has bottom-dwellers and the lowest official metagame is not always a landscape for every remaining Pokemon to be viable either.
banning wellspring opens alomomola wish-flip turn shenanigans and not to mention mola is already good as it is, removing woger (just as an example) would fry your teams to above and beyond and the meta would shift backwards.

banning Darkrai would be banning one of the only splashable options for 'mons like Gliscor (Kyurem is NOT splashable) and in my opinion it would shift the tier backwards. (unless you also ban Gliscor then idk how that would look like)

banning Zama would probably end up banning 5 more mons (gambit, etc) and obviously that would shift the tier backwards.
This is the logic that our current tiering system does not subscribe to. Not only because we are using logic like...Alomomola suddenly being OP....to deny tiering action, but also because it is unsustainable -- bans altogether would come close to a halt. Why stop here if we follow this? Why not:
  • Banning Chien-Pao would be banning one of the only splashable options for 'mons like Gliscor and in my opinion it would shift the tier backwards
  • Banning Archaludon dwarfs the viability of Rain and makes HO too strong, so we should keep it in the tier
etc. -- suddenly the banning of any Pokemon that holds defensive value or can serve as teambuilding glue becomes borderline impossible because it shifts the focus away from their own burden on team construction and gameplay.

I do not doubt the impact any of these bans Ima describes could happen; Ima is one of the best players and is very in-touch with the tier, so this type of cause-and-effect he predicts is feasible. It just does not matter because we tier the current metagame, not the theoretical future metagame. You worry about the present in the present and worry about the future in the future.

Ultimately, you do not tier out of fear for ripple effects; you tier based off of the current metagame. It is a linear "is X broken or not broken?" decision to be made, not a cumulative "does the burden of X outweigh the burden of Y?" type of decision. If you think nothing is broken and the metagame is good, awesome: nothing should be banned. It's funny because I almost align with you, CTC, etc. as I really only think one (maybe two eventually) thing(s) needs to be looked at in the metagame right now, but we should not stop in our tracks out of fear that any action may cause future action afterwards. We have the whole generation to tier, which is at least 14-16 months longer.

If you think Pokemon like Ogerpon-Wellspring, Darkrai, or Zamazenta (using these three as these are what Ima noted, not for any other particular reason at all) are broken, then you remove whichever is broken from the tier and react accordingly -- the council deciding upon suspects and the people getting reqs deciding on outcomes. Maybe more bans are needed after initial action, maybe unbans are needed after initial action, or maybe nothing is needed after initial action -- you react once the metagame gets there, not out of fear for theoretical responses by suppressing action altogether.

This is not an OU specific thing or some bold statement; it is how tiering across every metagame has been in compliance with Smogon's philosophy and framework for as long as I can remember. My job as tier leader is to keep the metagame in compliance with this while serving the playerbase's desires to find the most competitive tier possible, two goals that go hand-in-hand. Maybe the philosophy needs to be updated to match modern changes in the games/Pokemon we encounter, and I would not be opposed to that.

If you guys feel that this should not be the case and that a better philosophy serves the goal of attaining a competitive metagame, then this discussion goes way beyond my scope or the scope of just SV OU -- it should be reframed to tiering policy as a whole rather than focused in on unbanning something like Volcarona or discussing the next move in this metagame. That is a much larger discussion that defaults to Shiloh and the tiering admins rather than OU.
 

Finchinator

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OU Leader
In my opinion, the best way to proceed with tiering right now is a Darkrai suspect test.

I am going to cover a few points in this post:
  • The lack of defensive counterplay to Darkrai and the mixed bag of offensive counterplay
  • Why we shouldn’t be scared or worried about a post-Darkrai metagame
  • Why the timing and fit of this suspect is appropriate
The first point is the easiest to address and perhaps the least contested: Darkrai lacks sufficient checks and counters in the metagame. There actually has not been a single post in this thread that genuinely tried to disprove this. Some posts have alluded to not wanting a suspect, but their reasoning has been:
  • Not wanting to risk removing Darkrai due to the chain reaction banning it may cause (see my second bullet and later part of this post)
  • Preferring other actions such as retests (Volcarona or Palafin) or even other suspect targets (various Pokemon, an item, and a move)
  • Wanting the tier to remain as is due to enjoying the status quo or wanting to give it more time to settle after the Volcarona ban
Anyone is entitled to feel this way of course, but I do think the impact Darkrai is having on our metagame is problematic enough to where we must consider superseeding these sentiments through acting on Darkrai. Looking at Darkrai, it can run a variety of different sets ranging from Choice Scarf revenge killers to breaking sets, which also have some range between AoA and NP variants. We even see Knock Off on Spikes teams or Will-o-Wisp to deter certain physical attackers on occasion. One thing that "holds back" Darkrai is that it can only run one set on any given team and it is oftentimes going to have overlap in counterplay among possibilities. The main issue is that this counterplay is so stretched-thin that any breaking set is going to cause a lot of issues to balance and even end up oftentimes leading offense into trade-wars.

Traditional "checks" or "counters" to Darkrai tend to be Blissey, Zamazenta and Clodsire while fringe Pokemon like Assault Vest Hoopa-Unbound, Tinkaton, or Iron Hands can do the trick, too. It gets a lot messier in practice though as Darkrai has ways to circumvent everything with different variations or Tera usage while various other Pokemon are able to check it with the right Tera or positioning of their own, too. Some examples would be Tera Poison Darkrai, which is easily most common, letting it survive Zamazenta or flip-the-script against Fairy types. On the other side, it is possible for slower Pokemon like Primarina to Tera Steel or Gholdengo to Tera Fairy and take out a chipped Darkrai. This type of exchange is pretty healthy and one of the most fundamental strategies to playing any metagame with Tera, but my issue is how small the pool of Pokemon that are secure against Darkrai overall actually is and how reliant counterplay is on getting single turns correct, especially when they frequently rely on exhausting your Tera and avoiding a flinch or freeze.

If you take a step back, you realize teams frequently will need multiple Pokemon faster than Darkrai or at least one Pokemon faster than it alongside strong priority just to be safe from a potential sweep. On top of this, many teams want to use a Tera type (or two to cover various positions) to cover it if you're on the back-foot. Some teams can get away from this if they commit to trading Ting Lu for leaving Darkrai very weak, going full offense with a commitment to tempo or trading, or going very bulky with defensive stalwarts like the aforementioned Blissey or Clodsire, but this is not really not enough counterplay. It leaves balanced teams in disarray (yes, so do some other things, but not to this degree), it makes bulky-offense very limited in personnel (again: other things contribute, but Darkrai stands out relatively speaking), and has a trickled-down impact that a lot of people do not even realize when we look at styles used, inflated usage, etc. Overall, Darkrai just does not have enough checks or counters, making it broken.

Pivoting to "Why we shouldn’t be scared or worried about a post-Darkrai metagame", I recognize that some people fear that if we remove Darkrai, Pokemon like Gliscor lose a key offensive check. I do not typically tier with this mindset and it is not really what we are supposed to do by design, but I think another part of my job is addressing the needs of my playerbase. Multiple council members have cited these concerns and others in the thread, too, so I figured it would be a good time to chime in.

If Darkrai is banned, which is no guarantee -- the goal of a suspect is to let people decide, not to ban always -- upon being tested, I do not think Gliscor becomes an issue. It is already very good of course, but a clear step below DLC1 and Darkrai is far from the only Pokemon holding it back. Since DLC1, the tier added Kyurem and Deoxys-Speed, two Pokemon that are faster with Ice moves. Serperior is also trending up now, which 1v1s all Gliscor and can outright abuse certain sets. In addition to this, Pokemon during DLC1 like Weavile (low usage, B/B+ on VR), Ice Fang Zamazenta (no notable DLC1 usage), and Sinistcha (barely viable in DLC1, but owns SD variants) are all used much more nowadays and not only for Gliscor. This is not all there is to it either as we have seen some fun Tera Ice lures recently such as Iron Moth, Zapdos, Landorus-T, Glimmora, and Cinderace -- I hesitate to include these as they are more fringe, but the point is people feel confident loading them at the very least.

Yes, Darkrai is very good and it is a fast Pokemon that can OHKO Gliscor with Ice Beam while not being OHKO'd by Gliscor. However, it is not able to take more than 1-2 attacks from Gliscor, Toxic can put it on a timer, and SD Tera Normal/Water/Fairy can flip the entire situation with an SD or attack on the swap. The point is that Darkrai is not singlehandedly holding back Gliscor from being broken, there are various other checks to it that were introduced, and Gliscor is able to do its thing regardless for the most part.

And finally if Gliscor truly is broken without Darkrai, we can just act on it like we did during DLC1, which is how tiering is intended to go. The funny part is people saying that then we will be stuck in Zapdos purgatory with Para and Confusion deciding games -- I think this is a stretch at this point (like people saying Alomomola would be a genuine problem without Ogerpon-Wellspring). Similar to the dynamic with Gliscor, we have a ton of different Zapdos answers around, too. Kyurem and Raging Bolt are now top Pokemon when they did not previously exist during late DLC1 when Zapdos surged. Garganacl is peaking, Knock Off usage is at a high point, and Slowking-Galar has been a top Pokemon.

The point is that refusing to act on Darkrai because of fear for Gliscor gets a bit silly when we look at the whole metagame. And worrying about the same fear surrounding Gliscor and something like Zapdos is also a bit silly. I really do not think this should stand in our way.

Finally, regarding "Why the timing and fit of this suspect is appropriate", this is a bit harder of a discussion as we all have different, justifiable timelines in mind. My main thought is Volcarona was banned 2 whole months ago now, we had the entire first round of WCoP go down, and the survey showed support, so it should be on the table for a suspect now. This is more than enough time with sufficient developents given historical trends and my personal opinion.

I hope we can discuss suspecting Darkrai and I personally feel it would be the best next step for SV OU.
 

HANTSUKI

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Although I'm crust at clicking, I've been building a lot during the SV meta since SPL so I'm not that dumb about the meta if someone is wondering what I'm doing here. I just wanted to comment about some things:

1- I do also think banning Volcarona was a mistake - in both times it got banned. But I know the council is not going to just unban it or something like that. I just hope retests are not to be feared by the community and at some other point would be nice to have another test. People can regret decisions after all. I'm also curious if Darkrai would still be splashable with Volc around after CTC's analysis and the community having the experience of how strong Darkrai can be;

2- I don't know how people feel about Tera Blast in particular, I don't think it should be banned because I like the options it can give to some mons, but if it happens, we HAVE to unban Volcarona, please. It's a MUST;

3- The most important thing I would like to say is in the third part of CTC's proposal, it's about Signature Moves. I think we should REALLY consider it a viable policy. We already ban some moves - Baton Pass, Shed Tail, moves that fit Evasion Clause - so it already has precedent. Even if those are moves learned by MANY mons instead of only one, it's still a move ban in its core.

With signature moves we have a case were it would not hurt the policy in any way to ban the moves instead of the mons. We can't like ban Quiver Dance just to drop Volcarona, since other mons can use the move, but we sure could ban Electro Shot and keep Archaludon OU (which would be an extra SRer and check for Ogerpon!!!). It's not the type of situation where you can have someone say stuff like "Kyogre would not be broken without water moves or Calm Mind!!!" (instead you can even say Kyogre is STILL broken without Origin Pulse) or "Miraidon level 75 would not be broken!!!". Those moves only apply to their signature mons, it's not something that could be applied to others.

There are many signature moves that change totally how viable a mon could be. Imagine Kingambit without Kowtow Cleave, Garg without Salt Cure or Raging Bolt without Thunderclap (I'm not saying to ban those moves, I'm saying to imagine how they change A LOT those mons). Pretty sure Archaludon without Electro Shot, Palafin without Jet Punch, Urshifus without their crit moves or Annihilape without Rage Fist are totally different pokemon. Maybe some would still be broken, but I don't think it's a reason to at least not give a chance to them. In some cases they could even be helping with mons that are being a problem to the tier and we are keeping those mons banned when maybe only their signature moves are just too strong.

I've always been ok with straight banning the mons instead of the moves to keep it simple, but after playing SV for that long I've been more of a fan of having all the options possible to keep my builder diverse, fun and competitive. And since SV is a really different gen from the others, I think we should change some stuff in our policies and this one is a good start since it doesn't need extensive discussions or anything. It already fits how things are done here.

Also if lower tiers get worried about like Primeape losing Rage Fist somewhere or Garg line losing Salt Cure (only as example), I don't think it should apply to them. Dunno how things are being done with lower tiers, but they should have their own policies already since they have a really hard time figuring shit out when drops and raises happen all the time, really different from OU, so they should have different standards.

tl;dr let's ban Signature Moves when possible instead of banning the pokemon. Having more options in the builder is healthier than...I don't really know what we are trying to accomplish banning only the pokemon, banning the sign moves is as simple as that. Also free Volc (pleeease, I love my Ulgão :sob:)
 

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