Potential Changes to Grand Slam / Snake

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#1
I'm making this as Tiering Admin with the intention of assessing the opinion of the public; it's not a vote, a survey or a "likes" competition. What I am about to propose has been discussed with the TD team and some of them are open to the idea, but I'm not here to speak on their behalf.

The proposal is replacing Ubers with PU in Grand Slam, so the tournament would have these tiers: UU, RU, NU, PU, LC. However, things aren't as simple as outright swapping them. PU needs to be promoted to Core Metagame to be part of Grand Slam, which comes with great chances of replacing Ubers in Snake and the "possibility" of being in SPL, but note that the latter can be pretty much ignored as it has virtually no chance of happening. Technically Ubers and PU can both be Core metagames at the same time, but that comes with issues regarding tournament representation and we are trying to avoid that. Obviously this means that If PU becomes Core, Ubers gets demoted and is out of Slam, Snake and SPL.

Since PU was removed from the official tournament circuit, the leadership and community have worked on improving in multiple areas, including overall quality of the tier itself and the playerbase. PU never had a proper chance at official tournaments and has shown massive improvements despite having no proper representation. They probably deserve a real chance.

Ubers on the other hand has been part of the tournaments circuit for long while, but in recent times people feel the tier has lost its identity, that the tier has either stagnated or gotten worse (it definitely hasn't seen any sort of improvement), that their tournament playerbase is particularly troublesome (talking about prominent names, not randoms). It would be easy to pin down those problems on their lack of SPL representation, but they aren't recent issues and actually were some of the major reasons why it wasn't included.

This pretty much is Ubers or PU. Doing nothing is preferred over having both as core metas.
 
#2
I believe Ubers should remain in Snake and Slam over PU. There are a few reasons for this, so I'll bullet point them below.

- Ubers has proven to be a competitive tier in the past. See the last Snake for example, where besides two single outliers, the tier seemed pretty "even" (I mostly meant to highlight the players with 6 or more games. Snake format calls for a lot of one-phase substitutions but that is far from ubers exclusive.) The Ubers ladder is also greater in competition than the PU ladder, which is one of the only places bar subforum tours where Ubers/PU players are able to play.
- Adding another usage-based tier into the tournaments circuit lays a dangerous path for future generations to come. Once the hype over PU dies and people get sick of it, ZU now becomes pushed for inclusion with 5 CG OU tiers. In Generation 10 when ZU is old news, are we pushing for HU and 6 OU? This is all hypothetical in the end, but I can say with confidence that I see no benefit to adding more usage based tiers to the circuit when we already have 3 (non-ou).
- Ubers players are more often already included within the tournaments scene. Some names that come to mind (from Snake) are Arii Stella, The Trap God, Pohjis, Evuelf, M Dragon/dice (not ubers mains), all of which play in both official individuals and other team tournaments. I don't think I could name a single PU main that is an active player in any other official tournament.
 
#3
I am posting here first just to clear up a few things. In terms of actual competitive "tournament community" playerbase it is arguably true that PU is currently not quite up to the levels of the other core lower tiers and nobody here who will be supporting PU will be arguing for that as a reasoning for inclusion. Same goes for the fact that the raw numbers (in terms of forums/overall PS battles) are in our favor compared to most other lower tiers.

Trying to develop long term interest (or even respect) from that "bubble" has been quite hard after the core metagames policy was introduced and, while some of the more up and coming players from other tiers or just starting out have gotten into playing PU, it is obvious that the ones that are more experienced would not take the time to even try at all the tier, especially over one that has a chance to earn him a trophy or whatever, the novelty factor just isn't as strong on this site after a while.

There actually are a few people that play PU and other core metagames successfully (think of Teddeh or Dundies even tho he might not want to admit it right now... but there are a few less significant ones too) and the general interest our tournament circuit gets is on par with the ones of other lower tiers. There really is a community I am proud of behind me which would be super excited to take any chance and try to do what LC has done when it got the opportunity.

I will be happy to reply to posts in this thread if you have questions or concerns
 

Minority

Numquam Vincar
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Moderator
#4
It's absurd that the negative mentality toward Ubers has continued to persist and curtail the tier's representation for several years. The OP fails to make any coherent argument to support its egregious and defamatory claims. No examples, evidence, or specifics are used because there's no concrete evidence to support any of these toxic mentalities that people out of touch with the tier continually parrot without a second thought.

While this type of attitude persists against every community of every competitive game there is, in regards to Ubers the mentality in question seemed to have originated near the end of XY when a group of has-beens circle-jerked each other in an attempt to push bans through the tier for game elements they didn't like. This attempt failed and the majority of these players did not see major tour success again. And yet this toxic mindset of "amg Ubers sucks" has continued to proliferate and perpetuate in the minds of non-Ubers players, not unlike a silly chain email. It's delusional to think this mentality has anything to do with a legitimate decline in the competitive merit of the tier, or a decline in comparison to neighboring tiers.

You'd be hard pressed to support the claim Ubers "lost its identity", much less argue what that even means and why it would be bad. Did someone steal the tier's ID card? Is tiering policy not established or inconsistent? Policy was established before the OP joined Smogon, and the only examples you could even begin to argue are inconsistent with pre-established policy were forced on the tier by non-Ubers players.

There has yet to be any evidence to support the claim "the tier has stagnated or gotten worse" or even "it definitely hasn't seen improvement". The best USM players would argue the contrary, but it seems nobody has bothered to ask their opinions. Regardless, there is not a single player on Smogon that has such a theoretical mastery as to be able to formulate an argument based in game theory to support generalized statements such as these, and certainly not in a Gen 6 or 7 format. There is no argument and there is no evidence, so there is no validity in the claim.

There is no citation of what Ubers tour players are troublesome, or are we referring to the OU player who used a bot to invalidate SPL VIII, or the non-Ubers main who cheated through the same tour to a perfect record, or the other non-Ubers player who has been forum banned multiple times for poor behavior? But never mind all of that, big Ubers names such as Level 56, Hack He Must, Fireburn, Pohjis, and so on are clearly the problem, not the non-Ubers players. If we're seriously going to represent tiers based on subjective behavioral evaluations of their communities, OU would be the first to go by simple virtue of being the most popular. This is a silly argument to being with, much less one that can be supported with any objectivity.

More than anything else I don't appreciate the clear and outright stated mission to make this an Ubers vs. PU argument.

This type of forced aversion has become so prolific in the last few years when it comes to tournament representation that one can only conclude that TDs do it in part to shift argument and responsibility away from themselves. They want everyone to argue with each other instead of with them. They want the little tiers to sharpen their pitchforks and burn each others villages while everyone else watches the show from their comfortable castle. There does not exist argumentation as to fairly judge one tier as definitively superior and hence worthy of all the representation while the other gets nothing, especially if the status quo is changed. You'd be better off arguing that race X should be given employment over race Y, or gender A should be given medical treatment before gender B. The only thing that happens is people post on what tier they prefer based on what they have a bigger stake in and then TDs decide based on a subjective evaluation of what coincides better with what they have a stake in. That is no way to make a decision such as this. There must be a compromise for a change to happen.
 

Nayrz

blue destination
is a member of the Site Staffis a Community Leaderis a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
Ubers Leader
#5
I doubt it's much of a surprise that I would be posting here in defense, but this idea is crazy to me. We are talking about deleting Ubers as a tier ENTIRELY here. You can hit me with the "its just tournament representation", but we all know that if Ubers is removed from tournament circuits it is truly dead and buried. Being kicked down this hard doesn't have a happy ending and that means losing Smogon users that only wanted to deal with Ubers, myself included. Driving people that have contributed to the site for years away is just a bit of collateral damage?

So we're talking "identity" first up. Ubers has been scrambling to find itself since the ban of Mega Rayquaza, and we finally started to get a grip on being "the tier with the minimal amount of bans to be competitive", and instating this policy. This is a policy that Hikari, as tiering admin, approved. I don't understand why this is being used as an argument against us, honestly. Is it because we "haven't shown improvement"?

So, "the tier has either stagnated or gotten worse (it definitely hasn't seen any sort of improvement)". I shouldn't have to say this, but this is a completely subjective argument. This is an opinion widespread by ignorant players that prefer posting "nuke ubers" before attempting to understand it, play it, or just enjoy propagating a joke until it comes across as serious. There are many players of USM Ubers that enjoy the tier, and offer suggestions for improvement. There are very vocal players that dislike Ubers, and circlejerk about deleting it or whatever whenever it is brought up in conversation. When I saw people commenting about removing Ubers from Grand Slam in the smogtours discord like a week or two ago I would never have thought it would lead to our heads being put on a platter for every official tournament we take part in, and effectively (most likely literally) killing a tier that has existed for so many years. If we have no representation, we are simply "OU-BL" with a name that doesn't follow the new system. I don't imagine it would be long before changing the name and deleting the tier entirely is any more of a stretch.

The kicker in these two arguments I went over above is that inaction is being used against the tier. I haven't kept it much of a secret that I planned to talk with the playerbase of Ubers and Smogon at large about beneficial tiering actions after the latest Ubers Premier League edition. A noteworthy point is that I was led to waiting this amount of time because we were excluded from SPL, also for subjective reasons. We had no high level games, and our playerbase took a hit. Why would I start tiering the Ubers metagame off complete guesswork? Ubers leadership has struggled to keep itself active enough to do what is required, this is pretty clear. However, I have not been given enough time to change Ubers for the better with the options available to me as solo tier leader, and I haven't even been in this position to move without the restrictions of red tape and an inactive co-leader for more than a month yet. I'm left defending the actions of a past I had little true say in, and facing the punishment of the tier's death if I can't convince the masses that doing this is a massive mistake.

Playerbase toxicity? This is probably the strongest feeling I get from anyone that dislikes Ubers. Their opinion of the tier is severely warped by their interactions in the past with Ubers' playerbase. In other words, they dislike Ubers because they dislike the playerbase. Can I do more as the TL? Yes, if I wanted to deal with infraction appeals and complaints every damn day about bias and be consistently questioned about moderator decisions. For what it's worth, I have been cracking down on idiots, and will continue to do so until there is improvement. However, I do not plan to become a malicious person out to ban anyone that moves an inch over the line. That is not who I am. I think the attitudes of everyone involved could do with raising, honestly.

As for the entire direction of this thread, wtf? Are the TDs and even Tiering Admin down for another round of the "Smogon Hunger Games" even after the chaos of SPL 9's format? Even above me I have the PU TL jumping at the chance to walk over the grave of Ubers with regard for nothing else, and folks are already coming to the Ubers server in an almost propaganda-esque move to spread awareness of PU. This thread would not exist if not for some backing already going on behind the scenes, and you would have a hard time selling me otherwise. I guess drama is what runs the place after all.

I don't plan to get on my knees and beg for chances, because if there is one thing Smogon has made clear to me, it is that the opinion between the authority figures and those vocal in the tournament community rarely ever changes. I do hope that people recognize the real consequences that deleting Ubers will have for Smogon at large. This isn't just removing a tier from a tournament. It is removing something important to Smogon that has existed for more years than some reading this have lived.
 
#6
If I have to pick between the two :

From my experience over the years as a player, spectator and manager, I believe PU has more room to be competitive and enjoyable for everyone.

The "Here's a list of people who mains Ubers vs. who mains PU" to gauge a Tier's competitiveness has many flaws in my opinion. Also, to my knowledge ZU is only an OM of the Month currently and has a long way to go before obtaining the same status as PU. I can understand why you would bring it up, but I don't think it's the time and the thread to do so.

Anyway, what's necessary for a Tier to be good is not the players, but what's available to the players in my opinion. Ladder doesn't mean anything, who plays what doesn't mean anything. From experience, PU offers a better playing environment than Ubers. I feel like PU allows whoever plays it to be creative and to use various strategies without being punished for not going with the "standard", which is something I value a lot.
 

dream

It's Prime Time
is a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Community Contributor
#7
Let me preface this by saying that regardless of what is decided, I am sure that the Tiering Admin and by extension the TD Team are absolutely holding the best interests of the tiering policy and the tournaments in question within their final decision, and I believe that this is an issue far greater than their individual selves. However, I personally believe that this proposition is incredibly misguided and just honestly makes no sense.

Perhaps the biggest and most unbiased reason to keep the status quo as it currently stands is the fact that Ubers is, by definition, a core metagame. I don't mean that officially or in regards to whatever bullshit pidgeonhole the tiering policy might sort my tier into, I mean it in relation to the identity that has been forged within the tournaments, their players and Ubers from all these years of inclusion. From past Smogon Tours featuring Ubers in some capacity to team tours in SPL/Snake Draft slotting Ubers into their body of tiers and finally Grand Slam featuring Ubers as one of the 5 stepping stones towards the trophy, the tier has been ingrained into official tournaments for years now, boasting a very healthy and solid mixture of quality "tier mains" (an awful term but I suppose it fits the overall idea of the thread) and skilled tournament players who pick up the tier for tournament purposes. Regardless of the recent Ubers bashing fad, there has historically been a big connection between tournament players and Ubers, with most of the older generations of the tier seeing most of it's players from established tournament veterans, simply because of how much it has always been present in Smogon tournaments. To take something that has been an integral part of this identity should always require an overwhelming amount of support, because swapping out the status quo on something that has been so solidly proven in the tournament circuit for so long for something so uncertain only makes sense if the community is hell-bent on driving out one of it's truly core metagames, and I just don't see that.

There still is clear shock towards the Mazar cheating scandal (which fyi has no bearing on the tier but people seem to combine them together due to ignorance or whatever other reason) or maybe people just hate seeing the vocal and controversial STAG clan as a part of the community (which is just another awful circlejerk that has grown on Smogon and should in no way represent the Ubers community as a whole) or maybe they'll even point towards the prolonged stay of Shadow Tag or Gothitelle within the tier as a reason to discredit Ubers in general, but the truth is, there is absolutely no objective reason that Ubers should be getting essentially purged from tournaments or Smogon "officiality", if you will. There is nothing inherently problematic with Ubers, when comparing it to other lower tiers. It has it's own tiering philosophy and identity, it has an independent yet still connected playerbase that is currently blossoming with new talent ever since the arrival of Ultra Sun and Moon while still retaining it's tournament veterans and older roots, it is an extremely balanced and playable tier with room for creativity and deviation and has an extremely active and dedicated body, with a substantial ladder community and PokemonShowdown! room presence, a very competent moderation/QC/VR team and one of the best Tier Leaders on the website running all of that. There is absolutely nothing to point towards that could even begin to paint Ubers as a more unstable or uncompetitive tier than the other lower tiers, while they are plagued by usage stats dictating their paths, Ubers might experience different problems, mainly the dilemma of having to deal with the consistent influx of too powerful Pokemon while still keeping an interesting and healthy metagame. Just because it behaves differently and experiences other issues, that shouldn't be grounds for expulsion, surely?

All in all, it always interests me whenever the debate for excluding Ubers from something comes up, because it's always a recycled collection of poor and ignorant arguments, focusing on all the irrelevant aspects rather than actually pointing to the tier itself and the people who play it:
Ubers on the other hand has been part of the tournaments circuit for long while, but in recent times people feel the tier has lost its identity, that the tier has either stagnated or gotten worse (it definitely hasn't seen any sort of improvement), that their tournament playerbase is particularly troublesome (talking about prominent names, not randoms). It would be easy to pin down those problems on their lack of SPL representation, but they aren't recent issues and actually were some of the major reasons why it wasn't included.
Ubers being a part of the circuit for so long should count in it's favour, and I already explained why in my first point so I won't delve into that once again. The second line is what interests me the most. How has Ubers "lost its identity" recently? I would really like to see some more explanation as to that point, because all it screams right now is official-sounding unsubstantiated parroting, and that is my biggest issue with all of this. Onto the next claim, it's perfectly fine, albeit extremely biased, to say that the tier has gotten worse, but what doesn't make sense is saying that it has stagnated. SM Ubers was an undeniably stagnant tier, corroborated by the past Snake Draft and Grand Slam tournaments, but maybe it didn't have enough time or room to develop? Nonetheless, USM Ubers is one of the most dynamic and ever-changing Ubers metagames we've seen in years, with new arrivals completely shaking it up and new ways of playing it popping up with every tournament we host (from Seasonals to UPL to a future Slam/Snake/SPL). It might not be everyone's cup of tea to see "the lion" running around with sets ranging from ultra-offensive to uber-bulky, but that is the identity of Ubers and the tier finds its beautiful balance within that, just like ADV Ubers did with the Lati twins and the Weather Duo or how DPP Ubers did with all its mighty Dragons or how BW Ubers did with it's seemingly overwhelming hazard game. Why do tournament players find those acceptable but not the currently blossoming metagame of USM Ubers? Finally, we get to the most juicy and perhaps the worst argument used by anyone who is not familiar with the Ubers community, the "oh you have troublesome and toxic users" argument. Absolutely every corner on Smogon is filled with drastically different individuals, and toxic behaviour is not exclusive to any tier, randoms to prominent names alike. It's undeniable that Ubers experiences those same issues, however there is no significant difference in those numbers when comparing Ubers to any other tier, especially when you look at other core metagames. Instead of trying to provide whatever circlejerked subjective behavioral evaluations you're trying to or trying to reiterate that awkward idea that Uber players are naturally toxic or that we should be excluded from future tournaments because a handful of people rubbed you the wrong way, you might as well close this thread because you're just trying to find whatever excuse is more acceptable to remove Ubers from whatever it is, for the nth time.

I argued for Ubers' inclusion during the SPL tier selection because it truly hurts the development of the tier if it's constantly being removed from tournaments where the highest standard of play should be present (which makes it harder to eventually bring it back up into it), and if we're going to have this song and dance every time tournaments come up, the tier will definitely be negatively impacted, because all this does is create a disconnect between the tournaments community and the Ubers tier. So before you go ahead and change the status quo based on nothing but a subjective and unbacked agenda that has been regurgitated by a disconnected and outside minority, please reconsider your main points and actually give us something noteworthy.
 
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tcr

stay trippy little hippie
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#8
While I disagree in the context of this exclusive nature of tournament representation, if I had to pick one of the two to remain I would pick Ubers.

Ubers has notoriously and historically been important to Smogon in defining alternative metagames that are not entirely usage based, and more over provide a sense of excitement with the sheer power that the Pokemon possess. It has been a relevant tier for many generations and maintaining status alongside OU and UU in older generations. PU on the other hand is only the most recent of usage based tiers, and that begs the question of when it should stop. zomog pointed out how the decision to include PU can lead to further issues down the line, when tiers like ZU gain relevance. I believe that three being the end all of number of usage based tiers in Grand Slam is a fair representation, and any more tends to make the number of usage based tiers tilt towards an entirely usage based system.

While Ubers has a questionable competitive aspect to it, I believe that the issues related to "losing identity" have been a result of the creation of Anything Goes. As of now, Ubers is no longer just a banlist, but a "step above" of OU, with its own entities themselves being banned from the tier. I feel that that culture should remain that way, with it becoming more nuanced, having more suspect testing and adjusting to the metagame to create a healthy metagame, instead of treating things like Mega-Rayquaza as an exception.

As for the toxicity of the tier, historically, I believe that is due to faulty moderatorship and the promotion of such an inherently bad culture. The tier should not be punished more so the users who are problematic should be punished, and that distasteful culture extinguished. Culture is enabled by the moderators and other authority figures in the community, and the toxicity is not an inherent part of Ubers. These are separate issues that I feel can serve as a wakeup call to the representatives of Ubers to adjust how they moderate that specific part of smogon, both in culture and in metagame analysis, and should be left as that. Ubers has a unique niche that no other tier can fill and should be given representation in Slam for the same reasons that LC is, that they are unique and a part of smogon culture. Yes they have their own issues but those should not be punished because of certain users. I for one thoroughly enjoy watching Ubers games as its cool to see the big boys in play.

I don't want this post to be taken as a bashing of PU either, I simply prefer the status quo more than adjusting it. I think adding PU would beg the question of what to do with ZU, and so on down the line. One could make the same argument for UU, NU and RU, but those have had representation for a while now and retroactive tournament standing should not be taken into action. To sum up, Ubers has its own problems that should be dealt with internally, and instead of the community feeling it as an attack on them they shoudl self reflect on what they want ubers to be, both culture wise and metagame wise. Preserve the status quo, keep it in Slam / Snake whatever its in, and draw the cutoff for usage based tiers at NU. There will always be subdivisions in usage based tiering because people really want to play with their garbage GU mon Corsola or something and will always tend to make alternative metagames for that purpose, but at some point that has to end, wrt tournament represenation.


Edit: never mind ubers discord is p uhhhhhh "entertaining" i think i want to side with PU for this one just give them representation already
 
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Hogg

grubbing in the ashes
is a Tournament Directoris a member of the Site Staffis a Super Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributor
UU & Tour Head
#9
Regarding the community cheating/toxicity... listen, I get it. It is really shitty to blame an entire tier for the faults of a few users. And frankly, if UU had their own STAG with as illustrious a history of cheating, I sure as hell would want to disown them too. But please don't try to dismiss these issues as just the fault of Mazar. In recent history there have been multiple cheating scandals involving several players who, regardless of how much you want to disown them, had prominent spheres of influence within the Ubers community. The last time we held Grand Slam (aka the tour that's actually being discussed here), we had a huge debacle with Ubers Open including not only ghosting but active plans to rig the results of the entire tour. Nor are the issues with toxicity restricted just to cheating. I haven't gone and counted but based on personal observation, I'd guess that the amount of complaints and infractions per capita regarding serious offenses like harassment and doxxing are higher for Ubers than any other community. Regardless of whether you want to own these users as Ubers players or not, the reason this was so pervasive is that quite a few of them were actively enabled and defended by the community.

As for the tier itself, yes, of course it's subjective that one tier is good and one tier is bad. I can point you to at least a half dozen decent UU players who don't like the direction that UU has gone recently, whereas I think this past SPL had some of the best UU games I've seen in years. But the people complaining about the current state of Ubers are NOT just coming from "ignorant players" who don't want to try to understand the tier. There have been complaints about the quality of the tier from players both inside and outside the Ubers community (including not only several Snake players but also at least one person who is currently trying to defend Ubers in this very fucking thread).

So what is Ubers doing to fix this problem? I see a couple of people have referenced the tiering policy that was passed seven months ago and a Hypnosis + Mega-Gengar ban, but considering that a good bulk of the complaints I've seen about USM Ubers have come since then, I'd be curious to see what the tier's plans for the future are. The issues with toxicity seem to have largely gone unaddressed until they spilled over into other parts of the site and were dealt with by non-Ubers people, at which point everyone tried to wipe their hands of those users. (If I'm wrong about these points, by the way, then those are things that are very relevant to bring up in this thread by the way... I would really really like to see some sign that Ubers has taken a more active role in dealing with these issues than what I've personally observed.)

On the other hand, after getting the boot previously and being made into a non-core metagame, PU leadership actually has worked their asses off to make their tier playable and improve their community. I was very much not a fan of PU for a while, but I've been pleasantly surprised by the effort and quality I've seen from them over the past year. I know the common response is to say "lol PU not a real tier" but from watching them lately, I think they've improved leaps and bounds beyond what we saw of them the last time they were in Slam.

This does not mean that I'm necessarily in favor of blindly replacing Ubers with PU, by the way. But I don't think that a single non-OU tier is guaranteed indefinite tour representation just, you know, because. That includes PU, that includes my own UU, and that most certainly includes Ubers. I'm sorry to call out a tier publicly like this, but if I'm going to support Ubers remaining in Slam and other tours down the road, I'd really like to see some more signs that the tier is working to fix the problems it currently has and trying to improve.
 

Nayrz

blue destination
is a member of the Site Staffis a Community Leaderis a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
Ubers Leader
#10
The plans for the future are simple. After UPL I would be investigating community opinion with a thread on the state of the tier and hosting a suspect on what the consensus is regarding the "problem". This is important because there is a 66.6% ban rate to handle, so it has to be backed rather well to not be a waste of precious time. If the ban isn't passed, then I would assume that means the issue with that element of USM Ubers isn't as big as those speaking against us are claiming, so something comes from it either way. The issue is that I may not have the time to do what is necessary with the appearance of this thread at a bad time. We have to bear in mind that Snake was done in the SM metagame, and when I was not a tier leader. USM is very different in comparison. I can't use Snake Draft as the backing for taking action in USM Ubers - it makes no sense. UPL draws eyes from other tier communities and promotes high level gameplay of the tier before the officials come along. I feel (and still do feel) that was the best plan to wait for to use as a basis for future tiering action. Our circuit tournaments? They have relevancy to Ubers, but high profile games are what I wanted to see, because without a problematic element being publicly known, the chances of reaching a 66.6% banrate are low.

Toxic playerbase unaddressed? I'm not sure what to tell you. I don't have hard evidence that toxicity is going anywhere because it is simply a constant work in progress. Anything short of a list of people I've banned or taken action against would get nowhere, and I don't keep a log book of it. What I can tell you is that I have been working to counteract terrible attitudes among both our auth areas and especially the current regulars of the community. Those that have caused trouble in UPL so far did not get off for free, and I've already told them it will go further downhill for them if it continues. Talk is cheap though, and Ubers has done enough of that in the past. If time permits it, you would likely see the results of my actions for yourself.

I don't plan to debate PU and their community - I am not familiar with it and won't pretend I am. I do think their situation of removals, leadership, and tiering in general is very different to our own though, and not a real point of comparison. I can go over this if its really necessary, but I think the main points behind it stand out clear enough to not need explanation.

In the past, co-leaders have been far too inactive and unable to participate as they should have, leading to this situation that is well past its due date. I don't believe I have that problem. My only enemy is time, and I guess now the idea of being removed as a tier entirely. I don't have a magic wand to cure the issues the tournament community has with Ubers immediately, which is unfortunate considering the timing we are now dealing with.
 
#11
I wanted to express my support for PU super briefly. I want to make clear that I am a Little Cup players for those who don't know me, and in a way I have been in their shoes before.

I had the opportunity to assman in Exhibition, which featured PU as a prominent metagame. I worked closely with the PU community as a whole to try and find what would best fit with our team and who would be able to give us the best chance of winning. Once I practically took over the team as a whole (thanks zeb), the team basically fell apart as lack of interest from the players—except the PU community, who took their chance very seriously. This was evident almost immediately as many of the members of the community put in an extraordinary amount of effort to show off their meta, even if it wasn't getting that much visibility. While our team had some internal issues as a whole, I will say that I was very impressed overall by the community.

When I see the PU community desperately try to grow into tour representation, I see a young LC community doing the same thing several years ago. While I'm not going to pretend that PU has done and overcame the same things that LC has done; as just a couple days ago a few members of our community were even comparing issues they have to issues we had years ago. I believe they should be given a chance eventually, and what better time than now. I don't want to say that the Ubers community (or even the Doubles community) does not deserve to be in a tour like Slam, but it would not be hard to throw PU a slot in Snake.
 

Teddeh

I'm up and coming like I'm fucking in an elevator
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
#12
As a player who has been around the PU metagame and has an active part in shaping its future as a council member, I think that the inclusion is a great opportunity to help demonstrate what PU can do as a tier. I think that anyone who played smogon exhibition realised just how much PU players / the PU slots cared about the tour and how much they actively tried to innovate and create a very active metagame, as well as playing it throughout seasonal / pu unopen - the tier allows for a lot of innovation and creativity which ultimately creates a fun tier to play.
The tier has been around a while now with an active council and playerbase who are excited at the possible inclusion of official representation and grand slam / snake would be ideal for growth. After several suspects / very active discussion amongst the council - we are working constantly to improve the tier, no matter what the result and the tier is very enjoyable at the moment. This is what the PU community has been working towards and I fully feel that it deserves inclusion.
 
#13
Even ignoring the objective assessment of the OP's proposals, and as Minority stated, there is absolutely no evidence to support their reasoning. From both Hikari's and soulgazer's posts the essential argument given is PU is a "more competitive and enjoyable tier than ubers." It doesn't take a genius to realize this statement is subjective in every single way, especially with the lack of concrete facts to back up the claim. There are no opinions from actual ubers players outside of vague generalizations, and there is a clear layer of bias when PU players attempt to make their case for PU's inclusion over ubers.

It’s pretty stupid to start comparing PU with Ubers or to create an "us versus them" mentality. Aside from the suggestion that "PU never really had a chance, we should probably give them one and screw over ubers to do it" smacks of the worst kind of political correctness, the TD team and tiering admin should work on finding a solution that gives PU the opportunity they may deserve without cutting out one of Smogon's oldest tiers. In fact, that's what their job should've been in the first place, rather than having us fight it out like children wanting the last piece of candy.

As for toxicity, NO ONE supports people who bash others for no reason other to inflate their ego, so stop acting like such action is implicitly sanctioned by the community. Maybe I should gather a group of friends, declare ourselves PU mains, and start shitting up the PU forums and tournaments, because that’s all it will take for people to start calling PU a toxic tier. In fact, the PUTLs have already informed me they will gladly turn a blind eye to such behavior in accordance with official Smogon policy and that the PU community has our backs.

Ubers is unique among Smogon tiers in that the composition of the tier rarely changes from one generation to the next, aside from a few additional mons. On the other hand, many lower tiers both gain and lose mons, and often a lower tier in one gen will closely resemble the tier one step higher from the last gen. While SM PU may resemble ORAS NU in many ways, and SM RU oras UU, Ubers is undeniably its own tier, isolated (but not completely exempt from) from the main tiering process.

I really appreciate all the posts in this thread that focus on the competitive value of PU rather than bashing the Ubers community, and after reading them I definitely agree PU deserves representation in official tournaments. But removing Ubers from the official tournament circuit will never be the proper way to accomplish this.
 

shrang

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#14
Fuck the whole shitting on Ubers thing is so bullshit. I can't believe the hypocrisy that's always being levied at us to be honest.

1) Ubers losing their identity: What do you mean by this? Do you mean like Ubers not being the highest tier where nothing is banned any more? It's because of high profile players who join Ubers after playing lower tiers who are used to their ability to ban shit that they don't like who impose their views onto Ubers and shit banned all over the place that AG exists in the first place. Yeah sure, let's ban BP and let's ban S-tag and let's ban Ingrain - what the fuck do you think would happen to Ubers' identity?

2) Shit playerbase: This is close to the worst hypocrisy I have ever seen, and I've seen some doozies. Why the fuck do we keep shitting on Ubers' playerbase when every other tier has them just as bad if not worse? Apart from a couple of notable exceptions (which exist in other tiers btw!), Ubers is an incredibly tight community that is no worse or better than anyone else. Somehow anything bad coming out of Ubers is expected while everywhere else it's terrible. I've even had this shit come out of the PS staff - eg when people raid RP "something's got to be done about raiding and we need to punish the offenders as harshly as possible" yet when I punish people for raiding the Ubers room I'm a fucking powertrippy tyrant.

Sorry for being so crude but I'm normally quite conciliary but I've had enough of Ubers being targeted all the time
 
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Arcticblast

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#15
Why can't we just include both?
because Grand Slam fucking sucks when we try to include more than five opens. we tried. the opens themselves are fine, but the weirdness of deciding which metas to play in playoff sets, in addition to the awkwardness of points + the stress it already puts on players to do well in five different tournaments let alone more, makes it really hard to justify adding extra metas to the tour. is this a critique of Grand Slam itself? maybe. idk

I don't think it's fair to exclude either meta, but at the end of the day something has to get cut. the only solution I can see is constantly rotating a core meta out of tournaments (not just Ubers/PU but the usage-based tiers too), but I can't see that working out.

for what it's worth I'm down with PU getting some representation (fucking finally) but the idea of cutting Ubers seems super weird to me
 
#16
I think there's some questions that need to be answered to inform a decision on this, probably by Hikari:

- How are core metagames treated? Are they intended to be static across time or flexible based on the state of the metagame? If the latter, are there any restrictions on metagames who are not core metas becoming one and later losing that status repeatedly?

- How is Ubers viewed holistically from the administration? Is it seen as a core part of Smogon identity, or as a historical relic that has lost it's relevance? Is priority to be given to tiers that can be curated to create the greatest competitive environment and does that necessarily mean tiering based?

- What is the cost to cutting Ubers? What is the gain from rewarding PU? Can either tier be compensated for losing/not gaining core metagame status?

And one for the communities:

- Is major tournament representation mandatory to keep your tier healthy and growing? Can sub-official tours and/or circuits satisfy that void? Is Ubers entitled to maintain its tournament position if a theoretical tier were able to demonstratively supplant it in some given set of evaluations?
 
#17
As an unbiased party I find it important to voice my opinion in this thread considering I'm a tournament player and this decision ends up affecting us more than anyone else. The title of the thread itself shows that we should be more focused into discussing which tier has more to add to Grand Slam / Snake. It's clear both Ubers and PU have a lot of value to the tournament scene, so much that the OP states they can't be Core Metagames at the same time due to the issues this would bring to the tournament circuit.

With that in mind, I believe several arguments made in this thread are either very poor or extremely subjective. This includes playerbase toxicity, Ubers losing its identity, and Ubers being worse than PU. It doesn't take a genius to see how subjective these points are and how irrelevant they should be when discussing which tier should be added to our tournament circuit. I believe Nayrz's posts addressed these issues already, so I won't bother responding to them again. What should be the center of attention here is which tier brings more to the table, and the only way to objectively determine that is by neutrally evaluating each one and their playerbases.


(I realize I probably shouldn't have added Audino to the list, but I felt like it deserved a mention since in most NU games it stays in regular form before mega-evolving anyway)
(Also before people claim I don't know what I'm talking about because I don't play PU I've actually played quite a bit of the PU ladder and people used to say the same about me when I started in NU and I've had quite a bit of official tournament success in that tier)

This edited version of the PU Viability Rankings shows some of the "various strategies" and the "room for creativity" PU has at the moment. All the Pokémon listed above have seen usage in other tiers in Official Tournaments, and despite some of them being extremely specific and not seeing a lot of play, that doesn't make them unviable. Of course some of them are more known to the community at the moment - such as Gastrodon, which has been one of the most popular OU Pokémon in the past few months - but some of them also had their fair bit of appearances that deserve a mention.

If PU is added to Grand Slam / Snake we're going to see a lot of Pokémon that already appear often in other tiers being used repeatedly. It's much easier for players to pick up PU after brief experiences in other low tiers than it is for them to pick up Ubers due to this repetitive nature, which also reflects on the low skill ceiling PU holds at the moment. Speaking from a point of view regarding variety, creativity, and competitiveness, it's clear that Ubers brings more strategies to the table and is the tier that differs the most from the rest.

Moving on, the PU playerbase has almost no players active in the tournament scene as we speak. It's easy to bring up ladder numbers and the engagement people have in their own subforums, but it's a completely different story to bring this tier up to the level of tournament play. The user that was brought up the most regarding PU player representation in the tournament scene is Teddeh, an NU main who is no rookie to the tournament scene, having successful showings in multiple SPLs. While I'm sure there are PU mains eager to see their tier on the main stage, we must take into consideration that they will be playing against the toughest competition on Smogon, and the amount of PU players that have shown success in the tournament scene is miniscule even when we take Teddeh into account. I believe this is very important because the skill gap between OU players and lower tiers players is already quite noticeable (you can see the difference by comparing the level of OU games vs low tier games in SPL and Snake), and adding PU certainly isn't gonna help in increasing the quality of our games. Ubers, on the other hand, has a more experienced playerbase with more showings in the tournament scene. I won't deny this is partially due to Ubers being part of Official Tournaments in the past and that PU was never given a chance, but this doesn't change the fact that Ubers has always been the most known tier of the two in the tournament community, and that their players had more success throughout different tournaments.

With those thoughts in mind, I strongly believe Ubers is the tier which adds the most to our circuit at the present time. I see more variety in their Pokémon pool, more competitiveness in their playerbase, more room for creativity due to its expansive tiering, and more tradition in the tournament community.

Before ending this post I'd like to clarify a few things. I have nothing against the PU tier or its community and I do believe you guys deserve to be considered a Core Metagame by now. The situation the OP implies is that it's either Ubers or PU that should hold this right, and that's completely ridiculous because it only represents the staff's laziness to fix our currently broken and uncompetitive tournament circuit. Making this circuit tolerable shouldn't be the tiers' obligation by fighting against each other, instead it should be the staff's obligation to find a way of properly representing the portions of the community that want to compete.
 
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lax

the doublelift of pokemon
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
#18
Before ending this post I'd like to clarify a few things. I have nothing against the PU tier or its community and I do believe you guys deserve to be considered a Core Metagame by now. The situation the OP implies is that it's either Ubers or PU that should hold this right, and that's completely ridiculous because it only represents the staff's laziness to fix our currently broken and uncompetitive tournament circuit. Making this circuit tolerable shouldn't be the tiers' obligation by fighting against each other, instead it should be the staff's obligation to find a way of properly representing the portions of the community that want to compete.
I hold the same beliefs as unbiased user elodin regarding this.

ABR said he'd delete any posts advocating for dual representation of both PU and Ubers, but I really don't understand why. Ubers was affected deeply by actions Mazar had done and seem to be picking it back up. UPL is ran pretty well and the games are competitive. PU got removed from the Slam circuit last year and has been working hard to improve as a tier since then; no one can even deny the progress PU has made. This leads me to my main point: there is nothing anyone can actually say about how competitive either of the tiers, there is nothing anyone can say about how strong the playerbases are, and there is nothing anyone can say about which tier is more fit to have tour representation until there is a stable comparison provided.

Even if TDs claim that having both PU and Ubers in Grand Slam / Snake Draft is impossible; all it does is make the decision to pick either of the tiers even harder. How can anyone even judge the recent growth if the tiers aren't involved in a tour side by side? If we see both PU and Ubers in Slam, then we can see which open has more success, both numbers wise and competitively. If we see both PU and Ubers in Snake, everyone can openly gauge how competitive either of the tiers are and the level of the players participating. Without either of these things, I'm confused on how anyone can present a direct stance favoring either tier, leading to the aforementioned "PU vs Ubers" mentality when it should be PU or Ubers.

I myself have no idea which tier I would pick. I played Ubers in slam playoffs and honestly didn't hate it and whenever I hop on stours I see UPL games which are always entertaining. On the other hand, I've also played PUPL across ORAS and SM and also think it's a fun tier with potential to be competitive.

This entire thread is just going to become PU and Ubers players posting on why their tier should be included and why their tier is better, which is dumb. We have no basis for either of these, so this thread is just pointless. TDs either find a way to include both in a tour where we can correctly judge the levels of the tier or nothing will come up from this thread. A possible solution is to have both PU and Ubers in slam (doubtful due to what TDs have said) or to include both in Snake, eliminating one of the 4 OU slots. Either way, I'm sure the community can pick which tier was "better" or if both the tiers manage to succeed, they are both left in.
 

Arcticblast

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#19
Moving on, the PU playerbase has almost no players active in the tournament scene as we speak.
yeah these things happen when a metagame doesn't get any representation in official tournaments

don't force PU players to play metas they don't want to play in order to earn PU's spot in tournaments. if a bunch of VGC world champions tried to argue VGC's inclusion in Slam, would you tell them "idk I haven't seen any of you win a Smogon Tour" then ignore them when they say no?
 
#20
Aren't y'all missing the obvious solution; polling the top eschelon of last year's GS point winners? As has been demonstrated above, the innate merit of a metagame or toxicity of a community is rather subjective, and thus its rather silly to think that any form of argument will yield to a consensus about whether Ubers or PU ought to get a slot, other than the by one side simply throwing out more posts. Isn't it more sensible to directly question the top of the GS tour playerbase, rather than doing it in the much more roundabout and exasperating way of a PR discussion. Obviously Ubers would have an implicit advantage in polling, since it has a larger base and more users are likely familiar with it to begin with, but a general sense of support could be obtained. I think it would then be up to the TD team to make the call, for which they've been given their position, what level of support would be needed to transition to PU. If the overwhelming majority of players would prefer GS to keep Ubers, then there is no good reason to change that. If the vote is much closer, however, it would be reasonable for the TD team to give a PU slot a chance.
 

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#21
Aren't y'all missing the obvious solution; polling the top eschelon of last year's GS point winners? As has been demonstrated above, the innate merit of a metagame or toxicity of a community is rather subjective, and thus its rather silly to think that any form of argument will yield to a consensus about whether Ubers or PU ought to get a slot, other than the by one side simply throwing out more posts. Isn't it more sensible to directly question the top of the GS tour playerbase, rather than doing it in the much more roundabout and exasperating way of a PR discussion. Obviously Ubers would have an implicit advantage in polling, since it has a larger base and more users are likely familiar with it to begin with, but a general sense of support could be obtained. I think it would then be up to the TD team to make the call, for which they've been given their position, what level of support would be needed to transition to PU. If the overwhelming majority of players would prefer GS to keep Ubers, then there is no good reason to change that. If the vote is much closer, however, it would be reasonable for the TD team to give a PU slot a chance.
There's an issue with this, which is that Ubers is already a mainstay in the GS circuit so there's going to be a natural bias to keep it. You're gonna find more Ubers players in that upper echelon than PU players, and that skews voting.
 

Megazard

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PU Leader
#22
Not sure exactly how much I can add to this discussion since it seems to have gravitated more towards whether Ubers still deserves a slot as opposed to if PU now does, plus "PU leader likes PU" isn't really a news flash, but it'd feel wrong to not say anything in support of the tier. I think PU is ready for more representation and everything that brings to the table. Having watched how much the tier has grown since the last time it was given a place in an official tour, it's really not controversial to say that PU has made leaps and bounds since then. PU mains are a lot better and have slowly crept into the tournament scene despite mostly being randoms like myself, and we're always capable of matching outside players when it comes to "random PU main vs well known tour player" premier league or seasonal games. Every time PU interacts with tournament players and other tiers in any tour, whether it be PUPL or LTPL or exhibition, it's great to see just how much the tier uses those interactions to grow and improve. Even over the relatively low-interest final weeks of exhibition, there was still noticeable innovation and enthusiasm from PU mains across multiple teams, which is one of my favorite things about the metagame overall. The PU community is ready for this opportunity, and regardless of the circumstances around it I think we're ready to see core inclusion.
Also, why is cutting out a bunch of the mons on the VR and saying PU looks mildly similar to other core metas (PU games look nothing like NU games btw) considered a relevant argument in any way? Same goes for comparing ladder stats, although as someone involved in AG I'd also not complain if ladder peak and activity were considered remotely relevant metrics for tour inclusion.
 
#23
because it means learning the tier becomes a lot less challenging since you're already familiar with >50% of the pokemons' damage, speed tiers, abilities and general in-battle utility. this heavily influences a player's ability to create gameplans and outplay, and therefore lowers the tournaments' skill ceiling (in my opinion). even if most pokemon didn't repeat themselves it'd still be quite predictable what their roles are when you have primeape in pu doing exactly the same thing as passimian in nu, for example. also pu games might "look nothing like nu games", but I'm sure ubers games look a lot more different compared to every other tier (note that I'm only mentioning this because you brought it up, I never said in my op that nu and pu games were similar at all).

also because it's only an unbiased attempt at objectively determining which tier adds more to the tournaments in question, which is only fair to both communities involved. I reckon even my attempt at being objective carries subjective assumptions, and maybe this is ultimately a subjective discussion, but so far I haven't seen a single argument in this thread that brings any points more relevant than mine regarding the competitiveness added to our circuit by both tiers.
 
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#24
The familiarity argument is a bit dubious when you consider that most "high level tour players" have been playing for multiple generations now, and while you could look at Gastrodon on the VR rankings and say "hey, aren't OU players using this?" you could also look at Pyroar / Mesprit / Skuntank / Aurorus and say "Hey, weren't NU players using this?" Long time tour players will be familiar with most of the mons in PU, but it's not like they are not also familiar with most of the mons being used in Ubers in that aspect. Nuances matter, and to me they do far more to highlight the skill of players. It's one thing to know Mesprit has 80 base speed and another to know just how to tinker it to make it optimal in a matchup.

And yeah, while I do support PU getting better representation for reasons already stated, I am unsure if this should happen because Ubers gets kicked. I do recall PU players playing exceptionally well in Exhibition, and even in my rupl team I drafted a couple of PU mains and they were keen on working and trying and at no point I felt that their skill level was an issue, but honestly I could say the same for Ubers players, where - in our team at least - they tried very hard in Exhibition despite an admittedly lower interest in general and in all the other team tours I saw them participate in. So while I'm subjectively all for PU getting what I think they deserve, I don't like that this would be the way at all.
 

Taskr

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#25
Okay so I'm making this post to support PU's representation in grand slam as I feel like we don't have too much support in this thread from PU players and I think the reason for that is because of way this thread is set up to give one sided opinions from each tier and most of what already has been said has been said. I'm going to look at some of the advantages to having PU in this tour.

  • Firstly I think that the main advantage of having PU in grand slam is that it is more consistent with the other tiers in the tour and this will allow players from higher tiers to pick up the meta a lot easier than they would if they were playing Ubers for the first time.
  • It's only early days but with the banning of Magmortar and Archeops from PU the meta is a lot healthier to both build and play in, I can't speak for Ubers too much because I'm not very caught up with how healthy the metagame is, but I think that a balanced metagame is a big plus for grand slam and makes PU more noteworthy.
  • PU's tour playerbase is better than what most people think and a lot of the top players can compete with other tours players in this tier and you can find evidence of this from tour such as PUPL and Exhibition. I think that most players don't see for a few reasons, firstly is because our official tour representation was taken away from us which cut down our ability to prove ourselves significantly and because a lot of the top PU players (excluding a few) don't play any other lower tiers.
  • We have a great community. This doesn't directly matter in the context of this thread but this can only be seen as a positive trait that PU has over Ubers. I'm not trying to say the Ubers community is bad or anything either because I've met some really cool users through tours like Exhibition and such.
I just want to conclude with saying that I am proud of how hard PU has worked to be put in this position and would be disappointed with the removal of one tier just to include another but I also think that, that is the way it has to be if PU is included and that is what is best for this tour.
 
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