Re: King’s Rock (and other “luck items”)

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Finchinator

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I have brought this up in both the SS and BW Council chats already, but I am speaking on behalf of myself here.

We should strongly consider banning King’s Rock (and looking into Brightpowder/Lax Incense).

King’s Rock has been used in conjunction with Skill Link Cloyster to form a disruptive strategy. The bolstered flinch chance makes it so that any defensive counterplay to Shell Smash Cloyster is at the mercy of not getting flinched, compromising odds of checking or countering a boosted Cloyster significantly.

While this has been touched on in the ongoing BW thread about weather abilities, I feel making a new thread is best for a few reasons:
  • There is an argument that this should be applied to every generation, not just BW
  • That thread is already dedicated to another topic
  • Organization gives everyone a medium to make their voice heard in individual topics more possible
The aforementioned Cloyster strategy can be found in both BW OU and SS OU, even being the subject of widespread complaints earlier this generation during the post-home/post-DLC1 metagames — it is still mentioned on occasion in response to tiering surveys. While the impacts of King’s Rock may be more noteworthy in BW OU due to it being more disruptive in a metagame with less defensive counterplay available, I see no place for King’s Rock in any competitive format.

The likely counter-argument is that people are making a calculated decision sacrificing Cloyster’s item slot in order to get flinches rather than improve damage output or survivability. However, when this flinch chance is entirely reliant on RNG and items bolstering damage or survivability are not, it becomes clear that this trade-off is an uncompetitive one that leads to games being decided largely on flinch chances. The main other counter-argument is that if Cloyster is the main abuser of this strategy, then banning the Pokemon would be more in-line with our philosophy. I do not believe that applies here — especially to older generations such as BW — given the nature of King’s Rock and our history of banning other RNG elements of the game.

Given this, I believe that banning King’s Rock removes an uncompetitive facet of the game that is currently seeing usage in tournaments and on the ladder across multiple generations, especially BW. If we are going down this road, I am also content expanding this ban to Brightpowder and Lax Incense due to their similar nature. However, I feel less strongly as they do not see much usage at all — I will happily let others discuss this more rather than offering a lengthy personal stance.

Below are two brief quotes from experienced players on the topic of King’s Rock that promoted some of this:
Hi,

Ban King's Rock and BW OU is permanently solved.

Yours truly,
Breezy

(kings rock, bright powder, and quick claw(?) should be banned from all tiers)
@ King's Rock
think its stupid and would always vote ban personally
fundamentally i hate it
realistically idk if it picked up enough to get removed yet but
if fsr nobody bats an eye at a ban, then by all mean let it go
I hope this thread can lead towards us removing King’s Rock from our formats.
 

ausma

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This is something I am completely on board with, and I would like to briefly explain why.

A major goal of our formats is to give as much control to the players as possible and prioritize skill and good positioning toward being the main factors that lead to the outcome of a match. In this regard, I feel it is imperative to consider that RNG is bar none the most polarizing mechanism in Pokemon that can completely skew the value of player skill by rewarding rash decision making. It is my belief that items such as King's Rock and the way these kinds of items can be exploited are a direct infraction upon this philosophy, and add nothing of competitive or productive value to matches other than what are essentially weighted coin flips.

While this isn't a major factor that leads to bans, I would also like to mention that RNG mechanisms such as these are bar none one of the worst teaching techniques and are overall unhealthy for newer players as well. For those of you who are familiar with TF2 and Uncle Dane, Uncle Dane made a phenomenal video about the nature of random critical hits in TF2 and how RNG-centric strategies create a worrisome kind of conditioning and indirectly teach players that throwing yourself blindly at the opponent will sometimes work because you have a chance to be rewarded for it. King's Rock, Sand Veil, and similar strategies apply in the exact same way. You have a 41% chance to be rewarded for recklessly positioning your Cloyster and winning the game on the spot because you're able to muscle past something that should otherwise be able to shut it down. This more or less teaches players that you can win solely off of RNG-based strategies, as opposed to punishing you for poor positioning or planning skills and helping you actually learn what you did wrong so you can improve and become a stronger player.

Overall, I 100% agree with King's Rock ban. I think it adds literally nothing of actual competitive value and is not only inherently uncompetitive due to skewing the value of player skill, which directly infracts Smogon's battling and tiering philosophy, but it is also greatly unhealthy from a learning and accessibility POV as well.
 
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Please please please ban kings rock in every tier, it's insanely stupid seeing the absolute best checks for cloyster getting flinched down from a 100 and it's obviously uncompetitive. Definite no-brainer to get rid of it. Same with the brightpowder stuff, there's no actual reason to keep these things around when they add nothing positive to a game that is already luck infested.
 
Is this really worse than serene grace? I’ll completely bow out on any knowledge of BW OU, so if you feel it is I’ll accept that there, but at least in more modern I’m fairly confident it’s a question of distribution; cloyster has smash, which sets it apart from Rachi and Kiss, but as we see with Skymin that comparison is not inherent. I’m actually 100% in favor of a ban on kings rock but I think it’s not worth kidding ourselves.
 

Katy

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KINGS ROCK

I am leaning towards banning this item, as it is incredibly rng-based and removes a fundamental aspect of the game, the better player wins, not the player which happens to flinch the counterplay to Pokemon such as Cloyster. We all know 1 flinch can be crucial and this exact flinch can make a difference between a player winning or a player losing their counterplay towards Cloyster, and if this player happens to have no counterplay anymore, then Pokemon like Cloyster can run through the rest of the team with ease. Not only that, but it can also run a mixed set, so it doesn't have to hit Pokemon such as Skarmory with less effective physical hits, when it can run Hydro Pump very easily.

In the early Generation of the Sword and Shield OU Metagame, Cloyster basically tear through teams once the opposing team is weakened enough and even the counterplay left can easily catch 2 or even 3 flinches in a row making that Pokemon not an answer anymore to Cloyster at all. I think Kings Rock also benefits other Pokemon very easily and they can leave their path of desctruction on other tiers as well.

The aspect of claiming flinches with RNG and removing the counterplay leaves me to the feeling that Kings Rock is the core of the issue, as it takes away the fundamentals of counterplay, hence the 'luck' decides who's going to win at the end.

I feel Kings Rock deserves to be looked at and if it gets a strong agreement towards its BAN it should therefore getting a Ban!

Bright Powder / Lax Incense + Sand Veil

This topic urges me as well, and I think looking deeper into that issue should not be problematic at all. The combination of Bright Powder + Sand Veil was complainet at too occosionally in the Swords and Shield OU metagame and I feel like that can easily remove a fundamental pillar of the playing aspect as well.

The inaccuracy of the own Pokemon moves against this combination is clearly seeable in not a too small amount of games. Bright Powder + Sand Veil Garchomp can easily rely on the RNG to break through the opposing team with ease. There are replays, which show good (and potentially dangerous) this combination is, and I strongly like to discuss that aspect even further in the future, probably after the Kings Rock problematic finds a solution, so we can pick each topic one after another and discuss that deeper.


Conclusion

I think Banning Kings Rock, if needed and looking closer to the evasion issue which comes with Bright Powder / Lax Incense + Sand Veil could be a great solution overall.
 
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I've been saying this since October of 2020:

https://www.smogon.com/forums/threa...f-dlc2-plans-see-post-42.3670407/post-8628124

Just sayin'

Ban King's Rock and BrightPowder/Lax Incense they go against the very Smogon definition of competitive play. Like, if you decide to use King's Rock Cloyster, you are basically deciding to try to Luck out a win or two in the right situation with ~50% odds. I don't think anyone really thinks that is ok. The evasion items are meme-y but it's the same concept - there is no situation where you are going to "competitively" use BrightPowder or Lax Incense and it shouldn't have any place in competitive battling since that's the case.

I could get into QCQD Glowbro but I won't.
 

Punchshroom

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I could get into QCQD Glowbro but I won't.
You won't but I will.

Honestly though, even King's Rock and Brightpowder/Lax Incense have pretty low odds on their own and only become problematic when stacked with other factors, like multi-hits (Skill Link mons or Beat Up Weavile) and weather evasion abilities respectively. Quick Claw on the other hand has a flat 20% chance to suddenly give the holder priority, with no other conditions needed to raise its already significant odds. This kind of effect can be used by any kind of mon, obviously being better on slower tanks which can last long enough to proc Quick Claw chances; it's no exaggeration that when I say that in all of the (admittedly few) fights I see Quick Claw involved in, it has always managed to activate at least once. This "random priority" effect is universally useful and can occur frequently enough to be a pervasive threat throughout a match, on top of being nearly impossible to counterplay against since you can't tell when it's going to happen and, unlike vs flinch abusers, you can't rely on priority to snipe them down since Quick Claw users are generally bulkier by default in comparison.

I'm not yet sold on the other luck-based items since they usually at least require some form of setup in order to reach problematic status, and I even consider Quick Draw to not be as much of a pain despite its superior odds to Quick Claw since it's only on one mon, making it easier to counterplay against. However, Quick Claw is fundamentally a cut above those while also being more 'splashable', so if you're gonna ban those, ban Quick Claw as well.
 

KM

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I understand the reasoning behind these arguments, but I think they fail to explain how King's Rock specifically is differ than other flinch mechanics -- and until they do so, it seems more of an emotion-based "it feels bad to lose to x" argument than anything else.

King's Rock gives you roughly a 41% to flinch -- that puts it somewhere in the middle of the range of "sweepers who benefit from flinches to break through defensive counterplay". On the extreme end, you have Jirachi / Togekiss / Serene Grace users -- with a 60% flinch chance, it's essentially more "hax" to not get one than it is to get one. On the other end, you have more mild versions, like G-Moltres or past gens Sharpedo, whose main stab has a 20% flinch chance, but has few enough defensive counters that even one flinch can be game-winning. Along with King's Rock, you have other things floating in the middle like non-Serene Grace Iron Head / Air Slash users, King's Rock Cinccino, etc.

I agree with the sentiment that it feels terrible to load up strong defensive answers to one of these threats and lose to a series of flinches -- but I'm having a hard time discerning what makes King's Rock specifically different from the others, and I think that needs to be more rigorously addressed before any ban takes place.

The other point i want to discuss is that other item options Cloyster might bring would be "not RNG" whereas King's Rock is "pure RNG". I think this distinction is a little bit obtuse -- it doesn't really capture what these items do, and how they essentially function as RNG even if the mechanic they're based on isn't directly random. Let's take an example like Lum Berry, or a resist Berry -- in cases where sweepers bring these items, they're essentially rolling the dice on their opponent trying to status them, or trying to hit them with a specific super-effective move. Bringing White Herb is rolling the dice on the opponent having counterplay that can damage them but not kill them but otherwise would have.

I realize that all sounds a little dumb -- and I'm not saying Lum Berry is the same thing as King's Rock -- what i'm saying is that sweepers making item choices that can potentially give them a chance to retain their sweep in the face of a defensive answer is not a case unique to King's Rock, and just because you're breaking through because of a 41% RNG chance rather than preventing a KO with a Chople Berry or whatever doesn't really change the fact that you're playing in the realm of uncertainty.

Finally, I think the conceit that you can have a well built defensive team that just immediately loses to one or two flinches is a little hyperbolic. I'd argue that a team that loses to literally one or two flinches is perhaps not the strongest anyway -- if someone rolled up to a UU tournament with a team that lost to two Jirachi Iron Head flinches, no one would commiserate -- they just brought a shitty team. If we're talking about something like 5 flinches in a row -- sure, that sucks, but that's also astronomically unlikely -- and at that point you may as well institute some sort of weird complex ban on back-to-back crits, because it's equally as likely for that to happen instead.

Put simply, I don't think the number of games where a well-built team loses to constant back-to-back Cloyster flinches is that meaningfully large -- 60% of the time, King's Rock will actively be worse than every other item. 38% of the time, it'll nab one or two flinches and maybe break through one answer but die to the next. And for the 2% of the time that it's unreasonably lucky and manages to win a game that it shouldn't have -- yeah, that sucks. But those games could just have easily been lost to a crucial crit, or triple back to back scald burns, or ridiculous min/max rolls, or any other element of variance present in the game. I don't think King's Rock is a distinct enough case to warrant being singled out.
 

Caetano93

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In favor of banning Kings Rock. It add nothing to any generation except sheer frustration with the game. Just remeber to ban Razor Fang too.

Bright Powder, Lax Incense, and Quick Claw are busted as well. Just because few players mess with them doesn't mean they aren't uncompetitive. I want those out from Smogon singles too.
 

Myzozoa

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Is this really worse than serene grace? I’ll completely bow out on any knowledge of BW OU, so if you feel it is I’ll accept that there, but at least in more modern I’m fairly confident it’s a question of distribution; cloyster has smash, which sets it apart from Rachi and Kiss, but as we see with Skymin that comparison is not inherent. I’m actually 100% in favor of a ban on kings rock but I think it’s not worth kidding ourselves.
I think King's Rock is actually in some fundamental way different than moves like Rockslide or abilities like serene grace when we decide how much luck we should manage. I know this isn't the most definitive argument ever, but the difference to me is that there seems to be some skill in timing when you risk going for flinches with these moves, but the way King's rock is being used is just to spam for hax. I've seen it used on non-skill link multi-hitters like the (shameless) rock blast excadrill set with king's rock that was brought, I believe, in week 1 of last SPL, and even on double iron bash Melmetal. Sadly from my perspective, the competitive scene these days doesn't seem to have collectively calculated that fishing for hax with such an item is just degenerate and so we find ourselves in a dilemma.

I guess what I'm saying is that in the case of moves like rock slide, there is a perceivable skill element in knowing when to go for flinches and playing a long game where you maximize your opportunity for abusing the flinch chance, where as empirically the same is not true for king's rock abusers who's attitude might be best summed up as 'rock blast go brrrr'. As for serene grace, the flinch chances it enables are generally high enough where it is not significantly different than hypnosis or focus blast, so should not be analyzed with the same considerations as King's rock.

I admit that my argument is not the strongest, but I do think there are significant differences that may be fleshed out between normal flinch moves and King's Rock as an item.
 
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I understand the reasoning behind these arguments, but I think they fail to explain how King's Rock specifically is differ than other flinch mechanics -- and until they do so, it seems more of an emotion-based "it feels bad to lose to x" argument than anything else.

King's Rock gives you roughly a 41% to flinch -- that puts it somewhere in the middle of the range of "sweepers who benefit from flinches to break through defensive counterplay". On the extreme end, you have Jirachi / Togekiss / Serene Grace users -- with a 60% flinch chance, it's essentially more "hax" to not get one than it is to get one. On the other end, you have more mild versions, like G-Moltres or past gens Sharpedo, whose main stab has a 20% flinch chance, but has few enough defensive counters that even one flinch can be game-winning. Along with King's Rock, you have other things floating in the middle like non-Serene Grace Iron Head / Air Slash users, King's Rock Cinccino, etc.

I agree with the sentiment that it feels terrible to load up strong defensive answers to one of these threats and lose to a series of flinches -- but I'm having a hard time discerning what makes King's Rock specifically different from the others, and I think that needs to be more rigorously addressed before any ban takes place.

The other point i want to discuss is that other item options Cloyster might bring would be "not RNG" whereas King's Rock is "pure RNG". I think this distinction is a little bit obtuse -- it doesn't really capture what these items do, and how they essentially function as RNG even if the mechanic they're based on isn't directly random. Let's take an example like Lum Berry, or a resist Berry -- in cases where sweepers bring these items, they're essentially rolling the dice on their opponent trying to status them, or trying to hit them with a specific super-effective move. Bringing White Herb is rolling the dice on the opponent having counterplay that can damage them but not kill them but otherwise would have.

I realize that all sounds a little dumb -- and I'm not saying Lum Berry is the same thing as King's Rock -- what i'm saying is that sweepers making item choices that can potentially give them a chance to retain their sweep in the face of a defensive answer is not a case unique to King's Rock, and just because you're breaking through because of a 41% RNG chance rather than preventing a KO with a Chople Berry or whatever doesn't really change the fact that you're playing in the realm of uncertainty.

Finally, I think the conceit that you can have a well built defensive team that just immediately loses to one or two flinches is a little hyperbolic. I'd argue that a team that loses to literally one or two flinches is perhaps not the strongest anyway -- if someone rolled up to a UU tournament with a team that lost to two Jirachi Iron Head flinches, no one would commiserate -- they just brought a shitty team. If we're talking about something like 5 flinches in a row -- sure, that sucks, but that's also astronomically unlikely -- and at that point you may as well institute some sort of weird complex ban on back-to-back crits, because it's equally as likely for that to happen instead.

Put simply, I don't think the number of games where a well-built team loses to constant back-to-back Cloyster flinches is that meaningfully large -- 60% of the time, King's Rock will actively be worse than every other item. 38% of the time, it'll nab one or two flinches and maybe break through one answer but die to the next. And for the 2% of the time that it's unreasonably lucky and manages to win a game that it shouldn't have -- yeah, that sucks. But those games could just have easily been lost to a crucial crit, or triple back to back scald burns, or ridiculous min/max rolls, or any other element of variance present in the game. I don't think King's Rock is a distinct enough case to warrant being singled out.
I think this is a good post, and I agree that these things should be fleshed out so that the decision is the correct one.

So, the distinction, in my opinion, that sets King's Rock Cloyster :Cloyster: apart from everything else is this:

Once Cloyster Shell Smashes, it is going to:

1) Be faster than almost everything else
2) Deal enough damage to easily OHKO everything, through sturdy and sashes, with the few exception of a select group of elite defensive mons which would be 2HKO'd instead of OHKO'd.

This is different from Jirachi/Togekiss in that Jirachi needs a scarf to outspeed and Iron Head is not going to be 2OHKOing or even 4HKOing many things, meaning that you, as the defender, have plenty more opportunities to deal with it. Togekiss is even slower. I don't like using either of these to flinch and I think if they get out of hand in their respective tiers they should, and do, get looked into being banned if this combined with other factors makes it too much (see: Jirachi in UU several months ago).

With Cloyster and King's Rock, you don't get many opportunities because it only needs one lucky flinch to blow through all of its defensive answers since your attack has been doubled and you are using one of the most powerful STAB moves in the game when it gets 5 hits. It's true that maybe you should have more than one defensive answer - so then it does it to the second one now too. Now what? The game is lost. And it's not restricted to one move to flinch like the Serene Grace users - it can use Icicle Spear, or Rock Blast, or even Pin Missile depending on the tier or gen you are playing.

So I do think the distinction does exist and is important enough to set apart from all of the other things mentioned. It's not a knee-jerk reaction also - this is something, again, that I brought up six months ago and my opinion has not changed on it.
 

Excal

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Whether these items are "problematic" shouldn't necessarily be the question here, rather whether they are "uncompetitive" or not. Besides King's Rock, Bright Powder & the others rarely see use not because they don't worsen the competitiveness of a game, but because most players don't go out of their way often to explore these items in depth and because these items are solely there to disrupt the competitiveness of a game. I could definitely see items like Quick Claw and Bright Powder being used by someone very disadvantaged in a tournament on paper to try to even the odds with rng.

I want to provide some examples in DPP of where these items could be used in uncompetitive and badly-influencing manners.

King's Rock Cloyster could be used on a paraspam-oriented team to flinch down slower mons without setting up, maybe some sub hail 2 atks set to reset the weather, create chip on steel-types, and flinch/cheese everything down. King's Rock can also be randomly thrown onto busted Pokemon for not much of a reason other than cheesing an opponent randomly. I've seen in ADV some people using King's Rock on Salamence for example to fish for flinches.

Bright Powder can be used in conjunction with Snow Cloak and Hail on Froslass to fish for misses. I've seen this strategy be effectively used on a paraspam by Emeral. It can also be used on Reflect Latias with paraspam to increase your odds in a Tyranitar matchup by virtue of Crunch/suit missing and because sometimes it actually doesn't need Leftovers badly enough. I've used Brightpowder on Pain Split Rotom in the past to fish for misses while using substitute and even to dodge Tyranitar's Pursuit. This is a legitimately viable tactic because Rotom sometimes does not want lefties here to maximize its intake from Pain Split. SpD Skarmory could use bright powder to pray that it gets an extra layer of Spikes vs Magnezone trapping it (and have random usage outside of shed shell). It gets 2 chances often to do this.

Quick Claw is also uncompetitive in DPP, my boy Stone_Cold likes to use it on random slow sweepers like Rhyperior and Machamp. It has unseen potential to be really nasty on Machamp because this Pokemon has very high flexibility with its item and it can create many more luck-based scenarios. Have a look for yourself at a Quick Claw Rhyperior being able to sweep a team thanks to rolling the dice: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen4ou-887181044

These items provide literally nothing of substance except to roll the dice even more. They're uncompetitive and it would be an overall great influence on each metagame to get rid of them for good. We shouldn't be waiting for bright powder and quick claw to pick up and become bigger issues. Ban King's Rock because of its prominent negative effects in BW and potential to be uncompetitive in other tiers. And do everyone a favor (except for the bizarre supporters of keeping these items because they're not "broken") and ban bright powder, lax incense, and quick claw for good.
 

erz

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Adding to Quick Claw

ORAS Manaphy is generally the most threatening sweeper in the tier. For it to work consistently you need to work with items that allow it to sweep a certain way depending on what set and item you're actually running. Quick Claw offers no consistency whatsoever, it's the worst option but has the highest upside. I don't need to explain that a +3 100/100/100 bulk pokemon outspeeding the entire metagame after a single turn is incredibly stupid. It's very similar to speed boosting baton pass terrorizing oras back when it was current gen except it's 20% but also has the potential to counteract priority moves. You cannot account for it in teambuilding if you don't plan to use Chansey. It's really bad and inconsistent and frowned upon but if you're lucky enough you simply win the game. There's nothing more frustrating as a tournament player to see players opt for Quick Claw because they believe they're worse than their opponent thus relying on an item that totally invalidates skill and counterplay as long as Lady Fortune is on their side.
 

talah

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I fully support a ban on all elements brought up itt, and would like to go a step further and propose a blanket ban on evasion. We discussed this in SS council prior to SPL and sadly didn't end up going through with it, but this seems like the best of times to enact it. Much like King's Rock / Quick Claw / what have you there is no competitive downside to removing evasion as a whole from our formats.
 

Gray

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I think the use of luck items are cancer but there are too many luck-based mechanics in mons to single these out. Why specifically items? Why not ban serene grace and quick draw? Why not ban crits and freezes? At the end of the day, these items are a part of the game of luck we call mons and singling them out is pretty unfair to the mons that abuse them.
 

Niko

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I do support the ban of Quick Claw, King's Rock, Bright Powder, SAND VEIL and anything else that adds RNG and remove skills to the game.
I don't even think you need a thread about it at all, like you're not trying to ban something that has some necessary healthy use.

Adding to Quick Claw
There's nothing more frustrating as a tournament player to see players opt for Quick Claw because they believe they're worse than their opponent thus relying on an item that totally invalidates skill and counterplay as long as Lady Fortune is on their side.
It's obvious that you have no idea of what odds stacking is and the difference between using a tech to slightly improve your winrate against bad matchups and playing an entire game around coinflips based on luck.

While on a side we have Pokémons like Cloyster that generally never sweep without the help of their item, on the other we have a Pokémon that you're going to play exactly the same way as if it had another item, but with a little chance to turn back the game as a last hope against bad matchups with a reasonable 20% chance. This is nothing new, we all play our best RNG chances in every endgame in official tours, no matter how disgusting the fish is. I can find an endless amount of example.

Saying that people "opt for Quick Claw because they believe they're worse than their opponent" also could be applied to anyone using a Sub+Glare set of Serperior, a Sub+Glare set of Zygarde in SM, a SubRoost set of Kyurem in SS exc. exc.
While I still agree on the item being uncompetitive in general, I don't think it is in that specific case, and as long as it is in part of the tier I don't see how using it would result in being judged "they believe they're worse than their opponent" <------- this way by mr. always a misplay.
 

zeefable

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Was gonna post my support but I think a lot of good points got made already. Regardless, I'd like to respond to this post.

I think the use of luck items are cancer but there are too many luck-based mechanics in mons to single these out. Why specifically items? Why not ban serene grace and quick draw? Why not ban crits and freezes? At the end of the day, these items are a part of the game of luck we call mons and singling them out is pretty unfair to the mons that abuse them.
The obvious difference between these items and crits and freezes is that the latter would result in clausing out actual cartridge mechanics, whereas these blanket item/ability bans obviously are extremely easy to account for. Competitiveness where feasible should always be the goal, but going against cartridge mechanics should only be considered in the most extreme cases.

Even if you're using this point as hyperbole to highlight that a real problem would be accounting for things like Serene Grace and Rock Slide or whatever, my response to that is that there is competitive merit in those types of moves or the Pokemon that those abilities are on. The same isn't true for these items in question: their sole purpose is to stack the odds of lucking the opponent in the user's favor.

Ban flinch items, ban evasion items and abilities too (Quick Claw I'm pretty indifferent about). It's a common sense and no-nonsense approach to making our game just a little more competitive.
 

Jirachee

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I personally don't view King's Rock as uncompetitive in the same way as, say, Double Team is. The fact is that there's only one Pokemon I know of that abuses it consistently (Cloyster) and it's a really good item on that Pokemon. Set up sweepers that can flinch are really good and always have been, we have plenty of examples of sweepers that can turn the tide of one game with a simple flinch, like DDTar in ADV for example. About 41% flinch rate is fairly high but not especially higher than moves we currently allow on plenty of Pokemon, such as Iron Head or Air Slash. If used by a Pokemon that isn't Cloyster (or a multi-hit move user) it's just a pretty bad item; you give up your item slot to have a flinch rate equal to that of Extrasensory which I'm sure no one is considering to ever use over Psychic.

However, I am for a King's Rock ban. I view it as an item that is too strong for the OU metagame, just like Soul Dew (talking BW OU here.) We ban Soul Dew from OU even though its effect is limited to Latios and Latias, because that effect is way too powerful. I think we can draw the same conclusion with King's Rock on Cloyster.

Reason I'm making this post is because I don't want us to slap the "uncompetitive" etiquette on too many things. There are many elements of luck and probability in Pokemon, so it's important to understand that not every item, move, ability, etc. that puts the odds in one player's side kills the competitive aspect of the game.
 

Bughouse

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I've opposed banning brightpowder and co in the past under the basis "if a 10% bump to evasion is a bannable amount of luck then damn near everything is too".

In terms of Kings Rock, I loathe the idea of banning an item that is only even debatably broken on one mon only, particularly when it's not even the best luck item in general.

The item itself is frankly worse than brightpowder on most Pokemon. A 10% chance to flinch, only on moves that already can't flinch, is pretty comparable to 10% evasion, but probably a bit worse overall. There's a tradeoff since flinching is only beneficial if you move first, while evasion can help you even if you're slower. However, a flinch can also be beneficial vs non-attacking moves used by the opponent, whereas evasion doesn't help you on those turns. But all in all, there's a reason no one runs Kings Rock on Pokemon other than Cloyster, even though people do occasionally use Brightpowder or Quick Claw in general.

It would be pretty inconceivable to me for the outcome of this thread to be a ban on King's Rock only, given it's the worst of the bunch, except in the particular situation where it is held by an already monstrous Pokemon that uses multi-hit moves.

IMO just ban the Pokemon if it is that offensive. It's not like Cloyster is an essential positive contributor to the metagame even without Kings Rock.
 

Colonel M

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I'm kind of with Bughouse on this and a few others. I'm really confused on why items like King's Rock are being considered but abilities like Serene Grace are not.

Let's not try to bullshit around that Serene Grace has used RNG to turn matches around upside their heads - DPP Jirachi being one of the best examples of this by just Iron Heading things to death with the increased chance of flinching. King's Rock is less broken as an item in this instance - it only buffs to 10%, and it only is really good on a select few Pokemon (Cloyster, I guess Cincinno if we want to talk multihit mons that use it). I also don't understand how you can draw it like Soul Dew - Soul Dew is only capable of being used on two Pokemon - Latios and Latias. No other Pokemon can use these items, but King's Rock is only "broken" on one Pokemon.

Which then begs the question - if it's only broken on one Pokemon, why not just ban the Pokemon instead? Sure you can argue that Cloyster without King's Rock isn't broken, and you'd be right. That said, we've approached a rather awkward slippery slope, in my opinion, of banning these items but not the respective abilities that some Pokemon use to increase their odds. Sand Veil Gliscor is one example in DPP, and then you had some this generation use Sand Veil Garchomp to cheese a miss so it could safely set up. Serene Grace has its fair share of Pokemon that have historically troubled tiers - ADV PU with Dunsparce, Togekiss (though not necessarily broken in any of the generations, it still is a Pokemon that has used RNG to favor its matchups), Snow Cloak Froslass, etc. In fairness to some of these Pokemon (Froslass), they only have one ability in a single generation.

Again as others have mentioned - Cloyster itself is not a Pokemon that realistically benefits any of its tiers other than just being a Shell Smash offensive user. It's not really a spinner nor a Spiker - barring suicide leads I guess, and again the item itself is not broken on other Pokemon throughout the tier. I bring this up as a challenge because I feel this is a hurdle that needs to be addressed.

I know someone is going to meme me for approaching this, but I have played these tiers before AND have even abused King's Rock Cloyster a few times in casual laddering. I'm well aware that it's a problem in turns of being able to flinch its games throughout; however, again, we also are ignoring that other Pokemon like Jirachi have historically done this for years and, as a byproduct of having Serene Grace, Togekiss as well - yet we have accepted that these Pokemon are not broken in any of the tiers that they have resided in.

So, anyway, get your haha reacts out because I'm collecting.

And before you bellyache - yes I'm being pedantic on this on purpose because I feel this has to be logically addressed. I support banning King's Rock and the other items.
 
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Excal

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IMO just ban the Pokemon if it is that offensive. It's not like Cloyster is an essential positive contributor to the metagame even without Kings Rock.
The idea of banning Cloyster as a whole in BW rather than King's Rock is terrible and to me would be the same as the argument of people trying to ban Gliscor rather than Baton Pass/Sand Veil in DPP a few years back. Recently people found out that gems boost all hits of multi hit moves so Ice Gem Cloyster could actually be a pretty cool setup sweeper in the metagame. Especially given the recent increase in HO usage and cloyster being a nice punisher vs sand teams & abusing screens well gives it more than enough merit to be prominent enough in the metagame and undeserving of a ban.

I'm kind of with Bughouse on this and a few others. I'm really confused on why items like King's Rock are being considered but abilities like Serene Grace are not.

Let's not try to bullshit around that Serene Grace has used RNG to turn matches around upside their heads - DPP Jirachi being one of the best examples of this by just Iron Heading things to death with the increased chance of flinching. King's Rock is less broken as an item in this instance
I mentioned in my post that we really shouldn't be saying words like "broken" when trying to evaluate these items being banned and look more at the cost/benefit. Serene Grace is not an easy thing to just ban because it's directly tied to Pokemon (like Jirachi). It's also just not really that comparable here. In the current dpp metagame people are fine with Jirachi and Togekiss and we would be worse off without them, which is not the same case with King's Rock, Bright Powder, and Quick Claw. Serene Grace is accounted for in the metagame and is a known factor that will be faced. The items can be thrown on anything randomly and are pretty much impossible to predict and play around especially before revealed.

Why are we bending our backs trying to keep these items unbanned when their only influence is making games more uncompetitive while providing no benefit whatsoever when we can easily ban them without complexity? These items are much more easy to get rid of at basically no expense.
 

May

Rhamantaidd Obsesiynol
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I wasn't sure whether to post in this thread or not, as I don't have much of a horse in this race. After DMing Finch though, I thought this was something I should bring up here anyway. I'm pretty much a pure ladder player in regards to newer gens so feel free to ignore and continue on with your day if that's an issue. I just had a few points I want to share since I think they're more important than meets the eye. I'm not gonna repeat what people said, but this turned out to be quite long anyway...

My main problem with King's Rock and friends, which I haven't seen brought up much if at all, is that they're naturally concealed until the turn where it's going to fuck up your game. Invisible variance, if you will. It is impossible to tell whether Cloyster has King's Rock until they pelt you in the face with 5 Icicle Spears and your Toxapex decides it doesn't want to move that turn. This makes it a bit difficult to plan ahead unless you've frisked/geist'd it prior or something. Of course, you can tell if you've triggered a sash or it didn't take hazard damage or something, but you get the idea, yeah? With Brightpowder, it's literally impossible to tell unless you've revealed it or watched your 100% accurate move miss in a generation that isn't RBY and shat your actual pants. While I understand that this can be compared to scouting for mons with Choice Scarf or surprise moves, I'm not sure if it can be deemed the same when you know your attack is going to go through in that scenario.

So yes, there is definitely a case to be made for their uncompetitive nature and I wouldn't be directly opposed to a ban, though I am not sure if these luck moves are actually the problem.

I think the "ban the Pokemon" crowd is missing the point that the people here are trying to make. These items add nothing to high-level competition in almost every instance: this isn't about whether they're broken, but about whether their uncompetitive nature warrants a ban. I also see the Serene Grace argument as flawed in that it's limited to a very small number of Pokemon, while anything can have Brightpowder on it. You can also deduce whether a Pokemon has Serene Grace much more easily than a Pokemon with a luck item since you know it's within a specific pool of abilities and it's usually used a lot. The variance here is significantly lower than an unrevealed luck item that you likely won't realize is there until the turn Melmetal decides it wants to go first and flinch you with Double Iron Bash.

So the question we should be asking ourselves is, well, what strategic value do these items bring to the game that makes it a good idea to keep them? This isn't about whether the items are broken, but whether they're uncompetitive and/or unhealthy. It seems that a majority of people see them as at least one of the two. If they add nothing but dicerolls, what is actually stopping a ban?

The best argument against banning them that I can think of is that, outside of a few scenarios, the variance is quite limited. This is why they're often seen as a noob trap and not very viable. Skill Link is largely what breaks King's Rock, for instance; as Colonel M said, the item is actually quite poor outside of that. Brightpowder's effects are also quite minimal, though I hold a belief that a 100% accurate move should always be that way unless something says otherwise (eg. Hustle, Sand Attack). Brightpowder doesn't say so, so I don't really like it; regardless, the effect itself is minimal, to say otherwise is just wrong. Quick Claw is also awful, with a painfully small activation rate. Overall, these items don't have a massive impact, but when they do, they can be game-changers. Is this risk enough to use them? Well, no, or I think Quick Draw + Claw Slowbro-G would be sitting in Ubers right now. So you could argue that the variance is small enough to the point that the minimal impact makes them a non-issue. After all, more often than not, it's going to be as if you don't have an item at all, which is a massive opportunity cost you could be spending on a more consistent build.

Anyway, that's about all I had.

To the crackhead who used Quick Claw Melmetal against me a couple of days ago and flinched me with it twice: I love you, please have my children.
 
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Rosa

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As someone who plays the cursed tier known as 1v1, I can appreciate the sentiment of wanting to cut down on the RNG-centric elements of the game. This, however, comes with the innate issues of relative impact as described in the Tiering Policy Framework; you simply cannot act upon one form of RNG without also examining others. Namely, where do moves like Ice Beam, Iron Head, Scald, and (heavens forbid) Sleep fit into all of this? You might argue that they add something beyond RNG to the game, being the generally best or strongest move options to many users, which would be fair, but that would then raise the issue of where moves like Powder Snow, Ember, Inferno, Headbutt, Bite, Sing, etc all fit in. If you would ban these as well, then what happens to intermediate moves in between that only some Pokemon need to use, like Ice Punch, Heat Wave, Rock Slide, etc? Do we now have to create a microcosm of case-by-case situations for each of these where we have to determine whether or not something might actually need to use the coverage vs something just fishing for the gamebreaking secondary effect? This is also all while still ignoring the elephant in the room that is critical hits as a mechanic.

Consider other bans cast under the guise of being Uncompetitive: Moody, Double Team, Arena Trap, Shadow Tag, etc. In each of these cases, the Uncompetitive aspect was removed due to its effects creating problematic scenarios on either all of or at least a significant portion of its users. Is this something that is the case for King's Rock, Lax Incense, Focus Band, and the like? As far as the OP and multiple posts here would suggest, the problem seems to line up mostly with multi-hit flinches, rather than single hits, so why not ban the handful of abusers that actually make King's Rock become problematic? You could even make the case for banning guaranteed multi-hit factors in general (namely Beat Up and Skill Link), since the problem doesn't seem to lie so much with the base 10% chance of flinching as much as it does with multi-hits creating increased odds at flinching.

With the above comes a new problem, being the matter of preservation. Weavile and Cloyster have other aspects of value to them beyond fishing for RNG, while King's Rock isn't really used for much of anything noteworthy besides fishing for RNG, so it can look very appealing to want King's Rock gone, given that its removal would have the least collateral damage out of any possible ban scenario. The issues with this, however, are twofold; the first being that it creates a slippery slope into what I partially described in the first paragraph: why should King's Rock, Brightpowder, and the like get special treatment when there are several other RNG-centric aspects to the game we play? Many of which create situations that are even less competitive scenarios than King's Rock and the like. Banning King's Rock in order to preserve Cloyster and Weavile is at least digestible (though questionable), but if Brightpowder and the others that can't enforce that same level of compounded RNG are to be included in such action, then that essentially forces the discussion regarding the multiple other aforementioned sources of RNG to be had as well. The second issue is the complexity of the situation. Normal tiering processes would generally leave us preferring to outright ban one thing, whether it be King's Rock, the Pokemon abusing it, or the move/ability they use to abuse it with, whereas the issue here is multifactored; the problem stems from a combination of all three, being Cloyster and Weavile's capacity to deal good damage, their ability to hit 5 or 6 times consecutively, and the ability to flinch granted by the King's Rock; banning any of the three solves the problem, however, banning any of them also carries their share of problems. Banning either the Pokemon or their move/ability preserves less of the existing metagame than banning King's Rock would, while banning King's Rock in order to preserve those Pokemon is in essence an indirect complex ban, which in itself opens up an entirely different can of worms.

As things stand now, it doesn't seem like the current tiering architecture is really designed to handle a case like this. The framework only outlines cases in excess (where something is "too much" for the metagame), to which the broad usage of King's Rock, alongside Brightpowder and the like, really don't hit that benchmark of being "too much", given that they generally aren't any more gamebreaking than other existing sources of RNG. The only thing that possibly errs on the side of being excessively gamebreaking is perhaps the combination of King's Rock + Beat Up/Skill Link users, but the current tiering architecture would only really lend towards either banning the individual Pokemon or Beat Up and Skill Link, which as far as I can tell are generally the less preferable options.

As far as my opinion goes, I would actually be in favor of restricting the RNG elements that plague what is meant to be competitive gameplay, though that would mean addressing all existing forms of RNG, which includes the questioning of exactly what value things like critical hits (boosted and unboosted), freezes, flinches, etc really bring to the table, as well as opening up discussion on possibly amending the existing framework to properly address matters like these that aren't necessarily gamebreaking to the same extent of Double Team, Moody, and the like, yet still inherently Uncompetitive. If all this could be done without leaving the door open for potentially preposterous ideas to have any ground to stand on, I'd be all in favor.
 

eden

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why are people devil's advocating for items that can easily be removed?

comparing a cornerstone of a metagame which can and should be accounted for in the teambuilding phase to items which can easily be removed with no effect to the meta beyond removing rng is like comparing apples and oranges.

quick claw/brightpowder/king's rock obviously contribute nothing except adding an extra element of slots to the game, and the thing is the stuff that would run those items often don't have an obvious "better option" for an item

it's not like there's some massive opportunity cost to giving cloyster a king's rock to flinch past jellicent/keldeo

the alternative is literally just straight up losing

just ban them, tiering precedent shouldn't have to fit in some neat little box: there is basically 0 corollary damage, and implying otherwise is disingenuous
 
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Earthworm

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From the ban philosophy I follow, which is to ban the fewest number of things possible to maintain a balanced metagame, it should be unnecessary to ban Lax Incense and Bright Powder because they are usually subpar items. I don't know about the rest of everyone else, but I am constantly playing to maximise my chances of inflicting RNG-induced knockouts (critical hits, paralysis, flinches, freezes, misses from inaccurate moves) to the opposing team, whether that means I am using "dirty/uncompetitive" tactics or not. Choosing items that rely on RNG to activate is a competitive choice. RNG is a perfectly competitive part of the game in a vacuum: it generally comes at significant cost to add a chance of things going well for the user, and a lot of means exist to control it in most cases. It is pointless to try to remove all or arbitrary RNG elements that next to nobody uses from this game; you are still going to get "haxed". Banning these only serves to lengthen an already long list of bans. Why shouldn't we also ban Confuse Ray, Attract, and Swagger? We should only be banning things that cause imbalance and overpoweredness. I don't play BW OU so I can't speak for how strong Cloyster is with King's Rock in that metagame, but I doubt Bright Powder is pushing anything over the edge.
 
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