Redefining Ubers for the next generation - A Proposal

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For most of its history, Ubers was simply defined as OU's banlist. This changed with Mega Rayquaza's ban and the subsequent creation of Anything Goes as detailed in this thread. While the decision was made to improve the tier's playability, Ubers has lost some of its identity in the process. It currently exists as this awkward in-between tier where it's not as competitive/healthy as OU yet not as pure and unrestricted as AG. It is trying to appeal to both ends here but in reality is falling behind in both. Ubers is at a low point right now and a change back to its roots would be a step in the right direction. As for when, there is no better time for a philosophy change than a new generation.

As a baseline, there should be 0 pokemon bans in Ubers and 0 clauses beyond the ones that apply to every official metagame (sleep, species, ohko, etc). There are some details to work out but the baseline should never be deviated from. Beyond this, the main decisions involve clauses and which Ubers should inherit from OU or remove akin to AG. For example, Ubers could potentially remove species clause to help balance out Mega Rayquaza. It can have less clauses than tiers below it but not more. Whether we still want AG to exist is secondary to how we define Ubers but a consideration nonetheless if Ubers becomes a near replica of it, as it could influence playerbase growth.

Looking at the bigger picture with all of Smogon's official metagames, OU will also be starting fresh in a sense when gen 8 rolls around. The size of Ubers (as OU's banlist here) is quite large right now and as the OU leader I want to do my due diligence in making sure it is not unnecessarily large. It's hard to predict in advance which currently banned pokemon can be balanced in the next generation of OU but with the banlist being so large there's bound to be a chance to let some of the pokemon free. OU is meant to be the highest tier with proper balance, and Ubers tiering above that conflicts with OU's purpose.
 
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Minority

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The most interesting aspect in regards to this topic has to do with how Ubers has long since displaced OU as a tier that balances via the minimum number of bans - a process that has been ongoing since the DPP days. This very subject was brought up about three years ago in this thread and there are arguments on both sides as to why or why you wouldn't do such a thing here in 2019. However, in short, this is not an identity problem for Ubers as it is an identity problem for OU.

That point aside, the OP makes it immediately clear that they are out of touch with Ubers as a tier, and are therefore unqualified to lead any worthwhile discussion on the matter. Players who do not have significant experience with Ubers have been parroting similar trite since before the OP joined, but are often unaware due to their own ignorance in regards to Ubers tiering philosophy and its context and history. Specifically:

For most of its history, Ubers was simply defined as OU's banlist. This changed with Mega Rayquaza's ban and the subsequent creation of Anything Goes as detailed in this thread.
For most of its history, Ubers differentiated itself as more than an anything goes banlist. The tier has been in officials since the inception of SPL, has analyses dating back over a decade, and has maintained a strong community for even longer. To suggest that Ubers before the Mega Rayquaza ban was anything short of a tier devalues the very definition of "a tier", and disagrees with pre-ORAS Ubers players. Cryonics shows exactly what the community was, and that view is more than just a banlist. The OP is either ignorant of this tier's history, or is being malicious.

It currently exists as this awkward in-between tier where it's not as competitive/healthy as OU yet not as pure and unrestricted as AG.
Extraordinary claims such as these require extraordinary evidence. The OP provides no basis for Ubers being less competitive/healthy than OU, nor would I expect it to provide such evidence - at least until it made the claim. Opinionated drivel being presented as object fact aside, this is not a relevant criticism to begin with. Just as Ubers exists as a competitive tier with more bans than AG and less bans than OU, UU exists as a competitive tier with more bans than OU and less bans than RU. Does that mean UU is also not worthwhile as a tier? Of course not. Just because the OP is ignorant of the tier's identity does not mean the identity does not exist.

Ubers is at a low point right now
In regards to what objective fact? Community size - no. Number of tournament players - no. Contributions - no. Live chat activity - no. You are free to point fingers at certain malicious individuals that happen to play the tier, you are free to take whatever reasonable steps against said players, but you are not free to judge the vast majority based on those bad apples.

As a baseline, there should be 0 pokemon bans in Ubers and 0 clauses beyond the ones that apply to every official metagame
Why? Explain such reasoning. This is akin to stating: OU should have 0 Pokemon bans except for box legends. How can such a rigid tiering philosophy hope to work with a tier's identity? Ubers is tiered on the basis of maintaining competitive edge via a minimal number of bans. That is its identity. Either the OP is ignorant in regards to Ubers tiering policy, or is again being malicious.

The above four points combined with the sketchy timing of the OP makes it clear that this proposal has nothing to do with what is best for Ubers, or for Smogon tiering as a whole. Re-tiering OU in relation to Ubers is an interesting idea, but the OP has already made it clear they lack any capacity to make good and rational decisions for Ubers going forward.
 
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Nayrz

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I'm not against the idea of opening our banlist at the start of the next generation - it lines up with how other tiers do things and there is always the curious bunch that wants to see a certain mon unbanned. I never said this was off the table, in fact its far too early to even say for sure in either direction.

What I can't agree on, however, is the idea of removing our ability to deal with things that come in generation 8 as a tier, and/or removing Mega Rayquaza should it prove to be too much once again. You are asking for Ubers to lose its autonomy, very likely impacting its tournament representation further and dealing another serious blow to our community simply to further OU's goals in a selfish manner, something it hardly needs.

Ubers is just about to announce the creation of its tiering council and we will still be dealing with USM as we deem appropriate with the help of our community. With generation 8, we can handle the idea of a cleared banlist and begin testing from the ground up again, but I won't accept calls to completely remove Ubers's ideology just because you believe its an "awkward, in-between tier".
 

dream

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Note: This is purely my personal opinion on the matter and does in no way represent the views of others

After sifting through this post, I can't believe how misguided your stance is when it comes to Ubers tiering, not to mention how out of line and uninformed the post generally is. Ubers is a core Smogon metagame (and I don't mean that in regards to whatever arbitrary pidgeonhole tiering policy might sort the tier into), with an independent playerbase and it's own administrative body, not a place to exclusively house OU banned mons like you believe it is. Ubers is not in any way linked to OverUsed tiering and frankly shouldn't be held back by anything OU does or does not do, so I'm sorry if Ubers being balanced or playable threatens OU's whole shtick of being a non-usage based tier that bans Pokemon when necessary but that's exactly what it is and should be, albeit possessing obvious differences. Either way, regardless of what any one person wishes to classify it as, Ubers' identity is strictly connected to being the tier that prides itself in allowing the broadest range of strategies and options to be used. However, since it still is a tier, it should be allowed to remove with due process any strategies or options that undermine it's playability and/or balance. I understand that it's sometimes hard to wrap your head around something so unique, because Ubers is undoubtedly a unique tier on Smogon, but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't exist as a tier, just because it's so different from everything else. All in all, I believe the Ubers tiering philosophy is in a very healthy place at the moment and major tiering changes are also currently in the works (especially with the emergence of the tiering council), which is also something to be considered when lobbying for wholesale changes like the ones proposed by the OverUsed tier leader.

As much as I do believe Mega Rayquaza is not something Ubers can keep while still maintaining it's competitiveness, I don't think the proposal of dropping the banlist with every new generation is ludicrous at all, I even believe it's healthy tiering-wise (especially considering we will be equipped with more tiering tools to deal with it come Gen 8). Nonetheless, the problem I have (and most other people have) with your post is how you then go from that to "Ubers shouldn't be a tier and shouldn't be allowed to make it's own independent decisions regarding appropriate bans and unbans", which just seems like an unreasonable leap onto something that realistically has no tangible connection to your original point. It's basically a fallacious attempt at using the "why is ubers inheriting it's previous gen banlist" question to support a selfish and unsubstantiated agenda, even if not done on purpose.

Moreover, people brought up that this isn't an announcement post and it's just ABR's opinion, but I feel like this is just another episode in a long string of recent jabs taken at Ubers, which slowly but surely (even if not intended to) diminishes our power as Ubers players/staff to run our tier in a healthy way and continuously pushes us even further down. How are we supposed to run our tier appropriately and make autonomous decisions if we're constantly being told exactly how to run every single facet of our tier, from what tournaments and formats we have to run in our circuit to what we have to do tiering-wise and finally to what our own collective identity is? I understand that there are standards and guidelines to be followed, but I feel like they are routinely being encroached. From that, I believe that this creates an awful and unsavoury environment where the tier leader is constantly being steered and pressured into multiple directions by disconnected outside sources, that hold no accountability for what eventually happens to the tier and instead can just disguise their aggressive opinionated agendas as mere suggestions. It's fine and welcome to make suggestions and generate discussion, but lately the tone has been clearly less that of discussion and more of enforcement, which just continues feeding into the "lol ubers sucks" mentality and leaves us more and more powerless to enact the changes we personally feel should happen as a community. So before jumping on the bandwagon, please consider the repercussions of such decisions and how damaging every little transgression can be towards the future of the tier, because all this does is limit our scope of action even further, and when exactly does that stop?
 
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Hogg

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I think everyone needs to tone down the vitriol and rhetoric a bit. This isn't anything being forced down from on high. This was just ABR posting his thoughts on the tiering philosophy of Ubers. Believe it or not it is possible to have an opinion on Ubers or on tiering philosophy in general without being an Ubers main.

First, just to address some of Minority's points, I think that the history of Ubers is not as simple as it's being made out to be. Mega-Rayquaza is not the first time this discussion has come up; it's just the first time there was enough community support behind it to actually follow through. And its inclusion in major tournaments had very little to do with it being a tier (hell, the original inclusion in a major tournament was more due to sim issues than anything else, since it went into stour at a time when Shoddy had no support for old gens and Netbattle was having issues, making the inclusion of old gens difficult). Certainly it has a lot of history, but that history has included a lot of very similar conversations to this one. The idea that Ubers should be the tier that has as few bans as possible rather than a tier where any Pokemon is allowed is a relatively recent one.

I think that regardless of what the eventual policy is, there is a fundamental divide within the Ubers community regarding tiering and its core identity. In some ways I think this can actually be harder to see if you're in the community itself, because a lot of the people who heavily disagreed with the move to ban Mega-Ray last gen responded by leaving the community and focusing on AG or other metas. But you can still see echoes of this in every tiering thread, in discussions in the Ubers discord and various jerks and all over: Ubers is not a monolith, and there are a lot of serious and fundamental disagreements on how it should proceed. It's not unique in this regard; I know that just about every community has similar disagreements (including my own UU). But I do think that in the case of Ubers, these disagreements run deeper and speak to a more core issue of identity and vision.

I also think that regardless of whether you think that Ubers should be defined as the banlist for OU or that it should be the tier focused on maintaining the minimal possible banlist needed to still maintain balance, the idea of blindly inheriting a ban for two generations straight is pretty silly. You can't claim minimalism of bans if you go two generations without ever testing those ideas, no matter how obvious the outcome is.

I don't necessarily think that Ubers needs to be reverted to its pre-ORAS days and frozen (though that is certainly a solution), but I think that at some point the community needs to have a broad and serious discussion about what it wants to be and what exactly its tiering philosophy should be moving forward. I know some of these discussions are happening already, but I think that it's really hard to have them at a community-wide level while also maintaining the status quo. So yeah, I think that starting fresh in gen 8 is probably the right decision, and I think using the early days of the generation to have that discussion before making any tiering decisions is really important. If the community as a whole decides that it should prioritize balance over identity, that's OK... but there needs to be a clear understanding of what that means and of where to draw the line as far as what constitutes "minimal" banning.
 

tcr

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I think that the idea that Ubers was not originally meant to be a banlist of OU and was meant to be its own succinct balanced metagame is flawed, and comes from a lack of awareness concerning Smogon history. Going back as far as 2009 in this thread one of the founding fathers of Ubers helped to outline some of the original policy, and while most suredly it is a relic of its time, almost 10 years old, it is also one of the first outlined criteria for the identity of Ubers that I can find; the vision that Ubers was always meant to be. In it, the post reads that:

"The golden rule: THERE SHALL BE NO DISCUSSION OF BANNING ANY OBTAINABLE POKÉMON FROM THE UBER MODE OF PLAY! OFFENDERS OF THIS RULE WILL BE INFRACTED WITHOUT EXCEPTION! It's okay if a Pokémon strongly centralizes the Uber metagame (such as Kyogre), because the Uber mode of play is not meant to be balanced like OU and UU. Additionally, a tactic that seems "broken" is fine in Ubers too."

Additionally, it also outlines the balancing philosophy for Ubers, on what Pokemon are and are not allowed in ubers, by reading: "No Pokémon should be Uber/Suspect because of how well it does in the Uber tier. The method for determining suspects has nothing to do with the Uber tier; it is merely the end result. The suspects are picked based on their use/ability in the OU tier."

Now, one can maybe do some literary gymnastics and take this to mean that Ubers is not meant to be balanced like OU, implying that it can be balanced in a manner not akin to OU, however I take objection to that. The tiering philosophy first put down is that the Pokemon that are allowed in the Ubers tier are any Pokemon that are OU or below, as well as any Pokemon that is deemed to be too strong for OU ("...suspects are picked based on their use / ability in the OU tier"). Further, reading that it was never meant to be balanced akin to a usage based tier should be the biggest indicator of the previous identities of Ubers, as well as what should be expected from future generations.

OU is meant to be the central tier of Smogon, and it is in my opinion that every other metagame adhere itself to OU. It is, after all, the very core of what the Smogon standard is, with the most prestigious tournaments and is the focal point of most of the attention on the forums. It is the very reason that tiers like UU or PU exist, and it is also the very reason that Ubers exists. It is oft considered the tier with the highest level of play / expectation out of its players, and is lofted to be the most balanced of the metagames (or at least that is the attempted goal).

"Ubers is a core Smogon metagame (and I don't mean that in regards to whatever arbitrary pidgeonhole tiering policy might sort the tier into), with an independent playerbase and it's own administrative body, not a place to exclusively house OU banned mons like you believe it is. Ubers is not in any way linked to OverUsed tiering and frankly shouldn't be held back by anything OU does or does not do, so I'm sorry if Ubers being balanced or playable threatens OU's whole shtick of being a non-usage based tier that bans Pokemon when necessary but that's exactly what it is and should be, albeit possessing obvious differences."
I think statements such as these are just factually wrong. Ubers is not a "core metagame" under policy, and is as much a core metagame on Smogon as CAP, LC, Monotype, or even certain other OMs. That does not mean that it is immune from any sort of criticism to the tier, or that the tier should not adapt to any form of change in the coming generations. I think that it most certainly is the tier that houses OU banned mons, as it has since 2009, and to say that it is not in any way linked to Overused tiering I do not agree with. OU already attempts to take the claim of "the tier with most balanced metagame around the minimal amount of bans," in fact that is just standard good policy (as an overreach of banhappy suspects should call into question the healthiness of the metagame, or the desire of the playerbase).

The amount of snark in above posts is frankly just unacceptable in a Policy Review thread, especially since the OP does not attack the tier in a tier bashing way at all, nor its playerbase. I think ABR has valid points concerning the status of the Ubers metagame. Despite an indication that Ubers was going to develop its metagame more after being dropped official tournaments, there has been a total of 1 suspect test done, in over a year's worth of time. Combining the slow process that it seems to take to address common issues and complaints in the metagame with an ever increasing amount of available powerhouses and I think that in the next coming generations it is highly likely that Ubers will experience an even more absurd decrease in public perception as certain Pokemon get out of hand. Taking a look from Gen 5 to Gen 6 you had Pokemon like Xerneas, Primal Groudon, Yveltal, Primal Kyogre, Mega Evolutions; Gen 7 introduced Necrozma, Solgaleo, Z moves, among more arguably overpowered concepts, and I think that this list will only continue to get bigger, until the power level scaling of Ubers runs parallel to an episode of Dragon Ball. I don't think that's an entirely healthy aspect, and I agree with ABR in attempting to address the growing power scalings of the two highest tiers, OU and Ubers. Moreover I don't think that shutting your eyes and ears to any and all criticism is conducive to this discussion, as believe it or not, people that don't main Ubers can and do have opinions on the tiering philosophy, perception of identity, and what can be done about tiering. In fact I think MORE adherence to what the public thinks should be what happens, as a hivemind mentality is not a great look, and is identical to issues that was surrounding the status and public views of Little Cup only years ago.
 
ABR's proposal is seemingly focused less on what benefits ubers and more on what benefits OU.

OU is smogon's central and most played tier. if ubers recently becoming a metagame with proper tiering and whatnot negatively impacts OU's identity, then something should be done about that. OU should not be hindered in any way due to lower tiers / other metagames. it is more important than those.
 

Minority

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Hogg, the reason the text is as direct as it is, is because otherwise our voice is easily muddled, lost, or ignored. It needs to be absolutely clear what we think about such a proposal - anything less is a disservice. Furthermore, this is not just the OU leader posting their thoughts on Ubers tiering. The OP posits sweeping generalizations and opinion presented as fact in order to attempt justifying meddling with our tiering policy - one of the few things Ubers still has sovereignty over, or at least I'd like to believe. When someone shows up on your doorstep with a gun and says they're taking control of your house, naturally you get defensive. Does that mean personal jabs or otherwise irrelevant belittling are okay? Absolutely not, nor have any of the posts done such a thing.

While your post demonstrates a more in-touch and nuanced understanding of Ubers as compared to the OP, there are still some key aspects where dangerous assumptions are made. In particular, relations with AG and tiering policy going forward. In regards to the former you claim that many Ubers players left the tier to play AG, but that simply isn't true. If I were to make a list of such players, ones who quit Ubers for AG / metas right or recently after the Mega Rayquaza ban, how many names would be on that list? I honestly struggle to even think of one. Even rare purists like PTR that did start playing AG were still actively playing in big Ubers tournaments. AG is its own community and format, one that has blossomed from nothing with both new and veteran players. To say that these two communities are a negative on each other, or that AG is nothing more than an aberration of Ubers is a discredit to both. As for the latter, it simply unfair to state that Ubers tiering policy is nebulous, which was even recently and explicitly discussed. To suggest that Ubers tiering has a problem because there hasn't been any discussion or there hasn't been any consensus is willful ignorance.

The amount of snark in above posts is frankly just unacceptable in a Policy Review thread, especially since the OP does not attack the tier in a tier bashing way at all, nor its playerbase.
Nothing within your reference is unacceptable for any reasonable intellectual discourse, you merely discredit them because you don't agree with them. In contrast the OP makes opinionated attacks without even the resemblance of supporting evidence. "Ubers is at a low point", "Ubers has lost its identity", "Ubers... exists as an awkward in-between tier not as competitive/healthy as OU", which of these three is not bashing the tier? The OP could have easily focused its point in regards to prioritizing OU policy over Ubers, but it decided to make baseless opinionated claims instead.
 

Chazm

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Thoroughly disagreeing with what was set out in the OP; seemed to me like it was just spouting 'any tier above OU shouldn't have a banlist'.

If I'm to say where we go with Ubers next, I'm in general preference with how its going now, and how it has been for the past 6 or so years. Maybe we could do with a few more looks into suspects, such as Ultranecrozium Z forcing teams into uncomfortable defensive situations and practically forcing proactive counterplay only. Ubers has been a tier for 'minimal' bans, and that requires it to have a healthy metagame, but allow overcentralization. This is a flaw I find with many people's ideas on tiers in SM as a whole: that overcentralization is bad and shouldn't be a thing because it 'kills creativity'. Ubers is still a very creative tier and you can make a variety of teams of the same six mons completely different from one another.

I also want to pull attention to this quote in the OP:

OU is meant to be the highest tier with proper balance, and Ubers tiering above that conflicts with OU's purpose.
Does this imply that Ubers should not have balance at all? What would be the point of Ubers in the first place if it were just a completely uncompetitive tier that does nothing other than to exist and be horrifically broken depending on what new power-creeped Pokemon Game Freak decides to release next? Aren't we supposed to be making a tier that's still enjoyable to play? In any case, this idea is simply not possible in the current generation of Pokemon and in any generation going forward if OU wants to embrace potentially Ubers-level overcentralization, which I'm certain would ruin the enjoyment of playing OU in the first place. Personally I think both of the metagames are fairly healthy as is, and rectifying this point would only make both of them worse just because of some outdated idea that these tiers were based on.
 

david0895

Mercy Main Btw
I agree that Ubers is not completely balanced at the moment, but I think that removing clauses is the wrong choice because I can't see how spamming clones can stop a broken threat.
Also, since the objective is to make the tier balanced, I don't get why Ubers shouldn't have bans: every metagame can have some unbearable or uncompetitive elements, so there shouldn't be any problems in banning them, in order to have a genuine tier.
 

shrang

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Yea I've argued for a long time now that it's unfair for Ubers to be pressured into banning things to become more balanced. While yes, we technically have become a "tier" now that Mega Rayquaza got a ban, Ubers has always still been primarily a banlist for OU to dump their broken shit.

OU is meant to be the highest tier with proper balance, and Ubers tiering above that conflicts with OU's purpose.
Exactly. I've been saying this for years now. However, I really don't think this is a problem that's come out of Ubers. Ever since I joined in DPP, I've thought OU has never really fully pushed on what it can allow and still be balanced. I thought it was a step in the right direction in BW1 when we pulled all the 600 BST Ubers down and tested them in a big smoshpit (Round 1 of BW1 is still one of my favourite OU metagames that I've played) but I thought we never went far enough. I personally thought we should have dropped every Uber down to OU and started afresh.

Ubers is partially balanced in a way that because power levels are higher with respect to OU, things that would clearly be broken in current OU (eg Arceus), is relatively easily dealt with in Ubers. You can't just drop Arceus to test in OU currently because it doesn't have the tools to deal with it like Ubers does, but if you managed a balanced Ubers, then what's to stop you calling that OU? If you increase the power level of a metagame as a baseline, then things that we currently have banned suddenly don't seem so broken.

There were a couple of times which I really thought when playing Ubers "hey this metagame is actually quite balanced and really competitive". The first one was BW1 Ubers, the other one being XY Ubers, and the other surprisingly, ORAS Ubers with a few tweaks. There was nothing overly broken in BW1 Ubers, only thing that was really overbearing (and esp in BW2) being Spikes. XY Ubers, as boring and slow as it was (I actually hated it), it was incredibly balanced outside of a small number of matchup exacerbating factors (eg Shadow Tag) and probably Geomancy Xerneas. I could easily see XY Ubers being a playable and balanced XY OU if you just banned S-Tag and Geomancy.

ORAS Ubers was a curious case. By itself, it was absolutely awful and not a balanced metagame, but I remember after Mega Ray got the boot and there was a real drive to move the metagame in the direction of being properly balanced, one of our previous users Piexplode (yeah, that one who got banned) actually had his own little ladder on his server in which we banned actually a very small number of things (Red and Blue Orbs, Shadow Tag, Geomancy, arguably Salamencite) and from accounts of the people who played it was a very balanced XY Ubers-esque metagame. That could probably have worked as ORAS OU with a small Ubers (with the aforementioned bans) which effectively would have erased the need for AG existing.

Keep in mind I'm usually much more liberal in how much overpower/centralisation I'm comfortable with for a balanced metagame. I started playing Pokemon in DPP, so I'm not sure how popular Ubers was in ADV, but when I started playing Ubers back in DPP it was already quite mainstream. I think the main appeal of Ubers is still the fact that you can use ridiculously overpowered Pokemon in a competitive environment. It was a very liberating feeling first stepping into Ubers and I feel that's still what draws people to Ubers now (not having a predetermined banlist). If an OU that has maximum number of Pokemon (which could probably include most of those OP mons), then the thing that appealed to Ubers players originally would be fulfilled by that OU tier.

So why hasn't this happened? It's pretty simple. Every time I've brought it up people have seen the merits of such a proposal, but basically said "this is too radical, the OU community would never come on board with such a change" - and herein lies the problem. OU is forever trapped in a mentality that has a defined power level that they are unwilling to move out of (by coincidence it's a power level in which Tyranitar forever thrives). Sure, we've slowly accepted things like 700 BST Mega evolutions are acceptable, so there is a degree of acceptance of higher power levels, but each generation has brought bigger jumps in power level relative to those community-accepted changes. As a result, the list of Ubers and by extension its list of shit mons (like Reshiram/Solgaleo/Mega Kangaskhan etc) have become bigger and bigger as Ubers has continued being the "maximum" minus AG shenanigans and OU has continued to stagnate in power compared to what has been introduced. I get the community isn't ready, but if you want to fix this increasing problem one day you're going to have to put your foot down and force the reform. I remember back in BW2 during a Smogcast in which one of the speakers said "My idea of a OU metagame in which Superachi is top tier" (I'm not naming the person but I'm pretty sure everyone knows who I'm talking about) and another one said "Man I remember when we could use TSpikes and spread that with Roar on Suicune - I hate this current tier because you can't use that any more". This is the kind of mentality that existed in OU and I wouldn't be surprised if it still existed. This is the kind of mentality that we need to erase if you want OU to be a "highest tier with proper balance".

In short, if you want OU to be the "highest tier with proper balance", then you will have to match the increase in power level of OU relative to every new generation rather than having arbitrary and pre-determined banlists at the start of every gen and then working your metagame from there. Ubers will then flow naturally as an extension of such a metagame, and AG will be completely redundant (or you could just call that new Ubers "AG" and get rid of Ubers, which I dgaf since they are functionally the same thing).

So:
Looking at the bigger picture with all of Smogon's official metagames, OU will also be starting fresh in a sense when gen 8 rolls around.
My question would be "how fresh"? How willing will the OU community be in accepting that they need to fully adapt to in-built imposed powercreep?
 

tennisace

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My question would be "how fresh"? How willing will the OU community be in accepting that they need to fully adapt to in-built imposed powercreep?
This is mildly off topic but there's decently clear line that TPCI/Game Freak has between "mons designed to be broken af" and "shit you can use". The restricted battle competitions provide a pretty decent (yet very imperfect line) between the two. Of course, we know things like Kyurem-B aren't as OP as they were supposed to be, and we don't think that event-only Pokemon such as Mew should be banned. However by and large, the line rests at the "cover legendary" level.

---------

As for the topic at hand: Regardless of what is decided with Ubers for Gen 8, I think that AG still has its place as a metagame as an emulation of in-game link battles with no (minimal) rules. Whether or not Ubers bans MRay or others is irrelevant as some clauses will be present (Evasion, OHKO, etc).

I also don't subscribe to the argument that Ubers having some agency over tiering affects OU in any adverse way. OU is, and always will be, the flagship metagame and the power level it balances around is roughly what I outlined earlier in my post: start with most "cover legendary" type Pokemon banned & work from there. It will always be our most played metagame, featured in the vast majority of our official tournaments, and be the centerpiece of the community. Having Ubers centered around a different power level entirely above OU doesn't change that.

On a personal level, I feel that Ubers should be a playable ban list and agree with ABR that there shouldn't be Pokemon bans. However I don't particularly care one way or the other which way it ends up; I just wanted to try to clear up a couple of points.
 

Lavos

Banned deucer.
The golden rule: THERE SHALL BE NO DISCUSSION OF BANNING ANY OBTAINABLE POKÉMON FROM THE UBER MODE OF PLAY! OFFENDERS OF THIS RULE WILL BE INFRACTED WITHOUT EXCEPTION! It's okay if a Pokémon strongly centralizes the Uber metagame (such as Kyogre), because the Uber mode of play is not meant to be balanced like OU and UU. Additionally, a tactic that seems "broken" is fine in Ubers too.
This is from Theorymon's post in 2009, linked up above. It's the oldest resource we have on the original philosophy of Ubers tiering, and in here it's stated explicitly that Ubers is a tier, but a tier that exists as the manifestation of OU's banlist. It's "not meant to be balanced like OU" and the meaning of that is pretty easy to infer. Ubers doesn't ban stuff because it's the last refuge of everything that was already banned by the tier that decides what constitutes an acceptable power level for an optimally competitive metagame. Now the post in question is almost 10 years old, so I understand that some things are going to change between then and now, but it seems like the core identity of Ubers has been completely forgotten when comparing the foundational philosophy with something like this:
- Ubers is defined as the tier with the least amount of bans needed to maintain a playable tier competitively.

- Diversity is not the ultimate goal for Ubers, it is playability.
from Hack's post in late 2017, linked above. And it's not hard to see what's going on here. Between the inception of Ubers and the present day, a community formed around this weird banlist/tier hybrid that was never intended to be competitive to the extent that an OU or UU would be, and over time people started to lose sight of the identity of Ubers in favor of making it more playable. That's a very human error to make, growing attached to something and then wanting it to change to serve your interest better, instead of leaving it alone for the greater good, and it's clear that the Ubers players in this thread are very attached to the health of their tier. However, I don't think this condition is sustainable. The missteps made by the Ubers tiering community, most prominently the banning of Mega-Rayquaza, have led to the creation of Anything Goes (a tier that should never have had to exist) and the subsequent disregard for Ubers in official tournaments such as SPL, as we now bear witness to its slow fade into irrelevancy. Ubers is trying so hard to be the same as OU, while at the same time attempting to preserve a semblance of its originally intended purpose, and in doing so it's become neither. I think that's a problem. I like Ubers as a concept, and I don't enjoy how it's perceived currently as a joke, so it would be cool if its role in Smogon tiering was reevaluated, and the release of Generation 8 in the near future strikes me as the perfect time to make such a change. I don't have much say in the matter, it's going to be up to the leaders of that community, but I will note that what would make the most sense to me if Ubers went back to its original philosophy going forward, and returned to the hard line of no bans under any circumstances, besides the fundamental clauses that make Pokemon competitively viable in the first place. Trying to be another OU is never going to work, not only due to playerbase imbalances but also because of the relative gap in strength between the best and the worst Pokemon in respective tiers, making it much easier to balance OU than Ubers from the outset. Not to mention, once again uniting your tier under a single cohesive framework will draw in many more people who are attracted to Ubers for the simple law of "no limits on power" that makes it so appealing in the first place, whereas trudging on down the path of increasingly strained balancing acts will ensure that you continue to bleed out users to AG and other formats.

I also want to briefly mention to Minority that your behavior in this thread has been nothing short of reprehensible, and that the other Ubers leaders might want to consider an ambassador for their tier who won't make a spectacle of himself in what was otherwise a civil policy discussion. Reading his posts made me physically sick. It's ok for Ubers to be near and dear to your heart, but criticisms of your tier shouldn't be taken as affronts against your very existence, nor responded to as such.
 
I don’t understand the OP’s gatekeeping at all. A community wants to play Pokémon a certain way and follows Smogon’s rules while doing it. Does Smogon as a website and community gain anything material from ostracizing Ubers and preventing them from doing what we allow all other formal tiers to do? I do disagree with holding controversial bans across generations. However, preventing them from rebanning something if it’s deemed banworthy through established and proper tiering standards altogether is an entirely different story and doesn’t seem to fit in with how I feel we as a website push to be considered the competitive Pokémon community.

Let’s say we established that Ubers as a concept (purely OU’s banlist) cannot ban Pokémon. What stops the current community from creating an OM called “Over Overused” or some other inane name with the concept of playing a balanced Ubers? Or even worse, what stops them from recreating Ubers on another platform or a side forum as we’ve literally seen done by another metagame in just this past year? Bringing them back was a problem of its own.

Ubers as a concept belongs to Smogon, so certainly it is up to our general community to define what that means. I feel our largest problem is not decisively defining what Ubers means to us. If OU needs their banlist to be called Ubers so badly, then call Ubers an OU banlist and “create” a “new” tier called “Playable Ubers” lol. We don’t have tiering in AG because we strictly define AG as anything goes (as long as it’s cart legal!). If we want to prevent Ubers from doing Pokémon bans, then we should strictly define it instead of dancing around the issue.

That being said, if a large group of people wants to play a tier, produces quality content for our website, actively manages a community through a subforum and a PS room, dedicates time to making it playable, and has been generally intergrated into Smogon as a whole, why shouldn’t they be allowed to play their metagame the way they do and be a part of the premier Pokémon community on the internet? We allow a metagame called “Suicide Cup” of all things to exist and be tiered in OMs right now and we don’t want to allow the same right to a community that goes back a decade? I think we have a lot more to lose than to gain here.

Also, regarding this idea that Ubers was supposed to be just a banlist with no Pokémon bans originally. That’s great, but philosophy and community are fluid concepts. Things change as they need to be changed. Pokémon as it is in 2019 is not the same as Pokémon as it was in 2009. Forcing Ubers to be beholden to a ten year old ideal feels entirely regressive. I know speaking personally that my own tier would suffer greatly if we were forced to follow the dreams and definitions of the original Smogon Monotype creators, many if not all of which we have improved upon and moved on from.
 
While not having much skin in the game I'd like to make a comment on the "tone" of the Ubers player. I don't think it's bad to be direct or even combative - it's difficult to get across, but Ubers players have had to defend their tier nonstop for ages. This liminal, inbetween state where even if a debate is "settled" is likely incredibly frustrating - they are forced to relive it in two months, tops, regardless. They can provide logical, consistent and strong arguments and then shortly down the line there will be another thesis about why it must be removed from Grand Slam and SPL etc. etc.

Again, truthfully, I don't really care whatsoever what happens to the tier. I don't play it or participate in the community whatsoever. But as someone who is a fan of two other tiers that are also constantly under this same sort of pressure I recall getting far more upset about it when they were constantly attacked time and time again. Rip the bandaid off, this is a large reason why when I was head TD I really felt strongly about creating consistency with tier representation. I'd almost rather lose RBY in tours than have to go through iteration #348 of "why it's a fine tier competitively". The decision feels often that it's already been made, and that everything else is just pageantry.

I'll be frank - I believe that even if the Ubers players posted a completely cogent, well researched, and logically consistent defense of their tier and its inclusion it would not, in any sense of the word, change the chances for high-competition inclusion. Whether that's good or bad I've long since stopped caring, but stop giving them an issue for the tone, because they've had to have this argument a dozen times already and it's likely exhausting.

edit: Per a comment I received off to the side, I'm aware that the topic of the thread is not on its face about tournaments. I'll be succinct here and say that I think it's the core thing being argued behind the words and I would hazard a guess that the majority of people partaking in the conversation feel similarly (esp in light of the proposed GS change) but few would be willing to admit it.
 
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chaos

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Quick summary of my thoughts from the CL discord.

The goal of the tiering system is: for every Pokemon (within reason), ensure there exists a fun & competitive format to use it in. Being rigid & purist about Ubers has the potential of violating the fun part, and there is no point to having a format that nobody wants to play. But trying to achieve this with Pokemon bans like OU violates the "for every Pokemon" part, as Ubers is the "format of last resort" (not incl. AG, which we make zero promises about being fun OR competitive). Plus, since every Pokemon in Ubers is overcentralizing by definition (or it would be in OU), trying to balance it would result it in becoming exactly OU.

The solution I came up with is: be more creative with clauses. I know everyone hates complex bans, but since Ubers has to work under the overcentralizing & last resort constraints, something has to give. Then, the Ubers philosophy would be: Do your best to make a fun, competitive format with all the Pokemon, at the expense of simplicity/purity.

Note that I will not remove AG as a format under any circumstance, even if M-Ray comes back down.

edit: ABR locked this thread after this post which suggests that my post is an Official Decree. At the moment it is just a suggestion that the Ubers community should consider.

edit 2: I realize that in the M-Ray post one of the points defined for AG was that it would serve as a new format of last resort so Ubers would be free to ban Pokemon. What I gather is that that isn't 100% working out. That's ok, the M-Ray post was 5 years ago, it can be worth trying different approaches.
 
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