Regarding the Ubers Swagger ban

Posting this on dice's behalf

hi everyone, i'd like to just bring forth a minor tiering error to your attention. currently, ubers has swagger clause which was carried over from gen 6. if you aren't aware, the impetus for this ban was because of swagplay teams featuring pokemon like subswagger klefki, thundurus, and xerneas with a ditto in the back and some quick hazard stacking to cheese games. the tier consensus was controversially to ban the strategy as it was decided to be far too much of a takeaway from player autonomy.

fast forward to sm and there is a lot that has changed. thunder wave's been made far less useful with its accuracy and speed mechanics being changed, confusion has been dropped to a mere 33%. to say that swagplay strategies have been hugely nerfed and are largely ineffective. for reference: it is a ~9.5% chance to receive a net gain of 1 free turn using swagger alone.

for some reason, though, the move has been kept banned. if you have even cursory understanding of ubers policy, you'd realise that the tier prides itself on creating the most balanced metagame possible with the least amount of bans. quite frankly, the swagger ban is an egregious display of poor ubers policy and has no place in the ruleset. i made this thread previously in the ubers subforum here:

This thread is to gain a more public appeal and have others weigh in how they see fit.

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Is confusion actually 33%? I think that was a rumor that turned out to be false?

Looking at the code, PS seems to implement 33%, but I don't know if we ever managed to find solid evidence in either direction.


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Marty's tests were inconclusive iirc. But I asked around and it seems that aggregate tests pretty solidly pointed towards approximately 1/3.

No one actually figured out if it was 1/3, 33/100, or 3/10, though.
Well, I got ~39% in ~250 confusion turns. I would have done more, but between Supersonic's horrible accuracy, no option to turn off animations, and Pikipek's inability to take hits well from anything else in the demo, I stopped caring. Combined with several hundred other tests from other people on Twitter, it looked a lot closer to 1/3 so I implemented that.

But if you had looked at the code a little harder, you would have seen Slayer95 added the source I gave when he reverted his own reversion of my implementation. As for whether it's 33% or 1/3, Protect's game code went from 1/2 to 1/3 and there's no reason to think this is any different until someone bothers to find the confusion function.

Anyway, let's ignore the fact that this thread was derailed to get confirmation that something figured out a month before the games came out was actually true. As a non-player I'd say it's probably worth figuring out if Swagger itself is a real issue in Ubers this gen, if the old Ditto strategies are still as potent, or if the introduction of Marshadow makes it as bad or worse.


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I agree that Swagger is lame as shit, but tbh it's rather odd than the only singles official meta in SM with Swagger banned is Ubers. I'm pretty sure SM Doubles banned Swagger mainly because of Misty Terrain abuse and Marshadow + Swagger user to be able to steal boosts without trying to fit Swagger into Marshadow's set; neither is relevant in singles. Many people have tried to "abuse" Swagger in non-Ubers SM tier only to fail miserably and give up shortly after, because right now that move is absolute garbage. Granted Ubers is the only tier with Marshadow, but it's also the only tier with shit like Primal Groudon and Xerneas.

I'm not against some stuff getting banned from Ubers, but: 1) I don't think Swagger Marshadow is anywhere near Mega Rayquaza's level or even as good as Primal Groudon. 2) Swagger itself is definitely nowhere near as reliable or gamechanging as things like Moody or even BP. 3) Swagger can't be compared to SleepTrap, because that one was actually tested and the justification was "it goes against the spirit of the Sleep Clause". Exactly why is Swagger banned right now?


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Ubers tiering policy is based on the ideology of having the fewest possible game elements banned while attempting to maximize competitive edge. Swagger was originally banned in this tier because there was a consensus that the reduction in the pool of available game elements was worth the increased comp edge gained with Swagger gone. In short, Swagger is a high-risk moderate reward element that takes control away from the player, places even more emphasis on RNG, and can decide games.

I'd argue that regardless of the confusion nerf, the core nature of the move remains the same. 50% down to 33% - risk for the Swagger user may have increased in this regard, but the move is still volatile in nature. I have to note, only because people mistakenly argue the contrary, that this type of volatility is unique and is different from moves such as Sacred Fire, Ice Beam, or Thunder Wave. These moves all have far more legitimate (consistent) use because they are primarily used for a reason outside of their RNG dependent secondary effects: strong physical fire STAB, strong accurate Ice-type move, speed control.

I'm of the opinion that the 33% vs. 50% confusion and the number of legitimate users of the move, two arguments I see frequently mentioned, are largely irrelevant to the core issue at play here. Nor does it have anything to do with "how good" something is. The two bottom lines are that a Swagger ban has collateral (although I'd argue a low amount), and that the legality of Swagger lowers the competitive edge of the tier (again, by a rather low amount).

It's for Ubers players to decide what they value more here: being able to preserve the few legitimate users of Swagger in order to be a small step closer to inclusivity, or maintaining a slightly higher competitive edge.


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I would be a bit cautious straight up comparing 50% and 33%, since these singular instances don't capture a game well. Each match where you fish for confusion hax basically comes down to "I need the opponent to hit themselves X or more times in Y turns." right? (I guess don't consider timing for simplicity.) In that sense, the practical difference between 50% and 33% can be much larger or smaller than you intuitively think. Easy way to see this is with an extreme (non-realistic): 1 or more out of 100 is likely regardless of which confusion chance you're talking about.


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Let me preface this by saying that I personally dislike Swagger/SwagPlay strategies, meaning I have no ulterior motives behind my position on it.

I think the bigger picture which the "anti-swagger" wave doesn't seem to realise is that it is completely ludicrous to keep something that is in no way even close to being a broken or overwhelming mechanic banned, especially in Ubers, the tier that prides itself in allowing the majority of viable strategies and Pokemon as long as these don't massively undermine the playability of the tier itself. Every other tier that had it banned previously has unbanned it since S&M rolled around while Ubers, supposedly the most inclusive of them all, has their completely obsolete stance on Swagger holding it back.

It shouldn't matter that it's an annoying mechanic and something that people dislike in general, the fact that it sets awful precedents for arbitrary decisions and doesn't allow players to make use of a marginally viable and completely average strategy should be enough to allow it once more. If it does prove itself to be a troublesome and overwhelmingly potent strategy, which I seriously doubt (even though it could happen), that's when the tier leaders should do something about it and/or consider banning it, not before we even catch a glimpse of how this move can impact the metagame. The nerfs to the strategy are substantial enough to where it's viability has certainly decreased severely anyway.

In keeping something like this banned, we are completely missing the whole point of the tiering process as a whole, by allowing our better judgement to be clouded by what we think is more appealing but is in fact wrong. What happens when our tier leaders decide to ban something that's possibly RNG-based and doesn't seemingly add much to the tier just because people dislike it? How are we supposed to keep them in check if we were the ones that allowed them to create the precedent for such decisions ourselves? I think this decision shouldn't even have to be discussed at all and Swagger should only ever reach the ban-list again if it does prove to be truly worthy of such consideration.
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Fireburn You were asked for your perspective on this situation by your co-leader in the public Ubers forum thread two weeks ago and still have not said anything in either thread yet (this one probably being the more pertinent of the two since a formal decision can be made here). There's clearly a lot of unrest regarding this decision, and your community would appreciate acknowledgement.


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Fireburn You were asked for your perspective on this situation by your co-leader in the public Ubers forum thread two weeks ago and still have not said anything in either thread yet (this one probably being the more pertinent of the two since a formal decision can be made here). There's clearly a lot of unrest regarding this decision, and your community would appreciate acknowledgement.
Please excuse my tardiness, just been dealing with IRL stuff. I will respond to this thread tomorrow.

e: I unexpectedly spent all day running errands so I'll respond to this Weds (tmrw from this edit)
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Exactly why is Swagger banned right now?
It was a holdover from ORAS that was only recently challenged, no doubt because dice really wants to use Swagger Marshadow/Klefki. :p

I've kept you guys waiting long enough on this so I'll be brief: I don't believe unbanning Swagger adds anything positive to the metagame whatsoever, as at its core I don't think it can be justified as anything but pure cheese. However, given various nerfs to confusion/paralysis/Prankster, it seems clear that the odds of getting a positive outcome from Swagger have been dramatically reduced such that it falls within the purview of "normal hax" (aka the odds of anything really impactful happening are minimal), and keeping it banned in the tier that tries to minimize bans when it is unbanned in OU and below is, to be frank, untenable and nonsensical. Therefore, I will go ahead and say that I believe Swagger should be unbanned from SM Ubers.

(We can always reban Swagger if Thimo finds some esoteric way to break the metagame again)

I believe Hack and I are in agreement on this, so if/when he confirms as such I suppose Zarel can go ahead and make it happen.

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