BH SM BH Suspect #11: Shell Smash

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Ransei

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This was an interesting run. I started early in the suspect and went for 30 games before reqs were dropped, ending up with 23-7 and ~74.2 GXE. I used ShedMiddleFinga's 98.4% GXE Kartana team the whole time (pokepaste link for team). Most of my losses were against pazza's 4 MMX Shell Smash sample team, which two players were actively running during my first 30 games. I also lost against a high ladder Shedinja team that the team I used had a bad matchup against. Outside of this, I just lost a few matches I badly misplayed in. I replaced Parting Shot with U-Turn on the Registeel because Parting Shot simply gave Queenly Majesty Mega Mewtwo X a free turn every time Registeel was sent out, and the Kartana team had very little ways of handling Mega Mewtwo X afterwards (keeping Zygarde-Complete alive was really difficult and impossible to do consistently against a solid user of the 4 MMX team).

Since there were decisions impending about having reqs lowered due to situations regarding a loser and anaconja, I decided to stop after 30 games and wait out laddering more until reqs were dropped. Reqs were dropped a week ago but I guess I chose to wait until today to continue since I felt it would be a good time and I still wanted to make reqs before the deadline. I won 12 games in a row without encountering Shell Smash :bloblul:.

I am not an active Balanced Hackmons player, so take my words with a grain of salt if you wish.

I strongly advocate for Shell Smash's ban. Sure there are countermeasures, but Gen 7 not only introduces Power Trip to give Pokemon a lack of immunity over a Stored Power-based move, several things were added to reduce the effectiveness of most consistent countermeasures. Queenly Majesty + proper coverage gives -ate and PrankHaze a hard time and moldy moves give Fur Coat, Unaware, and Sturdinja a hard time. With two of the previous most dominant countermeasures to Shell Smash out, what's left is people consistently having to bring bulkier Pokemon, as anything less can just ultimately fail to Shell Smash teams. Shell Smash invalidates many regular offense or balance playstyles and demands everyone to either carry stall or try out different options for Shell Smash that can never all work at once. From experience, I've seen many different people complain about how Balanced Hackmons is either very hard on offense or very hard on stall, with not much room in-between. The ban on Shell Smash can help fix that by allowing balance or offense teams that aren't as catastrophic to the metagame. In addition, many players are stuck around having to carry Spectral Thief on several Pokemon in order for Shell Smash to not overtake them. I believe this and all the other aforementioned reasons are all signs that the metagame is a little too centralized around Shell Smash for what Balanced Hackmons aims to be.

The main counterargument I've seen (at least outside this thread) about players wanting to keep Shell Smash in Balanced Hackmons, is that stall teams become very hard to take down without it. I don't believe this to be true, since the removal of Shell Smash will allow for breakers to be more prevalent and be able to deal with bulkier teams without getting punished by Shell Smash going brr against them. If stallier playstyles do become an issue and experts want to look it over, I believe Poison Heal, Regenerator, and/or Fur Coat could be looked into in the future.
I have made many attempts to get into Gen 7 Balanced Hackmons in the past. With each attempt, I was drawn out of interest almost solely to this move because of how dumb and simple it was to just use against non stally playstyles. This metagame is supposed to be Balanced Hackmons. Moves should be more thought-provoking to use than in Gen 7 Pure Hackmons and simple sets shouldn't have to invalidate playstyles to shift the metagame into a toxic environment that makes people prefer playing Gen 7 Pure Hackmons :(.
 

cityscapes

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Smash spam at high levels tens to be beat by balance often enough. I kind of like to think of these teams as a "gambit" in chess. Where the strategy might be objectively not optimal, but if forces your opponent to have to make the "best move" for a consecutive turns at a time. If they do this they should win. Albeit, gambits and "smash spam" are a bit different in nature where one you need skill and the other at times not so much, but building a smash spam team, that doesn't lose to imposter is quite difficult at times so yeah.

From what I've heard, smash is most broken on like balance or bulky offense teams, not revolving around smash spam. Here, simply the pressure of a pokemon in the back waiting to click smash can influence the game a lot and cause a ton of pressure. However, pokemon not named Mega-Gengar are often difficult to improof with Smash and end up forcing a specific team structure to improof, which I believe is a balancing drawback. Shell Smash is also a really commital move, so it does come with its own respective risks, which have to be more carefully managed in a balance game. However, such pressure is something which I don't deem as unhealthy enough to warrant a ban. Various counterplay by pivoting into a mon that won't get ohkoed on smash, predicting with spec thief, prankster, unaware, and priority can all combat smash adequately well enough on balance. Due to the big risk in clicking smash, it's of my opinion that a reward to the player for finding such an opportunity to click it.

Granted there are also situations, where on preview someone may lose to a smash pokemon, such as one with a super effective move on the opposing player's prankster pokemon, or smash pdon which can desimate pokemon like unaware Arceus or prankster Zygaurd. I do believe it would be a bit rash of me to say "the team was just bad if it lost to "x" shell smasher" or if it wasn't prepped for pdon, but generally good team structures should have counterplay to such pokemon. Many random smashers and smash pdon can often be checked by imposter or shedinja, and most good teams should at least have a game plan around these. This is why, feats where someone can ladder to 100 games unbeaten (hi yolk) are possible. In a volatile meta this wouldn't have been very possible.
my issue with the comparison to gambits is that

1. mons does not start in a symmetrical state. i typically like to discredit the existence of matchup but i think the role it plays with shell smash in particular is quite notable.
2. mons is a game of imperfect information. this guy brought moongeist on his chomp to hit fc dawn wings which otherwise took a hit and killed back with ice beam.

therefore, “just find the best move bro” doesn’t exactly work when you can have no way of knowing what the best move is or even if one exists at all.

a big issue i have with smash is that it’s very good at divide and conquer. most guys you have in the back will be extraordinarily unreliable against a mostly unrevealed smash mon. this is mostly due to how utterly flimsy prank haze is as an answer—smash has so many ways around it, from coverage to taunt to killing them with pdon to sleep to core/gambit to just super effective stabs, that running “smash-proof” individual mons gives you far more success and consistency than trying to patch up the massive holes in prank haze as an answer. (note: there are some teams, such as very defensive stuff and stable shed teams, that do manage to “cover” smash, but this leads to big concessions in ability to create counterplay. these teams are often extremely slow and unwieldy and can find themselves at a disadvantage vs your garden variety offense. i didn’t use a single shed team for my reqs.)

compare this to other strong elements:
  • triage is limited to stab special flying moves, making it easy to see on preview, possible to never auto-lose to, and predictable.
  • shed can be prepped for with a holistic approach where you use several mons or the whole team to take it on rather than running mono sunsteel like that -ate spam person in the om room. the only problems occur when either you lack an endeavor switchin or shed is paired with smash so you’re given extremely limited time.
  • mmy can always be outsped, always loses to imposter, always has problems with pivots such as ph arc and regenvest, is always fragile, and can’t simultaneously beat prank + everything else.
  • pdon is always vulnerable to chip and only causes big issues if you have no vcreate switchin. it must choose between going aggressive to deal more damage or staying behind to retain its defensive utility. it’s an issue only when paired with smash, which invalidates every non-passive vcreate switchin especially the ones that take like 55-60, including suicune, waterceus, rockceus, and ttar. (note that gira/zyg/bro must choose between activity/status resilience and running prank in order to not just die)

note that these elements can be consciously prepped for much more easily. i need a flying resist, special wall, or dazzling to prep for triage, i need a vcreate switchin (decent resist or fc) that can make progress against pdon. i can’t do this against smash. to those who would argue that trying to prep for smash is the wrong way of looking at it (similar to trying to “prep” for tail glow, qd, etc) i offer the argument that all good smash mons share the attribute of living a hit, setting up in 1 turn, and ohkoing everything in its way. prepping for smash xern is not like prepping for xern; prepping for smash pdon is not like prepping for pdon or even shift gear pdon.

i don’t think smash gives an advantage to the user, if it did i would spam it more. the issue is that “smash-proofing” your mons is pretty annoying and limiting. a lot of mons, such as choiced attackers, tg arceus, and -ates lacking espeed, feel just unusable without an extremely unstable and volatile defensive core such as the one on sevag’s cb mmx/shift gear pdon team. measures such as taunt, wisp, and paralysis must always be an option. (for the record, the chomp spam team posted above hilariously gets immediately 6-0’d by waterceus, who can spam taunt and sap and indefinitely survive unless it gets crit by zmove.)

to sevag, i pose the question: what team structures can not only be fine against smash but also have fighting chances against offenses such as the ones i use? would you feel confident bringing these teams in a serious game?
 
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Those who are arguing that Prankhazers are ineffective against Smash aren't taking into account the actual sacrifices required to handle those threats: YTwo gets hard-walled by its typical checks without boosts or specific coverage options, while running Moongeist for Tina leaves it open to get one-shotted by a boosted Imposter, which it can never reciprocate, and Spectral Thief XTwo not only loses to its Imposter, but cannot even OHKO bulky Prankster Tina at all, even at +2 (which means that if Tina has 'Thief, it wouldn't even need to use Haze at all to beat it). Dark-Types and Fairy-Types fare better against Tina (and Zygarde for Fairies), but generally lack the raw power to contest any other relevant wall in the tier, and Gigas/Gengar are just worse XTwos/YTwos when it comes to 'Smash, and should never be used for this role.

I largely suspect that many people aren't frustrated because they genuinely believe this mechanic to be unfair, as much as they are inconvenienced by its potency against Balance/Status-Quo teams. The possibility that a 'Mon which you would otherwise counter could suddenly turn the tables on a player's designated check, likely upsets them, and leads them to feel as though their effort in the Teambuilder was wasted, however, a fundamental part of the Pokemon experience is the fallibility of strategies, and the possibility of the unexpected.

In the same manner that certain Defensive Mons can inevitably dispatch certain offensive threats, it is only fitting that there exists a subset of Offensive strategies that can potentially take down their defensive adversaries. I feel like a bigger problem overall isn't so much Shell Smash, as much as it is 'Sash. Focus Sash was already one of the most powerful items in the standard formats, but when combined with the capabilities of BH, it can do anything from empowering Pokemon like Shedinja to momentarily invalidate a player's otherwise effective answers to it, thus paving the way for it to run other abilities like Prankster, and even Scrappy--to enabling any Offensive Pokemon to freely set up using any number of moves, devoid of all consequences.

Yes, Rocks are a known counterplay for 'Sash teams, however it is largely inexpensive for a player to splash a bulky Bouncer on their team, alongside a spinner/defogger in the event that hazards make it through. This degenerates matches with setup-spam into largely unpredictable, yet binary experiences that immediately place non-Sashed teams on the back foot from Turn 1, forcing them to either blindly throw out hazards, or burn through an innumerable amount of turns to frisk through every opposing 'Mon's Abilities for an opening, lest, in failing to set up their hazards in time, they get steamrolled by the inevitable mindless Sash-Mon waiting for its turn in the back.

Removing Focus Sash from the meta would force Shell Smashers, and offense in general, to play more methodically, and use items that actually synergize with their moveset, rather than indiscriminately splashing the same item on to their teams. It would naturally filter out Smash spam, while still leaving the move in the game as an option for players that were actually good enough to safely activate it. Considering that Sash qualifies as an example of Extreme Augmentation (allows Pokemon to circumvent the game's intrinsic balancing mechanisms, thereby surviving hits that they otherwise shouldn't have), and it single-handedly makes otherwise inconsistent strats like Smash so terrifying, there's a good case to be made that perhaps this move is simply a red-herring for the bigger problem. After all, It should be rather telling how Shell Smash is almost never mentioned or played without either mentioning or at least implying SashSmash specifically. Rather than suspecting 'Smash in particular, we should instead suspect the common mechanic that makes this move and others like it so problematic.
 
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I believe Shell Smash is banworthy. It is too reliant on Prankster, and many common Prankster users like Registeel, Giratina, and Zygarde-Complete can be beaten by the likes of Mega Mewtwo X and Primal Groudon with their coverage and high offenses alone. Shell Smash sweepers have multiple tools to break past would-be setup checks like Fur Coat, Unaware, and RegenVest through either running Sunsteel/Photon Geyser, Mold Breaker, or outright breaking those too with sheer power.
I don't like calling Imposter Chansey a check to Smash. The defense reduction of Smash applies to you, and chances are your opponent has a Focus Sash and can hit you super effectively. Beyond that, I also don't consider "winning speed ties" a viable check. Unless you're running Scarf, which the overwhelming majority of them don't, and I can prove it via the usage stats.
Code:
 +----------------------------------------+
| Chansey                                |
+----------------------------------------+
| Raw count: 5795                        |
| Avg. weight: 0.117258203935            |
| Viability Ceiling: 92                  |
+----------------------------------------+
| Abilities                              |
| Imposter 88.005%                       |
| Fur Coat  5.620%                       |
| Prankster  3.899%                      |
| Unaware  2.209%                        |
| Magic Bounce  0.151%                   |
| Soundproof  0.049%                     |
| Other  0.068%                          |
+----------------------------------------+
| Items                                  |
| Eviolite 86.280%                       |
| Choice Scarf  7.355%                   |
| Shed Shell  3.676%                     |
| Other  2.689%                          |
Unaware used to be pretty good but has turned mediocre in recent years due to every prominent sweeper either packing a mold breaker move or mold breaker itself. For things like Mega Mewtwo X, you don't even need that. You can 2HKO half the meta with sheer offensive power with a lot of the aforementioned mons in this post. You don't wall setup Red Orb Groudon. RegenVest stuff like Primal Kyogre and Fur Coat users can wall special and physical attackers respectively, but Shell Smash sweepers can and frequently do run mixed movesets, and beyond that, the sheer offensive power makes it difficult to wall most sweepers after a single boost. Mega Mewtwo X can run Stored Power (doesn't need to worry about Shed if it has Mold Breaker) and OHKO any Fur Coat mon in the meta with ease. Likewise, Power Trip exists to beat any RegenVest users as well. A ton of viable walls just crumble against Shell Smash mons, and Prankster users aren't even a guaranteed check since they can just get nuked from the likes of Close Combat and V-create.

I think the most egregious part is that you can bruteforce teams if you have multiple Shell Smash mons. Shell Smash isn't risky to use when you can scout with Imposter, and all you need is a single slow pivot with hazard control to get a near guaranteed KO on anything, if not a sweep. No, smash spam teams aren't common. But they do exist, and I've seen people complaining about them on multiple occasions, and I've lost to them myself. Why would I prep for multiple smash sweepers and make my team worse? Meanwhile you could effortlessly peak on ladder simply by having several Shell Smash mons since no one is going to prep for it, and why should they be expected to?

Another thing. Using "rarity" as an argument against banning it is a poor one at that. Metagames frequently suspect and ban uncommon things. A suspect test happens because something is overpowered or uncompetitive. Imposter Chansey is one of the most used mons, except it has never gotten suspected. While I did see a lot of Shell Smash and I often won against those teams, that's specifically because I built my team with extra setup countermeasures. I actually did prep for multiple setup sweepers specifically for this suspect test. My team often lost against more meta teams as a result, since it was too focused on checking setup. I also didn't find many Smash spam teams. When something gets suspected, I've always built my team to beat whatever gets suspected. I don't consider my own experiences during this suspect test equivalent to a generic experience someone in this metagame might encounter.

I don't like the fact that already strong mons like Mega Mewtwo X, Mega Gengar, and Red Orb Groudon can get to damn near unmanageable levels with just one turn and a bit of smart play. All three are mons which have been no lower than A rank at the absolute worst with Red Orb Groudon basically obliterating anything with V-create, Mega Gengar having a damn near unwallable STAB combo with one of those STABs being Moongeist Beam, and Mega Mewtwo X having almost as much set variety as Mega Rayquaza with only slightly lower offenses and a way better speed and typing that allows it to force out a ton of mons and get a free turn to set up on those qualities alone.

I also don't like the strong overreliance on Prankster that this metagame has. At this point I wouldn't consider making a team without Prankster. It's just asking for trouble. That's when I consider something unhealthy. If you lose your Prankster against a Shell Smash sweeper, you've effectively lost the game. They have lowered defenses, but it's highly unlikely that even the bulkiest of mons like Zygarde-C, Giratina, Registeel, Primal Kyogre, and many others would survive a blow from the aforementioned sweepers. At least Quiver Dance is somewhat manageable. You don't need Prankster to beat Xerneas. You also don't lose if you don't have one active either. Tail Glow doesn't boost Speed. Shift Gear is even more manageable than both of them.
Those who are arguing that Prankhazers are ineffective against Smash aren't taking into account the actual sacrifices required to handle those threats
I think you are also not taking into account the Prankster Haze mon just being a losing matchup against the mon in question, as it's impossible to prepare for Smash Red Orb Groudon, Smash Mega Mewtwo X, and Smash Mega Gengar at the same time. If your Prankster ends up fainting, you effectively autolose unless the Smash mon in question also fainted. I also don't know what you're referring to after this, as Smash on MMY isn't preferred over MMX, and Spectral Thief is a mediocre choice for MMX. Mega Gengar is way better than Mega Mewtwo Y since it doesn't get ohkoed by literally any mon using U-turn at -1. Mega Mewtwo Y is a mon that prefers to come in, KO something, and get out as fast as possible since it's bulk is ass.
I largely suspect that many people aren't frustrated because they genuinely believe this mechanic to be unfair, as much as they are inconvenienced by its potency against Balance/Status-Quo teams.
Shell Smash isn't uncompetitive. People think it's overpowered. That's literally the reason it's getting suspected. I don't know what implication you're trying to make here. Are you suggesting people just build more checks against setup?
Removing Focus Sash from the meta would force Shell Smashers, and offense in general, to play more methodically, and use items that actually synergize with their moveset, rather than indiscriminately splashing the same item on to their teams.
I think banning Focus Sash is a stupid idea, because Focus Sash enables Shell Smash, but otherwise is unused. Sash on Shedinja isn't as good as you think it is. What's the point of Focus Sash on Prankster and Scrappy mons? The former is typically Safety Goggles, Leftovers, or Rocky Helmet, and the latter is always Choice Scarf since Scrappy mons are always Final Gambit users. Focus Sash itself is not banworthy or it would have been brought up prior to or during this suspect test by other members. Also, Red Orb Groudon can't run Focus Sash and it's one of the premier smash sweepers.
Yes, Rocks are a known counterplay for 'Sash teams, however it is largely inexpensive for a player to splash a bulky Bouncer on their team, alongside a spinner/defogger in the event that hazards make it through.
Rocks aren't really a counterplay to smash sweepers, since it only delays the sweeper coming out rather than making them easier to check in general. And anyone who has their wincon be a smash sweeper is going to have multiple hazard removal mons. It's also a thing for teams who rely on Shedinja as well, so this isn't exactly unorthodox. It's also easy to scout with Imposter and doesn't take a high amount of turns to scout multiple mons. Yes, you might lose momentum once or twice bringing in Imposter, but you can safely figure out what you can bring in your Smash mon in on then start gaining massive momentum from there and potentially end up winning the game.

I don't know how much you've read into things, but motherlove brought up a lot of replays with some of them utilizing smash. The pastebin in the OP post links to a replay. I think cityscapes has posted some genuinely good takes in this thread thus far. Even if you bring up some technically correct points like bulky Giratina being able to wall some smash sweepers like Red Orb Groudon, I think the point you're trying to make about Sash is just misled. Focus Sash can help enable Shell Smash sweepers, but isn't the reason it is being suspected.
Voting DNB. I don't see what's so bad about Shell Smash, considering there are a lot of counters for it, including but not limited to:
Most of the stuff you listed loses to common Smash sweepers. Phazing moves are not as common as you think as only really Giratina runs Dragon Tail, and I haven't seen Whirlwind that often at high ladder. I already mentioned Imposter in that spoiler above. A ton of mons will only Smash if they have hazards up or will run Mold Breaker to invalidate Shedinja. Dazzling MMX is a common sight for priority mons that also beats Shedinja with Photon Geyser.

I will be voting to BAN Shell Smash from BH. I've read through all the posts brought here, and I think the most convincing DNB argument was from Sevag. I respectfully disagree with him; I don't think Smash spam is beaten at high ladder as often as he thinks it is. I look forward to seeing other arguments brought forth and may change my vote if I do see other convincing arguments.
 
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I got an unregistered alt to play with, but after getting reqs I realised some absolute goon had played some random games (not BH) on the name and not registered it, I hope that's okay? if not i guess i just wasted half a day cos i didn't think to click the name

Confirmed - :impidimp:
 
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Surprise, i'm not dead! (But I just come back for this suspect...)

I will vote dnb for this suspect.

To be clear, when we talk about Shell Smash, we often talk about Focus Sash Shell Smash. Some Shell Smash user don't use Focus Sash like some NormGengar (for imposter-proofing) or Pdon (Because it must held Red Orb).
For this kind of set, the most used pokemon are MMX / Mgengar /Pdon / MMY but don't forget some pokemon like MDiancie or Regigigas and Yveltal which could use this kind of set. Magic Guard or Dazzling are the favorite abilities for this kind of set but Adapt, Simple or -ate abilities could be also used efficiently.

These sets are Cannon Glass sets with an unique use. They are hard to improof. If it set-up right, It can deal huge damage, often kill one of your mons if you aren't well prepared against that, even sweep your team if you didn't have your check/counter.
But it is weak to commons things like hazards (unless Magic Guard), priority -ate (unless Dazzling), status (like para or the burn), Unaware (Unless Moldy moves), chip damage to the mon before the setup (the sash doesn't protect him anymore), Imposter Scarfed (once you have cheap damaged it) , Spamming Spectral Thief / Haze (to prevent the setup), Prankster Encore/Dbond and some pokemon still checked by their commun check even if they use Shell Smash...

If the opponent team have only one Shell Smasher, you could easly deal with it. The opponent must be carefull when he use it... He need to clean hazards, or deal with priority before use it, and the shell Smasher need to be full life when he set-up. The use of Beak Blast and Scarf Imposter deals with a lot of Shell Smash user.
Personnaly I didn't see a Shell Smash Pdon deals with my Giratina Prankster / FC, even if you play this kind of set to deals with it... You have a lot of MMX counter/check not only Giratina, like MSlowbro, MSableye, Yveltal...


But Shell Smash sets are better where they are played in a Hyper Offense. In BH, HO means "Play 6 set-ups Pokemons and click offensives moves".
The HO motto is often " It works... or not...". This kind of teams frustrate a lot of players because they found that tactic dumb and often unfair.

When I was active in gen7BH, I have build some "standard" HO (not spam MMX) with Shell Smash and it was kinda good, frustrated a lot of people but it was beatable... HO could have a terrible match-up against some teams or some predicts could just ruin your match. I had great victories with these teams but also huge defeats... Shell Smash is a great tool to build this kind of HO and ban this move just will ruin HO in general. I think it is a good thing that all playstyles (HO/Balanced/Stall) are playable in BH. I don't think Shell Smash make "standard" HO (like mine) hard to handle and banworthy.

You could see old (very old sometimes) replays. It just to demonstrate "standard" HO is fair even with Shell Smash.
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7balancedhackmons-953926929

We have also the famous MMX/MGengar Spam... This team is designed to beat to wear your MMX check and destroy your team... And it is kinda hard to handle it if you had the bad match-up... You can beat that but I understand why people don't like this team, and I think it is the main reason behind this suspect and the pro-ban voters. Admittedly these kind of HO use Shell Smash but it also play 4-5 times the same pokemon, to beat to wear your check. Maybe this mecanic is the true abuse. I think if you replace these MMX by differents pokemons, the power of this HO decreased. It is why I think if these HO are unbearable, a Species Clause is better than a Shell Smash ban.

Also if I remember well, the Species Clause had some counterpart like not be able to play MMX and MMY in the same team. but I think it will be a good addition to delete the confusion in the set when yur opponent plays the same pokemons, some abuse like MMX Spam...

I must search some replay, i wil edit when I found them, but I want to validate my suspect first ^^
 
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I will vote ban because Shell Smash will never be a balanced move in every metagames and especially if it's possible to pair it with things like Sash(+MG sometimes), Dazzling/Queenly Majesty, Simple, SLEEP, Mold Breaker, etc.

Prankster is one of the best counterplay to Shell Smash and not only Shell Smash so that's why it's essential (or almost) to bring a Prankster mon on your team. But Prankster is far to be a perfect answer to Shell Smash. In general, the Shell Smasher don't place itself against the Prankster which mean you have to switch into it but, if you did't see the Shell Smash coming (not your fault tbh because sometimes it's really unpredictable and people who say "if you lose to Shell Smash you're just bad haha you have just to play perfectly, it's simple" doesn't seem to see the issue of their own arguments) you basically have to sack a mon to in your Prankster (supposing your Prankster beat the Smasher in 1v1 ofc).

I understand the argument based on "you can spam Spectral Thief and win that way" but that's only right (even though...) against Shell Smash spam where it's generally easy to see it coming (for example the BMOC is practically powerless against Spectral Thief on the paper). But "spam Spectral Thief" to prevents the setup is limited due to the fact it's always dependent on predictions. You can indeed spam Spectral Thief is you assume your oppo will try to Shell Smash but, why if he doesn't do that? He can just click a powerfull STAB (MMX, Gengar-Mega, Pdon, etc) so what's next? Do you continue to spam Spectral Thief? That's a way to prevents setup for sure but the price is your Spectral Thief user. You have to choose between Spectral Thief again or heal yourself at some point. A kind of 50/50 which is not a demonstration of your skill.
Another annoying point in this reasoning is that you're able to know if the oppoment mon has Shell Smash or not. That's easy against a Shell Smash spam but that's definitely not against a balanced team which mean it's really hard to do a preventive Spectral Thief under penalty of being sanctioned after.

One thing that heavily contributes to put me in a favor of a ban is the combination of Shell Smash + Spore/Sleep move. This strat can, with some luck involved in the sleep turns, bypass some classical counterplay to Shell Smash (or setup more generally) like Prankster or Spectral Thief.

Obviously, Prankster and Spectral Thief are not the only to "deal" with Shell Smash. Priority can also works and mon like Diancie-Mega, Rayquaza, Kyurem-B or Yveltal can manage to get a rk. Shell Smash users have nevertheless a way to counter priorities with Dazzling/Queenly Majesty. Another basic thing we essentially see in HO is Focus Sash. Focus Sash is a perfect item on Shell Smash spam HO because it prevents to be rk simply by a priority and always ensures that you will have a try to setup. That's also a way to counter Imposter but we'll go back on this one later. Finally, well, priority isn't sufficient sometimes? Pdon can't easily be revenge-killed by any priority move, Gengar-Mega can't be revenge-killed by Diancie-Mega for example. I will not talk about the "Fakespeed" strat which is effectively a way to deal with Sash because isn't it obvious that this kind of strat is particularly centered on the idea to beat Shell Smash spam? Fake Out is for me an example of a bad move in general but used due to Shell Smash + Focus Sash.

Shedinja isn't a way to deal with Shell Smash spam considering these kind of team are super prep to Shedinja with breaking ability move (Photon Geyser MMX, Moongeist Gengar-Mega, Sunsteel Strike). Also due to the fact you there's no specie clause (another issue but oh well), your Shed is never safe.

Finally, Imposter is the last way to deal properly with Shell Smash without being restricted to it and offering utility in many situations. Imposter restrains itself the use of certain sets and forces specific team structures to deal with his mon but with 250 in HP. If Imposter is one of the best counterplay to Shell Smash, again, it's not a perfect and magic answer. Shell Smasher can be "imposterproof" (which mean they can hit imposter but imposter can't touch them). They can also abuse from Focus Sash especially with ability like Simple to kill Imposter with Def drops.
Solgaleo/Necrozma-Dusk-Mane/Metagross-Mega @ Earth Plate / Spooky
Ability: Simple / Adaptability / Flash Fire /
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Rash Nature
IVs: 0 SpD
- Stored Power / Photon Geyser
- Sunsteel Strike / Photon Geyser
- Judgment
- Shell Smash

Lunala @ Spooky Plate
Ability: Simple / Dazzling /
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 252 SpA / 252 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest / Timid Nature
- Judgment
- Photon Geyser
- Secret Sword / Psystrike / Final Gambit
- Shell Smash

Gengar-Mega @ Spooky Plate
Ability: Normalize
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 252 SpA / 252 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Judgment
- Boomburst / Psystrike
- Entrainment
- Shell Smash

Arceus @ Silk Scarf
Ability: Unaware
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 252 SpA / 252 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Boomburst
- Moongeist Beam
- Shell Smash
- Shore Up

Zekrom @ Dragon Memory
Ability: Teravolt
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 180 Def / 252 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Bolt Strike
- Multi-Attack
- Nuzzle /
- Shell Smash

- Shell Smash
- Substitute

Nuzzle/Spore + Lum Berry works if imposter can't OHKO even at +2 (and -1 Def for you)

Certain sets aren't good but, at full, they can beat Imposter in 1v1.
In HO your best way to face Imposter is too rely on Focus Sash and some trick. Especially with low defenses mon like Deoxys-A where Imposter will not have any bulk.

Unaware is bad because it really lacks of utility in many MU and is beaten by Photon Geyser/Moongeist Beam/Sunsteel Strike.

To summarize my point, yeah, there's some way to deal with Shell Smash but it's impossible to be sure that "your answer" will work against the smasher and if that's not the case, by nature, you will be powerless against Shell Smash strengh. Yeah Shell Smash isn't easy to play and need some precautions so I understand the argument "high risk, high reward" move so balanced. For example Prankster, Spectral Thief and Imposter are generally a good answer against Shell Smash (but note that, as I mentionned before, there's some specific mon that invalidate one or more counterplay, there are the most viable Shell Smash users in fact).
Nevertheless, I find the risk below than the reward here and especially to the BH intrinsically being unpredictable. In the other metagames, Shell Smash users are well identified which mean it's easy to see it coming and take some measures against it in-game (also Shell Smash users aren't generally super strong mon).
It's always possible to deal with a breaker even if we haven't answer against it (or we had it but we lost it) with offensive counterplay or not let it enter the field but against Shell Smash, it's sometimes impossible which mean there's just no way to win considering how strong a mon can be just after one Shell Smash. Shell Smash can propulse every mon as a potential wincon at any time if it find a good opportunity.
Shell Smash forces specific structures on team and heavily restrics the teambuilding process which mean it's not an healthy aspect for the metagame. Ban Shell Smash will never be profitable for stall or fat team because they're the most adapted against this kind of playstyle and without it, we'll be able to play more breakers due to the fact we no longer need to try to deal with Shell Smash.
The possibility to Shell Smash to be paired with Sleep move and abuse from the absence of the species clause are other factors of its unhealthy and broken aspect.
Finally, why Shell Smash is banned in SS? Isn't the arguments valid is SM too even if the metagame is different? Ngl I feel the SS BH meta is much more balanced and pleasant to play at a competitive point of view than the SM BH.

That's why I will vote ban. Ty for reading :)
 
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Unaware is bad and beaten by Photon Geyser/Moongeist/Sunsteel Strike.
Some pokemon could use Unaware efficiently like Yveltal (against NormGar / some Shell Sash user/ Tail Glow User, and could check MMX if you burn it with Beak Blast). But I admit this kind of set are pretty rare.

Finally, why Shell Smash is banned in SS? Isn't the arguments valid is SM too even if the metagame is different? Ngl I feel the SS BH meta is much more balanced and pleasant to play at a competitive point of view than the SM BH.
It looks like the same thing but not. Shell Smash in SS BH was ban before the first DLC (if I remember right) . When the meta doesn't have good special attacker (because they are walled by Ice Scales Dark-typed Pokemon like Umbreon or Incineroar). When the meta doesn't have good mixed wall... In this meta, Shell Smash was simply too hard to handle.It was just impossible to check a Reshiram with his STAB, Close Combat, and Shell Smash. Just for that Shell Smash was unhealthy for the BH meta. On top of that, we have got the classic Spam Shell Smash HO, they are just too strong... In SM BH, we have MMX Spam HO but even if it is strong, you can deal with it sometimes...In SS BH, Shell Smash HO obliterate the meta, Shell Smash obliterate the meta, and it was so unhealthy, I was disgusted with BH at this time.

I don't know if Shell Smash could be unbanned since the meta have changed with the content of DLC (I don't know the actual meta) but the context of the Shell Smash ban in SS is different from this suspect. It like compare Shedinja ban in SS BH (due to Boots, and removal of the Moldy Pursuit mecanic) and the previous Shed suspect in SM BH.
 
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