Implemented SPL Format Discussion

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Vulpix03

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Just wanted to bring up the fact that this upcoming SPL doesn't have a format set in stone yet, and I think we should at least discuss the topic while we have the time.

My main concern is that with 10 slots, you are stuck with only 2 slots of the brand new generation that everyone is hyped for:

SV OU
SV OU
SS OU
SM OU
ORAS OU
BW OU
DPP OU
ADV OU
GSC OU
RBY OU


I believe that at the start of a new gen we should do everything we can to promote hype for it. 2 slots gives you the best quality of games, but I don't think it is farfetched to say that the tour will be able to sustain 3 solid slots per team, since it is a new generation that will garner more interest.

My proposal would be to expand SPL to 12 slots and add 1SV OU + DOU. DOU is, technically, an OU tier and it doesn't break away from the current format of SPL being an OU based tour. It also is a slot that will not take away from the playerbase of other tiers. In the past 4 current gen OU has shown itself to be unsustainable and the quality of games decline, so this is why I think 3 SV is the answer.

SV OU
SV OU
SV OU
DOU
SS OU
SM OU
ORAS OU
BW OU
DPP OU
ADV OU
GSC OU
RBY OU

Also cutting RBY shouldn't ever be on the table. RBY is a good tier and the playerbase is one of the most competitive in the tour. That being said I think expanding to 12 slots is the only real option we have.

This can also be a temporary change. If next year people hate SV OU we can revert back to 10 slots.
 

MANNAT

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+1 to adding one of SV + DOU, SPL is always way more fun with DOU in the tour and it’s the tier that’s most likely to start off well with SV’s initial release as tiers like LC and Ubers may potentially have depth issues with the limited dex. 4 SV OU is fine but pool deflation is somewhat of a legitimate concern. There’s really no reason to dislike doubles as it’s both a great experience from a spectator perspective as well as a uniquely interesting slot for roster construction. Not much else to say, OP provides a succinct solution that satisfies pretty much any reasonable potential concerns.
 
This format seems awesome. I think the approach of being flexible with our format year-to-year as opposed to robotically trying to establish 100% short-term format consistency is preferable for tournament hype and an enriching competitive experience. DOU is one of the most entertaining formats to watch--especially at the beginning of the generation--is technically an OU tier which fits well with SPL, and the playerbase is deep + extremely talented. I also agree that 3 SV is a nice sweet spot: 2 seems like not enough slots and 4 seems like too many.

It's kind of a pain to approach the format flexibly each year but it happens anyway because there are always alternative suggestions and threads like this always crop up. I hope this proposal is strongly considered but I understand if ultimately it ends up being 2 SV 8 Old Gens. Ty for reading
 
2 slots is fine. New gen or not, SPL Level Quality begins to diminish at 3. MAYBE 3 could work (god forbid 4), but it is not worth the price of either 12 slots total or adding an outsider tier like DOU.

I don’t have an issue with doubles in isolation or even in SCL but we’ve seen time and time again in SPL that it’s an outcast tier almost no one that plays oldgens is familiar with and it’ll just be the main person + dedicated bench helper on their own. It is a dynamic we have avoided recently and should continue to do so.

TLDR:
- 3 may, in theory, be ok
- but 12 slots is worse
- adding doubles is worse
- just keep at 2 sv 10 total

It will be enough games, I promise.

EDIT: RBY is ok in isolation but when anyone besides troller, fomg, or bihi plays it - it’s a shitshow. Let us bring hype to the newgen with 3 slots, keep 10 total, and keep doubles out. Sorry RBY but you must be sacrificed for the greater good.
 
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blunder

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Gen 9 is without argument, the biggest thing for competitive pokemon ever. not sure if many of you have kept your eyes open to this but the competitive scene is like 3x as big as it was when gen 8 came out. This is due to a bunch of different youtube personalities that stepped in to prominence like temp6t and wolfeyglicke as well continuing to bring attention to the competitive side of pokemon. People care about gen 9 more than anything right now, this is the most hyped game drop for pokemon ever and it's going to be the most played pokemon game competitively ever and that is a fact. Smogon needs to implement 3 SV OU starting slots in the SPL and there is no room for any other decision.

There is 0 debate that smogon as a whole is on the decline at least in terms of tournaments. Just go look at SCL and see how many views each thread gets and how many replies they get compared to tournaments in the past. I am well aware that SCL is one of the less hype tours on the site, but go look at SPL, stour and more and my point stands. Smogon will continue to go down this narrowminded route of "QUALITY QUALITY QUALITY" and miss the big picture of growth for the site.
 

Star

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Agreed that having 3 SV is optimal, especially when the new gen is just coming out and has the most interest. That basically leads to the question of how to make the slots work, because 11 is not viable for obvious reasons.

The two options are basically add DOU for 12 slots or remove RBY to keep 10. Personally, I don't have a strong lean towards either choice but I will say that changing the format by adding new tiers (DOU) rather than removing one can be problematic from a retain perspective because there can be some ridiculous ones that obviously weren't "meant to happen" (i.e. 10k Z Strats incoming for the Wolfpack). I think if a tier is added (now or in the future), retains should be excluded from playing it for the regular season at least to minimize the impact.
 

Aurella

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If we end up dedicated towards a 3 SV OU format we should definitely consider Ubers as an option over Doubles. The DOU slot always requires significantly more dedicated and prepared team tour support over any other slot on the team and it for sure won't be any easier in a gen debut.

Adding to this, it's much easier for singles playing teammates to help out with or even sub in for Ubers over DOU, and this is probably also reflected in the better overlap between singles ou/ubers playerbases than OU/DOU despite sharing a sister tier name.
 
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Stone Cold

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12 slots.

SV
SV
SS
SM
ORAS
BW
DPP
ADV
GSC
RBY
BO3 Current - SM, SS, SV
BO3 Classic - ORAS, BW, DPP

It's the quality whores wet dream.
(Bo3 formats are quite regular in traditional PLs so no fatigue argument plz)
 
12 slots.

SV
SV
SS
SM
ORAS
BW
DPP
ADV
GSC
RBY
BO3 Current - SM, SS, SV
BO3 Classic - ORAS, BW, DPP

It's the quality whores wet dream.
(Bo3 formats are quite regular in traditional PLs so no fatigue argument plz)
I agree with the premise of Best Of formats being perfectly fine for PL type tournaments. They are beloved in other tournaments with even smaller and less diehard fans. 12 slots also falls in line with blunder's argument about facilitating growth being the most important thing to cultivate with tournaments like SPL. I would only change Dave's proposal to:
SV
SV
SV (3 total)
SS
SM
ORAS
BW
DPP
ADV
GSC
RBY
BO3 Classic Tour (or some other witty name for SS/SM/XY)
 
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HANTSUKI

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Just make it 12 slots with SV OU + Doubles and don't let retain players play "tiers that were not in the tournament before". Current gen OU was in the tournament so no problem for SV OU, but Doubles wasn't. Problem solved.

Bo3/Bo5 stuff work better in unofficials because people don't care about them as much and just recycle teams/use teams everyone knows. If we started discussing them we'll have to read all the "omg I can't build too many teams my holy prep" stuff, so just go with the other solution who is way more simple.
 

Arcticblast

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love the DOU suggestion so that's my position, teamtours are the best way to cross-pollinate between singles and doubles communities and putting DOU in SPL can only benefit both
If we end up dedicated towards a 3 SV OU format we should definitely consider Ubers as an option over Doubles. The DOU slot always requires significantly more dedicated and prepared team tour support over any other slot on the team and it for sure won't be any easier in a gen debut.

Adding to this, it's much easier for singles playing teammates to help out with or even sub in for Ubers over DOU, and this is probably also reflected in the better overlap between singles ou/ubers playerbases than OU/DOU despite sharing a sister tier name.
I haven't looked at the leaked Pokedex so idk what's in it, but if Ubers is anything like pre-DLC SS, it's just going to be like cover legends plus one and then whatever ends up getting banned from OU like Dracovish or whatever. Unless Koraidon and Miraidon are incredibly exciting, I don't think that makes for a significantly different enough meta to justify its inclusion. The next singles format on the priority list would be Little Cup, but I know some people have very harsh opinions on Little Cup :tymp:

I am a big fan of Mienfoo on the big screen

BO3 Current - SM, SS, SV
BO3 Classic - ORAS, BW, DPP
Bo3 slots are exhausting for the players for dubious payoff in my opinion; the quality of games goes down when you have to build three different teams for three different formats every week. I really do not like the idea of including a bo3 slot

only after writing this post did I realize other people said just about everything already, so consider this a support post
 

Lalaya

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With the amount of pull SPL always had, and that will definitely have next season there's no doubt in my mind that 3 SV should be the first considered option; that being said, people that actually play this tournament have already spoken and I support most of the ideas written above (as for which of DOU or a BO3 as the 12th, I'd lean towards DOU to bridge the gap that a lot of people feel about singles/doubles and the taboo that is "bringing them together", but for an exact preference you should ask the actual players)
I have no doubt that the hosts will fix the issue that are possible retains with new tiers, anyway, so I feel pretty confident in opening up to a 12-tier format and trying to capitalize on the hype that Gen9 has on its shoulders. The amount of work put by the community, especially some youtubers as of late is *astonishing*, seeing how this year we got some of the craziest tournaments ever made (breadwinners, lc open to name two) on this website thanks to them, so it should definitely be accounted for.
 

Finchinator

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I personally believe 3 SV OU is a great idea. 4 has been proven to be a bit much from prior editions of SSD, but 3 has been a big success in SCL and the extra hype for the new generation means that adding a slot to SPL for "new generation years" (at least this time around) could be the best idea for our community.

I believe having 11 slots would be a mess without ties though, so we would need to either drop back down to 10 or add another to 12. Removing a slot like RBY would be unfair for a couple of reasons. For starters, it is RBY's only team tournament representation when there is ample interest currently and tradition historically, but also it would mess with managers/teams who made good investments on RBY who are considering retains. It would also be wildly inconsistent with messaging that has been used to justify recent SPL formats, which would make a sudden departure hard to justify.

In my opinion, bumping up to 12 slots (for now and considering it for future "new generation years") would be the better idea if we do deviate from the status quo (which rn defaults to 2 SV + 8 old generations -- which I am fine with if we must remain at 10 slots). There are some ideas floated for slot #12: Bo3/Bo5 slots, DOU, & Ubers in particular.

Personally I view Bo3/Bo5 slots as not the best idea due to the consistency clash, preparation fatigue (yes, I went there Stone), and the general opposition to them we have seen over the years. It would make little sense to add them just for the sake of filler now when we have been down this alley and received opposition each time prior.

Between DOU and Ubers (I guess you can group in LC, too, as it will be a playable SV metagame), I do not have a strong preference. I think DOU has a robust playerbase with a lot of awesome strategies and makes for a unique experience every single time it is included in the tournament. I also feel some sympathy for the playerbase as it was a casualty of downsizing SPL pretty recently as well, but this is not necessarily a very good reason standalone. My personal preference lies with it and keeping our ties strong with DOU, but I understand the downsize of it oftentimes requiring 2 team slots and a clash with the singles formats we see everywhere else. Ubers would be slightly less of a clash as it is at least singles, but the playerbases still do not perfectly align. I view Ubers as a fish out of water conceptually, but it would be a playable CG tier that others have spoken highly of and it would be a fine filler spot.

tl;dr = RBY, GSC, ADV, DPP, BW, ORAS, SM, SS, SV1, & SV2 should be locked. We can do 2 more with SV3 + DOU/Ubers if there's support. I support personally. If not, we can keep it at those 10.
 
12 slots sucks because there aren't 120 good players on this site. Let's just take RBY out to a farm in the countryside where it can roam around the pastures freely. 3 SV and gens 2-8.
Bro, your logic has a big flaw. Let's suppose you are right:
-What you are saying is that there are no 30 good Current Gen (SV) players + 10 good SS players + 10 good SM players + 10 good ORAS players + 10 good BW players + 10 good DPP players + 10 good ADV players + 10 good GSC players + 10 good RBY players + 10 good DOU players.

-What you are proposing is 30 SV players, 10 SS players, 10 SM players, 10 ORAS players, 10 BW players, 10 DPP players, 10 Adv players and 10 GSC players. All of them are supposedly good (cause otherwise according to your logic even 10 slots would be too many).

There is a common denominator there of 100 players, all except RBY and DOU ones.

So, in order to meet the requirements you want (120 good players), there just have to be somewhere 10 good RBY players and 10 good DOU players. Personally, I don't think they will be hard to find, most RBY players especialize in RBY, but even if some don't sign-ups, there are enough good players from other Gens that can competently play RBY. Same goes for DOU compared to current Gen OU.
 

MANNAT

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12 slots sucks because there aren't 120 good players on this site. Let's just take RBY out to a farm in the countryside where it can roam around the pastures freely. 3 SV and gens 2-8.
RBY has one of the best player pools in all of SPL lol, also this is an extremely elitist take for no reason. Blunder’s post encapsulates exactly why having 12 slots is pivotal for smogon to kick off the generation. I would even argue for 4 SV slots if it weren’t for the quality addicts, this way of thinking is both shortsighted and exclusionary to a damaging extent.

Unrelated but having an Ubers tier that basically only realistically consists of the cover legends would be a mistake. One big selling point to doubles that I didn’t mention in my previous post is that with smogon’s official format being a double battle format (is vgc on the table for spl?), DOU would draw a lot of interest from both a spectator and player perspective. Keeping 10 slots just because we emphasize quality so much would be an unmitigated disaster. SPL regularly has terrible games and players with bad seasons regardless of how many slots it has, but with the diverse array of tiers in the tournament, the overlap between player pools is frankly overstated. DOU for example, has a very different player pool from pretty much everything else barring some fringe examples like Nails in RBY (which is one of the deepest player pools there is anyways). Sacrificing some small amount of player quality in the short term in exchange for expansion is a decision that will be worth it time and time again as long as it is feasible. The timing of SPL is absolutely perfect and we should absolutely use it as an opportunity to grow the site. Regardless of whichever 12 slot format we decide to go with, the final non SV OU tier should include a current gen tier of some sort whether it’s bo3, DOU, Ubers, or whatever we end up agreeing on. Let’s do this right and take the opportunity to launch the gen the right way.
 

TDK

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i'm a big fan of doubles, but this is a really random push. doubles was already removed from spl because it was completely isolated from the rest of the tiers and no one knew anything about it. that isn't going to change just because one or two doubles players also play rby; the majority of teams will have a slot that no one can really support other than a dedicated doubles substitute. not to mention, this tournament was changed to pretty much be ou only and scl was to have a variety of tiers; just because doubles has "ou" in the name doesn't make it the same thing.

on top of how random it is, is anyone proposing it genuinely interested in keeping it upon the release of gen 10? it is clearly going to get axed for another ou slot down the line because we're going to get another thread like this to remove it and we'll just be giving doubles players a tease just to remove it again. while they may still want to have the one gen to play in spl again, i think this is a lot of hassle over something very weird to begin with.

i 100% agree that we need at least 3 sv ou slots. against the other options proposed in this thread, i'd take 4 sv ou before 2 sv ou or 3 sv with rby axed. i don't really see the harm in 4 sv ou given how big the tier (probably) will be, and i don't think the downgrade from ou 3 to ou 4 is that big; if you've watched tournaments this year, you'd know that there have been plenty of bad performances from ou 1s and 2s, so i don't really think it's fair to say ou 4 is going to make the quality of games terrible.

i'm not married to having 4 ou slots but it makes things the easiest and fit the most thematically. if we want to change how the landscape of tournaments looks again and adjust spl + scl then i mean go for it, but as things are now, it really makes no sense to add a new tier to the tournament.

@ bo3 slot, i absolutely love playing bo3 in side tours, but in something like spl i think it'd be incredibly draining for players. i would honestly be down with having a bo3 tour slot if people wanted it, because i think it would be incredibly fun to watch, albeit way more tedious for people prepping and playing.
 

Vulpix03

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Just to clarify the point of this thread was never to add dou, it was to expand SV from two slots to three, or potentially four, because I think 99% of people agree two is not enough.

The reason I proposed adding doubles is because its addition wouldn't dilute other tiers player pools (bar nails) and it's the only tier you can add that makes a semblance of sense. Doubles players shouldn't feel that they are entitled to have dou in spl and they shouldn't expect it to be a consistent addition year in and year out, as next year we could very well go back to 10 slots if SV hype is dead.

I think most people believe 4 SV is too many, but 3 is the sweet spot. I personally agree, as 4 could also take away from pools such as ss and sm.

Ultimately the only way to make it 3sv is to expand to 12 slots. I think discussing the removal of rby is pointless considering the player pool will be one of the strongest in the tour, and especially when some of the TDs are rby mains. Abr mentioned ubers however Ubers is typically messy at the start of a new gen and the limited dex will make it less Ubers and more ou + cover legendaries. A bo3 slot could work but like multiple people above stated it can be taxing on those who are playing it.

All that being said 4 SV or dou are the only options imo. Dou will keep the quality of the tour at a high level since you will just be inserting a new playerbase, but 4sv will keep the tour more coherent.

As a final note I think the "doubles players are isolated" thing is a bit overblown. Doubles players integrate just fine into scl teams and in the one spl I played with doubles in it our doubles players were some of our best chat presences.
 

Iguana

formerly mc56556
I'd like to voice support for 3 SV slots + DOU. As others have mentioned in this thread and on Discord already, this is the sweet spot for the number of CG OU slots this upcoming year. 4 is too many, particularly with the Gen *just* starting, and 2 is too few. The nice part about this solution is it, in my opinion, avoids the issue of watered-down quality of SPL by increasing the number of slots. By virtue of a new Gen starting, lots of players will be interested in trying out SV, and slotting 3 players into SV OU and 1 into SV DOU is much more manageable and will result in greater variety than trying to slot 4 players into just CG OU.

Although there's always an argument regarding DOU being separated from competitive singles formats, I give less gravity to it now considering we've had plenty of examples of doubles players integrating effectively into predominantly singles-tier tournaments––whether SPL or SCL. Also, this may seem oversimplified, but I think there's a nice thematic thread with DOU in SPL given that it's the doubles equivalent of OU (and SPL is of course an all-OU tournament now).

Regarding the Bo3 slot idea, I personally have long been in favor of it, though I know many have (reasonably) pointed out the significant amount of prep that this would take. And particularly when we hear from the players who would likely be in that slot that they are opposed to it, we should heed their points. If this broader opinion has changed/shifted, excellent, and I think we should entertain the idea again! It would certainly be an exciting, audience-attracting slot to have, which is important for the Smogtours community.

Here's to another awesome SPL right around the corner!
 

Gilbert arenas

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Alright
1 bo5 classic gens
1 sv ubers
4 sv ou
1 oras
1 sm
1 ss
1 vgc/dubs
This is the optimal format to engage the most people. There are literally 2 viable and interested gsc players 3 dpp and 5 bw. All the above meta games will attract the best players and be the least intimidating to new players watching the format.
the problem with old gens is that there is such a disparity across player bases. Adv and rby are two of the most populous communities on this site (altho rby is plagued by Mainer syndrome) and it’s hard to expect tiers like gsc and bw to produce 10 good players. Consolidate or die.
Also for consistencies sake can we make everything bo1 or everything bo3.
 
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kaori

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on top of how random it is, is anyone proposing it genuinely interested in keeping it upon the release of gen 10? it is clearly going to get axed for another ou slot down the line because we're going to get another thread like this to remove it and we'll just be giving doubles players a tease just to remove it again. while they may still want to have the one gen to play in spl again, i think this is a lot of hassle over something very weird to begin with.
Speaking entirely for myself and not DOU as a whole, I think it's perfectly reasonable for doubles players to expect that it could be gone at any time. Trying to future proof tournaments will literally never work, as evidenced by this thread and about 4 others popping up every single year. I don't think discussing Gen 10 is worthwhile to be perfectly honest. Being in one SPL doesn't entitle you to future ones and DOU is painfully aware of this. If you aren't CG OU, there are no guarantees, plain and simple. Being in even just one SPL is a really cool thing for a community and I don't expect doubles people would complain about it.

On isolation, I played in a lot of largely singles team tours with one doubles slot and I never had issues feeling too isolated or feeling left out of the team. Kinda just depends on the player you draft. An RBY main, for instance, is just as likely to be quiet and not contribute greatly elsewhere. Some people specialize and some people play everything, and that applies to both singles and doubles.

+1 to more SV slots, I'm not gonna be upset if DOU isn't included but I just wanted to provide some inputs on some discussion points I've seen.
 

CrashinBoomBang

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After meditating about this topic for a while, I've arrived at what seems like the best conclusion to me. The 12 slot variants all feel suboptimal to me. Obviously, this is as subjective as it'll ever get, but it really feels like a 12th slot shoehorned in one way or another - either with 4 SV slots which, to me, is too much, or with another tier just to reach an even number of slots. I also think 2 SV slots is too little - I think everyone is super hyped for Generation 9 right now, so I think 3 is where the sweet spot lies. As I am not satisfied with any of those solutions, here's my own:

SV OU
SV OU
SV OU
SM OU
ORAS OU
BW OU
DPP OU
ADV OU
GSC OU
RBY OU

Yes, cutting back on SS OU. This may feel like an odd choice, but hear me out. SS, in the past year, has been overrepresented in tours, and deservedly so - CG OU should get far more representation than other tiers for obvious reasons. That said, I think that a lot of players that currently main SS (like every gen) will definitely migrate to SV OU for the time being. You have to remember that SS OU got a ton of play and representation because it was the current Generation, and whether you view the metagame as good or not, I'm sure most SS players would agree that they'd much rather play SV OU in the upcoming SPL. I've heard that people are very burnt out on SS OU as well, which makes sense. This tier has been played to death, and even got its own WCOP. I think giving the tier a break would benefit us the most in the end.

These are the positives to me:
- Player enjoyment. I think that, if I was a SS player currently, I'd much rather be playing SV OU in SPL than SS because someone has to. You can apply this to all tiers, of course, but I also think that this applies to SS more so than anything, with the points laid out above. For example, I definitely want to play SV more than I want to play ORAS, but if I have to play Gen 6 in the end so be it. I think being forced to play Gen 8 this SPL because, well, someone has to is a bad thing for most players when a lot of them are definitely CG mains more so than SS mains. I don't say this as someone who isn't particularly fond of SS, but as someone who knows what Pokemon burnout feels like and how much playing a new tier kicks ass. People can feel free to correct me on this, of course, I heavily believe in the people playing deciding what gets played.
- Quality of SV games goes up. If we assume that people won't be tossing random 3ks into SM OU, then SV player quality will improve with the inherent overlap between the two playerbases. I think we should strive to make the CG games as competitive as they can be.
- Tying in with the point about competitiveness, I think 3 SV is the perfect sweet spot for availability vs competitivity. Of course, very subjective point, but I am a huge supporter of 10 slots for this year at least. As with the above point, happy with a lot of stuff if that's what the players want.

Keep in mind that this would be a temporary solution - Next year, with the SV hype not at its peak anymore, we could go back to 8 + 2, expand to 12 regardless if there's interest, and so on. But that's next year, and I think we should focus on this year for the time being. With SS gaining so much playtime over the past months, it seems fair to let it rest for one tour when it's no longer the current generation and instead incorporating our other old gens while keeping 10 slots.

EDIT: Alternatively, can we finally get a Blitz slot? 3x SV 1x SV Blitz literally solves every issue and gives us 12 slots. I also think Blitz in general is a very different format with a very different skillset required. Please? It's not an arbitrary pick like the other tiers suggested because it's not in any other tour, there's plenty of people who like the idea so it should at least be up for discussion, and the fact that we don't reward the quick thinking you have to do in Blitz games is kind of a shame.
 
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