Metagame SS OU Metagame Discussion Thread v7 (Usage Stats in post #2312)

I've played a lot of OU lately, and something felt off. It felt like I couldn't punish anything. And slowly, over about ten hours of OU playtime, I realized what's wrong. And I think most everyone has felt that feeling, at least from what I can tell from reading through this thread. There's a lot of debate about what's broken, what should be suspected next, because this doesn't really feel like a balanced meta, but we can't agree on anything, because there's nothing we can point to as the definitive problem, something that would fix the meta. The three main troublemakers are Spectrier, Cinderace, and Magearna.

Spectrier is a unique case, as I think it's probably broken enough to get banned. But I don't think banning it would make the meta much better, because the reasons it's broken are different then the reason Ace and Mag are broken.

Cinderace is the one I hate the most, but I feel there's something missing that's crucial for a broken pokemon. I can't really explain it other then by saying that I just don't think it's highs are high enough. But don't you worry, I'll talk about Ace plenty in this post.

Mag, although really versatile, is weak to common typings on already good mons that can threaten big damage, and doesn't have reliable recovery. Every set has different answers, which is a problem, but the answers are already good mons that would be good regardless of Mag. I mean, life orb Chomp beats every set that doesn't increase their speed, and the calm mind shift gear set can't have nearly as much coverage as it wants, and will always lose to something no matter what.

What I find ironic is that although it's probably the least broken of the mons, Cinderace is the most troubling for me, as it restricts team building in an awful way. Thanks to Heavy duty Boots and Libero u-turn, Ace can just pivot around and rack up cheap damage and always be in a good position. It's very rare that Cinderace doesn't just click u-turn, as it always gets momentum, as long as it goes first, which it usually does. It's the ultimate offensive pivot, and forces every physical wall to run rocky helmet. The fact that it's free momentum every time it switches in is just ridiculous.

In every other gen, this wouldn't be a problem. You could say the same for something like Band Scizor in gen 4. There's a price for switching in, in the form of hazards. But heavy duty boots negates that. And that completely breaks switch moves. As a concept, I really like heavy duty Boots. It's a great idea. But the combination of switch moves and heavy duty boots is just stupid, and this single change completely warped the meta. Look at the viability rankings, and count how many pokemon commonly used a switch moves or counter switch moves. Out of the first 3 tiers, I counted 5 out of 17 that don't either abuse switch moves or counter them. And Spectrier abuses the free switches that it gets from those moves. Only Heatran, Melmetal, Tapu Fini, and Excadrill are mostly divorced from switch moves. Doesn't that say something, when a mechanic is so omnipresent that more then 3/4s of the top tiers are directly linked to it?

Do you know how many ranked pokemon resist both u turn and volt switch and have reliable recovery? None. Hippowdon is the closest as it's immune to v switch and has great bulk to tank a u turn and packs slack off, but that's about it. If grassy terrain counts then Tapu Bulu (waifu) also counts in that list as it's only neutral to u turn. Not even going to account for flip turn, as that list boils down to just Tapu Bulu who only has grassy terrain (and leech seed I guess). In fact, the only pokemon ever to resist both and have reliable recovery is Gliscor, who isn't even legal any more.

Again, this would normally not be a problem, as stealth rock and the other hazards would wear them down. But heavy duty boots negates that. And that changes the meta so much for such a small change. And not for the positive, in my opinion. Thanks to how many good pivots there are, the game stalls out to switching to pivots and walls to deal with other pivots and walls. It feels nigh impossible to make legitimate progress in games without putting yourself at a disadvantage. A game between two primarily offensive teams shouldn't take 30 turns every game. It makes the game a slog. And I don't think there's any way to change that without banning Heavy Duty Boots in some way.

I don't want to be one of those people who hates every new meta addition and wants to ban anything that I don't like, so I'm going to explain why I think this pivot based, switch heavy meta is bad. The number one reason that I think that it's toxic is that it takes control away from the players. HDB VoltTurn is the ultimate option select. It covers basically every single possible option at very little to no cost. The only cost would be if you took rocky helmet damage, which 1. takes away an item slot from the pokemon in question, which will hamper it in other ways. 2. The pokemon still takes damage from the attack and 3. You only take 1/6 hp and still get to switch out. Thanks to it's extremely limited counterplay, it leads to dead turns, turns in which nothing meaningful can happen. Even if you predict correctly, you still come out on bottom. There's nothing you can do to stop it, no extremely aggressive and risky plays you can make to get an edge, just safe, boring interactions. It leads to games that are unwinnable 10 turns in. Not because you're getting swept, or that you lost your checks to a dangerous pokemon, but because you made one bad prediction or your opponent made a good one and a key piece dies, and you lose because they can just force constant momentum and always have you on the backfoot. I know it sounds really hyperbolic, but it has happened to me multiple times. I have had games where I have had to switch out like 5 times in a row because they keep switch attacking and switching in an answer for free. I've also had games where I play 20x better then my opponent, reading him like a book, and still lose, because they did one unexpected move early on and got a key kill. You could feasibly have a game in which both players know what the other one is going to do every turn and yet do the predicted action anyways because it's the only answer. And that's just not a fun way to play Pokemon.
(And I can definitively say that it's not my team, because I switch it around a lot, using many different team types and makeups.)

Up to now, I don't think I've said anything too controversial. I think most people can agree that HDB is a problem, and that specifically it's how it interacts with switch moves that's the problem. However, this is where I think I'm gonna catch some flack. I don't think that full on banning HDB is the right move. I really like what it can do. It helps so many pokemon in some really good ways, and lessens the omnipresence of Stealth rocks in pokemon's viability, which is a really good thing. So what I say that we do is ban the use of Heavy Duty Boots on a pokemon that also has a switch move.

Complex bans are a very interesting situation, and the rules around them are very vague and undefined. From what I can tell, the main drawback for complex bans is how confusing they are to uninformed players. OU is the flagship tier of Smogon, where, like it or not, the majority of the casual players reside. The players who use their playthrough teams just for fun. So any theoretical complex ban also has to take into account how easy to understand it would be to an uninitiated player. However, I don't think this is a problem, as the complex ban that I'm advocating for is specific enough so that a casual player who doesn't read the rules would never even realize it was a restriction until they either started to get genuinely good at team building and/or find out where they could get viable sets, and therefore also find out that this is a rule. This complex ban would be extremely unintrusive for the average player compared to most bans, probably less intrusive then most normal bans. I've been told that Complex bans are allowed but heavily discouraged, saved only for extreme situations. But in my opinion, not only is this an issue important enough to warrant one, it's also the right move. Complex bans, by nature, are arbitrary, But not using Complex bans because they're arbitrary is, ironically enough, also arbitrary. If it's the best option and does the least amount of collateral damage, then why not use it? Because of rules that we came up with? Rules have to adapt to the right thing to do, not the other way around. If the rules are obstructing the proper course of action, we should change them. (I want to clarify, I'm not saying that my proposal is the universal best option, nor am I saying that anyone else agrees with me. All I'm saying is that if a solution is agreed to be the best course of action, the label of complex ban shouldn't at all affect whether we do it or not.)

Like I said earlier, in my opinion just banning HDB is the wrong move. HDB has the potential to help otherwise great pokemon that were ruined by Stealth Rocks, like Moltres, Volcarona, and even Zapdos to a degree, become genuinely good pokemon, and helps expand the depth of viable pokemon. It gives much more depth to item choice, as item choice has pretty much always been very static between sets. The item defines the set more then the moves do. Sweepers and cleaners run life orb. Wallbreakers run a choice item that boosts power and very rarely life orb. Revenge killers run scarf, or occasionally the other choice items if they're fast enough. defensive pokemon run Leftovers, or occasionally rocky helmet in very specific circumstances. I could go on and on. But HDB, divorced from switch moves, helps that. All types of pokemon using many different sets and archetypes have the capability of running it, and it's balanced because 1. You lose the item slot 2. It only works in specific circumstances, and 3. It helps provide useful role compression and negates the requirement of hazard removal for some pokemon, no longer forcing you build around one mon. (Try running sweeper Volc in gen 5-7 without hazard removal. Have fun.) All of these are good in their own right, and add depth to the meta as a whole. However...

HDB is incompatible with switch moves as a whole. But this isn't really HDB's fault. Switching is a core part of Pokemon gameplay, without it the game wouldn't even be close to the same. You can escape bad situations but lose the turn and your opponent can do whatever they want in that turn. Switching moves change that, and in a big way. You attack and switch at the same time, and can even switch after the opponent attacks. But, stealth rocks, the single most impactful move in pokemon history, was added at the same time, and helped temper those moves. It also helped that they were pretty rare, only given to mainly bug and electric types, one type was shut down by ground, and the other is bug. But as the gens went on, Gamefreak was a lot more free with switching moves, and now basically every good offensive pokemon has them. But switching out wore down your team, so it was more or less balanced.

I've always hated Stealth Rock, and how stupidly vital it is to viability, not just of pokemon, but of whole types. But now, I realize what a necessary evil it is. HDB was the straw that broke the camels back in terms of switch moves. From the days of Band Scizor and Rotom to now, switch moves have been getting better and better, and now HDB finally broke them

To conclude, I think that HDB VoltTurn is fundamentally broken, and needs to be contained in some sort of way to have a properly balanced metagame. In my opinion, a ban of holding HDB as an item while knowing the moves U-Turn, Volt Switch, or Flip Turn would be most appropriate, as it would most effectively limit the strategy while keeping as much meta depth as possible. (Teleport is not on the list because it doesn't attack and will always go last, really only being useful on stalwart walls that can tank sustained hits. It allows you to keep momentum but you give up damage instead, which makes it much more balanced) I think that banning HDB altogether is a secondary option that we should consider as well, but it would have more collateral damage for the same desired effect.

I think, finally, I'm done. It only took over 2000 words, but I think I said everything I need to. I doubt anyone will actually take this seriously as a suggestion, because lets be real, to get something like this to be seriously considered I would need a hell of a lot more influence then I possess. But I'm glad I got it off my chest. And if you read this far, then thanks for indulging me and my long winded rants.

Tapu Bulu best girl
The problem with your idea is that we are now going to ban item combinations with moves, which can lead down a slippery slope. What’s next, we ban recovery moves with regenerator mons? Or better yet let’s just ban a boosting item on any physical attacker that is a problem. You see where I’m going? One complex ban leads to a completely new one, and at that point we fail to tier Pokémon and instead combinations. I understand your frustration with HDB pivoting but banning this combo will just open up a can of problematic worms that won’t be good in the long run.
 
The problem with your idea is that we are now going to ban item combinations with moves, which can lead down a slippery slope. What’s next, we ban recovery moves with regenerator mons? Or better yet let’s just ban a boosting item on any physical attacker that is a problem. You see where I’m going? One complex ban leads to a completely new one, and at that point we fail to tier Pokémon and instead combinations. I understand your frustration with HDB pivoting but banning this combo will just open up a can of problematic worms that won’t be good in the long run.
So basically you have to establish that Boots+Pivot Move is unique and problematic enough to warrant action. I don't know how firm the stance against complex bans is, but the slippery slope thing can be applied sort of in bad faith ("You banned Zacian-C from Ubers? What's next, Emolga?"). I think we need to have enough faith in the tiering council that they won't go on a complex ban spree that ends in allowing only STAB-less Black Sludge Kyogre nicknamed "Dogshit" in OU.
 
So basically you have to establish that Boots+Pivot Move is unique and problematic enough to warrant action. I don't know how firm the stance against complex bans is, but the slippery slope thing can be applied sort of in bad faith ("You banned Zacian-C from Ubers? What's next, Emolga?"). I think we need to have enough faith in the tiering council that they won't go on a complex ban spree that ends in allowing only STAB-less Black Sludge Kyogre nicknamed "Dogshit" in OU.
Yeah, I really dislike people bringing up the slippery slope. It doesn't add anything to the discussion because it's all theoretical, and is usually the same argument. HDB VoltTurn has always rubbed me the wrong way since the beginning of the generation, because it's risk reward ratio is completely out of wack. Something there is broken, and it's hard to say if it's boots fault or if it's the moves themselves. They're cleary fine by themselves, but the combination is just too strong imo.
 
I've played a lot of OU lately, and something felt off. It felt like I couldn't punish anything. And slowly, over about ten hours of OU playtime, I realized what's wrong. And I think most everyone has felt that feeling, at least from what I can tell from reading through this thread. There's a lot of debate about what's broken, what should be suspected next, because this doesn't really feel like a balanced meta, but we can't agree on anything, because there's nothing we can point to as the definitive problem, something that would fix the meta. The three main troublemakers are Spectrier, Cinderace, and Magearna.

Spectrier is a unique case, as I think it's probably broken enough to get banned. But I don't think banning it would make the meta much better, because the reasons it's broken are different then the reason Ace and Mag are broken.

Cinderace is the one I hate the most, but I feel there's something missing that's crucial for a broken pokemon. I can't really explain it other then by saying that I just don't think it's highs are high enough. But don't you worry, I'll talk about Ace plenty in this post.

Mag, although really versatile, is weak to common typings on already good mons that can threaten big damage, and doesn't have reliable recovery. Every set has different answers, which is a problem, but the answers are already good mons that would be good regardless of Mag. I mean, life orb Chomp beats every set that doesn't increase their speed, and the calm mind shift gear set can't have nearly as much coverage as it wants, and will always lose to something no matter what.

What I find ironic is that although it's probably the least broken of the mons, Cinderace is the most troubling for me, as it restricts team building in an awful way. Thanks to Heavy duty Boots and Libero u-turn, Ace can just pivot around and rack up cheap damage and always be in a good position. It's very rare that Cinderace doesn't just click u-turn, as it always gets momentum, as long as it goes first, which it usually does. It's the ultimate offensive pivot, and forces every physical wall to run rocky helmet. The fact that it's free momentum every time it switches in is just ridiculous.

In every other gen, this wouldn't be a problem. You could say the same for something like Band Scizor in gen 4. There's a price for switching in, in the form of hazards. But heavy duty boots negates that. And that completely breaks switch moves. As a concept, I really like heavy duty Boots. It's a great idea. But the combination of switch moves and heavy duty boots is just stupid, and this single change completely warped the meta. Look at the viability rankings, and count how many pokemon commonly used a switch moves or counter switch moves. Out of the first 3 tiers, I counted 5 out of 17 that don't either abuse switch moves or counter them. And Spectrier abuses the free switches that it gets from those moves. Only Heatran, Melmetal, Tapu Fini, and Excadrill are mostly divorced from switch moves. Doesn't that say something, when a mechanic is so omnipresent that more then 3/4s of the top tiers are directly linked to it?

Do you know how many ranked pokemon resist both u turn and volt switch and have reliable recovery? None. Hippowdon is the closest as it's immune to v switch and has great bulk to tank a u turn and packs slack off, but that's about it. If grassy terrain counts then Tapu Bulu (waifu) also counts in that list as it's only neutral to u turn. Not even going to account for flip turn, as that list boils down to just Tapu Bulu who only has grassy terrain (and leech seed I guess). In fact, the only pokemon ever to resist both and have reliable recovery is Gliscor, who isn't even legal any more.

Again, this would normally not be a problem, as stealth rock and the other hazards would wear them down. But heavy duty boots negates that. And that changes the meta so much for such a small change. And not for the positive, in my opinion. Thanks to how many good pivots there are, the game stalls out to switching to pivots and walls to deal with other pivots and walls. It feels nigh impossible to make legitimate progress in games without putting yourself at a disadvantage. A game between two primarily offensive teams shouldn't take 30 turns every game. It makes the game a slog. And I don't think there's any way to change that without banning Heavy Duty Boots in some way.

I don't want to be one of those people who hates every new meta addition and wants to ban anything that I don't like, so I'm going to explain why I think this pivot based, switch heavy meta is bad. The number one reason that I think that it's toxic is that it takes control away from the players. HDB VoltTurn is the ultimate option select. It covers basically every single possible option at very little to no cost. The only cost would be if you took rocky helmet damage, which 1. takes away an item slot from the pokemon in question, which will hamper it in other ways. 2. The pokemon still takes damage from the attack and 3. You only take 1/6 hp and still get to switch out. Thanks to it's extremely limited counterplay, it leads to dead turns, turns in which nothing meaningful can happen. Even if you predict correctly, you still come out on bottom. There's nothing you can do to stop it, no extremely aggressive and risky plays you can make to get an edge, just safe, boring interactions. It leads to games that are unwinnable 10 turns in. Not because you're getting swept, or that you lost your checks to a dangerous pokemon, but because you made one bad prediction or your opponent made a good one and a key piece dies, and you lose because they can just force constant momentum and always have you on the backfoot. I know it sounds really hyperbolic, but it has happened to me multiple times. I have had games where I have had to switch out like 5 times in a row because they keep switch attacking and switching in an answer for free. I've also had games where I play 20x better then my opponent, reading him like a book, and still lose, because they did one unexpected move early on and got a key kill. You could feasibly have a game in which both players know what the other one is going to do every turn and yet do the predicted action anyways because it's the only answer. And that's just not a fun way to play Pokemon.
(And I can definitively say that it's not my team, because I switch it around a lot, using many different team types and makeups.)

Up to now, I don't think I've said anything too controversial. I think most people can agree that HDB is a problem, and that specifically it's how it interacts with switch moves that's the problem. However, this is where I think I'm gonna catch some flack. I don't think that full on banning HDB is the right move. I really like what it can do. It helps so many pokemon in some really good ways, and lessens the omnipresence of Stealth rocks in pokemon's viability, which is a really good thing. So what I say that we do is ban the use of Heavy Duty Boots on a pokemon that also has a switch move.

Complex bans are a very interesting situation, and the rules around them are very vague and undefined. From what I can tell, the main drawback for complex bans is how confusing they are to uninformed players. OU is the flagship tier of Smogon, where, like it or not, the majority of the casual players reside. The players who use their playthrough teams just for fun. So any theoretical complex ban also has to take into account how easy to understand it would be to an uninitiated player. However, I don't think this is a problem, as the complex ban that I'm advocating for is specific enough so that a casual player who doesn't read the rules would never even realize it was a restriction until they either started to get genuinely good at team building and/or find out where they could get viable sets, and therefore also find out that this is a rule. This complex ban would be extremely unintrusive for the average player compared to most bans, probably less intrusive then most normal bans. I've been told that Complex bans are allowed but heavily discouraged, saved only for extreme situations. But in my opinion, not only is this an issue important enough to warrant one, it's also the right move. Complex bans, by nature, are arbitrary, But not using Complex bans because they're arbitrary is, ironically enough, also arbitrary. If it's the best option and does the least amount of collateral damage, then why not use it? Because of rules that we came up with? Rules have to adapt to the right thing to do, not the other way around. If the rules are obstructing the proper course of action, we should change them. (I want to clarify, I'm not saying that my proposal is the universal best option, nor am I saying that anyone else agrees with me. All I'm saying is that if a solution is agreed to be the best course of action, the label of complex ban shouldn't at all affect whether we do it or not.)

Like I said earlier, in my opinion just banning HDB is the wrong move. HDB has the potential to help otherwise great pokemon that were ruined by Stealth Rocks, like Moltres, Volcarona, and even Zapdos to a degree, become genuinely good pokemon, and helps expand the depth of viable pokemon. It gives much more depth to item choice, as item choice has pretty much always been very static between sets. The item defines the set more then the moves do. Sweepers and cleaners run life orb. Wallbreakers run a choice item that boosts power and very rarely life orb. Revenge killers run scarf, or occasionally the other choice items if they're fast enough. defensive pokemon run Leftovers, or occasionally rocky helmet in very specific circumstances. I could go on and on. But HDB, divorced from switch moves, helps that. All types of pokemon using many different sets and archetypes have the capability of running it, and it's balanced because 1. You lose the item slot 2. It only works in specific circumstances, and 3. It helps provide useful role compression and negates the requirement of hazard removal for some pokemon, no longer forcing you build around one mon. (Try running sweeper Volc in gen 5-7 without hazard removal. Have fun.) All of these are good in their own right, and add depth to the meta as a whole. However...

HDB is incompatible with switch moves as a whole. But this isn't really HDB's fault. Switching is a core part of Pokemon gameplay, without it the game wouldn't even be close to the same. You can escape bad situations but lose the turn and your opponent can do whatever they want in that turn. Switching moves change that, and in a big way. You attack and switch at the same time, and can even switch after the opponent attacks. But, stealth rocks, the single most impactful move in pokemon history, was added at the same time, and helped temper those moves. It also helped that they were pretty rare, only given to mainly bug and electric types, one type was shut down by ground, and the other is bug. But as the gens went on, Gamefreak was a lot more free with switching moves, and now basically every good offensive pokemon has them. But switching out wore down your team, so it was more or less balanced.

I've always hated Stealth Rock, and how stupidly vital it is to viability, not just of pokemon, but of whole types. But now, I realize what a necessary evil it is. HDB was the straw that broke the camels back in terms of switch moves. From the days of Band Scizor and Rotom to now, switch moves have been getting better and better, and now HDB finally broke them

To conclude, I think that HDB VoltTurn is fundamentally broken, and needs to be contained in some sort of way to have a properly balanced metagame. In my opinion, a ban of holding HDB as an item while knowing the moves U-Turn, Volt Switch, or Flip Turn would be most appropriate, as it would most effectively limit the strategy while keeping as much meta depth as possible. (Teleport is not on the list because it doesn't attack and will always go last, really only being useful on stalwart walls that can tank sustained hits. It allows you to keep momentum but you give up damage instead, which makes it much more balanced) I think that banning HDB altogether is a secondary option that we should consider as well, but it would have more collateral damage for the same desired effect.

I think, finally, I'm done. It only took over 2000 words, but I think I said everything I need to. I doubt anyone will actually take this seriously as a suggestion, because lets be real, to get something like this to be seriously considered I would need a hell of a lot more influence then I possess. But I'm glad I got it off my chest. And if you read this far, then thanks for indulging me and my long winded rants.

Tapu Bulu best girl
I won’t disagree that boots and voltturn can be annoying, but the post feels like it was made after being outplayed by a Voltturn team with HDB abusers. Let me explain why boots and voltturn aren’t broken.

Imo boots are a fantastic addition to the metagame that adds depth to hazard stacking. It makes players have to think more when building teams around hazard stacking. It also opens up the window for several new mons that benefit from the timbs. However saying they are unhealthy for the metagame is straight up overrating how good the item is. For starters let’s take a look at the most common mons that utilize boots.

-Blissey
-Cinderace
-Dragapult
-Hydreigon (Boots Hydreigon was used once in week one of SPL)
-Kyurem
-Mandibuzz
-Moltres
-Slowbro
-Slowking
-Tapu Koko
-Tapu Lele
-Tornadus-Therian
-Zapdos

One thing you forgot to mention is that boots can be knocked off, which seems hard in practice but let’s take a look at OU viable mons that use Knock Off regularly.

-Blaziken
-Clefable
-Crawdaunt
-Ferrothorn
-Kartana
-Landorus-Therian
-Mandibuzz
-Rillaboom
-Tangrowth
-Tapu Fini
-Tornadus-Therian
-Toxapex
-Zeraora

If you notice, alot of the mons that utilize boots happen to be switch ins to some of these mons. For example Zapdos and Torn are natural checks to Rilla, but they risk getting Knock’d. Ferrothorn naturally forces defoggers to come in and remove its spikes only to get crippled by Knock Off. You can take advantage of it by forcing x-mon to come in and take chip until it is in range of something like Rillaboom. It’s something called team synergy. You also missed something when you stated that only balance-oriented mons benefit from boots when you forget that a handful of offensive threats also utilize boots such as broken ass Cinderace, Kyurem, Dragapult, and Koko who use boots to come in constantly and threaten the opposing team with high dmg or grab momentum. Also if the opponent isn’t running lefties then they can be chipped by residual dmg from sand, status, or just dmg in general so sometimes there is a cost to running boots over lefties. As for Voltturn, U-Turn and Flip Turn can be punished by RH, Rough Skin, Static, Iron Barbs, and Flame Body and since you are arguing that pivot moves + HDB is broken, then they will take chip damage. Volt Switch can be blocked by ground types or mons immune to electric, and Teleport is blocked by Taunt. The combination of voltturn + boots is obviously really strong, especially considering that alot of the best mons in the tier utilize pivot moves, boots, or both, however we shouldn’t ban it. Why?

1: It’s not overcentralizing in an unhealthy way: Already stated why, moving on.

2: Are mons that utilize pivot moves + boots op:
In order to ban a move/ability/item, we have to look at other mons with said move/ability/item. Arena Trap is a good example. Dugtrio overcentralized the metagame into running shit like shed shell Pex and Clef in Gen 8. However it wasn’t Dugtrio that was broken, it was Arena Trap. It turned out that even something like Diglett or Trapinch can still trap most of the same mons as Dugtrio for teams. If pivot moves were op, then Zubat would’ve been problematic, if boots were op, then bad mons that happen to use boots well are also op according to this logic. Ninjask is broken cause it uses both boots and voltturn in that case. If a mon that abuses Boots and U-Turn is broken, it’s not cause the combination is broken, it’s cause the mon is broken.

3: Complex bans aren’t the answer
I’d rather not have the metagame be a clusterfuck of complex bans. There were complex bans once and that was in BW when they banned the combination of Rain + Swift Swim and Sand + Sand Rush. The ban worked for a while until people started using swift swim abusers in sand to sweep rain teams and sand rush Drill on rain to sweep sand teams. So they banned the two abilities all together.

If your having trouble punishing teams, here’s what you can do.

-Incorporate one or two breakers on your team that can force progress. Some examples includes Heatran, Nidoking, and NP Tornadus.
-Have one or more mons that abuse Knock Off whether it’s Rillaboom or Torn. This will make actively punishing Voltturn easier.
-Build teams that are able to sustain themselves for longer games. You could be having trouble with Voltturn because your teams are easy to wear down.
-If your running HO you don’t even have to worry about pivot moves as much cause what you want is to sweep the opponent.
-Regen pivots can sponge Voltturn moves and stay alive for long periods of time. Some examples include Toxapex, Slowbro, Glowking, Torn, and Tangrowth.
-You don’t necessarily have to switch out all the time, but don’t be bold. Understand the risk and reward of staying in on a Magearna with Toxapex for example. If your opponent is Voltturn happy, don’t be afraid of staying in all the time.
 
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Boots+uturn is more complex and contrived than banning thousand arrows or fishous rend, but those things aren't going to happen because the entire tiering framework would just fall apart.

Cinderace is obviously the issue and has been since it got libero. It is way too hard to punish.
 
I won’t disagree that boots and voltturn can be annoying, but the post feels like it was made after being outplayed by a Voltturn team with HDB abusers. Let me explain why boots and voltturn aren’t broken.

Imo boots are a fantastic addition to the metagame that adds depth to hazard stacking. It makes players have to think more when building teams around hazard stacking. It also opens up the window for several new mons that benefit from the timbs. However saying they are unhealthy for the metagame is straight up overrating how good the item is. For starters let’s take a look at the most common mons that utilize boots.

-Blissey
-Cinderace
-Dragapult
-Hydreigon (Boots Hydreigon was used once in week one of SPL)
-Kyurem
-Mandibuzz
-Moltres
-Slowbro
-Slowking
-Tapu Koko
-Tapu Lele
-Tornadus-Therian
-Zapdos

One thing you forgot to mention is that boots can be knocked off, which seems hard in practice but let’s take a look at OU viable mons that use Knock Off regularly.

-Blaziken
-Clefable
-Crawdaunt
-Ferrothorn
-Kartana
-Landorus-Therian
-Mandibuzz
-Rillaboom
-Tangrowth
-Tapu Fini
-Tornadus-Therian
-Toxapex
-Zeraora

If you notice, alot of the mons that utilize boots happen to be switch ins to some of these mons. For example Zapdos and Torn are natural checks to Rilla, but they risk getting Knock’d. Ferrothorn naturally forces defoggers to come in and remove its spikes only to get crippled by Knock Off. You can take advantage of it by forcing x-mon to come in and take chip until it is in range of something like Rillaboom. It’s something called team synergy. You also missed something when you stated that only balance-oriented mons benefit from boots when you forget that a handful of offensive threats also utilize boots such as broken ass Cinderace, Kyurem, Dragapult, and Koko who use boots to come in constantly and threaten the opposing team with high dmg or grab momentum. Also if the opponent isn’t running lefties then they can be chipped by residual dmg from sand, status, or just dmg in general so sometimes there is a cost to running boots over lefties. As for Voltturn, U-Turn and Flip Turn can be punished by RH, Rough Skin, Static, Iron Barbs, and Flame Body and since you are arguing that pivot moves + HDB is broken, then they will take chip damage. Volt Switch can be blocked by ground types or mons immune to electric, and Teleport is blocked by Taunt. The combination of voltturn + boots is obviously really strong, especially considering that alot of the best mons in the tier utilize pivot moves, boots, or both, however we shouldn’t ban it. Why?

1: It’s not overcentralizing in an unhealthy way: Already stated why, moving on.

2: Are mons that utilize pivot moves + boots op:
In order to ban a move/ability/item, we have to look at other mons with said move/ability/item. Arena Trap is a good example. Dugtrio overcentralized the metagame into running shit like shed shell Pex and Clef in Gen 8. However it wasn’t Dugtrio that was broken, it was Arena Trap. It turned out that even something like Diglett or Trapinch can still trap most of the same mons as Dugtrio for teams. If pivot moves were op, then Zubat would’ve been problematic, if boots were op, then bad mons that happen to use boots well are also op according to this logic. Ninjask is broken cause it uses both boots and voltturn in that case. If a mon that abuses Boots and U-Turn is broken, it’s not cause the combination is broken, it’s cause the mon is broken.

3: Complex bans aren’t the answer
I’d rather not have the metagame be a clusterfuck of complex bans. There were complex bans once and that was in BW when they banned the combination of Rain + Swift Swim and Sand + Sand Rush. The ban worked for a while until people started using swift swim abusers in sand to sweep rain teams and sand rush Drill on rain to sweep sand teams. So they banned the two abilities all together.

If your having trouble punishing teams, here’s what you can do.

-Incorporate one or two breakers on your team that can force progress.
-Have one or more mons that abuse Knock Off whether it’s Rillaboom or Torn. This will make actively punishing Voltturn easier.
-Build teams that are able to sustain themselves for longer games. You could be having trouble with Voltturn because your teams are easy to wear down.
-If your running HO you don’t even have to worry about pivot moves as much cause what you want is to sweep the opponent.
-Regen pivots can sponge Voltturn moves and stay alive for long periods of time. Some examples include Toxapex, Slowbro, Glowking, Torn, and Tangrowth.
-You don’t necessarily have to switch out all the time, but don’t be bold. Understand the risk and reward of staying in on a Magearna with Toxapex for example. If your opponent is Voltturn happy, don’t be afraid of staying in all the time.
I think a trend that would be good to note is that of all of the mons you listed that commonly use Boots, all but Kyurem and Tapu Lele have access to pivoting moves that make their way onto the Boots sets of these mons. While I’m not necessarily picking a side in this argument, I think it’s good to keep in mind that the most common users of Boots are pivots and that pivoting as a whole is heavily improved by access to Boots. Only a select few pivots such as Swampert that specifically don’t care much about Rocks don’t wear Boots. The strategy is heavily influenced by access to Boots.
 
It is too hard to punish Ace cause of boots, in actuality it is weak to every form of hazard but boots is what makes Cinderace a problem to deal with. The teleport spam allowed due to boots and making Regen mons stronger, being unable to punish them through hazard control is very unhealthy. Heavy Duty Boots is a very obnoxious item, but again seeing as it's considered one of those "gen 8 things" I dont see it being looked at in the near future.
 
Yeah, I really dislike people bringing up the slippery slope. It doesn't add anything to the discussion because it's all theoretical, and is usually the same argument. HDB VoltTurn has always rubbed me the wrong way since the beginning of the generation, because it's risk reward ratio is completely out of wack. Something there is broken, and it's hard to say if it's boots fault or if it's the moves themselves. They're cleary fine by themselves, but the combination is just too strong imo.
I won’t disagree that boots and voltturn can be annoying, but the post feels like it was made after being outplayed by a Voltturn team with HDB abusers. Let me explain why boots and voltturn aren’t broken.

Imo boots are a fantastic addition to the metagame that adds depth to hazard stacking. It makes players have to think more when building teams around hazard stacking. It also opens up the window for several new mons that benefit from the timbs. However saying they are unhealthy for the metagame is straight up overrating how good the item is. For starters let’s take a look at the most common mons that utilize boots.

-Blissey
-Cinderace
-Dragapult
-Hydreigon (Boots Hydreigon was used once in week one of SPL)
-Kyurem
-Mandibuzz
-Moltres
-Slowbro
-Slowking
-Tapu Koko
-Tapu Lele
-Tornadus-Therian
-Zapdos

One thing you forgot to mention is that boots can be knocked off, which seems hard in practice but let’s take a look at OU viable mons that use Knock Off regularly.

-Blaziken
-Clefable
-Crawdaunt
-Ferrothorn
-Kartana
-Landorus-Therian
-Mandibuzz
-Rillaboom
-Tangrowth
-Tapu Fini
-Tornadus-Therian
-Toxapex
-Zeraora

If you notice, alot of the mons that utilize boots happen to be switch ins to some of these mons. For example Zapdos and Torn are natural checks to Rilla, but they risk getting Knock’d. Ferrothorn naturally forces defoggers to come in and remove its spikes only to get crippled by Knock Off. You can take advantage of it by forcing x-mon to come in and take chip until it is in range of something like Rillaboom. It’s something called team synergy. You also missed something when you stated that only balance-oriented mons benefit from boots when you forget that a handful of offensive threats also utilize boots such as broken ass Cinderace, Kyurem, Dragapult, and Koko who use boots to come in constantly and threaten the opposing team with high dmg or grab momentum. Also if the opponent isn’t running lefties then they can be chipped by residual dmg from sand, status, or just dmg in general so sometimes there is a cost to running boots over lefties. As for Voltturn, U-Turn and Flip Turn can be punished by RH, Rough Skin, Static, Iron Barbs, and Flame Body and since you are arguing that pivot moves + HDB is broken, then they will take chip damage. Volt Switch can be blocked by ground types or mons immune to electric, and Teleport is blocked by Taunt. The combination of voltturn + boots is obviously really strong, especially considering that alot of the best mons in the tier utilize pivot moves, boots, or both, however we shouldn’t ban it. Why?

1: It’s not overcentralizing in an unhealthy way: Already stated why, moving on.

2: Are mons that utilize pivot moves + boots op:
In order to ban a move/ability/item, we have to look at other mons with said move/ability/item. Arena Trap is a good example. Dugtrio overcentralized the metagame into running shit like shed shell Pex and Clef in Gen 8. However it wasn’t Dugtrio that was broken, it was Arena Trap. It turned out that even something like Diglett or Trapinch can still trap most of the same mons as Dugtrio for teams. If pivot moves were op, then Zubat would’ve been problematic, if boots were op, then bad mons that happen to use boots well are also op according to this logic. Ninjask is broken cause it uses both boots and voltturn in that case. If a mon that abuses Boots and U-Turn is broken, it’s not cause the combination is broken, it’s cause the mon is broken.

3: Complex bans aren’t the answer
I’d rather not have the metagame be a clusterfuck of complex bans. There were complex bans once and that was in BW when they banned the combination of Rain + Swift Swim and Sand + Sand Rush. The ban worked for a while until people started using swift swim abusers in sand to sweep rain teams and sand rush Drill on rain to sweep sand teams. So they banned the two abilities all together.

If your having trouble punishing teams, here’s what you can do.

-Incorporate one or two breakers on your team that can force progress. Some examples includes Heatran, Nidoking, and NP Tornadus.
-Have one or more mons that abuse Knock Off whether it’s Rillaboom or Torn. This will make actively punishing Voltturn easier.
-Build teams that are able to sustain themselves for longer games. You could be having trouble with Voltturn because your teams are easy to wear down.
-If your running HO you don’t even have to worry about pivot moves as much cause what you want is to sweep the opponent.
-Regen pivots can sponge Voltturn moves and stay alive for long periods of time. Some examples include Toxapex, Slowbro, Glowking, Torn, and Tangrowth.
-You don’t necessarily have to switch out all the time, but don’t be bold. Understand the risk and reward of staying in on a Magearna with Toxapex for example. If your opponent is Voltturn happy, don’t be afraid of staying in all the time.
The problem here is that I think a lot of people are missing the point. Boots Voltturn isn't broken in the way that Genesect was broken, or Landorus-I was broken, since they aren't overpowering and can't blow through the tier on their own. Remember, there are very few pokemon that are "broken" and use HDB Voltturn: the only examples I can think of are Genesect (who's HDB set was strong but not the greatest set it could run), Pheromosa (who's HDB set was not very good), and Cinderace. They aren't broken in the way that Urshifu or Naganadel was broken, either, since they don't really "warp" the metagame around them. Sure, pivot mons get better, but there are very few examples of broken pokemon that use this strategy. All the HDB pivoting running around has been matched by the high usage of mons like Ferrothorn, Moltres, Zapdos, and Tankchomp, as well as the abundant usage of Rocky Helmet on Regenerator mons who don't care about the loss of lefties as much as others. Many anti-HDB activists like to point fingers at Dragapult, but in reality Dragapult is very balanced in the SS OU tier and using it as a reason to ban HDB on the grounds of overpowering is insane.

Here's the real reason why we should be talking about HDB: uncompetitive. If you look at the above post by Patricick, you will see that their main points aren't on HDB Voltturn being impossible to play against, or that it warps the metagame to an unhealthy extent, it is that it takes away skill from playing the game. Why bother predicting when you could click U-turn? Are you in a bad matchup? Click Volt-Switch, why think? This problem is accentuated by fast or scarfed pivot moves. Even if the speedy Voltturn user is in a horrendously losing matchup, it is actually them who has the control, unless the opponent is using a pivot move of their own. This is because although the opponent is in a winning position in the short term, they are unable to make double-switches or predictions, since switching always goes before switch moves. This means that even if you have a Tapu Koko in against a Nidoking, it doesn't matter. The Koko user will just U-turn out (the Nidoking user is forced to stay in, unless they want to give away free damage and momentum) and switch in to Blissey, who sits on Nidoking eternally and can even use a pivot move of its own to keep up momentum. There's even another layer, and that is that U-turn and Volt Switch will do damage as well as force the opponent into a compromising position. Not only do you have to worry about being stuck in a pivot vortex with no way out, you are also going to be taking damage from the opposing pivot move and entry hazard (this is one of the reasons why HDB regen is so "annoying" as some would put it; it's one of the only ways of dissuading opposing HDB Voltturn).

Now, you may have noticed that the above paragraph has been largely focused on pivot moves, and not HDB. Here's the thing. In the past, all of the above still applied. Pivot moves were still super common and super useful. However, there was always the downside. If you were facing a pokemon with reliable recovery, or even regenerator, it wasn't going to be them who was taking irreversible damage, it would be you. If you were using a pivot without recovery, or were unwilling to "waste" a turn healing, you were slowly going to be whittled down by hazards, and while the opponent would also be whittled down by hazards, they would be able to heal occasionally due to the fact that you had to keep on clicking a pivot move in order to maintain the upper hand. Therefore, hazards were a much larger problem to the pivoter, not the defending player. However, the introduction of HDB has boosted pivot offense a lot, and defense not as much (although HDB has meant that Moltres and Zapdos have gotten better at punishing U-turn, but still remain null against Volt Switch). No longer does clicking funny pivot move have a downside. You can keep on clicking pivot move brainlessly and the only way out for the opponent is to have HDB Regenerator mons or take a huge risk and keep Clefable in on Rillaboom's U-turn and Teleport out. Meanwhile, many other forms of outplaying, such as double switching or pivoting into resists, are completely shut down, leaving the opponent's only options to watch as their pokemon slowly die, pp stall with HDB regenerator, wait until their opponent gets impatient, or take a huge risk that, if it fails, could lose the game on the spot. This is a prime example of one player clicking funny move skillessly, while the opponent is forced into a difficult situation.

One thing I'd like to add is the use of HDB Voltturn defensively or the use of HDB Teleport. Many people complain how HDB has made stall "unbreakable" (stall sucks) and how it has made several pokemon like Slowbro and Mandibuzz hard to deal with (people like to complain about HDB Regenerator but the only viable defensive user of that strategy is Slowbro). The thing is, defensive pivoting, or slow pivoting, isn't uncompetitive in the way that offensive pivoting, or fast pivoting, is. Fast pivoters like Landorus-T, Dragapult, and Cinderace force defensive switches, while Slowbro doesn't really force switches as much. You can't get caught in a Slowbro + Clefable pivot vortex, that's just not how things work. While offensive pivoters can click pivot move in any scenario, winning or losing, provided they outspeed the opponent (one-button mon), Slowbro has to take into account whether the scenario is winning or losing, ie. Slowbro's pivoting can't turn a losing matchup into a winning one, it takes a pre-existing advantage or a neutral situation and builds upon it. If Tapu Koko is in versus Nidoking, it doesn't matter that Tapu Koko is losing the matchup if it just clicks the move it always clicks and switches into Blissey. However, if Slowbro is in versus Specs Kyurem, you bet that Slowbro is going to switch out, and can't just click pivot move, meaning that the Kyurem player has the chance to predict, or double switch, or any form of outplaying. This is why, offensively, HDB Voltturn can be considered uncompetitive, while defensively, it is simply a tool to increase already obtained leads and build upon them. Yes, I know Slowbro forces Hippowdon to switch out, but you get my point.

Do you know why people think defensive HDB pivoting is annoying? Because it stops their use of offensive HDB pivoting lol.

I'm still not sure on whether I think a complex ban should be enacted here. Does HDB pivoting take skill away from the game? It sure does. However, there are many other things that take skill away from the game (toxic, evasion abilities/items, moves that have a chance to miss) and that are not considered a problem. Many would even argue with me that the above even take away skill. However, even if it does take away skill, is banning it even what we want to do? Consider GSC. Many would consider it one of the most skill-intensive tiers to play, despite the fact that many pokemon are forced to run wildly inaccurate moves to do damage. This is because of the lack of "brainless" moves compared to newer generations. Tier King Snorlax is immune to toxic, and Spikes, although brainless to set up, requires skill to maintain throughout the match. However, this lack of pivoting moves has led to a much, much slower playstyle that many do not like, as although offensive teams exist there is nothing like the sort of "reckless abandon" hyper offense that we see today and that many have grown to like. In the past, many have claimed that the banning of offensive pokemon directly benefitted stall, and they were nearly always wrong. However, in this case, an implementation of this complex ban would nearly certainly make stall better, probably much better than we realize. Do we really want that? I for one would love stall getting better but I know that isn't a popular opinion.
 
musiquepkmn said:
The problem here is that I think a lot of people are missing the point. Boots Voltturn isn't broken in the way that Genesect was broken, or Landorus-I was broken, since they aren't overpowering and can't blow through the tier on their own. Remember, there are very few pokemon that are "broken" and use HDB Voltturn: the only examples I can think of are Genesect (who's HDB set was strong but not the greatest set it could run), Pheromosa (who's HDB set was not very good), and Cinderace. They aren't broken in the way that Urshifu or Naganadel was broken, either, since they don't really "warp" the metagame around them. Sure, pivot mons get better, but there are very few examples of broken pokemon that use this strategy. All the HDB pivoting running around has been matched by the high usage of mons like Ferrothorn, Moltres, Zapdos, and Tankchomp, as well as the abundant usage of Rocky Helmet on Regenerator mons who don't care about the loss of lefties as much as others. Many anti-HDB activists like to point fingers at Dragapult, but in reality Dragapult is very balanced in the SS OU tier and using it as a reason to ban HDB on the grounds of overpowering is insane.

Here's the real reason why we should be talking about HDB: uncompetitive. If you look at the above post by Patricick, you will see that their main points aren't on HDB Voltturn being impossible to play against, or that it warps the metagame to an unhealthy extent, it is that it takes away skill from playing the game. Why bother predicting when you could click U-turn? Are you in a bad matchup? Click Volt-Switch, why think? This problem is accentuated by fast or scarfed pivot moves. Even if the speedy Voltturn user is in a horrendously losing matchup, it is actually them who has the control, unless the opponent is using a pivot move of their own. This is because although the opponent is in a winning position in the short term, they are unable to make double-switches or predictions, since switching always goes before switch moves. This means that even if you have a Tapu Koko in against a Nidoking, it doesn't matter. The Koko user will just U-turn out (the Nidoking user is forced to stay in, unless they want to give away free damage and momentum) and switch in to Blissey, who sits on Nidoking eternally and can even use a pivot move of its own to keep up momentum. There's even another layer, and that is that U-turn and Volt Switch will do damage as well as force the opponent into a compromising position. Not only do you have to worry about being stuck in a pivot vortex with no way out, you are also going to be taking damage from the opposing pivot move and entry hazard (this is one of the reasons why HDB regen is so "annoying" as some would put it; it's one of the only ways of dissuading opposing HDB Voltturn).

Now, you may have noticed that the above paragraph has been largely focused on pivot moves, and not HDB. Here's the thing. In the past, all of the above still applied. Pivot moves were still super common and super useful. However, there was always the downside. If you were facing a pokemon with reliable recovery, or even regenerator, it wasn't going to be them who was taking irreversible damage, it would be you. If you were using a pivot without recovery, or were unwilling to "waste" a turn healing, you were slowly going to be whittled down by hazards, and while the opponent would also be whittled down by hazards, they would be able to heal occasionally due to the fact that you had to keep on clicking a pivot move in order to maintain the upper hand. Therefore, hazards were a much larger problem to the pivoter, not the defending player. However, the introduction of HDB has boosted pivot offense a lot, and defense not as much (although HDB has meant that Moltres and Zapdos have gotten better at punishing U-turn, but still remain null against Volt Switch). No longer does clicking funny pivot move have a downside. You can keep on clicking pivot move brainlessly and the only way out for the opponent is to have HDB Regenerator mons or take a huge risk and keep Clefable in on Rillaboom's U-turn and Teleport out. Meanwhile, many other forms of outplaying, such as double switching or pivoting into resists, are completely shut down, leaving the opponent's only options to watch as their pokemon slowly die, pp stall with HDB regenerator, wait until their opponent gets impatient, or take a huge risk that, if it fails, could lose the game on the spot. This is a prime example of one player clicking funny move skillessly, while the opponent is forced into a difficult situation.

One thing I'd like to add is the use of HDB Voltturn defensively or the use of HDB Teleport. Many people complain how HDB has made stall "unbreakable" (stall sucks) and how it has made several pokemon like Slowbro and Mandibuzz hard to deal with (people like to complain about HDB Regenerator but the only viable defensive user of that strategy is Slowbro). The thing is, defensive pivoting, or slow pivoting, isn't uncompetitive in the way that offensive pivoting, or fast pivoting, is. Fast pivoters like Landorus-T, Dragapult, and Cinderace force defensive switches, while Slowbro doesn't really force switches as much. You can't get caught in a Slowbro + Clefable pivot vortex, that's just not how things work. While offensive pivoters can click pivot move in any scenario, winning or losing, provided they outspeed the opponent (one-button mon), Slowbro has to take into account whether the scenario is winning or losing, ie. Slowbro's pivoting can't turn a losing matchup into a winning one, it takes a pre-existing advantage or a neutral situation and builds upon it. If Tapu Koko is in versus Nidoking, it doesn't matter that Tapu Koko is losing the matchup if it just clicks the move it always clicks and switches into Blissey. However, if Slowbro is in versus Specs Kyurem, you bet that Slowbro is going to switch out, and can't just click pivot move, meaning that the Kyurem player has the chance to predict, or double switch, or any form of outplaying. This is why, offensively, HDB Voltturn can be considered uncompetitive, while defensively, it is simply a tool to increase already obtained leads and build upon them. Yes, I know Slowbro forces Hippowdon to switch out, but you get my point.

Do you know why people think defensive HDB pivoting is annoying? Because it stops their use of offensive HDB pivoting lol.

I'm still not sure on whether I think a complex ban should be enacted here. Does HDB pivoting take skill away from the game? It sure does. However, there are many other things that take skill away from the game (toxic, evasion abilities/items, moves that have a chance to miss) and that are not considered a problem. Many would even argue with me that the above even take away skill. However, even if it does take away skill, is banning it even what we want to do? Consider GSC. Many would consider it one of the most skill-intensive tiers to play, despite the fact that many pokemon are forced to run wildly inaccurate moves to do damage. This is because of the lack of "brainless" moves compared to newer generations. Tier King Snorlax is immune to toxic, and Spikes, although brainless to set up, requires skill to maintain throughout the match. However, this lack of pivoting moves has led to a much, much slower playstyle that many do not like, as although offensive teams exist there is nothing like the sort of "reckless abandon" hyper offense that we see today and that many have grown to like. In the past, many have claimed that the banning of offensive pokemon directly benefitted stall, and they were nearly always wrong. However, in this case, an implementation of this complex ban would nearly certainly make stall better, probably much better than we realize. Do we really want that? I for one would love stall getting better but I know that isn't a popular opinion.
While I agree with much of your post, especially your points about the difference between offensive and defensive pivoting, I’m not sure I quite understand what you mean by saying that fast pivoters make predictions impossible. It would be more accurate to say that pivot moves make double switches impossible-which is one of the main draws of pivot moves. In your Nidoking vs Koko scenario, for instance, sure, you can’t just double to physical wallbreaker to beat Blissey. But saying this makes predictions impossible is inaccurate, since you can click Superpower on Nidoking and decimate Blissey as it comes out. That hasn‘t changed because of the pivot move. If your Nidoking has no way to threaten Blissey, then it can never do any wallbreaking against a team with Blissey, since Blissey can come in every time. The only thing the pivot move is doing here is preventing a double switch, which I personally don’t think takes an unnecessary amount of skill from the game. HDB does make it free for offensive mons to come in and potentially gain momentum, but they do this best if they have a free switch in themselves, since every time they come in on a move they risk taking residual damage or worse, a knock off.
Something that I think is worth bearing in mind in this discussion is that before Urshifu was banned, it hardly ever ran u-turn despite getting access to it. If you look at the existing meta, you’ll also see the odd mon that hardly ever runs a pivot move despite having one. I feel that if pivot move+HDB was such a broken combo as is being suggested, every mon with a pivot move would run it alongside HDB, which clearly isn’t the case. If people think Cinderace is broken, let’s look at Cinderace. Coming up with a complex ban specifically to keep Cinderace in the tier is not what should happen.
 
So basically you have to establish that Boots+Pivot Move is unique and problematic enough to warrant action. I don't know how firm the stance against complex bans is, but the slippery slope thing can be applied sort of in bad faith ("You banned Zacian-C from Ubers? What's next, Emolga?"). I think we need to have enough faith in the tiering council that they won't go on a complex ban spree that ends in allowing only STAB-less Black Sludge Kyogre nicknamed "Dogshit" in OU.
Another thing to add is that they rarely do complex bans on overpowered pokemon. They usually do it for uncompetitive mechanics (moody, evasion, baton pass, trapping) or mechanics that enable your team too well (weather in lower tiers/BW, baton pass and trapping again).

And yeah pivot moves are uncompetitive. Not to the same degree as baton pass and arena trap since they have more counterplay. However, the addition of boots made hazards, an excellent form of counterplay to volturn because of its splashability, not a factor especially on fast voltturn users. I really don't see how getting free, often unpunished chip + momentum on a fast voltturn user or bringing in a powerful breaker/sweeper multiple times in one game with a slow voltturn user isn't uncompetitive. It's a very flowchart-ish playstyle that enables your team like baton pass or arena trap. Games are even more brainless because getting your pokemon in safely is way easier this gen that most of the time it's better to click the pivot move since it's so safe. Arena Trap removes a fundamental mechanic in switching. Pivot moves removes a risky, yet rewarding mechanic in double switches. Still though despite their uncompetitiveness, hazards are enough to keep them at bay, which is why people only started complaining about pivot moves this gen.

Also, offensive voltturn users and defensive voltturn users have different functions and counterplay. A counter to offensive voltturn may not always apply to defensive voltturn and vice versa. Hazards are the only reliable thing that punished both fast and slow voltturn the same way. In case some people did not notice, Patricick's post mostly talks about fast voltturn. They can't be punished by hazards if they run boots (and those mons won't even bother switching or staying into a knock 90% of the time unlike defensive voltturn so always assume that boots are up for fast voltturn), they won't be chipped by weather (which is not splashable and is less effective than hazards), and your switch in would eventually run out of health if it doesnt have regenerator (and forcing your opponent to have regenerator is somewhat restricting to teambuilding).

This is why, offensively, HDB Voltturn can be considered uncompetitive, while defensively, it is simply a tool to increase already obtained leads and build upon them. Yes, I know Slowbro forces Hippowdon to switch out, but you get my point.
Tbh I still think defensive voltturn is uncompetitive because bringing in a wallbraker or sweeper unpunished for multiple times in a game doesn't take skill. It's also what allows fast voltturn users to come in safely, but at least it has more counters like knocking off boots and can be overwhelmed. Defensive voltturn's problem lies more on the pokemon it enables. In RU slowking was once voted if it should be quickbanned because it enabled too many dangerous breakers too well.

I'm still not sure on whether I think a complex ban should be enacted here. Does HDB pivoting take skill away from the game? It sure does. However, there are many other things that take skill away from the game (toxic, evasion abilities/items, moves that have a chance to miss) and that are not considered a problem.
To add to this, I don't see you could have a ban that nerfs fast voltturn without nerfing slow voltturn. I agree with the post above where the best case scenario is to take action against Cinderace since its the biggest offender. Hopefully offensive voltturn gets nerfed enough that something like regenerator cores can be used to check offensive voltturn spam. While the playstyle is still brainless, at least it has counters and isn't too extreme.
 
I love all these people saying Boots is clearly the problem with Cinderace like LO setup Cinderace isn't a thing. Let's face it, whenever Cinderace is the last mon out the gates on HO, you're peeing yourself a little even though you have Toxapex, Dragapult and Heatran. Because you know in your heart of hearts it will be That One Cinderace Set that Work Up Electro Balls your Pex, Sucker Punches your Dragapult and High Jump Kicks your Heatran. This mon is actually absurd and it picks and chooses its checks and counters at will. The really dumb part is there's not even a reliable mon that checks "most" sets without dying to the wrong move.

So to convince me Boots is the problem here, you'll have to explain to me how Boots Dragapult is a more broken set than LO Bulk/Work Up Cinderace. Boots is even less likely to get banned than Libero, which is not the problem with Cinderace. The problem with Cinderace is its movepool, power and speed combined with Libero, which makes Cinderace (borderline) broken. Boots just enables one set that, thanks to Cinderace's speed and lack of reliable answers, is very difficult to punish.
 

Goodbye & Thanks

Thrown in a fire?
I definitely agree with everyone saying that Cinderace is an issue, and that even though its strengths are exacerbated by Boots, Cinderace itself is more problematic than the fact that it can run Boots. However, I do feel like some people undersell how good Boots are on defensive pivots, especially in conjunction with Teleport. I feel like the introduction of Boots and the reworking of Teleport are easily two of the most influential new aspects of SS. I'll also say though that I don't think that Boots and/or Teleport should be potentially banned, and that this is just part of what makes SS unique, but it's a big reason why it can feel so difficult to make progress in certain games, which I believe was part of what Patricick was talking about in their initial post.

It's no secret that SS games can feel overly-lengthy and defensive; here's a replay from week 1 of SPL between Ox the Fox and bro fist that exemplifies this. Cinderace with Boots obviously plays a big role for both teams, but neither of these teams are really stall (although they both have solid defensive backbones), and it still takes 122 turns. Throughout the game, you see how Teleport enables Slowbro and Blissey to repeatedly pivot without any risk. Slowbro gets Regenerator recovery after Teleporting and Blissey also gets free momentum. Being able to Teleport into a Pokemon with Regenerator and then switch out to another defensive answer makes it easier than ever to heal up Pokemon through Regenerator and can erase any offensive progress that was made. Clearly this can still be accomplished without Boots, but when you throw Boots into the mix, it takes away hazard stacking as a reliable option to counter this. Sure something like Pex that doesn't often run Boots doesn't like switching in with Rocks + Spikes up, but being able to Teleport out of something like Blissey and switch Pex in against something it walls makes it much easier for Pex to Recover back up. Obviously no team likes having something like Rocks + 3 layers of Spikes set up against them, and that does greatly limit the usefulness of some stalwart Pokemon like Galarian Slowking, but again, the combination of Boots and reliable Defoggers makes it difficult to get/keep hazards up.

I keep hearing people say that stall isn't very good in this meta, and sure, maybe full-stall isn't great, but I do think that things like Boots, Teleport, and Regenerator have made semi-stall or just very sturdy defensive cores more common. Slowbro, Galarian Slowking, Toxapex, and Blissey were all in the top 10 (or tied for 10th, in the case of Blissey and Pex) of usage in week 1 of SPL, although that's a small sample size and their win rates weren't really impressive. Now these are obviously all good Pokemon and I don't think that it's an issue that they're being used a lot, although when they are used in combination with each other, they form defensive cores that while not impenetrable, can be frustrating to break, since Boots facilitates low-risk switch-ins, Regenerator resets chip damage and progress made, and Teleport allows for guaranteed and risk-free momentum. I'm not the only person who has lamented how things like Boots and Teleport make it hard to progress games, as some of the greatest players of all time like BKC and McMeghan have mentioned this before, but I don't want to speak for them.

So overall, I don't think that Boots are just troublesome on offensive Pokemon like Cinderace, and Boots alone aren't what can make progress more difficult to come by. I feel like it's the combination of Boots, Teleport, and Regenerator that can make it so difficult to punish certain defensive cores and can make it feel like any offensive progress you made was inconsequential. Now there is counterplay to this, and Knock Off and Trick being so good this generation due to the lack of Z-moves/megas to absorb Knock/Trick can dampen how overbearing Boots may seem, but that's not going to be consistent and reliable counterplay to Boots game in and game out. I do want to clarify my stance a little though, since I don't personally feel like Boots/Teleport/Regenerator are "broken" and I don't think that any tiering action should be taken against any of them (and I'm pretty confident that that would never happen anyway), but I do think that SS OU is and will continue to develop into a more defensive and deliberate meta in large part due to those components of the tier. I don't personally have a problem with that, since I enjoy longer and more defensive games, and as AM said earlier, these are just "gen 8 things" that for better or worse, helps set SS apart from the other gens, but I think that everyone can relate to how it can be frustrating at times to make consistent and lasting progress. Maybe counterplay to these types of defensive structures will evolve though, and it's not like every SS OU game is 100+ turns. I just wanted to try to point out that it's not like Cinderace or offensive pivots are the only things that make Boots impactful, although they're certainly part of it. I also don't want to come across as too negative, since I do enjoy SS OU, and I don't think that things like Boots, Teleport, or Regenerator should seriously be considered for tiering action, but I just thought that the defensive benefits of Boots and pivoting is sometimes overlooked, so I tried to elaborate on it a little. Have a great day everyone!
 
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People have gotten too comfortable with their copy-paste balance teams and letting stealth rock do the work for them for the past 10 years instead of putting real breakers on their teams.

there are clear standouts of Pokémon that are too strong in combination with boots—cinderace being chief among them —deal with those first, but get the complex ban talk outta here. There’s no issue with, say, Emolga getting free uturns, because it doesn’t have stab on multiple contactless, 120-BP moves that can hit anything it wants. Ban the Pokémon or don’t. You wouldn’t say “Messi is not the problem; it’s his left foot”.
 
The thing that baffles me about people who want to ban boots for “breaking” too many Pokémon (read: mostly just Cinderace) is the fact that Choice items have been “breaking” Pokémon for years and yet people have never been arguing that they need to get banned. Just this generation alone, Darmanitan-G, Dracovish, Magearna, Melmetal, Genesect, and Urshifu were banned either totally or in large part due to the power they possess when wielding Choice Band/Specs, and plenty more Pokémon banished to Ubers have been rocking Choiced sets since Gen 4. Does that mean Choice items are uncompetitive? Hell no; if anything, their emphasis on making strategic reads to best abuse their effects, as well as their weaknesses being more exploitable if the player facing them is competent enough to capitalize on them, has arguably led to them being one of the healthiest cornerstones of competitive Pokémon’s entire existence, as well as debatably improved the quality of the game as a whole. Additionally, for every Pokémon that got banned for abusing them, I can point out another 20 that use them well without being banworthy. Same thing with Boots, except the only things that it really has pushed over the edge are Cinderace and uh... maybe Kyurem-B? Of course, Cinderace having 3 120+ STAB moves off of base 116 attack, a 119 speed tier coupled with a STAB base 70 priority option, a STAB U-Turn, and a Bulk Up that changes its defensive typing ALSO all pushed it over the edge. Cinderace has a lot of factors that make it really, really damn good, and singleing out Boots is just so phenomenally stupid to me when we have tons of other OU Pokémon who use Boots to great effect without being anywhere CLOSE to broken. I kind of just feel that people are having trouble getting used to the idea that we have a new “best item” in the mix that has substantially changed the landscape of singles, because in my eyes, there really is no evidence to suggest that Boots has ever been a problem in the history of Sword and Shield OU, or any other Sword and Shield meta for that matter.
 
Question: If Wicked Blow was banned instead of Urshifu, would it still be broken?
Because Urshifu-SS is the only one who can use this, so it wouldn't "spoil" any other viable mon that could use it and not be broken.

Anyway... Mag and Spectrier are the big ones now...
 
Heavy-Duty Boots are an integral part of gen 8 pokemon, and banning them or kind of combination of limiting specifically them indicates the boots are a problem on any mon that use it.

I highly suggest people interested in this to check the Policy Review thread specifically on Heavy-Duty Boots: https://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/heavy-duty-boots.3667472/

If cinderace is deemed as too good for the metagame, getting rid of boots specifically for it is not the option, boots of course has a huge implications for this generation and makes battles play much differently than generation 7, but I believe this is for the best.


The discussion on the main 3 is much more relevant at the moment.
 

Finchinator

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We are not planning on implementing any complex bans currently. If you wish to inquire further, PM me or the entire OU council. I do not wish for this to clutter the thread.

We also have no intention of looking into Heavy Duty Boots currently, but again you can PM me or the entire council to discuss if you would like. I do not wish to clutter the thread on this either.

We are currently looking at suspecting actual Pokemon first and foremost.
 
Tbh I still think defensive voltturn is uncompetitive because bringing in a wallbraker or sweeper unpunished for multiple times in a game doesn't take skill.
It still takes good positioning, since most slow pivoters don't have regenerator, so for example Clefable can't slow pivot against Bisharp or Excadrill, and Corviknight can't slow pivot against Cinderace. Contrast this to fast pivoting where no matter if you are in a winning position or a losing one, clicking the pivot move will result in a better position.
 
There are a lot of responses to my post, and I would like to respond to them each individually, but since Finch asked for the discussion to end I won't clutter the thread with another monstrously long post about HDB. I just wanted to make a couple more points that a lot of people seem to have missed. Specifically, about Cinderace.

So many people seem to think that my post was about Cinderace. Which is not the case. Cinderace was the primary example that I used to make my point, but not once in my post did I say that Cinderace is the main problem with HDB VoltTurn. In fact, I think banning Cinderace will end up proving my point more, as we'll find more abusers to use instead. It's the symptom, not the cause.
Granted, I shouldn't have used it so much as an example. but the point stands. The problem that I have with it is how it takes skill out of so many interactions, and chains with itself to create loops of these dead turns where nothing meaningful can happen. If/when Cinderace gets banned, people will find another abuser, like Tapu Koko, or even Blaziken. (It gets u-turn too and the only thing stopping it from being a viable set is Cinderace)

Speaking of Tapu Koko, I think it serves as the perfect example for why the free turn is so busted. Tapu Koko has stab, electric terrain boosted volt switch, and still chooses to use u-turn, even though it's primarily a special attacker. Doesn't that say something to you? That a pokemon would give up that strong of a tool for something that does the exact same thing but worse in every way other then being better against one type, and like 4 pokemon? If that doesn't illustrate how strong it is I don't know what will.

I've seen a lot of people respond to my post, and although I can agree with some of the counter points, some of it confuses me. I really, really wanna go into greater detail, but I know that I shouldn't, so I won't. I just want to say, giving ways to deal something doesn't make it not broken. There was counterplay to Urshifu too. The problem is that the counterplay is inconsistent or has severe opportunity cost. And the slippery slope argument is literally a logical fallacy.

(I'm physically incapable of describing how much I want to thoroughly dissect some of these posts, as some of them are really not good, but I'll refrain.)

To prevent this from being just about the HDB complex ban, I thought I would also give one of my favorite sets rn, as it provides really good set compression as a wallbreaker, revenge killer, and even late game cleaner.

Bisharp @ Life Orb
Ability: Defiant
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Sucker Punch
- Knock Off
- Iron Head
- Swords Dance

This set is really good at making positive progress in a game. Obviously, it competes with Obstagoon as a 4x weak to fighting knock off spamming dark type, but it sets itself apart with three things; Defiant, Swords dance, and Sucker punch. This mon is really good at taking advantage of slow or weakened teams. It has what I think is the single strongest priority move in the game with his life orb sucker punch. it also serves as a steel type who can beat lando, as a +1 Sucker punch does a minimum of 80% to scarf Lando. Considering how likely it is for Lando to take chip damage, it will likely kill. And defiant helps it immensely, as a +2 sucker punch murders anything faster that doesn't resist, and knock off or iron head takes care of anything slower. For example, a +2 Sucker Punch will OHKO Kartana 87.5% of the time and Chomp 56%. At plus 2, Iron head will OHKO Tapu Fini around 50% of the time. At +2, iron head is a guaranteed OHKO on Mag. With stealth rocks up, It OHKOs both Pex and ferrothorn 90% of the time with knock off. The only physical wall that can stop it is Buzzwole, which is 2HKOed by iron head. And since it forces so many switches, it can get a swords dance pretty easily, or even just come in on a defog.

The biggest issue with this set is how much it gets worn down, but it doesn't really matter as much as you would think it does. As long as it has more then 6% hp, it can still function as a revenge killer. And it will usually die to any strong hit, so chip really doesn't matter outside of checking Spectrier with a sub up. Speaking of Spectrier, with rocks up, it OHKOs it through a burn 93% of the time. So even burnt it's still capable of checking it. Overall it serves as good role compression, being a revenge killer wallbreaker and sweeper all in one. I find that it works well on teams with strong defensive cores, as it covers for their passivity with it's offensive utility, allowing them to get away with not doing damage. It doesn't have the monstrous facade of Obstagoon, but it has more overall utility, immediate power, and strong priority.


*EDIT* To not clutter the thread, I'll just edit this post. Saying "If we ban HDB then we might as well ban specs/band" is the dumbest counter argument I've heard by a mile. I wasn't arguing for banning the item as a whole, so you're making a false equivalence right off the bat before you've even made a point. Second, I think that HDB VoltTurn is broken not just because it breaks pokemon, but because it leads to a chain of uncompetitive interactions and takes away skill from the game. Specs and band do not break pokemon, but instead facilitate their already broken qualities.
 
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The discussion about banning HDB instead of the single pokemon is ridiculous, then ban also specs/band because dracovish/pheromosa/urshifu/genesect/darmanitan were all overpowered equipped with one of these two items.
That's not the argument that was presented at all. The argument is that HDB makes already very potent moves (volt switch/u-turn) way too good. Nobody was saying the item was broken, it's specifically boots + pivot moves.

Anyways, zeraora is still mad good. It's the fastest knock off user, volt switch is incredible, plasma fists is one of the best electric moves ever, and it can even run specs rising voltage with tapu koko on electric spam. It still struggles with rillaboom being a very ubiquitous grass type that has strong priority, but the popularity of bulky water types insures that it's almost always putting in work, either in harassing the enemy team with knocks and volt switch chip, providing valuable speed control, or even potentially sweeping with its checks out of the way.
 
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After watching SPL week 1 replays, I also noticed the potential Bisharp could have in this meta, since it would basicaly 6-0 most of these teams, especially if used with Grassy terrain support. Bisharp benefits a lot from post Urshifu teambuilding trends, such as Buzzwole falling into oblivion; people actually running Slowbro and G-Slowking on same team; rise of utility Tornadus-T, Twave Hex Dragapult and so on. It also somehow helps against Spectrier and setup Magearna and Clefable. While it is clearly not a S tier threat right now, I feel like Bisharp still has room to grow in this metagame if the aforementioned trends pursue.
 
The discussion about banning HDB instead of the single pokemon is ridiculous, then ban also specs/band because dracovish/pheromosa/urshifu/genesect/darmanitan were all overpowered equipped with one of these two items.
But why not discussion about the good old Item Clause ^^
Iam the first who have a Problem with it because i play with Cinderace and Mandibuzz in the same team ...
But then this discussion is over ^^ and i like in 6vs6 Matches to Scout the Items ^^
 
We are currently looking at suspecting actual Pokemon first and foremost.
This is something that people need to understand about the way that OU is structured. The philosophy behind bans and clauses is to create a balanced and competitive metagame, not to allow as many mons as possible to stay in the tier. This is the reason that G-Darmanitan was banned rather than Gorilla Tactics, or Urshifu-S was banned rather than Wicked Blow.

We can continue to point out elements of the game that broken mons abuse, but that isn't really solving the issue. This is what the conversation about banning Future Sight + Teleport during the Urshifu-S meta missed. FuturePort wasn't broken, the mon that most effectively abused it was. If we had banned FuturePort, we wouldn't have solved the problem. But we banned Urshifu, the mon rather than the mechanic, and since then no one has called for a FuturePort suspect.

Heavy Duty Boots on Cinderace is the same thing. The item itself is not broken. The item combined with pivoting moves is not broken. It has a high opportunity cost on both fast and slow pivots alike (faster mons like Torn-T may want an AV or a Life Orb, while slower defensive pivots like Slowbro may want the passive damage from a Rocky Helmet or the recovery of Leftovers) and can be removed easily through moves like Knock Off or Trick/ Switcheroo. Other prominent HDB users are not considered broken.

Of the mons that generate the most controversy in the current meta (Spectrier, Cinderace, and Magearna) only one of those three mons is a prominent user of the item. We have plenty of strong mons that fill the role of fast HDB pivot (Tapu Koko, Torn-T, Zeraora, etc.) but they are not being considered for a ban. Not only is the most logical path forward a Cinderace suspect, it is also the option that is most in-line with Smogon tiering policy, which is in place for a reason. To suddenly invoke a complex ban, implement an item clause, or put any other systematic change in place just because of one broken mon would be ridiculous when the obvious solution to the problem is to simply ban the mon in question.

HDB is an effective item, no doubt. You may love having Cinderace in the tier, or hate watching a Zapdos switch in without taking rocks damage. But that doesn’t mean the item is broken. As several people in this thread have pointed out, no other tier is having trouble with the item, despite it being prevalent in every tier. Additionally, of the several controversial mons in the tier, only one of their “brokenness” can be even remotely tied to HDB. And if all of that still isn’t enough, the council has said they aren’t even considering suspecting or banning the item.

I’ve heard a lot of people who argue in favor of complex bans scoff at the response that it’s a slippery slope. However, I think this is a good reminder of just how messy things can get. People are suggesting a ban of an item in conjunction with particular moves on faster offensive mons, rather than simply banning the single only abuser of the combination that anyone can point to as truly broken. And for what? So that we can keep one mon in the tier without it being “too good” for OU?

I genuinely and truly don’t mean any of this in a disrespectful way, but an entire competitive community is not going to reshape their entire tiering and banning philosophy because you want to use your favorite starter on Showdown. If you want to advocate for a suspect or ban, you should absolutely do it. But in the interest of not wasting your own time, at least go into it with a basic understanding of how Smogon works. The reality of the situation is that the simplest solution is often the best one, and if this issue is deemed broken, the simplest solution is a suspect/ ban for Cinderace.
 

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