Stealth Rock

locopoke

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This issue of Stealth Rock has been brought up several times before in threads like these, but no conclusion was reached. With the release of a new generation and the recent threads on reevaluating Pokemon policy, I feel that this issue should be addressed once again as it never got the attention that it deserved.

Stealth Rock is easily the most game-breaking move in Pokemon, it's clear that the majority of Smogon agrees with this based on the results of this poll. It's unarguably the biggest change that Gen 4 brought to the table, as it substantially cut the amount of viable Pokemon down to size. It has absolutely no drawbacks and, unlike Spikes, damages every Pokemon in the game barring Magic Guard users. Because of it, Focus Sash and Sturdy become useless outside of the lead position and certain Pokemon are practically unusable because of the amount of Stealth Rock damage that they take.

While there are many negative impacts that Stealth Rock has on the metagame, one could also claim that it balances the metagame as well. Pokemon like Salamence, Gyarados, Shaymin-S and even Dragonite would be much more threatening if they didn't lose 25% of their health upon switching in. We also have to take into account the fact that while there are 155 new Pokemon in the game, less than 10 of them learn the move (due to it not being a TM anymore). Gen 5 also introduced Mischievous Heart, an ability that gives +1 priority to non-attacking moves. This means that there are some top notch Pokemon that can out speed and Taunt suicide leads before they get a chance to use Stealth Rock.

In short, there are pros and cons to having Stealth Rock in the metagame, but there are a good amount of people who think the metagame would improve without it. This amount is large enough that we should definitely consider testing it. Personally, I feel that the existance of any move, ability or Pokemon in our metagame that decreases the amount of usable Pokemon as much as Stealth Rock does should definitely be questioned. Much like the clauses, we didn't pay much attention to Stealth Rock in Gen 4, but this is a new Gen and it's the perfect time for us to rethink the way we play the game.
 
locopoke said:
This amount is large enough that we should definitely consider testing it.
No it isn't. Even if our current players tend to see Stealth Rock as a move we'd be "better off without" (not "broken," since I've yet to be even remotely convinced by anyone that Stealth Rock is or was ever even remotely broken, nor do I believe that a particularly notable segment of the community even does believe it to be broken at the moment), banning it would surely alienate a significant portion our potential playerbase.
 
I have actually thought about this subject on multiple occasions, and I think it's an interesting one. I would like to see some more opinions on this, and if there seems to be enough support, I wouldn't mind putting up a vote to see if we should test this or not.
 
I agree that Stealth Rock is a very good move, but I don't think we should test it tbh. Stealth Rock basically shaped Gen 4 and the way Pokemon was played during it. I don't understand why a whole generation can go by without a test, and then test in the next gen. Also, testing SR begs the question:

How can we tell if a move is broken? Especially a support move because it is incredibly hard to quantify its effect in a match. Because of this, many users will have many different views as to "why it is broken" and votes will undoubtedly be inconsistent to say the least.

Also, I fear that this could start moving us down the "banning moves" road. I don't think Draco Meteor should be banned because it's too hard to switch into, so following that mindset, I think SR should stay.
 
Haven't we already tested it, in a sense? We've been playing with this move for years, and we've had a more than playable metagame even with it's presence. It shaped the metagame, but there will always be things within the game that shape how we play. This is one of them. It seems ludicrous to put something on the potential chopping block that we've played with for so long yet has not proven to be broken.

In addition, what would a suspect test accomplish exactly? There's nothing really quantifiable about it. We already know exactly what the move does, and that it's not broken. It would simply be a popularity contest as to what metagame people personally prefer. There's really nothing to test, or anything reliable that can come out of it.
 

TAY

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Gen V somehow managed to be even more offensive than gen IV, and this offensive pressure does a bit towards encouraging players to not use SR on turn 1. Mischievous Heart obviously also discourages the early Stealth Rock use.

We didn't ban SR all through gen IV, which I guess some people would consider a mistake, but its usefulness has gone down quite a bit. Wasting a turn is now an even bigger deal than it was in DPP, with SD/NP/DD everywhere and new ridiculous treats like Butterfly Dance floating around (and cosmic power deoe aaaaa). I have made more than one BW team that is successful without SR, and most people that do use it generally won't get it out until mid-game, when its impact is markedly less than with a turn 1 use. So I don't really see any reason to test it.
 
Tleilax pretty much summed up what I was going to post. Anybody that claims Stealth Rock is broken is full of it because it has been demonstrated in practice that it does not break the game. Quite frankly there's no way to discredit that. Now if you want to argue that the game benefits without it by all means go ahead, but there's no backings to arguments like that.

What really changes if we ban the move? Nearly every single argument against Stealth Rock whines that certain pokemon aren't viable; looking at the list of pokemon that are legitimately gimped by the move, only Moltres, the new Fire/Bug, and maybe Yanmega stick out as pokemon that gain some viability. The only one of the three that I can imagine making an impact would be the Fire/Bug, while the other two would make very little difference at all, and even the Fire/Bug wouldn't make a noticeable shift in the metagame. Then look on the flip side, pokemon that are weak to but not hindered by Stealth Rock. The list includes Salamence, Gyarados, Shaymin-S, among others. They become just that much more dangerous. And if we do test it, what are we looking for? Increased Butterfree usage?

Arguments against Stealth Rock are weaker in Gen V than they ever were in DPP. Not only do few new pokemon obtain the move, but there are new methods to stop it (these points have been brought up in the OP). As TAY said, sacrificing one turn is more costly than ever. Additionally, people that are currently playing via Pokemon Online report that it isn't used nearly as much as in DPP, signifying that it isn't as centralizing and all advocacy for its removal are theorymon and/or grandfathered mentality from DPP.

Long story short, I've not seen one legitimate argument against Stealth Rock, so there is no basis on which to test the move.

On an unrelated note I hate Spikes more than Stealth Rock.
 

Firestorm

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Just going to repeat what I said on IRC:

As much as I hate Stealth Rock, I really don't like the idea of banning it given that people obviously don't think it's so terrible that they won't play the game and find the metagame to still be enjoyable despite its presence. It's like what was said in that thread Articuno64 posted.

However, I think we should be looking at this after ironing out some sort of philosophy for Smogon to follow. Otherwise we're just testing things here and there without any way to measure the results. We quite clearly aren't following what most competitive game communities do, so we need to figure out what we want before thinking of tests.

For that reason, I don't want to rule out the possibility of having to test Stealth Rock, but I don't think it's likely we'll have to nor do I think it will be a worthwhile use of our time.
 

Alchemator

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Something also of note is that Magic Coat now reflects Stealth Rock too - something akin to using Stealth Rock yourself while your opponent loafs around.

While I might have advocated a test before, the new additions (or lack of additions in terms of Stealth Rock users) make Stealth Rock more or a risky move, thus invalidating the claim that it has no drawbacks, thus not broken (terrible generalisation, but I hope you get what I mean).
 

Seven Deadly Sins

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Echoing the sentiments of others. Not only is SR proven to not break the game, given that we played a very playable metagame in Gen 4, but Gen 5 has not been kind to its use, what with very few new Pokemon receiving it, generally more notable setup threats, a more offensive tilt, and stuff like Magic Mirror Espeon and the buffed Magic Coat. It was powerful in Gen 4, but definitely not overly so, and Gen 5 just makes it worse. I couldn't possibly oppose a SR ban more.
 
I don't think the question of whether Stealth Rock is worth testing or not is important here, especially since, even if it is broken, it's only by a small margin. There are many new and more pressing aspects to be tested these days, and wasting valuable time on a move we've been 'handling' just fine during the past four years is just plain dumb.
 

jrrrrrrr

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Stealth Rock definitely breaks the game in gen 4, I've said that multiple times and it looks like people are finally agreeing with me now that it's too late..... In gen 5, I really don't think it's an issue.

But no matter what my opinion becomes on the matter, there is no way I can support even considering this until we get our initial metagame set. We still have to figure out the initial banlists and clauses, and we still have to figure out what's good in BW. Banning a move that a huge amount of pokemon learn could remove a lot of the balance that BW and DreamWorld abilities have brought to the metagame. Talk to me in a couple of months and maybe I'd be more concerned, but for right now there is no way to decide its impact. It's not like Evasion or OHKO where you only have to lose to it once before realizing how lame they can be, Stealth Rock has several balancing aspects to it that can negate how many pokemon learn it.
 

M Dragon

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there is no way I can support even considering this until we get our initial metagame set. We still have to figure out the initial banlists and clauses, and we still have to figure out what's good in BW.
Exactly.
We cannot ban moves if we don't even have tiers yet, there are far more important matters at hand. In a couple of months when we know roughly what the metagame is like, we can discuss the possibility of banning moves, but for now we should allow the metagame to develop.
 
As I stated on IRC, "given infinite time and manpower, I support testing SR".

But in the meantime we have more important things to test, like Pokemon, yet I do agree that testing SR is way more important than testing minor clauses like OHKO and Evasion.

If we did have a test, I would probably vote to keep SR, though, simply by "papermonning" (as jr7 says) the results of an SR-free metagame, which are not pretty.
 

locopoke

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I agree that there is nothing that we can immediately do about this, especially since we don't even have a ban list yet. I posted this just to get the ball rolling on this issue since I think it needs to be addressed and we can't just sweep it under the rug and forget about it like we did in Gen 4. I wanted to hear all of your thoughts on Stealth Rock in the near future and whether it deserves a test or not, I'm not suggesting that we ban it right now or even test it right now.

I don't think the question of whether Stealth Rock is worth testing or not is important here, especially since, even if it is broken, it's only by a small margin.
What do you mean by "only by a small margin"? If something's broken, it's broken. There aren't different amounts of brokenness. If something is broken then it needs to be banned or at least questioned.

There are many new and more pressing aspects to be tested these days, and wasting valuable time on a move we've been 'handling' just fine during the past four years is just plain dumb.
We didn't handle it at all for the past four years, that's the thing. We barely addressed Stealth Rock at all, if anything we tried to avoid it. The reason for this thread is so that it gets the attention it deserves this Gen and we don't go another four years without doing anything about it. If it's decided that Stealth Rock doesn't deserve a test then so be it, but we can't just continue pretending it doesn't exist.
 

Seven Deadly Sins

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The problem is that we're coming into this assuming it's a "problem" that needs to be "dealt with", especially considering that SR was on the fence in Gen 4 and very arguably *worse* in Gen 5.

We should come back to this after we've gotten our banlist settled, all our clauses panned out, etc... if it seems to be broken or even effective at all.
 

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I've had a lot of trouble understanding the arguments for the "test" and "ban" of SR, because I honestly can't fathom how it's broken. It's a move that a lot of Pokemon have access to that impacts the game in a way that pretty strongly favors having it in your team. Matches aren't won and lost by who has Stealth Rock and who doesn't, partly because it's hard to really prevent it from getting out and partly because teams wasting time to block or get rid of Stealth Rock get beaten in other ways. Basically what I'm saying is everyone's throwing around the word "broken" and I just don't know what you're referring to, other than "every team has it" and "it has a big impact on the game" which alone applies to a lot of things (Leftovers, Choice Items, hell I'll disagree with the OP and say that Life Orb had a MUCH greater effect on Gen 4 play than SR).

In short: If SR decides battles, why didn't an "anti-SR" team storm the leaderboard or anything like that? If "there is no anti SR strategy", then does it honestly matter if "every" team gets it out fast anyway?
 

jrrrrrrr

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Ok, since the OP admitted that there's nothing that we can do immediately about this, we should change the tone of this thread.

If it ever comes to the point where we decide an SR test is necessary, how are we going to test it? I posted this thread like 15 months ago proposing the original version of the testing system we used in DP UU, and from what I heard it has been the most liked and efficient method of testing so far for the players. I think it would be a good starting point, because it has 5 pages of discussion and precedent that could make this discussion much shorter.

We can't really continue this thread without trying to answer that bolded question. We need to have a system in place before anything happens that most of us agree on so that we can tweak anything wrong with it before the test that matters.
 
In short: If SR decides battles, why didn't an "anti-SR" team storm the leaderboard or anything like that? If "there is no anti SR strategy", then does it honestly matter if "every" team gets it out fast anyway?
- Anti-leads dedicated to preventing Stealth Rock or punish turns setting it up
- Rapid Spinning
- Teams focusing on Pokemon not weak to Stealth Rock

What else would you want?
 

locopoke

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I agree with kd24's post entirely. "Anti-SR" teams DID storm the leaderboard. The best teams came prepared to deal with Stealth Rock, by either leading with a fast taunter or a Rapid Spinner, or making sure that they don't have more than one Pokemon that's weak to it. If your team had several Pokemon weak to SR and/or no way of preventing SR from going up, then it was probably a bad team.
 

Seven Deadly Sins

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If your team had several Pokemon weak to Heatran and/or no way of preventing Heatran from switching in, then it was probably a bad team.
If your team had several Pokemon weak to Scizor and/or no way of preventing Scizor from switching in, then it was probably a bad team.
If your team had several Pokemon weak to Gyarados and/or no way of preventing Gyarados from switching in, then it was probably a bad team.
If your team isn't good at handling threats, then it's probably a bad team. Stealth Rock isn't special in this regard.
 
I agree with kd24's post entirely. "Anti-SR" teams DID storm the leaderboard. The best teams came prepared to deal with Stealth Rock, by either leading with a fast taunter or a Rapid Spinner, or making sure that they don't have more than one Pokemon that's weak to it. If your team had several Pokemon weak to SR and/or no way of preventing SR from going up, then it was probably a bad team.
The best teams also came prepared to Tyranitar, Scizor, Heatran, Gyarados, Zapdos, and all the other influential parts of the game. I see SR in the same vein. It's an influential factor that has to be taken into account. To me, a SR test, if it were to occur, would be absolutely last, as the game is far from unplayable or broken with it in play. I'd rather let the chips fall, and sort out everything already broken before using time and energy in figuring out how to measure something that we haven't even determined detrimental to the game.
 

cim

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I don't buy the argument that running an Aerodactyl or Starmie lead automatically made your team so much better that it could storm the leaderboard (by being "the only side with Stealth Rock out"), really. If preventing SR while getting it out for yourself was that powerful, serious motions would have been made to ban those Pokemon, as starting the game with that advantage would be gigantic and teams would gravitate toward always using those leads, resulting in matches decided by the speed tie (see Deoxys-s).

Basically, if SR is broken, the "one side SR one side none" scenario would be an insurmountable deficit and teams with stuff like Aerodactyl would automatically be better than any other team, but that's obviously not the case.
 
I really do believe SR deserved testing during the Generation IV period. Having said that, we're in Generation V now, and while I can't stand the move, I don't feel we should be testing anything as suspect until it presents itself as an actual problem.

I agree with the sentiments of jrrrrrrr and others; lets have a metagame develop before assessing its impact and deciding if it is an issue.
 

B-Lulz

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Pretty much what TAY said. I'm actually struggling to justify putting Stealth Rock on a Pokemon over one that will have a greater impact, especially with Doryuuzu almost having a guaranteed spin, and Mischievous Heart Taunters, and the fact there are so many new Fighting types who resist Stealth Rock. It got worse, period. If it wasn't tested in Gen 4 (which was a correct decision) why test it now.
 

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