Sword and Shield Tiering Announcements

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Hogg

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UU & Tour Head
All tiering decisions for official Sword and Shield tiers will be documented here.

Tier Leaders: At the conclusion of any suspect test or council vote, please update the relevant post for your tier. Please make sure to include what was suspected, the date of the vote, the vote results (including the list of council members who voted if this was a council vote) and a brief explanation of the suspect.

Sample Council Vote said:
On ((date)), the UU council voted 8-3 to BAN ((Pokemon)) from UnderUsed.

((List council members who participated in this vote and how they voted here))

Reasoning: ((include a brief description of why the vote was held))

Sample Public Suspect Test said:
A public suspect test was held for ((Pokemon)). On ((date)), 65 voters (45%) voted to ban ((Pokemon)), while 80 voters (55%) voted to keep ((Pokemon)) UU. As it failed to reach the 51% majority required to ban, ((Pokemon)) will remain UU.

Link to Blind Voting results
Link to suspect thread

Reasoning: ((include a brief description of why the vote was held))
 

Finchinator

IT'S FINK DUMBASS
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OU & NU Leader
OverUsed

On 11/18, SS OU quickbanned Shadow Tag

With just a few days of observation, Shadow Tag is evidently very broken. It does what it always has done - allows pokemon like Gothitelle to trap / cripple a huge array of pokemon with Trick. Furthermore, gen 8 has granted even more buffs to the already dangerous strategy: 1) Pursuit no longer exists; 2) There are no mega / z items to prevent Trick; 3) Gothitelle has gained access to Cosmic Power and Stored Power. These factors let it trap a wider range of pokemon than before and very often more than one per battle, as Gothitelle can get its scarf back vs a pokemon that is either out of PP or in Stored Power range.


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On 12/10, SS OU quickbanned Moody

While we are hesitant to label Moody as "broken" per our tiering policy framework, we believe it satisfies the criteria set forth for declaring strategies "uncompetitive." Its inherent reliance on chance coupled with its rising prominence within the metagame compels us to act upon it now. It is true that there are other aspects of the game that rely on chance such as move accuracy and secondary effect chances, but none of them compare to Moody in this regard and they also tend to require thoughtful play to integrate successfully into gameplay, thus at least incorporating a certain element of "player skill" into the result of a match. While we are not saying that using teams revolving around Moody involves absolutely no skillful play, it does require significantly less skill than normal teams. The presence of Glalie and Octillery reduces the effect of player's choices throughout the course of a game; even if alternatives are far more consistent in effectiveness, it still holds true that Glalie and Octillery can take very winnable game-states for any other Pokemon and make them snowball out of the control of even the best of players if it gets the right boosts at the right time. The element of randomness being applied to multiple stat boosts each turn does not lead to a competitive and skillful environment that we wish to promote within the SS OU metagame.


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On 12/16, SS OU voted to ban Dynamax (and Gigantamax)

The reasoning behind the Dynamax ban involves the increase in power, the impact of the secondary effects each type's move has, the defensive merit gained through doubling the HP of any Dynamax user, and the element of unpredictability that comes alongside being able to Dynamax with any Pokemon at any point of the game. The ability for some of the most threatening Pokemon in the game to fire off consecutive boosted attacks, especially without being confined to a choice lock, opens up a lot of unmanageable breaking possibilities. However, this is just the start as the secondary effects that occur through using a move of any type oftentimes lead to the the game largely being decided by this three-turn sequence, especially if the Dynamaxed Pokemon has the ability to use specific boosts to snowball into a sweep. This overwhelming prospect is also bolstered by the fact that Dynamaxed Pokemon have double the HP, allowing for many offensive Pokemon to avoid being taken out by otherwise troublesome threads as well as opening up the game to many defensive exploits of Dynamaxing.

While all of this is cause for concern, the biggest reason for banning Dynamax is perhaps the unpredictability that comes alongside it. As ABR has stated, the uses of Dynamax apply to any Pokemon at any time. No matter what specific Pokemon we try to get rid of (or even more narrowly prevent from Dynamaxing), the remaining set of Pokemon that can Dynamax will always be problematic. It goes way beyond "Gyarados and Hawlucha are terrifying sweepers due to their Dynamax moves." Anything with a choice item has the option of breaking the otherwise abusable lock by activating its Dynamax. Any concept of consistency or stability goes out the window when the Pokemon on the losing side of the 1v1 can flip that around with Dynamax. The existence of Dynamax lessens competitive strategy and rewards short term bursts of prediction. Without the thought or planning going into team deduction, set speculation, and how they relate to strategies regarding what beats what, the game cannot meet the standards of our competitive community. For more reasoning from members of the council, I would recommend reading through this post.

On top of this, we would like to add that this suspect has grouped Dynamaxing with Gigantamaxing as they are essentially the same mechanic, but with the latter only being usable on a smaller pool of Pokemon. In the games themselves, they function in the same way and are used through the same exact mechanism within the battle. Moreover, tiering them separately was not something we wished to entertain and Gigantamaxing will also be banned alongside Dynamaxing moving forward.


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On 2/14, SS OU quickbanned Kyurem-Black and Melmetal

The OU council has decided to ban Kyurem-Black and Melmetal.

Kyurem-Black has lingered in the OU tier for the last three generations. However, it recently gained access to some new moves that bolster its effectiveness. Dragon Dance and Icicle Spear are the most notable additions to its arsenal. The former allows for Kyurem-Black to have its unmatched physical attacking strength translate into sweeping potential and the latter gives it a physical, one turn STAB Ice move that it previously lacked. When used in conjunction with Fusion Bolt, Icicle Spear gives Kyurem-Black BoltBeam coverage, which is very hard to keep in check because nothing resists it except for Rotom-Heat. In addition, access to Earth Power allows for it to hit bulkier Steel types like Melmetal, who shrug off boosted Icicle Spear, and the aforementioned Rotom-Heat, who is impacted due to Teravolt nullifying Levitate.

Despite being strong offensively, it is true that Kyurem-Black has some vulnerabilities. It is weak to Stealth Rock and cannot always take advantage of its superb natural bulk due to a mediocre defensive typing. With the increase in Defog distribution and the ability to use Heavy Duty Boots, Kyurem-Black is oftentimes able to mitigate the entry hazard vulnerability. It is also able to muscle through most offensive threats to it with the help of Dragon Dance; setting one up is rarely problematic, too, considering that there are many more passive Pokemon circulating and plenty of things still are incapable of hitting Kyurem-Black super effectively. Couple this with the fact that the ability to revenge kill Kyurem-Black is limited to Mach Punch from Conkeldurr and a very limited pool of faster Choice Scarf users and it becomes clear that the metagame lacks sufficient offensive or defensive counterplay to Kyurem-Black. Because of this, we are electing to quickban Kyurem-Black.

Melmetal is a newer Pokemon, but it has made the most of its brief stint in the OU metagame. To start things off, Melmetal is one of the strongest Pokemon in the game physically and it is able to make use of this attacking prowess with signature move Double Iron Bash, which is effectively a 120 base power move with a 51% chance to flinch and an Iron Fist boost. The mono-Steel typing coupled with similarly great physical defense allows for Melmetal to be quite sturdy on that side of the spectrum, but it also enables Melmetal to pack a punch with Body Press, which is oftentimes used in conjunction with Acid Armor in order to strengthen it while making Melmetal even bulkier. Moreover, it also has a number of other options that allow for Melmetal to hit potential counterplay, including coverage moves such as Thunder Punch for Toxapex that can otherwise prove problematic.

While Melmetal has plenty of unique characteristics that let it stand out in the OU metagame, it is true that Melmetal is quite slow and can fall to strong special attacks. The problem is that most special attackers, aside from a healthy Rotom-Wash or Rotom-Heat, are incapable of switching into Melmetal safely due to how strong it is. On the contrary, Melmetal finds itself getting in unscathed frequently due to how practical the mono-Steel typing is, especially in conjunction with its defensive stat spread. Be it through the Body Press + Acid Armor set that is only countered by a very limited pool of Pokemon such as Toxapex and Jellicent or through other sets such as Choice Banded Melmetal, which is an absolute wrecking ball with Double Iron Bash, Melmetal is capable of posing a consistent threat to teams offensively while being a physically defensive behemoth. Given how disruptive the combination of Double Iron Bash and a potentially boosted Body Press can be, the amount of defensive counterplay to those variants of Melmetal present within the metagame is insufficient. In addition, there are virtually no switch-ins to the more offensive variants such as Choice Banded Melmetal, which is even more problematic due to how naturally bulky it is, letting it get in safely frequently. Therefore, we are electing to quickban Melmetal. The council intends to retest Melmetal in the near future once the metagame has settled down, so keep an eye open for that down the road.


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On 3/30, SS OU voted to ban Arena Trap

Arena Trap on Dugtrio has been one of the most controversial topics in the SS OU metagame for a few months now. Handling the ability allows for us to tackle the root of the problem while also avoiding any potential repeat issues with other abusers in the future. We have precedent for this and it is also discussed at length in the OP, so we will just focus on Dugtrio from here. The Focus Sash set has recently become very problematic; it is able to take out a variety of prominent Pokemon while also taking out the normal suspects. The Choice Band set is also superb; it is able to trap many weakened Pokemon while also eliminating a number of walls that are necessary for balance teams in specific match-ups. The impact of Dugtrio's trapping is not to be understated in the current metagame. Many games are blown wide open if and when Dugtrio is able to be effective with Arena Trap. No other Pokemon in the tier have the same unforgiving impact on gameplay and we do not view this dynamic as a healthy one. Switching is a fundamental part of gameplay as we see it and eliminating that through a steady trapper of everything grounded such as Arena Trap Dugtrio is not something that belongs in our metagame. Much like previous generations, Arena Trap will be banned from the overused metagame.
 

Nayrz

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Ubers Leader
Ubers

On April 1st 2020, the Ubers council voted to enable a Dynamax clause.
Prior to Pokemon Home's release, Dynamax was regarded as a fine mechanic by the community, balanced by the centralization of Zacian and Eternatus and their inability to use the mechanic themselves. When Pokemon Home released, it came with legalizing various Ubers present in the SS code. There was one catch though - they could Dynamax. This has drastically thrown off the balance in the metagame to the point almost everyone has expressed discontent with it - games often centralize directly around certain Dynamax-boosted threats and how they are abused or nullified to the point little else matters. This pressure the various Dynamax-powered Ubers Pokemon have also extends to the teambuilder, reducing the interesting choices available both to use and to play around opposing threats compared to the general expectations our metagame has. Before Home, Dynamax was viewed as a cool way for lower tier Pokemon to stand out in Ubers, but now the Ubers themselves with access to the mechanic are the ones in full oppressive control of the metagame.

The council discussions led most of us to believe that the proposal of a complex ban on Dynamax as an initial starting point is the right way to begin - Ubers has the unique ability to pursue complex bans in our efforts to preserve elements in the metagame provided they are grounded in logic. There is a limit to how complex things can be dealt with when we consider the wider tiering system and ease of community understanding, but we know that any complex ban comes with an added knowledge burden to our players. We also have to accept that tiering in Ubers will come with some controversial and messy decisions when compared to other tiers in order to fit our goals. Still, the complex banlist needs something solid to operate from, something that makes a level of sense or we spend all day nitpicking. Question is then, what fits that description?

There are a few options that floated around in the previous discussion - a BST limit to Dynamax, ban all Ubers from Dynamax, ban the mechanic itself, to name some. The community felt that a full ban was too extreme at this point in time, and banning by BST introduces a large amount of collateral if used to solve the current problems, while also setting a poor precedent. Using Ubers as a hard baseline of what can't Dynamax would mean anything OU does would affect our banlist too, so we're using it as a basic idea of what to look at instead. The SS Council felt that using everything currently Ubers as the idea would cover too many things that are not problems with Dynamax, so we decided to go by the idea that anything that found itself being automatically placed in Ubers is a good starting point.

That left one issue out - Ditto. Ditto being able to circumvent the purpose of the banlist by turning into something on that banlist and then using Dynamax is something that just doesn't make much sense to allow. There are some differences between the imposter and the original forme, but in practice Ditto will violate the premise of the banlist and take direct unintentional advantage of a tiering decision - thinking in reverse, Ditto is being buffed by the effects of a ban on those it can copy. There are two ways this can be dealt with; one is that the clause can cover transformations but this also means the clause has increased complexity. It's a nightmare to enforce transformations combined with Dynamax in practice as it requires a further convoluted in-battle alteration to prevent Ditto using Dynamax when it's transformed into a Pokemon on the banlist, and its even less clear to players. Why can Ditto Dynamax sometimes and not others? There are limits to how complex a ban should be, and in this case it's better to take the simple solution and prevent Ditto from using Dynamax altogether.
 
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Hogg

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UU & Tour Head
UnderUsed

On 1/5/2020, the UnderUsed council voted to ban Hawlucha from SS UU.



Hawlucha was an absolute menace. Between its ability and movepool options, it's the most potent setup sweeper UU has seen in a while. Due to its multitude of sets thanks to things like running items such as Electric Seed, Psychic Seed, White Herb, or Power Herb, as well as filler moves such as Taunt, Throat Chop, and Drain Punch , it is able to circumvent would be methods to handle it. Thanks to its naturally high speed, Hawlucah has the luxury of padding its bulk to better take on priority moves such as Mamoswine Ice Shard, this in tandem with the boost from Electric Seed allows Hawlucha to comfortably take on all forms of priority without picking up multiple kills along the way. Hawlucha can beat Doublade by running Electric Seed + Throat Chop, or beat most traditional bulky forms of counterplay, such as Hippowdon and Pyukumuku, with Taunt. Drain Punch also allows Hawlucha to recover some damage its taken to further increase its longevity, which can be big against teams that rely on sacrificing a Pokemon or two to force Hawlucha to click CC and drop its Defense, allowing priority to knock it out. All in all, Hawlucha was a menace, and one that does not belong in the metagame as it stands.


On 1/12/2020, the UnderUsed council voted to ban Crawdaunt, Gengar and Obstagoon from UU.



:Crawdaunt:
With the departure of Kommo-O, nothing in the tier has the typing or the bulk to switch into the lobster anymore. 5 fully evolved Pokemon are capable of resisting both of its STABs; Shiinotic, Whimsicott, Shiftry, Toxicroak (thanks to Dry Skin), and Crawdaunt itself. The bulkiest of these Pokemon is... Crawdaunt itself, which still takes 41.2-48.4% from Adamant CB Crabhammer. Point is: Crawdaunt has no switchins. Its incredible power, thanks to Adaptability, alongside its great offensive typing, and access to priority, all allow Crawdaunt to feast on this metagame. With virtually no means of switching into this Pokemon, the counterplay is limited to sacrifice a Pokemon and bring in something faster, or rely on Innards Out Pyukumuku to trade. Crawdaunt also has the ability to forgo the immediate boost from Choice Band, running Life Orb to switch moves for a slight cut in power, as well as the ability to run a 4th move to help Crawdaunt further; Swords Dance, Close Combat, or even Dragon Dance can let Crawdaunt go in even more than before. Most importantly about Crawdaunt is that its most frequently clicked STAB is Knock Off. In this metagame, Knock Off is practically the best possible attack; there are very few viable Dark resists, and none of them appreciate losing their items. Overall, even with Crawdaunts incredible power, its slow and not very bulky. It is very easily revenge killed by the vast multitude of threats. Crawdaunt, while on paper it seems unbeatable, really is mostly a hit-and-run Pokemon in this metagame, where it immediately switches out after attacking.

:Gengar:
Gengar, in this metagame, is incredibly fast and powerful. With Pursuit no longer existing, Gengar fears nothing, as it is capable of beating any type of team, no matter what is thrown at it. Even teams with Umbreon can lose to Gengar, as Gengar can potentially run Specs + Sludge Bomb, thus fish for a poison and utterly cripple Umbreon as well as Trick its Specs away, limiting Umbreon greatly. The popularity of Drapion as of late speaks volumes to how much of a commodity Ghost resists are in this metagame, as things like Umbreon are simply too passive is prone to Toxic Spikes and Obstagoon is simply not a good answer to Gengar, or any Ghost-type for that matter. Gengar also now has access to Nasty Plot, which is an absolutely killer set, only the aforementioned Umbreon and Drapion are able to combat it after a boost, otherwise relying on Choice Scarf Pokemon. Gengar, despite being one of the centralizing forces in this metagame, has its faults. The Pokemon I've mentioned before are common for a reason; because they beat Gengar. Gengar is not something that can't be switched into, it is not something that has no counters, and it is not something that is too fast to revenge kill.

:Obstagoon:
Obstagoon is a threat. Only 0.026% usage off of being OU in the last month of usage stats, Obstagoon is practically the face of UU as it currently stands. While its potent sets are limited to only running Flame Orb, Obstagoon has an absurdly useful movepool and the ability to cripple or bypass the vast majority of would-be counters. Taunt, Switcheroo, Bulk Up, Obstruct, Close Combat, and Parting Shot all are viable options to run alongside Facade + Knock Off. Obstagoon has an insane amount of versatility for a Pokemon that virtually always runs the same set, just with different filler moves tacked on. Obstagoon, while not as immediately potent as Crawdaunt, is virtually unwallable. Thanks to its speed tier, bulk, typing, and ability, Obstagoon can take on the majority of the tier and deal massive damage with its STABs. Having access to Knock Off off of incredible power in this metagame is killer; removing Leftovers or other utility items can open holes for Obstagoon or another Pokemon to win later. People have even found use of running Choice Scarf, as it has access to Defiant to punish Defogs, as well as Switcheroo and Parting Shot, to making it even more effective. However, with all this in mind, Obstagoon is not unbeatable. It's not fast enough to be impossible to revenge kill, an absurd amount of Pokemon can use Body Press with their high defenses to take it on, and Obstagoon isn't that strong for a Pokemon firing off Guts boosted Facades. While it certainly is extremely strong, it's no Ursaring; the majority of this Pokemons viability comes from its ability coupled with the other tools it has.


On 2/9/2020, the UnderUsed council voted to ban Dracozolt from UU.



Backed by Hustle, Dracozolt's Bolt Beak is the strongest attack in the game. To put things into perspective, even without a boosting item, it hits neutral targets harder than LO Mega Rayquaza's Dragon Ascent. This kind of power means that simply resisting it is not sufficient; any team that doesn't pack immunities will find it tearing through them in due course. It can also run a number of sets, including CB (which makes it capable of 2HKOing the entire tier), Scarf and Substitute. However, it is held back by Hustle's unreliable accuracy and a mediocre Speed that leaves non-Scarf sets easily revenge killed.

When Dracozolt initially dropped, everyone jumped on the Choice Band set due to its crazy power and the fact it OHKOs nearly every thing that isn't a Ground-type with Bolt Beak, to which gets hit by Outrage or another move. But, a crazy good breaker is nothing new to this tier, as we have a multitude of absurdly good breakers, even if Dracozolt is harder to wall, both of its STABs will very frequently run into an immunity and it also has to deal with Hustle reducing its accuracy. Dracozolt's speed is also pretty bad, leaving it vulnerable to easily being revenge killed by a lot of very common Pokemon, as well as reducing the opportunities it has to even come in in the first place. However, as time went on, people diverged from only using the CB set and found out that Dracozolt is, quite frankly, pretty stupid with multiple sets. Scarf in particular is ridiculous; letting it outspeed the vast majority of the tier and giving it absurd cleaning potential. Life Orb and Substitute are up there as well; being able to change moves and still hit with absurd power, as well as hide behind a sub making it impossible to RK bar Infiltrator allows for even more shenanigans. CB is not a bad set by no means, either, as quite frankly, it doesn't have any form of counter play bar a) winning a 50/50, b) dodging, c) sac and revenge kill. All in all, Dracozolt is simply too much for the tier, and has been voted to be banned in a 9-2-1 decision.


On 2/24/2020, the UnderUsed council voted to ban Diggersby, Durant, and Weavile.



:diggersby: Diggersby :diggersby:

Diggersby was always a major threat even pre-Home, with an excellent Scarf set that retains much of its wallbreaking ability while bypassing its low Speed and a powerful SD set that really began to gain traction in the latter days of the pre-Home meta. However, it wasn't until Home released that we saw its full potential thanks to the release of Knock Off. With Knock Off it no longer struggles with 4mss, as Normal + Ground + Dark hits the entire tier for good damage. There simply are not defensive counters to Diggersby barring defensive Avalugg in the current meta (and even Avalugg finds itself 2HKO'd by CB sets once it gets knocked). Its low Speed and below-average defenses give it some offensive counterplay, but with a Choice Scarf or strong priority in a boosted Quick Attack, it can easily power through offensive teams as well.

:durant: Durant :durant:

Unlike the other two, Durant saw no major improvements in the post-Home meta. While it does now have access to Hone Claws, giving it a powerful new option, the real menace is Durant's Choice Band set. Packing an excellent Speed tier and the strongest priority in the entire game (to put things into perspective, CB First Impression deals almost as much damage as +2 ESpeed from Adamant Arceus), backed by powerful attacks capable of breaking through even the sturdiest of walls, defensive counterplay to CB Durant is often limited to physically defensive Hippo (which must stay perfectly healthy, as CB Iron Head does 40% minimum to max/max Hippo), hoping to predict around its attacks or crossing your fingers and hoping for a miss. Many people have expressed that they feel Durant represents a particularly unhealthy presence in the tier, with games hinging entirely on whether or not Hustle hits.

:weavile: Weavile :weavile:

While Weavile is still lacking one of its most notorious tools in Pursuit, Home gave it back its other key option: Knock Off. With so few Knock absorbers in the tier, Weavile is proving to be a fantastic revenge killer and one of the best late-game threats around. It has several sets it can run, but perhaps the most reliable is Boots SD, which is fantastic at turning games around thanks to its blazing fast Speed and amazing attack and dual-STAB. While it is not a breaker in the same way Diggersby and Durant are, it is still an extremely formidable threat, and deserves a closer look.


On 3/4/2020, the UnderUsed Council voted to ban Alolan Ninetales.



It may come as no surprise to many that Aurora Veil is a big problem for UU yet again. Within the tier at the moment, there are a vast multitude of offensive threats, both old and newly gained from the latest drops, all of which's potency is exponentially furthered thanks to Alolan Ninetales. As you all should know, Alolan Ninetales' ability immediately summons Hail, thus allowing Aurora Veil to be used instantly with no partners or prior setup necessary. This has skewed the metagame in an egregious way. Every team at the moment falls under one of two categories; teams with Aurora Veil Ninetales and teams built to beat Aurora Veil teams.

While counterplay exists, its scope is incredibly narrow and is inefficient. The immediate reaction to stopping Aurora Veil will surely be either set up your own weather or to OHKO Alolan Ninetales before it can set up Aurora Veil. However, these are far from surefire and easily exploitable. Say you pick to use a team with Gigalith or (Kanto) Ninetales to combat Aurora Veil teams, and you switch into these weather setters when Alolan Ninetales hits the playing field. Now they click Hail. What now? Resetting weather is far from a guaranteed means of stopping Aurora Veil, and should your form of counterplay rely on this, you'll be left exposed should it fail. The other method of OHKOing Alolan Ninetales before it can set Veil is way easier to speak of in theory than in practice. The pool of Pokemon that are naturally faster and capable of OHKOing Alolan Ninetales consists of three Pokemon; Salazzle, CB Cinccinno, and CB Barraskewda. Choice Scarf Pokemon that have the potential to surprise Alolan Ninetales are also fine options. However, all of these bar Salazzle have the same issue; they're choice locked and allow free setup, even if your opponent fails to recognize that they should switch Alolan Ninetales out and set up Aurora Veil later. Against offensive teams, a free turn may be all it takes for the game to end. On top of the fact that they could easily switch out, preserve Alolan Ninetales as well as get the free opportunity to setup while you're choiced locked drives home just how limited the counterplay is.

Bar the aforementioned methods of counterplay, which are quite inefficient, exist two more; Infiltrator Pokemon and sweep before they do. Noivern and Chandelure, while both are incredible Pokemon in the tier, are not at their best against offensive teams, as they can be easily picked off or used as setup fodder, even without the boosted defenses Aurora Veil provides. These two Pokemon can be great tools against Aurora Veil, they alone are not means to call it a day. Aiming to sweep before they sweep is a foolish strategy on paper, but can work in some instances. To call it sufficient, though, is not appropriate.

Overall, Aurora Veil from Alolan Ninetales absolutely warps the metagame. While Alolan Ninetales only acts in support of the many potent offensive threats our tier has to offer, we deemed it to be the appropriate target rather than picking and choosing between each and every offensive threat that Aurora Veil boosts. On the matter of Alolan Ninetales vs. Aurora Veil as a whole, Vanilluxe has already existed within the metagame, and was not deemed to be problematic at the time. Should this change, and Vanilluxe led Aurora Veil teams become problematic, we will look into the matter again in the future. But as it stands, Alolan Ninetales is now BANNED from SS UU.


On 3/14/2020, the UnderUsed Council voted to ban Gyarados and Primarina.



:Gyarados:
The former Dynamax menace now drops to UU as of this month, and it has made a big splash in the tier. Gyarados has so many tools at its disposal now; its coverage options are incredible in this tier with over five viable moves to go alongside Dragon Dance, the utility of Heavy-Duty Boots, and an extreme lacking in viable physically bulky Pokemon. Between Boots and Gyarados' newest move, Power Whip, it's very hard to handle. Power Whip allows Gyarados to nail every bulky Water-type, as well as let Gyarados drop Water coverage if the user so pleases, as it still hits Ground-types very hard.

Even with the departure of Aurora Veil from the tier, Gyarados is still the perfect setup sweeper. It has Dragon Dance, a no drawback STAB, a multitude of good coverage options, and Moxie to further the snowballing. It is extremely difficult to handle Gyarados, the most reliable method being Scarf Rotom-Mow. Defensive options can't do anything more than sit and hope Gyarados does not have the appropriate filler move, whether it be coverage or Taunt/Substitute. Offensive options cannot reliably switch into Gyarados, and must outspeed after a Dragon Dance. All in all, while not a unanimous decision from the Council (8-3 with one abstain), there is no doubt that Gyarados is the most threatening setup sweeper the tier has seen since Hawlucha was banned at the very start of the tier.

:Primarina:
One of the most notable breakers from SM UU returns, but this time there is no Blissey. Much like Gyarados, Primarina got a notable addition with this generation; Calm Mind. Although it is not quite as useful as Power Whip is to Gyarados, it bolsters Primarina's options. Primarina, quite frankly, was a guaranteed kill every time it entered the field against something unable to kill it in one shot, bar some obscene exceptions. Specs Primarina could not be switched into; non-Specs trades immediate power for making it even harder to revenge kill; Calm Mind makes it even harder for things like Celebi and Toxtricity to offensively check it. Between all of its options, it was quite frankly the most fearsome Pokemon to face off against.

The decision to ban was unanimous from the Council; all 12 people voted to ban it. Primarina really did not have viable countermeasures, unlike in SM. Just comparing the two generations, there is no Blissey, Amoonguss, Empoleon, or Tentacruel, as well as offensive Pokemon that threatened Primarina, such as Scizor, no longer being within the tier. On top of the fact Primarina now gets Calm Mind, adding a whole new element to consider when taking it on. Ultimately, Primarina was banned because of the Choice Specs set, which simply has no viable counterplay.
 
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Corporal Levi

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Little Cup

On Nov 20 2019, the LC council voted 9-0 to BAN Corsola-Galar from Little Cup.

Coconut - ban
Corporal Levi - ban
fatty - ban
Kingler12345 - ban
Ninjadog - ban
Quote - ban
Shrug - ban
Star - ban
tazz - ban

Reasoning: Corsola-Galar is arguably the greatest defensive threat Little Cup has ever seen. Boasting 60/100/100 defenses, Will-o-Wisp, Strength Sap, Calm Mind, and Cursed Body, Corsola-Galar is extremely difficult to KO. When you factor in the Ghost typing which not only prevents trapping but is more difficult to punish because of Knock Off's limited distribution and Pursuit's removal from the game, you have a threat which requires the efforts of numerous Pokemon to effectively take it down.


====================


On Nov 24 2019, the LC council voted 8-1 to BAN Dynamax from Little Cup.

Coconut - ban
Corporal Levi - ban
fatty - ban
Kingler12345 - ban
Ninjadog - ban
Quote - ban
Shrug - ban
Star - ban
tazz - do not ban

Reasoning: While in theory quickbanning some of the most notable abusers is a solution, there is a strong belief that due to Little Cup's damage calculations combined with limited defensive counterplay, there are too many Pokemon that can abuse this mechanic to a strong degree, to the point where we would have to ban possibly 10+ Pokemon, such as Farfetch'd-Galar, Vullaby, Rufflet, Woobat (post-Home), Scraggy, Onix, and others. Even Pokemon that don't come across as obviously broken with the mechanic can easily snowball out of control, because in most cases, the best defensive option against Dynamax is your own Dynamax, which in most cases is coming after your opponent has already had a turn to gain a Max Boost. It is easier and cleaner from a tiering perspective to simply ban the mechanic entirely, and it lines up with our belief that the mechanic is too overbearing for Little Cup.


====================


On Dec 1 2019, the LC council voted 8-1 to BAN Gastly from Little Cup.

Coconut - ban
Corporal Levi - ban
fatty - ban
Kingler12345 - ban
Ninjadog - do not ban
Quote - ban
Shrug - ban
Star - ban
tazz - ban

Reasoning: Gastly is among the most immediately threatening Pokemon in the tier due to a combination of its fantastic 19 special attack and 18 speed, strong STABs in Sludge Wave and Shadow Ball, and a plethora of coverage moves that includes Thunderbolt, Energy Ball, Fire Punch, Psychic, and Sucker Punch. Life Orb Gastly in particular is able to OHKO the vast majority of Pokemon that aren't wielding Eviolite, as well as 2HKO most that do, allowing it to reliably get KOs almost every time it comes into play against teams that lack one of its select few checks. These checks have their usage dramatically skewed upwards, as the only other significant option to deal with Gastly is revenge-killing it with faster threats, all of which are unable to safely switch in and are generally less threatening than Gastly.


====================


On Dec 1 2019, the LC council voted 9-0 to BAN Gothita from Little Cup.

Coconut - ban
Corporal Levi - ban
fatty - ban
Kingler12345 - ban
Ninjadog - ban
Quote - ban
Shrug - ban
Star - ban
tazz - ban

Reasoning: Gothita is noticeably bulkier than the other common LC trappers, and has access to a variety of coverage and support moves including Thunderbolt, Energy Ball, Trick, Charm, and Thunder Wave. This allows each of its major sets to be tailored to switch into and trap a fair number of defensive Pokemon, as well as guarantee a revenge-kill on many more offensive and defensive Pokemon. The ability to actively switch into many of its targets means that it can effectively invalidate them from team preview. The options to countertrap Gothita are quite limited - Eviolite Gothita variants are generally able to avoid being countertrapped by the likes of Trapinch and Diglett - meaning Gothita will often be able to trap multiple threats per game. Gothita is able to support many of the top offensive threats in the metagame to an extreme degree by removing their strongest checks in a manner that allows limited counterplay.


====================


On Dec 1 2019, the LC council voted 9-0 to BAN Moody from Little Cup.

Coconut - ban
Corporal Levi - ban
fatty - ban
Kingler12345 - ban
Ninjadog - ban
Quote - ban
Shrug - ban
Star - ban
tazz - ban

Reasoning: Moody is available on two Pokemon in LC, Remoraid and Snorunt, and we have deemed it to be uncompetitive on both. Because of how damage rolls work at level 5, as well as how most passive options such as hazards, status, and leftovers have their effects rounded down, LC naturally skews towards offense; options to consistently deal with Moody abusers that might be available and common in OU, such as (p)hazing and Toxic, would be close to unviable in the LC metagame except to deal with Moody. As such, the opponent to the Moody abuser simply has to hope that Moody doesn't grant favourable boosts in time; if Moody does grant favourable boosts, then the Moody abuser will generally be able to sweep with no room for counterplay, leaving the outcome of the game entirely up to random chance instead of player skill.


====================


On Dec 8 2019, the LC council voted 9-0 to BAN Cherubi or Vulpix from Little Cup, of which seven votes were to ban Cherubi and two were to ban Vulpix.

Coconut - ban
Corporal Levi - ban
fatty - ban
Kingler12345 - ban
Ninjadog - ban
Quote - ban
Shrug - ban
Star - ban
tazz - ban
Coconut - Cherubi
Corporal Levi - Cherubi
fatty - Vulpix
Kingler12345 - Vulpix
Ninjadog - Cherubi
Quote - Cherubi
Shrug - Cherubi
Star - Cherubi
tazz - Cherubi

Reasoning: When paired with Sun support from Drought Vulpix, Cherubi's combination of Chlorophyll and Weather Ball turns it into an unmatched sweeper. Between its Grass-type STAB move and Weather Ball, which becomes a 150 power Fire-type move when boosted by the Sun, Cherubi's coverage is resisted only by Fire- and Dragon-types, of which there are nearly no viable bulky options that can safely switch into it in LC. Chlorophyll lets Cherubi reach up to 28 Speed under the Sun with a Timid nature, outspeeding all but the fastest Choice Scarf users looking to revenge-kill it. After a Sun-boosted Growth, even Eviolite Cherubi variants are able to OHKO the majority of the metagame; Life Orb Cherubi is viable too for its immediate OHKO power, and has to be dealt with somewhat differently from Eviolite Cherubi. Cherubi's potent coverage and high Speed with Drought support makes it almost impossible to reliably handle except through a select few choices that would otherwise see almost no viability. While it is only broken when paired with reliable Sun support in Drought Vulpix, and so this issue could also be solved by banning Vulpix, we believe that Cherubi is the only Sun abuser that is broken in the current metagame, and that banning it damages metagame diversity less than banning Vulpix does.


====================


On February 13th, the LC Council voted 15-0 to BAN Drifloon from Little Cup.

Reasoning: With the release of Pokemon HOME, Drifloon re-gained access to Recycle, which allowed it to greatly sustain itself over the course of a game by constantly recovering its Berry Juice. While a huge buff to its Specially Offensive set, this also allowed its infamous AcroWisp set to be viable once again. Those sets in tandem made Drifloon extremely difficult to reliably check, as checks for one will not reliably check the other.


====================


On February 13th, the LC Council voted 15-0 to BAN Vulpix from Little Cup (and subsequently unban Cherubi).

Reasoning: Vulpix was banned in place of Cherubi because of Bulbasaur's release. Bulbasaur was for all intents and purposes a better Cherubi, having access to Weather Ball but also having an additional STAB in Sludge Bomb, as well as being faster and bulkier. The reason for banning Vulpix is because with Bulbasaur's existence the council felt that Vulpix was providing too much support overall, helping foster an extremely powerful archetype in Sun. Regular Ponyta also returned, strengthening Sun teams even further. Cherubi was unbanned as a result of its source of power, Vulpix, no longer being available.
 
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MajorBowman

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Doubles Colonel
Doubles OU

On Nov 22 2019, the Doubles council unanimously voted to UNBAN Moody from Doubles.

AuraRayquaza unban
Croven unban
Demantoid unban
MajorBowman unban
Memoric unban
talkingtree unban

Reasoning: Without the ability to boost evasion, Moody is largely a non-issue in a metagame where double-targeting is available. Thus, this clause is unnecessary for a balanced Doubles metagame, and so the council struck it from the rules.

Announcement post is here

====================

On Dec 25 2019, the Doubles council voted 6-1 to UNBAN GravSleep from Doubles.

AuraRayquaza unban
Croven unban
Demantoid keep banned
MajorBowman unban
Memoric unban
talkingtree unban
Yoda2798 unban

Reasoning: This clause previously prohibited the use of Gravity with any Sleep-inducing move that had below 100% accuracy. However, the vast majority of the dangerous abusers of this mechanic in the past like Shaymin-S, Darkrai, Landorus-I, and Mega Gengar are no longer available, so it is unlikely to still be an issue. G-Max Orbeetle was originally brought up as a potential conflict with the clause as originally written, with its signature move skirting the rules, but the council agreed that even outside of G-Max Orbeetle, GravSleep no longer needed to be banned. Therefore, in the interest of keeping the rules as simple as possible, the clause was removed.

Announcement post is here

====================

On Jan 8 2020, the Doubles council voted 5-2 to REMOVE Evasion Abilities Clause from Doubles.

AuraRayquaza remove
Croven remove
Demantoid keep
MajorBowman keep
Memoric remove
talkingtree remove
Yoda2798 remove

Reasoning: Evasion abilities may not be ideal in a vacuum, and may even be seen as uncompetitive, but removing this clause is more in line with previous rulings. As was the case with GravSleep, the negative aspects that Sand Veil / Snow Cloak users could have on the metagame are limitied enough in their scope and viability that removing this clause is unlikely to cause issues. In the end, the majority of the council decided that this clause covered scenarios that didn't need to be covered, so the clause was removed. A more detailed post arguing for this decision can be found here.

Announcement post is here

====================

On Jan 21, 2020, the Doubles council reinstated the Gravity Sleep Clause.

Reasoning: The clause was originally removed due to the Council's belief that the combination of Gravity and inaccurate sleep-inducing attacks would not be a negative force within the metagame and the desire to shrink the banlist. However, it quickly became apparent that Gravity + Sleep was still significantly unhealthy, and that if it were to be freed it should be done by a public vote. As such, the clause has been reinstated for the time being.

Announcement post is here

====================

On Feb 12, 2020, the Doubles council banned Jirachi, Kyurem-B, and Marshadow.

Reasoning: Jirachi and Marshadow are both banned from all DOU generations in which they exist, and the currently lower-than-average power level of Generation 8 DOU creates an environment in which they would be even more unhealthy than in generations past. Kyurem-B, while never banned in DOU historically, gained access to three very good moves with the release of Sword and Shield, two of which nigh unarguably push it over the edge. As such, all three have been removed from the metagame.

Announcement post is here

====================

On Mar 2, 2020, the Doubles council banned Beat Up.

Reasoning: With Dynamax in the metagame, Beat Up + Justified Terrakion becomes an extremely easy way to get a tanky, fast +6 attacker that even has access to Max Airstream to raise its speed further. In addition, common and widely viable Pokemon like Whimsicott and Dragapult both get access to the move, making the opportunity cost for using Beat Up + Justified incredibly low. While there was some counterplay available, the bar for reaching an auto-win position was deemed too low, and so Beat Up had to go.

Announcement post is here
 
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Eien

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Monotype Leader
Monotype

On Nov 23 2019, the Monotype council voted 7-0 to BAN Damp Rock and Smooth Rock from Monotype

Eien ban
Wanka ban
1 True Lycan ban
Chaitanya ban
Ridley ban
TheThorn ban
Waszap ban


Reasoning:
In Smooth Rock's case, it smooths over Hippowdon's lack of pivoting options and means Excadrill is not pressured to switch into attacks at all because it has more than enough time to eventually find its way into play. In addition, once it is in play, Excadrill has far too many turns of sand to sweep or set up against the opponent. In fact, Excadrill can happily switch out and sometimes switch back in before sand has to be reset by Hippowdon. Given how much momentum is lost by Hippowdon, this is a huge win for Ground teams against offense. The combined effect of both alleviating pressure put on the sand team by removing the onus to take risks to get Excadrill in quickly along with applying significantly more pressure on the opponent by giving Excadrill more turns to sweep means Smooth Rock is currently too good for Monotype.

For Damp Rock, Swift Swim sweepers are arguably better than ever. Barraskewda has fantastic coverage and is extremely fast even outside of rain, giving rain even more consistency than before and patching up the loss of Greninja's revenge killing. Seismitoad is still running around firing off ridiculously powerful Hydro Pumps, pairing extremely nicely with Barraskewda, and it even gets Stealth Rock, which you have much more time to set up when you have 8 turns of rain instead of 5. It isn't just Swift Swim sweepers that make Damp Rock too good, though. The great 1.5x damage boost to Water-type moves during such an extended period turns many Pokemon into wallbreakers. One great example is Dracovish, whose Fishious Rend goes from 85 BP to 170 BP when going first to 255 due to STAB to 382.5 in rain to 573.75 with Strong Jaw. When combining the effectiveness of Swift Swim sweepers and rain-boosted attacks, 8 turns is simply too long in Monotype.

====================
On Dec 15 2019, the Monotype council voted 7-0 to BAN Moody from Monotype

Eien ban
Wanka ban
1 True Lycan ban
Chaitanya ban
Ridley ban
TheThorn ban
Waszap ban


Reasoning:
With the nerf to Moody in SS removing its ability to boost evasion, Smogon decided to retest Moody by unbanning it for the new generation, as the historical reasons to ban Moody in Smeargle, evasion, and Baton Pass were all invalidated. However, it has become clear quite quickly that Moody remains uncompetitive in Monotype even if it isn't as broken as it once was. Even though it cannot get free evasion boosts anymore, it now has a 1/5 chance to boost Speed, which is a powerful way to improve consistency with Substitute giving extra turns to boost further. For many teams, stopping Moody users is a matter of getting lucky enough against its Moody boosts before it gets out of control, since Moody is very much a snowbally ability. The more Defense, Special Defense, and Speed boosts a Moody user gets, the more difficult it becomes to stop. When the Moody strategy turns the game into a question of whether the user gets the right boosts at the right times, that is a clear indication that it is uncompetitive.

====================
On Dec 15 2019, the Monotype council voted 7-0 to BAN Dynamax from Monotype

Eien ban
Wanka ban
1 True Lycan ban
Chaitanya ban
Ridley ban
TheThorn ban
Waszap ban


Reasoning:
Dynamax is too unpredictable and too powerful of a mechanic to allow in Monotype. It is unpredictable because any Pokemon can activate it at any time to use almost any move, which poses too much of a burden upon both players to make plays when many turns are essentially 50/50s. Power-wise, a third of the Max Moves are demonstrably broken and the remaining are still incredibly valuable. In addition, the bulk it brings to sweepers makes them all incredibly consistent. Due to the nature of Monotype and Same Type Clause, there is a legitimate chance that banning individual Pokemon is a self-perpetuating cycle, as the strongest Pokemon are always those who can Dynamax most effectively, and the teambuilder restriction makes it much more difficult to try to mitigate threats. Dynamax was a very complex problem, so the council's full justification can be found in our announcement thread.

====================
On Mar 30 2020, the Monotype community voted 33-6 to BAN Melmetal from Monotype in a public suspect vote.

Reasoning:
Melmetal boasts the third highest Attack stat in the tier and a physical bulk that puts even fully defensive Toxapex to shame. Its enormous HP offsets its rather poor Special Defense, enabling it to survive hits from even the tier's strongest wallbreakers including Choice Specs Keldeo's Hydro Pump. While mono typing is ironically subpar most of the time in Monotype, Melmetal being immune to poison means it has no fear of Toxic Spikes or Toxic from a wall. Even though its Speed is irredeemable, its bulk makes it very difficult to 2HKO even with multiple Pokemon working together, and most defensive Pokemon will hardly even scratch Melmetal, giving it many opportunities to fire off its powerful attacks.

The full discussion may be found in the Monotype forum.
 
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