Metagame Terastallization Tiering Discussion [ UPDATE POST #1293]

Status
Not open for further replies.

Finchinator

-OUTL
is a Tournament Directoris a Top Social Media Contributoris a Community Leaderis a Community Contributoris a Smogon Discord Contributoris a Top Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Top Smogon Media Contributoris a Senior Staff Member Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnusis a Past WCoP Championis the defending OU Circuit Championis a Two-Time Former Old Generation Tournament Circuit Champion
OU Leader
This will be the public thread for discussion of Terastallization as the metagame thread is too multifaceted already. The Policy Review thread will be monitored closely and can be found here!

---

The release of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet on the 18th of November brought us a brand new core mechanic, Terastallization. This thread will be used to discuss the tiering of Terastallization in Smogon's Overused metagame.

Here is how the new mechanic functions:
  • Any Pokemon can utilize it, but it can only be done once per battle
  • Upon Terastallizing, a Pokemon will retain the effects even if they switch out, lasting until they faint
  • Each Pokemon has a "Tera type" that you can strategically pick in the teambuilder
  • This type becomes your sole defensive typing
  • You retain initial STABs, but also gain STAB on your "Tera type" if it is a novel type
  • If your "Tera type" is one of your STABs, then you get an additional boost akin to the ability Adaptability
  • "Tera Blast" is a new move every Pokemon learns that is 80 BP and will take the form of your "Tera type"
  • "Tera Blast" will take the form of your highest attacking stat at the time of usage
As you can see, this mechanic is entirely novel, not closely resembling any prior concept we have seen in Pokemon prior to this generation. The competitive implications of Terastallization have been assessed since the release last week, but also continue to be assessed by our growing playerbase in our constantly evolving metagame. One constant in discussions about early tiering have been the potential for Terstallization to be the focus of tiering action.

Here is a post showing ten common examples of effective Terrastalization in the metagame. Notice the variation between the effect and use of each one; there are a number of examples that work offensively, defensively, or even both simultaneously. A couple of the sets use Tera Blast, a couple of the sets abuse the added boost to previously existing STAB, a couple of the Pokemon solely focus on the shifted defensive typing to grant wider match-up coverage, a couple of the Pokemon use the additional STAB typing to bolster their complimentary attacks, and so on. It is very hard to isolate a single aspect of Terastallization as the best or worst as they all play very important and pressing roles in the metagame on numerous Pokemon.

Given how potent and focal Terastallization has been thus far, it has been deemed appropriate to open a thread on its tiering placement. There are three potential outcomes for Terastallization: outright ban, restriction, and no tiering action. The former two fall into the camp of tiering action being needed while the latter one maintains the current status quo. Let's discuss all three possibilities!

Outright ban

An outright ban is Terstallization will remove the entire concept from the metagame with no strings attached. This can be seen as the "nuclear option" as it removes the entire core mechanic from the current generation of OU, but in extreme cases a nuclear option may be necessary to reach the ideal result. In this case, the ideal result is a competitive metagame and we would resort to this option if it is determined that there is no place for Terastallization in a competitive environment.

There has been a significant amount of buzz about removing Terastallization from the metagame altogether as the alternatives, which will be discussed below in the "restriction" and "no tiering action" sections, all leave things to be desired. They all come with their own respective cons, but the collective pro of preserving some semblance of the generation's core mechanic in the metagame. As for an outright ban, it is the opposite -- if we were to go to this option, we would face the con of it being removed altogether, but have the pro of avoiding a potentially ideologically flawed or inconsistent method chosen as our solution.

In terms of practical outlook, a lot can be said as to having the ability to change defensive typing making finding consistent counterplay to Pokemon an impossibility. Terrstalization fundamentally alters how we approach handling the wide array of threats our metagame presents us, occasionally forcing the metagame to resort to extremes with a surplus of revenge killers to minimize prospects or a surplus of extreme walls to outright blank Terastallization options on more dynamic offensive presences. It is possible to argue that this concept as a whole does not belong in a competitive metagame due to how much it warps how we play and how even with the closest attention to detail, it can be seen as an unreasonable ask to handle both Pokemon in their original state and these Pokemon with altered types. However, it is also true that more experienced players have began to expect specific Terstallizations from specific opposing Pokemon. This at least adds a layer of strategy and a component of prediction to the matter. It is true that there can be some guesswork when it comes to timing and specifics, but it also takes proper usage to reep the rewards of Terastallization.

The move Tera Blast also warrants discussion. It has been serving as a practical tool to a number of Pokemon in the metagame with a STAB boost and being able to adapt to your stronger offensive side. The limiting factor of it is that it does take up a valuable moveslot and it also is only 80 base power. This makes the viable pool of Tera Blast users slightly limited, but there are still a good amount of users overall. We can say that Tera Blast alone as a concept is not the most overwhelming thing we have seen and may be tolerable in a vacuum as of now, but there are still lots of new applications of it popping up that give Tera Blast potential to get scarier by the day in the metagame.

Overall, the main selling point for an outright ban would be that the sudden type shifting is seen as an uncompetitive element of the metagame, thus making the premise of the core mechanic banworthy. It is currently yet to be seen as to if the playerbase views this dynamic as competitive or uncompetitive, but we will use this thread to assess that matter and guide us in proceeding.

Restriction

The idea of restricting Terastallization has been floated on numerous occasions to the council and to tiering administration. The underlying idea behind these prospects would be that it preserves the core mechanic of the generation, granting the metagame some defining characteristics while maintaining a playerbase drawing feature to some degree. It is true, however, that neither of these two pieces of reasoning have any direct correlation to competitiveness, which is the foremost focus in any tiering discussion.

In addition, we are working under the premise that if any restriction does get implemented and the mechanic still proves problematic afterwards, then at this point we would be far more likely to cut any losses and not try any further restrictions, but rather an outright ban. This means that the focus of this will be to see if there is any plausible restriction to Terastallization that could balance it enough to remain in the metagame rather than being on trying to preserve as much as possible on the basis that it can always be further restricted, which we will not waste the bulk of the generation on leveling out.

Some proposed restrictions we have seen are:
  • Showing the Tera type of each Pokemon in the each player's party at Team Preview
  • Limiting the amount of Pokemon on any given team that have access to possibly Terastallize during a battle
  • Limiting Pokemon to only using a Tera Type that matches their current STAB
  • Banning usage of the move Tera Blast
Showing Tera type at Team Preview

This would be the biggest restrictor of the core mechanic and perhaps is the one that has garnered the most discussion. Cons include the fact that it is still not a perfect solution to the guesswork required to play around Terastallization and it would require potential display modifications that are seen as undesirable in many circles. The pros, however, would be that it limits the pool of possibilities for players to abuse the mechanic while setting an expectation what's to come.

From a competitive point of view, it is helpful to know what every Pokemon's Tera type is, but it is still inherently challenging to line-up your counterplay with the timing of the opponent and their use of the mechanic. When a Pokemon's defensive profile can do a flip-flop on command, changing the entire type chart on whim, it makes counterplay as a whole unreliable. Surefire revenge killing methods can be dwarfed by sudden resistances and immunizations while an additional STAB typing or boost to previously existing STAB can tear through counterplay even with prior knowledge of the possibility just because all game will be played in fear of the prospect and it adds a premium offensive bonus that is not seen through other means regardless of what information is disclosed.

This restriction may cut closest to the core of the problem, but it still does not assure the balancing of Terastallization and implementation is controversial.

Limiting the amount of Pokemon on any given team that have access to possibly Terastallize during a battle

One can argue that the layers of unpredictability will be minimized if less Pokemon can possibly utilized the mechanic, potentially limiting it to a smaller pool of Pokemon on each team or even just a singular Pokemon on each team. This can be akin to a handshake agreement made between players on the cartridge, too, that we would essentially enforce as a clause into our mechanic and implement through the teambuilder rather than as a modifier of the battle mode itself.

Limiting Tera typing to previously existing STAB types

Much like the above option, this would inherently restrict the abuse of Terastallization, but it would not be a full-stop to the possibility for trouble to arise. It would be more possible to keep Terastallization in the metagame without having to worry about Pokemon adopting entirely new typings to shift their match-up coverage throughout the metagame. However, adopting a Tera type within your STABs for a Pokemon with two types can still drastically shift a Pokemon's profile as you can shed weaknesses if timed properly. In addition, granting every Pokemon boosted STAB to the point that it is like they have Adaptability can be seen as problematic in it if itself.

From a competitive point of view, this would be less problematic to the metagame than leaving Terastallization entirely untouched and skirts away from the aspect many believe is the least competitive one. However, it also leaves a lot there that can prove troublesome for the playerbase, especially when this is considered to be present on top of one of the least forgiving power creeps we have ever seen. Implementing this could be seen as something akin to a handshake agreement between players, which could be more plausible as well.

Banning Tera Blast

Banning Tera Blast would be seen as the least invasive, but most straightforward and precedented, way to restrict Terastallization. To put it bluntly, this does not address the core of the problem or the most focused on aspects of the mechanic, so it seems like a solution that should only be elected if this concept is viewed to be only slightly problematic rather than wholly.

Only so many abusers actually utilize Tera Blast as many simply prefer the additional STAB for other coverage or for making it harder to approach your Pokemon with would-be super effective attacks. Tera Blast is just one subset of the larger topic of Terastallization and this would be the most minimal restriction of the bunch, reserved for cases where only minimal reform is needed if discussion trends in that direction.

No Tiering Action

In the event that Terastallization is seen as a concept conducive to competitive play, bringing out an acceptable metagame state with it involved on a consistent basis, then we would opt to not change the application of the core mechanic whatsoever. This would neglect to address any of the above points about the burdens of type changing on counterplay or the potential issues with the additional strength provided to Pokemon through boosted STAB or a novel STAB type as well. However, neglecting these matters could be seen as acceptable if they do not seem overly problematic to the bulk of the playerbase. This will almost surely be an option in any suspect or vote on the matter of Terastallization because of this and the fact that it is the status quo. It is important to us that many players see Terastallization as a draw to participating in our metagames; while it is the first and foremost priority to maintain competitive integirty and balance, it is also a factor to have generations motivate players to participate and have an identity. This premise is a large driver behind the potential for no tiering action or limited restrictions, and additionally add a potentially higher burden of proof to the outright ban side as well.

Timeline

Regarding the timelime, this thread will be open and active for at least the bulk of the next week. There is a chance it spans beyond this week if a line-of-action is still not determined. This allows for us to amass a larger quantity of opinions and come to an informed decision on what may be one of the most important tiering topics ever. We have an open mind now and hope the community can help lead us in the best direction possible.

December is likely to have some sort of suspect on Terastallization -- be it with two options or potentially more -- that will be the first of the generation. We are likely to have this suspect be longer than the normal one, potentially spanning three weeks rather than two, given the importance of the subject matter.

---

Finally, banning the most broken abusers of Terastallization is a concept that we should be avoiding at all costs as an alternative to any of the above options as a long-term best practice. This is not an actual solution as we would just end up de-creeping the metagame to the point that the new top abusers would assume similarly troublesome roles potentially. If we are approaching a suggestion of this, then it is best to shift focus onto considering an outright ban or restriction!

It is important that posts in this thread stay on-topic and within the realm of possibilities. Please avoid posts without substance or any personal attacks while staying in-line with feasible options (such as those listed in this OP) rather than getting off track.
 
I highly believe that banning tera blast isn't exactly a good option. Happens that many abusers we've seen simply do not use this move like roaring moon, who instead tries to use acrobatics or iron head steel type tera. Of course, I am of the opinion that roaring moon isn't broken, since he does have flaws, but many other pokemon can use tera to avoid those flaws entirely.
Iron Moth would just use energy ball over tera blast, Chi-Yu usually uses tera to boost it's fire/dark power even further, iron valiant prefers to use psychic psyshock to one shot opposing def clodsires after +1 spa or specs, and so on. What I'm trying to say is, yes, tera blast does make a huge difference in helping pokemon that don't have that stab option, but is also a move that's high risk to use since it's usually useless unless you tera with it. It will be a rare case of some specific pokemon that are only broken because it exists like tera ice regieleki, but he isn't in the game still, and by what was decided by the council in banning houndstone, future pokemon aren't something we should mention or think yet. Being honest, I don't find banning tera blast to be a nerf at all, since I literally build teams without it because of how much of a liability it is if you don't tera that specific mon, which by what I've seen playing, you'd prefer to have multiple mons that can benefit offensively/defensively from it than having 1 specific pokemon where you either tera or it's trash. (I'm not trying to say that tera is overpowered and should be restricted harder or banned, I'm simply trying to say how banning tera blast wouldn't accomplish anything)
 
How about keeping it for Pokémon with two 4x weaknesses? At least on National Pokédex? Because except for Lunala, all of these Pokémon are trash.
 
I highly believe that banning tera blast isn't exactly a good option. Happens that many abusers we've seen simply do not use this move like roaring moon, who instead tries to use acrobatics or iron head steel type tera. Of course, I am of the opinion that roaring moon isn't broken, since he does have flaws, but many other pokemon can use tera to avoid those flaws entirely.
Iron Moth would just use energy ball over tera blast, Chi-Yu usually uses tera to boost it's fire/dark power even further, iron valiant prefers to use psychic psyshock to one shot opposing def clodsires after +1 spa or specs, and so on. What I'm trying to say is, yes, tera blast does make a huge difference in helping pokemon that don't have that stab option, but is also a move that's high risk to use since it's usually useless unless you tera with it. It will be a rare case of some specific pokemon that are only broken because it exists like tera ice regieleki, but he isn't in the game still, and by what was decided by the council in banning houndstone, future pokemon aren't something we should mention or think yet. Being honest, I don't find banning tera blast to be a nerf at all, since I literally build teams without it because of how much of a liability it is if you don't tera that specific mon, which by what I've seen playing, you'd prefer to have multiple mons that can benefit offensively/defensively from it than having 1 specific pokemon where you either tera or it's trash. (I'm not trying to say that tera is overpowered and should be restricted harder or banned, I'm simply trying to say how banning tera blast wouldn't accomplish anything)
tera blast would gut into cb/dd dragapult aswell as nichemons who like the coverage, but i agree it's barely a solution
 
This is a discussion about only SV OU, not universal tiering, and it is not an option just to apply it to arbitrary subsections of Pokemon based off of type weaknesses.
Then it such a case, I am with a total ban. Every Pokémon having the possibility of changing their weaknesses, gain more STABs, or get Adaptability seems broken.
 
As it stands, Tera is both uncompetitive in the sense that it mitigates the impact of informed building & playing, as you can't prep for it, you can't surmise which Pokemon might be using it as with Z-Moves from general team structure, and you can't predict (accurately enough) when the opponent will activate it, thus leading to a bunch of nasty, often game-determining 50-50 scenarios. Furthermore, it is also overwhelmingly powerful, or broken, as either additional STAB and/or 2x STAB on a typing of your own choice enables pretty much any user to bypass any would be checks/counters.

Any form or combination of limitations placed on Tera fail to address what each purport to solve: that of unpredictability, and even in the most pared-down, heavily restricted form possible, there will be no way to build teams that meaningfully cover adequate portions of the meta, thus leading to a matchup-volatile metagame, and the "50-50" scenarios will remain. Furthermore, any of the offensive limitations suggested do not address that even with Tera only offering, say, 2x STAB for one of the Pokemon's shared typings, this is going to always be overwhelming in terms of power levels.

The only acceptable step forwards would be an out-right ban. Let's not have a repeat of Baton Pass, and get to a place where the meta can finally develop, please.
 
I personally am a big proponent of terrastrialize team preview, and I think that the fact that only terra-ing one mon is considered a totally in bounds gentleman's agreement but a team sheet with terra types isn't is totally off. It still means that you have to predict when your opponent will tera but like... Yeah? That's skillful, occasionally you get into 50/50 scenarios but that happens without tera anyway with option select.
 
i think that as an initial balancing measure limiting the number of mons able to terastalize is pretty good, just because the other suggestions are, at least in my opinion, kinda wack. Showing the tera type in team preview and being able to tera only in your original type defeat the whole purpose of the mechanic, and banning the move terablast straight up wouldn't do anything
 
I personally am a big proponent of terrastrialize team preview, and I think that the fact that only terra-ing one mon is considered a totally in bounds gentleman's agreement but a team sheet with terra types isn't is totally off. It still means that you have to predict when your opponent will tera but like... Yeah? That's skillful, occasionally you get into 50/50 scenarios but that happens without tera anyway with option select.
Only Terastilizing one Pokemon isn't a gentleman's agreement, that's just the actual mechanic in-game.
 
i think that as an initial balancing measure limiting the number of mons able to terastalize is pretty good, just because the other suggestions are, at least in my opinion, kinda wack. Showing the tera type in team preview and being able to tera only in your original type defeat the whole purpose of the mechanic, and banning the move terablast straight up wouldn't do anything
I heavily disagree with the idea that showing terra type in preview defeats the purpose of the mechanic. The purpose of the mechanic is to give more options in team building and have another factor to account for in matchups, and team preview just removes the bullshit hidden information aspect.
 
Only Terastilizing one Pokemon isn't a gentleman's agreement, that's just the actual mechanic in-game.
Limiting the amount of Pokemon on any given team that have access to possibly Terastallize during a battle

One can argue that the layers of unpredictability will be minimized if less Pokemon can possibly utilized the mechanic, potentially limiting it to a smaller pool of Pokemon on each team or even just a singular Pokemon on each team. This can be akin to a handshake agreement made between players on the cartridge, too, that we would essentially enforce as a clause into our mechanic and implement through the teambuilder rather than as a modifier of the battle mode itself.
 
Banning Tera Blast is not a solution but the OP doesn’t say that it would be anyways - the concept of banning it would be that we think Terastallizing is bad but not THAT bad so a small change like removing Tera Blast would make it manageable enough.

That being said I agree with this line of thought that we should try to preserve terrastallization and accept it as part of the meta. It’s true that it plays more like an OM than classic competitive OU, but OMs can be competitive in their own right and have been for years. We have this tendency to reject most things that tinker with our predefined notions of what competitiveness has been for the past few years, but we should realize that with all the changes and new things in Gen 9 it’s quite clear that GF is drastically changing a lot of these notions and we should try to play as closely to how the games are intended to be played. It’s very different sure, a bit more unpredictable, and hard to deal with, but if it’s manageable then we should do our best to keep it around.
 
Just do the tera type team preview thing. If you use a priority against something you literally know can resist it, then that is kinda just your fault.
Devil's advocate: the opponent used literally no resources and expended no opportunity cost, and they got you to not click priority and possible therefore won the game. That's kinda dumb.
 
Lets be real. Im a competitive player who joined the competitive scene since gen 4 and people weren’t able to see any pokemon until the player switched. Stall team were a hot commonality as you couldn’t see anything unless switched making the challenge even harder. Now you can see a players pokemon since gen 5 which is fine.

-Banning Tera in general removes the trump card effect of every player having there own unique or potential solution.

Have one possible tera type I feel is fair while letting the player know which pokemon is their tera pokemon not necessarily telling the player what the type is. Forcing prediction and not ouright offensive dominance, forcing a player to think.

-having some form of Tera adds more strategy to the game which The game needs considering the offensive dominance of later Gens.

-same Tera type limited to one is also an option. Hence every player has the opportunity to Tera which is fair.

-A point about mega pokemon, Mega pokemon over centralized the meta in gen 6 whether one wants to admit it or not. Only few pokemon had the ability to yet that didnt stop smogon from permitting them as a whole. If that had a work around so can Tera. Tera isn’t a broken mechanic. If anything prevent of certain types can be banned. If thats too crazy same tera type limit to one shall remain. Imo

ignore grammar
 
Last edited:
I really appreciate that the OP suggests that if we go the restriction route, we try 1 carefully considered restriction, and if it doesn't go far enough, we very likely nuke Terastal. Spending months trying to work out the perfect package and delaying all other suspects as a result would have been kind of a nightmare.

Anyway, while I think it's fine to try one of these restrictions (I guess showing Tera at preview is my favorite among them), I'm still pro-nuclear option. Banning Tera Blast doesn't go far enough at all, while STABs-only doesn't really preserve the spirit of the mechanic and takes a lot of the fun out of it, while heavily skewing offensive in terms of who benefits. The other two I'd be down to try, but I don't see either as being a satisfactory solution in the end.
 
I heavily disagree with the idea that showing terra type in preview defeats the purpose of the mechanic. The purpose of the mechanic is to give more options in team building and have another factor to account for in matchups, and team preview just removes the bullshit hidden information aspect.
I feel like if you show the tera type in team preview you'd also basically give away your set for some mons. As an example, if you know a Gholdengo is tera fight it's pretty safe to assume it's scarfed, since baloon doesnt run focus blast. I'm sure there are other way better examples than this, but it still shows how revealing anything on team preview other than the pokemon is straight up uncompetitve, giving good players no reward for good scouting in the early game.
 
I heavily disagree with the idea that showing terra type in preview defeats the purpose of the mechanic. The purpose of the mechanic is to give more options in team building and have another factor to account for in matchups, and team preview just removes the bullshit hidden information aspect.
Hidden information like movesets, item slots, or even what used to be Hidden Power typing or the entire Pokemon themselves? Should we start making every match fully open-team so that there are no possible surprises and no one needs to spend any effort trying to anticipate what their opponent might have done in team-building based on the information gathered so far?

Much like the Gholdengo discussion, this Tera discussion really seems like a discussion about how widly uncompetitive and unskillful it is to play the same way everyone used to in previous generations without issue before being spoiled with new stuff like Defog, Team Preview, and removal of HP.
 
One option that the OP didn't suggest but seems natural to me is the inverse of STABs only: banning same-type terra. To me, the most boring way that Terra is used is to make already lethal offensive threats even more lethal with free adaptability. I don't know if this would make terra more competitive (and as such I don't think it should be the option we go for) but I do think that it would improve the mechanic greatly
 
I feel like if you show the tera type in team preview you'd also basically give away your set for some mons. As an example, if you know a Gholdengo is tera fight it's pretty safe to assume it's scarfed, since baloon doesnt run focus blast. I'm sure there are other way better examples than this, but it still shows how revealing anything on team preview other than the pokemon it's straight up uncompetitve, giving good players no reward for good scouting in the early game.
This actually sounds like it can be fun mind games, you can run terra fight on your balloon gholdengo and punish your opponent for making such an assumption, while basically deleting your ability to terra your gholdengo.
 
There's gonna be some real walls in this thread we'll have to climb but I just want to throw some short commentary out.

I think Tera Blast ban is irrelevant. It solves nothing and also removes a lot of the upside to more non-problematic tera users without really solving what people consider the more problmeatic part. If Tera is kept in any capacity, Tera Blast is probably the least invasive piece of the mechanic as its only an 80BP stab move with no additional effects. Coverage is good, yes. But coverage is not why Tera is getting a discussion thread.

Limiting Tera to stab types is also IMO a real bad way to balance this as it is inherently an offensive-sided change. There's very few defensive mons that benefit from losing a type (though Slowking was brought up, that's like... not a large sample). I would prefer any tiering action to not disproportionately benefit a style of play if we're pursuing something more complex.

Showing at Preview I think defeats the purpose of Tera but this is a can of worms I don't want to debate right yet (specifically, how much unknown information is fair). Revealing types has some problems specifically like Normal Dragonite where you just gave away its set more or less.

As for having only one mon capable of tera... Eh. I'd prefer preview showing. That at least keeps the adaptability part of Tera available, and you can pick which threat at preview you need Tera for.

I would rather keep Tera in some capacity. Supposing there is a suspect test with some of these options avaliable, I'm sure by then I'd have a more secure opinion between "List at preview" and "No Ban" but that's the two options I think are fundamentally the most intriguing as it stands.
 
Initially I was on complete ban of terastralization side. As I didn't knew council can decide to change the mechanic a little bit from actual games. But since now if it's possible then that's best option we should go for.

Out of all the restrictions I feel showing tera type in team preview is best one. Changing only to existing type won't be that helpful and restricts defensive use of terastralization. But if we know what tera each mon can go, we can plan our move beforehand. Still a little randomness but manageable.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 1, Guests: 0)

Top