I'd like to preface this post by saying I don't find Tera as restricting as many people say in this thread. People act like this is the second coming of Dynamax when it's not even close. Dynamax was literally a free Power Construct Zygarde with multiple Contrary Draco Meteors... It was absolutely braindead compared to Terastallization and I'm glad it got banned. Mind games are not uncompetitive. They are perfectly fine within reasonable limit
. I see Turn 5
in this game the same way I play around something like Z-Freeze Shock Kyurem-B in SM. I can either a) scout / mid-ground around Tera or b) go for the immediate prediction in this case. The fact he brought Kingambit in so recklessly also screams the potential swap to either Ghost- or Flying-type. Here is another high ladder game
that demonstrates how you can scout Tera instead of going for an immediate prediction (Turn 25
). Overall, the mechanic does have a bit of guessing involved but it's not anything overly egregious like a lot of the "every turn is a 50/50!!!" arguments in this thread are making it out to be. I will demonstrate more of these scenarios in the replay section, but in short I do not think Terastallization is worth taking tiering action on yet because its applications are mostly balanced
offensively and defensively:
Offensive Applications - Adding STAB
Adding STAB is one of the most common ways Terastallization is abused-- Volcarona's Giga Drain, Dragonite's Extreme Speed, Roaring Moon's Acrobatics... and a lot of users of this application tend to be predictable! When someone sends out one of the aforementioned Pokemon, any competent player knows what Tera most of these Pokemon settle with. Roaring Moon is the most versatile of all the Tera users in this category, but I would rather see a Suspect Test for it vs banning Tera in order to limit it. Second of all, not every Pokemon has the versatility of a Roaring Moon
. I have experimented with unique sets such as Tera-Psychic Volcarona to get past Unaware Clodsire, but overall the set is an inconsistent matchup fish. While one can argue there are "too many possibilities", the reality of the situation is that most people on the higher end of competitive play are not going to pull up with Tera-Bug X-Scissor Iron Valiant, then proceed to sweep you 6-0.
This is definitely a bit extreme so I'd like to display a more realistic example. Here is my Round 2 tournament replay
of the No Johns SV Release Tournament. Turn 17
reveals that my opponent's Volcarona has a tech in Tera Blast-Ice. It is clear that the intention of this set is to snipe Dragonite and defensive Garchomp. However, I did not have either of these Pokemon. Thus, all the set really accomplished was get phazed out then die to Sacred Sword later due to how awful Ice is defensively. If my opponent was the standard Giga Drain or Bug Buzz, my opponent could have preserved his Tera for something else and not be forced to burn it off to chip my Ting-Lu. Matchup fishes have existed for generations at this point, and using unique Tera sets still have an opportunity cost (albeit less compared to Z-Moves due to having no item lock). Overall, I find this aspect of Terastallization to be balanced
Defensive Applications - Switching To Superior Defensive Typings
Another common way Terastallization is abused is by switching to "S-Tier" defensive typings such as Fairy, Water, and Steel. Skeledirge prefers Fairy as it allows it to function as Unaware Clefable did in previous generations, while still abusing what makes the base form great in Torch Song, Slack Off, and Will-O-Wisp. Even on more niche Pokemon, competent players can predict what typings are most likely to come out. Turn 50
of this high ladder match
I played today is a great example. I was testing Arcanine and my opponent made a great play of clicking Ice Spinner, which covers both the possibility of me Terastallizing into a Fairy-type and also the potential Ting-Lu sack. There are only so many consistent typings that defensive Pokemon like to use
. The final thing I would like to say is that defensive Tera will not cost entire games. For example, even if Clodsire surprises your Espathra by Tera'ing into a Dark-type, the most it will be doing is dropping a Toxic or 40% with Earthquake. I find this application of Terastallization to be balanced.
I actually think it's healthy because of the breathing room it can provide teams not only in the builder, but also in practice.
Offensive Applications - Compounding STAB
The fact that you can basically give any of your Pokemon an Adaptability boost can feel unfair at times. Chien-Pao goes from a great Pokemon to a Suspect Test worthy candidate by Tera'ing into an existing stab such as Ice or Dark. Chi-Yu is another Pokemon that goes from balanced to unmanageable defensively because Tera'ing into a Dark-type drops your weakness to Stealth Rock and allows you to cleanly 2HKO would be counters such as Clodsire. Dragapult is another offender as Choice Specs Dragapult has historically been held back by its low power, but by compounding your Ghost-type stab, it becomes stupid to deal with considering its 142 base speed tier. The only opportunity cost with the latter is you have to drop your Dragon-type defensively, but the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.
While I do find this aspect of Tera to be unbalanced
, I don't think it's unmanageable. A lot of Pokemon do lose their ability to consistently counter threats, but this does not effect many checks. Iron Valiant is still revenge killing a Chien-Pao, even if it's a +2 Tera-Dark Adamant Life Orb Sucker Punch. Tera can even be used reactively to deal with these proactive strategies such as Tera'ing Gholdengo into a Fighting-type. More defensive playstyles are effected the worse by this but this isn't anything new. Every generation has playstyles that are more dominant than the others, and despite this, defensive playstyles are still thriving in current SV OU.
I have seen many players on the higher end of the ladder using stall, and, as we saw in the SV Release Tournament, balance and BO are very much viable! This is most likely due to us getting 3 new great Unaware users (all of which use Tera amazingly btw); the recent bans of Palafin and Iron Bundle have also allowed for more flexibility in the teambuilder of all archetypes as we can see in z0mog's series
Defensive Applications - The Best Offense Is A Good Defense
I could not find a simpler way to phrase this so I'm going to start off with an example. Kingambit has been using Tera-Flying recently, even though none of its stabs benefit from it. Why? Because it allows you 1v1 Great Tusk. Annihilape is another good example as changing to the Water- or Normal-type limits the amount of the options to revenge kill it, where the Ghost / Fighting typing would otherwise fall short with its common weaknesses to Moonblast and Shadow Ball. Similar to Roaring Moon, I'd rather see tiering action on Annihilape instead of axe'ing Tera. Finally, we have the aforementioned Gholdengo turning into a Fighting-type to check Sucker Punch users such as Chien-Pao in a pinch. While this form of Tera is very powerful, it's not outright winning games as we can see in the replays below. In the case of Flying-type Kingambit, Great Tusk can still get meaningful chip with Knock Off, while Ice Spinner is a very viable option on its own. This form of Tera is very balanced
because the metagame can adapt to it and I'd actually argue it promotes more creativity in the teambuilder.
I have only touched the surface of what this mechanic can be used in, and the mechanic is balanced in more ways than it is unbalanced in my opinion. It can be used to spinblock, absorb Toxic Spikes, and many more! I know the council wants to do something about the mechanic before majors but I don't think leaving it untouched is going to make SPL feel any less competitive. Here's why:
Round 2 of No Johns has shown a massive increase in competitive quality
. Round 1 was a complete disaster with all the cheese, Palafin, and Iron Bundle, but with these being banned, I believe Tera truly adds something special to this metagame. I'd like to take a small sample size in order to reiterate this and the points I have made above:
Round 2 [Bracket B]
: No significant uses of Tera
: Chi-Yu is able to overload Clodsire due to the initial critical hit. I blame this more on hax because if he did not crit, iKiQ would have no reason to Tera. From mushamu's side, Tera-Flying Roaring Moon, a standard set, is accounted for in both iKiQ's teambuilding and plays here. The second critical hit was annoying, but most likely would not have mattered with Helmet Garchomp in the back. Even with Tera, I don't think there were any overly unbalanced sequence of plays in this game.
: Iron Valiant's Tera here allows Lusa to avoid a potential speed tie kill from velvet's Iron Valiant. Tera is a major factor here but it doesn't outright win Lusa the game as the counter play still would have existed via Extreme Speed had velvet won the tie. Tera's inclusion here doesn't make this game any less competitive than it could have been without the mechanic.
: Tera-Ghost Ting-Lu is phenomenal teambuilding from velvet's side to force chip damage on Annihilape. I absolutely loved that interaction. Lusa's use of Tera will probably be more controversial, but I stand by this opinion that Shadow Ball was never the play. If Lusa ended up being the Tera-Water or Tera-Fairy set, Shadow Ball would not have killed and you'd still lose another Pokemon in this exchange. Tera-Normal was a very real possibility as well (ends up being the case). My suggestion? Trick could have avoided all of this, allowing you to keep Corviknight late-game for Dragonite. The reality of the situation is that Annihilape is the main culprit for the uncompetitive aspect of this game
, not Tera itself.
: Game was done at the point Kingambit swapped to Tera-Flying, but I can see why someone would find that interaction as uncompetitive, despite myself touching on it in the intro and in "Defensive Applications - The Best Offense Is A Good Defense."
: Fairy Skeledirge is to be expected at this point, and jay was prepared on how to manuever around it.
: No significant uses of Tera.
: Sucker Punch would not have killed even without Tera and Tera-Fairy Espathra is to be expected at this point.
: Pretty lame game tbh, but once again, I'd rather see tiering action on Annihilape instead of banning the mechanic. Annihilape is one of the most broken Pokemon in the tier right now and Tera simply just enhances these already insane capabilities.
: Amazing interaction here. So Noisy goes for the mono-Dark typing to get the safe Swords Dance on even the potential Tera-Fighting Gholdengo. However, he reveals to be Normal- here in fact. Really cool dynamic and I love the layers it adds here. Even with So Noisy's great play, Tera alone does not win him the game as Z Strats Dragonite is able to clutch up both the game and the series.
Round 2 [Bracket C]
: No significant uses of Tera.
: Annihilape proves why it is on the radar with its phenomenal balance breaking. Not even a Tera-Dark Dark Pulse from Chi-Yu can swing the favor into ChrisPBacon's way. Once again, I'd like to see tiering action on Annihilape instead of banning Tera.
: Steel-Tera is a bit overkill vs Blissey and Tera wouldn't have changed the outcome of the game, but one can argue whether or not the damage boost here is considered balanced, which I talked about in "Offensive Applications - Compounding STAB."
: Changing to pure Fire-type allows Chi-Yu to avoid the KO from Focus Blast. This was definitely an unexpected turn of events, but TPP was already in an unloseable position at that point. Overall a great game, albeit 1-sided.
: Great interaction. With Iron Moth using Tera-Fairy to boost Dazzling Gleam, 3d was forced to Tera-Normal as a response. This is an example of using Tera reactively and I found the sequence to be really cool.
: Mewthree69 uses his Tera-Ground to combat the standard Earthquake set. bilb owo, however, catches Mewthree69 off guard by revealing a non-standard Dragonite set with Tera-Fire Punch. As you can see, this set has its flaws because he did not get the fish he wanted and its lack of Extreme Speed. Tera was not used nor meant to outright win the game. It was just a great interaction and I loved the extra layers it added to this match.
: Tera-Electric secures the KO on Corviknight, albeit unnecessary. Tera was a non-factor here, and the fact it was used yet didn't affect the game is a testament by itself.
: Tera-Flying Roaring Moon won the game but bilb owo had counter play to it in Thunder Wave. He just got hax'd. Competent players have shown how well they can prep for the norm in their teambuilding.
: Great interaction right here. Tera-Normal is the norm when it comes to Dragonite sets and Toustar shows his skill in the teambuilder by tech'ing Tera-Ghost on Chien-Pao. However, MZ scouts for that possibility by sacking Cyclizar, easily the most useless member on the team. Very complex layers added to the game due to Tera and I found this game to be very competitive, and one of the best examples on the list.
: No significant uses of Tera.
: Ghost Tera on Chien-Pao allows it to cheese past Corviknight in theory, but it wasn't revealed whether that attacking move was Body Press or Brave Bird. The final interaction is 100% uncompetitive though as Gholdengo would have forced a potential 50/50 but because of Iron Valiant's Tera-Steel, Toustar was automatically placed into the checkmate position.
There is still skill involved in Tera-based SV games.
I actually think there is more skill when it comes to building this generation.
Tera is just as good when used reactively, vs being used proactively.
Tera adds more layers to the game, and not in an extremely unhealthy way Dynamax did.
Based on this sample size, most of the games are either a) improved or b) not effected by Terastallization's inclusion. The amount of games in the red will decrease as the metagame continues to develop, especially if you ban Pokemon such as Annihilape which is the main culprit of most of the "uncompetitive" games highlighted above
. Thus, I support no tiering action.
Thank you for reading.