Just gonna drop my $0.02 in here as I've only really been manifesting my thoughts in various Smogon Discord servers:
(Keep in mind I'm playing mostly LC and Ubers rn, so my perception is less specific to OU. With that being said, I believe that every official tier will probably fall in line with OU to maintain uniformity during tournaments like SCL, so I believe it's important for other communities to actively participate in this discussion).
I’m personally of the opinion that tera doesn’t inherently compromise competitiveness, but the lack of information and surprise factor makes games feel degenerate/less intelligent. Furthermore, I think any compromise where the gameplay function of the mechanic is changed (STAB Tera only, only one mon can tera, etc), are flawed and risk compromising the identity of the mechanic/gen altogether. For these reasons, I support showing Tera types on preview
, which maintains the identity of the mechanic while preventing the actual balance issues it causes, which is a lack of transparency and overwhelmingly incentivising matchup-fishy, sneak-attack games of "guess what type I am".
This is no Dynamax. Based off my fairly extensive experiences with Tera in tournament and on ladder. Calling the mechanic "overpowered" is a massive stretch. Many games I have played and seen, including tournament ones against known players have involved the winner not even using Tera, or using it in a completely inconsequential way, here's a replay
of me getting thoroughly tossed by well-known player CMDoge where Tera does not matter at all. You would never be able to see something like this with an actually overcentralising mechanic (i.e. Dynamax).
Using Tera has inherent costs. You of course only get to use it once and have to evaluate based off matchup and game situation which of your options is best, and by changing your type you are often opening yourself up to a whole new suite of weaknesses, which can be quite easily exploited with revenge-killing since Tera doesn't affect your Pokemon's stats/survivability in anyway. For example of how this risk management manifests, if I'm using a team with Gholdengo and Glimmora, and I Tera-Fighting my Gholdengo to beat Kingambit, my Glimmora's hazard-stack will suddenly become vulnerable to Rapid Spin, thanks to my Ghost-type being replaced. There are many more examples like this and that's just one I can think of on the spot. There's also counterplay options such as using Protect to ease Tera scouting that I'm not really seeing many people use at all.
Another thing I have to mention is that a lot of players are making conclusions way too early. Obviously I don't blame them for this, and the OU council absolutely had to do something with how large outcry is, and with SPL coming up soon. However, judging this mechanic when you have shit like Annihilape running around who (Spoiler Alert!) won't be sticking around even if he can't be a Water-type anymore. I mean, we haven't even seen a Gen 9 tournament yet unless you want to count Kickoff, which is mostly populated by very new and casual players not that that's a bad thing of course. Obviously it's ideal not to use SPL as testing grounds (even inf SPL SV OU will be dogshit regardless because of how unexplored and unrefined the meta is but that's another issue altogether), but I think it would be the perfect way to trial Tera being revealed on preview.
I think the Gen 8 ban on Dynamax has made people far too comfortable with the idea of banning a mechanic that defines a generation. Dynamax was obviously broken and overcentralising beyond comprehension, but this is, as I said before, a far-cry from that. I see a lot of people calling this mechanic "uncompetitive" but I couldn't disagree more. I've noticed a general trend where older players in the community like myself support Tera being retained (albeit with restrictions usually), whereas those who came up more during SWSH want it straight-up banned. When we were playing SM OU, and our Z-Dig Greninja burst through it's "counter" AV Magearna (which is similar to Tera usage and in some ways more extreme), was that "uncompetitive and ban-worthy"? We as a community decided "no", and we adapted and grew. I think some players would be very comfortable if Pokemon was a monolith that followed the same gameplay rules and beats with each iteration, and where every new gen was just a DLC of 100 new mons and slight balance tweaks to some abilities. Meanwhile I view each new gen as a new-game with it's own competitive paradigms, fundamentals and appeal. That's just my opinion though, and I don't want to start a whole rant on the subject.
Overall, what I really like about this mechanic is just how fun and deep it is. I have to use LC examples as that is what I know best so I apologise, but previously unviable pokemon like Azurill can now be fully realised with Huge Power Tera-Water Aqua Jet, and stylish plays like Tera-Flying my Pawniard on the same turn the enemy Gastly Tera-Fighting's and killing it is extremely satisfying and rewarding. In comparison, Dynamax was just boring and frustrating. The argument of how this ban would affect Smogon's perception shouldn't be relevant of course, but pragmatically I also think we have to keep it in mind, at least a little bit. This post by Lily on the subject
is absolutely the best I've read in this whole Tera debate and you should all read it too.
Thanks for reading.
Now just addressing some misconceptions I keep seeing:
- Tera revealed on preview is not a "modification", it's an agreement that's a part of the ruleset and very replicable on cartridge by simply telling your opponent what your tera-types are. If this is a "modification", then so is agreeing not to bring Flutter Mane to an OU game on cartridge.
- Pokemon will maybe end up being banned that maybe wouldn't need to without Tera, sure, but this argument can just as easily be inverted so as to say that without Tera, pokemon that would be balanced with it may be too strong without it. I can't think of an OU example right now, but an LC example would be something like Pawniard that is kept in check by the huge amount of viable Tera-Fighting users.