Terastallization Tiering Discussion

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Finchinator

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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 if Terastallized. It is always special and Normal typed prior
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.
 
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I personally would support in this order.

1) Limiting the amount of pokemon who can tera to 1 and showing the type
2) Outright ban

—- Huge dropoff —

3) Showing the tera-type / only tera into STAB
4) Banning terablast

Limiting the amount of Pokémon who can tera to 1 is my favorite option because it then acts similarly to the mega evolution mechanics we’ve seen before. Each team has one mon that can get some extra “oomf” whether that be ekiller Dragonite or acrobatics Roaring Moon. Especially if you can see the type (tbd), I don’t see this being broken as a mechanic.

I feel like if for whatever reason this is still oppressive, we can always ban tera outright at a later point.

Outright ban is fine, but would prefer to wait as it does provide an extra level of innovation/skill.

Showing tera type doesn’t really fix the problem with tera. There are only a handful of pokemon that commonly tera into two-different types (Gholdengo, Roaring Moon, Dragonite) to name a few. For the most part, just having enough games in and you already will intuitively know the common tera styles.

Being able to tera whenever you want for any reason is what makes this mechanic broken to me. Do you want more power? Do you want defensive typing to live a hit that was super effective? (Eg. Slowking losing psychic-typing to now live a dark-type attack)

Last option of banning tera blast is my least preferred. Terablast is not the main problem and doesn’t accomplish many of the key factors that make Terastallization broken.
 
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I am ultimately in favor of an Outright Ban on Terastallization. Here are my thoughts from the OU Metagame thread with some additions/edits.

I think that Terastallization is a pretty fun and interesting mechanic to play around with, but I ultimately think the mechanic is too versatile and unpredictable to be competitive. Offensive terastallization in a vacuum is something on the power level of Z-moves. Gaining a third STAB from a Pokemon with an already vast movepool or through the reasonably powerful Terablast is very strong. Similarly, an Adaptability boost on any natural STAB typing is very strong. Being able to choose either one with effectively no drawbacks and no indication of which you might be to your opponent starts to get into unbalanced territory where its impossible for a Pokemon to be a guaranteed check to any offensive Pokemon.

Somehow, though, defensive Terastallization feels even more unbalanced and unpredictable. The power level of a defensive Terastallization feels akin to the power of a defensive Dynamax, as you can turn your opponent's would be revenge kill or sweep into a straight up L by surprising them with a Tera type that resists whatever move they were going for. This can be accomplished with both offensive and defensive Pokemon. Even if the player on the defense only gets one turn from the Terastallization, that can still be more than enough to turn the tide of the battle. The mind games and 50/50s this can force don't really have a place in a balanced and competitive metagame.

When no Pokemon can reliably check or overpower another Pokemon, we will inevitably get to a position where the player who Terastallizes first is usually at a severe disadvantage, which feels very similar to how Dynamax played out last gen. I will acknowledge that the unpredictability of Terrastallization has lessened as certain Tera types have rose to prominence on common Pokemon. However, the possibility of being hit by a surprise Tera type remains, and I can see this becoming even more of a problem when tours start in earnest as a surprise Tera type is much more likely to be effective in a Bo1/Bo3 scenario as compared to the ladder.

The mid-ground solutions offered don't really pass the smell test for me, though I think all of them are better options than leaving Terastallization with no tiering action. All four solutions start to venture pretty far from in-game mechanics, which is especially confounding when one of the arguments for keeping Terastallization in the first place is staying true to Gen 9 mechanics. On top of that, I am generally one to support the simplest solutions, which I think would be an outright ban in this case. That being said, I do understand the desire for incremental action, so I would support any of the four mid-ground options as well, as they all do a decent job at addressing my core concern in the unpredictability of Terastallization.
 
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ty for access. repost of my ou sub thread post, with an additional comment

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 typings, this is going to always be overwhelming in terms of power levels.

The only acceptable step forwards would be an out-right ban. Tera obfuscates & confounds so many factors of the metagame, it will be nigh impossible to reach a state of stability with it around in any form. Let's not have a repeat of the Baton Pass follies, and get to a place where the meta can finally develop, please.
 

Finchinator

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I do not have an official stance on what option I support, but I want to discuss an aspect of Terastallization: the ability to change types beyond your STAB types.

In my opinion, this aspect of Terastallization is the most uncompetitive. This is not to say that other aspects are not troublesome at all, but this is a dynamic that I have a hard time seeing as a facet of a competitive metagame.

We have seen a number of Pokemon abuse non-STAB Tera to buffer both their offensive and defensive profiles. Giving set-up sweepers a free turn is a prime example of this concept. Let's go through a few instances of this coming into play:
  • :Dragonite: is able to use Tera Normal, Steel, and Fire very effectively.
    • With Tera Normal, it loses a few key weaknesses that can allow for a "free" (or less costly) set-up turn while also bolstering Extreme Speed to Arceus EKiller levels.
    • With Tera Steel, it entirely flips its defensive profile. Ice goes from 4x to 1/2x, Dragon goes from 2x to 1/2x, Fairy goes from 2x to 1/2x, and a slew of resistances are added. This gives you a "free" (or less costly) turn off-the-bat in most games, but also may force the opponent to re-commit to a new Pokemon, granting you a second "free" turn beyond that.
    • With Tera Fire, it flips the Ice and Fairy dynamic like Steel, but only neutralizes Dragon. However, you also gain a bolstered Fire Punch to clock some would-be checks. It is also very hard to predict around this since it is less telegraphed off of team preview.
  • :Roaring Moon: is able to use Tera Flying very effectively.
    • With Tera Flying, you are able to neutralize Fairy types from previously being 4x, but also resist Fighting types that used to be 2x. Common moves like Earthquake also do not impact you. Offensively you consume Booster Energy and then get STAB on an already boosted Acrobatics, too, which hits aforementioned Fairy and Fighting types hard.
  • :Volcarona: is able to use Tera Grass very effectively.
    • With Tera Grass, Volcarona is able to resist Water instead of it being 2x, which was one of the most common attacking types before the Iron Bundle and Palafin bans at least. This also bolsters Giga Drain's damage against those Pokemon and Rock types. You also lose your Rock type 4x weakness along the way.
  • :Espathra: is able to use Tera Fairy and Fighting very effectively.
    • With Tera Fairy, Espathra is able to suddenly resist Sucker Punch against Dark types while also clocking them, Dragons, and others with boosted Dazzling Gleam.
    • With Tera Fighting, it does the same thing, but with Tera Blast that also hits Steel types besides Gholdengo.
  • :Annihilape: is able to use Tera Water very effectively.
    • With Tera Water, it is able to neutralize a lot of attacks, which means you can boost Rage Fist very quickly.
This same concept can apply to other set-up sweepers, too, and hard-hitters simply looking for openings. This is an unnatural dynamic that promotes guesswork and individual sequences largely dictating games rather than game-planning throughout. The main forms of counterplay have been increased Unaware Pokemon sightings and simply throwing out as many revenge killing options as possible onto offense.

I am not locked-into any specific outcome at all as I have an open mind now, but I think options that remove the ability to change to entirely novel types for Pokemon should definitely be at the center of discussion for bans and restrictions.
 

lydian

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my 2 cents that no one asked for:

on tiering action on terastal as a whole:
taking action on the generation's defining mechanic this soon does not seem ideal to me, the metagame's been out for slightly over a week and i think waiting some more and taking a look at tours like the sv kickoff as a display of high level play could be more valuable to see how the meta develops around this mechanic. terastal is nowhere near as undoubtedly broken as dynamax was, and i think it should be given some more time to be explored as a result. a suspect beginning in late december and wrapping up a bit before spl seems like reasonable timing, but any earlier than that i think is too drastic and too soon to know how this mechanic really affects sv ou at its core.

on "restriction":
i do not think any of the restriction options align with what i understand of smogon's tiering policy. we could make an exception for the sake of keeping the big generational mechanictm, but that feels like it goes against what smogon is meant to do. when simplicity and accessibility of the ruleset is part of the philosophy, something like "you must only tera into one of your types" and "you must reveal your tera types prior to the start of the match" is anything but simple and grokable as opposed to "you can't terastalize" and "tera blast is banned". in fact, i think only exactly those two options should be considered, anything else feels arbitrary and pet-modey (which is not a not-compliment, just not what smogon tiering philosophy should be).

on the "brokenness" of terastal:
i just wanted to add that this post is not a counterargument for tiering action to be taken, i haven't had time yet to decide what i think of terastal, and i think people bring up excellent points to its uncompetitiveness, unpredictability, and ability to flip a game in a single turn. i just hope we give the mechanic enough time to see if the meta can adapt to it, and i hope that any tiering decision is simple and objective!
 
It’s unfortunate but the reality is that something has to be done about tera, and I feel like most people agree on that so I don’t wanna waste much time arguing overall brokenness. From this point I’d like to evaluate the merits of each restriction vs an outright ban.

1) Showing the Tera type of each Pokemon in the each player's party at Team Preview

This doesn’t limit the type changing “50 50s” and also is a limit that requires more than a teambuilder ban, just overall an ineffective measure in my opinion.

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

I like this, and the number should be 1. With megas and z moves, we were allowed to put more than 1 in the builder, but this wasn’t done because of opportunity cost - if you used a mega stone or a z crystal, then you couldn’t use some other item. In the case of tera types, there’s just no reason not to have 6 available. As such, a limit of 1 is a great idea we’re all familiar with.

3) Limiting Pokemon to only using a Tera Type that matches their current STAB

I’m a fan of this one too. I understand the perspective that STAB is dumb too but I think the type changing and ability to survive where otherwise impossible is the most problematic aspect.

4) Banning usage of the move Tera Blast

Not a needed step if you do the above and also not that impactful.

~

I am generally against complex bans of any kind but I think it’s different here. It’s a core generational mechanic and a decision that lasts, likely across all standard gen 9 tiers. There’s no slippery slope - it’s a once in a generation debate. It is also larger scale than something like BP - it impacts genuinely every pokemon. I think we’d still be doing the right thing.

I support simultaneously testing both options 2 and 3 as written above. You can only assign 1 tera type and it must be STAB. I think we should try this out, and if it’s still problematic we can outright ban but that’s a last resort. I’m only theorizing that this will be okay, but if it’s not then our hand would be forced and we’d have to ban it. Let’s see how it plays out.

~

POSSIBLE BACKUP PLAN

If the above dual-restriction doesn’t pan out, I have an idea but it’s kind of out there:

Tera types can only be used without an item.

This is still a builder limit so it wouldn’t require modding the game. It would create an interaction in terms of trade-offs like we know with megas and z moves. It would also directly nerf tera pokemon’s power level. As a bonus, we would have a built-in way of knowing which pokemon can tera because preview shows whether an item is held.

I know this is out there and I don’t support its implementation yet but maybe it’s worth thinking about.
 
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Lily

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Only speaking for myself here. Banning Tera as a whole would be a huge mistake and should not be on the table until we've exhausted other options.

With a new generation there always comes an influx of new players. Banning Terastalisation as a whole alienates these players to a significant degree. Whenever this argument is brought up with someone who's already in the "in group" of Smogon, you essentially get the same replies; "it doesn't matter what the noobs think" or "we should still strive towards the most competitive metagame" (i.e. the most common team preview is balance v balance and the better player wins more often than not). The latter is a valid argument on surface level that doesn't actually hold much weight since it's a meaningless statement on its own; a metagame is almost always competitive even if we don't like the strategies used in it on a personal level. I don't like playing RBY OU. I don't think it's "mechanically good". And yet, for all of RBY's flaws, it is clear that there are levels of skill seen in a number of players that lets them consistently dominate. What makes a metagame competitive is those who play it; it's competitive as long as there are players there to push the boundaries of what is possible.

Anyway, if you think I'm full of shit when saying that banning a core mechanic alienates a playerbase, here is some raw data to back it up:

Gen 8 OU battle count in December 2019 (the month after SS's release): 2647791
Gen 8 OU battle count in January 2020 (the month after the Dynamax ban): 1780471
Gen 8 OU battle count in October 2022: 1574044

Yes, initial hype is always going to fall off. The ladder was never going to maintain the same activity it had in the first little while after the game's release. But for comparison's sake, here are the same stats for SM OU:

Gen 7 OU battle count in December 2016 (pokebank + regular OU combined - didn't do this for ss bc it didnt exist): 3059219
Gen 7 OU battle count in January 2017: 2322359
Gen 7 OU battle count in October 2019: 2005100

Even in SM's "end-of-gen lull", it was still beating out SS's numbers easily. Now don't get me wrong, SS was still getting tons of battles - it's just clear that something had a large impact on the amount of expected battles, considering SS also sold over 50% more copies than SM to begin with and would thus have more of a playerbase to entice.

So is it all down to the fact that we banned Dynamax? No, of course not, but if you think it was irrelevant then you're kidding yourself. It had a massive effect - Smogon made the news on multiple outlets as a result of the decision. It was absolutely HUGE to do that. It can be hard to visualise the impact of a ban like this when you're already within the Smogon community and come to expect things like this, but it has a really massive effect on the overall playerbase; the "silent majority", so to speak.

None of this is to say that Dynamax should've stayed, but to illustrate the point that when banning a massive core mechanic, we cannot just do it flippantly. We should be aiming to exhaust as many of our options as we can before coming to the nuclear option.

My personal preferred option would be to iterate through the options from smallest to biggest impact; starting with displaying Tera types on preview (not a departure from cart mechanics in any way we haven't seen before, see HP% display), then banning non-STAB Tera (wouldn't oppose this being the first option either, non-STAB Tera is by far the most OP part of the mechanic), and then banning Tera if we absolutely need to as a last resort option, but it should not be done any time soon. It will be a major disservice to the competitive pokemon community to nuke the mechanic after making the decision following a single week of play. I do not know if what I'm suggesting is the optimal route, because I don't have a clue how any of this would play out in practice; none of us do, and with that in mind, skipping the entire process by just taking the easy way out and nuking Tera as a whole would be incredibly disappointing.

TL;DR: Please don't ban Tera without exhausting options first. If after attempting to balance it in some way, we find that we cannot do that, we can move from there, but in my opinion nuking it outright from the beginning would be a terrible decision.
 
i dont have much to add but i would like to echo the sentiment that other options should absolutely be explored before banning tera as a whole. banning a core mechanic of the generation is something ive always disliked (despite it being necessary last gen) but finding ways to keep it and have it implemented in reasonable ways is ideal. i think adam and lily make great points and i like the ideas of limiting tera to 1 mon. complex bans are a slippery slope, esp in terms of smogon tiering philosophy but this is a unique case since its a core mechanic rather than some combination of mon + move or mon + item.

great work so far with the tier carl and the ou council
 

shnowshner

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On restriction:

The "gimmicks" of the past 3 generation all worked differently than Tera does, and we can see how such mechanics influenced their placement within competitive play.
  • Mega Evolution was limited to a select few Pokemon, and only one Pokemon could ever Mega Evolve. Many teams would have only one or even no Pokemon capable of Mega Evolution, and you could only do so by giving up your item slot (which also served as a tell thanks to being impossible to disrupt via Knock/Trick), making it fairly simple to both predict in-game and conduct tiering action as needed. The only real variance outside of Ubers came from the two Charizard Megas, though this one instance isn't substantial enough on its own.
  • Z-Moves are much harder to predict than Mega Evolution as they can be used by any Pokemon, and the range of possible Z-Moves is very high. It's definitely possible to predict what kinds of Z-Moves are going to be used based on metagame trends or a Pokemon's movepool options, but many things can still be left in the air: multiple Z-Move users on a single team isn't even unheard of to come across. Still, you do give up your item slot, and this means that it can be scouted for, though with less assurance on the exact Z-Move used.
  • Dynamax was a major departure from the last two, having no sense of "opportunity cost" outside of using it at the wrong time. In exchange, your Pokemon was supercharged for three turns, gaining doubled HP, insanely strong Max Moves, and random immunities or mechanical changes like ignoring the effects of Choice items. Predicting Dynamax from the swathe of potential candidates was difficult enough, but predicting alone was not always enough to save you. Dynamax was strong enough that even if you knew it was coming, being able to stop it could be completely out of the question. Restricting something like Dynamax which has zero tells or requirements outside of "clicking the Dynamax button" is hard to justify, outside of allowing the Gigantimax forms as the only users. In the end, however, people wanted the mechanic gone entirely because of how warping it was, and it's truly difficult to think of a way Dynamax could be allowed without it being excessively arbitrary, overcentralizing, or out of place within Gen 8 metagames.
This brings us back to Terastallization. As a generation gimmick, it's much more closely related to Dynamax than Z-Moves or Mega Evolution, which isn't a good first impression to leave for its competitive legacy. Tera letting you change your defensive type to a monotype one while retaining your original STAB combo, or boosting the strength of one of your STABs, while also unlocking Tera Blast as an effective 120 BP coverage move of your choice, radically changes the gamestate and provides a huge boost to both overall power and positioning. There's no requirement for this either, any Pokemon can Terastallize and can do so at will, with the continued rule of once per battle, though unlike Dynamax the effect persists. We still have a lot to learn about the mechanic and its drawbacks: how changing your typing might be exploited by a savvy opponent, or how Tera Blast needs Tera active in order to be helpful for a majority of Pokemon and thus limits teambuilding. Overall, however, Terastallization has way more benefits than it does consequences for the user.

I am not a fan of this mechanic and how it was implemented into the game, but it would be rather disappointing to immediately go another generation with the defining mechanic axed from a majority of competitive play on the site. Restricting Terastallization actually feels possible, unlike Dynamax, since we are provided actual variables that can be reasonably controlled, and entertaining that possibility to keep this generation's defining feature sounds preferable.

Limiting Tera types to base typing is a very straightforward solution that easy for players to agree upon or mutually accept. This actually solves both the unpredictable type changing aspect and some concerns about Tera Blast, as it turns the move's identity from "obtuse Hidden Power with doubled BP" into "obtuse STAB move for Pokemon that may be lacking a reliable one." I can't say how effective this would be in addressing Terastallization, but it's definitely one of the easiest to implement.


Banning Tera Blast is the simplest option, though also the one that I have the least confidence in. You would solve the issue of Pokemon gaining access to coverage types they don't, and probably shouldn't have, but that's it.


Displaying a Pokemon's Tera type on preview definitely strays away from cartridge preview mechanics, though we've already strayed from adhering to cartridge as gospel in many ways. Showdown gives additional information about potential abilities, Speed range, and typing (for what it's worth), which are not present on cartridge team preview. Of course, this is mostly an accessibility feature, as there are plenty of online databases one can use to find this information quickly, and simply plan out their strategy from there. During battles, damage is also shown in percentages, which isn't in the game at all afaik, and thus is a fairly large deviation from cartridge mechanics. You definitely can measure percentages in-game as well, but the effort needed is way higher compared to simply seeing the number. Still, this remains an accessibility feature meant to encourage more tactical play. And something like the timer difference between Showdown and cart or Sleep Clause is simply us having a better sense of game design than GameFreak would like to admit.

All said, the more we can avoid adding custom rules/elements, the better. Is there a way to allow players to view an opponent's Tera type without modifying cartridge mechanics? In theory, we could say that both players are required to exchange information about their team's Tera type the moment team preview pops up, in order to abide by the rules of OU play. How exactly this information is shared shouldn't matter, as playing OU on cart already requires a significant amount of outside communication and agreements with your opponent.

You could also say that OU requires each Pokemon on a team to be nicknamed their Tera type. So if I brought a Dragapult with a Dragon Tera type, it's nickname would be Dragon, informing my opponent in turn. This would reveal the Tera type of a Pokemon as it switches in, creating a system that naturally reveals Tera types during battle. We already don't adhere to nickname mechanics in the first place because why should we, so we could simply pretend this is happening during battles while keeping whatever nicknames you want to use. Not an idea I'm that fond of compared to simply having both players agree to share this information at the beginning of a game, but it does definitely exist(?).


Limiting the amount of Pokemon that can Terastallize comes with a lot of hurdles we'd need to overcome. I guess you can go back to the whole "gentlemanning" system that's been mentioned for Tera type previewing, and while that would certainly work, at some point I feel like we need to set a limit to what we can and can't allow via a proverbial player agreement. Agreements are easy to justify when it applies to every Pokemon that is going to be used in play: there is no specificity attached to anything and it operates with zero discernment on either player's end. A system that says something like, "out of your six Pokemon, choose three that are allowed to Terastallize," starts to bleed more into house rules than an actual format.

Actually I'll just say it—this feels like dipping our toes into the dreaded Complex Ban territory. Like, if my opponent and I can agree that I will only Terastallize my Roaring Moon, and they will do likewise for their Chien-Pao, then we might as well be able to agree on whatever superficial crap we want. I don't find this to be an outstanding argument, but it's one I can see people make and I understand why. There's no rhyme or reason for us to decide what mons are allowed to Terastallize or not and that doesn't bode well for something meant to be an easy-to-understand game rule. This feels like the opposite extreme of what Finch posted,
Finally, banning the most broken abusers of Terastallization is a concept that we should be avoiding at all costs
where instead of banning the mons that are broken because of how they use Terastall, we restrict a broken Terastall to the point where only a select few mons even want to bother with it (while maybe still getting banned as a result). And honestly, if we'd have to go to such lengths to make Terastallization a balanced mechanic, it's probably not worth keeping around in the first place.

If most people are fine with such limitations, which seems to be common sentiment right now, then I guess I don't really care either. This would, however, begin to paint the idea that Smogon operates however it pleases to create a competitive metagame, versus only interfering with mechanics when deemed absolutely necessary in the least impactful way possible, and such an image may be unfavorable to a lot of users here. Both directions have their merit in my opinion (the former is practically the only way competitive Team Fortress 2 exists and resulted in one of the coolest e-sports ever made), and if enough want to depart from the norm in hopes it brings forth a more interesting metagame, than I've no interest in stopping anyone.
 

Mossy Sandwich

Busy being bored
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Terastallization essentially changes 3 things about the mon undergoing it
1. Change of defensive typing
2. Third STAB OR Adapt boost to one of your STABs
3. Changes Tera Blast's type

Overall I'd say Defensive type>Third Stab>Adapt Boost>Tera Blast, so I think taking action on the defensive type change would have the most impact. I'll talk about each one to make the order clear.

As I stated, I believe this is the most broken part of terastalization since it can negate offensive counterplay. This feels especially important in the gen 9 meta as many defensive mons can end up being on the passive side with the much lower distribution of Scald, Knock Off and Toxic, so teams often need some strong revenge-killing options, which leads to a higher usage of strong priority users such as Scizor, Chien-Pao and Breloom. However, if an opposing sweeper can just change type to resist whatever move is coming to try to revenge-kill it, you're gonna miss the kill, probably lose your revenge-killer and often lose the game on the spot. Even when you're not trying to sweep, invalidating offensive counterplay isn't healthy, wallbreakers like Annihilape can easily just grab an extra kill by using their tera and defensive counterplay for it can be insanely hard to find, making it potentially overwhelming if you don't have other good offensive options. This is also very interesting with more bulky teams though, as there are plenty of types you can use to deal with certain mons you might have trouble answering, making building more flexible, but despite that I don't think the defensive change is very healthy. Even if you know the tera type, there's still a chance your opponent doesn't tera or even just switches out, and some revenge killers would have no way to deal with the tera even if they know it's coming. You're in a lose/lose situation if for example, your revenge-killing options for Flying tera Roaring Moon are Breloom and Kingambit, both have no way to win on their own and need the other to bait a specific tera.

Third Stab is generally not that big of a boost to mons with good STAB coverage as they'd generally prefer boosting their own stab or gaining some defensive utility, but mons like Roaring Moon or Dnite with clear issues with their STABs can just decide they want a 50% boost on a strong coverage move. This on its own isn't all that overwhelming, but I think it removes too much counterplay when paired with the defensive type change, as not only do you gain an option to hit some of your switchins much harder, but their moves will also deal much less damage which is generally what makes the matchup go from a winning one to a losing one. Not to say that the 50% boost isn't relevant though, but if mons already have good Stab options, a third stab is generally not gonna stronger on neutral targets. I think Dnite preventing revenge-killing with a 50% stronger Espeed and Roaring Moon getting a spammable and very strong STAB option in Acrobatics still make them much harder to deal with than they would've been otherwise.

This one is very simple, it's just a way to push mons you might already have trouble walling like Chien-Pao or Chi-Yu into unwallable territory. The argument to not addressing this is that it makes potentially broken mons just more broken, but it's still a pretty big issue regardless. If we want to keep tera in some form though, I don't think this aspect is the one we should focus on limiting.

This one is very interesting as I don't think we have any mons that abuse it to the point of it being broken yet, especially with Palafin being banned recently, but it basically gives some mons coverage that they don't need. Palafin being able to use something like Electric Tera Blast on all out attacking sets to just remove Water types as an answer was insanely unhealthy. Tera Blast could become a problem on strong electric types like Regieleki or Tapu Koko if they ever get released as the only thing stopping them from spamming Volt Switch and dealing crazy damage with every switch-in are ground types, and preventing that when they can get an 80bp stab ice move becomes a lot harder. I don't see it as a big issue right now because there doesn't seem to be any broken abusers of it from what I've seen, but depending on how the meta develops or what Home/DLC bring, it could end up being a problem.


It seems there's an agreement that some form of action needs to be taken on tera, but it's still a very difficult decision to take, I'll go over each option real quick.

Complete ban: This is the easiest option to take as we've seen metas without any generationnal gimmick can work well, but honestly this just feels like it'd be lazily getting rid of the mechanic at this point. It might have to come down to it eventually, but Tera can have an interesting effect on the meta. I also wouldn't want precedent from dynamax to lead to this, we should treat each new generation's mechanics on their own.

Showing Tera type: This does help a little as one of the scary parts of Tera is its unpredictability, especially when it comes to the new resists granted by a type change, but there's still a deadly prediction game around when the Tera will be used. I think this makes priority much less effective as priority users can't use a different move to play around tera, but Scarfers do have the option to hit their target before they can get hit. This also unfortunately limits the potential effectiveness of using your tera on your defensive mons to check certain offensive threats since baiting certain moves is important in making tera on defensive mons work.

Limiting # of potential Tera: I'm assuming the other player would know which of your mons can tera from preview, otherwise it doesn't seem any easier to deal with. This+Showing tera type does allow you to prep well for the tera user on preview, though the issue is that most teams feel like they have 2-3 mons that use Tera better than the rest and, while limiting it to 1 would nerf tera, it's not as limiting as it might seem.

Limiting mons to only Teras of their type: Despite this option dealing pretty well with what I think are the two biggest issues right now, Tera seems very uninteresting if its whole point is giving mons an adapt boost, removing a few weaknesses and giving Pult physical ghost stab. It makes Tera much less effective, but also much less interesting in my opinion.

Banning Tera Blast: If option 3 is picked, this barely matters, but I think it could be done alongside option 1 and/or 2 if certain mons end up becoming too strong with it, but Tera Blast ban doesn't solve the biggest issue with the mechanic, so I wouldn't do it, at least not on its own.

Obviously, I think tera should be suspected rather than QBed and is a mechanic that requires a lot more discussion. I'd say restricting it with Option 1 and/or 2 would be pretty good while Complete ban and limiting it to STAB types seem like they might lead to less interesting metagames.
 

Ropalme1914

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Judging by most replies, this won't be a popular opinion, but I really don't like some of the restriction options out of what Smogon values in itself - a lot of those just feels like arbitrary restrictions and straight up go to complex bans on my view - I could maybe see that on Ubers since there is more liberty with those there, but it's stepping on thin ice applying those on OU, especially with all the talk we just had where Houndstone got the ban hammer over Last Respects.

Out of the restrictions, showing Tera type at team preview could be seen as possible and is arguably the most balanced out of those: it's a simple gentleman's agreement that was used in a similar way before (showing the correct Deoxys forme sprite on gen 3 rather than the one from your game). This should remove some of the unpredictability that some people dislike while still keeping the mechanic essentially intact, as you still can get your main uses out of it and a lot of Pokémon already have a limited amount of Tera types available that are good. This could be seen as limiting creativity, as lure sets will surely fall off, but the diminished return of matchup fishing sets might be worth it, but it's also not how the mechanic works and the surprise factor is inherent to it - just like we didn't reveal on Team Preview if the enemy was using Mega Charizard X or Mega Charizard Y.

Limiting the amount of Pokemon on any given team that have access to possibly Terastallize during a battle is something that doesn't please me. Tera is not Mega Evolution or Z-Moves, it feels like we're just trying to transform a mechanic into something different. I think this might be the most balanced one out of the restrictions, but the justification for it feels weak - we just go "hey, I won't click the button for this one"? It's like saying you could only hold one Z-Crystal or Mega Stone per team - obviously there was a opportunity cost for those two, but having a designated Tera Pokémon is not only changing how the basic mechanic work, I think it even takes away one of the more skill based parts of it in choosing which Tera will give you a better matchup and when to do it, as you don't have other options anyway.

Limiting Tera typing to previously existing STAB types is straight up bad on my view: to me, it's just not how the mechanic works, and if I may bring some Z-Moves comparisons as some people also wanted it restricted back on gen 7, it would be like if the restriction was "you can only use Status Z-Moves, not offensive ones". This is directly a complex ban and doesn't tackle directly the problems with the mechanic - of course, lots of Pokémon benefit from the type change, but you're leaving those who just get a super STAB or even just change to a better pure defensive type unchanged, they'll still be the same and it's acting as if they offer no problem at all and only the others do.

Banning Tera Blast is the only non-complex ban here and also the only one I would seriously consider in a vacuum as it respects Smogon's policy, but not only it feels mostly irrelevant (really, there are FAR more Pokémon that don't use Tera Blast at all than those that do), Tera Blast is simply not broken. We banned Galarian Darmanitan and, once again bringing it up, Houndstone, not Gorilla Tactics or Last Respects, because we can't say those would be broken if other stuff got it. Well, Tera Blast is something that is not broken on 95% of the things that get it. We never banned Hidden Power, and we should not ban Tera Blast if balancing is the question.

I do think Terastal is not problematic enough to need a full ban - it's the central mechanic of the game, of course it'll be strong, but I don't really see every game being decided by who made use of the mechanic better and nothing else like Dynamax did. We may have gotten used to gen 8's lack of a big mechanic allowed on Smogon formats, but I don't think this should be the standard going forward, and I would even say this is much less centralizing than gen 5's weather wars, and we always had to deal with unpredictability, like back when we had no Team Preview. If I had to vote, I would go No ban > full ban > ban Tera Blast and not consider voting for the other options at all. Tera is not Megas and Z-Moves and we should not try to make them like those.
 
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ima

Take me to your leader
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I was very curious to see everybody’s consensus on Tera and I’m happy to see everybody gather their thoughts here. I’ve been on the fence of straight up banning Tera just because I do believe there’s merit to the competitive side of it, moreso than past mechanics such as Dynamax (where we could all basically agree that was a wild ride). What I’ve been discussing with the council and many other players is the thought of limiting Tera to their base typing. This was actually brought up by Star but to me, it was the most balanced solution for Tera, because of course while the mechanic itself is absolutely sick, there indeed has to be something done to limit it. Tera, especially with defensive typing, is way too bonkers. And I’ve changed my mind on this a lot— but yeah, there’s nothing I can really say to defend it, no matter how you look at it, defensive Tera is just way more prevalent than offensive Tera at the moment. A great example is water Tera Annihilape, where the typing basically nulls most revenge killers and just.. wins the game. Most of the time. Another great example was Palafin, with tera steel or just pure water to grab multiple KOs. These Pokémon are absolutely crazy with defensive Tera. If we were to limit it to base type, pokemon like Annihilape wouldn’t be as crazy, and you can argue a case for Palafin as well.

There would be issues with base type only, just thinking about theorymons such as DD ghost pult is outright scary to think about. However it wouldn’t be the end of the world, it would just be another discussion for later.

Lastly, I would like to say that banning Tera Blast as a whole is not a good fix or “nerf”. Many Pokémon do not even use the move itself and just use it for defensive purposes, it would not solve many problems at all. Everything would just be the same, except you can’t use tera blast. I would also like to say that I am not a fan of banning mechanics as a whole unless it’s completely busted (see Dynamax), and I can see huge competitive merit to Tera typings, and I don’t think it would change the base mechanics if the idea was to limit with base types. You would still lose another type for example if you were dual steel/dark — there is still big competitive merit in losing a typing, and I think it’s something that can be utilized and studied well in future tournaments.

I just wanted to voice my opinion as a member of the council so I can keep things transparent with the rest of the OU community, and I’m very curious and excited to see what everybody else thinks on the matter as well. Thanks for reading.
 

Karxrida

Lahabruh Moment
is a Community Contributor Alumnus
I know the following point is me being pedantic as fuck, but I'm extremely tired of people boiling things down to a "it causes a 50/50" argument. (Was mostly seeing it in the OU thread but it's popped up here.) First of all, it implies that Tera leads to completely uncontrollable binary situations, which is not true. Both players have full agency on how to use the mechanic and how to react to it. I have issues with the "uncompetitive" arguments for similar reasons since that implies the removal of skill from the equation like Swagger and Baton Pass, which is also not true. Second of all, most, if not all, competitive games ask that you be able to read the opponent and the game state and use the information you're given to take action based on that situation. Mind games are arguably a sign of a healthy competitive environment because they require you to figure out how to get into your opponent's head and outplay them. Your opponent has only has 6 Pokémon with 24 moveslots, you have team preview, and if they have a blatant weakness in their build then they're likely running a running a Tera type to cover for that.

If you're going to argue against Tera, argue that it's disproportionally hard to react to because it provides too much flexibility for the user. Also that it isn't balanced by both players having access to it due to the massive swing in tempo it can cause that lets Pokémon bypass their checks and counters.

If most people are fine with such limitations, which seems to be common sentiment right now, then I guess I don't really care either. This would, however, begin to paint the idea that Smogon operates however it pleases to create a competitive metagame, versus only interfering with mechanics when deemed absolutely necessary in the least impactful way possible, and such an image may be unfavorable to a lot of users here. Both directions have their merit in my opinion (the former is practically the only way competitive Team Fortress 2 exists and resulted in one of the coolest e-sports ever made), and if enough want to depart from the norm in hopes it brings forth a more interesting metagame, than I've no interest in stopping anyone.
I find the TF2 comparison interesting because while the community over there has banned mechanics (crits obviously) and some items for their formats, the scene is also outright approved by Valve and they don't run their own. I mean they have a Competitive mode, but it's basically an alternate form of Casual for random games and doesn't host actual competitions. Pokémon, meanwhile, has official formats that Nintendo/Game Freak/TPC/whatever actually wants people to participate in and balance the game around. They aren't good at balancing, but they're trying I guess. Obviously they haven't directly supported 6v6 Singles in decades and we're trying to alter the ruleset (within cartridge limitations) to make the format playable, but at some point you have to ask if we're the ones trying to adapt the game or forcing it to conform to our whims. I especially think we need to reflect on that since some changes this gen (like recovery move nerfs and removal of anti-hazard options) feel like they were directly targeted at us.

I am admittedly not sure where I stand on Tera at the moment, but I think we should at least try something before banning it outright.
 
There shouldn’t be any rush here to do anything drastic. We just recently banned two broken mons and the meta hasn’t even had time to really develop itself. Terra is a frightening mechanic on the surface but if we just make a snap decision to ban it or even limit it significantly then we are moving further away from what the games are intended to be. And, terra is not unplayable in the sense that Dynamax was at a certain point. It is very playable, has actual strategy attached to it, and, more importantly, is quite fun! I guarantee that if we just accepted it as part of the game, great players would adjust accordingly and be more keen as to what terra typings are predictable etc. it won’t be perfect, and there are always bound to be surprises, but that’s just part of what the game is. Mons was never meant to be a 10000% skill only brainfest, it was a fun game with lots of elements of both strategy and luck mixed in with a layer of unpredictability that makes it unique to any other strategy games you could be playing.

I don’t think we should be limiting terra to stab typings either - you may as well just ban it at that point since it’s clearly not what the mechanic was supposed to be. If we are going to do anything it should be the least invasive option possible (probably showing terra typing) and just test it out and see how it goes. The Gen just started, it’s ok to ride this out a bit longer to make sure everyone makes the right decision here.
 

Finchinator

no longer Harry’s house
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There shouldn’t be any rush here to do anything drastic. We just recently banned two broken mons and the meta hasn’t even had time to really develop itself. Terra is a frightening mechanic on the surface but if we just make a snap decision to ban it or even limit it significantly then we are moving further away from what the games are intended to be.
We have had very clear messaging all generation that it is important to take our time with the mechanic and give it a chance — our minds are wide open to possibilities right now. We are opening these threads to give people a chance to discuss possibilities and because it makes more sense for the community to decide than just the council behind closed doors!

We also included a timeline in the OP, which essentially mandates this discussion has to remain open for at least a week and that any action will be done via a longer suspect (3 weeks, not the standard 2) as opposed to anything council related.

You should not be worried about any knee-jerk responses to the mechanic. I hope this dispels the worried sentiment I am seeing echoed by a number of people on things being rushed. It is important everything is calculated and we communicate effectively. Please let me know if there are other concerns.
 

Da Pizza Man

Pizza Time
is a Pre-Contributor
I would like to talk a bit about the idea that revealing your Tera Types on Team Preview breaks cartridge mechanics.

This idea is, from an objective standpoint, completely untrue. Having a gentleman's agreement with your opponent to reveal the Tera Types on each of your Pokemon is something that can be very easily done in-game, assuming you are able to communicate with them. If you want to replicate this in-game, then your in luck, because it's as easy as just saying "Sup bro. My Dragonite is Tera Steel, my Corviknight is Tera Ground, blah blah blah". This is in sharp contrast with something like Sleep Clause, which cannot be replicated in game because it literally changes how the game is being played (Last time I checked you don't get a message saying that your sleep moved failed because your opponent already has a sleeping Pokemon in-game). I'm honestly really confused why this argument is even being used, because the logic behind having a gentleman's agreement like this is the exact same thing that we used to ban Dynamax outright last gen (A lot of people were questioning if a mechanic ban like this would break cartridge mechanics, and the answer we gave them was simply just "It's just both players agreeing not to press the Dynamax button"), so its a bit unusual to find people saying that it's now a violation of cartridge rules now that it's being used to preserve something rather than ban it.

Outside of that, the only other thing I would like to say are in regards to limiting Terastallization to only existing types and banning Tera Blast, as I think that both of these options shouldn't even be on the table, albeit for different reason.

- STAB Only: If we are going to do this, we might as well just outright ban the mechanic, because it just completely demolishes the identity behind the mechanic. A large part of the appeal behind Terastallization since before it was even announced was that it allowed Pokemon to become completely different types than they are normally. What's the point in preserving the mechanic if you are just going to rip away the main thing that people would find appealing about it?

- Tera Blast ban: This is almost for the exact opposite reason, because it does pretty much completely nothing to the mechanic. Most Pokemon don't bother with Tera Blast unless they absolutely need it to get the coverage that they want (Which is quite rare, because most Pokemon already have access to coverage for the Type that they want to Tera into, which just makes Tera Blast redundant on them), simply because a 80 BP Normal-Type move with no secondary effects is a horrible waste of a move slot. Chi-Yu and Dragonite are the only Pokemon that I can think of off the top of my head that this would actually affect, and while there might be some more that I'm missing, I'm pretty sure that list isn't going to be very long.
 
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Paulluxx

[Regional Manager of Big Shifu]
is a Community Contributor
Edit: I am stupid and have no reading comprehension, I disagree with this post, and ill fix that soon. My bad
Going to second this, creating a clause that reveals Tera Type on preview is just a Pet Mod.

Edit: To be added

I just wanted to weigh in here, and that’s to say that restricting to only STAB is a very boring solution to a problem that is better fixed by limiting Terastal to STAB types for all Pokémon except for one Pokémon. It is easy to implement in the builder, solves the issues with unpredictability as only one Pokémon can really abuse Terastal(once the metagame is stabilized to some extent cause, there are some Pokémon that are broken with just STAB, cough cough Pult). But they can still benefit heavily from it. It creates an opportunity cost, and a real benefit to intelligence in the builder, and honestly skill, in game, knowing which Pokémon can Terastal viably into different types. Which only use mono, it adds an interesting dynamic that follows the in-game mechanic while balancing it.

My Proposal: Restricting Terastalyzing to only one Pokémon that has a different type than it’s STABs.
 
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Ruft

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are my own and not representative of the OU council.

Thinking about this more, I'm starting to believe a single suspect test might not suffice to give the mechanic a fair try, given the importance of the core mechanic and the possible restrictions we could impose on it.

The way I see it, there are differences between the proposed restrictions in terms of how severely they restrict the mechanic.

For example, I think showing Tera type at team preview is objectively much less restricting than limiting Tera typing to previously existing STAB types, as the former doesn't actually restrict the player in the builder but merely serves to give the player more information to play around the mechanic in the game, while the latter eliminates a massive part of the mechanic itself.

Therefore, rather than picking a single restriction to be implemented over the others, I propose that we pick two viable restrictions, so that we can try a less severe restriction before a more severe one. The next step would be to order them in terms of how severely they restrict the mechanic. This would result in two restrictions, let's call them restriction 1 and restriction 2, where restriction 2 restricts the mechanic more than restriction 1 does, much like the two restrictions in the previous paragraph.

Subsequently, my proposal would consist of the following:

1. Suspect test Terastallization in its current state
At the end, those who acquired the suspect test requirements can vote one of two things:
Keep Terastallization as is OR implement restriction 1.

IF the vote results in keeping Terastallization as is, the suspect process would end and that would be the status quo from then on.
IF the vote results in implementing restriction 1, restriction 1 would be implemented and the follow suspect test would follow:
2. Suspect test restriction 1
At the end, those who acquired the suspect test requirements (we could probably make it so that those who acquired the requirements for the previous suspect test don't have to do so again for this one) can vote one of two things:
Keep Terastallization restricted as per restriction 1 OR implement restriction 2.

IF the vote results in keeping Terastallization restricted as per restriction 1, the suspect process would end and that would be the status quo from then on.
IF the vote results in implementing restriction 2, restriction 2 would be implemented and the follow suspect test would follow:
3. Suspect test restriction 2
At the end, those who acquired the suspect test requirements (again, we could probably make it so that those who acquired the requirements for the previous suspect tests don't have to do so again for this one) can vote one of two things:
Keep Terastallization restricted as per restriction 2 OR ban Terastallization in its entirety.

Both options would result in the end of the suspect process, with the resulting option being the status quo from then on.

I'd say each of these suspect tests should last two to three weeks.

I'll try to pre-emptively answer some questions you might have regarding this process:

Why not conduct a single suspect test with more than two voting options, with an outright ban of Terastallization among the restrictions?
I think Terastallization being banned in its entirety without trying out any of the restrictions would be a regretful result, as there is certainly merit to keeping the core mechanic of the generation that goes beyond competitiveness, as Lily and others have alluded to. My proposal ensures that restrictions are tried before the mechanic were to be banned in its entirety.

Why two potential restrictions and not one, or more than two?
I think two restrictions, one less and one more severe, strikes a nice balance between, on one hand, trying multiple restriction options of differing severity to see which one is sufficient, and, on the other hand, avoiding a seemingly endless process of trial and error with no clear solution.

Why not leave some off-time between the suspect tests once a restriction were to be implemented?
Once a restriction were to be implemented, there is no guarantee that it is a sustainable solution. The end of the suspect test following the implementation of a restriction would basically be a necessary review of whether the restriction is sufficient or not.

The finer details of this process are murky and up for change, but I'm curious as to what you think about a (potentially) relatively long-term suspect process covering multiple stages like this.
 

termi

ship's a'goin' down!
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Tera is a fundamentally broken mechanic and if we were to adhere strictly to Smogon tiering policy, the "nuclear option" would be the only permissible one. I understand however that other considerations are at play that make people want to keep Tera in some capacity, but if we do so, we shouldn't do it under the pretense that we're really being consistent with tiering policy when we contort Tera into something that is more to our liking. Whatever we choose to do about it, anything other than an outright ban fundamentally alters the mechanic. I'm personally indifferent wrt Smogon tiering policy orthodoxy, but if we choose an unorthodox solution to the Tera problem, I don't think we should choose one over the other based on it being more like a "gentleman's agreement" than some other option.

Now some might say that Tera w/ team preview actually doesn't really alter the mechanic so much, but I would argue that showing Tera types in preview changes the game much more significantly than any QoL mod like showing HP % that this option has been compared to, not only by removing some of the "surprise factor" but also by enabling strategies such as disguising a mon with a certain set with a Tera type associated with a different set. This seems undesirable to me. More importantly, though, this option does not actually remove the game-changing 50/50s that Tera causes and therefore only helps a little, definitely not enough to make this broken mechanic not broken. Half measures such as this one should be avoided.

Limiting Tera to STABs is something that is somewhat more likely to be effective, though I think it is suboptimal. As the user above me has pointed out, limiting Tera to this extent kinda kills the identity of the mechanic and makes me wonder what the point even would be of preserving it. Moreover, such a move would kill most of the potential for Tera to be used on more defensive teams in order to patch up weaknesses, while still greatly benefiting offensive behemoths. Not the worst proposal but a very unexciting one.

Limiting Tera to one mon per team is a promising option imo, but only when the Tera user and its type are also shown in team preview. This I think is the only way to preserve what is unique and interesting about the mechanic without causing the sort of unhealthy guessing games that Tera enables. It also makes the mechanic more analogous to Megas and Z-moves in previous generations, which both gives us good reason to assume Tera would be manageable this way and makes it seem close to something we could have actually had in the game itself (had the creators been better game designers).

Ultimately I still favor banning Tera entirely over anything else, even though I sorta like the mechanic. I feel like even 1 Tera per team + preview would lead to problems down the line, and it does still feel a bit like bending over backwards to make something broken not broken. I can at least sympathize with the idea of trying this out though and banning Tera later down the line if it's still causing too many problems. I do think all options other than immediate ban and 1 Tera per team + preview should be avoided, though.
 
I'm not dead-set on any restriction, but I don't see the issue people have with them from a policy standpoint. When you go to a Melee tournament, there is nothing inherent in Melee that stops you from Peach Bomber stalling which can lead to relatively riskless timeouts. TOs resolve this issue by disqualifying anyone who attempts to do it in bracket. There is no "gentleman's agreement" necessary, if you break the ruleset you lose it's as simple as that. Having the ruleset coded into the sim cuts out the middleman while being easily replicable for cartridge play. If you want a more black-and-white example than Melee, look no further than Chess. Any remotely serious Chess game will enforce three-turn tie by repetition, online chess simulators and irl events both enforce this rule with ease since there's no room for debate on when the rule is being violated. It's the same for mons, there is no arguing that terastallizing against however the ruleset restricts it would lead to a disqualification both online and on cart. You could even display Tera types on preview through a ruleset. For cart play, simply disqualify any player who refuses to declare what Tera mon they intend on using. For online play, just have it show.

We don't have the liberty that VGC does to impose rulesets on cart, however, it is still very feasible to enact a ruleset without modifying how the cart plays. By no means would a tera restriction be modifying cart or relying on honor systems like "gentleman's agreements" so I don't see how it violates policy. It would be a shame to go the nuclear route when there shouldn't be any issue with testing different restrictions. cheers -the tripster
 

KM

slayification
is a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributor
not much in general to say outside of what lily already has (and i'd also like to point to the fact that much of the lowest-common-denominator showdown salt/laddering content occurred in dyna-legal tiers and was most successful as a result, which is also not a coincidence), but I do think there's an important distinction to be made when discussing tera purely because it is a generalizable, limited resource gimmick.

i think the fundamental thing I'm struggling with for a lot of pro-ban arguments is that they gloss the fact that tera -- by design and by nature -- makes the mons that use them broken / overpowered / better. yes -- terastalizing your sweeper to change your weakness to priority is strong, but it's also very literally the point of running that set / tera type. you're making the elective choice in the builder and the game to give up other options (different tera types, or terastilizing with different mons) to pick up an extra kill, or chip a bigger hole, or roll a 50/50 that would previously be a forced switch or a KO. but as strong as it is, it is a resource that is both equal (both players have it) and limited (can only use once a game, need to choose the type).

I realize that it sounds like I'm just stating basic facts, but the reason I'm saying this is because so many of the pro-ban posts read like a suspect post about a particularly powerful Pokemon. it doesn't sway me that "tera makes my offensive sweepers better / more unpredictable" or "tera takes this mon from an a rank threat to an s rank one" -- that is the intended purpose of the mechanic. what would be compelling would be conclusive evidence that games are reduced to who teras first, or that defensive terastilizing is unviable and the mechanic doesn't inherently check itself (spoilers, it does -- the 50/50s go both ways). much of the metagame complaints we're seeing come from the overall dominance of hyper offensive teams that plague the start of literally every new generation -- and it doesn't at all seem surprising or concerning to me that the main uses of tera so far have been to amplify the power of the shiny new offensive toys we get. a metagame with tera in it will be inherently different than one without -- and given that we're coming fresh off a generation where we banned the mechanic entirely, i urge you all to not use those ss metagames as a comparison point to where "tera is broken" is a foregone conclusion.
 

AndViet

chacun voit midi à sa porte
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Moderator
I want to bring some thoughts to this discussion and just echo one thing that Finch has said. There has been numerous discussions regarding how broken Terastallization is under the SV OU Metagame Discussion thread. A lot of individuals have mixed opinions but a majority the comments are agreements that Tera seems overpowering to some extent and is unpredictable to prepare for. The council I feel (From looking at the outside in) have taken a fair amount of time for various quick bans and even this tiering discussion about Terastallization took 8 days to be created. So I feel like there isn't any sort rush from the council to knee jerk ban Tera completely. It's because Tera is a major mechanic to SV in general so to modify it / ban it outright for it only being 8 days from the release of SV can be too pre-mature of a decision. So I just want to shoutout the OU council for a great job thus far.

So to move on to my opinion, people don't like the idea of calling it uncompetitive because both individuals in a battle have access to this mechanic which is true, but I think when people are using the word uncompetitive it is in relation to how drastic this mechanic can change the direction of a game in 1 turn. There's no drawback to using it, you have free will on when to activate it and if you want to go through the adaptability route or you can change your typing and add an additional stab boost differing from the original type (and retain the old one).

One Point: The idea of changing your Pokémon's type into a different pure type while retaining your Pokémon's original typing and having 2 different STAB boosts is OP. Lets just say you wanted a free Adaptability boost you can just Teratilise into the same type as your Pokémon. Going to the option route of having a free Adaptability boost on a Pokémon that already has a high attacking stat in my opinion could be overwhelming to handle (It's hard to check for it, you'll probably have to sack one of your Pokémon at least half of the time depending on the team matchup.

Any of the six Pokémon have the option of differing Tera types (from original) yet only one can be used per game, but having various different options based on the matchup is too much leverage in terms of when it comes to preparing for 6 different Pokémon's with unknown tera types. It adds a lot of what ifs to something that should be straight forward like competitive Pokémon (At least when it came to past generations).
Somehow, though, defensive Terastallization feels even more unbalanced and unpredictable. The power level of a defensive Terastallization feels akin to the power of a defensive Dynamax, as you can turn your opponent's would be revenge kill or sweep into a straight up L by surprising them with a Tera type that resists whatever move they were going for.
As someone mentioned above Tera is on the same level as Dynamax but probably not as bad. I am leaning towards more of an outright ban, but I am open to see how the metagame plays out with a partial ban as mentioned above in the OP. It is something that definitely deserves to get nerfed or just completely removed.

I can be on the boat with previewing Tera types, limiting Tera types to a specific amount of Pokémon, and banning Tera Blast. Differing from cart mechanics is something that is already done on Pokémon Showdown such as HP % which I'm all for so I don't think implementing any of the above would be worth arguing from my end. Previewing Tera Types will allow the user see what the other user has and this will assist of how to approach / preparation in terms of how to manage the opposing Tera (Which is a big problem of Tera to begin with [The unknown / lack of preparation on what you're about to face]. Limiting Tera types to a limited amount of Pokémon will help in terms of not preparing for the whole team as opposed to something like half which limits the users versatile options to begin with. Banning Tera Blast would need consideration because dynamically it gets the stab boost and pertains to the highest attacking stat and uses the Pokémon's tera type as the move type (It's like Hidden Power but more broken since it can be physical and special + STAB).

As mentioned in the OP preparing for a Pokémon that can change their type on call is really difficult to counterplay and adds a lot of difficulties from a defensive perspective. I think it's another thing that continues to be mentioned where (Defensive) Tera helps benefit a mon. I do believe restricting Tera like mentioned above is the right path and if that doesn't work and if there is still more complaints or continues to be an issue, there should be a reconsideration for a full ban.
 
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EviGaro

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RU Leader
I get why this thread has to happen soon in the gen but I can't help but think this is a bit too early to discuss actual scenarios at play, because as of now there hasn't been any concrete action taken with tera as a major detriment to the metagame's health

If you look at the latest voting slate, the two newest bans were not bans that illustrate in any way how terastallization is broken: it showed how ridiculous those two water threats were. If anything, it shows the limits of tera as a mechanic, because the main counterplay outside of super duper niche counters happened to be... terastallization. Getting the right tera on Iron Bundle could easily knock it out with how frail it is, leaving the opponent largely free from struggling with it. Tera helped vs Palafin a lot as well on multiple playstyles: vs a tera Skeledirge it could realistically not function as a stallbreaker, and grass tera from dangerous threats like Chi-Yu made it really difficult for bu to clean offence as it would like. And despite this, it was obviously way too shaky to keep those mons in the metagame. I'm not saying Bundle and Comic Guy did not benefit at all from tera, obviously they did, but it was largely a tool in their arsenal that hightened their potential, and nowhere near the main factor.

Looking at the sheet again, there's two mons you can argue are on the lookout because of tera: Annihilape and Roaring Moon. Now Annihilape got some votes, and is exceedingly wack I agree, but its wack because Rage Fist and this dual typing are legit insane tools. Both those things, we knew; Marshadow's reign of terror over... 36 hours is still something most remember, and Last Respects functions quite similarly. Add this to insane bulk, good setup attributes, and its not hard to figure out this could be really really fricking good. But tera does push it more than it did the other bans... But, well, so? This mon has so much going for it than isolating a generational mechanic to purely try to save it when its already very close to silly on its own seems a bit whatever to me. Roaring Moon only finds itself on those slates because of tera, and no one votes for it. Its really, really good, and yeah it has like seven tera types, but it needs a lot going for it, and can also fall completely flat because of proper tera from the opponent or just not having the right one for the right team. Oh, and the one mon that was close to joining the bans has no real purpose with tera, and is only here because it has arguably the silliest momentum move ever on top of a insanely good ability.

Preferably, we should have only two scenarios here: ban tera or not. Adding those multiple complex opinions only make the debate more muddled when clarity is needed. Dynamax was the one generational ban we did, let's use it as a baseline. So far, there's no real concrete way to illustrate that tera is on the level of Dynamax, the early bans don't illustrate it, the impact in game is flatout not the same. With Dynamax it was very obvious the max moves were so insanely silly you would have to ban a fuckton of even passable offensive threats to make a metagame worth having, and this was obviously not something realistic. Tera - as of now! - is way more on the side of z-moves. Yes, it has more durable qualities and its rarer that you just blow it - though it definitely happens - but frankly a lot of the negative opinions on it applied to z-moves. I was part of a lot of tiering discussions in gen 7, and looking at our banlist again, its definitely arguable that at least half of the RU banlist, excluding stuff like Kommo-o that just rose after bans, is there because of z-moves options. And they were extremely unpredictable back then as well. But, if you cannot prove that the mechanic itself is making the creation of a metagame impossible - which so far, we can't - then you should always fall back on the basis of smogon tiering, which is banning Pokemons.
 

Chloe

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I'm really not sure why some people are going to such lengths just to keep this mechanic in standard play. It's unbalanced, often leads to unnecessary 50/50s and clearly perpetuates an offensive metagame that surpasses what is healthy. I don't think many people disagree with these points, nor is my post going to focus on this explicitly; however, I believe the way a lot of people are suggesting we go about fixing this is just wrong.

All of the solutions presented in this thread so far that are not banning the mechanic outright are flawed. Some people are really willing to go as far as changing how the mechanic functions, by installing type indicators, making OU no better than an OM, just to keep it. Not only this but it destroys the entire identity of the mechanic to begin with? It makes no sense to me. I've been on this site for years and I thought we'd learned that these unnecessary complex bans do not work. It is only delaying the inevitable. I appreciate to some degree the willingness of the OU council to explore more options, but if we genuinely go down a path that isn't ban or do not ban, that is by my standards absurd.

People are advocating changing how terastallisation works now, but why is this the one time we're willing to change how something works? Why can't I advocate for Dynamax to solely boost HP and not have added move power and effects? Why can't I advocate for gems to have less of a power buff in BW? When does it stop? Changing terastallisation's function sets an incredibly dangerous precedent that strays us too far from the cartridge we're supposed to be abiding by. You cannot play OU with terastallisation type indicators on cartridge. You cannot set a limit pre game on what Pokemon you're allowed to terastallise on cartridge. While I don't usually adhere to the "cartridge is law" rhetoric that some people spout, this definitely goes beyond the scope of what is acceptable in my eyes.

Mixing and matching the features of a single mechanic to fit our ideal criteria on what it should be is not a good solution. This really should be a thread on the merits of keeping terastallisation versus the merits of removing it. That's all. Not "hey here's your Sizzler salad buffet tray, go around and choose what you want on your plate, enjoy your meal!!". This mechanic is not enjoyable, it is not healthy, it doesn't promote competitive play, but because it's the "generational gimmick" some people want to go to the edges of the Earth defending its existence. Can we please just strive for a healthy and balanced OU? If you believe tera is healthy, then fine, argue for that, but please don't make up what you think it should do. At that point we might as well rename it, or create our own gimmicks that we like as a community. I'm surely not the only one who thinks this is outlandish.

Ban it (preferable) or don't ban it yet, just please don't change how it works.
 
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