Terastallization Tiering Discussion

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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.
Except it’s just a regular teambuilder restriction to implement that teras must be stab only.

There is Literally no game modding required to implement it, and it’s definitely not a pet mod. I understand and sympathize with the perspective that complex bans are undesirable but let’s not mislabel.

The topic of interest and growth can’t be discounted as foolish. It’s a reality we need to, at the very least, consider even if not outright favor. If there’s any time to make an exception on how we do things, it’s for the generational mechanic. No slippery slope, only those (maybe only just this once).
 
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GoldCat

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None of the proposed solutions changes terastallization mechanically in any shape or form. It's a simple (albeit complex) change to the ruleset. Yes, nothing in-game enforces these rules, but neither does the game stop you from bringing Miraidon to an OU match. Now you wouldn't argue that we are modding Miraidon and any other Uber out of the game to play OU. Implicit in Smogon's ruleset is the idea of a third-party, unbiased judge. That's how the HP%, chancel button, our timer rules, and Deoxys forms in ADV Ubers all work. Just like how the judge would look at your opponents' screen to see their Pokemon's exact HP and give you the rounded percentage, the judge will tell you which Pokemon has which Tera type at team preview. I don't see how at least this proposal goes against Smogon's tiering philosophy other than it being a complex ban and Sleep Clause has already set a much worse precedent, which we (hopefully) will never follow.

Personally, the "limiting Tera typing to previously existing STAB types" option should be dropped, it's bad policy in my eyes. It would be akin to banning only damaging/status Z-moves while keeping the other. If you want to preserve Terastal but think something needs to be done, then the other two are much better because they don't take away from the mechanic and only see to limit it.
 

Ruft

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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.
While the hypothetical restrictions you raise pertaining Dynamax and gems would be impossible to replicate on the cartridge, as they require modifying cartridge mechanics, it is in fact perfectly possible to replicate the restrictions proposed in this thread on the cartridge, as Da Pizza Man and zioziotrip have explained. They only require that you have means of communicating with your opponent, which is required to play under a certain ruleset in the first place. All of the proposed restrictions consist of either providing your opponent with certain information before the start of the game or consist of a builder restriction, much like how banning a Pokemon is a builder restriction, so I would argue it is acceptable under Smogon's tiering framework.
  • Showing Tera type at Team Preview: This is accomplished by telling your opponent which Tera types the Pokemon on your team have before the start of the game. This does not require modifying cartridge mechanics.
  • Limiting the amount of Pokemon on any given team that have access to possibly Terastallize during a battle: This is accomplished by picking a specific Pokemon you want to potentially Terastallize before the start of the game, and telling your opponent about this restriction. This is possible on the cartridge with a third-party arbiter and does not require modifying cartridge mechanics.
  • Limiting Tera typing to previously existing STAB types: This is purely a builder restriction and is accomplished by providing your Pokemon with Tera types that match (one of) their STAB(s). This does not require modifying cartridge mechanics.
  • Banning Tera Blast: This is purely a builder restriction, as it's a simple move ban. This does not require modifying cartridge mechanics.
Considering this, I don't agree with your notion that these restrictions "change" how the mechanic works, considering that it's perfectly possible to play with these restrictrions on the cartridge, but rather they "restrict" how it works. In a sense, all of Smogon's rulesets consist of restrictions of how you can play on the cartridge (with the exceptions being certain long-established mods like sleep clause and the HP % mod, which, unlike the proposed Terastallization restrictions, are not replicable on the cartridge). Banning the mechanic entirely is basically just another cartridge restriction, as both players come to the agreement before the start of the game not to click the Terastallization button.
 

Karxrida

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Just like how the judge would look at your opponents' screen to see their Pokemon's exact HP and give you the rounded percentage, the judge will tell you which Pokemon has which Tera type at team preview. I don't see how at least this proposal goes against Smogon's tiering philosophy other than it being a complex ban and Sleep Clause has already set a much worse precedent, which we (hopefully) will never follow.
I'm not even sure this specific option qualifies as a complex ban because it's not restricting you from doing anything specific. You're just being required to give information to your opponent before the battle. Also incredibly straightforward, unlike "you can use Baton Pass but not on the same set with any boosting moves or Ingrain(?)" or "you can't use Sleep moves if you already put something to sleep, but once that thing wakes up or gets KO'd you can do it again". You can argue the Tera reveal is just a logical extension of Team Preview. And if people think it gives too much info we can alter the rule so you only give a list of the team's Tera types without specifying who has what.
 
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earl

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Under the argument of “this is all possible on cartridge” we could’ve done the same with dynamax- only allow gigantimaxes, limit to one user per team, restrict the movesets of the chosen user, etc. I don’t see why Tera merits this consideration but Dyna didn’t tbh
 

MANNAT

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Under the argument of “this is all possible on cartridge” we could’ve done the same with dynamax- only allow gigantimaxes, limit to one user per team, restrict the movesets of the chosen user, etc. I don’t see why Tera merits this consideration but Dyna didn’t tbh
Because Gigantamax was still broken?

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.
You’re overlooking an enormous part of why Palafin was banned here. Its best set was the bulk up set, which leveraged Tera Steel to bypass would be checks with ease. It can be used to counter tera against Iron Bundle, turn amoonguss into setup bait, and smash meowscarada trying to revenge kill it just to name a few of the ways it can be leveraged. The discovery of palafin using tera to bypass would be answers was an enormous part of why it was broken so acting like tera was more bad than good for it kind of silly. Also while I do admit that tera was better against than for iron bundle, tera blast water gave it access to an accurate water STAB and it was still able to tera to water or ice and remove the associated weaknesses with the other half of its STAB combo.
 
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Moutemoute

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I just realize this thread existed so I'm posting what I already posted on the main thread in the OU subforum (also adding a few details in order to not just be a simple copy paste).

After playing/watching dozens, dozens and dozens of games during the last week, and seeing a ton of them ending due to this new mechanic, I trully think that Terastallization is far more troublesome than people would like to admit it. With that in mind, it's obvious that a "no tiering action" isn't the outcome we want from a competitive point of view.

Without quoting a lot of people who already posted, I would like to make people empathize the fact that we can't compare Terastallization to anything we knew in the past and this includes : Mega-Evolution, Z-Move and Dynamax (and even more things like Hidden Power, for real I don't know what you people are smoking to compare those mechanics with each other).

Unlike Mega-Evolution and Z-Move, Terastallization can be used by basically any Pokemon you have in your team which forces way more 50/50 than those past mechanics. When you were facing Mega's and Z-Move in Gen 6 and 7, you were able at team preview to know which Pokemon was going to Mega-Evolve and if you knew about the metagame you were playing in, you were almost always able to determine the Z-Move user of the opponent's team or at least to limit the potential users at less than half the team. With that in mind, it was way more easy to play around. But this doesn't take in account another specificity of Terastallization which is the fact that like Dynamax, you don't need an item to use it ! And this is quite quite big because unlike Mega's and Z-Move, this mechanic is basically "free to use" by any of your Pokémon without costing anything. Of course you were able to play Z-Moves in Gen 7 on each of your Pokémon, but let's be honest, this was awful because you were sacrificing most of your Pokemon utility in order to just be able to use Z-Move on the one you wanted at the right moment. Also, Terastallization may be seen as even better than Dynamax on some points mainly because unlike Dynamax, Terastallization doesn't disappear upon switch-out but also doesn't negate Choice Lock items unlike Dynamax.

Now let's focus on why I think Terastallization is too much to handle in solo 6v6.
My main issue with this mechanics is that it allows really nasty 50/50 on both offensive and defensive spectrum. What I want to explain is that unlike before, you can't really determine when you're sure to be able to win. You can setup a Pokémon and lose right away because of 50/50's Terastallization creates. Do I need to use X or Y move in order to beat my opponent Pokemon ? X move would be the best option if Terastallization wasn't happening / existing but on the other hand, Y move could cover potential types into which it could Terastallize. This is a really big issue in my opinion and there isn't a current good answer to it outside of outright ban of the mechanics. Of course we can decide to show Tera type at Team Preview but let's be honest, this doesn't remove our main issue here which is the fact that Terastallization makes game way to coinflippy. I mean, with time, metagame will settling up itself and players will be able to know what kind of Terastallization are used on X or Y Pokemon based on experience (much like when players knew what kind of Hidden Power or items Pokemon were running). So knowing the Tera type at Team Preview, will only bring a smaller thing to players knowledge and I'm sure this will not remove the 50/50's issue we have right now. People could argue that Pokemon is already filled with 50/50 and while it's true you can't also deny that Terastallization brings up the issue to a more filthy level. Do we really want tournaments in Smogon to end with 50/50's due to Terastallization ? I personally don't want this to happenned.

Overall I think Finchinator made interesting proposals to the community about Terastallization. But I also think most of them are iffy if not bad options in order to deal with the mechanics. Like I said earlier, we could surely pick "Showing Tera type at Team Preview" but will it remove the inherent issue about Terastallization ? I don't think so. And the same sadly applies to other choices we have. Like "Banning Tera Blast" is in my opinion as useful as doing nothing about the Terastallization issue. There isn't a lot of Pokemon which are using this move to begin with, people rarely Terastallize their mons to use this attack but more so to benefit of the typing change in order to take a hit from the opponent in order to retaliate back or to benefit the "Adaptability" buff the mechanic provides. I also think "Limiting the amount of Pokemon on any given team that have access to possibly Terastallize during a battle" or "Limiting Tera typing to previously existing STAB types" are poor options or and an admission of weakness from our part that we can't really deal with Terastallization without making complex arrangements just in order to keep the new mechanic usable. Another issue I have right now with Terastallization is that I feel like it kinda pushes some Pokémon over the edge. For instance, people have been talking recently about how great Annihilape is but one great asset it has right now is the fact that it can Terastallize in order to mess over its potential revenge killers by changing it's typing and making it impossible to RK by things using special Ghost-type moves.

I understand that people hate the idea of banning the mechanic of a generation because it kinda defines the generation itself but we have to put our feeling on the side and think about what is the best from a competitive point of view. Do we really want tournaments in a couple months ending with wacky 50/50's which will not take in account (or at least take lesser in account) players level ? I personally don't think this is what we want. This may be seen as an elitist call but I personally don't give a fuck about it. Dynamax was ass, we were criticize for banning it but in the end, we made the right call and people saying the opposite either don't know what they're talking about or are acting in bad faith. Also, people will still be able to play with Terastallization on other tiers such as dedicated OM so please don't think with your heart but with your brain. I personally don't think options we have outside of banning the mechanic satisfactory. But yeah, all in all we have to do something and we can't let Terastallization the way it's right now. If people think some restriction may be better to test before banning the whole thing, then yeah why not trying but I'm trully not convinced we will fix the issue without banning it or adding multiple restrictions (and at that point, how can we legitimize the fact to not just stictly ban the mechanic itself).
 
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Monky25

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I initially had an entire rant typed out about Terastallization and why it's problematic, but instead I'd like to talk about the various alternatives to an outright ban. While I still do believe our best option to be an outright ban that we will eventually get to, one of these suggestions would be fine to try out and see how they work, while the others are pretty bad.

To start, I do not believe we should alter the mechanic so intensely and widely to preserve it. What I mean is that if you have to have 3+ clauses to make Tera legal, it really feels like we're jumping through hoops and avoiding the fact that the broken mechanic needs such massive nerfing to work and we should probably just get rid of it. I also believe we should keep the fundamental aspects of Terastallizing, or in other words, I disagree with locking it to same type tera OR banning same type tera. The latter doesn't even make sense, it's why Terastallization is so busted, as so many threats like Kingambit, Volcarona, Annihilape, Gholdengo, Roaring Moon, Gargancl, Dragonite, etc all change to a different type and become extremely good with their newer defensive utility vs counterplay. Sending my Breloom to revenge kill Roaring Moon only to see "oh great, tera flying, guess I lose" is a problem. Locking to same type Tera still creates the issues of giving free Adaptability to many Pokemon but it is easier to handle than locking to non STAB. However, some stuff will still be broken though like Dragapult. Regardless, I still oppose it because then we are taking away the point of Tera, which is the ability to become any type lol. We would just end up making our own mechanic and deviating from the very core of it. I get we’re taking a more complicated route but these options are too extreme from the purpose of Terastallization. Hard no on these solutions.

Furthermore, banning Tera Blast is largely a mistake as well, because the most significant Tera benefactors rarely if at all run Tera Blast. Let’s take a look at them below, it’s a combination of the list made by Finchinator plus others I’ve run into in my own experiences. I also figured it would be useful to have the most infamous users in one place and there's probably more I forgot.

:roaring moon: -The most prolific Tera abuser and honestly the prime example of balanced Pokemon broken by Terastallization, it would not nearly be as difficult to deal with without Terastallization. Roaring Moon often runs Tera flying with Booster Energy to give a powerful STAB Acrobatics since its item is consumed while evading Mach Punch from Breloom. Tera steel is also used to put extra power behind Iron Head for Fairy-types and avoid being revenge killed from attacks like Ice Shard from Chien Pao, Moonblast from Iron Valiant, Draco Meteor/Dragon Darts from Dragapult, and Bullet Punch from Scizor. Tera dark is another set used to put extra power behind Dark STAB. Does not run tera blast.
:dragapult: -Dragapult typically runs Tera Ghost to either give it essentially Adaptability Shadow Ball or a reliable physical Ghost-type STAB in Tera Blast, making it often very difficult to beat defensively. Sometimes runs Tera Blast but also has sets where it does not.
:dragonite: -runs Tera Normal 95% of the time but Steel and Fire have uses for beating Fairies and avoiding Ice Shard while the latter also lets it break through Corviknight easier. Generally though, Multiscale giving Dragonite immense setup chances coupled with a solid Normal typing and extremely powerful Extreme Speed make it a top 3 tera abuser and it's honestly broken. However, this does not run tera Blast.
:garganacl: -runs Tera fighting or Tera water, the former gives it a powerful boost to Body Press while the latter is just a strong defensive typing that can make Gargancl unkillable at times. A Pokemon balanced by its mono Rock-typing is now using one of the best defensive mono-types in the game to take neutral damage from most of the tier, with Grass and Electric types not being too too common. Does not run Tera Blast.
:volcarona: -usually ran Tera Grass for Palafin as well as extra power to Giga Drain but I’ve seen other sets like Tera Fairy used to avoid being revenge killed by Dragapult using Dragon Darts. Doesn’t use Tera Blast.
:espathra: -A sweeper that’s been exploding in prominence, I have seen both Tera Fighting and Tera Fairy on it, being able to shit on Dark-types like Chi Yu, Chien Pao, and Kingambit while losing the Shadow Ball weakness. While Tera fighting would be gone without Tera Blast, the equally as good Tera Fairy would be even more common and not be all that limited. Sometimes runs Tera Blast.
:Chi Yu: -Recently I’ve seen Tera Grass with Tera Blast be used to avoid being taken out by Palafin and threaten massive damage on Water-types and other stuff like Tyranitar, but have also seen Tera Psychic to now resist Fighting-type attacks as well as Tera Dark or Fire to give it super STAB and make it even more difficult to wall. Sometimes uses Tera Blast.
:Chien Pao: -An already controversial Pokemon due to being the upgraded Weavile, I’ve seen Tera Fighting to add STAB Sacred Sword to avoid being revenge killed by Breloom and Scizor as well as Tera Dark to just make its Dark-type attacks sting more and take neutral damage from Bullet Punch. Doesn’t run Tera Blast.
:Annihilape: -A rising threat in the metagame, Annihilape often runs Tera Water to grant it a much better defensive typing to get a sweep going easier and be more difficult to revenge kill from foes like Dragapult and Iron Valiant. Does not run Tera Blast.
:Kingambit: -I’ve used and seen both Tera Flying and Tera Fairy to become more difficult to KO from foes like Great Tusk and Corviknight, meaning teams hoping to use these two to stop Kingambit will be in for a tough time. Does not use Tera Blast.
:Iron Valiant: -Tera Fairy gives it super STAB and I’ve seen sets like Tera Steel or Fire to avoid being KOed by Scizor’s Bullet Punch. Doesn’t run Tera Blast.
:baxcalibur: -not the most common Pokemon but still dangerous to face, I’ve seen lots of Tera Dragon to give it an even more nuclear Glaive Rush while being neutral to Steel and Fighting priority yet still keep the dangerous Ice-type STAB. Doesn’t use Tera Blast.
:Gholdengo: -Often runs Tera Fight to avoid being revenge killed by Dragapult, Kingambit, Chien Pao, etc. Sounding like a broken record here but doesn’t run Tera Blast.
:Breloom: and :Scizor: -Strong priority users that use Tera Fighting and Tera Steel to make their priority attacks even more difficult to stomach and are excellent late-game cleaners that can just be really strong. Neither run Tera Blast.

If you missed the point of all these examples, it’s that Terastallization makes these Pokemon incredibly difficult to deal with by giving them better defensive typings to avoid being revenge killed or just getting an Adaptability boost to make them tougher to wall. Only Chi Yu, Espathra, and Dragapult run Tera Blast, and even then they have other sets that still benefit from Terastallization so banning Tera Blast wouldn’t be a big deal. Tera Blast isn’t that great and what I expected it to be and banning it would do nothing for this issue.

This leaves the preview and limit to one Pokemon restriction. I think having all present in preview does nothing. Yes, you will see them coming, but that doesn't stop all 6 of them from having a chance to unpredictably change types and win. It's not only dangerous because you don't know their type, but it's the fact they can Terastallize any time. The best sets will come forward but that doesn’t make them much easier to deal with and teambuilding does not get any easier. I know my opponent's Gholdengo is Tera Fighting, that still doesn’t ease the 50/50 that can happen. Do I attack with my Dragon Darts assuming they go Fighting or do I click Ghost Tera Blast assuming they see Dragon Darts coming and stay a Steel-type? This will be just one of many instances of this being an issue. The most sensible option is limiting to one-type + show at preview, which is already 2 different clauses which makes it iffy to restrict, but it does reasonably make sense to solve the problem to the degree. Only one abuser and you know what's coming. However, I do have my doubts on whether this will work. For starters, it can still happen at any time. For example, say I am facing a Tera Ghost Dragapult, there still may not be much I can do to stop it going out and clicking Adaptability Shadow Ball at any moment when my opponent decides they don't need the Dragon-typing. It also still massively affects teambuilding, take Roaring Moon. Not only do I have to have insurance against standard Roaring Moon but I also need to have a method to take it on for both Tera Flying AND Tera Steel, which will strain teambuilding still. Tera makes these Pokemon effectively different Pokemon with their own checks and counters that can make building even more difficult. You have to treat Tera Flying Roaring Moon as if it's another viable Dragon Dance sweeper with a mono Flying-type. You don’t have to only be able to break Rock Gargnacl but Fighting Gargancl as well. Tera uproots one of the most, perhaps the most fundamental part of Pokemon, the type chart. Pokemon is essentially a game of rock-paper-scissors, where you run coverage and super effective moves and types to cover certain threats within a metagame. Terastalizing completely takes that away, with certain offensive threats being able to change their typing and completely alter counterplay while getting extra STAB. This is a nightmare for teambuilding, because not only do you have to stack checks for said base type, but you also have to ensure that you have room to deal with said Pokemon if it terastalizes into a completely different type. I could be wrong, that's why I still think this solution is worth trying, but I'm not entirely confident in its success. Also because most will get pissed if its outright ban or not, but if this method fails an outright ban will then be our best decision.

Overall it's fine to look at other methods apart from an outright ban or keep it the same but let's not completely alter the gimmick by locking it to certain type changes nor introducing a bunch of clauses to preserve it, the former of which destroying the purpose of it to the point where we should just ban it. I think it's incredibly broken and would prefer an outright ban that will probably end up happening but if we had to try something it’d be limiting it to one Pokemon + showing at preview, but if that doesn’t work we do an outright ban because all other options are not good. There are a bunch of deadly presences rn like Dragapult, Dragonite, Roaring Moon, Gargancl, Chien Pao, and more and I’d hope to get a verdict on tera soon as action is hold off on these Pokemon primarily because tera is just that impactful to their brokenness. I don’t want to ban these Pokemon only to reverse that with an outright tera ban but I also don’t want these threats to have long-lasting impact and heavily suffocate the tier.
 

talah

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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.
The topic of interest and growth can’t be discounted as foolish. It’s a reality we need to, at the very least, consider even if not outright favor. If there’s any time to make an exception on how we do things, it’s for the generational mechanic. No slippery slope, only those (maybe only just this once).
but why should we entertain vague notions of 'interest' and 'site growth' when it comes to competitive policy? without meaning to derail the thread, there is a significant number of non-competitive site areas that growth is valued in that are fundamentally broken (C&C) or highly malfunctioning and those certainly deserve attention, but the topic of growth is outside the purview of the (supposed) single mindedly competitive tiering policy. this is not meant to be a dig towards specific figures, nor an attempt to discredit people's interest in community prosperity, but a response to the misplaced claims of importance of growth in terms of competitiveness and top level game health.

i call into question 2 main claims made in the thread:

- tiering policy heavily (and in this case, negatively) affects Showdown and thus Smogon site traffic and player flow

- Showdown and Smogon site traffic and player flow should be seen as 'important' to competitive leadership and decisions, and be given gravity when considering competitive action

------------------------------------------------------- Tiering Policy affecting Site Traffic----------------------------------------------------------------------

the biggest argument in-favor here was the raw data that Lily posted, which was wholly incomplete. outside of battles in general going down (unsure of random battles, which are significantly more popular than anything else. couldn't find the data on the stats index.), when looking at the data, the biggest factor in the reduction of traffic was the Dex cut and the subsequent creation of NatDex, which becomes extremely evident when looking at the data holistically. here is a graph of SM's battles:
Screenshot_1.png

and here is SS's:
gen8_no_ND.png


obviously a lot more spiky due to DLC, but you'll also notice that it has a lot fewer battles in general. well:
gen8_natdex.png

i forgot to make a graph with both at once but you will see that NatDex generally rises when OU falls and vice versa, such as in those DLC spikes. here would be the combined one:
ou_and_natdex.png

the two main things that stick out is how there is a general tendency for the number of battles to hover around 2 million and that it's more similar to gen7 in numbers, doing better on average, which is slightly misleading. this doesn't mean interest in SS didn't go down at all. it did, just like with most metas on Showdown. what it means is that NatDex heavily cannibalized other tiers, and that there is a very clear correlation that when people lose interest in OU (potentially other tiers as well), they will flock to NatDex. no, the Dynamax ban didn't drive traffic away, there was in general less traffic and it was more split across other tiers. having what is functionally OU#2 split the OU playerbase more than in other generations.

you will also notice that suspect tests and their decisions have extremely minimal impact on the amount of battles played. those are generally not huge game changes for the average player, who will reside in the lower ELO ranges (up to 1200s I believe? but i was again unable to find concrete stats). i invite people who don't remember when suspects were to try and approximate where they happened purely off activity - i assure you, you can't. they completely fail as predictors of activity. similarly, not only was the Dynamax ban not the supposed huge detriment to playerbase, the loss was about as much or even lesser than in the start of SM when accounting for even a small percentage of player flock to NatDex.

what are actually fantastic predictors of player traffic are the announcement and release of new Pokemon. this is self-evident, but very clearly illustrated here - new Pokemon games are announced on February 27th, thus the increases around March, as well as the general increases before the release of new generations.

----------------the idea that Competitive Policy should consider Site Growth desirable and should let it influence competitive decisions----------------

the Smogon tournament scene is a highly niche one. even should we include the higher Showdown ladder, we only add up to a few hundred ppl. if we assume every one of us played enough games to avoid decay every day, the number of participators is so small as to not make a dent in those numbers i graphed earlier. thus, i think i can fairly comfortably claim that optimum play and the community around it are largely unimportant to the general community and site growth, and vice versa - higher site growth within most levels will not meaningfully increase the amount of people that join the tour space.

Smogon is highly dissimilar to esports-focused (or in general competitive at a high level) titles such as LoL and endgame WoW. of course, Smogon is unofficial, which already cuts very deep into the non-cartridge competitive aspect. additionally, the vast majority of the playerbase is inherently less competitive due to the nature of Pokemon as a media brand, and the appeal of Pokemon being fundamentally more focused around things other than competitiveness. due to these factors, as well as others, such as the Smogon UX being relatively hostile by modern standards and the nature of forums as generally superseded, the difficulty of getting into Smogon from Showdown as a whole and furthermore the difficulty of actually engaging with the community, we will never observe growth that is proportionate to any Showdown growth.

most importantly, Smogon is not a game developer. Smogon is more akin to a combination of add-ons and moderation. at least that is the identity we forged for ourselves and the identity we as a community have tried to maintain. we have accepted that we are secondary to the higher powers of GameFreak and cartridge play, and have implemented self-imposed restrictions on competitive action and decision-making. i am not making a value statement here, this is definitively value neutral.

due to the existence of these self-imposed restrictions and the fact that Tournament / high level play growth will never be proportionate to general site growth, i believe that site growth should be given levity in competitive decision-making. site growth is, in my view that i believe is at least partially backed up by data, very squarely not under the domain of Tiering. it should be an at-best secondary factor for Policy and Leadership both. if the general consensus disagrees, I believe we should fundamentally rethink what we want tiering policy to be and rebuild it from the ground up.

TL;DR: site interest and growth should be completely secondary to general competitiveness in decision making. we should not treat Terastallize as a unique element due to site growth, bc it does not matter enough. site growth is the domain of other areas, where it is done significantly more efficiently and effectively.

as for what to actually do about Terastallize: i am not against the idea of a double suspect test, but i believe a longer suspect test with appropriately higher requirements and multiple voting options done in a runoff style vote provides a very competitively fair solution and gives the general community enough to chew on.
 
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Hello, sorry in advance if the english I use is a bit rough, as it is not my native language. Thanks to my friend Teclis for the help regarding how to post here and to the mods for allowing me to do so.

My username is Fildrong, I'm one of the biggest Smogon focused content creator on Youtube (and biggest french Smogon channel). My channel hosts more than 350k subs, I produce a lot of Smogon analysis content, tournament reviews and such. My base concept is to bring in new players with let's plays and fun formats, then hook them in with more serious analytic content. I have been doing this for 8 years now, and many french players who are playing at very high level today and even winning tournaments as well as important contributors to Smogon began playing after discovering this side of Pokémon through my content.

As a player however, I have accomplished nothing ''official'' within Smogon. I did a bit of ''ladder heroing'' during 5 and 6 gen, and won several unofficial french tournament (Smogon rules but still) but that's all. I am not here to speak about how Teracrystal is competitive or not as I do not feel legitimate to do it. Still, I think I might be one of the most qualified man to know how an action considering the core mechanic of the generation might affect the overall playerbase and hype on a larger level. I am basing this analysis on the past Dynamax ban experience (once again, not here to discuss if it was too strong - even if it was totally stupid).

Banning a core mechanic will badly affect the playerbase of a game. At first it will not be felt, because the playerbase already playing Smogon tiers will mostly follow the banlist, whether they agree with the decision taken or not. But it will greatly affect beginners, people who love the base game and think 'I should try playing with real teams, let's use Pokémon Showdown' at some point. Because of a phenomenom known as decay, with time, people leave the scene. Life will do that, and that's okay. Beginners arriving in the scene and becoming better with time will replace old timers, that's the way it goes. If people are coming to Smogon formats faster than people are leaving them, the community's size will increase. If they are coming slower, it will decrease. In gen 8, after a massive playerbase boom in gen 6 and 7, we saw for the first time not yet a decrease in the playerbase, but a stagnation. A lot of beginners were simply dismayed to discover Dynamax was not allowed, even in Ubers, and chose to either wait for the next games, stick to Random Battles or go play something else. About Lily and Talah analysis, I'll just say that to me the most accurate way of knowing about the popularity of a tier is not comparing the numbers of games or comparing different tiers, but rather comparing the sheer number of random battles compared to OU. Seeing a stagnation in the numbers of OU games like Talah is saying or a decrease like Lily is saying is only pertinent when compared to the sheer numbers of the random battle games, because it is the basic 'newbie' and 'casual' format.

On another front (private tournaments and Youtube audiences), we saw a decay in viewership on Smogon related content, in people interested to join, and in the overall feeling/good will about Smogon policies. But of course this is a personal feeling, even if I feel it's shared by a big proportion of the french community. As someone who has been watching Smogon tournaments for 10 years, I could not help but notice the lack of hype of many big OU games when they could attract hundreds of viewers in gen 6 and 7 and was saddened by this.

So why am I talking about this here? Because 3 years of Smogon formats without the core mechanic hurt a bit. The playerbase maybe stagnated, maybe decreased, maybe kept increasing but slower than in precedent generations (I don't have the numbers), but 6 years of that would stop the newbies from coming even more drastically. Imo, Smogon would lose a lot of credit, and it would slow down its growth badly. A scene is nothing without his newbies and viewers. In an environnment where playing Smogon on console is impossible because of timer restriction, and playing Smogon formats on Showdown is lame (for a newcomer) because of the 2nd time in a row banning of the core ability, competitive play will not thrive. I really think it would affect the good and competitive players worse than trying to adapt and grow on a maybe unbalanced mechanic if it's how Gamefreak wants us to play the game for 3 years. Playing in tournaments with the 50 same people over and over without fresh blood coming in regularly is not fun and it would in my opinion discourages more good players than playing in a teracristal madness metagame. A lot of very active competitive games died because of equivalent phenomenons of stagnation.

Now to the goal of this post and the reason why I insisted so much to have it posted here : I am not asking to 'not ban' the mechanic. But I am kindly asking you to take all the points I talked about seriously when taking your decision. Ponder this longer than you did with Dynamax because, with Dynamax it was one time, it was ok. 2 times will certainly be harder to get back from. Restricting it a lot, even if we have to deal with loads of rules would be better to the eyes of the viewers and newbies (we have Sleep Clause, Evasion Clause etc. and nobody is complaining about it so don't worry, people can cope with basic rules). Smogon role is to create a balanced environment to play solo, but it is also to allow solo players to play the game like it was intended to be. Without the core mechanic for 2 generations, it might be breaking the delicate balance between these 2 points. If gen 10 went back and deleted team preview, a tool who changed the whole way we play Pokémon, would we ban the 'mechanic' and maintain team preview for 'competitive play fairness' ? To what point are we decided to mold the game we play to maintain this 'competitive environment' ?

I can safely say my life is Smogon since I might be one of the 10 people or so on earth who made a living from it, and I hope we can cope for this generation and enjoy what Gamefreak got us this time. Thanks for all your work, I love this community, I love Smogon, I will continue to do the maximum for the french community.

Peace, Fildrong

edit for last precision : I will post tomorrow a big video regarding this thread, the actions considered and the implications it could have. It will be in french but still, should give a good deal of views to the matter (in the french global pokemon community)
 
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Myzozoa

to find better ways to say what nobody says
is a Top Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Past WCoP Champion
I know I don't play the game, and you know I would not post this itt if I thought there was a better option, but I don't know of any PR related discord where I would make this one remark, which is not related to any post in particular, but is about how we discuss tiering:

I think we should not use phrases like 'generation defining characteristic' and its variants in serious tiering discussions, particularly not now and not about gen 9, but in all other discussions and tiers too. The same ppl playing this game now, well enough of them will still be playing in the future that we should not rush to decide about anything being 'untouchable' as far as banning too soon or on the basis that 'xyz mechanic will define gen 9', we don't have to make that decision. This notion of 'metagame defining/generation defining' has, imo, flattened old gens tiering too, and it is now rearing its head at the start of this new generation in a new argument about a mechanic that sounds ridiculously broken, although idk I don't play the game after all.

And so now the same people (I assume the same ppl i rly don't keep track but I bet it is) who profess to 'hate complex bans' for whatever reason are now trying to figure out the most complex ban ever (I didn't read the whole thread so maybe theres no one actually doing this but idk Im going for a dramatic effect in this post) all for the sake of this mechanic that 'defines the generation'. I hate this way of talking about tiering and I think it continues to foreclose optimal tiering outcomes wherever it is invoked.

If people want to keep the mechanic in a modified form that is their decision, I have always been supportive of complex bans within strict conditions, but don't say what defines generation 9 when it has barely been a month. People have been playing BW for a decade now, but there are still things we learn about it.

edit:a probably unneeded reminder, but what gets this website the most engagement now=/= what gives this website the most engagement 2 years from now. This could be argued for 'both sides' of the disagreement.
 
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DaWoblefet

Demonstrably so
is a Battle Simulator Administratoris a Community Leaderis a Programmeris a Top Researcheris a Top Tiering Contributoris a Social Media Contributor Alumnus
PS Admin
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.
Just want to point out that you don't actually know whether or not a Pokemon holds an item at Team Preview in Gen 9 (or Gen 8, for that matter). Not commenting on the viability or applicability of this alternative, just issuing a corrective in case people want to consider this itemless approach.

Also to reinforce the idea that revealing Tera Types at say, Team Preview, is not breaking cart mechanics: in VGC, during our official online Players Cup tournaments put on by TPCi throughout 2021, we used something called "Open Team Sheets". These open team sheets were basically everything about a Pokemon (its moves, item, Ability, whether or not it was Gigantamax), notably not including stats. Revealing Tera Types via a collective community agreement for a tier doesn't break any cartridge mechanics at all; you could, after all, just message your opponent what your Tera Types are on cart. It's exactly the same as what VGC, an official tier, did with Open Team Sheets.
 
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Finchinator

no longer Harry’s house
is a Tournament Directoris a Top Social Media Contributoris a Community Leaderis a Community Contributoris a Live Chat Contributoris a Top Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Top Smogon Media Contributoris a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnusis a Past WCoP Championis a former Tournament Circuit Champion
OU & NU Leader
I think we have established here that there are some very important goals we much reach: finding a competitive metagame and doing our best to preserve the core mechanic of the generation. In my opinion, those goals also come in that order as we are a competitive website and that should always be the first priority, but I think it is possible to end up in a place that serves both goals. That will continue to be the objective of the council. And to be abundantly clear, the council is not in a rush to decide how to frame any tiering action (see: creative solutions are on the table to accommodate changing times and circumstances) and any verdict will be decided by public suspect.

As a tier leader, it’s really important for me to know what possibilities people prefer and why. The community should be in the driver’s seat here. I would love to hear more insight on potential restrictions as well as why people think it could be ok to save as a whole or ban outright.
 

Star

is a Tournament Directoris a Community Leaderis a Top Tiering Contributoris a Past SPL Championis a former Tournament Circuit Champion
OGC Leader
I’m really not a fan of the whole “handshake agreement” umbrella which revealing tera type and limiting to one tera mon both fall under. (To be explicit, they are in fact both handshake agreements, revealing types for obvious reasons and limiting to one bc every single mon has a tera type in-game.) These set a very messy tiering precedent to me and the only existing thing that’s really similar is HP clause I guess which is obviously not the same.

That basically leaves “stab types only” as the remaining restriction possibility on the table. I think this one is alright because it’s a pure teambuilder restriction which is ideal to be in-line with tiering frameworks. That being said, I don’t really know if keeping tera in that form is truly better than just banning it (and whether it’d even be balanced). However given the importance of a generational mechanic, I think it may at least be worth trying even if it ends up that we have to ban it fully afterwards anyway.

(just to be clear these are my own opinions, not speaking on behalf of tiering or ou council)
 

Zokuru

The Stall Lord
is a Tiering Contributor
In this post I'd like to express and defend the opinion that the best solution is to, in order :

Ban Tera Blast
New Idea : Limiting TeraType to types you don't have in your moveset
Reveal Tera Types at preview (if not enough)
Outright ban it (if not enough)

I] Banning Terablast :

Multiple people said that no tiering action was fine, even though I don't really agree with it I understand that Tera-typing will be part on the metagame and you will be able to guess with a good accuracy. My problem is the bad effect Tera Blast may have in tourmanents (That "may" could as well read as a "will" ), people will abuse it to make silly preps and lures and it will make building and scouting virtually impossible, making it a gambling game.

Reading everyone's concerns this might not be enough but I think it's a good start, there's a lot of time until next gen, if by the end of SPL and OST this is not enough further actions can be made.

II] Limiting TeraType to types you don't have an offensive move of

Sure that still makes setup sweepers difficult to KO but that doesn't give them an additional STAB, and you retain the ability to counter Tera with your own, making a Great Tusk steel type, or a Corvinight Fighting type is, in my opinion, very fair game and shouldnt be banned as a collateral damage, it could even be what makes us able to handle the plethora of threats the game has, and will have when Pokemon Home brings the old ones.

III] Revealing Teratypes :

One of the most problematic thing about terastallization is that you can't know how to hit the opposing pokemon due to the multiplicity of possible tera-type, as well as the possibility it could just not Tera. Revealing the types would help in that regard. I was not sure how good that was at first place, to me it was just breaking the concept of terastallization but I don't really see many a way of nerfing it soundly. That as well might not be enough but I believe it should be tried, mostly because I don't think others options are not good;

IV] Outright ban it

I really want to preserve it but if there's no balanced way to do so then it probably has to go.

Why I think limiting it to STABs is a bad idea

A lot of strong wallbreakers use the abilty to terastallize in their own type to hit VERY hard and still get a better typing (I'm thinking about dodging an SR weakness for example), Pokemon like Chien Pao or Chi Yu will become problematic with the impossbility to "counter-tera" to kill them, and while we could just ban them, the number of hard hitting pokemons with decent speed is nearly infinite and we'll always find a new abuser. I think going with this option will end up making us ban terastallization as a whole sooner or later which I want to avoid. So I'm open to trying it after everything else fails, but I'd really appreciate if the council takes the time to try a lot of things out before reaching that point.

Conclusion

Before the game was released we all thought terastallization was broken and would warrant an instant ban. We now know it could be alright, I think we still don't understand it well enough to make a definitive decision, so please go step by step, even if some tournaments are "" bad "" because of it, it's better to go too slowly than too quickly and falling into a dead end.
 

Ema Skye

Work!
is a Pre-Contributor
I do think terastallization is compounding negatively in the early meta. Early metas always struggle with meta development as resources are scarce, standard sets and cores are unknown and new toy syndrome is rampant, and tera just makes all of these worse because it adds another layer of variability on top.

There are a few proposals I don't think really work here as long term solutions:
  • Tera Blast ban: most terastallized Pokemon aren't using the move. Monky25 went through the list so I won't repeat it.
  • Teras on team preview: meta development will likely find ideal tera options for each mon (Their Roaring Moon is probably Tera Flying, especially if booster activates). This removes the guess work, but I don't think this actually fixes the problem long term because each mon will likely have 1-2 best tera options in 6 mos-1 year anyways.
    • Same Type Tera: Related to the above because I feel like in most situations, that double STAB boost is probably the most common tera use, especially for things that aren't using their bulk as much like Chien-Pao. So this also feels like a shortsighted solution because for a lot of Pokemon, this will be the best option anyways. I know there are some exceptions mentioned by Finch earlier.
From the perspective of maintaining player retention, I understand the arguments for trying to keep it as well as the optics of banning two significant mechanics back to back. This website lives with its active contributers, but thrives off of the ladderers. We are a minority (a loud one though) of the competitive Pokemon players in a community with reputation of being difficult to get into. But I don't think some form of restriction or gentleman's agreement necessarily helps here, because there will still be those dissatisfied with the decision). I do believe any tiering action on terastalization (even a gentleman's agreement) will lead to a drop in player numbers, as was pointed out earlier about the dynamax ban.

I do think whatever action we take, it should be all or nothing. Attempting to change how the mechanic works (such as having to hold a useless item to tera, communicating your tera ahead of time, etc) change the mechanic in ways that remove its depth and leaves us looking like we just wanted it to be something it isn't (like a Z-Move or Mega Evolution replacement).
 
voicing my concerns in regards to acting at this point in time:

to me personally it would feel unjustified if tera were to be limited or removed before we have actual proof that its a mechanic that limits the better player winning over the worse one. we're 10 days into a generation with everything being new, even for the best tournament players on smogon it takes months to successfully truly understand and know an old gen they were prior unfamiliar with and that is with resources being available to them that are based on, up to, 25 years of play.

so far we have no proof whatsoever that tera, despite being centralizing, is a broken element and no ladder suspect is going to change that, given you would feel like a hundred things are broken if you laddered any old gen for the first time. it's natural, learning how to counteract threats in a metagame is a learning process and so far we have barely figured out what the threats are, forget counters.

if spl the, supposedly, tournament of the best proves that every match between two well-prepared proven tournament veterans is decided by factors that cannot be based on skill whatsoever it'd be clear some action would have to be taken. until then there should be no reason to stray away from smogon's main tiering strategy which has nearly always improved metagames successfully - banning pokemon that are centralizing or uncompetitive beyond anything else the respective tier has to offer. i recommend reading EviGaro's post that illustrates this point further.

if it so happens that tera has to be banned/limited further down the road then so be it but doing so now without sufficient evidence would be a major mistake in my and many others eyes.
 
Hello there, I don't know how many of you remember me but it's been a while. I thought I'd drop my perspective since it's a bit of a different one; one from someone who used to be highly involved in Smogon, but has since spent the last couple gens mostly on the outside looking in. On top of that I have spent time in other competitive communities that have given me a broader perspective on competitive balance than I once had and I feel some of the viewpoints here are a bit myopic.

One thing I'm noticing is that you guys seem to have gotten MUCH more hasty about taking action on big stuff like this since I was active. You guys are talking about banning a core mechanic less than 2 weeks after the game was released. I can understand wanting to make such a big decision quickly since it will dramatically affect how the scene develops and changing it later on could be jarring. But I think this concern is heavily outweighed by the fact that this is an EXTREMELY deep mechanic that will take months to fully explore, one that will likely settle in a much different state than where it starts. Making a judgement this early based purely on first impressions seems foolish to me. For example, a lot of the arguments I'm seeing right now refer to how unpredictable the mechanic is. However a lot of the current unpredictability is unquestionably due to how young the meta is right now. The best use hasn't been figured out yet so people are trying everything, and since you can't know what tera type a Pokemon is until they Terastallize this is leading to all sorts of unpredictable situations. However, this will not always be the case. Over time, the best types for each Pokemon will be figured out and will become somewhat standardized and somewhat predictable, the same as it does for movesets, stat spreads, item choice and other Pokemon build choices that your opponent can't see immediately.

My point here is that in the coming weeks and months understanding of Terastallizing is going to change, and it's probably going to change a lot. What seems obvious and true now might well look silly in hindsight in a month. By forcing the decision now, you're basically making it based on little more than speculation. This decision dramatically affects the meta of the generation for YEARS to come. It's worth taking an extra couple months to figure it out better.

Another thing I've been noticing is a continuing discussion of exactly what the aim of Smogon's balancing process is. This is hardly a new one; it's been going on since before I joined back in gen 4. But with the advent of Dynamax and now Terastallization it's becoming a more pressing issue because Smogon's decisions towards these mechanics can dramatically set it apart from other rulesets and formats. The question that needs to be answered here is "who are you balancing for?". Are you aiming to make the tier accessible and enjoyable for as many people as possible? Or are you trying to make the most competitive environment possible? Something in-between? If so, where in-between? These questions are not ancillary to the decision on terastallizing; they are central and must be addressed. If you are looking to provide a platform for normal players to have 6 v 6 battles without having to worry about wildly imbalanced stuff, then Terastallizing should probably stay unchanged. It isn't grossly unfair to play with or against the way something like Last Respects or Palafin are. If you're more interested in shaping a particular meta to suit the interests of more competitive subsets of players, then looking into restrictions makes sense. But keep in mind the more you change it, the less appealing it's going to be for anyone outside that subset of players you're catering to.

As for just how "uncompetitive" Terastallizing is, I'm going to mostly to just concur with what Karxrida (hi bud!) said in the first couple paragraphs of their post:

"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 I may be so blunt, the impression I'm getting from a lot of the "ban/change Tera" arguments is simply an unwillingness to adjust to a new mechanic, especially one that introduces so much additional uncertainty. I know from experience that a number of people in this camp will adamantly never adjust and that if no change is made they will continue to complain about it forever. But I think most of you will find that with time you'll appreciate the extra depth the mechanic adds to the game and that it will seem much less unpredictable once everyone has had time to get used to it.

I do not think that Tera inevitably causes the massive swings in tempo that Karx mentions as a possible good argument for banning it. Dynamax was so, so much worse for this and I'm still on the fence as to whether banning even that was OK or not. I also don't think it makes it as hard to react as people seem to think; you might have 18 options for a tera type, but in reality at most like 4 of them are going to be worth considering on any given Pokemon and of those options people will pick 1 of them 80% of the time. It just feels unpredictable right now because people are still optimizing their sets and there's a lot of wild stuff out there that won't be considered viable in a couple months.

And while this anecdotal, I do want to impress on you guys that this decision WILL affect who and how many people play using Smogon rulesets by putting forth myself as an example. I did not play 6 v 6 singles last gen (outside of some randbats lol), for the first time since Gen 4. A large part of that was because Smogon banned Dynamax, which killed off a lot of my interest in trying the new generation. I can guarantee I was not alone in this. Like I said, you need to figure out WHO you're balancing for and whether or not losing people like me is a concern for you or not. This decision is ultimately not one of balance so much as it is a decision on how niche you want your ruleset to be.
 

shnowshner

Spy_paincriticaldeath01.wav
is a Pre-Contributor
Feel like throwing this out here even if it's something I don't have confidence in:

If the current situation is that we want to ban/restrict Tera because of its perceived constraints on teambuilding and downplaying of individual player skill, but also don't want to ban/restrict Tera due to worries that it will negatively affect interest in Smogon OU and the site as a whole, is there any merit at all in having a separate, Tera-focused metagame? An immediate red flag for me is that we be dividing up the community between Tera players and non-Tera players, though there's already a large number of users here who overlap into countless different metagames, so I feel this is a fairly moot point. I envision this working like National Dex where we have a subforum for "6v6 Singles with/without Tera." If others want to support this as a good idea or insult me for being so stupid as to suggest such a thing, feel free, as I find discussion on it worth having.

Unrelated to the above but having a large tournament like SPL provide more substantive evidence that Tera is or isn't a problem sounds a lot more proactive towards solving this issue in good time. I know there's zero intention of a Tera QB but if the goal is to make the metagame more competitive than it'd be worthwhile seeing how one of the most competitive tournaments on the site is influenced by the mechanic, and thus I agree with sentiments that any action should happen after (or if truly dire during) SPL versus beforehand.
 

Finchinator

no longer Harry’s house
is a Tournament Directoris a Top Social Media Contributoris a Community Leaderis a Community Contributoris a Live Chat Contributoris a Top Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Top Smogon Media Contributoris a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnusis a Past WCoP Championis a former Tournament Circuit Champion
OU & NU Leader
is there any merit at all in having a separate, Tera-focused metagame?
It is unlikely we would resort to a metagame splinter situation at this time.

This would likely result in middling results from both ends and we have interest in preserving the identity of the metagame as the focal space for singles play rather than muddying the waters. Perhaps an OM may be feasible down the line if push comes to shove, but that is beyond my personal jurisdiction. For now, we should aim focus and discussion on this matter in the one-and-only SV OU!
 

Vulpix03

is a Forum Moderatoris a Tiering Contributor
Moderator
To start, we should not wait and use spl as a testing ground for tera. The whole point of the no johns tour requiring replays is so that we have plenty of data to make an informed decision before our biggest tour starts.

Second, I encourage people to actually go to the no johns tour threads and watch some replays. So many games are won because a set up sweeper terad into a random type and just destroyed it's check / counter. I understand that as the meta develops people will have a better understanding of the "standard" tera forms, but people will also innovate in attempts to throw their opponents off and I honestly don't see a world where tera in its current form is ever healthy/competitive.

As you probably guessed I'm leaning outright ban on tera, and I don't believe that the website that has always tried to be the center of "competitive singles" should bend over backwards to try and keep a mechanic that was designed for vgc (doubles) and for 12 year olds to have fun in game. If the higher ups like chaos are worried about losing the casual player who just wants to have fun with their favorite mons, then they should create alternative outlets on smogon that cater to those users (draft league is great!) and not try to shoehorn it into official tiers.

Ultimately if tera were to stay I would limit it to your current base typing. Yes, you essentially get an adaptability boost for the entirety of the game, but this is easily accounted for and predictable. The root of the issues imo is set up sweepers changing their type and plowing past checks, and the ability to change into any type without warning being way too random. The one argument against limiting tera to your base type I have is that it pretty much kills the point of the mechanic as a whole so why not just ban it outright then?

Lastly, I wouldn't ban tera blast because I don't believe it solves all that much. Tera blast will probably see way more usage in prep heavy tours like spl, but as of now banning it makes little sense.
 
At the moment I support testing tera as being limited to stabs. All the other options are admittedly really unappealing when you look closer, either because they don't solve anything or are just way too out there. Limiting to 1 tera in the builder is also a mod because every mon in the game has a tera type (just check builder now, u can't select "none").

I really, really dislike the argument that we need to wait til... april or something to act on this at all. It's a major mechanic but it doesn't take that long to figure out it can't exist in its current form. Appeals to keep it around untouched are just idealism. Changing your type completely to circumvent weaknesses is just fundamentally uncompetitive and no amount of time or deliberation will change that reality. Again, we can test out the stab thing as a simple, within-the-teambuilder option and if that is still problematic in the future we can just ban it. Does it suck that we'd need to? Yes, but all of this is unfortunately necessary within a competitive context.
 

Finchinator

no longer Harry’s house
is a Tournament Directoris a Top Social Media Contributoris a Community Leaderis a Community Contributoris a Live Chat Contributoris a Top Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Top Smogon Media Contributoris a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnusis a Past WCoP Championis a former Tournament Circuit Champion
OU & NU Leader
A recent discussion point has been the potential for having a test in the near future (I.e: December) and then another in a future metagame (say after Home in April). Please note this is just a thought, not a guarantee.

This way, we can make sure that the community is still in favor of whatever decision was initially made and assure it transitions over well to whatever future metagame state.

This is a situation where we want to make sure we end up with the best, most enjoyable and competitive outcome. So it may take some trial-and-error in discussions as we already have had. And perhaps it takes another test as well.

again: this is something we are discussing, not a current plan of action.
 

Okuu

Applications Support, Pettan Co.
is a Battle Simulator Admin Alumnus
In my personal opinion, the idea of removing the defining mechanic of this generation so early into the game's release has earned rightful ire by various corners of the community.

I'm not seeing the absurd increase in power of Pokémon in general due entirely to Terastalization. With the examples provided in the OP prompt, a base 650 Pokémon does not provide a stellar example for any action against this mechanic (and was also just recently banned, per Council). I'll note that of the 10 examples provided, exactly 1 of those utilizes Tera Blast in its move set, and only as an option for two possible Tera types (in which Espathra doesn't have access to a Fighting move). 4 of the examples utilize typings that already are present as STAB for the Pokémon in question. All of the new Pokémon in question (aside from Espathra) have rightfully been called out before the game's release as already having been extremely strong, even before knowing how Terastalization would officially work. Many of those new inclusions are already on a Suspect list, if not outright banned from OU at this very moment. All of the old Pokémon were already OU mainstays at some point in their history.

What I'm seeing is an inability for players to adapt to hidden strategies - a skill that hasn't been properly tested since the addition of Team Preview in Gen V.

Collectively, we're still in the [very] early stages of competitive team-building. It is true that leaks of the game have advanced us to where we're maybe... a month into understanding what strategies threaten team diversity as a whole. We had advanced knowledge that Last Respects was going to be problematic, and were able to take action on Houndstone as quickly as we did. But we are only two weeks into the release of the actual game, and we are still discovering powerful strategies with each passing day. The Tera mechanic, being able to modify any Pokémon to present different (1) defensive and (2) offensive profiles while (3) presenting a major surprise factor in that an opponent cannot make a reasonable inference through Team Preview as to which Pokémon might be the one that make that threat.

Addressing point (1), we have seen that every generational mechanic has served to modify a Pokémon's offensive presence. Weather increased the damage and accuracy of moves tied to that specific weather condition (e.g. Blizzard), and enabled offensive abilities that worked with that weather (e.g. Swift Swim). Mega Evolutions included some changes to STAB typings (e.g. Mega Altaria), the addition of extra abilities that bolstered a mon's offenses (e.g. Parental Bond), and generally an increase in that mon's base stats. Z-moves served as a force multiplier, allowing already-powerful Pokémon to one-shot supposed checks/threats with a boosted-power move. Dynamax featured a force multiplier on all of a targeted Pokémon's moves, and tied extra effects to them - some of which helped in offensive respects (Max Knuckle boosting Attack, Max Darkness reducing Sp. Def, etc.).

Addressing point (2), we have seen that every generational mechanic has served to modify a Pokémon's defensive presence. Weather could be used to reduce the power of an opponent's moves that opposed that weather (e.g. Rain reducing the power of Fire moves), to remove an opponent's beneficial weather, to activate helpful defensive abilities (e.g. Ice Body), and to increase the healing of specific moves (e.g. Morning Sun). Mega Evolutions could change the base typings of certain Pokémon (Mega Ampharos, Mega Charizard X, etc.), the addition of extra abilities that allowed Pokémon to fit different defensive roles (Mega Absol gaining Magic Bounce), and a general increase in that Pokémon's base stats. Z-moves could infrequently be used in strategies that would modify a Pokémon's defenses (Z-Parting Shot, Z-Geomancy), though those were largely used in offensive strategies, and aren't the best example of a defensive tool. Dynamax doubled the Current/Max HP of the targeted Pokémon, disabled certain moves from working against it (e.g. Grass Knot), and also tied defensive traits to specific moves (Max Rockfall triggering Sandstorm, Max Quake increasing Sp. Def).

Addressing point (3), I'll immediately note that this is the main point of contention that's been mentioned so far in discussions pertaining to a potential ban of the Tera mechanic. And it's easy to note that many of the mechanics above had many obvious indicators in Team Preview (for as long as Team Preview has existed) that those mechanics could be expected on specific Pokémon. A Politoed in Team Preview was a sure-fire way of knowing to expect Rain-based strategies. The presence of a Mega crystal on a Mawile was doubly-indicative that Mega-Mawile was going to be an offensive threat that was likely built around. The presence of a Dark Z-Crystal on Incineroar let you know to plan for a Z-Parting Shot or for the presence of Knock Off. It's not really until Dynamax that you begin to lack the major indicators of what Pokémon to expect to become a [literally] larger threat than Team Preview had indicated.

Which is why I've specifically called out Team Preview here - Team Preview was only introduced in Gen V. We've played in formats prior to the existence of Team Preview, and I specifically remember how thoroughly its introduction was dragged through the mud at the tail end of the DPP format. DPP had introduced field hazards, a slew of competitive items that allowed Pokémon to drastically modify their offensive presences (Life Orb, Choice items, many extra Berries). When BW was introduced, many strategies were weakened or outright eliminated as that surprise factor could be pre-empted before the battle even began (rip Zoroark). Since that point, we've played in many formats tailored to the existence of Team Preview and have developed strategies that account for or outright rely on Team Preview to either scope out potential weaknesses in your team, or to mislead an opponent on the strategy that your team actually presents.

Dynamax, as I mentioned, was our first collective return to the introduction of strategies that aren't overtly indicated by Team Preview. You can read through our collective reasoning as to why Dynamax was banned, but it was a combination of "the increase in power, the impact of the secondary effects each type's move has, the defensive merit gained through doubling the HP of any Dynamax user, and the element of unpredictability that comes alongside being able to Dynamax with any Pokémon at any point of the game." In particular, the egregious parts of the ban involved the strength of the moves and the outright doubling of HP - the surprise factor was naught but a footnote in a much larger profile of problems with Dynamaxing.

DPP was not a lawless wasteland of players being constantly surprised by each and every move that was clicked, and with each and every Pokémon that was sent out. The meta had time to centralize, and players learned to adapt to a Pokémon potentially being able to use multiple strategies, and for an otherwise "unexpected" Pokémon to be switched in. Teambuilding was just as much of a skill then as it is now, in our current generation, with Team Preview present. We're now finding that there is an aspect of team construction that can be hidden from an opponent (outside of a Pokémon's move selection and ability choice), and many of the old strategies forged for play in the current environment run into unexpected obstacles with this new dimension of play.

I believe that we, as a community of educated battlers, can adjust to an environment where an Annihilape may occasionally subject itself to the effects of Soak and still keep its own STAB bonuses.

Touching on five bullet points in the OP, super quick-like:
  • Showing the Tera type of each Pokemon in the each player's party at Team Preview - Personally, I'd find this akin to also revealing the move set of each Pokémon on a team. Knowing that a common Assault Vest Pokémon has a specific Tera type would indicate that the Pokémon likely has a move set consisting of its STAB types, the Tera type, and an additional typing that works the best with those types to maximize its offensive coverage. Knowing that a Pokémon has a specific Tera type and no access to moves of that type, it reveals that that Pokémon would either have Tera Blast, or is using that type solely as a defensive option to bolster other moves on its list. I am not in favor of this approach, as this would be (1) revealing far more information than Team Preview was intended to show, and (2) counter-intuitive to the subversive design of the Tera mechanic itself.
  • Limiting the amount of Pokemon on any given team that have access to possibly Terastallize during a battle - If this is to be understood as 'restricting specific Pokémon from being able to Terastalize', then this may be the only approach that I don't specifically oppose. Of course, this would hinge on a specific Pokémon, specifically using the Tera mechanic, that is so overly present in the meta that teams need to either directly have a counter to this specific strategy, or be otherwise forced to use this specific strategy on their own team.
  • Limiting Pokemon to only using a Tera Type that matches their current STAB - This would be a severe hit to the defensive capabilities of the mechanic, and promote harder-hitting offensive strategies. Isolating an entire branch of strategies seems to oppose our general goal of allowing as many strategies to be viable as possible. I am not in favor of this approach, as it actively hinders an entire aspect of this mechanic.
  • Banning usage of the move Tera Blast - From the OP alone, only one example was provided in which Tera Blast was utilized. I've seen it used on Flutter Mane to amazing effect, but largely see that the majority of Tera options being explored by the community are using Tera to either further increase their already-good STAB moves, or to add the Tera typing to an existing coverage move. I am not in favor of this approach, as I'm not seeing many cases where such a ban would have any impact to the commonly-perceived issues of this mechanic.
  • Outright Ban - From an overall perspective, I see that the Tera mechanic is strong, and will play a part in a majority of the teams for however long it's decided that this mechanic will be a part of Smogon's competitive environment. However, I'm not seeing where it is prohibitively strong, in that players are unable to use specific strategies due to this mechanic's inclusion. I am not in favor of this approach, as (1) bans of an entire mechanic should be handled as an absolute last resort, and (2) I've seen no evidence where Terastalization, as a whole, is preventing people from utilizing their own strategies.


My solution, then? Just keep an eye on specific Pokémon + Tera combinations that seem to be actively hindering competitive diversity, and address them individually. In the end, we've always sought to create a competitive environment that allows for as many strategies to be viable as possible. If a Tera Ghost Dragapult is so strong that it forces players to run a Normal type Pokémon to avoid being swept by Shadow Ball, then look at that individual case. The Tera mechanic would be just as relevant as Choice Specs, which is just as relevant as the Pokémon in question.
 

Shurtugal

The Enterpriser.
is a Tiering Contributor
I want to echo what others have been saying: not enough time has passed for players to truly understand Terastilization & how it is going to effect the metagame as a whole.

I'll talk about how I feel about the Tiering Actions mentioned in OP in a moment, but first I want to comment about the list of Pokemon Finchinator & others brought up. Is Terastilization the only reason why these Pokemon are good? Take Roaring Moon for example here: this is a Pokemon that has built-in Choice Band, a huge movepool, one of the best boosting attacks in the game, and crazy 590 BST to back it up. Of course Terastilization is going to be good on this Pokemon, but Terastilization is only but one part of what makes this Pokemon good. I could see this Pokemon being suspect tested even in a metagame that removed Terastilzation. Same goes for many of the threats listed as abusers of Tera; Volcarona is in a metagame with no Heatran & gamestate where Toxapex is bad, Dragonite was in top usage in Gen 8 and there's currently no Landorus Therian spamming Intimidate; the list can go on & on here. The reason why I bring it up: we need more time to gather evidence, really see if Tera is the reason multiple Pokemon get banned for. I remember in Generation 7 how Pheromosa got banned because of it's insane usage of Z-moves, but this Pokemon later got re-banned in Generation 8 anyways, and you can find many examples like this where the Pokemon itself is just really good outside of any mechanic bolstering it.

Back on topic, here is the order I'd tackle:
  • Banning usage of the move Tera Blast
  • Limiting Pokemon to only using a Tera Type that matches their current STAB
  • 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

I'm not really a fan of any of these proposals, but banning Tera Blast makes the most sense to start with. I'd say it's OK to ban it, even if not everything that can use it would be broken. The amount of guesswork in the builder from the move could be argued to keep it removed; similar reasoning is why we have Baton Pass (an equally widely distributed move) banned.


However, if we must take further action than removing Tera Blast, then I believe the option would be to limit the Tera type to match one of the types in your movepool. This would make it harder for Pokemon to defensively tera (the risk v reward of giving up a moveslot for the opportunity to have a different type), and you could reasonably scout the player's movesets to determine what it could turn into. I'm not really a fan of any changes to the mechanic, but I feel this one would preserve it as much as possible, while eliminating some of the guess work.

Lots of people have mentioned how strong Terastilzation is, and while that's true, I feel as though many have understated it's weaknesses. How many times have you Tera'd into a type that ended up losing you the game; how many times did you use it too early or hold on to it for too long? I think the aspect of choosing your tera typing ahead of time, and calculating which situations it would be good for, and when to use it, adds a lot of layers of strategy in the teambuilder & in battle.

That's my two cents anyway, I'm a huge lurker at this point who ladders 99% of the time, but I felt like speaking up. I do understand players who wish to remove the mechanic, but I really want a better understanding of the mechanic & know for sure that it is the problem. I can't speak for everyone, but I really think this mechanic is fun.
 
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