Terastallization Tiering Discussion

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god this thread is painful to read.

you can't halfass this. i think there is a very reasonable and strong justification for preserving mechanics for the sake of marketing and community growth, i don't want to discount that fact, but they shouldn't come at the cost of actually solving the problem for the sake of looking good with public relations.

and that's the problem. halfassing this doesn't fix the meta. it just kicks the can down the road with a complex ban on the blind hope that maybe it'll be better and we can have it both ways when that's never going to be a good outcome for anyone involved. tera's a strong game variance mechanic and restricting it with compromises won't solve that issue so i don't get why doubling down on this path is such a forefront of discussion.
  • previewing types only tells you what things might change to. it doesn't tell you with who or when that mixup will happen, there will still be guessing games about what turn the ape will switch weaknesses for a free rage fist boost, if he even will at all, or if anyone else on the team will make a similarly impactful play at any other moment. unknown specific types will likely become less and less of an issue as the meta stabilizes and tera types become easier to predict based on established tested standards, so it feels like rushing a band-aid fix to a fundamentally unstable game that may not even actually help in the long run.
  • banning the item slot? really??? that's literally just some random made-up crap. why don't we just say that you can tera only if you have 3 moves, or if you downgrade to only level 90, or whatever other random bullshit we want to enforce to appropriately nerf the fundamental concept of a type transformation. mega stones and z-crystals are not a precedent, they are an entirely different mechanic and picking and choosing random parts of pokémon to remove isn't somehow justified just because a different thing used to follow different rules.
  • banning tera blast would actually be a pretty good idea if it actually consistently gutted the abusers that it needed to. but most of them don't actually use it. while there's a reasonable justification to saying that the fundamental idea of giving anything coverage that it shouldn't have is breaking the game, it's really not the broken part of the mechanic right now so it wouldn't really solve anything other than doling out arbitrary nerfs.
  • restricting terastalization to only same-type transformations would probably solve the consistency problem...only it's doing so by removing the entire point of the mechanic. why even bother at that point? take away every diverse use case the mechanic is SPECIFICALLY designed around so we can tell the casual players "uh hey guys we didn't TECHNICALLY ban the gen 9 gimmick so please don't make fun of us for refusing to adapt!" put in a complex ban that kills the entire point of the gimmick just to preserve...having a random adaptability nuke and trying to keep up branding images that won't even work when the entire "fun" and "interesting" use cases are all gone anyway? at that point just get rid of it all the way, it will only just be simpler, make the game better, and not come off any worse publicly than just gutting 16/18 use cases which will just cause the exact same "omg smogon hates fun why cant i use my dragon-tera charizard" reactions that a regular ban would. it's literally just easier to tell people that game freak put out another busted mechanic and unfortunately we couldn't work with it than telling casual players that their tera normal dragonite is no good for our ruleset but hey maybe you can just catch and build a tera flying one instead since apparently that's okay. as if preserving randomly activated adaptability access is somehow worth it for quality of competition.
i honestly don't care if the mechanic is broken or not, i still think it's too early to tell and whether we need to ban its best abusers (may or may not fix the problem???) or ban the mechanic outright, either path will likely improve things once stuff has had more time to settle and adapt. but doing a complex half-ban for the sake of trying to look good publicly while not actually solving anything (either through removal or meaningful preservation) should not be on the table. either get rid of it or don't. those are the only two reasonable options and i hope the community can do the best it can on discerning which is best for the health of the game and the community.
 
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earl

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On the topic of attracting new players: That’s great and all, but if the meta sucks ass because of Tera there won’t be good player retention. I don’t think we need to preserve it for that reason if it tangibly makes the meta worse. Obviously need more time to see if it truly is negatively impacting the metagame, but I just thought that it’s worth mentioning that new players won’t mean much if they don’t stick around
 
I want to begin this post by saying that I don't think Terastalization should be banned from OU at this moment and that things should be given more time to settle down. We are less than two weeks into the metagame and I find it questionable to think that we can give Tera the final verdict of whether it is healthy or not for the meta in a matter of weeks (as it has been stated many times).

Tera is a seemingly chaotic mechanic but, in my personal opinion, its problematic essence lies with the pokemon that abuse it. The four pokemon that have been banned in OU so far and those who have been referenced to be in the "chopping board" have one thing in common: Their unbalanced capabilities are heightened by Terastalization but the mons by themselves have enough tools to abuse the mechanic. For the sake of giving an example, Iron Bundle was an already threatning pokemon with perfect coverage, high sp.atk and speed but its destructive power was heightened by being able to Tera Ice and simply nuke everything. Another mon that comes into mind, albeit not banned, is Iron Valiant. This is a pokemon that has access to a borderline perfect STAB move combination + great coverage and offensive stats. What Tera does is push these attributes further, however, let us not forget that this is only possible due to it being giving the right tools to move past seemingly good defensive and offensive countermeasures (the latter being possible with the help of Energy Booster). My point with these examples is that, rather focusing on whether or not the mechanic overall is unbalanced, I think it would be interesting to focus on the mons that abuse it.

With all of this being said, I think that all the proposals that keep a restricted use of Tera should be scrapped. The notion that a mechanic can be controlled at team preview is good in theory but, matchups could be shaken up by someone simply bluffing their Tera type. That, alongside the proposals of it being limited to one pokemon, would encourage a match-up-based meta where having the right Tera type on that one right mon will determine the flow of the match. The proposal of Tera being limited to same typings is also something that sounds good in theory. Nevertheless, in the grand scheme of things, it could potentially overcentralize the meta into best Adapatability-type malarkey. To complement this, It's been said many times that Tera Blast is not unbalanced at all and I agree with this so I will not add anything further to that.

To sum this up: I think that half-measures or restrictions should not be considered to deal with this, if we are to do something about Terastalization, we should go all the way. go nowhere and leave it as it is and / or, test the abusers individually. Like many people have said before me, another path that could accommodate the playerbase is to provide a second ladder to test the proposals mentioned in the op with a proper amount of time for each.
 
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Bughouse

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Imagine if in prior gens every pokemon learned hidden power, except it was 80 BP and had STAB (so really almost 2x as strong as older gens HP and actually 2x as strong as more recent HP) oh and also it could be either physical or special, so physical sweepers have unlimited and unpredictable coverage too, not just special ones. Would it really be enough just to make everyone aware of what random coverage every Pokemon is potentially packing at the top of the match? Even if you know in game once it starts that ADV Gyarados has Electric for most waters and Skarm, rather than Grass for Swampert, do you really have to carry both in every team in order to cover that one single threat? Now try to cover the whole metagame. Now try this in a meta with way more power creep and oh by the way I haven't even talked about the defensive type switching yet which can be used to flip 1v1 matchups on their head so much so you can even buy free set up turns.

To my mind the simple option of "show Tera types at preview" a la team sheets would be woefully insufficient on its own. It doesn't really eliminate any of the problems, not even unpredictability, since guessing when an opponent will Tera is often just that - a guess. Even if you know the Tera types, you very well may still be near lost in the teambuilder or you may still lose to a coinflip. The mechanic just introduces that much chaos if otherwise left untouched. Limiting to one or a few pre-declared possible users per team alone is also probably not sufficient without additional restrictions since really most teams already are planning to use the mechanic in this way and at least a few Pokemon's Tera types are much more of a filler consideration. And others have already articulated why just banning Tera Blast on its own is not likely to be enough either since many current threats don't even use it. Some combination of these 3 could maybe add up to enough or at least mostly enough, but honestly if we had to do 2+ clauses bans and/or a move ban, that should not be considered an ideal outcome.

IMO the only option that could plausibly balance this for singles within one single parsimonious clause would be the most drastic one of requiring Tera to be limited to STABs only. But really this rule is so strict as to have fundamentally altered the mechanic's intent (all promotional material was focused on total type changing like Grass Sudowoodo...) that I don't think it should be considered at all. This to me is the same effective outcome as banning it altogether, but arguably even worse. Even under this ruleset I think it still could be a problematic mechanic regardless because it gives Adaptability while still retaining the other innate ability+unpredictability of which STAB it is on at least some users and at least some defensive utility too, i.e. Dragonite Tera Flying still means it sheds its Fairy and Dragon Weakness which still buys turns to Dragon Dance. Even with this super undesirable clause you probably still end up needing to ban some Pokemon.

I don't think there's a good option here really because to me the clauses and bans don't really do what they would need to do on their own. But in terms of what seems to me to be the least bad option... I'd probably advocate for testing out a combination of 2/3 things:

1) showing Tera types at preview
2) maybe banning Tera Blast as well
3) preparing to aggressively ban many abusers that are still broken because this doesn't really solve all the problems.

And if adding a clause + banning a move + banning many abusers is still not solving it, then I think the mechanic as a whole has to go.
 
As long as some form of offense exists in the tier, Tera will be an uncompetitive mechanic. It stops you being able to properly long term plan during a match, produces constant 50/50s, and rewards random/bad choice making both in play and in the team builder.

The only solution I can see is to limit it to STAB and make players lock in their chosen Tera poke at team preview, subsequently making the chosen poke + STAB Tera type public at the start of Turn 1. It's a messy gentleman's agreement, I'd much rather just ban it, but if there's a focus on mechanic preservation then I don't think any of the current options on the table do enough to solve both the coinflip and in-match planning issues that exist whilst keeping a fun little perk.

For people arguing to wait for a settled metagame: that won't help with the inherent uncompetitive nature of Tera, and we should fix that before anything else.
 
I agree with the posts that pointed out that complete type changes are the most problematic aspect of tera since that leads to a huge momentum swing. However I only think that momentum can really be abused in an uncompetitive way when combined with setup. Setup has always been incredibly restricting both in the builder and in game. The possibility to change your type completely to generate 1-2 free turns makes this so much worse. Most abusers of tera atm combine tera with some setup possibility (Espathra, Roaring Moon, Annihilape, Volcarona, Dragonite to just name a few). If we ignore setup, complete type changes can still lead to a huge momentum swing but at least it's unlikely that they will win the game immediately. This is then much more comparable to Z moves, that ended up being relatively balanced even though they could easily lead to surprise kills. That setup+tera is the true problem is also supported by the massive usage of all Unaware mons atm (especially Dondozo seems like it should be trash in a healthy metagame). If we agree that this is - at least for the moment - the biggest problem of tera, any restriction should be directly targeted at this. So I'm kinda surprised we didn't really talk about anything in that direction so far.

The STAB only restriction doesn't deal with this problem completely and also has some problematic side effects. Even changing your type into one of your STABs can lead to you suddenly setting up on something that you're not supposed to. Imagine Dragonite in Gen 8 setting up on Clefable by turning flying or Volcarona setting up on Keldeo in Gen 6 by turning bug. It would stop a lot of the abuse we see right now but I'm sure with this restriction we're gonna see new abusers quickly (at latest when home comes out). Another problem of the STAB only restriction is that this would heavily reduce the tera mechanic to "free adapatability for everyone" which just sounds stupid. Right now tera has great defensive utility as well which makes this mechanic interesting and generally worth keeping unlike Dynamax.

So I'm suggesting a super targeted restriction at tera+setup. This would probably mean that you implement a tera clause that disables terastallization, if a Pokemon knows a move that can under any condition raise a stat. This is the least complex way I can think of to implement this. Unfortunately this would still be relatively complex and is not just a teambuilder restriction. However it is less complex than some of the other discussed solutions and we are already modding the game to a small degree to enforce things like Sleep Clause so this shouldn't be an argument to stop otherwise reasonable restrictions.
 

Amaranth

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So I'm suggesting a super targeted restriction at tera+setup. This would probably mean that you implement a tera clause that disables terastallization, if a Pokemon knows a move that can under any condition raise a stat. This is the least complex way I can think of to implement this. Unfortunately this would still be relatively complex and is not just a teambuilder restriction. However it is less complex than some of the other discussed solutions and we are already modding the game to a small degree to enforce things like Sleep Clause so this shouldn't be an argument to stop otherwise reasonable restrictions.
This is not a mod. As explained by DaWoblefet here, none of these restrictions are modding the game in any way; it's a complex ban, but you can easily reproduce that complex ban on cartridge by agreeing that any pokémon that can self-boost may not Tera, and any pokémon that Teras may not self-boost, and if either player breaks the agreement they lose on the spot.
All of these complex clauses are undesirable in the same way a complicated Baton Pass clause is undesirable, but they don't break game mechanics in the slightest and shouldn't be a problem to implement if they're deemed to be optimal.
 

Zokuru

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I agree with the posts that pointed out that complete type changes are the most problematic aspect of tera since that leads to a huge momentum swing. However I only think that momentum can really be abused in an uncompetitive way when combined with setup. Setup has always been incredibly restricting both in the builder and in game. The possibility to change your type completely to generate 1-2 free turns makes this so much worse. Most abusers of tera atm combine tera with some setup possibility (Espathra, Roaring Moon, Annihilape, Volcarona, Dragonite to just name a few). If we ignore setup, complete type changes can still lead to a huge momentum swing but at least it's unlikely that they will win the game immediately. This is then much more comparable to Z moves, that ended up being relatively balanced even though they could easily lead to surprise kills. That setup+tera is the true problem is also supported by the massive usage of all Unaware mons atm (especially Dondozo seems like it should be trash in a healthy metagame). If we agree that this is - at least for the moment - the biggest problem of tera, any restriction should be directly targeted at this. So I'm kinda surprised we didn't really talk about anything in that direction so far.

The STAB only restriction doesn't deal with this problem completely and also has some problematic side effects. Even changing your type into one of your STABs can lead to you suddenly setting up on something that you're not supposed to. Imagine Dragonite in Gen 8 setting up on Clefable by turning flying or Volcarona setting up on Keldeo in Gen 6 by turning bug. It would stop a lot of the abuse we see right now but I'm sure with this restriction we're gonna see new abusers quickly (at latest when home comes out). Another problem of the STAB only restriction is that this would heavily reduce the tera mechanic to "free adapatability for everyone" which just sounds stupid. Right now tera has great defensive utility as well which makes this mechanic interesting and generally worth keeping unlike Dynamax.

So I'm suggesting a super targeted restriction at tera+setup. This would probably mean that you implement a tera clause that disables terastallization, if a Pokemon knows a move that can under any condition raise a stat. This is the least complex way I can think of to implement this. Unfortunately this would still be relatively complex and is not just a teambuilder restriction. However it is less complex than some of the other discussed solutions and we are already modding the game to a small degree to enforce things like Sleep Clause so this shouldn't be an argument to stop otherwise reasonable restrictions.

This is on the same wave as ADV BP Clause. I fully support it, as it is probably one of the least invasive and fair way to handle Tera, as well as preserving its core idea.
 

Marty

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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").
To clarify here, you're never forced into clicking the Terastallize button, so just as Mega Rayquaza Clause is not a mod, limiting the option to Terastallize to the first N Pokemon on your team (at Team Preview) isn't a mod either. It's an agreement that you will only choose to activate it with that one (or more) Pokemon, which both players can keep track of at all times in the top left of the respective sidebar since the displayed team order never changes. Think of it like your lead in DPP but you don't have to lead with it.

As a non-player, I thought this was "meh" as an option when I first read it, until I tried implementing it just to check if it could be done cleanly.
JavaScript:
    teralimitclause: {
        effectType: 'ValidatorRule',
        name: 'Tera Limit Clause',
        desc: `Limits the option to Terastallize to the first N Pokemon shown at Team Preview. Usage: Tera Limit Clause = [Number]`,
        hasValue: 'positive-integer',
        onBegin() {
            const num = this.ruleTable.valueRules.get('teralimitclause')!;
            const limit = parseInt(num) > 1 ? num + " " : "";
            this.add('rule', `Tera Limit Clause: You may only Terastallize the first ${limit}Pokemon shown at Team Preview`);
        },
        onValidateRule() {
            if (!(this.ruleTable.has('teampreview') || this.ruleTable.has('teamtypepreview'))) {
                throw new Error(`The "Tera Limit Clause" rule${this.ruleTable.blame('teralimitclause')} requires Team Preview.`);
            }
        },
        // hardcoded in sim/side
    },

[...]

        if (ruleTable.valueRules.has('teralimitclause')) {
            const limit = parseInt(ruleTable.valueRules.get('teralimitclause')!);
            for (const [index, pos] of positions.entries()) {
                if (pos + 1 > limit) this.pokemon[pos].canTerastallize = null;
            }
        }
I see at least some value in not completely neutering Terastal to specific types for each Pokemon, but also limiting the guessing game while preserving the full functionality of the mechanic for at least one team member. Pokemon who are too powerful with this could be banned as usual, just as in the past when other universal mechanics may have pushed some over the edge (such as Z-Moves). Of course, it's up to the community to decide whether this is a viable route to take.
 
To clarify here, you're never forced into clicking the Terastallize button, so just as Mega Rayquaza Clause is not a mod, limiting the option to Terastallize to the first N Pokemon on your team (at Team Preview) isn't a mod either. It's an agreement that you will only choose to activate it with that one (or more) Pokemon, which both players can keep track of at all times in the top left of the respective sidebar since the displayed team order never changes. Think of it like your lead in DPP but you don't have to lead with it.

As a non-player, I thought this was "meh" as an option when I first read it, until I tried implementing it just to check if it could be done cleanly.
JavaScript:
    teralimitclause: {
        effectType: 'ValidatorRule',
        name: 'Tera Limit Clause',
        desc: `Limits the option to Terastallize to the first N Pokemon shown at Team Preview. Usage: Tera Limit Clause = [Number]`,
        hasValue: 'positive-integer',
        onBegin() {
            const num = this.ruleTable.valueRules.get('teralimitclause')!;
            const limit = parseInt(num) > 1 ? num + " " : "";
            this.add('rule', `Tera Limit Clause: You may only Terastallize the first ${limit}Pokemon shown at Team Preview`);
        },
        onValidateRule() {
            if (!(this.ruleTable.has('teampreview') || this.ruleTable.has('teamtypepreview'))) {
                throw new Error(`The "Tera Limit Clause" rule${this.ruleTable.blame('teralimitclause')} requires Team Preview.`);
            }
        },
        // hardcoded in sim/side
    },

[...]

        if (ruleTable.valueRules.has('teralimitclause')) {
            const limit = parseInt(ruleTable.valueRules.get('teralimitclause')!);
            for (const [index, pos] of positions.entries()) {
                if (pos + 1 > limit) this.pokemon[pos].canTerastallize = null;
            }
        }
I see at least some value in not completely neutering Terastal to specific types for each Pokemon, but also limiting the guessing game while preserving the full functionality of the mechanic for at least one team member. Pokemon who are too powerful with this could be banned as usual, just as in the past when other universal mechanics may have pushed some over the edge (such as Z-Moves). Of course, it's up to the community to decide whether this is a viable route to take.
is the non mod part only possible when the tera mon is known to the opponent? as in, can we limit it to 1 mon without said mon being revealed at preview? the handshake version of this i can rationalize is “you agree to mark which 1 pokemon can tera before battle, and tera’ing anything else is breaking the agreement” but idk if that checks out

regardless, thank you for looking into this on the coding end
 

Marty

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is the non mod part only possible when the tera mon is known to the opponent? as in, can we limit it to 1 mon without said mon being revealed at preview? the handshake version of this i can rationalize is “you agree to mark which 1 pokemon can tera before battle, and tera’ing anything else is breaking the agreement” but idk if that checks out

regardless, thank you for looking into this on the coding end
It's "possible" but would actively make the simulator worse by introducing yet another field in the team import/export for all teams, regardless of format. Either that or use existing fields in ways so strange no one understands them, like making that Pokemon level 19 or something to mark it as "Terastallizable" (which then gets bumped back up to level 100 in battle). So I'd say secret information like this just isn't feasible, or even practical.
 

Amaranth

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It's "possible" but would actively make the simulator worse by introducing yet another field in the team import/export for all teams, regardless of format. Either that or use existing fields in ways so strange no one understands them, like making that Pokemon level 19 or something to mark it as "Terastallizable" (which then gets bumped back up to level 100 in battle). So I'd say secret information like this just isn't feasible, or even practical.
could you not edit the way the Tera field functions to help with this purpose? eg. implement "Can't Terastalize" as an extra 'type' that you can select, and enforce 5 (or 4 or however many is deemed to be balanced) of those per team. would this work towards the purposes of implementing ABR's suggestion / can it be coded effectively?
 

Marty

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could you not edit the way the Tera field functions to help with this purpose?
A bunch of places across the server and client already assume Tera Type is an actual type, and by default even if the set's Tera Type doesn't exist it assigns the Pokemon's primary type. Changing all of these again and testing would be a hassle but I suppose this is possible? Maybe? I would hope this isn't the direction the thread is going though.
 

Finchinator

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For what it's worth, we're unlikely to create any type of suspect on Tera for at least the next week or two still. It’s too early, there are too many options, and we lack a consensus (not even particularly close to one either). I really want to make sure we get this right and stress on the details rather than anything being done haphazardly.

There is still discussion to be had as to what the appropriate avenue is, in my opinion, and I think limiting the conversation to the two extremes of fully allowing it and fully banning it would be doing the metagame a disservice. There’s merit to restrictions that can be done within good ideological faith such as restricting Tera to previously existing STABs. I am also coming around to considering limiting it to one Pokemon given some of the above posts and the consistency that would have with some past core mechanics, but I am still not sold on that. My point is that we should be willing to be a tad creative (within reason) here to try and preserve the mechanic if we feel it can enrich and add to our metagame. At the same time, we cannot force it if it is not meant to be either, but I am not of the opinion that we are at that point.

Finally, as OU tier leader, my job description went from overwhelmingly clear for the last couple of years to more murky recently. Ruft and I are asked to handle normal tiering and making the metagame as competitive as possible typically, which is fine and something we have continued to optimize procedurally. Now we have an entirely novel mechanic, communal sentiments being spread further apart from each other than ever before, and a pretty massive outcry for focusing our decisions on things beyond sheer competitive natured Pokemon -- for "fun" (which can vary from one person to another), for changing Smogon's historical tiering narratives, and for catering to specific demographic's of the playerbase and their retention, and so on. I do not know what is going to ultimately happen here, but any possible decision is going to make some groups unhappy -- it is impossible to please everyone and trying to do so is a fool's errand. All I can offer is transparency on where we are at with regular updates like these and an outcome that will be decided by the community, so please keep posting your thoughts as you see fit.
 
For what it's worth, we're unlikely to create any type of suspect on Tera for at least the next week or two still. It’s too early, there are too many options, and we lack a consensus (not even particularly close to one either). I really want to make sure we get this right and stress on the details rather than anything being done haphazardly.

...

Ruft and I are asked to handle normal tiering and making the metagame as competitive as possible typically, which is fine and something we have continued to optimize procedurally.
Since there won't be a test anytime soon, I think we can still proceed to standard tiering decisions regarding individual pokemon under the assumption that tera is part of the meta (since it is technically still part of the meta), so if tera pushes something like Annihilape over the edge then action on that pokemon is appropriate, etc. In fact this may even shed more light as to whether this approach is sustainable in regards to the mechanic generally speaking, and if we end up banning/restricting tera later can always just undo prior pokemon bans.
 

Finchinator

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Given how conflicted sentiments have been throughout this thread and internal discussions, we want to gauge community opinion on a larger scale.

We will be having the first tiering survey of SV OU this weekend or early next week as a result of that! It will be focused on Terastallization, but may also be a bit open ended to help gauge opinion on a wider array of topics.

Everyone with a Smogon account can (and should!!!!) respond if they are invested in our metagame. I will personally read through everything I can on this. There will also be a “qualified” demographic that will constitute those in the third round of the release tournament and those in the top portion of the ladder, so be mindful of this if you are on the brink of either of these.
 

justdrew

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Here are I think the only two valid decisions on tera and it's not even close. Either we outright ban it because it's honestly omega stupid in competitive. Or we put in a clause, I think Marty mentioned this, where you can only designate one Pokemon to Tera and ONLY that Pokemon can Tera.

This is probably redundant/someones said this/people really know everything I'm saying but I just want to break down my logic and get some responses. The last 3 wack ass game breaking mechanics introduced have ban Dynamax, Z-moves, and Mega evolutions.

Mega evolutions
Only a certain amount of Pokemon could do it and this was common knowledge. These megas were subject to tiering so if the shit was broken it would move out of a tier. It was pretty easy for players to tell which mon on the opposing team would mega and there was minimal room for game changing surprises. This was balanced and worked wonderfully.

Z-moves
For the most part, Z-moves were balanced. There were some outright broken Z moves like Komomium which got banned specifically in UU (the tier I play) and in UU we did discuss whether Z moves were broken a whole lot. Unlike megas and similar to tera, any Pokemon can use a Z-move. Your whole damn team can use any kind of Z-move corresponding to any move. The balanced part of this was Z-moves being an item and those who chose to double Z-move were wasting another Pokemons item slot per game. There was way more unpredictability here but for the most part every Z-move combination was known. Speaking with abundant UU experience.

Dynamax
This shit was broke as all goodness. Any Pokemon can Dyna, your hp gets doubled for 3 turns and you get stronger moves with stat boosts that totally alter the outcome of the game. This was without a doubt broken.


SIMILARITIES
Tera really has nothing in common with mega evolving other than the changing of typing. Like Z-moves any Pokemon can do it but there are less limitations which make it better. And it's really similar to Dynamax in it's strength and game changing ability but definitely not as broken. In just a month of laddering SV I've lost so many Pokemon and battles because one Pokemon suddenly teras--which is impossible to predict bc there are countless opportunities throughout the game by all 6 pokemon--and I lose a Pokemon. It's really annoying and uncompetitive and Tera absolutely can't stand as it currently does.

Definitely don't rush to a decision but I'm in full support of nerfing or nuking shit shit whenever most convenient.
As long as some form of offense exists in the tier, Tera will be an uncompetitive mechanic. It stops you being able to properly long term plan during a match, produces constant 50/50s, and rewards random/bad choice making both in play and in the team builder.

The only solution I can see is to limit it to STAB and make players lock in their chosen Tera poke at team preview, subsequently making the chosen poke + STAB Tera type public at the start of Turn 1. It's a messy gentleman's agreement, I'd much rather just ban it, but if there's a focus on mechanic preservation then I don't think any of the current options on the table do enough to solve both the coinflip and in-match planning issues that exist whilst keeping a fun little perk.
I agree entirely with this here person. I don't think it's too early at all to tell like many people have been saying. I think everyones been Espathara'd at one point or another and seen the truly stupid nature of this mechanic.

Anyways, that's all I have. Keep discussing but let's probably come to a decision soon-ish.
 

Karxrida

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DaWoblefet brought up Open Team Sheets for VGC earlier, and apparently the current VGC is using them again and this includes full Tera type knowledge. (I don't own the games so I can't check myself.)

Working under the assumption that this is now an actual in-cart mechanic, and how we based Sleep Clause on a similar thing, we should at minimum try a Reveal Tera Clause before attempting an outright ban.
 
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ausma

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Hello everyone, I hope you all have been enjoying the metagame so far, at least a bit. Experimenting has been a load of fun for me and I'm excited to keep doing so. However, as an OU council member, I see it as important for me to make my stance on Terastal heard, especially as we all continue to learn about the boundaries, implications, and potential of this mechanic together. I would like to briefly implore you all to keep an open mind.

Terastal as a mechanic is a really hard-and frankly mystifying-one to evaluate. Many of the important factors (namely the identity of a core mechanic) that we had to consider with Dynamax are not comically outweighed by the sheer brokenness of the mechanic, but Terastal is generally stronger and more holistically metagame defining than Mega Evolutions and Z-Moves, especially without the opportunity cost of an item. Undeniably, it is nowhere near as centralizing and overtly powerful as Dynamax which made it far easier to remove from the tier. However it's because it's so much less obviously broken than Dynamax but considerably stronger and more complicated than Z-Moves and Mega Evolution that Terastal brings us an unprecedented tiering challenge. This is also why I don't at all subscribe to the "either ban it or don't ban it" stance I've seen people throw around. There is no real dangerous slippery slope to be had here because clausing these gray area generational mechanics, by nature, is uncharted territory. If generational mechanics are to be a series mainstay, figuring out an angle for how to clause them feels better for tiering in the long run, whether Terastal remains broken with limitations or not.

Terastal Itself

Tiering semantics aside, let's talk about Terastal itself. In short, there's a reason this isn't really as open-shut as Dynamax. There are genuine positives that Terastal brings to the metagame and teambuilding due to its ability to round off teambuilding holes with no serious opportunity cost, enhance defensive and offensive strategies alike, and reward smart risk-reward management and execution. I especially love that it's a great way to shore off some of the inherent matchup fishiness that our metagames have. For instance, giving a couple Pokemon a positive Tera type into threats like Chi-Yu, Great Tusk, or Volcarona can go a long way while also preserving naturally good team synergy. However, this also applies conversely for offensive Pokemon, and to me is the main component of Terastal I see as problematic. In short, defensive matchup shifting for any offensive Pokemon on a whim can be really nuts. We've seen a lot of Tera Flying Roaring Moon, for example, which flips the script into Great Tusk extremely hard, and other Tera combos like Fairy Espathra and Water Annihilape can be massive headaches. Tera STAB is also pretty good but I think it's also manageable since the core defensive matchups are maintained; if anything Tera STAB is not fundamentally a problem but instead just breaks specific Pokemon that are already really well-fitted offensively like Dragapult and Chi-Yu.

Unpredictability is also a commonly cited problem with Terastal and one I generally agree with, but I personally don't like it as a reason to outright remove it. Information management and evaluation is really fundamental in Pokemon. We can't 100% predict moves and items, but we use our intuition to scout and deduce a proper course of option based on what we know and what are naturally strong/fitting options. Terastal is undoubtedly more extreme, but I don't personally feel it's that uncomparable. There are a share of "optimal" Tera types that ironically shore off some of the prediction problems that Terastal brings to the table. The previous examples I gave are pretty good examples here too. Tera Water Annihilape is far and away the most used and "obvious" option for the monkey, while Tera Fairy Espathra is leagues above most other types, only really rivaled by Tera Fighting. Some other examples are Tera Fairy Skeledirge, Tera Flying Garganacl, and Tera Normal Dragonite. Meanwhile, several other Pokemon like Chi-Yu, Dragapult, and Scizor would rather just juice up their powerful STABs with Terastal. Based on team holes, Pokemon strengths, and set compositions, I've never really felt like unpredictability was so extreme that it was a consistent factor for losing games. Just as it can be a factor for your opponent to make a sharp, proactive play, it can be a factor for you to get back in the match.

But, it does become a problem imo with Tera Blast. Tera Blast isn't exactly used much as the best Tera abusers don't tend to need it, but regardless I don't really see it as competitive. It alone turns the unpredictability dynamics from being manageable and relatively deducible to egregious and stupid, and if anything it not being common is part of what makes it dumb since that reduces predictability even more. Without Tera Blast, I think there's a much more finite scope for what Tera types would consistently work with Pokemon, as they're offensively limited to their core movepool and defensively limited to Tera types that synergize with their base types. To clarify, I don't think Tera Blast solves the key issue I have with Terastal and by itself is not really a great solution, but if unpredictability is generally agreed upon to be the main problem, Tera Blast contributes.

Solutions

1: Banning entirely


This is probably the option I like the least. To be wholly clear, I don't really think Terastal is fundamentally a broken mechanic and I think it brings more to the metagame than it takes. I understand that a lot of people are not a fan of Terastal holistically, and I also acknowledge it's a really strong mechanic and probably needs some degree of limitation, but removing outright is not really it for me imo. Especially since, as I've said, even if limitations don't prove to balance the mechanic and Terastal is broken no matter what, it's great insight in how to approach future generational mechanics that meet this gray area of power. If it winds up still being too much even after we've explored the other options in depth, then I am okay with it. The health and competitiveness of the metagame always should come first, but immediately going this route isn't the way to go about it imo.

2: Leave Tera alone

The more I play and the more I think about Tera, the more I'd be completely okay if we didn't clause Tera at all. Granted, it's without a doubt not my favorite option because defensive type shifting for offensive Pokemon is a problematic element imo, but it's not really something I'd complain about being the turnout since even that's not irreparably bad.

3: Limiting to STAB Types

I recognize many people have a problem with this because it seemingly incentivizes using Tera to amplify STABs and takes away the "spirit of the mechanic". At that point, we ought to ban it outright, yeah? Except... that's not really entirely true. There are several Pokemon-most notably Slowking-that can use Tera as a way to shed an important weakness to amplify their defensive profile. This can also apply for offensive Pokemon, too, especially those with x4 weaknesses, such as Kingambit or Scizor. Regarding the spirit of the mechanic: how do we know what the spirit of the mechanic is? If Game Freak intended for Terastal to be used in a specific way, I highly doubt they would have added the Adaptability boost to same type Tera, and even if they did have an agenda for it, it would be tuned for VGC in the same way Dynamax was. The "spirit of Terastal" is going to be what we make of it.

That being said, I'm still somewhat lukewarm on this. While I do certainly like it more than banning it, as it limits the radical shifting of defensive typing on offensive Pokemon that I take issue with and it does reduce that element of surprise very substantially, I personally feel it to be overkill. I do think it's a very viable last resort option for limiting it, but it's probably not my first pick.

4: Reveal Tera types on Preview

I've stated quite a bit that I feel unpredictability is not the overarching, dominant issue with the mechanic, but in regards to the particularly unhealthy ends of unpredictability this definitely limits them. But as many have said, this by itself does not really accomplish much. If anything, I feel like it mostly just brings awkward 50/50s to the table regarding defensive Tera while not really doing anything to stop the particularly egregious instances of defensive type shifts we see in offensive Pokemon. If we think unpredictability is the big problem this is something I'm okay with doing but like I said I don't think it is.

5: Only using Tera on your first party member

I feel this option is probably the best one imo. The healthy aspects of the mechanic are completely untouched, but teams can't use it as a trump card to rewrite a defensive matchup for any Pokemon freely depending on the situation. Instead, if you want to use that option proactively, it must be dedicated, which I think substantially reduces the room for Tera to be used as a tool to suddenly swing the tide of the game. Granted, it's not a perfect option. Part of what makes Terastal interesting imo is, in fact, how fluid it can be as a tool both reactively and proactively. Though, it can also be argued that this is part of what makes it broken, so I don't put too much stock into it. Plus, a dedicated Tera slot can still be what you make of it, whether it's having an extra STAB, augmenting your team's defensive profile, or using it to juice a STAB you already have.

6: Banning Tera Blast

Explained above; I support this but I don't think it addresses the core problem. Though, it certainly limits the scope of Tera's unpredictability to a point of being generally more manageable which is why I like it anyway. It probably would be best paired alongside another option though.

____

If I had to order my favorite options and how I would vote for them, it would be as follows:

5 > 6 > 2 = 3 > 4 >>>> 1

thanks for reading
 
Hi. A lot has already been said and I want to avoid 50/50 arguments because 50/50 has always been there and I want to be a little more brief and direct, since English is not my native language.
I am against any attempt at partial solution/restriction. This mischaracterizes the fundamentals and purpose of the mechanics, brings back the nightmares of Baton Pass on a much grander scale, and could set dangerous precedents, from legitimate Charizardite Preview discussions for Gen 6 and 7, and Item Clause, since to rediscussing (I will restrict myself to) redundant and ineffective complex bans like Gorilla Tactics Darma-G and etc.
The fact that Terastal diversifies and makes underutilized Pokémon viable may be the main pro-factor here, but this is a double-edged sword, as at the same time it always boosts the Pokémon with better stats and we will always reach a point; "Pokémon X or Y is manageable without Terastal?".
As well as giving the sweeper coverage to turn against its counter, it encourages a lack of creativity on defensive teams as the metagame develops. "I will have Toxapex AND Alomomola on the same team, and switch the type of one of them as convenient for the matchup." This can also apply to Chansey AND Blissey, etc.
TL;DR: Terastal is too much for singles, and for me a full ban is the only answer, or accept things as proposed by GF if a consensus is not reached.
I am totally against partial restrictions however much they may mask some problems momentarily.
Btw, this doesn't have to be an outright solution and can certainly be revisited after Pokémon Home.
 
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LouisCyphre

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I'm actually cross-posting this from the survey; I hope that's alright. The content of this post really got away from me, a little, once I started typing.

I haven't heard much support for it, but I'd like to toss in my two cents (forgive me) for two Terastal users per team, rather than one. This is mostly a response to the overwhelming sentiment against the mechanic; a last-minute attempt to try to salvage the essence of what makes the mechanic fun; and an admission that my taste runs too counter to the ladder's for me to hope for much besides compromise. The ability to build complimentary and synergistic cores with the mechanic is what makes it worth keeping, both in terms of competitive challenge and in terms of dealing with the ever-growing arsenal of threats knocking at your door, demanding to be answered in just six team slots. Slashing the mechanic down to a bootleg Mega Evolution analogue would a massive disservice to the tier. The ambiguity is the mechanic, the guesswork and conjecture is the skill that the mechanic tests, and the battle for scraps of hidden information gleaned from what your opponent does or does not do is the fun of playing with it. The ambiguity of Terastal is inextricably linked to the conjecture of Terastal, which is inextricably linked to both the fun and skill-testing elements of Terastal.

I have to start by outing myself here: This might have been the most fun I've had in OU in years. This could, cynically, be called new toy syndrome. But in every ladder I've played, the extra layer of trying to intuit the enemy's Tera target, and their probable Tera types... It's unlike the last few years of balanced offense rubbing against one another. It's more like the guessing game of pre-Team Preview matches on Shoddy. Trying to build a model of the enemy team beyond "is X mon on a bait set or not", because every Pokemon on every team is trying to bait something. It's much more like playing through a specific quantity of unknown cards. It's about weighing odds and picking the option you trust the most. It's *stimulating*.

***

I think what's at the heart of the discussion is a question about how much uncertainty a game can have before it becomes essentially random; and conversely, how little uncertainly a game can have before it's scripted at team reveal. This is, essentially, impossible to measure. One player's "random" overlaps very much with the next player's "solved". I don't envy the people who have to take input on something this subjective, and pick a spot on the scale that we'll all have to steer towards, for the rest of the generation, while being shouted at to do it now.

But I'm getting off topic. Compare this first SV OU tier to last month's SS OU. You're on a bulky offense team. You see Kartana, so you know you need to keep Zapdos alive until it's handled. You see Dragonite, which you need to hit with Knock Off at some point. All driven by familiarity with, not just with the tier you're playing, but the tiers that led to it, too. New releases bring new threats, but you can put those threats to work with your old skills just fine. In our first month of SS OU we had Grimmsnarl screening up for HO just like you see now, but we already knew how to deal with fast, reliable Screen setters and the sweepers behind them. Future Sight/Teleport Slowtwins took only a hair longer to gain popularity. Theory on using Boots to save progress, and using Helmet and Knock to regain the ground in lost up-front hazard damage, followed not too long after that.

Dynamax got the boot early because it was both linear and dominating, right? You could not effectively answer Dynamax with Dynamax. Their sweeper had already used Airstream or Knuckle. They clicked the button first; they so are already winning the game. It was designed to add more uncertainty back to competitive Pokemon, much like Z-Crystals were. I speculate somewhat baselessly here, but I can only imagine that these gimmicks were designed partially in response to beloved Chalk teams and the poor press Game Freak had to wade through during those years.

Terastal is the first thing to really stir things up, in an interesting way, in... I don't know how long, really.

Seeing Roaring Moon and trying to intuit whether it's a full-on Acrobatics or Iron Head DD set, or one of the Jaw Lock + Taunt sets... It's the same question we ask about Jirachi or Dragonite or Rotom-W. But with Tera mixed in, you're asking yourself not just who on your team checks that threat, but also the odds that they do so, to a far greater degree than in tiers prior. And furthermore, you're assessing who on your team could act as backup for them in the worst case, and so on. You're making inferences from when your opponent does *not* Terastal to build a mental map to the moment where they will. You're switching your Annihilape out of their Dragapult, even though you could turn into a Water-type to comfortably take Shadow Ball (or Tera Blast) and KO back with Rage Fist, because you don't want to show your hand this early. You want more information. But in order to get more information, you have to push your luck.

There's a consensus that you can infer from the posts in this thread overall, and from the existence of the thread in the first place, that the current degree of the tier's uncertainty isn't to most players taste. Least of all, to players pushing the tier to its limits for tournament placements and what prizes there are this early. But orbiting around this more structured feedback is a big wave of what feels like... Discomfort, with the unfamiliar. Lots of players are making their displeasure known because, to them, it feels like half of they knew about competitive Pokemon has been thrown on its head and they're learning the game from scratch again. To put a pin in my feelings, my excitement is driven by the feeling that half of what I knew about competitive Pokemon has been thrown on its head and I'm learning the game from scratch again.

If I meandered long enough to muddy the point of this post, I'm currently team No Immediate Tiering Action. This is a tier that I am excited to explore, for the first time in many releases. I think the healthiest version of this tier three years from now, and however many waves of DLC and other releases, is one where Terastal isn't banned. Instead, a tier where theory has evolved for identifying the most likely and less likely Tera types of a given team, and where theory for exerting pressure on the opponent to expend their Terastallization, and where theory on how to preserve your Terastallization and conceal your aces, has developed. I want to play there. Even if I am outmatched at these things, I want to play there more than I want to play in a safe and comfortable evolution of the previous generation that emphasizes steady progress; that emphasizes gradual erosion of on-board resources. Now that I've had a taste, I want to battle for information more.

Two designated Terastal users per team, the compromising solution proposed above, thus does not represent what I think would make the best format in the long-term. Instead, it comes from a recognition that the mechanic doesn't align as closely to the short-term goals of the tier (being, sorting players by their skill, and expediently). In tournaments or high ladder, a game can be won or lost in the span of a turn due to a poor read. This, necessarily, makes any set of a given size a less certain indicator of who "should have won". As a result, Terastal likely isn't long for the ladder, so I'll try to savor it while I can.

I'd like to urge people to resume laddering with an open mind. It may feel like Espathra comes in and the match ends, and there's nothing you can do. But that feeling is false; there's plenty you can do in the turns prior, in team preview, and in the team builder. There's room in your team of six, with Terastal, to deal with anything on the ladder. If I can emphasize anything here, it's that none of us are remotely close to fully pushing the mechanic, both to threaten and to answer threats. We haven't begun to scratch the surface. I think it would be a shame to bin such a fascinating tier away for the familiar, and it would be almost as much of a shame to relegate it to a designated weenie-hut side-tier that is insulated from serious play.

(My words-to-clout ratio is nigh on zero, here, I recognize. And it's weird to make a post this big and this fervent over what should just be simple tiering. But I hope it serves as emphasize, to any degree, that my enjoyment of this tier is great enough to spur me to contribute.)

(edit: spelling. i wrote fast and loose earlier ;v )
 
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IPF

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Alright I refrained from posting in this thread so that I could get enough experience in the tier as it currently is, and to allow the metagame to settle, at least just a little bit. After a lot of laddering (and a lot of pain), I am firmly of the opinion that tiering action is required for Terastallization, at the bare minimum.

In its current state, Terastallization is blatantly unhealthy and uncompetitive as a mechanic. Yes, it is fun to click the button and pull off sweeps like its nothing, but it is also incredibly frustrating to play with. Pokemon getting free turns to set up all because the player decided to click 'Ghost' or 'Flying' in the builder does not promote creativity, it encourages lazy teambuilding where you just stack up threats and see what sticks. It's also incredibly stupid the ass pulls you can do with it, common examples being Terastallizing to a different type on a revenge kill attempt (ex: Fairy Espathra on Sucker Punch), or Terastallizing to halt a sweep (ex: Flying Iron Hands on Earthquake). It does not take skill to click this button, yet it can completely flip the game at any point. You are playing with game changing information on these turns that your opponent is not always privy to, and that is by nature, uncompetitive. Yes, you can have an idea of what mons Tera into what type, but then comes the issue of predicting Terastallization turns. 50/50s are a part of Pokemon, but these are just inherently stupid interactions that are completely skewed towards the Tera user. This absolutely must change.

Solutions: (ordered from best to worst imo)

1. Banning Terastallization

I think this is the cleanest option, but I can understand the pushback to it. Tera is obviously not on the level of Dynamax, and it does add its own flavour to the metagame, but as I elaborated above it is simply not a competitive mechanic.

2. Limiting Tera to one Pokemon per team
I feel like if the intention is to keep Terastallization in the metagame, this is the best option. It doesn't promote lazy teambuilding, and makes forming gameplans more reasonable. Whether or not the Tera user should be revealed to the opponent is another topic of debate, personally I think it should be. Also if I see the term 'slippery slope' on this site one more time I will be physically sick.

3. Rotating banlist
This is a bit out there, but when I heard the idea I didn't hate it. Using usage stats to determine which mons can and cannot Tera is interesting as a concept, and could be worth exploring but is also quite unintuitive to newer players. This is probably not ideal.

4. Showing Tera types at preview
I mean sure, but it doesn't truly address the issue at hand, and for the most part standard Tera combinations are known now.

5. Limiting to STAB types
Frankly I've hated this option from the beginning. This shifts the metagame even more towards offense, because every mon now has the option to get an Adaptability boost and punch through would be checks. It's a wack option that kills the point of Terastallization as a mechanic, and is also unbalanced.

6. Banning Tera Blast
Honestly shouldn't even be considered, it's barely used as is and does not address the problems of the mechanic itself.

7. No tiering action
Absolutely not. This tier is barely functional on a competitive level right now.

Obviously, there are other concerns in OU right now. Stuff like Chi-Yu and Chien Pao are absurdly strong and difficult to switch into, Cyclizar is the greatest gift to cheese we've ever gotten, and Gholdengo might be the mon that has singlehandedly warped the tier the most with how prevalent hazard stacking is at the moment. These are problems too, but Terastallization is at the root of it all, and must be handled soon.
 
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Texas Cloverleaf

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My two cents: either keep it untouched and tier aggressively accordingly (e.g. Kokoloko takes on UU) or ban Tera entirely. As a core game mechanic it's undesirable to start modding and manipulating the terms of access. I think both of the two above options lead to interesting metagames, either you see just how far the bar can be pushed on modularity before things get broken and you accept a larger OU banlist as part of that, or you determine that the mechanic is fundamentally uncompetitive and excise it from the format.

If you do take restrictive action, the best of a bad set of options is to limit Tera to one Pokemon. It's the least intrusive option and the one most easily replicable on cart - which is (or should be) a desirable outcome as part of whatever solution is chosen. Does additionally give clear strategic direction for the future of the metagame in limiting the breadth of the threat modularity available to players.
 

Red Shreder

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Let's be honest, I don't have the time to read such long discussions, so maybe what I'm going to say has already been brought up to your knowledge by someone else.

But since this topic is so important for the futur of gen 9, have you ever considered the possibility to run a parallel ladder on which tests of various senarios could be made ?

- 1 week with only Tera Types that match the type of origin
- 1 week with displayed Tera types
- 1 week straight up ban
...

And so on, so that players could really have a better idea of what they're talking about, instead of just running a 2-3 weeks Suspect Test that will seal the fate of gen 9 metagames forever.
 
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