Announcement Tiering Policy Framework

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Tiering Lead
Assumptions in Tiering Policy:

I.) We play, to the best of our simulator's capabilities, with the mechanics given to us on the cartridge.
  • Some exceptions exist, such Sleep Clause and Freeze Clause (RBY / GSC), but they are to be avoided as much as possible.
  • Suggestions to "remove critical hits" or "make Baton Pass fail in battle" are not valid tiering proposals.
II.) We cater to both ladder players (the higher end of the ladder) and tournament players.
  • For actions to be taken in tiering policy, it is important to show how that action affects BOTH the ladder scene and the tournament scene.
  • Stats for both will be highly emphasized but not a sole determining factor.
III.) The onus of providing justification is on the side changing the status quo.
  • The status quo can be changed in certain cases, such as new game releases. This is the situation with Hoopa-U in ORAS, which started directly in OU, unlike other 680-BST legendaries, which start in Ubers and then potentially get suspected to drop to OU.
  • If a proposal is made to ban or unban a Pokemon, ability, item, or move, the side suggesting this must demonstrate why this is necessary and how it affects the ladder and the tournament scene, as well as provide evidence for both.
IV.) Probability management is a part of the game.

  • This means we have to accept that moves have secondary effects, that moves can miss, that moves can critical hit, and that managing all these potential probability points is a part of skill.
  • This does NOT mean that we will accept every probability factor introduced to the game. Evasion, OHKO moves, and Moody all affected the outcome "too much", and we removed them.
  • "Too much" is if a particular factor has the more skilled player at a disadvantage a considerable amount of the time against a less skilled player, regardless of what they do.

V.) Team matchup management is a part of the game.
  • This means we have to accept that it's possible we will be at an advantage or disadvantage from the very beginning.
  • With optimal team building skills, the pool of options (Pokemon, moves, items) present in the tier should allow you to build teams addressing the different team archetypes at least decently and offer a solution in-battle to a large majority of the principle threats of the metagame.

VI.) Even though some of these assumptions limit us, we will, within those limitations, work to maximize the concept of "player skill" determining the result of a match the majority of the time.

  • The majority of our potential suspect discussion will center around the defined versions of uncompetitive, broken, and unhealthy and how a particular suspect element lowers some component of player skill within those three constructs.
  • Any of the subsections in skill can be emphasized for a potential suspect.
    • If Shadow Tag reduces the battling skill component too much via removing smart switching and reducing the ability to assess risk, these should be mentioned when stating Shadow Tag is uncompetitive, broken, or unhealthy.
    • If Toxapex is uncompetitive, broken, or unhealthy, point out how it reduces player skill from being the major determining factor in a match and which component of skill it drastically takes away from.


Definitions for Tiering Policy:

I.) Skill - the subjective metric we use to judge player worth in competitive Pokemon.
  • Team Building Skill - the part of skill that is involved in the preparation for a battle
    • Assessing and Dealing with Threats
    • Building Towards a Strategy (or Strategies)
    • Creativity
    • Catering to Metagame / Opponents
  • Battling Skill - the part of skill involved in actually battling
    • Picking the Right Lead
    • Recognizing the Win Condition
    • Picking the Right Move
    • Smart Switching
    • Gathering Information and Making Assumptions
    • Long-term vs. Short-term Goals
    • Assessing Risk
    • Probability Management
    • Prediction

II.) Uncompetitive - elements that reduce the effect of player choice / interaction on the end result to an extreme degree, such that "more skillful play" is almost always rendered irrelevant.

  • This can be matchup related; think the determination that Baton Pass took the battling skill aspect out of the player's hands and made it overwhelmingly a team matchup issue, where even the best moves made each time by a standard team often were not enough.
  • This can be external factors; think Endless Battle Clause, where the determining factor became internet connection over playing skill.
  • This can be probability management issues; think OHKOs, evasion, or Moody, all of which turned the battle from emphasizing battling skill to emphasizing the result of the RNG more often than not.

III.) Broken - elements that are too good relative to the rest of the metagame such that "more skillful play" is almost always rendered irrelevant.

  • These aren't necessarily completely uncompetitive because they don't take the determining factor out of the player's hands; both can use these elements and both probably have a fair chance to win. They are broken because they almost dictate / require usage, and a standard team without one of them facing a standard team with one of them would be at a drastic disadvantage.
  • These also include elements whose only counters or checks are extraordinarily niche Pokemon that would put the team at a large disadvantage elsewhere.
  • Uncompetitive and Broken defined like this tend to be mutually exclusive in practice, but they aren't necessarily entirely so.
    • Baton Pass was deemed uncompetitive because of how drastically it removed battling skill's effects and brought the battle down to matchup, but it could also be deemed broken because of the unique ways in which you had to deal with it.
    • While this isn't always the case, an uncompetitive thing probably isn't broken, but a broken thing is more likely to be uncompetitive simply due to the unique counter / check component. For example, Mega Kangaskhan was deemed broken because it was simply too good relative to the rest of the metagame and caused the tier to centralize around it, but it could also be labeled as uncompetitive because of the severe team matchup restriction it caused by punishing players if they did not pack one of the few obscure counters or checks for it.

IV.) Unhealthy - elements that are neither uncompetitive nor broken yet are deemed undesirable for the metagame such that they inhibit "skillful play" to a large extent.
  • These are elements that may not limit either team building or battling skill enough individually but combine to cause an effect that is undesirable for the metagame.
  • This can also be a state of the metagame. If the metagame has too much diversity wherein team building ability is greatly hampered and battling skill is drastically reduced, we may seek to reduce the number of good-to-great threats. This can also work in reverse; if the metagame is too centralized around a particular set of Pokemon, none of which are broken on their own, we may seek to add Pokemon to increase diversity.
  • This is the most controversial and subjective one and will therefore be used the most sparingly. The Tiering Councils will only use this amidst drastic community outcry and a conviction that the move will noticeably result in the better player winning over the lesser player.
  • When trying to argue a particular element's suspect status, please avoid this category unless absolutely necessary. This is a last-ditch, subjective catch-all, and tiering arguments should focus on uncompetitive or broken first. We are coming to a point in the generations where the number of threats is close to overwhelming, so we may touch upon this more often, but please try to focus on uncompetitive and broken first.


Overall Goal and Purpose of Tiering Policy:

I.) To create a metagame that is conducive to the more "skilled" player winning over the less "skilled" player a majority of the time.

II.) To ensure that both our ladder and tournament crowds are catered to regarding I.)

III.) To ensure that actions are taken with appropriate and complete justification.
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