Policy Review Tiering Seperately from OU

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Jordy

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approved by Birkal / snake_rattler / Jho / SHSP

With every CAP Pokemon that is released, the CAP metagame strays away further from OU. Because of this, it's hardly plausible to follow the way OU tiers. This issue has been ongoing for a while, but has been exaggerated a lot by the dex cuts from SM to SS. An example within the current metagame would be Arena Trap.

This situation with Arena Trap is a difficult one, considering the circumstances of the metagame as it stands. The OU banlist tends to be suitable for CAP's purposes considering the similarities of the metagames, but as the CAP metagame grows in number, differences are sure to show, leading to difficult situations such as this one. The transition to SS with the dex cuts only accelerated this process. The CAP metagame with Arena Trap is unfun and unhealthy, and as it stands we are beholden to OU's decision on it; Arena Trap is not going to be quickbanned, and if it were to get suspect tested, it would more than likely be on hold until at least after SPL. As a unique metagame with a number of changes from OU, we need to have the power to tier seperately for situations like this (another similar example is the Zygarde ban in SM, where it arguably did not need to go from CAP, and lead to a drastic meta shift into an unhealthy direction). This power ideally is not to be used lightly to "mess with" the metagame unnecessarily; it should only be used in situations where the CAP metagame is substantially different from OU's metagame and tiering.

The council's proposal is as follows; the CAP metagame follows OU tiering in general, however, we, the council together with input from the community through discussion, hold the ability to make our own changes when the differences between the two metagames create scenarios such as these, where something becomes unhealthy in CAP, or is broken in OU but not in CAP.
 
I agree with the above proposal, as time goes on we are only going to differ more and more from OU and the situation will only worsen. It already feels necessary in out current state to have the option to tier separately from OU to avoid compromising the quality of competitive play and discussion in future projects. Having an unhealthy and un-enjoyable metagame is likely to only drive down activity and is unsustainable for the long term health of CAP. We have seen before how issues with the CAP metagame can affect a process with necturna during CAP 25 pushing people to try design a pokemon to counter it, rather than fulfil its own concept, with this in mind it seems hard to argue against this change from a process perspective without purely defending tradition.

If this proposal does go through I think it's important to distinctly outline a procedure for tiering separately to OU and in what circumstances we use it, to streamline the process and make sure it isn't misused.
 

Deck Knight

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I think our metagame council has been developed to the point this is both viable and necessary. CAP is a different beast, and proportionally just got a lot *more* different because CAPs now comprise a greater proportion of the viable dex in SS than they did before Dexit. [Gen X] OU is a great baseline for balance decisions generally, but it is not sensitive enough to metagame differences to apply to the CAP metagame over time.
 

reachzero

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I disagree strongly with this proposal, on multiple fronts. The biggest issues I see with it are accessibility, time and distraction factors, and especially lack of a competitive player base and ladder activity.

Tiering independently means we need a dedicated Suspect nomination, qualification and voting process, while the metagame lacks the dedication of the large competitive community needed to drive a traditional ladder Suspect test with requirements. The proposal stated in the OP gives immense power to the metagame council in terms of being able to being able to decide which aspects of OU we will respect and which we will ignore, with the wider competitive community contributing only in a discussion thread. This concerns me! This thread was posted at precisely the same time, by the same author, as another thread saying "the metagame council is closely watching Arena Trap". Considering that that thread matters only if this thread actually gives the metagame council that authority, it seems to me presumptive that the council has posted that thread as if the outcome of this thread was a foregone conclusion. Can I be certain that the metagame council will respect community input in actual metagame decisions if they have assumed the outcome of a PR thread before it even actually begins? If we are going to do this, we should do tiering the right way, with direct community participation and clear accountability.

Time and distraction factor is another major concern for me; proper Suspect tests take time, and running them alongside CAP projects is particularly challenging considering the interconnectedness of the metagame. If the metagame council is making fast, executive decisions, I'd question how well we would handle the controversial Suspects. Are we talking about only the Suspects that are so obvious that this would be the equivalent of a quickban? If that is the case, I'm less opposed to that, though again I'm a bit concerned about how we are deciding if a Pokemon is that overpowering or not.

Finally, accessibility is something we should be worrying about a lot. We already have way more users participating in CAP that have rarely played the CAP metagame than we would like. Having to explain in discussion threads that we have bans on OU staples (or worse, that we have metagame staples banned in OU) would be another annoying barrier to good process discussion.

I am not trying to slam any particular member of the metagame council, or the council as a whole. I respect you individually, and recognize the council as essential for maintaining the health of the metagame. What I am calling for is a more concrete structure to ensure that if we do decide to separate tiering from OU, metagame decisions of this magnitude will reflect true intelligent community consensus and not merely the static opinions of a small group.
 

Jordy

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Just to make it clear, I'm not speaking for the whole council, these are merely my own thoughts.

Tiering independently means we need a dedicated Suspect nomination, qualification and voting process, while the metagame lacks the dedication of the large competitive community needed to drive a traditional ladder Suspect test with requirements.
I actually disagree with this and think that running a suspect test is something worth bothering with. We are really not that much smaller than certain Other Metagames which can functionally run suspect tests, so I don't see why it couldn't work in CAP or wouldn't atleast be worth a shot.

The proposal stated in the OP gives immense power to the metagame council in terms of being able to being able to decide which aspects of OU we will respect and which we will ignore, with the wider competitive community contributing only in a discussion thread.
I hope as much is clear that the council will never operate on their own, there would need to be significant support from the community for the metagame council to take action. Tiering differently from OU is not something to be taken lightly and we would not if this were to go through.

This thread was posted at precisely the same time, by the same author, as another thread saying "the metagame council is closely watching Arena Trap". Considering that that thread matters only if this thread actually gives the metagame council that authority, it seems to me presumptive that the council has posted that thread as if the outcome of this thread was a foregone conclusion. Can I be certain that the metagame council will respect community input in actual metagame decisions if they have assumed the outcome of a PR thread before it even actually begins? If we are going to do this, we should do tiering the right way, with direct community participation and clear accountability.
I apologize and this was a mistake on my behalf; there were communication errors, mostly from my part, not the council as a whole. The idea behind it was to make a specific platform for Arena Trap, but in hindsight, I do not believe that it was the right course of action and we could've kept it to the metagame discussion thread. In respect of this, I've personally taken down the thread.

Are we talking about only the Suspects that are so obvious that this would be the equivalent of a quickban?
That is how it should happen.

Finally, accessibility is something we should be worrying about a lot. We already have way more users participating in CAP that have rarely played the CAP metagame than we would like. Having to explain in discussion threads that we have bans on OU staples (or worse, that we have metagame staples banned in OU) would be another annoying barrier to good process discussion.
I would like to argue that this is actually an issue and not something we should embrace as a reason to not let this go through.
 

DougJustDoug

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Our policy of following all OU bans was always for optics and accessibility, not for competitiveness. To put it another way — We stay with OU because it looks better to outsiders and it makes CAP easier for new players to learn, not because it makes a better competitive metagame. That has been the policy, but I have always assumed we would need to break with OU someday. I’m surprised we have made it this long without the need to separate. When we only had a few pokemon, or even several, it was absolutely the best policy for CAP. But now with more than 25 additional pokemon in the CAP metagame, all of which were designed from scratch to be competitively viable, it really is impossible for the CAP metagame to look anything like OU.

Will this limit accessibility a little bit? Probably. But new players already have to absorb 25+ new pokemon to learn CAP. To learn a few different bans than OU is, at this point, a much lesser concern than it was a long time ago. Will the optics be bad? I don’t think so. CAP has been around for more than a decade. The positive optics of being connected to OU just isn’t a big thing any more.

I have no idea what bans or unbans make sense for CAP, and I happily trust others to make those decisions. I think it makes sense for us to be conservative in our approach, but I can’t even say exactly what a “conservative approach” means. I just hope our CAP council does not decide to go hog-wild and do a bunch of controversial stuff, for no reason other than “we can”. If that’s the reason for this, then we should kill this proposal off the bat. If we don’t do things that make sense to others, then yes, the optics on this will be bad. Not because we are different than OU, but because we aren’t doing things that make intelligent competitive sense. But I’m hoping that won’t happen here. The tone of the OP sounds right to me, and I‘m interested to see CAP take this next step with our metagame.
 
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cbrevan

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This is a great PRC topic- Arena Trap really is a problem for the metagame and it shows in virtually every match with Dugtrio. However, I do think this PRC topic has presented us with a unique opportunity to change how the metagame functions in order to bring it more in line with what people expect from a competitive metagame. Fair warning, this is going to be a big post because I have a lot to say!

First, I want to go into greater detail into problems the CAP metagame faces aside from Arena Trap. Specifically, I'm going to be addressing the current tiering structure problems it presents is. As many in this thread has noted, the clearest issue with our tiering structure is that it leaves us unable to address non-CAP related elements. I believe this is only a symptom of an underlying issue that Jordy's proposal does not fully deal with.

What I'm referring to is CAP's relationship with OU, primarily our reliance on the OU banlist. Doug's post does a good job of explaining why this was done, so I won't be going into that. What is more important is that those reasons no longer hold up in the current day. Optically, I think our tiering structure does an excellent job of making the CAP project look lazy and impotent. The CAP project has it's own subforum with multiple subforums within it, its own C&C section, and it's own ladder and room on Showdown. Compared to the Other Metagame section of the site, we have vastly more resources at our disposal than the majority of OMs, yet we actively avoid taking direct control of our metagame. How does it look to someone interested in CAP when they're told to research another metagame in order to understand our own? How accessible is it for people looking for alternatives to OU, the exact kind of people we tend to attract?

Another point of contention, at least for me, is that our current tiering system is built upon a number of assumptions. The first is that OU is the preferred metagame for everyone, which doesn't make sense when we're trying to cater towards a playerbase that is playing something distinctly not OU. The second assumption is that OU will make the correct decision for our metagame, which fails in the face of an OU playerbase that is indifferent towards CAP. The third is that the CAP playerbase either cannot or is unwilling to maintain their own tierlist, which has not been truly tested in recent memory. The next one is not an assumption, but it is definitely an oddity. If a CAP player wanted a say on the result of a suspect test on the CAP metagame, they have to ladder for OU and vote with the CAP metagame in mind, which seems to beat the whole point of a OU suspect test.

Perhaps the biggest problem with our current tiering structure is that it takes most of the authority and decision making away from the CAP community. As someone who's entire background is the CAP metagame, it's disheartening to know that at the end of the day, you won't have a say in your own metagame. What I, and anyone else, has thought about CAP metagame balance has meant absolutely nothing up until last generation's nerfs and now this PRC thread. The lack of interaction detracts vastly from the metagame experience because it feels like we're telling our players to just deal with whatever OU or CAP throws at them. To me, that's the worst thing about our tiering system and I hope that this PRC concludes with a way to properly address it.

Moving onto Jordy's proposal, he does a good job of addressing most of these problems. If we pushed it out right now, and assuming the metagame council is as trustworthy as people have assumed they are in this thread, I think it would do an excellent job of correcting the issues with the CAP metagame while still preserving the status quo. However, my issue is that it would preserve the status quo where the CAP community leaves the decisions making to OU. If you look at the meat of Jordy's proposal and the implications behind it, there is no reason for it to even mention OU aside from the intent to preserve a certain power level. Any issue that may arise could be addressed either through this proposal or the nerfing process; literally zero knowledge of OU is needed to argue that Arena Trap is unbalanced in the CAP metagame, so why are we trying to use a comparison of OU and CAP as a benchmark for balance. Would it not make entirely more sense to just separate from the OU banlist completely and maintain our own metagame? I think I've made it clear that OU does not benefit us as it has in the past.

I suspect the biggest obstacle for us to separate from OU completely is the implication that we would need to do our own suspect testing. Honestly, I think we're going to need to do suspect testing regardless of how far we separate from the OU banlist. The reality is that a discussion thread only works for elements that would be quick banned, otherwise there is far too much bias on the council's part to make it fair. What I mean is that the council has to decide that something is troublesome enough to host a discussion on. Then, at the end of that discussion, the same group of people who initially believed the element was troublesome get to make the final decision on it. While this works for obviously unhealthy elements such as Arena Trap, more controversial elements will be a PR nightmare for us. What if the community is split on an issue? How can the council effectively make a decision that won't result in a significant portion of the playerbase being pissed off at them? They use an impartial method to make the final decision, which would be a suspect test. Maybe we restrict this proposal to only granting the council power to act when the majority of people want something changed. This assumes that CAP will not differ from OU to the point that something completely unrelated, and therefore something that won't have an OU suspect hanging over it, will ever be problematic. The truth is that we can't guarantee that something controversial won't become an issue, which means that the council needs to have the power to run suspect tests if we want this proposal to carry any weight.

So, let's assume that not only can CAP hold a suspect test, but that we absolutely have to be able to. How do we argue against separating from OU completely once that hurdle has been crossed? What is the difference between being able to act, as this proposal is centered around, and being forced to act, as a complete separation would imply? I think the only difference is in the workload; our council and community would have a greater responsibility in managing the metagame. Is this a substantial enough difference to keep us from making the switch? I think its not. The reality is that if we can do one suspect test, we can do them all. Suspect tests are never ran two at a time, so if we can do one suspect test we should be able to repeat the same process for others.

What I'm proposing is that we take Jordy's proposal and greatly expand it. Let's give the metagame council not just the power but the responsibility of maintaining metagame balance by severing our reliance on the OU banlist. Instead of restricting their powers behind a desire to keep an easy status quo, let's give them, and through them the CAP playerbase, free reign to handle issues as they come up. Let's give them the power to run suspects and the power to quick ban clearly problematic elements such as Arena Trap. I believe that by doing so, we would be able to address the problems with our current tiering structure, handle the Arena Trap problem, and also set up a system that can work for us in the long term.
 
This is a great PRC topic- Arena Trap really is a problem for the metagame and it shows in virtually every match with Dugtrio. However, I do think this PRC topic has presented us with a unique opportunity to change how the metagame functions in order to bring it more in line with what people expect from a competitive metagame. Fair warning, this is going to be a big post because I have a lot to say!

First, I want to go into greater detail into problems the CAP metagame faces aside from Arena Trap. Specifically, I'm going to be addressing the current tiering structure problems it presents is. As many in this thread has noted, the clearest issue with our tiering structure is that it leaves us unable to address non-CAP related elements. I believe this is only a symptom of an underlying issue that Jordy's proposal does not fully deal with.

What I'm referring to is CAP's relationship with OU, primarily our reliance on the OU banlist. Doug's post does a good job of explaining why this was done, so I won't be going into that. What is more important is that those reasons no longer hold up in the current day. Optically, I think our tiering structure does an excellent job of making the CAP project look lazy and impotent. The CAP project has it's own subforum with multiple subforums within it, its own C&C section, and it's own ladder and room on Showdown. Compared to the Other Metagame section of the site, we have vastly more resources at our disposal than the majority of OMs, yet we actively avoid taking direct control of our metagame. How does it look to someone interested in CAP when they're told to research another metagame in order to understand our own? How accessible is it for people looking for alternatives to OU, the exact kind of people we tend to attract?

Another point of contention, at least for me, is that our current tiering system is built upon a number of assumptions. The first is that OU is the preferred metagame for everyone, which doesn't make sense when we're trying to cater towards a playerbase that is playing something distinctly not OU. The second assumption is that OU will make the correct decision for our metagame, which fails in the face of an OU playerbase that is indifferent towards CAP. The third is that the CAP playerbase either cannot or is unwilling to maintain their own tierlist, which has not been truly tested in recent memory. The next one is not an assumption, but it is definitely an oddity. If a CAP player wanted a say on the result of a suspect test on the CAP metagame, they have to ladder for OU and vote with the CAP metagame in mind, which seems to beat the whole point of a OU suspect test.

Perhaps the biggest problem with our current tiering structure is that it takes most of the authority and decision making away from the CAP community. As someone who's entire background is the CAP metagame, it's disheartening to know that at the end of the day, you won't have a say in your own metagame. What I, and anyone else, has thought about CAP metagame balance has meant absolutely nothing up until last generation's nerfs and now this PRC thread. The lack of interaction detracts vastly from the metagame experience because it feels like we're telling our players to just deal with whatever OU or CAP throws at them. To me, that's the worst thing about our tiering system and I hope that this PRC concludes with a way to properly address it.

Moving onto Jordy's proposal, he does a good job of addressing most of these problems. If we pushed it out right now, and assuming the metagame council is as trustworthy as people have assumed they are in this thread, I think it would do an excellent job of correcting the issues with the CAP metagame while still preserving the status quo. However, my issue is that it would preserve the status quo where the CAP community leaves the decisions making to OU. If you look at the meat of Jordy's proposal and the implications behind it, there is no reason for it to even mention OU aside from the intent to preserve a certain power level. Any issue that may arise could be addressed either through this proposal or the nerfing process; literally zero knowledge of OU is needed to argue that Arena Trap is unbalanced in the CAP metagame, so why are we trying to use a comparison of OU and CAP as a benchmark for balance. Would it not make entirely more sense to just separate from the OU banlist completely and maintain our own metagame? I think I've made it clear that OU does not benefit us as it has in the past.

I suspect the biggest obstacle for us to separate from OU completely is the implication that we would need to do our own suspect testing. Honestly, I think we're going to need to do suspect testing regardless of how far we separate from the OU banlist. The reality is that a discussion thread only works for elements that would be quick banned, otherwise there is far too much bias on the council's part to make it fair. What I mean is that the council has to decide that something is troublesome enough to host a discussion on. Then, at the end of that discussion, the same group of people who initially believed the element was troublesome get to make the final decision on it. While this works for obviously unhealthy elements such as Arena Trap, more controversial elements will be a PR nightmare for us. What if the community is split on an issue? How can the council effectively make a decision that won't result in a significant portion of the playerbase being pissed off at them? They use an impartial method to make the final decision, which would be a suspect test. Maybe we restrict this proposal to only granting the council power to act when the majority of people want something changed. This assumes that CAP will not differ from OU to the point that something completely unrelated, and therefore something that won't have an OU suspect hanging over it, will ever be problematic. The truth is that we can't guarantee that something controversial won't become an issue, which means that the council needs to have the power to run suspect tests if we want this proposal to carry any weight.

So, let's assume that not only can CAP hold a suspect test, but that we absolutely have to be able to. How do we argue against separating from OU completely once that hurdle has been crossed? What is the difference between being able to act, as this proposal is centered around, and being forced to act, as a complete separation would imply? I think the only difference is in the workload; our council and community would have a greater responsibility in managing the metagame. Is this a substantial enough difference to keep us from making the switch? I think its not. The reality is that if we can do one suspect test, we can do them all. Suspect tests are never ran two at a time, so if we can do one suspect test we should be able to repeat the same process for others.

What I'm proposing is that we take Jordy's proposal and greatly expand it. Let's give the metagame council not just the power but the responsibility of maintaining metagame balance by severing our reliance on the OU banlist. Instead of restricting their powers behind a desire to keep an easy status quo, let's give them, and through them the CAP playerbase, free reign to handle issues as they come up. Let's give them the power to run suspects and the power to quick ban clearly problematic elements such as Arena Trap. I believe that by doing so, we would be able to address the problems with our current tiering structure, handle the Arena Trap problem, and also set up a system that can work for us in the long term.
Well Cbrevan I like where your heart is in this post in trying to give us this greater freedom to determine our own fate. But I ask the question, do we really deserve to decide it? I bring this up based on three questions from your post: What do we think of the metagame council? Do we have the amount of competent members necessary to have a good sample size for a robust suspect test? Who are we trying to attract? (also known as the question to never be answered). I think these are the questions we should be asking before we get a head of steam running behind the feelings of freedom.

As someone who originally supported the metagame council, I am of the belief that the CAP community itself cannot properly handle the upkeep of itself. Our leaders are, of course, capable, as we've seen before in the CAP updates or their leading in the various projects, so having something such as the council full of leaders who are all friends with each other makes the metagame as a whole more able to perform maintenance. In particular, the council was put together to perform obvious maintenance that needed to be done in terms of the tournaments being run and for the obvious flaws seen in recent creations such as Necturna. Yet, as they've existed a problem has come up. They were built to be able to basically sham any discussion and then make the internal decision themselves anyway; they purposefully have no real oversight, thats just the way it was built as to avoid handtouching from out of touch leaders. But, this has inherently lead to issues that reach pointed out where they've inherently reached conclusions in and of themselves without the main input from the outside. Now that the issues are not as glaring, its as if the design of the maintenance mechanism has gotten out of hand. Yet, there is still a reason this was done in the first place, cap as a whole does not have, and probably has not had since the times of sparktrain himself, enough competent current players to go on about changes to the major metagame structure. The most capable battlers are on the council for a reason. Theres this inherent disconnect between council and the actual people because the council are all superior players and leaders, but this disconnect was purposeful. Do we have a problem with that and should it be changed? Particularly I think it might need to be but obviously I point this out in connection to cbrevan wanting to push more power into their hands. If what reach pointed out as the initial problem of obvious collusion in assuming they'd be able to push this and the dugtrio thread in the same direction comes out to be the first issue of the thread, why double down? Just some thoughts.

This is the real meat though, as the beginning section was particularly introductory. The question is quite simple, do we have enough people to properly do a suspect test. Sure the best idea is clearly to do one if we want to A. go in that direction and B. are able to carry one out, so the question of suspect test vs non test in a feasible world is one in which we obviously go with it. But the reason the suspect test system works so well for tiers is their sheer size and their skilled playerbase to balance out any undesirables. How many players should we shoot for to have a robust test that isnt just the leaders. Because if we dont have a proper number of them, the leaders should be the ones voting anyway as they will obviously complete the suspect test. But obviously if we bring up the idea of a suspect test in the first place, we do not want it to be purely leadership driven. I think this is a fairly important yet touchy subject in cap. Be honest with yourself, do we really have the number of skilled individuals to pull off a proper test? As i stated in the initial question. Do we really deserve to decide as a community? Or do we want to let the 5 metagame buddies decide our fate(three really once you have a majority the swaying of the other two isnt all that necessary).

"So, let's assume that not only can CAP hold a suspect test, but that we absolutely have to be able to." This assumption is what i'm inherently challenging. For his logic to follow suit we have to be able to believe in that assumption and I just don't see where the numbers come in for a robust suspect test on any major issue. (which cbrevan points out, the council can obviously handle obvious quick bans but on issues where the community is "split" [sure the top 3 can agree but if people who arent in that top 3 dont agree, the top 3 council members can then spin ICC to their liking; we've seen this before] they're inherently shut out).

This is a question that always pops up in CAP and is by far one of the most obnoxious puzzles for us as a whole. Who are we appealing to?? Last I checked, we were making fakemons in the OU metagame to then see how our concepts would work and what we could learn from that, and we have done several iterations of the same concept as well. If our mission statement has changed or will be changed, surely someone can let me know, and it should be officially addressed. I also particularly disagree with Cbrevan's take on appealing as an alternative to OU, in my mind at least thats not what we're doing. We're an OU-esque metagame, and should stick as closely as possible to it to use it as a control by which to judge the success of our concepts in making a significant impact. To me it is not as if we're appealing to RU players that want something different, or bad players who cannot hang in the stressful environment that is the competitive pokemon scene. We're adding to an existent metagame, a metagame which has previously established trends, and seeing how it changes. Particularly I think having more similarities to OU is better for newcomers. OU has established quirks, and when they would learn the cap metagame, it would simply require applying what we already know in terms of how our concepts effect that metagame. It would not in itself be a different one. Obviously the old tired argument of "we should appeal to OU players" will never work and is tired for obvious reasons, but we should base ourselves on the most widely recognized format on the site, and then have people transition from that.

I think CAP should have a heart to heart with its capabilities and its current situation. It is also important for CAP to realize its own self-built barriers for the "ultimately accessible" cap process and compare that to the gatekeeping that is involved in any particular metagame and tier. Suspect tests should not be tampered with if they cannot be pulled off effectively, and in response to Cbrevan: I dont think they can be done here. It would have to be council driven, but do you want three people without any overhead to vastly change direction from our base of 10 years? That to me is the real question.
 

LucarioOfLegends

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I think most of what is mentioned in snor's post is not actually as big of a deal as it sounds.

Council may be full of our best players and their thoughts in subjects may be similar, but that does not certainly mean we are lacking in competent players because they certainly exist. To my knowledge our Metagame Council currently consists of five seperate players, those being snake, SHSP, Jordy, Mx, and Jho, but we also do have various Pokemon Showdown Roomstaff who are competent players, as well as however many people inhabit the room to actually play CAP. It is a known fact that our ladder may not be of the best quality, but that is specifically why we put such a large amount of focus on tournament play and usage stats determined through that. It certainly feels like we have enough players to be able to properly contribute to an actual discussion if a suspect test was actually needed for a mon in question.

And even if Council were to vastly change direction without contributor consent, we do in fact have moderators who are not on the Council and are able to identify ICC and Consensus, as well as Birkal and Doug, who can remove Council who are strangling CAP for their own personal agendas. Our mods and Council members are all fantastic people with great knowledge of how CAP works so I think the scenario is extremely unlikely unless power goes to their head, but we certainly have checks and balances that can tell if someone or someones are abusing their status.

But in terms of action right now, I fully support Jordy's proposal and also throw my back behind cbrevan's proposal. OMs with much less than we have already have systems of tiering and banlists while we do not, and with 28 distinct creations it is hard to argue we are just OU with extra stuff attached to it and we are practically playing a different tier from them. Especially in matters of Arena Trap at least we can spend all this time bickering about how Council will abuse this power or whatever but our Council knows what is adverse to a fun and adaptive metagame, so I would much rather have them be innocent until proven guilty.

I think this is a good proposal that will help CAP and its meta in the long run, and if you have a personal problem about our Council or who is in it that it may effect your decision making process in this matter, I reccomend you leave it at the door or outright leave.

Also tiering stuff may mean CAP UU someday which means good plas
 

Jho

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Just wanted to speak to the notion that we don't have enough activity to perform a suspect test even if we did tier separately:

Looking at the ladder stats for Gen8 CAP during December, we actually had more ladder games than a permanent Other Meta ladder in STABMons, which itself runs as its own tier with bans and unbans to suit its metas needs. It too is run with 5 council members and uses quickbans to deal with extremely unhealthy issues. On the topic of December ladder stats Mix and Mega, another permanent OM ladder, held a suspect test on Eternatus during the months ladder period and ended up with just over 3x as many ladder games played as CAP and STABMons - during an elevated period of activity that comes from a suspect test. 20 users qualified for voting requirements from two weeks of ladder play, more than enough to form a representative majority. I see no reason why CAP cant expects similar ladder activity increases during suspect tests either. Some OMs even include Suspect Tournaments in with their suspect tests to go alongside the typical laddering, I think this would also be an excellent tool for CAP to utilise as our tours are usually of better game quality and have a better turnout on top of that.

https://www.smogon.com/stats/2019-12/
this is where I'm getting ladder stats from
 

Bughouse

Like ships in the night, you're passing me by
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I don't think there's a lack of battles or quality of players or any reason like that not to tier independently. Plenty of OMs run "tests" that might end up with 15 voters, but that doesn't make the tiers any less valid.

That said, I still oppose this. I think the baseline assumption should be that OU is "balanced" or will be made balanced, since it is very actively tiered by smart people. I think it's a fair assumption that the OU playerbase is stronger than the CAP playerbase. Second, the only difference between OU and CAP, currently, is the addition of CAP Pokemon to the meta. It can be assumed that real Pokemon legal in the tier are not broken in isolation, since if they were, they'd be banned in OU. And if they can become broken in combination with CAP Pokemon, I don't think the reaction should be to ban the Pokemon that isn't broken in OU. Instead, the solution could be to nerf the CAP Pokemon that makes the combination an issue. There already exists a mechanism to nerf CAP mons, which we have done before. Another solution could be the addition of a new CAP Pokemon to help fix the tier by handling the combination well. Indeed, this was one of the whole points of creating CAPs for the CAP meta.

I'd also note that while I do understand this is a bigger discussion than just Dugtrio, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Dugtrio get tossed from OU, making this current concern moot. Arena Trap has already been banned in BW-SM, and I think it will most likely be the next to be tested/banned.
 

Jho

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That said, I still oppose this. I think the baseline assumption should be that OU is "balanced" or will be made balanced, since it is very actively tiered by smart people. I think it's a fair assumption that the OU playerbase is stronger than the CAP playerbase. Second, the only difference between OU and CAP, currently, is the addition of CAP Pokemon to the meta. It can be assumed that real Pokemon legal in the tier are not broken in isolation, since if they were, they'd be banned in OU. And if they can become broken in combination with CAP Pokemon, I don't think the reaction should be to ban the Pokemon that isn't broken in OU. Instead, the solution could be to nerf the CAP Pokemon that makes the combination an issue. There already exists a mechanism to nerf CAP mons, which we have done before. Another solution could be the addition of a new CAP Pokemon to help fix the tier by handling the combination well. Indeed, this was one of the whole points of creating CAPs for the CAP meta.
I disagree with this pretty heavily, it seems to encourage the notion of broken checking broken making a healthy metagame, which goes against the general tiering philosophy on Smogon. Balancing by subtraction, rather than addition is how every smogon metagame has operated to my memory and whilst CAP does inherently lead to additions, these should never be strictly for balance sake, as that leads us to prioritise balance issues over exploring the concept. Building for the CAP meta lets us do a lot of things such as take into account other CAP pokemon in the process, discuss the meta trends of the meta we're putting the mon into etc but I don't believe we should ever build a CAP around balancing the meta.

The notion to nerf a CAP because of something else which is broken is honestly beyond me, I really don't understand this idea. To use the current situation as an example, both Kerfluffle and Jumbao are overwhelming with Dugtrio - Kerfluffle because of Parting Shot and Jumbao because of its limited defensive checks. With your method, the obvious play would be to remove Parting Shot from Kerfluffle, despite it being its entire concept, as nothing else would really change how it interacts with Dugtrio. I don't see the point in nerfing the CAPs we are trying to learn from and use when they are not the issue.

I'd also note that while I do understand this is a bigger discussion than just Dugtrio, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Dugtrio get tossed from OU, making this current concern moot. Arena Trap has already been banned in BW-SM, and I think it will most likely be the next to be tested/banned.
I don't think waiting and hoping OU bans something because of reasons that don't affect them is ever ideal. Whilst, in this case, Dugtrio is also unhealthy over there, there are situations where something could be broken over here and completely fine in OU, meaning we have no way of dictating what happens to our own meta in regards to that Pokemon. It also means we're stuck playing a meta where there are unhealthy aspects whilst we wait for OU; Jordy mentioned in the OP that OU had no intentions of doing anything with Dugtrio until at least after SPL which is still in its early stages. That leaves us stuck with an unbalanced metagame for the duration, even if Dugtrio is banned at the end. If it isn't then we are still in the same situation and powerless to change it. Not to mention that building CAPs into an unhealthy meta will also negatively impact any processes that may happen. Having to account for broken aspects can lead to hyper-focusing on them during the process, whether we notice it or not. Caribolt's process, for example, was full of clamouring for a Grass/Normal type in order to check Necturna, and Snaelstrom is another obvious example. I don't see why sitting and waiting to see what someone else does should affect our meta which is drastically different.

I would like to keep the discussion here up in order to reach a conclusion ASAP, as it's very important to resolve this PRC before a process starts I feel. Obviously, I would also like a balanced metagame as soon as possible but I digress.
 
I'd also note that while I do understand this is a bigger discussion than just Dugtrio, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Dugtrio get tossed from OU, making this current concern moot. Arena Trap has already been banned in BW-SM, and I think it will most likely be the next to be tested/banned.
Like you said, this is bigger than Duggy/ATrap. We just so happen to be in a metagame that has a serious problem with ATrap right now, and sparked this conversation. If the idea is that "so what, OU will ban it soon, problem solved," that seems like a cop out at best, when instead we can be proactive and take steps to make sure we don't have to wait on the whims of another metagame (including things like not wanting to make bans until after SPL, or the controversy over the lack of action at the end of last gen).

Finally have a chance to share my thoughts now that school's a bit more under control: I'm heavily in favor of separate tiering, in particular basically the entirety of CB's post above. We're, at this point, extremely far from what OU is, a divide that is only going to grow as we continue to add to the roster of CAPs. OU feels to me as if it's a good place to start, so to speak: we generally aim for power levels that fit the OU-based metagame we have, the banlist generally works for us, but there's so much room to improve ourselves from jumping off of that starting point. It just makes too much sense to me in terms of the positive influence and added control and/or freedom we can add to the metagame and ergo our process.

I'm all for suspect tests, but LoL and Offler have both handled that point extremely well: I think its the best system we can set up.
 

Jho

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Yo, with CAP27 starting we felt it imperative to close this up as it is very important for the process going forward. With that being said, after discussion amongst the mod team and using the posts here we have agreed to implement this using cbrevan 's post as a guideline. This aims to give the CAP player base greater control over our metagame by being able to tier completely separately from OU by maintaining our own banlist by hosting our own suspect tests and potential quick bans. This will give the metagame council a similar role to most other metagames tiering council, whose job it is to pay very close attention to the metagame in order to spot potentially unhealthy elements and provoke community-wide discussion on such factors. Whilst we will be completely separate from OU going forward, we will still aim to keep the metagame at a similar power level, both with newly introduced CAP Pokemon and any bans. As a result of this, we have decided that unbanning Pokemon from Ubers will not be on the table, as this feeds into a balancing by addition mindset which will inadvertently raise the power level of the metagame, which is not something we want to actively pursue.

In summary, this will lead to:
- Separating from OU completely, allowing CAP to maintain its own banlist through suspect tests and quick bans.
- The metagame council will act as a traditional tiering council, provoking discussion on potentially unhealthy elements in order to reach a consensus. It will be their job to watch the metagame and community closely in order to spot anything that may need discussion. Only when it is very clear that the community as a whole sees an element of the metagame as unhealthy will action be taken in the form of a suspect test, or in more extreme situations, a quick ban.
- Despite being separated from OU, CAP will still aim to keep the overall power level within the metagame very similar. In accordance with this, unbanning Pokemon from the Ubers tier will not be on the table due to it inadvertently raising the power level of the metagame.

This is a great PRC topic- Arena Trap really is a problem for the metagame and it shows in virtually every match with Dugtrio. However, I do think this PRC topic has presented us with a unique opportunity to change how the metagame functions in order to bring it more in line with what people expect from a competitive metagame. Fair warning, this is going to be a big post because I have a lot to say!

First, I want to go into greater detail into problems the CAP metagame faces aside from Arena Trap. Specifically, I'm going to be addressing the current tiering structure problems it presents is. As many in this thread has noted, the clearest issue with our tiering structure is that it leaves us unable to address non-CAP related elements. I believe this is only a symptom of an underlying issue that Jordy's proposal does not fully deal with.

What I'm referring to is CAP's relationship with OU, primarily our reliance on the OU banlist. Doug's post does a good job of explaining why this was done, so I won't be going into that. What is more important is that those reasons no longer hold up in the current day. Optically, I think our tiering structure does an excellent job of making the CAP project look lazy and impotent. The CAP project has it's own subforum with multiple subforums within it, its own C&C section, and it's own ladder and room on Showdown. Compared to the Other Metagame section of the site, we have vastly more resources at our disposal than the majority of OMs, yet we actively avoid taking direct control of our metagame. How does it look to someone interested in CAP when they're told to research another metagame in order to understand our own? How accessible is it for people looking for alternatives to OU, the exact kind of people we tend to attract?

Another point of contention, at least for me, is that our current tiering system is built upon a number of assumptions. The first is that OU is the preferred metagame for everyone, which doesn't make sense when we're trying to cater towards a playerbase that is playing something distinctly not OU. The second assumption is that OU will make the correct decision for our metagame, which fails in the face of an OU playerbase that is indifferent towards CAP. The third is that the CAP playerbase either cannot or is unwilling to maintain their own tierlist, which has not been truly tested in recent memory. The next one is not an assumption, but it is definitely an oddity. If a CAP player wanted a say on the result of a suspect test on the CAP metagame, they have to ladder for OU and vote with the CAP metagame in mind, which seems to beat the whole point of a OU suspect test.

Perhaps the biggest problem with our current tiering structure is that it takes most of the authority and decision making away from the CAP community. As someone who's entire background is the CAP metagame, it's disheartening to know that at the end of the day, you won't have a say in your own metagame. What I, and anyone else, has thought about CAP metagame balance has meant absolutely nothing up until last generation's nerfs and now this PRC thread. The lack of interaction detracts vastly from the metagame experience because it feels like we're telling our players to just deal with whatever OU or CAP throws at them. To me, that's the worst thing about our tiering system and I hope that this PRC concludes with a way to properly address it.

Moving onto Jordy's proposal, he does a good job of addressing most of these problems. If we pushed it out right now, and assuming the metagame council is as trustworthy as people have assumed they are in this thread, I think it would do an excellent job of correcting the issues with the CAP metagame while still preserving the status quo. However, my issue is that it would preserve the status quo where the CAP community leaves the decisions making to OU. If you look at the meat of Jordy's proposal and the implications behind it, there is no reason for it to even mention OU aside from the intent to preserve a certain power level. Any issue that may arise could be addressed either through this proposal or the nerfing process; literally zero knowledge of OU is needed to argue that Arena Trap is unbalanced in the CAP metagame, so why are we trying to use a comparison of OU and CAP as a benchmark for balance. Would it not make entirely more sense to just separate from the OU banlist completely and maintain our own metagame? I think I've made it clear that OU does not benefit us as it has in the past.

I suspect the biggest obstacle for us to separate from OU completely is the implication that we would need to do our own suspect testing. Honestly, I think we're going to need to do suspect testing regardless of how far we separate from the OU banlist. The reality is that a discussion thread only works for elements that would be quick banned, otherwise there is far too much bias on the council's part to make it fair. What I mean is that the council has to decide that something is troublesome enough to host a discussion on. Then, at the end of that discussion, the same group of people who initially believed the element was troublesome get to make the final decision on it. While this works for obviously unhealthy elements such as Arena Trap, more controversial elements will be a PR nightmare for us. What if the community is split on an issue? How can the council effectively make a decision that won't result in a significant portion of the playerbase being pissed off at them? They use an impartial method to make the final decision, which would be a suspect test. Maybe we restrict this proposal to only granting the council power to act when the majority of people want something changed. This assumes that CAP will not differ from OU to the point that something completely unrelated, and therefore something that won't have an OU suspect hanging over it, will ever be problematic. The truth is that we can't guarantee that something controversial won't become an issue, which means that the council needs to have the power to run suspect tests if we want this proposal to carry any weight.

So, let's assume that not only can CAP hold a suspect test, but that we absolutely have to be able to. How do we argue against separating from OU completely once that hurdle has been crossed? What is the difference between being able to act, as this proposal is centered around, and being forced to act, as a complete separation would imply? I think the only difference is in the workload; our council and community would have a greater responsibility in managing the metagame. Is this a substantial enough difference to keep us from making the switch? I think its not. The reality is that if we can do one suspect test, we can do them all. Suspect tests are never ran two at a time, so if we can do one suspect test we should be able to repeat the same process for others.

What I'm proposing is that we take Jordy's proposal and greatly expand it. Let's give the metagame council not just the power but the responsibility of maintaining metagame balance by severing our reliance on the OU banlist. Instead of restricting their powers behind a desire to keep an easy status quo, let's give them, and through them the CAP playerbase, free reign to handle issues as they come up. Let's give them the power to run suspects and the power to quick ban clearly problematic elements such as Arena Trap. I believe that by doing so, we would be able to address the problems with our current tiering structure, handle the Arena Trap problem, and also set up a system that can work for us in the long term.
 
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