Transitivity of Bans

Raseri

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Hello everyone. Previously there was a discussion on the transitivity of bans for non-Pokemon, such as moves or abilities. I believe it's very important that there is a procedure in place, as in NU we may be going down that road sometime in the future. There are some questions that I believe should be solved before anyone goes ahead with this.

One thing that was brought up is the question "how can one move be broken in one tier but not in a lower tier", and 1 examples I can give for that is Scald in UU. UU is full of bulky water-types that can cripple many of the viable switch-ins with Scald burns, which in the eyes of some makes it broken (note that i dont play enough UU to actually comment about it). But in NU, Scald is not broken because there is a lack of bulky Water-types, and the primary switch-ins to Scald often have Heal Bell or some other way of removing status. So Scald may be broken in UU, but is definitely not broken in NU.

But back to the topic of transitivity of move bans, before anything is potentially done about it, I think we should make sure that all tiers are on the same page about what should happen, so I would like to hear from you guys. I've thought up 2 questions that I believe are very important to this discussion, but there are others as well. So if you have something not directly related to those questions but still related to the topic, please bring them up!

1) If a tier such as OU bans a move, are lower tiers forced to ban the move as well?
2) How would these potential bans effect usage based OMs (PU and FU), because they are not official smogon metagames, would they be forced to add any bans higher tiers use?
3) How would this effect non-Pokemon bans that are already in place, such as Drought / Drizzle from UU, and Swagger from OU.

there was a discussion about this before, but nothing conclusive was decided, so I decided to re-open it as it may become more than just a theoretical decision in the future
 
I've always thought it was a good idea to break transitivity in order to test things like Shadow Tag and Drizzle and Drought in RU and lower (especially given the possibility of banning the weather rocks but keeping the abilities a la PO). If something has the potential to be balanced or even make the metagame more balanced in a lower tier but is broken in a higher tier, there really isn't anything wrong with giving it a chance in said lower tier in my opinion. The issue that has been brought up with this in the past is that it makes banlists more confusing, but honestly I don't really think it does, since people who look at banlists generally check to see what's banned in a particular tier, and if something is banned in a higher tier it's usually listed on lower tier banlists anyway, so if it was removed from the lower tier banlist I don't think it would be particularly confusing, as it used to be listed there anyway.
 
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Hello everyone. Previously there was a discussion on the transitivity of bans for non-Pokemon, such as moves or abilities. I believe it's very important that there is a procedure in place, as in NU we may be going down that road sometime in the future. There are some questions that I believe should be solved before anyone goes ahead with this.

One thing that was brought up is the question "how can one move be broken in one tier but not in a lower tier", and 1 examples I can give for that is Scald in UU. UU is full of bulky water-types that can cripple many of the viable switch-ins with Scald burns, which in the eyes of some makes it broken (note that i dont play enough UU to actually comment about it). But in NU, Scald is not broken because there is a lack of bulky Water-types, and the primary switch-ins to Scald often have Heal Bell or some other way of removing status. So Scald may be broken in UU, but is definitely not broken in NU.

But back to the topic of transitivity of move bans, before anything is potentially done about it, I think we should make sure that all tiers are on the same page about what should happen, so I would like to hear from you guys. I've thought up 2 questions that I believe are very important to this discussion, but there are others as well. So if you have something not directly related to those questions but still related to the topic, please bring them up!

1) If a tier such as OU bans a move, are lower tiers forced to ban the move as well?
2) How would these potential bans effect usage based OMs (PU and FU), because they are not official smogon metagames, would they be forced to add any bans higher tiers use?
3) How would this effect non-Pokemon bans that are already in place, such as Drought / Drizzle from UU, and Swagger from OU.

there was a discussion about this before, but nothing conclusive was decided, so I decided to re-open it as it may become more than just a theoretical decision in the future
I'll address point (1) for now very shortly in that I don't think that bans of non-Pokemon that apply in OU should be applied to lower tiers as well. As you've stated in the OP, the presence of certain moves change in dynamics based on meta trends. If Scald isn't an issue in one tier for example sake, but it's blatantly a problem in another, tier leaders should address that on their own accord without constraint and limitations from higher tiers and tier leaders. I don't think it's that difficult to establish the premise of this idea unless I'm missing something important in regards to a technical issue. Otherwise Magnemite's post above is basically what I agree with.
 
Raseri and I have been talking about this lately, and I'm very much in favor of breaking transitivity for non-Pokemon bans when it is reasonable to do so. The banning of Shadow Tag in UU, for example, was more necessary there than it was in lower tiers, where the metagames are generally more offensive and the opportunity cost of using Shadow Tag Pokemon goes up (the more offensive a metagame is, the fewer walls there are to trap and eliminate). Testing Drought and Drizzle in lower tiers would also be cool, but I care less about that because I have no doubt that they are both at least broken with the respective weather rock.

It would make sense for transitivity to apply to PU as long as it applies to official usage-based metagames since we're still considering it to become an official metagame next generation. I don't particularly care about FU because it is not realistically becoming an official metagame for years and years, if it ever does.

I'd say that existing non-Pokemon bans should be handled case-by-case and that tier leaders should decide whether they want to test them individually or not. I know I don't want Swagger being freed in NU at all, but I'd love to retest Shadow Tag, Drought, and Drizzle.
 

phantom

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For as long as RU has been around this gen, I've always wanted to see Drizzle and Drought tested (but w/o the weather rocks b/c I can't see them being balanced when toad/tales can offer that much support). UU has always been a bit stubborn about reintroducing those Pokemon, even with restrictions, for one reason or the other, and I never thought it was fair that RU and other lower tiers by extension had to abide by that when those abilities might not even be broken in their metagames. Similar cases can be seen with BP clause which I know for a fact it isn't an issue having more than one Pokemon capable of learning the move in RU due to BP chains being nonexistent as a result of no viable Magic Bounce user capable of using Baton Pass (BP on MB Xatu isn't legal fyi). Pokemon bans are one thing that I believe are hard to argue not using transitivity over simply because if a Pokemon is overpowered in an upper tier where the power bracket is much larger, then it's very unlikely it will be balanced in one with lower power creep; however, abilities and moves as stated in the OP are different cases due to some of them being dependant on the dynamic and resources of their respective metagames to gauge power, although clauses weren't brought up in the OP, I feel like the aforementioned BP clause is a good example of this.
 

Lutra

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I'm just going to talk from an abstract perspective.

Why do you call it 'transitivity' and not something like 'forced inheritability'? The former confuses me at least.

I can't imagine a category of tiers working any other way than than forced inheritability of all bans from higher tiers to lower tiers. I just find it confusing when you do the russian doll-style approach with the Pokémon, but not their items, move or abilities. I imagine a doll that suddenly doesn't fit inside another one and thus has to become part of a parallel set (tier in relation to a tier category in this case).

While effectively stockpiling Pokémon with the banned item, move or ability into the lower tier (by banning in the upper, but not lower tier) may be beneficial in this case, I feel like it's another way to make the tiering philosophy too complex - as the stockpiling is beneficial for some tier categories, but not others.

I can see how the stockpiling effect can counteract the lack of adequate niches that can result though, which I think is a good problem to address.

So:

1) Yes
2) Yes, official/non-official has no relevance to me.
3) If a ban doesn't conform to the tier system, change it.
 

IronBullet

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In response to Lutra, it's because transitivity, or inheritability, makes more sense when applied to Pokemon rather than moves. Like Spirit said, the thing is that if a Pokemon is banned in a higher tier then it will almost certainly be broken in a lower tier due to its superior traits, which is where the Russian doll approach fits. With moves it's a lot more complicated though, as the effect of them on a particular tier really does depend on how Pokemon in that tier handle that move.

For example, I think I can speak for most of the UU players when I say that Scald does have a negative impact on UU in that games actually hinge on its 30% burn chance. A situation not uncommon for balanced teams to find themselves in is a Tentacruel vs Empoleon stall war in which one side simply fishes for a burn against the other, and the side that gets it first has the advantage. Or a situation where you're consistently afraid of switching in your Grass-type into a bulky Water for fear of a burn which could heavily turn the game against you. It's simply not healthy for the metagame. However, from what I've heard about Scald in RU and NU, it isn't causing problems at all due to a relative lack of bulky Waters. So for me this situation is one in which non-transitivity is perfectly acceptable. So in response to 1) in particular, no I don't think a move ban should be forced upon a lower tier if implemented in an upper tier. Rather, tier leaders should have the freedom to discuss it amongst themselves and with their council without outside influence. It does make things more complex but forcing bans on tiers when those bans are not needed and could have an unnecessary influence on the metagame isn't the right way to go about it.

For 3) again I feel transitivity has grounds for being broken. It's a similar argument - if something could potentially be balanced or even improve the metagame in a lower tier but is broken in a higher tier, it seems quite reasonable to give it a shot in the tier in question.
 
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Raseri

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For as long as RU has been around this gen, I've always wanted to see Drizzle and Drought tested (but w/o the weather rocks b/c I can't see them being balanced when toad/tales can offer that much support). UU has always been a bit stubborn about reintroducing those Pokemon, even with restrictions, for one reason or the other, and I never thought it was fair that RU and other lower tiers by extension had to abide by that when those abilities might not even be broken in their metagames. Similar cases can be seen with BP clause which I know for a fact it isn't an issue having more than one Pokemon capable of learning the move in RU due to BP chains being nonexistent as a result of no viable Magic Bounce user capable of using Baton Pass (BP on MB Xatu isn't legal fyi). Pokemon bans are one thing that I believe are hard to argue not using transitivity over simply because if a Pokemon is overpowered in an upper tier where the power bracket is much larger, then it's very unlikely it will be balanced in one with lower power creep; however, abilities and moves as stated in the OP are different cases due to some of them being dependant on the dynamic and resources of their respective metagames to gauge power, although clauses weren't brought up in the OP, I feel like the aforementioned BP clause is a good example of this.
ahh, Baton Pass is something else I neglected to mention. Because the clause as is, really doesn't help lower tiers. The only arguably broken user of Baton Pass in NU right now are the SmashPass users Huntail and Gorebyss. Quiverpass Masquerain isn't a problem, and BP chains would likely not be major problems. So if we do breaks transitivity (which i would very much like to do), if BP Clause could be reworked or entirely removed from lower tiers, I would be very happy.

So by breaking Transitivity, lower tiers could have the option to test
1) Shadow Tag (tho Wobb has dropped, but i dont think Gothorita would be broken in NU at least)
2) Drizzle and Drought
3) Baton Pass Clause

and tiers could make clauses that help improve their own metagames, such as no Scald UU.

I do understand that this is a bit more complex and would confuse some people at first, but I think it would be a short term pain until the community adapted, and the potential for competitive Pokemon to benefit significantly is there. At the very least, I think it is something worth experimenting with.
 
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atomicllamas

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there was a discussion about this before, but nothing conclusive was decided, so I decided to re-open it as it may become more than just a theoretical decision in the future
I was told the conclusion was that the transitivity of bans has been broken and have been reassured on multiple occasions since the original thread that this is the case o_o.

While technically nothing has broken transitivity as of now, I'm sure that will happen if OU bans Baton Pass in an overly restrictive manner, as there are many cases in RU where baton pass is healthy for the tier (allows Jolteon to escape Dugtrio, makes Togetic not a momentum suck, etc.). Molk and myself also feel pretty negatively about banning of the move Scald, so if UU ever decides to ban that, we would like to break transitivity. As for your second question, as transitivity is broken for official tiers, I don't see why they wouldn't be for unofficial usage based tiers.

I think it would be pretty fun to test drought and drizzle in RU with a damp / heat rock ban in place, although I'm not to sure I would be particularly enthused about doing it on the ladder, as that fucks w/ usage stats and is a pretty large commitment for something that we aren't even sure has a chance of staying in the tier. I would consider running a couple live tours in order to test it though and get some community feed back, cause that actually sounds like a pretty cool meta game (and PO LU still has Drought Ninetales, so it could be fine :o). But yes, lower tiers should be allowed to test them, but whether or not they do should be up to the TLs, the councils, and their communities.
 

ginganinja

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If a tier such as OU bans a move, are lower tiers forced to ban the move as well?
Agreeing largely with AM here on this topic. I'm not OU Council, so take this was a grain of salt, but I don't see it as a particularly healthy solution if lower tiers feel forced to adopt any Move Bans carried out in OU. In general, OU seeks to 'balance' (or for want of a better word, seek a more desireable metagame) its own metagame, while tier's such as UU, RU, NU etc all have their own separate metagames that they also wish to balance. Thus, I think its believable that certain moves might be broken in some tiers and not others, and would appreciate it if banning philosophy reflected this by allowing tier leaders to ban moves if they wish, without having to worry about a drop down effect.
 
My little cent. I agree with breaking transitivity. Each tier has its pokemon, their own characteristics and need a specific policy. Perhaps we could build a trigger which automatically generate a "pain" to lower tiers councils. They should decide whether to launch a suspect in own tier. I don't think official/non-official has relevance.
 

WhiteDMist

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For my part, I agree with breaking transitivity as well. The way it is/was, the lower your tier, the less control you had over your metagame because any of the higher tiers could make a game-changing decision that affected your tier and you would just have to deal with it. The lower tiers should not be forced into non-Pokemon bans, at least without their own suspect testing of the issue at hand. Of course, if a higher tier bans a non-Pokemon, the lower tier(s) should be obligated to test it immediately as well.

As for PU and FU, while they are OMs and can technically implement custom rules, the basis for these metgames revolves around following the same rules as the official tiers. So in answer to Raseri's second question, whatever the higher tiers decide to do regarding transitivity, PU will follow as well. If each tier decides on its own whether or not a move/ability/item is to be banned, then PU (and FU I presume) will do the same. This leads into my answer for question 3: if the higher tiers want to test Drizzle/Shadow Tag/Drought/etc., PU will also look at the ones that apply. Many of these non-Pokemon bans will likely still remain, but all the lower tiers should be free to test and decide for themselves how the balance of their tier is affected. The non-Pokemon bans that have already taken place should be no different, though only through the tier leader's discretion.

As for this making the banlists more confusing, everyone who is looking for a tier's banlist should naturally look for it in the tier's sub-forum (the simple questions thread, or the guidelines thread notably). Each tier's banlist is also listed in the Smogon website iirc, and people obviously will choose the tier they are planning on playing. It may take a few tries to remember the different banlists, but the worst that will happen is that people have to remake their teams (and you'll just receive the notification that you have an illegal Pokemon/move/etc on Showdown). It's a slight problem for WiFi battles that want to follow Smogon rules but, in the end, the rules of each WiFi battle should be agreed upon by the battlers themselves (and mistakes about what is "legal" happen all the time as is). This is likely not a huge issue.
 
WhiteDMist said:
As for this making the banlists more confusing, everyone who is looking for a tier's banlist should naturally look for it in the tier's sub-forum (the simple questions thread, or the guidelines thread notably). Each tier's banlist is also listed in the Smogon website iirc, and people obviously will choose the tier they are planning on playing. It may take a few tries to remember the different banlists, but the worst that will happen is that people have to remake their teams (and you'll just receive the notification that you have an illegal Pokemon/move/etc on Showdown).
One thing I'm afraid of is "what happens 2+ generations down the line?" Gen 3 NU is a bit of a fad right now, and naturally it's reliant on new players showing up, showing interest, and ultimately learning the format. It's really nice, here in 2015, that this obscure old meta doesn't have confusing extra stipulations to consider, like 'No Heatwave' (that's not even remotely a real example but I wanted the closest parallel to Scald). It's easy and comfortable to just look at a threatlist and throw together a half-decent team, with no weird confusion or debate over banned moves that aren't banned in any other format. You just learn the meta, and sure maybe Huntail is too good or something, but really it's about as simple as you can get. That's awesome. If I had seen that Gen 3 NU required some weird rule that no other Gen 3 format had, I probably wouldn't have bothered to learn the format and enter a tournament for it (not because a Heatwave ban would be some hugely awful thing, but because it's just really easy for me to go and pick up some other, more consistent/simpler meta instead).

So my question is, what happens to Gen 6 UU (or PU, or Ubers or whatever) in 2022, when every new player counts? If we add this unique and sort of unprecedented Scald stipulation, are we just making it harder for people to attract new players to a format that really needs new players? Do we even care if that's true? It does stand to reason that some of these 'obscure' formats just won't be able to enjoy the longevity OU does, and therefore "who cares, let's just make current players as happy as possible and forget about the long-term consequences." But I do see Gen 4 UU, for example, which I know had a lot of work put into it and was ultimately so well-regarded. I'm sure some of the people who put in the time to make that a great format would be really happy if it had more prestigious tournaments, or actual ladder activity. That might be much harder to accomplish if the ruleset were no longer consistent with more familiar formats like Gen 4 OU though.

tldr: even if we're okay with the short-term consequences of complex rulesets, we should still be wary of the long-term consequences. A few years from now, when people are struggling to even find matches in Gen 6 UU, we might come to regret increasing the barrier to entry for Gen 8 Pokemon players!
 

WhiteDMist

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One thing I'm afraid of is "what happens 2+ generations down the line?" Gen 3 NU is a bit of a fad right now, and naturally it's reliant on new players showing up, showing interest, and ultimately learning the format. It's really nice, here in 2015, that this obscure old meta doesn't have confusing extra stipulations to consider, like 'No Heatwave' (that's not even remotely a real example but I wanted the closest parallel to Scald). It's easy and comfortable to just look at a threatlist and throw together a half-decent team, with no weird confusion or debate over banned moves that aren't banned in any other format. You just learn the meta, and sure maybe Huntail is too good or something, but really it's about as simple as you can get. That's awesome. If I had seen that Gen 3 NU required some weird rule that no other Gen 3 format had, I probably wouldn't have bothered to learn the format and enter a tournament for it (not because a Heatwave ban would be some hugely awful thing, but because it's just really easy for me to go and pick up some other, more consistent/simpler meta instead).

So my question is, what happens to Gen 6 UU (or PU, or Ubers or whatever) in 2022, when every new player counts? If we add this unique and sort of unprecedented Scald stipulation, are we just making it harder for people to attract new players to a format that really needs new players? Do we even care if that's true? It does stand to reason that some of these 'obscure' formats just won't be able to enjoy the longevity OU does, and therefore "who cares, let's just make current players as happy as possible and forget about the long-term consequences." But I do see Gen 4 UU, for example, which I know had a lot of work put into it and was ultimately so well-regarded. I'm sure some of the people who put in the time to make that a great format would be really happy if it had more prestigious tournaments, or actual ladder activity. That might be much harder to accomplish if the ruleset were no longer consistent with more familiar formats like Gen 4 OU though.

tldr: even if we're okay with the short-term consequences of complex rulesets, we should still be wary of the long-term consequences. A few years from now, when people are struggling to even find matches in Gen 6 UU, we might come to regret increasing the barrier to entry for Gen 8 Pokemon players!
I don't think anyone was speaking about retro-banning stuff from past gens, which is a different issue altogether. There's another thread(s) for that (2 in this subforum)

As for the future consequences, what exactly are you afraid of? Whether or not this is implemented, you still have to learn the rules of the tier you are playing, as even right now you wouldn't know instinctively, from looking at a threatlist, what moves and abilities are banned. Almost every resource Smogon has that explains what Pokemon are in what tier also list the bans, clauses, and rules of the tier (or directs you to where to look). If you are familiar and experienced with Smogon, rather than a new player, then you naturally would look at this stuff. I'm sure newer players don't always read the rules and bans, so what difference will that make seeing as it's the exact same situation whether or not transitivity is broken? I wouldn't say that a clause such as "No more than 1 Baton Pass user per team" is instinctive, so you'll have to read the rules to find that out too. Taking from your Gen 4 example, I wouldn't have know about the "no Drizzle and Swift Swim users on the same team" clause without doing my homework regardless.

For your other point, I kind of doubt if adding a few extra clauses will greatly affect the playerbase. If someone is interested in learning Gen 6 UU when it is Gen 8 or so, reading a couple of extra lines won't really deter people. Older gens will naturally have less of a playerbase, and I don't think that keeping or breaking transitivity will alter that significantly.

Perhaps there are long-term consequences that we haven't seen, but I don't think these particular issues are huge ones. Let's see what some of the upper staff think.
 
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To clarify, I'm not talking about retroactive bans, just long-term consequences of complicated rulesets. Retroactive bans are indeed a separate issue entirely.

What I'm worried about is:
If someone is interested in learning Gen 6 UU when it is Gen 8 or so, reading a couple of extra lines won't really deter people.
Yes this is largely true if someone is already interested in learning Gen 6 UU. But when it's Gen 8 and the number of Gen 6 UU players is really limited, we want more than just 'people who are already interested.'

I personally am not really invested in Gen 3 NU at all, but I play it sporadically because there were basically no barriers or reading I had to do. I literally just looked at the viability rankings and threw together a team and managed to have some fun, and now I play it every so often (as opposed to never). Some of my matches in that format were against a player who just randomly popped in on a conversation and asked someone to throw them the viability thread.

My point here is that older gens are more reliant on attracting players who don't actually have much initial investment in the tier, and those are the players who are most affected by complex rulesets. Even small barriers to entry can be dealbreakers for those players, which doesn't matter for Gen 6 UU in 2015, but might matter a whole lot in 2022. We might disagree on the degree to which that's true, but my only point is to say that it's a factor we should at least have in the back of our minds when considering any further rule complication (which, though it's a somewhat separate issue, does include things like the Swift Swim + Drizzle ban!). When confronted with the "we don't want complex rules" argument, many people wave it away by saying "people learning the meta will just do the work to learn it," and I just think things are more complicated than that.
 

phantom

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tldr: even if we're okay with the short-term consequences of complex rulesets, we should still be wary of the long-term consequences. A few years from now, when people are struggling to even find matches in Gen 6 UU, we might come to regret increasing the barrier to entry for Gen 8 Pokemon players!
You're making a big deal over nothing. When you're looking at the rules and clauses for various tiers, everything is as straightforward as it gets; nothing is abstract and what you see is what you get basically. For instance, if transitivity were to be broken in some tiers by removing BP clause, then I don't see how difficult it is to understand that if something like this were to happen: "BP clause doesn't apply to RU and NU, but does to UU and OU". What about this exactly or any other thing related to breaking transitivity is so hard to understand and will 'increase barriers to entry for future players'? It's just another rule. If breaking transitivity does occur now, then it likely will be a thing in future gens also, which means players in future gens won't have a problem understanding how these things work in past gens when it already applies in the one they're currently playing.
 

WhiteDMist

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What I'm worried about is: Yes this is largely true if someone is already interested in learning Gen 6 UU. But when it's Gen 8 and the number of Gen 6 UU players is really limited, we want more than just 'people who are already interested.'

I personally am not really invested in Gen 3 NU at all, but I play it sporadically because there were basically no barriers or reading I had to do. I literally just looked at the viability rankings and threw together a team and managed to have some fun, and now I play it every so often (as opposed to never). Some of my matches in that format were against a player who just randomly popped in on a conversation and asked someone to throw them the viability thread.

My point here is that older gens are more reliant on attracting players who don't actually have much initial investment in the tier, and those are the players who are most affected by complex rulesets. Even small barriers to entry can be dealbreakers for those players, which doesn't matter for Gen 6 UU in 2015, but might matter a whole lot in 2022. We might disagree on the degree to which that's true, but my only point is to say that it's a factor we should at least have in the back of our minds when considering any further rule complication (which, though it's a somewhat separate issue, does include things like the Swift Swim + Drizzle ban!). When confronted with the "we don't want complex rules" argument, many people wave it away by saying "people learning the meta will just do the work to learn it," and I just think things are more complicated than that.
Then this shouldn't really be a problem. Seeing as breaking transitivity will result in either fewer rules which are the barrier to entry you refer to, or maintain the same rules as the higher tier where these rules originated (I'm hoping this made sense). One (or more) less rule to remember should actually be beneficial in that case. And, worse case scenario where they popped in and thought "Oh, I can't use (insert move/ability) in Gen 6 UU/RU/NU/PU because (insert higher tier) banned it", and they don't know that the lower tier voted to allow it, well it really isn't a huge problem if they build a team without said move/ability.
 
Here's a proposed ruleset for Gen 6 (it's related to the current BP discussion that's also going on right now, and partially based on Spirit's example):

"In Ubers, you can only have Baton Pass on a maximum of 3 pokemon. In OU, you can't Baton Pass speed + another boost. In UU, you can BP anything you want but with only one Pokemon. In RU, there's no BP rule. In NU you can't BP speed under any circumstances. And in PU you can BP, but only one stat at a time."

Pretending for the moment that these rules are independently good (as in, Ubers' BP rule is the best rule for Ubers, OU's rule is the best for OU, etc), is there anything wrong here? The rules are not actually 'difficult to understand' because of course anyone can just read them, and even if someone gets it wrong, the simulator will tell them and they can just fix it. There's also just one rule per format (not much to keep track of per format), and one of the formats doesn't even have the rule at all (so literally nothing to remember there). So is there any sort of problem here in terms of rule complexity, and why?

I'd argue that Yes, there's a big problem there, because even though it's just one rule per format, it would be really annoying for almost anyone playing more than one of them to keep track of those differences consistently, especially if they're not an extremely hardcore player. Even RU's non-rule is a tax on players who are familiar with any of the other formats. (I'd further argue that the problem would become exponentially greater "in 2022," when a huge portion of the potential playerbase for those formats is already occupied with gen 7 or 8 and isn't invested in gen 6 to begin with.)

And what I'm saying is, this Scald stuff is the same exact thing, only waaaaaaaaay less extreme. The Scald thing itself is probably alright! It's really not my judgment call to make. But the same line of reasoning we can use to criticize my extreme example also applies (to a lesser degree) to other bans that break transitivity (like the Scald thing). Waving it away with "players will just read the rules and learn it" is an oversimplification and I guess if you boil down my last few posts, that's the primary thing I'm trying to be wary of here
 
Here's a proposed ruleset for Gen 6 (it's related to the current BP discussion that's also going on right now, and partially based on Spirit's example):

"In Ubers, you can only have Baton Pass on a maximum of 3 pokemon. In OU, you can't Baton Pass speed + another boost. In UU, you can BP anything you want but with only one Pokemon. In RU, there's no BP rule. In NU you can't BP speed under any circumstances. And in PU you can BP, but only one stat at a time."

Pretending for the moment that these rules are independently good (as in, Ubers' BP rule is the best rule for Ubers, OU's rule is the best for OU, etc), is there anything wrong here? The rules are not actually 'difficult to understand' because of course anyone can just read them, and even if someone gets it wrong, the simulator will tell them and they can just fix it. There's also just one rule per format (not much to keep track of per format), and one of the formats doesn't even have the rule at all (so literally nothing to remember there). So is there any sort of problem here in terms of rule complexity, and why?

I'd argue that Yes, there's a big problem there, because even though it's just one rule per format, it would be really annoying for almost anyone playing more than one of them to keep track of those differences consistently, especially if they're not an extremely hardcore player. Even RU's non-rule is a tax on players who are familiar with any of the other formats. (I'd further argue that the problem would become exponentially greater "in 2022," when a huge portion of the potential playerbase for those formats is already occupied with gen 7 or 8 and isn't invested in gen 6 to begin with.)

And what I'm saying is, this Scald stuff is the same exact thing, only waaaaaaaaay less extreme. The Scald thing itself is probably alright! It's really not my judgment call to make. But the same line of reasoning we can use to criticize my extreme example also applies (to a lesser degree) to other bans that break transitivity (like the Scald thing). Waving it away with "players will just read the rules and learn it" is an oversimplification and I guess if you boil down my last few posts, that's the primary thing I'm trying to be wary of here
I don't think a minor annoyance should be the criteria for something not to be implemented that could potentially be better for the tiers considering, from my understanding, we're suppose to be advocating the game or Smogon's representation of it at a higher level of play to begin with. Being a hardcore player is somewhat of an exaggeration to remember some basic rules that are actually not as hard to follow or requires slight fixes in the teambuilder to accommodate anyways. Let's also consider that as of right now we "technically" have a lot of rules already that people easily remember or become aware of almost right away. Let's take OU for example.

Sleep Clause Mod: Limit one foe put to sleep
Species Clause: Limit one of each Pokémon
OHKO Clause: OHKO moves are banned
Moody Clause: Moody is banned
Evasion Moves Clause: Evasion moves are banned
Endless Battle Clause: Forcing endless battles is banned
HP Percentage Mod: HP is shown in percentages
Swagger Clause: Swagger is banned
Baton Pass Clause: Limit one Pokémon knowing Baton Pass

In reality this is a lot already without touching upon move illegalities and the specifics of things like Evasion in terms of moves. These are picked up in a matter of minutes if not seconds of explaining, which I think represents that it's not that difficult to remember basic rulesets.

Also a sidenote in regards to the "2022" comment and sort of repeating the point but newer players or at least ones who are invested to a reasonable degree pick up on rules such as this extremely quick. Comprehending a lot of information especially through the internet is barely an issue to players who care.
 

scorpdestroyer

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Here's a proposed ruleset for Gen 6 (it's related to the current BP discussion that's also going on right now, and partially based on Spirit's example):

"In Ubers, you can only have Baton Pass on a maximum of 3 pokemon. In OU, you can't Baton Pass speed + another boost. In UU, you can BP anything you want but with only one Pokemon. In RU, there's no BP rule. In NU you can't BP speed under any circumstances. And in PU you can BP, but only one stat at a time."

Pretending for the moment that these rules are independently good (as in, Ubers' BP rule is the best rule for Ubers, OU's rule is the best for OU, etc), is there anything wrong here? The rules are not actually 'difficult to understand' because of course anyone can just read them, and even if someone gets it wrong, the simulator will tell them and they can just fix it. There's also just one rule per format (not much to keep track of per format), and one of the formats doesn't even have the rule at all (so literally nothing to remember there). So is there any sort of problem here in terms of rule complexity, and why?
Your method of stating it is probably way too complex, I agree. Right now, the way the banlist goes is that universal clauses are at the top, while tier-specific bans are listed below. If a case like this were to happen, I'd imagine the banlist being something like:

Swagger Clause: Swagger is banned
Baton Pass Clause: A limit to the move Baton Pass is present. This clause differs from tier to tier

Ubers:
Mega Rayquaza is banned.
Baton Pass is allowed, but limited to three Pokemon per team.

OU:
All Pokemom banned in Ubers are banned from OU.
Aegislash, Mewtwo, and Zekrom are not allowed in OU.
The move Baton Pass is banned.

UU:
All Pokemon that are banned in OU are banned in UU.
Heatran, Ferrothorn, and Metagross are not allowed in UU.
Baton Pass is unbanned in UU, but its usage is limited to one Pokemon per team.
Scald is banned in UU.

RU:
All Pokemon that are banned in UU are banned in RU.
Suicune, Hydreigon, and Victini are not allowed in RU.
Baton Pass is banned in RU.
Scald is allowed in RU.

NU:
All Pokemon that are banned in RU are banned in NU.
Doublade, Rhyperior, and Aromatisse are not allowed in NU.
Baton Pass is unbanned in NU without any restrictions.
Scald is allowed in NU.

PU:
All Pokemon that are banned in NU are banned in PU.
Sneasel, Gallade, and Lanturn are not allowed in PU.
The move Baton Pass is unbanned, but a Pokemon not allowed to use Baton Pass if it has a boost in its Speed stat.
Scald is banned from PU.


Something like that would clearly state the overall rules for each metagame.

I think the only confusing thing about this would be trying to remember banlists and/or explain the banlist to someone without the list itself (eg I could be telling a friend about the rules irl and it could get a little confusing here), but overall it doesn't seem like too big of a problem. Breaking transitivity would be great for the lower tiers and it wouldn't restrict the higher tiers anymore (ik there was hesitation over BP clause in OU because the lower tiers didn't like it). Seems worth the confusion.

If we do break transitivity will it be happening right now this gen?
 
The issue with the Baton Pass example is that those are all complex bans. Yes, if each tier had its own separate complex ban for the same thing, that would be very confusing, but what is being proposed here is that non-Pokemon bans are either applied or not applied based on whether they are broken in each respective lower metagame. Basically, it would look more like:

In Ubers, Baton Pass is legal on all six Pokemon.
In OU, you may only use one Pokemon with the move Baton Pass.
In UU, you may only use one Pokmeon with the move Baton Pass.
In RU, Baton Pass is legal on all six Pokemon.
In NU, Baton Pass is legal on all six Pokemon.
In PU, Baton Pass is legal on all six Pokemon.

This is much easier to understand, and it wouldn't be confusing to somebody looking to get into a new metagame now or x years down the line.

The same thing goes with Drought and Drizzle as further examples. It would look like:

In Ubers, the abilities Drought and Drizzle are legal.
In OU, the abilities Drought and Drizzle are legal.
In UU, the abilities Drought and Drizzle are banned.
In RU, the abilities Drought and Drizzle are legal. Heat Rock and Damp Rock are banned.
In NU, the abilities Drought and Drizzle are banned.
IN PU, the abilities Drought and Drizzle are banned.

These are still not complicated. You can use Drought and Drizzle in Ubers, OU, and RU, but Heat Rock and Damp Rock are banned in RU. Is this actually what would happen? Who knows. What matters is that any combination of these is not actually complicated, and the only reason why people would be confused about a lack of transitivity is because transitivity has always been the status quo. I'm never a supporter of keeping things the way they are solely because that's the way they've been. If it works, then great, but if things would be better without it, then we should get rid of it.
 
Abilities, moves, and items are key components of usage, so I do believe we need transitivity if we're using usage-based tiers.

Shadow Tag is probably the most obvious example here. If it's banned in UU but allowed in RU, Wobbuffet finds itself sitting nicely in RU. Yes, it's RU because its usage is low in UU, but that's because there's a de facto ban of it in UU (Wobb is useless without Shadow Tag.) Politoed and Ninetails are in similar positions. Cases become less obvious with moves, but of course something that's used primarily as a Spiker will see decreased usage if Spikes are suddenly banned from the tier it's currently in. Breaking transitivity is simply a way of manipulating tiers because the results provided by usage are undesirable to some.

This sort of thing isn't the first complaint to arise from usage-based tiering (ladder spamming, terrible Pokemon not dropping, etc.), and maybe there's an underlying problem with the system as a whole that needs to be addressed. As long as we're using it, though, we shouldn't be rigging the results by banning things from higher tiers and allowing them in lower ones.

Even if we did stop using usage-based tiering, I would still support transitivity. We just wouldn't undermine the entire system our tiers are built upon if we broke it.
 

Lutra

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Kristoph's posts remind me of an important point. What if something is broken in the current metatopes (the metagames played with the current playerbases in things like ladders, tournaments etc.) but not inherently in the tier environment (i.e. in most possible metatopes)? I'm talking about that common problem that adds a lot of complexity to running viability ranking threads, where even if you keep the tier's ruleset the same, the combination of the input from various experienced players at different times, changes how we view the viability of Pokémon (and moves, items and abilities). Look at how ADV OU's changed over the years.

I'm not sure how much worth it is looking into future-proofing tiers (instead of relying on revival actions), but old players do leave because they can't play their favourite old tiers, and rulesets not meeting their expectations can be a problem (especially if the majority of old players prefer an earlier ruleset to be standard).

Another old gen problem, if I was going back and playing an old generation, I'd want to construct a whole tier list with the same playerbase (like in RBY). The problem on Smogon is, you're getting separate playerbases for each tier. I think it's then not too much of a leap to assume the fact that there are separate communities, means players from those communities would more likely want to break transitivity from their inherited tier(s).

In relation to something like dice's OU initial tier thread, can we say RBY Ubers is anything like ORAS Ubers? Would we not say it's closer to RBY OU? The problem is it's natural to want to play lower tiers, if you're not recognised in OU enough, and tiers can resemble an old gen equivalent. From my point of view though, I see it's best that players belong to generations, so they can consider all tiers as part of the same standard tier construction process together.
 

WhiteDMist

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Abilities, moves, and items are key components of usage, so I do believe we need transitivity if we're using usage-based tiers.

Shadow Tag is probably the most obvious example here. If it's banned in UU but allowed in RU, Wobbuffet finds itself sitting nicely in RU. Yes, it's RU because its usage is low in UU, but that's because there's a de facto ban of it in UU (Wobb is useless without Shadow Tag.) Politoed and Ninetails are in similar positions. Cases become less obvious with moves, but of course something that's used primarily as a Spiker will see decreased usage if Spikes are suddenly banned from the tier it's currently in. Breaking transitivity is simply a way of manipulating tiers because the results provided by usage are undesirable to some.

This sort of thing isn't the first complaint to arise from usage-based tiering (ladder spamming, terrible Pokemon not dropping, etc.), and maybe there's an underlying problem with the system as a whole that needs to be addressed. As long as we're using it, though, we shouldn't be rigging the results by banning things from higher tiers and allowing them in lower ones.

Even if we did stop using usage-based tiering, I would still support transitivity. We just wouldn't undermine the entire system our tiers are built upon if we broke it.
Bringing this up again to reply to you (and get an update). :>

I understand the argument that the higher tier(s) should affect the lower tier(s) usage-wise: that's just how the tiering system works. That said, a lower tier(s) choosing not to abide by the ban/clause of a higher tier does not actually affect the higher tier in the same way.

Using your example, Shadow Tag being banned in UU but being allowed in RU will not in any way affect Wobbuffet's usage in UU. It does affect Wobbuffet's usage in RU/NU (and PU/FU), so I see your point. But the lower tier(s) can easily vote to ban it themselves if it is broken in THEIR tier, if the ban/clause in question is even an issue. As long as it doesn't alter Wobbuffet's usage in UU, isn't that enough?

The thing is, that it's not SOME people that are interested, but tiers as a whole. Sure, the lower the tier is, the smaller the userbase (with exceptions). But shouldn't the tiers as a whole have a say in what bans and clauses affect them?
 

IronBullet

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I see your point, Jellicent, that bans in higher tiers will affect lower tiers as they will likely affect the viability of certain Pokemon. However, I don't see why this would necessarily be a bad thing. In the case that Shadow Tag is banned in UU, Wobbuffet's low UU usage leads to it sitting comfortably in RU. If it is not broken in RU, then there isn't really a problem here, is there? Its usage is low in UU leading to it being in RU, which is where it's meant to be. It's not really a case of manipulating tiers here, if anything it's actually putting the Pokemon in its rightful place, and this is supported by the fact that Shadow Tag is allowed in RU. As the above post states, if Shadow Tag turns out to be broken in RU, they can easily ban it themselves.

I do agree that it undermines the system our tiers are built on, but forcing bans on tiers when those bans are not needed and could have an unnecessary influence on the metagame isn't right. If players as a unit agree that breaking transitivity is in the interest of their own tier, then tier leaders should have the freedom to discuss it amongst themselves and with their council without outside influence. I don't think it's rigging the results if the decision to break transitivity actually leads to a more beneficial result for all.

Even if breaking transitivity is considered fundamentally unacceptable, there are certain cases where a ban in a higher tier won't actually affect the lower tier at all. Consider Scald, which is a major talking point in this thread. If Scald is deemed broken in UU, then this won't affect the viability of bulky Waters as much, because they still have access to Surf. It's unlikely that Pokemon like Suicune, Swampert, and Empoleon will drop to RU as a consequence of this. I've explained this in more detail here. So, there isn't much problem here of manipulation or rigging of the results. UU will simply be banning a move deemed too overpowering for the tier, and RU can decide for itself whether Scald should be banned or not. Considering breaking transitivity of moves, abilities, or items on a case-by-case basis would therefore be, in my opinion, perfectly acceptable even if we continue to support usage-based tiering of Pokemon.
 

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