Trapping Abilities: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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Ok take two, I was just rambling on about trapping abilities and thats not what I wanted to do. I want to just pose a question so to speak and then we can discuss it further in the comments. To put it simply the question is " How do you think trapping abilities(including pursuit) affect the metagame?" This question has come to me by talking to some "good" players and it got me thinking about trapping as a whole and how it actually is impacting this metagame. To clarify I am talking about arena trap, magnet pull, shadow tag, and to a lesser extent pursuit. I have also been using the very fun core of pidgeot+dugtrio and found myself putting my opponent in impossible situations as things like ttar and heatran no longer fit the definition of a counter because they can not switch into all of pidgeots moves, like pidgeots u-turn is an OHKO on heatran 100% because he definitely wont be on a balloon and then dugtrio definitely can get the OHKO. So yeah I just feel like sometimes people are put in lose lose situations with trapping abilities and it doesnt exactly seem fair or competitive so I wanted some more input based on your guys experience to better understand this.

Please no one liner posts, and dont discuss banning trapping. You can give a negative view on trapping abilities as a whole but as of right now there is no dicsussion of banning this, so please dont bring it up.
I cant think of any other rules, so yeah just post your thoughts and if you have replays to better illustrate your point they are more than welcome.
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The only one of those three abilities that I think actually hugely impacts the metagame is Magnet Pull. Magnezone (and to a lesser extent Magneton) are staples on teams that would otherwise have no way to handle things like Skarm, Heatran and Ferro(thorn, if you are running Ferroseed I am appalled). The mere threat of Magnezone on opposing teams has led Skarm to forgo Lefties and run a Shed Shell instead, because otherwise it is a sitting duck. Zone needs to put in a bit more work to kill Heatran and Ferro, needing to run HP Ground or HP Fire, but it remains a potent threat to them. Indeed, some teams have chosen to run both Magnezone AND Magneton, each with a different Hidden Power, to completely eliminate all Steels that stand in the way of a sweep - similar to the old DragMag archetype.

The choice of Zone vs Ton is basically that of Speed vs Power (or Bulk vs Power if you choose to run Eviolite on Ton). Zone can break through walls like Heatran much more easily, but Magneton outspeeds Heatran and Skarm much more easily (outspeeding Ferro isn't really... like... a problem).

Shadow Tag also plays a role in the meta, to a lesser extent. Shadow Tag is easily the most powerful of the three abilities, but the best user, Mega Gengar, was way too good at using it to pick off any opposition to a team and was quickbanned. It remains a staple in Ubers, being S-ranked. That leaves two main users, Wobuffet and Gothitelle (and Gothorita I guess? Does anyone use Gothorita?). Wobuffet is funky and all, but his huge problem is that discounting Counter and Mirror Coat, which rely on prediction against mixed attackers, WOBUFFET DOES NOT LEARN A DAMAGE-DEALING MOVE. Gothitelle, on the other hand, is potent against stall and balance, being able to safely switch in against a variety of threats, trap and kill them.

Dugtrio is the sole user of Arena Trap (no, we're not using Diglett or Trapinch) and is a bit gimmicky, but can help out threats like M-Pigeot immensely. I haven't used it enough to really say any more.
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Trapping abilities are great...if you know how to use them. The most interesting of which I find to be scarf trapping, done best by Gothitelle, an overview of the strategy is to come in on a pokemon that's setting up, setting hazards or doing anything that wont really damage you. Then you proceed to trick them you're scarf and set up calm minds in hopes of sweeping. Its a strategy that I feel is entirely competitive and shouldn't be limited in any way, the fact that your opponent is running a Gothitelle you know will try and trap your Ferrothorn just requires you to change your plays a bit. Lets say your opponent predicts the Stealth Rock and and is going to trick you his scarf, its simple to predict this and go for your Gyro Ball, Knock Off or Power Whip to OHKO this frail mon. Although your pokemon is crippled due to the scarf trick its just another thing you need to play around, I feel in the recent months of this Gen 6 meta people bitch too much and don't play around stuff thats clearly not a problem to be fair. (I understand Ferro v Goth is specific but it is the most likely scenario)

Moving on to Magnet Pull, Magnezone and Magneton are great forces in the current meta, shutting down Ferrothorn, Skarmory and Scizor who could stand in the way of your sweepers. I feel that Magneton is almost always the better option because of the speed and the option to run eviolite, although Magnezone can break through Heatran(as said above) more easily, although I don't know why you'd let your Magnezone go up against a Heatran. But thats behind the point. Magnet Pull is a top tier ability and probably one of the best of all for OU.

And onto Pursuit, Pursuit trapping is an amazing technique to get rid of the Lati twins and Gengar. Scarfed Tyranitar is a huge threat and possibly one of the best users of Pursuit, besides possibly Bisharp. Predicting a Lati switch or a Gengar switch is a matter of skill and if you allow you Gengar/Lati to come face to face with a Tyranitar you kinda deserve to lose it. Pursuit is another great move with a great influence on the metagame.

So all in all trapping moves get a big thumbs up from me :]

Imperator Romanum

formerly Grains of Salt
Im on my phone so ill update soon
so shadow tag is obviously the best of the trapping abilities and is the one I usually use. When building Bulky offence and birdspam having something to remove a wall out of the picture and to kill a steel type is just glorious. However there are playstyles that don't give a shit about trapping abilities. HO teams usually have enough offensive pressure or momentum that they're almost not affected by it. With the exception of Wobbuffet which you have to play correctly to use efficiently and even then it's not usually getting more than one kill, but I guess that's why Trapping mons are so contriversal.
Oh, and it's usually very predictable whenever a trapper is sent in.

My point is that everyonen of the trapping abilities seem to struggle with one type of playstyle


Don't let your memes be dreams
The choice of Zone vs Ton is basically that of Speed vs Power (or Bulk vs Power if you choose to run Eviolite on Ton). Zone can break through walls like Heatran much more easily, but Magneton outspeeds Heatran and Skarm much more easily (outspeeding Ferro isn't really... like... a problem).
The choice is always Speed vs Bulk. The point of using Magneton over Magnezone is that you outspeed Greninja and Talonflame with a scarf (nobody runs Eviolite Ton in OU), which both could outspeed and kill zone. The big loss of using Magneton over Magnezone isn't the power difference (120 SpA vs 130 SpA) but the loss of bulk.

Gothitelle is probably in the top 5 of the best stallbreakers in OU and a well played Wobbuffet is great support against offensive teams with all-out attackers or set-up pokemon. Wobbuffet can either encore something and give another pokemon a free set-up opportunity or it can defeat offensive threats like Mega Metagross right off the bat. Both still has a niche as Wobbuffet can encore defensive pokemon and Gothitelle can still trick pokemon like Rotom-Wash or Thundurus and trap things like Gengar.
TL;DR: F* Shadow Tag
Big fun of trapping here!
Trapping really is a unique ability, preventing some pokemon the ability to switch out and a give your self a much more superior position.
From my experience trapping is the best for getting rid of your sweeper counters and checks(like the amazing M-pinsir and magnezone core).

In the suspect I had alot of succes with wobbufet in HO team. Like any HO you want to get free turns in order to set up, and wobbeffet do it so easily with encore, the pressure to get hit by or counter attack since you trap is huge.

A lot of time just the presence of the trapper have an impact, like when you have dugtrio the opposing heatran will always have doubt about switching in.
While trapping(abilities) seems a ait unfair aspect, gamefreack always balancing it out by giving it out to a lacking pokemons such as dugtrio and wobbufet(well that was the case until m-gengar came anyway...).

To sum it up its a very good ability, which is not easy to pull of given those pokemons have their problems, but in the hand of a skilled player its very dangerous thing.
The reason that Gothitelle is so incredible imo compared to the other trappers in the tier is its ability to trap everything, including pokemon that aren't able to run Shed Shell, such as defensive megas and Chansey. This contrasts with what I believe to the Mag duo's fatal flaw - because they pretty much only trap Ferro and Skarmory, it's easy to just slap a shed shell onto either one of them and foil any Mag trapper's plans. However, if your opponent is using Gothitelle and they successfully pin down your Chansey or Mega Venusaur then there's no way out for you.

Oh, and I suppose I have to mention Dugtio. Dugtrio used to not have as much competition for its role as it does now, and I think its obvious flaws, namely its downright pitiful stats, stand out more than ever. However if it's specifically Heatran you want dead then it's still your best option, the other trappers in the tier don't really have the capability to pin down Heatran and beat it 1v1 by virtue of their typings and movepools. Heatran is on a lot of teams right now and stops a lot in this meta, so I feel like Duggy's got just about enough going for him to still warrant use, provided that you have an otherwise very Heatran-weak team that really, really likes having it removed, to the point that you're willing to devote a team slot to just that.

That said, Duggy also has Arena Trap + Memento, and is the only trapper capable of setting up Stealth Rocks, so it's also somewhat unique in being the only trapper in OU capable of running effective support for its team. Of course, it has to give up its life to accomplish this.
Thanks for the posts guys!

The other aspect of trapping is revenge killing, if your opponent has a problem pokemon you cant really deal with you can just sack something you dont need and then get a guaranteed kill on something that would have otherwise destroyed your team. An exaplme that ABR keeps giving is with his rain team he is using specs keldeo which basically destroys stall, but it will never get more than one kill if goth is on the other team because it just comes in and gets the easy revenge kill. And what can he do to stop it? Not kill his opponents mons? It seems a tad uncompetitive. Another example that I run into using dugtrio is with things like metagross or diancie(megas) which are very top tier threats and usually my opponents win condition. But if at any point during the battle they want to come in, I can just easily sack something that I dont need or has already done its job and then get dugtrio in to get the guaranteed revenge kill. So it may seem like I am totally against trapping, but I am not 100% sold on all of it being soo bad. Thats why I started this thread because to me I think it could be described as uncompetitive because the victim of the trapping usually has no way to avoid it, but the user of the trapper has to give up a teamslot for a relatively un-versatile mon, and usually has to sack or get a good prediction in to make it effective. So the problem arises when there are teams like stall that can afford to give up a teamslot if it means they dont have to worry about X amount of threats.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that while we have to talk about the specific mons that get these abilities I also want to just talk about the abilities in general. Just because the abilities tend to go to mons that otherwise arent very threatening, does not mean that the abilities are fair or competitive.

Doughboy I admittedly worded this poorly, obviously we should consider the mons that get these abilities I just wanted to emphasize that trapping is the subject here, not any one particular mon.
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I think Gothitelle has a negative effect on the meta. It can trap and kill or cripple almost anything, making it almost impossible to play around. It doesn't just check or counter threats to a given team; it consistently eliminates them and sometimes even sets up on them for a sweep. I saw a lot of GothStall teams in mid to late XY and they were so effective because few teams are going to have more than one stallbreaker and Goth could typically remove it or neuter it with ease.

I have no issue with the other trappers. Dugtrio's stats are too shitty to let it be very useful against most things, it can't Trick Choice items like Goth, and Flying types and Levitaters are immune to Arena Trap. Magnezone/ton only trap Steel types and they don't even have a good matchup with all of them (see Metagross and Heatran) so they don't take away player choice to nearly the degree that Goth does. Wobbuffet can be irritating but I'm not convinced it has a negative effect on the meta like Goth since it can't do anything without first being attacked.
Ah, trapping abilities. I have a lot of things to say about trapping abilities.

Firstly, let me start off by saying that trapping abilities are completely lethal for a multitude of reasons. First of all, even on paper they're threatening. Simply the idea of trapping a Pokemon from switching and therefore ensuring a kill on something potentially problematic is extremely scary, and opens up a lot of support window for the Pokemon with access to these abilities. By definition, the abilities are uncompetitive.

It's not just on paper where these abilities prove their use. Trapping abilities hugely impact the metagame, in particular Magnet Pull. You see it all the time and people preparing for it all the time ,see also Shed Shell Skarmory and/or the rare (but in my opinion bad) Shed Shell Ferrothorn. It's very clear that these abilities are an omnipresent force in our metagame.

Finally, something about trapping abilities I find rather interesting: They ease pressure for the user, but exert an extreme amount the person facing them. To put this into a scenario: You have your Slowbro out on your opponent's Raikou. You really want to go into Ferro, but the risk of Magnezone being doubled into/VS'ed into is so huge, and you have no other switchins to Raikou. Seeing as it can VS anyway unless you have a ground type in tact, situations like this are bleak and massively pressurising, even off paper.
I don't think trapping abilities are inherently broken. You also need to actually be able to do something after you've trapped one of your opponent's pokémon for the strategy to be considered broken. That's why I think what's broken is the ability to trap a large amount of pokemon + the ability to have a favourable matchup against many of them. Obviously, Mega Gengar is a great example of this, its crazy power + coverage allowed it to mangle pretty much anything that ended up in front of it, being able to perish trap anything is obviously a massive cherry on top. However, you contrast that with Dugtrio, who can trap things, but at the same time owing to its weak defenses and low attack loses to most of the metagame and only functions effectively against a relatively few mons.

While Mega Gengar was very powerful, I'm not sure if I'd call it broken if it didn't have Shadow Tag. Meanwhile, just because Dugtrio has a trapping ability it's not inherently broken if it isn't capable of defeating most of the pokemon it ends up trapping.

For me, Gothitelle is either unhealthy or on the verge of being so because it has stats that are just about good enough and a movepool that's just about diverse enough to be able to get advantageous matchups against a large variety of pokemon that it can end up in front of. Of course, there are many that it doesn't beat no matter what, but it can defeat pretty much anything that doesn't hit very hard, like most of the pokemon frequently used on stall, if it prepares the right moveset for it.
Dugtrio has really poor stats to do some work with his abilities. With the loss of perma-weather he saw little to no usage in gen VI, not being able to open up the way for a Chlorophyll Venu or a Volcarona' sweep anymore. He is somehow getting usage right now with M-Pidgeot, but Pidgeot is easily revenge killed, doesn't fair to well in the OU meta and doesn't usually represents a win condition for his team. Dug is decent at what is does, removing Heatran, some weakened Tyranitar, and generally low health mons (Keldeo, Terrakion, Metagross, ...). But that's really all it does. It is really to frail to pose himself as a huge threat if the opponent is not carrying Heatran or what else.

Magnezone's Magnet Pull helps some offensive teams to break through the steel type counters his physical sweeper have to deal with. It is really helpful on the ladder, where Ferrothorn is on most balanced teams and Skarmory runs rampant on stall teams. Still, it doesn't trap Slowbro, Chestnaught, Rhyperior, Clefable, Gliscor, Landorus-T and other decent walls, who can still put work against the offensive threats of the magnezone's team. Skarmory and Ferro might even carry Shed Shell, but different offensive teams adapted to that using some "knock off lures", see Mamoswine, Clefable, Landorus and everything else that can run Knock Off, really. Some SpDef Ferrothorns can even surprise the non-specs HP Fire Magnezone and kill him with Leech Seed + Protect, while the specs variant are usually only deadweight against offensive teams. Magneton should see no usage if Greninja gets banned, so I won't discuss that.

The last one, Gothitelle, is just a "superior Magnezone" in almost every aspect. Shadow Tag is probably the best ability in the game. You trap something, bar ghosts, and remove it from the match. Are you running offense and Gothitelle? Use a specs variant to trap the counters to your mons and let them clean their way through. Do you have troubles against stall? Try the scarfed CM-Rest set with Trick, which helps you to remove every single defensive threats your opponent is running. Are you using stall? Use that last set again, and trap&trick the few threats that can 6-0 you (for example, RD TG Manaphy, CM Clefable, ...). You just realize what does your team need, and run the most successful set against the type of team you are weak to. Maybe I am exposing Gothitelle as the best mon in the game, while it obviously have sub-par stats and many flaws. While the specs variant is super useful to eliminate defensive threats in balanced teams, it is completely deadweight against offense, and the scarf set is useful only at trapping opposing Keldeos and weakening them (uninvested Psychic does 70ish% to it) or crippling mons tricking the scarf away.

Even running Pursuit Tyranitar doesn't stop Gothitelle from doing his work. I want to make some pratical examples.

I was running a Clef-Tyranitar team on the ladder in the last few days. I met a few Sableye/Gothitelle teams. The pressure I had on my shoulders was just as high as the pressure my opponent had. In a possible Clef v Sableye matchup, he can go into his Gothitelle and trap my Clefable, or he can predict my Tyranitar switch and will-o-wisp it with Sableye, crippling it for the rest of the match. Running Pursuit Tyranitar is probably the best answer balanced teams can bring to the table, and even then, you are gambling on a 50/50 on whether will you lose your Clefable or not. And this might be the best scenario for the trapper's opponent.

And if you are not running a pursuit user, pressure will only be on your side. Do you have Ferro out and predict the opposing Magnezone and switch out, gaining momentum but risking him to stay in and attack your possible switch-in? Do you double into something to avoid seeing your stallbreaker trapped by Gothitelle, getting more hazards damage just to see him predicting that and not switching into his trapper? You have a whole lot to lose, and the trapper's user doesn't. That's why I don't think trapping abilities affect in a positive way the metagame. They are uncompetitive, and don't represent an ideal way of how the metagame should be, in my honest opinion. Shadow Tag is just the stupidest and best of them all.
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The major downfall for teams based around trapping is that they entirely telegraph your strategy to your opponent. Like when I see Magnezone + Pinsir in team preview I know what my opponent aims to do and I have an easier time scouting. When I face a team based around a bunch of lures it isn't so obvious to me what the opponent will be doing, so it is much easier for me to make an error or bad plays.

That being said, I still think Shadow Tag needs to gtfo (moreso just Gothitelle then anything else). It doesn't just trap and kill pokemon, but forces the opponent to restrict putting certain pokemon into play akin to what Magic Bounce does against using hazards. Let me give an example scenario:

Chansey vs Charizard Y + Gothitelle

Charizard Y is one of the most fearsome wallbreakers and nothing except Chansey and certain Dragon types can tank a hit from it. Rarely do many teams have more than two checks to that beast. Note that in this scenario SR is on the field and this is not something extraordinary to do. You switch out one of your Pokemon into Chansey to counter Charizard Y. Nevermind that the opponent could potentially double switch into Gothitelle when he forces you into a high pressure situation. The opponent doesn't double switch and you have successfully tanked the opponents Fire Blast. Now what? You know now that the Gothitelle is coming in, and guess what you already have lost. Obviously you will get trapped and killed by some Trick Scarf Rest nonsense if you stay in and Soft-Boiled. Well what if you double switch even into say a Bisharp on the predicted switchin to counter-trap the Gothitelle with Pursuit. Well now you are at a point to be easily 2HKO'ed by Charizard Y's Fire Blast, so it is safe to say Charizard Y is getting a free kill.
Even without really doing anything Gothitelle has prevented your defensive pokemon from recovering. This is the problem with Shadow Tag, it prevents you from getting any sort of tempo / momentum with a defensive Pokemon. It doesn't just straight up trap the pokemon, it invalidates their use throughout the entire match while its alive.

Defensive pokemon aren't the only pokes who fall to "invalidation." I think this replay of mine with my rain team is a good example what Gothitelle could do in a match in high level play against offensive pokemon. If I didn't get so lucky with RS Swept switching in his Gothitelle on my Knock Off I would have been totally done (I didn't predict that). Once the Gothitelle is gone SD Toxic Orb Breloom straight up 5-0's his team really easily. But what if he hadn't accidently let his Gothitelle die? My Breloom would have no way of ever coming in the game and getting an SD to wallbreak. This is why these Gothitelle + 5 passive pokemon stall teams are so annoying. No wallbreaker / stallbreaker is ever going to be to come into play in any match because Gothitelle prevents any sort of aggression with a guaranteed kill of that Pokemon or cripples them to the point of making them useless (ex. tricking taunt+wisp stallbreaker a scarf). Running Shed Shell would obviously prevent the pokemon from having any wallbreaking / stallbreaking potential. Losing Life Orb or Choice Specs / Band makes you lose power to get critical ohko's / 2hko's and losing lefties on stallbreakers prevents you from handling passive damage throughout the match easily.

So yeah Shadow Tag invalidating the use of pokemon in a game, both offensive and defensive, is pretty lame. Its something that's actually uncompetitive unlike say greninja who's straight up powerful. Magnet Pull, Arena Trap, and Pursuit get the pass from me because they can only target specific pokes as opposed to all of them. In the case of Magnet Pull / Arena Trap many of their targets can viably run Shed Shell and can play carefully around Knock Off. Pursuit isn't a guaranteed trap and can be prone to being counterplayed by stuff like Reflect Type or HP Fighting. Also the users of all three are much more prone to being set up bait after a trap (Shadow Tag users have Encore or Trick).

Not to mention I think that Shadow Tag could also be banned on grounds of timestalling. Those stupid Trick+Rest Gothitelle sets can extend matches to way longer than they should be and if you have a nefarious enough opponent they sometimes can timestall you. And there is nothing you can do about it ;.;

The other thing I wanted to mention is that while we have to talk about the specific mons that get these abilities I also want to just talk about the abilities in general. Just because the abilities tend to go to mons that otherwise arent very threatening, does not mean that the abilities are fair or competitive.
Not to call you out MegaScizor but of course you should consider the pokemon that have the trapping abilities. You wouldn't you talk about how annoying baton pass is without considering Espeon. Not considering the users of the abilities and trying to make this some sort of philosophy discussion about uncompetiveness and how trapping relates to it obfuscates the real problems at hand with trapping and the weaknesses that trapping strategies have.
Sometimes a trapping pokemon brings game winning / game losing risk scenarios into the lead selection and the first 2 turns of a battle, but it is heavily matchup reliant. An offensive team can win on turn2 vs stall by leading with a physical sweeper and double to gothitelle as quagsire comes out, and then win easily.

Even if the stall guy actually makes a good prediction there, that "and double to gothitelle" possibility exists on every turn and likely nullifies 3 or so pokemon on a normal stall team.

This will be handwaved away by someone saying "but goth is useless vs offense so it's not centralizing" and that's true. It's not centralizing. No one builds around it. (hmm what am I going to switch into gothitelle? lol)

So I will just continue to have a negative view of trapping abilities and play like a lunatic.


a quality human being
Im gonna say my opinion on Shadow Tag Gothitelle: i think it's a cheap and skill-less tactic for skill-less players and i will explain u why.
it is true that shadow tag goth allows u to trap and kill a ton of fat pokemons, like Chansey, Clefable, SpeDef Heatran, Slowbro, Zapdos, Cresselia, Quagsire (ive only mentioned some of them, the most important ones). Now, u will agree that every respected full stall team rely on at least 2 of the aforementioned pokemons, meaning that as long as goth is alive, those mons are a dead weight (and if its cm, it can set up pretty easily on them and get another kill). Basically, goth is an autowin against stall, as long as u play in the right way. But on the other hand, think at what gothitelle can do against a team with Thundurus, Charizard X, Bisharp, Mega Metagross, Gardevoir, landorus-T etc. not only its a dead weight, its even worse, becos they can come in as easily as im writing this, get a boost and a kill in the next turn. only thing goth is decent at vs offense is coming after a kill (this implies u have already lost a mon lol) and revengekilling some stuff like Mega Hera and keldeo. but u know what? it even fails to ko them with his stab, Psychic, unless u have some prior damage on them
final consideration: gothitelle is an extremely unbalanced pokemon, dead weight vs offense and some particular balance, deadly weapon against fat stall teams. but at the end of all its absolutely not worth it, unless u are a lazy teambuilder who thinks that goth is the only solution to beat stall
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Honestly, I trapping is kinda unfair. Often times the threat of his magnezone coming in on your skarmory can force you to make bad plays. For example, the only answer you have against mega beedrill is skarmory. Your opponent has a magnezone, and you won't be able to switch in your skarmory on beedrill to wall it, fearing a u-turn into magnezone. This is forcing players to have multiple answers to the same mon, meaning they are weaker against other playstyles or mons.

As teleGOD mentioned, I am not a big fan of trapping, because I think it is skill less. In general, I just think lures are much more effective. If you have a magnezone on your team, and you want to get rid of his ferrothorn, he obviously won't send in his ferrothorn, meaning that you can't trap it. However, if you have something like a life orb starmie instead of magnezone, you can send in starmie, he'll send in ferro to wall it, and then you could reveal that you have HP fire on it.
Trapping is a double edged sword. On one hand it puts pressure on the opposing team and forces mind games and sometimes bad switches. On the other hand you are clearly telegraphing your intentions since there is a very small number of pokemon with trapping abilities (this is not the case for pursuit users but I will focus more on Magnet Pull/Shadow Tag). However, if your team is put into absurd amounts of pressure by just the precense of one trapper, then it’s time to reconsider your teambuilding.
Take gothitelle for example. Sure she is a beast against stall sure and can certainly find opportunities to kill or cripple. But why isn’t she a staple on every team then?
  1. Volt switch and U-turn are everywhere. This limits the amount of poke she can trap as a lot of lando rotom cores do not really care for her and she cannot KO them back. U turn will just wreck her.
  2. Knock Off is a thing. Being weak to one of the most common moves in the meta (one that a lot of poke that you do not expect can have) means that she cannot switch in comfortably and mindlessly.
  3. After a revenge kill…. Then what? A lot of poke can easily come out and set up on her forcing her to switch. If she is setting up calm minds and takes back her scarf to sweep then she is back to being locked into 1 move and every scarfer in the meta is faster than her.

Magnezone is much more common and scarier. Its slow but even without trapping it’s still a powerful offensive pivot (specs volt switch hits like a truck). However, like some have said, shed shell is becoming a thing. You might say that this is unhealthy for the meta but it’s actually not. There are two options when you are deciding which item to put in your steel types then:
  1. My entire team is weak to pokemon commonly paired with magnezone (beedril, Pinsir etc) and I NEED my steel type or I auto lose. If this is the case then shed shell is the way to go. I’m sorry that you really want those lefties but this is the team you chose so stick to it.
  2. My team can survive after losing it’s steel type. Go ahead and use lefties to your hearts content.
Putting a shed shell on your skarmory and switching into a ground type on magnezone’s volt switch is a MASSIVE shift on momentum to your side. This can easily win you the game. I honestly have no problems with trappers and they are not so common as to define a meta other than the occasional use of shed shell or baton pass.
So, trapping is a blatant violation of basic pvp rules, and I think gf must have been on something when they first dreamed it up. The real problem is, I feel the exact same way about prankster and Defiant.

Shadow tag is obviously the worst of the three, but they all violate of the concept of counter play where any action should be interesting to both the one using it and the one it is being used on. There's nothing interesting about being put into a guess right or die scenario that just seeing a trapper in the team does
Trapping is a double edged sword. On one hand it puts pressure on the opposing team and forces mind games and sometimes bad switches. On the other hand you are clearly telegraphing your intentions since there is a very small number of pokemon with trapping abilities
Sorry, but I don't really buy this. If your team benefits from trapping, I really don't think you incur a (significant) disadvantage by "telegraphing your intentions". For example, in BW when you had Genesect and Dugtrio on a team (or Ninetails and Dugtrio) anyone could easily figure out what you were trying to do. Yet, despite this apparent telegraphy, these cores still became dominant and extremely viable.

So, trapping is a blatant violation of basic pvp rules, and I think gf must have been on something when they first dreamed it up.
Interestingly, Ubers recently discussed this when they talked about banning Shadow Tag from the tier. One of the biggest pro-ban arguments was that it removes one of the fundamental elements of Pokemon. We aren't playing Bakugan, where your lineup is fixed and the match dissolves into a series of one-on-ones. Switching has been one of the most defining pokemon mechanics (and one of the biggest reasons we can easily trounce in-game AI).

Personally, I feel very uncomfortable with messing with this rule (not just trapping, but also Volt Switch/U-turn). Dugtrio being a (relatively) shitty trapper doesn't stop Arena Trap from being a noncompetitive ability, if it is one. Shadow Tag Chandelure practically broke the BW Dream World tier (and Mega Gengar was quickbanned from OU), which shows that trapping abilities have the potential to be strong.
Trapping itself isn't the problem. Is Arena trap broken? Nah. Magnet Pull? Certainly not. Shadow tag, however; is in a league of its own. We have an ability that doesn't effect only 3 very specific demographics of mons: Shed shell holders, ghosts and other mons with the ability itself. Everything else in the game is free reign. The very nature of the ability itself is uncompetitive. Completely removing one of the core mechanics of competitive play: Switching. I think this is the fairest argument that can be made against Shadow Tags existence in ANY tier without appealing to the specific mons that have the ability. And really, when discussing the issue; the ability itself is what's most important. There are such things are principles, y'know.

Now let's get into some specifics:

Gothitelle. This thing is something any experienced OU player is well aware of because it's utility in the tier is nearly unmatched. You can do so many things with it and fit it onto so many teams; I'm honestly shocked it isn't top 10 in usage at this point. Many will argue that Goth is dead-weight vs certain teams, and while this is true to some degree- when it isn't; it devastates. Being able to switch in and have something completely helpless while you do whatever you want is cancerous, and sure Goth can't do this with every mon obviously; but there are a ton of situations where once it's in- you are fucked. That stallbreaker about to smash your stall to bits? Trick it. You have a Gothitelle. That Keldeo (or pretty much anything in rage of psychic/tbolt/hpfire) putting in too much work vs your balance? Gothitelle. Annoying cleric? Gothitelle. Something offensive that would be easier to deal with if it were choice locked? Sure, why not? Dark types gone? Why not trick something you can set up on and get to +6? Cause you know.. it's not like they can do anything about it.

Am I saying Gothitelle is broken and shadow tag is some godtier ability that can't be stopped? Of course not. In fact Gothitelle itself is pretty bad; but that being the case, it's still a very good mon in a lot of cases. All because of it's ability. When there's an ability so powerful, it not only turns an otherwise mediocre mon into something great but single-handedly allows it to both break and bolster an entire playstyle (stall). There is obviously a problem. Being able to switch and make plays is the cornerstone of competitive play in this game, and shadow tag too easily eliminates this mechanic against the majority of mons in the game. This alone is more than valid reason to at least consider changing things.

I don't normally post shit like this, and what I've said has probably already been said or could be said better. But hey, I wanted to get my 2 cents in. Metagames aren't just about stats. There are also some principles to be upheld. Protecting the core mechanics of competitive play is one of them, I believe. Shadow Tag too vastly abuses it. This needs to change. That's all.
As things stand right now, I don't think trapping is a problem at all in the OU metagame. Here are a few reasons.

1) Every OU trapper has a tradeoff. Gothitelle, Wobbuffet, and Durgtrio, not counting their abilities, are all pretty mediocre. Gothitelle has middling bulk, a decidedly average Special Attack, and is quite slow. Dugtrio's Attack is underwhelming and it's bulk is barely better than wet paper. Wobbuffet has no attacking moves, meaning you need to predict extremely well for him to pull his weight. Yes, their abilities are ridiculously good, but they pay for those abilities with subpar stats or other limitations. If someone wants to use a trapper, they're sacrificing a team slot for a pokemon that has big drawbacks. This is less true for Magnezone, but Magnet Pull is much more situational than the other trapping abilities.

2) Team Preview. Being able to see that an opponent is packing a trapper gives you the opportunity to form a game plan to play around it. For example, it'd be one thing if a Dugtrio came out with no warning and trapped your Mega Gardevoir. However, if you leave your Mega Gardevoir in a position to get trapped by Dugtrio when you know your opponent has a Dugtrio, that's your fault.

3) Ways to escape. Both Volt Switch and U-Turn are a huge annoyance to trappers in general. When a large portion of the metagame partially or completely negates your biggest advantage with a single move, that hurts. VolTurn cuts into the amount of pokemon that trappers can reliably check or revenge kill. Of course, those moves don't invalidate trappers, but they do help keep them in line. If you want to avoid getting trapped on a pokemon that can learn neither, you can always take Shed Shell (lol). Jokes aside, Shed Shell is perfectly fine on some pokemon, such as Skarmory.

If something comes along with ridiculous stats and a trapping ability, maybe we can re-examine it. But for now, I don't think any trapper is a particularly big problem.

Pursuit is an entirely different animal, but I also think that it's perfectly fine for game balance.

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Also, for those ADV nerds, remember how good diglett was in ADV lc? It could come in and basically kill anything in the tier with a banded hit as well as use some mons as a chance to switch in its teammates that can get a free turn of set up off of it. Trapping abilities generally are ok to have, but in the right hands they can be uncompetitive pieces of trash.
I'd like to start things off by saying that Shadow Tag is undoubtedly uncompetitive and unhealthy in an intended "competitive" environment.

One of the major issues I have with Shadow Tag is the automated or skill-less kills that players can achieve with this ability. Doughboy brought up a very good example about how chansey is in a lose-lose situation, and I have another one that is very similar.

Lets say my opponent has a Lopunny and a Gothitelle while I have Mega Venusaur as my lopunny check/switch-in. As my opponent brings out Lopunny, I will obviously want to go to my check, Venusaur, which takes lets say ~40% on the switch in after Stealth Rock. As Venusaur is my only reliable Lopunny switch in, I will obviously want to preserve it. I have two plays to make in this situation, and they both are auto losses with no out-playing or predicting on my opponent's part. One option is to Synthesis in order to preserve my Venusaur for later in the game, which lets my opponent get a free switch in to Gothitelle and thus traps and kills my Venusaur. The other option is if I predict my opponent's Gothitelle switch-in so I switch to my (insert mon that beats goth 1v1 here), leaving Venusaur at ~60%. In this situation, the next time the opponent brings in Lopunny I automatically lose a pokemon because I either have to go to one of my mons that lose to Lopunny or I go to my unhealthy Venusaur (which could not synthesis due to the fear of trapping).

As any reader with the slightest bit of intelligence and a desire to achieve a competitive metagame can infer, the Gothitelle user has successfully worn down my team due to the auto-lose situation that I was in because he had a pokemon that got rid of a core pokemon mechanic. It is also very clear that there was no outplaying or out-predicting in either situation.

Now I ask all of you lovely members of this "competitive" community: Does that situation sound fair?
I'd like to highlight something that ABR said,
Shadow Tag is undoubtedly uncompetitive
StarkGod and phoenix0wright , nobody said trapping abilities on crappy pokemon are broken, they are uncompetitive.

To expand on the point I made earlier, I define "interesting" to be used on as having 2 or 3 viable counter options. If your primary win condition is countered by a specific mon, you can 1) lure it and kill it, 2) weaken it enough that it can no longer switch in, or 3) use a secondary win condition. It is clear defensive mons are competitively viable in a pvp setting.

What about offensive mons? Well, whether you were aware of it or not, this is the root of our concept of "over centralizing." If an offensive mon has enough viable ways to counter play it, it is considered competitive and allowed to stay.

Now to the subject we came here for: trappers. Besides double switching, what can you possibly do to counter play trappers? Just by being on a team they decrease the number of options available to you to an unreasonable level.

I'd love to see what a council member thinks of this. I don't think any action is currently necessary to make a "healthy" meta game, the current OU trappers aren't good enough, but it's obvious this is a problem that will not go away any time soon, and I believe that "healthy" is not good enough, we should go for "ideal," and make as good of a meta game as possible, which does not include trapping.
Here are my experiences with gothitelle. I could talk about wobbuffett, dugtrio, and magnezone (as well as magneton, trapinch, and others) but in my opinion the discussion is less interesting for these pokemon.

Reading through this thread, I have seen a lot of people bring up the situation where gothitelle is on a team with another attacker (the examples were charizaryd-mega-Y and lopunny-mega). But on ladder, I haven't seen these combination a single time. really, 0 times. In fact, I haven't seen anything like them at all. Every time I battle a player who uses gothitelle, it is always on a team with 5 stall pokemon. always. If pairing gothitelle with a powerful pokemon such as lopunny-mega or charizard-mega-Y puts your opponent in a lose-lose situation, then why don't other players do it more often? There must be some kind of trade-off that you're not considering or else I feel like the people near the top of the ladder would just be using gothitelle.

I don't know what that trade-off is, here is a guess: on the types of teams that carry charizard-mega-Y there is simply not enough room on the team to both pack that powerful pokemon, pack gothitelle, and adequately check or counter the rest of the OU metagame. By putting gothitelle on your team, you are accepting a steep matchup disadvantage against some powerful, threatening pokemon, of which there are many. so, essentially by choosing gothitelle, you are actively choosing to not counter some big threats just to help defeat the opponent's chansey or venusaur-mega or something. So you're making the game more matchup oriented: against teams where gothitelle is dead weight, you are at a significant disadvantage and even more-so if you chose to forego countering one of your opponent's pokemon in order to put gothitelle on the team; and against teams where gothitelle is useful you are at a significant advantage because you can kill their charizard-mega-Y counter for free. I feel like there are more teams that will put you at a disadvantage than at an advantage, meaning that gothitelle is overall a bad choice for your team, hence why the top players on the ladder don't use it. it will lose you more games than it will win you.

Stall teams can get away with using gothitelle because all 5 other slots on the team are used to check pokemon in the metagame, but those teams don't pack any threats. If a stall team traps one of your pokemon, you can come back from that because no hole in your team is going to devastate you in the way losing your chansey against a charizard-Y team will, since all the stall pokemon are so weak. So, its super broken "trap the counter and win with the broken pokemon whose counter you just killed" argument becomes a lot weaker, since in order to field a gothitelle without losing to everything it doesn't trap-kill, you have to run a weak stall team that can't take advantage of the holes you opened.

to summarize, I think gothitelle makes the game more team-preview oriented where you win or lose at the beginning. But is that a lot different from many other pokemon? If I run a belly drum slurpuff, I'll have a big advantage against some teams where slurpuff sweeps, and a big disadvantage against others where it's dead weight. It seems the exact same as gothitelle in terms of what it does to the dynamics of play, imo.
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