XY OU Suspect Process, Round 3 - BATON PASS [READ POST #590]

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Mr.378

The Iron Man of Ubers
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I feel like briefly summing up my thoughts on baton pass.

I feel that, though it may be beatable with certain pokemon, moves, or a combination of the two (such as prankster taunt, Mold Breaker Phasers and certain hyper offensive threats like Landorus-I and Mega-Pinsir), Baton Pass is still a play style that must be addressed. This is because it is very possible for the baton pass player to play around its supposed counters through playing around them or by merely picking the right passer, like Zapdos countering mega-Pinsir.

More so, Baton Pass needs to get limited because of how it plays the game. It is a degenerate play style. Unless you bring in a hard counter to whatever passer they have out, they simply do not care about what you do. If you do not pack one of the hard counters to the play style, they are just playing solitaire, which differs from other play styles which even if you do not have any hard counters to the pokemon on their team, you can still attempt to play around them. You are still playing the game with a chance that you may win though means of your own. With baton pass, that doesn't apply. The only way you can win inn that case is through extraordinary luck early in the game. That is why baton pass is an unhealthy play style to the game and why it must be addressed.

As for hitting the strategy, limiting the number of passer is the best way to go about doing this. Option two that is. This is because it more clearly addresses the problem that we are trying to solve. It hinders the degenerate baton pass play style and nothing more, as opposed to option 3 which brings collateral damage by hitting possible legitimate interactions.
 
I got reqs last week and while I didn't face many BP teams, I have enough experience playing them in the past to know that the playstyle is cancer and should be nerfed.

Other people have discussed BP vs. Stall match-ups before, but I'd like to really stress how fucking hard it is to build a stall team that isn't extremely weak to Baton Pass chains, due to the nature of Magic Bounce and the lack of good Haze users (especially since that move is obsolete in a metagame with quality Unaware pokemon in Quagsire and Clefable). It isn't healthy at all for one playstyle to win 95+% of the time against another in the way Baton Pass beats up on Stall. For Stall to have a chance to beat BP, it must run one of the following options:

Roar or Taunt Mega Gyarados-Rest/Sleep Talk/Roar/Attack Gyarados has a variety of issues in this metagame. It doesn't check many of the metagame's biggest threats outside of opposing Gyarados effectively and even for Pokemon it does check, it cannot do much back to them apart from "make them go away." It's also hazard and Defog bait on turns it doesn't use Roar. The lack of reliable recovery is somewhat mitigated by Stall's ability to provide Cleric support, but I don't think many would argue that Mega Gyarados functions better in more offensive roles since Water/Dark isn't a good defensive typing and you're using a valuable Mega slot on it (in addition to the issues I mentioned earlier). As for Taunt, it's viable on offensive Dragon Dance sets to block Status/Whirlwind but Stall teams simply don't have the luxury on wasting an important moveslot on a move that will do nothing well over half the time.

Haze Quagsire-LOL. The whole point of Unaware is to function as a built-in Haze so long Quagsire is on the field. The move is completely useless on this outside of BP chain match-ups due to the redundancy and Quagsire would much rather run EQ/Scald/Toxic/Recover/Protect/other moves over Haze.

Sableye-A perfectly viable Pokemon that gives BP chains an extremely hard time. This is Stall's best option of beating BP and while it doesn't automatically win unless it gets in on Vaporeon/Mr. Mime (a good BP player will probably keep these Pokemon benched vs. Sableye teams), it can counter Baton Pass's only Magic Bouncer while aggravating other members with Prankster Taunt. Sableye can pull its own weight against other playstyles too, meaning it isn't ridiculously niche like other options listed in this post. BP is forced to run Mental Herb on Scoli because of this, making it far harder to restart the chain once it's been broken since Scoli can only come in once or twice a match if SR is out. Not every Stall team can run Sableye though, and for many players its lackluster stats are a deterrent.

Taunt Gengar-An adequate option, but bear in mind that it lacks reliable recovery, Prankster, and the ability to beat an Espeon that has acquired a few boosts. It also loses 1-1 to Zapdos and Scolipede can pass a couple of boosts away vs. lead Gengar due to Mental Herb. It's a viable pokemon and one all BP chains need to worry about, but it's not nearly as effective against such teams as some are making it out to be.

Not listing Sylveon since defensively-oriented ones are walled by Zapdos and Specs Sylveon doesn't fit on Stall. Taunt/WoW/Hyper Voice Gardevoir might work but the lack of reliable recovery makes it hard to fit on Stall teams.


Also, I know that "enjoyment factor" is hardly a key idea when determining whether a playstyle should be nerfed or not, but has anyone honestly ever enjoyed playing Baton Pass teams? It's not fun at all and matches often come down to 50/50's (i.e. does a 1% health Smeargle Baton Pass to Zapdos on a predicted Breloom switchin or Spore the Mega Mawile? Do you lead Vaporeon/Zapdos expecting a lead Mega Pinsir or Scolipede expecting a special attacker? situations like that). This is assuming, of course, that your team can handle Baton Pass at all. It's true that XY is extremely match-up reliant as is, but having a 0% chance to win vs. Baton Pass with a team with no other obvious weaknesses is ridiculous. What's the fun in playing if you know your match-up is impossible to overcome? Even when you beat Baton Pass, is there really any enjoyment in it? When you win vs. BP, you either brought a BP counter, won a 50/50 or two or got a lucky crit...it's really hard to actually use skill and metagame knowledge against a BP team, taking the fun and excitement out of the game and making BP matches entirely pointless for the player facing it.

Also @ RetiredLegend, your logic is that because Baton Pass can lose to hax, it isn't broken? By that logic Darkrai should be allowed in the tier too, since it misses Dark Void a lot!!!
 
Those who have bad experience with batonpass(lost several times) like to brag and insult the BP player when they win. Once I was using BP and had a Defense + 6 Scolipede with max HP. The other guy Bisharp landed a critical Knockoff which OHKO Scolipede. Imagine the amount of hate message I got and bragging? The guy would enter my battle as a spectator and try to troll me because he won that he landed a lucky critical and keeps bragging. It's like winning against BP with a lucky crit or Haze Greninja or some random crap is the biggest achievement in life for those people. Either way to add to the discussion. BP is very vulnerable to crit because there are turns used for boosting stats and even with a solid stats boosts; criticals can end the chains. This is the side effect of running the strategy which makes it far from broken.
All this is saying is that crits aren't part of the plan and everything has to go more or less according to plan. Seeing how crits aren't part of any teams plan and seeing how difficult it is to make things go astray from the plan otherwise, there is little value in saying that one reason BP isn't broken is because crits cause problems. Seeing how crits are quite literately unreliable and, in most cases, not something the opponent can force to happen, listing them with counters to BP is foolish, they aren't anything more than bad luck that takes its toll. If we have to resort to things like pure luck to win in many situations, then I'd say there is a problem.
 

Mowtom

I'm so meta, even this acronym!
There's a difference between the word broken and overpowered. You can call Batonpass overpowered but it's not broken. Also to note I didn't list critical as counters to BP but said they are more prone to it and that's why they aren't broken. I do beleive option 2 is taking it too far by limiting to 3 as you need atleast a minimum of 4 Batonpassers to function well. Option 3 is unneeded. So my vote is going for option 1. If we were to make tiers then BP can be a top tier but it can still lose to countless strategies. Haze, taunt moldbreaker, etc.. If I'm battling an evolite chansey then I need a strong physical sweeper to counter it so we take this into consideration when teambuilding. So why can't people take BP in consideration too when team building? The answer would be because these moves are bad against regular teams. Well I need to adjust my offense team to win against a stall team so there must be a sacrifice for everything.
But if you add a stall breaker such as Gengar to your team to deal with stall, it isn't useless against every non-stall team you face.
 

Imma Fly

Who needs wings when you have Rokushiki?
Be it broken or not, it does not really change the fact that Baton Pass is something that is being uncompetitive to the game. Even if there are "countless strategies" available to counter baton pass, it does not really matter.

When playing against the playstyle known as Baton Pass, the fact still remains that barring hax (if you count hax then everything can be potentially "uncompetitive" or "broken" since hax occurs everywhere), it boils down to whether have you packed something on your team to stop baton pass teams cold in their tracks. If you did, you win (at least most of the time), if you didn't you lose outright unless your opponent is really bad. It doesn't really matter how much you understand the OU metagame, if you don't pack a countermeasure to baton pass, you lose unless you score a timely crit.

The issue here, is that there is a stark contrast when facing other playstyles, where your ability and experience in the metagame actually allows you a fighting chance to salvage your win despite how the matchup goes, which is what gives the element of competitiveness to this luck-based game. Honestly, I cannot see how Baton Pass does not reduce the competitiveness of the metagame, when the outcomes of matches are decided simply based on whether one side has deliberately counter-teamed the other. The only time I can think of when skill is involved when Baton Pass teams might be concerned would be when both sides are using Baton Pass.

Countermeasures to beat Baton Pass are available. What if there are? As explained by many users why running countermeasures make matters bad when "facing regular teams", assuming your team does not need stuff such as Thundurus/ Sableye to function at their best, the moral of the story would be to to be cautious and deliberately force a countermeasure for Baton Pass on your team, get the win against any eventful Baton Passer, and hope that you don't encounter scenarios where the one pokemon/move you sacrificed for your Baton Pass counter comes back to haunt you. That, or build your team as per normal, fare as how you normally would against other teams and hope you don't meet somebody fishing for a free win with Baton Pass. Either way, it would mean that the level of uncompetitiveness would remain unchanged or even increase, depending on how many people try to fish for the "auto-wins" using baton pass and how many people who don't use Baton Pass chains make the effort to try and prepare a "strategy" for Baton Pass on their teams.

In this case, since Baton Pass Chains are just going to affect the element of competitiveness, at the very least that ought to be stopped.
 
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Clone

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There's a difference between the word broken and overpowered. You can call Batonpass overpowered but it's not broken. Also to note I didn't list critical as counters to BP but said they are more prone to it and that's why they aren't broken. I do beleive option 2 is taking it too far by limiting to 3 as you need atleast a minimum of 4 Batonpassers to function well. Option 3 is unneeded. So my vote is going for option 1. If we were to make tiers then BP can be a top tier but it can still lose to countless strategies. Haze, taunt moldbreaker, etc.. If I'm battling an evolite chansey then I need a strong physical sweeper to counter it so we take this into consideration when teambuilding. So why can't people take BP in consideration too when team building? The answer would be because these moves are bad against regular teams. Well I need to adjust my offense team to win against a stall team so there must be a sacrifice for everything.
Haze Quag is shit. Haze Greninja is shit. Rest Talk Mega Gyara is borderline shit. Taunt Thundy is borderline shit. All these things that can potentially counter BP are shit outside of doing anything other than counter BP. How much team match up means in a BP vs. Other team match is exponentially greater than in any other matches for reasons ready stated. It's OP, and unhealthy for the meta.
 
There's a difference between the word broken and overpowered. You can call Batonpass overpowered but it's not broken. Also to note I didn't list critical as counters to BP but said they are more prone to it and that's why they aren't broken. I do beleive option 2 is taking it too far by limiting to 3 as you need atleast a minimum of 4 Batonpassers to function well. Option 3 is unneeded. So my vote is going for option 1. If we were to make tiers then BP can be a top tier but it can still lose to countless strategies. Haze, taunt moldbreaker, etc.. If I'm battling an evolite chansey then I need a strong physical sweeper to counter it so we take this into consideration when teambuilding. So why can't people take BP in consideration too when team building? The answer would be because these moves are bad against regular teams. Well I need to adjust my offense team to win against a stall team so there must be a sacrifice for everything.
How are BP teams more prone to crits than any other team?
 
How are BP teams more prone to crits than any other team?
One crit basically screws the whole team over. There is equal likely hood, but in HO your pokes will die from one attack a lot anyways and stall can usually play around it. Baton pass basically auto loses if it gets crit on without a sub (Most of the time anyways)
 

Nova

snitches get stitches
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I don't think you can necessarily say that baton pass teams are any more "shut down" by a timely crit than any other team. If you're playing stall and your physical wall that stops the majority of your opponent's team gets taken out by a crit, you pretty much lost the game because of one crit. If you're playing HO and you set up with your late game sweeper and that gets crit and dies instead of sweeping the opponent, then you just lost the game due to a crit as well. You can't argue that Baton Pass gets shut down by any crit either because if the opponent crits a substitute, then it really doesn't matter
 

Srn

5/6 Doctors agree Russian Roulette is totally safe
I don't think you can necessarily say that baton pass teams are any more "shut down" by a timely crit than any other team. If you're playing stall and your physical wall that stops the majority of your opponent's team gets taken out by a crit, you pretty much lost the game because of one crit. If you're playing HO and you set up with your late game sweeper and that gets crit and dies instead of sweeping the opponent, then you just lost the game due to a crit as well. You can't argue that Baton Pass gets shut down by any crit either because if the opponent crits a substitute, then it really doesn't matter
I disagree. Baton pass teams are screwed much much more by an untimely crit.

The big difference is this: When your win con dies in an HO team due to a crit, there's still a chance to win, even against a competent player! If you have extremely strong priority like bandnite or a fast mon/scarfer like Mega Manectric or scarf chomp, then they can be "makeshift" win conditions. Obviously, you're not gonna build a great team around sweeping with banded espeed, that's a little difficult to do. But in specific scenarios, even when your win condition is dead, you can still pull something out of your ass and win against a competent opponent.

To be fair, I can't really say the same for stall, as it is completely different with stall and baton pass, which are ultimately more defensive playstyles. When you crit a scolipede with +6 in every defense and +6 speed, there is little chance that a baton pass team can recover. No competent player is gonna let that vaporeon set all the way back up to +4 and let that sylveon get 2 or 3 calm minds or so to be able to sweep with espeon again!

TL; DR more offensive teams can still recover their momentum somehow despite a crit, baton pass teams find it MUCH more difficult to do so.
 
Critical hits are a lucky way to beat Baton Pass if your team is completely unprepared for Baton Pass or you get outplayed by your opponent. Critical hits can also be used to beat any team if you are unprepared or get outplayed. Critical hits really have nothing to do with this discussion; they are just a quirk created by Game Freak which sometimes allows a player to win who otherwise wouldn't have / shouldn't have won.

For those against a nerf on Baton Pass: Please stop acting like critical hits are a legitimate way to stop Baton Pass. You are not helping.

For those in favor of a nerf on Baton Pass: Please stop acting like critical hits are the only way to defeat a Baton Pass team. There are numerous ways which do not depend on luck.
 
I don't think you can necessarily say that baton pass teams are any more "shut down" by a timely crit than any other team. If you're playing stall and your physical wall that stops the majority of your opponent's team gets taken out by a crit, you pretty much lost the game because of one crit. If you're playing HO and you set up with your late game sweeper and that gets crit and dies instead of sweeping the opponent, then you just lost the game due to a crit as well. You can't argue that Baton Pass gets shut down by any crit either because if the opponent crits a substitute, then it really doesn't matter
Honestly, I don't even see why we are discussing if a crit is potentially harmful to a BP team or some other team. It's a crit. Literally the definition of luck. There is nothing you can do to make it happen when you want unless you use Storm Throw or something. Even if a crit may win you the game, that isn't anything worth noting because of how unreliable and completely out of your control it is.
 

Nova

snitches get stitches
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I agree, it just seemed like some people might believe baton pass is less potent or less ban worthy because it is seemingly stopped by luck while the fact is that all teams are subject to various forms of luck. Yes, it is harder to regain momentum on a baton pass team after taking a crit, but if you're behind a sub which happens often, the crit does not matter. If I'm playing HO and I get my only win condition crit, thats pretty much the same form of major luck as getting my baton pass mon crit without a sub. If I'm playing HO and I get some random crit that doesn't impact the game, that's pretty much the same as getting a crit onto a sub that would've broken either way on a bp. Offense, stall, balance, baton pass, etc are all subject to forms of luck from which they cannot recover from and they are all subject to forms of luck that have little impact on the outcome of the game. Crits are not a reliable method of stopping baton pass, they are also not a reliable method of stopping other teams. Luck is a built in factor in the game and should not influence if a pokemon/strategy is broken or balanced
 
do we go ban happy like this at the start of every meta? (honest question) I myself never have any problem with baton pass though that might be somto do with the playstyle I use to be fair. Uncompetitive, hate that word. Its either broken or its not. The beginners guide to battling (or some guide in the smog) even says, Pokemon is 50% skill 50% luck. Baton Pass may well be broken, but not uncompetitive (imo, probs gonna get screamed at) sorry for ranting/talking out of my arse but just wanted to put out my opinion
 
I feel the need to say that "Random crits" is not any more potent to Baton Pass teams that it is to other teams. A Random crit OHKO (which in itself is even more unlikely provided the BP-er is boosting Defense or Sp. Defense as well, and/or is constantly hiding behind Substitutes) will do as much damage to a boosted Pokemon as it will to any high-damage output Pokemon, the only difference being that BP teams now have to restart the stat-boosting process.

Honestly, if a BP team is screwed over by one random hit that somehow passes the Substitute or is done by a priority before Sub is up, then it's the BP Team's fault, and that's a bad thing: One of the few effective general strategies being both relying on if the other team didn't count for something on their otherwise unbreachable team and being lucky at the same time.

BP is just like Minimize: both are incredibly unfun strategies that rely on stacking the odds against enemies through unfun methods. It's more fun to play against a team that's balanced than it is wasting all of your moves because the BP team has priority pokemon on their team that keep setting up Substitute or because Minimize + Swagplay means you have to hope that you'll actually get a hit in.
 
BP is just like Minimize: both are incredibly unfun strategies that rely on stacking the odds against enemies through unfun methods. It's more fun to play against a team that's balanced than it is wasting all of your moves because the BP team has priority pokemon on their team that keep setting up Substitute or because Minimize + Swagplay means you have to hope that you'll actually get a hit in.
I don't think a playstyle being 'unfun' is the right way to describe it. I actually do agree with what you said, but there was an example that came to my mind which I thought was 'unfun' that compelled me to post this reply. To be perfectly honest, I find stall teams to be incredibly unfun to play against; they just seem to Protect every second turn racking up Toxic Damage, Leech Seed Damage or Phazing you out. It's just so uninteresting and honestly feels like a giant waste of time to me; I'd much rather play against a more offensive team. But that doesn't mean it should be banned or even nerfed as a playstyle.

Instead of comparing BP teams to Swagplay - which is basically luck-dependent - I think we should compare BP teams to Mega Kanga. In Pokebank, if you didn't have a Mega Kanga check, then most of the time you will be swept by one. Same concept with BP; if you don't come prepared to face BP teams then you will be swept. The only question is, are we prepared to allow BP to become a common part of our metagame (like Weather last gen) or do we need to nerf it now to prevent overcentralisation of certain 'mons that can check BP?
 

Vryheid

fudge jelly
Unless your team really has something that runs something that is a natural bane for baton pass teams, (eg. T-wave/ Taunt Thundurus/ Sableye being prime examples), it is usually an uphill battle for the non-baton passer.
Unless your team really has something that runs something that is a natural bane for stall teams, (eg. Trick/ Taunt/ Mega Charizard being prime examples), it is usually an uphill battle for the non-stall user.

Unless your team really has something that runs something that is a natural bane for hazard users, (eg. Rapid Spin/ Defog/ Pokemon resistant to Stealth Rock being prime examples), it is usually an uphill battle for the non-hazard user.

Unless your team really has something that runs something that is a natural bane for Talonflame users, (eg. Stealth Rock/ Heatran/ Rotom-Wash being prime examples), it is usually an uphill battle for the non-Talonflame user.

Am I getting the point across here? Pokemon is a game about risk management. When you make the deliberate choice to not include any effective strategies against a major threat or an entire team archetype, you are taking a risk (the possibility of being put in an uphill battle) in the hope of a reward (being stronger against other team archetypes). It is also a game with the potential for extremely unbalanced team matchups- even if you removed BP, players would still be able to "counterpick" top metagame strategies or force players to run options to deal with rare or niche team compositions. Any remotely competent Pokemon player can pick a top OU team, design a team specifically to counter it, and beat it in competitive matches 90% of the time. Does this mean that the original team is bad? No, because if the counter team strategies are rare enough then its impact over long term sessions on the ladder is driven to statistical irrelevance.

So when you're saying you don't want to run a BP counter or even a set of checks to it on your team, what you really mean is you're willing to take the risk of potentially running into one and have nobody but yourself to blame if you lose whenever they show up. To be fair, there's nothing inherently wrong with that- if even 20% of the teams you come across are BP chains, then having an advantage against the other 80% of players may be more than enough of an edge to maintain a positive win/loss ratio and thus continue to increase your rank.

The delusional notion that every good OU team has to have advantageous- or even equal- matchups against any opponent is fundamentally a failure to appreciate the perpetual uncertainty of the game. You cannot win consistently against every team you come across- the best you can hope for is to do well against MOST. If you feel then Baton Pass is common enough that this would require checks and counters directed against it, then run offensive Landorus and Aegislash and moves like Taunt or Perish Song. Otherwise, it's entirely reasonable that your assumption that you won't have to deal with BP may not pay off and you have no right to complain.

The reason Pokemon or strategies are banned from Smogon tiers is not because they require specific checks or are "too easy to use" but because they're overcentralizing or uncompetitive. There is no evidence of either in the case of Baton Pass chains- the continuing dominance of offensive teams on the ladder is testament to that. As is the fact that even the best BP players routinely get beaten by teams not using ANY of the ridiculously overspecialized counters being listed in this thread. Just watch some of Dennis's ladder replays where he ends up losing- in many cases he simply gets outpredicted and outplayed by standard OU lineups. Every single top BP player on the ladder has replays like these. Of course there's always some weird sets like Haze Dragonite/Gengar or Sleep Talk Talonflame which sometimes catch them off guard- but those moves have other utility and are hardly difficult to slot onto these Pokemon anyways. It's a far cry from Haze Murkrow or whatever other nonsense the doomsayers here are claiming are necessary to have any chance against this kind of team.

Speaking of Dennis, people often like to use him as a scapegoat to whine about how "easy" it is for some top BP players to climb up the OU ladder. But looking at his RMT and his posted replays make two things clear: A. this guy has some incredible prediction skills/metagame knowledge, and B. he is more than willing to lose certain matchups if it gives him better odds over the course of many matches. Most notably he changed Mr Mime to Zapdos because he's willing to have a massive disadvantage against certain checks (Calm Mind Mega Gardevoir or Perish Song for example) in exchange for the ability to take on other threats more effectively (Talonflame, Mega Pinsir).

He even admits that that there are certain obscure threats such as Doom Desire Jirachi that he has no chance against, but he's willing to to take the risk of running into one because he knows that having a high number of advantageous matchups is MUCH more important than having consistent matchups. He wins because he understands risk management better than anyone else on the ladder- not because Baton Pass is inherently a broken or overpowered strategy.

I'd love to see some more intelligent arguments as to why BP needs to be heavily nerfed than "HERP DERP BP COUNTERS R DUM", but it doesn't look like I'll be getting any. Hopefully the people who actually complete this suspect test are able to look at it with a little more perspective.
 
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I'm gonna quote a post from the previous BP thread that is relevant to this discussion and to what I'm about to say. IMO everyone should read it before voting, it's one of the best insights on BP I've seem:

Here's the real reason that Baton Pass is finally getting this discussion.

In previous generations, Baton Pass has been around, and it was annoying, and it could even win against good teams played by good players. But it wasn't particularly consistent, and it wasn't particularly uniform. BP users had an uphill battle against dominant archetypes like weather offense and had to make a bunch of choices in their teambuilding that exposed them to different pokemon. The fact that there was so much variance in playing BP made it an unattractive strategy to most top-tier players through gens 4 and 5, and it was mostly relegated to the occasional appearance on the ladder.

What has changed Baton Pass in Gen 6 is not the addition of any particular weapon like Scolipede or Sylveon, because BP has had fantastic threats in the past. They've made BP more viable, but not broken. What has changed is this:

Baton Pass is Pokemon's first fully competitive solved team archetype.

Baton Pass is figured out. There is a right way to build Baton Pass. Scolipede, Espeon, Smeargle, Sylveon, Vaporeon, Zapdos (with, to my knowledge, one possible variation - Mr. Mime). Other changes that are made, or pokemon that are included, are almost universally going to make this team worse. Although I'm no BP expert, I'm pretty sure that even the items and movesets are pretty much set in stone for making a Baton Pass team.

I have no experience with generations 1 or 2 but I can say with confidence that I have never seen anything like this since my time in pokemon. Even heavily formulaic teams like Rain Dance offense in gen 3 had comparatively large amounts of variation that could personalize a team or tweak it to perform better against certain threats in the metagame. What we are facing is in some sense both the bane of and the dream of a competitive pokemon player - an optimized team archetype. We all set out to make the best team possible for our strategy when we teambuild, well, here it is: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair! etc. etc.

This brings me to my next point:

The decision to nerf/ban Baton Pass is not a balance decision. It is a philosophical decision.

It's not a balance decision because, as has been established, Baton Pass is very beatable. In fact, the same decisionmaking applies regarding Baton Pass as any other archetype when you're teambuilding - should I include the pokemon/moves that give me game against this strategy? It's up to you to decide if your chances against BP are going to be better or worse. The thing is, the fact that Baton Pass is optimized magnifies the importance of this decision because it's basically a binary - having a certain somewhat small set of moves/pokemon beats it, not having them makes your chances pretty dim. But this isn't like Kangaskhan or Mega-Lucario, where you have a very small pool of counters to a single pokemon. This is an entire type of team we're discussing. This is the consequence of having a team archetype in OU which is completely figured out.

What I'm trying to get across here is that the "problems" people are identifying with Baton Pass don't stem from the power of the move or strategy. They stem from the fact that the best Baton Pass team is known. It has counters, and it has things that it beats, and they are mostly known as well. That can make matches seem coinflippy. That can make the game more about team match-ups. And, depending on your point of view, that could be a problem.

So the decision is this:

What is competitive pokemon about?

Is competitive pokemon about making the best team possible? That's my view. If so, then banning Baton Pass now seems contrary to what we're all about. If the game is about the search for the best or most optimized team, why would we punish users for finding it? It's not as though Baton Pass is some unstoppable juggernaut rolling through the metagame, rather, it's a solid strategy that has been pushed to its furthest extent. If anything, the fact that the strategy is figured out is a reason to keep it in OU. It's not going to change much. It's a known quantity. So whatever adaptations or changes need to be made to teams to beat Baton Pass can be made with the knowledge they'll work over the long run. Any minor tweaks made to the strategy can in turn be countered, but we aren't going to see some revolutionary Baton Pass team that bypasses all of the counters and takes the meta by the storm.

On the other hand, you might be of the view that competitive pokemon is about maximizing battling skill. If so, then banning Baton Pass, and in general "figured-out" archetypes, is pretty much a no-brainer. When a strategy is so finely-tuned that its strengths and weaknesses are pretty much set in stone, the actual battle can feel like a formality. If you have the necessary tools, then you'll win; if you don't, back to the drawing board, irrespective of your personal abilities as a battler.

I've written about this before, at length, here. I would hope that people would read it, and in so doing gain a better foundational understanding of the disputes we have here at Smogon. The distinction between the focus on teambuilding and battling is, in fact, what underlies most of our balance discussions. But I'd like to emphasize that the consequences of the decision we make here, which is the first of its kind, are likely to be fairly far-reaching. We're setting a precedent here about what to do with a strategy that's been figured out, and what we decide is probably how we'll approach the next strategy that's figured out. So for those of you who hate Baton Pass, feel free to vote to ban, but what happens when the best Rain team is made? Or the best HO team? Or the best stall team? Will you be willing to get rid of them, too?

Think about it.
I'd like to say I agree with everything this guy said.

Here is the thing about BP. It's the result of what people have been trying to create since the first generation: the Perfect Pokemon Team. A team that is mathematically guaranteed to have advantage against the majority of opposing teams. That's the actual goal of every player when they start building a team, and achieving that is the ultimate teambuilding achievement. So ultimate, that Denisss is the first person who did it.

So, is BP uncompetitive? Hardly. If anything, BP is the most competitive team ever made. After all, what is competition? Competition is playing to win. Here at Smogon, we celebrate the effort of a battler to make the most optimal team as possible, play the game in the most rational and skilled way possible, and maximise their chances of winning as much battles as possible. We use terms like optimality and consistency when talking about the game, because we want to play it the best way as possible. We want to be the best, win as often as possible and get to the top. That's what being a competitive community means. Nothing short of the absolute best is good enough.

And BP? It does exactly that. BP pulls all the stops necessary to win. Now how can a competitive community, one that attempts to play the game in the highest level as possible, say that a team can be too good for the meta? How isn't that completely against the very philosphy that competitive playing stands for? Can we state a limit for how well someone is allowed to play? Is there such a thing as being too competitive? Should we put a cap on how good a player can be, and punish those who break that cap?

And, like the guy said, what will we do if more perfect teams are made in the future? Can there be a HO team that hits too hard? Or a stall team that is too hard to take down and therefore needs to be removed from the meta? I want you to think about this, because this is a very delicate question.

And before someone quotes this and says something like "then unban Kyogre", I'll tell you that this is not the same thing. A pokemon like Kyogre (or a move, or an ability) is an element. An element is broken by design, it requires no teambuilding to be broken. Kyogre will always be broken in any team it's put on. Baton Pass is different, because it doesn't have a single broken element on it. It's made of only OU or lower pokemon, using moves and abilities that are not broken by design. To achieve the perfect BP team, the people who made it actually to use their skills in teambuilding and combine these elements on a rational way. It takes zero effort to use something like Kyogre, but it took 15 years of effort to get to the standard BP team.

And yes, I'm aware that there are unexperienced players who copypaste the bp team. Again, that's besides the point, because the same can be said about any team or strategy in the meta. A strategy doesn't become less skilled because there are unskilled people using it. If anything, these people are being skilled because they are using the best strategy available and shooting for the top. They are being competitive, after all.

So, having obtained suspect reqs, I'm going to vote option 1, because, as a competitive player, I want to believe I'm part of a community that celebrates playing this game to win. If BP is at the top, I'm going to try my best to surpass it and make a better team. If there is a ceiling, I'm going to break it, not try to forbid people from jumping too high. I'll make a team that can have a reasonable chance of beating BP while still being effective against other things. And frankly, the results of the suspect ladder, as well as all the examples of OU pokemon given here who can beat BP, show that this is not impossible. It can be done, and I want to see BP being surpassed, not removed because it was too competitive for Smogon.
 
do we go ban happy like this at the start of every meta? (honest question) I myself never have any problem with baton pass though that might be somto do with the playstyle I use to be fair. Uncompetitive, hate that word. Its either broken or its not. The beginners guide to battling (or some guide in the smog) even says, Pokemon is 50% skill 50% luck. Baton Pass may well be broken, but not uncompetitive (imo, probs gonna get screamed at) sorry for ranting/talking out of my arse but just wanted to put out my opinion
I do find this to be a rather dumb question when you actually spend maybe 10 seconds thinking about what was asked. Are there more bans in the beginning of a meta as opposed to later on? I'll leave this one for common sense to answer.

Unless your team really has something that runs something that is a natural bane for stall teams, (eg. Trick/ Taunt/ Mega Charizard being prime examples), it is usually an uphill battle for the non-stall user.

Unless your team really has something that runs something that is a natural bane for hazard users, (eg. Rapid Spin/ Defog/ Pokemon resistant to Stealth Rock being prime examples), it is usually an uphill battle for the non-hazard user.

Unless your team really has something that runs something that is a natural bane for Talonflame users, (eg. Stealth Rock/ Heatran/ Rotom-Wash being prime examples), it is usually an uphill battle for the non-Talonflame user.

Am I getting the point across here? Pokemon is a game about risk management. When you make the deliberate choice to not include any effective strategies against a major threat or an entire team archetype, you are taking a risk (the possibility of being put in an uphill battle) in the hope of a reward (being stronger against other team archetypes). It is also a game with the potential for extremely unbalanced team matchups- even if you removed BP, players would still be able to "counterpick" top metagame strategies or force players to run options to deal with rare or niche team compositions. Any remotely competent Pokemon player can pick a top OU team, design a team specifically to counter it, and beat it in competitive matches 90% of the time. Does this mean that the original team is bad? No, because if the counter team strategies are rare enough then its impact over long term sessions on the ladder is driven to statistical irrelevance.

So when you're saying you don't want to run a BP counter or even a set of checks to it on your team, what you really mean is you're willing to take the risk of potentially running into one and have nobody but yourself to blame if you lose whenever they show up. To be fair, there's nothing inherently wrong with that- if even 20% of the teams you come across are BP chains, then having an advantage against the other 80% of players may be more than enough of an edge to maintain a positive win/loss ratio and thus continue to increase your rank.

The delusional notion that every good OU team has to have advantageous- or even equal- matchups against any opponent is fundamentally a failure to appreciate the perpetual uncertainty of the game. You cannot win consistently against every team you come across- the best you can hope for is to do well against MOST. If you feel then Baton Pass is common enough that this would require checks and counters directed against it, then run offensive Landorus and Aegislash and moves like Taunt or Perish Song. Otherwise, it's entirely reasonable that your assumption that you won't have to deal with BP may not pay off and you have no right to complain.

The reason Pokemon or strategies are banned from Smogon tiers is not because they require specific checks or are "too easy to use" but because they're overcentralizing or uncompetitive. There is no evidence of either in the case of Baton Pass chains- the continuing dominance of offensive teams on the ladder is testament to that. As is the fact that even the best BP players routinely get beaten by teams not using ANY of the ridiculously overspecialized counters being listed in this thread. Just watch some of Dennis's ladder replays where he ends up losing- in many cases he simply gets outpredicted and outplayed by standard OU lineups. Every single top BP player on the ladder has replays like these. Of course there's always some weird sets like Haze Dragonite/Gengar or Sleep Talk Talonflame which sometimes catch them off guard- but those moves have other utility and are hardly difficult to slot onto these Pokemon anyways. It's a far cry from Haze Murkrow or whatever other nonsense the doomsayers here are claiming are necessary to have any chance against this kind of team.

Speaking of Dennis, people often like to use him as a scapegoat to whine about how "easy" it is for some top BP players to climb up the OU ladder. But looking at his RMT and his posted replays make two things clear: A. this guy has some incredible prediction skills/metagame knowledge, and B. he is more than willing to lose certain matchups if it gives him better odds over the course of many matches. Most notably he changed Mr Mime to Zapdos because he's willing to have a massive disadvantage against certain checks (Calm Mind Mega Gardevoir or Perish Song for example) in exchange for the ability to take on other threats more effectively (Talonflame, Mega Pinsir).

He even admits that that there are certain obscure threats such as Doom Desire Jirachi that he has no chance against, but he's willing to to take the risk of running into one because he knows that having a high number of advantageous matchups is MUCH more important than having consistent matchups. He wins because he understands risk management better than anyone else on the ladder- not because Baton Pass is inherently a broken or overpowered strategy.

I'd love to see some more intelligent arguments as to why BP needs to be heavily nerfed than "HERP DERP BP COUNTERS R DUM", but it doesn't look like I'll be getting any. Hopefully the people who actually complete this suspect test are able to look at it with a little more perspective.
Posts like these make it pretty clear who has read the last however many pages of this thread and who hasn't. You literally just went and repeated the stuff that was already said and responded too.

Just so I understand your replays correctly, you are trying to make a point by linking replays with TF, Mega Pinsir, Ditto, Perish Song and HO? I think this strongly supports the above statement.

Most of the stuff you said isn't even what people are saying, it is you taking what they said, putting a moronic spin on it and then acting like they are the morons. Try reading what people said for what they said, not what you want to hear because you think you can respond to it adequately, which you don't even do here anyway.

I'm gonna quote a post from the previous BP thread that is relevant to this discussion and to what I'm about to say. IMO everyone should read it before voting, it's one of the best insights on BP I've seem:



I'd like to say I agree with everything this guy said.

Here is the thing about BP. It's the result of what people have been trying to create since the first generation: the Perfect Pokemon Team. A team that is mathematically guaranteed to have advantage against the majority of opposing teams. That's the actual goal of every player when they start building a team, and achieving that is the ultimate teambuilding achievement. So ultimate, that Denisss is the first person who did it.

So, is BP uncompetitive? Hardly. If anything, BP is the most competitive team ever made. After all, what is competition? Competition is playing to win. Here at Smogon, we celebrate the effort of a battler to make the most optimal team as possible, play the game in the most rational and skilled way possible, and maximise their chances of winning as much battles as possible. We use terms like optimality and consistency when talking about the game, because we want to play it the best way as possible. We want to be the best, win as often as possible and get to the top. That's what being a competitive community means. Nothing short of the absolute best is good enough.

And BP? It does exactly that. BP pulls all the stops necessary to win. Now how can a competitive community, one that attempts to play the game in the highest level as possible, say that a team can be too good for the meta? How isn't that completely against the very philosphy that competitive playing stands for? Can we state a limit for how well someone is allowed to play? Is there such a thing as being too competitive? Should we put a cap on how good a player can be, and punish those who break that cap?

And, like the guy said, what will we do if more perfect teams are made in the future? Can there be a HO team that hits too hard? Or a stall team that is too hard to take down and therefore needs to be removed from the meta? I want you to think about this, because this is a very delicate question.

And before someone quotes this and says something like "then unban Kyogre", I'll tell you that this is not the same thing. A pokemon like Kyogre (or a move, or an ability) is an element. An element is broken by design, it requires no teambuilding to be broken. Kyogre will always be broken in any team it's put on. Baton Pass is different, because it doesn't have a single broken element on it. It's made of only OU or lower pokemon, using moves and abilities that are not broken by design. To achieve the perfect BP team, the people who made it actually to use their skills in teambuilding and combine these elements on a rational way. It takes zero effort to use something like Kyogre, but it took 15 years of effort to get to the standard BP team.

And yes, I'm aware that there are unexperienced players who copypaste the bp team. Again, that's besides the point, because the same can be said about any team or strategy in the meta. A strategy doesn't become less skilled because there are unskilled people using it. If anything, these people are being skilled because they are using the best strategy available and shooting for the top. They are being competitive, after all.

So, having obtained suspect reqs, I'm going to vote option 1, because, as a competitive player, I want to believe I'm part of a community that celebrates playing this game to win. If BP is at the top, I'm going to try my best to surpass it and make a better team. If there is a ceiling, I'm going to break it, not try to forbid people from jumping too high. I'll make a team that can have a reasonable chance of beating BP while still being effective against other things. And frankly, the results of the suspect ladder, as well as all the examples of OU pokemon given here who can beat BP, show that this is not impossible. It can be done, and I want to see BP being surpassed, not removed because it was too competitive for Smogon.
So, with your Kyogre point, you suggest we focus on the broken elements because you don't believe that the whole construct can be broken, just the elements? Sounds like a silly notion to me, especially since it is supported more by "I think this..." or "I feel this..." as opposed to actual, evidence-based arguments.
 
While everything you and the person you quoted from a previous BP topic said is true, I have to say that you're disregarding the one main argument: while BP teams may be the perfect teams competitive-wise, they're also incredibly unfun to play against. To some, competitive anything is playing to win, but to the majority (at least I hope), and to myself, competitive gaming is both playing to win and having fun while doing it. Having a team that's perfect with the minimal amount of flaws might be perfection competitively, but do you really think anybody would want to go to a live Pokemon tournament and watch as 2 Baton pass users stall it out until one makes a mistake? Tiers are indicative of this "fun" architect: Kangaskhan may be an almost flawless pokemon if used right, but let's be honest, how fun is it to play against without using another almost "flawless" Pokemon? Let's say you're running a team consisting of mostly UU or OU pokemon, and you're faced with pokemon that are considered Uber tier, such as Blaziken, Mega Kangaskhan, Electric Arceus, and Destiny Bond Gengar. How much fun are you going to have battling against such an immovable object? You may be able to counter it with smart plays or pokemon that can successfully hamper it, such as Will-o-Wisp Prankster, but what if they know about this strategy and switch out, or what if you aren't ready for such a threat? Things become unfun, as you know you're going to lose.

My vote is going to 3, solely because there isn't an option to just stick BP plays in Uber, or any kind of thing like that. That actually kinda surprises me, what with the Tier lists just being released; why not have a middle ground choice where you lock the set-up to a certain tier?
 
While everything you and the person you quoted from a previous BP topic said is true, I have to say that you're disregarding the one main argument: while BP teams may be the perfect teams competitive-wise, it's also incredibly unfun to play against. To some, competitive anything is playing to win, but to the majority (at least I hope), and to myself, competitive gaming is both playing to win and having fun while doing it. Having a team that's perfect with the minimal amount of flaws might be perfection competitively, but do you really think anybody would want to go to a live Pokemon tournament and watch as 2 Baton pass users stall it out until one makes a mistake? Tiers are indicative of this "fun" architect: Kangaskhan may be an almost flawless pokemon if used right, but let's be honest, how fun is it to play against without using another almost "flawless" Pokemon? Let's say you're running a team consisting of mostly UU or OU pokemon, and you're faced with pokemon that are considered Uber tier, such as Blaziken, Mega Kangaskhan, Electric Arceus, and Destiny Bond Gengar. How much fun are you going to have battling against such an immovable object?
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-uu-11745

This is a standard competitive match.

I highly doubt you found watching it to be fun, and I doubt most players would think playing it is fun. Yet, nobody in their right mind would say something like stall should be removed because it's unfun to play against.

And this is all subjective. I love the feeling that comes after I break a BP chain. It's very rewarding for me. To me, playing against BP is like getting through a difficult boss, the feeling of victory is worth it. And while others might not feel like that, I don't think we, as a rational community, should base our bans on what each player thinks is fun to play against. Because again, it is subjective.
 
Why in the world are we arguing if it is fun to play against/fun to spectate/fun to play? To begin with, more often than not, you aren't playing against it, you are clicking attacks to mimic an interaction between you and the opponent while they sit there and do their thing, practically completely oblivious of what you are running. You can essentially just look at the opponent's team and be like, "Prankster user? No. Flying spam? No. Perish Song? No. Particular dangerous setup sweeper? No," and then proceed to just work your way down the list of boosts to stack. If any of those are a yes, you just adjust your lead and play accordingly. Very rarely do you exceed that level of interaction with the opponent. Obviously, the list of questions is slightly longer, but not even notably.

Sorry you don't get it. Uber is not a meta, it is a banlist. The highest meta of Smogon is OU. People play Ubers because they like to play it, but it's supposed to be the list of things that are banned from competitive play.

So saying something should only be allowed on Ubers = saying something should be banned from competitive play.
From an OU perspective, yes, otherwise no, not at all. Any Pokemon that is banned from a lower tier is still allowed in a higher tier unless it is banned their too. Seeing how Uber is the highest tier, every Pokemon is allowed there, just as every Pokemon from below OU is allowed in OU. Uber most definitely has a meta, saying otherwise is so oblivious that it is almost silly.
 

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do we go ban happy like this at the start of every meta? (honest question) I myself never have any problem with baton pass though that might be somto do with the playstyle I use to be fair. Uncompetitive, hate that word. Its either broken or its not. The beginners guide to battling (or some guide in the smog) even says, Pokemon is 50% skill 50% luck. Baton Pass may well be broken, but not uncompetitive (imo, probs gonna get screamed at) sorry for ranting/talking out of my arse but just wanted to put out my opinion
It doesn't have to do with being ban happy, quite the opposite actually. Because the council felt that no single Pokemon was suspect worthy and a big problem for the metagame, they decided to deal with Baton Pass. Also, Baton Pass teams received huge buffs in Scolipede, Sylveon, and Dazzling Gleam on Espeon to a lesser extend, which made them more potent than they were, and if the glass was almost overflowed, it overflowed in 6th gen. Finally, uncompetitive may be used for anything that reduces the importance of skill from a battle, and many people are arguing that Baton Pass teams do this, as they almost always win against teams that don't pack check or counters to them. And unlike most Pokemon and strategies, if you don't have ways to deal with it you lose, it can't be played around.

Vryheid said:
Unless your team really has something that runs something that is a natural bane for stall teams, (eg. Trick/ Taunt/ Mega Charizard being prime examples), it is usually an uphill battle for the non-stall user.
An uphill battle is another thing from a sure loss. Even if you don't pack any dedicated wallbreaker or stallbreaker, you can still get past stall teams by stacking your team with sweepers with similar counters, use lures, set up hazards and take advantage of double switches to wear down checks and counters to your sweepers, use trappers, or even outstall the opponent (very hard but sometimes doable). This means that even without checks or counters to stall, you can still deal with it as long as you play better than the opponent, which is not the case with Baton Pass teams. If i don't pack a Haze Quagsire or Roar Mega Gyarados or Sableye on my stall team, or a set up sweeper that can threaten Baton Pass teams on my balanced team, i lose, simple as that.

Vryheid said:
Unless your team really has something that runs something that is a natural bane for hazard users, (eg. Rapid Spin/ Defog/ Pokemon resistant to Stealth Rock being prime examples), it is usually an uphill battle for the non-hazard user.
That's just not true. There are many offensive and even some balanced teams that don't have a way to deal with hazards and can still hold their own just fine against teams that employ heavy use of entry hazards (eg DeoSharp HO), such as Rain HO. Offensive pressure and Taunt are both good ways to mitigate the effect that entry hazards have on a team.

Unless your team really has something that runs something that is a natural bane for Talonflame users, (eg. Stealth Rock/ Heatran/ Rotom-Wash being prime examples), it is usually an uphill battle for the non-Talonflame user.
You just can't apply this argument for SR, as SR is found on every single team out there. It's like saying that if you don't have an attacking move on your team you can't get past Magic Bounce Espeon. So this means that every single team can by default check Talonflame. Also, the checks to Talonflame have a lot of uses in OU and are not used just for the sole purpose of beating it, unlike gimmick moves and sets such as Haze Quagsire, Haze Greninja, and RestTalk Roar Mega Gyarados. Finally, unlike Baton Pass teams, checks and counters to Talonflame can fit into every single type of team, while balanced and stall teams often have zero responses to Baton Pass teams, because if they use some, it's almost sure that their efficiency against any other playstyle will drop.

Moving on with what you said, yes matchup will always play a big role in Pokemon, but Baton Pass teams take this to an extreme by either forcing players to play offensive and employ Pokemon such as Thundurus, Mega Pinsir, Mega Gardevoir, Gengar, and Talonflame, or use absolutely gimmick moves such as Haze. Do you realize how limiting to team building this is? And unlike any other Pokemon and playstyle in OU, if you don't have checks for Baton Pass teams, you will lose, there is no getting around it.

There is no notion that every good team must have good matchups against anything, because this just isn't possible. However, every good team should at least have a chance of beating any kind of team, and Baton Pass makes this impossible for many playstyles, not just stall.

Also, the reason bans happen is to have a better OU metagame, simple as that. What makes a better metagame is very subjective, and there are some partially objective criteria to use in order to improve the metagame, such as brokeness and uncompetiveness, but they are not the only ones. Not to mention that none of those terms has a clear cut definition anyway, so in the end, it all boils down to what people want OU to be like and what they don't want it to be like.


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Anyway, i don't really have much to say as others have said it for me, but i will be voting for option 2. This way, we keep Baton Pass teams as a viable playstyle, just severely nerfed and to the point that it's no longer an auto win against a bunch of playstyles. Also, we get to keep Baton Pass Magic Bounce Espeon and Baton Pass Speed Boost Scolipede, both of which are not broken at all and have no reason to get banned. The less casualties we have, the better.
 
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