Z-Moves

McMeghan

Dreamcatcher
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I'm making this thread to know where people stand on Z-Moves. I'm not promoting any kind of ban, nor do I want something specific to happen. I just wanna talk about them and hear players' opinions on the matter.

So why am I making this thread to begin with? Well, I'm starting to think more and more that Z Moves on Stabs in particular are so strong they're borderline OP, especially on setuppers. Once a Pokemon has boosted its offensive stats, a Z-boosted stab will blow through almost everything. On one hand, it's a good thing because it promotes proactive gameplay and on the other hand, I feel like it's too powerful at times.

The two examples that stand out the most to me and which made me think about this more are:
  1. when building in SM UU and trying to check stuff like CM Latias or SD Terrakion
  2. watching SM OU battle and seeing Z-Fleur Magearna in particular just winning games after games just because Z-Fleur just destroys even its checks with its sheer power
I saw some people sharing these sentiments on discord, for example WCAR said something I could easily get behind:

00:38] WCAR: i think z-moves push a whole slew of mons to be borderline broken/unwallable when previously these mons could be stopped by a few hard checks, and now with the advent of z-moves all these dangerous mons have the opportunity to utterly destroy their hard checks. and since z-moves are universal and can be used on every mon, we dont ban anything bc if we ban one mon for being unwallable due to their z-move set whats stopping us from banning like other 20 different mons with the same logic?
[00:38] Fin_g_nator: Twinkle tackle mag is the most ridiculous of them all
[00:39] WCAR: like if mons didnt have access to z-moves would shit like magearna and heatran be as ridic as they are now
I agree here that hard checks/counters barely exist anymore. One example I briefly mentionned earlier is SD Terrakion in UU. Sure you might have Hippodown or Slowbro on your team, which are like, some of the best physical walls in the games and even them won't save you from boosted Z-Fight or Z-Rock. In OU, countless games have been won because Heatran blew through its checks thanks to Z-Magma (goodbye Gliscor).

Of course, the idea of altering your moveset to beat your checks isn't anything new and shouldn't be frowned upon, but there used to often be a drawback to it. "Wasting" one of your 4 valuable slots being one of the biggest one. I feel like this drawback is not as bad nowadays because a Z-Stab is pretty much always useful. It will either blow through your check/counter or get a super strong hit vs anything else (not to mention other benefits such as not triggering abilities like Iron Barbs).

I know there is also the option of playing around them but I feel like the Z-Move user has such a clear advantage in those situations it's so one-sided.

So yeah, in conclusion, Z-moves are amazing, nothing new here, but I feel like they're on a whole new level when Stabbed and on setuppers because you can just kill anything without much drawback.
 

Kink

it's a thug life
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In general I stand by my original position (https://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/preliminary-discussion-z-moves-tiering-policy.3590813/), that our tiering metrics weren't designed to adequately handle the scope of "nukability" that z-moves brought. Not that there's anyone to blame or anything because I don't think I was very clear in my initial post to offer any type of suggestion or way to move forward, but that was more due to a lack of knowledge and experience on the matter, and since then a lot has happening in the UU tier which warrants a "position" being put forth.

Pearl and I both agree that gen 7 UU is currently in a better state than ORAS UU ever was towards the end, however, SM has not been kind to smogon formats. Some have chosen to embrace the fact that z-moves exist and have found ways to adapt, however if we're being totally honest, part of that adaption was having to take radical steps to ensure the UU tier remained balanced. A huge part of UU's BL list was pushed over the edge because of how well they abused z-moves and nukes. Both Thundurus's, the DD + Fly Z mons, PZ, SD Scoli, even Jirachi. And the unfortunate part was that stuff like Jirachi was totally fine if it wasn't for the setup set. The tier had a steel-type wish passer - this would've been an amazing dynamic to explore and probably would've set the pace for a very different UU tier.

In any case, this seems like a clear symptom of not banning the cause of the problem. Something needs to be said regarding the fact that the main responses to those issues was "bye mon into oblivion you go". The issue is, we never had any clearly defined guidelines on how to deal with situations like the ones listed above, with respect to z-moves.
 
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Oglemi

skillshot
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I like Z-Moves. They prevent games from getting too bogged down and drawn out even in bulky offense v bulky offense matchups. And I feel most of the metagames are bulky enough that Z-Moves don't just turn games into a coinflip or anything like that, they're still very prediction based and promote smart playing. I like the nuke option, it makes games more exciting.
 

Bughouse

Like ships in the night, you're passing me by
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I'm surprised to see more of the focus on z-moves being on the attacking moves, vs the set up moves. Attacking Z-moves are effectively just somewhat stronger versions of Gem-boosted attacks from BW. And no one thought gems were broken then. I do understand that z-moves have several notable improvements (generally it's more than just a 1.5x power increase, 100% accuracy, no recoil/drops, can't be knocked off, opens up additional options for attacks you wouldn't otherwise be able to use as an attack on many sets i.e. z-dream eater, z-focus punch), but at the end of the day the attacking move buffs are one turn nukes.

I know that in OU currently, set up z-moves are not super common, but looking at other metas, the set up z moves have been far worse problems in many cases. I mean, LC (an extreme case, obviously, due to its unique meta) was a total wreck until both Evoboost and Z-Conversion Porygon were removed. Manaphy and Xurkitree also wrecked UU in a similar way due to set-up.
 

Sage

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I'm surprised to see more of the focus on z-moves being on the attacking moves, vs the set up moves. Attacking Z-moves are effectively just somewhat stronger versions of Gem-boosted attacks from BW. And no one thought gems were broken then. I do understand that z-moves have several notable improvements (generally it's more than just a 1.5x power increase, 100% accuracy, no recoil/drops, can't be knocked off, opens up additional options for attacks you wouldn't otherwise be able to use as an attack on many sets i.e. z-dream eater, z-focus punch), but at the end of the day the attacking move buffs are one turn nukes.
I think you're glossing over how much more consistent Z-moves are at being executed than Gems are. Knock reduction is big in a meta where most tiers have multiple common abusers, some moves like Shadow Ball are straight up doubling in BP. You can use them on demand and aren't forced into tough situations where you need your STAB right now but on a future turn need the gem to gain an important KO. They're a lot more constricting for defensive counterplay than Gems were in my opinion.

Regardless of the outcome or if any changes to tiering are made, I think discussion on these are long overdue, so props Roro for bringing this up. As a player who returned from Gen 5 practically straight into USUM, Z-moves baffled me at first as a mechanic. They seemed wholly unfair and made teambuilding much more restricting. I think it's at least worth exploring whether we want Z-moves to define Pokemon or not. In the time before gen 8 comes out there's a chance to re-evaluate and we should definitely take that.
 

ABR

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For better or worse, I've come to accept Z-Moves as a fundamental part of this generation. I won't speak for other tiers but I can elaborate on how I view them in OU.

I'd say the existence of Z-Moves is a net positive. They enable a wider range of offensive options which is something that previous gens like ORAS and BW lack to me. Without Z your only item options are really choice ones and defensive ones (lefties/helmet). Outside of megas, this leads to a pretty limited pool of offensive pokemon. Z moves help in both giving mons their entire vaibility (sd chomp, dd reg gyara) and also bolstering already good pokemon (tran, gear, lele). I can see why the latter is frustrating at times but I'd still say it properly toes the line of adding flavor without making things too difficult to keep in check. My proof that it hasn't gone too far? Well, the consistent potency of bulkier builds, even in the face of these offensive powerhouses. We aren't experiencing some coin-flipping slaughterfest of offensive juggernauts running the tier where any bulky mon is a burden.

Regardless though, even if you want to say their overall impact is a negative one, it can't possibly be egregious enough to warrant severe and broad action. If the damage is livable, we have a duty to respect the design of our game to a certain degree. Banning individual pokemon is one thing that Smogon has already established as suitable, but entirely stripping away one of the core generational differences is not an option to me.
 

Shurtugal

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I know I am about to suggest something that might be a bit weird, but I would ask for some patience as we don't have any precedence for Z-moves:

What if we added/considered an option to ban Z-moves on specific Pokemon? I know it might be awkward because what is to stop us from banning Speed Boost on Blaziken, etc. but I truly think Z-moves are a different enough mechanic that we can justify it being different than banning abilities or other items/moves, because z moves are more than just an item theyre a whole mechanic. We ban Lucario from holding Lucarionite as the official clause, so maybe you could argue banning certain Pokemon from holding Z-items could be justified.

The reason I bring this up is because the OP makes a good point except for the flaw that Z-Moves are pretty stupid even on non-STAB moves and its a real reach to truly pinpoint STAB Z move as the issue (see: happy hour Jirachi in UU, Z Hyper Pheromosa, etc.).

While adding this option would only really effect several pokemon or any at all in OU (maybe Magearna?), it could open up things like Jirachi being back in UU, etc. which would be really cool.

I really disagree with a widespread ban on Z moves on STAB because you cannot prove it is busted on every Pokemon that used STAB Z move, but you can prove that Z move is broken on one particular Pokemon in its tier (Mageanea arguably).

I would like to hear opinions on this, or perhaps alternative solutions? Because i do feel something should be done, it is just hard to know what exactly.
 

Havens

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Banning Z-moves on specific mons is, in my eyes, an extreme. Take UU for example (though I'm not too well versed in the tier, pardon); if they banned Z-moves for many of the mons that were deemed broken for using them and allowed them to return to the tier as a result (Salamence, Scolipede, PorygonZ, Gyarados, Kommonium Z, Jirachi), I'd see it as an open invitation for radical change, especially re-introducing them into a tier that has gone through much of that. Not only would a metagame of such scope have to adapt so dramatically to mons without Z-moves, I'd also infer that it'd be a lengthy coding process to actually get this in motion. I wouldn't even know how coders would be able to realistically make it so that Jirachi + Z-Happy Hour is banned in UU, but would have to change the coding to make it usable in OU. By similar logic, it's possible to re-allow Venusaur in NU by banning its own use of Z-Celebrate to RU (which is what it was deemed bannable for in the first place).

Being able to code what mon can or can't use a Z-move for "x" mon in "x" tier would be incredibly difficult without A.) being incredibly time consuming and complex to code (and create policy for), and B.) opening this giant can of worms for re-allowing broken elements to enter a tier that has adapted without them.

What if we added/considered an option to ban Z-moves on specific Pokemon? I know it might be awkward because what is to stop us from banning Speed Boost on Blaziken, etc. but I truly think Z-moves are a different enough mechanic that we can justify it being different than banning abilities or other items/moves, because z moves are more than just an item theyre a whole mechanic. We ban Lucario from holding Lucarionite as the official clause, so maybe you could argue banning certain Pokemon from holding Z-items could be justified.
Banning Mega Stones is much simpler to do since it's only restricted to usage by one pokemon, which is way easier to manage than being able to ban a Z-move on "x" mon, since it's available to all pokemon. You could argue that they're a mechanic on its own, but it's one that all have the ability to use.
 

david0895

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I really disagree with a widespread ban on Z moves on STAB because you cannot prove it is busted on every Pokemon that used STAB Z move
- Flyinium Z allows Landorus-T beat the Grass-types that should stop it
- Firium Z and Steelium Z allow Heatran to beat checks like Defensive Landorus-T or Tyranitar
- Grassium Z and Steelium Z allow Kartana to beat counters like Zapdos or Mega-Venusaur

I can go on all the night, adding stuff from all the tiers.

Anyway, I don't have a definitive opinion on this argument, but I can't deny that a +1/+2 Z-STAB move is barely manageable.
 

Shurtugal

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I never said that Z STAB was bad or didnt do its job, but I don't think it is broken on every Pokemon that can use Z STAB. And most STAB Z moves need a boost in order to be threatening, defensive z fly lando or offensive z koko arent broken and are fundamentally healthy imo just off top of my head
 

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