Forum Projects: Viability Rankings

By cbt and FireMage. Art by Bummer.
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The many subforums within the Smogon Metagames forum have spawned a wide variety of projects designed to enhance the experience within said subforum for both veterans and new players alike, promoting lots of discussion relating to the tier in question. A prime example of these projects are the viability ranking threads which have popped up in most subforums within the past year. Created by PK Gaming due to his dissatisfaction with the normal usage-based tier lists, which might not accurately reflect a metagame, viability ranking threads aim to "tier" Pokémon in an order based on performance within the respective tier, without having a direct effect on the actual Smogon tier listings.

In these threads, as their titles suggest, users bring up Pokémon in order to rank them, attempting to spark discussion with supporting and opposing viewpoints, and when there is enough consensus, the Pokémon's rank will change, often with other Pokémon being discussed simultaneously.

The Rankings

The viability ranking threads are divided into six ranks, from the defining Pokémon of the respective tier in S rank, down to the Pokémon that should never be used in E rank. Some threads also have subranks within each full rank (Top, Mid, Bottom) to show an even better picture of the viability concept.

S Rank

S rank contains Pokémon that define a particular tier, being able to perform a role (or more) extremely well and lack glaring flaws which prevent them from being effective in said roles. Examples include Politoed in OU for its ability to summon permanent rain and pose a significant threat within said rain, defining an entire playstyle in the process; or Scolipede in NU, having the ability to effectively set up entry hazards with its high Speed, boost with Swords Dance and passing it with Baton Pass, and having a powerful STAB Megahorn to threaten many Pokémon.

A Rank

A rank Pokémon are excellent at what they do, but they may have some small flaws, such as a small dependence on team support or potential to give free turns, but they aren't outclassed by other Pokémon. An example is Latios in OU, which outspeeds the majority of OU, has high Special Attack, and good coverage, but has issues with Pursuit users, revenge killers, and specially bulky Steel-types that can come in on its STAB moves somewhat easily. Durant in RU is also an A rank threat, being a potent offensive threat and having the Speed to set up Hone Claws to remedy its accuracy issues with Hustle, but the slight inaccuracy before a Hone Claws and its vulnerability to special attacks, particularly Fire-type ones, keep it in A rank.

B Rank


B rank Pokémon are great at what they do, but also have some issues that prevent them from being higher, such as some dependence on team support or partial outclassing by A or S rank Pokémon, but this doesn't mean that they aren't good Pokémon. An example is Pinsir in NU, which, despite its raw power, has an annoying Stealth Rock weakness, a rather average Speed, and trouble dealing with Pokémon such as Misdreavus. Abra in LC is another Pokémon with loads of raw power, Speed, an immunity to residual damage, and a guaranteed Focus Sash, but also is extremely frail and is very vulnerable to Choice Scarf users and priority.

C Rank

C rank is where Pokémon start becoming somewhat niche picks, as they often have heavy reliance on team support due to some annoying flaws and face serious competition from higher ranked Pokémon. Examples include Zebstrika in NU, which is extremely fast, but suffers from a lack of power, having trouble getting crucial KOs, and is also quite frail to boot, as well as Metagross in OU, which despite being quite good on paper, is lacking coverage with its STAB moves, is quite slow without a boost, has severe four moveslot syndrome, and is weak to common attacks such as Earthquake and Fire Blast.

D Rank

D rank Pokémon are mediocre Pokémon that might be used for their small niches, but are better off not being used due to their inability to do much else; aside from their serious flaws, they are often highly outclassed by Pokémon of the higher ranks. An example is Deoxys in Ubers, which despite having good stats, it is completely inferior to Deoxys-A, which has much higher offensive stats that completely make up for the slight loss in bulk, and Deoxys-S, which sets up entry hazards much better due to its extremely high Speed.

E Rank

E rank Pokémon should never be used in serious play, as they are awful and have far too many flaws to even justify their use outside of ladder trolling.


Viability ranking threads are one of the most common aspects of each Smogon Metagames subforum, and for good reason, as they show a general picture of what's viable and what isn't, and can be used by veterans and new players alike. Despite being high-traffic threads within each subforum, they can easily be involved in quality discussion if intelligent users willing to contribute are frequently posting in them. Go post in them if you are willing to contribute to a certain tier, as you might be rewarded for your efforts!

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