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All Gens Creating Guidelines For What Makes Something Banworthy [Part 1]

Discussion in 'Tiers' started by Disaster Area, Feb 1, 2018.

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  1. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Leader

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    As is clear from this thread, the community largely agrees that we ought to have guidelines in terms of what makes something banworthy. Given that, this thread is about creating those guidelines. I'm happy to write it. However, it obviously needs community involvement and support. If something gets contentious we can have a vote on specific aspects of it, but notwithstanding that the process will be writing comments, suggestions, and so on in this thread and turning that into a cohesive body of text.

    Firstly, what is the scope of these guidelines supposed to be? I suggest that we primarily focus on Pokemon-related bans and "cheese"-bans [e.g. baton pass abuse, swagplay, sleepperishtrap]. I think that Species Clause, the ban on Evasion moves, Sleep Clause, Freeze Clause, etc. should initially be grandfathered into the system. There are good reasoning for these rules but for the most part in the retiering process we won't be focussing on calling them into question, so I think we should ignore them, or only cover them after we have hashed out more pressing aspects of the tiering policy.

    The parts in Italics below are things I think should be included in the guidelines, anything not in italics is commentary.

    ---

    1. What makes a "cheesy" strategy cheesy, when should we act to mitigate it in the ruleset, and what should the scope of bans on various cheesy strategies be?

    A cheesy strategy is a strategy which is heavily reliant on having good luck to respond to is, or wins or loses almost entirely dependently upon matchup, and is fairly effective when it is used. Another way of thinking about a cheese strategy is that it's a strategy which significantly takes the direction of the game out of both player's hands when it is used.

    I think that this is an adequate definition of what a cheesy strategy is. What do you think?

    We should mitigate cheese strategies in our ruleset when the cheese strategies are clearly effective and at least somewhat frequently used.

    I think that's fairly common-sense.

    The scope of a ban on a cheese strategy ideally removes the strategy or weakens the strategy enough that it is no longer either legal or viable, with as little collateral damage as possible (that is, few if any strategies not considered cheesy are not made illegal by the ban), and is as simple as possible.

    I think all of the priorities here are clearly sensible and uncontroversial, but it is definitely worth noting that the 3 goals compete with eachother (mitigating the strategy, minimising collateral, and simplicity). I don't think dictating how those aspects should be balanced is within the scope of these guidelines.

    ---

    I think the first part is the easy and less controversial part. Now for the part likely to be more contentious?

    2. What makes a Pokemon banworthy?

    I think that there is no one indicator that a Pokemon is banworthy. What I suggest (you may have other ideas, which I'd love to hear) is that we create a list of indicators that a Pokemon may be banworthy.

    Although no single one of the following conditions is necessarily adequate for a Pokemon to be considered banworthy, a Pokemon which fulfills more conditions and which satisfies them more strongly is more likely to be banworthy.

    Here is a list of conditions:
    - Extraordinary usage, within the context of the metagame's generation.
    - A particularly small or restrictive pool of checks and counters, especially when considering those that would otherwise be viable if the given Pokemon were banned from the tier.
    - A wide variety of sets that are difficult to adequately cover simultaneously on a team, especially if it can be difficult to deduce the set given typical amounts of in-game information, or difficult to scout without significantly risking the Pokemon doing far more damage.
    - Very punishing of imperfect play. In the most extreme cases (for example, RBY Mewtwo), making a mistake could mean enabling the Pokemon to acquire a boost and then be nearly guaranteed to be able to sweep or take out a number of Pokemon as a conesequence.
    - Singlehandedly or near singlehandedly making otherwise top tier threats far less viable (for example, Primal Groudon which in ORAS makes otherwise top or very good Pokemon Kyogre and Arceus-Electric drop severely in viability singlehandedly)
    .
    - Is a particularly effective user of a strategy that places additional limitations on counterplay (for example, Mega Gengar in ORAS with Shadow Tag)
    - Is a particularly effective support Pokemon (e.g. hazard setter or remover) with limited counterplay.
    - Has a particularly small or restrictive pool of Pokemon which can break it, especially considering those which run certain sets almost exclusively to enable it to beat the given Pokemon.


    I think maybe the 6th condition could be rewritten somehow? The 7th one also could do with rewriting. Pokemon I had in mind when writing it included ADV Deoxys-D or Skarmory, or a particularly good spinner/spinblocker/defogger etc. in some later generation. It's a tough one to really elucidate properly and it's very rare that something would actually meet such a threshhold for banworthiness but I think it merits inclusion. The final condition could also use rewriting. I was thinking about stuff like ORAS OU stall which iirc led to players running very specific sets just to handle a certain type of team and so on.

    Is there anything else that needs to be added? I think something regarding "centralisation" could be worthwhile too, but I wasn't sure how to write it.

    ---

    Related Threads:
    All Gens - What Makes Something Broken (To You)? | Pokémon Perfect
    All Gens - Do You Think The Ubers Tier Is Broken In Most Generations? | Pokémon Perfect
    All Gens - Ban Policy (Discussion) | Pokémon Perfect
    All Gens - Questions About The Tiering Process | Pokémon Perfect
    Older related threads:
    All Gens - Perceptions of Brokenness | Pokémon Perfect
    All Gens - Tiering System Discussion - Banning | Pokémon Perfect
     
  2. Ortheore

    Ortheore Leader

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    edit that's not really an edit: I realise that this post is basically saying you've done everything wrong, or at least it can seem that way. So I just want to be clear that even though I think we should approach things differently, you've done some good stuff here and even if my approach were to be taken, this would still be worthwhile

    ======

    I disagree fundamentally with the approach taken by these guidelines. As I said in the other thread, we really ought to be framing the discussion around the extent to which a given threat undermines competitive depth. This is ultimately why we implement bans in the first place and not addressing the root issue can lead to all sorts of problems- we can have pokemon that are banworthy but have dynamics that aren't quite covered by whatever guidelines we have in place, and we can end up banning stuff that isn't causing any issues due to it fitting some definition of broken.

    RBY is riddled with examples, including in our lower tiers. The Nidoking suspect in 4U is an excellent example here, as it boasts extraordinary usage (to the extent that that's possible in RBY), no hard counters, only a range of checks that are pretty easily worn down, it singlehandedly renders electrics unviable in a tier filled with Water types, and it's fairly punishing for imperfect play due to its power and coverage. We all knew these things were true of Nidoking when we started the suspect, and as soon as we started it we realised it was dumb because 4U was in a perfectly acceptable state even with Nidoking.

    Dragonair in 5U is another example- the only hard stop to it is Gastly, it greatly limits counterplay in a manner similar to STag in later gens and it finds extraordinary usage. Despite this, it would be crazy to ban it because we know 5U is great as it is.

    ======

    I'll make a followup post going into the details of what's been written in a bit because there's more to be done than just sit on the side telling people they're doing everything wrong, it's just I think what I'm saying is really important in ensuring our banning policy remains consistent and that it's done for the right reasons, so I just wanted to get this out there first
     
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  3. Ortheore

    Ortheore Leader

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    I feel like cheesy is a bit of a bad word to use, but I can't think of anything better off the top of my head. I feel like it's easier to say they undermine competitive play, whether through matchup dependence, luck or whatever (I've never liked a lot of the terms used to describe these things). Also in the intro to your post you list bp as a cheese strat... which it is, but it's straight-up broken in some gens, so I'd say it's not mutually exclusive, idk if that's worth mentioning. Lastly a factor I feel is notable is that bp in particular is non-interactive- the bper almost ignores their opponent while they accumulate boosts
    I feel like minimising collateral should either be explicitly made the last priority or removed entirely. The only difference between these strategies and regular brokenness is that cheesy strats are outside the meta. I don't think this is sufficient reason to compromise our ruleset, especially since we're forging new tiers rather than modifying existing old ones, so we don't need to worry about not changing everything
    ...a Pokemon that is considered banworthy may satisfy a few of these conditions to an extreme degree, or it may satisfy many of them (I feel like that's maybe a better way of wording?)
    I disagree with this. High usage is not a problem in and of itself.
    I think quality and quantity need to be considered, where this seems to only address quantity. Also the second half of this is worded really strangely imo. It sounds like it's talking about pokemon that are repressed by the threat's presence, but based on the context I think this is referring to pokemon that are only viable for the purpose of checking the threat?
    Agree, though these are oriented more towards offensive threats, which is notable
    Interesting to note that you specifically refer to top threats becoming unviable. Would we be better off simply saying notable or something like that? Idk it might be fine but it strikes me as a bit odd
    I think the stuff on support/defensive threats could be handled by rewording the above stuff so it isn't offense-centric and maybe including a note that all types of threats can potentially be broken (offense/defense/support). Maybe also acknowledge that it's usually offensive threats that are broken idk.

    I'll give centralisation a crack, but it's arguably covered by having limited C&C and by making stuff unviable

    Consistently forces teams to take extensive measures against it, or to prepare for it specifically as opposed to being grouped with similar threats

    Actually now that I think on it, I'm not sure I addressed the issue, but I feel like this is an important point regardless. By extensive measures I mean including multiple checks to a given threat, whereas preparing for a threat specifically is exemplified by XY Ubers- there's preparing for fairy types, and then there's preparing for GeoXern.

    The fact that I felt the need to clarify indicates that I did a piss poor job of writing it
     
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  4. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Leader

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    Yeah I mean I wasn't sure if the approach I was taking was right... hopefully other people comment on it. That being said
    - I think my approach is logical
    - I think metagames with broken Pokemon (e.g. RBY Ubers) still have a lot of depth
    In particular the second reason is why I'm not in favour of your approach.

    I propose we both write a brief summary of what our approach is regarding the tiering guidelines, then do a poll on it.

    (If anyone else has an additional position we will include that too, just let me know)

    -----

    "cheap"? yeah there's not really a better word tbh

    Hmm, these are interesting points. The first point I like, and I think BP merits inclusion in the list even though it runs through being not broken at all to being outright broken in its entirety depending upon the gen. The non-interactivity is probably also worth mentioning in some way. Shadow Tag is something I also think can to some extent be considered a "cheese strat", and whilst it's not non-interactive, it reduces interactivity significantly by reducing player options. Shadow Tag kinda treads the line between cheese strat & broken too...

    I think making it the last priority is the best. I mean for example it's why we wouldn't outright ban baton pass in ADV even though when completely unrestricted it's a very effective cheese strat. Meanwhile, regular use of baton pass in the metagame does not fall under that at all. So it absolutely should be mentioned, but I'm fine with it being listed last.

    I like that.

    I still think it's some kind of an indicator. We should probably poll on this one.

    So what I'm trying to say is
    - look at the pool of checks and counters, is it small?
    - now, when u look at the pool when u consider pokemon that would be viable even if the possibly broken pokemon weren't in the tier, how small is that?
    So the second point was trying to determine in particular the quality of those checks and counters. Maybe we do need to address quality in some other way though.

    Yeah. Offensive threats being broken is easier to quantify and also what we come across most of the time :p I specifically started w/ them then moved onto more defensive/support-style brokenness, which was harder to write.

    Maybe notable is a better word choice, I think I agree w/ that.

    I don't think there's anything wrong w/ having conditions that are offense-centric: it's better if we have lots of conditions that are clear and applicable but apply only to certain types of threats, than just having conditions that are meant to cover all types of threats. Fundamentally, offensive and support pokemon are not usually broken in the same way and I think it's a good thing to implicitly acknowledge it.

    The GeoXern example is a good example mind you. Hmm... yeah you make the case at least for why it's needed but we do need a better description.
     
  5. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Leader

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    Summary of my approach:

    My approach provides guidelines for 2 different scenarios
    - Determining when and how to deal with "cheesy" strategies, such as Baton Pass abuse, SleepTrap, and Shadow Tag.
    - Deteremining when and how to ban Pokemon, by listing a number of conditionss. A Pokemon that is considered banworthy may satisfy a few of these conditions to an extreme degree, or it may satisfy many of them.

    Ortheore once you post a description of your approach in this thread, I will start a poll in a new thread so that people can choose which approach is better.
     
  6. Ortheore

    Ortheore Leader

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    fwiw my approach pretty much includes everything your's does. As I see it, we're both trying to do the same thing, but imo gauging things via their impact on competitive depth addresses the issue more directly, covering all problematic dynamics, even ones we haven't thought of and also including the stuff you list in the guidelines. It just so happens that this also includes checks against some of the guidelines you've outlined.

    also regarding high usage, I agree it's an indicator, but it only points to other criteria for brokenness rather than being directly influential. Basically it's like anecdotes in science. They should never ever be used to justify anything, but they can provide hints that a subject may be worthy of investigation. To put it in a way that's relevant to us, you might use high usage to start a conversation about whether a pokemon is broken or not, but in a suspect it should hold absolutely no weight.

    ====================

    My approach determines whether or not a ban should be implemented based on whether a pokemon (or other element) significantly undermines the game's competitive depth, to the point where it falls below a standard the community considers acceptable. This entails describing what level of competitive depth is acceptable for a given tier and identifying when a pokemon creates a sub-optimal environment relative to this threshold. Also note that undermining competitive play can be considered problematic, even if the impact on depth is unclear, which can occur in the case of some cheese strategies

    ==========
    Selling points for my approach, because I felt like typing this out
    I might as well say that this approach covers all possible dynamics, even those we haven't thought of, and it also allows us to gauge whether or not a metagame is healthy before we start tinkering with it. It also more directly addresses the motivation behind implementing bans, helping to ensure that bans are made with greater integrity.

    edit: not sure I explained my position as well as I could but oh well, at some point you've got to stop nitpicking and just post
     
  7. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Leader

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    I agree with that. :)
     
  8. Golden Gyarados

    Golden Gyarados Host Emeritus

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    I posted this in the other thread, but I think the most important thing to do FIRST is define guidelines and how they will be used. Remember, the vote that prompted this discussion had most people saying they wanted "guidelines" in direct contrast to the other option, which was "clear policy." So start upfront by saying, for instance:

    "Guidelines are used as helpful reference when discussing whether an element is banworthy, with the ultimate decision coming down to [a council? a vote? something else?]. As these are merely guidelines, note that an element may meet all criteria defined herein yet remain unbanned. Conversely, an element may be banned that does not meet all or even most of the criteria defined herein."

    Once you've defined guidelines, the CONTENT of the guidelines becomes very open. I feel like both of your approaches are coming at it from the angle of trying to craft a "clear policy" which, again, is NOT the goal here.
     
  9. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Leader

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    Maybe some rewording of
    would be adequate?

    Something like
    maybe?
     
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