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Community On 1U and bans

Discussion in 'Tiers' started by Ortheore, May 27, 2018.

  1. Ortheore

    Ortheore Leader

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    So our tiering project is currently kinda dormant, but I've been thinking about it lately anyway. I've really come to think that the pokemon community as a whole is too ban-happy, not just on smogon, but here as well. I think our handling of oras, usm and adv has been inadequate in that there's either been no public testing process or that testing has been rushed, and generally I think that the existing ubers tiers (except for rby) are what should be used, as aside from rby all of them are in sufficient condition to be the standard metagame.

    To me, most of the arguments in favour of a more ban-happy approach to newer generations are totally arbitrary and contrived, even when you examine specific cases. Take PDon for instance- yes, it's immensely centralising, and good enough that it should be on every team, so what? Tiers such as rby 1u and gsc ou also grapple with such balancing concerns, arguably to a far more extreme extent, but I think anyone who plays those tiers would be quick to point out that they're still great tiers anyway. But we hold newer generations to different standards because... ? And it's not as though ubers for g3/6/7 lacks depth, given that they're relatively popular within the ubers community and one of the most common complaints we hear from that community is that we're fixing that which isn't broken, indicating that the tiers are respected by the community.

    This brings me to the topic of adv 1u specifically. I think we made a serious mistake in that the Kyogre suspect was way too early. Now if we decide that it was in fact a mistake, we have to get people on board with the idea of retesting it. That's tough, but doable. On the flipside, what if we'd made other bans after that? To retest Kyogre then would be foolish, since probably a number of its checks would've been removed and the meta would generally be less equipped to handle it, meaning that to retest it you'd need to completely tear down the existing ruleset and start from scratch. This is simply not a realistic option.

    So maybe you think g3 Kyogre should be banned anyway, or you disagree with my assertion that ubers for every gen except rby is the appropriate tier. That's fine. Although I'll stand by my statements, they're not really the core argument that I want to be making. I think the example of g3 Kyogre is really really important because I think it demonstrates that if we're going to ban something, it's going to be extremely difficult to backtrack, since it would mean tearing down everything we've built. Despite that, we carried out the suspect with only a couple rounds of New Frontiers* played, with most of our players having no prior experience of adv ubers.

    If we're going to ban things from the highest playable tier, we better be damn sure we're doing the right thing. Being 1U is significant in that its ruleset will never change unless we implement bans, which grants the tier a certain timelessness that we should aim to preserve, something rather difficult to do if we're scrapping the tier regularly because we screw up some bans. It also means there should be no urgency in banning things, as we can afford to take the time to really understand the tier before doing anything, whereas lower tiers are far more ephemeral. Another thing is that such decisions should be made from positions of expertise. This is something that a rushed process will invariably fail, especially when it comes to ubers, where there's (generally) an existing skillful playerbase that might not intersect with our own. It's also another point separating 1U from lower tiers, as being an expert in a game at its highest playable state is a universally significant accomplishment, whereas becoming an expert in say, 3U isn't the same, since the tier probably won't exist outside our site. Lastly, 1U is literally the foundation of our tiering system for that generation, so if a banlist is perceived as flawed, it's likely every lower tier will share that perception

    *Hell, the very act of taking adv ubers to New Frontiers rather than simply taking ubers and running with it is problematic, since it carries an assumption that the tier is unbalanced, which I think is backwards. We should be assuming things are balanced unless proven otherwise, rather than setting out planning to ban stuff.

    TL;DR: We ought to genuinely start from ubers and our window for suspects in 1U ought to be measured in years not weeks
     
  2. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Member

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    I think the trouble is it's so hard to say what makes something broken. These things are so subjective...

    I will say though I feel really gross playing with Primal Groudon, Shadow Tag, and Geomancy. Shadow Tag introduces a mechanic that I absolutely can't stand playing with, and Pdon is at the very least uber-centralising in the teambuilder.

    I will say though, ORAS 1U as it currently stands feels like an OU tier to me, in terms of how balanced it is, how much variety of possible strategies there are, etc. It's a really good tier.

    I guess the thing that's really annoying is that people tend to be in one of two camps
    - Ubers is not broken in most if not all generations
    - Ubers is broken in most if not all generations and OU is the balanced tier with the least bans
    and I feel like I'm the only one even slightly in the middle of that

    I'm kinda tempted to say even that it might be a good idea to instead of thinking in terms of brokenness, just talk in terms of do we or don't we like to play with x Pokemon in the tier. I kinda feel like everything else is literally just a proxy for that to be honest. I sure as hell don't wanna play an ADV tier w/ kyogre, groudon, or soul dew in it, but Latias is not the best Pokemon in ADV OU + Latias (no soul dew ofc) [not to mention Wynaut lmao]... in trying to quantify it, I guess these are the 3 main things that bother me:
    - Pokemon which are so powerful that if you make a slight misstep against them it's practically game over
    - Pokemon which inhibit switching, particularly in generations with team preview. Without team preview, it's a little more bearable.
    - Pokemon which are centralising in the teambuilder. That being said I am fine with it in generations where such a phenomenon is unavoidable (RBY, maybe GSC?).

    Those things bother me. The first one is probably qualifiable as broken but not everything I consider broken under that definition is broken under other people's considerations. The second one is quantifiable as uncompetitive but people disagree on that too. The third one is I guess not even about brokenness and just about taste? I guess it just means that I like to ban Pokemon which aren't necessarily broken, but for other concerns too.

    Obviously though, the standard of not liking to play with x is very subjective, but I think if instead we went with something like the 3 things I laid out I would be very happy with that. It would possibly mean though that we would end up losing snorlax in GSC... to be honest though that teambuilder centralisation as well as the game's pace both turn me off so maybe that would be a good thing for me, idk.
     
  3. Ortheore

    Ortheore Leader

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    Don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to the idea of banning stuff from 1U, it's just that the process by which we arrived at the banlist of g3/6/7 is all kinds of awful imo, such that I think we're waaaaay too quick to deviate from ubers when most ubers formats are reasonable shape. I really think bans should be implemented after a very long period of active play (a year+) and we should have more than just a simple majority on board with the changes as well (e.g. require 60% or more to vote ban). The reason is that we want to be damn sure that we're doing the right thing, because I think the idea of creating a scenario where our 1U banlist is constantly in question is horrible.

    I guess I can see why everything feels like a proxy of "I just don't like it", which is that that's exactly what it is. We play pokemon because we like it. Stuff that's broken or otherwise restricting the game's depth causes the game to be less fun. The important thing to note is that stuff that's broken is only a small subset of things that people might not like. It's quite common to hear complaints about stall being boring, or that X strategy is broken because I can't beat it or something like that. The thing about those examples is they're entirely subjective and practically impossible to have a discussion about. Banning things for competitive reasons means that we have a means of reducing the subjectivity (sure it's still subjective, but it's not purely subjective) somewhat, as there are criteria that must be met and a way of framing discussions as well. They also mean that our rulesets have a consistent basis that most players will respect, which is important because rules must be consistent or they lose meaning. Basically, ensuring a reasonable standard of competitive depth is something that all players can agree makes for a better, more enjoyable experience, as well as a more meaningful one, as there's more room to improve and demonstrate skill
     
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  4. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Member

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    It seems to me there are 2 different threads here (I don't know maybe it's my fault for doing this lol)

    I do partially object to this, but in the sense that I think that bans that take place on a smaller timescale are justified. E.g. it's pretty clear Mega Ray is broken in Gen 6/7. However, I think those can only happen towards the start of the period of the tier being initially tested (first couple months in), or after another ban has taken place (as there can be knock on effects).

    I understand that you disagree, and I propose that we have some sort of a vote on this at some point (I think only after we have settled on the banning philosophy).

    ---

    Yeah, I don't think that's objectionable: the idea of just banning using your competitive depth standard is definitely a reasonable and sensible approach. I also don't think that I fully thought about the consequences of what I said, but I propose a possible alternative ban system which operates under the "I don't like it" modus operandi but with some restrictions:
    - The competitive depth standard which you have elucidated previously should be fully included. Beyond that:
    - Pokemon which are clearly centralising in the teambuilder, beyond what may be considered typical within a given generation.
    - Pokemon which utilise game mechanics that significantly inhibit counterplay, and are significant forces in the tier.

    I think that, regarding the latter two options, Pokemon which satisfy either of those criteria can be banned, but it's up to the whims of the playerbase. Or, to rephrase it:

    - Pokemon which are banworthy by the competitive depth standard must be banned: we can't allow Pokemon which thoroughly undermine competitive depth to remain in the tier.
    - Pokemon which are banworthy by the teambuilder centralisation standard or the counterplay inhibition standard may be banned.

    In essence, if a pokemon meets the competitive depth standard of banworthiness we must ban it (e.g. Mega Ray is just too strong, we don't care if you would enjoy playing with it in the tier), but if something say utilises game mechanics that significantly inhibit counterplay, we may ban it (like maybe we ban Tentacruel in RBY 2U, or Mega Gengar (and Shadow Tag) in ORAS 1U) or we may not (like we chose not to ban Dragonair in RBY 5U).

    Also, I will say that, in my opinion, Kyogre, Groudon, and Soul Dew are overpowered and hence undermine competitive depth in ADV 1U.

    Do you think that the standard I made is sensible and coherent? And then secondly, do you prefer it to the competitive depth standard you created, or not? I think this is something where we should also have a vote on (determining which of the two standards is preferred by the community)
     
  5. Ortheore

    Ortheore Leader

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    I thought the banning philosophy was settled?

    In any case, I agree that MRay would constitute an exception to the idea that we should wait a long time before making changes. I think in such scenarios the tier could be described as literally unplayable, such that we know when an exception is needed. Although it's difficult to define criteria for such a case, one way of distinguishing this is by making the threshold for a ban extremely high, which allows us to filter out such cases without needing to take the vague route of defining criteria. For instance, I'd guess that MRay would easily get at least 80% of players in favour of a ban after a short interval of play (number is purely hypothetical, idk what would be best). You could even link the ban threshold to time since the last ban, but that may be overdoing things idk. Of course, we could still try defining criteria, I just like the idea of tweaking ban thresholds more

    I don't like it. I think it's redundant in that the dynamics you describe (centralisation/restricted counterplay) are already covered by my standard in that they undermine competitive depth by restricting the number of options available to the player, the question being whether or not it's to an unacceptable extent. This redundancy seems to me to be a means of sidestepping my philosophy altogether, by basically saying "I know X doesn't cause enough issues to ban, but let's ban it anyway". Furthermore, the distinction between "must" and "can" is meaningless imo. What difference would this make in practice?

    My criticism of the ADV 1U suspect isn't the result, but that it was rushed. We'd been playing for less than two months (iirc???) and I was still breaking through opposing Lati@s with my Kyogre because people just weren't playing it correctly, but that was one thing that got debunked in the suspect discussion, which indicates that for most of us, our level of play hadn't developed sufficiently. I guess when I argue that ubers for all gens except 1 is sufficiently balanced, I'm not being entirely accurate with my views. Hopefully I explain my perspective properly this time
    • For all generations except 1, Ubers is sufficiently deep that we can use it as a 1U tier right now, but this should not exclude the possibility of further suspects
    • Suspects should come after a long period of sustained play, and should have more than just a simple majority in favour, so as to avoid uninformed decisions and to prevent the 1U ruleset from constantly changing when it should ideally be fixed
    Basically, right now I think Kyogre ought to be unbanned in ADV. However, I'm not opposed to a suspect of it in the future, so long as we thoroughly understand the tier and more than just a simple majority of the community are in favour of it. If we suspect under those conditions then I think the vote would be a hell of a lot more meaningful and something we can point to as strong justification for our banlist. As it stands we didn't know enough, and if it's just a simple majority required for a ban it would only take a handful of changes to the playerbase to end up with a majority of players disagreeing with the banlist.

    I think the whole "testing" phase of a tier (xA, xB, xC, etc) is total bullshit and ought to be scrapped btw. It adds complexity to our tiering system that is just unnecessary (causing lots of confusion), and it only serves to undermine the legitimacy of tiers and encourages the mindset of assuming a tier is unbalanced, rather than assuming it's balanced until proven otherwise. The legitimacy issue is especially troublesome because there's no criteria for when a tier is no longer "in testing" other than the formation of a lower tier, which is just unfeasible for most 1Us. Our tiering system really doesn't need more than xP and xU (and 1A I guess), more than that just causes confusion. I know I've raised this issue in the past but I still hold this view and on our server we've still got xC etc which I think is just a nuisance.
     
  6. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Member

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    Well I'm contemplating the idea of reopening it now, given the conversations we've had in this thread, as I'm recontemplating what makes something banworthy to me.

    Sure, I think that's a reasonable idea. Some sort of "quickban" setup where they can happen in a shorter timeframe from either the beginning of testing or from the latest ban, with some higher than 50% threshhold for a ban. I think we can iron that out.

    I guess maybe I want to expand what's considered "unacceptable" to being beyond "undermining competitive depth" to some looser standard. The distinction between "must" and "can" is that in the case of "must", without a ban the game's competitive depth would be undermined. In the case of "can", the game's competitive depth wouldn't necessarily be undermined, but the playerbase may want to remove the Pokemon anyway. So, for example:

    - In RBY 5U, the playerbase (after a time) found the metagame really enjoyable. Dragonair could be a candidate for being banned if the playerbase disliked the metagame - it could be argued (or at least at one point?) to toe the line between broken and not broken.
    - In RBY 2U, parts of the playerbase find the metagame unenjoyable because of Tentacruel. Tentacruel doesn't necessarily undermine competitive depth either, but there are clearly a bunch of players who dislike it for various reasons.

    Basically, it allows for the playerbase, when there is something which they don't like, but isn't necessarily undermining competitive depth (although it may be arguable), to ban something.

    Or, alternatively, one could think of it as:
    sometimes Pokemon arise which exhibit characteristics that the playerbase strongly dislikes, but which don't actually undermine competitive depth. I would be in favour of having a system where the playerbase is given the option to ban those Pokemon.

    I hear and understand you and I think there are plenty of fair criticisms of the process. I think a simple majority is fine and I think you're right regarding the timeline. However, I disagree that ubers tiers are sufficiently deep to be 1U tiers, and I think this is a consequence of us having different degrees of tolerance for Pokemon which are particularly strong relative to other top Pokemon in a metagame. I find a Pokemon like Kyogre, which has a small pool of checks & counters (particularly those which would be viable/good without Kyogre in the tier), and which is particularly punishing should you either make a small misstep (e.g. because of being unable to determine the set and hence the appropriate response until it's too late) or get unlucky (crit or secondary effect) vs it, it then proceeds to sweep, or at least put you in a position where one of its partners should be able to finish the job easily. That was my sense of how strong it, as well as Groudon and the Soul Dew-equipped Lati twins were in the metagame. Basically my contention is that they feel, to me, to be quickban-worthy levels of powerful (i.e. if I were given the opportunity to quickban them I would vote yes), so that's why I don't see Ubers as sufficiently deep etc.

    I think you make a good point and I agree now. I think 1A, xP, and xU are the only necessary ones and we can just have xU Beta and so on when a tier is still at a stage where it's not considered sufficiently understood (we could have a separate debate about the different ways we could measure a tier being understood, too. I think any objective standard has its flaws, and trade-offs, but I think it would be good to talk about at some point).
     
  7. Ortheore

    Ortheore Leader

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    Edited thread title, since it wasn't accurate to the thread's contents- I initially was thinking this would be about how bans in 1U should be treated with more gravity than in lower tiers, due to the latter being more unstable and ephemeral but honestly I barely even made that point in the OP and discussion hasn't touched on it

    DA I think the Dair example is a little contrived in that practically no-one holds that position, but the Tenta one is fair. However even there I think it's potentially suspect-worthy under the existing criteria, given the massive restrictions it imposes on teambuilding and how it limits counterplay. In any case, I get that your proposal might allow for additional suspects, but I don't see how that isn't basically scrapping the existing criteria entirely in favour of your proposal, since there's no difference that you've proposed in how a suspect would be implemented based on whether the key word is "can" or "must". It just seems like you're supplanting the existing criteria with a much vaguer and looser set of standards.

    Although I disagree, that's fair enough that you think they're quickban-worthy, but due to the suspect's rushed nature there should've been a MUCH steeper requirement for a ban, since we want to be certain we're making the right decision

    On that note, I think regular 1U suspects should have a ban threshold >50%. Again, I think it's critical that we're sure that a ban is warranted, as these banlists are likely to be permanent, and I just don't think 50% is good enough in that regard, also I think bans should be treated with a lot more gravitas than the community in general treats them. The former point is important, because for a tightly contested suspect it would only take a small shift in demographics to end up with more than half the playerbase disagreeing with your ruleset, which I think is just unacceptable.
     
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  8. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Member

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    Yeah I think the new title is more representative of the contents. That being said, I think the gravity of bans in 1U vs lower tiers is a worthwhile topic to cover too, although secondary to what we're discussing.

    Yeah. I guess the thing is that ultimately I want looser standards because I am less tolerant of things that may be considered problematic.

    I think that is a fair comment.

    -------------------------

    One thing we could consider doing just because it's informative is maybe having a poll that asks: do you think that ubers in most of the generations have adequate competitive depth to be an initial 1U tier? We could just have Yes/No, or we could also have Yes/No quantified by whether players have significant experience playing ubers in one or more generations.

    My guess is though, that the answer you would get is that a strong majority of players with ubers experience would say Ubers is fine for 1U, and a weaker majority of players without ubers experience would say it isn't, and the more ubers experience the more likely they think ubers would be fine for 1U.

    If that were the case (hypothetical but pretty likely) then we have to explain that trend, and there's multiple interpretations like:
    - Ubers tiers are adequately competitively deep, but it takes some experience playing those metagames to come to that conclusion
    - Players who self-select to play Ubers are also the sorts of players who would think, before playing Ubers, that it would be a competitively deep metagame.
    - Some other interpretation?

    I feel like this is a really sticky conundrum which we thankfully don't have to deal with when it comes to lower tiers, but unfortunately really holds us back from satisfactorily starting the process. :/
     

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