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All Gens Visualising Viability

Discussion in 'Analysis and Research' started by Ortheore, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. Ortheore

    Ortheore Leader

    May 16, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Forewarning- although I believe this point applies to all gens, basically all of the examples I'll use are for RBY

    So I was thinking the other day about how I'd rank the pokemon currently in A- in the RBY viability rankings, and it was clear that Bro was very different from the other two. Lapras and Rhydon I feel are fairly consistent- you can bring them and know you're using a good pokemon, but it's rare that they'll dominate games. By contrast, Slowbro is one of the biggest threats in RBY, capable of single-handedly steamrolling through entire teams... but it rarely manages to achieve this, while it also has more potential than Lapras/Rhydon to fall flat on its face. I think overall they belong in the same ranking in the viability rankings, but the difference in consistency is interesting

    I started to think of viability as a bell curve on a graph. The x axis would measure the pokemon's impact on any single match (I take 0= provides literally no value, 100=utterly dominant and capable of single-handedly winning games, but these numbers are both arbitrary and subjective). The y axis would be the probability that a pokemon actually performs at a given level of viability.

    What would this look like in practice? More consistent pokemon would tend to have very narrow bell curves (e.g. Lax consistently provides value in the range of say, 80-90, while Golbat will always provide 0 value), while less consistent pokemon would have very broad curves- Zapdos and Dragonite spring to mind here, as both are capable of dominating games, while also capable of being dead weight. However it's obvious Zapdos is a hell of a lot better than Dragonite- so the data would be skewed differently. Zapdos' most probable performance probably falls at around 80 or so, whereas Dragonite's most likely performance is maybe 40? Either way, Dragonite's got a far larger probability of backfiring.

    So what's the point of all this? Well there are three characteristics of a pokemon's viability that I think are relevant- its floor, its statistical peak and its ceiling. The floor is the worst a pokemon could perform that has a significant probability of occurring under reasonable circumstances. The ceiling is the reverse of this (the best it's likely to perform). The statistical peak is basically the impact that a pokemon is most likely to have on a given match, saying for example, "sure Slowbro can single-handedly win games, but in practice it'll only usually achieve so much". This is affected by skew, so it can be very close to the pokemon's floor, or to the ceiling.

    What are the shortcomings of this model? For one I think it's unclear whether or not it does an adequate job accounting for the ease with which a pokemon can be slotted onto a team. In OU for g5 onwards Lando-T is an extremely splashable pokemon, and to some extent this would be reflected in its floor, but it's unclear whether or not this would be enough to be accurate. What of pokemon that demand very strict archetypes? This is a mark against their viability, but if used on the appropriate team they may be very consistent. Again, I don't know how this would be reflected in these plots. One area where this model definitely falls flat is in handling redundancy. When you think about RBY Venusaur, it's really not that far behind Victreebel in its ability to impact a game, and this would be reflected in the kind of graph I'm describing. However we know there's a far larger gap in viability between the two, because Victreebel pretty much outclasses Venusaur (I know it doesn't totally outclass it, but it comes pretty damn close)

    Anyway, those are just some random thoughts I had that I felt like sharing
    Disaster Area and Enigami like this.
  2. Enigami

    Enigami Moderator

    Apr 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Another thing that complicates this is how a Pokemon's various sets will affect the floor/peak/ceiling overall, and the best example here would be Snorlax.

    AmnesiaLax probably has the highest floor of all the sets, potentially breaking through even Chansey if it is paralyzed and blowing through the rest of its counters, but has a lower peak due to the setup requirements and being vulnerable to physical attackers (especially while asleep) and can still be screwed over by powerful crit Special attacks. ReflectLax is very good and certainly has one of the highest peaks among Lax sets, but has a lower floor comparatively thanks to being pretty comfortably handled by Chansey (and Porygon) and other Reflect Snorlaxes. Mono-normal Lax has one of the worst floors among the Lax sets due to Rock-types and Gengar getting in on the Lax walling action. How would you factor the effects of a Pokemon's viable sets on an overall floor/peak/ceiling?

    There's another complication regarding redundancy. Porygon walls Snorlax and paralyzed Tauros better thanks to much higher PP and rarely using recover PP for sponging Special attacks (plus slightly more physical bulk), but Chansey can do that too while unparalyzed along with a bunch of other things Porygon could try and be terrible at. This would imply Porygon's viability should tank. But in doing virtually any of those other things that isn't walling Snorlax/paralyzed Tauros, Chansey usually gets paralyzed, and with only 16 Softboiled PP it can't switch into both physical attackers and special attackers for long even when it is unparalyzed, which makes Porygon's redundancy less of an issue.

    It'd take a bit to work out the kinks, but I think a floor/peak/ceiling graph is an interesting idea. Using Porygon again as an example here, it'd probably have a narrow bell curve at a modest value as it doesn't usually ever dominate games, but reliably walls out most Snorlax (and less reliably paralyzed hax machine Tauros), showing that the viability Porygon has is tied heavily to its consistency, where Dragonite conversely could have a really high ceiling but low performance highlighting both its potential to win games by itself but also fall flat and accomplish barely anything.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
  3. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Member

    May 4, 2014
    Likes Received:
    I don't think it's right to assume that all pokemon would have bell curves. Zapdos, which you mentioned, I think would be bimodal, with peaks around say 20 and 80, and a dip around 50, for argument's sake.

    This is a super interesting idea though!! I like the idea of visualising it graphically. For axes, I guess you could call them in-match utility [y-axis] and probability [x-axis],. I don't think precise values are important, what's important is if the shape's right... I think what might be a good idea is to come up with a selection of shapes describing different types of Pokemon. For example Tauros etc. would have a graph with a peak in the 90s and being narrow, and yes golbat would have a peak around say 2 that's also very narrow, and those describe extremely dominant/useless Pokemon. Zapdos might have a peak around 20 and another around 80, with the one at 80 being bigger than the one at 20. Slowbro might have a peak at 90 and another at 20, with the one at 20 being larger than the one at 80, but for it to go down more slowly & steadily between 20 and say 70 or so before it picks back up again. Furthermore, Enigami, you could think of the different sets of each Pokemon having different graphs, with the final graph describing a Pokemon being the superimposition of each of the set's graphs, proportional to their approximate usage.

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