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All Gens What Makes Something Broken (To You)?

Discussion in 'Tiers' started by Disaster Area, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Leader

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    Pokemon Perfect doesn't (and in my opinion, shouldn't) have general rules or even guidelines on what is considered broken; we generally allow players to form their own opinions rather than have an objective standard, because fundamentally Pokemon is a game driven by the players and not one driven by a deep objective understanding of the game. Players can, should, and will have different standards on what is broken, based on their own point of view on the nature of the game itself as well as their own metatope.

    So I've been talking about this a bit on PP's ADV Discord Server because there's suspect work to be done in ADV 1B, and I'm trying to understand how I intuitively feel about the game and about brokenness and find a way to express it.

    I feel like balance is not a binary thing, there is a scale of how balanced / non-broken a pokemon/item/metagame/etc can be. Generally speaking, 1U metagames tend to be more balanced than 1P metagames, for an example. But I think that even 1U metagames can have slightly broken elements in them. For example, I personally think in ADV 1U-L that trapping (Arena Trap/Magnet Pull) and Tyranitar are a little broken, but not necessarily enough so that I want to ban them.

    I think that if something doesn't actually have checks/counters then that is the most clear-cut case of something being broken, but those are a rarity in practice. Often something that people may feel is broken has some pool of checks and maybe counters too. But I feel like signals that tell you something is too broken are:
    - the pool of checks and counters is quite small
    - most of a Pokemon's relevant (in the metagame) checks and counters are mainly viable because of the presence of the potentially broken element and would be significantly less viable if the potentially broken element is removed
    - it only takes a little bit of luck for most if not all of the individual checks or counters to suddenly be entirely ineffective at checking the potentially broken element, e.g. a single crit or freeze might let ADV 1B Kyogre or RBY 1P Mewtwo beat their answer and then sweep then and there, or near enough.
    - give it an inch and it takes a mile. So say that you make 1 misplay around a threat and then that causes you to lose almost right there. RBY 1P Mewtwo is very much like that, but ADV 1U-L Tyranitar can be like that too at times, although not all the time and not as immediately.

    That's my personal point of view, I'm interested in hearing how much your personal point of view agrees and differs with mine. :)
     
  2. Sceptross

    Sceptross Moderator

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    I'll leave my 2 cents here.

    First of all, I'll state my opinion on broken and over-centralizing, differentiating the two.

    For me, when something is broken, it's due to not haaving true counters, because:

    • It's so retardedly overpowered that it can almost only be stopped by itself and whoever wins the ditto almost automatically wins the battle, like in Mewtwo in RBY 1P's case,
    • It has so many options under its belt that there is nothing that can consistetly beat it, like Snorlax in GSC 1U
    • You have to rely on prediction or luck to beat said Pokémon.

    An over-centralizing mon is when you are forced to run an otherwise subpar move or Pokémon just to beat it (well, the move part is more arguable, but still...).

    It depends heavily on the 1-mistake-and-you-lose "rate" of the Pokémon. Mewtwo in broken to me but, at least from my small RSE experience, Tyranitar is not broken, just very strong.

    If something has one or two true counters and said counters are also used for other purposes, then it's not broken nor over-centralising at all.

    Touching the subject of what is our opinion on what should be banned/suspect tested, since that seems to be the reasoning behind your post to me, I think that regardless of being broken or over-centralising, the main thing that should be considered in a ban is if the Pokémon in question ruins or greatly diminishes the fun of playing the game and has enough usage to be ruining the tier as a whole. We are all here to have fun, after all.

    However, I also believe that a ban should be something that should be seen as a last resort, and that if we are starting to ban too much stuff, either some older bans should be retested to see if they still should apply to the new meta that resulted from more recent bans, or there's a need to create more tiers.
     
  3. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Leader

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    Tyranitar isn't "broken" enough to ban and a part of it is that it doesn't satify the 1-mistake-and-you-lose rule, imo
     
  4. Ortheore

    Ortheore Leader

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    The thing I don't like about the whole "it forces you to run otherwise sub-par options" is that that argument assumes that there are sub-par options that are better at handling a specific threat than the standards. I think Kyogre in SM 1U is a good example- Palkia and GrassCeus are both easily viable pokemon that are Kyogre's best checks, yet by framing the argument as being about sub-par options I feel it misrepresents the situation, where you can sometimes feel one of those two is a necessity. Basically, running sub-par options is definitely s trong indicator that something's wrong, but it's far from being a complete picture in terms of centralisation.

    Also, Kyogre in SM 1U is a good example of the difference between broken and banworthy. It's unquestionably somewhat broken imo, but it's unclear whether or not it's banworthy. I think the former exists as a spectrum, while the latter is binary. Another example is any of the three Normal types in 1U- I think it's fair to say they're somewhat broken, but none of them are really banworthy.

    Personally for me I feel like I gauge brokenness when teambuilding, and then actual battles provide me with the information to adjust my heuristics- if I see something being handled with more or less ease than I thought, that'll be in my mind the next time I go to teambuild. It's a good indicator that something's broken when you feel paranoid about it when teambuilding, either running multiple checks, or pokemon whose sole purpose it to check it and you're always trying to make sure certain scenarios never come to fruition
     
    Khaytra and Disaster Area like this.
  5. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Leader

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    Been a few months and in retrospect I kind of feel like Tyranitar is bordering on broken in ADV 1U-L.

    I also think that my standard is inadequate, but a good starting point.

    Reiterating, the standard is roughly this:

    The question to ask is: How heavily punishing is it to make 1 mistake against that Pokemon (e.g. giving it a free turn, misreading what set it has and getting caught out by it, expecting it to lock into a different CB move and mispredicting what to use to switch in against it, etc.) and, to a lesser extent, how easy it is to force such a mistake [Pokemon with a lot of set diversity hence appearing more broken]?

    This question produces a sliding scale of responses with a variety of answers, some clear cut, some more in the grey area. However, it isn't adequate for defensive & supportive Pokemon. Firstly, though, let's look at a number of examples of Pokemon which are or aren't broken.

    RBY 1P - Mewtwo - This is clearly broken. In practice, when you give it 1 free turn, it sets up Amnesia and that puts you incredibly far behind in the game. It is clearly broken by the standard.
    ADV 1U-L - Tyranitar - This is in the grey area. Some of its sets are more problematic than others. For example, PursuitTar just fills a reliable support role and isn't necessarily even the best in this role, but other qualities it possesses like a useful defensive typing and sand, plus the veracity of Gengar, make it very popular. CBTar is very dangerous, but comparably so to other dangerous CB users like Metagross and Aerodactyl. DDTar however is probably the most "broken" by this standard. Give it a free DD and you're in some trouble, let alone two, and with the power of flinches, even a well-prepared and well-played team can still be given problems. In addition, due to its immediate threat level, you can't afford to scout its set out, making lures like Ice Beam (in particular) and HP Grass very dangerous - it can force mistakes. All that being said, is it broken? I think probably not, but I also think with this standard there is a case to be made.

    I think it's pretty interesting to look at the the top Pokemon in RBY 5U through this lens to be honest. Seadra isn't always dangerous if you give it a free turn, the problem is more if it gets a freeze very early on against your own Seadra and you're running a single water-type, things get dicey very quickly. Dragonair is a kind of similar case, in that it has to crit or freeze through Gastly a lot of the time, but I'd say it's a Pokemon the metagame has adapted to well now and for the most part giving it a free turn is not the end of the world, although it is an AgiliWrap user so there's definitely still something to be said there. Drowzee does more damage the more turns it gets to land an attack in the first place, but at the same time it doesn't force mistakes easily and there's definitely an art to getting it into a position to do damage. I would definitely say it's not broken and I think it isn't broken by this standard.

    As I said this definition is definitely inadequate because of how it handles more defensively-inclined Pokemon, which aren't broken in the same sense necessarily.

    Take, for example, RBY 1U Chansey. There is at least some frustration with it if not people explicitly believing it is broken. It's definitely not all that dangerous as an offensive threat (lol) but it's very difficult to break. What standard would you use to assess how broken more defensively inclined Pokemon are?

    Also, what about supportive Pokemon? Everything from paralysis spreaders and other status platforms, to hazard setters and removers, to trappers, are encompassed under that, so it's pretty tricky to definitively come up with a standard for what makes a support Pokemon broken.

    If we want to go beyond "go with your gut" on brokenness, which we might, then we have a lot of questions to answer in the process.
     
  6. nicky

    nicky Member

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    I say it's broken if it has too many good options and is just so strong that it messes with usage and team-building more than a normal top tier poke should.

    So basically just:
    1) High stats
    2) Large selection of moves
    3) Few answers to the issue

    The disparity you point out between defense and offense is true. Defensive mons that are "broken" actually don't need to be banned because countermeasures in the game already exist naturally; those two being move PP and entry hazards. Offensive pressure behind a poke that fits the criteria above is certainly "ban-worthy"; there's no argument against that.
     
  7. ToadNorton

    ToadNorton Member

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    In my opinion something is broken if: it overcentralizes the meta to a point where you are forced to run at least 2 checks/counters just to beat it otherwise you just lose. Take Nagandel in USUM OU for example. You were basically forced to run AV Ttar or Sp. Def. Heatran to beat it.
    Just my two cents on the matter
     
  8. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Leader

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    It's an interesting thing to look at, but in my experience just bc a mon forces u to use otherwise less viable Pokemon more often doesn't necessarily make a Pokemon broken.

    I think we also need to talk a bit about centralisation / high-usage Pokemon. I think in general we shouldn't ban for usage/centralisation unless it's pretty extreme. For example if a Pokemon (in just 1 form) has 70%+ usage in any gen later than gen 5 (maybe even in gen 4/5 but I'd probably say 80%+ or 90%+) that's an indicator to me that a Pokemon ought to be banned, even if it is not necessarily "broken" in any usual sense
     
  9. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Leader

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    I kind of also feel like letting players go with their gut works pretty well when we're not talking about edge cases, but we need something more specific for edge cases for guidance on whether or not smth is broken.
     
  10. nicky

    nicky Member

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    Disaster; yeah, of course not. No bans for just high usage or anything like that. The specimen would need to raise all of the red flags, not just 1 of them. So high usage, strong stats, and few counters (kind of the result of having good stats, but whatever). Once it's simplified down to these basic fundmentals, everything feels less arbitrary. There's only a few mons in every generation that can even reach that level of consideration, much less qualify for a trip to uber. It's actually a lot simpler than what you're giving the impression of.
    Either way, I'm still confused to what is trying to be established here.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  11. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Leader

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    I don't think strong stats is necessarily a precondition.

    Surely what matters is stuff that involves their interaction in the metagame (so yes the checks/counters stuff, but even so Pokemon with few checks & counters aren't necessarily broken)

    The thread is primarily but not exclusively focussed on the tiering of 1U. Lower tiers are relevant too. So for example, in RBY 4U we questioned at the start of the tier whether Nidoking was bbroken, in RBY 5U Seadra & Dragonair had us asking questions, and in RBY 6U there's still a case that Kabutops could be broken.

    Raw stats is certainly not everything either. In RBY, Flareon and Machamp both have base 130 attack - one of the highest in the game - and yet aren't even tiered until 6U. Magneton has decent stats all around too and probably won't even make 6U. Jynx's stats aren't especially great [no stat above base 100 even] yet it's one of the better Pokemon in RBY 1U, due to a combination of great typing and a small but adequate movepool.

    Pokemon which are clearly and obviously broken such as RBY Mewtwo or ORAS Mega Rayquaza aren't really what we're asking about in some ways; they are clearly broken and players know it in their gut if nothing else. They provide some guidance as to what makes something broken though. But to establish what makes something broken is important when discussing edge cases, like those Pokemon in RBY tiers I just mentioned, or TTar in ADV 1U-L [we won't be banning it from 1U-L but if 1U ends up looking in a similar state there's no reason we couldn't suspect it there] or Kyogre in ADV Ubers (which was surprisingly controversial to ban from ADV 1C). We also need some discussion about how to determine when a Pokemon which isn't primarily an offensive threat can be broken. It's harder to come up with examples, but say Chansey in RBY 1U, or if you added Deoxys-D to ADV 1U-L, these might be broken Pokemon due to either how hard they are to break or how ludicrously effective they are in their support roles.
     
  12. ThriceElite

    ThriceElite Member

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    Determining what is broken... it's when something, whether it be a Pokemon, move, ability, item, etc, skews the tier(s) in question in a direction too much away from what is considered an acceptable playstyle-effectiveness balance of the tier.

    What is considered broken in RBY 1U is different from what is considered broken in DPP LC and is different from what is considered broken from an Ubers tier and is different from what is considered broken in GSC OU.

    What you might want to consider is that there may not need to be a "one philosophy fits all tiers" approach. You don't need to shoehorn stall into DPP LC, just like how you don't need to shoehorn hyper offense into GSC OU. Different tiers have different strengths and selling points. Embrace those differences in playstyle strengths through the tiers and focus on refining and improving those through tiering decisions, rather than attempting to make all tiers the same. It's ok if stall isn't viable in all tiers. I mean, you guys are fine with RBY 1U where hyper offense is probably dead...

    It is perfectly fine to have both the Ubers people with their tiering philosophy as well as the 1U people with theirs as long as you make clear what the ideal playstyle balance/feel of the tier etc. is you want for any given tier. Ubers for the Ubers people, 1U for the 1U people, DPP LC for the DPP LC people (DPP LC is great)

    The reason some people think Chansey is broken in RBY 1U is because people have different ideas on what the ideal feel/playstyle balance is to RBY 1U. Some think RBY 1U should be more stallish, some do not. Ask people WHY they like a tier (in terms of relative playstyle strength/diversity/etc), use that data to decide among yourselves who you're marketing RBY 1U, ADV 1A, etc towards, and then make decisions from there.

    It is much more difficult than necessary to figure out which tiers have which degrees of playstyle strengths from a glance. This shit isn't marketed. It needs to be. This can be your decisive advantage over your competitors, if you actually do this right.

    Find out what people like about any given tier, diversify your tiers, and make clear what you actually want from any given tier in terms of tiering.
     
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  13. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Leader

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  14. Ortheore

    Ortheore Leader

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    I just had a thought- perhaps something being broken should be framed around undermining the game's depth, rather not having enough C&Cs or something. Ultimately, that's the purpose behind implementing bans, that we ensure that the game we play has enough depth to be worth playing. I think that solves a lot of issues in how we describe things in this discussion. It allows us to first identify whether there's even a problem with a metagame at all. We can more easily identify factors that contribute to depth and thus ways in which a pokemon can become broken. It also allows us to better explain inconsistencies across tiers and generations, because I think it's easier to describe a standard for how much depth a tier should have than have a bunch of different characteristics where they might indicate brokenness or they might be fine and X threat only has one or two, but Y threat has all of them and idk

    Gotta go, might elaborate more, we'll see
     
  15. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Leader

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    It's an interesting approach. I don't think I agree with it but it's interesting
     

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