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BW [BW2] Of Ubers and Tiering

Discussion in 'Tiers' started by Ortheore, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. Ortheore

    Ortheore Host Emeritus

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    Before I get into things, I want to be clear; I'm not an expert on BW2 OU. In fact I've only barely played it. I have played BW2 Ubers, and consider myself competent though absolutely definitely not elite. Consequently, my understanding of the BW OU meta is scarce, let alone the effects of the relatively recent rule changes, so my perspective is highly flawed. Meanwhile, I could be missing something about Ubers that contradicts what I'm about to say, but because I've got an adequate understanding, I doubt it. Also idk who comes here regularly that will take an interest in this.
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    From what I can tell, in the past there has been a lot of discontent with the state of gen 5 ou, as well as many disagreements over the banlist. The Drizzle + Swift Swim and the relatively recent amendment to become weather + weather-based speed boosting ability stand as incredibly awkward solutions to a problem that may not have even been solved. This is bolstered by complaints about spike stacking teams, Reuniclus, Volcarona and until recently, sun teams. Basically, the impression that I get is that there are a lot of issues with BW2 OU. There is one asterisk to be applied here- I don't know what the current meta is like, specifically how things have changed in the wake of smogon implementing the weather+speed ban. I haven't seen any recent complaints, or much discussion at all really, and that discussion is pretty much what I've formed my opinion on. So please, if you think I'm off base in saying this, feel free to let me know, I don't mind being wrong here.
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    This lack of satisfaction made me consider how we'd approach the problem here, given that we use our own banlists. And then a thought occurred to me. Do we even need any bans? This is obviously not counting the obvious bans on evasion, OHKO etc). In my experience, BW2 Ubers is both balanced and diverse, and with BW2 OU potentially being not all that good, could we potentially run with BW2 Ubers as the 1U tier? I thoroughly enjoyed playing BW2 Ubers and I feel that it supports teams at all points along the stall-HO spectrum, with there being a host of different things you can experiment with. I think it meets the criteria to be a 1U ruleset.
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    Of note is the relationship between this proposal and the existing BW2 OU. Our relationship with the existing OU rulesets and our 1U rulesets is interesting, as we've swung both ways in terms of sticking with the conventional ruleset and forging our own, with the very notable difference being that ORAS is not a past gen and hence doesn't have a "static" ruleset to inherit. ADV (and by the sounds of things, HGSS) is inheriting the existing OU ruleset for a few reasons, GSC is still up in the air (though I honestly suspect we'll end up going with the existing OU) and RBY is a moot point since anyone with half a brain can tell you Mew and M2 are borked and experience tells us the resulting ruleset works just fine. One of the major reasons behind not reworking all the past tiers is that most people don't like the idea. ADV OU is one of the most highly regarded metas, while HGSS is also viewed pretty positively from what I can tell. GSC is another matter, but here most of the people who still play are committed to that meta. They've devoted a lot of time and effort into understanding this meta and have accepted it with all its pros and cons, and by reworking the meta to better fit our tiering ideology, we throw all that into upheaval and people don't like that. A good tiering system is nice, but we're a community before we're tiering agents, so we can't just go against what people are after like that. BW2 I feel is the odd one out here, because my perception is that there's not this satisfaction/acceptance of the meta, that there's instead a desire to change and improve it. My thoughts are that BW2 Ubers may well be the solution to that problem.
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    Of course, this is all coming from a somewhat uninformed position- maybe my perception of BW2 OU is way off base. Maybe my perspective on BW2 Ubers is questionable (Kyogre maybe?). I don't know. I'm not gonna push for this or anything because frankly, I don't know enough to be trying to throw my weight around. I just wanted to get the idea out there, see what everyone else thinks. So feel free to disagree with me if you do.
     
  2. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Furr and Power Member

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    Well I'm pretty friendly with a few BW Ubers players, and people like Dice and Illusions will tell you that in Ubers Stall is not a good/consistent option or something along those lines, and that the metagame is a spikestacking fest. Tagging ogasian for opinions too.

    Either way my understanding is that both BW Ubers and BW OU are huge messes and neither's really adequate for a 1U tier in my mind, but it leads to important discussion of what a 1U tier needs. We need balance and diversity, of course. In both cases balance seems to be the issue in some ways, but here's the thing is that one of the major roadblocks to BW Ubers being balanced is the high quality of spinblockers compared to spinners - mainly, Giratina-O and Arceus-Ghost. In terms of power levels though, Gira-O's not banworthy, but there's a case for Arceus-Ghost. I'm also not sure if any of the best Pokémon in the tier (Ekiller Kyogre Palkia..) are banworthy for Balance reasons by 1U standards and I'd be interested to hear opinions on that. All the BW OU players I've spoken to have different opinions on what should be changed to the smogon tierlist to make the tier better (as can be seen in this previous discussion on PP).
     
  3. Ortheore

    Ortheore Host Emeritus

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    Haha yeah, maybe I was wrong to characterise Ubers as a solution to OU's specific problems. My mentality when posting was that BW2 ubers is pretty good imo and ppl don't like BW2 OU. That's excruciatingly simplistic, and when I thought about what I posted the issue of Spikes really stuck out to me, since there's no doubt that Ubers has it worse than OU in that regard. Perhaps I should've referred instead to the Reuni+Spikes combo since that's really the archetype that cause a lot of grief from what I can tell (likewise maybe Volc and sun?), though I suppose that's matched by Deo-S/Custap lead HO in Ubers.

    I completely forgot about that PP discussion, but I did look over a similar discussion over on smogon, which was met with similarly mixed results. Basically, I think that starting with Ubers and working our way down from there is a more appropriate means of tiering just in general, as we know it's more than possible to create a healthy meta with far fewer bans than what is used traditionally. I think that this is an appropriate situation to scrap the whole OU thing and start over, and I want to see what everyone else thinks.

    Also fwiw, there's a silver bullet for one of the main issues associated with BW2 Ubers- ban spikes or limit stacking (I prefer a full ban). The obvious point arising from that is that for that to not be a step too far you'd need to break transitivity for lower tiers and we'd need to decide what our stance on that is.
     
  4. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Furr and Power Member

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    Thing is unlike some other things that we consistently remove spikes are something we generally tend to keep around in our metas and they're not inherently broken. With things outside of Pokémon, particularly the more widely distributed (thinking of everything from moves to abilities to items) there's a much larger threshhold of how broken they are before we ban them, otherwise stealth rock would disappear pretty quickly from most of our metagames..

    That being said starting at the very top doesn't seem like a bad idea here, I'd just say to expect quite a few things to be banned before we reach balance quite possibly.
     
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  5. Illusions

    Illusions Member

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    Honestly I think BW2 OU really just has a terrible reputation. It's actually a fairly decent metagame with good diversity imo (better than ORAS OU anyways), although I admit it does have some problems.

    Here's the concerns about BW2 OU:
    Most people's qualm with Volcarona is the diversity within its sets. Something as simple as a moveset / item change completely changes what mons can check it, leading to certain teams getting 6-0'd from preview (HP [Ground] vs Heatran, Bug Gem vs TTar, HP [Ice] vs Dragons, Passho Berry vs Scarf Keldeo, etc). Only Blissey / Chansey can check every set and neither are particularly good in BW2. What holds Volcarona back, however, is a 4x weakness to Stealth Rock, lack of defensive utility, and inability to break past checks if it doesn't have the proper coverage (HP [Ground] can't beat Dragons, HP [Ice] / Giga Drain can't beat Heatran / healthy TTar, etc). Because of this, it's a very hit-or-miss mon, generally either doing nothing or securing a 6-0. Furthermore, in a ironic twist, the teams Volcarona tends to perform the best against are the sand / spikes / psychic teams that everybody complains about. Overall, not a mon that's impossible to prepare for (in most cases), nor impossible to beat, but destroys teams if it has "match-up" with correct coverage and item choice.
    I'm lumping these together because they are linked; Magic Guard mons are as good as they are in BW2 because of Spikes. I'll start by saying that Spikes are so prevalent because the setters are good. Both Skarmory and Ferrothorn, the two main spikers, have significant defensive niches and good longevity. They don't have trouble staying healthy through an entire match or generating free turns necessary to throw out a layer. This, coupled with the fact that most spinners have a tough time beating common teammates of the spike-setters or even the setters themselves (Ferro beats Starmie / Tenta most of the time, non-toxic Tenta / defensive Starmie / Forre have problems vs Jellicent, (offensive) Starmie can be Pursuit-trapped by ScarfTar, etc), it's not hard to see why Spikes will get set and stay there.

    Of all the threats that can capitalize on Spikes, few do it better than Alakazam and Reuniclus. There are two major reasons for this imo. Firstly, both mons cannot be worn down by conventional means and will almost always outlast their counters with hazard support (Spikes+SR up). This is pretty self-explanatory, as you have mons that don't take damage from status, hazards, or weather and can switch around without repercussions facing off against mons that can be worn down passively and are punished every time they switch-in. Secondly, most mons that effectively check the psychics are bait for the Spikes setters. Obviously, there are a couple of exceptions, namely Sableye and Mew (Reun only), but they can be tough to fit on a team and have their own set of weaknesses. The most conventional checks to these two are SpD Jirachi, most Scizor variants, and Chople TTar (weak check but heavily used), all 3 of which let Skarmory in for virtually nothing (sometimes Ferro too). If a team can't fit these mons, they need heavy offensive pressure to deter Reuniclus from setting up and a scarfer to revenge Zam because it's the more annoying of the two.

    I'll just end by saying there's a reason heist's gimmicky Psychics+Spikes squad (Skarm / Garchomp / Latios / Latias / Reun / Zam), which features no spinblocker or pursuit-trapper to support the spikes-subtheme, has major tour success.
    This one is probably one of the more controversial topics atm. It's easy to see why Swift Swim+Drizzle and Sand+Exca are banned; rain and sand are relatively easy to keep up and the abusers of each are extremely potent in their respective weathers. Instead, I'll use this space to talk a bit about the total weather+speed boosting abilities ban (effectively neutered sun as a playstyle) and the Exca unban that resulted from this. The logic behind this (un)ban was this: sun is a match-up dependent playstyle that puts a huge strain on teambuilding (Venu+Volc share many checks; not hard to give one the proper coverage to beat the other's AND sun is basically an auto-win vs weatherless offense) so the tier would be more diverse without it; Excadrill would give the tier an offensive spinner to help combat the sand / spikes teams that were running rampant at the time.

    However, since the unbanning, Spikes usage hasn't changed at all (still amazing as always), since Excadrill is a mon that can't outlast the spikers, nor spin effectively vs the abusers. All it really seems to have done is force sand teams to run 1 of 4 mons (Skarm, Lando-t, Tangrowth, or Rotom-W) so they don't lose to opposing Excadrill on rain and remove all but the most gimmicky of sun teams from the metagame (removing sun is arguably good).

    I personally won't suggest anything rn, but if you're looking to create a "better" tier, Spikes+Magic Guard psychics is the place to start (unbans won't really help imo. BW2 Ubers is just as centralized around spikes as OU, except with more potent abusers and better spinblockers), as that is the problem as perceived by the majority of BW2 players.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2016
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  6. ThrashNinjax

    ThrashNinjax Lets take to the Skies Host Emeritus

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    I'd probably like BW2 OU to be the main 1U, I played Ubers a few times and wasn't too big a fan (Spikes+Weather absolutely dominate), that said though there would have to be conditions:
    Ban Scald (burn is a pretty dumb thing to swing a game, nvm about ORAS though I forgot PP has a different tier)
    Limit Spikes to one layer: I'd even consider banning Spikes outright and getting rid of stealth rock mainly because spinning is well-nigh impossible in this tier (the universe will come and go and spinners will still keep bouncing off of Jellicent, Skarm and Ferro are also hard for spinners (barring the rare Forretress) to effectively deal with, and all common stealth rockers (Chomper/Lando-T etc) send Starmie/Tentacruel/Excadrill running for the hills), however, those are sorta-necessary so I'm willing to settle for Spikes limitation.
    Ban Volc: I mean SR weak is huge but it can still just abuse an attempt to check it with the wrong thing so often, and I don't think anyone would cry if it left.
    BAN Reuniclus: Even with Spikes nerfed it'd still be hard to handle in the long run, so just get rid of it now
    Ban Weather+Speed Boost, without that and Volc Sun has nothing and Rain would be manageable, we could ban it but I don't particularly care.
    Keep Exca half-free as it is. No drops from Ubers, and ofc ban Kyurem-B.

    Edit: After consideration Spikes should be limited to one layer, Reuni, Volc and Cube should be banned (with spikes limited Zam should be fine).
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  7. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Furr and Power Member

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    In ORAS 1U only one mon B- rank or above in the viab ranks ever uses it (Kyogre) and it doesn't run it on its most common sets (scarf/specs, but resttalk and cm variants can run it sometimes). There are 3 other water types in B- and above; Palkia and Arceus-Water don't learn Scald, whilst Mega Gyarados is very rare and doesn't run Scald anyway.
    Have you met RBY sleep and freeze?
    All this being said 1 we still don't have a policy on banning moves that aren't luck-based and we need to disuss that, but hazards aren't universally going to be this powerful. ORAS 1U is ironically the perfect counterexample - 2 good magic bouncers that none of the spikers can get past both of simulatenously, and few rock setters, whilst one of the best mons has a major rocks weakness but regenerator, and pairs well with the magic bouncers and rocks users. Stealth Rock ironically helps the tier keep its balance (if you removed it, you'd add a couple of slightly more reliable checks to Ho-oh in return for most team archetypes struggling with it an awful lot more). Similarly, Scald, as I said, is very rare and not very effective in this tier. Hard to find the exact words, but I'm against the bans of scald and spikes and rocks. I'd rather ban, for example, the overly good spikes setters, and the pokemon that abuse the hazard-heavy metagame too easily, than the moves themselves.

    It seems to me that both BW Ubers and BW OU struggle from the same things roughly: Spinblockers > Spinners, Spikers are good Pokémon, Rocks are easy to set, and in OU you additionally have more passive damage in the common sand, and you have reunclius/alakazam which abuse the situation like nothing in BW Ubers could, although ZF says
    Everyone does seem to support the ban volc stance (can anyone even quote a post of someone opposing its potential ban?) and I think reuni/zam are worth considering the removal of, especially as I strongly oppose hazard bans on principle. I think the weather+speed boost ban is a sensible one that eliminates a host of problems whilst being simple to understand.
    I've seen cube discussed a bit here and there as being ban-worthy.

    My stance is, I think:
    BW 1U = Smogon's BW OU + Bans on Volcarona / Reunclius ( / Alakazam)? and then begin suspect testing: stuff like Kyurem-Black, Ferrothorn, Tentacruel, etc. are all fair game.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016
  8. Ortheore

    Ortheore Host Emeritus

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    ugh I can't believe I brought up a spikes ban, that runs counter to like everything I've said in the past, and it's definitely not a view I sincerely hold

    I stand by starting with ubers, but I'm kinda wondering if it's possible to reasonably address the issues with the BW2 metas at all. Unless you ban all weathers or something, they're still going to be significant while dodging the issue of spikes spamming is also impossible without an excessive amount of bans, as none of the spinblockers are particularly broken, although they collectively exert an unhealthy influence on the meta
     
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  9. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Furr and Power Member

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    Some of the issue in my mind is actually more about the spinners being so poor. In BW OU you have Starmie/Excadrill/Tentacruel and the rare Forretress/Donphan, and in ubers you don't see Starmie or Donphan but Kabutops makes an appearance. Cloyster is rare in both but I guess more common in Ubers? I think the issue is in general a combination of 3 things:
    1 - bad spinners
    2 - great spikers
    3 - great spinblockers

    In BW OU I think that is the place where 1 and 3 are the most mitigated. There's no way to artificially increase the abilities of spinners - and magic bouncers - to be effective, so our options are down to 1 banning the best spiker(s) 2 banning the best spinblocker(s).

    I think the best way is to take BW OU, ask what Pokémon are broken (volc reuni zam?) and get rid of those and then see what's too good there etc. with an eye on the spikers/spinblockers. If we do ever decide to for example ban ferro, then we could also consider retesting say zam.
     
  10. magic9mushroom

    magic9mushroom BEST END. Member

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    IIRC policy is re-initialisation, so I'd agree with Ortheore and DA that one should in general start with Ubers and work from there.

    RBY 1U wasn't re-initialised, but it's something of a special case, as Mewtwo and Mew are both infamously overpowered even in Ubers and they are the only banned 'mons in OU.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016
  11. Enigami

    Enigami Moderator

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    Technically ADV 1U wasn't reinitialized either, they just started from ADV OU. And it seems like despite my attempt to start from Ubers and work from there in GSC, it seems like GSC 1U is going to be started from GSC OU as well. Only ORAS has actually followed the stated policy for re-initialization. RBY is an acceptable exception because it's well explored that Mew/two are OP.

    In practice the policy seems to be to only reinitialize metas that are subjectively considered 'bad', not to actually start from the top and retest things. As it stands, PP is quite hypocritical about retiering.
     
  12. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Furr and Power Member

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    It's my understanding that ADV 1P as it stands isn't both sufficiently balanced and sufficiently diverse, and with GSC we had the arguments on that for a long time. Also to some extent you have to work with the playerbase: the GSC and ADV playerbases are small and stubborn enough we didn't really have much of an option.

    In BW, we'll face some of the same problems, but at the same time the BW OU metagame on Smogon has a huge number of problems that players have that varies hugely from player to player, whereas say with ADV or GSC OU, the playerbase is very happy with it as it is outside of maybe a tweak at the edge or two (like with PerishTrap in GSC or BP in ADV). In DPP, it's a similar story and DPP OU is much more balanced and diverse than DPP Ubers, and we have tweaks we can do with DPP OU. With BW, Ubers has a bunch of problems but so does BW OU, and Ubers problems ultimately can't really be fixed at that power level. The main issue is Spikes in one way or another; BW Ubers is like BW OU with better spinblockers (giratina-O, giratina, and arceus-ghost) without better spinners (other than Sand Rush Excadrill in Sand and Swift Swim Kabutops in Rain which are small additions) as far as I understand it. So to my knowledge, re-tiering doesn't do any good here in terms of starting from the same point.

    One big thing I think we should talk about: Smogon has gone to great lengths in BW to preserve a large perma-weather ability dynamic in the metagame. Do we agree with that?
     
  13. Mannat

    Mannat Member

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    I feel like going the route of what bw ou for 1u could be fine but instead at the start deaing with the weather issues and going from there since most of the bans and issues with BW all stemmed from weather. I personally think that we should ban Drizzle as a perma weather because looking at the weather related bans that smogon ended up having, it had the most by far. Then, complex bans of Drought+Chloro, and Sand Rush+Sand Stream would probably fix all of the weather-related issues that smogon has faced in BW. After that, we could go about banning the overly broken stuff from the top of the tier to try and balance it as best we can. I'm not sure if trying to only ban the ultra broken top of ubers mons or going for more of an OU base would be better for balance and diversity, but this is just my own personal opinion if we were to start this metagame from scratch.
     
  14. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Furr and Power Member

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    We could ban all weather abilities
     
  15. magic9mushroom

    magic9mushroom BEST END. Member

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    Well, yes, but I'm one of the ones pushing for re-initialising GSC and I did take a swipe at the ADV thing (I didn't push harder only because I have a policy of not stickybeaking in metas I haven't played).
     
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