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Pokémon My Tiering Philosophy

Discussion in 'Communication' started by Ortheore, Feb 19, 2021.

  1. Ortheore

    Ortheore Host Emeritus

    May 16, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Hi all, so obviously I’m known to have fairly strong views as to how we should implement rulesets and tiering, and I felt like documenting the principles that underly my approach to tiering/rulesets. I feel like I don't have anywhere else to post this, even though PP isn't really the place for it any more. Maybe I should start a blog or something idk

    The Ortheore Tiering Philosophy
    • First and foremost, any simulation of a game should be 100% faithful to the game that it simulates. This should encompass literally every detail of the game, extending even to things like RNG limitations. There should never be any deviation from cart mechanics for any game that claims to represent the original games.
      • To be clear, this does not extend to mods that can’t be described as representing the original games (e.g. Violet, RBY+, etc). I definitely think that such mods can offer interesting ideas, however as of yet, none has really made much of a splash. I suspect I may be seen as being anti-mod entirely, however that’s due more to a lack of discussion around full mods and my own lack of interest. I don’t think a blanket opposition to full mods is remotely healthy or defensible, it’s only when mods are implemented in formats that should be cart-accurate that I raise objections
      • This means freeze clause should be scrapped, and sleep clause should be modified to be cart-accurate. Even extreme glitches such as Acid Rain should be implemented.
      • I also deal in absolutes when it comes to cart-accuracy. Either a simulation is cartridge accurate, or it is not, I totally reject the idea that an approximation is good enough.
    • Bans should only be implemented where a game element has been proven through practical testing to be competitively unhealthy, which I define as undermining the game’s competitive depth to an intolerable extent
      • This means that in my view, every OU tier besides RBY is not competitively legitimate, as they arbitrarily ban a selection of Pokemon to Ubers without any testing- what is typically referred to as Ubers ought to be the starting point for all competitive formats (also DPP Arceus ban is stupid).
        • The reason I exempt RBY from this is because I have practical experience with RBY Ubers and also Mewbers, and I think OU is definitely the correct choice.
      • Theorymon, no matter how well-reasoned, is not sufficient in altering decision-making in implementing bans. The most it can amount to is to provide leads as to which Pokemon are most suspect
    • Bans on Pokemon are generally preferable to bans on other game elements (e.g. moves, abilities and items). Bans on non-Pokemon game elements should only be considered where the specific element has proven itself to be unhealthy in a large number or majority of cases, or where it has an extensive history of causing issues. Examples:
      • In RBY I would oppose a ban on Reflect, as the majority of Pokemon that learn the move are not broken- it’s at most 2 pokemon that could be argued as problematic, and even then, Reflect Chansey is nowhere near as prevalent or effective as it used to be, so probably just Lax.
      • If, theoretically, Geomancy Xerneas were deemed broken, a Geomancy ban could be considered, as the only other user of the move is Smeargle, which I don’t consider a strong case. This would not hold true if there were other users of Geomancy.
      • In general, I strongly support Baton Pass bans in most generations, as it has been the common factor behind many unhealthy trends, spanning the course of numerous generations (also the only way to deal with it without banning it is by implementing absurd complex bans)
    • No special treatment. By this I mean that nothing should be considered safe from being targeted by ruleset modifications, and none of the other principles should be broken in order to avoid targeting a problematic element.
      • To be very clear, this explicitly rules out the option of compromising other principles in order to preserve game elements that might be deemed “too important”, or that would lead to significant change if they were removed. This type of mindset is especially prevalent among players of older metagames. To put it bluntly, I think this is even less competitively valid than people wanting to ban something because it’s boring, and I’ll be going over it in a following section on invalid types of reasoning.
    • Every single Pokemon game should be considered just as current as the other- the release of a new generation does not have any impact on the evolution of a metagame (except for Gen 1 tradebacks), so there is no reason for any change in policy.
    • No complex bans. In other words, bans should always be of a single game element, not a combination of elements. Nor should other peculiar restriction such as limiting the number of Pokemon with a specific move on a single team be implemented.
      • I hold this principle because I strongly favour a simple ruleset, because, well, rules should generally be as simple as possible without undermining functionality. This is especially since Pokemon rulesets already tend to ban a multitude of elements, so if we accept complex bans, things could easily become convoluted.
      • This is theoretically something I would be open to compromise on if I thought there were no better alternative available, however I can’t think of any scenarios where this is necessary.
    • We should not implement rules that introduce new mechanics into the game. This is a bit of an esoteric principle, but following the recent discussion on Smogon regarding ADV Deoxys, I had to incorporate it into this.
      • The summary is that in ADV, Deoxys forms are determined by the user’s cartridge, but always appear to the opponent as Deo-N, which has huge consequences. One proposed solution to this is to make players automatically declare which Deoxys form they’re using when revealing Deoxys. This is something I adamantly oppose, as the make-up of one’s team is hidden information in ADV, which means players should not be forced to disclose information as that’s fundamentally not part of the games.
      • If you’re wondering, I do support declaring what version you’re playing on at the start of a match, since considering the version of the game being used as hidden information is absurd, like playing rugby without knowing if you’re playing league or union rules. Of course, the existence of that option didn’t stop PR from choosing the worst possible option in order to avoid change.
    • Although battles should incorporate all glitches that arise as part of gameplay, teams should be possible in theory to build without the use of glitches, even though in practice you would definitely use glitches if external save editors didn’t also exist. Again, obvious, but nonetheless necessary to mention.
    • Bans are tools for removing unhealthy elements, not tools for implementing nerfs. This should be fairly obvious, but I wanted to explicitly mention this regardless, because I think it could otherwise allow for loopholes.
      • As an example, if you thought Kyogre was broken, you could theoretically argue instead for an Origin Pulse ban instead, since Kyogre is the only relevant user of the move. This would not be an appropriate course of action (never mind that it’s probably ineffective). If you wanted an Origin Pulse ban, it would be necessary to argue that the move itself was broken.
    Common Types of Invalid Reasoning
    • That a ban should be implemented because a given element is boring. This is highly subjective, and varies amongst different players. If you don’t like a metagame, but there isn’t anything wrong with it, then you should find a new format.
      • That said, there are certain extreme cases where I think this argument may have weight- specifically PP stalling Goth. However even there it’s very easy to find competitively valid arguments for banning it, so I’d argue that this is insufficient to make this reasoning valid.

    • That a given element is too important to ban, or has been an important part of the metagame for too long for it to be targeted with a ruleset modification, even if it’s clearly unhealthy. This typically leads to players suggesting bans that are either complex, target something that isn’t broken in the hopes of nerfing the threat without removing it, or some bizarre and contrived new rule
      • The inherent idea behind this reasoning, that something “should” be a key part of a given metagame, is utterly unfounded. There is no obligation for the metagame to fit into some preconceived ideal. This means that if an element proves itself to be unhealthy, we should take direct and logical action to address the issue, not make up nonsense to preserve a totally fabricated idea of what a metagame ought to look like.
      • Furthermore, the implementation of rules driven by this mindset is readily characterised as the tail wagging the dog, and is a total abandonment of why we would implement ruleset modifications in the first place. In doing this you’re not implementing rules to address a problem and make the game better, but doing so in order to avoid dealing with change and uphold the status quo without any justification as to why the status quo is better than the alternative change.
      • I believe the invalidity of this reasoning is overlooked because it’s a fallacy that veterans who are typically part of an established scene (and are thus more likely to be respected by their peers and/or responsible for decision-making) are most susceptible to. It must be stressed though, that this reasoning should hold no more weight than that of the noob wanting to ban stall because it’s boring.
      • I honestly view this reasoning as cowardice from those that are scared of change. This is despite the fact that making changes to a metagame, even for older games, is not inherently bad, despite what many posts on such matters tend to imply. Change is neither good nor bad, and each individual change should be assessed on its own merits, yet time and time again change is suggested to be inherently negative.
    • That a complex ban should be implemented in order to minimise collateral. I believe my principles already do a reasonable job of limiting collateral, though they’re obviously not perfect in that regard. If we’re unable to avoid collateral without breaking those principles, then we should just accept the collateral.
    The Sleep Clause Anomaly

    I think that even a cart-accurate sleep clause is difficult to reconcile with the aforementioned principles.
    • It’s a restriction on gameplay that is manifested mid-match, rather than at the teambuilder, which means it’s very different from all other rules and could even be considered analogous to the ADV Deoxys solution that I oppose.
    • It technically has multiple levels of conditions, meaning it is by any reasonable definition a complex rule.
    • I’m opposed to giving things special treatment based on the extent to which they’re established within the community, which would otherwise be the strongest point in favour of sleep clause.
    Despite it breaking a number of my principles, I honestly can’t bring myself to feel strongly about sleep clause aside from making it cart-accurate. I don’t like to make exceptions or set precedents that I’ll regret, but it’s a rule that’s so thoroughly embedded into competitive play, that I’m inclined to give it a pass. Moreover, I think it’s a fairly natural rule to develop, something that even a bunch of 10 year old’s playing via link cable might come up with. So I’m not going to crusade against sleep clause as long as it’s made cart-accurate. That said, I do think we should be critical about its necessity or adequacy. Ironically, I’d argue it’s unnecessary in Stadium (wouldn’t surprise me if those games don’t even let you disable it though), while in some formats it may be inadequate, such as (arguably) RBY tradebacks.

    • Mods should never be considered for any reason in a format that claims to represent cartridge.
    • Bans should only really be implemented to address issues that cause a game to have inadequate competitive depth
    • Complex bans are practically never necessary.
    • Ubers should be the starting point for all tiers except in gen 4, because they banned Arceus for some garbage reason. In gen 1, I support OU, but only based on my experiences testing Ubers/Mewbers
    • There is no preferred state of the metagame, and any ideal as to what it should look like beyond having rich competitive depth is a total fabrication. Therefore making rules in order to achieve some artificial ideal is absolute nonsense that puts the cart before the horse. As such, this should never justify breaking other tiering principles for the sake of minimising collateral, which it seems people have made into a common occurrence
    • Most of the old gen playerbase approach tiering issues without any sort of integrity, instead preferring to fearfully contort the rules in order to avoid coping with change. This kind of mindset is even less valid than wanting to ban things because you don’t enjoy playing against them.
    • Sleep clause sucks, but I cbf dealing with it beyond making it cart-accurate.
    Addressing the manner in which I conveyed these points

    So I’ve been considerably less than diplomatic in how I’ve characterised certain things that I disagree with. I am kinda sorry for not being more constructive in wording this post, because I’d normally prefer to avoid inflammatory statements so as to foster discussion, but at this point I can’t be bothered to water down my views and opinions. The reason is that at this point I simply don’t hold any hope that a more rational argument will accomplish anything. Despite this, I still wanted to express myself, and who knows, maybe someone will find something interesting to glean from this.
  2. magic9mushroom

    magic9mushroom BEST END. Member

    May 1, 2013
    Likes Received:
    There are some edge cases here. The absolute basis from which you construct a tier is "anything that's valid data on cartridge is valid", and theorymon suffices to show that e.g. "hacking your opponent's game should be banned", "doing X results in a fatal glitch" or even "unrestricted-sleep RBY Hackmons is broken by Spore Electrode". But this is the absolute coarsest level of tier construction, and by the time you're getting into debates about whether a Pokemon should be banned from OU all of this obvious shit is long since dealt with.
    Me either; SleepTrap is the closest I can think of, as a clear loophole in Sleep Clause, but there's clearly a non-complex alternative i.e. "don't use Sleep Clause".

    Otherwise, I think I agree with all points.

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