Hi guys, girls and everything in-between! I tackled the OU in the previous article, but just a little bit and I heven’t mention the mess that is the tiering system. Open your books folks, school is on.
I am not a professional competitive trainer. I do not pretends to hold the holy sacred Truth and in no mean replace experts and experienced players. I simply think I have strong enough bases to share my knowledge with less experienced players.
What are the tiers?
Tiers are a way to classsify Pokémon based on their strengh and usage. The key here is usage.
How does this mess works?
They follow a certain hierarchy. Think of it as a pyramid:
If you ever wonder, yes, the Insurgence simulator got it wrong. PU does not stands for Pooly Used. It does not mean anything.
By default, every new Pokémon are sent to OU. If they manage to be used pass the 3,41% of usage (or 4,52% in Sword and Shield), they are considered OU. If the player base decide it is too strong for OU, the Pokémon is sent to Ubers. In the case the Pokémon is not played enough, it drops to UU. And it starts over again. The Pokémon is either sent tu UUBL (more en that later) or drops to RU. Then it goes on and on. If a Pokémon is too weak for PU, it is shamed with the biggest dishonour for a fully evolved Pokémon and is classified as Untiered, meaning it is strictly discouraged to be used in any tiers if your goal is winning. Pokémon like Luxray, Pachirisu or Dunsparse find their home there.
There is also there other separated case: LC, AG and NFE.
LC is the Little Cup. Independent from the other tiers, I could say it has its own Pyramid because the LC has its own LC Uber and LC UU. To be classed LC, the Pokémon must not be an evolution and have at least one. This mean it is a tier where common faces are Onix, Pawinard and Corphish. Games are played at level 5, so EV spreads are radically different from the other formats.
AG is for Anything Goes. In this tier, there are no restrictions. You can do whatever is possible on your cartridge. A team of 6 Arceus? No problem! Full Baton Pass chain? Sure! This tier was created after the release of Omega Rubis and Alpha Saphire because of Mega Rayquaza. Mega Rayquaza is the embodiment of having no counters. Along with Zacian, RBY Mewtwo and DPP Kyogre, it was the most absurdly BROKEN thing in Uber. However, unlike the other, Mega Rayquaza managed to be the first ever Pokémon banned from the Uber! Being banned from a banlist is no joke. At this point, Smogon decided to make a tier where player could do mostly anything. And the AG was born!
NFE stands for Not Fully Evolved. It is just a mention for those not fully evolved Pokémon that technically cannot be classified as Untiered.
The tiers, while roughly representing the list of viable Pokémon, are not entirely good at reflecting proportionally how good they are. In some case, Pokémon are more used due to player preference or are simply underrated or not used enough. An example in my mind is Reuniclus in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
There, Reuniclus was dangerous. In fact, even if considered too strong for RU, it wasn’t used in UU and was better in OU. However, due to it requiring more support than other Calm Mind sweeper, it was used just barely enough to not be OU. Sure, Reunicluss was less immediately threatening as Tapu Lele and Mega Alakazam, plus had fearsome competition in Magearna and Clefable, but have uncial attributes that makes it a potent threat.
How is a Pokémon banned?
There is two ways to ban a Pokémon: Suspect test and Quick ban.
Suspect test is the most frequent. Highly ranked players are invited to reach a certain level of win-loss ration in a certain amount of time. After that, the players who reached the ratio can vote between keeping the Pokémon in the tier or ban it. Suspect also works the other way. The council can do a suspect test to see if a Uber could works in OU, an UUBL (BL tiers are the next things I am talking about, calm down) inside UU, etc.Then the player base decide if it should stay or go back home.
As for the joke, two OU suspect test are very funny in my opinion. The first one is Shaymin-Sky in Black and White. It is the only suspect test yet where 100% players voted for its ban. Even things like B&W Darkrai never had 100% votes for its ban! The other one is Hoopa-U in ORAS. Redemption, a french player forgot to vote and by the time he remembered, the vote was over. It ended up in a perfect 50/50, so the council decided to ban Hoopa-U. Redemption was about to vote against its ban. He, sadly, could have changed how we play ORAS OU to this day.
Quick Ban does not require the player base to decide, they are direct intervention from the tier’s council. Because yeah, at least 6 players are assigned at keeping the OU balanced each generation. Lower tiers sometimes have fewer player assigned but you get the picture. The quickest ban record is held by USUM Marshadow, who stayed only 24 hours in OU before becoming a new Top Tier in Ubers.
Can a Pokémon not be used enough for OU but be too strong for UU?
Yes, this is what the UUBL is. BL tiers, for either Border Line or Ban List, aren’t a playable tier. They are a way to classify Pokémon too strong for a lower tier, but not used enough for the tier above. Good example of UUBL include USUM Mega Gardevoir who is way to strong for the UU of the same generation but is totally outclassed by other psychic types Pokémon like Mega Alakazam and Tapu Lele.
Is there other tier than the classic ones? I’m kinda bored.
Heh, would I be talking about that if it wasn’t the case? There are other independent metagame such as the very fun Monotype, the 1v1, Double OU where is is OU… But in doubles and with different banlist! If the Pokédex and mechanics cuts from Sword and Shield is to much for you but you still like generation 8, why not try the National Dex OU! It is basically Generation 8, but with Mega Evolution, Z Moves, Hidden Power and Pursuit back! Old top tier like Ash-Greninja and Mega Alakasam meets Dracovish, Corviknight and friends! For the ballsiest of you, there is also the National Dex AG, where your Mega Rayquaza is facing Dynamaxed Zygard-Complete.
And for those who wants to trow the rules out the windows, allow me to introduce you the the OM, or Other Metagames.
These things are what could be called organized chaos. It uses the fact that Showdown! is a simulator to change the physics of Pokémon. You wan them to have new abilities? Good, go play a game of Almost Any Abilities! New movepool? Try out STABmon. New types, why not Camomons, where the type is based on the type of your first two attacks! Triple types? That exists in Hidden Type where your Hidden Power become a third type. Inheritance where it is basically Pokémon fusions! Pure Hackmon where you can play ANYTHING like Pure Power Mega Mewtwo X! Mix And Mega where you can Mega Evolve nearly any Pokémon!
There is a metagame for all your craziest wish. Plus, you can even summit your own to smogon!
What are the basic OU rules?
I told them in the previous article. But just for you, let me tackle the one more time.
Unless specified, games are played in Single. Reminder:
Nearly every tier follows the Smogon-wide clauses. They change between most generations, Gen 7 having different from Gen 8 for example. Most tiers are affected by them, AG being notable for not following them. Sometime, Uber doesn’t. As I said, every tiers have different rules, but the Smogon-wide clauses are very frequent.
Right now, that’s all I got. New time, we get into the GOOD stuff: Teambuild. I’ll show you team archetypes and tricks when building into the desired archetypes.