Metagame np: SS DOU Stage 9: Heaven Is A Place On Earth | Landorus-I Remains DOU

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Paraplegic

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We'll make heaven a place on earth
Ooh heaven is a place on earth

The next suspect is upon us! After receiving majority support to suspect in both the public and highly qualified surveys, we feel it is time to put Landorus-Incarnate under the microscope and decide its fate in DOU.

Boasting monstrous power, Landorus-I is a premier threat in the meta with its base 115 spa stat backed by the power of Sheer Force, Life Orb, and a colorful movepool that can take advantage of the power boost provided by its ability. Sporting a pretty great speed stat for this meta in base 101 allowing it to out speed Pokemon like Mew, Zapdos, and Urshifu, Landorus-I also possesses pretty good neutral coverage between Earth Power and Sludge Bomb, allowing it to pick its 3rd move and determine its matchup spread to some extent and making it fairly hard to react to defensively. It can also use Choice Scarf, but this gives up much of the offensive power which makes it so threatening in the first place. Some people argue that the combination of speed and power pushes Landorus-I over the edge and makes it an unhealthy presence within the metagame.

Landorus-I isn't without its flaws however. Possessing a notable 4x weakness to Ice means it usually has to run from Pokemon like Kyurem-Black and Porygon2. Despite the moves Landorus-I can potentially run in its free slot, it can't run them all at the same time meaning a number of decent to great checks can hope to contest it in games. The aforementioned Porygon2 and Kyurem-Black (especially Assault Vest) serve as examples, along with things like Celesteela, Cresselia, and even Landorus-I itself. Faster Pokemon such as Naganadel, Nihilego, and Dragapult can also outspeed and ohko Landorus-I before it gets the chance to move, and speed control like Tailwind or Trick Room can be used to accomplish the same effect with other mons, helping to mitigate it in some way.

As usual, 60% of the vote must be in favor for Landorus-I to be banned.

Important: The laddering period will last for a total of nine days.

Laddering Period
Start: Friday, December 24th at 8:00 PM Eastern time (GMT-5)
End: Sunday, January 2nd at 8:00 PM Eastern time (GMT-5)

All games must be played on the Pokemon Showdown! Doubles OU ladder on a fresh alt with a name of the form "DOUDN [name]." For example, I might use the account "DOUDN Paraplegic" to ladder.


To qualify to vote, you must achieve a minimum GXE of 80 with at least 50 games played. In addition, you may subtract 1 game for every 0.2 GXE you have above 80 GXE, down to a minimum of 30 games at a GXE of 84. As always, needing more than 50 games to reach 80 GXE is fine.

GXEminimum games
8050
80.249
80.448
80.647
80.846
8145
81.244
81.443
81.642
81.841
8240
82.239
82.438
82.637
82.836
8335
83.234
83.433
83.632
83.831
8430

Landorus-I will be legal during this suspect.
 
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The test was good and I'm glad it exists. The survey clearly showed that players wanted some sort of action taken on Lando-I and we got it. However, I think I'm pretty firm Do Not Ban as of right now. The meta has adapted to it well enough I feel like, with the most notable development being the recent rise of Cresselia, which you can especially see in the doubles invitational and to a lesser extent world cup matches. Cress isn't really the only thing holding Lando back either, Celesteela has been here for quite a while now and it sits on any Lando variant not running Focus Blast, which comes at a pretty serious opportunity cost of dropping Psychic/Sub/Stealth Rock. Volcanion has adapted to run Shuca Berry quite commonly, which makes Landorus think twice about launching an Earth Power as it could be melted be a swift Steam Eruption.

Offensively, Landorus has to be worried too. Scarf Urshifu-R, Meteor Beam Nihilego, and standard Life Orb Naganadel can all outspeed and OHKO it. Any form of speed boosted Kyurem-B is going to obliterate it. Even Ice coverage moves like Tsareena's Triple Axel and Mew's Ice Beam give it a hard time.

I think Lando provides a healthy amount of pressure as a strong Ground-type in the present meta. Its presence is great for checking the numerous Fire-types, Zeraora, and just chunking anything that resists it, but I do not believe it's banworthy.
 

Crunchman

Banned deucer.
Your friendly neighborhood Lando-I disrespecter here to give some thoughts on... Lando-I, but I'll try to keep this post from going too far off the deep end. It's very clear why Lando-I is good: nice offensive speed tier that just barely outruns 100 base and below, which puts it on the faster end of things (albeit near the bottom of the faster end, I'll get to that later), a strong STAB with a great complementary coverage move in Sludge Bomb, and great offensive stats with an ability that boosts the power of its moves to boot. Lando-I can exert a lot of pressure on the board with proper positioning, and without a doubt is a top tier offensive threat. Often overlooked but Lando-I's bulk, while not too inspiring, is not too shabby either (this is a fairly minor detail, but being able to live a fair amount of neutral hits is somewhat valuable.

So is Lando-I banworthy? zee already mentioned this in her post above, but it does suffer severely from 4MSS. Weather Ball is one of the easiest ways to patch up Lando-I's blind spots, yet weather can be clunky to run and it's not all too difficult to maneuver around. Psychic is probably my #1 option for a 3rd moveslot atm; being able to hit opposing Lando-I, Amoonguss, and Galarian Zapdos in addition to having another midground option is pretty valuable. No disrespect to Focus Blast, of course; I would never want to be on the receiving end of two Focus Blasts, but presented with the opportunity to use that 3rd moveslot on something that would also impact the game with less risk I would gladly take it. Sub and Stealth Rock can be capitalized on throughout the match but do carry the difficulty of being clunky to setup without compromising your position, as using them can significantly drain your momentum. In a similar vein to being unable to cover everything in 3 attacking slots, Lando-I often doesn't control the whole field by itself, as it can only make one KO at a time. This is of course not to say that with a little bit of positioning opponents can be easily pinned, but I believe this is characteristic of the metagame as a whole and Lando-I is not unique in this characteristic. (See threats like Urshifu, Naganadel, Kyurem-B, etc.)

Speaking of Urshifu, I find Lando-I and Urshifu to be somewhat similar in nature. Both are capable of unleashing extremely strong single-target attacks; neither are defensive behemoths; both benefit from naturally edging out a few critical speed targets (Lando outspeeding the base 100s and Urshifu, and Urshifu outspeeding Kyurem-B and Zygarde); both generally require good speed control and can fold without it. With the loss of Kartana, we decided that Urshifu was generally healthy; in its place has popped Naganadel as the premier fast tailwind setter, but Urshifu has still generally been manageable, with builds able to opt for offensive solutions or defensive solutions.


I believe the same is true for Lando-I, although I do wish to note that I feel a metagame is more enjoyable and healthier when offensive midgrounds and offensive counterplay (offensive, not hyper-offensive) is encouraged. (Reader warning this section is highly opinionated) And I feel like that offensive counterplay is available against Lando-I. Rillaboom, Kyurem-Black, Dragapult, Naganadel, Scarf Urshifu, even Scarf Tapu Fini, and more are all options to be considered that force Lando out of play. For the most part they are OHKOed or 2HKOed back; thus is the fast-paced nature of the game, I believe this is healthy. I really dislike forcing Celesteela on all sorts of builds just as a Pokemon that switches into Lando-I and hard walls it. I don't think that it's particularly enjoyable or skillful to just switch in a Pokemon immune to both of an opposing Pokemon's primary attacking moves and call it a day, which just seems overtly linear to me. Of course there is the matter of positioning Pokemon to force Celesteela out, positioning Pokemon to force those out, but at the end of the day I don't really find that to be good for the game. However, I do believe that Lando-I can be effectively checked offensively, and I do think as a result Celesteela will not be just "slapped" onto comps to check Lando (I have been guilty of this). Celesteela is still a solid mon with plenty of teams and team styles it can fit on, but I simply think it's being used far more than it should be. Anyway, this was a little long, back to the main subject.

I've already talked about Lando's prowess offensively and the presence of ample offensive counterplay. What makes Lando really pop is the presence of good support and positioning well to let it rip; I think that Lando simply rewards good positioning, once again in a similar vein to Urshifu's position in the metagame. It's pressure in the builder is not overwhelming; having ample Ground resists/immunes should be happening anyway, and having good, strong speed control is something teams need to address regardless. Lando-I is weak to Ice and Water, 2 fairly common coverage typings (especially Ice, which it is 4x weak to) and very few resistances (Bug, Poison, and Fighting, of which only Fighting is common). What this means is that its defensive utility, while existent, is not particularly strong. I think this puts it in a similar situation to Kyurem-Black - capable of dishing out damage, but lots of things end up trading with it.

TL;DR In sum, Lando-I is a potent offensive threat. Enough available units that can offensively threaten it and its tendency to trade damage lead me to believe that it is healthy for the metagame, even if it is capable of exerting a lot of pressure and create pins on teams; for the most part, it requires skillful piloting, positioning and speed control to succeed, which are all normal elements of gameplay that should be rewarded. As such I will most likely be voting Do Not Ban, and hope to see creative (and not braindead) offensive concoctions to deal with Lando-I on the suspect ladder.
 

Toxigen

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I was never on the ban hype train around Lando-I and recent metagame developments further convinced me its a fine Pokémon to have in the tier. It's surely tier 1, at least for now, thanks to great coverage and immediate damage output it can offer, but it never struck me as a broken Pokémon to begin with and with cress being viable (shotouts team Europe) as well as things like steela, p2, and a bunch of mons that can outspeed and OHKO, i think you will build a team that will easily have answers to Lando-I. Speaking of which, Lando-I has become less and less oppressive in the builder and easier to deal with in game, which is a sign of good and healthy metagame development. Im glad this suspect was made, the survey clearly showed a majority wanted one for Lando, but while yes, it's a great Pokemon that offers a lot to teams and can patch some pretty big holes, i think it will get a Do Not Ban from me.


On a side note, i wanna spend a few words on the state of the meta as of right now. In my opinion, SS is at the most balanced state ever, nothing feels particularly strong, you can get creative with teams and sets, and it feels an overall enjoyable environment to play in. I realize all of these points are subjective, but at the same time i dont feel in the minority saying this.
 
landorus is a centralizing force in the current metagame but i think for the most part, the tier has been able to adapt by producing more offensive pressure / making sure a team doesn't just fold to landorus + tailwind. unlike kartana, another single-target demon with the same sort of speed stat, landorus often resets tempo after a kill due to the lack of beast boost and tailwind on itself, making counterplay if you need to sack noticeably easier. i am quite a banhappy player (we're playing a made up ruleset, just ban shit that's unfun to play against lol) but i think enough options exist, especially with the rise of numerous floaties such as celes and cress.

Robert
 

MajorBowman

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Landorus feels like it's balancing on a pretty delicate knife's edge where it has sufficient counterplay but requires certain Pokemon to be used in certain ways even when Landorus isn't even in the game. My main example is Volcanion; Shuca feels almost like a necessity on Volcanion right now, but it will often go unused if there's no Landorus on the opposing team. That's a lot of pressure being exerted in the teambuilder alone, which has been a red flag for plenty of problematic Pokemon in the past. I know "Ground type beats Fire type" isn't exactly a headline, but Volcanion is also one of the best (if not the best) Water types in the tier, and one of the mons that should theoretically be able to take on a powerhouse Ground type losing most of the time starts to blur the line. Landorus even beats Urshifu, one of the other top tier Water types, just by means of blowing it up with a neutral STAB. This has led to Urshifu holding what I would think to be a less desirable item in Choice Scarf just to give it a chance to either KO Landorus first or pivot out.

I'm also not really convinced Landorus' 4MSS is entirely working to its detriment. Whenever you play against a Landorus, your gameplan probably changes if you know which of rocks/Psychic/FB/Sub it's packing. Before that move is revealed though, you don't really know if your Porygon2 or Kyurem-B at 60% health is safe in front of Landorus or if you're going to get punished by rocks or Sub for stalling out the last turn of Tailwind. This applies to anything, but I think Landorus takes it to a greater degree solely because getting one turn wrong against a Landorus can flip an even or positive matchup to a pretty hard loss. Also, as much of a meme as it has become, there really isn't a great list of Ground resists either. Landorus still 2HKOes every Grass type on the VR with either Earth Power or Sludge Bomb and goes even with pretty much every Flying type.

All that said, it's not like Landorus is an easy ban vote either. The list of mons that can eat a hit and threaten back is not short, and there are multiple mons that naturally outspeed and delete it. It's not bulky and has pretty average defensive typing, so it's not eating many neutral hits either. I think Crunchman's Urshifu analogy is pretty apt, and Urshifu fell into a very manageable spot after not getting banned. I don't think I would expect Landorus to end up any differently, but I also think Landorus has a bit more flexibility than Urshifu does so it might be tougher or take longer.

I've realized as I typed all this out that I can come up with more reasons to vote ban than to vote DNB, but I'm still pretty on the fence and would love to hear more perspectives. This was a great suspect to hold regardless of the outcome.
 

DaWoblefet

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I said this jokingly in US East's World Cup Discord server, but I think there's some truth in the reaction of Landorus-I's newfound popularity being due to the comparably weak Ground-types DOU was used to. Thousand Arrows is pitifully weak; you need a Choice Band to even threaten a 2HKO on 252 HP Incineroar, and so many bulky Pokemon could reliably trade with Zygarde. Landorus-T in SwSh has been massively unpopular due to its inability to check important physical threats like DD Kyurem-B, Urshifu, and Rillaboom, which made for a lack of good Ground-types to deal with. When you suddenly have a Ground-type that can pick up OHKOs, it forces changes in teambuilding to keep up.

However, I do not think Landorus-I is broken. It's definitely good; it pressures OHKOs on a number of threats in the tier, including Incineroar, Diancie, Volcanion, Zeraora, Urshifu, Metagross, and many more 2HKOs. However, it seems to me there's sufficient offensive and defensive counterplay to Landorus-I.
  • Celesteela completely walls all non Focus Blast sets and pressures heavy damage back (which I'll argue later should be all Landorus-I sets).
  • AV Kyurem-Black can survive every hit from Landorus and OHKO back. A Landorus lacking Focus Blast is unable to pressure a knockout on even DD cube.
  • Porygon2 survives every hit, threatens an OHKO with Ice Beam, and can set Trick Room and heal off the damage.
  • Rillaboom can switch in comfortably to Earth Power and offers Fake Out pressure, as well as a Grassy Glide 2HKO. Sludge Bomb + Earth Power doesn't threaten a 2HKO on AV Rillaboom, the most common set. Grassy Terrain recovery turns potential 2HKOs with Landorus-I's attacks into 3HKOs.
  • Amoonguss, running its standard Sitrus Berry set, is not 2HKOed by Earth Power and threatens Spore in return. Its Rage Powder allows other Pokemon which would ordinarily be threatened by Landorus an opportunity. Landorus loses significant offense by dropping Life Orb, which means it can't use Goggles to get around this.
  • Mew with 252 HP / 4 Sp. Def and Sitrus Berry avoids the 2HKO from Earth Power 174/256 of the time (~68% of the time) and threatens Tailwind, Ice Beam, Snarl, or a number of other support moves in return. If the Speed tie with other base 100s isn't required, but outspeeding Urshifu is enough, 252 HP / 24 Sp. Def turns that into 220/256 odds (~86% of the time) and can be fiddled with further by adjusting HP / Sp. Def investment to make it guaranteed.
  • A number of Flying-types / Levitate Pokemon can switch in reliably vs Landorus-I and offer team support or threaten it with heavy damage, including Pokemon like Cresselia, Zapdos, or Latios. In general, pairing two Ground immunes together (including Landorus-I itself!) cuts off any offensive pressure it has.
  • Choice Scarf Genesect: Ice Beam OHKOs even if the user didn't get the Sp. Atk boost.
  • Dragon Dance Kyurem-Black: a single Dragon Dance is likely enough to pressure a KO on Landorus-I, even if you've Intimidated Kyurem.
  • Life Orb Naganadel: Naganadel can outspeed and threaten an OHKO with Draco Meteor. Naganadel gets bonus points for enabling a partner to KO with Tailwind. Even Focus Sash can trade well.
  • Nihilego outspeeds and pressures an OHKO with Meteor Beam.
  • Various Pokemon are enabled, through Speed control (Tailwind, Trick Room, etc.) to pressure an OHKO on Landorus, including Volcanion, Urshifu, and Metagross; you could list off plenty more I'm sure.
That's not to mention other soft checks, like Triple Axel Tsareena, rain, Tapu Fini after a Calm Mind, Shuca Berry mons, or meme Scarf sets intended specifically to troll Landorus. There's almost nothing listed here, save some of the new Ground-immune mons, that players wouldn't generally agree were viable pre-Landorus popularity. But why shouldn't we be surprised more Ground immunes got popular? Thousand Arrows doesn't care about it, but of course Earth Power does!

There's also something to be said about Landorus-I's predictability. Everyone should be running Earth Power / Sludge Bomb / Protect. You also know, unless your opponent's gone rogue, that it will be using Life Orb and running max Speed. It's not like Kyurem-B where it has two good sets or Urshifu where its item can change how you fight against it. As for Landorus's filler move, Substitute, Psychic, Focus Blast, and Stealth Rock are the most common options I've seen used and discussed; perhaps U-turn, Imprison, and Weather Ball are worth a mention as well. However, I don't think any of these are as game-changing as say, Volcanion's filler move or Diancie's secondary attack.
  • Psychic is the only option Landorus-I has to hit itself, but it does almost nothing else. It hits Amoonguss a little bit harder but it doesn't come close to OHKOing or anything. It may improve some mid-game scenarios where Psychic into some slot more effectively covers switchins too but again, pretty niche.
  • Focus Blast hits some important checks harder, like Kyurem-B, Porygon2, and notably Celesteela. However, I think it's rarely ever worth it to click Focus Blast. It's a rare board state where you both have the positioning and need Landorus to damage one of these rather than switch. Take Kyurem-B; if you don't know whether or not it's AV, Focus Blast is incredibly risky because even if it hits, you could miss the knockout. But if you Protect to scout, you could have just given Kyurem a DD and now your Focus Blast is useless. Moreover, the risk-reward of sacking your Landorus for 0 damage is rarely worth it compared to just switching out. One of the great things about Landorus is its consistency; risking a huge damage dealer on a 70% gambit isn't a consistent option. Although Focus Blast helps with some of the most important checks to it, it just isn't a good move.
  • Stealth Rock just feels awkward on Landorus. When would you ever click this as opposed to a damaging Earth Power? Its a good value move, sure, but so is dealing a ton of damage to something straightaway. You're much more likely to deal more damage with a single Landorus attack than with rocks. If you predict a defensive play or otherwise have a free turn, Substitute is far more punishing in most board states. I legitimately don't know why you'd use Stealth Rock. It also doesn't fix anything for Landorus.
  • Substitute, in my judgment, is Landorus's best filler move by a wide margin. If you have offensive pressure, a Substitute will typically be a low-risk, high-reward move that punishes defensive play. It's also pretty easy to set up safely with the number of Fake Out mons in the tier. It also lets you beat Amoonguss more reliably. Even with these advantages though, Substitute importantly leaves you walled by opposing Landorus, Celesteela, and can have trouble trading vs other threats. It has the most value in my judgment, but still leaves Landorus checked by a number of threats.
  • U-turn is pretty cool in theory; you can play it like a Volt Switch Tapu Koko, where you threaten heavy damage and can pivot out on predicted switches. The trouble is that U-turn itself is not very strong and Substitute will typically be more punishing on a defensive play than U-turning out would be.
  • Imprison lets you troll other Landorus as well as shutting down Protect (yet another reason to run Detect > Protect), but it has the same problem as Stealth Rock where if you have a free turn, you should likely just go for damage, or else Substitute would be better.
  • Weather Ball theoretically improves coverage, but doesn't really change all that much imo. On any weather team using an offensive sweeper (Blizzard Kyurem, Eruption Torkoal, Kingdra) the extra type coverage is superfluous; do you really need another Ice move on a fast mon with Ninetales and Kyurem already?

All this is to say that I think Landorus-I should not be banned. Moreover, I actually think Landorus is a healthy addition to the metagame. I think it's a good thing that an option exists to OHKO Pokemon like Urshifu, Incineroar, Volcanion, and Diancie all in one mon. It definitely makes those Pokemon worse, but I don't see that as being unhealthy when they were all good mons, and now a new offensive check exists for them. Landorus isn't overbearing and offers a unique role in the metagame that shouldn't be removed.
 

Actuarily

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While I think DaWoblefet hit the nail on the head with his post, I also want to reiterate that I think Lando is healthy because it’s good into a bunch of popular cores and thus punishes lazy teambuilding. Things like Diancie + Volcanion, Incin + Rilla, Incin + Urshifu, etc. really struggle into Lando, and require resist berries and creative EVs in order to still be the spammable cores you can build a team around.

Obviously P2 and Kyu-b are still extremely popular, and they are the easiest Lando checks to fit on most teams. Other things like rain/hail, speed control, and most ground resists are plentiful enough that Lando isn’t banworthy.
 

Yoda2798

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Landorus-I is a strong single-target attacker, but there's nothing "unfair" pushing it over into broken territory. As my fellow four number username Robert3672 and others have done, I think a useful comparison is to previous suspect targets. While Kartana had snowball potential from Beast Boost, and Urshifu-R prevents the use of Protect for counterplay, Landorus lacks a similar sort of unique edge distinguishing it from other attackers (something older ban targets like Mega Gengar and Marshadow also had). It's also not especially great defensively, and while fast isn't blazingly so.

Being able to pick up many OHKOs and 2HKOs may seem broken in theory, but in practice it's not so simple. Threatening it with two Pokemon so it cannot KO both, or a Pokemon which would be 2HKOed threatening it after the first hit are a couple of general ways this can happen. Rillaboom is a great specific example, as DaWoblefet explained, on paper it's 2HKOed by Sludge Bomb, but usually the first hit it switches into will be Earth Power, after which Sludge Bomb will not KO, and Grassy Glide will 2HKO in return. While Ground is an excellent offensive type, it also suffers from some Pokemon being immune to it, and teams with one can find it much easier to dance around Landorus without losing Pokemon in the process. Attacking Landorus before it moves also works wonders, through either the use of naturally faster Pokemon or speed control, due to its relative frailty.

When Landorus first popped up people were unprepared for it, but teams have adapted. As others have mentioned in more detail, there's plenty of ways to deal with Landorus, so every team should be able to reasonably manage it.
 
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Bughouse

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Lando-I has run more or less the same set since XY doubles (BW still a comparable idea, just with different attacks, since it's not a fairy gen). It's just a nuke attacker in a format that tends to be able to handle a lot of such nukes, many of which by the way also offer considerably more than Lando-I does in the way of team support or in the way of defensive resistances. And it didn't really get any new tricks in SS to differentiate it from how it worked in past gen doubles metas, which have always been able to handle it.

That is all to say that I am pleased to see this overwhelming result of a no-ban, though really it's also me saying I'm very confused why this was ever seriously considered for a suspect to begin with (I acknowledge I'm saying that as a non-SS player). It feels out of step with just about everything else doubles has ever suspected, much less actually banned.
 

Darkmalice

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Lando-I has run more or less the same set since XY doubles (BW still a comparable idea, just with different attacks, since it's not a fairy gen). It's just a nuke attacker in a format that tends to be able to handle a lot of such nukes, many of which by the way also offer considerably more than Lando-I does in the way of team support or in the way of defensive resistances. And it didn't really get any new tricks in SS to differentiate it from how it worked in past gen doubles metas, which have always been able to handle it.

That is all to say that I am pleased to see this overwhelming result of a no-ban, though really it's also me saying I'm very confused why this was ever seriously considered for a suspect to begin with (I acknowledge I'm saying that as a non-SS player). It feels out of step with just about everything else doubles has ever suspected, much less actually banned.
Haven't played SS recently too, but my thoughts are that prior to Lando-I's rise, the only dominant Ground-type attacker was Zygarde. The metagame was only geared towards handling it as a Ground-type attacker (and Lando-T being managed indirectly since the metagame isn't kind to it). Lando-I took advantage of both the metagame and people's general lack of experience playing against it. The survey was conducted during a time where people and the metagame were still adjusting, and many thought it was broken, though I also think it was in part due to a lack of other obvious suspects. By the time the test arrived, the people and the metagame did adjust, with Lando-I now only considered Tier 2 in the Viability ranking test. There may be further adjustment in the future, which may draw Lando-I closer to its previous gen performance.

Currently, it is still considered better than in previous generations, even without direct changes to it. The reasons I think this is the case are the relative nerf to other Pokemon compared to previous generations:
  • It's competition from its Therian counterpart. Lando-T, a meta-defining Pokemon in previous generations, is now bad. The previous mindset of "why use Lando-I when you can use Lando-T" is gone, which imo undermined a Pokemon that was better than what its usage would show.
  • The loss of Megas, Z-moves and 50% pinch berries meant the power level dropped this generation, with generally less powerful threats in terms of both attack and bulk, and also less capacity to nuke things. This meant less competition for Lando-I, less capacity to tank its moves, and the removal of threats that would otherwise match well against it (in particular many of the common Megas).
  • No Hidden Power Ice, with users of Ice-type moves being fairly predictable this generation (with Mew being the only unpredictable one currently). This made Lando-I more consistent, which is one of the appealing features of using it this generation.
 

SMB

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I've been waiting until the lando-i suspect test and invitational finished to post my thoughts about the current metagame and what I think should be the next steps to follow in DOU. I've already shared my opinion with the council, it might be a bit controversial, but I wanted to read what the rest of the community thinks about it: Dynamax mechanic needs a retest.

Before introducing the topics I'd like to discuss, I'll link the dynamax np thread for reference. Also, people were asked about their opinion on dynamax a couple of weeks ago, on a community survey, the result can be seen here. I have some concerns about the way this was asked though, which I'll explain in the last one of the following points.


  • Dynamax voting was a close enough voting, for what I've seen it was banned when only 3 people were left to vote. In my opinion, it's fair to say a generation defining mechanic like this one deserves another look, just because of how close the voting was. Of course different cases but I will mention this for reference; something just as controversial as marshadow in sm, had a total 3 suspect tests until pretty much everyone agreed it shouldn't be a part of doubles ou.

  • What would be dynamax impact at the moment in doubles ou? Obviously the metagame would change completely. Status moves and attacks that drop stats would be way more relevant. Speed control would be more relevant as well. The main question here is the following; would this change make the metagame unplayable or unhealthy? I honestly can't answer this question right now, and I think no one can. Our goal though, should be to achieve a balanced metagame with the least amount of bans. We shouldn't look at the current state of the metagame to make these decisions. If no one can ensure that dmax will be unhealthy, that's another reason to go for a suspect test. Almost 2 years have passed since the ban and a lot of things have changed. Just a fact to let you all know how many things have changed since the ban; when dynamax was banned, grassy surge rillaboom wasn't allowed. Ofc I'm not saying this is relevant to dmax, it's just a fact to let you all know how things have changed since the ban and that it should be revised for this reason as well.


  • Current format lacks of an identity. This is one of my main concerns about SS and the main reason why i dislike the current state. When you see previous gens there's always something that makes them unique. BW gems and permanent weather, XY megas, SM z moves... SS had dynamax and speed mechanics. Once dynamax was banned, ss dou lost most of the things it had to offer. And after the kartana ban, even speed mechanics are not relevant anymore, so what we have left is a synthetic, nerfed, sm alike meta. Which COULD BE OK if the mechanic was and is in fact really broken and deserves a ban, but honestly, as I said on the previous point, I think no one can ensure that for the current state of the tier.

  • Dynamax shouldn't coexist with weakness policy. I think pretty much everyone that played back when dynamax was allowed will say the same. The interaction of these 2 elements is not healthy. If a suspect test ever happens, I think the options should be the following:

    - Unban dynamax, ban weakness policy.
    - Keep dynamax banned, do nothing with weakness policy.


    My main concern about the way a dmax suspect was covered on the community poll is that it didn't say anything about weakness policy. So maybe many of these voters thought these 2 elements would coexist. I would have done that too if I wasn't on the council and knew that this is not a possibility. If these 2 are not the options, I'm pretty sure the metagame will eventually develop into something unhealthy.
    We haven't ever tried before a dmax meta without weakness policy, so again, can anybody ensure dynamax will be broken without weakness policy in the tier? And yeah I obviously think we should prioritize having dmax in the tier instead of weakness policy.

Some closing thoughts regarding what a possible suspect could be; in case it ever happens we need to be prepared beforehand for it. Call it suspect tours, regular room tours with dmax allowed and wp banned, having a dmax dou ladder with wp banned... Suspecting stuff from ubers should be handled differently to suspects of stuff that is in dou. Getting reqs stomping cradily teams with your dmax mons won't help getting informed voters. If a suspect test ever happens I wouldn't like to have to vote "abstain" again as I did on the shadow tag suspect test just because I don't consider myself an informed voter.
There are a lot of questions apart from that. For example, if you consider 1 or 2 dmax mons to be unhealthy but you think the rest is fine, what would you vote? I have no answer for this. I guess voting separating these cases from the mechanic itself would be the right thing to do, but only if council is ready and can ensure some quickbans (also for stuff like beat up) will happen, since the change would imply playing an almost whole different tier.

So yeah, these are the main points I wanted to cover. I honestly want to know what the rest of the people think about this topic, either the points I mentioned or different ones, so I hope this has some feedback.
 

MajorBowman

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I am not trying to make a point one way or another with the post but if the dynamax vote is going to be used as a talking point in this discussion the actual numbers of the vote should be used. "The vote ended with only 5 people left" isn't really useful info considering this was a ranked choice vote and not a binary ban/do not ban vote.

I found the spreadsheet talkingtree and I used to track votes for this test and these were the results:
Screenshot_1.png
 

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oh no it's the VGC player

I didn't expect to see this today but I'm really happy it's been brought up and I'd like to provide some insight on why I think Dynamax should come back, why it likely won't break the game, and maybe some ideas to helpfully tier around it (and why it's worth making the effort to do so). Let's begin

Dynamax should be given a retest, point one

Look, it's on you if you think Dynamax will be broken or won't be, quite frankly we won't be able to tell until we start making the preparations. But I'd really like to give it a fair shot. As you can see from Bowman's table and like SMB hints at in his post, Weakness Policy is a huge confounding variable here. One of the core mechanics of Dynamax is using smart stat boosts to create (or assist) win conditions. These normally come in the form of non-offensive-boosting moves like Max Airstream, Max Steelspike, and Max Quake, since the offensive moves, Max Knuckle and Max Ooze, have the serious opportunity cost of weakened power, capping at 95/90. Weakness Policy circumvents that by allowing you to stack offensive boosts on top of this. This is already a near broken strat in VGC, but DOU's lack of item clause really pushes this over the top imo. If a Dynamax retest is considered, Weakness Policy should be banned for the duration of the testing period.

Like posted above, there have been numerous developments and changes since Dynamax's ban. Two entire DLCs were released, 5 starters got their G-Max forms, and even less obvious stuff like the ability patch was introduced. The nearly 2-year-old test may have been fine to ban max then, but I think it's been enough time that it deserves a look. The generation's defining mechanic should really be given better treatment than just a one and done, especially at a time in the metagame where things are pretty balanced (we just wrapped one of the most one-sided tests I've ever seen and no one's out here clamoring for another mon to be tested).

Dynamax is not going to shake up the foundation of the tier, I promise

Truthfully, I cannot promise you that Dynamax won't be broken, since we haven't given it the proper treatment in the tier with the current set of Pokemon, bans, etc. However, evidence from VGC would suggest that players who were top competitors before the introduction of Dynamax remain top players after its inception. It takes getting used to, just like optimal usage of megas and Z-moves did, but if the test happens and Dynamax is found to be legalized, I promise DOU won't be ruined.

I have a lot of concepts I would like post in a theoretical Dynamax test NP thread, but there's one I want to share with you quickly that a lot of people forget. Dynamax movesets suck on non max Pokemon. The most common Landorus-T set in VGC is Swords Dance / EQ / Fly / Rock Slide, which is pretty bad in an environment where it can't max and Rillaboom exists. You can only max one Pokemon per game, meaning you'd have to really justify double-dipping on sets like these that get the full benefits of the mechanic. I won't elaborate more on this point since it's on the edge of theorymonning, so if you want to know more about this just ask me and we can talk about it.

Dynamax might mean we need to rework tiering. How can we do so, and is it worth it?

There's likely a universe where Dynamax is found to be okay, but along the way we realize that Kyurem-B (I'm going to use this as an example of a Pokemon found to be broken with max involved, please bear with me) is too good with the mechanic around. What should we do? Test it and remove it through tiering action. It's that simple. Subsequent tests have been used multiple times in generation 8, particularly in the UU tier where a lot of Pokemon seem to interact with each other closely. I don't think it's a bad idea to run near back-to-back tests to remove an element like Kyurem-B, because in the end, this will minimize bans. You're looking at banning one Pokemon and freeing a mechanic, which at the end of the day is a big net positive. Smaller things like Beat Up can perhaps be assessed by a brief council vote, as they don't hold all that much gravity, truth be told.

Finally, the why. While I highly doubt anyone here has an uncle that works at Nintendo, the leaker community has made claims that a gen 9 could potentially be coming out this November, with the announcement around April. That would put us at about 10 and a half months of SS left as current gen, which in all honesty isn't a ton of time. However, it's not like SS is just going to evaporate if there is a new holiday blowout game hitting Gamestop shelves before Black Friday: this tier's legacy will still exist in DPL and Classic presumably, so it's worth giving SS the best possible legacy.

I'm not going to speculate further on whether max should be unbanned for sure or not, that is for another time. But I do think it's entirely a good idea to at least run it and see what people think. Really happy this was presented as an idea and I hope we don't hastily shut it down.
 

zoe

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I would like to say how, regardless of the current meta state, a Dynamax suspect test cannot necessarily hurt and has fair grounds for a suspect. As SMB said, it's almost been 2 years since the test and the meta has changed significantly with new Pokemon additions, such as Incineroar and Landorus-T (although the latter is inherently unspectacular at the moment). Of course these Pokemon won't keep Dynamax balanced on their own, but the meta could potentially handle it better. This is of course, assuming we go with SMB's idea and ban Weakness Policy. This suggestion is 100% reasonable due to the previous suspect having nearly equal support for a Weakness Policy ban as Dynamax itself, and a lot of the big abusers in DOU (Dragapult) and during certain VGC series (Coalossal) relied on Weakness Policy to effectively function 100 and 80 Base SpA is not, uh, phenomenal. While this likely will not eliminate all broken max Pokemon (DDance Kyurem-B comes to mind), it can eliminate past and potential problems, and provide a potentially more balanced meta not geared towards who gets their broken sweeper up first.

Now this isn't me arguing that Dynamax without Weakness Policy in DOU would be balanced, nobody knows how it'll play out. My point is that a Dynamax suspect has reasonable grounds due to the timeframe along with a factor that potentially pushed the mechanic over the edge. A suspect can't hurt anyways, as there aren't any bigger priorities for DOU at the moment, and if Dynamax is broken then it stays banned, simple as that. If we go along with the ladder+tour idea for the suspect, there will be ample opportunity to properly inform ourselves on the state of the meta. If the majority still perceive it as broken, then it gets banned. But the mechanic in itself isn't broken, then it gets unbanned. Simple as that.

Tl;dr: test max please
 
As someone who did not enjoy Dynamax at all, I'm against having Dynamax back.

I found Dynamax to be too overcentralizing for its own good and it does feel like it's designed as if all Pokemon in the team are Dynamaxed because most regular Pokemon tend to struggle against Dynamax Pokemon with how many sheer advantages they have. They receive a huge boost to their HP that they can shrug off most attacks that they normally wouldn't and make activating Weakness Policy incredibly risk-free (wouldn't be relevant in its retest as it'll be banned but worth pointing out), most Max Moves having high power that comes with secondary effects means without Dynamax, most Pokemon will hate taking any of it unless they're exceptionally bulky (Porygon2). I would say something specific like Eerie Impulse, but that probably will not translate to DOU well.

Max Airstream quickly established itself as one of the most dominating forces in the metagame with its boosting speed effect and fantastic neutral coverage and most Pokemon run otherwise suboptimal moves such as Fly or Bounce because of how good Max Airstream is. Beat Up got banned back when Dynamax is allowed in DOU as the player base deemed Beat Up + Justified broken because of the increase of bulk and Fake Out doesn't cause flinch on it, and frankly, despite what some might say, I still think Beat Up + Justified might still be too overwhelming to handle despite more tools being available if it gets the chance to (redirectors, Chlorophyll Venusaur, maybe Rillaboom). Speaking of Fake Out, despite Dynamax immunity to flinch, Fake Out barely slow down at all since it's also good at supporting Dynamaxed Pokemon from what I've understood.

The only actual downside to Dynamax is that it's vulnerable to sleep since Dynamax immediately wore off when you switch out (which I might remind you, Dynamax is immune to phazing effect because of course it does), but it's also not impossible to circumvent around either through Safety Googles, Tapu Fini, or Chesto Berry in the case of Yawn, and if you have to use a powerful mechanic to check another one, that doesn't exactly sound appealing.

If the Doubles playerbase didn't have any issues with Mega Evolution and Z-moves as a mechanic, then why that is not the case with Dynamax? I have seen some VGC players that enjoyed Dynamax and found it balanced, but others have expressed they didn't find Dynamax enjoyable. Admittedly, there were some Pokemon that have would have otherwise not seen the light of the day in VGC through Dynamax such as Braviary and Porygon-Z. But come DLC 2, they have since fallen off the spotlight and it almost feels like you have seen it all.

Now with my lousy opinions out of the way, I will ask some questions regarding the potential Dynamax retest.

Weakness Policy aside, does the current power level of the metagame make Dynmax more manageable?

Will we use an x2 HP boost (Max Dynamax Level) or an x1.5 HP boost (Minimal Dynamx Level)?
There was an attempt to reintroduce Dynamax back with x1.5 HP boost in DLC1, but it was decided to be against it as the community still didn't find it balanced.
 

Darkmalice

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My thoughts on Dynamax are largely but not entirely in response to other people's.

In a traditional Smogon sense of the definition of broken, I consider Dynamax to be the single most broken thing to ever be introduced to Pokemon. A description of arguably the most broken Pokemon in any generation, RBY Mewtwo, is that "the metagame revolves around sweeping with your Mewtwo whilst stopping the opponent from doing the same." Replacing RBY Mewtwo with Dynamax, that is essence any metagame I've seen with Dynamax, singles or doubles, VGC or not, and even with the 3-turn limit - over-preparing on teambuilder isn't even an option since it can be used on any Pokemon. It goes beyond Mega evolutions, Z-moves, Stealth Rock, and anything else or any other generational identity in which it merely forms a core part of the metagame and that you should essentially always use them - it is a hugely and entirely different metagame with Dynamax and one that fully revolves around it. The metagame foundation is not just shaken up; it has been entirely replaced. I'm 100% certain that even a Weakness Policy ban will not prevent this.

That being said, much like any broken element, it can be used by both parties. Although it makes the metagame revolve around it, and unlike broken Pokemon, it may not necessarily overcentralise the metagame. It gives use to Pokemon that may otherwise never be used like Coalossal and Porygon-Z and may actually increase verstaility (which seems to be the case in VGC), and also still promote a healthy flow of continuous metagame development, unlike say the long period of offence / hyper-offence teams we had with Kartana. Despite being broken in a traditional sense, it may be arguably more healthy. The issue is when it becomes too difficult to manage - if it were to lower the skill level involved in matches. This could be based on not being to adequately handle it despite playing well, too dependent on team-matchups or calling the right leads, or overcentralising towards certain Pokemon or teams. Weakness Policy, particularly without item clause, is likely a contributing factor here, though it may still be the case even without it (or perhaps limited to 1 item per Pokemon in the 6v6 setting). You can only truely determine this by testing it, and as others have pointed out, this is a good time to do so with the lack of other obvious suspect candidates. This is quite important, since in terms of tiering decisions to reaching the best possible DOU metagame, the opportunity cost is relatively low. We will also likely have time afterwards for further subsequent testing for other bans and unbans that would envitably follow if Dynamax was reinstated.

Perhaps it could be tested first without Weakness Policy, and if it the vote was to keep Dynamax, then Weakness Policy could be tested afterwards. This is based mostly on MajorBowman's statistics, which show that it was indeed a strong confounding factor that may strongly influence the results otherwise. Although it still works well with other times such as Life Orb and Assault Vest. Or perhaps have separate Doubles metagames for Dynamax and Non-dynamax; these metagames may arguably have more differences than 7th Gen vs 8th Gen DOU.
 

gum

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i don't really care that much about what happens with dynamax, but if it were to come at the price of banning an otherwise balanced element (weakness policy), i really don't see how u can make a solid case for the unbanning of dynamax; it's the thing vastly shaking things up here and it'll still be very difficult to tell what dynamax's impact on the tier will be long-term. the tier seems to be in a very good place right now, and according to other posts in this thread, dynamax could potentially break multiple mons

there's no point in fixing what's not broken, especially if we'll have to ban multiple elements simply to justify unbanning one. for example, banning kyub and weakness policy in a dynamax meta could potentially lead to threats taking kyub's spotlight (because like, after all we're talking about an extremely important presence in the tier - such bans are often bound to lead to new issues surfacing, especially when you add in a volatile aspect like dynamax)

this comes from someone who's never played in the dynamax meta, though, so take this with a grain of salt. this still worries me from a tiering perspective however, so i thought i'd share my concerns
 
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Yoda2798

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i don't really care that much about what happens with dynamax, but if it were to come at the price of banning an otherwise balanced element (weakness policy), i really don't see how u can make a solid case for the unbanning of dynamax; it's the thing vastly shaking things up here and it'll still be very difficult to tell what dynamax's impact on the tier will be long-term. the tier seems to be in a very good place right now, and according to other posts in this thread, dynamax could potentially break multiple mons

there's no point in fixing what's not broken, especially if we'll have to ban multiple elements simply to justify unbanning one. for example, banning kyub and weakness policy in a dynamax meta could potentially lead to threats taking kyub's spotlight (because like, after all we're talking about an extremely important presence in the tier - such bans are often bound to lead to new issues surfacing, especially when you add in a volatile aspect like dynamax)

this comes from someone who's never played in the dynamax meta, though, so take this with a grain of salt. this still worries me from a tiering perspective however, so i thought i'd share my concerns
The argument of coming "at the price of banning an otherwise balanced element" isn't completely one-sided here, as banning a single item is obviously preferable to an entire mechanic. The central point of discussion last time was about the cost beyond that; the question of how many Pokemon may need to be banned as a result of not banning Dynamax, and how many was too many, which was and is up for debate.

"Don't fix what's not broken" is also not exactly how tiering works, if there's nothing to suspect up, you see if anything could be suspected down, regardless of if the meta is currently in a good place. Something considered banworthy at one point might not be anymore, and there's definitely enough room for doubt in this case. As dnagerbdager said, a suspect test can only be positive, we aren't actually adding Dynamax back yet, just giving it a proper examination. A test would give a far better idea of Dynamax's impact, which is heavily speculative at the moment.

After Dynamax was originally banned there was always some potential to give it another look after the DLCs dropped, and now is the perfect time given the meta is settled and nothing else is on the agenda. As a generation defining mechanic it deserves a second chance, and the metagame has changed significantly since it was originally banned. It should go without question that the test would look at having Weakness Policy banned instead, as that's the realistic alternative on the table. However, I do worry about the possibility of something like Kyurem-B becoming a problem with Dynamax, being unable to act on it during the suspect, and it swaying the results for fear of cascading bans being needed, even if that would actually turn out to be the only one needed. Some uncertainty about what happens down the line seems unavoidable here though.

Edit: To be clear, this is just my personal opinion, not an official statement by TLs/Council.
 
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These dudes won’t even allow dynamax in room tours. Good luck with getting them to suspect test it.

May have been a little unbalanced with wp, but at least it was interesting, fun and rememberable.

I officially endorse a retest and on top of that all future generations defining mechanisms should be immune to suspect tests. Took all the soul out of what the Pokémon company wanted to share with us because some dudes and little Timmy couldn’t adapt week 1.
 
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I do believe now that we presumably have the full Pokedex with us and the metagame is for the most part relatively stable, we should absolutely look into Dynamax once more. This is the defining face mechanic of the generation, it should get at least that much respect imo. And many of the Pokemon that ran uncontested before aren't able to do that anywhere near as easily now as was then. However I also believe that some regulations should be looked at as well. From my experience playing back when it was legal and playing during the original suspect test, Weakness Policy and some other fringe strats like Beat Up and Anger Point were the biggest issue when it cam Dynamax being entirely too ludicrous to play around or against. Now that the blatan power balance has largely been put into check, I feel as if we can take a hard look with the absense of those elements or at the least have the option to choose to allow Dynamax while omitting said things. The absoute worst that can happen is nothing changes and we waste a couple of weeks. At best, we get something fresh. I see thi sas a win/win

From what I’ve seen reviewing the replays from the Dynamax tournament and playing a couple room tours and private games with it allowed, while it is still incredibly potent no doubt, it doesn’t see or feel anywhere near as egregious as it did before. So I do feel as if the suspect test holds some water here

And although it has no real weight on the matter, omitting this mechanic has had the unfortunate side effect of making the tier extremely bland for quite a good margin of people. I think aside from IoA’s crapshoot, this is easily the fastest I’ve gotten bored and lost interest almost entirely with a generation’s meta in my entire career. On top of a lot of implemented mechanics/moves feel really clunky and sometimes even slightly broken due to them being specifically balanced around a mechanic that doesn’t exist in our metagame.

I’m well aware that fun doesn’t equate to balance or fairness, but I DO believe and have to say that it should factor in at least slightly into some decisions. Especially ones that are as immensely drastic as this was
 
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These dudes won’t even allow dynamax in room tours. Good luck with getting them to suspect test it.

May have been a little unbalanced with wp, but at least it was interesting, fun and rememberable.

I officially endorse a retest and on top of that all future generations defining mechanisms should be immune to suspect tests. Took all the soul out of what the Pokémon company wanted to share with us because some dudes and little Timmy couldn’t adapt week 1.
Pokemon games should be immune to criticism because a generation's new gimmick (which we're gonna be "treated" to each gen :DDD) is special and cannot be found faulty. We should never have the right to ban something because it's what makes a gen "unique" and that's really important. The first five generations didn't have some shiny new button to be in a marketing trailer
 
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