This is a great PRC topic- Arena Trap really is a problem for the metagame and it shows in virtually every match with Dugtrio. However, I do think this PRC topic has presented us with a unique opportunity to change how the metagame functions in order to bring it more in line with what people expect from a competitive metagame. Fair warning, this is going to be a big post because I have a lot to say!
First, I want to go into greater detail into problems the CAP metagame faces aside from Arena Trap. Specifically, I'm going to be addressing the current tiering structure problems it presents is. As many in this thread has noted, the clearest issue with our tiering structure is that it leaves us unable to address non-CAP related elements. I believe this is only a symptom of an underlying issue that Jordy's proposal does not fully deal with.
What I'm referring to is CAP's relationship with OU, primarily our reliance on the OU banlist. Doug's post does a good job of explaining why this was done, so I won't be going into that. What is more important is that those reasons no longer hold up in the current day. Optically, I think our tiering structure does an excellent job of making the CAP project look lazy and impotent. The CAP project has it's own subforum with multiple subforums within it, its own C&C section, and it's own ladder and room on Showdown. Compared to the Other Metagame section of the site, we have vastly more resources at our disposal than the majority of OMs, yet we actively avoid taking direct control of our metagame. How does it look to someone interested in CAP when they're told to research another metagame in order to understand our own? How accessible is it for people looking for alternatives to OU, the exact kind of people we tend to attract?
Another point of contention, at least for me, is that our current tiering system is built upon a number of assumptions. The first is that OU is the preferred metagame for everyone, which doesn't make sense when we're trying to cater towards a playerbase that is playing something distinctly not OU. The second assumption is that OU will make the correct decision for our metagame, which fails in the face of an OU playerbase that is indifferent towards CAP. The third is that the CAP playerbase either cannot or is unwilling to maintain their own tierlist, which has not been truly tested in recent memory. The next one is not an assumption, but it is definitely an oddity. If a CAP player wanted a say on the result of a suspect test on the CAP metagame, they have to ladder for OU and vote with the CAP metagame in mind, which seems to beat the whole point of a OU suspect test.
Perhaps the biggest problem with our current tiering structure is that it takes most of the authority and decision making away from the CAP community. As someone who's entire background is the CAP metagame, it's disheartening to know that at the end of the day, you won't have a say in your own metagame. What I, and anyone else, has thought about CAP metagame balance has meant absolutely nothing up until last generation's nerfs and now this PRC thread. The lack of interaction detracts vastly from the metagame experience because it feels like we're telling our players to just deal with whatever OU or CAP throws at them. To me, that's the worst thing about our tiering system and I hope that this PRC concludes with a way to properly address it.
Moving onto Jordy's proposal, he does a good job of addressing most of these problems. If we pushed it out right now, and assuming the metagame council is as trustworthy as people have assumed they are in this thread, I think it would do an excellent job of correcting the issues with the CAP metagame while still preserving the status quo. However, my issue is that it would preserve the status quo where the CAP community leaves the decisions making to OU. If you look at the meat of Jordy's proposal and the implications behind it, there is no reason for it to even mention OU aside from the intent to preserve a certain power level. Any issue that may arise could be addressed either through this proposal or the nerfing process; literally zero knowledge of OU is needed to argue that Arena Trap is unbalanced in the CAP metagame, so why are we trying to use a comparison of OU and CAP as a benchmark for balance. Would it not make entirely more sense to just separate from the OU banlist completely and maintain our own metagame? I think I've made it clear that OU does not benefit us as it has in the past.
I suspect the biggest obstacle for us to separate from OU completely is the implication that we would need to do our own suspect testing. Honestly, I think we're going to need to do suspect testing regardless of how far we separate from the OU banlist. The reality is that a discussion thread only works for elements that would be quick banned, otherwise there is far too much bias on the council's part to make it fair. What I mean is that the council has to decide that something is troublesome enough to host a discussion on. Then, at the end of that discussion, the same group of people who initially believed the element was troublesome get to make the final decision on it. While this works for obviously unhealthy elements such as Arena Trap, more controversial elements will be a PR nightmare for us. What if the community is split on an issue? How can the council effectively make a decision that won't result in a significant portion of the playerbase being pissed off at them? They use an impartial method to make the final decision, which would be a suspect test. Maybe we restrict this proposal to only granting the council power to act when the majority of people want something changed. This assumes that CAP will not differ from OU to the point that something completely unrelated, and therefore something that won't have an OU suspect hanging over it, will ever be problematic. The truth is that we can't guarantee that something controversial won't become an issue, which means that the council needs to have the power to run suspect tests if we want this proposal to carry any weight.
So, let's assume that not only can CAP hold a suspect test, but that we absolutely have to be able to. How do we argue against separating from OU completely once that hurdle has been crossed? What is the difference between being able to act, as this proposal is centered around, and being forced to act, as a complete separation would imply? I think the only difference is in the workload; our council and community would have a greater responsibility in managing the metagame. Is this a substantial enough difference to keep us from making the switch? I think its not. The reality is that if we can do one suspect test, we can do them all. Suspect tests are never ran two at a time, so if we can do one suspect test we should be able to repeat the same process for others.
What I'm proposing is that we take Jordy's proposal and greatly expand it. Let's give the metagame council not just the power but the responsibility of maintaining metagame balance by severing our reliance on the OU banlist. Instead of restricting their powers behind a desire to keep an easy status quo, let's give them, and through them the CAP playerbase, free reign to handle issues as they come up. Let's give them the power to run suspects and the power to quick ban clearly problematic elements such as Arena Trap. I believe that by doing so, we would be able to address the problems with our current tiering structure, handle the Arena Trap problem, and also set up a system that can work for us in the long term.