Greetings all! My name is Simon, and on behalf of the PixelmonMod Team I present to you the newest project to enter the competitive field - the creation of an official Pixelmon tier list.
In the interests of making this thread easy to read, navigate, and understand for competitive and non-competitive players alike, I have divided the thread into organized sections with individual chapters. If you notice an error, please reference the section and chapter the error is found in so I can fix it in no time!
This project is designed to involve the community along every step of the process. Members of the community are encouraged to participate in tier discussion and, at times, suspect tests. Without a doubt, this is an ongoing project - so stay tuned for consistent updates, announcements, and community projects!
Without further ado, I present to you the Official Pixelmon Tier Lists!
Before getting started, it's important to understand the concepts of competitive play. This section is designed to introduce the concept of tier lists to newer players as well as familiarize competitive battlers with the precedent used to establish them.
Competitive Terms You Should Know
In order to understand why tier lists exist and how to create one, we should understanding the base concepts of competitive play that form a need for such as tier system to be implemented.
Let's start by defining balance - the ultimate goal of having a tier system. Balance is the idea that both competitors have a fair (but not necessarily equal) chance of winning that allows for a variety of strategies to be executed effectively. Not all teams will be equal going into the battle, but each competitive starts off on the same playing field through teambuilding. If only one or two strategies ever worked in battles, the game is said to be broken - though everyone can use them, it isn't very fun as it lacks diversity. This concept of balance is effectively known as 'perfect imbalance' were battling is imbalanced just enough to allow for a variety of play styles to be used.
Surprisingly, next we need to define the rules themselves. In competitive play, most players follow a set of rules agreed upon beforehand that regulate what can and can't be done during battle, called clauses. Currently, the 6 clauses are Species, Sleep, Evasion, OKOH, Moody, and Baton Pass (not all are self-explanatory, and Endless Battle has been excluded). Clauses are established when a move or strategy, such as boosting evasion, changes the metagame too much and leads to unbalanced battles. Each tier also has a specific banlist, which prevents certain moves, items, and other competitive aspects from being used in that tier.
Moving on, it's no surprise to say that pokemon are different, and some are better than others on the field. In competitive play, we refer to the primary purpose of a pokemon as it's role. For example, a pokemon with a high special attack, such as Mewtwo, often has a role as a special sweeper. Some of the common roles are Sweeper, Bulk/Tank, Wall, Wallbreaker, Setup, Support, and Pivot.
As you can certainly imagine, not all pokemon are made equal. A Pokemon X that can almost always defeat Pokemon Y under any circumstances is said to counter Pokemon Y. A Pokemon X that checks Pokemon Y will lose normally, but may defeat Pokemon Y under specific circumstances such as if Pokemon Y is burned, stealth rocks is active, or through damage roll. It is essential to understand the difference between checks and counters as they are critical to knowing how competitive tiers are formed. It should also be noted that the terms soft check and hard check refer to check and counter respectively, but for purpose of clarity those terms won't be used.
On the battlefield, you'll often find pokemon that are difficult for your team to defeat. Pokemon that aren't easily beaten by your team are called threats. Typically, a Pokemon X is a threat if your team has no more than one counter to Pokemon X, or if less than half of your team can check Pokemon X. Battling is extremely circumstantial, so these rough definitions may not apply in all situations - work to develop your own understanding of what poses a threat to your team, and you'll be a stronger battler because of it.
If your team has too many threats, your likely having an issue with teambuilding. The way that your pokemon function together as a team to defeat the opposing team is known as synergy. Good team synergy will reduce the number of threats you have while providing a variety of checks and counters to common pokemon in that metagame. Generally, teams with a variety of roles and types have stronger synergy.
What Defines a Tier?
Smogon's tier list is built around the OU (OverUsed) Tier. The OU Tier is defined based on the probability of usage, which is simply put a lot of math. In laymans terms, a pokemon is in the OU tier if it's used on roughly 3.5% of teams and has about a 50% chance to be seen in 20 battles. Even so, what exactly is a tier supposed to be?
A tier is a set of pokemon that are roughly equal in competitive ability as determined by their usage. The goal of using a tier system is to allow all pokemon to participate in battle without providing a severe disadvantage to one side. While hard to understand, tiers attempt to balance the metagame and determine what should and shouldn't be allowed in certain levels of battle in order to lower the chances of 'op' or 'cheap' strategies appearing in battle.
Smogon currently endorses 5 tiers - Ubers, OverUsed, UnderUsed, RarelyUsed, and NeverUsed. BorderLine is a 'sub-tier' that lies between all tiers except Ubers and OU in the form of BL1 between OU and UU, BL2 between UU and RU, and BL3 between RU and NU. Tiers can get to be complicated (especially with all the other metagames), so we’ll stick to the main 5 for now.
With that being said, that's all the base knowledge you need to know to get started!
Tiers are always changing, and it's not the easiest thing to explain how pokemon are placed into tiers. This section attempts to explain the general idea of placing pokemon into tiers and well as outlines the method we'll be using to develop our own tier lists.
Placing Pokemon in Tiers
The tier in which a pokemon resides changes over time and grows with the metagame, as do the pokemon themselves. In order to address the changing times and place pokemon in their correct tiers, we look at suspect tests. A 'suspect' is any aspect of competitive play (pokemon, move, item, etc.) that may benefit competitive play by being moved or implemented in another tier. In other words, A suspect is simply anything that would improve gameplay for a tier if added or removed from the tiers banlist.
Cyclical imbalance is the idea that players build their teams to beat the most current threats in the metagame, which in causes old threats to 'phase out' and new ones to develop. While this idea is perfectly normal and healthy for a game, sometimes it becomes stuck when something is just too overpowered. For example, Mega Rayquaza was the first pokemon to be banned from the Ubers tier (a banlist from OU itself) because it broke the metagame to a point where cyclical imbalance couldn't restore it. The key is versatility - it becomes necessary to make a gameplay chance to restore balance when the metagame becomes dominant around a certain feature, in this case defeating Mega Rayquaza, for too long.
So what does make a pokemon in a certain tier? It's impossible to say, but in general pokemon that have strong sets, act as checks or counters to common threats, serve as a threat to common pokemon, provide a unique role to a team, and having good synergy within the majority of teams are placed in the OU tier. Each of the other tiers are built around OU, so for a better explanation please check the resource section at the bottom of this thread for Smogon's explanation of tier placement.
Guidelines for Tier Construction
In the interest of keeping this project organized, I'd like to propose the following guidelines or postulates, if you will, that we'll be using to establish the Official Pixelmon Tier Lists.
1: To delineate between Smogon Tiers and Pixelmon Tiers, the abbreviations of Sm and Pm will be added before the tier name. Therefore, SmUbers is the Smogon Uber Tier while PmRU is the Pixelmon Rarely Used Tier.
2: All Smogon Clauses are to remain the same provided that they function as intended. An additional 'Bugged Clause' will be added that prevents all features that do not work as intended from being used. A delineation between buffed features and debuffed features may also be specified.
3: The tier list will be centered around the PmOU Tier as standard competitive pokemon. PmUbers is therefore defined as pokemon too overpowed to be used, while PmUU through PmNU is categorized as pokemon that are less used than the pokemon in the tier higher. The PmNU tier may be separated into separate PmNU and PmPU tiers at a later time.
4: Tier lists will resign in either an 'Editing' or 'Sealed' status. When a tier is in Editing mode, changes may be made to the tier without a vote being conducted on said change, but changes must be documented and posted for community review. During a Sealed state, all changes must receive a 2/3 majority vote by the community over one week's time. A tier will only have an Editing status when significant changes to the metagame have occurred, such as an update with a large amount of new pixelmon.
5: Responses to this thread should be related to the project as a whole to remain on-topic (such as project suggestions or policy changes) . Discussion on the placement of pixelmon, items, or abilities should take place in a relevant active Suspect Test or, if none exists, a separate discussion thread to keep thoughts organized.
Each Friday, I will be updating this thread with a new focus for the next week. Past and present focuses will all be listed below with the most current (aka active) focus at the top.
Sep.23: Finalize the PmOU and PmUber tiers; begin constructing PmUU tier[i]
Sep.16: [i]begin constructing the PmOU and PmUber tiers
At the end of the week, I will take all of the changes made to the tiers and post them on the forums for review by the community. This process will be explained in more detail when we get closer to the first review phase.
There are two main types of community discussion that affect the tier lists - formal and informal.
Any change made to the an existing tier list or the project as a whole requires a formal discussion thread, or an official thread from the Competitive Team specifically designed to discuss the change and vote on a solution. All formal discussion threads must include a community vote that is open for at least one week's time prior to accepting or rejecting the change. If a change is rejected, a one month waiting period (starting from the last day of the vote) must be met prior to opening a new formal discussion thread so a new vote may be held. If a 2/3 majority is not met by the end of the first week, the vote may be extended by up to an additional week.
A Policy Change is any form of revision to the structure of the tier lists or the methods used to create and maintain them. After receiving a suggestion for a policy change, the Competitive Team will either approve, deny, or table it. Approved suggestions are brought out to the community shortly for official discussion, while denied ones are left to informal discussion until they receive significant support or fall off. Most suggestions are tabled for a later time for a variety of reasons, typically because we don't have the resources to process it or we aren't far along enough in development to propose such a change.
A Suspect Test is a research, discussion, and voting process regarding an aspect of competitive play that would improve the game by adding or removing that aspect to a tier's banlist. Changes in one area of the tier lists can have a significant effect on other, so it's important to consider the implications before voting. Tier discussions go a mile a minute, so keep track of the conversation as there are sure to be new consequences (good and bad) that should be factored into your final decision and always have an open mind!
The remainder of community discussion falls under informal discussion, which is discussion that does not directly result in an official change to the OPTL. In other words, if it is not posted by the Competitive Team or does not contain an official vote it falls under informal discussion. Because this thread does not contain an official vote, any discussion is informal can cannot result in a change without a formal thread as well.
In order to keep track of all the changing variables involved in such a project, I've created a spreadsheet database of all GenV Pokemon for easy access. This section explains the general formatting of the database and how to use it successfully.
Official Pixelmon Tier Lists Database: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing
Navigating the Database
The Database uses a very specific organization system that relies on fairly complex formatting. Once understood, the system becomes so easy to navigate that you'll wonder why you'd ever use anything else.
Pokemon are typically sorted by their National Dex number and appear in two styles. Pokemon that are underlined Blue are already in Pixelmon and contain a hyperlink to their page on the PixelmonMod Wiki. Pokemon that are not yet in Pixelmon are colored White.
Next to each pokemon is it's SmTier according to the GenV Smogon Pokedex. Pokemon without a SmTier are either LittleCup or in no tier at all.
The PmTier column is one of the more complicated sections to understand due to the semi-complex color code used, explained below.
Green: Lower limit for proposed tier suggestions
Blue: Upper limit for proposed tier suggestions
Orange: Proposed tier suggestion under discussion
Yellow: Proposed tier suggestion awaiting approval
Red: Reserved for Suspect Tests when sealed
Purple: Denotes a tier placement with special circumstances
Black: Approved tier placement ready for action!
The Notes section lists important information about that pokemon to help determine what tier it should be in. In some cases, Pokemon might have multiple tier locations depending on the set they are using.
Finally, the last section that looks like a bunch of random numbers is for various sorts. Each sort divides the list into being organized by National Dex number, alphabetical order, or by Sm/Pm Tier. Typically, the database will remain sorted by National Dex number.
Using the Database
Using the database is a walk in the park! Look for pokemon that are either without a tier (and in Pixelmon!) or have a Green, Blue, or Orange colored tier. If you have something you'd like to add about that pokemon's placement, simply create a comment in the Notes section using either the Comments are in the top-right or by right clicking and selecting 'Insert Comment'. I'll get a notification, and I'll be able to get a response back to you in no time!
If you want to talk about a certain pokemon in more detail, feel free to create a thread about it on the forums. From there, other users (myself included) can post their own thoughts and opinions on the pokemon, and I'll be adding notes into the database throughout the process. When we've come to a conclusion, that tier moves out of discussion and into the approval process starting on the next Friday. If all goes well, that tier becomes finalized and your suggestion is now permanent for all to see!
Don't be afraid to add in some comments to the database, especially if you notice a mistake. It's a team effort, so it's essential that we get as many people as we can involved in the process as it's literally one of the largest changes to Pixelmon in a long time!
Pixelmon 4.2.7 Tier Lists
Intro to Competitive: http://www.smogon.com/dp/articles/intro_comp_pokemon
Terms & Definitions: http://www.smogon.com/dp/articles/pokemon_dictionary
Clauses & Banlists: http://www.smogon.com/bw/banlist/
Smogon Tiers: http://www.smogon.com/xyhub/tiers
Suspect Tests: http://www.smogon.com/smog/issue6/suspect
Official Pixelmon Tier Lists Database: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing
PixelmonMod Wiki: http://pixelmonmod.com/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page
Pokemon Showdown: http://play.pokemonshowdown.com/
Basic Teambuilding: http://www.smogon.com/smog/issue28/teambuilding
Teambuilding Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98NpL76KNhI
This project is one that takes a lot of time and dedication, and it is my belief that it's exactly what the Competitive Pixelmon community needs to get our name known. The best way you can help the project is to share this threads with other community members and participate in putting together the Official Pixelmon Tier Lists. Until the next update, Game On!
[7:44 PM] Simon_Flash: Hey, I'm with you guys too :p
[7:45 PM] MrM: we're always serious
[7:45 PM] Simon_Flash: Rugh Rough Raggy