— The site's original slogan. It's still unofficially used.
Smogon is a notable competitive Pokémon battling community. It provides reports for every fully-evolved and non-evolving Pokémon (as well as a few "special cases" such as Pikachu, Porygon2, Scyther, and Vigoroth that differ play-wise from their evolved forms, plus some others such as Chansey and Magneton that are strong enough to be used in lower tiers their fully-evolved counterparts are banned from) that analyze how well they do in the site's competitive battling circuits and give moveset recommendations. ALL Pokémon, regardless of evolution status, get a description of their abilities, base stats, and the moves they can learn. Smogon also has numerous informative articles that explain things like how Hidden Power works, how to make a good Rain Dance team, and so on.The site is the current largest influential authority in the English-speaking competitive Pokémon battle scene. Their Character Tiers for the Pokémon are considered an excellent attempt at balancing what is a very unbalanced metagame. The tiers are also criticized and most everyone on the site admit that the tiers aren't perfect. The tier that the casual players tend to pay the most attention to is the "Uber" tier, as those Pokémon are deemed "too powerful" and are typically banned from standard play.note Casual player =/= Scrub. The Uber Pokemon receive a lot of attention largely for being overpowered, not for being noob bait. Fortunately, only a minority of Pokémon are in this tier, and they all received placement in it for one reason or another. From the looks of things, all but a couple of them were designed to be there by Game Freak. The few that aren't (Wynaut, Wobbuffet, Garchomp, and Salamence in Gen IV, and Blaziken, Excadrill, Thundurus and Landorus's Incarnate formes, and Tornadus's Therian forme in Gen V) appear to have very good reasons for their placement... and it could be argued that Garchomp and Salamence were also made powerful on purpose.The site was founded in 2004 by one of the creators of Pokémon NetBattle, then the only battle simulator with a GUI (other battle simulators were on IRC and were very hard to follow or use) and then the most popular simulator. The website was born very similarly to a marsupial: undeveloped. At the time of its launch, it only had a bare-bones Pokédex for the third generation. The site's staff spent much of 2005 building up the site. They gave it a revamp when they finished.Smogon then spent much of 2006 and 2007 on hiatus because they outgrew their servers. The site was relaunched in 2007 as what you see today. Along with the revamping came a name change to "Smogon University" and a slogan change from "Pokémon on the Internet; let's make it happen!" to "''Nil Sine'' Pokémon"note "Nothing without Pokémon".It's unknown why this site is seen as an authority. One reason might be because the founder was one of the creators of NetBattle. Obviously, in order to create that simulator, they had to do a lot of ROM hacking to see how the Pokémon games worked. The site also claims that many of its staffers have been playing and/or hacking Pokémon since the days of Red and Blue. Another more likely reason is that the site's staffers simply work ''really'' hard in analyzing the game and its mechanics.Smogon does the vast majority of its work on battle simulators, with the subsequent analysis fitting more with those simulators than the actual game. This is easily justified, though, as it's an extremely hard (not to mention tedious) task to manually raise Pokémon to Level 100 in the actual games, especially because some mechanics, such as individual values (IVs), are beyond the Trainer's control. Also, some things in the game, such as TMs and move tutors, are one-time use in the games (except in Generations V and VI).Smogon determines which tiers the Pokémon go into by tracking usage statistics on battle simulators. The Uber and Borderline tiers are ban lists for Pokémon too powerful in the Overused and Underused tiers, respectively. What they consider "too powerful" is typically determined via peer review, polling, and analysis of statistics.Smogon also has a side project known as Create-a-Pokémon, which attempts to create Pokémon that have specific roles in the metagame. Eleven were created for Generation IV. The CAP process was then suspended until the Black and White metagame stabilized. A popular spinoff, Create-A-Pokémon Anime-style Battling (CAP ASB), was formed to keep the forum alive in the meantime. A new Create-A-Pokémon project for Generation V began in February 2011 and, like the games themselves, restarted the numbering system at one. In addition, a new portion of the process was dedicated to creating a pre-evolution for the CAP. All CAPs so far can be found here.NetBattle was Smogon's official simulator until it was shut down in 2006. In 2008, they adopted a new program called ShoddyBattle. In April 2009, Smogon and ShoddyBattle merged. However, in 2010, after a decidedly late entrance and subsequent cutting of ties from Smogon, Shoddy Battle's successor, Pokémon Lab, was generally disowned by Smogon. Meanwhile, Pokémon Online, a simulator formerly known for being Scrub territory on Smogon, not only had working Generation IV, but also the only working Generation V in existence, as well as a far more active developer. Smogon created a server on the program, officially supporting Pokémon Online until the recent adoption of a new simulator, Pokémon Showdown!, which is being actively developed by one of their users.They have an IRC channel on synirc (currently #pokemon), and a monthly(ish) podcast. Their simulator can be found here and the damage calculator they use can be found here.Bulbapedia also has an article on Smogon.
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Anti-Frustration Features: Their simulator has a ton of features not in main series games, but aren't considered Game Mods due to them technically being possible to keep track of outside of the game.
Your opponent's team is always visible on a sidebar in the Battle Screen, and scrolling over the icons will show what possible abilities they have and if said Pokémon is still conscious.
The clauses are listed at the top of the chat at the beginning of each match.
The amount of damage received is always announced in the chat, but is listed as percentages. Averts Interface Spoiler because it doesn't give the exact damage dealt.
The chat keeps track of turn order, the number of turns that have passed, what moves have been used, and the aforementioned damage percentages.
The Battle Screen shows the Status Buffs (or debuffs) a Pokémon has and their exact boosts.
Effects such as Destiny Bond, Bide, etc. will show whether they are still active or not.
Scolipede's Hidden Ability in Generation V is Quick Feet, which increases its speed by 50% if it has a status effect. However, the only two status effects that can be reliably self-inflicted without need for reapplication are poison and burns; being a Poison-type, Scolipede cannot be poisoned and being burned halves its Attack, meaning that, while it can outrun just about anything, it'll be hitting like a feather duster. Presumably, its main intended uses are to use Scolipede as a quick setup Pokemon using some combination of Spikes, Toxic Spikes, Agility, Swords Dance, Iron Defense, and Baton Pass, or to let Scolipede better abuse the Rest + Sleep Talk combo (aided by a double resistance to Fighting, discouraging opponents from trying Wake-Up Slap). The ability was changed to the far superior Speed Boost in the following generation.
CHARIZARD. Its popularity was the only reason it was ever seen above NU until Generation VI gave it the Mega Evolutions that made it very viable.
Many Legendary Pokemon tend to show up in the lower tiers. Articuno and Regice get this the worst; although both were initially able to pack a punch in their own respective metagames (Articuno with a 90% accurate Blizzard in a generation where a lucky freeze was equal to death and Regice in a generation before the physical / special split), they both lost value over time and became especially terrible in the transition to the fourth generation as a result of growing power creep in addition to the ever present Stealth Rock.
Kecleon is pretty much the definition of this trope. Kecleon's original ability Color Change caused it to change into the type of the attack of the move that hit it, which had some uses but was also an Achilles' Heel because of how easy it was to exploit with Pokemon that had great coverage options. Fast forward to Generation 6 and Kecleon gets a new ability that's much, much better in the form of Protean. The problem? All of its good moves are illegal with it.
Absol has the biggest movepool of any non-legendary Pokémon besides Smeargle; plenty of OU Pokémon would kill for Absol's movepool. Due to non-Mega Absol's horrible Special Attack, however, 90% of the moves it can learn are completely useless to it, and its similarly dreadful Speed means that it will be killed before it can do anything. Mega Absol fixes most of these problems (fantastic Ability, vastly-improved Special Attack and Speed), but it's still hideously fragile and has to survive that first turn before it gains the improved Speed.
Tyrantrum learns Head Smash, one of the most powerful moves in the game, and even gets STAB on it. While the thought of a draconic T. rex abusing a 150 base power STAB move sounds incredibly Badass, Rock/Dragon as a defensive typing really takes the wind out of its sail. Ice, Fighting, Fairy, Dragon, and Ground are very common attacking types, and any Pokemon worth their salt that have these moves will likely also outspeed and OHKO Tyrantrum. It doesn't help that Steel-types, resisting both Rock and Dragon and dealing supereffective damage to Rock, were given an offensive buff this generation.
Bait and Switch: Literally! Double Switching is a tactic that involves switching in a Pokémon, them immediately switching it out with the hope that your opponent just sent out that Pokémon's counter, forcing it to deal with its counter you just sent out. Best used when the bait Pokémon is weak to a Psychic-type and the counter-counter is a Pursuit Trapper to force a Heads I Win, Tails You Lose situation.
Batman Gambit: Most skilled players on the simulator end up doing this to each other for their matches.
Descriptions of epic matches on the server (known in-site as "warstories") tend to be highly entertaining in part because of all the gambits flying around.
Bash Brothers: Offensive and Defensive Cores, which are made up of Pokémon that have great synergy with each other by covering up their partners' weaknesses.
In the sixth generation, Deoxys and Bisharp work extremely well together. Once Deoxys sets up entry hazards, the opponent is pressured to use Defog, which can then be absorbed by Bisharp to double its Attack and sweep the opposition.
Boring, but Practical: Scolipede is used to lead Baton Pass chains; it acquires speed while other members obtain other boosts required to allow one member to sweep. Such teams are hard to break without very specific moves or a great deal of luck.
Chansey, paired with a Pokemon that take strong physical attacks and save it from Knock Off, can spread its health around with Wish and remove status from its teammates, undoing turns of effort with a single move.
Blessed with Suck: Avalugg may be an excellent tank in theory, but having the worst single defensive type in the game makes it almost competitively worthless.
Rampardos has a move of literally unrivaled power in Head Smash, but lacks the defenses, HP, ability, speed, or typing to truly make good use of it. Short of this one move, it falls flat.
Kyurem and Kyurem-B are probably the most hilarious examples. In spite of fantastic stats and offenses that any sweeper would long for, they lack both the speed and the movepool necessary to fully sweep. It is notable that Kyurem-B has the highest base stat total of any Pokemon in the OU tier but still does not find itself banned; its normal form has descended well into UU by now.
Character Tiers: Naturally, Smogon is effectively the Trope Maker for the series. Justified in that all Pokémon are most definitely not created equal, and the tiers had to be established so that people could use the weaker Pokémon without being humiliatingly trampled over. In an interesting example of tier construction, tiers are primarily determined by the idea that the better Pokémon will be the more widely used ones—in a sense, therefore, Smogon and its tiers really do live up to the series' long-preached ideal of success through using the Pokémon you like. invoked
The forums also have Viability Rankings for each tier, which is different in that any Pokémon can be ranked as long as they are legal and considered viable (read: not completely outclassed by something else or has a relevant niche) for that tier.
Hidden Power, which is used by Special Attackers to cover up holes in their coverage or hit specific targets For Massive Damage. Sadly, physical attackers lack a reliable equivalent. note The closest thing to such a move, Natural Gift, requires the user to hold a berry, which is consumed by the user to perform the attack; thus, barring Recycle or Harvest (both of which have impracticalities of their own), It Only Works Once.
Lower Tiers occansionally use the pre-evolutions of high tier Pokémon to fulfill similar jobs. For example, Fletchindler is the RU tier's version of OU's Talonflame, using priority Flying attacks to Revenge kill targets.
Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Consciously averted. Users are often encouraged to come up with their own strategies, with the analyses and recommended movesets on the site being more of a guide for beginners than set-in-stone rules. The vast majority of the bans Smogon has put out are to remove aspects of the game that were causing this.
The Gen V metagame was widely hated due to the fact that Politoad's permanent rain caused this. Even after Drizzle and Swift Swim were banned from being used together, it was still powerful enough that few people used anything else, and Smogon refused to put any larger of a ban on it, for fear of Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
Confusion Fu: Thanks to their movepools and stats, Pokémon such as Aegislash and Kyurem-Black could possibly be running physical sets, special sets, or even defensive sets! And those are only the most notable examples in the metagame...
Charizard's Mega Evolutions have extremely different checks and counters; although the item it runs can be guessed with a certain degree of accuracy, determining which one it is with absolute certainty is seldom easy until it reveals itself.
Baton Pass Teams are completely screwed over if they are hit by Haze and set back significantly if a Critical Hit bypasses their boosts and kills a team member. Perish Song also puts a teammate on a timer: either it has to switch out to get rid of the effects, thus erasing the boosts accumulated, or it dies in 3 turns.
Stall Teams tend to have serious problems with Taunt, which prevents them from using the Status moves they rely on and forces them to attack (which they aren't built to do well) or switch out. As of generation six, Defog instantly clears off the entry hazards that are so crucial to incurring passive damage.
In Generation 4 and 6, dedicated weather teams in generalnote apart from Sand in Generation 4 are susceptible to priority attacks (much like Hyper Offense), opposing weather inducers, and stall teams, which can run out the turns of weather (including weather abilities as of Gen 6).
Sun Teams in generation five require a Spinner to remove Stealth Rock or other entry hazards and are forced to play carefully against Rain and Sandstorm teams because Ninetales struggles with its setters, Politoed and Tyranitar.
Hail Teams are pretty much unviable in the higher tiers because of Ice is a terrible defensive typing that is also weak to Stealth Rock and the omnipresent Fighting and Steel priority, on top of all the same problems as Sun Teams.
Mono-Type Teams have trouble against anything that carries an attack that they're weak against or resists their STAB attacks.
Death of a Thousand Cuts: Stall teams rely on this as their main form of damage, as they are usually meant to tank hits and/or phaze opponents out to rack up damage from entry hazards, the poison/Toxic poison and burn status effects, and occasionally sandstorm or hail damage.
Most of it stacks, but no more than onemajor status effect can affect an opponent at a time (and minor status effects are seldom used due to being removed upon switching out), and sandstorm and hail are mutually exclusive. Also, Steel-types are immune to both poison/Toxic poison and sandstorm and are resistant to Stealth Rock, making them much harder to wear down.
Didn't See That Coming: Using Pokémon from the RU or NU tier can catch foes off guard in OU, as they might know usually follow what Pokémon from those tiers run for their sets as closely and sometimes have little to no idea on how to counter them. The same goes for using common Pokemon in a certain tier, but with an unusual moveset.
It Only Works Once: But after a few turns, they'll know what each Pokémon is running and can figure out how to counter them.
This is often is deciding factor as to where a Pokemon ends up in the Character Tiers, as a Difficult but Awesome Mon will often be passed up for one that does a similar job without being as difficult to use.
Go Ye Pokémon, Go and Faint: Suicide Leads in a nutshell. Their job is to 1.) Taunt the opponent to stop them from setting up Entry Hazards. 2.) Set up your own Entry Hazards (usually Stealth Rock). 3.) Use Explosion to damage the opponent's lead/switch-in and give your next Mon a free switch. This strategy was very popular during Generation IV, but took a massive hit to usefulness when Gen V introduced Team Preview and nerfed Explosion, and even more in Generation VI when the buff to the move Defognote a before useless move that lowered evasion but removed entry hazards only on the opponent's side, making it a liability, but now removes all hazards on the field made entry hazards much easier to remove.
Switching in a Mon you know will faint to an opponent's attack or allowing the current active Mon to faint, to give your Glass Cannon a free switch so it doesn't immediately get crippled.
House Rules: Enforced by the simulators to prevent abuse of combos or moves that are considered to be broken, over-centralizing, or in need of an Obvious Rule Patch by the community. This is justified in that Gamefreak balances the game more for Doubles than Singles, which is the more of Smogon's domain.
The Sleep Clause prevents players from putting more than one of the opponent's Pokémon to sleep at a time. While this clause has existed since Gen I, it became even more important in Gen V because the mechanics for sleep were changed. Gen V made it so the sleep counter is reset when the sleeping Pokémon is switched out, which means players could theoretically put their opponent to sleep, force them to switch with Whirlwind or Roar, and repeat the process until every one of the opponents' Pokémon are asleep. The player could then use entry hazards and Whirlwind or Roar to Cherry Tap the opponent to death without them being able to retaliate.
The Evasion Clause prevents players from using abilities or moves that specifically raise evasion (other than Tangled Feet, because it only boosts evasion by 20% and is only active when a Pokémon is confused, which means it has a 50% chance to hit itself). Evasion makes Pokémon battles a game of 'who is lucky enough to hit the opponent first', which completely removes the strategic aspect of competitive battling.
I Know You Know I Know: Thanks to Team Preview, each player knows what their opponent's Pokémon are and can make an educated guess about their sets or general strategy based off of that before the match. It also make Batman Gambits easier to plan out on the fly, as you know what your opponent might switch to based off of various factors.
Kicked Upstairs: For the Pokémon, being "promoted" to the three BL tiers is this.note BL officially stands for Borderline, but the fact that it could also expand to Ban List has not gone unnoticed.
Subversions do occur. Garchomp is a legitimate threat in the Gen IV Ubers' metagame due to its speed and power, and Latias and Latios are able to outspeed and KO many great threats. Other times, this is played straight: Salamence and Wynaut are both usable in Gen IV Ubers, but are quite often outclassed by others of the same type with better stats (Rayquaza and Wobbuffet, respectively). In Gen V, Blaziken is a subversion, as it is still good in Ubers due to getting better sun support from Groudon [along with STILL being fairly powerful AND getting the Dream World ability of Speed Boost], but Deoxys-N plays it straight, still falling under the "outclassed" denomination of Ubers.
Initially inverted during the change to Generation V: ALL the Ubers were temporarily kicked downstairs at the beginning of Generation V in order to properly test their adequacy. It was then played straight and subverted (depending on their resulting place in the Ubers metagame), as first Mewtwo, Ho-Oh, Lugia, Groudon, Kyogre, Rayquaza, Dialga, Palkia, Giratina, Arceus, Reshiram, and Zekrom were kicked back upstairs, then Deoxys-A, Deoxys-N, Manaphy, Darkrai, Shaymin-S, and Deoxys-S were booted back up. Genesect quickly joined them after it was released.
Kyurem initially averted the trope. It has all the flavor characteristics of an Olympus Mon, including a BST of over 600 and similarities with the main duo for its generation, but due to its defensively fail-tastic Ice-typing, redundant STABs of Ice and Dragon, an awful speed tier, a terrible signature move, and simply being outclassed by the now-legal Latios and Garchomp, it failed to really go anywhere but Underused. However, with the other truly "amazing" Dragon-types—Dragonite, Salamence, Latios, Latias, Garchomp, Haxorus, Hydreigon—locked away in higher tiers, Scizor and Conkeldurr not there to make its life hell, hail being a much better weather in Gen V's UU, and 125/90/90 defenses suddenly getting a LOT stronger relative to the tier's average power level, it was free to crush the competition with STAB Draco Meteors and Blizzards to its heart's content. Kyurem was banished to the Borderline tier (i.e. UU's "Uber Tier") unanimously, playing the trope straight.
Black Kyurem averted this trope in a similar way. It started in the Ubers tier; base 700 total stats and an outstanding base 170 Attack stat made it an intimidating force that was capable of spamming Outrage and 2HKOing most of the tier. However, like its normal forme, its bad typing and only okay speed made it easy to play around by switching a Steel-type into a locked Outrage or using super effective priority and Stealth Rock to whittle down its HP. This, plus its horrible physical movepool, caused it to be kicked downstairs to OU. In an interesting subversion, people initially believed it to be bad even in OU, but it was later found to be one of the best Pokémon in the tier—essentially fulfilling what Game Freak tried to do with Slaking and Regigigas. Its mixed attacking set essentially 2HKOs all of OU, and despite its bad movepool, it has at least six viable sets to run, none of which can be countered all at once. Indeed, at the end of the Black and White metagame, people were starting to consider it broken yet again, but with X and Y coming out in weeks, it was too late to fix what was broken.
Mew and Wobbuffet (and by extension Wynaut) in Gen V also inverted the trope. Mew turned out to be a Master of None in OU and Wobbuffet simply fails to be nearly so effective in a Team Preview-enabled, fairly momentum-based, hard-hitting metagame. (It's banned from UU and still effective, just not nearly as much so as in past gens.) Increased usage of mixed Tyranitar (which stops Wobbuffet cold) and Scizor (which can simply U-turn out), as well as Encore being nerfed, doesn't help Wobb's case either.
Moody and other evasion-increasing abilities have all been completely banned, even from Ubers. The only way to use them is in the Hackmons (all moves and abilities can be used on any Pokémon, balance be damned) tier.
Not Gengar itself, but rather the Gengarite that allows it to Mega Evolve. Barely even a month before Pokémon X and Y were released, Smogon was already seeing that the potential combination of Mega Gengar's Shadow Tag ability and the moves Perish Song and (if it wants to take a page out of Wobbuffet's book) Destiny Bond was way too horrendously broken and kicked Mega Gengar up to Ubers. Regular Gengar is still fine, however, so long as it isn't holding the Gengarite.
Like Mega Gengar, Mega Kangaskhan was quickbanned by Smogon; its ability effectively gave her a Base Attack of 217, could break Substitutes, Focus Sashes, and Sturdy, and made the effect of Power-Up Punch activate twice so it could double its attack in one turn with a move that could not be Taunted. Before her ban, her mere presence forced players to to run sub-par teams dedicated entirely to taking it down, since she had no reliable counters.
Lucarionite, which allows Lucario to mega-evolve. Although it was not as unreasonably strong as Mega Kangaskhan, with Adaptability-boosted STA Bs, more speed than Latios, and no less than three forms of priority, Mega Lucario was still a force of nature. What really pushed it over the edge was its unpredictability; it could run physical, special, and even mixed sets, each with different coverage moves, making it basically impossible to counter. It has been fittingly compared to a Choice Band Terrakion with a Choice Specs Keldeo strapped to its back for special attack and Starmie for shoes—and that's unboosted! Like Gengar, regular Lucario can still be used, however.
Swagger has been banned to Ubers, mainly due to Pokemon with Prankster (mainly Klefki and Thundurus) abusing it with Thunder Wave to prevent the targeting from doing anything most of the time, and then using Foul Play (which uses the opponent's attack stat to deal damage) to hit HARD. It forced matches to be determined by the RNG with the only universal way of beating it being to "outplaythe coinflip".
Kryptonite Is Everywhere: Generation 4 introduced the very common Stealth Rock, which inflicted continual rock damage to the opposing team. This was especially critical to Fire and Flying Types because they became less viable competitively note Unless they had enough bulk or managed to serve another team function, since they would lose 25% of their health upon switching in.
Thanks to Mega Charizard Y giving rise to a plethora of Sun teams, Fire must now always be accounted for in the metagame. As a Steel/Fairy, Fire-type Pokemon are the main thorn in Mawile's side due to being 1) weak to Fire-type moves, and 2) both of Mawile's STABs being ineffective against Fire-types; Mega Mawile not being able to hold an Occa Berry with the Mawilite doesn't help. It's entirely possible for Mega Mawile to remove such threats with Sucker Punch or RockSlide, but extreme caution must still be employed.
Generation VI removed Steel's resistance to Ghost and Dark, making the Metagross line weak against four of the most used attack types note Fire, Ground, Ghost, & Dark. It doesn't help that new threat Aegislash is weak against those four types, which means those types (especially Ghost and Dark) will see even more use, and that Knock Off got a significant buff in damage and is very common in the metagame.
Lethal Joke Character: A Pokémon from the UU tier, when used correctly, can handle itself well in OU (or even Ubers!). One such Pokémon is Shedinja, an NU tier Pokémon that walls many Uber sets. There's also Quagsire, which pretty much eats Kyogre alive.
Breloom is this in the OU metagame (even in XY, which gave it a terrible number of nerfs). Despite having one of the lowest Base Stat Totals in the tier, it can be a very effective tank (using Substitute to negate most damage, Spore to incapacitate the opponent, Poison Heal with Leech Seed to heal back the HP lost using Substitute, and Focus Punch for massive damage without its usual drawbacks thanks to the Substitutes) or use its Dream World ability (Technician) to hit as hard as Scizor.
Victreebel is another example that, while most commonly seen in the depths of NU, has analyses for UBERS. The reasoning for this is that Victreebel has the ability Chlorophyll, which doubles its Speed in sunlight, and is an option on sun teams. With its Chlorophyll, it can almost guarantee a Sleep Powder, and it has access to Weather Ball, which in sun is a Fire-type move. With this kind of coverage, it doesn't need to run Hidden Power Fire, unlike Venusaur, and can use its last two moveslots for coverage Venusaur wouldn't have. Not only this, but Victreebel can absorb and effectively remove Toxic Spikes, a vicious entry hazard that can either poison or badly poison the Pokémon entering.
Mawile, thanks to its Mega-form. Like Breloom, it has very low stats for an OU-viable Pokémon and the lowest among the Mega Evolutions themselves. But thanks to its Mega-form's ability Huge Power (which outright doubles an already decent 105 base Attack) it effectively has 259 base Attack, and on top of that it's got a very beneficial type-change in Steel/Fairy, making it a frighteningly powerful offensive tank.
Klefki, despite looking underwhelming both appearance-wise and stat-wise, managed to gain quite a reputation in the competitive community for its uncanny ability to turn matches on their head by abusing the RNG. Thanks to Prankster, it could use Swagger before the opponent could do anything, make them hit themselves, and proceed to turn the entire match into a giant coinflip. It could stay safe behind Substitute while using Foul Play to hit the opponent with their own Attack boosts give to them by Swagger.
Level Grinding: Half the appeal of the simulator is that it averts all the Level Grinding, EV training, breeding, hunting for Pokémon with the perfect nature/ability, etc. to get competitive Pokémon needed for tournaments in the real games.
Luck-Based Mission: Averted, but within reason. While the community acknowledges that luck will always be a factor in matches and refuse to change the game's mechanics (they won't removes crits or the secondary effects of moves like Scald), they remove moves or strategies that actively exploit luck to the point where a player's skill becomes a non-factor in a match, even if the strategy or move isn't technically broken. This is the main reason why Moody and OHKO moves are banned from the Uber tier.
Metagame: You should be able to get a basic idea just by reading this page.
Min-Maxing: Actively encouraged to have the very best combination of Pokémon typing, stats, abilities, and movesets for any Pokémon on your team as you can (given whatever tier your Pokémon is in).
No, Except Yes: The best way to describe the Uber tier. It's considered a banlist first, meaning that no Pokémon can be banned from it and no effort is made to balance it out. While it functions similarly to the other tiers because there are enough Pokemon for it to do so, it is blatantly overcentralized around the biggest Game Breakers in the franchise and the tournaments for it only exist because of Rule of Fun.
Not Completely Useless: Dig, for Ninjask. Dig is seen as a risky move that can easily be countered with Protect or switching to a Flying-type/Levitator. However, using Dig gives it immunity to all damage (well, except for No Guard users) for that turn, in which time Speed Boost will kick in. No player with any kind of typing knowledge would try to use Earthquake on a Flying-type, and since they'll strike last, there's no time to predict that. Opponent used Protect? They just gave Ninjask an extra turn to build up speed.
Toxic Orb is usually a terrible item to give a Pokémon, but in Gliscor's hands, it turns it into a Stone Wall that can be incredibly frustrating to take down. It's also the only reliable way to activate the Toxic Boost and Quick Feet abilities note Quick Feet doesn't prevent burns from halving Attack and most Quick Feet users are physical attackers, so Flame Orb isn't very good for this. , and can be used to activate Guts.
It's not given as much attention as the inverse, but many Pokémon, abilities, and moves are far more useful in the metagame than they are in standard play.
Entry hazards, entry hazards, entry hazards. The in-game AI very rarely switches out Pokémon, so Spikes, Toxic Spikes, and Stealth Rock aren't especially useful unless your opponent has several Pokémon weak to them, or if you just enjoy spamming Dragon Tail, Circle Throw, etc. In the metagame, however, switching out Pokémon is critical, and hindering your opponent's ability to do so is a huge advantage.
Trapping abilities. While trapping moves like Mean Look, Wrap, and their variants have fallen by the wayside due to the faster-paced metagamenote Opponents are much more likely to switch out of an unfavorable matchup than stick around long enough for such a move to connect to its intended target., abilities like Arena Trap, Magnet Pull, and especially Shadow Tag remain incredibly useful for the same reasons as entry hazards. To illustrate, Shadow Tag almost single-handedly turned Wobbuffet from a Joke Character to a Game Breaker, and it's a large part of why MegaGengar is considered a Game Breaker in Gen VI.
Rapid Spin and Defog. In-game, these moves are pretty much dead weight outside of a few specific situations. In the metagame, depending on how you set up your team, it can be downright necessary to have a Pokemon handy that knows one of the two moves, due to their removing entry hazards.
Recovery moves like Recover and Wish. Sure, in-game they can be pretty convenient, but they're hardly necessary, especially when the right healing item can do the same thing better. In player vs. player matches, when non-held items can't be used, they suddenly become a lot more vital. The usability of many a Mighty Glacier and Stone Wall has been made or broken based entirely on whether they have a reliable way to heal back damage.
Pokemon that are Mighty Glaciers or Stone Walls. In-game, players usually don't move away from the Switch battle style, which means that, when they knock out an opponent's Pokemon, they are told what the next Pokemon to come out will be, and have a free opportunity to bring in a more suitable matchup, which means it's much easier to just bombard the AI with fast, powerful attackers to give them fewer opportunities to hit back. In player vs. player matches, it doesn't work this way; if you want to switch in something, you have to either let your current Pokemon be knocked out, or give your opponent a free shot at whatever you're bringing in (barring SwitchOutMoves, of course). In such an environment, highly defensive Pokemon are much more useful, as they can typically take a hit or two and still survive well enough to provide support for the attackers.
One-use items, like Focus Sash, Weakness Policy, and the rarer Berries, as they tend to be hard to come by, and thus highly subject to Too Awesome to Use in-game. In player vs. player matches, any used items are returned at the end of the match, so it's possible to be much more liberal in their use.
Attacking moves with low PP, like Close Combat and Fire Blast. In-game, they're not especially useful, since the low PP means having to stop and go back to the Pokemon Center/use up PP-restoring items that much more often, and the minor increase in power generally isn't worth it. Even worse, these move often have some drawback, like decreasing stats after each use or having low accuracy, which makes the more practical moves like Break Break and Flamethrower even more appealing. In the metagame, though, the low PP is typically not an issue, since PP is restored after each battle, and the drawbacks of such moves are seen as worth the risk, since the difference in power between Fire Blast and Flamethrower can often mean the difference between, for example, a 2-hit KO and a 3-hit KO, which can snowball into the difference between a win and a loss.
Most Power at a Price tactics, such as the Guts/Quick Feet/Toxic Boost abilities, Choice Items, and Life Orb. In-game, most threats can be utterly overpowered by raw level advantage and simple knowledge of the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors, so such things are seen as hindering the Pokemons's survivability or versatility for little payoff. In the metagame, though, all Pokemon are the same level, and its generally taken for granted that every competent player knows what hits what, so such tactics become much more necessary for attackers to dish out the damage they need to.
Numerous Pokemon that tend to be overshadowed by more powerful alternatives in-game can become highly useful players in lower-tier matches, where they don't have to compete with the Pokemon that have blatant advantages over them.
Pangoro's Scrappy ability. At first glance, the ability seems redundant when Pangoro can already hit Ghost types with a STAB Crunch attack. However, in the metagame, this ability is useful for providing a margin of error for predictions. For example, if a Fighting type move is best for the current situation, the player can use it without worry that the opponent will use it as an opportunity to freely switch in a Ghost-type Pokémon. This becomes doubly useful if the Pangoro was equipped with a Choice Scarf to patch up its poor Speed (which most competitive players do) and thus can't switch to Crunch on the fly.
Due to the family mainly relying on Sunny Day-Solar Beam combo or Toxic/Leech Seed stalling, Venusaur can easily be walled with Steel-types. Venusaur can still learn Earthquake, but lacks the necessary Attack stat to deal with them. However, most Steel-types can't do much damage against a Mega Venusaur.
Charizard in Gen V, which could only run Solar Power and attempt to sweep. Totally averted in Gen VI thanks to its two very different Megas.
Delphox has the shallowest move pool of the three Kalos starters, cannot learn many TMs that would cover its weaknesses (such as Energy Ball and Dazzling Gleam), and has only four known egg moves. It is too predictable in a competitive environment.
Blaziken was mostly outclassed by Infernape in almost every way in the Generation IV games; while Blaziken could hit harder than Infernape (especially in terms of physical attacks), Infernape's superior speed (and, to a lesser extent, its marginally superior defenses), along with respectable offensive might on both the physical and special spectrums, made it significantly more useful to most competitive teams.
Golem and Rhydon could both contend with one another in the earlier games. When Rhyperior debuted, however, the Geodude line went to go sit with Onix in the sad Rock-type corner.
Dugtrio was mainly used on Rain teams to take care of opposing weather inducers Tyrantar and Ninetales. Once weather disappeared, so did Dugtrio.
Shedinja works as a perfect counter to Kyogre, despite only having 1 HP, getting KO'd instantly by entry hazards, Poison, and Burn, and being practically unusable against the rest of the metagame.
Gastrodon is often used to wall Kyogre, thanks to its above-average HP and Special Defense, and immunity/tolerance to a lot of what Kyogre throws out thanks to Storm Drain and its partial Ground-typing. (Unless Kyogre has a Grass-type Hidden Power, of course.)
Chesnaught has been used to wall Gengar because of its Bulletproof ability, which effectively makes it immune to its most common movesnote Sludge Bomb, Shadow Ball, and Focus Blast, but is unable to really hit Gengar back unless it has Payback or Shadow Claw. There are other moves that can work around thisnote Dazzling Gleam, Psychic, Venoshock, etc., but it's amusing to see the nightmarish ghost be unable to put a scratch on the big hedgehog-knight.
Diggersby can check Aegislash, as it can switch in on most of Aegislash's attacks and can KO back with Earthquake (which doesn't activate King Shield's attack drop effect). It loses if it switches into a Sacred Sword or if the Aegislash is holding an Air Balloon.
Pyroar is immune to Aegislash's Ghost moves and resists its Steel moves, and a Fire Blast/Overheat can put an end to Shield Forme. Not even an Occa Berry will save Aegislash if the Pyroar has Unnerve.
This trope tends to be part of the banning process as well. If numerous players are using what is ordinarily considered a subpar Pokemon for the sole purpose of countering a specific mon or strategy, said mon or strategy may be suspected of being overcentralizing.
Thanks to its new Fairy-type, Unaware Clefable is now being used as a counter to many boosting sweepers, including Thundurus and Garchomp. Its ability allows it to ignore any boosts and, thanks to being able to withstand even an unboosted Earthquake without losing half of its health, can wear them down with Moonblast while healing itself with Moonlight or Wish.
Venusaur's Hidden Ability from Gen V, Chlorophyll, doubles its speed when under sunlight. That in addition to Growth makes Venusaur one hell of a Lightning Bruiser. Its Mega Evolution in Generation VI has Thick Fat as its ability, which nullifies two of its type weaknesses, and has a defensive boost to 123 Defense and 120 Special Defense. Played right, it simply will not die. Its Poison STAB is potent against fairies, making it an excellent partner for dragons. Not only is Mega Venusaur being looked at as the best Kanto starter Mega, but it's currently also viewed as being one step below Ubers on Smogon.
Poliwrath and especially Politoed got excellent Hidden Abilities. Poliwrath got Swift Swim, which turned it into a Lightning Bruiser in the rain, while Politoed got Drizzle, which wound up being so useful that it not only shot it up from NU trash to the higher levels of OU, but almost singlehandedly changed the meta.
Tentacruel didn't see much competitive use until Generation IV, when it was discovered that it made an excellent support Pokémon. It took another in Gen V, being one of many Pokemon that could take advantage of Politoad's permanent rain. Gen VI substituted its (nerfed) weather advantage for a type advantage against Fairies.
After two generations of being hit hard with Kryptonite Is Everywhere, Charizard is finally a competitively viable Pokemon in Gen 6 thanks to its two Mega Evolutions, which have wildly different counters.
While Scizor and Scyther are plenty awesome on their own, they weren't exactly notable in the competitive scene. Along came Platinum, bringing Bullet Punch to their arsenal...
Venomoth got Kicked Upstairs into higher Character Tiers in Gen V, allowing the other bugs in its previous NU home to see more use, in particular Mothim, Butterfree, and Masquerain (each of which possessing their own advantage over the other two).
Blaziken. Blaziken oh so much. Upon getting not only Speed Boost but also the drastically buffed Hi Jump Kick, Blaziken went right from being an "inferior Infernape" of sorts to being the first starter Pokémon to ever be put in the Uber tiers (two generations in a row!), pitting it against the likes of Mewtwo, Lugia, Rayquaza, and even Arceus (who, depending on the type of Plate it's holding, Blaziken actually has an advantage over). If that isn't a level in badass being taken, I don't know what is.
Politoed, aside from its great typing, it wasn't really the best. At least, until Politoed got the Drizzle ability. Then it became part of the "broken trio" (Kingdra, Ludicolo, and Kabutops) that dominated the competitive scheme and led to the extensive debate and usage of weather teams.
Sableye's Hidden Ability, Prankster, increases the Action Initiative of non-damaging moves, turning it into a Goddamn Bat in competitive play.
In Generation V, Clamperl can learn Shell Smash, which is the biggest Status Buff in the game. Both Gorebyss and Huntail can use this in tandem with Baton Pass to pass the boost on to a teammate. This single handedly turned these relatively ho-hum standard Water-types into two of the biggest Demonic Spiders in the metagame. The only other Pokémon that can pull off this feat is Smeargle (although it has access to sleep-inducing moves to make it easier). Even Clamperl benefits heavily from it, though not as much.
Azumarill was already quite good in gen V, but giving it one of the best typings in the game as well as the dreaded Belly Drum + Aqua Jet combo turned him into an absolute monster.
The combination of the Knock Off boost and the removal of Steel's resistance to Dark in Gen VI turned a lot of neglected Dark-types such as Bisharp, Mandibuzz and Crawdaunt into common threats.
In Gen VI, Defog was changed from removing hazards on your opponent's side to removing all hazards. This turned one of the worst moves in the game into one of the best.
Bisharp, from Gen V to VI. It's now the only Steel-type that still resists both Dark and Ghost, can hit other Steels much harder with its Dark moves (including a buffed Knock Off), while being able to hit Fairies hard with its Steel STAB. With Defiant, it can get a Swords Dance boost by switching into Sticky Web or the above-mentioned Defog. Lastly, its greatest weakness in Fighting-types have taken a nerf due to Fairies being strong against them.
Exploud and Chatot both received STAB Boomburst, the most powerful drawback-free move in the game, which made them a lot more threatening.
Sadistic Choice: Mega Gengar's specialty and why it was banned. It works like this: Mega Gengar uses Perish Songnote a move that will make both Pokémon on the field faint in three turns. This normally forces a switch, but Shadow Tag means that that isn't going to happen. It would be tempting to kill it directly, but it can also use Destiny Bond. Walling it is also a non-option, as most walls are dispatched with Perish Song. Even forcing it out with Roar and such will not get rid of the Perish Song counter, making you lose momentum. Baton Pass and Volt-Turn are the best options to escape, and this is only buying time instead of eliminating the threat. Ghosts can innately escape trapping moves and abilities, however—the problem with that is that Gengar is itself a ghost with an absurd amount of Special Attack to boot. There's no reliable way to deal with this setup, and checking it is largely a matter of dumb luck and/or the M-Gengar user being dumb as a sandbag.
That One Rule: Speed is calculated at the beginning of the turn and not directly after a change to speed. While this normally does not pose a problem, as it typically takes a turn to use a speed-altering move, a Pokemon that Mega Evolves can suddenly seem to underspeed against the opponent, because speed on that turn is still determined using pre-Mega stats.
Trap Master: The only real niche Beedrill can call its own is its ability to throw around Toxic Spikes and U-Turn back out of the battlefield. The only other Pokemon that can do this is Venomoth, and it's 1.) tucked away inhigher tiers, and 2.) prefers using special attacks anyway.
Forretress. It's unique for being able to set up three out of the four types of entry hazards and get rid of them with Rapid Spin.
The only reason Galvantula is used at all is its ability to set up Sticky Web, which decreases the speed of all grounded enemies when they switch in.
Using Trick Room in Singles. It takes a turn to set up (which means your opponent is more than likely beating on you during that turn), lasts only 5 turns, and is wrecked by Priority users, which are ever-present in Generation 6. Also, if you didn't build your entire team around it and your Trick Room abuser dies, it canbackfire horribly. 
Any move weaker than 70 BP without any side-effects is generally considered to be unusable, unless a Technician Pokemon uses them. Even then, the main reason for using a Technician Pokemon is so that they can abuse weak moves that do have side effects, such Action Initiative moves.
Willfully Weak: Using teams of Pokémon from lower tiers. About a hundred or so Pokémon outside OU have niches in OU, but generally it's considered a bad idea to use them outside their niches.
Butt Monkey: Most Pokémon with terrible attacking moves and stats are treated this way in their analyses. Luvdisc, Unown, Spinda, and Delibird are four notable examples.
Dude Looks Like a Lady: Smogon's Gothitelle analysis refers to Gothitelle as a male with shades of Wholesome Crossdresser because the only legally released Shadow Tag Gothitelle (i.e. the only remotely useful one) is male.
Fake Ultimate Hero: Unown's Generation IV analysis brags about how it can OHKO or 2HKO a number of Pokémon... except all have either low Special Defense or a 4x weakness. The teammates section is basically "team building for dummies", full of advice that is not specific to Unown.
Grammar Nazi: The Grammar-Prose team viz. Pokémon analyses. Justified in that their job is, in fact, to catch mistakes and make the analyses look professional.
Honor Before Reason: The analysis for Farfetch'd paints that using the Pokémon is the most respectable thing a player can do... and also that it is completely suicidal.
Lemony Narrator: A good indicator on whether a mon is bad or not is how much of their analysis page is written sarcastically. Naturally, Joke Characters such as Luvdisc have articles drenched in this trope.
Viewers Are Geniuses: The analyses themselves are optimized for all of the major threats in the Pokémon metagame, with movesets of specific use as well as comments on the purpose of what stat spreads outspeeds or survives.
Wall of Text: The user bugmaniacbob habitually goes on and on with his analyses:
Infamously, his single set to add to Claydol's analysis is longer than the analysis itself. note The analysis was done before analyses were divided by tiers; it would have been added to the then-UU tier listing rather than given a separate page.
He has since eclipsed himself, and potentially everyone else before and since, with his Necturna analysis, totaling at 17,567 words.