Website / Smogon

"Pokémon on the Internet. Let's make it happen."
The website'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 the lower tiers that 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 that 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  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 overpowered in the first place 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 .

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 mostly beyond the Trainer's control. Also, some things in the game, such as TMs being one-time use in the games until Generation V, or certain moves on certain Pokémon that are only available from Nintendo held events just make it a pain in the neck to make a good team in-game.

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 Pokémon 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 #smogon), 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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    Metagame-related tropes 
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Their simulator has a ton of features harder to gauge in actual games to make battling more convenient.
    • Your opponent's team is always visible on a sidebar in the Battle Screen, and scrolling over the icons will show their HP value and if said Pokémon is still conscious.
    • Scrolling over a Pokémon's sprite/model will tell you their possible abilities, typing, and stat range.
    • 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. Is technically a Game Mod.
    • 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 simulator keeps track of things that players had to memorize while playing the regular Pokémon games. The main Pokémon games eventually got a similar feature in Pokémon Sun and Moon.
      • 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.
      • Weather, Light Screen, Reflect, and other field effects have a turn counter. For Weather and Light Screen/Reflect, it gives 2 counters (listed as "x or y turns left") since the opponent could possibly be holding the items that extend the effect time.
      • Stealth Rock, Spikes, Toxic Spikes, and Sticky Web have their own graphics to tell you that they're active.
    • When selecting moves for your Pokémon in the Teambuilder, you can choose what type you want Hidden Power to be and the simulator will adjust the IVs accordingly. If you chose a Hidden Power with this method, the move selection screen will always display what type it is as part of the name (for example, "Hidden Power Fire").
    • You can quickly look up data about a Pokémon's stats or information about moves, abilities, or items in the chat using a command (/data [Pokémon/move/ability/item name]). Useful if you don't want to/can't tab out to look them up.
    • You can cancel your move choice if your opponent hasn't finished.
    • The simulator will warn players if the opposing Pokémon may have a trapping Ability that locks in otherwise free switches.
    • The teambuilder has a section for recommended moves, links to pertinent Smogon analyses, and automatically suggests stat spreads depending on the moveset for convenient access to competitive sets.
    • The simulator itself, since it removes the need for breeding, Pokémon catching, and Level Grinding — ultimately just letting you battle.
    • Replays can be uploaded or downloaded, and the replay viewer lets you switch Pokémon Trainer viewing perspectives.
    • The Endless Battle Clause exists to prevent setups like Funbro that have no actual strategic value and exist solely to create Unwinnable situations and provoke a Rage Quit. It's quite telling that even in Anything Goes, the Endless Battle Clause still exists.
  • Ascended Extra: PU (according to Smogon, the "PU" abbreviation officially doesn't stand for anything, although one could interpret it as Toilet Humor) was once an unofficial metagame for the worst of the worst Never-Used (NU) Pokémon (such as Arbok and Parasect), but has been turned into an official tier by popular demand.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: This is the main strategy of Pokémon that hold Choice Items or an Assault Vest.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • 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 Pokémon 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 Pokémon 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 vaiability over time, especially 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 (except with "awesome" replaced with "entertaining"). 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 Pokémon 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.
    • Absol has a wide movepool. Unfortunately, Absol's Special Attack is rather mediocre, which is a let-down considering that Absol learns a wide variety of special attacks. Mega Absol fixes most of these problems by gaining a fantastic Ability, vastly-improved Special Attack and Speed — its defenses were not altered, though.
    • Tyrantrum learns Head Smash, one of the most powerful moves in the game, even gets STAB on it, and can negate the recoil via its Hidden Ability of Rock Head. 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 Pokémon 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 super-effective damage to Rock, were given an offensive buff this generation.
    • Xurkitree has absolutely horrifying Special Attack plus Tail Glow, which raises it to truly obscene levels, and Beast Boost will raise it even more with each kill. Unfortunately, that's literally all it has, as the rest of its stats are thoroughly mediocre at best, and there is literally no way for Beast Boost to boost anything other than Special Attack due to its stat distribution, preventing Min-Maxing to help boost its Speed instead. The end result is a slow, fragile, and predictable Pokemon that can reduce things to ash but probably won't get to do so; while it currently is in the lower tiers of OU and can be effective with proper setup, general consensus is that there are plenty of less extreme but more dependable special wallbreakers out there.
  • Bait and Switch: Literally! Double Switching is a tactic that involves switching in a Pokémon, then 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 Pokémon you're trying to bait out is weak to Pursuit, since you can force a Heads I Win, Tails You Lose situation by trapping it.
  • Batman Gambit: Some sets have moves that are meant to hit Mons that would likely switch in to wall you, such as Earthquake on Latios to lure out and hit Heatran.
  • Bash Brothers:
    • They're called "Cores", which are made up of Pokémon that have great synergy with each other by covering up each other's weaknesses.
    • In the early sixth generation, Deoxys Defense Form and Bisharp worked 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. And then Deoxys Defense form was banned back to Ubers.
  • 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. This tactic was in fact disallowed for that reasonnote , so that Scolipede nowadays passes boosts directly to a sweeper.
    • Chansey, paired with a Pokémon 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 surprisingly underwhelming.
    • 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 Pokémon in the Over-Used (OU) tier but still does not find itself banned; its normal form has descended well into Under-Used by now.
    • Mega Rayquaza is even more ludicrous than Kyurem. It was so strong, it had to be banned from Ubers.
  • Broke the Rating Scale: For six gens, Ubers was never technically an official tier, simply a banlist of Pokémon too broken for regular play. This changed after the introduction of Mega Rayquaza, a Pokémon too broken for even Ubers. This led to Ubers becoming an official tier and Mega Rayquaza being banned to "Anything Goes", which also has none of the standard clauses like Sleep and Evasion clause.note 
  • 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. note  invoked
  • Closest Thing We Got:
    • Hidden Power is used by Special Attackers to cover up holes in their coverage or hit specific targets.
    • Lower tiers occasionally 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: A Pokémon's usage (which is kept track of on their simulator) determines what tier they end up in, barring it getting Kicked Upstairs from a lower tier to one of the Borderline lists. invoked
  • 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 (though M-Altaria and some Gyarados can wall both). 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.
  • Crippling Overspecialization:
    • Enforced by the Monotype ruleset. Players have to build a team where every Pokémon shares a single type (dual-type Pokémon are allowed, so you can use stuff like the Dragon/Ground-type Garchomp and Ground/Steel-type Excadrill together on a Ground team) and try to battle with them. Because everything shares a single type, there's a high chance that you'll lose against teams comprised of a type yours is weak against.
    • This is also how "overcentralization" is defined. If a certain Pokémon or strategy is so overwhelmingly effective that multiple slots or entire teams have to be devoted to dealing with it (to the detriment of their effectiveness as a whole), especially if it forces people to use very obscure and narrowly-tailored Pokémon and strategies that just happen to counter it but are more or less completely useless otherwise (as opposed to just niche), a strong case for a suspect test can be made.
  • A Day In The Lime Light: The main thing that separates their Character Tiers system from others; each tier is set up so that the Pokémon in higher tiers cannot participate and give the lower tier Pokémon an environment they can shine in.
  • 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.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Using Pokémon from the Rarely-Used (RU) or Never-Used (NU) tier can catch foes off guard in the Over-Used (OU) tier, as they might not 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 Pokémon in a certain tier, but with an unusual moveset.
  • Difficult but Awesome: Choice items. Depending on which one your Mon has equipped, they get a permanent 50% boost to their Attack (Choice Band), Special Attack (Choice Specs), or Speed (Choice Scarf). The catch? You can only use the first move you selected each time you switch in. Band and Specs are usually given to Mons to supplement their ability to hit the opponent hard or break down walls, while the Choice Scarf lets you outspeed some of your opponent's Mons that you otherwise couldn't deal with or turn your Mighty Glacier into a Lightning Bruiser with the speed boost.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Several early CAPs have custom abilities and some were created just for Rule of Fun. Later CAPs only have the existing abilities and have a more meticulous design process meant to test how certain attributes would affect how the CAP would function in competitive play.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Anything Goes tier. You can use any Pokémon you would like, and all clauses are lifted (except for the "Endless Battle" clause).
  • Go Ye Heroes, Go and Die: Suicide Leads in a nutshell. Their job is to set up an entry hazard and faint as soon as possible to allow the next Mon (oftentimes a Glass Cannon) a free switch-in.
  • Gradual Grinder: Baton Pass teams take this Up to Eleven, having each member grind as much as possible so that the last Mon in the chain can abuse the stat boosts to become unstoppable. Denissss was the most infamous purveyor of this tactic, and his teams eventually led to the Baton Pass clause, which allows only one Pokémon with the move.
  • House Rules: Enforced by the simulator for the most part, though there's still the option to play by the original rules if you want (or make up your own in a Custom Battle).
    • Unlike the official battle format, there is no Item clause, thus allowing more than two Pokémon to hold the same items.
    • 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 (and was even invented by Game Freak), 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 opponent's Pokémon are asleep. The player could then use entry hazards and Whirlwind or Roar to slowly beat the opponent to death without them being able to retaliate. Not applied to Doubles as of Gen VI due to not being as easy to abuse.
    • The OHKO Clause prevents the use of One-Hit Kill attacks like Sheer Cold.
    • The Evasion Clause prevents players from using moves and some abilities that intentionally raise evasion, as the stat increases how much luck influences the match. Ubers did not have this clause enforced until a policy revision after the release of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.
    • The Endless Battle Clause prevents people from using certain moveset and item combinations that create Unwinnable situations that can be infinitely prolonged until someone disconnects. Because this strategy is generally used purely to troll and piss people off, it is the only clause that Anything Goes kept. This isn't that much an issue in the official battle format as there's a timer for multiplayer battles.
    • The Swagger Clause prevents use of the move Swagger. This clause came about because of Klefki abusing priority Swagger and Thunder Wave, combined with Foul Play, to wreck pretty much everything unless the Random Number God felt like actually allowing its opponent to attack. Time will tell if Gen VII's nerf to Prankster (namely being shut down by Dark-types) and to Action Initiative in general (Dazzling, Queenly Majesty, and Psychic Terrain) will make this clause redundant... though considering that Klefki's a Fairy-type, and therefore sending a Dark-type up against it is just asking to be humiliated, probably not.
    • The Baton Pass Clause limits the player to one user of the move Baton Pass on each team. This clause came about in Generation VI due to the discovery of several overly-powerful team combinations that required multiple users of the move, and shutting it down being something of a crapshoot (requiring Haze or a Switch Out Move to pull off)
    • Some Pokémon that are banned in Nintendo/Game Freak-sanctioned tournaments (such as Mew and most of its clones and Black Kyurem) are legal to use in the simulator's standard matches and tournaments, due to the community not viewing them as Purposely Overpowered. Inversely, some Pokémon considered tournament legal by Nintendo are banned due to the differences between the formats making certain threats more powerful (like Mega Kangaskhan in Singles).
  • 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.
  • Joke Character: Some of the Mons you can get when playing Random Battles will have obviously bad sets (like an Air Balloon Rotom-C) or just be unevolved.
  • Kicked Upstairs: For the Pokémon, being "promoted" to the four BL tiers is this.note  Some Ubersnote  also suffer this when banned from OU.
    • In Generation 4:
      • 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). Deoxys-N still falls under the "outclassed" denomination of Ubers.
    • In Generation 5:
      • Inverted at first. All 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.
      • Blaziken was massively powerful and with the Dream World ability of Speed Boost, it could outspeed everything in one turn, meaning that revenge-killing was a tall order. Generation 5 also had permanent sun outside Ubers, making its Fire attacks even more ridiculously powerful, but its other traits were enough for Smogon to ban it in Generation 6 (when weather was nerfed to 5 turns). Blaziken ultimately was a subversion, as it was still good in Ubers due to getting better sun support from Groudon.
      • 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, only okay speed, 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, and 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, some people were starting to consider it broken yet again.
      • 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 and the "Anything Goes" metagame.
    • In Generation 6:
      • 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. Not only that, but it proved to be so abusive even in Ubers that it actually got suspected for banning from Ubers, which, if successful, would have completely outlawed it note . 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 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 STABs, 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 Pokémon with the Ability 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 "outplay the coinflip".
      • Aegislash was one of the most centralising thing in the early sixth generation metagame, next only to Mega-Kangaskhan. Though not as tyrannical as Kangaskhan, Pokémon still rose and fell simply on ground of how well they could handle Aegislash. Many Pokémon, such as Gardevoir, Medicham, Starmie, and Jirachi, were severely held back by its dominating presence. The reason for this occurrence is that, as a Pokémon, Aegislash had every positive trait that one could ask for. Its signature Ability, Stance Changenote , effectively made it a 720 BST Pokémon and forced 50/50 situations just by being there. Because of this and its highly versatile movepool, it could run every conceivable kind of set possible — physical, mixed, special, even stall, all with different counters. To top all off, it has one of the best defensive types in the game, and was a major part of the cancerous hazard-offence teams in the early Generation 6 metagame.
      • Mega Mawile is a shining example of what happens when you give a Mighty Glacier everything that it could possibly want while covering every meaningful weakness. M-Mawile has amazing attack power, an amazing typing (Fairy/Steel) that leaves it with two immunities, a ton of resistances, very few weaknesses, and more-than-adequate coverage, and two equally-viable moveset choices with wildly different counters. Guess wrong, and it tears you to shreds; guess right, and you're merely on even ground. Its horrible Speed isn't even a huge issue, as it has Sucker Punch to cover faster threats. It was problematic from the get-go and Smogon was on the fence about it for months until it finally got suspected and banned.
      • Mega Rayquaza has the distinction of being the first Pokémon ever banned from Ubers. It was so overpowered that it led to the creation on an entirely new tier titled "Anything Goes" — meaning no bans, no clauses (except for the "Endless Battle" clause).
      • Mega Salamence drew comparisons with M-Kangaskhan for many of the same reasons. It has boundless physical bulknote  helped even further by Intimidate before Mega Evolving, absurdly powerful Aerilate-boosted attacks, and just the right movepool to cover every conceivable check. M-Salamence subverts this trope, however, currently being ranked S in Ubers alongside M-Gengar.
      • Prior to ORAS, Greninja's best counters were bulky Fairy-types. However, in ORAS, it gained Gunk Shot and Low Kick from the move tutors, meaning its previous counters were no longer counters. It got to the point where players began using Porygon2 and Empoleon in OU just to deal with Greninja. While not necessarily broken, per se, it was deemed unhealthy for the metagame and banned from OU.
  • 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 , since they would lose 25% of their health upon switching in.
    • Thanks to Mega Charizard Y giving rise to a plethora of Sun-based teams, Fire must now always be accounted for in the metagame. As a Steel/Fairy, Fire-type Pokémon 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 Rock Slide, but extreme caution must still be employed.
  • Lethal Joke Character:
    • The classic example: Shedinja. It's more or less useless in lower tiers because its vulnerability to Stealth Rock (and passive damage in general) means it usually faints on the turn it enters. In Ubers, where Stealth Rock is often foregone for more turns to attack, and the leading Pokémon in the tier (Kyogre) only had one (non-competitive) move that can damage Shedinja, it makes for an effective surprise weapon.
    • An Oblivious Slowbro set with a Leppa Berry, Heal Pulse, Slack Off, Recycle, and Block can force a stalemate against foes unable to defeat it. Oblivious prevents Taunt from working, Leppa Berry and Recycle prevent Slowbro from running out of PP, Block prevents the foe from escaping, and Slack Off allows Slowbro to heal non-lethal damage. When the opponent eventually runs out of PP and starts struggling, Heal Pulse will bring its health back up, making an endless stalemate. This moveset was banned as a result.
  • Level Grinding: Half the appeal of the simulator is that it averts all the Level Grinding, Effort Value (EV) training, breeding, hunting for Pokémon with the perfect nature/ability, etc. to get competitive Pokémon needed for tournaments in the real games.
  • Limited Move Arsenal: Or as it's known on the site, "4-Moveslot Sydrome". And this is an Exploited Trope. Contrary to the name, a Pokémon that suffers from this is considered a good thing. A Pokémon with 4-Moveslot Syndrome (4MS) means that it has more than a few viable moves that make it good for competitive battling outside of its STAB moves. Moves that generally support itself and covers its own weaknesses. This makes the Pokémon extremely hard to counter reliably, as the opponent is forced to predict moves that are run on the Pokémon.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • Largely averted. Strategies that try to invoke this (evasion moves, the move Swagger, and the Moody Ability) are banned from all tiers (except for the "Anything Goes" tier).
    • Played completely straight with Random Battles, which gives the participates semi-randomized teams to duke it out with each other.
  • Metagame: The site is aimed towards enabling some semblance of balance to PVP play.
  • Min-Maxing: All of the on-site analyses, which also explain what the stat spreads accomplish like out-speeding a specific target or surviving certain moves.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Even though Uber is a banlist for Pokémon that are too powerful for the standard Overused metagame, there are some Pokémon that are just incapable of performing any viable roles in the Ubers metagame. Deoxys-N is a prime example of this; it has great offensive stats and a movepool that is capable of sweeping the entire OU tier, but in its native Uber tier, it falls completely flat because its role is completely outclassed by Deoxys-A.
  • Not Completely Useless: 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 , and can be used to activate Guts.
  • Obvious Rule Patch:
    • One of the CAPs, Necturna, was designed around learning the move Sketch exactly once through breeding to give it a single wild card attack. Since X and Y changed breeding mechanics so that egg moves can be relearned just like level-up moves (and thus giving Necturna any 4 moves it wants), a special rule was made so that Necturna could only be used with one move learned via Sketch.
    • The Baton Pass Clause had to be revised twice since people kept finding ways of abusing the move Baton Pass. The final version prevents having a moveset with Baton Pass and a way to boost Speed + any other stat while restricting the move to only one Pokémon per team.
    • The Endless Battle Clause had to be added on to a year after its inception since people found some convoluted ways of getting around it.
    • Averagemons is a Game Mod metagame where all Mons have 100 base stats across the board, making abilities and movesets the determinant of viability. Smeargle is banned as it can learn nearly every move with Sketch.
  • Original Character: The CAP Pokémon are creations of the community, not Game Freak. They can be used in battle on the special CAP server separate from the standard servers.
  • Poor, Predictable Rock: Many Pokémon only have one thing they can do well and tend to be obvious about it. That being said, some are still very good due to how well they do that one thing.
  • Power Creep:
    • A Pokémon's tier placement will vary from gen to gen based entirely on new changes to the metagame that Game Freak introduces. For instance, Snorlax, once the undisputed king of Gen II with over 90% usage, saw a decline over time as Fighting-types became more viable and common and Pokémon started getting slightly more Min Maxed base stats that overshadowed it.
    • This is also taken into account when banning or unbanning certain Mons. Some banned Pokémon are retested whenever a new game comes out to see if any of the new tools make dealing with them easier, while others may be banned because of getting access to new moves or abilities.
  • Rank Inflation: A strange inversion. Initially, the only Smogon tiers were NU, UU, BL, OU, and Uber, but as more Pokémon came out and NU and UU were filled by a wide variety of Pokémon, the RU, BL2, and PU tiers were formed to organize this surplus into further tiers. Essentially, instead of making ever-increasing tiers for stronger Pokémon as in typical Rank Inflation, Smogon made ever-decreasing tiers for mediocre Pokémon. Note, however, that Mega Rayquaza and the AG tier plays this trope straight.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman:
    • Many Pokémon from lower tiers are usable due to this, whether it be to check/counter popular threats or to fill out a niche role in their party.
    • This trope tends to be part of the banning process as well. If numerous players are spotted using what is ordinarily considered a sub-par Pokémon for the sole purpose of countering a specific mon or strategy, said mon or strategy may be suspected for being over-centralizing.
    • 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-game.
      • The AI rarely switches out Pokémon. So entry hazards such as Spikes, Toxic Spikes, and Stealth Rock aren't especially useful unless the opponent has several Pokémon that are weak to them, or using Switch Out Move. 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 , 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 (before Gen V, at least), and it's a large part of why Mega Gengar 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 Pokémon 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 when the right healing item can do the same thing better without eating up a moveslot. 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.
      • Pokémon that are Mighty Glaciers or Stone Walls. In-game, players can just level grind a couple of team members to overpower the Artificial Intelligence with brute force and use items to heal crippled/downed members, which is much easier to accomplish with Glass Cannons due to their strength and speed. 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 Pokémon be knocked out or give your opponent a free shot at whatever you're bringing in (barring a Switch Out Move, of course). In such an environment, highly defensive Pokémon 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 Power Points (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 Pokémon Center/use up PP-restoring items that much more often, and the minor increase in power generally isn't worth it. Even worse, these moves often have some drawback, like decreasing stats after each use or having low accuracy, which makes the more practical moves like Brick 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 Pokémon's survivability or versatility for little payoff. In the metagame, though, all Pokémon are the same level, and it is 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 Pokémon 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 Pokémon that have blatant advantages over them.
      • Since the AI almost never use Status moves in favor of brute force, Taunt is incredibly impractical in single player modes. Even if they do have status moves in their moveset, since the Pokémon and movesets they use are fixed, it is generally better to abuse type and level advantages against them. But in multiplayer, however, status moves are one of the leading gears of the metagame, and as such, for many offensive or anti-stall teams, Taunt ranks among one of the best moves to directly prevent them from using status moves to cripple your team.
  • Sadistic Choice: Mega Gengar's specialty and why it was banned. It works like this: Mega Gengar uses Perish Songnote . 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. Ghost-type Pokémon can innately escape trapping moves and abilities; however, the problem with that is that Gengar is itself a Ghost-type Pokémon 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.
  • Shown Their Work: The simulator keeps track of what Pokémon are used the most and the moves/stat spreads that are most commonly found on them.
  • Skill Gate Character: Doublade with Eviolite in Under-Used (UU). Thanks to Doublade's great Attack stat, incredible coverage, excellent Steel/Ghost typing, and Eviolite boosting its Defenses by 50% since it hasn't fully evolved, players who are new to the UU tier often build teams that can't even hurt Doublade, let alone take it out. However, Doublade's poor Special Defense and Speed stats and vulnerability to the ever common move Knock Off (which doesn't just hit the sword super-effectively, but also removes Eviolite from Doublade) can be taken advantage of quite easily by someone who knows what they're doing, and cause it to be viewed as a perfectly manageable (albeit still threatening) Pokémon in higher-level play.
  • 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 Pokémon that Mega Evolves can suddenly seem too under-speedy against the opponent, because speed on that turn is still determined using pre-Mega Evolution stats. This was changed in Generation 7.
  • There Are No Rules: Subverted. The Anything Goes tier does not enforce any rules... except for the Endless Battle Clause, and it's only there to ensure matches actually end.
  • Trap Master: Anything with Entry Hazards. Some users can be less obvious about it due to the weird distribution of Stealth Rock or just because they usually don't run them.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Quite a lot, actually.
  • 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.

    Analysis-related tropes 
  • 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.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Smogon provides builds, and strategies for dealing with, most Pokémon, allowing you to know ahead of time how to deal with opponents you might face.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Smogon's Gen V Gothitelle analysis refers to Gothitelle as a male with shades of Wholesome Crossdresser because the only legally released Shadow Tag Gothitelle at the time was 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 the community thinks 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 metagame, with movesets of specific use as well as comments on the purpose of what stat spreads outspeeds or survives.
  • Viewers Are Morons: The Unown analysis, although it is Played for Laughs.
  • Wall of Text: The analyses can lean towards this, especially if the Pokémon in question has multiple sets.

    The Smog Tropes 
  • Author Avatar: Articles with multiple contributors like the "Movie Critics" or "Judge a Pokémon" series will have the writers represented as Pokémon.
  • Blatant Lies: The entirety of the "Insider X & Y Leaks, Straight From the Playground" and "Insider Leaks: ORAS Edition" articles, which are presented as "legitimate" leaks about the (then unreleased) Pokémon X and Y and Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire games.
  • Broke the Rating Scale: The "Do You Even Lift?" series of articles discusses various aspects of the franchise's Gyms; Layout (which became Gym Puzzle from the second article onward), the fight's Difficulty, Spoils of War (the TM given), and Coolness of the leader. The writer gives them a rating On a Scale from One to Ten, with this being a frequent result.
    • Brock's Layout gets a "1 million light-years/10" to poke fun at the line said by a camper in the game.
    • Misty's Layout gets a "ho-hum/10" for being boring.
    • Lt. Surge's Gym Layout got a rating of "-10,000/10" due to the immense frustration it caused the writer.
    • Koga's Layout was rated "blindness/10", due to it causing some damage to the writer's eyes.
      So back when I was like 5, I figured out that you could look really close to the screen and see the invisible walls. This indirectly led me to needing glasses.
    • Sabrina's Layout was given a "tedious/10" for the teleporters being time consuming, but not challenging.
    • Giovanni's Layout got a "swoosh/10" for the slide tiles, while Spoils of War was given "miss/10" since the TM (Fissure) has a base accuracy of 30%.
    • Bugsy's Puzzle got a "?/10", since there wasn't one.
    • Whitney's Difficulty was "12/10", due to how infamously hard her fight can be (the writer even goes on a 2 paragraph rant about it). Her Coolness got a "wahhh/10" for her crying after being beaten.
    • Morty's Coolness was given a peace sign out of 10, since he looks like a hippie.
    • Jasmine's Puzzle got "n/a/10" for the same reason as Bugsy, while the Spoils rating takes a jab at Iron Tail's accuracy.
      Spoils of War: IRON TA—oops i missed the caps lock button due to how low the accuracy of this move is.
      IO(damn i missed again)/10
    • Pryce got an "ice ice baby/10" for Coolness.
    • Clair got an 11/10 for Difficulty due to Kingdra having no weakness that can be easily exploited and causing the writer to cry when he first fought her.
    • All of Roxanne's ratings are given as "???/10" for no adequately explained reason.
    • Norman's Puzzle is "N/A/10" since there isn't one.
    • Wallace and Juan are given a "Luvdisc/10" for Difficulty, but are also given a 20/10 for Coolness since the writer treats them as the ultimate Casanovas.
    • Gardenia's Difficulty is "gg/10" due to Starly obliterating her.
    • Candice gets a "?/10" for Coolness, since the writer doesn't know anything about her.
    • Cress, Cilan, and Chili's Puzzle gets a "brb gonna buy a strategy guide/10" for being ridiculously simple, while Difficulty gets "100/10" for the game forcing you to fight the one that has the advantage over your starter.
    • Skyla's Black 2 and White 2 Puzzle gets a "$/10" to go with a joke that the writer makes about the hospital bills that you'll need to pay after going through it.
    • Clemont gets "11/10" in Spoils because Thunderbolt is such a good move overall. For Coolness, he gets a "0_0/10" as the writer questions the Scary Shiny Glasses trope.
      As a kid, I never understood the shiny glasses thing that happens in anime, and heck I still don't. Why are his glasses always that white shine; doesn't that make it hard to see?
  • Conspicuous CG: Discussed in the "Movie Critics - The Panel" series.
    • According to critic Kadew in "Johto Journeys", it works in Spell of the Unown's favor since the eponymous Pokémon are supposed to be otherworldly and animating them in 3D emphasizes this. On the other hand, it goes overboard in 4Ever and Heroes due to being unnecessary and how badly it stands out.
    • In "Direct to Hoenn Video", she claims that the real villain of Destiny Deoxys is a "3D virus," as she finds the effects to be that bad.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: In "Movie Critics - The Panel: Golden Oldies", critic Layell claims he only watched the movies for the fight scenes and says he fast-forwarded through everything that wasn't some sort of action sequence. invoked
  • Running Gag:
    • In the "Movie Critics - The Panel" articles discussing the Pokémon movies, critic Jellicent always takes potshots at Ash for being an Idiot Hero.
    • The "Do You Even Lift" articles using Broke the Rating Scale.
    • People who frequent Other Metagames always seem to mention when a metagame idea allows Noivern to get STAB (same-type attack bonus) on Boomburst.
  • Self-Deprecation: "Smogon 2014 in a Nutshell" takes a jab at the lack of traffic the Victory Road subforum had been getting ever since it was created.
  • That One Boss: invoked
    • The majority of "Top Ten Most Infuriating Pokémon In-Game'' is about specific instances of this and why players find them frustrating, such as Misty's Starmie in Red and Blue being extremely powerful for the point in time you fight it, or being unable to weaken Regigigas in Platinum since it's at level 1 (thus you'll probably make it faint) so you're forced to throw Poké Balls at it and pray the Random Number God will eventually let you catch it.note 
    • "Do You Even Lift: Johto Jockstrap Edition" has a two paragraph rant about how Whitney's Miltank from Gold and Silver will eat up all of your time and make you depressed trying to beat it.
  • Valley Girl: The part about Erika in the first "Do You Even Lift?" article looks like it was written by one.

    Other Tropes