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Website: Smogon

"Pokémon on the Internet. Let's make it happen."
— 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  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 .

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.

    open/close all folders 

    Metagame-related tropes 
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • If you have a Pokémon with Hidden Power, the type will be listed on the move selection screen as part of the name (i.e. a Fire-type Hidden Power will be listed as Hidden Power Fire).
      • When you are selecting the type of Hidden Power you want in the Teambuilder, it will automatically adjust your I Vs accordingly.
    • You can quickly look up a Pokémon's stats in the chat using a command. Useful if you don't want to/can't tab out or go through Bulbapedia/Serebii.
    • You can cancel your move choice if your opponent hasn't finished.
    • The simulator itself, since it removes the need for breeding and Level Grinding and just lets you battle.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: This is the main strategy of Pokemon 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 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.
    • Out-Gambitted: Which naturally leads to this.
    • 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.
    • Charizard when not Mega Evolved. Can theoretically hit harder than Reshiram, but dies horribly if so much as tickled with a pebble.
    • 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.
  • Closest Thing We Got:
    • 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 
    • 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: Exploited. 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.
  • 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.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Some popular strategies have this to an extent.
    • 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.
    • Hyper Offense Teams are weak to priority attacks, especially since most Pokemon used for this kind of team are Glass Cannons and/or Fragile Speedsters.
    • In Generation 4 and 6, dedicated weather teams in generalnote  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.
  • A Day In The Lime Light: The main thing that separates their Character Tier 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 it.
  • 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 one major 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.
  • 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 one 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.
    • 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.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: If a Pokémon is too good at its job to the point that it that has a ridiculously high success rate or it's unstoppable outside of very niche Pokémon, it will usually get suspected.
  • 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  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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Many Pokémon that are banned in Nintendo/Game Freak-sanctioned tournaments (such as Mew and most of its clones) are legal to use in the simulator's standard matches and tournaments, due to not being as powerful as Nintendo/Game Freak think they are. Inversely, some Pokémon considered tournament legal by Nintendo are banned (most notably Mega Kangaskhan in Gen VI, and even then Game Freak has gone on record stating it might need a nerf).
  • 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 
    • 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; 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 (in case you're wondering, the suspect test failed and it got to stay put). 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 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 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 "outplay the coinflip".
    • 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, Mega Mawile has the highest Attack in the game, 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 that you have to guess when facing it. 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.
  • 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 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 Rock Slide, 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 . 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: Pokémon from lower tiers, when used correctly and/or given the proper support, can handle itself well in OU (or even Ubers!). One such Pokémon is Shedinja, an NU tier Pokémon that walls many Uber sets (though it's still impractical due to dying to any passive damage).
  • 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.
  • 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 Pokemon that suffers from this is considered a good thing. A Pokemon with 4MS means it has more than a few viable moves that make it good for competitive battling outside of it's STAB moves. Moves that generally support itself and covers it's own weaknesses. This makes the Pokemon extremely hard to counter reliably as the opponent is forced to predict moves that are run on the Pokemon.
  • 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 even 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 little 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: 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.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Has its own page.
  • Poor, Predictable Rock: Many Pokémon only have one thing they can do well and tend to be obvious about in. That being said, some are still very good due to how well they do that one thing.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: A Pokemon's tier placement will vary gen to gen based entirely on new changes to the meta game that Gamefreak introduces. For instance Snorlax, once the undisputed king of Gen II, saw its usage decrease 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.
  • 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
    • This trope tends to be part of the banning process as well. If numerous players forced to use what is ordinarily considered a subpar Pokémon for the sole purpose of countering a specific mon or strategy, said mon or strategy may be suspected for being overcentralizing.
    • 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.
      • 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 , 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 (in Gen IV at least), 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.
  • Took a Level in Badass: There are two ways this can happen when new games are released.
    • New Tools: A Pokémon gets a new move or ability it didn't have access to previously, making it far more useful. A good example is Scizor in Gen IV; the release of Pokémon Platinum gave it access to Bullet Punch (which is boosted by its Technician ability) to go along with the new move U-turn. To capitalize on this, players had it hold a Choice Band and would use Bullet Punch to revenge kill or U-turn to not lose momentum with forced switches, and Scizor was the most common OU Pokémon for the rest of the Generation.
    • Mechanic Changes: The Pokémon didn't receive anything new, but changes to move or ability mechanics make it more useful. Bisharp is a good example of this as the buff to Dark hitting Steel neutrally, the increased power of Knock Off (which is extremely spammable due to everything holding items in a competitive environment), and Defog now removing opposing hazards (and activating Defiant due to lowering Evasion, thus giving Bisharp a free Attack boost) made it jump to OU and become a significant threat. It also helps that it was one of the best Aegislash checks (when it was still legal) thanks to Defiant undoing King's Shield's Attack drop and can deal with most Fairy-types with a strong Iron Head.
  • 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. 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.
  • Shown Their Work: The simulator keeps track of what Pokemon are used the most and the moves/stat spreads are most commonly found on them.
  • 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 to underspeed against the opponent, because speed on that turn is still determined using pre-Mega stats.
  • Trap Master: Anything with Entry Hazards. Some user 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 will tell you how to survive a Life Orb Modest Porygon-Z's Nasty Plotted Adaptability Tri Attack.
  • 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.
  • Viewers Are Morons: Again, the Unown analysis, although it is Played for Laughs.
  • Wall of Text: The user bugmaniacbob habitually goes on and on with his analyses:

    Other Tropes 
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