— 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. Fortunately, only a minority of Pokémon are in this tier, and they all received placement in it for one reason or another. From the looks of things, all but a couple of them were designed to be there by Game Freak. The few that aren't (Wynaut, Wobbuffet, Garchomp, and Salamence in Gen IV, and Blaziken, Excadrill, Thundurus and Landorus's Incarnate formes, and Tornadus's Therian forme in Gen V) appear to have very good reasons for their placement... and it could be argued that Garchomp and Salamence were also made powerful on purpose.The site was founded in 2004 by one of the creators of Pokémon NetBattle, then the only battle simulator with a GUI (other battle simulators were on IRC and were very hard to follow or use) and then the most popular simulator. The website was born very similarly to a marsupial: undeveloped. At the time of its launch, it only had a bare-bones Pokédex for the third generation. The site's staff spent much of 2005 building up the site. They gave it a revamp when they finished.Smogon then spent much of 2006 and 2007 on hiatus because they outgrew their servers. The site was relaunched in 2007 as what you see today. Along with the revamping came a name change to "Smogon University" and a slogan change from "Pokémon on the Internet; let's make it happen!" to "''Nil Sine'' Pokémon"note "Nothing without Pokémon".It's unknown why this site is seen as an authority. One reason might be because the founder was one of the creators of NetBattle. Obviously, in order to create that simulator, there 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 Generation V).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.Bulbapedia also has an article on Smogon.
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.
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
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. Physical attackers sadly have no reliable equivalent. note The closest thing to such a move, Natural Gift, requires the user to hold a berry, which is consumed by the user to perform the attack; thus, barring Recycle or Harvest (both of which have impracticalities of their own), It Only Works Once.
For example, Latios and Latias might carry HP Fire to take out Steel-types, who completely wall them otherwise.
Confusion Fu: Thanks to their movepools and stats, Pokémon such as Jirachi and Tyranitar could possibly be running physical sets, special sets, or even defensive sets!
Stall Teams are completely shut down by 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, and (as of Generation 6) Defog, which instantly clears off the entry hazards that are so crucial to incurring passive damage.
In Generation 4 and 6, dedicated weather teams in generalnote apart from Sand in Generation 4 are susceptible to priority attacks (much like Hyper Offence), opposing weather inducers, and stall teams, which can run out the turns of weather (including weather abilities as of Gen 6).
Hail Teams were really not viable in the higher tiers because of Ice being a terrible defensive typing that is weak to Stealth Rock and the omnipresent Fighting and Steel priority, on top of all the same problems as Sun Teams.
Mono-Type Teams have trouble against anything that carries an attack that they're weak against or resists their STAB attacks.
Death of a Thousand Cuts: Stall teams rely on this as their main form of damage, as they are usually meant to tank hits and/or phaze opponents out to rack up damage from entry hazards, the poison/Toxic poison and burn status effects, and occasionally sandstorm or hail damage.
Most of it stacks, but no more than 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 don't 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.
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.
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 StealthRock). 3.) Use Explosion to damage the opponent's lead/switch-in and give your next Mon a free switch. This strategy was very popular during Generation IV, but took a massive hit to usefulness when Gen V introduced Team Preview and nerfed Explosion, and even more in Generation VI when the buff to the move Defognote a before useless move that lowered evasion but removed entry hazards only on the opponent's side, making it a liability, but now removes all hazards on the field made entry hazards easier to remove.
Switching in a Mon you know will faint to an opponent's attack to give your Glass Cannon a free switch so it doesn't immediately get crippled.
House Rules: Enforced by the simulators to prevent abuse of combos or moves that are considered to be broken, over-centralizing, or in need of an Obvious Rule Patch by the community.
The Sleep Clause prevents players from putting more than one of the opponent's Pokémon to sleep at a time. While this clause has existed since Gen I, it became even more important in Gen V because the mechanics for sleep were changed. Gen V made it so the sleep counter is reset when the sleeping Pokémon is switched out, which means players could theoretically put their opponent to sleep, force them to switch with Whirlwind or Roar, and repeat the process until every one of the opponents' Pokémon are asleep. The player could then use entry hazards and Whirlwind or Roar to Cherry Tap the opponent to death without them being able to retaliate.
The Evasion Clause prevents players from using abilities or moves that specifically raise evasion (other than Tangled Feet, because it only boosts evasion by 20% and is only active when a Pokémon is confused, which means it has a 50% chance to hit itself). Evasion makes Pokémon battles a game of 'who is lucky enough to hit the opponent first', which completely removes the strategic aspect of competitive battling.
I Know You Know I Know: Thanks to Team Preview, each player knows what their opponent's Pokémon are and can make an educated guess about their sets or general strategy based off of that before the match. It also make Batman Gambits easier to plan out on the fly, as you know what your opponent might switch to based off of various factors.
Kicked Upstairs: For the Pokémon, being "promoted" to Uber tier or any of the three BL tiers is this.note BL officially stands for Borderline, but the fact that it could also expand to Ban List has not gone unnoticed.
Subversions do occur. Garchomp is a legitimate threat in the Gen IV Ubers' metagame due to its speed and power, and Latias and Latios are able to outspeed and KO many great threats. Other times, this is played straight: Salamence and Wynaut are both usable in Gen IV Ubers, but are quite often outclassed by others of the same type with better stats (Rayquaza and Wobbuffet, respectively). In Gen V, Blaziken is a subversion, as it is still good in Ubers due to getting better sun support from Groudon [along with STILL being fairly powerful AND getting the Dream World ability of Speed Boost], but Deoxys-N plays it straight, still falling under the "outclassed" denomination of Ubers.
Initially inverted during the change to Generation V: ALL the Ubers were temporarily kicked downstairs at the beginning of Generation V in order to properly test their adequacy. It was then played straight and subverted (depending on their resulting place in the Ubers metagame), as first Mewtwo, Ho-Oh, Lugia, Groudon, Kyogre, Rayquaza, Dialga, Palkia, Giratina, Arceus, Reshiram, and Zekrom were kicked back upstairs, then Deoxys-A, Deoxys-N, Manaphy, Darkrai, Shaymin-S, and Deoxys-S were booted back up. Genesect quickly joined them after it was released.
Kyurem initially averted the trope. It has all the flavor characteristics of an Olympus Mon, including a BST of over 600 and similarities with the main duo for its generation, but due to its defensively fail-tastic Ice-typing, redundant STABs of Ice and Dragon, an awful speed tier, a terrible signature move, and simply being outclassed by the now-legal Latios and Garchomp, it failed to really go anywhere but Underused. However, with the other truly "amazing" Dragon-types — Dragonite, Salamence, Latios, Latias, Garchomp, Haxorus, Hydreigon — locked away in higher tiers, Scizor and Conkeldurr not there to make its life hell, hail being a much better weather in Gen V's UU, and 125/90/90 defenses suddenly getting a LOT stronger relative to the tier's average power level, it was free to crush the competition with STAB Draco Meteors and Blizzards to its heart's content. Kyurem was banished to the Borderline tier (i.e. UU's "Uber Tier") unanimously, playing the trope straight.
Black Kyurem averted this trope in a similar way. It started in the Ubers tier; base 700 total stats and an outstanding base 170 Attack stat made it an intimidating force that was capable of spamming Outrage and 2HKOing most of the tier. However, like its normal forme, its bad typing and only okay speed made it easy to play around by switching a Steel-type into a locked Outrage or using super effective priority and Stealth Rock to whittle down its HP. This, plus its horrible physical movepool caused it to be kicked downstairs to OU. In an interesting subversion, people initially believed it to be bad even in OU, but it was later found to be one of the best Pokémon in the tier — essentially fulfilling what Game Freak tried to do with Slaking and Regigigas. Its mixed attacking set essentially 2HKOs all of OU, and despite its bad movepool, it has at least six viable sets to run, none of which can be countered all at once. Indeed, at the end of the Black and White metagame, people were starting to consider it broken yet again, but with X and Y coming out in weeks it was too late to fix what was broken.
Mew and Wobbuffet (and by extension Wynaut) in Gen V also inverted the trope. Mew turned out to be a Master of None in OU and Wobbuffet simply fails to be nearly so effective in a Team Preview-enabled, fairly momentum-based, hard-hitting metagame. (It's banned from UU and still effective, just not nearly as much so as in past gens.) Increased usage of mixed Tyranitar (which stops Wobbuffet cold) and Scizor (which can simply U-turn out), as well as Encore being nerfed, doesn't help Wobb's case either.
Moody and other evasion-increasing abilities have all been completely banned, even from Ubers. The only way to use them is in the Hackmons (all moves and abilities can be used on any Pokémon, balance be damned) tier.
Lethal Joke Character: A Pokémon from the UU tier, when used correctly, can handle itself well in OU (or even Ubers!). One such Pokémon is Shedinja, an NU tier Pokémon that walls many Uber sets. There's also Quagsire, which pretty much eats Kyogre alive.
Breloom is this in DPPt and BW's OU. Despite having one of the lowest Base Stat Totals in the tier, it can be a very effective tank (using Substitute to negate most damage, Spore to incapacitate the opponent, Poison Heal with Leech Seed to heal back the HP lost using Substitute, and Focus Punch for massive damage without its usual drawbacks thanks to the Substitutes) or use its Dream World ability (Technician) to hit as hard as Scizor.
Victreebel is another example that, while most commonly seen in the depths of NU, has analyses for UBERS. The reasoning for this is that Victreebel has the ability Chlorophyll, which doubles its Speed in sunlight, and is an option on sun teams. With its Chlorophyll, it can almost guarantee a Sleep Powder, and it has access to Weather Ball, which in sun is a Fire-type move. With this kind of coverage, it doesn't need to run Hidden Power Fire, unlike Venusaur, and can use its last two moveslots for coverage Venusaur wouldn't have. Not only this, but Victreebel can absorb and effectively remove Toxic Spikes, a vicious entry hazard that can either poison or badly poison the Pokémon entering.
The XY metagame is just borne, but it's agreed that Mawile is now this thanks to its Mega-form. Like Breloom, it has very low stats for an OU-viable Pokémon and the lowest among the Mega-Evolutions themselves. But thanks to its Mega-form's ability Huge Power (which outright doubles an already decent 105 base Attack) it effectively has 259 base Attack, and on top of that it's got a very beneficial type-change in Steel/Fairy, making it a frighteningly powerful offensive tank.
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.
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).
Willfully Weak: Using teams of Pokémon from lower tiers. About a hundred or so Pokémon outside OU have niches in OU, but generally it's considered a bad idea to use them outside their niches.
Butt Monkey: Most Pokémon with terrible attacking moves and stats are treated this way in their analyses. Luvdisc, Unown, Spinda, and Delibird are four notable examples.
Development Hell: The Generation V analyses took a really long time to get put up on the main site — most of them were complete and ready for submission several months before the main site was ready and did it.
Dude Looks Like a Lady: Smogon's Gothitelle analysis refers to Gothitelle as a male with shades of Wholesome Crossdresser because the only legally released Shadow Tag Gothitelle (i.e. the only remotely useful one) is male.
Fake Ultimate Hero: Unown's Generation IV analysis brags about how it can OHKO or 2HKO a number of Pokémon... except all have either low Special Defense or a 4x weakness. The teammates section is basically "team building for dummies", full of advice that is not specific to Unown.
Grammar Nazi: The Grammar-Prose team viz. Pokémon analyses. Justified in that their job is, in fact, to catch mistakes and make the analyses look professional.
Honor Before Reason: The analysis for Farfetch'd paints that using the Pokémon is the most respectable thing a player can do... and also that it is completely suicidal.
Lemony Narrator: A good indicator on whether a mon is bad or not is how much of their analysis page is written sarcastically. Naturally, Joke Characters such as Luvdisc have articles drenched in this trope.
Viewers Are Geniuses: The analyses themselves are optimized for all of the major threats in the Pokémon metagame, with movesets of specific use as well as comments on the purpose of what stat spreads outspeeds or survives.
Wall of Text: The user bugmaniacbob habitually goes on and on with his analyses:
Infamously, his single set to add to Claydol's analysis is longer than the analysis itself. note The analysis was done before analyses were divided by tiers; it would have been added to the then-UU tier listing rather than given a separate page.
He has since eclipsed himself, and potentially everyone else before and since, with his Necturna analysis, totaling at 17,567 words.
Bilingual Bonus: "Smogon" is the German name for Koffing, the site's mascot.
Trou du Cul, a forum used to house the forum's stupidest threads for mockery by the staff, means "asshole" in French.
Fat and Proud: Whenever you quote someone on the forums, the attribution line always says "Originally posted by Fat <user name>".
Game Mod: Pokemon Showdown! has variations of Pokémon battling — most can be played in-game, but some tiers twist the metagame around, such as Hackmons, Generation Next!, Tier Shift, and Create-a-Pokemon.