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Website / Smogon

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"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. On the other hand, due to various reasons (primarily Power Creep, Power Seep, bad typings, and bad movepools), being Purposely Overpowered does not necessarily guarantee a spot in Ubers; Celebi and Jirachi in Gen III were the first to not make it into Ubers, while Kyurem-Black was the highest-profile example thanks to its horrible movepool and awkward typingnote .


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 tier and too powerful for each tier below OU, with every tier from Underused to PU housing a Borderline tier of its own. What they consider "too powerful" is typically determined via peer review, polling, and analysis of statistics. Anything Goes is a last-ditch tier that throws all rules out the window note  and is the final stop for anything that is so stupidly overpowered or toxic that it ruins Ubers; the format was created for Mega Rayquaza after Mega Gengar narrowly avoided its own ban from Ubers and so far, only a select few Pokémon have ever resided in the tiernote .

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, Pokémon Battle-By-Post (BBP), 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 
  • All Your Powers Combined: The premise of Shared Power. When a Pokemon switches in, their ability is shared with the rest of their team.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Their simulator has a ton of features harder to gauge in actual games to make battling more convenient.
    • First of all, the simulator itself is one, since it cuts out hours of tedious breeding, soft-resetting, RNG abuse, Pokémon catching and Level Grinding — ultimately just letting you battle. This also makes it an ideal place to test out potential builds and competitive strategies to see if they're worth replicating in the games for official tournaments.
    • 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. note 
    • 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, terrain, and other field effects have a turn counter. For weather, terrain, 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.
    • 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. The "ZU" format (formerly named "FU") has since taken PU's place as the unofficial lowest tier.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: This is the main strategy of Pokémon that hold Choice Items or an Assault Vest.
  • Attack Backfire: Commonly invoked with Pokémon that have these abilities; one popular application in Generation IV was to switch Gyarados out for an Electivire that could take the incoming Electric-type attack and gain a speed boost.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Many Pokemon fall into this trope due to a number of reasons, but these are the most notable ones:
    • 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. The ability was changed to the far superior Speed Boost in the following generation.
    • 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 viability 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 VI 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 Pokémon that can reduce things to ash but probably won't get to do so; while it can be very effective with proper setup, general consensus is that there are plenty of less extreme but more dependable special wallbreakers out there that won't crumple from a single STAB Earthquake or Earth Power.
  • 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/Morton's Fork 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. Then Deoxys Defense form was banned back to Ubers.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Might be the case with Pokémon Sword and Shield. Smogon actually banned the Moody Ability from the Pokémon battles it sanctioned because it modified accuracy and evasion. For the Generation VIII games, Game Freak nerfed Moody so it no longer included evasion and accuracy in the values it modified. Smogon unbanned Moody at the beginning of Generation VIII, but re-banned it when it was clear that Glalie was still too much to handle.
  • 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 later disallowed for that reason.
    • Chansey, paired with a Pokémon that can 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.
    • Lugia in a nutshell. It has a decent offensive movepool and stats and sometimes does run an offensive move or two to cover common threats, but its real strength is as a wall. With its monstrous bulk (even without Multiscale), Speed that exceeds many dedicated offensive Pokémon, access to reliable recovery moves, and access to Whirlwind and Dragon Tail to ruin the plans of anything requiring setup, there is a reason why Lugia is still considered the best wall in the game. It may not be exciting, but it has more than earned its place as a mainstay of Ubers.
    • In Doubles, there's Protect and its variants. While all it does is block almost any move that would hit the Pokémon on that turn, the Pokémon avoids being double-targeted and may allow its partner to land a free attack, making Protect the most important move in Doubles.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Avalugg may be an excellent tank in theory, but having the worst single defensive type in the game makes it underwhelming.
    • In spite of fantastic stats and offenses that any sweeper would long for, both Kyurem and Kyurem-B 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 Underused by now. Kyurem-B was finally deemed strong enough to enter Ubers in Generation VIII, thanks to gaining access to Dragon Dance and Icicle Spear.
    • Mega Rayquaza is even more ludicrous than Kyurem. It was so strong, it had to be banned from Ubers.
    • Has on rare occasion become a problem for Pokémon with Popularity Power that far outstrips their actual usability, due to it landing them in a tier where they're thoroughly useless, whereas they could compete better if they were used a little less and allowed to drop down.
    • Pokemon that are so powerful for their official tier that they have to be banned from it. Oftentimes, Pokémon who suffer this fate can't compete well in the tier above that, and thus end up not being used at all.
  • 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 
  • 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, in Generation VI, Fletchinder 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 banned 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.
  • Cursed with Awesome: A Pokémon being relegated to a low tier could arguably be seen as this, as it gives them an opportunity to be a Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond, and thus be a feared threat that they never could be with higher-tier Pokémon around.
  • A Day in the Limelight: 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.
  • 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. These kinds of movesets are referred to as "lures".
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • By holding any Choice item, the Pokémon gets a permanent 50% boost to their Attack (Choice Band), Special Attack (Choice Specs), or Speed (Choice Scarf), but this only allows them to use the first move that was selected until they switch out. Despite this drawback, these items are common in competitive, as Band and Specs are usually given to Pokemon for supplement their ability to hit the opponent harder, while the Choice Scarf enables the holder to outspeed any foes that they otherwise couldn't.
    • A few Pokémon fall into this category. One famous example is Volcarona: it can be difficult to fit Volcarona into a team, plus entry hazards are the bane of its existence, but it also happens to be one of the best Quiver Dance users with its amazing stats and fantastic coverage. With the right support, Volcarona can be a terrifying juggernaut after pulling off several Quiver Dances.
    • In order to transform into Ash-Greninja, a Greninja with Battle Bond must KO a Pokémon by itself. This is actually difficult in practice, since it lacks versatility when compared to a Greninja with Protean and is forced to rely on STAB moves. But once it does become Ash-Greninja, it is rewarded with higher offensive stats and a slight boost to Greninja's speed, and Water Shuriken now always strikes 3 times and has 20 Power.
  • Elite Tweak: Almost as prominent as Min-Maxing. While it is true that most mons largely want to invest their EV in relevant stats, depending on the Pokémon you can also add a certain number of speed EV to outspeed a relevant target and OHKO/2HKO on the switch it before it can do anything, a number of defense EV to avoid a OHKO/2HKO, or a number of attack EV to guarantee a kill on a lured target.
    • While Stakataka has a whopping 211 Defense, it's possible to make it increase its Attack stat with Beast Boost if Stakataka has two things: a Defense IV of 15 or lessnote , and a Lonely nature. Even with losing some of its physical bulk, Stakataka can still survive from most attacks as long as they don't deal super-effective damage to it.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The Random Battle ladder had this in its inception, allowing almost all unevolved Pokémon and a relatively higher chance of underwhelming sets, but the following years have reduced the number of nonviable Pokémon in the pool and attempted to tweak set generation to make it easier to get better sets, partly thanks to community feedback.
  • 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).
  • Forgot About His Powers / Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Several Smogon-recommended Pokémon lack attacking moves in one or both of their types. Such sets are often justified by either the Pokémon’s poor attack stats (namely the defensive Stone Walls or tanks), poor offensive coverage in one of its STABs and wanting room for more practical coverage/status moves as a result, or in Gen 1 to 3, being victim to the pre-Physical/Special Split.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Happens fairly often with Legendary and Mythical Pokemon, especially older ones. Mew and Articuno are classic examples: in-universe, Mew is the literal genetic base for all Pokemon, while Articuno is an ice elemental of godlike power. Competitively, Mew is a Master of None that can fill most roles (particularly defensive ones), but has very little to justify using it as anything other than an occasional defensive stallbreaker (since it does have access to Seismic Toss), while Articuno's horrible typing, anemic movepool, and aggressively average offensive stats and Speed have consistently forced it further down the tiers with each new gen.
  • 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.
  • 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 used purely to troll and piss people off and invite Rage Quits, it is the only clause that Anything Goes kept. The clause was eventually revamped to very specifically stop players causing endless battles in a way that avoids possibly catching legitimate builds.note  None of this is that much an issue in the official battle format, as there's always 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. The ban is lifted in Generation VII OU because confusion was nerfed, Misty Surge prevents status, Psychic Surge blocks priority moves, as well as Dark-types now being unaffected by Prankster. However, Swagger got banned in Gen 7 Doubles OU again as Tapu Fini supports its teammate by sharply raising their attack stat with Swagger, then the release of Marshadow landed the final nail in the coffin.
    • 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). Generation VII straight-up bans the move Baton Pass altogether, even in Ubers.
    • 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 viewing them as Awesome, but Impractical. 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 makes Batman Gambits easier to plan out on the fly, as you know what your opponent might switch to based off of various factors.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: The reason why Incineroar is one of the most prominent Pokémon in Doubles format is its ability to pretty much work with any given team. Its typing, moves, and Intimidate allows it to be flexible, dubbed as a "Team Player Cat". It can force enemy switches, tank attacks to switch, cripple enemy offenses, and of course, deal damage.
  • Joke Character: A few obviously bad sets in Random Battles were this before they were removed, most notably Cheri Berry Limber Stunfisk and its predecessor Air Balloon Levitate Rotom-Fan.
  • Kicked Upstairs: How Ubers used to function before it gradually became its own meta, and what Anything Goes filled the void with. This is also what happens to certain Pokémon who get kicked into Ubers and wind up in the unenviable position of being too good for OU but completely outclassed in Ubers, as Mega Kangaskhan, Pheromosa, Solgaleo, and various others will lamentingly tell you. The various Borderline tiers also serve the same function for Pokémon in lower tiers, such as a UUBL mon being too good for UU but not worth using in OU, or a PUPL mon that's too over-centralizing for PU but barely makes a dent in NU.
  • Kryptonite Is Everywhere:
    • Generation IV 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, and it made the already-horrible Ice/Flying typing even worse and served as the final nail in Articuno's coffin. It wouldn't be until Generation VIII when Heavy-Duty Boots were added to the selection of items to help Pokémon with severe Stealth Rock weaknesses shine more.
    • 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, the face of the tiers (Kyogrenote ) only had a few (otherwise not worth using) 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, up until the revision of Endless Battle Clause which simply disallows endless battle from happening.
  • 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 without resorting to Ability Capsules (unless the ability in question is a Hidden ability) or Mints, 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 Syndrome/4MSS"note  Keep in mind that having a rich moveset is by no means a bad thing; what's seen as the problem is that, no matter the moves it picked, the Pokémon will have a hard counter. I.e., Mixed Infernape in SM UU needs to choose between Grass Knot and Gunk Shot, and forgoing one or another leaves it countered by bulky Water-types, or Fairy types. Downplayed Trope in the sense that it's largely dependent on how the meta evolves and how popular the Pokémon is.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • Largely averted. Strategies that try to invoke this (evasion moves 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.
  • Master of None: This is what became of Mew, and is the reason why you almost never see it outside of UU these days. It has the ability to competently play most general roles (highly specific ones, i.e. revenge killers and wallbreakers, are beyond its ability), but it isn't good enough at any of them to really warrant a slot. Outside of occasional appearances as a stallbreaker and a defensive utility, Mew sees very little play.
  • Metagame: The site is aimed towards enabling some semblance of balance to PVP play.
  • Min-Maxing: Downplayed Trope. While most Pokémon would wish to invest all their EV into their relevant statsnote  , there are potential huge benefits at choosing non-standard EV spreads. I.e., Iron Defense Kommo-o uses 56 Speed EV to outspeed and better deal with Aegislash.
  • 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.
    • A Pokémon-specific example is Hawlucha and its signature move, Flying Press. Normally, the move is passed over in favor of more reliable and powerful Fighting-type attacks, as its unique dual-typing gave the move more resistors than targets. However, during Single Strike Urshifu's reign of terror in Gen VIII Overused, the move saw some genuine use - Urshifu is one of the few Pokémon to take quadruple damage from the move, being Dark/Fighting, meaning that the move could One-Hit Kill it with minimal offensive investment. This gave Hawlucha room to invest E Vs into Defense, making such a set into one of the few answers to Urshifu.
  • 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. And as of Gen VII, Baton Pass itself is flat-out banned.
    • 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 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, while Ubers went from being a "just for fun" tier to a completely serious format. "Untiered" became the true "trash tier" as each tier evolved into a dedicated format; if something is untiered, it is usually because it is so utterly useless that no one wants to go to the trouble of figuring out which of the bottom-tier formats it belongs in (aside from the unofficial Zeroused tier, or ZU for short). 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, or an extremely specific setup on a widely-used Pokémon that is objectively not optimal solely because it counters a common threat, 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.
      • Due to entry hazards being much more useful in competitive play than in-game, the moves Rapid Spin and Defog, which remove entry hazards, also become drastically more useful. 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.
      • 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. In fact, all trapping abilities except for Magnet Pull are banned to Ubers as of Gen VII.
      • 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 uses 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, and outside of Mega Sableye (who simply does not have any offensive firepower) and Spiritomb (who is not a particularly strong Pokemon in general), there isn't a single Ghost-type that can resist it. 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 XY Under-Used (XY 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.
  • 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:
  • 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. One exception (and therefore aversion to this trope) is Reuniclus in Gen 7's, who is considered a good Pokémon in OU despite not even being UUnote .

    Analysis-related tropes 
  • Butt-Monkey: Most Pokémon with terrible attacking moves and/or stats were treated this way in their analyses. Luvdisc, Unown, Spinda, and Delibird are four notable examples. Most of their analyses were written as a joke, but eventually they all just straight up said "don't use this", or have nothing written at all.
  • 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.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Earlier analyses would refer to Pokémon as "he" or "she" depending on their appearance and it could be written in first person, whereas later analyses will be written in second person and refer to Pokémon as "it" regardless of if it's a One-Gender Race.
  • 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 had articles drenched in this trope. As the generations went on however, they stopped doing the sarcastic joke analyses and either just state matter of factly how terrible the bad Mon is and suggest to use something else, or just don't have anything written period.
  • 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 
  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: 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.
  • 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?
  • 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