A Beginner's Guide to Suspect Posting: Hi, welcome to the suspect posting guide for Pokémon Online's forums. The guidelines here will serve you in suspect discussions in any of Pokémon Online's metagames that are actively tiered with the exception of Ubers which has slightly different tiering policies to other tiers and metagames. Before we get into suspects themselves it is important to understand how the tiering system works. Tiers are usage based starting from the Overused (OU) tier. All Pokémon at the start of the generation were in the OU tier. Then, after a 2 month period all Pokémon with usage of 4% or below were sectioned off into the tier below OU, known as Underused (UU). Then after another couple of months, the Pokémon below 4% usage in the UU tier were sectioned off again into the Lesserused (LU) tier, this process was repeated once more to create the Neverused (NU) tier. These four tiers form the core of the tiering system and are considered "main tiers". Within each tier Pokémon rise and fall from their respective metagames every 2 months based on the ranked usage statistics. If a Pokémon is used on less than 4% of teams in a tier, it will fall to the tier below it, and if it is used on more than 4% of teams in a tier the lowest tier in which it can be used becomes that tier. On top of this, some Pokémon are banned by the community in an attempt to create a more appealing metagame that is not centralised around one or two overbearing Pokémon. To do this we use the Suspect Discussion system. In this system we have known and experienced players and posters known as Tier Leaders, these leaders choose, based on the postings of the playerbase of their tier, what suspect discussions to run and when. When a suspect is posted any player is allowed to post their opinion on the suspect at hand, so long as it complies with some basic guidelines which I will lay out in this guide. The community made ban-lists for each tier in descending order are Ubers, Borderline (BL), BL2 and BL3. ~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~ Glossary of common terms: Spoiler 4MSS - An abbreviation meaning "Four Move Slot Syndrome". Used to describe when a Pokémon has far more widely useful tools at its disposal than it can make use of in one set. Broken/Overpowered - A widely used subjective term to describe something being unhealthy in a given metagame and having an overall negative impact on it. Calc - A calculation of Pokémon attack damage made using a damage calculator. Check - A check is a Pokémon that can either reliably stop a threat once, or perhaps twice and force it to switch out. Or a Pokémon that can stop a threat cold if it lacks a certain move that is somewhat commonly run. Counter - A Pokémon that puts a cold stop to a threat, it is able to come in repeatedly on that threat and all its common sets and kill it or force it out. EVs - Effort Values. Hidden values that raise a Pokémon's stats by one point for every 4 EVs in that stat. In the third generation and beyond EVs are limited to 510 per Pokémon and 255 per stat. (252 per stat in the 6th generation) Spread - The distribution of the 510 usable EVs on a certain Pokémon Hazards - The moves Stealth Rock, Spikes, Toxic Spikes and Sticky Web set these. They are semi-permanent field effects that cause a disadvantage for a Pokémon upon switching in. Metagame - 1) The current state of a tier or metagame(2), encompassing all of the effective Pokémon and strategies in that tier or metagame and how they interact with each other. 2) A tier-like division of Pokémon based on a factor other than usage statistics. Overcentralisation - A subjectively defined term, much like Broken. Used to describe the state of a metagame in which that metagame is disproportionately warped around a single or few top threats. Potential Suspects Discussion - The thread used to discuss what Pokémon the playerbase feels are appropriate for suspecting. Set - The moveset of a Pokémon. Encompassing its four moves, its item, EV spread, Ability, Nature and IVs. Soft Counter - Similar to a check but a tad more specific, a Pokémon that may put a hard stop to certain sets of a Pokémon, but lose to other similarly common sets. For example a Ferrothorn will beat a Greninja not carrying Hidden Power Fire or Low Kick. But will lose in most situations if it possesses those moves. Many people use check and soft counter interchangeably. Suspect - A threat being considered for banning by the tier leaders. Every suspect will have a relevant thread. Suspect Discussion - A thread dedicated to the discussion of a particular threat being considered for banning by the tier leaders. Tier - A division of Pokémon based on usage statistics. A Pokémon with low enough usage may fall to the next lowest Tier or one with enough usage in the tier above its current one may move up. Tier Leader - A person experienced in their tier or metagame and appointed to run its suspect processes and maintain its subforum. They have the overall say in bans, and the say in what gets a suspect discussion. Uncompetitive - A subjective term used to describe an intentionally induced element of a metagame that is considered luck-based or otherwise out of the control of the players. Viable - A Pokémon that performs its role well enough to be considered for a team slot over Pokémon that perform similar roles. ~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~ Guidelines: Spoiler - Post based on experience in the relevant metagame, if you have never played the metagame in question, or have only done so a couple of times it is likely that you lack the knowledge to back up any argument you may make. Get some games in before posting. - Do not attack users. This can be your fellow suspect poster with whom you disagree, or the tier leaders for suspecting something you don't want suspected. Just don't attack people. - Do not reference a Pokémon outside of the metagame it is suspect in. How a Pokémon performs in the tier above or in some other community's metagame is not relevant to the discussion. - Lay out your posts well. You don't need to write a formal essay but punctuating and paragraphing your posts makes them readable and is appreciated. This also includes keeping your posts concise. Don't ramble needlessly as it becomes difficult for others to process what you're saying. - Individual anecdotes of Pokémon over or under-performing are not allowed in suspect discussions. If you find yourself posting a battle log, it's probably a good idea to reconsider in most cases. - Do not use calculations as your entire argument. It is encouraged to back up statements with accurate calcs, but make logical arguments outside of "look how much damage it does/doesn't take/deal". - If you are to mention a check to a threat, it must be viable in the relevant metagame. If you are suggesting Carnivine in OU to beat some threat and can think of nothing better, it's likely time for that threat to go. -Try not to use "overcentralisation" as a stand-alone argument. It may seem to encompass everything you want to say but namedropping it doesn't help your cause without explanation. ~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~ In depth guide: So suspect posting is a far more complicated art than the guidelines above can address, while they are important foundations they must be expanded on to create a truly good suspect post. The following will attempt to describe a suspect posting process in 6 steps. Spoiler 1) Read Up - Read and consider what others have posted before you. It's absolutely fine to repeat what others have said, but reading other posts may give you ideas for your post, give you something to refute, or maybe even sway your opinion in some way. 2) Consider Your Threat - The next step is to think about is what your suspected threat is best at, is it a wall, sweeper, wallbreaker, stallbreaker, mixed attacker etc. Once you've figured out what you believe to be its best function, outline what it is capable of. Set yourself a limit of 4-6 moves of a single set to focus on. Including a whole movepool in a suspect discussion is questionable, while it's important to consider everything a Pokémon can do it's easy to start assuming it's capable of more than it is when you start giving it 1016 EVs and 8 moves to work with. Lay out what set you are primarily considering in your post near its start, this helps not only with keeping your post reasonable to the actual abilities of the Pokémon but also with addressing counterarguments when you have clearly defined what you consider the threat capable of. 3) Checks and Counters - The third step is to consider the checks and counters to the threat at hand. The terms check and counter are distinct and have their own meanings, their definitions as PO uses and understands them can be found in the glossary at the end of this guide. A good place to start for counters to offensive threats is in Pokémon that resist their STAB types. However many Pokémon may have alternative coverage moves that allow them to hit Pokémon that resist their STABs. Consider your checks carefully and consider what the threat can do to beat them. This is one of the areas that experience can help with, you may have seen someone else dealing with the threat in a way you didn't think of. 4) Metagame Impact - This is the broadest consideration you must make, and the one in which experience plays the biggest part. The impact of the Pokémon on the metagame as a whole. For this you must consider what checks and counters exist to the Pokémon and how they fit in to certain team types. If the only checks to an offensive threat are 2 Wish passing physical walls, then you may consider what effect it has on the metagame to highly encourage the use of those walls on the majority of teams. It is likely to force the metagame to a far more defensive state as these Wish users don't really fit on many offensive teams, and the teams that don't use them are at a disadvantage. This would suggest that the threat at hand is an unhealthy force in the metagame, centering the tier around more defensive teams. 5) Form a Post - Once you have considered all these points you must form them into a coherent post. There is no definitive structure for a post and everyone writes them differently, but you must remember to include all the information you feel is relevant. A post stating an opinion without reasoning to back it up is going to be completely ignored, even if the tier leaders know you and know you know what you're talking about. 6) Address and Conclude - When this is done you simply have to address the Pokémon as best you can. Explain why the checks or counters you have found are reliable or explain why the checks and counters others have mentioned (in the thread or elsewhere) are not reliable. If the relevant threat is a defensive one, explain how it can be broken by the tiers wallbreakers or stallbreakers, or how it does not give a disproportionate advantage simply by its use. Wrap up your post. It's always helpful to make it clear where your opinion lies. If you are on the fence, feel free to say that and see if any of the other posts in the tread convince you either way. ~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~ Closing Words: We host suspect discussions to hear the opinions of the community and what they think should be done. Never feel as if your input is not welcome in a tier that you play, even casually. The input of a player with even a little experience with competitive Pokémon and the metagame in question is worth a lot more than nothing at all. Hopefully this guide will help some people structure their posts and help them get into posting. With that said this is nothing more than a skeleton structure, uniqueness of each post is what makes suspects worth running, find your own opinions and your own style in time. Don't hesitate to ask the @TierLeaders for advice on things either. Thanks to the users I asked to review and improve this from my original draft. Couple too many to add tags for them.