Smogon Bans Dynamaxing from Pokemon Sword and Shield

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The competitive scene of Pokemon Sword and Shield is beginning to take shape, but one competitive body has decided to ban one of the newest features in the game from competitive play.

Smogon, the fan-based tier of singles competitive Pokemon, issued a statement today that the use of Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing in Smogon competitive play has officially been banned.

According to the post by moderator Finchinator, the use of Dynamaxing as a mechanic upsets the balance of competitive play too much due to a number of factors. Some of those listed include the increase in power of Pokemon who are Dynamaxed, the impact of the secondary effects of moves (covered in our Competitive Guide here) and the element of unpredictability that is associated with Dynamaxing at any point in a match.

“The ability for some of the most threatening Pokemon in the game to fire off consecutive boosted attacks, especially without being confined to a choice lock, opens up a lot of unmanageable breaking possibilities.” states Finchinator. “In addition, you also are immune to being phased out, Encored, and Disabled while bypassing Protect to do 1/4th damage like Z-moves.” 

Many contributors to Smogon, who voted on the ban through their suspecting process, also argue that Dynamaxing can lead to games being decided by players who Dynamax a Pokemon who has the ability to use specific boosts to sweep, leading to the over-usage of Pokemon like Ditto.

The biggest reason for the ban comes down to unpredictability, something Smogon always rails against. “Any concept of consistency or stability goes out the window when the Pokemon on the losing side of the 1v1 can flip that around with Dynamax.” argues Finchinator. “The existence of Dynamax lessens competitive strategy and rewards short term bursts of prediction. Without the thought or planning going into team deduction, set speculation, and how they relate to strategies regarding what beats what, the game cannot meet the standards of our competitive community.”

There was some disagreement over whether certain tiered formats – the meat and potatoes of how Smogon classifies competitive Pokemon – would allow Dynamaxing, at this time all formats starting with the ‘Overused’ category and under will be subject to this ban.

This is also not the first time Smogon has issued a tier-wide ban on mechanics or even viable strategies in Pokemon. During Generation VII, Smogon famously banned their already heavily restricted guidelines involving the move Baton Pass, which was met with some major criticism by members of the competitive community.

It should also be noted that Smogon is not an official tournament format endorsed by Nintendo or The Pokemon Company, which recently announced the new rules for VGC 2020. VGC will continue to use Dynamaxing as a major component of the game, and has also allowed certain Gigantamax forms in the current writing of the rules. 

What are your thoughts on all of this? Leave your comments below. 

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