On Banning Dark Void

Hello hat lovers! Rapha here.

If you are active on Twitter you may know of the recent arguments that have arisen regarding Dark Void, unquestionably everyone’s favorite aspect of VGC. If not, to recap, some people have called for the move to be banned whereas people on the other side of the issue see the clamoring as nothing other than a symptom of a lazy team builder.

On some level this is true, but I’m really not a fan of the cherry picked targeting towards the poorly thought out arguments made by a fraction of people that happen to share a common opinion, and using that as a way to dismiss the idea. Unfortunately with a platform like Twitter, the people who are best heard aren’t those with the most compelling arguments, but rather who shouts the loudest, which is unfortunate because there are valid reasons as to why VGC would benefit from a banning of Dark Void.

This is a problem: discussions should be about whether or not Dark Void is beneficial for the game, not whether or not those who want a change from the status quo should be labelled as idiots or if they’re actually worth listening to. There’s responsibility on both sides to keep this civil and actually informative, but it often devolves into wah-wah-wah on one hand and shaming on the other, and the targeting of the people on the extremes only escalates the problem.

I’m going to do my best here not to come across as being whiny, entitled, or misinformed about how to approach problems posed during team building. Admittedly, I have also not played the VGC 2016 format yet, and my opinion on Dark Void will be on how it affects the game as a whole, not how it pertains to this rule set specifically.

I would be in favor of a Dark Void ban – Just because I share an opinion with several of the whiny people you may have seen on Twitter it doesn’t mean I represent or advocate that approach to an issue. Dark Void has issues that extend beyond just the problems with a player, and I’ll do my best quell some anti-ban arguments.

Dark Void has had limited success, therefore it is beatable and not a problem

This isn’t the problem with Dark Void. It’s not a move that is overpowered or unbeatable, but rather, is it one that requires such an overextension of counters that you often leave yourself vulnerable to other matchups. It really isn’t as simple as slapping on Lum Berry, Chesto Berry, Safeguard, Taunt etc onto any team. This is the issue: often times people will point to its lack of success as evidence that Dark Void isn’t problematic, but what you don’t easily notice are the unsuccessful teams that tried a little too hard to counter Smeargle, but then fell victim to other threats they needed to account for.

You have to adapt and prepare for everything

Of course, it goes without saying that you can’t expect to do well if you ignore threats, but the threat that Dark Void poses really isn’t comparable to others. It’s far too easy to be even slightly unprepared for it and then outright lose because you couldn’t recover from the lost turns. You either compromise by having only adequate answers to it (and get punished anyway because of things like Moody), or you prepare for it well, and as a result make your other matchups far weaker. There’s always going to be compromise on which threats you deem to be more important. But Dark Void exacerbates this problem because often times it’s no longer a compromise, it instead becomes a lose-lose situation. Luck with matchups will have an even greater influence on tournament results because of Dark Void and I don’t believe this is healthy for the game.

Things never get banned anyway so there’s no point in discussing this

This isn’t overly true. TCG has banned cards mid season before, and for all the problems that can arise with altering the format so late, the decision was widely praised by the community and everyone was better off for it. Lysandre’s Trump Card was banned in June. We’re, what, less than two weeks removed since the new VGC format was announced? We’re not even in 2016 yet! It would be an understatement to say that we have plenty of time to make changes and still have a stable season. The time people have spent preparing for Dark Void only for it to be banned will be forgotten about and will have almost no negative long term effect. TPCi also made changes regarding the CP structure because the community asked for it, and an overwhelming majority of the player base was pleased with the result.

So, there is precedent of TPCi making decisions based on community input, as well as precedent of bans that have undeniably benefited the format. It’s learned helplessness to think that this is a worthless discussion. If we’re cordial and present a compelling case that a Dark Void ban would be beneficial, why shouldn’t TPCi act accordingly? Because they haven’t done so or shouldn’t have to? If that was the case, the issue is no longer with the player base.

For a lot of people, Smeargle’s effect on the game isn’t just a knee jerk reaction to the infant format, but a large problem that has existed since 2014, and this season is simply the straw that broke the camel’s back. I understand it can be hard to take the pro-ban crowd seriously because of the whining that accompanies the opinion. Maybe this post will also sound whiny. I honestly don’t know. Personally, though, I think it’d be just as bad to be an apologist, and I’d still like to get my views out for those that might care what I have to say, even if it’s easier to conform to the less controversial opinion. I don’t think this is a worthless discussion, because if you sift through the extremists you’ll find worthwhile arguments that support a ban. Maybe someone who matters will listen and make changes. Maybe not. But it’s certainly happened before.

One comment

  1. Those who call for it to be ban, are those that hate seeing Smeargle. They must be tired of their team being DarkVoided.

    While those who are against it, they must love DV Smeargle, since Darkrai is banned.

    I hope GF doesnt make another single pokemon that can learn Sketch or learn DV like Smeargle


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