Smogon University reveals competitive bans on Flutter Mane and Houndstone in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, making them the first added to Ubers.
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet introduced numerous new Pokémon, and two of them, Flutter Mane and Houndstone, are already being banned from competitive play for their overwhelming strength and lack of counters. While Pokémon developer Game Freak has been receiving some criticism for performance issues in Scarlet and Violet, a few of the Pokémon the developers added seem to have the opposite problem, and perform too well.
The competitive Pokémon battling community, Smogon University (via Game Rant), announced on Twitter its unanimous decision to ban both Flutter Mane and Houndstone from competitive play. Flutter Mane is a Paradox Pokémon that is exclusive to Scarlet. It has a lot of strengths, but few weaknesses, which makes it a difficult Pokémon to counter. Meanwhile, Houndstone is a Ghost-type Pokémon with one particularly problematic ability called Last Respects, which is strong enough to earn it a ban from competitive play.
Why Flutter Mane And Houndstone Got Pokémon Scarlet & Violet’s First Bans
For the sake of transparency, Smogon University lists the reasons for which it bans Pokémon from competitive play. Flutter Mane not only features high base stats for Speed and Special Attack, but the combination of Ghost- and Fairy-type give it three immunities, one resistance, and two weaknesses, making it particularly difficult to counter. On the other hand, Houndstone has been banned because of Last Respects, which grows stronger for each fainted party member. This gives it the potential to be a 300 BP STAB ability. Therefore, the limited ways to counter Last Respects earned Houndstone its ban from Pokémon Scarlet and Violet competitive play.
Scarlet and Violet brought the number of Pokémon in the series to a total that surpasses 1000, so it might not be surprising that bans are being given to at least a few of the more than 200 creatures included in the game. While it seems like Game Freak would need to rework Flutter Mane to allow it back into Pokémon competitive play, Houndstone has more hope to be freed from its ban, which could easily apply to just Last Respects instead. In the meantime, Smogon University seems to be doing its best to make competitive play as fair as possible, which might not be easy with over 200 Pokémon appearing in Scarlet and Violet.
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet has brought with it some fascinating new Pokémon, including one that’s strikingly similar to a mimic from Dungeons and Dragons, but the design of some, like Flutter Mane, aren’t suitable for competitive play due to the imbalance they bring. As such, Flutter Mane and Houndstone have received the first competitive bans, removing them from the stage for the time being. However, players can still enjoy Flutter Mane and Houndstone outside competitive play in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, and perhaps they will be reworked in the future.