Posted by: HalfSilver | October 11, 2011

Picks, Kicks and Shifts: Revising an Outdated System

Somewhat related.

After the MYM10 top 50 was released unusually quickly, there was a bit of an outcry regarding a few of the sets that made it on and a few sets that didn’t.  A similar outcry has taken place after every contest, though sometimes for different reasons.  Someone’s always gonna be upset if they don’t place well.  The most major complaints tend to be about the sets that place 41st to 50th, many of which are specifically pushed on or off by the leadership.  Only the top 40 sets are in fact guaranteed a place on the final top 50.  The other ten are caught in a strange limbo where the leaders can practically kick them for other sets at will through the “Picks” process.

For those who don’t know, let’s review the entire process of Picks, Shifts and Kicks that the top 50 goes through before being presented to the public.  Right after the last votes are tallied (and the vote guru adds their votes), the top 40 is set aside for later.  Every other set that received votes (including 41st through 50th) are part of the Pick process.  Every leader is given 6 “points” that they can use to add votes or subtract votes from any set.  They can split their votes up between multiple sets or use them all on one.  What makes this process flawed is that it is done in secret, turning the Pick process into a game where the leaders fake each other out by adding votes to unexpected sets or tricking other leaders into wasting theirs on useless negative votes.  For example, back in MYM9, Junahu publicly announced that he was going to put Luvia, one of darth_meanie’s most criticized sets, on the top 50.  “Try and stop me”, he dared Warlord.  As a result, Warlord and other leaders invested many negative votes to stop Luvia from placing.  Then Junahu turns around and gives all 6 of his points to Hazama, pushing the troll king onto the top 50.  The current Picks process is both illogical and biased: it’s not about putting the sets the voters want there, it’s about the leaders mindgaming each other and pushing individual sets on the top 50 with no regard for the sets they are pushing OFF.

But what about the Shift process?  Each shift is proposed by a leader, and they need majority in order to approve them.  Shifts may move a set a maximum of 15 slots up or down, though sets cannot be taken off the top 50 by a shift.  It is an unofficial rule that a leader cannot propose more than 5 shifts in one contest, though the rule hasn’t always stood in stone.  Other leaders can also propose countershifts in response to a proposed shift, and those will be voted on if the primary proposal is shot down.  Now I do like the IDEA of the shift process, and it will make up the basis for my new and improved version of this system.  But then there’s majority.  Majority, majority, majority.  You saw it in MYM10: Warlord, Smady and Kupa all got on at the same time, proposed many, many shifts in a short period, and instantly passed them all.  Junahu and Nate had no power to stop them, because the three of them were the majority needed to pass the vast majority of them (HIPPO).  In fact, the only shifts the trio disagreed on were those of Trainer JOE! and Hoppip.  All proposed shifts though, were passed.  But there is one eye-opening thing to note: Nate and Junahu did not propose any shifts.  Junahu’s abstaining is more understandable, considering his stance on kicks, but Nate was on his way out of leadership: he could have at least proposed something.  But I digress.  The point is that the leaders shouldn’t wield so much power over the top 50 with simple majority: it disrespects the voters, who are at this point, educated enough to come to respectable decisions about movesets.  And just incase you weren’t aware, the top 10 has almost always been set in stone and unchangeable, though a Shift has happened within the top 10 on one occasion.

I will only briefly mention Kicks, due to their underutilization.  If the leadership comes to an unanimous decision that they don’t want a certain set on the top 50, they can kick it off completely.  The leadership has never actually kicked a set off the top 50 before.  When Kicks have been attempted in the past, Junahu has always blocked them.  Junahu seems to have respect for the voters, something that has been lacking in the leadership mindset for a long time.

This set is shit, right? What do you mean all these guys with one SWF post voted him?!

Vote fraud has indeed been an issue in the past: Smashbro took advantage of the loose voting system in MYM2 by having his friends sign up for SWF for the sole purpose of voting for his self-insert.  As a result, it placed 10th, something that caused considerable controversy even back then.  And in MYM5, Spadefox voted twice: utilizing the alt account Horlin.  That ended up being the reason that Acid Seaforce won the contest instead of Raiden, though all of Spadefox’s solo sets and the one set he posted as Horlin were symbolically stripped of their placing years later.  These incidents, as well as the fact that there were many, many uninformed people voting in the earlier contests, gave way the Pick,Shift,Kick system and the one moveset/three advertisements requirements for voting.  MYM does a good enough job of weeding out uninformed voters with those requirements: I think it’s about time they start trusting these “qualified” voters a bit more.

Now, finally, let’s get to these revisions. Now previously, the leaders got 6 points with which to push sets up and down.  If a leader were willing to invest all 6 of their points into one moveset, Chen or Goomba could be pushed into the top 50 (no offense to either sets, just an example).  Citing my previous complaints about the “Pick” system, I am throwing it out completely, along with the “Kick” system.  Instead, let’s focus on the Shift.  Leaders currently are able to shift a set up to 15 spots, which figuratively can add or take away a large number of votes depending on the number of voters.  Instead, let’s make that number reflect votes being added or subtracted, and depend on the number of voters.  I think a fair number would be half of the 50th-placing set’s vote total.  In MYM10, that was Marina, who got 7.8 votes.  We’ll round it up to 8, so we have a simple whole number.  So 4.  With a “Shift Only” system, leaders will be able to add or subtract a varying number of votes to a set, that depends on how many votes were cast.  The amount of votes that get added or subtracted to each set are kept track off: no set can have more than +4 or less than -4 (again, assuming MYM10).

Shifts will be further expanded to essentially take on the role that Picks and Kicks played.  Leaders will be able to shift sets on and off the top 50.  Again, if this system was applied to MYM10, Manray and the Dirty Bubble, Sir Weston, and Yanmega could be pushed onto the top 50 with a full vote investment from a single leader.  Likewise, the highest vote-getter that could be pushed off is my own Wakka set.  While that does give leaders a little more freedom to shift sets off, they’re likely not going to throw ALL their votes away just to kick something off the top 50.  What’s more important is that it prevents them from forcing sets that only received 1 or 2 votes onto the top 50, pushing off a set that actually earned its place.

Just like for the current Shift process, leaders can propose up to 5 shifts, and need a majority in order to pass them.  But when shifting sets on or off the top 50 (shifting something on pushes the 50th place set off), leaders need a UNANIMOUS DECISION.  Indeed, you heard that right.  This rule, of course, assumes Junahu will not re-enter leadership, as his presence could very well stop the leadership from putting any sets on.  I would have it call for a 4/5ths majority if Junahu had remained in leadership.  Anyway, with our current leadership (the search for the 5th leader goes on) a unanimous decision is very obtainable.  If a leader wants to push on a specific set that badly, they’ll have to convince the other leaders to boot something else off for it.  If they’d rather have another set pushed off for it, they can shift something else into 50th first.  Once a set receives the unanimous decision needed to push or shift it out of the top 50, it can reenter the top 50 without having to get another unanimous decision.

With a small amount of bias, I put together my own version of the 30th to 50th range of the MYM10 top 50 using the “Shift Only” system.  This is what I got:

30. Wakka

31. Wario

32. Wukong

33. Spider-man

34. General Grievous

35. Modok

36. Chess Man

37. Lord Cronal

38. Portal Man

39. Malzahar

40. Gastly

41. Cosmic Spacehead

42. Mismagius

43. Aidan

44. Marina

45. Twilight Sparkle

46. Clare

47. Ice Man

48. Ghost Rider

49. Color Sonic

50. Gamzee

As you can see, I shifted on many of the sets that the leaders ended up adding, and shifted off 3 sets that the leadership also kicked off the top 50.  Lord Cronal received the max upshift that is allowed under the new system, and Cosmic Spacehead received the max downshift.  The leadership will still be able to do the same things they currently do to revise the top 50.  They just need to come to more of an agreement in order to do so.

And this brings my little “proposal” to a close.  I didn’t call up some of the other issues I have with the leadership, namely the fact that they don’t read every set before voting or even before the Pick/Shift/Kick period.  And I think the leaders as a group need to be more inviting towards both newcomers and returning vets from MYM3/4/5 alike.  Regardless, I think the “Shift Only” system is not only simpler than the current one, but allows leaders to do everything they did before while giving more credit to the qualified and well-informed voters of MYM.  And now you are free to nitpick my proposal apart and/or completely disapprove and tell me that I’m a moron.

Special Thanks to Smady and MT for providing much-needed info on the top 50 and the Pick,Shift and Kick process.  Also Tirk for the awesome art. 🙂



  1. It goes without saying that I agree with you, Silver. I don’t think anyone could say that there are many blatant mistakes in the raw top 50 (or that such a thing could reasonably be said, but that’s where old arguments about MYMer bias and lack of vote split come in).

    As for picks, their main purpose was always to get sets in that simply didn’t get read enough – when you have more than 200 movesets a contest and comments whizzing by like bullets, some great sets that everybody could agree on if only they knew about them are BOUND to get lost in the shuffle. Nowadays, when people tend to read more thoroughly and the number of sets per contest is so much smaller, it’s just a question of the leadership’s favourite sets being given a bit of precedence (besides which, Warlord for one usually doesn’t care too much one way or the other about the bottom ten sets, which tend to be getting into 6 or 5-star territory). It seems supremely unnecessary to me.

    Nice article. 😉

  2. “but Nate was on his way out of leadership: he could have at least proposed something.”

    Not sure I understand the point you’re trying to make here. Care to elaborate for me? (A)

  3. This is somewhat related: who are the characters in that picture?

    On a more focused note, I agree with this article. Personally, I’d prefer we phase out PKS completely, but that may be too big an adjustment and I think this would be a very good and easy change for us to make.

  4. I wouldn’t have a huge problem with simply phasing out PKS entirely, but as you said, I don’t think the leaders would accept such a thing. And the characters in Tirk’s pic are Concrete Man, Yorick, Clare and Oichi: the “top 4 movesets in action”. By top 4 I mean sets that missed the top 50 despite being (generally) well-received. There’s also Drill Dozer popping Dirty Bubble randomly. I suggested the content of the pic to Tirk (tipsy).

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