Celebi, The Time Travel Pokémon. It has the power to travel across time, but it is said to appear only in peaceful times. It came from the future by crossing over time. It is thought that so long as Celebi appears, a bright and shining future awaits us. When Celebi disappears deep in a forest, it is said to leave behind an egg it brought from the future. Grass and trees flourish in the forests in which it has appeared.
Celebi, one of the older legends dating from GSC. Much like Jirachi, Celebi is balanced on the fine edge between the Uber environment and the standard environment. The main thing granting it acceptance into the standard environment is its typing (which grants it a whopping seven weaknesses). Although it is still a handful, having so many weaknesses to exploit makes it much more manageable.
But, even with a massive collection of weaknesses, the green onion is still a very capable Pokémon. All of its stats are balanced and above average, at Base 100 each. It has a very wide and versatile range of support moves and between Recover, Leech Seed and its six resistances, Celebi is very impressive defensively. Offensively, its move-pool isn't particularly diverse, but Psychic and Grass are decent offensive types and it has access to Calm Mind and Swords Dance (although their use mainly shines when combined with Baton Pass).
There'll still be some accusing it of being an Uber, but generally, it's probably balanced enough to be considered standard. It's certainly a top-tier standard, but a standard nonetheless.
Natural Cure: is one of the best abilities in the game. Status ailments are eliminated upon switching, which means Celebi can freely absorb opposing status attacks for its team-mates and doesn't need to worry about being paralysed, poisoned or burned (unless it intends to stay in play for a long time, of course).
Calm Mind Baton Passer
- Psychic / Energy Ball
The primary threat from Celebi doesn't come from it as a lone individual, but rather what it can do for its team-mates. One-on-one, Celebi doesn't take on too many opponents too well. However, it can last long enough against them to set-up a suitable number of Calm Minds and then Baton Pass to a more effective ally.
The premise behind the set is simple enough, raise as many Calm Minds as possible and Baton Pass to a suitable ally, using Recover to regain any lost HP. Using Recover and Calm Mind together can also work to reasonable effect as a defensive strategy, allowing Celebi to overcome opponents who attempt to defeat it with Special Attacks.
Psychic and Energy Ball provide Celebi with its best offensive options, however, Celebi is always going to be left short depending on which one it chooses.
With Psychic, it can take out Heracross and any Poison or Fighting types and has a lot of neutral type coverage, but Dark types (Tyranitar and Weavile in particular) will be able to face it without any fear.
With Energy Ball, Celebi has a super-effective option to use against Tyranitar as well as Ground, Rock and Water Pokémon (and can hurt the defensively weak Weavile as well as other Dark types), but it'll be exposed against the multitude of opponents who resist Grass attacks (Flying, Fire, Grass, Poison, Bug, Dragon and Steel).
EVs and Nature:
There are two main ways to go with Baton Passing Celebi's, fast or defensive. With a fast Celebi, you want to (at least) outrun an Adamant Garchomp (which also outruns Modest/Adamant Salamence and so forth), which would be a 305 Speed stat (168 Speed EVs with a Max IV and a Timid Nature).
With a more defensive variant, you'll probably want to go for Defence instead of Special Defence. Calm Mind covers your Special Defensive needs for the most part (although it won't cover you before you've used it), so Defence can receive the priority. A Bold Nature would be best for this, with a boatload of EV support. As far as Speed is concerned, you'll want at least a 244 Speed stat to outrun Jolly variants of Tyranitar. There are some higher numbers, but they cost a sizable number of EVs.
Swords Dance Baton Passer
Another Baton Passing variant of Celebi, this time the much lesser seen Swords Dance variant. The main reason for it not being seen is the lack of offence to pair it with (Return is the only viable physical move to benefit from Swords Dance), but, when you consider the possibility of giving a Swords Dance to an ally like Metagross or Tyranitar, it can be quite a game changing move-set.
The only real modification to consider is Psychic or Energy Ball in place of Return. They won't benefit from Swords Dance but they'll gain STAB and will have reasonable type coverage.
EVs and Nature:
Pretty straightforward, fast or defensive. Defensive variants can focus on either Defence or Special Defence (since Calm Mind isn't a factor), with the same options as the Calm Mind Passer.
If you consider going with a Special Attack instead of Return, you would want a Nature that lowers Attack instead of Special Attack.
Defensive Calm Mind
- Psychic / Energy Ball
A rather difficult Celebi set to take down. Leech Seed and Recover amplify Celebi's already impressive defensive capabilities and give plenty of time for it to set-up Calm Mind. Although it'll be slow, this set is capable of reaching a point where sweeping is a viable possibility, although it'll only have one attack to work with.
Once again, neither Psychic nor Energy Ball will be able to cover every opponent, so pick the one that gels best with your team.
EVs and Nature:
Since this set is very defensive, Speed is less of a necessity. Aim for 244 to be sure to outrun Jolly Tyranitar (as well as others that linger in that area) and focus the rest at Celebi's Defence. 300 Defence is a good number to aim for. The rest can be placed in its Special Defence to soften up initial hits.
As an alternative, Celebi could be entirely focused on its Special Defence (Calm Nature and a lot of Special Defence EVs), but it really won't take physical hits well at all and will be forced to use Recover a lot when faced with a physical attacker.
Heal Bell Support
- Psychic / Energy Ball
Celebi gets Heal Bell and is one of the few viable users of the move. Status attacks always have the potential to be crippling, so having a Pokémon capable of removing them can be quite a bonus.
Everything is pretty self-explanatory, but there's a bit of choice between Leech Seed and Thunder Wave. Leech Seed gives Celebi a bit more individual bulkiness and can save up on time spent using Recover. Thunder Wave lends its team some extra support. The fact that many popular Celebi counters are crippled by this move only lends to its usefulness.
EVs and Nature:
You can use the Bold EV spread for extra Defence or a mirror spread for its Special Defence (Calm and 148 Special Defence EVs). It's also possible to balance between both of Celebi's Defences (aim for around 275 in each Defensive stat) but with a balanced EV spread, Celebi will spend a lot more time using Recover and won't be particularly effective at defending against either.
Special Attack EVs are worth consideration in small doses, since Calm Mind won't be here to bump up Celebi's offensive power.
EVs: 252 HP / 76 Def / 32 Spd / 148 SDef
EVs: 252 HP / 156 Def / 32 Spd / 68 SDef
Celebi is rarely seen going on the offensive individually, but it has a lot of potential with Choice Specs. It suffers from a shallow offensive move-pool however, but provided you predict your opponent correctly, it can work effectively.
Psychic and Energy Ball are there to provide STAB (of course). Shadow Ball deals with opposing Psychic types. Rest provides Celebi with its best healing option for this move-set. Switching lets Natural Cure take effect, removing the sleep status and giving Celebi a fresh HP stat to work with.
Leaf Storm is the most powerful attack Celebi has to work with. It gives a Special Attack drop (which is mitigated by the need to switch frequently) but between STAB, Specs and its initial Base Power, it hits very hard. Either Energy Ball (which shares its typing) or Rest could be dropped in its favour. Of course, it isn't a necessity, but having a strong attack to work with never hurts with a hit-and-run set.
EVs and Nature:
Simple enough, defensive stats take a backseat to offence.
Grass Knot, Leaf Storm, Giga Drain, Substitute, Hidden Power [Fire], Hidden Power [Ground], Hidden Power [Fight], Silver Wind, Charge Beam, Stealth Rock, Light Screen, Reflect, Toxic, Trick Room, U-Turn, Perish Song.
Grass Knot, Leaf Storm and Giga Drain present options to use instead of Energy Ball. Grass Knot hits heavy foes harder (like Tyranitar and Gyarados) but it hits lighter foes for less (like Manaphy and Weavile), making it unreliable but occasionally powerful. Leaf Storm is a strong hit-and-run move, but make sure not to team it with a Calm Mind Baton Passer set (since the stat drop will be passed on). Giga Drain returns some HP but its low PP and weak Base Power make it less favourable.
Substitute is nice with Celebi's huge HP, allowing it to create very durable Subs (including 101 Subs, capable of taking two Seismic Tosses due to them having 101 HP). For stalling purposes, Substitute and Leech Seed combine to be an incredibly difficult set to take down (and it'll force a lot of switches, racking up Stealth Rock and Spikes damage).
Hidden Power is always an option. The preferred choices will be ones capable of taking down Steel types (who resist Celebi's two STAB moves). Fire handles Steel types (not including Heatran or Empoleon) as well as Grass types and Weavile. Ground handles Steel types (not including Bronzong or Skarmory) as well as some troublesome Fire types. Fight handles Steel types (not including Bronzong, Jirachi, Metagross or Skarmory) as well as Dark types (two of which, Weavile and Tyranitar, are notable counters with 4x weaknesses to the move).
Silver Wind is an option for dealing with Psychic and Dark types simultaneously. Shadow Ball hits Psychics harder and a neutral Energy Ball is just as effective against Dark types however, making it less viable (but if both moves are absent, it's a reasonable option).
Charge Beam is a weak move, but it has a very high chance of boosting Special Attack and takes a large chunk out of Gyarados.
Stealth Rock can be set-up by Celebi for some added team support but there's a large multitude of other Pokémon capable of doing this, and Celebi hasn't got move-slots to spare.
Light Screen and Reflect are added defensive buffers that Celebi can offer its team-mates. Reflect in particular is nice for softening up Pursuits that Celebi may be forced to take.
Toxic is a reasonably effective status attack option, but again, Celebi is starved for move-slots. The fact that it gives Steel types a free switch in only serves to make it less viable.
Trick Room can be utilised effectively by Celebi. Celebi has enough durability to set-up the move for its team-mates, but it isn't particularly slow itself (so try to obtain as low a Speed IV as possible and a Speed lowering nature).
U-Turn is an option for escaping Pursuit-users whilst taking less damage. It's also helpful for scouting for what your opponent will attempt to switch to, and the fact that it catches a super-effective hit on Dark types is an added attraction.
Perish Song is somewhat of a novelty without a trapping move, but Celebi can use it with some team support. Chaos of Smogon put together an interesting strategy, pairing it with Umbreon (Taunt and Mean Look). It can be a rather frightening surprise and an effective way to take out a stalling opponent. Other uses include forcing switches, taking out your opponent's last Pokémon, taking out confident Steel types with a switch to Magnezone and breaking up Baton Passes. Use with caution though, you don't want to be caught out by the opponent using traps of their own on your Celebi.
The main thing making Celebi hard to counter is its ability to Baton Pass. You can switch in as it uses Calm Mind or Swords Dance, but then it'll Baton Pass to a counter for your counter, all the while giving its ally an offensive boost. However, as an individual, Celebi is relatively easy to deal with. The main thing to keep in mind is that it likes to Baton Pass or support its team, so once your counter gets in play, it's probably already done what it set out to do.
Both of Celebi's STAB attacks are resisted by Steel types, making most of them effective options to use as counters. Among the cream of the crop are Metagross and Heatran. One has hard hitting physical attacks and the other has super-effective Fire attacks. Other Steel types are viable, but many use Special Attacks (and won't be too effective against Calm Mind variants) whilst others lack effective moves to use against Celebi. Scizor is also nice for its 4x effective Bug attacks, but its use in the Standard environment is fairly limited.
If Celebi lacks Energy Ball, all Dark types are effective options. Tyranitar is very effective when Energy Ball is absent, and so is Weavile (provided all attacks except Psychic are absent).
There is also a multitude of Dark types who can take on Celebi with Energy Ball. Houndoom resists Energy Ball and has STAB Fire moves as well as Dark moves. Spiritomb has plenty of defence to stand against Energy Ball and gets a lot of mileage out of Pain Split (benefiting from Celebi's large HP stat). Amusingly, several lesser used Pokémon resist both of Celebi's STAB moves, including: Shiftry, Cacturne (Grass/Dark), Skuntank, Drapion (Dark/Poison) and Honchcrow (Dark/Flying).
If Psychic is absent, a lot of types can take advantage. Most Fire, Flying, Poison and Bug types can take on Celebi effectively. The cream of the crop includes Heracross, Salamence, Moltres, Infernape, Crobat, and Venusaur among others.
If Energy Ball is absent, a few other Pokémon not already mentioned can take advantage (mostly Psychic types who have a super-effective attack (like Shadow Ball)).
Pursuit is nice since Celebi likes to switch a lot. Pursuit will catch it hard as it hops out. The fact that several of Celebi's prime counters use this move makes it all the more attractive, but Pursuit is ineffective against Baton Pass. If the user is faster, it'll hit weakly, if the user is slower, it'll hit whatever Celebi Baton Passes to.
Taunt is handy since most of Celebi's move-sets revolve around non-offensive moves. The same goes for Snatch.
Really, the main problem with Celebi is getting around the fact that it likes to switch. Between Natural Cure and Recover, taking it down with status attacks and repeated beatings is difficult, meaning you need to deal with it directly and quickly (which is difficult when it keeps running away with Baton Pass or straightforward switching). Individually it isn't particularly formidable, but with a well constructed team its true power shines.
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