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Ever since its first appearance in GSC, Celebi has always been an interesting Pokemon. As the second 100-all legend (after Mew), Celebi found itself a spot as the cornerstone of stall. Instant non-Rest Recovery, access to Heal Bell, Leech Seed, and a powerful STAB Psychic all contributed to Celebi's dominance, and Smogon still has Celebi listed as "Uber" in GSC. ADV brought Celebi a couple new toys to play with as well. Perish Song both bolstered and crippled stall, as Perish Song allowed Celebi to protect against last Pokemon setups, such as Crocune and Curselax. It could also be used in tandem with Mean Look Baton Pass Umbreon to trap and eliminate important members of the opposing team. Celebi also got the boon of actual boosts to pass using Baton Pass - Calm Mind (which it could also attack with) and Swords Dance, which could either be passed or used to lure in Celebi's common counters. Celebi could then smash them to bits with a Swords Dance boosted Hidden Power Fighting before Baton Passing the boosts out. Finally, Natural Cure allowed Celebi to effortlessly sponge and heal status for the team.
In Generation 4, Celebi received even more boosts. The physical/special split gave Celebi physical STAB in the form of Seed Bomb and Zen Headbutt for use alongside Swords Dance. Leaf Storm, Energy Ball and Grass Knot replace Hidden Power Grass as primary forms of special STAB, providing far more reliable power than the 70 Base Power Hidden Power Grass. U-Turn gave Celebi the ability to scout for counters and foes, as well as synergizing further with Perish Song.
When Celebi appeared as a crucial member of Obi Stall, the definitive stall team of DP, it returned to glory as the lynchpin of stall. And while Celebi has fallen from grace slightly given the popularity of Scizor and friends in Platinum, it still remains one of the most useful and versatile Pokemon in the entire OU metagame.
One of Celebi's main selling points is its incredible versatility in every aspect, and one look at Celebi's Base Stats makes this apparent. Celebi is one of the five 100-all BST 600 legends, alongside Mew, Manaphy, Jirachi, and Shaymin. While this does mean that no one of its stats truly sticks out, it also gives it the versatility to fully utilize its top-notch movepool to the fullest extent possible. That said, while other Pokemon sharing this spread are more effective offensively, Celebi's claim to fame is its defensive ability, as 100/100/100 defensive stats are some of the best out there when combined with such a fantastic defensive movepool.
To top it off, Celebi has a perfect complementary ability in Natural Cure. The Natural Cure ability removes all status from Celebi whenever it switches out. This means that Celebi can effortlessly take status effects from opponents, switch out, and render them useless. This is especially notable as far as Toxic is concerned, as Toxic can spell the demise of any wall not packing Rest. It's also useful for taking paralysis and burn for balanced teams, though Celebi doesn't especially enjoy switching into the common Fire- and Ghost-types that utilize Will-O-Wisp.
A better question is: How don't you use Celebi? The number of effective sets it can run is insane, and it can fill either an offensive or defensive role in your team with ease, depending on what you're looking for. As an example, the Smogon analysis for Celebi has a whopping 13 sets designed for OU play that it is able to run. However, we'll be looking at a couple of the more notable uses for Celebi here.
It's impossible to mention Celebi without mentioning the unshakable pillar of the DP metagame known as Obi Stall. This team cemented Celebi's usage on stall for one specific purpose: Perish Song. This move sets both Pokemon in play on a "timer", and after three turns, any Pokemon that has not switched out yet is instantly fainted, no questions asked. This is especially useful as a way to defeat Pokemon that can normally set up eternally and wipe out stall teams, such as Crocune and Curselax. However, as Celebi's popularity on stall has diminished, so has Perish Song's usage, and it was only used 10% of the time on Celebi last month.
Celebi can also fit many other defensive options into its moveset. It has access to Heal Bell, allowing it to act as cleric for the team, ridding it of status. Celebi has access to Leech Seed, which combine with its 101 HP Substitutes and decent Speed to make Celebi a top-notch SubSeeding force. Thunder Wave makes it significantly easier to pick off sweepers, as it is easier to Recover against them or counter them with other members of the team once they are slowed down.
Offensively, Celebi is just as versatile. As a Psychic-type, it has access to Trick, and between its solid movepool and Trick, Choice Specs and Choice Scarf can both be used to great effect on Celebi. Specs Leaf Storm or Grass Knot is a great way to ward off Tyranitar, one of Celebi's biggest fears. Celebi can also utilize Calm Mind to either sweep for itself with Substitute and two attacks; or, it can have a more supportive offensive role passing its Calm Minds to other Pokemon with Baton Pass. The same goes for Swords Dance, as Celebi now has viable physical dual STAB, and Swords Dance can surprise its counters by hitting them physically when they expect a special hit. It can also Baton Pass the Attack boosts out to a more threatening sweeper, preferably one that resists one or more of Celebi's many weaknesses.
Essentially, one can simply choose to put Celebi on their team and then decide what to do later based on what the rest of the team is. Celebi can do pretty much anything. The hardest part is figuring out what you want to do with it.
Celebi is damn near impossible to "counter" in the traditional sense, as many of the Pokemon that counter one set are beaten by others. However, there are some pretty rock solid nemeses that can put the hurt on Celebi with ease. In earlier generations, Heracross had been the best way of dealing with Celebi. Its resistance to Grass and ability to hit Celebi with its powerful 4x effective STAB Megahorn made it extremely threatening to Celebi's well-being. However, Celebi also has six other weaknesses to take advantage of. There are plenty of Pokemon that can take advantage of these weaknesses and hit Celebi hard. Ghost-types do this well, taking a pittance from Grass Knot and hitting with super effective Shadow Ball.
Tyranitar gets a special mention here, as it does when mentioning any other Psychic-type. Tyranitar can either choose to Pursuit a Celebi that it expects to flee, or Crunch a Celebi that it expects to stand and fight. However, Celebi isn't a surefire takedown for Tyranitar, as it has many options to deal with Tyranitar. Celebi often runs enough Speed to outrun even Jolly variants of Tyranitar, and a STAB-boosted base 120 super effective move is sure to put a dent in Tyranitar's rocky exterior. It can also Baton Pass out, foiling any attempts for Tyranitar to Pursuit the pixie to death.
As was said before, the best way to use Celebi is to first decide that you want to use it, and then let its huge movepool do the rest. Celebi is a top-notch defensive Pokemon, and it can be used as either generic filler or for a targeted purpose. Hate status? Use Aromatherapy. Need paralysis? Thunder Wave is your pal. Crocune giving you trouble? Perish Song and forget about it!
Celebi loves entry hazards possibly more than any other Pokemon. Stealth Rock goes a long way towards making Celebi's life easier. Given its status as a top Gyarados counter, Stealth Rock is extremely useful to punish it for switching in. The same goes for Pokemon such as Salamence and Zapdos. Stealth Rock and Spikes also limit the switch-ins of Pokemon such as Scizor and Heatran that can make Celebi's life hard. In addition, the switches forced by Perish Song or Leech Seed can rack up the damage from hard entry hazards quickly. Finally, Toxic Spikes can provide a number of useful boons for Celebi. The largest one is its ability to prevent Pokemon such as Blissey, Vaporeon (takes little damage from Grass Knot), and others from walling Celebi indefinitely. Additionally, between Toxic Spikes, Leech Seed, and potentially sandstorm, Celebi can put out tons of passive damage while it's out.
Anyone familiar with recent DP knows the "Celetran" combination. Heatran's resistances to all seven of Celebi's weaknesses (including immunity to Fire and a 4x resistance to both Bug and Ice) makes it an amazing defensive partner for Celebi, while the pixie can take Fighting, Ground, and Water attacks for Heatran. Otherwise, most Steel-types work well with Celebi. The most notable weaknesses that need to be covered are Ice, Bug, and Fire, so make sure to have solid coverage for taking those attacks in order to utilize Celebi to the fullest.
Now that we've covered most aspects of the pixie's numerous abilities, it's time to get out there and add some salad to your diet. Try Celebi out, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at just how versatile and effective it can be.
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