Monotype Spotlight: Celesteela

By maroon and Decem. Released: 2019/08/22.
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Monotype Spotlight Celesteela

Art by Ticken.


Celesteela was initially one of the seven Ultra Beasts introduced at the start of SM. Since then, it has become an irreplaceable part of both Flying and Steel teams with its incredible mixed bulk along with its good defensive typing. Furthermore, the introduction and abundance of new Defog users such as Gliscor, Landorus-T, and Tornadus-T caused Skarmory to decrease in usage on Flying teams. In response, Celesteela easily took its place as a premier defensive wall on both types because of its reduced passiveness and mixed bulk, despite not being able to set hazards or run Roost. Offensive sets have also increased in usage since then, allowing Celesteela to fill different roles for different teams. Without further ado, let's dive into why Celesteela has been so prevalent in Monotype!

The Sets


Defensive (Steel)

Celesteela is a staple pick on all Steel teams, as its mixed bulk, reduced passivity, and access to utility moves such as Leech Seed allow Celesteela to pretty much outclass Skarmory in almost every way. It forms a defensive core with Heatran and Ferrothorn, providing the team's Ground immunity. This set is very difficult for Ground teams to deal with, as it can absorb most of their attacks and regain its health with Leech Seed + Protect while wearing them down with Toxic. This allows Celesteela to wall Ground teams with relative ease, only really being threatened by Gravity. Along with the Ground immunity, Celesteela's Flying typing also grants it neutrality to Fighting-type attacks, allowing it to take on threats such as Terrakion, which would otherwise blow past Steel teams. Leech Seed + Protect alongside Leftovers recovery act as Celesteela's form of passive recovery, so Celesteela should always try to stay healthy by spamming Leech Seed and avoid having its Leftovers removed by moves such as Trick and Knock Off. Heavy Slam allows Celesteela to not be completely passive. Toxic can wear down opposing walls such as Gastrodon, Porygon2, and Mandibuzz that otherwise Celesteela could not beat 1v1 thanks to their access to reliable recovery. Flamethrower is a less used option that allows Celesteela to take on Steel-type Pokémon such as Ferrothorn, which otherwise it could not touch, as it resists Heavy Slam and is immune to Leech Seed and Toxic. Overall, Celesteela is a great addition to any Steel teams thanks to its great defensive utility, typing, utility moves, and access to decent passive recovery.

Assault Vest

This set is rare for Celesteela to run and has fallen out of favor, as Ground is not seeing as much usage; however, it still is a decent offensive option for Steel teams that can take on threats such as Mega Swampert, Keldeo, and Gravity Landorus. This set was very popular at the beginning of the generation for that very reason; however, the defensive and offensive sets still pressure Ground an insane amount, making Assault Vest fall out of favor in Monotype. The combination of Giga Drain, Hidden Power Ice, and Flamethrower allows Celesteela to become a large nuisance to Ground teams, as it can hit every Pokémon for super effective damage. Additionally, Air Slash + Giga Drain allows Celesteela to take on threats on Water teams such as Keldeo, which otherwise can blow past Steel teams. This set is a decent anti-meta option and can definitely put in work against types that Steel is traditionally weak against such as those listed above; however, the utility defensive Celesteela brings to Steel teams with Leech Seed + Toxic is hard to give up, making this set harder to place on Steel teams and requiring it to be built around rather than just acting as glue for the team.



Ferrothorn Celesteela Heatran

Steel has a fantastic defensive core that covers up the team's weaknesses very well. Ferrothorn provides a resistance to Electric- and Water-type attacks as well as a neutrality to Ground attacks, which makes it a very good Pokémon on Steel teams. However, just like Celesteela, Ferrothorn does not have a good form of reliable recovery, so it relies on Leech Seed. Thanks to both Ferrothorn and Celesteela running Leech Seed, their recovery is not that bad, as they can cover each other by spamming Leech Seed before switching in. Ferrothorn is also the team's premier hazard setter, as it sets up Spikes and can check Water- and Ground-type Pokémon such as Mega Swampert, Hippowdon, and Keldeo with Power Whip. Celesteela, as mentioned, provides the team's premier Ground-type immunity as well as a neutrality to Fighting-type coverage. This allows it to check threats to the team such as Sand Rush Excadrill, Swords Dance Garchomp, and Mega Gallade. Heatran is perhaps the most important part of this core, as it provides the mandatory immunity to Fire-type attacks; without this Pokémon, Steel teams would not be nearly as viable as they are. It also can trap other defensive threats such as Chansey and Toxapex with Magma Storm and wear them down with its access to Taunt and Toxic, as well as being the most important Pokémon in the mirror matchup against other Steel teams. Overall, these three have an incredible defensive synergy that makes them hard to break for many types lacking raw power or strong setup sweepers.

Here is a replay of the core in action

Defensive (Flying)

Much like on Steel teams, Celesteela is pretty much a staple pick on Flying teams and a better option than Skarmory for the same reasons as listed prior. Celesteela's part-Steel typing brings fantastic defensive utility to the type, as it provides Flying teams with a great resistance to STAB Dragon attacks, allowing Celesteela to easily switch into attacks such as Latios's Draco Meteor, as well as providing a neutrality to Ice and Rock, helping Celesteela switch into threats to its team such as Alolan Sandslash and Mega Diancie. Leech Seed + Protect provides Celesteela with a form of passive recovery, making up for the lack of Roost, that is important to keep Celesteela healthy. Protect also can be used to scout moves against Choice-locked foes such as Tapu Koko, as well as stall Leech Seed/Toxic chip for Celesteela. Flamethrower can take on Steel-type Pokémon such as Mega Scizor and Ferrothorn. However, other teammates such as Zapdos and Dragonite are able to take on these threats as is, making it less necessary for Celesteela to give up using Toxic for it. Celesteela is an important tool in winning many matchups for Flying teams as well as a great defensive wall. Its impressive damage output with Heavy Slam allows it to threaten many types such as Dragon, Fairy, Ice, and Rock, which traditionally would give Flying teams trouble. Thus, Celesteela should be preserved in matchups when strong wallbreakers of those types are present. Celesteela also is the type's best check to top-tier threats to Flying, such as Kyurem-B and Mega Diancie. Celesteela easily finds itself on Flying teams for these reasons; while Skarmory has a better Defense stat and access to Roost and Defog, that does not matter as much, since its teammates such as Mantine, Zapdos, Tornadus-T, and Gliscor all can Defog away hazards for the team as is, and Celesteela provides way better defensive utility than Skarmory ever could.


While many people see Celesteela as a defensive behemoth, it also can run fully offensive sets quite easily, making it quite an easy Pokémon to fit on any sort of Flying team. The popular hyper offense Flying team has risen in ladder usage, and offensive Celesteela is seen on these teams as the team's special setup sweeper. After an Autotomize, Celesteela outspeeds many threats to Flying teams, such as +1 Kommo-o, Mega Diancie, and Kyurem-B, and is easily able to OHKO them. After an Autotomize boost and a Special Attack boost from picking up a KO, it becomes very difficult to check offensive Celesteela, as it can easily break past defensive walls thanks to Beast Boost and Metronome, which allows it to pretty easily snowball against unprepared teams. Its coverage allows it to hit nearly everything for at least neutral damage, making it difficult to check based purely on typing. Air Slash allows it to take on threats such as Kommo-o, Mega Gallade, and Toxapex, while Flash Cannon takes on threats such as Mega Diancie and Kyurem-B. Flamethrower complements these two STAB moves nicely by allowing Celesteela to hit Steel-type Pokémon such as Ferrothorn, Mega Scizor, and opposing Celesteela. Additionally, while this set is primarily seen on hyper offensive Flying teams, it can also be used on offensive Steel teams, with Giga Drain over Flash Cannon allowing it to better take on threats such as Mega Swampert; however, that archetype of Steel teams is not that prevalent or great in Monotype.



Zapdos Gliscor Mantine Celesteela

Celesteela forms Flying teams' most common defensive core with these other three Pokémon. This core covers Flying teams' weaknesses pretty well, as each provides important resistances and immunities for balanced Flying teams. Zapdos provides a neutrality to Electric attacks, making it the team's best check to threats such as Tapu Koko and Alolan Raichu, and it can also Defog away hazards. Additionally, Zapdos can either run a SubToxic set or additional coverage in Heat Wave, which allows it to take advantage of its Steel-type resistance and nail them back with a super effective attack. Gliscor provides the team with an Electric immunity and a switch-in to Rock-type attacks such as Terrakion's Stone Edge, making it a valuable part of the defensive core. Additionally, it can act either as a stallbreaker with Taunt + Toxic to wear down bulkier teams or as a Stealth Rock or Defog user. Mantine, unlike these other teammates, pretty much has a one-dimensional role on Flying teams; it provides the team's Water immunity thanks to its ability in Water Absorb, acts as a Defogger, and is the team's premier check to Azumarill thanks to its Speed tier, access to Haze, and Water immunity. Thanks to its Water immunity and great special bulk, it has become a staple pick for the defensive core. Celesteela, as explained above, provides a neutrality to all of Flying's natural weaknesses thanks to its part-Steel typing while also having a Dragon resistance, making it very frustrating to take down. Overall, this core has the ability to wall a very large chunk thanks to their shared great defensive synergy and different utility that allows them to fill different roles for the team, as well as making as fantastic hazard removing core.

Here is a replay of the core in action

Hyper Offensive

Celesteela Dragonite Aerodactyl

Hyper offensive Flying is a rather niche archetype in tournaments, but it is successful in places such as the ladder. While it is mainly seen on the Monotype ladder, it has seen some tour play in tours such as Monotype Generations, Seasonals, and most recently MPL V. The team completely relies on its offensive momentum to stay in the lead and win matches, as it is very hard to come back from behind, especially since it has no good defensive options. Aerodactyl is a suicide lead that always carries Stealth Rock + Taunt; thanks to its Speed tier, it can always set Stealth Rock up and prevent other leads from perhaps doing the same thing. The last two slots are either coverage in EdgeQuake, allowing it to hit many Pokémon for neutral coverage and take on threats such as Heatran and Mega Charizard Y for Celesteela, or Double-Edge + Tailwind, which allows it to suicide before types such as Bug have a chance to clear away hazards with Rapid Spin and increase the team's Speed, allowing teammates such as Dragonite to outspeed threats such as Kyurem-B. Celesteela and Dragonite are the core's setup sweepers; Dragonite is the physical one, while Celesteela acts as a special setup sweeper. Dragonite can take on types such as Electric, thanks to its part-Dragon typing allowing it to easily set up Dragon Dances and proceed to clean, and has a powerful nuke in Devastating Drake to break past its usual checks such as Porygon2 and Rotom-W. Celesteela can take down Pokémon that wall Dragonite such as Skarmory and appreciates Dragonite's ability to take on special walls, making the two of them incredibly useful setup sweepers next to each other.

Here is a replay of the core in action


Get out there and use all these different Celesteela sets in Monotype!

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