And let me kill the GameFreak devs.
Let me go and slash 'em up
Because they forgot my FAIRY TYPING.
QC APPROVED: Kitten Milk, Kushalos, Calloflochie
GP APPROVED: V0x
Taken over from AccidentalGreed.
If there's one thing that stands out about Cresselia, it's that it is the bulkiest Pokemon in the tier, and the second bulkiest in the entire game, only behind Giratina. Cresselia's gargantuan defenses let it scoff at nearly any attack that isn't super effective to it. Cresselia also has a nice ability in Levitate, letting it switch into Ground-type moves with ease and, more importantly, making it not get worn down by Spikes, which is incredible considering how most defensive Pokemon are vulnerable to these hazards. Cresselia also has a large movepool, including recovery in Moonlight, and while it is somewhat unreliable, it keeps Cresselia from being worn down. Cresselia also has great support options in Thunder Wave, Lunar Dance, Reflect, and Light Screen. Cresselia's Speed stat is good as well, letting it set up on other defensive Pokemon, such as Suicune, with relative ease. However, all is not well for Cresselia. Cresselia's offensive presence are slightly lacking despite getting Moonblast this generation, which lets it smack Dark-types, and it also faces competition from other defensive Pokemon such as Florges and Aromatisse, who boast arguably better typing and access to Aromatherapy and Wish. Finally, Cresselia's subpar defensive typing leaves it vulnerable to Bug-, Dark-, and Ghost-type attacks. Despite these flaws, the moon duck stands out as a great defensive Pokemon in the tier.
move 1: Moonlight
move 2: Psychic / Psyshock
move 3: Moonblast
move 4: Thunder Wave / Toxic
evs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Moonlight is necessary for this set, as it is Cresselia's only form of recovery. Psychic and Psyshock are Cresselia's main STAB moves; the choice between them is up to preference, as Psychic is more powerful overall, but Psyshock hits Assault Vest users, such as Goodra, for more damage. Moonblast complements Cresselia's Psychic-type STAB moves nicely, as it lets Cresselia smack Dark-types such as Hydreigon and Krookodile as well as hit Dragon- and Fighting-types. Thunder Wave can be used to cripple offensive threats that Cresselia can sponge a hit from, such as Darmanitan, while Toxic puts setup sweepers on a timer.
The EV spread is used to give Cresselia as much physical bulk as possible. Leftovers are used to give Cresselia passive recovery at the end of each turn. An alternate spread with more Special Defense investment can be run, but Cresselia would rather tank physical attacks.
Moonlight PP should be conserved, as it has less PP than most recovery moves, and its healing can be reduced by sand. Thunder Wave should be used to ease prediction against an opponent, and also should be used if you know you can force the opposing Pokemon out.
Cresselia works best on defensive teams, where it can switch in repeatedly into hits while supporting its team in the process. Florges is a good partner, as Cresselia is a great answer to the Poison-types Florges can't touch, while Florges can pass Wishes to Cresselia in case it runs out of Moonlight PP, clear status for it, and serve as a reliable answer to the Bug- and Dark-types Cresselia hates. Pokemon that appreciate Cresselia's ability to slow momentum down with Thunder Wave, such as Swampert and Gligar, are also good partners for Cresselia.
Substitute + Calm Mind
name: Substitute + Calm Mind
move 1: Substitute
move 2: Calm Mind
move 3: Psyshock
move 4: Moonlight / Moonblast
evs: 248 HP / 116 Def / 144 Spe
Substitute prevents Cresselia from being affected by status, giving it an easier time setting up. Calm Mind bolsters its stats, giving it a chance to sweep and lets it tank special hits much easier. Psyshock is the main STAB move, lets it beat opposing Calm Mind users, such as Suicune, and gives it an easier time against Blissey and Florges. Moonlight serves as recovery so that Cresselia isn't worn down, but its PP is somewhat limited and leaves Cresselia a sitting duck against Dark-types. Moonblast lets Cresselia hit Pokemon of the aformentioned type, and gives it a bit of extra coverage as well.
The spread is used to outspeed Adamant variants of Honchkrow, as well as other threats that are uninvested in Speed, such as CroCune, with the rest of the EVs being invested into bulk. Leftovers is used to give Cresselia passive recovery. Alternate spreads can be used with either max Speed or Defense investment, but Cresselia either misses out on bulk or becomes more vulnerable to Taunt, respectively.
Cresselia should only be attempting to sweep when Dark-types and Taunt users have been removed, as they are the main things that hinder it. It can set up on a wide portion of special attackers, such as Mega Ampharos, Rotom-H, Florges, Goodra, and Nidoqueen, due to its good typing, stats, and ability. Cresselia should try to conserve Moonlight PP as well as avoid status, particularly Toxic, as much as possible.
If using Psyshock as the only attack on the set, having a way to deal with Dark-types is mandatory; good partners for this include Cobalion, Mienshao, and Machamp. Cresselia also appreciates Pokemon that can take care of Steel-types, so the aforementioned Fighting-types, Swampert, and Hippowdon also make good partners. Pokemon that appreciate the removal of opposing Calm Mind sweepers, particularly CroCune, are also good partners for Cresselia.
name: Dual Screens
move 1: Reflect
move 2: Light Screen
move 3: Lunar Dance
move 4: Thunder Wave / Moonblast
item: Light Clay
evs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Cresselia is one of the best dual screens users in the tier due to its solid bulk, letting it set up Light Screen or Reflect fairly easily. Lunar Dance is used to heal a sweeper, giving it a second chance if it has taken too much damage or has been afflicted by status. Thunder Wave is used to ease prediction and lets Cresselia's partners set up against fast opponents. Moonblast can be used to give Cresselia an option to retaliate in case it's Taunted, and hits common Taunt users such as Sableye.
Max Speed is used to set up dual screens as soon as possible and to make it easier to use Lunar Dance. The rest of the EVs are put into HP so that Cresselia can take as many hits as possible. Light Clay is used to maximize the amount of turns that screens are up.
This set is best used early- or mid-game, where it can throw opponents off guard with dual screens support and give its partners an increased chance of sweeping. Cresselia should be using Thunder Wave first to snag Taunt users and other counters, if applicable. Don't leave Cresselia in for too long so it doesn't waste dual screens turns. Cresselia differentiates itself from other screens setters for its bulk and ability to cripple Pokemon early-game and for its ability to give sweepers a second chance.
This set works well on hyper offense teams with fast and powerful setup sweepers. Mega Absol is a notable example, as it ignores status and phazing moves with Magic Bounce. Other good partners are fast and powerful Pokemon that are set back by their mediocre bulk or typing, such as Celebi, Mega Houndoom, and Lucario. Pokemon that can pressure out common phazers, such as Hippowdon are also good partners for Cresselia. Finally, Pokemon that can check or revenge kill common Defog users, such as Jirachi and Raikou are great teammates.
A Substitute + Toxic set with some speed investment and Moonlight can be a pain to face for more defensively oriented teams, but can easily be stopped by Steel-types and struggles against Taunt users. Cresselia makes for a reliable Trick Room setter, although it has somewhat high speed and doesn't have much offensive presence. Cresselia can make for a reliable setter of Rain Dance and Sunny Day, the latter boosting up its Moonlight recovery, meaning it's not obligated to run Leftovers. Magic Coat can be used to block Taunt and Toxic, but Cresselia has trouble finding the room to fit this.
Checks & Counters
**Mega Aggron**: Mega Aggron beats any Cresselia set, as it resists both Psychic- and Fairy-types, is immune to Toxic, and can phaze Cresselia's boosting sets out with Roar.
**Status**: Cresselia absolutely hates status, particularly Toxic, which can wear Cresselia down very easily and takes advantage of the fact that Cresselia doesn't have access to Heal Bell or Aromatherapy.
**Taunt**: Cresselia is vulnerable to Taunt, as it mainly uses support moves such as Toxic and Moonlight, letting it get easily worn down by common Taunt users such as Sableye.
**Ghost-types**: Ghost-types, such as Chandelure and Sableye, can tank practically any of Cresselia's moves and proceed to either smack it with their super effective STAB move and wear it down with relative ease.
**Bug-types**: Yanmega and Galvantula can both threaten out most sets of Cresselia with their STAB moves, and Bug Buzz can even threaten Substitute variants due to Bug Buzz being able to go through Cresselia's Substitute.
**Dark-types**: Hydreigon, Krookodile, and Mega Absol can all force Cresselia out, and even set up on it without worry if Cresselia is not running Moonblast. However, they all have to be wary of Moonblast, especially Hydreigon, which is 4x weak to it.