On The Radar - Clefable

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Jordy

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What's up everyone, the CAP council's been paying close attention to the metagame and we'd like to bring up another Pokemon that we reckon may be an issue: Clefable.

Clefable's easily one of, if not the best Pokemon in the CAP metagame. The metagame's centralized around it quite heavily; it can glue together basically any bulky offense or balance team and its Calm Mind sets require a lot of dedication in the teambuilder to check. Despite the amount of dedication that goes into preparing for Calm Mind Clefable, Clefable is able to overwhelm most of its checks anyways; Mollux can be beaten by Psyshock, or if it lacks Clear Smog or Calm Mind, Toxapex can lose to Thunderbolt, or if it gets burned, and Steel-types like Corviknight, Excadrill, and Equilibra can be beaten by Flamethrower. Even when it's not running a Calm Mind set, Clefable can significantly punish checks such as Mollux, Toxapex, and Corviknight with Teleport, Knock Off, and Thunder Wave. All in all, the CAP council believes that Clefable's ability to fit onto a vast majority of teams, while being such a pressing issue in the teambuilder and so versatile that it's able to circumvent most of its counterplay, is potentially too much for the CAP metagame. Please let us know what you think.
 
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That I didn't expect, but putting Clef under the radar makes sense. It's pretty rare to see a defensive Pokemon getting suspected and I agree that it should happen more often.
Wether or not Clef is too much for the CAP meta is a tough question. Clef is insane thanks to its typing, movepool and ability ; its only weakness is its average stats. A very strong special attacker will always be very close to 2hkoing the spdef set. A very strong physical attacker will most likely 2hko the def set (which isn't always the calm mind one). This means that if it faces moderate pressure there is no way it will die. However it is decently easy to pressure thanks to those average stats.
Of course you will prepare for it in the builder by putting something that can paralyse it or iron head on your Corviknight or whatever, but the question is wether or not it is too restricting in the builder, wether or not it's overcentralizing the meta. I don't think so. Clef doesn't invalidate a large part of the metagame, which would be the sign that a defensive mon is too much for a meta. Let's look at it set by set.

:clefable: Spdef Utility
Clefable @ Leftovers
Ability: Magic Guard
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Moonblast
- Soft-Boiled
- Wish
- Thunder Wave

Clefable @ Leftovers
Ability: Magic Guard
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Calm Nature
- Knock Off
- Moonblast
- Wish
- Protect

Clefable @ Leftovers
Ability: Magic Guard
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Moonblast
- Teleport
- Wish
- Protect
Does this one invalidate a ton of special attackers ? I don't think so. Most of them can take advantage of it, either if it's paralysed or if they pivot cleverly into a physical attacker, or if they setup. This set doesn't take physical attacks at all, meaning coming with it is always taking the risk of facing a pivot into Colossoil, Terrakion, Syclant, etc. which will result into a big loss of momentum. The other problem of this set is that it's not threatening at all, meaning a lot of attackers won't be scared of switching hard into it even if hit neutrally by Moonblast.

:clefable: Calm Mind
Clefable @ Leftovers (life orb exists)
Ability: Magic Guard
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 Spe (you can also put more speed, but I think that's the most common spread)
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Moonblast
- Flamethrower / Psyshock / Thunderbolt / Knock Off / Thunder Wave
- Calm Mind
- Soft-Boiled
This one is definetly a threat you need to be very carefull of. It can ease through an unprepared team, and there are indeed few ways to prepare for it. You'll need either
1) A strong attacker with a super effective attack (physical is better, but special works as it will most likely 2hko Clef at +1). This includes Jirachi, Aegislash, Excadrill, Gengar, Equilibra, Bisharp, Dracovish, Crucibelle (I tried to be exhaustive here).
2) A defensive mon that has some way of dealing with it. This includes Toxapex with haze, full spdef unaware Arghonaut and whirlwind Hippowdon. Those three can deal with any calm mind set. Then some other will depend on the set. Calm Mind Mollux beats anyone but Psyshock, Gyro Ball Ferrothorn beats anyone but Flamethrower.

Those mons can be helped by crippling options in Knock Off and Thunder Wave.
We definetly have the most debatable set here, as there aren't many options that insure that a team doesn't loose to it. However it isn't banworthy in my opinion. It doesn't invalidate much ; just forces you to make sure you check it somehow. Also you can definetly come out on top even if you don't have any of the (quite numerous) mons listed before, by applying enough pressure on your opponent and making sure you don't allow Clef to setup.

:clefable: Life Orb
Clefable @ Life Orb
Ability: Magic Guard
EVs: 124 HP / 252 SpA / 132 Spe (there are many spreads, I'm not listing them all)
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Soft-Boiled
- Moonblast
- Flamethrower / Thunderbolt / Thunder
- Psyshock / Calm Mind / Whatever utility option
This one doesn't need much debate imo, as it's probably the worst Clef set right now. Yes, it's extremely hard to switch into, but it's as hard to make work because of its low speed and bulk. It does have some counters too, depending on the set.


Every set separately isn't banworthy imo. Is Clef banworthy because of its unpredictability, then ? Once again I don't think so, because of 2 reasons.
1) There are only 3 sets possible, one of them being rare. A good player can often determine the Clef set at team preview (not the secific variant obviously), and if he's not sure he'll most likely be able to scout during the battle.
2) The unpredictability will almost never result into serious damages in a game. As Clef lacks power and truly threatening offensive options, the set is often quite easy to scout ; and once you know it you'll be able to play around it much more easily.

For those reason I think that while Clef is centralizing the CAP metagame to an extent, it's not too much.
 
All in all, the CAP council believes that Clefable's ability to fit onto a vast majority of teams, while being such a pressing issue in the teambuilder and so versatile that it's able to circumvent most of its counterplay, is potentially too much for the CAP metagame. Please let us know what you think.
Never would I think to see discussion of hitting :Clefable: . Based on Clef's performance in the recent CAP Tourney, I see why the council would begin discussion around Clef. When a Pokémon begins to overcentralize the metagame is when I consider a potential nerf or straight up ban. But is Clef at that level of overcentralizing to deserve it? My answer right now is no.

Lets get this out of the way, Clef is an amazing pokemon that can in theory, due whatever it wants. 2 fantastic abilities, a great offensive/defensive typing and a movepool that lets it do whatever it wants. However, its mediocre stats and 4MSS causes it to become the ultimate Jack of All Trades instead of a terrifying Master of All.

Clef doesn't have 1 set that dominates, instead its defined by its unprecitability and ability to fit into whatever team you want. Yes its quite unpredictable, but the mediocre stats means the potential loss of not immediately knowing what set its running isn't as big as you would think.

Also, Clef's popularity isn't super overcentralizing enough to warrant a ban unlike Arena Trap. Arena Trap really hurt teambuilding options, made offensive fairies a pain in the ass and caused every team to have some sort of anti-Arena Trap option. According to the stats table posted by Jho, Clef was the most popular Pokémon with the highest win rate among the top 8 most popular. 1st, 46.49% usage rate is quite high and indicates a degree of centralization in the meta which Im not denying. But that is not comparable to the October 2019 Pdon's Ubers stat of 65.91% (baseline was 1630, link for stats is https://www.smogon.com/stats/2019-10/gen7ubers-1630.txt). Since Clef isn't on that level of overcentralizing Im against hitting it right now.

EVs: 124 HP / 252 SpA / 132 Spe (there are many spreads, I'm not listing them all)
Out of all the spreads to post, thank you for using mine Atha.


On a side note, since CAP separated itself from OU, does that mean we might go back on previous nerfs or bans?
 
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This is gonna be a small post because I don't think this needs to be exaplined in depth as its very evident what Clef has done to the meta.

1586201123366.png

Unfortunatly, Clef needs to go. Here's the main reason why: Clefable alone allows Balance and Bulky offense to dominate the meta. This is extremely unhealthy and is frustrating to deal with. I say unfortunately because I really like Clefable, its the best glue mon and the most splash-able thing in the world. All of my teams except 1 have Clefable on it so I'll have to rebuild once this leaves.

Clefable @ Leftovers
Ability: Magic Guard
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Moonblast
- Teleport
- Wish
- Protect

Clefable @ Life Orb / Leftovers
Ability: Magic Guard
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Moonblast
- Flamethrower / Psyshock / Thunderbolt / Knock Off / Thunder Wave
- Calm Mind
- Soft-Boiled


Tport Clef:

Tport Clef is easily the best defensive pivot in the game and is the reason why its S on the VR. It can bring in insane wall breakers like Specs Kyu, Terrak, Zera, etc. for free. Not to mention the amount of times it can reliably click Wish and heal its team with little to no consequence is insane. This set fits on every balance and BO build there is. Its on almost all my teams and there is literally no downside whatsoever to putting it on your team. Contrary to what Orig Stall Guy said, this set is extremely over centralizing because of the reasons I've just listed. Its the best Clefable set.

CM Clef:
Calm Mind Clef is difficult to play around. It requires scouting the Clefable's coverage move without giving it enough wiggle room to set up. You need to do this so that you can find your check. Addtionally, Common Taunt users being Kommo-o, Corviknight, and somtimes Smokomodo lose or get chipped depending on what coverage its running. Thankfully I haven't faced this set as much just because Tport is everywhere and provides so much utility.

I've only covered two of the six Clefable sets which means there's a lot more you can do with this Pokemon. Clefable is way to over-centralizing and overall unhealthy for the CAP metagame. Clefable needs the boot.
 
After some playing with and against teleport clef for a while, I believe clefable should leave due to this set. In short, there is no reason not to run this on balanced teams and teams without it are disadvantaged.

With teleport, clef is able to bring in any of the strong wall breakers of the tier frequently without risk as no other pokemon can. Without such a powerful momentum gaining tool any opposition will struggle to keep defensive tools like Tomohawk, arghonaut and hippowdon healthy despite their access to recovery, not to mention those that don’t like kommo-o. And every one of these pokemon that check the wall breakers like terrakion are the perfect bait for clefable to switchin again.

So clefable currently creates this continuous cycle of bringing in powerful wall breakers every other turn which creates a clear advantage. There is very little effective counterplay to this strategy either, as the only way to prevent clef from using teleport into the right threat is to aggressively switch in to it with something that can deal enough damage to stop it like terrakion or Zeraora. However this risks being heavily chipped by moonblast so there isn’t really any reliable form of counterplay especially with the lack of taunt users who can take moonblasts.

But the other problem with this set is how it can completely negate any progress from the other team. For many generations, sweepers like Zeraora have relied on chipping answers like kommo o and hippowdon until it is free to sweep the team. In longer games, if one team has a tp clef while the other doesn’t it is very difficult for the other team to win without serious errors. Careful play to cripple and chip down defensive pokemon can easily be completely reversed. Even pokemon with recovery can receive wishes when low to safely recover without ever risking even needing to take a hit. So I believe the lack of counterplay against wish passing with clefable and the inherent disadvantage that comes when not bringing it makes it an unhealthy presence in the tier.
 
I know I can’t quite match any of previous posts’ detail or length, but I just want to give my two cents on why Clefable should stay.

Clefable certainly isn’t overwhelming by itself. It has multitudes of checks and counters; Mollux and Toxapex counter it if it’s not running Psyshock, and any steel type will counter it if it doesn’t have Fire Blast. Jirachi, for instance, can switch into Clefable and beat it 1-on-1 even if it does have Fire Blast. Fire types like Chandelure can beat Clef as well, and you can always Trick a Choice item onto it. Additionally, the unpredictability of having two different sets is mostly negated because Clefable will reveal its set as soon as it uses anything other than Moonblast; the only unpredictable thing is the coverage on the CM set, which is far rarer than Wish + Teleport.

As for the team support provided by Wish + Teleport, there are a few flaws I can see with banning Clefable over it. The first thing that comes to mind is that Jirachi, who has higher stats and an arguably better defensive typing, gets access to Wish + U-turn, which is fundamentally better because U-turn isn’t stopped by Taunt. I don’t see anyone complaining about Jirachi. While Clefable does get Magic Guard to help avoid getting worn down, it can still get worn down easily if misplayed or predicted. It has to take up to 3 hits to successfully pass a wish: one on the switch, one when it uses wish, and a third before it uses teleport. And if Clef stays in to heal, then it isn’t passing that wish to its teammates, and potentially giving you a free switch in to something that beats both Clef as well as whatever it wants to pass to.

Lastly, the main reason I’m against banning Clefable is that I’ve never had a problem fighting it. I’ve always been able to wear it down as it heals its teammates, or else wear its teammates while stopping it from healing them sheerly by threatening it out. Clefable is powerful and centralizing, but it doesn’t deserve a ban.

Edit: My bad, I forgot that Teleport had negative priority. However, Wish + U-turn, while inferior, is still very similar to WishPort. You could always use min speed Jirachi, and the flinches from Iron Head mean that your opponent probably won't want to switch in something that underspeeds anyways.
 
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As for the team support provided by Wish + Teleport, there are a few flaws I can see with banning Clefable over it. The first thing that comes to mind is that Jirachi, who has higher stats and an arguably better defensive typing, gets access to Wish + U-turn, which is fundamentally better because U-turn isn’t stopped by Taunt. I don’t see anyone complaining about Jirachi.
I haven't played much of CAP this gen (mainly cuz of clef lmao) so I was refraining from posting on this topic but I gotta chime in to point out the flaws with this argument. Wish + U-turn is not fundamentally better than Wishport. The major draw of Wishport is that it removes one of the major issues with wishpassing in general by eliminating the risk of the Wish recipient taking a hit or getting statused. Even uninvested Jirachi is still significantly faster than many mons in the tier so when it U-turns out it puts the pressure on the Wish receiver to take whatever is coming out, instead of taking that pressure itself like Clef does. I also think you underestimate how much punishment Clef can take over the course of a battle. There is no shortage of easy switch ins for it in OU or CAP to get in on and start wishing up.


Like I said I haven't played enough CAP this gen for me personally to feel comfortable with talking tiering decisions, but as I mentioned earlier, Clef is nigh the singular reason I haven't played very much. So take my opinion with a huge grain of salt but I'm in favor of banning Clefable.
 

MrDollSteak

formerly pokehimon
is a Pre-Contributor
It's been a long time since this thread has come out, but in light of testing CAP 27 and subsequently playing more games, I am also of the opinion that Clefable needs to go. The fact that the VR has pushed it into a S+ tier speaks volumes to how centralising and effective this Pokemon is. I personally believe that a decision about Clefable needs to be made before CAP 27 is released, as its presence is having a major effect on CAP 27's moveset submission phase. Quite a few of the suspected or banned moves such as Wish, Fire Lash and Pivot Moves, are mostly considered too strong or dangerous, specifically because of how they interact with Clefable, and in particular Clefable's Wishport set. I'm in favor of banning Clefable, and quickly.
 
Alright since i have both played and built for ss quite a bit , i am quite sure of my stance on this topic now - clefable is as good as you make it out to be. Before you run at me with your pitchforks , hear me out - I am not saying clefable is bad by any means , but it certainly isnt as broken as people hype it up to be, in my opinion at least. Before solidifying our opinion on this pokemon , let us first try and see what it does and how it supports the many different teamstyles in the current meta (not going to go over each individual set since thats been covered to death already):
1590205503879.png

1) wish support : Clef really holds a lot of teams together in the sense that the other mons part of the defensive core can afford not run any form of healing , allowing them to be played much more freely ( mons like toad libra aegislash etc). Besides they dont have any viable recovery usually making them very easy to chip down via spikes knock status etc.
2) its ability to softcheck : Again something that we all know , clef helps most teams in the form of a direct switchin to otherwise hard-to-switch-into threats such as pult hydra zera and smoko to name a few. This allows the player to not lose momentum since clef sets the board back to square one with teleport wish etc. Most of its ability to softcheck comes from magic guard allowing it to easily switch on the ever prevalent toxic , while not caring about entry hazards

uptill this point , everything that i covered seems highly contrary to my stance and that is primarily due to the fact that - both you and your opponent hold the reigns to how its used. Often neglected , by losing clefable both sides of the party take a big hit due to the fact that your "glue" mon is gone and we now have to resort to other things such as healing wish , and other wish passers which are nowhere close to how good clef is.


1590205527471.png

Now some points which are in favour of clef staying:
1) clef is easier to exploit than you think - Due to the fact that it can only run 4-5 moves in its set , it is very easy to overpower in a sense that many teams rely on clef itself as their entire defensive backbone. As someone who avidly uses the so called "competitively unviable" (read c rank and below pokemon) - there are plenty of unexplored mons , playstyles even, in the current meta that can very easily pressure clef to the point that it cannot play as freely - does it wish to get back its hp , or does it teleport out to keep momentum , or does it protect to prevent getting 2ohkod?
2) Teleport : One's biggest strength may also be its greatest enemy. Continuing off the aforementioned point , again chipping down clef is easier than before because of teleport. The scalds and eq's which do around 15-25% (depending upon the set) end up racking up over time , to the point where u can safely double to your offensive sweeper - still keeping the momentum in your favour.
3) Equilibra : The best mon in the current metagame in my opinion. Be it due to its virtue of being an amazing steel with access to doom desire , ability to keep hazards off ,while not being offensively passive , libra is by far the best clefable answer in the tier, notably making it worse than it is in ou. Doom desire allows the user to play around a lot more freely - reducing the 50/50's to a 75-25 type situation where one can freely double / other form of keeping up the momentum.

After reading up a little on what cap27 does , it seems very foolish to ban this mon before cap27 settles into the meta , since it seems to be a very solid clef softcheck while being splashable on teams. I'd like to conclude by saying - clefable's current viability in the tier is due to how we have accustomed ourselves - refusing to innovate and introduce new mons / techs into the "balance" ss meta that we have created.
 
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Jordy

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Hello,

We'd like to thank everyone for sharing their thoughts with us. We believe that the best way for CAP to move forward as a tier is to suspect test Clefable soon. We realize that this is not the ideal time to run a suspect test between CAP 27's soon release and the DLC, but there isn't a much better time than now either. You'll see more about the suspect test soon!
 
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