Project VGC 2019 Ultra Series - POTW Analysis: Clefairy

What Pokémon should I write about in next week's article?

  • Umbreon

    Votes: 3 50.0%
  • Giratina-O

    Votes: 2 33.3%
  • Gengar (Normal, not Mega)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Rotom (Wash, Heat, and Mow)

    Votes: 1 16.7%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .
VGC 2019 Ultra Series POTW: Clefairy!


Hey everyone! Conics again, and welcome back to Week 4 of my VGC 2019 Ultra Series Pokémon of the Week discussion, where I attempt to shed some light on various niche Pokémon in the format! This week, I'll be taking a look at Clefairy!

Apparently this thing was supposed to be Ash's partner Pokémon in the anime before Pikachu was chosen instead. I had played on Battle Spot a fair bit in VGC 2016, and I had used Clefairy as redirection support for my setup attacker (yes, I mean Xerneas, sue me). I really loved the idea of Friend Guard at the time, even if I still got dunked on a ton because I was new. My other tie to Clefairy is actually in the Pokémon Stadium minigame, Clefairy Says. I play it quite a bit at the Pokémon Club at my university and it's one of my strongest minigames. The result is funny to me when one gets the memory task wrong, as it just doesn't fit my mental image of Clefairy to cane another Clefairy for a wrong answer, even if its DoubleSlap attack is memorable and funny in the earlier generations of the anime.

But anyway! Despite its iconic DoubleSlap and Metrenome attacks, this Pokémon is primarily a support, and was given its time to shine, even over Clefable, thanks to the introduction of its Hidden Ability and the Eviolite in Generation 5! So let's see what this Fairy Pokémon (that's literally its species name in the Pokédex) does in the metagame!


Type: Fairy (wow who would've guessed)

Base Stats
HP: 70

Attack: 45
Defense: 48
Sp. Attack: 60
Sp. Defense: 65
Speed: 35
Total: 323

Okay yikes. If the Eviolite didn't exist, Clefairy would almost have nothing on Clefable. With it however, its bulk becomes... passable. Passable at best. It has okay immediate bulk, but since it needs to be holding Eviolite to do anything with it, it can't hold any berries and its defensive utility is limited. Therefore, it's pretty strictly relegated to support.

This isn't awful though, right? Pachirisu was in a similar boat last week! Pure Fairy is also a pretty good defensive typing!

I agree with these sentiments and I honestly feel like Clefairy would have been more used, but there are a few things holding it back that are just out of its control and deal more with the meta as a whole trapping it out. Even though this whole series revolves around niche Pokémon, I am 100% going to struggle writing this because there's just THAT much holding it back. Spoiler alert, I only have one sample set for this Pokémon.

That being said, it has a pretty cool ability and Follow Me, plus a neat bag of other tricks that keep it out of complete obscurity. So let's get into it.


Cute Charm: yes induce infatuation on a metagame full of genderless mons yes big brain play yesssss don't use this ability.
Magic Guard: There are no entry hazards on VGC teams and Clefairy wants to run Eviolite, not a Life Orb. You gain no mileage using this ability, so use this last one.
Friend Guard: Honestly one of the most interesting abilites ever in my opinion. Reducing damage dealt to partners by 25% is pretty nifty in a metagame where Precipice Blades, Origin Pulses, Water Spouts, Dazzling Gleams, and Hyper Voices (among other attacks) are everywhere, so even if opponents get around Follow Me by using spread damage, they still aren't doing the most damage possible. This is definitely the ability you wanna roll with.

Notable Moves:

- Physical:

Endeavor - given how low Clefairy's base HP is compared to other standouts of VGC 2019, it might actually make some headway if you can fit it on a moveset. Also, you don't really want to invest into HP as much as bulk since Clef only gets a bulk boost from its Eviolite out of its Defense and SpDef investment, not HP.

- Special:
Moonblast - even with zero SpAtk investment and no SpAtk boosting nature, it two-shots zero bulk Naive Mega Salamence. It also does upwards of a third to less bulky Mega Rayquaza variants. As you'll see in the sample set, Clef has one moveslot available to do a ton of things, even if it's not the best at any of those options. Moonblast and Endeavor would fit into that slot, along with several support attacks you'll see in the moveset.

- Status/Support:
Follow Me - Mandatory. Clef is a nonrestricted Pokémon with access to redirection, you'd better believe it's using Follow Me. Even though its ability only kicks in when its partners get hurt, redirecting single-target attacks away from partners negates ALL damage they would've taken instead of just 25%.
Protect - I would put Detect here too but Detect is only available from previous gens. Oh well, you know what Protect does. With the importance on keeping Clef's already mediocre HP up to support properly, Protect is nice to stop Fake Out. It's a pretty necessary move, but there exists one or two moves I could argue having a higher importance over Protect in some situations.
Heal Pulse - Clefairy can reduce the damage its partners take by 25%? Cool. It can also redirect damage so its partners might not have to take any damage at all? Very cool. Wait, it can heal back any damage they take??? Now this is epic, however not a mandatory attack. It can go over Protect if it needs to be there.
Helping Hand - This is always fun to have. After helping partners set up, it can amplify their damage. It's also an attack that can replace Protect.
Icy Wind - It's a support attack that gets around Taunt and helps lower the opponents' Speed, so I can't complain. This is another move that can work in that 4th moveslot.
After You - Honestly SUPER niche, but it can work as an anti-Trick Room measure, as Clef, with its super low base speed, can underspeed a ton and use After You to help its partners score a fair bit of extra damage.
Encore - Probably more reliable anti-TR measure since Clef can Encore many of its users after it goes up (again, due to low base speed), and force them to reverse Trick Room.
Moonlight - Okay maybe it doesn't have access to a berry, but it does have access to this. But it sucks for two reasons. First, it's unreliable as the format's different weathers make Clef heal back different amounts. Second, Clef needs to be serving its partner, not itself, for it to be effective)
Magic Coat - Toxic Shedinja is gonna have a bad time It's not really that useful.
Charm - It helps against physical attackers but it's not that great, especially from such a slow Pokémon.
Sing - Just a really inconsistent way to try replicating Amoonguss. If you have Gravity, this can be okay but still nullified by Electric and Misty Terrains.

Other Things to Note

I touched on it earlier, but Clefairy is a perfect example of things that should in theory be more used than they are. Redirection with okay bulk and defensive typing are nice but there are some very important things that hold it back.

Pure Fairy might be a decent defensive typing on paper, but there's a massive issue with that: it shares the typing with Xerneas. Xerneas has been a format-defining Pokémon all year, and good players know well that they need at least one or two dedicated Xerneas checks to make a successful and well-placing team. Double Fairy teams aren't uncommon either, with Tapu Lele, Koko, and Fini all making their presences felt in this format. However, all three offer useful terrains, and Koko and Lele have attacking prowess that let them make their marks on enemy teams, and Fini has much better natural bulk, berries, passable special attacks like Moonblast and Scald, defensive neutrality to Steel, and a sizeable enough support movepool to be a great switch-in for a lot of teams. Xerneas in particular is heavily prepared for, so being a support Pokémon with the exact same typing as the deer is massively detrimental to Clefairy, as just about anything that can check Xerneas a the Tapus will counter Clefairy. Its bulk just pales too much compared to the premier defensive Fairy, Tapu Fini, and offers no consistent offensive capabilities worth writing home about. This is also why it serves as a pretty horrible partner to Xerneas, as their shared weaknesses can be a death sentence for the pair with the right switch-in from the opponent. Even Pachirisu, an uncommon sight in VGC 19 (and the topic of last week's article), is a better Xerneas partner than Clefairy as it resists Steel-type attacks, and can redirect these away from Xern with Follow Me.

Clefairy is also in pretty direct competition with Amoonguss. Both are pretty slow so they do pretty well under Trick Room (and both have access to After You, although that's not really a relevant comparison). The one meaningful edge I feel Clef has over Amoon is that Follow Me can redirect Grass-types. That's about it. Amoonguss has Regenerator, really nice bulk without the need for an item to boost it, an additional support attack in Spore, the ability to shut down some setup attackers with Spore and serve as a counter to Tapu Fini, non-Brave Bird Koko, and common Xerneas variants (the ones without Psyshock), AND doesn't compound weaknesses with common setup attackers like Mega Rayquaza and Xerneas, allowing it to be a more versatile option when choosing partners to support.

How Should it be Used?
Right. Well if you figured it out by now, it should most definitely be paired with setup Pokémon with massive damage potential that aren't named Xerneas. It can take some attacks, but not super powerful Steel-type ones. Swords Dance Groudon and Tailwind Yveltal and Lunala stand out as the best partner options in my opinion. With everything trying to get bulkier these days, Friend Guard can help a ton in that department, while Helping Hand can help these attackers fire off powerful Z-Moves or boosted STAB physical attacks. These Pokémon also don't compound weaknesses with Clefairy, as none are weak to Steel or Poison (although Yveltal still hates Stakataka, especially without its special attacking Z-Move).

Sample Sets


Yes, it appears this Clefairy is pointing at my typo. It should say "Sample Set" because as I stated earlier, there's really only one bread and butter set it can use to decent effect. As I was running defensive calcs for Clefairy, I was having a hard time making it hit any decent enough benchmarks while staying true to the way of the Eviolite (invest as much as you can in Def and SpDef for the best use of the item). Even still, I managed to find one set that works as an effective generalist redirector spread.
- Follow Me
- Helping Hand/Heal Pulse/Protect
- Helping Hand/Heal Pulse/Protect
- Endeavor/Moonblast/Icy Wind/Encore/After You/Charm
Ability: Friend Guard
Item: Eviolite
Nature: Sassy (-Spe, +SpD)
EVs: 12 HP, 252 Def, 244 SpD or 44 HP, 212 Def, and 252 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk, 0 Spe

Welp. This is the set. Obviously, you'll want to invest more into Def and SpDef to maximize the general bulk you get out of Eviolite. It's pretty customizable as far as moveset goes, but generally you'll want to use Icy Wind in the last slot as it's the most consistent option. Alternatively, one could entirely forgo the last move entirely and just use a moveset of Follow Me, Helping Hand, Heal Pulse, and Protect, but it does make Clefairy massive Taunt bait with no damaging moves. My favorite wild card move on this set is Endeavor, which can work pretty well with the help of a priority attack, like Mega Rayquaza's Extreme Speed and Yveltal's Sucker Punch, to follow up. Endeavor also plays to Clefairy's natural tendency to not invest as much into HP while still being decently bulky. This set can just suicide with a Follow Me and allow a partner to set up, as many double ups from opposing attackers will usually take care of Clef without much of a problem. This Clefairy spread shoots for as little Speed as possible so opposing Gyro Ball attacks from Ferrothorn, Bronzong, and Stakataka will do as little damage as possible. The defensive EVs were tailored to hit this benchmark:

4 Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 12 HP / 252 Def Eviolite Clefairy: 61-73 (41.4 - 49.6%) -- guaranteed 3HKO

If you don't like this generalist spread on the teams you run, you can lower either Defense or SpDef and add more to HP, but I tried and was not able to hit any significant benchmarks in doing so. When I added more to HP and took away from SpDef, Clefairy still got utterly walloped by Dusk Mane Necrozma, Solgaleo, Mega Lucario, and Mega Metagross and wasn't able to survive their super-effective physical attacks (not that Clef should be staying in on these anyway and expect to not have its HP drop to zero). The given EVs allow Clef to survive Menacing Moonraze Maelstrom from Timid Lunala, Fire Punch from Primal Groudon, Dragon Ascent from Mega Rayquaza. The second EV spread allows Clef to survive a full-power rain-boosted Water Spout from Primal Kyogre. Like I said above, this both can work well with Tailwind + Z-Move Yveltal and Lunala (you definitely want Helping Hand when Clefairy is partnered with them) and Swords Dance Primal Groudon (more reliance on Icy Wind and Heal Pulse). Again, it's pretty a generalist way to use Clefairy but if you have any sets or team with Clefairy, please be sure to comment on this thread!

Bad Matchups
Again, the stuff that checks more common Fairy-type Pokémon in this format will counter Clefairy. Even though my sets above lower damage dealt by Gyro Ball from Steel-types, common users of the move still hard counter Clefairy. Attacks that deal heavy damage to or neuter Clefairy's partners, even through Friend Guard and Follow Me, will absolutely ruin Clef's effectiveness. Clef often runs into situations of "if my partner can't do anything, then neither can I" so handling Clef's partners is the big key to beating Clef.

I hope you enjoyed this article, and I apologize for its shortness compared to my previous works. I still hope you pulled something great out of this article! Also October is finally upon us! I think I want to completely overhaul previous Pokémon to be on this week's poll and start fresh every month. Here's a new batch of Pokémon for you all to vote on to celebrate the Spooky Month!

1. Umbreon
2. Giratina-O
3. Gengar (normal, not Mega)
4. Rotom (Wash, Heat, and Mow)

That's all for now, see you guys in my next installment! :)

If you want to catch up with my previous weeks' work, then navigate here!
Week 1: Greninja -
Week 2: Kyurem-White -
Week 3: Pachirisu -

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