Celesteela and Kartana in PvP (and a bit on PvE!)

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We are mere hours away from a raid rotation, and at the time of this writing, we still don’t know who either of the two mysterious Five-Star raid bosses will be from September 13th to September 27th.

However, thanks to the hardworking PokeMiners, we DO know that two more Ultra Beasts, CELESTEELA and KARTANA, now have everything they need (stats, moves, the whole shebang) to be released into GO at any time.

ℹ️ September 13 edit: Celesteela Raid Guide (Ultra Beast) and Kartana Raid Guide (Ultra Beast) have been published, as both started appearing as an interlude to Test Your Mettle Pokémon GO event.

And while I really do famously try to avoid speculation, I CAN put two and two together and deduce that there’s a high chance that these two new steely Ultra Beasts are the big surprise Niantic has been sitting on until the last LAST minute. Heck, at this point, this may end up being the first time in a couple years (but NOT the first time ever) that we don’t find out what’s hatching until they actually hatch for our good buddies/beta testers in the Oceania region!

And if the mystery bosses turn out to be something else… well then, hey, we have our analysis of Celesteela and Kartana done early and I frantically go to evaluate whatever the bosses actually turn out to be. Wouldn’t be the first time! This company, man….

Anyway, let’s kick it off with our Bottom Line Up Front:

B.L.U.F.

  • Celesteela MAY find a place in Ultra League as a cheaper alternative to Level 50 Skarmory. You really want one with a sub-raid-level Attack IV, though, which means trading and getting a little lucky. And it doesn’t really work in Master League very well.
  • Kartana has a bright future in PvE/raids, but will need some additional move shakeup to overcome its poor bulk in PvP. With current moves, it mostly disappoints.

Pretty short summary, right? You’ll likely be happy to see that this is a pretty short (well, short for me, at least!) article too. Let’s do this!

PREPARE FOR LAUNCH? 🚀

Celesteela SteelFlying

As mentioned in the BLUF, CELESTEELA, the Launch Pokémon, may have a place in PvP, but it’s NOT by maxing it out for Master League use as you typically expect of Legendaries/Mythicals/Ultra Beasts. Rather, Celesteela may have a unique niche in Ultra League as a “budget” version of fellow Steel/Flying type Skarmory.

Stats-wise, Celesteela is harder hitting but less bulky than Skarm, having notably higher Attack and a bit more HP, but significantly lower Defense (about 45 less, even with Skarmory topping out below 2400 CP). In terms of moves, while Skarmory typically runs with only Flying moves, Celesteela’s only Flying move is fast move Air Slash, which is perfectly average, even boring, with 3.0 Damage Per Turn and 3.0 Energy Per Turn. And ironically, its other STAB moves, Iron Head and Heavy Slam, are moves it typically doesn’t even want to use!

Instead, Celesteela has Body Slam, which is a move you always want to run when you can, and coverage with Bulldoze, and while the latter is NOT a good PvP move (60 energy for only 80 damage), it DOES provide excellent coverage versus Electric, Fire, and Rock types that can otherwise give Steels and Flyers a lot of problems.

Running with Air Slash/Body Slam/Bulldoze does seem to be THE way to go in PvP Ultra League, giving Celesteela a winning record against the currently-recognized core meta, and an even better record against ALL of Ultra League. It’s not quite as good overall as Skarmory, unable to beat Shadow Snorlax, Snarl Mandibuzz, or Machamp (regular or Shadow) as Skarm can (due to Skarm’s steady dose of Flying damage in the case of Machamp). But it does match all of its other wins, still beating all the major Charmers, Grasses, Bugs, most Fighters (Machamp and new-and-improved Cobalion being the only particularly notable exceptions), and much more. And while Skarmory can beat Shadow Snorlax, it is Celesteela that instead beats non-Shadow Lax.

All that said… that’s with sub-raid-level IVs, with an Attack IV far below 10. To get that, obviously you’ll need to trade. I won’t get too far down in the weeds on what IVs to specifically target, but I CAN say that Celesteela with 10+ Attack suffers a couple key losses, namely Swampert and Trevenant. Hopefully you can trade and get what you’re looking for. Good luck!

That all said… Celesteela is a little less consistent in shieldless and 2v2 shielding, losing to Swampert, Trevenant, and Scrafty in both, as well as A-Muk, Drapion, and Dubwool in 0v0 shielding, though on the plus side, it does beat Machamp (and Shadow Machamp) with shields down.

Long story short: yes, Celesteela looks likely to find a home in Ultra League, though there’s nothing it truly dominates as Skarmory (and eventually Corviknight 👀) can do. As a safe swap option or surprise closer, perhaps it’ll start making a dent. But it’s something to support an already solid team, not something to necessarily build around, IMO. At least it’s relatively cheap compared to its Steely peers!

But to reiterate, no, this is not one for Master League. Beating the Charmers still and things like Snorlax and Excadrill is nice, but it struggles even to beat many of the Dragons or Psychics, as well many other big names across the meta. I just don’t see it being anywhere near worth that kind of investment. And no, it’s likely not on you want in PvE either.

However, the story is quite different for the other new Beast….

IT SLICES, IT DICES, IT MAKES JULIENNE FRIES? ⚔️

Kartana GrassSteel

First off, KARTANA looks like it will be pretty wild in PvE. With Razor Leaf and Leaf Blade, in terms of Damage Per Second (DPS), Kartana jumps past Mega/Shadow Venusaur, Shadow Torterra and Shadow Tangrowth and ALL Grasses aside from the still-coming-who-knows-when Mega Sceptile in DPS. It even looks likely to out-DPS things like Xurkitree and other Electrics (save for Shadow Electivire, perhaps) versus Water raid bosses, and out-DPS all Waters (even Megas) except Ash Greninja and Shadow Kingler (LOL). Of course, this is JUST in terms of DPS… Kartana has a favorable typing as a Grass/Steel type, but it has poor bulk that holds it back from being a top option when you consider Total Damage Output (TDO).

But I’ll leave the many PvE experts out there to dive in deeper than that. I’m just here as your go-to PvP guy, so let’s focus in on that.

Here, as with Celesteela, Kartana is lacking in Master League. It does stil take out Charmers, and Zarude (as long as Kartana has X-Scissor or Aerial Ace paired with Leaf Blade, at least), and of course the vast majority of Water types, AND Mewtwo. But that’s basically it. So if you’re gonna try to max out Kartana, do it for PvE, but not PvP.

Unfortunately, UNlike Celesteela, there is no redemption to be found in Ultra League either. And no combination of moves paints a rosier picture. Kartana is there strictly to slice through Waters, Cresselia, and (barely) the Charmers, and that’s all she wrote. Heck, even other exisiting Razor Leafers put Kartana mostly to shame, as do other flimsy Steels. (Not to even mention the other Steely Grass that has already made its mark on Ultra League.)

So there IS reason to invest in Kartana… just not for PvP. Not until/unless they decide to give it other moves it can learn in MSG like Psycho Cut and/or Sacred Sword. Now THAT would be interesting.

Alright, that’s all I got for today. Hopefully this holds and we get these two in raids in mere hours, but if not, then again, consider this your early preview of them both. 😁

Until next time, for more PvP tidbits, you can find me on Twitter or Patreon. Or please feel free to comment here with your own thoughts or questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Stay safe out there, Pokéfriends. Happy raiding, for whatever ends up sitting atop Tier Five raids next, and catch you next time!

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