One of the Pokemon Violet exclusive Pokemon, Ceruledge is the Fire/Ghost type counterpart to the Fire/Psychic type Armarouge in Scarlet. While I personally prefer the design of Ceruledge, as someone who prefers to purchase both versions of each Generation’s mainline games, both of these Pokemon will eventually appear on my teams in their respective versions. Apparently, Ceruledge has lots of other fans, as suggested Google searches for “Ceruledge plush” will affirm.
As a Fire/Ghost type, Ceruledge shares the typing of one of the most popular competitive Pokemon of all time in Chandelure. It’s then fair to note that Chandelure is among the Pokemon absent from Scarlet and Violet. The only other Fire/Ghost type Pokemon up to Generation 9 are both regional forms: Hisuian Typhlosion and Alolan Marowak. The former is a possible competitive sleeper for Generation 9, and the latter is a known low-tier quantity in the competitive scene already. (Yes, Alolan Marowak saw VGC play in Series 13 for Sword and Shield!)
According to the official Pokemon website, this Fire Blades Pokemon is willing to do anything to win. Unlike its special attacking counterpart in Scarlet, this lore suggests that Ceruledge is a physical attacker.
“Ceruledge prefers close-quarters combat and isn’t above using tactics such as sneak attacks and surprise attacks to win a battle. It uses its quick movements to capitalize on its opponent’s blind spots, then closes the distance to slash its opponent with its large blades.” – The Pokemon Company
From this lore alone, we could assume that Ghost-type moves such as Shadow Sneak and Phantom Force will be available in Ceruledge’s move-pool. Also, we know that this physical-based Pokemon is also one with a substantial Speed stat advantage over many of its foes.
Like its Scarlet counterpart, its pre-evolution Charcadet dons an old set of armor to become Ceruledge, although the armor’s origin in this case is not strictly codified by the lore. You acquire this Armor in a similar way to the Armor you acquire for Armarouge in Scarlet. According to the official Pokemon Company lore, the armor is “steeped in grudges” and that these blades made of fire transform into great swords said to absorb life energy. Also, “these great swords leave wounds from which life energy will flow.”
The sheer power level that the lore suggests for Ceruledge put it on the level of a Legendary Pokemon that’s only encountered once per save file. But, like Armarouge, Ceruledge is not a legendary Pokemon. The Pokemon it evolves from is simply hard to find, but not actually unique. It’s only found in a few places on the open world map, and it can also be found in Tera Raids. Still, Ceruledge is a strong Pokemon when it evolves, making acquiring this Pokemon well worth the effort.
The evolution item, Malicious Armor, can also be acquired more than once per game. You can acquire this set of Armor in Violet as many times as you can give the lady who trades it to you in Zapapico ten Sinistea Chips. It’s also possible to discover Ceruledge in five-star Tera Raids, which are available to you when you complete the main story of the game (post-credits).
Also like its Scarlet counterpart, Ceruledge has a signature move. This special move is a Fire-type physical Attack move called Bitter Blade. The lore suggests that the move “gathers the lingering regrets of the fallen into Ceruledge’s swords, allowing it to focus that bitterness into a slashing attack.” Then, “the swords then absorb life energy from wounds they made, and the user’s HP is restored by up to half the damage taken by the target.” That may be the most devastating Fire-type attack ever conceived by Game Freak.
For its ability, Ceruledge is given Flash Fire, which is on point for this pocket monster’s design as it allows the Pokemon to absorb a Fire-type move and power up its own Fire-type moves by 50 percent. It actually shares this ability with its Scarlet counterpart Armarouge. Considering the literal firepower that both Pokemon exemplify, its the perfect ability for them each to have.
Ceruledge also has a Hidden Ability, which can be found on the ones you find in Tera Raids, or with the use of an Ability Patch – a very difficult to obtain item typically only given as a higher level Tera Raid reward. This Hidden Ability is Weak Armor, which means when Ceruledge is hit by a physical attack, its defense lowers but its speed raises. This is a pretty good ability, as Ceruledge has decent enough defensive stats to tank many hits.
Speaking of base stats, Ceruledge has a solid above-average base stat total of 525. It has 75 base HP, which isn’t great, but a solid 80 physical Defense and 100 Special Defense. It has 125 Attack, well above average, but only 60 Special Attack. While 85 speed isn’t fast, it’s also not incredibly slow. This likely means you’ll want a Speed boosting nature, likely Jolly, which decreases Special Attack by 10 percent to boost Speed by 10 percent – a well worthy trade-off for Ceruledge.
While Ceruledge may not be on the same power level as a competitive stalwart such as the Fire/Ghost type Chandelure, it could be a competitive Pokemon. Ceruledge is not at the level of a true Legendary Pokemon, but as a pseudo-legendary, it’s still very powerful. So, let’s now examine the true merits of Ceruledge as a competitive force.
When it comes to Smogon University’s tier rankings, Ceruledge is solidly OU, or Overused, meaning it’s a top choice for competitive singles on its battle simulator, Pokemon Showdown. Pikalytics measures Ceruledge as being used 9 percent of the time in that 6 vs 6 format. There are two common builds of Ceruledge: Swords Dance and Choice Item. Swords Dance Ceruledge runs a moveset of Swords Dance, Bitter Blade, Shadow Sneak, and one of Solar Blade, Will-o-Wisp, or Close Combat. As a held item, it will use a Life Orb (for a 30 percent damage boost at the cost of HP after every attack) or Heavy-Duty Boots (to have immunity from entry hazards such as Stealth Rock or Spikes).
The Choice Item variant of Ceruledge has either a Choice Scarf (which boosts Speed) or a Choice Band (which boosts physical Attack). The drawback of Choice items is that the Pokemon is locked into a single chosen move until it is switched out. Fortunately, either of Ceruledge’s main STAB (Same-Type Attack Bonus) moves in Bitter Blade or Shadow Sneak are usually fine to be locked into. Choice Item Ceruledge runs a very similar moveset, often using Bitter Blade, Shadow Sneak, Solar Blade, and Close Combat, with some Ceruledge instead running Will-o-Wisp over one of the last two attacks.
For in-game Battle Stadium, Ceruledge is still among the Top 25 Pokemon in Doubles (VGC Series 1) at the time of this writing (mid-December 2022). It typically runs Bitter Blade and Shadow Sneak as its damaging moves, with Bulk Up to boost both Attack and Defense, and Protect or Swords Dance. Ceruledge is typically run as a physical sweeper with Hydreigon and/or Rotom-Wash backing it up on the Special Attacking side. While we don’t have official data on Battle Stadium singles just yet, Ceruledge is considered a top 50 Pokemon for that format, as well, opting mostly for a Swords Dance set like we mentioned previously for Gen 9 OU.
Ceruledge has enjoyed a strong start in Generation 9 competition on both Pokemon Showdown and in Scarlet and Violet Battle Stadium. It will take the return of some powerful Pokemon shipping over to Paldea through Pokemon HOME in Spring 2023 to dislodge it from the top of the metagame. Not only is Ceruledge a good Pokemon for taking on the Paldea region in-game, but it’s proving to be a very solid, if not overpowering competitive Pokemon, too.
Which of the two Armor Pokemon do you prefer: Armarouge or Ceruledge?
Photo Credit: The Pokemon Company
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