Good choice! Baby Pokemon are very hard to defend. I was a little scared but as I thought about it, Cleffa is a fantastic addition to the pokemon family. I will be splitting her defense into flavor and competitive, so scroll down if you care more about a competitive defense of Cleffa.
You can disagree with the existence of baby Pokemon, but provided they must exist, I submit that Cleffa is the cutest baby Pokemon, especially when you look at her Gold/Silver/Crystal sprite:
She has small eyes, small cheek circles, and a cleft lip, which are all very unique cute traits, not your typical big eyes/huge head/ circle mouth formula.
Since you’re given a random baby pokemon that has a higher than normal chance of being shiny from the daycare in the games, many young player’s first shiny Pokemon was probably Cleffa. This means that a cleffa with green ears and a sparkle was the first special surprise for many young children, and her existence is a treasured memory for them.
Baby Pokemon are an annoying idea, but because Cleffa is a baby, she adds to Clefairy and Clefable’s mystique. Clefairy was the second rare Pokemon you could catch in Red and Blue. If you hung out in Viridian Forest long enough, you might find a Pikachu under a mountain of Kakuna carcasses. As you fled from zubats and geodudes in Mt. Moon, you may be shocked to find a Clefairy, soft, white, and mesmerizing. Clefairy is special because it’s rare. On top of that, to evolve it, you have to use one of limited moonstones. So to keep Clefaries rare in a game where you can breed boxes full of pokemon, they introduced a baby Pokemon: Cleffa. You have to max out Cleffa’s happiness to get a Clefairy. that means it spends a lot of time with you, and that Clefairy will be special and rare. Clefable even rarer.
Here is the list of Baby Pokemon. Pretend you have to cut one. Did you choose Cleffa?
If so you just let Chingling live. You’re the worst person at infanticide I’ve ever seen.
Cleffa is surprisingly useful, depending on the metagame. With magic guard and a plethora of support moves, she makes a nifty cleric in Little Cup (all pokemon are level 5 and unevolved).
Cleffa is perhaps the most effective user of the FEAR strategy in more popular metagames. FEAR stands for Focus Sash, Endeavor, (quick) Attack, and either Rattata (the first Pokemon to use this strategy) or Recover. With a focus sash, which always leaves the holder with 1 HP, any attack will put Cleffa at 1. Then she can use Endeavor, which puts your opponent at your HP. If you have hail or sand up, your opponent gets buffeted by the weather, and they faint. But Cleffa has magic guard: weather does not effect her, and neither do entry hazards, so she’ll never drop her focus sash. She can’t be poisoned or burnt to whittle down her health, so the opponent MUST attack her and, if it is level 100, almost certainly will put her at 1 HP. After your opponent faints, Cleffa can use any handy support move, such as wish to heal a friend, or set up light screen or reflect to make the next opponent less threatening. By choosing Cleffa over Aron as your FEAR user, you sacrifice his ability to use items to recover (Cleffa must use a focus sash, but Aron’s ability, sturdy, is a focus sash) for the fact that Cleffa can withstand hail, which hurts Aaron, and cannot be burnt. Thus some teams need her if they want to FEAR. If you are using a gimmick team, with multiple FEAR users, you have to use Cleffa alongside clefairy, Clefable, and Aron if you want to annoy your opponent 4 times. There are other annoying gimmicks (minimize, baton pass, lunar dance) that need Cleffa if you are going to fill out an entire gimmick team.
As you can see, Cleffa has an important niche in the competitive scene, and much value from an aesthetic and nostalgic point of view. Her inclusion in the Pokemon canon is very warranted. Finally, Clefairy’s name in Japanese is “Pipi” and Cleffa’s is “Pi” so that sounds like peepee and pee respectively.
Thanks for the challenge. If anyone else has a Pokemon they think is worthless or would be better off non-existent, go ahead and give me an ask. I already disagree. Unless it’s a mega evolution.