Welcome to Pokemon of the Week! This week we'll be covering one of the most game changing Pokemon this generation. This week, we discuss Politoed.
When Politoed was revealed in generation 2, I could probably count the amount of people that truly and genuinely cared about it on one hand. It required an annoying item to evolve, it looked nothing like the rest of the line, and it was a very subpar Pokemon overall. It was never used in serious competitive teams in generation 2, 3, or 4. A storm brewed within Politoed, angry that no one was taking it seriously. As it fell into a deep slumber, that storm began to take form...
With Politoed's new Dream World ability, it would forever change the shape of generation 5's OU scene. With exclusive access to Drizzle in non-Uber arenas, Politoed went from pathetic joke to serious threat overnight. Infinite rain proved to be too much for OU to handle alongside Swift Swim Pokemon, leading to the banning of these two abilities being used together on the same team. Rain remains, though, and has found other ways to control the entire metagame, with users of Hurricane and Thunder making more appearances, given that their moves are 100% accurate in rain. It provides double-STAB for Water type attacks from Water type Pokemon, while giving everything a pseudo Fire resist. In a nutshell, Drizzle is more important than Politoed is, the two just happen to be joined at the hip.
Weather wars has taken over the 5th generation metagame, and roughly 1 out of every 3 or 4 matches you do in competitive will find you up against a Politoed. If you're not prepared with checks and counters to Rain teams, you might as well not battle in standard OU.
|Politoed@ Choice Specs|
Modest nature (+Sp. Attack, -Attack)
EVs: 252 Sp. Attack / 252 HP / 4 Speed
Hidden Power Grass / Surf
Choice Specs Politoed is terrifying. STAB + Rain + Specs Hydro Pump does absurdly ridiculous damage. Don't believe me? Let's take some very important examples into account:
Hydro Pump vs. 0/0 Salamence: 68.3% - 80.7%
Hydro Pump vs. 0/0 Naive Salamence: 75.8% - 89.4%
Hydro Pump vs. 0/0 Haxorus: 95.6% - 112.6%
Hydro Pump vs. 0/0 Hydreigon: 63.1% - 74.5%
Hydro Pump vs. 0/0 Rotom-W: 73.14% - 86.36%
Every single one of these Pokemon resist Hydro Pump, and yet, some are flat out OHKOd with Stealth Rock support, some without. It's not hard to see why Politoed is the most game-changing Pokemon in the metagame. Ice Beam hits Dragons and Grass types very hard, preventing such threats as Calm Mind Virizion, Calm Mind Latias, and Dragon Dance Dragonite from setting up on you.
Hidden Power Grass is the optimal move in the final slot, as without it, Gastrodon can wall you. Surf is a safer STAB option for when risking accuracy on Hydro Pump isn't necessary, and could be detrimental.
Bold nature (+Defense, -Attack)
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Defense / 4 Speed
Toxic / Hypnosis
Protect / Ice Beam / Refresh
Perish Song / Encore
Defensive Politoed is an excellent way to help ensure that rain stays up in the case of weather wars. Scald is the STAB to use, providing nice power in Rain, but more importantly perhaps, is the 30% chance to Burn an opponent, which puts a timer on many Pokemon, while also crippling physical attackers. Toxic is the next move of choice, providing a status for bulky Water types, as well as putting a timer on Ninetales, in the case of a Drought vs. Drizzle war. Hypnosis is another option, however, as it can completely shut an opponent down, which makes life much harder for almost any opposing Pokemon. Protect is best used alongside Toxic, to stall out extra damage, as well as recovering an extra 6% from Leftovers. Ice Beam is an option for extra coverage, ensuring that Dragonite can't just come in and setup on you, as well as hitting things like Celebi and Virizion on the switch. Refresh, however, allows Politoed to remove harmful status, most specifically, Poison, which helps a lot if you're going up against Toxic Spikes, or just winning Toxic stall wars.
In the last slot, Perish Song is the optimal way to stop setup sweepers, especially alongside Protect, as you'll put a timer on them before they're forced right back out. This also has a nice effect of forcing a game on an opponent that only has one Pokemon left, putting them on a 3 turn timer and reducing it to two with Protect. Encore, though, will force Pokemon that setup out immediately, as they'll be stuck using their setup move for 4 turns, providing you with some time to bring in a hard counter to their setup sweeper, and forcing it out of battle. Both of these options reach maximum potential with Stealth Rock and Spikes set on the opponent's side of the field, as they'll be forced into constant chip damage.
|Politoed@ Choice Scarf|
Timid nature (+Speed, -Attack)
EVs: 252 Speed / 252 Sp. Attack / 4 HP
Perish Song / Hypnosis / Encore
Giving Politoed a Choice Scarf may seem odd at first, but it allows it to accomplish things that otherwise it could never achieve, such as outspeeding unboosted Base 130 Speed Pokemon. Hydro Pump is your main firepower here, as this Politoed's other attacks are severely lacking in power when compared to other sets. Surf is your more reliable STAB for when you need to hit the opponent, and is useful for finishing off weakened foes without the worry of Hydro Pump's 80% accuracy. Ice Beam is for coverage, allowing it to severely damage Dragon types before they can hit you or setup, which can be very useful. It's also good for hitting Grass types, though Celebi can easily take an Ice Beam and just Recover the damage off, or Giga Drain you for plenty more.
I'm sure the last slot seems odd, but each choice actually has very specific uses, and they're all important for stopping opposing momentum when you have no other choice. Perish Song allows Politoed to come in and stop Calm Mind users from sweeping you, giving them a 3 turn timer before all their boosts are washed away. Like in the previous set, this can also force a game in your favor if the opponent has one Pokemon left that you couldn't otherwise deal with (A Blissey after your physical attackers have been lost, for example). Hypnosis can provide an immediate shutdown for a Pokemon that is giving you trouble, as well as punish common Politoed switch-ins, even usually giving you 2 chances to hit them if they switch into you, given the Speed granted by the Choice Scarf, allowing you to capitalize with another Pokemon. Encore can lock an opponent into a harmless move, forcing them right back out. A good example of this would be if you switched into a Substitute user, you could immediately Encore them right out of the arena.
This set has to be played carefully, moreso than the other sets. This Politoed doesn't have the luxury of the power granted from Specs, nor the survivability from a defensive Leftovers set, so it has to play to it's strengths, and have team-mates that can work well with it. One thing to note is that this set cannot deal with Gastrodon, so a Grass type is almost necessary alongside it, to bring Gastrodon out of play. This set also cannot deal with Ferrothorn, so make sure to have something for that as well. Breloom does both of these very well, as well as shutting something down with Spore, so consider that. Other good options include Celebi and Lum Berry Virizion.
Modest nature (+Sp. Attack, -Attack)
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Sp. Attack / 4 Speed
Hidden Power Grass / Focus Blast
Hypnosis / Encore / Perish Song
All of the points to anyone that genuinely knows the reference. Anyway, this set is basically Specs, but with the ability to freely switch attacks, without the huge power granted from Specs. Hydro Pump is your obvious STAB, hitting very hard inside of rain. Ice Beam is necessary coverage, and aids you in slaying Dragons. Hidden Power Grass rids you of one of your worst enemies in Gastrodon as it switches in. Focus Blast, however, deals with the other nemesis, Ferrothorn as it switches in, netting an easy 2HKO.
The last move is support. Hypnosis can shut down an entire Pokemon on the opposing side of the field, which can help make the 3rd slot choice a bit easier. Encore stops setup sweepers, especially if they switch into Politoed turn 1, expecting Specs and think you'll be forced out. Perish Song returns again as a great option to stop setup sweepers and put your opponent on a timer.
Finally, an easy to obtain Pokemon in-game. I always feel like I'm giving you guys a labyrinth to work through when I write this part. Poliwag can be obtained in many spots in Black2 and White2 by fishing, including the following spots: Route 19, 20, 6, 23, Floccesy Ranch, Relic Passage, Lostlorn Forest, Clay Tunnel, Wellspring Cave, Victory Road, Giant Chasm. However, if you really want Politoed to be the best it can be, you're going to want one from the Dream World, where it can be found in Pleasant Forest. When using a Politoed in-game, there's a big difference in whether you've got Drizzle or one of the much lesser abilities, as infinite rain basically provides you with double-STAB Water attacks, allowing Politoed to actually dish out some real damage. Here's what I'd recommend:
Psychic / Hydro Pump
With Drizzle providing a boost to Water type moves, Politoed becomes a viable offensive Pokemon. Surf is your reliable STAB, dealing out hefty damage under Rain conditions. Ice Beam provides Grass and Dragon coverage most importantly, but also Flying types as well. Focus Blast is useful for specific Steel types. Psychic can be used for Poison types and Fighting types, but Hydro Pump will usually deal more to them anyway.
Surf / Scald
Hypnosis / Psychic / Hydro Pump
While functioning mostly the same as the above set, this Politoed is slightly more defensive. Surf is still your main STAB, but Scald offers a nice 30% Burn chance while having only slightly less power, so the choice is yours. Ice Beam and Focus Blast return as coverage moves. Hypnosis differentiates this set to utilize this set's more defensive nature by allowing it to shut down an opposing Pokemon, giving it time to hit the opponent while they slumber. Psychic and Hydro Pump return as other options, to hit more types of Pokemon, or have a stronger STAB, respectively.
Let's get this out of the way first: I didn't have an opinion of Politoed one way or the other before 5th gen. Hell, it could not have been present in the games before then and I would never have noticed. But with 5th gen granting it Drizzle... I have come to hate it, and it's no fault of the Pokemon itself. Drizzle has begun weather wars in OU, and in my opinion, this is the worst thing we've ever had in an OU metagame. No longer is building a balanced team very important, when you can deal upwards of 80-100% with a STAB, Not Very Effective Hydro Pump from Specs Politoed in the rain. Everything revolves around being able to deal with Politoed, Tyranitar, and to a lesser extent, Ninetales. I long for the days when Pokemon was more about raw skill, and less about who controls the weather. In terms of design, Politoed is pretty adorable, but when I look at it, all I see is the main thing that's wrong with the metagame.
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And if you're playing competitive OU, you should be. I'm not knocking anyone for using it, as it's the best competitive option, I'm mainly knocking Smogon for not banning all forms of infinite weather. Thank you for including a Non-DrizzleToed. Otherwise seeing Drizzle all the way would be self-explanatory, since it's obvious how powerful it is. A Pokémon's sets may vary for competitive, but I just don't think Politoed is the Pokémon with much variety in its sets because Drizzle is always on competitive battlers' minds.
Let's see if you can tackle Audino, the Pokemon no one can be sure about on what it's based.