Welcome to our eleventh issue of 6th Generation's Pokemon of the Week! This time we'll be shifting our focus onto some of the older Pokemon and taking a look at how they're fairing in the current generation. This week we'll be focusing on a Pokemon that defined the metagame last generation. This week, we focus on Politoed.
Poliwag's slick black skin is thin and damp. The spiral pattern on its belly is actually part of its internal organs, covered by a thin layer of translucent flesh. This pattern differs depending on the area it's born in. It is much better at swimming than it is at walking. Poliwhirl is capable of living on dry land, but it must constantly sweat to keep its body slimy. For this reason, it prefers living in water. Its legs have developed well enough to allow it to move agilely on land, however, and the growth of arms helps it keep balance. Politoed often amass in groups of three or more, singing in a loud voice that sounds like bellowing. If Poliwag or Poliwhirl hear this cry, they flock to the singing Politoed.
Base Stats: 90 HP / 75 Attack / 75 Defense / 90 Sp. Attack / 100 Sp. Defense / 70 Speed
Oh how the mighty have fallen. Last generation, Politoed's infinite Drizzle soaked the fields in a downpour that defined how competitive OU was played. The existence of infinite rain brought rise to Pokemon that could take advantage of it, such as Toxicroak, Keldeo, and Thundurus-Therian, to name a few. It also popularized defensive Pokemon that could handle the boosted power of Water type moves, such as Gastrodon, Ferrothorn, and Vaporeon. If you read Politoed's 5th gen PotW issue, you know how I felt about the infinite rain that Politoed brought with it.
Game Freak must have realized how broken this was, even if Smogon refused to, and has decided that infinite weather does not exist in any form that can be activated by a player. I'll discuss my feelings on this later, but it has had a huge impact on the metagame, and now Politoed's usage has fallen considerably. Keeping rain on the field isn't as simple as out-surviving the opponent's Tyranitar; it's a constant struggle to keep Politoed alive to support the team.
Politoed does have a distinct advantage, though, and it's one it used last generation as well: Choice Specs Hydro Pump backed by Rain. Politoed can stand on its own, not necessarily intending to support a team, and punch massive holes into opponents with an absurdly powerful Hydro Pump. This is made even better by the fact that the counters to this kind of Politoed, such as Gastrodon, have mostly fallen from use. Alternately, you can extend Politoed's rain to 8 turns by giving it Damp Rock, for a more defensive and team-supporting approach to rain.
Politoed may not be the juggernaut it was last generation, but it can still be made effective, and it has a niche that nothing else in OU can claim, and that's pretty special.
|Politoed@ Choice Specs|
Modest nature (+Sp. Attack, -Attack)
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Sp. Attack / 4 Speed
Surf / Psychic
Choice Specs Politoed makes a return this generation almost unchanged from the last generation. In fact, it could be argued that it's a bit better, given the drop in use of Pokemon that could counter it, such as Gastrodon. Hydro Pump is the move you'll be spamming here, and is the main reason to use this kind of Politoed, as even Pokemon that resist the move take a lot from it. Unfortunately for Politoed, the base power has been dropped this generation, making it somewhat easier for opponents to take, but not by much. Ice Beam provides fantastic coverage for Dragons and occasional Grass types. Focus Blast is the least useful move in the set, but it does provide a way to put a huge dent in Ferrothorn, which can be useful.
The last option provides two appealing options. Surf is a more reliable, weaker STAB for cleaning up late-game or just not risking a miss when it's unnecessary. Psychic, however, can hit a few key threats such as Mega Venusaur, Toxicroak, and Keldeo. The choice comes down to personal preference.
This kind of Politoed is much more of a one-man operation this generation, but there are still some teammates that work well with him. Thundurus-Therian provides an Electric immunity, while gaining access to a 100% accurate Thunder, if one so chooses. Be careful of this, however, as you'll have very few turns to pull this off. Tornadus is in a similar boat, as it gets access to 100% accurate Hurricane, but only has a couple turns to take advantage of it. Ferrothorn appreciates the rain, giving it some extra time to setup hazards. Swift Swim users appreciate Rain, but this kind of Politoed doesn't keep it up for long enough to make good use of it.
Stealth Rock support is very helpful for ensuring KOs that would otherwise fall just short, especially for Pokemon that resist Hydro Pump. Sticky Web support is helpful as well. Hidden Power Grass gets a special mention for dealing with Jellicent, Gastrodon, Rotom-Wash (on the switch), and other bulky Water types. It can easily be slashed in for the last slot. The reason it's not recommended as a primary option is because it's a poor attacking type to be locked into, and it doesn't handle enough relevant threats to be a considerable option.
|Politoed@ Damp Rock|
Bold nature (+Defense, -Attack)
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Defense / 4 Speed
Scald / Surf
Toxic / Hypnosis
Perish Song / Encore / Rain Dance
Protect / Ice Beam / Rain Dance
Politoed's instant rain may not be infinite anymore, but it can be extended to 8 turns from the normal 5 if it holds Damp Rock. This allows Politoed to support a team that relies on keeping rain up to be effective. Politoed's Rain is a strong asset to have if a team is built around abusing it. While Politoed as a Pokeon is not an asset to any team, Drizzle is. For this reason, a defensive spread can be utilized to keep Politoed alive and bringing rain back onto the field multiple times through a match.
Scald is used as Politoed's main weapon, offering a 30% Burn chance, which can cripple physical attackers, as well as deter defensive Pokemon from switching in. Surf can be used if you like the small jump in power, as well as not having conflicting status effects with Toxic. Toxic is useful for crippling bulky Water types, as well as special setup sweepers that don't mind being burnt. Hypnosis, however, can shut a Pokemon down completely, though this isn't as effective as it was last generation, with Sleep's mechanics returning to normal. Still, it can buy you time and put the opponent in a situation where they give you time to put yourself in a favorable position against their would-be Politoed counter, and that is very valuable. Perish Song is a great weapon to deter setup sweepers from setting up. It can also put you in an immediate win condition if the opponent only has one Pokemon left and you have more than one that can survive 3 turns. Encore can be used here to force out any Pokemon that is locked into a non-damaging move, and also deter setup sweepers from setting up. This is less useful this generation, as Politoed's rain is on a timer, so you generally don't want to be wasting precious turns.
The last slot is a tough one. Protect gives Politoed a turn to scout, regain 6% health from Leftovers, and rack up another turn of Burn or Toxic damage, but this comes at the cost of a turn of Rain, as well as giving an opponent the chance at a free switch or setup move. Still, since Politoed lacks any good means of recovery, it has some merit for keeping your froggy friend alive. Ice Beam can be used here to stop Politoed from being complete setup bait for Dragons and provide some additional coverage. Finally, Rain Dance can be used in either of the last slots to win any potential weather wars against things like Tyranitar and Mega Charizard Y.
The EV spread makes Politoed as physically bulky as possible, but this can certainly be changed to a more specially defensive spread if you'd prefer. Calm nature with 252 Sp. Defense EVs allows Politoed to tank some Thunderbolts and Grass Knots a lot easier. Think about your individual team, and what you struggle with.
One final note is that either of the last slots can be replaced with Rest and given the held item Chesto Berry to fully restore Politoed once through the match, which can greatly extend his lifespan. This does come with the loss of Damp Rock, which is the reason it is not listed as a main option, since this set's main appeal is keeping Rain on the field. It would be much better to carry a Wish passer to help keep Politoed alive.
|Politoed@ Choice Scarf|
Timid nature (+Speed, -Attack)
EVs: 252 Speed / 252 Sp. Attack / 4 HP
Perish Song / Hypnosis / Encore
Given a Choice Scarf, Politoed is capable of performing the duties of a competent revenge-killer. Due to Drizzle, Politoed's Hydro Pump doesn't lack the power that typical Scarf users lack, and can muscle through most offensive threats in OU that don't resist the move. Surf is listed as the secondary option because revenge-killing usually entails that you ensure a specific threat is removed before it has the chance to sweep through your team, and the 80% accuracy of Hydro Pump isn't always necessary for the extra power. Ice Beam helps a lot here for revenge-killing Dragon types, but not if they've gotten to +1 through Dragon Dance, since Politoed's base Speed is really awful.
Perish Song is an odd choice for the last slot, but it can be really helpful for stopping a setup sweeper from sweeping through you if you need to put an emergency stop to them. It can also provide the same win condition as previous sets if the opponent has one Pokemon left and can't beat you within 3 turns. Hypnosis can quickly shut down a threat, especially (again) a setup sweeper that you can't stop. Encore can lock a Pokemon into a useless move, potentially giving you time to turn the battle in your favor.
Poliwag can be found on these Routes: 14, 15, 16, 19, 21, and in Pokemon Village. Additionally, Poliwhirl can be found in Friend Safari, which is the easiest way of getting a Hidden Ability Poliwhirl (which has Swift Swim before becoming Politoed). Poliwhirl evolves into Politoed upon trading while holding a Kings Rock. Here's what I'd recommend for Politoed:
This is basically a collection of all of the offensive moves that Politoed learns, honestly. Surf has STAB, Ice Beam for Grass, Dragon and Flying coverage. Psychic hits Poison types and Fighting types, and Focus Blast hurts Steel types. There's not really much to say about this set, because it's fairly straightforward. Hypnosis can be used in either of the last slots, but the shaky 60% accuracy will frustrate you in-game.
I just... feel bad for Politoed. I mean, don't get me wrong, I could not be happier than infinite weather is not a thing that exists anymore. But... Politoed had one generation where it was on top. One generation where people cared about it... and now it's over. I mean, yeah, Drizzle is still exclusive to Politoed in any tier below Uber, but that value has dropped significantly this generation. After years of being ignored and forgotten about, Politoed thought it had found love, but it was a lie. People were just using it for its ability, and now it's sunk back to the depths of depression... and it's raining. I'm so sorry, Politoed.
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