Poll: Do you think Poliwrath will be viable in VGC 2017?
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[VGC] Poli Want a Wrather? - with 0kamii
#1
Brick 
[Image: fefcbe32fee230a0e07bc90ea9e0c404f646e5dc_hq.jpg]

Hey, everybody! It's 0kamii, and as I promised in my Top 10 Coolest Shiny Starters post, I'm here to give my honest VGC analysis of Poliwrath. I hope you're all excited; user @RetroTyphlosion sure is.

Poliwrath is a classic pokemon from the first 151 original mons all the way back from Gen 1. After Gold and Silver were released Chuck and his Poliwrath became somewhat infamous for trainers to try and defeat, especially if anyone chose Typhlosion, as it seems many people did. However, Poliwrath evolutionary counterpart, Politoed, was also introduced in Gen 2, so while Poliwrath shared a bit of the glory, it wasn't for long. Poor poor Poliwrath seemed to be outclassed by Politoed in every way, and given the fact that both are in the Alola dex, and we've only seen Politoed being used in VGC should tell us something. But all is not lost, dear readers! I've run the calcs, tested the sets, and held my breath, and Poliwrath may actually be halfway decent in this metagame. Yes! Unlike my previous analysis of Rampardos, I actually think Poliwrath can be good. Why's that? Well, we'd better get into it, or else @RetroTyphlosion is going to lose their marbles.

Type:

To start off, Poliwrath's type is both advantageous, and disadvantageous. Poliwrath shares an almost unique typing in Water/Fighting. I say almost because only Poliwrath and Keldeo have this combination. I mentioned in my Rampardos post that a pokemon's type can determine a pokemon's usefulness long before the testing begins, and luckily for Poliwrath, its types sort of negate each other. Fighting is semi-useful in this metagame thanks to the ever-present Eviolite Porygon2 and Snorlax. Being able to hit both of these types for super-effective damage is a very good thing, especially since both have been well integrated into the VGC circuit in the past few weeks. However, Water is undoubtedly Poliwrath's best asset. There's a reason that mons like Gyarados and Tapu Fini are useful in this year's metagame. While admittedly it does make Poliwrath weak to half the Tapus, it's not without countermeasures. But we'll get into that later. During testing for the below set, major problems were Tapu Koko, Tapu Bulu, and Lilligant. While this may seem like it puts Poliwrath in an awkward spot, it can take more damage than you think. Its typing may not be glorious like Emolga or Gastroodon, both of which I've used to win a local tournament, ⇒(http://pokemonforever.com/Thread-RATE-MY...eam-Locals): but it's doable. And if the battles I ran prove anything, Poliwrath is certainly no burden to any team. This polliwog puts in work!

Stats:
HP: 90 (150 - 197)
Attack: 95 (90 - 161)
Defense: 95 (90 - 161)
Sp. Attack: 70 (67 - 134)
Sp. Defense: 90 (85 - 156)
Speed: 70 (67 - 134)
Total: 510
 
Poliwrath actually holds the distinction of being the first pokemon I've analyzed that got a stat boost in the seventh generation. Prior to Sun and Moon and the start of VGC 2017, Poliwrath had base 85 Attack (81 - 150). This boost of ten points actually makes a big difference in Poliwrath's usability, because it wasn't actually guaranteed an OHKO on Tapu Koko in the rain, but now it is! And being able to OHKO a Tapu Koko, regardless of method, makes a huge difference! The rest of its stats are fairly well-balanced. It's clearly more oriented towards offense than its more often used counterpart, Politoed. But it has enough Defense to take a Wild Chrage from a max invested Arcanine, as well as enough Sp. Defense to take a Discharge from and fully invested non-Life Orb Timid Tapu Koko. Of course, I've seen Kokos starting to change it up a bit (Focus Sash, Assault Vest, Tapunium Z, et cetera.), so not every Koko Poliwrath faces will be Life Orb anyway. The last notable thing about Poliwrath is its Speed stat. With a base of 70, even a small investment of 100 EVs gives it a Speed of 103, letting it outspeed max-invested Timid Tapu Koko, and even Choice Scarf Lele once doubled. But that's the key, only when it's doubled. How exactly? We'll get to that. For now, its Speed works wonderfully in tandum with its newly buffed Attack, and because of that, Poliwrath manages to pass the stat test. At least to me.

Abilities:

The Tadpole Pokemon has access to two really great abilities, and one meager ability. Those being Water Absorb, Damp, and Swift Swim. I'm just going to get this out of the way now, do not use Damp! Gosh, lord Arceus in Xibalba or whatever afterlife y'alls believe in...Damp is such a pointless ability. Unless you're Shiny hunting a Geodude/Voltorb, or are unlucky enough to come across someone naive enough to try using an Explosion Silvally, Damp will never be useful. Ever. The two great abilities I was trying to spotlight earlier are Water Absorb and Swift Swim. Water Absorb is great if you've got a vulnerable Fire-Type on your team, like say Arcanine, or maybe even a Salazzle. Water Absorb sponges these hits and restores Poliwrath's HP, which is especially useful since Poliwrath doesn't get access to Drain Punch for some reason. It requires a bit of prediction to use propoerly, which I shall now reiterate that I am terrible at predicting, but nonetheless it has its niche. But by far the most consistently useful ability is its Hidden Ability, being Swift Swim. Remember earlier when I mentioned something earlier about doubling Poliwrath's Speed? This is how you do it. Set up the rain with a Pelipper or some other method (be it Politoed, or Rain Dance), and you've got a polliwog faster than the Guardian Deity of Melemele Island! Poliwrath's Speed shoots to 206, making it faster than most of the metagame, and since Drizzle in the most popular form of weather control right now, you won't be too hard pressed to get undersped by a Gigalith or a Torkoal. It will happen, obviously, just more infrequently than you'd think. While testing, I saw one Torkoal and three Gigalith. Though strangely, my foes never actually brought them to battle. Weird. Anyhow, the point is that Swift Swim is Poliwrath's best ability. Feel free to let me know if you need a Poliwag with its HA, as chaining Poliwag is a paaaaiiiiinnnnn...

Movepool:

Thus far, Poliwrath has been a pleasant surprise. However, moving into its movepool, well...that's where things begin to go downhill. I mentioned earlier that outside of Water Absorb, Poliwrath doesn't really have reliable recovery because it doesn't get Drain Punch. Heck, it doesn't even get Close Combat like Hariyama, the other meta Fighting-TYpe we see. It was here that I started having to get a bit creative with Poliwrath's moveset, and while it doesn't have some essential tools, it's not entirely useless. Poliwrath's best STAB Water-Type move is going to be Waterfall, same as Gyarados. Thank goodness it at least has that! It also has a nifty little flinch chance, which is always appreciated. When it comes to STAB Fighting-Type moves though, without Drain Punch and Close Combat this polliwog is left up the creek. There are some options available in Submission, Circle Throw, and Brick Break. Submission has 80% accuracy and does recoil, and Circle Throw is just too inconsistent, so the best STAB Fighting-Type move for Poliwrath in my opinion is Brick Break. It's not going to be picking up any KOs, but at least it breaks screens and has 100% accuracy. In terms of coverage, Poliwrath actually has access to a lot. Unlike Rampardos, whose moveset looks like a hodgepodge of whatever the developers wanted, Poliwrath's movepool have some semblence of sense. It gets access to Poison Jab, making all those pesky Fairy-Types it's weak to quiver, as well as Earthquake, Rock Slide, and Return. Some other notable moves that Poliwrath gets, while not particularly meta, are Belly Drum, Encore, Hypnosis, Mind Reader, and Payback for those Psychic-Types that stalk Poliwrath at night.

Overall:

Of all the VGC analyses I've done, I think Poliwrath may actually make the most sense. Sure Emolga is fast and has good support, sure Alomomola is a swimming wall of HP, and yes, Rampardos is terrible in VGC, but Poliwrath checks every box in terms of what is needed in VGC this year. A good movepool coupled with useful abilities and a unique role that fits into the team designed for it. What more could one truly want from a pokemon? I'll say it again, unlike my favorite fossil pokemon, Poliwrath is the actually good at what it does. There just something about watching the opponent go cross-eyed when they see their Koko get outsped and subsequently knocked out by a Poliwrath that's just so satisfying. Not only that, but nothing is more gratifying than wiping out a foe and their A+ tier mons than by using a mon they don't know the stats of, so they scramble to figure out a strategy, and like I always say. Sometimes, the element of surprise is all you need to win. Smile

The Sets:
 
Set 1
Poliwrath
Nature: Adamant (+Atk/-Sp. Atk)
Ability: Swift Swim
Item: Choice Band
EVs: 100 HP/ 252 Atk/ 12 Def/ 44 Sp. Def/ 100 Spd
Moveset:
Poison Jab
Waterfall
Brick Break
Rock Slide/Earthquake
 
As of writing this, this is the only working set I've surmised. I ran about 15 battles with this set and I won 10. This set captializes on Poliwrath's newly buffed Attack, and thanks to Swift Swim there's very little that can outspeed it in rain. As I mentioned earlier, Brick Break hits the common Normal-Types hard. In fact, it can hit the standard VGC Porygon2 for 60% - 72.2%, and that's with Eviolite. It can hit Snorlax for 65% - 71.1%, and that's with max HP and max Defense investment. Opposing Arcanine stood no chance in the rain, and I've already beaten to death the reality of being about to OHKO Koko and Lele. Be on the lookout for Bulu, though. That thing will always OHKO you right back. You've nothing to fear from Alolan Raichu, unless of course it uses Fake Out. Just something to keep in mind. Basically all the Electric and Grass-Types that would otherwise cause you trouble can be OHKOed or 2HKOed by Poliwrath, and it can take at least one hit in return. If played right, Poliwrath can take down at least two of the opponents pokemon with it before it goes down. Unless of course, someone uses Fake Out.  As usual, here's the link to the Damage Calculator to disspell any disbelief: (https://pokemonshowdown.com/damagecalc/).

Sets 2 and 3 are still in the works, so unfortunately I don't feel comfortable pushing either one quite yet. Set 1 is easily the best of the three anyway, so if anything I'd recommend using that one. Set 2 involves a Life Orb in place of the Choice Band and gives Poliwrath Protect to give it a bit more staying power. And Set 3 gives Poliwrath an Assault Vest and substitutes Swift Swim for Water Absorb. Like I said, I'll continue to toy around with these and post them here when I feel comfortable. But for now however, this is the only set I feel comfortable promoting. Moving into partner recommendations, though...

Partners:

In my opinion, there are two partners that stuck out the most when testing Poliwrath and what eventually became Set 1. Those two partners are as followed:
 
[Image: poliwrath.png] [Image: pelipper.png]
 
Here's the one you were probably expecting the most. Pelipper has really been blessed this format thanks to Drizzle. As we saw in the London International Championships in December, western player Tommy Cooleen capitalized on Pelipper's ability to make rain using a Swift Swim mon. But instead of a Poliwrath, Cooleen used a Golduck which also has access to Swift Swim. He used a Z-move variant, which frankly I'm not fond of, but he took 7th place. So clearly, he knew something I didn't. Anyhow, Drizzle from Pelipper activates Poliwrath's Swift Swim which enables it to outpseed all the things that usually put it to shame. Plus Tailwind support and support from Scald and Hurricane makes these two one heck of a team.
 
[Image: poliwrath.png] [Image: togedemaru.png]
 
Somehow, Togedemaru has managed to make its way into two of my VGC analyses. But there's simply no denying the facts. Togedemaru, especially given that it has access to support moves like Fake Out, Nuzzle, Encore, and Zing Zap, makes for an excellent partner to Poliwrath. I actually used all three of these in testing on the same team, and even if Poliwrath was knocked out, Togedemaru is an outstanding partner for Pelipper too. The three of them compliment each other so well. Just make sure that Togedemaru has Lightning Rod to absorb all those Electric-Type attacks that survive to hit Poliwrath. Otherwise, Poliwrath isn't surving more than two attacks. Obviously, if you're running Togedemaru on the same team, opt for Rock Slide instead of Earthquake. If you use Pelipper, Earthquake if preferable, but they're both good options.

Conclusion:

There's not much more to say than what as already been said. Poliwrath has surprised me in more ways than one, and despite being the lesser known evolution of Poliwag, I think that Poliwrath has just as much potential as Politoed. If not more. @RetroTyphlosion, my friend, I hope you're happy! I certainly am. Well, that's all for this VGC analysis. I probably won't do another one for a while because I've been working on that secret bonus project I mentioned in my last post. But I'll certainly make some posts in-between just to keep my account active. Thank you all so much for baring with me through this process, and I look forward to sharing the fruits of my ambition with you all soon enough! Take care everyone! I'll read you all soon, and battle onwards friends!

- 0kamii
Amethyst Ωmega - Guild Leader/Founder 
 
Reply
#2
Really good write up! I always thought of Poliwrath as a physical, slightly meh version of Golduck, but you're toatly right, it seems like there's more potential there. Might consider trying to build a team around one sometime Smile
R.I.P.
Hammer Morty
2014 - 2017

Forever In Our Hearts


           
Reply
#3
@0kamii THANK YOU 0KAMII I LOVE YOU SO MUCH AND I LOVE POLIWRATH AND NOW I CAN FINALLY ACTUALLY USE ONE VIABLY THANK YOUUUUUUUUU
(Oh, yes, and I do want one of those HA Poliwags, cause I have to do this now). Move over, amazing Trick Room team! POLIWRATH has entered the arena!
So I herd u liek Tyflozions...
I'm a VGC player. Contact me if you need help with competitive battling!
Reply
#4
(Jun 2, 2017, 03:07 PM)RetroTyphlosion Wrote: @0kamii THANK YOU 0KAMII I LOVE YOU SO MUCH AND I LOVE POLIWRATH AND NOW I CAN FINALLY ACTUALLY USE ONE VIABLY THANK YOUUUUUUUUU
(Oh, yes, and I do want one of those HA Poliwags, cause I have to do this now). Move over, amazing Trick Room team! POLIWRATH has entered the arena!

You need a HA Poliwag? Consider it yours, my friend. Let me know when you are online and I'll trade you one with due celerity. I'll even make sure it has the right IVs so you can get right to training it.  Wink

- 0kamii
Amethyst Ωmega - Guild Leader/Founder 
 
Reply
#5
Damp is the only way to go
Reply
#6
Hey, @RetroTyphlosion! I have that Poliwag you wanted. I'm online now and ready to trade at any time! Hidden Ability, Adamant nature, 5 IVs, and even the egg move Encore, as promised. Smile

@Noodles I think I've been trolled...again...

- 0kamii
Amethyst Ωmega - Guild Leader/Founder 
 
Reply
#7
(Jun 2, 2017, 05:33 PM)0kamii Wrote: Hey, @RetroTyphlosion! I have that Poliwag you wanted. I'm online now and ready to trade at any time! Hidden Ability, Adamant nature, 5 IVs, and even the egg move Encore, as 

- 0kamii

@0kamii Hey! Sorry I missed you. But yeah, I'm about to add your FC and maybe we can figure something out? Oh, and I accepted your Buddy Request. It feels nice to be friends with someone, especially since I was always the weird, socially awkward kid who didn't have any.
Oh yeah, go watch battle video Number ZEWW-WWWW-WWW7-822N. That was a fun one that got me scared for a minute. Had to take some risks in Turns 4 and 5 that paid off big time!
So I herd u liek Tyflozions...
I'm a VGC player. Contact me if you need help with competitive battling!
Reply


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