Poliwag

Damp
Prevents the use of Selfdestruct or Explosion. Prevents Aftermath from doing damage.
Water Absorb
Heals 25% HP when hit by a Water-type attack.
Type Tier
Water LC
Level 5 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
40
- 20 23 -
Atk
50
9 11 14 15
Def
40
9 10 13 14
SpA
40
9 10 13 14
SpD
40
9 10 13 14
Spe
90
13 15 18 19
  • Little Cup

Overview

Poliwag is an interesting Pokemon. On the one hand, it has a great Speed stat and a solid typing. It is also the fastest user of Hypnosis in LC, which is definitely a bonus. Its ability allows it to potentially restore one-quarter of its health when it switches in - never a bad thing, and it enjoys a wide array of interesting moves to work with. On the other hand, Poliwag suffers from a lot of downfalls. Its offensive stats aren't the greatest, and Poliwag is very frail. Though its support movepool is pretty darn impressive, its offensive movepool is awfully poor. All in all, Poliwag can be a destructive Pokemon, just be sure to use it to its strengths.

Name Item Ability Nature

Special Attacker

Life Orb / Oran Berry Water Absorb Timid
Moveset IVs
~ Hypnosis
~ Hydro Pump / Surf
~ Hidden Power Electric
~ Ice Beam
3 HP
EVs
36 Def / 200 SpA / 36 SpD / 196 Spe

At first glance, this set seems like an inferior Staryu or Chinchou, but that is certainly not the case. Poliwag has access to Hypnosis, something most Water-types wish they could have, and is the fastest user of it in Little Cup (tied with Meowth). This allows Poliwag to have its own niche in the metagame, allowing it to stand out amongst the myriad other Water-types in LC. Hydro Pump is a great STAB for Poliwag to have, though its Special Attack is a bit lacking. Hidden Power Electric and Ice Beam pair well together, forming "BoltBeam" coverage. Unlike most special sweepers, this set is not directly countered by Munchlax. Even if Hypnosis misses as Munchlax switches in, Poliwag will get another chance to put the menacing blob to sleep. Life Orb is vital to the success of this set, as Poliwag needs to hit as hard as possible. The EVs maximize Poliwag's Special Attack and Speed, and the remaining EVs give Poliwag an extra point in both of its defenses. 200 Special Attack EVs are needed to make up for the IV loss when running Hidden Power Electric. Its HP IV is reduced to 3 so Poliwag only loses 1 HP from Life Orb recoil when it attacks.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Ability Nature

Belly Drum

Oran Berry Water Absorb Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Belly Drum
~ Hypnosis / Encore
~ Waterfall
~ Return
196 Atk / 36 Def / 36 SpD / 196 Spe

Though this set is highly risky, Poliwag can become a devastating sweeper given the right support and circumstances. Belly Drum quadruples Poliwag's Attack stat. Encore or Hypnosis are also vital so Poliwag can safely use Belly Drum. Hypnosis is arguably the better option, despite its shaky accuracy. However, Encore can be used to lock Poliwag's opponent into a Water-type attack or a setup move, giving Poliwag a free Belly Drum no matter what they do. Waterfall is a good STAB attack for Poliwag, since it has decent power and a 20% chance of flinching the opponent. In the final slot, Return is the best option, as it grants Poliwag perfect neutral coverage in Little Cup when used in tandem with Waterfall. An Oran Berry is absolutely necessary so Poliwag will be at full health after using Belly Drum. A Jolly nature and 196 Speed EVs are essential because Poliwag needs all the Speed it can get. Attack is also maximized, and the remaining EVs give Poliwag an extra point in both its defenses. Poliwag does not need to invest in HP because it already has 20 (a number divisible by 4) without any investment.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Ability Nature

Choice Scarf Lead

Choice Scarf Water Absorb Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Encore
~ Hypnosis
~ Waterfall
~ Return
116 HP / 196 Atk / 196 Spe

Because of Poliwag's blistering Speed and access to Encore and Hypnosis, it can also function as an efficient anti-lead. If facing a Fake Out user such as Meowth or Aipom, the best idea would be to take the attack, then lock it into the move the next turn with Encore. If facing a Stealth Rock lead like Bronzor, putting it to sleep via Hypnosis on the first turn is the better option. However, Poliwag should just attack if the opposing Pokemon is weak to Waterfall, such as Phanpy and Hippopotas. The Choice Scarf allows Poliwag to beat all Pokemon up to Choice Scarf 19 Speed Pokemon. In addition, this Poliwag set can also function as a defensive pivot mid-game. It can come in on Carvanha's Substitute or any of its Water-type attacks thanks to Water Absorb and Encore it, while it cannot do anything back to Poliwag. It can also come in on Staryu's or Mantyke's Hydro Pump and force them to switch out after Encore. The EVs maximize its Attack and Speed, with the remainder going to HP.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>

Other Options

Poliwag actually has some interesting options in its arsenal of moves. It has Wake-Up Slap, which can be useful. With a Jolly nature and max Attack EVs, Poliwag has a 25% chance of OHKOing a sleeping Munchlax. Poliwag also gets Mud Shot and Icy Wind, two attacks that have a 100% chance of lowering the opponent's Speed by one stage. Poliwag has a few neat support moves. It gets Toxic and Swagger, but doesn't really have the bulk to use either move effectively. Body Slam is an interesting option over Return, as it has a 30% chance of inflicting paralysis. A physical moveset consisting of Hypnosis, Waterfall, Return or Body Slam, and Wake-Up Slap is also viable, as Poliwag's Attack stat is higher than its Special Attack, but the specially-based set is preferred because it gets better coverage. In addition, Poliwag can run a Substitute + Encore set, as it can trap an opponent into a weak or support move, then set up with Substitute. A Substitute + Hypnosis set may seem viable at first, but Pokemon like Gastly are better options for such a role. Finally, Mind Reader seems like a decent move to accompany Hypnosis, but Poliwag doesn't have the time nor bulk to pull it off.

Checks and Counters

Mankey is one of the best checks to Poliwag, as it cannot be put to sleep (courtesy of Vital Spirit) and can OHKO Poliwag with Close Combat. Other potential counters to Poliwag must contend with the incapacitating threat of Hypnosis, so it's best to send them in after Sleep Clause has been activated. Most Choice Scarf Pokemon fare well against Poliwag, especially Snover and Chinchou. Wooper is immune to Water and can threaten Poliwag with a STAB Earthquake. Munchlax can take all of Poliwag's special attacks and KO with Return or trap with Pursuit. Because of Poliwag's thin defenses, most neutral attacks will strip off more than half of its health. That, combined with Life Orb recoil and possible Sandstorm/Hail damage, will most likely spell Poliwag's doom.