Overview ######## The notorious frog has returned for another year of VGC, yet is far from the dominant amphibian it was last generation. The poor guy lost its permanent rain from Black and White, and as such its main niche has been vastly reduced in size. However, in VGC where the games are so short, Politoed is still a very viable Pokemon regardless, with or without Damp Rock. In addition, although Politoed is comparatively frail, it still takes a strong super effective hit to take the critter down in one go. Politoed also has access to some great support moves such as Encore and Perish Song, although it lost Icy Wind and Helping Hand in this year's format. Politoed is capable of running a few different sets such as Choice Scarf and support, but most importantly, all of them still have its precious Drizzle, which is a colossal help to possible partners such as Kingdra and Ludicolo. Finally, Politoed's rain obviously ends Mega Charizard-Y's sun and Tyranitar'ssand, which can really mess up an opponent that relies on them. In summary, while Politoed has indeed been nerfed since VGC 2013, it is still a viable Pokemon with some neat roles, and its effectiveness should not be underestimated. Support ######## name: Support move 1: Scald move 2: Ice Beam move 3: Protect move 4: Rain Dance / Encore / Perish Song ability: Drizzle item: Sitrus Berry / Damp Rock evs: 252 HP / 236 Def / 20 SpD ivs: 29 Spe nature: Sassy Moves ======== The move you will want to be using most on this set is Scald. Scald is preferred over Hydro Pump for itsreliability and the chance to burn dangerous physical threats. Ice Beam is the only other offensive move on this set, since the combination of Water and Ice coverage is only resisted by some other Water-types such as Rotom-W and Blastoise, so is sufficient for Politoed's purposes. Protect is a staple on this set, but remember not to try to stall with it as that wastes a turn of rain. The positive side, of course, is to help Politoed scout against or lureenemy attacks. Finally, Politoed can run many different support moves in the last spot. Rain Dance overall has the most utility, setting up rain again if either Charizard-Y and Tyranitar decides to jump in, but Encore shuts down a Pokemon that just used Protect, and Perish Song works great to win against the opponent's last two Pokemon. Set Details ======== The 29 Speed IV and Sassy nature make Politoed just slower than 0 Speed Tyranitar, which means that Drizzle will persist if both are sent out at the same time, but still faster than relevant threats like Mega Mawile. The EVs are designed to allow Politoed to live a Mega Charizard-Y's Solar Beam in sun, before rain gets back up, or an Energy Ball from Life Orb Venusaur. An alternative, less bulky spread with 244 SpA EVs can be used to OHKO Garchomp with Ice Beam. Sitrus Berry is the preferred item because it increases Politoed's survivability. However, Damp Rock is an option if Sitrus Berry is already being used by another Pokemon on a team, or if you value the eight turns of rain instead of five. Usage Tips ======== Politoed is most effective as a lead. This Politoed is slower than Tyranitar, so rain will be the prevailing weather instead of sand if they're sent out at the same time. However, against sun teams, it is recommended to put Politoed in the back in order to cancel out Mega Charizard-Y's Drought after the Mega Evolution. The best plan with Politoed is to lead with it, then to safely get in your offensive threats as soon as possible to make the mostof the rain. Politoed has a limited offensive movepool, so do not expect to kill something like Salamence with Ice Beam because it is incredibly obvious that you will attempt to do so. Team Options ======== A well-known and effective strategy is to pair Politoed with Swift Swim users such as Ludicolo and Kingdra, in order to have the edge on your opponent in terms of Speed. Furthermore, pairing Politoed with any otherPokemon that benefits from rain, such as Thunder Mega Manectric, Zapdos, and its frog friend, Toxicroak, is also a great idea in order to utilize those Pokemon to their full effect. Ironically, Fire-types such as Moltres are also good partners because they help deal with Mega Charizard-Y. Furthermore, Moltres in particular can spam Hurricane and remove Grass-types such as Mega Venusaur for Swift Swim users like Ludicolo so they in turn can spam their Water-type STAB moves. Surprisingly, Ground-types like Garchomp can prove to be good partners in order to remove Water-immunePokemon such as Heliolisk and Toxicroak. Ferrothorn is another great partner for Politoed because Ferrothorn's Fire-type weakness is mitigated by rain. In addition, Ferrothorn can whack Rotom-W with Power Whip, which completely walls Politoed. Amoonguss is another Pokemon that walls Rotom-W, and can put an opposing Pokemon to sleep, as well as support Swift Swim Pokemon with Rage Powder. Mawile is a cool option because it destroys Tyranitar; however, it sometimes has problems dealing with sun teams. Surf is always an option if you pair Politoed with Pokemon like Gastrodon, Heliolisk, and Toxicroak that appreciate being hit by Water moves. Most importantly, remember not to make a team completely dependent on rain. Drizzle is cool, but it will be very hard to consistently beat other weather teams if you are relying on rain in order to do so. Choice Scarf ######## name: Choice Scarf move 1: Hydro Pump / Scald move 2: Ice Beam move 3: Focus Blast move 4: Psychic / Encore / Rain Dance ability: Drizzle item: Choice Scarf evs: 4 Hp / 252 SpA / 252 Spe nature: Timid Moves ======== Hydro Pump is the advised STAB attacking option on the Choice Scarf set owing to its being Politoed's strongest attack. However, Scald is a more reliable option if you are afraid of missing. Ice Beam is the best option in the next slot, as it hits Flying-types, Dragon-types, and Grass-types, and has overall great coverage with a Water-type move. Focus Blast hits Tyranitar and Ferrothorn hard, the latter of which resists Hydro Pump. Finally, in the last spot, Psychic can be used to get a nice neutral hit on Rotom-W and it is super effective against Mega Venusaur and Amoonguss. Alternatively, Encore can be used to stop a Pokemon that just used Protect, or Rain Dance can always be used to set rain back up on a predicted Charizard-Y or Tyranitar switch-in. Set Details ======== The EVs are exactly what you would expect of a Choice Scarf Pokemon in VGC. Maximum Special Attack investment allows Politoed to hit as hard as possible, while maximum Speed in conjunction with Choice Scarf allows Politoed to outrun everything relevant besides Mega Manectric. There are not many alternative options for the first three move slots, but the 4th slot should be whatever has the most utility on a team. Usage Tips ======== Try not to lead with Politoed against teams that have other weather unless you are prepared to lock yourself into Rain Dance on turn one, just in case they also lead with a weather user and so nullify Drizzle. Always prepare to lead up against Rotom-W because it is the best common rain check besides Ferrothorn. Choice Scarf is more unexpected than the standard set with Sitrus Berry, so use this to your advantage and try and get some sneaky KOs early in the game. Team Options ======== It's always a good idea to pair Politoed up with Swift Swim Pokemon such as Kingdra or Ludicolo, no matter what spread Politoed is running. Lum Berry Ferrothorn is always a good option as well, not only because it can dent Rotom-W, but also because super effective Fire-type moves aimed at it are weakened in the rain. Goodra can switch in on Grass-type and Electric-type moves that are super effective against Politoed, and it also has access to Muddy Water. Pokemon with Thunder such as Mega Manectric and Zapdos are good options, because they can easily remove opposing Water-types. Finally, Moltres is a good option to beat Grass-types with super effective 100% accurate Hurricanes in the rain. Other Options ######## Politoed has a few other options with possible moves and items. Politoed can run a Wacan or Rindo Berry to protect it against super effective attacks and hopefully give it a longer lifespan, or catch a would-be check not expecting it to survive. Choice Specs is also an option to get some real power out of Politoed while not making it completely useless in the process. Politoed can run Hidden Power Grass to catch Rotom-W off-guard or Toxic to stall out some threats such as Mega Kangaskhan. Last but not least, an offensive set with Mystic Water is usable because it still adds power to Hydro Pump without locking Politoed into a specific move. Alternatively, Rest with a Chesto Berry is an option on the support set over Sitrus Berry and a support move. Checks & Counters ######## **Mega Charizard-Y**: A smart Mega Charizard-Y user will wait to Mega Evolve until Politoed comes in. Then, Drought will immediately cancel out Drizzle. **Grass-types**: Mega Venusaur just puts everything to sleep and spams Giga Drain. Amoonguss is the same, but to a lesser extent because it does not have Thick Fat, so it is more susceptible to Ice Beam. In addition, it can just Sludge Bomb the Grass-types that cannot be put to sleep. **Water-immune Pokemon**: Politoed cannot scratch Pokemon like Toxicroak and Heliolisk. They just absorb its Water-type attacks and set up. **Water-types**: Rotom-W is the important one. It really does a number on most rain teams, and is usually the strongest check against them on teams without Mega Charizard-Y or Tyranitar. **Water-type Attack Accuracy**: Hydro Pump and Muddy Water have shaky accuracy, and can make it hard to make a deep run in tournaments. **Tyranitar**: Smart players using Tyranitar can put up sand and seriously hamper Swift Swim spam. **Talonflame**: Choice Band Talonflame destroys Pokemon like Ludicolo and Kingdra who make great partners to the little frog, and it almost OHKOes Politoed itself. **Goodra**: Although it is rare, it is pretty much designed to wall rain teams. It laughs at special hits, and with Kabutops illegal in this year's format, rain teams lack the physical power they had last year.