Gen 3 Poliwhirl (NU Analysis)

Oglemi

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Secret Boss Mod
#1

https://www.smogon.com/dex/rs/pokemon/poliwhirl/

[Overview]

Poliwhirl is the definition of a one-trick pony, but it does its trick well. Belly Drum transforms Poliwhirl into a veritable riptide, allowing it to tear through teams with ease. The issue is safely setting up, and the effort to do so will sometimes leave you wishing you were using something a bit more reliable. Poliwhirl's high Speed, immunity to Water, and access to Hypnosis make setting up possible, but its frailty and complete lack of power before the boost can mean doing so successfully is tough to do. In the end, Poliwhirl has to compete for a teamslot with similar sweepers such as Reversal Raticate and Yanma, but the huge boost from Belly Drum places Poliwhirl on an entirely different plane of power and can allow it to break through Pokemon they can only dream of.

[SET]
name: Belly Drum
move 1: Belly Drum
move 2: Hypnosis / Substitute
move 3: Earthquake
move 4: Hidden Power Flying
item: Salac Berry
ability: Water Absorb
nature: Jolly
evs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe

[SET COMMENTS]
- There's two slightly different directions you can take with this set, depending on if you go with Hypnosis or Substitute
- Hypnosis makes it far easier to get Belly Drum off safely, but Substitute will ensure Salac Berry is activated after Belly Drum
- Problem with Substitute is that Poliwhirl isn't exactly threatening without a BD boost, so if the opponent stays in to break the Sub, which almost anything can do, then Poliwhirl will be unlikely to get BD off. Substitute works best against something like Wailord without Roar or HP Grass, but that's pretty uncommon
- Earthquake + HP Flying is the best two-move coverage available, HP Rock is also an option but lacks the super effective hit on Grass-types which is a bit more desirable

[ADDITIONAL SET COMMENTS]
- Jolly is needed to outpace as much as possible before and after a BD boost.
- Spikes are nice to have on the field to ensure a OHKO on Sableye and increase the odds of KOing Relicanth, making Glalie a good partner
- Poliwhirl works in the lead slot as an anti-lead, if doing this use Damp to prevent Torkoal and Glalie from using Explosion against Poliwhirl
- Base 90 is good but not good enough to guarantee a late-game sweep without a Salac boost, meaning Pidgeot, Murkrow, Plusle, Haunter, and Raticate need to be eliminated beforehand or scouted for if you feel you won't be able to get the Salac boost
- Works well with Diglett to weaken or remove Relicanth before being brought out, Diglett also lures out Wailord for Poliwhirl to set up on it

[Other Options]
- Hydro Pump works ok on the BD set to threaten mons without a BD boost, particularly Sudowoodo and Mawile, but Poliwhirl's SpA is pretty bad
- Swagger can force a setup situation against the opponent but Hypnosis is a bit more reliable
- Facade

[Checks and Counters]
- Relicanth
- Sableye
- Def Wailord, Whiscash
- Def Tangela
- Anything faster than base 90 pre-Salac boost
- Pretty much anything not named Flareon or Roselia without a BD boost
 

Bughouse

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#2
Memento is this guy's best friend for setting up a sub. Or screens. Screens is just harder to do, since it involves pivoting. But I could see it working with like... Screens Boom Metang.

For example:
-2 0 Atk Relicanth Rock Slide vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Poliwhirl: 54-64 (19.9 - 23.6%)

There are a few other targets for setting up a sub even without Memento that are a bit more likely than Wailord lacking BOTH hidden power and roar. Does that even exist? It'd probably have EQ if neither of those if nothing else.

1) Defensive Dewgong with Toxic instead of Encore or Perish Song. 0 SpA Ice Beam does almost always break sub, though, so you can EV a good bit into bulk to have sub live that.
2) similarly, rest talk Pelipper, since its Ice Beam lacks STAB.
3) Mawile whose only attacking move is HP Steel.
 

Fakes

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#3
Other than Memento, trapping move + sleep-inducing move is the best preparation for Poliwhirl. Unfortunately, only Haunter (Mean Look/Hypnosis), Glalie (Block/Sing, incompatible with Spikes, sadly), Tangela (Bind/Sleep Powder) and the rather gimmicky Ponyta (Fire Spin/Hypnosis), Weepinbell (Wrap/Sleep Powder), Kirlia (Mean Look/Hypnosis) and Smoochum (Mean Look/Sing) have access to these combinations in NU.

HP Flying is a bad move choice in my opinion, as is any Hidden Power, since it even fails to kill off Pidgeot and Chimecho without Defense EV for sure:
+6 252+ Atk Poliwhirl Hidden Power Flying vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Pidgeot: 271-319 (87.9 - 103.5%) -- 25% chance to OHKO
+6 252+ Atk Poliwhirl Hidden Power Flying vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Chimecho: 286-337 (85.6 - 100.8%) -- 6.3% chance to OHKO after Leftovers recovery

On the other hand, +6 Frustration just narrowly kills any Bellossom without Defense investments all of the time:
+6 252+ Atk Poliwhirl Frustration vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Bellossom: 354-417 (100 - 117.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO

Ironically, HP Flying does not even help with Tangela all that much, as the Sunny Day variant is slaughtered by Frustration as well AND bulky Tangela will always survive even HP Flying at full health:
+6 252+ Atk Poliwhirl Frustration vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tangela: 276-325 (101.4 - 119.4%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+6 252+ Atk Poliwhirl Hidden Power Flying vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Tangela: 280-330 (83.8 - 98.8%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

Even Hitmonchan needs 304 HP / 242 Def (252 / 192 in EV) to have a slight chance of surving +6 Frustration:
+6 252+ Atk Poliwhirl Frustration vs. 252 HP / 188 Def Hitmonchan: 304-358 (100 - 117.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO

The only true merit of HP Flying is hitting the rare Shedinja, so I strongly believe Frustration is a far superior fourth move option.
 

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