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RBY [Violet] Poliwrath

Discussion in 'Individual Analyses' started by Disaster Area, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Furr and Power Member

    May 4, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Poliwrath [​IMG]
    Type: Water / Fighting
    Stats: 90 | 115 | 95 | 70 | 70

    Changes In Violet Pertinent To This Analysis:
    - Poliwrath gains access to Dream Eater.
    - Poliwrath gains 30 base Attack.
    - Karate Chop is now Fighting-type. Dream Eater is Ghost-type, 200 BP, is effective against sleeping, poisoned, and badly poisoned foes, and heals 100% of damage dealt. Submission is now 100 BP and has 100% accuracy.
    - Ghost-type moves are super-effective rather than ineffective against Psychic-types.
    - For a full list of changes in Violet, see this thread.


    Poliwrath has a broad array of viable options, but it stands out the most for its near-exclusive access to Dream Eater, a powerful, archetype-defining move which only Gengar, Beedrill, and Hypno have besides it. Poliwrath makes excellent use of the move through its high attack stat, access to the very complimentary move Hypnosis, and good STAB options - in particular, Karate Chop (and Submission) do immense damage to Normal-types, the only Pokemon immune to Dream Eater. Its wide array of options means that it isn't even forced to run Hypnosis or Dream Eater - Amnesia-based sweeping is an option for it too.

    Another big upside of Poliwrath is the fact that its resistance to Rock-type moves, complemented further by its Fire-type resistance, making it a very good check to Aerodactyl, one of the best Pokemon in the tier. While its weakness to Sky Attack means it doesn't handle it single-handedly, it is a big positive trait for it, especially as its Water-type STAB enables it to threaten Aerodactyl far more than othr Fighting-types, such as Machamp and Primeape, can.

    It's not all rainbows for Poliwrath, though, of course. Its weakness to Psychic is still a big issue to overcome, and Grass-, Electric-, and Flying-type attacks are seen plenty in the metagame too, while its speed is fairly average and it lacks recovery options besides Dream Eater and Rest. While it has these quite major flaws, however, the upsides are more than enough to make it a strong choice with a real place in the metagame, primarily on teams oriented around abusing Dream Eater.


    Dream Eater

    - Dream Eater
    - Karate Chop
    - Hypnosis / Toxic
    - Surf / Hydro Pump / Earthquake / Toxic

    Set Details

    The overview covered quite well the potency of Dream Eater, and this set is, quite simply, based around abusing it as best Poliwrath can. Karate Chop is an excellent STAB move, always critical hitting for Poliwrath and hitting all Pokemon which resist Dream Eater super-effectively. Spreading status is crucial for Dream Eater teams; Poliwrath can opt either to run Hypnosis, which is a more powerful status than Toxic, but limited by Sleep Clause, or Toxic, which is a weaker status option but can be used against multiple foes. As many Pokemon, like Starmie, Golduck, Butterfree, and Gyarados stop being great switch-ins to Poliwrath once statused, Poliwrath does have the capacity to effectively spread Toxic. The two moves can be used in conjunction with one another, sacrificing a coverage move, but not opting for a third attack does have real downsides. Surf 2HKOs Aerodactyl, and unlike Dream Eater doesn't require that Aerodactyl already be statused and is unaffected by Sky Attack's charge turn effect. It also 2HKOs Nidoqueen, is a reliable attack, and has higher PP. Hydro Pump sacrifices the higher PP and perfect accuracy for a 3HKO on Gengar and Golbat, 4HKO on Muk, and, less relevantly, 3- and 4HKOs versus various Dream Eater-weak Psychic-types. Earthquake sacrifices the ability to 2HKO Aerodactyl without statusing it first, and leaves it utterly walled by an awake Golbat, and is only a roll to 2HKO Nidoqueen, but in return 2HKOs Gengar and Arbok, and 3HKOs Muk, making it a solid coverage option too.

    Submission is a more powerful alternative Fighting-type STAB option for Poliwrath, but the recoil is too great a cost when the reliable Karate Chop is available, especially as the primary target of Fighting-type attacks are Normal-types with high HP - i.e. Chansey and Snorlax. Furthermore, Karate Chop bypasses Reflect, a move both of those Pokemon sometimes use. Psychic is an alternative to Earthquake, hitting Poison-types too, but it only outdamages Hydro Pump and Earthquake versus Vileplume, which Blizzard also does, as well as hitting Dragonite and Exeggutor in the process.


    - Hypnosis
    - Karate Chop
    - Hydro Pump / Surf
    - Blizzard / Earthquake / Amnesia

    Set Details

    Dropping Dream Eater means that Starmie, Golduck, and Slowbro wall you to hell and back whatever you do, but they can still be slept, making a set without Dream Eater viable on teams utilising a different status strategy. Its two STABs let it hit most other Pokemon very hard. Blizzard can be used to hit Exeggutor, Dragonite, and Golbat, which resist both of its STABs, super-effectively, as well as hitting Gyarados neutrally. Earthquake hits Gengar and other Poison-types which may be keen to switch in, and is at least not resisted by Starmie, Golduck, and Slowbro, helping it act more self-sufficiently, and Amnesia is a potent boosting move which helps it exploit sleeping opponents to sweep, or at least do substantial damage, but there are a number of Pokemon standing in its way with only its STABs for coverage. The choice between Hydro Pump and Surf is a choice between power versus accuracy, but Hydro Pump does secure notable KOs making it the preferred choice overall. For example, Hydro Pump 4HKOs Gengar and Hypno, while Surf does not, it 3HKOs Butterfree while Surf rarely does, and it usually 3HKOs Jynx while Surf can only 4HKO.

    Forgotten Set

    - Amnesia
    - Hydro Pump
    - Karate Chop
    - Blizzard

    Set Details

    Poliwrath can opt to run Amnesia without Hypnosis too, using the additional moveslot for coverage instead. Blizzard does a lot of damage to Dragonite, Exeggutor, and Vileplume which all take even Amnesia-boosted Water-type attacks with ease. Besides Starmie, Golduck, and Slowbro, which comfortably beat any Poliwrath lacking Dream Eater, Poliwrath can at least trade for significant damage after an Amnesia boost versus any Pokemon. Hydro Pump 2HKOs Pokemon like Gengar, Muk, and Hypno after a single Amnesia boost, while Surf cannot, making it the preferred Water-type STAB on this set.

    Other Options

    Body Slam is an option that lets it spread paralysis, but it has only a 30% chance to paralyze, and it doesn't affect Golduck or Gengar, two good to great switch-ins to Poliwrath, so even though it is backed up by a good attack stat and some common switch-ins like Starmie or Gyarados are decent targets, it's difficult to make use of, unreliable, and doesn't really play to Poliwrath's strengths. Counter is a classic surprise move, but is difficult to make use of and, more importantly, very difficult to fit onto a set. There are a number of fairly standard moves like Rest and Hyper Beam which wouldn't be useless on Poliwrath necessarily, but offer so little utility given what else Poliwrath could be running that the opportunity cost in running them is far too great.

    Checks and Counters

    No Pokemon will reliably beat every variant of Poliwrath, but some Pokemon make better checks than others. Poison-types are immune to Toxic, making them unafraid of Dream Eater unless slept, but some, like Nidoqueen, Beedrill, or Arbok, are 2- or 3HKO'd by Poliwrath's Water-type STABs, making poor checks. Golbat, too, is 3HKO'd by Hydro Pump, but can at least do a lot of damage back with Gust (having a small chance to 2HKO) and annihilates the double-status variant of Poliwrath so long as it is awake. Gengar and Muk are good answers to the Dream Eater variant unless it runs Earthquake. Earthquake 2HKOs Gengar and Muk. Amnesia variants also cause trouble for Gengar and Muk, as Amnesia-boosted Hydro Pump 2HKOs both of them. Golduck, Starmie, and Slowbro are excellent answers to Poliwrath lacking Dream Eater, as without that move Poliwrath can hardly touch them. Gyarados, Dragonite, and Exeggutor resist both of Poliwrath's STABs, but Exeggutor is slower and weak to Dream Eater, Dragonite fears and is annihilated by Blizzard and can't hit back super-effectively anyway. Gyarados, however, takes Blizzard neutrally, can retaliate with Thunderbolt or Sky Attack, and only takes around 50% from a successful Dream Eater, making it one of Poliwrath's best catch-all answers. Other Pyschic, Electric, Grass, and Flying-types can act as checks to Poliwrath too, in spite of being neutral to or weak to some of its attacks, and in the case of Psychic-types (usually) OHKO'd by Dream Eater. Zapdos is one of the best of these options, resisting Karate Chop and hitting Poliwrath super-effectively with either STAB, while having the bulk to take its hits fairly easily, although Dream Eater or Amnesia-boosted attacks will certainly sting.
    Lilyhollow and DarkCyborg like this.

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