Japanese Name: ニョロトノ (Nyorotono)
Classification: Frog Pokémon
Weight: 74.7 lbs
Gender Ratios: Male 50% – Female 50%
Base Stats: HP 90 / Atk 75 / Def 75 / SpAtk 90 / SpDef 100 / Spd 70
Politoed is a Pokemon that suffered from a notable degree of mediocrity prior to Gen 5. His stats are average, his typing is average, and his movepool left him puttering along in the wake of many other Pokemon like Kingdra, Milotic and Gastrodon who arguably filled any role Politoed could to a better degree. New life has been breathed into Politoed in 5th Gen, though, after Game Freak and Pokemon Company bestowed the little frog with the sublime ability Drizzle, a right once held only by Kyogre, allowing permanent rain to finally be used outside of the Uber tier. With a slightly re-tooled movepool and greater tactical advantages, Politoed is a valuable addition to any team serious about picking up the benefits of Rain.
Politoed has strength in bulkiness in terms of stats. HP 90 and SpDef 100 gives him the ability to take a few hits on the Special side and keep hopping, but is physically frail. Politoed also has a SpAtk stat of 90, which gives him just enough bite to pull off a set designed around special offense, particularly when paired with Choice Specs. With a base Speed of 70, though, Politoed is outrun by a number of Pokemon, and his lagging movement should be taken into consideration if planning an offensive set. Defensively this is usually a non-issue, especially if Politoed is filling a support Drizzle role.
Politoed has a wide variety of Special attacks to complement his usable base 90 SpAtk. Ice Beam is always effective for type coverage, particularly against opposing Grass types. Psychic has weak type coverage potential, supereffectively striking only Poison and Fighting and being neutralized completely by Dark types, but it has situational uses, such as countering Toxicroak and Gengar. Focus Blast is an effective tool against Steel, Ice, Normal, Dark and Rock, but it is a bit of a gamble with 70% accuracy. For STAB, Politoed has Scald, Surf and Hydro Pump. Scald has the potential to spread Burn status, Surf has 100% accuracy, and Hydro Pump has 120 base power, but 80% accuracy. Out of the three, Hydro Pump has the greatest utility, striking with 50% more power due to Rain that Politoed can summon itself, turning neutral damage into lethal damage, but Surf and Scald are also worth taking note, depending on your team’s needs.
In addition to his offensive power, Politoed also has some decent support moves to run with. Haze and Mist can neutralize stat changes, while Encore can lock an opponent into a move, causing general frustration and hair-pulling. Hypnosis has frightening accuracy, but has the potential to cripple a team beyond recovery, and becomes 100% accurate if combined with Mind Reader. Perish Song has the effect of the Mad Hatter shouting “change places!”, causing all to flee or perish after three turns, while Toxic just causes opponents to perish.
To be perfectly honest, Drizzle should be considered Politoed’s only ability. With the proliferation of data over the GTS and the Dreamworld, it is fairly easy to obtain a Drizzle Politoed or the data for one, despite it being a Hidden Ability, and Drizzle carries far too much practicality and importance for OU teambuilding to ignore it. Water Absorb should only be considered if playing a Politoed in the lower tiers, and Damp is all but completely obsolete due to Self-Destruct and Explosion no longer halving the Defense stat of the opponent before calculating damage.
Despite a number of rocky years in the competitive world of Pokemon, Politoed has re-emerged as one of the most important pieces to work with in the OU metagame, simply due to its ever-important Drizzle ability. While its typing carries with it no spectacular resistances, its mono-Water typing gives it weakness only to Grass and Electric, and its defenses give it a fighting chance in the high-energy world of OU. Love it or hate it, Politoed is around to stay, and is a completely indispensible aspect of competitive play that would be unwise to overlook.