Poliwrath - Moveset & Best Build for Ranked Battle | Pokemon Sword and Shield

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Poliwrath -  Movesets and Counters
This is a strategy guide for using Poliwrath in competitive play for the games Pokemon Sword and Shield. Read on for tips on the best Nature, EV spreads, Movesets, and Held Items to use with Poliwrath, as well as its strengths and weak points.

Poliwrath - Related Guides
Pokemon SWSH - Poliwrath Evolution and LearnsetEvolution and Learnset Pokemon SWSH - Poliwrath Best BuildBuild for Ranked Battle

Basic Information for Poliwrath

Types and Abilities

Pokemon Type 1 Type 2
Pokemon Sword and Shield - Water Type Pokemon Sword and Shield - Fighting Type
Abilities
Water Absorb Restores HP if hit by an Water-type move.
Damp Prevents the use of self-destructing moves.
Swift Swim (Hidden) Boosts the Pokemon's Speed in rain.

Poliwrath Weaknesses and Resistances

Type
Takes 4x damage
-
Takes 2x damage
Pokemon Grass Image Pokemon Electric Image Pokemon Flying Image Pokemon Psychic Image Pokemon Fairy Image
Takes 0.5x damage
Pokemon Fire Image Pokemon Water Image Pokemon Ice Image Pokemon Bug Image Pokemon Rock Image Pokemon Dark Image Pokemon Steel Image
Takes 1/4x damage
-
Takes 0x damage
-

What is Type Effectiveness?

Base Stats

HP Attack Defense Sp. Atk Sp. Def Speed
90 95 95 70 90 70

Best Nature for Poliwrath

Best Natures
Adamant
(+Atk, -Sp.Atk)
Jolly
(+Spd, -Sp.Atk)

Singles Movesets for Poliwrath

Bulk Up Sweeper Moveset & Best Build

Bulk Up Sweeper Poliwrath.png

Nature Adamant(+Atk, -Sp.Atk)
EV Spread HP 252 / Atk 252 / Sp.Def 4
Final Stat Values HP 197 / Atk 161 / Def 115 / Sp.Def 111 / Spd 90
Ability Water Absorb
Held Item Leftovers
Moveset Bulk Up
Liquidation
Drain Punch
Ice Punch

Poliwrath received several new physical moves this Generation and can now function as a strong, bulky sweeper that can easily fit in both Offensive and Defensive-oriented teams.

About Poliwrath's Moves

Bulk Up is Poliwrath's most important move, boosting its respectable attack and defense stat by 1 stage. Thanks to Poliwrath's natural bulk, it's possible to use this move several times!

Liquidation is Poliwrath's main Water STAB move - an 85 base power move that has a 20% chance to lower the target's defense by 1 stage. Drain Punch is its secondary STAB move that restores HP by 50% of the damage the move deals.

Ice Punch is its last move and provides great coverage, allowing Poliwrath to hit Grass, Flying, and Dragon-types for super effective damage.

About Poliwrath's EV Spread

We're using a bulkier stat spread for Poliwrath, with an Adamant Nature and full EV investment in ATK. Full investment in HP ensures Poliwrath is as bulky as possible while also getting as much passive recovery from Leftovers.

The remaining 4 Sp.Def EVs ensure Poliwrath's Special Defense is just 4 points lower than its Defense, giving it great overall bulk.

About Poliwrath's Ability

Water Absorb gives Poliwrath plenty of chances to switch in and set up with Bulk Up. It's best to switch it in on a sweeper that's Choice-locked on a Water-type move, such as Dracovish or Urshifu Rapid-Strike.

About Poliwrath's Held Item

We're giving Poliwrath the Leftovers held item to give it some passive recovery. This pairs well with its ability and the move Drain Punch, allowing Poliwrath to easily heal off damage and stay in the battle for a longer time.

Other Viable Moves

Rock Slide An alternative to Ice Punch. While it gives poorer coverage, it has a nice flinch rate that Poliwrath can use against slower opposing Pokemon.
Protect Allows Poliwrath to scout attacks and get passive healing from Leftovers.
Substitute A good alternative to Ice Punch. It protects Poliwrath from status and is not easily broken due to its naturally high bulk and HP.

Doubles Movesets for Poliwrath

Belly Drum Sweeper Doubles Moveset & Best Build

Belly Drum Sweeper Doubles Poliwrath.png

Nature Jolly(+Spd, -Sp.Atk)
EV Spread Atk 252 / Sp.Def 4 / Spd 252
Final Stat Values HP 165 / Atk 147 / Def 115 / Sp.Def 111 / Spd 134
Ability Swift Swim
Held Item Sitrus Berry
Moveset Belly Drum
Liquidation
Drain Punch
Ice Punch

This Poliwrath fills the role of a bulky but fast sweeper under Rain in Doubles, and is best partnered with a Pokemon that can immediately set it up, such as Politoed or Pelipper.

About Poliwrath's Moves

Belly Drum boosts Poliwrath's Attack by 6 stages, but cuts it HP by half. This is easily remedied by using the move Drain Punch as it restores HP by 50% of the damage the move deals.

Liquidation is its secondary STAB move, and the 20% chance to lower the opponent's Defense by 1 stage makes Poliwrath an even more fearsome sweeper, especially after it's gained its Belly Drum boost!

Ice Punch is its last move and provides important coverage, allowing Poliwrath to hit bulky Grass, Flying, and Dragon-types that are common in the Doubles Metagame.

About Poliwrath's EV Spread

Max EV investmetn in Attack and Speed ensures Poliwrath hits hard and can outpace faster Pokemon under the effects of Rain. The remaining 4 Sp.Def EVs ensure Poliwrath's Special Defense is just 4 points lower than its Defense, giving it great overall bulk.

About Poliwrath's Ability

Swift Swim allows Poliwrath to outspeed Pokemon that are normally faster than it under the effects of Rain. At level 50, Poliwrath has an effective speed stat of 268 with this ability, allowing it to outspeed the likes of Jolly Cinderace, Timid Dragapult, and Choice Scarf Dracovish to name a few!

About Poliwrath's Held Item

We're giving Poliwrath the Sitrus Berry as it provides greater healing than Leftovers in Doubles. It also activates immediately after it uses Belly Drum.

Check out our article below to learn more about Sitrus Berries and Leftovers in Doubles.

Sitrus Berry vs Leftovers in Doubles

Other Viable Moves

Rock Slide An alternative to Ice Punch. While it gives poorer coverage, it hits both opposing Pokemon and has a nice flinch rate..
Protect Allows Poliwrath to scout attacks.
Substitute A good alternative to Ice Punch. It protects Poliwrath from status and is not easily broken due to its naturally high bulk and HP.

How to Use Poliwrath Effectively

A Slow and Sturdy Sweeper

Poliwrath separates itself from other sweepers in Singles by filling the role of a true bulky sweeper. Instead of threatening opposing teams from the start, it functions as a slow and sturdy attacker - accumulating attack and defense boosts with Bulk Up until it's sturdy enough to take even super effective attacks and hit back with a boosted Liquidation or Drain Punch.

How to Build a Team with Poliwrath

Poliwrath's great bulk and respectable attack allow it to comfortably fit into many teams, though it excels in a team environment where its strengths are highlighted.

An Offensive Core in Rain

Poliwrath fits perfectly in Rain teams and can function as one of its offensive cores. In Singles, it's fills the role of a bulkier attacker that complements the speed and immediate offensive presence of its teammates, such as Kingdra.

Check out our article below to learn more about how to build a Weather Team.

How to Build a Weather Team

A Fearsome Sweeper in Rain

In Doubles, Poliwrath functions differently. It fills the role of a fast but bulky sweeper under Rain thanks to its ability Swift Swim. This, on top of the attack boost it gets from Belly Drum, make it a fearsome sweeper that can break through unprepared teams.

It's best partnered with Pokemon that can immediately set up Rain, such as Politoed or Pelipper. Check out our article below to learn more about how to build a Doubles Team.

How to Build a Doubles Team

Teams Featuring Poliwrath

All our Teams are available for free rental, and usable in Ranked Battle with no EV Training necessary.
All Best Teams for Ranked Battle

Sample Rain Team for Ranked Battle

Sample Rain Team for Ranked Battle
Pokemon SWSH - Kyogre ImageKyogre Pokemon SWSH - Poliwrath ImagePoliwrath Pokemon SWSH - Kingdra ImageKingdra
Pokemon SWSH - Dracozolt ImageDracozolt Pokemon SWSH - Starmie ImageStarmie Pokemon SWSH - Celesteela ImageCelesteela

With the re-introduction of Legendaries in the Crown Tundra DLC, Kyogre returns as the premier Rain-setting Pokemon surpassing Pelipper. With the offense that Kyogre brings, the entire team is built around dealing damage in strong, decisive blows.

The rest of the team comprises of Pokemon that support Kyogre, such as Dracozolt and Celesteela who do well against Kyogre's weaknesses. While the other members are attackers who benefit from rain; Poliwrath and Kingdra get a speed boost thanks to Swift Swim. Read on for insights about this team that might give you new insights to the metagame as a whole.

Sample Rain Team for Ranked Battle

Counters for Poliwrath

Poliwrath
Weakness Pokemon Grass Image Pokemon Electric Image Pokemon Flying Image Pokemon Psychic Image Pokemon Fairy Image

Use a Pokemon with the ability Unaware

Even with Bulk Up and Belly Drum boosts, there are Pokemon that take little damage from Poliwrath's attacks or competely ignore its boosts with their ability.

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Pokemon SWSH - Clefable ImageClefable Ranking: ★★★★★
・Ignores Poliwrath's boost with Unaware
・Resists Poliwrath's Fighting-type STAB
・Can threaten with STAB super effective Moonblast

Moveset & Best Build for Clefable
Pokemon SWSH - Quagsire ImageQuagsire Ranking: ★★★★★
・Ignores Poliwrath's boost with Unaware
・Can lock Poliwrath into a move with Encore or cripple it with Toxic
Moveset & Best Build for Quagsire

Related Links

Pokemon Sword and Shield - Best Builds for Ranked Battle

All Competitive Builds for Ranked Battle

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