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If you have a good competitive moveset for Poliwrath, post an answer below and upvote the best ones. Movesets for its pre-evolutions, if any, can also be shared on this thread.

Be sure to include full set details in your post, e.g. items, abilities, natures and EVs. Some detail, including the intended game mode for your set, is also appreciated. Access the full list of guidelines here.

Poliwrath Pokédex and learnset for reference.

Sprite

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19 Answers

3 votes

Role: BD Sweeper

Poliwrath (M) @ Leftovers

Trait: Water Absorb
EVs: 160 HP / 96 Atk / 252 Spd
Jolly Nature (+Spd, -SAtk)
- Belly Drum
- Hypnosis
- Waterfall
- Wake-up Slap

Okay, most think this is Gimmiky, but I have swept whole teams with it. If You can plan a switch right, you can Water Absorb an Attack, pissing someone off and most likely getting them to switch Out. On that turn, you can pull off your Belly Drum.

Now, you can Put something to sleep and use Wake-up Slap, or just use it in General to take down Resisting foes, such as other water types, or Ferrothorn. Hypnosising those who You doubt you can OHKO.

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i don't think its gimmicky at all its a very effective move set i prefer hypnosis over substitute any day because of poliwrath's sub par health he cant hold a decent sub to begin with. you just don't have that edge against dark types, but when you have the belly drum you aren't really worried about that. on my poliwrath i have substitute and focus punch as the only differences. but very good move set very effective poliwrath can be dangerous when used proporly
high risk huge returns
Hypnosising?
I run this set with Psychium Z (Z-Hypnosis gives a +1 to speed, which it really needs). Also, I run Brick Break over Wake Up Slap, because even though Brick Break is 75 bp, and W-U-S is 80 bp if they're asleep, waking up your opponents pokemon is just very stupid. If you really want that extra power, go for Submission, or even Focus Punch instead.
BiggyWrath

It IS gimmicky. Hypnosis has 60% accuracy, which isn't very good. Gimmicky doesn't mean bad though.

Like Dizzyhead said, high risk high return.
1 vote

Gen III

Poliwrath (M) @ Leftovers

Ability: Water Absorb

EVs: 252 Atk / 40 Def / 80 SDef / 136 Spd

Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)

  • Hypnosis
  • Focus Punch
  • Earthquake
  • Bulk Up

This is a fun to use " Try your luck " Set.

You can switch into a water move to force a switch, or just hope for a hit and use Hypnosis.
Now you can bulk up, or Hit someone in the face with an STAB Focus Punch, your choice.
And Earthquake gives great coverage.

Warning: Do not use agaisn't Gengar

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1 vote

Poliwrath

Nature: Adamant
Ability: Swift swim
Item: Leftovers
EVs: 252 Attack, 252 speed, 6 hp

Waterfall
Brick-break
Earthquake
Bulk-up/Belly-drum/Rain-dance

Leftovers keeps him alive he has decent bulk which can provide him the ability to survive longer. Waterfall is great STAB that he can even flinch with. Brick-break and Earthquake provide great coverage. Bulk up is for reliable attack raising and Def Raising, Belly drum is great but lowers his hp by half which is a huge draw back even with healing from leftovers use rain dance when you lack Rain support.

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1 vote

Physical Sweeper

Poliwrath (M) @Leftovers
Trait: Water absorb
Nature: Adamant (+Atk. -Sp.Atk.)
EV's: 252 Atk. 252 Def. 4 Hp.

  • Ice Punch - coverage against Flying and Grass.
  • Waterfall - as Trachy said, Waterfall has STAB, accuracy, and a good chance to make the foe flinch.
  • Bulk Up - raises Attack & Defense for Poliwrath.
  • Brick Break - STAB and accuracy.
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1 vote

SUB-DRUM-SALAC POLIWRATH
Poliwrath(M/F) @ Salac Berry
Trait: Water Absorb
EVs: 12 HP 244 ATK 252 SPEED
Nature: Adamant (+Atk-SpAtk) Jolly (+Speed-SpAtk)
-Substitute
-Belly Drum
-Brick Break|Waterfall|Ice Punch (emerald move tutor)
-Brick Break|Waterfall|Ice Punch (emerald move tutor)

Switch in against a water type Pokemon/one that will flee, Set up Substitute on the switch-in, Belly Drum as they break the sub, Activate the salac berry for boosted speed stat, and sweep!

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Doomed by priority moves.
Lobster44

Hardly
Extremespeed - Neutral
Aqua Jet - Heals Poli
Ice Shard - Resisted
Bullet Punch - Resisted
Vacuum Wave - Neutral

Do you think before you type?
Depending on the Pokémon Poliwrath goes against, Extreme Speed can knock it out
1 vote

I'm surprised no mind reader set:

Poliwrath @ Life Orb
Ability: Water Absorb
Nature: Adamant (if not hydro pumping)/Brave
EVs: 252 Attack, 252 Defence/Sp.Atk (if hydro pumping), 4 HP

Mind Reader
Dynamic Punch
Ice Punch
Waterfall/Hydro Pump

Totally outclassed by a no guard Pokemon, other than the coverage water brings. Mind reader to guarantee a hit next turn, then use dynamic punch or hydro pump. I prefer waterfall, as you don't need to EV train sp.atk for it, so you can have more bulk. Ice Punch is for coverage.

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Ice Punch might be a better choice than submission, for the sake of coverage against Grass and Flying types.
Why Hydro Pump with Adamant???
1 vote

Gen 8 Belly Drum Set
Poliwrath
Poliwrath @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Swift Swim
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Close Combat
- Earthquake
- Liquidation
- Belly Drum

Should be used in rain teams. Close Combat and Liquidation are STAB moves. Earthquake is for Electric types. Belly Drum to max out your attack stat and sweep.

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Man what a great set
1 vote

Gen 8 NU or PU
Poliwrath
Poliwrath @ Leftovers
Ability: Water Absorb
EVs: 252 HP / 160 Def / 96 Spe
Impish Nature
- Scald
- Circle Throw / Drain Punch
- Rest
- Sleep Talk

I'm kind of surprised a set like this hasn't been posted yet. This is a RestTalk set. Scald is for the burn chance. You can either use Circle Throw or Drain Punch. Rest is for healing. Sleep Talk allows Poliwrath to use Scald or the fighting type move you choose. If you go with Circle Throw, Sleep Talk allows Circle Throw to not have negative priority, meaning that if Poliwrath is faster, Poliwrath can force the opponent to switch if Sleep Talk lands on Circle Throw. Drain Punch is for recovering HP if you choose Drain Punch.

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0 votes

Gen V

Poliwrath (M) @ Leftovers

Trait: Water Absorb

EVs: 136 HP / 124 Atk / 248 Def

Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)

  • Circle Throw
  • Waterfall
  • Bulk Up
  • Ice Punch

Bulky attacker. Use Bulk Up and you'll be hard to take down. Circle Throw is a really nice move, as it does nice damage while preventing the foe from setting up. If you have entry hazards up already, so much the better. Waterfall is there for STAb of course. Ice Punch is type coverage. Water Absorb and Leftovers help with making it bulky, and the EVs also fit in with that, while also providing a nice starting Attack for Bulk Up to boost.

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0 votes

Double/Triple battle

Poliwrath (M) @ Damp Rock
Trait: Water Absorb
EVs: 156 HP / 252 Atk / 100 Def
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
- Waterfall
- Rain Dance
- DynamicPunch
- Rock Slide

Rain Dance actually makes things very interesting. Okay, so most people will expect Poliwrath to have Water Absorb. But then you use Rain Dance and they'll think you have Swift Swim. But then it turns out you have Water Absorb. A bit of a mind-game going on here. Waterfall is STAB. DynamicPunch is also STAB. While it has horrible accuracy on its own, having Gravity support brings it up to 80%, the equal of Cross Chop. Rock Slide is coverage that hits multiple foes.

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0 votes

Poliwrath (M) @ Leftovers
Trait: Water Absorb
EVs: 128 HP / 254 Atk / 128 SDef
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
- Bulk Up (Stat)
- Waterfall (Stab)
- Earthquake (Coverage, Power)
- Brick Break (Stab)

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0 votes

Power-Switch Poliwrath

Item: Sitrus Berry/Zoom Lens
Ability: Damp
EVs: 152 ATK/ 100 DEF/ 252 SP. DEF
Nature: Impish (+Defence -Sp. Attack)

-Hypnosis
-Circle Throw
-Power-Up Punch
-Waterfall

The trick here is to train your Poliwrath's Defence and Sp. Defence to make it more bulky, as it's already blessed with decent HP. Using Hypnosis will send your opponent to sleep, during which you can increase your attack by using Power-Up Punch once or twice, before switching them out with Circle Throw. This starts their sleep cycle over again and essentially gives you one or two free hits. Waterfall is for coverage as well as STAB. It's definitely possible to send all 3 opponents to sleep before switching them out to secure a 3-0 victory. Zoom Lens is for Hypnosis and Circle Throw or the Sitrus Berry is to regain health as Poliwrath will most likely attack second.

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You mentioned a team of 3? Is this meant for in game? Battle Tree? Etc?
0 votes

Poliwrath @ Leftovers
Ability: Water Absorb
EVs: 248 HP / 220 Atk / 40 SpD
Adamant Nature
- Focus Punch
- Substitute
- Payback
- Bulk Up

Pretty solid set, Works pretty good. Just enough sp. def to even out the defensive stats. He is pretty hard to take down once you get his checks/counters out of the ways.

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0 votes

Poliwrath
Nature: Jolly (-Sp. Atk, +Spe.)
Ability: Damp(for when someone gets tired of you sweeping through their Pokemon)
EVs: 100 HP, 100 Def., 56 Sp. Def., 252 Spe.

Mind Reader- Just in case Fissure misses
Fissure- A guaranteed OHKO just make sure you're faster than the opponent in case they 2HKO you
Waterfall- A backup move
Double Team- Raise evasiveness

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0 votes

Special Set:
Ability: Water Absorb (might get a heal on a predicted switch, easing Life Orb recoil)
Nature: Modest/Timid (depending on fourth move)
EVs: 252 special attack, 252 speed, 4 health
Item: Life Orb
Moves:
Focus Blast (stab)
Scald (stab and burn chance)
Ice beam
Vacuum Wave (priority stab, use on Modest set)/Mud Bomb or Psychic (coverage, use on Timid)

Generally outclassed by the physical sets since Poliwrath has no way to boost Special Attack but the surprise can net you a KO when your opponent prepares for a physical attacker.

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0 votes

Gen 8 Revenge Killer

Poliwrath @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Damp
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Liquidation
- Close Combat
- Darkest Lariat
- Earthquake

Liquidation and Close Combat for STAB. Darkest Lariat is for Ghost types. Earthquake is for electric types.

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0 votes

Gen 8 ZU


Poliwrath @ Leftovers
Ability: Water Absorb
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant / Jolly Nature

  • Liquidation
  • Drain Punch
  • Bulk Up
  • Substitute

Liquidation is STAB that can lower Defense. Drain Punch is STAB + healing. Bulk Up makes Poliwrath bulkier and stronger. Substitute to be able to set up safely.

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0 votes

Gen 8 ZU


Poliwrath @ Life Orb
Ability: Water Absorb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature

  • Liquidation
  • Close Combat
  • Earthquake
  • Poison Jab / Darkest Lariat

Liquidation is strong STAB with a good chance to lower Defense. Close Combat is powerful STAB. Earthquake covers Electric types. Poison Jab hits Fairies and Grass types, Darkest Lariat is for Psychic types.

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0 votes

Gen 8 ZU

Poliwrath @ Choice Specs
Ability: Water Absorb
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Hydro Pump
- Focus Blast
- Ice Beam
- Vacuum Wave

Choice Specs Poliwrath. This set is similar to the special Life Orb set on here, but with a stronger water STAB. Although Poliwrath has a higher attack, Choice Specs Poliwrath is used since Poliwrath has a higher water STAB for its special movepool. Also, there aren't a lot of special fighting checks, which is another reason Choice Specs Poliwrath is used. Hydro Pump is strong water STAB. Focus Blast is fighting STAB and can be useful against Pokemon like Ferroseed. Ice Beam is for coverage against Pokemon who resist Hydro Pump and/or your fighting STAB moves such Altaria and grass types in general. Vacuum Wave is for priority fighting STAB that allows you to revenge kill weakened Pokemon.

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