Damp: Prevents the foe from using Explosion or Selfdestruct.
Water Absorb: Heals 25% HP when hit by a Water-type attack.
Substitute Belly Drum Return / Body Slam Waterfall
168 HP / 252 Spd / 88 Sp Def
Poliwhirl makes a fearsome sweeper once it sets up Belly Drum, and coupled with its already high Speed, can open a full-team sweep when one checks that the foe's faster Pokemon are dealt with. Send in Poliwhirl against something that it resists (notably, a Water-type attack because of Water Absorb), and set up a Substitute. On the switch, you should determine if Poliwhirl can outspeed the current foe before using Belly Drum. If this is true, set up Belly Drum, and you are free to sweep. The combination of Water and Normal is unresisted in NFE, allowing Poliwhirl to hit every NFE for at least neutral damage with a beefed Attack stat of 664. Return is the preferred move for this set to deal the most damage after Belly Drum, although the paralysis chance with Body Slam can save Poliwhirl occasionally. Even with +6, Poliwhirl falls short of a OHKO on the majority of Marshtomp, Shelgon and Bronzor. This means you should be sure that if you attack these Pokemon, either your HP is high enough to take a hit from one of these Pokemon courtesy of Leftovers before you attack, or consider switching Poliwhirl out.
Speed is maximized to give Poliwhirl the best sweeping potential once it sets up Belly Drum, as its Speed is very important after the HP sacrifice that Belly Drum brings. The remaining EVs are delegated to defenses. Poliwhirl doesn't gain any key OHKOs or 2HKOs after Belly Drum with Attack investment, making no Attack EVs necessary.
Substitute Hypnosis Ice Punch Focus Punch
40 HP / 252 Atk / 216 Spd
This set feigns the SubDrum set to take down typical counters to the SubDrum set, namely Sneasel and Electabuzz, who won't enjoy Focus Punch. Ice Punch hits a high number of OUs for super-effective damage, who normally wouldn't take as much damage from Focus Punch, such as Gligar, Gabite and Shelgon. Hypnosis, although its accuracy is sometimes undesirable, plays a key role in allowing Poliwhirl to set up Substitute on the foe, or if the opportunity arises, put the foe's main switch-in to Poliwhirl to sleep if you end up switching Poliwhirl in yourself.
Attack is maximized on this set to give Poliwhirl the maximum damage output. 216 Speed with an Adamant Nature allows Poliwhirl to outpace neutral-natured, 252 Speed Misdreavus', Gligars and Taillows for a hit with Ice Punch. A drop to 192 Speed is an option, which puts you behind said Pokemon, as well as max Speed Stunky, Anorith and Pidgeotto, but still allows you to outspeed neutral-natured, 252 Speed Gabites.
With all the priority in NFE, its pretty much impossible to sweep without your own priority moves. However, Poliwhirl is a great anti-priority Pokemon, absorbing Aqua Jets, sponging Ice Shards and resisting Bullet Punches. While Poliwhirl may have rather low defense and attack, its stats are understating what it can do. Adamant Choice Band Sneasel's Ice Shard, for example, only does around 20% and Sneasel is completely destroyed by a 4x super effective Brick Break. Bullet Punches from Metang are no problem either, doing even less than Sneasel's Ice Shards. Aqua Jets are not only completely walled, but they heal Poliwhirl for another onslaught of priority attacks and entry hazards too.
Waterfall is for STAB and for basic coverage. It's good for countering Mach Punch Monfernos and Magmars, Vacuum Wave Combuskens and Ice Shard Piloswines. Brick Break is for one of the most powerful threats and the second most powerful Ice Sharder in OU NFE, Sneasel. Because you outspeed all +1 NFE Dragons, Ice Punch becomes very useful move for revenge killing these Dragons. Earthquake is for Metang and for good coverage with Ice Punch, though you can only 3HKO most tanking Metangs. Return is an option over Earthquake to do a tiny amount more damage to Marill and anything else which Earthquake scores neutral on, but isn't really recommended because Earthquake provides much better coverage and use.
The EVs given allow you to outspeed anything that outspeeds Jolly Sneasel by one point, notably ScarfBite, Triple D and ScarfErno. The EVs also give you maximum offensive power while still maintaining maximum defenses. It should be mentioned that, while the main focus of this set is to counter priority users, that this set can become a very good revenge killer as well. While Poliwhirl may not have the power of the +1 NFE Dragons and other Pokemon in that speed tier, it does have great survivability against priority attacks and a higher speed stat than the NFE Dragons.
Credit to DialaceStarvy for this set.
Poliwhirl is an extremely notable Pokemon for any team who has a Water weakness, or who carries Pokemon who are susceptible to Water attacks, such as Numel, Graveler, Onix, Pupitar and Monferno, although Rock-types share a Grass weakness with Poliwhirl. It also resists the most common priority attacks in the game, making Choice Scarf Cranidos a great teammate, as well as Kadabra. Gligar is also a notable teammate, as it is weak to Water-type attacks, and is immune to Electric attacks that can be aimed at Poliwhirl, and for the most part doesn't suffer serious damage from Grass-type attacks. While Grass-types don't have a Water weakness that Poliwhirl can take advantage of, they do provide Grass and Electric resistances that Poliwhirl can switch out to. Ivysaur, Weepinbell, Grotle, Bayleef and Tangela all make good teammates for Poliwhirl if the extra Water Absorb bonus is already accommodated for from other teammates, and your team still needs synergy with Poliwhirl.
Bulky Grass-types such as Bayleef, Grotle, Tangela and Ivysaur work best, as they only fear a boosted Return or Body Slam, which in itself usually only muscles a 2HKO, while all four of them can attack with a STAB Energy Ball. Electabuzz doesn't suffer a OHKO from any attacks, and can outspeed Poliwhirl and hit with a STAB Thunderbolt or Thunderpunch, which in the end allows Electabuzz to come out on top even if Poliwhirl is behind a Substitute.
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