Politoed

Politoed, The Frog Pokémon. They gather on moonlit nights to form a large chorus. Their cries sound angry and not at all pleasant, but they are certainly distinctive. It’s the leader of Poliwag and Poliwhirl. When Politoed roars, they all cower in fear. Although its cries sound like screams, a composer created a beautiful ballad that was influenced by the sounds. The longer and more luxurious the curled hair on its head, the greater the number of Poliwag and Poliwhirl that will obey it.

Overview

One of the handful of Pokemon to be part of a split evolution, Politoed was introduced in Generation 2 as one of two Pokemon to evolve with a King's Rock and boost some more defensively focused stats to its opposite Poliwrath. However Politoed suffered from just being an average Water type in a sea of great ones such as Suicune and Swampert. All this changed with the Dream World where Politoed gained Drizzle and became one of the most meta defining Pokemon alongside Ninetales and Tyranitar, creating the weather wars OU became known for. In later gens however with the nerf to weather abilities and Pelipper getting Drizzle as well, Politoed has fallen far from being a top 5 Pokemon it used to be. That being said, if you're looking for a rain setter than Politoed is still very serviceable.
Positives
Drizzle - The primary reason one would be using Politoed, Drizzle allows for more options when teambuilding. Politoed does face competition with Pelipper however who is overall better due to its Flying typing allowing it to check important Pokemon, such as defensive Landorus Therian. However, Politoed makes a nice second rain setter as well as a more offensive option due to higher Special Attack compared to Pelipper.

Negatives
Lack of Options - Politoed is a Pokemon that is encompassed in the phrase "jack of all trades, master of none." Being decent at most things with solid Special Defense and HP, Politoed lacks a stat to truly make a break out for itself. Base 90 Special Attack isn't threatening even with a Choice Specs, 90/75/100 defensive spread is solid but nothing truly special, and 70 Speed is pretty slow. All this with pure Water typing and lack of recovery makes Politoed a potential hazard unless one knows what they're doing.

Abilities

Damp - Negates Self-Destruct, Explosion, and Aftermath - Not much to say as the moves which Damp blocks are niche, making this ability niche as well.
Water Absorb - Negates Water moves and heals Ľ max health - In the tiers where Drizzle is banned, this is Politoed's next best ability. A supportive Pokemon by nature, Politoed can act as a great defensive pivot for Water types as they need Toxic or stray coverage to deal with Politoed.
Drizzle - Induces Rain Dance on entry - Politoed's best ability when it's not in a tier where its banned, Rain is one of the best weathers having good offensive sweepers and defensive tanks to pull from, and gives everything a resistance to Fire.

Movesets

Defense Rain Setter

-Scald
-Toxic
-Encore
-Rest
Item Attached: Damp Rock
Ability: Drizzle
EVs and Nature:
252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Calm Nature

Options for a defensive Politoed shines a bit more than its offensive sets due to movepool options. Scald is always a must on defensive Waters due to a 30% burn chance and combos well with Politoed's stats as a burn halves Attack. Toxic allows Politoed to threaten more defensive options and just puts things on a timer which is never bad. Encore really messes with boosting sweepers as well as defensive threats, locking Pokemon into a poor move giving a free switch. Finally, Rest is there for a form of recovery, as Leftovers would mean no Damp Rock, but this can be switched for other moves such as Psychic and Perish Song.

Offensive Rain Setter

-Hydro Pump
-Ice Beam
-Encore
-Psychic
Item Attached: Choice Specs
Ability: Drizzle
EVs and Nature:
252 SpA / 4 SpD /252 Spe
Modest Nature

Taking a more aggressive approach, Politoed can put on some sick shades and give itself a 50% Special Attack boost. Hydro Pump is used because of its high raw damage compared to Surf or Scald but both are valid options as well. Ice Beam allows Politoed to hurt some Grass-type switch-ins as well as threaten Dragon-types. Encore still earns a spot due to messing with boosting sweepers and can help in a pinch, but it can be switched out for Surf or Focus Blast. Finally Psychic earns a spot for Mega Venusaur and Keldeo switch-ins as while it won't KO, it does enough to prevent them from being able to switch-in so safely.

Other Options

Leftovers/Chesto Rest - Using a set like the first defensive one, Leftovers can be subbed for Damp Rock and adding Protect over Rest for recovery and Toxic stalling. Alternatively you can use Chesto Berry with Rest to stay around, but either way losing 3 turns of rain hurts so be careful with this approach.
Eject Button - In a 3v3 setting this becomes Politoed's best item as the ability to pivot immediately into your rain sweep provides a lot of pressure. Battles are generally shorter so the need for Damp Rock is much lower, though having the 8 turns from Damp Rock is trade-off you'll need to decide yourself.

Partners

Pelipper - Really if you're using Politoed you want Pelipper as well. Pelipper boasts the ability to check some big threats to Rain such as Mega Charizard Y, Mega Venusaur, and Keldeo. Pelipper also brings team utility with access to U-Turn and Defog to help find openings and pairs well with Politoed.
Swift Swim - The real reason most people run rain is the powerhouse Swift Swim users. Mega Swampert is the foremost option bringing immense power and defensive utility to the team, allowing it to check things such as Rotom Wash and Xurkitree. Kingdra is the next best option and also helps with some of Rain's issues due to its quad Water resistance as well as being a special sweeper so that it can't be Intimidate cycled like Swampert. Kingdra also brings solid power with Choice Specs, but overall Kingdra has fallen off hard.

Countering Politoed

Grass types - Most common Grass types can threaten Politoed quite easily. Assault Vest Tangrowth can tank Ice Beam and threaten a Power Whip back while not caring against the defensive set, though Toxic puts it on a timer. Ferrothorn is one of the hardest Water counters in the game, being immune to Toxic and only really threatened by Focus Blast and the brave Encore on Spikes/Stealth Rock turn, but the risk of Power Whip is very high. Finally the rarer Amoonguss and Mega Venusaur only fear Psychic, but bring more than enough to threaten off Politoed before it uses it, Spore or Power Whip and Giga Drain respectively.
Water Types - Oddly enough, Politoed struggles to handle other Water-types. This makes it easy for two powerhouses, Keldeo and Gyarados, to find easy ways in. Keldeo is far more threatening and a big part of why Pelipper is so much more popular, as it fears only Psychic from Politoed but can threaten with Sacred Sword or Calm Mind on defensive sets. Gyarados really doesn't want to take a burn with Scald but it resists most of Politoed's moves and with a Substitute Dragon Dance set, it can just set up on Politoed for free.

Locations in Games

Red/Blue/Yellow:
Not in game

Gold/Silver/Crystal:
Evolve Poliwhirl

Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald:
Trade from FireRed/LeafGreen

FireRed/LeafGreen:
Evolve Poliwhirl

Colosseum/XD:
Trade from FireRed/LeafGreen

Diamond/Pearl/Platinum:
Evolve Poliwhirl

HeartGold/SoulSilver:
Evolve Poliwhirl

Black/White:
Route 6

Black 2/White 2:
Route 19, Route 20, Route 6, Floccesy Ranch, Lostlorn Forest, Clay Tunnel, Victory Road

X/Y:
Route 19

Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Trade from X/Y

Sun/Moon:
Malie Garden

Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon:
Malie Garden

Let's Go, Pikachu!/Let's Go, Eevee!:
Not in game

Animé Appearences

Politoed has made multiple appearances in the anime. Most notably it was used by Misty towards the end of her Johto travels

# -English Episode Name- -Jap. Episode Name- Pics
249 Outrageous Fortunes The Evolution of Poliwhirl! Pics
250 One Trick Phoney! Battle Park! Vs. Blastoise, Charizard and Venusaur! Pics
251 I Politoed You So! Politoed and Cheerleading! Pics
254 Fangs for Nothin' Blackthorn City Gym's Dragon's Fang! Pics
255 Great Bowls of Fire Dragonite! Invoke the Imperial Wrath! Pics
258 Just Add Water! Coastline Gym! Battle in the Middle of Water! Pics
M5 Heroes - Latios & Latias The Guardian Gods of Altomare - Latias and Latios Pics
261 Entei at Your Own Risk Entei and Friends of the Hot Spring! Pics
272 Can't Beat the Heat! Rival Confrontation! Charizard VS Blatoise! Pics
273 Playing with Fire!! Blaziken Returns! Battle with Harrison!! Pics
274 Johto Photo Finish To the End of the Full Battle! Each One's Way!! Pics
275 Gotta Catch Ya Later! Farewell...and then Setting Off! Pics
C6 Cerulean Blue Revenge Match at Cerulean Gym! Pics
331 Poetry Commotion! The New Gym Leader, Flannery! The Hole-Filled Battle Field! Pics
437 Harley Rides Again! Munchlax's Battle Debut! Harley & Taking the Game Seriously! Pics
M9 Pokémon Ranger & The Temple of the Sea Pokémon Ranger & The Prince of the Sea - Manaphy Pics
607 A Faux Oak Finish! Rescue Professor Oak! Politoed VS Croagunk!! Pics
628 A Marathon Rivalry! Get Fired Up Snorlax! Prince of Pokéthlon! Pics
S33 TBC Cilan and Brock! Gyarados' Outrage!! Pics
804 Kalos, Where Dreams and Adventures Begin! We've Come to Kalos Region! Dreams and Adventures Begin! Pics
805 Lumiose City Pursuit! Mega Evolution and the Prism Tower! Pics
811 Grooming Furfrou Pokémon Trimmer & Furfrou!! Pics
868 Good Friends, Great Training! Enter Wartortle and Raichu! Sliggoo Does its Best!! Pics
912 Master Class Choices! The Master Class Trial! What Will You Do, Serena!? Pics
M22   Pokémon: Everyone's Story  
1072 TBC Brawl! Battle Royal 151!! Pics
1073 TBC Mallow & Lana! A Fully Powered Battle of Friendship!! Pics
1075 TBC Overcome Decidueye!! Pics
1076 TBC A Birdacious Battle! Brave Bird VS Sky Attack!! Pics