A PvP Analysis on July 2023 Community Day… don’t miss out on Poliwrath!


What’s this? Another Community Day that’s actually pretty great for us PvPers? Not another Boomburst or something? Nope. Turns out that the double feature we’re getting for the official July 2023 Community Day is pretty great! How great? Let’s check out our Bottom Line Up Front and then get into the nitty gritty details.


  • Politoed’s new move brings in coverage that it can already have, but more cheaply. In the end, however, it’s not a move that stands out as compared to closing moves Politoed already has on hand. The new move is worth getting, but not a project you need to invest in beyond that at this point.
  • Poliwrath, on the other hand, is NOT one to miss out on this month! While its new move is not a strict upgrade, it’s very close to it, and noticeably improves Poliwrath’s performance across the board, and in multiple Leagues. Exiting Community Day with multiple Poliwraths with its exclusive Community Day move should be your top GO priority this weekend!

Now let’s run through our analysis of both of them, starting with what already makes them both good in PvP, and what — if any — improvements come with their new moves. Here we go!

POLITOED Stats and Moves

Politoed Water

Great League Stats

Attack Defense HP
115 (113 High Stat Product) 122 (126 High Stat Product) 140 (141 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-15-11, 1500 CP, Level 23.5)

Ultra League Stats

Attack Defense HP
147 (145 High Stat Product) 157 (162 High Stat Product) 181 (184 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-15-14, 2498 CP, Level 48.5)

Gonna keep Politoed analysis relatively brief, not because it’s not a very good PvP Pokémon — it absolutely is — but as you’ll see, this Community Day is far less exciting for it than it is for Toed’s punchy, ham-handed cousin.

Politoed is, of course, a pure Water type, and deceptively good defensive typing. Yes yes, there’s the famous weaknesses to Electric and particularly worrisome Grass. But Water has twice as many resistances: Fire, Ice, Steel (a lot of people forget about that one), and other Waters.

Going even better for Toed is its bulk, higher than things like Ninetales (both of them), Guzzlord, Tapu Fini, and others, roughly the same as Cofagrigus, Aurorus, and Walrein. Not the tankiest Water around, but among the better ones.


  • Mud ShotGround type, 1.5 DPT, 4.5 EPT, 1.0 CD
  • BubbleWater type, 2.33 DPT, 3.67 EPT, 1.5 CD

No changes here on Community Day, so you’ll want to just stick with Mud Shot, I think. That combined with its charge moves (coming up in a second) make Politoed an honorary “Mud Boy”, akin to Swampert especially, with a slightly different resistance set since it’s not an actual Mud Boy (no Ground subtyping). Bubble isn’t a bad move either, but Politoed basically always wants the high energy that comes from Mud Shot instead. Because just look at the charge moves….

– Exclusive (Community Day) Move

– Legacy Move

– Purified-only Move


  • Weather Ball (Water)Water type, 55 damage, 35 energy
  • SurfWater type, 65 damage, 40 energy
  • Ice BeamᴱIce type, 90 damage, 55 energy
  • EarthquakeᴸGround type, 120 damage, 65 energy
  • ReturnᴾNormal type, 130 damage, 70 energy
  • Hydro PumpWater type, 130 damage, 75 energy
  • BlizzardIce type, 140 damage, 75 energy

Mud Shot/Weather Ball was SO crazy when Politoed originally got it that Niantic eventually went and nerfed Weather Ball. It’s spammier than Swampert with Hydro Cannon, and you know how frustratingly often Swampert can throw THAT out. It’s spammier than any Weather Ball user in the game (no other Weather Baller has a fast move that generates more than 4.33 EPT, and most are capped at 4.0 EPT), and spammier than any charge move utilized by actual Mud Boys than Swampert’s Muddy Water (which Swampie understandably never wants). That alone carries it quite a long way in PvP, and even after Community Day, your Politoed will always want to run with Weather Ball. It’s what makes it stand out and break down shields.

But what pushes Toed over the edge is carrying a big stick. Usually this is Legacy move Earthquake, making it really operate like a Mud Boy with Mud Shot, spammy Water damage, and a big fat Ground closer. Akin to Whiscash, it can instead run with Blizzard as a viable alternative to keep Flyers and even Grasses on their toes, especially in Ultra League where its decent bulk and high energy gains from Mud Shot allow it to reach such an expensive charge move in meaningful spots, sometimes even in multiples. And of course, Weather Ball is excellent at setting it up by stealing shields even when the opponent doesn’t want to burn them, because letting a potential Earthquake or Blizzard through would be devastating.

Enter the new Community Day move: Ice Beam. Cheaper than Earthquake and MUCH cheaper than Blizzard, it presents intriguing new potential as both a disruption to opponents that feel they have the timing down of when to shield Politoed or not, and as more reachable nuke to Flyers and Dragons and direct counter to Grasses that prey on Politoed. The obvious downside, however: it deals a lot less damage than Politoed’s traditional closers as well. There’s potential here for it to gain some ground against things where Ice Beam’s 90 damage is sufficient to finish something off… but lose just as much ground to things where the extra 30+ damage from Quake or Blizzard would come in handy.

And in the end… that’s basically exactly what we get.

In Great League, Ice Beam Toed does manage to scratch out one new win, over Noctowl. That’s quite nice. But Blizzard already does everything else Ice Beam can (and often more convincingly), plus its knockout power adds on Umbreon and Altaria, that last one being a particularly bitter pill to swallow for those hoping for more from Ice Beam. Done right, with precise timing and a little luck, Ice Beam Politoed CAN still take Altaria down, but it’s no sure thing. And the overall results are still not at all a clear upgrade on Blizzard. Nor over Earthquake, which can’t beat Altaria or Noctowl and usually falls just short against Umbreon and Swampert. But Quake alone haa the right cost-to-damage ratio and/or typing to overcome Obstagoon, Froslass, and (Water Gun) Lanturn. Not a clear winner either, but that’s kind of the point… Ice Beam is just part of an increasingly crowded pack of viable moves on Politoed.

That all said, there is one bright spot for Ice Beam in Great League. Shadow Politoed is in many ways more threatening than non-Shadow, able to overcome things regular Toed cannot like Charizard, Sableye, and — with Earthquake specifically — Registeel, Azumarill, Shadow Walrein, and Spark Lanturn. And while Blizzard falls away, it’s worth noting that Ice Beam gets better, scratching out unique wins versus Toxicroak, Air Slash Mandibuzz, and even Trevenant and Venusaur, if it catches a shield on Weather Ball first. I personally still would lean towards Quake for the big names it can slay, but perhaps the very threat of possibly having Ice Beam will be enough to make Politoed a little more threatening to the opponent in formerly “safe” matchups. The mere existence of Ice Beam now being in its movepool could force shields where it didn’t before.

Similar overall results in Ultra League: EarthquakeBlizzard, and now Ice Beam are all very close. Highlights of the differences: Quake again uniquely overcomes Registeel and Shadow Walrein, further adds on Tapu FIni, and has the most consistent wins versus Swampert (and Shadow Swampert) and Poliwrath. Either of the Ice moves instead beat Cobalion, Mandibuzz, and usually Guzzlord, with Blizzard having the needed power to also beat Trevenant, and Ice Beam helpfully adding on Cofagrigus and Altered Giratina (with Shadow Claw) instead. I guess I CAN say that Ice Beam has perhaps a hair more value than Blizzard overall, but I think it’s still hard to fully justify leaving Earthquake outside in… well, the cold. 🥶

And finally, Shadow Politoed in Ultra League. And here the results honestly surprised me. While in Great League, the bulk Politoed gives up is nicely compensated by the relative speed of reaching Ice Beam, keeping it near the top of the discussion, at this level the opposite is instead true: Earthquake and Blizzard both seem to outclass Ice Beam, at least in 1v1 shielding. Quake again gets unique wins like Shadow Alolan Ninetales, Alolan Sandslash, Alolan Muk, and this time Toxicroak (who is distinctly NOT Alolan). Blizzard, meanwhile, manages to beat everything Ice Beam can (like Gliscor and Altered Giratina) PLUS Trevenant, Virizion, and Guzzlord. Even in other even shield situations (0v0 and 2v2 shielding), Ice Beam fails to pull ahead and often falls behind existing closing/coverage move alternatives.

My advice? Evolve two if you get decent IVs, one for Great and one for Ultra. (Or more, if you have good Shadow candidates ready to go.) Just don’t expect to replace your exisiting Politoed(s) in the immediate future. Save them as a project for a future meta where Ice Beam looks to pull ahead… but for Open formats and generally even in Limited formats, I think it’s still Earthquake that would be my default. Just too much good that it does against big names for me to recommend leaving it behind.

Conversely, it’s mostly looking up for our other Community Day candidate. Let’s shift over now to Wreck-It-Wrath!

POLIWRATH Stats and Moves

Poliwrath WaterFighting

Great League Stats

Attack Defense HP
117 (114 High Stat Product) 120 (124 High Stat Product) 138 (139 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-14-15, 1498 CP, Level 22)

Ultra League Stats

Attack Defense HP
149 (147 High Stat Product) 157 (160 High Stat Product) 177 (179 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-14-14, 2499 CP, Level 44)

So not quite as bulky as Politoed, but close. It has basically the same bulk and stat product as Wigglytuff, Alolan Sandslash, Tapu Fini, Gliscor, Hakamo-O and others. But perhaps a better comparison is to other Fighting types, as Poliwrath outpaces most of the common ones (Machamp, Primeape, Sirfetch’d… basically ALL of them but Medicham, Scrafty, Cobalion and Virizion) in terms of bulk and stat product. It’s a relatively tanky Fighter.

And the typing helps with that too. While Water and Fighting actually have NO real crossover (not nullifying any weaknesses of the other typing, or doubling up any resistances of weaknesses), we get all those nice Water resistances (Water, Ice, Fire, and Steel) and only two new vulnerabilities (Grass and Electric) tacked on to what Fighting already does (resisting Dark, Rock, and Bug, and being weak to Psychic, Flying, and Fairy). In the end, that leaves Poliwrath with seven resistances stacked against only five vulnerabilities.

All that to say: Poliwrath can… well, take a punch, as opposed to the many surprisingly glass-jawed Fighters that (to this point, at least) have garnered more attention and praise.

But you’re not here for all that. Let’s get to the new move!

– Exclusive (Community Day) Move


  • CounterᴱFighting type, 4.0 DPT, 3.5 EPT, 1.0 CoolDown
  • Mud ShotGround type, 1.5 DPT, 4.5 EPT, 1.0 CD
  • BubbleWater type, 2.33 DPT, 3.67 EPT, 1.5 CD
  • Rock Smash Fighting type, 3.0 DPT, 2.0 EPT, 1.5 CD

I’ve said it before, many times, but let’s say it again: Counter is the best fast move in the game, bar none. An “average” fast move in PvP comes to a total of 6 when you combine Damage Per Turn (DPT) and Energy Per Turn (EPT), and there are many examples that are exactly average, with things like Water Gun (3 DPT, 3 EPT), Snarl (1.67 DPT, 4.33 EPT), Bite (4 DPT, 2 EPT), and Poliwrath’s very own Mud Shot (1.5 DPT, 4.5 EPT) and Bubble (2.33 DPT, 3.67 EPT). Some of the better fast moves exceed 6 combined, such as Charm and Razor Leaf (5 DPT, 2 EPT), Vine Whip/Wing Attack/Powder Snow/Karate Chop (all 2.5 DPT, 4 EPT), Confusion and Dragon Breath (4 DPT, 3 EPT), the even better Dragon Tail (4.33 DPT and still 3 EPT), and Poison Jab (3.5 DPT, 3.5 EPT). But none of them hold a candle to Counter, which exceeds the average damage output by 33% AND the average energy generation by about 17%. There just isn’t any other move like it.

That said, I do believe there IS still room for the same Mud Shot that Poliwrath has relied on forever. I can pause right here and say that, yes, you DO want Counter Poliwrath. But don’t toss out any good Wrath you already have built! You’ll see why as we get into the sims a bit.

Bubble is a fine move, and there were times in the past where I recommended running it in certain metas, but that was before Poliwrath got a cheaper Water charge move, and certainly before the addition of Counter basically pushes it completely aside, nearly matching its energy gains and blowing it away in terms of pure damage. And of course, there is no room for below average Rock Smash, with or without the existence of Counter. It’s just one of those fast moves that’s so bad that you basically can’t ever run it even when you might want to.

Now let’s see what charge moves we have to work with before we put it all together in simulations….

– Legacy Move

– Purified-only Move


  • Power-Up PunchFighting type, 20 damage, 35 energy, Raises User Attack +1 Stage
  • Ice PunchIce type, 55 damage, 40 energy
  • SubmissionᴸFighting type, 60 damage, 50 energy
  • ScaldWater type, 80 damage, 50 energy, 30% Chance: Lower Opponent Attack -1 Stage
  • Dynamic PunchFighting type, 90 damage, 50 energy
  • ReturnᴾNormal type, 130 damage, 70 energy
  • Hydro PumpWater type, 130 damage, 75 energy

Yep, we got a bunch… but honestly, the decision usually comes down to your favorite two out of Ice Punch (neutral spam and coverage), Scald (realistically your only Water damage, and a nice debuff that can turn things around if it triggers), and Dynamic Punch (again, Poliwrath’s only viable source of Fighting damage to this point, and an excellent finisher).

Typically, Ice Punch is in and then Scald and Dynamic are left scrapping for the second move slot. Sometimes, especially in Ultra League, players will forgo Ice Punch and run Scald/Dynamic, but I won’t be diving into that move combo much in this analysis to keep things simple.

Power-Up Punch is not really a consideration with low-powered Mud Shot, and other closers Hydro Pump and Return are impractical and less impactful than Scald and Dynamic Punch. And poor Submission… I wish they’d boost it a little bit, at least, to make it an interesting Legacy move for the few things that have it, but alas.

So to review: we’ll be looking primarily here at Ice Punch/Scald and Ice Punch/Dynamic Punch, with Mud Shot and the new Counter. Here we go!


As per usual with these spotlight analyses, let’s set our baseline first.

Here is GL Poliwrath with Mud Shot, with both Ice Punch/Scald and Ice Punch/Dynamic Punch, in standard 1v1 shielding (which is both the most common scenario and also the one that I have found over the years to be almost always be most indicative of how well a Pokémon performs overall). And to wrap it up with a bow, here is Shadow Poliwrath with Scald and then with Dynamic Punch, the latter especially being a bit better overall. (Non-Shadow can hang in there to beat out Diggersby, but ShadoWrath outpunches Scrafty, Alolan Marowak, and Shadow Swampert instead… far more valuable oveall.)

But purely by the numbers, none of those hold a candle to Counter Poliwrath.

With either Dynamic or Scald, and in either normal or Shadow form, the improvement is immediately obvious, though not absolute… Mud Shot can still do some cool and unique things thanks to its superior energy generation, better outracing Altaria and (with Scald) A-Wak and Charizard for normal Poliwrath, and Shadow Swampert and sometimes Toxicroak for ShadoWrath. As amazing as Counter is, it DOES still trail Mud Shot by 0.5 EPT, and it IS resisted by some things where Mud Shot is not (or, versus things like Poisons and such, hits for even super effective damage [see: Toxicroak]), so it’s not a straight upgrade by any means.

But yes, it IS an upgrade. Counter pairs particular well with Scald, shifting the formerly-critical Fighting-type damage from a hope-it-gets-around-shields charge move to an unblockable, steadily-increasing-over-time fast move. And with an output now of solid Fighting AND Water damage, and Ice Punch to mix things up, Poliwrath becomes more… well, dynamic than ever. With that trio of moves, normal Poliwrath can beat many things it couldn’t before, such as Lickitung, Registeel, and Scrafty (mostly all thanks to that steady Fighting damage from Counter), as well as now Alolan Ninetales (with Powder Snow), Skarmory, Snarl Mandibuzz, and (non-Shadow) Swampert. That’s an overall gain of six wins, all of them big names that you’ll see in GBL and even the highest levels of play, such as the Play! Pokémon tournaments. And it’s even better for Shadow Poliwrath, which also gains Registeel, Lickitung, Scrafty, Skarmory, and PowderTales, retains a win over Altaria, and further gains Froslass, Sableye, Alolan Marowak, and even Water Gun Lanturn! (Though it does give up Swampert.)

There’s also ShadoWrath with Dynamic Punch, and while it’s certainly better overall than Shadow Poliwrath with Mud Shot, it’s not nearly impressive a leap as the versatile combination of Counter and Scald shows.

One other move you CAN now consider that didn’t really jive with Mud Shot is Power-Up Punch, particularly with ShadoWrath to maximize that Counter damage. It still works well with Scald, obviously giving up Altaria (due to no more Ice Punch) but gaining Swampert back in its place and retaining all the other same 1shield wins as Scald/Ice Punch. But surprisingly, it actually might be best with not a true closing move, but instead what you’d normally think of as Poliwrath’s bait move: Ice Punch. Now you can beat Altaria AND Swampert, and while losing Scald means no more wins over Talonflame, Sableye, or Froslass, you pick up some crazy new wins instead, like Toxicroak, Noctowl, Venusaur, and Trevenant! Yes yes, obviously the PuP baits must be ever in your favor, but having the inside track at taking down the likes of Noctowl, Venusaur, and Trevenant while they wail away with super effective moves is dang impressive, no?

Briefly on other shielding scenarios before we move on to Ultra League, 0v0 shielding is less impressive (though still a notable improvement over Mud Shot. But impressively, while you might expect Mud Shot to pull even or even overtake Counter in 2v2 shielding thanks to its higher energy gains, that’s not the case at all… Counter is clearly superior to Mud Shot even there.

In short: while there ARE metas that I think will still benefit from Mud Shot Poliwrath in the future, Counter is very clearly a move you want to have for Great League, and almost certainly will become the standard fast move for Poliwrath in Open Great League and most Cups moving forward. It’s good enough to make even the best of the best teams tremble, with many of its gains being names at the tippy top of the current GL meta. Get one, or even multiple, while you can this weekend!


Great League Poliwrath, to this point in PvP, has been more of a Limited format star than an Open GL standout. And while that may be on the cusp of changing, one thing that is already true is that Poliwrath has made its mark on Ultra League for a while now. Ice Punch/Dynamic Punch (with Mud Shot, of course) has been the standard, and at this level, non-Shadow is slightly preferred over ShadoWrath (mostly for its ability to hang in there long enough to overcome Registeel and Escavalier, which Shadow Poliwrath generally just can’t quite replicate), but both are useful for being able to threaten Steels, Dragons, Grounds, Darks, Ices, and a variety of others in equal measure, as well as resisting all the Water and Ice and Dark damage being thrown around. Poliwrath hasn’t been THE best at many things in Ultra League, but it can do a lot of things well in a versatile package that nothing else can manage to replicate.

But once again, Counter is just better, be it with Dynamic PunchScald (which basically does everything IP/DP can do plus Talonflame and Charizard), or even with Power-Up Punch in the mix (best with Scald, but works okay with Ice Punch as well). Whatever you roll with, though, Counter brings in wins you simply don’t get with Mud Shot, like Mandibuzz, Alolan Ninetales (again, with Powder Snow), Golisopod, and even Gyarados. And again, the versatile mix of my recommended default moveset — Counter/Ice Punch/Scald — covers a much wider swath of the meta than Mud Shot and any combo of two charge moves ever could.

So in short, my advice here is the same as it was in Great League: get a good UL Poliwrath with Counter during this Community Day event. Don’t get rid of your Mud Shot ones, but you do NOT want to exit this weekend without a Counter one. Even with #1 IVs, it doesn’t require too much XL Candy (Level 44 for those Number 1, 0-14-14 IVs), so even with relatively casual grinding you should be able to get more than enough XLs for it. More easily than Politoed, anyway!


I mean, I wouldn’t say I heartily endorse it, but you can do a lot worse! Heck, that’s a better performance overall than your standard Machamp, or even the Close Combat Machamp I usually recommend instead. Again, not saying I’d build one, necessarily, but if you land yourself a hundo Poliwag… just evolve and hold onto it, is all I’m saying.


Just to reiterate one final time: both of these are worthy evolves during the Community Day event, but prioritize Poliwrath first and foremost. Counter is a big boon to its performance, and represents THE fast move Poliwrath will want going forward in almost every format where it will appear. And it SHOULD start appearing a lot more!

Gonna wrap it up right here, as Community Day is FAST approaching, and I want to leave you all time to properly prep. So until next time, you can always find me on Twitter (@JRESeawolf) or the new Threads with regular analysis nuggets or Patreon, if you’re feeling extra generous.

Good hunting, folks! Do stay safe out there, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!

Author & tags

PoGO/PvP Investigative Journalist, GO Hub and Silph Arena/Road Contributor, amateur cook, author of 'Nifty Or Thrifty' and 'Under The Lights' article series and #PvPfacts!

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