|Back in my day Hidden Power Flying
was my best move, and it was awful
Hello Hat Lovers!
Today I’ll be looking Gyarados. Gyarados was introduced in Generation 1, and while it’s one of the coolest Pokemon around it wasn’t very good until Generation 3 when it got Intimidate and Dragon Dance. In Generation 4 Gyarados really hit its stride with the physical/special split making Waterfall a physical attack. Gyarados hasn’t changed much since then, but it hasn’t needed to. Generation 6 has given Gyarados a Mega Evolution, adding to the list of roles it can play.
Gyarados has been a great Pokemon in VGC, bringing Intimidate support to teams, threatening with Dragon Dance, even running Choice Specs that one time. Despite all of its great traits Gyarados has always had to deal with its 4x weakness to Electric. Over the last three years Thundurus and/or Rotom have been very popular Pokemon and Gyarados will need to rely on its teammates to deal with these Electric types.
Gyarados has a fantastic base 125 attack. 81 Speed is decent especially when Gyarados uses Dragon Dance. 95 / 79 / 100 defences are also pretty great when you factor in Intimidate. Water/Flying typing comes with an unfortunate 4x Electric weakness and an inconvenient Rock weakness but provides resistances to Fighting, Fire, Water, Steel, Bug and an immunity to Ground.
95 / 155 / 109 / 70 / 130 / 81
In terms of stats Mega Gyarados just gets stronger and more resilient. What’s interesting is the change in typing. Water / Dark is worse overall compared to Water / Flying but Gyarados’ previous weaknesses are lessened and while it gains several problematic weaknesses it’s base form resisted them so before you Mega Evolve your opponent will be left to guess which moves will be effective.
Gyarados’s main Ability is Intimidate, one of the greatest Abilities in VGC. Lowering both the opponent’s attack whenever Gyarados switches makes Kangaskhan more manageable and makes it easier for Gyarados to take repeated Rock Slides.
Gyarados’s Hidden Ability is Moxie, which boosts it’s attack whenever it KO’s a Pokemon. While this isn’t a bad Ability it isn’t worth giving up Intimidate to use.
Mega Gyarados’s Ability is Mold Breaker. This allows Gyarados to hit Rotom with Earthquake and ignore Mega Venusaur’s Thick Fat. Keep in mind that Mold Breaker will affect your Pokemon as well, so any partner with Levitate or Telepathy can still get hit by Earthquake.
Waterfall and Aqua Tail are Gyarados’s choice of STAB moves, with Waterfall having perfect accuracy and a flinch chance and Aqua Tail having a chance to miss but more power to make up for it. Other attacks include Ice Fang, Earthquake and Stone Edge. Gyarados generally has room for two damaging attacks unless it’s a choice set so you’ll need to pick based on which type coverage you want on Gyarados. If you want a Dark move for Mega Gyarados your only options are Bite and Payback. Its a shame Gamefreak didn’t give Gyarados something like Crunch to go with it’s new Mega Evolution when they gave Blastoise Aura Sphere, Dark Pulse and Dragon Pulse to go with it’s Mega Evolution.
For non-damaging attacks Gyarados has Dragon Dance, Taunt, Thunder Wave and Protect.
I came up with this spread while trying to reverse engineer Tony’s EV spread from Washington Regionals. From the streamed games I could see that it had an HP stat of 192 so I used 172 EVs to reach it. Tony later told me that this is a good Leftovers number and conversely a bad Sandstorm number, and he meant to drop the HP by 1 before the tournament. The Speed EVs allow Gyarados to reach 192 speed after a Dragon Dance, putting it above Scarf Tyranitar with a positive nature. The rest were put into Attack.
I stole this spread from Imouto Island. This Gyarados out speeds Jolly Smeargle and Taunts it before they can use Dark Void. This set aims to support the team with Thunder Wave and Intimidate instead of trying to sweep. Rocky Helmet punishes any Kangaskhan that attack Gyarados, especially if they try to use Fake Out on it.
Gyarados @ Choice Band
EVs: 4 / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SDef / 244 Spd
– Ice Fang
– Stone Edge
Choice Band Gyarados will probably catch people by surprise by hitting as hard as a Dragon Dance set without needing a turn to set up. The switch heavy nature of choice items works well with Intimidate.
Mega Dragon Dance
Gyarados @ Gyaradosite
EVs: 36 / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SDef / 212 Spd
– Dragon Dance
Mega Gyarados can now hit Levitate users with Earthquake, allowing it to OHKO Rotom-H and 2HKO Rotom-W. Mega Gyarados has some fantastic natural bulk, being equivalent to Umbreon. If you’re choosing to focus your team around Mega Gyarados be sure to provide with plenty of support. Gyarados doesn’t carry itself like Kangaskhan and Mawile do, and will need help to reach it’s full potential.
Gyarados’s BFF is Manectric. Manectric redirects Electric attacks away from Gyarados with Lightning Rod, eliminating its greatest weakness. Mega Manectric also provides a second Intimidate to shut down physical attackers. Raichu can also provide Lightning Rod support as well as Fake Out and Encore support.
Amoonguss, Smeargle and Pachirisu can redirect attacks with Rage Powder / Follow Me. Amoonguss and Pachirisu are the more notable users as they take little to no damage from Electric attacks. Amoonguss also threatens with Spore while Pachirisu can use Nuzzle and Super Fang to help Gyarados take out foes. If using Pachirisu you can use Ion Deluge to make Return an Electric attack giving Gyarados an Electric type move for a turn.
Garchomp makes a good offensive partner for Gyarados. Garchomp is free to use Earthquake beside Gyarados. Gyarados can slow down Salamence with Thunder Wave and take out other Dragons with Ice Fang. Both make life harder for Kangaskhan which is also a positive in this format. Hydreigon appreciates Thunder Wave support to make up for its low speed, and helps Gyarados by threatening Rotom with Specs Draco Meteor.
When using Mega Gyarados you’ll want some Flying types that Gyarados can use Earthquake beside. Salamence is a good partner in general. Talonflame will deal with Amoonguss and Venusaur which will give you trouble. Aerodactyl and use Sky Drop to help deal with troublesome foes.
Rotom-W is a hard counter to Gyarados, which is unfortunate given the popularity of Rotom-W. Rotom-W has the choice of using Thunderbolt to OHKO Gyarados or using Will-O-Wisp to cripple it while punishing a potential switch. Rotom-H also has these options but has to worry about taking a Waterfall. Bulky Rotom-H will take an un-boosted Waterfall but it won’t enjoy it and the flinch chance makes things dicey. Mega Manectric doesn’t enjoy switching into an attack from Gyarados but it out speeds Gyarados even after a Dragon Dance and OHKOs with Thunderbolt.
Grass types give Gyarados a rough time. Mega Venusaur will take anything Gyarados can dish out and heal it off with Giga Drain. Amoonguss takes most of Gyarados’ attacks, redirects them from their intended target, and punishes them with Rocky Helmet. Ferrothorn can also withstand Gyarados’ attacks and set up a Leech Seed on it.
Gyarados can fill a myriad of roles on a VGC team. If you can get around the obstacles facing Gyarados it will put in a ton of work. So give the other wannabe Dragon from Gen 1 a try, you might like what you see.