Can Gyarados Make a Comeback? Analysis of the “New Gyarados”

pokebeach.comHey guys! It’s me Peter here again, and lately I’ve been testing out a few decks due to the Triumphant release being so close and the new decks. In my honest opinion, I believe Gyarados will be making a huge comeback after the official release of Triumphant and I’m here to do an in-depth analysis of the “New Gyarados”.

Here’s a little background on Gyarados. Gyarados was a fairly popular and successful deck last season when Felicity’s Drawing was still in format. However, with the loss of Felicity’s Drawing, Gyarados has lost it’s popularity and seen little play. So how does the deck work?

Gyarados has a fascinating attack called “Tail Revenge”. It let’s you do 30× any number of Magikarp in your discard pile for no energy! This means that you can hit 90 maximum for no energy or 110 with Expert Belt. Forgetting the fact that you won’t have to worry about attaching energy to attack, his damage is fabulous. Most Pokémon SP have 80 HP or 90 HP, which means you will easily 1HKO any basic SP form and 110 is the magic number for the ever popular Luxray GL LV.X and Garchomp C LV.X. Also, the most terrifying part about the deck is its insane recovery. You may have finally Knocked Out that 130 HP Gyarados, or 150 HP with Expert Belt, but next turn, he will will be back on board with Pokémon Rescue to revenge KO you.

Skeleton of the deck

Pokémon 16-18

4 Sableye SF
4-3 or 4-4 Gyarados SF
1 Regice LA
2 Uxie LA
1 Azelf LA
1 Unown Q MD
0-1 Combee SF

Trainers/Supporters 24-27

3-4 Volkner’s Philosophy
3-4 Pokémon Collector
2 Bebe’s Search
2 Cynthia’s Feeling
3-4 Broken Time Space
4 Pokémon Rescue
4 Super Scoop Up
2 Expert Belt
1 Luxury Ball

Energy 7-9

4 Call
3 Warp
0-2 Cyclone

Total Cards 47-54

Why are these cards vital to the deck?

Sableye SF
This is your preferred starter. Sableye is possibly one of the biggest components of the deck and you should always run 4 to maximise your starting possibilities. Sableye’s attack “Impersonate” let’s you look through your deck for a supporter, discard it, than use it’s effect as the attack for no energy. Do you see where this is getting at?
Normally, if you have another Pokémon searching card in hand, your ideal 3 Pokémon should be Regice and 2 Magikarp. Using your turn 2 to play Regice, use “Regi-Move” to discard both of your Magikarp, search for Uxie, “Set-Up” to refresh hand and hope to get a Gyarados out to hit hard. Sableye let’s you set up your Gyarados by turn 2 to attack for 60-90 damage easily.

Magikarp-Gyardos Line
Main and the only attacker of the deck. As explained above, you will be hitting 30× the number of Magikarp in your discard pile. A stage 1 Pokémon with an astounding 130 HP, +30 Lightning Weakness which hurts, but you will 1HKO and Luxray GL LV.X anyway, and a great resistance of -20 to fighting types. Also being water type with his resistance is to fighting types makes it a natural Donphan Prime counter.

Regice is now your #1 way of discarding your Magikarp. Some may even consider running 2 in the deck to save your bench space in case 1 of them is prized. Regice’s Poké-Power “Regi-Move” let’s you discard 2 cards from your hand, and choose your opponent’s un-evolved active, your opponent then switches that un-evolved Pokémon with one of their benched Pokémon. This is great as you get to discard and get rid of annoying Pokémon like Spiritomb to get out of trainer lock. Also, this Poké-Power can be used even if your opponent does not have a benched Pokémon.

Self-Explanatory. Best draw card in the format.

Also self-explanatory. Let’s you search out that prized Magikarp or Regice.

Unown Q
Due to the deck having low energy, Unown Q is vital to retreat your Sableye or any other 1 retreater that is active to attack with Gyarados. However, the risk is that you might have a lone Unown Q start, exposing yourself to an easy donk.

Combee SF
Some people may run this card, and some may not. It has a held item called “Honey” which let’s you pick up a basic Pokémon from the discard pile when you play it down. It is basically a Pokémon Rescue except it is usable when in trainer lock. However, it can cause disasters when you start with it.

Volkner’s Philosophy
Your main supporter of the deck. Let’s you discard 1 card from your hand (Magikarp preferably) and draw until you have 6. This is far inferior to Felicity’s Drawing as you can only discard 1, and you will most likely draw less than Felicity’s Drawing.

Pokémon Collector
Another key supporter. Let’s you search 3 basic Pokémon. It will let you discard 2 Magikarp immediately (Regice, Magikarp, Magikarp).

Cynthia’s Feeling
This card is great as a lot of your basic Pokémon have low HP and will get easily KO’d. (Magikarp only has 30 HP, Sableye only 60 etc..) Also, when Gyarados is KO’d, you can Cynthia’s Feeling for 8 cards to recover your Gyarados easier.

Broken Time Space
Self explanatory. A must in all stage 1/2 decks. Allows turn 1 evolution and speeds up the deck tremendously.

Pokémon Rescue
The card that makes Gyarados one of the fastest recovery decks. Having 4 in the deck means that you will most likely have it in your hand during mid-late game when your Gyarados is KO’d. Pokémon Rescue for that Magikarp, search for your Gyarados in your deck, and your Gyarados is back on the field (assuming BTS is in play).

Super Scoop UP
Allows you to pick up your Gyarados to heal, reuse Uxie and get a Pokémon out of the Active Spot.

Expert Belt
Let’s you do 20 more damage to your opponents active at the cost of your opponent taking 2 Prizes when the Pokémon with Expert Belt attached is KO’d.

Luxury Ball
Let’s you get any Pokémon in the deck that is not a LV.X

Call Energy
Helps you to survive a lone Magikarp start or Sableye start and helps avoid the dreaded donk. Attach, search for 2 basic and put them on your bench. Donk avoided!

Warp Energy
Since you will never attach to Gyarados to attack, you use Warp Energy to retreat your active Pokémon for free basically, also with the Triumphant set, it will play a huge role in this deck (will explain further down).

Cyclone Energy
Some people like to run it, but I don’t. It is half of a warp point. When you attach to your active Pokémon, your opponent has to switch their active with one of their benched.

What about the other 6-13 open slots for the deck?

When you see the number of cards in the skeleton list, you can see that you have a lot of options for techs. I’ll talk about some of the techs currently used and some techs that will be used when Triumphant is officially released.

Crobat G + Poké Turn
This is used in almost every Gyarados deck. Some may use 4 PlusPowers to squeeze in 1 more tech or run all 3 (Crobat G, Poké Turn and PlusPowers) to do huge amounts of damage. With Super Scoop Ups already in the deck, adding Crobat G with 4 Poké Turns allows you to drop up to 9 damage counters on any Pokémon, using the Poké-Power “Flash Bite”. It also has free retreat, which is always great.

1-1 Line of Luxray GL LV.X
This is only viable if you choose to run the Crobat G + Pokéturn line. Luxray GL LV.X’s Poké-Power “Bright Look” will basically give your Gyarados deck a little bit of sniping power as you will be dragging stuff up to the Active Spot to KO it with Gyarados. This is very good as you can drag up that dreadful Vileplume UD to Knock it Out, getting you out of the trainer lock.

1-1 Line of Dialga G LV.X
This is a newer tech with the release of the Undaunted set. Dialga G LV.X’s Poké-Body “Time Crystal” will shut off all non Pokémon SP’s Poké-Body, which means that Vileplume UD just became a dead card that serves no purpose. This allows you to use all your trainers once again. However, it is less versatile than Luxray GL LV.X as it is only viable against Poké-Bodied Pokémon, and there aren’t that many in this format posing any big threat.

Mesprit LA
Due to the deck only allowing 1 attacker at a time to be on the field, this is a great card. Mesprit’s Poké-Power “Psychic Bind” locks your opponent’s Poké-Power next turn when you play it from your hand. This is great when your opponent is trying to recover by using Uxie or any other Poké-Power. It is also great against SP decks as you will be stopping Poké-Powers like “Bright Look” and “Healing Breath”. It is especially great because you already run 4 Super Scoop Ups to reuse them.

Mew Prime
This is probably the most interesting tech right now. With the release of Triumphant and Gengar Prime, you will always have that chance of getting your Gyarados sent to the Lost Zone. In that case, you can play your Mew Prime, send it up active and use Gyarados’ attack “Tail Revenge” for up to 120 if all 4 Magikarp are in the discard pile. Wait what? Your probably wondering, how Mew Prime can use Gyarados’ attack? Well Mew Prime’s Poké-Body “Lost Link” let’s you use any Pokémon’s attack in the Lost Zone (still need to fit the energy cost), and with Gyarados’ 0 energy attack, it is a great tech late game. You can also use Mew Prime’s attack “See Off”. It let’s you put 1 Pokémon from your deck into the Lost Zone for 1 psychic energy. However, I would not try to use Mew Prime’s attack as it is highly likely that it will die the next turn.

pokebeach.comSeeker (Hunter)
Remember what I said above about Warp Energy and how it will be even better with the new set “Triumphant”? Seeker is the reason why. Seeker is a supporter that let’s you and your opponent pick up 1 benched Pokémon (you pick first). So why is this good? Well first of all, let’s say your Gyarados is dying and has an Expert Belt attached. You can Warp Energy, to send it to the bench, drop BTS (or if you already have 1 in play, skip this), use Seeker to pick your Gyarados up, and play it all back down with no damage on it. Essentially it’s a 100% Super Scoop Up for your benched and giving you a chance to win with a donk if your opponent only has 2 Pokémon in play. It can also be used to re-use Crobat G, Uxie, Azelf, Regice and Combee SF. You should run at least 2 Seekers.

Junk Arm
A trainer card from Triumphant that is getting the most hype from Gyarados players. Junk Arm let’s you discard 2 cards from your hand to pick up 1 trainer card other than Junk Arm from your discard pile. This is good as you can discard your 2 Magikarp to pick up cards like Luxury Ball to use it again. However, during early game, when you want your Magikarp in the grave, you will rarely have a trainer in your discard pile, making it pretty much useless early game (even more if Spiritomb is in play). However, it shines during late game when you want to re-use those Expert Belts or Pokémon Rescues. Therefore, no more than 2 should be used in the deck.

Rescue Energy
Rescue Energy is a great recovery card for Gyarados. When a Pokémon with Rescue Energy attached is KO’d, the Pokémon is returned back to the hand rather than to the discard pile. I’m pretty sure that you only pick up the very top card so you would only be getting your Gyarados back. However, this is huge as you now don’t have to look for another Gyarados in the deck and you will almost never have to run a 4-4 line of Gyarados.

Special D Energy
Special D Energy allows you to occasionally donk with Sableye and let’s you attack with Uxie. However, this isn’t as great anymore as many of the 50 HP Pokémon (Baltoy etc..) that used to be used in almost every deck are now out of the format.

Uxie LV.X
Uxie LV.X further helps your draw power with the Poké-Power “Trade-Off”. It let’s you look at the top 2 cards of your deck, you pick one that goes to your hand and the other is returned to the bottom of the deck. This card should be ran in every Gyarados deck.

What are the Match Ups like?

vs. Luxchomp
50/50 I would say. Luxray GL LV.X does have the type advantage, however, they need to have Lucario GL in play with the help of a Crobat G drop to 1HKO your Gyarados unless they are using “Trash Bolt”. However, you are still 1HKOing anything they send your way, making the match up pretty even.

vs. DialgaChomp
60/40 in favor of DialgaChomp. Dialga is a pretty big tank, and you will have a hard time trying to KO that one Dialga G LV.X that is constantly getting healed by Garchomp C LV.X. It takes Gyarados 2 shots to kill Dialga G LV.X without the help of Crobat G, unless Dialga G LV.X has special metal energies attached. Dialga G LV.X will also take 2 shots to kill your Gyardos, however, DialgaChomp has much more consistent healing power.

vs. Donphan
99/1 in favor of Gyarados. This is your “auto-win” match up. You are hitting Donphan Prime’s weakness, while being resistance to him. You will one shot any Donphan Prime with “Tail Revenge”. However, watch out for those donks! Don’t be afraid to put in more basics than you need to.

vs. VileGar
50/50. Depending on the tech you have, you might have a bit of an advantage but “Fainting Spell” will get you hard if you don’t watch out. I might say that the match up is 60/40 in favor of Gyarados as you can “Tail Revenge” for 90, then use your Uxie to finish off Gengar to avoid “Fainting Spell”. Also, Regice helps you big time as you will move their Spiritomb from the Active Spot to get set up faster than VileGar.

vs. Machamp
70/30 in favor of Gyarados. Machamp is not a great deck against stage 1/2 decks. Machamps got a pretty mediocre attack that will rarely 1HKO your Gyarados where as you will most likely 1HKO Machamp with the help of Expert Belt and Crobat G. However, watch out for the donks and Machamps “Rage” attack.

vs. VileGar with Gengar Prime tech
60/40 in favor of VileGar. Maybe I should of done this with the VileGar, but meh, I’ll put them separately. Gengar Prime is Gyarados’ arch enemy. If you make the mistake of not being able to get rid of Magikarp from your hand, they will get sent to the Lost Zone by Gengar Prime, reducing your damage output by 30.

This is it for my Gyarados analysis! Thanks for reading, and good luck to everyone attending Triumphant prerelease.

Reader Interactions

53 replies

  1. Jonathan Wiley

    Great read, nice looking deck.

    I never really thought about how Gengar Prime would effect the Gyarados Decks. Even putting 1 Magikarp in the lost zone could be crucial. I’d almost go the extra length and possibly even over exaggerate a bit with the decks discarding power to make sure you don’t ‘Lost Zoned’. I also like the Warp Energy to Seeker move, for Gengar Prime, cause if he by chance kills that Gyarados, that Magikarp is gone as well because of the power. And I also feel that Seeker will become a most in almost every deck as long as its in the format.

    Don’t honestly know my way around a Gyarados Deck list, but I thought I’d give my 2cents on the over exaggeration of discarding items. But anyway was a great read, and very helpful if I ever decide to go in the way of the Gyarados.

  2. dude

    IMO on the VileGar with prime tech matchup, I think you dont need to worry about it nearly as much as you are suggesting. lets think it out, theorymon style

    – you start sableye, they start tomb/whatever. you impersonate collector for karp/karp/regice (assuming you have none of these things on your field/in hand already.

    – they have to have, in hand, a way to get BTS, gastly, haunter, gengar, psychic, unown q on their first turn. I dont think that is gonna happen very much, and they also need to know to lost zone your magikarps.

  3. dude

    IMO on the VileGar with prime tech matchup, I think you dont need to worry about it nearly as much as you are suggesting. lets think it out, theorymon style

    – you start sableye, they start tomb/whatever. you impersonate collector for karp/karp/regice (assuming you have none of these things on your field/in hand already.

    – they have to have, in hand, a way to get BTS, gastly, haunter, gengar, psychic, unown q on their first turn. I dont think that is gonna happen very much, and they also need to know to lost zone your magikarps.

    • venny kid  → Shining

      That will certainly cut down the number of Pokemon Rescues played, and mabeyeven render Combee SF useless(?).

      • Peter Bae  → venny

        Meh, placing damage counter, moving damage counter still puts them at the discard pile, for gyarados that dont run DGX or good VileGar counters, this could be win or lose situation, I would tech in Combee SF, run 3 Resuce and r4 Rescue energy xD

  4. Colin Peterik

    “Luxury Ball
    Let’s you get any Pokemon in the deck that is not a Lv.X

    Expert Belt
    Let’s you do 20 more damage to your opponents active at the cost of your opponent taking 2 prizes when the Pokemon with Expert Belt attached is KOed.”

    This. Don’t do THIS.

    • Peter Bae  → Colin

      the lack of deep thought in those 2 statement or the fact that I just completely missed the spot on what those cards do? I figured I shouldn’t go too in depth on those 2 cards as they are pretty much self explanatory in almost all decks, however, maybe I could have gone a little further to explain but I believe all decks run them for the same purpose anyways

      • Colin Peterik  → Peter

        If it is self explanatory, let it be self explanatory. Good writing is concise writing. 80% of the people who read this article skipped right over the part I quoted, and that is a fact.

        • Colin Peterik  → Colin

          By the way, I’m sorry if this came across as rude. It is not an attack on you or your knowledge. But you need to learn to give your readers more credit.

        • Peter Bae  → Colin

          oh no, thanks for your in put :) i’m glad, I was thinking whether I should have put some of those cards in the article or not and decided to for those who just started out. Thanks for the advice and I’ll be sure to remind myself when I write another article

        • Colin Peterik  → Peter

          Yeah. No problemo. Again, no hard feelings. Just remember that if something in your article forces your reader to check out Bulbapedia for the scan of a card, that’s usually a good thing. It drags your reader in deeper and makes them more involved.

    • Zachary Slater  → Colin

      Yeah, I’m going with everyone else on this one, I have no idea what you’re talking about.
      Are you trying to criticize his card choice? they’re pretty standard cards in any Stage 2 deck…

      • Colin Peterik  → Zachary

        HA. No. I am criticizing how there is a list of cards and he just says what they do pretty much verbatim. What’s the point? We can read scans if we have to. Everyone in the whole damn world knows what Expert Belt and Luxury Ball do. Maybe explain why they are good specific to Gyarados or don’t explain anything at all and let it be self explanatory. To be blunt, you are treating the readers of 6P like idiots, feeling the need to explain what a card like Luxury Ball does. Come on. I see lists that take to this format on the ‘Gym, going down the line of every card in the deck, but actually explaining why they are pertinent to the deck at hand. Stating what a card does is extremely condescending.

        • Zachary Slater  → Colin

          I agree with you that a lot of articles are filled with non-sense and superfluous writing, but at the same time, you can easily get your point across without being so contentious. If you haven’t noticed, almost 50% of the writers on this site that aren’t an approved staff writer/underground writer are novices and hence can’t write very good articles.
          Condescending though? I’m not sure about that. More just a waste of our time.

        • Peter Bae  → Zachary

          I thought it was apretty good article cuz I wrote it Xd I’ll definately work on being more precise in my articles :D thanks for your input

        • Zachary Slater  → Peter

          I liked your tech section and match-up section as well, the Mew Prime idea was actually pretty clever. I might consider it if I ever make a Gyarados deck :)

        • Peter Bae  → Zachary

          i have a rogue gyarados deck thats almost done if youd like to see it, i can post the deck here uses Absol Prime, Mew Prime, Gyarados, Rescue Energies xD

        • Peter Bae  → Zachary

          i have a rogue gyarados deck thats almost done if youd like to see it, i can post the deck here uses Absol Prime, Mew Prime, Gyarados, Rescue Energies xD

        • Colin Peterik  → Zachary

          Yeah. It is the superfluous text that really bugs me. As I said a minute ago, I didn’t mean to come off as rude or as attacking the writer, just advice that if you treat your reader with respect, they will get more out of it. And I think most of us want to stick to the belief that if you “Can’t write very good articles”, you shouldn’t submit them.

        • Zachary Slater  → Colin

          Yup, I agree. Which is why I think it’s great that Adam is limiting the amount of articles per day and actually making some qualifications you need to write an article. You seem to be really concise with your thoughts, why don’t you write more articles? :p

    • Zachary Slater  → Colin

      Yeah, I’m going with everyone else on this one, I have no idea what you’re talking about.
      Are you trying to criticize his card choice? they’re pretty standard cards in any Stage 2 deck…

  5. Garrett Williamson

    What about floatzel gl lv x instead of combee? They KO a gyarados, it goes straight back to your hand and you have it play again next turn.

    • ostrigal ostrigal  → Garrett

      It’s a choice. He’s a rescue energy in pokemon form… for water types as you state. I think about it this way:

      Pokemon Rescues can be trainer locked. Components of a 1-1 Floatzel Gl X line can be prized. It would be highly unlikely for (4) of your rescue energy to be prized, and seeing as how Gyarados is concerned with energy attachment for game mechanic rather than for attack, it seems to be the superior play.

  6. Taylor Duffin

    Rescue Energy has been ruled to pick up all pokemon cards in the discarded stack. That means that you get back both Magikarp and Gyarados, which might give it preference over the traditional Pokemon Rescue.

  7. Poet Larsen

    I have just finished a Gyarados deck 2 days ago. I took out a pokemon rescue from my deck, I had 61 cards in it. Anyways I think less rescues are needed because rescue energies just get gyarados back and it isn’t a trainer. (Vilegar) I run 3 rescue’s

    • Peter Bae  → Poet

      running Pokemon Rescue is still vital as placing dmg counter will still send it tot he discard pile, which means you need a secondary route

  8. Taylor Duffin

    My only concern with relying on rescue energy is that placing damage counters will get around it. This could be a big disadvantage vs Vilegar.

    • Peter Bae  → Taylor

      lol shadow rooming will take 5 turns on a non belted Gyarados, and if my gyarados is in range of getting KOed by Shadow room or the 4 dmg counter thing from Gengar Prime, I’ll just pick it all up with hunter

      • Taylor Duffin  → Peter

        Excellent point. Combinations of a high damage poltergeist with a shadow room would be the problem. As you mention it is not a huge concern with SSU and Hunter but something to be aware of at least.

        • Peter Bae  → Taylor

          right now, I run 1-1 DGX in my list to counter VileGar so all my trainers are viable in most cases XD Except the fact that in my newer lsit with Triumphant I dont have a DGX cuz of the lack of room xD

  9. Theo Seeds

    more techs:Blissey Prime to healSpec Dark to Sabledonk (If you do this and mew prime, absol prime works to do 80+ and lost zone gdos)
    mankey to ko luxray x
    returnown to reuse drop spesh energy and avoid the wrath of blissey prime.

    • Peter Bae  → Theo

      special Dark was mentioned, Blissey Prime is a good one tho cuz of seeker xD excpet Blissey Prime will take the rescue energy off :( i think

  10. John Kettler

    The best thing about Rescue Energy for Gyarados is not so that you can combat the decks that can sneak around it, but so that you can deal with those that smash directly into Gyaradoses in order to win. Besides, if Gengar is doing less than 150 but enough to put you within Shadow Room firing range, you can always Warp Energy/Seeker it away.

    Seeker, btw, seems like it should be a mandatory card in this deck. It’s too good NOT to play, mainly for the ability to automatically heal your Gyara.

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