Gyarados – The Atrocious BDIF

Hello community and welcome to my first article on the site. I am excited to be writing for you guys and today I will be examining a deck that many feel, including myself, that is the best deck in format (BDIF) for this hectic turn one donking format. That deck is Gyarados. Gyarados seems to be getting better every set and now with Spring BR’s it seems to have reached the pinnacle of its reign.

As many know Gyarados is a deck that relies on its speed, excellent recovery, and yes, Magikarps in the discard. With Sableye being your starter and your many ways to discard Magikarps it is very easy to get the three Magikarp in the discard pile and continue to rush with Gyarados.


Here is the list I will be using to discuss the deck today:

Pokémon – 21 

4 Magikarp SF
3 Gyarados SF
4 Sableye SF
2 Crobat G
2 Uxie LA
1 Azelf LA
1 Regice LA
1 Unown D UD
1 Unown Q MD
1 Mesprit LA
1 Combee SF

Trainers – 34 

4 Poké Drawer +
4 Pokémon Collector
1 Professor Juniper
4 Junk Arm
1 Warp Point
1 Lost Remover
2 Pokémon Communication
3 Broken Time-Space
2 Super Scoop Up
3 Poké Turn
2 Pokémon Rescue
1 Luxury Ball
2 Seeker
2 Expert Belt
1 Bebe’s Search
1 VS Seeker

Energy – 5 

3 Rescue
1 Warp
1 Special D

But before I do the deck analysis and discussion, I would like to give you a first place tournament report using this decklist.

Tournament Report

I was supposed to be chilling with my family at Kelley’s Island, but I wanted to play in some BR’s after going 3-2 @ Cuyahoga Falls because of REALLY bad luck (prizes versus Chinchilla were 2 ‘Karp, Azelf and Special Dark). I went 3-2 and missed cut, David won though, and I Knocked Out a Vilegar and Magnerock for our group. So I was able to get a ride with Nawals and here we go. Breakfast is a McFlurry because I woke up late.

So in the car I talk with Matt about the tourney and HGSS-on and start making up a new deck that is more of what I want to play. I also change my list, adding in a third BTS because I thought that there would be Arceus there (I was wrong on that account) and a second Pokémon Rescue because our group was running Lost Remover and I wanted to have a slight edge in mirror.

I ended up not using Ditto because I felt it wasn’t all that great for mirror match because a hit on it and then a warp point leads to a 2 Prize deficit on my end and I scrapped Black Belt as I didn’t use it in the mirror and I found it to mostly be helpful versus Magnerock, which I didn’t think would show up (right on that account).

Also after the tourney we discussed Zoroark as a possible tech in G-Dos; it sounded cool but I like my list the way it is: streamlined and consistent.

Game 1 v. Nick M. w/ Chinchilla/Zekrom

So I go first and I get some Magikarps and a quick prize lead with a Sableye E-belted. He goes and forgets about Sableye’s Resistance and leaves a bench spot and doesn’t KO my Sableye and I pretty much wreck him from there due to his misplay, I think I would have had a good chance of winning because I had the turn three G-dos anyway, but it would have been a lot harder. I also was able to Lost Remover a Cyclone Energy he dropped on Zekrom so he couldn’t randomly KO me.


Game 2 v. Laura (league leader) w/ Salamence?

I don’t know what she was playing, she just runs the league in Chardon and is nice. I donked her though with G-dos, I started Regice and after doing a bunch of stuff get a turn one G-dos with three Carp in discard and win. I said I was sorry though.


Game 3 v. Dan P. w/ Chinchilla

pokebeach.comSo we do some hardcore math with Alex’s help to figure out how we can win this tourney, preferably with no Sabledonk in top cut and we figured out we wanted to play each other. Well no luck for me, I start lone ‘Karp and he donks me with 3 Flash Bites…


Game 4 v. David C. w/ G-dos

Alex and I knew what we needed to sweep top two, Dan with a win, Nick M with a win and I had to win. Well in our mirror match I get started and get a big league. He does some neat stuff with the deck but I Psychic binded him for a while, then was able to get a key Lost Remover on his Rescue Energy and Special D Energy (I Junk Armed it back).

He tries to set up for a G-dos E-belt kill on mine after a Psychic Restore but I just Warp Point, Seeker and win comfortably. Then in a VERY intense game Dan P edges out Sabledonk and sets up a top two for us.

So I knew I should win but Dan P was on a lucky roll (it was like his third tourney and he was donking people left and right).


Top Cut v./ Dan P and Chinchilla

Game 1
I get a strong hand and psychic bind him three turns in a row and get up by 3 Prizes and he smartly scoops.
He then calls me getting a lone carp start and him Sableye.

Game 2
REALLY? He gets the call right and to conserve time in case he takes a long turn I scoop once see him play Collector knowing that he plays Unown Dark and a lot of drawing cards.

Game 3
He starts Unown Dark, I start Sableye, go Luxury Ball for Azelf, Time Walk for Unown Dark, good game…

So YAY! I won a BRs
In my packs I pull full art Reshiram and I think a random holo and some energies…

Looking Back

pokebeach.comLooking back at my list I don’t think for this tourney that I needed a 3rd BTS since everyone else that did well was using it in their decks, but I think it was still more useful than a 2nd Juniper, which I never seem to use. I also was surprised by two Chinchillas doing relatively well, and their were two at Cuyahoga Falls, so it seems that the deck is gaining popularity, but to be honest I see it as Gyarados’s little brother.

Also I definitely loved Lost Remover in the deck as it won me at least one game and could have won me a third. If I was going to another BR I would probably run a Chinchilla/Luxray GL LV.X deck (similar to the deck that Chris posted but a thicker line of Luxray and probably no Garchomp C) for fun and because it might still stand a chance versus Gyarados.

However I do think G-Dos is BDIF, although Luxchomp picked up a lot more BR wins this weekend than G-Dos so far according to the Gym thread.

So after reading that report (the full version can be found in the Battle Roads thread, I left out most of the irrelevant stuff), hopefully you’ll want to learn a little bit more about how the deck works, and what better way than breaking down each card-


4 Magikarp – Not much here, discard three Magikarp and use the fourth one to become Gyarados. The Stormfront one is used because it can draw cards.

3 Gyarados – The star of the deck as it can deal out 110 damage for zero energy, 3 is used because with the recovery engine and its high Hit Points, four would be overkill and you can use that extra deck slot for a more valuable card.

4 Sableye – The starter of the deck and right now it is probably the best card in format. It guarantees you to go first, unless of course you run into another Sableye, and it has two very good attacks. Impersonate is a free attack that allows you to use a supporter, usually a Pokémon Collector allowing you to get setup under trainer locking decks.

pokebeach.comThe second attack is what SableDonk is based around, Overconfident, for a single Darkness Energy you can hit for 40 if you have more Hit Points remaining. Which with Uxie, Crobat G, Poké Turn, Junk Arm, and Expert Belt you can donk easily. 4 are used so you have the best chance of starting with it.

2 Crobat G – These are essentially searchable PlusPowers and are there to help achieve 1HKOs more easily. They also aren’t awful starters because of their free retreat. Also note that in-game you will almost always want one on your bench so you can use Warp Point more effectively and when a Gyarados gets Knocked Out you have a free retreat Pokémon to send active.

2 Uxie – This card is used so you can refresh your hand with Set Up. Really not much to say about this guy, two is a pretty standard number for this deck and is used because you don’t need him much past your initial setup because of Juniper and Junk Arm.

1 Azelf – Used to see your prizes and get your Magikarp if they are prized. Again he’s used in every deck so not much I can say.

1 Regice – Used only for his power, Regi Move. The power gives you a searchable way to get rid of Magikarps and get around the Spiritomb start. This card also lets you unclog your hand against VileGar. I wouldn’t recommend more than 1 because you really don’t want to start with this guy because of his clunky three Retreat Cost.

1 Unown Dark – This card is usually overlooked, but is good in this deck so it can achieve the donk if it wants too. Also with only one Special Dark in the deck you won’t likely draw into it. Therefore, Unown Dark is an excellent way to overcome that problem.

1 Unown Q – The second Unown used in the deck, it is used because of its Quick power, allowing you to reduce a Pokémon’s Retreat Cost by one, which for most of the deck, means free. With the lack of energy in this deck it is needed, but again not more than one because that would give you five 30 hit point basics.

1 Mesprit – The third and final member of the Pixie trio, this one is also used for its power, Psychic Bind. Psychic Bind stops all of your opponents’ powers for one turn, which means that you will be initially faster if you get him down quickly. With Seeker, VS Seeker and Junk Arm you can start a very long Psychic Bind chain that will slow down your opponent and give you more time to take a big prize lead and setup your recovery.


4 Poké Drawer + – This is a staple in this deck now and can be greatly abused with Junk Arm. Getting any two cards from your deck gives you many options and helps to tie up the loose ends of the deck.

4 Pokémon Collector – The back bone of the deck, Pokémon Collector is what allows you to get your Magikarps quickly and effectively. This is another staple that I can’t say much about as it has all been said before.

1 Professor Juniper – A hand refresher that at the same time allows you to discard Magikarps under trainer and power lock, overall I have found that I don’t use the card much but it should still be considered a staple for the deck.

4 Junk Arm – The most versatile trainer card right now because that it is essentially any trainer that you have used or even discarded with a previous junk arm. It is also another way to throw away Magikarps and reuse trainers that you can only fit 1 or 2-of in your deck. This card is another way to tie up loose ends in the deck.

1 Warp Point – Its overall usage has declined but this card is simply amazing in mirror match because you can’t always get a KO on a Gyarados and the bench has lots of little Pokémon, one is all that is needed because of your Junk Arm.

1 Lost Remover – A card for only the mirror match, by getting rid of Rescue Energies it makes your opponent rely on Combee and Pokémon Rescue, making it more difficult for your opponent to get a return KO if they aren’t prepared.

2 Pokémon Communication – Another staple card, used to make access to Gyarados easier, favored over Bebe’s Search because with Communication it is much easier to get a turn two Gyarados. Also it is an excellent way to get a quick Setup or Psychic Bind if you have Pokémon that are relatively useless clunking up your hand.

3 Broken Time-Space – The backbone of the deck and another staple card, this card is so that you can quickly evolve into Gyarados, ideally you would run 4 but for me 3 is enough and gives me more room to work with techs.

2 Super Scoop Up – Yet another staple card, this card is very versatile and is used as a prize saver and to reuse pixies. Again due to Junk Arm you can skate by running only two.

3 Poké Turn – This card’s sole purpose is to add damage and help you achieve 1HKOs quicker and more efficiently. This is another staple card.

2 Pokémon Rescue – Simply a recovery card that is easy to reuse with Junk Arm. A lot of lists can get by with one, but I prefer two because of Lost Remover. This is the second card that helps this deck to have one of the best recovery engines in format.

1 Luxury Ball – Lets you get any Pokémon in your deck, you don’t run LV.Xs, so it has no real drawbacks and is reusable. I can only wish you could use it when it is in your discard pile. This is the ideal way to get your initial Gyarados.

2 Seeker – With Warp Point this card allows you to heal a badly injured Gyarados, but it is primarily used to continue a Mesprit chain, 2 because it is a card that you can use with Sableye’s Impersonate and can be used to help achieve a donk.

2 Expert Belt – Another staple card and is used to help achieve 1HKOs and to help Sableye being able to donk.

1 Bebe’s Search – This is the only way to search for Gyarados under trainer lock, one because trainer lock hasn’t been too popular in my area, but you could always add another one, this card has been a staple since 2008.

1 VS Seeker – This is the last card that really ties the deck up completely, with this card in your discard all of your supporters can be reused with Junk Arm allowing for more consistency, one of my favorite cards of all time and who doesn’t like the FRLG one?


pokebeach.com3 Rescue Energy – You don’t need energy for Gyarados to attack so you can actually waste an energy attachment for these, unlike most other decks, and this lets you get Gyarados back easily without using Combee or Pokémon Rescue, just beware of Lost Remover.

1 Warp Energy – Used in conjunction with Seeker if under trainer lock and can also get Regice out of the starting position.

1 Special D Energy -The only searchable energy in the deck because of Unown Dark and is used to get a quick prize lead with Sableye.

Okay so now that the list is broken down, I will introduce some techs that can be used.


Cyrus’s Initiative/Judge/Giratina – These cards are all used to give the deck some disruption. I would use Cyrus’s because I don’t want to be shrinking my own hand.

Spiritomb – Usually your worst enemy, you can run so that you can evolve into Gyarados if you are under trainer lock by your opponent and it can also secure certain match ups, such as SableDonk if you start with it.

Zoroark – This is a tech that I heard about this weekend, you can use it for mirror match to hit for 120 with Foul Play and with Special Dark it can provide a consistency. I’d run DCE with it so I can just drop him down and attack in one turn. Also it can get 1HKOs on other Pokémon that you don’t normally 1HKO because of Foul Play.

Ditto – Used almost exclusively for mirror in a similar way that Zoroark is, but my problem with it is that if you hit and get a KO, get hit back and then Warp Pointed it is easy to lose 2 Prizes in one turn. This card can also be strong in the VileGar match up if you add Psychic energies to your build.

Black Belt – This guy is used for MagneRock and Gyarados match ups so that you can return a KO easier, I find it to be very useful in those match up but in a lot of games you will be playing with the lead so it can turn out to be dead space.

Poké Blower +/Pokémon Reversal/Luxray GL LV.X – These cards are all used so you can pick and choose what to KO, but I find that they all slow the deck down and in a fast format like this aren’t really worth it.

Pokédexhandy910is/Victory Medal – The second to last techs that I will mention, these are used to give you added draw support. Not much to say about them really.

Bubble Coat – This is a tech that is very metagame dependent; it’s very helpful against Zekrom, Luxray and Magnezone decks, all of which seem to be gaining popularity. If those decks are popular in your area I would recommend adding in one, as it can also be reused with Junk Arm.

Thanks for reading.

Credits to Team TacoBell-Alex S, Ryan K and David C for helping to make the list :)

Reader Interactions

9 replies

  1. Anonymous

    Hey, guys. Even if the article technically isn’t relevant to the format anymore, that doesn’t mean we still can’t learn anything from it. Was it the most elaborate article and worthy of Underground? Not really. But it’s not a bad article at all, and certainly not deserving of that negative rating I saw when I first found the article.

    Congrats on winning the BR! Next time, try to include more information about what happened in each battle — I keep notes that I update after each game to help me remember these things. =)

  2. Anonymous

    Hey, guys. Even if the article technically isn’t relevant to the format anymore, that doesn’t mean we still can’t learn anything from it. Was it the most elaborate article and worthy of Underground? Not really. But it’s not a bad article at all, and certainly not deserving of that negative rating I saw when I first found the article.

    Congrats on winning the BR! Next time, try to include more information about what happened in each battle — I keep notes that I update after each game to help me remember these things. =)

  3. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    This must be written before the early rotation was announced.

    It’s a decent list w/report and well written so no reason not to like it.

  4. Carl Scheu

    Yes I did write this article before the rotation, and there wasn’t any article written for Gyarados so I felt that it was relevant article and needed. And while this maybe my first article for, I’ve written some b/4 and Chris I do understand where you are coming from but at least judge the article, not the timing of it, and there is still one week left, so this can give someone who’s been sitting out an article for this format.

  5. Carl Scheu

    Versilaryan-Thanks, also that’s part of the issue, most of the games didn’t have much going on, yay to the format, the only match I really could have elaborated on is the Gyarados mirror but even then not much to say, I got off the first mesprit and he couldn’t recover his gyarados.
    Maybe a little bit more on the Cinccino matchup too(the first game).

  6. Goodluckevan

    Battle Roads aren’t over, there are more this weekend and it’s the last chance at a Victory Medal for people who haven’t already earned one, so there is no reason to hate on this article.  It was well-written and the information is sound.  

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