- Lowers the foe's Attack one stage. Decreases wild encounter rate.
- Boosts Attack by one stage if the wielder knocks out another Pokemon.
Level 50 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
With Zapdos being the most used Pokemon in VGC 2012, one might look at Gyarados and immediately write it off due to its crippling 4x weakness to Electric-type attacks. Although its weakness to Electric-type moves holds Gyarados back, it is not the weakling one might think. A fantastic ability in Intimidate allows it to shut down some of the top physical attackers in the game such as Hitmontop and Weavile while also backing up its teammates even further with a variety of supporting moves. An excellent Attack stat further complements Gyarados's capabilities, especially because Water is a great offensive type. All of this sets Gyarados up to do great things in the VGC 2012 metagame.
Utilizing Intimidate to support its teammates is what Gyarados does best. Coupled with its strong supporting moves, this set allows Gyarados to be the ultimate team player. While one might immediately start to pick out supporting moves like a kid looking at ice cream toppings, Gyarados requires some form of offense. Waterfall is arguably Gyarados's best attacking move, and is boosted by STAB, so it hits hard and also has a useful 20% chance to flinch. Gyarados isn't exactly the epitome of speed, so Thunder Wave gives it the ability to slow down foes, and allows Gyarados to imitate Togekiss's deadly paraflinch combo. If one prefers to slow down two Pokemon at once, Icy Wind does just that, although its slightly lower accuracy might be somewhat off-putting. Taunt is a great move for this set, allowing it to cripple common setup Pokemon, such as Cresselia and Dusclops. This allows Gyarados to function as a decent Trick Room counter, which, when set up, turns Gyarados's Speed-dropping moves back on itself. If one does not fear Trick Room, Stone Edge provides an additional attacking option, allowing Gyarados to hit Pokemon resistant to Water-type moves such as Abomasnow, and is Gyarados's best bet against Zapdos. Protect has been called the Swiss Army Knife of VGC, and that is a perfect representation. Its numerous uses include stalling out Trick Room, shielding Gyarados from damage, and allowing weather conditions to take down a Pokemon low on HP.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While Gyarados is definitely a great pick for providing support, no one said it can't eat its cake, too. An attacking set based around Dragon Dance is a viable option, and the Moxie ability Gyarados receives from the Dream World can allow it to rampage through teams after a single Dragon Dance. Ice Fang could be used if one wants to try to take on Zapdos head-to-head—and not worry as much about accuracy—though Gyarados is going to wind up being recalled to its Poke Ball for a rest, unless Zapdos is critically low on health to begin with. If a more attacking-oriented set is used, Aqua Tail is a viable alternative to Waterfall, providing a much appreciated boost in power, though it has less-than-perfect accuracy and loses out on the flinch chance. Bounce provides Gyarados with a secondary STAB, though it requires a turn to charge and the opponent can easily avoid it with Protect, reducing its effectiveness.
Checks and Counters
Zapdos has been mentioned several times previously, and with good reason. In most circumstances, Zapdos, and almost any Electric-type, can take Gyarados down with ease. Their STAB Electric moves are 4x super effective on Gyarados, and even with a Wacan Berry, it will be hard-pressed to take more than one attack. Rock-types that switch in on Gyarados, bypassing its Intimidate, hit hard with their STAB Rock Slide, though Gyarados can threaten with its own super effective Waterfall. Pokemon that are immune to or resist Water-type moves go a long way towards stopping Gyarados, especially Gastrodon and Abomasnow, though the latter must watch out for Gyarados carrying Stone Edge.