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Meet Gyarados, a Pokémon accepted long ago as a joke in Ubers. It's a huge manly fish with great stats all round, a unique typing, and its performance in the OU metagame is well recognized. The bad news is, many players (Jibaku and Fireburn really hate it) think it is just unfit for Ubers, which started way back in DPP. They always tried to argue that Gyarados was just a failed test specimen of user Theorymon, never performing well enough to be approved for an analysis. All hope was not lost however, as soon the word Gyarados became a hot topic for many Ubers players, likely due to a sudden surge in Gyarados usage. Gyarados appeared everywhere from the Uber forums, to the battler servers, and even kick words in IRC channels. Those who mentioned the word Gyarados got auto-kicked and man, it was just unfair to those Gyarados fans out there. User trickroom, however, was a big fan of Gyarados in both OU and Ubers. It is in the Ubers metagame where Gyarados struggled to find some sort of real use. Gyarados's stats, while good, aren't spectacular compared to most of the Pokémon roaming around Ubers, and it doesn't get any specialized stats like Blissey either to function well in one role. That typing is a double-edged sword, as flying over those common Spikes are great, but being 4x weak to the common Thunders flying around the tier is disappointing. These downfalls were still not enough to stop user trickroom from finding a niche for Gyarados; hundreds of test battles were done, and while Gyarados performed well, the Quality Control team still did not like it for some reason, probably because Gyarados was too manly for them. This hatred towards Gyarados still continues throughout BW, and the QC team tried their best to prevent user trickroom from actually getting Gyarados approved.
A list of sets were made, but no one took them seriously as well, although they kept getting destroyed by Gyarados sadly. The answer people gave when they lost to Gyarados is, "you didn't win with Gyarados, you just got lucky with the team match-up and my own mistakes." Some of the more intriguing sets were Substitute + Dragon Dance, Tauntrados, Angry Fishy, Muscular Carp (not crab or crap please), Choice Band, and RestTalk. Angry Fishy uses Gyarados's ability to spread all 3 kinds of status through Scald, Thunder Wave, and Toxic, while Muscular Carp attempts to annoy foes with Bulldoze and take them out with a powerful attack next turn. Choice Band is a viable set in OU; in Ubers, it functions similarly except you must use Outrage to get past Giratina and OHKO most of the common Dragon-types in the tier such as Kyurem-W. The bad news is Swift Swimmers are legal together with Drizzle, meaning Kabutops is usually the better user of Choice Band, thanks to its superior Speed under rain and secondary STAB move. Sub + Dragon Dance, however, was designed to set up on defensive threats such as Forretress. The best and most effective of all Gyarados sets in Ubers is probably the defensive Taunt set, as it fully utilizes its unique typing, Intimidate, and access to Dragon Tail together with Taunt, a move rarely seen in Ubers.
Finally, at the end of BW2, it has been decided that Gyarados really deserves an analysis for real in Ubers, which was always the opinion of user trickroom anyway. To me, I think Gyarados was probably approved by the QC team for its manliness and niche use. Come on, you would probably get bored if you kept getting crushed by this humongous fish, right? It's so intense that you would rather just approve it and forget about those nightmares. While the ladder blows, numerous players tremble in fear at the sight of Gyarados because it seems to be a tell-tale sign of user trickroom, and you do not want to lose to him using Gyarados, because you will soon become the hot topic for many people. "lol, you lost to trickroom's Gyarados, what a noob." Well those stories are now considered history because even if you lost, you lost to a viable Pokémon. Using your so overpowered Arceus and Groudon but getting walled by a Gyarados was just embarrassing in the past :[
That is enough history of Gyarados; I will now go into why you should like this Pokémon. In terms of appearance, Gyarados does look like some badass Chinese Dragon, ready to destroy things in its path. As for the gaping mouth that never seems to close? Well, Gyarados can still bite people, so it does close when you want it to! Gyarados's design was inspired by Chinese carp stories, as when they leap past the Dragon Gate, carps will succeed in life and become a real Dragon. If you played Pokémon, you will easily recognize Gyarados's power and availability. You can simply fish for a Magikarp and evolve it at a fairly low level, 20. Since way back in RBY, Gyarados has had one of the highest stats in the game, with great Special and a huge Attack stat. Who doesn't like a Pokémon with high stats and great movepool anyway?
Gyarados was picked as one of the manliest Pokémon in the game, and if you check out those huge gaping jaws you will know what I mean. Those pair of long barbels just make Gyarados look majestic and a real gentleman. Manly Pokémon show off their power through physical attacks, and Gyarados has the second most powerful Waterfall and Bounce in the game. If that isn't manly enough, Gyarados is made to cause destruction. It can even throw stones via Stone Edge, smash the ground with Earthquake, and Bounce right up into the air—a giant fish flying in the sky, that would be just awesome. Imagine the sight when a 20 foot+ tall serpent came crashing down right on you; now you have to experience it for yourself. As you send out your mighty horse called Grass Arceus, ready to absorb that nasty Waterfall, Gyarados Dances right in front of you. The next turn, you have a dead Grass Arceus, because that Gyarados just bounced right into the air and came crashing down on your poor wild ass. Yes, Gyarados can outrun and kill Grass Arceus with just one boost, a feat not even Kyogre can achieve.
For a Water-type, Gyarados has quite a huge movepool. Many of those moves are special attacks, such as Fire Blast, Thunder, Hydro Pump, Ice Beam, Dark Pulse, and Dragon Pulse. Most of them seem to be useless, as Gyarados is just too manly for those moves; only pussies like Kyogre and Ghost Arceus attack from the special side. The only exception is when you feel like surprising the opponent's would-be counters, such as frying an unsuspecting Ferrothorn with Fire Blast, which just feels good. Even with that measly Special Attack stat, Fire Blast can be a usable move under the sun to KO Skarmory, Forretress, and Ferrothorn. A fire-breathing fish—now that is a new and a wonderful concept!
User trickroom originally liked Ubers Gyarados after watching this underrated serpent smash a Rayquaza one-on-one. Gyarados seems to have the disadvantage as Rayquaza has that menacing base 150 Attack and superior Speed; however, it turns out Rayquaza was intimidated by Gyarados's imposing look! Rayquaza tried to shred his foe with Dragon Claw, but was surprised to see it barely did more than half. In return, Gyarados unleashed an Outrage so powerful it took out Rayquaza in just one hit. The only physically attacking Dragon-type Gyarados should not be challenging is Zekrom, as Zekrom cheats with Bolt Strike.
Amazed at such a sight, trickroom fell in love with this wonderful creature. User trickroom was quite popular with theme teams and gimmicky Pokémon anyway (Stunfisk anyone?), but he made it clear that Gyarados was for real. At one time, Gyarados was #40 in the Ubers usage, after repeated attempts to get more replays of Gyarados punishing opponents who failed to realize its power. Some of the QC team got so mad they tried to make Gyarados look less appealing by simply stuffing it for rank E in the viability thread. Well, that is history. Gyarados found a niche in Ubers. Why would you hate such a manly and awesome Pokémon anyway? Don't listen to Tobes, as he knows nothing about Gyarados.
Base 125 Attack is just good enough to hit the opponent hard, and, while lower than those Uber titans, Gyarados's main STAB can be boosted by the weather. Water / Flying is a rare typing, only shared by rarely used Pokémon who never see use in the higher tiers. 95/79/100 defenses might not seem much, but Intimidate can go a long way, pushing its Defense to the level of Lugia's. Taking out Gyarados seems pretty easy, as it is 4x weak to Thunder, a common move thrown around, but one will notice most of Gyarados partners are common rain or sand Pokémon resisting Electric- or Rock-type attacks such as Dialga, Ferrothorn, Excadrill, Gastrodon, and Grass Arceus. It also gets access to Taunt, a move most walls in Ubers lack, with the exception of Skarmory. Unfortunately, the lack of Swift Swim hurts it as a sweeper and that base 81 Speed is just disappointing even with Dragon Dance
Even with so much research done by users trickroom, shrang, Enguarde, Melee Mewtwo, and Mr.lol, sadly the only really viable set is Tauntrados. The rest of the sets are either too unreliable like Muscular Carp or outclassed by better Pokémon. The Choice Band set looks like a decent set to use, but that role is better left to fellow fish Kabutops. Substitute + Dragon Dance looks like a good set, as it is Gyarados's main set in OU. However, Gyarados suffers a lot more from coverage issues in Ubers than OU because many threats such as Giratina-O resist Water + Ground coverage and are much bulkier.
Gyarados @ Leftovers
EVs: 248 HP / 184 Def / 76 Spe
Impish nature (+Def, -SpA)
- Dragon Tail
- Waterfall / Earthquake
This set uses all of Gyarados's unique attributes, and Taunt is the main move of this set. It cripples walls and prevents them from doing anything. The Speed EVs creep up to outrun slow base 90s, and Gyarados can afford to drop a little bulk for that. Waterfall is Gyarados's best STAB move, as that is how you attack manly—Hydro Pump sucks. Earthquake is for Dialga, Jirachi, and getting solid smack on Zekrom. Toxic is the preferred status, as it cripples defensive Pokémon and puts them on a timer; they can't even heal it off with Rest thanks to Taunt. It is easy to fit Gyarados on a team, as many sand and rain Pokémon appreciate Gyarados's Intimidate support and ability to shut down walls and Spikes users such as Skarmory. The EV spread pumps up Gyarados's bad initial Defense, as Gyarados should focus on physically walling thanks to Intimidate.
Supporting Gyarados is pretty easy as most of the walls in rain and sand teams tend to resist Electric- and Rock-type moves, which are Gyarados's only weaknesses. Dialga is a good candidate as it has balanced defenses and shares perfect synergy with Gyarados. It can also use Stealth Rock to cause more residual damage and bring down potential threats to Gyarados such as Palkia with Draco Meteor. Ferrothorn is another good teammate as it too can work on both sand and rain teams, and it has all the tools to support Gyarados. Access to Spikes makes Gyarados's phazing even more annoying; it also has great defenses and pairs up well with Gyarados typing-wise. Leech Seed can also give some free healing to Gyarados, forming a formidable core to break. Jirachi can pass Wishes to Gyarados, resists Rock-types moves, and can take Thunders as well. It can also take special attacks too powerful for Gyarados to take such as Specs Kyurem-W's Draco Meteor. Gastrodon is another good teammate as it can take any Thunder or Rock-type attack and beat Kyogre, most of which carry Thunder.
Kyogre and Tyranitar are both viable partners for weather support. Typing wise, Tyranitar pairs up better with Gyarados as Kyogre shares a nasty Thunder weakness with it. Rain powers up Gyarados's main move, while Tyranitar is capable of taking Thunders and Pursuit down nasty adversaries such as Latios. Sadly, Leftovers recovery is negated in the sand, but it also wears down opponents faster, something Gyarados will enjoy. Groudon is also possible as a partner thanks to that Ground typing, but sun teams already have a limited playstyle, and the sun weakens Gyarados's main attack. A reduction in Thunder's accuracy can be a huge help however, and it will make Gyarados a lot harder to OHKO. Since Gyarados lacks fast recovery, Wish Blissey makes an excellent partner, as she can pass huge Wishes and doesn't care about the weather.
Rapid Spin support isn't mandatory, but it will extend Gyarados's life throughout the match. The best user to pair with Gyarados is Excadrill. It shares perfect synergy with Gyarados and works well in both sand and rain. Excadrill also has a high Attack stat and can set up Stealth Rock as well. Its powerful Earthquake can bring down Steel-types and Zekrom while Gyarados helps Excadrill in dealing with Fighting- and Ground-type Pokémon. Forretress is another great user for Rapid Spin. It can take some attacks Gyarados will not enjoy taking such as boosted Outrages and can set up every type of entry hazard in the game. In general, Gyarados loves teammates who can set up entry hazards to make its Dragon Tail even deadlier. As long as you provide sufficient support and know how to use it, Gyarados will not disappoint you. It is best to have a few Pokémon to take on Electric- and Rock-type moves, entry hazards support, and maybe a user of Wish or Rapid Spin. Then Gyarados can unleash its fullest potential in Ubers. The weather doesn't really matter, because it constantly changes in Ubers and Gyarados is not affected much by it, but rain and sand are preferred.
Gyarados is the manliest and most powerful fish ever. Use it well and you will be rewarded! Feel free to play around with new sets. Who knows, you could be the next one to find a new viable set for this amazing fish...Dragon? Don't listen to anyone who tries to deny Gyarados's manliness; just try it out and you can experience it yourself.
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