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Gyarados - Moveset & Best Build for Ranked Battle

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Gyarados Movesets in Other Games
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This is a strategy guide for using Gyarados in competitive play for the games Pokemon Sword and Shield. Read on for tips on the best Nature, EV spreads, Movesets, Builds, and Held Items to use with Gyarados, as well as its strengths and weak points.

Gyarados - Related Guides
Pokemon SWSH - Gyarados Evolution and LearnsetEvolution and Learnset Pokemon SWSH - Gyarados Best BuildBuild for Ranked Battle

Basic Information for Gyarados

Types and Abilities

Pokemon Type 1 Type 2
Pokemon Sword and Shield - Water Type Pokemon Sword and Shield - Flying Type
Intimidate Lowers the foe's Attack stat.
Moxie (Hidden) Boosts Attack after knocking out any Pokemon.

Gyarados Weaknesses and Resistances

Takes 4x damage
Pokemon Electric Image
Takes 2x damage
Pokemon Rock Image
Takes 0.5x damage
Pokemon Fire Image Pokemon Water Image Pokemon Fighting Image Pokemon Bug Image Pokemon Steel Image
Takes 1/4x damage
Takes 0x damage
Pokemon Ground Image

What is Type Effectiveness?

Base Stats

HP Attack Defense Sp. Atk Sp. Def Speed
95 125 79 60 100 81

Best Nature for Gyarados

Best Natures
(Speed↑ Sp. Atk↓)
(Def↑ Sp. Atk↓)
(Atk↑Sp. Atk↓)

What are Natures?

Singles Movesets for Gyarados

Dynamax Moveset & Best Build

Dynamax Gyarados.png

Nature Jolly (Speed↑ Sp. Atk↓)
EV Spread HP 4 / Atk. 252 / Spd 252
Final Stat Values HP 171 / Atk. 177 / Def. 99 / Sp.Def. 120 / Spd. 146
Ability Moxie
Held Item Life Orb
Lum Berry
Moveset Waterfall
Power Whip

This build assumes that you will be Dynamaxing Gyarados, and makes use of this boosted Speed and also the Attack buff from Moxie to raise Gyarados's stats and take down opposing Pokemon.

Thanks to Power Whip, a Gyarados with this build will be able to take down even Wash Rotom, making it extremely viable.

About Gyarados's Held Item

Giving Gyarados Life Orb will make it easier to take down opponents and raise Attack with Moxie.

Lum Berry can also be used to nullify any status conditions that may be inflicted on Gyarados like Yawn or Thunder Wave. If expecting these moves, use Dragon Dance for what is essentially a free turn to raise stats.

Other Viable Moves

Dragon Dance A move to raise Attack and Speed stats. Makes it easier to defeat opposing Pokemon and goes well with Moxie.
Ice Fang Effective against Landorus and Salamence, which hits their 4x weakness.
Taunt Useful for stopping any attempts of using status moves to weaken Gyarados.
Stone Edge Rock-type move against Fire- and Flying-types. Powerful but has low accuracy.
Iron Head Using it as Max Steelspike will increase Defense. Also useful against Fairy-types.

Rocky Helmet Moveset & Best Build

Rocky Helmet Gyarados.png

Nature Impish (Def+, Sp.Atk-)
EV Spread HP 244 / Atk. 12 / Spd 252
Final Stat Values HP 201 / Atk. 147 / Def. 144 / Sp.Def. 120 / Spd. 101
Ability Intimidate
Held Item Rocky Helmet
Moveset Waterfall
Thunder Wave

This build makes use of an Impish nature to use Gyarados as a tank for physical damage.

About Gyarados's Held Item

Since Flying-types often get hit with contact moves, the Rocky Helmet will strengthen the defensive capability of Gyarados and damage opposing physical attackers.

Other Viable Moves

Earthquake This is for countering Steel-type Pokemon. Since Gyarados cannot learn any useful Fire-type moves, this is a decent option.
Ice Fang This move is for countering Dragon and Grass-types. Physical Ice-type moves work well with Gyarados's stats.
Iron Head Effective against Fairy-type Pokemon like Mimikyu and Sylveon.
Stone Edge Rock-type move against Fire- and Flying-types. Powerful but has low accuracy.

Chesto Berry Moveset & Best Build

Nature Impish (Def+, Sp.Atk-)
EV Spread HP 244 / Atk. 12 / Spd. 252
Final Stat Values HP 201 / Atk. 147 / Def. 144 / Sp.Def. 120 / Spd. 101
Ability Intimidate
Held Item Chesto Berry
Moveset Rest
Dragon Dance

This set uses Gyarados with Intimidate and letting it hold Chesto Berry after using Rest to recover HP. It is built to withstand physical attacks from opponents. It can be also used as an attacker with Dragon Dance.

How to Use Gyarados Effectively

Best used as a high stat attacker

Thanks to Gyarados's high stats and abundant moveset, it is best used as an ace attacker. In Pokemon SwSh, Dynamaxing has resolved the previous issue of Gyarados not having access to powerful moves.

Constant use of Intimidate lowers enemy Pokemons' Atk

Gyarados's ability Intimidate lowers an enemy's Atk, furthering its utility against physical attackers. In addition to his offensive capability, putting some time into Gyarados's EVs also allows it to have a powerful defense.

Best Pokemon to Use With Gyarados

Pokemon Strong Against Electric-types

Gyarados is 4x weak to Electric-type Pokemon like Zapdos and Regieleki. Therefore, teaming it up with Pokemon strong against Electric-types will help Gyarados take the stage and have an active role.

Additonally, it is best to leave the Dynamaxing to Gyarados and choose Pokemon that can be used without Dynamaxing.

Pokemon Description
Pokemon SWSH - Hippowdon ImageHippowdon ・Lead the team and use Stealth Rock and Yawn to make way for Gyarados.
Hippowdon - Moveset & Best Build for Ranked Battle
Pokemon SWSH - Landorus (Therian Forme) ImageLandorus (Therian Forme) ・Can give Gyarados an advantage with Intimidate, followed by using U-Turn to switch.
Landorus (Therian Forme) - Moveset & Best Build for Ranked Battle
Pokemon SWSH - Ferrothorn ImageFerrothorn ・Gyarados can handle it's 4x weakness to Fire-type moves.
Ferrothorn - Moveset & Best Build for Ranked Battle
Pokemon SWSH - Excadrill ImageExcadrill ・Gyarados resists its weakness to Fire-type and Fighting-type moves.
Excadrill - Moveset & Best Build for Ranked Battle
Pokemon SWSH - Swampert ImageSwampert ・Can start up with Yawn
Note that both Swampert and Gyarados are vulnerable to Freeze-Dry.
Swampert - Moveset & Best Build for Ranked Battle
Pokemon SWSH - Mamoswine ImageMamoswine ・Besides being immune to Electric-type attacks, Mamoswine can also take Freeze-Dry and receive the move with half the damage.
Mamoswine - Moveset & Best Build for Ranked Battle
Pokemon SWSH - Rhyperior ImageRhyperior ・High Defense stat means it can tank any Rock-type moves intended for Gyarados.
Rhyperior - Moveset & Best Build for Ranked Battle

How to Build a Team with Gyarados

Gyarados has been a mainstay of competitive teams since Generation 1. It's a physical attacker that can synergize well with all kinds of teams.

A powerful Dynamax Lead

Dynamax Gyarados.jpg

Gyarados is one of the most popular Dynamax leads this generation. It's one of the few Dynamax leads with the coveted Max Airstream, which allows it to support itself and its teammates with a speed boost.

This, along with access to powerful STAB and coverage moves such as Waterfall, Power Whip, and Earthquake make it a great choice for Hyper Offensive teams.

Check out our Hyper Offensive team building article below to learn how to use Gyarados as part of a team.
How to Build an Offensive Team

A Potent Set-Up Sweeper in Doubles

Gyarados is one of the few Pokemon who can safely set-up with Dragon Dance in doubles, even without redirection support, thanks to its great bulk. It's ability Intimidate also makes it easier to set-up in front of physical attackers.

One Dragon Dance is often enough to turn Gyarados into a powerful offensive force with the ability to sweep teams with multi-target moves such as Earthquake and Rock Slide. It's Moxie ability further enhances its wallbreaking prowess, allowing it to tear through teams once it's racked up enough KOs.

Check out our Doubles team building article to learn how to use Gyarados as part of a Doubles team.
How to Build a Doubles Team

Counters for Gyarados

Weakness Pokemon Electric Image Pokemon Rock Image

Counter with Electric Pokemon

Electric-type moves are 4x effective on Gyarados, so this is of course a very simple way to deal with Gyarados. However, be aware that a Gyarados with very high Speed may still be able to turn the tables on an Electric-type Pokemon.

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Pokemon SWSH - Zapdos ImageZapdos Ranking:★★★★★
・Faster than Gyarados, which is very important in this matchup.
・Can receive physical attacks and easily regain lost HP by using Roost.
Moveset & Best Build for Zapdos
Pokemon SWSH - Wash Rotom ImageWash Rotom Ranking:★★★★★
・Holding Choice Scarf will boost its Speed enough for it to attack before Gyarados.
Moveset & Best Build for Wash Rotom
Pokemon SWSH - Tapu Koko ImageTapu Koko Ranking:★★★★
・Electric-type attacker with incredible Speed.
Electric Surge Ability is very useful and the resulting Electric Terrain powers up Electric-type moves.
Moveset & Best Build for Tapu Koko
Pokemon SWSH - Raikou ImageRaikou Ranking:★★★★
・Faster than Gyarados, which is very important in this matchup.
・Can use Scald against any Ground-types Gyarados is teamed up with.
Moveset & Best Build for Raikou
Pokemon SWSH - Jolteon ImageJolteon Ranking:★★★★
・Extremely high Speed Electric-type attacker.

Pokemon who can resist Gyarados's physical attacks

Gyarados's main weapons are the physical Water-type moves Waterfall and Aqua Tail, so Pokemon who can take these at half damage can effectively deal with Gyarados's wrath.

Additionally, be wary as Gyarados is hard to read, and may use Dragon Dance or Taunt.

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Pokemon SWSH - Porygon2 ImagePorygon2 Ranking:★★★★★
・Durable when holding Eviolite.
Discharge can be very devestating to Gyarados.
Moveset & Best Build for Porygon2
Pokemon SWSH - Ferrothorn ImageFerrothorn Ranking:★★★★
・Grass-typing and high defense allows it to resist Gyarados' Water-type STAB and coverage moves.
Iron Barbs ability provides passive damage whenever Gyarados hits it with a contact move like Waterfall.
Moveset & Best Build for Ferrothorn
Pokemon SWSH - Quagsire ImageQuagsire Ranking:★★★☆☆
・Its ability Unaware ignores stat changes from Gyarados' Max Airstream or Dragon Dance.
・Water Absorb completely nullifies the use of Water-type moves.
・Can cripple Gyarados with a burn using Scald.
Moveset & Best Build for Quagsire

Related Links

Pokemon Sword and Shield - Best Builds for Ranked Battle

All Competitive Builds for Ranked Battle

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