Gyarados - Moveset & Best Build for Ranked Battle | Pokemon Sword and Shield

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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 Articles
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Basic Information for Gyarados

Types and Abilities

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

Type Defenses

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↓)

Moveset & Best Build 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 Sitrus Berry
Lum Berry
Wacan 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.

Rocky Helmet Moveset & Best Build

Rocky Helmet Gyarados.png

Nature Impish (Def↑ Sp. Atk↓)
EV Spread HP 242 / Atk. 12 / Def. 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. 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.

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.

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

Pokemon who can resist Gyarados's types

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

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
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
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

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
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
Jolteon ImageJolteon Ranking:★★★★☆
・Extremely high Speed Electric-type attacker.

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