A veteran and fan-favorite from Generation I, Gyarados returns to Pokemon Sword and Shield as a dominating force that only a few Pokemon can counter.
Statistically, Gyarados has this interesting mix of power and bulk that allows it to tank many hits and still be offensive. Its ability, Intimidate, increases its defensive capabilities. This drops the opposing Pokemon’s Attack stat by one stage, which will allow Gyarados to shrug off attacks thrown at it. With decent speed (81), Gyarados can outspeed most Pokemon. Gyarados’ hidden ability, Moxie, also makes Gyarados a menace. When Gyarados picks up a KO with this ability, it’s Attack is raised by a stage. So if Gyarados can pick off a couple Pokemon in a match, it can snowball to the point where no Pokemon will be able to survive even one hit. With this move set, either ability is going to help Gyarados single-handedly win many matches:
Note: This article is subjective and reflects the opinion of the writer.
The best moveset for Gyarados in Pokemon Sword and Shield
Since Generation III, Dragon Dance has been a staple on Gyarados, and for good reason. After the boosts, Gyarados can sweep through many different Pokemon teams. Gyarados also gets access to more moves than ever, with many TMs and TRs present in Pokemon Sword and Shield.
- Dragon Dance
Gyarados with Dragon Dance is one of the most reliable Pokemon that are common in all of the games. With the Attack and Speed boost, Gyarados is guaranteed to move first and deliver a vicious blow. This move also synergizes with Gyarados’ abilities very well. Intimidate helps Gyarados get a Dragon Dance up, since it can set up in front of a Pokemon with its attack weakened. With Moxie, Gyarados just needs a Dragon Dance and one KO before it becomes unstoppable.
Waterfall is Gyarados’ best Water-type attack. Only a few Pokemon types resist Water attacks (Grass, Water and Dragon), meaning that trainers can spam Waterfall without drawbacks in most cases. After Dragon Dance, a neutral Waterfall will deal enough damage to most Pokemon that aren’t physically bulky. Waterfall also has a 20% chance to make the opponent flinch. This can get Gyarados out of sticky situations at times. If Waterfall doesn’t KO outright, getting the Waterfall flinch will allow Gyardos to move again before the opponent can use a potentially harmful move.
Electric-type Pokemon are a big threat to Gyarados. It’d be a shame if Gyarados knew of a move that invalidates Electric-types. Not only does Earthquake chunk the health of most Pokemon, it also annihilates Electric-types that can hit Gyarados for 4x super effective damage. If Gyarados can set up a Dragon Dance, it can outspeed fast Electric-types like Manetric, Zeraora and Jolteon. Earthquake also hits defensive Steel-type Pokemon like Duraladon and Aegislash.
Crunch was much better when Gyarados had its mega evolution that made it Dark-type, but it’s still good in Generation VIII. Crunch can pick up surprise KO’s against some pretty threatening Pokemon, including Champion Leon’s Dragapult. Gyarados can run other options, such as Power Whip to hit opposing Water-types. A pretty devastating option is Bounce. This is because, in Dynamax form, Gyarados can use Max Airstream to increase its speed even more. If Gyarados has the Moxie ability, it can repeatedly increase its Attack and Speed until it becomes unstoppable.