Wednesday, July 16

Ranking the Pokemon: #20- Gyarados

Gyarados was maybe my favorite Pokemon the first time I played through the original games. Not knowing I could catch a Magikarp later, I got suckered into buying one from that shady guy outside of Mount Moon. But eventually, that flopping, splashing fish transformed into this dragon behemoth you see above. And it was MAGICAL.

As you can probably guess based on appearance alone, Gyarados has really good Attack. Nowadays its Special Attack is pretty weak, but back in Generation I its Special was quite strong. Not nearly as strong as the Attack, mind you, but not so weak that you could keep Beef Gyro as a special sweeper and not feel too bad about it. HP is great, too, and Defense and Speed hover right around the league average. All in all, some great stats for the blue bandit. In fact, adding all stats together makes Gyarados tied for the 8th highest stat machine in the game. Cool.

As for the moves, you could load up on physical attacks, but I'm more a fan of special moves. Surf/Hydro Pump gives Ground/Rock types 4x damage, and everyone else a hefty STAB of HP-drainage, while Blizzard is good for warding off any Grass chumps trying to get in your way. Thunderbolt is also very good, as you can take out fellow Gyarados in a mirror match, or other Water or Flying types. Gyarados also randomly learns Fire Blast, though it's pretty silly to put it on, since any of your other moves can take out Bug types without much effort. Hyper Beam or Double-Edge is probably the best 4th move. Just ask yourself if you want to wait a turn before you attack, or if you want to take some recoil damage. I'd personally choose the latter, but I also personally wouldn't be using those Normal-type moves unless I was really desperate. Since Defense is Gyra's worst stat, you could trade the final move for Reflect or Double Team. It's really up to you. And that flexibility is why Gyarados makes the Top 20. Also, it'd probably make a fine accordion.

The main reason Gyarados is this low is because of how easily killed it is by a Thunderbolt. Most of the time, you're able to do heavy damage. But the fact that Thundershock--THUNDERSHOCK--can kill a Gyra makes it impossible to put up any higher. If your opponent doesn't have any Electric-types, though, you'll probably encounter mostly smooth sailing. As smooth as a dragon/kraken will allow, at least.

Battling Grade: A

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