Gyarados (updated for 2018)

Gyarados is arguably the best non-legendary Water type Pokémon in the game and one of the most versatile ones too. Its top-tier Attack Stat (237) and Defense Stat (197) are great, and even its Stamina is above average (it can reach a Max HP of 162). With a Max CP of 3281 at level 40, it can be said that Gyarados is the non-legendary Water type king as of now.

Pokemon GO Gyarados
Pokemon GO Gyarados

When Groudon raids were introduced, which happened right before Kyogre’s release, Gyarados finally had its time to shine, due to the fact that it finally had a double Water type attacking moveset, making it the best counter for Groudon by far. A couple of weeks later, with the release of Kyogre (which shares the same best attacking moveset), it’s not the best Water type attacker in the game anymore, but it still ranks #1 in the non-legendary alternatives and it offers a great performance nonetheless.

Gyarados has a very diverse movepool, with plenty of legacy moves of different types. However, its best moveset is Waterfall and Hydro Pump, a feared moveset by its Ground, Rock and Fire type enemies.

Pokémon Stats Max CP
ATK DEF STA
Gyarados Water Flying 237 197 190 3281

Gyarados overview

Gyarados, as a Water and Flying type Pokémon, takes double super effective damage from Electric type moves and super effective damage from Rock type moves. It resists bug, fighting, fire, ground, steel and water type attacks.

Its main strengths are:

  • It is one of the most useful attackers in the game, and arguably the non-legendary Water type alternative to Kyogre. Even though it takes 400 candies to evolve a Magikarp into a Gyarados, Magikarp candy is easier to obtain than Kyogre candy, which makes it more resource-efficient
  • Waterfall and Hydro Pump is a great Water type moveset. Hydro Pump has a very small move damage window, which makes it easier to deal damage before fainting and more unexpected for gym attackers when facing Gyarados
  • With a double resistance to Ground type moves and taking neutral damage from Grass type moves, it takes less damage from Mud Shot/Solar Beam and Mud Shot/Earthquake Groudon than Kyogre

However, its main weaknesses should be mentioned too:

  • It has a double weakness to Electric type attacks, and Raikou is often used as a gym sweeper… This means that Gyarados won’t be able to last long in the battlefield if it faces an Electric type attacker. Pro tip: do not use Gyarados in gyms. Yes, it does have a high CP. Yes, it does have a high attack stat. But no, it is not a good defender by any means. The gym metagame changed with the gym rework, and Gyarados is not a top pick when it comes to defending gyms now that CP is not the most important metric
  • It took Gyarados over a year to finally get a double Water type moveset, and Kyogre took the top spot in the Water type attacking metagame within a month. Gyarados is still a very good alternative, but Kyogre outclasses it
  • Getting 400 candies + the ones needed to max it out can be a tough job if you do not live near any water bodies
  • It has a very high Max CP, which translates into a high CP decay when placing it in a gym. Yet again, do not place it in a gym
Best Gyarados movesets
 Role Quick move Charge move
Gym offense Waterfall water Hydro Pump water
Gym defense Waterfall water or Dragon Tail* Dragon Hydro Pump Water, Outrage Dragon or Crunch dark
PvP (speculative) Waterfall water Hydro Pump water

* Legacy move

Best Gyarados moves in Pokémon GO

The following Table compares the cycle DPS (with STAB) of every single moveset that Gyarados is able to learn. Some movesets are more viable or commonly used than others. Keep in mind that some movesets might not top the DPS charts but could be good to use in certain scenarios! Gyarados has plenty of legacy moves, and thus the Table below is huge.

Gyarados moves in Pokémon GO
Fast Move Charge Move Cycle DPS (STAB)
Waterfall Water Hydro Pump Water 21.64
Dragon Tail Dragon Hydro Pump Water 20.79
Bite Dark Hydro Pump Water 19.37
Dragon Breath Dragon Hydro Pump Water 19.37
Waterfall Water Dragon Pulse Dragon 18.92
Waterfall Water Outrage Dragon 18.52
Waterfall Water Crunch Dark 18.31
Dragon Tail Dragon Dragon Pulse Dragon 17.85
Dragon Tail Dragon Crunch Dark 17.28
Dragon Tail Dragon Outrage Dragon 17.16
Bite Dark Dragon Pulse Dragon 16.75
Dragon Breath Dragon Dragon Pulse Dragon 16.75
Bite Dark Crunch Dark 16.31
Dragon Breath Dragon Crunch Dark 16.31
Waterfall Water Twister Dragon 16.03
Bite Dark Outrage Dragon 15.85
Dragon Breath Dragon Outrage Dragon 15.85
Dragon Tail Dragon Twister Dragon 14.63
Bite Dark Twister Dragon 13.65
Dragon Breath Dragon Twister Dragon 13.65

*Keep in mind that STAB cycle DPS calculations just compare the different movesets and they are not Pokémon-specific

  • Waterfall and Hydro Pump (its Water type moveset) is the best choice as it benefits from STAB
  • Bite and Crunch could be used in Mewtwo raids if it has Focus Blast, as Gyarados will resist it (because it’s a Flying type as well)
  • Dragon type moves do not benefit from STAB, but could be a good surprise to Dragon generalists
  • If you have a legacy Gyarados with Dragon Breath and/or Twister and you do not care about DPS but rather collecting rare Pokémon, do not TM these moves, as you will not be able to get them back! Dragon Breath Gyarados is actually considered to be one of the rarest legacy Pokémon in the game due to the scarce amount of time in which this move was available
  • For gym defending purposes (yes, we told you not to place Gyarados in a gym, but if you insist…), the best moveset depends on the situation. Dragon type attackers are pretty common gym sweepers and thus, dragon type moves will probably catch them off guard. Also keep in mind that Crunch and Hydro Pump are probably the hardest moves to dodge due to their tight move damage window

Gyarados counters in Pokémon GO

Supreme Counters

 Pokémon Fast move Charge move
Raikou Electric Thunder Shock Electric Wild Charge Electric
Zapdos Electric Flying Thunder Shock* Electric Thunderbolt Electric
Jolteon Electric Thunder Shock Electric Thunderbolt Electric

* Legacy move

Gyarados has a double weakness to Electric type moves and its supreme counters are electric type Pokémon. What a surprise, right? Raikou is the best Electric type attacker in the game, followed by Zapdos. Zapdos has a slightly higher attack stat than Raikou, but Raikou’s moveset is slightly better, which puts it ahead of Zapdos.

Another interesting non-legendary alternative is Jolteon. Jolteon is less bulky than the other two but it has a very high attack stat (not as high as Raikou’s or Zapdos’, but still very high). Thunder Shock and Thunderbolt is a fun moveset to use, as it allows the user to dodge the incoming attacks. Given how fragile Jolteon is, that is probably the perfect moveset for it.

Other viable alternatives

 Pokémon Fast move Charge move
Ampharos Electric Charge Beam Electric Zap Cannon Electric
Golem Rock Ground Rock Throw Rock Stone Edge Rock
Lanturn Water Electric Charge Beam Electric Thunderbolt Electric

Ampharos is an interesting bulkier alternative. Its attack stat is not as high, but it could last a bit longer in the battle field. From a time to win perspective, though, it does not stand a chance against DPS beasts such as Raikou or Zapdos.

Golem is probably the worst counter from these lists. The main reason is that it has a double weakness to Water type attacks. If it gets hit by a Hydro Pump or by many Waterfalls, it’s game over. Alolan Golem would be useful as well, as it only has a single weakness to water, and a Wild Charge would probably shred Gyarados.

Finally, the bulkiest alternative in these lists is Lanturn. It has the lowest attack stat of all the counters listed, but its stamina and overall bulk will make it a potion-efficient alternative. Furthermore, it’s Water and Electric typing help Lanturn resist Gyarados’ Water type attacks.

Weather influence

Weather Pros Cons
Sunny
Partly Cloudy Boosts super-effective Rock type moves
Cloudy
Rainy Boosts its Water type moves Boosts super-effective Electric type moves
Fog Boosts its Dark type moves
Windy Boosts its Dragon type moves
Snow

Viability in raids

Gyarados is a very useful Pokémon to use in raids. It can be efficiently used in several raids, and here is a compilation of the ones in which it is a viable counter:

 Raid Boss Fast move to use Charge move to use
Piloswine Ice Ground* Waterfall Water Hydro Pump Water
Golem Rock Ground* Waterfall Water Hydro Pump Water
Rhydon Ground Rock* Waterfall Water Hydro Pump Water
Houndoom Dark Fire Waterfall Water Hydro Pump Water
Moltres Fire Flying* Waterfall Water Hydro Pump Water
Entei Fire* Waterfall Water Hydro Pump Water
Ho-Oh Fire Flying* Waterfall Water Hydro Pump Water
Groudon Ground* Waterfall Water Hydro Pump Water
Regirock Rock** Waterfall Water Hydro Pump Water
Mewtwo Psychic Bite Dark Crunch Dark

*Legacy raid boss **Potential future raid boss

Rating

Pokémon Attacker Defender Generalist Overall Tier
Gyarados Water Flying 4/5 2/5 3.5/5 3.5/5 II

Gyarados is one of the most useful attackers in the game, and arguably the non-legendary alternative to Kyogre. When Niantic decided to give it a water type fast move, Gyarados finally had its time to shine, but not for long as Kyogre was released within a month of that happening. However, with a double resistance to Ground type moves and taking neutral damage from Grass type moves, it takes less damage from Mud Shot/Solar Beam and Mud Shot/Earthquake Groudon than Kyogre.