Gyarados  - S&M: Burning Shadows
Gyarados – S&M: Burning Shadows

– S&M: Burning Shadow

Date Reviewed:
January 3, 2019

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.76
Expanded: 3.13
Limited: 3.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:

vince avatar

Now here’s a card that’s worth another look!

Gyarados was first released in SM Burning Shadows and was reviewed on September 22, 2017. I haven’t thought much about it, but it can operate in a deck and it has the tools to capitalize on one of its attacks. Not Splash Burn, though, as this attack actually hurts you more than your opponent. It does 160 damage for WWCC, but puts 30 damage to each of your Benched Pokemon, giving your opponent an easier time to finish your Pokémon off. No, Gyarados is worth another look because of its Venting Anger, which costs CC and does 50 damage for each Magikarp in your discard pile. That attack reminds me of Tail Revenge from another Gyarados card from DP Stormfront, as it cost no energy and does 30 damage for each Magikarp in the discard pile.

When I reviewed it at the time, I recall saying that in Standard, you can put only three Magikarps in the discard pile because you need one in play for evolving. That was before, but now, with Ditto Prism Star enabling you to put any Stage 1 Pokemon on top of it, then you can comfortably put all four Magikarp in the discard pile for a whopping 200 damage, plus 30 damage from Choice Band. I don’t think I would change what I’ve said for Expanded, though the addition of Ditto Prism Star helps a bit. As a Water type, it can be brought into play from the discard pile onto your Bench via Archie’s Ace in the Hole. While not easy to do, it is your gateway to summon any Water Pokemon regardless of Stage except for Break Evolution because those cards lacked other information. If you do use Ditto Prism Star, you’ll have only one chance, because once your Gyarados is KOed, Ditto Prism Star is rendered outside of the game, never to be retrieved.

Gyarados made three placings, and one of them took 1st place at Harrogate Regionals of 2018. It might have required a lot of work to achieve what the deck operates, but it worked out for Philip Schulz. This is another one of those rogue Pokémon that has the potential to succeed.


Standard: 3/5 (It has made a mark on itself.)

Expanded: 3.25/5 (Expanded gains a bit of having another shortcut of bringing this Pokémon into play instead of relying on Ditto)

Limited: 3/5 (Here’s what I’m hesitant. Most Magikarp cards have 30 HP, and if you don’t evolve it fast enough, then it will get taken down fast. If you do get it out, then it can performs well. 150 HP on a non-GX Stage one is above par, and you have Sophocles that can help you discard your Magikarps so that Venting Anger can get stronger.)

21 Times Avatar

Gyarados (BUS 33) surprised us all with a first place finish at Harrogate a couple of weeks ago.  Credit Philip Schulz for this stroke of genius, being able to get all four Magicarp into the discard and evolve Gyarados from Ditto to take full advantage of the 200 damage Venting Anger allows you to do with all four Magicarp in the discard.

It won Harrogate.  It’s obviously got some upside to it.  But it’s still a lot of work – getting four Maggies into the discard while finagling out Ditto and then being able to get Gyarados out and all that for what will probably be a one time shot.  Now, granted, you could still get Gyarados and a Magicarp back out again.  Philip’s list actually ran two Gyarados so you could theoretically Rescue Stretcher a Magicarp and then evolve it on a subsequent turn to do an additional 150 damage (obviously, can’t use Ditto again because it’s off in the Lost Zone).  But still, a lot of work for a good or decent (not great) attack.  Seems to me there are easier ways to do more damage than that.


Standard: 2 out of 5


But A+ 5 stars for creativity in having the vision to see that Gyarados can easily work in a Zoroark GX build.  It does take six additional, slots, however, and you can’t use that Ditto slot for Muk or Magcargo or anything else that might benefit you.  It’s a neat idea, and it worked well in this tournament, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were a one hit wonder that will fall away as quickly as it appeared.

Otaku Avatar

Our Throwback isn’t a particularly old card as Gyarados (SM – Burning Shadows 33/147) was last reviewed on September 22, 2017, not too long after its release. A few weeks ago, Philip Schulz used to win the Masters Division of the Harrogate, UK Regional Championship; seems like a good enough reason to give it another look. Gyarados is a [W] Type Stage 1 Pokémon with 150 HP, [L] Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CCCC], and two attacks. The first attack is “Venting Anger”, which costs [CC] and does 50 damage for each Magikarp in your discard pile. The second attack is “Splash Burn” costs [WWCC] and does 150 damage to the opponent’s Active, plus 30 to each of your Benched Pokémon. As we’re focused on recent success, I’m not going to go into extreme depth but focus on what’s relevant now. The [W] Typing is great for smacking Blacephalon-GX. Being a Stage 1 is decent; being a Stage 1 that Evolves from Magikarp is difficult. 150 HP is decent, given that this is only worth one Prize when KO’d and things like Choice Band or Shrine of Punishment aren’t going to aid in taking Gyarados down. [L] Weakness is still “okay” right now, as is lack of Resistance because it is typical. The Retreat Cost of [CCCC] is a pain.

The [CC] cost of Venting Anger lets it work for a single Energy attachment, and can swing for zero to 200 damage before other effects. Thanks to Ditto {*} you have a Standard Format-legal option to get that 200 damage, but most of the time you’re probably doing more like 100 or 150. With Choice Band and/or Professor Kukui buffs, 150 can go pretty far. Splash Burn isn’t even an option in Philip Schulz’s list as it runs no [W] Energy. I actually thought this attack might be good enough to get Gyarados into its own deck before, but that didn’t pan out. The combination of Energy requirements AND Bench damage do seem worse now than they did pre-rotation when the latter could be easily dealt with via Mr. Mime (XY – BREAKthrough 97/162; Generations 52/83). Putting it all together, Gyarados looks like a club for Zoroark-GX decks to wield against Blacephalon-GX decks and maybe a few single-Prize attackers. The deck only ran two Gyarados, though it did run a full four Magikarp plus Ditto {*}. The list ran no way to snag a Magikarp stuck in the Prizes, besides taking KO’s and getting a lucky pull.

Now is where I should be giving my thoughts on how well this has been doing in Standard, but with only the one event result and a lack of testing by me over the holidays (my bad), I don’t know if this was just an excellent metagame call or the new deck to beat… or if it was the new deck to beat and something else is now on top. Doesn’t look like Gyarados is being used in Expanded, which makes sense since one has Seismitoad-EX here; far, far lowering damage output but its a Basic Pokémon-EX with 180 HP and an attack that locks down your opponent’s Items. A Seismitoad-EX/Zoroark-GX deck is what won the Anaheim, CA Regional Championship from a few weeks ago, after all. Gyarados looks like an all right pull for the Limited Format. Venting Anger isn’t as useful because you’ve got to have the extra copies of Magikarp to run AND get them into your discard pile through a means other than them being KO’d. Sophocles in this set, but that alone isn’t enough unless you pull several copies of Magikarp and of Sophocles. Splash Burn’s Bench damage can be really dangerous as well, but it is hard to argue with a 150 HP Stage 1 that can work in a multi-Type deck and swing for 160 damage.


  • Standard: 3.3/5
  • Expanded: 3/5
  • Limited: 3/5

I wish I had something more definitive to say, but I’ll have to settle for just sharing the news that it made good, even when I’m not sure whether Gyarados will be sticking around or was just a one-off fling for Zoroark-GX decks.

We would love more volunteers to help us with our Card of the Day reviews.  If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email.  We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc.   😉

Click here to read our Pokémon Card of the Day Archive.  We have reviewed more than 3500 Pokemon cards over the last 17+ years!