Gyarados (Team Up TEU 30)
Gyarados (Team Up TEU 30)

– Teamup #134

Date Reviewed:
January 18, 2019

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.03
Expanded: 2.63
Limited: 3.13

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

Reviews Below:

21 Times Avatar

Gyarados (TEU ) gets another incarnation in the Team Up expansion set.  This card reminds me a lot of the Full Retaliation Gyarados out of Ancient Origins that was meant to be a novelty deck except they made it too good.  I don’t think that this version of Gyarados is quite as good, but it’s definitely the best Gyarados since the AOR one. 

Distilled Blast frequently does 150 or 180 damage, and it can sometimes reach 210 (I think I only got the full 240 a couple of times, it’s pretty rare to have all seven cards at the top of your deck be Water energy).  And that’s the biggest problem with this deck: the cards in the top seven that are NOT Water energy go straight into your discard pile.  Because you’re discarding valuable resources that you might not be able to retrieve, this means that you will frequently only be able to set up three or four Gyarados.  I was never able to get five into play even though I played four Rescue Stretchers.  I’ve found that the deck can sometimes run out of steam and even though you get off to a good start and go up on prizes, your opponent can potentially come from behind and beat you unless you can get that fourth or even fifth attacker out.

I found that I was usually prizing at least one card in the 4-4 Gyarados line, so I added Ditto in case I only had a couple of Magikarps available.  I also briefly tried a deck with only 25 energy cards and that was definitely NOT enough damage and also still discarded a lot of valuable resources, so you don’t want to skimp on the energy cards.

There are also going to be games where you open with a single Magikarp and six energy cards, and it seemed like a lot of times if I needed to hit 210 I only got to 180 but if I only needed, say, 130, I would hit 240.  There were plenty of times that I had to two shot Zoroark GX or Gardevoir GX, and that makes it tough if you get OHKO’d by them. 

Oh … and you’re Lightning weak.  I’m pretty sure this deck could go up against Jolteon GX Decidueye GX one hundred times and never win a single game.  Having said that, I did win against a couple of poor quality Lightning decks in the video I made with Gyarados, and I’ve beaten Zoroark GX, Gardevoir GX, Lost March, and some other decent decks as well, so Gyarados TEU isn’t without some potential.  I actually went 10 W 5 L overall and 8 W 2 L in my last ten games, with one of those two losses being a mirror match.  I am also 0 W 4 L against Gyarados with other decks.


Standard:  3.5 out of 5

vince avatar

Gyarados makes another appearance in the TCG in Sun & Moon Team Up expansion. Perhaps the thing worth talking about the most is it’s first attack called Distilled Blast. This is actually a risky attack to use because of a drawback which seems punishing. It does 30 damage for a water energy, plus you look at the top 7 cards of your deck. It does an additional 30 damage for every Water energy you find in those seven cards. Afterwards, you put those Water energies you find there into your deck and discard the other cards.

Yep, you read that right: Discard the other cards. Pokémon? Gone! Trainer cards? Gone! Other energy cards besides Water energy? Gone! Even Splash Energy is also GONE due to being a special energy that only becomes Water energy when it is attached to a Water Pokemon, not when it is in your hand, deck, or discard pile. That drawback could cost you the game!

So pretty much your deck would be loaded with abnormally high water energy count in order to reach high amounts of damage. If you reveal no energy, it does only 30, but you discard all SEVEN cards you find there! If you reveal all 7 Water Energies, then Lady Luck is on your side, doing a whopping 240, and you get to keep all 7 cards you find there. In between, you keep (one to six cards) and lose some (one to six cards), which still is a pain to cope with because one might wonder how you can get those cards back.

It’s second attack, Hyper Beam, isn’t the most appealing, but it seems to be a safer option than Distilled Blast if you can’t handle such luck into dealing massive damage and keeping cards or dealing minimum cards and lose all of your cards. 100 for WWW is overpriced without acceleration outside of Deluge Blastoise or Aqua Patch. The energy discard can help set back a turn, but is useless against decks that can provide multiple energy attachments.

Overall, you cannot maintain a reasonable amount of damage with Distilled Blast, even if your deck is optimized to achieve that purpose. Even if you tried, sometimes RNG can screw you over and make you disappointed. And it doesn’t help that Magikarp cards have abysmal HP of 30. You may be able to achieve this in Limited by running a 1-1 line and 38 water energies, but even then, you have to hope that Magikarp survives just one turn. If not, then you’ll have to go far as to run as many Magikarp and Gyarados from those four packs just to make sure AND to get Gyarados in play ideally in turn two.


  • Standard: 2.5/5
  • Expanded: 2.75/5
  • Limited: 3/5
Otaku Avatar

Last week, we finished counting down our top 11 picks from the latest set. As you might expect, we’ll look at some runners-up that nearly made the list however we’ll also look at some of the cards already popping up in decks that could end up being budget, fun, and/or rogue. Probably not the latter, as it is kind of hard to be a “rogue deck” when everyone already knows about you. The first up is Gyarados (SM – Team Up 30/181). At the last minute, I finally snagged four Gyarados, built the deck, and took it for a spin. We’ll come back to how it performed; let’s look at Gyarados itself first. Let us start with the Stage this time because it is quite relevant. As a Stage 1, Gyarados would normally be quite reasonable to run, whether as a full 4-4 line, 1-1 TecH (0-1 with Ditto {*}), or something in between. The hiccup is that Gyarados Evolves from Magikarp and Magikarp are FRAGILE, all of them having just 30 HP. A few have solid tricks, especially for evolving Basics, but that HP means they aren’t safe, even on the Bench. Which is probably why Magikarp (SM – Crimson Invasion 17/111) is the preferred option; you’ll probably never use its attack, but its Ability offers some protection while it is on your Bench, but only from attack damage. Unless Alolan Muk is in play. Still, this gives you an idea of the first major hurdle Gyarados will have to climb.

Being a [W] Type can help, but mostly because there’s still a decent amount of Blacephalon-GX decks running around. Some builds are running Brooklet Hill, but that cares about Magikarp’s Type; Crasher Wake seems to be a must, but that cares about basic Water Energy, not the Pokémon Types. 150 HP is good; Gyarados has a decent chance of surviving a hit, though it plummets against [L] Type decks due to Weakness. No Resistance is typical, but its absence actually kind of hurt based on the few games I played; really could have used the [F] Resistance Gyarados used to always sport. The massive Retreat Cost of four means Gyarados stays up front once it is there; the deck has no room for switching cards or things like Buff Padding. Gyarados has two attacks, “Distilled Blast” for [W] and “Hyper Beam” for [WWW]. Distilled Blast has you reveal the top seven cards of your deck. It then does 30 damage plus 30 per [W] Energy revealed in this manner; all the [W] Energy revealed is shuffled back into your deck while everything else is discarded. Hyper Beam does 100 damage and discards an Energy from your opponent’s Active. Hyper Beam isn’t is a little weak but Gyarados is being run for Distilled Blast. You also really need to be swinging for OHKO’s with it, necessitating a lot of basic Water Energy in your deck.

Decks built around this Gyarados are pretty simple, being over half basic Water Energy. It runs a few Alolan Vulpix (SM – Guardians Rising 21/145, 21a/145), to try and open the game while searching for Pokémon through its “Beacon” attack, and Ditto {*} as the “fifth” Magikarp. That is it for Pokémon. For Trainers, they tend to max out Crasher Wake and Professor Elm’s Lecture, with some Rescue Stretcher because you’ll need to keep replacing KO’d or discarded Gyarados. The rest is just basic Water Energy, and while there are so many things one wishes were already in the deck, it seems like it needs to be that way. The lists I’ve seen vary only slightly: 35 to 27 basic Water Energy cards. When I tried the deck, it was… okay. Good for a “Fun” deck; perhaps too good, but good enough for a competitive deck? Even with first hand experience, the answer is still “Maybe.”  There were a few games I lost because the deck just bricked, almost as many because my opponent hit me with Judge or Marshadow (Shining Legends 45/73; SM – Black Star Promos SM85) during the first few turns of the game. It was rare for me to lose because Distilled Water whiffed on a KO and/or discarded too many key cards, but based on card counts, that too is a real risk. It was good enough to win some on the ladder, and even a few PTCGO eight-person tournaments (which three are single-game matches). Maybe better players can make it reliable enough to win an event. I did no testing for the Expanded Format; I’ll hazard a guess that it has some potential there, but less than Standard. Pretty tempting for the Limited Format; if you don’t have some really great pulls, try to make it work out.


  • Standard: 3.1/5
  • Expanded: 2.5/5
  • Limited: 3.5/5

Gyarados is better than I expected, as I dismissed it as pure Johnny-bait, but it has a gimmick deck that actually has some teeth. I’m not convinced it will successfully join decks like Granbull (SM – Lost Thunder 138/214), assuming Granbull is still reasonably good. I don’t recall any major wins for Granbull, either; both decks struggle against a metagame and player base prepared for it.

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