A Little Background Information
My name is Will Youngblood and this will be my first article here. I’ve played Pokemon for a couple years now and decided I could burn some time by writing an article. I love Gyarados, so I build and rebuild my Gyarados SF deck almost monthly. I have a good amount of experience with different versions of the deck, but haven’t done anything special with it. I’ve won a couple of Battle Roads, but haven’t done much in any major tournaments, so please take any information I give with a grain of salt.
When I previously played Gyarados SF, I played it a little differently than most. I’ve always wanted to make any deck my own, even if it’s something as common as “Luxchomp”. My original deck used Palkia Lv.X from Great Encounters. Its “Restructure” Poke-Power allowed me (and my opponent) to manipulate the field and rearrange the active Pokemon. However, I ran 4 Switch and 4 Warp Energy. This allowed me to bring my active right back to the bench and attack with Gyarados SF against who ever I would like.
Of course not only has this card rotated but also one of the most key cards as well… Felicity’s Drawing. This card was an absolute staple in Gyarados. This card allowed you to discard two cards and draw four. This kills two birds with one stone. Not only do you get to discard two Magikarp, you also provide an engine in which you purposefully discard the Pokemon needed to use Gyarados’s “Tail Revenge” attack, and get four bonus cards by doing so. Not a bad deal.
However, Felicity’s Drawing has left me and I will now attempt to find a replacement. I will continue to play Gyarados, the coolest dragon in Pokemon (that isn’t actually a dragon), with or without it!
Now I understand most people understand how the deck works and functions but I decided it couldn’t hurt to fill in everyone else. At the very least, this is just a refresher. The very basic idea of the deck is to attack with Gyarados SF (Stormfront) with its “Tail Revenge” attack. The attack costs no energy but can dish out large damage.
The attack reads “Does 30 damage times the number of Magikarp in your discard pile.” This may seem mediocre, but if you can manage to put three Magikarp in the discard and use the forth for your attacking Gyarados, it deals 90 damage for NO energy. The obvious problems are this:
1) Getting the Magikarp in your discard fast enough.
2) Getting the one Magikarp back into your hand after your lone Gyarados dies (which it will).
3) Keeping your hand large when the main focus is discarding it.
Felicity’s Drawing was made for this deck. It allowed the player to discard two cards (two Magikarps) and darw four cards! That supporter does problem number (1) and (3) all in one! Problem number (2) was achieved with Pokemon Rescue and Combee SF. Now, problem number (2) is still around but none of the cards were rotated since they are still MD-on.
However, with the loss of Felicity’s Drawing, two of the original three problems have risen again.
Now I am expecting some large criticism from this idea because frankly I thought this idea was more of a joke than anything, however I believe it has some synergy with the idea of a Gyarados deck. Well, here it comes… Banette PL and everyone’s favorite Uxie LA. I know, I know, I’m just another person talking about the exact same thing, but hear me out.
The idea behind this little combination is fairly simple. Banette has a Poke-Power called “Temper Tantrum”. This Poke-Power allows the user to discard any number of cards from your hand as you like and then put that many damage counters on Banette. Now you should have a fairly empty hand and can then use Uxie’s Poke-Power “Set Up” and draw until you have seven cards in your hand.
Now this combination isn’t anything new and people have been talking about it to potentially replace Claydol GE. I’ll be honest and tell you I laughed at the idea. Potentially, knocking yourself out or close to it doesn’t seem like a great idea to me especially with the amount of cards that can “snipe” and/or place damage counters i.e. Gengar SF/Crobat G/Garchomp C Lv. X and many more.
However, this is one deck where i can see it working (I’m sure many can argue its applications in other decks as well). Banette’s Poke-Power “Temper Tantrum” allows you to discard the Magikarps at will with the side effect of damaging itself. However, unlike with Felicity’s Drawing, Banette can discard ALL THREE Magikarp instead of just two.
This makes the deck a little faster (assuming getting Banette out isn’t a problem). The Poke-Power also allows you to clear your hand and better put Uxie’s Poke-Power to work and potentially draw many more cards to keep your hand refreshed. This combination solves both of the problems that Felicity’s Drawing did, but as a down side it takes many more cards.
Completing The Deck
This section will explain most of the cards in my deck list (which is always changing) and why I have them in there now. Please note the deck list is always changing and is suited to counter MY metagame.
4 Magikarp SF
4 Super Scoop Up
This is the ideal starter for this deck. It uses it’s first attack “Impersonate” to search your deck for a supporter and use its effect as your attack. This is especially useful for searching for the many, many basics that are needed in the early game with this deck. These basics include: all four Magikarp, Regice, Shuppet, Uxie, and more if necessary!
Regice’s Poke-Power is very useful. It also allows you to discard to cards, as well as Banette. However, Regice’s Poke-Power “Regi-Move” only works if they have a basic as their active. You discard two cards from your hand (ideally two Magikarp) and then your opponent switches the active, basic Pokemon with one from the bench. This card is also useful to just disrupt your opponent as well, even after the Magikarp have been discarded.
Combee SF has an “effect” (for lack of a better word). The effect “Honey” says that when you play Combee onto your bench you may search your discard for a basic pokemon and put it onto your bench. This is especially helpful when your last Magikarp is knocked out and you are trying to get out another Gyarados.
Crobat G/Luxray GL Lv. X
I believe everyone is quite familiar with these two cards. Crobat G has a Poke-Power called “Flash Bite”. It allows the user to put a damage counter on one of your opponents Pokemon. This is helpful when you just need a little more damage. Luxray GL Lv. X is also well known for its Poke-Power
This card has a couple of bonuses that I love. First off it has the ability to damage itself and an attack, “Darkness Switch“, for just one energy that allows me to switch the damage with one of my opponents Pokemon. This can be really helpful to pick off a low to mid range HP Pokemon. Also, it has a second attack the will function similar to Uxie Lv. X’s “Zen Blade”.
After using Luxray GL Lv. X’s “Bright Look”, I can use Banette’s (“Loneliness”) or Uxie Lv. X’s attack to OHKO an opponents Vileplume UD. Since trainer lock becomes a problem when using this deck, having two Pokemon act as a counter and vital role in the deck seems hard to beat!
Discussion of Trainers and Supporters
This is usually the section where many people disagree with certain choices. I totally agree (already) that this list may not be ideal or the best play but I’m going to test them and see if I like them. First off I’ll go over the “staples”.
1) Broken Time-Space – I play three instead of four because the deck (in theory) has enough draw power to pull into at least one. Four may be a more consistent play and I love consistency so I may add the forth.
2) Bebe’s Search/Pokemon Communication – These function similarly in that the both put a card back and search for any Pokemon. I may need to add more of one or the other. If I do, it will be more Bebe’s Search because trainer locking seems to be a common theme in my area.
3) Pokemon Collector – If I could, I would run more of these. I need to get so many basic Pokemon, its ridiculous. I have found myself using one for my turn and using Sableye’s “Impersonate” for another one and still not having all the basics I need! I can’t imagine running any less than four with this build.
4) Pokemon Rescue – I know, I run four and I don’t need them all. Most people will laugh at the fact that I play four but I don’t want to have to worry about drawing into one to get my Magikarp back from the grave. It’s easier to run 4 and be able to use them when you need to. However, if trainer locking does become a problem I may even choose to add another Combee and drop some Pokemon Rescue’s.
5) Expert Belt – I haven’t decided whether to run two or three. Right now I have three but I may drop one if I find them cluttering my hand. These allow me to swing for 110 damage for NO energy.
6) Poke Turn/Super Scoop Up – This is one the more controversial lines I have implemented. As of now, I am running three Poke Turn and four Super Scoop Up. The Poke Turn’s are searchable and very useful in order to reuse Luxray GL Lv. X’s “Bright Look” and to stack extra damage with Crobat G’s “Flash Bite”.
The Super Scoop Up’s are not needed but can be a HUGE pain to play against. Accumulating enough damage to knock out a belted Gyarados is (usually) a daunting task. Just imagine, getting really close and having it be picked up and laid right back down like no damage ever happened. Yeah that would be no fun at all. So I’m testing the waters and seeing how useful they actually are. Plus, I can use them to pick up Uxies and Banette and reuse their Poke-Powers.
7) Cyrus’s Conspiracy – This is another card that is debatable. I decided to use them since Roseanne’s Research has been rotated. It allows me to search out another supporter, one of the few energy I run, and the helpful Poke Turns. Its most important use IMO is the energy. If I ever want to attack with a different Pokemon (which I will because I LOVE options) I will need to find the correct energy. I have decided to run three because four is over kill but three should be enough to draw into one by turn two or three.
What to Watch Out For
BEWARE! This deck hates a couple of things…
1) Power Spray – Currently my only defense against the dreaded Power Spray is the multitude of powers I will be using, and Super Scoop Ups to continue to reuse them! Almost every card in this deck has a Poke-Poke and intended on using them often.
The idea is they should burn through most of them in the beginning and will have none left over late game. If critical Poke-Powers do get sprayed I can always attempt to use a Super Scoop Up and reuse that Poke-Power.
2) Luxray GL Lv.X – This card has always been a problem for Gyarados. However, I think it will become less of one in this format. Most cards have 2x weakness now so Lucario GL is becoming teched less often. This means Luxray cannot OHKO Gyarados anymore and knocking out Gyarados in two turns is something that happens often anyway.
However, this deck does not have a good “Bright Look” counter and therefore Reigice may become a problem with a HUGE three retreat in a deck that only runs five total energy.
3) Trainer Lock – If trainers get locked early on, this deck may struggle. Early conveniences like Luxury Ball and Pokemon Communication will be stopped and then later Poke Turns and Super Scoop Ups will become useless. I have talked about the various plays involving Uxie Lv. X and Banette combined with “Bright Look” to OHKO a Vileplume on the bench. Also, Regice can move an opponents Spiritomb back to the bench as well. These are very helpful when dealing with a trainer lock.
Cards to Consider
1) Promocroak/Donphan Prime/Relicanth – These are all good Luxray GL Lv. X counters because they are fighting type and can OHKO Luxray. I will probably be adding a Promocroak to my list since I already use Psychic energy.
2) Professor Oak’s New Theory (PONT) – I really should find room for this card. It is a supporter that would allow me to refresh my hand after a Cyrus chain or it can be “Impersonated” for as well. A helpful card that realistically should be included.
3) Judge/Looker’s Investigation/Giratina “Let Loose” – These can be helpful in any kind of Pokemon SP match up. Since Power Sprays will be a problem, these cards would allow you to get rid of their hand and (hopefully) get rid of all Power Sprays.
4) Warp and Cyclone Energy – With Luxray GL Lv. X in my deck I decided I wouldn’t need Cyclone energy. However, if my Pokemon tend to be manipulated, I may add some Warp Energy to move them back to the bench.
5) Junk Arm – This card will not released until our next set “Triumphant” but could be a great addition or even replacement. It is a trainer which allows you to discard two cards from your hand and use a trainer in your discard pile as its affect. This allows discarding of Magikarp and multiple uses of key trainers like Luxury Ball or Pokemon Communication.
6) Rescue Energy – This special energy also comes out in the next set and can replace the Pokemon Rescues. It says if the the Pokemon the energy is attached to is knocked out, return it to your hand instead of the discard pile! So no more worries about trainer lock to get your Magikarp (and Gyarados) back to your hand!