It’s an accepted fact that Magikarp is a useless Pokémon until you evolve them into Gyrados. But one player managed to beat Sun and Moon Elite Four with nothing but the flailing fish.
How did Japanese twitter user Nanako_Official accomplish this feat? Patience, grinding and a deep knowledge of Pokémon mechanics. While the Magikarp was level 70 when it managed to make it to the Elite Four, that doesn’t account for type differences. You see, Flail, the only attack it had, doesn’t affect Ghost Type Pokémon. According to a translation of their tweets on Rocket News, Nanako_Official would resort to using Struggle—the move that Pokémon use when they’re all out of PP on their moves, meaning they can’t use any attacks available. While Struggle is the default action when a Pokémon has depleted their options, it harms all monsters regardless of type. All Nanako_Official had to do was keep Magikarp alive while it Struggled at Ghosts. Struggle also hurts the Pokémon that use it, so on particularly tough battles Nanako_Official would run their opponent’s PP down on all their moves so they’d Struggle themselves to death. It can’t have hurt that in Sun and Moon, Magikarp can get a powerful Z-Move.
While the theory is sound, the practice must have been brutal. In the few picture updates Nanako_Official provides, the poor Magikarp would get down to slivers of HP in battles. If you play Pokémon as intended, this is a really stressful sight.
At the end, this level 70 Magikarp took their place in the Hall of Fame. And it’s well deserved—with a little grit, this Pokémon proves you can do anything.