Using Charizard as a Competitive Pokémon in Pokémon X and Y
Competitive Battling With Charizard in Pokémon X and Y
When Charizard was first introduced in Pokémon Red and Blue he instantly became one of the most popular and iconic Pokémon of all time, second only to Pikachu. A lot of people claim that Charizard if the best of the starters (the others being Bulbasaur and Squirtle), but when it comes to the competitive aspect of Pokémon, Charizard has shown time and again that the metagame is too much for the beloved fire lizard.
However, with the release of Pokémon X and Y, and the introduction of mega-evolutions Charizard has been given a second chance in the form(s) of two mega-evolutions, each with it's own benefits and drawbacks. Today we'll be looking at how to finally make Charizard the fighting force we all want him to be.
Charizard's new toys
Charizard now has two new mega-evolutions: Mega Charizard X and Mega Charizard Y and each one is very different.
Mega Charizard X:
Mega Charizard X changes Charizard into a Fire/Dragon Pokémon, something fans have wanted for a very long time, this form also gives Charizard the ability Tough Claws, which boosts the power of physical contact moves by about 30%.
Special Attack: 130
Special Defense: 85
Unfortunately none of Charizard's new forms give it an increase in speed, however all of its other stats are boosted and it boasts two very impressive attacking stats. 110 defense is nothing to laugh at either. This form can excel at mixed attacking and wall breaking.
Mega Charizard Y:
Mega Charizard Y keeps the original Fire/Flying Type, which is more of a burden than a blessing, but gets the ability drought, which as of Generation 6 only lasts five turns, rather than being permanent.
Special Attack: 159
Special Defense: 115
Although its Special Attack stat and its ability tell the tale of a powerful special sweeper, Charizard's Typing, speed and lackluster movepool say otherwise. That's not to say that this Pokémon is bad, as with the proper team support it can still be devastating.
Movesets to Consider
Mega Charizard X:
252 Attack/252 Speed
Item: Charizardite X
This is a classic sweeping set commonly seen on Pokemon like Salamence, Dragonite and Garchomp. Maximizing Charizard's speed ensures that it can outspeed Pokemon like Gengar and Starmie after one Dragon Dance. Dragon Claw is a better option than Outrage because it does not lock you onto one move and it gets a Tough Claws boost, making it about 104 base power. Azumarill is a Pokemon to watch out for as its Fairy STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus) moves hit Charizard super effectively and even an Earthquake after one Dragon Dance only deals around 50%-55%.
One major drawback to this set however, is the amount of recoil damage Charizard takes from Flare Blitz. Having Dragon Claw and Earthquake for coverage alleviate this to an extent as Earthquake kills Pokemon like Klefki after a Dragon Dance and kills Aegislash after two Dances, although Flare Blitz is the better alternative for Aegislash. If you're familiar with Dragon Type Pokemon or Physical sweepers in general you should have no problem using this set to its fullest potential. If not, playing conservatively and waiting until mid to late game to bring in Charizard would be a wise decision.
Mega Charizard Y:
252 Special Attack/252 Speed
Item: Charizardite Y
Hidden Power Ice
Charizard has the rotten luck of having a severely limited movepool in terms of special attacks. Other than the four moves above it doesn't have many strong special attacks. Focus Blast is no longer an option due to having low accuracy and Solarbeam giving Charizard great coverage and something to hit Water, Rock and Ground types with. This gives Charizard lots of staying power as more Pokemon now fear switching into a Solarbeam or even worse, a Sun boosted Flamethrower or Fire Blast (which is arguably a worse option due to its lower accuracy). Pokemon like Greninja and Azumarill can be very threatening though, because they carry moves like Aqua Jet and Water Shuriken.
Charizard's base 159 Special Attack is amazing and although it's two STAB moves don't have the best coverage, it makes up for that with the ability to spam Solarbeam upon entry, only Groudon shares that ability and Charizard Y can do it much better.
This Pokemon benefits from having utility teammates such as Tentacruel and Gliscor. However, a Rapid Spinner is a MUST in order to use any Charizard effectively. Ideally, Charizard should steer clear of the battlefield until Stealth Rocks have been removed.
Your Team Needs to be Spin City
The above Pokemon all have one thing in common: Rapid Spin. If you are going to use Charizard then you absolutely need to have a Pokemon with Rapid Spin on your team. Not only is Rapid Spin useful for getting rid of entry hazards, it ensures that Charizard does not lose 50% of its HP when it enters battle due to Stealth Rock damage. That's right, if Stealth Rocks are present (and it's very likely that they will be) when Charizard is sent out, it will lose half of its health. This means that it can't switch in more than once, if at all. This also means that whatever move Charizard switches into could potentially KO it.
It is essential that Stealth Rock be removed before Charizard enters battle to make sure you get the most out of it. Pokemon like Tentacruel, Excadrill and Starmie do this very well and can even deal damage and scare off and eliminate some of Charizard's threats.
Charizard X Sweep
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Charizard in Action
Now it's time to see what Charizard can do in battle. This video shows just how scary Mega Charizard X can be even against some very powerful Pokemon.
Sadly, there isn't much evidence to support Charizard Y at the moment, so it's up to you to put him to good use so we can all see just how strong he really is!
Charizard has come a long way, from being everyone's favorite starter Pokemon to one of the worst competitive Pokemon of all time. This new generation has given Charizard a whole new world of possibilities and now all signs point to Charizard having a secure place in the metagame. It's great to see that a lot of long time fans of Charizard will finally be able to successfully use one of their favorite Pokemon.
That's the end of this analysis, but it's only the beginning. I plan to look at a lot of underrated or underutilized Pokemon, mostly very popular Pokemon who just can't easily compete, and teaching people how to make the most out of them in the highest competitive tiers. I'll leave it up to you guys to decide which Pokemon I cover next. If you think I missed anything or you have a suggestion for an even better way to play Charizard, let me know in the comments below!
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