Pokemon Review: Charizard
Charmander may be the most popular starter of all time, largely due to its final evolution, Charizard, who happens to be the mascot of Pokemon Red and FireRed. After all, what trainer doesn't want to own a fire-breathing dragon?
Still, Charmander is actually the trickiest starter to use in Kanto, being weak to the first two gyms. Plus, competitively, its eventual dual weakness to Rock leaves it vulnerable to the ever-present Stealth Rock. So is this lovable lizard worth using? Today, we'll review its family and see just how strong Pokemon's favorite dragon is!
Type and Stats (For Charizard)
Base Stat Total: 534
Charizard's type is so close to being perfect (despite oddly not being a Dragon Pokemon). It only has three weaknesses, while it's resistant to six types and immune to one! Plus, two of the resistances (Grass and Bug) are doubled from being both Fire and Flying.
The problem is the pesky double weakness to Rock, a popular competitive offense type, and the element for the annoying Stealth Rock move.
Statwise, Charizard focuses on Special Attack and Speed, though not too heavily. It's a moderately well-rounded Pokemon who usually hits first and hits hard.
1. Blaze: Increases power of Fire moves by 50% when at or below 1/3 health.
The standard Fire starter ability, Blaze is a nice way to boost Fire attacks when low on health.
2. Solar Power: Increases Special Attack by 50% in intense sunlight, but lowers health by 1/8 at the end of your turn
Solar Power strengthens Charizard's highest stat even further. If the weather's sunny (which doubles damage of Fire), you have Solar Power, and factor in Charizard's same-type-attack bonus, your non-physical Fire moves will absolutely destroy the opposition. Solar Power also works on non-Fire moves for you as well, making it my preferred ability.
Inaccurate, but always causes a Burn.
Solar Beam/ Grass
Requires a turn to charge except in sunlight.
Focus Blast/ Fighting
10% chance to lower foe's Special Defense.
Charizard's moveset while leveling consists of mostly Fire attacks, with little else to offer. However, egg moves and TMs give it access to several different elements, making it hard to predict competitively.
Your best Fire moves are Flamethrower, Inferno, Fire Blast, or Heat Wave. Sunny Day will make the weather sunny to power up your Fire moves and activate Solar Power.
For other elements, Solar Beam, Earthquake, Focus Blast, Dragon Claw, and Shadow Claw are all available.
Interestingly, Charizard can use Toxic, a deadly poisoning attack that increases the poison damage each turn. However, Charizard isn't a wall Pokemon, so it may not be the best choice to utilize this strategy.
Mega Charizard X
Base Stat Total: 634
Ability: Tough Claws - Boosts the power of contact moves by 33%.
Charizard is one of very few Pokemon to gain access to two Mega forms. The first finally gives him the Dragon element, which reduces his vulnerability to Rock. His Attack and Special Attack both become an impressive 130, leaving you room to use either direct or indirect attacks effectively. X's Defense also receives a sizable boost.
Tough Claws give your physical attacks an edge, so this form is best for trainers looking to mitigate Stealth Rock, use physical moves, or (let's face it) have an awesome blue-black dragon on their team.
Mega Charizard Y
Base Stat Total: 634
Ability: Drought: Causes intense sunlight.
Though often overlooked next to its intimidating black counterpart, Y is my favorite of the two evolutions. Its Special Attack increases to an amazing 159 and Special Defense also improves. Drought works as an awesome free Sunny Day, strengthening Fire attacks and hastening Solar Beam.
Unfortunately, Y is still vulnerable to Stealth Rock. If you can avoid it (or disable it with a Rapid Spin attack from another Pokemon), Y's awesome Special Attack and great ability should decimate most foes.
Overall Score: 8/10.
Charizard stats don't quite hold up the the value we've placed in him since our childhood, and his vulnerability to Rock can get him in trouble competitively. However, his immunity to Ground, good selection of abilities, varied moveset, and multiple options when Mega Evolving keep him as an impressive Pokemon with several uses.
For more casual players, Charmander's type will give you some trouble against Brock and Misty, but he's by far the earliest Fire Pokemon you can obtain, and the only Fire Pokemon that can evolve twice from the original 151 creatures (Magby and Magmortar were added later, remember).
- In the darker-than-usual Pokemon Adventures manga, Blue's Charmeleon once sliced the head off of Gym Leader Koga's Arbok!
- In the original Generation 1 games, except for Yellow, Charizard couldn't learn the HM Fly.
- Charmander and Johto Fire starter Cyndaquil, as well as their evolutions, have exactly the same stat total, distributed in the same way.
Champion's Quiz: Charizard
I hope you've learned some lesser-known facts about this famous dragon. Feel free to cast your vote for the superior Mega transformation, and I'll see you when we review Squirtle's final form, Blastoise!
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