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How Good Is Charizard?

In between "Pokémon" journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a pharmaceutical chemist and campus manager.

Charmander, Charmeleon, and Charizard

Charmander, Charmeleon, and Charizard

History

Charmander may be the most popular starter of all time, largely due to its final evolution, Charizard, who happens to be the mascot of Pokémon 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 Pokémon's favorite dragon is!

Type and Stats (For Charizard)

Type: Fire/Flying
Base Stat Total: 534

Charizard's type is so close to being perfect (despite oddly not being a Dragon Pokémon). 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.

WeaknessesResistances

Rock

Fighting

Water

Bug

Electric

Steel

 

Grass

 

Fairy

 

Fire

Ground (Immune)

Realistic Charizard

Realistic Charizard

Abilities

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.

Move/ TypePower/ AccuracyEffect

Inferno/ Fire

100/ 50

Inaccurate, but always causes a Burn.

Solar Beam/ Grass

120/ 100

Requires a turn to charge except in sunlight.

Focus Blast/ Fighting

120/ 70

10% chance to lower foe's Special Defense.

Moveset

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

Mega Charizard X

Mega Charizard X

Type: Fire/Dragon
Base Stat Total: 634

Ability: Tough Claws: Boosts the power of contact moves by 33%.

Charizard is one of very few Pokémon 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

Mega Charizard Y

Mega Charizard Y

Type: Fire/Flying
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 Pokémon), Y's awesome Special Attack and great ability should decimate most foes.

Shiny Charizard

Shiny Charizard

Overall

Overall Score: 8/10.

Charizard stats don't quite hold up 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 keeps him as an impressive Pokémon 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).

Trivia

  • In the darker-than-usual Pokémon 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

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What move can Charizard learn through a TM?
    • Giga Drain
    • Counter
    • Dream Eater
    • Brick Break
  2. Which Pokemon used to share the same battle cry as Charizard?
    • Charmeleon
    • Dragonite
    • Rhydon
    • Tauros
  3. Surprisingly, in the anime, Ash's Charmeleon was once defeated by a:
    • Chikorita
    • Paras
    • Pidgey
  4. Charizard, and its Mega forms, are how tall?
    • 5'05''
    • 5'07''
    • 6'00''
    • 6'08''
    • 7'00''
  5. Charizard is known as the ____ Pokemon
    • Flame
    • Volcanic
    • Proud
    • Furious
  6. The original Trading Card Game Charizard had the most HP of any Pokemon at the time, at ____.
    • 110
    • 120
    • 130
    • 150

Answer Key

  1. Brick Break
  2. Rhydon
  3. Paras
  4. 5'07''
  5. Flame
  6. 120

Interpreting Your Score

If you got between 0 and 1 correct answer: Rank 1: Team Rocket Grunt. Keep trying!

If you got between 2 and 3 correct answers: Rank 2: Rookie Trainer. Not bad.

If you got 4 correct answers: Rank 3: Gym Leader. Well done.

If you got 5 correct answers: Rank 4: Elite 4 Member. Great job!

If you got 6 correct answers: Rank 5: Champion. You really know your Pokemon!

Your Vote

I hope you've enjoyed examining everyone's favorite fire starter, and eagerly await Nintendo's future plans for the orange dragon. But for now, cast your vote for the superior Mega transformation, and I'll see you at our next Pokémon review!

Questions & Answers

Question: Do you think Charizard is still worth to keep as a sweeper after some of these examinations?

Answer: Yes, he still has his advantages, although Incineroar may dethrone him competitively as the standard fire starter.

Question: Is Charizard the best Fire starter evolution?

Answer: No, because the quad weakness to Rock really hurts it competitively. Its certainly not the worst, though.

Question: Is Charizard really heavier than Blastoise?

Answer: Yes, Charizard weighs 200 pounds, and Blastoise only 188. Does it make sense? Not really. But there it is.

© 2016 Jeremy Gill