Mega Spotlight - Charizard
Credit to McDanger
Charizard is the original fire starter and as such is a popular with a lot of fans. Charizard however failed in comparison to other fires that were introduced in RBY such as Ninetales who had 100 special and Arcanine who has better bulk and attack. However, Charizard does have access to Swords Dance and 100 speed, allowing it to pressure threats physically, being one of the few pokemon to have access to Earthquake that wasn’t a ground type. However, Charizard still struggles against the bulky waters in OU as well as faster bulky threats like Alakazam and Starmie, forcing it into UU. Even there however, it has to fight with Moltres for a spot on teams, doing what Charizard does better and having access to Agility. This makes Charizard an oddity in RBY, being sub par to other fire types and struggling with its weak stats.
Charizard made a surge in GSC gaining Belly Drum from breeding, allowing it to break the common Skarmo-Blissey core and apply a lot of general pressure. However, Charizard ends up borderline, struggling with new and old threats. New bulky water types such as Suicune were introduced that shut down the fiery dragon while faster threats like Raikou and Starmie can easily revenge Charizard. Aerodactyl rises as a threat gaining Rock Slide and Ancient Power allowing it to nail the dragon for massive damage, while Slowbro can wall Charizard even at +6 with its massive physical bulk. This still puts Charizard out of the spotlight of OU, but being more common than RBY, giving the dragon some hope looking toward Adv OU.
In the world of Adv OU, Charizard finds itself borderline again, being a high risk, high reward pokemon and demanding a lot of team support to effectively work. Once again, Belly Drum leads the charge in Adv, now making use of Double Edge do drop Charizard into the range of a Salac Berry to fix its speed problem. Charizard also gains a new fire move in the generation switch, Overheat. This is perfect on physical sets as it inflicts more damage than Fire Blast and doesn’t slow Charizard down. Charizard also gains a new toy with breeding again, Dragon Dance, allowing it to boost its speed and attack making it easier to outpace threats but lacks the raw power that the belly drum set provides. Finally, with the creation of Focus Punch, Charizard can abuse a Substitute and use Focus Punch on threats like Blissey and Tyranitar that would wall its special set, but struggles with Blaziken who gets a stab boost on Focus Punch. However, new bulky waters once again stop the dragon. Milotic easily walls it with its massive bulk, not caring about Hidden Power Grass like Swampert, and KOing it back with Surf. Suicune is still huge making it even harder for Charizard, especially with Calm Mind negating its only means of hitting the dog for super effective damage.
DPP crushed the dragon, banishing it to the depths of NU with the birth of new, more powerful fires like Infernape and Heatran in OU, forcing old rivals like Arcanine, Entei, and Blaziken into lower tiers. Furthermore, the move split makes more of these pokemon viable, Arcanine and Blaziken can now abuse their high attack stats, giving Charizard less of an edge. Charizard only gained Roost and Air Slash in the generation switch, Roost giving it a way to heal itself, as well as the much needed Life Orb to increase its damage output. However, none of these were enough to help the dragon. Charizard finally started abusing its 109 special attack, making use of Sunny Day to allow its Fire Blasts to hit for a lot of damage, while Air Slash gave it a special flying stab. Solarbeam can be used as well to punish waters that come into Charizard, but its nemesis Milotic dropped down with it, while some rocks dropped like Rhydon and Regirock. The creation of Stealth Rocks further limits the effectiveness of Charizard, losing half its health switching into them, effectively crippling it.
Black and White were no kinder to Charizard than DPP, at least giving it a new ability Solar Power. This allowed it to hit like a truck under sun, giving it a 50% attack increase at the cost of 12.5% of its hps per turn. However, no sun existed in NU aside from manual sun. However, Charizard made a name for itself in NU, being the best option for a fire type. This opened new doors for Charizard as it embraced choiced items like the Choice Scarf to sweep and the Choice Specs to wall break. Charizard also makes use of a Substitute Roost set like Articuno, often not needing more coverage than Fire Blast and Air Slash. Finally, Charizard can make use of its old physical sets using the gens and Acrobatics to deal massive damage once and then having a 110 base power stab without a recoil. However, Stealth Rocks still clip Charizard’s wings, but without the presence of a lot of bulky waters, Charizard can finally thrive for the first time. Sure it has trouble with eviolite dragons like Dragonair and Zweilous, but Charizard can break through them with a physical set or have a teammate weaken them.
X and Y gave Charizard an amazing gift, not one but two mega forms. This allows it to finally stand tall in the light of OU and become known as one of the most unpredictable pokemon in the tier. While Charizard itself is still bad in OU, its mega forms redeem its most common movesets. As Mega Charizard X, Charizard can now abuse Dragon Dance as well as its new ability Tough Claws allowing it to gain a 1.3% power increase on physical contact moves while finally gaining dragon typing, giving it stab on the near flawless coverage, resisted by two pokemon. As Mega Charizard Y, Charizard becomes a living nuke, having a massive 159 special attack, passing the mighty sea busion Kyogre as well as gaining Drought, allowing it to decimate waters with Solarbeam and everything else with Fire Blast.
Mega Charizard X
Mega Charizard X is easily the most destructive pokemon in OU, having a solid base speed of 100 and 130 attack. This makes Mega Charizard X a perfect abuser of Dragon Dance, while having arguable the most aggressive offensive typing of any pokemon, only resisted but Azumarill and Heatran out of all 718 Pokemon. This allows nothing to come in easily against Mega Charizard X, and this is furthered with one of the most aggressive abilities, Tough Claws. This effectively lets Mega Charizard X hold a Life Orb without the negative effects. Mega Charizard X also has 130 special attack, allowing it to take the role of wall breaker rather than a sweeper with its wide array of special moves such as Fire Blast and Dragon Pulse.
Mega Charizard X has more defense than its other mega, having a solid 111 physical defense, giving it an edge in the priority filled metagame, most of which are physical. 85 special defensive is also respectable, but not like its normal defense. With its solid bulk, Mega Charizard X has no trouble setting up a Dragon Dance and taking down multiple pokemon on the opponents team, while it also opens windows of bulkier spreads to give it more staying power and allow it to grab another Dragon Dance or two before burying your opponent.
Before it mega evolves, Charizard is still quadruple weak to Stealth Rocks, making it absolutely necessary to remove them from the field. As Mega Charizard X, Charizard loses its immunity to Spikes as well as Toxic Spikes, both of which are common on stall teams, which Mega Charizard X has some trouble breaking. This makes a rapid spinner or a defogger a key teammate with Charizard, Excadrill is the most common one as it is the best rapid spinner available as well as its ability to set up Stealth Rocks.
Playing with Mega Charizard X
All your opponent needs to do is lower their guard for a turn and Mega Charizard X is out and at +1, meaning something is going to go down. Mega Charizard X plays like most dragons, bring it in at the end of the game and set up a Dragon Dance and go to town. Mega Charizard X has near flawless coverage as well, mainly relying on its stab moves Dragon Claw and Fire Punch, or Outrage and Flare Blitz, to tear massive holes in the opponents team while Earthquake will KO Heatran, the more common of the two stab resistors. Thunder Punch can be used to beat Azumarill that tries to come in, but makes you weaker to Heatran. Primarily using Dragon Dance, Mega Charizard X is meant to clean up the field, coming in when everything it weakened and anything that can stop it is removed and winning the match.
However, while nearly never seen, Mega Charizard X does have a massive 130 special attack, making it an excellent physical lure for threats like Landorus Therian and Heatran and KOing them with its mixed coverage of Fire Blast and Earthquake, while making use of sun support to fire off Solarbeam at Rotom Washes that try to stop what they expect to be a Dragon Dancer set. Overall, this is more of a niche option as it really lacks the raw power of Dragon Dance Mega Charizard X and often pushes into Mega Charizard Y’s territory.
Hazards are also Mega Charizard X’s best friend, allowing it to score more OHKOes with a layer of Stealth Rocks and Spikes. This is another reason why Excadrill is a nice partner with Mega Charizard X as it can’t be blocked setting up Stealth Rocks. Deoxys Defense as does a nice job as a lead with Mega Charizard X, setting up both forms of hazards while on more balanced teams Skarmory does a nice job with its bulk or Forretress who, like Excadrill, can set up hazards and spin them away.
A wall breaker is a nice teammate with Mega Charizard X, being able to weak the physical walls that come in to try and stop Mega Charizard X from sweeping. Ones that bait in Rotom Wash and Landorus Therian are particularly effective as those are two of the big answers to Mega Charizard X, making Garchomp a nice choice. Garchomp can also break Azumarill and Heatran that resist Mega Charizard X’s stabs. Garchomp also baits in a lot of the same revengers like Latios and can beat them with a Haban Berry.
Playing Against Mega Charizard X
Mega Charizard X really doesn’t care about much and will destroy teams if given an inch, so don’t give it any. Faster threats will force the dragon to attack rather than set up. Things like Terrakion and Garchomp will force Mega Charizard out if it hasn’t boosted yet or to attack with Earthquake and Dragon Claw respectfully. Intimidate also hurts the dragon, making bulky Landorus Therian nice. With the right evs, Landorus Therian can come in after it Dragon Dances and live a few hits and easily KO back. Scarfed Landorus Therian is particularly popular for this as without Dragon Dance or Adamant ones will be outpaced and KOed with ease as some Mega Charizard Xs will stay in on Landorus thinking they outpace.
Should Mega Charizard get a Dragon Dance out, its not over yet. There are plenty of Choice Scarf users that can outpace and KO it, but most don’t want to come in in fear of an attack instead of Dragon Dance. Latios is one of the best, KOing it with Draco Meteor like nothing and easily outpaces it. Garchomp is another good answer with its stab Earthquakes while Terrakion can but has to rely on Stone Edge. Keldeo can work in a pinch but fails to KO Mega Charizard X and will be KOed back or take massive damage. Unfortunately most priority users won’t deal a lot of damage, the best ones being Banded Genesect and Banded Talonflame.
Charizard @ Charizardite X
EVs: 252 Spd / 252 Atk / 4 Def
- Dragon Dance
- Dragon Claw
- Earthquake / Thunder Punch
- Fire Punch / Flare Blitz
By far the most common set, this is geared to be as fast and aggressive as possible. Dragon Dance is your way of boosting and sweeping while you make use of Dragon Claw and Fire Punch as your main stabs while Flare Blitz is often used for a lot of damage. Earthquake is your main coverage move to hit Heatran hard, but Thunder Punch desimates bulky waters. Jolly is the most common nature so you can outpace more threats at +1
Charizard @ Charizardite X
EVs: 248 HP / 56 Atk / 44 Def / 64 Spd / 96 SDef
- Dragon Dance
- Dragon Claw
- Fire Punch / Earthquake
This isn’t common on the ladder, but is very effective. FIrst of all tho, credit to D0nut for the spread. This forgoes the the raw speed and aggression of Mega Charizard X in favor of bulk for longevity to take teams by surprise. This set needs more team support as it will have holes in its coverage, making it important to cover them with teammates. One of the key moves that differs from the standard Dragon Dance set is Roost, allowing Mega Charizard X to heal of priority damage as a lot of teams rely on that to check faster threats, making this deadly to a lot of common teams.
Mega Charizard Y
Mega Charizard Y is is a prime example of a wall breaker, having massive special attack at a whopping 159 while inducing sun furthering the power of its fire attacks. This allows Mega Charizard Y to basically just fire off Fire Blast and deal immense damage even is its resisted. Because of this, Mega Charizard Y is one of the hardest Pokemon to switch into as the only thing that can come in relatively safe is Assault Vest Goodra, and even that is 3HKOed. With 100 base speed, Mega Charizard Y outpaces a lot of bulkier threats while the frailer faster threats can’t switch straight in as they get OHKOed like nothing. This makes Mega Charizard Y a huge threat to stall and bulkier teams due to its raw power, but it has a harder time against faster teams due to its low physical defense.
Playing with Mega Charizard Y
Mega Charizard Y is one of those pokemon that requires very little thought or planning. You bring it in and spam Fire Blast. Due to its massive power, Mega Charizard Y often doesn’t need much else, but likes using some coverage moves. Solarbeam decimates waters that switch in while Focus Blast of Earthquake are used to destroy Heatran. Mega Charizard Y often uses Roost as its last move due to its ability to force switches so much, tho there are other moves that can be used, namely Dragon Pulse.
Mega Charizard Y doesn’t need much in terms of team support as its job is to tear gaping holes in your opponent’s team. This makes it more effective as a supporter to say, clearing the way for sweepers with its ability to force in bulky pokemon and force your opponent to generally sac something in order to get a threat in that can revenge it.
Hazards are the fastest way to clip this dragons wings, losing half its hps everytime it comes into them. This makes a defogger or a rapid spinner a nice partner with Mega Charizard Y. Assault Vest Excadrill is a solid choice as it can come into the dragons that try to wall Mega Charizard Y and spin away hazards while Latios is a nice defogger as it scares off Terrakion and Garchomp with its powerful stabs while making Thundurus wary of staying in. While not as good, Scizor can do a decent job with defog as Latias doesn’t want to stomach a U turn and Bullet Punch intimidates Tyranitar and Terrakion from staying in, but loses against Thundurus and Garchomp.
Hazards are also nice to use with Mega Charizard Y as they make it near impossible to escape a 2hko from the offensive behemoth. Spikes in particular are nice as a lot of the threats that try to stop Mega Charizard Y are grounded such as Goodra and Garchomp. Stealth Rocks are nice as well to wear down Thundurus quickly and make it wary of coming in a lot. Toxic Spikes however serve no purpose with Mega Charizard Y as it will just beat whatever comes in faster than toxic will.
Mega Charizard Y has the lowest defense stat of the two Charizard megas with 78 defense like standard Charizard. In a priority filled metagame this is not good, so Mega Charizard Y likes all priority abuses to be removed prior to it being sent in repeatedly. Ones like Talonflame and Genesect are particularly troublesome due to the massive damage they inflict while Aegislash is not one to be laughed at, still doing decent damage. There is no quick way to fix this and you just need to be wary of what can and probably does have a priority move when using Mega Charizard Y.
Playing Against Mega Charizard Y
First is to maintain offensive pressure, similar to Mega Charizard X, except this doesn’t need a turn to become truly deadly. As such its very important to maintain Stealth Rocks on the field in order to deter it from coming in and if it does, force it to use Roost. Powerful sweepers do a nice job maintaining pressure such as Terrakion and Thundurus. Another thing is to target its speed, Mega Charizard Y has no way to boost its speed outside the random Flame Charge and, while 100 is average, there are plenty of threats that can outpace going from Landorus up.
Should Mega Charizard Y get in, unless you have a dragon something is probably going down. There are a handful of threats that can actually come into Mega Charizard Y and KO it back. First is Goodra with an Assault Vest, taking 30% from Dragon Pulse and KOing back with Thunderbolt. However Dragon Pulse is rare and Fire Blast only does around 25%, making it a solid answer. With Earthquake Assault Vest Tyranitar does a nice job with its massive bulk and KO back with Stone Edge or Rock Slide. However should it have Focus Blast Tyranitar will lose a minimum of 53%, making it not the greatest answer. Special Defensive Latias can also come in three times and beat it but it needs to be max hps and special defenses to do this.
Charizard @ Charizardite Y
EVs: 252 Spd / 252 SAtk / 4 Def
- Fire Blast
- Solar Beam
- Focus Blast
- Roost / Dragon Pulse
This set is more common on the ladder as it uses the general evs PS provides, but is still good. This set focuses more on speed then power, hitting 328 speed to outrun everything from Genesect down. Fire Blast is your main move and stab, while Solarbeam is for Rotom Wash and Manaphy. Focus Blast stops Heatran and Tyranitar that would be a threat to the dragon otherwise. FInally Roost rounds off the set to heal itself, but Dragon Pulse can be used to hit dragons that switch in harder.
Charizard @ Charizardite Y
EVs: 196 Spd / 252 SAtk / 60 Atk
- Fire Blast
- Roost / Dragon Pulse
This focuses on surprise and power, forgoing timid for rash or mild nature to increase Mega Charizard Y’s damage output while still outrunning threats with a positive nature and a base speed of 80. Moves are nearly identical to the above set for the same reasons bar Earthquake which is here as a more reliable answer to Heatran and Tyranitar with Focus Blast’s 70 accuracy.
The Surprise Factor
The biggest factor of Charizard’s new success in OU is that it has two powerful forms, that have different answers. This makes it unpredictable and favorable to the Charizard user as it makes the opponent wary. The don’t want to send Landorus Therian into Charizard before it mega evolves in case its Mega Charizard Y which easily KOes it, while sending Latias right into Charizard isn’t a good idea as Mega Charizard X destroys it. This makes it important to look at the opponent’s team in team preview and think of which mega form its likely to be as its often the line between losing or winning.
Both of Charizard’s mega forms are two of the most powerful megas introduced in XY, and have no trouble getting a spot on a team. While it all boils down to preference, neither is actually better than the other, doing two completely different things giving them different roles making Charizard extremely versatile as well as a powerhouse for the first time in OU.