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Pokémon Through the Generations: Charizard

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Annoying Orange, Feb 4, 2017.

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  1. Annoying Orange

    Annoying Orange sweet creature Server Moderator Social Media Rep Server Moderator Social Media Rep

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    Overview
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    If competitive Pokémon was a popularity contest, Charizard would have been Ubers since the release of Red and Blue. Charizard was nothing short of a badass on screen. But as the generations passed, everyone realized Charizard was no longer as good as it was hyped up to be. Nevetheless, that didn't stop the love for the Pokémon that was a debatable candidate for being more popular than the mascot Pikachu.

    In fact, the love for Charizard eventually shined through to Game Freak. They gave Charizard two more reasons to be loved and used; about two decades after its debut, Charizard got two Mega Evolutions that still to this day dominate the OverUsed tier.


    First Generation (RBY/Stadium)
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    Unless you were a hipster in the 90s or prefered cute turtles or grass frogs over fire-breathing lizards, you probably chose Charmander as your starter in the first Pokémon games. When you first saw its final evolution, you probably got immediately attached because as children, our mind goes, "COOL FIRE BREATHING WINGED DRAGON! I LOVE IT!". Charizard was great in-game. Of course, anything ten levels below it that didn't resist Fire was going to lose to Flamethrower. But you probably thought this made it powerful because you were most likely young and loved the idea of burning everything alive.

    Unfortunately, we later learned Charizard wasn't as good in the first generation as we used to think it was. Sure, in Pokémon Stadium you could spam Fire Spin on anything slower and win, but in the actual metagame, it didn't match up well. Fire Spin spam didn't work well because of how weak it was and how comparably slow Charizard was to other Pokémon. It was easily outclassed by Moltres at that role. Fire also wasn't one of the best offensive or defensive typings at the time. Don't get me wrong, Charizard was still actually decent. It wasn't good enough to make the OverUsed tier in its debut, though. Charizard gets access to Swords Dance and a few coverage moves such as Fire Blast, Earthquake, and Fly, which it didn't get until Pokémon Yellow. You can use it in OU, but it's easily outclassed for now.



    Second Generation (GSC/Stadium 2)
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    The second generation brought 100 new Pokémon and several new moves along with them. One of those moves is Belly Drum. Even now, that move strikes fear into opponents any time it's used properly. There weren't many Pokémon to set up on back then, though. Common Pokémon such as Suicune, Starmie, and Raikou could easily come in to knock Charizard out, whether it set up or not. It is great for setting up on the infamous Skarmory + Blissey core, but Charizard would need a lot of team support with it. What makes it better for Charizard is that it was the fastest Pokémon to get access to Belly Drum. At the time, Charizard was able to show a glimpse of its future role as a wallbreaker by being able to break some of the early walls such as Blissey and Forretress.

    Unfortunately, it wasn't hard to switch out into something to beat it while it set up. It also wasn't easy to support for it to set up and would normally result in a waste of space. It did, however, step up from UU, as it was considered too good for the tier that generation.


    Third Generation (R/S/E/XD)
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    With even more Pokémon and moves being introduced, Charizard got a few extra moves such as Brick Break, Dragon Dance, and Overheat. It also got a way to boost its Speed while using Belly Drum thanks to Salac Berry. However, Charizard was now even more easily checked by common Pokémon such as Aerodactyle, Zapdos, Milotic, and sometimes Tyranitar. Charizard was still somewhat usable, but everyone could tell its viability was declining. With a bit of support and a lot of competitive knowledge, it was still very usable at this point.

    Ash still had faith in Charizard as he retrieved it from Professor Oak to battle a Frontier Brain's legendary Articuno. Surely, he still saw potential in Charizard and for a good reason.


    Fourth Generation (DP/Pt/HGSS)
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    Charizard had to make its comeback now, right? No. With the introduction of the fourth generation, Charizard met its dreadful downfall. Several strong Pokémon were introduced this generation along with Charizard's kryptonite: Stealth Rock. A combination of these things pushed Charizard down to the depths of being well.. NeverUsed. Charizard was easily outclassed by a lot of Pokémon in the OU metagame and could barely ever hold its own.

    This didn't stop Charizard from fighting. Despite now being in the NU tier, Charizard could still be a top threat. This generation introduced the physical/special split, which made Charizard able to run physical or special sets without losing some of what little defenses it had to be a mixed attacker. It got to make good use of Dragon Dance and its new move Flare Blitz thanks to the split. Items like Life Orb also helped Charizard get the power buff it needed to hit harder to show it wasn't through with being the top dog—or lizard—yet. These things still made Charizard a scary Pokémon to deal with in the NU tier, especially if your Fire-resistant Pokémon were gone.


    Fifth Generation (BW/BW2)
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    As the next generation rolled through, Charizard stood in the background. It didn't really change much this generation other than receiving a handful of new moves. It also got access to a new ability in Solar Power, which boosted its Special Attack in the sun while lowering its HP every turn.

    Charizard stood as the top Fire-type Pokémon in the NU tier now. There were different ways to run it now such as a Choice Scarf revenge killer or cleaner or sticking to using it as a wallbreaker. It made use of moves like Swords Dance and the newly learned Acrobatics too. Hidden Power got a lot more popular and was usually its way of taking care of things like Seismitoad or other Water- and Rock-type Pokémon that are usually answers to Charizard. As you can see, it was still a major threat in the NU tier. But Charizard wasn't upset about this. It was simply waiting. Being an A-tier NU Pokémon wasn't enough for Charizard. The wait was long, but nearly over.


    Sixth Generation (XY/ORAS)
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    After a long wait, Charizard finally got its time to shine. Mega Evolution was a new mechanic introduced Generation 6. Charizard was one of the fortunate handful of Pokémon that would be able to temporarily evolve into a much stronger version of itself. However, Charizard didn't get one Mega Evolution. It got two. Charizard could Mega Evolve into two huge offensive threats that could KO a lot of Pokémon with one or two hits. Having two Mega Evolutions, it would be sometimes unpredictable which the opponent would bring.

    Both of its Mega Evolutions packed high offensive stats. Mega Charizard Y got Drought, which boosts its Fire-type attacks, weakens Water-type attacks used against it, and allows it to use Solar Beam without charging up. On top of that, it got a whopping base 159 Special Attack and decent Attack and Special Defense. Mega Charizard X came packed with Tough Claws and base 130 offensive stats as well as solid base 115 Defense. All of this, on top of Charizard's amazing movepool, helped it make its way to finally being one of the rulers of the OU metagame.

    Mega Charizard Y soon became one of the best wallbreakers in the game. Its amazing Fighting-, Fire-, and Grass-type coverage made it hard for an opponent to check without anything taking a massive amount of damage. It finally got to make use of Solar Beam, making many of Charizard's usual Water-type switch-ins a lot less viable. A sun-boosted Fire Blast from this Pokémon was something only a handful of Pokémon could switch into. Focus Blast completed the coverage for Pokémon like Heatran and Tyranitar, which resist almost everything else Mega Charizard Y can throw at it. On top of that, it got reliable recovery in Roost.

    After years of wondering why Charizard wasn't a Dragon-type, Nintendo finally seemed to listen. Mega Charizard X's newly gained Dragon-type made it neutral to Water and resistant to Electric. It also reduced the damage from Rock-type attacks. Mega Charizard X could have multiple roles. One of its roles was being a bulky Fire-type that could cripple Pokémon with Will-O-Wisp and Roost off damage while still hitting hard thanks to Tough Claws. Its other role is simple; it's meant to set up and sweep the opposing team. Charizard could utilize Swords Dance and Dragon Dance and KO the majority of the metagame in a couple hits. Its movepool consists of things like Fire Punch, Thunder Punch, Dragon Claw, and Flare Blitz, all of which are boosted by Touch Claws. It also got Earthquake for coverage to hit the Pokémon its other moves couldn't hurt as much.


    Seventh Generation (Sun/Moon)
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    Sitting happily in the high usage list, this fire-breathing dragon waited to see what the next generation would bring for it. Unfortunately, for Charizard, there wasn't really anything new. Charizard would have to sacrifice its Mega Stones to use the newly implemented Z-Moves. The former was a far better choice, as more strong Pokémon were taking over the OU metagame, and this meant a Charizard without a Mega Stone would keep falling down the line. However, the Mega Evolutions saw no problem. Mega Charizard X and Y still show their offensive dominance in the OU metagame. New bulky Water-type Pokémon such as Toxapex and Tapu Fini aren't even answers, as Thunder Punch can knock them both back and Solar Beam can cripple Tapu Fini.

    The metagame isn't settled yet, but you can bet you'll still see this Pokémon a lot over the next few years at least.


    Closing Statement
    Charizard's journey through the generations proves that time heals all wounds. Patience is in fact a virtue. Popularity will help you in the long run. Loyalty can also be thrown in there for the flaming dragon's day one fans. A Pokémon being good or bad can easily change over time as we see in many other Pokémon. Being a lower tier Pokémon isn't bad, but going from the low tiers to the high tiers is extraordinary.



    Annoying Orange - Writer, Artist
    Spoovo The Pirate - QC
    Sobi - QC, Grammar
    E.T. - QC, Grammar
    pokemonnerd - QC
    Joyverse - QC

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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2017
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