VGC18 Pokémon Analysis – Charizard-Y

Written by Jeremy Gross

Championships Battle Season 8 Ranking: 7th
Pokemon Showdown! January Rankings – 
Unweighted: 7th (17.77703%)
1500: 5th (20.55929%)
1630: 4th (23.11132%)
1760: 7th (21.74931%)

 

Mega Charizard Y has been one of the top Mega Evolutions in almost every format it has been allowed in (bar the one where it had to compete with Primal Groudon) since its introduction in 2014. It’s easy to see why, as Charizard Y possesses almost all of the characteristics necessary for an excellent Fire type. Charizard Y has a fantastic ability in Drought to override opposing weathers, mitigate its Water weakness, and boost its Fire-type moves. It benefits from a fantastic movepool that includes hard-hitting moves such as Heat Wave, Overheat, Flamethrower and Solar Beam as well as support options such as Tailwind, coverage options like Hidden Power Ground, and a whopping base 159 Special Attack stat. Combined with its base 100 Speed, its damage makes it a lethal sweeper in many circumstances. Charizard Y has some longevity to it as well, sporting base 115 Special Defense. Base 78 Defense is subpar, but can be supplemented with Intimidates.

Notable Moves

Fire-type attacks

  • Heat Wave: 95 base power, 90% accuracy, double target. 10% chance to burn. Battle Spot usage: 87.2%. Unweighted Showdown usage: 85.893%.
  • Overheat: 130 base power, 90% accuracy, single target. Lowers the user’s Special Attack by 2 stages. Battle Spot usage: 44.77%. Unweighted Showdown usage: 43.421%.
  • Flamethrower: 90 base power, 100% accuracy, single target. 10% chance to burn. Battle Spot usage: 41.16%. Unweighted Showdown usage: 30.484%.
  • Heat Wave is the most common Fire-type attack, primarily for the consistent spread damage. Sun-boosted Heat Wave off of a 159 base Special Attack stat does absurd amounts of damage, even with the spread damage reduction. The secondary burn chance is also useful. Unfortunately, Charizard Y rather infamously has a move accuracy problem. As you can see, its most used moves both have a 10% chance to miss. Flamethrower is occasionally used over Overheat, or as the only Fire move, to help resolve the accuracy problem. It also can provide a single-target move to bypass Wide Guard that doesn’t drop Special Attack. However, the significant power reduction causes it to miss a few crucial KOs that will be discussed later.

Coverage Moves

  • Solar Beam: Grass-type, 120 base power, 100% accuracy, single target. Requires a charge turn unless the weather is sunlight. Battle Spot usage: 72.79%. Unweighted Showdown usage: 84.93%.
  • Hidden Power Ground: 60 base power, 100% accuracy, single target. Battle Spot usage: 10.81% (total Hidden Power usage, Battle Spot doesn’t record type). Unweighted Showdown usage: 7.773%.

Solar Beam is almost mandatory, primarily to hit Tapu Fini. Hidden Power Ground is usually run in place of a single target Fire move, and allows Charizard to beat Heatran, something it otherwise cannot do without something Skill Swapping away Heatran’s Flash Fire ability.

Support/Utility Moves

  • Protect: Protects the user from all move effects for the turn. Chance of succeeding divided by 3 for each successive use. Battle Spot usage: 98.7%. Unweighted Showdown usage: 96.38%.
  • Tailwind: Doubles speed for the user’s side of the field for 4 turns. Battle Spot usage: 28.2%. Unweighted Showdown usage: 27.677%.

Protect is absolutely mandatory, as is standard in VGC. Tailwind is once again a move that typically takes over the moveslot where the single target Fire move goes. While Tailwind is useful in boosting Charizard’s speed over the likes of Tapu Koko, typically a partner like Kartana makes a better setter.

Notable Items

Obviously there is only one option, as Charizardite Y is required to trigger the Mega Evolution.

Sample Sets

Fast Zard
Charizard @ Charizardite Y
Ability: Blaze
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Heat Wave
– Solar Beam
– Overheat/Flamthrower/Hidden Power Ground
– Protect

Hits as hard and as fast as possible. There is room for variation on the 3rd move, however Overheat is usually necessary for a few important calcs.

Damage Calcs

Bulky Zard
Charizard @ Charizardite Y
Ability: Blaze
Level: 50
EVs: 172 HP / 100 Def / 60 SpA / 4 SpD / 172 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Heat Wave
– Solar Beam
– Overheat/Flamethrower/Hidden Power Ground/Tailwind
– Protect

Very similar to the first set, but with more focus on longevity. Some important defensive calcs.

Damage Calcs

Common Partners

Landorus-T: One of the best partners for Charizard, and indeed one of the best Pokemon in the format. Landorus does it all: it beats Electric-types that Charizard struggles with, shores up Charizard’s subpar Defense with Intimidate and removes items with Knock Off (this is particularly useful for removing Assault Vests from opposing Landorus, allowing them to be KOed by Overheat). Landorus can either use Superpower to directly threaten Tyranitars, one of the biggest threats to Charizard, or can use U-turn to keep momentum. U-turn can allow you to react to opposing switches to maintain offensive pressure, set your terrain/weather of preference, and cycle Intimidates to shore up Charizard’s weaker defensive stat. Finally, Landorus beats opposing Charizard with Rock moves and can Earthquake freely next to Charizard due to Zard’s Ground immunity.

Tapu Koko: Another very common partner, Koko deals well with Water-types and Salamence, and provides a fast Volt Switch for repositioning. A Charizard Koko lead puts on a lot of offensive pressure, and threatens fast KOs with strong special attacks.

Kartana: Often a Tailwind setter, as Charizard likely can’t afford to run it itself. Also does well offensively against Water-types, Rock-types, and Snorlax.

Cresselia + Snorlax: A common Trick Room mode on Charizard teams. The Cresselia also provides speed control, hits Landorus/Salamence with Icy Wind or Ice Beam, and can play mind games with Ally Switch. The Snorlax can viably run either Belly Drum or Curse sets with this team structure.

Porygon2 + Tyranitar: This slow mode most notably won Dallas regionals in January. Tyranitar provides a secondary weather to help against Rain teams, and also hits opposing Charizard and Cresselia hard. Porygon2 has excellent longevity with Recover, and can hit Landorus with Ice Beam.

Togedemaru: Fresh off a top 4 finish at Collinsville regionals, Togedemaru provides a different take on the Electric-type slot than Tapu Koko. It pulls incoming Electric type attacks off the Charizard with Lightning Rod, provides Fake Out pressure, and can soften targets for a slower Charizard with Super Fang.

Threats

Landorus-T: Rock moves. Lots of Rock moves. Despite the lack of STAB, Charizard’s double weakness to Rock and low Defense mean it’s often getting OHKOed.

Tapu Koko: While sometimes unable to OHKO Charizard with normal Thunderbolt outside of terrain, Thunderbolt in Electric Terrain and Gigavolt Havoc under all circumstances will ruin Charizard’s day.

Tyranitar: Rock Slide. Unlike Landorus is nearly impossible for Charizard to OHKO Ttar before it gets the move off. Tyranitar also sets sand when it hits the field with its Sand Stream ability. This not only removing Charizard’s sun damage boost, but also boosts Tyranitar’s Special Defense, making it very hard to hit. Sand also causes Solar Beam to require a charge turn, meaning that it can be hard for Charizard to hit Tyranitar in the sand. Kartana is quite important for dealing with this.

Mega Latias: Charizard Y is quite simply unable to damage Mega Latias, and while it may not lose immediately, it will be beaten in the long run by Psyshock and Roost.

Incineroar and Heatran: Similar reasons to Latias. Charizard is unable to do enough damage to these due to their typing and natural bulk/ability. These (especially Heatran) can potentially be navigated around with HP Ground, however.

Zapdos: While more offensive Zapdos sets have to be wary of Overheat, Thunderbolt or Gigavolt Havoc will do serious damage to Charizard.

Alternative Options

Charizard Y stands alone in terms of damage it can deal and weather setting. The only other Drought setters in the format are Kanto Ninetales and Torkoal, both of which are mediocre at best. If one is only looking for a Fire-type then Heatran, Incineroar, Volcarona and Mega Camerupt are options, however these all do vastly different things and require different team structures to succeed. As a Mega, Charizard Y often has teams built to help it specifically, and thus it is very difficult to simply plug a different Fire-type into its slot.

Conclusion

Mega Charizard Y is a format-defining Fire-type that is unfortunately hampered by move accuracy issues. Despite this, it is still able to throw off consistent heavy damage, and with a team that can handle some key threats is one of the most dangerous Pokémon in the metagame.

Featured image by PkGam

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