How Good is Dragon Tera Type Charizard in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet?

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet's First Tera Raid Battle Is Dragon-Type Charizard

For some reason, Game Freak thought it would be a brilliant idea to introduce a Dragon Tera Type Charizard into Scarlet and Violet. One of the most famous Pokemon in history is going to be available for a limited time, and players can only catch one per save file. With Charizard still a fairly competitive Pokemon, especially equipped with a Dragon Tera Type, what does this mean for both new and returning players of Pokemon in Generation 9’s Scarlet and Violet games for the Nintendo Switch?

First off, it’s freaking Charizard. You know, the guy on that Pokemon card every one wanted back in 1999, then in 2020 inside of a plastic case with a label on it. The final stage evolution of the first Pokemon I ever saw in my life, Charmander, has endured a long history of mid-tier competitive relevance, until it was gifted a Mega Evolution in X and Y. Even after Mega Evolutions bowed out after Sun and Moon, Sword and Sword gave Charizard a Gigantamax with a devastating attack called G-Max Wildfire which helped Charizard soar back to the top of the Video Game Championships (VGC) competitive doubles metagame.

Without these gimmicks, though, Charizard will have to settle for ditching his Flying and Fire types for a Dragon type thanks to the Terastallizing mechanic. Fortunately, he’ll still retain same-type attack bonus of 1.5x on both his Fire and Flying type attacks, an added benefit of having a third type as your Tera Type. While Charizard is not usually going to be available in Paldea, this is an opportunity to give new and returning players both a centerpiece of their battle teams.

To limit the insanity, Game Freak does limit you to catching just one Dragon Tera Charizard per save file. But, even once you get your Charizard, you can still join raids for further rewards. The rewards are fantastic, including the possibility of Ability Capsules and Ability Patches, lots of Rare Candies, Experience Candies, Bottle Caps, and the TM for Overheat. When you catch it, this Charizard will always have the title Charizard the Unrivaled, have a Modest nature (plus Special Attack, minus Attack), with the moves Fire Blast, Dragon Pulse, Hurricane, and Focus Blast. It also always has the Solar Power ability.

Fortunately, while it’s very possible you’ll enter Raids with players running non-Fairy type Pokemon, basically as long as you run out a level 100 Fairy-type such as Azumarill, Flutter Mane, Dachsbun, Sylveon, or anything else that runs Dazzling Gleam, you have a shot at winning. I won my first ever Charizard raid on Violet with my Azumarill with the Huge Power ability. In Scarlet, I won with my Flutter Mane, giving it an Assault Vest to tank the Charizard’s Fire Blasts and Hurricanes. Many other people chose Dachsbun for its Well-Baked Body ability to absorb Fire-type attacks and boost its Defense. Granted that ability doesn’t help your Special Defense, but that Pokemon works just fine for the Raid.

It’s also true that you can always breed this Charizard from 7-star Tera Raids to get a Charmander that you can customize to your liking with the chance to benefit from the 5 or 6 perfect IVs from the unique Raid Pokemon. I bred a few Charmander, one of which did have 6 perfect IVs; the only downside is having to give it the Tera Type you desire with Tera Shards. So, if you happen to miss the event or can’t succeed in a Raid for whatever reason, there will be plenty of Charmander being bandied about on Surprise Trade. Also, being likely 5 or 6 IVs, they will be perfect for helping you breed for perfect Pokemon in those Egg Groups.

Does the Dragon Tera Type Make Charizard More Competitive?

As with other previous generational gimmicks, Terastallizing can only be used once per battle. This means that if you want to focus on using this Charizard with a Dragon Tera Type, you will have to build around this, much as you would have with the Charizard Mega Pokemon in Generations 6 and 7. Of course, Sun and Moon also had Z-moves, and the move Tera Blast in Generation 9 doesn’t close to match up. Fortunately, Charizard doesn’t need to use up a move slot on Tera Blast, thanks to already having access to several strong Dragon-type moves.

The question then remains, is this Charizard worth being your team’s centerpiece? Charizard was excellent when he was a Mega Charizard X or Y, and even better when he was G-Max Charizard throughout his Sword and Shield competitive run. His Dragon-type moves weren’t really used in Generation 8 though, focusing on hitting hard with Blast Burn, Hurricane, with the third slot usually between Heat Wave, Ancient Power, Scorching Sands, or Solar Beam, depending on the type coverage that battle team needed. The last slot typically went to Protect, in order to soak a free hit from a potentially devastating attack.

This Charizard typically ran the Solar Power ability, which boosts Special Attack by 1.5x at the cost of 1/8th HP per turn, as long as Sunny Day is in play. This weather condition is produced either from the move Sunny Day or by the Drought ability. Also, Fire type moves are boosted by 50 percent and Water type moves are decreased by 50 percent. It only lasts five turns, however.

Because G-Max Wildfire automatically cast Sunny Day for five turns, having partners such as Torkoal or Drought Ninetales were just a nice bonus to reset the Sun if necessary. Often these Charizards would also run Life Orb, to do an additional 30 percent of damage, at an additional cost of 1/10 HP per turn. The hits would be so massive though that the loss of life was worth the trade-off.

In competitive singles, in which Dynamax wasn’t allowed, though, Charizard hung around the lower tiers. Without the support of a partner, Charizard can still hit hard, but if it gets outsped is in big trouble. In National Dex, however, where most every Pokemon is legal, including Megas, Mega Charizard Y is still a force to be reckoned with. Interestingly, the National Dex Charizard prefers to run Blaze, the typical ability you see on starter Fire-type Pokemon. This powers up its Fire-type moves by an additional 50 percent whenever Charizard is at or below 1/3 HP. Naturally, often using Life Orb, this happens a lot.

Should You Build Your Team Around Dragon Tera Type Charizard?

So, how will Charizard play in Scarlet and Violet? Thanks to the access to a Dragon Tera Type, this Charizard can pack either Dragon Pulse or Outrage that will get a 1.5x boost. A potential moveset is Fire Blast or Overheat, Hurricane, Dragon Pulse, and either Protect or Roost. Since this Charizard will always have Solar Power, then running Solar Beam over Hurricane may be worth well, especially if you can set up Intense Sun with the likes of Drought Torkoal.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem we’re getting many other Drought Pokemon in Generation 9 competition. Sure, Koraidon sets Sun but isn’t allowed on the competitive ladder in either Battle Stadium or Pokemon Showdown. (It’s believed that Groudon will come into play once Pokemon HOME is connected to Scarlet and Violet, though.) This means you will likely need one or two Sunny Day setters on your team. It’s also important to note that Scorching Sands has been removed from the game entirely, for Scarlet and Violet, so Charizard no longer has access to that excellent move.

The other thing to watch is when Charizard Terastalizes into the Dragon type, it does drop several weaknesses, including Electric, Rock, and Water. But, it also gains Dragon and Fairy type weaknesses, and retains its Ice type weakness that it had from being a Flying type. However, the trade-off is your Fire and Flying moves will still hit with the same 1.5x STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus) they did previously.

Any team that builds around this Charizard will oddly enough probably look a lot like those that were built around Mega Charizard Y. The reason that Y was so strong is it gained Drought itself when it Mega Evolved and gained a huge boost in Special Attack to 159. While this Dragon Tera Type Charizard isn’t going to be quite that boosted, the Mega Charizard had to hold a Mega Stone as its item, whereas this Charizard can hold a Life Orb, so it gains back a bit of that potential power. On top of that, if Sun is active, this Charizard will hit nearly just as hard. Having the added power of a boosted Dragon-type move and defensive benefits makes it more well rounded.

All that being said, while this Dragon Tera Type Charizard is worthy of being an offensive centerpiece, it still definitely has weaknesses. You’ll have to watch for other Dragons and also Fairy types. There are a ton of new Dragons in Scarlet and Violet to consider. While Charizard will be lacking a couple of its former friends in Venusaur and Ninetales at least in the early days of Scarlet and Violet, Torkoal will still be around.

At the very least, you’ll want Torkoal around to not only set up Sunny Day with its Drought ability, but be another offensive threat. Torkoal can also switch in to absorb a Dragon or Fairy type attack, while having the added benefit of recasting Sunny Day if its no longer active. After all, Fire types take 50 percent less damage from Fairy type moves (weird but true).

Another good partner for this Charizard could be Tyranitar, who has the added benefit of Sand Stream to cast Sandstorm. While this damages both sides, Rock, Ground, and Steel types take no damage from Sand damage. Corviknight could be another good partner, as part of a defensive core for the team that also can be a strong switch-in to protect your Dragon Tera Charizard. Keep in mind that once you Terastalize, that Pokemon remains in Tera Form until it’s knocked out, so having defensive switch-ins is actually a good plan.

Most other Charizard centered teams in National Dex play in Generation 8 played Landorus-Therian and either Garchomp, Kartana, or Tapu Fini in the last two slots of the team. It’s possible Landorus will enter Generation 9 in the Spring of 2023 with the Pokemon HOME integration, although Kartana and Tapu Fini will likely be absent. But, Garchomp is already in Scarlet and Violet, so he’s still a great team member This means you’ll want to find a strong Grass type with the Chlorophyll ability plus a Fairy type to round out the team. Ideally, you’d want one to be another defensive minded Pokemon, with the other being a Pokemon who can dish out damage across a variety of types.

Huge Power Azumarill or Regenerator Slowbro may be a good fit on this sort of team to fill the role of Water type, with Azumarill also offering the secondary Fairy type. Florges is a Fairy type that could actually set Sunny Day on its own and act as a Special Defensive wall while also hitting back hard with Grass and Fairy type moves. There are many other options from Generation 9 that could fill these two slots, too.

Another good partner for Dragon Tera Type Charizard could be Chi-Yu, the strong Dark/Fire type legendary Pokemon who has already been a fixture of the Pokemon Showdown ladder. However, Chi-Yu isn’t allowed in the early going on Ranked Battles in Battle Stadium, and neither are the Paradox Pokemon. This isn’t surprising as the Paradox Pokemon from Scarlet have the ability Protosynthesis which boosts their highest stats in the sun. But, in Pokemon Showdown, which plays by Smogon University rules, Charizard should be right at home among the likes of Roaring Moon, Brute Bonnett, and Iron Hands.

On Battle Stadium, though, building a Sun team will probably start with this Charizard, or one bred from it, along with Torkoal as the primary Sun setter. Lilligant is also pretty strong in the sun, as is Armarouge. So, there’s definitely potential for this Charizard to make a pretty quick impact once it’s allowed on the Battle Stadium ladder, which probably won’t be until 2023.

It is a nice reprieve that we won’t be seeing it on the Battle Stadium ladder for a bit, although I’m sure it will become a fixture on the Pokemon Showdown Generation 9 ladders. I’m happy to have access to Charizard again, in any case, even if it could end up being as format-warping as G-Max Charizard was. Personally, I don’t think Dragon Tera Type is even the best Tera type for Charizard, but we shall see what the player community discovers in play testing in December 2022.

What do you think of Charizard being in Scarlet and Violet?

Writing words, spreading love, Amelia Desertsong primarily writes creative nonfiction articles, as well as dabbling in baseball, Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, and whatever else tickles her fancy.
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