Is Charmander Good in Competitive Pokemon?

Not only is Charmander the most popular of the original three Pokemon starters, but it happens to be the first Pokemon I ever saw as a kid. Most of us were likely introduced to Pokemon through Pikachu, but it was Charmander for me. In fact, the first Pokemon anime episode I ever watched happened to be Ash’s Charmander evolving into Charmeleon. Of course, its final evolution of Charizard continues to be one of the most popular competitive Pokemon through Sword and Shield.

But, can Charmander itself hold its own against un-evolved competition? Sadly, the answer is no. As said by Smogon University, even with holding Life Orb, there’s more powerful attackers at low levels. For those unfamiliar with it, the Life Orb item boosts special attacks for the Pokemon who holds it at the cost of losing some HP after each attack. The boost is usually worth it, but unfortunately Charmander has attack stats that are significantly lower than many other unevolved Pokemon. This may come as a surprise to many people, but Charmander is actually a Pokemon that really needs to evolve to compete.

Really, you want to move up to Charmeleon soon as possible. Still, people certainly will run charmander, even if it’s not the optimal build from a raw power perspective. Its move pool is very impressive, and like Squirtle’s evolution line can be equipped with a wide variety of move sets. Charmander also has access to the power-up move Dragon Dance, which makes up for what he lacks in base stats.

The only real advantage to keeping Charmander from evolving is to learn moves faster. This is helpful if you’re only looking to level up your mons to be level 50. Otherwise, you’re not doing your Charmander any favors by keeping it unevolved, unless you just want it to stay little and cute forever, which I get. As I’ll discuss with Charmeleon, then Charizard, the benefits for evolution are quite significant.

What are your thoughts on Charmander as an unevolved Pokemon?

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