Merry Christmas, everyone. Get your chestnuts roasting on an open fire because I’m going to be making a follow-up to my article defending Charizard and the constant special treatments it’s been getting from Game Freak.
To summarize what was said on my previous article, a lot of Pokémon fans are upset about the constant Charizard pandering Game Freak has been shoving down onto their throats, and I try to justify their pandering through his competitive history of not being a viable Pokémon, and made worse after Stealth Rock was introduced, prior, to the series’ power creep problem prior to the controversial National Dex cut, to its reputation as a mascot, who in other competitive metagames are viably decent or great. Charizard lost its Mega Evolutions but gained a Gigantamax form in their place, and now that a full month has past since Sword & Shield came out, it’s time to have a look at his current placement.
VGC Tournament Stats is a twitter account that records the most common Pokémon used in teams in preparation for the first official Sword & Shield tournament, using doubles as the battle format instead of singles (used by Smogon). Within the first two weeks, Charizard is nowhere to be seen on the list due to Dynamax being temporarily banned at the time. Now the VGC 2020’s rules have announced that it’s allowing only 10 Gigantamax forms, with Charizard being among them, its usage started appearing on the third week onward.
And now Charizard is among the top 10 used Pokémon for VGC. Turns out the National Dex cut and Dynamaxing were a good thing for our Kanto Fire starter. Next you’re going to say “but Pinkie, what about Smogon?” Well let’s take a look shall we?
Oh…. oh dear. That really doesn’t sound good. I now wonder how Charizard is faring in Smogon with SwSh’s main gimmick banned in OU.
Well, at least it’s not in Neverused (NU) anymore. Underused (UU) is still not a good tier to be in given its name not ringing “mid-tier” in mind. That meaning would go to Borderline (BL).
So long story short, whether or not Dynamaxing is banned is what makes or break Charizard’s competitive viability. If you’re playing by VGC rules, then it’s great, but if you’re playing by Smogon rules, then it’s average. In the end, the pandering still paid off for both Game Freak and the Pokémon Company Inc. since they care more about the former than the latter. Now to find out how well Charizard will fare in the inevitable third version/sequels/Sinnoh remakes within a year or two.