Charizard stands for destruction, as it is one of the strongest Fire-types in NU, able to scorch anything that stands in its path. Solar Power, Sunny Day-boosted, STAB Fire Blast is able to 2HKO all but the sturdiest Pokemon in NU. Charizard sits on the faster side of the metagame, with 100 base Speed, and has great stats all round to pull off both its signature special set and other niche physical sets. Roost and handy resistances to common attacking types, such as Fighting- and Grass-type attacks, make Charizard relatively bulky for its power. Unfortunately, its 4x Stealth Rock weakness severely holds it back, as Charizard will die from switching three times into Stealth Rock alone, a critical flaw in a tier with very few viable Rapid Spinners. Still, Charizard's sheer power alone is usually enough to outweigh the costs of such weaknesses. Charizard is the fire-breathing dragon—what else can you ask for? A well-played Charizard will make all your seven-year-old wishes of becoming the Pokemon Champion closer to reality.
Sunny Day is Charizard's strongest set by far, mixing its power with versatility. Sunny Day triggers Solar Power and greatly increases Charizard's sweeping capability. Fire Blast is a strong STAB, boosted by both sun and Solar Power. With very few prominent bulky Water-types in NU, Fire Blast alone has the potential to burn through entire teams. Even common Fire-type resists, such as Alomomola and Regirock, have relatively low Special Defense, and take massive damage from the resisted move. Roost helps with Charizard's crippling Stealth Rock weakness, in case you cannot spin away Stealth Rock, and gives it some reliable healing to mitigate the residual damage from Solar Power. Roost is especially helpful against defensive teams that cannot hope to finish off Charizard in a single hit or two. Finally, SolarBeam hits two Fire-type resists, Rock- and Water-types, super effectively.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Charizard does not require sun to bring destruction on the enemy. Defensive Pokemon, such as Vileplume, give Charizard ample time to switch in and fire off attacks without the hassle of setting up. Fire Blast and Air Slash are the two obligatory STAB moves, hitting most threats for at least neutral damage, bar Rock-types. Roost is a crucial move to mitigate Stealth Rock and other passive damage. In the final slot, Substitute can be used to take advantage of all the switches Charizard forces; as a bonus, Substitute also helps Charizard to avoid status and Sucker Punch. On the other hand, a coverage move will turn Charizard into an all-out sweeper with great Speed and coverage. Focus Blast, despite its shaky accuracy, hits Rock-types, such as Regirock and Carracosta, along with special walls such as Lickilicky, for super effective damage.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Does Charizard not deliver enough pure destruction? Choice Specs Charizard crushes villages by simply spamming STAB Fire Blast at the opposing team. Unless the opposing team carries a Fire-type immunity, such as Flareon, everything will be instantly evaporated with no prediction required. Even the most specially defensive of Pokemon, such as Lickilicky, cannot withstand its sheer power. Behold the behemoth that is Charizard.
The other moves are filler. The lack of sun seriously limits Charizard's potential, and it is only then coverage moves come in handy. Air Slash is mainly used to hit Fire-type resists and immunities such as Torkoal, Flareon, and Cloud Nine Altaria. A choice of Focus Blast or Solarbeam is for hitting Rock-type Pokemon, such as Carracosta and Regirock, that resist Charizard's STAB. Finally, a choice of Hidden Power rounds off the set; Hidden Power Ice only hits Altaria, while Hidden Power Grass hits the aforementioned Rock-types reliably outside of sun.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Charizard can also use its lower offensive stat to great effect. Swords Dance provides a much-needed boost to Charizard's Attack, while Acrobatics is an extremely strong and reliable STAB. With Flying Gem and Swords Dance, Acrobatics can destroy specially defensive Pokemon, such as Altaria, that commonly switch into special Charizard sets with little problem. Earthquake provides near-perfect neutral coverage, hitting Rock-types such as Regirock, Probopass, and Bastiodon. Finally, Flare Blitz is a supplementary STAB for hitting Eelektross and Rotom-S. Given its deadly recoil and lackluster coverage, Flare Blitz will be highly situational, but will help in case there is no chance to boost.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Perhaps the most interesting other option that Charizard has is its classic Belly Drum set. It requires massive support to use effectively, but the payoff can be enormous, especially now that Salac Berry has been released. However, a metagame filled with priority moves, Stealth Rock, and hard hitters means that BellyZard can no longer function as effectively as it once could. Dragon Dance is also a viable option, but Charizard has a significantly harder time sweeping with it than Swords Dance due to its lack of power. Also, these two moves are illegal with Charizard's best physical STAB, Acrobatics.
Flamethrower can be used over Fire Blast on any of the specially oriented sets, as the perfect accuracy can save you. However, Fire Blast deals more damage, even when factoring in the miss chance, and Charizard prefers to hit as hard as possible. Overheat is another special STAB move; unfortunately, the hit-and-run strategy associated with Overheat clashes horribly with Charizard’s 4x Stealth Rock weakness. The last viable STAB move that Charizard can use is Flame Charge, as the ability to outspeed Choice Scarf Pokemon after a boost is very much appreciated. However, Charizard has trouble sparing a moveslot for it, as it is too weak to be its main STAB move.
Charizard has a wide movepool, both special and physical, giving some added flexibility to its moveset. Charizard has the option of going mixed with Earthquake to dispose of Flareon, but this requires splitting EVs for a rather rare Pokemon and is generally not worth it. Focus Punch can be used to do heavy damage to Lickilicky and Audino, but without Substitute, requires perfect prediction to pull it off effectively. Quick Attack is mentioned only because it should never be used; Charizard is fast enough that it should never have to rely on a priority move, especially one as weak as Quick Attack. On the special side, Charizard can use Dragon Pulse, as it has perfect coverage alongside its Fire-type STAB moves. However, Dragon Pulse has little super effective coverage and is not very viable for this very reason. That being said, Dragon Pulse does see merit against Altaria and Dragonair, otherwise great checks to special Charizard. Finally, Charizard can use other Hidden Power types, such as Ice or Electric, but it is generally not worth it.
Checks and Counters
It should be clear that the most efficient way of countering Charizard is keeping Stealth Rock up. Every time Charizard switches in it will lose half of its HP, which means that any decently powered STAB move should be able to bring Charizard down. It will often have to Roost as soon as it comes in when Stealth Rock is up, lest it risk being KOed immediately; use this turn to your advantage to hit it hard, or to bring in something that can outspeed and OHKO Charizard.
Rock-types in general are good switch-ins to Charizard. They resist both of its STABs and can almost always OHKO with their own; furthermore, most pack enough Defense to shrug off boosted Earthquake's from the physical set. Regirock can take Charizard's STAB moves with ease, especially with a specially defensive spread, and will always OHKO Charizard with Rock Slide or Stone Edge. However, Rock-types take heavy damage from Hidden Power Grass and Focus Blast. Flareon is also an extremely effective counter. An immunity to Charizard's incredibly powerful Fire-type STAB moves and excellent Special Defense mean that Charizard will be unable to break through the hellcat. Flareon can either whittle Charizard down with Toxic, or abuse Charizard's own sun to hit it with its own Fire-type moves. Mono-attacker Dragonair can cheerfully sponge Charizard's attacks thanks to its high Special Defense, courtesy of Eviolite, and its resistances to Fire- and Grass-type moves. It can set up multiple Dragon Dances, Rest off the damage it takes, and eventually take Charizard out with Outrage. Mantine has massive Special Defense, a resistance to Fire and neutrality to Grass-type attacks, courtesy of its Flying typing. It can switch into almost anything Charizard can throw at it and proceed to wash it away with its STAB Water-type moves. Altaria is in the same boat; it resists all of Charizard’s special moves, bar the weak Air Slash and the highly situational Hidden Power Ice. Grumpig isn't weak to any of Charizard's commonly used moves, and gains a pseudo-resistance to Fire thanks to its ability, Thick Fat. Its excellent Special Defense allows it to shrug off Charizard's attacks. Of course, a boosted Acrobatics will easily take out all of these specially defensive tanks. Alomomola gets a special mention for being a perfect counter to the physical set, but it will promptly fall to the specially based sets.
However, many of the aforementioned Pokemon are rarely used, as the NU tier is predominantly physically based, making special walls an uncommon sight. Therefore, should you lack a counter to Charizard, the best way to prevent it from sweeping you is to carry at least one check to it on your team. By simply forcing out Charizard, it takes another 50% of its HP thanks to Stealth Rock alone—this means that revenge killers are extremely efficient tools to check Charizard. Tauros and Swellow are both fine offensive checks for the same reason. Zebstrika and Electrode fall into the same category and can fry Charizard with their STAB Electric-type moves. Floatzel will also always outspeed Charizard and can take it out with its STAB Water-type moves. Simpour's 101 base Speed allows it to outspeed Charizard and OHKO it with either Surf or Hydro Pump. Another option is to use Chlorophyll Pokemon, such as Exeggutor and Victreebel, as they can abuse the sun that normally accompanies Charizard and KO it with STAB Psychic and Sludge Bomb, respectively.
Seeing as Charizard is faster than a good portion of the NU metagame, you might have to resort to using Choice Scarf Pokemon in order to deal with it. Rotom-S is an extremely common user of Choice Scarf and can force Charizard out by threatening it with Volt Switch. This means that Charizard will again be forced to lose 50% of its health, should Stealth Rock be present, upon re-entering the battlefield, and the Rotom-S player will have gained momentum—provided that an Electric-type immunity was not switched in, of course. Another option is to use priority moves. One can prey upon Charizard's weakness to Aqua Jet with Pokemon such as Carracosta and Samurott. The former can come in on either Fire Blast or Air Slash, and the latter can play guessing games with the Charizard user, either by going for the kill with Aqua Jet or by setting up a Swords Dance to threaten the rest of the Charizard user's team. Sucker Punch users such as Skuntank, can also KO Charizard without Substitute. Charizard is an extremely hard Pokemon to stifle defensively, but there are plenty of options to revenge kill it.