Gen 4 Charizard (NU Analysis) [GP 0/2]

Honko

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#1


https://www.smogon.com/dex/dp/pokemon/charizard

[OVERVIEW]

Charizard is generally regarded as the best Pokemon in NU. It's powerful, fast, and extremely versatile, capable of running sets ranging from special attacker to physical set-up sweeper to Toxic staller that each require different counters. Its typing comes with an obvious drawback in a 4x weakness to Stealth Rock, making Rapid Spin support nearly mandatory, but it also has an immunity to Ground and resistance to Fighting, opening up far more free switch-in opportunities than other offensive Fire-types have, and gives Charizard access to Roost. When you're building an NU team, Charizard is the number one Pokemon you need to keep in mind.

[SET]
name: Special Attacker
move 1: Fire Blast
move 2: Air Slash
move 3: Hidden Power Grass / Focus Blast
move 4: Roost
item: Life Orb
ability: Blaze
nature: Timid
evs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

[SET COMMENTS]

This is Charizard's most common and straightforward set. Fire Blast is the primary attack, while Air Slash gives Charizard an option with neutral coverage against opposing Fire-types, better accuracy, higher PP, and a handy flinch chance. Hidden Power Grass covers the Water- and Rock-types that resist Charizard's STAB moves. Roost allows Charizard to recover the HP it loses from Stealth Rock and Life Orb recoil on forced switches, mitigating its 4x Stealth Rock weakness to some extent and setting Charizard apart from most other offensive Pokemon in NU which lack reliable recovery. You can opt for Focus Blast over Air Slash or Hidden Power Grass in order to KO Regirock, Lickilicky, and Cradily after they switch into Fire Blast, but keep in mind that dropping Air Slash hurts Charizard's neutral coverage and consistency while dropping Hidden Power Grass means losing to Water-types that Charizard could otherwise 2HKO.

[ADDITIONAL SET COMMENTS]

Charizard sits at an important Speed tier that ties it with Typhlosion, Dodrio, Ninetales, and of course other Charizard, and also outspeeds Jynx and Haunter, so maximum Speed with a Timid nature is required. Life Orb is highly recommended for the power boost that makes Charizard so dangerous. However, it does have the serious drawback of limiting Charizard to a single switch-in if Stealth Rock is on the field and Charizard doesn't get a chance to use Roost. If you're not confident that your team can keep Stealth Rock off the field, you can consider switching to Expert Belt or Leftovers in order to ensure Charizard can come into the battle at least twice, although you may be better off just using Choice Specs instead.

Flamethrower can replace Fire Blast if you're worried about accuracy. Substitute is a neat option if you can afford to drop Hidden Power Grass, especially on teams that intend to spread poison or paralysis. It protects Charizard from status and Sucker Punch, takes advantage of opponents who try to sacrifice a weakened Pokemon to get a revenge killer in, and allows Charizard to fish for opposing paralysis and Stone Edge misses or stall out poisoned opponents.

Hazard removal is the most important support for any Charizard set. Sandslash and Hitmonchan both pair well with Charizard since they can switch in on Regirock fairly easily; Hitmonchan also threatens Lickilicky and Cradily, while Sandslash can set up your own Stealth Rock and provides an Electric immunity. With Stealth Rock off the field, Charizard can repeatedly switch in on most Grass- and Ground-types and force them out, especially Sandslash and Gligar which often don't carry a Rock-type attack. You can also use Charizard as a lead in order to be sure that it gets into battle at least once without taking Stealth Rock damage.

Specially defensive Water-types such as Slowking, Politoed, and Mantine comfortably counter this set, as Hidden Power Grass never 2HKOes them even after Stealth Rock damage. Grass-types such as Shiftry, Cacturne, and Meganium are therefore good partners. Specially defensive Psychic-types such as Gardevoir, Hypno, and Grumpig can also stop Charizard, which makes Skuntank an excellent teammate for its ability to trap Psychic-types with Pursuit. Tauros is very commonly used to revenge kill Charizard, so your team should include a solid switch-in such as Regirock, Cradily, or Drifblim.

[SET]
name: Toxic Stall
move 1: Substitute
move 2: Toxic
move 3: Flamethrower
move 4: Roost
item: Leftovers
ability: Blaze
nature: Timid
evs: 248 HP / 8 SpA / 252 Spe

[SET COMMENTS]

Although Charizard is mostly known for its offensive prowess, it also has all the tools necessary to be a very effective Toxic staller. This set is great at crippling typical defensive switch-ins such as Slowking and Regirock with Toxic. Once the opponent's walls are poisoned, Charizard can stall them out with Substitute and Roost. Flamethrower hits most of the common Poison- and Steel-types super effectively and still does significant damage to most offensive Pokemon despite this set's lack of investment in Special Attack.

[ADDITIONAL SET COMMENTS]

Investing in HP helps Charizard stall for longer against the weak attacks of defensive Pokemon such as Lickilicky and Slowking. However, it's also reasonable to move some EVs from HP into Special Attack in order to better take on certain offensive Pokemon. For example, with 192 Special Attack EVs, Charizard will always OHKO Jynx and has a 50% chance to OHKO Haunter after Stealth Rock damage.

This set can be an effective lead. Leading means Charizard won't have to worry about switching into Stealth Rock to get into play, and it can reveal and cripple your opponent's Fire-type counter very early in the match. In addition, Substitute blocks sleep from lead Jynx and Venomoth and also punishes opponents who choose to spend the first turn setting up hazards.

This set works best alongside other Pokemon that spread poison. Regirock, Gligar, Lickilicky, Politoed, and Hypno are all examples of effective Toxic stallers that can work well alongside Charizard. Setting up multiple layers of entry hazards also greatly increases the effectiveness of Toxic stalling strategies, so consider adding Nidoqueen or Venomoth for Toxic Spikes, Glalie or Cacturne for Spikes, and a Ghost-type to block Rapid Spin.

[SET]
name: Swords Dance
move 1: Swords Dance
move 2: Flare Blitz
move 3: Thunder Punch
move 4: Earthquake
item: Life Orb
ability: Blaze
nature: Jolly
evs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe

[SET COMMENTS]

Swords Dance makes Charizard a powerful wallbreaker with a very different set of counters from its more common special attacking sets. After a boost and with Stealth Rock up, Flare Blitz OHKOes specially defensive Lickilicky, Cradily, and Hypno, Thunder Punch OHKOes most specially defensive Water-types, including Slowking that don't invest most of their EVs in Defense, and Earthquake demolishes Fire-types such as Ninetales and Flareon.

[ADDITIONAL SET COMMENTS]

Hazard removal is even more important than usual for this set, since it will be suffering recoil damage from Flare Blitz in addition to Life Orb and lacks any healing. Hazard support of your own is also important, most notably for putting Slowking into OHKO range for +2 Thunder Punch.

Regirock takes a maximum of approximately 75% from +2 Earthquake, which means Charizard can't beat it alone. This set therefore works best alongside another Pokemon that Regirock counters, such as Tauros or Typhlosion. Since Regirock lacks reliable recovery, you can have Charizard weaken it to allow your Tauros to sweep, or vice versa. Pokemon that Slowking counters, such as Medicham and Floatzel, are also good partners for similar reasons. Water/Ground-types and physically defensive Water-types such as Poliwrath counter this set, so it's a good idea to bring a Grass-type that can switch in on them. This set is relatively easy to revenge kill, especially after Flare Blitz and Life Orb recoil have taken their toll, so your team will need solid answers to Tauros, Floatzel, and common Choice Scarf users such as Medicham and Gardevoir.

[SET]
name: Choice Specs
move 1: Fire Blast
move 2: Air Slash
move 3: Hidden Power Grass
move 4: Focus Blast
item: Choice Specs
ability: Blaze
nature: Timid
evs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

[SET COMMENTS]

Choice Specs Charizard has a couple of notable advantages over the more common Life Orb set. The extra power allows Charizard to 2HKO Lickilicky and Hypno with Fire Blast and potentially OHKO Regirock with Focus Blast after Stealth Rock damage, whereas Life Orb Charizard falls short. In addition, the lack of recoil means Charizard can switch in at least twice per match even if you can't keep Stealth Rock off the field, whereas Life Orb Charizard can only switch into Stealth Rock once if it attacks but doesn't Roost. The downside, of course, is that using Choice Specs requires more prediction to use effectively, and Charizard loses the ability to heal itself with Roost when it forces a switch, making any damage it takes permanent.

Fire Blast is the primary STAB and the attack you'll be looking to use once you've weakened or KOed your opponent's Fire resists. Air Slash provides neutral coverage and better accuracy. Hidden Power Grass hits Water- and Rock-types, although it unfortunately falls short of 2HKOing most Slowking and Politoed unless you have multiple layers of entry hazards set up. Focus Blast OHKOes Regirock that don't fully invest in Special Defense and also hits many other common switch-ins hard.

[ADDITIONAL SET COMMENTS]

Flamethrower and Overheat are worth a look as alternative STABs. If you're willing to give up Focus Blast's coverage, running both Flamethrower and Overheat together gives Charizard great flexibility in choosing between power and reliability depending on the situation. However, Fire Blast remains the primary option due to the 2HKOs it achieves against common special walls.

Choice Specs Charizard is a decent lead choice, as it gets Charizard into the battle without worrying about Stealth Rock. Whether it leads or not, Charizard obviously benefits from Rapid Spin support. It also appreciates support from Skuntank to help remove Slowking, and it works well with other Pokemon that Regirock counters, such as Typhlosion and Dodrio, since it can knock Regirock out of the game with a single Focus Blast.

[SET]
name: Dragon Dance
move 1: Dragon Dance
move 2: Flare Blitz
move 3: Earthquake
move 4: Thunder Punch
item: Life Orb
ability: Blaze
nature: Jolly
evs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe

[SET COMMENTS]

Charizard is one of the few Pokemon with access to Dragon Dance in NU, and it's the only one with enough Speed to outspeed most Choice Scarf users after a boost. This makes it a dangerous late-game sweeper that can run over offensive teams that expect to rely on revenge killers to deal with Charizard. Flare Blitz is Charizard's primary STAB move, Earthquake covers Rock- and Fire-types, and Thunder Punch zaps Water-types. It's important to note that Charizard is not especially powerful at +1 and cannot OHKO anything with decent physical bulk that isn't weak to Flare Blitz, so you'll need to soften up the opponent's defensive core before attempting to sweep.

[ADDITIONAL SET COMMENTS]

Rapid Spin support is absolutely critical for Charizard to have a chance at sweeping since recoil from Flare Blitz and Life Orb will deplete its HP very quickly. With only a +1 boost to its mediocre base 84 Attack, Charizard cannot OHKO most walls, so it appreciates teammates that can lure out and weaken the opponent's Water- and Rock-types as well as other physically defensive Pokemon such as Sandslash and Lickilicky. Tauros is a good partner, as it tends to draw out the opponent's physical walls and can weaken them with its coverage moves. Stacking multiple layers of Spikes is also an option, as that can help push Pokemon such as Politoed, Cradily, and Tauros into OHKO range.

[STRATEGY COMMENTS]
Other Options
================

Charizard can be an effective revenge killer with Choice Scarf, but you're usually better off using Typhlosion or Magmortar in that role. Charizard can use Sunny Day and Solar Beam to overpower some of the usual counters to its special attacking sets, but this is usually only worth the set up if you have at least one other Pokemon on your team that benefits from the sun.

Belly Drum is an extremely high-risk, high-reward option. If you can keep Stealth Rock off the field, remove faster Choice Scarf users and priority users, weaken physically defensive Water-types, and give Charizard a free turn, then it can win the game with a set of Substitute / Belly Drum / Fire Punch / Earthquake with a Salac Berry. That's a lot of conditions, though, which makes it impossible to pull off with any consistency.

Rock Slide and Hidden Power Rock allow Charizard to win mirror matchups but provide no other useful coverage. Hidden Power Electric stops Mantine from walling special sets, retains coverage against Slowking and Politoed, and also has some value in mirror matches against opposing Charizard, at the cost of leaving Charizard walled by Quagsire and Gastrodon. Will-O-Wisp neuters Skuntank that try to revenge kill Charizard with Sucker Punch, but you're better off simply shooting a Fire Blast at just about any other Pokemon that you'd want to burn.

Checks and Counters
================

Regirock and Slowking are the safest immediate answers to Charizard; they can switch in on both the standard special and physical sets and beat or force out Charizard, although Slowking needs significant investment in Defense to survive +2 Thunder Punch if Stealth Rock is up. However, they both hate switching in on the SubToxic set, and Regirock is vulnerable to Focus Blast from special sets while Slowking must beware of being Pursuit trapped by one of Charizard's teammates.

Politoed and Mantine are solid counters to special attacking sets but lose to physical sets with Thunder Punch. Specially defensive variants of Lickilicky and Cradily can stall out special attacking Charizard that lack Focus Blast, but both fall to +2 Flare Blitz. Gardevoir, Grumpig, and Hypno can also counter special attacking sets but lack the physical bulk to stand up to boosted Flare Blitz, and all three are very vulnerable to being trapped by Skuntank. Ninetales and Flareon can switch in special sets relatively safely but are crushed by Earthquake from physical sets. Probopass checks any set without Focus Blast or Earthquake and can set up Stealth Rock.

Quagsire, Gastrodon, and Whiscash are perhaps the best counters to physical sets, but special sets annihilate them with Hidden Power Grass. Poliwrath and Walrein can also check physical Charizard, but they lack reliable recovery and need to stay relatively healthy to be able to survive a boosted Thunder Punch. Solrock counters physical sets quite well, but it loses to special sets and is rarely seen outside of the lead slot.

Perhaps the easiest way to handle Charizard, especially for offensive teams, is to keep Stealth Rock up and force it out with faster Pokemon. Tauros, Manectric, Floatzel, and Electrode all naturally outspeed Charizard and can OHKO it with their STAB moves. Choice Scarf users such as Gardevoir, Magmortar, Medicham, and Magneton all threaten Charizard with Electric-type moves, although the former three require a bit of prior damage to secure the OHKO. Priority users such as Skuntank, Shiftry, and Sharpedo can also revenge kill weakened Charizard, although those that rely on Sucker Punch must beware of Charizard dodging it with Roost or Substitute.
 
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Honko

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#2
The man, the legend, the Zard.

- On Life Orb, I don't think Flamethrower should be slashed, and I don't think anything should be slashed with Roost. Fire Blast + Air Slash + coverage + Roost is the best set by far. 4 attacks is wasting a lot of potential and Sub with 3 attacks on a 4x SR weak mon holding LO is gonna be a dead move a lot of the time. The only time I would use Sub is together with Roost tbh (which is actually a good set and should be mentioned in AC). Maybe mention LO 4 attacks and Sub + 3 attacks with Lefties (or perhaps even Salac) in OO?
- SD (Swords Dance, not Sunny Day) is better than DD and should be the second set imo. DD is a decent sweeper but it has trouble getting KOs and it loses to the same things as special Zard, whereas SD owns Slowking and other common switch-ins making it one of the best wallbreakers in the tier.
- The other special sets are ok but in danger of being outclassed by Typhlosion, especially the Choice sets, extra-especially Scarf. I'd honestly put Specs/Scarf in OO. They aren't bad, I just wouldn't generally recommend them for most teams, but if you wanna write them up I guess I won't stop you. And I think we are in agreement that BellyZard is the worst set but still worth writing up because it's so iconic and it can still easily destroy you if you don't have SR up and you switch out to a wall expecting a different set.
- Take Sub off of Sunny Day, if you aren't using Air Slash or Roost on that set then you should be using Typhlosion.
- Mention teammates that love Slowking being gone on the SD set. Mainly Fighters, other Fires, and offensive Waters.
- Emphasize Air Slash on Scarf if you keep that set because that's its main advantage over Typhlosion. Lets it consistently beat scarfed Fighters, is a fairly safe cleaning move as it hits 90% of the offensive mons in the tier at least neutrally, and even has that flinch chance.
- Quagsire and physically defensive Mantine are BellyZard counters and should be mentioned in that set's comments. Also plz mention that Drifblim (or Skuntank if you get tricked into Fire Punching it) can "revenge kill" with Aftermath because it's hilarious.
- Replace OO SubPunch mention with Sub + 3 special attacks. Mixed SubPunch would rather just go fully special and use Focus Blast which hits everything harder, and fully physical SubPunch is just too weak.
- Grumpig is only a great counter to special sets, it just doesn't have the bulk to take on physical sets. Mention that it specifically works better on more offensive teams that don't have room for Slowking or momentum killers like Hypno.
- For the Camerupt mention, just say "Rock-type moves", because it can run HP Rock as well as the two you mentioned. (Camerupt is so unpredictable! Good thing we have Scarf Gligar keeping it in check)
- Solrock and Lunatone aren't very good but they aren't completely unheard of, and they both happen to handle Zard pretty well so they probably deserve a mention at the end of C&C. Solrock in particular is a solid counter to physical Zard (although it's even worse than Lunatone at everything else)
 

Cased

Banned deucer.
#4
Just mention about how important Skuntank can be for supporting any Zard. Slowking / Grumpig / Hypno / Solrock are all really annoyed by Skuntank. And Mantine / Flareon doesn't feel like taking an LO Crunch, so a Zard x Skunk offensive core is one of the best in DPP NU.

I guess add an Expert Belt option with the option of 4 attacks or 3 attacks roost with HP Grass or Focus Blast being the 3rd move. When you don't see Zard take Life Orb damage after an attack it's almost always considered Scarf if your opponent wants to calc damage. E-Belt Zard is one hell of a nasty lead if you don't have the right Charizard counter, and you choose to run Pokemon like Probopass / Regirock etc Pokemon destroyed by other Zard options just not Fire/Flying

Add Flareon as a solid counter. SpD Flareon destroys all special Zard sets so yeah.
 
#5
meh I'm not sure about ebelt zard as a lead. to me it's kinda obvious unlike typhlosion

lemme explain. when you lead charizard, you sure as hell wouldn't lead scarf, because that's fucking retarded. that leaves the only possible sets you can lead with specs and ebelt. imo specs charizard isn't really worth running over typhlosion unless you REALLY need to ground immune which is irrelevant as a lead. if I see a lead charizard I'll probably just assume it's belt because it's the set that makes the most sense. when you go against lead typhlosion, your first reaction will probably be specs because lead specs typhlosion is a fucking animal, which makes the ebelt bluff so much more effective.

still, I'd agree with either ebelt or lefties mentioned on the first set because the lo recoil blows dicks on a x4 sr weak mon unless your team is really good at avoiding sr which is hard to pull off in dpp imo.

bellyzard is garbage imo

and yeah what cased said is good
 

Bughouse

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#7
lol is this analysis still a thing?

if it is, a subtoxic mention in OO would be cool

Also I think your sunny day set is weird. What is Air Slash even for?? Personally I go Overheat there to really truly nuke something if needed. Fire Blast doesn't hit every KO you'd want.

Oglemi
 

ryan

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#8
I was about to say make SubToxic a set. Almost got tossed by it in NUPL even tho I had an answer because the answer got crit. It's actually pretty bulky, forces switches really easily, and ruins a lot of its conventional checks and counters.

I'd also mention Floatzel in Checks and Counters as an offensive Pokemon that can switch in and take a hit then force it out.
 

Honko

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#10
Yeah, add SubToxic and get rid of that SunnyBeamer poop.

Also Oglemi are you ever gonna have time to write this up? Cuz if not I don't mind doing it, it'd be nice to have an analysis up for the #1 mon in the tier.
 
#12
Abilities are completely missing in the OP. While DD and Swords Dance sets should be played with Blaze, for the Sunny Day set Solar Power is obviously the better choice.
 

Honko

he of many honks
is a member of the Site Staffis a Programmeris a Contributor to Smogon
#14
Hey, look, 4 years later this is finally written!

Oglemi Bughouse Let me know if I missed or lied about anything important. I changed the order of the sets a bit based on what I've seen lately, but I'm open to switching it up again if you disagree. (I do think DD is pretty clearly the worst of the 5.)
 

Bughouse

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#16
Honestly by this point I’d consider sub toxic the second set. And probably specs over SD too. Heck I see sunny day more than SD/DD. I’ve never cared too much about set order though.

The main thing that bugs me is not having Focus Blast on the LO set as even a slash when regirock is probably #1 in usage.

I’m on my phone so I may have missed it but if you didn’t specifically talk about leading with Zard, you should. It avoids the rocks weakness, and can force many leads into a bad position. Both the special attacker and sub toxic lead well. You can force a slowking our early to be toxiced or pivot to skuntank to trap. You can beat jynx with sub toxic if they lovely kiss on your sub expecting you to be LO (or to just attack). You annihilate all rocks leads pretty much if they try to set, except regirock if you lack or miss focus blast. The only common lead zard actually just loses to is floatzel and I guess sorta solrock?

Other than that I’m good with everything.
 

Honko

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is a member of the Site Staffis a Programmeris a Contributor to Smogon
#17
Thanks, I moved SubToxic up to 2nd, slashed Focus Blast on LO and added a sentence about leading to that set's AC. I already had mentions of leading on SubToxic and Specs, with more detail on it in SubToxic since I think that one's the best lead (Sub to block sleep and you can easily Toxic your opponent's counter right away). I don't like LO as a lead as much since you still get slept by Sash Jynx/Venomoth, and unlike Specs you'll never OHKO Regirock even with Focus Blast. Plus, relying on people being greedy enough to SR on turn 1 vs Charizard seems reckless now that SubToxic is a thing. But obviously it's still a decent choice to lead if for no other reason than to avoid SR.

Since you said you don't really care about order, I'm gonna leave SD above Specs. Partially because I think Typhlosion is mostly better at Specs whereas SD Charizard is pretty unique, but also because I think SD is legitimately the better set and just very underrated right now, especially with the shift toward bulkier teams. Like, if you can weaken Regirock, SD Zard destroys my stupid stall team that everyone stole for this year's NUPL. It sets up easily on Vileplume or Sableye and OHKOes everything except Regirock and Sandslash, the latter of which can't do anything back except Toxic since Sandslash never seems to have a Rock move anymore.
 
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