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Envoy

So Let's Talk About Charizard...

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Behold, the cause of so much controversy:



I know I promised to make more lists (and I'll get around to them, I promise...some day) but I felt I needed to give my two cents on what is apparently a hot button topic (no pun intended.) Charizard and the competitive metagame.

So, why is there such a controversy about Charizard as a Pokemon lately?

1. Charizard=the high school jock:



Don't let the Charizard polls in The Contest Hall fool you, Charizard is one popular guy. Bmgf may very well be the largest online Pokemon community, but it still represents a small fraction of the overall fanbase. The fact is that people like Charizard. A lot. He was by far the most popular Starter in Generation I, and to this day he is still one of the most recognizable Pokemon of all time. Talk to a random stranger on the street and ask them about Charizard, chances are they'll at least have some vague idea what you're talking about. Now ask them about Infernape. More people will ask you what the hell is that than the ones that will ask the same about 'Zard.

In fact, it's popularity is the reason why there is such controversy over it. I don't see anyone asking themselves why everyone 'hates' Sunflora or why Sunflora doesn't do well in the current metagame.

Why is Charizard so popular?: A while ago, I started a thread asking people why they considered the Fire type to be so popular. A lot of the answers basically boiled down to the fact that fire represents offense and power. Furthermore, Charizard is based on a dragon, and we all know that instant awesome, just add dragons.

Let's face it, dragons are cool. Everybody loves a dragon. Actually, as an avid player of DnD, I find myself attracted more to the draconic lore of that game than to anything else. And I don't particularly have a thing for dragons. Dragons are just that cool.

Charizard's design resembles a quintessential European dragon. Just about the only thing separating him from the creature that inspired him is the flaming tail and perhaps the bipedalism (is bipedalism even a word? Bah, whatever. It is now.)

Of course, this is both a good thing and a bad thing. On the one hand, having an out and out dragon in Pokemon will draw people in because, as we've already discussed, Dragons are cool. On the other, Pokemon are supposed to look different and fresh from the animals that inspired them, making Charizard feel a bit bland as a result. Of course, this is something Game Freak had a tendency to do in the earlier generations as a whole (Pidgey? Tauros? Zubat?) so Charizard can't really bear all the blame.

tl;dr: The combination of the offensive and destructive Fire type and the fact that he's based on a ridiculously cool concept such as the European dragon is what makes Charizard so damn cool.

2. Alright Charizard, let's battle!:



With such a popular Pokemon available to choose from, one automatically expects Charizard to be awesome in battle (after all, it's a dragon, and dragons are awesome.) Charizard has a pretty sweet movepool. Access to Dragon moves like Dragon Pulse/Claw/Breath/Rage, Flying type attacks like Air Slash, Wing Attack and Fly, not to mention the standard Fire type kit (Fire Blast, Flamethrower, Fire Punch) and Earthquake, to name just a few moves. It also has great 109 Special Attack and 100 Speed. It's typing gives it a complete inmunity to Ground type moves, and it's other stats are overall pretty decent. Also, it's inmune to Spikes and Toxic Spikes.

On paper, Charizard works great, and in-game, his tools work wonders for him.

Now let's take a look at his pitfalls. First, it's the lack of bulk. 78/78/85 isn't actually all that bad, but it's certainly not good. In fact, it's the least bulky of all the Kanto Starters (bar Pikachu.) Secondly, the Flying type that affords him an inmunity to Ground moves also provides him with an added weakness to Electric moves and it worsens his weakness to Rock type moves (we'll get back to this later.)

Then there's his Ability. Blaze is outright forgettable, so I'm talking about Solar Power. A mixed bag if I've ever seen one. On the one hand, it provides 'Zard with an incredible power boost (as if he really needed it.) On the other, it cuts out his longevity every turn. A relatively frail Pokemon like Charizard shouldn't want it's HP being cut down every single turn. This one's usefulness is kind of a toss up.

In-game, I can imagine Solar Power getting a bit annoying because you'll have to constantly be healing your Charizard even if it doesn't actually take any damage from Pokemon attacks (that is, of course, assuming you bother to set up the sun in every battle. Otherwise, the ability doesn't activate and it's just a waste of space.)

3. We are the champions, my friend, and we will keep on fighting till the end:



So right at this point, you're probably thinking that Charizard sounds like a really great Pokemon. Why would there be a controversy about him being one of the 'worst' Pokemon ever? Well this is where things get bleak for Charizard. It's time to talk about the competitive metagame, or how Charizard got stabbed in the face by flying rocks.

First thing you need to understand about the competitive Pokemon metagame is that they care little for 'popularity.' Famous, recognizable Pokemon like Pikachu, Absol and even Charizard himself won't get a free pass from the competitive community. No, we don't care about how awesome a Pokemon looks, we care about how well it performs in battle. To this end, Legendary Pokemon that would otherwise be considered 'gamebreaking' are tested and evaluated just the same as any other Pokemon. That's why the competitive metagame is littered with the likes of Celebi, Heatran, Genesect, Terrakion and the like. They were found to not be overpowered from a technical standpoint.

Basically, a competitive player wants to win as many battles as possible. To do this, they will use the best Pokemon they can find to fit into their teams. Of course, this is a broad generalization of the overall sentiments. In practice, each individual is unique and might use Pokemon for reasons other than their competitive value.

We will, we will, ROCK YOU, ROCK YOU!!!: And here we get to the crux of the situation. Stealth Rocks. Stealth Rocks (and passive damage in general) is a widely popular strategy among comptitive players because the ability to remove up to 50% of a given Pokemon's HP without having to do anything is just too good to pass up. What sets Stealth Rock apart from the likes of Spikes and Toxic Spikes is that it calculates damage based on type matchup, which means that a Pokemon weak to Rock moves will take 'super effective' damage from Stealth Rock (25%) and a Pokemon with a 4x weakness to Rock type moves willl lose half its HP! And that's just for switching in. Imagine how easy it is to KO your opponent's Pokemon when they come in already at half health. Even Pokemon that resist Rock type moves still take a bit of damage from it, making things marginally easier for the player, at least. It's such a popular strategy that it's almost ubiquitous in the metagame.

So how does this affect Charizard? Well, as we learned earlier, Charizard's Flying type worsens its weakness to Rock type moves. That's right, Charizard is one of the few Pokemon unlucky enough to have a 4x weakness to a move that is almost always gonna be used in the game. How can 'Zard be expected to compete with, not just other Fire types, but other sweepers in general when it already starts off half a mile behind?

For all its power and speed, Charizard's lack of longevity due to Stealth Rocks and Solar Power make him a really difficult Pokemon to use. With that said, the aforementioned power and speed are not to be overlooked. Imagine, if you will, a Fire Blast fired by a Charizard with a Peteya Berry boost while under the effects of direct sunlight backed up by Solar Power and, say, Choice Specs. Few things are getting past that. You know what they say, there's no kill like overkill.

The problem here is the "Over" part of overkill. Other Pokemon may not be as strong as Charizard but they can get the job done just the same. Furthermore, other Fire Pokemon that don't have a weakness to Stealth Rock don't need nearly as much babying, which means you don't have to dedicate at least two team slots to Charizard (one for 'Zard and one for the spinner that has to come attached if you ever want to get rid of Stealth Rocks.) Take for example Infernape (or Darmanitan, or Chandelure, or Heatran, or Houndoom, or Victini.)

Infernape may not have the insane power Charizard has, but it still has solid 104 offenses, a way to boost each of them (Swords Dance and Nasty Plot,) a better speed than 'Zard and no SR weakness. This means that Infernape can come in many more times than Zard and brush off Stealth Rocks better than the Fire Dragon (that's not to say it can switch on SR with impunity, but hey, it's better than 'Zard's two-chances-and-I'm-done.)

So all in all, Charizard is regarded as a 'bad' Pokemon because of Stealth Rocks and because it's outclassed by other Fire types. That said, it still has raw power and speed to it's advantage, it just needs a lot more babying than others.

Compare, if you will, Sunflora, Wormadam and Luvdisc. Now these are all bad Pokemon and nobody would ever dare to seriously argue otherwise.

People need to understand the difference between 'bad' and 'outclassed.'

Bad Pokemon: Sunflora, Delibird, Wormadam, Luvdisc, Mawile, Plusle, Minun, Pachirisu.

Outclassed Pokemon: Snorlax (by Chansey/Blissey,) Feraligatr (by Gyarados,) Raikou (by Thundurus,) Entei (by Arcanine,) Pinsir (by Heracross.)

Notice the difference?

Now undestanding that Charizard severely underperforms in the metagame whilst still being one of the most popular Pokemon of all time, we can see where the dissonance that leads to the Charizard controversy started. If we had been talking about Illumise, you can bet people wouldn't have gotten so riled up about it.

4. Personal opinion time:



Charizard is not my favorite Pokemon. In fact, I kind of hate it. Why? Is it because of it's metagame performance? Hell no!!!! Meganium is arguably the worst Starter of all (worse than Charizard and Emboar) and she's one of my all time favorite Pokemon. I just enjoy the fact that Charizard is in the lowest tier of the metagame, but I don't dislike him because of it.

Honestly? I dislike Charizard because of its popularity, and because I like Bulbasaur and Squirtle. I'm an old-timer when it comes to Pokemon. I started with the first generation and way back then, everyone and their mother was talking about how amazing Charizard was while I was left in a corner with my little Bulbasaur. It embittered me towards the Pokemon. Nowadays, I can recognize its pros and its cons and frankly, my intense dislike has actually mellowed out some. Speaking from a purely objective point of view, I think Charizard is actually pretty cool. But I have bad memories of annoying Charizard fans that kept telling me he was the greatest thing since sliced bread by the simple virtue of being him that I just cannot stand to look at the thing.

Let me make one thing clear though: Whether Charizard is at the bottom of NU or at the top of Uber, I will always feel this way about him. I can recognize his assets, but I will not like him. His combat performance has nothing to do with my distaste for Charizard at all.

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Updated 12th September 2012 at 05:48 PM by Envoy

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  1. Black Dragon's Avatar
    Your a Grass type trainer and you like Charaizard?
  2. Envoy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Twilight Knight
    Your a Grass type trainer and you like Charaizard?
    Uh....

    Speaking from a purely objective point of view, I think Charizard is actually pretty cool. But I have bad memories of annoying Charizard fans that kept telling me he was the greatest thing since sliced bread by the simple virtue of being him that I just cannot stand to look at the thing.
    No, I don't like Charizard.
  3. Infinity Mk-II's Avatar
    My problem with Charizard, compressed:

    RAWR DRAGONS FIERCE POWERFULLL

    That's pretty much it.


    Thinking about it, it's ironic that him and Gyarados are the fierce-looking, "cool" dragons. I bet if Dragonite was fierce, it'd take most of their fans. (Not that I want that, though)


    I guess another reason is Charizard's popularity in the anime. It was really promoted there, so of course it's what most people would see of pokémon. Most people back then knew of pokémon from the anime, after all.


    But yeah, the thing is that popularly, fierce = strong, so that's why everyone kept saying Charizard was the strongest. Also not only he's a dragon, he's a dragon and the FIRE starter. He's easilly the fiercest-looking of all the easilly recognizable pokémon.
  4. H-con's Avatar
    Judging by this poll, then Charizard is the pokémon that have the highest approval. The only others who touch double digits are Lucario, Flygon and Umbreon.
  5. TheMissingno.'s Avatar
    Wow, you really put a lot of thought into this blog post. That's a shame considering I didn't really read any of it.

    Charizard is cool.
  6. Neosquid's Avatar
    I have to agree with this blog completely. Design wise, Charizard is fairly cool, but....I just can't like it! It's so overrated I can't stand it. >.<
  7. Orion's Avatar
    I also can't stand Charizard. I hate how everyone treats it like a god among Pokemon. Almost every time I ask someone that "knows" Pokemon, "Whats your favorite Pokemon?", I get something along the lines of "Hurr derr, Charizard." That's because it's all they know. I guess that's why I hate Pikachu and the Eeveelutions as well.
  8. Envoy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMissingno.
    Wow, you really put a lot of thought into this blog post. That's a shame considering I didn't really read any of it.

    Charizard is cool.
    It really is a shame because I tried to be as impartial as possible and actually said some pretty nice things about Charizard.
  9. Ghetsis-Dennis's Avatar
    All of this Charizard hate on these comment responses just proves my point that Charizard is indeed a bad Pokemon, and he may as well consider to be an underrated Pokemon, not an overrated Pokemon, which speaking of which is used by a lot of people in the internet as their reason why things must die and everyone must like what they like. I see a lot of Charizard hate every Pokemon-related section I go to in BMGF (mostly Video Game and Pokemon World). The main reason why I didn't acknowledged Sunflora is worse than Charizard is because of you being a fan of Grass types, and you're one of the main reasons why I made that blog in the first place.
  10. Envoy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ghetsis-Dennis
    All of this Charizard hate on these comment responses just proves my point that Charizard is indeed a bad Pokemon, and he may as well consider to be an underrated Pokemon, not an overrated Pokemon, which speaking of which is used by a lot of people in the internet as their reason why things must die and everyone must like what they like. I see a lot of Charizard hate every Pokemon-related section I go to in BMGF (mostly Video Game and Pokemon World). The main reason why I didn't acknowledged Sunflora is worse than Charizard is because of you being a fan of Grass types, and you're one of the main reasons why I made that blog in the first place.
    1) Grass type or not, Sunflora is crap. I'm sorry. I may like her as a Pokemon, but she's crap. And that still doesn't explain Luvdisc, Beautifly, Illumise, Wormadam, Delibird, Plusle+Minun, Pachirisu or Basculin.

    2) Five people not liking Charizard is not the same as Charizard being a bad Pokemon. It just means that some people dislike Pokemon.

    Did you read my blog? If you did, then you'd know that I explicitly mentioned the bmgf community being only a small portion of the overall Pokemon fanbase, and I believe @H-con posted a link to a thread where Charizard seems to be leading the poll (a poll that encompasses all 649 Pokemon, mind you) within the bmgf community.

    Not liked =/= bad. Over/Underrated =/= bad.

    bad=bad. Not liked=Not liked. Over/Underrated=Over/Underrated.

    And now can I ask you something, purely out of curiosity. I know you and I haven't always gotten along, which is why I must say that I'm not trying to be mean or anything when I ask you how am I the reason that you made your last Charizard blog?
  11. Ghetsis-Dennis's Avatar
    @Grass Type Trainer; I want to gain your respect, as well as the rest of the Smogon community by spreading the importance of the metagame compared to in-game purposes. I've studied what kind of pokemon are considered to be the best of the best for OU standards (Tanks, Lightning Bruisers, Walls, Water types, Fighting types, Dragon types, Ground types, Steel types, and Hazards) and who are the worst of the worst (Jack of all stats, Fragile Speedsters, Glass Cannons, Supporters, and Gimmicks). The metagame needs to be acknowledged by the officials, and because of people constantly discarding it, it gives me nothing but chronic stress throughout my life (I think all day to learn more about Smogon's ways). You told me that my dream team was no good, so I have to revise it in order to survive in the metagame (I had to include a Rock type, a Ground type, and Steel type to counter Sandstorm teams while being my team of favorites and not having more than one type to keep it balanced).
    Updated 12th September 2012 at 05:44 PM by Ghetsis-Dennis
  12. Envoy's Avatar
    So you wrote a blog about Charizard being a horrible Pokemon because you wanted to impress me?
  13. Ghetsis-Dennis's Avatar
    You and the Smogon-competitive BMGF users who know about the subject better than me and constantly reject my ideas on improving it, even if it means not being myself.
  14. Blaze-Boy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Grass Type Trainer
    1) Grass type or not, Sunflora is crap. I'm sorry. I may like her as a Pokemon, but she's crap. And that still doesn't explain Luvdisc, Beautifly, Illumise, Wormadam, Delibird, Plusle+Minun, Pachirisu or Basculin.

    2) Five people not liking Charizard is not the same as Charizard being a bad Pokemon. It just means that some people dislike Pokemon.

    Did you read my blog? If you did, then you'd know that I explicitly mentioned the bmgf community being only a small portion of the overall Pokemon fanbase, and I believe @H-con posted a link to a thread where Charizard seems to be leading the poll (a poll that encompasses all 649 Pokemon, mind you) within the bmgf community.

    Not liked =/= bad. Over/Underrated =/= bad.

    bad=bad. Not liked=Not liked. Over/Underrated=Over/Underrated.

    And now can I ask you something, purely out of curiosity. I know you and I haven't always gotten along, which is why I must say that I'm not trying to be mean or anything when I ask you how am I the reason that you made your last Charizard blog?
    Just asking. What do you mean by it doesn't explain Plusle+Minun and Pachirisu? Plusle and Minun works well when together. Also thought about Plusle or Minun + Klinklang.
  15. Envoy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by elec-boy
    Just asking. What do you mean by it doesn't explain Plusle+Minun and Pachirisu? Plusle and Minun works well when together. Also thought about Plusle or Minun + Klinklang.
    I'm talking Singles. Doubles is a completely different metagame that I have no knowledge of.
  16. Ranger Jack Walker's Avatar
    You had to link the Charizard vs Blaziken thread, didn't you? I used to have nightmares due to the many times I had to put down research-lacking arguements from Charizard fanboys.
  17. H-con's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ghetsis-Dennis
    You and the Smogon-competitive BMGF users who know about the subject better than me and constantly reject my ideas on improving it, even if it means not being myself.
    You ... have never considered it's a bad idea to begin with? You claim that they want you to reject their ideas when you want exactly the same!



    On an unrelated note, I don't see why people have the "dislike because it's popular" idea, but whatever, I don't really care. I just find it a very silly idea.
  18. Infinity Mk-II's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Grass Type Trainer
    I'm talking Singles. Doubles is a completely different metagame that I have no knowledge of.
    You should get into doubles. Support is much more viable there, making pokémon that are useless on singles pretty good. And abilities that LITERALLY are useless.
    And because there is nowere as an extensive tiering nor anything, battles really rely much more on unpredictability.

    Then again, it's not like anyone plays triples or rotation either, and I don't see them staying...
  19. Ghetsis-Dennis's Avatar
    [QUOTE=Infinity Mk-II;bt255592]You should get into doubles. Support is much more viable there, making pokémon that are useless on singles pretty good. And abilities that LITERALLY are useless.
    And because there is nowere as an extensive tiering nor anything, battles really rely much more on unpredictability.

    [s]Then again, it's not like anyone plays triples or rotation either, and I don't see them staying...[/s][/QUOTE]
    Single battles is the only thing that matters and the true way to determine a Pokemon's true potential. Double battles is more like playing SSB with items on, no one playing as Fox, and beyond Final Destination.
  20. Envoy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ghetsis-Dennis
    Single battles is the only thing that matters and the true way to determine a Pokemon's true potential. Double battles is more like playing SSB with items on, no one playing as Fox, and beyond Final Destination.
    Uh...no.
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