Trainer’s School: Charizard Character Guide

The famous Flame Pokémon is a master of the skies

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This is part of a series of written guides on Pokkén Tournament Deluxe for Nintendo Switch. I’ve always loved this game and I’ve wanted to give back to the community and generate more interest in it. I’ll be creating more guides like this in the future and I hope this gets new players invested in the fighting game that taught me about fighting games. These character guides are meant as surface-level breakdowns of each of the playable Pokémon in the cast. If you would like to try out Pokkén Tournament Deluxe, and learn more information about the game, be sure to check out the community Discord! Access to the character-specific Discords will help you find any information that isn’t listed in this guide, and you can also ask the players there for specific advice.

The thirteenth Trainer’s School character guide focuses on Charizard, the iconic Flame Pokémon. Young Trainers can certainly recall tearing open TCG booster packs in search of elusive holographic cards featuring the mighty Dragon Pokémon, or watching as Ash raised his own from a weak Charmander in the anime. Charizard even made a debut in Smash Bros. alongside fellow starter Pokémon Ivysaur and Squirtle, as part of the Pokémon Trainer’s stance system. This Charizard is likewise a powerful partner who makes use of his flames and tail to batter his opponents. Charizard also has special aerial systems that allow him to access unique movement that few other characters possess.

Charizard: Overview

Playstyle: A large bruiser with powerful mixup options, Charizard can enter and exit two different aerial stances as he sees fit.

Values: 600 Hit Points, 600 Shield Health, 150 CC Synergy Gauge

Poké Moves: Flamethrower (Duel 5A, Field n.A,) Fire Punch (Duel 6A, Field f.A,) Inferno (Duel 4A, Field b.A,) Flare Blitz Fall (Duel j.A, Field j.n.A,) Flare Blitz Direct (Duel j.8A, Field j.f.A,) Seismic Toss (Duel only, 8A.)

High Stance: Grants red armor against special-mids and grabs on frame 5.

Low Stance: Invincible against high-hitting moves on frame 1.

Unique Features: Glide and Flying Stance are separate stances from each other. Charizard can enter Glide by simply jumping into the air and holding R. Glide can be cancelled into Charizard’s normal aerials and vice-versa. Flying Stance is entered either by cancelling a grounded move with R, or continuing to hold the button after executing a grounded move. While in Flying Stance, Charizard is invincible to low-hitting moves, travels at a fixed speed, and gains access to three new Poké Moves: Air Slash (FS.Y,) Dragon Claw (FS.X,) and Flare Blitz Direct (FS.A) and Flare Blitz Boost (FS.8A.) Holding the button after Air Slash or Dragon Claw will keep Charizard in Flying Stance, but Flare Blitz will end Flying Stance on use. Flying Stance can be cancelled with R, and a cardinal input will change the direction Charizard lands in. 5Y/5YY and 2X can also be jump cancelled. Inferno debuffs the opponent’s Speed for 7.5s on hit. Charizard takes recoil damage from Flare Blitz, around 30–60HP depending on the version.

The following moves can be cancelled into Flying Stance:

  • In Field only: Homing Attack 1 (continue holding X after the first attack)
  • 5X/5[X] (with R, before the attack comes out)
  • 6[X] (the hold input naturally transitions into Flying Stance, also making the move safer on block)
  • Inferno (with R, before the attack comes out)
  • Fire Punch (with R, before the attack comes out, and with a held input 6[A] to naturally transition, which also makes Fire Punch safer on block and more advantageous on hit)

Remember as always to consult the frame data sheet for specific moves and their properties.

Charizard may feel slow and lumbering at first, but moving back and forth with his special moves and aerial stances is key to speeding up his gameplay and bolstering his damage options. He has the typical fire breath options you’d expect from the dragon-like Pokémon, with moves like Flamethrower and Inferno keeping opponents on notice at a mid-range. However, Charizard’s big damage comes from his big special moves, either confirming into them with combos into Flare Blitz or Seismic Toss, or punishing your opponent with Fire Punch. Exiting specials or heavy normals into Flying Stance also allows Charizard to make those moves safer and continue to play aggressively. Flying Stance and Glide can both be used to extend his combo pressure, and they also give Charizard more versions of Flare Blitz. Charizard’s unique air control also makes him nigh-invulnerable to most low-hitting moves, allowing him to avoid fast, low pokes and combo starters.

Field Phase

Charizard’s explosive projectiles do a lot of damage and heavily limit his opponent’s movement.

Should Charizard manage to get in on Field, the Phase will end very quickly in his favor. As always, the s.YY strings into f.Y are useful tools when sidestepping your opponent’s pressure, but your most useful Y projectiles are n.Y, j.Y, and b.Y, as well as their charged variants. You can use j.[Y] and n.[Y]’s large, exploding fireballs in succession in order to trip up CADC approaches or force your opponent to block. The b.[Y] flamethrower (lowercase F) is also a command armored counter-pierce and anti-air that is slightly plus on block, making it useful to punish jump-ins or characters with aerial j.X Homing Attacks. Your CA is also likewise a useful armored anti-air, and the projectile that comes out of Air Slash will only hit aerial opponents, meaning that Charizard has a good handful of options to control the air even when grounded.

While in Field, Charizard’s main options to enter Flying Stance are Inferno and Fire Punch. Fire Punch gives Charizard an armored entrance into Flying Stance, whether the move is cancelled before the hitbox or the input is held for the transition. However, the pseudo-backdash and the low-hitting invulnerability on Inferno makes it equally valuable, so remember that you don’t always have to rely on armor to make Flying Stance safe. Fire Punch can be used to play more aggressively, while Inferno can be used as a powerful whiff-punish tool. You can also just let Inferno rip to earn the stun and subsequent Speed debuff, which you can then confirm into your Phase Shifting move of choice. As always, remember your system movement for navigating in neutral, as well as using Glide to extend your airtime. Being able to cancel Homing Attack into Flying Stance is also useful on block or whiff, but otherwise you can just let the move rip on hit (unless you want to throw crush/Homing Cancel into something fancy.)

Duel Phase

Seismic Toss can do a lot of damage while keeping the opponent in Duel, allowing you to set up another situation where you can throw your opponent again.

Charizard’s options in Duel Phase open up drastically, as he gains access to jump cancellable normals, more Flying Stance transitions, and moves with odd hitboxes that make use of his neck and tail. He also trades the additional b.Y armored move for the 8A Seismic Toss, a devastating command grab that can be used in a variety of situations. You mainly want to use Seismic Toss as a combo ender, throwing your opponent after launching them with 2X or wallsplatting them with 6Y or 2X. However, Seismic Toss can also be used to avoid lows, grab opponents out of the air, and punish opponents who continue to hold block or try to CA through your normal pressure. Much like other command grabs of its type, the lack of PSP means you can deal enormous damage to your opponent, reset the situation, and keep your opponent in Duel Phase. Just be wary that you don’t get read and throw-crushed by someone mashing non-low normals.

As always, we will discuss Charizard’s combo theory later in the guide, but it’s still important to know that the Duel Phase Flying Stance cancellable moves (mainly 6[X]) utilize Flying Stance to extend your damage. 5X can also be cancelled into Flying Stance (before the hitbox comes out) and the charged version will be even on block. Be wary of the differences in the two versions of 5X- on hit, 5[X] will actually launch your opponent behind you, so you’ll have to get familiar with the screen-reversed version of whatever followup you may have planned. As previously mentioned, you can cancel several of your moves into jumps or aerial moves, which also expands your mixups and makes you safer. 5Y/5YY can be jump cancelled, and you can begin Glide low to the ground as a fake version of Flying Stance where you can access your safer aerial normals. J.Y and j.6Y/j.6YY are i15 and even on block, which makes up for how unsafe the 5YY string is. J.6Y will also eradicate projectiles on the impact frame.

Beyond that, Charizard’s big damage is fairly straightforward and many of the Field Phase techniques work pretty well here. Inferno and Flamethrower can be used as projectiles or as okizeme options, and you retain all the same options from Field when using Inferno. Use Fire Punch to punish opponents mashing on block, and j.[X] and Flare Blitz Fall to punish CA or get some breathing room after exiting the air. If you realize your opponent is crouching your high-hitting moves frequently- and they probably will, you can punish them for crouching and condition them to stop using lows entirely with your mid-highs like 8X, j.6YY, j.X, and Flare Blitz Fall.

Synergy Burst

Searing Blaze is a powerful aerial Burst Attack.

When activating Burst Mode, the Flame Pokémon transforms into the Fire/Dragon-type, Mega Charizard X. Charizard will likely gain Synergy Burst very quickly, with a 150cc Gauge, but his transformation lasts only for 11 seconds, which is a shorter duration than most other Bursts in the game. Having said that, Mega Charizard X is an exceptionally powerful transformation that you can use to increase your own pressure and make your aggressive playstyle safer. Charizard gains the following buffs while in Burst Mode:

  • Mega Charizard X can double jump.
  • Flare Blitz recoil is reduced by half.
  • Homing Attack 1, 6X, and Fire Punch become safer on block if cancelled into Flying Stance.
  • Flamethrower ends with a pillar that launches the opponent.
  • Fire Punch also becomes safer on block in general and is also more plus on hit, especially when cancelled into Flying Stance.

    Mega Charizard X gains additional, powerful air mobility for the duration of Burst Mode, being able to double jump without the use of Popplio and having more opportunities to enter Flying Stance. You can also use Fire Punch more freely, as long as you’re remembering to cancel it in order to make yourself safer. Of course, one of the most powerful options Mega Charizard X has access to is his Burst Attack, Searing Blaze. This super move is a flame pillar that travels across most of the screen, is invincible on frame 5, and will counter pierce. The move puts Charizard into the air on activation, but it can also be unleashed while already in midair. It’s -8 on block, but when your opponent is pushed away from you that won’t mean much. The main draw to Searing Blaze is that you can easily confirm into it off your Burst Flamethrower’s wallsplat or after successfully throwing your opponent with Seismic Toss.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Charizard is a powerful bruiser who can make any knockdown situation into a terrifying guessing game. If you try the throw crush and guess wrong, you’ll get hit with Fire Punch into Flying Stance damage; if you try to throw Fire Punch and guess wrong, you’ll eat a 6Y or meaty 2X into wallsplat, where you’ll get thrown; if you try to just armor or block and hope for the best, you’ll get hit with Seismic Toss anyway. However, while Charizard is very much at home in the air and can use this to avoid fast low-hitting moves, this also means that low-hitting moves and crouches also let opponents avoid Charizard. As explained before, conditioning your opponent with 8X or your other mid-highs to make them respect you is essential, but you’re still at risk of being anti-aired. Characters with powerful air-to-air or anti-air options, like Mewtwo, Chandelure, and Decidueye, can seal off entire aspects of your gameplan and force you to be more creative with your approaches and mixups. Small characters like the Pikachus, Weavile, and Croagunk can also be surprisingly hard to hit if you rely too much on your high-hitting moves, since they can just flatten themselves against the ground and punish you. You will be forced to play intelligently against these characters instead of solely focusing on your Flying Stance and Glide gameplan.

Support and Cheer Pairings

In order to force your opponents to keep even more to the ground, you can try Support Sets that will limit their movement options while allowing you to continue approaching and playing offensively. Frogadier is a good, basic example of this, since you can continue moving forward while the Water Pulse projectiles cover you. You can also use Supports like Rotom and Yveltal-Latios to completely limit your opponent’s movement during the duration of the Support. If you want to focus instead on making your own offensive pressure more intimidating, you can use Victini to gain the Always Critical Hit buff, keeping your opponent on the defensive. Standard and Special Cheer are useful for Charizard and both benefit him equally, giving him a healthy dose of both meters.

Target Combos

These are some easy combos that you can get started with right away- they are bread-and-butter combos, not necessarily the most difficult or the most optimal. If you want to learn more about what your character has to offer, I suggest exploring the longer combo guides found in the Pokkén character Discords, as they will often be the most up-to-date with the current version of the game. The sample combos in the tutorial mode are also very good at helping you figure out your character’s combo theory.

Charizard’s longer combos are fairly elaborate and make use of Flying Stance and Glide to extend the damage dealt after your opponent is launched into the air- sometimes both in the same combo. You can also jump cancel moves like 5Y/5YY and 2X in order to earn more air combo extensions. To keep it easy for beginners, I will post a few short BnBs, and one long combo that demonstrates the basic theory of Flying Stance and Glide extensions. Remember that 6[X] immediately puts you into Flying Stance. Here, the abbreviation jc stands for jump cancel.

5YY jc j.6YY

2X 8A or 2X W! 5YY 8A

6[X] FS.Y 9Y j.R4 j.Y j.8A

Here, I first demonstrate the 6[X] FS.Y 9Y j.R4 j.Y j.8A route, along with a wallsplat into Seismic Toss.

The j.R4 notation is tricky and not wholly necessary in the combo, but it guarantees a minimum number of hits from the Flare Blitz Direct ender in order to maximize the amount of damage the combo does. J.R4 means to immediately press back right after holding Glide for a form of microspacing that puts you at an adequate distance to continue the combo. These ‘micro-Glides’ can be found in other indepth combos as well.

Conclusion

Charizard is a powerful dragon-like Pokémon who makes his home in the air. With two different aerial stances, Charizard has a wide variety of options that he can access whenever he’s not on the ground. This can make his grounded approach safer and also extend his combo damage. While in Field Phase, Charizard uses explosive fireballs and long flamethrowers to pressure his opponent and approach them. In Duel Phase, Charizard’s mixup options expand greatly due to the plethora of ways that Seismic Toss can be used. Mega Charizard X is a powerful Burst Mode that further widens the Flame Pokémon’s aerial options and grants him the powerful Searing Blaze, which can end a combo after a Seismic Toss. While having powerful air control is great, this also means Charizard is prone to anti-airs, and must focus on limiting his opponent’s options and making them respect his grounded moves that don’t hit high.

That does it for the Charizard guide! We’re almost done with the Power-type characters in the roster as well. The fourteenth character guide, and the last Power-type Pokémon to cover, will focus on Garchomp, the Dragon/Ground-type Mach Pokémon!

Written by

Nathan “Lite the Iron Man” Dhami can be found on Twitter (@LiteTheIronMan,) on Twitch (twitch.tv/litetheironman,) and at your local.

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