Pokemon Go GBL Spotlight: Shadow Charizard


Today I’ll be taking an in-depth look at shadow Charizard, particularly how it fares in Pokemon Go‘s Great League Remix format. Shadow Charizard and its non-shadow counterpart are pretty standard in various Ultra League formats, but their frailty traditionally makes them something of a niche pick in Great League.

Shadow Charizard jumped out at me for two reasons: its blast burn is strong enough to dent just about anything in the format (even through resistances; it does about 45% v.s. Whiscash) and its typing gives it surprisingly good matchups against most of the meta. Here’s a list of common things it can beat when both Pokemon have 1 shield each:

  • Abomasnow
  • Beedrill
  • Castform (Rainy)
  • Clefable
  • Cofagrigus
  • Cresselia
  • Dewgong
  • Diggersby
  • Drifblim
  • Escavalier
  • Ferrothorn
  • Froslass
  • Greedent
  • Hypno
  • Mandibuzz
  • Meganium
  • Obstagoon
  • Registeel
  • Toxicroak
  • Victreebel
  • Wigglytuff

That’s an insanely large slice of the meta, especially for something that traditionally struggles to find a niche in Great League formats. Compared to open Great League, Shadow Charizard works well in Remix because so many of its weakness are rare or absent.

In Remix, rock is virtually nonexistent, especially in terms of quick moves like smackdown. Some of the top water picks go surprisingly even with Charizard. You can even beat Whiscash if you predict blizzards well. Electric types are a problem, but there aren’t a whole lot of electric Pokemon in the meta.

That said, shadow Charizard isn’t without its weaknesses. For one thing, it really can’t afford to take a hit. With 1 shield a piece, it beats 62.5% of the meta. At a shield disadvantage (0-1), that number goes down to 21.9% of the meta.

The flipside to that is that with a shield advantage (1-0), it beats a staggering 93.8% of the meta. If you somehow manage to get a two shield advantage (2-0), it only loses to Rainy Castform out of the entire metagame. Consequently, one key to playing shadow Charizard is that you absolutely want to conserve shields for when it comes into play, even if that means letting your earlier Pokemon faint.

The same principle applies to pooling energy. With 0 shields in play, shadow Charizard beats 65.6% of the meta if both Pokemon start without energy. With a single fire spin of energy pooled, that number jumps to 71.9%. Two fire spins bring shadow Charizard’s winrate to 78.1% and it keeps getting better from there.

Speaking of fire spin, let’s talk moves. I run fire spin/blast burn/dragon claw because I personally have seen relatively few dragons and fire spin really helps against steels. Wing attack is a fairly viable alternative if you’re more concerned with fighting types than with steels, but it is a legacy move and will require an elite TM.

Moves that I wouldn’t recommend are dragon breath (also legacy) and pretty much any charge move setup other than blast burn/dragon claw. Yes, blast burn is a legacy move, but Charizard’s other fire moves are just about strict downgrades. Dragon claw is Charizard’s best bait move and provides some coverage against dragons and water types.

If I’ve done anything to convince you that shadow Charizard might be worth playing, you’re probably wondering what teams work well with it. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that it’s very reliant on shields, so you might want to consider bulkier teammates that can shrug off an unshielded hit from enemy charged moves.

Personally, I’ve ran Melmetal lead and Drifblim/Charizard backline for the last straight week with a lot of success. Melmetal obliterates any rock Pokemon that might give your Charizard trouble and goes about even with a lot of water types. Drifblim constitutes a second fighting resistance and a safer Nidoqueen check.

Unovan Stunfisk, Alomomola and Obstagoon are probably some of the hardest checks to that team composition. You can sub in a shadow Machamp lead to handle Obstagoon and Stunfisk a bit better, but it’s a lot more shield-hungry than Melmetal. Golbat is also a decent alternative to Drifblim if you’re seeing a lot of dark types.

In conclusion, I think shadow Charizard is a really solid spice pick for Great League Remix. It massively appreciates shields and a bit of farm if you can manage it, but can be very rewarding to play if you can pull that off. There are very few things more threatening in Remix than a shadow Charizard with energy pooled facing an opponent with their shields down.

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Pokemon Go GBL Spotlight: Shadow Charizard


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