Pojo's Pokemon Card Reviews, news, tips, strategies and more!

Pick Up Our New 20th Anniversary Pokemon Book for your Collection!

Pokemon Home


Price Guide Set List

Message Board

Pokemon GO Tips

Pokemon News

Featured Articles

Trading Card Game
- Price Guide
- Price Guide
- Card of the Day
- Professional Grading
- Killer Deck Reports
- Deck Garage
- William Hung
- Jason Klaczynski
- Jeremy's Deck Garage
- Johnny Blaze's Banter
- TCG Strategies
- Rulings Help
- Apprentice & Patch
- Apprentice League
- Spoilers & Translations
- Official Rules
- Featured Event Reports
- Top of the World
- An X-Act Science
- Error Cards
- Printable Checklist
- Places to Play

Nintendo Tips
- Red/Blue
- Yellow
- Gold & Silver
- Crystal
- Ruby & Sapphire
- Fire Red & Leaf Green
- Emerald
- Pinball
- TCG cart
- Stadium
- PuPuzzle League
- Pinball: Ruby/Sapphire
- Pokemon Coliseum
- Pokemon Box
- Pokemon Channel

GameBoy Help
- ClownMasters Fixes
- Groudon's Den
- Pokemon of the Week

E-Card Reader FAQ's
- Expedition
- Aquapolis
- Skyridge
- Construction Action Function
- EON Ticket Manual

Deck Garage
- Pokemaster's Pit Stop
- Kyle's Garage
- Ghostly Gengar

- Episode Listing
- Character Bios
- Movies & Videos
- What's a Pokemon?
- Video List
- DVD List

Featured Articles

Pojo's Toy Box

Books & Videos


Advertise With Us
- Sponsors


About Us
Contact Us

Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


- XY: Evolutions

Date Reviewed:
Dec. 1, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.25
Expanded: 2.67
Limited: 3.25

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


Man, even I wanted a Charizard back in the day...actually, one of my earliest memories of the card is recalling this one card game that was a parody of the Pokemon TCG way back when. They actually had a card that was a parody of Charizard, the Money Dragon or something. All I remember was that it was an entire Charizard clone made from stacks of cash. Weird... 

Anyways, Charizard himself hasn't grown too much. Energy Burn just makes all Energy attached to him Fire instead of what they were originally, and Fire Spin still discards 3 Energy. The main changes are the damage output of Fire Spin (now dealing 200 instead of 100 damage) and the HP score (boosted to 150 from 120). The great thing about the Ability is that it's just always on and always working, which is better than its original Pokemon Power where you had to trigger it to get all the Energy turned to Fire and would shut down if Charizard caught so much as a cold, but that's pretty much the only real plus. 

The other plus side is the card is much cheaper these days! You can easily find him for as low as $5 in some places! Such is life. 


Standard: 2.5/5 (if you really wanna play around Charizard, play anything that boosts Energy acceleration) 

Expanded: 3/5 (it doesn't matter what it is, cause Charizard can turn it around fairly easily) 

Limited: 3/5 (and that's where his real strength is these days: being a strong 1-Prize Pokemon that can take out almost anything) 

Arora Notealus: Charizard's always going to be popular for sure, and chances are we'll see more iterations of his Base Set form getting powered up like this from time to time. But it's funny to think that the Pokemon Company kept the original designs around for so long to reprint them again...either that or they just did what we all do and took them off the internet. 

Next Time:...wait, didn't this guy come out a year or two ago?


Taste the hype as we cover Charizard (XY: Evolutions 11/108)!  So what does it mean being a Fire Type?  As per usual, we aren’t worried about Unlimited, so nothing is naturally Fire Resistant while most Grass and Metal Types are Fire Weak.  Anti-Fire Type effects exist but aren’t too great; as per usual the main anti-Fire effect is the other effect on Parallel City.  Explicitly Fire Type support has some great tricks but between what only exists in Expanded (Blacksmith) and what only works for Basic Pokémon (Volcanion-EX), Charizard is left with some decent options like Scorched Earth for extra draw (if there is no better Stadium suited to it) or Burning Energy (also uncertain in its usefulness).  Other Fire Types that might help include Volcanion (XY: Steam Siege 25/114; XY: Black Star Promos XY145), Entei (XY: Ancient Origins 14/98) and Entei (XY: Ancient Origins 15/98).  Good basic opening, back-up, or co-main attackers but they are so good they might outshine Charizard, making it unneeded in its own deck; after all they can make use of the damage increasing Ability on Volcanion-EX.  The [R] Energy (but not [R] Pokémon) specific tricks aren’t likely to be a lot of help either.  I mean if we’ve got Charizard in a deck, we probably don’t have room for Emboar (Black & White 20/114; BW: Black Star Promos BW21; BW: Next Destinies 100/99; BW: Legendary Treasures 27/113) as that would be two Stage 2 Pokémon in a deck. 

Stage 2 Pokémon take a lot of space and time relative to the other Stages.  Stage 1 Pokémon that Evolve from Restored Pokémon and BREAK Evolutions of Stage 1 and 2 Pokémon have it worse.  Unless we want to try and finally make Cradily (BW: Plasma Blast 4/101) work, you’re going to have to use Charmander.  You then have to choose between Evolving into Charmeleon and then Charizard or using Rare Candy to Evolve straight into Charizard.  If you go with the former, you can shave a turn off of Evolving by using Wally, but either you take three turns and three cards, three cards and two turns, or four cards and two turns.  Don’t forget, you need to get the correct pieces at the correct time; when you’re ripping through your deck with Professor Sycamore or have your draws off of Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) hampered because you need Rare Candy but have a Charizard stuck in hand.  Charizard has 150 HP, 10 shy of the maximum seen on Stage 2 Pokémon, and it gives Charizard a reasonable chance of surviving a hit.  Except of course against Water Types as Charizard is Water Weak; the HP is enough that it will still take a fairly serious attack for a OHKO, but the more prominent Water Type attackers either can manage it or are used for their effects (and still score a KO a turn sooner).  Charizard has Fighting Resistance, which is very much appreciated, an effective 170 HP against OHKO’s by Fighting Types is nice… when it matters.  The chunky Retreat Cost of [CCC] means you’ll need to run some support to help it out of the Active slot or allow it to tank. 

Charizard has the Ability “Energy Burn” which causes all Energy attached to Charizard to count as [R] instead of their usual Type.  It’s attack is “Fire Spin” which requires [RRRR]; Fire Spin does 200 damage and discards three Energy attached to Charizard itself.  I often go back and forth over whether this combo is a failed attempt at beefing up Charizard or a subtle bit of nerfing.  How so?  The entire point of the Ability is so that instead of the steep [RRRR] Energy cost for Fire Spin, it effectively has a cost of [CCCC].  Unless of course Abilities aren’t working.  As Charizard does not need any other Energy Types, the attack cost is what it is, the Ability is likely vital, allowing you to fuel Charizard with cards like Double Colorless Energy.  Fire Spin hits hard, but not hard enough to guarantee OHKOs against Wailord-EX, most Mega Evolutions, and typical Pokémon-EX beatsticks boosted with a Fighting Fury Belt.  With that triple Energy discard to use Fire Spin, yeah I want it to be a guaranteed OHKO.  Still ignoring protective effects and HP buffs, everything other than Mega Evolutions and Wailord-EX are in OHKO range, so it isn’t all bad.  With a clever enough combo, you might get what you pay for out of Charizard. 

Now it is time to look at our options for this Evolution line.  For Charmander we have BW: Boundaries Crossed 18/149 (re-released with new art as BW: Legendary Treasures 17/113), Generations RC3/RC32, and XY: Evolutions 9/108; for Charmeleon we have BW: Boundaries Crossed 19/149 (re-released with new art as BW: Legendary Treasures 18/113), Generations RC4/RC32, and XY: Evolutions 10/108; finally the other Charizard are BW: Boundaries Crossed 20/149 (re-released with new art as BW: Plasma Storm 136/135 and BW: Legendary Treasures 19/113), and Generations RC5/RC32.  All are Fire Type Pokémon with Water Weakness, no Resistance, no Ability, and no Ancient Trait, while all but Charmander (Generations RC3/RC32) have two attacks (it only has one).  All Charmander are Basic Pokémon, and all but XY: Evolutions 9/108 have 70 HP with Retreat Cost [CC] (it has 60 HP with  Retreat Cost [C]).   BW: Boundaries Crossed 18/149 can use “Draw In” for [R], allowing you to attach two [R] Energy from your discard pile to itself.  For [RC] it can also use “Flare” to do 20 damage.  It is the only Charmander to ever receive a CotD review (here), and it (and its reprints) are only Expanded legal.  Attaching Energy to a small Active is not as impressive as it appears at a glance.  Generations RC3/RC32 can use “Playful” for [RC] to flip a coin; “tails” does nothing while “heads” means the attack does 20 damage for each damage counter on itself.  Doing damage based on how injured a 70 HP Pokémon is and requiring a flip is as bad as it sounds.  XY: Evolutions 9/108 can use “Scratch” for [C] to do 10 damage or for [RC] use “Ember” to do 30 damage but it also has to discard an [R] Energy from itself.  These are vanilla, filler attacks. 

All Charmeleon are Stage 1 Pokémon, and all but XY: Evolutions 10/108 have 90 HP with Retreat Cost [CC] (it has 80 HP and Retreat Cost [C]).  BW: Boundaries Crossed 19/149 can use Flare to do 20 damage but this time only costs [R], while for [RCC] it can use 50 damage plus 10 damage for each damage counter on itself.  The attacks are decent, but as Charmeleon is probably getting OHKO’d if left Active, you can’t make good use of them.  Also it is only legal for Expanded play.  Generations RC4/RC32 can use “Call for Supporter” at a cost of [C] to add a Supporter to your hand from your deck.  For [RRC] it can use “Slash” to do 80 damage.  Again, we have some decent attacks; while this Charmeleon (like the the previous) is likely to be OHKO’d if it is left Active, if you’re desperate for a Supporter or just need 80 damage to finish something off, it can do the job.  XY: Evolutions 10/108 also has Slash, but for [CCC] it does 50, while for [RRC] it can use “Flamethrower” to do 90 damage, but you have to discard an [R] Energy from itself if.  Slash is vanilla filler unless you need to attack and are running all or mostly non-Fire Energy, while Flamethrower is a little underpowered but three-for-90 is still handy in a pinch.  None of these have been reviewed before, in fact no Charmeleon has ever received a CotD; somewhat understandable given that the-powers-that-be usually don’t give us much reason to look at Evolving Pokémon, but it is a shame as frankly I like the design of Charmeleon better than either Charmander or Charizard, though I’m not completely sure why. 

Speaking of Charizard, both of our other options are Stage 2 Pokémon with 160 HP and Retreat Cost [CCC].  For [RCC] BW: Boundaries Crossed 20/149 can use “Split Bomb” to hit two of your opponent’s Pokémon each for 40 damage (no Weakness/Resistance if a target is on the Bench); that means you’ll usually net 80-for-three which is decent.  For [RRCCC] it can use “Scorching Fire” to do 150 damage, but it also has to discard an [R] Energy from itself.  This is definitely an overpriced attack, it requires help to hit key HP amounts like 170 or 180 HP.  It was reviewed here and here; I didn’t weigh in on those occasions and I would have scored it more like Baby Mario… and I would have been wrong about it like Baby Mario was as well.  I really wanted a useful Charizard, and while its damage output was better back then, even with modern Energy acceleration the big attack is too expensive for what it does, and Split Bomb is not enough to carry a Stage 2 line.  It is legal only in the Expanded format.  Generations RC5/RC32 has the attack “Recall” for [C], which allows it to select an attack from one of its lower Stages and use it as the effect/damage of Recall.  That is a useful trick; Charmander (BW: Boundaries Crossed 18/149) and Charmander (Generations RC3/RC32) become a bit more useful if their attacks are slapped onto a Stage 2 large enough to maybe take a hit, while I already liked at least one attack on each Charmeleon, with some going from “okay” to “good” once a Stage 2 with 160 HP is using them for [C].  Generations RC5/RC32 also has “Combustion Blast” for [RRCC] to do 130 damage, and it cannot use Combustion Blast on the next turn.  Another overpriced or underpowered attack, but Recall actually might be enough to carry the entire line, or at least enough that using it every other turn in conjunction with Combustion Blast might work.  It was reviewed here. 

So, what do all of those mean to Charizard (XY: Evolutions 11/108)?  The only real competition is Charizard (Generations RC5/RC32), but it is possible to run the two together as well.  Interestingly both could eschew [R] Energy due to Energy Burn or Recall.  You can either use Generations RC5/RC32 to back up XY: Evolutions 11/108 or XY: Evolutions 11/108 to back up Generations RC5/RC32; in both cases I am thinking Double Colorless Energy is included to help with Fire Spin and Combustion Blast.  Blacksmith might be handy for Expanded play but remember that it will take Blacksmith and a Double Colorless Energy from hand will only fuel it all in a single turn, and Charizard will be down to just [R] attached.  While Stage 2 Energy acceleration options are no good, you might consider certain Stage 1 cards like Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) or Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/119; XY: Black Star Promos XY21) as Charizard’s “Energy Burn” would allow you to use other Energy Types.  Burning Energy might be tempting to help with the discard costs as well or instead, but without a means of attaching multiple in a turn, you still need another form of Energy acceleration to get attacking, and if you are too slow building Charizard won’t get to attack more than once (if at all), defeating the purpose of a Special Energy which reattaches when it is discarded for an attack.  Charizard is probably only worth a “fun” deck in Standard or Expanded play.  Just maybe in Expanded you could get something almost competitive up and running.  In Limited play it can be a nice finisher, with its lower Stages solid enough because they too are somewhat splashable. 

So you know this card has a history.  The entire Charizard line in XY: Evolutions are updates of the entire Charizard evolution line from the original Base Set.  Charizard, unlike some of the other cards this set, has been updated multiple times already.  So it began with the original, Charizard (Base Set 4/102).  Differences between it and Charizard (XY: Evolutions 11/108) are that the original has 120 HP and the effects work a bit different. 120 HP was the maximum for anything at the time this Charizard originally released, but that might be an unfair comparison given we didn’t have things like Pokémon-EX, Mega Evolutions, etc.  Still restricting the comparison to just “regular” Basic, Stage 1, and Stage 2 Pokémon, Base Set 4/102 was at their maximum possible HP while XY: Evolutions 11/108 is 10 above the largest Basic, 50 below the largest Stage 1, and 10 below the largest Stage 2.  Of course, if we leave out Wailord (BW: Dragons Exalted 26/124) the Charizard is tied with the largest of the other Stage 1.  So looks like 150 isn’t bad, but I really expected it to be 160 like the other contemporary Charizard. 

Energy Burn was originally a Pokémon Power, a mechanic similar to Abilities but which is functionally different when card effects interact.  Pokémon Powers can be shut down by Special Conditions, though that term would come about later; when Base Set 4/102 first released it was only Confusion, Paralysis, and Sleep that would turn off Energy Burn.  The original Energy Burn was also an activated effect, with attached Energy becoming [R] Type until the end of your turn.  Fire Spin still cost [RRRR] to use, but there were three major difference: 100 damage instead of 200, you discarding two Energy cards (instead of three Energy), and the Energy discard was required to use the attack (as opposed to be an effect).  100 damage actually scales reasonably well to modern cards, including Pokémon-EX.  Back then 100 damage was 20 less than the maximum printed HP score, or 5/6th (approximately 83%) of it.  While 200 is 50 less than the current max printed HP, it is still 5/6th of the current max printed HP.  Discarding two Energy cards sounds like less than three Energy, but it depends on the card pool; both requirements would mean a Charizard with just two Double Colorless Energy attached would have to discard both.  Boost Energy is a Special Energy card that would come out a few years later (and periodically pop back into the card pool); it had multiple drawbacks but could provide a “triple Colorless Energy” for Charizard.  Today’s Charizard could just discard Boost Energy to meet its costs, but the original would still require another Energy card.  Requiring the discard cost to use the attack mean you paid before doing things like checking for Confusion, and made certain attack copying effects confusing.  That is because some could ignore not only Energy costs to use, but any other requirements “In order to…” use the attack.  With this wording, said copying attacks could ignore the discard cost of Fire Spin. 

We aren’t done yet though as Charizard was also released as Base Set 2 4/130, Legendary Collection 3/110, and DP: Stormfront 103/100.  The Base Set 2 printing changed nothing game relevant.  Legendary Collection 3/110 specifies “Special Conditions” (which includes Burn and Poison) instead of just Confusion, Poison, and Sleep, though I believe by this time it was ruled to play cards with the old wording as if they read “Special Conditions” so that wasn’t too big of a deal.  Fire Spin was reworded so that the Energy discard wasn’t a cost; if you could discard the Energy the wording still requires it, but if you somehow copied the attack but could not meet the full Energy discard requirement, the attack would simply do nothing.  DP: Stormfront 103/100 changed “Energy Burn” into a Poké-Body.  Poké-Bodies are a subdivision of Pokémon Powers; an effect that applies to Pokémon Powers works on Poké-Bodies, but an effect that exclusively affects Poké-Bodies would not affect Pokémon Powers.  The other half of this division were Poké-Powers; again anything that worked on Pokémon Powers would work on Poké-Powers, but something that specified Poké-Powers wouldn’t work on Pokémon Powers.  Because Poké-Bodies plus Poké-Powers equals Pokémon Powers, affects that stated they worked on both Poké-Bodies and Poké-Powers would also work on Pokémon Powers.  As a Poké-Body, Energy Burn no longer worried about Special Conditions and worked all the time; so it works just like the Ability version, save not actually counting as an Ability.  The text on Fire Spin was also simplified to the attack just discarding two Energy.  This meant a single Double Colorless Energy could now pay for the discard cost, and also that if something copied the attack without having two Energy attached to discard, it would still do the 100 damage. 


Standard: 2/5 

Expanded: 2.25/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Summary: The latest iteration of the iconic Energy Burn/Fire Spin Charizard brings a nice, big hit but fueling its Fires is the real issue.  There are many options, but those that could cover the cost alone take up so much deck space that it precludes running them alongside Charizard.  Possibly in Expanded you could get something up and running, though it is a bit irksome that for the effort you then also need an additional boost (like Giovanni’s Scheme plus Muscle Band) to threaten nearly everything with a OHKO… instead of just threatening everything with a OHKO. 

I find it somewhat interesting that M Charizard-EX (XY: Flashfire 13/106, 107/106; XY: Evolutions 13/108, 101/108) and M Charizard-EX (XY: Flashfire 69/106, 108/106) have the opposite problem of doing more damage than they likely need, while today’s Charizard falls just a little short of “all but guaranteed OHKO” territory.  Don’t forget about Charizard (XY: Evolutions 11/108), but unless we see something like a reprint of Boost Energy, I am not expecting much out of it.

Copyright© 1998-2016 pojo.com
This site is not sponsored, endorsed, or otherwise affiliated with any of the companies or products featured on this site. This is not an Official Site.
Pokémon card reviews - Pokemon Set Reviews