Powerful New Charizard Card Features the Pokemon's Gigantamax Form

The next Pokemon TCG: Sword and Shield expansion Darkness Ablaze is almost upon us (release date August 14) and when it arrives it’ll debut a powerful new Charizard card featuring the fan-favorite Pokemon’s fiery Gigantamax form.IGN is excited to offer your official first look at the English version of Charizard V, Charizard VMAX and a few other cards from the upcoming set such as Butterfree V, Houndoom V and Suicune. Take a look by clicking through the slideshow gallery below:

A Surefire Investment

It goes without saying that these Charizard cards will immediately become collector’s items. Regardless of whether a Charizard card is considered competitively viable in the game or not, you can always count on it earning some value on the secondary market.

Last year a shiny Charizard-GX sold for over $10,000 at auction. Charizard VMAX is notable for being the first-ever card featuring the mighty Gigantamax Charizard.

Playing With Fire

Sure, getting cash for your cards is cool, but can this Charizard VMAX melt your opponent’s face in a Pokemon match? Let’s discuss how to use it in the game.

Forget the days of Base Set Charizard doing a mere 100 damage. After you evolve Charizard V into Charizard VMAX, it hits for a staggering 300 damage with its G-Max Wildfire attack and stands tall with an above-average 330 HP. Those are some impressive stats, but just like Ash’s unruly Charizard in the anime, it’s incredible power will be a challenge to use effectively.

The current Pokemon TCG metagame features gargantuan Pokemon VMAX that typically knock each other out in two hits, and they give up three Prize cards when they go down. Remember, a game of Pokemon ends when six Prizes cards are taken, so the strategy for Charizard VMAX should be to land a one-hit knockout two on Pokemon VMAX to win the game.

Many opposing Pokemon VMAX have 320 HP — and the new Eternatus VMAX also debuting in Darkness Ablaze has 340 HP! — so even though Charizard hits like an erupting volcano, its 300 damage falls just short of scoring a one-hit knockout. That means we’re going to need a little help to hit those numbers.

Charizard VMAX Support Cards

Luckily, there are a few cards that can help out Charizard, like Galarian Zigzagoon (a Pokemon that does 10 damage when played) and Vitality Band (a Tool that adds 10 damage to attacks when equipped to a Pokemon). Alternatively, you could first soften up a Pokemon VMAX by attacking it with a single-Prize Pokemon like Volcanion or spreading damage onto it with Salamence VMAX, then Charizard VMAX can swoop in on those flaming wings and finish it off.

Now that we have an idea of how to make the G-Max Wildfire attack work, there’s the little matter of powering it up. Five energy is a pretty tall order, but there are a couple options available to help satisfy this expensive attack cost.

If you go second, Volcanion’s Flare Starter attack allows you to attach three Fire energy from the deck, which is a simple and effective way to get off to a strong start. There’s also the always-popular Supporter card Welder, which allows you to attach two Fire energy from hand. Once you get three Fire energy on Charizard, you can then lean on Triple Acceleration Energy to get you the rest of the way there.

So while Charizard VMAX is incredibly powerful, it will take some ingenuity to unlock its potential. Let us know how you would approach building a Charizard VMAX deck down in the comments.

Darkness Ablaze releases on August 14. Players can get their hands on some of the new cards early by purchasing a Build & Battle Box starting on August 1. With normal pre-release events being canceled for the time being, Build & Battle Boxes provide a selection of Pokemon, Trainers and Energy along with some Darkness Ablaze booster packs for you to build a deck to battle against a friend.

Joshua is Senior Editor and Producer of Features at IGN. If Pokemon, Green Lantern, or Game of Thrones are frequently used words in your vocabulary, you’ll want to follow him on Twitter @JoshuaYehl and IGN.


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