Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is bringing back its limited-time Charizard the Unrivaled tera raid this week on December 16. The event will last until December 18, and it’s the only way for players to catch the iconic dragon in these games as of this writing. So if you want to add Charizard to your team, you’ll have only a few short days to do so before it goes back into the vault. But there’s still time to get a team of four together and defeat it when the raid is live, so here’s a few tips on how best to counter and catch Charizard.
Charizard the Unrivaled is a seven-star raid, which means it’s at level 100 and tougher than most terastallized raid bosses you’ll find in Scarlet and Violet’s main game. So, it’s good to know what you’re getting into and prepare a level 100 Pokémon, as anything else is going to be underpowered.
Some general facts about the boss Charizard’s build to keep in mind are that it has a tera type of dragon, meaning that despite the character’s apparent fire/flying typing, it’s strong and weak to the same attacks a dragon-type Pokémon would be. However, it still has a handful of fire-type moves. So while an ice-type Pokémon may be able to deal extra damage to its dragon tera type, it will be susceptible to the Charizard’s fire attacks.
Generally speaking, it’s more important to ensure the Pokémon you and your friends are using can withstand a tera raid boss’ base typing than it is to counter its tera type, because no super-effective attack is going to matter if your ‘mons are being one-shotted by a Fire Blast. Dragon-type Pokémon are weak to dragon, ice, and fairy attacks, and since the first two are weak to dragon and fire respectively, fairy-type Pokémon and attacks are your best bet against this Charizard.
Typing is one thing, but keeping in mind your Pokémon’s defensive capabilities is also important. Charizard the Unrivaled is built as a special attacker, with its moveset consisting of no physical moves whatsoever. So if you’re sending out a Pokémon with subpar special defense, there’s a strong chance Charizard will take them out, even if its moves aren’t necessarily super effective.
The tera raid boss’ full moveset is as follows:
Dragon Pulse (Dragon)
Fire Blast (Fire)
Focus Blast (Fighting)
Tera Blast (Dragon)
Sunny Day (Fire)
Most of these attacks lean into Charizard’s fire-based bread and butter, but a dragon-type Tera Blast and a surprise fighting-type move in Focus Blast are worth watching out for and planning around. Fighting attacks are strong against many elements: dark, ice, normal, rock, and steel. So between fire, flying, dragon, and fighting moves, Charizard is kitted out with several options to counter a wide range of Pokémon. The biggest gap in its offensive coverage is fairy, and that’s a weakness to exploit.
As such, the general consensus among the Pokémon community is that Azumarill, a water/fairy-type ‘mon resistant to fire and dragon attacks, is the ideal choice to take down Charizard. Players had great success with it during this raid’s initial run, to the point where Scarlet and Violet ended up glitching out after players finished the raid in one attack. It remains to be seen if Game Freak will have sorted the glitch out by the time the raid resurfaces this week, but the strategy itself is still solid. While it is possible to one-shot Charizard the Unrivaled, it will still require some setup, planning, and good support from your teammates to make it work.
The Azumarill strategy centers around two moves: Belly Drum and Play Rough. Belly Drum halves its user’s HP and, in return, increases their physical attack stat by six stages. It’s one of the quickest ways to raise a Pokémon’s stats to max level in battle, and it pairs extremely well with Play Rough, a physical fairy-type move. Using Belly Drum and immediately following up with Play Rough is a surefire way to at least put a decent dent in this Charizard’s health, if not take it out immediately.
The primary weak point of this strategy is Azumarill’s health will be greatly depleted in the processing, making it vulnerable to Charizard’s attacks. If your aquatic rabbit faints, you’ll have to do the Belly Drum setup again when it’s revived. So, to avoid that scenario, it’s a good rule of thumb to have at least one person on your raid team playing a support role. You might use the “Heal Up!” cheer to replenish your team’s health, or have one of your teammates bring a Pokémon like Hatterene that knows a healing ability like Heal Pulse that can top Azumarill off after it uses Belly Drum. Preemptive use of the “Hang Tough!” cheer to raise your team’s defense is also helpful, as it will give Azumarill some survivability.
Having at least one designated support player can make a huge difference for raids; a teammate prioritizing healing and bolstering your stats can be the difference between catching a raid boss or being blown out of its den. A good pick for this role is Dachsbun, a fairy-type bread dog who can withstand Charizard’s Tera Blast, deal some damage with a Play Rough of its own, and use Helping Hand to boost teammate attacks.
All of this is assuming Charizard manages to survive the initial Play Rough attack, but players ran into a common bug in the original raid where a one-shotted Charizard the Unrivaled would suddenly regain HP after getting pounded by Azumarill. It’s still possible to complete the battle when this happens, but you’ll have to ensure you get a few more hits in, which is where those support and defensive plays come in. (With any luck, Game Freak will have addressed this—and other bugs players have experienced during raids—by the time the raid returns this week, but it’s best to be prepared for it.)
If you and your friends manage to defeat this Charizard, you’ll be able to catch the beast and add it to your party. However, if you’ve previously completed the raid and caught it, you’ll only gain the various rewards and loot, as each save file can catch this Charizard only once. Those other prizes are nothing to scoff at though, ranging from high-level Exp. Candies, tera shards to change a Pokémon’s tera type to Dragon, and an Ability Patch to unlock a Pokémon’s hidden ability. Also worth noting is that Charizard the Unrivaled is shiny locked, so if you’re trying to catch a different-colored Charizard, you won’t find one in its raid den. However, you can use the Charizard to breed and get Charmander eggs, which can themselves be shiny.
Charizard the Unrivaled’s tera raid runs from December 16 to 18, but Nintendo says the specific Charizard “may be featured in future events or become obtainable through other methods.” So if you don’t manage to defeat it this time around or missed the event entirely, it sounds like Charizard the Unrivaled may make its way back into the game in some fashion later on down the line, too.