We recently reported on a new Shiny Charizard VMAX that will be coming out in Japan’s upcoming Shiny Star V, which releases November 20th. At the end of the article, Water Pokemon Master joked that it was the 422nd Charizard card this year, and while his statement is hyperbole, it’s not hard to see that Charizard has gotten an especially large amount of love lately in the Pokemon Trading Card Game.
Pokemon is wise to the fact that Charizard has many, many fans—a Charizard’s inclusion in a product helps that product sell significantly faster than one without it. Otherwise lackluster sets like Champion’s Path sell extraordinarily well primarily because of the fire-breathing lizard inside them. Even when the card itself is largely unplayable, the collector market swoops in to grab whatever Charizard it can get its hand on—and the shinier the Charizard is, the faster its product sells.
The drive to find Charizard in Champion’s Path is so intense that Pokemon had to specifically remind its followers on Twitter that there are more Champion’s Path products in the pipeline—and thus, more chances for collectors to get their hands on a shiny Charizard V or a secret rare Charizard VMAX. Even now, it can be difficult to pick up an Elite Trainer Box from Champion’s Path without paying at least twice the $49.99 MSRP.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the released and soon-to-be released Charizard cards from Sun & Moon—Team Up onward to see how Charizard compares with the other fully-evolved starter Pokemon.
There have been 23 Charizard cards released since Team Up, including the upcoming Charizard cards from Sword & Shield—Vivid Voltage and its Build & Battle Kit. As of the release of Vivid Voltage, in addition to appearing on 7 promo cards, Charizard will have appeared in eight of the last eleven sets.
In addition to the 23 confirmed cards above, Charizard is also likely to see an English release for the cards it appears in below, with the shiny Charizard VMAX likely appearing in our 25th Anniversary mini set this February. These cards, including the illustrator promo Charizard, would bring the total number of Charizard cards released since Team Up to 26, with 9 of those having come out since the release of Sword & Shield base set.
The Rest of the Kanto Starters
A common complaint among the Pokemon community is that the Kanto starters receive especially favorable treatment by the Pokemon Company. Since the release of Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, the sets of the Sun & Moon series moved the spotlight back onto Kanto and its starters, making it not at all unreasonable for cards to appear in sets since the release of Team Up, a set that largely tied into the release of those games.
Whereas Charizard has 23 cards released since Team Up, Blastoise has appeared in just 8—with just one of those cards being a promo card.
Venusaur has faired slightly better, with a total of 9 cards, with two promo cards under its belt.
Starters from Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova
Unlike the starters from Kanto, the starters from Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova haven’t seen a video game to help prop up the number of times they appear in recent sets for the Pokemon Trading Card Game. Indeed, for all four of these generations of starters, only five cards exist for their fully-evolved forms—and not a single one of these cards were a GX, V, or VMAX chase card.
What’s more, the Grass-type starters from these regions haven’t seen any cards whatsoever since the release of Team Up, chase card or otherwise.
The Kalos Starters
Kalos is a bit fresher in the minds of fans than the Pokemon from generations two through five, but like Charizard, Pokemon shows a particular liking for one Pokemon in particular—Greninja, which has appeared on 8 cards since Team Up. As Greninja is an especially popular Pokemon, this makes a fair bit of sense—but it’s a bit surprising to see that the most recent Delphox card was printed in Sun & Moon—Forbidden Light and Chesnaught hasn’t appeared on a card since its appearance as a Pokemon BREAK in XY—BREAKthrough.
The Alola Starters
Despite having an entire block of cards in the current Standard format, the entire Alola starter trio together manages only 10 appearances on cards since the release of Team Up, with Incineroar and Decidueye appearing on 5 each. Primarina hasn’t been seen on a card since Sun & Moon—Lost Thunder.
The Galar Starters
The latest generation of Pokemon come from Galar, so it stands to reason that they should appear disproportionately often in recent sets compared with the other starter Pokemon, though all but the most popular starter Pokemon tend to appear primarily in the first few sets of their generation. Rillaboom, Cinderace, and Inteleon have all proved to be fairly popular Pokemon among fans, and we’re likely to see new VMAX cards for each of them relatively soon, featuring their new Gigantamax forms.
Rillaboom has the most cards of any of the Pokemon from Galar, with 9. This means that Rillaboom ties with Charizard for the number of cards released since Sun & Moon—Team Up, if you include the shiny Charizard VMAX and illustrator Charizard in the comparison.
Cinderace has one card fewer than Rillaboom released since its debut in Sword & Shield base set. Like Rillaboom, Cinderace has appeared as a promo card, Cinderace SWSH015. We also know that a Cinderace VMAX from Rebel Clash will appear with alternate artwork as a promo in Japan’s VMAX Special Set box, releasing on October 23rd. Including that alternate art promo, Cinderace would merely tie with Charizard for the number of cards released since the start of the Sword & Shield series.
With the least cards of any of the Galar starters, Inteleon ties with Charizard for the number of cards released from Sword & Shield through Vivid Voltage—7. This means that one of the Galar starter Pokemon is only just keeping up with Charizard in its own generation.
Not all of the starters are especially popular—and it’s probably also true that none of them is as popular as Charizard, but the sheer disproportionality of Charizard cards compared with the rest of the starters is certainly striking. Charizard may be helping to sell product at the moment, but it makes you wonder just how much longer this Charizard fever will continue before it breaks and Charizard fatigue sets in in its place.