Charizard Fever is Real—A Quick Look at Pokemon’s Obsession with Its Fire-Breathing Lizard

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 & ShieldVivid 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.

Final Thoughts

Not all of the starters are especially popularand 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.

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  1. OVERGRO Pokemon is lyfe.


    I love this, and wish we had more little trivia posts like this. Thanks for fun breakdown, @JustInBasil!

    PS: I demand justice for the neglected Gen 2-5 Grass Type Starters!!
    Coolpilot, Orias, Serperior and 6 others like this.
  2. JustInBasil Aspiring Trainer

    News Staff Member

    I agree! I want Meganium V! And while we're at it, gimme a Bellossom V, too!
  3. TheRealBro..


    Nice article.

    The balance seems pretty unfair.. Untill you realise that Venusaur, Charizard, Blastoise and Greninja (yes, in that order) are also the best starters. Obviously too much Charizard cards, but hey, they sell.

    I was a bit surprised by just one appearance of Blaziken however, also a very solid design and populair Pokemon I thought.
    JayMankey likes this.
  4. DragonShard Aspiring Trainer


    Missing the shiny cards for Greninja and Decidueye (Hidden Fates and Shiny Star V) but otherwise pretty solid article!
    Orias and JustInBasil like this.
  5. JustInBasil Aspiring Trainer

    News Staff Member

    Updated to fix it! This is what I get for using Standard format to filter instead of filtering by set.
  6. AshCo Ouchies!


    As a fan of the Pokémon it’s honestly exhausting and discouraging how many times they’re doing this. I’ve been collecting since BW and XY, and while really the most we got back then was Flashfire, it was still manageable. BW had three different Charizard prints, while XY had a good amount. Most of them were cheap though, as they were decently commonplace EX cards that you could either pull rather easy or just purchase in products. But now, since we’re not only having millions of Rainbows and all that that are harder to pull due to massive set sizes and oversaturation of ultras, the main set ones are hard enough to get, let alone the special set ones they keep on using as a crutch to sell sets.

    Thats the problem I have. Not with Charizard like many people instantly go to the blame for, but the way Pokémon keeps using it to sell things, and the way that they become nearly impossible to get unless you’ve got deep pockets. I get cards having value, that’s part of the TCG, but because of the way these are being released, artificial inflation is rampant. There’s no reason the regular VMAX should be close to $100 when it’s really not that rare in the first place.

    But the most egregious thing is that they’re so obviously using the Pokémon to sell things that otherwise wouldn’t, I.e. Champions Path. it’s a mix of that and just how over saturated our sets are nowadays-Did we ever need rainbows? Did we need a set every month in Japan? Did we need gargantuan sets that are larger than some main sets with reverses included? No! We didn’t. But they did it and it makes everything harder to collect than it ever was before. Sun and Moon is what made me quit being a completionist because it was just too much.

    And, in case there’s a misconception out there that every Charizard fan is just jumping for joy every time there’s a new Charizard out, at least I’m personally just more disappointed. I’ll never be able to find it, I wasn’t able to find the last million of them, and in the case of special sets, it makes them that much harder to find. I want this Pokémon to be manageable to collect, not an entire ordeal, and I want my special sets to be easy enough to find to enjoy them enough. It’s exhausting as a collector and it just kind of makes me miss the older days where set sizes were normal. There’s too much too quickly these days.
    Coolpilot and Skeleton Liar like this.
  7. Wyvu Aspiring Trainer


    Preach, for Charizard doth be the Fire/Flying Lord and Savior of the Galar region, and He is undefeated and unbeatable! And to speak of His holy prophet Leon, who is the Champion of the Galar region and is pants with directions, and is also undefeated and unbeatable! All must face His burning judgment and show their devotion to Him by sacrificing their life savings and first born child in the name of His elusive gleaming cardboard artifacts, for only then will they be granted His divine fiery blessing. Also, Leon is the Champion and is pants with directions. Amen.
    don()shinobi and The Fish like this.
  8. Kumaquat Collecting Birbs


    Everyday I feel more and more lucky that I feel neutral towards the big ol Zard and therefore have no interest in chasing any of the cards.

    Meganium V would be such a baller
    JustInBasil likes this.
  9. Wyvu Aspiring Trainer


    Totally agreed. I'm not a completionist, but as exhilarating as it is to pull an ultra rare chase Zard (pulling Charizard VMAX in my second and final DAA box was a highlight in this pretty dark year), it's just frustrating to see how much people overvalue it and how much TPC is willing to play into that for profit. And we still don't have a full-art Mega Charizard X! I think releasing the shiny Zard VMAX as a $5000 scalper rare would really start causing the fatigue to set in, and people would have a major sense of deja vu, so here's hoping we get a "Shiny Gigantamax Charizard Premium Collection" and people can breathe a sigh of relief.

    Hell, it'll still be extremely profitable, but you'll have more people buying product instead of just the "lootbox whales" who hunt down elusive cards by buying hundreds of sealed products. Look at how much the relatively easy to get full art Charizard V is going for.
  10. The Fish 0.o
    The Fish


    Hey at least they finally printed Oshawott. Can we get a Snivy too? Or a Chespin?
  11. Lanstar The Funny Fairy Bug


    The 'Charizard Craze' has dangerous implications about the game. Because collectors are willing to buy into it, it enters the curse of the mainline lines: "They will sell anyways, so why should the games ever improve at all?"

    In terms of the TCG, it means there's little motivation at all to improve the product. No more storyline based art like in Legendary Treasures/Breakthrough, little mechanical innovation, even more mindlessly designed filler cards, and a metagame that is forever overcenteralized.

    I hope some sort of recession happens in the TCG, and that the whales snap out of the charizard craze - so that the franchise sells more because the games are actually well made.
    Coolpilot, Shinxed3, OVERGRO and 2 others like this.
  12. FireLizard Dragon shipper


    Do you get mad if I say I'm happy about all these Charizard cards?(I'm FIRELIZARD after all)
    Yes,I'm not that happy about the lack of the starters,I hope they'll resolve this.
    All starters needs love.
  13. SaltyGrey2020 Aspiring Trainer


    I dunno what the expectation is for a TCG that was designed for kids in the first place. The main audience for Pokemon has always been children. I cant see what they are supposed to be doing in the first place. Barely anyone plays the actual game as it is, hence why they dont care about it and probably never will care about it.
  14. don()shinobi PokeBeach's Yu-Gi-Oh enthusiast. I guess.


    Pandemic making it harder to keep up the sales quota? Just put Charizard in everything.
    The Fish likes this.
  15. don()shinobi PokeBeach's Yu-Gi-Oh enthusiast. I guess.


    I said it before, I'll say it again.
    Imagine the only thing keeping your franchise afloat is catering to people who thought your series peaked 20 years ago.
  16. SaltyGrey2020 Aspiring Trainer


    Yeah its called selling nostalgia. Its exactly what all the super hero movies do. Pokemon has probably ran out of ideas years ago. Same for the entire video game industry. All they got left is praying on people's childhood memories.
  17. Winkachu Aspiring Trainer


    I want male and female Wobbuffet tag team full art card also in shiny xD.
    The Fish and steffenka like this.
  18. Water Pokémon Master I like Pokemon more than you. :D
    Water Pokémon Master

    Webmaster News Head Activities Head Elite Member Advanced Member Member

    Now we just need gold versions of Charizard V/VMAX and the sacrifice will be complete.
    steffenka, Aces, Luplayz and 3 others like this.
  19. AshCo Ouchies!


    Don’t do it, don’t give them ideas!
    Wyvu and Mudkip_Is_God like this.
  20. Chicken008 Aspiring Trainer


    They could at least make a colorless (flying) type Charizard again.