Gigantamax Charizard Wins Pokemon Sword and Shield Tournament

Life has imitated art, as a Gigantamax Charizard won Pokemon Sword and Shield's first official tournament. Last weekend, the Pokemon Company held its first Pokemon Regional Tournament of the year in Dallas, Texas. Notably, the Dallas Regional was also the first US tournament to use Pokemon Sword and Shield in official gameplay, which meant it was our first chance at seeing how Pokemon's competitive scene would shape up now that players can Dynamax and Gigantamax their Pokemon. Over 500 players competed in the Masters Division, making it the largest regional ever. In the end, Aaron Traylor, a 2016 Nationals Finalist and one of the Top 16 in last year's World Championships, picked up the win in the Masters division, using a team anchored by a Gigantamax Charizard.

Traylor's team included Charizard, Duraludon, Whimsicott, Togekiss, Conkeldurr, and Jellicant. The Gigantamax Charizard did a ton of heavy lifting in the finals, using its Max Airstream to boost the speed on its team and using the G-Max Wildfire move to do persistent damage on all opponents. Traylor also used Togekiss as a potent decoy, using its Follow Me move to save Charizard from an otherwise deadly Max Rockfall attack in the final matchup.

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The interesting thing is that Pokemon's competitive scene could evolve to find even more uses for Charizard. Right now, players can only use Gigantamax Charizard if it has the Blaze ability. Should Pokemon allow a Charizard with Solar Power (Charizard's much more rare Hidden Ability), we could see a ton of new strategies emerge.

Are you surprised that Charizard took home the top prize at a major Pokemon tournament? Let us know in the comment section or find me on Twitter at @CHofferCBus to chat all things Pokemon!

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