Continuing on our path down the roster of Project M, we come to Charizard, now without a trainer and with a couple of new tricks up his...wing. The team over at the Project M site have focused a lot more on Charizard's secondary Flying type in their reworking of his moveset. Charizard keeps the (admittedly coincidental) theme of strong aerial games in our looks at Project M thus far. Even though he is a large character, he is very mobile, with a quick run speed on the ground and a host of viable options in the air. Your focus with Charizard is going to be keeping your foes in the air, so let's have a look at how we get them there in the first place.
Launching your opponent is the name of the Charizard game. You have many an option as far as this goes, but your jab and your down tilt will be two of your best friends. On heavy characters and fast fallers like Fox, you'll be able to chain jabs and follow them with short hopped aerials with relative ease. As their damage increases, begin to try landing your down tilt to pop them up and give chase with neutral, forward and back airs to send them flying or up airs to keep the fight in the sky. On taller stages, once the opponent has enough damage, you may find them flying too high up to just chase via jump. When they get to this point, it's time to use your new Down Special: Fly.
|Jab or down tilt and follow with the reworked Down B.|
On the ground, Down B is now a super jump, instead of tagging out to another Pokemon. Charizard will leap much higher than a standard jump, allowing a quick chase and still affording you your mid air jumping ability. If the opponent is especially high, you can charge the move for maximum height, but keep in mind that it's fairly obvious you're doing this, so you might meet a spike on your way up if they escape the hitstun of your launcher. In the air, Down B is now your command glide; no more gliding by holding the jump button. Always remember that the glide attack can deal 25% damage if you hit all of it and, much like Lucario's Up Smash, the last hit of it can be an effective kill move. Once you initiate glide, people will be expecting glide attack; mix up hitting jump to just drop down to keep them on their toes. On the subject of new specials, Charizard's Side B has also changed - It is now Heat Wave, a powerful up close attack, great for making distance or landing that decisive blow. It can be used, to a point, as a midair smash attack so don't be afraid to use it after your launchers or after a Down B chase from the ground. The closer you are to the opponent, the farther they'll fly so feel free to keep close to the opponent. Rounding out the specials, Charizard's B Flamethrower is still an effective way to cause damage or annoy a recovering opponent. As an opponent, do not try to influence your direction into or "through" the flame: Even if you make it through, you'll sustain a lot of damage in doing so. Up B remains similar to its Brawl incarnation, but with the new physics and weights in place in the game, it can be a very effective kill; don't be afraid to launch and combo into an Up B when your opponent is at those "kill" percentages.
Charizard's tilts and throws are some of your best friends, be it launching or just racking up damage. Forward tilt has an incredible range and speed and Up tilt can be effective on opponents swooping in from above; the latter will pop them right back up, liable to be flown to and followed up on. Down throw will result in two things: An opponent on the floor, open to a Heat Wave or down smash, or a tech rolling opponent to be chased down. Guess right and you can keep a ton of pressure on your opponent; as the opponent, don't be afraid to occasionally do nothing and catch Charizard as he begins to dash where he thinks you're teching to.
|A hitbox to be wary of.|
Up air was touched on a bit above, but Neutral Air is going to be the star of your aerial game. Charizard becomes an enormous hit box during this move and it can be used in a bevy of ways. The flaming tail is the point that you'll want to hit people with to maximize damage and distance, but getting a kill can be as simple as jumping out and gimping a space animal by tapping them with your body mid Nair. By the time they escape the hitstun, you'll be flying back to ledgehog them, provided they can even get that far; Wolf and Falco likely won't. Back Air and Forward Air are big hitters, back being the easier of the two to land hits with. Down Air, while a decent spike, comes out almost too fast for its own good, so hopping off the ledge and trying to spike with it will take some decent timing. What it can be effectively used for, however, is punishing a whiffed smash or tilt, popping them up for that all important air combo.
|They'll roll or lay down - Guess right and keep the pressure on|
Aerial, aerial, aerial. Learn the ranges on those launchers and pop your foes up over and over, giving chase each time. Be aggressive; there's no reason to hang back and camp with this powerhouse. Dash in and throw out an Up Smash - If you catch one hit, you'll likely hit the second as well, which is just one more effective kill in Charizard's arsenal. Just remember that you're a big target; while Charizard may excel at comboing, he's also subject to relatively juggles.
Next week, we'll have a look at Lucas, whose powered up smash attacks change up how aggressively you'll want to approach the little guy.