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The best fire type Pokemon for VGC Series 9

As May approaches, we draw closer to a new competitive series in Pokemon VGC. The Series 9 ruleset was announced to be basically a repeat of Season 7. This means players will have an edge preparing their teams in a familiar metagame. In this article I am going to show you the top fire types you can bring to help propel you to Masterball tier in Pokemon VGC Series 9.

Cinderace

The new Galar fire rabbit made quite a splash when it received its hidden ability, Libero. This causes Cinderace to change type to reflect the move it’s about to use. In addition to the defensive advantages of being able to change type on the fly, Cinderace is able to take advantage of the same-type attack bonus for every single move it can learn.

Cinderace can also take advantage of its Gigantamax form to fire off the incredibly powerful G-Max Fireball. This is one Series 9 Pokemon to keep an eye on. Here’s my suggested set:

  • Moves: Pyro Ball, Bounce, Sucker Punch, Iron Head
  • Item: Life Orb/White Herb
  • Ability: Libero
  • EVs: 252 Attack, 252 Speed, 4 Special Defense
  • Nature: Jolly

Maximum speed investment allows Cinderace to take advantage of its high speed. With this set, it can out-speed many fast threats like Thundurus and Kartana. It can even outpace the ridiculously quick Regieleki if it’s able to get a single speed boost. It’s not uncommon to run into Cinderaces that don’t carry Protect in order to take maximum advantage of the Libero boosted moveset. Of course, Protect can certainly be taken if you feel the need. 

Life Orb pushes Cinderace’s damage output to lethal levels, while White Herb can help mitigate the attack drop from the omnipresent Intimidate ability. Cinderace is generally going to want to be the Dynamax Pokemon in battle. This not only gives it extra punch to its attacks, but it allows it to gain speed boosts from Max Airstream. With this in mind, it may be best not to put too many other Dynamax-reliant Pokemon on a Cinderace team. However, this fiery rabbit is more than capable of being threatening even without Dynamax. 

Rotom-Heat

Rotom-Heat is one of the most surprisingly impressive Series 9 Pokemon for me. Whenever I run a it on my team, it’s not uncommon to see that it can hit the majority of the opponent’s team for super effective damage. Fire and Electric coverage is simply amazing, especially since the ability Levitate gives Rotom-Heat immunity to an otherwise crippling Ground weakness.

In addition to its generally good coverage, Rotom-Heat has an excellent matchup against common Sun teams. Generally, these teams want to take advantage of the Sun to power up Venusaur and Charizard. Rotom-Heat threatens both of these with super effective damage. Rotom can even run Safety Goggles to gain immunity to Venusaur’s debilitating Sleep Powder. If opponents play too passively around this little oven, it can set up a Nasty Plot and sweep through nearly any opposition.

Here’s my suggested set:

  • Moves: Overheat, Thunderbolt, Nasty Plot, Protect
  • Item: Sitrus Berry/Safety Goggles
  • Ability: Levitate
  • EVs: 252 Special Attack, 252 Speed, 4 Special Defense
  • Nature: Timid

This set is designed to take full advantage of Rotom-Heat’s offensive pressure. With maximum speed investment, Rotom-Heat can out-speed Venusaur. Partnering it with a Tailwind user can allow it to out-speed even a Chlorophyll boosted Venusaur.

Overheat is the only Fire move Rotom-Heat can learn. The Special Attack dropping side effect can be mitigated with the use of Nasty Plot, or by simply Dynamaxing to turn it into Max Flare. 

Sitrus Berry gives Rotom a boost to its effective HP. While Rotom has good defensive stats, its low HP can often hinder it. However, if you are running Rotom-Heat as a counter to Sun teams, Safety Goggles can be a very effective item, as previously mentioned. Safety Goggles also come with the nice side effect of ignoring Spore, Rage Powder, and passive weather damage. 

Torkoal

Speaking of Sun teams, let’s talk about one of their most common members. Torkoal and Ninetails are the only Series 9 Pokemon with access to Drought. While Ninetails certainly has its benefits, Torkoal is the undisputed go-to for setting up the Sun. Its combination of immense physical bulk, good utility, and terrifying Eruptions make this a Pokemon to respect and fear.

However, you don’t need to be running a Sun team to use this Pokemon. Torkoal can thrive in nearly any team where Drought won’t inhibit its teammates. Torkoal is also one of the slowest fully evolved Pokemon around, so if Trick Room is set up by either you or your opponent, this turtle will almost always be moving first. 

Here’s my suggested set for Torkoal:

  • Moves: Overheat, Body Press, Yawn, Protect
  • Item: Sitrus Berry
  • Ability: Drought
  • EVs: 252 HP, 252 Defense, 4 Special Defense
  • Nature: Relaxed

While this set may not be the most popular, it has quickly become one of my favorites. It sacrifices the immense power of Eruption for the more reliable Overheat. Body Press allows Torkoal to deal consistent damage using its high defense stat, which is also maxed out in this set. 

Yawn allows Torkoal to constantly threaten enemies with the Sleep status, while Protect gives Torkoal more room to get into a threatening position. Sitrus Berry gives Torkoal some extra longevity. The massive bulk in this set allows Torkoal to almost always survive a Max Quake from a max attack Landorus-Therian. 

Charizard

The fan favorite generation 1 starter has made quite a scene in Sword and Shield. Though it lost its mega evolutions, it gained a powerful Gigantamax form. The ability Solar Power also allows it to fit nicely into Sun teams, which are very popular on the ladder. When the Sun is out, very few things want to take a G-Max Wildfire boosted by Solar Power. Even if they survive the initial hit, the lingering passive damage puts their lives on a short timer.

Charizard can also boost its speed with powerful Max Airstreams. All this combines to make one of the most potent sweepers in Sword and Shield.

Here’s my suggested set:

  • Moves: Heat Wave, Air Slash, Scorching Sands, Protect
  • Item: Life Orb
  • Ability: Solar Power
  • EVs: 252 Special Attack, 252 Speed, 4 Special Defense
  • Nature: Timid

Heat Wave gives Charizard an excellent spread move to use when not Dynamaxed. Hurricane and Air Slash are the only special Flying moves available to Charizard, and Air Slash is preferred since Hurricane has decreased accuracy in the Sun. Scorching Sands allows Charizard to hit Rock types that would normally resist its Fire and Flying attacks.

Since Charizard is such a massive offensive threat, opponents will often want to target it down. This is where Protect can preserve Charizard while its partner Pokemon widdles down enemy threats.

Charizard has a good, but not great, speed stat of 100. This means it ties in speed with Regigigas and barely out-speeds Urshifu. Maxing out its speed is essential for keeping pace with these and many other Series 9 Pokemon. Charizard can hit hard, but its unimpressive bulk means you want to make sure it is hitting first as often as it can. 

Incineroar

Incineroar has been a constant presence in every Sword and Shield VGC series where it has been allowed, and it will almost definitely continue to be a popular Series 9 Pokemon. It has the perfect combination of typing, bulk, move pool, and ability, to make it a swiss army knife of a Pokemon. It has exceptional utility, and even without much attack investment it can deal decent damage through Flare Blitz. Incineroar can earn its keep on virtually any team.

Here’s my suggested set:

  • Moves: Flare Blitz, Fake Out, Parting Shot, Taunt
  • Item: Aguav Berry
  • Ability: Intimidate
  • EVs: 252 HP, 4 Attack, 32 Defense, 160 Special Defense, 60 Speed
  • Nature: Careful

Incineroar is currently being used with a wide range of sets on the ladder. While Fake Out and Flare Blitz are constant staples, players have a lot of other good options to fill out its remaining moves.

Parting Shot and Taunt have been my personal go-to Incineroar moves as of late. Parting Shot can seriously hamper your opponent’s offenses while simultaneously allowing Incineroar to switch into an ally. This helps to preserve Incineroar to get more value out of its Intimidate and Fake out.

Taunt is almost always useful. It can prevent opposing Pokemon from boosting their stats, inflicting status conditions, or setting up Trick Room.

Incineroar is a Pokemon that gets greater value the longer it is alive in a match. The suggested EV stat spread is designed to maximize its bulk. Since Incineroar has Intimidate, it doesn’t need as much physical defense. With 32 defense EVs, Incineroar can survive a Max Quake from most Landorus-Therians if it’s able to intimidate them. 252 HP and 160 Special defense allow Incineroar to comfortably survive Muddy Water from Tapu Fini.

The remaining EVs are dumped into speed so Incineroar can potentially out-speed other Incineroars. Being able to get a Fake Out off before an opposing Incineroar can often shift things in your favor. Incineroar is certainly popular enough that you can expect to run into it a lot on the ladder. 

That’s it for the top fire type Pokemon. Check out some of our other competitive Pokemon guides to help you climb the ranks, and be sure to stay tuned to SQUAD for more Pokemon content.

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Will Newhouse

Currently enjoying being the 2nd player on my wife's Animal Crossing island and falling down the Pokemon Battle Tower ranks.
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