Charmander is one of the most iconic Pokémon of the franchise, and the creators of Pokémon Sword and Shield know that you need to catch one. They tease you throughout the game, with the Galar region champion Leon boasting not just a Charizard but a Gigantamax Charizard.
If you went out searching the Wild Area for Charmander early in the game, you’ll know by now that No. 378 of the Galar Pokédex wasn’t there to be found.
Luckily, there is a way to get your hands on the classic fire-type Pokémon as well as its final evolution, Charizard, in its Gigantamax form.
First of all, though, you have to beat the main storyline.
Warning, spoilers ahead!
How to defeat Leon in the Championship Match
Your first step on the path to getting Charmander and Gigantamax Charizard in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield is to defeat the champion, Leon. He boasts a tricky team of Pokémon that includes the starter Pokémon that is strong against your starter Pokémon.
Here’s a breakdown of the five Pokémon in Leon’s team that stay the same regardless of what starter you select. Next to each one is a list of attack types that are super effective against that Pokémon:
- Aegislash, Lv. 62 (Steel-Ghost): Use dark, fire, and ground-type attacks. Aegislash is immune to normal, fighting, and poison-type attacks.
- Dragapult, Lv. 62 (Dragon-Ghost): Use ice, ghost, dragon, dark, and fairy-type attacks. Dragapult is immune to normal and fighting-type attacks.
- Haxorus, Lv. 63 (Dragon): Use ice, dragon, and fairy-type attacks.
- Seismitoad, Lv. 64 (Water-Ground): Use grass-type attacks.
- Charizard, Lv. 65 (Fire-Flying): Use water, electric, and especially rock-type attacks.
You should also know that Leon’s Charizard can and will Gigantamax as his last Pokémon, so it’s probably best to save your big Gigantamax play for when Charizard comes out. Gigantamax Charizard is incredibly powerful.
Just before Gigantamax Charizard comes out, Leon will send out the starter Pokémon that he took at the beginning of the game.
So, if you picked Grookey, Leon took the fire-type Scorbunny. If you took Scorbunny, Leon took the water-type Sobble. If you took Sobble, Leon took the grass-type Grookey.
Here’s how to defeat each of their third-tier evolutions:
- Cinderace, Lv. 64 (Fire): Use water, ground, and rock-type attacks.
- Inteleon, Lv. 64 (Water): Use electric and grass-type attacks.
- Rillaboom, Lv. 64 (Grass): Use fire, ice, poison, and bug-type attacks.
Once you’ve become the Champion of Galar, the end credits will roll, and you’ll enter the post-game storyline. At this time, you can get the Master Ball and two more legendary Pokémon, as well as Charmander and Gigantamax Charizard.
How to get Charmander in Pokémon Sword and Shield
Once you defeat Leon, you’ll wake up in your bed and then commence the post-game storyline. If you’re still at this stage, you’re in the right place.
However, if you’re out exploring Galar in search of Charmander or hoping to come across a Gigantamax Charizard in a Max Raid Battle, you’ll need to come back to Postwick.
Now that you’re in Postwick, you need to leave your house and head just down the road, to Hop’s House. This was where you got your starter Pokémon at the beginning of the game.
Once you’re inside the house, head straight up the stairs. At the top of the stairs, you can turn stage-left to go into Hop’s Room, or stage-right to find yourself in Leon’s Room.
In Leon’s Room, you’ll see a Poké Ball on the floor. Interact with it by pressing ‘A’. You’ll find a note indicating that the former champion has gifted you a Charmander.
After you’ve picked up the Poké Ball and most likely added Charmander to your team, you should go into your party and check the summary of the Charmander.
How to get Gigantamax Charizard in Pokémon Sword and Shield
On the screen, you’ll see details like its name and type, but you’ll also be very happy to find that your new Lv. 5 Charmander can also Gigantamax. This ability is indicated by the pink cross to the left of the Pokémon’s name and to the right of the symbol showing which Poké Ball was used to catch the Charmander.
So, not only did Leon give you a Charmander, but he also gave you one that has the power to Gigantamax. All that’s left now is to level-up and evolve your Charmander into Charizard so that you can use a Gigantamax Charizard in Max Raid Battles or Dynamax-enabled battles.
Evolving your Charmander into Charizard doesn’t require anything special even though it is a Gigantamax-ready Charmander. Here’s how its evolution works:
- Level-up Charmander to Lv. 16 for it to evolve into Charmeleon;
- Level-up Charmeleon to Lv. 36 for it to evolve in Charizard.
You can level-up Charmander in the traditional way through battling wild Pokémon and trainers, or you could use Rare Candy and Exp. Candy from your Other Items pocket in your bag.
You’ll want to save your Rare Candy for higher-level Pokémon as they guarantee that it moves up by one level. If using Exp. Candy, be careful not to give your Charmander or Charmeleon too many at once in case you miss the earliest evolution level and miss out on special attacks learned by only by Charizard at set levels.
You can see exactly how many Exp. points a Pokémon needs to level-up on the first page of its summary. The ‘Points needed to level up’ indicates how much Exp. is needed for it to reach the next level.
So, here is a breakdown of how many points each single Exp. Candy gives each time:
- Exp. Candy XS: 100 Exp. Points
- Exp. Candy S: 800 Exp. Points
- Exp. Candy M: 3,000 Exp. Points
- Exp. Candy L: 10,000 Exp. Points
- Exp. Candy XL: 30,000 Exp. Points
To evolve to Gigantamax Charizard, Charmander needs a total number of Exp. Points (noted on the Pokémon summary page) of around 40,000. So, edge your way to evolving Charmander into Charmeleon, and then calculate how much more is needed to get to Charizard.
Now, you not only have a Charmander and a Charmeleon in your Pokédex but you also boast a mighty Gigantamax Charizard in your team for trainer battles and Max Raid Battles.
The fire-flying Pokémon is legendary among Pokémon fans, and now in the form of Gigantamax Charizard, it is even more powerful.
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