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Talonflame seems quite popular, but why is it popular and is it really worth using it?

Probably because both it abilities are awesome
Flame Body burns all Physical Attackers, crippling them
Gale Wings gives Priority to all Flying Type Moves, which is really useful and only Talonflame has this ability
Here is some related source:
not an answer though...

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Thanks to gale wings, Talonflame is the second best tailwind user in VGC Series 5. Its speed also makes it good at using taunt. I think this is a good moveset.

Talonflame @ sharp beak
Ability: gale wings
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant nature
- tailwind
- flare blitz
- brave bird
- taunt


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Yes, he used to be super great. But then, gale wings was nerfed and he became less viable. He is still great but not as good as he was before.