Galarian Zapdos

Zapdos, The Strong Legs Pokémon. When its feathers rub together, they produce a crackling sound like the zapping of electricity. That’s why this Pokémon is called Zapdos. One kick from its powerful legs will pulverize a dump truck. Supposedly, this Pokémon runs through the mountains at over 180 mph.

Overview

Zapdos and the other legendary birds receiving a Galarian variant was one of the biggest bombs dropped in the Crown Tundra DLC. And Galarian Zapdos is quite the different bird, being the only member of the Legendary Bird trios that is focused on Physical instead of Special attacks. Galarian Zapdos has some vicious variety to its coverage, though sometimes it feels like it is missing the support Kantonian Zapdos has from previous generations..
Positives
Base 125 Attack is potent, especially with the very spammable Flying and Fighting STAB combo that ensures few safe switch-ins before coverage
Base 100 Speed is solid matching many popular threats.
Defiant is an amazing ability that prevents many Intimidate users from checking G-Zapdos as they would other physical attackers.

Negatives
Being weak to Fairy, Ice and Electric are very unfortunate traits, especially with the return of the Tapus and the arrival of Regieleki.
Favoring Brave Bird and Close Combat for STABs means that G-Zapdos is easier to knock out than its bulk would suggest

Movesets

In a Single Bound

-Close Combat
-Brave Bird
-U-Turn
-Stomping Tantrum
Item Attached: Choice Band/Choice Scarf
Ability: Defiant
EVs and Nature:
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature

Close Combat and Brave Bird are the mainstays of this set as Flying and Fighting STABs have amazing complementary coverage that is only resisted by a few threats and hits many targets for super effective damage. U-Turn enables Galarian Zapdos to counter predicted switch-ins, pivoting to the correct counter as well as severely denting most Psychic types. Stomping Tantrum hits just about everything that is not damaged hard by Brave Bird or Close Combat like Aegislash and Tapu Koko and provides a safer answer for threats like Toxapex.

Dynamax

Galarian Zapdos possesses the holy grail of STAB Max Airstream and STAB Max Knuckle, enabling it to easily snowball while Dynamaxing. Losing the Drawback from Brave Bird while Dynamaxing also enables Galarian Zapdos to use its bulk to the fullest and being able to break the Choice lock is great to picking up an unexpected KO.

EVs and Items

EVs are set to maximize Speed and Attack. Base 100 is a very crowded speed tier, so having a Jolly nature can mean the difference in KOing a Volcarona and being swept by one. Item is dependent on how you want to use Galarian Zapdos. Choice Band turns Galarian Zapdos into a vicious wallbreaker, while Choice Scarf makes Galarian Zapdos a terrifying revenge killer.

Other Options

Throat Chop -Hits Vanilla Rotom harder than anything else Galarian Zapdos has and proves an acceptable alternative over Brave Bird for Psychic types, especially the Galarian Slow-Twins who do not bothered by U-Turn.
Thunderous Kick -Secondary STAB that drops the opponents defenses. This can make Galarian Zapdos impossible to wall against more passive opponents

Partners

Clefable - Galarian Zapdos is prone to wearing itself down with Brave Bird, so having a Wish passer patch Galarian Zapdos up enables G-Zapdos to keep going longer.
Dragapult and Gengar take care of many of the physical walls that excel or pivot into Zapdos ( and enjoy Galarian Zapdos’s ability to take out Dark types and opposing sponges

Countering Zapdos

Regieleki makes by far the best check to Galarian Zapdos, able to outspeed even the Scarf sets and OHKO with STAB electric moves, but is cleanly OHKOd by Close Combat and Stomping Tantrum. Tapu Koko can take on any set that is not running Stomping Tantrum and cleanly OHKO with Thunderbolt, but must be sure to remain Healthy as Banded Close Combat and Brave Bird will cleanly 2HKO in turn. If Multiscale is not broken, Dragonite can easily tank any hit, boost up and/or KO with a Flying STAB. Ironically, normal Zapdos may be the best counter to Galarian Zapdos, resisting both of Galarian Zapdos’ STABs and can easily OHKO with a STAB Electric move. After that, it is dependent on what Item Galarian Zapdos is running. Choice Band Galarian Zapdos is prone to being revenge killed by faster threats like Zeraora, Barraskewda, Dragapult and Latios, the recoil and defense drops making KOs reachable. Choice Scarf Galarian Zapdos can be walled out by the standard physical walls provided it has not been boosted by Defiant. Hippowdon, Toxapex, Skarmory, defensive Celesteela, and Slowbro are all excellent examples of this..

Kantonian Corner

Zapdos, The Electric Pokémon. This Pokémon has complete control over electricity. There are tales of Zapdos nesting in the dark depths of pitch-black thunderclouds. Zapdos is a legendary bird Pokémon. It’s said that when Zapdos rubs its feathers together, lightning will fall immediately after.

Overview

Kantonian Zapdos still remains as one of the best Pokemon to use in Singles. It's excellent defensive typing, balanced stats, access to Roost and great movepool still allows it to stand out either as a potent special attacker or a bulky pivot able to switch into dangerous attacks and support its team. While Zapdos might have lost the extra coverage Hidden Power used to provide, it gained a new powerful STAB in Hurricane which means that it will still be able to hit most Ground types very strongly. It also gained access to Weather Ball which still makes up for the loss of Hidden Power but when it is used on Rain.

Unfortunately, its weakness to Stealth Rock forces it to use Heavy-Duty Boots which makes it unreliable to check physical attackers such as Kartana when they pose the threat of removing its item with Knock Off. The lack of passive recovery from Leftovers will usually force defensive variants to Roost more than often. In addition to this, Zapdos will never be able to overcome special walls such as Blissey even with its new STAB Hurricane. However, despite these shortcomings, Zapdos still remains as one of the best Pokemon in competitive metagames after all these years and it still holds up very well on the current games.

Positives
Base 125 Special Attacks allows Zapdos to hit very hard even without investment on its strongest offensive stat.
Static and Pressure are two great abilities allowing Zapdos to pose the threat of paralyzing an opponent upon contact while Pressure allows it to stall out low PP moves, such as Stone Edge, from slower opponents
Base 90 / 85 / 90 bulk combined with its great defensive typing and Roost makes Zapdos a durable Pokemon capable of pivoting into attacks and check certain threats.
Access to Thunderbolt and its new STAB Hurricane allows Zapdos to hit very hard along with the extra coverage it gains from Heat Wave. Hurricane is really amazing as it allows Zapdos to use a very powerful Max Airstream upon Dynamaxing.

Negatives
Due to its lack of boosting moves, Zapdos is unable to get past walls such as Blissey or even Tyranitar as they are able to take several hits from offensive variants and they can either cripple it or KO it, on Tyranitar's case.
Toxic is Zapdos's worst nightmare as it heavily hinders its ability to wall and check certain threats.
Due to how common it is on Singles, Pokemon like Kartana or Garchomp may carry dedicated moves to remove Zapdos from play.

Movesets

THUNDER BIRD STRIKE

- Thunder
- Hurricane
- Heat Wave / Weather Ball
- Roost / Volt Switch
Item Attached: Life Orb / Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Static
EVs and Nature:
4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature

This Zapdos is incredibly impressive once it is able to pick up

Dynamax

This Zapdos is absolutely meant to sweep under Dynamax. Zapdos not only gains an impressive amount of bulk thanks to its decent defensive stats and good typing, but once it punishes the opponent with Max Airstreams, Zapdos will easily sweep the opponent. This is easier to achieve on Ranked Singles due to it's short format (3v3) but on 6v6, Zapdos will need more support to pull out a sweep. Max Airstream is the most important move because it allows Zapdos to outspeed threats such as Dragapult at +1 and it's the most powerful Max Move it can use. Unfortunately, due to its Flying typing, it can't use the advantages of the Electric Terrain set-up by Max Lightning. However, Max Flare power ups Heat Wave outside Dynamax.

If used on a Rain Team, Weather Ball will change into Max Geyser which allows Zapdos to re-establish Rain to fire up STAB Thunders once it exists out of Dynamax. It also allows Zapdos to overcome Pokemon such as Tyranitar and Rhyperior, shifting the weather on its favor.

EVs & Items

Max Special Attack and Speed gives Zapdos as much power as possible. Static is the recommended ability on this set as it allows you to pivot Zapdos on a predicted contact move potentially crippling the opponent with paralysis. A Life Orb adds an additional boost to Zapdos as it allows it to OHKO Dragapult with Max Airstream at full health. Heavy-Duty Boots should be considered as an item in case you are playing on 6v6 due to the higher focus on hazards on this format, which will allow Zapdos to take no damage from Stealth Rock and pivot more frequently.

Partners

Zapdos appreciates partners that are able to deal with the Pokemon that walls it such as Tyranitar and Blissey. This makes Ushifu-Single Strike the best partner possible for Zapdos as it can easily pivot into these two Pokemon while weakening the opponent's party with Choice Band boosted Wicked Blows. Rillaboom appreciates the paralysis support Zapdos can provide with Static and it can use it to set up on the opponent and sweep while forcing Zapdos' checks, such as Swampert, to switch out. Swampert does an excellent job on pivoting Zapdos in with Flip Turn while checking Tyranitar pretty well.

Offensive Weather Ball Zapdos needs Pokemon such as Pelipper as partners since it sets up Rain and allows Zapdos to fully exploit a stronger STAB in Thunder, accurate Hurricanes and Weather Ball.

STORM-BREAKER

- Roost
- Discharge / Volt Switch
- Heat Wave
- Defog / Toxic
Item Attached: Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Static
EVs and Nature:
248 HP / 188 Def / 72 Spe
Bold Nature

Zapdos' great bulk combined with Roost and its defensive typing, allows it to act as a great check for Pokemon such as Kartana, Urshifu, Melmetal and its Galarian counter-part. Discharge the preferred STAB thanks to its higher paralysis chance, which can potentially cripple Zapdos's common checks like Heatran and Tyranitar. Volt Switch, on the other hand, allows Zapdos to regain momentum against opponents and switch-out from an unfavorable match-up. Heat Wave is the preferred coverage move as it allows Zapdos to check Scizor and Ferrothorn hitting them for x4 super-effective damage while destroying Kartana. For the last slot, Zapdos can use what benefits its team the most: Defog allows Zapdos to remove hazards from both sides of the field and this move combines greatly with Pressure since it depletes Stealth Rock's PP. Toxic is the preferred option if you want to put Pokemon like Swampert, Gastrodon and Hippowdown on a timer, preventing them from walling Zapdos in the long run.

Dynamax

Due to its defensive nature, you never want to use this Zapdos under Dynamax. This set is meant to support its teammates by pivoting into opponents it can check and remove hazards from the field.

EVs & Items

72 Speed EVs allows Zapdos to always outspeed Modest Heatran. 248 HP and 184 Defense gives Zapdos as much physical bulk as possible allowing it to check threats such as Melmetal repeatedly. Max HP is avoided as otherwise if Zapdos' item is removed, it will allow it to switch into Stealth Rock more than 4 times at full health. Heavy-Duty Boots is the recommended item as otherwise Zapdos will take more damage from hazards and it allows it to use Defog more reliably.

Partners

Zapdos appreciates partners that are able to deal with the Pokemon that walls it such as Tyranitar and Blissey. This makes Ushifu-Single Strike the best partner possible for Zapdos as it can easily pivot into these two Pokemon while weakening the opponent's party with Choice Band boosted Wicked Blows. Rillaboom appreciates the paralysis support Zapdos can provide with Static and it can use it to set up on the opponent and sweep while forcing Zapdos' checks, such as Swampert, to switch out. Swampert does an excellent job on pivoting Zapdos in with Flip Turn while checking Tyranitar pretty well.

Offensive Weather Ball Zapdos needs Pokemon such as Pelipper as partners since it sets up Rain and allows Zapdos to fully exploit a stronger STAB in Thunder, accurate Hurricanes and Weather Ball. As such, Pokemon like Kingdra and Ludicolo who can exploit Rain, become strong partners for Zapdos.

VGC & Double Battle Options

Zapdos has long been a mainstay in many doubles teams, from being a key component in DisQuake combos to providing excellent speed control. Electric Flying is an excellent typing both offensively and defensively, as Electric and Flying have wide neutral coverage with no overlaps in resists while in turn resisting many Grass, Fighting, Ground and Steel attackers which includes most priority moves. However, a weakness to common spread moves in Rock Slide and Blizzard hurt a lot. Additionally, Zapdos lacks any way of boosting its offenses, meaning it doesn’t always hit as hard as it would like to.

Splitting Bolt

-Hurricane
-Heat Wave
-Discharge/Thunder/Thunderbolt
-Detect
Item Attached: Life Orb
Ability: Static/Pressure
EVs and Nature:
4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spe
Timid Nature

Hurricane is the star of the set here, becoming a vicious Max Airstream that provides party wide Speed boosting and heavy damage in one move. Heat Wave is a good spread coverage move that hits many threats, especially Electric resistant Steel types like Ferrothorn and Excadrill. There are many Electric STAB options open to Zapdos, reliant on your team. Discharge pairs well with Pokémon that can ignore the damage (Ground types/Telepathy) or benefit from the Electric hit (Lightning Rod/Motor Drive). Zapdos on rain teams can abuse Thunder and is an option worth considering if you expect to face Kyogre and Pelipper. Thunderbolt is a reliable STAB that does not hit teammates which is worth considering with Hurricane as your alternate STAB. Detect provides the same utility as Protect, being able to guard against focus firing, stall out turns and scout for moves while also being immune to lockout from Imprison.

Other Options & Team Ideas

Tailwind -if you don’t want to Dynamax Zapdos, Tailwind provides similar speed control to Max Airstream at the cost of a moveslot.
Weather Ball -Always an option on Rain teams with additional Water coverage.
Rising Voltage -When Electric Terrain is up, becomes a stronger STAB option than Thunder.

Checks & Counters

Blissey is Zapdos' best counter as it takes very little from Thunderbolt or Hurricane while it can permanently cripple Zapdos with Toxic. Thanks to Natural Care, it doesn't even has to fear poison if Zapdos carries it as well.

Tyranitar will easily tank almost anything that Zapdos throws at it (except for Toxic) and thanks to its high Attack and STAB boost, it can OHKO Zapdos with Stone Edge. However, slower Tyranitar variants are at risk of having their Stone Edge PP being depleted if Zapdos is using Pressure instead of Static.

Ground types like Gastrodon, Hippowdon and Swampert are able to wall Zapdos reliably most of the time. While Hippowdon struggles to deal with Weather Ball Zapdos on rain and Swampert doesn't wants to take repeated Hurricanes, Gastrodon is the best Pokemon to use as Recover allows it to heal itself from Hurricane switch-ins. Despite these differences, all of these Pokemon have to be careful with Toxic as it will heavily cripple them.

Hydreigon and Lati@s deserve a mention as Zapdos can't hurt them outside a fully invested Hurricane and they can use Zapdos as set-up fodder or hit it extremely hard with Draco Meteor..


Locations in Games

Red/Blue/Yellow:
Power Plant

Gold/Silver/Crystal:
Trade from Red/Blue/Yellow

Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald:
Trade from FireRed/LeafGreen

FireRed/LeafGreen:
Power Plant

Colosseum/XD:
Snagged from Cipher Boss Greevil in Citadark Isle (XD)

Diamond/Pearl/Platinum:
Roaming Sinnoh (Platinum)
Trade from Platinum/HeartGold/SoulSilver (Diamond/Pearl)

HeartGold/SoulSilver:
Route 10

Black/White:
Transfer from Generation IV

Black 2/White 2:
Transfer from Generation IV

X/Y:
Sea Spirit's Den

Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Trade from X/Y

Sun/Moon:
Trade from Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon

Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon:
Ultra Space Wilds

Let's Go, Pikachu!/Let's Go, Eevee!:
Power Plant

Sword/Shield:
Wild Area (Galarian Form)
Dynamax Adventure (Kantonian Form)

Animé Appearences

Zapdos has made a few appearances in the anime. It is often seen with other birds and Ash has battled multiple of them..

# -English Episode Name- -Jap. Episode Name- Pics
17 The Island of Giant Pokémon Island of Enormous Pokémon!?! Pics
M2 The Power of One Revelation Lugia Pics
244 As Clear As Crystal Zapdos and the Crystal! Secret of the Lake! Pics
S20 The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon The Terrifying Mirage Pokémon Pics
M9 Pokémon Ranger & The Temple of the Sea Pokémon Ranger & The Prince of the Sea - Manaphy Pics
562 Doc Brock Pachirisu's Fever! Care-taking by Two People!? Pics
M12 Arceus & The Jewel of Life Arceus - Towards Conquering Space-Time Pics
641 Dealing With a Fierce Double Ditto Drama! Ditto - Transformation Battle! Which One Is It That's Real!? Pics
M13 Zoroark - Master of Illusions Phantom Champion Zoroark Pics
889 A Legendary Photo Op! Moltres in Focus! Snap the Legend!! Pics
913 An Electrifying Rage! Zapdos and Noivern! A Furious Strike of Lightning!! Pics
M20 Pokémon I Choose You! Pokémon I Choose You! Pics
1129 A Crackling Raid Battle! VS Zapdos! Legendary Raid Battle Pics