Zacian - Moveset & Best Build for Ranked Battle | Pokemon Sword and Shield

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This is a strategy guide for using Zacian in competitive play for the games Pokemon Sword and Shield. Read on for tips on the best Nature, EV spreads, Movesets, and Held Items to use with Zacian, as well as its strengths and weak points.

Zacian - Related Articles
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Basic Information for Zacian

Types and Abilities

Pokemon Type 1 Type 2
Fairy Type Steel Type
Intrepid Sword Boosts the Pokémon’s Attack stat when the Pokémon enters a battle.

Type Defenses

Takes 4x damage
Takes 2x damage
Pokemon Fire Image Pokemon Ground Image
Takes 0.5x damage
Pokemon Normal Image Pokemon Grass Image Pokemon Ice Image Pokemon Flying Image Pokemon Psychic Image Pokemon Rock Image Pokemon Dark Image Pokemon Fairy Image
Takes 1/4x damage
Pokemon Bug Image
Takes 0x damage
Pokemon Poison Image Pokemon Dragon Image

What is Type Effectiveness?

Base Stats

HP Attack Defense Sp. Atk Sp. Def Speed
92 170 115 80 115 148

Best Nature for Zacian

Best Natures
(+Atk, -Sp.Atk)
(+Spd, -Sp.Atk)

Singles Movesets for Zacian

Physical Attacker Moveset & Best Build

Physical Attacker Zacian.png

Nature Jolly (+Spd, -Sp.Atk)
EV Spread Atk 252 / Def 4 / Spd 252
Final Stat Values HP 167 / Atk 182 / Def 136 / Sp.Def 135 / Spd 209
(Hero of Many Battles)
HP 168 / Atk 244 / Def 136 / Sp.Def 135 / Spd 209
(Crowned Sword)
Ability Intrepid Sword
Held Item Rusted Sword
Moveset Iron Head (Behemoth Blade)
Close Combat
Swords Dance
Play Rough

Zacian is one of the most powerful physical attackers in the game and is an oppresive force in competitive battle that pushed the metagame into its current state of hyper offense.

About Zacian's Moves

Iron Head is Zacian's main STAB move, and turns into Behemoth Blade when it transforms into its Crowned Sword form. The latter's base power doubles to 200 when used against Dynamax or Gigantamax Pokemon.

Close Combat is its main coverage move, and provides Zacian great neutral coverage - hitting Dark, Steel, and Ice-types for super effective damage. Keep in mind that this move lowers Zacian's Defense and Special Defense by 1 stage.

Swords Dance boosts Zacian's Attack by 2 stages, making it even more difficult to switch into. Its last move is Play Rough and is its secondary STAB move, and alows the Warrior Pokemon to take on and easily KO Dragon-types.

About Zacian's EV Spread

We're using a standard physical attacking set with full investment in Attack and Speed to ensure Zacian hits as hard and as fast as possible. The remaining 4 EVs are invested in Defense to boost its natural bulk.

About Zacian's Ability

Intrepid Sword is Zacian's only Ability, which boosts its Attack by 1 stage upon entering the battle.

About Zacian's Held Item

Zacian's best held item is the Rusted Sword since this is what transforms it into its Crowned Sword form. This item also turns Iron Head into Behemoth Blade.

Other Viable Moves

Wild Charge Electric-type coverage move that lets Zacian hit Flying-types and Bulky Water-types.
Crunch Dark-type coverage that lets Zacian threaten Psychic-types such as Necrozma and Mewtwo.
Substitute Can replace Close Combat so that Zacian can safely set up with Swords Dance, and also protects it from Will-O-Wisp.
Sacred Sword A good alternative to Close Combat that's weaker but doesn't lower Zacian's Defense and Special Defense, and also ignores the target's Defense and Evasion boosts.
Ice Fang An Ice-type coverage move that lets Zacian hit Ground-types such as Landorus.
Quick Attack Allows Zacian to hit Focus Sash and Sturdy users on the next turn before they can move.
Psychic Fangs A Psychic-type coverage move that destroys Reflect, Light Screen, and Aurora Veil.

Bulky Physical Attacker Moveset & Best Build

Nature Adamant (+Atk, -Sp.Atk)
EV Spread HP 252 / Atk 92 / Def 20 / Sp.Def 132 / Spd 12
Final Stat Values HP 199 / Atk 178 / Def 138 / Sp.Def 152 / Spd 160
(Hero of Many Battles)
HP 199 / Atk 222 / Def 138 / Sp.Def 152 / Spd 160
(Crowned Sword)
Ability Intrepid Sword
Held Item Rusted Sword
Moveset Iron Head
Play Rough
Psychic Fangs
Quick Attack

Zacian's great typing allows it to run a bulkier build while still having enough raw attack to threaten opposing teams. This bulky Zacian was used by Japanese competitive player Chihaya to reach first place in the current Ranked Battle Season.

This bulkier Zacian is great at surprising its usual checks and counters, and has the ability to survive powerful and staple moves in the current generation such as Choice Scarf Kyogre's Water Spout. As a result, it's a good choice for more balanced teams.

About Zacian's Moves

Iron Head is Zacian's main STAB move, and turns into Behemoth Blade when it transforms into its Crowned Sword form. The latter's base power doubles to 200 when used against Dynamax or Gigantamax Pokemon.

Play Rough is its secondary STAB move, hitting Dragon, Fighting, and Dark-types for super effective damage. Both these STAB moves still hit hard even without full Attack investment.

Psychic Fangs is both a coverage move and used for utility as it allows Zacian to break Light Screen, Reflect, and Aurora Veil.

Quick Attack is its last move and allows Zacian to hit faster and frailer attackers and is very useful against Focus Sash leads.

About Zacian's EV Spread

We're using a bulkier EV spread for this Zacian focusing more on survivability than straightforward attack. 252 HP, 20 Def, and 132 Sp.Def EVs make it as bulky as possible while 92 Atk and 12 Spd allow it to hit reasonably hard and as fast as possible.

About Zacian's Ability

Intrepid Sword is Zacian's only Ability, which boosts its Attack by 1 stage upon entering the battle.

About Zacian's Held Item

Zacian's best held item is the Rusted Sword since this is what transforms it into its Crowned Sword form. This item also turns Iron Head into Behemoth Blade.

How to Use Zacian Effectively

A Powerful Physical Attacker

Zacian is one of the most powerful physical attackers in the current metagame, with its Ability boosting its Attack by 1 stage simply by switching in.

A combination of great dual STAB, powerful moves, and excellent Attack and Speed make it an exceedingly powerful sweeper that's hard to check and even more difficult to counter - especially if it accumulates even more boosts!

An Anti-Dynamax Lead

With how common Dynamax and Gigantamax Pokemon are in the current metagame, Zacian stands out as one of the few that can directly take on these giant Pokemon with its signature move, Behemoth Blade. This move becomes a 200 Base Power Steel-type move when targeting Dynamax and Gigantamax Pokemon.

This move makes Zacian one of the best Dynamax counters in the game, and is often used as an Anti-Dynamax Lead to instantly turn the tide of battle as soon as the match starts.

How to Build a Team with Zacian

Zacian is easy to fit into many teams whether on a Defensive or Offensive Team, providing great utility and offensive presence thanks to its ability to directly take on Dynamax Pokemon.

Use it as an Anti-Dynamax Lead

Zacian is best used as a lead to take on opposing Dynamax Leads, cutting them down with Behemoth Blade before they can boost their teammates stats with Max Moves.

Example Anti-Dynamax Hyper Offense Team

Anti-Dynamax Lead Offensive Pivot Dynamax Attacker
Zacian ImageZacian Heat Rotom ImageHeat Rotom Latios ImageLatios

Zacian is this team's anti-Dynamax Lead, overpowering opposing Dynamax Leads with its Behemoth Blade. It's best used as a set up sweeper, taking advantage of the switches by setting up with Swords Dance.

Heat Rotom serves as this team's offensive pivot, detering opposing Steel-types that Zacian has trouble with.

Latios fills the role of a special attacker, providing great neutral coverage with its STAB and coverage moves. It's also this team's Dynamax Pokemon, setting up Psychic Terrain with Max Mindstorm to prevent priority moves that can threaten its teammates.

How to Build an Offensive Team

Counters for Zacian

Counter it with Ditto

One of the best ways to counter Zacian is by using a Ditto, with its Imposter Ability instantly transforming it into a direct copy of Zacian - right down to the stats and EV investment (minus the HP).

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Ditto ImageDitto Ranking: ★★★★★
・Instantly copies the opposing team's Zacian, alowing it to threaten the opposing team with the same strategy
Moveset & Best Build for Ditto

Outspeed it with Faster Pokemon

Few Pokemon are naturally faster than Zacian, but there are many Pokemon that can outrun the Warrior Pokemon with a Choice Scarf and KO it with their super effective moves.

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Landorus (Therian Forme) ImageLandorus (Therian Forme) Ranking: ★★★★★
・Outspeeds Zacian with Choice Scarf and easily KOs with Earthquake
・Defensive variants can lower Zacian's Attack with its Intimidate Ability

Moveset & Best Build for Landorus (Therian Forme)
Regieleki ImageRegieleki Ranking: ★★★★★
・Easily KOs Zacian with Life Orb boosted Max Lightning
・Naturally outspeeds Zacian

Moveset & Best Build for Regieleki
Kyogre ImageKyogre Ranking: ★★★★
・Outspeeds Zacian with Choice Scarf and easily KOs with Rain boosted Water Spout

[Moveset & Best Build for Kyogre](/games/pokemon-sword-shield/archives/316990

Check it with a Fire-type Pokemon

Zacian lacks a strong coverage move to hand Fire-types and is often forced to switch out when it faces one. These Fire-types, in turn, can easily KO Zacian with their super effective attacks.

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Cinderace ImageCinderace Ranking: ★★★★★
・Easily KOs Zacian with STAB Pyro Ball
・Resists Zacian's Behemoth Blade, allowing it to boost with its Max Moves

Moveset & Best Build for Cinderace
Ho-oh ImageHo-oh Ranking: ★★★★★
・Easily KOs Zacian with Sacred Fire, or leave it with a burn if it survives
・Boasts excellent bulk and passive healing with its Regenerator Ability

Ignore its Stat Boosts with Unaware

Pokemon with the Unaware Ability ignore Zacian's stat boosts, including the Intrepid Sword boost it gets at the start of the battle. This makes Zacian less of a threat and vulnerable to getting worn down or crippled by status effects.

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Quagsire ImageQuagsire Ranking: ★★★★★
・Ignores Zacian's Attack boosts with its Unaware Ability
・Resists Zacian's Steel-type STAB and boasts great bulk and Recover
・Can cripple Zacian with burns using Scald

Moveset & Best Build for Quagsire

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