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

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This is a strategy guide for using Zapdos 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 Zapdos, as well as its strengths and weak points.

Zapdos - Related Articles
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Basic Information for Zapdos

Types and Abilities

Pokemon Type 1 Type 2
Electric Type Flying Type
Abilities
Pressure The Pokemon raises the foe's PP usage.
Static (Hidden) Contact with the Pokemon may cause paralysis.

Type Defenses

Type
Takes 4x damage
-
Takes 2x damage
Pokemon Ice Image Pokemon Rock Image
Takes 0.5x damage
Pokemon Grass Image Pokemon Fighting Image Pokemon Flying Image Pokemon Bug Image Pokemon Steel Image
Takes 1/4x damage
-
Takes 0x damage
Pokemon Ground Image

What is Type Effectiveness?

Base Stats

HP Attack Defense Sp. Atk Sp. Def Speed
90 90 85 125 90 100

Best Nature for Zapdos

Best Natures
Timid
(+Spd, -Atk)
Bold
(+Def, -Atk)
Calm
(+Sp.Def, -Atk)

Singles Movesets for Zapdos

Dynamax Sweeper Moveset & Best Build

Dynamax Sweeper Zapdos.png

Nature Timid (+Spd, -Atk)
EV Spread Sp.Atk 252 / Sp.Def 4 / Spd 252
Final Stat Values HP 165 / Def. 105 / Sp.Atk 177 / Sp.Def 111 / Spd 167
Ability Static
Held Item Life Orb
Moveset Thunderbolt
Hurricane
Heat Wave
Roost

As Zapdos can get STAB on both Electric and Flying moves, and possesses Fire moves as well, it's difficult to wall it effectively, making Zapdos effective even when compared to other Dynamax sweepers.

About Zapdos's Moves

Thunderbolt and Hurricane serve as Zapdos' main STAB moves. The former has the bonus of causing paralysis, while the latter has the bonus of causing confusion, both of which can be annoying to enemy sweepers. Hurricane has the added benefit of giving Zapdos access to Max Airstream to increase its speed.

Heat Wave works as a good coverage move for Zapdos who might have trouble against Steel-types.

Finally, Roost helps with Zapdos' survivability in the match, while also giving Zapdos access to Max Guard when Dynamaxed.

About Zapdos's EV Spread

This build utilizes a standard specially offensive spread to maximize Zapdos' damage. The remaining EVs can be put into Special Defense.

About Zapdos's Ability

Static gives Zapdos a better chance of spreading paralysis against enemy sweepers. When hit by a contact move, there is a 30% chance to paralyze the opponent.

About Zapdos's Held Item

Life Orb works well as a way to boost Zapdos' damage output. Thanks to the recovery from Roost, Zapdos doesn't have to worry so much about the residual damage.

Other Viable Moves

Discharge Has a higher chance of inflicting paralysis.
Volt Switch Allows Zapdos to switch into more favorable match-ups.
Rising Voltage Has good synergy with with Electric Terrain.
Ancient Power A Rock-type coverage move that can be useful against opposing Zapdos and the occassional Heat Rotom.

Physically Defensive Moveset & Best Build

Physically Defensive Zapdos.png

Nature Bold (+Def, -Atk)
EV Spread HP 252 / Def 252 / Sp.Def 4
Final Stat Values HP 197 / Def 150 / Sp.Atk 145 / Sp.Def 111 / Spd 120
Ability Static
Held Item Leftovers
Moveset Volt Switch
Hurricane
Substitute
Roost

Zapdos' flagship defensive set makes a return in Sword & Shield. A combination of good dual typing granting only 2 weaknesses in Ice and Rock, excellent support moves, and great abilities make it an excellent check to Fighting-type Pokemon and physical sweepers in general.

About Zapdos's Moves

Hurricane serves as Zapdos' main STAB move. It has the bonus of causing confusion, which when partnered with paralysis from Static can be annoying to enemy sweepers. It also has the added benefit of giving Zapdos access to Max Airstream to increase it's speed.

Volt Switch allows Zapdos to switch into more favorable match-ups.

Substitute makes sure Zapdos can be safe from crippling status moves such as Toxic while Roost can be a reliable recovery move to help Zapdos last longer in battle.

About Zapdos's EV Spread

This build utilizes a standard physically defensive spread to maximize Zapdos' physical bulk. The remaining EVs can be put into Special Defense.

About Zapdos's Ability

Its powerful ability Static allows it to switch into moves like Rapid-Strike Urshifu's Surging Strikes and Landorus-Therian's U-Turn and inflict Paralysis on the user.

About Zapdos's Held Item

We're using Leftovers to provide Zapdos some much-needed passive recovery.

Other Viable Moves

Heat Wave For hitting the likes of Ferrothorn and Scizor.

Kee Berry Moveset & Best Build

Kee Berry Zapdos.png

Nature Bold (+Def, -Atk)
EV Spread HP 252 / Def 196 / Sp.Def 60
Final Stat Values HP 197 / Def 143 / Sp.Atk 145 / Sp.Def 110 / Spd 128
Ability Static
Held Item Kee Berry
Moveset Discharge
Hurricane
Roost
Eerie Impulse

This Zapdos aims to counter opposing lead Dynamax users, with Kee Berry providing the Legendary Bird a +1 Defense boost when it's hit by a physical attack. Partnered with Eerie Impulse to reduce the opponent's Special Attack, this build aims to be tanky for both sides of the spectrum.

About Zapdos's Moves

Eerie Impulse is its most important support move, lowering the opposing Pokemon's Special Attack stat by two stages. This combination allows Zapdos to counter Physical attackers with its natural bulk, as well as check and phaze special attackers with its stat-reducing move.

Hurricane serves as Zapdos' main STAB move. It has the bonus of causing confusion, which when partnered with paralysis from Static can be annoying to enemy sweepers. It also has the added benefit of giving Zapdos access to Max Airstream to increase it's speed.

Roost allows Zapdos to stay healthy throughout the match while Discharge is a great utility move that has a 30% chance to paralyze the target

About Zapdos's EV Spread

Since this build aims to handle damage from both physical and special attackers, we're going for a more balanced distribution here that still focuses on bulk.

About Zapdos's Ability

Static gives Zapdos a better chance of spreading paralysis against enemy sweepers. When hit by a contact move, there is a 30% chance to paralyze the opponent.

About Zapdos's Held Item

Kee Berry provides a +1 Defense boost when it's hit by a physical attack.

Other Viable Moves

Charge Doubles the power of Zapdos' next Electric-type attack, while also boosting its Special Defense by 1 stage.
Heat Wave For hitting the likes of Ferrothorn and Scizor.

Choice Attacker Moveset & Best Build

Choice Attacker Zapdos.png

Nature Timid (+Spd, -Atk)
EV Spread Sp.Atk 252 / Sp.Def 4 / Spd 252
Final Stat Values HP 165 / Def 105 / Sp.Atk 177 / Sp.Def 111 / Spd 167
Ability Static
Held Item Choice Scarf
Choice Specs
Moveset Thunderbolt
Hurricane
Heat Wave
Volt Switch

Although better known as a paralysis-spreading defensive Pokemon, Zapdos' excellent base 125 Special Attack and great base 100 Speed make it an effective special attacker.

About Zapdos's Moves

Thunderbolt, Hurricane, and Heat Wave are all the moves it needs to hit majority of the metagame for super effective damage, while Volt Switch allows it to quickly pivot into a teammate if it encounters a check or counter.

About Zapdos's EV Spread

This build utilizes a standard specially offensive spread to maximize Zapdos' damage. The remaining EVs can be put into Special Defense.

About Zapdos's Ability

Static gives Zapdos a better chance of spreading paralysis against enemy sweepers. When hit by a contact move, there is a 30% chance to paralyze the opponent.

About Zapdos's Held Item

Zapdos has two options for held items: Choice Scarf and Choice Specs, which doubles its Speed and Special Attack stat respectively.

Choice Scarf allows the Legendary Bird to outrun faster threats, such as Cinderace or Dracovish, and hit them hard with its STAB moves.

Choice Specs, on the other hand, boosts Zapdos' already formidable Special Attack stat, allowing it to win out against Defensive Water-type Pokemon and make it more difficult to switch into.

Other Viable Moves

Ancient Power Allows Zapdos to hit Fire-types like Heat Rotom and also has a 10% chance to increase all of its stats by 1 stage.

How to Use Zapdos Effectively

Has Great Neutral Coverage

The combination of it's STAB Flying and Electric-type moves, together with a Fire-type move in the form of Heat Wave allows Zapdos to have a good move against most of the Pokemon in the metagame. Considering Zapdos' offensive stats, attacks from a Zapdos shouldn't be brushed off so simply.

A Great Check to Physical Sweepers

Zapdos is best used as a defensive Pokemon that can easily wall physical sweepers - especially Fighting-types that rely on contact moves. Due to its role as a paralysis spreader, Zapdos is a great answer to Hyper Offense teams that rely on speed. It can also take advantage of moves such as Roost to maintain survivability, or U-Turn to switch into more favorable matchups.

A Powerful Sweeper in Rain

Although it's best known as a defensive Pokemon, Zapdos can also function as a powerful sweeper in rain thanks to Thunder and Hurricane. The fact that it has Volt Switch means it can pivot in and out of battle with ease - a feat that other rain sweepers can't do.

How to Build a Team with Zapdos

Despite its great defensive prowess, Zapdos faces stiff competition from other defensive Pokemon such as Toxapex and Ferrothorn. To differentiate it from the plethora of defensive Pokemon, it's best used in a team that needs active speed control through paralysis.

A Great Answer to Hyper Offense Teams

Zapdos threatens Hyper Offense teams as they risk getting paralyzed by either Discharge or Static. As a result, this Legendary Bird is a popular choice for defensive teams that need a paralysis spreader as part of their defensive core.

Check out our article below to learn how to build a defensive team with Zapdos.
How to Build a Defensive Team

Special Attacker in an Offensive Team

Example Offensive Team

Dynamax Attacker Special Attacker Utility Pivot
Cinderace ImageCinderace Zapdos ImageZapdos Rillaboom ImageRillaboom

Zapdos makes a great partner to Cinderace being able to take Ground and Water-tpe attacks that may be aimed at Cinderace. With its Static ability, it also serves the function of a paralysis-spreader that can cripple the offensive momentum of enemy teams. Access to Volt Switch helps Zapdos keep the momentum going into favorable matchups when used properly.

Cinderace's access to Fighting-type moves covers Zapdos' weakness easily. As the main powerhouse of the team, Cinderace should take advantage of boosts from Max Airstream and Max Knuckle to be set up for success.

Rillaboom offers some utility for the team, in the form of Knock Off and Grassy Terrain. The health regeneration from Grassy Terrain can help Cinderace's survivability thanks to the provided recovery. Rillaboom's type advantages versus Cinderace's weaknesses helps a lot.

How to Build an Offensive Team

Counters for Zapdos

Attack with Electric Types

Despite taking neutral damage from them, putting strong Electric-types up against Zapdos is a viable technique as there is little that it can do in return.

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Thundurus (Therian Forme) ImageThundurus (Therian Forme) Ranking: ★★★★★
Volt Absorb negates Zapdos' Electric-type attacks.
・Can be an opportunity for Thundurus to set up Nasty Plot.
Moveset & Best Build for Thundurus (Therian Forme)
Tapu Koko ImageTapu Koko Ranking: ★★★★
・Benefits from stronger Electric-type attacks thanks to Electric Terrain.
Moveset & Best Build for Tapu Koko
Raikou ImageRaikou Ranking: ★★★
・Its access to Scald in this generation provides it with a helpful option to inflict burn on its opponents. It also gives Raikou an option against Ground types such as Landorus who may be paired with Zapdos.
Moveset & Best Build for Raikou

Use Rock-type Pokemon

Rock-types can resist Zapdos' Flying-type moves while counterattacking with super effective Rock-type moves.

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Tyranitar ImageTyranitar Ranking: ★★★★★
・Tyranitar's Sand Stream let's it come into battle with a Special Defense boost to withstand Zapdos' attacks better.
Moveset & Best Build for Tyranitar
Nihilego ImageNihilego Ranking: ★★★★★
・A Power Herb + Meteor Beam combo can easily OHKO Zapdos and net an easy Beast Boost.
Moveset & Best Build for Nihilego

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Comment

1 Nuke20997 months

Zapdos in Sword and Shield cannot learn Air Slash.

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