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
Pressure The Pokemon raises the foe's PP usage.
Static (Hidden) Contact with the Pokemon may cause paralysis.

Type Defenses

Takes 4x damage
Takes 2x damage
Pokemon Electric Image Pokemon Ice Image Pokemon Flying Image Pokemon Psychic Image Pokemon Fairy Image
Takes 0.5x damage
Pokemon Grass Image Pokemon Fighting Image Pokemon Dark Image
Takes 1/4x damage
Pokemon Bug Image
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
(+Spd, -Atk)
(+Def, -Atk)
(+Sp.Def, -Atk)

Strategies for Zapdos

Dynamax Sweeper Moveset & Best Build

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 Rising Voltage
Heat Wave

With its potential to use Max Airstream with STAB, it can deal high damage while simultaneously setting up. Its Flying typing unfortunately deprives it of the boost from Electric Terrain, but after its Dynamax has ended, it can use Rising Voltage to deal damage essentially equivalent to Max Lightning.

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.

Other Viable Moves

Thunderbolt Powerful even when Zapdos withholds from Dynamaxing.

Physically Defensive Moveset & Best Build

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

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.

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.

How to Use Zapdos Effectively

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.

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

Counters for Zapdos

Take Advantage of its Weaknesses

Despite its defensive prowess, Zapdos can be whittled down by using Rock-type and Ice-type moves against it.

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Tyranitar ImageTyranitar Ranking: ★★★★★
・Changes the weather with Sand Stream and gets a massive special defense boost in Sandstorm
・Threatens Zapdos with STAB Stone Edge

Moveset & Best Build for Tyranitar
Alolan Ninetales ImageAlolan Ninetales Ranking: ★★★★★
・Can change the weather with its Snow Warning ability
・Outspeeds Zapdos and easily KOs it with STAB Blizzard

Moveset & Best Build for Alolan Ninetales

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1 Nuke2099about 1 month

Zapdos in Sword and Shield cannot learn Air Slash.

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