At the time of its release, Zapdos could arguably claim to be the best Electric type. It had great stats and a lack of strong competition. Unfortunately , Zapdos got overtaken by Raikou only a few months after its initial release. Is it bad? No. As of Generation 4 Zapdos can still claim to be in the top 3 of Electric types.
Overtaken by Raikou and Electivire in either damage per second or total damage output, its overall position is second to Raikou. It has 253 attack, 185 defence and 207 stamina. Its defence may be average but it has a strong enough attack and stamina to compensate for this. Its typing isn’t too bad, cancelling out Electric’s weakness to Ground and also Flying’s weakness to Electric, leaving it with only a couple of standard Flying weaknesses to worry about.
|Resists||Weak To||Normal Damage|
With just two weaknesses, to Ice and Rock, Zapdos’ Electric/Flying is pretty solid. It also comes with five resistances that will help it last longer against those types.
Thunder Shock was a legacy move until it was brought back for the 3 hour Zapdos event. Getting Zapdos outside of the event will only get you Charge Beam. Thunder Shock is the superior of the two moves but Charge Beam will do just fine if you missed out.
Discharge is now a legacy move and is actually surprisingly good despite it’s low power. Having 3 bars allows you to fire off more charge moves in the same period of time as a 1 or 2 bar move. However Thunderbolt is still the best option and should be paired with Thunder Shock if you have a Zapdos with that move.
Thunder and Zap Cannon are the worst two. They at least deal STAB so you don’t have to TM them into something else.
Assembling The Team
Ice and Rock moves will be the ones you want to use on Zapdos. You’ll also want to avoid your generic Water/Ice types who end up being weak to Electric attacks.
Arriving in Generation 4, Mamoswine will be a top tier Ice type and one of the best Ice counters to Zapdos owing to its Ice/Ground typing. Not only does it have bulk and resists Zapdos’ Electric moves, it hits back with STAB super effective moves too! You’ll want to use the Ice moveset of Powder Snow and Avalanche to deal the damage and you’ll do well.
He’s the counter to most of the legendary birds, but unlike Mamoswine Tyranitar doesn’t resist Electric moves. However Tyranitar has both the bulk and attack to handle Zapdos very well, even if it isn’t the best counter to it. Go with Smack Down and Stone Edge as the moveset of choice. Do note that Smack Down is a Community Day exclusive fast move and cannot be obtained outside of it.
Rhyperior edges Tyranitar when it comes to countering Zapdos due to Rhyperior’s Ground typing. As a Rock/Ground type its also gets STAB for using Rock moves, allowing it to outlast Tyranitar in a fight against Zapdos. Rhyperior gets the same moveset Tyranitar does, Smack Down and Stone Edge with Smack Down not being Community Day exclusive. The only thing limiting the number of Rhyperiors you can get other than candy is how many Sinnoh Stones you can gather.
Just remember this is not the Alolan version, but the regular one. Both come with Electric resistances but the Ground resistance counts for more in Pokemon Go since it ought to be a immunity in the core games. Golem doesn’t have the same punch as Rhyperior or Tyranitar but it hits hard enough to justify using it against Zapdos. You have a choice with movesets but the best is Rock Throw and Stone Edge.
Zapdos isn’t too hard to counter, with the amount of Ground or Rock Pokemon that know Rock moves out there. Ice types too, although not Articuno given its weakness to Electric moves.
As for using Zapdos, it’s one of the best Electric types out there even with the likes of Raikou and Electivire out in the game now. Definitely worth powering up if you get one.