Pokémon Go Zapdos Raid Guide for September 2018

Zapdos first appeared shortly after Legendary Raids were announced in the summer of 2017. It's returned several times thereafter, including in additional Legendary Raids, as a Field Research Breakthrough Reward, and for its own Zapdos Day Bonus following Go Fest Chicago.

Now, Zapdos is back again, but just for one week. Here's how to beat it and maybe get a Shiny!

When is Zapdos back?

For one week only:

  • Starts: Thursday, September 13, 2018, 1pm PT / 4pm ET
  • Ends: Thursday, September 20, 2018, 1pm PT / 4pm ET

Will any bonuses be in effect?

Stardust rewards will be over, so it doesn't look like it right now.

Why is Zapdos back?

So we can get a charge out of him. No? Ugh. Yeah. Sorry.

Here's what Pokémon Go has said:

First, starting September 13 at 1:00 P.M. (PDT), Trainers all over the world will be able to encounter three Legendary Pokémon originally discovered in the Kanto region!. Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres will appear in Raid Battles until September 20. And if you're lucky, you may be able to encounter their Shiny forms!

How many players do you need to beat Zapdos?

It's theoretically possible with two people, but both would have to be high level, have high-level Smack Down Tyranitars and Stone Edge Golems, and have the weather and friendship bonuses.

Three people should be fine regardless of weather, again with high-level Smack Down Tyranitars and Stone Edge Golems.

It won't be fast and things could go wrong, though. So, if you're looking to maximize speed and ensure victory, having a slightly larger group is the best strategy.

What are the best counters for Zapdos?

Zapdos is a Flying- and Electric-type Pokémon, so here's what you want to set up for your Raid Teams:

  • Tyranitar with Smack Down + Stone Edge (if you managed to score them during the June Community Day).
  • Golem (incl. Alolan) with Rock Throw + Stone Edge.
  • Rayquaza or Dragonite with Dragon Tail + Outrage.
  • Mewtwo with Confusion + Shadowball.

Having at least two teams set up, a primary and a backup, can help you get back in quickly if you faint out, or still have strong counters if you forget to heal up between Raids.

What's a 100% perfect Zapdos?

  • 1902: Regular
  • 2378: Weather boosted

Is Shiny Zapdos still available?

Absolutely. Pokémon Go has already confirmed it. Hopefully, it'll be the same 1/19 rate used for the Legendary Raid Days. Otherwise, the 1/19 for usual Legendary Raids. But, since everything is random you may get it right away or not at all. Yeah, pure randomness is still terrible.

Also hopefully, Shiny Zapdos will have the same 100% catch rate as other Shiny Legendary so, if you do encounter one, a Pinap Berry will nab you even more extra candy.

(And, yeah, since Pokémon Go used the traditional Shiny colors for the standard Zapdos, they'll have to figure something else out for Shiny Zapdos.)

What's the best moveset for Zapdos?

Zapdos is a mixed blessing. It has better stats than any previous Electric-type in the game... but it doesn't have access to movesets that would really push it over the top, like Raikou does with Wild Charge.

  • Best Movesets: Charge Beam + Zap Cannon. It'll still light up water types.

Zapdos has been available before, right?

Right. Zapdos was the last of the Legendary Birds unlocked following the original Pokémon Go Fest Chicago 2017, and has popped back into Raids in the past as well as been available as the Field Research reward for May, 2018.

Wait, what is Zapdos?

Zapdos is one of the Legendary Birds of Gen 1, originally discovered in the Kanto Region. In Pokémon Go, it's also the symbol of Team Instinct.

From Pokémon:

Zapdos is a legendary bird Pokémon that has the ability to control electricity. It usually lives in thunderclouds. The Pokémon gains power if it is stricken by lightning bolts.

From Bulbapedia):

Zapdos is a large avian Pokémon with predominantly yellow plumage. Black rings encircle its eyes, and it has a long, thin, light orange beak. Its wings and tail are a mass of spiky feathers, with black feathers covering the back of its wings and inner tail feathers. A large crest of spiked feathers surrounds its head. Its thighs are a khaki color, and it has anisodactyl feet ending in talons.When Zapdos flaps its glittering wings, it releases electricity that can potentially cause thunderstorms. It produces massive crackling and snapping sounds when it flies; these are attributed to the lightning bolts it sheds when airborne. When stricken by lightning, it gains power. Zapdos reportedly appears only during thunderstorms, and is said to live among thunderclouds. However, it is rarely seen.

Any Zapdos or Legendary Raid questions?

If you have any questions about Zapdos or Legendary Raids, drop them in the comments below!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.