One of the Legendary birds of Kanto, Zapdos isn't currently available in Legendary raids in Pokémon Go. However, if you want to get your team ready, we here at iMore have everything you need to know to win this fight and add Zapdos to your roster. Here are all the best counters for Zapdos.
Who is Zapdos in Pokémon Go?
One of the Legendary birds from the Gen I Kanto Region, Zapdos is the second Legendary Pokémon in the National Pokédex, as well as the mascot for Team Instinct. Along with Articuno and Moltres, these three bird are elemental forces of nature that can only be tamed by Lugia. Zapdos is also one of the only Legendary Pokémon with a regional variant, but we'll be encountering the original Zapdos for now.
Not only is Zapdos one of the best Electric type Pokémon in Pokémon Go, but it also has a Shadow form, so you'll want to make the most of this limited chance at more Zapdos Candy and XL Candy. And be sure to check out our best Pokémon Go accessories so you're fully equipped for this raid.
Mega Evolution strategies for Zapdos in Pokémon Go?
There are a handful of options for Mega Evolution when countering Zapdos, focusing on each of its weaknesses: Rock and Ice.
The top choice for Mega Evolved Pokémon against Zapdos is Mega Aerodactyl. This Rock and Flying type takes increased damage from Rock and Electric moves, while resisting Flying type damage. This means you'll need to stock up on Potions and Revives to keep your Mega Aerodactyl in the fight, but it's well worth it for the Rock type Mega Boost. If you are bringing Mega Aerodactyl along, you'll want it to know Rock Throw and Rock Slide.
If you're looking to build an Ice type team, Mega Abomasnow will provide a very nice boost to other Ice types on the field. Even if you cannot coordinate with the rest of your raid party, Mega Abomasnow is a fantastic choice for going up against Zapdos. As a Grass and Ice type, it takes reduced damage from Zapdos' Electric type moves, but increased damage from both Flying and Rock. If you are bringing Mega Abomasnow to this fight, you'll want Powder Snow and Weather Ball for its moveset.
While they will not perform as well, the following Mega Evolved Pokémon can also work for this raid:
- Mega Alakazam with Confusion and Psychic
- Mega Gengar with Lick and Shadow Ball
- Mega Latios with Dragon Breath and Psychic
- Mega Ampharos with Volt Switch and Power Gem
What are the best counters for Zapdos in Pokémon Go?
Zapdos is an Electric and Flying type capable of dealing Electric, Rock, and Flying type damage. Its weaknesses include Rock and Ice type, leaving room for a couple of winning strategies.
Beat only by Shadow Tyranitar and Shadow Mamoswine, Rhyperior is the top non-Shadow counter for Zapdos. Rhyperior is Sinnoh Stone evolution of the Gen I Pokémon, Rhyhorn and the star of a Community Day, so most players have at least one already powered up. It resists Electric, Rock, and Flying type damage thanks to its Ground and Rock typing. If you're bringing Rhyperior to this Raid, you'll want it to know Smack Down and Rock Wrecker; however, if you don't have the Community Day exclusive move or the Elite TM to spare, Stone Edge also works well.
Rampardos is a fossil Pokémon from the Gen IV Sinnoh region and another great counter for Zapdos. It takes reduced damage from Flying type moves, and has no relevant weaknesses Zapdos can exploit. Having been featured in events and eggs, and only requiring 50 Candy to evolve, many players have a couple already powered up. If you're bringing Rampardos to this Raid, the moveset you're looking for is Smack Down and Rock Slide.
While its Shadow variant is the top performer in this raid, a normal Mamoswine is also an excellent choice to counter Zapdos. It requires a lot of candy and a Sinnoh Stone to full evolve, but having been featured in events and a Community Day, many Trainers have a few already powered up. As a Ground and Ice type, Mamoswine takes reduces damage from Zapdos' Electric type attacks. You'll want your Mamoswine to know Powder Snow and Avalanche for this raid.
One of the Legendary Swords of Justice, Terrakion is a Rock and Fighting type that works very well in this Raid. It takes reduced damage from Rock type moves and has no weaknesses Zapdos can exploit. Although Terrakion is a Legendary Pokémon, it has been available multiple times so many Trainers have at least one. If you're bringing it to this raid, you'll want Smack Down for the fast move and Rock Slide for the charged move.
The Galarian variant of Gen V's Darmanitan, Galarian Darmanitan is one of the best Ice types in Pokémon Go. It takes super effective damage from Rock type moves, but otherwise holds up very well against Zapdos. Both version of Darumaka is easy to come by, so many players already have both versions. If you're bringing a Galarian Darmanitan to this raid, you'll want Ice Fang and Avalanche for the moveset.
The pseudo-Legendary of Gen II, Tyranitar remains one of the most accessible and useful Pokémon in Go. It's been featured in raids, events, Community Day and even as a Shadow Pokémon, so most high level players have an entire team of powered up Tyranitar. As a Rock and Dark type, it resists Flying type moves and has no weaknesses relevant to this raid. Smack Down and Stone Edge are the moves you'll want your Tyranitar to know when facing Zapdos.
The Ice type "Eeveelution" originally encountered in the Sinnoh Region, Glaceon is extremely easy to acquire and power up. Although you need to spin a stop with a Glacial Lure Module to evolve Glaceon, you can evolve as many as you want while the mod is active and most players have a ton of extra Eevee Candy for powering up. As a pure Ice type, Glaceon does take super effective damage from Rock type moves, but it's not weak against Flying or Electric type damage. If you're bringin Glaceon to this fight, Frost Breath and Avalanche is the moveset you want.
The final evolution of Sneasel, Weavile is an Ice and Dark type Pokémon originally encountered in the Sinnoh region. Although it requires a Sinnoh Stone to evolve, because Sneasel are common and have been featured in multiple events, many players not only have Weavile but plenty of Candy to power them up. As with other Ice types, you'll want to avoid using Weavile if Zapdos knows Ancient Power, but otherwise, with Ice Shard and Avalanche, it will perform well in this raid.
Neither an Ice nor a Rock type, Mewtwo is still an excellent counter for Zapdos given the right moveset. As a pure Psychic type, it brings no relevant weaknesses or resistances to this fight. Although Mewtwo is a Legendary, it has been featured in EX raids, Legendary raids, and even as a Shadow Pokémon, so most players have already added it to their roster. With Psycho Cut and Ice Beam, Mewtwo performs very well against Zapdos; however if your Mewtwo has Psystrike or Shadow Ball do not TM these moves away!!! Both are Legacy moves and the strongest in their type.
A Legendary Pokémon originally encountered in the Unova region of Gen V, Landorus (Incarnate) performs great in this Raid. As a Ground and Flying type, it takes reduced damage from Electric type moves and has no weaknesses Zapdos can exploit. Incarnate Landorus has had a few runs in raids, on top of sharing Candy with its Therian forme, and it was also featured as a Pokémon Go Battle League reward encounter, so there's a good chance you have at least one powered up already. If you are bringing Landorus to this Raid, you'll want Rock Throw for the fast attack and Rock Slide for the charged.
Although most players will be able to make a team of the best counters, if you're finding a gap in your team, there are plenty of back ups who work well in larger groups. Just make sure you're dodging and any of the following could be a decent back up:
- Nihilego with Acid and Rock Slide
- Tyrantrum with Rock Throw and Stone Edge
- Golem with Rock Throw and Stone Edge
- Gigalith with Smack Down and Rock Slide
- Alolan Golem with Rock Throw and Stone Edge
- Regigigas with Hidden Power (Rock) and Giga Impact
- Aurorus with Rock Throw and Weather Ball
- Avalugg with Ice Fang and Avalanche
- Lycanroc (Midnight) with Rock Throw and Stone Edge
- Lycanroc (Midday) with Rock Throw and Stone Edge
- Jynx with Frost Breath and Avalanche
- Hoopa (Unbound) with Confusion and Psychic
- Hisuian Arcanine with Snarl and Rock Slide
- Kyurem with Dragon Breath and Blizzard
- Xurkitree with Thunder Shock and Discharge
- Beartic with Powder Snow and Ice Punch
- Reshiram with Fire Fang and Stone Edge
- Vanilluxe with Frost Breath and Blizzard
- Aggron with Smack Down and Stone Edge
- Aerodactyl with Rock Throw and Rock Slide
The rebalance of Shadow Pokémon rescued from Team GO Rocket make them excellent glass cannons. Not only are their stats boosted, but during special events or with Elite TMs, it's possible to change their moves. If you happen to have any of the following Pokémon with the right moveset, they will work very well in this Raid:
- Shadow Mamoswine with Powder Snow and Avalanche
- Shadow Tyranitar with Smack Down and Stone Edge
- Shadow Mewtwo with Psycho Cut and Ice Beam
- Shadow Weavile with Ice Shard and Avalanche
- Shadow Golem with Rock Throw and Stone Edge
- Shadow Piloswine with Ice Shard and Avalanche
- Shadow Aerodactyl with Rock Throw and Rock Slide
- Shadow Porygon-Z with Lock-On and Blizzard
- Shadow Hippowdon with Ice Fang and Weather Ball
- Shadow Aggron with Smack Down and Stone Edge
- Shadow Omastar with Rock Throw and Rock Slide
- Shadow Abomasnow with Powder Snow and Weather Ball
- Shadow Latios with Dragon Breath and Psychic
Note: This is an excellent raid for Shadow Pokémon. Shadow Mamoswine and Shadow Tyranitar outperform all of the best counters. Additionally, Shadow Mewtwo, Shadow Weavile, Shadow Aerodactyl, Shadow Piloswine, and Shadow Porygon-Z all perform on par with the top counters.
How many players does it take to beat Zapdos in Pokémon Go?
Although it is possible for three high level Trainers to take on Zapdos under the best conditions, you may need four or five if you're lower level, missing the top counters, or facing a harder moveset.
Weather Conditions that could play into this battle include:
- Rain will boost Zapdos' Electric type attacks.
- Partially Cloudy weather will boost Zapdos' Ancient Power, as well as your Rock type counters.
- Windy weather will boost Zapdos' Drill Peck
- Snow will boost your Ice type counters.
Questions about Zapdos in Pokémon Go?
Do you have any questions about taking on Zapdos? Any tips for fellow trainers? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check out our other Pokémon Go Guides so you too can become a Pokémon Master!
Casian Holly has been writing about gaming at iMore since 2019, but their real passion is Pokémon. From the games to the anime, cards and toys, they eat, sleep, and breathe all things Pokémon. You can check out their many Pokémon Go and Pokémon Sword and Shield guides and coverage here on iMore.