Beginning Saturday, February 20, 2021, Zapdos will return to Legendary Raids in Pokémon Go for just nine days. It will be joined by Articuno, Moltres, and Mewtwo for the Pokémon Go Tour: Kanto and the 25th anniversary of Pokémon. With new Mega Evolutions and Shadow Pokémon, this Raid will be a little different than the last time we encountered the Electric Pokémon. Fortunately, we here at iMore know everything you need to know to take on this Raid! And be sure to check out our best Pokémon Go accessories, so you can be fully equipped on your Pokémon Journey!
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 Pokémon with a regional variant. We’ll be encountering the original Zapdos in Pokémon Go for now. Not only is Zapdos one of the best Electric type Pokémon in Pokémon Go, but it also has a Shadow forme, so you’ll want to make the most of this limited chance at more Zapdos Candy and XL Candy.
What are the best counters for Zapdos in Pokémon Go?
Zapdos is capable of dealing Electric, Rock, and Flying type damage. As an Electric and Flying type, it takes double damage from Rock and Ice type attacks. While either Rock or Ice work well here, if you can coordinate the use of Ice types, along with Mega Abomasnow, you’ll all benefit from the boosted damage.
Beat only by Shadow Tyranitar, Rhyperior is the top non-Shadow counter for Zapdos. Rhyperior is final 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 takes quarter damage from Zapdos’ Electric type attacks and half damage from its Rock and Flying attacks 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.
While Ryhperior performs best out of the non-Shadow counters in a vacuum, Mega Abomasnow is a close second and, thanks to the boost it gives to other Ice types, it can finish this battle faster with the right allies. Even if you cannot coordinate with your fellow Trainers, Mega Abomasnow is a fantastic choice for going up against Zapdos. As a Grass and Ice type, it takes half damage from Zapdos’ Electric type moves, but double 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.
Mamoswine is the final evolution of Swinub. 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 quarter damage from Zapdos’ Electric type attacks. You’ll want your Mamoswine to know Powder Snow and Avalanche for this Raid.
Rampardos is a Rock type fossil Pokémon from the Gen IV Sinnoh region. It takes half damage from Zapdos’ Drill Peck, 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.
One of the Legendary Swords of Justice, Terrakion is a Rock and Fighting type that works very well in this Raid. It takes half damage from Ancient Power 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 double damage from Ancient Power, but otherwise holds up very well against Zapdos. Although neither version of Darumaka has been in the game for long, they’re relatively 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 Rock and Dark type of Gen II, Tyranitar remains one of the most accessible and useful Pokémon in Go. It’s been featured in Raids, events, a Community Day and even as a Shadow Pokémon, so most high level players have an entire team of Tyranitar. It resists Drill Peck and takes normal damage from Zapdos’ Electric and Rock type moves. Smack Down and Stone Edge are the moves you’ll want.
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 Mod 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. You’ll want to watch out for Ancient Power which will make quick work of Glaceon, but against Electric or Flying type moves, it performs admirably. Frost Breath and Avalanche is the moveset you want.
The final evolution of Sneasal, Weavile is an Ice and Dark type Pokémon originally encountered in the Sinnoh region. Although it requires a Sinnoh Stone to evolve, because Sneasal 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.
A Legendary Pokémon originally encountered in the Unova region of Gen V, Landorus performs great in this Raid. As a Ground and Flying type, it takes reduced damage from Electric attacks and has no weaknesses Zapdos can exploit. Although Landorus has only had a single run in Raids during a global pandemic, 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:
- Mewtwo with Psycho Cut and Ice Beam
- Golem with Rock Throw and Stone Edge
- Gigalith with Smack Down and Rock Slide
- Mega Gengar with Lick and Shadow Ball
- Alolan Golem with Rock Throw and Stone Edge
- Mega Ampharos with Volt Switch and Power Gem
- Regigigas with Hidden Power and Giga Impact
- Piloswine with Ice Shard and Avalanche
- Abomasnow with Powder Snow and Weather Ball
- Porygon-Z with Lock-On and Blizzard
- Aerodactyl with Rock Throw and Rock Slide
- Aggron with Smack Down and Stone Edge
- Omastar with Rock Throw and Rock Slide
- Electivire with Thunder Shock and Ice Punch
- Articuno with Frost Breath and Ice Beam
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 Piloswine with Ice Shard and Avalanche
- Shadow Abomasnow with Powder Snow and Weather Ball
- Shadow Porygon-Z with Lock-On and Blizzard
- Shadow Aerodactyl with Rock Throw and Rock Slide
- Shadow Aggron with Smack Down and Stone Edge
- Shadow Omastar with Rock Throw and Rock Slide
- Shadow Electivire with Thunder Shock and Ice Punch
- Shadow Articuno with Frost Breath and Ice Beam
Note: Shadow Mamoswine and Shadow Tyranitar outperforms all of the best counters. Likewise, Shadow Mewtwo, Shadow Weavile, Shadow Piloswine, and Shadow Abomasnow all perform at the same level as the Pokémon in the best counters list. If you can safely coordinate with your fellow Trainers, Mega Abomasnow will boost Ice types, making them perform even better.
How many players does it take to beat Zapdos in Pokémon Go?
Although it is technically 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 or missing the top counters.
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 Complete Pokédex, as well as our many other Pokémon Go Guides so you too can become a Pokémon Master!