Type Tier
Electric / Flying OU
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
  • Overused


It might look like a distant second cousin to Big Bird, but Zapdos is no Sesame Street pushover. Zapdos has a wonderful base 125 Special Attack and base 100 Speed, giving it the power and Speed to hammer many of GSC's top threats. Its STAB Thunder is not only incredibly powerful, but can also neuter opponents with paralysis. Zapdos also has great mixed defensive stats perfectly tailored for a RestTalk set; 90 / 85 / 90 defenses, combined with nifty resistances to Megahorn and Cross Chop, allow it to switch in easily. However, the greatest benefit from Zapdos's brilliant Electric / Flying typing is the immunity it grants to the ubiquitous Earthquake and Spikes; Zapdos's ability to switch in unimpaired by entry hazards is one of its biggest selling points. With its excellent all-around stats, wide coverage, and few weaknesses, Zapdos is an easy fit on many teams.

Name Item


~ Thunder / Thunderbolt
~ Hidden Power Ice / Hidden Power Water
~ Rest
~ Sleep Talk

This set is what makes Zapdos such a powerful threat. Great Special Attack combined with the ability to perpetually get rid of status and restore health with virtually no drawbacks turns Zapdos into a powerful tank. This set capitalizes on Zapdos's high Special Attack, allowing it to slam the numerous physical threats with its powerful STAB or Hidden Power. The choice between Thunder and Thunderbolt depends on what your team needs more: power or consistency. Defensive teams will often prefer the consistent accuracy and high PP of Thunderbolt, while offensive teams will typically favor Thunder's significantly higher Base Power. Thunder will allow Zapdos to do far more damage, however, specifically 2HKOing Miltank and possibly 3HKOing Snorlax with Spikes support or a critical hit; its 30% chance of paralysis also wards off potential switch-ins such as Raikou and Jolteon. Thunderbolt is less powerful than Thunder, but its perfect accuracy gives it more consistency against threats such as Belly Drum Charizard, Growth Vaporeon, and the occasional Swords Dance Tentacruel. Hidden Power Ice offers wonderful coverage against many of the threats Thunder cannot deal with, such as Rhydon and Exeggutor, as well as opposing Zapdos if you don't want to risk Thunder missing. Together, the two moves have pseudo-BoltBeam coverage, hitting every single Pokemon in OU for neutral damage. Hidden Power Water is a notable option if you want to hit Ground-types such as Rhydon and Steelix harder. However, the extra coverage from Hidden Power Ice, especially against Exeggutor, is generally more useful. The lasts two slots are devoted to Rest and Sleep Talk. With these two moves, Zapdos makes a great status absorber and tank, as well as a more consistent check to Vaporeon and Exeggutor. Sleep Talk eliminates almost all of the downsides of using Rest and gives Zapdos the ability to stay healthy and pose a threat. With its good defenses, RestTalk Zapdos will be difficult to take down without a critical hit or a powerful, super effective attack, such as Rock Slide or Ice Beam.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>

Other Options

As a legendary Pokemon, Zapdos has quite a few additional options it can use. It can boost its team's defenses with Light Screen and Reflect, or carry Thunder Wave to cripple opponents, especially Raikou. Zapdos can also use Whirlwind to make use of Spikes previously laid by a teammate and play the role of an offensive phazer. However, keep in mind that using any of these moves will force Zapdos to give up either Sleep Talk or Rest. Without RestTalk, Zapdos will be forced to play more conservatively and cannot fill the role of a tank. The loss in longevity is very noticeable and is not recommended unless your team really needs one of Zapdos's support options. Beyond support options, Zapdos does have a few other offensive choices. It can go mixed by running Drill Peck over Sleep Talk, but again, it will lose longevity, and it will still have problems with Raikou, Blissey, Snorlax, and Quagsire, so this is not recommended.

Checks and Counters

Raikou is hands down the best counter to Zapdos, as it can take any of Zapdos's moves, including Hidden Power, while either phazing or hammering Zapdos with a powerful STAB Thunder of its own. Blissey will wall Zapdos all day long, as STAB Drill Peck only 4HKOes it at best barring a critical hit; however, Blissey is largely unable to do anything significant to Zapdos. With RestTalk or Heal Bell support, Snorlax will easily take on even Zapdos that pack Thunder; nonetheless, pairing Snorlax with a Ground-type to lure Hidden Power can be extremely useful. Ground-types can also threaten Zapdos with super effective Rock- or Ice-type attacks, forcing it to switch or risk being KOed. Quagsire is a wonderful counter as it doesn't mind taking either Hidden Power Ice or Water and can absorb Thunder. Steelix also works as an effective pivot for teams looking to bring in a check to Zapdos against a relatively weak Hidden Power Ice. Steelix can also set up Curse and threaten Zapdos with a +1 Rock Slide; it can also phaze or use Explosion in an emergency. As it takes little from Zapdos's attacks, Jolteon can use Zapdos as setup bait. After it grabs an Agility or Growth, Jolteon can Baton Pass a deadly Speed or offensive boost to a teammate such as Marowak or Snorlax to help them sweep Zapdos's team. Tyranitar also gets a mention as a check because of its powerful Rock Slide, but it makes a poor switch-in to Thunder.