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Good base stats and nice defensive typing let Zapdos check many prominent threats like Kartana, Tornadus-T, and Sand Rush Excadrill. Two useful abilities in Static and Pressure further increase Zapdos's utility by either paralyzing contact attackers like Mega Medicham, Kartana, and Mega Lopunny or stalling out hazard setters like Ferrothorn. In addition, great coverage options in Hidden Power Ice and Heat Wave prevent Zapdos from being a fodder for common threats like Landorus-T, Garchomp, and Ferrothorn. Unfortunately, the weakness to Stealth Rock cripples Zapdos's defensive capabilities and forces it to waste a turn on using Roost more often. Also many common Pokémon have their ways to reliably beat Zapdos, like Garchomp's Continental Crush and Kartana's Swords Dance-boosted Breakneck Blitz, and it makes Zapdos's life harder too.
move 1: Discharge
move 2: Heat Wave
move 3: Hidden Power Ice
move 4: Roost
item: Leftovers / Rocky Helmet
evs: 248 HP / 188 Def / 72 Spe
Discharge is preferred to Thunderbolt thanks to the former's higher paralysis chance which can potentially cripple Zapdos's common checks like Heatran and Tyranitar. Volt Switch is also a plausible option on this slot because it lets Zapdos pivot out from unfavorable matchups; however, it makes Zapdos unable to consistently beat threats like Hawlucha. Heat Wave hits Grass- and Steel-types like Ferrothorn, Magearna, Kartana, and Mega Scizor that take on Discharge rather comfortably. Defog can be used on over Heat Wave on more defensive teams, when coupled with Pressure, or if you can't fit any other Defog user in the team, but it makes Zapdos a Spikes fodder for Ferrothorn. Hidden Power Ice complements Zapdos's coverage, hitting Garchomp, Landorus-T, and Gliscor, all of which otherwise set up Stealth Rock for free. Roost is mandatory to keep Zapdos healthy throughout the battle so it can checks threats like Tornadus-T and Kartana consistently.
72 Speed EVs ensure that Zapdos always outpaces Modest Heatran. Timid nature could be used over Bold to outspeed the rare Timid Heatran, though. Leftovers improves Zapdos's survivability by slightly healing all the chip damage Zapdos receives. Rocky Helmet, on the other hand, chips down contact attackers like the aforementioned Kartana and Mega Medicham but makes Zapdos easier to wear down. Static threatens Pokemon that use contact moves, like Tornadus-T, Kartana, and Mega Medicham, with a possible paralyze, making them easier to deal with. Pressure, on the other hand, is used mainly on stall teams and helps stall out the opposing team. Pressure also synergizes well with Defog and lets Zapdos stall out hazards from Ferrothorn and the likes.
Zapdos's main task is to switch in on Pokémon it checks like Tornadus-T, Kartana, and Mega Scizor. Keep Zapdos healthy throughout the game by using Roost frequently to consistently check Pokémon Zapdos is supposed to. This is especially important if you run Rocky Helmet instead of Leftovers. Be wary of possible strong attacks and coverage options like Breakneck Blitz from Kartana that can heavily damage Zapdos. Discharge is usually a go-to move thanks to its chance of causing a paralysis. Don't afraid to predict if you're playing against Pokémon like Garchomp and Landorus-T that dislike taking Zapdos's coverage moves, though.
Zapdos fits on a lot of archetypes ranging from bulky offense to stall thanks to its ability to check many notable threats as well as being generally not passive. Bulky Water- and Grass-types can form fairly sturdy defensive cores with Zapdos that can cover most of prominent threats: Water-types like Tapu Fini and Gastrodon can deal with Heatran and appreciate Zapdos checking Grass-types like Kartana and Tapu Bulu, while Grass-types such as Tangrowth and Tapu Bulu can act as a secondary checks to Ground-types and enjoy Tornadus-T being checked by Zapdos. Pokémon with somewhat mediocre Speed tier such as Mega Medicham, Mega Mawile, and Tapu Lele appreciate foes being paralyzed by Zapdos. Zapdos also can potentially bring these Pokémon on the field via Volt Switch. Bulky Steel-types like Magearna and Mega Scizor can pivot on the likes of Tyranitar and Kyurem-B which can easily beat Zapdos. Magearna also enjoys Zapdos's immunity to Ground.
An Electrium Z set with Thunderbolt, Heat Wave, Hidden Power Ice, and Roost can be used but it loses on the defensive utility of Zapdos. Toxic can be used to cripple defensive Pokémon like Tangrowth, Mega Latias, and Gastrodon. However, Zapdos struggles to fit this move on its set. Chilan Berry enables Zapdos to beat Normalium Z Kartana but is useless outside of this matchup and thus is inferior to Leftovers and Rocky Helmet.
Checks and Counters
**Rock-type Pokémon and Coverage**: The likes of Tyranitar, Mega Diancie, Rockium Z Garchomp, and Rockium Z Landorus-T overwhelm Zapdos quickly with their super effective Rock-type moves. Tyranitar and Mega Diancie dislike paralysis, however, and Zapdos can potentially stall out Tyranitar's Stone Edge with Roost and Pressure, while Garchomp and Landorus-T are very threatened by Hidden Power Ice.
**Iсe-types**: Kyurem-B and Weavile are capable of inflicting much damage on Zapdos with their Ice-type STAB options. However, these Pokemon hate being paralyzed, and the aforementioned Weavile also drops to Heat Wave.
**Dragon-types**: Pokémon like Mega Latias, Mega Latios, Mega Charizard X, and Hydreigon take a little from Zapdos's attacks and threaten it with super effective moves like Ice Beam or just with naturally strong attacks. None of these Pokemon enjoy being paralyzed, however.
**Ground-types**: Ground-types are immune to Zapdos's Electric-type STAB moves and thus can switch on it more freely. Gastrodon and Hippowdon are especially notable counters to Zapdos, since they can ignore any attack Zapdos throws off and cripple it with Toxic.
**Strong Attacks**: Moves like Heatran's Inferno Overdrive and boosted Kartana's Breakneck Blitz put heavy dent or even completely eliminate Zapdos.
**Chansey**: Chansey just walls Zapdos because of its amazing special bulk and easily stalls it out.
- Written by: [[Egor, 439341]]
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