Zapdos, The Electric Pokémon. This legendary bird Pokémon causes savage thunderstorms by flapping its glittering wings. This legendary bird Pokémon is said to appear only when a thundercloud parts into two halves. A legendary Pokémon that is said to live in thunderclouds. It freely controls lightning bolts. It gains power if it is stricken by lightning bolts. While it is flying, it makes crackling and snapping sounds.


Zapdos is an incredible Pokémon and it has been for every generation since 1st gen, when it was introduced. It has an awesome type combo that, until 5th gen, was unique. Although it lost some effectiveness in 4th gen due to Stealth Rock, it is still a great Pokémon that has earned its place as a top OU Pokémon. With a good enough movepool and stats in the right places, Zapdos really is a Pokémon truly deserving of the term 'legendary'.


Pressure: like a lot of other legendary Pokémon, Zapdos has Pressure. This isn't a bad thing thanks to how well Zapdos can take hits. It's actually a pretty good thing!

Move Sets

Post Platinum offensive Zapdos

- Thunderbolt
- Heat Wave
- Hidden Power [Ice] / Hidden Power [Grass]
- Roost / U-turn
Item Attached: Life Orb / Choice Specs
Ability: Pressure
EVs and Nature:
EVs: 80 HP / 252 SAtk / 176 Spd
Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk)

When Platinum came out, Zapdos got exactly what it needed. But firstly, Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt is the greatest Electric move in the game, and Zapdos uses it perfectly, thanks to its huge Special Attack. Heat Wave stops any Steel types not called Heatran and any Grass types from coming in and being a pain, which Zapdos has lacked pre-Platinum. Hidden Power [Ice] handles Flygon and Dragonite, but Hidden Power [Grass] decimates Swampert. Roost heals Stealth Rock and Life Orb damage, whereas U-turn allows you to scout and get out of danger.
Choice Specs can be used over Life Orb if you want more power, but make sure to use U-turn over Roost then.

Defensive Zapdos

- Thunderbolt
- Roost
- Heat Wave
- Hidden Power [Ice] / Hidden Power [Grass] / Roar
Item Attached: Leftovers
Ability: Pressure
EVs and Nature:
EVs: 252 HP / 80 Def / 176 Spd
Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk)

Considering Zapdos is arguably the best switch in to Scizor, among other top threats, it comes as no surprise it pulls off defensive sets just as well as it does offensive sets. Thunderbolt is as good as always. Roost is required for a set like this, seeing as it is the best recovery Zapdos has access to. Heat Wave allows it to beat Lucario and Scizor. Hidden Power [Ice] or Hidden Power [Grass] depends on whether you want to handle the Dragons or Swampert. Roar is a great move that can really mess with any strategy planned out by your opponent.

Baton Pass Zapdos

- Thunderbolt
- Agility
- Baton Pass
- Roost / Substitute
Item Attached: Leftovers
Ability: Pressure
EVs and Nature:
EVs: 252 HP / 80 SAtk / 176 Spd
Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk)

One of the most reliable ways of passing Speed is through Zapdos. It takes hits, scares stuff off easily, and has great Speed to start with. Thunderbolt is amazing. Agility is how you pass Speed. Baton Pass is how you pass. Roost allows you to send more Speed if required, as you won't be dead. Substitute can also be passed, which is always good.

EVs and Nature:

Post Platinum offensive Zapdos
176 Speed is all it needs to beat Lucario. Max Special Attack for obvious reasons, then the remainder in HP.

Defensive Zapdos
I personally like my defensive Pokémon to be fast, if that makes sense. They take less hits that way. You can buff up its Defence by taking away its Speed, but I like it the other way around. Why be able to take extra hits when you can just take out the Pokémon before it hits you again? You can drop the Speed down really low if you wanted, as low as just beating all non-Choice Scarf Tyranitar. You can also run a Special Defence version of this set, but I prefer my Zapdos taking physical hits thanks to how well it beats the top OU physical threats.

Baton Pass Zapdos
Again, you can drop the Speed down, which would make sense considering you are boosting it anyway, but I'd like to be able to take a Lucario or whatever out with my Zapdos if I have to.

Other Options

Charge Beam, Discharge, Drill Peck, Light Screen, Metal Sound, Protect, Restalk, Signal Beam, Thunder, Toxic
Charge Beam can raise its Special Attack to silly levels, but I'd rather just hit hard with Thunderbolt
. Discharge is an alternative to Thunderbolt, mostly on defensive sets as it can paralyze easily.
Drill Peck is a cool move that would work on a mixed set, but mixed Zapdos isn't too good.
Light Screen protects Zapdos and the team from special attacks.
Metal Sound Life Orb Zapdos used to be my favourite Pokémon. It has the ability to 2HKO Blissey, which is pretty impressive for a Special Attacker that doesn't use Fighting moves. Not seen at all nowadays, and probably not as effective, it is still an awesome Pokémon.
Protect is self explanatory with Pressure.
Rain Dance is awesome on Zapdos. It sets it up easily enough, and also means it can use perfect accuracy Thunder.
Restalk is a pretty cool way of stalling with Pressure and perhaps Toxic Spikes. However, sleeping is never a good thing to be doing in Pokémon.
Signal Beam takes care of Celebi who is a fairly common switch in to Zapdos, but with Heat Wave, it's pretty much worthless.
Thunder is great on Zapdos, although mostly on a rain team. It's still good regardless, especially with the paralysis hax you can get out of it.
Toxic is always a boss move on something defensive. You can Toxic stall them with Sandstorm, Pressure, and other residual damage inducing things like Spikes.

Countering Zapdos

Zapdos has no way of beating Blissey and Snorlax outside of Toxi-Pressure stalling, and even then you will probably still lose. They are juggernauts when it comes to taking special hits. Although barely used, the three Regis are actually really good against Zapdos. They are all bulky enough to take anything it has to offer, and can break it down with their STAB moves or Toxic. Grass types generally do pretty well against Zapdos, like Celebi and Shaymin. However, they have to watch out for Heat Wave, as that could spell doom. Tyranitar takes nothing from Zapdos and destroys it with Stone Edge. Anything immune to Electric does well, like Jolteon, Lanturn and Electivire. Be a boss, use Lanturn. Anyway, Zapdos is a ridiculously good Pokémon. Always be prepared for it when making an OU team.

Locations in Games


Trade from FR/LG/XD


Snagged from Cipher Boss Greevil in Citadark Isle (XD) Trade from FRLG (Col)

Fire Red/Leaf Green

Power Plant


Roaming Sinnoh( Platinum) Trade from FRLGXDHGSS (DP)


Power Plant

Animé Appearences

Zapdos has had a few Animé Appearences. Most of its appearances were cameos but it did feature prominently in a clash between Articuno & Moltres in the Orange Islands

Episode 17: Island of Giant Pokémon
The Power of One
Episode 244: As Clear As Crystal
The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon
Pokémon Ranger & The Temple of the Sea
Episode 562: Doc Brock!
Arceus & The Jewel of Life
Episode 641: Dealing With a Fierce Double Ditto Drama!