Poll: Do you like Zapdos?
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[VGC] VGC18 Zapdos Movesets [3 Options] | Z-Move, Bulky Support, Bulky Attacker
[Image: zapdos.jpg]
Type: Electric / Flying
Weakness: Rock (x2) Ice (x2)
Resistance: Bug (x0.5) Steel (x0.5) Fighting (x0.5) Grass (x0.5) Flying (x0.5)
Immunity: Ground

Base Stats
HP: 90
Attack: 90
Defense: 85
Sp.Atk: 125
Sp.Def: 90
Speed: 100

Zapdos is a very versatile Pokemon, whose typing is really good for the current meta, as it's Ground type Immunity means it doesn't fear Landorus-T, and is a good Switch in for allies who struggle with it. It has a very good Special Attack stat, sitting at 125 Base Power, and surprisingly decent bulk, making it a great support Pokemon as it gets access to Tailwind. Upon Sun and Moon's release, Thundurus became nerfed heavily, making Zapdos the prime Electric type for VGC. Zapdos is such a well-rounded Pokemon, so it can fit into many teams well, it has many different roles such as being the bulky support, or all-out-attacker. Of course, Zapdos isn't without it's threats, and it has quite a few in this year's meta like Stakataka, Tyranitar, Tapu Koko and various Bulky Grass types.
Set 1

[Image: zapdos.gif]
Zapdos @ Misty Seed / Psychic Seed
Ability: Pressure
Nature: Calm
EVs: 236 HP / 116 Def / 60 SpA / 4 SpD / 92 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
- Thunderbolt
- Hidden Power [Ice] / Heat Wave
- Roost / Protect

Set Details

This is likely going to be one the standard Zapdos sets, it has amazing Bulk to survive a bunch Special orientated Z-Moves, notably Shattered Psyche from Tapu Lele, and with it's Special Attack being as high as it is, it can still dish out decent Damage. This Zapdos set doesn't require much Sp.Def investment as the Seed will increase it greatly already, allowing for defense investment. 116 Defense hits a key benchmark, in that it can make a Jolly 252 / 252 Mega Kangaskhan's Double Edge almost always be a 3HKO after Intimidate, credit to Conan Wild (RazerVGC) for finding this benchmark. Heat Wave and Hidden Power Ice are great overall coverage, Heat Wave notably handles Pokemon like Ferrothorn and HP Ice is notorius for stopping Landorus-T. A set like this will more often want to carry Roost, but Protect is always a very decent option to have. 

Usage Tips

You obviously want to pair this with Tapu Lele / Fini as it will immediately activate the seed, but be wary of sending it out too late, as Stealth Rocks will wear it down, so have it out earlier if possible. Since many, many teams often lead with Landorus-T have ing it out first is decent way to pressure them into switching. Tailwind is used to help slower teammates outspeed common threats, so use it as soon as possible, and pressure opponents with your attacks. Roost when needed, or if you're running Protect, you can protect against Z-Moves effectively to take even less damage.

Damage Calculations
  • 252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. +1 236 HP / 4+ SpD Zapdos in Electric Terrain: 79-95 (40.5 - 48.7%) -- guaranteed 3HKO Possible damage amounts: (79, 82, 82, 83, 83, 86, 86, 87, 87, 90, 90, 91, 91, 94, 94, 95)
  • 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Shattered Psyche (175 BP) vs. +1 236 HP / 4+ SpD Zapdos in Psychic Terrain: 163-193 (83.5 – 98.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO Possible damage amounts: (163, 165, 168, 169, 171, 174, 175, 177, 178, 181, 183, 184, 187, 189, 190, 193)
  • 252+ SpA Ludicolo Hydro Vortex (185 BP) vs. +1 236 HP / 4+ SpD Misty Seed Zapdos: 90-106 (46.1 - 54.3%) -- 53.9% chance to 2HKO
    Possible damage amounts: (90, 91, 91, 93, 94, 94, 96, 97, 99, 99, 100, 102, 102, 103, 105, 106)
  • 252+ Atk Stakataka Rock Slide vs. 236 HP / 116 Def Zapdos: 144-170 (73.8 - 87.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
    Possible damage amounts: (144, 146, 146, 150, 150, 152, 152, 156, 158, 158, 162, 162, 164, 164, 168, 170)
  • 252+ Atk Landorus-Therian Stone Edge vs. 236 HP / 116 Def Zapdos: 136-162 (69.7 - 83%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
    Possible damage amounts: (136, 138, 140, 142, 144, 144, 146, 148, 150, 152, 152, 154, 156, 158, 160, 162)
  • 136+ Atk Tapu Bulu Stone Edge vs. 236 HP / 116 Def Zapdos: 116-138 (59.4 - 70.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
    Possible damage amounts: (116, 118, 120, 120, 122, 124, 124, 126, 128, 128, 130, 132, 132, 134, 136, 138)

Set 2
[Image: zapdos.gif]

Zapdos @ Electrium Z
Ability: Pressure
Nature: Modest
EVs: 236 HP / 116 Def / 28 SpA / 84 SpD / 44 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
- Thunderbolt
- Hidden Power [Ice] / Heat Wave
- Roost / Protect

Set Details

Another fantastic spread found by Conan Wild, this set is best use of Electrium Z thus far, and has still relatively great bulk investment, with 116 Def still hitting the Kangaskhan-M benchmark, and the 84 SpD investment can survive Tapu Lele's Shattered Psyche. Zapdos' naturally high Special Attack means it doesn't need a lot of investment, and Gigavolt Havoc can deal out a lot of damage. Protect is the preferred move for this set, as this is an offensive set and protecting against Z-Moves and Rock Slide can be crucial., however, Roost isn't the worst move to throw on.

Damage Calculations 
  • 28+ SpA Zapdos Thunderbolt vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Aerodactyl: 174-206 (111.5 - 132%) -- guaranteed OHKO
    Possible damage amounts: (174, 176, 180, 180, 182, 186, 186, 188, 192, 192, 194, 198, 198, 200, 204, 206)
  • 28+ SpA Zapdos Hidden Power Ice vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Landorus-Therian: 148-176 (90.2 - 107.3%) -- 43.8% chance to OHKO
    Possible damage amounts: (148, 148, 152, 152, 156, 156, 160, 160, 160, 164, 164, 168, 168, 172, 172, 176)
  • 28+ SpA Zapdos Gigavolt Havoc (175 BP) vs. 252 HP / 140 SpD Tapu Fini: 192-228 (108.4 - 128.8%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Leftovers recovery
    Possible damage amounts: (192, 194, 198, 198, 200, 204, 206, 206, 210, 212, 216, 216, 218, 222, 224, 228

Set 3
[Image: zapdos.gif]

Zapdos @ Assault Vest
Ability: Pressure
Nature: Modest
EVs: 236 HP / 116 Def / 44 SpA / 92 SpD / 20 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk if set does not have Sky Drop, or 31 Atk if set does have Sky Drop
- Hidden Power [Ice] / Heat Wave
- Sky Drop / Heat Wave
- Volt Switch

Set Details

Zapdos has acces to utility moves, Volt Switch and Sky Drop, but often can't find use for them without sacrifing Tailwind, however Assault Vest sets can give these moves somelight. Volt Switch is a great pivot move, alowing Zapdos to switch out, dealing damage as it does, in case of dangerous situations, and Sky Drop can cripple Pokemon and allow a partner to safely set up. This spread, like the others, keeps the Kangaskhan benchmark in mind, but now with an Assault Vest, it can take certain attacks a little better, and the 20 Speed hits another key benchmark of outspeeding Adamant Bisharp, who is capable of OHKO'ing Zapdos with a +2 Knock Off. Heat Wave is generally wanted, as this will be Zapdos' answer to Bisharp, Ferrothorn and Skarmory, Sky Drop, although useful, requires specific circumstances to pull it off well, and isn't really best used for Zapdos as a lot can outspeed this set. Volt Switch is, as I said previously, a great pivot move, so use it when needed.

Damage Calculations 
  • 44+ SpA Zapdos Heat Wave vs. 248 HP / 8 SpD Skarmory: 132-156 (77.1 - 91.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
    Possible damage amounts: (132, 134, 134, 136, 138, 140, 140, 142, 144, 146, 148, 148, 150, 152, 154, 156)
  • 44+ SpA Zapdos Heat Wave vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Bisharp: 132-156 (94.2 - 111.4%) -- 68.8% chance to OHKO
    Possible damage amounts: (132, 134, 134, 136, 138, 140, 140, 142, 144, 146, 148, 148, 150, 152, 154, 156)
  • 44+ SpA Zapdos Hidden Power Ice vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Landorus-Therian: 152-180 (92.6 - 109.7%) -- 56.3% chance to OHKO
    Possible damage amounts: (152, 152, 156, 156, 160, 160, 160, 164, 164, 168, 168, 172, 172, 176, 176, 180)

Team Options

As previously stated, Zapdos' versatility means it can fit into many teams, and find many uses of supporting team mates, so you can really customize a lot when it comes to team selection. Common teams will include Rain setters paired with Tapu Koko, the CHALK team (Cresselia, Heatran, Amoongus, Landorus Kangaskhan) and Sand teams with Excadrill.  
  • [Image: null13.png?w=32&h=32][Image: null28.png?w=32&h=32]
Because Tapu Lele and Tapu Fini have terrains, Zapdos can utilize them to its advantage by increasing its special bulk with the Psychic Seed or the Misty Seed, respectively. Tapu Lele can cover for Zapdos by dealing a large amount of damage, while Tapu Fini can cover for its weakness to Rock-types. In return, Zapdos can cover for these two against the likes of opposing bulky Water-types, as well as Mega Charizard Y. 
  • [Image: 787.png]
Zapdos can utilize the Grassy Terrain to its advantage by increasing its physical bulk with the Grassy Seed. Although the synergy is not as common as it would be with Tapu Lele or Tapu Fini, Zapdos and Tapu Bulu have a more defensive synergy, namely against rain teams. While Zapdos can cover against Flying-types, including Mega Salamence with a Hidden Power Ice, Tapu Bulu can cover Zapdos’s weakness to Rock-types. Furthermore, Zapdos also resists Steel, another type that Tapu Bulu is weak to.
Because Thundurus-I has been nerfed significantly, Zapdos is now one of the best Electric-types in VGC, and with the introduction of Tapu Fini, Zapdos pairs with this archetype fairly well. Kangaskhan can provide Fake Out support to help Zapdos set up a Tailwind, while Zapdos can take Fighting-type attacks with relative ease. Zapdos can easily switch into potential Ground-type moves that would target Heatran, namely those from Landorus-T, and Zapdos can easily retaliate with a Hidden Power Ice. With Cresselia, the opponent faces two very bulky Pokémon with different forms of speed control. Cresselia can provide support with Helping Hand to help Zapdos deal more damage, or even Icy Wind or Trick Room for speed control, while Zapdos can take Bug-type attacks in return. With Landorus, Zapdos can take care of Water-types, while Landorus-T can safely use Earthquake next to it. With Tapu Fini, Zapdos can gain a significant amount of bulk thanks to the Misty Seed. 
  • RAIN
Zapdos can pair well with rain because Charizard Y can threaten weather control, and Zapdos is a secondary option in stopping Charizard Y should the weather be changed to sun. Politoed is the preferred rain setter for Zapdos because it’s bulky, it has access to Icy Wind, and it also has access to disruptive moves such as Encore and Perish Song. Ludicolo is an excellent partner for Fake Out support in case Zapdos needs to set up a Tailwind. Kingdra can slightly deal more damage than Ludicolo thanks to its base 95 special attack stat, and it also has access to Disable as a disruptive move. Swampert is the only rain abuser that deals physical damage, and it’s a great option for stopping Pokémon like Tapu Koko and Nihilego.

Checks and Counters
  • Tapu Koko can be a huge threat to Zapdos, Taunt can shut down Tailwind and Gigavolt Havoc can OHKO on the more offensive sets
  • Rock Types, Stakataka, Aerodactyl, Tyranitar-M and Terrakion can almost always 2HKO it with Rock Slide, severely crippling it's capability and usage, and Nihilego is especially troublesome, as it can deal Special Damage, meaning Intimidate isn't a worry for it.
  • Bulky Grass Types like Ferrothorn and Tapu Bulu resist Electric type attacks meaing without Heat Wave, Zapdos is practically powerless against them. While Hidden Power Ice is definitely useful, it's damage output isn't as good as needed.

Other Notable Options 
  • A set running Grassy Seed and a reverse Defense Spread of the Misty Seed set is equally as viable to better survive Physical attacks.
  • A Life Orb set running 28 HP / 4 Def / 220 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe, with it's HP being set with recoil damage in mind, optimized to survive common threats, but now outspeeding more opponents and dealing more damage
Awesome write up, @Kris ! It's so in depth! And I love the sets, man! I was thinking about using a Misty Seed Zapdos, and now I know how to train him!

Breeder Scott - Proud Member of the Amethyst 0mega Breeder's Guild

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