Zapdos Raid Guide: Legendary Birds In Pokémon GO

The Legendary Birds of Kanto are finally back in Pokémon GO raids after more than a year out of the rotation. First, Articuno swept into Tier Five raids for a week. Now, as of today at 1 PM Pacific, Zapdos will take over as the Legendary Raid boss. Trainers will only have one week to catch this pure Electric/Flying-type Pokémon, which is available in its Shiny form… even though it's almost indistinguishable from the standard Zapdos. With this Raid Guide, you can learn the top counters so that you can defeat and capture the second of the Legendary Birds.

Promotional art for Zapdos, the second of the Legendary Birds in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic
Promotional art for Zapdos, the second of the Legendary Birds in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic

Top Zapdos Counters

Pokebattler, which calculates all possible combinations of Pokémon and moves, lists the top 10 Zapdos counters as such:

  • Shadow Tyranitar (Smack Down, Stone Edge)
  • Rhyperior (Smack Down, Rock Wrecker)
  • Shadow Mewtwo (Psycho Cut, Ice Beam)
  • Mamoswine (Powder Snow, Avalanche)
  • Rampardos (Smack Down, Rock Slide)
  • Terrakion (Smack Down, Rock Slide)
  • Shadow Weavile (Ice Shard, Avalanche)
  • Mega Charizard X (Fire Spin, Blast Burn)
  • Mega Charizard Y (Fire Spin, Blast Burn)
  • Galarian Darmanitan (Ice Fang, Avalanche)

It is recommended to power up your counters as much as possible and creating that amount of strong Shadow or Mega Pokémon with their moves unlocked is a tall order for even the most practiced players. Here are ten additional non-Shadow or Mega counters that can help take down Zapdos with efficiency.

  • Tyranitar (Smack Down, Stone Edge)
  • Glaceon (Ice Shard, Avalanche)
  • Mewtwo (Confusion, Ice Beam)
  • Weavile (Ice Shard, Avalanche)
  • Gigalith (Smack Down, Rock Slide)
  • Landorus (Rock Throw, Rock Slide)
  • Regigigas (Hidden Power Rock-type, Giga Impact)
  • Golem (Rock Throw, Stone Edge)
  • Alolan Golem (Rock Throw, Stone Edge)
  • Kyurem (Dragon Breath, Blizzard)

How Many Trainers Are Needed?

Zapdos has been duoed by trainers in the past, but of the Legendary Birds, it is not as easy to take down as Articuno. A minimum of three high-level trainers with maxed counters is recommended for Zapdos.

Catching Zapdos

Zapdos's catch circle is placed directly in the center of its face, but it does have a small "Excellent" circle. The best way to guarantee you catch this Pokémon is to use the circle lock technique.

Using the circle lock technique, players can hold down the ball until Zapdos's catch circle shrinks. Releasing when the circle is at its smallest point allows the circle to lock in place, guaranteeing an "Excellent" throw if the ball can hit that point… though, when starting, you may find the size of the "Great" throw more comfortable on Zapdos. Once the circle is locked, throw the ball when Zapdos is finishing its attack, which is a subtle lunge forward. As she is about to settle back position after the attack, throw the ball. The best berry to help catch it is the Golden Razz Berry. Paired with "Great" or "Excellent" throws, this should lead to a successfully caught Zapdoos.

Shiny Zapdos odds

The Shiny rate for Legendary Pokémon is one in twenty. If you want the very slightly different Shiny variant for this Legendary Pokémon, the best bet is to do twenty or more raids.

100% IVs

When looking for a Pokémon with the best stats, the 100% IV Zapdos will have a CP of 2015 in normal weather conditions and 2519 in boosted conditions. We hope this Raid Guide helps you catch the second of the Legendary birds.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.