Zapdos Moveset ‘Pokémon Go’: Best moves for the electric-type legendary bird

The pokemon Zapdos and the Pokemon GO logo next to him

Zapdos has finally arrived. The third gen 1 legendary Pokémon has come to Pokémon Go’s legendary raids, and it’ll stick around until Aug. 14. Assuming you’ve managed to catch one, which is no mean feat, your next step will be to make sure your Zapdos has an optimal attack setup.

We’ve got all the information you’ll need to figure out if your Zapdos is a lightning rod or a short circuit below.

Pokémon Go Zapdos raid: Charge moves stump the community and reveal an unexpected leader

According to Prima Games, Zapdos only has one quick move — the electric type Charge Beam. This makes it like Articuno and Moltres, so you don’t need to worry about using any fast TMs in order to get a more optimal move. But there’s a little bit of confusion once you hit the charge moves.

Thunder is your best bet, according to Prima Games. Despite Zap Cannon’s intimidating name and 140 power, its same type attack bonus DPS is still a good five points lower than Thunder’s 52.1.

Prima Games

GamePress however, has a different idea. They insist that Thunder Bolt is Zapdos’ best charge move, in spite of its low true DPS.

“Thunderbolt edges out Zap Cannon as Zapdos’s premier charge move option,” it wrote. “Thunderbolt is more flexible and consistently outperforms Zap Cannon in relevant match-ups.” Given that Zapdos only has electric-type moves, it’s probably best suited to match-ups that will let it exploit that, in spite of its dual flying and electric types.

Pokémon Go Zapdos raid: Debate about “best” moveset might be a good thing

Hear us out on this one. For a long time in Pokémon Go, you had to focus on getting a Pokémon with optimal stats and an optimal moveset, since neither of those things could be changed. With the introduction of TMs in the raid update, suddenly it didn’t matter as much if your Dragonite didn’t have Dragon Tail and Outrage as its moveset. You had the potential to change your fast and charged attacks using TMs, instead of spending another 125 candy — the amount you’d need to evolve a Dratini to a Dragonite — to hopefully get one with a better moveset.

It’s still not a perfect system, and the disagreement over Zapdos’s best moveset underlines this. Even though TMs are slightly easier to accrue than candy, depending on how much you’re able to raid, players have just traded one resource for another. There’s still a “best moveset” that everyone strives toward, and some players need to put in more work to get it than others will.

If Pokémon Go continues to move forward, hopefully future instances of a Pokémon having a best moveset will be intentional ways to give players more viable options. The more strong movesets Pokémon have access to, the more players can feel included in raiding and gym battles, and that’s a net positive for the game.

More Pokémon Go news, updates, tips and tricks

Raids are here — and not just for ordinary Pokémon. Check out our coverage of the legendaries now in-game, Lugia and Articuno. Find out what went wrong at the Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago while you wait for the debut of the European Safari Zones in August and September. Finally, check out some reporting on the issues plaguing rural players a year after launch, how the game created a space for black female gamers and how Pokémon Go can continue to build its community.