Pokemon TCG


Pokémon TCG - Top 10 Best Zapdos of All Time

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We listed the top 10 best Zapdos in the history of Pokémon TCG, both in the competitive scene and Expanded. Check it out!

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Today, we'll show you the top 10 strongest and most interesting Zapdos in Pokémon TCG, considering cards since the Wizards of the Coast era until today.

Zapdos is one of Kanto's three legendary birds, and, just like the others, it stood out the most in the Pokémon 2000 movie. Thanks to this movie, it became an iconic Pokémon, known by all in the community.

Keep in mind, I won't include in this list its regional form from Galar because there are literally only two cards with this version:Galarian Zapdos V CRE 80 and Galarian Zapdos EVS 82.


Top 10 Best Zapdos of All Time

10 - Zapdos (Wizards of the Coast Era: Fossil)

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From the early days of the Fossil set, we have this Zapdos, which focused on sniper attacks. It let you toss a coin for each opponent on your opponent's bench. If you got "heads", you'd deal 20 damage for each enemy Pokémon in play.

On the other side, any time you got "tails" this way, Zapdos would be dealt 10 damage. This attack was also quite expensive: four Electric energies.

9 - Zapdos (Sun/Moon: Hidden Fates)

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This Zapdos stood out because of its "support" role, thanks to its attack, Hurricane Call. This attack was quite useful for TAG TEAM Pokémon at the time, like Pikachu & Zekrom-GX TEU 33 and Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX UNM 54.

8 - Zapdos (Sun/Moon: Team Up)

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This was an excellent attacker in Expanded or GLC (Gym Leader Challenge) for the Electric type.

It dealt 80 damage if you moved it from the bench to the active position that turn. Unfortunately, this damage isn't affected by the enemy Pokémon's weakness.

In Expanded, to move this Zapdos around for "zero" cost, you needed Zeraora-GX LOT 86 because of its ability.

And, of course, you could buff Zapdos TEU 40's attack with Electropower LOT 172. They gave you 30 extra damage each, which means you'd deal up to 120 extra damage!

However, it only occupies our 8th slot because you couldn't add weakness to its attack.

7 - Zapdos (Sword/Shield: Vivid Voltage)

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In 2019/2020's Standard, with all TAG TEAM Pokémon valid, this Zapdos VIV 48 was useful because of its attack, Thunder Snipe. It was a "sniper attack" for your opponent's Pokémon GX or V, and you could also set it up with the effect on Pikachu & Zekrom-GX TEU 33's attack.

As for Expanded, Magnezone FLI 36 was the solution to its Electric energy problem, alongside Superior Energy Retrieval PLF 103.

6 - Zapdos (X/Y: Evolutions)

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This was a reprint of the classic Zapdos BS 16, but it was easier to use, considering it was legal in Expanded. You wouldn't have any issues with its attack, Thunderbolt, as well, because you'd get back all the Electric energies you discarded.

Even more so with Magnezone FLI 36's ability and Superior Energy Retrieval PLF 103. They got you all energies back, and this way you'd be able to keep dealing damage consistently.

5 - Zapdos ex (Ruby/Sapphire: Fire Red/Leaf Green)

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Its ability, Legendary Ascent , was similar to Articuno ex RG 114 and Moltres ex RG 115: if you played this Pokémon from your hand to your bench, you could promote it to the active position. You could also get all Electric energies attached to your Pokémon and move them to Zapdos ex. In this Ruby/Sapphire era, we had Electrode ex RG 107 as a great support Pokémon, besides Dragonite δ DS 3.

As for its attack, it was different because it dealt 50 + 20 damage for each energy attached to Zapdos ex. This was only a last-case option to knock out a particular Pokémon.


4 - Rocket's Zapdos ex (Ruby/Sapphire: Team Rocket's Returns)

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This Zapdos stood out because of its ability, Darkness Guard. If it had any Darkness Energy EM 86 attached, all enemy attacks to it would deal 10 less damage.

And, just like any Kanto bird corrupted by Team Rocket, its first attack got you an energy of the original archetype of that Pokémon from your discard pile, and attached it to it. This would help you set up its second attack.

3 - Plasma's Zapdos-EX (Black/White: Plasma Storm)

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To work, this Zapdos needed Magnezone FLI 36 to set up its energies.

► Its first attack, Agility, was great when you hit your "coin toss". It prevented all effects on the enemy Pokémon's attacks, including damage, and essentially made it invulnerable until the next turn. And, of course, to guarantee this immunity, we could always use Trick Coin PHF 108 to manipulate our coin toss.

► As for its second attack, Powervolt, it states that if it had a Plasma Energy PLS 127 attached, it dealt 120 damage.

The best attack has always been its first attack precisely because it gave this Pokémon immunity, essentially, and was a type of "barrier" against your opponent. This was perfect if you wanted to set up a better attacker in this deck.

2 - Zapdos ex (Scarlet/Violet: 151)

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This was an excellent Pokémon that came straight to this archetype from the Scarlet/Violet: 151 set. It was a damage-heavy attacker and a sniper attacker at the same time.

Before the April 2024 rotation, I mentioned a possible Zapdos ex deck, which now fits Expanded, as it has rotated cards, in this articlelink outside website.

Its ability is also formidable because, with just one Electric energy, its retreat cost will be zero. This really matches Zeraora-GX LOT 86.

As for its attack, Multishot Lightning, it dealt 120 damage to your opponent's active Pokémon, and 90 damage to one of your opponent's benched Pokémon. Again, looking at Expanded, we have many options to deal this damage, like Tapu Koko PR-SM SM30 or Ampharos DRX 40.

1 - Moltres & Zapdos & Articuno TAG TEAM-GX (Sun/Moon: Hidden Fates)

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And, in our first place, just like in Articuno's articlelink outside website, we have this TAG TEAM Zapdos. This is both because of its regular attack and its GX attack, Sky Legend, which deals 110 damage to 3 targets!

Honorable Mentions

Zapdos (Black/White: Next Destinies)

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Zapdos ex (Ruby/Sapphire: Promo Card)

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Final Words

What did you think of our list? What would your list of the top 10 best Zapdos look like? Tell us your thoughts down below.

Thank you for reading! See you next time!