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Counter Play: Zapdos

Zapdos TEU 40Welcome to Counter Play, a new series where we show off smart techs to help you counter meta decks! One of the most popular decks in the current meta is based around the new Zapdos brought to us with the release of Team Up. One of the reasons it's so powerful is its fantastic attack Thunderous Assault.

[L] Thunderous Assault: 10+
If this Pokémon was on the Bench and became your Active Pokémon this turn, this attack does 70 more damage. This attack’s damage isn’t affected by Weakness.

With a single Energy (or even free with Thunder Mountain Prism Star) you can do quite a bit of damage rather easily! 80 Damage isn't the threshold of possible damage however. Electropower makes it quite easy to beef up damage! Volkner and Jirachi TEU 99 also can make it quite easy to search it out so you can use it at the right moments. There's even Electrocharger to grab them back if you need to!

With Rainbow Energy you can not only use Zapdos, but other threats as well like Buzzwole and Nihilego LOT 106 to make Zapdos decks even more of a threat. With plenty of switching cards and Escape Board there's a lot of ways to get Zapdos out as needed, but even Zeraora-GX can make those switches even easier. 

So how can we take on this deck? What potential counters are there to take it down? Let's take a look at how to take down Zapdos decks!

Stop The Switch

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If the opponent can't easily switch out their Jirachi they are likely trying to use and their Zapdos, they are going to have a hard time attacking. Mount Lanakila can do the trick and help in the stadium war but it also effects your own Pokemon which can be inconvenient. Absol is a single Nest Ball away from hitting the bench and stopping your opponent from using Escape Board to help Jirachi escape. Absol is very easy to sneak into any deck, so consider using it in yours!

Of course we do have to mention that this can't stop all switches. As mentioned before, Zeraora-GX can stop some of this in its tracks, and there's always Switch and Escape Rope as well so take them into consideration. 

Hit For Weakness

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Zapdos does have a weakness to Lighting Pokemon, so let's hit it where it hurts! We've found four Pokemon that can do the trick, some more effective than others. Let's give them all a quick look!

  • Zebstrika: Some decks already use this as a draw engine, and all it takes is a Counter Energy to snag a one hit knock out! It's not the most effective, but if you already have one why not maybe put it to use?
  • Alolan Raichu: With Ditto Prism Star this could almost be considered for Malamar variants as it will always manage a one hit knock out! As a side bonus, it can two hit knock out Pikachu & Zekrom-GX as well. It's not perfect, but it's something to consider!
  • Stunfisk: Did the opponent use a Rainbow Energy? Thunder Blast will take them out! Did they not manage to knock you out with Thunderous Assault? Flail is an instant knock out right back! This can fit into most any deck, so it's easy to consider!
  • Plusle SLG 33: Put a Minun on the bench and all it takes is a single Energy to take Zapdos down! We even made a budget deck based on the concept you can see here

Punish Item Use

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With the opponent wanting to use Electropower, why not punish them for doing so? It doesn't take much to get Trashalanche doing enough damage for the knockout, just six items! With the opponent using Nest Ball and other items as well, there's a good chance you can manage it! Plus with Alolan Muk TEU 84 you can even force it to happen. It also only takes a single Energy to make it work as well so give it some consideration!

No More Rainbows, No More Energy

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They can't use their extra attackers if you deny them their Rainbow Energy! There's plenty of options to take them out like Enhanced Hammer, Faba, Plumeria, and Crushing Hammer! That's not all however. There is a deck that has made the rounds in Japan using the new Lycanroc-GX combined with Alolan Persian LOT 119 to do some serious damage. All it takes is a Professor Kukui to snag the one hit knock out as well! It's certainly a concept worth playing with, so maybe give it a try! 

Stop Their Attacks

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There's a reason Vileplume has suddenly gotten popular in the format! Its ability Disgusting Pollen stops the opponent from doing any attacks with Basic Pokemon. Guess what kind of attackers Zapdos decks have? If you guess Basic Pokemon you get a piece of charcoal from the LiteralGrill! This card can stop them cold, and decks based around it have been shown to have serious results so give it some consideration. 


That's all we have for counters this time! Though speaking of Vileplume, next time we'll be taking a look at ways to counter this deck that is quickly gaining popularity! Until then, did you like the counters we presented? Have any of your own we missed? Sound off in the comments below or tell me directly on Twitter @LiteralGrill. Until next time, stay lit trainers!

- Linnea 'LiteralGrill' Capps


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