Zapdos – Base Set

Date Reviewed:  January 16, 2024

Ratings Summary: See Below
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Average eBay Sale as of today (1st Edition):

PSA 10: $4500
PSA 7: $400
PSA 3: $125

Reviews Below:

vince avatar

Greetings, Trainers! Today, we delve into the majestic skies of the Base Set era with the legendary bird of thunder, Zapdos! Strap on your rubber boots and grab your lightning rod, because it’s time to see if this electric terror stands the test of time.

Card Details:

  • Name: Zapdos
  • Set: Base Set
  • Card Number: 16/102
  • Type: Lightning
  • Stage: Basic


  • HP (Hit Points): 90
  • Resistance: Fighting
  • Retreat Cost: 3

First Impressions: Look, let’s be honest. This card is gorgeous. Ken Sugimori’s artwork captures Zapdos’ regal power and menacing glint perfectly. It’s one of the reasons this card goes for a pretty penny nowadays, let me tell you. But what about its playability? 

Stats: 90 HP.  Pretty nice for a basic Pokemon and helps Zapdos weather a few hits. And fighting resistance helped it against the likes Hitmonchan and Machamp in the early days.  

Attacks: Ah, yes, the meat of the matter. Zapdos packs two attacks. First up, Thunder 60 damage for 3 Lightning is pretty good, but you have a 50% chance to do 30 damage to yourself.  Yuck! 

Then we have the main event: Thunderbolt. Four Lightning for 100 damage.  It was enough to KO plenty of Pokemon and even put a huge dent in the big boys like Charizard. But here’s the twist: Thunderstorm also discards all cards from Zapdos. Ouch. 

I recall some early players would try to build pure Lightning decks with Electabuzz, Zapdos, Voltorb, and Electrode, and try to the blow the ever living snot out of people. These were fun decks that would do well against newbie decks.  But a well-built Haymaker deck would still come out ahead most of the time.  

Overall: Zapdos is a nostalgic blast from the past. It wasn’t perfect, but its powerful attack and iconic status made it a popular choice in decks, especially for newer players. In today’s meta? Probably not your first pick. But hey, for collectors and nostalgia fiends, this card is a true gold mine (literally, if you have a first edition holo).

Final Verdict: 3 out of 5 stars.  Zapdos’ legacy of raw power and stunning artwork ensures its place in every Pokemon Trainer’s heart (and binder).

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