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Currently, people are trying Rotom-H, Incineroar, Landorus and Fire/Ghost types to counter Zacian. However, excluding things such as Marowak-A and Blacephelon because they are too situational and are barely used aside from countering Zacian, what else that is relatively viable in the current series 8 metagame can be used to defeat Zacian?

Some Zacian run substitute sets. In a 1v1 situation, Zacian can simply hide behind a substitute and whittle away Incineroar's HP as it flare blitzes, only to be KOd by close combat at the end.

If Zacian switches in after Landorus, it is a guaranteed KO. Using scarfed Landorus isn't a great idea either because e-quake doesn't KO Zacian 100% of the time and most Zacian even run bulkier sets now with adamant.

Rotom-H also has a similar problem as Incineroar, where overheat forces Rotom to go -2 sp.atk and Zacian can either swords dance + close combat next turn or Behemoth blade + close combat for guaranteed KO.

So how can you beat Zacian 100% considering all scenarios?

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3 Answers

4 votes
Best answer

There's hardly ever a 100% guarantee in Pokémon, but I can give some examples of Pokemon that have good matchups into

  • Sun is pretty good against Zacian in general; Charizard and Torkoal can both reliably win in endgame scenarios against it. A well-played Groudon can beat Zacian, but it's much less reliable because it doesn't resist fighting or steel.

  • Volcarona is an interesting niche pick as it resists fighting and steel, and can either OHKO with overheat or use rage powder to protect a teammate (and have a chance to burn with flame body!).

  • Palkia resists Behemoth Blade and has good defensive stats, and is especially good against Zacian when you use Fevzi's method of leading Palkia next to Gothitelle, using fake out and trick room, and then using fake tears and KOing Zaician. Although this example isn't really a 1v1 scenario, a well-played Palkia can still beat Zacian pretty reliably, especially with fire blast or earth power.

  • Metagross and Solgaleo both have pretty good matchups into Zacian, as they can stack defense boosts with Max Steelspike, or KO it with an activated weakness policy. Zacian can take it on with some chip, but generally you'll have the upper hand.

  • Ho-oh has a very favorable matchup into Zacian and should always win a 1v1 situation, barring Wild Charge and Sacred Fire misses.

  • Focus Sash Regieleki is a very viable Pokemon in general and is also very strong against Zacian, as it can outspeed and 2HKO all but the bulkiest of Zacian spreads with Thunderbolt.

  • Surprisingly, Calyrex-Ice can have a good matchup into Zacan, with the right support. You can fake out Zacian and set Trick Room, or protect while something like Mimikyu sets TR, then KO it with max quake. Pokemon like Mimikyu that can reliably get a Will-o-Wisp off into Zacian are good as well, including Sableye and Talonflame.

As I said, it's really hard to 100% guarantee that a Pokémon can win a 1v1 against another Pokémon, especially with a mon like Zacian that is so strong it can afford to be bulky as well, not to mention that Zacian is often run with Lapras, and Aurora Veil can greatly throw off your damage calcs. However, I hope that these suggestions help your team deal with Zacian a little better.

(PS: while Incineroar and Landorus won't win a 1v1 against Zacian, they are still very valuable tools to have on your team in order to help keep Zacian in check, and let your sweepers handle KOing it, especially since they both resist one of Zacian's most common moves and can be used as great switch-ins.)

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3 votes

I might be a bit late, but I asked this on Smogon forums, and somebody named Dragonpiley007 answered this:

There are a couple of Pokemon that resist both Behemoth Blade and Close Combat, namely Zapdos, Thundurus, Ho-Oh and Charizard, although the latter is usually exclusive to sun. While these don't really switch into Behemoth Blade (except Ho-Oh) they can take one from full and KO Zacian with Max Airstream + STAB move. Necrozma-DM, Solgaleo and Metagross are fairly good options as they resist Behemoth Blade, aren't weak to Close Combat and can boost Defense while doing great damage with Max Steelspike. Groudon can take one Behemoth Blade and OHKO Zacian back Regieleki and Calyrex-S can both outspeed and threaten to do a lot of damage to it. With the right EVs Porygon2 can take a CC and set up trick room to allow your slower Pokemon to beat zacian, and Reflect also helps a lot even if Grimmsnarl has to sacrifice itself to set it up. Alternatively you can use dual screens Regieleki instead. Scarf Landorus-T could be viable, but Earthquake doesn't actually OHKO Zacian from full unless Zacian is the only target.

Some calculations:

  • +1 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Dynamax Ho-Oh: 170-202 (39.9 - 47.4%) -- guaranteed 3HKO (with recover you're guaranteed to beat zacian every time unless they have SD, but they still have to dodge the burn from Sacred Fire and Wild Charge isnt too common)
  • +1 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Metagross: 63-74 (33.6 - 39.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO (note that NDM and Solgaleo are significantly bulkier than Metagross, so they will take even less)
  • +1 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Groudon: 118-139 (57 - 67.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
    236+ Atk Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Zacian-Crowned: 168-198 (100.5 - 118.5%) -- guaranteed OHKO (you'll need to dynamax if its a bulky set, but that also means it might not be a 2HKO) (soft sand also guarantees this)
  • +1 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 124 Def Eviolite Porygon2: 160-190 (83.3 - 98.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 Atk Landorus-Therian Earthquake vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Zacian-Crowned: 122-146 (73 - 87.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO


1 vote

I am going to try some of the most popular Pokemon with a type advantage, and we can see how much each does. First, Landorus-T.

As you said, it is not a good counter at all. 252 Atk Landorus-Therian Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 28 Def Zacian-Crowned: 120-144 (60.3 - 72.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO. This is the bulkiest set I found by the way. Anyways, zacian 2 hit KOs this thing anyways, and it's going to outspeed any day. With this set, Zacian still outspeeds. Zacian can then set up a swords dance, survive a hit, then outspeed and ohko. I would not use Landorus-T.

Groudon is not a good option either. Zacian outspeeds it, and can play rough twice to 2 hit ohko it. 252+ Atk Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 252 HP / 28 Def Zacian-Crowned: 162-192 (81.4 - 96.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO. I am using the bulkiest set that I found for Zacian.

Next, lets look at Charizard. This thing can actually outspeed and do this much damage: 252 SpA Life Orb Charizard Heat Wave vs. 252 HP / 36 SpD Zacian-Crowned: 120-143 (60.3 - 71.8%) -- guaranteed 2HKO. It can also take a play rough quite well. I would say this is quite a good counter.

Next, we are at Torkoal. For torkoal, it will outspeed in trick room, which is where I believe it is usually run. 252+ SpA Charcoal Torkoal Eruption (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 36 SpD Zacian-Crowned in Sun: 242-288 (121.6 - 144.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO. This is excellent. It surprisingly can also tank a close combat: +1 92+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Torkoal: 94-111 (53.1 - 62.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO. This is probably your best bet. However, I would like to go over some other options in case you don't like trick room.

Next, Coalossal. I am going under the assumption that the boost to the speed stat and the Special attack stat are already raised, because a max speed dragapult outspeeds the zacian set. This means that coalossal actually will outspeed zacian. +2 252+ SpA Coalossal Heat Wave vs. 252 HP / 36 SpD Zacian-Crowned: 168-198 (84.4 - 99.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO. Unfortunately, this thing can't ohko, and Zacian gladly ohkos this thing.

Cinderace with max speed and jolly nature outspeeds zacian. This is amazing for it, as you never run it in trick room, but it also means that it has a very good chance to ohko, especially when you run life orb. 252 Atk Life Orb Cinderace Pyro Ball vs. 252 HP / 28 Def Zacian-Crowned: 213-252 (107 - 126.6%) -- guaranteed OHKO. Cinderace is another premier counter to zacian.

Overall, your best bets would be Torkoal or Cinderace. For reference, I tried out torkoal with a max special defense zacian and it still is a guaranteed OHKO. Cinderace has a 37.5 chance against a max defense zacian, but that is still quite good.

Hope this helped!

no one uses defensive Zacian EVs.
Actually, if you look at pikalytics, the set I am using is used 10% of the time.
The only reason I tested out full defensive investment is if some idiot decided to actually do it, how it would work.
You could be Scarfed Lando.
Also, cinderace isn’t very viable.
" most Zacian even run bulkier sets now with adamant."
" Using scarfed Landorus isn't a great idea either because e-quake doesn't KO Zacian 100% of the time"

Did either of you read the actual question?