The Crown Tundra has arrived, and with it, a tsunami of legendary Pokémon from the National Dex.
Much of the storyline is based around tracking down these creatures of myth, with you needing to work out how to solve the Regi riddles and track down the Galarian forms of the original Legendary Birds.
Galarian Articuno, Galarian Moltres, and Galarian Zapdos come in with different appearances and new types, and unlike their Generation I cousins, aren’t patiently waiting for your arrival in a convenient location.
Here, we’re running through how to find each of the three Galarian Legendary Birds, commence the battle with them in the wild, and catch them in the Crown Tundra DLC.
How to trigger ‘The Bird Pokémon of Legend’ mission
If you want to catch the Galarian forms of Articuno, Moltres, or Zapdos, you’ll need the Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass for your game. Next, head to Wedgehurst Station and get the train to the Crown Tundra.
After you arrive, you’ll meet Peony, who will eventually set you up on three mission lines, each of which follows Legendary Clues. Legendary Clue 3 is all about the Galarain Legendary Birds, known as ‘The Bird Pokémon of Legend.’
Legendary Clue 3 depicts a gigantic red tree holding a lot of fruit. On the map of the Crown Tundra, in the southernmost area, there’s a large pink tree, which you’ll need to cycle down to.
When you arrive, you’ll see a small land bridge that crosses the moat surrounding the tree. As soon as you step towards the tree, you’ll encounter all three of the Galarian Legendary Birds.
When Galarian Articuno, Galarian Moltres, and Galarian Zapdos notice your presence, they’ll flee to different areas of the Galar region, as follows:
- Galarian Articuno sets off across the Crown Tundra;
- Galarian Moltres flew off to the Isle of Armor;
- Galarian Zapdos dashed off to the Wild Area.
Before you leave the Legendary Tree, however, you may want to venture around to the back. You’ll see a yellow Poké Ball on the ground. If you go to pick it up, you’ll start shaking the tree. Keep going until you trigger the mighty Dynamax Greedent battle – in which you can use your whole team.
If you win the battle, you’ll get 30 Oran Berries, ten Sitrus Berries, one Lansat Berry, 20 Tamato Berries, 15 Hondew Berries, five Chople Berries, and one Starf Berry.
What happens if you defeat Articuno, Moltres, or Zapdos?
A good thing to know about the Galarian Legendary Birds in Pokémon Sword and Shield is that, even if you do defeat them in battle, they will come back around.
You’ll have to leave the area that Galarian Articuno, Moltres, or Zapdos is found in, and then return to spot them again. It’s as easy as flying to another location and then flying back.
To help you keep the Pokémon alive in your first encounter, incorporate the perfect catching machine Pokémon into your team before you go to find Galarian Legendary Birds.
Where to find Galarian Articuno, the ‘bird of purple’
Galarian Articuno flies off to somewhere in the Crown Tundra area, and luckily, you don’t need to go too far to find the psychic-flying type Pokémon.
Finding and commencing the battle with Galarian Articuno can take a fair bit of legwork. There are a few places that the Legendary Bird can pop-up, with two of the first places to search being on the far side of the hill that leads up to Frostpoint Field and just outside the Old Cemetery.
Check out the map above for the areas that you can see Galarian Articuno waiting around for your visit.
Once you’ve spotted Galarian Articuno out in the Crown Tundra, it’ll burst into three birds. Just get in the middle of the circle and wait for them to snap back into one.
After this odd little spectacle, the true Galarian Articuno will turn tail and fly off into the snowy mountains.
To then find Galarian Articuno in its second location, you’ll want to make your way to the foot of the mountain: the location marked on the map as Snowslide Slope.
From there, pedal all the way up the slope, turning off to the left quite high up, before the right turn that goes into the mountain, and after the passage of white trees.
As seen below, you’ll spot a Den to the right of a large patch of grass.
On the other side of this grass patch, there’s a small passage to the side of the rock, leading to an overlook. This is where you’ll find the second Articuno location.
Approach the Legendary Bird, wait for the circle to descend on you, move into the Articuno, and then, the battle will commence.
Tips for catching Galarian Articuno
The best thing to do when you spot Articuno at its second location is to go to the pause screen and then save your game. This way, if you defeat it, you don’t have to cycle away and back to commence the encounter again – you can just kill the game and open it back up.
Unlike the ice-flying original, Galarian Articuno is a psychic-flying type Pokémon, encountered at Level 70.
The Legendary Bird of the Crown Tundra is strong against grass, fighting, and psychic-type moves, with ground-type attacks not even damaging the Pokémon. However, rock, ghost, dark, ice, and electric-type moves are super effective against Galarian Articuno.
So, you’ll want to come into the battle with strong Pokémon around Level 60 to Level 80 to deal the damage, particularly ones with weak-to-moderate grass or psychic-type attacks to knock off small bits of its HP.
Galarian Articuno’s move set, in this encounter, was made up of three psychic attacks and one flying attack. So, if you have a decent steel-type Pokémon, the Legendary Bird’s moves will all-but bounce off of it while you attempt to make the catch or cut down its HP.
There’s a very good chance that it’ll be hailing when you encounter Galarian Articuno, which will damage the Pokémon that you’re trying to catch. So, it’s wise to start throwing Ultra Balls at Articuno as soon as it enters the final third of its health bar.
It may be a Legendary Pokémon, but there’s always a chance that a Quick Ball will work if it’s your first act of the battle. Other than that, grind Articuno down to a low HP and then clobber it with Ultra Balls. It also helps if you can paralyse or put it to sleep.
Where to find Galarian Moltres, the ‘bird of black’
Galarian Moltes flies up the western coast of the Galar region to reach the Isle of Armor. However, if you arrive on the island at the right spot, you’ll immediately be able to see and hear Moltres.
To be able to find Galarian Moltres quickly, you should fly to Armor Station at the Fields of Honour, as seen below.
Unlike Articuno, Moltres has a repeating flight path that spans a large area of the Isle of Armor. It swoops from the ocean, over the Master Dojo, through the Soothing Wetlands, across to the Tower of Waters, and then out to sea before coming back around.
The best place to get Galarian Moltres, however, is right in front of the Master Dojo. Anyone chasing Moltres will quickly get left behind, so, to stop Moltres, you need to get ahead of its flight path by waiting in the grass near the dojo.
As soon as you leave Armor Station, get on your bike, race across the beach, turn inland, and then set-up in the middle of the grass in front of the Master Dojo, as seen above.
When Moltres flies back over the area, align yourself with it and ring your bike bell (press the left analogue) as much as possible. This will irritate the dark-flying type Legendary Bird, causing it to stop and attack.
If you miss it, you can try to chase it through the wetlands, ringing your bell as much as possible, but if it makes it to Challenge Beach, just fly back to the station via the map and try again.
Tips for catching Galarian Moltres
When Galarain Moltres stops in the air, starting its descent to commence the encounter, quickly save your game so that you can quit and return if you accidentally defeat the Legendary Bird.
Original Moltres from the Kanto region was a fire-flying type Pokémon, but Galarian Moltres is a dark-flying type Pokémon, encountered at Level 70.
Ground and psychic-type attacks won’t have any impact on Moltres. Grass, ghost, and dark-type moves aren’t very effective against the Legendary Bird, but electric, ice, rock, and fairy moves are super effective against Galarian Moltres.
So, it’s best to have strong Pokémon around Level 60 to Level 80 in your team to do the attacking, particularly ones with weak-to-moderate grass, ghost, or dark-type attacks to knock off small bits of its HP.
Galarian Moltres’ move set, in this encounter, featured three dark-type attacks and one flying-type move. So, having a decent fighting, fairy, rock, steel, or electric-type Pokémon (or one with a mixture of two of those) will help you to last against the Legendary Bird’s strongest moves while you cut down its HP and attempt the catch.
If you have plenty to spare, throwing a Quick Ball as soon as the Moltres battle starts is always worth trying.
After that, however, Galarian Moltres can prove to be one of the more stubborn of the Legendary Birds to catch, but Ultra Balls are still the best way to go. Paralysing the Pokémon or putting it to sleep can also help you land the catch.
If the encounter goes on long enough for the Moltres to only have its Nasty Plot move left, you could also try the trusty Timer Ball – it worked on the main Sword and Shield legendaries.
Where to find Galarian Zapdos, the ‘bird of orange’
Galarian Zapdos runs away from the Legendary Tree, heading north and settling in the Wild Area of the original Pokémon Sword and Shield map.
The fighting-flying type Pokémon is easy enough to spot, but you’ll need to deploy some tactical cycling to catch up after you find Zapdos in the Wild Area.
Below, you can see the map of the Wild Area and the route that Galarian Zapdos runs once it has become aware of your presence.
If you arrive at the Wild Area by flying to the Meetup Spot, you can usually find Galarian Zapdos just to the left or right of the path leading into the area.
When you get too close, Zapdos will run around the route shown above. The trick is to clock when it starts to run out wide, at which point you cut along the inside and keep using your boost as soon as possible to make up the distance.
However, when chasing Zapdos, you’ll need to be sure not to cycle too far ahead as the roadrunner-like Legendary Bird will double-back and go the other way, leaving you left in its dust.
Its route through the Dappled Grove presents better opportunities to cut in on Galarian Zapdos’ course and catch it on the inside.
Tips for catching Galarian Zapdos
It’s a good idea to save your game before you start chasing Zapdos, as doing so when you’re about to close it down may end up being a waste of time anyway. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to find Galarian Zapdos and catch the Pokémon on its run when you’re in the Wild Area.
Rather than being an electric-flying type Pokémon, the typing of its Generation I counterpart, Galarian Zapdos is a fighting-flying type Legendary Bird, which you find in the Wild Area at Level 70.
Fairy, psychic, flying, ice, and electric-type moves are super effective against Zapdos, so it’s best to avoid them in the battle. Ground moves, on the other hand, won’t do anything to the Pokémon.
Grass, fighting, dark, and particularly bug-type attacks aren’t very effective against Galarian Zapdos, so be sure to have some in the move sets of your party Pokémon.
Make sure that your team is made up of strong Pokémon in the Level 60 to Level 80 range to do the damage, especially ones with weaker grass, fighting, dark, or bug-type attacks to help whittle down Zapdos’ HP.
In this encounter, Galarian Zapdos had Focus Energy, two fighting-type attacks, and one flying-type attack. So, to give you time to knock off segements of its HP and try to catch the Pokémon, see if you have a decent Pokémon which has a dual-type of poison, psychic, ghost, fairy, or electric to soak-up attacks.
If you fancy your chances, chuck out a Quick Ball as soon as you encounter Galarian Zapdos, especially if the weather conditions deal damage.
Otherwise, continue to chip away at Zapdos’ HP with attacks that at aren’t very effective until it’s in the red zone, and then keep on lobbing Ultra Balls. It also helps to give it a status condition that doesn’t cut the Legendary Bird’s health, such as by paralysing it or putting it to sleep.
What do you do after you catch all three Galarian Legendary Birds?
As soon as you’ve caught Galarian Articuno, Galarian Moltres, Galarian Zapdos – or after each catch – you can return to Peony in Freezington, meeting him in his house (shown above).
In the house with the red flag out front, you’ll see Peony waiting for you to return with your information. Talk to him (press A), and then scroll down to report ‘The legendary bird Pokémon.’
After you’ve given Peony your report on Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos, he’ll put a big green tick on the Legendary Clue 3 that he gave you earlier in the story.
You’ll need to complete all three of Peony’s Legendary Clues to complete the main storyline of the Crown Tundra.
There you have it: you now know where to find Galarian Legendary Birds, how to catch Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos, and how to complete Legendary Clue 3.