Pokémon Sword & Shield Crown Tundra - How to Catch Articuno, Moltres, & Zapdos

Last Update: May 9, 2021 12:08 PM


Pokemon Sword Shield Legendary Birds

After months of anticipation, the second part of the Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass has been released. The Crown Tundra has got trainers everywhere chomping at the bit to catch ‘em all once again. The Isle of Armor, the first part of the Expansion Pass which came out earlier this year, allowed trainers to get their hands on Urshifu, a brand new Legendary Pokémon. Well, they’ve really gone all out with The Crown Tundra: almost all Legendaries from previous games are available to catch here, alongside a smattering of new ones.

Amongst the new Pokémon are three familiar figures. Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres, the Legendary trio of birds from the original Kanto region, have joined the ranks of The Crown Tundra’s roster.

“Hang on," I hear you say, “I remember those from when I was a kid. They aren’t new!” Well, in a series first, the franchise has introduced regional variants for existing Legendary Pokémon. The designs and types of the trio have been changed significantly. Articuno is now a Psychic/Flying type, Zapdos is now a Fighting/Flying type, and Moltres is now a Dark/Flying type.

The Three Legendary Birds side by side

I think this is an interesting move from Game Freak and one that pays off. There’s a balance of nostalgia and novelty for new and old fans alike. I also like the symmetry of the types’ effectiveness against each other: Dark<Fighting<Psychic<Dark.

Anyway, that’s all well and good… but how do you catch them? I’m sure that’s what you all came here for.

The Crown Tundra: A Legendary Three and a Legendary Tree

Peony, your enthusiastic Poké-hunting companion, dubs this quest "A Legendary Three and a Legendary Tree." After listening to his ramblings, your first port of call is the Dyna Tree towards the southern tip of The Crown Tundra. You should be able to see it from Freezington. It’s hard to miss, so just keep heading down the map until you get there.

After a brief clip, each bird soars off to different parts of the map. Peony gives you a ring to say they’ve each headed off to a separate Wild Area where you must hunt them down and catch them.

Pokemon Sword & Shield Crown Tundra - How to Catch Articuno

First things first, Articuno stays in The Crown Tundra’s Wild Area to be hunted. I found it on Snowslide Slope, so that’s a good place to start looking. Ride around on your bike and you should hear its distinctive cry before too long. When approached, Articuno will create two clones and the three figures will spin around in a circle before coming to earth. The real Articuno will flap its wings before joining this circle, so try to keep an eye on that one before you engage.

It’s a good idea to save at this point. If you fail to catch Articuno, it isn’t gone for good like other games but you’ll have to go through the rigmarole of hunting it down again. Easier to save and reload if you don’t catch it the first time. Other than that, it’s straightforward enough. Make sure you have Pokémon with Thunder Wave and False Swipe handy and you shouldn’t have too much trouble. The same goes for the other two birds as well.


Pokemon Sword & Shield Crown Tundra - How to Catch Moltres

Once Articuno’s in the bag, head to the Isle of Armor’s Wild Area. This is where you’ll find Moltres. I’d recommend taking a Flying Taxi to the Dojo and have a look out for the Dark/Flying Legendary in the skies. As with Articuno, listen out for its distinctive cry as well. It basically does a lap round the island. Try to anticipate where it’s headed or, even better, memorize the route so you can intercept it as it does the rounds.

Again, save before engaging and get the right Pokémon in the lead slot. Now you’re nearly home and dry; just one bird left.


Pokemon Sword & Shield Crown Tundra - How to Catch Zapdos

Last but not least, the hunt for Zapdos will take you to the original Wild Area of the base game. This one can be a bit of a pain in the arse, to be honest. It’s probably the trickiest of the three. Take a Flying Taxi to the Meeting Spot, the place you entered the Wild Area for the first time. If you scan the nearby area, you should see Zapdos somewhere in the distance. You’ll want to get on your bike for this one.

Zapdos will run away from you for a period, but it gradually tires itself out. Just follow it round for a while and you’ll be able to catch up before long. Yep, a Legendary emu-like bird can be chased down by a kid on a bike. Not hugely impressive but there you go.


Anyway, you’ve now got the three Legendary Galarian birds at your command, which is something to write home about. Give Peony a shout and he’ll mark Legendary Clue 3 as complete. Onwards and upwards!


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More Info About This Game
Learn more about Pokémon Sword and Shield
Game Freak
Nintendo Switch
Release Date
November 15, 2019 (Calendar)
Open World, RPG
Purchase (Some links may be affiliated)