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Pokémon Crown Tundra Legendary Birds: how to catch Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres

A full walkthrough for the third adventure in the Crown Tundra expansion.

The Legendary Birds are the focus of your third adventure in The Crown Tundra DLC for Pokémon Sword and Shield, dubbed A Legendary Three and a Legendary Tree.

Your mission is simple enough: go to the giant pink tree, and catch them! This page details how to catch Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres, with that in mind.

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A Legendary Three and a Legendary Tree: where to find the tree with the Legendary Birds

First things first, to start this adventure off you need to head to the big, pink, legendary tree.

It's located in the middle of Ballimere Lake. To get there, head all the way to the temple where you found Regirock (you can fly to it via taxi now if you've visited before). If you haven't been there before, it's all the way at the east end of Giant's Bed, via the lower route through Old Cemetary, keep hanging right.

Just before you reach that temple is a river: surf along it to the far end and hop up left onto the land, and you'll have arrived at Ballimere Lake. The tree itself is on a central island - the ramp up to it is on the opposite side of the area, so just work your way round in either direction to get there.

Once you reach the tree, the three birds will appear - and start battling! That is, until you get an awkwardly-timed phone call from Peony, and they all fly off. They've gone to three separate locations, and will each require three separate methods to catch them. Articuno is somewhere here in The Crown Tundra; Zapdos is running around in the original Wild Area; and Moltres is flying around in the Isle of Armor.

How to catch Articuno in The Crown Tundra DLC

First up, Articuno. Prepare yourself for another typical legendary encounter first - bring a good catcher Pokémon with False Swipe and a status effect move, and some other beefy ones to soak up the damage - and lots of Poké Balls too.

Articuno location and how to catch it

Articuno will have settled somewhere in The Crown Tundra, and will be hovvering in a fixed position a few metres off the ground. We found it in the Old Cemetary first, and then when we failed to catch it, it flew off to an area off the side of the top of Snowslide Slope. You can manually follow it by cycling along behind it if it flies off!

When you approach Articuno, it'll create two decoys of itself, and the three Articunos will start spinning around in a circle. Interact with the right one and it'll trigger the battle for you to catch it. Get one of the two decoys and it'll fly off for you to try again somewhere else.

There are two tricks here, for making your life easy. One: when you find it, save your game, so you can quickly reload and try again. And two: Articuno actually does a little gesture animation after spawning its two decoys where it sticks out one wing, so if you keep your eye on the original one as they quickly spin around, you can interact with that one knowing it's the original Articuno.

How to catch Zapdos in The Crown Tundra DLC

Zapdos is next, and it's currently sprinting about in the Wild Area back by Hammerlocke - we found it in the first, lower half ourselves.

Zapdos location and how to catch it

Fly to the Wild Area and you'll see Zapdos run off. At first, it's faster even than you sprinting on your bike, but stick with it! Keep following it as best as you can, and eventually Zapdos will begin to tire, and slow down.

After a bit of chasing you'll be able to catch up to it, so simply cycle into it and it'll start the battle.

Make sure you come prepared with catcher Pokémon and balls of course, too.

How to catch Moltres in The Crown Tundra DLC

Finally, Moltres, which is found over in the Isle of Armor.

Moltres location and how to catch it

Head to the Isle of Armor's station, where you first arrived there, and Moltres will fly off. It actually does one, giant lap of the entire island, flying off out towards the big Wailmer in the sea ahead, going in front of the Dojo, into the next area, out to the tower on the beach, right along the edge of the map and all the way back round to the start.

The easiest thing to do is just wait in a spot where you know Moltres flies on its route. We waited in front of the Dojo but you could also wait in front of the Tower of Water, which is the big one on the beach to the west. Or, if you miss it, you could just get ahead of it somewhere and wait for it to come towards you, and line yourself up with its path of flight.

Either way, don't listen to Peony's advice, if you asked him for a hint back at his house - he says sneak up behind it, which is actually impossible because Moltres flies faster than you, and the opposite of what you need it to do. You need it to fly into you where you stand in its way!

Once you've caught it, that's this adventure done! Report back to Peony, and then a final adventure will begin... They Came From Ultra Space! Head straight to our guide to that there, or back to our main Crown Tundra walkthrough and guide hub.

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Chris Tapsell

Deputy Editor

Chris Tapsell is Eurogamer's Deputy Editor and most decorated Football Manager. He used to write guides, and will send you links to his favourite spreadsheets if you ask him about League of Legends or competitive Pokémon.