Pokémon Go Legendary Pokémon had been hotly anticipated for some time, eventually arriving a full one year after the game released.
Fans of the classic games will remember them fondly - from the flying trio Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres to the elusive Mewtwo and Mew in Red, Blue and Yellow to Gen 2's Gold, Silver and Crystal, Legendary beasts Raikou, Entei, Suicune, and beyond.
These are amongst the game's rarest creatures, and can be caught from multiple sources - from Raids, the Legendary Lunch Hour event to Field Research rewards - depending on the month in question.
All Legendary Pokémon currently available in Pokémon Go
Legendaries are primarily caught in Raid battles, and much challenging than standard encounters, so will require as many players as possible to take them down.
Living in major cities with gyms at popular landmarks will naturally attract players without organising before hand - just look out for the blue and white Egg, and get there for the countdown, and provided you are in a popular spot, other players should be there waiting for it to begin.
Otherwise, joining Facebook or Discord groups for your town or area is a popular way to organise groups. In battle, you essentially want to field powerful Pokémon with strong opposing Types.
You can also get Legendaries by completing a week's worth of Research quests. Like Legendaries in Raids, these rotate regularly, and focus on previously released Legendaries for those who missed them.
Finally, Gen 4's Azelf, Uxie, Mesprit buck the trend and appear in the wild around lakes and other water features as extremely rare wild spawns, as well as being in Legendary Raids.
How to catch Legendaries and how to unlock Legendary Raids in Pokémon Go
Ninatic finally unlocked Legendary Pokémon in Pokémon Go following Pokémon Go Fest. Summer 2017 saw Legendary birds Moltres, Articuno and Moltres come and go, with Legendary beasts Raikou, Entei, Suicune here for Autumn - and the start of a Gen 3 Legendary rollout over the winter, starting with Groudon.
Though they are similar to standard Raid Battles in many ways, there are several differences in both their appearance and capture:
How to capture Legendary Pokémon
Like other Raid encounters, once a Legendary's defeated you have to then catch it. This is difficult seeing as, according to research available from Pokémon Go community The Silph Road, your chances are pretty slim.
With the above in mind, what can you do to increase your chances of catching Legendary Pokémon? It's recommended you:
The history of Legendaries in Pokémon Go
Before we even heard their presence was confirmed in the big Gym rework, we already knew the various Legendaries were in the game.
That's thanks to some good old-fashioned datamining. NesstendoYT on YouTube was one major player, who dug through the game's files to discover that the above first generation Legendary Pokémon are indeed listed in the game:
Their absence in the game led to plenty of speculation, particularly with one of the strongest and most famous Legendary Pokémon - Mewtwo - being the focus of one of the game's first trailers, showing crowds of people teaming up to fight it, whittling down its health as a timer ticks down before capturing the Pokémon in a packed Times Square, suggesting that Mewtwo and other Legendaries could be unlocked through public events rather than random encounters.
That's since been confirmed of course - but it's interesting Mewtwo pops up again at the end of the trailer... maybe that's the Legendary Raid that needs to be tackled in Chicago?
As for Gen 2's Raikou, Entei, Suicune, Lugia, Ho-oh and Celebi, they've appeared in datamining efforts, too, with their stats showing up alongside the likes of the birds, Mew and Mewtwo.
These stats reveal them to be among the best Pokémon in our Pokémon Go tier list, with Mewtwo and Ho-Oh having some of the highest base attacks in the game, more so than existing creatures Alakazam and Dragonite.
The datamine also revealed that these creatures have no capture rate at all, so perhaps that lends itself to the theory that Legendaries will automatically be caught after defeating them in a Legendary Raid?
We knew for some time that Legendaries were coming, but what's the story, and how did we get to this point?
When did we think Legendaries were coming? The Legendary teases:
In an interview with Wired Germany (via Den of Geek, Niantic CEO John Hanke said "with certainty that we will see [legendaries] more this year" - so that at least narrowed it down to 2017!
The biggest suggestion to date came from a five word acceptance speech from Niantic during the 21st Annual Webby Awards: "This summer will be legendary", a heavy hint we were set to see something soon:
That seemed to have been corroborated by the latest trickle of information, where Niantic suggested that "Legendary Pokémon and battles between players" were set to arrive some time this summer.
Whether this was going to happen at the same time as the implementation of the new Raids feature or a little while after was unknown, although things certainly did at least appear to be tying together quite nicely at that point.
The first Legendary Pokémon spotted in Pokémon Go - but how did it appear?
Back in early August of 2016, before any of this official news was even close to being announced, a player topped a Gym in Ohio with an Articuno, which is said to be the first Legendary appearance in the game. Multiple players verified the sighting, but how the player got the creature is in question. Amazingly, the owner claimed she received the Pokémon as part of an apology from developer Niantic after contacting them via email about an issue.
Other possibilities could be an exploit that has edited the creature's data to appear in the game, an error that has seen one spawn accidentally, or a glitch turn another Pokemon into the famed Legendary, similar to a case reported by a user who had their wild Caterpie transform into a Charizard once in their possession.
What else we know about Legendary Pokémon in Pokémon Go
Finally, it's also worth pointing out - for history's sake, at the very least - that all this time there's been a hunt of Legendary Pokémon in plain sight, with users who have progressed to level 5 and interacted with a gym find themselves invited to one of three teams - Team Instinct, Team Mystic, or Team Valor - which are shown to be tied to Zapdos, Articuno and Moltres respectively. Could participating in teams play a part in how you unlock these particular Pokémon? It could still be the case that those Legendary Birds are tied to special Team-specific Raids at some point down the line.
The addition of Pokémon Go's Buddy system also paves the way for players to earn Candy and power up rare creatures without the need to catch any more - perfect for ultra rare Pokémon such as Legendaries. Meanwhile, the eventual arrival of Ditto - which was just as elusive as the Legendaries for sometime - is at least a sign that Niantic have been slowly working their way towards introducing all of the game's missing Pokémon.
In the meantime, an upcoming update will introduce Pokémon trading to help flesh out the gaps in your Pokédex, and our Pokémon Go guide, tips and tricks page to pick up a few pointers you might not know.