15 Surprising Facts About The Three Legendary Birds: Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres

Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres are three of the first legendary Pokémon introduced in the game. Players first met them 20 years ago as mythical creatures in Pokémon Yellow, Red and Blue. Articuno is known to have the ability to control ice, Zapdos has power over electricity while Moltres has authority over fire.

Finding them and catching them has never been an easy task, so players take pride when they finally get their very own legendary birds. For those who are not aware, players only have one chance to catch Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres in the game. If players miss the chance to get them, they will never appear again in the game. So you can just imagine how many times a player had to reload the match until they catch the powerful creatures.

This is followed by features in several Pokémon games including FireRed, LeafGreen, Platinum, HeartGold, SoulSilver, and X and Y. Aside from the main series, the three legendary birds also appeared in spin-off games like Pokémon Snap, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. Of course they also appeared in several Pokémon movies including Pokémon: The Movie 2000, Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, and Pokémon Adventures, Lt. Surge.

This not only shows how popular the three mythical creatures are, but also how much history has been created for them that not many players may know about. So without further ado, here are 15 surprising facts about Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres.

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15 Articuno Is Inspired From A Persian And Middle Eastern Rare Bird

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Articuno is said to be inspired by two mythical birds from Persia and the Middle East. The first one is a humongous bird known as the Roc that is so big that it can lift elephant and whales easily. Its name is associated with the words castle, chariot, and fortress which describes how tough it is like Articuno.

The second bird is the Simurgh which is commonly seen in thousands old arts and literature in Iran. It looks like a peacock, claws like a lion, and a head of a dog. It has similar qualities to an eagle, falcon, and sparrowhawks which are all known for their strong built and powerful talons. But what probably links it the most with Articuno is Simurgh's preference to nest near places with lots of water.

14 Zapdos Is Inspired From The Cap Of Totem Pole

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Zapdos is believed to be based on another legendary bird from the Northwest Coast arts. This legendary bird is called a thunderbird and is carved at the top of their sacred pillars which is more commonly known to us as Totem Poles. Just like Zapdos that’s know to only appear whenever there is thunderstorm and lives in places with thunderclouds.

The Thunderbird is described as a rare creature living in the mountains and is known for protecting the people under its territory. History says it has fought great battles against horned snakes to stop it from terrorizing and killing the human race. Its power comes from the sky through strikes of lightning and thunder with just a swing of its colossal wings.

13 Moltres Is Based On A Phoenix (Just Like The One In Harry Potter)

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A Phoenix is known to be a legendary bird surrounded with endless fire in its body. It originated from the Ancient Egyptian Bennu and is described as an avian God that's connected to the sun. Its most popular appearance is in Harry Potter as Fawkes and in X-Men through Jean Grey, which is similar to Moltres in many ways. From its reddish-orange color, fiery body, huge size, up to its sharp claws.

Phoenix also has different counterparts all over the world. In Persian Mythology, a Phoenix is known as an Huma firebird that has supernatural powers connected to the sun. In Japan’s history, a burning bird is called a Suzaku and comes with extraordinary powers that are related to the Summer season and the South direction.

12 The Three Legendary Bird Only Answer To One Master

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Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres answer to no Pokémon other than their trio master, Lugia. Lugia is a flying and a psychic type Pokémon that also has power over water and fire. For that reason, Lugia is created superior to all three birds and is assigned as the guardian of the sea. Moltres and Articuno helped the guardian by combining their supernatural abilities to create the water, while Zapdos created the currents and the streams through his electrical power.

Lugia is first introduced in Pokémon: The Movie 2000, which was soon followed by Pokémon Gold and Silver, where players can finally catch and train it. After that, Lugia's arrival was such a big success that it was featured in more media outlets, including Pokémon's anime, several spin-offs and different Pokémon merchandise.

11 In Japan, Articuno Is Called “Freezer”

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For each language and country, Nintendo uses a different set of names for the Pokémon. This is because they want children to be able to relate more with the new creatures they introduce. And since Articuno comes in a bluish white color and has the ability to control ice with just a flap of its wings, it's not really surprising if the names generated for it in different countries are related to ice, water, and cold temperature.

So in Japan, Articuno's Japanese name is translated to “Freezer” just as Zapdos has the translated name Thunder and Moltres as Fire. And as we all know, a freezer is just a refrigerated compartment where you put your frozen meat and desserts, far from its cool American name, Articuno.

10 In French, Zapdos Is Named After Thor

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Unlike Japan, the Pokémon's French names have a more historical spin to them. The names of the three legendary birds are inspired from deities or beings with god-like powers. Articuno is known as Artikodin which is named after the Norse god, Odin. Odin is known for his knowledge, royalty, and sorcery. Moltres uses the name Sulfura in France, which is based on the name of the ancient Egyptian God of Sun, Ra. For those who are not familiar, Ra is one of the major Gods in Egyptian religion and is associated with the noon sun.

And then there is Zapdos, with the French name “Electhor” and is based on the popular Norse god, Thor. This god is known as a Supreme Being in Norse mythology associated with thunder, and lightning, In today’s time, Thor is more popularly known as the Asgardian God of Thunder from Marvel comics.

9 Their Codes Are Already In Pokémon GO

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As of today, no legendary Pokémon have arrived in Pokémon GO, but, according to Eurogamer, codes for Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Mew, and Mewtwo are already found in the game. Although Niantic has yet to comment on the rumor, there is a huge possibility that they will arrive soon. If you remember, data miners also found Ditto’s code in the game and it was proven to be true, as the Pokémon was later introduced in Pokémon GO.

Niantic says a big event is coming soon and it will introduce new content for the game. It's not confirmed if Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres will be part of that announcement, but it's definitely possible. After all, each team in the game is based on the three legendary birds.

8 Moltres Is The Strongest Pokemon Of The Three

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Based on the stats of the three legendary Pokémon in Generation II, the three mythical creatures were created equal to each other. However, their stats were not all the same when they were first introduced in Generation I. When looking at their defense stats alone, Articuno is the best, but at the same time has the lowest speed and attack. Meanwhile, Zapdos excels in speed while Moltres tops regular attack yet ties in best special attack stat.

So the best way to see which Pokemon is the strongest is of their base stat total. Articuno has a total stat of 485, Zapdos has 490 and Moltres has 495. Although their differences are very minimal, it's still clear that Moltres is the strongest Pokémon among the three mythical creatures.

7 Aside From Learning Movesets Typical To Their Types, They Can Also Learn Other Moves

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Each of the three legendary birds comes with a move set typical to their type. Articuno has the powerful Blizzard and Ice Beam, Zapdos comes with the electrifying Thunder and Charge move while Moltres is equipped with Heatwave, Sunny Day and Solar Beam. But unbeknownst to many, each of them can also learn a different move not commonly learned by their type. For instance, Moltres and Articuno can do the Hurricane move while Zapdos can eventually do Rain Dance move

The only setback is that their accuracy level decreases when using these moves. For example, Articuno and Moltres lose 30% of their accuracy rate when they use Hurricane. As a result, it can be a bit risky to use the new moves, but can be worth it if it’s the only effective hit against the opponent.

6 All Three Legendary Pokemon Can Learn Roost And Ancient Power

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Aside from their unique move sets, Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres can learn the flying type move Roost and rock type move Ancient Powers in the game. However, not every caught legendary birds can learn it. Players need to find them in specific levels so they can teach each move. For Roost move, players need to find each of them below level one while Ancient Power move can only be learned when they reach level 29.

The Roost move allows Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres or any flying type Pokémon to restore half of its total maximum HP. Ancient Powers, on the other hand, decreases the opponent’s HP with each hit but also raises the user’s stat including Speed, Defense, Attack, Special Attack and even Special Defense by 10%.

5 Articuno Has The Ability To One-Hit An Opponent

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Pokémon games have four moves that can potentially K.O. any Pokémon it hits; Fissure, Guillotine, Horn Drill and Sheer Cold. A successful hit using these moves guarantees to cause a damage equivalent to the opponent’s remaining HP. For that reason, Nintendo balances the use of such a strong move, by giving the moves very low accuracy levels.

Although Articuno is not the strongest legendary bird among the three, it's the only one that has the ability to learn Sheer Cold and Mind Reader. The move Mind Reader makes sure that the Pokemon’s next move will be a sure hit. So the combination of the two moves makes it almost certain that Articuno will knock out its opponent. The only way the enemy can escape this combo is if they are equipped with a Protect move.

4 They Hatch From Eggs In Pokémon Snap

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Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres, just like most legendary Pokémon, do not have any gender so they cannot be bred. Their origins are not known, so people assume that they just suddenly appeared in the sky. For that reason, it is assumed that there is only one legendary Pokémon for each kind.

However, in N64’s Pokémon Snap, the three legendary Pokémon are introduced in the game through giant eggs. There are different ways to hatch the eggs and if players do everything right, each will hatch Moltres, Zapdos, and Articuno. The eggs are found in the Power Plant, Volcano, and the Cave. Two of them can be hatched using a Poké Flute together with other things like apples to get Zapdos and Jynx to get Articuno. As for Moltres, players just need to get the egg into the lava.

3 There Could Be More Than One Articuno In The Game

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In the first generation of Pokémon games, Articuno can be seen when players use their binoculars in Fuchsia City. It shouldn’t be too hard to find as it is flying towards the sea, heading to its nest in Seafoam Islands. Soon in the game, players will encounter Articuno and will have a chance to catch and train it as their own.

What is unexpected is that after catching Articuno, players will still find a huge bird flying in the sky, circling its nest in Seafoam Islands. To find this spot, players must look for it in Fuchsia City from route 15. Some think it's only an oversight from the developers, but it could also be a clue that there is more than one Articuno in the Pokémon universe.

2 The Three Legendary Pokemon Were Fused Together

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In Pokémon Adventures Manga, Team Rocket is planning on fusing together Pokémon to create more powerful Pokémon. They first tried it with three different Eevee evolutions, but later on decided to try it on the legendary birds. The experiment resulted in creating a new huge three-headed Pokemon called Thu-Fi-Zer.

Of course, Team Rocket used the three-headed monster to do bad things in Saffron City and it's up to the Pokémon trainers to save the day. At first, trainers Blue, Red and Green were easily defeated, but Ivysaur evolved to Venusaur and gave the team a chance for a hitback. From there, all three trainers use their Pokémon and used Hydro Pump, Flame Thrower, and Solar Beam to stop Thu-Fi-Zer. Upon their defeat, the three legendary Pokemon returned to their original form and flew away.

1 Moltres Can Be Seen In Super Smash Bros. (If You Know Where To Look)

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The appearance of the legendary birds in Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee can randomly happen when players throw Poké Balls in the game. Once they are summoned, Articuno will use Blizzard, Zapdos uses ThunderShock and Moltres will hit the opponent with its huge wings. However, in Super Smash Bros. Brawl for WiiU and 3DS, Moltres is the only mythical bird to make a comeback.

Now in this reappearance, Moltres can no longer be summoned by a Poké Ball to inflict damage to the user’s opponent. In these games, Moltres can only be seen flying in the Saffron City Stage every once in a while, so players have to be observant. It is, after all, a rare, mythical creature.

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