October 15, 2020

Celebrate Legendary Pokémon, like Mewtwo, Rayquaza, Eternatus, and More

Learn about the debuts of some of the coolest Legendary Pokémon and relive their most memorable moments.

There's no denying the appeal of Legendary Pokémon. They look awesome, they're powerful, and they're usually involved in some of the most interesting and exciting moments in the world of Pokémon. You can reconnect with some of the coolest Legendary Pokémon in The Crown Tundra—the second half of the Pokémon Sword Expansion Pass and Pokémon Shield Expansion Pass—but before you do, we wanted to take a look back at some particularly noteworthy Legendary Pokémon. This list revisits their video game debuts along with some of their most memorable moments. Are any of these your favorite Legendary Pokémon?


Mewtwo's Origin

One of the first Legendary Pokémon ever introduced, Mewtwo is still one of the most popular. Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue players who explored the Pokémon Mansion on the Kanto region's Cinnabar Island will remember the intrigue surrounding scientists' plans to clone the Mythical Pokémon Mew. Only the most accomplished Pokémon Trainers are permitted to enter the Cerulean Cave, where Mewtwo itself hides deep within. Hopefully you'll save a Master Ball for the encounter!

Mewtwo's Memorable Moment

Mewtwo's compelling story became the basis for the very first Pokémon movie, fittingly titled Pokémon: The First Movie. In this 1999 film, Mewtwo's thrilling origin story is brought to life, and its climatic battle against Mew is intense and emotional. So beloved is this story that 21 years later, Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution reimagines Mewtwo's story for the first entirely CGI-animated Pokémon movie.


Ho-Oh's Origin

Ho-Oh made its video game debut in Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver. This stunning Pokémon used to reside atop the Bell Tower (also known as the Tin Tower) in the Johto region's Ecruteak City. When the city's other notable structure, the Brass Tower, burned down long ago, Ho-Oh took to the skies and disappeared. Who could forget witnessing this Legendary Pokémon's return after collecting the Rainbow Wing item and climbing the mazelike Bell Tower to find Ho-Oh waiting at the top?

Ho-Oh's Memorable Moment

Ho-Oh has a very memorable cameo appearance in the very first episode of Pokémon the Series. As Ash and Pikachu recover from a fierce battle against a flock of Spearow, they spy a mysterious Pokémon flying toward a rainbow. Ash's Pokédex is unable to identify the Pokémon, and indeed, it would be about two years before Ho-Oh's first appearance in a Pokémon game. This early appearance of an unknown Pokémon was an incredible tease for fans back in the day. Eventually, Ash reaches Ecruteak City, where he learns more about Ho-Oh's origin and its connection to the Legendary Pokémon Raikou, Entei, and Suicune (For Ho-Oh the Bells Toll).


Kyogre's Origin

Kyogre, the cover Pokémon for Pokémon Sapphire, got a dramatic introduction in the game. After trekking through the underwater Seafloor Cavern, you confront Archie, the leader of Team Aqua, who hopes to reawaken the slumbering Legendary Pokémon. He succeeds in his goal but is unable to control Kyogre, which escapes and leaves in its wake a torrential rain that threatens the entire world. This abrupt weather change marks the first time a Legendary Pokémon actively affects the game world in the main line of Pokémon games. Not only are you now exploring through a raging storm, but the rain has various effects in battle, such as increasing the damage of Water-type moves while decreasing the damage of Fire-type moves. These changes continue until you confront Kyogre in the Cave of Origin near Sootopolis City.

Kyogre's Memorable Moment

It may only clock in at about five minutes, but the eighth episode of Pokémon Generations (“The Cavern”) shows us an exciting re-creation of Archie's awakening of Kyogre. In this interpretation, however, Kyogre takes on its ultrapowerful Primal Reversion form. Seeing Primal Kyogre's full strength on display and its effects on the people and Pokémon of the Hoenn region is chilling.


Rayquaza's Origin

Kyogre and its fellow Legendary Pokémon Groudon control the seas and the land respectively, and when they clash, it can spell big trouble for everybody. Fortunately, legends say that if the two were to ever battle, the Sky High Pokémon, Rayquaza, would arrive to keep them in check. In Pokémon Emerald, Wallace, the Pokémon League Champion, assists you in awakening Rayquaza. When Kyogre and Groudon confront each other in the sea near Sootopolis City, we witness an impressive cutscene of Rayquaza descending from the sky to stop the two Legendary Pokémon.

Rayquaza's Memorable Moment

Pokémon Conquest, a turn-based strategy game that was originally released for the Nintendo DS family of systems in 2012, blends the world of Pokémon with the feudal period of Japanese history. In this game, fictionalized versions of historical figures battle alongside their Pokémon partners in an effort to unite the Ransei region. The game features several Legendary Pokémon, but the hardest to catch is a Shiny Rayquaza, which you can't encounter until you catch all the other Legendary Pokémon in the game. A grueling task, to be sure, but Rayquaza's strength is well worth the effort, especially when you team the Pokémon up with the powerful Warlord Nobunaga.


Giratina's Origin

Cyrus, the leader of Team Galactic, gets more than he bargained for after he summons the Legendary Pokémon Dialga and Palkia in Pokémon Platinum Version. Their appearance calls forth the mighty Giratina, which prevents Cyrus from using the other two Pokémon's powers to destroy the world. Giratina initially appears as a monstrous shadow that is a fair bit more frightening than what you might be used to seeing in a Pokémon game. It then whisks Cyrus away to the mysterious Distortion World. After giving chase, you finally confront the giant Renegade Pokémon in its true form.

Giratina's Memorable Moment

Giratina may have been one of the stars of the 2009 movie, Pokémon: Giratina & The Sky Warrior, but when it comes to memorable moments, it's hard to forget its appearance in that movie's sequel, Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life. When Arceus, the Alpha Pokémon, arrives seeking vengeance on humanity, Dialga and Palkia join forces to defeat it. The two Legendary Pokémon seem hopelessly outmatched until the surprise appearance of Giratina, which protects Ash and his friends from a devastating attack before heading into battle to take on the immensely powerful Arceus. It's a moment that will have you cheering for this Legendary Pokémon.


Cresselia's Origin

Cresselia makes its appearance in an emotional side quest in Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl that can be discovered once you've become the Champion. A sailor in Canalave City needs help to save his young son, who is being tormented by nightmares. This sets you off on a mission to find the Legendary Pokémon Cresselia, which possesses something that can cure the poor boy. Your meeting with Cresselia both gets you the item you sought and sends Cresselia flying off, and it begins freely roaming the land. With the knowledge that you helped a needy family in your heart, you can then begin your next task: an exhilarating hunt throughout the Sinnoh region to find and catch the wayward Cresselia.

Cresselia's Memorable Moment

A slightly altered version of Cresselia's video game story is told in volume 11 of the Pokémon Adventures: Diamond and Pearl/Platinum manga. We are told via flashback that Palmer, the Frontier Brain of the Battle Tower, is the one who traveled to Fullmoon Island to help the sailor's son. After seeing Palmer come to the aid of the island's ailing Pokémon, Cresselia decided to partner with him. Cresselia would later have a brief confrontation with its rival, Darkrai, before coming to the aid of Palmer's son, Pearl, and his friends, Diamond and Platinum. The trio of friends ride on Cresselia, Dialga, and Palkia while in pursuit of Giratina. Seeing this delicate-looking Legendary Pokémon leading the charge into battle while flanked by that powerful pair made for an exciting scene.


Kyurem's Origin

Strangely enough, Kyurem doesn't factor too much into the storyline of its debut games, Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version. You find Kyurem in the Giant Chasm, a mysterious and foreboding crater in the Unova region. Discover the small pond in the center of the chasm, and an unexpected snowstorm appears that allows you to enter the cave where Kyurem is hiding.

Kyurem's Memorable Moment

While Kyurem didn't play a large role in its debut games, it really shines in the sequels, Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2. This time, the villainous Team Plasma hopes to capture Kyurem and harness its power to freeze the Unova region. Not only that, but Kyurem has the ability to absorb fellow Legendary Pokémon Zekrom or Reshiram to become either Black Kyurem or White Kyurem respectively. These new forms are quite intimidating and certainly stand out among other Pokémon.


Zygarde's Origin

The Dragon- and Ground-type Zygarde first appeared in Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, and its wild genetic structure differentiates it from other Legendary Pokémon. Although we don't really see much of this uniqueness during its initial appearance, later games give this Legendary Pokémon more depth. In its debut games, Zygarde can be found hiding out in Terminus Cave, an old, closed coal mine in the eastern side of the Kalos region. There have been rumors of a monster lurking deep within the cave, and as you might expect, Zygarde is the source of those stories. You can only reach Zygarde if you've entered the Hall of Fame, however, so don't expect to encounter this Pokémon until late in your adventure.

Zygarde's Memorable Moment

As we mentioned, Zygarde makes another appearance and gains some expanded lore in Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. In these games, we learn that Zygarde is comprised of two basic parts: Zygarde Cores and Zygarde Cells, both of which can be stored in a Zygarde Cube. Throughout your adventure in the Alola region, you can collect Cores and Cells and use a Reassembly Unit to combine these parts into a Zygarde. Zygarde will take on different forms depending on the number of pieces stored in your Zygarde Cube. The Zygarde you encounter in Pokémon X and Pokémon Y is in its 50% Forme, but you can now generate a four-legged 10% Forme. If you've collected one hundred Zygarde Cells and your Zygarde has the Power Construct Ability, it can even take on the hulking Complete Forme. Zygarde's unique forms and the elaborate quest you must undertake to construct it make Zygarde one of the most memorable Legendary Pokémon out there.


Cosmog's Origin

You get to meet Cosmog very early into your Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon adventure, although its fate is still a mystery until much later in the game. This diminutive Legendary Pokémon is partnered with a young girl named Lillie, who becomes a good friend that you cross paths with multiple times throughout the course of the game. Cosmog stands out among other Legendary Pokémon as it's the first one that has the ability to evolve. After some time, Lillie's Cosmog evolves into Cosmoem and eventually into either Solgaleo or Lunala, depending on which version of the game you're playing, and this new Pokémon joins your team.

Cosmog's Memorable Moment

Cosmog is particularly memorable as it has quite a bit more impact on its games' stories than other Legendary Pokémon. As mentioned above, Cosmog shows up in its games right away, and its close bond with Lillie and the events surrounding the pair help drive the games' narratives. This connection between Lillie and Cosmog (which she nicknames “Nebby”) even carries over to Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon—Ultra Adventures, where the little Pokémon, its Evolutions, and its eventual conflict with the Legendary Pokémon Necrozma become driving forces of the animated series' 21st season.


Eternatus's Origin

One of the most recently discovered Legendary Pokémon, Eternatus makes its debut during the climax of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, which is one of the most cinematic sequences that we've seen in a Pokémon game. Chairman Rose has awakened Eternatus with the hope of providing the Galar region with unlimited energy. However, the Legendary Pokémon can't be controlled, and when Leon, the Galar region Champion, is unable to stop it, he turns to you for help. An epic battle ensues that culminates with you and your friend Hop facing off against the powered-up Eternamax Eternatus in a battle alongside the Legendary Pokémon Zacian and Zamazenta. The frenetic sequence of events leading up to and continuing in this battle almost make you feel as though you're in an episode of Pokémon the Series.

Eternatus's Memorable Moment

In addition to being a dominating force in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, Eternatus has quickly proven to be a powerful contender in the Pokémon Trading Card Game. The recent Sword & Shield—Darkness Ablaze expansion introduced Eternatus V and Eternatus VMAX cards that, if played properly, will have your opponents running for cover. If your deck favors Darkness-type Pokémon, Eternatus VMAX's Eternal Zone Ability allows you to get more of them onto your Bench, and its Dread End attack grows stronger as you bring more Darkness-type Pokémon into play. Check out our deck strategy article for advice on building a Pokémon TCG team worthy of this Legendary might.

These are some incredible Legendary Pokémon, right? Whether one of these is your favorite or you've formed a special bond with another, it's hard to deny that Legendary Pokémon are awesome. Remember to be on the lookout for Legendary Pokémon in the second half of the Pokémon Sword Expansion Pass and Pokémon Shield Expansion Pass: The Crown Tundra!

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