The Legendary Pokémon Celebration concludes with distributions featuring Johto's most powerful Legendary Pokémon, Lugia and Ho-Oh. Both Pokémon have plenty of fans after headlining multiple video games and even making their marks on the big screen. Now you can train these Pokémon to elevate your team in battle. Details about how to add the Legendary Pokémon to your team are available at Pokemon.com/Legendary.
Lugia and Ho-Oh are impressive battlers. These gigantic Pokémon make their presence known as soon as you release them from their Poké Balls, and their incredible defensive prowess ensures they'll have a sustained impact. Both can also learn some extraordinary attacks you won't often get to see—Lugia's Aeroblast and Ho-Oh's Sacred Fire. Read on for some tips to finish the Legendary Pokémon Celebration in style.
The Pokémon you receive will be different depending on which game you're playing. Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Sun players will receive Lugia, while Pokémon Ultra Moon and Pokémon Moon players will receive Ho-Oh instead. You'll get only one of these Pokémon via distribution, but you can catch the other in the Ultra Wormhole if you're playing Pokémon Ultra Sun or Pokémon Ultra Moon.
The Pokémon you receive will be higher level and know stronger moves with Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon, and they'll be holding a super-rare Gold Bottle Cap. They'll also be Lv. 100—perfect for Hyper Training. If you visit Mr. Hyper at the Hau'oli City Shopping Mall and present him with a Gold Bottle Cap, you can instantly max out your Legendary Pokémon's individual strengths. That quickly gets one big element of preparing for battle out of the way.
Even though your Pokémon won't need any more Exp. Points, you should still take it into battle to train its base stats. Lugia with defensive Natures like Bold or Calm are typically preferred for Single Battles, but many Trainers opt for a Timid Nature in Double Battles to attack more quickly. It's usually best to train Lugia to further increase its powerful HP and defensive stats, but an investment in Speed can pay off if you have a specific goal. Trainers most often select Ho-Oh with Adamant Natures trained offensively for Double Battles, but they're similarly more likely to opt for defensive training and Impish Natures for Single Battles. Read more about training here.
Don't forget that you can help these high-level Pokémon relearn moves they'd normally have learned if they had leveled up if you bring a Heart Scale to Madam Memorial in the Pokémon Center on Mount Lanakila. You can collect Heart Scales easily by visiting the restaurants across Alola.
Slowly but Surely
Lugia is most notable for being one of the most defensively-oriented Legendary Pokémon. It's unbelievably difficult to knock out, even for a Legendary Pokémon. Unfortunately, the tradeoff is that its offense is incredibly feeble relative to its peers. The key to helping Lugia achieve its potential in battle is helping it become an ever-present danger to the opposing team instead of being just a passive brick wall.
Single Battles are a great place for Lugia to showcase its absurd defensive prowess. Start out by teaching Lugia Toxic to get around its meager offensive stats by slowly wearing down foes. Next teach it Roost or Recover to erase the damage Lugia's opponent worked so hard to accumulate. If some of Lugia's teammates know Spikes or Stealth Rock, try teaching it Whirlwind or Dragon Tail to deal extra damage to foes as they reenter battle. Finish up Lugia's arsenal with an attack or two—Psychic is a solid all-around option, while Ice Beam tends to perform better against other Legendary Pokémon. Give it some Leftovers to hold to make it even more durable (and so it never gets hungry during the undoubtedly long battles ahead of it).
Lugia's defensive strengths can make for a fun change of pace in GS Cup formats like this year's Video Game Championships rules. Most Trainers opt for a strategy that sharpens Lugia's offense, either by having it hold a Weakness Policy or teaching it Calm Mind. Weakness Policy pairs beautifully with a partner Pokémon that knows Fling and holds a Lanstat Berry—bonking Lugia with the Berry won't do much damage, and it'll activate Lugia's Weakness Policy while also increasing its critical hit rate. If you're not feeling the Weakness Policy strategy, opt for an Electric or Misty Seed instead, and pair it with the appropriate island guardian. Consuming any of these items will reduce the damage of Knock Off, one of the few attacks Lugia normally needs to fear. Teach Lugia Aeroblast, Roost, and some combination of Calm Mind, Earth Power, or Tailwind, and you're good to go in Double Battles.
Turn Your Foes into Sacred Ash
Ho-Oh has a strange set of strengths that mix offensive and defensive aptitude. It is one of the only Pokémon that can learn the transcendent Sacred Fire, and it has the Attack stat to make the move shine. This physical Fire-type attack is one of the best reasons to use Ho-Oh—100 Power, 95 Accuracy, and a 50% chance of inflicting a burn make for one of the best attacks around. Other key strengths include one of the highest Special Defense stats and a resistance to Xerneas' Fairy-type attacks. But key weaknesses to Water-, Electric-, and Rock-type attacks make Ho-Oh a Pokémon that is fantastic against some opponents while struggling against others.
Ho-Oh is a difficult Pokémon to enjoy in Single Battles because it's absolutely devastated by the popular move Stealth Rock, which deals a whopping 50% damage to Ho-Oh each time it enters battle. For this reason, when you battle against other players, be sure to pair Ho-Oh with a Pokémon that knows Defog or Rapid Spin, both of which eliminate Stealth Rock's…rocks. Start Ho-Oh's individual strategy with Sacred Fire as your first attack and Brave Bird as your second. The sturdy Ho-Oh can make great use of the HP-restoring Recover—this time the superior choice over Roost, which would expose Ho-Oh to supereffective Ground-type attacks. Even though you're likely to be fishing for burns with Sacred Fire, it's wise to teach Ho-Oh Toxic, lest it be totally shut down by Primal Groudon. You'll probably want to give Ho-Oh Leftovers or a Life Orb to maximize the impact of its held item for longer battles.
You can teach Ho-Oh almost the same moves in Double Battles as in Single Battles. Sacred Fire and Brave Bird are almost mandatory, and there are three main choices to pick from for its other two moves. Protect is great to scout out surprise Rock-type attacks and discourage both foes from ganging up on Ho-Oh. Tailwind offers fantastic support for your whole team, and Recover is still great for keeping Ho-Oh healthy. Unlike in Single Battles, the more immediate impact of an Aguav, Figy, Iapapa, or Mago Berry is superior in Double Battles.
We hope you've enjoyed collecting Legendary Pokémon throughout the year. Ho-Oh and Lugia are our final pair of Legendary Pokémon, but you can check out our tips for Reshiram and Zekrom, Latios and Latias, Kyogre and Groudon, Tornadus and Thundurus, Shiny Zygarde, Xerneas and Yveltal, Raikou and Entei, Heatran and Regigigas, or Dialga and Palkia if you still have Legendary Pokémon left to train. Check out the list of all ongoing Pokémon distributions to make sure you're caught up, and don't forget to check out more Pokémon TCG and video game articles, strategy, and tournament analysis at Pokemon.com/Strategy.