Best movesets for Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres in Pokémon Go

These Legendary birds haven't faired well as the game has grown, but still have some great tools at their disposal.

Image via Niantic

The Legendary birds of the Kanto region are returning to Raids to accompany the Pokémon Go Tour: Kanto event.

Since their release, Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres had varying impacts on the meta of the Go Battle League, but as they’ve become more widely available for players to obtain leading to the creation of new strategies.

Other Flying-type Pokémon have unfortunately eclipsed this trio in terms of performance, but they are still able to hold their own when partnered with proper support Pokémon. Although they can’t hold their own against Rock-type Pokémon and moves, their secondary typings allow each of them to tackle sticky situations in interesting ways.

The implementation and availability of these Legendary Pokémon in their Shadow Forms have also opened up new strategies for their use in the Great League. These will also be available once more in an upcoming event on Feb. 28 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the franchise.

Here’s a breakdown of the best movesets for Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres that can bring out the full potential of these Legendary birds in the Go Battle League.


This Ice and Flying-type Legendary Pokémon has the smallest movepool variety of any in the trio, but it also boasts one of the highest Attack stats.

For Fast Attacks, the only options that Articuno has are Frost Breath and Ice Shard—two Ice-type moves. Therefore, Ancient Power is the best option for a Charge Attack to not only provide better coverage, but also give Articuno the chance to get some much-needed stat boosts.

Return and Frustration are also great options for Articuno and open up some more wiggle room for this Pokémon to take on more diverse competition. Since they’re Normal-type moves, they’re not optimal, but anything is better than nothing.


Zapdos is one of the more efficient options among the Legendary bird trio, with a particular emphasis on its wide array of Electric-type attacks that continue to make it a viable option in the Go Battle League.

Charge Beam is currently Zapdos’ only option for its Fast Attack, unless players were lucky to catch a Zapdos with Thunder Shock during various past events. Zap Cannon and Thunder are the highlights of its Charge Attacks that allow it to handle opponents like Kyogre and Lapras with ease, but also force Zapdos to stick to solely Electric-type moves. Other options include Ancient Power and Drill Peck, which help to make Zapdos much more versatile. The Charge Attack option ultimately depends on how players wish to utilize Zapdos; as a glass cannon, or a bird that won’t fall with one stone.


Although it has a lot of potential, Moltres falls into the same category as Articuno with its glaring four times weakness to Rock-types. Despite gaining some new moves here and there, it still has no concrete way to handle these Pokémon by itself, but it does have some powerful tools at its disposal to burn other types of Pokémon.

Wing Attack is Moltres’ best option for its Fast Attack. Fire Spin is enticing, but when it comes to Moltres’ Charge Attacks, having this type coverage with a Flying-type attack is much more important.

Heat Wave and Fire Blast are both perfect options to synergize with Moltres’ strengths. Both of these Fire-type moves, two of the strongest in the game, work very well with its super high Attack stat. Just know that Moltres might not be able to survive a hit before it can use one of these attacks, however.