How to Catch Articuno in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen

You can find and capture Articuno in the caves of Seafoam Islands. The island can be found east of Cinnabar Island or southwest of Fuchsia City. After solving the water current puzzle inside the caves, you can then reach Articuno and catch him after weakening him in battle.

Preparing to Catch Articuno

Articuno is a rare Legendary Bird Pokémon that can control ice. As part of the Legendary Bird Trio in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Articuno can be difficult to capture.


It is best to prepare the following before attempting to find and catch the Legendary Bird.

  • Pokémon with the STRENGTH move – the cave in Seafoam Islands contains movable boulders. These big rocks form a solution to the water current problem in the cave, so make sure to bring a Pokémon who has learned the STRENGTH move.
  • Pokémon with the SURF move – SURF is necessary to reach Seafoam Islands where Articuno is located. You will also need to use SURF inside the caves once the water current becomes stable.
  • Ultra Balls – You may need more than one try to catch Articuno, so come prepared with a lot of Ultra Balls, or even a Master Ball if you have one.
  • Max Repel – Although optional, it can be useful to avoid battle while exploring the caves so you can save your Pokémon’s energy to face Articuno.

It is also worth noting to bring Pokémon that are at Level 45 and above, as Articuno will be at Level 50 when found. You can also bring Pokémon that can inflict status effects such as Sleep and Paralysis, to aid in capturing the Legendary Bird.

Getting to Seafoam Islands

Once you are ready with your items and your Pokémon, head to Seafoam Islands.

Seafoam Islands is located between Cinnabar Island and Fuchsia City. From Cinnabar Island, use SURF and continue east until you see a cave opening. From Fuchsia City, use SURF and head southwest past the multiple Pokémon trainers until you reach the island.

It is recommended to go through Fuschia City’s route to reach the cave where Articuno is located, as Seafoam Islands has two cave entrances.

Inside the Seafoam Islands Cave

Upon arriving at Seafoam Islands from Fuschia City, find the Cave Entrance and head inside.

From here, continue forward until you see the stairs icon going down, next to an ICE HEAL. You can pick up the item and head down.

On the cave’s second level, move downwards and head to your right until you see the stairs icon right above you.

Upon climbing down this set of stairs, head downwards again until you find another stairs icon going down.

When you reach this level of the caves, you can already see the set of moveable boulders below. Take note of this place as we will go back to this later on.

Go on up until you find another set of stairs going down. Once down, you can see that you are surrounded by water. But any attempt to use SURF will indicate that the current is moving too fast.

Articuno is located just above this area of water, so you need to find a way to slow the current to be able to use SURF and head on to where he is located.

Solving the Water Current Puzzle

Go back down where you came from and continue southeast until you reach the part of the set of boulders from before. Head to the left-most boulder just above the open hole and have your Pokémon use STRENGTH.

With STRENGTH enabled, push the boulder until it falls into the hole in the ground. This will drop into the water we saw earlier, slowing the current.

Proceed to the next boulder to your right, the one located two steps above the hole.

Be careful and make sure to push the boulder to your left, as we need it out of the way.

Now approach the pair of boulders to the right of the screen.

Push the right most boulder upwards until it hits the wall.

Now for the remaining boulder, push it one step downwards so it’s between the plain rocks.

Then start pushing it to the left, until the boulder is in place right above the dark open hole. Finally, push the boulder so it drops down from the hole, into the water below.

Now that the two boulders are in place, the water current from before will now be slower, which means we can now use our Pokémon to SURF through it.

You can then head back to the stairs leading to the previous area surrounded by water. Alternatively, you can also jump into the hole the boulder fell into, as it will also bring you back into the area where Articuno is located.

Once on surf back, continue straight ahead until you find Articuno.

Before you engage in battle, don’t forget to SAVE!

Battling and Capturing Articuno

Articuno will be at Level 50 when found and engaged.

Here are Articuno’s stats and move sets when encountered. It is noted that each Pokémon’s stats may vary per saved file, so At Base stats and Level 50 range stats are provided in the table below.

Special Attack9590-161
Special Defense125117-194

Mind Reader5/5
Ice Beam10/10

As an ice-type Pokémon, he will be using Ice Beam as often as possible. It is good to use Grass or Electric type Pokémon to withstand his attacks.

Start to weaken Articuno by attacking him with your Pokémon. Be careful with your moves to make sure he doesn’t faint.

When Articuno’s HP hits the red level, you can start to try and catch him with your Ultra Balls.

If Articuno escapes, repeat the process until you are able to capture him. Inflicting him with a status effect might help further weaken him. Avoid using BURN and POISON status effects that might cause the rare Pokémon to faint.

Continue what you’re doing until you capture Articuno.

Congratulations! You’ve now captured one of the three Legendary Birds in-game!

Articuno is one of the most powerful rare Pokémon that you can catch in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen. He makes up one of the three Legendary Bird Pokémon to be discovered and captured. Hopefully by following this guide you can efficiently catch Articuno and continue your hunt for the rest of the Legendary Birds.

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