Wild Legendary Pokémon in Pokémon GO: Past, Present and Future Potential

Legendary Pokémon are a rare and powerful group of Pokémon. They cannot be hatched from Eggs and are mostly restricted from spawning in the wild.

The most common way to capture Legendaries is by defeating them in a Raid Battle and subsequently catching them in a Bonus Challenge. However, there are other ways to obtain them, such as through special research or by defeating Giovanni, and some are very special, as they can be encountered in the wild.

Let’s see which Legendary Pokémon can be caught in the Wild, and for which current and future Legendaries we expect to be released in wild encounters as well.

Legendaries Currently Caught from the Map

Galarian Birds

Capturing the Galarian Birds in Pokémon GO can only be done by encountering them during your Daily Adventure Incense. These are the Galarian forms of the Kanto Legendary birds with very low catch rates and high flee rates, making them extremely difficult to catch in the wild.

The base catch rate for these birds is 0.3%, while their flee rate is as high as 90%. To increase your chances of catching them, consider using a Master Ball, or Golden Razz Berry, Ultra Ball, and aim for an excellent throw!

The Lake Trio

To obtain Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf, players can either encounter them in the wild or defeat them in their 5-Star Raids and catch them afterwards. These Legendary Pokémon are known as the Lake Guardians and have the potential to spawn in the wild, but their appearances are extremely rare. In fact, it is believed that only 16 of them spawn worldwide every hour.

Time to Speculate

I use my Daily Adventure Incense every day during my lunch break at work in the hope of encountering a Galarian Bird. Despite my attempts, I always fail to catch them. While the novelty of the experience hasn’t worn off for me, I can imagine that those lucky few who have already caught all three of the Birds for their Dex might feel differently.

To add more excitement and movement to the game, it would be great to introduce new Legendary creatures to spawn in the wild or rotate the Legendary spawn. Since the legendaries we already have are all in known groups, the focus should be on these with a couple of outliers to identify which legendaries could be introduced to spawn in the wild.

As always, it’s important to take any speculation with a grain (or huge chunk) of salt. However, I’ve come up with some fun ideas for bringing elusive Pokémon into gameplay and I’m exploring their viability.


Unreleased Legendaries

The following Legendary Pokémon are currently unreleased in Pokémon GO:

Ruinous Legends

They reside in the Paldea region. With the Gen 9 release this season, could we see the release of the legendaries outside of raids?

Type: Null

Type: Null

Two Legendary Pokémon that have not yet been released in the game are Type: Null and Silvally. This means that they have the potential to be highly sought after like the Galarian Birds upon their release. What makes them even more interesting is that Type: Null has an evolution, which is uncommon for Legendary Pokémon. In the main series games, Type: Null evolves into Silvally through friendship. Silvally has 18 different forms, each corresponding to a different Pokémon type. It would be exciting to see these Pokémon debut in the game with the current buddy system, where players could unlock different forms by achieving certain best buddy milestones.

Pokemon GO Entei Suicune Raikou

In-Game Legendaries

The in-game legendaries have all been able to be caught through raids or special research previously, which reduces their desirability compared to the Galarian Birds. However, keep in mind the Lake Guardians were featured in raids earlier this year – so anything is possible.

Legendary Dogs

The Legendary Dogs were introduced in Gen 2 as roaming creatures who would flee from the player as soon as they could. From this logic, it would make sense if the Legendary Dogs could spawn in the wild, or perhaps be an incense exclusive spawn, with low spawn rates. We have seen the Legendary Dogs spawning on incense before, during the Johto Tour in 2022. 

Eon Duo

Latios and Latias were able to spawn in the wild during the Hoenn tour in 2023. They do not have much meta relevance, but can be good PVP attackers particularly as they can provide a mega boost. For that reason, I think these would be good candidates for potentially appearing in the wild one day. The Lake Guardians and Galarian Birds also aren’t meta-relevant, Niantic would not want to be handing us powerful Legendaries on a plate!

Alternative Ways to Incorporate Legendaries

When considering the addition of legendaries to the map, it is important to avoid introducing too many new gameplay elements, especially since there is already a lot going on, particularly with the recent introduction of Routes. Instead, it may be interesting to explore how depth could be added to current aspects of gameplay. 

Addition to Existing Features

One idea is to rotate the Daily Adventure Incense spawns each season, or even once a year due to extremely low spawn rates. The Daily Incense feature feels like it could use an update, as it has been established for just over a year now. 

Another possibility is to have an exclusive group of legendaries spawn on routes in the same way that the Galarian Birds can spawn on incense. This would incentivize trainers to use this new feature, other than just for collecting Zygarde cells. 

A potential approach could involve a modified version of the current Raid Battle system. After defeating the legendary dog in a Raid Battle, instead of immediately battling it in the “bonus challenge” mode, the dog would flee to a nearby location. The group of trainers would then have to break off and try to find where it went, using some sort of tracking/hot or cold feature to help. Once the dog is found, it would act as a static spawn for those who completed the raid for a long amount of time, allowing them to find it and notify other members of the raid battle. 

If there was a way to integrate legendaries into a photobomb encounter that couldn’t be exploited, that could also be exciting. However, this approach doesn’t encourage movement in the same way that the Galarian Birds currently do. We could overcome that and encourage movement with a hide-and-seek, trail-based activity triggered by the photobomb that rewards trainers with a legendary encounter at the end.

New Features

Alternatively, a walking-based idea could be implemented to include rural trainers. For example, trainers could roll a 0.5% chance to encounter a legendary after walking a set distance, say 1km. If they don’t encounter one, their chance would incrementally increase (e.g. by half a percent) until they rolled a 1.0% chance after walking 2 km, gradually increasing until a certain cap percentage. After encountering a legendary, the chance would reset back down to the base 0.5%. This would emulate the roaming aspect that was present in the second generation of Pokémon games. 

A complete left-field idea could come in line with a hatching/egg revamp. There could be a Legendary locked behind a 100k or 200k egg, that has a small chance of dropping from a PokéStops or Gym on a 7-day streak. Personally, hatching eggs is very much a background thing for me. I do it so that I don’t keep getting notifications that I haven’t got anything incubating. A huge quality of life update would be to be able to discard unwanted eggs. Perhaps this could come in line with Pokémon breeding, similar to the main-line games.

Sinnoh Tour

Even if we are unlikely to see any more Pokémon spawning in the wild, given the last few Tours, we are likely to see some Sinnoh Legendaries during the Sinnoh Tour next year. In my opinion, it is highly probable that the Sinnoh Tour will showcase the Lake Guardians, despite their availability in the wild. However, it would be a pleasant surprise to come across Darkrai and Cresselia in the wild. These two Pokémon are well-designed and have good coverage in PVP battles. It would be amazing to see them getting some time in the spotlight.


The above is simply my opinion and some early ideas on how to shake things up in the gameplay. We’d love to hear from you as well. Do you think it would be good to have more Legendaries in the wild? If so, do you have any ideas on how they could be integrated into the gameplay?

Author & tags

Hey! I'm phrixu, a Pokémon GO player from the UK. I am dedicated to making Pokémon GO as accessible as possible, to the whole community!

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