Articuno disappeared from Raid Battles in Pokémon GO, it has been replaced by Moltres, another legendary bird. So is Articuno gone for good? Or will players have another chance at catching it?
The short answer to this question is that Niantic has not really made this clear. But it still seems incredibly likely that Articuno will be seen again in some form.
After all, one piece of evidence that Articuno will be back is the fact that the model for a shiny Articuno was recently discovered in the game’s code, according to Pokemon Go Hub. Niantic is obviously going to make use of this at some point, but no shiny Articunos were seen this past week, indicating that Articuno will return at some point in the future.
Another piece of evidence is just the fact that Niantic at no point emphasized Articuno’s appearance as being a one-time thing. One would assume that if Articuno was only around for Pokémon GO Fest, Niantic would really urge everyone to get out there and catch it by saying something like, “Articuno will only be available for a limited time and then never again!” They did nothing of the sort, and in fact they only announced that Articuno’s appearance was temporary at all six days ago. Initially, all they said was “Articuno will join Lugia in Raid Battles everywhere starting immediately.”
Plus, it would just be incredibly strange for a game in which such a large emphasis is placed on legendary Pokémon to give players less than two weeks to obtain a Articuno, especially because that would mean that anyone who picks up the app for the first time after July 31st would never be able to catch one.
All of this suggests that Articuno will come back at some point, but when and in what form is anyone’s guess. The only thing we know for sure is that later today, Moltres will replace Articuno in Raid Battles. Moltres will hang around for a week, and then it will be replaced by Zapdos. After that, nobody really knows what will happen with these legendary birds.
One theory is that after August 14th, all three of the legendary birds will show up in Raid Battles, but they will be incredibly rare. Right now, Articuno is quite common, and it’s hard to imagine that Niantic would keep having a Legendary Pokémon remain this common on a day-to-day basis outside of a specific event. It’s possible, then, that what lasts until August 14th is just a special Pokémon GO Fest event where all three of the legendary birds spawn at a high frequency on a rotating basis, and after that, they will only show up sometimes.
Another theory is that Niantic will have the legendary birds return during their next major event. The way they launched the birds this time was to encourage players to participate in Pokémon GO Fest, and the team that won would have their team’s bird released first; it’s because Team Mystic caught the most Pokémon at Pokémon GO Fest that Articuno showed up when it did. So in order to create some hype around its events, Niantic can remove Articuno, Moltres and Zapdos from the game entirely on August 14th, only to bring them back as a reward the next time they have a similar event.
A representative for FortySeven Communications, the agency that represents Niantic, told Heavy in an email that the company would soon be providing an update on its Twitter page about the release of Moltres. Hopefully, this announcement will also clarify whether Articuno is gone for good.