Pokemon BDSP Arceus
Image: Nintendo Life

Since launch in November 2021, fans have been heading back to the Sinnoh region in the Switch versions of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl for the first time since the Nintendo DS originals, and more recently they've been able to explore the region's past in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, too. Sinnoh is famous for many things, but the main one is the sheer number of legendary Pokémon in the generation 4 games.

While plenty of them are easy to catch, there’s one that has alluded players for years. This is the Alpha Pokémon Arceus. Said to be the creator of the Pokémon world, it’s among the rarest Pokémon in the entire franchise.

Unfortunately, just like the original games, there is no way to catch Arceus in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl... that is unless you own Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Both Arceus and Darkrai were made accessible in the game on 15th March via update 1.3.0.

Despite Arceus being the main legendary of the Sinnoh region, as well as being the final Pokémon in the National PokeDex, there’s no way to catch the Pokémon during the course of normal gameplay. You can transfer one from Pokémon Home, of course, although if you don’t have an Arceus from a previous event, you’re out of luck.

How to get Arceus in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

As speculated prior to release, you'll need a Pokémon Legends: Arceus save file on your Switch to be able to catch the Alpha Pokémon.

In order to catch Arceus, you must have completed all main missions in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. You'll also need to have entered the Hall of Fame and be the proud owner of the National Dex in Brilliant Diamond or Shining Pearl.

Assuming that has been accomplished, return to your bedroom where you can get the Azure Flute. Take this flute to the top of Mount Coronet and play it at Spear Pillar, where Arceus will appear and be ready to do battle. It's a good idea to bring lots of Poké Balls.

Pokemon Legends Arceus
Image: The Pokémon Company

What about Darkrai?

While Arceus' catch method adds the Pokémon Legends requirement, the dream-eating Darkrai's catch method is identical to its DS counterpart.

You need to obtain the member Card, which you can get between the new moons, via the Mystery Gift feature. As with Arceus, you'll need to have beaten the Elite Four and the Champion of Sinnoh to enter the Hall of Fame and own that sweet, sweet expanded Pokédex.

Not had your fill of awesome rare Pokémon? There are plenty of other legendary Pokémon for you to collect in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, so fill your boots. Or Balls. Poké Balls, that is. Goodness me, get your minds out of the gutter!

Did you know that you can get a free Manaphy egg early in the game? Or that you can get a free Mew and Jirachi just by playing other Pokémon games on your Nintendo Switch? Check out our other Pokémon BDSP guides below...

This article is part of our Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl walkthrough and guide series, which includes every version-exclusive Pokémon in each version of the game, advice on the best Sinnoh starter Pokémon to choose, and all the old and new Pokétch Apps, plus how to get specific Pokémon such as Mew and Jirachi, Rilou and Lucario, Manaphy and Phione, Arceus, Eevee, Leafeon And Glaceon, Cresselia, Rotom, Ditto, Spiritomb, Heatran, Regigigas, and — of course — the mighty Feebas.

We also cover how to catch 17 Legendaries in Ramanas Park, where to find the Defog HM and chain catching (or how to increase your chances of catching Shiny Pokémon), plus how to earn money fast, how to beat the Elite Four, how the Trophy Garden works, and how to get the DS sounds and Catching Charm. We also have a full and updated list of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Mystery Gift codes, plus we tell you how to unlock the Mystery Gift function, too.

And finally, Where to Buy Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl on Nintendo Switch, if for some reason you haven't yet picked up the game!