How to Unlock Azelf
The first thing you’ll have to do to unlock Azelf is, as with all of the Legendaries, complete the main story of the game and let the credits roll before you move onto hunting for each of these mythical Pokémon.
Speak with Cogita at her home at the Ancient Retreat. Once you’ve done this, she’ll give you a number of tasks, but the one relevant to Azelf and its companions is Research Task 21: The Plate of the Lakes.
Azelf is one of three Pokémon you can come across in this quest. Check out our guide on how to catch Mesprit and our guide on how to catch Uxie for the others. You can take on the Pokémon in any order.
Azelf is found in the Crimson Mirelands. Head to Lake Valor and you’ll find Azelf in the north.
Firstly, you’ll have to deal with the Alpha Overqwil guarding it. This dual-type Pokémon will be Level 53 and you can choose whether to defeat or catch it. It’s always good to have another strong Pokémon in the pastures should you need to call upon them (and great for research too), so it’s probably a good idea to whittle down its health and catch it if you can.
How to Catch Azelf
Azelf is a Level 70 Pokémon, and its trial is quite a bit different from the others. Instead of asking you to battle, Azelf will ask you to throw balms at it.
This Pokémon is impossible to hit, but keep trying! If you make enough of an attempt, Azelf will commend your efforts and your resilience, awarding you with a piece of the Red Chain — which is what you need to complete this quest. You can come back later to catch it.
How to Beat Azelf
Azelf is a type, so get your Pokémon ready. Don’t send out any Fighting-types, for example. Psychic Pokémon are weak against Bug, Dark, and Ghost-type moves, so readying them is the best thing to do.
Whittle down the health as you’d do with any other Pokémon and then throw a ball when the health bar gets into the yellow — or preferably red. You can also use status moves such as sleep and paralysis to make the Pokémon easier to catch, though be careful with poisoning and burning which may deplete the health a little too much.
Even with Ultra Balls, which are pretty necessary for a Pokémon of this level, it may take a few shots to catch it. Make sure you have plenty of them on hand to keep throwing.