Pokemon Catching Tips

We’ve all been in a situation where we run into a wild Pokemon, want to catch it, and screw up in some way, form, or fashion, and we begin to think and/or say bad words.

I hope to help you encounter this scenario a little less often than you’re used to.

First of all, I’m sure many of you have thought, “Okay, I threw a Great Ball at it, and it didn’t work, so I can’t catch it using a Great Ball…” this, my friend, is


And here’s why:

When you attempt to catch a Pokemon, when you throw the Pokeball, the game assesses the situation with a series of formulas. The formulas use the target Pokemon’s maximum and current HP, the target Pokemon’s Catch Rate (more on that later), any status conditions you’ve given it, and the Pokeball you use gives a multiplier at the end.

The end result is put through ANOTHER formula, and that number is compared to a random number. A random number. If the number from the formula is greater than the random number, the Pokeball will shake, and a new random number will be generated. The number gets compared to four random numbers, and if it’s greater than all four, you successfully catch the Pokemon.

Needless to say, you want to have a relatively high number at the end of the formulas.

Based on that logic, it’s possible to catch a Mewtwo with full HP and no status conditions with just a Pokeball.

It is possible, just not likely. Let’s look at the factors I said can affect the outcome of those formulas:

  • Target Pokemon’s Max HP
  • Target Pokemon’s Current HP
  • Target Pokemon’s Status Condition
  • Target Pokemon’s Catch Rate
  • Pokeball Used

Target Pokemon’s HP

It’s impossible to know exactly what the opposing Pokemon’s max HP is, or what it’s current HP is unless it used Endure or you used False Swipe. But lucky for us, one of the programmers decided it would be helpful to the Trainers if the HP bar changes color as the Pokemon’s HP deteriorates.

Long ago, I was told that a Pokemon is easier to catch if it has less HP, but it becomes more resistant to capture at the same time (WTF?) the second part of that is a LIE. The Pokemon becomes increasingly easier to catch as its HP decreases.

Status Conditions

Obviously, a sleeping Pokemon is going to be easier to catch than one that’s sitting there staring at you. Status conditions are multipliers in the formulas mentioned above. A Pokemon that’s paralyzed, poisoned, or on fire provides a higher multiplier than a Pokemon with no status ailments. A Pokemon that’s asleep or frozen provides a larger multiplier than one that’s paralyzed, burned, or poisoned.

Pokemon’s Catch Rate

Every Species of Pokemon has its own Catch Rate, and that is the main reason it’s more likely to catch a Zubat with a Pokeball than a Mewtwo. The Pokemon’s Catch Rate is out of your control, you cannot manipulate it in any way (unless you’re a hacker). The Catch Rate is also a multiplier, so Pokemon with higher Catch Rates are easier to catch. Legendary Pokemon usually have low Catch Rates. Let’s use Victini as an example, since I was trying to catch it when I was doing this research. Victini’s Catch Rate is 3. Yes, 3. Most Legendary Pokemon have the same Catch Rate, which is why they’re so hard to catch, even with an Ultra Ball.

Pokeball Used

The Master Ball is obviously the best Pokeball to use to catch a Pokemon. The reason that is, is that when you throw the Master Ball, the game skips over the formulas mentioned above. If it only had a really high multiplier, technically it would still be possible for the Master Ball to fail. Even a really high number can be matched or passed by a random number.

I’m sure many people think the Ultra Ball is the next best Pokeball to use. However, when used correctly, special Pokeballs give a higher multiplier than Ultra Balls.

Let’s say you’re battling a wild Pokemon and want to catch it. You weaken it the first turn, and on the second turn, you say to yourself, “Oh, it’s only the second turn, so a Quick Ball should be good enough.” Frankly, at that point, a Quick Ball is just as useful as an ordinary Pokeball. On the first turn of the. battle, a Quick Ball is stronger than an Ultra Ball (at this point, whenever I say “stronger” I mean it gives a higher multiplier in the formula). But only in the first turn of battle is this so. Once the second turn begins, as stated before, a Quick Ball is just another Pokeball.

The Quick Ball’s opposite is the Timer Ball, and it too can be stronger than and Ultra Ball if used correctly. The Timer Ball gains power every turn, and it will be as strong as an Ultra Ball once you’ve reached turn 10. The Timer Ball’s strength stops increasing once you reach turn 40. So prolonging the battle 100+ turns in hopes of a Timer Ball with near-Master Ball strength is a waste of your time and the target Pokemon’s PP, it will eventually start using Struggle and start knocking itself out. At turn 31, a Timer Ball has a higher multiplier than a Quick Ball at turn 1.

The Net Ball is stronger than an Ultra Ball if you use it to catch a Water or Bug type Pokemon.

The Dive Ball is stronger than an Ultra Ball if you it on a water-based battlefield (while surfing, diving, fishing, basically if the battlefield has a water-looking design).

The Nest Ball’s power is determined by the target Pokemon’s Level. The lower the level, the more power a Nest Ball has. Let’s use Victini as an example again, since I caught it with a Nest Ball. Victini is found at Liberty Garden at Level 15. When the number 15 goes through the Nest Ball formula (some Pokeballs have their own formulas that determine the Pokeball Multiplier) the end result is 2.5, setting the Nest Ball Multiplier equal to 2.5. The Ultra Ball’s multiplier will always be 2, so the Nest Ball gave me a better chance of catching Victini and frankly, I didn’t have anything other than Pokeballs, Great Balls, and Nest Balls. If the target Pokemon’s level is 40, the multiplier will be 0, and anything higher will give you negative numbers (Pokeballs have a multiplier of 1 and Great Balls have a mutiplier of 1.5, just so have a point of reference).

I just want to say again, that a special Pokeball usually works better than an Ultra Ball if the condition in the “A Ball that works better…” statement in the description is met.

The special Pokeballs that are exclusive to Johto pretty self-explanatory if you read the descriptions. The only ones that could use more elaboration are the Level Ball and Heavy Ball.

The Level Ball works better if the difference between your Pokemon’s level is greater.

  • If Your Level > Opponent’s Level the multiplier is 2
  • If Your Level/2 > Opponent’s Level the multiplier is 4
  • If Your Level/4 > Opponent’s Level the multiplier is 8
  • If Your Level = Opponent’s Level or Your Level < Opponent’s Level the multiplier is 1

The Heavy Ball catches heavier Pokemon easier. You can check a Pokemon’s weight in the Pokedex, but chances are that if you’re trying to catch it, it’s not in your Pokedex yet. You can estimate a Pokemon’s weight by looking at it sometimes.

With this knowledge, my Pokemon catching technique has greatly improved, and I’m sure that if you use this as a guideline, you’ll stop wasting so much money on Pokeballs.


About David Harris

I'm what many people have defined as a "cool nerd." I like video games, computers, etc., but I have a very active social life as well.
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One Response to Pokemon Catching Tips

  1. Where’s the Dusk Ball? It’s by far the best to use in general, because its uses are way less specific than things like Dive Balls and Net Balls. If you’re trying to catch a legendary, set your DS to night (unless it’s in a cave) and Dusk Ball away. They’re also less expensive than the Ultra Ball, so they’re the best general-use ball for nearly everything.

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