How to catch Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet
You can't be a great Pokémon trainer without Pokémon. To build your team and fill your Pokédex, you'll need to learn how to capture Pokémon. Even though Scarlet and Violet are open worlds, the method does not change much from the previous episodes.
Capturing Pokémon, for beginners
Choosing your target
You cannot capture just any Pokémon. Pokémon that belong to other trainers or that are located in cities cannot be captured. You can only capture wild Pokémon.
Wild Pokémon are Pokémon that roam in the wild, in waterways or in the air in the uninhabited areas of Paldea. The location of the Pokémon varies greatly. Water-type Pokémon tend to be found near bodies of water. Spectre Pokémon tend to appear at night or in ruins.
To capture a Pokémon, you will need to start a fight. When you spot a Pokémon you're interested in, you can either run at it or send your main Pokémon at it. For the latter method, aim at the Pokémon by holding the ZL button and, when the Pokémon's name and level are displayed, launch your Pokémon by pressing ZR.
Using the ZL button allows you to assess whether the Pokémon is too high level for you. Even if you are confident with a Pokémon that is higher level than the opponent, be aware that catching it is more complicated if you don't have enough Arena Badges.
Weaken the Pokémon
To capture a Pokémon, you could simply throw a Pokéball and cross your fingers, but your chances of capture would be low. To maximize your chances of success, you'll need to Decrease the Pokémon's HP, without knocking it out.. If you knock out a Pokémon, you can't capture it again. So avoid attacks that apply Poison or Burn, or you could unintentionally kill your opponent.
State alterations such as Paralysis and Sleep also significantly increase your chances of capture. Attacks that can inflict these alterations without doing damage are very useful for your captures.
Once the Pokémon is weakened, choose the Pokéball that you want to use to attempt a capture. If the Pokéball wiggles 3 times and locks, you win! If it doesn't, you can try again by throwing another Pokéball.
The different Pokéballs
There are many Pokéballs with different properties in the game. The classic red and white Pokéball is the least effective of all. The Super Ball and the Hyper Ball are each more effective than the other.
But there are also special Pokéballs. Some increase the chance of capture under certain conditions. The Dark Ball increases the chance of capture at night or in caves, for example. Others have unique properties, such as the Healing Ball, which completely heals a Pokémon after a capture, or the Buddy Ball, which greatly increases the affection of the captured Pokémon.
In the case of Master Ball, it provides a capture with 100% chance of success. Please note that Master Balls are extremely rare. Use them only for unique occasions.
Capturing Pokémon, for the experts
To go into more detail in the captures, we'll have to talk maths! When you throw a Pokéball, the game performs a calculation including fixed values, variable values, multipliers and 4 random values, generated by the console.
The exact formula for catching Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is not yet known, but it is assumed to be similar to previous games. So to maximise the chances of capture, we try to influence the variable values.
The variables in the Pokémon capture formula are as follows:
- the target's Max HP
- the current PV of the target
- the Pokémon's state alteration
- the Pokéball sent
- the number of badges you have
- the fixed capture rate of the target
- active capture auras
As for the target's HP, contrary to what it seems, it is not so much the number of HP remaining in the target that matters, but of the percentage of the remaining PV of the target. The lower the percentage of HP remaining, the higher your chances of capturing. What may seem counterintuitive is that this means that a low-level Pokémon is harder to capture than a high-level Pokémon.
Demonstration by example:
Imagine a level 1 Pikachu with 10 HP max.
If you leave him only 1 VP, he will have [(1×100)/10] PV Max, i.e. 10% of his PV Max.
Now imagine a level 100 Pikachu with 300 HP max.
If you leave him only 1 VP, he will have [(1×100)/300] PV Max, which is 0.33% of his PV Max.
A level 100 Pikachu has more chance of being captured than a level 1 Pikachu, if it has 1PV left.
That said, since Pokémon Sword and Shield, a small capture bonus is applied to very low-level Pokémon. It fixes this counter-intuitive mechanic.
The different state alterations are very important to facilitate a capture. They directly multiply your chances of capture in the following way:
- No alteration of state : chance of capture x1
- Burn, Paralysis or Poison: chance of capture x1.5
- Sleep, Gel : chance of capture x2.5
The Pokéball used
As mentioned earlier, different Pokéballs have different chances of capture.
Here are the luck multipliers for the different Pokéballs:
- Poké Ball : x1
- Super Ball: x1,5
- Hyper Ball : x2
- Master Ball : +255
- Bait Ball : x4 on caught Pokémon
- Bis Ball : x3.5 on previously captured Pokémon
- Chrono Ball : x4, but decreases for each round spent in combat
- Copain Ball : x1
- Faiblo Ball : x4, but decreases with target level
- Filet Ball : x3.5 on Water or Bug Pokémon
- Honor Ball: x1
- Love Ball: x8 if the target is the same species as your Pokémon but of the opposite sex
- Lune Ball : x4 if the Pokémon evolves with a Moonstone
- Luxe Ball : x1
- Mass Ball : between -20 and +40 depending on the weight of the Pokémon
- Memorandum Ball : x1
- Ball level :
- x1 if your Pokémon is at or below the target's level
- x2 if your Pokémon is 1 to 2 times the level of the target
- x4 if your Pokémon is 2 to 4 times the level of the target
- x8 if your Pokémon is at least 4 times the level of the target
- Rapide Ball : x5 if used in the first round of combat
- Dream Ball : x4 if the Pokémon is asleep
- Care Ball : x1
- Sombre Ball : x3 if used at night or in a cave
- Rapide Ball : x4 if the Pokémon has at least 100 Speed
The Arena Badges you own
In Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, you suffer a capture penalty if your target's level is too high. Badges Arena Champions allow this malus to be removed.
- 0 Badge : you can capture Pokémon of level 20 or lower
- 1 Badge : you can capture Pokémon of level 25 or lower
- 2 Badge : you can capture Pokémon of level 30 or lower
- 3 Badge : you can capture Pokémon of level 35 or lower
- 4 Badge : you can capture Pokémon of level 40 or lower
- 5 Badge : you can capture Pokémon of level 45 or lower
- 6 Badge : you can capture Pokémon of level 50 or lower
- 7 Badge : you can capture Pokémon of level 55 or lower
- 8 Badge : you can capture Pokémon at any level
Target capture rate
Now, this is not a variable you can really influence, but each Pokémon has a value between 0 and 255 depending on its species. The higher the number, the higher the chance of capture. Generally, Pokémon that can evolve but have not yet done so have a fairly high capture rate. Conversely, Pokémon that have evolved or rare Pokémon have a low capture rate.
- Fragroin has a capture rate of 255
- Koraidon has a capture rate of 3
To find out the capture rate of a Pokémon, check the Pokémon records of our Pokédex.
When you go to restaurants or have picnics, you can eat dishes that increase your chances of meeting and capturing Pokémon of a certain type. The exact values are not yet known.