Pokemon Catch Rate Frustration

Ash Ketchum throwing a Pokeball

Ash Ketchum throwing a Pokeball.

I’ve been recently trying to catch up on the All Region Tour Challenge that I talked about a few months ago. Sadly, I’m still playing through Leaf Green and progressing slower than a Slowpoke trying to pull a hungry Snorlax away from an all-you-can-eat buffet.

I just defeated both Koga and Sabrina and I’m doing a little grinding, trying to get my Pokemon team all to level 50 before officially tackling Cinnabar Island. I started to get bored and decided to try to catch the two legendary birds that are currently accessible to me in the Kanto region – Articuno and Zapdos.

Let me just tell you that I like catching legendary Pokemon in a normal Pokeball whenever possible. Of course, I know that using an Ultra Ball would be the smart thing to do, but there is just something about a classic Pokeball that just looks right.

I started by heading to the Power Plant to catch Zapdos, since I was too lazy to wander around the Seafoam Islands moving boulders around. I had about 45 normal Pokeballs with me. I paralyzed the Zapdos with my Dratini’s Thunder Wave, then brought down its HP. Now, I knew going into this that I wasn’t going to catch the legendary Thunderbird within the first few throws or even the first twenty throws. Forty-five Pokeballs later, I did a hard reset to try again, hoping that I can catch it with some luck … but nothing. Another hard reset, and I stormed out of the Power Plant and flew to Pewter City to buy 99 more Pokeballs. At this point in time, I had 144 Pokeballs on hand. Tired of Zapdos, I flew to Fuchsia City and surfed to the Seafoam Islands.

“Catching Articuno should make things easier when going up against Zapdos,” I thought. If paralyzing Zapdos wasn’t going to work, then freezing it with Articuno’s Ice Beam should help increase the catch rate, especially since I’m only using a normal Pokeball with a ×1 rate, not an Ultra Ball that has a ×3 rate. Freezing a Pokemon gives a ×2 multiplier, while paralyzing it only gives a ×1.5 multiplier to the catch rate equation. To make things simple – freezing or putting a Pokemon to sleep will make it easier to catch than paralyzing, burning or poisoning it. Pokemon Catch Rates can be a little confusing at first. It’s well known, but not thoroughly explained in the video game.

Let the record show that I don’t like math.

Struggle by Ommin202 from Deviant Art

I decided to stop being lazy and moved all of the boulders in the Seafoam Islands into place and went to challenge the legendary Freeze Pokemon. I used the same strategy that I did when facing Zapdos back at the Power Plant – paralyze it and bring its HP down as low as I could. After having to use Revive on my team about five times and nearly 60 Pokeballs later, Articuno ran out of moves and started to Struggle like an idiot. Thankfully, its paralysis kept it from Struggling for two or three moves, but eventually it was no match for itself. I was down to my last Pokemon – my Pikachu with 6 HP left. Articuno Struggled one last time and it was a double knockout. I still had over 80 Pokeballs left.

Seems like I will put my ego aside and use Ultra Balls when going after the legendary bird trio. Sure, seeing them inside of a normal Pokeball just looks cool and there is the pride factor that you caught them with the weakest type of Pokeball.

This whole experience forced me do a little bit of research on the Catch Rates mechanic of the Pokemon video games. Not surprising, but this has a lot of math. What makes the mechanic even more confusing is that it changes depending on the game generation, e.g., Gen 1 (Red, Blue, Green, Yellow) uses a different formula compared to Gen 3 (Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Fire Red, Leaf Green). There must simpler ways to think about Catch Rates than using the confusing equations.

I’ll do an episode of the podcast discussing the Pokemon Catch Rates mechanic. Once I do, there will be a link to it at the end of this blog post. If you don’t see a link yet, then I haven’t recorded the episode yet. If you do, then I have. 🙂

This text will be replaced with the future podcast episode link.

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