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Pokémon: Sword & Shield

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Catching Pokémon

Ben Chard
Vincent Lau

For some, this is perhaps one of the best parts of the game. As a reminder, you can only catch Pokémon that you find in the wild. This may be Pokémon roaming around that you bump into or the more shy variety that hide in the shaking bushes. There are other ways to find wild Pokémon as well, such as fishing next to rippling water or by shaking berry trees; keep your eyes peeled!

Poké Balls at the Ready!

It all begins with a Poké Ball…

To catch a wild Pokémon, you must use a Poké Ball item during battle. You can do so by opening your Bag and navigating to the Poké Balls tab or, more easily, by pressing the X Button. Near the start of the game, you’ll receive some Poké Balls for free, but eventually you’ll need to buy your own from the Poké Mart clerk, found in every Pokémon Center.

Once you use a Poké Ball, the wild Pokémon will become encapsulated by it. But it’s not over just yet! Afterwards, the Poké Ball will shake up to three times. During this window, there’s a chance the wild Pokémon will break out of the ball. If the Pokémon breaks free, you can try again. Otherwise, if the Pokémon remains in the ball, you’ve successfully caught it!

Improving the Odds

You’ll have an easier time catching Pokémon if you consider the following three things.

  1. The less HP the wild Pokémon has, the higher the chance of capture. However, you don’t want to bring them to 0 HP, because they’ll faint and disappear. To avoid that situation, it’s generally a good idea to whittle down the wild Pokémon’s HP with your weakest or next strongest moves. There are some moves like False Swipe that can’t KO a Pokémon, which are perfect for this!

  2. Additionally, you’ll have a better chance if the wild Pokémon is affected by a status condition. Paralyze (triggered by Nuzzle or Thunder Wave etc.) is the easiest and most reliable method. However, it doesn’t work on Electric-types. Otherwise, Sleep (triggered via Sleep Powder or Hypnosis etc.) provides a better chance, but the wild Pokémon may wake up.

  3. Finally, it’s important what Poké Ball you use. Great Balls and especially Ultra Balls offer a better catch rate overall. But there are special Poké Balls available via Watt Traders in the Wild Area or the right Poke Mart clerk in certain Pokémon Centers, which offer improved rates under specific conditions. Such as Net Balls, which excel at catching Water and Bug-types.


After catching a Pokémon, you can give them a cool or silly nickname.

Upon catching a Pokémon, they’ll be automatically added to your party of 6. If your party is full up, you’ll have the choice of sending the newly caught Pokémon to your Boxes or one of your existing party members instead. Pokémon that you’ve caught will retain their HP, PP and status conditions from the last fight, so it’s a good idea to heal them up before you use ’em.

Afterwards, you can manage your Boxes by using the PC in any Pokémon Center or, once you’ve got the Pokémon Box Link, by pressing the L or R Button via the Pokémon menu. You’ll be able to organize the Pokémon inside your Boxes, as well as move them to and from and your party. Unlike previously, Pokémon won’t get restored when they’re placed in a box, but they’ll all be restored when you visit a Pokémon Center.

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Guide Information
  • Publisher
    Pokemon Company International
  • Platforms,
  • Genre
  • Guide Release
    15 November 2019
  • Last Updated
    4 January 2023
    Version History
  • Guide Author

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Welcome to our comprehensive strategy guide for Pokémon: Sword and Shield, the latest entries in the Pokémon video game franchise. Our guide also incorporates all the DLC, including the Isle of Armor and brand new Crown Tundra DLC.

In Sword and Shield, you explore the Galar region, based on the United Kingdom, alongside rivals Hop, Bede and Marnie, with the aim to dethrone the Pokémon League Champion.

The games introduce several new features such as Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing, functions that increase size and change forms of certain Pokémon; the Wild Area, a large open world with free camera movement; and raids with co-op battling. They also reintroduce features previously seen in Sun and Moon and Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, such as regional variants and roaming Pokémon depicted in the overworld.

Brand New October 2020:

Version 1.2

  • A Complete Walkthrough of the Isle of Armor.
  • Details of all 16 new Wild Areas, including Pokémon encounter rates.
  • All the new Max Raid Dens: Locations and Featured Pokémon.
  • Images and Locations of All 150 of the Missing Diglett.
  • The Isle of Armor Pokédex (featuring 100 Returning Pokémon).
  • Recipes for the Cram-o-matic.
  • A Full Walkthrough featuring Pokémon encounter rates.
  • All Gym Encounters and Strategies.
  • New Items: Mints & Natures Explained.
  • Post Game content including Champion Cup.
  • Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing.
  • The Galar Region Pokédex (featuring 400 Pokemon).

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