In between "Pokémon" journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a pharmaceutical chemist and campus manager.
Poké Balls and Catch Rates
Any trainer worth their gym badges knows that different Poké Balls offer different rates of capturing foes. Most orbs improve your catch chances under certain circumstances, so make sure to stock up on a variety of devices to ensure you've always got the right tool for the job.
Catch rates are also improved by weakening an adversary and inflicting it with status conditions; moves like False Swipe can help dwindle HP without fainting creatures. And no, contrary to the widespread rumors, pressing A or B at the right time won't increase your chances when tossing Poké Balls. Luckily, with so many capturing tools available, you won't need special gimmicks to fill your Pokédex, but with dozens of containment variants available, with units reign supreme? These are the 10 best types of Poké Balls!
10. Dream/Park Ball
Catch Rate: 255x; Dream Ball has a catch rate of 4x in Generation 8 if used on a sleeping Pokémon
Introduced in: Generation 5/Generation 4
255 times the normal catch rate is basically a guaranteed catch, but Dream and Park Balls are only used in the Pal Park and Entree Forest areas respectively. In these zones, you don't really battle Pokemon; you receive them in these balls after meeting other conditions.
Thus, the impressive catch rates of these guys doesn't really matter since you're obtaining your Pokemon through other methods, but they're still worth a shout-out for their technically superior mechanics. Try not to get Park Balls confused with Safari Balls, the manner of capturing wild creatures in the Safari Zone.
How to Acquire Dream/Park Balls
In Generation 4 games, you can only receive Park Balls from the Pal Park. In Generation 5 games, you can only receive Dream Balls in Entree Forest. Dream Balls make their return in Generation 8, but they are rare. You can get one from the Ball Guy outside Wyndon Stadium. If you have the Crown Tundra DLC, you can get Dream Balls from Delibird Max Raid battles.
9. Beast Ball
Catch Rate: 5x on Ultra Beasts, 0.1x otherwise
Introduced in: Generation 7
The Sun and Moon games only introduced a single new Poké Ball variant: the Beast Ball, specially designed for tackling the Ultra Beasts. With an impressive 5x catch rate on the Beasts, nabbing them is easier than most legendaries, giving you two and a half times the odds you'd have even with an Ultra Ball.
Just never use these bad boys on other monsters, as you'll receive a huge penalty and land a 0.1 multiplier that makes it painfully difficult to snag even weakened creatures.
How to Acquire Beast Balls
In the Sun and Moon games, you can find Beast Balls on Routes 2, 8, and 13. You can also find them at Seafolk Village and Aether Paradise. In Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, you can find them at the Altar of the Sunne or Altar of the Moone, depending on which version you have. They can also be found at Poni Grove.
In Sword and Shield, you can get a Beast Ball in Stow-on-Side after becoming Champion. If you have the Crown Tundra DLC, Beast Balls can be obtained in the Max Lair from the Dynite Ore trader.
8. Quick Ball
Catch Rate: 5x (first turn), 1x (subsequent turns)
Introduced in: Generation 4
Usually, you'll want to battle and weaken a foe before attempting to enslave, er, capture them, but Quick Balls can save you the hassle by offering great catch rates—on your first turn only. At first they provided 4x odds, but since the Black and White titles, they provide 5x chances, giving you decent odds even with full-health opponents. Assuming you succeed, this also lets you immediately use your new ally (if you had a party slot free) since you won't have to heal them at a Pokémon Center.
Quick Balls are also handy for catching fleeing foes like Abra without having to deploy normal trapping tactics such as the Mean Look move. Plus, in a pinch, they'll offer the same odds as a default Poke Ball even after the first turn, so they're not entirely useless if they initially fail.
How to Acquire Quick Balls
Quick Balls are fairly easy to come by. Most games have them easily available to purchase from certain Poké Marts. In Sword and Shield, they can be purchased from the southern Wyndon Poké Mart and from all Watt Traders. In Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, they can be purchased from the Poké Marts in Pastoria City, Canalave City, Snowpoint City, and the Pokémon League.
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7. Repeat Ball
Catch Rate: 3.5x on already-registered Pokémon, 1x otherwise
Introduced in: Generation 3
In Generation 7, the catch rate for Repeat Balls increased from 3 to 3.5x odds, allowing them to offer much better chances at snagging creatures you've already tracked in your Pokédex. What's the point in re-catching creatures you've previously nabbed? Well, competitive players might be hunting for monsters with better IV (individual value) scores, a different possible ability, a different gender for breeding, an alternate nature, or simply trying to catch a foe that's holding a rare held item. Thus, Repeat Balls are more useful than they initially seem, and they've only improved throughout the years.
How to Acquire Repeat Balls
You can find these balls in particular Poké Marts in various games. In Sword and Shield, they can be bought at the southern Wyndon Poké Mart. In Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, they can be bought at the Canalave City and Pokémon League Poké Marts.
6. Dive Ball
Catch Rate: 3.5x while underwater, surfing, or fishing, 1x otherwise
Introduced in: Generation 3
The Hoenn region introduced the Dive mechanic, letting players explore the perilous trenches of the ocean depths. Luckily, these passages easily allowed us to capture Pokemon thanks to Dive Balls, which offer an awesome 3.5x capture rate while submerged. Even outside the Ruby and Sapphire games, Dive Balls serve a purpose by increasing your catch chances while surfing or fishing. A useful tool, but it's not the only method to easily collect Water types...
How to Acquire Dive Balls
Dive Balls can be easily obtained from specific shopping locations in various games. In Sword and Shield, they can be purchased from Watt Traders, the Hammerlocke Poké Mart, and at Wyndon Stadium. In Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, you can get a Dive Ball from the Pokémon News Press as a reward for completing tasks.
5. Net Ball
Catch Rate: 3x for Water and Bug Pokémon in Generation 3 to 6 (increased to 3.5x in Generation 7), 1x otherwise
Introduced in: Generation 3
Water Pokémon are currently the most abundant of all 18 types; 16.5% of all monsters are at least part-Water. Thus, the Net Ball's ability to easily capture aquatic creatures makes it one of the most versatile items in the game, especially since the bonus also applies with Bug Pokémon.
Sadly, the effect doesn't stack with rare Bug/Water duos like Surskit, but that's a small complaint for a device that makes it ridiculously easy to acquire about 1/4 of all Pokémon. Prior to Generation 7, the bonus was only 3x, which is still an impressive feat for this easily-obtained sphere.
How to Acquire Net Balls
Net Balls are typically available from certain stores across the series. In Sword and Shield, they can be bought from the central Motostoke Poké Mart as well as from Watt Traders. In Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, they can be purchased from the Poké Marts in Oreburgh City, Floaroma Town, Hearthome City, Solaceon Town, and the Pokémon League.
4. Dusk Ball
Catch Rate: 3.5x in a cave or at night in Generation 4 to 6 (reduced to 3x starting in Generation 7), 1x otherwise
Introduced in: Generation 3
Unlike most entries, the Dusk Ball ability was actually nerfed in Sun and Moon from 3.5 to 3x, but it's still an awesome addition to our arsenal. When exploring at night or in caves, the Dusk Ball provides a superb 3x capture rate, impacting all types as long as you're hunting in the later hours or the depths of a cavern.
It's as simple as that. When you know you're up against a resistant foe, try stalking them at night to make their submission easier.
How to Acquire Dusk Balls
Dusk Balls can be purchased from different vendors in different games. In Sword and Shield, they can be bought from Watt Traders and from the Poké Marts in Hammerlocke and Wyndon Stadium. In Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, they can be purchased from the Poké Marts in Solaceon Town, Snowpoint City, Pastoria City, and the Pokémon League.
3. Ultra Ball
Catch Rate: 2x
Introduced in: Generation 1
A familiar tool even for Red and Blue veterans, the Ultra Ball's been helping us catch Pokémon since our original Pokémon expeditions. Although its bonus of 2x doesn't quite match the 3x plus rates of its peers, and it's a bit pricier at Poké Marts, Ultra Balls don't have any conditions or gimmicks attached, letting you use their increased odds no matter what situation you're in.
I'd say they were especially useful back in Generation 1 where we had no better alternative other than our one-time use Master Ball, except the infamous infinite item MissingNo. glitch could actually give infinite Master Balls in our original adventures. Still, these classic items have been a consistent and reliable force throughout the years.
How to Acquire Ultra Balls
You can find Ultra Balls at all Poké Marts in most games. Some games may require you to have a certain number of Gym Badges before you can buy them.
2. Timer Ball
Catch Rate: 1 + number of turns passed in battle times (1229/4096)
Introduced in: Generation 3
When you're facing a tricky creature that can heal itself with Rest (like certain legendaries or Snorlax), or you're simply having poor luck with other catch tools, battles can drag on as you doggedly attempt to ensnare your prey. Luckily, even the turns you fail will assist your endeavors as each turn adds to your chances of success with a Timer Ball.
Useful in longer fights against hard-to-catch creatures, Timer Balls max out at a catch rate of 4x, which is double that of an Ultra Ball. This gives you decent odds against even the most hearty of opponents. The Timer Ball eventually surpasses the gimmicks of most other variants.
How to Acquire Timer Balls
Timer Balls can usually be bought from a particular shopping location in various games. In Sword and Shield, they can be purchased from the Poké Marts in Hammerlocke and Wyndon Stadium. In Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, they can be bought from the Poké Marts in Celestic Town, Canalave City, Snowpoint City, and the Pokémon League.
1. Master Ball
Catch Rate: 255x
Introduced in: Generation 1
Guaranteed to catch a wild Pokémon without fail, players can normally obtain only a single Master Ball in each playthrough, so save it for when you really need it. These 100% catch tools are often best used on legendary Pokémon, sparing you the trouble of having to weaken them and painfully waste dozens of other containment devices.
Master Balls normally work without any risk of failure, but be aware that a few special Pokemon can't be caught even with this ultimate device, like the Ghost Marowak at Lavender Town's Pokémon Tower and Kyurem while under Ghestis's control. Like other balls, the Master Ball also can't be used against Pokémon in the semi-invulnerable states provided by moves like Dig and Fly.
Can the Master Ball Fail?
This is a frequently asked question by Poké-fans. Prior to Generation 5, a glitch gave the Master Ball a very, very small chance of failure. 1 in 65,536 to be precise, giving you a 99.994% successful catch rate. Thankfully, from Black and White onwards, this was corrected.
That said, it seems there's quite a bit of controversy about the minuscule fail rate. Some believe it's simply a rumor, while others maintain that it's true, just incredibly rare. Either way, make sure to frequently save your game; better safe than sorry.
How to Acquire Master Balls
You can typically only obtain one Master Ball in each game. However, there are occasionally some methods that allow you to get another Master Ball. These rare methods usually involve the lottery system in their respective game. In Sword and Shield, matching all five digits in the Loto-ID can win you a Master Ball. In Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, matching all five digits in the Pokémon Lottery Corner will win you the same prize.
Future of Poké Balls
Regions like Generation 3 added several new Poké Ball additions, while others (like 5 and 7) hardly debuted any, but you can bet we'll encounter new portable containment units as time passes. These units make catching Pokémon an easier task, and they allow us to proceed with our adventures quicker without nullifying the challenge and thrill, a fine balance that GameFreak has excelled at maintaining.
If you're willing to shell out a few dozen bucks, we've also recently seen the Poké Ball Plus, an accessory for the Switch titles Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee, a real-world item that offers motion controls and the ability to obtain Mew. If you've got the cash to spend, I was impressed with the Plus' functionality, and it definitely helps immerse you in the Let's Go world.
With the Pokémon series still going strong, we'll undoubtedly return to explore future Poké Ball variants, but for now, as we eagerly await Nintendo's next batch of disguised Pokémon prisons (shhh), vote for your favorite variant and I'll see you at our next Pokémon countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
MemeKid21 on July 23, 2020:
this explained a lot of stuff for me. I was reading this during class though so lol ;P
Angelina on March 07, 2020:
Thanks for the good advice! I drew a couple of poke balls before and some of these are one of them! Thanks again! Those balls make Pokémon Go a lot easier.
Alexis on August 20, 2018:
I've always been a big fan of the timer balls. It made catching hard to catch legendaries so much easier.
Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on August 19, 2018:
Sheesh, I only know four.