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I'm at a point in the game where I'd like to go back and catch a lot of the Pokémon I missed, and also some new ones in the Friend Safari etc.

However, most of my current team are overleveled, and the random Pokémon in my boxes aren't exactly geared towards catching Pokémon. I also want to be able to guarantee a capture of that elusive shiny, if and when it appears.

So, what is a good setup for a Pokémon, specifically for catching other Pokémon?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 29 down vote accepted

First and foremost, lets start with the Pokémon:



Smeargle is a great all-round Pokémon, as it's the only one that learns Sketch. It will learn Sketch every 10 levels starting from level 1, meaning by level 31 it will have 4 moves. Sketch will permanently copy a move used in battle, meaning that Smeargle can learn almost any move.

Using Sketch

You can guarantee the move Smeargle gets when using Sketch by entering double battles such as the ones in Restaurant Le Nah. Send out both Smeargle and the Pokemon whos move you want to copy, get it to use the move you want, such as False Swipe, and using Sketch, 'attack' your partner.

So how do I build the ultimate Pokémon Catcher using Smeargle?


With 100% accuracy, Spore is the preferred sleep move, but it is a little harder to get access to in X & Y.

Foongus learns it at level 50 (Amoongus at 62). Otherwise you can get a Paras through Friend Safari or GTS, who will learn it at 22. Shroomish will learn it at level 45.

Nevertheless Sleep Powder is the other safe option. Butterfree will learn it on level 12. Nice and easy. Otherwise Hoppip/Skiploom on 16 and Oddish/Gloom on 17.

I listed Stun Spore as a tertiary option, as some people swear by Stun for catching. Again Butterfree on level 12, Hoppip/Skiploom on 14, or Oddish/Gloom on 16 are your best bets.

False Swipe

False Swipe should be fairly obvious. It will bring a Pokémon down to 1HP, and never kill it. Perfect for catching Pokémon. As it's a Normal move, Smeargle also gains a Same Type Attack Bonus (STAB) when using it, bringing it's power from 40 to 60 (or from 60 to 90 with the Technician ability, see below).

It's TM 54, which can be found in Professor Sycamore's Lab. Talk to a woman on the third floor - she will give it to you. Teach it to any of these Pokémon.

Otherwise, Scyther can be rarely found on Route 21 and will learn it at level 13. your other options are Axew, Karrablast, Cubone or Zangoose (levels 24,25,27 and 29 respectively).

Taunt / Ingrain / Mean Look

This slot is a little up to personal preference.

  • Taunt will force a Pokemon to use offensive-only attacks, meaning they won't be Teleporting/Roaring/Whirlwinding or inflicting status (at least from pure status moves). However it only lasts 2-4 turns.
  • Ingrain will prevent Roar/Whirlwind/Dragon Tail/Circle Throw from making Smeargle flee, and also restore a little health at the end of a turn. However it doesn't stop Teleporting, and it means that Smeargle cannot be switched out.
  • Mean Look prevents the target from switching out or fleeing (including via Teleport). Useful for Pokémon such as Abra, however unlike earlier games there aren't a lot of Pokemon that flee on sight.

As for the ease of getting these moves:

  • Croagunk will learn Taunt on level 10, or Absol on level 17. Taunt is also, TM 12, and can be found in the back of Team Flare Cafe. Talk to the Team Flare guy in the room with the beds you can sleep and heal in. Here is a video showing the path to take (minor spoiler).
  • Ingrain is learned by Foongus on level 18, Phantump/Trevenant will learn it on level 13, Snover/Abomasnow on level 31 and Ferroseed/Ferrothorn on level 35. There are others, but these are probably the easiest to get a hold of.
  • Gastly learns Mean look at level 8. You could try taking a Haunter to the move relearner for the cost of a Heart Scale, or you could throw a female Haunter into daycare with a male Haunter or Litwick. You'll have a wee baby Gastly in no time. Other options are Jynx on level 25, or Zubat on level 34.


Soak is awesome. I'm sure some people who were reading about False Swipe and Mean Look were crying out "But they don't work on Ghost!"/"False Swipe isn't very effective against Rock!". Well I'm here to tell you. Soak changes the target Pokémon's type to Water.

Not only does this mean that False Swipe/Mean Look will hit Ghost (and Rock/Steel normally), but Spore/Sleep Powder can hit soaked Grass-types too.

And as an added bonus (man I sound like a salesman), the enemy Pokémon no longer gets STAB from it's typed moves (meaning Smeargle takes less damage).

However, getting access to it may be a little harder. Psyduck will learn it on level 36 and is probably your best bet. At the time, I threw a Psyduck in daycare, put on the TV, and rode in a circle around the Eiffel Tower in Lumiose (Side note: good to know for breeding). Otherwise GTS is your best bet.

Ok, that's a good start, but what about Natures/Items/Abilities/IVs/EVs?


Lucky Egg can be used for an XP boost whilst levelling up. Find it in the Hotel in Coumarine City (talk to a girl there).

Metronome can be used to boost the power of consecutive False swipes (10% each turn). Again, head to Coumarine City, and check the Monorail station.

Some people also recommend Silk Scarf, for the immediate 20% boost to False Swipe it brings. If you're running the Technician ability (see below) you should probably go with Metronome. Can you guess where Silk Scarf is? That's right, COUMARINE CITY. Talk to the old man in the house by the docks.


Own Tempo or Technician (Player's choice)
This comes down to personal preference. Own Tempo will prevent confusion (which can be useful), whereas Technician will boost False Swipes power by 1.5x (from 40 to 60) (Which is then again boosted by STAB)

It's hidden Ability is Moody, but I don't think it's useful in this situation. Stick with Own Tempo or Technician.


Completely optional, but Jolly (-SpAtk, + Speed) or Adamant (-SpAtk, +Attack) are probably the best ones. Honestly you'll get away with anything though.


Come on, you're facing off against wild Pokémon, it doesn't really matter. If you feel like trying to beat your best times in Super Training, avoid Special Attack. Everything else is personal preference. I spread mine over Speed, Attack and HP, in that order.


Don't even bother.


  • Do note that Smeargle won't attempt to learn Sketch if it still already knows Sketch, so make sure you use it before leveling up!
  • Pokemon with the abilities Vital Spirit, Insomnia or Overcoat cannot fall asleep, and therefore will stop Spore.
  • Soak can be countered by Pokemon with Magic Coat/Magic Bounce.
  • Soak also wont help Spore land on Grass Pokemon with Sap Sipper, and will be negated entirely by the abilities Storm Drain, Water Absorb or Dry Skin. some Pokemon that can have these abilities are Maractus, Lileep, Cacnea/Cacturne & Paras/Parasect.
    • However As listed by Trent below, having another Pokemon with Gastro Acid/Simple Beam/Entrainment or Skill Swap would be a good counter to Pokemon with these abilities
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Suggestion: Taunt instead of Mean Look. There are (currently) no roamers who will flee like in previous generations (the wandering bird works a little differently, you cannot stop them from fleeing). Taunt shuts down Teleport, as well as Roar, and prevents the target from using healing moves or inflicting an annoying status on you. Also, don't forget that False Swipe (as well as my suggested Taunt) are TMs, and can be taught to a wide variety of pokemon at any level in order to sketch them. –  Trent Hawkins Dec 9 '13 at 17:42
@TrentHawkins - the only problem with Taunt is that its limited to 2 turns. Another option I was considering was ingrain, which prevents Roar and Whirlwind but doesn't stop teleport (and has the added benefit of healing you) –  Robotnik Dec 9 '13 at 20:18
2-4 turns - more than enough time to put them (back) to sleep with spore. Ingrain would remove some flexibility in dealing with Pokemon whose ability prevents them from being being put to sleep, or negates soak. (the flexibility being switching in something with entertainment/simplebeam/gastroacid.) –  Trent Hawkins Dec 9 '13 at 20:29
Most beautiful answer I have ever seen. I might just cry. I was going to say, when I opened this, "False Swipe is a must." –  LLF Dec 10 '13 at 2:01
Great answer, though "quickball" suffices 95% of the time now –  Ben Brocka Dec 10 '13 at 14:23
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I use Gallade with False Swipe, Mean Look (egg move, breed with Gastly or its evolutionary line), Thunder Wave, and Heal Pulse.

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Why Heal Pulse? –  scenia Feb 20 at 13:03
When chasing down some horde Pokemon, they might get ganged up by the other horde members. For example, Zangoose/Serviper. Heal Pulse is a backup plan in case something goes wrong. Another example is if the battle goes on long enough for the wild mon to use Struggle, as is the case with some legendaries. –  Lucas Camargo de Carvalho Feb 22 at 14:38
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Breloom! -Technician, Adamant, 4 HP /252 ATK /252 Speed -False Swipe -Spore -Ingrain -Toxic

This is the one I use, I know it's not as perfect as the Smeargle cited here (soaking pokemon is brilliant) but it's an awesome set, with the ev spread and nature, Breloom will do tons of damage, even with resistant pokemon (rock, steel) using false swipe, wich gets a boost from Technician; then just Spore /Toxic (if its a grass type) and Ingrain if needed.

It works wonders for me but of course, ghost types totally wall it, I just feel it's much easily aquired than the super smeargle, and is much stronger.

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It's not bad, although Toxic is a dangerous weapon to wield. Toxic Poison (opposed to regular Poison) does more damage each battle turn, making it hard to predict when to stop False-Swiping and just let it take Toxic damage. Indeed more often than not you may find yourself throwing Pokeballs in yellow-health, failing, and watching as the built up 3 or 4 turn Toxic damage KOs it. –  Robotnik Jan 9 at 0:13
Also Toxic won't work on Grass/Poison types, which aren't that rare. Or Grass/Steel (those are rare, though). –  scenia Feb 20 at 13:03
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If you have the room, throw in a scatterbug with compound eyes in the front of your party and then let him faint off the bat. Compound eyes will double the chance of finding held items on wild pokemon, even when fainted. so even though the scatterbug is there and you are getting it's effects, you don't actually have to use it.

Next, I would recommend finding a trevanant that has the frisk ability. Teach it Thief, cut, strength, and rock smash. Frisk and Thief are good for getting those items you need to level up pokemon that are only found being held in the wild (like horsea's with dragon scale). He is second in my hand. That way you can check for and steal any items you want that they are holding.

I think the above Smeargle idea is brilliant. However, Make sure you have all your HM's, Rock Smash, and Sweet Scent as well. Sweet scent is good for finding pokemon in Hordes. For these I carry Blastoise for the water HM's, Venasaur for Sweet scent and sleep powder and a bird for fly (my farfetch'd has false swipe and fly).

As for leveling these up, drop off two of them at the Daycare, go to the center of lumiose, position yourself correctly, throw a dime in your toggle stick and leave it plugged in overnight. They will be level 100 when you wake up. Don't do it to Scatterbug, though since you want him weak.

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While there is a lot of good information in this post, it's not really an answer to the question... Farming held items is nice, but has nothing to do with a Catcher/Hunter. –  scenia Feb 20 at 13:06
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