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I remember that there was a move or attack one of my Pokemon had that caused damage to the opponent but would leave at least one hit point.

I am most interested about its avaibility in Leaf Green.

What is this move/attack, what Pokémon can learn it, and how?

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Note that in Gen 4 and 5, they made this a TM. –  Shinrai Oct 20 '11 at 14:26
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3 Answers

up vote 16 down vote accepted

False Swipe leaves an opponent with at least one health. In Leaf Green, the following Pokemon learn it by levelling up. Entries in bold are Pokemon which can be caught in Leaf Green; others can be acquired by trading:

  • Cubone (level 33) (Sevault Canyon, Pokémon Tower floors 3-7)
  • Farfetch'd (level 46) (Trade a Spearow to a girl in Vermillion City)
  • Grovyle (level 53)
  • Marowak (level 39) (Sevault Canyon, Victory Road floors 1-3)
  • Nincada (level 25)
  • Sceptile (level 59)
  • Scizor (level 16)
  • Scyther (level 16)
  • Zangoose (level 55)

The following Pokemon can hatch with it as an egg, if their father had the move:

  • Heracross
  • Mawile
  • Paras
  • Pinsir
  • Seedot
  • Shroomish
  • Spearow
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Assuming you can get it in Third Generation, Smeargle can also learn False Swipe through its use of 'Sketch' –  Robotnik Mar 5 at 13:31
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False swipe

False Swipe inflicts damage and if False Swipe deals more damage than the target's current HP, the target will always be left with 1 HP remaining. If the target has 1 HP remaining, False Swipe will hit and leave the target at 1 HP. This move is most often used to catch wild Pokémon. If used against a substitute, False Swipe is able to break it, and will not leave the decoy with 1 HP.

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I think the move you mean is False Swipe:

False Swipe inflicts damage and if False Swipe deals more damage than the target's current HP, the target will always be left with 1 HP remaining. If the target has 1 HP remaining, False Swipe will hit and leave the target at 1 HP. This move is most often used to catch wild Pokémon. If used against a substitute, False Swipe is able to break it, and will not leave the decoy with 1 HP.

Following Pokemon learn this by leveling up in Generation 3 games:
first number indicates the pokemons position in the national pokedex

083 Farfetch'd on Level 46
104 Cubone on Level 33
105 Marowak on Level 39
123 Scyther on Level 16
212 Scizor on Level 16
253 Grovyle on Level 53
254 Sceptile on Level 59
290 Nincada on Level 25
335 Zangoose on Level 55

Additionally those Pokemon can learn False Swipe by breeding:

021 Spearow when breeded with a Farfetch'd
046 Paras when breeded with a Scyther or Scizor
127 Pinsir breeded with Scyther, Scizor or Nincada
214 Heracross breeded with Scyther, Scizor or Nincada
273 Seedot breeded with Farfetch'd or Zangoose
285 Shroomish breeded with Paras, Seedot or Mawile
303 Mawile breeded with Farfetch'd or Zangoose

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OP is asking about Gen 3...some of the numbers are a bit different. –  Shinrai Oct 20 '11 at 14:25
    
@Shinrai: Thanks for pointing this out. Has been too long I've gone through the series :D edited accordingly. –  F.S. Oct 20 '11 at 17:35
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