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At a certain point in Pokemon Soul-Silver/Heat-Gold, the legendary beasts start wandering about the game map and it is possible to encounter and battle them. Naturally, I want to catch them all, but they are really tough customers and I have to drastically whittle their HP if I aim to succeed.

The thing is, there is always the risk of accidentally depleting their HP, causing them to faint. Will this effect me adversely in some way, or will they simply respawn at some later time with restored HP (I am worried seeing how their HP remains consistent through all encounters with them, meaning they sustain the damage I've dealt them each time I've battled them and then had them flee)?

I would rather you don't give any "plot" spoilers in your answer, if at all possible.

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In HeartGold/SoulSilver if you faint any legendary, they will "respawn" each time you beat the Elite Four. They should be at the same location (if they were not roaming), except Suicune who goes back to the Burnt Tower according to this.

But if you want to make sure you catch them you can save your game regularly then reset when you come across them. You'll also do well with any of these:

  • Using a Quick Ball on the first turn, or other appropriate balls like Dusk Ball at night.
  • Paralyzing them
  • Using False Swipe
  • Using a fast pokemon that knows Mean Look (e.g. Golbat/Crobat).
  • Use a pokemon with Arena Trap or Shadow Tag (e.g. Wobbuffet)
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Just goes to show you can't always work off of what happened in the previous versions (even in the same gen!). Nice correction. –  Grace Note Aug 5 '10 at 13:01
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The legendary beasts will all respawn (with full health) at the Burnt Tower after beating the Elite 4. Some people will purposely faint them and attempt to catch them at the Burnt Tower because, as they are not roaming anymore, it's much easier to catch them.

For more advanced trainers (people who play Pokemon competitively), they may save and then catch the beasts while roaming. (The beasts' stats are set when you first encounter them.) If their stats are under-average or if they have a bad nature, they soft reset (so the game loads the save file before catching them), and then faint the beasts. Upon finding them again (after respawning), they have different stats from when they were roaming.

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