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?

12 Answers 12


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?


Smeargle @Metronome


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 / Gastro Acid

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.
  • Gastro Acid useful for when a pokemon has insomnia, which stops it from falling asleep. However by using gastro acid, you can bypass insomnia and make them sleep anyway.

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.
  • Joltik learns gastro acid at level 23. You can find joltik on route 116 using the dexnav.


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:

  • Basculin (both forms) learn Soak at Level 32. They can be fished for on Routes 15, 16, and 21, as well as Laverre City and Couriway Town with a Good Rod or Super Rod.
  • Alomomola gets Soak at Lv. 33 - Fish for them in Azure Bay with a Super Rod
  • If you haven't unlocked the Good or Super Rod yet, 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 Centre Tower in Lumiose City (Side note: good to know for breeding).

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)

  • Own Tempo will prevent confusion which can be useful,
  • Technician will boost False Swipe's power by 1.5x (from 40 to 60) (Which is then boosted further by STAB)

This really comes down to personal preference. Having tested both, I have found that I prefer the power boost from Technician than the protection from confusion via Own Tempo.

Note: Smeargle'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
  • Beautiful answer
    – TerryA
    Dec 9, 2013 at 21:31
  • 3
    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, 2013 at 2:01
  • 2
    Great answer, though "quickball" suffices 95% of the time now
    – Ben Brocka
    Dec 10, 2013 at 14:23
  • 1
    I'd suggest Thunder Wave instead of Stun Spore, as it has much better accuracy. In fact I usually use TW instead of a sleep move - sleep does increase your chances slightly over paralysis, but paralysis is permanent (besides Refresh). Dec 10, 2013 at 14:35
  • 1
    @Robotnik I found it... I thought it was a special attack move but apparently it's a physical attack, it's called "Hold Back" serebii.net/attackdex-xy/holdback.shtml
    – C-dizzle
    Mar 18, 2014 at 19:22


  • Ability: Technician
  • Nature: Adamant
  • EVs: 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.

  • 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, 2014 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, 2014 at 13:03

I use Gallade with

  • False Swipe,
  • Mean Look (egg move, breed with Gastly or its evolutionary line),
  • Thunder Wave
  • Heal Pulse.

When chasing down some horde Pokemon, they might get ganged up by the other horde members. For example, Zangoose/Serviper. Heal Pulse is therefore a backup plan in case something goes wrong. Another example is if the battle goes on long enough for the wild Pokémon to use Struggle, as is the case with some legendaries


I use 3 "catching" Pokemon, 1 Trace Pokemon, 1 Compound Eyes Pokemon and 1 Frisk/Thief Pokemon to cover all my farming needs.

A Gardevoir with Trace to know the Pokemon I'm catching is the one I want or Banette with Frisk and Thief to know the Pokemon has the item I want (for example when searching for the biggest Pumpkaboo).

For my catchers I use:

Gallade: (stats not important, but if you want to optimize, go for attack, speed and the rest HP)

  • False Swipe (TM)
  • Hypnosis (learned as Raltz or Kirlia)
  • Mean Look (breeding with Gastly)
  • Cut / Strength / Rock Smash (just in case you end up trapped with a Pokemon like Wobbuffet and this also works for some over-world move needs)

Breloom: (as before, not import the stats, but attack, speed and the rest HP - also prefer Technician over Spores since you don't want to accidentally poison the Pokemon you want to catch)

  • False Swipe (TM)
  • Spore (learned as Shroomish)
  • Cut / Strength / Rock Smash (for over-world needs and in case you end up trapped with a Pokemon you don't want to catch)

Parasect: I basically use the same attacks as Breloom, but the stats go to the defenses and HP. It is for Pokemon that are already at 1 HP but keep on waking up and not going into the Pokeball. I use him when I want to catch a pokemon with a specific ball. Also recommend Damp to prevent self-destructing Pokemon from doing so, but Dry Skin is also ok.

I do recognize the advantages of Smeargle (especially since he can learn Soak), but I will say that if you are making your catcher while advancing the game, the stats of Smeargle will make the catching more difficult until it can out-level the Pokemon you want to catch. Great for late-game or after-game, but not that good in early/mid-game.

  • During the storyline I just used a Farfetch'd with Cut, Fly, Thief and False Swipe, which is all that you really need for 70% of catching and some minimal farming, but yeah the idea of Smeargle was to use it as a perfect catcher after completing the game
    – Robotnik
    Aug 20, 2014 at 10:03

I'm surprised I haven't seen this one come up yet, but I think the best one for catching Pokémon is Scizor.

With Scizor, put 252 EVs into Attack and 252 into Defence, and the last 4 into Special Defence, Speed or HP, your choice. The moveset should be: -Bug Bite (120 power) -Bullet Punch (100 power + priority) -False Swipe (60 power + ensures safety) -Thief (90 power + item theft)

With his ability Technician, all the above moves are powered up to the listed amount, so make sure it has that ability. However, if you mega evolve it, it will always have technician, so don't worry too much. And even if it's still holding the mega stone, thief is still suggested for the coverage.

The biggest reason I chose Scizor is not only for Technician, but also for his constitution. His only weakness is fire (which is really hard-hitting, so don't push it), which isn't that common compared to other types. Since only 5 of the 39 legendaries are fire-types (unless you count Primal Groudon), this means that he's great for catching both legendaries and weaker Pokémon. If you get him up to a high enough level, all you have to do is use False Swipe on most of the Pokémon to rbing them down to 1 HP immediately.

As for status effects, the best should be Compound Eyes Butterfree with 252 Speed EVs. Sleep Powder combined with its ability mean that it'll barely ever miss (97.5% accuracy instead of 75%)

  • 1
    For status effects I'll prefer Spore or Nuzzle, both with 100% accuracy.
    – pinckerman
    Mar 3, 2015 at 23:30

Darkrai- Great for catching Legendaries

A)Darkrai is fast. With a base speed of 125, it's faster than a lot of others.

B)Controlled damage. Darkrai can and will consistently get pokemon down to 12.5% of their health in 3 turns. Dark Void, Darkrai's signature move, puts the target to sleep and has an 80% accuracy, compared to Hypnosis at 60% and Sleep Powder at 75%. Combine this with Bad Dreams, its ability, to drain 1/8 of the sleeping pokemon's max health a turn, and Nightmare, at 1/4 max health a turn.

C) Combining these two gets results. Use Dark Void turn 1, and deal 1/8. Follow up with Nightmare for 1/2 max hp gone by turn 2. Turn 3, use a non-damaging action, and it's down to 1/8. At this point-Turn 4- switch Darkrai out. The pokemon will have woken up by now, and any more from Darkrai will kill it. If you want, have a backup pokemon with a status move, such as Thunder Wave, Sleep Powder, etc. This is a good way to ensure low hp.

NOTE -Darkrai has bad defenses. Avoid getting hit by a strong move. -If the target wakes up, use Dark Void again. This will remove Nightmare. -If you are going after Normal-Type pokemon, Nightmare will not work, being Ghost type. -Should you desire, another pokemon with False Swipe would make good use of the already low hp.


A Farfetch'd with Foresight & False Swipe works great for catching ghosts, since their attacks have no effect. You can also teach it Swords Dance if your False Swipes are taking too long to whittle down the health.

A Honedge or Doublade works well for catching Normal types, since they do no damage. For hunting the elusive Anticipation Eevee teach it a fighting type move, and only capture the ones that "Shudder in anticipation".

I prefer Thunder Wave for catchers, since it never wears off, you don't have to keep reapplying it every couple of turns like Sleep moves.

Absol, Mew and Cobalion can all learn False Swipe, Thunder Wave and Swords Dance from TMs.


Scyther is a good pokemon catcher because you don't have to get the tm for false swipe, as he learns it. He is slightly rare but is still a good addition if you want to catch pokemon.

  • He also levels up fairly quickly, making it easier to obtain a level advantage
    – Robotnik
    Jan 12, 2015 at 9:45

For legendary Pokemon, why not start with a F.E.A.R.-like setup to quickly bring them down to 1HP? Fast and controlled in 1 turn

Also very advised moves that decrease or remove stat buffs as I've learned buffed Pokemon get harder to catch

In DS games I remember paralyzing sleeping pkmn but I guess that was changed


You could use Dark Void in place of Spore, then you would no longer need Soak to change its type.

  • Dark Void is good but is only 80% accurate, meaning 1 out of 5 times it will miss. However if you prefer it, you could put on something like Entrainment, Mean Look, Taunt, Simple Beam etc if you wish. Note that the removal of Soak will mean that False Swipe will be unable to hit Ghost types
    – Robotnik
    Sep 17, 2015 at 4:00

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.

  • 3
    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, 2014 at 13:06


  • Name: Ash (Mandatory)
  • Nature: Adamant
  • Ability: Technician
  • Items: Silk Scarf or Metronome
  • EV Spread: 4HP/252Atk/252Spe


  • False Swipe (Bring to 1hp)
  • Spore (Guaranteed Sleep)
  • Soak (Deals with Typing Issues)
  • Entrainment (Deals with Ability Issues)
  • 1
    This adds nothing to the already accepted answer. Aug 25, 2017 at 10:20

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