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I really want to play Pokémon Go but I am a completionist. If I start playing now, what Pokémon won't I be able to catch?

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edit: the list is getting a bit out of date. I do not have time right now to update it, but a lot of previous legendaries are obtainable via the 7-day research reward, or coming back into legendary raids. Also, trading is now a thing, making it a lot easier to get eveerything you missed. The only ones you currently misseed are via special quests. These quests should have been picked up (but not completed) in a certain time period. Rewards for those were:

  • Mew
  • Celebi
  • Spiritomb
  • Meltan (but obtainable via a Mystery Box)

There were multiple limited time Pokemon, mostly legendaries. It is currently not known if they will return (all of them or a select group). These Pokemon were:

  1. (Shiny) Lugia
  2. Articuno
  3. Moltres
  4. Zapdos
  5. Raikou
  6. Entei
  7. Suicune
  8. (Shiny) Ho-oh
  9. Delibird
  10. Groudon
  11. Kyogre

Currently there is another legendary active, Latios/Latias (and shiny Ho-Oh), so be sure to catch that one while it is still possible. Also Mewtwo is available through Ex-raids at this moment in time.

The legendary birds (Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos) were twice catchable. First a week per bird, then about another month where all 3 birds were available at the same time. Now Zapdos is available by finishing a research quest on 7 individual days. Moltres was already available. Articuno will be available in June.

Another 'issue' might be the special hats for the Pikachu family. At specific moments in time they were catchable/hatchable with a different hat.

One other thing that might be annoying is that there are regional Pokemon. For example, Farfetch'd is limited to Asia only. However, there has been an event where it was catchable for 48 hours worldwide. You can still catch Farfetch'd in Asia, but not so soon in your hometown (if not located in Asia) though.

The regions of Seviper and Zangoose are switched right now. Catch the one that should not be in your location!

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Posting an updated answer since the old one is outdated.

Kanto Pokedex. All Pokemon are obtainable.

Jotho Pokedex. All Pokemon are obtainable.

Hoenn Pokedex. Kecleon is the only unobtainable Pokemon.

Sinnoh Pokedex. The unobtainable Pokemon are:

  • Rotom (all forms except for Wash are unobtainable)
  • Phione and Manaphy
  • Shaymin (both forms)
  • Arceus (all forms)

Unova Pokedex. The unobtainable Pokemon are:

  • Zorua + Zoroark

  • Larvesta + Volcarona

  • Kyurem-Black and Kyurem-White (base form is available)

  • Keldeo (both forms)

  • Meloetta Pirouette form (Aria/base form is available)

  • Genesect Shock and Chill Drive forms (base, Burn, and Douse Drive forms are available)

  • Zen mode Darmanitan (Unovan and Galarian, base modes are available)

Kalos Pokedex. The following Pokemon and their evolutions are available:

  • Chespin

  • Fennekin

  • Froakie

  • Bunnelby

  • Fletchinder

  • Litleo

  • Pancham

  • Furfrou (includes all Trims except Heart)

  • Espurr

  • Spiritzee

  • Swirlex

  • Inkay

  • Binacle

  • Skrelp

  • Clauncher

  • Sylveon

  • Dendenne

  • Goomy

  • Klefki

  • Phantump

  • Pumpkaboo (all forms)

  • Noibat

  • Xerneas

  • Yveltal

  • Hoopa (both forms)

Alolan Pokedex. No Pokemon are obtainable. However, all Alolan variants of Kanto Pokemon are available.

Galarian Pokedex. The following Pokemon and their evolutions are available, in addition to all Galarian forms except Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, and Corsola:

  • Skwovet

  • Wooloo

  • Obstagoon

  • Persekker

  • Sirfetch'd

  • Mr Rime

  • Runerigus

  • Falinks

  • Zacian (base form only)

  • Zamazenta (base form only)

  • Zarude (base/non-Dada form only)

Unknown Pokedex. All Pokemon are obtainable (Meltan and Melmetal)

Many of the obtainable Pokemon can't currently be caught, for example most legendaries. If starting now, you'll need to trade with a player to obtain these Pokemon. Unfortunately Mythical Pokemon other than Meltan and Melmetal can't be traded. Hence Mythicals that aren't currently available cannot be obtained until they became available again. Mew, Celebi, Jirachi, and Victini are available through special quests without a time limit; hence they can still be obtained.

The unobtainable Pokemon that have previously been released are:

  • Deoxys (all formes)
  • Darkrai
  • Meloetta
  • Genesect
  • Zarude (must have started Special Research quest from 1st to 10th October 2021)
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  • This … doesn’t actually answer the question as I understand it. Although e.g. Mew and Celebi (and now shiny Mew and Celebi) were obtainable via special research if you had logged in during a specific time, I am not aware of there being any possibility to activate those if you only started now. Same for Jirachi, I assume.
    – Jan
    Jan 27 '21 at 13:11
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    Though some of the special research task are time-locked (must log in during a specific time), that does not apply to the mythical quests (Mew, Celebi, Jirachi and Victini at the time of this comment). Shiny Celebi might be shiny-locked, but not the others. However, it does apply to some other mythicals such as Darkrai and Genesect who can only be obtained from raids or temporary research tasks. I will edit answer later to reflect this.
    – MBorg
    Jan 27 '21 at 23:50

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