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I just reached the wild area in Pokémon Sword. In this location, there is a chance to encounter Pokémon that are too high of level and can easily take out your team; nor can be captured. Some of the high leveled Pokémon are obvious, such as 2nd or 3rd stage evolutions. I’ve already had some close encounters with a Haunter and Pelipper.

However, I recently encountered an Onix. Being a 1st staged evolution, and could be caught fairly early in previous games, I figured it would be an easy encounter. To my surprise, it was considered a powerful encounter and I could not capture it.

I also encountered a Nuzleaf. Despite being a 2nd stage evolution, it was not considered a powerful encounter and I was able to capture it without trouble.

Aside from the more obvious Pokémon, is there an easy way to determine if a Pokémon is too high of a level?

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It is not really possible to tell if it is too powerful without engaging the battle. Once you started the battle, you can tell by their level.

The ability to catch higher level pokemon is tied to the number of gym badges you acquired so far. It goes as follows:

  • No Badge: up to level 20
  • First Badge: up to level 25
  • Second Badge: up to level 30

this goes on in intervals of 5 levels all the way up to 8 Badges, at which point the level cap is removed.

The pokemon can spawn with different levels as well, take your Onix encounter as an example. Consider you having 1 badge meaning you could catch Onix up to level 25, you might encounter one that is level 30 or higher, meaning its too powerful. However there are also lower level Onix spawns as well, say you encounter a level 10 Onix instead meaning it would not be too powerful to catch.

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    Kind of sucky you can't determine this pre-battle, but this make perfect sense. I have no badges, and the Onix was lv26 and Nuzleaf was lv14. – Wondercricket Nov 15 at 14:13
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In-game I found a note stating the following:

The large Pokémon you see wandering around in the wild area are strong! If you try battling one and it seems like you're in over your head, try to run! Run like the wind!

This note dropped right in front of a giant Onix (well, all Onixii are huge) but it was indeed a powerful one (I was level 12, he 26). So I guess it is visible on beforehand, if the Pokemon is larger than usual, but I have not been able to compare it myself.

  • Interesting. I actually never found this note, but information nonetheless! – Wondercricket Nov 18 at 12:51
  • I found two notes so far, both were I think automatically when something happened for the first time. This note popping up right when I saw this Onix. I even soft resetted it to get the exact text, because I remembered this question and clicked too fast through it. – Mathias711 Nov 18 at 12:56

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