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I saw a shared video of someone with a buddy with catch assist. It seems like a normally wasted ball (landed during the 'attack' of the wild Pokémon) is being headbutted back, delivering a 'Great throw' (I personally think it would be an awesome combo). Are the normal catch chances applied? Is this assist always there? Does the original circle matter for the type of throw, or would it always be great?

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Are the normal catch chances applied?

Yes, the normal catch chances still apply. Pokémon can still break free if your buddy throws the pokéball back, so it's safe to assume normal catch rates still apply (source needed).

Is this assist always there?

No, this does not always apply. Much like Critical Captures in Pokémon Go, it is a random chance for Catch Assists to trigger.

Does the original circle matter for the type of throw, or would it always be great?

It will not always be a great throw. There is evidence for Nice and Excellent throws as well. Based on all the videos I've seen, Catch Assists will always be Nice, Great, or Excellent.

From what I have observed, your buddy will kick the pokéball back to the center of the catch circle. Some videos show catches that were well outside the catch circle that would have not awarded a catch bonus did award the respective bonus based on the circle size.

Curve ball bonus' also still stick! If you apply a curve throw, miss, and your buddy throws the pokéball back, you will be awarded the circle ball XP bonus if the Pokémon is caught

Sources

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  • "Based on all the videos I've seen, Catch Assists will always be Nice, Great, or Excellent." I've had several catch assists that weren't even Nice (but they would have missed the circle anyway). I've also had several that got a bonus but clearly would have missed normally. So whatever is going on is more complicated than that. – John Montgomery Jan 2 at 18:12
  • Based on my admittedly minimal observations, Catch Assist kicks in when the ball is bounced back toward you by the target pokemon, but not if the ball ricochets off to the side or behind the target. I haven't seen any bounced toward me since gaining it that weren't headbutted back. – Allison C Jan 28 at 16:44

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