Azure Heights Pokémon Laboratory
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Catching Pokémon

There's a story in Dungeons and Dragons about a Ranger who decided to pick the runt from a stable full of horses. The runt ended up being one of the best horses in the world. In Pokémon, this will never happen. When a Pokémon is captured, its maximum statistic potential is determined and locked in. This means, no matter how much you train it, it will have a maximum. This maximum cannot be increased or decreased in the game.

When you plan to catch a certain kind of Pokémon, be ready to catch more than one of them. This way, you'll get a good comparison to see which will grow up to be stronger. If Attack is important to you, you'll want to keep a Machop with 53 Attack as opposed to one with 48 Attack. (Note that these Machops would be at the same level for comparison.)

The next thing to consider is level. Let's say we take 2 Bulbasaurs, each of them with 20 Special at LV 7. At L20, they can have different Specials. One could have 64, the other could have 58. If they had been caught at higher levels, this difference might have been even more apparent.

Question: Just a second! You can't catch Bulbasaurs!

Answer: It's just an example.

Question: You're saying if I'm looking for the best statistics for a Pokémon, I should catch them as late in the game as possible? Everyone else says to catch them as early as you can! Even you said this!

Answer: Azure Heights is always undergoing changes as our research produces new findings. This is a prime example. Now hush and let me finish. ^^

The prime level to catch Pokémon at is LV 50 if you're looking for statistics. Let's say you want a Hypno. You can catch one in the Cerulean cave. More than likely, he'll have Head Butt, Poison Gas, Psychic, and Meditate. At these levels, it'll be easy to separate the cream from the rest. However, the disadvantage is, he loses the ability to use his patented Hynosis/Dream Eater combo. If you want that, you'll have to catch a Drowzee and go from there. Then again, those moves aren't that bad...

Question: Alright, how do I find Pokémon with good statistics?

Answer: Catch lots of them! Catch as many as you want and check each one. The older they are, the easier it is to choose.

Question: Easy enough, but how many do I have to catch?

Answer: You'll just have to keep catching until you find one with the statistics you want. Your first step should be to use the Skill-Stat Finder to determine the wild maximums for that Pokémon (at the appropriate level). It's really unlikely to get a Pokémon that is perfect in every statistic, so you need to decide what's important for your particular Pokémon.

Here are some considerations for each statistic:

HP: This is almost always important. Defense protects against physical attacks, and Special against special ones, but it all comes down to HP in the end. Also, because of the way the Battle Damage Formula works, an extra point of HP adds more to your survivability against a given attack than does an extra point of Defense or Special. (Of course, Special also has offensive value, depending on the attacks you're using.)

Is there ever a situation when you can skimp on HP? Well, it might be argued that if your Pokémon's base HP is extremely low (or for that matter, extremely high), a few more points aren't going to make the difference, but you never know. Basically, unless you're planning to make your Pokémon Explode on the first or second round, get as much HP as you can.

Attack: This is the only statistic that might not matter to you at all. Its sole function is to determine the damage done by physical attacks, so if your Pokémon doesn't use those, Attack is worthless to you. In fact, a Pokémon who relies on special attacks is better off with a low Attack value, if only for the reason that a Pokémon's own Attack stat is a factor in how badly it will hurt itself when confused.

Defense: Perhaps the least important of the 3 "defensive" statistics, in that unlike HP it protects against only against one class of attacks, and unlike Special it has no offensive value. Nevertheless, you'll generally want to have as much of this stat as you can get.

Speed: A strong case can be made that Speed will decide the outcome of battles more often than any other statistic. One reason for this is the deadliness of status changes: all the HP or Special in the world won't help you much if your opponent puts you to sleep before you can even attack. However, the priority you place on Speed depends on which Pokémon you're trying to catch and raise. Certain Pokémon (eg, Parasect, Slowbro) are so slow that they can virtually count on losing the initiative. Any Pokémon using a combo that involves Thunder Wave or Agility also need not be too concerned about initial Speed. And even a relatively slow Electrode is still faster than any other Pokémon.

Generally, though, you'll want to try for the best possible Speed. Two very popular Pokémon, Mewtwo and Jolteon, are identical in base Speed, with Alakazam, Starmie, and Gengar hot on their tails. In that crowd, every point counts!

Special: Special is kind of like HP: no matter who you are, you need it. If your Pokémon uses special attacks, it is obviously necessary to mount an effective offense. But even Hitmonlee can't spare a single point of Special, if he wants to survive the next Psybeam he runs into. This is especially true in a game dominated by Mewtwo. Your opponent might not even be using one, but if he knows anything, his team will be designed to survive Mewtwo attacks, and that means it will probably be populated with high-Special bruisers like Zapdos or the Eeveelutions.

Question: How many...

Answer: you need to catch to find a perfect one? Let's just say you're gonna catch a whole lot of them. Try in the 10s or even 100s of thousands. Go ahead if you want, but you're gonna be playing that Game Boy until you're old, shriveled, and pruny. (Unless you really happen to luck out.) If you're still not discouraged, consider that Necrosaro's statistic formulas indicate that the within-species variability for wild Pokémon base statistics (at L50) amounts to a range of 0 to 15 points. That would mean that your chance to catch a perfect Pokémon is 1/16^5 (since there are 5 statistics), or 1/1048576! (As you can imagine, we haven't yet verified this through testing, so we'll take his word for it.)

Question: So what do you do when the Pokémon you're catching is unique in the game (like Mewtwo)? I guess you're stuck with the one you get?

Answer: Actually, no. It's a little more tedious, but what you can do is save your game just before you catch (or purchase, or trade for) the unique Pokémon. When you get it, check its statistics right away; if they aren't to your liking, just turn the game off without saving and try again.

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