22 Hardest Pokémon To Catch (From All Games)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).

Catching Pokémon is sort of the whole point of the games. I mean, it’s even in the tagline.

You might think that would mean it’s a reasonably doable challenge, considering it’s one of your main objectives. But you’d be wrong. Oh, so wrong.

Over the years, there have been some seriously difficult Pokémon to capture. So I’m going to help us all relive our collective trauma by highlighting the worst offenders.

Keep in mind that I’m not exclusively using capture rates and encounter rates for this list; then it’d just be full of legendaries.

Instead, I’m leaning on a few different factors. You’ll see what I mean.


22. Gen I Snorlax

Gen I Snorlax Pokemon in the anime

Was Snorlax particularly difficult to capture in a traditional sense? No.

It wasn’t an easy fight by any means, but it wasn’t outrageous like some of the entries on this list.

What did earn Snorlax its spot in this prestigious article is the fact that there were only two of them in the entire game. Now, keep in mind that this was Gen I.

There were no forums or guides that we could access at a moment’s notice back when Red/Blue/Yellow came out.

It was even before my time, so that should tell you how long ago it was.

What I’m saying is, if you didn’t catch either of them the first time you fought them, it was just tough luck.


21. All of the Non-Story Essential Legendaries Not on This List

Azelf Pokemon in the anime

Okay, this is a bit of a weird one. But I don’t have much of a choice.

All of the non-story essential legendaries (as in, the ones that you don’t have to capture for the story to progress) all have the same capture rate of three.

This means that none of them is more difficult to capture than the other.

If I were to count them all for this list, every single slot would be the same. It would become a lucky-bag of legendaries.


20. Feebas

Feebas in Pokémon: Twilight Wings

To this day, Feebas is still an absolute pain to find.

It was one of the last Pokémon left on my SWSH Dex. I had to trade for one.

It’s not that it has a particularly high catch rate, but its encounter rate is ludicrously low.

I spent hours looking for one in Gen VIII trying to get one and still didn’t succeed. But SWSH is one of the easier games to find one in.

The issue is that along with the encounter rate, there are only a handful of world tiles that Feebas can actually spawn on. So you’ve got a tiny chance of getting a tiny chance to encounter it.


19. Gen III Regis

Gen III Regis Pokemon in the anime

Gen III was the generation that properly introduced me to the Pokémon franchise. So I’m speaking from experience when I say that no one on the playground knew about the Regis in the game.

Hell, people were still trying to figure out how to catch Raquazza in Emerald, let alone learning about these glorified paperweights.

It was still before mainstream Internet access, which is weird to think about. But that meant that without a gaming magazine or a guide book, you would never find these legendaries.


18. Manaphy

Manaphy Pokemon anime screenshot

I love the Pokémon Ranger games.

The fact that we might be getting a new entry soon excites me to no end, even if it is a one-person fan club.

However, I will say that you should never have to buy a separate game to get your hands on a unique Pokémon.

This is the case with Ranger and Manaphy back in the day.

You could only get a Manaphy from hatching an egg that you could transfer from Ranger.

Now, hatching a legendary Pokémon was controversial enough. But the fact that this was essentially a $40 DLC for people not interested in the spinoff was ridiculous.


17. Celebi

Celebi from Pokemon anime

Spoiler alert, Celebi isn’t under the truck or in the forest.

In fact, Celebi isn’t anywhere.

The only way to ever obtain this Pokémon was through an event.

It still hasn’t appeared as a regular catchable legendary, which is honestly ludicrous.

You can’t catch a Pokémon if there’s no way to even encounter it in the first place.

I have no idea why Game Freak hasn’t brought Celebi back. Especially given that it has every legendary and its mother in Crown Tundra, but it’s contributing to an influx of hacked Mon’ strictly for the sake of completing the Pokédex.


16. Jirachi

Jirachi Pokemon in the anime

Jirachi is Celebi, but worse.

The only non-event way to get one was through Pokémon Colosseum way back when. And not everyone had access to that game.

Jirachi is such a rare appearance in Pokémon that I still talk to people that swear it’s a recent introduction to the series, despite being around since Gen III.

I have a sneaky suspicion that Victini has become somewhat of a replacement for Jirachi.

But Victini doesn’t get all that much love, either, so I don’t know.


15. The Rest of the Event Pokémon

Shaymin in Pokemon anime

Celebi and Jirachi are the worst offenders when it comes to event Mon’, but there have been plenty of them over the years.

Shaymin, Darkrai, Cresselia, and more have all been exclusive to timed events for far too long.

It’s an outdated practice that Game Freak ought to do away with.

For the sake of having some diversity and actual entertaining and interesting content in this article, I’m throwing the rest of the eventers into this entry as I did with the legendaries.


14. Volcarona

Volcarona Pokemon in the anime

Volcarona is the first memory I have of a non-legendary appearing in the overworld.

I think it’s the first, but I might be wrong so let me know.

Either way, this grotesque moth-looking Buffalo-Bill thing was a nightmare to catch.

Not strictly because of its catch rate or 100% encounter rate. But because of the move set back in Gen V, as well as the fact that there was only one of them until Gen VIII.

It’s like Snorlax from Gen I, but much worse.

It just so happens that we have the Internet now, so it’s unlikely Volcarona is going to catch anyone off guard.


13. Chansey from Red and Blue

Chansey from Red and Blue from Pokemon anime

“Chansey? Hard to catch? You’ve lost the plot,” I hear you kiddos say.

Well, gather around the campfire and let Grandpa Eoin tell you a story.

While Chansey is a dime a dozen Pokémon now, there once was a time when it was only catchable in the Safari Zone. So I’m told, at least, I wasn’t actually born then.

I digress; back then, the Safari Zone was no walk in the park. It was a gimmick at most.

Actually capturing a Pokémon that was typically easy was tough, but when you had a low encounter rate Mon’ like Chansey, then good luck.

Not only were the odds of taking this glorified boiled egg alive miniscule, but the thing also had a tiny encounter rate.

Put all of that together with the fact that you have a limited amount of steps in the Safari Zone, and you’re essentially paying to be tortured.


12. Gen II Heracross

Gen II Heracross from Pokemon anime

Did you even know Heracross was in Gold and Silver? Because I didn’t, and I get paid to know a lot about Pokémon.

I might not have been around for the Gen II glory days, but I was still shocked to find out that Heracross wasn’t a Sinnoh original.

Instead, you could first encounter one by forcing your Pokémon to smash its head into a tree back in Johto.

It was a headbutt encounter Mon’, but a concussion is just the start of your troubles.

On top of that, your ability to encounter Heracross was dictated by your Trainer ID combined, with randomly-generated trees that could actually spawn the Pokémon.

In other words, it was an RNG lottery.

It was before all these fancy trainer ID scanners existed, either. So you were essentially rolling a D1000 every time you tried to hunt for one.


11. Mewtwo

Mewtwo Pokemon anime screenshot

I’m paying my respects to the OG boss Pokémon with this entry.

Mewtwo is far from being the hardest Pokémon to catch these days, but he was the hardest back when Pokémon was first released.

For a limited amount of time, Mewtwo was the undisputed king of the hill.

Mewtwo was the first part of his full name, King of Pokéballs and ruler of the Kanto region.

He might be old and grey these days. But we can’t deny how difficult Mewtwo was, once upon a time.


10. Entei

Entei Pokemon in the anime

Okay, the next five entries are getting blitzed.

First of all, Entei from Gold and Silver (as well as the remakes). If you’ve played the games, you know why. If not, let me give you a bit of context.

Entei was among the first roaming legendaries.

As in, you had to run around the map trying to find where it was to encounter it, only to have a chance to catch it.

The issue was that it would change location every time you entered a new region. It would instantly run away from battle, and flying made it jump around the map.

So unless you felt like doing laps around the entire Johto region just for a shot at one of these, you’re out of luck.


9. Raikou

Raikou from Pokemon anime

Raikou was the second roamer to be introduced with Entei.

They’re both legendary dogs, so functionally, they’re the same.

However, Entei is something of a poster child for the doggy trio. So getting your hands on one of those has been easier than Raikou over the years.

Raikou is very much the runt of the litter when you look at all three of the dogs, so it’s remained the most elusive.


8. Suicune

Suicune Pokemon anime screenshot

Suicune is the last Gen II roamer, and also something of a cult classic in Pokémon.

Suicune has had its fair share of appearances in spinoff Pokémon titles. But it hasn’t made much of a splash (get it? Because it can run on water?) in the main series for quite some time.

Again, functionality between this entry and the last two are identical; I’m just factoring in how the difficulty in obtaining one has changed over the years.


7. Latias

Latias from Pokemon anime

Yet another roamer, but this time it has gotten increasingly difficult to obtain one as time has gone on.

While Crown Tundra has made every almost every single legendary in the world easy to get, I’m going to pretend I’m writing this list before the DLC came out.

Latias first showed up in Gen III.

However, it was version-exclusive.

It was the roamer for Pokémon Sapphire, and I had Ruby, so I’m putting it at number seven and putting…


6. Latios

Latios Pokemon in the anime

In at number six. I actually used my master ball back on Latios when I was playing through Gen III, so I got lucky.

If you had to hunt for one without access to a tool like that, then you were in for a rough time.

Again, it’s the same roamer mechanics we all know and hate. But Latios and Latias have been almost exclusively event Pokémon since Emerald.


5. Galarian Articuno

Galarian Articuno Pokemon Sword and Shield

Galarian Articuno? Really?

Yes, not every single entry on this list has to be a dinosaur.

Even if Pokémon has gotten easier these days, Game Freak overlooked a few things when introducing this legendary bird reskin.

You see, Galarian Articuno has your usual legendary capture rate. Meaning you need to come with your everyday capturing kit. Grab a bunch of dusk balls, your false swiper, and your status condition user, and get to work… except no.

Regular Articuno might be an ice type. But the regional variant is not; it’s psychic.

You encounter Galarian Articuno on the slopes of a mountain. Where it’s hailing.

Where that hail does damage to it every turn.

In case you need me to spell that out for you: No. False. Swipe.

Plus, you need to reset every time you fight this guy, and you have to play some stupid guessing game with him every reset.

I spent an infuriatingly long amount of time capturing one, which was admittedly a nice change of pace from how easy Crown Tundra ultimately was.


4. Beldum

Beldum Pokemon in the anime

Metagross is one of the most powerful Pokémon that isn’t a legendary.

However, that doesn’t justify how difficult it is to get one.

Beldum, in the games that it appears in, generally has single-digit encounter rates that are the lowest in the entire Pokédex.

On top of that, it also has the same catch rate as a legendary.

Why? Nobody knows.

The last time I was playing through a main title, I spent about two hours trying to catch one with my admittedly limited supply of mid-story ultra balls.

It’s more so frustrating than difficult to catch a Beldum. But there’s just no justification for this floating rock to be as difficult to catch as it is.

It has no limbs; how can it even break out of a ball in the first place!?


3. Diamond and Pearl Spiritomb

Diamond and Pearl Spiritomb screenshot

Who needs friends when you have Pokémon?

People who want to complete the ‘dex, apparently.

Spiritomb was the first major instance of you needing to do some ludicrous extra stuff to encounter a Pokémon.

It was like doing a Call of Duty zombies easter egg.

Getting your hands on the odd keystone was fine; it was interacting with 32 other players in the underground that was a problem.

While you could do it with the same player if you refreshed the underground every time, this still took ages, just far more than it should have.

This was when Pokémon was beginning to adapt to the Internet, too. So all of the global connections were janky.

Although, the GTS was a great idea that I wish came back.


2. Diamond and Pearl Munchlax

Diamond and Pearl Munchlax anime

Oh. My. God. Ask anyone what the hardest Pokémon of all time to catch is, and chances are they’ll tell you it’s this.

These days, getting a Munchlax requires your Snorlax to smoke up before getting its freak on.

But life wasn’t always that simple.

In Munchlax’s first appearance, you could only encounter it by slathering honey on the honey trees dotted around the region.

Okay, so what?

Well, you only had a 1% chance of encountering it. That’s already terrible.

But when you consider that it only appeared on four of the 21 potential honey trees around the region, it gets a bit tougher.

That’s not the worst of it, though.

You also had to wait six hours to find out if you even got that 5% chance at an encounter. That’s if you had the right tree.

You couldn’t manipulate the DS’ clock, either. It was all internal.

The trees were based on your trainer ID, too, but we didn’t know that at the time.

Putting it all together, you had roughly a one in five chance at getting a 1 in 100 chance at encountering Munchlax, every six hours.


1. Original Color Magearna

Original Color Magearna screenshot

I wish that the number one entry was as interesting as Munchlax. But that’s not the case.

Magearna isn’t even a Pokémon, either. It’s a human-made animatronic at best.

It’s Mewtwo if Mewtwo was a robot rather than a clone.

To get the original color Magearna, you needed to complete the Pokémon Home Pokédex.


You had to at one point own every single Pokémon in existence, as well as having transferred it to home.

There’s nothing more to say on that difficulty.

It’s the culmination of over 20 years’ worth of work, and what an underwhelming conclusion it is.

Browse: Video Games