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Pokémon Legends: Arceus — How to catch Alpha Pokémon

Pokemon Legends Arceus Alpha Pokemon Goodra
Pokemon Legends Arceus Alpha Pokemon Goodra (Image credit: iMore)

Pokemon Legends: Arceus introduces an entirely new sub-species of creatures to collect called Alpha Pokémon. Not only are these intimidating variants markedly bigger, stronger, and more aggressive than their standard counterparts, but they're significantly more difficult to catch as well. Initially, gathering these gargantuan monsters might feel overwhelming, but with a little practice and these helpful tips, you'll be capturing Alpha Pokémon like a pro in no time.

When can you catch Alpha Pokémon?

Pokemon Legends Arceus Alpha Pokemon Snorlax

Pokemon Legends Arceus Alpha Pokemon Snorlax (Image credit: iMore)

Very early on, Pokémon Legends: Arceus throws players into the semi-open area of Obsidian Fieldlands. Here, aspiring members of The Survey Corps are free to explore the vast terrain and even encounter Alpha Pokémon, which are identified by their enormous stature and glowing red eyes. While it might be tempting to rush headfirst towards these powerful creatures in hopes of adding one to your team, you won't be able to capture many at the start of the game.

First, you'll need to complete story missions and fill your Pokedex to earn Survey Corps stars to increase your rank. The higher your rank, the stronger the Pokémon you can capture are. To quickly identify whether or not an Alpha Pokémon is currently attainable, simply get as close as possible and hold ZL to focus on the creature. If you see a red 'X' above this Pokémon, that means your rank isn't high enough for that specific Pokémon to join your adventure. If you see a Poké Ball icon, you can begin the delicate catching dance.

Leverage stealth and back strikes

Pokemon Legends Arceus Alpha Pokemon Tall Grass

Pokemon Legends Arceus Alpha Pokemon Tall Grass (Image credit: iMore)

Unlike previous Pokémon entries, you no longer have to battle and weaken a Pokémon before you're able to catch it. Pokémon Legends: Arceus allows players to use stealth and strategically aimed Poké Ball throws to quickly nab various Pokémon, including Alphas. When approaching an Alpha Pokémon, be sure to check your surroundings for any patches of tall grass or environmental obstacles you can use as cover.

Entering a crouched stance by pressing the B button, enables players to cautiously approach Alpha Pokémon without immediately alerting them. Ensure you stay out of the Pokémon's line of sight and enter tall grass to become almost completely invisible to the creature you're targeting. Using stealth is an excellent way to give yourself positional leverage over the Alpha Pokémon and set your throws up for success.

Another infinitely useful technique that can be executed through proper stealth is the back strike. Carefully approaching a Pokémon from behind gives you the opportunity to hit it in the back with a strategically aimed Poké Ball. If the Pokémon is unaware or unalerted, this will trigger the back strike. Successfully landing one not only provides a satisfying animation, but also increases the capture rate for that specific Poké Ball throw. This is one of the most important skills to master when attempting to obtain Alpha Pokémon.

Know your Poké Balls

Pokemon Legends Arceus Poke Balls

Pokemon Legends Arceus Poke Balls (Image credit: iMore)

While stealth and back strikes are critical to your success as a Pokémon hunter, it's equally important to understand where and when to use different Poké Ball types. There are three main categories of Poké Balls in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, each with their own impressive applications.

The first category is Standard Poké Balls. These include Poké Balls, Great Balls, and Ultra Balls. Standard Poké Balls are the most simple and universal in their functionality. When it comes to capturing Alphas, I'd recommend you use Ultra Balls, which can be obtained after reaching Star Rank level six.

Pokemon Legends Arceus Alpha Pokemon Ultra Ball

Pokemon Legends Arceus Alpha Pokemon Ultra Ball (Image credit: iMore)

Next, there are Weighted Balls, which includes Heavy Balls, Leaden Balls, and Gigaton Balls. These cumbersome Poké Ball variants are harder to throw than Standard Poké Balls, but are more effective when it comes to catching Pokémon with back strikes. A well-placed throw to the back on an Alpha Pokémon with a Gigaton Ball will drastically improve your odds of landing a stealth catch.

The third and final category is Flying Balls, which includes Feather Balls, Wing Balls, and Jet Balls. These lightweight Poké Balls can be used to catch those pesky Pokémon in hard-to-reach places. With improved throwing distance over any of Poké Ball type, these are almost necessary for capturing airborne Pokémon. If you're attempting to nab a flying Alpha Pokémon, make sure you have some Jet Balls handy.

Feed the beasts

Pokemon Legends Arceus Alpha Pokemon Razz Berry

Pokemon Legends Arceus Alpha Pokemon Razz Berry (Image credit: iMore)

Much like Poké Balls, various food types can have a massive impact on your capture chances. As you complete your Pokedex, you'll eventually uncover the favorite foods of different Pokémon. While understanding this dietary information isn't required to capture Alpha Pokémon, it will help curate which of these items you bring on your expeditions. As a general recommendation, be sure to have plenty of Oran Berries on-hand at all times.

Tossing berries or other food items near an Alpha Pokémon will grab its attention and draw them towards the treats. If you ever find yourself in an unfavorable location for a back strike, use your throwing skills to bait the Pokémon into facing the opposite direction. Once the Pokémon starts munching on the food, you'll have a small window to creep up and hit it with a Poké Ball.

For the best chances of capturing an Alpha Pokémon with food, Razz Berries will quickly become your best friend. These delicacies will increase the capture chance for any Pokémon that eats them. Combining a Razz Berry with a back strike seems to provide one of the highest capture chances in the game. If you're on the hunt for Razz Berries, they can be found in the blue trees with orange fruit in any of the five locations of Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

Use stun items when you have to

Pokemon Legends Arceus Alpha Pokemon Sticky Globs

Pokemon Legends Arceus Alpha Pokemon Sticky Globs (Image credit: iMore)

Skilled players should be able to utilize the above techniques to capture Alpha Pokémon with ease, but sometimes things don't go according to plan. In those situations where you've enraged an Alpha Pokémon and it's desperately trying to murder you, keeping a few stun items in your satchel can quickly turn the tides back in your favor.

While there are a wide range of stun items in Pokémon Legends: Arceus such as Balls of Mud, Rotten Apricorns, and Snowballs, the most powerful of them all are the Sticky Globs. These potent green balls can stun even enraged Alpha Pokémon with a few quick throws. Unfortunately for newer players, Sticky Globs aren't unlocked until much later on in the campaign after completing a series of requests for Choy at the General Store.

Thanks to their versatility and high capture rates, Sticky Globs and Ultra Balls have become the ultimate speedrun catching item combo in the game. Enraged Alpha Pokemon can be stunned in a couple of hits with Stick Globs, which will leave them vulnerable to Poké Ball throws for several seconds. Use this window to run behind the Pokémon and initiate a back strike with an Ultra Ball or Gigaton Ball.

Avoid battles

Pokemon Legends Arceus Alpha Pokemon Rapidash

Pokemon Legends Arceus Alpha Pokemon Rapidash (Image credit: iMore)

Longtime Pokémon fans may be more inclined to engage in a traditional battles in hopes of capturing these intimidating Alpha Pokémon. While it's certainly an option and a viable one for players with a strong enough team, this legacy method isn't recommended. Unless you're trying to defeat specific Alpha Pokémon, there's no major benefit to capturing from participating in a battle. Sometimes running away until you're prepared is the solution.

Good luck and good hunting

Pokemon Legends Arceus Alpha Pokemon Stun

Pokemon Legends Arceus Alpha Pokemon Stun (Image credit: iMore)

Alpha Pokémon are an exciting addition to the Pokémon formula. The piercing red eyes and thrill of encountering new species in the wild truly can't be understated. Evolutions like this and many others are why so many players are calling Pokémon Legends: Arceus one of the best games on Nintendo Switch. Best of luck on your Alpha Hunting adventures and hopefully these tips make your capturing dreams a breeze.