How to throw Poké Balls in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet
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The act of throwing a Poké Ball has never been too complicated in most of the mainline series Pokémon games. Before the new hardware of the Nintendo Switch became the device for new Pokémon titles, the only way for players to catch Pokémon was by getting into a battle with them. Then, players could access their bag and throw a Poké Ball to try and catch that specific mon. In recent years, developers have been coming up with new ways to add to that formula. In Pokémon Legends: Arceus, players could throw Poké Balls outside of battle, allowing them to speed up the filling of the Pokédex in a major way; Scarlet and Violet have dialed that back slightly, only allowing you to throw already-occupied Poké Balls at any Pokémon in the overworld.

The game explains this process briefly at the beginning of Scarlet and Violet’s tutorial period. However, it is an easy tip to miss, especially if veteran players mash “A” to be released into the world without any further tutorials.

Throw Poké Balls in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet
Provided by Nintendo

The two most likely scenarios for you to throw a Poké Ball outside of battle are when you’re sneaking up behind a Pokémon or you spot one in a tree. You can use the same method to initiate the battle in both scenarios.

  1. If you’re sneaking up behind a Pokémon, crouch down and slowly inch closer to the Pokémon’s back. If one is in a tree, simply get a good distance away from it, but don’t trigger a battle.
  2. With the Pokémon in sight, press and hold “ZL” (left trigger). This will allow you to aim exactly where you want to throw the Poké Ball. Aim at the Pokémon and make sure their information appears over their head.
  3. Once your aim is on the Pokémon, press “ZR” (right trigger) to throw a Poké Ball. With enough luck, you’ll catch the Pokémon in one attempt.

And that’s all there is to throwing a Poké Ball outside of battle in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. If you want to throw one in battle, all you need to do is go to your Bag, and then head into the Poké Balls section. You can also throw a ball by pressing “X” in the battle screen in Scarlet and Violet as well, provided you have enough Poké Balls to start with.

Joey Carr is a full-time writer for multiple esports and gaming websites. He has 6+ years of experience covering esports and traditional sporting events, including DreamHack Atlanta, Call of Duty Championships 2017, and Super Bowl 53.