Difference between revisions of "Poké Ball"

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Revision as of 17:58, 28 October 2013

Poké Ball is a featured article
Smart Ribbon Master Sinnoh.png This article is a featured article. This means that it has been identified as one of the best articles produced on Bulbapedia.
The 26 Poké Ball variants found in the main series
Ken Sugimori's original concept

A Poké Ball (Japanese: モンスターボール Monster Ball) is a type of item that is critical to a Trainer's quest, used for catching and storing Pokémon. Both a general term used to describe the various kinds as well as a specific term to refer to the most basic among these variations, Poké Balls are ubiquitous in the modern Pokémon world. Up to six Pokémon can be carried with a Trainer in Poké Balls, while any number of other Poké Balls can be held in the Bag for later use. These six Pokémon in the Poké Balls can be attached to the user's belt for carrying them around. Some Pokémon do not like to be carried around in Poké Balls, such as Ash's Pikachu.

The strength of a Poké Ball is determined by how much it raises a wild Pokémon's catch rate, and may in fact vary depending on the conditions of the battle. Poké Balls limit the power of Pokémon contained inside, taming them, though they do not cause the Pokémon inside to always obey the Trainer.

The invention of Poké Balls apparently occurred in the Johto region, where Apricorns grow; these fruit were cut apart and carved out, then fitted with a special device, and used to catch wild Pokémon prior to the mass production of the Balls that occurs in modern times under Silph Co. and the Devon Corporation. Some Trainers still use Poké Balls made from Apricorns, while Kurt, a resident of Azalea Town, still constructs them. In the games, Drayden claims that Poké Balls did not exist during his childhood; however, due to Poké Balls being in the sunken ship in A Shipful of Shivers, it seems that in the anime Poké Balls were first made at least 300 years ago.

Prior to the invention of Poké Balls, Pokémon were referred to as magical creatures (Japanese: 魔獣 majū), indicating that the name Pokémon, short for Pocket Monster, did not come into common parlance as a term until these devices allowed the various Pokémon to be stored easily. This also shows that in these times they were believed to be supernatural or paranormal creatures, not natural ones.

Stylized Poké Balls are used in many places to symbolize Pokémon in general: the logos of both Battle Frontiers feature a Poké Ball in their design, while several Poké Balls can be seen in every Pokémon Center. The headgear of the protagonists of Kanto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova-based games feature Poké Ball designs, as do the Bags of the protagonists of Johto-based games. Ethan's headgear is also similar to the top half of an Ultra Ball, and Lucas's Bag prominently features a Poké Ball.

Mechanics and design

A schematic displaying Poké Ball size, storage and mechanics

Though the technology behind a Poké Ball remains unknown and has evolved through the centuries to accommodate the diverse requirements of their creators, the basic mechanics are simple enough to understand and tend to remain constant: in a Pokémon battle, once an opposing wild Pokémon has been weakened, the Pokémon Trainer can throw a Poké Ball at it. When a Poké Ball hits the Pokémon, as long as it is not deflected, the Poké Ball will open, convert the Pokémon to a form of energy, pull it into its center, and close. A Pokémon in this state is given a chance to struggle to attempt to break free from the ball and escape, being instantly re-converted from energy into matter. Should a Pokémon escape a Poké Ball, the device will either be destroyed (in the games and some manga) or will return to the Trainer (anime), who can attempt once again to capture the Pokémon. A Pokémon who does not escape the ball will be caught.

Interior of a Poké Ball from the anime

Poké Balls are specifically constructed for Pokémon capture, transport and training. As well as being physically difficult to escape from (as they seal tightly shut as soon as a Pokémon is taken into them) the environment of a Poké Ball is designed to be attractive to Pokémon also; according to Lucian of the Sinnoh Elite Four, weakened Pokémon instinctively curl up tight in an attempt to heal themselves, an action that the environment of the Poké Ball encourages. Furthermore, while it is not known how a captured Pokémon perceives their time inside their Ball, the device is said to replicate a "Pokémon-friendly" environment that is "designed for comfort". All of these factors strongly discourage Pokémon from escaping their Balls. In the manga, Bugsy refers to his "capture net" as being the net that is supposedly inside a Poké Ball, but visible and already deployed. According to Kurt, this invisible net captures and physically stores a Pokémon.

Iris's Dragonite inside a Poké Ball in the anime

Poké Balls are not always at full size. Pressing the button on the front will convert it between its full size, about the size of a baseball, to a smaller size, about that of a ping-pong ball, and back again. The larger size makes throwing the ball easier, while the smaller one makes for easier storage on a belt clip, in pockets, and in Bags.

As mentioned, the generic Poké Ball design is not constant and has been remodelled and altered innumerable times in order to create new Poké Balls that are adapted for specific conditions. For example, it is seen in several anime episodes such as Gulpin it Down! and Claydol Big and Tall that normal Poké Balls have difficulty catching Pokémon which are extremely large or extremely heavy. In the latter episode, it is revealed that ancient civilizations overcame this issue by constructing immense Poké Balls many times the size of the standard model known today, and made from stone instead. Other civilizations such as Pokémopolis also discovered new technologies that more closely resembled modern Poké Ball technology, such as the Dark Device and the Unearthly Urn, which were also adapted for the capture and storage of massive Pokémon but in small containers. However, devices like these became lost to the ages and their roles were subsequently supplanted by Heavy Balls in the modern world.

Paul releasing Chimchar

When a Pokémon is released from a Poké Ball, it will be accompanied by a bright light as it returns from its energy form, and materialize nearby, often on the ground. This bright light has been shown to vary depending on the type of Ball in which the Pokémon is contained in the games, while it has always been shown to be white in the anime. Pokémon are recalled to their Poké Ball by holding up the Poké Ball with its button pointed at the Pokémon. A beam of red light will shoot from the button, converting the Pokémon back into energy and returning it to the Ball. The beam, however, has a limited range, and can be dodged by the Pokémon. If the beam hits a person, they will be stunned for a moment, but aside from that no ill effects will make themselves apparent. Releasing Pokémon from a Trainer's ownership, unlike normally sending the Pokémon out, will bathe the Pokémon in a blue glow, and the Poké Ball will no longer mark it, making it able to be caught by another Trainer's Poké Ball.

A Poké Ball can also be broken, which will release it from ownership, and if a Trainer has done so accidentally, it must somehow be fixed before the Pokémon can be recalled. In the manga, if a Poké Ball is broken before a Pokémon is sent out, then that particular Pokémon can't be used until their Poké Ball has been repaired. This happened several times in the Pokémon Adventures manga, such as during Red's battle against Giovanni, where the opening mechanism for the Poké Balls of Red's Venusaur and Gyarados were damaged, preventing either of them from being used in the match.

Pokémon appear to be conscious while inside Poké Balls. Several Pokémon have shown the ability to leave and return to their Poké Balls at will, most notably among them Jessie's Wobbuffet, Misty's Psyduck, Ash's Oshawott, and Brock's Croagunk, which tend to do so in every episode they appear in. In Dig Those Diglett!, many Pokémon belonging to Gary Oak, as well as other Trainers, including Ash Ketchum, demonstrated the ability to prevent themselves from being sent from their Poké Balls, as they refused to fight against the Diglett, though this has not been demonstrated since. Pokémon have also shown to be able to hear orders given by their Trainer right before they are sent out.

Poké Balls are able to communicate with a Trainer's Pokédex, as the system updates itself with information on newly-caught Pokémon, and keeps track of how many Pokémon the Trainer has with them. If a Trainer catches a new Pokémon with the full six already with them, the Pokédex will automatically send the newly-caught Pokémon in its Poké Ball to the Pokémon Storage System that the Trainer is using. As shown in Two Degrees of Separation, a Pokémon caught by a Poké Ball is "marked" by it, and thus most Poké Balls thrown at it will have no effect aside from temporarily stunning it. In the games, as well as in Bad to the Bone, however, the Trainer of the Pokémon will block a Poké Ball thrown by another, though it is possible that this is more out of courtesy to their Pokémon than to prevent capture outright.

Other wireless capabilities of Poké Balls are shown in Destiny Deoxys, as when the electricity of the city is down, Audrey could not release her Masquerain from the Poké Ball, claiming that the "Poké Ball Management System" was no longer working without power. There has been no mention of any such system since.

Poké Balls are able to be decorated to no ill effect, with several Poké Balls that have been painted with special colors being seen in the anime. In the games, a Ball Capsule and seals can release special effects when the Pokémon is sent out.

Poké Ball accuracy

Except for the Master Ball, all Poké Balls have a chance of breaking and not capturing the Pokémon in question, however, in several cases, it is possible for the Poké Ball to miss the wild Pokémon completely.

  • In Generation I games, it was possible for a ball to miss the Pokémon when the likelihood of catching the Pokémon in question was particularly low—rather than the ball throwing animation playing and the ball wiggling zero times, a message would come up stating "You missed the Pokémon!".
  • In Generation I as well as in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, the ghosts in Lavender Town's Pokémon Tower would dodge any ball thrown at them unless they were unmasked by the Silph Scope. The Marowak ghost will dodge even if it is unmasked.
  • A Poké Ball cannot be thrown during a wild Double Battle, unless one of the two wild Pokémon is defeated, with the game claiming "It's no good! It's impossible to aim when there are two Pokémon!". A player can however snag Pokémon in Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness even if there are two on the opposing side of the field; presumably the Snag Machine assists in aiming.
  • Unlike preceding games, from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl onwards, it isn't possible to use a Poké Ball on a Pokémon which is in the semi-invulnerable state.
  • Pokémon Black and White introduces wild Double Battles that are encountered alone instead of with a partner like in Diamond, Pearl and Platinum. In addition to the prior requirements, a command cannot be issued to a Pokémon during the same turn a Poké Ball is thrown; however, if the second Pokémon is using a two part move like Dig or Dive, a Poké Ball can still be thrown and Dig or Dive will continue if the ball fails.

Capture chances

Main article: Catch rate

Types of Poké Balls

A Double Battle begins in Pokémon Battle Revolution

In the Pokémon games so far, there have been 26 different varieties of Poké Balls, all differing from each other in some effect, whether it be an increased ability to catch a Pokémon from the wild or an effect which occurs only after the Pokémon has been caught. From Generation III onward, each variety of the Poké Ball has a unique animation when they open to draw in a Pokémon and when a Pokémon is sent out, and the type of Poké Ball used to catch the Pokémon is preserved on its status screen.

Introduced in Generation I

The following Poké Balls were introduced in Pokémon Red and Green, and have appeared and been available in all games since then, with the exception of the Safari Ball, which is not present in Generation II. They were developed by Silph Co., with the development of the Master Ball factoring into the plot of the Generation I games and their remakes heavily.

Introduced in Generation II

The following Poké Balls were introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver. These Poké Balls were not available in Generation III or in Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, but made their return in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. Seven of them are made from Apricorns by Kurt, while the only one that is not is seen by some to be a counterpart to the Safari Ball in that it is only used in the Bug-Catching Contest in National Park. All eight of these Poké Balls have the same animation as a normal Poké Ball when sending out or recalling a Pokémon, rather than the variety of colors and special effects the Poké Ball variants released in other generations have.

When a Pokémon in one of these Balls is used in a link battle in Generation IV, it will appear as an ordinary Poké Ball, regardless of if the link is made with a Johto or Sinnoh-based game. Using a Pokémon in one of these Balls in one of the Battle Frontier facilities will show it as it should appear during the battle, but as an ordinary Poké Ball if the battle is saved to the Vs. Recorder and played back. Trading a Pokémon in one of these Poké Ball variations into Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum or registering it in Pokémon Battle Revolution will cause it to display as a normal Poké Ball, though if the Pokémon is traded back into a Johto-based game or transferred forward into Generation V, it will regain its variant Ball.

In Pokémon data, information for these Poké Balls on the status screen and in battle is stored in a separate location from the variants introduced in other generations, so that the Pokémon can be traded back to Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum from HeartGold and SoulSilver and display an ordinary Poké Ball there (the data space for these balls being ignored in the earlier games).

Introduced in Generation III

The following Poké Balls were introduced in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. While the main four Poké Balls and the Safari Ball returned to central usage, these specialty Balls were only available at certain Poké Marts in the Hoenn region, and the Luxury Ball only available via completion of certain quests in the games. Generally, they can be seen to be counterparts to Generation II's Apricorn Balls, which were not available in the Generation III games, with the Nest Ball and Level Ball, Net Ball and Lure Ball, and Luxury Ball and Friend Ball being very similar in effect to each other.

The Premier Ball is functionally identical to the standard Poké Ball; it is simply a premium (hence the name) given with the purchase of ten Poké Balls. Only one is given with each purchase of ten or more, so buying 20 or more Poké Balls still only yields one gift Premier Ball. To obtain multiple Premier Balls, the Poké Balls must be purchased in separate transactions of 10 at a time.

These Ball variants continued to be available in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, though most must be traded in from a Hoenn-based game, with only the Timer Ball and Repeat Ball available to be bought, and even then, only in Two Island. The Dive Ball's effect was altered, with it now having greater chance to catch Pokémon encountered on water rather than under it, as Hoenn-based games are the only ones where wild Pokémon can be encountered while using Dive. In Generation IV, all but the Dive Ball are readily available to be bought, though the Dive Ball can still be obtained through use of Pal Park and other special events. The Johto-based HeartGold and SoulSilver make the Timer, Repeat, and Luxury Balls hard to find once more, though the returning Apricorn Balls help to take their place. All of these Poké Balls can be purchased in Generation V. Additionally, the Timer Ball's effectiveness now increases much more quickly as the battle goes on.

Unlike the Poké Balls introduced in Generation I, these Poké Balls were developed by the Devon Corporation.

Introduced in Generation IV

The following Poké Balls were introduced in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. The set of seven introduced in Generation III, as well as the original set of five, are preserved in this generation, and are available either for purchase or by trade in all Generation IV games. The Generation II Poké Balls also make a return in this generation, but only in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver.

Introduced in Generation V

Only one new Poké Ball was introduced in Pokémon Black and White, though all Poké Balls of previous generations are programmed into the game, both as items and on the status screen. If the player cheats to get them into the game, the Apricorn Balls, Sport Ball, and Park Ball cannot be used to catch wild Pokémon, though the Safari Ball and Cherish Ball can. If a Pokémon is transferred to Generation V from an earlier generation with the Poké Transfer, it will appear to have the same ball it was originally caught with.

In the Entree Forest, a Dream Ball appears in the player's Bag when battling a Pokémon. As Poké Balls never fail in the Entree Forest and the Dream Ball can only be used there, the Dream Ball effectively never fails. However, any Poké Ball in the Bag can be used in the Entree Forest, not just the Dream Ball. Pokémon transferred from Pokémon Dream Radar are obtained in Dream Balls.

In the anime

Ash pulling out a Poké Ball, preparing to catch a Pokémon

In the anime, the basic Poké Ball is the most commonly used of all varieties, with other varieties appearing either very few times or not at all. A vast majority of Pokémon are shown to be stored in regular Poké Balls, to the point that large collections of Poké Balls can be seen with no variation among them. Even Ash's Pikachu, the most prominent Pokémon in the anime which spends all its time outside with Ash, has a plain Poké Ball that differs from others only by the small yellow lightning bolt symbol on it, as seen in Pokémon - I Choose You!.

Despite this, the various other types of Poké Ball have been seen in the anime, usually to illustrate a special property about that particular ball. The lack of the different types is unsurprising, however, due to the fact that, when the anime was first created, the games themselves did not even keep track of the Poké Ball that a Pokémon was caught in, and thus, it made no difference in sending a Pokémon out.

The first time that a Poké Ball aside from the normal variation was seen was in EP035, where Ash was given 30 Safari Balls in order to compete in the Safari Game. With these 30 Safari Balls, Ash attempted to catch various rare Pokémon; however, he only managed to capture an entire herd of Tauros. They appeared in Safari Balls in Showdown at the Po-Ké Corral; afterward; however, whenever Ash uses one of his Tauros in a battle, it is sent out from a standard Poké Ball.

The GS Ball was the second of the variant Poké Balls to appear in the anime, this time with a special purpose. This mysterious ball was unable to be opened by Professor Ivy, and served as the reason for Ash's journeys to the Orange Archipelago (to pick it up) and Johto (to deliver it to Kurt), so that what was contained within it could be discovered. Celebi was long rumored to be related to the ball, something which the Pokémon Adventures and game canons verify, while a director of the anime confirmed that, had it not been insisted that Celebi appear in a central role in the fourth movie, the GS Ball arc would have concluded with Celebi being released from the ball and traveling with Ash and his friends.

A Poké Ball after catching a Pokémon in the anime

Also related to Kurt, as in the games, the first non-standard Poké Ball variants, the Apricorn balls, made an appearance in the anime, and several were given to the members of the main cast. All three members of the main cast received Fast Balls in Going Apricorn!, with Brock using his to catch a Pineco shortly after receiving it. In the next episode, Brock received a Heavy Ball, while Ash and Misty received Lure Balls. While Brock's Heavy Ball and Ash and Misty's Fast Balls would remain unused (and have not been mentioned since), both Ash and Misty would use their Lure Balls to capture a Totodile and Corsola, respectively. Another Heavy Ball appeared in Gulpin It Down, where it was used to capture a giant Gulpin, though this was not the one belonging to Brock.

The Master Ball itself has only appeared once as an actual Poké Ball, in Whiscash and Ash, where it was used by Sullivan in a last resort attempt to catch a wild Whiscash called "Nero". Despite the fact that a Master Ball cannot be escaped from, the Whiscash swallowed the Master Ball, thus preventing capture, and disappeared back into the water. While not a Poké Ball itself, Misty owns a beach ball that is designed like the Master Ball, which can be seen in Beauty and the Beach and A Hot Water Battle.

Ash calling out a Pokémon

The Generation III specialty balls have only been seen in cameos, with only the Repeat Ball and Luxury Ball appearing, in the opening of Jirachi: Wish Maker. These balls contained Brendan's Shiftry and Aggron, respectively.

The debut of most of the specialty balls, both from Generation III and IV, came in the ending Which One ~ Is It?, which contained the first appearance of the Great Ball and Ultra Ball, as well as the first anime appearance of the Premier, Heal, Net, Dusk, Nest, Quick, Timer, and Dive Balls.

Many other Poké Balls have been shown in the anime; however, most of these are cosmetic alterations alone, such as Poké Balls with gold plating, diamond studded Poké Balls, and Poké Balls with special designs on them, usually to denote an organization.

Most notably, a broken Poké Ball, snapped in half at its rusted hinges, is kept by both Ash and Gary, symbolizing their rivalry.

In Mystery at the Lighthouse, it was shown that if a Trainer catches a Pokémon while they already have six on hand, it is automatically sent to the regional professor. This was again demonstrated in Sparks Fly for Magnemite. Sewaddle and Burgh in Pinwheel Forest shows a major difference in what happens after a Pokémon is captured. Instead of being automatically sent to the regional Professor, the Poké Ball is sealed and the button becomes red. The Pokémon is kept inactive until it is switched out by another actively in the Trainer's party.


Main article: History of Poké Balls


Pokédex entries

Episode Pokémon Source Entry
EP001 Poké Ball Ash's Pokédex While being trained, a Pokémon usually stays inside its Poké Ball. However, there are many exceptions. Some Pokémon hate being confined.
This concludes the entries from the original series.

In the manga

In the various Pokémon manga, Poké Balls have been shown to appear differently, as an attempt to explain how a Trainer knows which Pokémon is in which ball, as most Pokémon manga series were, like the anime, developed at a time when the games could not keep track of the ball a Pokémon was contained in.

In The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga

In the manga The Electric Tale of Pikachu, the rules are more similar to the anime; however, Poké Balls are numbered on the outside, on the button, so that a Trainer knows which member of their team they are sending into battle.

It is also possible for a Pokémon to be placed inside a Poké Ball without it being owned by a Trainer. In Days of Gloom and Glory, Meowzie steals a Poké Ball from a shop and puts her kitten in it so that it will not be hurt by a flood affecting the city.

In the Pokémon Adventures manga

In the Pokémon Adventures manga, the tops of Poké Balls are semitransparent, allowing the Pokémon inside, which is miniaturized, to be seen through the ball, while the Pokémon can likewise see out of the ball it is contained in. In this manga, unlike in the anime, Pokémon already captured can be recaught in another Poké Ball, as is seen when Red recatches Misty's Gyarados (though Blue states that catching a Pokémon that belongs to another is not possible in Lapras Lazily). Like in the anime and games, specialty balls do exist, and Gold and Silver received a Friend Ball and Heavy Ball, respectively. It has also been shown that unlike the games, Pokémon placed in their balls recover from status conditions; however, like in the games, they do not recover health points. Additionally, the three original types of Poké Ball are used to identify the Trainer's rank; most Trainers keep their Pokémon in Poké Balls, Gym Leaders use Great Balls, and Elite Four members and Frontier Brains use Ultra Balls.

In the TCG

Ultra Ball

Several variants of Poké Ball have been released in card form in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, ranging from the standard variants found in the games and other media to variants specific to the TCG.

  • The standard Poké Ball card, which was the first released, debuted in the Jungle expansion and has since been featured in many others. It features a TCG-centric mechanic, requiring a coin flip to search the deck for a Pokémon to be put in the hand. Most of the Poké Ball variants, both adapted from the games and exclusive to the TCG, are similar to this, with several requiring coin flips to use their effect.
  • The Ultra Ball can be seen in the artwork of Rocket's Sneak Attack, from the Team Rocket expansion. The Ultra Ball would make its actual first appearance, with its effect requiring the player to discard 2 cards from the player's hand to search the player's deck for a Pokémon. The 'H' on this Ultra Ball is derived from its Japanese name, Hyper Ball.
  • The Great Ball, which first appeared in the TCG expansion coinciding with the remakes of the Generation I games, is somewhat of an upgrade to the Poké Ball, and does not require the coin flip that the Poké Ball does, instead restricting the search of Pokémon to Basic Pokémon. Later, in Emerging Powers, Great Ball's effect was changed to have you instead search the top 7 cards of your deck for any 1 Pokémon card & put it in your hand.
  • The Master Ball, first appearing in the Gym Challenge expansion, and in the games the most powerful of the Poké Balls, provides a vastly different effect than the standard. Rather than searching the entire deck, only the top seven cards may be searched. One Pokémon found in these seven can be put into the hand, while the rest must be shuffled back into the deck.
  • Debuting in the Skyridge expansion, the Lure Ball is different from the basic Poké Balls in that it draws from the discard pile rather than the deck. For each heads flipped, with a maximum of three, an Evolution card can be returned from the discard pile and put into the hand. It has not appeared since.
  • Also debuting in Skyridge, the Friend Ball, another Apricorn Ball, has a unique effect entirely, allowing the user to search their deck for a Pokémon of the same type as one of the opponent's Pokémon, making it effective in decks that typically match up well against their own type. It also has not appeared since.
  • The Fast Ball allows the player to go through their deck, turning over cards one at a time until they find the first evolution card, and then taking that into their hand, shuffling afterward. Like the other two Apricorn Balls, it debuted in Skyridge and has not appeared since.
  • The Premier Ball, debuting in the Great Encounters expansion, is special, much as in the games, and allows the player to search either the deck or the discard pile for a Pokémon LV.X to put into their hand.
  • The Luxury Ball, first found in the Stormfront expansion, is among the rarest of the Poké Ball varieties in the games, though its catch rate is the same as that of a normal Poké Ball. Likewise it is so with the TCG, allowing a non-LV.X Pokémon to be searched from the deck, but only if another Luxury Ball card is not in the discard pile.
  • The Quick Ball released in the Mysterious Treasures expansion has a similar effect to the Fast Ball released in Skyridge, allowing the player to uncover cards from their deck until they find a Pokémon. An expansion of the Fast Ball's use, any Pokémon can be found, though this may prove an issue if the player is looking for an Evolution card specifically and finds a Basic Pokémon first.
  • The Dusk Ball, also first found in Mysterious Treasures, features an effect somewhat opposite from the Master Ball's: Instead of the top seven cards being searched, only the bottom seven cards may be, and a Pokémon found there may be put into the player's hand.
  • The Heavy Ball, first found in Next Destinies, allows the player to search through their deck for a Pokémon who has a retreat cost of 3 or more and put it in their hand, whereas the Level Ball, also found in Next Destinies, allows them to do the same with a Pokémon that has 90 HP or less.

In the Super Smash Bros. series

The Pokémon series is represented in the Super Smash Bros. series by a Poké Ball icon. The first two games show the Poké Ball with both halves and the center filled in, while the third goes with Generation IV's redesigned icon with only the top half filled in. The upcoming fourth game appears to continue with the half-filled version.

Poké Balls in their base design are an item in the Super Smash Bros. series. First appearing in the original game, they can be picked up and thrown by the characters to do damage, and, on striking the ground, release a random Pokémon. In the original, the Pokémon that can be released are Beedrill, Blastoise, Chansey, Charizard, Clefairy, Goldeen, Hitmonlee, Koffing, Meowth, Mew, Onix, Snorlax, or Starmie. In Melee, the listing changes, and now the Pokémon released include Generation II Pokémon, with Venusaur, Charizard, Blastoise, Clefairy, Electrode, Weezing, Chansey, Goldeen, Staryu, Snorlax, Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Mew, Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Togepi, Bellossom, Marill, Unown, Wobbuffet, Scizor, Porygon2, Raikou, Entei, Suicune, Lugia, Ho-Oh, or Celebi appearing. Ditto was also planned to appear, acting as a clone of the character who released it for a short while, but was dummied out of the final game and can only be accessed through cheating, where it does nothing. In the third installment, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Generation III and Generation IV Pokémon were added, and now Meowth, Electrode, Goldeen, Staryu, Snorlax, Moltres, Mew, Chikorita, Togepi, Bellossom, Wobbuffet, Entei, Suicune, Lugia, Ho-Oh, Celebi, Torchic, Gardevoir, Gulpin, Metagross, Latias, Latios, Kyogre, Groudon, Jirachi, Deoxys, Piplup, Bonsly, Munchlax, Weavile, or Manaphy can be released from a Poké Ball that is thrown.

Also, in the Subspace Emissary, Pokémon Trainer is shown to push the button on the Poké Ball to send out the Pokémon; this has not been shown in the anime.

Super Smash Bros. Melee Trophy information

These balls are used to catch and contain wild Pokémon. Most Pokémon must be weakened in some way before they can be caught, but once they're inside a Poké Ball, they enjoy their new home, since Poké Balls contain an environment specially designed for Pokémon comfort. Master Balls are the strongest type.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl Trophy information

"An item used for capturing Pokémon and calling them out into battle. Pokémon live in these items which despite appearances, actually contain a wide, comfortable Pokémon-friendly world inside them. In Super Smash Bros., Pokémon give temporary support to who calls them out. You never know which you will get, but some are devastatingly powerful."

Other variants

The following Poké Ball variants are found outside of the standard games. They are often very unusual compared to the 26 types found in the games, and it is sometimes questionable whether or not they even qualify as Poké Balls. Many have separate articles, where their unique properties are described in greater detail.

In the games

  • Pester Balls: These objects, which appear similar to Poké Balls at a glance, are not used to catch Pokémon, and instead will release a Pokémon repellent on contact. They are only found in Pokémon Snap.
  • The GS Ball is an event item that appears only in Pokémon Crystal, where it was part of a giveaway on the Pokémon Mobile System GB, much as event items are given out in Generation IV games over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. It was not used to catch any Pokémon, and was placed in the key items pocket. If given to Kurt for inspection, it will activate an event where the player can catch a Celebi in Ilex Forest.
  • A Snag Ball is a Poké Ball variant that has been "unlocked" by the Snag Machine, allowing it to snag an already caught Pokémon during a battle. While it is able to be used on any Pokémon, Rui will only allow Wes to use it on Shadow Pokémon, while Michael's Aura Reader will render the Snag Machine inoperable when a Pokémon other than a Shadow Pokémon is targeted.
  • When transferring Pokémon via Poké Transfer, a blue-colored Poké Ball is used to catch the Pokémon in the mingame. They are shot using a bow.
  • Typing Balls are used in Learn with Pokémon: Typing Adventure. They are thrown after one successfully types a Pokémon's name. It has the overall design like that of a normal Poké Ball, only having an additional vertical line at the bottom, resembling the letter "T".
  • In the Timegate Traveler Series featured in Pokéstar Studios, the future is ruled by Bug-type Pokémon that capture wild humans in Human Balls (Japanese: ヒューマンボール Human Ball) instead of the other way around.

In the anime

  • A green Poké Ball appeared in Pokémon! I Choose You!. Interestingly, the cover of the book Grass Pokédex greatly resembles this Poké Ball, and is labeled as a Safari Ball.
  • Several objects were used to contain and control Pokémon before Poké Balls themselves were developed. Large monumental objects have been shown several times in episodes to be containers for large ancient Pokémon, as seen most notably in The Ancient Puzzle of Pokémopolis. Smaller objects have also been used, such as the staff belonging to Sir Aaron, which contained his partner, Lucario, until Ash released it in the current era. Special armor developed by Marcus was used to control Pokémon in ancient Michina Town, though it did not directly contain the Pokémon; unlike other methods of using Pokémon, these Pokémon were enslaved, instead of befriended, and they turned against him the moment the armor was broken.
  • Mewtwo had a collection of strange Poké Balls in Mewtwo Strikes Back, which incorporated an eye into their design, and were used primarily to capture Pokémon to be cloned. These balls had no trouble catching Pokémon which were already captured—even if they were already inside of Poké Balls. They have been called by several names by fans, such as "Mewtwo Balls" and "Clone Balls".
  • Molly Hale, whose imagination caused the power of the Unown to change the world around them, was able to use strange, crystalline Poké Balls when she challenged Brock and Misty in Spell of the Unown. The Pokémon sent from these appeared normally, but dissolved into crystal, rather than being recalled. These crystal Poké Balls only appeared when used by her imagined older selves, and do not appear to actually exist.
  • A special variant of Poké Ball, the Lake Ball, was used during the Seaking Catching Competition in Hook, Line, and Stinker; this is viewed by many to be similar to the Sport Ball used in the Bug-Catching Contest. They appear as blue and white Poké Balls, with a fish pattern around the edge, and a yellow arrow on the top and bottom of the ball. They don't shake after capture, implying an automatic catch.
  • Older Poké Balls have also appeared in the anime, specifically the one carried by Sammy in Celebi: Voice of the Forest, which was colored differently, and it had a knob that needed to be twisted before the Pokémon inside could be sent out. While it is unknown how these types were manufactured, it is likely that they were made by hand using Apricorns, prior to the standardization and mass production of modern-day Poké Balls.
  • The Iron-Masked Marauder, an agent of Team Rocket, used special Dark Balls that corrupted Pokémon caught inside them and made them into mindless servants of the Trainer, as well as raising their power significantly. Multiple Pokémon were caught in these Poké Balls, including the legendary Celebi and a powerful Tyranitar. They seem capable of catching any Pokémon without fail.
  • As in the games, the GS Ball appeared in the anime, and was the primary motivation for Ash's trip to the Orange Archipelago, where he would compete in his second Pokémon League. It also served as the catalyst for his journey to Johto, as he needed to deliver the ball to Kurt. Former director Masamitsu Hidaka revealed that a shelved storyline, that would have concluded the GS Ball's arc, involved a Celebi that would have traveled with Ash and his friends through at least part of Johto. The storyline was viewed as redundant after the decision was made to introduce Celebi in the fourth movie instead.
  • In Claydol, Big and Tall, the "Stone Ball", a huge Poké Ball made of stone used to keep an evil, giant Claydol that levied destruction everywhere. This Poké Ball is about the size of a 2-story house.
  • In A Fishing Connoisseur in a Fishy Competition!, a specially marked Poké Ball, called the "Fishing Poké Ball", was used in the fake fishing contest set up by Team Rocket. This Poké Ball highly resembled the regular red and white Poké Ball, except that it had a dark fish mark on its red part.

In the manga

In The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga

  • In Haunting My Dreams, a giant Poké Ball named the Enormo Poké Ball-X1 (Japanese: ビッグモンスターボールX1 Big Monster Ball-X1) or EPB-X1 for short, was created to capture the gigantic Haunter, Black Fog. It was destroyed when the Black Fog used Explosion to free itself after being captured.

In the Pokémon Adventures manga

In addition to various Poké Balls introduced in the games, Pokémon Adventures also has several Trainers modifying their Poké Balls to suit their fighting styles

  • Bruno has modified his Poké Balls so that they are fitted onto the ends of his nunchucks. By swinging them quickly and throwing the nunchuck forward, Bruno can have his Pokémon quickly attack his opponent, giving him the advantage.
  • Koga and his daughter Janine modified their Poké Balls into shuriken to fit their ninja theme. In addition to being used as weapons, they can also be used to have their Pokémon pop up from different locations to surprise the opponent or to hold items to help an ally.
  • Bugsy had Kurt modify his butterfly net into something he calls a Capture Net. His net has a Poké Ball nested into the middle of it. The bag of the net is made of the same material of the inside of a Poké Ball. Once a Pokémon is covered in the bag, they will automatically be sucked into the Poké Ball.
  • Falkner has modified his Poké Balls into boomerangs using the feathers of his Skarmory. Because of Skarmory's feathers being transparent, they have the tendency to turn invisible, confusing enemies when Falkner throws them in random directions only for them to turn around and go straight for them.
  • Erika modified her Poké Balls to be at the end of her arrows.

In the TCG

  • The Dual Ball is merely two Poké Balls together, and has a similar effect to using two plain Poké Ball cards, requiring two coin flips to search for up to two Pokémon, depending on how many heads appear.
  • The Team Magma Ball is Team Magma's Poké Ball variant, found only in the EX Team Magma vs Team Aqua expansion. It works similarly to a Poké Ball, however, it only can be used to find Team Magma's Pokémon, and will still allow a player to find a Pokémon, though only a Basic one, if the coin flip results in tails.
  • The Team Aqua Ball is Team Aqua's Poké Ball variant, also found only in the EX Team Magma vs Team Aqua expansion. It works exactly the same as the Team Magma Ball, with the exception that it can only search out Team Aqua's Pokémon instead.
  • The Rocket's Poké Ball is the Team Rocket variation on the Poké Ball, found in the EX Team Rocket Returns expansion. No coin flip is required, and it simply allows the player to search for a Dark Pokémon.
  • The Team Plasma Ball is the Team Plasma variant of the Poké Ball, found in the Plasma Freeze expansion. It allows the user to search for a Team Plasma Pokémon without a coin flip required.

Item balls

Main article: Item → Obtaining items
Red finds an item ball on Route 2
Ash catches a rice ball thrown by a wild Mankey

In both the anime and games, it has been shown that items can be contained in Poké Balls, apparently able to be captured in much the same way as a Pokémon. The anime has used this as a gag on several occasions, most notably in Primeape Goes Bananas, where Ash accidentally catches a rice ball when he throws a Poké Ball in an attempt to catch a wild Mankey.

Items contained in Poké Balls have been present from the very first games, with many items that are found on the field being found in Poké Balls in conspicuous locations. These items are sometimes important, and usually will be among the required items for pickup along the way. Sometimes, even Poké Ball variants can be found in item balls, though it may be that the item ball itself is supposed to represent the ball that is found. Many other items, however, are hidden, and are not in item balls, instead being directly on the field, and can be found more easily using an Itemfinder or Dowsing Machine.

Voltorb, Electrode, Foongus, and Amoonguss often appear as item balls in the overworld, but attack when interacted with.


These are artwork of the items as seen in the Pokémon Dream World

Dream Poké Ball Sprite.png Dream Great Ball Sprite.png Dream Ultra Ball Sprite.png Dream Master Ball Sprite.png Dream Safari Ball Sprite.png
Poké Ball Great Ball Ultra Ball Master Ball Safari Ball
Dream Premier Ball Sprite.png Dream Repeat Ball Sprite.png Dream Timer Ball Sprite.png Dream Nest Ball Sprite.png Dream Net Ball Sprite.png
Premier Ball Repeat Ball Timer Ball Nest Ball Net Ball
Dream Dive Ball Sprite.png Dream Luxury Ball Sprite.png Dream Heal Ball Sprite.png Dream Quick Ball Sprite.png Dream Dusk Ball Sprite.png
Dive Ball Luxury Ball Heal Ball Quick Ball Dusk Ball

Non-Bag sprites


Poké Ball Poké Ball summary IV.png Great Ball Great Ball summary IV.png Ultra Ball Ultra Ball summary IV.png Master Ball Master Ball summary IV.png Safari Ball Safari Ball summary IV.png
Level Ball Level Ball summary IV.png Lure Ball Generation IV
Generation V
Moon Ball Moon Ball summary IV.png Friend Ball Friend Ball summary IV.png Love Ball Love Ball summary IV.png
Heavy Ball Heavy Ball summary IV.png Fast Ball Fast Ball summary IV.png Sport Ball Sport Ball summary IV.png Premier Ball Premier Ball summary IV.png Repeat Ball Repeat Ball summary IV.png
Timer Ball Timer Ball summary IV.png Nest Ball Nest Ball summary IV.png Net Ball Net Ball summary IV.png Dive Ball Dive Ball summary IV.png Luxury Ball Luxury Ball summary IV.png
Heal Ball Heal Ball summary IV.png Quick Ball Quick Ball summary IV.png Dusk Ball Dusk Ball summary IV.png Cherish Ball Cherish Ball summary IV.png Dream Ball Dream Ball summary.png

In battle

Generation I and II
Any Poké Ball
(Generation I)
Poké Ball battle I.png Poké Ball
Love Ball
Poké Ball Love Ball battle II.png Great Ball
Lure Ball
Fast Ball
Great Ball Lure Ball Fast Ball battle II.png Ultra Ball
Friend Ball
Ultra Ball Friend Ball battle II.png Master Ball Master Ball battle II.png Level Ball Level Ball battle II.png Moon Ball
Heavy Ball
Park Ball
Moon Ball Heavy Ball Park Ball battle II.png

Generation III

Sprites are the same for both summary and battle.

Poké Ball Poké Ball III.png Great Ball Great Ball III.png Ultra Ball Ultra Ball III.png Master Ball Master Ball III.png
Safari Ball Safari Ball III.png Premier Ball Premier Ball III.png Repeat Ball Repeat Ball III.png Timer Ball Timer Ball III.png
Nest Ball Nest Ball III.png Net Ball Net Ball III.png Dive Ball Dive Ball III.png Luxury Ball Luxury Ball III.png

Generation IV
Poké Ball Poké Ball battle IV.png Great Ball Great Ball battle IV.png Ultra Ball Ultra Ball battle IV.png Master Ball Master Ball battle IV.png Safari Ball Safari Ball battle IV.png
Level Ball Level Ball battle IV.png Lure Ball Lure Ball battle IV.png Moon Ball Moon Ball battle IV.png Friend Ball Friend Ball battle IV.png Love Ball Love Ball battle IV.png
Heavy Ball Heavy Ball battle IV.png Fast Ball Fast Ball battle IV.png Sport Ball Sport Ball battle IV.png Premier Ball Premier Ball battle IV.png Repeat Ball Repeat Ball battle IV.png
Timer Ball Timer Ball battle IV.png Nest Ball Nest Ball battle IV.png Net Ball Net Ball battle IV.png Dive Ball Dive Ball battle IV.png Luxury Ball Luxury Ball battle IV.png
Heal Ball Heal Ball battle IV.png Quick Ball Quick Ball battle IV.png Dusk Ball Dusk Ball battle IV.png Cherish Ball Cherish Ball battle IV.png Park Ball Park Ball battle IV.png

Generation V
050Diglett.png This section is incomplete.
Please feel free to edit this section to add missing information and complete it.
Reason: All images.

Generation II Poké Balls, while programmed into the game, cannot be used to catch Pokémon and can be seen only when sending out a Pokémon. Sprites seen below are at full size as they are seen as they are when player's Pokémon is sent out after a switch.

Poké Ball Poké Ball battle V.png Great Ball Great Ball battle V.png Ultra Ball Ultra Ball battle V.png Master Ball Master Ball battle V.png Safari Ball Safari Ball battle V.png
Level Ball Level Ball battle V.png Lure Ball Lure Ball battle V.png Moon Ball Moon Ball battle V.png Friend Ball Friend Ball battle V.png Love Ball Love Ball battle V.png
Heavy Ball Heavy Ball battle V.png Fast Ball Fast Ball battle V.png Sport Ball Sport Ball battle V.png Premier Ball Premier Ball battle V.png Repeat Ball Repeat Ball battle V.png
Timer Ball Timer Ball battle V.png Nest Ball Nest Ball battle V.png

Pokémon Stadium

A Poké Ball from Pokémon Stadium
A Poké Ball from Pokémon Stadium 2

Outside of the battles, Generation I Poké Balls (except the Safari Ball) are all seen in the minigame Furret's Frolic in Pokémon Stadium 2. Poké Ball is worth 1 point, Great Ball 2, Ultra Ball 3 and Master Ball 5.

Furret's Frolic


  • While any Pokémon species can be caught by any Poké Ball, due to Pokémon distribution, no Pokémon species can legitimately be in all of the 26 in-game Poké Ball variants. The Pokémon that come the closest are the Paras and Venonat families, as they are found in the wild in all five generations, and can be obtained in the Pokémon Dream World; the only Ball they cannot be legitimately contained in is the Cherish Ball, as they have not been given out as an event Pokémon during Generation IV or V.
  • In Pokémon Pinball, the Poké Balls serve as the balls in the machine; they can be used to capture Pokémon and are upgraded depending on the multiplier bonus at the time.
  • Many of the types of Poké Balls introduced in Generation III function similarly to those introduced in Generation II: the Nest Ball, like the Level Ball, is better if used on Pokémon of lower levels, the Net and Dive Balls are both useful against Pokémon found while in the water, much like the Lure Ball, and the Luxury Ball raises a Pokémon's friendship quickly, similarly to a Friend Ball. Excluding the Sport Ball, which many see as a parallel to the Safari Ball which made its return in Generation III, the specialty Balls made by the Devon Corporation in Hoenn number seven, the same amount as the Apricorn Balls made by Kurt.
  • In Generation II, the Park Ball's name is written as one word on the catch screen menu in the Bug-Catching Contest, rather than as two separate words, as the rest of the Poké Balls are. However, it will appear spelled correctly in the Bag if obtained illegitimately there.
  • In some early artwork for Pokémon Red and Green, Poké Balls are shown on the ground in two pieces while the Pokémon are in battle, rather than in the more familiar hinged form they take now. This may be a carryover from when Pokémon was known as Capsule Monsters, as the Poké Ball sprites in Generation I also do not show the button on the ball. In Generation II, Poké Balls split in half when capturing a Pokémon as part of their animation, while the anime had been using the hinge style since the very first episode.
  • Poké Balls are inspired by the capsules for gashapon machines, which contain small, handheld toys.
  • In HeartGold and SoulSilver and the TCG, Lure Balls are shown to have a green outer coloring; however, in official artwork and the anime, they are shown to have a blue outer coloring.
    • However, in Generation V, the Lure Ball has both its Bag sprite, status screen sprite, and battle animation altered to the official blue color.
    • Similarly, the Fast Ball is shown to be red in official art; however, it is orange in its Bag and status screen sprites, and only appears red in battle in Generation V.
  • Item description data for the Safari Ball in HeartGold and SoulSilver and Black and White is unchanged from Platinum, hence its description still states that it can only be used within the Great Marsh.
  • While most Poké Balls cannot capture Pokémon that have already been caught, there are some types that can easily catch a Pokémon that already is owned. These are usually rare or use-restricted balls.
    • The Generation IV Park Ball, which is used to capture Pokémon migrated from a Generation III game to a Generation IV game, is one of these. It reverts to the original ball used to catch the migrated Pokémon in the Summary screen.
    • In the anime, Mewtwo's "Mewtwo Balls", seen only in Mewtwo Strikes Back, can catch any Pokémon despite being owned. These Balls have been shown to even catch owned Pokémon even when inside of their Poké Balls. After the Pokémon's DNA is extracted through Mewtwo's cloning device, "Mewtwo Balls" automatically release the caught Pokémon.
    • Snag Balls, exclusive to Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD, are used for catching Shadow Pokémon, all of which are already owned.
  • While the Apricorn Balls and the Sport Ball exist in the internal data of the Generation V games, they are completely unobtainable. If they are illegitimately obtained into the Bag, they cannot be held by a Pokémon, much as in HeartGold and SoulSilver, and will not be recognized by the game as Poké Balls for in-battle use. Despite this, a Pokémon caught in one of these Poké Balls in HeartGold and SoulSilver will retain the Ball in Generation V.
    • The sprite color of the Lure Ball was altered in Pokémon Black and White, changing its base color to a light blue color as opposed to the green it had in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver.
    • The Moon Ball, while it returns in HeartGold and SoulSilver and appears in the internal data of the Generation V games, cannot legitimately contain Pokémon in the Skitty and Munna families, even though both evolve with the Moon Stone. This is due to their unavailability in the wild in HeartGold and SoulSilver.
  • The Premier Ball is the only variety of Poké Ball so far whose name approaches the character limit for item names.
  • In Generation II, after catching a Pokémon, the Poké Ball's color palette changes to that of the Pokémon that was just caught. It then changes back to normal thereafter.
  • Generation V introduced fewer types of Poké Balls than any other generation, only introducing one.
  • The Safari Ball has a catching animation programmed into Black and White despite not being legitimately able to be used, as there is no Safari Zone.
  • Both the Safari Ball and Generation II Park Ball appeared in the anime prior to sprites being introduced for items in the games, in EP035 and EP161, respectively. In these appearances, their designs were vastly different from their later-introduced in-game sprites.
  • In Generation V, Dive regained its field move status. However, since there are no wild Pokémon underwater in Unova, the Dive Ball retained its new effect that boosts its catch rate while Surfing or fishing.
  • Surskit is Water/Bug-type, the two types that improve the Net Ball's odds of capture. However, it does not get an increased bonus for being both types.
  • When the player uses a Master Ball in Generation II, stars appear and a sound effect is played before the ball closes and captures the Pokémon.

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Project ItemDex logo.png This item article is part of Project ItemDex, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on all items.