I finally got to the point in my replay of Pokémon LeafGreen where I can start catching Legendary Pokémon, and my recent attempts to actually catch them reminded me of some fun moments from my poképast and the strange way games can play out when they rely on random chance. If you don’t really care about Pokémon, or maybe even actively dislike it, then feel free to head out. Everything after this is going to be about Pokémon. Or stick around. I’m not your boss. Do what you want.
My most legendary moment, from all of my pokemon experience, was a brief failure. It was a couple years after LeafGreen and FireRed came out, in 2005. I had recently become an insomniac and was working on using Pokémon as a distraction from being unable to sleep. As a result, I was frequently doing things out of order and forgetting to save as I attempted to play through the game in a haze. As it turned out, I got the Master Ball before using the Silph Scope to identify the ghost of Marowak. Because of the nature of the fight, the player is prevented from catching the Marowak. You’re supposed to defeat it so it can finally rest in peace, but I forgot I was in this specific battle and tried to catch it. Since I wasn’t really paying attention, I never really noticed why the Poké Balls were failing, and wound up using every Poké Ball in my bag. Including the Master Ball. Since I was out, I beat it and carried on. Only an hour later, when I was finally buying more Ultra Balls, did I realize what had happened. I reset the game, of course, and lost three hours of play.
My most legendary catch, to flip to the other side of the equation, was the time I caught the legendary pokemon of Pokemon Moon, Lunala, at full health by throwing a regular Poké Ball at it. I meant to throw a Quick Ball, to see if I could get lucky, but I accidentally clicked the wrong thing in my excessive care to avoid using my Master Ball. As I watched the ball rock three times and heard the click, I pretty much lost my mind. I’d figured I had accidentally wasted a turn. Annoying, but no big deal at that point. Instead, I walked away from the encounter with a Legendar Pokémon that took me no effort to catch. Normally, you have to balance damage dealt, status conditions inflicted, and making sure your Pokémon with False Swipe (which always leaves the target with at least 1 HP remaining) can survive long enough to whittle down the target’s HP once you’ve chipped it as low as you dare with stronger moves. It was quite a moment.
More recently, I wandered into the Powerplant in my current LeafGreen play-through and didn’t realize until Zapdos was asleep and at low HP that I’d forgotten to buy literally any Ultra Balls. I had two Poké Balls, seven Great Balls, and a small collections of other balls you find or get for free. I caught it on my last Pokéball. Seven Great Balls and a single Poké Ball had failed. I’d resigned myself to restarting the battle and having to trek all the way to a Pokémart to buy what I needed (since I didn’t have a Pokémon with fly with me), but I got lucky.
In Pokémon Shield, I actually got the first Legendary, Zamazenta, with my first Ultra Ball thanks to a Critical Capture. I’d started a habit of just tossing an Ultra Ball at the start of every encounter with a Legendary Pokémon, just to see if I got lucky (thanks to that Poké Ball moment I mentioned earlier), and it really paid off, here. No effort required, got to immediately walk away with my Legendary so I could put it in my Storage Box and literally never bring it out again. Good times.
I can’t remember which game it was in, Ultra Sun or Moon, but I’d encountered a legendary Pokémon in the weird space/time tunnels at the end of the game and was chipping away at some Legendary bird’s HP. I got a critical hit and thought I was going to lose my chance at this Legendary when the HP meter stopped on the last little sliver and I got to avoid the whole False Swipe process entirely. It was a good fight.
I’d love to hear about your Legendary Pokémon moments in the comments, if you’ve got one and want to share. Comments are cool and fun. But, as previously established, I’m not your caretaker. Do what makes you happy.