Catching them all
One of my yearly goals for 2021 was to complete my Pokedex in Pokemon Home. In order to complete this goal I had to somehow get hold of the 898 different Pokemon that currently make up the national dex.
To complicate things I only have the Nintendo Switch Pokemon games and Pokemon Go as I kind of lost interest in the mainline Pokemon games after Pokemon Ruby (the original one) but got back into them after Pokemon Go came out.
As a kid I completed my Pokedex in Pokemon Red and had Mew (although it was a clone from the original event) but I was about 10 Pokemon off from completing the dex in Pokemon Gold due to time commitments at school and my after-school job (the joys of being 13, I got paid £11 a week for 6+ hours work).
By the time Pokemon Ruby came out I was doing my GCSEs and working on the weekends so I never got anywhere near completing the Pokedex on that, as there were a number of mythicals you could only get during events and these games were not compatible with the previous Gameboy games.
By the time Pokemon Diamond came out I was way too busy to even think about investing the time into playing the game, let alone complete the Pokedex in it.
It wasn’t until Pokemon Go came out and meeting the community in Leeds that kept me playing it that I started to acquire a collection again and with the launch of Pokemon Home announcing integration with Pokemon Go at some point that I thought I might have a reasonable chance at ‘catching ’em all’.
Pokemon available in Sword and Shield
One of the controversies around Sword and Shield was the decision to not include support for all Pokemon in the game which initially put me off even attempting to complete the Pokedex as I’d not be able to use them in the game.
At the time of the Sword and Shield launch in 2019, Pokemon Go only had Pokemon from generation 5 available which meant that there was at least 154 Pokemon from older generations to catch, plus the 84 new Galar Pokemon.
This was actually pretty useful as half the Pokemon I was catching were completely new. There were also the Galarian variants to collect but as these are variants they don’t count towards the Pokedex total.
Pokemon available in the Sword and Shield DLC
The DLC for Sword and Shield added 7 more Pokedex entries (and a lot of Galarian variants) to collect. There were a lot of branching Pokemon options in the DLC so I had to play this through twice in order to get both choices.
The most important addition in these games however was the Dynamax Adventures option which gives access to all the existing legendary Pokemon of which I needed 19.
Playing both Sword and Shield and buying the DLC twice has meant that I’ve been able to collect duplicates which has proven to be important in creating a living dex for the legendary Pokemon that can evolve.
Pokemon available in Pokemon Go
I have (or should I say ‘had’ now that they live in Pokemon Home) almost all available Pokemon in Pokemon Go. Over the years I’ve been to a number of events that have allowed me to trade with other players in order to access the regional forms not available in the UK.
Looking at Pokemon Go from a mainline player’s perspective it has a weird way of making Pokemon exclusive as they’re locked behind physical locations and spawn rate instead of them being ‘one per game’. This means that I have about 30 Darkrai (a mythical Pokemon that requires a lot of work to obtain) but only 1 Japan-caught FarFetch’d (a relatively common Pokemon) that I got during my trip to Japan in 2017.
I utilised Pokemon Go mainly to trade in my Unown collection, any Pokemon from generations 1–6 not in Pokemon Sword/Shield and the mythicals that have been released in Pokemon Go.
I accidently messed up one of my research quests in Pokemon Go doing this as much like Pokemon Home you can’t trade mythicals so when I sent my Victini to Pokemon Home I ended up being unable to complete a task (and that research will now haunt me for the rest my life).
One of the upsides of doing loads of legendary raids in Pokemon Go is that you have a lot of spares and this meant that I was able to trade a lot of my spare unown and legendary Pokemon for those I needed from the 6th and 7th generations that weren’t available in any of the games I was playing.
This number of these was quite low, I think there was only about 24 Pokemon I had to trade for in the end as I had some luck via the Wonder Trade system too.
Once I had all the non-mythical Pokemon from the 6th and 7th generations I then started to look at mythical Pokemon which posed a problem.
Falling at the last hurdle
Pokemon Home doesn’t allow the trading of mythical Pokemon so I had no means outside of Pokemon Sword/Shield for trading these and as the 8th generation doesn’t have all the Pokemon supported there were certain mythicals that were just unavailable to me.
The other factor is that mythical Pokemon are usually tied to certain events, either physical events where you have to be there to recieve the Pokemon or time-limited events where you need to download the Pokemon via a code.
Without the ability to trade or time travel I started looking at some of the legitimate methods of obtaining some of these Pokemon and was shocked at how much that would cost.
One of those mythicals — Manaphy — was available via a game called Pokemon Ranger. If you completed it and played through a special mission which gave you an egg you could transfer into one of the mainline Pokemon games (you could only do this once per cartridge as the state for tracking this was saved to the cartridge memory not the console’s).
The price of a Pokemon Ranger cartridge is ridiculous in 2021, one I saw was £125 and given I’d still need to buy a copy of a compatible mainline game and Pokemon Bank access to trade that Pokemon into Home it was a high cost for something that could also turn out to have already been claimed by the previous owner.
So I decided to save my money, cheat and use a ‘Pokemon genner’ service. These services use methods to essentially generate copies of Pokemon that can then be traded to others for a price.
I opted to buy a set of the final 9 Pokémon I needed that matched previous European events they were available in so it wasn’t any different to transferring from previous games.
While I had to resort to cheating due to a lack of following the mainline Pokemon games over the years and being unable to trade mythicals via Pokemon Home I only needed a small subset of the mythical Pokemon so I don’t feel too bad about doing this.
All in all having completed my Pokedex in Home I feel fulfilled as I don’t think there are people who have achieved this goal and this sets me up to legitimately follow the series from now on.