Shedinja in a Master Ball

Posted January 07, 2018

Oh, Shedinja. Shedinja is the Pokémon made of exceptions and weird edge cases. I’ve talked about Shedinja before, about how its fixed HP stat of 1 has caused me some problems. Now I’m coming back to Shedinja to talk about how you might go about catching Shedinja with a Master Ball.

Because why wouldn’t you want one of these guys in a Master Ball?

The first thing I should point out is how you catch Shedinja, which is super bizarre to begin with. Shedinja is a part of the evolutionary line of Nincada and Ninjask. You obtain Shedinja by evolving a Nincada (which happens when it levels up to level 20). But Nincada evolves into Ninjask. If you have a spare slot in your party of 6 Pokémon and a spare pokéball in your bag, then Shedinja appears in that empty slot and consumes that pokéball. It just *appears* out of nowhere.

You might see some visual similarities between Ninjask (on the right) and Shedinja that give you some clues about why

The lore explanation for why this happens is sensible enough (in that it does actually explain why it’s different from all other evolutions before or since). Shedinja is the animated cocoon of Nincada’s evolution into Ninjask. This is why Shedinja and Ninjask have a similar silhouette and why Shedinja has an opening on its back, presumably where Ninjask emerged from after evolving.

From a data perspective, this is bonkers. It’s notable that in order to get Shedinja from Generation 4 (Diamond & Pearl) onwards, you need to have a Poké Ball in your bag. Not an Ultra Ball, not a Quick Ball, not any of the other non-default pokéballs, an actual default Poké Ball like you get at the beginning of the game. If you don’t have one (even if you do have other pokéballs), then you don’t get Shedinja.

But what if you wanted a Shedinja in a Master Ball, because you’re a crazy person? (Like me.) For anyone who doesn’t know, the Master Ball is a 100% success rate pokéball that always catches its target. You usually get one Master Ball per game. (So if you’ve played all of the games you can accumulate many Master Balls over many playthroughs.)

The ultimate Pokémon catching device

Shedinja is never found in the wild, so you never have a chance to throw your one Master Ball at it to catch it in a Master Ball. Shedinja will only consume a Poké Ball from your bag, so even if you leave yourself with just a Master Ball in your bag when you evolve Nincada, you just won’t get Shedinja.

But eagle-eyed readers will notice that I said Shedinja consumes a Poké Ball from your bag from Generation 4 (Diamond & Pearl) onwards. Shedinja was introduced in Generation 3 (Ruby & Sapphire). In Generation 3, Shedinja copied the pokéball that you used on Nincada, which can be found in the wild.

I’m sure you follow how we get a Shedinja in a Master Ball in Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon now. You go back to Ruby, Sapphire, or Emerald on the GBA and catch a Nincada in the one Master Ball from one of those games. You level up Nincada in that game until it evolves and gives you your Shedinja in a Master Ball. Then you use the original DS or DS Lite (not the newer ones like the DSi, which lack a GBA slot) to transfer that Shedinja over to Generation 4. And then you use either a second DS or a 3DS to transfer to Generation 5 (Black & White). And finally you use the Poké Transporter app on the 3DS (that comes with Pokémon Bank) to transfer from Generation 5 into Bank, where it can be withdrawn into any of the modern 3DS games. Simple!

Slightly older chart made by a fan of where you can transfer your Pokémon between the games

Truly simple, right? But why would anyone bother to do this? And why would I care whether a given pokéball combination for a given Pokémon is actually obtainable in the games?

For why folks would bother, it’s simply a collector thing. Some combinations of Pokémon and a specific pokéball are very rare, so people covet them. As for why I would care in PokémonCompDB, it’s because certain Pokémon and pokéball combinations are actually impossible. So if you run into them, you know your opponent has hacked their game. And you can be warned up front if your intended choice of pokéball is actually impossible to do, so you don’t waste your time trying to figure out how to do it.

Of course, the pokéball legality checking in PokémonCompDB isn’t implemented yet. That’s because of an excess of ridiculously special cases like Shedinja that mean I’ll be digging back into all of the games and timed-exclusive events back to Generation 3 in 2003. But it will happen!