Old habits die hard, as they say, and the Pokémon series is hardly an exception. Honestly, hand any gamer any Pokémon game and they’ll know exactly what their mission is: catch and train the strongest team of Pokémon and run train on the local Pokémon league, it’s associated elite four, and perhaps the region’s resident villainous organization as well.
In our quest to be the very best, however, it’s important to stop and think back to the first few hours of the game and remember those early members of our team; whether they stuck with you through the whole of your journey, were only spared the Pokéballs to try and fill up your Pokédex, or even if you just needed something to teach an HM to, one thing is for sure about this bunch of Pokémon: catching them was anything but a challenge.
Every Pokémon has an associated catch rate, a value used in a complex equation that determines whether or not the Pokémon gets captured and everyone on this list has a base capture rate of 255 which is the highest catch rate possible in the game. While there are more than just the twenty listed here with that same catch rate, the Pokémon listed here are typically the earliest encountered and can reasonably be considered the smallest of small fries. Rest easy, trainers; you won't be wasting that Master Ball on any of these Pokémon.
Lillipup is a Pokémon whose name is pretty indicative of just about what you can expect from it in battle: not much. Its offensive moveset is limited to three moves before it evolves and its normal typing doesn’t make for a very imposing or challenging Pokémon. Good news for you though, because catching one will be a walk in the park, which seems a fitting metaphor for a Pokémon based on a dog. You can probably spare the few seconds it will take to catch it. Whether or not it’d be worth training is completely up to you, though. I’m going to be honest, this one has always been a Pokémon that has just been a “Catch it to evolve it and put it in the PC” situation. I mean, look at the little thing. How can I possibly make that little pup fight? It’s just too cute!
Lotad is a Sapphire version exclusive that makes itself available just outside of Hoenn’s Oldale Town on Route 102. These little guys don’t put up too much of a fight, but getting one on your team could prove useful towards the middle of the game once you can get it to its final evolved form (which is only doable with a Water Stone), Ludicolo. Evolved form aside, Lotad is something of an investment considering you can find them as early as level three and it may take quite a bit of work helping it reach its full potential. If you don’t figure it out from fighting it, Lotad doesn’t pack very much of a punch and with the way they level up, you might be feeling like that for at least a little bit.
The Ruby version equivalent to Lotad and the story is exactly the same. Once you can pass through Oldale Town and onto Route 102, you’ll find Seedots ripe for the picking. At the tender level of three, however, they may end up being nothing but training fodder for your starter if you aren’t careful. Still, managing to catch one may yield some worthwhile results if you’re willing to take the time and train it right, because just like it’s cousin Lotad, Seedot has some fun potential and its evolved form is one badass Pokémon (Shiftry), a fact that can be surprising if you consider that the Pokémon literally looks like an acorn. I mean, really. How strong can one little nut be? Rhetorical question, the answer is “When you first find them, not very.”
Wurmple is the third generation’s token early game bug Pokémon; found early on, and fully evolved into one of two forms by level ten. If you come across one of these navigating through Petalburg Woods, don’t sweat it. Its moveset is hardly anything to stress over and this little guy just doesn’t hit hard enough anyway. Catching a Wurmple should be a walk in the park (or should I say stroll in the woods?), but if it’s ‘Dex completion you’re going for, you may have to end up snagging multiple just to be on the safe side. Thankfully, Wurmples are weak enough that the main chore of the process won’t be the actual fight itself, it will probably just be walking around to find them.
The Alola region has its place on this list as well! Meet Grubbin, the tiny little bug type that can be found as early as Route 1. While Grubbin’s potential is a lot more promising than early game bug types of past generations, it doesn’t start as some must capture powerhouse. Even with a much more versatile moveset than most bug types, this Pokémon is only found between levels three and five, and suffers the same fragility that we’ve come to know and love from bug Pokémon. Grubbins are an easy catch and end up being pretty worth it if you’re able to stick to training the Pokémon. Definitely grab it when you can; it’s not going to put up much of a fight.
Hoppip may not exactly be one of those straight out the gate Pokémon, but it still comes in with a catch rate of 255 just like every other Pokémon this list and that’s all we really need. It’s a bit of an odd Pokémon with an appeal that has always seemed to go over my head, but Hoppips are undeniably a very easy catch very early on. Usually found at level six or seven on Johto’s Route 32, by the time you start finding them you’re guaranteed to be more than equipped enough to take one of these on and catch it, even if you do just end up throwing it in the box. I know that’s exactly what I did. No offense, Hoppip…
Hoothoot is an owl Pokémon that you can find at the start of your Johto journey as early as route 29, so as you can imagine you won’t exactly be stressing yourself out catching yourself one of these. They start off pretty weak, so even just walking out of Professor Elm’s lab you’re bound to be equipped to take them on. The early game flying types are almost always some kind of useful though and with Hoothoot only evolving once instead of the usual twice, you could have a pretty decent Pokémon rounding off your team as you work your way through the Johto League. But remember, that pretty decent Pokémon does come from humble beginnings, so if you do catch yourself a Hoothoot, know that you’re doing it a favor leveling it up.
Once you catch a glimpse of this Pokémon harassing the bumbling Professor Birch, if you’re anything like me you knew you wanted one. Fortunately, you’re not as helpless as Professor Birch and it’s incredibly easy to grab a Poochyena very early on. They may be feisty, but not to the point of making catching them a chore and, even if the usefulness of the Pokémon can be debated, there’s an undeniable “cool” factor to it that even the baddies of the Hoenn region seem to appreciate. I mean, you’d think that they’d probably have made him a little bit more intimidating and that’s not an allusion to its evolved forms ability. Regardless, who knew such a weak little Pokémon could be so prominent in one region?
In stark contrast to Poochyena’s cool-ness, Bidoof is honestly pretty goofy; an opinion that is starkly contrasted by its Diamond Version Pokédex entry citing it as a Pokémon with nerves of steel. I guess that's something of an underdog story, but nerves of steel probably translate better in the anime than they would in the game because let's face it; Bidoof is weak. Regardless of its nerves though, hanging out right outside of Twinleaf isn’t exactly the activity of choice for Pokémon that make gym leaders quake in their boots.
Bidoof is an easy addition if you’re looking for the ‘Mon-power to get your Sinnoh journey up and running. Why you’d want this particular Pokémon on your team I personally don’t know, but to each their own. At the very least, it may be weak, but it definitely looks friendly.
Starly’s Pearl Pokédex entry cites it as being barely noticeable unless it’s in a group and if that’s not something that speaks to its weakness, I don’t know what is. You can find these guys in droves beginning on Sinnoh's Route 201 where they're easy pickings. Now don’t get me wrong, Starly is Diamond and Pearl’s token bird Pokémon; an early on encounter with three stages of evolution that could easily fit your team as a staple from your first gym through the elite four if you so choose. The good thing, though? You guessed it; they’re a breeze to catch. Considering what it evolves into, the investment may very well be worth your time – and it’ll only take a few seconds to catch one and get started.
Like Starly, Fletchling is the token early game bird Pokémon of X and Y and, of course, all the things about Starly ring true for Fletchling. Let’s be real, though; Fletching and its evolution line stand out a little bit, because instead of staying a Normal/Flying type, this one evolves into a Flying/Fire type and that is a pretty damn cool typing. Thank goodness you can find them as early as the Kalos region’s Route 2 and start training them early, because its fully evolved form of Talonflame is not one to be missed. Honestly, get a look at one of those and you’ll be ecstatic to know that you could be on your way to one with hardly any effort at all.
These little guys are all over Johto’s earliest routes. To be honest, I never saw the appeal or the usefulness of this Pokémon or its evolved form. That said, I can say one thing was true for every playthrough I ever did of Silver version, I always ended up with one. Why? Catching them was a breeze, of course! Its 255 catch rate value, unimpressive moveset, and normal typing make for a fairly simple encounter. This is one of those Pokémon that I usually just caught to fill the ‘Dex, but if training one of these little guys up is your idea of a good time, then more power to you. And to your Sentret. Because trust me, you’re both going to need it.
Good ol' Zigzagoon! You can find these guys very early on right outside Hoenn’s Little Root Town. They’re plentiful and they’re very weak so you’ll probably tear through a lot of these while training up your starter. Despite not being much of a challenge, the ease of catching a Zigzagoon made one thing true: you were guaranteed at least one Pokémon that could learn almost every HM in case of emergencies. And I guess its ability, which lets it randomly find items during your adventure helped a little bit too, but how many of us really started up Ruby and Sapphire with the specific intention of adding a Zigzagoon to our team? Pretty much the Sentret of the Hoenn region, the idea here is basically the same thing too. Be ready to put some work into it, because it just feels like this Pokémon can lose to anything; even a Pokéball thrown while it’s at max HP.
Weedles are perfectly at home on this list. With a moveset of only two moves, there isn’t too much of a fight that these little denizens of Viridian Forest put up and catching a Weedle is a pretty easy three slots filled in your Pokédex, considering it reaches its final evolved form of Beedrill at level ten. That said, after your first catch, these little guys are barely even an afterthought and mowing them down as you work your way through Viridian Forest will become second nature by the time you’re out. Or maybe consider catching a whole bunch and making Viridian Forest a permanent hangout like the rest of the bug catchers there. Weedle really does make it easy for that to happen, after all.
Rattata is another Pokémon on this list that really just makes me wonder why you’d want to have one on your team. An easy catch, for sure, but what would you expect from a Pokémon that you can find literally straight out the gate? Its normal typing is unimposing and its design after a rodent really isn’t doing it much in the favors department. I’m surprised these Pokémon don’t end up running from you, considering you could probably sneeze at it and bring its HP down to a catchable amount. And while the revamped Alola form is at least a little bit cooler looking with a different typing, they still don't put up much of a fight. It wouldn’t surprise me if you could catch one of these at full health too. Just don’t be too impressed with yourself. These small fries are nothing to write home to Pallet Town about.
The OG of early game flying types, Pidgey is one of those Pokémon that starts off as not much of anything. While well worth the effort, sometimes it’s hard to remember such a simple, helpless little Pokémon can come so far, especially when you compare it to the amount of effort it takes to catch one. It fits right in with its other friends on this list, especially the ones you can find on Kanto’s Route one at levels as low as two. This is a catch so easy, there’s really no reason not to go ahead and spare the one Pokéball that it’ll more than likely take. I guess the fact that its final evolution is pretty cool is a little bit extra motivation as well, too.
Just like its counterpart Pokémon Weedle, a lot of the sentiments behind it are exactly the same with Caterpie. It reaches its final evolution really quickly and is an easy three Pokédex entries. Of course, also like Weedle, Caterpie can’t really fight. And I know what that makes you think; why bother even catching one? Well, because it has a catch rate value of 255, and there’s no reason to not spend the literal seconds it would take to get one of these in a Pokéball. Yes it’s a weakling and its final evolution may not even be a Pokémon of interest, but the fact that it’s so weak is really enough of a reason to just go ahead and do it. Maybe those bug catchers will leave you alone if you’re strapped with a Caterpie on your team.
Any Pokémon player knows that these guys are the welcoming committee in any cave area and I have a feeling that that will never ever change as long as this series lives. Not surprisingly, Zubat is a really easy catch and well worth it if you’re looking to eventually add a Crobat to your team. Don’t let the fact that they’re weak distract you, though. These guys are everywhere and they are most definitely annoying. Catch one quick and get rolling with those repels because once you have one of your own, travelling through caves will probably make it so that you never want to see one of these weaklings ever again. Gotta hand it to them; what they lack in strength, they make up for in pure, unbridled annoyingness.
Whether you’re surfing along for the first time or giving that shiny new old rod a shot, these guys are going to make you wish you stocked up on repels because they are a dime a dozen. The frustrating thing? They’re just as easy to catch as they are to fight. I’m not even kidding, Tentacool is the Zubat of the sea. I once came out of a surfing trip with a PC box almost half full of Tentacools because I didn’t want to waste the moves of my party members trying to fight them and catching was just more efficient at the time. They usually get caught without much of a fight too, all thanks to that 255 base catch rate value. If only they were actually as cool as the name suggested.
All you need is an old rod and a body of water, and you’re guaranteed to nab yourself one of these. While it’s easy to make an argument for these little guys considering the imposing powerhouse that it evolves into, there’s no denying that this is probably the easiest catch in the game; splash isn't going to do a thing to your team and with that old rod you’re probably not going to catch one that’s fortunate enough to know tackle. And even if it did, somehow, I’m pretty sure you’d still be alright. I mean, let’s face it: when Pokémon trainers young and old think of the most easily caught Pokémon, I’d bet any sum of money that Magikarp makes number one on their list as well.