How to Catch A Legendary Pokemon in a Raid - Tricks and Rumours

Having been listening in to conversations at raids and reading online chatter, when someone who has a bad run of luck asks for tips, there will be these people who have caught the raid bosses coming out to give their opinions on how to catch a legendary pokemon.

Here are some of those tips and my opinion of them.

"Use your first catch of the day to catch the legendary Pokemon"

Legitimacy: 0/10

Origin: Someone caught a raid boss as the first catch of the day.

How it might work: First catch of the day is actually first throw of the day which increases the catch rate of the first ball thrown of that day.

How it won't work: First catch of the day is awarded after successfully catching a Pokemon for the first time in a day. It is impossible to award anything for something that has not taken place. Moreover, if you failed to catch this raid boss and it flees, you have not gotten your first catch of the day and technically it should work until you actually caught something.

"Don't press OK after you have caught the Pokemon"

Legitimacy: 1/10

Origin: Niantic purportedly set a fixed number or percentage of catches that will be successful. By pressing OK after catching, you are telling the server that you have caught it and the number would decrease, resulting in the remaining people having a lower chance to catch.

How it might work:  Niantic has a predetermined number or percentage of catches per raid, rounded up, and that there is a counter for each successful catches.

How it won't work: Pressing OK does not sent any data to the server. This can be seen in the lack of loading indicator after pressing OK. If you restart the app without pressing OK, the Pokemon would already be in your bag, thereby proving that the catch is registered immediately after the ball hits.
Even if everyone doesn't press OK, there will probably be some who doesn't catch it. Test it out if you really, really doubt me. Since I don't think that this is true, I wouldn't rush through my balls so that I can be the first to catch it.

"Stand at the spot of another trainer who has previously caught it"

Legitimacy: 2/10

Origin: Niantic supposedly uses the coordinates of someone to determine a successful catch.

How it might work: The RNG used to determine successful catches uses only the location that the trainer is in as a seed for the pseudo-randomness.

How it won't work: There is no need to use location to generate a random number. I highly doubt this. It just sounds improbable. To what degree of accuracy is the location used? At which point is the location sent? Would GPS then affect this? This sounds really random to me and might as well just be RNG.

"Alternate between different berries"

Legitimacy: 3/10

Origin: ProdigiesNation tried alternating nanab and golden razz and successfully caught it after a few tries.

How it might work: There is a cumulative effect of berries that carries over to the next throw.

How it won't work: If there is a cumulative effect, it is likely unintended as that is not in the descriptions of the berries. The fact that PN also threw excellent curved balls was neglected. The success rates could very well be due to him just throwing excellent/great curved balls. This is another case where there is no specific detail on succeeding. These two independent events happening do not imply causation. More empirical data would be required to convince me.

"Wait until it is tired, then it will stay in the ball"

Legitimacy: 1/10

Origin: When people say "take your time", some took it to mean that waste more time so that the pokemon will tire. 

How it might work: There is a fatigue counter that is inversely proportionate to the capture chance

How it won't work: This is not possible since there is no numbers for fatigue. If there was, it would be sniffed out in the data mining or network packets transmission. When people suggest taking your time, it is a psychological effect to calm the trainer down, wait for a good timing to throw the ball. Not for the Pokemon to tire out.

"Use airplane mode to reset your connection"

Legitimacy: 0/10

Origin: Some say catch is determined upon encounter, reconnecting to the server would reset it

How it might work: Every log in or authentication resets the Pokemon, OR the calculation is done on the client side.

How it won't work: It has been proven that disconnecting and rejoining wouldn't change the CP (and thus IV) of the Pokemon. If it were true, why would reconnecting reset the catch when it doesn't re-roll the CP?
How would you know if you are preset to catch it and when to reconnect?
If the catch is determined before you even throw, does it also determine how many balls it takes?
Why even bother to throw when they can just give you yes or not from the get go? To give you a chance to reset your connection?
Calculations done on client side would be especially prone to tampering and I doubt any proper software company would do that.
This hypothesis doesn't make sense from a game design point of view.

"Premium raid pass gives you higher chance to catch"

Legitimacy: 3.5/10

Origin: It makes financial sense to do it. People seem to get their catches more from premium raid passes.

How it might work: Giving a higher chance to catch would motivate more people to buy premium passes.

How it won't work: Although they would earn more if people buy more premium raid passes, it doesn't make sense if they don't announce it. If they announced it, more people would buy.
From a game design perspective, having premium raid pass be better than the daily pass would make this game ever so much more Pay-to-Play which would be bad for any freemium game. There is a need to balance hardcore and casual gameplay. 
It is more likely that those who observed this has had more raids with premium passes than with daily pass. If you complete more raids with premium pass, it is natural that you have a higher chance to catch it while using premium pass.

Many of these "tips and tricks" arises from anecdotal experiences and confirmation bias. Humans try to find patterns in everything. 
Two events can happen independent of each other. Two events occurring simultaneously does not imply causation. If a trick works 25% of the time, does it really work? Or is it merely coincidence? 
Keep trying and you will eventually succeed. However, you do not know when you will succeed. If you happen to be trying out one of the tricks when you succeed, confirmation bias will inform you that the trick works. This would further perpetuate the myths.

Another thing that people like to say is "no harm trying". This might be true for certain tricks, but there are downsides to "trying". You are spreading false information and believing in falsehoods and further strengthening this claim.

So, next time someone tells you about a certain trick, employ some critical thinking, think about how it might work if it were true. Even better, ask for empirical proof and not just their anecdotal experience.

For proven tips on how to actually catch a legendary raid boss and catch mechanics, head over here!

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