How to Catch a Legendary Raid Boss - Numbers and Mechanics


The basics of increasing your probability (or increase your "luck") of catching a raid boss during a raid bonus challenge is simple.

Here are the steps to take:

Increase the number of balls you have.

More balls means higher chance.
Eg. the chances of getting a head on a single coin flip is 50% whilst the overall chances of getting a head on 2 consecutive coin flips is 75%.

Beating the boss gives you a base of 5/6 balls.

Gym control grants 2 balls.
Raid at a gym that your team controls.

Individual damage grants 0-3 balls.
The crux is to increase your damage bonus balls.
Use the suitable counters to get as much damage output as possible.
Having a smaller raid size will help you get past the damage thresholds for each bonus ball cutoff.

Team damage grants 0-3 balls.
Team damage can be maximised by raiding with your own teammates in addition to increasing your damage output. More teammates equals more damage from the team.

Maximum possible number of balls is 14 if you achieve all the above.

The more balls you have, the higher overall chance you have to catch it.

Cumulative catch rates for different strategies here:

For Mewtwo capture chance, it's here:

Make every ball count.

A missed or knocked away ball reduces your chances and is as good as receiving fewer balls.
  1. If you have trouble hitting the target because it is moving around or attacking too much, try a nanab to make it stop so that you can get a good throw in. Getting off to a good start would definitely help calm nerves.
  2. Be patient and wait for it to be at a comfortable position before throwing.
  3. There is a small window between consecutive attacks. If possible, aim to throw the ball during its attack animation so that the ball lands within that window.
  4. If your phone is lagging, close all background apps before attempting to catch. You will be able to rejoin the bonus challenge if there is still time on the raid. (Or change to a more powerful phone.)

Increase the effectiveness of each throw.

By increasing the catch probability of each throw, you increase your overall catch chance for that raid.

That's all! Good luck in your travels!

Catch mechanics

Research done by the good people of the Pokemon GO community, GamePress and the SilphRoad have concluded with numbers and probabilities regarding catch mechanics. More information and methodology regarding the Grand Unified Catch Theory can be found in the links below.

For a summarised version of what affects catch chance, visit this page: