This is a guide that will walk you through how to catch your own living Pokédex the fastest way possible with the least amount of playthroughs needed, mind that for the region professor to authenticate the Pokédex as complete some Pokémon are not needed, but those that are available will be covered in the guide, a list of those not available will be provided just below the strategy section. As for generations after Generation III the Pokémon are expected to be transferred forward from the previous generation so they don’t need to be caught again, but first some games are necessary.
(Excluding spin-off games, namely Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD Gale of Darkness, if you have either or both jump down the guide and see what they cover, it covers a big chunk of the Pokédex and saves a lot of time.)
Pokémon Fire Red
Pokémon Leaf Green
Pokémon Black 2 or White 2
Pokémon Ultra Sun
Pokémon Ultra Moon
Pokémon Sword + DLC
Pokémon Shield + DLC (DLC is optional)
Pokémon GO (Not strictly required)
Now some quick points about the save files:
To get them all some save resets will be needed, mostly for the starter Pokémon you did not get at the start of your previous playthroughs.
Other playthroughs do not require finishing the game, meaning that some games only need to be played until a certain point.
Trades are required, so be prepared with two or more systems. In the case of emulators some offer trading and some do not, you will be on your own for this.
Some games will be used as “hubs” where most Pokémon will be stored for ease of use.
Optimal number of playthroughs per game version:
1 – Fire Red
2 – Leaf Green
1 – Ruby
1 – Sapphire
3 – Emerald
1 – Diamond
1 – Pearl
1 – Platinum
1 – Black
1 – White
1 – Black 2 or White 2
1 – X
2 – Y
1 – Ultra Sun
2 – Ultra Moon
1 – Sword
2 – Shield
Strategy for each game and some tips:
Catching every species you still do not own along the way saves up a lot of time later.
Having your bag full of PokéBalls (and other variants) at all times is recommended.
Tracking what you have and have yet to catch.
1. Start to finish including Sevii Islands post game. (Generation III “hub”)
1. Play up to the fifth Island in the Sevii Islands post game with a different starter from the Fire Red playthrough, far enough to catch Mismagius, then trade the starter and all other version exclusives to Fire Red.
2. Play up to beating the Elite Four, with the last starter in the Kanto region to be able to catch the third legendary dog (Raikou, Entei, Suicune) which is determined by the starter Pokémon and starts roaming after the Elite Four. Trade the starter Pokémon and legendary dog to Fire Red.
1. Play up to Route 114 (after the 4th gym), far enough to catch Zangoose, trade it to Emerald alongside the starter Pokémon.
1. Play up to Meteor Falls (after the 4th gym), far enough to catch Lunatone, different starter line from Ruby, trade them to Emerald.
1. Start to finish including the post game with the third starter line. Get one of the Johto starters with Professor Birch after completing the Hoenn Pokédex (trade the missing ones from Fire Red if needed), trade them all to Fire Red. Unfortunately two more playthroughs will be needed solely for the Johto starters because you can only get one per save file.
2. Play up to beating the Elite Four, then trade all the Pokémon needed from Fire Red to complete the Hoenn Pokédex to redeem your second Johto starter line.
3. This is a repeat of playthough two, perform the trades to obtain the third and last Johto starer line.
1. Play up to Route 206 (after 2nd gym), far enough to catch Stunky, trade it to Platinum alongside the starter Pokémon.
1. Play up to the 5th gym to unlock the ability to use the HM Surf left from Jubilife and reach Route 218 to catch a Gameow, use the second starter line, perform the void glitch for Darkrai and Shaymin, trade them to Platinum alongside the starter Pokémon
1. Start to finish including the post game with the third starter line. (Generation IV “hub”)
Black 2 / White 2
1. Play up to Driftveil City (after 4th gym) far enough to get a gift Zorua, trade it to Black alongside the starter Pokémon.
1. Play up to the capture of Zekrom and watch the credits with the second starter line, trade it to Black alongside the starter Pokémon and other version exclusives you caught along the way.
1. Start to finish including the post game with the third starter line. (Generation V “hub”)
1. Play up to the capture of Yveltal, trade it to X alongside the starter Pokémon, caught Spritzee, Skrelp and Amaura.
2. Quick save reset to obtain the second starter line, trade it to X.
1. Start to finish including the post game with the third starter line. (Generation VI “hub”)
1. Start to finish including the post game, version exclusives in this generation go up to the Ultra Beasts right at the end so there is no way to avoid it, trade all of them alongside the starter to Ultra Sun.
2. Quick save reset to obtain the second starter line, trade it to Ultra Sun.
1. Start to finish including the post game with the third starter line. (Generation VII “hub”)
1. Play up to capture of Zamazenta, trade it to Sword alongside the starter Pokémon, caught Appletun and Eiscue.
2. Quick save reset to obtain the second starter line, trade it to Sword.
1. Start to finish including the post game with the third starter line. (Generation VIII “hub”)
*(You can only get one Kubfu per save file, so if you want to have both Kubfu and Urshifu in your box you will need to play Isle of Armor twice, while buying both DLCs (Sword and Shield) would allow you to get two Kufbus and evolve one of them it is possible to get both with just Sword, you need two Switch profiles and beat Isle of Armor twice, one in each, After obtaining one it is just a matter of transferring with Pokémon HOME to the main profile. The same happens with Regileki and Regidrago on Crown, one per save file, and you can use the second account already used for the second Kubfu (that will later evolve into Urshifu) to get the one you missed on the first time completing it.)
Pokémon species that are not available anywhere to be obtained and do not count towards Pokédex completion:
1. Arceus – Planned for the Hall of Origin in Pokémon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum, but never saw an official release for those games, would have used the Azure Flute item. Later it was obtainable as a limited time encounter event in Pokémon Black and White.
2. Victini – Originally available for Pokémon Black and White through a limited time event with the Liberty Pass item.
3. Keldeo – Only ever distributed through various limited time events.
4. Meloetta – Only ever distributed through various limited time events.
5. Genesect – Only ever distributed through various limited time events.
6. Diancie – Only ever distributed through various limited time events.
7. Hoopa – Only ever distributed through various limited time events.
8. Volcanion – Only ever distributed through various limited time events.
9. Zeraora – Only ever distributed through various limited time events.
10. Zarude – Only ever distributed through various limited time events.
Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD Gale of Darkness coverage:
If you have Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD Gale of Darkness these Pokémon are now available to catch in an easier manner:
(Pokémon in parenthesis need to be either evolved or bred)
3. Remoraid (Octillery)
8. Ho-oh (uncatchable anywhere else)
9. Meditite (Medicham)
10. Bayleef (Chikorita and Meganium)
11. Croconaw (Totodile and Fereligatr)
12. Quilava (Cyndaquil and Typhlonsion)
XD Gale of Darkness:
1. Vulpix (Ninetales)
2. Weepinbell (Bellsprout and Victreebel)
4. Starmie (Staryu)
5. Magmar (Magby)
7. Lugia (uncactchable anywhere else)
(To get both Ho-oh and Lugia you need to catch every single other species available in the games, thus they can also be transferred to Fire Red and Emerald instead of needing to be caught there too to save a bit of time.)
This shortens the Leaf Green playthroughs by a lot, the second one meant for the starter line and it’s respective legendary dog are not needed anymore, on top of that the first Leaf Green playthrough is also shortened too. Now it is not needed to go to the Sevii Islands, but only up to Lavender Town and Route 12 where you are able to acquire the Super Rod, meaning you can go back to Route 22 and fish for Slowpokes at 5% chance.
It also basically cuts the need for Ruby and Sapphire, games that were only needed to get Zangoose, Lunatone and Roselia, all obtainable on XD Gale of Darkness. This means you can trade all Pokémon from Emerald to Fire Red and reset that game to obtain the missing Hoenn starters (having either Ruby or Sapphire in hand to start a quick new game is still faster)
Mythical Pokémon which are technically available but are very hard to obtain and require spin-off games to obtain:
(Might not be available in their earliest generation)
1. Mew – My Pokémon Ranch
Deposit 999 Pokémon in the Ranch (Requires a Wii with the game installed, the Wii online store is not available anymore)
2. Celebi – Pokémon Crystal Virtual Console
Beat the game and retrieve the GS ball, use it on the Ilex Forest Shrine (Game can be purchased in the 3DS eShop)
3. Jirachi – Pokémon Colosseum Bonus Disc / Pokémon Channel
Requires the Disc to redeem it (Not an easy disc to find online for purchase)
4. Manaphy – Pokémon Ranger
Finish the egg mission and transfer it to a Sinnoh based game to hatch (Egg can only be redeemed once per cartridge, so many cartridges are already used and will never give out any more eggs)
5. Phione – My Pokémon Ranch
Deposit 250 Pokémon in the Ranch (Requires a Wii with the game installed, the Wii online store is not available anymore)
6. Meltan – Pokémon GO
Just like any other species you need to catch it and transfer to HOME
7. Melmetal - Pokémon GO
Just like any other species you need to catch it and transfer to HOME
This spreadsheet will help you along the way. If you find any error on it do not hesitate to add a comment and shoot me a message on Discord (RodrigoTR#7420), comments here on the forum work too, but I am less likely to see it.