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How to get a Master Ball in Pokémon Go, and when to use it

The legendary ball with a 100% catch rate has arrived

Master Ball sitting in a lab Image: Niantic

After years of waiting, you can finally get a Master Ball in Pokémon Go.

The Master Ball is perhaps the most iconic Pokémon-catching device of all time. First appearing way back in Pokémon Red and Blue of the main series, the Master Ball has a very special trait — a 100% catch rate on any Pokémon you use it on.

Long-time players of Pokémon Go will be very familiar with that sinking feeling of finishing a raid and failing to catch the subsequent encounter, and with the Master Ball, this is one way to ensure the Pokémon will definitely be yours.

However, know that Master Balls are very rare, and should be used sparingly. With that in mind — how do you get a Master Ball, and when should you use one?

How to get a Master Ball in Pokémon Go

On its debut in May 2023, the only way to get a Master Ball in Pokémon Go is by progressing through the Let’s Go Special Research as part of Season 10: Rising Heroes.

Once you have completed the fifth step, you’ll receive the Master Ball as a reward. Note this research can only be started for a limited time — you must log into the game and begin before the season ends at 10 a.m. local time on June 1, 2023 — but once you begin the Let’s Go research, it’ll be accessible until you complete it.

If you don’t mind spoilers, here’s how the Master Ball is introduced as part of the Let’s Go research:

Can you get another Master Ball in Pokémon Go?

If you miss the window to start the Let’s Go research, or want another Master Ball, Niantic has confirmed there will be “future opportunities in Pokémon Go to acquire more.”

How exactly this will work is unknown, but if we were to speculate, we would guess it would be another seasonal special research reward in the same way it debuted in Season 10: Rising Heroes, or one would appear as part of annual events such as Go Fest.

Either way, expect a wait before you can claim another. As for the one you have — what is it best used for?

When should I use my Master Ball in Pokémon Go?

Master Balls are very rare, and with a 100% catch rate, should ideally only be used in very specific circumstances.

What you decide to use it on is entirely up to you — however, we have some recommendations:

  • Galarian Articuno, Zapdos, or Moltres found when using Daily Adventure Incense, which currently have a 0.3% catch rate and a 90% flee rate, and are arguably the most difficult Pokémon to catch in the game.
  • A high IV legendary encounter following a raid that you want to level up, such as Mewtwo. We recommend using your regular set of Premier Balls first, then using a Master Ball as a last resort.
  • Incredibly rare wild encounters such as the ‘Lake Trio’ Uxie, Mesprit or Azelf, or Unown — the exceptions for Unown being a letter/form you already have, or if it spawns during an event, when they are far more common.
  • A shiny Pokémon in the wild. Some exceptions to this include the encounter following a raid (when the catch is guaranteed with your first Premier Ball, provided you land it), and during events such as Community Day, when shinies are far more common.

Ultimately, it’s your call what you decide to use a Master Ball on. If you decide to use it on a Pidgey, go ahead — we’ve all been there — but we recommend saving it for an encounter with a Pokémon you would not want to live without.

Can you miss with a Master Ball in Pokémon Go?

Finally, one question that might come to mind is — can you miss with a Master Ball? As mentioned above, though a shiny encounter is a guaranteed catch with a raid, that’s only if you manage to land your Premier Ball.

The good news is when you use a Master Ball, a special animation will play as soon as you release the ball. This not only means you will definitely catch it, but brings a little more fanfare to the occasion of putting the Master Ball to use.

You can watch this in action via PokeMiners on Twitter:

Additionally, as shown in the above video, you will get a prompt before you use the Master Ball — meaning it will be difficult to throw one by accident.

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