If you’ve been playing pokemon for as long as I have, you’re probably at a point where you’ve caught most, if not all of the pokemon available in the series. Except one.
There is one pokemon I can almost guarantee you’ve never caught unless like me, you spent 3 years trying to catch it, or you are literally the luckiest person alive. That pokemon is Munchlax. Now you may be thinking to yourself, “wait, Munchlax is super easy. It’s in the wild in the Gen 7 games, and you can breed Snorlax to get more!” Yeah, that’s not the Munchlax I’m talking about. Just like Feebas has gotten infinitely easier to catch over the years, so too has Munchlax. So what am I talking about?
Well in the generation it was introduced, there was a new mechanic for encountering pokemon. It has never appeared in any new game for… well the reason is obvious to me, and soon it will be to you as well.
There are 21 trees in the game that you can slather honey on to encounter a random pokemon from one of 3 lists. You have a 70% chance to get one of the first list, which is all fairly common pokemon, a 20% chance to get one of the rare ones, and a 10% chance to get nothing at all. So there’s… a 20% chance of getting a Munchlax? Donny, why are you freaking out about this so much?
Well I lied. Sort of. That IS the case for every tree except for 4 that have been randomly selected for each save file, so you’ll never have the same 4 (or 3 if you experience a really unfortunate glitch that has a 1/100 chance of happening, but don’t worry you’ll never know because…) You have literally no way of knowing which 4 (or 3) they are. THESE 4 trees have a chance of getting a Munchlax. The rates change to 70% chance of common, 20% chance of rare, 9% chance of NOTHING, and 1% chance of Munchlax. That’s still not so bad, right? I mean 1% sucks, but there’s been tons of 1% encounters over the games, right? There couldn’t possibly be anything else possibly making this any harder. Right?
Oh honey. We’re just getting started.
When you slather the tree with honey, you don’t encounter the pokemon right away. That would be too easy. No, you have to wait 6 hours before you’ll get to see what you may have gotten. 6 real life hours. And you can’t just change your DS clock, or else you get NOTHING. So you slather your trees, which may or may not even have a chance to get a munchlax in the first place, you close your DS and do something else for a while, or maybe you keep playing and distract yourself by advancing further in the game. You’re probably going to forget you put honey on the tree in the first place, so you don’t check back until the next day or later, when you find out the next terrible part. The pokemon you got, disappears after 24 hours.
So to recap. You need to be actively checking your trees, only 4 of which have a chance of getting munchlax, because if you wait too long, you’ll lose everything, and if you don’t wait long enough, you’re ALSO not going to get anything. You have no way of knowing which 4 trees will even have Munchlax, and even if you do slather the right tree, you only have a 1% chance of getting it to show up.
Now, there is an online tool that you can use that’ll help you find 2 of your trees, but only 2, because the way that the game randomizes the trees takes your trainer ID and secret ID into account. Trainer ID is easy to find, and the secret ID is literally impossible. So even if you wanted to figure out which trees to use so that you waste less money on honey, you’re only getting half of the selection.
And if all that wasn’t bad enough, there’s one more little problem. The game does this thing where after you encounter a pokemon, and it’s inevitably NOT a Munchlax, it asks you a simple question. “Do you want to slather the tree again?” The correct answer to this question is NO!!!!! You want to know why? If you say yes, you have a 90% chance of getting a pokemon from the same group that you just got. Since Munchlax appears in a group all by itself, and only 1% of the time, if you say yes to this question, you change your chances from 1/100 to essentially 1/1000. You need to instead find an encounter on any other Honey tree, and then come back and slather it with that at-least-one-honey-tree-encounter buffer.
So all that put together makes for a pokemon that is not only the hardest to find in the whole series, but also one that you have almost definitely never gotten. Me though? I spent… 3 years off-and-on, slathering trees, and yesterday it finally happened, and I took a video of it.
Not depicted in this video is my initial reaction to seeing it, which involved me literally yelling at the top of my lungs, and then proceeding to text a bunch of my friends.
So I guess now that I’ve caught the rarest pokemon in the games, and there’s no challenge left… I might as well try for a shiny.
(If you want to read a much better explained explanation of this mechanic and how you can try the insane task of trying to catch one for yourself, here’s the link I used to get most of my information.)