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Pokemon Go: how to get an Excellent Throw and Curveball Throw every time

Be the very best, like no one ever was

Make every Pokeball count in Pokemon Go by mastering the art of throwing Curveballs and getting the Excellent Throw, Great Throw and Nice Throw bonuses.

Perfecting the technique of special throws is a fantastic way to make catching Pokemon easier, and while you don't hear it said all that much these days, the official slogan of Pokemon is still 'Gotta Catch 'Em All'. They can take it out of the anime theme tune all they like - but as far as we're concerned the goal is still to become a master by catching 'em all - and in Pokemon Go, the best way to do this is with Curveball Pokeball Throws and Excellent Throws.

If you can't manage an Excellent Throw every time (it's hard!), y'know, Nice throws or Great Throws will do. On this page, we're going to explain those mechanics and how they help you to catch those more stubborn wild Pokemon.

Nice, Great and Excellent Throws in Pokemon Go: how they work

Once you see a Pokemon you want out in the wild in Pokemon Go, you'll need to tap it to enter an encounter. Unlike the 'traditional' Pokemon games where an encounter takes the form of a Pokemon Battle, in Pokemon Go it's more a battle of endurance and skill - you'll need to use berries and Pokeballs skillfully in order to capture the Pokemon without fighting.

The first thing you'll notice in the Pokemon Catching interface is how the Pokemon you're facing has a rapidly-closing circle around them. This circle depicts the 'ideal' time to toss a Pokeball - and in order to get a bonus, you'll want to land the thrown Pokeball inside the circle when it's closing in to its smallest stages.

If you land inside the colored circle with your Pokeball throw you'll have a greater chance of catching the Pokemon - and this also determines the bonus you get. Specifically, a 'Nice' throw is one that lands inside the circle at its largest. 'Great' throws will be those that land correctly when the circle is at around half-size. Finally, an Excellent throw is when the circle is very small, close to the middle of the interface.

In addition to this the different throw types carry experience (XP) bonuses to help raise your trainer level - a Nice Throw that catches a Pokemon earns 10 bonus XP. A successful Great Throw will earn you 50 XP if it catches. An excellent throw that catches a Pokemon nets a sound 100 bonus XP.

Remember that higher-level Pokemon with higher CP (plus late evolutions and the kinds of Pokemon that crop up on the Pokemon Go Best Pokemon Tier List will be harder to catch. Also remember that some Pokemon need to be evolved and others hatched from Pokemon Eggs, including some Alola Form Pokemon. You won't be catching every one just through wild encounters - but they're still important. Simple, right? Well - let's make it more complicated. Let's, er... throw a curveball. Literally.

Curveballs in Pokemon Go: how to do them, and how to throw an Excellent Curveball

A curveball is pretty much exactly what you'd imagine in Pokemon Go: it involves putting spin on a Pokeball as you throw it in order to make for something of a trick-shot. A curveball actually also carries a 10 XP bonus when it successfully lands and catches a Pokemon - and when combined with landing Nice, Great and Excellent Throws it'll raise your chances further still of catching more difficult critters. A successfully landed curveball gives you a 1.7x bonus to your potential catch percentage - because of course, under the hood, Pokemon Go is all about the numbers.

In order to toss a curveball in Pokemon Go, hold the ball still in front of you with your finger on it and spin it in place, rotating around while maintaining contact with your device screen. When you then throw, the ball will curve based on the spin you put on it - it'll curve left for clockwise spin and right for anti-clockwise spin. Throw in the opposite direction of the spin in order to send the ball to the middle of the screen.

Curveballs are actually even how you unlock a specific Pokemon - through a field mission, curveball throws are how to catch Spinda in Pokemon Go.

Broadly speaking, this method is easy to figure out after a few failed attempts. One general piece of advice we'd give around throwing Pokeballs and curveballs in particular is that you're probably better off shooting for a 'Great throw' bonus rather than an 'Excellent throw' bonus. Greats are easier to land, and when combined with a curveball do quite a bit to make your chance of catching a Pokemon better.

Combine the above tips and techniques for curveballs with the above notes on making Nice, Great or Excellent Throws. If you're successful, you can greatly increase your chances of catching a Pokemon you're after out in the wild - even if they're stubborn and you're clean out of berries. If you're really skilled, you can even make that throw of a Pokemon Master - the Excellent Curveball Throw - practically every time. Trust us.

Other tips on catching Pokemon and Pokeball Throwing

While we're here, we've got a few other sage tips as you embark on a journey to catch 'em all...

  • Turn off the real-world camera Augmented Reality/AR mode. It'll stop your phone battery from getting annihilated, but it'll also mean wild Pokemon encounters take place in a more static, predictable environment. That's better for more accurately throwing Pokeballs to get those Excellent Throw, Great Throw and Nice throw bonuses.
  • If a Pokemon is being stubborn, remember your options: you can upgrade to a higher-level Pokeball like a Great Ball or Ultra Ball, or you can use a Berry to placate the Pokemon. Razz Berries are the best - they make a Pokemon less likely to escape once you successfully land a Pokeball on them.
  • If a Pokemon won't stop moving around, use a Nanab Berry - that makes them use those little attacking animations that interrupt the catch process nearly as often.

If you need a free boost, take a look at our updated list of Pokemon Go codes, which sometimes offer berries and special clothing items.

You can now also change the form of some types of special Pokemon, thanks to the introduction of Furfrou in Pokemon Go Fashion Week.

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