RNG Manipulation of Wild Pokémon
The land of Hoenn is teeming with wild Pokémon; for the purpose of RNG manipulation, a "wild Pokémon" is one that is found via any of the following ways:
It is important to define a "wild" Pokémon so that you know RNG manipulation for Magikarp is different from that of Kyogre. In part, this is due to the way that wild Pokémon’s IVs and PIDs are generated. The vast majority of wild Pokémon are generated via method 2; there are a few anomalies which are generated by method 4. A method 4 spread resembles a combination of two method 2 spreads, not unlike split spreads in breeding. When a method 4 spread occurs, the game chooses to generate the first half of the Pokémon's IVs in the same place as it would generate the first half of the IVs from the previous method 2 spread; this would be an unused RNG call for a regular method 2 spread. However, by generating IVs at this call, a method 4 Pokémon will share the first half of its IVs (and the last four hex digits of its PID) with the method 2 spread that preceded it. For more technical information, see X-Act's article on PID Creation. What you need to know for RNG manipulation is that the natures and IVs for method 2 Pokémon on any given frame are different from those that are generated by other methods. Additionally, if a Pokémon emerges with an unlisted "split" spread, it is likely a product of method 4 rearing its head.
All wild Pokémon, aside from Ditto, can be obtained through breeding; in most cases, good spreads occur through breeding before one of comparable quality can be found on a wild Pokémon. As such, the most practical reason to catch wild Pokémon is for breeding fodder; particularly, a collection of Dittos with an IV of 31 in each stat is one of a breeder’s oldest and most trusted. Other players may wish to catch a wild Pokémon in a certain Ball for aesthetic purposes, or try to capture an elusive shiny version of a Pokémon (see the section on shiny spreads in the Introduction).
Under the banner of wild Pokémon, there are three main subcategories: "Sweet Scent", Fishing, and Rock Smash. The former two are relatively easy to manipulate, whereas the latter is highly impractical. Regardless, they are all generated by method 2 (for the most part), so they should share the same spreads. Here is a list of useful method 2 spreads to help get you started:
For a complete list of frames up to and including 100,000 please download this .csv file.
A very useful Pokémon to have while resetting for wild Pokémon is a Synchronizer. As you may or may not be aware, if the Pokémon in the first slot of your party has the ability Synchronize, there is a 50% chance that you will encounter wild Pokémon with the same nature. What happens when Synchronize activates is that RNG cycles through frames until it finds a spread that has the same nature as the Synchronizer—regardless of what frame you actually landed on. This increases the margin of error while trying to hit a spread; if you use a Synchronizer with the same nature as the spread you want to hit, there is a 50% chance you will be able to obtain said spread, despite actually hitting an earlier frame.
Synchronize is not without its limitations, its usefulness notwithstanding. First of all, it is not as effective if the spread you want is preceded by another spread of the same nature; the closer the preceding spread is, the more precise you will have to be with your timing. It is also harder to make changes to your timing with a Synchronizer; if the Pokémon you catch has a Synchronized nature, it cannot be used to see what frame you hit. This is due to Synchronize advancing frames to find the right nature; the frame you actually hit could be 10, 20, or even 100 frames back. Synchronizing also cannot help you if you are too late to hit your spread; the RNG can only go forward, not back, so Synchronize can only latch onto the next spread, not the nearest.
That said, having the appropriate Synchronizer will, more often than not, greatly increase the margin of error while trying to hit a spread; even if the difference is small, two frames' breathing space is better than one. Also, your Sychronizer does not need any battling prowess; a Synchronizer will work even if it is incapacitated, so long as it is in the first slot. That means if you knock out your Synchronizer beforehand, and put your catcher in the second slot, the catcher will be the first onto the field, while Synchronize’s added effect is retained. Without further ado, here is a list of Pokémon that can have the trait Synchronize:
While it is doubtful that most Pokémon have pleasant scents, they are certainly attracted by them. The "Sweet Scent" category of Pokémon gets its name from the move that is used to force an encounter with them. When used on a tile that has wild Pokémon, the move Sweet Scent will put you in an encounter without fail. Sweet Scent works in the first four scenarios that define a wild Pokémon: found in tall grass, seaweed or deep sand, caves and structures, or on water. Using Sweet Scent to encounter these Pokémon is vital; you do not have to deal with the randomness of generating a wild encounter, as Sweet Scent will guarantee you can encounter a Pokémon at the right time. A list of Pokémon that learn Sweet Scent is as follows:
Once you have your Sweet Scenter, do some research to find out just where the Pokémon you want appears; try to pick the spot where it is most common, if possible. Then, prepare your party; make sure you leave an empty space so you can easily check the Pokémon you catch, and be sure a Pokémon knows any HM moves you will need to reach your destination. When you are ready, head to the location where you will find the Pokémon that you want. Save in a place where you can start an encounter, such as in a patch of tall grass. If you are going to be Sweet Scenting in a cave or structure, try to save after taking a couple steps inside; Sweet Scent seems to be somewhat fickle if you try to use it immediately after entering an indoor location.
Before trying to hit your frame, you will need to undergo a calibration process. This is because the RNG does not select a frame immediately after you use Sweet Scent; the frame is chosen the instant before the battle begins. In between the two is the Sweet Scent animation: the Sweet Scenter utters its cry, then the screen gains a pink filter until the transition to battle. You must adjust your timing to account for this animation. During the calibration process, be sure to temporarily move your Synchronizer out of your first slot, lest it activates, causing a jump in frames.
For calibration, pick a spread that occurs after a short period of time, in order to make the process as quick and as painless as possible. However, be sure to leave enough room to adjust your time; a spread that occurs after roughly 40 seconds should do nicely. You will also need a pen and paper, or some other place to record your results.
Once your spread is selected, get your (literal) game on, and ready your time-tracking apparatus; a stopwatch must be set to 0, and a timer to the appropriate time. Press down on three of the soft reset buttons (A+B+Start+Select), and initiate some finger acrobatics so that you may press the last button (A or B works best) and start the time device at the same time.
Upon resetting the game, pound the A button to skip through the game’s intro and boot up your file. Once you are in the game world, open up the menu and view your party. Select your Sweet Scenter, and a small menu will pop up, which lets you view the Pokémon's summary or use field moves; Sweet Scent should be here in a blue font, not unlike moves such as Fly or Flash. Let the cursor hover over Sweet Scent until your timer runs out or your stopwatch hits the desired time; this is the moment you press A, and simultaneously stop your stopwatch if applicable.
Capture the Pokémon you encounter, then determine its IVs; the number of Rare Candies required to get exact results varies depending on the Pokémon's level. The "IV man" is not terribly helpful for wild Pokémon; at his best, he can spot an IV of 31, but multiple Rare Candies outshine his vague statements. With your Pokémon's IVs calculated, take note of its nature, and find which frame it resides on. In order to successfully adjust your timing, you must calculate the difference between the frame you hit, and the one you were aiming for.
As an example, if frame 2,670 was hit, but your desired spread was on frame 2,400, subtract 2,670 from 2,400. The difference is -270 frames; recall that the RNG runs at roughly 60 frames per second, and divide this number by 60. The end result is -4.5; this means that you will want to press A 4.5 seconds earlier in order to hit your spread.
If you wish, you may repeat the calibration process using your new timing, in order to get as close to your spread as you possibly can. You can also skip right to the real deal and reset for your desired Pokémon. When you are ready to do so, record the total time to adjust; if you were 4.5 seconds late the first time, but 0.1 early the next, you would write down -4.4 seconds, not +0.1. On that note, it is okay to be a little early if you are using a Synchronizer; if it activates, the advancement of frames can make up the difference. Be sure to record the name of your Sweet Scenter next to the time. Once you are satisfied with your calibration results, you should not have to repeat this process as long as you use the same Pokémon to Sweet Scent. This is because of the individual Pokémon's cry during the Sweet Scent animation; no two Sweet Scenters have cries of the same length, so the animation has different timing for each Sweet Scenter.
Once your calibration is complete, move the Synchronizer back into the first slot of your party. From here, resetting for your desired Pokémon is virtually the same as the process described above, sans the references to calibration, and using your frame numbers. Just remember: do not try to adjust your timing based on a Pokémon with the same nature as your Synchronizer! With help from Synchronize, it should be fairly easy to obtain your spread. The only problem is getting the specific species of Pokémon you want; depending on how rare the Pokémon in question is, it can take many attempts.
That said, do not get discouraged if you get the right spread on the wrong Pokémon. All that means is you’ve done your part correctly, but other parts of the RNG didn’t co-operate. So long as you keep trying, you should be able to Sweet Scent your desired Pokémon.
When setting out to fish, the only additional piece of equipment you will need is the fisherman’s greatest asset: a nice, long rod (of the fishing variety). Depending on what Pokémon you wish to reel in, you will want to register a different Rod to the Select button before you begin; choose the Rod that has the highest (or only) chance to snag the Pokémon you want, and head to the route where it is most abundant. You will want to have your Synchronizer in the lead, and at least one empty slot; depending on the Pokémon, the HM Surf may be required to advance.
Feebas is a Pokémon that doesn’t like to follow the rules. It is only found in a specific location—six specific locations to be accurate. Feebas is found on Route 119, but only on six water tiles. These tiles are random, and they change every day, or with Dewford’s Trendy Phrase. Note that it is the act of changing the Trendy Phrase that moves Feebas, not the Trendy Phrase itself; no set of words has a higher chance of "easy" Feebas tiles than another, and two games with the same Trendy Phrase do not necessarily have the same Feebas tiles. The only way to find Feebas on any given day is to go over the water tiles with a fine-tooth comb—or a Super Rod. Beginning at the top of the river, dip the Super Rod into each tile at least twice until you find one where Feebas appears.
The good news for RNG manipulation is that Feebas is fairly common on the tiles where it is found. The bad news is that you must start your search anew each time the in-game clock ticks over to midnight. As such, it is best to reset for Feebas in a single day; try to find a day when you have enough time to both search for Feebas and to reset for it. Aside from its quirks, resetting for Feebas follows the same basic directions as the rest of the Pokémon plucked from the sea.
Once you’re all set to do some fishing, save your game in a spot where you can quickly dip your registered Rod in some water; in Feebas' case, that means in front of a tile where it resides. Make sure the game is on to begin with, and that your stopwatch or timer is ready to aid you on your quest; a timer should be set to the time when your spread is supposed to occur, and a stopwatch should be at 0. Press three of the four buttons that initiate a soft reset (A+B+Start+Select) and find a way to simultaneously hit the last button (A or B work best) and start your temporal tracker.
When the game is reset, rapidly tap the A button to skip past the opening cinematic and load your save. Once you are in the game, press Select to whip out your Rod, and be ready to tap the A button whenever the "Oh! A bite!" message appears. Don’t fret if there isn’t even a nibble; nonchalantly plunge your Rod back into the sea until a Pokémon bites the hook. Tap A whenever there is a bite, until the message "A POKéMON's on the hook!" appears; the next time you press A, the Pokémon’s spread will be selected. Wait until your timer runs out or your stopwatch hits the appropriate time to do so; if you are using a stopwatch, make sure you stop it at the same time you press A, in order to see what time you hit.
Catch the Pokémon you had on the line, then proceed to check its IVs; the number of Rare Candies required to get results has an inverse relationship with the Pokémon’s level. If you did not hit the spread you wanted, take note of the Pokémon's nature. If it matches your Synchronizer's, simply reset and repeat the above process. If it has any other nature, check to see what frame you hit, and calculate the difference between this frame and the one you wanted. Then, take this number and divide it by 60 to see approximately how many seconds earlier or later you should reset. Bear in mind that it is better to be a tad early than it is to be late; Synchronize jumps forward, so it can make up the difference.
Repeat the process as previously detailed until you manage to hit your spread. Do not fret if the right spread occurs on the wrong Pokémon; there are usually fewer Pokémon available with any given Rod than in the average patch of grass. That means that it should not take too many attempts before you are able to fish up the Pokémon you want!
Rock Smash is the black sheep in the RNG manipulation flock, though it rolled in the dirt to give its coat such a hue; it is far and away the least reliable. Unlike using Sweet Scent in a patch of grass, there is no way to ensure an encounter while using Rock Smash, and the latter seems to give encounters at a rate of approximately 10% of the time. Additionally, a Rock Smash encounter occurs after the smashing animation; there is no way to "lock in" to ensure an encounter early, meaning if you do not get an encounter when youtr010:43.36r spread occurs, you are out of luck. On top of it all, you are left to hope that your Synchronizer works, and that the right type of Pokémon appears. Essentially, you will be at the mercy of the RNG while attempting to manipulate it.
There are two main reasons to reset for Rock Smash Pokémon: Nosepass and Shuckle, both of which can only be obtained through Rock Smash or breeding. Nosepass is exclusive to the bottom floor of Granite Cave, where it has a 30% chance of appearing over Geodude. Shuckle can only be found in the northernmost area of Emerald's expanded Safari Zone, which becomes available upon defeating the Elite Four. Shuckle is the only Pokémon that can emerge from the rocks there; the catch is that its capture (or lack thereof) is dependant on Safari Zone mechanics.
When setting off to smash rocks, you will need your Synchronizer in the lead, and a Pokémon that knows Rock Smash; the obvious choices. For Shuckle, no other Pokémon are required, though you will need a Pokéblock case from Lilycove’s Contest Hall to be admitted to the Safari Zone. For Nosepass, be sure to bring along a Pokémon that knows the HM Flash to make traversing the Granite Cave much easier.
In the case of any Pokémon found outside the Safari Zone, you will want to save your game in front of a rock in an area where it can appear. Shuckle is a bit trickier; you must save a tile before the receptionist who asks you for your entry fee, as you cannot save during a Safari Game.
There is yet another impediment to streamlining the Rock Smash experience: calibration. In a similar vein to Sweet Scent, there is an animation featuring the Rock Smasher, the smashing of a rock, and a transition to battle in the time between using Rock Smash and a spread being selected. You will need to do a calibration run with your Rock Smasher to find out how to adjust your timing to account for the animation. During calibration, be sure to move your Synchronizer out of the first slot of your party, so it does not have any chance of choosing a frame higher than the one you hit.
To begin calibration, you will want to select a spread that occurs at around 40 seconds; this is enough time to make adjustments as necessary, but short enough so as to be a reasonable wait. It is not recommended to calibrate using Shuckle; you will need to select a later spread in order to account for your journey through the Safari Zone. It is also wise to have some way to record your results, be it a pen and paper or a text file on your computer.
When you are ready to Rock Smash, ensure that your game is on, and your stopwatch or timer is set up; at 0 or your spread's time respectively. Press down three of the face buttons that soft reset the game (A+B+Start+Select), and position your fingers so that you can press the last button (A or B) and start your stopwatch or timer without delay. After the game resets, mash the A button to skip the opening and load your file. If you are resetting for Shuckle, walk forward and pay the Safari Zone entrance fee as quickly as possible, then hurry over to the area where the Shuckle-yielding rocks are found.
There are two ways to proceed from here; deciding which one to take is a matter of personal preference. The first is closest to the way you have likely been smashing rocks during your Hoenn adventure. Press A in front of the rock, and select "YES" to confirm that you would indeed like to smash it. Then wait at the dialogue box that reads "[Pokémon] used ROCK SMASH!" The other way is closer to using Sweet Scent. Open up the menu and view your party, then scroll down to the Pokémon that knows Rock Smash. Press A, and let the cursor hover over "ROCK SMASH", displayed in blue text. Whichever way you choose, wait until your timer runs out or your stopwatch reaches the spread’s time, and press A, stopping your stopwatch if you are using one.
If no Pokémon appeared, repeat the process described above until you manage to get attacked. Catch the Pokémon that will eventually appear, and check its IVs using Rare Candies. Once you have discovered your Pokémon's IVs, find what frame it was on, and calculate the difference between that frame and the one you were aiming for. Divide this number by 60 to find how many seconds to change your timing by. Keep in mind that when using a Synchronizer, it is usually safe to be a tad bit early.
If you want accuracy, you can repeat the calibration process using whatever time you found, until you get as close to your frame as you can. If feel you are close enough, find the final time you need to adjust by, using all your attempts (so -5.2 and +0.3 would become -4.9 seconds). Record this time along with the name of your Rock Smasher for future reference. Like Sweet Scent, Rock Smashers have cries of different lengths (bar odd exceptions such as Charizard and Rhyhorn), so this calibration will, in most cases, only work with the Pokémon you tested with. Use this Pokémon for further Rock Smash endeavours, and you will not have to undergo calibration again.
After completing calibration, your Synchronizer should assume its position as your lead Pokémon. To soft reset, simply follow the directions listed above; only remove references to calibration. Remember: do not alter your timing if you get a Pokémon with the same nature as your Synchronizer. Soft Resetting for the perfect Rock Smash Pokémon is an uphill battle, and a test of any trainer’s patience and determination. The odds are admittedly not in your favour, but it is possible to catch your desired Rock Smash Pokémon nonetheless.