How Do You Lock Onto Pokemon in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet?

Warm up your throwing arm!

by Elliott Gatica

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet have borrowed many elements from Legends Arceus’ gameplay which is the ability to lock onto Pokemon in the open world. It had its uses there and while some things are the same, this is why it’s important to use it. See below for how to perform it and its importance.

How to Lock Onto Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet

To lock onto a Pokemon, hold the ZL button on your controller. Aim with your right stick in the direction of the Pokemon you want to focus on. Once you have that down, press ZR so you can then throw your Pokeball at what you focused on.

Throwing your Pokeball at a wild Pokemon will trigger a battle. What you will quickly notice is that the catching mechanic is gone. There is no way to lure a Pokemon and catch them without initiating a battle. However, you shouldn’t write this off as being useless just yet.

What’s the Point of Locking on?

Locking on has its uses for a few reasons. The first is that when you lock onto a Pokemon before initiating a battle, you can see its level. Level is important, at least in the early game. You wouldn’t want to go against something that’s 10 levels higher than you; that’s just a disaster waiting to happen.

The next important reason for locking on is to reach a certain Pokemon or even single them out while dealing with many around you. Most Pokemon tend to scramble when you initiate a battle when swarmed. If there’s a shiny amidst that cluster, it would be a real shame if it ran away because you started a battle with another nearby Pokemon.

Another reason is that it’s good for leveling outside of battle. You want to aim your Pokemon at certain others it’s strong against so it won’t lose its HP when auto-battling for you. Without locking on, you’ll throw your Pokeball in a general direction rather than a precise one.

Finally, with locking on, you can determine if a Pokemon is actually what it appears to be or if it’s a possible Ditto. This is especially useful when you want to start breeding to get eggs and do all this IV training.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are available now exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.

- This article was updated on November 18th, 2022

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