Pokémon shaking spots & wild encounters

Pokémon Black & Pokémon White introduced a few new ideas to capturing Pokémon in the wild, including Rare Spots, wild double battles and critical captures.

Shaking Spots

Shaking spots, also known as rare spots, are places in which rare Pokémon can appear. During the game you will occasionally see a patch of grass shaking wildly. In caves there is a dust cloud and on water a bubbling spot.

When you see the shaking spot it means a Pokémon is hiding there (or in some cases, an item). If you walk onto the square you will go into battle with the Pokémon there. Most of the Pokémon found in shaking spots are not found in regular encounters. For example early in Black/White you are given one of the elemental monkeys as a gift to help beat the first gym. However, you can find all three in rare spots in Pinwheel Forest.

On each step you take, there is a tiny chance that a shaking spot will appear. You don't need to be walking in the grass at the time, it can be next to it. In practical terms it can take anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes for a new spot to appear.

The rustling spot will always be somewhere on-screen (up to 5 squares away), although sometimes the patch may be obscured by a tree or something else. They are very easy to see in caves and on water, but less so in grass. Keep an ear out and you will hear a regular rustling sound. If you are running back and forth the spot may now be off-screen.

Since the rare spots can be anywhere on screen, they also can be in squares you are unable to access, such as bubbling spots on water before you have obtained Surf. And finally, if you go into a wild Pokémon or trainer battle before you get to the shaking spot, it will be gone when you leave the battle.

Shaking grass

Shaking grass isn't always noticeable.
Long grass shakes too.

Dust clouds

A dust cloud in Chargestone Cave. Rare
spots are not always accessible!

Bubbling water

Bubbling water also hides Pokémon. You
can Surf onto it or use the fishing rod.

Bridge shadows

Shadows on Driftveil Drawbridge
can yield items or Pokémon.

Wild double battles

Another new mechanic introduced in Pokémon Black & White is double battles in the wild. In some routes you will see patches of grass darker than normal. When walking in these patches there is a chance that two Pokémon could appear at once.

Double Grass is darker than regular grass.

The battle works just like double battles in previous games - each of the two Pokémon on the player's team can select a move to target at one of the Pokémon on the opposing team.

It is not possible to capture both Pokémon however. One must be defeated to allow throwing of a PokéBall.

Quick tip: there seems to be a bug or design flaw in double battles. If both your Pokémon faint in one turn, it seems like you can't switch in two new Pokémon. You need to choose the first one to switch, then tap on one of the Pokémon that fainted, then choose the second one to switch. Don't know why it's like that.

Critical capture

One final new battle mechanic introduced in Black & White is the critical capture. When a PokéBall is thrown, it has small chance to become critical, which significantly increases the capture rate, about 20 times the original. The PokéBall will flash and slow down in the air before landing. Then it will shake once before confirming the capture. It doesn't guarantee capture in all cases but it rarely fails.

Pokémon & items in Shaking Spots

Here are the Unova Pokémon found in shaking spots. We've only listed pre-National Dex Pokémon here (i.e. just the new ones from Black & White), the rest can be found in the location guide.

Shaking grass

Pokémon Games Locations
Audino B W Routes 1-3, 5-7, 9-16, 18, P2 Laboratory, Dreamyard, Pinwheel Forest, Cold Storage, Dragonspiral Tower, Giant Chasm, Abundant Shrine, Lostlorn Forest
Pansage B W Pinwheel Forest, Lostlorn Forest
Pansear B W Pinwheel Forest, Lostlorn Forest
Panpour B W Pinwheel Forest, Lostlorn Forest
Throh B W Route 10, 15, 18, Pinwheel Forest
Sawk B W Route 10, 15, 18, Pinwheel Forest
Leavanny B W Route 6, Lostlorn Forest
Whimsicott B W Pinwheel Forest, Abundant Shrine, Lostlorn Forest
Lilligant B W Pinwheel Forest, Abundant Shrine, Lostlorn Forest
Stoutland B W Route 10, Cold Storage
Musharna B W Dreamyard
Unfezant B W Route 6, 7, 12, Dragonspiral Tower, Lostlorn Forest
Cinccino B W Route 5, 9, 16, Cold Storage
Gothitelle B W Route 9
Reuniclus B W Route 9
Emolga B W Route 5-7, 9-12, 15-16, Dragonspiral Tower, Giant Chasm, Village Bridge, Abundant Shrine, Lostlorn Forest

Dust clouds

Pokémon Games Locations
Drilbur B W Wellspring Cave, Chargestone Cave, Mistralton Cave, Twist Mountain
Excadrill B W Challenger's Cave, Victory Road, Giant Chasm

Possible items in Dust Clouds in caves:

  • Any of the Gem items (Fire, Water, Electric, Grass, Ice, Fighting, Poison, Ground, Flying, Psychic, Bug, Rock, Ghost, Dragon, Dark, Steel, Normal)
  • Any of the evolution stones (Fire, Water, Thunder, Leaf, Moon, Sun, Shiny, Dusk, Dawn)

Bubbling water

Pokémon Games Locations
Seismitoad B W Route 8, Icirrus City, Moor of Icirrus
Basculin B W Route 1, 3, 6, 11, 14, Dragonspiral Tower, Abundant Shrine, Giant Chasm, Lostlorn Forest, Wellspring Cave, Striaton City, Challenger's Cave, Victory Road, Village Bridge, Pinwheel Forest
Jellicent B W Route 4, 17-18, Driftveil City, P2 Laboratory
Alomomola B W Route 4, 17-18, Driftveil City, P2 Laboratory
Stunfisk B W Route 8, Icirrus City, Moor of Icirrus


Pokémon Games Locations
Ducklett B W Driftveil Drawbridge
Swanna B W Marvelous Bridge

Possible items in Shadows on bridges:

  • Any of the EV Wings (Health, Muscle, Resist, Genius, Clever, Swift)
  • Pretty Wing