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 grass in Pinwheel Forest 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 long grass in Route 7
Shaking grass isn't always noticeable.
Long grass shakes too.

Bubbling water

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

Dust clouds

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

Bridge shadows

Shadow on Driftveil Drawbridge
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.

Dark Grass
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.

Dark Grass
Double Grass is darker than regular grass.

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
AudinoAudino 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
PansagePansage B W Pinwheel Forest, Lostlorn Forest
PansearPansear B W Pinwheel Forest, Lostlorn Forest
PanpourPanpour B W Pinwheel Forest, Lostlorn Forest
ThrohThroh B W Route 10, 15, 18, Pinwheel Forest
SawkSawk B W Route 10, 15, 18, Pinwheel Forest
LeavannyLeavanny B W Route 6, Lostlorn Forest
WhimsicottWhimsicott B W Pinwheel Forest, Abundant Shrine, Lostlorn Forest
LilligantLilligant B W Pinwheel Forest, Abundant Shrine, Lostlorn Forest
StoutlandStoutland B W Route 10, Cold Storage
MusharnaMusharna B W Dreamyard
UnfezantUnfezant B W Route 6, 7, 12, Dragonspiral Tower, Lostlorn Forest
CinccinoCinccino B W Route 5, 9, 16, Cold Storage
GothitelleGothitelle B W Route 9
ReuniclusReuniclus B W Route 9
EmolgaEmolga B W Route 5-7, 9-12, 15-16, Dragonspiral Tower, Giant Chasm, Village Bridge, Abundant Shrine, Lostlorn Forest

Dust clouds

Pokémon Games Locations
DrilburDrilbur B W Wellspring Cave, Chargestone Cave, Mistralton Cave, Twist Mountain
ExcadrillExcadrill 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
SeismitoadSeismitoad B W Route 8, Icirrus City, Moor of Icirrus
BasculinBasculin 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
JellicentJellicent B W Route 4, 17-18, Driftveil City, P2 Laboratory
AlomomolaAlomomola B W Route 4, 17-18, Driftveil City, P2 Laboratory
StunfiskStunfisk B W Route 8, Icirrus City, Moor of Icirrus


Pokémon Games Locations
DucklettDucklett B W Driftveil Drawbridge
SwannaSwanna B W Marvelous Bridge

Possible items in Shadows on bridges:

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