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After I've reduced it's HP to 1, and put it to sleep, the next time I encounter it, will using the quick ball at this point count as the first turn, or does the first ever encounter count as the first turn?

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Yes, it does help. Quick Balls have an increased capture rate on the first turn of an encounter. I doesn't matter if that encounter is programmed to run away.

*Note that this does not work for the Legendary Birds in XY because they flee before you can take any action.

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thanks, and they did work, only took about 3 I think, and it was Tornadus/Thundurus on Black and White games. Just wanted to be sure I wasn't wasting QB's and time