PokéBase - Pokémon Q&A
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I've seen a lot of things online saying that Timer Balls have a 4x catch rate after 10 turns, and that they're useful for longer wild encounters, but what exactly is a turn? Is it when you use a move and then it cycles back around to your move, or is it every time any Pokémon does something in the battle? I ask primarily in reference to the horde encounters in Generation VI games, but also just normal encounters in Gen IV and V games. If it's every time any Pokémon does anything, then theoretically after using two to three moves yourself in a horde battle, the catch rate of Timer Balls would be max. However, if a turn passes every time your Pokémon uses a move, then I would think that it would take ten moves for Timer Balls to be max effectiveness, and thus really impractical for catching normal Pokémon that don't take a ton of time to get down to a decently low amount of health.

In summary, I want to be able to use Timer Balls as soon as they're at max effectiveness as a one-ball-to-catch-all so I don't have to spend extra money on a large variety of Pokéballs so I can have a very effective Pokéball every encounter. If I somehow missed something that explains or shows exactly how Timer Balls work---and more importantly, what a turn is in detail---a reference/link to that would be absolutely fantastic and deeply appreciated. Thank you!

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I’m pretty sure that turns are every time both Pokémon (or more) use their moves and you can attack again

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A turn is everytime that you get the option to do an action, whether it be, using a move, an item, or switching your Pokemon. Sometimes, turns go by without you using an action, usually if you are under the effects of moves like Outrage, Petal Dance, or have to recharge after using a move like Hyper Beam, Giga Impact, Blast Burn, Frenzy Plant, Hydro Cannon, or Roar of Time.

So in a horde battle, unless you use a move like Outrage or Hyper Beam, every time that you get the option to use a move, 1 turn has gone by.

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That makes sense, thank you! That helps a lot.