Catching Pokémon in Sword and Shield is already hard enough without accidentally clicking the wrong move or critting a target and knocking it out before you can even throw a single Poké Ball.
There are several ways you can go about attempting to avoid taking out creatures when trying to weaken them, but the best one is hitting them with a move that won’t let it faint. That means you need to teach one of your Pokémon TM94, False Swipe.
False Swipe is a weak physical attack, but it always makes sure that the Pokémon that gets hit survives with one HP after the damage calculation is done. That makes it a key tool when you’re traveling the region to collect Pokémon you missed but you can’t even hit them because you’re so over-leveled for the area.
Game Freak prepared the game so that players can spend as much time as they want to catch and explore in the Wild Area before even facing the first gym. And if you head into Motostoke, you can buy False Swipe early on, which is great for filling out your team.
If you want to buy False Swipe, just head over to the Western Pokémon Center as if you were heading to Route 3. There, talk to the NPC on the right at the Poké Mart that sells TMs and purchase TM94 for 10,000 Pokédollars.
You can easily make up that price by exploring the Wild Area and picking up a few items or competing in early Max Raid Battles and selling off some of the rewards. It’s easily worth the exchange, knowing that you have an easy way to weaken anything you want to catch now without fear of knocking it out.
But you’ll need to be careful about weather effects when using False Swipe because they can still knock out your target. The move doesn’t keep your opponent at a perpetual one HP, only for your attack and no other outside conditions.