How do egg moves work in the Pokemon games? Answered

Under normal circumstances, a Pokemon’s potential move-set is exclusively limited to moves they can learn through leveling up, as well as whatever TM moves they are able to learn. The Pokemon series employs this mechanic to prevent a Pokemon from gaining overly powerful moves that an opposing trainer wouldn’t expect, such as having a high-powered grass move like Giga Drain on a Charizard to counter its water weakness. By exploiting a hidden mechanic known as Egg Moves, however, you can customize your Pokemon’s moves to better suit your battling needs.

How Egg Moves work in Pokemon

Screenshot by Gamepur

Egg Moves are a type of move given to a newborn Pokemon after hatching from an egg. An Egg Move is unique in that, rather than selecting a move available to that species of Pokemon, a move unique to the egg’s parents is given to the child instead. This allows a certain Pokemon to be bred between species, allowing for an expanded potential move-set that — in theory — includes every move that each of the parents can learn.

Originally, only the father could pass an Egg Move to the child, though since Pokemon X and Y, this has been changed to provide a move from both parents. In modern games — excluding the most recent installment, Pokemon Legends Arceus — this means that a child Pokemon has a chance to roll two of their parents’ eight moves to start with from level one, with a 1/16 chance to be born with any combination of two moves. The potential for unique Egg Moves also includes any move that either parent can learn through a TM or HM, provided that they actively know the move.

Related: How to breed all Pokemon in Sword and Shield

For almost all combinations of potential parents, the broader range of possible Egg Moves available to a child is limited to the Egg Group (or groups) of its parents. Due to the way interbreeding works in Pokemon games, only Pokemon of the same Egg Group — most easily identifiable by body shape or type — can bear eggs. Exceptions to these limitations are Pokemon with two Egg Groups, such as Gardevoir, who can hatch with an Egg Move from the Amorphous Egg Group and pass it on to a child in the Human-Like Egg Group.

Smeargle, however, breaks virtually every limitation placed upon Egg Move generation. Smeargle’s only move is Sketch, which when bred as an Egg Move, randomly rolls one of hundreds of possible Pokemon moves to pass onto the child. Given random number generation and enough eggs hatched when breeding within its own Field Egg Group, a Smeargle father could potentially give a Bidoof child anything from Flamethrower to Hyper Beam.

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