Since the second generation of Pokemon games, pokemon have been able to
reproduce to create new pokemon. Pokemon can learn new moves through breeding, and furthermore some pokemon are only obtainable with this method.
Breeding occurs at the Pokemon Daycare. If two compatible pokemon are left with the daycare lady, they will produce an egg. (The games are purposefully vague about how this happens.) Pokemon are compatible for breeding if:
A pokemon meeting the first criteria can also breed with Ditto. Genderless pokemon can only breed with Ditto.
Once you take the egg and walk around with it for a while, it will hatch into a level 1 pokemon (or level 5 in Generations 2-3). The pokemon that hatches will be the same species as the female, but at the bottom of the evolutionary chain. For example, breeding a female Blastoise with a compatible pokemon would generate a Squirtle egg. In the case of Ditto, the pokemon egg will always be the non-Ditto pokemon - so if you breed Ditto with a male Charizard, the egg would be a Charmander.
Breeding a Nidoran♀ (the female variant) with any compatible pokemon (say, a Golduck) can produce either Nidoran♀ or Nidoran♂ (the male variant), even though they are technically different evolutionary lines.
The same goes for male-female counterparts, Illumise (female) and Volbeat (male) - breeding Illumise will give you either an Illumise or Volbeat egg. Note that in both these cases breeding the male variant with Ditto will always give you the male variant, never the female.
Some pokemon also produce variable eggs, based on the item held by the parent. When a particular Incense is held, the offspring will be a baby pokemon, otherwise it will be the next stage up in the evolutionary line. For example, breeding a female Roserade will produce a Roselia egg, but if the Roserade is holding a Rose Incense, it will produce a Budew egg. See below for the baby pokemon and items.
The pokemon Manaphy and Phione are listed in the Water 1 and Fairy egg groups, however they cannot breed with others in that group, only with Ditto. For each of them the result is a Phione egg (but Phione does not evolve into Manaphy).
The main purpose of breeding is usually to obtain a pokemon that knows certain moves. If the male pokemon knows moves that the baby pokemon is capable of learning, it will know them when it hatches from the egg. This is a good way to
reuse TMs that you taught a pokemon and cannot re-obtain in another way like buying.
The baby will know any move that it learns at level 1. If both parents know a move that the child would learn by level up, the child will also know it upon hatching.
Furthermore, there are some moves pokemon can only learn by breeding - these are called egg moves, and are listed in our pokedex alongside the other moves. In most cases, a pokemon in the same egg group learns the move by level up and can pass it on by breeding, but sometimes you need to
chain breed from one pokemon to another to another.
If there are too many candidate moves that the baby can learn, they follow this precedent, with each new move overwriting previous ones:
From Generation III onward, pokemon offspring will also inherit some of the Invidiual Values from the parents. (IVs are hidden values that improve your final stats.)
The baby will inherit three stats from either parent. So if you were breeding a male Infernape and female Ninetales, the resulting Vulpix could inherit the HP and Defense IVs from Infernape and the Speed IV from Ninetails.
The IVs chosen are random and in the case of the same one being selected twice, the former would be overwritten with the latter. For example, if the game chose Ninetails' HP and Attack, then Infernape's Attack, then the baby would only inherit two IVs - the HP from Ninetails and Attack from Infernape.
In HeartGold/SoulSilver, a new mechanic was added to control this. If either parent is holding one of the EV-training 'power' items then the child will inherit the corresponding IV. The other two stats are then chosen at random as normal. The power items are:
So holding the Power Belt means the baby will inherit the pokemon's Defense IV. If both parents hold a power item then one of the two stats is chosen at random.
Some pokemon may only be obtained by breeding - these are known as
baby pokemon - although many of them can now be obtained in the wild. Several baby pokemon also require an item to be held by the parent.
Each pokemon is assigned to one or more egg groups, and only pokemon in the same egg groups may breed.
Here are some examples to make things clearer!
If we have a female Raichu and we want to get a new one, we can breed it to get Pichu. First we need to find a compatible pokemon. A Pikachu/Raichu of the opposite gender will always work, otherwise we need to look for other pokemon in the same egg group.
Charizard, like many other pokemon, can learn the move Dig via TM28. But if you already used the TM then you may be able to breed it onto a Charmander.
When we breed these two pokemon, the resulting Charmander will know Dig and Iron Tail, since it can learn both those moves by TM (even though Iron Tail was not actually taught by TM). Depending on what other moves the parents know these two moves may overwrite other basic moves like Growl or Scratch.
Skorupi/Drapion learn Night Slash through breeding. There is no TM for it, so we will need to breed with a compatible pokemon that knows the move. Drapion is in the Bug and Water 3 egg groups, so we look there for any pokemon that can learn Night Slash.
So now we just breed a male Scyther knowing the move, with a female Drapion to get a Skorupi that knows Night Slash!
In example 3 we taught Dig to a male Aggron. If we had taught it to a female Aggron there would normally be no way to pass the move down through breeding. Enter our good friend, Smeargle.
Smeargle is unique in that it only learns one move directly - Sketch - which permanently copies the previous move used in battle. With a male Smeargle we can copy Dig from our Aggron, then breed Smeargle with a female pokemon to pass the move down.
You can copy any move from any pokemon (e.g. wild pokemon), but for more reliable results, you will want to enter a double battle with Smeargle and your own pokemon with the move you want to copy. There are plenty of double battle trainers around the game, you can use the Vs. Seeker to call for a rematch. Then simply use Sketch on your companion and voila! You will have your move ready to breed onto any pokemon.
Smeargle is in the Ground egg group, so it can breed with a large number of pokemon. This also means all pokemon in the Ground group can learn egg moves without chain breeding (see below).
This can get quite complex, but we'll provide a straightforward example. Sometimes a pokemon can learn an egg move, but there are no compatible pokemon that get it easily. This is the case with Umbreon and Wish - Umbreon can learn Wish through breeding, but no compatible pokemon learn it by level up.
Umbreon is in the Ground egg group, so we look there. The other
Eevee-lutions can learn Wish via breeding (which doesn't help us much), but so too can the Pikachu/Raichu line. Since they straddle two egg groups we can now look in the Fairy group for compatible pokemon, where we find Togetic, learning Wish at level 28.
This means we can chain breed Wish from Togetic to Pikachu, then from Pikachu to Umbreon. Here is the process:
Whew! We finally got there! This can be a long process but if you want the perfect moveset, sometimes it's the only way. Note: we did neglect Smeargle in this example. If you have one then you could sketch Wish from Togetic and breed straight onto Umbreon; It cuts out the hassle of breeding and evolving Pichu but it's still the same number of pokemon.
The chart below shows how each of the egg groups are interconnected. It will give you an idea of how easy it will be for your pokemon to learn a move from another pokemon (e.g. a TM you taught and can't get again).
So, for example if you had a Blissey (Fairy egg group) with a move you wanted to breed onto a Gardevoir (Indeterminate egg group), you would find a pokemon that straddles both groups and chain-breed. In this case you would need to breed onto Castform, then onto Gardevoir, assuming all three pokemon can learn the move.
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