PokéBase - Pokémon Q&A
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Some compatibilities are reasonable, like Houndoom learning Dark Pulse, which is a good STAB that it can't get otherwise. Others seem completely random, like how Cryognal can learn Attract but it will always fail when used.

they obviously just go through the movelist and know which ones should get which ones based on the pokemon's type and origin
^ that probably holds true for level up and egg moves, but I think they choose TMs and tutor moves through elimination though. They simply think of moves they shouldn't have (buuut they may screw up and give us Magnet Rise Volcarona and Attract Cryogonal)
what about Pokemon with small hooves that can learn punching moves? lol
like which ones?

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Best answer

First off:
It's just GameFreak Logic. And some GameFreak Logic is weird, trust me.

They either:

  • Go through a movelist and equip it to the Pokemon based on type and origin (though I don't understand how you can Surf on most Normal Types...)

  • Or use their own Logic, in which makes some good (and bad) results,

Source: Movesets and the comments above, because WHYNAUT my brain is failing on me.

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Surf for stoutland because dogs can swim
Snorlax: I guess it could float?
Furfrou: Dogs can swim
That's all the logic I got m8
Rhydon 'cuz screw Water weakness.
Rhydon used surf!
Rhydon fainted!
if any normal type should surf, it's farfetch'd. it's a f***ing duck.
so you're saying that the decisions are pretty much random?
I think they just pick good STABs, coverage moves, moves based on stats (special moves for special attackers, for example), moves based on their design and then throw in some filler moves which they mess up on sometimes
this explains a lot. time to teach double team to my no guard golurk!