For those seeking to dive into the competitive battling scene, or those who wish to conquer the Battle Tree and Battle Royal, breeding is an absolute must-have tool to add to your toolbox. It takes some time and practice and might seem intimidating, but really it boils down to simple steps being strung together.
Any Pokémon that can be bred should be bred if you are seeking absolute perfection. This section will arm you with everything you need to know about breeding from start to finish and will also provide an example breeding project that will walk you through the steps. Feel free to follow too!
Before you dive in, you will want to have some prior knowledge, so make sure you know about IVs, natures, and EVs, which were discussed in the previous section, Pokémon 101 .
Breeding is all about controlling nature and IV spreads, and even moves, to improve your chances of getting a perfect Pokémon. You wouldn’t enter a sports competition without the best gear you can find, right?
Perfect , or flawless , means the Pokémon has an optimal (or at the very least, deliberately chosen) nature, select egg moves, and perfect IVs where they are necessary (usually 5 or 6 IVs will be 31).
Egg Group: Not every Pokémon can breed with every other Pokémon. For example, Gastly and Dratini cannot breed. Why not? They’re in different Egg Groups. There are several Egg Groups and each contains specific Pokémon. Some Pokémon, like Legendaries, cannot breed at all.
To go back to our example, Gastly is in the Amorphous Egg Group and Dratini is in the Dragon Egg Group (and Water 1). If you want to breed Dratini, you’re better off using a Dratini of the opposite sex, a Pokémon in the Dragon or Water 1 egg group (such as Charmander or Horsea), or a Ditto.
Some Pokémon, like the Dratini mentioned, are in two Egg Groups. This makes them valuable for doing things like being viable fathers to more Pokémon, and passing down Egg moves that are hard to obtain otherwise. Other Pokémon, like Beldum, can only breed with Ditto.
Compatibility: Just because two Pokémon can breed doesn’t mean they’ll have a high chance of producing Eggs, which can make breeding take longer if you go for long stretches of time with no Eggs to hatch or receive.
Compatibility is at its lowest if the Pokémon are different species from the same Trainer OT, but is at its highest for same species from two different Trainer OTs. Same species from the same trainer and different species from different trainers has the same compatibility level.
Calling All Shiny Hunters!
Having Pokémon from a different language version will also have a side effect of triggering the Masuda Method , which doubles your chance of randomly hatching a shiny! And yes, it stacks with the Shiny Charm (okay so even with all that being said your chances are still low, but it’s something).
You can see if a Pokémon you have obtained is from a different language by looking in their Summary. By the Pokémon’s name you will see an abbreviation for the language it was from.
Egg Moves: Moves a Pokémon can only learn by being bred with a parent who knows them. Almost never learned through TM or level up, making them unique and often quite handy. For example, Eevee can learn Wish through Egg move, but can’t get it anywhere else.
In Generation VII, mothers and fathers can both pass down Egg Moves. You can pass down multiple Egg Moves at once (for example, one move from each parent, or two moves from one parent, etc.)
Chain Breeding: Related to Egg moves. Chain breeding is often necessary to get specific combinations of multiple Egg moves onto the final offspring. Some Pokémon have Egg Moves in their arsenal, but the only way to get the parents to pass them down is for the parents to be bred as well. This often happens when jumping across Egg Groups.
IV Breeding: The process of breeding to get as many perfect IVs as possible. Abuses the Destiny Knot.
Additionally, here is some generic terminology you’ll want to be familiar with. These were discussed in full detail earlier but are here again for the sake of coverage and convenience:
Ability: A Pokémon’s special ability, which affects battle. All Pokémon have an ability or two, and most Pokémon have a secret (and sometimes very awesome) ability known as a "Hidden Ability". Getting a Hidden Ability is only possible through SOS Chaining or transfering from a previous generations (via the Friend Safari, Dream World, etc.).
If you’re hunting for a specific ability, bring a Pokémon that knows Simple Beam or another Ability-changing move, as this will force the HUD to show the enemy’s ability. The Ability Capsule can swap between a Pokémon’s two normal abilities, but will never give you a Hidden Ability, unfortunately.
Nature: Causes one stat to rise by 10% and another to fall by 10%. Huge modifier! Make sure you pick the right one. Mathematically speaking, a nature will change a Pokémon’s final stats at Level 100 moreso than perfect IVs.
Base Stats and Base Stat Total: Base Stats are the innate numbers of a Pokémon. These never change and are the same by species. Base Stats are the reason Alakazam has such high Special Attack and Speed, but paltry Defense, and why Blissey has the most HP in the game, but terrible Attack.
Alakazam has base 135 Special Attack and Blissey has base 255 HP (the highest base stat possible). Base Stat Total is just adding up all of a Pokémon’s numerical base stats. Arceus currently holds the highest total for a non-mega evolved Pokémon at 720 (all of its stats are 120 base).
The numbers you see on your end of the game are the base stats being affected by level, nature, IVs, and EVs.
IVs, or Individual Values: Ranging from 0 to 31, these are numbers that just are tacked on flat through addition to Pokémon’s stats. They manifest to their maximum at level 100, and can vastly affect how a Pokémon performs in battle. Generally, aim for 31.
EVs or Effort Values: Earned through defeating Pokémon, 4 EVs = +1 to a stat at level 100. 8 EVs = +1 at level 50. You can have max 252 EVs to a stat (+63 to a stat at level 100) and max 510 EVs total. The most common spread is 252/252/6.
This results in +63 to two stats of choice (at Level 100) and +1 to a miscellaneous stat (usually HP if it’s not being maxed). Totally under player control.
Breeding the right way requires a pretty hefty investment, so make sure you’re up to the task. To make the job easier, you need to be prepared! It’s a lot up front but will make all of your breeding projects forever easier. These will all help you control the "luck" behind Pokémon breeding so that you can, with precision, aim for your goal and save a huge amount of time along the way.
Pokémon with Synchronize of every nature. Note that you can exclude the neutral natures, as well as Lax and Gentle, since they are basically useless competitively. This will make it easier to catch the base Pokémon (and the next necessary preparation, the Dittos), without depending on RNG.
Our advice? Mass breed Abra. This will also give the side effect of unlocking the IV Judge if you haven’t done so already. Be patient if your starting Abra has Inner Focus instead, and replace it with an Abra with Synchronize as soon as you are able.
Dittos of every every nature. If you want to make the job even easier, you can get Dittos of every nature that each have as many perfect IVs as possible. However this means you will need your Synchronizer to be out and alive in your SOS chain, and if that messes with your strategy then simply focus on catching a Ditto of every nature (again, except for neutral natures, Lax, and Gentle).
Enough Dittos that between them all, you have 6 perfect IVs . The nature of these Dittos won’t matter so much since the purpose of these Dittos is purely to lock down IVs, which is the last step in the breeding process. Eventually, these Dittos will lose relevance as if you breed a lot, you will eventually have a lot of viable fathers with perfect IVs in all the right places!
A Pokémon with Flame Body. Catch a Fletchinder from Route 8 or evolve a Fletchling from Wela Volcano Park. Both have Flame Body as their normal ability. Flame Body will cut in half (a rough estimate) the time it takes to hatch an Egg and will save you a ton of time.
Roto Hatches . Lots of them! Every time Rotom is sad you can save the game, and if the Roto Lotto doesn’t give you what you want, just soft reset. It can be tedious if RNG isn’t cooperating but you’ll absolutely want to stack up on Roto Hatch powers, especially for Pokémon like Beldum and Dratini who take forever to hatch.
Everstone and Destiny Knot. Hold items that are absolutely critical to breeding. Everstone are a common hold item on wild Roggenrola. You also get one as a gift from Ilima if you rematch him after completing his trial, and you get several as a common reward from Brilliant-Stone Hunting in Poké Pelago.
Destiny Knot can be found as a free gift for saving a swimmer in the Route 14 waters from being attacked by Frillish. You can also buy one for 48 BP from the Battle Royal prize booth. You only need one Destiny Knot, though, so go save the poor guy/girl and save your BP!
Power Items. These are less necessary for breeding but useful if you’re trying to be selective about which IVs you are passing down. Regardless of whether or not you use them for breeding though, they make EV training painless and quic, so pick them up. You can buy them from the Battle Royal BP shop or get (most of) them for free during the postgame.
Oval Charm. This increases the chance at which Eggs will spawn in the Nursery. You can receive one by defeating the developers at the Game Freak offices when you’re the Champion. Having it saves a lot of time, so we strongly recommend nabbing it ASAP!
Shiny Charm. For those who are going to try to breed a perfect shiny Pokémon, you’ll need all the luck boosting you can get.
Time, patience, and a lot of box space. These should be fairly self-explanatory…
Fall in love with Wonder Trade. This is an easy way to get rid of "breedjects", a community nickname for bred Pokémon that you aren’t going to use and really have zero purpose for other than clogging up box space.
Send them out to people and receive other things in return that you can either release, send back into the system (how rude!), or keep and use (breedjects other people were sending out).
The breedjects other people can potentially give you an easy jump start other breeding projects, since the heavy lifting was already done.
Max developed Isle Avue. This is a luxury rather than a necessity. Since you can pick up Eggs at the Nursery even if your party is full, it’s easy to achieve an Egg backlog where you are earning more Eggs than you can hatch.
Use Isle Avue to hatch the rest, especially if you finish the project with spare Eggs, or if you are a busy person without the time to manually run around to hatch them.
It can take a day or two and if left there for too long they’ll suddenly get farther and farther away from hatching "because of the heat", but it’s a good way to let Eggs passively hatch without working for it.
Breeding Process Overview
Here’s a general idea of how the breeding process will usually work. All of these steps will be covered in detail in the following sections but here is the general gist of how things go assuming you are starting from scratch with just your pile of Ditto and Abra.
1. Catch the Pokémon you want to breed
Obviously you need your Pokémon, right? Through use of SOS Chaining and Synchronize, make sure you catch a Pokémon that fits your criteria. Ideally you lock in nature and Ability, but baseline you want to lock in the Ability, especially if it’s a Hidden Ability. You will also need to use this step as a chance to obtain any Pokémon needed for egg moves if egg moves are a problem.
2. Lock the nature
Either you’ve already Synchronized a Pokémon to start with, or you can use your mountain of Ditto with Everstone. In all subsequent steps you will want to make sure one parent is clutching onto the Everstone at all times.
3. Breed Egg Moves
Egg moves are extremely easy to lock and should be done after or alongside Nature and Ability locking. Once they’re there, as long as the Pokémon with the Egg Moves is being bred, the offspring will always, always have them. Convenient!
4. Perfect the IVs
Use Destiny Knot and begin improving IVs. You will be swapping out parents a lot here. If Pokémon-incest isn’t for you, you might want to…not think about it for a while! This is the last step done after everything else has been chosen and the nature and Egg moves are locked. Perfecting your IVs is mostly up to chance, so this is the time to break out your patience game.
5. EV train and level up and you’re finished!