Head down to the tropical islands of Alola in Pokémon Sun and Moon (opens in new tab) or the new Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon (opens in new tab) and you'll find each isle is absolutely brimming with new Pokémon to catch and train. But before you get distracted by Alolan Dugtrio's flowing locks, remember that the ultimate goal is to be the very best. Like no-one ever was. And to do that you're going to want to dabble in a little Pokémon breeding.
Breeding Pokémon has always been the best way to get the strongest monsters for competitive and causal levels of play. Trainers can customise their Pokémon with the most beneficial natures, moves they can’t normally learn and even have the chance of netting themselves legitimate shiny Pokémon. Little has changed since Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, but there are a few differences.
Instead of the usual Day Care we now have a Nursery. However, Pokémon left at the Nursery no longer level up. Instead, the Nursery is solely used for breeding new monsters to fill your competitive roster with. The Pokémon Nursery in Sun and Moon can be found by heading over to Paniola Town over on Akala Island. So, with that in mind, I’m going to cover the breeding mechanics and changes that you’ll want to know if you’re planning to dive into the competitive side of Pokémon.
New methods of obtaining and hatching eggs
The first thing you’ll need is a Fletchinder (Route 8, Akala Island) with the Flame Body ability. This ability will make your eggs hatch significantly faster when you have it active in your party. Once you’ve become Champion head over to Heahea City and enter Game Freak’s office. Here you’ll be able to battle Pokémon designer Shigeki Morimoto who gives you an Oval charm. This item will increase the chance of Pokémon eggs being found at the Nursery, so if you want maximum efficiency this is the way to go. Lastly, to decrease the egg hatching time further make sure to use your Tauros using the Poké Ride feature and hold down the B button to run. If you have access to these things you will be hatching eggs in less than a minute.
When you leave two Pokémon of the opposite gender, egg group or with a Ditto (Route 10, Ula'ula Island) at the Nursery, the woman outside will give you an egg once it’s produced. You can tell when an egg is ready for collection when she has her arms folded. Just remember that each egg will take up a spot in your party, but don’t worry if you have no space in your current roster, just send one of the newly hatched Pokémon or eggs to the PC.
Unfortunately, there is no AFK breeding loop like there was in the Pokémon Battle Resort in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, but there is good loop you can use that requires very little attention. Outside the Nursery you’ll notice there is a small gated enclosure, which is just big enough for your Tauros to fit. Once you’re in the enclosure simply ride your Tauros around in circles until you get an egg or your eggs hatch. The loop will end if you ride in one direction, so make sure you keep circling around if you want seamless egg hatching.
In the sixth generation only female Pokémon could pass down their Poké Ball, but now in Sun and Moon male Pokémon can pass down their balls as well. Breeding Pokémon with the same species will grant a 50% chance of either the female or the male passing down their ball. When breeding with Ditto, males and genderless Pokémon will always pass down their ball, so the ball that Ditto was caught in has no effect. Breeding is a great way to change the aesthetic of your Pokémon’s spherical home.
Egg Moves and hidden abilities
Pokémon can learn certain moves via breeding that they can’t normally learn by other means. This makes breeding extremely useful in the competitive scene and passing down these powerful “Egg Moves” has been made even easier. In current generations the gender of the parents doesn’t matter for Egg Moves as either gender can pass them down. A well-known example is a male Dragonite with the attack Outrage breeding with a female Charizard to make a baby Charmander that knows Outrage.
When it comes to Hidden Abilities in Pokémon Sun and Moon you can find them in the wild using the Ally Chain method. You may have come across Pokémon with hidden abilities that are called as allies. The more allies that are called in a battle, the higher the chance the Pokémon has its Hidden Ability. Make sure to use the Adrenaline Orb (Route 1, Melemele) item to increase the chance for the wild Pokémon to call for help and start a S.O.S. Battle. Use a Pokémon with the move Skill Swap to see what ability it has before you catch it. Once you have caught the Pokémon with the Hidden Ability you want start breeding it to pass it down to the offspring.
Natures are very important in the development of a Pokémon and it’s important that you pick the right one. A Pokémon's Nature usually affects the growth rate of two of its stats, ultimately increasing one of its non-HP stats (Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, or Speed) by 10% and decreasing another by 10%. Luckily, passing down Natures is very easy. Hatched Pokémon will have a random Nature, so you’ll most likely want to change it to the Nature you want. To do this you’ll need an Everstone, which can be found in Hau'oli City when you battle Ilima in his house after you’re crowned Champion. Give the parent with the desired Nature the Everstone and it will pass down the Nature down to its child, simple.
Arguably the most complex part of the whole breeding process is a Pokémon’s individual stats or IVs. Three IVs will be passed down from the parent Pokémon to child each time you breed. These three IVs are selected randomly from the male, the female, or both. Each stat of a Pokémon ranges from 0-31, with 31 being the highest possible value. You can check a Pokémon’s IVs by heading over to your PC once you’ve gained access to the Battle Tree and hatched 20 eggs.
While this sounds complicated, there are a few items that can make trading down particular stat’s Individual Value from parent to child easier. If you have Pokémon that has high values in HP, Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, or Speed, you can use Power Items to pass down the IV of the parent holding the item. Each specific Power Item passes down a specific stat. The description for these items can be seen below.
- Power Anklet – Reduces Speed but allows the holder’s Speed stat to grow.
- Power Band – Reduces Speed but allows the holder’s Sp. Def stat to grow.
- Power Belt – Reduces Speed but allows holder’s Defense to grow.
- Power Bracer – Reduces Speed but allows holder’s Attack to grow.
- Power Lens – Reduces Speed but allows holder’s Sp. Attack to grow.
- Power Weight – Reduces Speed but allows holder’s HP to grow.
However, the Destiny Knot is arguably the best item to use when passing down IVs. If you give the Destiny Knot to one parent this will pass down five of 12 stats to the child, but these five stats are completely randomised. All the items can be bought from the Battle Royal Dome, so be sure to pick them up so you can start breeding the perfect competitive monsters.