Pokemon Who Can’t Learn Obvious Moves

Pokemon has some weird game mechanics at times. Between the natural level up process, TMs and HMs, move tutors, and breeding, most Pokemon have a bevy of moves at their disposal. Sometimes, this means that a Pokemon can learn a move that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, like Kantonian Raticate learning Icy Wind or Flame Wheel1Kantonian Raticate is the poster child for this phenomenon, and that’s not even taking into account that it learns Jump Kick in the anime. That’s a move that actual makes some form of sense.. Sometimes, a Pokemon’s entire gimmick is the breadth of the movepool it can learn, such as Clefairy or Delcatty2Or, if you want the most extreme case, Mew..

That said despite all of the flexibility in ways that a Pokemon can learn moves, there’s still some glaring misses for logical moves that Pokemon should be able to learn. A glaring example of this that was fixed in Generation VII was the fact that Luvdisc — the heart shaped Pokemon — wasn’t able to learn Heart Stamp until the release of Sun and Moon3It still can’t learn Heart Swap, but this is progress.. While this omission has been resolved, there’s still quite a few missing move pairings that haven’t been addressed. This blog post will take a look at a few of those Pokemon and move matchup that Game Freak has overlooked through seven generations of the game.

Are there any moves and Pokemon pairings that I missed? Be sure to share them in the comments. All images are credited to Bulbapedia.


Let’s begin with one of the two Pokemon that inspired this post idea. Growlithe, a Pokemon that has been around since the original generation of the game, has never been able to learn the move Growl. The puppy Pokemon. The one with growl as the first five letters of its name. It can’t learn Growl. Togepi, the least intimidating Pokemon in existence, has been able to learn it since Generation II. Yet Growlithe cannot.

Everyone good on the premise of this list now? Good. Let’s get into some of the progressively weirder examples.


If you’re one of the people who actually reads my footnotes, you might have noticed that I mentioned Mew as being the most extreme case of a Pokemon whose entire gimmick is its movepool. Notice how I didn’t say it can learn every move in the game. That has never been its exact role. In Generations I and II, Mew was capable of learning all of its level up moves, as well as every TM, HM, and move tutor move in the game4Since Mew is a Pokemon that cannot be bred, it can’t learn any moves via breeding.. But beginning in Generation III, Mew can no longer learn every move tutor move, as it is locked out of the three starter-only moves, Frenzy Plant, Blast Burn, and Hydro Cannon. As of Generation VII, there are now ten moves that Mew can’t learn via move tutor. Since many of those moves are signature moves for certain Pokemon, it makes sense to limit them from most Pokemon. But not Mew. I want Dragon Ascent Mew, dammit.


When you think of Jigglypuff, what comes to mind? Is it the singing one that follows Ash and his gang around in the anime, only to draw all over their faces with a marker when they fall asleep from its singing? Maybe it’s the Smash Brothers edition and its insistence on trying to one-hit KO you with Rest. That said, what you’re likely not thinking of is Jigglypuff as the balloon Pokemon, even though that’s how the Pokedex classifies it. You would think that the balloon Pokemon would get a move that would keep it off of the ground, yes? But that’s not the case. Not only does Jigglypuff not get the Levitate ability, it also is incapable of learning the only move in the game that allows for levitation, Magnet Rise. And while you’re likely thinking ‘yeah…but that’s a move for Electric Pokemon’, remember Vanillite and Larvesta — two Pokemon that are neither Electric nor Steel — can learn it via breeding. What’s worse is that Jigglypuff learns the only move in the game capable of helping an ally levitate, Telekinesis, via move tutor.


Steelix is a snake. A really big iron snake, but a snake nevertheless. And what do snakes do, other than wear silly hats to be fancy? They coil up. Need proof? In the link earlier in the paragraph, I count seven coiled snakes on the first page alone. Yet, despite the fact that Steelix is a snake, it can’t learn the most basic action in all of snakery, Coil. Steelix can learn Dragon Breath despite not being a dragon, Aqua Tail in spite of its weakness to water, and Stomping Tantrum despite not having legs. But it can’t learn Coil. Dunsparce learns Coil, and Dunsparce has never done anything useful. Why can’t Steelix learn Coil?


Lest you think I’m only choosing Pokemon that were introduced in the Game Boy generations, here’s an entry from Generation VI. It usually takes a generation or two for a Pokemon to get their movesets fully realized5Unless you’re talking Gen I Pokemon, in which case that number is closer to 3 or 4., so you might be able to forgive the fact that Chesnaught is missing a logical move or two here and there. But the fact that Chesnaught is missing the move Spike Cannon from its arsenal is strange on two separate levels. First off, it already learns an array of moves where it hurls pointy barbs at other Pokemon, such as Pin Missile, Needle Arm, and Spikes. Second, I find it peculiar that only Water type Pokemon can learn the Normal type move Spike Cannon, despite the fact that it’s not a Water move. Yeah, this hedgehog gets Spiky Shield, but something’s missing.


For a Pokemon that disguises itself as an Electric type Pokemon while itself being a combination Ghost and Fairy type, Mimikyu has a movepool littered with Normal type moves. Which is fine. Nearly all of them make a ton of sense for Mimikyu to learn6I could make an argument that Splash makes no sense, but I’m not going to be picky.. But why is it that a Pokemon built around a disguise and fooling people can’t learn Fake Out? There are so many Pokemon that can learn Fake Out. Squirtle can learn it. Sableye can learn it. Spinda — whose entire thing is that it falls over itself — can learn Fake Out. Yet the one Pokemon that is pretending to be another one can’t learn it. Because reasons.


I really like Jynx. It has one of the more interesting movepools of any Generation I Pokemon, both now and in previous generations. That said, there’s a move out there — one that Jynx shares the typing of — that I’m befuddled how Jynx doesn’t learn. That move would be Synchronoise. For those unfamiliar with the move, Synchronoise is a high-powered move that can only deal damage if the Pokemon you’re battling shares a type with the Pokemon using the move. It’s almost as if they’re synchronized. You know what else is a punishment for synchronization? A jinx. How this move has been overlooked from Jynx’s movepool since Generation V is beyond me.


At the start of this post, I mentioned that Growlithe was one of two Pokemon that inspired the creation of this list. Ariados is the other. Ariados has a giant movepool that includes some moves that might make you wonder how a spider can learn them. How Ariados learns Night Shade, Psychic, Psybeam, or Sonic Boom is beyond me. And yet, Ariados is missing the one obvious move it should have had from its creation in Generation II — Sing. Yes. The move that is synonymous with Jigglypuff actually belongs on Ariados. The long leg Pokemon has aria in its name for a reason. It was meant to create beautiful melodies for anyone in earshot to listen to. If Generation VIII gives us a growling Growlithe and a singing Ariados, the Pokemon world will be a better place.


Like my list? Disagree with me? Do you have your own thoughts as to what obvious moves a Pokemon should learn that it doesn’t? Tell me about them in the comments.

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