Red Riding Charizard

Jake’s PokéQuest – Part 1: Breeding Basics

Pokémon games are fun. Anyone who says otherwise never experienced the joys of raising digital, fighting creatures in a quest to be the very best when they were kids. But even now, as a 22-year-old man, I find Pokémon games more entertaining than I ever did before. And that’s because I realized that as simplistic and charming as it appeared on the surface, this series was even more complex and advanced than I had ever anticipated when I took a good look at it.

In these posts, I hope to give casual Pokémon fans a glimpse at the more “hardcore” aspects of the game series and perhaps intrigue them enough to convince them it’s time to dust of their old cartridges to experience these delightful titles in a whole new way. The world of Pokémon is vast and wonderful, and it’s your choice to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

For the veteran trainers who know exactly what I talk about and scoff at my noobish tactics and strategies, I hope they will at least enjoy seeing another trainer’s mechanics being applied in a unique way. Maybe they’ll learn something in the process as well.

While we travel through this journey of discovery together, I will also share my own experiences with the methods, tactics, and mechanics I talk about and show off some of my greatest Pokémon accomplishments in hopes that you, too, will one day be a master trainer. Until X and Y are released, take this time to learn and enjoy a different side of Pokémon so you can apply your new knowledge when the sixth generation is released in October.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Pokémon Breeding 101

I thought this first post should talk about one of the most basic fundamentals of enjoying Pokémon games to their fullest: breeding new buddies to fight with. Breeding can be as deep or as complicated as you want it to be, up until the point of creating genetically monstrous Magikarps capable of knocking out legendaries in a single hit. Such tactics are pretty confusing to explain without a basic understanding of breeding in the first place, however, so that’s where I’ll start. I will later divulge information so powerful that you will soon rival Pokémon masters the world over, but let’s keep it simple to start, okay?

I’m sure you know you can breed in Pokémon games. As a matter of fact, I’m willing to bet you’ve done it a few times yourself already. There are multiple ways to breed the Pokémon you want, and reasons for doing so include making multiple offspring of the Pokémon you like, getting mons with different natures, teaching Pokémon moves they can only learn through breeding, making mons strong enough to battle competitively, getting shinies, and much more.

The reason I breed is for fun and to make Pokémon I’d be proud to train to level 100. But before you can create such magnificent beasts, you need to know the basics.

The Delibirds and the Combees

Two Pokémon can only breed if they have opposing genders, aren’t legendary (the only legendary that can breed Manphany) or “baby” Pokémon (such as Elekid and Magby), and they’re in the same egg group. To find out what egg group or groups a Pokémon is in, check Serebii, a great resource for all things Pokémon.

Looking at this site, it’s easy to see what Pokémon can breed with each other. For instance, a male Lotad can breed with a female Tangela because they’re both in the plant egg group. Even Wailord and Skitty can breed, as mind-boggling weird as that is.

So now you know what Pokémon can bump uglies and spawn an infant. But what Pokémon hatches from an egg produced by two wildly different Pokémon? Easy. The egg Pokémon will always be the same species as the mother. As a side note, if the father knows any egg moves (something we’ll cover another time) that the child Pokémon can learn, it will hatch with those moves already known. Pretty sweet, huh?

Another thing to note: Ditto. Ditto is that adorable purple Play-Doh guy that is essentially worthless in a battle but a sweet Pokémon nonetheless simply for the fact that it can breed with any Pokémon, including genderless ones. As a matter of fact, the only way to breed a genderless Pokémon is with a Ditto. Breeding with a Ditto will always produce the none-Ditto Pokémon. Unfortunately, Ditto can not breed between themselves, so the only way to get a specific Ditto you want (if you’re looking for a specific nature) is by catching one in the wild.

Making as Many Eggs as Quickly as Possible

So you’ve put two compatible Pokémon in the daycare and are waiting for an egg. Awesome. However, there’s a way to (roughly) see how long you’ll have to wait before your Pokémon produce an egg. If you’re playing a generation five game (which you should be, you stuck-up hipster), talk to the old man right outside the daycare on Route 3 and he’ll tell you one of four things. Here’s what they are and what they mean.

  • “The two seem to get along very much!” This is the best thing to hear the old man say because it means the chances of receiving an egg are the highest they can be. Typically you can get five eggs in just a couple minutes when the old man says this. To get this result, both the Pokémon you put in the daycare have to be the same species but they must have two different original trainer IDs, which essentially means one Pokémon you had to have caught and bred on your own and the other you had to have received in a trade. However, this doesn’t happen very often. What you’re likely to hear the old man say is…
  • “The two seem to get along.” This is the second best option. The chances for receiving an egg are high, but not the best they could be. Expect five eggs in a few to several minutes when you hear the old man say this. To get this result, both Pokémon have to be the same species and have the same original trainer or have to be different species and have different trainers.
  • “The two don’t seem to get along.” This is bad. Change this as soon as you can. If the old man is saying this, your Pokémon are two different species with the same trainer ID. Don’t expect eggs very often when this is the case.
  • “The two prefer to play with other Pokémon than each other.” This means you’ve broken one of the breeding rules and your Pokémon won’t produce an egg. Fix it.

Now that you know your Pokémon will produce an egg, get on your bike and start riding back and forth along the straight, horizontal path in front of the daycare (again, I’m referring to the daycare in Black and White 1 and 2). When the old man has an egg for you, he’ll stop you in your tracks and give it to you. Once you have five in your party (with one spot reserved for a hatched Pokémon), it’s time to get those eggs open.

Power Biking

That one reserved spot I mentioned? Give it to a Volcarona. Every Volcarona has the same ability, Flame Body, which makes eggs hatch twice as fast. Eggs hatch after a certain number of steps are taken, and the number of steps necessary to hatch different species of Pokémon varies wildly. Typically Bug Pokémon hatch quickly whereas Dragon Pokémon take forever to hatch. However, a Volcarona isn’t great just for its ability to hasten egg hatching. It can also learn the HM Fly which allows you to instantly travel to Castelia City, which you should do.

After landing, get on your bike and head east. You’ll end up on Skyarrow Bridge, which is where you should stay until your eggs are hatched. It’s the longest “straight” path in the game, meaning you’ll give your directional pad and thumb the least amount of stress possible as you hatch your eggs. Before long the game will pause will a suspicious “Oh?” and you’ll witness the miracle of birth right before your eyes.

And there you have it! Egg hatching for dummies. Breeding is one of the unsung joys of Pokémon, something that tons of players don’t take advantage of. While it’s not obvious yet, hatching your own Pokémon can be one of the most rewarding experiences in gaming, and you’ll find out why next week when I introduce the more advanced techniques of breeding.

Until then, happy puppymilling, trainers.

Update: The next part is up! Read it here.