How to get and use TMs to change movesets in Pokémon Go
You first need to get TMs before you can make your Pokémon more powerful.
- What's a TM?
- Why are TMs important?
- Why are there two kinds of TM?
- Can you use TMs on secondary Charge Moves?
- How do you get TMs in Pokémon Go?
- How to use a Quick TM or Charge TM
- Are you guaranteed a new move from a TM?
- Can you get Legacy movesets with TMs?
- Movesets that are better than others
- Best movesets
Movesets are one of the most essential elements of Pokémon Go. Generated at random, with the roll of virtual dice, movesets can make your favorite Pokémon devastating… or just leave you devastated.
Previously, one bad moveset and your Pokémon was done. Now, with Technical Machines — Quick TMs and Charge TMs — you can "re-roll" your Pokémon's movesets and reshape its destiny.
What's a Technical Machine?
What's a Technical Machine (TM)?
A Technical Machine, often referred to simply as a TM, is a way to teach your Pokémon a new move. In Pokémon Go's implementation:
"Technical Machines are items you can use to permanently teach a Pokémon a new Fast Attack or Charged Attack."
In other words, a TM will let you "re-roll" either the Quick Move or Charge Move for your Pokémon, forever altering its moveset.
Why are TMs important?
Unlike evolutions, which are set, movesets in Pokémon Go are determined at random and essentially "rolled" every time you hit the evolve button.
Many of us have been there: You catch or hatch a near-perfect or flat-out perfect Dratini. You walk it for a hundred kilometers or more, catching and hatching more along the way until you finally have the 125 candy needed to evolve a Dragonite.
Your eyes light up. Your finger shakes on your iPhone or Android phone. You tap the evolve button. And…
Steel Wing + Hyper Beam
The worst moveset in the current pool and one that's nowhere nearly as effective as the best, Dragon Tail + Outrage.
So, all that walking, all that catching, all that waiting, and all that work is out the window. Pokémon Go's infamous Random Number Generator (RGN) — a roll of the dice — has spoiled your perfect Dratini.
But not with TMs. With TMs, you re-roll one or both of those moves and get something better.
Why are there two kinds of TM?
There are two kinds of TM because there are two kinds of moves: Quick and Charge.
- If you get a Quick TM, you can use it to change the Quick Move of one of your Pokémon.
- If you get a Charge TM, you can use it to change the charge Move of one of your Pokémon.
Both are kept in and can be used from your Items list.
Can you use TMs on secondary Charge Moves?
Yes! Introduced with PvP Trainer Battles, you can now get a second Charge Move for your Pokémon. If you're willing to pay the Candy and Stardust cost. But, they too are generated at random. So, if you get something terrible, you can Charge TM it until you get the one you want.
How do you get TMs in Pokémon Go?
Not easily! Pokémon Go hasn't made Technical Machines available from PokéStops the way berries, potions, revives, eggs, and even evolution items are. No. If you want a technical machine, you're going to have to beat a Raid Boss or complete Special Research and hope to get the TM as part of your rewards. Your oh-so-random rewards.
The higher level the raid — from one to four normally, five for Legendary — the more rewards you get and the more likely it is you'll get one or more technical machines.
However, in recent months, Niantic has been experimenting with the drop rates on TMs. Many players report going through dozens of Raids only to get one or two TMs, while other players seem to get them every other Raid. There is no guarantee for getting TMs from Raids.
How do you use a Quick TM or Charge TM in Pokémon Go?
You can use a Quick TM or Charge TM right from the Item screen in Pokémon Go.
- Tap the Menu button, bottom center. (Looks like a Poké Ball.)
- Tap the Items button, bottom right. (Looks like a backpack.)
- Tap on a Fast TM or Charge TM. (scroll down to see them).
- Tap on the Pokémon you want to use the TM on.
- Tap on Yes to confirm.
Then cross your fingers and hope for the best!
Are you guaranteed a new move from a Technical Machine, or can it re-roll the same move over and over again?
When you use a Quick TM or Charge TM, you're guaranteed a different move from the one your Pokémon currently has but not necessarily a new move. For example, you could use a Quick TM on an Exeggutor with Extrasensory and get Bullet Seed, which is new, but then use another Quick TM and get Extrasensory again, which is different than the current one, but not new to that Pokémon.
Theoretically, Pokémon Go could lock out TMs after you've gone through the existing pool, so you don't waste them by accident. But, if you discover a better use for a different move, or combinations or damage calculations are changed again, you might want a previous move back.
There are also times when a Pokémon's available move set changes, and the new potential move is dramatically better than previously available ones. Take Kingler's Crabhammer, for example; Kingler has one of the highest Attack stats in the game (even higher than Gyarados!), but before Crabhammer was introduced, none of its available moves took advantage of that stat. Now, Kingler is an invaluable Water-type Pokémon.
If there's only one Quick Move available for your Pokémon, how will the Quick TM work?
Some Pokémon can only have one Quick Move, at least as the game stands now. For example, Vaporeon can only have Water Gun as a Quick Move. In those cases, you can't use the Quick TM. It's simply not an option. (Hey, at least you won't waste it re-rolling the same Quick Move over and over again!)
Likewise, if a Pokémon can only have one of two Quick Moves, the TM will alternate between them. For example, Machamp used to only have Bullet Punch or Counter, so a Quick TM would simply switch you back and forth between them.
Can you get Legacy movesets through Technical Machines?
Once in a while, Pokémon Go changes the moves available to Pokémon. When an old move is no longer available, it's considered "Legacy." For example, you can no longer get a Dragonite with Dragon Breath as a Quick Move. Niantic is especially fond of using Legacy Moves for Community Day, during which you can only earn the move by evolving that particular Pokémon, so it's extra important that you make it out on Community Day if you want access to these limited moves!
And Technical Machines don't change that. If you use a Quick TM or Charge TM, you'll only ever get movesets that are available to Pokémon from the current game pool.
RIP Rock Throw Omaster…
What makes some movesets better than others?
There are a few factors that contribute to making some movesets decimating and others… duds.
- STAB, or same type attack bonus, means you do extra damage when using a move that matches your Pokémon. For example, a Machamp (Fighting) will get STAB if it has Dynamic Punch (Fighting) but not Heavy Slam (Steel).
- Type counter, or the ability to do more damage against specific types. For example, a Lapras with Blizzard or Ice Beam is a Dragonite's worst nightmare. A Lapras with Hydro Pump, not so much.
- Speed, for both offense and defense. For example, you can sometimes get off three half-bar moves and finish a battle before you could get off two full-bar moves. Some moves also prevent you from dodging for longer, leaving you open to charge moves.
That's why a moveset that gives you STAB, is type-effective and delivers significant damage per second is great. And one that doesn't… is not.
Or why Machamp with Counter + Dynamic Punch is a Blissey-breaker and Tyranitar's bane, and one with Bullet Punch + Heavy Slam is often left on the bench.
Sometimes, though, even knowing all this isn't enough. Niantic often re-balances Pokémon Go, changing the way certain moves and Pokémon work. What is the best moveset for the best Pokémon today might change tomorrow, and with new Pokémon being added all the time, that too can change the game. If you want to stay on top, you have to be ever vigilant of these changes!
How do you know which movesets are the best?
Opinions vary. Some people look at the math and stats while others run endless simulations, and still, others focus on real-world experience, personal preference, or behavioral observation. Personally, I do all of the above.
For further assistance, we keep a list of the best Pokémon Go movesets for attack and defense and update it whenever Pokémon Go makes changes or new Pokémon and moves become available:
TMs for a more powerful Pokémon
TMs are a crucial part of making your Pokémon more powerful in Pokémon Go. Sometimes the Pokémon you catch won't have the best movesets and TMs allow you to change them. In no time, you'll have a long list of formidable Pokémon on your team that will do a lot towards taking over gyms or defeating Raids.
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.
- Rebecca SpearGaming Editor