On June 18, 2018, it was announced that localized trading will be coming to Pokemon GO! While most trainers are likely contemplating the value of their legendary regional, and shiny Pokemon, you may want to be aware of your seemingly basic ’mons that have presently unobtainable, legacy moves. Legacy moves are similar to Community Day exclusive moves in that they were only obtainable during a certain period of time. Unlike Community Day moves, there was no forewarning of their removal from a Pokemon’s movepool.
Because of their limited availability, being aware of legacy moves and their exclusivity can help prevent you getting cheated on in a trade. While shiny Pokemon are hard to find, they are also here to stay. On the flip side, given the circumstances surrounding some legacy moves, they may never be obtained in Pokemon GO ever again! This guide will help you properly appraise your Pokemon.
If you would like to know more about the history of legacy moves, this spreadsheet details which Pokemon are legacy and when they became legacy.
On August 9, 2016, only 1 month after the release of Pokemon GO, 17 Pokemon had their movepools altered. This created the first ever list of legacy moves. Considering the timing and the difficulty of finding or evolving many of these species, these legacy moves are of the rarest in the game. The most useful of this group in the current meta-game are Rock Throw Omastar and Psybeam Chansey, which increases their relative value.
It can be assumed that the majority of these moves were removed from GO because the Pokemon could not learn them in the console games. As a result, while there is potential for other legacy moves in this guide to come back, chances are these 17 moves never will. If you want to get your hands on them, you may want to hit up everyone you know who quit Pokemon GO before the end of that first Summer.
If you’d like to know the affected moves, please refer to the spreadsheet.
On February 21, 2017, 110 moves across 70 Pokemon became legacy with the release of Gen 2. The apparent goal of this wave was to add in the new attacks that came in Gen 2 to previously released Pokemon. For many, these changes were effectively buffs, but there were some casualties; the highest damaging Pokemon, Shadow Claw Gengar, and the second greatest defender, Body Slam Snorlax. Like Rock Throw Omastar, this makes these Pokemon slightly more valuable than the rest of the lot because of their meta-game potency.
The February wave also resulted in a secondary class of legacy movesets, “double legacy.” In the first legacy wave, only 1 move was altered per Pokemon. In this second alteration, some Pokemon had both their fast move and charge move pools edited, allowing them to have a chance at two legacy moves. Similarly, some Pokemon that had their moves altered in the first wave also had their other move type changed in the second, giving them a similar “double legacy” status.
If you’d like to know the affected moves from the second wave, please refer to the spreadsheet.
On 12/8/17 the third legacy wave hit coinciding with the release of Gen 3. Having experienced the second legacy wave with Gen 2, players were more prepared for the move pool alterations. Unfortunately, preparations fell short as only 6 moves changed across 6 Pokemon (opposed to 110 moves across 70). The most notable loss meta-game wise was Ice Beam from Lapras, and the only notable gain was Waterfall for Gyarados. Coincidentally, this rollout resulted in double legacy movesets for both of them, as well as Seaking.
The circumstances of Gyarados’s “double legacy” status is a bit more interesting than a simple switch. Before the third legacy wave, Pokemon GO introduced Technical Machines (TMs), allowing trainers to re-roll attacks. In order to have the double legacy Dragon Tail + Twister or Dragon Pulse movesets, you would have had to have used a Fast Move TM on a Bite or Dragon Breath Gyarados that had those respective charge moves. Up until this point, legacy Pokemon only existed through causality. Since Gyarados’s double legacy set could only exist through spending in-game resources to alter its attack, this arguably makes Dragon Tail + Twister/Dragon Pulse Gyarados a more rare Pokemon (even more so if it’s shiny).
However, the extra rare movesets don’t stop there: one day following the December wave, the new, Gen 3 Pokemon Blaziken received a spot alteration and Stone Edge was replaced with Focus Blast. While this was presumably done to make Blaziken a more relevant Fighting-type Pokemon, it did result in a legacy moveset that only existed in game for 24 hours. Considering Blaziken is also a Stage 2 Pokemon, this makes Stone Edge Blaziken one of the rarest Pokemon in the game!
Feraligatr also received a similar spot alteration two days after this wave, swapping out Water Gun for Waterfall. Given that Feraligatr had already been out for nearly a year, this random “off schedule” spot alteration is less notable than Blaziken’s immediate change.
If you’d like to know the affected moves from the third wave, please refer to the spreadsheet.
Community Day exclusive moves are similar to legacy moves in that they are only obtainable at a certain period of time. Unlike legacy moves, players are fully warned ahead of time of the temporary change in movepool. Given the press and massive spawns of Community Day Pokemon, this makes Community Day exclusive moves, and the subsequent shiny forms of Community Day Pokemon, significantly less valuable compared to other legacy and shiny Pokemon.
However, the introduction of Community Day exclusive moves as well as 2017 Winter Holiday semi-exclusive move, Present, resulted in the creation of what is likely the rarest Pokemon in all of Pokemon GO: Pikachu.
On December 22, 2017 Pokemon GO had a Winter Holiday event which allowed players to capture a semi-exclusive Present Pikachu with a Santa Hat. During this event, using a Fast TM on any Pikachu resulted in it learning Present. This allowed players to not only have Present Santa Hat Pikachu, but also gave access to Present on vanilla, Party Hat, Witch Hat, and Ash Hat Pikachu, giving these Pikachu a pseudo-double legacy status. Trainers who TMed Present onto their Thunder Santa Pikachu made it triple!
Shortly after, on January 20, 2018, Pokemon GO had its first Community Day, featuring Surf as an exclusive charge move for Pikachu. Unlike the current Community Day moves, Surf was TM-able. Similarly to Present Pikachu, trainers who had hat-wearing Pikachu were able to get the exclusive move Surf onto their limited Pikachu. To take it one step further, Trainers who were clever enough to TM Present onto their Pikachu during the Winter Holiday event and TM Surf onto those same Pikachu arguably hold some of rarest Pokemon in all of Pokemon GO.
What makes these Pokemon rarer than Pokemon from the first legacy wave is the amount of ingenuity that goes into them. Any veteran player, inactive or otherwise, could have a first legacy wave Pokemon on their account whether they intend to or not. However, in order to have a Present + Surf + Hat Pikachu or a Present + Thunder Pikachu, trainers had to have had the resources and the intuition to use their TM‘s at the right time.
While it is fair that these Pikachu are some of the rarest Pokemon in the game, it isn’t certain which special Pikachu is the most elusive. For example, Present + Surf + Santa Hat Pikachu is presumably less rare because Santa Hat Pikachu with Present existed naturally due to the Winter Holiday event, which makes completing the set only a 1 step process. This same existence of natural Present Santa Hat Pikachu arguably makes Present + Thunder Santa Hat Pikachu rarer than the Surf variants of Pikachu, as it is less likely that someone TM‘d their Legacy, Thunder Santa Hat Pikachu to have Present. However, TMing Present onto any Pikachu was more popularized on the internet compared to TMing Surf. This along with the near week-long duration of the Winter Event compared to the 3-hour duration of Community Day potentiates Present + Surf + Hat Pikachu to be even rarer, and unlike Present + Thunder Pikachu.
This being said, unless Pokemon GO pulls up data on how many supremely rare Pikachu actually exist in accounts, there is no way to tell which iteration of Pikachu is actually the rarest. One thing that is certain is that they are theoretically far more exclusive than any other Pokemon in the game.
The addition of local trading is an exciting addition to GO, especially given that it has been teased since launch. While the “rarest” Pokemon to you will always be what you don’t have and want, be mindful of what exactly you’re trading away. Even if useless legacy Pokemon isn’t something you’re interested in, they could be a heavy bargaining chip when trading up for legendary, regional, or shiny Pokemon down the line.