What are Legacy moves in Pokemon GO?

Image via Niantic
Image via Niantic

Every now and then, Pokemon GO players will trade for a Pokemon that has a legacy move, but what makes these moves different from normal moves?

Legacy moves are basically moves that a Pokemon was taught and then discontinued afterwards. There are several reasons why Niantic discontinues moves.

Certainly, a Pokemon that was caught in 2017 has a good chance of learning some different moves that a modern day version couldn’t learn. Pokemon with these legacy moves, though, are extremely valuable, because they get an extra edge over other Pokemon of the species.

How do Pokemon obtain legacy moves?


Over the years, Niantic has changed movesets to mirror the movepool changes Pokemon go through in the main series games. This is one of the main reasons why these Pokemon have moves that they can’t learn anymore. The other main source of these legacy moves are moves that are only learned from events like Community Days.

For example, Swablu had a Community Day on May 15th. On that day, if players evolved Swablu into Altaria, that Altaria would have access to the move Moonblast. This would make Moonblast a legacy move since, after that event, Altaria couldn’t learn Moonblast naturally.

For a while, there was no way to teach a new Pokemon any legacy moves. Niantic has released a new item, however, that changes this up. With Elite TMs, Pokemon can finally have access to moves that they could only learn for a certain period of time

Whereas typical TMs teach a move to a Pokemon at random, Elite TMs allow the player to choose which move to teach. The player gets to pick from the Pokemon’s entire movepool; legacy moves included. This will finally allow players to give Pokemon rare moves that they couldn’t obtain through missing out on an event or simply by not having the game for too long.

One thing to note is that with Elite TMs, the value of legacy moves have dropped somewhat. Pokemon with legacy moves would usually have a high trade value, but now, any player can get any move with the Elite TMs. Pokemon that already have their legacy moves, though, are still valuable, since they don’t need resources to be spent on them.