The Best TMs in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet for Every Type

Be sure to grab these first when figuring out your competitive builds!

by J.R. Waugh
Image: The Pokemon Company

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet have some pretty great new features but they are still Pokemon games at their core in some important ways. In addition to the general story and concepts being the same (8 Gyms, a villainous-themed team/syndicate to battle, and legendary beasts to tame and capture) the battle system has remained largely unchanged aside from tweaks and adjustments. In Scarlet and Violet, some of the best moves are only learned via Technical Machines (TMs) for certain Pokemon, and having these TMs is vital if you want to create well-rounded competitive creatures, or beat the story.

The Best TMs in Scarlet and Violet, by Type

Many factors are considered when looking into the various learned moves in the game and why they should be considered the best. Their PP count is evaluated, their offensive output, power, and accuracy are checked for attacks, and various status and buff moves are often incredibly helpful too. No moves in Pokemon are off-limits as options, and even the less-exciting ones can be monumentally helpful in saving you from a quick defeat. Here are the best TMs and their moves in Scarlet and Violet, by type:

Normal: TM007 ‘Protect’


Protect is a vital move in many competitive movesets, allowing many trainers to instantly protect their Pokemon with high priority, meaning a near-guaranteed block against powerful moves. This allows players to scope out their opponent’s Pokemon, and even glimpse whether they’re packing any surprise attacks to capitalize on their weaknesses. Seasoned trainers will then have to decide whether they switch in, but in general, this is a great move to have and can be a perfect addition to an offensive sweeper with otherwise bad defenses.

To make TM007 for Protect, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 400 LP
  • Lechonk Hair x3
  • Scatterbug Powder x3

Fighting: TM167 ‘Close Combat’


Close Combat is still the best Fighting Type move in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. With a staggering base 120 power and being a physical move, there’s nothing quite like Close Combat on a fast sweeper Pokemon, which can easily shrug off the Def and Sp. Def drops that come with using this. This move obliterates opponents with 100% accuracy and is easily the most fitting option for the best Fighting TM in Scarlet and Violet.

To make TM167 for Close Combat, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 12,000 LP
  • Fiolu Fur x5
  • Crabrawler Shell x3
  • Mauhita Sweat x3

Flying: TM164 ‘Brave Bird’


This is a prominent example of how many of the most powerful physical moves in Pokemon have a common drawback: recoil damage. But Brave Bird, having 120 base power yet having 3 times the PP of Close Combat at a base 15 makes this a move with different advantages. It can be beneficial when used by tankier Flying Types, as long as they can shoulder 1/3 the damage they just inflicted as recoil, and regenerate it either by their held items or by Roost.

To make TM164 for Brave Bird, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 12,000 LP
  • 5 Starly Feathers
  • 3 Rufflet Feathers
  • 3 Rookidee Feathers

Poison: TM091 ‘Toxic Spikes’


Toxic Spikes ended up the winner here largely because of not only how many Pokemon can use it, but also because the move ‘Toxic’ isn’t learned via TM in Scarlet and Violet. Nonetheless, Toxic Spikes is a mainstay hazard move, discouraging switch-ins and punishing players for relying on their tanks if they can’t spin the spikes away. Using this twice to have 2 layers on the ground will cause any Pokemon landing on them to have the Badly Poisoned (Toxic) status ailment, punishing them severely for staying on the field. This is an essential move for players looking to outlast their opponents.

To make TM091 for Toxic Spikes, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 3,000 LP
  • Mareanie Spike x3
  • Pineco Husk x3

Ground: TM149 ‘Earthquake’


Arguably the most commonly used offensive move in competitive Pokemon, this move has excellent coverage against common threats and is perfect in both Singles and Doubles. If playing Singles, you have no fear of missing and losing a turn, as it has perfect accuracy and a deadly base 100 power. In Doubles, you can tailor your builds around this move so you don’t get your Pokemon hit (it hits all Pokemon on the field) so Telepathy, Levitate, and Flying Type Pokemon are good to go.

To make TM149 for Earthquake, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 12,000 LP
  • Phanpy Nail x5
  • Diglett Dirt x3
  • Barboach Slime x3

Rock: TM116 ‘Stealth Rock’


Likely the most reliable entry hazard of them all, Stealth Rock is not only going to hit anything switching in unlike the Ground Type ‘Spikes’ move, but it can do some serious damage to anything switching in. Flying, Bug, Fire, and Ice Pokemon are threatened just by switching in when Stealth Rock is up, and it breaks Sturdy and Focus Sash Pokemon unless the hazard is removed before entry. Stealth Rock is the best Rock Type TM in Scarlet and Violet as it allows you to command the battlefield while forcing the opponent to change up their tactics.

To make TM116 for Stealth Rock, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 5,000 LP
  • Rolycoly Coal x3
  • Rockruff Rock x3

Bug: TM060 ‘U-Turn’


While it might seem silly that one of the best TMs and possibly the best Bug Type move in Scarlet and Violet is a move that switches the user out, the tactical purpose is obvious. U-Turn does some pretty serious damage, has plenty of uses in battle, and allows you to swap to a more appropriate fighter for the current situation while simultaneously using their physical attack to still do damage and get away from harm. It’s a very common move for all kinds of Pokemon in competitive play.

To make TM060 for U-Turn, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 3,000 LP
  • Nymble Claw x3
  • Scyther Claw x3

Ghost: TM029 ‘Hex’


While Hex is not among the strongest TMs in Scarlet and Violet right away, it becomes devastating as part of a combo. If you can run a team specializing in inflicting statuses either via moves or entry hazards, Hex’s base power doubles from 65 to 130 when hitting Pokemon afflicted by major ailments. This means anything poisoned, paralyzed, frozen, asleep, or burned will receive even greater damage from special attackers using this move.

To make TM029 for Hex, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 3,000 LP
  • Mimikyu Scrap x3
  • Greavard Wax x3

Steel: TM099 ‘Iron Head’


Iron Head is not only a powerful move in the hands of many dangerous physical Steel Types in Scarlet and Violet, but it’s also among the most vital TMs for trainers looking to fight a bit dirty in competitive play. The move has a 30% chance to make targets flinch, and when combined with teams specializing in inflicting paralysis, this can be both highly effective and infuriating to deal with. This is known as ParaFlinch, where Paralyzed Pokemon, already slowed down by their status ailment, must essentially roll to be able to use a move once against Paralysis, and again if they Flinch. It can stop your opponent’s momentum instantly. Another reasonable selection is Flash Cannon, with the same base power but instead for special attackers, with the chance to lower Sp. Def.

To make TM099 for Iron Head, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 8,000 LP
  • Cufant Tarnish x5
  • Pawniard Blade x3
  • Rookidee Feather x3

Fire: TM157 ‘Overheat’


Overheat is an example of high-risk, high-reward gameplay, which is perfect as an example of good Fire Type TMs in Scarlet and Violet. Overheat has a deadly 130 base attack, but has the drawback of dropping Special Attack upon usage and has 90% accuracy. Any lower accuracy and this move would just not be good, as RNG in Pokemon is infamously unkind, and anything below 100% is met with a nervous response (Focus Blast is often called Focus Miss as a Fighting Type move with poor accuracy).

To make TM157 for Overheat, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 12,000 LP
  • Litleo Tuft x5
  • Numel Lava x3
  • Capsakid Seed x3

Water: TM123 ‘Surf’


Surf has been a mainstay option and has a similar place to Earthquake but for special attackers. While it is less powerful than Earthquake, a base 90 power is nothing to scoff at, and perfect accuracy along with the great coverage that comes with Water Type moves taught by TMs is an asset in Scarlet and Violet. It can be used by a wide array of Pokemon and makes this move take the cake for Water Types, beating out previously prominent contenders like Scald.

To make TM123 for Surf, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 10,000 LP
  • Finneon Scales x5
  • Wiglett Sand x3
  • Finizen Mucus x3

Grass: TM159 ‘Leaf Storm’


Leaf Storm is similar to the Overheat move above, but for Grass Type users. Both this and Overheat also have the advantage of hitting any adjacent Pokemon in Singles and Doubles, so it has good usage in both formats. The main downside to Leaf Storm is again the drop in Special Attack, but you can tailor your builds around this to prevent it from being your team’s downfall.

To make TM159 for Leaf Storm, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 12,000 LP
  • Bounsweet Sweat x5
  • Tropius Leaf x3
  • Toedscool Flaps x3

Electric: TM126 ‘Thunderbolt’


Thunderbolt is a reliable, powerful move and has been ever since its introduction in Generation I. In Scarlet and Violet, it returns as one of many TMs you can craft, providing a combination of excellent base power (90) and accuracy (100%) which makes it a more reliable move than Thunder (110 BP but 70% accuracy.) Thunderbolt is a mainstay option that allows Electric types a vital Special Attack move that sidesteps the cruel RNG of competitive Pokemon.

To make TM126 for Thunderbolt, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 10,000 LP
  • Pachirisu Fur x5
  • Tadbulb Mucus x3
  • Pichu Fur x3

Psychic: TM054 ‘Psyshock’


Psyshock is special, and not just because it is a Special Attack move, but also because it damages based on the enemy’s Defense instead of Special Defense. This makes Psyshock a great move to fake out opponents and potentially shut down a special defensive wall they put up against your deadly Psychic Types.

To make TM054 for Psyshock, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 5,000 LP
  • Meditite Sweat x3
  • Spoink Pearl x3
  • Drowzee Fur x3

Ice: TM124 ‘Ice Spinner’


In terms of coverage, Ice Spinner is an incredible addition to the Scarlet and Violet TMs roster. It’s a physical attack with 80 base power, and perfect accuracy, and removes entry hazards, dwarfing the power of Rapid Spin and Mortal Spin while boasting this same benefit. It’s a must for physical Ice Pokemon looking to protect their team from hazards like Stealth Rock, Spikes, or Toxic Spikes.

To make TM124 for Ice Spinner, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 8,000 LP
  • Cetoddle Grease x5
  • Bergmite Ice x3
  • Frigibax Scales x3

Dragon: TM100 ‘Dragon Dance’


Not to be confused with the events of the popular HBO franchise, Dragon Dance is vital for bulky Pokemon looking to make up for boosting their physical Attack and Speed stats. Just one or two of these are enough to turn them into deadly sweepers, and it’s not exclusive to Dragon Types either. Many other physical attackers in Pokemon are capable of learning this move, including the Water Flying Type Gyarados, which pairs well either with their ‘Moxie’ or ‘Intimidate’ Abilities.

To make TM100 for Dragon Dance, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 5,000 LP
  • Gible Scales x5
  • Noibat Fur x3
  • Tatsugiri Scales x3

Dark: TM087 ‘Taunt’


Despite the Dark Type having a whole host of valuable moves, many of the greatest hits aren’t necessarily TMs in Scarlet or Violet. This move essentially locks your opponent’s Pokemon into using offensive moves, and can stop attempts to debuff or otherwise undermine your defenses in ways attacks couldn’t, like Toxic. It’s a great move to dictate the flow of battle.

To make TM087 for Taunt, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 3,000 LP
  • Meowth Fur x3
  • Sableye Gem x3
  • Sneasel Claw x3

Fairy: TM079 ‘Dazzling Gleam’


Dazzling Gleam is one of the most valuable TMs in Scarlet and Violet due to it being an offensive Fairy Type move. Fairy Type Pokemon and attacks have changed the meta since their introduction in Generation VI, and Dazzling Gleam has a reliable presence with 80 base power and 100% accuracy. The fact that it hits adjacent Pokemon also makes it essential in Doubles, for dealing with pesky Dark, Dragon, and Fighting Types.

To make TM079 for Dazzling Gleam, you need the following at the TM Machine:

  • 8,000 LP
  • Fidough Fur x3
  • Hatenna Dust x3
  • Swablu Fluff x3

TMs in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are different this time around, with careful time investments needed to craft each one in many cases. It’s important to know where you should prioritize when building teams, and what moves are among the most valuable. Any of these are worthwhile in most teams, and make for a deadly and efficient set when you use them to play to each Pokemon’s strengths.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet released on November 18, 2022, exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.

- This article was updated on December 1st, 2022