20 Best Hoenn HM Slaves For Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire & Emerald (And ORAS)

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HMs are, thankfully, a relic of the past.

Having one useless Pokémon on your team dedicated to getting you around the map is a mechanic that should have died in the Diamond and Pearl days.

While trainers don’t have to deal with that kind of pain anymore, playthroughs of old-school generations still require you to strap the shackles and chains onto one member of your party.

There are eight HMs that you’re going to need to use throughout your playthrough of R/S/E (or Omega Rube/Alpha Sapphire).

Thankfully, some of these HMs actually have some level of battle application, like surf. But most of them, looking at you cut, are completely useless. This means you want your HM slave to be able to learn as many as possible to avoid needing two of them in your party.

We’ve compiled a list of the best Gen III Pokémon that are so well suited to HM slaving, that they’re basically asking to be used for what they’re best at: moving you past obnoxious plot points.


20. Shiftry

Shiftry Grass-Type Pokemon in the anime

Shiftry comes in at the bottom of our list and can learn four of the possible eight HMs in the game: strength, flash, rock smash, and cut.

What puts this sketchy looking sucker on our list over other Pokémon that can learn four HMs is the fact that it has some level of battle application.

It has poor base stats, but you can tech out a Shiftry for OU competitive play, thanks to sunny day and shadow ball builds.

While he does lack in this department compared to other options, it’s still nice to have the option of building one as a HM/battle hybrid.


19. Wishcash

Wishcash Pokemon anime screenshot

Wishcash holds a special place in my heart thanks to its involvement in the old Mystery Dungeon games, and the fact that it looks like a stoned Pokémon version of Wario.

As an HM slave, Wishcash is a particularly good choice thanks to a solid typing of ground and water, as well as having a decent move set.

You can get it pretty early on in the game, too. Once you get the good rod.

It learns five HM moves.

It’s similar to Sharpedo(up next) in this regard, except for the fact that is significantly less useful.

It has a good HP stat, but the rest of them are nothing to write home about. When compared with Sharpedo’s high attack and speed stats, the only reason to use this knowledgeable catfish is the belief that it’s going to bring you a bit of good luck.


18. Sharpedo

Sharpedo from Pokemon anime

Sharpedo was something of a fan favourite way back in the days of Hoenn.

The crazed looking shark head comes firing into the list at 18, (get it? Because it’s a torpedo?)

Capable of learning five of the potential eight HMs in the game, Sharpedo is more useful than a lot of the other HMs slaves at this level thanks to the fact it can learn strength and surf.

These are two of the more powerful HMs in the game, so if you absolutely have to, you could use Sharpedo in battle.

He has a great base attack stat, and his speed is nothing to scoff at either. Just make sure you don’t let him get hit by anything too hard.


17. Swampert

Swampert Hoenn Pokemon anime screenshot

I can already hear the outcries from the loyalists of the Gen III water starter. “Why are you using a starter as a HM slave you ****!?”

That’s fair.

Obviously, for a casual run you’re not going to be loading Swampert up with useless moves and calling it a day.

However, the fact that it can learn five HMs remains true.

In fact, Swampert takes on the role of HM slave in the latter portions of some Gen III speedruns. So it’s not a situation that’s unheard of.

Don’t take its entry on this list as a sign of hate. Swampert was the first Pokémon I ever levelled to 100.

It’s just a stone-cold fact that it makes a great HM ‘mon for the party.


16. Azumarill

Azumarill Pokemon in the anime

I’m going to be brutally honest right now. Azumarill is hot trash as a battle Pokémon.

However, that doesn’t change the fact this aqua rabbit is adorable.

With a level of cuteness that high, and the fact that it has an ability called thick fat, I find it very hard not to identify with this Pokémon.

Despite my love for it, beyond learning five HMs and its appearance, there is no point in having this Pokémon on your team. Its stats are terrible, although it does learn some powerful moves like hydro pump, double edge, and superpower.


15. Gyarados

Gyarados from Pokemon anime

This entry falls into the same category of “great Pokémon that also makes a great HM slave.”

There’s little to no reason to actually use Gyarados as a HM slave, given how unbearable strong the pseudo-dragon his.

But again, the fact that it can learn five of them is useful.

It can learn some of the more powerful HM moves too, including a STAB surf. Unfortunately, surf is a special attack move. And Gyarados’ special attack is absolutely pitiful compared to his physical, which is why it’s so low down on the list.


14. Absol

Absol Pokemon anime screenshot

Absol is one of the most badass Pokémon designs that I’ve ever seen.

And its involvement in Mystery Dungeon, again, brings up some fond memories.

It’s a staple of my endgame team in a lot of modern generations thanks to it being one of the best false swipers in the game, however this isn’t the case for Gen III.

Absol can’t learn false swipe until the generations after Emerald. And with it having a pathetic Gen III move set, the only reason to really use one on your team is the fact that it looks ridiculously sleek and can learn four HMs.


13. Kyogre

Kyogre Hoenn Pokemon anime screenshot

Bet you didn’t expect to see the literal god of the ocean on a list about HM slaves.

Kyogre is, of course, a super powerful Pokémon and should not be made a HM slave under any circumstance… except for the meme.

If you really want to stick it to the man, you can turn this thick spicy boi into a glorified rock pusher.

Keep in mind, though, you get Kyogre in the postgame of Emerald & at the end of Sapphire, at which point you don’t need an HM slave.

Yet the fact that you can load up an ancient, all-powerful deity with a bunch of HMs is still tempting enough to earn a spot on the list.


12. Latias/Latios

Latias/Latios from Pokemon anime

Surprise! You thought Kyogre was the only legendary on the list? Think again!

Like the ocean god, these two are pointless as HM slaves given how powerful they are and how late you get one.

However, we can’t help but put the dynamic duo on the list because they can learn six HMs, including surf and fly.

If you want an absurd HM slave that’s going to make you feel almighty, then one of these should be an option.


11. Kecleon

Kecleon Pokemon in the anime

This sneaky reptilian lizard thingy plays a small role in the Gen III story, making an encounter with one inevitable.

It serves the same role as the old man without his coffee did back in the day, blocking your progression until you complete the necessary story events.

Once you get your hands on the Devon Scope and make the invisible chameleon appear, you can catch it. It has alright stats and learns the same four HMs as Absol. Kecleon does get bonus points for style, though.


10. Breloom

Breloom Pokemon anime screenshot

The fungal fury of the competitive scene, Breloom has caused the rage of many an online player.

For our purposes, though, Breloom is also a good option.

You can find a little Shroomsish waddling around the wild fairly early on in the game, which makes Breloom a great early-game HM slave.

It learns the same four HMs as Absol and Kecleon, however it has a better moveset and a STAB bonus for rock smash, making it infinitely better.

So if you’re looking for a Pokémon that’s a great HM slave, as well as looking like it would be great in a stir-fry, this one’s for you.


9. Golduck

Golduck Pokemon in the anime

We’re into the part of the list where the kings of the HM slaves live, as ironic as that is.

Starting out with elegant evolution of my spirit animal(Psyduck, of course).

Golduck is based off of the Kappa from Japanese mythology, which is surprising given that Golduck is beautiful and the Kappa is, well, not.

It can learn six HMs which is what puts it this high on the list, despite its meagre stats and moveset.

However, you can only get a Psyduck from the Safari Zone. Which is a decent way into the game.


8. Pelipper

Pelipper from Pokemon anime

It’s becoming something of a theme with HM slaves playing a part in the Mystery Dungeon games, which I’m beginning to be concerned is more than a coincidence.

Unlike the other entries on the list, Pelipper only learns two HMs.

However these HMs are surf and fly, which are the most important for traversing the Hoenn map.

It’s one of the few Pokémon that can learn this combo, which is what makes it both number eight on the list, and the ultimate Gen III navigator.

Essentially, Pelipper is your own personal Uber driver.


7. Walrein

Walrein Pokemon in the anime

Walrein is a chunky beast in the R/S/E games.

With incredible base states, including a massive HP pool, it’s a great choice for a bulky late-game HM slave that can absorb hits in battle while you work on healing up the rest of your party.

Its ice/water typing isn’t great, with some notably weak matchups. But if you use it right then that shouldn’t be a problem.


6. Wailord

Wailord Hoenn Pokemon anime screenshot

If you thought that Walrein had a lot of health, you haven’t seen nothing yet.

The Skitty destroyer of the Pokémon world, (if you know, you know) has a maximum HP stat of 544.

Wailord is going to absorb even the harshest punishment, and only has two weaknesses in the forms of grass and electric.

It can learn five HMs, including the three water ones. Meaning that you still get some offensive capability beyond being simply being a damage sponge.


5. Aggron

Aggron from Pokemon anime

The best use for a HM slave in battle is using them as a sacrifice to revive and heal up your party in a sticky situation.

There’s not better option for this than Aggron.

One look at this beast should tell you everything you need to know about it. With a defensive stat that would make even the strongest of Pokémon blush.

On top of that, it has a ludicrous amount of resistances, eight, to be exact. Despite a 4x weakness to fighting and ground, Aggron is one of the best defensive options in the game in general.

It can learn four HMs, which surprisingly includes surf.

How a behemoth that weighs nearly 800 pounds doesn’t just sink to the bottom of the ocean is beyond me, though.


4. Tropius

Tropius Pokemon anime screenshot

Tropius is a dinosaur with a banana beard.

Need I say more?

Despite not having the best practical stats, it can learn five HMs. And is too dashing to not include on the list.

Also, it’s a thing that kids love to eat the bananas that grow on Topius’ neck. And that honestly just makes me uncomfortable


3. Ludicolo

Ludicolo - Pokemon in the anime

After Detective Pikachu, I’m honestly not sure if I can ever use a Ludicolo again.

But if you don’t have that problem (lucky you), then it makes a great HM slave.

It can learn six out of the eight HMs in the game, giving it plenty of utility throughout your quest.

Now it isn’t the best in battle. However, it isn’t as bad as some of the other entries higher up on the list. Not too bad!


2. Crawdaunt

Crawdaunt from the Pokémon anime

Crawdaunt looks more like it belongs on my plate at a five-star restaurant instead of on my Pokémon team.

But it’s still a good HM slaves that slightly beats out Ludicolo as a six HM user.

This is simply because, rather than learning Flash(which doesn’t have all that much use) Crawdaunt can learn cut.

It’s about as good in combat, but you’re going to find yourself using cut a lot more than flash in the game.


1. Zigzagoon/Linoone

Zigzagoon and Linoone - Pokémon anime screenshot

Linoone is most people’s HM slave of choice for Gen III, and for good reason.

It evolves from Zigzagoon, meaning that you can get it as soon as you start the game.

It’s a normal type, making it pretty mediocre in battle. However it learns surf, cut, rock smash, and strength.

These are four of the most used HMs in the game and given how early you can get your hands on a Linoone, it’s by far the most valuable HM slave for your team.

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