Best Gen 3 TMs in Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and EmeraldThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
The gen 3 games introduced one of the best TM rosters in all main series games, to the point that generation IV just expanded the original 50 TMs without changing any from the original set.
And if you’re diving back into the original RSE titles, there’s a lot of great TM moves to pick from.
For this ranking we’ll cover some of the best ones to track down and help you finish your next playthrough.
10. TM46 (Thief)
Thief is a useful move for stealing held items from wild Pokémon.
This is one of the easiest way to get the evolution item Dragon Scale (which you can only get from wild Horsea or wild Bagon).
This move is especially important in Emerald, since completing the Pokédex will reward you with one of the Johto Starters: Chikorita, Cyndaquil, and Totodile.
Personally, Kingdra was the last Pokémon I needed in Pokémon Emerald, and I had to grind and look for Horsea for hours.
Using Thief instead of catching them all was a huge time save.
As a Dark-type move, you can get some use out of Thief against Tate and Liza, and Phoebe, as well as Steven’s Claydol and Wally’s Gardevoir.
Where to get: Oceanic Museum once you beat Team Magma (Ruby) or Team Aqua (Sapphire/Emerald)
9. TM30 (Shadow Ball)
Shadow Ball is an accessible and powerful Ghost-type move that ranks on almost all our TM lists.
With the lack of powerful Dark-type moves in RSE, Shadow Ball stands as a great cover for Psychic-types and Ghost-types.
It’s also very convenient to get, since as soon as you can get TM30, the next gym is Tate and Liza – the Psychic-type Gym Leaders.
But Shadow Ball is also a reliable counter against Phoebe.
Where to get: Mt. Pyre 6F (southern side)
8. TM19 (Giga Drain)
In a Hoenn that has “too much water”, and lots of trainers filled with Grass-type weaknesses near the end of the game, Giga Drain is just useful.
It’s not only reliable to deal damage, but also useful to heal a lot of HP.
Emerald makes the most out of Grass-types since twins Tate and Liza, and Juan adds more Pokémon with Grass weakness, but Ruby/Sapphire still finds Giga Drain useful since both Kyogre and Groudon is weak to Grass-types
You can use Giga Drain against Tate and Liza, Wallace, Juan, and Glacia, as well as Steven’s Claydol.
Where to get: Route 123 (north near soft soil)
7. TM22 (Solar Beam)
If you’re playing Pokémon Ruby, once you get Groudon and add it to your team, you’re guaranteed infinite Sunny weather until your opponent changes the weather.
And while the sun is up, Solar Beam doesn’t need to charge before dealing damage.
This effectively makes it a powerful Grass-type attack without a drawback.
Just note that Wallace, Juan, Glacia, and Drake can change the weather using one of their Pokémon. In Glacia’s case, Walrein is the only one without Hail.
Where to get: Safari Zone Northwest Area (requires Mach Bike and Surf)
6. TM25 (Thunder)
If you’re playing Pokémon Sapphire, then you can expect a lot of Rainy weather in battle.
And here’s a fact some players don’t know: while it’s raining, Thunder does not miss.
So this is kinda like the opposite equivalent of Solar Beam.
But Thunder is better than Solar Beam, since Wallace and Juan can’t change the weather here because they also have Rain Dance.
Glacia and Drake can still change the weather using one of their Pokémon, though. In Glacia’s case, most of her Pokémon have Hail, so that’s the only tricky fight to maintain.
Where to get: Lilycove Department Store for 5500 PokéDollars
5. TM26 (Earthquake)
Earthquake is always reliable in any main series game, since it’s powerful yet very accurate with no drawbacks.
Earthquake sees use as a reliable counter to Steven in Ruby/Sapphire, yet it lacks more coverage outside Steven compared to Fire-types.
But I have to say, Earthquake is still very useful since it’s still a strong neutral move for Pokémon lacking a reliable Physical attack.
Where to get: Seafloor Cavern (deepest room, requires Strength)
4. TM50 (Overheat) / TM35 (Flamethrower)
Fire-types are pretty useful in Hoenn.
Especially in Ruby and Sapphire where the champion is a Steel-type specialist.
While Overheat is more powerful and easier to get, if you have the coins and you’re willing to hang around the Mauville Game Corner, you can opt for Flamethrower.
And let me say, getting Flamethrower early is incredibly helpful.
Overheat is good enough, but you may need to switch out often to reset the stat debuff it has.
Where to get: Lavaridge Gym Reward (Overheat) / Mauville Game Corner for 4000 coins (Flamethrower)
3. TM24 (Thunderbolt)
I’d argue Thunderbolt can be superior to Thunder, just because it can hit more and you can get it quicker.
And it’s useful regardless of version you’re playing.
Plus it’s also convenient that TM24 is available just before Winona, the Flying-type Gym Leader. Was that on purpose? Had to be, right?
Where to get: Reward after completing Wattson’s New Mauville request, Mauville Game Corner for 4000 coins
2. TM13 (Ice Beam)
Like Thunderbolt, you can get Ice Beam without spending coins in the Mauville Game Corner (although it is in there too).
This move is super useful as soon as you can acquire it, which is before Winona.
Or if you hang around Mauville long enough playing slots. That’s always an option.
Ice Beam’s most useful moment is against Drake, who has four Pokémon which are double weak to Ice-types (this only applies to three of his Pokémon in Emerald).
Where to get: Abandoned Ship (Storage Closet), Mauville Game Corner for 4000 coins
1. TM31 (Brick Break)
Fighting-types cover a lot of good monsters in the Elite Four.
And if you don’t have a Fighting-type on your team, Brick Break is just plain helpful as a coverage move.
It’s probably the most reliable Fighting-type move you can learn via TMs, compared to the situational Focus Punch.
It also helps that Brick Break has a great distribution.
This move also pairs well with Fire-types when you’re going against Steven. Fire and Fighting moves basically cover all of Steven’s Pokémon.
Where to get: Sootopolis City (Western House)