I caught a Smeargle today following a photo bomb with my Lock-On / Focus Blast Registeel. The Smeargle I caught, to my surprise, knew Astonish / Focus Blast, not Lock-On. My suspicion is that Lock-On cannot be learnt by Smeargle, because Lock-On was introduced after Sketch.

My question is why did Smeargle learn Astonish? My guess is that it was a random move, but I cannot prove this nor find evidence online. None of the Pokemon I had used, caught or evolved recently knew that move.

  • Did you mean to ask this twice? Jun 18 '20 at 7:11
  • The context is the same for both questions, but the questions themselves are different that would require different answers. I thought it would be better to separate them instead of combining them into one question that would be "too broad."
    – MBorg
    Jun 18 '20 at 7:13
  • I feel like a simple "Why did Smeargle learn a move my Pokémon didn't know" would've been better than two questions asking about possible answers to the real question. Jun 18 '20 at 7:14
  • That's a fair point. I've changed the other question to "Why did Smeargle not Sketch Lock-On, and can this happen to any other moves?" That should encompass the underlying answer to the question, which is why does this happen. I'll still keep this, as the would be different i.e. what happens as opposed to why does this happen.
    – MBorg
    Jun 18 '20 at 7:22

If Smeargle cannot learn the move it tries to copy, it will simply learn a random move from its available move pool. This goes for both fast and charge moves.

While snapping pictures of Registeel this morning, I was lucky enough to be photobombed. Smeargle learned Karate Chop instead of Lock-On. This has happened to other trainers as well.

Apparently (at the time of writing of the reddit thread at least) Smeargle could not learn Psystrike and learned Hydro Pump instead.

Another trainers Smeargle learned Blast Burn after photobombing a Lucario instead of learning its original charge move (my guess would be Aura Sphere, since Aura Sphere is a newer move introduced within the last year).

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