10 Best Gen I TMs in Pokémon Red, Blue & YellowThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
If you’re like me and love the old-school Pokémon games, you’ll probably realize that Gen I games are actually harder than some of the modern gens.
With some moves not working at all (like Focus Energy), and with Psychic-types being immune to Ghost-types, it’s easy to see why these older titles feel like they’re strung together with paper clips.
But they’re still a blast to go back and play, especially if you grew up on them.
And if you’re picking up Gen I again for a bit of fun, here’s some of the better TMs worth snagging.
10. TM45 (Thunder Wave)
It’s always a good strategy to slam your opponent with some status ailments.
And paralysis is one of the best status conditions in the gen I games.
Not only does paralysis lower the opponent’s speed, but it also renders them unable to move half the time.
There are better paralysis dealing moves in the game(specifically those that also deals damage), but Thunder Wave is on this list because it’s guaranteed to paralyze non-Ground type Pokémon.
Where to get: Route 24 (northwest)
9. TM32 (Double Team)
If all else fails, increase your evasion.
Double Team and Minimize are notorious for stalling battles. They make each fight more of a game of luck rather than skill.
So if you have the evasion boost and your opponent doesn’t, you’ll most likely be landing more hits, and most likely come out as the winner.
It also helps that the only move in gen I that ignores an accuracy check is Swift, which is rare to see in NPC battles.
Where to get: Safari Zone – West Area / Celadon Department Store 1000 PokéDollars
8. TM47 (Explosion)
Explosion has this weird quirk where it halves the opponent’s defense during the damage calculation, effectively doubling the damage on an already powerful Explosion.
The problem is that you get knocked out in the process.
This is great when you’ve already knocked most of an opponent’s party before you use Explosion, and if your Pokémon only has a few HP left.
Explosion makes sure you go out with a bang, and possibly another knock-out, ideally winning you the battle. Just make sure you have a few others in your party!
Where to get: Victory Road 3F (northwest)
7. TM16 (Pay Day)
Once you finish the game, you can’t re-battle trainers (at least, that’s the case in the original RBY titles).
So the best way to earn more money post-game is to fight the Elite Four and use Pay Day.
Pay Day is helpful in post-game if you’re trying to complete the Pokédex.
There’s a lot of rare (and annoying) Pokémon to catch in the Safari Zone. So you’ll likely be going back countless times, which costs money. And this is a handy TM to help keep you flush with Poké cash.
Where to get: Route 12 via Surf (southeast of Lavender Town Gate)
6. TM08 (Body Slam)
Think of Body Slam like a much more powerful (and more accurate) Mega Punch that also has a 33% chance of paralyzing your opponent.
Body Slam is a great move if you want to deal damage reliably, and possibly inflict a status at the same time.
Just note that it cannot paralyze Normal-type Pokémon in gen I. But it’s still by far one of the strongest straightforward damaging moves, and you can get it pretty early by scouring Vermilion’s S.S. Anne.
Where to get: S.S. Anne 1F (second room from the left)
5. TM26 (Earthquake)
Earthquake is a great move in gen I, because Kanto is full of Poison-types for some reason.
It’s also the most powerful move in the game without any negative effect whatsoever.
You can also get it midway through the story, where most of the Kanto gym leaders have teams that are weak against Ground.
You can use Earthquake against Koga, Blaine, Giovanni, and Agatha, as well as Bruno’s Onix. Not to mention your rival’s Rhydon and Arcanine (assuming you didn’t choose Bulbasaur, but even if you did, that’s still a lot of use!)
Where to get: Silph Co. 10F (southwest room)
4. TM13 (Ice Beam)
Unlike other generations, Ice Beam is really useful in gen I. Even beyond the usual Dragon-type counter move.
Ice Beam can inflict frozen status, one of the most broken status conditions in the game.
Once your opponent is frozen, the only thing they can do is use an item, or use the move Haze, or be hit by a Fire-type move to unfreeze them.
Otherwise they cannot be thawed out and will remain frozen until they get knocked out. And gen I is the only generation where frozen is basically permanent like this.
Plus you can also use Ice Beam against Erika, Giovanni, and Lance, as well as Bruno’s Onix, Agatha’s Golbat, and your rival’s Pidgeot, Rhydon, and Exeggutor/Venusaur. So it’s just all-around a great move.
Where to get: Celadon City Department Store Roof (in exchange for Fresh Water)
3. TM29 (Psychic)
Psychic-types are broken in Generation I.
So Psychic is a beastly move to have.
There’s no Steel or Dark-types to resist it here. So the only Pokémon that resist Psychic moves are Psychic-types themselves.
You can get a lot of use out of Psychic against Erika, Koga, the Fighting Dojo in Saffron City, Bruno, and Agatha. Plus you can crush Giovanni’s Nidoking and Nidoqueen in the Viridian gym pretty fast.
Where to get: Saffron City (Mr. Psychic’s House – Southeast)
2. TM15 (Hyper Beam)
Hyper Beam has a glitch in the original RBY games.
Originally, after you use Hyper Beam, you can’t move the next turn due to recharge.
In Generation I, however, if you’ve successfully knocked the opponent out with Hyper Beam, there will be no recharge.
Hyper Beam is easily one of the most powerful moves in the game, so it’s also pretty easy to knock out an opponent if you’ve already whittled down their health a bit.
A good strategy to follow is to use another move to weaken your foe, like Body Slam or Earthquake, and then finish ‘em off with Hyper Beam.
The only issue with Hyper Beam is that it’s only available in the Celadon Game Corner for 5500 coins, which is expensive. So you’ll either be playing slots for a while, or you’ll need to save up a lot of cash to buy that many coins!
Where to get: Celadon Game Corner (5500 coins)
1. TM07 (Horn Drill) / TM27 (Fissure)
Horn Drill and Fissure are not the most accurate moves, even if they are straight-up OHK moves.
But there’s one item that converts these from situational moves, into outright broken moves: X Accuracy.
Up until Generation II, X Accuracy ignored accuracy checks.
That’s right: your one-hit KO moves cannot miss after using just one X Accuracy. And it only costs 950 PokéDollars each, free to buy from the Celadon Department Store.
And you can also buy the TM for Horn Drill while you’re there, since TM07 is just 2000 PokéDollars.
Fissure you’ll only get after beating Giovanni in the Viridian Gym.
But once you get Horn Drill, Fissure, and some X Accuracy, the only limit is your PP. Since these moves only have 5 PP each.
But you can user Ether or Elixir when you run out of PP on these, then just steamroll your way through the E4.
Just note that Ghost-types are immune to Horn Drill, and Flying-types are immune to Fissure.
But with a bit of planning, these two moves can take down pretty much anything.
Where to get: TM07: Celadon Department Store for 2000 PokéDollars / TM27: Viridian Gym Reward