Play Pokémon confirms hidden abilities and moves from Pokémon HOME are tournament legal

Not all, but some new Pokémon are legal for competition.

Screengrab via Pokemon

With the release of Pokémon HOME, there were multiple questions floating around about what new content would be legal to use during official Play Pokémon events since the new transfer method allows different forms, moves, and abilities into Sword and Shield

We officially have an answer for at least the biggest question, being that hidden abilities and moves that can be passed down from non-Galarian Pokémon through breeding are completely legal to use during all official competitions. 

This does not mean you can just transfer over a Pokémon from Sun and Moon that is present in the Galar Pokédex and use it in competition, however. If you want to make use of a hidden ability or some moves not available naturally in Sword and Shield you will need to breed and train up a new version of that Pokémon. 

The reason you have to do this is that when you compete in online competitions or official events, the game checks each Pokémon in your party for what is called a “Galar symbol.” This is just a small mark that appears in your Pokémon’s summary that shows it was obtained in Galar, which will be how the game differentiates between the incoming wave of Pokémon and the ones that are already present in the current games. 

Play Pokémon has updated the official rules document to reflect the addition of HOME and will continue to add new rules as more content is added over the next year through the Expansion Pass and other events. 

  • Pokémon may make use of any move or Ability available to that Pokémon through normal gameplay. This includes:
    • Hidden Abilities, if available
    • Moves and Abilities passed down to an Egg by a Pokémon brought in using
    • Pokémon HOME
    • Moves and Abilities made available through an official Pokémon event or
    • Promotion.

These new rules also seem to apply to players who might want to use Kantonian or Alolan forms of Pokémon that were already in Sword and Shield

  • Players may use Pokémon with the following Galar Pokédex numbers, provided they were caught or hatched in the game or were received at an official event or distribution.
    • #001–397
  • When Pokémon have a regional variant, any form available in the Galar region may be used.

That was another big question posed by former Pokémon World Champion Wolfe “Wolfey” Glick and many others, which seemed to result in the same answer. If you can breed it so that it receives a Galar symbol it can be used in official tournaments. 

This also lines up with the numbers given for which Pokémon can be used, because regional variants do not take up their own number, they just appear as a different form in the Pokédex. 

The Play Pokémon account also told players to stay tuned for more information about the International Challenge Online Competition and other VGC rule changes that will be made in the future.