Pokemon Platinum Version :: Guide to Handling the HMs
As you make your way through the Sinnoh region in Pokemon Platinum, you will often find your route blocked by one obstacle or another. Barriers like boulders, trees, sleeping pokemon, and bodies of water help to guide your way, making sure that you don't move too quickly through the game and preventing you from missing important things like gym badges.
To get past these obstacles, more often than not, you will need a HM, or Hidden Machine, that will teach your pokemon a special move that can overcome the barrier. HM techniques, however, cannot be deleted. The reason for this is to prevent you from trapping yourself in game somewhere. For example, if you used Rock Smash to progress in a cave and later on forgot Rock Smash to learn a different move, you might find yourself stuck in the middle of the cave with no way out. Thus, HM moves can only be deleted by visiting a special character in game.
However, this means that HM moves can take up one of the valuable four moves that each pokemon can learn. Most HM moves aren't that powerful and you don't want your best pokemon to be stuck with a bad moveset. This guide will separate the good moves from the terrible and help you pick a travel companion that can hold all the important HM moves.
HM06 is the first HM you will get, picking it up from the hiker at Oreburgh Gate. Remember that you cannot use a HM move until you have beaten the corresponding gym for it, so don't bother trying to go through the cave until you have your first badge. Rock Smash is a fighting type move but its power is not that great, though it does have the ability to sometimes lower your opponent's defense. You will need it a few times while travelling, especially near the start of the game, so keep a pokemon with this ability. Do not use it in online battles.
HM01 is a familiar HM to Pokemon veterans, having been around since the first Pokemon game. The power of this normal type move, like Rock Smash, is not good, so do not use it in battles unless you really have to. Outside of battle, it will cut the small trees that you see all over the world map, giving you access to small, special areas. It is a good idea to travel with this move in hand.
HM05 is generally useless, both in battle and out. If you don't mind stumbling around a lot, then you don't even need it. However, to avoid stress and frustration, you might as well take it along with you into foggy areas. In battle, using De Fog will help you to hit evasive opponents, which is not that useful at all.
HM02 is a unique HM, as you do not really need to have a pokemon with it on your team at all times since you decide when to use it (as opposed to the game map forcing you to use the other HM moves). However, Fly is very useful, especially if you like to travel a lot. It is also a fairly decent Flying type attack that deals a good amount of damage. It is not a bad idea to give this move to a strong pokemon on your team, seeing how it is useful both in travelling and in battles. Just like in the first pokemon game, it is easy to miss this HM. You can find it in Team Galactic's Warehouse in Veilstone City.
HM03 is another great HM to have. You will definitely be using it a lot outside of battle to travel over water. In terms of power, it is only a bit weaker than Hydro Pump, but is more accurate and comes with more PP. It is the equivalent of choosing to use Ice Beam instead of Blizzard. Most likely, you will have a water pokemon on your team. Don't hesitate to give it Surf, you will be using it a lot, no matter the circumstances.
HM04 is the sixth HM you can get in Platinum. In terms of power, it is not too bad, but nothing to brag about either. If you have a normal or fighting pokemon that doesn't have a good fourth move, you can use this to fill the void. Most of the later puzzles in the game will involve boulder pushing, so you will definitely need to have a pokemon with Strength on your travel team.
HM08, despite being numbered eighth, is the second to last HM you will get. You will be using this move outside of battle a few important times throughout the game, so you will need to have it on your team. In terms of battle power, Rock Climb is actually a really good move. It has good power and may cause your opponent to become confused, which can hurt them even more. Unfortunately, the attack is not 100% reliable and it may miss every now and then.
HM07 is another water type HM move. Unfortunately, it is not as strong as Surf and, thus, not recommended for battles since it is a waste to give a strong pokemon two HM moves. You will need Waterfall to travel later on in the game, so do put it on a pokemon, just not one that you will be fighting with.
Your Travel Companions
If you have been catching every pokemon you come across, you should have a Bidoof and a Starly somewhere. They are extremely common and, in fact, you should have seen plenty of them on Route 201, the first route of the game. Between Bidoof and Starly, you should be able to make it through the first half of the game without any HM related problems as Bidoof can learn Rock Smash and Cut while Starly can learn Fly and De Fog. If you have time, level up your Bidoof and evolve it to Bibarel. You can also catch a Bibarel in the Great Marsh if you don't want to waste experience points.
Bibarel is probably the best travel pokemon there is, as it can learn Rock Smash, Cut, Surf, Strength, Waterfall, and Rock Climb. The best moves to give it are Rock Smash, Cut, Strength, and Waterfall, since these are moves that are not that great in battle. Surf should be given to your main water pokemon that you battle with and Rock Climb can be given to your starter pokemon after it evolves for the final time, providing that you have a fourth move slot open.
If you managed to get a Pelipper, it can replace Starly in your line up, since it can learn Fly, De Fog and Surf. It can be found on most surf routes, but is fairly uncommon. If you can, try to get a Flygon, either from GTS or from a friend with the Diamond or Pearl version of Pokemon. In Diamond/Pearl, Trapinch and Vibrava can be found with the PokeRadar on Route 228 and they will evolve to Flygon. Flygon can learn Fly, Strength, De Fog, and Rock Smash. Although it is a bit of a waste to use Flygon just for HMs, between Flygon and Bibarel, you can have all eight HMs covered, which is very convenient and can make travelling less of a hassle.