Cloning glitches

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Cloning glitches are glitches in the Pokémon games that enable a player to make an exact copy or "clone" of a Pokémon. While cloning glitches have been found in multiple generations, the methods to achieve cloning vary from game to game. Most of these methods involve exploiting the relatively long save times of the Pokémon games to interrupt the saving process when only a portion of data have been saved successfully. Like most glitches, there are negative side effects, such as the potential loss of the Pokémon to be cloned or even corruption of the saved data.

BoEANSprite.png This glitch is in need of research.
Reason: Is the lost box in gen 2 VC fixable? Also, what happens if Box 1 is empty upon transporting?
You can discuss this on the talk page.

Generations I and II

There are two different methods for cloning Pokémon in the games from Generations I and II, one involving a Pokémon trade, and the other the use of the Storage System. Even though both are possible in all of the handheld games of these two generations, the trading method is mostly associated with Generation I, and the storage system method with Generation II.

Trading method

The cloning glitch most popular in Generation I involves the interruption of the trading process. As Game Link Cables for the Game Boy are unable to send and receive data simultaneously, one game cartridge first sends its traded Pokémon's data while the other receives it, and then vice versa for the second traded Pokémon. Interrupting the trade after one Pokémon was sent and the other wasn't causes the first Pokémon to be present on both games and the second one not present on either, essentially making two of the same Pokémon while making the other disappear. The interruption can be either accidental—because of dirty connectors or damaged Game Link Cables—or on purpose—by disconnecting the Game Link Cable or turning the Game Boy off.

In the Generation I games, this glitch is potentially very hazardous to the save file, because in the period of time between sending and receiving a Pokémon (or vice versa) the game saves the player's party. If the glitch is performed wrong and the game has not finished saving, the saved data will be corrupted. In Generation II this process was changed, and thus this method is not hazardous for the save file.

Box change method

Another cloning method present in the early Pokémon games involved the exploit of the Pokémon Storage System and the fact that the game needed to save every time a Box was changed. During the saving that takes place when switching the Box, first the Pokémon data on all the PC Boxes is saved, and then the Pokémon data on the player's party. In Pokémon Gold and Silver if some Pokémon are deposited in the PC before switching the Box, interrupting the saving process (turning the power off or reseting using the Virtual Console menu) at the right moment (ideally, after the "Yes/No" box disappears and before the "A" in "Saving" appears in the dialog Box, but after the Box has appeared) causes said Pokémon to be present both in the Box and the player's party. This method, unlike the trade method, allows the player to clone up to five Pokémon at the same time, as well as in Generation II, clone items by making the cloned Pokémon hold items before cloning it. In Pokémon Crystal instead the player must interrupt the saving shortly after the period in "Power" appears out in the dialog box, but before saving sound effect plays.

If the glitch is used with a game attached to Pokémon Stadium 2, there is a chance of getting strange glitch Pokémon. If the player withdraws a Pokémon and continues the cloning glitch, if the game is turned off at the right time, the cloned Pokémon will vanish and be replaced by a Pokémon with the same name, attack, and level as the Pokémon removed. Its sprite will be identical to the cloned Pokémon, but if sent into battle, it will appear as the withdrawn Pokémon. Its species name will be the same as the cloned Pokémon's and it will be able to learn all the TMs/HMs as the cloned Pokémon. However, it will evolve as the withdrawn Pokémon does.

This glitch may be used at the beginning of a game to obtain all three starter Pokémon.

By zachtheglitchbuster
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Poké Transporter method

If this glitch is done on the Virtual Console, and then the player uses Poké Transporter, the game will transfer Pokémon from the box the player swapped to, but the Pokémon will remain in the Virtual Console, essentially cloning them again. However, this glitch will remove Pokémon from Box 1 equal to the amount that was transferred. If more Pokémon are transferred than exist in Box 1, then Poké Transporter will improperly format Box 1 and make it unusable for normal Pokémon storage. Using the deposit option to place Pokémon inside Box 1 will cause them to disappear, effectively removing them. Regardless, Poké Transporter will detect the box as empty after this point and normal transferring of Pokémon will become difficult; the only way to transfer Pokémon from this point onward is to either use the method again to clone the Pokémon and bypass Box 1, use a method such as ACE to attempt to repair Box 1, or use the method discussed in the next paragraph to move Pokémon. Additionally, the corruption in Box 1 can be used in an unintended manner as attempting to play the Lucky Number Show will cause the game to still read data of some sort and can produce a prize despite no Pokémon existing in the box.

Pokémon can be successfully moved to Box 1 using the "MOVE PKMN W/O MAIL" option, though any Pokémon left in the Box will disappear should the Player close out of the Pokémon Storage System. Initially moving a Pokémon into Box 1 will change its nickname and delete the OT. The new nickname will be based either on the prior OT or based on the player's name on the save file. Regardless, the name will be an exact copy of the source, but without the first character in the name. Each additional Pokémon moved will cause the nickname of that Pokémon to be replaced with an additional character missing. For example, in the case of the OT ETHAN, the first Pokémon deposited into the box will receive the name THAN. The second Pokémon will be named HAN, the third AN, and so on. If a Pokémon that has been modified in this manner is move out of Box 1 and back into it, then it will be treated as before and its nickname will be rewritten with the appropriate number of characters missing. If no letters would remain, then the Pokémon will be given an improperly terminated nickname that will appear to have a blank name in most situations and that may show up as a long string of question marks in other situations. A Pokémon with an improperly terminated name can be used to set up other glitches. In addition, the music is likely to become corrupted by this point and the player will need to change maps to fix the issue or soft reset the game.

It is not fully known how hazardous using a corrupt Box 1 is to the save file of the game, if at all.

Storage system move method

The player can also exploit the move function within a box to clone a Pokémon. The box must not be full or it will cause the Pokémon to disappear. The player should select the Pokémon they wish to clone, select "move" and move it to somewhere else within the box. During the time that it is saving, the player should count three to five seconds then disconnect the power. This will result in a clone.

Generation III

Battle Tower

Due to improvements of the games and hardware such as the capability of the Game Boy Advance Game Link Cable to send and receive data at the same time, the auto-canceling of trades if something goes wrong, the lack of need to save while changing PC Boxes and new data corruption protection, both methods exploited in the first two generations to clone Pokémon were essentially removed for the third. While Pokémon cloning was completely absent on most games of this generation, the glitch returned in a different form in Pokémon Emerald, where the Link-Battle mode of the Battle Tower saved only the party, the Bag of the player and miscellaneous data, even if they chose "no" when the game asks to; this was due to the game's need to save a massive amount of data and check connections. By resetting the game without saving at this point, the game will resume in front of the NPC with the party as it was when the NPC saved the game and the PC as it was when the player manually saved the game. While up to six Pokémon can be cloned at one time, it requires the player to lose the Pokémon that was moved from the party to the PC. If the player is unwilling to lose a Pokémon, then the maximum number of Pokémon that can be cloned at once is five. It is also possible to clone numerous items at once by removing items held by Pokémon in the PC before talking to the NPC.

By Wooggle
This video is not available on Bulbapedia; instead, you can watch the video on YouTube here.

Generation IV


In Generation IV, a cloning method reminiscent of the methods from the first two generations appeared, involving the use of the GTS. If the Pokémon is deposited in the GTS and the connection were to be interrupted at the right time, the Pokémon in question would be both in the player's party or PC Box and in the GTS, requiring the player only to withdraw the Pokémon from the GTS to obtain the clone. In Pokémon Platinum Version, however, the glitch of cloning via GTS was removed; if attempted, the game simply reported a communication error and returned the player back to the main desk.

Due to the Wi-Fi shutdown, this method is no longer possible without using unofficial servers.


In Generation IV, if a player is trading Pokémon and one of the Nintendo DS systems is turned off at a certain time, the Pokémon that was traded to the game that was not turned off will appear in both player's parties. However, this glitch is very difficult to perform and quite commonly corrupts save data. There are reports that this method is effective in the Generation V games, but such reports are unconfirmed.

Corrupted save file

Sometimes, when a game's save file gets corrupted, the Pokémon in that save file are kept. When this happens, the game can still be saved, but the save file will be unable to be loaded. With the assistance of another Nintendo DS and Generation IV game, the Pokémon can be traded from the corrupted game. After the trade is completed, if the game is reset, the Pokémon traded from the corrupted game will be in both games, but the other traded Pokémon will be lost.

DNS abuse

In Generations IV and V, by manually specifying the DNS address so as to connect to a server other than the GTS, it was possible to clone Pokémon using features on that server. However, online services for these games were ended on May 20, 2014, thus making this method impossible.

Generation VI

The cloning glitch in Generation VI works much the same as the method in Generation I, by breaking off a trade between two nearby Nintendo 3DS systems connected via infrared connection. Depending on the timing, the first Pokémon may be cloned, the trade may complete, or the Pokémon will be erased. However, the chance of a Pokémon being erased is small and this method is not known to pose any harm to the player's save data. Most Pokémon will clone at about three seconds, although it has been observed that some held items impact the time taken to clone.

Transform glitchesGlitch TrainersCloning glitchesError messagesArbitrary code execution
Generation I: --0 ERRORBroken hidden itemsCable Club escape glitchExperience underflow glitch
Fight Safari Zone Pokémon trickGlitch CityItem duplication glitchItem underflowMew glitch
Old man glitchPewter Gym skip glitchPokémon merge glitchRhydon glitch
Select glitches (dokokashira door glitch, second type glitch) • Super GlitchTime Capsule exploitZZAZZ glitch
Generation II: Bug-Catching Contest data copy glitchCelebi Egg glitchCoin Case glitchesExperience underflow glitch
Glitch dimensionGlitch EggTeru-samaTime Capsule exploitTrainer House glitchesGS Ball mail glitch
Generation III: Berry glitchDive glitchPomeg glitchGlitzer Popping
Generation IV: Acid rainGTS glitchesPomeg glitch
Surf glitchTweakingPal Park Retire glitch
Generation V: Sky Drop glitchFrozen Zoroark glitchChoice item lock glitchCharge move replacement glitch
Generation VI: Choice item lock glitchCharge move replacement glitchLumiose City save glitch
Symbiosis Eject Button glitchToxic sure-hit glitch
Generation VII: Charge move replacement glitchChoice item lock glitchToxic sure-hit glitchRollout storage glitch
Generation VIII: Charge move replacement glitchChoice item lock glitchToxic sure-hit glitchRollout storage glitch
Glitch effects: Game freezeGlitch battleGlitch song
Gen I only: Glitch screenTMTRAINER effectInverted sprites
Gen II only: Glitch dimension
Lists: Glitches (Gen IGen IIGen IIIGen IVGen VGen VIGen VIIGen VIIISpin-off)
Glitch Pokémon (Gen IGen IIGen IIIGen IVGen VGen VIGen VIIGen VIII)
Glitch moves (Gen I) • Glitch types (Gen IGen II)

Project GlitchDex logo.png This article is part of Project GlitchDex, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on glitches in the Pokémon games.