Pokemon: Everything You Need To Know About EVs

If you spend time in the Pokemon community, you may have heard other players mention EVs, or Effort Values. The concept of Effort Values has been around since Pokemon Red & Blue, but the current way they work was solidified in Generation III. EVs are an element of the Pokemon games that are intentionally mysterious, never for players to discover or use to their advantage. It was only in Generation VI that EVs were acknowledged and explained in-game.

So what are EVs, and why are they so important, especially to competitive players? If you feel overwhelmed by all the complexity and numbers, this guide may help demystify the whole process. We’ll explain how EVs function, how to EV train your Pokemon, and the best items to use that will make it all easier.

What are EVs?

Ever wonder why NPCs in the Pokemon games always say that trained Pokemon are stronger than wild ones? The answer is actually quite simple: trained Pokemon have Effort Values, while wild Pokemon do not.

Every time your Pokemon defeat another Pokemon in battle, they gain EVs, which contribute to a Pokemon’s overall stats. Essentially, the more EVs a Pokemon has in a certain stat, the higher that stat will be.

Note: Effort Values are only present in core series games; you won’t find them in spin-off games such as Pokemon Mystery Dungeon. Furthermore, EVs are not present in Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, having been replaced with Awakening values, or AVs.

Why Are EVs Important?

EVs are important because they are another way of being able to improve your Pokemon besides just leveling them up. EV training allows players to target specific stats they want to increase on their Pokemon. If you want to make your Charmander faster, putting EVs into its Speed stat will make it more likely to attack first in battle.

On top of that, EVs arguably increase the realism of the Pokemon world and offer a more diverse and challenging experience when it comes to battling. Having a mechanic that turns a Pokemon’s efforts into visible improvements makes our Pokemon seem that much more life-like.

However, EVs aren’t the only factors that determine a Pokemon’s overall stats.

The Five Factors of A Pokemon

Put simply, there are five things that decide the stats of a Pokemon. The first two cannot be changed or improved, but the last three can. Above is a visual guide for how those values can be viewed in Pokemon Sword and Shield.

  • Base Stats: These are the fixed values of a Pokemon species. Every Pokemon of the same species (e.g. every Bulbasaur) will have the same Base Stats. Base Stats can range from 1 to 255 in each stat (e.g. HP or Attack).
  • IVs: Stands for Individuals Values. These act as the DNA or genes of a Pokemon. Each IV stat has a value of 0-31, with 31 being the best. IVs can be manipulated through breeding, but cannot be changed once a Pokemon is born or encountered. You can learn all about IVs here.
  • Nature: The Nature of a Pokemon is determined upon birth or encounter, and influences which stats are increased/decreased upon leveling up. For example, a Pokemon with a Naive Nature will have its Speed increased more when leveled up, but its Special Defense stat will be decreased. Prior to Generation VIII’s introduction of Mints, Natures and their effects could not be changed.
  • EVs: Stands for Effort Values. This is a mechanic to represent how much your Pokemon has improved through battling. EVs can range from 0 to 252 and can be increased or decreased regardless of what level your Pokemon is.
  • Level: A Pokemon’s stats become stronger each time they level up. Those new stats are calculated with complex math formulas that involve Base Stats, IVs, Nature, and EVs.

So How Do I EV Train My Pokemon?

Though specific strategies and items differ depending on which game you’re playing, there are some universal basic steps to EV training any Pokemon:

  • Decide which stat(s) you will train
  • Remove any unwanted EVs
  • Use items to increase EVs as much as possible
  • Battle Pokemon that give out EVs in the stat you want
  • Use held items to speed up the battling process
  • Keep track of EVs gained if your game doesn’t
  • Receive Effort Ribbon as proof of maxed out EVs

Below we’ll go into more detail for each step.

Pick Your EVs

When deciding what stats to EV train for a Pokemon, consider two different factors:

  • Which stat makes this Pokemon worth using?
  • Which stat leaves it vulnerable in battle?

Referring to the example above, Garchomp’s biggest asset is its Attack stat, which is a whopping 130. With perfect IVs and maxed out EVs, its Attack can reach a maximum of 394 at level 100. Because most people use Garchomp for physical attacks like Earthquake and Stone Edge, increasing its Attack stat will make it even harder for its opponents to survive.

In order to avoid being taken out before it can attack, Garchomp needs to be able to out-speed its foes, so putting EVs into Speed is logical. This is especially important since Garchomp has an x4 weakness to Ice-type moves, which can be a 1HKO.

Decreasing Unwanted EVs

If you want to EV train Pokemon that you’ve battled with before, they probably have EVs in stats you don’t want. You can check EVs in Pokemon Sword & Shield on the summary page. The main way to remove EVs in other games is by using special Berries. First introduced in Pokemon Emerald, these six Berries each lower a different EV stat while making the Pokemon more friendly towards you.

  • Pomeg: Lowers HP EVs by 10 points
  • Kelpsy: Lowers Attack EVs by 10 points
  • Qualot: Lowers Defense EVs by 10 points
  • Hondew: Lowers Special Attack EVs by 10 points
  • Grepa: Special Lowers Defense EVs by 10 points
  • Tamato: Lowers Speed EVs by 10 points

Another method of EV removal can be found in the Super Training feature. By using the Reset punching bag, the Pokemon can reset all of their EVs entirely, making a clean slate for training. Finally, Pokemon Black 2 & White 2’s makeup items (which can be found using the Join Avenue connection feature) can decrease or even reset a Pokemon’s EVs entirely.

Increasing Desired EVs

  • Using Vitamins: This is the easiest way to EV train, as long as you have the money for it. There are six kinds of Vitamins and they typically cost $9,800 each, though sometimes they go on sale. Each one raises a specific EV by 10 points. Prior to Gen VIII, Vitamins could only be used to raise the first 100 EVs of a stat.
  • Battling Pokemon: This is the bread and butter of EV training, though it takes time and patience. Every Pokemon yields a specific amount of EVs when defeated. Most players find a location in their game to grind Pokemon with the EV stat they want. Caves full of Golbat are popular since they offer 2 Speed EVs per defeat.
  • Feathers: Introduced in Gen V, Feathers are similar to Vitamins but only increase EVs by one point each. The good news is that they can be used past the 100 EV limit to max out the stat. You can find Feathers in multiple places depending on the game, but they can’t be bought.
  • Super Training: This method is available in Gen VI games and was the first instance of EVs being acknowledged and even visualized in Pokemon games. The mini-games can be used to increase EVs, as well as the various punching bag items.
  • Join Avenue Dojo: Pokemon in Black 2 & White 2 can take courses in order to increase their EVs. However, to unlock the better courses, players must connect with other players via wireless or Wi-Fi connection, the latter of which was discontinued in 2014.
  • Horde Battles: By KO’ing all five Pokemon in a Horde battle at once, the EV training process is sped up exponentially. Gen VI players can trigger Horde Battles by using Honey or Sweet Scent.
  • Juice Shoppe: Found in Kalos’ Lumiose City, the Juice Shoppe has special EV juices that can be unlocked if the player has a high stylishness. The custom shakes’ EV benefits depend on which Berries you blend together, but the results can yield up to 32 EVs per shake.
  • Poke Pelago: Passive EV training can be done in Alola’s Poke Pelago by sending Pokemon to Isle Evelup, where 30-minute sessions can be scheduled. The amount of EVs gained per session grows as the island develops more.
  • Festival Plaza: The Alola region’s Festival Plaza acts as an amalgam for several wireless and Wi-Fi features, but it has EV benefits too. Once a day, a Pokemon can play in a Bouncy Castle course to earn EVs, the amount depending on the course chosen. Food at the Battle Table increases EVs by 10 points each, while food from the Friendship stalls decreases/resets EVs.
  • SOS Battles: During an Alolan SOS battle, Pokemon that are called allies will yield double the EV points upon defeat.
  • Hammerlock University Seminars: Seminars are a type of Poké Job in Galar that can increase a Pokemon’s EVs by 4 points per hour.

Making EV Training Faster

There are several different factors that can multiply the amount of EVs gained from defeating Pokemon, making the whole process way faster.

  • Macho Brace: This held item was introduced in Gen III and doubles all EVs gained by defeating Pokemon, at the cost of halving the user’s Speed during battle.
  • Power Items: These are similar to the Macho Brace as it increases EV gain while halving Speed. The differences are that Power items increase a specific stat depending on the item. A Power Weight, for example, would give 8 EVs whenever the user gains experience. There are six Power items (one for each stat) and they are usually only obtained by using BP (Battle Points).
  • Pokérus: This is a rare condition that has a 3 in 65,536 chance of generating on your Pokemon after a battle. However, many players are willing to trade Pokemon for the purpose of spreading Pokérus. You’ll be able to see the infection status on the Pokemon’s summary screen, and the Pokérus can spread among the rest of your party. Luckily, Pokérus is great to have, as it doubles the amount of EVs a Pokemon gains from battling. Combining Pokérus with the Macho Brace means they will gain 4x the normal amount of EVs.

How To Know When You’re Finished

Most games have an NPC that will award Effort Ribbons to Pokemon that have maxed out their EVs. For Generation VI and later, players will be able to see a Pokemon’s EVs in their summary. In Pokemon Sword & Shield, this stat will be blue and have a distinct sparkle.

Whichever method you choose for EV training, know that making your Pokemon the best they can be is always a worthy and noble pursuit. Happy Training!

Next: Pokémon Sword & Shield: 10 Tips To EV Train

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Hayley Mullen is a writer, composer, musician, and gamer from Toronto, Canada. A graduate of McMaster University, they worked as 93.3 CFMU’s Production Coordinator, as well as radio show host of Study Jams. Having played over 700 hours of Pokémon Emerald, they are a true lifetime fan of the series. Besides gaming, Hayley enjoys public speaking, poetry, and reading mystery novels.

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