Guide to Competitive Pokemon EV training and IV Breeding

#1 Edited by Mikazukinoyaiba (105 posts) -

This is an information thread on competitive training techniques for improving the strength of your pokemon and making sure they keep a competitive edge, some of us are "hardcore" around here and practice these techniques and if you want a fair chance I suppose you should too.

Honestly, I'm nowhere nearly as hardcore as many people on Smogon.com and I only started using these techniques in the 4th generation because it became incredibly easy and accessible. 

But don't let this information intimidate you! Seriously EV training and IV breeding (since Hg/Ss) is just as simple and routine as level-grinding your pokemon to get them to learn a move or increase their strength.

It does take more time and effort than simply leveling up your pokemon but the rewards are great and once you've gathered the proper tools and refined your technique you can fully EV train a pokemon in as little as an hour. Same goes for breeding and mass hatching IV bred eggs.:

A. Information on EVs and EV Training

B. Information on Pokerus


C. Breeding Tips and Information on Individual Values 
 
With no VS. Seeker you'd have to EV train the old fashion way.   
 
List of spots for EV Training in Black and White

Location: Pokemon Species (# of EVs earned) appearance rate

HP:  
Iccirus City (surf): Stunfisk (2 ) 100% appearance

Attack:  
Route 1: Lillipup (1) 50% appearance and Patrat (1) 50% appearance

Defense:  
Relic Castle 1F and B1F: Yanmask (1) 50% appearance rate 
Wellspring Cave 1F and B1F: Roggenrola (1) 50% appearance rate

Sp. Attack:   
Celestial Tower 2F: Litwick (1) 100% appearance rate

Sp. Defense:   
Routes 4, 17, and 18 (surf): Frillish (1) 100% appearance rate

Speed:  
Routes 1 & 3 (surf): Basculin (2) 100% appearance rate

List of spots for EV Training in Heartgold and Soul Silver

HP:  
Route 29: Hoothoot(1) 85% appearance rate, night only  
Ilex Forest: Caterpie (1) 50-60% appearance rate, morning-day only

Attack:  
Routes 24 & 25 (surf): Goldeen (1) 90% appearance

Defense:  
Dark Cave - Route 31 entrance: Geodude(1) 60% appearance rate

Sp.Attack:  
Sprout Tower 2F & 3F: Ghastly (1) 85% appearance rate (night only) 
Route 6 (surf): Psyduck (1) 90% appearance rate

Sp.Defense:  
route 34/41: (Surf): Tentacool(1) and Tentacruel (2)

Speed: 
Slowpoke Well - 1F: Zubat (1) 85% appearance rate  
Any body of water (Old Rod): Magikarp (1) 100% appearance rate     
 
Section A 
 
Although there are plenty of guides available online (I recommend Smogon's guide on EV training for example) I'm going to go ahead and make a short article summing up EV training, how to EV train, and why people do it.

Just to make sure most people here on Giantbomb are on the same page.

EV training (also known as Effort Value training) is a technique to boost a pokemon's stats. This is either used to enhance their strengths or to bolster their weaknesses.

Whenever a pokemon receives EXP from a battle, it also gains a hidden value known as an Effort Point. For every 4 Effort Points of a certain type gained, a certain stat is increased by 1. 

To understand the effects of these stat boosts I'm going to go ahead and explain one fact, the stats a pokemon will have @ lv. 100 is determined from birth. This explains how the game is able to calculate what strength your pokemon would be at for lv. 100 or lv. 50 battles. Through EV training you can increase select stats further.

This however does not mean you can only benefit from EV training @ lv. 100. Even at lower levels pokemon can benefit from EV training, at lv. 50 half of the EVs are applied to your pokemon's stats.

How are Effort Points obtained?:

From battling pokemon, a pokemon earns Effort Points each time it earns experience. What kind of Effort Points you obtain and how many depends on the species of pokemon you gained experience from. I recommend checking out Serebii.net's pokedex if you want to know what type of points you get and how many for each pokemon you defeat.

As an example, Geodude gives you 1 Defense Effort Point, if say your pokemon would have 100 DEFENSE at level 100, if it has defeated four Geodudes it would have a DEFENSE of 101 since for every four Effort Points you gain 1 Effort Value.

Effort Value Limit 

You can't have a pokemon with 999 stats all around because there is a limit to how many Effort Values a pokemon can have, overall a pokemon can only carry 510 Effort Points, after that the game stops counting them and they have no effect. Further more, each stat is limited to be effected by only 255 Effort Points, thus you can only max out two stats w/ Effort Values. 

However, 255 isn't divisible by 4 so when people want to max out a stat they only collect 252 Effort Points for that particular stat and increase that stat by 63 Effort Values. An example, Garchomp which is typically used as a Physical Sweeper would have 252 ATTACK, 252 SPEED, and 6 HP Effort Points collected for it. A grand total of 510 w/ Attack and Speed maxed out and HP boosted by 1 for the heck of it.

If you want to verify that you've obtained all 510 EVs, go to Blackthorn City (Hg/Ss). In a house to the Northeast you can find a woman who will give your first party pokemon an Effort Ribbon if it has reached its limit. This is what many trainers do to verify and prove that their pokemon is EV trained.

In Black/White there is a lady in Opelucid City, in a house to the Northeast of the pokemon center, who does the same, however she will not give your pokemon a ribbon to certified it has maxed it's EVs just will make a comment that it has put in a lot of effort.  
  
Ways to make EV training faster:

There are multiple items and effects used in conjuction to make EV training faster.

Macho Brace - A hold item that doubles the Effort Points you earn from a battle.

Pokerus - The elusive pokemon virus that also doubles the Effort Points you obtain.

Power Items - Introduced in Diamond/Pearl and still around, these items give you +4 of a particular type of Effort Point (the description tells you what).

When using a hold item in conjunction w/ Pokerus, just remember that Pokerus applies last. For example if you defeat a Magikarp (1 Speed Effort Point) while you have both pokerus and the Macho Brace the formula is: [(1)2*2]= 4 Effort Points.

However if you have a power item the formula is: [(1+4)*2] = 10 Effort Points

Needless to say, Power Items are the best for Effort Value training. I hope that's enough information for most of you.     
 
Section B 
 
Information on Pokerus, for those who want to obtain it, maintain it, and understand what it does.

What is Pokerus:   
A pokemon "virus" that doubles the Effort Values your pokemon earns in battle, it acts like a Macho Brace without the effect of lowering in-battle speed.

How do I get Pokerus?
Pokerus debuted in the third generation and randomly a wild pokemon may have it, so by chance you could catch a pokemon with it or may have gotten in a battle with a wild pokemon w/ Pokerus.
  
Nowadays, with the advent of Wi-Fi typically you could get Pokerus from a friend (some off us here on Giantbomb have it) or randomly from a pokemon on the GTS (where I got my Pokerus strain).

It's pretty easy these days to get it.

How do I spread Pokerus to my party?:   
A pokemon infected with Pokerus will have a purple box with "PKRS" viewable in its summary screen. Whenever you get in a battle there is a chance that the pokemon directly adjacent to the infected one will be infected with Pokerus after the battle. 

You don't have to actually fight to spread the infection, just get in a battle with a wild pokemon and run. After a couple times the virus may spread. Repeat until your entire party or the pokemon you want infected are. It's that easy.

How does Pokerus die and how do I keep it alive?   
From my experience in the 4th generation, Pokerus seems to always die when the clock reaches midnight (00:00) if the infected pokemon is in your party. A dead pokerus strain still has its doubling EVs effect, it just isn't spreadable any longer.

To prevent this, make sure the infected pokemon is in your PC before the clock strikes midnight. I recommend doing the following: - Keep a couple back up infected pokemon in your PC so you won't run out of active strain - Always put the infected pokemon in the PC before you turn off your game.

When Pokerus dies instead of the purple box you will see a small ":/" face.     
 
Section C 
 
Breeding is a very important part of competitive pokemon: - Breded pokemon typically have stronger Individual Values (IVs) then their wild counterparts. - Breded pokemon can have access to special attacks and moves they can't normally learn through leveling up or would require using a TM to learn. They also can be born with moves they would have to level up to learn, allowing them to be born stronger and easier to raise.

Basics of Breeding: 

Obviously when breeding you will require a male or female pokemon, for some non-gender species that are breedable you would need to mate them with a Ditto.

Pokemon can only breed with each other if they are non-legendary and are in the same egg group. To determine what egg group a pokemon is in I recommend checking out Serebii.net's pokedex.

In breeding each gender has their own roles in determining the outcome of the progeny.

Males: - Determine Egg Moves - Determine TM Moves

Females: - Determine species - Can determine Dreamworld ability if holding the everstone while breeding

Both genders also can contribute a "level-up" move to the offspring, if there is a move that a pokemon can learn normally by leveling up and both parents know that move when they mate, the offspring will be born with that attack!

For example, Tangela only learns Ancient Power when it reaches lv.33, however if both parents know Ancient Power their progeny will be born with the move Ancient Power! This allows Tangela to evolve to Tangrowth @ lv. 2!

If you want to know what egg moves, TMs, and what level-up moves a pokemon learns I recommend checking out Serebii.net's pokedex once more.

Techniques for Breeding: 
Breeding isn't completely random, there are ways to anticipate and gain control of the result of a pairing between two pokemon.  There are also ways to ensure faster egg production and egg hatches.

Nature Manipulation: If a female (or Ditto) is holding an everstone, there is a 50% chance that the offspring will be born with the mother's nature. Since [b]Heartgold/Soulsilver[/b] it has been reported that giving the nature to either parent has the 50% chance of passing nature. So now fathers can pass their nature onto offspring as well. This remains  true for the 5th generation as well.

Fast Egg Production: If two a pair of potential parents both have different trainer IDs they will produce eggs more frequently. Furthermore they will also breed quickly if they both have high happiness/love for the trainer. It is fastest to breed pokemon with differing trainer IDs that love the trainer.

Fast Egg Hatching: There are two pokemon abilities with effects outside of battle that are important for breeding. [b]Magma Armor[/b] and [b]Flame Body[/b]

You can check on Serebii for which pokemon have this ability, if you have a pokemon with this ability at the front of your party, the number of steps it will take to hatch the eggs is reduced by roughly half.

IV Passing: Debuting in Heartgold/Soulsilver, you can now guarantee 100% of the time that an Individual Value from a parent is passed on to the offspring. This is accomplished through the Power Items.

If a parent is holding a Power Item while it is mating, depending on whatever stat that Power Item increases,  that IV will be passed on to the child.

This could also be done by having both parents hold Power Items for different IVs, to ensure the offspring inherits two IVs from its parents. But from what I have been told this doesn't work 100% of the time or there has been some sort of issue. I haven't tested this myself, I have only used one power item during a breeding pair so until then I recommend using only one power item per couple, thus make sure the father has the IV you want and give him the power item while the female holds  the everstone.

Individual Values (IVs)? What the gosh darned heck are you talking about?:

Ever since Pokemon Red and Blue we've been told that all pokemon are different, you may have seen it yourself. Despite raising two pokemon of the same species, with the same nature, exactly alike they still end up with different stats.

This is due to Individual Values, another stat adjustment system that ranges from a number value of 0 to 31. For example, if a pokemon with an ATTACK IV of 5 was at level 100 and had it's attack at 300, but another pokemon of the same species and same training was also at the same level but had an ATTACK IV of 25, it's attack at level 100 would be 320. Exactly 20 more than the other pokemon with 20 less IVs. IVs sort of "boost" a pokemons maximum stat or you could look at it as lowering a pokemons maximum stat. Whichever you would take it, having an IV of 31 in any stat is optimal.


How are IVs assigned? 
Every pokemon you encounter either in the wild or through eggs have their IVs randomly assigned to them. You can however, through breeding, increase the odds of breeding a pokemon with high IVs if its parents has high IVs in the same stat. Optimally you would want both parents to have the same IV in the same stat.

This was how IV breeding was done in the past and to some extent still is for those who want multiple "perfect" IV breeds. As you can read from above however, having parents with the same IVs isn't necessary if you're after only one IV. You can simply have one of the parents with the desired IV carry a power item.

This has made IV breeding much easier, especially if you're after only having two "perfect" IVs on an offspring, as I will explain later.

How can I find parents with the "perfect" IVs I want?: 

Characteristics, which you can find on this page: http://www.serebii.net/games/characteristics.shtml

You may have noticed on the summary page of your pokemon certain odd phrases like "Like to Thrash About" or "Likes to Run" or "Sturdy Body". As you can see from that page on Serebii's website, these different characteristics apply to multiple Individual Values of a certain stat.

Whichever characteristic appears in your pokemon's summary page, applies to only the IV value that is highest. If your pokemon has multiple highest IV values that are the same, then which characteristic phrase appears is random.

So it is possible to have a pokemon with multiple maximum IV values and not know it! Even if you do have only one maximum IV value however, without the use of an IV Calculator or the IV Check Man there is no sure way to know that "Like to Thrash About" means it has a 31 Attack IV. [b] Finding a one parent w/ the max IV I want sounds simple enough, but finding another parent with both the nature and IV I want sounds very unlikely.[/b]

You're right, it is. Since for one parent nature doesn't matter you can discern by characteristic and find the IV you want. But for the other parent w/ the nature you want AND IV you want is very unlikely since there are 16 total natures and 32 total IVs in a particular stat, where there are 6 stats on a pokemon even!

But there is a way to highly increase the chances of finding a parent w/ the nature and max IV you want! Without this technique I personally wouldn't recommend searching for a parent w/ both the IV and nature you want in the wild and would just settle for hunting for nature alone.

[b]Synchronize[/b] is the ability you're looking for. Check serebii's pokedex to see which pokemon have this abillity, personally I think Ralts is the best since in the wild it has either Trace or Synchronize, so when you encounter a Ralts you can easily tell whether it has the ability you want or not if the game stats that Ralts "traced" your pokemon's ability or not. For Black/White I recommend Elegyem on the top of the Celestial Tower.

What Synchronize does is make it that half of the wild pokemon you encounter have the same nature as the Synchronizer, as long as you keep the Synchronizer in the front of your party. If the Synchronizer is of a low level and you're worried about not being able to escape from battle or don't want to bother switching just so you can escape, have the Synchronizer hold the Smoke Ball item which allows you to escape 100% of the time.

Hunting for a Jolly Gible female? Put a Synchronizer w/ a Jolly nature in the front of your party and go hunting for female Gibles only, eventually you'll land one w/ a Jolly nature and the IV you want.

IV Check Man: 

There is a certain special character that appears in the lobby of the Battle Subway in Nimbasa City. He will make a statement about your pokemons overall IVs and then he'll chose the highest IV to comment on (if you have more than highest IVs of equal value he'll comment on all of them). He'll also state "It can't be better in that regard." which means that IV is 31.

So when you go out to capture parents in mass you can use the characteristics to "weed out" those who don't make the cut. Want a Gible father with maximum attack? Hunt for only males with "Likes to Thrash About" and release those that don't have that IV (although you may be wise to keep Gibles with other Max IVs). Go to the Battle Subway and have  the guy check your pokemon to confirm the IV is 31 or your pokemon has multiple maximum IVs.

Here is a list of what he says based on the IVs of your pokemon:  
[quote] If the IV total is between 0 and 90: "This Pokemon's potential is decent all around." If the IV total is between 91 and 120: "This Pokemon's potential is above average overall." If the IV total is between 121 and 150: "This Pokemon has relatively superior potential overall." If the IV total is between 151 and 186: "This Pokemon has outstanding potential overall."

If the highest IV is between 0 and 15: "It's rather decent in that regard." If the highest IV is between 16 and 25: "It's very good in that regard." If the highest IV is between 26 and 30: "It's fantastic in that regard." If the highest IV is 31: "It can't be better in that regard.[/quote]

What if I want to check all of my pokemon's IVs? Not just the maximum ones?: 

Use either Serebii's 4th generation IV calculator or MetalKid's IV calculator

These calculators are best used on unused pokemon of higher levels or if you know the EV counts of the pokemon.

With that said and done, I'm now going to apply all of the information above to give you an example on how to obtain a maximum attack and speed Jolly/Adamant Gible with the egg move Outrage:

[quote] Step 1: Obtain an Adamant/Jolly female Gible/Gabite/Garchomp with either the "Likes to Thrash About" or "Alert to Sounds" characteristic. Step 2: Check with the IV guy the IVs of the female Gible, if either of the desired IVs are confirmed as maximum congratulations! You got  the female that you needed! Both nature wise and IV wise.

If you didn't get the IV you wanted, either try again or cut your losses and decide to make sure the father has one (or perhaps both) of the IVs you want and breed him with the mother. Chances are either one of the offspring has the nature you want along with one or both of the desired father's IVs. Maybe even one of the randomly generated IVs will be the one you wanted from the mother.

Step 3: Obtain a male Dratini/Dragonair/Dragonite of any nature with either the "Likes to Thrash About" or "Alert to Sounds" characteristic.

Step 4: Level up, teach TMs, or use whatever you can to get the father to know the Egg Move/TM Move/Level-up move you want. In our case make sure Dratini/Dragonair/Dragonite knows Outrage. Then give it the Power Item associated with the IV you want to pass o.

Step 5: Give the mother an everstone and breed her with the father.

Step 6: Wait for the Day Care Man to call you (if you made arrangements for him to call you if an egg is found)

Step 7: Have a pokemon with Magma Armor or Flame Body in front of your party as you bike around Goldenrod City or whatever path you wish so the egg will hatch quickly.

Step 8: Check the nature and characteristic of the hatched pokemon, along with ability if that matters to you.

Step 9: Absolutely all of the offspring should have the father's maximum IV, if you see a different characteristic this is a sure sign that the pokemon has multiple maximum IVs. Although since which maximum characteristic appears is random, it is best going to the IV check guy at the Battle Tower and have him check the pokemon at least three times.

Step 10: Once you have received the Gible w/ maximum attack and speed along with a Jolly/Adamant nature you're done![/quote]    

#2 Posted by Mikazukinoyaiba (105 posts) -

Currently editing this thread, wish GB used HTML for this forum so I could just use tags.

#3 Posted by B0nd07 (1700 posts) -
@Mikazukinoyaiba said:
" Currently editing this thread, wish GB used HTML for this forum so I could just use tags. "
First, you can insert HTML into a forum post by going to insert > html.  Also, the text editor is WYSIWYG, so you don't need any tags; just use the buttons on top or keyboard shortcuts (ctrl+b for example).
 
Second you might have better luck formatting this by using the guide system.
#4 Posted by Mikazukinoyaiba (105 posts) -
@B0nd07 said:
" @Mikazukinoyaiba said:
" Currently editing this thread, wish GB used HTML for this forum so I could just use tags. "
First, you can insert HTML into a forum post by going to insert > html.  Also, the text editor is WYSIWYG, so you don't need any tags; just use the buttons on top or keyboard shortcuts (ctrl+b for example).
 
Second you might have better luck formatting this by using the guide system. "
Thanks, I think I'll do that sometime tomorrow evening.  
 
It's sort of late now.
#5 Posted by BraveToaster (12589 posts) -
@Mikazukinoyaiba: When EV Training, how does one determine which stats will benefit each Pokemon the most? 
#6 Posted by Mikazukinoyaiba (105 posts) -
@Axxol said:
" @Mikazukinoyaiba: When EV Training, how does one determine which stats will benefit each Pokemon the most?  "
Know how you want to use the pokemon. If you want a Physical Sweeper max out Attack and Speed, if you want a physical wall max out HP and Defense.

If you're asking how to determine what pokemon to use as what ,check out serebii.net's pokedex and pay attention to the move pool and base stats of a pokemon. You can also check out smogon's strategy pokedex and they have their own general recommendations and calculations on how to raise what pokemon to perform what job.
#7 Posted by BraveToaster (12589 posts) -
@Mikazukinoyaiba: Thanks.
#8 Posted by GunslingerPanda (4827 posts) -

So what's happened to Smogon today? Can't get on. Wanted some tips on a good Zoroark.

#9 Posted by DrFidget (215 posts) -
@GunslingerPanda: It went down on Monday, they're still trying to get it back up.
#10 Posted by Molenator85 (228 posts) -

Wow duder, I'm not interested in this stuff, but I'm sure several appreciate you taking out the time to write this. Nice work.

#11 Posted by StarvingGamer (8380 posts) -
@Axxol: To go into it a little deeper, where you want to spend your EVs depends a lot on the current metagame. For example, when looking at the speed of your Pokemon you'll want to consider which Pokemon you can be faster than and only allocate enough EVs to just beat those Pokemon in speed. Likewise with Power you might want to look at your attacks and consider the potential HP of Pokemon you'll be trying to kill using those attacks. Will an extra 100 EVs in Power turn a 2-hit kill into a 1-hit kill? If not then those EVs are better spent elsewhere.

High-level competitive Pokemon is a crazy world of min-max that really rewards players that can read the metagame successfully. I just wish guaranteed IVs were around when I was still playing, would have probably saved me a couple hundred hours o_O
#12 Posted by NegativeCero (3014 posts) -

It's really cool that Pokemon has this sort of depth for people who want it, but it's just not for me. Building up with invisible stats seems like the opposite of fun, although the resulting battles could be cool.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

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