How to Pokémon
I wanted to share what I’ve learned about Pokémon. This short guide covers effort training, individual values and gathers a lot of information from across the Internet that I make use of in raising and training Pokémon myself.
Here’s a list of all the resources I use and refer to in this guide. They’re all up here to make it easier to find on your return visit, or if you don’t want to read my words
and just dive right in:
So you want to be a Master of Pokémon?
On the surface, Pokémon is simple RPG. Turn-based combat revolves around a convoluted Rock-Paper-Scissors mechanism as its primary focus, and you gather a team that has the
best coverage against opposing types whilst simultaneously providing each other with support against their type counters.
Let’s try that again, Pokémon is a simple RPG. Pick a team of six monsters based on who cool they look and how high up your favourites list they sit, then overpower your
opponents by out-levelling them.
For many, the truth falls somewhere in between but if you really want your Pokémon to be the best, then you have to dig under the surface.
There are a lot of factors influencing the growth of each Pokémon; some are obvious, like their base stats or nature, others are hidden values, like effort and individual
values. The games go to great effort to describe these without actually ever explaining them. You’ll often encounter NPC’s describing two different Pokémon of the same species
being different from each other. You’ll probably encounter it yourself – my level 11 Geodude had to use Rock Throw twice to take out that first level 11 Zubat, but only once
to take out that second Zubat.
Teach me your ways.
Before we get started I’m going to indulge myself a little.
I’ve been playing Pokémon since the day I saw a picture of a giant Tortoise with Cannons protruding from its shell in 1995. I began learning about IV’s during the 3rd
Generation. I don’t think of myself as an expert. Battles against players are very different to battles in-game; try to learn something new each time – I originally
approached player battles with a great amount of trepidation and concern, since I was afraid of losing. I’ve probably learnt more from the battles I’ve lost than from those
I’ve won. I think the most important realisation is sometimes your opponent’s team will counter anything your team can throw at it. The information presented here is not my
own work, it’s a collection of what I’ve learned from other people.
Ok, indulgence over, let’s go.
No two Pokémon are the same – Individual Values and Natures.
Pokémon have six primary statistics that you’d be familiar with; these are: HP, Attack, Defence, Special Attack, Special Defence, and Speed. When a Pokémon is generated, each
of these stats is assigned a hidden value between 0 and 31, this is referred to as the Pokémon’s Individual Values or IV’s. You may sometimes see these called Difference
Values. A Pokémon’s IV’s directly affect the primary stats at a rate of 1:1 when the Pokémon is at level 100. The effect scales up to 1:1 as the Pokémon grows in levels. It is
approximately at 50% effectiveness (0.5:1) at level 50 and 0% effectiveness at level 1.
This means that each stat can have a possible range of 32 different values. Let’s take a look at Pikachu, if we were to hatch a Pikachu with an IV of 0 for each stat and use
Rare Candies to raise it to level 100 it would look something like this:
HP - 180 Attack - 115 Defence - 65 Sp. Atk - 105 Sp. Def - 85 Speed - 185
Let’s hatch another Pikachu, this time with an IV of 31 in each stat:
HP - 211 Attack - 146 Defence - 96 Sp. Atk - 136 Sp. Def - 116 Speed - 216
This gives Pikachu 2 a significant advantage. If they are both using the same attacks Pikachu 2’s higher speed will allow it to act first, its higher attack values will mean
the attacks hit harder, and the higher HP + defence values mean it will last longer.
Individual Values are the only factor influencing a Pokémon’s stats. Each Pokémon has a nature that is generated along with the IV’s. Nature’s describe a 10% increase in the
growth of one stat and a 10% decrease in the growth of a stat. HP is the only stat not influenced by natures, meaning there is a list of 25 possibilities. Of the 25 natures, 5
are neutral natures – where the same stat is boosted and hindered, resulting in no effect on the stat’s growth. The two Pikachu above have neutral natures; if we were to hatch
for a beneficial nature, we’d get a different spread again.
Since most of the Electric type moves learned by Pikachu use the Special Attack stat let’s hatch a Modest Pikachu which will gain a 10% boost to Sp. Atk and 10% hindrance to
HP - 180 Attack - 103 Defence - 65 Sp. Atk - 115 Sp. Def - 85 Speed - 185 and HP - 211 Attack - 131 Defence - 96 Sp. Atk - 149 Sp. Def - 116 Speed - 216
What’s important here, is that Natures effect the stat value provided by IV’s – a 31 stat point in a Nature boosted stat results in a 34 (34.1 rounded) stat gain or will only
provide 28 (27.9 rounded) stat points to a hindered stat. Since natures have such a strong influence on all stat growth, and because a Pokémon’s nature is infinitely easier to
determine than its IV’s, I would rate a beneficial nature as more important than a perfect IV.
As a point of clarification, a “beneficial nature” is any nature that boosts the stats that are “most” important to the Pokémon. Pikachu or Raichu is often a Special Attacker
that relies on hitting hard and fast to survive – its real HP and defence stats are all low, giving it poor “effective HP”. In order to make the most of this Blitzkrieg
strategy I would want to boost either its Special Attack or its Speed. Since I don’t plan on using Physical Attacks, I’ll happily take a hit to the Attack stat. This means
I’ve got two possible natures to look for, Timid (+ Spe, – Atk) and as described above, Modest (+Sp. Atk, -Atk).
[Individual Values on Bulbapedia]
[Natures on Serebii.net]
[Natures on Bulbapedia]
Elementary, my dear Watson – Determining IV’s.
So you’re ready to blow the lid of the stats on your Pokémon and you want to know for sure that your Rattata is in the top 1% of Rattatas? You’ve realised that IV’s are
totally hidden, so what to do?
There’s no way of determining a Pokémon’s IV’s in-game. You’ll need something external to crunch the numbers for you. Thankfully there are a number of IV calculators available
on the internet that I’ve listed in the resources section. I use MetalKid’s IV Calculator, it has the most functionality from what I’ve experienced and it’s just drop down
menus and text fields – simple.
A newly hatched Pokémon will present a range of possible values for each stat – as above, at level 1 there’s almost no influence from IV’s. There are a few other clues you can
Pokémon are also given a characteristic such as “Alert to Sounds” and these relate to which stat has the highest value. There are 30 different phrases, 5 for each of the
primary stats. Each phrase is tied to a pair of numbers (0-5, 1-6, 2-7, 5-8, 4-9) which indicate the last digit in the stat’s IV. The charcteristic “Alert to Sounds”
represents a 1 or 6 in the Speed stat – that’s good for our Timid Pikachu from before, but take caution as it could mean that its Speed IV is only 6 and the other 5 IV’s are
all 6 or lower.
[Characteristics on Bulbapedia]
There’s also an NPC that will rate the overall potential of your Pokémon. In Black and White it’s a man at the Battle Subway terminal. When you present a Pokémon to be
assessed, you’ll be given an overall evaluation as well as a description of the best stat or stats – if two or more stats share the same highest value then he’ll mention them
The Billy Mays of Training Pokémon – Effort Points.
But wait, there’s more!
On top of natures and Iv’s Pokémon also earn effort in their primary stats whenever they earn experience. Effort Points are another hidden number that contribute to the growth
of a Pokémon’s primary stats. Although IV’s are set when the Pokémon is generated and cannot be modified, effort points are earned and can be selected to suit your needs. A
Pokémon starts with 0 effort points, whether a newly hatched level 1 or a post-game legendary caught at level 70, and can earn a total of 510 effort points. Each primary stat
has an effort cap of 255 – maximising two stats will neatly fill the 510 point total.
Effort points (EP’s) influence stat values differently to IV’s, at level 100 the rate is 4:1; this means the optimal maximum for any given stat is 252 for an additional 63
points. The standard spread for EP’s is 252/252/6 – that is maximising two stats and dumping the remainder (for a single point). You may sometimes see this written as
252/252/4 as the final 2 effort points are effectively worthless.
That’s a huge benefit for our Modest Pikachu. A standard effort spread, adding points to Sp. Atk, Speed and HP would give us these stats:
HP - 212 Attack - 131 Defence - 96 Sp. Atk - 218 Sp. Def - 116 Speed - 279
Once again, note that the points gained through effort are influenced by the Pokémon’s nature.
So now that we’re ready to get some effort points, where do we look? How are they earned?
Each Pokémon has an effort value that it is worth when defeated in battle. This is a specific value for each species (or stage of evolution). For example, a Pidgey will always
yield 1 Speed effort point. Generally – but not always – higher stages of evolution will offer an increased number of effort points in the same stat, Pidgeotto yield 2 Speed
effort points and Pidgeot yields 3 Speed effort points.
Pokémon earn effort whenever they gain experience – whether they are actively involved in the battle, are brought out at the start and then switched out for a different
Pokémon or through Exp. Share. Unlike experience, effort points are not divided amongst Pokémon, instead each Pokémon earns the full yield. In this way, if each member of a
team of six was cycled out against a Pidgeot they would all receive 3 Speed effort points.
Train Smart, Train S-Mart – Effort Training.
Earning 252 effort points 1 point at a time is going to be tedious. Fortunately there are some hold items to help speed up the process.
Macho Brace – This doubles the effort points earned by the Pokémon holding it. While held, the Pokémon’s speed is halved.
Power Weight – This adds 4 HP effort points earned whenever the Pokémon holding it earns experience. While held, the Pokémon’s speed is halved.
Power Bracer – This adds 4 Attack effort points earned whenever the Pokémon holding it earns experience. While held, the Pokémon’s speed is halved.
Power Belt – This adds 4 Defence effort points earned whenever the Pokémon holding it earns experience. While held, the Pokémon’s speed is halved.
Power Lens – This adds 4 Sp. Attack effort points earned whenever the Pokémon holding it earns experience. While held, the Pokémon’s speed is halved.
Power Band – This adds 4 Sp. Defence effort points earned whenever the Pokémon holding it earns experience. While held, the Pokémon’s speed is halved.
Power Anklet – This adds 4 Speed effort points earned whenever the Pokémon holding it earns experience. While held, the Pokémon’s speed is halved.
You can also kickstart your effort training with vitamins.
HP UP – Grants 10 HP effort points up to a maximum of 100. Has no effect if the Pokémon has 100 or more effort points.
Protein – Grants 10 Attack effort points up to a maximum of 100. Has no effect if the Pokémon has 100 or more effort points.
Iron – Grants 10 Defence effort points up to a maximum of 100. Has no effect if the Pokémon has 100 or more effort points.
Calcium – Grants 10 Sp. Attack effort points up to a maximum of 100. Has no effect if the Pokémon has 100 or more effort points.
Zinc – Grants 10 Sp. Defence effort points up to a maximum of 100. Has no effect if the Pokémon has 100 or more effort points.
Carbos – Grants 10 Speed effort points up to a maximum of 100. Has no effect if the Pokémon has 100 or more effort points.
Lastly, if you’re fortunate enough for a Pokémon to contract the virus Pokérus any effort earned through battle is doubled. This effect stacks with the effect of the Macho
Brace or Power Items. A Pokémon with Pokérus and holding the Power Anklet will earn 10 points for each Pidgey it defeats ((1 + 4)*2).
[Pokérus on Bulbapedia]
Make the Numbers work for you – RNG Abuse.
You’ve taken your first steps into a larger world. If you’ve started hatching eggs and checking IV’s you’ll have noticed that random numbers don’t like to play nice. Here I’ll
be discussing RNG Abuse through the RNG Reporter software (you should use the link in this thread). This is software external to the games. This doesn’t manipulate your save state at all. The Pokémon generated in
this way are legit.
Why manipulate the RNG? For me, it takes one of the random elements out of competitive battling. By being able to catch or breed a Pokémon with perfect (or near perfect) IV’s,
my success or failure now rests much more on the decision I make in battle rather than whether the Pokémon I caught has the same statistics as my opponents.
I used the first guide to learn RNG Abuse. It will take some time, do not rush yourself, be confident that you’ve nailed each step, if you fail start again – to me, the first
correct RNG abuse was the same feeling of first discovering that IV’s and effort points even existed.
Hatching for perfect IV’s alongside egg moves and abilities:
So that’s it! You can now make sure you have the perfect Pokémon before you begin training! I hope you’ve learnt some new tips and tricks, and I hope you continue to enjoy the
world of Pokémon!