Pokémon Effort Values (EVs)
In this section you will find a detailed guide to Effort Values and how they will make your Pokémon stronger.
What are Effort Values?
As Pokémon battle, in addition to gaining experience points they also obtain Effort Values (usually referred to as EVs), which are special hidden values in each stat (HP, Attack and so on). Each Pokémon you battle against
gives off EVs in one or more stats.
Generally, this relates to the Pokémon's strongest stat - for example, if you battle a Geodude your Pokémon will get one EV in the Defense stat. If you fight a Gengar, you will get three Special Attack EVs. (See the pages to the left to see which Pokémon give off which EVs.)
Newly-hatched eggs and Pokémon caught in the wild - regardless of level - have no EVs and thus act as a
blank sheet for EV training. Any Pokémon that has gained experience points from battling will have gained some EVs.
Every 4 EVs obtained in a particular stat equals one more point for that stat, by the time that Pokémon reaches level 100. At low levels you may not see all the points added straight away. If your Pokémon is at a high level you will see a lot of additional points going on to the appropriate stats at each level up.
In total a Pokémon can gain 510 EVs, but only 255 in one stat. Since 4 EVs equals one stat point, if you want to max out a particular stat it's only useful to get 252 EVs (63 points). The last 3 EVs would be wasted. However, in practice it's a chore to count exactly how many EVs you have obtained (there's no other way to tell) so you may wish to simply max out a particular stat and forego a point or two.
When you have reached those 510 EVs, you can earn an Effort Ribbon in Diamond/Pearl/Platinum by visiting the woman in the Sunyshore City market. If you have lost count with some stats, this is obviously useful for knowing when to stop EV training!
Battling 252 Bidoofs to max out your HP would be a bit of a bore, no? Luckily, there is an array of items that can help you reach your goal much quicker.
These items, purchaseable from the big department store in each game (Veilstone/Lilycove/Golenrod/Celadon), give your Pokémon 10 EVs in the corresponding stat. Vitamins are not affected by any of the other items below or Pokérus.
There is a limit of 10 per stat, however they only work on the first 100 EVs. If you already gained 90 Attack EVs by battling, you can only use one Protein, not 10. Each costs $9800 in the shops or 1 BP (Battle Point) at the Battle Park. The vitamins are as follows:
Introduced in Black/White, the Wing items raise the corresponding EV by 1 point. However, they are not subject to the same limit as vitamins and can be used for the full 255 EVs if you had that many. The Wings are:
- Health Wing (HP)
- Muscle Wing (Attack)
- Resist Wing (Defense)
- Genius Wing (Sp. Attack)
- Clever Wing (Sp. Defense)
- Swift Wing (Speed)
The Macho Brace lowers a Pokémon's speed in battle while held, but doubles the amount of EVs gained. A Starly normally provides 1 Speed EV, but with your Pokémon holding the Macho Brace, it will receive 2 Speed EVs.
Power Items are hold items that will increase the amount of EVs gained per battle. Each relates to a specific stat and will give you 4 additional EVs in that stat. You can get these for 16 BP at the Battle Park.
- Power Weight (HP)
- Power Bracer (Attack)
- Power Belt (Defense)
- Power Lens (Sp. Attack)
- Power Band (Sp. Defense)
- Power Anklet (Speed)
Battling a Squirtle, for example, normally yields 1 Defense EV. Holding the Power Belt, this is increased to 5. If holding the Power Band, you receive 1 Defense EV and 4 Special Defense EVs.
Since any Pokémon gaining experience points gains EVs, the Exp. Share item allows Pokémon to gain EVs without battling. It will gain the same base EVs that the Pokémon in battle gains. The Pokémon holding Exp. Share will benefit from its own Pokérus (see below), but not from the item or condition of the Pokémon in battle.
Not an item as such, but a so-called
Pokémon Virus. However, this virus is actually beneficial! The chances of catching Pokérus are quite low, and it's not something you can affect yourself. If your Pokémon get the virus, the nurse at the Pokémon Center will inform you and there will be a purple
PKRS on their info screen.
The virus spreads to other Pokémon in your party as they battle, but it will disappear after a Pokémon has been in your party for around 24 hours. Pokémon stored in the PC will keep Pokérus indefinitely.
All Pokémon with Pokérus will receive double EVs, after other calculations with items are taken into account. Even after the virus has gone, the Pokémon will still receive these beneficial effects! (Pokémon who have overcome the virus have a smiley face on their info screen.)
As an example, battling a Luxio gives you 2 Attack EVs. With the Pokérus this is doubled to 4. If it is holding the Macho Brace, this is quadrupled to 8. If it's holding the Power Weight, you'd normally gain 4 HP and 2 Attack EVs, but with Pokérus this is doubled to 8 HP and 4 Attack. And of course, if it was holding the Power Bracer you'd net a huge 12 EVs for one battle!
There are also a set of berries that will reduce your Pokémon's EVs. They are useful if you miscount EVs or simply want to change the EV distribution.
- #21 Pomeg Berry (HP)
- #22 Kelpsy Berry (Attack)
- #23 Qualot Berry (Defense)
- #24 Hondew Berry (Sp. Attack)
- #25 Grepa Berry (Sp. Defense)
- #26 Tamato Berry (Speed)
If you have over 100 EVs in a stat, the first berry will reduce them to 100, while further berries will decrease the EVs by 10. Therefore if you want to remove all EVs you will need 11 berries for the stat.
EV training tips
You can often max out the EVs by level 20, which leaves the Pokémon free for use in-game; it will also be stronger than normal.
Don't lose Pokérus.
If your Pokémon get the Pokérus, always keep a few with the virus in the PC to pass on to future Pokémon you wish to train.
Use vitamins early.
If you decide to use vitamins, use them straight away since they only work for the first 100 EVs.
Use a piece of paper to track how many EVs you are gaining, as it's easy to lose count. In Diamond/Pearl/Platinum the Pokétch
Counter app can help. (The Pokétch is reset when the game is turned off, so write the count down before quitting.)
Count your move PP
Using the Pokémon's move PP is a viable strategy to track EVs in some situations. For this trick you must be able to OHKO every Pokémon met, and they should yield the same number of EVs. For example, say your Pokémon has the move Brick Break and you are defeating Bidoofs for HP EVs. Brick Break has 30 PP, so just keep defeating Bidoofs until your PP runs out - then you know you gained 30 EVs.
Spread EVs out a little.
Many guides you will see will tell you to max out your EVs in two stats (e.g. Attack and Speed) and forget about the rest. But this can leave some vulnerabilites.
With Speed, unless you're Jolteon or Accelgor, you're not going to be able to out-run everyone (and you don't need to), so try using enough EVs to outspeed your main counter-Pokémon and saving some for other stats.
Maximize HP×Def and/or HP×SpDef.
The damage your Pokémon takes is directly proportional to the product of HP and the appropriate Defense stat. Therefore with defensive EV spreads you should put more EVs into the lower stat. Snorlax, for example, has a high HP and so-so Defense, so putting more EVs into Defense than HP will result in a higher overall defense.
EV training locations
We have several questions on PokéBase, which should help you find the best spots for EV training in various games. They are split by stat:
- HP locations
- Attack locations
- Defense locations
- Special Attack locations
- Special Defense locations
- Speed locations
EVs in older games
The EV system was completely overhauled in Generation 3 (Ruby/Sapphire). Prior to that, battling a Pokémon would give you Effort Values equal to its stats. For example, Dragonite would give 91 EVs in HP, 134 in Attack and so on.
You could gain up to 65536 EVs in every stat (HP, Attack, Defense, Special and Speed), so you didn't even need to consciously
EV train - you'd normally gain all EVs by the time you reach level 100.
The number of stat points resulting from the EVs was the square root of the EVs divided by 4, meaning that the total number of extra points obtainable was about the same as it is now, 63.