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4 votes
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Please base your decision off of facts.

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edited by
It's spelled defense - only 1 F and S instead of C
HP - Hit Points, not Health Points
Defense is spelled differently in different areas. In the UK, it's acceptable to spell "defense" as "defence" similar to how color can be colour.
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4 Answers

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Best answer

In actuality, both are very important. Think about the pokemon Drifblim, which has very high HP. Even with that nice HP stat, it still takes a lot of damage from a hit due to its low defenses, same situation with Blissey, even with its HP in the 700's, it still could easily go down with a physical attack. Pokemon like Slowking however, have high defense and HP. Trying to get damage on him is a difficult task. Pokemon like Shuckle have abysmal HP, but high defenses. While this is useful, he doens't have much HP for his defenses to cover. HP and defenses go hand in hand, one isn't very useful without the other, similar to how attack power also needs speed to be useful.

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2 votes

The amount of damage you take from an attack ends up proportional to HP x Def or HP x SpDef for special attacks.

This means that you usually want to improve the lowest stat. Here's a bit of math: say for example you start with HP=100, Defense=40 and you add 60 points from EVs.

Adding them to HP means you end up with HP=160, Def=40.
160x40 = 6,400 defense from physical attacks.

Adding them to Defense means you end up with HP=100, Def=100.
100x100 = 10,000 defense: much higher!

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Note that if a Pokemon's HP is already very high, putting EVs in defenses is better.
0 votes

Depends on your style of playing

If you like to raise up various pokémon for different purposes, you should definitely EV-train Defense or Sp. Defense. You could use your pokémon to battle exceptionaly physical or special attackers, in that case you don't need to train another defense stat. This method gives you a small advantage with opponents that use draining moves: their recover depends on how many damage thay've made to you. HP points are counted, but not percents. That's why you better have EVs spent on single usable defense stat than waste it on HP and feed your opponent's Meganium or something with fresh drained health points.

If you prefer using only one beloved Pokemon throughout the game, as I do, of course the best choice for you is HP EV-training. But even in that case you can also train defenses especially when your pokémons base Defense and/or Sp. Defense are twice smaller than HP. For example Chansey. Even if you train already high spesial defense up to 126 EV, it's more usable against special damage than 252 HP EV. Training defense stats is also nessesary if one of those stats is significantly smaller compare to another, for example Alakazam with nearly twice much Sp. Defense so as Chansey or Deoxys.

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Pokemon with both physical and special attacks are always more common than Pokemon with draining moves, so it's usually better to max HP in both cases.
0 votes

Both voted answers are completely incorrect.
This is how damage is calculated https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Damage

Based on this formula, let's say that the enemy has 313 attack stat total, has a type advantage and uses a move with 80 power against your defence.
Let's pick a Pokemon that has pretty equal base defence and health like Gardevoir. 68 base HP and 65 base defence.

At level 100 an enemy with 313 attack will deal 351 dmg against Gardevoir's 246 health. One hit kill. If we add 63 EV just to HP then the damage is 351 against 309 health. Still one this kill.

Let's spread 63 EV to health and defence so they are equal at 98 (defence is 65 so we add 33, HP is 68 so we add 30). Now the same enemy with attack of 313 deals 277 damage t your 276 health. One hit kill.

So what happens if we add 0 EV to HP and 63 EV to Defence? 232 damage againts 246 health. We survive.

You can't argue with maths. It is always better to increase Defence over HP.
Obviously at some point you get diminishing returns. Let's say your enemy has 100 attack total. Adding 63 EV to Defence will decrease the damage by only 38. That would suggest that adding HP would be more beneficial. But for a Pokemon to have such low attack total at level 100, they would have to have less than 50 base attack stat, 0 EV and 0 IV. In other words nobody will be using such a Pokemon to fight.

TL;DR: Defence > HP

PS.: Defence is a 100% proper spelling used by the entire English speaking world except for Americans.

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edited by
> It is always better to increse Defence over HP.
Are you sure about this? In competitive play, investing in HP has always been the preference over investing in defensive stat/s, because it helps against both physical and special attacks. The selected answer is correct in the sense an investment either way is devalued without an investment going the other way.
You're right that boosting Defence usually prevents a greater proportion of health loss than HP, but Pokemon is not just a maths game.
As Fizz said, a Pokemon with all its EVs in physical defense is weaker to special attacks. Also, a Pokemon with all its EVs in both defenses is often weaker than a Pokemon with max HP and not max defenses.
252 SpA Choice Specs Greninja-Ash Dark Pulse vs. 4 HP / 252+ SpD Mew: 320-378 (93.8 - 110.8%) -- 62.5% chance to OHKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Greninja-Ash Dark Pulse vs. 252 HP / 80+ SpD Mew: 372-440 (92 - 108.9%) -- 56.3% chance to OHKO
Sorry, but as it has been stated, your math is a bit off here because of one reason: the game does not only have physical attacks. Let's just do the math for both attack types:

Maximizing HP will increase them from 277 (you forgot the IV here) to 340, giving Gardevoir a 23% increase in both physical AND special bulk. Putting all EV in physical defense will increase it from 166 to 229, giving it a 35% increase in physical BUT 0% increase in special bulk.

So in other words if you maximize defense over hp, you are trading 23% special bulk for an additional 10% physical bulk (123% physical bulk vs. 135% physical bulk is only a 10% increase). The thing is, that little additional physical bulk is incredibly situational and will only pay off if you're dealt a very specific amount of damage (like in your example). If the damage is slightly higher, the defense won't safe you, if it's slightly lower, then the hp investment would've saved you just as well.

And for that you trade of a pretty sizeable boost in special bulk that will simply come into place way more often than the little physical boost.

So yeah, it is always better to boost hp over defense unless your hp is so big that you won't get enough results out of it. For example Wailord gains only 12,5% more physical and special bulk from a full 252 ev investment into hp, but a massive 25% more bulk in any defense if it puts 128 in them, meaning it is better to put 128 ev into both defenses than putting 252 ev into hp.