EVs made simple: a PE2K original FAQ, with in-depth training guide!
Many guides explain, in detail, all the "hows" of EV training. How to increase the rate of EV gain with Pokérus and hold items. How to find good places to train. How to use vitamins and berries to affect EVs. But there's one question that hasn't been answered clearly and thoroughly:
What the hell are EVs anyway?
This part of the guide is not about "how". It's about "what" and "why". I'll start by explaining in simple terms without going into the technicalities. Then I'll answer some of the most common questions that I hear about EVs. If you are already familiar with EVs, you can skip ahead.
What are EVs?
The concept of EVs is that a Pokémon's stats are affected by what it trains against. For example, a Pokémon that trains against guys like Ponyta, with high speed, will watch its opponent and learn from its strategies, and so it will have a higher speed than a Pokémon that trained against guys like Tentacool. However, the Pokémon that trained against Tentacool will learn about Tentacool's high special defense, so it will have a higher special defense. And so on.
Oh, that makes sense. So how do they work?
Practically, it plays out like this. Each time a Pokémon participates in a battle and receives experience, attached to the experience comes "EVs" or "Effort Values." Think of them as experience, but for your stats instead of your levels. There are six different types of EVs, one each for attack, defense, special attack, special defense, HP, and speed. The EVs you receive will vary depending on the Pokémon you're fighting. For example, Bidoof gives out 1 EV in HP. Zubat gives out 1 EV in Speed. Machamp gives out 3 EVs in attack. Duskull gives out 1 EV in defense and 1 EV in special defense. The EVs you obtain will affect your stats by an increasing amount as you progress to lv100, so a low-level Pokémon that has been "EV Trained" (specially trained to take advantage of the EV system) will see a smaller increase in stats from it than a higher level Pokémon would. At level 100, it ends up netting 1 stat point for every 4 EVs.
Why should I EV train?
But why not just train all the stats then? Because there's a cap to how many you can get: 510 total, and 255 per stat. (That's a 63-point increase in a fully maxed out stat, by the way.) So only two stats at most can be maxed out fully. This is why it is beneficial to EV train: by carefully choosing which EVs you obtain, you can obtain a strategic advantage. The best example is with the most extreme cases, so let's take Shedinja.
Shedinja can only ever have 1 HP. Any attack that successfully connects will always 1HKO it. This makes its defense, special defense, and HP stats trivial, because it can't use them! It'll die no matter how high its defense is. In addition, it has a very low base special attack, so there is little point in training that; it won't really be able to make good use of it. A non-EV trained Shedinja has a very good chance that it has inadvertantly been given EVs in one or more of these stats. Those EVs have effectively been wasted. If instead they had been allotted to speed or attack, those stat boosts could have been put to good use. Instead they were squandered.
Wobbuffet is the same. There's no use increasing its offensive stats because it can't learn any attacking moves, just Counter and Mirror Coat. Speed doesn't matter either, because those attacks always go last. So its EVs should first max out HP and split the rest evenly between the two defenses, every time.
Again, these are the extreme cases, but other Pokémon benefit from it as well. Pokémon like Weezing that are used to defend rather than attack should have their stats focused in defense. Pokémon like Zangoose that are meant to sweep out the other team quickly and efficiently should be trained in speed and one of the attack stats. (Note that it's almost always best to focus in either attack or special attack rather than split EVs between them. By focusing your strength in one area, your attacks in that area will be especially strong. If you divide them, you might gain a little attack diversity, but your attacks will do less damage anyway. That's why you hear the terms "Special Sweeper" and "Physical Sweeper.")
How should I divide my EVs?
This is the point where I need to start delving a little deeper than just the basics. Well, here's where you use some math. If you already noticed before that 255, the maximum per stat, isn't divisible by 4, you get bonus points. Well, you would, if I were keeping score, which I'm not. In any case, 255 EVs actually leaves you with 3 left over that don't contribute to anything. They're the lazy slobs of the EV world. And since you get to max out another stat as well, there'll be 3 more lazy slobs hanging out over there. So what can you do to put them to work? Notice! 3 + 3 = 6! If 4 of those 6 lazy slobs got a job working for another stat, they'd increase the third stat by 1 point rather than simply sit around and watch TV all day! You'll still have two couch potatoes left, but the next time you survive an attack with 1 HP remaining, you'll thank me.
How to divide them depends all on the strategy. The standard "EV Spread" (as they are called) for an attacking Pokémon is to put 252 in speed, 252 in its respective attacking stat, and the remaining 6 in HP. These numbers can be tweaked a little depending on what you expect to face. For example, you might want your Dugtrio to be exactly fast enough to outspeed a Jolteon. If that's all the speed you need, you might not need all 252 EVs, and you could allot some more to HP or one of the defenses.
Defensive Pokémon almost always put 252 in HP, then they'll split the rest between the two defenses. However, there's more variance here. For example, a Blissey has pretty damn good HP to start with, so it usually has 252 in Defense to make up for its lousy score in that stat and give some hope of surviving a physical attack. Sometimes, after HP, you split the rest evenly between Def. and S. Def. But you might shift the balance. If you use an Umbreon to absorb special attacks and a Weezing to soak up physical attacks, you would probably shift the balance of EVs towards the respective focus. Why? Because if you suspect Umbreon will take a physical hit, you can switch to Weezing and have your physical wall take the hit instead. And so on.
What are the items that help me increase my Pokémon's EVs?
Oh, you've heard of those? Well, if you haven't, you're about to. First off is a set of items you probably know of already. They're called Vitamins.
Vitamins, e.g. Protein, Carbos, and HP Up, can be purchased at the Veilstone Department Store for $9800 apiece. A hefty price tag, but they can save a bundle of time. Why? Because each one increases the EVs of a specific stat by 10. So one Carbos is the equivalent of fighting ten Magikarps. Very handy. You'll know what stats they raise because it says in the item description. There's a catch to Vitamins: you can't use one if it would push a stat's EVs to above 100. This means you can use 10 per stat, but it also means that if you've already started your EV training in attack, you can't go back and decide to feed it 10 Protein. If you have 60, you can feed it 4. If you got the 61st, you can only use 3. Still, they save a lot of time. Getting 152 EVs is a lot quicker than 252.
Next is the Macho Brace. A Pokémon holding the Macho Brace will double all the EVs it gains from battling. So if a Macho Brace holder fought a Magikarp (1 Speed), it would get 2 instead. And don't worry about the fact that Macho Brace drops speed, because your speed goes back to normal when you unequip it. The Macho Brace is obtained by showing all three forms of Burmy to a person in Pastoria City. But even better than the Macho Brace...
The Power Items, e.g. Power Bracer, Power Weight, Power Lens. These can be obtained at the Battle Tower prize exchange for 16 BP each--quite a bargain for their effect. They decrease your speed while you hold them, just like Macho Brace, but they don't multiply. They add. A Pokémon holding a Power item will gain 4 additional EVs in the item's respective stat in addition to any EVs it obtains normally. So if you were holding the Power Anklet, which gives 4 speed EVs, and you defeated a Bibarel, which gives 2 attack EVs, you would gain 2 attack EVs and 4 speed EVs. If you held the Power Anklet and fought the fisherman on Route 205 who has 6 Magikarps, you would gain 5 speed EVs for each, for a whopping total of 30!
There's one more thing that helps with EVs. It's not an item. It's Pokérus. Pokérus is a virus that randomly affects Pokémon. It can't be cured, but that's okay, because it's quite benevolent. A Pokémon with Pokérus will go through an initial phase in which it is contagious and can spread throughout your party after any battle. After this phase wears off, the effects stay the same. What are the effects? Well, remember the Macho Brace? The Pokérus does the same thing minus the speed drop. It doubles EVs gained in battle. The great part about it, however, is that it stacks. If a Pokémon has both Pokérus and Macho Brace, it will get quadruple EVs. Pokérus and a Power item, and it'll get double, plus eight. Very effective. However, it's also a very rare disease. If you can't find it, you may want to trade online to get it.
Okay, got all that? Then let's move on.
How are EVs divided between the Pokémon that battle? How does the Exp. Share affect EVs?
EVs come with experience. A Pokémon with Exp. Share will get the same amount of EVs as if it had itself battled. EVs are not divided evenly--instead, they just multiply themselves to accommodate all the Pokémon that participate. You can use Exp. Share with Pokérus, but Macho Brace and Power items only affect the Pokémon holding them. So if you lead against a Magikarp with a guy that has a Power Anklet, switch to a guy with Macho Brace and Pokérus, and have a Pokémon in your party with Exp. Share attached, the first one would get 5 speed EVs. The second would get 4. The third would get 1. If you have three Pokémon each holding the Exp. Share, then each of them would get 1 speed EV. If you fought a Crobat (3 speed EVs) and three different Pokémon participate in the battle against it, they won't each get 1 speed EV, they'll each get 3.
Can EVs be removed?
Yes. There are six berries (21-26) that increase friendship, but decrease base _____ stat, for example the Tamato Berry. They're basically anti-vitamins; each one removes 10 EVs, or if you have more than 100 in that stat, drops your EVs down to 100. There's no limit to how many you can use before you go back down to zero EVs, but since they're not sold in any store, it can be a pain to grow enough of them to be practical at erasing a full 510 EVs.
How do I know what my EVs are?
You don't. They're invisible. So that Infernape you fought through the whole game with...there's no way of telling how many EVs you have in a particular stat. Besides that, it probably got its EVs maxed out during the story anyways. So it's too late to EV train him now, unless you use the EV-reducing berries to bring him down to 0 EVs again.
There is, however, a way to know when you're absolutely finished. If you go to Sunyshore Market, a girl there will check your lead Pokémon. If it has 510 EVs, she'll give it the Effort Ribbon.
There's also another way to do it, and that's with math. Let's say you want 252 speed EVs. You know that you can get 30 EVs by battling the 6-Magikarp guy with the Power Anklet and without the Pokérus, so it takes just a little algebra to find out that you can give your Pokémon 7 Carbos (for a total of 70) and then fight him 6 times (3 if you have Pokérus) for a total of 180, add them together and you'll see that you're at 250. Unequip your Power Anklet and fight two more Magikarp. Voila, you're done with speed. I recommend doing this all in one sitting so you don't lose count, though.
How do Rare Candies affect EVs? Should I EV train against high or low level Pokémon?
Rare Candies have no effect on EVs whatsoever. Use as many as you like and your EV training will be unaffected. There is a myth that rare candies somehow make your Pokémon weaker because they don't give it EVs. This is false.
The only catch is that if you Rare Candy or Daycare all the way to lv100, you won't be able to EV train anymore because the change in stats can't be calculated if you don't gain a level. Plus, you can't get exp. anymore, and EVs only come with experience...so you can't get any more. But who uses Rare Candies to go all the way to lv100 anyway?
Whether you train against a high or low level Pokémon also doesn't matter. You can raise your special attack against low-level Gastly in the Haunted Mansion or high-level Golduck in the Resort Area. Either way, you'll get to 252, and it won't make a difference.
How do EVs relate to level? Will it matter if I start EV training at level 50 as opposed to level 1?
EVs actually have very little to do with level. The thing about the two is that they share a common link: experience. When you gain levels, it's because you're getting experience. And if that experience comes from battle, you get EVs along with it. This means that if you start leveling up, you know, fighting the Elite Four and all that, before you EV train...that's bad. Why? Because you're obtaining unwanted EVs. And that's against the whole point of EV training. You want to control your Pokémon's EVs, and you can't do that if you don't control what you fight against. So the order of preference is very simple: first, EV training, then leveling.
Is this the same as saying you shouldn't EV train at a high level? Heavens, no. You shouldn't EV train after you train to level up, but if you catch a lv52 Modest Golduck with good IVs as you're surfing in the Resort Area, by all means, EV train it! What's important is not that the Pokémon is at a high level, but that it has no EVs already. This also applies if you leave your Pokémon in the Daycare or use Rare Candies. It's okay to level them up like that and EV train afterwards--there will be no consequences, other than using up a lot of Rare Candies or potentially forgetting valuable egg moves. But that Infernape you've used from the start...he has a truckload of EVs now. 'Twould be best to start over with that one.
Most myths about EVs spring from the idea that the game "adds things on" to a Pokémon as it levels up. After all, every level-up it shows you a little list of how many stat points were added to each stat, doesn't it? But the secret is, it isn't really adding. It's subtracting. Sound confusing? I'll explain.
The game doesn't see a Pokémon's stats as fluid things that can be added onto. In actuality, every time a Pokémon levels up its stats are recalculated completely. The game will look at your Metagross and it won't say, "At lv8 this Adamant Beldum got this many EVs. It evolved here & again here. After it had full EVs, it ate 10 rare candies, and..." No! It actually says, "Attackstat = (((basestat * 2 + IV + EV/4) * level/100) + 5) * 1.1"
I hope you've been sufficiently enlightened by now.
Here's where I talk about where to go to get the EVs you want. I've labeled the section as Advanced, because this area is mainly for people who already understand what EVs are and are looking for good spots to train. So I'm providing a complete walkthrough here. This section will generally assume you've beaten the Elite Four.
HP is a nice and easy stat to train, because there's a very good spot for it using the Vs. Seeker. On Route 209 (south of Solaceon, for those of you who haven't memorized the whole map of Sinnoh) there is a Cowgirl at the top of one of those sand-slide things you need the bike to get past. She has 5 Bidoof--1 HP each. Give your Pokémon 10 HP Ups. It should now have 100 EVs. Then equip the Power Weight and (optional) infect it with the Pokérus. Next, fight that Cowgirl 6 times if you don't have Pokérus, or 3 times if you do. You should now have 250 EVs. Now unequip the Power Weight and fight two more wild Bidoof if you don't have Pokérus, or one more if you do. Now you're at 252.
Attack is more difficult. First, start with 10 Proteins. That's 100. Now, equip the Power Bracer and fight some Gyarados (2 attack)--12 with the Pokérus, 24 without. Fish with the Super Rod on Route 229, where Gyarados has a 100% encounter rate. You'll have 244 EVs after this. So now, unequip the Power Bracer and equip the Macho Brace. Fight another 1 Gyarados with the Pokérus or 2 without. You'll now have 252.
Defense is easy again. Give your guy the 10 Iron to start off with 100 and equip your Power Belt. If you have Pokérus, infect the Pokémon with it. Now go to the Ruin Maniac Cave and fight Geodude/Hippopotas (They both give 1 Defense). If you have the Pokérus fight 15, or fight 30 if you don't. You'll now have 250 EVs. Unequip your Power Belt and fight 1 more if you have Pokérus, or 2 more if you don't. There you are: 252.
Special attack is also easy. You'll be fighting either Gastly (1 Sp. Atk) or Golduck (2 Sp. Atk). Gastly uses the same math as the defense section, simply replacing "Power Belt" with "Power Lens" and "Ruin Maniac Cave" with "Old Chateau". Just don't fight Haunter or Gengar if you find them, because they screw up the math. Golduck uses the same math as the attack section, replacing "Gyarados" with "Golduck" and "Fish with the Super Rod on Route 229" with "Surf in the Resort Area or Spring Path".
Speed is the easiest of all, though. The fisherman on the middle of the bridge west of Eterna has 6 Magikarp (1 speed each). Give your Pokémon 7 Carbos for 70 EVs. (Speed is the cheapest, too.) Then equip the Power Anklet and infect it with the Pokérus if you can. Fight that guy six times without Pokérus, or three times with Pokérus. You now have 250, so use the Old Rod on that same Route to fight 2 more Magikarp. (1 if you have the Pokérus.) Now you have 252.
This is the hardest stat to train, because there aren't really any good trainers to Vs. Seeker and there's no area where you can find Special Defense EVs 100%. So here are your options. You can fight Tentacool (1 Sp. Def) by Surfing in Pastoria City (or a bunch of other places that I don't really need to list) where you'll find them 60% of the time. If you do that, use the same math as you would for defense. You could also fight Tentacruel (2 Sp. Def) by surfing on Route 223, again with a 60% encounter rate. In this case you'll use the same math as you would for attack.
A third way is to make use of those Tamato Berries and fight the Magikarp guy. Use your 10 Zinc and equip the Power Band. If you have Pokérus, fight him 3 times. If you don't, fight him 6 times. You should now have 244 Special Defense EVs and 36 speed EVs. Now, equip the Macho Brace and fight one Tentacruel--two if you don't have Pokérus. Then use four Tamato Berries on your Pokémon to cleanse it of the unwanted speed and you are finished.
Questions and comments will now be received. If you found this guide helpful, spread the word!
Legal disclaimer: I don't own Pokémon, but I reserve the copyright to this particular piece that I have written about it. Pokémon is the property of Nintendo. This guide is the property of me, alias Troacctid, and may not be reproduced without my permission or used for commercial purposes.
Last edited by troacctid; 07-10-2008 at 10:04 AM.