A Complete Breakdown Of Optimizing EV Spreads And IVs

We all know EV training Pokémon is a key part of team-building as you want the maximum amount of stats on each Pokémon. But what if I told you instead of giving 252 EVs to 2 stats and 4 to another, there was a more optimal way to distribute your stat points for most Pokémon allowing them to fulfill their role to the highest capabilities?

Today I am going to break down all the basics you need to begin understanding how to make optimized EV spreads, as well as talk about the reasons you would want to have an IV stat other than 31.

Be sure to also check out my article where I talk about 252/252/4 spreads vs complex spreads which will further allow you to correctly asses how you should EV train your Pokémon!

The Absolute Basics

Effort Values, or more commonly referred to as EVs are an invisible statistic that influence the stats of any given Pokémon.

Each pokemon can have a maximum of 510 EVs in total, and a maximum of 252 EVs in any given stat.

When investing EVs, the first stat point increase for any stat requires 4 EVs, while every subsequent stat point increase of the same stat requires 8 EVs 

Everything in VGC rounds down. Let’s say you have 121 speed stat and get a +1 boost to speed, your speed stat will now be 181.5 which will always round down to 181. In this article I will be referring to certain numbers rounding down semi frequently so it’s important you understand that even if a number ends in .9 it will always round down and never up.

These pictures above show a visual representation when I say the first stat only requires a 4 EV investment, as to where every subsequent stat requires an 8 EV investment. If you notice in the first picture the Sp. Def stat of Tapu Fini is 150, in the second picture you see we invest 4 EVs to then hit 151 Sp. Def stat, and in the final picture to hit 152 Sp. Def stat we invest another 8 EVs.

The Bump

The bump is a point where a stat will go up by 2 points for the 8 EV investment instead of just 1.

Happens every 10 stat points/80 EVS starting at the 22 stat point (33 then 44 then 55, then 66 so on and so forth)

The bump can only occur on stats that have a boosting nature. Such as when you have a Pokémon with a timid nature you will be able to notice the bump on your speed stat, however none of your other stats will be able to hit the bump. Same goes if you have any other nature such as adamant, the bump will affect your physical attack stat and no other stats.

When a Pokémon will hit the bump for the first time depends on their base stat. If you have a Pokémon who’s base speed stat puts their speed at 75, then you only need to invest 1 stat point to hit the bump and jump to 77. However, another Pokémon may have 5 less base speed putting their speed stat at 70 meaning they need to invest an extra 40 EVs (5 stat points) to hit that same bump.

Attack stat Pre bump
Attack stat Post-bump

With the previous 2 pictures you can see how the bump works, the first picture I have 8 EVs left to invest with an attack stat of 185, but due to the bump once I invest the next 8 I go to 187, instead of 186.

The “Steps Of EVing”

Something that may not be talked about a lot when it comes to EV spreads is there is a pretty set way that you should focus on investing your EVs. This is something I have followed myself, as well as something many top players have agreed with and followed themselves over the years. This is a 4 step system that shows you how you should approach making your EV spread. Keep in mind you could switch up these steps and still get a good EV spread but this has proven to be a highly efficient way to EV.

Step 1.) Invest in speed first.

You want to be determining the speed stat you wish your Pokémon to hit first before any other stat. This guarantees you have all the EVs you may need for speed available to you before investing in others. The speed stat is extremely important as it can determine what opposing Pokémon you outs peed/under speed which can dictate how you approach matchups and can determine how well positioned you are vs other archetypes. Even if you are using a trick room Pokémon who wants minimum speed and you aren’t investing any EVs its still extremely important that you set up that speed stat first.

Step 2.) Invest in Attack/Special Attack.

Steps 2 and 3 are interchangeable meaning this step can be step 3 depending on the Pokémon. However, if you are investing into a Pokémon that needs to be picking up certain OHKOs or 2HKOs, then you need to be investing all the EVs you need to hit the desired Atk stat before moving onto the bulk.

Step 3.) Invest in HP/Defense/Special Defense.

If the Pokémon you are EVing needs to live certain attacks to properly fulfill its role, than you will be wanting to invest in its bulk before going into its attack. As I said step 2 and 3 CAN be swapped depending on which is more important to the Pokémon you are EVing in order to give it the best chance at properly functioning how you want it to.

Step 4.) Invest the rest to your liking.

At this point once you have invested the EVs needed to hit the speed stat you want, the attack power you need, and the bulk you want you may now have some EVs left over. If you do its up to you to decide where you invest those EVs as if you followed the previous steps you will have invested to hit the goals needed in all other stats so any extra investments are just icing on the cake and its up to your preference if you want to invest the rest in offensive power, or bulk.

EV Optimizing

HP Stat Optimization

The HP stat is the stat with the most things to consider and when building a team you should be sure to see which of the following apply to your team so you can get the correct HP number.

Grassy Terrain/Leftovers/Leech Seed:

Heals 1/16 of your total HP at the end of the turn to all Pokémon besides flying types and Pokémon with the levitate ability. To capitalize on this you want a total HP stat that is a multiple of 16 (ex. 160,176,192)

Having any less than a multiple of 16 will decrease the amount you heal. For example with 160 HP stat you will heal 10 HP per turn, but with 159 HP stat you only heal 9.9 which rounds down to 9.

Hail/Sandstorm:

Deals 1/16 HP to all applicable Pokémon. (Ice type Pokémon are immune to hail damage, rock, ground and steel types are immune to sandstorm damage) 

To capitalize you want the opposite of the grassy terrain/leftovers HP by having a total HP stat that is a multiple of 16 minus 1 (ex. 159, 175,191)

This will allow you to take less 1 chip damage per turn. For example if you have a 160 HP stat you will take 10 damage at the end of each turn, however if you have 159 HP you will take 9.9 damage which rounds down to 9 making you take 1 less damage from weather chip each turn.

Life Orb:

Life Orb takes 1/10 of the users max health each use. Setting your HP stat to end in 9 will maximize health while lowering Life Orb recoil. 

Again if you have an HP stat of 160 you will take 16 damage per Life Orb use, but if you have 159 you will take 15.9 damage which as always rounds down to 15.

Sitrus Berry:

Recovers ¼ of you HP at ½ your total health. Having an HP stat that is divisible by 2 will allow you to get your recovery from the sitrus at the highest HP number. 

Example: 199/2 = 99.5 or 99 HP, compared to 200/2 = 100 HP. But keep in mind that if you also have a 201 HP stat you will have 201/2 = 100.5 which is also 100 HP, so keep in mind that bumping your HP up to the next even number will increase the HP stat in which your sitrus will be consumed.

“Super Sitrus Berries”/ Regenerator

“Super Sitrus Berries” such as wiki berry, or figy berry recover ⅓ of your total HP once you hit ¼ of your HP remaining. To make sure you get this recovery at the highest HP number you want to have your HP stat divisible by 4.

For example, 215/4 = 53.75 or 53, but 216/4 = 54.  Meaning if you have 216 total HP your berry will activate once you hit 54 HP or less remaining, as to where if you have 215 HP your berry won’t activate until you hit 53 HP or less remaining. This may seem trivial to some but being able to gain your HP back as soon as possible is very crucial in many scenarios. 

The Regenerator ability also works off a 1/3 recovery rate once switched out and these same rules apply to Pokémon with the Regenerator ability.

Substitute:

Substitute will take ¼ of your Pokémon’s total HP and use it to set up its sub. To capitalize on this you want to have an HP stat that is a multiple of 4, +1. For example, 201/4=50.25 which rounds down to 50 allowing you to substitute 4 times while maintaining 1 HP

Belly Drum:

Belly Drum takes 50% of your total HP in exchange for maxing out your attack stat.
You want your HP to be divisible by 2 so you are able to hit the half mark of your HP exactly which will allow you to recover from your sitrus berry immediately. (Sitrus berry is an extremely common item to be held by Pokémon utilizing the Belly Drum strategy considering they both synergize perfectly if your HP EV is correctly divisible by 2.) 

The 8 EV Split

As mentioned at the beginning of this article the first stat increase only takes 4 EVs instead of 8. You can use this to your advantage by taking 8 EVs out of one of you Pokémon’s stats, and give 4 to 2 other stats which gives you 1 more stat point over all.

EV spread without 4/4 split
Spread after the 4/4 split

As you can see from the the first picture I have all my EVs invested into 3 stats, but in the second picture you can see I took 8 EVs out of speed and was able to add 4 EVs to both Defense and Sp. Defense which gave me 2 stat points opposed to the 1 stat point I was getting in speed.

The Prime Number Debate/Max Move Boosts

Something that has seemed to gain a lot of popularity through the 2020/2021 season has been the notion that you should be EV training your Pokémon to a point where their stats are a prime number. The number of 103, 113, and 157 have come up a lot as benchmarks for your Pokémon to hit. The reason this goes around is that there tends to be a leap at those stat numbers in which you will either take less damage, or dish out more damage. However, if you are just going to dump EVs into a stat to hit an odd number with no real reason other than its what you have been told, then you should consider that it may be more beneficial to use an even number if you plan to boost said stat.

With the introduction of dynamax we were also introduced to max moves such as max airstream, max steelspike, max ooze, max knuckle and max quake. The previously mentioned moves will boost the corresponding stat of your Pokémon by 1.5x. You need to keep these in mind when EV training your Pokémon and see which of those moves you plan on using, the Pokémon who will most likely gain those boosts, and how their stats interact with those boosts.

Below I’m going to give some examples on why you should be considering bumping up your stats up 1 to an even number opposed to the odd number you may have been told to use.

Let’s use the extremely popular number of 113 to show an example of why 114 may be better in most cases. (What we are about to go over is the same for all odd and even number stats but for simplicity we will be using 113 and 114 as the constant number.)

Let’s say you have a Defense stat of 113, when getting a steel spike boost the stat equation will look like this. (Keep in mind that all stats round down)

113 x 1.5 = 169.5 = 169

Now let’s look at the stat gain when you bump that up to 114

114 x 1.5 = 171

You see with the 114 stat you get a net gain of 2 stat points after the 1.5x boost compared to the 113 stat. 

This is important to note as if you plan on using moves such as the previously listed max moves you should not only be doing calculations with the 113/114 stat, but you should also be doing calculations with both of those stats at 1.5x to see if you are getting better roles at 113×1.5 or at 114×1.5 in addition to your non boosted calculations. Making sure to take both of these into consideration will allow you to choose which stat points are going to work best for you and the team you are using overall optimizing your team.

Porygon2 Download

Porygon2 is an extremely common Pokémon in the current metagame, and will likely be a staple for most meta games going forward. Although Porygon2 gets 3 amazing abilities, the most commonly used and arguably the best ability Porygon2 gets is Download.

Download will calculate the average defense stat and special defense stat of the two Pokémon you have on the field, and whichever average is lower will determine if Porygon2 gets a boost in attack or special attack.

Considering most Porygon2 are going to be packing special attacking moves, to take advantage of this you want to be giving your Pokémon a higher special defense stat compared to their physical defense stat whenever possible. Now you don’t want to go out of your way to do this if it is going to negatively affect the rest of your EV spread, but if you have the extra EVs to invest and can make it happen it is going to be highly beneficial.

Example: Rotom has the same special defense stat as physical defense. If you complete most of your EV spread only have 4 EV’s left to use and you haven’t invested in either defense its better to put in in sp. def to make it 1 point higher giving you a better chance of preventing opposing Porygon2 from getting their highly beneficial special attack boost.

In this first image you see that both defenses are equal, but in the second Rotom has 1 extra stat in sp. def which will help influence the opposing Porygon2’s download to boost physical attack.

IV Optimizing

Reasons For 0 IVs

If you have played VGC for any period of time you have likely seen or heard of players using 0 IVs in one or more of their Pokémon’s stats. This can be confusing to some players so I’m going to break down the reasons players will build their Pokémon this way.

0 Attack IV: Many players opt to have 0 IV in their attack stat on their special attacking Pokémon. The reasons are: Minimizing foul play damage, which uses your own attack stat opposed to your opponents to calculate damage. Also it minimizes the damage you take if you hit yourself in confusion. When hit with confusion you are using a type-less physical move, therefore making your attack IV 0 you are minimizing the potential damage output of these options without taking anything important away from your Pokémon.

0 Speed IV: Another very common stat to have 0 IV in is speed. The reason being is to take full advantage of Trick Room. Trick Room “swaps the dimensions” making the Pokémon with the lowest speed stat go first and the Pokémon with the highest speed stat go last. If you are using a Trick Room team then it will be a good idea to make your Pokémon’s speed as low as possible so you have the best chance of moving before your opponent under Trick Room.

Reasons For Unusual IV Numbers

Another weird thing you may notice when looking at other people’s teams is they may have weird IVs in speed, like 4 IVs, or 18 IVs. The reasoning for this is USUALLY to hit a hyper specific speed to give an advantage inside or outside of Trick Room while still allowing the lowest possible speed stat. However there are other reasons for odd IV’s that I will give an example of below.

Ex: I have been using a team that utilizes Dusclops and Gigalith in which Dusclops will set up Trick Room, and then use bulldoze next to Gigalith to activate its Weakness Policy and further lower its speed making it a major threat in Trick Room. However, due to the fact that they have the same speed stat they have a chance at speed tying, meaning my Gigalith can attack before Dusclops and not have a +2 boosted attack. To fix this issue I use 4 speed IVs to make Gigalith 1 speed point faster than Dusclops making sure the bulldoze can always happen first while maintaining the lowest speed on my Gigalith.

Ex: In Wolfe’s 2016 World Champion team report he talks about considering making his Hitmontop 18 speed IV to always under speed Primal Groudon/Kyogre, but opted out of it due to time constraints with breeding, and he thought it to be a waste of EVs. However, this is a consideration on a team going into the highest level of play because it was giving him a very specific speed stat for a very specific game plan.

Ex: An example of odd IV that isn’t in the speed stat is 15 Def IV, Lonely nature Stakataka. With the lonely nature (+atk -def), 15 Def IVs, and 252 atk EVs this allows Stakataka to have an attack stat higher than its defense therefore giving Staka an Atk boost when activating Beast Boost. This was something that has been slightly common in series 7 and beyond, and shows that messing with your IVs is something you need to consider when deciding how to make a Pokémon best fulfill its role. In this case you will be aiming to have a highly offensive Staka, opposed to a more physically defensive one.

Hidden Power:

Hidden power for those who are newer and haven’t experienced this move in the meta game, is a move that can be any type besides normal typing, and the type of the move depends on your IV combination. Although hidden power is not currently available in Pokémon Sword and Shield, it has been a very impactful and meta defining move for many of the past years of VGC making it something very worth talking about. Each hidden power type has multiple IV combinations available to let you gain the hidden power typing you wish. The specific combination of IVs used will determine what the base power of hidden power is, with a minimum base power of 31 and a maximum base power of 70.

Ex: Hidden power ice can be obtained by any of the following IV combinations (these are only a few of the available as the list for possible combos is quite long for each type.)

31/26/30/31/31/31

31/31/31/31/31/30

30/30/30/31/31/31

30/27/30/31/31/31

If you are interested in more about IV combinations in relation to Hidden Power you should check out these fantastic threads I found that beautifully supply all the intricate information you would need about hidden power. 

https://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/hidden-power-iv-combinations.78083/

https://www.serebii.net/games/hidden-power.shtml

Thank you for reading today’s article I really hope this brought you value and taught you all you needed to know about EV/IV optimization! If you enjoyed please give this post a share, or consider checking out my social media for more VGC improvement content. You can find my twitter here, YouTube here, and my twitch channel here. I hope you enjoyed it and I wish you a fantastic day!

Published by Primitive

My name is Michael, but if you know my from competitive gaming you probably know me as Primitive. I'm a life long competitor in various card games, and turn based games who still has the burn to compete and work to be my best. I have been on a health and fitness journey since February 2018 and it is now one of my burning passions, making one of my new major goals to become a personal trainer to help others see the benefits exercise and nutrition can bring!

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