By Jack Snell
Effort Values (EVs for short) are what help determine what stats your Pokemon gain when they level up. EVs are similar to EXP in that your Pokemon will gain them when the battle finishes, but there are three key differences.
Wild Pokemon give off a specific number of EVs.
EVs will boost stats, as opposed to EXP, which only grows your Pokemon to its next level.
There is a limit to the amount of EVs your Pokemon is capable of gaining, which has very little to do with the level it’s at.
Each Pokemon gives off a specific number of EVs. Let’s start with an example: you’ve started the game with a Snivy and just recently fought a Lillipup you found in the grass. Along with the 20 or so EXP points your Snivy gained, it also gained a EV point in Attack. Why? Because Lillipups give off 1 EV point in Attack when you defeat them. Each Pokemon gives off a certain number of EVs in a certain stat.
Here’s a few example of what EVs what Pokemon give off:
Purrloin gives off 1 EV in Speed.
Audino gives off 2 EVs in HP.
Sawsbuck gives off 2 EVs in Attack.
As you can see, fully evolved Pokemon tend to give off more EVs, just as they give off more EXP. A Pokemon’s level has nothing to do with how many EVs you gain — a level 10 Pokemon gives 2 EVs just like a level 50 one does.
Let’s move on to the next bullet point: EVs will boost stats. This one is a little more complicated.
In a nutshell, Pokemon will have higher stats if they have more EVs in the respective stat. At level 100, every 4 EVs that a Pokemon has gained in a stat will raise that stat by 1 point. Let’s say you were to defeat 4 Purrloin; at level 100, your Pokemon would have 1 point higher Speed than it would if it didn’t fight any Purrloin. Fight 8 Purrloin, and you’ll have 2 points higher Speed.
You don’t have to wait until level 100 before you see the effects of EV training — you’ll receive a proportionate bonus based on your level, and it is usually gained gradually, not all at once. In other words, you might not see every level up giving you +5’s and +6’s for your stats, but over time, your Pokemon will be stronger than it would be if you weren’t EV training it.
There is a limit to the amount on EVs you can gain, which brings me to the third bullet point: You can only have a maximum of 510 EVs on one Pokemon, and no more than 255 on any stat. And since 4 EVs are worth 1 stat point at level 100, and 4 does not go equally into 510 or 255, then you don’t have to completely fill up those numbers.
For instance, if you were to divide 255 by 4, you would get 63.75. This number is always rounded down, so you get the same amount of stats if you have 255 EVs as you do 252. What this means is that you only have to get 252 of those EVs, since that .75 is equal to 3 EVs. And since 252 EVs in one stat + 252 EVs in another stat equals 504, 6 off of the maximum of 510, you can invest in 4 EVs (1 point) in another stat.
If you got all that, good for you. If you didn’t, then just trust me when I say the most effective way to EV your Pokemon early on is to have 252 EVs in one stat, 252 in another, and 4 in another. Of course, once you get into it a bit you can play around with things like 252/184/72, but if you’re still learning, then that might be awhile.
Here’s a recap of what you should have learned from this:
You gain Effort Values (EVs) whenever you KO a Pokemon.
Each Pokemon species gives a set number of EVs when you it is KO’d.
Every 4 EVs in a stat gives you 1 extra point in that stat at level 100 (and the proportionate number at lower levels).
You cannot have more than 255 EVs in any one stat.
You cannot have more than 510 EVs across all of a Pokemon stats.
Since the stats gained from EVs are rounded down, 252 EVs are the highest amount you actually need, allowing you to put 252 EVs in one stat, 252 EVs in a second stat, and then 4 EVs in a third stat (with two EVs that serve no purpose).