Natures are another aspect of Pokemon that are important to potential (stat-wise). They determine an increase in one stat, and a decrease in the other. Depending on what you prefer, it will be difficult to get a Pokemon with the nature you want. There are 25 different Natures, most of them raising one stat and lowering the other. The ones that do not are known as Neutral Natures, and will not hinder or advance the progress of any one stat. These natures are Hardy, Docile, Serious, Bashful, and Quirky.
Specifically, Natures will increase a stat’s progression by 1.1x (10%) as well as lower it (0.9x, or 10% down). The reason why there are 25 Natures is that there needs to be a Nature for every single combination (HP is excluded when dealing with Natures). You can tell (most of the time) what a Nature’s effect will be if you just look at it.
Hasty, as its name implies, will increase the Speed stat, while lowering its Defense Stat. People who are nad’ve, or do not look at the bad intentions of others, also play a role in Naďve’s effect: an increase in Speed, and a decrease in Special Defense. To be calm also influences Calm’s effect: an increase in Special Defense, and a decrease in Attack.
Now, on Natural Selection (just a play on words), the object is to find a Pokemon with natures that will either benefit its strong points and further lower its weak points, or to have one that will increase its weak spots in exchange for lowering its strong points. Natures, out of battle, are useful for Pokemon Contests. (The Pokeathlon in Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver is based on potential, and stats for the event can be changed.)
Poffins, which can be made out of Berries, will increase your Pokemon’s Contest Effect in one area. Like Vitamins, when you feed it a certain amount, it won’t take anymore, so plan carefully. Characteristics will also determine a Pokemon’s stats.
There are five Characteristics for each stat (including HP). For example, “likes to fight” describes a Characteristic that will increase Attack. Fortunately, I bred a Quilava with a Characteristic that increases Special Defense. Since Quilava is a Fire-type, its weaknesses are Water, Rock, and Ground. Most of these moves are special moves and require a strong Special Defense. There’s an even smaller chance you can get one with the right Nature and Characteristic, since there is a 1 in 25 chance you will get the correct Nature, plus a 1 in 5 chance for the correct Characteristic (1 in 25 for the best one). If you multiply 1/25 by 1/5, you will get 1/125 chance of breeding an ideal Pokémon, and an even smaller fraction, 1/625, for optimal IVs.
If you combine a good nature with a Pokemon, the tide of battle can change, and hopefully, you can combine tactics with other strategies, like hold items, or an excellent moveset. The Pokemon Global Link will be hosting tournaments when it opens; don’t be afraid to use your best combination of Pokemon and aim for the top!