PokéMonday – Basic Training

The World of Pokémon.

Welcome to the first part in a short series on getting the most out of your Pokémon.

Pokémon has some strong ‘social gaming’ mechanisms. Trading Pokémon with other players plays an important role in a considerable number of evolutions. On the other hand, battling is a purely competitive venture. Player battles can be challenging and exciting, and they can remain interesting long after the game’s plot comes to an end. The goal of these lessons is to introduce some of the advanced concepts behind training Pokémon and competitive battling.

You’re probably wondering about my credentials,

Who are you to be telling me how to play? You can’t tell me what to do! You’re not even a real Pokémon Professor!

While it is true that I don’t know whether you’re a boy or a girl, I don’t think of myself as an expert at all. I’ve been playing Pokémon since the day I saw the picture of a giant tortoise with cannons protruding from its shell on the cover of Pokémon Blue back in 1995. I began to learn about competitive battling at the start of the 3rd generation (Ruby/Sapphire). I was originally scared of competitive player battles. I was scared of losing. It turns out that there wasn’t much to be afraid of – I lost quickly and frequently, but learnt something new each and every time. Those battles that I lost taught me a lot more than the battles I’ve won; perhaps most importantly, don’t be afraid to try – as clichéd as that sounds. The information I’m relaying here is my own words, but not my own work. It’s a collection of information I’ve learned and gathered from other people. Where possible I’ll provide links to the source. If you think something is not my own and should be cited, let me know.

Being the Very Best.

On the surface, Pokémon is simple RPG. Its turn-based combat revolves around a convoluted Rock-Paper-Scissors mechanism as the primary focus, and you gather a team that has the best coverage against opposing types whilst simultaneously providing each other with support against their type counters. Or perhaps you pick a team of six monsters based on how cool they look and how high up your favourites list they sit, then overpower your opponents by out-levelling them. For many, the truth falls somewhere in between, and it’s more than enough to get you through the game’s story. However, if you really want your Pokémon to be the best, then you have to dig a little deeper.

The games go to great effort to describe the ways in which any two given Pokémon are different from each other without ever actually going into detail, or explaining the ramifications of those differences. You will often find NPC’s describing two Pokémon of the same species having different strengths, or perhaps you’ve experienced your Pokémon is able to defeat a wild Pokémon in a single attack but in the very next battle, against a Pokémon of the same species and level, your Pokémon didn’t knock out their opponent in one round. There are a lot of factors influencing the growth of each Pokémon; some are obvious, like their base stats or nature, others are hidden values, like effort and individual values. Today, we’re going to look at Individual Values and Natures.

The “Top Percentage”.

Pokémon have six primary statistics that you’d be familiar with; these are: HP, Attack, Defence, Special Attack, Special Defence, and Speed. When a Pokémon is generated (hatched or encountered in the wild), each of these stats is assigned a hidden value between 0 and 31, this is referred to as the Pokémon’s Individual Values or IV’s. You may sometimes see these called Difference Values. A Pokémon’s IV’s directly affect the primary stats at a rate of 1:1 when the Pokémon is at level 100. The effect scales up to 1:1 as the Pokémon grows in levels. It is approximately at 50% effectiveness (0.5:1) at level 50 and 0% effectiveness at level 1.

This means that each stat can have a possible range of 32 different values. Let’s take a look at Pikachu, if we were to hatch a Pikachu with an IV of 0 for each stat and use Rare Candies to raise it to level 100 it would look something like this:

HP – 180
Attack – 115
Defence – 65
Sp. Atk – 105
Sp. Def – 85
Speed – 185

Let’s do the same again with another Pikachu, this time with an IV of 31 in each stat:

HP – 211
Attack – 146
Defence – 96
Sp. Atk – 136
Sp. Def – 116
Speed – 216

This gives Pikachu 2 a significant advantage. If they are both using the same attacks Pikachu 2’s higher speed will allow it to act first, its higher attack values will mean the attacks hit harder, and the higher HP + defence values mean it will last longer.

Individual Values aren’t the only factor influencing a Pokémon’s stats. Each Pokémon has a Nature that is generated along with the IV’s. Natures describe a 10% increase in the growth of one stat and a 10% decrease in the growth of a stat. HP is the only stat not influenced by natures, meaning there is a list of 25 possibilities. Of the 25 natures, 5 are neutral natures – where the same stat is boosted and hindered, resulting in no effect on the stat’s growth. The two Pikachu above have neutral natures; if we were to hatch for a beneficial nature, we’d get a different spread again.

Since most of the Electric type moves learned by Pikachu use the Special Attack stat let’s hatch a Modest Pikachu which will gain a 10% boost to Sp. Atk and 10% hindrance to Attack:

HP – 180
Attack – 103
Defence – 65
Sp. Atk – 115
Sp. Def – 85
Speed – 185

HP – 211
Attack – 131
Defence – 96
Sp. Atk – 149
Sp. Def – 116
Speed – 216

What’s important here, is that Natures effect the stat value provided by IV’s – a 31 stat point in a Nature boosted stat results in a 34 (34.1 rounded) stat gain or will only provide 28 (27.9 rounded) stat points to a hindered stat. Since natures have such a strong influence on all stat growth, and because a Pokémon’s nature is infinitely easier to determine than its IV’s, I would rate a beneficial nature as more important than a perfect IV.

As a point of clarification, a “beneficial nature” is any nature that boosts the stats that are considered most important to the Pokémon. Pikachu or Raichu is often a Special Attacker that relies on hitting hard and fast to survive – its real HP and defence stats are all low, giving it poor “effective HP”. In order to make the most of this blitzkrieg strategy I would want to boost either its Special Attack or its Speed. Since I don’t plan on using Physical Attacks, I’ll happily take a hit to the Attack stat. This means I’ve got two possible natures to look for, Timid (+ Spe, – Atk) and as described above, Modest (+Sp. Atk, -Atk).

Since IV’s are hidden, you’re going to need a way to determine them yourself. There is a formula you can look up if you’re keen to do the maths yourself. Alternatively, you can use one of the many IV calculator’s on Pokémon websites across the internet. I use MetalKid’s IV Calculator, linked below.

Join me next time when we look at improving a Pokémon’s stats through Effort Training.


[MetalKid’s IV Calculator]
[Individual Values on Bulbapedia]
[Natures on Bulbapedia]
[Natures on Serebii.net]

One comment

  1. Theres an amazing amount of depth to Pokemon when it is usually considered “kiddie”. Great read Mawt. Keep it up.

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