Guides

Pokemon Sword and Shield: Guide to Easy EV and IV Training

So you want to learn about EV and IV training? This is the ultimate beginners guide for any wannabe-Pokemon Master. Grab your Switch and a calculator because the Pokemon grinding starts now!

So you’ve conquered the Isle of Armour, caught all of the legendaries the Crown Tundra offered, and you’ve defeated Leon in the Battle Tower so many times you’re unsure if your Dracovish even enjoys one-shotting that pompous Gigantimax Charizard anymore. Or maybe you haven’t and that’s just me?

Well, whatever! With Players Cup III currently underway what better time to get into competitive Pokemon and mold your team into tip top shape than now? 

RELATED: Pokemon: The Crown Tundra Glastrier VGC Guide

In this guide, I’ll help explain how to properly unlock your Pokemon’s true potential within the VGC 2021 ruleset provided by The Pokemon Company (or just to beat your friends in an online battle). I’ll be explaining EV’s, IV’s, and other competitive Pokemon tactics. Here is a basic table of popular Pokemon VGC terminology regarding competitive Pokemon to help you thinking like a Pokemon Master.

TERMMEANING
Effort Value (EV)“Effort values” determine how many points an individual stat increases . Every Pokemon in the game has hidden “effort values” to give off to your Pokemon when they are defeated. They add up and cap at 252 total EV’s. Once you reach 252 EV’s the Pokemon cannot recieve EVs anymore! These stats are customizable and refer to HP, ATK, SP ATK, DEF, SP DEF, and SPD. It is possible to have 0 EV’s in a stat.
Inherent Value (IV)Inherent values refer to a Pokemon’s inherent given stats. Trainers breed and train in hopes of “perfected” values. Stats can be judged in your PC box after you defeat Leon in the Battle Tower. These stats differ in purpose and value in-game so its best to focus on IV’s later in the guide!
DoublesRefers to the battle style where one trainer battles using two Pokemon against another trainer’s two Pokemon. Double battles are standard in the Pokemon VGC ruleset 
Vitamins / Stat-drinksThese refer to EV-boosting drinks like HP UP, Protein, Iron, Carbos, Zinc and Calcium.
StabWhen a Pokemon uses a move of its same type. Example: Scorbunny using “Ember”
OH-KOA short-hand phrase for “one-hit-knockout”
SweeperA Pokemon on your team who is meant to KO the remaining/all opposing Pokemon, usually after being “set-up” by a teammate. 
Support / SetterA Pokemon that has a unique role on the team boosting the stats of others via moves and/or abilities. Can also be a sweeper/tank.
Tank / WallUsually a Pokemon with high DEF/SPDEF. Can also be a support or sweeper. Sometimes used to stall out or change your opponents focus in game

What to expect when EV/IV Training in Sword and Shield

Years and years ago, EV and IV training a single Pokemon could have taken you weeks, and that’s not an exaggeration in the slightest. With Pokemon Sword and Shield’s many new in-game systems, there are now much easier ways of getting a Pokemon ready to battle online, and if you have some of the key items already, you can potentially get a Pokemon competitive ready in under 30 minutes. 

RELATED: Pokemon The Crown Tundra: Spectrier VGC Guide

In this guide, I may talk about things only exclusive to the DLC, which does, without question, make this process go much faster. However the DLC is not necessary for of these processes at all. You will need a whole lot of in-game money to make it go as quickly as possible though. Money is very accessible in Sword and Shield especially if you’ve unlocked the Isle of Amour’s Watt Guy. A good estimate is around 250-500K. 

Lastly, I will be building a Pokemon alongside you in this guide too, so take a look at my pictures if you feel lost. In this guide, I will be building up a sweeper Aegislash! Say hello to “Fred”!

Credit: The Pokemon Company

How to view a Pokemon’s inherant values (IV’s)

To determine the IV’s of a Pokemon you’ll want to use the “Judge” feature in your Pokemon Box. If you’re unsure if you have this feature unlocked simply press “+” on a Pokemon in your box. If the stat section shows up on the right side of the screen with a list of words next to the stat icons, then you have it unlocked! If you’re Pokemon says “best” next to all of their stats, you are either incredibly lucky, have a really nice friend, or you’re hacking and if that’s the case, then why are you even here? If they say anything else, don’t worry, we can fix that! Anyway, here’s what the judge feature had to say about my dear, “Fred”.

Credit: The Pokemon Company

Oh dear, Fred has a “No Good” Attack stat. The judge says we have “OK stats”. To unlock the “judge” feature, beat Leon in the Battle Tower after completing the game. It’s a very important feature to have if you’re looking to get into VGC Battles. The next section will help solidify what all of that judging means.

Introduction to Pokemon’s most confusing systems: EV and IV training

There are hundreds upon hundreds of YouTube videos and guides detailing EV’s and IV’s but I think I’ve got a take that will really help beginner players grasp the concepts easier. Stick with me here, and hopefully this will make some sense.

IV’s, or “inherant values”, are the real world equivalent to traits passed down in animals and people. Think of IV’s as the Pokemon-equivalent to genes and traits in the real world. They’re the potential we inherent from a parent that molds a specific animal or person to be the way they are. Some people are bigger and faster than others, some are smarter; you get the idea. This IV system in Pokemon is meant to reflect those unique differences among the individual species of Pokemon. For example, Pikachu has the potential to have a maximum Speed stat of ~142 (*at level 50). To get the “maximum Speed stat” I mentioned, you used to have to breed the Pikachu with another pokemon in its egg group that already had a perfect speed stat. After that, you’d have to breed the Pokemon, sometimes hundreds of times, to hopefully hatch a Pikachu with a perfect speed stat. From there, that Pikachu’s “best” speed stat could be EV trained which would make that specific Pikachu as fast as any Pikachu can possibly be (142) at level 50 with a beneficial nature. This is why some Pokemon lose viability within the VGC ruleset. Pikachu, even with that great speed stat maxed out 100%, will never be faster than an opposing Raichu with its speed stat maxed out. My apologies to Ash.

EV’s, or “effort values”, is a concept easier to comprehend if you simply switch the words around. Effort values are quite literally: value from your Pokemon’s efforts. Think of them like this: in professional sports, most athletes train in the gym to get stronger. While they train, they metaphorically gain “effort values” that make them better at what they do. In Pokemon, your mons’ gets effort values through battles with NPC trainer battles and wild Pokemon encounters only upon KO-ing the opponent. Every single Pokemon in the game is assigned with a a modifier to your stats that add to a running total when KO-d. For instance, when you KO a Pikachu in Pokemon Sword in Shield, your entire party of Pokemon gain 2 speed effort values, which will, of course, raise your Pokemon’s speed stat. This newly introduced system of EV distribution is great for casual story playthroughs because it makes your entire party a lot stronger without having to train each Pokemon individually. However, it makes post-game-wild-Pokemon EV-training an absolute nightmare. Oftentimes you’ll have to over-level your Pokemon to effieciently take on hoardes of wild Pokemon, solo. And if you have to over-level anyway, then why not stick around and learn how to hyper-train?

Note: each Pokemon’s version of “perfect” differs based on the Pokemon in question’s stats. All and all, it’s your job as the trainer to determine and fix the stats that are most defining for each member of your six-man team. So whatever Pokemon you choose to train first, maybe give a quick Google search to learn which stats are best to max out. Here are some Google-worthy phrases you can use for any Pokemon to help determine what stats you may need boosted:

  1. Stat builds for (*insert Pokemon here*) VGC
  2. Is (*insert Pokemon here*) a Physical or Special Attacker
  3. Items to use with (*Insert Pokemon here*)

Lastly, you’re going to want to understand your Pokemon’s Abilities, and possible other Abilities. Top level Pokemon is defined by abilities and every Pokemon has a slightly different mix. Some Pokemon have access to “hidden abilities” which are usually incredibly rare, character-defining powers. My Aeigislash here has the ability “Stance Change”. That is an ability only found on Aegislash. Not even Honege or Doublade have access to that ability! The best way to find out more ability specific abilities is to check them out on a website like Serebii.net – which is my personal favorite source for ridiculously specific Pokemon stats. 

Training Step One: IV-training in Sword and Shield without Breeding

There are plenty of ways to get a Pokemon with perfect IV’s but I’m going to tell you how to get perfect IV Pokemon without having to breed. Breeding Pokemon is great for people who have done that method for years and years, but Sword and Shield has given us new ways to get that perfect Pokemon that doesn’t require us to run to-and-fro for hours upon hours! Added bonus: it’s super easy too! There’s just a smaller, much more manageable grind. There are new items made for leveling your Pokemon up which makes hyper-training the best option (in my opinion) for IV training.

All you need to do is collect XP Candies to get your Pokemon to level 100 and have beaten the main storyline. To hyper-train a Pokemon, it needs to be at level 100. There are no exceptions. Now I realize that sounds like a truck-load of work, but you should only need around 20-30 XL EXP candies to get a level 70 legendary Pokemon to level 100. That means it should require much less XP candies to get most other Pokemon to that level 100 cap. Plus, now you can buy XL EXP Candies with Dynite Ore in the Crown Tundra. The easiest way to collect these candies, however, is to participate in Dynamax raids. Each completed 5 star raid should get you around 1-2 L EXP and 1-2 XL EXP candies every time you complete the raid at about 10 min-a-raid. And another plus: 5 Star Dynamax raids have a very high chance of featuring Pokemon with “best” or perfect stats. I have, since playing, found around fifteen to twenty, perfect-IV Pokemon from raids that I was able to begin EV-training immedately after catching. Always judge new catches when you remember to, especially after raid battles!

Here is a picture of me feeding candies to Fred, who was caught at level 60.

Credit: The Pokemon Company
Credit: The Pokemon Company

Once you have a Pokemon that has been leveled to 100, take it over to the Battle Tower and talk to this guy all the way on the right side of the counter:

Credit: The Pokemon Company

He’s going to ask if you have any Bottle Caps, which are decently common rewards from 5 star Dynamax raid battles. This may be the biggest hurdle to climb when hyper-training, but I weighed my options like this: the more dynamax raids I do, the better chance I have of getting Pokemon that have “best. I also get XP candies, TMs, and treasure to sell for PokeDollars. Seems like a no brainer unless you’re a purist and need your Pokemon’s stats to read “best” all accross the board.

If you have never hyper-trained a Pokemon before, it’s highly likely that you already have a decent amount of bottle caps from completing prior raids. Gold bottle caps will allow you to hyper-train all stats at once that are not judged as “best” on your Pokemon. Bottle caps can be bought in the Battle Tower for 25 BP, which is a currency easily obtained by entering online events, participating in ranked matches, and/or using Pokemon Home.

A future note for you as well regarding hyper-training: there are times where you will want a Pokemon with 0 speed to synergize with a Trick Room setter, or 0 attack to avoid being punished by an opposing Pokemon’s move like Foul Play. Regardless of your set, you’ll want to maximize only the stats that are most important so that in the end you’ll have a Pokemon that looks similar to our Aeigishash here when judged!

Credit: The Pokemon Company

Training Step Two: EV Training in Sword & Shield without repeated battling

Because of how accessible money is in Sword & Shield, it’s almost always a faster process to gather money and buy Vitamins to EV train your Pokemon. In previous games, you’d have to hunt down various Pokemon in the wild known for their effort value and KO them over and over. For each of your stats. For all six of your Pokemon. Yeah, I’m not going to tell you to do that.

RELATED: Pokemon Unite: Gameplay Footage Leaked For Upcoming MOBA

Now, instead of having to grind literally thousands of battles, you can buy all of the Vitamins you need to EV train with various currencies at a few different places and I’ll go over all of them. First, here is a table detailing stats.

STAT How it affects your Pokemon…Short-hand NotationVitamin that boosts this stat
AttackStat that determines how much damage physical attacks will deal to an opposing Pokemon. 
Examples of physical attacks: Tackle, Scratch, Shadow Sneak, etc.
ATKProtein
Special AttackStat that determines how much damage a non-contact attack will deal. 
Exampes: Psychic, Air Cutter, Hyper Beam, etc.
SP ATKCalcium
DefenseStat that determines how much damage you will take when hit with an enemy physical attack. DEFIron
Special DefenseStat that determines how much damage you will take when hit with a non-contact attack. SP DEFZinc
Hit Points / HealthStat that determines how many individual hit points a Pokemon will receive. The higher the stat, the higher the base HP. HPHP UP
SpeedStat that determines move order. Pokemon with a higher number in speed stat will move first in the turn order.SPDCarbos
Credit: The Pokemon Company

These stat-boosting drinks are found all over the overworld, but never in surplus so you’ll need to buy some. This is important: to max out an individual stat, you will need 26 of the correlating vitamin drink. If you want a Pokemon with a “max SPD” stat and “max ATK” stat, you’d buy 26 Carbos and 26 Protein. Each drink gives your Pokemon 10 effort values in that specific stat. Don’t worry too much about the unbelievably confusing math that is effort value calculating, but know that you’ll need 53 drinks in total as you’ll have one stat boost left after the first 52 drinks. There are now, however, four different places in Galar where you can immediately buy all six of those stat drinks.

Note the third location is the fastest and most cost effective option, but requires that you’ve completed the Isle of Armour DLC. The fourth location is another viable option, but requires that you’ve unlocked Dynamax Adventures in the Crown Tundra DLC.

  1. Head to the Pokemon Center in Wyndon’s main street! Talk to this man behind the counter on the right to pay for vitamins at 10K a drink.
  2. Head to the Hammerlocke’s middle-most Pokemon center. Talk to the woman in front of the counter on the right and buy vitamins per 2BP. BP is awarded through Pokemon Home and participating in battles online.
  3. Once you have beaten the Isle of Armour DLC talk to Honey in the dojo and give her watts. Once you’ve given enough watts, she will add and then upgrade the vending machines in the Dojo making them now sell stat-boosting drinks at a massive discount when bought in bundles. This is by far the easiest way to get the stat-boosting drinks as their price is discounted, and you can buy 25 at a time. If you need watts fast, talk to the Digging Pa on the Isle of Armour and spend some Amorite Ore!
  4. Once you have unlocked Dynamax Adventures in the Crown Tundra, you can now spend Dynite ore gained from raids and spend them on vitamin drinks, 2 ore per drink.

Once you have obtained your drinks, you can feed them to your Pokemon, unless you have used this Pokemon before, then continue reading on before feeding the drinks! If you did boost a Pokemon’s stat with juice, you may see these shimmering stars around the Pokemon’s stat table.

Credit: The Pokemon Company

It’s hard to see, but theres a light gray cone shape that stretches to the sides labeled Attack and Speed! Those stars signify that stat is completely maxed out! And now you also know how to check any Pokemon’s effort values!

Some of you may be trying to EV train a Pokemon you used in your story play through! Usually, those Pokemon have already been EV trained by you while playing the main game and may have an EV chart that looks like my Toxtricity, “Tox”, who I used in my story playthrough.

Credit: The Pokemon Company

Yikes. That’s a mess. No need to fear! If you want to take back effort values from a Pokemon and don’t have the DLC, you can feed the Pokemon a berry that will decrease effort values. Here are the berries you’ll need:

BERRY NAMEEFFORT VALUE DECREASE
Pomeg Berry-10 Hit Point effort values
Kelpsy Berry-10 Attack effort values
Qualot Berry-10 Defense effort values
Hondew Berry-10 Special Attack effort values
Grepa Berry-10 Special Defense effort values
Tomato Berry-10 Speed effort values
Credit: The Pokemon Company

If you own the Isle of Armour DLC, you can ride your water-Rotom-bike to this lady located in the middle of the Workout Sea. For 10 Armorite Ore, she will reset every single stat of a single Pokemon without taking away ribbons, changing moves or removing nicknames.

Credit: The Pokemon Company

Training Step Three: Understanding Move Pools, Itemization and Team Building

By now you have a Pokemon with perfect inherent values and maxed out effort values in the necessary stats. The next trick is obtaining “synergy” which is something that’s more learned than it is taught, and that’s because no one can really teach synergy. I can tell you straight up what works with what, but odds are there’s a team composition that’s “better” or “more optimized”. Pokemon is a game of trial and error and the complicated beauty of it is that there may be the “best way” of building a team, but that is never the only way. Realize that there is a lot to learn and that’s okay. You got this.

RELATED: Pokémon Sword & Shield: Regidrago VGC Guide

Let’s imagine you do the unthinkable: you bring a full team of water types against a team full of grass and electric types. There isn’t any amount of training that you can do there, especially if the level cap is equalized. They are probably full of grass and electric type stab moves that could potentially OH-KO your water types. But because you read the next part of this guide, you can think ahead and combat this by teaching some of your water types, ice-type moves for potential coverage. You’ll note that the best teams usually have many different types of Pokemon that use very different types of moves for a few reasons:

  1. A Pokemon that uses a move with the same type as its type, will increase damage. This is called “stab”. My Aegislash for example will have “stab” on Shadow Sneak and Iron Head. The fighting type move, Sacred Sword, will not “stab” for extra damage because Aegislash is not a fighting type. 
  2. A Pokemon gains access to different buffs/debuffs when using the Dynamaxed version of differntly typed moves.
  3. Stated earlier, but you need coverage! Equipping moves that are super-effective against Pokemon that may know super-effective moves against your team, is the best way to stay prepared.

I unfortunately cannot read your mind and tell what Pokemon you plan to build alongside me in this guide, therefore I can’t tell you what moves to use, but I can give you an example team and explain its roles to help give you an idea of how teams can and should synergize. Now I’m no pro player, but I definitely love battling for the win and this team has done pretty well for me online. This is my version of the classic “rain team” composition. It’s a simple, yet aggressive set of Pokemon that rely on damage/speed boosts from rain and sand, both caused by individual Pokemon’s abilities. And it’s all for my good friend, Dracovish.

Credit: The Pokemon Company

Let’s break this team down by role!

SWEEPERS:

Dracovish, Azumarill and Blastoise all have great “sweeping potential” on this team. I prefer a team that has a straight-forward goal: hit harder and faster than the other guy. Dracovish and Azumarill are my physical sweeper, and Blastiose sits as my special-attacking, Dynamax-sweep. My Dracovish, named “Ooga”, has his hidden ability unlocked which allows its speed to double in a sandstorm. It allows me to comfortably give an item to him that people wouldn’t normally run on Dracovish . G-max Blastoise, named “Turt”, has his unique G-Max Cannoncide move that does passive damage to both of the opponents Pokemon for four turns after the move is used. This damage is usually enough to two-hit KO an opposing sweeper that may outspeed Blastoise. Azumarill is only used if I am fully committing to a rain team and/or need some Dragon type coverage for Dracovish. 

SUPPORTS / SETTERS:

The supports and setters on the team make up the rest of the three Pokemon: Goodra, Pelliper and Hippowdon. Each of these Pokemon synergize very well with another sweeper on the team, so the four Pokemon I use differ depending on what the opponents team has to offer. Pelipper has the ability “Drizzle” which makes the weather change to rain boosting the power of your Pokemon’s water type attacks for the next five turns or until there is another weather condition introduced. When paired with Azumarill’s incredibly high ATK stat and ability, you can usually OH-KO an unsuspecting opponent with “status leads” (which are usually Poison/Electric/Psychic types).

TANKS:

The tanks of the team are without question Hippowdon and Goodra, who also (unfortunately) boast very potent individual weaknesses. Hippowdon should avoid opposing water-type sweeper and Goodra should avoid Fairy or Dragon types. Hippowdon’s ability to set up stealth rocks, heal himself with Slack Off, and stab with High Horsepower against opposing fairy types allow for some incredible sustain in game. Hippowdons ability is similar to Pelipper, and will start a sandstorm upon switch-in.  Goodra synergizes more with the water types and has the ability “Rain Dish” which will heal Goodra each turn there is rain. Starting to see why Pelipper’s “drizzle” ability is so good on this team? 

By now, you should have a much more clear idea of what EV and IV’s are inside of Pokemon, and how and where to obtain them. You know the newest and fastest ways to IV and EV train in Sword and Shield. What else is left than for me to say congrats and thank you for reading! Pokemon can be and is much more complicated than even what’s here in this guide so for more Pokemon guides, updates, and news, you know where to be: right here at Gamezo.