Guide to Individual Values
You thought you had it all down - EVs, Natures, abilities, Syncronize's effect on wild Pokemon. You went into the wild and caught a Riolu that you thought would be able to sweep entire teams once it was EVed correctly and then evolved. After doing all the EV grinding, you go into a battle, use Swords Dance to prepare for a sweep, then Close Combat fails to OHKO the opponent like how a damage calculator told you it would. What went wrong? While it could very well be simple luck, there is a very important part of a Pokemon that determines how much damage it will give and take, and even if it can outspeed the opponent - IVs or Individual Values.
What are Individual Values?
When training a Pokemon, there are multiple influences on its final power. Let's say that Lucario from earlier battles another Lucario. For example's sake you both use Thunderpunch, but yours only takes away half of your opponent's HP, and your opponent almost OHKOs you. Why did they do different damages? This is where all these influences come into play. One of the most important influences in this are Individual Values.
Individual Values (to be referred to as 'IVs') are a key influence in a Pokemon's power. When you catch a pokemon, it has six IVs, one for every stat (HP/Attack/Defense/Special Attack/Special Defense/Speed). Each individual value can be at a value anywhere from 0 to 31. Let's say you just caught an Pinsir and this Pinsir has a neutral nature such as Quirky. With all 0 IVs and no EVs, the Pinsir's stats (at lv. 100) should be 240/255/205/115/145/175. However, let's say it's IVs are all 10. Then, the Pinsirs stats would go up to 250/265/215/125/155/185. Notice the difference? Each Stat went up by 10, the same as the IV! Each IV number raises that stat by one. If all of the IVs are 31, the Pinsir's stats would become 271/286/236/146/176/206. This is a very significant difference than the one with 0 IVs.
How can I control my Pokemon's IVs?
IVs are a key aspect in battle. Whether your pokemon have good IVs or not can make or break your Pokemon or even your team. Unfortunately, once you have a Pokemon, its IVs are permanent and cannot be changed.
If you don't have the Pokemon yet, however, the best way to control your Pokemon's IVs is to breed your pokemon specially, via IV breeding. Of course you could constantly battle Pokemon in the wild, and hope for a Pokemon with good IVs (this is referred to as soft-resetting, or in short SRing), but this will prove to be much, much more time-consuming, since wild Pokemon have random IVs set to them when you encounter them.
To IV breed, you do the same thing you would do to breed normally, place the Pokemon you wish to breed in the Daycare. However, which parents you choose are a key factor in your offsprings IVs. Generally, the better the parent's IVs, the better the offspring's. There are many ways you can influence the IVs.
One helpful tool for IV breeding is a Ditto. Dittos are NOT necessary, but they work well because they can breed with almost any Pokemon. By using a Ditto with a certain Nature and high IVs as the mother in your IV-breeding, you can essentially pass down a few good IV stats, as well as pass down the Ditto's Nature!
To illustrate how the following tools work, we will use an example target: Breed a Naive Magby with 31/31/31/31/31/31 for its IVs.
Generation 4 games: By giving this to our Ditto, the Magby that will result from this IV-breeding process will have a 50% chance of becoming Naive. This only works because Ditto is the MOTHER. If the Magmar were a female, the game would set Ditto as the father, and thus the trick would not work.
Generation 5: The Everstone will work on both male and female Pokemon to pass down Natures. The 50% chance is boosted to 100% in Pokemon Black 2 / White 2 and onward.
Generation 6: If the mother has the Everstone, the Pokeball it was caught in will also pass down to the child.
The 5 "power" items
The 5 power items (Power Weight, Power Bracer, Power Belt, Power Anklet, Power Lens and Power Belt) also have an effect on breeding as of Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver. In HGSS and onward, giving a Power item to either parent will immediately pass down the parent's IV of that stat to the baby.
Power Weight-Pass down the HP IV stat
Power Bracer-Pass down the Attack IV stat
Power Belt-Pass down the Defense IV stat
Power Lens-Pass down the Special Attack IV stat
Power Band-Pass down the Special Defense IV stat
Power Anklet-Pass down the Speed IV stat
What this means is that if we gave our Magmar a Power Lens, the resulting Magby will always have a Special Attack IV of 31, because Magmar itself has a Special Attack IV of 31. If we gave Magmar a Power Anklet, the Magby would always have a Speed IV of 6 (we would have to be madmen to consider doing such a thing).
But what about the mother? As you probably already know, only one item can be held by a Pokemon. If you give the mother a different Power item (say, the Power Bracer), and the mother (Ditto in our example) has a 31 stat for its Attack IV, this means that you would be able to breed a Magby with either a 31 IV in HP or a 31 IV in Special Attack, possibly both! This sounds very nice, but that means that you don't have the 50% chance of getting a Naive nature anymore because the Ditto has to have either a Power item OR an Everstone. In practice it is better for Magmar to hold a Power item while Ditto always has the Everstone so that we get a Magby with 31 in Speed and always a Naive nature, and leave the other IVs to chance.
After putting a Naive Ditto holding an Everstone in the Day-Care (it will be treated as the mother), and the male Magmar holding a Power Anklet into the Day-care, it's just a matter of luck and time. At this point, simply ride around until an egg is produced, hatch it, and hope for the best.
When an egg is produced, the Magby will have a 50% chance of having a Naive nature, and a 31 in its Speed IV (the max for any IV stat is 31). The other 5 stats are still determined by the parents. This in an eggshell is how IV-breeding is done.
The Destiny Knot
Generation 6: This item does nothing prior to Pokemon X/Y. However, if you give either parent the Destiny Knot, the game will follow a procedure like this:
(Note: Refresh the page to see another example)
- Randomly generate some IVs for the baby
Magby: 17 8 5 7 27 21
Randomly choose 5 stats
Atk Def SpAtk SpDef Spd
Look at each of those stats, choose randomly either the father or mother, and apply the IV to the baby
Atk of Magmar: 29
Atk of Ditto: 31
We chose the father - inherit 29 from Magmar
Magby's Atk is now 29
Def of Magmar: 31
Def of Ditto: 31
We chose the father - inherit 31 from Magmar
Magby's Def is now 31
SpAtk of Magmar: 31
SpAtk of Ditto: 31
We chose the father - inherit 31 from Magmar
Magby's SpAtk is now 31
SpDef of Magmar: 20
SpDef of Ditto: 31
We chose the mother - inherit 31 from Ditto
Magby's SpDef is now 31
Spd of Magmar: 6
Spd of Ditto: 31
We chose the father - inherit 6 from Magmar
Magby's Spd is now 6
Final baby IVs: 17 29 31 31 31 6
Generation 5: If the mother has a hidden ability, there is a 25% chance that the offspring will inherit the ability. This does not require any items.
Generation 6: The hidden ability chance appears to have boosted, possibly to 40% or 50%. Non-hidden abilities seem to have an 80% chance of passing down from the mother. This does not require items.
How can I find an Offspring's IVs?
Generation 4 and Under:The easiest way is to ask a friend to go on Wi-Fi and battle. Bring all your hatched eggs and battle on "Lv. 100 Double/Single" mode. Then, go to your "Pokemon" menu, as if you were going to switch out your current Pokemon. Then, choose a Pokemon, and copy down all of its stats. Do this for the rest of your pokemon you wish to calculate. Then, take these stats and enter them into an IV Calculator (2 Popular IV Calculators are MetalKid's and Serebii's). This should give you the exact, or a small range of IVs possible for your pokemon. This whole process is referred to as an IV battle.
A Pokemon's characteristic (shown below as "Alert to Sounds") tells you a little bit about one of the higher stats that a Pokemon has. It isn't much because it's only one stat, but it can help. Below that is a listing of possible IV values for each characteristic. This is only applicable to Generation 4 and 5!
31-Often dozes off
30-Loves to Eat
29-Likes to Relax
28-Scatters things often
27-Often scatters things
26-Often dozes off
31-Likes to thrash about
30-Proud of its Power
28-Likes to fight
27-A little Quick-Tempered
26-Likes to Thrash about
31-Capable of taking hits
26-Capable of taking hits
31-Alert to sounds
30-Likes to run
29-Quick to flee
28-Somewhat of a clown
27-Impetuous and silly
26-Alert to sounds
28-Often lost in thought
28-Hates to lose
Note that the IVs repeat every six points, this means that a pokemon that is "Somewhat Vain", can have an IV stat of 1, 6, 11, 16, 21, 26 or 31 in special defense. This by no means gives you an exact stat value, but it can help you in estimating what the Pokemon's IVs could be. This is NOT a surefire way to tell what your Pokemon's IVs are, as they could be anything. But its characteristic gives you an idea of what they could be. The best way to tell is through an Action Replay code, or an IV battle.
The IV Checkers
These can be found in all games after Generation 2. The IV checker is an actual person who tells you about your Pokemon's IVs. None of them are incredibly accurate, but there are certain phrases that they say that you will want to keep in mind if you decide to use them. Another downset is that they can only be accessed after the Elite Four in all games. Generally, anything that doesn't have "realtively superior" or "outstanding" potential is not worth keeping if you are a competitive battler.
Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum: Found in the Battle Tower. Unfortunately in this version if your Pokemon has more than one stat with an IV of 31 he will only tell you about one of them.
Pokemon Black/White/Black 2/White 2: Found in the Battle Subway main lobby. The "one IV" restriction from generation 4 was fixed, and the checker will tell you about all the IVs that are 31.
Pokemon X/Y: Found in Kiloude City. He will also tell you about all your IVs that are 31.
The Battle Institute
Generation 6:The Battle Institute on North Bolevard in Lumiouse City is a great way to find your Pokemon's IVs, even if they are at level 1! Just bring your Pokemon there and send them into battle and their level will be set to 50. Do the same as above - copy down its stat values and use an IV calculator to determine its IVs based on its stats. The institute does not require you to save nor bug your friends for an IV battle. If you find a Pokemon you like, you can even run from all the Battle Institute battles and keep what you have without being forced to battle.
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