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Pokemon Scarlet And Violet: How EV Training Works

The "Pokémon" series has been around since the '90s and has always had lots of systems and mechanics to learn. The latest entries, "Pokémon Scarlet" and "Violet," are certainly no exception. Thanks to their new, open-world design, "Pokémon" is bigger than ever, and early reactions noted the depth and scale of the new games. It can be daunting for new players to dive into the series with so much to do, though. This is further complicated by some older and more complex mechanics that have been a part of the series for years. EV training is a perfect example of this sort of system.

EVs, short for Effort Values, have been a part of the series since "Pokémon Ruby" and "Sapphire" and are one of the more esoteric parts of the game. EVs, and the ability to train them, give players greater control over how their Pokémon develop and what they can specialize in.

While this system can be confusing to newcomers, as Prima Games notes, engaging in it is absolutely vital for those competing in high level, competitive PvP. Fans who just want to defeat the gym leaders, fill out their Pokédexes, and complete personal goals like collecting shiny Pokémon can safely ignore this system. For those that want to dominate the tournament scene, however, learning what EVs are and how to train them is essential for success.

What are EVs?

EVs are one of the less well-known and less understood elements of Pokémon and Pokémon training. Essentially, EVs are scores that every Pokémon has for each of its stats (per Pokémon Database). As Pokémon level up, their stats (Attack, Defense, HP, Speed, Special Attack, and Special Defense) increase naturally. However, a Pokémon that has trained up its EV in a particular stat will see that stat increase even more. So, by the time a Pokémon reaches its max level at 100, all of its stats will have risen dramatically but some stats will have received an additional boost.

Clever Pokémon trainers can use this knowledge to their advantage, specifically training certain EVs in certain Pokémon to ensure that they become particularly good at a couple things. Some Pokémon may benefit from focusing on Speed and Defense while others may be improved with higher HP and Special Attack. For example it's generally considered ideal to max out Special Attack and Speed on Venusaur.

A Pokémon can gain 510 EV points by the time it reaches level 100 and a given stat is maxed out at 252 points. Therefore, it is recommended that trainers put 252 points into two different stats and spend the rest on whatever they want. With this knowledge, it's now just a matter of understanding how to train a Pokémon's EVs properly.

Basics of training EVs

Once a player has decided which EVs they want to maximize for a given Pokémon, the next step is training them. The key points to remember are that newly caught or hatched Pokémon start at zero for all their EVs and that EVs are trained by battling other Pokémon. Different Pokémon award different EV points when defeated so it's important to not battle with a new Pokémon until one knows what EVs they want to train and to only battle Pokémon that award the correct EV. 

Further, as Exp. Share is always on in "Scarlet and Violet" and applies to EVs as well as XP, trainers should be sure to take whole teams of Pokémon to train the same stat at once (per Prima Games). No one wants to accidentally add the wrong EVs to a Pokémon because they brought it along to the wrong battle.

Tracking and Training EVs

Once a trainer has decided to train a specific EV and put a team together, the next step is to seek out Pokémon in the wild that award it. There are lots of sites out there that detail which Pokémon award which EV points and how many, but Polygon offers an excellent list of good Pokémon to look for each EV stat and where to find them in the wild. It also lists sandwiches that can boost EV gains for each stat. By using this and other lists, a trainer can quickly find the right Pokémon and run through battles to boost the right EVs.

As they train up an EV, players will want to check in regularly to make sure they don't overlevel a Pokémon and waste points by going over 252. Going to a Pokémon's stat screen and pressing the L button will pull up EV information. Once a stat is maxed out (it will sparkle to show it is), players need only switch to the second stat they want to maximize and repeat the process.

By following these steps and training EVs, trainers can take another step towards upping their game and truly becoming the best there ever was.