Getting a Pokémon ready for competitive play in Pokémon Sword and Shield involves more than just getting the right nature, ability, and Individual Values (IVs). It must also have its Effort Values, commonly known as EVs, trained.
What are EVs in Pokémon?
Before learning how to train EVs, it is important to understand what they are and how they work. Similar to nature and IVs, EVs influence stats. They are different from IVs because they are not static and can be gained and removed through various methods.
Each Pokémon will start without any EVs and can have a total of 510 across all stats, and each individual stat can have a total of 252. At level 100, Pokémon will receive one additional stat point for every four EVs it has in the stat. This means at level 50, which is what Pokémon are set to in the Battle Stadium, a Pokémon that has a 252 attack EV will have a 31.5 increased attack stat.
To check a Pokémon’s EVs, go to check summary, click right once to get to its stat page, then press X to bring up its EV spread. EVs will be dark yellow and sparkle if a stat is maxed out. If all stats are maxed out, the EV spread will turn light blue.
Training EVs is mandatory to be competitive. A Pokémon without any will lose around 64 total stat points and be at a severe disadvantage to one that is properly trained. There are three ways to do this in Sword and Shield.
Everyone who has played a game in this series has seen items like Calcium, Zinc, Protein, etc. These are vitamins that increase EVs. Each vitamin increases its respective EV by 10 points. This means that it takes 26 vitamins to get a perfect 252 stat. To fully max out EVs, it will take 53 total vitamins. Each vitamin costs 10,000 dollars, so this method can get quite expensive.
Poké Jobs are a new feature in Pokémon Sword and Shield and can be used to train EVs. To do this, go to a Rotom PC in a Pokémon Center, go to Poké Jobs, and choose one of the seminars that are being offered. Up to 10 Pokémon can be left at a time. For every hour on the job, they will gain four EVs. Leaving them for an entire day gets them 96.
Battling is the original way to train EVs. Every Pokémon has an EV yield that it will give when it is knocked out. For example, knocking out a Rookidee will grant all Pokémon in the party one speed EV. If knocking out 252 Rookidees doesn’t sound very fun, don’t worry, as there are items that help speed up the process.
Battle items, such as the Power Anklet, can be purchased from the BP vendor in the central Hammerlocke Pokémon Center. These items grant an additional eight EVs on top of the original yield. This means that Pokémon holding a Power Anklet will only have to knock out 28 Rookidee to max out speed.
Pokérus is an extremely rare “virus” that Pokémon can contract. A Pokémon with Pokérus can spread it to others in the same party. Anyone with the virus will gain double EVs from battling. Pokérus will wear off after one-to-four days unless the Pokémon is kept in a box, but all gains will still be doubled. Unfortunately, the odds of encountering a Pokémon with the virus are only 1 in 21,845.
What a competitive-ready Pokémon will look like
At this point, the Pokémon should have its best possible stats. A perfect Excadrill might look something like this: Adamant Nature, every IV except special attack will be “best,” and it will have 252 EVs in attack and speed and four in special defense. At this point, all there is left to do is teach it a competitive move pool and give it a held item.
This process of training and breeding may seem intimidating, but it can actually be quite enjoyable. Finally getting a perfect Pokémon is a great feeling, and winning ranked battles feels even better.