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Thread: Breeding & Building Better Pokemon: A Guide

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    Star Dream's Avatar
    Aug 2017
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    Breeding & Building Better Pokemon: A Guide

    [ Progress: Text finished, ~65% of images done. More images to be added later once I nab screencaps. ]

    With Sword & Shield's online battling being easier than ever to jump into, and many of the 2020 VGC tournaments being hosted exclusively online due to worldwide health concerns, you might wonder... where to get started when getting good Pokemon?

    Some Pokemon might be best obtained from the wild, and in some cases that might be your only answer with Gigantamax forms being (for now) exclusive to raids. But greatness isn't always just caught, and in some cases, it can be far easier to simply breed the Pokemon you want into existence.
    For the truly dedicated, there's also methods in Sword & Shield where you can take older Pokemon and transform them into battling titans.

    Ever wanted to learn how to make your Pokemon the best it possibly could be? Look no further!

    Note that this guide is about obtaining and training Pokemon, NOT team building.
    It's meant to serve as a walk-through and reference for people who want to learn about how to get and create really good Pokemon.

    Please feel free to post with questions if you have any!
    I'd be very happy to answer.


    Quick Terms:

    Before we go any further, here's a quick list of terms that will matter in this guide!

    • Nature: The "personality" of your Pokemon. There are 36 natures total, each of them lowering one stat and raising another. Any battleworthy Pokemon wants to have a nature that fits its role in battle so it can have the best stats possible for its job. A fast Special Attacker may want to be Timid (+Speed -Attack) or Modest (+Sp. Attack -Attack) because it's not using its Attack stat, instead its Sp. Attack and Speed. Be sure to look up what nature affects what stats so you can plan accordingly for your Pokemon!

    • Individual Value: Also known as IVs, all Pokemon have 6 different IVs. This value ranges from 0 to 31, and they have an IV for each stat: this affects how high that stat can possibly be. Ideally, you want all of your Pokemon's important stats to be 31 so they can be the highest possible. This is especially important for the Speed stat so you can always get the jump on your opponent!
      All legendary Pokemon have at least 3 perfect IVs guaranteed, while Max Raid Pokemon can have anywhere from 1 to 5 perfect IVs depending on the difficulty of the raid you caught them from. Otherwise, IVs are almost entirely random, with perfect IVs being rare.

      You can actually view IVs in-game to an extent. Once you get enough wins at the Battle Tower, you'll be able to use the Judge function in your PC. This will show a chart of each Pokemon's IVs, each having a label: "Best" means that the stat is perfect! (Pokemon BANK's paid subscription also has this function built-in.)

    • Effort Value: Also known as EVs, these are values for each of your Pokemon's stats. 4 EVs make for 1 point of a stat, and you can have a maximum of 252 EVs in any stat, and a total of 510 EVs across all your stats! You obtain them by fighting other Pokemon: for example, when you defeat a Pokemon species with high Speed, your Pokemon will accumulate some Speed EVs.
      Training your Pokemon to have specific EVs is a core part of competitive battling. This way, you can train your Pokemon to specialize in its strengths, or to help patch up its weaknesses, by planning out their EV training. EV training will have its own section, but knowing what an EV is, first, is important.


    "But Star Dream, what if my Pokemon doesn't have a good nature/good IVs/good EVs?"

    Fear not, random cK citizen!
    There's methods to change all of those things if you put a little effort into it.

    How to change a nature: As of Sword & Shield, there's new items called Mints. There's 36 of them, one for each nature, and they can be bought with Battle Points at the Battle Tower. If you use, say, a Hasty Mint on your Pokemon, its stats will change to reflect as if it had a Hasty nature!

    How to change IVs: An NPC at the Battle Tower will give a Pokemon of your choice perfect IVs; he accepts Bottle Caps and Gold Bottle Caps in exchange for his services. (You can find these rarely from raids.) Note that these perfect IVs are only for battle function-- they can't be bred down![CENTER]

    How to reduce/reset EVs: There's specific berries that, when fed to a Pokemon, makes the Pokemon happier but makes its EVs in a specific stat drop.
    You can get them as you would any other berry, by shaking trees out and about. In older games, you can also grow these berries yourself.
    Here are all of the berries, and what stat they reduce:

    - Pomeg Berry - Reduces HP
    - Kelpsy Berry - Reduces Attack
    - Qualot Berry - Reduces Defense
    - Hondew Berry - Reduces Sp. Attack
    - Grepa Berry - Reduces Sp. Defense
    - Tamato Berry - Reduces Speed



    Breeding has become a staple of Pokemon games, ever since Gold & Silver introduced the mechanic.

    Certain information is passed down from parent to offspring through breeding, and you can use it to your advantage to create some pretty great Pokemon!

    It functions very simply: you put a compatible pair of Pokemon into the daycare, and after some time they'll spawn an egg, which you can then hatch. Typically you need a male Pokemon and a female Pokemon that are in the same Egg Group (all Pokemon have their own Egg Group; be sure to look up what Egg Group your Pokemon are in!) to produce an egg, but you can also pair either a male or female Pokemon with a Ditto, or a genderless Pokemon with a Ditto.

    All legendary and mythical Pokemon, besides Manaphy, cannot produce eggs whatsoever, and baby Pokemon will have to evolve into a mature form before being able to breed. Some special traits aren't passed down through breeding, such as being shiny, but many are-- and this way, you can plan to get almost any Pokemon possible with the right patience.

    So what's passed down with breeding, then?

    • Nature Inheritance: Offspring from a pair of Pokemon can inherit either parent's nature by just giving the selected parent an Everstone as a hold item. If you have a Timid Greninja and you really want its nature to pass to its children, whether those children are Froakie or not, give it an Everstone and all of the offspring will also be Timid! This is incredibly useful, since looking for Pokemon of a certain nature can get annoying.

    • IV Inheritance: IVs are a bit more complicated. When creating an egg, the game will randomly choose IVs from the parents and put them on the offspring, typically anywhere from 1 to 3 with the rest being randomized. However, if one of the parents is holding the Destiny Knot item, the game will choose 5 IVs randomly from each parent, randomize the 6th one, and then give those to eggs generated from that pair.
      It's a little complicated, but think of it this way: if both parents have perfect IVs in every stat, then the offspring are guaranteed to have 5 perfect IVs, because the game chose 5 values total from both parents, with the 6th value being randomized. This allows you to create some super-powered Pokemon if they have powerful parents!

      You can also selectively breed for specific IVs. Using the Power Bracer, Power Belt, Power Lens, and other items that boost stat growth, you can select what IV is passed down from each parent. For example, a female parent with a Power Lens will always pass her Special Attack IV to offspring, while a male parent with a Power Anklet will always pass his Speed IV to offspring. This can be important if you really want some stats to have maximum potential!

    • Ability: The Ability of a female parent in a breeding pair can affect the offspring's Ability too! Offspring are most likely to roll the same Ability as their mother, with a lower chance to get any other normal Abilities that species may have. If the female parent has a Hidden Ability (a special Ability that can't be obtained normally-- usually they're on event Pokemon, and sometimes on Pokemon from Max Raid Battles), then she has roughly a 60% chance to pass it to her offspring. This also works if you're crossing a male parent with a Hidden Ability to a Ditto, but the chance is lower.

    • Egg Moves: Sometimes, Pokemon can inherit special attacks from their male parent, despite not being the same species!
      For example, the Pokemon Eevee can't naturally learn the attack Wish-- but if its parents are a female Eevee and a male Pokemon with Wish that can breed with Eevee, then any offspring from this pair will be Eevees that know Wish. Additionally, if you breed a female Pokemon that has an Egg Move, it will also pass this Egg Move down... allowing you to pile tons of Egg Moves onto a single breeding line. This is a really important way to learn certain moves!
      One special feature that Sword & Shield brought was the "passing" of Egg Moves. If you put two Pokemon in the Daycare together (they don't have to be different genders) that are the same species, and one has an Egg Move, the other Pokemon will learn it. No breeding necessary!

    • Pokeball: If you catch a female Pokemon in, say, a Premier Ball, and then breed her to a male Pokemon of another species, all offspring from that pair will have a Premier Ball as their Pokeball! This also happens if you cross a male Pokemon to a Ditto, and if you cross two Pokemon of the same species with different Pokeballs, you'll have a 50% chance for offspring to have either Pokeball. All Pokeballs work for this besides Cherish Balls and Master Balls, which are special and exclusive to the Pokemon you obtained them in.

    • Form: Many Pokemon have alternate forms, such as Rotom and Sawsbuck. Did you know that you can often pass form down through breeding, too? If you breed a Grass/Bug-type Wormadam, all of her offspring will start out as Grass-cloak Burmy. This holds true for any Pokemon + Ditto pairings, and in the case that you breed two different forms together, it will always be the female parent that passes her form down.

    So what does this mean for you?
    Well, it gives you total control over nature and IVs-- two of the three core aspects for training competitive Pokemon. Together, nature and IVs are what "opens up" a Pokemon's ability to reach their absolute maximum potential in certain stats!

    While you can change nature and IVs with uncommon items, it's a lot easier to just have them from the start, isn't it?
    And if you have particularly powerful Pokemon, you can easily create equally-powerful fighters by breeding them selectively.

    (Tip: Always keep a Pokemon with Flame Body or Magma Armor in your team while hatching eggs.
    This halves the amount of steps needed to hatch!)


    Other Methods of Obtaining Powerful Pokemon

    While breeding is definitely the easiest way to get strong Pokemon, it can take a long time too.
    Sometimes you don't have Pokemon with the right natures, or the right IVs-- and some Pokemon can't be obtained through breeding.

    So what options do you have? There's a few different ones.

    • Synchronize Hunting: The ability Synchronize has a special effect: if a Pokemon with Synchronize is at the front of your party, wild Pokemon will have the same nature as this Pokemon. This works for any wild Pokemon that isn't in a Max Raid, including legendaries! Umbreon, Espeon, and the Ralts line all have access to Synchronize.

    • Max Raid Battles: Pokemon caught from Max Raid battles sometimes have special traits-- they might have a Hidden Ability, they might even have a G-Max form possible. But they can also, very reliably, have perfect IVs! The higher the star rating of a Max Raid, the more perfect IVs that the resulting Pokemon from it may have. This can go all the way to 5-star raids giving Pokemon with 5 perfect IVs, with that 6th one having a chance of randomly being perfect as well. The only annoying part is that you can't easily manipulate the nature of these Pokemon.. but that's what Mints are for.

    • Trading: People with specific projects will often keep "breedjects", imperfect Pokemon that they hatched while trying to get their ideal Pokemon. If they don't just release these Pokemon, they'll Surprise Trade or Wonder Box these away in hopes of getting something nice-- or they'll trade them for other people's breedjects to start a project with!
      You can get some extremely unique Pokemon this way due to all the things passed down through breeding. You could get a Pokemon with a very rare or difficult Pokeball to get it in (how about a Charmander in a Beast Ball?), you could get something with many perfect IVs (it's common for people to fill out a Pokemon's markings to show which IVs are perfect), you might even get a Pokemon with a great nature and all sorts of Egg Moves. Ask your friends about what leftovers they have from their Pokemon projects, or even just put a bunch of Pokemon into Surprise Trade/Wonder Box sometime. You might get a surprise or two!



    Now that we have looked at different ways to obtain Pokemon with potential, whether that's perfect natures or IVs, the next step is training those Pokemon.

    The big question is... what do you want this Pokemon to be good at?

    When you ask that, you want to look at information about the Pokemon, to see what it's capable of. You can look up species on [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] databases, which show the stats, moves, and much more information on a Pokemon-- and this is often a great way to figure out what it IS good at.
    For example, Blissey has the highest HP stat of any Pokemon, so you want to train its HP. Mewtwo has amazing Special Attack and Speed, so train it in those stats to really see it shine.

    All Pokemon have something they're good at. Sometimes, in the case of Pokemon like Mew and Shaymin, they have a LOT of things they could be good at, and it's just a matter of you thinking up what you want them to do.

    This is where Effort Values come into play. I went over them before: they're the hidden numbers behind your stats.

    4 Effort Value points in, say, HP, will give you an extra point of HP.
    If you max out your effort values in a stat, you can do some incredible things.

    In the case that you have a Pokemon with 252 EVs in Special Attack, a Special Attack-boosting nature, and a perfect 31 IV in Special Attack, you'll be able to hit the absolute highest Special Attack for that species. If you have, say, a Porygon-Z with all of these things, it'll have an incredible 405 Special Attack. That's quite a lot, especially since Porygon-Z already has the tools to hit quite hard!

    You can have up to 252 EVs in one stat, and then 510 EVs total.
    Most common is for a Pokemon to have 252 EVs in the most important stats for that Pokemon, and then the leftover EVs in whatever else that matters.
    However, Effort Value spreads can get very complicated and intricate based on a Pokemon's role, and what its trainer might want it to be able to take on!

    So, the big question is... how to train EVs?

    There's a few different ways, some easier than others, but first-- the tricks on how to increase your EV yield.
    Battling a single Pokemon can get you up to 3 EVs. That doesn't sound like awful much when the max is 252 per stat, right?

    There's a few tricks to this. You might have heard of Pokerus, the virus that Pokemon can rarely get from fighting wild or trainer-owned Pokemon, as well as from infected party members that you may have traded for. It passes between Pokemon as you battle, and can even infect eggs.

    This special virus doubles all EV gains on Pokemon that have it, whether they are able to infect other Pokemon with it or not.

    Pokerus is very rare to contract in normal gameplay, it's more than twice as rare as finding a wild shiny Pokemon... but you can often get it from other people's Pokemon by trading. The infective stage of Pokerus only lasts a day or two, but if you put a Pokemon in the PC when it can still infect others, this stage lasts indefinitely. Keep at least one Pokerus carrier around so you can speed up your EV training!

    Secondly, there are also the Macho Brace and the Power items.

    Macho Brace is simple: it doubles all EV gains of the Pokemon holding it.
    The Power items have slightly different math, doubling EV gains and adding +4 EVs of their specific stat each time you defeat something.
    These could be used to train multiple stats at once, but I just prefer them to train a stat even quicker.
    You can find these games in normal gameplay, with the Power items being purchaseable at the Battle Tower.

    The best part is that these boosts multiply: if you put a Macho Brace on a Pokemon with Pokerus, they're gaining 4 times the normal EVs!
    This doesn't work for stat-boost drugs like HP Up or Carbos, but it does work for the other two big methods of training here!

    Now, how to actually get those pesky EVs?
    There's three methods that I recommend.

    1. Battling: Easy, you just look up a list of what Pokemon give what EVs, and then seek them out in the wild. This is great if you want to train a specific stat in smaller amounts, such as just 40 HP EVs instead of 252: it gives you the control over every increment. Exp. Share also distributes all EVs to your whole team in the process, if they can obtain more EVs. This can be great... or annoying.

    2. Poke Jobs: Accessed from the PC in any Pokemon Center, there are six special courses at the bottom of the list that say they'll boost a specific stat. These Poke Jobs give large amounts of EVs in their selected stat-- and if you leave a Pokemon with both Pokerus and a Power Item for 24 hours, they'll come back from the job with 252 EVs in the stat. Even better, you can do this for up to 10 Pokemon at once, which is great if you have a ton of Pokemon to work on! The only downside is that this takes 24 hours, which isn't always great.

    3. Stat-Boost Drugs: Accessible and immediate, but expensive, you can also just buy a ton of Protein, Iron, or other stat-boosting drugs and give them to your Pokemon. Each dose of these drinks will give 10 EVs, which is NOT affected by Pokerus or Macho Brace/Power items. If you give a Pokemon, say, 26 Carbos, they'll immediately max out their Speed, it's that easy. But 1 drug is also 10000 Poke, so this is only for those in a rush or those with incredibly deep pockets.

    You can actually view your EV growth on a Pokemon's page-- if you press Y on their page that shows their stats, you'll get a visual chart demonstrating their EV distribution.

    If a stat is sparkling, then that means it's been maxed out, and if the whole chart is blue with a yellow center, then you've hit your 510 EV cap.


    And.. it's that simple, really! Most of the effort for a Pokemon is put towards obtaining them these days, rather than training them.

    Once you've finished EV training your Pokemon, you can easily level them up to a desired level with EXP Candy or just train them against wild and trainer-owned Pokemon. After that, figure out what attacks you want your Pokemon to know, figure out a hold item for it, and let the battling begin!

    I hope you'll be able to put at least a bit of this guide to use when training your future champions!
    Thanks for reading.
    Last edited by Star Dream; 06-14-2020 at 04:14 AM. Reason: formatting pt 1

    星の夢 ~ mind in a program.
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