Now that you’ve cleared Pokémon Sun or Moon, captured all the legendary Pokémon out in Alola, and built up an excellent team of Pokémon that can take on the world — you’re probably wondering what’s left to do in the latest generation of the Pokémon franchise.

The answer, while more complicated than it sounds, is to begin training a team of Pokémon for competitive battling. The competitive world isn’t an easy one, and it requires you to breed a genetically perfect set of Pokémon to even get your foot in the door. Once you’ve bred the perfect team though, you’re still going to have to raise them properly — and that’s where Effort Values come into play.

What Are Effort Values?

Effort Values, or EVs, are like Individual Values (IVs) in the sense that they actively make a Pokémon stronger in combat by improving the six basic stats: HP, Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed. They require you to go out and actively train your Pokémon by engaging in battles with wild Pokémon scattered around Alola.

Each Pokémon you defeat in the wild in Pokémon Sun or Moon will grant the Pokémon who defeated it some EV points, based on what it’s naturally good at. For example, defeating a Pikipek will award your Pokémon 1 Attack point. These values can all be found on Pokémon databases like Serebii and Bulbapedia, although those sites don’t outline the optimal ways to train your EVs.

Every Pokémon you EV train can only obtain a maximum of 508 EV points, which are spread across HP, Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed. Plus, each individual stat can only be boosted up with 252 EV points, meaning that you cannot max out every single stat on a Pokémon with EV training. These stat boosts do allow you to build a specific Pokémon that excels at two stats, such as Attack and Special Attack. Those Pokémon perform a specific role on your competitive team.

Check your EVs on individual Pokémon by going into each one’s summary and pressing Y. The yellow graph on the top right of your screen will outline the status of your EVs. If they’re into a stat you didn’t plan to max out, don’t worry. You can easily reset them in-game.

An example of a Umbreon EV trained for a defensive role in a competitive team. 

How do I Train Them?

In previous Pokémon titles, EV training didn’t require too much effort to accomplish, but the process was time consuming. In Pokémon Sun and Moon, Game Freak changed how players EV train their Pokémon while keeping the basic principle the same.

Ally Chaining is the best way to EV train your Pokémon. The concept here is simple: Find a location with a Pokémon which will award you the desired EV points for beating it, wait for it to summon an ally from the wild to help it, and then knock that ally out to obtain EV points. What’s great about this method is that summoned allies seem to award more EV points than normal 1v1 battles too, making this strategy great for trying to max out one specific EV on your Pokémon of choice.

If you’re EV training a Pokémon that can learn a move that leaves your opponent with 1 HP like False Swipe or Hold Back, make sure to teach it that move before EV training — because it will allow you to stay in a single battle while the wild Pokémon you’re fighting continues to call in help. Adrenaline Orbs can also be used to increase the amount of times a wild Pokémon successfully calls for help, speeding up the process drastically.

Like Pokémon breeding, EV training also has a set of items that can significantly increase the amount of EV points your Pokmon gains in battle. These items can be purchased at the Battle Royal Dome and allow your Pokémon to gain an additional 8 EV points in a specific stat for each Pokémon defeated.

Power Weight: HP

Power Bracer: Attack

Power Belt: Defense

Power Lens: Special Attack

Power Band: Special Defense

Power Anklet: Speed

These item-specific bonuses will also stack with any EV point bonuses and multipliers, such as those granted by ally Pokémon in battle and Pokérus. With a few different items and the optimal wild Pokémon to train against, EV training isn’t as intimidating as it sounds and can be completed in a few encounters.

If training in the wild isn’t your thing, you can train EVs several different ways. Poké Pelago allows you to do it passively through the Isle Evelup, even with your DS turned off, and Festival Plaza has a few specific buildings that can boost your EVs in exchange for Festival Coins. Keep in mind, both methods are much slower than actively training your Pokémons EVs in battle.

Picking an Ideal Training Location

While you can certainly EV train your Pokémon team wherever you’d like to, there’s a few specific locations you may want to consider if you’re hoping to maximize your EV training efficiency. These are by no means perfect spots, but rather ones that seem to spawn the right Pokémon more often than most provided you use the False Swipe/Adrenaline Orb method mentioned in this article.

Wild Makuhita grant HP EV points and can be found along Route 2.

Wild Yungoos grant Attack EV points and can be found along Route 2 (only in daytime).

Wild Torkoal grant Defense EV points and can be found along Route 12.

Wild Haunters grant Special Attack EV points and can be found in the Thrifty Megamart.

Wild Drowzee grant Special Defense EV points and can be found along Route 2.

Alolan Rattata and Meowth provide Speed EV points and can be found along Route 2.

If you’re looking to get a significant boost before heading out into the wild to train, it’s also possible to purchase Vitamins from the Mount Hokulani Poké Mart for 10,000 Poké dollars. These will boost a specific EV up by 10, up to 100 when used on your Pokémon.

HP Up grants 10 HP EV points.

Protein grants 10 Attack EV points.

Iron grants 10 Defense EV points.

Calcium grants 10 Special Attack EV points.

Zinc grants 10 Special Defense EV points.

Carbos grants 10 Speed EV points.

How to I Reset EVs if I Mess Up?

There’s two different ways you can reset them back to their original status so you can properly allocate them a second time: Festival Plaza and berries.

Festival Plaza allows you to obtain two stalls called the Friendship Parlor and the Friendship Café. Once they’ve reached two stars, you can purchase EV reducing means for Festival Coins. HP, Attack, and Defense can be decreased at the Friendship Parlor, while Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed can be reduced at the Friendship Café. The only problem is that they can only be used once per day, although the significant EV reduction makes up for the longer cool-down.

Berries, on the other hand, are a much more reliable way of erasing EV points provided you have a large stock handy. The first berry used will reduce a specific EV to 100 if it’s any number over 100, and subsequent berries will lower it by 10 points each. Pomeg berries reduce HP EVs, Kelpsy berries reduce Attack EVs, Qualot berries reduced Defense EVs, Hondew berries reduce Special Attack EVs, Grepa berries reduce Special Defense EVs, and Tamato berries reduce Speed EVs. Remember you can grow more on Poké Pelago if you need to, otherwise you can find them scattered about Alola underneath berry trees.

Either way, remember that if you make a mistake while EV training your Pokémon for the first few times, it isn’t the end of the training process. You always have the ability to reduce, learn what works for your specific competitive team needs, and re-train EVs for that specific role you’re looking to fill.

Photos via Nicholas Bashore, Nintendo