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[Competitive guide] The guide to customized EV spreads

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(I don't honestly understand any of this above just thought it fits this guide)


The guide to customized EV spreads




Deciding EV spreads appears to be one of the most common hurdles to new competitive players and it's not hard to see why. EV spreads are the most customisable and most fine-tunable things in Pokemon teambuilding and it's easy to get "paralyzed" with the overwhelming amount of options you can have with them. As a matter of fact, I'd argue this complexity is the main reason why I would argue people would go for 252/252 spreads. You don't have to think about it too much and it focuses your Pokemon at a specific role. Keep in mind, this is not necessarily bad. In fact, I would argue in many cases maxing out a Pokemon in two stats can be the most productive thing you can do with a Pokemon. However, it is generally a good idea to explore some other options as well in terms of EV spreads and after scrapping any alternative ideas, you may consider just min-maxing a Pokemon.


I want to point out that my background lately has been mostly in VGC and Double battles, so that obviously is going to affect on my perspective. A lot of the ideas that I use are something that many high level VGC players also consider when building EV spreads. However, I would argue you could use these ideas equally as well in singles. The point of this guide is not to give you answers, it is to develop the correct mindset to build and develop EV spreads and challenge you to think about your EV spreads more creatively and precisely.



How do EVs work?




To talk about building EV spreads, it is good to start with the very basics - how do EVs work? The very basic idea is that at level 100, 4 EVs will raise a Pokemon's stat by 1. At level 50, in which PokeMMO is played, 8 EVs will raise a Pokemon's stat by 1. There's a small caveat to this at level 50, though. If your IV is an ODD number (for example 31 IV), first 4 EVs will raise a stat by 1. Then they will raise every 8 EVs. In other words, with 31 IV you will get a stat boost at 4/12/20/28/36.... EVs (maxing at 252). With EVEN IV, for example 30 IV you will get a stat boost at 8/16/24/32/40.... EVs. This effectively results being unable to max out your stat unless you have a 31 IV. Having 30 IV is acceptable if you are not going to put any EVs in the stat (as 30 and 31 with 0 EVs have the same stat) but when putting any EV investment, having a sub-31 IV will negatively affect you.



Boosted nature


Boosted nature will slightly alter how EVs affect to stats. Without a boosting nature, 8 more EVs will always result in 1 additional stat. However, if you are investing EVs in a stat which is already boosted by nature, at some points you will gain 2 stats instead of one with 8 EVs. In VGC, I sometimes call these "EV bumps" (taken from Barry Anderson who I heard to use this term the first time) This is a tiny optimization that can be useful to keep in mind when developing EV spreads. I demonstrated this below with pictures.




Normally, 8 additional EVs will give you 1 additional stat. However, sometimes you will get 2 additional stats like shown below.




Here you can see with 8 more EVs you were able to get 2 more stats. In these cases, it can be justifiable to insert EVs until you hit the spot where you get 2 stats instead of 1. Typically, there are 3 times between 0 and 252 EVs where you get this small EV bump. In some rare cases (depending of a base stat), this may also happen 4 times. It is a very tiny optimization but if you don't have any other idea (and dont want to 252/252 a Pokemon) then investing into multiple stats by hitting the EVs of your boosted nature into this EV bump can be a good idea.




Reasons for a customized EV spread


I will start out by saying that there is not - and cannot be - any definitive list of things you could keep in mind when developing an EV spread. It is always metagame dependent and for some Pokemon, building custom spreads can feel like an impossible task. "I cannot beat everything with 508 EVs" is a problem many players struggle with and it is easy to see why. In terms of EVs, you always have to make compromises. For me, there is still some list of priorities that I always keep in mind when developing EV spreads. These may very depending of your team, the metagame and the role but I've discovered this checklist in most cases works pretty well for me.


1. What do I have to outspeed?

2. What do I want to outspeed?

3. What attack do I have to survive?

4. What KO would I prefer to have?

5. Is putting EVs into "what I want to outspeed" taking too many EVs out of what I want to survive or what I want to KO?

6. Does this all align with what I want from this Pokemon?


In short, this is the list of priorities I keep in mind when building EV spreads. In Pokemon, going first is important (especially with offensive Pokemon). If you think about it, the power levels in Pokemon are generally pretty high. Many Pokemon are capable of one-shotting other Pokemon if they have a super effective attack. Attacking first in many cases can be the difference being +1 or -1 at Pokemon count. If you think about it, that can be an effective difference of two Pokemon. This is why you need to figure out what are the Pokemon you absolutely have to outspeed and prioritize that in your EV spread. In some cases, you may have a very defensive Pokemon that does not care about outspeeding anything and focuses on survivability. In these case you can completely skip this part.


There's a difference between "having to" outspeed something and "wanting to" outspeed something. The first one is a must, the second one is a preference that can come up useful in some particular scenarios. Those however do not often dictate the winner of the battle. It is important to figure out which Pokemon are useful to outspeed and keep them in mind but also be ready to accept if you can't.


The next thing to consider is what attack do you have to survive in order to improve your matchup against a specific Pokemon. We tend to talk about Pokemon as "offensive" and "defensive" Pokemon but every Pokemon in the game has some defensive utility. Every Pokemon is capable of living at least something. It is important to figure out if some defensive investment can guarantee you living an attack that otherwise can become detrimental to you. Investing into a guaranteed survival can be the difference of having a strong retaliation against opponent or just getting straight up KO'd.


It is also important to know if there is some specific OHKO or 2HKO you want to hit. If you can achieve this with offensive investment, it is good to keep in mind. However, I would not usually start EV spread from this as barely missing out on a KO can be acceptable in many cases.


Lastly, evaluate your EV spread in total. Which are the priorities for me? Is outspeeding something not-so-important going to take away too much of my offensive or defensive capabilities? If so, you may shift the focus a little bit and invest in what you truly consider important for this Pokemon.


Again, by no means, is this a definitive checklist. But more often than not I recommend to start going through potential EV spreads from this order.




Investing EVs into high stats or into low stats?


One question people often also consider is when is it good to invest into low stats and when is it good to invest in high stats. These obviously vary, so let me provide some examples. The most common example of investing into low stats is Chansey. A Bold Chansey with no EVs in defense has a defense stat of 27, while 252 EVs in defense gives Chansey a stat of 62. You have more than doubled your stat with 252 EVs and given Chansey far more noticable physical defense. Now Chansey can at least take some attacks physically. This is the most obvious case where investing into low stats is a good idea. Investing EVs into low stats has a far greater impact on the stat than investing into a high stat. However, in case of offensive Pokemon investing into high stats can also make sense. While 0 Attack EVs Garchomp reaches 150 attack and 252 attack EVs Garchomp reaches 182 attack, it can often determine whether Garchomp had enough power to get a KO. While the stat difference is less noticable in this case, it doesn't mean it's not valuable. So in short, it varies. However, it is important to keep in mind that EVs will technically give a more significant boost when invested in low stats, and this is an idea I recommend to explore when building EV spreads.


HP EVs or defense EVs?


Other question people ask a lot is "should I invest into HP or defenses" when I want more bulk? In this case, it also varies. Generally, investing the same amount of EVs in HP is better than defenses - however this is not true if your base HP stat is very high and base defenses are low. I will provide two examples of where it is good to invest in HP and where it is good to invest in defenses.




Lanturn has a very high base HP but very mediocre defenses. This is one of the cases where investing into defenses may make more sense. Providing examples with calcs below.


252 SpA Alakazam Psychic vs. 0 HP / 124 SpD Lanturn: 85-102 (42.5 - 51%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery 

252 Atk Mienshao Close Combat vs. 0 HP / 124 Def Lanturn: 127-151 (63.5 - 75.5%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery 


252 SpA Alakazam Psychic vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Lanturn: 100-118 (43.1 - 50.8%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery 

252 Atk Mienshao Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Lanturn: 153-181 (65.9 - 78%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery 


The difference is extremely minor but if you look at it, 124 Defense + 124 Sp Defense makes Lanturn take slightly less damage in total compared having 252 HP. I'd say Lanturn is kind of a good benchmark Pokemon for this dilemma. If Pokemon has higher base HP than Lanturn and low defense, it is a good idea to explore whether investing into defenses is better. However, in vast majority of the cases investing into HP is better.






Dragonite is an example of a Pokemon where its base HP and base Defense and Special Defense are near equal.



252 SpA Alakazam Psychic vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Dragonite: 79-94 (39.8 - 47.4%) -- guaranteed 3HKO 

252 Atk Tauros Return vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Dragonite: 76-91 (38.3 - 45.9%) -- guaranteed 3HKO 


252 SpA Alakazam Psychic vs. 0 HP / 124 SpD Dragonite: 70-84 (42.1 - 50.6%) -- 1.2% chance to 2HKO 

252 Atk Tauros Return vs. 0 HP / 124 Def Dragonite: 67-81 (40.3 - 48.7%) -- guaranteed 3HKO 



In this case, it is quite evident that investing 252 HP rather than putting those EVs into defenses is a much better idea when providing defensive utility for the Pokemon. In vast majority of cases you should focus on HP investment.




Optimizing for HP fractions


One additional optimization you have for EVs is to select the exact HP stat you want. This most often comes into play when increasing Leftovers recovery or reducing Flame Orb damage. For example, a Conkeldurr with 208 HP stat would take 13 HP damage from Flame Orb burn each turn. With 207 HP stat, Conkeldurr would only take 12 HP damage each turn from burn. Over the course of multiple turns, this slight 1 HP difference could add up and taking slightly less damage each turn could be game-changing. Investing EVs into HP to purposely be 1 stat under next HP burn damage may be optimal. In other way around, adding more HP to gain 1 point from Leftovers could also potentially be an option to explore.



Prime numbers


This is an area I haven't explored a lot personally but VGC players have gone quite in-depth about this. What they discovered is that having defense stats that are prime numbers is generally a good idea and results in lower damage, probably due to how the game handles fractions. I haven't researched too much into how big of an effect these will have but out of habit from VGC community, if I don't have any better idea I might set my defense stats into prime numbers because apparently this may have a positive effect.





Even though EV spreads may seem like a small an insignificant part of your team composition, it may have a very big effect on the overall composition of your team. Designing EV spreads allows you to discover the metagame, learn the common calcs and forces you to think which Pokemon are you beating and which Pokemon are you not. That's why I highly recommend using some of these tips in this guide to make you think how can I improve my team to the fullest where I feel like every stat is what I want it to be. Thanks for reading.

(This guide is finished and may be moved to the main section)


Edited by OrangeManiac
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