Next week is the 2016 European International Championships at the ExCel in London, and many people are still getting to grips with the new system for training and even the new Pokémon in Sun and Moon. While Individual Values haven't changed much - beyond Hyper Training, anyway - how you get Effort Values has altered from Pokémon X & Y, and this article should give you the knowhow on how to best, and most quickly, train your Pokémon for battle!

What Are Effort Values?

Simply put, Effort Values, known in game as "base stats", are training. As with most RPG games, you have the ability to manipulate the stats in order to make the characters even stronger than ever before, and Pokémon is no different.

Since Ruby & Sapphire, each Pokémon has the ability of having a total of 510 Effort Points with, as of X & Y, a maximum of 252 in each stat. These are all gained through various means, which we shall get to.

The difference between Effort Points and Individual Values other than training is that it's a combination. For every 4 Effort Points a Pokémon has, it is equal to 1 stat point at Level 100. Due to this, it can be very beneficial as it means that, if you max a stat, it can add a massive 63 points to the final stat total. This can change the tide of battle with your Pokémon considerably, but you have to think about the best places to use it.

While you could spread it across all six stats, with 85 in each stat meaning a 21 point boost, this is not the best course of action. Instead, you'll want to focus on your Pokémon's stats. If it's fast and hits hard, you'll want to boost Attack and Speed. If you're using a Pokémon as a tank, you'll want to boost defences, but we'll come to this in depth later.

Using a Level 100 Mimikyu with max Individual and a neutral nature the stat changes are as follows:

So, how do you get these Effort Points on your Pokémon? Simply put, you battle Pokémon. In the main game, when you face up against wild Pokémon or trainer-owned Pokémon, you will gain Effort Points when you defeat them. All Pokémon used in the battle against the Pokémon will get the Effort Points, and they will also be given through EXP. Share.

Each Pokémon species will give between 1 and 3 Effort Points, sometimes in one stat, other times across up to three. This means if you're training your Pokémon for competitive battle, you'll want to be very careful with what you face. The stats are recalculated with the Effort Points after each battle. You can find lists of what Pokémon gives what Effort Point online such as on Serebii.net.

Previously, keeping track of the Effort Values gained was a bit laborious and required you to have a notepad and sit and count everything you did, but Sun and Moon has provided a simpler way. When you check the Pokémon's status screen, you will see a graph of its stats. If you press the Y button, you will see a different graph. This one shows your EVs. In the middle, the yellow graph is the actual set base stats of the Pokémon, but the orange or light blue graph around it shows how much you have trained in the stat. If the graph is light blue, you can no longer train that Pokémon and if a stat sparkles, it has been 100% trained in that stat.

The whole set up for Effort Values, at first glance, can seem like an absolute grind and if you did it simply by defeating Pokémon individually, it would be. However, there are numerous ways to expedite the process.

First, there is the rare PokéRus virus. This virus has got the effect of doubling every Effort Point the Pokémon obtains in battle, so if the opponent gives 2, it will instead get 4. PokéRus is obtained randomly through battle, and you'll get notified of it when you heal your Pokémon. At this point, PokéRus can spread to other Pokémon in your party. There are multiple strains of PokéRus which last for one day, two days, three days or four days, meaning the Pokémon is no longer contagious once it hits midnight, but you can prolong this by placing the Pokémon in the box. After the Pokémon has recovered from PokéRus, it will get a small face icon in its summary screen, but it will still receive double Effort Points.

There are various items that give boosts as well and Pokémon Sun & Moon has altered them significantly. First, the Macho Brace that doubled effort values gained has, unfortunately, disappeared and is unavailable in the game. However, the special Power items have received marked improvements. While in previous games they would boost their respective stat by 4 with each defeated Pokémon, in Sun & Moon they have double the effect and give a massive 8 points per Pokémon defeated.

  • Power Weight: Hit Points
  • Power Bracer: Attack
  • Power Belt: Defense
  • Power Lens: Special Attack
  • Power Band: Special Defense
  • Power Anklet: Speed

Each of these items effect is stackable with PokéRus, so if you were facing a Pokémon which gives 1 Effort Point in the stat you're training as standard, you'd get a massive 18 with the Power items.

In Generation VI, there were two ways to expedite this even further, with Super Training and Horde battles, but these are now a thing of the past. Sun and Moon however have actually gone above and beyond and actually provided an even better way.

S.O.S. Battles

First up is S.O.S. Battles. These are a new feature where a Pokémon will call for help as its Hit Points get lower causing a second Pokémon to enter the battle. This can be made more likely by using Adrenaline Orbs or having a Pokémon with Pressure, Intimidate or Unnerve out and can be continued by keeping one Pokémon around using False Swipe.

While this may seem like a situation where it just means it is easier to get Pokémon to appear, there's an added benefit. When a Pokémon successfully calls for help the first time, all Effort Value yields in battle are instantly doubled. So, if you combine this with the PokéRus and a Power Item, you can get a massive 36 points per defeated Pokémon (if that Pokémon just gives 1 point) meaning you can max out a stat completely in just 7 battles. Alternatively, you can forgo the Power item and just get 4 per defeated Pokémon in order to get more specialised EV spreads or just go with standard Pokémon to get 2 points, but maxing them out has never been easier.

There are some recommended areas for training your Pokémon in S.O.S. Battles:

  • HP: Malie City Outer Cape - Grimer (SOS Battle) - 30% Chance
  • Attack: Route 1 - Yungoose (SOS Battle) - 30% Chance (Day) | Route 1 - Spinarak (SOS Battle) - 20% Chance (Night)
  • Defense: Route 12 - Geodude (SOS Battle) - 40% Chance
  • Sp. Atk: Route 1 Trainer School - Magnemite (SOS Battle) - 50% Chance
  • Sp. Def: Route 2 - Drowzee (SOS Battle) - 20% Chance
  • Speed: Seaward Cave - Zubat (SOS Battle) - 80% Chance

Festival Plaza

Festival Plaza is the massive area where all multiplayer connectivity takes place and, taking a page from the book of Join Avenue from Black and White 2, it includes a variety of facilities which will boost your Pokémon in some manner. One of these is by increasing Effort Values. In the Bouncy Houses (Clink-Clunk Land, Stomp-Stomp House, Thump-Bump Park), you can purchase special courses using your Festival Coins which boost your Effort Values. Each store type carries two stats and the higher the level of them, the more you can use. You can obtain more stores by levelling up your Festival Plaza or scouting them from other players you meet online.

Each stat has got 7 courses which boost the stat by 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 and even 252 at once. This means you can immediately max a stat just by purchasing one of the courses. You can only purchase each course once a day, so it's not an ideal situation, but it can definitely aid in boosting your stat.

Poké Pelago

There's also one island in the Poké Pelago which will help you raise your Pokémon's EVs. This is on Isle Evelup. On this island, you can put groups of 6 Pokémon to train. When you do so, you can select a specific drink that will allow for you to raise a stat and select the amount of training sessions you wish for your Pokémon to partake in. Each session takes 30 minutes of real-world time and the Effort Values gained in each session depend upon the level of the island. Level 1 gives 1, Level 2 gives 2 and Level 3 gives 4. This means in 63 sessions, or 31.5 hours, on a Level 3 island you will be able to max a stat. This can be expedited by using Poké Beans to halve the time it takes for each session to be completed. This allows for you to passively train Pokémon while you're sleeping.

Removing EVs

Finally, there is also a way to remove unwanted training from a Pokémon, if you did the wrong thing or forgot to turn EXP Share off while you had it in your party. If you give the Pokémon the berry, then the specific stat will be reduced by 10. You can do this until it's at 0, so be sure to grow as many of these berries as possible.

In addition to that, you can also go to the Friendship Café and Friendship Parlor in Festival Plaza, which have special items to purchase that will instantly reduce your Effort Values down considerably, or even completely!

That's pretty much all there is to know about Effort Values, and the changes brought by Pokémon Sun and Moon. IVs and Natures remain unchanged, as does breeding. Good luck training!