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Pokémon In-Depth: IVs and Breeding

Updated on December 13, 2015
Picture was remade by me using
Picture was remade by me using

Do YOU play Pokémon?

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Pokémon: NOT a Kid's Game

Pokémon has been around since the mid 90's, and everybody pretty much knows what it is. However, what a lot of people don't know is just how complex Pokémon really is.

Chess has been a popular game of choice for many people, due to the logic and intense game strategies behind its workings. However, compared to the inner workings of Pokémon, chess pales in comparison. Not only are the strategies far more limitless, but you're challenged with only having 6 "pieces" to play with at once, instead of the standard 16 of Chess. But these pieces aren't just stand alone. They have moves/abilities/stats/natures that all factor into their performance and how they can be used in battle. Many things factor in the outcome of a battle, but one of the lesser known to casual players are the infamous IVs.


Pokémon Stats

Before we get into the depth of what IVs are and how they impact your Pokémon, we first need to understand what they relate to: Stats. Every Pokémon has 6 stat levels: HP (Hit Points, or health), Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed. A Pokémon's stat levels can be affected by many things, but every Pokémon has what's known as a base stat value. This determines that particular Pokémon's strengths and weaknesses, and these stats cannot be changed

Stat Judge (top right) as seen in Pokémon X and Y
Stat Judge (top right) as seen in Pokémon X and Y | Source

How IVs Affect Stat Growth

IV stands for Individual Value. It is a randomly generated number for each of a Pokémon's stats ranging from 0-31. The higher the number, the higher that stat will grow upon leveling up!

Great! do I find out what level IVs my Pokémon has? Its not as easy as just selecting "Summary" over it unfortunately. IVs are hidden and can only be approximated via IV Stat calculators like this one

While calculating the exact numbers per stat a Pokémon has requires a calculator, discovering if a Pokémon has the highest IV in a stat (31) can easily be accomplished in game via the Stat Judge

X&Y Stat Judge Chart

Stat Range
It has rather decent stats, I'd say.
It's definitely got some good stats.
This Pokémon has some fantastic stats.
Stats like those... They simply can't be beat!.
Data used from

The Stat Judge

The Stat Judge came about in Generation III with Pokémon Emerald, and has made appearances is most of the games since. Upon talking with him, he will ask to see a Pokémon to evaluate its potential. Based on what he says will give you an idea what range of IVs your Pokémon has

After his introductory text, he'll name the highest IV stat, such as Attack. If a Pokémon has similar IVs in other stats, he'll continue to name those stats before giving an overall analysis. The chart on the right explains the analysis for the IV yields in Generation 6 games.

The judge will not however, name all of the stats' values unless they fall in the same category. So, if I had a Pokémon with 2 stats that ranged in the 26-30 IV level, and the rest were 16-25, he would only name those 2 highest stats.

31 IVs and Tracking

Should you happen across any stats that are judged at the 31 level, congratulations! That means that particular stat is at its highest growth potential (aside from natures, but that'll be for another blog) So, you have a Pokémon with at least 1 31 IV stat. What are you going to do with it? Carry it around, show it off a little, then put it back in your PC box as you need to switch it with someone else. You come back around later and oh ya! I remember this guy, he was special because he had a 31 IV stat in...wait, what was the stat it was superior in again?? Oh no! You forgot! Certainly there has to be a way to keep track of all these high IV Pokémon, right?


Thankfully the game has included a little feature known as "marking". Before I discovered the wonders of IVs, I would mark my Pokémon randomly according to what box they sat it, or maybe I'd give it a star or heart cause I liked it more than the others. After discovering the wonders of IVs, I needed a way to sort my Pokémon so I could remember who had what. I thought about naming special boxes for each of the stats, but then I noticed something: 6 stats, 6 marking symbols. It all fell into place from there. Then I discovered this particular system is widely used with other trainers and their 31 IV Pokémon as well

Obtaining High IV Pokémon

So you've gone through your box, checked all your Pokémon, found a few here and there with maybe one or two, perhaps some with four or five or even all six obtained in trades! But you want to get really high IVs on your favorite Pokémon. Just how does one go about this? Well, you could capture wild Pokémon for hours on end, though it wouldn't result in much. Maybe the occasional one or two IV, but there are faster ways.

Generation 6 has a nice little feature included known as the Friend Safari, in which its standard that all Pokémon have two 31 IVs to start. A better start than just searching wild, but still not worth hours of capturing. And the Friend Safari, though helpful, is also limited on what you can obtain within it. So, just how do we get those perfect IVs on your favorite Pokémon?

Breeding Pokémon


A game mechanic that has been around since generation 2, and the source of endless comic jokes: Breeding at the Pokémon Daycare. Breeding in game is simple, and a bit of a waste to go over in this page, so I'll skip the basics and get on with the passing of IVs

Standard in game, when an egg is produced, it will randomly inherit 3 IVs between its parent's, and the rest determined randomly (Though highly influenced by the IVs of the parents). Lets say these are the IV levels of two Pokémon in the daycare

Parent 1
Parent 2
HP 31
HP 31
Attack 15
Attack 29
Defense 21
Defense 31
Special Defense 31
Special Defense 31
Special Attack 29
Special Attack 0
Speed 0
Speed 5

The Results of the offspring could factor many options, as only 3 of the IVs between these parents are guaranteed to pass down. But there is a catch: IVs can overlap. Say the game game up with a random pull of Parent 1's Defense, Parent 2's Special Attack, and Parent 2's Defense. Well, we already pulled Defense, right? Wrong. Parent 2's Defense now replaces the Defense IV of Parent 1. In this case, Parent 2 has the better Defense, so its all good. But it can swing the other way too.


So, how can we help the odds that better stats will pass down? With a little item known as the Destiny Knot

Destiny Knot, when held by a Pokémon in the daycare, will boost the passing of IVs from 3 to 5. While this increases the chance of getting one of those 31 stats, it also increases the chance of getting one that isn't, so try to have Pokémon that already have those high IVs in the daycare, and rotate out the better yields when you get them!

To IV, or not to IV

Having read this information, will you start IV breeding?

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    • tiagodamiao profile image

      Tiago Damião 

      4 years ago from Torres Novas

      Interesting hub! Last year I bought Pokémon X and I learn the way to make Pokémons with good IV's and EV's for the first time. Good hub


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