Jake’s PokéQuest – Part 2: Advanced Breeding

Jake’s PokéQuest – Part 2: Advanced Breeding

If you haven’t read part one, check it out here. Otherwise, read on!

Welcome back, trainers! So you’ve hatched your first few eggs all by yourself. Congrats! Must feel good. But you’ve only tapped the surface of the complex and rewarding process that is Pokémon breeding. In this part of my epic journey of discovery and wonderment with you, I’m going to teach you about some of the advanced components of breeding, including natures, individual values (or IVs), and power items. Read on to find out how you can breed your own genetic abominations!

Natures

What you probably know is that each Pokémon has six different stats: HP (health), attack, defense, special attack, special defense, and speed. What you may not know is that each Pokémon has a nature that adds a 10% boost to one stat while taking 10% away from another, and mastering natures is the first step to making awesome Pokémon.

Some natures give and take away 10% to the same stat, resulting in no change in the Pokémon’s stats. These natures (Hardy, Docile, Serious, Bashful, and Quirky) should be avoided as they’re completely pointless. The four natures I tend to concentrate on are Timid, Jolly, Adamant, and Modest as they benefit speed and offensive tactics.

You may be asking yourself, “Yeah, that’s great and all, but how do I get Pokémon with specific natures?” Well, that’s easy. When breeding two Pokémon, look at their natures. If neither of them have the nature you want for your Pokémon, there’s two things you can do: Find another Pokémon in the desired Pokémon’s egg group with the correct nature and give it an Everstone. When breeding in Black and White 2, the Pokémon holding an Everstone will pass on its nature to its children 100% of the time. This makes getting your desired nature a breeze.

If you don’t have a Pokémon with a desired nature that you wish to breed, keep hatching eggs. Eventually one will have the nature you want, and you can plant an Everstone on that sucker and never worry about it again.

Now you’re probably wondering what Pokémon should have what natures. Here’s a tip: Type into your Google search bar the Pokémon you’re breeding and “smogon.” Example: “pikachu smogon.” Click the first link. Smogon is a group that takes competitive Pokémon battling more seriously than anything else. By searching for a specific Pokémon through Smogon, you can find out what this elite community thinks of it, including its best team placement, movesets, and, of course, nature. As I’ve mentioned, most Pokémon will work best with either a Timid, Jolly, Adamant, or Modest nature, but not all will, so be wary.

Attack vs. Special Attack

Look at the two moves below. What’s the difference between them (besides their type, power, and accuracy)? If you look at the category, you can plainly see two different graphics.

The top one, an orange explosion against a red background, represents physical attacks. Such attacks should only be given to Pokémon that have a higher base attack stat than their special attack. The strength of physical attacks is weighed against the opposing Pokémon’s defense stat. The bottom one, two circles against a purple background, represents special attacks. These attacks should be reserved for Pokémon that have a higher base special attack stat than their attack. The strength of special attacks is weighed against the opposing Pokémon’s special defense stat. No single Pokémon should know both physical and special attacks; its moveset should consist of only the category it excels in. Got it? Good. Knowing this info is important when choosing natures for Pokémon you want to breed. Check Smogon if you need to know whether a Pokémon is more attack- or special attack-focused.

IVs

Now that you know what natures to give your battling beasts and how to do so, it’s time to get to the meat of breeding: individual values. IVs are hidden values that each Pokémon has that determine its potential. Each of the six stats of every Pokémon has an individual value assigned ranging from zero up to 31. So, for instance, a Flygon with 31 IVs in its attack stat will be have a higher overall attack stat at level 100 than a Flygon with zero IVs in its attack stat. This changes everything. To make truly great Pokémon, you have to care about IVs and utilize them to make competitive-worthy creatures.

So how do you check IVs? There’s two ways. One is quick and dirty while the other is a little more complicated but gives you a plethora of solid info on your Pokémon. To do it the simple way, take your newly hatched Pokémon and fly to Nimbasa city. Enter the subway station and in front of you you’ll see a blue-haired fellow. Talk to him and he’ll inform you that he can judge the potential (IVs) of your Pokémon. Select one to show you and he’ll tell you one of four things.

  • “This Pokémon has outstanding potential overall.” This means your Pokémon has anywhere from 151-186 IVs total. If you do the math, that means each IV has at least an average of 25. That’s good. To get an outstanding Pokémon takes luck and time, however, so you’re not likely to hatch one without some work.
  • “This Pokémon has relatively superior potential overall.” The sum of your Pokémon’s IVs is 121-150.
  • “This Pokémon’s potential is above average overall.” The sum of your Pokémon’s IVs is 91-120.
  • “The Pokémon’s potential is decent all around.” The sum of your Pokémon’s IVs is 90 or less.

This helpful guy will even tell you which stat of your Pokémon is the best and (approximately) how good it is.

  • “It can’t be better in that regard.” The stat has an IV of 31.
  • “It’s fantastic in that regard.” The stat has an IV between 26-30.
  • “It’s very good in that regard.” The stat has an IV  between 16-25.
  • “It’s rather decent in that regard.” The stat has an IV of 15 or less.

This method is good for getting a rough idea of what you’re working with, but if you really want to succeed at breeding, you need to head on over to pokecheck.org and learn how to submit your Pokémon to see all the information you could ever want to know about them. Follow the instructions located on the front page and upload one of your Pokémon to the site and you’ll see something like the picture below.

Look at all the delicious information available once you upload a Pokémon to pokecheck. This is the latest Pokémon I’ve bred. It took me several days to get a Trapinch worth evolving, and here are the fruits of my labor. As you can see, this guy has 31 IVs in HP, attack, and speed and decent special defense and acceptable defense. Even though this Flygon has a pretty good special attack IV, that doesn’t matter to me because, as I’ve already mentioned, there’s no need to worry about both the attack and special attack stats for any one Pokémon considering each Pokémon will only be using one or the other. Looking to the right of the IVs you can see that Flygon’s attack stat is much higher than its special attack stat, and while part of that is due to the fact that its IV for attack is higher, as are its EVs (something I’ll address next week), it’s also because its base attack is stronger than its base special attack, hence me breeding it the way I did.

So now you finally know what IVs are and how to check them. But just important as knowing what they are is how to breed Pokémon with high IVs. And this is where you’re patience is truly tested.

Let’s say you’re breeding two Ghastly together hoping to make an awesome Gengar. By checking Gengar’s stats on Smogon, you see that it’s got amazing special attack and really good speed. Because both of these stats are crucial in making a competitive-worthy Gengar, these are the stats you definitely want to be at 31 when you’re all done breeding. While it will help to have perfect IVs all around, breeding a flawless Pokémon is harder than hatching a shiny. It probably won’t happen, so don’t get your hopes up. The key is to pick three or four IVs you want to be 31 and hope the other one or two (don’t worry about the one that isn’t the offensive stat your Pokémon won’t use) roll high. So let’s begin.

You check the IVs on two parent Ghastly and discover neither of them have a perfect IV. Bummer. Fortunately, one of them is Timid, that nature you want, so plop an Everstone on that puppy before putting them in the daycare and start breeding. After hatching your five eggs, fly your Volcarona to Nimbasa and show them all to the blue-haired guy. Sweet! One of child Ghastly has perfect speed! Now you’re cooking.

How IVs are determined is pretty simple: three random stats are randomly rolled off while the other three stats are taken from either parent. In other words, three of your child Pokémon’s IVs are completely random while the remaining ones are passed on genetically from one of the parents. You may think this means you have to wait to for the game to randomly give you child Pokémon with 31 IVs in the stats you want before you can even start breeding for a decent Pokémon, but that’s not true; there are ways to speed the process.

In the fifth generation games, there are power items you can obtain that, when given to a parent Pokémon to hold while breeding, guarantee that a specific stat’s IV is passed on to all children. In other words, that 31 speed IV will be passed on to every Pokémon you breed from then on if you give that parent Pokémon the correct power item to hold while breeding. Where can you acquire these magical items, you ask? Easy: the Pokémon World Tournament or the Battle Subway. After earning enough Battle Points by winning matches in these venues, you can purchase the following items.

  • Power Weight: Passes down parent’s HP IV.
  • Power Bracer: Passes down parent’s attack IV.
  • Power Belt: Passes down parent’s defense IV.
  • Power Lens: Passes down parent’s special attack IV.
  • Power Band: Passes down parent’s special defense IV.
  • Power Anklet: Passes down parent’s speed IV.

Something to note: Giving both parents two different power items will not pass down both IVs to the children Pokémon. Rather, the game will randomly choose which IV of the two stats to pass down. The best method here would be to give the Ghastly with the desired nature the Everstone and give the one with the 31 speed the Power Anklet. This way, all future child Pokémon will have perfect speed and the desired nature.

So you’ve done all that and are cooking out plenty of eggs. Now what? Keep going. Eventually you’ll breed one with 31 IVs in another desired stat, such as special attack. What would be smart to do now is take the Power Anklet from the parent Pokémon with perfect speed and instead give a Power Lens to the child Pokémon with perfect special attack and speed and make it a parent. Both parents should now have perfect speed and the desired nature. The one with perfect special attack will now pass down its special attack IVs while the speed stat will be twice as likely to be passed down considering there are now two Pokémon with perfect speed that could pass on their IVs. Confusing? Yes. But if you come to understand even the deepest part of this process, you’ll excel as a breeder.

As you continue breeding, getting Pokémon with more and more perfect stats and giving the appropriate Pokémon the correct power item and the other an Everstone, eventually, after perhaps several days of breeding, an outstanding Pokémon will hatch with perhaps even four perfect IVs and a high IV in the extra stat, and that sucker will be ready to be trained. But before you run off and get that beauty up to level 100, you have to know about EV training, a process we’ll cover next week.

Until then, get a hang of breeding. If you have any questions, feel free to drop them below. Happy puppymilling, trainers!

Update: The next part is up! Read it here.

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Jake is a journalism student at UW-Whitewater who hopes to one day write about the video game industry for a living. When not playing games or writing about them, you can find him jamming on the bass, writing terrible fiction, or playing with his cat. Learn more about Jake (and his awesome hair) by following him on Twitter @JakeMMagee or emailing him at [email protected]
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