VGC Tips #7: Building Efficient EV Spreads

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EV Spreads can either make or break a Pokemon. They allow Pokemon to further fulfill the role their meant. Investing in only defense can allow Pokemon to take hits and stay on the field longer to do their job, investing in attack can allow Pokemon to do damage to take out threats, and investing in speed can allow Pokemon to use their attacks so in this guide, the goal is to cover EV Spreads in VGC: how to build them and some important tips and tricks to keep in mind, as well as some important resources that I recommend using to make your life easier so let's begin.

Before You Begin ...

These are the 2 links are going to make your job easier. All top players use them because of how helpful they are.
  1. Survival Calculator - This video by DaWoblefet can better explain how to use it, but once you learn it, this tool becomes so easy to use.
  2. Damage Calculator - The Damage Calculator allows you to better build your spreads by running hypothetical scenarios on how much damage will happen. Works exactly the same as the Smogon Damage Calculator, but this one is tailored towards VGC.

To start, I wanna show an EV Spread I have created first along with the entire set, then walk through how I create the spread, and some important things to keep in mind to make your spreads better.

Tapu Koko @ Fairium Z  
Ability: Electric Surge  
Level: 50  
EVs: 156 HP / 124 Def / 104 SpA / 28 SpD / 96 Spe  
Timid Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Thunderbolt  
- Dazzling Gleam  
- Hidden Power [Fire]
- Protect

This was the Tapu Koko I used at the 2018 Ft. Wayne Regional Championships. This Tapu Koko was meant to fit my team, helping it out with what my team needed and what I needed Tapu Koko to do, which the EV Spread allowed it to do 100%. Now, it's time to go into why I needed this Tapu Koko, which is very interesting as it's offensive, but is invested in bulk and not the fastest Tapu Koko. Here's a picture of what this Tapu Koko's stats look in-game via Pokemon Showdown.

Inspiration behind this Tapu Koko

Shortly after 2017 U.S. Internationals, we saw a sharp increase in the popularity of Choice Scarfed, Adamant Nature Garchomp, as used by Paul Chua, which was picking up easy KOs on Tapu Koko. Seeing this, I remember that Tapu Koko could hold the Fairium Z item in conjunction with Dazzling Gleam to knockout opposing Garchomp, which could be interesting. Trying this set out, I wasn't pleased with how I would need to pair this Tapu Koko with an Intimidate user like Arcanine to survive Earthquake from the very same Garchomp I was aiming to beat. Because of this, I wanted to try and create an EV Spread for Tapu Koko that allows it to survive Earthquake without the aid of Intimidate, which lead me to start working on creating it the EV Spread listed above.

The logic behind this Tapu Koko is the same logic used by players who follow these 3 major bullet points, but keep in mind that creating the best EV Spread works well going into a format it's meant for.
  1. Surviving specific attacks or a combination of attacks
  2. Moving before certain Pokemon (either in or out of Trick Room)
  3. Achieving KOs on certain Pokemon you expect to face.

How I started creating the EV Spread

I started by using a generic 252/252/4 EV Spread. The beauty of these spreads is that their simplicity allows these types of EV Spreads to work in a variety so situations. Some Pokemon only really work with these kinds of spreads. These Pokemon are generally really frail because investing in their defense stats are not high enough to warrant it. Pokemon like non-Mega Gengar and Pheromosa are the kind of Pokemon that only really work with these kinds of spreads because their bulk is not good enough and can generally be knocked out in 1 or 2 attacks.

For my Tapu Koko as said above, I started with a generic 252/252/4 EV Spread. It was simple as it allowed me to see what I needed to change with the Tapu Koko as I saw fit. By doing this, I wouldn't have to waste any important time on creating an EV Spread I would never use.

Choosing the Right Nature

Choosing the right nature is important as a Pokemon's nature should compliment the role they'll be playing. Pokemon that should focus on primarily attacking will want a nature like Adamant and Modest, or even Brave and Quiet if they will operate under Trick Room. For a defensive nature, ones like Calm and Bold can work in a variety of situations, or Relaxed and Sassy can be nice in the Pokemon is going to operate under Trick Room. Some Pokemon may be mixed attackers where they use both physical and special moves. Should this happen, natures like Hasty and Naive would work, but you should decide which defense stat your fine with weakening. Its also important to keep in mind that the nature should increase your highest stat you plan to take advantage of.

For my Tapu Koko, I decided that the Timid nature was the best idea because I wanted Tapu Koko to be as fast as possible to allow Tapu Koko to outspeed the Pokemon I need it to. The 96 Speed EVs combined with the Timid nature allows Tapu Koko to outspeed Kartana and Alolan Ninetales which was important.

Analyzing what to Change

After using a generic 252/252/4 EV Spread, many people may find that their are certain things that Pokemon is struggling against. Should this happen, it's best to start working on creating a new spread that can allow you to achieve the goal your setting out to do. Survival Calc can allow you to find the most efficient numbers to survive the attack. Remember that the Pokemon may not be able to survive the attack by itself, but may need help from abilities like Intimidate, moves like Will-O-Wisp and Snarl, field conditions like the terrains and weather, or type-resist berries. Finding out how to train your Pokemon to live the hit is important, but remember that the way to survive the hit may not be ideal to the way you plan on using that Pokemon so it's best not to force yourself into changing the role on your Pokemon. Also keep in mind that there will be certain situations where to survive the attack, it may not be efficient so always make sure you're comfortable with what it takes to do so.

For my Tapu Koko, seeing how I needed to survive 252+ Garchomp Earthquake, I used survival calc to see how I could survive the hit without any help from other Pokemon. Survival calc told me that 156 HP / 124 Def could accomplish the job, without wasting any EVs, meaning I could start investing in my other 3 stats: Sp. Attack, Sp. Defense, and Speed.

Investing in other stats

After you have changed what you needed to change, it's time to focus on the other stats. The next stat should be the next most important one. If you want to invest in speed then you can look at a Pokemon that might threaten your Pokemon and invest to move before them to get off an attack to potentially pick up a crucial KO. Investing in your offensive stats can help you increase your Pokemon's damage output so you can aid in picking up other KOs. There may also be other times where you'll want to invest in your other defense stat so you can take hits on the other side of the attacking spectrum. Deciding the stats you'll have to invest in and following the step above can help you. Pokemon that are going to be attacking every chance they get would want to focus on their speed and offensive stats while Pokemon whose job is to support their team will want to focus on their defensive stats while not as much on their offensive stats.

With Tapu Koko, I decided to invest in its Sp. Attack stat because it's the most important part in conjunction with its defense. The goal was for Twinkle Tackle (Dazzling Gleam) to KO the bulkiest Garchomp I expected to face, which was 2015 World Champion Shoma Honami's Garchomp which used 188 HP / 88 Def. Being able to KO his Garchomp meant that after I used Twinkle Tackle on it, I could find out my opponent trained their Garchomp and if they gave it the Assault Vest item, which was valuable information. Using the remaining of my EV points, I decided to throw my remaining 28 EVs into Sp. Defense seeing as there wasn't a better place to place them.

After you finish,

Once you finish, the best thing you can do is to practice and get as much experience with your newly built EV Spread. The reason is that the more experience you gain with it, the better you'll be able to play with it and show off that Pokemon to it's full potential. Resources like the online simulator Pokemon Showdown, and playing in game can help doing so. The more experience you have, the better you'll be off for it. While testing the Pokemon, its best to write notes on what you may need to change and then make those changes. There may be a certain attack that is doing too much damage for comfort so you can make those changes and overall make your Pokemon just that much better.

Choosing the correct IVs

IVs are different than EVs because once a Pokemon is caught or hatched from an egg, you can't lower them but you can raise them from 0 to 31 through to use of bottle caps. The best thing you can do is to make sure your IVs can help your Pokemon do its job better. Many people aim for a low attack IV combined with a attack reducing nature on to minimize the damage taken from Foul Play if you don't plan on taking advantage of its attack stat. Some also aim for a low speed IV combined with a speed reducing nature to take advantage of your Trick Room turns. By doing this, you can make sure your Pokemon are taking full advantage of their time on the field. If you really need it, some also aim for a very specific IV number in a stat to accomplish a very specific goal, but keep in mind that it's very dependent on the team and what you need out of that Pokemon.

Things to keep in mind

Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind that can help you out
  • Don't be afraid to use someone else's EV Spread - Sometimes, other people may have built an EV Spread for the same Pokemon your looking into that fills the role you need it to.
  • Don't be afraid to abandon an EV Spread your building - You may run into a situation where the EV Spread just isn't working, so don't be afraid to abandon it and start from scratch if need be.
  • EV Spreads that compliment the Pokemon's moves - The cool thing about EVs are that when used properly, strong coverage moves can have a real impact and even pick up surprising KOs if the Pokemon is trained to do so.
  • HP Numbers to fit certain conditions - Some Pokemon that use the move Belly Drum like Azumarill and Snorlax should have their HP end with an even number so when using Belly Drum, they'll drop their HP to 50% to activate their berry. For weather, the HP number should be -1 a multiple of 16 to minimize the residual damage taken from sand and hail.
  • Keeping updated with the metagame - There are a multitude of resources on what Pokemon and teams are having success. The Pokemon Global Link has a great log of all info you'll need to know about every legal Pokemon in each format. as well as Trainer Tower where you can find information on all teams that do well at large events.

I hope you enjoyed this. EV Spreads are importants as when used well, they can really make a Pokemon shine. By keeping at it, you can truly find a way to make a Pokemon do well and make the best plays as possible. Keep checking the Nimbasa City Post going into the 2018 season for information on the 2018 format and check back for future articles. There are some plans for the 2018 season that I feel will be very helpful and I can't wait to show them off

1 comment:

  1. Oh I am excited about EV spread. I haven't hear about it before.Now let's see what will happen with Pokemon when I use this EV spread on it.Finger crossed.