Many people are under the impression that Pokemon is nothing more than a series of role-playing games geared toward youngsters. This is partially true. The Pokemon games are superbly-crafted titles that appeal to children of all ages. They're fun games that are easy for players of all skill levels to enjoy. Underneath it all is an amazingly complex system that most players don't even know about. It's called EV training.
EV training can make an enormous difference in how strong your Pokemon becomes. If you take two Pokemon of the same species with the same nature and same attacks, they can be drastically different depending on how they're EV trained. A properly EV trained Pokemon will trounce one that's poorly trained or not trained at all (e.g. leveled up through Rare Candies). To become the best trainer you can be and to make your Pokemon as strong as possible, EV training is essential. This week's Pokemusings will give you the basics on this wonderfully intricate aspect of Pokemon.
Above: Mew can have drastically different stats depending on how it is EV trained
What are EVs?
EV stands for effort values. These are points (that you'll never see accounted for in the game) that determine how your Pokemon's statistics will grow as you level it up. Four EV points equal one stat point at level 100. For example, if you've earned 16 EV points in Speed then your Pokemon will have four more Speed points in addition to its base when it hits level 100.
Each Pokemon can earn 510 EV points in total. Each individual stat (Defense, Special Attack, Speed, etc.) can have up to 255 EV points allocated to it. Though in practical terms, you should go for 252 EV points if you want to max out a stat, since 255 is not divisible by four. This means that you can earn up to 63 additional points in a single stat through careful training.
You absorb all that complex math yet? Good! Next we'll tell you how to snag EV points for your favorite Pokemon.