Pokémon Sword & Shield: Effort Values – Complete EV Training Guide

Gone are the days of Kalos’ Super Training in which players launched soccer balls at inflatables. And no longer can we kick our feet up in Alola while our Pokémon train on Isle Evelup of the Poké Pelago. So what now? Do we have to go back to the old ways of gaining effort values (EVs)? What can trainers in Galar do to get a competitive edge?

Effort Values: What Are They?

Every Pokémon battle you win yields effort values (EVs)! So, for those of you unfamiliar, you have already been gaining EVs! Generally speaking, Defeated Pokémon give effort values consistent with their highest stat. For example, Ponyta gives 1 speed EV each time you defeat it as it’s highest base stat is speed!

EV Totals

Once you’ve gained 4 effort values, you’ll gain 1 extra stat point!
So, 4 Ponytas = 1 extra speed stat! And a Pokémon can gain a total of 510 EVs. In a single stat, a Pokémon can gain a total of 252 EVs.

  • Maximum per Stat: 252 EVs or 63 stat points!
  • Total EVs: 510 or 127.5 stat points!

Therefore, a trainer can choose to spread EVs to “balance out” a Pokémon, or they can maximize 2 stats, and spend the remaining 6 EVs for one more stat point.

This Rapidash has maximized its EV gains: 252 EVs on Attack, 4 EVs on SpD, and 252 EVs on speed!

Gaining EVs in Pokémon Sword & Shield: How to EV train in Gen VIII

So, you could simply play through the game randomly collecting EVs, or you could purposefully choose which stats to train your Pokémon in. In the example above, this super trained Rapidash will be stronger (Attack) and faster (Speed) than a random or un-invested Rapidash!

How to increase your EV gains:

  • Hold Items: In the Battle Points (BP) shop in Hammerlocke City, you will be able to purchase items that increase your EV gains. Each item costs 10 BP and will cut a Pokémon’s battle speed in half! These will affect Pokémon gaining EVs passively through the EXP share.
    • Macho Brace: A Pokémon holding this item will gain a x 2 multiplier on their EV gains.
    • Power Items: A Pokémon holding one of these items will gain an additional 8 EVs each time they gain EVs. There are 6 different items, one for each stat. Make sure to read their descriptions!
  • PokéRus: This mysterious Pokémon virus grants its host with a x 2 multiplier on the EV gains! PokéRus spreads among party members when the active Pokémon makes contact with an opponent. There’s been a historical chance of 1 in 21,845 for a Pokémon contracting PokéRus after a battle.
    • Active: PokéRus is only contagious if the virus is active. If a Pokémon is in your party when the clock strikes midnight, their strand of the virus becomes dormant and cannot spread! Keep an infected Pokémon in your PC to maintain access to an active strand!
    • Inactive: Still applies the multiplier, but cannot be transmitted to other Pokémon.

So, which method will you use to gain EVs? Below are the three methods of gaining EVs in Pokémon Sword & Shield, ranging from the most active to the most passive!

Best Pokémon to battle for EVs in Pokémon Sword & Shield

As mentioned above, you could choose to chain battle wild Pokémon to collect the needed EVs. In earlier generations, this was the only method! Consider these common, low level Over World Pokémon for quick stat gains:

  • HP: Skwovet (1); Wobuffet (2)
  • Att: Scraggy, Machop, Pancham, Mudbray (1); Machoke, Solrock (2)
  • Def: Rolycoly, Pumpkaboo, Wooloo (1); Carkol (2)
  • SpA: Vanillite, Ralts, Oddish, Gastly (1); Gloom, Lunatone (2)
  • SpD: Nickit, Baltoy, Milcery (1); Jellicent (2)
  • Spe: Rookidee, Bunnelby, Sneasel (1); Ninjask (2)

EV Items in Pokémon Sword & Shield

For the first time every, players are able to use EV-raising items (e.g., Proteins etc.) to raise stats to their maximum! It’s very easy to raise your EVs with items in Sword & Shield. They raise a stat by 10 EVs. Therefore, to maximize a stat, you will need 26 of them (260/252). Although Max Raids are an excellent source of income, it’s hard to justify the rare big nugget purchasing you only 20EVs.

ItemStat AffectedEV GainBP ShopBattle Tower
HP UpHP102BP10,000$
CalciumSpecial Attack102BP10,000$
ZincSpecial Defense102BP10,000$

If you’re interested in purchasing from the BP Shop head to the center Pokémon Center in Hammerlocke. To purchase them with in-game money, you’ll need to go to the Battle Tower in Wyndon. It is important to note that these gains are not increased by the effects of PokéRus, Power Items, or the Macho Brace. There are also a series of Wing items which increase stats by 1 EV. These are not the optimal method, and as such will be left to use at each player’s discretion.

Hammerlocke University Guide

Once arriving at Hammerlocke City, you will gain access to the “Always Available” Hammerlocke University courses in the Rotomi! Each course majors in a different stat, and yields 4EVs an hour. Your options for enrollment are given qualitative names, despite having a definite time value. Use the chart below to determine how long you’ll need to leave your Pokémon in order to gain the desired amount of effort values.

Just a Little (1hr)Very Short (2hr)Short (3hr)Long (4hr)Very Long (8hr)Half Day (12hr)Whole Day (24hr)
Macho Brace (MB)81624326496192
Power Item (PI)1224364896144252*
PokéRus + MB16324864128192252*
PokéRus + PI24487296192252*252*

*Pokémon cannot gain EVs beyond 252.

Checking EVs in Pokémon Sword & Shield

To check your existing EVs (as most Pokémon will already have some if they’ve been in battle), simply go to their stats summary page and hit the (X) button. No exact numbers will be shown, but the spread of what EVs have been gained will be shown in yellow.

Dottler showing the EVs it has gained in Pokémon Sword & Shield

In the image above, you can see that Dottler has gained EVs in all of its stats, but the most in Defense.

Removing Unwanted EVs in Pokémon Sword & Shield

Naturally, by the end of a journey or having to accidentally kill a wild Pokémon, it’s likely you’ll accrue unwanted EVs. These unwanted EVs will take away from the maximum potential of your super trained Pokémon! In Sword & Shield, the current best method of removing EVs is through feeding your Pokémon berries. The following berries remove EVs, so think twice before you drop them into your curry!

Berry NameStat AffectedEffect
PomegHP-10 EVs
KelpsyAttack-10 EVs
QualotDefense-10 EVs
HondewSpecial Attack-10 EVs
GrepaSpecial Defense-10 EVs
TamatoSpeed-10 EVs

Although they literally grow on trees, these berries are rare! And it would take 26 of them to reduce a fully invested stat! Chances are you’ll need about 10 of each to reduce just one of your storyline Pokémon to zero! Galar wasn’t built in a day! It’s better to do things right with a level 1 Pokémon than to have to backtrack. But some partner Pokémon are just worth it!

If you want to discuss your EV training endeavors with other trainers, join our Discord server!