IVs can be thought of as a Pokémon’s potential to be great within its species. Similar to how genes determine human height, build, eye and hair color, IVs determine Pokémon strength, bulkiness and stamina. IVs are an acronym for Individual Values and their value can range from 0 to 15 (per IV). Are IVs important? Let’s talk about that.
Understanding Pokémon Statistics
Each Pokémon has 3 statistics in Pokémon GO:
- Stamina (HP) – a factor how long a Pokémon can last in battle
- Attack – a factor for how much damage a Pokémon can deal in battle
- Defense – a factor for how much damage a Pokémon can resist in battle
These are broken down into two kinds of stats:
Base Stats – The HP, Attack and Defense Base Stats are set by species, i.e. they are the same for every Pokémon within each species. The higher a Pokémon’s Base Stats, the less of an effect its IVs will have on its overall damage output in battle (More on this later).
Individual Values (IVs) – HP, Attack and Defense IVs are, as the name suggests, individual to every single Pokémon and get added onto its base stats to give them a boost. A Pokémon’s IVs are randomly generated when it spawns, hatches or is encountered as a raid boss. IVs cannot currently be modified or influenced, but the higher they are, the more potential the Pokémon has in battle than other Pokémon of the same species. IVs are carried over when a Pokémon is evolved, so always check it’s worth investing the candy into it before evolving (find out how below). Each IV can range from 0-15 when caught in the wild, or from 10-15 when hatched or caught as a Raid Boss.
Example of IV influence
To make this clearer, the table below shows examples of three different Charizards that were caught in the wild.
|Species||Base stat||IVs||Total stats||IV %|
As you can see all three Charizards have identical Base Stats, but their IVs can all vary between 0 and 15. The IVs then get added onto the Base Stats to give a stat total. The higher the stat total, the more potential that individual Pokémon will have in battle. It is therefore advisable to only invest your candy and Stardust into Pokémon with the highest stat totals.
You may notice in the table above, that the IVs can also be represented as a percentage. This is less accurate than knowing the the exact IV combination and can’t be used to calculate actual damage output. It is however, a simple and convenient indicator of how good the IVs are in general. A Pokémon which has a 15 HP IV, a 15 Attack IV, and a 15 Defense IV would have 100% (perfect) IVs.
Certain methods of obtaining Pokémon will guarantee minimum IVs, also known as an IV floor. These methods and their ‘floors’ are as follows:
|Obtain Method||Minimum IVs|
|Wild Catch||0/0/0 (0%)|
|Wild Catch (with weather boost)||4/4/4 (27%)|
|Egg hatch||10/10/10 (67%)|
|Research Encounter Catch||10/10/10 (67%)|
|Raid Boss Catch||10/10/10 (67%)|
|Trade with Good Friend||1/1/1 (7%)|
|Trade with Great Friend||2/2/2 (13%)|
|Trade with Ultra Friend||3/3/3 (20%)|
|Trade with Best Friend||5/5/5 (33%)|
|Lucky Trade (any Friend level)||12/12/12 (80%)|
As you can see, a Lucky Trade is the best way to guarantee your Pokemon has very high IVs. Unfortunately however Lucky Trades are limited and there’s only one way to guarantee them; please check our guide on Lucky Pokémon for more info on this.
Using the Appraisal Function
You can use the appraisal function (found in the menu at the bottom right of each Pokémon’s info screen) to get a rough idea of how high a Pokémon’s IVs are. This can serve as one of several factors in deciding whether it’s worth keeping/evolving/powering up. The appraisal will often mention the Pokémon’s height and weight but these are purely cosmetic and do not influence its IVs.
To check what the appraisal messages mean, please view this appraisal chart page.
Finding a Pokémon’s Exact IVs
To check exact IVs, there are apps you can download (such as Pokegenie or CalcyIV) which will analyse a screenshot of your Pokémon’s info screen. There are also IV Calculator websites into which you can enter all of the known factors of the CP formula (These factors include Base stats, CP, current HP, stardust required to power up (approx. level) and any known IVs (ascertained from the appraisal function)) to reverse calculate the unknown factors, i.e. the unknown IVs. You should be careful however to ensure that whichever app/calculator you use has been updated since the CP rebalance introduced in November 2018. If you use a calculator which hasn’t been updated for the new CP formula, the results it gives will be incorrect.
It was mentioned above that The higher a Pokémon’s Base Stats, the less of an effect its IVs will have on its overall damage output in battle – This is true because IVs can only add a maximum of 45 (3 x 15) onto the stat total. If you’re adding 45 onto base stats that total 500, you’re increasing its stat total by 9%. If however, you’re adding 45 onto base stats that total 700 for example, the stat total is only being increased by about 6.4%. This is not a massive difference, but it can help you get the edge over an opponent.
As mentioned, IVs are only one part of the formula that determines a Pokémon’s CP. Be aware that, due to certain operations in the CP formula, higher CP is not always an indicator of higher IVs. When comparing two Pokémon of the same species and with similar CP, It’s possible for the one with the higher CP to actually have a lower IV percentage.
So how much difference do these individual values really make? Well most of the top tier Pokémon have relatively similar stat totals. Some are heavy on attack, some are more Defense focused and some have insane amounts of HP, but they all balance out around the 600-700 area in terms of Base Stat totals. Based on the way IVs affect damage output, the difference that 100% IVs make compared to 0% IVs is around 10%, i.e. they will last around 10% longer, deal around 10% more damage, and resist around 10% more damage. On that basis, each percentage point equates to around 0.22% more potential to be great within its species.
Evolving Low IV Pokémon.
A higher level Pokémon with poor IVs will often deal more damage than a lower level Pokémon (of the same species) with high IVs. While it won’t have as much potential as the one with higher IVs, sometimes it’s worth investing candy into evolving a top tier attacker that only has average IVs, if you’ve caught it at a level that you would be unlikely to ever power one up to. For example, if you caught a level 35 Larvitar with 33% IVs, and then hatched a level 20 Larvitar with 96% IVs, you may be better off evolving the level 35 one as it would cost you 137,000 stardust and an extra 130 candy to Power the level 20 one up to the same level but only gain a marginal difference in CP.