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Pokémon Sword and Shield guide: How to EV train

One of the most important steps to beefing up your Pokémon

A Togekiss prepares for battle against a Skwovet Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo via Polygon
Julia Lee (she/her) is a guides producer, writing guides for games like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Genshin Impact. She helped launch the Rift Herald in 2016.

Pokémon Sword and Shield offers a lot of ways to EV train your Pokémon.

EVs, or effort values, are bonus stats Pokémon gain through various methods. These can add a hefty amount of stat points to your Pokémon, so if you’re interested in taking on the Battle Tower or participating in competitive online battles, you’ll likely want to EV train your Pokémon to make sure they pack the biggest punch.

Before you start EV training, note you can only give one Pokémon 510 EVs. Four EVs is equal to one stat point. Most Pokémon want two stats at max EVs (252) and one stat with the remaining EVs, with some competitive builds splitting it up in different ways.

For example, for Togekiss, you’ll likely want to beef up its speed and and special attack, while dumping the rest in defense, for an offensive build. A more defensive build might have you maxing out speed and HP instead.

The highest amount of EVs you can have in one stat is technically 255, but since the game calculates EVs by multiples of four, having 252 is the same thing. This way you can put the extra EVs in another stat.

EV training using wild Pokémon

A wild Skwovet appears Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo via Polygon

Defeating a specific Pokémon will yield one EV for a certain stat. This is the slowest way to raise EVs, but it’ll get the job done.

Knocking out the following Pokémon will reward one EV in the following stats:

  • Skwovet: HP
  • Chewtle: attack
  • Gastly: special attack
  • Rolycoly: defense
  • Gossifleur: special defense
  • Rookidee: speed

There are many more Pokémon that give EVs, but these are some early Pokémon that are easy to find.

EV training using items

A Pokémon Sword and Shield menu showing some special Poké Balls and vitamins for sale Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo via Polygon

Vitamins raise each EV by 10. While this seems easy, vitamins are pretty expensive. They’re 10,000 Poké Dollars each and can be found in the main Pokémon Center in Wyndon. They’re also available for 2 Battle Points each in the central Hammerlocke Pokémon Center.

They raise the following stats:

  • HP Up: HP
  • Protein: attack
  • Calcium: special attack
  • Iron: defense
  • Zinc: special defense
  • Carbos: speed

There are also Wings, which you can find on the ground as sparkling objects on the bridges on Route 5 and in the Motosoke Outskirts. They raise one EV each and boost the following stats:

  • Health Wing: HP
  • Muscle Wing: attack
  • Genius Wing: special attack
  • Resist Wing: defense
  • Clever Wing: special defense
  • Swift Wing: speed

EV training using jobs

The job menu in Pokémon Sword and Shield shows the Hammerlocke University seminars, where Pokémon can raise their EVs Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo via Polygon

Once you get to Hammerlocke, you’ll unlock a new set of Poké Jobs that let you send your Pokémon off to get EV trained. The longer you send them off for, the more EVs they’ll gain.

For every hour your Pokémon is doing a job, you get 4 EVs. The game will not specifically tell you how much time you’re sending your Pokémon away, instead prompting you to send them to work for a “short” time or a “very long” time, but here’s a translation of what that all means:

  • A little while: 1 hour (4 EVs)
  • Very short: 2 hours (8 EVs)
  • Short: 3 hours (12 EVs)
  • Long: 4 hours (16 EVs)
  • Very long: 8 hours (32 EVs)
  • Half day: 12 hours (48 EVs)
  • Whole day: 24 hours (96 EVs)

Lowering EVs

The berry menu in the Pokémon Sword and Shield bag shows berries that lower EVs Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo via Polygon

If you accidentally raised the wrong stat and want to get rid of EVs, the only way to do this is using specific berries.

Feeding your Pokémon the following berries will lower the stat’s EV by 10 and increase your Pokémon’s happiness:

  • Pomeg Berry: lowers HP
  • Kelpsy Berry: lowers attack
  • Hondew Berry: lowers special attack
  • Qualot Berry: lowers defense
  • Grepa Berry: lowers special defense
  • Tamato Berry: lowers speed

Boosting EV gain

There are two things that can help your Pokémon gain EVs: Pokérus and hold items.

Pokérus is a rare “disease” your Pokémon can get randomly. While sounding scary, Pokérus actually doubles the EV gain, so it’s great for EV training. Once your Pokémon has the virus, it will keep the benefits of it forever, but only be contagious for a couple of days before they’re “cured.” To pass Pokérus around, just go battle and it will spread around in your party.

A shop menu in Pokémon Sword and Shield shows that you can buy the power items, the Macho Brace, and some vitamins Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo via Polygon

You can also give your Pokémon specific hold items to boost EV gain. The Macho Brace, which is buyable from the central Hammerlocke Pokémon Center for 10 BP each, will double EV gains from battles and jobs.

The power items will give eight extra EVs per event. If you do a one hour Poké Job, the Pokémon holding the item will gain 12 EVs instead of four EVs. In exchange, the power item will half your Pokémon’s speed stat while it has it equipped. The power items are also buyable for 10 BP each in Hammerlocke.

The power items raise the following stats:

  • Power Weight: HP
  • Power Bracer: attack
  • Power Lens: special attack
  • Power Belt: defense
  • Power Band: special defense
  • Power Anklet: speed

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