If you're finally ready to step into the world of gym battling in Pokémon Go, you'd better know your Pokémon's Individual Values. Referred to commonly as IVs, these stats help determine which creatures have a slight advantage over others. It's complicated stuff, but we're here to explain it.
How to check IVs in Pokémon Go: What's an Individual Value?
All Pokémon of the same species share the same basic stats, but IVs are small bonuses to those base stats. So different Pokémon from the same species will have different IVs.
These bonuses don't offer a huge advantage in combat. However, they're still worth considering if you want to dominate your local gym. Having six Pokémon with top-notch IVs will give you a noticeable edge over the competition.
How to check IVs in Pokémon Go: The best tool to use
IVs are not an exact science. Players of the main Pokémon games have developed mathematical equations to figure out IVs, and the results are not straightforward. Pokémon Go-focused community the Silph Road, however, has come up with an IV rater tool that makes the process simple.
You only need to enter your trainer level, the Pokémon species, its power up cost in stardust and candy, its combat points and its hit points to generate a result. The IV rater then tell you how many IV points out of a maximum of 30 your Pokémon has in attack and defense combined, along with how many stamina points your Pokémon has with a maximum of 15.
Stamina determines a Pokémon's hit points. So a 15 out of 15 score for the stamina IV is fantastic. When it comes to attack and defense, on the other hand, the IV rater tool can't separate between the two stats. You need a second tool for this.
How to check IVs in Pokémon Go: Appraisal tool
The reason that third-party tools like Silph Research Group's IV rater came to be was that Niantic provided no in-game tools to determine a Pokémon's relative quality when the game was launched. For many months, Pokémon Go players only had CP to go on when rating a Pokémon, and CP can be deceptive. After all, two Pokémon of the same species and CP rating can have very different movesets and IVs.
In August 2016, Niantic sought to rectify this lack of official support for Pokémon quality assessment and added an "appraisal" feature. These results are also unspecific and therefore relatively useless, but for one factor. When your trainer appraises a Pokémon, one of the pieces of feedback they'll give you is whether attack, defense or HP is the Pokémon's strongest feature. Sometimes a trainer will cite two as equally impressive.
If you know that your Pokémon has a combined attack and defense IV of 26/30, and your team leader says that the Pokémon's strongest feature is attack, that suggests at least 14 points in attack so that the attack value will be higher than the defense value. If the trainer says they are equally impressed with the Pokémon's defense, that suggests an even split.
This will at least give you some idea as to who will or won't make a good gym attacker or defender. It will also give you a list of Pokémon from your collection to test in a fight and see whether or not they can hang.
More Pokémon Go guides, tips and tricks
Be sure to check out Mic's guides on how to get stardust, how to determine how long it will take you to reach level 40, the kind of Pokémon you get from 10-kilometer eggs, how to create new PokéStops, how to maximize your chances of catching Pokémon and how PokéStops distribute Pokémon eggs. Also check out how to catch Gen 2 baby Pokémon, our analysis of post-balance update Chansey and Rhydon and everything you need to know about finding the long-awaited Pokémon Ditto.