Combat is one of the biggest parts of Pokemon, and it's the same in Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl. Facing another powerful team of 'mons is now as fun as ever, and whether you're looking to jump into online battles, or take on a battle tower, having a strong team is key.

However, picking powerful Pokemon and giving them good moves is only part of the puzzle, as there are many behind-the-scenes stats that affect how competitive Pokemon can be. A level 100 Charizard can be significantly weaker than a seemingly identical level 100 Charizard, all due to these key stats. Here's everything you need to know about helping your team reach its full combat potential.

What factors affect Pokemon's stats?

Each type of Pokemon has baseline stats. As the name suggests, these are benchmark values ​​that roughly indicate how strong any given statistic is. On top of that, as a Pokemon levels up, its stats increase at a standard rate, which is why a level 100 Pokemon is stronger than a level 1 Pokemon. Beyond that, however, are the aforementioned behind-the-scenes factors.

What is nature?

The first major part of the equation is the nature of Pokemon. Pokemon can have 20 traits, most of which increase one attribute while decreasing another. There are also some "neutral" properties that don't affect the stats at all. In order to get the highest value for a given statistic, a Pokemon must have properties that favor that statistic.

You can see the nature of a Pokemon by looking at the summary screen, and if you go to its stats page, you can see the stats affected. Raised stats will have a red up arrow, while lowered stats will have a blue down arrow. No arrows means your Pokemon is neutral in nature.

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Next is EV, which stands for Effort Value. A Pokemon can have a total of 510 EV, and to reach the maximum, 252 EV is required. This means you can maximize two stats with EV and add a minority to the third stat.

Stats with the highest EV are much higher than those without, so EV is a great way to boost mediocre stats or further boost your Pokemon's strongest stats. As with nature, it takes the full 252 EV for the stat to reach the highest possible value.

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The last part of the equation is IV, which is a bit like EV in that they are values ​​that further affect Pokemon stats. However, unlike EVs, they are not easily controllable by the player, nor is it a case of choosing a stat to give an IV - every stat has an IV, instead you need to worry about a high IV.

IVs range from 0 to 31, the higher the IV for a given statistic, the higher the statistic. IVs are like genes, Pokemon just have them as if they had gender or abilities. Putting it all together, if you want your Empoleon to have the highest possible defense stats, it needs to be at level 100, with the defense-enhancing trait, with 252 defense EV and 31 defense IV.

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