This post might be a little late, but the topic is nonetheless crucial to every PoGOer. By now, most of you should already have your own criteria or “feel” of which Pokemon to keep, which to raise (level up with Stardust) and which to throw in the bin (Prof Willow’s trash can). However, why do we choose the way we do? What are the specific information we look at before we decide on the fate of those cute Pokemon?
We look at 3 pieces of information when we want to know whether a Pokemon is “good” or “bad”, “strong” or “weak, or “worthy” or “trash”.
- Combat Power (CP)
- Individual Values (IVs)
- Skill Set
CP is the immediate power we get from the Pokemon. If it’s 2k CP from a wild catch, it’s gonna be 2k CP worth of power. IVs compare the Pokemon with others of the same species. A 100% IV Arcanine will probably be around 15% stronger than a 0% IV Arcanine of the same level and skills. Skill sets determine the useability of the Pokemon and its DPS. A Thunder Shock/Thunder Jolteon is a strong attacker even though Electric Pokemon are mostly subpar now, but a Thunder Shock/Discharge Jolteon is just… URGH!@#$@
So, let’s discuss these various factors in greater detail before deciding on our order of importance.
My Way of Selection (The Poor Man’s Way)
Firstly, I shall list out the factors by my personal order of importance:
- Combat Power (CP)
- Skill Set
- Individual Values (IVs)
I’ll probably be hated by many or be disagreed upon, but being a semi-casual player, this order seems obvious to me.
If I catch or hatch a high CP Pokemon, I can probably use it right away, either for battling gyms or sitting in gyms at a higher position than troll low CP jokes in gyms nowadays or just to fill my 1st page of highest CP Pokemon with… higher CP Pokemon (act sei).
If I hit on a wild Slowbro and see 250 CP, I will then bring my finger to the top left corner of the screen and hit the escape button. If it is above 1k CP (depending on your player level, decide on a certain CP which you think you will be willing to train it from), I will consider catching it and take a look at it’s IV and skill set.
Then, I will scroll down and look at the skill set. Skill sets are ridiculously important in this game as the difference in DPS between skills available to a Pokemon is immense.
From the above DPS figures of various skill sets of Starmie, we can see that the 2nd skill set only does 79% of the DPS of the 1st set, while the last skill set only does 50% of the best skill set. If you take into account STAB, the disparity is even greater; and if you further take into account useability in using the Starmie to counter say, Fire Pokemon, a Starmie with 2 Water skills is just much more efficient in killing Arcanines than a Starmie with Tackle/Power Gem or Water Gun/Power Gem. Many Pokemon not in the top tier have only 1 viable skill set, so if I receive a Starmie with 1.5k CP and above 80% IV, but does not possess the Water Gun/Hydro Pump skill set, it goes into the bin. I simply will not be using it in combat at all.
Then comes IV. Do not get me wrong, IVs are important, and are prestige. If a Pokemon is not “wonderful” in the eyes of Blanche (guild leader), meaning more than 82% IV, it goes into the bin as well. However, since a 100% IV Pokemon is roughly only 15% stronger than a 0% IV Pokemon of the same level and skills, it is therefore less influential in the overall power of the Pokemon than skill sets (in my eyes).
Other Styles of Selection by Other Players
Really, there are many players who will rank these factors in a different way, and it is perfectly fine. Some only play by IVs, since good IV Pokemon are hard to come by. Some focus on skills so that they can counter specific Pokemon with their own pocket picks. There is no right or wrong way, it’s just selecting based on your own playstyle.
Why CP is Important
– Stardust. Stardust is the single most limiting factor in the game once you enter the higher levels. If you have 5 Pokemon you need to max, for each level you gain you need to spend another 40k or more (or much more if you are level 30+) stardust just to max them again! If you still have to spend on leveling a 100% IV Vaporeon from 500 CP up to 2k CP, good luck bro. 100 stardust per wild Pokemon caught, it really is hard work. DO NOT waste stardust, please.
– Immediate power. As stated before, high CP Pokemon caught or hatched will give you that amount of power immediately! Can’t beat that 2k CP Arcanine in the gym just now, after catching this 2k CP wild Vaporeon, let’s walk back and Water Gun that dog into oblivion! CP is especially important for casual players since we do not catch as many Pokemon as hardcore players, so stardust comes by harder. We do not have the spare dust to level up low level weakshits. We also do not have that many Eevees to evolve trial-and-error style till we get that Water Gun/Hydro Pump. So if we catch a wild 2k CP Vaporeon, no matter its skills, we are gonna put it to good use ❤
Why Skill Sets are Important
– Good for countering specific Pokemon types. Most seasoned Pokemon players will know Pokemon battles are very much focused on type effectiveness, no matter how much Niantic wants to disrupt this playstyle by making Electric Pokemon die to Vaporeon daddies. So to counter a Fire Pokemon, the natural choice would be Water Pokemon like Starmie and Blastoise. But many skills that Pokemon possess are different from what you would expect. Hence, some players tend to collect Pokemon with both skills of the same type, eg. Starmie with Water Gun/Hydro Pump, to counter specific Pokemon, eg. Flareon. Even if a particular same type skill pair isn’t the highest DPS available to the Pokemon, eg. Exeggutor with Zen Headbutt/Psychic, it will still do more damage to Fighting Pokemon than Zen Headbutt/Solar Beam.
– STAB. Similar logic as above, but from a different viewpoint. Why do we throw Gyarados into the bin once we don’t see Hydro Pump? That is because Gyarados looks like a dragon (the Chinese type of dragon, think 舞龙) but is not Dragon type but is Water/Flying. So skills like Dragon Pulse are so weak in the hands of Gyarados and the only viable skill sets become the Hydro Pump ones. And why is Gyarados generally considered weak? Cos his first tap-tap skill choices are Bite and Dragon Breath, both of which also have no STAB bonus.
It’s sad cos when the game just started I was pumped, like many millions of other newbie trainers our there, to raise a Magikarp quickly and get a cool-looking boss Gyarados, and SG being an island will rain Magikarp and if I work abit harder than my neighbours I can get it quicker and dominate and.. and.. Gyarados is a HOAX
Why Individual Values (IVs) are Important
– High IV good Pokemon are RARE. Even those hatched from eggs are usually only between 70% to 85% IV. IVs higher than 90% are really hard to come by, and that is why trainers who possess them tend to show off, and jealous kids who see will start swearing to themselves (对天发誓) to only raise 100% IV Pokemon from then on. IVs are more of a prestige thing and ONLY for the hardcore or the super lucky people, but if you do have a really high IV Dragonite, gratz. If it has the best skill set too, you win. You can literally count the number of Pokemon out there who can beat your monster 1v1, at least in terms of stats.
If you have a 100% IV Lapras with Frost Breath/Blizzard and you get to level 40 and max your Lapras too, you now have THE BEST OFFENSIVE LAPRAS THAT EVER WALKED THE EARTH (walked, not swam, cos now Lapras can be walked :/), how cool is that? And it’s cos of this best in stats mentality that keeps IV-centric players going.
– IV makes a difference. Even though I have stated before that 100% is just about 15% stronger than 0%, it is nothing to scorn at! With Pokemon like Snorlax of CPs in the 2000s, a 50% IV difference means more than a 100 CP difference. For hardcore players, they have plenty of resources to get that best skill set and their high CPs, so all they care about is now the IV. If they can catch 100 Eevees a day, of course they would sieve out till they are left with a few 90+% IV Eevees before evolving, right? Then they will look at the skills and throw out more, and so on.
Selection in Action
So this Lapras appeared. Cute, graceful, rare. Look at CP, pass. Look at skill set, hoemygod, best offensive set!!! Let’s appraise.
Tmd. Upon calculating the IV, 44.4% (diedie.die), 15 attack, 0 defense, 5 stamina. T.T
Verdict: Good CP, at least can be used to sit in gym and scare people. Good rare Pokemon at least can walk. Good offensive skillset can bring out to fight lower CP Dragonites. Bad IV so WILL NOT spend any stardust or candies to power it up. And so Lapras escapes garbage bin fate 😀 but will never be fed anything from here on out and will be replaced immediately upon arrival of a better Lapras. Poor Lapras.
Imagine if you power it up and then find a better IV one with same skill set and level… Lapras candy 5km walk to get one, use wisely.
Rule of Thumb: as stated before, don’t power up Pokemon that are less than 82% IV.
If you YOLO please ignore Rule of Thumb