Last Updated: April 8, 2022
The following steps can technically be completed in any order, but doing IVs last is the only practical way to do it since breeding a pokemon with perfect IVs has a probability of 1/32 in the absolute best-case scenario, and setting up that scenario takes a lot of work. Alternatively, you can do the Egg Moves and Nature breeding with one pokemon, breed a partner pokemon with good IVs separately, then combine the two. This method is described below, under “Advanced Breeding”.
If you care to do so, it may be helpful to check the IVs of every pokemon involved in your breeding efforts. If you happen to find one with a perfect IV, have it hold the appropriate EV-enhancing (EV-enhancing, not IV-enhancing) item to ensure that that the IV gets passed on. If you have a pokemon with 3 or more perfect IVs, have it hold your Destiny Knot to increase the likelihood that all of your perfect IVs will be passed on. Doing either will save you time when you’re far enough into the process that your pokemon have several perfect IVs.
Table of Contents
- Egg Moves
- Advanced Breeding
Grab a male pokemon with egg moves that you want, and breed it with a female of your desired pokemon. If you happen to have a parent pokemon with the Nature you want, have it hold an everstone to pass on the Nature to save you some time later.
In generation 6 and beyond, female pokemon can pass on egg moves, allowing you to collect egg moves from a variety of “father” pokemon, gradually adding them to successive generations, and continuing with the first female who knows the desired egg moves. In previous generations you may need to breed egg moves into multiple “father” pokemon of your target species and gradually combine them.
When you’re done, you should have a level 1 pokemon of either gender with all of the egg moves you want for that pokemon. On games prior to generation 6, you want a male so that you can continue passing on the egg moves.
If you didn’t manage to pick up your desired nature while breeding for egg moves, it’s time to break out your collection of dittos. Find one with the nature you want, hand it your everstone, and get breeding.
When you’re done, you should have a level 1 pokemon of either gender with your desired nature and your desired egg moves. On games prior to generation 6, you want a male so that you can continue passing on the egg moves.
Unfortunately, your pokemon’s ability is still greatly affected by the random number generator. While it has become easier to pass on your pokemon’s abilities in later generations, the chance never exceeds 80%. This can be very frustraing, especially if you want a pokemon with a hidden ability and perfect IVs since it adds an additional level of randomness, slowing your breeding down to 80% of the success rate if you ignored your pokemon’s ability. If you want a non-hidden ability, I suggest ignoring the ability entirely and using an ability capsule once you’ve hatched your pokemon.
Check the Bulbapedia entry on Inheriting Abilities for additional information.
This is the part of breeding which takes the most time. You’re going to become very friendly with the Stats Judge (or you can check the stats screen using Pokemon Home, which is my go-to method in current generation games), and you’re going to spend a lot of time running back and forth to hatch eggs.
Generating a pokemon with perfect IVs by chance happens 1 in 1,073,741,824 times (yes, less than 1 in 1 billion). If you haven’t bred in your desired nature and are leaving that to chance, you’re looking at 1 in 5 billion, which is why you should deal with your egg moves and nature before you worry about IVs. We want to improve our probability of perfect IVs as much as possible. Each step below will gradually increase your probability of generating perfect pokemon, and will give you exact numbers so you know just how much your work is paying off.
First, select your parent pokemon. If you’re on a game before generation 6, you’ll want a male pokemon with the nature and moves that bred previously. If you’re on gen 6 and up, either gender is fine. This is your “nature parent”. Have this pokemon hold your everstone.
Your other parent is your “IV Parent”, whose role is to provide IVs. If you have another pokemon of the same species with some perfect IVs, that’s great. If you don’t, use the ditto with the most perfect IVs in your collection.
Always keep your everstone on your “nature parent”, even if it’s the parent with the most perfect IVs. Losing your nature and egg moves means starting over, and the Destiny Knot doesn’t care who is holding it. Once you’re breeding two pokemon of the same species and both have your desired nature and egg moves, the “nature parent” and “IV Parent” become interchangeable, so either can hold either item.
Skip to the appopriate section below depending on how many perfect IVs you have on the parent with the most perfect IVs. As you breed pokemon, remember to replace the parent of the same gender whenever you produce a new pokemon with more perfect IVs, as this will gradually increase your chances of generating perfect IVS.
I have no perfect IVs on either parent
Brutal, but fairly impressive if only because it’s so statistically unlikely. If you managed to catch 21 dittos to cover all of the non-redundant natures, you should have several perfect IVs among the set due to normal statistical distribution of random numbers.
If you somehow have no perfect IVs, breed your two parent pokemon until you get a child with at least one perfect IV, then replace the parent pokemon of the same gender (or the ditto if you’re using a ditto in place of a gender). It shouldn’t take long. The child will inherit 3 IVs, but the other 3 will be randomly determined, so you’ve got 3 shots at a 1/32 chance.
|6 Perfect IVs||Impossible|
|3 Perfect IVs||1 in 32768 (<0.1%)|
|2 Perfect IVs||31 in 32768 (<0.1%)|
|1+ Perfect IVs||~1 in 11 (9.1%)|
|0 Perfect IVs||~10 in 11 (90.0%)|
So you’ll breed an average of 11 eggs to find one with one perfect IV.
I have one perfect IV on either parent
If your “IV Parent” has one (and only one) perfect IV, have it hold the EV-enhancing item for that IV. This guarantees that the holder’s IV in the stat will be inherited, so the child pokemon will have 1 perfect IV, two other IVs inherited from their parents, and 3 randomly determined IVs. This is an important distinction: normally, when an IV is inherited, it’s randomly decided which parent passes down the IV. So if you have one parent with perfect Attack and one without, and if Attack was one of the three IVs randomly inherited, there’s still a 50% chance that you’ll get the non-perfect Attack IV. The EV-enhancing item removes the 50% chance.
The chance of generating at least on additional perfect IV stays the same as before, so you have a roughly 1 in 11 chance of producing a pokemon with at least two perfect IVs. You’ll need to breed an average of 11 eggs to find one with two or more perfect IVs.
I have two perfect IVs on either parent
This is one of the most mathematically complex stages in the process because without going into the math it’s unclear if it’s better to use an EV-enhancing item or to use a Destiny Knot.
So let’s go into the math. For simplicity we’ll assume that the parents have identical IVs since this dramatically simplifies the math. That will give us an idea if which item is better at this stage, then we’ll proceed. I’m not a statistician, so the math here might be a bit questionable.
If you use an EV-enhancing item, you’re fixing one of the three inherited IVs. The other two inherited IVs are still randomly determined from among the parents’ IVs for other stats, and the three remaining IVs are generated randomly. That’s roughly 2/55, so you’ll need to hatch something like 27 eggs to get a third perfect IV.
If you use the Destiny Knot, your child pokemon inherits 5 IVs, only 2/6 of which are perfect. You want the 1 non-inherited IV to be one of the 4 bad IVs so that it will be re-rolled. That gives you a 1/48 chance of getting 3 perfect IVs.
|EV-enhancing Item||Destiny Knot|
|6 Perfect IVs||Impossible||Impossible|
|3-5 Perfect IVs||2/55 (3.6%)||1/48 (2.1%)|
|2 Perfect IVs||23/55 (41.8%)||21/32 (65.6%)|
|Only 1 Perfect IV||30/55 (54.5%)||31/96 (32.3%)|
In this case, the EV-enhancing item is the better option. 1.6% isn’t a huge difference, but it’s over 50% better than the Destiny knot. Of course, this only applies when the parents have matching IVs. The math for parents with differing IVs becomes considerably more complicated, and overall improves the odds of generating pokemon with more than 2 good IVs. It also gives us the (extremely remote) possibility of breeding pokemon with up to 6 perfect IVs.
I have three or four perfect IVs on either parent
I’m going to slack a bit and omit the math here. Unfortunately, doing a comprehensive analysis of every IV combination would yield hundreds of tables, and even for me that’s a bit too much work to give one very simple piece of advice:
Give your nature parent an everstone, and give your other parent a destiny knot. Breed batches of pokemon, and check for IVs periodically. When you get a better parent, replace one of the existing parents and continue.
With any luck, this step won’t take too long. It should be a gradual steady climb until your get parents with 5 perfect IVs, at which point the next session should provide some reassurance that you’re not totall insane, if nothing else.
I have five perfect IVs on either parent
My initial thoughts at this point were that having two parents with identical IVs would make more sense at this stage. While the logic is simpler, the math is easier, and it’s faster to disqualify bad pokemon, using pokemon with differing IVs actually doubles your probability of generating a pokemon with perfect IVs.
Pokemon with 5 perfect IVs are frequently referred to as “Breedjects”, and are easily available from trading communities like /r/pokemontrades/. Hang on to some breedjects to trade with others, and you can quickly get into breeding other pokemon species without suffering through the previous steps.
|Matching IV Spreads||Differing IV Spreads|
|6 Perfect IVs||1/192 (0.5%)||1/96 (1.0%)|
|5 Perfect IVs||31/192 (16.1%)||65/192 (33.8%)|
|4 Perfect IVs||5/6 (83.3%)||94/192 (49.0%)|
|3 Perfect IVs||Impossible||31/192 (16.1%))|
I have six perfect IVs on one parent
You finally managed to get one perfect pokemon! But maybe you want a spare, maybe you want an extra to trade away, maybe you didn’t get the gender you wanted, or maybe you want to keep breeding until you get a shiny. The chances of getting a new perfect pokemon improve by 0.8%, nearly doubling your chances!
|6 Perfect IVs||7/384 (1.8%)|
|5 Perfect IVs||222/384 (57.8%)|
|4 Perfect IVs||155/385 (40.4%)|
I have six perfect IVs on both parents
Congratulations! You’ve maximized your probability of breeding perfect pokemon. At this point, almost everyone will stop breeding their current species and move on to another. However, if you want duplicates, want pokemon to trade away, or want pokemon give to other people, you may wish to continue.
This is the most efficient way to breed pokemon with perfect IVs. Only one stat is generated randomly (the other 5 are guaranteed to inherit a perfect IV thanks to the Destiny Knot), so you have a 1/32 (3.1%) chance of generating a perfect pokemon.
If you only care about the pokemon’s stats, things are pretty easy. Carry your “incubator” and some eggs, and walk back and forth until they hatch. If you’re on Sun/Moon, stick some eggs in Isle Avue, too.
After you’ve hatched a batch of pokemon, check their IVs by visiting the Stats Judge. This will be extremely tedious in Gen VI and below, unfortunately. In Gen VII, the Stats Judge is part of the PC (once it’s unlocked), and the Stats Judge is part of Pokemon Home in Gen VIII (Sword/Shield, etc.), so you can quickly check a pokemon at a glance and dump any rejects.
If you want to hatch shinies, you can either leave it up to the random number generator, or you can trade-hatch shinies.
Before proceeding, identify an egg with a pokemon with perfect IVs. You can do this by saving, hatching eggs until you get a pokemon with perfects IVs, then soft-resetting. Find the egg which had the perfect pokemon, put it somewhere safe, and read on.
By finding another player with a certain “Trainer Shiny Value” (TSV), you can trade an egg to them and it is guaranteed to hatch a shiny pokemon. This removes the randomness of hatching shiny pokemon, which is ideal for hatching shiny pokemon from an egg that you know has perfect IVs. However, finding a trainer with the correct IDs can be difficult. Fortunately, communities like /r/SVExchange/ exist which are dedicated to exchanging “trainer shiny values” so that people can find trainers to hatch their eggs.
/r/SVExchange has a wonderful Quickstart Guide on using shiny values to guarantee hatching shiny pokemon. Instead of attempting to replicate that information here, I recommend reading their guide since it’s actively maintained by people who are more familiar with the practice than I am.
If you just want a handful of perfect pokemon, you can use the steps above and you’ll be done. The following information is more complicated, and goes beyond what you may reasonably need to do, even if you’re planning to play competetively.
The Breeding Tree Method
A method of my own invention, the breeding tree method makes use of overlapping egg groups to create a tree of pokemon with perfect IVs which allow you jump-start your IV breeding process by breeding with a pokemon of a different species. If you plan to breed a large number of perfect pokemon, this method is absolutely crucial unless you somehow managed to get a perfect ditto to serve as a perpetual IV parent.
Building Your Breeding Tree
Your breeding tree is going to involve a lot of weak pokemon. Powerful pokemon like Charizard or Salamence take longer to hatch eggs, which dramatically slows down the entire procees, and uneven gender ratios (starters are generally 95% male) make things even harder. The pokemon you want to include in your breeding tree have a 50/50 gender ratio, are in two egg groups, and the minimum possible hatch time. Magikarp, which is the fastest egg to hatch, should generally be the root of your breeding tree. This allows you to build your breeding tree as quickly as possible. It’s also important that the pokemon in the tree be male so that you can use them for IV breeding of other species.
Don’t worry about egg moves, natures, etc. on these pokemon. They exist purely to carry IVs, and worrying about other aspects will slow down the process without providing a significant long-term benefit. If you plan to use these pokemon in competitive play you may wish to invest the time to breed the egg moves, nature, and ability that you want, but many of the pokemon in your tree are likely to be competitively weak, so you may not want to invest the time to perfect anything but their IVs.
Unfortunately, pokemon in the “Undiscovered” egg group will still need to be bred using Dittos.
Example: Optimized Gen 6 Breeding Tree
As you breed more pokemon with perfect IVs, new male pokemon can become nodes in your breeding tree. This will offer additiional “IV Parent” options, many of which will already possess natures and egg moves that you like. In my own tree, I have a male Adamant Gyarados that knows Dragon Dance which has served as both my Nature Parent and my IV Parent for a small mountain of other pokemon.
Using Your Breeding Tree
Start by breeding a “nature parent”, as described under Breeding, above. This parent should be female, and will include the nature and egg moves that you want to pass down. Having good IVs on this parent is helpful, but not required. Then, grab a compatible male from your breeding tree to serve as an “IV Parent”, and breed it with the “nature parent”. This will jump-start your IV breeding, cutting out several hundred eggs on average, allowing you to jump straight to the “I have six perfect IVs on one parent” stage, as described above.
Games prior to generation 6
In games prior to generation 6, you will have trouble with egg moves because only male parents can pass on egg moves. If you want egg moves, this can severely limit the utility of the breeding tree method. In that case, I recommend using your breeding tree to breed a female parent pokemon with 5 or 6 IVs, then use it as the “IV Parent” as described under Breeding > IVs, above. This will still jump-start your IV breeding, cutting out a huge number of eggs which you would normally need to hatch, but won’t be as effective as it would be in generation 6 and beyond.
Should I breed my existing shiny pokemon?
Parent shininess has no effect on the child pokemon, so don’t consider shininess when selecting parent pokemon.
Why is 256 such a commonly occurring number?
Binary. 256 is 2^8: the highest number you can store in a single byte. A lot of pokemon’s math is tied very closely to how much data can be stored in a byte.