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Revealed: the secret Pokemon Go battle stats that help to decide fights

Pokemon! More than meets the eye! That's the wrong cartoon theme, I know, but really: there's more to Pokemon Go battles than we all thought.

pokemon go gym

A lot about Pokemon Go remains undiscovered, and even basics like type strengths and weaknesses or prizes for levelling up had to be uncovered and documented directly by players. One such mystery is in the process of being solved: how exactly are battles won and lost?

There's of course Pokemon types and how they interact with each other, but the dedicated fans on the Silph Road reddit have put in significant work pulling parts of Pokemon Go apart in order to better understand it. In doing so they've discovered that the game's battle mechanics hide a major secret in the form of three hidden statistics that help determine just how successful a particular Pokemon will be in battle. This is how it works:

All about Attack, Defence and Stamina - Pokemon Go's hidden gym battle stats

While Pokemon Type, their Combat Points level and their move set are all vital parts of Pokemon Go's streamlined battles, they're not all there is to it. While it was previously thought that CP, Type and Move were the dominating factors in deciding battle winners, they're actually only part of the larger puzzle. It turns out that the Attack, Defence and Stamina stats are equally as vital.

No matter how much you power up a favourite Pokemon, its base attack, defence and stamina will remain identical across the entire species, making it a pretty significant factor when you're considering who to catch and use in your gym-battling team. In the original Pokemon games, these values are mostly closely mirrored by EVs, Effort Values.

Silph Road contributors Dronpes and Moots explain their findings in an 8-minute video uploaded to YouTube which you can check out yourself (though we'll also summarise their findings for those unable to watch, so keep reading):

A Pokemon's Base Attack helps to determine just how much damage it can dish out in battle. A Pokemon's Base Defence does the opposite, pitching in to the task of determining just how much damage a Pokemon takes when it's hit with an attack.

Pokemon Stamina is the most interesting stat of all. Stamina is required to perform your secondary special move and is represented in battle by a blue bar under your Pokemon's health bar that slowly fills during battle. A higher Stamina stat means that Pokemon will be able to power up and fire off the slower but more powerful special moves more quickly during and throughout battle, which makes it a pretty significant statistic.

As mentioned earlier, these three statistics aren't determined on a per-Pokemon basis but actually a per-species basis. That means that every single Charmander will have the same attack, defence and stamina stats regardless of their CP and other adjusting statistics, for instance.

The stats of each type of Pokemon can be found on The Silph Road's impressive website.

Pokemon Go's hidden power levels, and how to level up

Everybody remembers that the original Pokemon games on Game Boy and their numerous sequels are all traditional Japanese RPGs, and with that comes a single core mechanic: levelling up in order to become more powerful. Pokemon Go is no exception, though the Pokemon levels aren't quite as obvious or as surfaced as in other games.

In Pokemon Go, a Pokemon's level can be best determined by its CP, and its CP is impacted by its IVs, Individual Values. A Pokemon with higher natural IVs will have naturally higher CP, HP and so on and will also have more potential for growth when it is powered up.

Unlike the basic stats of Attack, Defence and Stamina discussed above, IVs are unique to each Pokemon. You could have 20 different Jigglypuff and each would have their own unique IV set. Via IVs there is such a thing as a 'perfect' Pokemon that is as powerful as can be, but it's an extremely uncommon thing to find.

IVs and CP combine to produce a hidden level behind-the-scenes. So far players and researchers have found these hidden levels stretch up to around 40, though it's unclear if they'll go any further as the game evolves. The Silph Road has a great calculator for working out Pokemon levels and IVs on their site.

In order to level up all you have to do is power up your Pokemon using Stardust and Candy. Simple. Remember that IVs determine how effective these power-ups will be. How far you can power up a Pokemon's CP and thus its level is directly tied to your trainer level - the higher level you are, the better you'll be able to make your Pokemon, so remember that.

The Silph Road are continuing with their research, and the group hints that there's also subsets of information for moves such as power, duration and damage window on top of type, and all these things determine a move's battle effectiveness. Given that Pokemon moves are distributed in a semi-random fashion, this could render an otherwise-good catch not all that useful for battling.

Pokemon Go developers Niantic Labs has remained cagey at the prospect of revealing more of their behind-the-scenes systems, though dedicated fans are slowly but surely picking all aspects of the game apart and working out exactly what makes it tick. As things develop we'll continue to bring you updates via our Pokemon Go guide hub, so be sure to give it some bookmarking love.

About the Author

Alex Donaldson avatar

Alex Donaldson

Assistant Editor

Alex started out his career in the games media as an over-eager kid working on fan sites, and now has decades of experience. He's the resident expert on esoteric matters such as Pokemon Go, gaming hardware, and genres like RPGs, fighters, and strategy games. Outside of VG247 he's the co-founder of genre-dedicated website RPG Site. He also collects original arcade machines, Lego, and considers himself a whiskey buff.

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