Breeding 101: Natures

Pokémon have distinct personalities.  Some are sassy, others are quite serious, and some are just plain rash.  To the untrained eye, these seem like mere personality traits, but to us, the Pokémon breeders, they mean so much more.  A Pokémon's nature determines which of its stats get a slight boost, and which take a slight decrease.  It also determines what flavor of Pokéblock and berry your Pokémon enjoy, but we will not be covering that in this article as it is not particularly pertinent to breeding.  If you want to know more about berries and flavors I suggest you take a look at Serebii's nature guide for that information.

Naughty by Nature

Every Pokémon in Generation IV has a Nature Value which can be found on its Summary screen.  Nature Values, or natures, adjust your Pokémon's stats by ten percent for two individual statistics.  There are exceptions to this in the form of Neutral Natures, which do not modify any stat.

Neutral Natures
The following natures do not modify any statistic:

  • Bashful
  • Docile
  • Hardy
  • Serious
  • Quirky

It is important to note that there is no nature which will modify HP; it cannot be increased or decreased by any Nature Value.  Natures are double-edged swords; any nature that is not neutral will decrease one stat by ten percent, while increasing another stat by ten percent.  But if you have a rough idea of what your Pokémon's strengths are, the decrease can be manipulated to fall on a stat which is not particularly useful, thus mitigating its effect.

For example, Gengar has high Speed and Special Attack statistics.  Therefore you would want to choose a nature which increases one of those stats, while lowering a stat that isn't as important.  To breed a solid Gengar, you would probably want to lower Attack since Gengar is a beast when it comes to being a Special Attack based attacker.  A Timid or Modest nature would be perfect for Gengar.  A Timid nature lowers Attack and raises Speed, and a Modest nature lowers Attack and raises Special Attack.  Below you can find a list of natures, along with what statistic they raise and lower.

Nature Raised by 10% Lowered by 10%
Lonely Attack Defense
Brave Attack Speed
Adamant Attack Special Attack
Naughty Attack Special Defense
Bold Defense Attack
Relaxed Defense Speed
Impish Defense Special Attack
Lax Defense Special Defense
Timid Speed Attack
Hasty Speed Defense
Jolly Speed Special Attack
Naïve Speed Special Defense
Modest Special Attack Attack
Mild Special Attack Defense
Quiet Special Attack Speed
Rash Special Attack Special Defense
Calm Special Defense Attack
Gentle Special Defense Defense
Sassy Special Defense Speed
Careful Special Defense Special Attack

In order to find out which nature would be best suited for your Pokémon's strengths, I suggest you look up your Pokémon's Base Stats on Bulbapedia.  From here you should be able to find a nature which helps to maximize your Pokémon's potential.

Manipulating Natures

A Pokémon's nature is decided at random at the time of conception.  Luckily, in Generation IV, we have a way to manipulate nature inheritance during breeding through the use of the Everstone item.  When held by either parent in a breeding pair, the Everstone gives a 50% chance of passing that parent's nature down to the baby Pokémon.  Therefore, if you have one parent with a beneficial nature, you can equip it with the Everstone to increase the odds that the baby will inherit the beneficial nature.

You can find Everstones in wild encounters with Geodude and Graveler.  I suggest you use the move Thief on them to try to steal the item as they may or may not have one equipped.  It will save you a ton of time and Pokéballs since you won't have to catch them to remove the item.  Everstones can also be found in The Underground in Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum.  In HeartGold and SoulSilver, Everstones can be obtained as the second prize in the Bug-Catching Contest, from Bill's grandfather, and Professor Elm after showing him the Togepi that hatched from the Mystery Egg.

Everstones are not the only way to manipulate Pokémon natures.  If you have a Pokémon with the ability Synchronize, you can set it as your party leader to increase the odds of encountering a Pokémon with the same nature.  For example, if your party leader is an Umbreon with the Synchronize ability and a Modest nature, any Pokémon you encounter in the wild would have a 50% chance of having a Modest nature.  You can find a list of Pokémon with the Synchronize ability on Bulbapedia.  This will allow you to save time when trying to catch parent Pokémon since you are able to increase the chances of catching it with a favorable nature; provided you have a Synchronize Pokémon as your party leader.

The Breeders Edge

Natures allow us to fine tune our Pokémon's strengths and weaknesses.  When combined with our previous Breeding 101 articles covering Individual Values, you can probably determine how you should breed your favorite Pokémon to maximize their battle efficiency.  Breeding takes a lot of research and work up front, but in the long run, it can prove to be quite satisfying when you breed the perfect Pokémon for competitive battles.