Pokémon Legends Arceus: How to Raise Effort Levels

Here's your guide on what Effort Levels are and how to raise them for your Pokémon.


Pokemon Legends: Arceus is a new experience for the core series for many reasons. One of the tweaks to well-known gameplay mechanics is the change from Effort Values (EVs) to that of Effort Levels (ELs). While the name change doesn’t seem to imply any difference and they govern the same things, how ELs work and are raised is far different from the previous generations.

Below, you will find a guide on what exactly ELs are and how to raise them. This will also include how to obtain the items necessary to upgrade a chosen Pokémon’s ELs. First will be an overview of EVs, followed by the changes made with ELs.


What are Effort Values?

Effort Values are individual stats that govern the growth of certain attributes in previous core series games. The six attributes are Attack, Special Attack, Defense, Special Defense, HP, and Speed. Each Pokémon has a Base State Total of 510 obtainable EVs to be distributed among the six attributes. However, a stat can have a maximum of 252 EVs.

EVs were generally gained by defeating a Pokémon in battle, which is why a trained Pokémon will usually have better Base Stats than a wild one. The EV gain from a battle was dependent on the opponent faced with them giving out one, two, or three effort points that contributed to a stat’s growth.

For example, battling a Geodude will net you one Base Stat Point into Defense. Shinx adds one Base Stat Point into Attack. Ponyta grants you one Base Stat Point into Speed.

You could also multiply the effect by having a Pokémon hold a Macho Brace, using a Pokémon infected with Pokérus, or both.


What are Effort Levels?

A caught Ponyta’s ELs with three zeroes, two ones, and one two.

Effort Levels are new to Pokémon Legends: Arceus, replacing the EV system. Rather than a Pokémon’s Base Stat Total being fixed, ELs allow all Base Stats to be maximized. This means, conceivably, you could have an entire Party and Pasture filled with maxed EL Pokémon.

Under the summary of a Pokémon, hit R or L to scroll to their Base Stats page. You should see a value in a circle by each Base Stat from zero to ten. These numbers indicate the ELs of the Pokémon, with ten being the max. It’s rather simple compared to the previous system.

In the beginning of the game, you will be lucky to catch any Pokémon that have a three in a Base Stat. Most will have zero or one, uncommonly a two. Some may be complete zeroes! The ELs of wild Pokémon should increase as the levels increase and you encounter both Noble and Alpha Pokémon.


How to raise ELs in Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Grit Dust in the Satchel.

To raise ELs in Arceus, you need one of four items classified as Grit:

  • Grit Dust: Increases an EL by one point, but only up to three points.
  • Grit Gravel: Increases and EL by one point, but only for levels four through six.
  • Grit Pebble: Increases and EL by one point, but only for levels seven through nine.
  • Grit Rock: Increases and EL by one point, but only from level nine to ten.

As you can see, you can’t just harvest Grit Dust and seek to raise your Base Stats to max. While a simple system, it does have some barriers for you to overcome.

When you have these items, simply enter the menu with D-Pad Up and hit L or R to reach the items and Pokémon tab. Hover to the Grit item you desire, select it with A, then scroll to the Pokémon whose Base Stat you want to increase, press A, then select the Base Stat, finally hitting A one more time to confirm. You’ll be presented with all six Base Stats and their current rating.

How to obtain Grit items in Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Using Grit Dust on Ponyta.

Grit items are rare, but they can be easily obtainable once a certain feature is unlocked.

First, you can find Grit as a rare drop from Pokémon, particularly Alpha Pokémon. Save before each battle with an Alpha and reload if you don’t gain any sort of Grit.

Second, you can also obtain Grit by completing certain requests from villagers and Galaxy Team members (not missions). Some NPCs will reward you with Grit and potentially other items. When you receive a request, you can see the rewards you’ll receive by opening your Arc Phone with – (minus button), hitting Y, hitting R to reach the requests, and scrolling to the specific request.

Third, and probably the best way, is by releasing Pokémon from the Pastures. With the amount of research tasks needed to be completed and the number you need to catch, you will inevitably need to release some from your Pastures to make space for others; no one really needs 15 Bidoofs, right?

Particularly once you unlock the ability to release multiple Pokémon at once, you should be rewarded with a slew of items of which Grit can be one. Again, save scum if you don’t receive Grit, or not as much as you’d like.

You can also upgrade low-tiered Grit for high-tiered Grit. Eventually, you’ll be able to trade in Grit to Zisu, head of the Training Grounds. It’s an easily understandable system: trading in ten of a lower Grit grans you one of the Grit one tier above those you traded. For example, trading in ten Grit Dust will net you one Grit Gravel.

There are two important things to remember with these trades. First, you cannot trade for more than one tier above your trade Grit. You cannot jump from Grit Dust to Grit Pebble by trading in 20, for example. Second, you cannot trade down for lower Grit. For example, you cannot trade in one Grit Pebble to obtain ten Grit Gravel; you can’t trade in any Grit Pebble for any Grit Grave for that matter.

Zisu will become a fantastic means of upgrading your stock of Grit, particularly if you have a trove of Grit Dust and Grit Gravel. As the only way to maximize your ELs, prioritizing a balance of all Grit items will be key to maintaining a formidable party.

Now you know exactly what ELs are and how you can maximize your Pokémon’s Base Stats in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Go harvest those Grit items and create a powerful party!


Bruce Lee

Bruce "Lee" is the Lead Editor for OutsiderGaming. He's a passionate writer, great editor who works tirelessly to develop young writers, and of course a great gamer. Bruce is interested in many games--from MLB the Show to the newest Pokemon releases.
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