It may seem intuitive that higher IVs result in a stronger Pokemon that’s better for PVP. And for Master League where there’s no CP limit, that’s certainly the case. However, when there’s a limit to how high your Pokemon’s CP can be, such as in Great and Ultra League, things are a little more complicated.
In these leagues, it’s usually preferable to have a low attack IV but high defense and HP IVs. To understand why, let’s look at the equation used to compute a Pokemon’s CP (note that CPM is a constant based on the Pokemon’s level):
Fully understanding this equation isn’t important. All you need to know is that because of it, the attack stat and IV have a significantly larger impact on the Pokemon’s CP than its defense and HP stats/IVs.
However, in actual battles, it’s often – but not always – the case that all three stats are more or less equally valuable.
Thus, the stat product equation is usually considered a more accurate metric for determining how strong a Pokemon actually is because it weighs all three stats equally:
What PVP Rank does is compute a Pokemon’s stat product and compare it to the stat product it could have with different IVs (while staying under the CP cap). So, when PVP Rank shows a Pokemon is 98% Max and Rank 162, it mean that its stat product is 98% as high as it could be, and there are 161 other IV combinations with a higher stat product.
In general, the pattern we see is that the highest ranked Pokemon have low attack IVs but high defense and HP IVs, since this minimizes the impact the Pokemon’s attack has on its CP, allowing it to have a higher stat product while staying under the CP cap. This is usually – but not always – associated with a higher win rate in actual battles and simulations.
Note that there are some cases where you might not want a low attack IV:
- When the Pokemon’s maximum possible CP is near or below the CP limit.
- When the Pokemon performs better in specific key matchup(s) with a higher attack stat.
- When the specific IV combination limits how close the Pokemon can get to the CP cap, for example if it has 1450 CP but would gain 51 at the next level.