Pokémon games have developed in complexity since their release in 1996. One of the biggest leaps was when Generation III games introduced the concept of natures, or Pokémon personalities. Every Pokémon you catch will have one of 25 natures that reflect their predominant personality traits.
While natures have an emotional aspect, they’re also a vital gameplay mechanic that can have a massive impact on your battles. Understanding and using natures should be a key part of your strategy if you’re struggling against some of the harder gym leaders or want to beat your friends in multiplayer battles.
Want something new to play? Check out our site for the latest Xbox news and games. Before you do, read on to learn more about the importance of Pokémon natures and how you can make them work for your style of play.
Why Should You Care About Your Pokémon’s Nature?
While the idea of a bold Psyduck or a jolly Ekans may amuse you and provide a unique flavor to your narrative, you may be making the game harder for yourself. Every nature in the game affects your Pokémon’s stats and liked and disliked flavors.
Each nature affects two stats, increasing one by 10% and reducing another by 10%. You can use this increase and decrease to make your Pokémon’s strongest stat even better while ensuring a stat it doesn’t use decreases.
Similarly, if you don’t pay attention to natures, you lose your advantage by raising the wrong stats. Natures also determine the types of berries and Pokéblocks your Pokémon likes and dislikes. Each stat—ATK, SATK, DEF, SDEF, and SPD—has its associated flavor, and feeding a food that matches your Pokémon’s nature boosts will influence the food’s effectiveness. Similarly, feeding your Pokémon food they dislike will be less effective.
The natures and linked flavors are:
Attack – Spicy flavors
Special Attack – Dry flavors
Defense – Sour flavors
Special Defense – Bitter flavors
Speed – Sweet flavors
The Full List of Pokémon Natures
The 25 Pokémon natures fall broadly into five categories depending on the stat they increase, with four natures per category. The four natures of each category will differ in their decreased stats, so you’ll need to identify your Pokémon’s least-used stat and find the corresponding nature.
The game also has five natures that increase and decrease the same stat, resulting in raised and lowered stats that cancel each other out. A neutral personality is better than having one that decreases your main stat but doesn’t provide any advantages to your other stats.
Attack (ATK) influences how much damage your Pokémon deals. The higher your attack stat, the harder your Pokémon hits.
Lonely: A lonely nature increases attack and lowers defense, making it great for glass cannon builds but not often used in competitive play.
Brave: A brave nature increases attack while decreasing speed. Since speed is vital to determining initiative, Brave isn’t good for any Pokémon that need to hit first, such as those that apply enemy debuffs.
Adamant: An adamant Pokémon will have an increased attack and a decreased special attack. Since most physical Pokémon use physical attack skills without special attacks, this is one of the more popular competitive choices.
Naughty: Naughty natures have increased ATK with decreased special defense. While not as popular as Adamant, mixed teams that have physical abilities benefit from naughty Pokémon.
Defense (DEF) determines how much damage your Pokémon takes after getting hit with a physical attack. The higher your Pokémon’s defense, the more damage it can take.
Bold: A bold nature increases defense but decreases ATK. Bold is the perfect nature for Pokémon that lure attacks and protect the rest of the team without doing much damage themselves.
Relaxed: A relaxed nature increases defense but lowers speed. Relaxed Pokémon take longer to get going but are better at defending until they do.
Impish: An impish nature increases defense at the cost of special attack. Impish Pokémon usually need to protect the team by using physical attacks to remove entry hazards.
Lax: Lax Pokémon have increased defense but decreased special defense. This combination isn’t very good, and many trainers see it as one of the worst defense-increasing natures.
Increase Special Attack
Special attack is a vital stat for Pokémon relying on special moves to do damage. However, as with all other natures, special attack-increasing natures aren’t equal, and some are better than others.
Modest: A modest nature increases special attack and lowers attack. If you’re designing a team that can use special attacks to KO Pokémon in one turn, this is the perfect nature for the job.
Mild: Mild natures increase special attack and decrease defense. This nature is great for “glass cannons,” or Pokémon that can dish out a lot of damage but are relatively fragile in battle.
Quiet: A popular nature in multiplayer, Quiet increases special attack while decreasing speed. Some team builds—for example, the Trick Room build—benefit from the decreased speed as it makes for more effective Special Sweepers.
Rash: Rash increases special attack at the cost of special defense. A lack of viable build options makes this the one nature you’re not likely to see in battle.
Increase Special Defense
Special defense refers to how well a Pokémon can withstand special attacks.
Calm: A calm nature will increase special defense while lowering ATK. Since most Pokémon relying on special defense don’t have physical attacks, it’s one of the better natures for competitive play.
Gentle: Gentle increases special defense and lowers defense. Similar to Lax, the increase and decrease in defense isn’t a good option for competitive teams.
Sassy: A sassy nature increases special defense and decreases speed. This is a good option for some Pokémon, including Bronzong and Celesteela.
Careful: A careful nature increases special defense and decreases special attack. It’s an interesting nature as some Pokémon, like Snorlax, do better as physical attackers rather than relying on special attack.
Speed determines when your Pokémon attack, and many teams benefit from speed increases.
Timid: A timid nature increases speed and decreases attack. If you have a team with Special Sweepers, this is the nature you should focus on.
Hasty: A hasty nature will have a higher speed stat and lower defense. Hasty is a good option for Pokémon with high defense stats that may need an extra boost to their speed.
Jolly: Jolly increases speed while lowering special attack, making it suitable for Pokémon with powerful physical abilities that need to get their attacks off first.
Naive: Naive increases speed and decreases special defense. You will often find Naive on Pokémon with high special defense and attack ratings that need to hit first.
These five natures increase and decrease the same stat, canceling changes to that one stat. It also cancels out the flavor your Pokémon will like or dislike.
These combinations include:
Hardy – Attack
Docile – Defense
Serious – Speed
Bashful – Special Attack
Quirky – Special Defense
How To Get the Nature You Want
When you get a Pokémon, either from an NPC, capturing it in the wild, or breeding it from an Egg, you can’t alter its personality. Luckily, all the games will give you some control over Pokémon natures if you’re willing to go through the effort to create your perfect team. Common mechanisms include:
Breeding: By using an Everstone, trainers can boost their Pokémon’s chances of transferring the same nature to the next generation. The percentage chance varies depending on the game.
Safari Zone Pokéblock Feeders: Placing a Pokéblock of a particular nature in a feeder forces all wild Pokémon within five blocks to spawn with a nature that would love the flavor associated with the stat increase. For instance, if you place a Spicy Pokéblock in the feeder, all spawns will have one of the four attack increases.
Synchronize: Pokémon Emerald introduced Synchronize. Placing a Pokémon with this skill in the first slot on your team will give wild Pokémon a 50% chance of spawning with the same nature.
While our guide to different natures should give you the edge you need during battles, you may not have the time to hunt or breed the ideal nature for your ideal Pokémon adventure. Check out our cheats for Pokémon Emerald and other useful articles on That VideoGame Blog to take your Pokémon game to the next level.
Dane started off gaming at the tender age of 3 with the first Atari console. His favorite video game genres are turn-based RPGs (can I get a shout out for Tactics Ogre?) and fighting games. Read more...