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I know that if I postpone my Pokemon's evolution, I can learn certain moves earlier. For example, Mareep learns Thunder at level 55 while its fully evolved form, Ampharos, only gets it at level 79.

Obviously, Pokemon who change types by evolving get the benefits of their new type, but for everything else, why should I evolve early as opposed to waiting for good attacks?

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I recommend Eevee's Pokédex's "compare this family" feature. Evolved forms can both gain and lose the ability to learn certain attacks, as well as learning them at different levels. For example, in the Bulbasaur family, Bulbasaur can learn Seed Bomb while Ivysaur and Venusaur can't, whereas only Venusaur can learn Earthquake by TM. In most cases, you only want to delay evolution to let it learn attacks, or because the evolved form isn't cute enough. –  Jonathan Drain Sep 2 '11 at 21:55
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(Seriously, Samurott is ugly.) –  Jonathan Drain Sep 2 '11 at 21:56

5 Answers 5

up vote 16 down vote accepted

The advantage gained is improved stats. The evolved form of a Pokemon has better stats than its earlier forms. However, when you evolve your Pokemon their stats are recalculated from level 1. So your fully evolved Pokemon will have the same stats at level 100 regardless of which level you evolve it at.

There are two disadvantages to evolving a Pokemon though. The first one is pretty minor, and is that a Pokemon takes longer to learn moves in an evolved form (as you noted in your question). The other disadvantage is fairly significant though, and only applies to Pokemon which evolve with an evolution stone. The majority of Pokemon which evolve using a stone won't learn any moves when evolved, so you don't want to evolve those Pokemon until they've learned all their possible moves. Evolving them earlier will really, really limit their usefulness.

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An evolved Pokémon requires no more experience to level up than its its predecessor would at the same level. Source: Bulbapedia –  Jonathan Drain Sep 2 '11 at 21:46
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@JonathanDrain I could have sworn it made a difference. Perhaps it was different in previous generations. –  Wipqozn Sep 2 '11 at 22:47
    
@Wipqozn I'm lost, you said that they would have the same stats at 1 as 100 when evolved. So... then whats the point of holding off on the evolution? –  Ender Jan 8 '13 at 18:58
    
@Ender: In the newer versions there doesn't seem to be a reason to hold off anymore. The only exception would be for pokemon which evolve through a stone, which lose the ability to learn new moves via leveling. –  Wipqozn Jan 8 '13 at 19:18

The evolved form of a Pokémon always has better (or equally distributed *) base stats than its pre-evolved form (with the exception of Shedninja, because of its 1HP stat). Essentially, your attacks will be dealing more damage, and you will be able to take more damage.

The only reason you would want to stop your Pokémon from evolving is if it learns a move that its evolution doesn't learn (for example, Growlithe learns Flare Blitz but Arcanine doesn't, so you may not want to use a Fire Stone on it right when you acquire one).

* Scizor is interesting in that it has the same total base stats as Scyther – when evolving, Scyther's speed gets reduced, but the points removed go to Scizor's attack and defense stats.

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There are two principle reasons to evolve your pokemon.

The first is base stats. Almost without exception, an evolved pokemon's base statistics, that is to say, ATTACK, SP. ATTACK, DEFENSE, SP. DEFENSE, SPEED, and HP are higher than its previous form. This translates to an immediate boost in battling abilities.

The second is that pokemon movepools often expand with evolution - the pokemon is able to learn abilities it would otherwise not be able to (often related to its new type, if applicable). While generally speaking, non-evolved pokemon learn attacks earlier than their evolved counterparts, it is not always true, and depending on the individual scenario, there may be no reason to delay evolution.

Additionally, if the move in question is learn-able via TM or Move Tutor, it can be unnecessary to wait until a certain level in the first place - you're just missing out on the higher stats at that point.

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In particular, all Pokémon who evolve simply by trading them (that is, Machoke, Haunter, Poliwhirl to Poliwrath, Graveler, Boldore and Gurdurr) can be evolved with no ill effects whatsoever. Their base stats increase, they learn the same moves at the same levels, and TM compatibility is unchanged or increased. –  Michael Madsen Sep 2 '11 at 20:46
    
Re 3rd paragraph, see here: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/27895/… –  DisgruntledGoat Sep 6 '11 at 11:35
    
Also regarding improving stats, the only 2 exceptions that I know of are Shedinja (who only has 1 HP) and Scizor (who has lower Speed but higher Attack and Defense). –  DisgruntledGoat Sep 6 '11 at 11:38
    
Minor correction to your comment, Poliwhirl evolves to Poliwrath via Water Stone and to Politoed via Trading with King's Rock. You probably meant Kadabra there. –  scenia Feb 13 at 12:16

As of Generation 6, there is another advantage to keeping your Pokemon unevolved: Bonus Exp. Points.
Any Pokemon that evolves at a certain level will receive bonus Exp. Points if its level is at least the level it evolves at. So if you have an Abra (for example) at level 16 or higher, it will receive bonus Exp. Points until you let it evolve to Kadabra. This applies as soon as the Pokemon reaches that level and afterwards gains Exp. Points, so it can sometimes happen unknowingly in Trainer battles if your Pokemon reaches the Level it evolves at, but the opponent still has Pokemon left and you have that Pokemon gain Exp. Points from them.

What this means is that starting with X/Y, if you just want to get your Pokemon to high levels, you should not let it evolve as it will gain levels faster as long as it tries to evolve, but you don't let it.

Testing indicates the multiplier is either x1.25 or x1.3.


Since there are currently no online sources to confirm this (that I'm aware of), here is the data I aquired through a personal test to confirm this.

I had a Lv.46 Vanillish with Lucky Egg and fought 3 Marchionesses with Lv.55 Audinos (Battle Chateau, Black Writ of Challenge active).
The first Audino yielded a little over 6000 Exp. Points, which brought Vanillish to Lv.47 (where it evolves). The next Audino yielded slightly more than 8000. After the battle, I canceled the evolution and fought the next Marchioness. Both Audinos gave ~8000 (The same number as before). I then let Vanillish evolve and fought the third Marchioness, this time both Audinos gave ~6000 again.

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Do you have sources confirming this? –  Robotnik Feb 13 at 12:40
    
I've tested it myself. I had Pokemon who gain normal Experience (not traded, no Lucky Egg, no PokemonAmie affection) in battle and when they reached their evolution level and I kept them in for the opponent's next Pokemon, they gained Bonus Exp. Once they evolved, they received normal Exp. again. I've also tried with Pokemon who get Bonus Exp. from the start (Lucky Egg/traded) and they received more Exp. than the ones who weren't waiting for an evolution, but has the same prerequisites. –  scenia Feb 13 at 13:09
    
I've actually not explicitly tested if it works in subsequent battles (in case you stopped the evolution with B or the Pokemon is holding Everstone), but I've used this to get a few twice-evolving Pokemon close to their final evolution level faster and it felt much faster than after I let them evolve. Didn't check on the numbers in those cases though. I have seen several reports of this on here and some other sites, however. –  scenia Feb 13 at 13:12
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I just ran another test to confirm it. I had a level 46 vanillish with lucky Egg and fought 3 Marchionesses with level 55 audinos. First Audino gave ~6000 exp. Points, which brought vanillish to 47 (where it evolves). The next Audino gave ~8000. After the battle, i canceled the evolution and fought the next one. Both audinos gave ~8000. I then let it evolve and fought the third one, this time both audinos gave ~6000 again. –  scenia Feb 13 at 15:05
    
well you've got my vote. Add the info from those tests into your answer :) –  Robotnik Feb 14 at 0:22

Really, the decision is up to you. Like Kevin Y said "Growlithe learns Flare Blitz but Arcanine doesn't" but then also if you evolve it will probably learn a move that the non-evolved will not know, but then it's all your choice how you want your pokemon to grow.

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"Up to you" doesn't answer the question to any degree. Opinion-based questions, such as this one, provide their opinion, and back it up with facts and expertise. Please take a look at other answers to this question to see what a good answer to these types of questions look like. –  Frank Jul 17 '13 at 18:25

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