Shiny Pokémon return in Pokémon Sword and Shield, meaning players have a chance to capture specially-colored (and notably rare!) Pokémon they find in the wild. Shinies (called this due to the “sparkle” effect displayed when they come out of their Poké Balls) have been a mainstay of the series for a long time, and finding one can be incredibly exciting! While Shiny hunting remains largely the same as in past games, Sword and Shield also introduce new mechanics to make it easier to find these uncommon Pokémon out and about. Keep reading for our full guide to how Shinies work and how to catch them in Pokémon Sword and Shield!
Left: A normal Wooloo. Right: A Shiny Wooloo!
How to tell if a Pokémon is Shiny
Shiny Pokémon are usually easy to recognize given their different coloration. For instance, the Shiny Wooloo shown up above has black wool and a white face instead of white wool and a black face. However, sometimes Shiny Pokémon look very similar to their regular forms; for example, Stonjourner.
Left: A normal Stonjourner. Right: A Shiny Stonjourner.
When compared to each other, the difference is pretty apparent, but when in the heat of a wild battle, you might not be able to recognize the difference right away! Fortunately, Pokémon Sword and Shield denote Shinies by also showing light and sparkles around them when they appear. Hence, like we mentioned before, the name “Shiny.”
Shiny Pokémon odds
By default, the odds of finding a Shiny Pokémon in the Galar wild are 1/4096. That means you have a 0.2-percent chance of encountering a differently-colored Pokémon. Seems impossible, right? Not true! While the base chance of catching a Shiny Pokémon is very low, Pokémon Sword and Shield have introduced a new system to increase your odds!
How to increase your odds of finding a Shiny Pokémon
By battling more Pokémon, you increase your Shiny odds significantly. There are three factors to remember when Shiny hunting in Sword and Shield:
- The total times you’ve battled an individual Pokémon species. You can check this number by looking at your Pokédex and going to each individual species’ entry. Beneath the Pokémon’s Type, Height, and Weight will be a row called “Number Battled.” You can increase your odds of running into a Shiny by battling the same Pokémon 1, 20, 50, 100, 200, 300, or 500 times total. This means that by battling the same Pokémon at least 500 times total, you will significantly increase your odds of successfully hunting a Shiny version of it.
- Your current “chain” of your target Shiny Pokémon. “Chaining” refers to battling the same wild Pokémon in succession; every time you defeat or capture the same wild Pokémon in a row, you’ll increase your chain count and increase your Shiny odds. Let’s say you’re hunting a Shiny Pikachu: If you’ve battled a wild Pikachu 10 times in a row without encountering another Pokémon, your chain will be 10. However, if you run into, say, a Rookidee after that 10th Pikachu, your chain will be broken and you’ll have to start again. Once you reach 25 chain encounters, you’ve maxed out your ability to increase your Shiny odds, so aim to reach at least a streak of 25 to optimize your Shiny hunting chances.
- Whether you’re using the Shiny Charm item. Keep scrolling for information on how to get that.
While individually these three factors affect your odds of finding a Shiny, they also all add up to increase your chance of the game “rerolling” your odds at encountering a Shiny — this is the “new system” we mentioned earlier. Imagine playing at a slot machine and entering a dollar to play; instead of getting only one play on that dollar, the machine gives you two, or three, or four, or five, or even six shots to win!
For an idea of how this works, check out these data charts below, which break down your odds for finding a Shiny Pokémon based on how many of the Pokémon you’ve battled total, your current chain, and whether you’re using the Shiny Charm or not. Confused? We’ll break it down for you:
Say you’re hunting a shiny Applin without the Shiny Charm and you’ve battled 200 of them total. You’re chaining Applin after Applin, and you’ve reached a chain of 12. Go to the “200” row under “Number Battled,” then go over to the “7-14” “Chain” column (since you’ve chained 12 of them). You’ll discover your odds of catching a Shiny Applin are 1/3103!
Shiny hunting odds without the Shiny Charm
Shiny hunting odds with the Shiny Charm
How to get the Shiny Charm
Like some past Pokémon games, a Shiny Charm exists in Pokémon Sword and Shield, which can increase your odds of finding a Shiny in the wild. To get the Shiny Charm in Sword and Shield, you’ll need to do two things:
- Beat the game and become Champion.
- Complete your Pokédex.
Once you complete your Pokédex, head to Circhester. Go into the hotel on the left and then go upstairs. In the back room, you’ll find a doctor. Speak with him and he’ll encourage you to complete your Pokédex if you haven’t already. If you’ve completed it, he will hand you the Shiny Charm! Easy as pie, right? Of course, it’ll take you a while to complete the entire Pokédex, but the rewards are clearly worth it for those sweet Shiny ‘mons! When using the Shiny Charm by itself, you’ll increase your odds of successfully hunting a Shiny to 1/1365. When combined with the other two methods detailed above, your chances rise to 1/458!
Like the “reroll” system mentioned above, the Shiny Charm is known to give an extra two rerolls to your chances of encountering a Shiny Pokémon.
Higher-level Pokémon cannot be Shiny
Vastly-overleveled Pokémon can be found in the Galar Wild Area, but if they’re much higher than your team’s, they cannot be caught. However, these Pokémon cannot be Shiny. That means there’s no need to worry about encountering an uncatchable Shiny Pokémon, as they simply won’t ever appear.
Starter Pokémon are Shiny-locked
The Starter Pokémon you receive from Champion Leon in the beginning of the games cannot be Shiny and cannot be reset to get a Shiny. This was possible in previous games: Players could soft-reset the games repeatedly in hopes of getting a Shiny version of their Starter. This is no longer able to be done.
However, you can get a Shiny Starter Pokémon by breeding them at the Pokémon Day Care on Route 5. Of course, this will take a lot of time and steps in order to accomplish, but if you’re up to the task, go for it!
Shiny Pokémon are not Shiny in the Wild Area overworld
Unlike Generation VII games Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, Pokémon in the Pokémon Sword and Shield overworld are not shown as Shiny. That means while navigating the Wild Area, you won’t be able to tell if a certain Pokémon will be Shiny until entering battle. That means Wild Area Pokémon can be Shiny, but you won’t know until you enter a fight with them!
You can breed Shiny Pokémon
Shiny hunters can also get their hands on Shiny Pokémon by breeding and hatching Eggs! Players can find the Pokémon Nursery on Route 5, which becomes accessible after completing the first Gym Challenge and defeating Gym Leader Milo. At the Nursery, players can leave a male and female Pokémon together for a chance to have them produce a Pokémon Egg.
Pokémon will be compatible and have a chance to produce an Egg if they are of the same species (or share at least one Egg Group) and are of opposite genders. Ditto can also be used in place of one of the breeding parents, making the process much easier.
In Pokémon Sword and Shield, the standard odds of hatching a Shiny Pokémon are 1/4096. However, there is a way to increase those chances!
The “Masuda method”
The “Masuda method” is a fan-made term for a process that can increase your odds of hatching a Shiny from a Pokémon Egg. This technique involves breeding two Pokémon created in games of different languages (for example, a Pokémon from an English-language game and a Pokémon from a Japanese-language game). By using the Masuda method, you can increase your odds to 1/683.
Confused? Imagine you have an English version of Pokémon Sword or Shield and receive a Korean Boltund in an online trade. If you drop off your English Boltund at the Nursery with the Korean Boltund (assuming one is male and one is female), they have a 1/683 chance of producing an Egg that will hatch into a Shiny Yamper.
You can also use a foreign-language Ditto to make things easier, as Ditto can breed with just about any Pokémon regardless of gender. Finding a foreign-language Ditto is easier said than done, though, but you may have luck catching a Ditto of your own, then browsing online communities and finding a foreign-language player who’s willing to trade Dittos!
By using the Shiny Charm in conjunction with the Masuda method, you can increase your odds of hatching a Shiny to 1/512. That’s practically nothing!
Every Shiny in Pokémon Sword and Shield
YouTube channel ProsafiaGaming has kindly put together a video comparing every single one of the 400 Pokémon in Sword and Shield with their Shiny form. Check it out below to see what all the Shinies look like!
More Pokémon Sword and Shield guides
Want more help with Sword and Shield? Check out one of our other great guides to assist you through the games!
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