Shiny Pokemon hunting is a term that likely elicits varying responses depending on who hears it. To many, the term may be an enigma, as shiny pokemon in Sword and Shield are highly unlikely to be encountered by most players. This would not be unexpected, given the fact that shiny pokemon are exceedingly rare finds. Even some lifelong fans of the series might have never encountered one of these extraordinary occurrences. However, many players have stumbled upon these phenomena by chance, or dedicated themselves to the pursuit of these elusive abnormalities.
The advent of the Crown Tundra DLC for Pokemon Sword and Shield this fall will reinvigorate the game. The game has already maintained its relevance through the competitive scenes, as well as its prior DLC. However, a new batch of old favourites will return to the Pokédex, thus installing further shiny partners to obtain. For players looking to begin this new pursuit, hunting shiny pokemon in Sword and Shield is at its most accessible. Now is the perfect time to learn how. So, how then does a player embark upon the hunt for shiny pokemon? Well, going in unprepared can make for a long and uncertain journey. As such, this shiny pokemon guide in Sword and Shield will serve to provide the essential information to improve your success rate and enhance efficiency.
1. What Are Shiny Pokemon in Sword and Shield?
Despite the name of these special encounters, shiny pokemon are not merely glossier versions of their normal counterparts. Shiny pokemon are essentially alternate skins for each known pokemon. Every pokedex entry only has one shiny alternate form, varying somewhat in how drastically different they can be. A shiny pokemon will similarly evolve into alternate coloured versions of the entire evolutionary line. Sometimes these changed colour schemes are less obvious upon first glance, so keep an eye open when battles commence. When shiny pokemon first enter a battle, they will display a unique animation to highlight their distinctiveness. As of Generation 8, these animations come in two forms: a cluster of stars, or sparkling squares.
So why then should players be intent on finding these rare gems in the pokemon eco-system? It is important that players know in advance that shiny pokemon in Sword and Shield offer no particular battle-based advantages. As of recent entries, shiny pokemon are not in possession of higher or weaker stats than their ordinary forms. The benefits of these pokemon are entirely within their aesthetic uniqueness. Many players might thus justifiably wonder why they are worth the hassle of such a difficult hunt. Simply put, players seeking to build competitive teams should not prioritise shiny pokemon when team building. However, many shiny hunters will agree that their rarity adds a sense of sentimentality to these partners that no other pokemon can match. Many trainers cherish these rare finds and transfer them from game to game. Whilst many catches simply blend into the background of the PC boxes, shiny pokemon are always memorable catches.
2. How To Encounter Shiny Pokemon
So, you’ve decided that perhaps you’d like to possess one of these abnormal shiny pokemon in Sword and Shield. Well then, to get started, you will need to know the two primary ways in which you will find your target.
The first method is likely to be the means by which some lucky players will happen upon shiny pokemon unintentionally. Whilst travelling throughout the game world, every encounter with pokemon in the wild has a chance to provide a shiny. This occurs for pokemon found in tall grass, various terrains and even those that wander the overworld. However, it is important to know that in Pokemon Sword and Shield, some pokemon are visibly roaming the wild. These pokemon will not appear shiny in the overworld, so you won’t confirm their shiny status until the battle commences. As previously stated, you will be aware of their shiny rank if a unique sparkling animation appears. Additionally, players may encounter a shiny pokemon during a max-raid battle.
Hatch Shiny Eggs
The other means that might grace players with a lucky shiny pokemon is through hatching one. Players familiar with Sword and Shield will be aware of two day-care centres in the wild area and route 5. When players leave two pokemon in the day-care, if they can breed, the player will eventually be given an egg. The game signals the arrival of an egg by having the NPC outside the day-care fold their arms. Speaking with that NPC will prompt the player with a chance to receive the egg. Players will then need to run around for a set number of in-game steps in order for the egg to hatch. Upon hatching, much like with wild pokemon, their exists a very slim chance that the new born pokemon will be shiny. There are no requirements from the parents to guarantee a shiny; however, the chance can increase under certain conditions. This method is a particularly time efficient means of finding shiny pokemon in Sword and Shield. If the player keeps at least one pokemon in the party with the ability flame body, eggs will hatch faster.
3. The Odds of Shiny Pokemon in Sword and Shield
This part of the guide might be the most disheartening or off-putting set of facts in regard to the hunt. Previous research into the chances of encountering a shiny has presented varying odds depending on the generation in question. According to IGN, the base rate for shiny encounters in generation 8 is a daunting ‘1 in 4069 chance’. This would mean that only a single encounter out of 4069 with the same species of pokemon will result in a shiny. As this number makes quite apparent, the odds suggest that shiny hunting will potentially be a very long endeavour. There is no way to guarantee which encounter will be a shiny. Shiny pokemon hunting feels like ascending a misty cliff in which the final hand hold is always out of sight. However, there are ways in which these chances can be drastically improved.
The Wild Battle Counter
If you check your in game Pokédex entry for each pokemon, you will notice an encounter number is listed within the data. This number is indicative of how many pokemon of this species you have successfully defeated or captured in the wild. While this might seem like an arbitrary number, your total in this area actually results in a few hidden rewards. Unlike previous entries in the series, Sword and Shield does not require chaining the same pokemon in the wild. As your encounter number increases, players receive improved odds on brilliant and shiny pokemon encounter rates. The official Pokemon website states the bonus caps at 500 encounters, which results in players obtaining roughly a 1/678 chance. These encounters do not need to be consecutive as in previous games, and overtime they will naturally add to your chances. Although the number is still fairly high, it certainly seems more obtainable.
The Shiny Charm
An invaluable item to all shiny hunters is the item known as the “Shiny Charm”. This item is an in-game reward bestowed upon players who have managed to complete their Pokédex. In Pokemon Sword and Shield, this will require players to have owned all 400 base-game pokemon at some point. This does not require players to possess each pokemon; it is simply required that they have an entry in their Pokédex. Upon completing this monumental achievement in its own right, players must be gifted the charm by an NPC. The NPC in question is located in the Hotel Ionia in Circhester. Taking the elevator up a floor and heading to the room on the far left reveals a room with a doctor. This character will gift the charm to any player that speaks to him with a completed Pokédex.
There is no need for you to do anything particular with the charm. Once it is in your inventory, the charms unique benefits will automatically take effect. The consequence of the charm, according to Imore, will result in an increase to your odds roughly equivalent to 1/1365. It should be noted that these odds do not take into account the bonuses of the previously mentioned “numbers battled” counter. The combination of the charm and a max encounter bonus result in chances equal to 1/512. As such, the benefits of obtaining the charm prior to shiny pokemon hunting cannot be understated.
The Masuda Method
So far, we have mostly analysed the details of wild encounter shiny pokemon. However, as previously mentioned, the game may also bless players with a shiny hatched from an egg. It is important to note that the aforementioned shiny charm similarly increases the odds of shiny hatches. However, there is a unique means of increase shiny hatching odds, famously named the ‘Masuda method’ by the Pokemon community. Jumping straight to the benefits, the odds will increase to 1/683 without the shiny charm, and 1/512 with it. As such, a combination of the Masuda method and a shiny charm serve as your best chance to find a shiny pokemon.
So how does the Masuda method work when hatching shiny pokemon in Sword and Shield? It essentially requires the player to breed two pokemon from different real-world regions. What this means is that you will need to have traded at least one pokemon from a foreign player’s game. The top right corner of a pokemon’s summary page indicates if the pokemon comes from a foreign region. If the pokemon came from outside of your own game’s reigion, a code will state from where the pokemon originated. So long as one pokemon in the day-care is not native to your game’s region, the Masuda method will work. As such, the most effective means of accomplishing this is by owning a foreign traded Ditto. The Ditto pokemon can breed with any pokemon in the game that create eggs. Possessing a single foreign Ditto will allow quick and easy Masuda method shiny hunting with any other pokemon.
4. Additional Shiny Hunting Tips
Divert Your Attention
The aspect of the hunt that might seem the most off-putting to many is the marathon it will likely become. When shiny hunting, it is advisable not to make it your sole or primary focal point. The repetitive and drawn-out task ahead will result in a lot of tedium and frustration. To avoid the mind-numbing dreariness of the hunt, it is better to multitask to some extent. Listening to podcasts, music, movies or any alternate form of entertainment is a pretty easy fix. If you are hunting via the egg hatching method, you will barely need to look at the game. As such, be sure to find an activity that will prevent you from feeling that your time was wasted.
Additionally, it might be worth considering how you will break down the hunt into more tolerable times. It will take a hefty number of hours before success, so taking regular breaks is an important factor to consider. Furthermore, do not let those long hours deter you. Sometimes it will feel like the shiny is never going to appear, but it is simply a matter of time. Some hunts are shorter than others, but nothing is worse than letting it all be a waste of time.
Research Your Target
Another important point of consideration before beginning your hunt is the necessary prep. Hunters don’t want to experience the severe disappointment of a long hunt that results in a shiny they don’t like. As such, it highly advisable to first research the shiny variants of pokemon you are interested in. Many places can provide a comprehensive online Pokédex that displays the available shiny forms. Additionally, it is important to research whether your pokemon of choice is “shiny-locked”. Some pokemon, such as legendary pokemon, can sometimes be locked out of their shiny forms without hacks. In the case of Sword and Shield, the two legendary pokemon Zacian and Zamazenta are both shiny-locked.
As for breeding pokemon competitively, it is important to establish the necessary prerequisites beforehand. The parent pokemon should have desirable IVs (Individual Values) and egg moves before beginning the process. Furthermore, the destiny knot item must be given to at least one parent to allow better stats to be inherited. An everstone held by a parent pokemon can also guarantee it passes on its nature. Doing this in advance means you are less likely to have a shiny with undesirable competitive qualities. However, should the worse come to pass, the latest game is very accommodating and accessible for those wishing to breed competitively. At the Battle Tower, players can now hyper train level 100 pokemon to fix bad stats. Moreover, the Battle Tower rewards also allow players to change pokemon natures and abilities. As such, it is no longer as damaging if your shiny pokemon is born with lacklustre attributes.
A World of Shiny Pokemon in Sword and Shield Awaits
Shiny Pokemon hunting is not an outlet for everyone. The rewards are entirely sentimental and will not fall under the primary concerns of most competitive players. However, if you have looked at owners of shiny pokemon with envy, you are now equipped to catch your own. Shiny pokemon have a habit of becoming extremely important to their owners. If you seek pokemon that you will want carry forward into new adventures, then a shiny will be perfect. With Pokemon Sword and Shield making this task even more accessible, the thrill of the hunt is waiting for you.