As Pokémon Sword & Shield streamers have shown since the game first released, Shiny Pokémon are all the rage and highly sought after by completionists. These Pokémon are the rarest of the rare, but for those diehard collectors who want their teams to stand out, there is no better option.
Stat-wise, these Pokémon are identical to non-Shiny versions. There is zero competitive advantage to having a Shiny variation. Before selecting which Pokémon to try and acquire, it is important to do a quick search online to ensure that the color scheme is to your taste, or even noticeable. Some Pokémon look almost identical to their normal versions, which is a big disappointment, while others look completely different.
How To Catch Shiny Pokémon
By default, a player may encounter a wild Shiny Pokémon at anytime without doing anything out of the ordinary. Entering an encounter with a wild Pokémon provides a 1 out of 4,096 chance of spawning a Shiny. Unlike in previous games, Shiny Pokémon look like normal versions in the wild, and players are therefore forced to enter an encounter before knowing if they have found a normal or Shiny Pokémon.
Improving Your Odds
That base catch rate may seem daunting, but it can be cut down drastically with three modifiers. The first step is to enable the catch combo, which refers to how Pokémon of the same type have been caught in a row. After catching 25, the odds drop from 1 out of 4,096 to 1 out of 2,048.
If the goal is to catch a Shiny Oddish, for example, then a player would go to the area where they spawn and capture every single one without fail, and run away from everything else so as not to break the catch combo, which will reset to zero out of twenty-five if the player decides to capture a different Pokémon.
The second step reinforces the notion that finding a Shiny Pokémon is a long-term project, and that is maximizing the battle counter. The following number of battles will have the following effect on future encounters, and need not be consequential for the odds to remain increased:
- At least one: Brilliant Pokémon may appear
- At least 20: Brilliant Pokémon have 1.3× the likelihood of appearing
- At least 50: Brilliant Pokémon have 1.6× the likelihood of appearing, and Shiny Pokémon have 2× the likelihood of appearing
- At least 100: Brilliant Pokémon have 2× the likelihood of appearing, and Shiny Pokémon have 3× the likelihood of appearing
- At least 200: Shiny Pokémon have 4× the likelihood of appearing
- At least 300: Shiny Pokémon have 5× the likelihood of appearing
- At least 500: Shiny Pokémon have 6× the likelihood of appearing
Reaching the highest level of the bracket will then drop the odds down to 1 out of 682, which already looks far better than the base odds. At any time, a player can look up a Pokémon in their Pokédex and see how many times they have battled that type, making it easy to keep track.
The third step involves using the Shiny Charm, but this too is a significant undertaking on its own. Players must first acquire the 400 Pokémon in both Pokémon Sword & Shield before heading to the hotel in Circhester. After doing all three steps, the odds of finding a shiny Pokémon drop once more to 1 out of 455.
How To Breed Shiny Pokémon
The Masuda Method is the main way to breed Shiny Pokémon. This method is slightly more involved, as it requires players to first acquire one of the parent Pokémon from another player who is playing the game in a language other than yours, and then breeding it. This makes the resulting Pokémon a whopping six times more likely to be Shiny and brings the odds down to 1 out of 683. With the Shiny Charm, this goes down to 1 out of 512. The easiest thing to do is to trade for a foreign Ditto and then breed with any other Pokémon to have a shot at a non-Ditto Shiny offspring.
Note that this method is still a theory and has therefore not been confirmed in Sword & Shield. The Masuda Method was confirmed with these stats for Pokémon Sun & Moon and is likely to be the same or similar in the new games. However, it's important to keep in mind that a consensus has not yet been reached.
Two Different Shiny Effects
As if Shiny Pokémon were not already rare enough, there are now two variations of Shinies: square and star animation. Currently, there does not appear to be any way to increase the odds of finding one of these Pokémon. Instead, once a Shiny Pokémon is found, the game will roll to determine if it will get a regular star effect or a square one, which usually appears around hatched Shinies. The regular Shiny has a 15 out of 16 chance of appearing, while the square takes up the remaining 1 out of 16.
It is also important to note that the following Pokémon are not available in Shiny form, and so players should not waste their time resetting the game in hopes of triggering a different outcome:
- The Starter Pokémon
- The Legendary Pokémon, including Zacian, Zamazenta, and Eternatus
- Any NPC Trades
- "Strong" Pokémon in the Wild Area you can't catch, which is implemented to avoid players from finding something that they are not able to catch early in the game.
Starter Pokémon may still be bred with a foreign Ditto or Starter to produce a Shiny offspring, though, if one wishes to put the effort in. In any case, patience is key when it comes to capturing a Shiny. Even with all the odds stacked in your favor, it can take a significant number of attempts before finally finding the Shiny Pokémon you're looking for.