If you're looking for more to do after beating the main game in Pokémon Sword and Shield, or if you're just fed up of seeing your friends brag about their latest Shiny Pokémon capture, you might want to get in on that Shiny catching action all for yourself.
In this guide, we'll be covering everything you need to know about Shiny Pokémon in Sword and Shield, including what they are and how to actually get the elusive suckers. Strap yourselves in!
What Are Shiny Pokémon?
Shiny Pokémon are essentially fancy, rare versions of the monsters you see throughout your adventure. They usually have a distinctively different colouring to the 'normal' variant, although sometimes the changes are very subtle.
While they don't necessarily have any extra strength for competitive battles, they are often sought after by Pokémon fans as a way to show off - after all, having something that's rare and hard to find has always been cool, ever since Pokémon cards started to be traded in the playground.
In this image below, you can see a regular Wooloo on the left, and its shiny variant on the right. Almost all Pokémon can be found in Shiny form, although there are a few exceptions. When a Shiny Pokémon is found in the wild, you'll notice that one of two sparkle animations will appear around the Pokémon at the start of the battle, and you'll also see a special shiny marker on its Summary page when you catch it.
Best Ways To Catch A Shiny Pokémon In Sword and Shield
Finding a Shiny Pokémon in the wild is largely about luck, but there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of spotting one and ensuring that you actually capture the thing when it finally appears on screen.
Keep on Battling!
The first trick is to battle as many of your chosen Pokémon as possible. Battling the same species of Pokémon (by either defeating or capturing them) will slowly start to raise your chances of finding its Shiny version. For example, if you want to find that Shiny Wooloo above, one good tactic is to keep battling wild Wooloo. The table below shows you how the odds of finding one will increase using this tactic.
|Number of battles||Effects on future encounters|
|At least 50||Shiny Pokémon have 2× the likelihood of appearing|
|At least 100||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|
You can keep track of how many of each Pokémon you've battled by looking it up in your Pokédex.
Get Yourself a Shiny Charm
This one is an absolute must for anyone who is serious about tracking down lots of Shiny Pokémon. This item signifacantly improves your chances of finding a Shiny Pokémon across the board, slashing down the odds for each encounter you stumble into and even your egg-hatching odds (more on that below).
We'll go into more detail on understanding the exact chances of finding a Shiny later, but to put it in simple terms, the item will reduce the usual 1 in 4,096 chance of finding a Shiny Pokémon in the wild to just 1 in 1,365.33. You can get your hands on one by visiting the Game Freak Game Director in Circhester after completing your Pokédex - which isn't an easy task in itself.
Be Prepared For Battle
So, you've got your Shiny Charm and you've battled roughly three billion Wooloo, finally stumbling across a rare Shiny one. Time to catch it th- Oh no! You've not got any Poké Balls!
This might go without saying, but make sure you're prepared for when a Shiny Pokémon shows up. Stock up on the best Poké Balls for the 'mon you're hunting - Ultra Balls should work well in most cases - and have plenty of healing items with you just in case.
You'll also want to think about which Pokémon to use to battle the Shiny you've just found. One popular choice is Gallade, a Pokémon which can learn both Thunder Wave (which paralyses the opponent and increases your chances of capture) and False Swipe (which can reduce your opponent's HP to just 1). Some abilities may come in useful, too; Quagsire has the ability 'Damp', for example, which prevents wild Pokémon from using attacks like Explosion or Self Destruct.
The last thing you want is for your Shiny Pokémon to run away, wipe itself out with Explosion, or for you to defeat it in battle. Who knows how long it'll be until you find another one?
How To Breed Shiny Pokémon From Eggs In Sword and Shield
You can also hatch Shiny Pokémon from Eggs when breeding two Pokémon at one of the Day Care centres in the Galar region (one can be found on Route 5 and the other is in the Wild Area). Any hatched Pokémon can be Shiny - just like any wild Pokémon can - but there's a way to dramatically increase your chances.
The Masuda Method
Named after series director, Junichi Masuda, the Masuda Method is used by Shiny hunting players all around the globe. It involves placing one Pokémon caught in your own game, and one foreign language Pokémon from another player, into the Day Care at the same time. When these two Pokémon breed, the chances of finding a Shiny Pokémon from their egg are hugely increased.
Going back to our example of Wooloo, you could therefore use a Wooloo from your own game and someone else's foreign Wooloo to have a go at hatching a Shiny one. When you have two Pokémon of different languages breed, the Egg has a 1 in 682.7 chance of producing a Shiny Pokémon. If you have the Shiny Charm we mentioned above, this gets reduced even further to 1 in 512. Very nice indeed.
Before we move on from breeding, we need to give a quick mention to Ditto. Ditto is a Pokémon that can breed with almost any other Pokémon, and can therefore be a huge help in your Shiny hunting. If you can track down a foreign language Ditto, you can leave it in the Day Care and have it breed with any Pokémon you catch in your own game. It's quick and dirty, in more ways than one, but it gets the job done.
If you're interested, we have a complete guide to getting your hands on a foreign language Ditto, which also goes into a little more depth on how to know when a Pokémon is foreign to your own.
Pokémon Sword and Shield - Shiny Chance Rates
Finally, then, let's quickly go over the odds of finding a Shiny Pokémon across all circumstances, just so you know what you're getting yourself into (thanks, Serebii). The first table looks at Wild encounters, while the second looks at breeding.
|No. of Pokémon Battled||Rate Without Shiny Charm||Rate With Shiny Charm|
|<50||1 in 4096||1 in 1365.33|
|50||1 in 2048||1 in 1024|
|100||1 in 1365.333||1 in 819.2|
|200||1 in 1024||1 in 682.6667|
|300||1 in 819.2||1 in 585.1429|
|500||1 in 682.6667||1 in 512
|Breeding||Rate Without Shiny Charm||Rate With Shiny Charm|
|Using Foreign Language Pokémon||1 in 682.7||1 in 512|
As you can see, there's a surprising amount to think about if you're hoping to find a Shiny Pokémon in Sword and Shield, but hopefully this guide has steered you in the right direction.
If you have any further tips, feel free to post them for other readers to see in our comment section below!