Guide to shiny hunting in Pokemon Sword and Shield

by Paul Cotton


Shiny hunting has become as big as the lore itself in Pokemon games and it looks like Pokemon Sword and Shield is no exception.

Looking for shiny Pokemon has become an increasingly popular past-time for trainers, especially in the post-game. Some players may look at it from the perspective that it takes a lot of time to find them and there is no actual discernible benefit from having them.

That's one view, but try telling that to shiny collectors. There's something about the allure of a super rare Pokemon, finding it in a different color to what it usually is, and the bragging rights that come along with it. In some cases, the difference between shinies and their normal counterpart is barely noticeable but even this doesn't seem to bother shiny hunters who are always looking to add to their collection.

Here we discuss the odds of finding them Pokemon in Sword and Shield and some tips on how to increase the chances.

Who wouldn't want a shiny Galarian Ponyta?

Increase shiny chances

We said shinies are rare, and boy did we mean it. The base rate of finding one Pokemon in Sword and Shield is 1 in 4,035 — similar to the chances from previous games.

Shiny Charm

Another similarity with past generations is the inclusion of the Shiny Charm, which as you may already know, and the name suggests, increases your chances. Unfortunately, finding the Charm in the Galar region is also a pretty difficult task.

When you finally get hold of one, it will increase all chances of getting one by 3x. So, without any other bonuses considered (more on that below), the base rate of finding a shiny species with the Charm is 1 in 1,345.

Chain count

Shiny hunters from last year's game, Pokemon Let's Go, will be aware of chain counts having a significant effect on your chances. In Pokemon Sword and Shield these are better known as encounter chaining.

Each time you encounter a particular species that you are trying to find a shiny for, you will need to 'faint' that Pokemon, this will naturally increase the chain count. If you encounter a different species then you should run away so you don't break the chain.

Obstagoon's shiny form is one of the more obvious ones...

Unfortunately, there is no official chain count display in Pokemon Sword and Shield, so you'll have to keep track of it yourself. The good news is that it does have a noticeable, yet modest, effect on finding a shiny. The odds proportionately increase based on how many of that Pokemon you have battled (again, more on that below).

Number battled

Pokemon Sword and Shield introduces a new mechanic to the shiny odds — the number of a particular species you have battled. The more you have encounter, say Pikachu, the more likely it is you will find one.

The numerical effect this has on the odds, along with chain counts and the Shiny Charm can be seen in the table below:

Reddit: ChaosVisionGames
Reddit: ChaosVisionGames
Pokemon Sword and Shield shiny odds - How the Charm, chain counts and number battled affects the chances...

Odds and chances

This means if you are looking to optimize your shiny chances, then you'll need to have battled more than 500 of the species you're trying to find, a chain count of 25 or more and, of course, be in possession of the Shiny Charm. This will result in 1 in 458 chance or roughly one fifth of one percent — a big improvement from the initial rate of 1 in 4,035.

Shiny lock

Before you go desperately trying to find some, let's take a look at some Pokemon that you can't find in their alternative color because they have been shiny locked. This will save you from the incredibly time consuming process of hard resetting your Nintendo Switch. If you haven't gone through this before then check out this shiny Mewtwo fail.

Playing from the start in an attempt to find a starter shinies looks like it's a thing of the past. The starters were shiny locked in Pokemon LGPE and this has carried over to Sword and Shield. To clarify, this means you won't be able to get Grookey, Scorbunny or Sobble in their rarer color, at least from the beginning.

Finding a shiny Zacian or Zamazenta is going to be hard work...

The same applies to both Zacian and Zamazenta (we know you really didn't want to read that). You won't be able to encounter either of the box legends in their shiny form, despite one report to the contrary. An explanation for this has yet to materialize.

Finally, one other notable Pokemon you won't be able to get is Charmander. The popular fire-starter is received as a gift in Pokemon Sword and Shield and all gifts are also shiny locked.

Don't dwell too much on the ones you can't catch, though, as you're now fully equipped to go off and find some for yourself! Good luck and hopefully Pokemon Sword and Shield is kind to you and doesn't keep you searching for too long.