Pokemon

Shiny hunting in Pokemon Sword and Shield: How to increase your odds

by Paul Cotton

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Shiny hunting continues to be a huge part of Pokemon games, with Pokemon Sword and Shield being no exception. Here's everything you need to know about shiny odds and how to increase your chances.

Looking for shiny Pokemon has become an increasingly popular past-time for trainers, especially in the post-game. There is something about their rarity and the bragging rights of finding them that just clicks with trainers.

However, there will be some players that look at it from a different perspective. There is no actual discernible benefit from owning a shiny, at least in comparison to its normal color. On top of that it can take a very long time to find them.

Shiny Galarian Ponyta
Shiny Galarian Ponyta
Who wouldn't want a shiny Galarian Ponyta?

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That's one way to look at it, but try telling that to shiny collectors. The allure of a super rare Pokemon is a big part of the games. Add the potential of finding a shiny rare Pokemon and trainers will spend hours on end trying to find it.

In some cases, the difference between shinies and their normal counterpart is barely noticeable but even this doesn't seem to deter shiny hunters who are always looking to add to their collection.

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.

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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. These are still long odds but a significantly improved from the base rate.

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.

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Each time you encounter a particular species and you 'faint' it your chain count will increase by one. 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. This is shown when you go to a particular Pokemon in your Pokedex under "Number Battled." The more you encounter, the more likely you are to find its shiny form.

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

Pokemon Sword Shield Shiny Odds Chances Table
Pokemon Sword Shield Shiny Odds Chances Table
Pokemon Sword and Shield shiny odds - How the Charm, chain counts and number battled affects the chances...

Shiny odds

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 0.2% — a big improvement from the initial rate of 1 in 4,035.

Locked shinies

There are some Pokemon that you won't be able to a shiny for, though. So, before you go desperately trying to find some, let's take a look at which Pokemon you can't find in their alternative color because of shiny locked feature.

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 over and over in an attempt to find 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.

Pokemon Sword Shield Zacian Zamazenta Shiny
Pokemon Sword Shield Zacian Zamazenta Shiny
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.