Shiny Pokémon are Pokémon with a different color palette than their more standard counterparts. Seems simple enough, but these Pokémon are extremely rare, with an appearance rate of 1 in 8192 in the original games. Even though this has since been cut down to 1 in 4096, catching one of these shiny Pokémon takes extreme luck and patience. Because of the rarity of these Pokémon, they have become revered in the community, and some people’s entire Pokémon experience revolves around trying to catch these elusive beasts.
First off, I would like to humbly brag that I’ve caught two shiny Pokémon in my long career as a Pokémon trainer. In my very first experience with Pokémon FireRed, I saw a weird green Zubat. I caught it not really knowing what I was doing, just knowing that the sparkles that surrounded the Zubat when he appeared was probably something special. I’m sure it’s still floating around patiently waiting for me in my Pokémon Box in one of my other games.
My other shiny Pokémon was caught much more recently. In the new Brilliant Diamond game I recently purchased, I hatched an egg that surprisingly turned out to be a shiny Feebas. It’s always a very exciting experience to find a shiny Pokémon, especially when you aren’t looking for one.
Some trainers make chasing shiny Pokémon their main goal in the games. One of my friends spent about 30 hours in Brilliant Diamond soft resetting trying to get a shiny Dialga to show up to no avail. And even this number pales in comparison to some of the time spent by highly dedicated Pokémon streamers trying for “shinies.” Soft resetting is a common way players try to encounter shiny Pokémon. It refers to rebooting your game by closing and reopening the software, which differs from hard resetting, which turns off the entire console. By soft resetting, players can reset the Pokémon they’re trying to catch, which gives them another shot to see a shiny. Soft resetting only works with Pokémon the player battles, which are usually legendary or mythical Pokémon.
Shiny Pokémon that spawn from grass patches or caves, however, have to be found the old-fashioned way. There is a large community for shiny hunters, since shiny hunting in the overworld takes so much time. Streamers will casually hunt for the Pokémon they are looking for and talk with their chat. Streamers also usually add a counter to their streams that shows how many failed shiny attempts they have, and it can be extremely exciting to watch a streamer with a high counter finally get the Pokémon they’ve been looking for. These streams are special since streamers can be more interactive with their chat during their search, since it is just the player versus the odds of seeing a shiny Pokémon.
There are also different ways to increase your chances of getting a shiny Pokémon to show up for you. One of the first and most popular ways to increase your shiny chances is with something fans have dubbed the “Masuda method,” or “international marriage” if you translate it from Japanese. Named after GameFreak developer Junichi Masuda, the method involves breeding two Pokémon with different languages of origin. This concept was introduced when the original Pokémon Diamond and Pearl games came out, which were the first games to offer a worldwide Wi-Fi trading center called the GTS (Global Trade System). It incentivized players to trade internationally, and has become one of the most popular ways to increase your chance at a shiny Pokémon egg. This method adds six rerolls to the shiny chance, which changes your overall shiny hatching odds to 1 in 683 — a lot better than the normal odds of 1 in 4096!
An item called the Shiny Charm was added in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, which can increase players’ shiny appearance chances even more. The charm adds two reroll chances to any method of encountering a shiny, whether in the wild or by hatching an egg. This means chances for shiny encounters in the wild are now upped to 1 in 1365. However, to get the Shiny Charm, players have to fill out their entire National Pokédex, a difficult feat. Players must register every single Pokémon available in the game to get the item. However, the improved odds offered by the Shiny Charm can be combined with the Masuda method, ultimately increasing trainers’ chances of hatching a shiny Pokémon to 1 in 512, which is almost the best you can have in the game.
The most effective way players can increase their chances of catching a shiny is by using Poké Radar chaining. The technique is easily the most complex in the game but it has amazing results. While only available in a few games, the Poké Radar is given to players when they obtain the National Pokédex, which isn’t as hard a feat as completing it. When a player activates the Poké Radar, certain grass patches will shake, showing that there is a wild Pokémon hiding there. Players can walk to the grass patch to start a battle, and after knocking the Pokémon out or catching it, the Poké Radar is activated again and shows another four shaking grass patches.
This is the beginning of a chain, and players have to continue to go to these shaking patches to continue the chain. The hardest part of this method is that players’ hopes ride completely on the same Pokémon showing up each time. If a different species of Pokémon pops up for the player, the streak is broken, and the player has to start all over again. However, players that manage to get their catching streak all the way to 40 will have shiny odds of 1 in 99, the best available in-game. Additionally, the patch of grass that contains a shiny Pokémon will sparkle, signaling to players that their hard work has finally paid off.
Shiny Pokémon continue to elude and dodge players’ eyes in any way that they can, but determined players can always find special methods to increase their chances of a shiny spawn. The feeling of finally catching or hatching one of these special Pokémon is truly like no other! And, of course, being able to show them off feels pretty great too.