Pokémon Sword & Shield: Tips For Shiny Hunters

If you’re looking for Shiny Pokémon in Sword & Shield, we’ve got some tips to help you find one.

Ever since Gen II, Pokémon trainers the world over have gone crazy for Shiny Pokémon. Essentially just a color-swapped version of the same Pokémon, Shiny Pokémon are explained in-game to be rare colorations of known species. They’re sort of like a white lion or a blue lobster.

That rarity makes Shiny Pokémon highly desired by collectors, and since Pokémon is a collecting game, that basically means everyone wants Shinies.

However, getting a Shiny Pokémon in Sword & Shield works a little differently than before. Read on to find out what’s changed and how you can increase the odds of encountering a Shiny Pokémon.

Shiny Hunting Basics And Background Info

First, let’s talk about base stats. The odds of finding a Shiny Pokémon in the wild is about one in 4,096 encounters. That’s a lot of encounters and means that you can go an entire game without ever encountering a single shiny.

However, there are three ways to increase those odds. First, is the Encounter Counter, which basically increases your chances of encountering a Shiny Pokémon with every encounter of a Pokémon of that species.

The second is Shiny Charm, which is an item you get after completing the entire Sword & Shield Pokédex by capturing all 400 Pokémon.

The third method is Chain Encounters, which increases the odds of finding a Shiny Pokémon if you keep encountering a Pokémon of the same species many times in a row.

There’s also the breeding method of finding Shinies, which we’ll talk about later. A few important notes are:

1. You can’t tell if a Pokémon is shiny on the overworld anymore

2. Max Raid/Dynamax Pokémon can’t be shiny

3. Starter Pokémon can’t be shiny (so don’t bother with the “soft reset” method)

4. Sword & Shield‘s Legendary Pokémon can’t be shiny

5. You can’t catch a Shiny Pokémon if it’s beyond your catch level (ie. if it’s too high level and you don’t have enough gym badges)

Encounter Counter

As we first mentioned, the more encounters you’ve had with a specific Pokémon species, the better your odds of encountering a Shiny Pokémon of that species. The odds start out at 1 in 4,096 but reduce after you’ve encountered 50 of the same species and keep being reduced until you’ve encountered 500 of the same species.

A handy chart that explains the Encounter Counter is shown above. You can check to see how many times you’ve encountered a specific species by looking up that species in your Pokédex.

Shiny Charm

You might have noticed a section on the chart that shows the odds of encountering a Shiny if you have the Shiny Charm. This is an item you can acquire specifically to make encountering Shinies more likely.

You get the Shiny Charm from the Director after completing the entire Sword & Shield Pokédex. That’s the same guy who gave you the Catching Charm in Circhester. If you’ve forgotten where he’s located, enter the west door of Hotel Ionia, then go up the elevator and go to the room on the furthest left-hand side. After completing your Pokédex, he’ll hand you a Shiny Charm.

The Shiny Charm can really make a difference in Shiny encounters. Note how having the Shiny Charm equipped at 50 encounters is like having no charm equipped at 200 encounters. You definitely want this charm in your backpack, so better complete that Pokédex.

Encounter Chains

Chain combos are still here from Pokémon Let’s Go!, but they work a little differently. Whereas before you had to capture that Pokémon, now you can get away with just battling it.

As in Let’s Go!, encountering a Pokémon of the same species will further increase your odds of encountering a Shiny. The odds get better up to 25 encounters of the same species, at which point they cap out. If you have the Shiny Charm, 500 previous encounters, and a maximum 25 encounter chain, the odds of finding a Shiny are increased to 1 in 455.

Note that Encounter Chaining requires you battle the same species in a row. If you encounter a different species, you’ll need to run away to keep your chain going.

Breeding A Shiny

If all this battling sounds too tiresome, then there’s another way of getting a Shiny Pokémon: breeding.

Breeding a Shiny has remained the same since Gen IV when Shiny breeding was first introduced by then Game Freak Director Junichi Masuda (which is why it’s often called the Masuda Method). Basically, your odds of breeding a Shiny Pokémon increase provided the breeding Pokémon are of two different languages. That is, the Pokémon must be from different language versions of Sword & Shield.

The odds of breeding a Shiny Pokémon is 1 in 683 without a Shiny Charm and 1 in 512 with a Shiny Charm.

Getting a Pokémon of a different language of course involves trading, but there’s a way to streamline this process. Trade for a Ditto in a different language and you’ll have something that can breed with any Pokémon and will always apply the different language bonus to Shiny rates. Now, any Pokémon you catch can breed with Ditto and have the increased possibility of being born as a Shiny Pokémon.

One Last Thing: Square And Star Shinies

Sword & Shield introduced a minor variation to Shiny Pokémon. Besides having different colorations, some Shinies will also have a slightly different animation when they appear, either a star-based pattern or a square-based one.

Initially, Square Shinies are rarer as they appear in 1 out of 16 Shiny encounters. However, Encounter Chaining will eventually cause that number to flip so that Square Shinies are 15 out of every 16 Shiny encounters. This can make finding a Star Shiny (the more traditional-looking Shiny) more difficult as you can’t rely on Encounter Chaining in order to increase the odds of encountering a Star Shiny in the wild.

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