While the complete national Pokedex isn't present in Pokemon Sword and Shield, trainers hoping to catch as many Pokemon as possible have something to dread and be challenged by: the continued hunt for Shiny Pokemon.
If you're unaware of what a shiny Pokemon is, it's something that's been a staple of the series since the second generation, Gold and Silver. Shiny Pokemon are essentially slightly different variations on the existing Pokemon you know well - they have different coloring and details. If you want an example of what a shiny Pokemon looks like, here's a great example in the form of the regular and shiny versions of Rookidee, a Pokemon everybody will have seen a lot of early on:
How Shiny Spawns work in Pokemon Sword and Shield
Shiny Pokemon spawns are rare. That's the true point of them. Even the rarest Pokemon species pales in comparison to the rarity of a shiny variant of even more common Pokemon. Specifically, the shiny spawn chance has been a huge 1 in 4096 chance - but there are ways in-game to manipulate the shiny spawn rate and increase your chances. On this page, we're going to talk a little about that so you can maximize your chances. First, however, there's some other things you need to know about shiny Pokemon:
- Pokemon that are obtained in 'set' circumstances aren't able to be shiny. The starter Pokemon you obtain at the beginning of your journey can never be shiny, for instance. Neither can the special Pikachu and Eevee with Gigantamax forms that can be obtained if you have a Pokemon Let's Go save. Keep this in mind. If you want shiny forms of the starters, for instance, the best way is via breeding.
- In Sword and Shield, a Pokemon's shiny status is not indicated on the overworld. There is nothing to help you see if a Pokemon is shiny or not when they're walking around on the non-battle map. It'll be obvious once you enter battle, however.
- The best methods to farm shiny Pokemon are related to wild encounters, but for those you can't encounter in the wild, like starter Pokemon and Fossil Pokemon, breeding or online multiplayer Max Raid Battles are your best bet.
Getting the Shiny Charm to Increase your Shiny Spawn Rate
The primary method through which you can increase your chances of finding a Shiny Pokemon is through getting your hands on the Shiny Charm, a special item that's been in past games that returns in Pokemon Sword and Shield. The Shiny Charm is essentially a useful little item that when held has a passive bonus that boosts the rate at which shiny Pokemon appear. The shiny charm takes that base rate of 1/4096 and boosts it to 1/1365.
Here's the bad news: the shiny charm can only be obtained once you've completed your Galarian Pokedex. That's something that's only possible in the post game, since some of the 400-some Pokemon available in Sword and Shield are only obtainable after you've become Champion and entered the post game. Either way, that's a whole lot of work.
Once you've completed your Galar Pokedex by catching one of every creature in the game, head to Circhester Town and visit the hotel, which you can find in the Town Square area. Head upstairs - in a room to the far left you'll find some people talking, a man and a woman. Talk to the man - he's in a doctor's uniform - and he'll turn over the Shiny Charm.
How to farm Shinies in Pokemon Sword and Shield
Once you're ready to actually start hunting for shiny Pokemon, there's still a little more you should be aware of - and that's the bonus you can get from battling and chaining Pokemon of the same species. All of this information is still currently being figured out by Pokemon fans and we'll update this page as everything becomes more absolutely clear, but this is what appears to be the deal so far:
- It's been discovered that your shiny rate will increase with every battle you have with a particualr Pokemon species. This mechanic was also present in Pokemon Let's Go in a sense as 'chaining'. So, to put it simply, if you've battle 20 Pikachu in a row, you'll have a lower chance of encountering a shiny than if you've battled 200. The more time you spend battling a specific Pokemon species, the higher the chance you will encounter a shiny one.
- In order to preserve the chain, you must not KO any other species of Pokemon. If you're farming for a shiny Pikachu, you should run from any other species and only chain battles and KOs of Pikachu. This will boost your chances of obtaining a shiny over time.
- While this mechanic is legal and intentional, unfortunately there's nothing built in to Pokemon Sword and Shield to measure encounters - there's no counter for chained battles or anything. You'll need to keep track yourself.
- While we're not yet sure what breaks chains, we know that healing up and visiting Pokemon Centers and the like appear to not break your battle chain. In Pokemon Let's Go quitting the game does, however, so beware of that in case this is the same.