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  • Writer's pictureAC (QSO)

What is Shiny Hunting? An Insider's Guide

Find out how to catch 'em all in ✨STYLE!✨

A shiny Magikarp flops around, while a Wartortle and Ivysaur watch. The Magikarp is golden, as opposed to the expected orange colour.
A shiny Magikarp, as pictured in the Pokémon anime. Image used via Bulbapedia under fair use.

Even if you're the most casual of Pokémon fan, chances are you've encountered a shiny Pokémon at some point, maybe without even realising it. Whether it's through Pokémon Go community days, differently-coloured Pokémon in the anime, or perhaps in Pokémon Gold and Silver's famous red Gyarados, shiny Pokémon have been a series mainstay since 1999. These elusive critters are passionately sought after by fans, including myself - I'll never forget catching a shiny Absol in Pokémon White, feeling so excited, and wondering to myself how to recreate that feeling. I know that I'm going to spend lots of time in Pokémon Legends: Arceus trying to get some new shinies - I especially can't wait to see what shiny Kleavor looks like!

So what exactly is shiny hunting, and how do you do it?

Shiny hunting is the means by which Pokémon fans make it easier to catch shiny Pokémon. As of the most recent generation of games, every Pokémon you encounter has a base rate of 1 in 4096 of being shiny. To put that in perspective, that's as likely as flipping a coin twelve times, and getting a heads every single time. You can make things more likely in a few different ways, though. For starters, by completing the Pokédex, you can obtain a special item called the shiny charm, which makes it three times more likely to encounter a shiny Pokémon, boosting your odds to roughly 1 in 1365. This makes things so much easier for you to track down the shiny Pokémon you want.

A shiny Pikachu and a shiny Phantump enjoy some berries with other Pikachu. The shiny Pikachu is a darker shade of yellow, whereas the shiny Phantump has a white head.
A shiny Pikachu and a shiny Phantump enjoy berries.

In addition to the shiny charm, each Pokémon game has its own tricks to help out on your shiny hunt. Most recently, in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, the Pokéradar item is indispensably useful. As well as being the only way to encounter rare Pokémon such as Bagon and Larvitar, with repeated use, it improves the odds of catching a shiny Pokémon up to a whopping 1 in 99. That's almost fourteen times more likely! Another popular method is to breed two Pokémon from games in different language. This method is known to fans as the "Masuda method", and when combined with the shiny charm, boosts the odds to 1 in 512. Other Pokémon games have had their own exclusive methods for shiny hunting, such as Pokémon X and Y's Friend Safari (a grassy area in-game where shinies are much more common), or Pokémon Sun and Moon's SOS Chaining mechanic. With so many methods out there, it's easy to find one that suits you best.

Shiny hunting remains very popular among Pokémon fans, and has given rise to friendly online communities, such as Shiny Hunting Hideout, a Discord server for shiny hunters of all variants to chat, make friends, and share tips alongside nearly 500 like-minded Pokéfans. We got to talk to Milly, the server owner, Riley, the sever admin, and Sylvia, a server moderator, and chatted all about their favourite parts of shiny hunting, their favourite Pokémon, and why you should join in the fun too!

1. How long have you been a Pokémon fan?

Milly: Surprisingly only 3 years!

Riley: I’ve been into Pokémon since I was around 10, so over 15 years!

Sylvia: 12 years.

2. How many shiny Pokémon do you have?

Milly: Currently 111 shinies.

Riley: Not counting event distributions, in the main series games I have 60 [shiny] Pokémon that I’ve hunted myself.

Sylvia: 127 shinies.

3. When and how did you get into shiny hunting?

Milly: I started out by playing Pokémon Go which focuses much more on shinies than the main series. Main series shinies have always been a somewhat secret and elusive concept, but grinding for a shiny in Pokémon Go is advertised as part of the fun. I was instantly hooked on collecting as many shinies as possible, and when Sword and Shield came out my main goal was to finish the game, obtain the shiny charm, and start hunting.

Riley: I started shiny hunting in early 2020 after being persuaded to try it by a friend (Milly!). I got my target under odds and never looked back.

Sylvia: I'm not certain of specifics when it comes to the date but it was between [Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire] and [Pokémon Sun and Moon], I wanted to get a shiny Umbreon of my own and tried to Masuda hunt it... I'm never Masudaing again lol.

4. What is your favourite game to shiny hunt in, and what is your favourite method of hunting shinies?

Milly: Picking a favourite game to hunt in is hard! I really love Sword and Shield as there's something about the overworld encounters that is really unique. I also hunt a lot in [Pokémon X and Y]. My favourite methods are basically anything that involves repeated random encounters - I don't enjoy soft resetting or hatching eggs so much.

Riley: My favourite game is Pokémon Sword and my preferred method is wild encounters (KO method) - Sword is the perfect game for this as the overworld spawns are convenient for maximising encounters with my target, plus then I’m able to perfect my shiny’s IVs, nature, and ability if I want to.

Sylvia: [Pokémon X and Y], idk if I'd call it my favourite but Friend Safari is my most frequent method, but horde hunting and SOS chaining are also great.

5. Do you have a favourite shiny Pokémon?

Milly: I couldn't narrow it down to just one. Some honourable mentions: Noibat, Deino, Stufful.

Riley: It changes all the time, although I would have to say Totodile since I have a tattoo of one. Honourable mentions to Croagunk, Gigalith, and Grimmsnarl.

Sylvia: A couple years ago, I would have said Umbreon, with zero uncertainty, but now, probably Jumpluff.

6. What is your favourite part about shiny hunting?

Milly: My favourite part of shiny hunting is actually the hunt itself. I love having stories to tell for every single one of my 111 shinies. I remember where I was when I got them, what was going on at the time, and how long the hunt took. Mindlessly grinding and feeling like you're making meaningful progress is fantastic. Also, the community feels really unique and special.

Riley: There’s so much to love, but for me it’s the community. We’ve got engaging content creators and our own legendary shiny hunters, and there are always people to share the highs and lows with. It’s such a unique hobby and that makes it full of interesting people.

Sylvia: The community that we've built around it (but if I can't say that then the adrenaline rush of when a shiny finally appears).

7. Are there any particular shiny Pokémon you want to get, but haven’t caught yet?

Milly: Oh, so many! Klink, Groudon, Carvanha, and Amaura, to name a few. I'm working towards a 'living shiny dex' where you obtain one of every single shiny Pokémon, so one day I'll have them all!

Riley: Regirock is my current target, especially since I encountered the shiny after about 20 resets (at 1/4096 odds!) and then failed to catch it, which really hurt. I’m also looking forward to hunting Braixen in [Pokémon X and Y]’s Friend Safari.

Sylvia: Guzzlord for sure, I've tried to soft reset hunt it a couple times but I've always left it to go hunt other, quicker shinies.

8. In five words, tell our readers why they should start shiny hunting too!

Milly: The adrenaline rush is unbeatable.

Riley: New friends, fun challenges, sparkles ✨

Sylvia: Who needs postgame when shinies?

AC is the Head of Written Content at QSO Media. Follow them on Twitter.


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