Is battling or breeding the better choice?
Pokemon are abundant all over the Galar region and in the Wild Areas. It's hard to go a few steps without hearing a rustle of grass or seeing a pokemon walking around. Even after catching all of the Pokemon available to you in Pokemon Sword and Shield, there's the next level of rare encounter and that is finding Shiny Pokemon. First introduced in the second generation of pokemon games, Shiny Pokemon are those that have a different color palette. Your Espion might now be green, or you could end up with a red and white Galarian Zigzagoon if you're lucky enough to run into one of these pokemon. There are ways to improve your odds though.
It's important to start off by saying that there's a reason you might not have encountered a shiny pokemon before, or even if you have you've likely only run into them a couple of times and that's because the chance of the pokemon you run into being shiny is a 1 in 4096 chance. That's a 0.024% likeliness that the pokemon that you run into will be a different color. Luckily for those wanting to find a shiny in the wild, or hatch a shiny pokemon from an egg, there are a variety of ways that these odds can be increased.
A few final points to clarify before getting into the guide is that the Starters, Legendary Pokemon, and any Pokemon that are given as gifts like Charmander or Toxel are all Shiny Locked. This means that no matter how many times you reset your game and pick them up again they won't be shiny. Also unlike Pokemon Let's Go where you could see shiny pokemon in the overworld, in Sword and Shield you will only be able to tell if it's a shiny pokemon after entering the encounter.
Sword and Shield Shiny Guide - How do I catch Shiny Pokemon in the Wild?
The most basic of the basic methods to finding a Shiny Pokemon is just to get out there and keep fighting anything and everything. Surely something will show up right? Let's look at things that we can do to make this process a bit more effective, the first method would be chaining. Chaining is when you focus on getting the shiny of just one Pokemon so you battle that same type of pokemon over and over again.
- Pick a Pokemon that you want to get a shiny of and go to where it spawns
- Get into a fight with it and either knock it out or catch it
- Continue this until you get a shiny
The easiest and fastest way to ensure you're fighting the right pokemon is by picking a pokemon that spawns in the overworld so you're not having to worry about incorrect encounters. Don't worry if you do get into an encounter with a pokemon other than your target though as you can just run away without breaking your chain. To make repeating encounters with the same pokemon more reliable it's recommended that you hunt for a pokemon that spawns in the Wild Area overworld so you can see what you're getting.
Repeating the process will actually be beneficial to you for two different reasons. First discovered by @Kaphotics on Twitter as you increase your chain you become more likely to encounter a shiny. What also comes into play though is that there is a passive shiny modifier that's consistently increasing at certain milestones as you defeat pokemon. The Number Battled isn't just affected by every encounter but instead by fighting "Brilliant Pokemon." These are the pokemon that you see with the gold aura around them.
From the above graph we can see that as your chain count increases to the 25+ level, you have a higher chance of encountering a shiny. If you get that 25+ chain up but have also battled 300 of the pokemon, then that just increases your chances even higher. From just a max chain you can drop the chance of encountering a Shiny Pokemon from 1 in 4,096 to 1 in 3,072. The longer you do this and get the battled count higher, that number just keeps dropping.
The chance for extra rolls that you see on the table are exactly what you'd expect. If you manage to meet the criteria then after the game calculating the 1 in 4096 chance you'll get another chance at that calculation where the success condition is getting a Shiny. It would be like trying to roll a dice for a 6 but you're now able to roll more dice instead of just once.
Sword and Shield Shiny Guide - How do I hatch a Shiny Pokemon?
In Pokemon there's an increased rate of hatching a shiny pokemon when you breed together two pokemon of different regions, known as the Matsuda Method. If you've been Surprise Trading and you've spotted that some pokemon have (GER) or (JPN) next to their names, then that pokemon comes from a different region. Normally the language of the pokemon's nickname can also give it away. The language of the game that the pokemon is coming from is the key factor in whether the Matsuda Method will kick in.
If you were to try to hatch a Shiny Pokemon normally, you'd still be stuck with that 1 in 4,096 chance. With a foreign parent pokemon, like a Ditto that can breed with practically any pokemon, though, your rate is now 1 in 683. This slashes the rate down by more than a max chain after battling 500 pokemon.
Sword and Shield Shiny Guide - What's the best way to optimize hatching Pokemon?
There are a number of things that can be done to speed up the process of getting pokemon eggs and hatching them. While a lot of these can be done at any time during the game, note that there are some that are only available after completing the game.
- Have access to the Pokemon Daycare at either Route 5 or Bridge Field of the Wild Area—this is an obvious step
- Have all of the upgrades to the bike, allowing you to move faster, increasing the rate of hatching Pokemon
- Keep a pokemon with the Flame Body ability in your party—this cuts the hatch rate by 50%
Once you've beaten the game and watched the credits, you can go to the hotel in the snow city Circhester. Go up the elevator and to the first room on the left. Inside is a police officer who will double battle you—all of his pokemon are lv 60+ so be sure you're prepared. After beating him, you'll obtain the Key Item Oval Charm. This will increase the rate at which your pokemon will lay eggs in daycare.
Combining all of the above you'll not only be hatching eggs faster but collecting them faster too. It's normally best to find yourself a set path that you'll cycle through always remembering to check back at the daycare lady. If you cycle by and her arms are by her side, then there isn't an egg; if her arms are crossed over her body, then it's time for you to add another egg to your party.
Sword and Shield Shiny Guide - Is there anything else I can do to increase my chances at a Shiny Pokemon?
The last thing you can do to increase the chance of getting a shiny pokemon is also the hardest one to do and that is obtaining the Shiny Charm. This is an item cuts the shiny chance dramatically. With only the shiny charm in play, your chances fall from 1 in 4,096 to 1 in 1,365.5. The effect of the Shiny Charm will also stack with the other above methods—stacked with the Matsuda Method would give you a 1 in 512 chance. That's eight times as likely just because you got the Shiny Charm and have a foreign Ditto.
To obtain the Shiny Charm, you need to complete the Pokedex. This isn't just seeing all of the 400 Pokemon presents in the Galar Pokedex—this is having caught data for each and every one. For Pokemon that have multiple forms like Alcreme, you only need to get one form, and you don't need to have all of the Gigantamax Pokemon as they don't have their own Pokedex pages. Once you've got a 100% completed Pokedex, you can go to the hotel in Circhester once more, this time heading into the furthest room on the left and talking to the doctor.
Sword and Shield Shiny Guide - Is there anything new about shiny Pokemon?
Just when you thought getting to hit that 1 in 4,096 chance was difficult enough there's now a new layer to shiny pokemon, that's whether they appear with star effects or square effects. In terms of random encounters it's much more likely that you'll get a pokemon with stars (15/16 chance) compared to the square effects. There is some research at the moment going into whether the way that you're hunting shinies affecting what type of shine you'll get, but as people are getting deep down into the code, it's still being figured out. Aside from the shine effect, there seems to be no other difference between these two types of shiny pokemon.