Pokémon Sword and Shield Guides

Shiny Hunting in Pokémon Sword and Shield

Learn what the chances are to find a Shiny Pokémon in Galar – and what some methods are!

Update 17th June: We’ve added more to the list of Shinylocked (cannot be Shiny) Pokémon on the Isle of Armor. Gift Pokémon such as Kubfu can not be Shiny.

What’s new to Shiny Pokémon in the eighth generation games, Pokémon Sword and Shield? Quite a lot, actually! We’ll cover the new ‘square’ Shiny, explain why it’s possibly better to breed via the Masuda Method than trying for Catch Combos with wild Pokémon, and how to hunt for Shiny Max Raid Pokémon!


Shiny Chances

As in the previous two generation games, the chance for a Pokémon to be Shiny (have a different colour than usual, and a sparkle effect on entering the battle) is 1 in 4096. That’s fairly low, but it can be improved in a few ways. With the Shiny Charm, which you can obtain after completing the Galar Pokédex (400 Pokémon), the Shiny chance is effectively 1 in 1365.33 (the game basically rolls three times for if the Pokémon is Shiny or not).

The Masuda Method also exists in Galar. This comes into effect when breeding two Pokémon originating from games with different languages to each other (e.g. one from a game with the English setting, and another with the Japanese setting). The chance for a Shiny is roughly ~1 in 683, or with the Shiny Charm 1 in 512.

Unlike in Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee!, you cannot see if a Pokémon is Shiny on the overworld – only once you begin the battle.

For more details about Shiny Pokémon and the above aspects, check out the article below. There’s more analysis here too.

All About Shiny Pokémon

Non-Shiny Pokémon

Some Pokémon cannot yet be Shiny. All Legendary Pokémon currently available, including Type: Null, are ‘Shiny locked’ – unable to be encountered, and hence caught, in their Shiny form. It is possible their Shiny form will be released as an event later on.

Gigantamax Pikachu and Eevee also cannot be Shiny.

Galarian Slowpoke can not be shiny through its initial encounter, but can become shiny through breeding or when encountered on the Isle of Armor.

The Kubfu you receive, as well as other Gift Pokémon on the Isle of Armor (Porygon, Gigantamax Bulbasaur/Squirtle, the Alolan Meowth, Vulpix, Sandshrew, Raichu, Marowak, Exeggutor, and Diglett, Kanto Slowpoke, and the Alolan Starters – Rowlet, Popplio, and Litten) cannot be Shiny.

Lastly, the Starter Pokémon you pick at the start of the game (Scorbunny, Sobble, and Grookey) cannot be Shiny. You can however breed them for their Shiny forms.

Scorbunny can only be found as Shiny through breeding. butterfox

Chain Combos

If you battle a Pokémon of the same species multiple times in a row, you can increase the chance of encountering a Shiny Pokémon. Reportedly, the maximum this rate can be increased to is 3%, and requires battling hundreds of Pokémon. The Masuda Method may be the more manageable and efficient method despite the lower chance, as it is quicker than setting up a high chain combo. However, if you want a Square Shiny, this method makes them more common.

Caught in the wild rather than bred. Snomnipotent

Square Shinies

There are now two types of Shiny Pokémon! The colour of the Pokémon remains the same; what differs is the sparkle effect. Regular Shiny Pokémon have stars, but there is a chance (in normal circumstances, 1/16 if the Pokémon is Shiny) that squares appear instead. That’s all there is – but you can treat Square Shinies as the rarer form.

Max Raid Shiny Pokémon

There exists one other method for hunting Shiny Pokémon, and it’s from Max Raid battles. As explained in this video, the best way involves manipulating the date system of your Nintendo Switch, and comes down to whether a particular Den housing Max Raid Pokémon will have Pokémon set as Shiny or not. It takes advantage of the fact that all attributes of a Pokémon possible to be found in a Den are set upon using a Wishing Piece for four days. This won’t work for ‘promoted’ Gigantamax-Pokémon, and if you want multiple Shiny Pokémon, this method relies on you resetting the game multiple times, allowing friends invited to the Max Raids to catch them for you, and trading any spares to you afterwards.

Beforehand, turn off the auto-save option, and turn the text speed to a lower setting. The steps are as follows (see the video below for a demonstration):

  • Save the game in front of a Den.
  • Change the date forward by one day, three times (e.g. if starting on January the 1st, roll forward until January the 4th).
  • Check if the Pokémon is Shiny. If yes, celebrate!
  • If not Shiny, reload the game, move forward one day (e.g. now January the 2nd), and save the game.
  • Repeat the above steps until you find a Shiny!

Once you find a Shiny Pokémon, roll forward three days from your save point (again one day at a time), invite three friends to do the Max Raid with (they will also see it as Shiny!), and try to catch it. If you have friends to Raid with, don’t save afterwards, but rehost the Raid again after a three-day time skip to get multiple different Shiny Pokémon for your friends, who can trade spares back to you. Otherwise save once you catch it. You’ll have to repeat the process however. Repeat as much as you’d like! All Max Raid eligible Pokémon for that Den will be Shiny. There’s a lot of work required (with some luck) to find a Shiny, but on the other hand a high pay-off.

Have you found any Shiny Pokémon in Galar yet?

Edited by Aldo, Dragon and Sheep.