Shiny hunting is one of the Pokemon fandoms’ fondest pastimes. “Shinies,” as the community calls them, are Pokemon with alternate color palettes, like the black-and-red shiny Charizard. Finding yourself one of these uniquely colored Pokemon is extremely rare, however, but most Pokemon games — including Pokemon Sword and Shield — have a few methods players can use to increase the chance of finding shinies. This Pokemon Sword and Shield shiny hunting guide covers everything you need to know about how to get shiny starters and other Pokemon.
Pokemon Sword and Shield | Shiny starter Pokemon
As in Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee!, Pokemon Sword and Shield’s starter Pokemon reportedly cannot be shiny. According to Pokemon dataminer Kurt “Kaphotics,” the starter Pokemon you receive at the beginning of the game cannot be shiny. This means you can’t soft reset Sword and Shield until you get shinies, as some players did in past titles. The starters can still be bred to hatch shiny Pokemon from eggs later on, however.
For those confused what this means, this prevents the model from showing up as shiny AND prevents the actual PKM you obtain from being shiny. This is the same as the situation in LGPE.
— Kurt (@Kaphotics) November 11, 2019
Pokemon Sword and Shield | Hatching shiny Pokemon eggs
Just like in past Pokemon games, Pokemon can be bred with different-language Pokemon for a greatly increased chance of encountering a shiny. For more information on this shiny hunting method, check out our Masuda Method shiny breeding guide.
Pokemon Sword and Shield | Encountering wild shiny Pokemon
While egg hatching is a great method of increasing your odds of getting a shiny Pokemon — especially for Pokemon that only rarely appear in the wild — there are a few ways to increase your chances of running into a shiny Pokemon out in the open.
By default, you only have a 1/4096 chance of encountering a wild shiny Pokemon. The most straightforward way of increasing your chances is obtaining the Shiny Charm, which buffs your odds to 3/4096 (about 1/1365). To learn how to get the Shiny Charm, check out our Sword and Shield Shiny Charm guide.
For those without the charm, Pokemon dataminer Kurt discovered elements of the Sword and Shield code that detail a few different methods for increasing shiny encounter odds. First, the more you battle a species of Pokemon overall, the higher chance you’ll have of running into a shiny version of it. You can see your total number of battles with a particular Pokemon in its Pokedex entry. Second, chaining consecutive battles with a particular Pokemon will further increase those chances. To chain encounters with a Pokemon, find the Pokemon in the overworld and defeat it, then continue doing this without running into any other Pokemon.
Pokémon Sword/Shield give you extra rerolls to try to generate a shiny based on how many of the Pokémon you've ever battled, and how long your current encounter chain is. Shiny charm still gives +2 if obtained.
We're not sure what increments your chain counter, but this is it! pic.twitter.com/k5rX7tTcUf
— Kurt (@Kaphotics) November 14, 2019
The way the odds are increased by these encounter numbers is a bit confusing, but it appears that the “Chance for extra rerolls” portion of Kurt’s table shows the chance that the shiny encounter odds increase will be applied to a particular encounter. So, for example, once you reach 500 encounters and 25 consecutive battles, you’ll have a 33% chance of increasing your odds by 1/4096, up to 7/4096 (about 1/585). This stacks with the shiny charm, meaning the maximum possible odds at 500 total encounters and 25 chained encounters would be 9/4096 (about 1/455).