GAMING: Small but Shiny: A Guide to Pokémon Shiny Hunting

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

Trainer Q will exponentially increase your chances of finding a Shiny. —INGRAIN Summer 2019

STORY / Marques Snead aka Trainer Q

Greetings and congratulations, trainer! So you have reached the endgame of Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu!/Eevee! for the Nintendo Switch, you have collected all eight gym badges, beaten the Elite Four and champion, completed your Pokédex, and received your Shiny Charm. Your adventure does not have to end here. You can now begin to hunt for a Shiny version of your favorite Pokémon!

What’s a Shiny Pokémon, you ask? Shiny Pokémon are very rare and have a different color scheme than their standard counterparts. While they do not offer any stat boost, they show off your determination and dedication to being the very best player. Before I get ahead of myself, introductions are in order. You can call me Shiny Hunter Q. I have been attempting to “catch ’em all” since the franchise was introduced in the mid-1990s.

If you are familiar with the franchise and the games of old, you know that it is a great time to be a Pokémon trainer. Gone are the days of 8-bit black-and-white sprites. We now have gorgeous full-color, 3-D models of our favorite Pocket Monsters. I have not always been a Shiny Hunter, but the reboot of the franchise makes it more fun than ever before to hunt the most elusive of the bunch.


While every Pokémon that you encounter in the wild is very unlikely to appear Shiny, over the years new mechanics can increase your chances. Consider that in Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu!/Eevee! the base odds for finding a Shiny is 1/4,096. One hopes that over time and after embarking on a large number of encounters, a player would be lucky enough to find one. That is not quite how it works.

Assume you have a single dice that has 4,096 sides, and any time a Pokémon spawns that dice is rolled. The key is only one side determines whether your Pokémon will be Shiny. While this kind of “full-odds hunting” can be very satisfying, it requires a LOT of time and a LOT of luck. Would you like to learn how to use the mechanics in the game to take those 1/4,096 odds of finding a Pocket Monster all the way down to 1/273? All right, then, let’s get to it.


Before you head out there, make sure you know how to identify each Pokémon Shiny. While some Shiny species visually appear markedly different from their standard counterpart, with others the differences are more subtle. I recommend going online to find pictures of the Shiny variety you would like to seek. Besides color variations, you will be able to recognize a Shiny Pokémon by its “sparkling” quality.

–This should not be confused with the “size” effect, meaning the red sparkle effect given to larger Pokémon and the blue for smaller Pocket Monsters.


This charm is an essential component in your Shiny Pokémon strategy. You do not need to complete the story line in order to receive your Shiny Charm; you need only complete your Pokédex. That may be a tall order, as some Pokémon evolve via trades with other players, while other species are specific to each game. If you have Pokémon Go (2016) for mobile or either version of Let’s Go!, trading is easy. You can also trade via the internet with another trainer to help complete your Pokédex (membership with Nintendo Switch Online is required).

–Once your Pokédex is complete, head to the Game Freak headquarters in Celadon City and locate the game director. Show him your completed Pokédex and he will give you the Shiny Charm. Remember those odds of 1/4,096? Now, with this little charm all of your wild encounters have a 1/1,365 chance of being a Shiny Pokémon.


Similar to fishing, the Lure in Pokémon draws a greater number of both stronger and rare Pokémon for a predetermined number of steps. (Available at Poké Marts; the price and steps have three varieties: standard, super, and max.) When you are in an area where wild Pokémon can be caught, head to your inventory and select and use the Lure. When you have reached the maximum number of steps, you will be notified that the Lure has expired and prompted to use another if available.

–You’ll want to keep both the Shiny charm and a Lure sprayed around you while searching. Your odds that your next encounter will be a Shiny Pokémon increase to 1/1,024.


Unlike in the 1990s arcade game Killer Instinct (Midway/ Nintendo), you will not want to break any Catch Combos while Shiny hunting. The Combo mechanic rewards you for consecutively catching the same species of Pocket Monster. In Let’s Go!, wild battles work differently than in previous games, which required battling wild Pokémon to weaken and capture them. Now you are simply armed with your Poké Balls and Berries, just like in Pokémon Go.

–For every ten Pokémon of the same species that you catch, you receive an increased XP (experience points, or what you need to collect in order to level up your Pokémon) per catch, as well as increased Shiny odds (maxing out at a Combo of thirty-one). So, after you have acquired the Shiny Charm and Lure, AND consecutively catch eleven of the same Pokémon, your odds of catching a Shiny Pokémon increase to 1/585.


The Poké Ball is also essential for capturing Pokémon Shiny. In fishing terms, you are far less likely to haul in a fish without a line or reel. In the game, you will be forced to run from a wild Pokémon you encounter if you do not have any Poké Balls in your inventory, so be sure to stock up. Like Lures, they can be purchased at Poke Marts and range in price and efficiency—from the standard Poké Ball to the coveted Master Ball. The latter cannot be purchased (the Master Ball is a “free” gift; look for it on the ground in the Cerulean Cave). An Ultra Ball, also useful, has the highest efficiency of any Ball you can purchase.

–For every purchase of ten or more of the same Ball type, you will receive one free Premier Ball. It has the same general benefits as a standard Poké Ball but looks a little cooler; it is my Ball of choice when I finally encounter the Shiny. Unlike the standard Poké Ball, the Premier Ball is all white (a little more aesthetically pleasing to me) but it also has the same odds as a standard Poké Ball and increases the difficulty and satisfaction of the catch.


As your Combo grows, the strength of the Pokémon species you are trying to catch will simultaneously increase. A little sweet treat like Berries can help coax them back to you. There are three different berry types at various levels (standard, silver, and gold), each with unique benefits. Razz Berries are used to make Pokémon easier to catch (each Poké Ball becomes more effective). Nanab Berries will reduce how much a wild Pokémon can move around and attack during encounters. Pinap Berries increase the likelihood that a wild Pokémon will be carrying Candies (treats fed to your Pocket Monster to increase their stats) and Berries when captured.

–Neither Berries nor Candies can be purchased. Each can be found in a variety of ways, including by catching a wild Pokémon. Neither affects your Shiny odds.


As in real estate, location is everything when it comes to Shiny hunting. In Pokémon, you will travel across the lands, searching far and wide for Pocket Monsters, but make sure you choose a good place to begin hunting. I prefer those with high spawn areas, diversity, and resetting ease.

A high spawn area refers to how many Pokémon will likely appear within a given space. The more spawns, the more dice rolled, and thus the better odds of one being Shiny. In Poké-speak, diversity means how many different species and elemental family types (Fire, Rock, et al.) appear. Resetting ease is the ability to exit a location and enter a new one, which causes spawning.


So you now have all the tools you need to complete your Shiny-dex. Go out there and catch your Shiny guys, because that’s your real test. And to train them is your cause! Remember, while you can encounter a Shiny early in the game, it is highly unlikely that you will finish a hunt quickly. So set aside plenty of time, throw on some tunes, and grab your favorite beverage before embarking on your journey!


As you increase your Combos, you will be rewarded with more perfect IVs (individual values), with a max of four perfect IVs at thirty-one or greater. All Pokémon have six stats, which vary slightly among Pokémon but are determined (you guessed it!) by each stats’ individual value. A higher IV means your Pokémon will have higher stats and be stronger than a counterpart of the same species with lower IVs. You will also earn a chance to find the species that you are trying to catch for the Combo with five or six perfect IVs. (IVs and battling are a lesson for the Battle Master Q, so we’ll save that for another day.) Maintaining this Combo is important. You can unintentionally break the Combo (and you will have to start over) in several ways.

1. Catching a different species. Keep in mind that even though it is tempting to catch a different species of Pokémon, you need to stick to the same species within the same evolutionary line. For example, combining Caterpies, then catching a Metapod or even a Butterfree, will break your Combo.

2. Consolation prize. If your Combo is broken because you caught another species, everything’s not lost if 1) you have found the target Shiny and encounter a new Shiny or 2) you encounter a different Shiny before finding your target. Some players subscribe to the school of thought that no Shiny should ever be left behind. If you are searching for a specific species but find a different Shiny before encountering your target, you must attempt to catch that Shiny (you can only flee if it appears unruly and likely to run).

3. Fleeing wild Pokémon. If any wild Pokémon you engage flees from you during an encounter, your Combo will be broken. But if you run from an encounter, your Combo will remain intact. It will be necessary at times for you to flee, such as when you encounter a different species. It is also important to know when any species is about to flee. Most Pokémon have two animations—basically an “attack” response and a “screw you guys, I’m going home!” mode. When you see the latter, you want to either lob one additional Ball at the wild Pokémon (for the chance to catch it) or run immediately in order to keep your Combo intact.

4. Turning off the software. Additionally, if you close or restart the software, turn off or restart your Switch, or close the software and start different software, your Combo will be broken. Putting your Switch in sleep mode will NOT break this Combo, so if you need or want a break from gaming, simply put your Switch in sleep mode so you can return later and pick up where you left off.

Now we can start to cook with fire (I choose you, Charizard!), and you will be rewarded with an increased rate in which the Pokémon you are Combo-ing will appear. (The exception is rare spawns, meaning only one of the species will spawn at a time.) You will see another bump in Pokémon appearances when twenty-one of the same species are caught, and the final bump when you have thirty-one; your chances of seeing a Shiny will now be 1/273. Once you have reached thirty-one catches, ALL wild Pokémon that you encounter will have this Shiny rate, in essence giving you a “two-for-one” opportunity. Also, if you chain up to thirty-one species and subsequently catch a Shiny of the same species, your Combo will remain intact and you can continue to hunt for a different Shiny at this increased rate.

–A Combo chain greater than thirty-one does not increase your spawn, Shiny rate, or IV, so there is no need to catch more (unless you are hunting for a specific Nature or species-specific Candy).