Shiny Pokémon have always been a prized possession of Pokémon fans everywhere. These rare Pokémon with a different color scheme have a 1 in 4,096 chance of appearing in the wild in more recent games. Because of this, the special Pokémon has long served as an emblem of a dedicated trainer who put the hunt for rare monsters above all else. Catching a single Shiny Pokémon can take several hours of grinding at a time. But that’s starting to change, as recent mainline games have made it easier to find shinies, and now it seems like everyone and their mom has shiny Pokémon.
Technically, everyone who played pokemon gold and Silver, or their remakes, probably caught at least one shiny. In those games you catch a red Gyarados as part of the main story. But outside of these special Gyarados, catching a shiny in previous generations proved to be difficult. From the second generation to Gen 5 (pokemon black 2 and White 2), the frequency of seeing a shiny was even lower than now – 1 in 8,192.
Of course, each game led to players developing their own tricks and strategies to get Shiny Pokémon. In Gold and Silver, some Shiny Hunters estimate that a player can achieve a 1 in 64 chance of hatching a Shiny if one of the parent Pokémon is Shiny. However, that requires you to start with a shiny, so those wanting something other than Gyarados will have to grind and get one in the wild. So getting down to catching one in the wild still required a huge amount of grinding as players had to endure the low odds. There used to be no items that increased the spawning speed of Shiny Pokémon, so if you didn’t breed, you’d have to go through encounter after encounter in the grass as you ran around bumping into each Pokémon one by one.
Shiny chasing has become easier over time. In Diamond and Pearl, we learned about the Masuda Breeding Method, which increases the chances of a Shiny Pokémon hatching from an egg if you breed Pokémon from two different languages. (This makes Dittos from other countries a mainstay of Pokémon breeding. Sorry Ditto!) Black 2 and White 2 introduced the Shiny Charm, which tripled the chance of encountering a shiny Pokémon. After that, Game Freak roughly doubled the overall chance of encountering a Shiny Pokémon X and Y.
This trend of shinies becoming more common continued with Nintendo Switch games and remakes. In Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go Eevee, Game Freak made the jump from wild monster spawns in the grass to overworld spawns. Instead of seeing a single spawn in battle, we could see dozens of Pokémon roaming around at once, including shiny ones. Combine that with in-game events like Mass Outbreaks Legends: Arceus and Scarlet and Violetand you have plenty of opportunities to chase shinies.
Based on the odds and anecdotal evidence, there’s no doubt that this once hardcore way of capturing monsters has gotten easier. When I tried out a shiny hunting exploit in Scarlet and Violet, I finally caught a shiny Larvesta within 30 minutes. (It was a shine I had longed and hoped for ever since Black and White.) Of course, a bit of luck played a part in my own success, but I’m not alone. TikTok is full of reports of people accidentally bumping into Shiny Pokémon without seeking them out; a viral video, according to the user who posted it, shows a person catching a lot of shinies in one day. I spoke to two die-hard shiny hunters who often stream their hunts for hours on end, both of whom confirmed that hunting in general has become easier.
For Wafer, who streams his hunts on Twitch, hunting shinies in new games has become easier, even though games like Scarlet and Violet lack of audiovisual clues pointing to the Pokémon in the wild. (In Legends: Arceusa chime alerts players to the presence of a shiny; Scarlet and Violet doesn’t have that feature and can unfortunately exclude colorblind players or players who simply don’t know what a certain shiny Pokémon looks like.)
“I have to say I am personally happy with the changes in shiny chasing as I don’t have as much time chasing shiny as I used to when I was younger and I love hearing the stories of people getting the games for years finally their first shine,” Wafer said.
Wafer acknowledges the joy that comes with getting that special Pokémon. But gatekeepers have responded by highlighting the relative rarity of shinies in various Pokémon games. Steve Sarumi, a streamer and podcaster who runs the Pokémon podcast It’s very effectivenoticed an increase in the number of gate-watching Shiny Pokémon now that they’ve become easier to catch.
“The argument revolves around how ‘easier’ shiny Pokémon would devalue other shinies, which makes no sense to me. If I encounter a shiny Koffing on my journey within Pokemon CrystalI personally wouldn’t find it more valuable than encountering the same Pokémon in Shield. At the end of the day, they’re both shiny Koffing,” Sarumi said.
As catching Shiny Pokémon has become easier over time, those who want the extra challenge have found ways to increase the difficulty of collecting Pokémon. Wafer told me he’s seen a growing number of players go for the “shiny living dex” and try to get the shiny version of every single Pokémon in the game. So instead of going for a specific Pokémon, hunters will try to catch all 400 in games like Scarlet and Violet.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t super rare Pokémon to chase. pokemon sword and Shield introduced marked Pokémon. A marked Pokémon has a special “mark” in the submenu on the ribbon of a Pokémon’s summary. Each mark functions as a kind of honorary title attesting to the unique circumstance under which a trainer received it. If you send a marked Pokémon away, it will have a special title, such as “Mimikyu the Sleepy.” Scarlet and Violet has dozens of marks, with Serebii estimating that the rarest marks have a frequency of 1 in 1000.
Sarumi said these marked Pokémon have become new targets for intense hunters.
“Not only do I think a highlighted shiny object is so incredibly fun to collect, but it also gives that feeling of a ‘harder’ target to find, without the barrier to shiny hunting becoming intimidating for a wider audience.”