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Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: shiny hunting guide

It’s already a major task to catch all the Pokémon in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, or any of the games for that matter, but GameFreak introduced another factor completionists will need to account for starting in Generation 2, that being shiny Pokémon. These are very rare forms of Pokémon that feature alternate colors of their regular, non-shiny forms. They never have any numerical or mechanical differences from their regular versions and are only differentiated based on their color and rarity.

Shiny hunting has been around since shiny Pokémon were introduced, but the methods and odds of encountering them always change from game to game. They are still present in Scarlet and Violet, but the open-world format has made hunting them slightly different. If you want to know how to get the best odds of finding these rare Pokémon, here’s everything you need to know about shiny hunting.

Shiny hunting basics

Shiny Azumarill.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Let’s get the basics out of the way since even experienced shiny hunters will need to acclimate to a few differences in Scarlet and Violet. First up, the base odds of encountering a shiny in these games, with no other factors, is 1 out of 4096. So, pretty poor chances, but about on par with the last few entries. However, this being an open world where you can see all the Pokémon around you on the map means that you can always see a shiny from a distance without battling it first.

Aside from seeing one with your own eyes, you will never be informed of the location or existence of a shiny as was the case in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. You’ll have to rely on your own observations to notice and catch it yourself. If you do spot a shiny, make sure you save before attempting to catch it. If something goes wrong and you lose, accidentally knock it out, or it flees, reloading your save will let you have another attempt at catching it.

You don’t need to worry about using the Let’s Go mechanic where you let a Pokémon roam around and battle things on its own, either. Mercifully Scarlet and Violet won’t let a Pokémon auto-battle a shiny. In fact, this can be a handy way to tell if a Pokémon is shiny since your Pokémon will refuse to battle it.

Shiny locked Pokémon

Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly in a trailer.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

One last thing to note before getting into the real meat of shiny hunting is to know that Scarlet and Violet have what are called shiny locked Pokémon. These are Pokémon that, no matter what, can’t appear as shiny, so you shouldn’t even bother trying to get one to spawn. Here’s which Pokémon are shiny locked:

Ways to increase shiny Pokémon spawn rates

As we stated at the start, your normal chance of encountering a shiny Pokémon is a measly 1/4096. Even for the most dedicated hunter, that’s far too low if you intend to catch even a few shiny Pokémon. That’s where these tips come in handy — they can dramatically boost your odds of finding them.

Get the Shiny Charm

The Shiny Charm is a returning item that is made specifically for shiny hunters. It is an essential tool for anyone seriously intent on grinding out shiny encounters but is always a grind in itself to get. In order to get the Shiny Charm in Scarlet and Violet you will first need to complete your Pokédex by catching all 400 species of Pokémon in the game. This will require you to do some trading since there are a handful of version-exclusive Pokémon that count toward this total.

Once your Pokédex is complete, you can talk to Professor Jacq in the Academy’s biology room and he will present you with the Shiny Charm. This is a key item that automatically increases your odds of encountering a shiny by 3x, bringing it down from 1/4096 to 1/1365. It’s a big commitment, but the easiest way to permanently increase your chances of encountering shiny Pokémon going forward by a considerable amount.

Make sandwiches

A picninc sandwich in Scarlet and Violet.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Sandwiches, as you should be quite familiar with, provide various buffs depending on the recipe. Certain recipes give you a buff called Sparkling Power that will increase the odds of shiny Pokémon spawning for as long as the buff lasts. The highest level of Sparkling Power is level three, which alone can increase your shiny odds to 1/1024. This is already slightly better than the Shiny Charm alone, but requires spending ingredients and only lasts 30 minutes at a time. Also, Sparkling Powers only apply to specific Pokémon types, so you are only really boosting your odds of finding a shiny of one type at a time instead of across the board.

To make sandwiches with level three Sparkling Power, you will need to include Herba Mystica as an ingredient, which is tough to get since it only drops from five and six start Tera Raids. For a full list of sandwich recipes for each type, check out this amazing list put together by The Time is Nigh.

The Masuda Method

Pokémon egg hatching.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Masuda Method has been around for a few generations at this point, and still works for Scarlet and Violet. This method doesn’t involve running around hoping to find a wild shiny, but instead exploits some breeding mechanics to create your own shiny.

Scarlet and Violet have you breed Pokémon at picnics to create eggs, which then hatch into new Pokémon. Just breeding any two regular Pokémon won’t increase the odds of the egg hatching a shiny, though. What you need to do is breed two Pokémon that are not only from two different versions of the game — one from yours and another traded from the version you don’t own — but also originating from a different country than you live in. For example, to make the Masuda Method work, a player in America with Pokémon Scarlet could trade with a Japanese player who owns Pokémon Violet.

This is tough to organize, no doubt, but is incredibly effective. With no other factors, the egg you get will have a 1/683 chance of being shiny.

Mass Outbreaks

Pokemon trainers run around with their monsters in Pokemon Violet and Scarlet.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Mass Outbreaks were introduced in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and they continue to increase shiny odds in Scarlet and Violet. However, the way in which it works has changed. Mass Outbreaks still show up on your map, and only last for a day, or until you have caught or knocked out all the Pokémon in the outbreak. You never know where an outbreak will spawn, nor what Pokémon will populate that outbreak.

Mass Outbreaks themselves have regular shiny odds, but clearing them will gradually increase those odds. After clearing out between 30 and 59 Pokémon, the odds go down to 1/2048. Clearing 60 or more further improves your chances to 1/1365. This may seem like a lot, but you can do this quite easily simply letting your Pokémon auto-battle them in Let’s Go mode knowing that they won’t accidentally KO a shiny should one appear.

Shiny odds breakdown

Those are all the ways known to increase shiny odds, but the formula for how these methods can work in conjunction is a bit complex. Thankfully, Anubis on Twitter has done all the math in determining what your shiny odds will be with each combination of the above methods. Here’s a basic breakdown from lowest to highest odds:

  • Normal shiny odds: 1/4096
  • 30-59 Pokémon cleared in Mass Outbreak: 1/2048
  • 60-plus Pokémon cleared in Mass Outbreak: 1/1365
  • Shiny Charm: 1/1365
  • Level three Sparkling Power: 1/1024
  • Shiny Charm + 30-59 Pokémon cleared in Mass Outbreak: 1/1024
  • Shiny Charm + 60-plus Pokémon cleared in Mass Outbreak: 1/819
  • 30-59 Pokémon cleared in Mass Outbreak + level three Sparkling Power: 1/819
  • 60+ Pokémon  cleared in Mass Outbreak + level three Sparkling Power: 1/683
  • Masuda Method: 1/683
  • Shiny Charm + level three Sparkling Power: 1/683
  • Shiny Charm + level three Sparkling Power + 30-59 Pokémon cleared in Mass Outbreak: 1/585
  • Shiny Charm + level three Sparkling Power + 60+ Pokémon cleared in Mass Outbreak: 1/512
  • Shiny Charm + Masuda Method: 1/512

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Jesse Lennox
Jesse Lennox loves writing, games, and complaining about not having time to write and play games. He knows the names of more…
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