Shiny odds in Pokémon GO are vastly different from the regular rates in the main Pokémon series. With its shared connectivity through Home, Pokémon GO does include Shiny Pokémon, although the rate at which Shiny Pokémon appear in GO runs on a different set of manipulation skills than Shiny hunters coming over from console games may realize. Although many traditional Shiny hunting methods are ineffective in Pokémon GO, the game does make up for this in some ways.

The mainline series features numerous aspects that can be manipulated to improve their odds of finding a Shiny Pokémon, added at various points over the franchise’s history. On the other hand, shiny odds in Pokémon GO can’t be affected by the trainer in any way. Shiny rates in GO fluctuate, with special events such as Pokémon GO’s Community Days having increased spawn rates for Shiny Pokémon appearances.

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Pokémon GO’s Shiny Odds Explained

An image of Shiny Litleo and Shiny Espurr in Pokemon Go superimposed over the game's logo

Although the Pokémon GO community network, The Silph Road, shut down its website operations in 2023, an archive of Shiny odds calculated by The Silph Road still makes for the most exhaustive resource on this aspect of the game. The rates are estimates, but enough data is involved in the calculations for an overall accurate result. On average, there’s a 1 in 500 chance, or .2%, for a wild Pokémon in Pokémon GO to be Shiny. The rate appears to be eight times higher – a 1 in 62.5 chance, or 1.6% – for very rare wild spawns, certain Shadow Pokémon, and certain raid Pokémon.

Less rare encounters seem to have a smaller boost of four times or a 1 in 125 chance (.8%). Legendary and Mythical Pokémon in Pokémon GO feature an impressive 1 in 20, or 5% Shiny odds. The featured Community Day Pokémon has an increased Shiny rate of 1 in 15, or 4%, and the featured Pokémon in the three-hour Raid Days have been observed to have a 1 in 10, or 10%, chance of being Shiny, the highest in Pokémon GO. Other special Pokémon, such as those featured in Special Research events, GO Fest, and Safari Zone events, also have an increased Shiny chance, which seems to fluctuate between events.

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Although the odds for Shiny Pokémon in Pokémon GO are high, trainers will have to actively seek them out. Pokémon on the overworld always appear in their regular coloration, so the only way to find out if they’re shiny is to enter a battle with them. This is also the case with Pokémon GO raid Pokémon, which always appear with their regular colors during the raid battle itself and will only appear shiny during the bonus challenge. Unsurprisingly, the same is true of Shadow Pokémon, which appear with normal colors when used by a Team Rocket member.

How Pokémon GO’s Shiny Odds Changed

Shiny Pokemon in Pokemon Legends Arceus' hub town

Shiny odds in the mainline Pokémon games were originally at a 1 in 8192 chance or approximately .01%. Starting in Gen 6, this rate doubled to 1 in 4096, or approximately .02%. Gen 4 introduced the “Masuda method,” a way to increase the odds of a shiny Pokémon hatching from an Egg. Named after long-time series director Junichi Masuda, who was the first to describe how the method worked, Pokémon’s Masuda method refers to the increased chance for an Egg from two Pokémon from game files with different languages left at the Day Care to hatch a Shiny.

Related: Pokémon Scarlet & Violet: Is Shiny Hunting With Masuda Method Worth It?

Gen 5 introduced the Shiny Charm key item that further increases the chance of a Pokémon being Shiny. Other methods of increasing Shiny odds vary from game to game, such as SOS chaining in Gen 7, mass outbreaks in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and chain fishing in Gen 6. Despite the various increases and unique methods of obtaining Shiny Pokémon, these elusive creatures have remained rare throughout the history of the Pokémon games.

Because there are more methods of obtaining Pokémon in mainline games compared to Pokémon GO, such as breeding and fishing, there are more ways the Shiny odds can be affected in the mainline games. In these games, increasing the odds of finding Shiny Pokémon involves adding “rerolls.” Essentially, a Pokémon is generated when it is encountered, or the Egg is produced. With each shiny-increasing method applied, the game generates additional personality values – a hidden value – giving more opportunities for the Pokémon to be shiny.

For example, if a trainer uses the Masuda method in Gen 5 or later, the game will generate up to six different personality values for the Pokémon, and if any of them result in a shiny, the game will stop at that value and keep it. These methods can be stacked with each other, such as a Shiny Charm and Mass Outbreaks in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, to increase the chances for a Pokémon to be Shiny even further. Despite all these methods, the rates for finding Shiny Pokémon in GO are still ultimately higher.

Why Pokémon GO’s Shiny Chances Are Better Than Most

An image of three Shiny Spheal From Pokemon Sword And Shield for a Holiday Event In Pokemon GO

Because Pokémon GO revolves around capturing many Pokémon for the sake of powering them up, a higher Shiny rate can help continue a positive gameplay loop. If a trainer already has a particular Pokémon registered in their Pokédex and maxed out their CP, they will still want to check wild ones as they pass by just in case they encounter a Shiny. Games like Pokémon Legends: Arceus operate on a similar premise, forcing trainers to capture the same Pokémon multiple times as part of the requirements to complete their Pokédex entries.

The key difference between mainline games like Pokémon Scarlet and Violet and Pokémon GO, however, is the way in which mainline games give more control to the trainer. Not only are increases in Shiny odds earned through specific achievements, such as completing Pokédex entries and earning the Shiny Charm, but the trainer also has more control over what Pokémon they can find or breed. The Pokémon that hatch from Eggs using the Masuda method are controlled directly by the trainer, and all Pokémon are obtainable in the wild under normal circumstances. This isn’t the case for Pokémon GO, where time, geography, and sheer randomness all play major roles.

Related: New Pokémon GO Routes & Sharing Explained

Shiny odds in Pokémon GO, therefore, benefit from being much higher than even Pokémon Legends: Arceus with all its methods of adding to the Shiny find rate. This pure rate increase balances out the general lack of control offered over finding or hatching Pokémon in the game. The only times the main series has had Shiny chances comparable to those of Pokémon GO were likely unintentional, such as in Gen 2, when the chance of a shiny Pokémon hatching from an Egg could be made as high as 1 in 64 if numerous conditions were met.

New Shiny Pokémon come to Pokémon GO all the time, and any list of available Shinies quickly becomes incorrect or out-of-date. Although this can be disorienting at times, it also helps to keep the Shiny hunt in Pokémon GO fresh and surprising. At the time of writing, the most recent Shiny Pokémon added to Pokémon GO are Golett, Golurk, Skrelp, and Dragalge, released at the start of Pokémon GO Fest 2023: New York City.

Source: The Silph Road/Internet Archive

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