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Getting a shiny Pokémon in Sword or Shield isn’t easy. If you don’t know what you are looking for, you might not even notice if you catch one. Here’s how you can tell.

The chances of getting a shiny Pokémon are fairly slim, with odds of 4096 to 1 of encountering one. And unlike last year’s Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu!, and Let’s Go, Eevee!, it isn’t possible to tell if a Pokémon is shiny before you battle it.

Here’s how to know that you are battling a shiny Pokémon, and how to tell if you already have one in your party or box.

How to know when you are battling a shiny Pokémon

When you encounter a shiny, it will be surrounded by sparkles. It looks, well, shiny. Most shinies can be spotted by a change in colour, but if you’re not familiar with the full Pokédex, looking for the sparkles is the simplest method of identification during battle.

In Pokémon Sword and Shield, there are two types of sparkles to look out for: normal, and square. Square shinies are all new and ultra-rare. If you encounter a shiny there’s a 1 in 16 chance it will feature square sparkles. That means a 1 in 65536 chance overall. Eek!

How to know if you (already) have a shiny Pokémon

If you capture a shiny, or want to know if you’ve already obtained one without realising it, press [X] and navigate to the Pokémon menu. Select Pokémon, then Check Summary. You will see a range of details, including its name, type, original trainer, and ID No. A red symbol comprised of two stars is displayed in the Markings section if the Pokémon is shiny.

Shiny Pokémon symbol

There are shiny variants of almost every Pokémon in Sword and Shield. However, some can never be shiny and others are shiny-locked, meaning they cannot be bred.

None of the game’s Legendary Pokémon can be shiny, and all Pokémon obtained via gifts are locked.

Shiny versions of Sword and Shield‘s starters – Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble – can only be obtained through breeding. Unlike previous generations, they cannot be obtained at the start of the game.

Increasing your chances of encountering a shiny during normal play is an art all of its own. Instagram user, shinyinstinct has created this handy cheat sheet to help you get started.


Visit our guides section for more useful video game tips, including details on how to get a Galarian Slowpoke. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter for daily news updates.

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