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Ever since Pokémon Gold/Silver were released, followed by Pokémon Crystal, the concept of "shiny Pokémon" has been a feature to the Pokémon RPG games.

What is a shiny Pokémon?[edit]

Shiny Pokémon are defined as Pokémon with a different color palette. The color difference may be subtle; for example, a shiny Zapdos is a slightly different shade of yellow. Or the difference may be very obvious and striking; for example, shiny Gyarados is bright red, not blue.

So why so much hype over encountering one? Their rarity. As noted above, shiny Pokémon are extremely rare and hard to find. Soft-resetting for a shiny legendary can mean over 1,000 soft resets before ever finding one! The chances of finding a shiny Pokémon is 1 in 8,192. So far, the only guaranteed shiny encounter is with a Red Gyarados in the Lake of Rage just north of Mahogany Town in Pokémon Gold, Silver, Crystal, HeartGold, and SoulSilver. Any other shiny encounter you make means you're extremely lucky and should probably catch it.

When you encounter a shiny Pokémon in the wild or in the Battle Tower or other battle facilities (Yes, it CAN happen and if so, how unlucky!), you will know because sparkles will appear around them as they enter the battling field. Plus, most of the time it's easy to notice their strange color palette.

If you have a shiny Pokémon, besides the weird color palette and the fact that you probably noticed the sparkles as you encountered it, there's another sign of its shininess in its Summary screen. To the top right of the Pokémon's sprite on the Summary screen, you'll see a red star. That means it's shiny.

Is there any way to increase my chance of finding a shiny Pokémon besides hacking?

You're in luck. There is ONE way that was introduced just this generation that isn't too difficult to pull off so long as you have working Wi-Fi wherever you live and access to the GTS, or the Global Trading Station, which is in Goldenrod City.

There also is another "legitimate" way besides the one in-game way to get a shiny, and that's through RNG Abuse. RNG Abuse is NOT hacking and simply requires understanding of random number generators, knowledge of your secret Trainer ID (which might require hacking to know), and an RNG manipulator software downloadable for free. If you want to know more about how RNG works, you can Google it and many tutorials will pop up on how to use RNG Abuse to find Shiny Pokémon, as well as how RNG works in the first place.

Myths about shiny Pokémon[edit]

A shiny Pokémon will have IVs (i.e. stats) superior to a non-shiny Pokémon's stats.

Shiny Pokémon can have all perfect IVs or horrible IVs, just as any normal Pokémon. There is no "rigged" system that gives shiny Pokémon better IVs. In the second generation with Gold, Silver, and Crystal, shininess was determined by IVs, but now in the fourth generation, it is purely random. So stats can be anything.

If I breed my shiny with a non-shiny...or even another shiny...the baby will be shiny too.

Nope. Sorry, but even if a shiny Pokémon is a parent, the chance of finding a shiny Pokémon as a baby is the same as finding a shiny in the wild or sitting and waiting for interaction (Ho-Oh or Lugia, for example).

Having one or more shiny Pokémon increases your chances of finding another.

Not true. You can have your PC Boxes filled with nothing but shiny Pokémon and it's still the same slim chance.

The Masuda Method[edit]

This method was just introduced fourth generation and is named after the very famous game developer Junichi Masuda, who revealed this to the general public, and involves breeding two compatible Pokémon to obtain a legitimate shiny.

But wait!!! Didn't I say that breeding doesn't increase shiny chances? Well in this case, it does. You can't just breed any two compatible Pokémon for an increased chance. One of those Pokémon has to be of a different nationality. This is where the GTS comes into play. Through the GTS, you can obtain Pokémon from trainers in other countries! Then you can breed it with a suitable mate and the Masuda Method will apply.

How to use the Masuda Method
  1. Have two Pokémon. One can be from your cartridge. The other must be compatible in terms of breeding and must be from a country different from the country you live in/bought the game in.
  2. Put them in the day care.
  3. Hatch eggs until you get a shiny.

So how much more likely is it to get a shiny now? Unfortunately, the number might still seem daunting to you. The chance is now 1 in 2,048. But compared to 1 in 8,192, it's a lot better.