The Basics of Shiny Hunting

What is a shiny Pokémon?

Shiny Celebi sprite
Normal Celebi sprite

Shiny Pokémon were introduced as a feature in generation 2 under the names "rare" and "color Pokémon" depending on the official material. As the name implies, a shiny Pokémon is an exceedingly rare Pokémon that has a different color palette than usual members of its species. In modern Pokémon games, the term "shiny" has been solidified as the consistent English term, due to the sparkling or "shining" animation that plays when a shiny Pokémon is sent out in battle or encountered in the wild.

In modern games, whether or not a Pokémon is encountered as shiny is handled by a completely separate system than a Pokémon's stats, but back in generation 2, said system did not exist. The only system giving individual characteristics to every Pokémon in generation 2 is a Pokémon's Determinant Values, or DVs. Every Pokémon that the player encounters has a randomly generated DV of anywhere from 0-15 in all of its stats that is invisible to the player and influences how much that stat will grow as the Pokémon levels up. By having a small selection of possible DV combinations cause a Pokémon to be shiny, it makes the chances of encountering a shiny Pokémon very rare, and very random.

The following DVs are needed for a shiny:

DV Required Value
HP:Irrelevant since HP is not randomly generated and is based on the Pokémon's other DVs, but a shiny Pokémon can only ever have an HP DV of 0 or 8.
Attack:2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 14, or 15
Special:10 (Both Special Attack and Special Defense are handled by one DV, Special)

A breakdown of the shiny odds:

DV Odds of getting a required value

8⁄16 × 1⁄16 × 1⁄16 × 1⁄16 = 0.00012207031 → 1/8192

The chance of encountering a wild Pokémon with any of the above DV combinations for a shiny amounts to being 1/8192. If you happen to be lucky enough to encounter a Pokémon that rolls a shiny DV combination, congratulations, you've found a shiny Pokémon! A sparkling animation will play alongside a sound effect and it'll be a different color than all other members of that Pokémon's species that you've seen before. It can then be captured like any other wild Pokémon.

What is shiny hunting?

Shiny hunting is the act of purposefully and repetitively using any means to encounter Pokémon over and over until the player gets lucky and the game rolls a shiny to add to their collection. Since shiny Pokémon essentially function as ultra-rare collectibles, it's not surprising that some would go out of their way to dedicate time to the hobby of collecting the alternately colored monsters. Such people often call themselves shiny hunters, and you can find them in all corners of the Pokémon playerbase.

There are a variety of ways that someone may go about shiny hunting their desired Pokémon. Any shiny hunt that rolls the base odds of 1/8192 over and over is colloquially called full odds hunting and any shiny hunt that somehow increases those odds to be better in the player's favor is colloquially called method hunting by Pokémon fans. Both terms will be used throughout this page and the rest of BMF despite not being official terms due to the commonality of their usage across the wider internet.

There is no right or wrong to choosing either kind of shiny hunting. Some players enjoy the thrill of finding a Pokémon at that ludicrous 1/8192 chance, and other players will prefer to optimize their hunt and raise the odds as much as possible. Many players also choose to count how many non-shiny Pokémon they see along the journey, but others may only keep record of time spent, and some may not even keep track at all. Regardless of preferences, this article aims to fill you in on how to obtain a shiny Pokémon in Gold, Silver, or Crystal of your very own with whatever kind of hunt you choose to try.

How do I full odds shiny hunt?

Full odds shiny hunting puts the player at the whim of the same luck that is rolled while just casually playing the game. Encountering any wild Pokémon can be thought of as rolling a die with 8192 sides and trying to land on a 1. If you're very lucky, you may have already run into a shiny on your adventures through Johto without even having to purposefully hunt for one! However, assuming you're not super lucky, if you want a shiny, you just have to dedicate time to continuously encountering Pokémon like usual until you do get lucky. Various techniques can be used to accomplish this and are listed below with optimization tips.

Random Encounters (REs):

Walking/biking around in grass/caves or surfing on water to see as many wild Pokémon as possible. This is by far the most straightforward way to shiny hunt, and if you just pick a random location and walk back and forth long enough, you'll eventually find a shiny. Keep in mind that some Pokémon can flee from you, so if hunting those, bring a Master Ball or a Pokémon with Mean Look to trap it!

  • Turn off battle animations in Crystal to prevent time spent on encounter animations.
  • Change text speed to FAST.
  • Due to the often varying levels of random encounters, repels, which block Pokémon lower in level than your first Party member, can optionally be used to remove possible species of Pokémon from the hunting location and make rarer Pokémon easier to find.
  • As surfing speed is very slow, the move Sweet Scent can be taught to a Pokémon and used from the Party menu to repetitively force encounters faster. Keep in mind that Sweet Scent invalidates repel tricks.

Fishing Encounters (FEs):

Fishing in the same spot to see as many wild Pokémon as possible. This is similar to REs, however sometimes the fishing rod will not pull up a Pokémon so FEs tend to be slower. The fishing rod of choice can be registered to SELECT to be used at any time without having to open the inventory.

Soft Resets (SRs):

Encountering or obtaining a Pokémon (usually a gift Pokémon, legendary, or starter) and then resetting the game without saving by pressing A+B+START+SELECT all at the same time to do it again. The player should save directly in front of the Pokémon they are hunting for so they can interact with it again upon reset as fast as possible.

  • Change text speed to FAST. This is essential for SR hunts with long stretches of dialogue.
  • A Pokémon species with a 12.5% female gender ratio cannot be female and shiny at the same time due to the way that DVs determine both shininess and gender. When hunting these, say yes to nicknaming the Pokémon on every reset and check its gender there before looking at its full profile. If it's a female, you can reset instantly without having to check its summary. Otherwise, press START→A to quickly continue past.
  • Since shiny Pokémon can only have a HP DV of 0 or 8, certain HP stat values will be impossible. If you see in the Party menu that it has an HP stat that is impossible for a shiny of that species to have, you can reset before checking the summary since you already know it won't be shiny. Both possible HP values for a shiny Pokémon can be found by plugging the Pokémon species and its level into a stat calculator and checking what value the HP will have at both 0 and 8.

Nearly any Pokémon can be shiny hunted with full odds in generation 2 without the use of glitches, including wild Pokémon, starter Pokémon, legendary Pokémon, etc. Exceptions are provided below. Pokémon that cannot be hunted fully evolved but that can be hunted at a lower evolution stage and then evolved are not counted, ie. Vaporeon cannot be hunted for, but Eevee can be hunted and then evolved into Vaporeon, so it is not on the list. Also keep in mind that if you want to hunt a version exclusive, you'll need the proper game for it. If one of your most wanted shinies is on this list, don't fret! All of these exceptions can either be hunted for in other ways, or with glitches.

  • All of the Kanto starters (Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle and their evolutions)
  • Kabuto/Kabutops and Omanyte/Omastar
  • The three Kanto legendary birds (Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres)
  • Mewtwo and Mew
  • All baby Pokémon except for Tyrogue (Pichu, Cleffa, Igglybuff, Smoochum, Elekid, Magby)
  • Celebi*

*Celebi can be full odds hunted in the Virtual Console release of Crystal on the 3DS, due to its special event encounter being released to every VC Crystal player after defeating the Elite Four and beating the game, but not on the original cartridge releases of Gold, Silver, and Crystal.

How do I method shiny hunt?

As generation 2 was the first generation of Pokémon games to introduce shiny hunting, not as many methods are present to take advantage of as in modern Pokémon games. However, there are still a few methods that can be utilized, including one of the fastest ways to casually shiny hunt in any Pokémon game. All available methods for raising shiny odds are listed below.

DV Breeding:

Breeding Pokémon eggs at the Daycare is generation 2's main and easiest method for raising shiny odds. Any Pokémon that is capable of hatching from an egg can be shiny hunted for in this way, so the possibilities are nearly endless. It's a whole topic of its own and has its own page dedicated to it that goes into detail on how to do it, why it works, and extra technical information for those interested. If you want to get a shiny as easy as possible, this is the way to go.

Click here to read about DV Breeding.

The Odd Egg:

In Japan, Pokémon Crystal was released with rudimentary online functionality through the usage of the Japanese-exclusive Mobile System GB accessory, which connected the Game Boy Color to phone lines to receive wireless data. One of the perks of using this now-defunct service was being able to redeem an Odd Egg, which could contain a small selection of all the baby Pokémon except Togepi, which had massively increased odds to be shiny. Since the Mobile System GB was not ever planned to be released in other regions, Crystal was changed in every other language to include one free Odd Egg given by the Daycare Man during any new Crystal playthrough.

By saving in front of the Daycare Man before talking to him for the first time, it is possible to take the egg, hatch it, and then soft reset the game without saving to reload back to before the egg was taken and try again until a shiny hatches. It is recommended to get the bike from Goldenrod City which is right past the Daycare first, since eggs hatch by amount of steps taken and a faster moving speed means more steps, quicker.

Possible Odd Egg shiny outcomes:

Sprite Pokémon Name Shiny Odds
Shiny Pichu sprite Pichu1%
Shiny Cleffa sprite Cleffa3%
Shiny Igglybuff sprite Igglybuff3%
Shiny Tyrogue sprite Tyrogue1%
Shiny Smoochum sprite Smoochum2%
Shiny Elekid sprite Elekid2%
Shiny Magby sprite Magby2%

Limited Unown Release:

The Ruins of Alph contain wild Unown which can be any letter of the alphabet, however, only Unown of the letter I and V are capable of being shiny, due to how DVs determine both letter type and shininess. No other Unown letters will ever be shiny, despite having shiny sprites in the game's code. Not all Unown letters are present in the ruins when a new game is made, as the player has to solve four puzzles to unlock all four sets of Unown. The odds of getting a shiny Unown can be raised by solving these four puzzles in different orders, limiting the amount of possible letters to be encountered. The different options for raising the odds are listed below.

Released Letters Puzzle Locations Possible Shiny Shiny Odds
Only A-K Upper-right Unown I 1/7040
Only S-W Lower-right Unown V 1/3200
A-K and S-W Lower-right and upper-right Unown I/V 1/5120
Shiny Unown I sprite Shiny Unown V sprite

If you choose to attempt this hunt, either bring a Master Ball to catch Unown first turn or a Pokémon with the move Mean Look to lock it in place since Unown have a chance of running away each turn otherwise. You don't want to encounter a shiny I or V and then have it flee from you after all that effort!

Can I shiny hunt in generation 1?

Surprisingly, yes! Even though shinies were not invented until generation 2, since shininess is based on DVs, a Pokémon obtained with the proper DVs in generation 1 will appear shiny in generation 2 when traded to Gold, Silver, or Crystal. They will also display as shiny in Pokémon Stadium 2, even if still located on a generation 1 cart! Shiny hunting in generation 1 is actually the only way to obtain shiny Mewtwo and Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos without glitches in generation 2.

It might sound like a bummer that wild Pokémon cannot be shiny in Red, Blue, or Yellow, but generation 1's strange coding leads to a positive side effect as well - through the use of elaborate glitches, any Pokémon can be encountered as a revived fossil, which can be shiny... Including Johto Pokémon which didn't even exist yet!* It sounds crazy, but it's true.

*Excluding Celebi, unfortunately.

BMF has a guide dedicated to this niche form of shiny hunting.

Click here to read about shiny hunting in Generation 1.

Good luck with your hunts and happy hunting!

A massive thank you to the shiny hunting community for inspiring me to catalogue all this information and making me fall in love with Pokémon even more than I did before. I hope this resource serves both newcomers and you all well!

Last updated 1/9/23. Fixed the generation 1 section to link to the on-site guide.