Shiny Pokémon are among the most coveted valuables a trainer can have in Pokémon Sun & Moon. Shiny Pokémon are specific Pokémon with different colors than to what is usual for the rest of its species. Other than a Shiny Pokémon’s coloration, however, there is no difference between a Shiny Pokémon and a regular Pokémon. In Sun & Moon, Shiny Pokémon have a 1 in 4,096 chance of appearing in place of a normal wild Pokémon – their shininess is indicated by a yellow star that flashes in front of them. 1 in 4,096 sounds rare, but with new mechanics introduced in Sun & Moon, hunting for Shiny Pokémon is now easier than ever.
After you complete the first Island Trial, you’ll quickly notice that wild Pokémon now call for allies when weakened. This mechanic is called an SOS Battle, and there can be up to two total wild Pokémon on the field at a time. If you defeat the assisting Pokémon, another will eventually be called to appear in its place. The more allies you defeat (while leaving one “caller” Pokémon intact), the higher the chance is of each newly-called ally having high IVs (Individual Values) or being shiny.
Choosing a Target
If you’re looking for a Shiny Pokémon, your first order of business is picking a target – choosing which Pokémon you want to SOS chain. Most Pokémon you encounter in the wild can be SOS chained, but a few of them will never call for help. These include Chansey, Sudowoodo, Sableye, Happiny, Gabite, Goomy, Mareanie, Wimpod, Minior, and Komala, among others. Legendary Pokémon Solgaleo and Lunala, as well as the Ultra Beasts and Pokémon encountered through Island Scan, will also not call for help. On the other hand, some Pokémon call for help so rarely that they aren’t worth chaining (you’ll get maybe one or two ally Pokémon per fifteen minutes, which is far too time-consuming – you’re better off hatching eggs). These include Slowbro, Marowak, Kangaskhan, Scyther, Pinsir, Tauros, Gyarados, Lapras, Miltank, Sharpedo, Absol, Glalie, Relicanth, Lycanroc, Lurantis, Turtonator, Drampa, and Dhelmise. But any other Pokémon will call for help.
Preparing to Chain
You’ll need a few specific tools, items, and Pokémon in order to increase your chances of successfully encountering a Shiny Pokémon. First are Adrenaline Orbs – these can be cheaply purchased at Pokémon Center stores after clearing Wela Volcano Park’s Island Trial. Second is a Pokémon with False Swipe (the event-exclusive move Hold Back works too) – you’re going to want a quick way to weaken a wild Pokémon, and False Swipe is your best bet. That same Pokémon should also have a move with a lot of PP. Depending on which Pokémon you’re chaining, it might also be a good idea to carry Substitute. Pokémon like Rockruff will use Sand-Attack to lower your accuracy to the point where you won’t be able to land any hits. Some good Pokémon to use for SOS chaining include Tapu Koko (who gets False Swipe and Substitute, as well as Steel Wing and Spark, which both have 20 PP each), Mew (who gets False Swipe, Substitute, and can use Pound as a high-PP move), and Decidueye (who gets False Swipe, Substitute, and Peck).
Something else you could prepare is an Alolan Exeggutor with the ability Harvest and the moves Trick and Skill Swap. This is tough to do, however, because Trick and Skill Swap both must be taught to an Exeggcute via move tutors in Pokémon Omega Ruby or Alpha Sapphire, transferred to Sun & Moon, and then evolved into an Alolan Exeggutor. But if you can pull it off, it’s worth it – you see, wild Pokémon will run out of PP at some point – some faster than others – and when they do, they’ll use Struggle, which will quickly cause it to faint. If that Pokémon was the only wild Pokémon on the field, your chain will come to a screeching halt. It’s possible to use an Alolan Exeggutor holding the Leppa Berry with the ability Harvest to fix this. Send in your Alolan Exeggutor, use Trick on the wild Pokémon, and it will obtain the Leppa Berry. Then, have Exeggutor use Skill Swap, and the wild Pokémon’s ability will be changed to Harvest. When the wild Pokémon eventually runs out of PP, the Leppa Berry will activate, restoring it. Thanks to Harvest, the Leppa Berry will be quickly regenerated for another use. This cycle can continue over and over again without end.
There are a few other things to keep in mind before you start chaining – first, always make sure at least one Pokémon is alive on the field at a time. Second, in addition to Adrenaline Orbs, there are other ways to increase the chance of the wild Pokémon calling for help. Sending out a Pokémon with the ability Pressure, Intimidate, or Unnerve will boost your chances; getting the wild Pokémon to 1 HP with False Swipe will help maximize them as well. You should also be careful not to inflict any wild Pokémon with status conditions, as they will not call for help when paralyzed, burned, frozen, poisoned, or asleep. So be sure that you don’t attack with moves that have secondary effects.
Once you’re ready to chain, find a wild Pokémon that you want to shiny hunt for. If you have an Alolan Exeggutor, as mentioned before, send it out first, and then use Trick and then Skill Swap. Afterwards, switch in your chaining Pokémon (one that has False Swipe, Substitute, and attacks with a lot of PP). Use Substitute (this is more effective if your Pokémon is at a much higher level than the wild Pokémon you’re facing), and then use an Adrenaline Orb, and then use False Swipe. You’re now ready to start chaining. The wild Pokémon, now at 1 HP, will begin to call for help. Defeat every ally it calls in. If it does not call in an ally, you can either heal your Pokémon, restore its PP with an Ether or Elixir, or, if you have nothing else to do, use another Adrenaline Orb (this will not increase your rate any further, nor will it waste one of your Orbs – it just wastes a turn).
After defeating 30 Pokémon, each new ally called in will have four guaranteed perfect IVs, and a 15% chance of having its hidden ability, if applicable. After defeating 70 Pokémon, each new ally will have a 1 in 1,024 chance of being shiny. It still sounds rare, but it’s absolutely possible to get your shiny in under 1,000 encounters. Some trainers have gotten their shiny as early as a chain of 30. Having the Shiny Charm (which is obtained by completing the Alola Pokédex) increases these odds even further.
As you chain, be sure not to run away, or faint both Pokémon on the field. Doing either of these will break the chain. If you want, you can chain in the background while you do something else, but you have to be mindful not to KO the wrong Pokémon or accidentally flee from battle.
Hatching Eggs (Masuda Method)
The Masuda Method is another well-known method of obtaining Shiny Pokémon that has been around in every game since Pokémon Diamond & Pearl. The basic idea is that you must have two compatible Pokémon created in games of different languages breed with each other in the Pokémon Nursery. For example, if a Pikachu from an English language game breeds with a Ditto from a Japanese language game, the Masuda Method will take effect.
This method is very straightforward – just keep hatching eggs until you find a Shiny Pokémon. Your odds are going to be a 1 in 683 chance to hatch a Shiny Pokémon – this chance is increased to 1 in 512 with the Shiny Charm active.
Some Pokémon cannot be encountered in the wild, and instead are only given to you once. Soft resetting is a method you can use to get a Shiny Pokémon that you cannot encounter again. The best example of this is Type: Null. Save in front of Gladion, and you’ll be ready to begin. Go through his dialogue, receive Type: Null, check its shininess – if not, press L + R + START to soft reset the game and try again. This is a boring and repetitive method, but it’s the only way to get Type: Null shiny. You can also use it on Pokémon like the starters and Wimpod if you really want to, but hatching eggs is generally a much better idea.
Keep in mind that Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu, Tapu Fini, Cosmog, Cosmoem, Solgaleo, Lunala, Nihilego, Buzzwole, Pheromosa, Xurkitree, Celesteela, Kartana, Guzzlord, Necrozma, Magearna, and Marshadow are all shiny-locked and cannot legitimately be obtained shiny. Be sure not to try soft resetting for these, you’ll be wasting your time!
Even with the best methods, hunting Shiny Pokémon is still a game of chance at its core. Some are luckier than others, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing as rewarding as seeing a super rare and coveted Shiny Pokémon pop up on your screen. If you ever need help along the way, or if you just want to chat and hang out for a while, check out Cloud Nine’s Discord server – we have a whole room dedicated to Pokémon hunting, trading, and battling.