Shiny Pokémon were first introduced in March 2017 with the surprise reveal of Shiny Magikarp and its evolution, the red Shiny Gyarados.

More recent months have seen the reveal of new shinies, including Shiny Pikachu, with more unique variants over time.

Shinies are notoriously rare, as any veteran of the main series will gladly tell you, so what do we know about Pokémon Go Shinies, and how do you catch them?

Shiny Magikarp, Shiny Gyarados, how to find Shiny Pokémon and which Shinies are available in Pokémon Go?

The first Shiny Pokémon in Pokémon Go were Magikarp and Gyarados, in a callback to what was, for most players, the first Shiny they ever caught: the Red Gyarados at Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal's Lake of Rage.

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Normal (left) vs Shiny (right). Credit reddit user skinnysnorlaz

They're found by simply trying to catch Pokémon and seeing if they display as an alternate colour in the battle and post-battle screens - they won't appear as a different colour in the field, so you have to attempt to catch them first.

A Shiny creature is extremely rare, so it's simply a case of checking every one you are looking for - such as Magikarp - in the hope it will be a different colour.

Often, the variation is somewhat subtle. You can see the difference in Magikarp in this comparison image, courtesy of Silph Road subreddit user skinnysnorlaz, and the evolution into a Red Gyarados below:

Shiny Pikachu and other shinies in Pokémon Go

Around five months after Shiny Magikarp was first sighted, we started to see the first sign of other shinies.

Though the list has expanded greatly since the arrival of Magikarp and Red Gyarados, the number is small compared to the number of non-shiny creatures in the game.

At a glance, here is every possible shiny creature you can get in the game (excluding the recently added Adventure Week spawns) courtesy of Sruruguay:

pokemon_go_shiny_june
Credit Sruruguay.

Shiny Pikachu: August 2017's Pokémon Go Park event in Japan revealed the second set of Shinies.

Those within the event radius had a chance of catching a Shiny Pikachu, which much like the Red Gyarados, could also be evolved into a shiny Raichu.

These have since been made available around the world, and was expanded on with a shiny hatted Pikachu as part of the 2018 Pokémon Day.

Shiny Gen 3 Ghosts: As the Halloween event in 2018 - which introduced the first Gen 3 creatures - rolled on, shiny variations of all five new creatures (Duskull, Dusclops, Shuppet, Sableye and Banette) started to appear. Here is a video of shiny Duskull in action:

Shiny Gen 3 Raids: With the arrival of 50 Gen 3 creatures in December 2017 came two Raid-specific catches, both of which offering Shiny versions. The remaining 48 also have Shiny models in the game code, though none have been found so far.

Shiny Gen 3 Desert update: The Aron family of creatures all have shiny variants as part of their release in the Janary 2018 Gen 3 Desert update.

Shiny Gen 3 Dragon update:Swablu is one of the few creatures available as a shiny Pokémon, changing its blue body colour into yellow.

Evolving into Altaria will keep that same yellow colour scheme, as shown in this video by Cychreus Gaming:

Valentine's Day 2018: Alongside increased Luvdisc spawns came a shiny version:

Otherwise, there are no other signs more Shinies will be added. The main games had shinies for every single creature, so there's a chance every one in Pokémon Go will offer them at some point, but it makes sense Niantic would want to drip feed them for special occasions and make them more of an event.

Lunar New Year event 2018: The increase in dog and dog-like spawns saw the introduction of a shiny Poochyena:

Community Day: The creature a Community Day focuses on will release a shiny version at the same time. So far we've had Dratini (and evolutions Dragonair and Dragonite), Bulbasaur (and evolutions Ivysaur and Venusaur), Mareep (and evolutions Flaaffy and Ampharos) and Charmander (and evolutions Charmeleon and Charizard).

Other 2018 Shinies have been coming thick and fast, including:

  • Magby (and Magmar) Togepi (and evolution Togetic), and Wynaut (and evolution Wobbuffet) for Easter event Eggstravaganza
  • Murkrow (for April Fools' Day)
  • Lugia (brought back for a limited time), and now Ho-oh in the same manner.
  • Wailmer (and evolution Wailord) for the Earth Day event
  • Makuhita (and evolution Hariyama) and Meditite (and evolution Medicham) for May's Fighting event
  • Aerodactyl, Kabuto (and evolution Kabutops), Omanyte (and evolution Omastar) for May / June's Adventure Week
  • Shellder (and evolution Cloyster) and Kyogre for June's Water Festival event.

Coming soon are three major new features to Pokémon Go - Friends and Friendship Levels, Gifts and Trading. In the meantime, there's the Water Festival event, ushering in new Legendary Pokémon Kyogre and Shiny encounters. Elsewhere, we have Alolan Pokémon Forms, 2km, 5km, 7km 10km Egg charts, regional exclusives and Buddy distances pages to help you complete your Gen 3 Pokémon collection. You can also read up on the upcoming Pokémon Go Fest and Safari Zone dates, as well as the next Community Day and when it's happening.


Other things to know about Pokémon Go Shinies - independent Shinies, Shiny Ditto and more

Aside the from the basics, there are a few other important points to note about Shiny Pokémon and the way they operate:

  • Shiny Pokémon are independent - in other words, two people can go to the same place and catch the same Magikarp, which has the same stats and IVs, but they won't necessarily both be Shiny. This is generally seen as a good thing by the community: it means people won't all be rushing to the same place after a Shiny is spotted, and 'spoofers' who cheat the system to change their location won't be able to instantly grab a Shiny as soon as one is located.
  • Ditto pretending to be Shiny Pokémon aren't Shiny themselves - that's right, if you find yourself a rare Shiny Magikarp and it suddenly transforms into a Ditto, the Ditto itself won't be Shiny. If you do suffer such incredibly bad luck, it might be worth holding onto it though, just in case that Ditto is retrospectively changed to Shiny once the game is updated to include Shiny variants for all Pokémon.
  • Shiny Pokémon's evolutions will be Shiny too - the good news, at least, is that Shiny Pokémon will evolve into Shiny Pokémon. So that means a gold Magikarp will turn into a red Gyarados when evolved, and so on. Another reason to hold onto those Candies for any Pokémon you encounter!
  • Shinies have their own entries in the Pokédex - Once you have found a Shiny, visit that creature in the Pokédex and you can view its unique appearance, alongside any gender differences. The following image by Dronpes explains this in closer detail:
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Credit: reddit user Dronpes
  • Shiny Pokémon show up as standard colour Pokémon on the map - they only reveal themselves as Shiny once you start the battle sequence with them, which means checking every Pokémon you see now if you want to find Shinies, even if you've already caught plenty of that Pokémon!
  • There's a new warning if you try to transfer a Shiny - if you try and send a Shiny to Professor Willow, you'll get an additional pop-up warning checking that you definitely want to transfer this Shiny Pokémon. A nice touch to stop any fat finger issues!

That's all the important info you need - the rest of it is down to good old fashioned luck, so it's time get searching!

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Matthew Reynolds

Matthew Reynolds

Guides Editor

Matthew edits guides and other helpful things at Eurogamer.net. When not doing that, he's out and about playing Pokémon Go or continuing to amass his amiibo collection.

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