How to catch shiny Pokémon in Legends: Arceus

Pokemon Legends Arceus Shiny Shinx
Pokemon Legends Arceus Shiny Shinx (Image credit: iMore)

Pokémon Legends: Arceus brings a brand new experience to the Pokémon fanbase. Players get to run around chasing Pokémon in the overworld and work to defeat or catch them in various ways. Fortunately for all of us shiny hunters, shiny Pokémon can be seen directly in the overworld, which means that you just need to chase them down and then work on capturing them if you see one.

As with most games, the shiny catching rate starts at 1/4096, but there are some things you can do to lower the odds and increase your chances to just 1:128.49. Since this game is so new, we still have to learn a lot. We'll continue to research and update as time goes on.

SPOILER WARNING: This page is heavy with spoilers, so turn away now if you don't want things to be ruined for you.

Shiny Pokémon in Legends: Arceus A few things to know

  • You can see shiny Pokémon in the overworld: Within Pokémon Legends: Arceus, players battle and capture Pokémon directly in the overworld. Because of this, you can tell if a Pokémon is shiny just by looking at it.
  • Look for stars: As you're exploring, keep an eye out for subtle stars or sparkles popping up nearby as this is a giveaway that the Pokémon you're looking at is a shiny.
  • Special sound: An exciting alert lets you know that the Pokémon you're approaching is shiny.
  • Some shinies don't look that different: Some shiny Pokémon are completely different looking, like how a shiny Shinx is yellow rather than its normal blue. However, others will be more subtle. For instance, a shiny Pikachu is only a slightly different shade of yellow.
  • This might take a while: While shiny hunting can pay off relatively quickly, it can also take dozens of hours or even days for anything to happen. Nothing is guaranteed, but if you keep trying, it might happen.

Now that you know that information, let's get to the good stuff.

Every player gets a Shiny Ponyta

Pokemon Legends Arceus Shiny Ponyta (Image credit: iMore)

You read that right, just like how every player could get a Red Gyarados in Pokémon Gold and Silver, every player is guaranteed to get a shiny Ponyta with blue flames in Legends: Arceus by following these steps.

  1. Catch a regular Ponyta. They can be found in the East of the Obsidian Fieldlands map, near the Horseshoe Plains.
  2. Return to Jubilife City and enter the Galaxy guild hall.
  3. Interact with the blackboard in Professor Laventon's room and accept the sidequest called "A Peculiar Ponyta".
  4. Now exit the Galaxy Hall and head West towards the Training Grounds. There's a bridge spanning over the river. Talk to the NPC on this bridge.
  5. Return to the Obsidian Fieldlands where you first found Ponyta. When you approach you'll see a cutscene with a shiny Ponyta.
  6. I recommend changing to manual saves and saving now if you haven't done so yet. Now it's time to capture it. If it gets defeated or runs away, just restart the game and try again.

Shiny cheat sheet

As with most Pokémon games there are ways to increase your shiny odds. I'll dive into the specifics about how these odds work further into the page, but here's a quick reference point in case anyone needs it. It really seems like Pokémon Legends: Arceus has made it easier for most people to get their hands on shinies.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
NameRateW/ Shiny Charm
Base Rate1:4096--
Dex Level 101:2048.251:819.6
Perfect Dex1:1024.381:585.58
Mass Outbreaks1:158.02--
Dex Lvl 10 & Mass Outbreak1:152.191:137.02
Perfect Dex & Mass Outbreak1:141.721: 128.49

Dex Level 10 and Perfect Dex increase shiny odds

Each time you get a Pokédex entry to level 10, your chances of seeing a shiny for that Pokémon species increase to 1:2048.25. You can do several things to help fill out your Pokédex entry. Anything with a red marker next to it is worth two points, so you might want to work on those objectives first.

Unown Perfect Pokedex Pokemon Legends Arceus (Image credit: iMore)

If you complete all of the tasks assigned to a Pokédex entry, it will be marked as Perfect and puts special stars around the Poké Ball. A Complete Dex raises your chances to 1:1024.38 for that Pokémon.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus Mass Outbreaks

Pokemon Legends Arceus Mass Outbreak Bidoof (Image credit: iMore)

A Mass Outbreak is when several Pokémon of the same species appear in one area for a limited time. As explained by SHRetro on the PokeLeaks subreddit, in addition to making it easier to catch the same Pokémon as it spawns over and over, a Mass Outbreak means that the odds of catching a shiny are lowered to just 1: 158.02. Now, if you have reached level 10 for the specific Pokémon that is going through a Mass Outbreak, you have 1:152.19 odds of seeing a shiny.

Keep capturing or defeating the Pokémon in the Mass Outbreak, and with luck, you might see a shiny. However, these are timed events, which means a message eventually will pop up saying, "The reported Pokémon seem to be gone," indicating that the Mass Outbreak has ended.

It's unclear when exactly Mass Outbreaks can start in the game, but so far, the earliest players have noted coming across them is after defeating the first Noble Pokémon, Kleaver. We'll update you when we learn more.

What about the Shiny Charm?

Pokemon Legends Arceus Shiny Charm (Image credit: iMore)

According to Centro LEAKS, "you get the Shiny Charm after getting research level 10 for all Pokémon". So work on getting your Pokédex entries to level 10 or higher for all Pokémon in Legends: Arceus to get these added chances. Instead of simply catching a Pokémon and being done with your entry, you'll need to take on multiple tasks to round out your findings before the dex entry is complete.

This being the case, the Shiny Charm is something you can only earn later on in the game after you've put a lot of work into each Pokédex entry.

Soft reset if you mess up on a shiny Pokémon Manual saves

Pokemon Legends Arceus Shiny Wurmple Close Up (Image credit: iMore)

It's very possible that during your journey, you might run into a shiny Pokémon only to accidentally defeat it or scare it away. This is why you'll want to disable autosaves and turn on manual saving. Here's how to set up manual saves:

  1. Open settings.
  2. Scroll down to Autosave.
  3. Select Disabled.
  4. Manually save the game.

From here on out, you need to manually save whenever a shiny Pokémon comes in view or whenever a big thing happens. Then if you mess up and accidentally defeat the shiny or it runs away. Just note that Space-Time Distortions and Mass Outbreaks do not reload if you turn your game off and then back on again. This only works if you see a shiny randomly out in the world.

  1. Press the Home button.
  2. While hovering over Pokémon Legends: Arceus on the home menu, Press X.
  3. Select Close.
  4. Press A on Pokémon Legends: Arceus to start the game up again.

You'll be brought to the last place you saved with the same Pokémon in view, including the shiny you saw earlier. Go ahead and work on catching it again.

Can I get a shiny starter? Rowlet, Cyndaquil, and Oshawott

Pokemon Legends Arceus Starters (Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Unfortunately, the Pokémon starter you choose at the beginning of the game cannot be shiny. So, don't waste your time restarting your game in hopes of seeing one. You will be able to get all of the starters species in the post-game, so it is possible to get shiny versions of those Pokémon when you see them later on.

Size-locked Pokémon in Legends: Arceus

Another thing to note is that certain Pokémon in Legends: Arceus are size-locked. On your journey, you'll come across everything from smaller-than-average Pokémon to special Alpha Pokémon that are bigger and larger. While it would be cool to get an extra-large shiny Pokémon, keep in mind that all starters, Mythical, and Legendary Pokémon are size-locked.

Are any Pokémon shiny locked?

Pokemon Arceus (Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

According to reliable leaker, Centro LEAKS, there are a few Pokémon that will never appear as shiny in Legends: Arceus. These include:

  • Arceus
  • Dialga
  • Palkia
  • Giratina
  • All Unown
  • Pokémon from quests/gifts*

*If you're specifically sent on a quest to capture a specific Shinx, you know for sure that Shinx won't be shiny.

Space-Time Distortion Rifts and Shiny Hunting

Pokemon Legends Arceus Space Time Distortion (Image credit: Nintendo)

You'll get a notice on the screen telling you that a Space-Time Distortion has appeared at some point in the game. These strange bubbles appear over pockets of land and contain rare items and Pokémon, including starters. However, these rare Space-time Distortions only last about five minutes, so you need to explore them quickly. Some Pokémon can only be caught within these rifts, so you'll need to enter them to complete your Pokédex.

It's possible that some new shiny mechanic is also in place in these Space-time Distortions, but we need more information. We'll keep our ears to the ground and report back as soon as possible.

What about Breeding shiny Pokémon with the Masuda Method?

This is the first Pokémon RPG that doesn't have any breeding. As such, there is no way to obtain shiny Pokémon from a nursery using the Masuda Method.

Shimmer and sparkle

Good luck shiny hunting in Pokémon Legends: Arceus! I hope you all can catch some special Pokémon during your adventure.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.