The 15 Hardest Shiny Pokemon To Catch (2023)

Pokemon is one of the world's biggest franchises, and just one look at some of the iconic and adorable critters populating its world is enough to see why. What you may not know, however, is that for every Pokemon design, there exists an alternate version with different colours. These "shiny" variants account for just 1/4096 (or 1/8192 in games prior to X & Y) of a species, so they're extremely rare.

Related: Pokemon: The Best Games To Shiny Hunt In, Ranked

Despite this, some dedicated players spend their time seeking out these elusive shinies for their collections. One thing these shiny hunters would be quick to tell you is that not all hunts are created equal — for a whole host of factors, some shinies are far more difficult to obtain than others. Here's a look at the shiny Pokemon that, for various reasons, are the hardest but therefore most satisfying, to catch.

Updated July 14, 2022: A series as large as Pokemon has no shortage of tricky shinies to catch, so we've added even more grueling hunts for those of you who can't get enough of rare 'mons.


15 Hat Pokemon In Pokemon Go

The 15 Hardest Shiny Pokemon To Catch (1)

While Pokemon Go has a reputation for being incredibly easy to shiny hunt in due to its massively boosted shiny rate, Pokemon that are very rare within the game still make for challenging hunts. Some of Pokemon Go's rarest Pokemon are ones that spawn wearing hats for various celebrations and events in the game.

Given that these Pokemon are available for such short windows of time, few players have them, and even fewer have shiny versions, so it's safe to say that hat Pokemon are the rarest shinies in Pokemon Go.

14 Shiny Ditto

The 15 Hardest Shiny Pokemon To Catch (2)

Ditto is a unique Pokemon to shiny hunt, as unlike almost every other Pokemon in the series, you can't breed it, making it impossible to use the Masuda Method - a common go-to for quick hunting. The only other unbreedable Pokemon are legendaries, though all of them are huntable in some way via very fast soft-reset encounters due to their roles in games' stories, or in places like the Dynamax Adventure den, Ramanas Park, or the Ultra Worhmoles.

This leaves Ditto as a Pokemon with no "quick" way to hunt. There are options available to avoid full-odds encounters - radar chaining, and Let's Go's catch combos are both possible - but Ditto is noteworthy nonetheless as a Pokemon where neither of the standard hunting methdos are possible.

13 An SOS Chained Beldum

The 15 Hardest Shiny Pokemon To Catch (3)

SOS chaining is a mechanic introduced in the Alola games that can cause wild Pokemon to call for help as they become damaged in battle, bringing other wild Pokemon into the battle. Knocking out the original Pokemon and damaging the ally so that it calls for help gets a chain going, and as the chain progresses, the allies called in have increased odds of being shiny.

The problem with Beldum is that it only knows one move - Take Down. This is a recoil move, meaning that every time it uses it, it'll damage itself, and eventually knock itself out. Even if you continually knock out Beldum as they call for help and are replaced by allies, a few unlucky turns with no calls for help are all that's needed to end your chain. A ghost-type that's immune to Take Down can fix this problem, but then you've got to worry about your own PP.

12 Any Pokemon In A Safari Zone

The 15 Hardest Shiny Pokemon To Catch (4)

In the first four generations of Pokemon, one staple feature of the games was the Safari Zone, an area where you could catch uncommon and powerful Pokemon. Encounters in the Safari Zone don't work like they do elsewhere, though. Instead of battling to weaken the wild Pokemon, you simply throw things at it (Safari Balls, rocks, etc) until it runs away or you catch it. Safari Zone Pokemon typically run away in just a few turns, and they can be super hard to catch.

The mechanics vary slightly from generation to generation, but that's the general idea and it's easy to see why this makes for such brutal shiny hunting. It's common to finally encounter a shiny only to have it flee before you can catch it.

11 The Kalos Starter Pokemon

The 15 Hardest Shiny Pokemon To Catch (5)

The soft reset method of hunting sees frequent use for a few types of Pokemon. Legendaries are one common example, but Starter Pokemon are another: who wouldn't want to play through the whole game with an extra-special version of their partner?

Related: Ranking The Shiny Form Of Every Starter Pokemon

What makes Generation 6's starters such a nasty hunt is the time between resets. There's over two minutes of cutscenes between your save point and finding out if your choice is shiny or not. An honourable mention goes to Generation 7's Starters for having a similar problem.

10 Faraway Island Mew

The 15 Hardest Shiny Pokemon To Catch (6)

Why I'm Waiting To Catch Mew In Pokemon Go Diary

Faraway Island was exclusive to Pokemon Emerald and originally only accessible by attending a distribution event in Japan. However, it's now possible to get there yourself by taking advantage of some glitches in Emerald's code — a lot of glitches. Known as the "Pomeg Berry Glitch," this is a ridiculously lengthy and complicated process of over 30 steps to ultimately access the island yourself.

Of course, once getting there, it's not even over. Mew still has to be hunted by soft resetting like any other special Pokemon encounter.

9 Sword And Shield's Curry Pokemon

The 15 Hardest Shiny Pokemon To Catch (7)

Sword and Shield's Wild Area introduced the camping mechanic to the Pokemon series, and one of the options available to you within a camp is to cook a curry for your Pokemon. Sometimes, wild Pokemon will be drawn in by the smell of the meal, and when they approach you, you have the option to catch them.

Curry Pokemon can indeed be shiny, making this a viable hunting method. The problem is that cooking a curry is a tedious process - far longer than the likes of a soft reset - and once you've cooked it, the odds of a Pokemon even showing up are slim.

8 Dynamax Adventure Zygarde

The 15 Hardest Shiny Pokemon To Catch (8)

In Pokemon Sword & Shield's Crown Tundra, Dynamax Adventures boost shiny odds to an amazing 1/100. Because of this, they're seen as a fairly relaxed way to catch shiny Legendaries, but there's one Pokemon to whom this breezy attitude cannot apply: Zygarde.

Related: Pokemon Crown Tundra: Mistakes Players Make in Dynamax Adventures

In additon to already being a strong Pokemon, Zygarde's ability means that just when it's getting to half health — right as players would be gaining the upper hand — it changes forms, regenerating health and gaining a massive stat boost. It also has two powerful spread moves, meaning it can wipe your whole squad very quickly. And, if you're super unlucky on the RNG, you'll have to win this battle potentially upward of 100 times. Good luck.

7 Roaming Legendaries

The 15 Hardest Shiny Pokemon To Catch (9)

Particularly prevalent in Gen 4, roaming Legendaries move around the map as the player does, making them very difficult to encounter. Hunting one of these roamers means saving your game before causing the Pokemon to start roaming, wandering the region until the roamer is encountered, and then if it's not shiny, reloading the save and repeating ("soft resetting").

This is an incredibly tedious process, as, unlike soft resets for a static Legendary, it can take a very long time between loading saves. Catching a shiny roamer would be very exciting, but finding it in the first place is no mean feat.

6 Shadow Pokemon In Colosseum

The 15 Hardest Shiny Pokemon To Catch (10)

On paper, hunting Shadow Pokemon isn't that hard - pick your target reset until it shines, and catch it. The idea that a shiny Shadow Pokemon can become non-shiny upon purification is actually a myth, so once you have the shiny, you should have nothing to worry about.

Unfortunately "once you have the shiny" is the issue here. This is another hunt that makes the list due to the frustration factor, as while hunting in Colosseum was intended to work normally, there's a bug that means Pokemon can be shiny when sent out by opponents, but non-shiny once you capture them. Imagine finally seeing your target shine only to have it turn normal when you catch it - heartbreaking.

5 Feebas (In Generations 3 and 4)

The 15 Hardest Shiny Pokemon To Catch (11)

Feebas is found on Route 119 in Hoenn and in Mt. Coronet in Sinnoh — simple, right? Not exactly. In those areas, Feebas can only be fished up on a tiny number of the hundreds of fishing tiles (six in Hoenn and four in Sinnoh). Even on those tiles, it's only a 50 percent encounter, so each tile might have to be fished multiple times to properly check for Feebas spots.

Once you do finally find a tile, you still have to hunt Feebas at odds of 1/8192. The tiles change daily though, so to pick up the hunt the next day, you'd have to go through all this again.

4 An Authentic Sinistea

The 15 Hardest Shiny Pokemon To Catch (12)

There are two forms of Sinistea; the phony form, and the antique, or "authentic" form. The latter is distinguished only by a tiny sticker under the base of the cup. It also isn't found anywhere at better odds than 1 percent. This puts the odds of encountering a shiny, authentic Sinistea at 1 in 409,600.

While this seems like a ridiculous amount of work for such a tiny difference, think of how exciting it would be to actually have something so rare. It's been enough of an incentive for one remarkably determined player to actually take on the hunt.

3 Pokemon In The Gen 1 Games

The 15 Hardest Shiny Pokemon To Catch (13)

If you're familiar with shinies, you'll likely know that they were introduced with Gold & Silver, meaning they didn't exist in the Generation 1 games. What you may not know, however, is that it is technically possible to find a shiny in these games; crucially, in Generation 2, whether or not a Pokemon was shiny was determined by its IVs.

So if you caught a Pokemon in Generation 1 with shiny IVs, it would become shiny upon transfer to Generation 2. The difficulty with hunting here comes from the fact that there's no way to know if the Pokemon you're catching is shiny...

2 Pokemon Ranger Manaphy

The 15 Hardest Shiny Pokemon To Catch (14)

Though not as hard to acquire these days, when Manaphy first became available, it was a gift for beating the first Pokemon Ranger game. Crucially, this egg was the same every time, so there's no way to soft reset for it. In fact, it's shiny-locked by default, meaning it could never be shiny.

Trading removes this shiny-lock, so the best way to hunt Manaphy is to buy and finish multiple copies of Pokemon Ranger, hoping the codes are still unused, then trade the eggs between multiple DS consoles, hatch them, and start over at pre-trade if they're not shiny.

1 Munchlax in Sinnoh

The 15 Hardest Shiny Pokemon To Catch (15)

Many Pokemon fans have likely heard stories of the fabled Munchlax trees in the Gen 4 games — they're true. Of the 21 honey trees in the game, a random four (it's impossible to know which four) will have just a 1 percent chance of a Munchlax encounter. What's more, these are painfully slow honey tree encounters, not regular encounters. You have to slather honey on a tree, then wait several hours before a Pokemon spawns. Honourable mentions go to Vespiquen in Sinnoh and Heracross in Johto for similar, though not as bad, situations.

Related: The Hardest Sinnoh Pokemon to Catch, Ranked

Crunching all the numbers, the odds of a shiny Munchlax on any given honey tree encounter are around 1/4,300,800. And those encounters are not fast. It's a gruelling hunt requiring an inhuman amount of patience — and a worthy winner of the title of hardest shiny to catch.

Next: Pokemon: The Best Shiny Hunting Methods, Ranked

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Catherine Tremblay

Last Updated: 02/17/2023

Views: 5439

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (67 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Catherine Tremblay

Birthday: 1999-09-23

Address: Suite 461 73643 Sherril Loaf, Dickinsonland, AZ 47941-2379

Phone: +2678139151039

Job: International Administration Supervisor

Hobby: Dowsing, Snowboarding, Rowing, Beekeeping, Calligraphy, Shooting, Air sports

Introduction: My name is Catherine Tremblay, I am a precious, perfect, tasty, enthusiastic, inexpensive, vast, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.