Pokemon is serious business. You enslave them. You breed them. You coerce them into waging wars they have no stake in. But as serious as Game Freak's much beloved simulacrum of antagonistic animal husbandry can be, it pales in comparison to the gravitas of distinguishing yourself from the plebeian masses. Everyone knows that there can only be one Pokemon master.
Still, with more than four million copies of the latest iteration already sold, how does one make one's star shine brighter? Building the ultimate team takes time, effort and research while bribing the Elite Four in exchange for validation would probably require at least a fair understanding of transdimensional travel. In light of all that, here's my suggestion:
Get a shiny Pokemon.
Heck, why stop there? Get a full team. Bewilder your opponents with aesthetic opulence. Humble them with this testament to your luck and determination. Pizzazz wins battles, not hard work and skill. If you're new to the Pokemon franchise and have no idea what I'm talking about, shiny Pokemon are like the Holy Grail (except more accessible and arguably less useful.) In terms of function, they're identical to their more pedestrian cousins. Looks-wise, however, that's where it gets interesting. Shiny Pokemon are uniformly of a weird, often striking pigmentation. And sparkly. Slightly.
As you may have already deduced, they're also ridiculously rare. The chances of breeding a shiny or discovering one in the wild is a dismal 1/8192. Fortunately, there are several ways to circumnavigate the appalling odds.
Breeding for Success
Named after Game Freak director Junichi Masuda, the Masuda Method is a technique that was implemented as an attempt to encourage players to perform more transcontinental trades. Smogon University, a website dedicated to the fine art of competitive Pokemon battling, was the first to figure out the method and breeders everywhere have been using it ever since. Just how good is this technique? With the help of the Masuda method, the chances of breeding a shiny Pokemon in Generation IV were increased by 5. By the next iteration, that success rate had shot up to 6 - a definite improvement over the baseline. Unfortunately, though many claim it's still a viable strategy, no official word has been released in regards to whether or not the Masuda Method can still be utilized in the current-gen Pokemon games and if the success rate has escalated even further.
For those willing to risk it, the Masuda Method is pretty simple: breed two Pokemon from different geographical backgrounds(The little tags next to their names will inform you exactly where they're from) together.
That's really it. At least, in regards to necessary knowledge. There's a thread on Smogon that unpacks the exact mechanics behind it; you can read it if you're keen on understanding specifics.
Now, go have your Pokemon make beautiful music together
Don't break the chain!
'Chaining' Pokemon can be a frustrating chore. If you're good, it can be a short-cut to triumph. If you're not, it might be a broken 3DS screen. The idea behind chaining is reflective of its name: it's the act of meeting the same Pokemon, again and again, in unbroken succession. Purportedly, doing so will significantly increase the success rate of encountering a shiny Pokemon, raising the odds from a horrific 1/8192 to a far more palatable 1/200.
Though guides on chaining are plentiful, u/Cpctherman from Reddit's dissertation on the process is one of the better ones I've read. (Smogon's guide is even more educational but also exponentially more ponderous a read.) The general gist of it, for those who would rather keep it simple, is this:
- You need a PokeRadar, which is only available after the Elite Four.
- Super repels are essential. Your "chain" can be broken if you run into a Pokemon other than the one you're hunting.
- Always try to find a patch of grass that is at least 5vs5.
- Make sure all your transportation devices have been put away. Do not skate or cycle through the grass.
- When you use the PokeRadar, you'll see patches of grass shake. Take note of whether it is a gentle gyration or something more vigorous.
- When you find the Pokemon you're attempting to chain, knock it out and be sure to walk into patches that reverberate the same way as the swathe of green that surrendered the initial Pokemon.
- Only enter patches that are at least 4 spaces horizontally or vertically from you.
- Remember to reset your PokeRadar if you KO a Pokemon on the edge of your chosen field.
- Don't get overambitious. You only need to succeed at getting a chain of 40. After that, you just have to reset your PokeRadar till you discover a shiny patch - pleasant sounds will indicate its manifestation.
- Make you sure you can actually catch the shiny when you find it. I recommend not being a miser with the Pokeballs.
If landbound Pokemon don't float your boat, you can opt out and go fish instead. Performing a fishing chain is questionably easier. Once you've succeeded in getting the fisherman from Route 16 to divulge that rare Pokemon can be acquired through consecutive fishing, you can be on your way. What you have to do then is ensure that you do not move from your fishing spot as any superfluous motion will break your streak. Pulling the rod too early or failing to get a nibble will also destroy your chances. Needless to say, having a Pokemon with Suction Cups as your lead Pokemon is a good idea. Confused? Here's a helpful video:
Carry a four-leaf clover
In real life. Not in the game. In real life. While you're at it, you may also want to solicit the services of a Maneki Neko, get a rabbit to donate a foot and attempt prayer. Because having Lady Luck smile on you is the only other way you're going to get those shiny Pokemon, folks!
(Don't hurt me.)
Need more Pokemon help?
Check out these other USgamer Pokemon articles. We have tons of hints, tips and information on how to get the best out of your team – and become a Pokemon master.
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