Reflecting on Pokémon GO Shiny Rates I: Boosted Wild Rates

It’s been over two and a half years since the first shiny Magikarp flopped its way onto our phone screens and into our hearts. More than 150 shiny families can now be encountered in Pokémon GO, and it’s time for the Silph Research Group to take stock of what we’ve learned about these rare and dazzling creatures!

In the coming weeks we’ll be sharing a three-part series with our aggregate findings on shiny rates, beginning today with an analysis of boosted shiny rates for wild encounters. We hope that this series is enlightening for our newer travelers and helps to clarify the various shiny rates for experienced travelers. Let’s get started!


The Basics

Our current evidence suggests that at any given time, each Pokémon has a single shiny rate that applies across all methods of encounter. That means travelers have the same chance of finding a shiny through Field Research, Eggs, Raid Battles, or wild encounters.¹ We will assume this throughout this series of articles.

As we’ve discussed in previous studies, there appears to be a single shiny rate (the “base” rate) that applies to most species most of the time. However, there are times when Pokémon GO uses other rates. Rates for particular species are sometimes boosted for events, and some Pokémon even have permanent shiny rates that are higher than the base rate (for examples, see Part II and Part III of our 2018 Shiny Hunt study).


A Taxonomy of Shiny Rates

Our research strongly suggests that there are three different boosted shiny rates commonly used for wild encounters in Pokémon GO. Let’s take a look at each of these!

The Community Day rate

Probably the best-known boosted rate is the Community Day rate. Our analyses continue to suggest that a single consistent shiny rate applies to all Pokémon during their Community Day, including the three-hour bonus periods during the December 2018 and 2019 Community Weekend roundups. This same rate, in fact, also applied to other worldwide boosted wild shiny events up to and including the release of shiny Pinsir on November 1, 2018.

The Medium Event rate

Starting with the release of shiny Cubone and Ponyta on November 5, 2018, a lower shiny rate has been observed for worldwide events involving wild Pokémon with significantly boosted spawns. We’ve dubbed this the “Medium Event” rate. In 2019, the Medium Event rate was used for GO Fest- and Safari Zone-related events, as well as the non-bonus portion of the 2019 Community Weekend.

In contrast, other events with significantly boosted wild spawns have almost exclusively used the base shiny rate. One notable exception was the release of normal Castform’s shiny form during the Lotad research event, in which wild spawns were significantly boosted and the shiny rate may have even exceeded the Community Day rate.

We also draw a distinction between events with significantly boosted wild spawns, and events where a featured species could be encountered in the wild but was more readily available by other encounter methods. Examples include the Kanto regionals during the September 2019 Ultra Bonus event (in which one’s “home” regional remained available in the wild while all Kanto regionals were available in eggs), costumed Stantler during the December 2019 holiday event (primarily available in raids and eggs), and Gyarados and Chansey during early-2020 events (primarily available in raids, as well as Field Research in the case of Chansey). These shiny rates will be addressed in Part II of this series, and may sometimes be higher than the Medium Event rate.

The Permaboost rate

Finally, our data suggest that there is a “Permaboost” rate, roughly double the Medium Event rate, that applies to at least twelve species found in the wild: Aerodactyl, Bronzor, Clamperl, Alolan Exeggutor, Feebas, Gligar, Lapras, Onix, Pineco, Scyther, Skarmory, and Sneasel.2

Some of these species first appeared at other shiny rates (like the Medium Event rate) during their shiny release events before becoming Permaboosted at the end of those events. For example, Scyther and Bronzor had the base and Medium Event rates, respectively, during their release events before changing to a Permaboosted rate after their conclusion. Gligar spent the first day of its release event at the base rate before being switched to the Medium Event rate, and finally became Permaboosted at the end of the event.


The Numbers

Over the past two and a half years, Silph Researchers have been tracking and reporting their shiny (and non-shiny) numbers through studies of varying duration. The numbers in this article combine all of these methods of study: wild encounters, hatches, Field Research, and raids. (CI stands for “confidence interval.”)

Category Encounters Shiny Rate 95% CI low 95% CI high
Community Day 433,341 17,506 1 in 24.8 1 in 25.1 1 in 24.4
Medium Event 168,142 1,265 1 in 133 1 in 141 1 in 126
Permaboost 36,722 611 1 in 60 1 in 65 1 in 56

Parting Words

In this article, we’ve highlighted three wild shiny rates that Niantic uses repeatedly, and that are significantly higher than the base shiny rate: Community Day, Medium Event, and Permaboost rates. The consistent re-use of these rates is likely meant to set travelers’ expectations about the level of effort required to obtain a specific shiny Pokémon. The time-limited nature of Community Day and Medium Event shiny rates encourages travelers to hunt during a specific time window.

Of particular interest is the observation that the Medium Event rate and the Permaboost rate are approximately a factor of two apart. We’ll discuss this in detail later in this series of articles. Until then, we’ll see you on the Road!


Appendix 1 – Medium Events

We have classified the following worldwide events as having had one or more shinies available at the Medium Event rate. The Date column indicates the month and year of the event.

Species Event Date Seen Shiny Rate 95% CI low 95% CI high
Ponyta Ingress Prime 11/2018 9325 54 1 in 173 1 in 230 1 in 135
Cubone Ingress Prime 11/2018 8756 83 1 in 105 1 in 132 1 in 86
Eevee Let’s Go 11/2018 5158 30 1 in 172 1 in 255 1 in 124
Pikachu Let’s Go 11/2018 7665 57 1 in 134 1 in 177 1 in 106
Psyduck Safari Zone 1/2019 10518 76 1 in 138 1 in 176 1 in 112
Shuckle Safari Zone 4/2019 26978 204 1 in 132 1 in 152 1 in 116
Diglett Earth Day 4/2019 43523 301 1 in 145 1 in 162 1 in 130
Horsea GO Fest 6/2019 3623 39 1 in 93 1 in 130 1 in 70
Nidoran M GO Fest 7/2019 7367 70 1 in 105 1 in 135 1 in 84
Poliwag GO Fest 8/2019 8257 60 1 in 138 1 in 180 1 in 109
Yanma Safari Zone 9/2019 15419 120 1 in 128 1 in 155 1 in 108
Oddish Safari Zone 10/2019 17754 138 1 in 129 1 in 153 1 in 110
Magikarp Lunar New Year 1/2020 3799 33 1 in 115 1 in 167 1 in 84

Appendix 2 – Permaboosted Species

We have classified the following Pokémon as having a Permaboosted shiny rate. The following table excludes data from events during which the shiny rate was different from the eventual permanent rate, as well as all data from GO Fest/Safari Zone events.

Species Encounters Shiny Rate 95% CI low 95% CI high
Aerodactyl 9671 156 1 in 62 1 in 73 1 in 53
Bronzor 805 10 1 in 81 1 in 167 1 in 47
Clamperl 772 10 1 in 77 1 in 160 1 in 45
Alolan Exeggutor 2411 35 1 in 69 1 in 99 1 in 51
Feebas 1756 37 1 in 47 1 in 67 1 in 35
Gligar 233 3 1 in 78 1 in 374 1 in 32
Lapras 478 8 1 in 60 1 in 138 1 in 33
Onix 10089 167 1 in 60 1 in 71 1 in 52
Pineco 234 4 1 in 59 1 in 213 1 in 27
Scyther 2159 43 1 in 50 1 in 69 1 in 38
Skarmory 2886 50 1 in 58 1 in 78 1 in 45
Sneasel 5228 88 1 in 59 1 in 74 1 in 49

Appendix 3 – Footnotes

¹ Recently, several Field Research Task encounters have not been available in shiny form, despite having available shiny forms from other encounter methods. Niantic confirmed that this bug affected the Alolan Vulpix encounter from the “Hatch 7 Eggs” task (which has since been remedied and replaced with “Hatch 4 Eggs”), and it appears that encounters from other tasks were likely affected as well. This suggests that there are differences in the underlying code governing shininess for field research and wild encounters. Since this glitch resulted in the shiny form being unavailable via field research instead of being available at a different rate, we still believe that each species uses a single shiny rate (barring glitches). We emphasize that the vast majority of the data collected for these articles were originally separated by encounter method and were thoroughly checked for differences before combining. We will continue to closely monitor shiny rates for any discrepancies between encounter types. 

2 Some shiny forms were released too recently for us to have enough data to accurately determine their shiny rates, so we cannot rule out that there are additional recently released Pokémon on the Permaboost list.