The Pokémon Company surprised Sword and Shield players by releasing official information about catching Shiny and Gigantamax Pokémon in the new Switch titles. Shiny Pokémon, rare Pokémon who have differently colored designs than usual and are very tedious to track down, have existed within the Pokémon franchise for several generations of games now, but aren’t often acknowledged by the Pokémon Company outside of Pokémon Go. Gigantamax Pokémon are a new feature in Sword and Shield, in which certain species of Pokémon change form when they Dynamax.
In their long announcement, the Pokémon Company first advises players to battle Brilliant Pokémon in the Wild Area. Brilliant Pokémon appear in the overworld with a yellow aura around them, which, if defeated, will give the player Watts, a form of currency related to Dynamaxing in the game. Brilliant Pokémon will know special moves, such as Egg moves, and have “the highest possible strength for at least two or three of their stats.” The more Pokémon of a certain species the player catches or defeats, the more likely Brilliant Pokémon and Shiny Pokémon of that species will appear. Players don’t have to encounter these Pokémon consecutively, as the Pokédex keeps track of how many times players have battled each species of Pokémon. Additionally, time a player defeats a Pokémon in the wild, their chances of encountering that same species of Pokémon are increased for a short time.
After encountering one species of Pokémon 100 times, the chance of encountering a Brilliant Pokémon of that species will be maxed out at double the odds. After encountering one species of Pokémon 500 times, the chance of encountering a Shiny Pokémon of that species will be maxed out at six times the likelihood of a Shiny appearing. Upon completing the Pokédex, players will receive a Shiny Charm, which will further increase the odds.
Brilliant Pokémon can also be found through fishing in the Wild Area. Rather than focusing on the number of one species of Pokémon the player has battled, the player should focus on defeating many Pokémon consecutively, regardless of species. The more consecutive battles via fishing, the higher the chance of Brilliant Pokémon appearing, which will max out after 25 consecutive fishing battles with 16.6 times the original chances of Brilliant Pokémon appearing. The chain can be broken by failing to reel in a Pokémon, catching a Pokémon, running away from a battle, leaving the area, or turning off the game.
Players can encounter Dynamax Pokémon through Max Raid Battles. Pokémon caught via Max Raid Battles are ranked on a scale of one to five stars in terms of difficulty, with more difficult Pokémon yielding higher rewards for the player. Higher ranked Pokémon are also more likely to have Hidden Abilities or other “high individual strengths.” After earning the final Gym Badge, the Dragon Badge, players may encounter Pokémon with the Gigantamax Factor in five-star Max Raid Battles. Using a Wishing Piece to trigger a Max Raid Battle can also attract wild Gigantamax Pokémon.
Which Pokémon appear in the Wild Area at any given time is affected by the weather conditions, which change often in each part of the Wild Area. For example, during thunderstorms, more Water, Electric, and Dragon Type Pokémon will appear. Rare weather will yield rare Pokémon. Players can check the weather throughout the Wild Area at any given time via the Town Map. Additionally, some Pokémon and weather conditions won’t even have a chance of appearing until the player becomes Champion, which makes completing the story a vital part of completing the Pokédex.