Pokemon Sword and Shield Shiny Squares vs Stars Guide By: HallownestSurvivor

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Hi all! So I think there might currently be a misconception that I may be able to clear up regarding the differences between Square Shinies and Star Shinies. If you are already aware of this, feel free to disregard the post.

Current misconception: squares are rare, stars are par.

BLUF: It is the opposite when it comes to encountering Pokemon in the wild. Shiny Pokemon with the stars animation are much more difficult to come across, unless you are breeding for shiny Pokemon. But why? Read below!

First, if you do not understand the concept of how the game internally determines a shiny Pokemon, often called “rolls“, you’ll need to grasp that before anything. I’ll try to do a brief explanation in order to stay on topic of “Square vs. Stars”. If you know about rolls, you can skip this section and go to “Alright, back on topic”.

In the game, the overall odds of encountering a shiny without modification from chaining, breeding, or the shiny charm, is 1/4096. When encountering a Pokemon, the game essentially “rolls” N times (N= # of rolls available based on modification of odds, 1 being the standard encounter) to determine if your encounter successfully hits that 1 in 4096 chance.

Through the modification methods, you can do two things:

  1. Increase the overall encounter chance to as low as 1/512 ~1/455
  2. Increase the number of extra rolls you get per encounter. Essentially you get to reroll the same overall odds you had multiple times for the chance of a shiny. It is said that the shiny charm grants an extra 2 rolls by its sole existence

Alright, back on topic. Squares vs. Stars.

When do Squares occur?

Squares occur when you encounter a Pokemon, at any odds, and the game rolls your shiny on a reroll. Another way to put this is rolling your shiny on anything other than the first roll of the encounter.

For example, if you had 9 total rolls per encounter with the best shiny odds modification in play (shiny charm+500 encounters = ~1/455) and the 5th roll (5 of 9) of that encounter successfully lands the 1 of 455 chance, your shiny Pokemon will have the squares animation. This goes for rolls 2-9 entirely. Whether it is roll 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, whatever, you will get squares.

Okay, I think I see where you’re going with this. So Stars?

Stars occur when you encounter a Pokemon, at any odds, and the game rolls your shiny on the first roll. NUMBA. WAN.

Using the previous example, having the best odds (~1/455) with your 9 total rolls, if your game rolls your very first roll (1/9) and it hits the 1 of 455 chance successfully, your shiny Pokemon will have the stars animation. Only roll #1 will result in stars, making it much harder to result in a stars animation from wild encounters.

BUT WAIT OP! I just used the Masuda method and nailed a Stars shiny by breeding! Isn’t that lucky?!

Hell yeah Johnny, that’s damn lucky! HOWEVER LET ME RUIN YOUR DAY JUST A LITTLE WITH A DRINK CALLED TRUTH. You have to understand that breeding does not utilize extra rolls/rerolls. Your overall odds of a shiny are increased using the breeding method, however each egg is one and only one roll of your odds. Therefore, breeding will almost always result in stars.

If you want to see the nitty gritty details in code format, this dataminer Kurt (@Kaphotics) laid it out straight for all to know: https://twitter.com/Kaphotics/status/1197038435929735168?s=19

NOTE: The top post in the twitter thread is the original and he posts an update right below starting with “In a surprising twist” which is where the information I have provided begins to come to light. Read the updates for more information in line with this theory. The original deduction of Squares being super rare was a misjudgment.

What if I got a Squares shiny, but it was my first encounter of this Pokemon EVER? The hell is up with that?

The # of rerolls you start with at 0 encounters is 0 with a 1.5% chance to receive an extra roll. This is based on a datamined chart at the link below. This is the reason it is still possible to get Squares, even on your first encounter of a Pokemon. https://wegotthiscovered.com/gaming/catch-shiny-pokmon-sword-shield/

Hey OP! I got a Squares shiny from a hatch, but you said its ALMOST ALWAYS stars!

Well shit, Johnny. The chance to get a Square shiny from an egg is approximately 1/65536 you lucky son of a gun.

Alternate Perspective: If I were to believe that Squares are considered the “ultra shiny” due to their cool, extra sparkly animation, there is a possibility that the developers objectively assumed that breeding Pokemon for shinies through the Masuda method is the “easy way” to get a shiny. Therefore, those who actually put the time into chaining a Pokemon are rewarded with the Squares shiny ~90% of the time. The other ~10% could possibly find it more common to get a Stars shiny the higher your chain reaches (aka the better your odds get aka the easier it gets to finding your sought out shiny), although this is completely speculation and goes against the script found by the dataminer. Obviously this alternate perspective explanation does not exactly fall in line with what I’ve written above, but I’m always willing to keep an open mind.

After all, does this really matter that much? It’s up to you. As a long time shiny hunter, shiny Pokemon are shiny Pokemon. I will never be upset receiving either animation because it is a lucky break to find one, no matter what. For the hunters of all things most rare, sorry if I bursted your squares bubble. I hope this was helpful!

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