In every single main series Pokémon game — with the exception of Pokémon Colosseum, Pokémon XD, Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu & Eevee, and Pokémon Sword & Shield — you can attempt to get a Shiny Pokémon as your starter Pokémon.
This is generally impractical if your goal is to get the starter Pokémon by any means, as breeding will go faster in most games, but there’s something to be said about having your first Pokémon in a game be a Shiny Pokémon, which is why many people enjoy taking on this challenge.
Your odds are a fixed 1 in 8192 in Generation II–V games and 1 in 4096 in Generation VI–VII games. The Shiny Charm does not apply here as you cannot legitimately receive the Shiny Charm before obtaining your first Pokémon, silly.
Regardless of which game you’re playing, here’s the basic process for hunting for a Shiny Starter Pokémon:
- You’ll need to start a New Game. This is obviously something that cannot be done on an existing game. (Make sure you erase your save file before starting the New Game, otherwise you won’t be able to save!)
- Start up the game, make sure you turn Text Speed to “Fast” as soon as you’re able. Some games also have an L = A button mode, which can let you mash text using the L button as well and can free up your right hand to check Twitter, change the channel, etc. Very handy because you’ll be mashing a lot of text.
- Play up until the point where you get the choice to pick your starter Pokémon. Most games let you save immediately before picking the starter, but some games like X & Y, Sun & Moon, and Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon have some extra dialogue or cutscenes beforehand so you will need to save earlier.
- Pick the starter Pokémon you’re hoping to get as a Shiny, mash through the text, and then you’ll either check the Pokémon in the status screen or nickname screen to see if it’s Shiny, or you’ll see if it’s Shiny when you send it out in battle, depending on the game.
- If it’s not Shiny, soft reset the game immediately and try again.
There are a few more things to note, depending on which game you’re playing on:
- In Gold, Silver & Crystal, since Shiny Starter Pokémon cannot be female, check the Pokémon’s gender on the nickname screen. If it’s female, you can immediately soft reset without having to check it in the status screen.
- In HeartGold & SoulSilver, you can actually see whether the starter Pokémon is Shiny before picking it, so this makes it a great game to hunt for a Shiny Starter Pokémon in. This also means you may want to check all three Starter Pokémon to see if any are Shiny before soft resetting.
- In Sun & Moon, you’re going to want to save your game on Mahalo Trial after saving Lillie. Optimally, you’ll want to save just a step away from the exit. Unfortunately, there is a lot of text mashing you’ll have to go through before you can check if your starter is Shiny. You can check from the nickname screen, but be careful, because Shiny Popplio is not too noticeable.
- In Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon, you’ll want to save right before entering the grass on Route 1. There’s less mashing compared to Sun & Moon, but it still goes slow. As with Sun & Moon, Shiny Popplio is a bit tricky to notice, so keep a close eye on it.