What’s a shiny Vulpix worth? About nine hours, lots of tears, and pure bliss.
Shiny hunting in Pokemon games is nothing new. Shinies, introduced in Generation II, are coveted amongst Pokefans due to their rarity and unique color schemes. Whether more powerful than your opponent or not, the star that jumps out of the Pokeball along with your shiny Grimer is sure to make your best pals green with envy, even if they hate the animated pile of slime and sludge. With random encounters and odds of shiny appearance astronomically low, the fact that shiny hunting emerged as a sport is a true testament to the dedication of Pokefans.
Over the generations, methods for hunting those elusive shiny Pokemon have become more complex, and subsequently proliferation of shiny hunters posting videos of their hunts on YouTube, garnering hefty followings. Leading up to the release of the latest games in the Pokemon series, Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, speculation about how seeing Pokemon in the overworld would impact shiny hunting rippled with a fervor through the Pokemon community. Imaginations ran wild with the introduction of catch combos, where catching a chain of the same species of Pokemon would make appearances of rare Pokemon more likely. Would this include the appearance of rare shinies? Certainly.
Upon release of Let’s Go, two factions rose. In the first, rumors of chaining combos up to 111 would be necessary to maximize your odds of catching a shiny; in the second, only 31. Maximum odds shiny hunters hoped the second faction was correct. Shiny Arceus heard their prayers.
While chaining up to a 31 catch combo is a reasonable benchmark, it’s perhaps less straightforward than it may initially seem. With the new catch system, wild Pokemon are liable to run, and if that wily Mr. Mime sneaks away before you can catch one, your catch combo will break, and you will run into your room, bury your head and cry just like the grown-up eleven year-old you are. Maximizing your odds by chaining up to 31 is simply the start of your journey, and the tissues must be kept close by for the rest of your shiny hunt.
Route selection is also incredibly important. With Pokemon spawning in the overworld, those wily shinies can also run away. Hope those tissues are still close. Once that shiny is gone, you can tack on another few hours, at least, to your hunt. Picking a confined area with limited spawn points is critical to a successful shiny hunt.
As a fresh shiny hunter, I naively thought that once I chained up to a catch combo of 31 with Vulpix, that shiny-gold Vulpix would appear in mere moments. Dropping lures, scoping various areas, alternating between standing still and running in circles, the hours trickled by. At about the five hour mark, I knew I had wasted far too much time to give up on that shiny Vulpix. Several more hours passed, and no shiny Vulpix. I was out of tissues, but not out of tears, and certainly not ready to throw in the towel.
Weary, tired, approaching nine hours, nonchalantly, a tuft of gold fur emerged from a thicket of grass. In front of me, steadfastly placing one paw in front of the other like it hadn’t decimated my sanity as easily as any Vulpix can burn up a sleeping Oddish, the shiny Vulpix had emerged. Gleefully, I grabbed my ultra balls, and started throwing, barely even able to think about timing. The first one missed. I was sure this shiny Vulpix would run, possibly forcing me into a mad house, but finally, that sweet, satisfying click of a pokeball, indicating I was this Vulpixes master rang out like a choir of angels. My shiny had been captured, and I am now a man.
Giving the shiny Vulpix the nickname Dazzler, I had it judged by Professor Oak. Amazing stats. If I never catch another Pokemon, that would be okay. I have the greatest gift of all: a shiny Vulpix.
For now, I’m leaving my shiny hunting boots in the closet, but just for now. Next up, a far more elusive target, a shiny Staryu. I have mere days, I fear, before my sanity runs out. Sure, I may be crazy – crazy like a shiny Vulpix.
By: Dan Burkett