Why Do We Even Care About Shiny Pokemon?

A while back, Articuno appeared in raids, with a potential to be shiny. Brother really wanted a shiny Articuno to complete his collection, and I wanted one too. Between us, with four accounts, we probably had about 50 chances to get a shiny Articuno. Out of all the raids we did, the only person to get a shiny Articuno was my little level 28 account, which only just has the right counters to fight Articuno in the first place.

We weren’t alone. During the Tuesday raid hour, we were in a group of 15 accounts and we did 5 raids. We didn’t get a single shiny in 75 chances. That’s actually rather upsetting because apparently the shiny chance is anywhere between 1/20 and 1/70 for legendary raids.

But why did we push so hard?

Articuno actually isn’t that useful. It has a very niche use in Great and Ultra League PvP. Theoretically, Articuno is a good Ice Type, but there are plenty of more accessible ice types. Galarian Darumaka is the Ice King right now, with Mamoswine not far behind it. Articuno only catches up if it’s a Shadow one.

Nah, the real reason people wanted shiny Articuno is because it looks cool. Well, cooler. I don’t know if that pun was intended or not, but the ice bird’s shiny genuinely looks pretty unique.

The same can’t be said for Zapdos and Moltres. Zapdos’s shiny is barely noticeable, while Moltres goes a weird pink-red colour. Weirdly, Moltres was actually the first shiny I ever caught in Pokemon Go, and I still don’t have a shiny of Zapdos, Team Instinct’s mascot. Then again, I technically don’t have shiny Articuno either.

Yet, for some reason, I still want a shiny Zapdos.

Not all shinies are good.

Shiny Pokemon actually come in a lot of different types. The legendary birds actually make for great examples – the barely noticeable shiny Zapdos; the weird choice of colour Moltres; and the hand-picked Articuno. Obviously the black Charizard is way cooler than the slightly yellow Venasaur and the purple Blastoise.

The same can be said about other legendaries. People wanted Virizion because it looks cool in that weird red. Terrakion on the other hand has a weird shiny, but people want it because Terrakion is a strong rock type. No one wanted Cobalion though.

Do we want them because they’re shiny or because they’re rare?

This is an interesting question. Why do we do these raids? I mean, aside from catching legendaries. In the grand scheme of things, shiny legendaries aren’t actually THAT rare in Pokemon Go. Based on the opportunity to actually obtain one, a shiny Deino is far, far more rare than a shiny Articuno. Heck, normal Deino is rarer than whatever legendary is currently in raids. Once those legendaries go away though, they become impossible to obtain until they come around again.

Pokemon Go is actually pretty unique in that it does allow you to legitimately catch more than one legendary on the regular. And it allows you to catch shiny legendary Pokemon. These days, in the main Pokemon games, a shiny legendary is only something you get from an event.

But really though, I think we all just like the sparkles. Sure, it’s just an alternate colour scheme. But getting a shiny Pokemon still makes most people go “Hey! Cool! A Shiny!” It’s exciting! It’s suspenseful! And it makes us happy when we get one, even if we failed in all previous attempts.

And of course, people make money off that.

I mean, this is a capitalist society. People have made fortunes off people who just want that shiny adrenaline rush.


Medic, also known as Phovos (or occasionally Dr Retvik Von Scribblesalot), writes 50% of all the articles on the Daily SPUF since she doesn't have anything better to do. A dedicated Medic main in Team Fortress 2 and an avid speedster in Warframe, Phovos has the unique skill of writing 500 words about very little in a very short space of time.

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