Efficient Shiny Hunting & Shiny Breeding in Pokémon Crystal

Shiny Ditty and Red Gyarados

Shiny Hunting in Pokémon Crystal can be brutally hard due to the low chance of finding a wild Shiny Pokémon. The odds of a wild Pokémon being Shiny are just 1/8,192.

So instead, you should try to breed Shiny Pokémon at the Day Care. This is by far the most efficient method of acquiring shinies in Gen 2.

The odds of producing new Shinies via breeding way are over a hundred times better than searching in the tall grass. Your odds can go as high as 1/64.

But you’ll need a Shiny Pokémon to start Shiny Breeding. Luckily, Pokémon Crystal offers a few easy ones to get you started.

Easiest Shinies to Get in Pokémon Crystal

Shinies were first introduced in Gen 2. As such, the game goes out of its way to put some Shiny Pokémon in your way.

Before you start hunting for any other Shiny Pokémon, consider getting these:

Red Gyarados

The first time you visit the Lake of Rage north of Mahogany Town, you’ll notice a Red Gyarados causing trouble in the middle of the water.

Red Gyarados in the Lake of Rage. / Pokémon Crystal
Red Gyarados in the Lake of Rage.

Ensure you have enough Great Balls or Ultra Balls, then use Surf to get closer and interact with it. This will trigger a battle, allowing you to catch the Red Gyarados.

Tip: Save before going into battle. You can reload the save if you accidentally make Gyarados faint instead of catching it.

Odd Egg

When you first meet the couple at the Day Care on Route 34, they’ll tell you about a mysterious egg they found and ask if you want to keep it.

Tip: You can free up space in your party by depositing Pokémon in Bill’s PC using the terminal on the top right corner of the Day Care.

Receiving Odd Egg from the Day Care Man. / Pokémon Crystal
Receiving Odd Egg from the Day Care Man.

The Odd Egg contains one of the seven pre-evolutions or “baby forms” introduced in Pokémon Crystal.

What makes the Odd Egg super special is the high chance of getting a Shiny hatchling.

Shiny Tyrogue is born. / Pokémon Crystal
Shiny Tyrogue is born.

It’ll happen around 15% of the time, but not at the same rate for every Pokémon.

Some Odd Egg Pokémon are more likely to come out Shiny than others:

Odd Egg Hatchlings
Pokémon Color Scheme Chance of Hatching
Cleffa Normal 16%
Shiny 3%
Igglybuff Normal 16%
Shiny 3%
Smoochum Normal 14%
Shiny 2%
Elekid Normal 12%
Shiny 2%
Magby Normal 10%
Shiny 2%
Tyrogue Normal 10%
Shiny 2%
Pichu Normal 8%
Shiny 1%

Tip: Save before accepting the Odd Egg. That way you can reload the game repeatedly until you get the Shiny Pokémon you want. Saving right before it hatches won’t work.

Pokémon hatched from this egg will always be female. This excludes Tyrogue because the species is exclusively male.

How Shiny Breeding Works

Leaving two compatible Pokémon together at the Day Care on Route 34 eventually produces a Pokémon Egg.

The Pokémon born from the egg inherits some traits from its parents, including species, moves, and growth potential (DVs).

Shiny Pokémon will also pass down their Shiny-ness to some of their offspring. You can take advantage of this to breed a Shiny battalion.

Deter Values (DVs) & The Shiny Gene

There’s a 1/64 chance that a newborn Pokémon will be Shiny if the opposite-gender parent (or Ditto) is Shiny.

Note: In comparison, the chances of a wild Pokémon being Shiny are 1/8192.

The reason for this is because in Pokémon Crystal, all Shiny Pokémon share a similar set of DVs:

  • HP: 0 or 8
  • Attack: 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 14 or 15
  • Defense: 10
  • Special: 10
  • Speed: 10

HP, Attack, and Speed are mostly random.

On the other hand, Defense and Special are partially inheritable from the newborn’s opposite-gendered parent.

A value of 10 in Defense and 2, 10, or 18 in Special could be considered a “Shiny Gene”. It will result in opposite-gendered offspring being Shiny 1/64th of the time.

Tip: Even if they aren’t Shiny, all opposite-gendered offspring of a Shiny parent will carry the Shiny Gene. That means it also has a higher chance of producing a Shiny egg.

Visual explanation of Shiny Gene inheritance depending on gender. / Pokémon Crystal
Visual explanation of Shiny Gene inheritance depending on gender.

This makes breeding Shiny Pokémon one of the easiest and most reliable ways to acquire Shiny Gen 1 & 2 Pokémon in the entire series.

Egg Groups

All Pokémon belong to at least one Egg Group, and some belong to more than one. These groups determine who they can reproduce with.

Gen II Egg Groups
Egg Group Pokémon in Group
Amorphous Gastly, Gengar, Grimer, Haunter, Koffing, Magcargo, Misdreavus, Muk, Slugma, Weezing, Wobbuffet.
Bug Ariados, Beedrill, Butterfree, Caterpie, Forretress, Gligar, Heracross, Kakuna, Ledian, Ledyba, Metapod, Paras, Parasect, Pineco, Pinsir, Scizor, Scyther, Shuckle, Spinarak, Venomoth, Venonat, Weedle, Yanma.
Dragon Arbok, Charizard, Charmander, Charmeleon, Dragonair, Dragonite, Dratini, Ekans, Gyarados, Horsea, Kingdra, Magikarp, Seadra.
Fairy Azumarill, Blissey, Chansey, Clefable, Clefairy, Granbull, Hoppip, Jigglypuff, Jumpluff, Marill, Pikachu, Raichu, Skiploom, Snubbull, Togetic, Wigglytuff.
Field Aipom, Ampharos, Arbok, Arcanine, Cyndaquil, Delibird, Dewgong, Diglett, Donphan, Dugtrio, Dunsparce, Eevee, Ekans, Espeon, Farfetch’d, Flaaffy, Flareon, Furret, Girafarig, Golduck, Granbull, Growlithe, Houndoom, Houndour, Jolteon, Mankey, Mareep, Meowth, Miltank, Nidoking, Nidoran, Nidorino, Ninetales, Persian, Phanpy, Pikachu, Piloswine, Ponyta, Primeape, Psyduck, Quagsire, Quilava, Raichu, Rapidash, Raticate, Rattata, Rhydon, Rhyhorn, Sandshrew, Sandslash, Seel, Sentret, Smeargle, Sneasel, Snubbull, Stantler, Swinub, Tauros, Teddiursa, Typhlosion, Umbreon, Ursaring, Vaporeon, Vulpix, Wooper.
Flying Aerodactyl, Crobat, Dodrio, Doduo, Farfetch’d, Fearow, Golbat, Hoothoot, Murkrow, Natu, Noctowl, Pidgeot, Pidgeotto, Pidgey, Skarmory, Spearow, Togetic, Xatu, Zubat.
Grass Bayleef, Bellossom, Bellsprout, Bulbasaur, Chikorita, Exeggcute, Exeggutor, Gloom, Hoppip, Ivysaur, Jumpluff, Meganium, Oddish, Paras, Parasect, Skiploom, Sunflora, Sunkern, Tangela, Venusaur, Victreebel, Vileplume, Weepinbell.
Humanoid Abra, Alakazam, Drowzee, Electabuzz, Hitmonchan, Hitmonlee, Hitmontop, Hypno, Jynx, Kadabra, Machamp, Machoke, Machop, Magmar, Mr. Mime.
Mineral Geodude, Golem, Graveler, Onix, Steelix, Sudowoodo.
Monster Ampharos, Bayleef, Blastoise, Bulbasaur, Charizard, Charmander, Charmeleon, Chikorita, Croconaw, Cubone, Feraligatr, Flaaffy, Ivysaur, Kangaskhan, Lapras, Larvitar, Lickitung, Mareep, Marowak, Meganium, Nidoking, Nidoran, Nidorino, Pupitar, Rhydon, Rhyhorn, Slowbro, Slowking, Slowpoke, Snorlax, Squirtle, Totodile, Tyranitar, Venusaur, Wartortle.
Water 1 Azumarill, Blastoise, Corsola, Croconaw, Delibird, Dewgong, Dragonair, Dragonite, Dratini, Feraligatr, Golduck, Horsea, Kabuto, Kabutops, Kingdra, Lapras, Mantine, Marill, Octillery, Omanyte, Omastar, Politoed, Poliwag, Poliwhirl, Poliwrath, Psyduck, Quagsire, Remoraid, Seadra, Seel, Slowbro, Slowking, Slowpoke, Squirtle, Totodile, Wartortle, Wooper.
Water 2 Chinchou, Goldeen, Gyarados, Lanturn, Magikarp, Octillery, Qwilfish, Remoraid, Seaking.
Water 3 Cloyster, Corsola, Kabuto, Kabutops, Kingler, Krabby, Omanyte, Omastar, Shellder, Tentacool, Tentacruel.
Genderless* Electrode, Magnemite, Magneton, Porygon, Porygon2, Starmie, Staryu, Voltorb.
Undiscovered** Articuno, Celebi, Cleffa, Elekid, Entei, Ho-oh, Igglybuff, Lugia, Magby, Mew, Mewtwo, Moltres, Nidoqueen, Nidorina, Pichu, Raikou, Smoochum, Suicune, Togepi, Tyrogue, Unown, Zapdos.
Ditto Ditto.
*Pokémon in the Genderless group can only reproduce with Ditto.
**Pokémon in the Undiscovered group can’t reproduce.

Passing Down the Shiny Gene

A single Shiny Pokémon can only pass down the Shiny Gene to members of its own Egg Group.

But there’s a way to expand your Shiny Gene’s reach.

Some Pokémon belong to two Egg Groups instead of just one.

You can use this to transfer the Shiny Gene from one Egg Group to another.

Note: An egg’s species is determined by its mother, so only male Pokémon can pass the Shiny Gene to different species.

Shiny Breeding With Red Gyarados

Let’s look at the obvious starting point for Shiny breeding in Pokémon Crystal: a Red Gyarados.

Gyarados can only pass the Shiny Gene to Pokémon in the Dragon and Water 2 groups.

Still, its descendants, like Ekans (Field/Dragon) and Seadra (Dragon/Water 1), can continue passing the trait to more Egg Groups.

Tip: You want to start with a male Gyarados. If you have a female, breed it to produce a male Magikarp with the Shiny Gene.

The Red Gyarados’s potential Shiny descendants. / Pokémon Crystal
The Red Gyarados’s potential Shiny descendants.

The Human-like, Amorphous, and Mineral egg groups are excluded since none of Gyarados’s possible descendants belong to these groups.

Tip: A Shiny Tyrogue, Magby, Elekid, or Smoochum from the Odd Egg can help you breed Shiny Pokémon in the Humanoid group.

Why You Need a Shiny Ditto

A Shiny Ditto can completely break the system in your favor and make Shiny Breeding a piece of cake.

That’s because Ditto has some unique characteristics when breeding:

  • It can breed with Pokémon of any gender
  • It always passes down its DVs
  • The other parent determines the offspring species
  • It’s the only Pokémon that can breed with the Genderless Egg Group

In other words, a Shiny Ditto can easily inject the Shiny Gene into any species.

Some of Shiny Ditto’s potential Shiny descendants. / Pokémon Crystal
Some of Shiny Ditto’s potential Shiny descendants.

Note: The one exception is the Undiscovered Egg Group, made up of Legendary Pokémon like Lugia, Ho-Oh, Raikou, Entei, and Suicune.

How to Turn a Wild Ditto Shiny

The easiest way to get a Shiny Ditto is through a glitch that allows a wild Ditto to copy an opponent’s DVs by using Transform twice in a row.

If this happens with a Shiny Pokémon on your side, it’ll copy the Shiny Gene and become Shiny itself. Then, you just need to catch it.

Shiny Ditto caught. / Pokémon Crystal
Shiny Ditto caught.

But for this to happen, your Shiny Pokémon must know the move Transform.

Here’s the easiest way to make it happen:

  1. Cath the Red Gyarados at the Lake of Rage
  2. Transfer it to Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow by trading through the Time Capsule
  3. Teach it Mimic through TM31
  4. Transfer it back to Pokémon Crystal
  5. Delete every move except Mimic through the Move Deleter in Blackthorn City
  6. Find a wild Ditto in the tall grass of Route 34
  7. On the first turn, use Mimic to copy Ditto’s Transform
  8. Let Ditto use Transform to copy your Red Gyarados
  9. Let Ditto (as the Red Gyarados) use Transform a second time
  10. Catch the wild Ditto

Ditto will copy your Red Gyarados’s DVs the second time it uses Transform. In other words, it will acquire the Shiny Gene and permanently become a Shiny Ditto.

Ditto’s sprite will update and become Shiny after you go in and out of the Item menu. You’ll surely see it when you throw a PokéBall to catch it.

Tip: You can use this Shiny Ditto to create more Shiny Ditto. Just let any other wild Ditto use Transform on your Pokémon twice!

How To Shiny Breed in Simple Steps (TL;DR)

Understanding how Shiny Breeding works can be overwhelming, but you don’t need to master all the details to get the Shiny you want.

Here’s a simple and to-the-point recap that won’t make your head spin:

Shiny Breeding With Ditto

If you can trade with Pokémon Red, Blue, or Yellow, it’s worth following the steps outlined above to get a Shiny Ditto.

This will allow you to get any non-legendary Shiny Pokémon you want, including Pokémon in the Genderless Egg Group.

You just need a regular non-Shiny member of the target species to pair with the Shiny Ditto. The gender doesn’t matter with this method.

Here’s what you want to do:

  1. Get a Shiny Ditto.
  2. Get a non-Shiny Pokémon of the species you want to make Shiny.
  3. Leave them together at the Day Care on Route 34.
  4. Check back periodically until the Day Care Man is standing in the yard. This means he has an egg for you.
  5. Get the Pokémon Egg from the Day Care Man and run around Goldenrod City and Route 34 to hatch it.
  6. Check if you got a Shiny when it hatches. If not, try again.

Remember to check the Day Care often while trying to hatch the egg to see if there are any more eggs. It’s more efficient to hatch several eggs at the same time.

Shiny Breeding Without Ditto

Even if you can’t get a Shiny Ditto, you can still get almost any Shiny Pokémon in the game through breeding. It will just take more effort.

Step 1: Get an “easy” Shiny Pokémon depending on your target species’ Egg Group.

Easy Shiny Pokémon to Start Breeding
Shiny Pokémon Acquisition Connected Egg Groups
Red Gyarados Caught at Lake of Rage. Direct: Water 2, Dragon.

Indirect: Bug, Grass, Fairy, Field, Flying, Monster, Water 1 & 2.
Elekid, Magby, Smoochum, Tyrogue Hatched from Odd Egg received from Day Care Couple. Direct: Humanoid.

This Pokémon will be your first “Shiny Parent” carrying the Shiny Gene.

Pokémon in the Genderless Egg Group can only breed with Ditto, so they’re out.

For Pokémon in the Amorphous or Mineral Egg Groups, you must get your first Shiny Pokémon by trading or catching.

Step 2: Make sure your Shiny Pokémon is male, or create a male Carrier.

Pokémon inherit their species from the female parent and their DVs from the opposite-gendered parent.

DVs determine Shiny-ness, so the opposite-gendered offspring of a Shiny Pokémon carries what’s known as a “Shiny Gene.” Let’s call these Pokémon “Carriers.”

We need a male Shiny Parent or Carrier because females can only pass the Shiny Gene down to members of their species. We’re trying to pass it on to another species.

Example: Suppose a male Shiny Cloyster and a female Corsola make an egg. The hatchling will always be a Corsola, but only females will be Carriers.

If your starting Shiny Pokémon is female, pair it with a compatible Pokémon and hatch their eggs until you get male offspring. They’re guaranteed Shiny Gene carriers.

Note: Out of 64 newborn Carriers, one should be a full-fledged Shiny Pokémon.

Step 3: Transfer the Shiny Gene to the Egg Group your target species belongs to.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Pair the male Shiny Parent or Carrier with a compatible female of another species with two Egg Groups.
  2. Hatch the resulting eggs until you get a female Carrier.
  3. Pair the new female Carrier with a compatible Pokémon.
  4. Hatch the resulting eggs until you get a male Carrier.

You want to do this repeatedly until you’re left with a male Carrier in the same Egg Group that can pass on the Shiny Gene to a female of your target species.

Example: Suppose you want a Shiny Lapras (Monster, Water 1) but only have a male Shiny Gyarados (Water 2/Dragon).

You could pair the Shiny Gyarados with a female Horsea (Water 1/Dragon) to make a female Horsea Carrier.

Then, pair the female Horsea Carrier with any compatible Pokémon to make a male Horsea Carrier that can pass on the Shiny Gene to a female Lapras.

Consult our section above titled “Shiny Breeding With Red Gyarados” with a chart for an easy route to most Egg Groups.

Step 4: Pair the male Shiny Parent or Carrier with a female of the target species at the Day Care.

If you’re looking for a Shiny Pokémon of the same species as your Carrier, it must be female instead.

Step 5: Hatch the resulting eggs until you get a Shiny Pokémon.

There’s a 1/64 chance of each opposite-gendered hatchling being Shiny. The other 63 will be Carriers.

Once you have Carriers of both genders, you should pair them together at the Day Care to make sure both male and female offspring have a chance of being Shiny.

Check out our Egg Hatching Guide for tips and tricks to hatch eggs fast.

Soft Resetting for Shiny Starters & Legendaries

Regrettably, there’s no way to increase the chance of getting a Shiny Starter or Legendary. It remains 1/8192, just like it is in regular wild Pokémon encounters.

The one thing you can do to get a Shiny Starter or Legendary is to reload if you don’t get a Shiny Pokémon.

To do this, you must:

  • Save before choosing a Starter Pokémon at Prof. Elm’s.
  • Save before a battle with Legendaries such as Ho-Oh, Lugia, or Suicune.

Then, restart the game and choose Continue in the main menu to try again. Do this until you get lucky.

Tip: You can do this with the Odd Egg or any Shiny Gene eggs, too. Just make sure you reload the game before you accept the egg from the Day Care couple.

Nelson Chitty

171 articles

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.

View Writer's Posts →