Legendary Pokemon are what we all want. They’re the apex. The rare critters on the game covers that we must have. But sometimes, having a Legendary isn’t enough — we need a Shiny Legendary.
Shiny Pokemon are super-rare (like .01% spawn rate) drops. There’s really nothing shiny about a shiny Pokemon — they just have an alternate color scheme that makes them special. They’re so rare, most of us might never even see a shiny Pokemon in an entire game’s playthrough. Farming for Shiny Pokemon is a pastime in the Pokemon Community, and the most sought after shinies are (often) the Legendary Pokemon. Who doesn’t want a rare version of the rarest, hardest-to-get Pokemon?!
Today we’re going to share some of our favorite shiny Pokemon. We’ll never have them all in-game, so we’re left to pine after them from far away. This list is in no particular order, so please don’t wring our necks for putting your favorites too low!
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The original Legendary Pokemon, Mewtwo, just had to get a shout out here. We love Mewtwo and his many alternate appearances as he’s popped out throughout the franchise, but this Shiny definitely isn’t the best of the punch. Replacing Mewtwo’s signature off-white and purple look with a sickly green? It definitely gives Mewtwo a toxic vibe that gels with his original creation.
Jumping into Gen 2, we’re going with the always-classic Lugia! This Psychic / Flying type Legendary actually looks pretty appropriate as a Shiny. Lugia’s normal blue-hue has turned into a psychic pink! If you want to be extra gender-normative, its also nice to have a more femme-leaning version of Lugia. Pink just looks right!
One of the more stately Legendary Pokemon comes from Gen 5. Cobalion is another fan-favorite, and their shiny colors add a gloss of neon to their design. The Fighting / Steel type trades up for darker blue and brighter yellow, adding more contrast to the spiky bits all over Cobalion.
Now we’re talking. Kyurem is already an awesome looking Pokemon — the hard shell of armored ice around a dangerous looking dragon? That’s how a Legendary should look, and the Shiny variant just makes Kyurem even more intimidating. Like Cobalion, the main body becomes darker while the lighter highlights become lighter. Kyurem’s body is a dark blue, with bright white ice — we always wanted this Shiny specifically for the intimidation factor.
Ever felt like Registeel was just too gray? Sure, it makes sense — Registeel is a Steel type that’s more Golem than animal. I love Registeel’s daily look, but a splash of color adds an extra alien element to his faceless design. The Shiny variant adds teal and a copper-ish hue to his monochrome. The colors lend an otherworldly element to Registeel. There’s just something mysterious about this shiny! And intrigue is something I like in a Pokemon.
The first Legendary bird Pokemon appears on the list! The Phoenix Pokemon completes changes its feathers with its Shiny variant, swapping resplendent red for yellow. Ho-Oh is a palindrome, and the Shiny variant is a little like that — the colors aren’t changed, just remixed and revolved around. Shiny Ho-Oh is a warmer color scheme that definitely gives a sunny vibe. If you’re into that.
Type: Null and Silvally are some of the most versatile Pokemon around, able to change types whenever you want. Both of the Legendary Pokemon are great, so let’s just consider this entry for both of them. And their Shiny variants are matching — changing the monochrome silver to an earthier tan. In general, the high contrast monochrome look has been softened for Silvally (and Type: Null) as Shinies. We kinda like it.
It makes them look just a little gentle! Not too much. They’re still weird, mixed-up FrankenPokemon.
Another total transformation. The digging Groudon looks completely unnatural in its Shiny variant. Instead of the bright red armored exterior, the shiny version is bright yellow! Groudon is the literal opposite of an Electric type Pokemon, so why yellow? It is closer to red on the color spectrum, but it gives a totally new feel to Groudon. I don’t know why, but I kind of like it.
Maybe Groudon needs to go bold more often.
#9: Zygarde (50% Forme)
One of the weirdest (and hardest to get in Pokemon Sun and Moon) Legendary Pokemon is Zygarde. This big blob of cells normally sports a black / green color scheme that fits its bio-organic nature. It looks like an escaped lab experiment from space. Swap that with the Shiny Variant, and Zygarde suddenly becomes a lot friendlier. White and blue! Those are solid good guy colors.
If you thought Zygarde looked too menacing, the Shiny completely cures Zygarde of any negative vibes.
One of my favorite Legendary Pokemon might not even be a Pokemon at all. Necrozma is one of several Ultra Beasts — all of them Legendary Pokemon with incredible designs — and once again, we’re adding color to a monochrom ‘Mon. Necrozma is a black and white monster from outer space, and his Shiny variant adds a splash of blue. Still a strong color for his shadowy nature, but still distinct enough to show off to everyone else.
When you’re battling online, you’ll make your enemy question their sanity.
The ancestral dragon Eternatus is an impressive Pokemon. It looks like a being from beyond space, with glowing skeletal structure and a source of infinite energy in its core. Eternatus already looks threatening by nature, but the Shiny variant adds more fierce. The only reason we know what Eternatus’s Shiny variant looks like is due to data miners searching the game files. There’s no way to actually acquire an Eternatus Shiny. Not yet, anyway. Until then, we can just look at this blazing hot Shiny alt.
Buzzwole becomes a neon green nightmare in its garrish Shiny variant. Buzzwole is already one of the most fire Pokemon — it’s a bug that’s also swole!
But this extra layer of neon green on its red carapace turns a Bug / Fighting type abomination into a peacock. Maybe the extra green just gives it more alien energy?
At least nobody will confuse this version for its standard look. The sudden clashing colors immediately announce to all your enemies that this is absolutely a Shiny Pokemon.
Another Ultra Beast? Look, I really like Ultra Beasts. And Guzzlord is another intimidating, fun design. This monstrous mouth swallows everything it comes into contact with, and sports two little extra grabby mouths on tentacles. The normal version is all yellow / black for maximum menace, but the Shiny Variant switches things to a kookier white / orange combo. The Shiny variant would be a perfect Halloween decoration. Perhaps it could stalk a Pumpkin Patch?
This is the last Ultra Beast, I promise! Pheromosa is a feminine Ultra Beast with a natural switch in her Shiny variant. Instead of a pure white Pokemon, she goes with a black gradient fade that actually works well with her design. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a solid choice for Pheromosa’s final design that got cut at the last second and stuck as a Shiny.
Most Shiny Pokemon are cool but inessential alterations. This is one of the few Shiny variants I would say is a net improvement over the original.
Another striking Shiny that completely changes the original’s color palette. Solgaleo is a Psychic / Steel Legendary with a strong connection to the sun. It might not be a Fire Type, but it is extremely sunny.
The Shiny Variant goes deep into the whole “hot” thing, covering Solgaleo is deep red like a fireball. Try not to look at Shiny Solgaleo directly or you’ll burn your retinas out.
The Rainbow Stag Xerneas is one of the stateliest Pokemon around — just look at those colorful antlers! It has poise and grace for days, and the Shiny Variant definitely gives Xerneas even more good guy energy. Shiny Xerneas is a complete flip on the scale, switching out shadowy for sunny. It’s all white with a much brighter blue, making this Xerneas feel like true royalty.
While the color palette isn’t objectively better, it lends Xerneas with a totally new vibe that I can absolutely gel with.
Water Type Pokemon are just popular, aren’t they? Suicune is another fan favorite, and her Shiny colors just give her an even stronger water-y vibe. Replacing her purple hair with a dark blue, she looks like a creature you’d view through an undersea camera. This shiny isn’t the biggest change, and only barely alters her general aesthetic.
It’s more like a slight tweak that adds more underwater energy to Suicune. We’re into it.
We’re mining the classics now. Zapdos is my favorite of the Legendary birds, and a true Gen 1 classic. And as a Gen 1, its Shiny Variant is barely perceptible. Can you tell that little picture is even a Shiny? That’s just how Shiny Variants used to be. The change in Zapdos is so small, only an eagle-eyed player will be able to tell. The easiest way to distinguish the two textures is in the beak / talons. The beak and talons are darker than the original, giving Zapdos just a touch more edge. Good thing the original design is so good. Why mess with perfection?
Now here’s a bird that’s actually different. Moltres is instantly recognizable as the Legendary Fire Type bird — and the Shiny Variant turns Yellow Moltres into Pink Moltres. We’re really starting to see a pattern here. Maybe Game Freak really likes making pink into a variant color for tough looking Pokemon. I’m all about it.
Giving powerful Pokemon cuter alt textures? That should be one of the main pillars of Shiny-dom.
And we end our list on the most iconic hidden Pokemon of all. Mew isn’t technically a Legendary Pokemon — Mew is a Mythic Pokemon, but we’ll throw her into the list anyway. Mew goes from her normal pinkish-white to a friendlier shade of boyish blue. Mew gets the opposite treatment of most of these Pokemon, and it’s a distinct look that will absolutely catch the eye of anyone you happen to be battling against. Mew is one of our favorite Pokemon from the entire series, and earning a Shiny is a high goal almost nobody will get to accomplish.
At least we can admire these Shiny Legendary Pokemon from afar. You can check out all the Shiny Pokemon ever discovered in an easy-to-view gallery right here.