Niantic slid two incredibly sneaky updates into Pokémon Go this week. The first was the announcement and implementation of a weeklong Water Festival event. The second was the introduction of shiny Pokémon, specifically gold/yellow Magikarp and red Gyarados.
If all these updates are throwing you for a loop, don't worry. We're here to explain gold Magikarp and all those other shiny Pokémon to you.
Gold Magikarp Pokémon Go: What are shiny Pokémon and what's your chance of catching one
Per issiech's shiny Pokémon FAQ on the Silph Road subreddit, shiny Pokémon have begun spawning since the start of the Water Festival event on Wednesday. Currently, the only two shiny Pokémon that are spawning in-game are Magikarp and Gyarados, a nod to the first shiny Pokémon most players encountered in Pokémon Gold and Silver.
In the main series Pokémon games, your chances of finding a shiny Pokémon started off at 1 in 8,192, but were bumped up to 1 in 4,096, according to issiech. No one is certain what spawn rates for shiny Pokémon are in Pokémon Go as of yet since they're localized to only two species.
Additionally, shiny Pokémon spawns are individualized, so if you're out catching Pokémon with a friend and they find a shiny Pokémon (or vice versa) there's no guarantee that you'll also find a shiny Pokémon at that same spot.
Gold Magikarp Pokémon Go: How to tell if a Pokémon is shiny and how to catch them
Good news if you have auto-updates turned off; you'll still be able to find shiny Pokémon. They were added server-side, so you'll still see the telltale sparkles around a shiny Magikarp and Gyarados when you select it to try to capture it in the wild.
You'll know you've encountered a shiny Pokémon if, on the capture screen, Magikarp appears as a pale, goldish yellow or Gyarados appears to be dark red. They'll appear normal on the overworld screen and the "nearby" map, though, so you'll have to individually check each spawn to see if it's shiny.
Additionally, if for some reason you run away from a battle with a shiny Pokémon and then re-enter the capture screen, it will remain shiny. This won't hold true if the Pokémon runs away, however, since it would disappear from the world map in that case.
Shiny Pokémon also appear different in your journal when caught and have a special tab in your Pokédex as well. So you have multiple ways of showing off these rare, off-colored critters.
Gold Magikarp Pokémon Go: Are there any other ways to get shiny Pokémon?
As of right now, there aren't any instances of Magikarp or Gyarados that were caught prior to Wednesday suddenly "turning shiny," so you'll probably have to go out and catch one if you're interested. Also, since Magikarp no longer hatches from eggs, there's no way to know how eggs will factor into shiny Pokémon rates.
Some players have reported encountering a glitch where a shiny Pokémon won't appear shiny when caught. No need to worry about accidentally transferring them to the professor in this case. You'll get a pop-up asking if you really want to transfer a shiny Pokémon, and the game won't let you select shiny Pokémon for bulk transfer. If you get that pop-up with an unshiny looking Pokémon, restarting your app seems to be enough for the graphics to show up correctly.
Gold Magikarp Pokémon Go: Shiny Pokémon stats, Dittos and more
Although several players have reported catching a shiny Magikarp with max individual values in Pokémon Go, shiny Pokémon aren't naturally predisposed to having better IVs. So make sure that you're evolving a shiny Magikarp with good IVs if you're planning on using it for gym battling.
Your shiny Pokémon can also turn out to be a Ditto, which, while rare in of itself, is probably going to be a huge bummer if you were excited about catching a shiny Pokémon only to have to morph into a normal Ditto.
Finally, shiny Pokémon don't have any special skills or abilities to set them apart from their non-shiny counterparts. They just look cool and are there for the bragging rights. So don't get too bummed out if you can't find one. It's all random chance.
More Pokémon Go guides, tips, tricks and updates
Check out Mic's guides on how to get stardust, how to determine how long it will take you to reach level 40, the kind of Pokémon you get from 10km eggs, how to create new PokéStops, how to maximize your chances of catching Pokémon and how PokéStops distribute Pokémon eggs. Also check out how to catch Gen 2 baby Pokémon, our analysis of post-balance update Chansey and Rhydon and everything you need to know about finding the long-awaited Pokémon Ditto.