Pokemon GO Water Event update, plus how to get Red Gyarados

Shiny Pokemon have invaded Pokemon GO and the Pokeuniverse will never be the same – at least as far as shiny Magikarp is concerned. The one Pokemon that has the masses attention during the Pokemon GO Water Festival event going on now is Red Gyarados – also known as Ruby Gyarados or Shiny Gyarados. This alternate-color Gyarados comes from just one place: a Shiny Magikarp – and finding him or her is not particularly easy.

0. What are the rules?

We've covered the rules of Shiny Pokemon before. Have a peek at our How to get a Shiny Pokemon guide to get all caught up on what works and what doesn't. Most important of all is the appearance rule, which says that a Shiny Magikarp won't necessarily appear in the game as Shiny – not until the user's app is updated and the Pokemon has been tested with the transfer technique.

To get a Shiny Gyarados, all the user needs to do is collect 400 Magikarp Pokemon Candies – by catching one whole heck of a lot of Magikarp or walking a Magikarp Buddy Pokemon. Once the candy are collected, the user needs to evolve a Shiny Magikarp. Without a Shiny Magikarp, there is no Ruby Gyarados. Also note – the base artwork above was made by Missy Pena, modified by SlashGear.

1. Not Just Water

Because the Pokemon GO universe is currently taking part in a Water Festival event, Water Type Pokemon will appear anywhere. Almost anywhere – not in places where NO Pokemon ever appear, to be fair. Those sorts of places do, indeed, exist. Anywhere there's normally Pokemon, however, Magikarp will (potentially) be there.

Capturing a few hundred Magikarp will be possible during this event, especially if the user is willing to go for a walk. Standing still in an area with a bunch of Pokestops and Lures will also do the trick. Grinding on the very dry land will no longer work for most users once this special event is over.

2. Rarity Expectations

While it's possible that any user can find a Shiny Magikarp, it's highly unlikely that it's going to happen. We suspect that Shiny Pokemon appearances are much more common than they've been in past games – at least for Magikarp during this Water Festival event. If true, it should be slightly more likely than we're about to show.

• Shiny Pokemon Odds (Estimates based on precedent): Either 1/4096 or 1/8192• Perfect Stats (IV) Pokemon Odds: (1/16) * (1/16) * (1/16) = 1/4096• Perfect IV and Shiny Magikarp odds (if 1/4096): 1 in 16,777,216• Perfect IV and Shiny Magikarp odds (if 1/8192): 1 in 33,554,432• Perfect IV, Shiny, Perfect Moveset (if 1/4096): 1 in 100,663,296• Perfect IV, Shiny, Perfect Moveset (if 1/8192): 1 in 134,217,728

Above you'll see the odds if finding a Shiny Pokemon, a Pokemon with perfect stats, and both finding a Shiny Magikarp in Pokemon GO and elsewhere. These statistics are based on precedent, where Shiny Pokemon were so extremely rare that it wouldn't be unexpected for a player to only find one or two per year.

So don't be especially surprised if no Shiny Magikarp shows up before the end of this week – or the middle of this week, as it were. This event ends before Thursday is done. Unless Niantic extends the event's effects, which has happened before.

3. Grinding with No Mercy

Find whichever way fits you best to grind Pokemon from the very digital earth you walk on. The absolute best way to find a Shiny Magikarp is to walk, capture Magikarp, and walk some more. There is no proven secret formula for finding the Shiny Magikarp reliably. None yet, anyway.

There is reason to believe that the Shiny Magikarp may go away after the middle of this week, too. So get out there and make this happen, or live in regret for the rest of your Pokemon GO-playing life. It's like missing a Party Hat Pikachu, or a Santa Hat Pikachu – they don't do anything special, they're just not going to be coming back.

4. Rumors of Special Secret Formulas

While there's no proof yet that a Shiny Magikarp can be tracked or caught with any sort of special methodology or trick. Once a Shiny Magikarp is seen, it's extremely easy to catch – we've not heard of a single Shiny Magikarp that's gotten away yet. That said, we've heard a couple of rumors that sound possible, if not coincidental.

The first is using a Lure on a Pokestop in an area where Water Type Pokemon would normally spawn. This increases the chances that a Pokemon will appear, first, then also does so in a biome that'd normally spawn a Magikarp. During this special event, any Pokestop can potentially spawn a Magikarp – but putting a Lure on a Pokestop near water has proven fruitful for more than one user over the past several days.

The other secret formula has to do with time, and (unfortunately) requires that a Shiny Magikarp already be found. The good thing is that this could mean that more than one person could profit from the spawning of a single Shiny Magikarp. The deal is that at a certain time of day – the time the first Shiny Magikarp was found in the exact location of that Magikarp's appearance – that another Shiny Magikarp MIGHT be more likely to spawn.

Obviously not every person sees the same Shiny Magikarp at the same time because chances seem to be per-person. And only a couple of people in the world – last we checked – had more than one Magikarp. So the proof is not quite in the pudding yet.

5. Future Hunting

At this time it DOES appear that more Shiny Pokemon will be appearing in the game Pokemon GO. Once the Shiny Magikarp was found, we knew the floodgates had begun to crack. Estimations of multiple Shiny Pokemon at once should be taken with a grain of salt. Our anonymous source with information on the subject suggests that it could go either way – one at a time, or another big gush. We do not yet know.

Knowing now that Niantic could release just a few new Pokemon at a time (or just one, in the case of Ditto), or a bunch (like Gen 2), throws a wrench into the whole situation. Cross your fingers for a shiny Geodude next!