Chain hunting is a complex mechanic returning in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. At its core, chain hunting is just encountering the same Pokemon over and over again as much as possible. Every time you encounter the same Pokemon, it adds to your chain.
So, why is it important? Well, the higher the chain is, the better chance you have at obtaining rare or shiny Pokemon. Let’s take a look at how chain hunting works in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.
What you need to chain hunt
First, you will need the Poke Radar, which you can only get after you become the Champion. Now you can register the Poke Radar on the d-pad. I recommend removing all other registered items, except for a fishing rod. The reason you want to do this is because if you accidentally get on your bike or use certain other items, your chain will be broken. By registering only the Poke Radar and a fishing rod you guarantee to never accidentally use the Poke Radar to reroll your bushes.
Before you start chain hunting you need to prepare for it. You should get the Chain Counter app for the Poketch, as this will count how many Pokemon you have encountered in a chain. In order to get it, you do need to complete the Sinnoh Pokedex. This only requires you to see every Pokemon in Sinnoh; you do not need to catch every Pokemon.
Next, go to Professor Rowan to unlock the National Dex, and then go to Ramanas Park where Professor Oak will give you the app. Ramanas Park is Southeast of Sandgem Town.
You will also need to stock up on lots of Super Repels and different kinds of Pokeballs. Repeat Balls will be the best for chain hunting, but I also recommend getting Dusk Balls and Quick Balls. If you are hunting a specific type of Pokemon that a certain Pokeball works well on, get those too. For example, if you are hunting a bug-type Pokemon you need Nest Balls. You will need a lot of Pokeballs for high chains. At minimum have at least 60, but I recommend getting 100 if you can.
Next, you need to do research on the Pokemon you want to hunt. Some Pokemon could have moves that do recoil damage, so you could need a Pokemon with Imprison to stop them from using it, or a ghost type if the recoil move the Pokemon knows is a normal type move. Some Pokemon – like Geodude – know Self-Destruct. You will need a Pokemon with the Dampen ability to prevent Geodude from using Self-Destruct.
There are also Pokemon that have lower catch rates, which means you must weaken them before you can catch them. You would need a Pokemon that can inflict paralysis or sleep, and have a False Swiper to lower them to 1 hp.
Be warned that some chain hunts can be really long, so it is a good idea to have backup Pokemon. It is also important to have Hyper Potions, Max Potions, Full Restores, or Full Heals to keep your Pokemon healthy.
How the Poke Radar works
First, make sure you have defeated all trainers in the area because a trainer battle will break your chain. Make sure to also use a Repel so you will only encounter Pokemon spawned by the Poke Radar.
When you use the Poke Radar it will make five random bushes start shaking. There are three different animations these shaking bushes can have. The normal animation has shaking leaves coming out of the bush. But if the Pokemon in the bush has a hidden ability, the leaves will be much bigger. If there is a shiny Pokemon in the bush, it will be sparkling.
For the first Pokemon in your chain, it does not matter which bush you encounter. This first bush will start off your Pokemon chain, and now you can only encounter that Pokemon to increase your chain. For example, if you find a Ralts you can now only encounter Ralts to continue your chain. But how can you make sure you encounter the same Pokemon? Well, while it is a lot of luck, there is a way to increase the chances of encountering the same Pokemon.
After the battle ends you will see different bushes moving. Here is where RNG comes in. If you go to a bush that is one space away there is a 53% chance of it being the same Pokemon. But if you go two spaces away there is now a 63% chance, and three spaces away gives you a 73% chance. As for the bushes that are the farthest away at four spaces, there is a trick to them. If you knocked out the Pokemon in the previous battle there will only be an 83% chance for it to be the same Pokemon. But if you caught the Pokemon there will be a 93% chance for it to be the same Pokemon.
In order to get the best odds of continuing your chain you must always catch the Pokemon, and then go to the bush that is four spaces away. Sometimes you may be tempted to go to a closer bush if it has the Hidden Ability animation, or is sparkling. Just know the odds still apply to these bushes, so they have a higher chance of breaking your chain by being a different Pokemon than what you are hunting.
Even if you chain hunt perfectly there is a 7% chance of the chain breaking after every battle. What else can break your chain, though? Well, as I said earlier getting on your bike breaks your chain, as does battling trainers. But you can also break your chain by encountering a different Pokemon, running away from the Pokemon, going into the Grand Underground, completely closing your game, and going to a different route or into the city.
So what can you do if there are no bushes that are 4 spaces away? Well, if you have walked enough spaces then you can use the Pokeradar again to reroll the bushes. This will not break your chain and gives you the opportunity to go to a bush with a higher chance of continuing your chain.
Benefits of chain hunting
As your chain gets higher so do your odds of getting rarer Pokemon. When you reach number 20 in the chain you are guaranteed a Pokemon with 1 perfect IV, then at 30 you are guaranteed 2 perfect IVs, and at 40 you are guaranteed 3 perfect IVs.
If by some miracle you manage to get to 100 in your chain, you can get a Pokemon with 5 IVs. Unlike previous games though, the Pokemon you find in between these points are not guaranteed to have perfect IVs. This makes getting good IV Pokemon more time-consuming and difficult.
Another benefit of chain hunting in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl is an increased chance of finding shiny Pokemon. As your chain gets higher and higher the odds are put in your favor. The most significant boost is when you hit 40 in your chain, as the odds of finding a shiny will be 1 in 99. It is also possible to find multiple shiny Pokemon throughout your chain if you get lucky.
This is how chain hunting works in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Chain hunting allows you to not only capture shiny Pokemon but have a chance at perfect IVs and Hidden Abilities too.
I hope this guide has helped you out and stay tuned for more Pokemon guides!