Being a diehard shiny Pokemon fan and collector, I always like getting new shiny Pokemon from trades. However, I get very frustrated when, after checking a full box of shiny Pokemon, I find out that half of those Pokemon are hacked. Sometimes trading for the hacked Pokemon could have been avoided had I been more vigilant and looked at the most obvious signs of a hacked Pokemon. Many telltale signs exist that should be red flags, even for a novice collector.
The date and place met. Shiny Suicunes should never come from Hoenn, shiny Lugias should never be met on Route 202, and a Charizard should never, ever be captured in a Master Ball. This is very basic, but sometimes it’s useful for finding poorly hacked Pokemon. Dates that Pokemon were captured should also be looked at, especially if you get multiple Pokemon from the same person. Usually someone trading a lot of shiny Pokemon that were caught within a day or two of each other is a pretty suspicious sign.
This is especially useful with finding hacked shiny legendary Pokemon, since from experience I’ve learned that “soft resetting” for one shiny legendary can take a very long time. Recently, had I remembered to check the date and place met before I traded, I could have saved myself the time and trouble of trading for eight hacked shiny legendary Pokemon because all their dates of capture were within one week. Whoops!
Sometimes the date a Pokemon was captured can be a sign that the Pokemon was obtained using Random Number Generator (RNG) maniupulation. Dates from really far-away years or years when the DS or game weren’t available are good indicators that the Pokemon is not hacked. Because I use RNG manipulation myself, I find a certain reassurance when I see a shiny Pokemon from the year 2091. Some people do not think that RNG manipulation is a valid way to get shiny Pokemon, so you should decide for yourself after researching whether or not Pokemon obtained through this method are legit.
As a final note regarding the date and place, a Pokemon met in a mystery zone is hacked, as is ones obtained on January 0, 2000. Those Pokemon are very poorly hacked Individual Values (IVs) and Effort Values (EVs). Because RNG manipulation can give Pokemon with all IVs at 31 (which is the highest an IV can possibly go), it is harder to determine if a shiny legendary or hatched Pokemon is hacked. But for regular shiny Pokemon, having 31 in every IV stat is a good sign that the Pokemon is hacked.
Pokemon with all IVs at 0 (which is the lowest an IV can possibly go) is a sure-fire indicator that it is. Also, ones with all IVs at the same number, like 17 or 5, are also most likely hacked as the probability of getting the same IV number in every stat is so low (think (1/32)^6). This method is not as effective when the IV numbers are very high, at about 29 – 31, as RNG manipulation can be used to get such Pokemon relatively easy. Usually those ones are obtained for a specific Hidden Power strength and type. If you use an IV-EV calculator on the internet and get invalid IV results for every stat, it can indicate hacking. I’ve seen hacked Pokemon that had all IVs at 0 or 31, then the person gave every stat 255 EVs, the max number of EVs that can go into one stat, which created invalid IVs for the Pokemon when I tried to calculate them. The maximum number of total EVs that a Pokemon can have is 510, which of course is the other way to check. This method is harder to use without the help of Pokesav or a hacking device such as an Action Replay (AR).
If you own an AR or can use Pokesav to look at a Pokemon’s information, checking the EVs can be very useful for finding hacked ones. To the best of my knowledge, the only way to give a Pokemon more than 510 total EVs is to hack them on Pokesav, so any Pokemon that have more than the maximum number of EVs is hacked.
So now we know some common signs. But what else can be done to make sure that the Pokemon you have or are about to trade for is legit? As always, there are a few easy ways as well as one more involved way of finding out. Check out Pokemon trade forums. If you collect Pokemon, then you probably have an account on a trade forum. Some forums have hack lists of either the Pokemon itself (which should have detailed information about said Pokemon) or of an Original Trainer-ID (OT-ID) combination. These lists are often made and updated by forum moderators or people who check for legitness, or both! A detailed list that is periodically updated is immensely useful for double-checking Pokemon you already have and are going to trade for. I love using these lists because I have been able to get rid of many illegitimate Pokemon from my own games and quit trades because I discovered that the Pokemon I would have traded for were not legitimate.
Asking for a Pokemon’s information. I always ask for the ID numbers of shiny legendary Pokemon so I can compare them to the ID numbers on hack lists. You should be able to get as much or as little information as you need to help you determine (to an extent) if a Pokemon is hacked or not. But be careful about asking for IVs and EVs since some people can not easily get the exact numbers and some Pokemon are at such low levels that IV calculator results are too broad. Checking the Pokemon summaries on the trade screen. This is VERY important. But I have fallen into the rut of not checking the summaries until I have already traded. I could have saved myself a lot of time if I spent just a few seconds checking every time was about to trade. It does seem to get time consuming after a while, but it is still the best last-second check you can do before you trade.
Finally, you can have someone who has experience in checking shiny Pokemon check for you. This can be very involved depending on who is checking, but it might be the only way to find a Pokemon that was well-hacked. Plus, if you or the person checking remembers to record information on the Pokemon, said information can be added to a trade forum’s hack list. Then other people who check the list will benefit because they will then know that the Pokemon is not legitimate or that a certain OT-ID combination has hacked Pokemon connected to it. So if all other methods fail, this is the best possible option because many people will benefit from having the shiny Pokemon checked, including you.
With some luck, I hope that any shiny Pokemon collector, from beginner to expert, has learned or remembered something from these simple to complex ways of weeding out those pesky hacked Pokemon from their collection. One day I’d like to be able to trade without having to worry about receiving illegitimate Pokemon. But such a dream will never happen, so I’ll continue to use the many available tricks to find out if a Pokemon is legit or not so my collection will not contain those horrible hacked Pokemon.