Greninja

Greninja, The Ninja Pokémon. It creates throwing stars out of compressed water. When it spins them and throws them at high speed, these stars can split metal in two. It appears and vanishes with a ninja's grace. It toys with its enemies using swift movements, while slicing them with throwing stars of sharpest water.

Overview

Here we have a Pokemon that needs no introduction; it’s none other than the fully evolved Water starter of Kalos, Greninja! In the last generation, Greninja’s popularity absolutely soared, making it the most popular starter of the sixth generation. Now only did it get fame for being included as a playable character in Super Smash Bros., but in the main games themselves, it got an absolutely fantastic fantastic hidden ability that, in conjunction with a great speed tier and a thorough movepool, made it a competitive superstar. Protean’s ability to change Greninja’s type to the type of the move it is using is fantastic, meaning that it gets STAB on literally everything, and its weaknesses can be difficult to prey on unless you predict well. Greninja did have some shortcomings, namely abysmal bulk, but that wasn’t enough to hold it back. And, well… Greninja is still pretty amazing this generation! Greninja’s changes are few and far between, and the most notable of which is that it got a new form; the previously anime-exclusive Ash-Greninja! It’s worth noting however, that Ash-Greninja is an entirely separate form, rather than a new ability. As a result, standard Greninja is treated as a separate Pokemon, but this is not in and of itself a bad thing since standard Greninja is still amazing. The only downside right now, which is only a temporary one, is that standard Greninja is not available for use in Gen 7 prior to Pokemon Bank’s update. As such, it may still be a great Pokemon, but it’s just out of reach for standard play… for the time being.
Positives
+Base 122 speed is a fantastic speed tier, which makes Greninja the 32nd fastest Pokemon in existence.
+Base 95 and base 103 special attack, while not overly high, are enough to be usable.
+Its Hidden Ability, Protean, is amazing, and is arguably one of the best abilities in the game. Getting STAB on literally everything helps compensate for its modest attacking stats, and makes it much harder to hit for super-effective damage given its type can change defensively.
+Its movepool is amazing. It’s got offensive options out the wazoo. Hydro Pump, Scald, Dark Pulse, U-Turn, Ice Beam, Gunk Shot, Low Kick, Grass Knot, Extrasensory, Hidden Power… This makes Greninja hard to wall, and rather unpredictable.
+Its movepool isn’t just great offensively, as it also has access to useful support moves such as Taunt, Spikes, and Toxic Spikes.
+It’s got a new form in Gen 7… Ash-Greninja!

Negatives
-Greninja’s bulk is awful. 72/67/71 defenses leave it extremely frail to the point where even neutral hits can maim it, and it will almost never survive a super-effective hit.
-Although Greninja’s got a fantastic movepool, 4 moveslot syndrome is always a concern. There’s always going to be something that walls it, but even then, the burden on figuring out what that is falls on your opponent.
-Greninja is not available in the Alola Dex, or at all prior to Pokemon Bank, so it is unusable in VGC2017 and its standard form is not available at all for the time being.

Abilities

Torrent: When HP is below 1/3rd its maximum, power of Water-type moves is increased by 50%. - Torrent is your standard water-type starter abilities. When your HP drops below 33%, your water type STAB attacks increase in power. While not a bad ability per se, it’s somewhat underwhelming, since it only works at very low HP, and only for one type of attacks. Usually, there’s no point in using this ability if you’ve got a better option… and as it so happens, Greninja most definitely does have a better option!
Hidden Ability:
Protean: Before the Pokémon uses a move, it becomes a pure Pokémon of that type. - And here we have the better option! Protean is one of the best abilities in the game, and the thing that made Greninja a dominant force in Generation 6. By switching its type to the type of the attack Greninja is using, this ensures STAB on everything; this means its coverage moves get a 50% boost in power, which is equivalent to that of Choice Specs. Plus, it adds additional pressure on your opponent since you can change your type at will, meaning that it’s not always easy to hit Greninja for the correct type of damage. If you’re using standard Greninja, you should always be using Protean. No exceptions.

Movesets

Banished Ninja

-Dark Pulse
-Ice Beam
-Gunk Shot
-Hydro Pump / Extrasensory / Low Kick / Hidden Power Fire / Hidden Power Electric
Item Attached: Life Orb
Ability: Protean
EVs and Nature:
4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature

Back in the days of OR/AS, this set shook the very metagame, due to the combination of speed, power, and unpredictability. The premise is very simple; KO anything put before you with your amazing coverage. Dark Pulse allows Greninja to check the myriad of Psychic and Ghost types, such as Mega Metagross and Alola Marowak. Ice Beam mutilates things like Garchomp, Flygon, and most grass types. Gunk Shot is arguably Greninja’s most important attack, as it destroys one of its best would-be counters, Azumarill, in addition to hitting all of the Tapu hard. From there, the game basically becomes to pick your final moveslot based on what you want to cover. Hydro Pump has good coverage in general, along with high power, and can deal with the myriad of fire and rock types. Extrasensory allows Greninja to get past Keldeo, Toxapex, and Mega Venusaur. Low Kick deals well with Empoleon, Tyranitar, and Ferrothorn. Hidden Power can be used to cover specific threats, such as Scizor and Ferrothorn with Fire, or Gyarados with Electric. Which attack you choose depends on which threats you want to cover, or be walled by.

Max speed is mandatory for Greninja, so Naive Nature and 252 Speed EVs are preferred. Naive is chosen to allow Greninja to go mixed, as Gunk Shot is physical. 252 EVs are put into special attack, while the remaining 4 EVs are put into attack. Life Orb allows Greninja to stretch its power even further, while still maintaining the freedom to attack. The recoil is largely inconsequential as Greninja would rather take a little recoil damage to secure a KO than have to eat an attack itself. Finally, Protean should always be your ability. Zero exceptions.

Ninja Trap

-Spikes
-Toxic Spikes
-Taunt
-Shadow Sneak
Item Attached: Focus Sash
Ability: Protean
EVs and Nature:
252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature

For a somewhat different approach, Greninja can opt to lead with hazards. It has access to both Spikes and Toxic Spikes, meaning it can set up the type of hazard that your team needs most; plus, it can also shift its would-be weaknesses, since Spikes makes it immune to the Electric type attacks it is weak to, while Toxic Spikes makes it a Poison type, thus resisting the Grass, Bug, and Fighting types it’s normally weak to. From there, Greninja is also capable of asserting dominance over hazard control. Access to Taunt means it can stop things from using Defog, while Shadow Sneak will turn it into a Ghost type, meaning that things won’t be able to use Rapid Spin against it. It also gives you a little bit of damage to deal, although not much.

As usual, max speed is essential, so Jolly Nature and 252 Speed EVs accomplish this. Jolly is chosen due to Greninja’s only attack in this set being physical, and in that same vein, 252 Attack EVs gives a little more oomph on your Shadow Sneak. The remaining 4 EVs are just dumped into Defense. Focus Sash is chosen as the item as this set typically functions as a lead, ensuring that Greninja can get at least one layer of hazards up. Protean is Protean is continues to be the very reason to use Greninja at all.

Other Options

-U-Turn can allow Greninja to function as a pivot, although it does cut into its wallbreaking coverage.
-Grass Knot is a option to hit bulky water types harder, especially those that have a heavier weight.
-Scald is great for its high burn chance, but in general Greninja prefers an all-out offensive approach due to its frailty, so Hydro Pump is usually the better option.
-Water Shuriken has priority and is now a special attack, so it hits a little harder than it did last generation, but with its lower base power and unreliability due to multi-hitting, its damage output is not that impressive.
-Greninja can utilize a myriad of Z-moves with its numerous coverage options, but in general the loss of damage output from Life Orb makes them inferior given their one-time usage.
-Physical sets are largely inferior to special or mixed sets, but Greninja does have a few other odd attacks such as Rock Slide, Night Slash, and Waterfall. None are really that valuable but the options do exist.

Countering Greninja

Trying to find a single counter to every Greninja set is rather difficult. With its multitude of coverage options, it can surprise many of its would be counters, which was a contributing factor to its banishment in Gen 6. However, it does have a few hard counters, and many more that are set dependent. Rotom-W makes a semi-reliable answer to most sets as it’s only 3HKO’s by Dark Pulse, but lack of reliable recovery can cause it to be worn down. Defensive Porygon2 also makes a solid answer as well, as it’s typically only 4HKO’ed, while it can 2HKO Greninja with Tri-Attack, or cripple its speed with Thunder Wave. Chansey runs the risk of a 3HKO from Gunk Shot or Low Kick but still tanks hits better than most. The rest, however, are contingent on what moves it runs. Without Extrasensory, Greninja finds itself walled by Mega Venusaur, Toxapex, and Keldeo. Without Hydro Pump or Low Kick, Tyranitar becomes an issue. Ferrothorn can wall a Greninja who lacks Hidden Power Fire or Low Kick. Gyarados and Mega Gyarados can prove problematic for sets lacking Hidden Power Electric. It can still be checked however, as many things can outspeed and destroy it. Pheromosa, Mega Alakazam, Weavile, Mega Beedrill, Mega Sceptile, Mega Lopunny, and several others naturally outspeed Greninja and can prey on its frailty to 1HKO it. In addition, any Choice Scarf user of base 66 speed or higher is capable of outspeeding Greninja, and most of them can 1HKO Greninja due to its frailty. Anything that Greninja fails to 1HKO (or 2HKO on a switch) tends to heavily punish it, as although it can deal high damage thanks to Protean, it can’t really take damage in return, and Life Orb recoil can cause its HP to fall into KO ranges more easily.

Alternate Form Corner

Overview

It’s not unusual for Pokemon to get new forms, or Mega Evolutions. We’ve seen things like Giratina, Kyurem, and Rotom get new forms, while the Gen 1 and Gen 3 starters got Mega Evolutions. However, we’ve never seen a starter get a non-Mega Evolution new form… until now. Enter Ash-Greninja, who blazed new trails by not only being the first non-Mega form for a starter, but also being the first anime-origin aspect to be included in a Pokemon game since Pokemon Yellow version. However, Ash-Greninja functions as a separate Pokemon from your standard Greninja; it cannot breed, and it only has one ability. Ash-Greninja gets a slight increase in speed and a massive increase power upon transforming, which can make it a devastating force that is hard to stop. However, although Ash-Greninja is very good, it does have a few things holding it back; prior to transforming, it’s effectively a weaker Greninja since it doesn’t have Protean, and many of the Egg and Move Tutor moves that Greninja loves are not available to it. It’s also not a toggled transformation; you have to KO something for it to activate. This means it’s far harder to transform than many other Pokemon, such as Mega Evolutions. This results in it playing a little differently than standard Greninja, but don’t let that fool you; Ash-Greninja is still a powerful force in its own right, and once it transforms it hits ridiculously hard, so underestimate it at your own peril! .
Positives
+Ash-Greninja is FAST. With a base 132 speed tier, it becomes the 15th fastest Pokemon in the game, narrowly edging out base 130’s such as Mewtwo, Mega Gengar, and Tapu Koko.
+Ash-Greninja’s offenses get a pretty substantial boost; it now sports an immense base 145 attack and base 153 special attack. This lets it pack an enormous punch.
+Water Shuriken gets a buff in Ash-Greninja form, causing each hit to have 20 base power, and it is guaranteed to hit 3-times. This puts it at an effective base 60 power priority move before STAB, which is equivalent to that of Scizor’s Bullet Punch.
+Although a bit more shallow than standard Greninja, Ash-Greninja still has a decent movepool, including Water Shuriken, Hydro Pump, Dark Pulse, Ice Beam, U-Turn, Grass Knot, and more. +Unlike Mega Evolutions, Ash-Greninja’s transformation is independent of its item, so it is able to hold any item it likes.

Negatives
-The transformation into Ash-Greninja did nothing for its bulk. It’s still an incredibly frail 72/67/71.
-The fact that it needs to secure a KO to transform is not entirely reliable, and until it transforms, it’s effectively a weaker Greninja given it lacks Protean to beef up its coverage moves.
-It can’t breed, so no egg moves are available, and until they release Tutor moves in Gen 7, Ash-Greninja will never be able to have some of the toys that standard Greninja does, such as Gunk Shot and Low Kick.
-Ash-Greninja’s IVs are locked, meaning the only Hidden Power it can use is Ghost type.
-Although it’s available in-game, it is not in the Alola Dex, so it’s not usable in VGC2017.
-It can’t beat Mega Charizard X… in the anime.

Abilities

Battle Bond: Defeating an opposing Pokémon strengthens the Pokémon's bond with its Trainer, and it becomes Ash-Greninja. Water Shuriken gets more powerful. - This is Ash-Greninja’s one and only ability, and what allows it to undergo its transformation. On the negative side, until you get that KO, you’re stuck with a standard, non-Protean Greninja. However, once you secure that KO, the boost in power and speed cannot be denied.

Movesets

And The World Will Turn to Ash

-Water Shuriken
-Hydro Pump
-Dark Pulse
-U-Turn / Ice Beam
Item Attached: Choice Specs
Ability: Battle Bond
EVs and Nature:
4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature

Here we have it; Ash-Greninja’s standard set. Of course, Ash-Greninja has to start out as regular Greninja until it can KO something so how does it go about ensuring it gets the opportunity to KO something? The answer is simple; raw power. And nothing brings raw power like a Choice Set! The premise is simple; hit hard to nab that KO, and then after transforming, hit even harder. Thanks to the raw power that Ash-Greninja wields, after transforming, it no longer cares as much about losing the freedom to switch attacks the same way that Protean Greninja does.

Upon transforming, Water Shuriken becomes a potent priority move, having an effective 60 base power, with 3-hits allowing you to get around things like Substitute and Focus Sash. This can allow it to revenge kill faster threats such as Pheromosa and Mega Aerodactyl with ease. Hydro Pump is Ash-Greninja’s strongest STAB attack, and it tends to be your best bet for getting that KO before transforming due to its high power. Dark Pulse is your other obligatory STAB attack, and with Ash-Greninja’s high speed, it does have some potential to take advantage of the flinch effect. Finally, if there’s an obvious switch-in that you won’t be able to beat, Ash-Greninja can take advantage of U-Turn to pivot out, and get a little chip damage in as well. However, you can also opt for Ice Beam in order to have added coverage against Grass types and Dragon types, as well.

252 Speed EVs and Timid Nature ensures Ash-Greninja hits maximum speed, enough to outspeed the myriad of base 130’s. Although Ash-Greninja does sometimes utilize U-Turn, the damage is inconsequential in the long run where it doesn’t really mind the attack drop from Timid. 252 Special Attack EVs ensure that it hits as hard as possible, and of course, the item choice of Choice Specs helps further that end as well. Battle Bond is the only ability you can utilize as Ash-Greninja, so that sort of goes without saying.

Other Options

-Grass Knot can be used to help combat opposing water types, but its coverage is ultimately inferior otherwise.
-Extrasensory is almost exclusively for Toxapex, Keldeo, and Mega Venusaur, who will otherwise wall you.
-Scald remains one of the most potent nuisance moves due to its high chance to burn, but Ash-Greninja prefers raw power first and foremost.
-Z-Moves may be tempting to help secure that initial KO to transform, but even if that works, you’ll find yourself lacking in power thereafter due to its one-time use.
-Ash-Greninja does still have physical moves like Night Slash and Waterfall, but it prefers special sets due to Hydro Pump’s higher power, and Water Shuriken being special as well.

Countering Ash-Greninja

Wanna beat Ash-Greninja? Just use Mega Charizard X.

*cough*

In all seriousness, though, unlike standard Greninja, Ash-Greninja lacks the insane coverage, but this is offset by higher power that threatens even the bulkiest of walls. However, it’s not unbeatable, although it is somewhat set dependent, still. Tapu FIni is arguably the best counter, as at best Ash-Greninja can only 3HKO it regardless of set, while an uninvested Moonblast can 1HKO it a little under half the time. Specially Defensive Mega Venusaur is only 3HKO’ed by Choice Specs Dark Pulse and 4HKO’ed by Hydro Pump, while being able to 2HKO with Giga Drain and heal back a considerable portion of its HP back; however, it’s worth noting that Extrasensory can 2HKO even a fully invested Mega Venusaur. Tapu Bulu can tank hits decently well with HP investment, as between Leftovers and Grassy Terrain it recovers enough to turn Hydro Pump into a 3HKO, although it does take heavy damage due to comparatively low special defense. However, if it survives it will soundly 1HKO with Horn Leech, healing back most if not all of the damage it takes. It does have to be wary of Ice Beam, though. Specially bulky Ferrothorn is only 3HKO’ed by Dark Pulse, and can stall out Ash-Greninja with a combination of Leech Seed and Protect, if not just 1HKO it outright with Power Whip. Thunder Wave is also threatening to Ash-Greninja as well, as losing half its speed makes it far less dangerous. As is expected with most special attackers, Chansey walls Ash-Greninja all day long and can stall it out without much duress, as Hydro Pump only 4HKOs as best. Specially defensive Toxapex is only 3HKO’ed by Dark Pulse, and can attempt to Toxic Stall with Recover, although a timely flinch can throw a wrench in that strategy. Assault Vest Tangrowth is only 3HKO’ed by Dark Pulse and can 1HKO with either Giga Drain or Leaf Storm, but Ice Beam will ruin its day. Thanks to not having the threat of Gunk Shot, Greninja’s old nemesis, Azumarill, can be an effective stop to Ash-Greninja. Assault Vest Azumarill is only 3HKO’ed less than 20% of the time by Hydro Pump, although the rare Grass Knot has a very low chance to 2HKO. Meanwhile, Play Rough will 1HKO Ash-Greninja with ease. There are a handful of Pokemon as well who, although they face a 2HKO from Ash-Greninja, will never be 1HKO’ed from full health, and then can 1HKO in return. This includes things like Keldeo, Magearna (with HP Investment), and specially defensive Zapdos. It is possible to take advantage of the fact that it can be locked into its attacks due to Choice Specs; things like Tapu Lele and Tsareena enjoy it being locked into Water Shuriken, for instance, as their abilities can shut it down. Any Choice Scarf user at base 72 speed or higher with full speed investment can outspeed Ash-Greninja as well, meaning things like Buzzwole, Garchomp, etc. can manage to revenge kill Ash-Greninja.

...Of course, all of this is contingent upon Ash-Greninja having transformed. If you can prevent Ash-Greninja from transforming in the first place, it is far less threatening, and more things are able to wall it. So the best way to keep Ash-Greninja at bay is to prevent it from transforming in the first place; do not let it get an easy KO!


Locations in Games

Red/Blue/Yellow:
Not in game

Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald:
Not in game

FireRed/LeafGreen:
Not in game

Colosseum/XD:
Not in game

Diamond/Pearl/Platinum:
Not in game

HeartGold/SoulSilver:
Not in game

Black/White:
Not in game

Black 2/White 2:
Not in game

X/Y:
Evolve Frogadier

Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Trade from X/Y

Sun/Moon:
Demo Transfer

Animé Appearences

Greninja has made multiple appearances in the anime. In these appearances, it was mostly used by Ash during his campaign through the Kalos League

# -English Episode Name- -Jap. Episode Name- Pics
820 A Rush of Ninja Wisdom Froakie VS Frogadier! Ninja Battle! Pics
M17 Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction The Cocoon of Destruction and Diancie Pics
855 A Stealthy Challenge! Ninja Art Showdown! Frogadier VS Barbarcle!! Pics
895 Cloudy Fate, Bright Future! A Kalos Crisis! Battle of the Giant Sundial! Pics
896 All Eyes on the Future! Double Battle at the Anistar Gym! Olympia's Future Sight!! Pics
902 The Legend of the Ninja Hero! Welcome to the Ninja Village! The Legend of the Hero Greninja!! Pics
903 A Festival of Decisions! Decisive Battle in the Ninja Village! Frogadier VS Bisharp!! Pics
905 Meeting at Terminus Cave! Terminus Cave! The Mystery of Z is Set in Motion!! Pics
906 A Cellular Connection! Bonnie & Squishy! Pics
907 A Windswept Encounter Noibat and Floette! An Encounter in the Wind!! Pics
909 A Meeting of Two Journeys The Strongest Mega Battle! Greninja VS Mega Charizard!! Pics
911 A Watershed Moment! A Chesnaught from the Wilderness! The Tree-planting Robon!! Pics
912 Master Class Choices! The Master Class Trial! What Will You Do, Serena!? Pics
914 Unlocking Some Respect! Left and Right! The Indecisive Binacle!! Pics
918 Battling at Full Volume! Serena Becomes Ash! The Ultimate Pikachu Showdown!! Pics
919 The Synchronicity Test! Ash and Alain! Greninja VS Mega Charizard Once Again!! Pics
921 Championing a Research Battle! Ash VS Champion Diantha! VS Mega Gardevoir!! Pics
922 A Full-Strength Battle Surprise! Rival Showdown! Ash VS Sawyer!! Pics
923 All Hail the Ice Battlefield! Snowbelle Gym Match! A Battlefield of Ice!! Pics
924 Seeing the Forest for the Trees! The Winding Woods...The Dawn of Evolution! Pics
925 A Real Icebreaker! Ash-Greninja VS Mega Abomasnow! The Giant Water Shuriken Triggers!! Pics
926 A Diamond in the Rough! Find Carbink! Goodra and Dedenne!! Pics
928 A League of His Own! The Kalos League Begins! Mega Charizard Showdown: X VS Y!! Pics
929 Valuable Experience for All! Mega Sceptile VS Raichu! I Received Some EXP!! Pics
M19 Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel Volcanion & The Ingenious Magearna Pics
930 Analysis Versus Passion! Semifinal Full Battle! Ash VS Sawyer!! Pics
931 A Riveting Rivalry! Fierce Rival Battle! Ash-Greninja VS Mega Sceptile Pics
932 Kalos League Passion With a Certain Flare! Fierce Fighting at the Kalos League! Gather, All of My Passion!! Pics
933 Finals Not for the Faint-Hearted! The Finals! Ash VS Alain!! Pics
934 Down to the Fiery Finish Kalos League Victory! Ash's Ultimate Match!! Pics
935 A Towering Takeover! Team Flare Attacks! The Zygarde at the Prism Tower!! Pics
936 Coming Apart at the Dreams! The Shocking Zygarde VS Zygarde! The Breaking World!! Pics
937 The Right Hero for the Right Job! Attack on Lumiose Gym! The Clembot Forever!! Pics
938 Rocking Kalos Defenses! The Megalith Advances! A Fight to Protect Kalos!! Pics
939 Forming a More Perfect Union! Zygarde Fights Back! The Final Battle for Kalos!! Pics
940 Battling With a Clean Slate! We Start at Zero! Clemont's Decision!! Pics
941 The First Day of the Rest of Your Life! One Last Battle with Ash! Serena's Choice!! Pics
942 Facing the Needs of the Many Farewell, Ash-Greninja! Xerosic Strikes Back!! Pics
943 Till We Compete Again A Zero With No End! Till the Day We Meet Again!! Pics
XYZS1 To be confirmed The Legend of XYZ Pics

 
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