Greninja is a really popular Pokémon. So popular, in fact, that it won the Pokémon of the Year award for 2020! So… what’s going on? Greninja has been underrepresented since the release of its amiibo figure in 2015. It didn’t accumulate any significant tournament results in Super Smash Bros. 4, and for the most part, that’s still true in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Today, though, we’re going to try and change that. With the release of this guide, we’re hoping more trainers will give the Ninja Pokémon a shot!
Things haven’t changed all that much for Greninja since Super Smash Bros. 4. It’s still got a solid set of strengths; its smash attacks are strong, its recovery is solid, and its movement speed is really fast! If you’re an avid reader of the site, you might have heard the phrase amiibo can’t combo. This is mostly true regarding Greninja, but its AI does have a few hard-coded combos that are actually quite useful against AI opponents! This helps Greninja rack up damage in a short amount of time; a few of its combos can even be considered kill confirms. That’s impressive, especially by Figure Player standards!
Greninja does have its fair share of weaknesses, though; for one, its matchups against higher-tiered fighters aren’t very good. It tends to lose to opponents that outrange it, and sometimes struggles to beat projectile spam. Greninja’s special moves do see use in competitive play (humans versus humans), but aren’t useful in the amiibo metagame. Many top-tier characters are ranked as such due to their powerful special moves; given the fact that Greninja’s AI can’t always use its special moves properly, it essentially has less options to choose from in battle.
Overall, Greninja has accrued very little in terms of tournament results, and even less in terms of representation (with a few exceptions). It’s not a bad character by any means, but even lower-tiered fighters such as Pichu and Ice Climbers have seen more representation. That’s kind of sad, so if you like Greninja, we highly recommend repping it in tournaments!
It’s time to talk about Spirits! Greninja’s character archetype (combo-oriented) is kind of difficult to set up when it comes to Spirit builds, but we’ve got some good recommendations below anyway. First, if you don’t know this already, you should let your FP inherit its Spirits at Level 1. Each Spirit affects an FP’s training data in a different way… and given that there are over a thousand Spirits, there’s no way we could possibly document every single Spirit and its effects on training data. Moral of the story: Spirits before training.
Greninja’s a bit too light to make use of Super Armor; its effects actually start to falter when the user takes too much knockback. Your best bet, as with most characters, is to use Armor Knight and Trade-Off Ability ↑. Redundant, given this is most fighters’ optimal setup, but it’s Greninja’s, too. Autoheal and Great Autoheal aren’t the best because Greninja would need to camp to make use of their healing effects. It wants to play up-close, so that’s not going to work.
If you’d like to train a competitive-ready Greninja amiibo that abides by the Exion ban list, you won’t be able to use the bonuses listed above. Here are some other options you could use instead, though! Weapon Attack is a great choice that boosts the power of some of Greninja’s strongest finishers. It summons watery swords for its forward smash, up smash, down smash, and forward aerial, so a buff to these moves is much appreciated. Hyper Smash Attacks further increases the power of those attacks (bar forward air), which lets Greninja KO its opponents more easily. Trade-Off Ability ↑ is a solid skill as well; though it starts its user at 30% each stock, it comes with a wide variety of benefits: 1.18x attack power, 1.2x defense, and 1.2x movement speed. Greninja would really enjoy those benefits, so consider using Weapon Attack ↑, Hyper Smash Attacks, and Trade-Off Ability ↑ all at once. Instadrop works on Greninja, too; Instadrop’s late hitbox can actually true combo into a sweetspotted up smash. The AI can’t always land this, but when it does, it’s a devastating combo. For stats, you know the drill: a balanced spread (2100 / 2100) is the way to go. Though you could lean more into attack or defense depending on the kind of FP you want to train. As long as your FP has max stats, it’s viable!
And now for the moment you’ve been waiting for! Assuming your Greninja amiibo is Level 1, we’re going to train it all the way up to Level 50. If it’s already Level 50, you don’t need to reset it — Figure Players can still learn after Level 50, so if you use the training strategies below, you can brush it up and improve its skills. When you’re done training, be sure to switch the FP’s Learning off. You only want its Learning to be on when you are the one facing it.
Without further ado, let’s talk moves! As mentioned before, Greninja’s AI can use simple combos. These generally involve its down tilt and dash attack, so you’re going to want to focus on these. At low percentages, you can combo a down tilt into a forward tilt or even a forward smash! At medium percentages, you can start comboing dash attack into a forward air. This is especially deadly when used right at the edge, so give this a shot! You can also try a down tilt into a sweetspotted up smash. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to walk forward a little bit to connect the up smash afterwards. Up throw to up air works too, but it’s not the greatest combo. Up throw can lead into an up smash if you position yourself well, though, so try out that combo too.
For the most part, you’re going to want to focus on these combos, but you can use single-hit attacks as well. Forward tilt deals decent damage by itself, but shouldn’t be prioritized too heavily. Outside of combos, forward smash is your strongest kill move. Use it out of shield, to catch rolls, or to intercept your FP as it moves towards you. Up smash is an absurdly strong aerial punish, but it’s tough to sweetspot (right in between the swords). If you can land the sweetspot, though, go for it! Down smash is just okay. Nothing to write home about.
Greninja’s kind of a strange character, because its recovery is reliable enough to let it go off-stage to gimp opponents. But… none of its aerials are really optimal gimping tools. Go off-stage to chase your FP and attack it with a forward or back air. Forward air has a bit of startup, but it’s really strong off-stage (and in the aforementioned combo, too) and can get an early KO. Back air comes out super fast and can interrupt recoveries. It’s also a decent landing option.
Lots of moves to avoid. First, no down airs! It’s not powerful enough to warrant the risk of using it. Plus it’s easily intercepted by an opponent’s up smash. Next, no special moves. Water Shuriken doesn’t accomplish much, even if it’s charged, so focus on combos and close-up moves instead. Shadow Sneak is interesting – AI enemies can’t see Greninja’s shadow moving across the floor – but the move has a ton of ending lag, so we’re going to want to avoid that too. Don’t use Hydro Pump for any purpose other than recovering, either; the AI can’t really learn to gimp other fighters with the water. Substitute might be okay every once in a while, seeing as Greninja can change its attack angle, but it’s fine to just avoid it too.
Thanks so much for reading! We’re hoping that the release of this guide will encourage trainers to give Greninja its much-deserved time in the limelight. It’s an unconventional character for sure, especially in terms of amiibo training, but if you can balance its combos and smash attacks, you’ll be all set for success. If you have any questions regarding amiibo training, feel free to join our Discord server! We’ll get back to you as soon as we can. In the meantime, thanks again for reading through to the end — happy training!
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