In 2020, Greninja was voted the most popular Pokémon character in series history. So what’s going on here? The Ninja Pokémon has been underrated in competitive amiibo training since its figurine’s initial release in 2015. It didn’t accumulate any significant tournament results in Super Smash Bros. 4, and for the most part, that’s still true for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Though they are far and few between, a couple of dedicated trainers have accrued solid results with the character. In today’s guide, we are going to attempt to replicate that success! If you’d like to read more about Greninja’s metagame history before you continue, feel free to check out its wiki page. Otherwise, let’s jump right into today’s training!
Special thanks to SinSei for contributing Greninja’s training information!
Let’s start by talking Spirits! Greninja’s status as a combo-oriented character makes it a bit difficult to equip, but we’ve managed to pull together a bunch of viable setups nonetheless. If you don’t know this already, you should let your FP inherit each of its Spirits at Level 1 — before you start training it. For more information on why that is, read our full Spirits guide! In the meantime, here are some Spirit effect builds you can use on Greninja:
- Banned bonuses: This is the case with most fighters, and Greninja is no exception: its strongest bonus setup involves Armor Knight. Ideally, you’d fill the empty slot with Weapon Attack ↑, but if you’re worried about the speed loss you can choose Move Speed ↑ instead. That being said, using Weapon Attack ↑ maximizes the strength of many of Greninja’s moves.
- Tournament-legal bonuses: Looking ahead at our competitive training section, the moves we recommend for Greninja mostly revolve around its weapons. Therefore, you’re going to want to use Weapon Attack ↑ as one of your bonus effects! You can pair that with Critical Healing & Metal for a fantastic combination that gives Greninja a second wind of sorts at high percentages. You could also try out Critical-Health Stats ↑ or Air Defense ↑, if you like.
- Raid Boss bonuses: It might seem like a copout, but all of the Spirit combinations mentioned above work well for a Raid Boss. You could go with Critical Healing & Metal and Weapon Attack ↑ to increase Greninja’s power and survivability; you could also go with a more general build of Weapon Attack ↑, Air Defense ↑, and Move Speed ↑ if you’re looking for something less gimmicky.
Regarding stat points, you can keep Greninja’s spread balanced between attack and defense (2100 / 2100). Make sure your FP’s Spirit-type is Neutral before you begin its training! When you’re ready to start, pick either our competitive training section or our Raid Boss training section — whichever suits your fancy.
More often than not, Greninja is going to want to walk instead of run. FPs think more clearly when raised this way; if they’re trained to dash, there’s a chance that they’ll run right into an incoming smash attack and take damage that would have otherwise been avoidable. Do your best to perfect shield some of your FP’s attacks as well — bonus points if you parry an attack that is not listed below, because you’ll be discouraging your FP from using it! Here’s what an optimal competitive Greninja looks like, then:
- Forward smash is one of Greninja’s main sources of damage and KOs. It’s surprisingly quick and often beats out opponents’ own close-ranged options. At low percentages, down tilt can combo into a forward smash or into an up smash at high percentages. Be sure to use both forward smash and down tilt often during training! You can also mix in some rapid jabs once in a blue moon.
- From a distance, you can use dash attack to approach. It combos into an up smash at low percentages and into a forward air kill confirm at high percentages. The only time you’re allowed to dash is right before using this move.
- Up smash is an excellent anti-air that can secure KOs, finish combos, and deal lots of damage. On the other hand, down smash is best used after a parry or while standing at the ledge. It doesn’t have as much range as forward smash, but it does launch its victims at a tough angle that makes recovery difficult for certain characters.
- When you launch your FP off-stage, chase after it with a forward air or back air. Of these, back air is likely the better option — you can hang from the ledge, use the move, and quickly recover back whereas forward air has noticeable ending lag. When your FP launches you upward, you can land with neutral air. Never use this move off-stage, though, as its ending lag is too high.
Greninja is sort of a tough train, because there are several moves it needs to avoid at all costs. Water Shuriken, Substitute, Shadow Sneak, and up tilt are all prime examples. In other words, don’t use or get hit by any special moves except for Hydro Pump to recover. The rest of Greninja’s specials lose to opponents who parry often, which is part of why we don’t use them.
In fact, as a character, Greninja is rather weak to opponents who perfect shield; this is because it possesses very few multi-hit attacks. Its grab is a bit too slow and short-ranged for constant use, so it has no choice but to play carefully and focus on combos. With this moveset, your FP will be able to rack on consecutive damage and even score KOs via kill confirms at high percentages! If your Greninja keeps losing to defensive enemies, don’t worry — unfortunately, there’s a reason this fighter resides in the lower ranks of our tier list.
Raid Boss Training
Now it’s time for the moment Raid Boss trainers worldwide have been waiting for! We’re going to raise your Greninja amiibo all the way to Level 50. If its level is already maxed out, it might be a good idea to reset and retrain it — just keep in mind that its Spirit team will be erased and you’ll have to re-equip it. Since you’re training a Raid Boss, you’re free to dash and jump around as you see fit — which is in contrast to the previous section. Here’s a complete list of moves to teach to your FP:
- Forward tilt, neutral attack, and grabs are to be used at close range. Greninja’s grab game isn’t anything spectacular, but it’s a necessary component of its kit nonetheless. After you get a hold of your FP, simply throw it toward the nearest ledge.
- Dash attack is a highly versatile combo starter that should be mixed in often. Depending on the enemy’s percentage, it can combo into an up smash or a forward air. Make sure your FP knows to use this move!
- Forward air, back air, and neutral air should all be used for air-to-air combat. Up air can juggle or, more rarely, activate hard-coded dragdown combos! You can also use forward air off-stage, albeit only rarely.
- Additionally, you can mix in a bit of forward smash and up smash at high percentages to KO your FP.
In terms of moves to avoid, you may as well map your special move button to serve a different purpose, as an optimal Raid Boss Greninja FP doesn’t use any of its specials (except for Hydro Pump as its recovery). You also shouldn’t try to gimp your FP with Hydro Pump’s push effect; the AI cannot properly replicate this technique and will often get punished and KO’d as a result.
Thanks so much for reading! Since the release of Exion’s original Greninja training guide, the character has enjoyed increased tournament representation and results. Was its slight surge in popularity a direct result of this post? Who knows, but we’d like to think it was! At any rate, if you have questions you’d like to have answered, you’re welcome to join our Discord server and ask as many as you want. To learn how to enter online tournaments that we host on said server, check out our dedicated how-to post. We’re constantly working hard on new content and guides, so if you appreciate our work, we have a donation box that’s always open! Until next time — happy training!
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