In 2020, Greninja was voted the most popular Pokémon character in the 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 off by talking about Spirits! Greninja’s character archetype (combo-oriented) is somewhat difficult to set up when it comes to Spirit builds, but we’ve managed to pull together some solid setups below anyway. 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 effect on training data. For more information on how Spirits work in this game, read our full Spirits guide — or bookmark it for later!
Greninja is a bit too light to make use of Super Armor, as its benefits begin to falter when the user takes too much damage. As with most characters, your best bet is Armor Knight and Trade-Off Ability ↑. To be honest, this is the best setup you can use on almost every fighter, so perhaps it’s a bit redundant that it’s included here as well. Keep in mind that Armor Knight is usually banned from online tournaments. Instadrop is an interesting option too, but some tournament operators choose to ban it from competitions as well.
Here are some other options you could use instead: Weapon Attack ↑, Hyper Smash Attacks, and Air Defense ↑. Do not use Water & Ice Attack ↑, as that bonus effect only boosts the power of Greninja’s neutral aerial. If you are raising a Raid Boss, you can use Weapon Attack ↑, Landing Lag ↓, and Move Speed ↑. You might think Move Speed ↑ isn’t necessary, but Greninja greatly enjoys the speed buff and becomes even harder for human players to deal with. For stats, you can either keep them balanced (2100 / 2100) or lean more into attack (2500 / 1700). Make sure the FP’s Spirit-type is Neutral.
Most of the time, Greninja is going to want to walk. FPs think more clearly when trained this way; otherwise, they’ll dash right into incoming smash attacks and take damage that would have otherwise been avoidable. Do your best to parry some of your FP’s attacks as well — bonus points if you parry an attack that is not listed below. In the meantime, read the list below carefully and then use each move against your FP as it levels up:
- Forward smash: Greninja’s primary source of damage-racking and KOs. It’s surprisingly quick, and often beats out opponents’ close-ranged options. Use lots of forward smashes during training — this is absolutely a move to be relied on.
- Dash attack: As mentioned earlier, it’s best for Greninja to walk whenever possible. We make an exception when it has to use its dash attack, though. This move can link into an up smash at lower percentages or a forward air kill confirm at higher percentages!
- Up smash: An excellent anti-air that can secure KOs, finish combos, and deal high amounts of damage. Up smash should be used as an anti-air and combo finisher for dash attack and down tilt. Try to connect the sweetspot between Greninja’s swords.
- Down tilt: At low percents, this move can be used to combo into a forward smash. At higher percents, it can combo into an up smash instead. Compared to forward smash – which we consider to be Greninja’s best move – down tilt is faster but has less power and range. Those last two bits are important, which is why we prioritize forward smash over down tilt.
- Down smash: Best used after a parry or while standing at the edge. Down smash doesn’t have as much range as forward smash, but launches its victims at a favorable angle that can make recovery difficult for certain characters.
- Forward aerial: Great for landing, as it’s got a large and powerful hitbox. Alternatively, this move can be used to edgeguard, though this should only be done sparingly.
- Neutral aerial: This move can help your FP land as well. Additionally, it provides a combo follow-up in the form of neutral air to forward air. Don’t use neutral air off-stage, as it has a ton of ending lag that leaves Greninja vulnerable.
As you can see, Greninja’s training is rather simple, but its varied combo game (compared to other FPs, some of which have no combos) helps keep things interesting! There are several moves to avoid during training; these include Water Shuriken (the AI likes to spam it), Substitute (the AI misuses and mistimes it), Shadow Sneak (the AI spams it as well), up tilt (short range and outclassed by up smash), up air (it’s best to teach Greninja to get KOs while grounded), and neutral attack (outclassed by down tilt and forward smash). Phew. That’s a lot of parentheses, but avoid all of these attacks during training and you should be all set.
Raid Boss Training
And now it’s time for the moment all you Raid Boss trainers have been waiting for! Assuming your Greninja amiibo is Level 1, we’re going to train it all the way to Level 50. If it’s already Level 50, you might be better off resetting it. Level 50 amiibo can still learn, but they’re also tougher to defeat, so it would take longer to improve a Level 50 FP than it would to train up a Level 1 FP. Since you’re training a Raid Boss, you’re free to dash and jump around as often as you’d like — this is in contrast to the previous section. Here’s a complete list of moves to teach your FP:
- Forward tilt: A forward kick that serves as a solid poking tool. Use it at close range. The move can be angled, too!
- Dash attack: 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!
- Grab & throws: Greninja’s grab game is nothing spectacular, but it’s a necessary component of its kit nonetheless. When grabbing your FP, simply toss it toward the nearest ledge.
- Forward aerial: A powerful sword attack with impressive range. It’s best used as a landing option or after a full hop to read an opponent’s jump. More rarely, you can use forward air off-stage, but don’t do this too often — edgeguarding is risky against human opponents.
- Back aerial: Used for landing and general offense. It can be used off-stage every so often, but in that case it’s outclassed by forward air’s sheer power.
- Neutral aerial: Its only use is as a landing tool, in which it can combo into a forward air. Whatever you do, don’t use this move off-stage. Its ending lag makes it risky!
- Up aerial: Greninja’s go-to juggling tool. The AI does have a few hard-coded dragdown combos involving this move, but they’re inconsistent at best. Focus on juggling and damage-racking when using up air.
- Neutral attack: It’s got low startup lag, and this helps the move intercept opponents who come too close. Be sure to use the full rapid jab combo when attacking with this move.
Additionally, you can mix in a bit of forward smash and up smash. Their use is rather simple: use them to KO your FP at high percentages! 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 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 Powersaves guide or mobile backup guide. We’re constantly working hard on new content and guides, so if you appreciate our work, we’d appreciate you taking a look at our Patreon and donation box! Until next time — happy training!
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