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Greninja Moveset Analysis

Venks Dunson | April 20, 2014

Out from the shadows comes the water Pokemon Greninja! This ninja frog's moves are quick and sometimes veiled behind layers of smoke. Let's slow things down and uncover the secrets of Greninja's ninja arts.


Who says frogs can't throw a mean punch? Greninja's jabs are quick and go into continuous hits in much the same way as Kirby or Fox's own standard attacks do.

As the Kalos Starter lets into his opponent he also sends out small blades of water that deal damage to his opponent.
The jab finisher has Greninja pull his arm back as he shoots out a giant water ball that sends his target slightly above and away. From here Greninja can either start charging a water shuriken or chase after his prey with his particularly fast looking dash.

Down Air Attack

Nothing is more terrifying than looking up in the air and seeing a ninja falling from the sky. In case you haven't watched many ninja movies this is usually the last thing the onlooker ever sees.
In the Direct the onlooker is the hapless Yoshi. Greninja crosses his arms, and by sheer ninja power, increases the speed at which he falls. All of this force passes from the bottom of the Kalos Starter's feet and onto Yoshi's head. Greninja bounces off of his target as the impact sends the dinosaur into the air.

This attack looks to behave exactly the same as Toon Link's own 'pogo sword' down air attack. Therefor this attack may also have spiking properties off of the stage and could perhaps have atrocious landing lag if the attack misses.
The difference seems to be that the attack ends very quickly after landing, thus allowing Greninja to follow up with additional attacks.

Back Air Attack

If there is one thing ninjas are not known for it is their copious amounts of mercy.

Greninja follows Yoshi into the air and continues to assault the dinosaur with a series of kicks. These five kicks come out very quickly and the last one has decent knock back sending Yoshi up and to the left. This attack looks to have very good range as the water frog stretches out its leg to its full length in able to deal these aerial blows.

Up Tilt

Many people who see Greninja for the first time ask the same question.
"Is that a scarf? Or is that his tongue?"
These people clearly don't know assassins in the night very well because everything within a ninja's control is actually a lethal weapon.

The Kalos starter fears no man, no matter how big or incredibly small he is. Greninja swipes his scarf-tongue in an arc and sends his miniscule opponent into the air. This move looks to hit everywhere around the water starter and has quite a bit of hit stun.

Side Smash

What ninja doesn't carry a sword on them? Even if you don't see one that doesn't mean you're safe. After launching Little Mac into the air Greninja reaches behind his own back and pulls out a water sword from nowhere.
With speed you'd expect from a ninja, the Kalos Starter slashes his sword and hits his falling target before the boxer hits the ground.

The launching trajectory of Greninja's side smash looks to be almost purely horizontal and could possibly be a great move for landing early KOs at the side of a stage.

Up Throw and Forward Air Attack

Greninja's grab looks to be the Pokemon attack Whirlpool. The Kalos Starter uses a ninja hand gesture to control the spinning torrents of the water. In the Direct we see Greninja break his concentration and throw Zero Suit Samus straight into the air. Greninja follows his air-borne opponent and once again pulls out his water sword from thin air to continue his attack.

Unfortunately we don't see the initial grab or how powerful the air attack is as Samus is quickly sent off screen. Nonetheless throwing an opponent into the air and following up with an attack looks to be a great way to deal damage and possibly KO. As far as damage dealing goes though the five kicks of Greninja's back air attack may be a better option. Though again this is all in the air as we also don't know what Greninja's up air attack might be.

Up Special

This is a perfect example of why every water Pokemon should be able to learn
HM Fly. Some people whine and complain when they miss their plane, but Greninja takes matters into his own webbed hands. By blasting a huge volume of water under great pressure Greninja is able to launch himself into the air and recover his place on the Pilot Wings stage.

Greninja is seen moving in a diagonal fashion in much the same way Pikachu often does when using its own up special. We see Greninja do this twice, but its entirely possible that the move could go up to three uses just like the electric mouse. A distinct difference though is that Greninja momentum is influenced by the move so he doesn't just fall straight down.
I wonder if this move will behave the same while grounded and if the blasted water deals any knock back. If this attack does have offensive properties I sincerely hope that its more useful than Mario's infamous FLUDD.

Side Special

In the Direct we see Greninja pull a ninja pose before disappearing into smoke. At that same moment, the Kalos Starter reappears behind the Wii Fit Trainer and lashes out with a jumping kick attack. The Wii Fit Trainer goes flying into the distance as Greninja flips back from the force of his own kick and lands neatly on his feet.
Sakurai has elaborated on Greninja's 'Shadow Sneak' attack further by saying that holding down the button for the attack will cause Greninja to move a greater distance. Also Greninja can move around freely while charging up.
I'm not sure how useful the extra distance will be if Greninja has to always perform that kick attack when he reappears. It looks to have quite a bit of recovery lag and thus is probably extremely punishable if shielded.

Up Smash

What's cooler then pulling a sword out of nowhere? I'm pretty sure the only correct answer is pulling out TWO swords out of nowhere.

In the direct we find our favorite ninja frog quickly 'shield rolling' backwards and interrupting Fox's up special with a powerful duo of swords. And no, I'm not talking about the Pokemon Doublade.
Greninja stands tall and stretches his arms high as he pulls out his swords. This attack has great vertical range and may possibly hit to Greninja's sides as he pulls the swords down. The attack launches Fox quite powerfully and is probably a reliable KO move, but unfortunately the attack looks to have a lot of recovery lag afterwards.

Neutral Special

Kunai? Pfft. Those things look like mere gardening tools compared to a real killing weapon. Ninja stars. The death offering potential is in the name.

Greninja's neutral special is a chargeable move that allows him to throw giant multi-hitting ninja stars or smaller, faster ones.
Greninja recovers from his throwing animation before the multi-hitting ninja star has dealt its last hit, allowing Greninja to freely pursue his target.

Down Special

Greninja's down special looks very similar to his side special in initial activation. The Kalos Starter does a ninja pose and disappears behind a smoke screen. This time around though a 'substitute doll' from the Pokemon games appears. Shortly after Greninja reappears and performs a flying jump kick attack. This time around though Greninja merely slides for a second after connecting with his opponent rather then rebounding backwards.

This move seems incredibly similar to Greninja's side special and I think the move is intended to be used in tandem with the other special in order to confuse opponents.
I honestly don't see how effective that would be as Greninja's opponent should be able to shield the oncoming attack either way. The only way I can see this move being useful is if Shadow Sneak goes through grabs like Diddy's side special. This would then make the defender have to think more critically about how Greninja is going to attack them when ever the ninja vanishes.

Down Smash

For a brief moment during the Direct we see Greninja sliding forward as he kicks Charizard and sends the fire dragon flying into the air. This could very well actually be a dash attack, but I'm thinking it's the frog ninja's down smash because of the blue arcing lines we see on the attack. Smash and special attacks are generally denoted with colorful arcs while normal attacks are highlighted with white lines.

If this is in fact his down smash then it will have deceptively good range due to the fact that Greninja moves forward with the attack. In the same fashion that Wolf in Brawl does with his forward smash. With that being the case this will be a great move to catch people off guard and when they start to predict it they will shield more often and open themselves up for grab attempts.

Side Tilt

Greninja tends to stay low to the ground and keep his limbs bended. This makes the Kalos Starter look a lot shorter then he actually is. With this attack, Greninja stretches out his leg to perform a round house kick. This move comes out very quickly and finishes just as fast.
This attack reminds me a lot of Samus's own side tilt and looks like a good move to use if you're in need of a quick, far reaching attack.

Final Smash

We don't see how Greninja enters his final smash, but it looks incredibly powerful as he continually slashes his way through Mario with the moon at his back.

The attack reminds me a lot of Strider's Ragnarok hyper attack from the Marvel vs Capcom series. Seeing as Megaman's 'Mega Upper' attack also comes from the same line of games it would not be strange to see its influences elsewhere.
Perhaps the attack also requires Greninja to be near his opponent to execute it?


It looks like Greninja is going to be a difficult character for players new to Smash.
I feel like a lot of his attacks can easily be blocked and have decent recovery lag that will allow the water Pokemon to be punished.
His special attacks all look to have multiple properties that will more than likely be very troubling for a beginner to use effectively.

Overall Greninja looks to be a very strong character with a lot of range, speed, and tricks on his side. I don't think Greninja will be a very aggressive fighter, but instead look for openings to capitalize on by using his awkward specials or quick attacks. The Kalos Starter looks to have multiple attacks that set up for other moves and make this character great for executing combos to quickly rack up damage.

I was a bit confused when I first saw Greninja appear, but have to say I am now very curious how he will pan out and am looking forward to challenging him on the battlefield.

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Tags: Gaming Discussion

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