- Applicable Games
- Smash 3DS, Smash Wii U
My name is Pokémonye West and I will be attempting to create an up-to-date guide on Greninja. This guide will probably be a bit redundant to longtime mains of Greninja, so I guess I'm just doing this for the newbies. Greninja has changed a lot since the game first came out, what with his (and I’m being suuuuuuper biased here :-P) mostly unnecessary nerfs. Nearly all of the video guides and written guides are outdated those can leave some people new to Greninja in the dark (WHY CAN'T I RUNNING SHADOW SNEAK HALP). I'd like to give special thanks to everyone on the Greninja boards for compiling a lot of the information I've used in this guide. For beginners, but likely anyone could benefit from this info.
0.0 Very Important Threads
1.1 Patch Changes
1.2 Frame Data
1.3 Normals, Tilts, Smashes, Aerials and Throws
1.6 Play Style
1.7 Preferential Stages (3DS and Wii U)
VERY IMPORTANT THREADS
Greninja Kill Percents (WIP)
General Information and ADVANCED TECHNIQUES
Greninja Frame Data
I'll be using a lot of standard Smash Bros jargon in this guide. If you don't know what a specific word or phrase means check this Smash Bros. Glossary over on Reddit and educate yourself!
First of all, let’s take a look at all of the changes Greninja has seen since the game released. I will be updating this guide as new patches come out and if there are any Greninja changes I will add them below.
(5%) HITBOX SIZE : 6.5 > 5 [nerf]
(14%) HITBOX SIZE : 7 > 6 [nerf]
(HIT 2) DAMAGE : 13% > 11% [nerf]
LATE DAMAGE : 11% > 10% [nerf]
ENDING LAG : Moderately increased [nerf]
DAMAGE : 11% > 13% [buff]
LATE DAMAGE : 9% > 11% [buff]
KNOCKBACK GROWTH : 93 > 90 [nerf]
KNOCKBACK GROWTH : 92 > 84 [nerf]
(HIT 6) KNOCKBACK GROWTH : 190 > 168 [nerf]
GENERAL : Structural changes including a new hitbox with a 85 angle following the normal autolink (365) one
WATER SHURIKEN (Neutral B)
ENDING LAG : Increased [nerf]
FLIP KICK KNOCKBACK GROWTH : 100 ⇒ 102 [buff]
BACK KICK KNOCKBACK GROWTH : 100 ⇒ 101 [buff]
Aerial Shadow Sneak has less ending lag [buff]
Greninja can no longer cancel aerial landing lag with Shadow Sneak [nerf/bugfix]
BASE KNOCKBACK : 85 ⇒ 65 [nerf]
KNOCKBACK GROWTH : 130 ⇒ 100 [nerf]
Greninja running shadow sneak removed [nerf]
"Infinite Shadow Sneak" removed. [bugfix]
FORWARD TILT HAS FASTER STARTUP AND LESS RECOVERY [buff, need frame data for this]
Start up decreased 25 → 20 frames (total: 50 → 45 frames) [buff]
Bugfix: Aerial stall ability [bugfix]
Damage decreased 6% → 5% [nerf]
Ending reduced from 49 → 42 frames [buff]
U-Smash: Hit 2 Sweetspot KBG 103 -> 104 buff
D-Smash: KBG 90 -> 92 buff
Shadow Sneak, Shadow Strike: Front Attack KBG 102 -> 104, Rear attack KBG 101 -> 103 buff
Shadow Dash: Front/Rear Attack KBG 90 -> 92 buff
Quite a lot, eh? No matter. Let’s continue.
Frame Data for all of Greninja's moves (except customs) View it here.
NORMALS, TILTS, SMASHES, AERIALS AND THROWS
Greninja has one of the longest grab ranges in the game for a non-tether grab (behind only Villager) but the throw has considerable startup until it is active at a whopping 14 frames. Not only that, but the throw has pretty awful recovery frames as well. This hurts Greninja's Out-Of-Shield options because you'll find that moves you can shield-grab with a character like Captain Falcon, you can not with Greninja. Greninja has one of the slower throw pummels in the game, and usually one is only able to go for two pummels when the opponent is around 90 to 100 percent.
For Normals, Greninja's are about average. Greninja's jab comes out in three frames and has two different stages. Simply holding the button will unleash a three hit jab with fine knockback that does 7% damage. Rapidly pressing the button will unleash a multi-hitting jab that does at least 10% damage if you connect eight hits (the first two jab hits and six additional multi-jab hits). Opponents likely won't be able to Smash DI out of it if spaced properly. Both jabs are unsafe against shields.
Greninja's dash attack is a low-profile sweeping kick. This move does 7% Damage and also shrinks Greninja's hurtbox a tad allowing it to avoid some moves outright. You can combo after this around medium to high percents. It's unsafe on shield but if it whiffs, you might be able to escape before getting punished. Don't use this move willy-nilly. You want to be walking more than dashing with Greninja.
Up Tilt [4.5% Damage] is a fantastic anti-air move. Greninja's hurtbox shifts down during the active frames of this attack making it duck even lower to the ground than usual. The arc that Greninja's tongue swings is about the same height as Bowser to give you a feeling of how much above Greninja the move hits. As previously mentioned, the move swings in an arc. That arc encompasses about 150 degrees from back to front. The move hits opponents directly behind Greninja. It's a good combo starter and at nearly any percent it can be followed up with another attack (Netural Air [sweet-spot] > Up Tilt > Up Smash being a true combo that works at 0 percent as does 34% damage).
Down Tilt [7% Damage] is the other of Greninja's amazing tilts. The move is a crouching sweep kick that shrinks Greninja's hurtbox ever so slightly, which can help it avoid certain attacks. The move is also a great combo starter that can lead into Forward Air at medium to high percents, as well as Greninja's other aerials. Spaced well, this move is safe on shield.
Forward Tilt [7.3% Damage] is not a good move. It is slow to start and has a lot of recovery frames. Forward Tilt was buffed in a recent patch that gives the move a lot more utility. It recovers faster (Where previously, one could only do a Back Air jab lock into a single Forward Tilt, now TWO Forward Tilts can be done after the jab lock. Forward Tilt has the longest lateral range of all of Greninja's tilts as well as having the option to angle it and pivot it, which makes it an OK anti-air in some situations and a good hip check.
Neutral Air [11% Damage (sweet-spot), 6% Damage (sour-spot)] is the epitome of a double-edged sword. The move is superb in its combo potential, there's no landing lag if the animation completes, and it can KO at higher percents. At lower to medium percents, Neutral Air can lead into many different things and is the main way to initiate Greninja's advanced Footstool combos. The drawback of this move is its outrageous amounts of recovery when used in the air (many a stock has been SD's because I fool-heartedly Neutral Air'd off-stage). Be very careful using this move off stage.
Back Air [3% Damage (1st kick), 2.5% Damage (2nd kick), 4% Damage (3rd kick)] is very good. It hits three times, the third hit has launching power and this move owes itself well to combos as well as edgeguarding. On stages that have lips, like Battlefield, a well-placed back air can seal a stock early if an opponent were to miss their stage tech. The first two hits are also able to jab lock a grounded opponent, which can lead to some satisfactory followups.
Forward Air [14% Damage] is one of Greninja's greatest KO moves. It's somewhat slow to start and has noticeable landing lag. However, it can KO well enough on stage (around 120% and up without factoring in rage). Used offstage, it's a death sentence for most characters. The slow startup takes some getting used to. This move is safe on shield when you retreat in the air while landing with it.
Down Air [8% Damage] is another double edged sword. It is the slowest of all of Greninja's aerial attacks but for the first few frames of the attack, it spikes. When used after being launched in the air by an opponent, the move travels down at a much slower pace down and this is highly unsafe unless you're positive it's going to hit the opponent. I never ever use this move off stage, the only way you can Down Air offstage and not SD is if you do it from the apex of your second jump, in which case you can Up+B right above the blast zone to save your slimy hide. This move has excellent uses in combos however. After a footstool on stage, you can down air to spike the opponent. At certain percents they'll be unable to tech and must take whatever followup you've got cooking. Don't be the type of player who constantly uses their Down Air to travel quickly back to the ground after being launched. This move has significant ending lag and is very easy to bait. Only go for this when it's guaranteed. Safe on shields, as Greninja bounces right off.
Up Air [1.3% for each kick, 3% for the last kick, 9% if all hits land] is perhaps Greninja's best aerial move. It is Greninja's fastest aerial attack, It can KO reasonably early off the top of the stage, it can spike (Credits: Sneak Frog) which can lead to some spectacular combos (Credits: me!me!me!). Though it is worth noting the hitbox for this move is only Greninja's legs, so meeting someone in the air with this movie is unlikely. You'll mostly land this from when you're underneath the opponent. Up throw lends itself well to Up Air, as does Up Tilt. Get the feel for this move, it is vital to Greninja's core game play.
Forward Smash [14% Damage uncharged, 19% Damage charged] is an effective Smash attack. It's Greninja's second fastest Smash attack after Up Smash. It has good range, about as much as Forward Tilt. This move is good for standard punishing and counter-poking. Unsafe on shield.
Down Smash [13% Damage uncharged, 18% Damage charged] is the slowest of Greninja's smash attacks and this slowness really hampers its overall usefulness. It's great in that it does hit on both sides, and it hits people clinging to the ledge. But it's so slow that this will usually only be landed when reading an opponent's roll. To make matters worse, the move has downright disgusting recovery. Highly unsafe on shields.
Up Smash [19% Damage uncharged (sweet-spot) 26% Damage charged (sweet-spot); 11% Damage uncharged (sour-spot on the edge of the blade) 15% Damage charged (sour-spot on the edge of the blade); 10% Damage uncharged (late hit) 15% Damage charged (late hit)] this is Greninja's best smash attack and it could be argued that it's Greninja's best move. It comes out faster than all of it's other smash attacks and can kill extremely early (Credits: KERO). The swords have decent priority and can stop some falling aerials right in their tracks if your timing is good. This will be the move that likely nets you most kills.
SPECIALS (and customs)
For this section I will be using numbers to denote what Special move I am talking about.
- #1 Water Shuriken - Fire a shuriken of water straight ahead. Charge it up to make the shuriken grow.
- #1 Substitute - Evade an incoming enemy attack by summoning a substitute, then counterattack.
3112 (Shifting Shuriken, Shadow Sneak, Hydro Pump, Exploding Attack)
3111 (Shifting Shuriken, Shadow Sneak, Hydro Pump, Substitute)
1312 (Water Shuriken, Shadow Dash, Hydro Pump, Exploding Attack)
1311 (Water Shuriken, Shadow Dash, Hydro Pump, Substitute)
3312 (Shifting Shuriken, Shadow Dash, Hydro Pump, Exploding Attack)
3311 (Shifting Shuriken, Shadow Dash, Hydro Pump, Substitute)
3113 (Shifting Shuriken, Shadow Sneak, Hydro Pump, Substitute Ambush)
2112 (Stagnant Shuriken, Shadow Sneak, Hydro Pump, Exploding Attack)
2111 (Stagnant Shuriken, Shadow Sneak, Hydro Pump, Substitute)
Greninja is a fast character. Greninja has among the highest single jump in the game. Greninja’s walking speed is also exceptional, walking faster than all but three members of the cast. Greninja’s dashing speed is no slouch either, boasting the sixth fastest running speed in the game. Greninja is a medium-light weight character (weight rating: 92) with a fast fall speed. This fast fall speed allows for shenanigans at early percents against overzealous opponents, for example around 0-10% you can DI down and shield right after a Mario down+throw and punish a possible Up+tilt follow up. It also means you can DI down for a lot of characters’ rapid jabs and bring your shield up, allowing for a punish.
Using the fox-trot method of dashing (Input a dash and then let go of the stick immediately after the dash animation starts) Greninja can blaze across Final Destination in only four trots. A faster character, Captain Falcon, requires five trots. This information can come in handy when attempting to space out dash grabs (of which I've already mentioned, Greninja’s is superb) or really for anything you would want to apply a dash to, like retreating.
Greninja can crawl (input a direction on the stick while crouching) and in doing so this can allow it to crawl underneath various attacks (Credits: KERO).
Greninja also has a wall cling. Wall clinging allows for an extra jump to be used. Greninja has a wall jump too, but it is very bad. Using the jump from a wall cling has about the same height as Greninja's other jumps but it won't burn your double jump.
Doing an aerial B Reverse (Press B and within a few frames input the direction opposite you are facing) will shift Greninja’s momentum in the air only slightly. It is worth learning how to B Reverse nonetheless. It can open the door for mixups. Doing a grounded B Reverse out of a retreating dash, along with doing a short hop B Reverse will allow shurikens to come out faster
Greninja's high speed but relative lightweightedness make it a good character for a hit and run type of play style. Greninja has the tools to rush down and the tools to zone and play lame. Greninja excels most against characters without a decent projectile. Pestering with water shurikens in neutral forces approaches and this is where one can chose to face an opponent head on or make use of your exemplary speed and jump height to run away. Greninja can chase deep off stage thanks to its jump height. Back Air can pop both of a Villager's balloons with careful aim, is great for punishing air dodges, and yet again is an amazing move that leads to stage spikes. Down Air is Greninja's "true" spike but it's far too risky to use off stage unless you have spaced it perfectly or are reacting to an air dodge. I wouldn't recommend using Down Air off stage.
Greninja benefits from stages that have lower ceilings, mainly. Going by what other Greninja mains and myself have said, the best stages for Greninja are as follows:
Town & City (Wii U) [+Low Ceiling, +Dynamic platforms, +Stage spiking in parts]
Prism Tower (3DS) [+Dynamic, +Low Ceiling in parts, +Stage Spiking]
Battleship Halberd (Wii U) [+Stage Spiking, +Low Ceiling -Uneven Flooring]
Omega Flat Zone 2 (3DS) [+Stage Spiking, +Black Floor]
Omega Brinstar (3DS) [+Stage Spiking, +Black Foor]
Omega Balloon Fight (3DS) [-No Stage Spiking, +Black Floor]
Delfino Plaza [+Dynamic, +Low Ceiling during some parts, +Smaller blast zones]
Omega Pictochat [-No Stage Spiking, +Black Floor]
Omega Pac Maze (3DS) [-No Stage Spiking, +Black Floor]
Omega Norfair [+Black Floor, +Stage Spiking]
Omega Luigi's Mansion [+Black Floor, +Stage Spiking]
Lylat Cruise [+Low Platforms allow for protected Up Smashes and Up Tilts, -Uneven Flooring, +Augmented edgeguarding do to Lylat's wonky edges, -It can be hard to recover due to aforementioned wonky edges]
In summation, I think Greninja is a great character and among one of the best in the game. There's a lot of misinformation out there about our frog friend, and now that Greninja has become a meme (BETTER NERF GRENINJA) I just want to see this underutilized character get the respect it so deserves. Thanks!